Society Magazine

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Posted on the 25 January 2019 by Lugalcain @ur_sheep

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Without hesitation I must confess that the title of this section, or at least the germ of it, comes from Gli Indifferenti (The Indifferent Ones, translated also as The Time Of Indifference), a 1929 novel by Alberto Moravia later made into a 1964 film by Francesco Maselli. The main psychological thrust of both these works of fiction is the primary characters just not caring so much, well, about much of anything. Negotiations, with one’s self and with the world, regarding matters of morality and ethics, science and technology, interpersonal relationships, life and death, and so on, is shown to be an arena of emptiness, a void (la vide, la vacuité), a massive gray area in the human psyche. Both the book and the film evoke images of a modern mind stuck in the limbo between established values and the “revaluation” of these values – as Nietzsche might phrase it – as well as the related estimations of what things are worth – as any appraiser, or critic, might phrase it. Without any pressure to conform to traditional values and beliefs, evaluations, and judgments, and yet unable, or unprepared, to provide or manufacture new ones, modern men are made to appear as predominantly indifferent to just about everything. Characters in these works, in the main, are portrayed as taking a ho-hum, “so what”, or “who cares” attitude, and this outlook is considered so prevalent that one could understand how the artists could justifiably label the era a Time Of Indifference.

Now, well into the 21st Century, I think we would best serve history by changing the times, so to speak, updating the human condition for the present, and so naming this current day and age the Time Of Incompetence. The Cambridge Dictionary defines incompetence concisely as “Lack of ability to do something correctly or as it should be done”, and at first glance it would appear that in no way can this be applied to our time: we have experts all over and for every thing, with advancement apparent in every field of work; we can fly around the world faster than ever before; we can drive around in commuter vehicles that are like houses (and can cost as much…), with amenities like televisions, cameras, heated seats and climate control, even tires that fix themselves..

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Certainly, or it seems so at least, we are anything but incompetent. Many complicated medical procedures have become a matter of routine. We can produce food crops faster and bigger than ever before.  We have gone not only to the moon, as goes the story, but have now a satellite which has, I hear, reached the ends of the solar system. Whereas before it took a week or more to get a return letter from our pen pal overseas, today we can receive a reply via email in a matter of seconds. Division of labor has made it so that most have a very specific job to do, increasing production and making work that much easier. We used to have 3 or 4 primary television stations, but today we have hundreds, now approaching thousands of media and entertainment choices. It would take several more pages, at least, to confess fully of all the theoretical and technological advancement we have achieved and how, at least “on paper”, we seem to be in a better position than we once were.

But in truth there is today a wide gap between theory and practice. I have argued on Truthopia before about the Myth Of Progress so understand this is not a criticism of the same order. There is, let us say, a “correct” way to do things, indeed for some tasks there are many good ways of accomplishing them. On paper, meaning in idea or by design, the new Buick or fresh, properly made Big Mac is a refined model of perfection. What it has become when it gets to you, however, could be, and too often is, a different thing entirely. This is unfortunate because when the idea and the design are good, but the implementation is bad, this can put the idea itself in a bad light. What I wish to call attention to here is this too-often-faulty implementation of the idea. It is this wide-ranging order of activities which demonstrate that today is, more than ever before, the Time of Incompetence.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

A. Incompetence Versus Ignorance

Now we should first acknowledge the difference between ignorance and incompetence. I am not talking here about ignorance. Someone who does not know how to do something cannot be incompetent about that thing. Certainly, a person could be incompetent in general, which is a different matter. The point is that when we are in an ignorant state we have no awareness of the knowledge about how to do something.  We are not aware of the plan and technique, we do not yet get the idea.

Recall last chapter when we were discussing magic. If we do not know how a trick or illusion is done by the magician, we may be said to be ignorant of the real cause, the plan, and/or the procedure which made it come about. We are not incompetent about the magic, we are simply ignorant of the method by means of which it is accomplished. Now on the other hand, if I am a magician, and am aware of how to do the trick, and mess it up or otherwise fail to successfully perform the feat, in that case I am incompetent. Nobody’s fooled by the “magical” appearance of a rabbit when they can already see big white ears sticking out of the hat.

When we are ignorant of the proper way to do things errors and mistakes are easily understandable, and for someone untrained in, say, butchering a pig, who attempts such a goal anyway, we can imagine, and would probably expect, a bit more mess and frustration than is theoretically necessary. Incompetence is not this. Incompetence requires knowledge of all of it – the plan, the idea, the technique, and a clear image of what the goal or end product should be. I am not talking about the hunter who bags his first boar and endeavors to dress it. I am talking about the worker in the meat processing plant who has a particular job description, often a manual or handbook, guidelines as to how long the animal should be bled, a schematic of  how it should be cut, how long until it should be wrapped, how it should be stored, when it should be inspected and tested, and so on. To be incompetent you must know first the proper, or at least the best way your task should be done.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

