Archive for June, 2016

Johnny recruits the Scots

29 June 2016

You all know why I am here.
I want 50 young men who are able, courageous, and strong, to go on a crusade to rid the world of the demon up there who does not speak our language (referring to Terl and his kind).

I feel it is necessary to to tell you the character of this demon so you can help me. He is treacherous, vicious, sadistic, and devious. He lies from choice even when the truth will serve.

The mining company that conquered this planet in ages past has equipment and technology beyond those of man. Planes in the air, machines to drill the earth, gasses and guns that can slaughter whole cities. Man has been deprived of this planet by those creatures. The men who volunteer to come with me will learn to use those tools, fly those planes, man those guns!

Our chances are not in our favor. Many of us may die before this is through.

Our race is growing fewer in numbers. In coming years we may be gone forever. But even though the odds are against us, at least let it be said that we took this small last chance and tried.

– from Part 6, Chapter 11

With this, our hero’s first political speech, he recruited not 50, but all thousand or so attending the meeting. Of them he took 83 to American with him in Terl’s personnel carrier. The rest vowed to prepare themselves to strike – or help in other ways – when they got word to do so.

And so begins the slow upward climb of this story. The passage made me cry. It was well-delivered by the audiobook crew, and I had forgotten it.

I will let you draw your own analogies. The plot could be fit into our own times. Who is the recruiter, who are the recruited, and what is the enemy? You will have to work these things out for yourself.

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Battlefield Earth

26 June 2016

In 1980, before I was involved in Scientology, LRH began writing a work of “pure science fiction” which came out as Battlefield Earth. It was published in 1982, and after I joined the Sea Org I bought a copy and read it. Later, I lost that copy, but recently purchased another one, also a First Edition. This one comes wrapped in a leather cover, reminiscent of those used by the hero to hold the books he found that helped him recover the Earth for human habitation.

I more recently ordered the audio book (which is unabridged and 44 CDs long!) and have started “re-reading” it in that fashion. It’s a great job, though I don’t know who’s going to sit through 47 and 1/2 hours of CDs to listen to the whole story. But it is a good story, and I am going through it again to pick any important points I missed or am uncertain about.

Some points I do remember:

Earth is plagued by the genocidal presence of an off-world inter-galactic mining company, run from its home planet of “Psychlo.” Almost everyone from Psychlo lacks compassion, and is therefore basically psychotic. They will kill any other life form without remorse, even each other. Later in the story, it is discovered that this trait is installed at birth in the form of some sort of electronic implant. One Psychlo who escaped being implanted helps the hero discover this.

Hubbard gives the Psychlos a huge Achilles Heel; their atmosphere explodes in the presence of ionizing radiation. This is real science fiction; I don’t know of any real planet or civilization where the biology is that different. All I’ve ever heard of is carbon-oxygen based biology. There are some non-biological life forms. More than likely, they predate biology.

Working with this notable Psychlo weakness, along with their normal “human” foibles, the hero finds a way to blackmail them into backing off Earth, and leaving the rest of the universe alone as well. The success in bringing peace to the cosmos is notable and worth studying. Real criminality is a problem everywhere, and there are clues here that might help us conquer it.

The book, in its second half, includes some major space battles. On the web I have noticed some references to similar events in nearby space. Again, the future of planets and great issues of war and peace are at stake in this current set of events.

It used to be that science fiction was seen as an indirect way to communicate about real Earthly situations. That view no longer holds. The “stage” has widened; it now includes the entire cosmos.

Bill Tompkins in his book mentioned several times that he had become convinced that Teddy Roosevelt was right: That to go far, one must speak softly, but carry a big stick. Though Roosevelt attributed the proverb to West Africa, there has been difficulty tracing it to there, as their own lore has been oral, and Western study of it has been spotty. But time and time again, thinkers come to the conclusion that any “peace” is held together by the carefully targeted threat of overpowering force. In the movie (and book) “The Mouse that Roared,” peace is brought to Europe by instilling the belief that if anyone starts a war, a bomb will go off which will eradicate the entire subcontinent. And in Battlefield Earth, peace is won in a similar way.

This seems to be one of many paradoxes that we must live with.

Fawn leaps out

25 June 2016
view east early morning

Nature area with industrial park above it – 5AM.

After working most of a Saturday first shift, I went out for my usual shopping trip, returning around 3:30.

There is an open area that serves as a wildlife passage between the small nature area in the bottom lands leading north out of Pullman and a wild area to the west, “behind the high school.”

I have seen a couple deer in the nature area this year. Last Saturday one trotted out onto the street in front of me. But I NEVER have my camera handy for such sightings.

This afternoon as I was returning from shopping, a saw a doe and her fawn poking their way down through the open area towards a low clump of trees. I hurried home, got my camera, and walked up behind my apartment building (there are two more buildings up there – I never go up there; great view though) to see if I could spot the deer.

Sure enough, they were in a the clump of trees trying to be discrete. I squatted down and waited to see if anything would develop. Sure enough, the fawn ran out into the clearing (as fawns are wont to do) and walked about a bit in the grass before returning to its mom under the trees.

fawn leaps out into grass

A portion of my too-big photo, featuring the little deer.

I think I should have been able to get a better shot than this. Obviously I have a way to go to become a decent wildlife photographer.

I still catch some pretty nice photos of flowers, though, such as this lupine which grows luxuriantly in a small watered public garden on my way to work.

lupine flower closeup

Lupine, a member of the pea family.

Isis is an Egyptian goddess

22 June 2016

All the illustrations here are listed as Public Domain except perhaps the last one.

Isis nursing Horus sketch

Sketch of a statue portraying Isis nursing Horus.

In my recent studies I came across a comment that the Madonna and Child Christian icon was lifted from the earlier Egyptian icon of Isis and Horus.

The observation seemed pertinent, as the “other Isis” has been getting a lot of attention recently.

Indeed, in ancient times Egypt and Rome became closely linked, and so a cultural exchange took place between Africa and Europe which lives on in disguised forms to this day.

According to Egyptologists, Isis was a wife of Osiris, who resurrected him after he was killed by a rival in order to have sex with him which produced the baby Horus.

madonna nursing

Amazing old painting by an unknown artist. Note all the symbolic energy radiating off the pair.

All these personages were quite well-known in their contemporary cultures.

Horus Osiris, Isis

Horus with his avian head, Osiris and Isis.

The Africa-Persia-India-Europe connection deserves more attention (by someone anyway), but this little post is only to note its existence.

Most ancient traditions involve a “pantheon” of “gods.” It is not clear that the original tellers of these stories considered all these personalities gods the way we think of them today. But certainly this collection of personalities served as the basis for numerous stories in which the tellers and the listeners could see aspects of themselves.

And so the Yoruba of Nigeria (so many of them taken as slaves to the Americas) had their own group of personalities of which stories were told. And many students of “comparative religion” have noted similarities among these pantheons, both in terms of names and relationships, and in terms of their stories.

yoruba river godess Oshun

Oshun as depicted on a mask.

As Osiris was a major personality in Egyptian stories, so Oshun was a major figure in Yoruba stories, except Oshun was a woman.

The Yoruba beliefs, practices and stories came to Brazil, where they merged with those of other African cultures, as well as Catholic Christianity, to produce what most now call Candomblé, a Brazilian mixture of religious and spiritual traditions.

In this last illustration, a little girl gets the great honor of playing Oshun in a ceremony, wearing the traditional yellow dress, and holding a fan or mirror. The beads over her face are probably there to emphasize that she is playing a part in a story about someone else.

girl playing Oshun

Girl playing Oshun in Candomblé ceremony.