Sunday, November 19, 2006

ARA - A Country Called Refuge ... The Way It Can Be by Louis Evan Palmer


There is a country, a new country that doesn't exist yet, where anyone is accepted even if, in some cases, they may not be actively welcomed. It's name is "ARA" which is Latin for "Refuge" - over time, it has become the new beacon of hope for millions.

ARA is a mid-sized country with an ocean coast and no obvious riches. It will not extradite anyone although it does have normal laws and will imprison certain types of law-breakers. It will prosecute within ARA for serious crimes committed outside its borders. Almost exclusively this is where there is a loss of life although, in exceptional cases, it will prosecute where there has been a major impairment of life: such as, pollution & crimes against the environment or theft & embezzlement where the crime has affected thousands or more. Those found guilty will be imprisoned, or otherwise penalized, in ARA accordingly to its laws.

There are a type of law in ARA called the "forever laws". These are laws that require no interpretation and are to be applied as is for as long as ARA exists. In fact, they are the basis of ARA and without them ARA dies, in the same way, each of us would die if our heart was removed. So, for example, ARA does not have the death penalty - it's outlawed forever. ARA does not allow for extradition - it's outlawed forever.

ARA's armed forces are purely for defence and are directed towards non-lethal means of stopping foreign aggressors. Weapons that disable soldiers, that disable electronic & cyber systems, that blind satellites, that impede vehicles. It develops & uses methods of propaganda that can reach the population of the aggressor to alert its citizens of the situation in ARA. ARA does not allow for the development or deployment or use of weapons of mass destruction - it's outlawed forever.

ARA has complete control of its money, credit-making facilities and all financial instruments. It controls and regulates the flow of goods & services into and out of ARA especially those associated with banks and financial services. It is fair but firm with all foreign institutions but does not permit its country or institutions to be used to hide illicit or undisclosed earnings or launder money. Where warranted, ARA will pay out compensation to foreigners.

ARA has no secrecy laws - everything is to be disclosed. Its privacy laws are specific and focused - privacy is not to be used as a screen for secrecy. Some governmental misinformation is allowed but it is tightly controlled and legally santioned. ARA forbids the existence of secret organizations - there is freedom of assembly & association but it has to be open and fully disclosed - its members, its purpose, its finances, its actions, etc. There are no thought crimes in ARA.

More on ARA in other posts.

ARA - A Country Called Refuge ... The Way It Can Be by Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Character-spotting ..... Take 1 by Louis Evan Palmer

I know
I like

There are always stories that make one think of character - that elusive quality which we value and seek but typically understand only in an oblique way especially given that we don't really think about it much or deeply. Maybe we should.

For example - there's a current story about a young celebrity singer who's recently divorced from a less well-known former dancer / would-be singer. They have two children. The former dancer also has two children from a previous marriage. He and she are their twenties. Apparently, he has threatened to make public a private sex tape they made in the first few weeks of their marriage unless paid a huge sum of money and granted full custody of their two children.

If this doesn't make you think of character then nothing will. That one can have two failed marriages and four children and still be in your twenties, does not speak well about oneself. People have to assume there is cause and the cause when boiled down to its essentials will have something to do with character.

Examining this concept, we find that one of the key aspects of character is steadfastness - to most people, character does alter when things get unpleasant or difficult.

This forces us to acknowledge that pure stubborness is not necessarily reflective of good character. An unwillingness to change one's mind is also not an attribute. Thinking about the reasons why we would consider this true leads us to the assertion that the motivation and intention of a person is pivotal when considering a person's character.

Using the previous example can make it easier to see various aspects of character.

One - taking something that's private and using it for personal gain. We instinctively feel this is wrong because we value our privacy and we trust those with whom we are sharing. To most of us, a person of good character does not violate our privacy and does not cause us to no longer trust a given person. Expressed in an very old-fashioned way: they honour us and their relationship to us.

Two - using threats and demands for money in the context of the custody of children is crass. We value children and feel they should be protected and assisted consistent with their proper development. To most of us, a person of good character does not use children as pawns in other personal disputes and never as the reward from a threat. Expressed in a an old-fashioned way: we honour our children and their relationship to us.

Three - being responsible and dependable is a mandatory requirement. Without getting into any specifics - to not be an active participant in the support of one's family either financially and/or personally is not acceptable. The exact arrangement of duties and responsibilities is up to the individual family and is not tied into percentages of this or that. However, having one party free-loading off the other party is repugnant to most people. Expressed in an old-fashioned way: we honour ourself, our relationship to our family and our duties and obligations.

