40 years ago I read Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness,” an essay he published in 1932. The piece was already 40 years old when I got around to reading it — 40 years later I reread this essay, perhaps under visitation of some Jungian synchronicity. Reading it this morning allowed my imagination to stagger — where have I read a better statement on redressing an injustice: the theft of productivity gains? My tentative answer — “nowhere more succinctly.”
First of all : what is work? Work is of two kinds :
first, altering the position of matter at or near the
earth’s surface relative to other such matter ;
second, telling other people to do so. The first kind
is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant
and highly paid. The second kind is capable of
indefinite extension: there are not only those who
give orders, but those who give advice as to what
orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds
of advice are given simultaneously by two organized
bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill
required for this kind of work is not knowledge of
the subjects as to which advice is given, but know-
ledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing,
i.e. of advertising.
I took up my practice of living iconoclastically shortly (about ten minutes) after graduating from high school — I’d completed 12 years of mandatory Catholic education and needed to discover why free thinkers were so despised by non-freethinkers.
By my estimation vegans are free thinkers who believe that all sentient beings are fellow free thinkers, Genesis 1:26 notwithstanding. Being a vegan just may qualify you as iconoclast. Hold that thought a moment. I’ll be right back…
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
I am convinced that veganism is the gentlest means for solving the ever unaddressed need for addressing global warming. It might even nip a certain extinction event in the bud: The Anthropocene. Is it possible that 7 billion homo sapiens consuming 70 billion animals (from fur to marrow) annually — a practice sanctioned by most religious institutions — might warrant more than a shrug?
Look here, Bill. Humans are created in the image of their maker. Read Genesis 1:26. ’nuff said.
Today’s bumper sticker suggestion:
Meatism kills. Veganism nourishes.
Was Venus once a lush planet? Are we preparing to become a one such once-lush planet?
This post is inspired by Peter Schreiner’s word of the day for 16 August 2017:
iconoclastic [ahy-kon-uh-klas-tik] adjective 1. attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity. 2. breaking or destroying images, especially those set up for religious veneration.
Speaking of Peter Schreiner, you’ll find him at Crows Head Soup. Despite the fowl allusion, it’s a gathering place for venting spleen. For some good spleen-venting I recommend 20,000 miles — it vents much spleen. Carefully note that no actual spleens were damaged in the writing of that post.
I say that it is better to vent a spleen than to consume a spleen belonging to an animal that does not wish to relinquish her spleen for some splendid table.
Veganarchism joins aspects of veganism and anarchism. It is a sharp representation of V and A.
You don’t have to tilt at windmills to be an iconoclast. One hears “Resistance is Futile.” But what is the alternative? How about peace, independence and leaving the planet better than it was when you showed up here?
Suggest to a meater that a vegan diet is one wallop of a good idea? No, not in polite society. They may even suggest that a day in Genesis (1:26) had already given one species the right to decide the rights of all the other species . So you could say that it’s okay to eat any living thing as long as it’s inhuman.
Homo sapiens are not particularly adept at thinking for themselves, for independent thought, for paying forward; however their proclivity for crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war? Wow. Truly amazing, astonishing and awful.
Eat, drink, make merry and declare endless war. Who’s with me?
As I write this a large series of fires, fueled by vegetation formerly locked in permafrost rage across the western shores of Greenland. The soot they produce is spreading out over white ice sheets. What happens when you wear a black shirt on a sunny day? A shirt of soot is warming a body of land that seems destined to cast off ice-blocks aplenty. So, what are we to do? Book cruise ships that promise to get your arse up close and personal to the floating blocks. Scale the ice-face and flaunt your mettle. Scurry to the top, stake your flag and sizzle some spleen steak!
Refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or consuming Fentanyl® if you are, or think you may be, pregnant — chemicals found in these products may poison the womb and its contents.
Meat, Dairy and Ova
Do baby Homo sapiens already become addicted to meat while in the womb? Is meat an addictive substance? Is it harmful for children and other living things?
Meat is addictive.
Meat is life.
