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Sunday, July 7, 2013
Volume 6, No. 27
ALTRUISTS OR THE SELFISH
WHICH DO WE REALLY ADMIRE?
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, it’s been an interesting, if not introspective past week in the House of Northstar. We’re focused on the fading health of Nelson Mandela, someone we’ve never met but who we feel has known us forever.
What is it that makes some people fight for the freedom of others and other people focus so narrowly on their own vested self-interests that life is all about them and no one else?
Ironically, I think that the one thing both groups have in common is the motive of self interest. The altruist defines it one way; the self-prepossessed, another.
The latter believes that the more wealth, power or whatever they accrue, acquire, cultivate and exercise, the better person they are. They’re of the Divine Right of Kings school of ethics. They don’t need to obey the law in their pursuit of happiness because that pursuit of happiness IS the law.
The self-prepossessed are extremely competitive. One way to acquire stuff is to defeat someone in combat of some kind and claim the spoils of victory, whether it’s extorting food stamps from a tenant late with the rent, getting a bunch of the rich and gullible to pay alms to the god, Ponzi, or having sex with your best friend’s partner simply because that partner is a slut anyway and if you get caught, it’s best for the friend to find out who and what they really married. And better they should find out from you who can attest to how easy they were to seduce and how much they wanted it.
The altruist tends to view life as this matrix of inter-connectedness. Like John Donne’s famous quote about no man (person) being an island. They see the value of cooperation and of sharing. They interpret Charles Darwin appropriately. That imminent Englishman did not say that it was the survival of the fittest but of the most adaptable.
Most altruists I’ve met have also been pretty ordinary folks in most respects. They’ve generally led g-rated lives and stayed out of the tabloids simply because away from the “job,” they were not as newsworthy as those who use any degree of peer or public recognition as a mandate to act like a total flipping prat.
Nelson Mandela, his wife Winnie and his kids are not so much different than the average family anywhere on this planet. Mr. Mandela is a father who hates to see his children suffer. He is a husband who feels his wife’s agony as his own. He is a human being to whom every other human being is a relative, near or distant. South Africans of any tribe or nation of origin are the kin he can see, hear and touch.
He fought for freedom because his emotions would allow him no other course. He went into a cell on RobbenIsland about the size of a middle-class walk-in closet. He spent most of his daylight hours chained to this huge rock he was breaking down, chunk by chunk, with a heavy sledge hammer. Most of us get tired following our lawn mower around the yard. Can you imagine what he must have endured, day after day, week after week, year after year?
There have never been enough people like Nelson Mandela. There have never been enough to fill the bellies of hungry children. There have never been enough to end the need for domestic violence shelters for women. There have never been enough to convince elected officials that it is better to govern by will of the consensus than the depth of the pork barrel.
But as long as we remember what people like Nelson Mandela did and why they did it, I don’t think the stone selfish will triumph in the end. But to the extent that they exert any influence at all, they will be a blight on the butt of all humanity.
Until next week, take care and Godspeed, then, eh? And thank you. I hope you like this week’s edition.
IN OTHER NEWS
Canadian authorities thwarted an Al Quaida-style attempt to bomb the BC provincial legislature on July 1, Canada Day. We predict that this was probably one of the dumbest attempted acts of terrorism in the history of the tactic itself. It is not generally a good idea to antagonize a country whose national past time involves whacking at one another with big sticks, living in places where even polar bears wear electric sox and eating a dish so disgusting it has to be disguised by a French name.
On behalf of others in the International Community, we would like to welcome Croatia to the European Union.
It’s about time to either put this whole climate change denial shtick to rest or classify it as a mental illness. According to the United Nations, the world suffered unprecedented climate extremes in this past decade
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
TOPICAL NEWS SHORTS
Well, this was typical. Someone at Huff Post Canada got the bright idea that we might want the nation’s capital in a city other than the one in which it is presently located. With more fanfare than a Calgary Stampede, this contest raged for several weeks and in the end, Ottawa prevailed. Sometimes, as a nation, I think we have way too much time on our hands.
What is good news for one gender is not necessarily good news for the other. Case in point? Canada’s Women Doing Better; Men, Not So Much
Check out the best-paying jobs in Canada that do not require a degree.
Here’s an application of 21st Century technology that we could really get behind. Thanks to a 3D printer, a crippled duck is going to walk again.
A South African man whose son was stabbed 12 times defending a girl friend from a gang attack has turned his neighborhood around. To see how he did this and why I think this is one of the best GOOD EXAMPLES we’ve published this year, please go here.
Long after he is no longer among us, Nelson Mandela will be remembered. Here is one of the reasons why. Where Mandela Kept Hope, Guide Tells Their Shared Saga
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Our little buddy, the Mars rover Curiosity, has been busy. Check out this short video of one of the planet’s tiny moons, Phobos, rising.
CLOSER TO HOME
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY READER QUIZ
Okay, gang. It’s time to find out how much you know about Egypt.
THE GREEN AGENDA
Are you delusional about your health? Weird question, I know. But a recent study suggests that most of us think we are in better health than we actually are. I found this very interesting. Check it out here then, eh?
Child birthing costs more in the United States than it does in any other developed nation. Why?
Lower back pain afflicts millions of us, whether chronically or as the result of situational stress or injury. I’m one of these people who hates to use anything I might run out of so I was very relieved (pun intended) to learn about a very simple exercise which can really make a difference.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
We are aware, from personal experience, of the heath damage working swing or graveyard can do to one’s system. We did not know, however, that breast cancer risk could double for women working night shifts
BEST OF THE NET
Space History Photo: Shuttle Atlantis Under A Full Moon –Rating *****
BLOGS WE FOLLOW
The Tomatoman Times – Sardonic, ironic, sometimes poignantly incisive, this is also one of the longest running human interest blogs on the Net and well worth the read.
Meade’s California Coast is moving commentary and photos by one of that state’s premier photojournalists. Short, poignant and memorable, it is a tribute to both the craft and the subject.
No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News is like a blend of Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and the science pages of the New York Times and the Huffington Post. I totally geek out when I read these folks.
All photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor. For a virtual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here.
One of the things that continues to impress and delight me about Seattle’s neighborhoods is how rustic and architecturally homogenous they can be. It’s almost like “The Land Tract Housing Forgot.”
Guess Which Fair Metropolis Tied For Fifth Snobbiest City in America? Hint: It Was Not Bellevue
KOMO 4 News (ABC)
KIRO 7 (CBS)
KING 5 News (NBC)
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Here’s one that I thought was kind of weird. Some scientists have taught cockatoos to open locks. It seems to me that if they can learn to use a key, the next step is a combination and then a pick. We have heard that scientists are often required to go out of the box in search of funding but times must indeed be hard when several of them feel compelled to teach birds how to invade petty cash.
And now it appears that “crazy ants” are invading the American Southeast. What has Dixie done to deserve this, eh?
FROM THOSE WHOSE EFFORTS WE ENDORSE AND SUPPORT
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
AVAILABLE FROM NORTHSTAR
WRATH OF THE TESTAMENT
an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion
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A FINAL WORLD
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Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty