Vicissitudes from the Hollow


Eleven years lived in eastern Kentucky.
Eleven long years where the sun flickers light.
Encompassed by mountains, that reach to the heavens.
Gazing up, thru a portal of stars in the night.

Where trash bags and milk jugs float down the Tug River,
and the coal smoke from chimneys add soot to the rain.
There’s no warmth in the hollows, no hope for the miner,
and the floods and the forest fires make known their claim.

Man’s not meant to live there, corn grows on the hillside,
and they gather the ears to the bins by the stills.
Then they turn it to whiskey, and give it to family,
who drink to forget all their troubles and ills.

I am blessed to have lived there, and I’ve learned a great lesson.
Never walk thru this life, with a longing for gold.
Be grateful for sunshine, be grateful for breakfast.
And remember the place, whence this story is told.

Think Speak


In George Orwell’s novel 1984, ‘Think-Speak’ is the name of a universal language of permissible word usage in a dismal dystopian future, whose purpose is to convey a structured monologue of the goings-on of daily life, with the goal of having everyone be aligned on thought while eliminating all emotion during the course of communication.

My Definition of ‘Think Speak’, unlike Orwell’s, retains emotions and is the act of condensing a more complete, comprehensive thought process that one has just broken down (analyzed) into its constituent parts within their mind. This summary is stated as a quote, cliche, or perhaps an abbreviated ‘short line’ they have just coined themselves.

For example, one has been thinking extensively about how they have spent their life’, or, they have just completed breaking down all the aspects of a particular issue or situation. All of a sudden, a ‘Think Speak’ pops into their head, so they summarily utter something peculiar such as “Life’s Been Good So Far”, or “You can never go back” (i.e. you burned the bridges), etc.

Again, when they realize that they have exhausted the issue, a remembered phrase or quote may come to mind that nicely ‘sums’ up everything that was just pondered over. For them, it is like giving the mental work a title.

While this ‘Think Speak’ summarizing makes perfect sense to the one who worked through the thought process, it is apt to sound or appear (if written) to another, as ambiguous or confusing. It might be construed as a parable or quote that doesn’t fit within the present conversation. It may indeed seem that the one doing the ‘Think Speak’ has simply lost their mind.

The caveat of ‘Think Speak’ is that the recipient simply can’t read the thinker’s mind, although the thinker falsely assumes that the recipient’s mind is one with theirs so it must be a ‘given’.

‘The result of using ‘Think Speak’ is somewhat analogous to the humorous, well worn defining of the word ‘Assume’. To Assume, can oftentimes make an ‘Ass of You and Me’.

Brave New World Revisited

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It’s wonderful that we have conservative and liberal views in America, but the accelerating lack of rationality that is occurring in this twenty-first century is not wonderful. I’m not so much concerned about the country transcending into some new form of twenty-first century governing, as all governments eventually fade into history, usually lasting not much more than a couple hundred years. Even though I was brought up to be a conservative individual, and in fact am, I no longer lay claim to, nor participate in any political faction, for the simple reason that I have chosen to finish my days observing and philosophizing the human condition full time now, with no further interest in becoming caught up in its impassioned endeavors happening before my eyes; and none of these factions are even remotely capable of dealing with the much larger issue which presses upon me. In fact, without exemption, all political parties have become the most amplified and accurate reflection of the fallibility of the human condition. They know not what they do, yet they keep on plowing madly away at it, with an accelerated momentum.

This past decade has revealed to me an exponentially growing viciousness between political sides. I observe an increase in ‘cut-throat’ tactics on a level never before witnessed… a level which now revelates visions of assassinations and an ever growing likelihood of civil war, all for the attempted fulfillment of settling a list of decades (if not centuries) old grievances that would fill a chasm, and in reality could never be completely agreed upon; and this is an example of the elements of the condition that truly concerns me regarding the social sanity of the American citizen.

A specific alternative government doesn’t weigh very much in my mind as a path in which to solve the continuing degradation of the sociability of humanity. Short of global administering of George Orwell’s soma gum to sedate us all into a continual passive state, I am currently at a loss to see humanity ever transcending into that ‘Brave New World’ where all our grievances are finally dissipated once and for all.

We have so many innate flaws, like greed for example. Greed isn’t even a thing that is observed and learned. It comes built in, right out of the box, and no biology scientist or brain surgeon has a clue as to how it might be excised at birth, as simply as doing an excellent job of severing and tying off the umbilical cord. Watch two children sitting on the step eating their ice cream cones. One child gulps their cone down while the other slowly licks it, enjoying every moment. Suddenly the first child looks at the other and says, “I ate my ice cream cone, and now I want yours”. No one taught them that. Or the same two out on the lawn, and one picks up a Tonka truck and starts making motor sounds with their mouth, and the other one sees the enjoyment transpiring and tries to tear the truck away from the happy child, which now becomes a fight with crying and shouting ensuing. Did you teach those children to do that Mom? I didn’t think so… And with inborn issues like this, humanity is already predisposed to self destruction (or even annihilation).

We are at an ominous crossroads at this point in linear time. I observe the differing sides, and not just the political arena, but our own smaller groups and personal interactions as well, and that is where my concerns lie, although I’ll be gone soon enough, which raises the question,”Why be concerned at all?” I’ve a feeling the philosophical observer has some sort of sense of responsibility regardless of a total lack of time or ability to wave a magic wand. Feminists have struggled for decades to make their gains. The gay community has struggled for decades to make their gains, and an entire array of other social groups have struggled to make their gains. My concern is real, and human history clearly shows that all the struggling in the world can come to a vicious and horrendous end at the drop of a hat (or axe), if we steer too haphazardly into the next era.

