Thursday, December 3, 2009

Militants, militants

All these years later, it's lost none of its aching beauty. Couldn't wait to get home and hear "Talk to me of Mendocino." I've had that song stuck in my head all day.
And there are far worse things to have stuck in one's head. Like Phineas Gage for example?

Phineas was among that class of Experimenters who expand human knowledge without previously having expressed intent. Some would prefer the term "accidents" but that's too few words for me.

A tamping rod is about five foot long, inch in diameter. When blasting away rock faces to build highways or railroads, holes were bored, explosive charges were inserted, tamping rod was used to ensure charge is at the bottom. Phineas got one stuck in his head, 1848. Went in under the cheekbone and there he was with a rod half-in and half-out of his skull.

Everybody was surprised he survived, and how his behavior changed after the rod was extracted. In recovery, Phineas went from a chaste vocabulary to nonstop profanity. Went from very polite to extremely rude with visitors, attending physicians, well everybody who darkened the doorway of his hosptial room.

That was before the infancy of brain science. 1848 was second trimester of brain science. Now it's commonly understood when someone suffers trauma to the brain, what comes back first is all the stuff they're NOT supposed to say. This is because among humans, socialization demands that negatives form a deeper impression. In recovery, negatives are retrieved first, inhibition second. That's just how the human brain works; negative memories are very very vivid. Ask anybody who's tried to cross the Tennesee River on an innertube if you won't take my word for it.

The medical term for this is Boggled noggin syndrome, which comes from the Latin 'embogglious noggium' and I think that means "OUCH! I have a rod sticking through my skull!"

But enough about that. There are plenty folks walking around with above average number of holes in the head, and no tamping rod souvenier to show for it...

By that I mean militants. As I define it, a militant is a person who self-identifies with some group where allegiance to a political agenda and willingness to act like Mikey Corleone doesn't fit with the self-identified group definition.

The weirdest ones are militant Atheists. Folks who are passionate about opposing a Being they claim not to believe exists. Forget I said that...

There's a group called "Freedom from Religion" that has set its sights on Memphis. They want the City Council to stop having prayer before sessions.

They're not from Memphis, but apparently it bugs them to no end, that prayers are said before Memphis City Council breaks along racial lines, usually five seconds after the "Amen."

See, me? I want young people in Memphis to stop murdering each other. But according to these militant Atheist visitors, the most pressing Memphis problem is prayer before City Council meetings.

American Revolution, and the form of government that followed, the Abolition movement, the Civil Rights movement, all drawn from "Cause God says so." I don't hear that argument being used much any more, except on suicide bomber videos.

Militants. The entire mass of humanity cries out for direction, and people are going at the compass with a sledge hammer. Well, I reckon the compass must be pointing right if some want to destroy it. And I guess others more powerful have tried & failed in the past.

Seems kind of ridiculous though? Spending all one's passion in opposition to a Being who supposedly doesn't exist.

Forget I said that! I'll just listen to "Talk to me of Mendocino" about eighteen times. Some things never change.

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