CACS’s Turn

*Well, I’ve let RES speak twice!  I like the way she points out one thing we might forget in the heat of the approaching election.  The way to change the culture is not the force of government but the “still small voice” of stories — in which, btw, I’d include non fiction as well as fiction.  Win or lose, our fight is only beginning against the world of hatred-for-humans and the headlong rush to civilizational suicide.  Narrate the world as you wish it, inspire others with your vision.  In the world of ideas, ideas win.  See how many children Heinlein who was biologically childless has left behind.  Has any patriarch ever sired such a splendid tribe?  Go you and do likewise.  I’d change her “we have hope with a spine, to “we have hope with spikes” but that’s me…”  And thank you — from my heart — to CACS for relieving me from my duty as a blogger on this very busy weekend, and for her eloquence and warm humanity too, both as a commenter and a contributor.*

CACS Speaks

by CACS

The United Stated has long embraced the thought that there is always tomorrow. People came here because they fully believed that this is a land of hope. Ongoing despair has not been one of our particular cultural characteristics. (I hope that this will remain the case.)

Momma, who had been a sickly child, only survived to adulthood because of the miracle of antibiotics. During WWII she became the one of the first civilians to receive a skin graft. (She had been bitten by a bulldog and almost lost a finger to gangrene that she developed while a patient in a naval hospital.) I received vaccinations for all sorts of childhood diseases that had been a real threat when my parents were children. My childhood things never had to be burned because they had been contaminated by scarlet fever, as Daddy’s had been. Why wouldn’t my parent’s generation believe that science could hold the answer?

Yes, science was going to be their savior, and there was a religious fervor to this belief. They had the promise of unlimited inexpensive energy through the safe unlocking of the power of the atom, which was just on the horizon. At the same time, because it had been so horrible, they believed that the unleashing of the atom bomb meant that going to war would soon become unthinkable.

Through scientific hybridization, pesticides, mechanization and farm management food was becoming cheap and plentiful. Farming was becoming much safer for the farmer. Refrigeration and freezing meant that a wide variety of fresh foods would be available to everyone year round. With better practices in food handling food-borne illness would become a thing of the past.

It was believed that with the proper management of nutrition, vaccinations to eliminate illnesses and advanced treatments long lives of good health would be in reach of all. We had even begun to unlock the mystery of the workings of the mind. Once we did that we would eliminate the scourges of mental illness and crime!

What reason was there not to hope, we had our hands on the key?

Sigh. I wonder if that was how people felt at the beginning of the age of industrialization.

I won’t argue that my generation does not have a certain stupidity/naivety/what-have-you about them. Like an adolescent wanting the answers yesterday, we were angry at the imperfections we perceived and lacked much in introspection and humility. Still we had grown up during a time of incredible changes and wonders. We were a generation raised to be idealists in a world of real dreams come true. We were taught that all the problems in the world would be solved by mankind through science and we were profoundly unprepared for disappointment. We reached the moon! And in the end we felt we might as well have collected the tee shirt: My country went to the moon, and all I got was Tang.

 

(I know, I know, we also got transistors, integrated circuits, and a wonderful data base on the human physiology. But we didn‘t know that.)

Hope lost, disillusionment, can be a terrible thing. A contributing part of the problem of the boomer generation came with the slow nagging realization that something was wrong and science alone was not going to be able to produce a solution. The good times were not unending. We had been promised it would be done, and as it had not, someone must be responsible for the failure.

 

Some have joined their parents and are simply holding on for dear life to the promises they grew up with, even when everything before their eyes should inform them that that ship has sunk. They were promised that if they lived their lives according to plan they would have their social security, medi-care and their pensions. They did their part, so what is wrong with this world?

Many of the boomers, looking for a reason to be hopeful, adopted a system of beliefs that is thoroughly enmeshed with a form of scientific socialism, believing that will be an answer to all our ills.

They also embraced the belief that we might even be responsible for bad weather. If our actions are responsible for floods, droughts, hurricanes and other inclement weather, then wasn’t it possible that we could address and fix those problems as well? With the ‘inequities’ of capitalism and the ‘burdens’ that overpopulation, carbon based fuels, improper waste management and industrialization continue to place on the planet to blame, no wonder their brave new perfect world had not been delivered.

