Archive for December, 2006

Skeptic Way To Live

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Lately I’ve delved into history to renew information received — but not photographically retained — from long ago academics. Other than books, videos and DVDs are good resources since they capture points in time on which I can concentrate. I chose a video of historic Florence, Italy, for background of art history. My mouth fell open at the beginning statement – that a proposal for the design of a church dome by an engineer/architect was responsible for the beginning of the great Renaissance.

We can talk about misinformation and that statement stands as a prime example. It is incredibly inaccurate. No period in history began with a single incident. The Renaissance being the least of them. People for at least three hundred thousand years have been endowed with the same brain capacity, imagination, creativity and curiosity as was present in the 1400’s when this Florence dome plan was brought forth. My historical curiosity reaches points around the world and reliable sources prove that the Renaissance was not an accident of one discovery.

Man’s insatiable curiosity took explorers from home to faraway places at least in recorded history since Marco Polo and Magellan. Exploration was not exclusive of women (although the role of women was never mentioned because men never went very long without women), never mind the perversions written in sea lore or insistence that men need release to prevent explosion of sperm buildup.

What a self serving form of misinformation.

But back to the point: Arrogant Spanish explorers in search of a direct water route to riches in the Orient bumped into what they labeled as the “new world” – a land inhabited by scholars for generations beyond European belief. Botany was so highly understood in Peru that Mendel and his pea experiments were less than a baby’s first steps. The number of unusual vegetables at least fascinated the Spanish enough to introduce root crops to their vassals back home. You know the routine, make them responsible for their own food. Potatoes – white ones – (it seemed aversion to ‘colored’ existed in Europe at the time) were accepted. Where grown, the extra nutrients improved general health and local prosperity. And as all sex driven species, reproduction flourished. Enlightened – better fed – humans in Europe came up with new inventions, innovations, and discoveries.

If one single item or event can be said to have inspired the Renaissance, it would have be the immigration of the potato, a development in gene manipulation by an age old civilization we know as the Incas of Peru. I bring this up because humans must be skeptical about the information they receive from whatever source. Be like a two year old and ask questions? Why? How come? Who says so?

What you have then is the basis for reasonable decisions that will help make more sense of your life.

Reality Or Propaganda

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Reality matters a great deal in real time. Reality within a tense novel is something entirely different. I am reading a spy story where the hero is escaping, I hope, an impossible situation. Hero cunningly ingratiates himself to his captor and at nightfall manages to beat him unconscious, steal his money, his watch, his gun, his passport and a whistle which enables Hero to control the only fellow guards, a litter of Doberman dogs. Hero sneaks down in the darkness to a deep swiftly flowing river, immersing himself while being carried downstream to evade sweeping searchlights. He can’t survive. I hold my breath. The novel is only half finished. This cannot be the end.

But the end is inevitable because I know about freezing water. My nearby river is deep and fast moving, cold enough in December to dull the brain, leave the muscles numb. Last week a swimmer was pulled ashore by local search and rescue. The victim was exposed to freezing water mere minutes and his life hung in the balance for hours. Not so this Hero. No one would call for help. The enemy that Hero evaded temporarily was gaining in a warm dry boat. When caught in the searchlight Hero would be shot by humiliated pursuers.

Suddenly I realize I am unnecessarily tense. This is just a story. I mark my place and sip a hot drink. Soon I am calm, take a deep breath and read on. The novel is set in a country far away during a hot summer and Hero becomes another tourist in a crowd, melts in with his stolen identity, goes on and on and on. As does the story.

How wonderfully a skillful word smith brought me so really into a fantasy to which I threw in my own knowledge and verified the suspense. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For me reading is to experience situations I will never otherwise live. Reading is a powerful ability gained by the progress of our civilization. May such power be extended to every human on earth.

Bright Lights Beckon

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

And to think I’ve been convinced that folks suffer a disease of addiction to buying stuff when they only crave light during the shortest days of the year! Obviously shopping makes people feel better. But is it the shopping or is it the lure of lights? Bodies feel better for having been exposed to the bright lights of the glitzy shopping malls. Not that the artificial lighting has the capacity to trigger the manufacture of vitamin D in the manner of good ol’ Sol but it has a positive affect nonetheless.

When sunlight (UBV) kisses your skin your body reacts by producing the hormone identified as Vitamin D, essential for a healthy body. Vitamin D is required to keep bones and teeth healthy and for cell regeneration. It protects against many forms of cancer. There are foods to supply the vitamin and please consume those.

Our economy is driven by consuming (buying) whether we actually use the items or services. Can’t use them all? Think of someone to give them to! Believe the advertising. Everyone with goods to sell makes us believe that the good feelings come from the spirit of giving. Willingly, for the excuse it gives us, we go forth to buy stuff. Enjoy the glorious experience the season provides with bright lights.

However for peace of mind throughout the coming year, temptation – and mounting debts – will be reduced if credit cards are deliberately left at home.