Thursday, December 8, 2011

back to the future

Bring back the past! The past is a known quantity (sort of) and any revision might lead to ... oh my gosh! who knows what fires if the frying pan is abandoned?!

-- There are eskimo tribes that refer to it as "laughing together" -- a deliciously gentle description of what otherwise can twist human knickers in a terrific knot. S-e-x ... oh lawsy, lawsy! The United States is particularly prurient and schizophrenic about it: Sex can be measured as holy by some yardsticks and the devil's work by others. Sex can be used and abused ... about like anything else. In Africa, young women's clitorises can be removed because ... well, hell, s-e-x is so much damned fun that having tasted the forbidden fruit, who knows what social havoc might result? Things would be even more fucked up than they already are ... perhaps. Sex is compelling, that's for sure. And when you think about it, where would any of us be without it?

Laughing together ... or as the Zen monk observed when asked about sex, "It's just penises and vaginas, isn't it?" Well maybe so, but in the meantime there's a lot of moral and immoral dust to be thrown into the air.

Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a science-based recommendation that a morning-after pill be made available without restrictions. Everyone may like laughing together, but there are potential consequences ... especially with an election year around the corner. There is the every-sperm-is-sacred crowd ... the anti-abortion phalanxes that can bray and inveigh, but never come up with a plan for coping with unwanted children. Their just-say-no righteousness flies in the face of the facts ... laughing together is (barring unwanted consequences) both free and fun. Lawsy! Lawsy!

-- The power that sex can have can be deduced from the fact that in China, a malicious madame was executed after manipulating hundreds of young women into the sex trade. She knew the power ... she made a lot of money ... she was executed for her cruelties. "Whores do well for money what others do poorly for free" ... or anyway that was an approximate observation made in the novel, "The Chinese Bandit." I have my doubts about whether someone can do anything well while under duress. The duress of immorality; the duress of virtue ... duress has a chilling effect. Who can laugh where the winds are so cold?

-- The past, like sex, has an enduring and sometimes confusing force. Russian scientists, for example, are planning to clone a woolly mammoth. It looks iffy, but the allure seems to be overwhelming. The effort may take as long as five years ... and may not work. Back to the future. What would you do with a woolly mammoth if you had one? And associatively, on this, the Dec. 8 day when some say Gautama the Buddha was "enlightened," the question is the same for his followers: What would you do with "enlightenment" if you had it? And, how could you possibly seek "enlightenment" if you didn't already know what it was? How is it possible to seek what you claim to be without? It simply doesn't compute.

-- And, in a nod to the more obvious roots of social and political confusion, Occupy protesters pointed their searchlight yesterday on the Washington lobbyists who turn a buck on the hard tack and gruel that disgruntled U.S. citizens are 'nourished' by. The salemen, the spin doctors, the micro-Goebbels of this world. Yes, they do some good and they do some evil, but I get a sense that, whatever they do, they have their hands in your pocket and mine.

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