Even if it was wrapped in what you and I consider gray goo, they had found something to hope in, a new illusion. If we just elected the best and the brightest, if we let them manage the economy, if we control the population, if we got rid of the superstitions of (certain) religions, if we went green and if we let the people of the world know that we wish them no harm everything could still become a paradise!

Sadly and largely without their realization, the path they have chosen, should we continue down it, will end with us coldly reducing man to purely utilitarian modes. They have shrouded their actions with cloaks of rationality and tied them up with ribbons of compassion. What they seek will lead to elimination of that and those which are viewed as having no worth because they are seen as non-productive and burdensome.

And, yes, a few have gone to a greater extreme and have given up, surrendering to the view that all of mankind is utterly at fault, an irredeemable anathema. The Daughter has kindly suggested that they set an immediate example for their cause by eliminating themselves posthaste. She insists that this would be the only ethical thing for them to do.

 

Those who hang out here don’t seem to have adopted the belief that we can or should be able to create a perfect world. They also do not think that mankind is entirely disgusting. They are quite willing to celebrate that which is good, and condemn what is evil. (Although we might argue at the definitions.) While we sometimes despair at what is going on at this moment, we do not see it as a reason to give up. We are not without hope–we have hope with a spine.

How to express, explain and possibly inspire that hope in others? Human Wave stories.

92 responses to “CACS’s Turn

  1. Applause! I’m standing in my kitchen, saying “Yes!”
    BTW, I will pay money for those stories. I’ve bought from Pam Uphoff, Cyn Bagley, Kim Du Toit, Mike Weatherford and a few others, as well as our esteemed hostess, so far.

    • Thank you.

      One thing about our esteemed hostess and others here, they are not Pollyannas nor prone to sugar coat realities. There is an underlying attitude of hope, of ‘Never give up, never give in,’ and there in we find a certain nobility, even if flawed.

    • TY Naleta – ;-) I am sure the others will say the same.

    • Thank you, naleta! I hope you took advantage of my offer of Greenfields when it was free. I hope to have that and another novel up soon.

  2. We’ve become such a strange mix, we really do need to encourage those who see the good in mankind, no matter the other-wise pro- or anti- “science” or “religion” or mix there-of they start from.

    I think writing enjoyable stories that explore all the possibilities _other_ than “Humans are evil and ought to just die” is one method of changing the world. Now if we could just change public education’s required reading list of depressing drudgery . . . The future holds incredible potential.

    • Wasn’t this the essential theme of Zelazny’s Lord of Light? That cultural change starts slowly, like a snowball rolling downhill?

      Overthrowing a culture, no matter how corrupt it might be, requires groundwork. Otherwise it is “met the new boss, same as the old boss.”

      I couldn’t find the scene with Akim Tamiroff’s great explanation about how he is the power behind the reform party as well as the current one – just because we change administrations is no reason I should lose business – but here is a scene leading up to it; pay attention especially at the 2’30” mark and shortly after … “We need a new face …”

      • “Leonardo inventing the railroad is not helpful when it is not railroading time.”

        Or, for an even unlikelier source:

        “There were men in my father’s court in Uruk who knew the hungry ought to be fed.”

    • Thank you. Yes, we are a strange mix at times. We did not all come to Human Wave through the same journey. I think this may be part of our strength. We challenge each other to be clearer in our own positions.

      The future does hold incredible potential, but there is never smooth sailing. I have come to believe too much smooth sailing seems to be bad for us, it renders us flabby as thinkers and as moral entities. (On the other hand nothing but rough seas will ultimately sink the boat.)

  3. I’ve learned, thanks to this weblog, that I don’t really write science fiction — I write people stories set elsewhere than planet Earth. In fact, I think ALL successful science fiction writers do that. I also think they write stories that show people overcoming difficulties and enjoying the rewards for success. Who would want to read a story that doesn’t do that, that has people living a life of abject dejection and failure, unless there’s a ray of sunshine at the end?

    There are only three reasons I can see for reading: to learn something, to be comforted, or to escape. Some books — the really GOOD ones — do all three. Science fiction isn’t the only escapist literature. ALL literature – fiction – is escapist in one aspect or another. Some science fiction also teaches, in a subtle way, but so does other literature. The two just teach different things. Good science fiction, and good literature in general, also comforts us, by showing that hard work, perseverance, and drive will lead us to something better, and we don’t have to be satisfied with our current lot in life.

    Excellent post, CACS. Thank you.

    • Thank you.

      I might add one more reason to read: to challenge one’s thinking. You might put this under the category of ‘to learn something’, but I think it deserves to stand on its own. In this category you might have a story that ends without your glimmer of hope. How so? Imagine a story whose purpose is, in part, to warn that if people choose to go down this particular road it will lead to nowhere they want to be.

  4. Bravo, CACS, bravo. One of the things I’m struggling with while revising a non-fiction manuscript is a reviewer’s requirement that I add more grey goo and shift the emphasis from “local resilience and adaptation” to a “fall from pre-Anglo grace.” I’m fighting to find a balance that will be true to the facts.

    From what I’ve read, at the onset of the Industrial Revolution (however one defines it), several attitudes and opinions emerged. The agricultural revolution (thank you Jethro Tull and others) allowed a surplus of grain for feeding people but also brought clearances in England as well as Scotland. Textile production increased, as did metal production, pottery became available to more people (Wedgwood), chemical development surged, and new forms of credit and incorporation allowed more people to try new businesses. It was a new day, full of promise of improvement. It also heralded the end of the traditional economy, both in terms of production of goods but also of the ideas of “moral economy” and mutual responsibility (that had been decaying in some ways since the Tudors, but I digress in my digression). The age of the Lunar Society was also the age of Thomas Malthus, of the “Robinocracy” and cries of political corruption, and of the development of the idea of the modern middle class and of social responsibility (first through Methodism and the utopian industrialism of Robert Owen’s New Lanark experiment.)

    But in general optimism came to dominate in England, especially after the end of the wars with Napoleon. Continental Europe was a bit different, as one would expect, but generally optimistic or at least determined to do better from 1815 until 1914.

    • Thank you for the enjoyable riff on the Industrial Revolution. Europe is still highly effected by the two wide spread and highly destructive world wars that ravaged them in less than fifty year. The losses — the squandering — of generations of young men, the industries, the economies and the lands could not help but change their outlook.

  5. We see much idiocy among people: ascribing godlike powers to leaders, buying into the nonsense that is anthropogenic global warming, falling for quackery and miracle cures, expecting “scientific” socialism to work, etc. The root cause of such idiotic beliefs is magical thinking. Many people and groups contribute to the widespread magical thinking among adults. Religions are all about magical thinking, and most adults are religious. Their magical thinking often spills over into nonreligious areas. Far too many school teachers encourage magical thinking rather than reason, logic, critical thinking, and the scientific method. (Those are just too hard to teach.) The mass media encourages magical thinking especially about government. We repeatedly are told that the government or the president can fix the economy or change the climate or perform some other implausible feat. Our politicians also appeal to the magical thinkers by promising things that only a god could achieve. (Obama said he was going to lower sea level.)

    My request and recommendation is that stories designed to sway people’s opinions about society should include characters who solve problems via reason and critical thinking. Encouraging the abandonment of magical thinking in early childhood also would be helpful.

    • Hey – hey – hey: Some of that magical thinking works. The Protestant work ethic, for example, and look at the Latter Day Saints slash Mormons! Magical thinking slash religion when it reinforces consistent productive effort is not to be sneered at.

      OTOH, the kind of religious magical thinking that causes South Pacific tribes people to lay out parallel strips of lights in hope of the Great Bird of Cargo landing … well, actually, that didn’t work too badly back in the days before ground control.

    • I do not believe that it is impossible for a rational person who employs logic, critical thinking and scientific method to hold religious beliefs. I do think that such a person will find himself highly limited in his choice of religion.

      • Yet, somehow, much wider than the passionate scientism believer manages to convince himself. . . .

        • Dark Matter. Dark Energy. String theory. Dude, I just can’t convince myself that there is _nothing_ behind religion. Because I _think_ other things are true that haven’t been detected or measured, and they aren’t any more likely than me having a soul, something beyond the fancy walking biochemical phenomenon of “life.”

          • It is useful to keep in mind that modern physics is premised upon the idea of a rational creator; such giants as Newton pursued their discoveries in order to better appreciate the majesty of His creation.

            Of course, Newton was screwy in some other ways, too.

          • With due respect, this is a false equivalence. I hear it a lot.

            If we find even ‘deeper’ (i.e. more fundamental) layers of particles or fields, I will guarantee you that they will have as a special case every single thing we have observed about physical reality from the galactic-cluster scale to the human-observable macro scale to the previously known micro scales. In other words, it will all connect.

