Category Archives: Personal

The Baby Choice

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | Sep 24, 2016

The inversion of language

The inversion of language

My college philosophy teacher was and probably still is an atheist, yet he was an amazingly brilliant teacher … one of my best. Despite his lack of faith or belief in things unseen or unproven by his deductive method, he was staunchly anti-abortion. He reasoned as did I that once you minimize or devalue life at one end of the spectrum (very young) what logically will prevent you from minimizing it at the other end (very old); and once so done, one’s foot is squarely placed on the proverbial slippery slope. And where does this slope lead? Well it leads to further adjustments at either or both ends. So if we have scarce resources —which we always do– the value of a person prior to being productive for society would be less than say a person of working age and likewise the value of an older person incapable of vigorous work would be less valuable. So at some point, this logic trip leads us to the conclusion of stratification of value based on age; such that a society would be more interested in investing and/or saving the life of someone between the age of 18 and 35 say. Outside this range, you are less valuable and therefore on your own; or possibly a candidate for post-birth abortion. In fact this is already occurring. We have death panels with Obamacare and recent opinion polls on college campuses show a growing approval of post-birth abortion up to age five if it would save jobs. So there you have it. Ideas have power and they have consequences that on first blush you may not have even considered.

If you are religious, you can find many persuasive arguments against abortion from the pulpit; but if you are not religious, these arguments are unimpressive, unconvincing and annoying.  If you believe that there is no creator, and that we are just the end result of eons of random successful genetic mutations originating from a primordial soup, the idea of a fetus being just a blob of cells like your liver or spleen– to be removed at will when necessary or convenient– is intellectually reasonable if not entirely emotionally satisfying.  The non-religious would naturally wonder what the big fuss is all about and rightfully feel these religious nuts are encroaching on “my reproductive rights!”   Amazingly, however, faith has found a place in the hearts of the faithless…once the fetus is beyond the birth canal, umbilical cord cut and fetus viable; it somehow magically attains full rights of an individual human being and is so named.   This is part of a long list of “well-established” facts that comprise the credo of the secular world.  They reason that perhaps life may begin a bit earlier than this, but not by much.  To make things more confusing, we are told that no one really knows when life begins anyway; so we can now use this fuzzy construct to smudge any clear demarcation and add confusion to the ill-trained mind.

What kind of barbarian would deny a woman the right to control her own body or her right to practice birth control as she sees fit?   And what about rape, incest and the mother’s life or the quality of life of the infant due to poverty, genetic irregularities, malformations or congenital maladies?  Or you wanted a boy and not a girl or it’s just not convenient just now.  Surely you must see the logic of allowing women to abort their fetuses?   And, to combat the religious nuts, there are websites dedicated to proving that abortion is biblical just in case you are not so sure about all this Deity stuff.  So what’s the big deal?  The non-believer has every angle covered.  It’s just a medical procedure performed by a doctor and his patient.

So, if we are to make any headway on this debate, we have two choices:  we can convert everyone on the planet to agree with our particular religious views—unlikely– or we can take a logical, scientific view upon which believers and non-believers can agree.

So what is a fetus?  Is it a blob of cells?  Yes and no.  Is it a weed or a flower, trash or treasure? A series of electrochemical reactions or a blessing?  I think we can agree that the term fetus is a cold, disinterested name given to a very young human.  It is not a dog.  It is not a cat and it is not a liver or an abscessed tooth to be pulled or a hair or finger nail to be cut.  It is something different.  It depends on the mother for sustenance but it is not part of the mother and does not share its DNA with any other cell in the mother’s body.  Every cell in the Mother’s body has the same DNA as every other cell in the Mother’s body except the fetus or baby which resides within the mother’s womb…there by no fault of its own. Helpless, nature’s most vulnerable.  The baby possesses some DNA from the Father and some from the Mother but woven together in a very unique way.   No two siblings are exactly alike even identical twins differ in terms of gene expression and space and time…and none possess the same combination of DNA as the Mother.

