A Letter I wrote in 1999 About the Suffering Nation of [Any]

This morning (Aug. 29, 2013) I searched through old documents that I hadn’t read for many years. I didn’t find the one I needed but I did happen across a forgotten email I wrote on April 11, 1999. I reprint it here exactly as I wrote it 14 years ago. It was just an email, not a polished piece by any means. Why is this relevant now? Because it could easily be a lament for the suffering people of the nation of Sy… and because nothing has changed. The word gypsy that I used 14 years ago is now anachronistic and rightfully so. I wanted my old email to appear exactly as it was back then.

Subject:    Thoughts While Waiting for the Ballgame
Date: April 11, 1999

Last night I watched the ABC Evening News to pass a few minutes. I was channel surfing while eagerly waiting for the Atlanta Braves game to start.

I watched a three minute story about an elderly Albanian couple who live on a meager pension in a tiny three-room apartment. They’re Christians who took three families of Albanian Muslim refugees into their home. Three families of women and children. Three families whose husbands, sons, and brothers have been “cleansed” by implacable troops of devils. In halting English, the old man told the reporter “I took these people into my home because they are my blood. If I don’t take them in and feed them, who will do it?”

That made me think about my own blood ancestors, the European Jews. I thought  about the multitudes of people who took the Jews in during the Holocaust. So many Christians and members of other faiths acknowledged Jewish suffering, exile, and imprisonment. They felt moved to shelter them. So many nations went to war to protect the Jews from atrocities. Jewish torment and annihilation was public every night on the news because so many people cared about them and wanted to help.

Except that it didn’t happen that way.

Virtually no Christians acknowledged their common humanity with the Jews in those days. No nation went to war on their behalf. No one publicized their annihilation. Nations offered countless reasons to go to war but protection of the Jews was not a whisper among those reasons.

Many, like the Bosnian Christians and Muslims cursed the Jews, blamed them for their miseries, stole their possessions, and raped their women. They eagerly turned them in to the implacable troops from Hell when they marched in.

In addition, there are no records of people crying out en masse, “You cannot imprison or exile the Gypsies because they are my brothers and sisters. But if you must cleanse the land of them, I will take them in.”

In the immediate past, no nation or coalition of allies righteously rose up to protect slaughtered victims of civil wars in Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, or Rwanda. The starving or dead became brief sound bytes on the evening news. So many people shook their heads for a moment. They watched those nightmarish scenes for almost 90 seconds. Then, for the next two minutes they watched vital announcements about weed killers, mascara, hamburgers, and soft drinks with just one calorie as they waited impatiently to hear college basketball scores.

It is probably too banal or obvious to wonder about Kuwait and the price of gasoline.

Did any nation rise up to go to war to defend the oppressed Chinese minority of Vietnam? Nations offered many reasons to go to war but protection of oppressed minorities was not even a whisper among them.

No nation stood up for the Tibetans or Mongolians when the Chinese conquered and absorbed them.

I don’t remember learning about any nation that went to war to protect or defend slaughtered Okinawans, Koreans, or Philippines. No nation considered that a reason to go to war with Japan. Nations offered many reasons but protection of ethnic minorities wasn’t even a whisper among them.

Before that, no nation went to war to protect the tens of millions of slaughtered Russian Kulaks, the entire peasant class of a huge nation. Many nations lusted for a reason to declare war on Russia but protection of oppressed minorities wasn’t even a whisper among them.

Did any nation rise to protect India against British atrocities?

A century and a half ago, nobody stood up for the martyred Baha’is in Iran. How many said, “They are my brothers and sisters so if I don’t take them in, who will do it?” Who outside the worldwide Baha’i community stands up for them now? Many leaders eagerly pronounce reasons to go to war but protection of oppressed religious minorities is not a whisper among them.

I applauded the Christian Albanian couple I saw on the evening news last night because they are the rarest of all creatures on earth. They are human beings.

Then I switched the channel to the Braves game.

Cary Enoch R., Peach County, Georgia, April 11, 1999

Sept. 1, 2013, Looking back:

To be perfectly clear on why I posted that old email message; it was not in support of any warlike actions or “interventions” on the part of any nation against the people of another nation. In the future there will be legitimate ways of handling atrocities, aggressive actions, and massive injustices. For far too long we’ve witnessed a world civilization spinning wildly towards chaos and collapse. The last thing the world needs is more bombs. Nobody ever expressed it better than Baha’ullah did when he wrote: “We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned.”

Here’s the entire quote:

“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

“We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.

“Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

The Name Enoch

In the sacred writings of the Baha’i faith we read, “How great the multitude of truths which the garment of words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest allusions can be made!”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

Enoch is my true name and my given name, Cary, fits me well also. Cary derives from Germanic pre-English and means “dweller in a castle” or a fortified town. Its various forms are similar to Carl with assorted spellings and derivatives. Some of its feminine forms are Karen (with multiple spellings) and Carla. Cary rhymes with Harry, Larry, etc. It does not rhyme with “hairy.” People frequently mispronounce or misspell my name though it should be quite simple to say. The ‘a’ is short like in cat or have, the second syllable rhymes with ‘eee’ and the first one is accented.

Cary Grant This is my namesake. My parents told me they named me after Cary Grant.

Shortly after I became a Bahá’í in 1963 I took the middle name of Enoch. My parents had failed to give me a middle name and I wanted one. I eventually made it legal so it appears on my passport and other documents. Enoch who received only the briefest mentions as a prophet in the Old Testament occurs frequently in Apocrypha and related works of unknown origin. One of the translations of his name is Wise teacher which was what I aspired to be.

The Prophet Enoch sees a vision of a future Bahá’í House of Worship. (My personal interpretation! I am not a Biblical scholar. Nevertheless I’m aware of and sensitive to some of the inner symbolic meanings.) I feel it is important to stress that some of the Fundamentalist Christian views of Enoch are purely superstitious and mythological. Enoch did not physically enter into heaven because it is impossible and has never happened in the literal sense. Such stories contain symbolic rather than literal meanings.

“If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station…. The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

…the habitation wherein the Divine Being dwelleth is far above the reach and ken of any one besides Him. Whatsoever in the contingent world can either be expressed or apprehended, can never transgress the limits which, by its inherent nature, have been imposed upon it. God, alone, transcendeth such limitations. He, verily, is from everlasting. No peer or partner has been, or can ever be, joined with Him. No name can be compared with His Name. No pen can portray His nature, neither can any tongue depict His glory. He will, for ever, remain immeasurably exalted above any one except Himself.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)
Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

O Son of the Wondrous Vision. I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. – Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words

This was what I read that directly inspired me to take the name Enoch:

And the vision was shown to me thus: Behold, in the vision clouds invited me and a mist summoned me, and the course of the stars and the lightnings sped and hastened me, and the winds in the vision caused me to fly and lifted me upward, and bore me into heaven. And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me.

And I went into the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals: and the walls of the house were like a tesselated floor (made) of crystals, and its groundwork was of crystal. Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was (clear as) water. [ … ] I fell upon my face. And I beheld a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former, and the entire portal stood open before me, and it was built of flames of fire. And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent.

And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw therein a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon.

And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him. And until then I had been prostrate on my face, trembling: and the Lord called me with His own mouth, and said to me: ‘ Come hither, Enoch, and hear my word.’ And one of the holy ones came to me and waked me, and He made me rise up and approach the door: and I bowed my face downwards.

Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

BOOK OF ENOCH, Chapter 14
From: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
by R.H. Charles, Oxford: The Clarendon Press

Note that the inner and outer walls of the 19-story tall Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois are constructed of concrete embedded with crystalline quartz.
Exterior Detail
Two of the images here are from the Bahá’í Media Bank which allows them to be reposted on the Web. I lived in the Wilmette vicinity for two years. That was what directly inspired me to get into photography. I made the exterior detail photograph above.

Fragments of biblical references to Enoch are scattered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is one of them.
Fragment of an Enoch scroll
One book is part of the Eastern Orthodox version of the Bible and not considered apocryphal by them. There are many possible and equally meaningful interpretations of these passages. If you question mine then read on.

There’s a unique circumstance that enables me to put forward such a free interpretation of scripture. The historical Enoch –assuming that one ever existed– wrote nothing that has survived and that’s verifiably from the historic Enoch. What comes down to us is called Pseudepigrapha because later writers took the pseudonym of a prophet to give weight to their writings. As an example, many Biblical scholars attribute the entire book of Isaiah to three authors from different time periods. That shouldn’t detract from their symbolic spiritual validity. They sound and feel inspired. There is historical evidence that the prophecies contained in that book were fulfilled.

I feel free to do the same thing with poetry and to some extent with nearly any insightful writing I come across. Another example is the e-mail signature line I’ve used for many years.

“Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object.” — Joseph Campbell

The author doesn’t mean the same thing that Bahá’ís mean when they say “Manifestation.” To be brief, he doesn’t accept the individuals Bahá’ís know about as necessarily revealers of sacred text (Founders of the world’s great religions) but only as wise or enlightened teachers. But when Bahá’ís read the quotation they immediately leap to an association that’s meaningful to them. Such words and associations transcend the life of the writer. Thus those words may endure for a very long time.

“Countless works of art have been truly inspired and that inspiration stays in association with the work and is mirrored in the heart and the mind of the receptive viewer.” — Otto Rogers

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Crystal Skulls, a Baha’i Connection?

Can there possibly be a Baha’i tie-in or point of view on crystal skulls? I think there is but you will have to read all the way down to the bottom to find it.

A one hour special , “Crystal Skull” on the Sci-Fi Channel last month mentioned 16 of the following list of names or phrases. Three or more mentions is a strikeout. However, it got me to thinking about what other weird things people believe in without question and why they might believe them. Here are a few that come to mind:

Abominable Snowman – there is no evidence in the fossil record that gigantic primates ever existed. If there really was a giant ape in the snow fields of the Himalayas what could it possibly eat? Snow?

Ancient Astronauts – just because ancients carved a circle around a person’s head does not mean that they wore a space helmet; examples of this abound in images of Prophets and Saints. The pyramids were not built by levitation. There are a number of rational explanations that come from actual Egyptian pictorial records. We would know much more about the Mayan and Aztec pyramids if the Jesuit priests hadn’t destroyed every native text that they found.

Area 51 – there are probably no alien space ships there but there may be legitimate military secrets. Aliens smart enough to travel intergalactic distances are more than smart enough not to get caught by humans and certainly not to crash here.

Atlantis – if either “lost continent” or “advanced civilization” are mentioned. Greece , ancient Persia, and China among others were advanced civilizations compared to northern Europe at the time.

Bigfoot – there is no verifiable evidence but countless hoaxes exist.

Cattle and sheep mutilations – scientifically speaking, it’s probably insect predation. If secretive aliens allegedly mutilated animal bodies for experiments why would they leave them lying around to be discovered?

Chupacabra – it’s probably insect predation. Such predation sometimes occurs in regular geometric patterns in nature.

Communicates with your dead relatives – so-called Mediums are really “cold readers.” We all make very subtle eye movements and tics as we speak and listen to others. Some domestic animals are particularly good at reading them including dogs and horses. A well-trained human observer can also spot tell-tale facial movements and use them to their advantage to look like a genuine psychic.

Crop Circles – clever hoaxes have been shown to be the cause over and over again. Many of the best hoaxers have come forward to show how they made their complex geometric patterns in fields.

Crystal Skulls – if 13 skulls are mentioned; read on for more…

Crystals – they are not from advanced alien civilizations; so called mystical or healing powers are unproven scientifically. Advanced aliens probably wouldn’t use crystals for data storage when quantum level data storage is already being worked on in many of our own research laboratories.