            There is no equivalence from this to religion, the existence of the “soul,” or the reality of consciousness beyond that observable as a consequence of organized biological activity. That doesn’t mean that any or all of those things don’t exist. It means that you can’t say, “Hey, Newton didn’t know about quarks, therefore there might be a soul.” I could explain quarks to Newton, and he would be able to understand them (though he would probably have some serious cognitive dissonance at first regarding quantum mechanics.) You can work up from quarks and get the Three Laws of Mechanics. There is no discontinuity once you understand why the underlying reality produces its macro effects.

            Nothing about the observable universe offers any similar metaphorical argument for souls, gods, or metaphysical free will. The arguments for them are completely unchanged since their earliest framing, though many of them have been undone by our greater understanding of the physical universe. The discontinuities are unaddressed.

            (Anyone who concludes from this post that I am an atheist will get five demerits and a firm blow to the skull with the Haddock of Logical Arguments.)

            • All of which is based on math, which had to exist prior. The sheer organization of it all, at least to me, cries out for some sort of intelligence behind it. Whether that is actually any sort of human conception of God I would leave up to the individual, but it certainly seems to scream order.

              • It is interesting to me that you think it looks organized to the point of requiring intelligent design. I personally think it’s a frightful mess and if there was a designer, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. At best, they’re playing Spell-My-Name-With-an-S games and in my humble three-dimensional opinion entities with that kind of power should be a little more respectful of it.

                • Depends on your definition of organization — ;-)

                  • If you persist in adherence to Sequentialist Heresy you will certainly find the organization confusing. Open your mind and embrace Simultaneity. He is Everywhere And Everywhen.

                    • Excepting, of course, that He can’t see through lead.

                    • Nor does He need to, as He is in the lead.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I still say that such a being has to have a separate level of duration, or else it would be static and cannot affect the medium it is immersed in.

                      If you know of somewhere with mathematics to show that what I say is not necessary, by all means, point me to it.

                    • Explaining Simultaneity to the Sequentially conditioned is difficult. Read Kurt Vonnegut for the clearest expression. Or look up Tralfamadore at Wikipedia.

                • I understand what you’re saying, ie, the observable universe, but I’m talking specifically about the underlying math which is incredibly organized.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    I’m not so sure about that, since when you get below a certain size/mass, you have to start describing velocities and locations in terms of probability ranges.

                    Then you have cases where barriers that should be perfect, can be penetrated, simply by placing another medium close to the other side of the barrier (quantum tunneling).

                    • Actually from my hubby’s point of view is that the math that we use is not complete because we use imaginary numbers. So our math has some gaping wholes. I just take his word for it because I am proficient, but I don’t have the magic touch with numbers.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I don’t know about the latest theories, such as the Standard Model, or some of the Superstring & Membrane theories, but regular old Quantum Mechanics pretty much had imaginary numbers forced on it in order to make any sense of the observations they were getting, It’s possible that some of the higher-dimensional theories don’t require such work-arounds.

                    • Regardless of the symbols and computational steps that humans have invented (yes, we invented those parts), the underlying logic was there to be discovered, not invented. It just is and not believing it was put together that way intelligently would argue that math was created along with everything else at random.

                    • I do not understand the implication that imaginary numbers are some kind of hack or workaround or indicate an inadequacy of our mathematical description of the universe. They are what they are. Several observable physical phenomena require that the square root of a negative have a defined answer. We’ve defined it as the square root of the absolute value of the negative times i. i is what you need to write down the description accurately. We could just use multi-leveled symbology to obviate the need for the notation “i,” and never actually represent the unfortunately named “imaginary” unit. (So-called because of the equally unfortunate, and rather misleading, definition of the then-highest-imagined level of numbers as the “real” numbers. If it’s not real, it must be imaginary, no?) But it would still be there in the calculation, because it is still there in nature. Is pi a hack? Is e a workaround?

                    • Pi is a mathematical constant. It represents the ratio a circle’s circumference to its radius. While an irrational number it is not an imaginary number. On the other hand the square root of 1, that qualifies as imaginary.