Why have we become so acutely piqued at issues that used to more appropriately cause our brows to furl, and to then place said issue into our think tanks for later discussion and discernment using rationale? Why are we all on such a razor edge with this generation, and so full of the fallacy of, “My way or the highway… and I mean Right Now!” Is this forever going to be the curse of the homosapient? Are we pre-programmed to be stuck in this singular mode? Are we helpless all the way to our own undoing then?

Well, I for one would like to finish this life, having some sort of positive proof that these conditions are not unalterable, and that as a social animal with access to intelligence and reasoning at the ready, we might at least begin a brave… new… and different world. In the meantime, I’ll continue observing and thinking, and if I have a great epiphany of the solution, I’ll certainly be letting you know.

If There’s No Time, There’s No God

If There’s No Time, There’s No God

Stephen Hawking

By Douglas Duncan October 24, 2020

I remember reading a science news article quite awhile back, wherein the late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking was giving some finalized theories regarding our universe and a creator in his farewell book, “Brief Answers to Big Questions.” I used to just take for granted that Hawking was on the same level of genius with Einstein, due mainly to his notoriety on the subject of black holes, quantum physics and theories on the nature of, and beginning of the universe, together with accolades and a seemingly endless list of awards, but I dropped that meteorite real fast when one of his last opines collided head on with an asteroid at 186,000 miles per second.

In his last days, one of the final issues he addressed was the existence of God. He stated in reference to our universe’s beginning, “We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in.”

You don’t even have to believe in God to perceive that there is something really wobbly with such a simplified, foregone conclusion. Even Einstein held to a pantheistic concept of an impersonal creative entity. Hawking was stating with all confidence, that God cannot exist because before the Big Bang there was no linear time in which anything could be the cause of anything, therefore, neither could there be a higher consciousness to choose to cause something. Whoa Nelly! What the hey kind of epiphany was that utterance? He certainly wasn’t giving any creed to all the possibilities when he dictated that one over his synthesizer.

He addressed the God issue with the near imbecilic assumption that linear time would have been necessary before the Big Bang in order for there to be any possibility of the existence of God, or perhaps more to the point, a ‘time out of time’. He completely excluded the plausibility that there may be a God residing in a higher non-physical, non-decaying and timeless dimension far outside the creation event, or that sudden spark of light and explosion of everything from nothing, commonly referred to as the Big Bang, or as I prefer to call it, the “Let there be light” event.

Why that makes about as much sense as saying, “I was just about to make you pancakes for breakfast this morning, but unfortunately I didn’t exist because I wasn’t able to be standing outside the factory just before they made the Bisquick box, so now there aren’t any pancakes. So why don’t you go back to bed, and then come back out here after awhile, and see if any pancakes have shown up. You never know, I might spontaneously exist inside the box, and then, there they’ll be… all nice and fluffy and golden brown, with butter and syrup already on them! Stranger things have happened I’m sure.”

The whole concept there Stephen, is that an extremely powerful Entity with a grand idea, chooses to create a dimension of both physical matter and continuously expanding movement of said matter, including those speedy little photons shooting out from the stars which is what we like to measure the speed thereof and refer to the results as time. The Entity itself is not a part of Its newly created dimension, anymore than you are a part of your scooter, which will probably now be enshrined in a prominent place at The Cambridge University.

Space-time is an inescapable part of our expanding universe and is not a requirement nor even a probability in the absence of white hot glowing matter, outside of it, regardless of what other non-physical dimensions lie beyond its edges. I cannot help but shake my head at Hawking’s final conclusion on the subject of God, because the one thing he came close to being right on, is that God really cannot be a part of time, which is solely an attribute of the cosmos that He Himself made. So what was someone evidently putting in his daily nourishment, that would have given him cause to believe that a Creator cannot exist just outside the boundary of the universe where there is no space-time occurring, when he made such a peculiar statement? As a theoretical physicist, it should have at least occurred to him that an all powerful Creator would have absolutely no need of the internal movement of star light or the passing of sand in the hourglass that we experience within this defined temporal realm. God does exist where there is no time. He conceived time. It’s His baby, just like His concept of the blood pumping through our veins or the water drawn through the capillaries of every leaf on every one of His trees. He thought it all up… He’s not part of it.

There was an earlier time when Hawking was a bit more open to the idea that there may in fact be a God. In his book ‘A Brief History of Time’ he wrote, “Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence?” Sometime after that book was published, while spending time with mathematical physicist Neil Turok, both men came to an agreement that a Creator was quite compatible with an open universe. So what happened that would ultimately close the door on the idea of a purposed universe? Perhaps one reason for his eventual atheistic view could have been that he had become set against a perceived cruel God for a lifetime of imprisonment in a non-responsive body, which would be more than understandable. However, there being no apparent public record of him saying such, it’s purely speculation on my part. Actually, that’s not at true. My wife told me to include it here as a paragraph. There… Happy now?

At any rate, I would have thought that he would have been more of an outside the box thinker, but I guess his reasoning got too close to the event horizon and he got sucked into a black hole at the finale. Well, I must say, that was a pretty dismal belief system to wrap up one’s last days on Earth with, but as for myself, I believe I’ll adhere to a grander and much more outside the box hypothesis. All the way to the last breath.

So long Stephen. Maybe I’ll see you sometime… out of time… or not…