Curse of the Mummy – unless it’s microorganisms, pathogens or pure coincidence.

Edgar Cayce – he was not a Prophet.

Face on Mars – humans see faces in practically anything including rocks and sand dunes.

Garden of Eden – if “discovered” is mentioned because it’s just a purely symbolic metaphor. Human life did not begin in a garden and snakes don’t talk either.

Ghost Hunters – no real ghost has been or ever will or can be found.

Glastonbury, England – it’s just a hill.

Haunted hotels – rodents inside the walls and other natural phenomena including but not limited to drafts, or natural decomposition within the walls.

Holy Grail – if it’s allegedly Mary Magdalene. Why wouldn’t Jesus have wanted us to know about something so significant if it really happened?

Knights Templar – if buried treasures or just discovered hidden or esoteric secrets are mentioned.

Ley Lines – if anything remotely like lines of force exist they are probably weak natural electromagnetic phenomena. Some animals and fish can sense electromagnetic fields but humans cannot.

Life on Mars – maybe a billion or more years ago before Mars lost its magnetic poles and surface water there might have been life. If there is any microbial life left on on Mars now NASA’s Phoenix Lander plans to kill it. That’s right, they are going to bake a soil sample in an oven and then test it for life.

Loch Ness Monster – could anything that large really remain hidden and avoid discovery despite thousands of efforts to find it? It could hardly evade radar and state of the art scanners that have been used to find it. Let’s be realistic.

Lost Gospels – they were rejected for a reason; many are pseudepigrapha and many more are just bizarre remnants of small early sects like the Gnostics. You can’t rule out clever forgeries also.

Macchu Picchu – an impressive architectural feat only; there is nothing sacred within it but there might have been an altar or two many centuries ago. People get the “chills” there because they anticipate that they will, a well-known psychological phenomena. A civilization that practiced human sacrifice does not give me a warm feeling.

Mayan calendar – if the year 2012 is mentioned; it doesn’t predict anything but the orbits of some visible planets and the arrival of the seasons for planting and harvesting.

Mt. Ararat – unless it’s about local Turkish geography. No identifiable artificial piece of wood from an alleged Ark could have survived without rotting for so many thousand years. No ship could have possibly been large enough to accommodate hundreds of thousands of species nor was there any guarantee that they would reproduce. Many animals never reproduce in captivity. What did animals eat on the ark for 40 days if not each other? Furthermore ecosystems are so complex that you can’t just disembark some animals on dry land and expect them to survive. How would herbivores have survived on rotting vegetable matter?

Mu, Continent of – it never existed.

Mysterious energy – all energy is mysterious until science can measure and theorize about it.

Nazca Lines – if landing strips are mentioned. Why would aliens require landing strips or anything else in the shape of enormous birds and spiders? Were they billboards?

Never before seen by Western eyes – it was probably seen by somebody.

Nostradamus, prophecies of – so vague that they can mean anything you want them to mean in hindsight. However it’s good for book sales to the gullible.

Planetary alignment – a meaningless periodic astronomical event. The gravity or “secret forces” of planets millions and in most cases billions of miles away cannot possibly affect our planet.

Prophesied Armageddon – especially if it’s in the Mayan calendar and unless it’s a reference to specific Biblical verses.

Pyramids – except in references to archaeology.

Race of Giants – rearranged fossil bones found by ancient peoples who didn’t know what they were because they didn’t have instruments to analyze and date them.

Roswell – absolutely no reasonable or reliable proof has ever surfaced and probably never will. If the Air Force hadn’t been so secretive and disingenuous Roswell would have soon been forgotten. Look here for a more likely explanation. A ‘spaceship’ doesn’t cross the vastness of space with all its dangers of cosmic debris and deadly radiation only to get hit by lightning and crash here. It’s enlightening to learn about the military background of Roswell and the political climate of the times. Witnesses? They all give different accounts. The Roswell story surfaced 30 years after the so-called incident. Authors who pretentiously call themselves “ufologists” keep the story going and it’s good for the local tourist trade too.

