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Category: Humans

Birdsong
I wake up to
A pretty song
A bird
I do not know

I am here!
The sun is warm!
The wind is cool!
Will you stay?
Will you stay?


Tomorrow I wake
To a song I know
But yours
Was sweet as well
I Know Now
If I
Knew then
What I
Know now

I’d screw
It up
Again
Somehow
WWUD?
Protestant Christians often recommend that we ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?” before committing to action. The idea behind this simple screening device is to put ourselves in the shoes of the nicest guy that ever was (please use Buddha, if he’s your pick). If he (or she) would do it, then you are certainly good to go.

I’m an agnostic, but I have to admit that this is a pretty nifty little trick. For one thing, it takes you outside of yourself and away from your personal demons, including those pesky animal urges. Then it asks you to be as nice as you can imagine being. You don’t have to believe in God to think that might be a good approach to decision-making.

The trick also encourages you to reach beyond your grasp, which is also thought to be a good idea. Jesus may have been a man, but he was also a God. He had superpowers like walking on water, controlling the weather, and raising people from the dead. We are never going to be able to live up to that guy’s standards, but by trying we might accomplish some wonders of our own.

Still, if you are an agnostic you might have a hard time finding an appropriate model. And if you are an atheist (someone who, I am told, is absolutely certain that there are no deities) it might be even harder.

I’ve never met anyone with superpowers, though there are plenty of people who can amaze me with what they can do. That said, I don’t necessarily want to emulate someone just because they can balance five chairs on the tip their nose or solve a Rubik’s Cube in seven seconds. Also, most of the people in the Top Ten of Nice People are devoutly religious. Where does that leave me as a person who doesn’t believe in God? I’m never going to be as nice as Mother Teresa just by trying to do the right thing.

So is there some other way to get there? Is there some non-religious High Standard you can shoot for and therefore catapult yourself into the Top Ten? (Hypothetically, at least — I don’t know if I would have the energy to be that good.)

Well, how about this: WWUD? What Would the Universe Do?

At first blush, this may seem like a bad idea. Non-believers often see the universe as a vast, cold emptiness that does not care about the puny bits of protoplasm wiggling around on a tiny speck of dust in the Milky Way. That doesn’t seem like an attitude we’d want to adopt in our own lives. On the other hand, think of the upside. If the universe doesn’t care about us, then it’s not out to get us, either. There is no all-powerful force trying to make our existence more unpleasant. No Satan, in other words.

What’s more, the universe doesn’t seem to care about itself either. All it is concerned with is being, and — if you accept the current thinking about what black holes are up to — creating more universes. It’s a pretty simple formula, really: live life to the fullest by exploding supernovas, colliding galaxies, and spawning life all over yourself, but maintain your ultimate focus on the generations of existence that will live on long after you have died from the complications of entropy.

To me, that seems like a pretty good plan. Be, in the fullest sense, and do it with an eye to posterity. The universe doesn’t need to perform miracles in the manner of Jesus Christ because the universe is itself a miracle. If you ask WWUD?, that’s the shining example you’ll get back from the void.
Take This Blame and Shove It
Of all the spectator sports we watch or play, is there any less enjoyable, less satisfying than The Blame Game? It may be unique among all such pastimes in that there are no actual “fans,” as such, of the sport. We watch it with the same grim fascination we reserve for multi-car pileups on the Interstate. We just can’t tear our eyes away from the unfolding pageant of horror.

Other than that sick obsession, there is really no reason to watch. The play is always dirty, there are no rules to speak of, and there are no feats of individual skill or daring to admire. None of the players is worth rooting for, and we are all debased by our participation in the awful spectacle.

Worst of all, there is never a clear winner. No thrill of victory, no agony of defeat, no genuine human feeling of any kind. Just endless polling and punditry and egregious flapdoodling to fill our moments of idle dread. And yet, these contests are thought to have real world consequences, especially in the political realm. Although that proposition remains unproven, those of us who follow The Blame Game never doubt for a moment the solemn importance of this bloodsport.

The recent shutdown drama is a case in point. There was some light chatter about the human consequences of interrupting vital government services, but most of the energy was spent on divining who the winners and the losers would be. And was there some point to all of that? No… because no one could agree on what the score was. It was an utterly meaningless exercise.

It is past time that we do something to address this situation. We need an exact time when the clock runs out, — a moment when we can clearly discern who the winners and the losers are. Come to think of it, I don’t care that much about the winners. It’s the losers I want to know about. In other words, when all is said and done, who can I blame?

One thing I don’t want to hear is this lame pronouncement: “There’s plenty of blame to go round.” No, there isn’t. I want the name of the s.o.b. who screwed up and I want him to take all of the heat. I need a specific individual so that I’m not diluting my aggrievement by spreading it around. Who killed the Kennedys? Contrary to what the Rolling Stones might tell you, it was not you and me. Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan did it, and those are the guys I blame. That’s the kind of specificity I want. Names and stats — especially the final score. I want a head for that dunce cap, a neck for that noose.

But how do we make these determinations? Ordinarily, I would suggest a blue-ribbon commission for such a task, sober and considered people to weigh all the evidence. I fear, however, that we would be taking its members away from more important duties. So how about a red-ribbon commission? I’d settle for that. Red-ribbon commissioners probably wouldn’t be doing anything so vital that we couldn’t convene them as celebrity judges on The Blame Game. They’d be like a Supreme Court for blaming. The difference is that there are no money or rights or jail time on the line — just the reputations of the guilty parties.

Episode One of the Shutdown Blame Game has now come to an end. Surely there will be an Episode Two, but I’d rather not wait to start assigning blame. If our red-ribbon commission actually existed, we would have their verdict already. We could place the blame accordingly, get back to our lives, and resume our worry about things that actually matter. Wouldn’t that be nice?
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon