List of Previous Titles

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Responsability of Speech

The Freedom to Speak

We live in a country where we have the freedom to simply open our mouths and say whatever we want. It may not have always been so, but this is a basic freedom that we enjoy in today's Spain. However! Take note, that the freedom to say whatever we want does come with a potential price.

In most modern countries laws exists that cover the consequences of what we may say. Laws on Libel and Slander;  incitement to break civil laws or cause a breach of the peace; laws against the obstruction of justice; and laws against conspiracy to commit unlawful acts.

When we publish our words we should bear in mind that if our words have gravity they will affect someone, or a whole group of people, either in a good or negative way. Once we have let our words out of our mouths, or to flow from our pen, they cannot be recalled. We can only apologise for them if on second thought they were inadvisable. Sometimes, we even have to pay a penalty for having issued them in the first place.

Recently, an unfortunate politician was shot to death in cold blood. A number of young people reacted by posting their glee that it had happened, and by suggesting other politicians who should be shot next. Apart from being hyper-insensitive to the victim and her family, it was a truly disgusting thing to do in the eyes of our society in general. If there were others who felt the same way they were wise enough to keep their mouths shut.

These young people are learning that there is a world of difference between the freedom to say something, and actually saying what is on your mind. This is a difficult lesson to learn. Many people have yet to learn their own lessons. There are not always penalties to be paid on the spot for bad judgement. For instance, we have seen speech in the public domain that was once controlled  by censorship now being punctuated by words that, in the past we were taken to court  and fined if we used them in polite society. These are words that add nothing but digust to polite conversation, so why do we do it?  It has become so that when we turn on entertainment that is free of such offensive words we breath a sigh of relief.

Maybe what we are seeing is the pendulum that was stuck firmly on the side of conservatism now on the side of libralism, and that when we are thoroughly sick from what we are now getting, the pendulum will swing towards the middle. Meanwhille, it is possible to go too far in the exercise of our freedom to speak. We do need to think before we act. There is a popular car bumper sticker that reads: "Engage brain, open mouth!"

That says it all. Whether we be young people or politicians, take note!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Describe Life!

How will I recognize you in your future life?

The assumption is that you and I were here before, and that upon our "deaths" we will go forward to assume our new lives. So, firstly, we need a definition for life.

Perhaps, many people might choose to say that life is the ability to animate ourselves. During sleep we dream, and throughout our waking hours we loosely follow some sort of routine. That's a given!  However, it is my beleif that nature recycles our valuable bits. Once we throw off the vehicle in which we move around in, our talents, our accumulated knowledge, our spirits and our souls get passed on to other bodies. I think that Nature is far too thrifty and prudent to simply throw away perfectly good bits, and to start from scratch everytime a baby is born.

We can see examples of this, especially when we examine the performing arts society. The most stunning example for me is that of  Amira Willighagen, a nine year old Dutch girl, (find her on YouTube) who is just an ordinary youngster, execpt when she sings. When Amira sings she changes into Maria Callas. She was given the great gift of song that was so well used to thrill audiences for many years. What a waste that would have been had that talent died with Ms. Callas.

My own grandson, Ramon, is a world class singer. He was given that gift by his grandmother who had been a wonderful singer, but who, unfortunately died prematurely at the age of forty-two. I am able to recognize her in her continuing life in my grandson.

As fellow spirits who have passed through the death archway, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to visually recognize anyone whom we knew in this life because, of course we leave behind our costumes. The question is: how then will I know you?

From every day life, all of us have defining characters that say who and what we are, and that includes the good and the very, very bad among us.  At the very core of a person is that person's real bedrock life stem, around which everything else rotates. If you are my friend and I know you well, to the extent that I know you to be fundamentally a good and loving person with a kind and generous nature, I could identify your spirit in the afterlife by those attributes. If the absolute opposite is the case, well then, you would not be a friend of mine, but I might be able to identify you from your press.

However, I doubt that all your salvageable parts would go to one person. It's more probable that your bits will be farmed out to different destinations, with perhaps your soul or your spirit serving as a guardian angel to someone. I personally have two guardian/guiding angels that are with me 24/7. On my right shoulder sits a female who gives me wonderful advice. She clearly has my very best interests in mind. I think I know who she is. On my left shoulder sits a male. I have no idea who he is, however, he has a tremendous sense of humour, and although I could not say that he deliberately tries to make trouble for me, nontheless I do get into trouble by listening to him.

For instance, when I was a teenager, one of the girls from the neighbourhood asked me directly: "Do you like me?" My right shoulder angel said, now be honest when you answer the question. My left shoulder said, "Well, that would be fine if your answer is yes, but if you don't like this girl you have to be diplomatic about it. You just can't say No! I do not. That would not be gentlemenly of you." Needless to say this did not work out well for me at all.

Wouldn't it be great if there is life after death, as it seems to be, and that it were eternal and variable? That would be the best kind of eternal life there could be.

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael   

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Murder Trial of Oscar Pistorious

WHAT HAVE I DONE ???????????????

As most people will know, the trial has been suspended while Oscar undergoes psychiatric observation. I personally approve of this step because frankly, what I have heard thus far in the trial "don't make no sense to me."

The narrative would make perfect sense in my mind if it went something like this: It was Valentine's night when a discussion began between the two of them, and it escalated into a highly emotional state. That discussion probably concerned another man because, according to my hypothesis, he became very emotional. Reeva then did what most women would do. She headed for the bathroom and locked the door. He would have then did what most men would do, he followed and banged on the door, demanding that she open the door and come out.

Reeva would have none of that, so he huffed and puffed but the door would not open, so he went and got his gun. She said, you wouldn't shoot into the toilet, and he thought, or even said, Oh, I wouldn't? Bang! bang! bang! and bang! That was followed by the question that suggests a return to common sense:"What the fuck have I done?"

So often we see persons accused of some horrible action who show no signs of regret and contrition. In Oscar's case we have seen the opposite. The man has been so disturbed as to vomit.

What have I done to Reeva, her family, my family, to the whole of South Africa who were so proud of my sporting accomplishments, and to myself? I imagine that the weight of this question is so heavy we are moved to ask, what was he thinking, and could he have taken the action that he did?

What makes Oscar tick? This is not your average normal guy. He has achieved things few others has done. Perhaps he simply does not think as normal people do. I am in Spain writing about something that happened in South Africa, so perhaps there is a disconnect, but his only defense is that he intended to kill whomever was in the toilet, even if that person was having a shit. He simply says that he didn't think it was Reeva.

Is a psychiatric evaluation in order? You bet your bottom dollar it is!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael
P.S. There is still no sign of missing flight MH370, and it is day 72. The black boxes may be found but the plane will not be with them. Look for the plane and the passengers in north west Austrialia.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson

In my tribe there are men and women who prove that they are more than capable of making significant advances upon our society, or not!

It is natural to be proud of individuals from our own tribe when they achieve success. Neil de Grasse Tyson is such a person who generates pride. He was born on October 5th, a date that he shares with my son, Nathaniel, although the year is different. Tyson was born in 1958 to his mother Sunchita, a gerontologist of Puerto Rican background; and his father, Cyril, was a sociologist. He was born in Manhattan, but he grew up in The Bronx. He is no relation to Mike Tyson.

Were it not for the guidance and example of his parents, and  his own very strong curiosity and determination to go his own way, he might have become yet another lost soul from a very tough neighbourhood. However, at the age of nine he paid a visit to Pennsylvania where he could clearly see the sky and the stars, and from that moment astronomy called him to the study of The Universe.

He pursued astronomy with a passion, so much so that  his work and his successes came to be recognised by the noted, late, Dr. Carl Sagan, who saw in Tyson, pure genius. Dr. Sagan invited Tyson to join an undergraduate program at Cornell University, and generally took a young Tyson under his wing.

There is so much about Neil deGrasse Tyson to instill enormous pride in me for him. His list of achievements and appearances and Masters, and doctorates and honors is so long that one would have to stop to take breaths several times. Resulting from very hard, but evidently enjoyable work he attained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Astrophysicis. However, he went on to gain at least seventeen other Honory Doctorates, and at least seven Honors, including: Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive.

His career has taken him into cosomology, stellar evolution, galactic atronomy, bulges, and stellar formations. However, as Director of The Hayden Planetarium, Tyson challenged the traditional thinking of simply counting the planet Pluto as number nine of the planets. His approach is to group like objects together. The giant gas planets would all be grouped, as would Pluto be grouped  within like planets. This has led to him receiving a great deal of hate mail, a lot of it coming from children.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an Astrophysicist, an author, a science communicator, and a repeat television, radio, and print media personality. Currently he is host of National Geographic's "Cosmos" series.

For me to have men of Mr Tyson's talent and dignity to look up to is extremely important because I can bring him to my son's attention, and together we can say: "Yes, we Can!"

Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Some Vacations should never End!

Bermuda. Not a lot of real estate, but it's heaven, nontheless.

I offer this bit of advice to all who will listen: Never let a lot of time pass without having face to face experience between yourself and your family and friends. They are simply too important in our lives, and in fact, they make us who and what we are.

I have just returned from a trip that was a series of family and friends reunions strung together.  I am overwhelmed by this feeling of fullness and richness and wellness. Having heard from family and friends, they feel the same sensations, so obviously having made the time and effort to get together it worked to everyone's benefit.

The mistake that we, as individuals make is that we think we are not critically important to others. We are naturally modest and that leads us to think in such terms, however, as part of a family we all play our part to make up the whole.

For instance, during this visit I finally got to meet my Great Granddaughter. I am the only Great granddad that she has, and she is my first, and my one and only great anything, so was that meeting important? It certainly was to me and by her reaction I think it was for her as well. She is nine years old! It has taken nine years for us to meet in person. That's not right! I should have made more of an effort to have brought us together sooner.

The man who is my friend since we were infants turned up in Bermuda after an absence of more than thirty years. It was not coincidence that led me to him as he lay in the hospital. We had fabulous face to face time which we may not have the opportunity to repeat. How special is that?

Another friend has had a run of very bad luck. Being able to sit together and talk things through is what being a friend is for. We were able to do that, which may have helped him to face his challenges. I certainly do hope so.

The other reason we should make a point of a yearly get together is that things change. People change. After a long period of time has passed I have to be very careful how I approach people. I just can't ask a woman how's your husband? Oh, he died! Or to ask a man, how's your wife? Don't talk to me about her. We're getting a divorce! How do I recover from such situations? It's not possible to do so.

Family and friends. If only we had more of both, but the ones we do have we should treasure more than anything material, because that is their worth, even if we don't always realize it. Call me sentimental, please!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael