Monday, June 01, 2020

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT COPS

There is effective and believable research on these recurring demonstrations and the bad behavior of cops, apart from being infiltrated by people who are not there for good reasons.  Here is one summary list 

1.  body cams don’t work
2. “tolerance training” doesn’t work
3.  restrictive policies in police depts work
4.  demilitarization works
5.  police union contracts work
6.  predicting who is likely to be violent works
7.  civic organizations work
8.  alternative responses to mental cases
     (1 in 5 calls in Eugene, OR)
9.  Federal Dept of Justice oversight works if they are accountable and
     reliable
10.  raised awareness of success
11.  end of paid policing and private militaries

For elaboration go to:

Here’s another element that scholars note:

Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime
Patrick Sharkey, Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, Delaram Takyar
First Published October 25, 2017 Research Article

Abstract
"Largely overlooked in the theoretical and empirical literature on the crime decline is a long tradition of research in criminology and urban sociology that considers how violence is regulated through informal sources of social control arising from residents and organizations internal to communities. In this article, we incorporate the “systemic” model of community life into debates on the U.S. crime drop, and we focus on the role that local nonprofit organizations played in the national decline of violence from the 1990s to the 2010s. Using longitudinal data and a strategy to account for the endogeneity of nonprofit formation, we estimate the causal effect on violent crime of nonprofits focused on reducing violence and building stronger communities. Drawing on a panel of 264 cities spanning more than 20 years, we estimate that every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents leads to a 9 percent reduction in the murder rate, a 6 percent reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 4 percent reduction in the property crime rate."

I will add two more considerations:

Militarization taking advantage of Homeland Security and ICE to define immigrants, dissenters, and the like as criminals, thus allowing war policies on them, like concentration camps and disease wars where exposure to contagion is exacerbated by close confinement, poor nutrition and health care, separating families, and denying of asylum.  Even shooting across national borders, denying humanitarian attempts to at least provide water, and encouraging a “cowboy” attitude of being unregulated.

The other is the glamorization of opposition, crime, and an underworld of decadence that includes paid sex provided by captives, drugs, use of weapons, secrecy, corruption of law enforcers, blackmail, extortion, arson, and so on.  There is a kind of reward for criminals in pretending or actualizing cheap “luxury” with gilded furniture, marble walls, and other tacky indicators of imagined wealth and privilege.  Women with massive bleached hair, extraordinary eyelashes and breast implants; men with open silk shirts over hairy bellies and gold chain necklaces and bracelets. 

I’m not talking about only NYC or Las Vegas.  Did I tell you a local rancher once took me to a strip joint in Lethbridge in an attempt to intimidate me?  There was no name on the building.  In back was a sort of wing to load vehicles without being seen.  The people, including performers, were like WH people, except no suits.  I was fascinated.  This was the fault of a fancy education influenced by French thinking.



Last night in Minneapolis -- we are told -- it was demonstrators who brought fireworks to launch as the police precinct burned. It is claimed that stores were looted and burned by demonstrators as well.  The visual effect was cinematic, jeweled and dangerous.  It ought to have warned people to stay away, but in fact the toxicity and exceptional danger of it attracted some people to come closer.  Certainly it was great television content.

Demonstrations are both attractive and risky.  Ari Velshi is often a studio interviewer and presenter, but this time he was out there to see for himself and risk his own neck.  He took a rubber bullet in his leg but was not run over by a squad car and was not arrested as was the black CNN reporter.  Now we are all journalists with Smart Phones broadcasting from the scene and sending footage back to archives in studios -- real time.  The balance of media has shifted.  Trump thinks he can buy and control Big Media, but he cannot cope with all the Little Medias out there watching.

The elements no one is mentioning are the facts that it’s a warm spring after being shut up in quarantine, that there is no school where accountability is high, and that the risk to lives was far more from contagion than from law enforcement.  But you can't see a virus. When two weeks have passed, we will know who was killed by the demonstration.