So I think we can safely say that the fetus is not part of the Mother’s body in any logical since unless you also consider the male’s penis part of the mother’s body during coitus and could be aborted as well if not attached to a legally defined separate human.  But such conclusions illustrate the foolishness of the abortionists logic more than my crassness.  And we can safely say that the fetus is a young human though we may disagree if it is alive or not. Since we have no good definition of life this can be problematic.  Some viruses defy our definition of life by many accounts; however, most of us can tell the difference between a virus and a rock yet we get confused when discussing a fetus.

For the non-believer none of this may matter much anyway since the pain to the little human is short –if at all– and it benefits the greater good of the collective to reduce the population, but you must admit that this is a little more consequential than getting a tooth removed or a haircut and there may be some ethical question about killing an innocent life.  And for the agnostic or the ethically challenged… if perchance there is a Creator, I would imagine this creator might be just a little bit pissed at a people who chose of their own free will to pass a law that has resulted in the death of over 58 million of His most innocent ones.

Additional Reading from ClearNFO:  Opus 014: The Hoax of materialism

Sources:

The Three Graces

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | July 26, 2016

File this under productivity.

David Brown

David Brown

As a parent of four, I have always marveled at the potential my children represented. My youngest is now 17, but as a young parent, I thought of how I might best influence their successes and the enjoyment of their lives. My childhood successes and enjoyments sustained me through some difficult times and frightful events that were hidden in my future. So as an adult, I reflect on my childhood to draw on experiences that might help guide me to be a better parent. I realize that many of my youthful experiences might seem ordinary, but at the time had significant long-term impacts and benefits for me personally. Some of these experiences included my immersion in music, art and literature. I can never forget these wonderful times or how they have improved the enjoyment of my life ever since.

So when I posted a beautiful picture of the ‘Three Graces’ (below) on Facebook, I was pleasantly surprised to read Marty Lawrence’s response below my picture. Marty put words to my enjoyment of this great work through a simple, short poem; bringing me instantly back to some of the best memories of my cherished childhood. This is the power of poetry and the power of art.

The Three Graces

1831, by Jean-Jacques Pradier - Musée du Louvre, Paris

1831, by Jean-Jacques Pradier – Musée du Louvre, Paris

The three graces said thus
Come sing, dance with us.
By our beauty be charmed.
We bring joy, never harm.
Mirth, splendor, good cheer
Abound when we’re near.
Come sing, dance with us,
Come sing, dance with us.

–Marty Lawrence from ‘The Queens of Song’ © 2005

Now to continue this story, my wife was a full-time mom and all our children are mostly grown; but I still remember those very special moments when I would sing, play the guitar and read to them at bedtime.  These were very special times for me and for my kids.    I believe this had a positive impact on their lives.  I know it did on mine.   In today’s economy, where both parents work full-time, it can be difficult to find the time, energy and resources to spend time with our children on a regular basis. If major gaps creep into this quality time, we can grow apart, and lose that special connection and influence; so I was happy to discover Marty had put her considerable talents to good use: Marty put together some excellent resources that she originally created for her God Child, Willow.  Marty drew upon her creative background to assemble some fun tools parents can use now with their children.   I’m told that these resources have had a great impact on Willow and so I present some of them here for your enjoyment and consideration.

A few examples from Marty’s poARTry

blue dancers garden still life

About Marty…

Marty Lawrence

Marty Lawrence

Martha (Marty) Lawrence was born in Dunmore, PA; she is one of seven children born to Dr. & Mrs. Salvatore Lawrence. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Marywood University in Scranton, PA.

While living in Northeast PA, she was co-owner and artistic director for The Dance Ensemble, a small semi-professional dance company with dance schools located in Scranton and Moscow, PA.

Marty is the author of P&Q’s Colorful Journey through the Garden of Good Manners (music by Ron Baltz & illustrations by Cortney Tucker), and poARTry, a collection of children’s poems inspired by great works of art. Her supposition is: “The Arts introduce children to beauty and truth and it is the Arts which make us truly human.”