Four - wanting the best for oneself, one's family and others. A person of good character is not out to hurt anyone. They want to help as much as possible and appropriate but their main focus is to fully meet the obligations they have and then go from there. They are not selfish or greedy. An avaricous capitalist is not a candidate, nor is a vengeful commissar. A person of good character does not kill or steal or cheat or slander. Expressed in that way that harkens back: we hounour our world, other people and our relationship to it.

To sum up on this first take: a person of good character honours themself, their family, their friends, and their world by trying to do their best, help, meet their obligations, progress and strive for understanding and compassion.

Character spotting, take 1, louis evan palmer, the way it can be,

Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Monday, November 13, 2006

Unsurvivable Weapons - Nuclear by Louis Evan Palmer


Herman Kahn wrote a book a while ago which he called "Thinking about the Unthinkable" and one of the basic premises it examined is that a war using nuclear weapons could be fought & won. We know, but have seemingly forgotten, that this is not true.

Part of the reason we know it's untrue is because while waiting for a Martian dust storm to clear, the scientists tending to a 1971 Mariner 9 space probe decided to do some extra-curricular investigations. Their resultant calculations highlighted that the dust blocked enough sunlight to significantly lower the temperature on the martian surface. Similar conclusions were reached by German scientists a decade later regarding raging global forest fires that would be caused by nuclear blasts. This led to a concerted effort to study the phenomenon of atmospheric particulates and their effects, especially on sunlight reaching the surface and the life dependent on it. Gwynn Dyer talks about this in the latest edition of his book "War".

In this context, the bottom line was that a nuclear exchange of more than 100 missiles in the 1 megaton range that was targeted on major cities (a likely scenario) would be enough to plunge the world into a nuclear winter with a massive post-explosion loss of life - plant, animal, human.

This is not the hundreds of millions who would die from the bombs themselves which has always been the main focus - this is the billions who survived. It could be the extinction of humans. It would certainly be a mass extinction of plant & animal life. It would also destroy the ozone layer which would render the surface uninhabitable. It would poison the entire world which would not allow it to sustain life. This is a horrible possibility which must be dealt with in the swiftest, most unequivocal manner.

This means that nuclear weapons are unsurvivable which means that they are unusable. The only solution to protecting ourselves against unusable, unsurvivable weapons is for their banning, destruction and subsequent & unrelenting prevention measures up to, if necessary, a prohibition on nuclear (fission) power .

To be clear, unsurvivable means that even if a country launched a completely successful first strike and there was no retaliation whatsoever, everyone on the planet would still die.

If a defensive posture is offered, let it stand as unchallenged that there is no shield imaginable that could stop all the missiles. For this reason, retaliation has always been part of the "defense". The only thing that a anti-missile defense opens the way to is a first strike or, the recurring dream of war planners, a tactical strike.

A tactical strike is such a ludicrous proposition that it defies reason to have it as an option. Does anyone in their right mind think that dropping a few tactical nuclear bombs on the fringes of Russia will not result in a counter-strike? Russia has made it abundantly clear that any nuclear strike against any part of its territory will result in a massive response - not a tit for tat - a full retaliatory counter-strike. What part of that don't we understand? Or, is this possibly a bluff in some catastrophic poker game where the ante is all life on the planet.

This then means that tactical strikes would be reserved for smaller, less powerful non-nuclear countries - which, of course, leads to a tremendous push in these assorted countries for these very weapons; this, in turn, pushes the whole world closer to the brink with each country that joins the "club".

Think about it - we're looking at a situation where India nuclear-fighting Pakistan could destroy the entire planet. Not Russia, China or America - India versus Pakistan. Israel, if it has the 200-400 nukes, it is reputed to have, could also destroy the whole globe if it launched all its missiles at major cities. The game is out-of-control.

The other option which seems to be rearing its venomous head is that of micro-nukes which can be disguised for public consumption as regular high-yield bombs. How many micro-nukes equal the damage of a major nuke? How long would it take to get to that point given the mind-numbing amount of ordinance being hurled at small countries like Afghanistan and Iraq? Does it matter if you're poisoned quickly or over a longer period?

The only reasonable path is an outright ban - immediate, complete, enforceable, and rigorous. Press your government for this, press the U.N. While the soonest possible disarmament is ideal, safety may dictate a slower, paced reduction but it must start now and continue unabated until nuclear weapons are a footnote in the history books.

If it feels like Time is short then it is!

Unsurvivable Weapons - Nuclear, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Future World by Louis Evan Palmer


Every once in a while, each of us will get a flash of the future, where we perceive something on another level and we are as sure as we can be that this thing we see will occur or exist in the future.

It may be an image we see in a movie or that we imagine while reading a book or staring into space but when we do see it, we immediately feel that it will exist just as we see it sometime in the future.

If we could collect all these special instances from various credible & incredible persons, it would make for a very interesting document I'm sure.

There have been any number of psychological & sociological experiments that have tried to explore our views on what's to come. Most are fairly ordinary and trying to look some months or 1, perhaps 2, years ahead. Others, however, are quite the opposite and depending on how much faith we put into them may, in fact, shake our conception of this world and time & space.

One investigation was conducted by Chet B. Snow & Helen Wambach who performed experiments over many years (first Helen alone and then with Chet). They regressed persons through hypnosis: first, to past lives and then, if circumstances were favourable, they also guided some into the future - which was more difficult for people to accept. The regressed persons saw a world where the population in 2100-2300 AD was only 2 billion. They saw four different human societies co-existing: one where about 1/3 of the total population were living in space and on other planets; where another 1/3 of the population were inside domes or underground; a little less than 1/5 of people were vegetarians living in harmony with nature in small settlements; and the remaining 1/5 of humanity had set themselves up in small rustic towns where they ranched and ate meat and locally-grown food. This was described in the book "Mass Dreams of the Future".

In what could be described as a remote viewing experiment, Joseph McMoneagle also wrote about the future in his book "The Ultimate Time Machine". One of the vivid images he saw was that of an Utopian society in the year 3000 A.D. He lists many tribulations in between now and then and, even utopia was not a permanent state of affairs, yet it is something for to look forward to.

My prognostications are more mundane, more of extrapolations, and only going out 100+ years. They are driven in large part by logic, intuition, and a fond hope & desire.

Who Makes What?
The global organization of productive capacity. There will have to be a profound discussion and agreement as to who is to produce what and how much. We can't have huge over-capacity in many key industries with everyone expecting to export their excess. In certain fields, each country will want to have some capability.

How are You Paying?
Money, money-like instruments and other financial tools will become subject to more rigorous scrutiny and regulation. "Finance Capitalism" and its rampant speculation and profit-driven instability will be reined in, hopefully forever. This will mean the demise of national currencies and their built-in drives towards war and economic depressions. Minimum & maximum incomes will be legislated and a system of credits will setup and they will be backed by the economic unit issuing it.

Contact with non-Human Sentients
This is inevitable and may have already happened. The entrance of non-human sentients on the world stage will trigger massive social & cultural changes. It may even involve Earth in confrontations and alliances within the greater galaxy.

Theory of Everything
Humans will uncover powerful secrets & dimensions which will confer (on some) a mind-boggling array of capabilities. Free non-polluting energy, non-linear travel, a world where humans are god-like in their ability to create. Very dangerous time & place.

Hidden Societies
This refers to physically hiding, not secret societies. The technology for hiding will outpace the technology for discovery. As it becomes technologically easier to effectively hide & survive, groups of people will start to do this on a broad scale. Because it will done in secret, it will be difficult to really know how widespread it becomes. In fact, how widespread it may be.

Allocation of Resources
As societies become more enmeshed, resources will be fairly, efficiently & officially allocated on the basis of need as well as the basis of contribution. It will no longer be acceptable to allow entire regions, populations, or classes of people, to starve or die from preventable conditions or diseases. This means that the control of many resources will be vested in independent transnational bodies. (no, this does not refer to profit-making corporations!!)

The Primacy of Mind
Society will move from a belief in the primacy of matter towards a belief in the primacy of mind. Quantum mechanics has started that process but because it is so revolutionary, it is taking a long time to penetrate through and through. Once it does it will have a tremendous impact on everything. It will go way beyond a belief in God being everywhere - in other words, this is not Medieval Times Redux.

Economic Units
A grid of standard economic units will be super-imposed over the world and used for administrative purposes. Having countries that are too large or too small or over-endowed or under-endowed will be considered as a threatening imbalance. More prosperity & education will level out differences and allow for populations to come under control, with zero or negative growth curves, and this, in turn, will allow for populations to migrate more easily and thus even out the load on the environment due to people pressures.

Future World, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


The Magic of Polarization by Louis Evan Palmer


Polarization is part of a duality puzzle we continuously find ourselves immersed in but, for the most part, it remains focused on our conscious roles in magnifying any separations we discover. It's about intensifying divisions, celebrating threats and exhorting to action - be it preventive or corrective; in many cases, it fosters aggression, pure and simple.

