SEASON


 "Steal away, steal away
  Steal away on home...

        Claremont, located about 40 miles inland from the southern coast of California, is one of the more unique and interesting smaller cities of the several hundred cities, towns and communities which make up the very large more-or-less, single extended city of the general west coast Southern California area. On any given evening in downtown Claremont Village during the 1990's, one might have stumbled upon a variable checkerboard of humanity, ranging from wealthy and elite professional athletes, educators, authors and business entrepreneurs, who resided in custom homes in the nearby mountain foothills, to everyday school teachers, closet intellectuals, students, struggling musicians, artists, construction laborers, retail clerks and restaurant personnel and even a few homeless individuals who roamed in poverty nearby.  Snoop Dogg had a residence there, as did more than one Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player, poet Leonard Cohen stayed at a Buddhist retreat in nearby Mount Baldy and some of Stephen J. Canell's production crew were particularly fond of a certain local Claremont watering hole.  Also, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame) and several other sixties folk artists and activists were known to stop now and then at the Claremont Village folk music store.

        One evening in those same nineties, I was invited to attend a free concert held at this very small, yet somewhat famous folk music store, performed by the talented John York, who briefly played bass and sang with the sixties folk-rock group, The Byrds and now makes his home in the Claremont area.  Mr. York had a rather interesting tale of how the first major band to initiate both folk-rock and later, country-rock onto the international music scene, came to record the now famous song, "Turn, Turn, Turn".  Apparently the material originally was passed to (Jim) Roger McGuinn by folk icon Pete Seeger, who a few years earlier it seems, had more or less plagiarized a portion of the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes to help promote his own somewhat unique variety of social activism.  Since the original author is apparently long dead, it seems that Seeger and The Byrds were thus spared an otherwise, nasty and embarrassing copyright infringement lawsuit.

        As I recall the story, The Byrds, who were notorious for both their verbal and actual fist-fighting amongst themselves and who were later distinguished as being the first major music group to have been banned at least "Eight Miles High" ¹  from access to radio airtime, were not unanimously, all that high on being associated with material that came from such an 'uncool' source as the Bible.  Arguments reportedly escalated farther with the ever-conservative record label, which apparently thought it might 'tick off ' more than a few parents and which also, insisted it was not commercially viable.  The song, of course, sprang up the charts to number one virtually overnight in record industry fashion accordingly (no telling what us no good hippie-types would latch onto in those simple times).  Today, even fundamental church groups sing this and other formerly restricted "communistic" folk tunes around their picnic campfires of hot dogs, Coca-Cola and other assorted gourmet of self-induced heart attack, which they somehow deem more appropriate toward a life of personal holiness than good whiskey, table wine and our Creator's much beloved gift of tobacco (Biblical literalists are not always easy to figure out).

        "Turn, Turn, Turn" of course, was a major plus for young impressionable social misfits such as myself, who were suffering through the mundane curriculum of rather large and drug-infested, Southern California high schools.
It provided for us the dual advantage of discovering that our local priests and preachers were fundamentally lying about what the Bible actually says (i.e., Song of Solomon is located nearby the more esoteric Ecclesiastes) and more importantly to us at the time, since we rarely listened to priests, preachers or anyone else over thirty anyway, it gave us a decided one-up on our English and literature teachers, who were still stuck in the American scholastic rut of trying hard to believe and then somehow to convince us, that The Raven and Jane Eyre are more profound examples of literature than Isaiah and the New Testament John and that Frost and Whitman are likewise, somehow superior poets to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon (we considered them only half-assed poets at best; i.e., they didn't even do music) and they also handed out "D" and "F" grades for writing sentences that meander on and on as this one does with no apparent purpose, direction, rhyme and/or reason for the insidious existence of such a rambling of superficial drivel, but no small wonder that we were mostly inclined to tune out and drop out and likewise, wished they would all grow up, shut up, drop dead and/or disappear.

