Saturday, July 18, 2020

Overdose, accidents and gun violence.

"More than 140,000 Americans have already died from the coronavirus, meaning that in the span of six and a half months, SARS-CoV-2 has killed more people than the number of Americans who die each year from opioid overdose (46,000), traffic accidents (36,500), and gun violence (40,000) combined." 
"The COVID-19 pandemic isn't subsiding in the U.S., with more than 70,000 new cases per day as of July 15."

While all living things will die in some way, from some cause, at some time - it is unfortunate that we plummet the worlds resources and refuse to hold in check our privileges, while more persons die earlier than is necessary - if only we cared more and acted differently.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Caring for what we know and don't know - by Wendell Berry

Late Summer Fields (2018)

• • •

To care for what we know requires
care for what we don’t, the world’s lives dark in the soil,
dark in the dark.

Forbearance is the first care we give
to what we do not know. We live
by lives we don’t intend, lives
that exceed our thoughts and needs, outlast
our designs, staying by passing through,
surviving again and again the risky passages
from ice to warmth, dark to light.

Rightness of scale is our second care:
the willingness to think and work
within the limits of our competence
to do no permanent wrong to anything
of permanent worth to the earth’s life,
known or unknown, now or ever, never
destroying by knowledge, unknowingly,
what we do not know, so that the world
in its mystery, the known unknown world,
will live and thrive while we live.

And our competence to do no
permanent wrong to the land
is limited by the land’s competence
to suffer our ignorance, our errors,
and — provided the scale
is right — to recover, to be made whole.

• Wendell Berry

A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2020

I gave up on Facebook

I gave up on Facebook two years ago.

Even though I used the platform intentionally to be positive and a peacemaker - I realized the platform became a breeding ground for dissension, strife, and attacks.

It seems to me what I experienced on Facebook is becoming more "mainstream" in everyday interactions.

It feels to me that people are more bitter, more condescending, more aggressive and more willing to be caught up in petty dissent and/or outright flagrant arguments - in the grocery store or at the gasoline pump.

It makes me sad.

We can be better.

We can be peaceable.

We really do need each other.

The future of human flourishing - and the flourishing of all living things - depends on our communal care.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 and Social Care

Globally, SARS-CoV-2 has never slowed down.

In regionally specific areas, where decisive action has been taken by wise human agency, cases have dropped.  And yet, in other areas where poor human decisions and failures of action are a reality, cases of infected persons and COVID-19 have risen.

It is scary.

And, it is foolish.

For any virus in any time in human history, we know as a matter of fact that diminishing contact(s) decreases the spread of the virus.  Period.

While the "novel" (new) coronavirus that is SARS-CoV-2 is presenting new challenges to understand it's unique spread and impact, we have known that limiting contact with the virus decreases the viral spread.  Fact.

  • I am deeply troubled by persons pushing the boundaries (or ignoring all-together) social distancing.
  • I am deeply troubled by persons engaging in active gatherings from beaches to rallies to congregational events.
  • I am deeply troubled by protests to wear masks and/or a failure to graciously wear masks in any public place.

It's impossible for me to discern how persons think about their lives and their "freedoms" or "rights" in any precise way.  It does seem evident far too many persons in the United States of America are not amenable to simple calculations of reasonable discernment.

I've tried to think of analogies to understand the situation.  The "best" one I can come up with is something akin to the "water parks" where kids play - the "splash-pad" variety.  These are the water parks that various have "sprays" or "shooting water" that come on with variable power and random "dumps" from slowly filling bucket perched on high.

  • A person who goes nowhere near the splash-pad is guaranteed not to get wet from the splash-pad.
  • A person near the splash-pad though not on the "concrete" footing itself, may or may not get wet - depending on many variables including wind, sun and temperature and the persons proximity of 5 feet from the pad to 50 feet or 150 feet from the pad.  
  • A person near the splash-pad,  fully contained within a vehicle with the doors and windows closed or perhaps within an outdoor sealed camping tent, may be *nearly* subject to getting wet and yet, would be untouched personally by the moisture.
  • And yet, a person who tries to strategically criss-cross the splash-pad by not getting wet - can not do it.  They may only get minimally wet compared to a person standing under a bucket - and yet, that person *will* get wet.  It is impossible to cross the splash-pad and not get at least minimally wet.
  • And, of course, persons actively playing on the splash-pad will get soaking wet.

We can avoid the impact of SARS-CoV-2 by limiting the frequency
and proximity of all of our social contacts.

We can avoid the impact of SARS-CoV-2 by "suiting up" (masking) for it's 
spread when we are in the presence of any other persons.

Separate from the fact that some people die from COVID-19.  We still have no long-term awareness of how contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus will impact persons in a year, or two or five or ten years.  This is a *new* virus and it's long-term impact on organs and bodies is unknown.

I wish we cared more about our lives and the lives of one another - such that we all acted more cautiously and carefully now.

And, I wish I lived in New Zealand. Not only are the two "islands" of New Zealand gorgeous for geography and topography - and not only are they a diverse group of many persons from various regions -  their social care and public, shared, scientifically informed, and politically shaped response to SARS-CoV-2 is a model of social care.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Shalom - Peace in Our World

It was my delight to be a guest on a podcast & videocast: Caffeinated Inspirations.

In this episode Christina Riley, owner of Studiobeanhead zoom interviews Marty Michelson; Educator, Pastor, Certified Peace and Conflict Resolution, Relational Therapist and Ph.D. of Ancient Jewish History and Literature on the Topic of Shalom (Which is the Hebrew word for Peace). In this episode you will learn about Corrie Ten Boom's story from her experience during WWII and the Nazification of the Dutch people, and see how it can relate to us seeking and finding peace today. This is truly a rare treat to listen to some incredible insight about how we can look back at true stories from ancient history to learn more about peace for today and even for the future.