“I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.” — Richard Feynman. (Click the link for the complete context of his remarks.)

Sacred site known only to… – then let’s be respectful and keep it that way.

Sedona, Arizona – it’s just a city with a higher than average percentage of New Agers. There is no mystical power there.

Stonehenge – aliens didn’t build it any more than they built the pyramids. Humans may have taken many decades to build it but they were indeed the builders. And they probably built it long before the Druids existed.

UFOs were seen hovering over… – unexplained phenomena might have been seen but there’s nearly always a logical and rational explanation. More often than not they are just gas bubbles or tricks of light.

Vortexes – perceptual tricks and illusions. Water, for example, cannot run uphill unless it is pumped.

All of the crystal skulls that have been found so far are quite different from one another. Most are crudely made with obvious tool marks showing. There is no alleged alien technology there. Quartz crystals cannot be scientifically dated. That is important to note because the first one which was allegedly found in Belize has no tool marks that the Mayans could have possibly made. It does not follow logically that the skulls were made by aliens or any other allegedly advanced civilization except our own. Since the 19th century there have been tools and technologies to make finely polished very hard objects into any desired form. Most of the handful of crystal skulls that are now in collections around the world are actually somewhat crude in appearance and they are all different sizes and colors.

The Mayans were a Stone Age culture. There is not a single Mayan artifact in existence that was not obviously crafted with Stone Age tools. Therefore the skull is modern or at least significantly post-Mayan. Additionally there is no proof of any kind that the first crystal skull was actually found in Belize early in the 20th Century. The photographs of the expedition to Belize that allegedly found the “perfect” skull do not show it. There is no proof that 13 crystal skulls exist or that aligning them will “save the earth from catastrophe in 2012.” A handful of New Age authors with little or no academic credentials simply say so but that doesn’t make it so nor does it mean anything serious. Nobody knows if there are any more crystal skulls because there is no evidence of any more. The explorer who found the first skull allegedly found a second one also. A modern explorer claims that it was deliberately hidden in an inaccessible location. Why would anyone have made such a discovery inaccessible? It makes no sense because it never happened.

Therefore crystal skulls are exactly what George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford say they are, namely adventurous and fictional entertainment.

From Wikipedia:
“The crystal skulls are a number of human skull models fashioned from blocks of clear or milky quartz crystal rock, claimed to be pre-Columbian Mesoamerican artifacts by their alleged finders. However, none of the specimens made available for scientific study were authenticated as pre-Columbian in origin, and in the opinion of the contemporary mainstream scientific community they were manufactured in the mid-19th century or later, almost certainly in Europe. Despite some claims presented in an assortment of popularising literature, legends of crystal skulls with mystical powers do not figure in genuine Mesoamerican or other Native American mythologies and spiritual accounts.

“The skulls are often claimed to exhibit paranormal phenomena by some members of the New Age movement, and have often been portrayed as such in fiction. Perhaps the most widely known of such portrayals occurs in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth film of its series, and elsewhere within that franchise. Crystal skulls have been a popular subject appearing in numerous sci-fi television series, novels and video games.

“… Anna Hedges claimed that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in Lubaantun, in British Honduras, now Belize. As far as can be ascertained, F.A. Mitchell-Hedges himself made no mention of the alleged discovery in any of his writings on Lubaantun. Also, others present at the time of the excavation have not been documented as noting either the skull’s discovery or Anna’s presence at the dig.”

So why do many people believe the outrageous or the untenable? Why do they believe literal end of the world stories, aliens who are coming to save us, world dominating plots by secret cabals, or mysterious energy forces? More importantly why do people believe in a a literal rapture, or that dead people will physically rise out of their coffins and put on flesh over their decayed remnants?

I think the answer is clear. What makes us human is that we question, reason out, and analyze things. We can do that with a lot more than we perceive with our physical senses. We have long term hopes and desires. A typical animals’s desires rarely extend beyond their next meal or anticipated mating. There is no human desire more profound or primal than the one to survive beyond physical death and to achieve some concept of personal salvation.

In the modern age where material excesses, waste on a vast scale, devastating wars, and advancing environmental catastrophe due to human activity cause planetary climate change, hopelessness is almost universal. Where many people fall back on their superstitions or what their traditional religious leaders tell them to think, many more thinking people look beyond those limiting views.

We can compare this situation to a worldwide illness.

“We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be
crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tabernacle of Unity

We beseech the one true God, magnified be His glory, to enable us to recognize Him Whose unerring wisdom pervadeth all things and that we may acknowledge His truth. For once one hath recognized Him and borne witness to His Reality, one will no longer be troubled by the idle fancies and vain imaginings of men. The divine Physician hath the pulse of mankind
within His almighty grasp.
Bahá’u’lláh, Tabernacle of Unity

The different religious communities have failed to unite in the past, because the adherents of each have regarded the Founder of their own community as the one supreme authority, and His law as the divine law. Any Prophet Who proclaimed a different message was, therefore, regarded as an enemy of the truth. The different sects of each community have separated for similar reasons. The adherents of each have accepted some subordinate authority and regarded some particular version or interpretation of the Founder’s Message as the One True Faith, and all others as wrong. It is obvious that while this state of matters exists no true unity is possible. Bahá’u’lláh, on the other hand, teaches that all the Prophets were bearers of authentic messages from God; that each in His day gave the highest teachings of all are essentially in harmony, and are parts of a great plan for the education and the unification of humanity. He calls on the people of all denominations to show their reverence for their Prophets by devoting their lives to the accomplishment of that unity for which all the Prophets labored and suffered. In His letter to Queen Victoria He likens the world to a sick man whose malady is aggravated because he has fallen into the hands of unskilled physicians; and He
tells how the remedy may be effected:
Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

The passage continues with this quote:

“That which God hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful, and inspired Physician. By My life! This is the truth, and all else naught but error. Each time that Most Mighty Instrument hath come, and that Light shone forth from the Ancient Dayspring, He was withheld by ignorant physicians who, even as clouds, interposed themselves between Him and the world. It failed therefore, to recover, and its sickness hath persisted until this day. They indeed were powerless to protect it, or to effect a cure, whilst He Who hath been the Manifestation of Power amongst men was withheld from achieving His purpose, by reason of what the hands of the ignorant physicians have wrought.
Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

So you don’t need to wait for 2012 and the end of a Mayan cycle and you don’t need to find and align make-believe artifacts to find a solution. All you need to do is exercise your God-given free will and your powers of rational and careful investigation into the solution. Aliens haven’t brought an answer but throughout the ages the Prophets of God have brought appropriate solutions for the times and circumstances in which they lived. Their powerful life and civilization changing influences were intended to last until the exigencies of a later age required new solutions or the powerful transforming influences of the old ones had waned. And that is why crystal skulls and the like are just hopeful fantasies.

Martyred Prometheus

My life it seems is blessed with serendipity. Just a few hours after writing “A Tree Moves No Longer” I saw a momentary mention of the world’s oldest living thing on the History Channel. It was in a program about the physics and perception of time. I immediately googled the tree by name and found this major site among hundreds of others: http://sonic.net/bristlecone/

The serendipity event occurred on one of the site’s pages.

“The end of the field season was nearing. They asked for and were granted permission by the U.S. Forest Service to cut the tree down. It was ‘Prometheus’. After cutting the trunk at a convenient level, which happened to be more than eight feet above the original base, 4,844 rings were counted. This student had just killed the oldest living thing on earth!”

Where was his reverence for life? Why did the Forest Service permit such a destructive act?

My mind wandered to a 40-year-old movie, Soylent Green, starring Edmund G. Robinson and Charlton Heston which was perhaps the first film about ecological disaster. Will the last living tree in California be covered by a tent like the one in Soylent Green? Will anyone care?