Another factor, that has never been named before that I can remember, is the “game theory” planning of these demonstrations and that they are urged and managed by enemies of our country, both those in other nations and their collaborators in the US.  They have also been using the Internet to affect what happens, but in a highly unusual way not possible before.  For instance, they were able to shut down the Minneapolis Police Department internet and squad car radio communications.  We’re pretty sure they can control the energy grid to some degree and could have shut down the city’s electricity to create black nights.  I hope that by now the hospitals have generators and also people at home dependent on machinery, even their refrigerators, have generators or batteries.

Most chilling of all was the list of advice issued to Minneapolis citizens during this siege:  hook up and test your garden hoses and hide your dumpsters in case of fire.  Strengthen the doors.  Monitor events. Watch out for each other.  It is very much like advising the French resistance to Nazi invasion in the Forties, except quite open.  Exciting!  Just like old movies on TV!!  

Don’t be seduced by violence wearing a negligee of righteousness.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

PORTLAND POLICE AS I KNEW THEM

My experience with cops dates from ’73-’75.  It was marginal, as a “specialized sheriff’s deputy” dealing with animal situations, commonly vulgarized as “dog-catcher”. We worked alongside Portland Police and at one point when I had become an “education coordinator”, I taught a brief introduction to AC for PPD.  The entity was the target of so much accusation, resentment, emotional imaginings, and assumptions with no grounding, that the county took away our “sheriff deputy” status.  We already were forbidden to carry guns, to make arrests, or to impound animals on  private property.  Also, commanded not to run up bills by taking animals to a veterinarian.

Management never goes on the street and usually has no experience with places where animals make trouble. As one writer said, “They don’t believe there are police except as a theory, because in their neighborhoods, cops were never there or necessary.”  They are reacting to movies and TV series with uninformed credibility.  Even the “reality theatre” of a self-aggrandizing Multnomah County sheriff deputy who ran a program supposedly showing real arrests and investigations was never challenged as unreal.  It was absolutely believed by the kids at Heart Butte when I taught there. They DID watch it.  When I was fired and went home, they urged me NOT to go back to Portland because it was too dangerous. ’90 or so.  (Heart Butte on the rez is considered lawless.)

They were right.  I used my old Ford van as a spare bedroom when visiting.  I had just slipped into sleep when there was a shotgun blast nearby. I lay very still so as not to give away my presence by making the van rock.  It turned out that the head of a street gang lived across the street (Blood, I think, which to me was a Blackfoot tribe in Alberta) and rival Crips had driven by repeatedly so they hid in the bushes and blasted them. (I never could understand what Crip was supposed to mean.)  There was no point to gangs except rivalry.

Contrast that with the ’70’s when PPD officers had to have college educations and the whole society was trying to reframe the culture.  There was a poetry reading in Washington Park, which is a hillside overlooking the city, and one of the poets was a cop.  Ken Kesey was there, reading from “The Tranny Man” after it got so dark someone had to hold a candle next to him. Marijuana fumes fogged the many people sitting on the grass.  No one was arrested.  It was cool.

But even then I lived, as always, in a dubious neighborhood where the cops were always nearby.  This time it was one little apartment in a strip of garden apartments and what we didn’t know, partly because the landlord never paid the electrical bill for the security lights, was that a burglar had been stashing what he stole under the building where only part was finished as a basement and there was a long crawl space in the dirt.  Someone spotted him and realized.

My habit is to build a bed that is high enough off the floor to stash things underneath.  This one was so high that the mattress was level with the sill of the window that looked out on a walkway leading into the basement.  This time I was asleep when I heard a man’s voice a few feet away.  It was a cop.  I had already reinforced the screens with quarter inch wire mesh, but when I peeked out there was a young officer with his gun drawn.  I spoke to him, which made him jump.  There was a team of them hoping to catch the burglar.  They didn’t but they recovered a lot of electronic stuff.

