The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sub Terra Vita: Chronicle #11—The Challenge of Ethics

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
August 3, 2015

Chronicle #11—The Challenge of Ethics

Everyone needs to learn lessons to regain their humanity in the mortal toil of living, the acts done, suffered, seen, or shared, in a sometimes cruel and unfair world. The more pain we suffered, the greater the wisdom by which we profited. Empathy, understanding conditions of someone's experience, will always remain a minimum requirement for humanity. Alternatively, life carries with it many joys, and joys imply happy lessons. We might exist as spiritual entities having a human experience. Therefore, in wisdom and gratitude, empathy for others provides a moral insight to our own flaws. Also, we must always strive to overcome our tendency to fail others, and fail at the test of humanity.

If the world offers little fairness, we might still grasp the justice inherent in the right and good happiness we offer others. By wisdom, we possess moral maps that guide us on the journey. In happiness for bigger things that connect everyone, we discover codes of personal ethics. Ethics allow us to live better lives on the margins of the moral balance scales, as those scales always need some assistance (divine?) to outweigh the bad in favor of the good.

In this hodge-pouri of a personal philosophy, simple rules must derive from something so complex. I have NO right or claim to lecture others on morals. Everyone knows, less or more, the choices between right from wrong. Harder “wisdoms,” to which we all expose our ignorance, more often than never, come under several headings: Love thy neighbor as thyself; “first” cause no harm to others (which actually comes second in this list); take no “joy in the pain of others” (quote defined as: Schadenfreude); and live healthier and happier every passing moment.

These precepts mean what they mean. And we all must try our best to live to a moral good. Yet, these (loosely) moral precepts have endured the challenge of lifetimes. How well people do them depends on things, or a god, mostly beyond anyone's control. Still, as objective ideas, they weigh the scale of justice both within and without our minds and spirits, in favor of the good. Like any “truth,” all humans must endure their own flaws, first and most importantly.

On ethics, very personal conduct codes, we also try to live beyond our expectations and our abilities to control. Each on our own probably deserve failing grades as humans. We deserve neither grace nor gifts. If morals stem from the culture that pollinates our surroundings, ethics guide social actions—in thought and deed—toward each other. Ethics determine our reality relating to everyone else.

I carry, for myself only, my ethics, and I fail miserably at my own standards to: understand self; know god; learn love; help others. But these ethics embody an ideal which I think worthy. But again, they apply only to me.

Challenge: Can you define your ethics? Can you attain them everyday? Exceed them? List them. The world changes, and the technology, the culture, and society each drive the other to more changes. Each for ourselves has something good to contribute to the scale of justice away from an equality with bad. Would deliberate living—defining and exceeding our ethics—benefit a world struggling for balance? Can deliberate acts of good, and thoughts of empathy and goodness, balance the scale in the future in favor of good over wrong? Like everything, it depends on the context we determine in our lives, for our own existence, and, ultimately, determines the moral survival of our individual humanity.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sub Terra Vita: Chronicle #10: On Time

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
July 26, 2015

Chronicle #10: On Time

Of all things present in our lives, we might understand least the concept of “time.” Science, as Albert Einstein theorized, gives us a constant, though arbitrary, measure of it (the “c” in the equation E=mc2), as the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second. But as the science says, it relates to the influence of the gravity of mass. Gravity itself slows time, or bends time toward it. The experiments of the past century show this phenomenon. And still, our physical understanding of time leaves much to discover. More important than the science of time and its influence on existence, other moral, ethical, and personal dilemmas and implications of time weigh heavily, as though the gravity of reality drags us down, or up, to a different level of awareness.

Morally, all relations between individuals become trades or exchanges of time. Does a person better or damage themselves by doing something and spending time with others, given the limited time our biology allows us each day? What does a person gain or lose in intrinsic value of their reality by how they spend their time? Do we spend our day wisely or not by: writing, in study, in reverence, working, loafing, on meals, on grooming, in the arts, gardening, visiting, and the functions of biology (eating, sleeping, creating, etc.). As a moral imperative, incarcerated into the spiritual and thinking vessels of our bodies, we must spend so much time on the necessary things required for the maintenance of our personal condition and wellness. Morally, beyond sustenance and regeneration, our time on earth as thinking and spiritual humans demand it.

Ethically, time measures and accounts for what we learn about ourselves and our relations with others. The way we interact, and often through age and experience, determines through the meanness of time's brutal facts, how we can live our lives better. People can dwell on the time wasted, time spent or not spent doing something, with others, which we perceive as the “using wisely or the wasting of our time,” in any measurement of time conceivable.

In another context, time means in the ethical realm absolutely nothing, as the “c” in the speed of light arrives physically, but arbitrarily, as only a description of something incomprehensible. Time on earth, in a large way, comes as a gift of the god in which we believe, or on the chalk board of Einstein. Either way, we have no concept or ability of permanent time. In the course of time, we can give ourselves everything in our power to give: any material, encouragement, or assistance; and even our ultimate offering, our love. But as the general Napoleon said to his officers:, Ask me for anything you need or want, except don't ask me for time. I can never get that back! Yet, in the ethical realm of living and our code of conduct, lessons and character only come with our growth over time. If lucky, we humans learn that we need to love and have empathy for others. If not, we have truly wasted our time on earth.

In personal terms, time becomes the capstone of nature, the healing of wounds and the expansion of reality and indeed of the universe itself. One of the “apostles,” George Harrison, wrote in a song, “All things must pass.” Time passes, and we really do not understand much about it beyond the relative position of our individual place in the universe. As in the science, time offers our biology a relationship to other people, places, things, and ideas. When time's tyranny of separateness and distance between humanity closes the gap, someday, we can find those peaceful, perfect moments of reflection and realize, that only in our hearts and at that instant, can time stand still.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sub Terra Vita: Chronicle #9: . . .of Water

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
July 19, 2015

Chronicle #9: . . .of Water

Of all the mysteries of the Earth, nothing holds more enigmatic power than that of water. The world contains nothing greater in volume than water, except for the land itself. As the myth tells us: “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (“Book of Genesis,” I:7, KJV, Oxford). As science asserts, all life on earth began in the waters, in primordial sludge, from where simple organisms crawled to land, and grew into forms, one of which declared, “I think; therefore, I am.” All life, in myth and science, begins in water, continues in water, and in the water we may behold the future, everywhere, including perhaps space.

All history, natural or documented, depends on the vital molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms, a basic building block of the universe, and one atom of Oxygen, itself a necessary component of breathable air. The world feeds itself from and with the waters of the earth. Food consumption for safety and palate involve water—mostly adding hydration or removing it.

People cannot live without water. Water makes up over 70% of the human body. Even in politics or economics, one cannot dispute both the mythical, near-magical powers of water, nor the hard sciences that begin describing it. Both the myth and the science remain necessary to our culture and our social relationships. Remove all arguments, for the human species cannot long endure but a day, or two, without water—usable, drinkable water.

In myth, the god flooded the world with rain, to purify the sinfulness of those he created. Lest we forget the power of water, a great tsunami killed in excess of a quarter- humans (est.) in Southeast Asia in 2004. Yes, water can destroy; but, water makes life possible, in the myth and symbolism of religion, and also in the hard science of numbers and equations. The power of water, like that of a God, doesn't care about human politics or economics. Water has its own forceful advocates, called chemistry and physics.

Humanity faces one insurmountable fact. So far, all life known to exist—with 100% discovery—only exists on this planet. And it exists in the only forms we know, only because of water, and a combination of factors for water in other gases, pressure, temperature and orbit. When these conditions vary, so do the perplexing qualities of water, like ice, which holds less density than other solid molecules (hence why ice it floats). Water rests as it weighs on the earth, as the prime sustaining force of the balance of life, like oceans globe worbling with the tides. As the great universal solvent, water measures a pH balance of 7, the stable medium of all acids and bases that, medically, create the organisms of life.

Perhaps, since water serves as a medium, and the essential ingredient for life, the world might come to some common interests to sustain more than just a surviving remnant of the species. Losing access to fresh water means a fight to the finish between the clever and the weak, like desert tribes warring for the ownership of a brackish well. However Created, the earth belongs to all—to live in pursuit of happiness, with the liberty to sustain ourselves. Finding a common purpose in the use and safety of water will allow humanity to enjoy the gifts bestowed by it, or humanity will suffer the sin of its selfishness and indifference, at the instigation of humans too clever for myth or too dumb for numbers.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sub Terra Vita --Chronicle #8: The Price of Liberty—Part II

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
July 13, 2015

Chronicle #8: The Price of Liberty—Part II

In great part inspired by the American experiment in self-representative government, and bankrupted greatly by helping the United States win its independence from Great Britain, the country of France began her own revolution.

The American revolution proceeded on the whole as a moderate and controlled change of political-economic relationships. France's revolution, however, went radically different, leading in the end to the dictatorship under a totalitarian system and 23 years of warfare in Europe and elsewhere, which almost undid the revolution in America in undeclared and declared warfare. The price of liberty in the world became once and since then, the willingness of a culture to struggle, endure, and even bleed, to ensure the hearts and minds of women and men remain free in conscience.

Even more, the rewards in society from keeping informed on issues and active in the body politic became nothing less than liberty to control the last ounces of property people have: To keep their very bodies free from harm and from the control of others. Out of the upheaval of France's smashed ancien regime, the blood-lust of the crowds watching the guillotine, and the despair of society needing order out of its chaos, the modern problems of the world began to take shape. In many ways, the world struggles with the problems and questions arising and remaining from the French Revolution.

In order to find a way to pay its debts in May 1789, the King of France, Louis XVI, convened the Estates General, which had not met in over 170 years, with the promise of tax reform to distribute the burdens more equitably. Until then, the weight had fallen on the common people—peasants and small businessmen (the bourgeoisie)—to pay taxes, and often then to aggrandize the life-styles and comforts of the nobility and the church, with the latter two often exempt from the tax system.

Incited by the promise of change, and charged with the passions of resentments, on July 14, 1789, the people of France began what properly became a social, not necessarily political-economic, revolution, when they overran the King's prison at the fortress called, The Bastille. As the symbol of the old ways of rulers ruling masses, and not in the interest of the masses, taking the prison meant for the French taking power from the rulers and bringing it into their own hands. France's political stability remained weak, from that event until the coup that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power in 1799, which marks the end of the French Revolution.

Whereas the American revolution had gone measure for measure under leaders and factions in competition, thus moderating the transition and sharing of powers, France's people suffered for its uncontrollable revenge against the past and overoptimism for the future. And still today, countries seeking change in their societies, and in their governments, take action that often leads to terror over the people. “Revolutions eat their children,” said one French revolutionary. Preventing the passions of partisanship, class, and prejudice from turning into something no one can control becomes a guard watch by every person, wherever they live, to stop, think, engage in tolerant dialogue, and figure out ways to equitably solve problems. If not, events can consume all, and like the French revolution, people would suffer unbelievable hardship and bloodshed, to save that which they should never relinquish in the first instance by sloth and carelessness: Their freedom of conscience and the right to their property; and indeed, their very liberty to live and let alone.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Sub Terra Vita-- Chronicle # 7: The Price of Liberty—Part I

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz

Chronicle 7: The Price of Liberty—Part I

Our own Independence Day, celebrated every July the fourth, commemorates the pinnacle of the American revolutionary epoch. On that date, in 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence created the new United States out of the then-defunct British colonies in North America. Signed in the midst of a war to claim status as a free and sovereign nation, it took seven years until 1783 for the war to conclude by treaty, and for the King's government to acknowledge an established fact: The fact that the United States had successfully broken the political and social bonds with the Mother Country and its single sovereign, King George III.

Properly defined, the revolutionary epic story of America's founding only concluded in April 1789, when the retired general, George Washington, took the oath of office as the nation's first executive President under the ratified Constitution of 1787. That government has endured, for better or worse, through civil war and world conflicts, ever since; not without struggle or crisis, but having become stronger and more influential with other nations because of those struggles and conflicts. When did the revolutionary journey really begin, since it only ended, by historians' general agreement, in 1789?

The accepted answer places the start of the American Revolution in 1763, when the Kingdom of Great Britain and her American colonies finally drove the French from Canada following the global-wide war from 1755 to that year, 1763. Why did the social-cultural revolution in the King's American subjects begin? Again, the accepted answer: To govern, protect, and make financially solvent the King's investment in his incorporated American colonies, his parliament placed land and property restrictions on those living in the “13 colonies,” and that same ministry assessed taxes to pay for their benefit of defense (against Native Americans) and their subjugation by law (against their own interests) without the consent of those taxed in the New World.

From 1763 until the explosion of war at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 (the original “Patriots Day” holiday), a spark of consciousness had entered the mind of the hard working farmers, traders, mariners, and planters, that some form of home-rule, and self-representative government would better serve them here, rather than a governing ministry in Parliament three months travel beyond the Atlantic Ocean.

Before acts of war, and acts of stupidity, revolutions take place in the mind and hearts of the people. What eventually spawned in the American colonies became a sense of common purpose, and union toward a common goal, of better government, and a freer way of life, a new way of life as the geography opened a frontier of spirit and liberty, as well as new settlements and cheap land. (Albeit, the new country stole land from the Native Americans by war and bribery, and by de facto genocide). People wanted change. Except for those who opposed the revolution and remained “Loyalist” to the King during the war, the citizens of the United States gained for what they had struggled to establish: A new nation, a federal Union of common interests, and a republic and a democracy under their own control, a nation of many sovereigns. Yes, it happened through war, but it did not happen with excessive brutality or unending upheaval, and had some rather good consequences for the world.

America's revolution could have turned out much worse. Beginning on July the 14th, 1789, in France, it certainly did turn out much, much worse. . . . Tune in next week for Part II of “The Price of Liberty.”