The conscious role in polarization, among other things, is the public discourse and accompanying actions, yet, as with all else, most of the activity is beneath the surface. The conscious component acts as a catalyst at some points, a leader at other points, also as a follower, a resister, perhaps an opponent. It seems though that our motivation and intention, whether examined or not, is what drives the process the most - it colours it, animates it, shapes it.

If our intentions are for what we might categorize as the greater "good" then polarization will amount to a radicalization in that direction - action for good, opposition to negativity and malice and harm. We might with some trepidation call this a "good" polarization.

More often though, our intentions are for a much more circumscribed "good", a good that is very specific, usually fragile and under threat, and it is then that this stunning metamorphosis can take place, whereby, like a collapsing star, our good intention, or the suite of our good intentions that form a particular cluster, collapses in on itself and becoming so dense, becoming impervious, it explodes outwards in a paroxysm of unthinking action - a reflex at this point. Our particular "good" is safely ensconced in this vortex of gravity & density & energy and, almost by definition, everything outside has become the threat, the "other", the enemy.

This is the true magic of polarization, its ability to create a very special universe of "love" for a given "good" surrounded by a threatening gulf of menace which must be dispersed somehow, or transmuted, or, more typically, destroyed.

Naturally, polarization is a way of looking at things, its alchemy is a way of organizing the world which carries with it dangers - foremost, it is the beginning of a process of creating an enemy. If we can look far enough down the road, over the hill that is the future, we can see that this first step towards differentiating can, if due care is not religiously adhered to, lead us towards a fully-fledged enemy.

And, as we know, enemies are made to be destroyed.

The Magic of Polarization, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 
He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Friday, November 03, 2006

Best We Forget by Louis Evan Palmer






There is always a waxing and waning in the effusion of patriotic fervour associated with Remembrance Day. It has an uptick when there is an anniversary or when there are Canadian troops committed somewhere. It tends to drop out of consciousness when times are good.

While some sit back now and make poetic statements about freedom and sacrifice, there is not much talk about the futility of many wars or the bloodthirstiness of their prosecution. There is also not much in the way of mass media coverage of how specific wars got started or who benefited financially or what nations advanced their causes or sphere of power.

It was said that many of those who marched off to World War I were enthusiastic and anticipated being home and victorious in a few weeks. It was an adventure and a chance to make triumphant noises over a prostrate enemy while crowing about British or French or German greatness.

We do want to remember and having a day dedicated to it certainly helps but it also moulds it into a public event which means into a propaganda event. Now it attempts to highly praise our troops in Afghanistan, to glorify in a subdued way. Forgeting about whether there was any legal justification for being there or how NATO got itself hoodwinked into assuming the bloody mantle of leadership from the United States, having troops dying strongly invites the expression of the most primal type of chest-thumping, flag-waving, thought-numbing jingoism.

Having a day like this makes us admire the soldiers of the past whether we should or not. Defending yourself well is admirable. Being able to fight well is advisable. But extolling the dead and their victorious living comrades put us into a mindset where war is an answer. Defending means someone has invaded your territory - that foreign troops are actually on your soil - and currently that is only true about us.

We have a Remembrance Day advertisement that shows a crusty bloated old soldier in some Canadian Legion facsimile of a uniform standing beside a teen-aged boy who is dressed in what appears to be a cadet's uniform. By showing us this linkage, it gives us every indication that the fateful process of germinating the next crop of cannon fodder is underway, one generation setting off the other.

Ringing bells and shooting off guns and blowing sombre horns shouldn't be such a big part of our remembrance. Preventing wars and understanding their causes should get more of our attention. Honouring non-military non-conflict-based peace-makers and peace-keepers should get more of our attention. We don't need any more of the ancient Roman desert-making peace - the peace of death and desolation.

But we constantly peer through a portal on war, the tragic failure of peace, where it's typically portrayed as vile and wrenching (for us) yet exciting and intense. It's part of an atavistic subculture that seems to dominate world politics even as it's denied. The warriors are listened to, the peace-makers are set aside for other less dangerous times.

Our extravagant memorializing has the opposite effect - it may not glorify war per se but it glorifies sacrifice which can be worse because it's more encompassing; worse not in itself but in its potential for misuse as a powerful tool of manipulation. The end result is to stifle dissent and ostracize critics. We make for ourselves a drum-beating tyranny-lite and hope it goes away after the war, hoping as well that the current war will end even though almost all its causes are still present.

Sometimes remembering the way we do on Remembrance Day is a way of denying the senselessness of it, its preventability, where the fault for these things really lies. It begs some questions though: Can you be good at something you don't practice? Can you practice something that you don't, at some level, admire? Can you admire something without wanting to try it?

Best We Forget, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications.