Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cosmic Duplicates

The notion of a Multiverse is gaining credulity (not to be confused with credibility). No matter that it is impossible to ever prove that there are other universes besides the one we know. No matter that we can never prove that there is an infinite and timeless Multiverse. (See my article, Part Two of Three, dated January 11, 2012 titled, When Did Yesterday Happen? Its 1st and 3rd parts are dated January 2nd and 15th 2012 respectively).

Now, along with the enigmatic but proved co-existence of Quantum Science and Classic Science, there is the absolutely speculative buzz concept of a Multiverse. It would not surprise me if another leap of fancy soon emerges—one that reduces the imagined Multiverse to just one Multiverse in an infinite sea of Multiversi (or is it Multiversae?).

Current speculations include all manner of sub-speculations, one of which posits that since infinite combinations of factors eventually must repeat themselves, precise duplicates of you and me exist in a parallel universe. To this notion is added the fail-safe loophole argument that duplicate human beings may live very different lives in their separate universes despite being the “same” individual. One of you (or me) may be poor, the other rich; one of “us” may catch a train that the other misses by just one second because he was late; one of us may die before the other dies. Yet, we are a duplicate of each other in separate universes.

But wait! Taking the notion of infinite universes a step further, I assume that in a Multiverse or in Multiversi, there wouldn’t be one of anything, including a pair of the “same” individual, of course. In other words, nothing would be unique and loophole arguments would cover any and all discrepancies between duplicate beings.

But wait again! If we take one step further into fantascience we can assume that each of us in identical universes has a duplicate father whose millions of individual sperm cells fertilized millions of eggs in millions of separate universes. (Remember, we’re dealing with infinity here.) Given the unavoidable discrepancy between the “number” of universes and the “number” of identical universes would present an insolvable mathematical problem: infinities by definition don’t have “numbers.” But then, a new math can be devised to accommodate the irreconcilable reality of infinite identical universes within a greater “number” of infinite non-identical universes. As you may know, I don’t usually engage in sarcasm. But the plethora of fantascience speculation begs for it.

Perhaps I am naive, but I see no substantive distinction between cosmic duplicates and fraternal twins right here and now on earth in the only universe we know exists. And we need not embellish its grandeur, beauty, and elegance.

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Character Part 2

Part 2 of Two

(continued from Character, Part 1 of Two)

Fundamental Cause

Each of the incidences cited above differs in surface details as reported in the press. Each was a tragedy waiting to happen. Each was not about race. They were also not about harassment.

Timar Rice inadvertently made a fatal move when he touched his gun. The policeman automatically responded to that move and fatally shot Timar. His death was tragic but fundamentally accidental. Trayvon Martin was a much younger and stronger man than George Zimmerman. There was a critical face-to-face moment when George Zimmerman, a man who was ultimately proved to be unprejudiced, shot Trayvon because he thought Trayvon would seriously injure or kill him. Michael Brown violently lunged toward the officer with the intent to kill when he was shot. Eric Garner died as a result of his exhausting resistance to arrest.

None of those tragic deaths resulted from harassment or racial prejudice. Unfortunately, sensational cases are those that receive the greatest notoriety. Highlighting cases that are not sensational or end with a fatality would better expose unequivocal police harassment and brutality.

Instead of having an honest and thorough dialogue about authentic harassment and brutality, protesters and ‘officials’ alike engage in mindless slogans and destructive actions. Looting stores has nothing to do with rage: it has everything to do with ruthless greed. Raising both arms in homage to Michael Brown is a lie. And, no one knows better than a policeman who risks his life every day that “Black Lives Matter.”

The spectacle of a rhythmic chant demanding “dead cops” is chilling not only because it is a threat but because it is like something out of Nazi Germany and is disgracefully un-American. I remember the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. I remember the integrity and dignity of most protesters. I remember Martin Luther King who did something about injustice with courageous leadership and inspiring words.

You’ve probably noticed that in modern print the word “character” has often been altered to “mind” in Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech (August 28, 1963).

Although “mind” is a reasonable surrogate for “character,” “character” is far more encompassing, as Martin Luther King meant it to be. Remembering his original use of the word, prompted me to search the speech online as recorded in the United States National Archives. Here is the precise excerpt:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I was thrilled by the truth and brilliance of his speech when he first delivered it. So much so, that the sounds of his spoken words still ring in my memory.

During a public protest, let alone a riot, there isn’t much space for “mind” in a crowd. But individuals within it reveal great difference in character. I vividly remember the contrast between two protesters in the Ferguson riots. One of those individuals started a fire in a store, the other individual quietly extinguished it. That tells me more about controversial issues than any sociological study, demographic report, or poll.

Character invariably distinguishes an individual from all others. It is the fundamental factor that determines the difference between a brutal policeman and a heroic officer like Rafael Ramos; a looting rioter and a peaceful protester; an Al Sharpton and a Martin Luther King.

In a larger context, character is a function of free will. It defines whom an individual chooses to be morally. Whatever the factors of heredity, environment, and circumstance may be, character is inviolate. It is autonomous.

Character is the DNA of the soul.

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Character Part 1

Part 1 of Two

Young black men tell me that white policemen harass them. I believe them. But the highly controversial instances referenced below are not examples of harassment.

Tamir Rice

In a Cleveland park, a boy (Tamir Rice) with a toy gun was fatally shot by a policeman. Details of the incident vary. What is certain is that the police were called by a man in the park who said that someone, “probably a juvenile,” was brandishing a gun, “probably fake, and he was frightening random people by pointing it at them.” It was later revealed that the caller’s supposition that the gun was fake was not relayed to the police who were dispatched to the scene. Also, there was no orange tag on the gun to signify that the ‘semi-automatic pistol’ was not real.

Depending on which online reports I read, Tamir was shot “1.5” or “2.0” or “10” seconds after the police arrived on the scene and ordered him to put his hands over (or on) his head. Tamir was at an age when he was part boy, part man. Perhaps he meant to play with the police when he reached for his remarkably realistic toy gun by pretending to shoot them. Perhaps he merely intended to show the gun to them. In any case, Tamir was shot the instant he touched his toy gun.

Tamir couldn’t have known that touching his gun would trigger an immediate and automatic response from the officer. Conversely, the policeman couldn’t have known whether or not Tamir was a random killer. The ingredients for an all too familiar tragedy were in place.

Tamir was fatally shot, but not because he was black.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin was walking through a neighborhood that had experienced multiple robberies. Fred Zimmerman, a community watch, followed him despite a dispatcher’s advice for him not to do so. There was an altercation between the two men. One of them was heard to scream, “Help!…Help!” Given the vocal distortion of a scream, it was not known which of the two cried for help. It is very unlikely that Trayvon would scream for help during a physical encounter. Fred was armed, but Trayvon was much younger. My considered supposition is that Fred shot Trayvon in self-defense.

Much has been said about “unarmed” men being shot by policemen. That fact is irrelevant and its implications disingenuous when all aspects of a confrontation are considered (see also: Michael Brown, below). Fred’s injuries strongly suggest that Trayvon began to beat him. Whatever happened, investigation proved that Fred is unequivocally not a racist. For surface details, you may be interested in reading my article titled, Justice, Prejudice, and Testosterone, dated April 9, 2012.

Trayvon was fatally shot, but not because he was black.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown was ordered to stop walking in the middle of the street. That is not harassment. But Michael would not comply with the policeman’s command. The confrontation rapidly accelerated, intensified, and included physical violence. Michael, unarmed but an extraordinarily powerful young man, charged the officer with the intent to kill. The officer was no match for Michael. He shot Michael in self-defense. For surface details, you may be interested in reading my article titled, Predictable Pattern, dated September 8, 2014.

Michael was fatally shot, but not because he was black.

Eric Garner

Eric Garner had heart disease, severe asthma, high blood pressure, and was dangerously overweight (350 pounds). Police officers attempted to arrest him for

illegally selling loose cigarettes. That is not harassment. To his pre-existing ailments, he added enormous stress on his heart when he resisted arrest. Perhaps their restraining tactics were excessive, but the controversial chokehold or headlock did not in and of itself cut air from Eric’s lungs (that’s the very reason he was able to say, “I can’t breathe.”) The officers could not have known about his cardiopulmonary ailments. His ill-health significantly contributed to his death. He died in an ambulance on his way to the hospital when he went into cardiac arrest.

Eric’s death was the result of those and other factors, but not because he was black.

(to be continued in Character, Part 2 of Two)

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