                    • Please do not conflate “consistency” with “logic.” Saying that the universe has an underlying logic assumes the answer to the question we are asking. It has an underlying consistency, so far as we can tell. That does not provide any independent demonstration that it must be “logical.” Logic implies purpose. The fact that our mathematics is logical indicates that it is in fact purposeful – because it is. But it’s just a method to describe something which can’t be perfectly described. My response to such an allegation is to ask why transcendentals are transcendental. The way transcendentals manifest in the observable universe is consistent, but it’s not logical.

                    • But it’s just a method to describe something which can’t be perfectly described.

                      I would disagree. Our use of symbols and orders of computation and such are just a means that we have derived to quantify operations that are observable. Four apples are still 2+2 apples, 3+1 apples, and 4+0 apples no matter the system we contrive to describe that fact. Take any three atoms inside whatever structure you want that happen to form, even for a picosecond, a triangle and the inside angles are still going to equal 180, whatever sign or symbol you use to convey that information.

                      At one time, our knowledge of the underlying mathematics wasn’t sufficient to express this data, but, sure enough, the complex computations required to take down a mammoth with an arrow (“We should write that spot down”) were there, whether we had figured out an artificial way of describing it or not. Those methods do exist now.

                    • Is negative one a constant?

                      If it is, why is its square root not also a constant?

                      In any event, defining i as a number is no different from defining pi as a number. You can’t tell me what pi is. (No, really. You can’t. You can approximate it to any specified level of precision but you can’t tell me its exact value. I know you know that, but this is the gist of my argument so I’m being overly thorough.) You can only define it as the result of an operation. That’s exactly how i is defined. If pi is a number, so is i.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      But I can tell you a formula to calculate pi to any number of places you have the patience to go to, using numbers that can be expressed as intelligible numbers. Likewise with e, the root of the natural logarithm.There is no way to do so for i, because it cannot be placed between any rational numbers, as it requires an operation that is not possible with rational numbers. Pi can be approximated, while i cannot. There are no rational numbers which can be squared in order to produce a negative number.

                    • I can do all that for i. i is what you get when you take the square root of negative one. To any desired level of precision it is i. To the tenth decimal place, it is i.0000000000. It does not have to be approximated because it is a unitary number, just like an integer. On its number line, it is between .9(repeating)i and 1.0(repeating)1i or in a less silly-looking notation is halfway between 0i and 2i.

                      Another way to look at it, if you want it even more simplified, is that it is a sign. A literal-minded person might point out that there’re no observable negative ordinals in the universe, either. I might owe you an apple, and thus be said to have negative apples, but you can’t point at less than no apples and say, “That’s what you have, that’s what -1 apples looks like.” The + and – signs are, in a sense, arbitrary. E.G., the way certain kinds of physicists react when somebody talks about deceleration or centrifugal force. There is no deceleration. There’s not even negative acceleration. There’s only acceleration. All that matters is which way it is pointing. We use the notation -(acceleration) because it’s convenient and it gets across the idea we are trying to communicate, not because it’s more or less “true.” (To be more persnickety, it is a convenient way to represent a vector quantity in a scalar algebra.) If you follow this analogy, ‘i’ is a sign that says, “move this many units not forward or backward, but sideways in the number plane.” Telling me that there’s no observable phenomenon that i corresponds to, if I define it this way, is basically you taking on the role of Mr. Square of Flatland. From your point of view it’s true, but it tells me more about your point of view than it does about the nature of the universe.

                  • The math is organized because it is an organized attempt to describe physical reality. Physical reality is not required to have any particular level of organization, only to be consistent. If it is consistent, we can write organized math to describe it.

                • You have a point. If I were god I wouldn’t’ t have put up with me. Nor just about anyone else who ever came under the appellation of adolescence.

                • I’m perfectly happy with the apparent design of the universe being a natural consequence, like the formation of crystals. And I’m certainly not advocating for any or all Churches’ interpretation. But with all the fuzzy lines about where complex biochemistry becomes “life” and an animal beicomes “sentient” I would not be at all surprised that we’re missing something that every human society has thought over, tried to figure out, and generally turned into a religion, philosophy or means of controlling people.

            • In most simplistic terms: I look at the world that can be observed. I look at the internal logic of a particular philosophy. I consider if they match.

      • Folks, religions are not scientific systems, they are moral systems. Science is not a moral system and has nothing to say about morality.

        The fact that religions occasionally make assertions about things in science’s domain, and get them wrong, should be contrasted with the attempts of science to make assertions about moral issues (think global warming or eugenics), which corrupts it.