The real order keeper on the block was a stalwart, sturdy, but aged Irish woman who had survived her family.  Daily she sat on her front porch and observed, noting everything.  She called me over and confided in me because of my connection to law enforcement.  She was concerned with the behavior of the teenaged sibs next door to me, having come to the conclusion that the older boy was molesting the girl.  What had I heard?  Not enough for a court case. She turned them in anyway and next week they moved.

An old pickup was parked in front of the apartments, the same place every day.  Kids were living in it and it couldn’t run.  They ate by shoplifting at the Safeway two block aways.  I didn’t say anything until white blossoms appeared in the bushes.  They had no other latrine and were picky enough to wipe their bottoms. The pickup was simply towed as a derelict vehicle and the problem ended.

It gradually became obvious that reframing the culture meant that some means of keeping order still had to be enforced by people who had enough power of law and action to make things happen.  In such a large and constantly moving population meant too many gaps where interstitial people like raccoons could make niches.  Even more so where entire tracts stood like bombed-out cities.

But this distracted us from watching out for the real danger, which was authorities who took more and more power into their hands, until they had actually managed to undermine and capture the federal government.  They, in turn, are being foiled because they couldn’t recognize the madness of a demented person aligned with their goals and his inevitable descent into frothing arm waving.  Even fortified with the power lust of Barr and McConnell, the scheme is transparent.

My brother had a concussion and was unable to hold a job so lived with my mother.  Every morning he came out with his cup of coffee and walked the street, picking up brass cartridge cases from the guns of gang warfare.  He generally got a handful.  He taught me that if I heard gunfire, I should turn out the lights and sit on the floor. The street where I had walked to school was patrolled only by double-occupied squad cars and sometimes by two squad cars at once.  Over time, after my mother died, my brother became mad and paranoid, claiming that he was under attack and hiding with rifles.  He was turned out onto the street and died there.  “Evil” is gradual and subtle.  It is internal and familiar. An aged stout Irish woman may see it more clearly than any young officer. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

TAKE TRUMP OUT

The beginning of the Rule of Law was when a lot of subordinate officials got tired of their king acting like a tyrant and changing his mind at will.  After all, he wasn’t God writing on stone with unchanging Commandments.  And by this time a lot of people could read and write, so the idea was to nail down the laws in writing so they didn’t change and everyone agreed on what they were.  This was an overwhelmingly good idea.  In fact, it was the basis of forming a new country that could have its own laws, starting with the Constitution and then expanding it with the Bill of Rights about things that should have been obvious but wasn’t.


The hard thing about the Rule of Law is that even written down at a time when everyone can read, the actual situations that the laws were meant to address and resolve kept exceeding what was written.  Obviously, black people, indigenous people, and women are an example of having to work on the law to make it fit the situation better.  It was much easier when the government was all white men who owned land and had been mostly English.  They already had a shared idea of what life should be like and a Code of Conduct that wasn’t written because it was so deeply believed that it didn’t seem necessary.

But now our President has exceeded every safeguard and has no Code of Conduct except greed.  He has a criminal background and has cleverly wired all the governmental bodies who could just join to throw him out: his political party, his cabinet, his Supreme Court, his Vice President.  They are all HIS and find his behavior a convenient cover for their own criminality.  

We need more laws or rewritten laws.  What can we say that will legitimize just walking that bastard right on out of there?  Otherwise he is likely to end up like Mussolini, dead and hanging upside down from a lamppost.

This is a first proposal for coping with a berzerkly violent and organically damaged president, worse than Article 25.  We need to stop being vague and do the hard work of defining a person who has become a reeking knot of criminality, pretension, viciousness, madness, and faux glamour with the aid of a foreign rival country and the stated goal of destroying the nation.  All proven over and over, even by his own statements.

First: definition. 


“The US Constitution provides instructions for how to remove a president from office if they are unfit to do their job—gravely wounded, for example, or mentally unstable. The instructions were ratified as an amendment in 1967, after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Until that point, the Constitution just vaguely referred to the fact that a president could be removed for “Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of said Office.” . . .

“. . . the 25th amendment is a part of the constitution that gives explicit instructions for how to remove a president who is unfit to serve.

“It does not say when a president is unfit to serve, though. It doesn’t call out specific illnesses, mental or otherwise, or suggest tests of any sort. It just says this, under section 4:
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Trump so exceeds the kind of inability that is described in the amendment, that we need to describe it as a new offense. Some have suggested new terms with Latinate bases, like “nationcide”.  It’s beyond treason which might be a reasonable place to start.  He is not just destroying our country but the whole international community.

Second: identifying intervenors.

Already identified are the heads of the executive departments, or whomever Congress may identify by law BOTH the Senate and the House presenting a written declaration. These are already bought and paid for except for the Dems and the House.  The same with the Supreme Court.   Some have suggested a panel composed of all living former presidents — that seems promising.  There is no Pope, alas.  The United Nation was never designed for this.

Third: identifying and disarming collaborators.

This is a tricky one since so many are either inside the government or fired or members of foreign countries.  Since Putin has been part of the problem, perhaps one of the international bodies could be used, even if Trump has tried to pull us out of relationship with them.  If the heads of the former British government were to define Trump as too crazy and criminal to be tolerated, that might work as a beginning.  The criminal armament is money and it is international, so other countries might be interested. If the illegal money of this international crime system were identified and seized, that would sweeten the deal.
  
Fourth: defining public support markers.

If demonstrations in every major city, the bungled pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands, lengthy professional recommendations, even the craven and guarded stories on media — if those don’t define public support for removing Trump, it’s hard to think of more.  I don’t trust all the surveys.  Voting is the gold standard, but we don’t seem to be able to guarantee its fairness.
  
Fifth: quiet physical action since reason is useless. Simply escorting to confinement.

We are going to want something dramatic and the majority of collaborators are likely to simply disappear except for having blackmail material that invites murder to silence them.  Trials and lawsuits will go on for as long as a decade, but there is no other good place to start than to take Trump away to confinement, as quietly and efficiently as his protectors have demonstrated they physically move a president to a safe place when war is threatened.  He will die of dementia in a few years, without anyone killing him.

War IS threatened.  Use this, add to it, correct it, rethink it.

Friday, May 29, 2020

WALKING AMONG THE BOMB CRATERS

No post today unless I settle into something that's useful later in the day.  I'm just overwhelmed.  Who isn't?  My biggest challenge is tall grass.  It's not as though some one put my life in danger.

Maybe my memoir should be "Walking between the Bomb Craters."  Terrible tragedies happen but not directly to me.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

WEAPONIZING EXISTENCE

The last Tweet before I went to bed last night was this video, impassioned, coherent, and entirely justified.


This morning I googled both men involved: the infected Republican, Andrew Lewis at 

and

the indignant protester, Brian Sims at  

What follows are the thoughts that the situation prompts, not so much about the specific men as about the story.  Evidently Lewis has or had Covid-19 and at the urging of his Republican leadership did not tell the Democrats that he was contagious nor did he quarantine himself while contagious.  This exposed the biparty committees he was on and, indirectly, their families and friends. He and the leaders did warn the Republicans.  No info about masks.

This was a crime of omission meant to protect the reputations and intentions of the Republican party, even if it meant sickness and death of the Democrats.  Rather than treating the political and governing bodies of the State of Pennsylvania with dignity, the Repubs treated it as a “take no prisoners” situation of war.  If they have so little regard for the lives of those they work with, what hope do the residents of the state have?

Lewis is a family man with three business degrees which he earned with the help of the GI Bill.  His campaigning relies heavily on his affinity with the military.

There are already aired Repub complaints about Sims, who was elected as an openly gay man and who pursues Dem issues like protecting Planned Parenthood. He uses “doxing” of people who attack, including the researching of the backgrounds of teenagers demonstrating against Planned Parenthood clinics.  One could see this would have big consequences for a young woman who was there because of personal situations.

“Doxing, or doxxing, is the Internet-based practice of researching and publicly broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual or organization. The methods employed to acquire this information include searching publicly available databases and social media websites, hacking, and social engineering.”  This is widely used in politics now, often presented as transparency.

Sims’ parents were both military people, which gives him a certain point of view.  No one has “doxed” whether or not he is carrying HIV, which can be suppressed to the point of harmlessness but not cured.  But it’s easy to see that he would be supersensitive and highly aware of the danger of the viruses that sweep through our lives over the last century or more.  Larry Kramer’s death has reminded us of how deadly and widespread AIDS has been.  400,000 deaths as opposed to 100,000 Covid-19 deaths so far.

The differences are worthy of thought.  HIV is a virus carried mostly in blood but also other body fluids.  It travels only in intimate contact but gender or age don’t matter. Because intimate contact in this culture means “sex”, which is stigmatized, and “gay sex” which is even more stigmatized,  the demographic of men often powerful and gifted has become active, networked, and -- with the urging of Kramer -- militarized.  That is, the metaphor is war.

From its beginning Covid-19 has been political and not quite militarized.  The economic consequences are devastating.  This virus is highly contagious and the vulnerable population is elderly or handicapped.  There is no effective medicine but only critical care and the invasive respirators that are expensive and in short supply.  Repubs were quick to take advantage of the crisis by using insider information to protect from stock market damage, by cornering all needed supplies and selling them at inflated prices, forcing states to compete against each other, even raiding shipments meant for others, and selling basic supplies to foreign countries while buying shoddy versions to resell in the US.  

In other words, they have treated this wave of death as a marketing opportunity which is the whole purpose of being Republican and staying in power.  They have become monsters and somehow have swindled their voters into compliance, even as their grandparents die.  They had already removed all the regulations that protected nursing homes, children’s insurance and food projects, and vaccination programs.  Their narcissism includes only their bank accounts -- not their neighbors.

Sims’ outcry will be mocked and belittled but it strikes to my heart.  Nothing like working with American indigenous people to understand that a virus can be more effective than an atom bomb and leave all the desirable property up for grabs. After the virus has greatly reduced dependency by killing as many as possible, pinch off their food supply so that the rest die of starvation.  Unless they learn to make common cause and resist.

For decades we will be finding dead people where they holed up, their bodies rotted unfound, because government policies have ripped up families and interfered with bonds that used to create our communities.  The Republican party has been destroyed.  Our election systems are wobbly.  After November we will have to replace almost the entire government, building on what has survived and then figuring out how to safeguard the future.  Punishing these lowlifes is almost beside the point.

These two men make an excellent opportunity for plays and books, debates and vids, to educate what children who are well-fed enough to pay attention to the basic concepts that were taught to me in the aftermath of WWII, the essentials that we fought for.  If these two men confront around what is military, we need to take a good look at what that preoccupation has enabled.  It looks to me like Homeland Security and ICE are private armies for an entrenched mafia, not worthy of a memorial day.

It’s scary to talk this way and may worry people in this town, but I think it’s past time to speak out.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

FELT BONDS OF MEANING

Let’s say there are two kinds of bonds between persons.  In order to keep you interested, let’s look at them in terms of sexwork.  These are interactive bonds.  One would be the on-skin and muscle-involved sensations that two people provide each other and that are noted and remembered in the cells that accept the codes of touch.  

The other is soon activated by these actions and physical contacts, but can also stand alone.  It is the brain-conceived but non-physical origin with impact on the organs of the body that generate and remember liquid-carried molecules in-skin.  Though the action can be initiated by images or sounds, the process can be self-kindled and sustained with memory or imagination.  This is the power of story and art.

Winnicott’s assertion of the “play space” that is created between mother and child, Victor Turner’s framing of a space/time that is entered over a threshold, and Porges’ description of  far-reaching empathy for others -- many of us have felt these related but unseen phenomena.  In fact, it may be the evolved possibility supported by mirror cells, and eye beams that has made us uniquely “human” — that is, able to stick together in families, affinities, shared purposes, organizations, nations and as a species.  

The virtual sharing is strongest between two people and weakest as an entire species but can even include different species, as in pets. The trigger is intimacy, time spent together, a desire to protect and prolong, sharing, memory, appreciation. 

This is very difficult to write about, partly because people don’t believe it and partly because it seems to be disappearing.  Jared Diamond suggests that we have lost the ability to connect to each other in person.  He contrasts New Guinea where no one has glass screens.  People stand close, looking into eyes, smelling the other, maybe touching.  We pick up a “thick” way of relating that persists and enriches the memory.   
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/author-jared-diamond-on-the-breakdown-of-american-democracy

Here’s another approach to the idea of bonds across space and time, the elements of cooperation and progress.  https://getpocket.com/explore/item/scientists-say-your-mind-isn-t-confined-to-your-brain-or-even-your-body?utm_source=pocket-newtab

“The mind is more than just the brain. No doubt, the brain plays an incredibly important role. But our mind cannot be confined to what’s inside our skull, or even our body, according to a definition first put forward by Dan Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine and the author of the 2016 book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human.
“the emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.”

“The definition has since been supported by research across the sciences, but much of the original idea came from mathematics. Siegel realized the mind meets the mathematical definition of a complex system in that it’s open (can influence things outside itself), chaos capable (which simply means it’s roughly randomly distributed), and non-linear (which means a small input leads to large and difficult to predict result).”

“In math, complex systems are self-organizing, and Siegel believes this idea is the foundation to mental health. Again borrowing from the mathematics, optimal self-organization is: flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable. This means that without optimal self-organization, you arrive at either chaos or rigidity—a notion that, Siegel says, fits the range of symptoms of mental health disorders. “

I regret that my math phobia (which I blame on Mrs. Rumble in the 4th grade who was very punitive about it) prevents me from getting hold of this idea very well.  Also, the positive qualities —  flexibility, adaptivity, coherence, energy and stability — are cliches, all snap words whose meaning has escaped.  Yeah, yeah, we already know.

Quantum thought proposes that two tiny particles like atoms on opposite sides of something vast as a planet are somehow connected and can act in unison.  This is closer to what I’m trying to talk about, which is more like Vulcan mind-meld except not confined to logical rational thought.  More like the young man who walked into the Scriver Museum in the Sixties, causing an immediate connection with me.  He was headed to Stanford to study philosophy and he left me a contact name and number, but I lost them. Now I would really like to know what his take on existence has become.

https://candicewu.com/invisible-bonds-abundance-money-love/   This is an interesting “take” on the subject.  Maybe it has something to do with culture.  

I’m going to cut this short and go mow the lawn or the town will be after my hide.  They have no empathy for "intellectual stuff." 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

ELEMENTS OF "RELIGION"

(Big picture identified “axial” religion and Christian subcategory denominations are determined by socio-economics and become institutions.)

compassion (this is most often the emphasis of women so female clergy tend to push thinking in this direction.)
empathy
therapy
morality  (this is most often the emphasis of men, so
  patriarchal societies tend to produce this
emphasis but the “morality” is in the favor of the 
most powerful men’s interests.)
maintaining stigma
evil
worthiness (obedience)
see morality
safety (see compassion)
see morality
government
war/military
righteousness
habits and icons, possibly unconscious
parental
God is Papa — or maybe Mama
power
participation — access
can you take communion
do you tithe?
sexual  (so powerful and so often unacknowledged)
food/weather (famine, disasters, aesthetics)
ecology 
terrain: is your god on the mountain or in the desert or on
the sea? Is any god in the jungle?
group/community
how big is your circle of inclusion  
anthropology
what is a human being
specialness
uncanniness  (miracles, Jesus face on toast)
worthiness (obedience)
see morality
safety (compassion)
see therapy
government
war/military
righteousness, control
awe/wonder

I made the last entry a color to signify that it is my current focus because it is a place where the misleading separation of “religion” from the rest of human life in the name of secularism or science is no longer relevant.  This is a spot of convergence where the only limit is the limit of the person.  Once “religion” and nation were the same. We separated them by creating the “secular” but now it’s time to go the other way.