Currently she resides in Jacksonville, FL and works in human resources and payroll for Frito-Lay.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of either collection, Marty can be contacted via email: martylawrence@comcast.net

 

What I know about Muslims

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | Dec 11, 2015

Iran in 1960 - 70s

Iran in 1960 – 70s

I have known many Muslims as friends, fellow students at the university and as co-workers. What I know firsthand is that most all of them were extremely intelligent, well-educated, affable, approachable and friendly. I have spent many an evening with them discussing religion, philosophy, history, and politics and playing chess. All of them were indelibly and unmovably stuck in their religion. None were violent or cruel as far as I am aware. Most had a fundamentally different view of women than most westerners, but some of my best memories are the times I spent with these incredibly intelligent and well-educated Muslims.

I also know that since WWI, the West has been using and abusing Muslims like property of no individual value or consequence. We have removed their sovereign leaders when it pleased us. We have consistently –at will– imposed the cruelest dictators; and redrawn their national boarders without respect to language, culture or religion as though it was our divine right. We have murdered many millions of innocent Muslim men, women and children in cold-blood without a second thought or the slightest tinge of remorse. We have supported the most radical and violent versions of Islam imaginable and spread this radical Islam far and wide for our own geopolitical agenda.

My Muslim friends at the University were terrified of the Shah of Iran and his secret police Savak; both of whom we installed and supported, yet they did not hate me for this and never blamed me.

The solution to the terrorist and the refugee problem is for the West to stop destroying countries in the Middle East like Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq and stop installing, arming and supporting dictators like the House of Saud, stop killing innocent Muslims en-masse and stop spreading the most brutal form of Islam the world has ever known called Wahhabism by our continued support of Saudi Arabia.

References:

Related reading on this topic at ClearNFO:

Kids Say and Do the Darndest things…

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | July 13, 2015

Snow White (Schneewittchen) Dead 7 year old in glass coffin

Snow White (Schneewittchen) Dead 7 year old in glass coffin (click for larger view)

Years ago when my kids were much younger, I took it upon myself to sing and play my guitar (Dylan, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, etc.) and read books to my kids at night before bed. One of my favorite books was the ‘Picture Bible’ by Iva Hoth (Author), Andre Le Blanc (Illustrator). Whether you are a Christian or not, it is a book that once you start is almost impossible to put down.

Anyway looking for new material, I happened upon a big thick book called ‘Grimms’ Fairy Tales’ – the original.  Lo and behold as I started reading the first tale, it became more and more grim, violent, and so grotesque I had to stop reading and go to the next tale; only to find the same … I did this about four times and then started skimming the book for any tale that wasn’t just horrifically gross. There were none. So I told the kids that this book was not appropriate and I would no longer be reading from it. What I inadvertently did was place a secret desire within their hearts to find out what was really in this horrid book. To this end, my 16 year old son Jack has covetously latched on to this book and placed it in his own private library for future reference and reading.

So last night at midnight Jack bursts into my office with an amazing crooked smile of bewilderment on his face. He explained that he was just sitting around thinking about Walt Disney’s Snow White and realized that this couldn’t have been the original story so he asked himself if he had any references to this story in his library and sure enough he did in Grimms’ Fairy Tales; so he read the entire thing. He was amazed at what he read. First off the prince was a pedophile. Snow White was only 7 not in her teens or 20s as Disney would have us believe. The queen ate the boars heart the huntsman brought back thinking it was the heart of Snow White. Despite being told by the 7 dwarfs not to answer the door while they were away, Snow White answered the door three times and was killed by the queen three times. Jack surmised that Snow White was so frigging stupid that she deserved to die. The apple was not red but ½ was red and ½ was white. The queen ate the white half to show Snow White that it was A-Okay to eat the red half so Snow White did. Of course since Snow White was so darned pretty, the 7 dwarfs decided to put the dead Snow White in a glass coffin to preserve her beauty. Again weird. Now Jack asked me what kind of sicko prince would want a dead 7 year old in a glass coffin? Then to top things off, at the wedding of the prince and the 7 year old, the queen was

The Queen's Iron Shoes

The Queen’s Iron Shoes

punished for her attempted murders: a pair of glowing-hot iron shoes are brought forth with tongs and placed before the Queen. She is forced to step into the burning shoes and to dance until she drops dead

You just never know what your 16 year old is doing in the privacy of their room… it may not be what you suspect.