A field-trip activity:
Write anarchical vegan-inspired statements on a T-shirt and get thee to the local Kroger Dupermarket. Warning: wearing T-shirts may result in sudden death and/or punctured tires.
Meat-Eaters to Vegans — Drop Dead!
Here is a loaded question: do vegans threaten world order? Meat economies consume much land, they poison much air, they kill much marine life — they even supercharge extinction events. See Anthropocene.
What happens after each of those extinction events?
The planet still rotates on its axis, the planet still revolves around the sun.
Beings from five earlier extinctions lived from sunrise to sunset to sunrise to sunset…
Now a word from our sponsor:
Hey, what is that congealed substance that remains in the skillet after you’ve skilletized pig parts or spatuled blood-laden cow flesh? Does it clog a human consumer’s veins, arteries, heart and brain?
Just put bacon on it and chill. Life is short — throttle it.
This is the second segment in a continuing dialogue between an Israeli (Mike) and an American (Bill) — it is an ongoing email conversation, dialogue text is copied verbatim. The first segment appeared here as Palestine/Israel/Palestine.
July 29, 2017 (Mike to Bill)
Was talking to my wife this morning on what I was trying to “explain” that her comment was: it is impossible to have a dialogue with people that believe they are victims. In our neck of the woods, that would definitely mean what children are taught in kindergarten and school. I suppose to compound this, we have families marrying first cousins to keep family control of their wealth. This has indeed caused some deterioration in IQ and introduced birth defects that are not helpful, especially when no pre-natal screening is available. Or as in the case of America, religion doesn’t allow veterans to get pain relief by using marijuana extracts that are specially formulated for pain without the buzz. In Israel, they are very successful at isolating parts of hemp and marijuana to deal with many health problems that “normal” medicine cannot help. Actually talking to you has created a sort of introspection that wasn’t around before.
If you can’t solve problems, what are you supposed to do? Maybe there is a higher power and karma was created to interact on a planet that was like the locked room game. Maybe we are looking at things the wrong way?
Sorry for all the posts, but it is like a ball of wool unraveling before your eyes.
Sunday in Israel is a normal day, so enjoy yours
July 30, 2017 (Bill to Mike)
I have indeed followed coverage on Sergeant Azaria. Hebron is a hell on Earth, particularly for the Palestinians who still live there. I watched a John Pilger documentary “Palestine is still the issue” on this town, filmed about a generation ago now. Shuhada Street is fenced right up against Palestinian homes. Looking through caged windows they get to see settlers, soldiers and holy land tourists glaring, shouting, tossing things, punching into doorways. Surreally dystopian. Shuhada was Hebron’s main street.
I listen for mention of Palestine on a range of news media, but virtually nothing outside official government channels is reported. I listen to any number of pitches for holy land tours. How can any of them not mention a word about the Apartheid Wall. The independent street artist Banksy does a good job though. There is that.
Imagine being evicted from you house in the Palestine of 1948, then being occupied where you sought refuge in 1967, then to have your house in the occupied territories rehabbed or razed by a tsunami of settlers. How about children looking through a fence to see settler children playing in a yard they once played in, to read “Gas all Arabs” graffiti everywhere, having your bedroom door broken down at 2:00 in the morning by IDF soldiers and then brought in for questioning, wetting your pants in the process.
Despite all that humiliation, their population will soon outnumber non-Palestinians in what was formerly a colony of the British Empire. Despite regular bombing, the population density in Gaza only increases. There are no places to hide and invoking the all-explaining five letters H A M A S does not justify it. Would you not resist?
Here’s my question for a Sunday — What’s the truth on white-phosphorous bombs on Gaza?
But I still wish you, and all you hold dear, the very best in these rapidly approaching days of August, be they august or not.