You see how complicated the references, uses, and meanings of so-called “religion” can be when one person means morality/punishment and another means compassion/therapy.  It’s not just gender that makes the distinction but also the times, particularly whether they are fortunate and generous or severe and depriving.  In times when one situation is exchanging with the other, “religion” is very little help, provoking conflict. 

In any situation the real “religion” is usually Simple Simon’s strategy of doing what worked last time.  It may be fatal, but it feels too dangerous either to ignore the old rules and too impossible to imagine new ones.  Taking “religion” apart is a good reason for a brainstorm list like this.

The problem with “religion” is that when we get to the level of “irreducible structure of the world” (which very few people think about, but act according to) what we actually have is the earliest structure of the specific human brain — what you figured out earliest remains what you think is universally most basic.  The only reason we agree at all is the culture has to be maintained various ways, most significantly child-raising practices that either teach an infant that there is a big being who will protect and please you, or that there is no one there for you.  Or that higher forces are present but what they do depends on whether they are pleased.  Not you.  “Be still and know that I am God.”

The human brain is not able to think in a “feeling” way beyond this earliest structure except through experience.  (Feeling is seen here as a form of thinking in a sensory way.)  We pretend we do this when using logic, but there is no way to confirm many theories.  We end up by saying, “It’s more purple than purple” but still can’t see that color.  Our eyes only evolved to see certain wavelengths and if we don’t have names for something, previous experience with it, we can’t compute it.  The limitation of God is the limitation of human bodies. We only accept the code of our senses.

But there is more beyond that.  We can feel the awe and wonder of existence.  The very forces that dissolved God as a big white man in the sky have given us far more splendour and power than we can process.  Any “religion” that ignores this conflation of science with theories of supernatural existence is not going to survive much longer.  But National Geographic and the Smithsonian are no real substitute for the complex that is a map for living.  Awe and wonder are vital but they are not a system.

One of the main centralities of this new awareness is that it keeps anthromorphs from thinking they are god.  It also prevents the idea of finding a safe perfect place and dwelling in it.  Time is rapids, not the serene stream. And it can cut your life short without warning or cause you torture for years before letting you go like a cat releasing a mouse to death.

Big male experts who constantly argue about God are just stand up comics exploiting old obsessions with bad dads.   It’s strange that it sells books and creates reputations.  It’s a peripheral issue that doesn’t change much.  Mostly it’s about familiar words and pledges, prayers and curses.

The sentiments above, based on science and imagery provided by science, is the inevitable shared understanding of how things work that can transcend all cultures whether based on agriculture, trading, bookkeeping or war.  But no one is willing to call this new vision “religion” yet and the morality that goes with it has not been worked out in terms of life and work for everyone.  It’s still the pressing reality of survival in many different contexts, with or without the help of the rest of us.

There are so many of us and we have constructed so much that we need to do a lot of clearing away, which isn’t easy when it’s metal and concrete.  Still, people go on inventing windmills that are not huge revolving spears, ways of desalinizing water that doesn’t demand major machinery, systems for recycling excrement whether food fiber or exhaled gases.  When it comes to raising children we tend to do too much or too little.  Someone pointed out that we always sacrifice our eldest people when there is a major catastrophe. The first step towards change is facing the evidence and discovering we’re not doing what we thought we were doing.  We might not be progressing at all.  But we keep on keeping on.