Wikipedia: Snow White

Wikipedia: Grimms’ Fairy Tales

What’s it all about?

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | May 17, 2015

David Brown

David Brown

There is something philosophers call ‘ontological knowledge’ that is also called innate knowledge. This knowledge lies beneath the critical thinking and reason realm (see ClearNFO: The structure supporting cherished beliefs…). We can offer up excuses and explanations and generate descriptions that seduce our vaulted egos into believing we have conquered a fact or two, providing thereby, some sort of understanding or wisdom; yet all this cognitive effort turns out insufficient and unsatisfying when dealing with the ontological realm.  The ontological deals with the feelings of love for one’s spouse of many years and the comfort, trust and effortless commitment that interweaves its tapestry, bonding the relationship. This realm also includes the birth or adoption of your first child; and for me, my pure joy and amazement and the miracle of my first grandchild … this is what I wrote when my beautiful Kylee B was born…

Yesterday had to go down in my life as a perfect day…(October 7, 2010 at 6:48am)
My beautiful 19 year old daughter had her first baby and my first grand baby yesterday.  For those into stats… she was born at 3:02 PM, 20.25 inches long and weighed in at a whopping 7.1 lbs.  Both the mother and the child are doing very well.  My daughter had a very quick and easy labor and the child was born healthy and beautiful.  The hospital was perfect.  The room was very large, comfortable and well equipped with all necessary amenities including chairs, a large sofa, TV, CD/VCR Player, Refrigerator, etc.  The mother and child never had to move from the birthing room and the family was left alone to admire and get to know our new addition in privacy, peace, quiet and comfort.   Interestingly the new baby was cleaned up and placed skin to skin on the mother’s bosom…what an incredible way to bond!  In the other birthings I’ve attended, the child is whisked away from the mother into a cold room all by its self. Both families were in attendance for the entire event.  It was very obvious to this observer that this special gift from God was born into two awesome families who will surround and protect and love and cherish our new addition.

So, what’s it all about? The ‘it’ here is life, and It’s about the family. It’s as simple as that. Why? Because you can only have so many Ferraris, summer homes, iPhones, iPads, etc. And for me, there is no success that can compensate for failure in the home.

Am I here to make your feel bad or jealous or to envy my perfect life or my perfect relationship? Not at all for my life is not perfect and my history is strewn with failures, heartbreaks and disappointments that would likely curl your toenails and straighten your hair. My intent rather is to communicate what I have learned based on my failures and successes.

Am I here to micromanage your life and tell you how to live or what is important to you? Not at all. I would never be so presumptuous as to believe that I have all the answers or that my truth is immutable; yet for me, I have found great joy and satisfaction within the family.

For me, Natalie Merchant expresses this well in her song below entitled ‘Beloved Wife’

Dionne Warwick Alfie – What’s it all about, Alfie?

A Personal Note on Oyster Stew

David Brown

David Brown

by DAVID BROWN | CLEARNFO.com | March 5, 2015

I’d like to brag a little bit here; but I guess it’s not bragging if you’ve done it, right? What I have done is make the best damn oyster stew in the entire frigging galaxy… that’s all. I frigging love my frigging cooking.

I hate getting older. Despite my keen cognitive abilities and massive accumulation of wisdom, style and knowledge from a life well-lived, well thought-out and enlightened by a few cursed decisions, I may have accumulated some foibles; one of which introduced itself to me tonight while at the grocery store picking ingredients for my oyster stew. My eye was itching as eyes sometimes do; even for a vigorous young beastly buck much my junior, so as a normal person would do, I reached up to rub my eye, but for some reason –that I still do not understand– I forgot to close my eyelid, sticking my finger thereby directly into my open eye. This was not a good plan and embarrassing if anyone happened to see what I had done. Additionally, at the checkout stand I’m sure I appeared to be crying as only the one tearing eye was facing the checkout person. I therefore pray to God that this is not due to my advancing age, but rather due to some stray muon from some distant galaxy striking the brain cell in charge of eye-closings; and thus, does not foreshadow things to come.