July 30, 2017 (Mike to Bill):
Hi Bill – there is some truth in what you say but a bit one-sided. I used to know Hebron pretty well and if you are interested let me tell you about my monthly stints in Hebron when I happened to be there. My recollections are sharp but the when is a bit muddled. In 1929 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1929_Hebron_massacre I have an interesting story. The first time I was in Hebron we were encamped on a hill near Hebron. We were waiting to go out on patrol – the weather was amazingly good. One of the soldiers told us that his grand-father and grand-mother was one of the few Jews to manage to escape the massacre. Fast forward to 1967 and one day a convoy of cars from the West Bank pulled up outside his parent’s house on aSaturday morning when the whole family was at home. One of the Arab guys introduced himself and explained that his grand-father had rented out their home the left in Hebron and brought him the rent in Jordanian Dinars. Seems his grand-parents helped the soldier’s family to escape. Some history (I didn’t know a lot written here) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebron in Israel the land deeds are kept in the Tabu office – Tabu is a Turkish word and written is who owned what and when. For example Tel-Romeda next to the very large Jewish cemetery. One of the most intelligent people I loved to have coffee with actually two – one was a rabbi that lived in a caravan home there as the land was owned by Jews and his next door neighbour a very smart guy that owned a shoe shop in town. The rabbi was murdered but the other guy – his family owned the Jewish cemetery and often we would sit on the wal drinking coffee and we would joke about what is he supposed to do with the land as the 99 year lease had expired a long time ago. At my time the mayor of Hebron Jabori – had a grand-child that converted to Judaism and married a French woman (arranged) in Jerusalem. He later became quite a famous rabbi. There were Israelis that married Arab women and had to live in Israel as they could have been in danger. Lots of Arab men married Jewish women. Love is love.
In Tel-Aviv you cannot tell who is who anymore. Back to Hebron. I was once the sergeant in charge of the Patriarch’s tomb. Of course prayers was a problem with different rooms at different times and being a bit naïve I started to become blonde. Early morning prayers were conducted with the Arabs in the big hall and the Jews were allowed to use a small room with a connecting door to the big room until 7am. Of course both sides drove me crazy by opening the door before7am and anything else they could do to make my life miserable. They were all like kids. So one morning I visited the local hardware store and bought a hasp and staple plus medium sized lock and a few screws and a screw driver. That night I installed the hardware and waited for the morning. The lock was by the way on the Arab side because there was more light there. Next morning both sides of the door started talking to each other and complained about me to the military governor no less. He came over and I couldn’t believe my eyes the Arabs and the Jews were kneeling on the floor with little brushes and were collecting the wood dust (I couldn’t see any) from the floor. So when they decided they had it all I had to remove the hardware and with prayers in bot Arabic and Hebrew these crazy people so called replaced the dust with some glue. I was severely reprimanded for destroying the door and they all grudgingly agreed to drop this serious – whatever it was. Now forgive me for telling you in my mind the people there deserve each other and would be heart-broken if either side upped and left. Another thing when I was street patrol sometimes young girls would invite us to tea (not coffee) and they would sit inside the garden gate and we sat on the pavement. That is how I prefer to remember Hebron not the throwing Molotov cocktails at our jeeps nor some of the Jews that thought they owned the place. But Bill there is not only one side to this story. Once there was no wall and my daughter’s bus was blown up twice (no 16 in Jerusalem) both times she walked instead. How many time times I had to go and look for my daughter at the hospital as I didn’t know she walked home. Israel specially asked the Jordan king to stay out of the war – but he shelled Jerusalem. Anyway in 1948 he invaded the place.
So much more but I think I may have lost you J
The following response originally appeared in a comment thread here.
August 3, 2017 (Bill to Mike):
…your firsthand personal experience in Hebron is of great interest to me and I look forward to hearing more. To every extent possible I try to follow this maxim: listen to “the other” before formulating a response, mull the other’s words before responding, then speak truth as you know it. I do not often succeed, but the maxim is still wise.
In my opinion, Wikipedia is better at topics that are not “hot button” ones, ones that do not serve agendas. Here is a single example:
Type in “Hasbara” and you are not taken to a page titled “Hasbara.” Rather, you are taken to a page titled “Public diplomacy of Israel.” Before that, it was “Public diplomacy in Israel.” Before that, it was “Public diplomacy — Israel.” Why does it not take you to a page titled “Hasbara”?
This is a developing dialogue, additional conversations will appear in a future post.