Cracking the Fiery Core: We are Not What We Have

How many of us live to be defined by our possessions?  How many of us find value only in what we have achieved and won and coveted?  I wrote about this nagging issue of human governance on November 22, 2006 — “Worthy of History: Only Expensive Things Survive” —

The perversion of the historical accuracy of how our ancestors lived, and how we currently live, is created by preserving only expensive possessions — tokens, icons, valuables – and in the purposeful construction of indestructible architectural monuments used by the privileged few.

History is skewed by this preservation technique because it only pretends to tell future generations how people actually lived. When we visit museums we are only seeing what the powerful majority of the culture of that time deemed important enough to save and pass down.

We only get to know what they thought was worth saving and inevitably those things are the expensive, the pretty, the unique and the tokens of the wealthy. Even pioneer and Native American museum dioramas are idealized with hardy items and the most beautiful things. The ordinary is forsaken for the power of the inherent value in the preservation of the perceived best.

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The Smell of Hellfire in the Air

Our ability to smell is an important defensive sense.  We can smell if food is rotten.  We can smell if we have a natural gas leak.  We can “smell the scent of danger in the air.”  I try to take care of my nose and sinuses with a neti pot infusion every day, and I do think that therapy helps keep my sniffer alive and active and sensitive.

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Who Started the Fire? Plutarch or Yeats?

Who started the fire?  Was it Plutarch so many years ago, or was it W.B. Yeats not too long ago?  The quotation in question — “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire” — is extensively used in education, and in arguments about scholarship and proper attribution the world over.  Here’s that quote, found right on the main page of Gallaudet University’s Department of Education, attributed to “William Yeats:”

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Ongoing American Somnambulism and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Today is the bloody, 100-year, anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City.  146 people died in a 18 minutes in a blaze that was wholly preventable.  120 of the victims were either burned alive, or they leapt to their deaths from the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the sweatshop located near Greenwich Village.  The deaths of the mainly immigrant, female workers, was the trigger for the start of FDR’s New Deal.

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Is the Bad Economy Crushing Fedex's Planes?

As the economy continues to irrationally sour us against each other, I discovered that one of the not-so-silent casualties of this money war is FedEx.  I have noticed over the last couple of months that deliveries are not arriving on time and the company is blaming “mechanical difficulties” more and more for their failures as the dawn of summer begins to linger into the dog days of August.

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