Archive for December, 2016

Merry Yule Tide!


Now that the Christmas Shopping Season is finally over for a few months, we can focus on the beauty and magic of the Yule Tide, the turning of the Wheel.  Because the Earth’s axis is tilted, we have seasons.  Without the tilt, there would be no change in the path the Sun takes across the sky, the length of the days would always be the same.

To our distant ancestors, the possibility that the Sun would keep going further down in the sky until it never rose was a terrifying thought.  The further north you live, the more real that possibility seems, as the Sun does not rise in the Arctic right now.  Night is everlasting, or extremely long, if you live a bit further south of the Arctic.  Countries around the Baltic sea only get a few hours of sunlight this time of year.

Primitive peoples were not able to tell for sure if the Sun had begun its return for many days after the Winter Solstice, and they feared beginning their celebration of that return to early, and possibly upsetting the gods.  So Yule Tide ceremonies would not start at the Solstice, being delayed for a week or two sometimes.  So now is the time for rejoicing, for sharing good wishes, feasting together, and singing songs.

Even though the winter has just begun, there is the promise of Spring in the lengthening of the days.


Israel destroying Israel


We have heard Secretary of State John Kerry denouncing Israel for allowing further settlements in the West Bank.  For many Americans, this is an issue of no importance.  But the predicament of the Palestinians is a major cause of the Islamic terrorist acts against the U.S.  The Arab world blames the Americans for refusing to force Israel to stop the settlements.

Another point of contention between Israel and the Arab nations is the status of Jerusalem.  Three major religions consider Jerusalem to be a holy city, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  Israel wants to annex all of Jerusalem, and make it the nation’s capital.  Any effort to make Jerusalem a single religion will have tremendous repercussions.  Because of this, I suggest that Jerusalem be made an international city, separate unto itself.

A secular, non-religious government would be set up, to administer the city, maintain public works, and provide police and fire protection.  Funding would be provided by the three religious sects, in equal amounts.  Any person who wants to enter the city would be allowed, after passing through a security border.  There is already a multi-religious administration overseeing one of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and it has worked well for decades.

Israel is courting its own destruction, through demographics, not war.  Unless the Palestinians are allowed to have their own state, they will outnumber the Israelis in a few years, changing the nature of the nation.  Demanding the annexation of all of Jerusalem will incite violence, though probably not war.  Israel is on course to destroy itself.

Making America great again


Alright, Mr. Trump, let us make America great again, but without breaking agreements, or shutting people out, let us do it by investing in ourselves.  Help us find a way to get the people you know so well to put money back into the system.  There is more than enough wealth to make things good again, if we can spend it right.  One way proven to pay off is to invest in high technology.

Give us something that we can be proud of again.  Give us a goal to strive for, something to lift our eyes from the daily tedium.  Give our children dreams by making wonderful things happen today.  Put the incredible potential of this country to work accomplishing something that will benefit the entire human race.  The cost will be insignificant compared to what must be spent to fix our roads and bridges.

The manned space program has been the most inspirational effort any nation has ever undertaken.  We need to be inspired again, to believe in the future again.  There is a better way to get into space, and we should develop it.  We already have proven that a spacecraft can fly back to Earth and land like an airplane.  Now we have to learn how to leave for space like an airplane; horizontally.  A small fraction of our national budget devoted to creating access to space that is safe, reliable, and affordable would be an investment that would begin paying off immediately.

Taking too much


Everything that we do is an investment of energy, a gamble that we will get more out of something than what we put in.  Sometimes, we lose, sometimes, we win.  When we lose too frequently, we are diminished, lacking that which makes life possible.  Many of the interactions that we have generate energy, a surplus beyond what we have invested.

When this surplus is taken away from the people who produce it too often, the process of production begins to fail, as fewer and fewer people will invest their energy into something which will inevitably cost them.  What is wrong in America is that too much taking of surplus energy by people who are not creating that energy is going on.  There are too many people trying to get rich too quickly.

These people see the potential surplus of a deal to be theirs regardless of whether it is actually created or not.  They feel victimized if they are not allowed to extract every possible bit of surplus for themselves.  To claim that you have been robbed because you didn’t make as much as you could have is to deny the right of others to receive the fruits of their labors.

Paying a living wage means paying more than the minimum, giving the producers a surplus to spend on themselves.  This creates the energy to drive the system.  Raising the minimum wage will not alter the inequity of our economic system, raising the average wage is what will increase demand for goods and services, stimulate innovation, and produce satisfaction with our lives.

The darkness in our souls


America is indulging in a materialistic, aspiritual, increasingly meaningless ritual of excess.  As the days get shorter, and night dominates our lives, we partake in parties, dinners,  and other ‘seasonal’ activities.  What was once a deeply spiritual observance of the return of the Sun has devolved into an orgy of greed and lust.

We whip ourselves into a frenzy, counting days down, building up the anticipation, urging people to ‘not be late’, and to ‘save now!’  What is supposed to be a celebration of the lengthening of the days is now a culmination of an advertising blitz which started in October, when the days were much longer.  The merchants pay for the gatherings, the shows, the pretty lights and gay music, all in the hopes that people will buy more of their goods.

Yet, when the actual season of celebration begins, the money dries up for the joyous observance of the Yule Tide, the return of the Sun to the Northern sky.  The Yule is the solstice celebration and the New Year combined, a season instead of a single day.  Yule Tide begins at sunset on December 24th, and continues for at least a week.  The all-night vigil for the dawn is a carryover from when people would stay up all night to see the dawn, so that they would be able to tell if the Sun was indeed returning.

What should be a celebration of light has become a circus in the darkness, with the sole intent of convincing us to spend our money, even if we have not made the money yet.  Sharing our joy at the turning of the Wheel of the Seasons, the beginning of another year, Life renewed, is what we are claiming to be doing.  Somehow, it has morphed into a competition to see who can spend the most on displays of affection.