Even the oldest trees have the ability to produce cones with viable seeds.
World’s oldest living thing
“The bristlecone pines have survived for unknown centuries. The current threat is from all the people who come to visit them. ‘Methuselah’, the oldest tree, is not marked due to the threat of vandalism. The recording of past events provided by these trees, along with the great beauty are too valuable for us to lose. The bristlecones will survive on their own, but we must have enough respect for their place in the environment to assure their recordings of events yet to occur.”
http://sonic.net/bristlecone/growth.htmlYou can see several beautiful images of the bristlecones here:

Peace be upon those who hear the melody of the Dove in the Sadrat-el-Muntaha! — Bahá’u’lláh, Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 66

In a Tablet Bahá’u’lláh states, ‘The Holy Tree [Sadrat] is, in a sense, the Manifestation of the One True God, exalted be He. The Blessed Tree in the land of Za’faran referreth to the land which is flourishing, blessed, holy and all-perfumed,where that the Tree hath been planted.’]
We exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquility and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations have waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error. — Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 137

A Tree Moves No Longer

In my last entry, The Movement of Trees, I briefly described a family drive down the Old Redwood Highway. I said “On the drive through Northern California we passed a logging operation where hundreds of old growth trees had been logged. My 8-year-old son turned to me and said, ‘Daddy, someone murdered those trees and I said ‘Yes, that’s exactly what they did.'”

The picture I included needs some explanation. The original image appears on a Library of Congress web page here.

Old Growth Logging

The sword-like chainsaw is eloquent but something appears to be missing. The image looks curiously dark to me so I’m going to take a look at it in Photoshop. It is immediately apparent that the shadow detail was artificially darkened. One click reveals the missing shadow details. Note that I haven’t retouched anything. All I’m doing is the equivalent of shining a light into a shadowy area to see what’s really there. I’m adding nothing to the image. Now the deep heartrending almost bloody gouges made by the chainsaw are visible.

Tree Huggers

The loggers look pretty happy and satisfied with the destruction they are wreaking on a forest giant that may be as old as 2000 years. It might be as tall as the United Nations Building. Let’s zoom in on the loggers and take a better look.

Tree Huggers

Yes, these tree huggers are absolutely thrilled. Someone in Mill Valley or Atherton is going to have a beautiful headboard or new fence soon.

When a 200-foot-tall giant falls in Washington’s Olympic rain forest life immediately begins to grow out of it and derive energy and nourishment. Likewise, a Redwood tree gives birth to a family of Redwoods that grow from its giant roots and growths called burls. That is life. What you’ve seen here isn’t life. It’s a disregard for life and our natural heritage. It’s wanton destruction.

My Neurons May Explode

Help, my neurons are exploding
All too often I come upon statements or ideas that are so outrageously narrow-minded, misinformed, or wrongheaded that they nearly put me into shock.

Here are a nine recent ones:

Rush Limbaugh has said “Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.”

Pat Robertson’s contribution to the conversation: “Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” – Quoted in Huffington Post

What century are we in? What century are they in? 19th Century? Earlier?

Here’s another one: “But even more chilling than these theological fantasies are the political realities LaHaye and his followers embrace. In his 1980 book Battle for the Mind, LaHaye depicted America as a Bible-based country under siege by an elite group of secular humanists conspiring to destroy Christianity. He asserted that secular humanism is ‘the world’s greatest evil and the most deceptive of all religious philosophies.’ It is characterized by its ‘particular hatred toward Christianity,’ and it has been turning our godly nation into one that promotes Darwinism and the mass murder of the unborn, promiscuity, the homosexual agenda, and more.”

I repeat: narrow-minded, misinformed, or wrongheaded. Add intolerant, and religiously bigoted to that. You cannot argue with people who make statements like of that nature. Fortunately most Christians don’t think that way.