  6. And, yes, a few have gone to a greater extreme and have given up, surrendering to the view that all of mankind is utterly at fault, an irredeemable anathema. The Daughter has kindly suggested that they set an immediate example for their cause by eliminating themselves posthaste. She insists that this would be the only ethical thing for them to do.

    I forgot, for a moment, that you refer to the child in your house of the female persuasion as The Daughter and instead interpreted “The Daughter” as a representative of the types of people who subscribe to the beliefs you were describing (like those who follow the “Earth Mother”) and the “kindly suggestion” as the sort of summary of what their ideals bring. So instead of sarcasm-direct, I got veiled sarcasm. Ultimately the point got through (especially after I went, “Oh, wait…”), but there was a strange moment where I started to wonder if those sorts of people were calling themselves The Daughter. But why not? Seems very religious.

    • This will appear among the Gaian religions in Eden…

    • Thank you for the chuckle.

      Yeah, quite religious in its way. I can be flexible when trying to ‘see the other side’ as an exercise in understanding. The people who so abhor mankind as to wish its extinction push my ability to do mental gymnastics to their limit.

    • It makes no sense that the Gaian religious belief encompasses the thought that humans are evil. Geez. We have as much right to be here as the rats and mice.

      Plus part of our nature is to expand and be curious (at least I think so). If the planet is alive, and has a hand (so to speak) in our existence and growth, would she consider us evil? I think not. —anthropomorphizing planets and animals is not wrong just not entirely right. ;-)

      • No, I just meant calling themselves “the daughter” (of Earth mother.)

      • They see humanity in the role of the great fallen angel.

        • Huh? I like to think of us in the “image of God”– a very different perspective I guess.

          • When I hear this my immediate reaction is that either you have a very limited imagination, or God does. No offense meant.

            • I don’t think you understand what I am saying Marc– I am not thinking physical image … (btw you quote the Bible and it is in there– Genesis 1:27)– I am thinking of potential–

              If humanity is a great fallen angel– then we are evil and have no redemption– (something I can’t believe)

              If we have the “image of God” to strive for– we can work towards something much brighter– we are redeemed.

              And are you saying that humanity doesn’t have variety therefore God has a limited imagination? — I think he set the mold and let us make our own choices (free agency)… why should he tend us all the time? Don’t we have the power to make our own choices … make life better or evil…??? or must we have a caretaker all the time?

              I don’t think God needs a caretaker and I don’t think we need a caretaker. –Image of God–

              My mantra is the same one that Benjamin Franklin had– “God helps those who help themselves.”

              So I have a problem with your assumption Marc– no offense… The reason I like to argue with you is that you make me think why I believe what I believe (I don’t believe the same way as my parents– that is another story). However, I know that debate has not been my strong point so it will be easy for you to smash my thinking to bits. ;-) Not a problem– I am really good with puzzles.

            • I find it funny that you impugn my imagination ;-)

        • Are humans the great fallen angel, or are humans no more or less powerful than any other species? I hear both at the same time from certain groups and individuals, and wish they’d make up their minds. Or is it Western Civilization that tempts with the fruit of the tree of knowledge [sic], and non-Westerners and animals who embody innocence and harmony with “nature?” I can never keep my scorecards straight.

          • Logic, coherence and scorecards are tools of the Dead White European Male Hegemonic Patriarchy employed for the oppression and persecution of the enlightened people who glean knowledge of the essence of the Universal All from the ether emanating from the Goddess.

            I think I got a brain cramp writing that.

            • You could probably get grant money if you wanted to expand that into an article or book-length monograph, RES. I wish I was kidding.

  7. > I HAVE QUESTIONS: We’re not a country of land or
    > blood. We’re a country of beliefs. If we’ve lost that,
    > who are we? Who am I? And where do I go?

    Hi, Sarah Hoyt,

    Thank you for guest blogging on Instapundit.

    May I respectfully disagree with your blog post cited above? Please allow me to claim that we are a country of stories. Stories are the atoms of culture. They explain who we are, where we came from, why we eat our foods, why we dress in our clothes, and they give us our values and dreams.

    Perhaps tonight’s presidential election foreshadows a tragedy for our
    economy. (It is still too soon to tell who will win.) But this is not “the end” of anything. People are given contentment and happiness by stories, not money. People are given hopes and fears by stories, not wealth or poverty.

    We have not lost our stories. There is no need to go anywhere to find them.