        Although all of us were and most of us remain, decidedly unchristian in our various view of the Bible, the social anthem "Turn, Turn, Turn", in addition to being a boon to our own somewhat questionable juvenile motivations, had a profound and lasting influence on American and international culture, encour- aging many diverse and nefarious rock musicians and lyricists and other assorted sinners, hookers, bikers and related far-out occultists, to actually read something that apparently, few priests, preachers and/or educators have bothered to study very carefully, if at all.  Even I myself, when not riding my motorcycle or otherwise engaged with more pressing matters at our local point of social inspiration, actually began to read the Bible, though my interest was mainly restricted to Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and John, the latter of which today continues to fascinate me for its mistranslated (by every major translation) and even more grossly misunderstood, concept of Logos.  ("In the beginning was Logos. . .")

        Our modern educators would do well to study the example of and listen to, a true American hero such as Pete Seeger *  and to pay attention to what does and does not, hold the interest of America's children.  And they would do even better to give consideration to the above noted Greek concept of "Logos”, which places the search for truth at the logical center of true science, education, literature, philosophy, etc. and God, the gods, or the "unknown God" or Ultimate Truth, represented by Logos, as the 'litmus' rod and ultimate reality of which we can only hope, as the New Testament author Paul stated in one of history's most famous literary passages, to see "in part",  as through a "mirror,  very dimly". ²   Logos is a multi-faceted concept having more than one distinct meaning and if one wishes to squander away valuable time and mental resources, they can wade through a most erudite, lengthy, redundant and largely incorrect explanation of Logos in the normally reliable Encyclopedia Britannica.  To the average educated Greek mind Logos simply meant, "that which is really true as opposed to that which is believed or appears or is assumed to be true".  This concept is invaluable when attempting to sort out what is believed to be true based on evidence as opposed to what one's society assumes to be correct and likewise, what Jesus actually said and did and most probably intended as opposed to what Christianity claims he said and did and never in a million years, ever even remotely intended.

        An honest search for truth cannot be postulated with statements of assumption, such as "There is a God" or "The Bible is infallible", nor other equally assumed (and entirely irrational) statements, such as "The universe and all of its diversity came into being through random appearing self-organizing and selective-mutational processes empowered and arranged by the unknown god of Natural Selection."  As Socrates argued and was eventually put to death for, the search for truth and thus, true education, must be measured by evidence through question until no contradictory argument can logically exist and only then, can something be deemed as being perhaps, "true".  The fundamental question of all true science and education being, "How did we get here---Is there a creator God or Gods?" and continuing with "If so, are they still around?" "And if so, are they positive, negative or ambivalent toward improving the lot of We The People of Planet Earth?" **  A 'science' or 'education' system which ignores these fundamental questions is less credible than even the most absurd mythologies from our ancient past, devoid of wisdom, rational understanding and ethical or moral benefit.  (See Of God and Monkey Business for more details.)

       Scientists and educators who are afraid of, or who otherwise ignore the fundamental "God Question", are not worthy of their supposed credentials (whatever they may be), nor should we in any way give ear to them, nor allow them to instruct our offspring.  Quite obviously to an average baboon with even half a brain, the modern evolutionary theory of Natural Selection is at best, a juvenile fairytale of superstitious assumption, for among its many other contradictions of evidence and common horse sense, it offers no explanation of primary Cause for the observable effect.  It is irrational to conclude that selection can take place without something first to select from, nor is it any more rational to "believe" that the Taj Mahal or our Milky Way Galaxy and the life forms therein could appear by random chance arrangement of their constructive parts through unguided, selective-mutational, self-organizing processes. Supposing that the "grand design" of the universe could somehow, appear on its own devoid of a Grand Designer or Designers, truly represents an evolution of inane monkey science of the comically absurd.  (See also The Myth of Modern Science.)

        We wonder why our modern American children want to sit by their computers and engage in pretend games of shallowness and violence, rather than participate in reality games, such as baseball in the street and fighting among their peers and why they have a penchant for shooting up our schools instead of just beating each other up with their fists, as most of us were content with doing.  And we pretend to understand the solution with our patronizing answers of external morality and shallow education, which are no more than a worthless band-aid, trying to patch up the underlying seething black hole of superstition and rage (as Freud and later psychoanalysts have found to be the troubling reality of our species).  Neither our children nor ourselves can understand our logical meaning and place within the "Great Mandella" of human experience,  as Peter Yarrow (above),  borrowing from Tibetan philosophy, sang ³,  without at least a rudimentary understanding of Buddhism, Taoism and the other major world religions.  Likewise, there can be no rhyme or reason to Shakespeare, Schweitzer, Steinbeck, Twain, Keller, Douglas, Gandhi, King, Human and Civil Rights and indeed, no understanding whatsoever of the American experience and the historical record of our contradicting species, if one does not have at least an elemental knowledge of Moses, King David, Isaiah and the very liberal, Jesus and Paul (those who view either of these two as conservative have not paid very close attention to what they actually said and more importantly, did).

        With our modern twisted 'educational' view of freedom from exposure to civilization's moral heritage, we have denied our children the fundamental meaning of what separates men and women from the beasts, that being our need for "the truth" (if we have no innate problem and there be no evil, then why does our species universally harbor this otherwise insane notion of the "search for truth"?---who lied to us in the first place and why?).  On one hypocritical side, we have the pharisaical fundamentalists, wanting only to push their own twisted brand of religion in our schools, who seem to specialize in having no concept whatsoever of Human Rights, freedom of speech or freedom of anything else.  On the other side, we have equally narrow-minded scientists and educators, who appear to be scared to death that if a few of our children were exposed to some of history's more quality literature, that they might begin to suspect, as we began to understand in our high school days during the sixties, that our proud scientists and educators really do not know much of what they profess to understand.  Interestingly enough, American individuals as diverse as leading historian and agnostic Will Durant, prolific author and atheist Isaac Asimov and country music legend Johnny Cash 4
 all agree that it is utter insanity to suggest that our children can be 'educated' without a fundamental knowledge of Biblical literature and history and the remaining major moral heritage of world civilization history.

        "But to what shall I liken this generation?  It is like children, sitting in the marketplaces. . ." 5
 ". . .And did not know until the floods came, and took them all away. . ." 6  "To everything there is a season. . ." 7  And as we approach the birth of a truly international economy directed toward a global, ray-gun-in-space community lacking in even a rudimentary knowledge of its cultural and moral heritage, this undoubtedly must be our civilization's Season Of Insanity.  ". . .a time of love, and a time of hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. . ." 8  Can We The People of Planet Earth still fly high, like Byrds in the sky?  Or are our skies too polluted and our hearts far too jaded for anything other than further proliferation of plunder, rape and murder?  Was Barry McGuire fair in asking if we are on the "Eve of Destruction"? 9  Can we still even hope to "swear it's not too late" 10  for peace?  As our reluctant voice from the sixties, Bob Dylan, can be heard echoing from the yellowing lyric collections of that small folk music store in Claremont Village, more than likely, "it's a hard rain, a gonna fall". 11


The Guacamole Fund      Bread and Roses


DEDICATED TO:  Pete Seeger, one of the most influential human beings toward the positive good of the Twentieth Century, though very few people even begin to understand why. *  Also dedicated to Jackson Browne, the late Mimi Farina and the many fine artists and other professionals of conscience associated with the Guacamole Fund and Bread and Roses.


Credits:

1. "Eight Miles High" by Roger McGuinn; The Byrds Fifth Dimension (1966).

2. First Corinthians 13:9-12.

3. "The Great Mandella" by Peter Yarrow--based on the Tibetan cultural Wheel of Time Sand Mandala; from Peter, Paul & Mary Album 1700 (1967).

4.  Johnny Cash recorded the entire New Testament New King James Version on audiotape (available through Amazon.com; several complete versions of the Bible including NKJV are available online at BibleGateway.com).  The NKJV version is not recommended by most modern fundamentalist Christians and thus, highly recommended by the author,as among other improvements, it eliminates the threatening "thee's" and "thou's" and makes some attempt to retain poetry written as such and not as prose.  There apparently are no unbiased translations of the Bible available, including this one.  Some of the more recent versions currently favored by modern Evangelical Christians appear to deliberately distort the intentions of the original authors in favor of conservative fundamentalist religiosity, Western-thought Euro/American bias and other unfounded assumption and therefore, should be avoided in favor of more honest and credible "secular" editions.  It remains a great loss to modern civilization that there are no known original copies of the New Testament; all of the versions currently in use are translations of other copies.  Much of the Old Testament was originally in oral form only, apparently passed through Abraham and his descendants from early corresponding events of Mesopotamian civilization (Abraham was from the ancient city of Ur, formerly located in what is now modern-day Iraq, which more correctly than many dishonest historians would have us believe, explains why Old Testament stories appear to be copies of earlier Mesopotamian ‘myths’---that is, they are clearly the same memories of events passed down through generations originating from Mesopotamia, not imitations invented by later Judaic scribes and, several fairly recent discoveries indicate they are far from myths).  Due to the extended age, modern versions of the Old Testament are perhaps, even less reliable of the original nature and intent of the literature than current versions of the New Testament (certainly, much concerning ancient cultural context is lost to modern Western-thought bias, along with Hebrew poetic form being severely corrupted into modern English translation).
        Durant, Asimov and others who have studied the origins of ancient history carefully, generally agree that most, if not all of the personages and events of the Bible, are based on actual people and actual historical events, including Job, the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel, Moses and Aaron in contention with the rulers of Egypt, the Battle of Jericho and the story of Daniel.  Durant even went so far as to state that Jesus may well have been able to perform the miracles attributed to him, believable (according to Durant), due to his obvious superior degree of intelligence over normal human capability.  Again, virtually all of the formerly thought improbabilities portrayed in the Biblical record, such as the plagues against Egypt and the battle of Jericho, for example, are now believable based on current archeological, historical and scientific knowledge.  Likewise, much of what was at one time scorned in the Bible as being scientifically impossible remains now unexplainable apart from divine guidance, as to the advanced scientific accuracy of the Biblical authors based on modern understanding of biology, genetics, human psychology, astronomy and physics (see Random Chance A-Z Primer of Science and the Bible for more details).  (For more historical information, see:  Our Oriental Heritage and Caesar and Christ by Will and Ariel Durant; The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan, editor; Encyclopedia Britannica---several related articles including “Biblical Literature”, “Moses”, “Jesus”, “Judaism”, many others; Asimov's Guide To The Bible, by Isaac Asimov.)

5. Matthew 11:16.

6. Matthew 24:39.

7. Ecclesiastes 3:1.

8. Ecclesiastes 3:8.

9. "Eve Of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (1965)

10. From "Turn, Turn, Turn" adapted from Ecclesiastes by Pete Seeger (1954); recorded by The Byrds (1965)

11. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan; from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)


*FootNote:  One who does not understand why Pete Seeger is a major positive influence is more than likely, a victim of modern mis-education and therefore, has no comprehension of the foundation for Human and Civil Rights and what is, in the reality of the human experience (i.e., human action, interaction and reaction in the real world of commerce and survival), actually true.  (See Singing The John Birch Society Blues, Credit #2, and Pete's Song for more details.)

**FootNote II:  Although there is no record of Socrates himself having used the term "Logos", some would perhaps correctly argue that true logic (or at least Socratic method) begins with an assumed (generally ignorant) position or postulate, such as "the universe evolved by a series of random chance self-organizing processes", after which, converse positions in the form of questions are raised until the original statement is either proven correct (because all seemingly valid opposing questions have been logically answered) or the original position is dismissed as incorrect, because it can not logically respond to a valid opposing viewpoint.  Of course, such absurd assumed and non-provable postulates as are necessary to prop up current modern theories of self-organizing evolution by Natural Selection can forever be logically challenged with entirely valid opposing questions, have no hope of ever being proven by evidence from our 'grain-of-sand' earth-based perspective and thus, such irrational assumptions do not belong in the realm of anything even remotely posing as 'science'.  A 'science' that assumes there is no Creator without examining the overwhelming evidence is no better than a fundamentalist religion that assumes people of varying surface sexuality are morally inferior and a 'science' that ignores the God question is arguably, of considerable less value than an obvious fairytale meant for the amusement of small children. (See also, The Myth Of Modern Science and Like A Tree Planted.)



           


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Copyright © August 20th, 2003 by Richard Aberdeen.

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