I sent a letter to Georgia’s two Senators asking for their comments on the Nobel Prize award to Al Gore. Oddly both responded with virtually the same message so I concluded that their replies were automatically generated. That’s understandable because they’re very busy people. What’s not understandable is that the entire text of the messages was extracted from an Exxon-Mobil handout to decision makers. The letters ended with this revealing comment: “At this time, common sense dictates that we need to be realistic about the cost and practicality of proposed emission reduction solutions, especially since the risks of climate change and its solutions are still open to debate.

 It’s not open to debate any longer. But —  action may threaten the bottom line of energy industry providers. That’s something they don’t want to happen regardless of consequences to global society.

China says West should deal with warming. China insisted Friday the U.S. and other wealthy nations should bear the burden of curbing global warming, saying the problem was created by their lavish way of life. It rejected mandatory emission cuts for its own developing industries.

China is already a bigger polluter than any other country. Given their goal of bringing one or two new coal-fired plants online every week they’ll get much much worse. Coal is the dirtiest form of energy production. The article doesn’t mention that but it’s a documented fact. It also doesn’t mention that approximately 700,000 Chinese die annually from causes directly related to pollution nor the 1000’s of square miles of agricultural land lost to the desert each year in China.

Computer Cults  — why on earth is a personal productivity choice so darn important that it inspires fanatacism?
Worshipping at the Altar of Mac
The Mac community is like a new-age religion, one expert argues, but is it truly a cult?
“The Mac and its fans constitute the equivalent of a religion,” Belk wrote in the video’s abstract. “This religion is based on an origin myth for Apple Computer, heroic and savior legends surrounding its co-founder and current CEO Steve Jobs, the devout faith of its follower congregation, their belief in the righteousness of the Macintosh, the existence of one or more Satanic opponents, Mac believers proselytizing and converting nonbelievers, and the hope among cult members that salvation can be achieved by transcending corporate capitalism.”

“And it [iPhone fan remarks] raised the disturbing question of whether technology is the new frontier of religious warfare.

I like the term Intelligent Design because it suggests a purposeful Creator. But there is a movement that used to be called Creationism that found a better term for marketing its ideas: Intelligent Design. For the most part it’s still literal adherence to Bronze Age mythology and seldom includes hard science unless it’s cherry picked (i.e. out of context) to prove a particular point. Many of its adherents have no scientific background. One bestseller on the topic sums up Quantum Physics in a short paragraph quoted from Discover Magazine because the author doesn’t comprehend it. Hugh Ross is the name of an astrophysicist who advocates a literal interpretation of scientific discoveries. He argues that in the entire Universe Earth is the only planet that can generate and sustain life. The deeper symbolisms of the Creation story are lost on him. Scientists who have only been exposed to literalist Christian ideas about creation sometimes reject religion altogether as tribal, mythic, or merely ignorant. Creationism’s Trojan Horse exposes the Intelligent Design movement. Close Connections by John Hatcher reconciles science and religion in an enlightened objective way.

Two more quickies: Pendulum list subscribers who blame Olanzapine (aka Zyprexa, a common medication for mood disorders) for their Diabetes. Nobody gets Diabetes as a side-effect of medication unless there are a great many other risk factors present at the same time. A few of them are dietary choices, stress level, serious health issues such as a high BMI, lifestyle, culture (refers back to dietary factors), habits, indulgences, and genes among others too numerous to mention. The majority of factors must be present or there’s no diabetic side effect. Diabetes has a multitude of causative factors. Diet is one of them: Original Human ‘Stone Age’ Diet Is Good For People With Diabetes, Study Finds

People who say that they’ve banned television from their homes because its content is objectionable. That’s an absurd generalization that fails to take into account the educational, cultural, and redeeming content that exists if a person is open-minded enough to find it and be enriched thereby. They might as well abandon (or burn) books because there are so many morally questionable or otherwise bad books in print. Condemning or banning an entire medium of communication is Luddite.

There are so many more but I just can’t go on.