B. Reductionist Incompetence

It is division of labor that is part of the problem. Too many today only make or sell parts of things – and/or repair, fix, and operate on just parts of products, or tasks – without knowing much, and/or caring very little, about the Big Picture. Theoretically this is supposed to be a good thing: everyone has less responsibility; everyone works less; stress and anxiety, all pressure, is alleviated; and no cog is irreplaceable. A nearly perfect analogy is how the military works. Everyone knows, through rank of command, just as much as they need to know to execute the plan or maneuver, and nothing more. Many a Vietnam veteran, Korean soldier, and Iraqi GI knew very well what they were instructed to do. But WHY they had to do what they did, today still some will tell you they are not entirely sure. This serves to illustrate the truth that by giving everyone, in all fields of work, only a sliver of the whole pie to deal with, the workers don’t always keep in mind – and sometimes never even get in their mind – the ideal of what they are working for, the end goal, the finished product, the completed job. This creates an almost predictable apathy that makes it easy for the worker to simply just not care. Thus we receive a Big Mac missing one burger patty on a stale bun with the sauce too heavy in one bite and nonexistent in another, and a new Buick that never will lose its constant tick, or that just cannot stay out of the repair shop.

This type of Incompetence extends from simple clerk jobs and fast food restaurant employees on up to the Universities, NASA, and the governments of the world. While we have all the best on paper, we have all the worst on the line, and I believe this is primarily because people individually no longer take pride in what they do, no longer can point to the finished product or completed task and say “I did that”. Really, some have even recommended NOT taking pride in your work. It is even questionable whether people CAN still feel pride about what they do, in certain situations.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

It is, we see then, entirely logical that after the indifference, or apathy, comes the incompetence because, quite simply, the worker no longer cares. To put the matter bluntly, more than one “clever” person has purposefully “messed up” a job or duty, so as not to be chosen for that same task in the future.

On a related but side note, the decision to pay labor by the hour is probably, in respect of what we are discussing here at least, one of the biggest mistakes ever made. Regardless of the rate of pay, workers in this situation invariably end up really working for merely the purpose of killing time, this above all other duties. Getting the mission accomplished is not first on such workers’ lists of priorities. When you get paid by the piece, or by the task, people tend to work quickly. When you get paid by the hour, well if you work too quickly you will be ostracized by even your own fellow employees.

Now some of this incompetence comes from lack of responsibility. For who is to blame for your shoddily-assembled Big Mac or Buick? Or for that matter, who is responsible for the Space Shuttle tragedies, or the Korean War…or the 9-11 inside job? There are many people involved in all of these productions. Was it the person who cooked the beef patties or bolted the Shuttle together? The manager or the person who designed it? The assembler or the provider of the parts? The handling between beginning and end? The orderer of the supplies?

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

If you come to my hot dog cart and you buy a bad hot dog from me it is I who am to blame. The buck stops here, so to speak, and while I might have a beef (sorry…) with my hot dog provider I am responsible, and I probably endure it because of how good I feel every time someone says I make the best frankfurters in town (and I put the cash in my cigar box). I am usually competent, I am an able hot dog vendor, but when even I lose my attention and drop one on the ground I make a mistake, and in that moment I look incompetent simply because even though I know the ideal and what the end product should be, through my error or misjudgment – whether because of lack of concentration, or a temporary lapse in caring, or some other reason – I screwed it up.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Now if you come to my hospital and you get a bad experience from me, who is to blame? The Chairmen Of The Board? The surgeon? The anesthesiologist? The nurses and PAs? The original maker of the diagnosis? Faulty equipment? Probably we should ask, who gets the praises when it goes right? Who gets to say “I healed that person”? And probably they will all cite each other, as all having a hand in the success. Therefore, we should say, that when it goes wrong they are all responsible.

But this of course is unacceptable. It may be, in medicine vis-a-vis insurance, that we find the precise reason why you need so many workers to, oh, take out your gall bladder. You see, your gall bladder doctor does not operate, he just diagnosis the problem, for which you need another doctor, a surgeon, to actually remove it. You also need a particular type of surgeon, as the one taking out your gall bladder knows little to nothing about your kidney, or doesn’t do kidneys, just like the doctor who diagnosed your gastrointestinal problems has no idea about your cardiovascular or glandular conditions. Now this way, when something goes wrong, they can all allay at least some blame on the other, and in the end they can all make the insurance handle the repercussions. Today, the right hand too often knows not what the left hand does, and in medicine, at least, it is probably the main reason why we have myriads of technological and sanitary advancements but little increase in human average lifespan compared to a well-fed Persian in BC times. They don’t know the Big Picture that is the health of your entire being.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Let’s not just pick on medicine and its cohorts in the pharmaceutical business. Sub-division and specialization, along with the hourly wage, has spread its epidemic to nearly every field of occupation. Teachers that can only teach certain grades or certain subjects, indeed there are some which teach the same exact things for decades; mechanics that can only fix one type of vehicle; farmers that grow only one crop; cooks famous for one dish; lumberjacks who only cut one type of tree…you get the picture.

This specialization and reductionist approach to everything from food production to legal mandates though, still, is not the entire reason for the problem. The often cited “Everyone Makes Mistakes” has apparently become more the rule than the exception. In one busy day, I suggest, when you do normal things like go to work, go out to eat, go buy gasoline, do some shopping, take in some form of entertainment, and watch some TV when you get home, you will most likely encounter at least one evidence of incompetence. At least one of these is likely to happen: Something you expected will arrive wrong, either not as expected or in condition needed; someone will not show up for work; some cashier or vendor will either ring you up incorrectly or your credit/debit card will fail to work for some reason; when you go to eat your food will not be done properly, your service mediocre at best; your movie will start at the wrong time, or at least, not at the time expected, and your seat will still have popcorn remnants from the last show, and sticky floors from custodians who did not properly do their job (wait until you go in the bathroom…); something you bought will be not as expected; when you get home you will find the package you expected is late and did not arrive, and when you sit down to watch TV your show will be interrupted due to some electrical, satellite, cable, or programming error.

Big Macs and Whoppers missing parts, Buicks with bolts untightened, just like Space Shuttles with unchecked or faulty safety mechanisms, and doctors who specialize in one anatomical area, and investigators seemingly unaware of basic laws of physics, all show clearly that we are in a Time Of Incompetence. The further we sub-divide everything and venture into the areas of further specialization, the more we will encounter incompetence in our time. There will be more educated mechanics as well as doctors, but less good and capable ones.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

C. Oh But They Will Take Care Of It

I exaggerate, you say, and you proceed to show me all the many successes for all these jobs we’ve been discussing. You show me the perfect Big Mac, a beauty Buick, and point to the still thriving and airborne Space Station. You bring me a heart transplant success story, and tell me you went all yesterday with no signs of incompetence anywhere.

But this is the way it should be, all the time, every day, with small deviations due to those technological glitches and that statistically predictable human error. That it is not should be apparent to anyone who takes a moment to reflect on the matter. In manufacturing approximately 5% of canned goods are tainted; in automobile production upwards of 10% of all vehicles are rejected due to KNOWN faulty assemblies. Regarding pharmaceuticals:

Marketed final pharmaceutical product dosage forms (about 2090 products/year), accessories and raw materials (275 items/year) from suppliers were tested for total bioburden and the presence of specified microorganisms. The total rate of microbial excursion of the tested subjects was about 2.24%. (source)

Food poisoning is almost always due these days to someone not doing their job properly, from food handlers to inspectors. It goes on and on in all fields, and so what I wish to call attention to is the role of the individual present in each case. Whether cog in an assembly line, or custodian of the law, what we need is for everyone to take a pride in what they do at the individual level. This is an uphill battle, however, when passing the buck is made so easy to do. Apologies have become the new acceptable excuse.

What develops next, given this passing-of-the-buck attitude, is that any responsibility winds up being tossed about from one individual to another, like a hot potato nobody wants to retain. Combine the now more acceptable “mistakes” – and let us bear in mind that at one time incompetent and unsuccessful cooks, seers, and physicians alike were put to death for failure – with the seeming acceptance, even expectancy of incompetence, and atrocities could be, and are often excused by a simple “I’m sorry” or “we messed up”. Thus nobody is responsible and nobody punished for the incompetence which caused Gus Grissom’s death; nobody rounded up and jailed for not properly checking their Romaine for ecoli; no even apology given when the USA shoots down passenger jets in the Middle East or runs dangerous tests on its own citizens. It is not surprising that recent studies show medical error, for example, as being the third-largest cause of human death. Hey. mistakes happen, what can we do?

So while it is a problem with the Big Mac and the Buick, this Time Of Incompetence is a full-blown travesty when it concerns the health and lives of human beings. It is bad enough that our doctor will not check the quality of the serum in the syringe with which he will soon inject you, or your child. That he is influenced in his inoculation decisions by the manufacturers of these serums (particularly, their sales representatives) makes it all the more scary.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Again, though, this is not to pick on only the medical industry, but it must be emphasized that it is there, as well as in the military where “losses” are deemed acceptable, and are always, somehow, regardless of the logic or morality involved, explainable. In the military “friendly fire“, that is, lives lost and injuries sustained due to causes other than the enemy, whether self-inflicted, due to error, or for whatever reason, have been shown to be upwards of 25% of the total:

Operational and medical reports suggest, however, that the relationship of friendly fire casualties to overall friendly casualties is between 2 percent and 25 percent. In the Persian Gulf War of 1991, there were 615 American casualties; 23 percent of the personnel (35 killed and 72 wounded) and 77 percent of the combat vehicle losses were attributable to friendly fire. (source)

When responsibility is unknown, or at best, shared, it makes it easy for people to pass the buck. Their jobs, they think, can tolerate lapses of concentration, skipped steps, and half-assed final products. Their bosses, too, expect many mistakes, and the largest manufacturers account for the incompetence statistically and figure the losses into their bottom lines.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

D. We Have Inspectors For That

So bad has it gotten, this penchant to “leave it to the next guy”, that we continue to embrace socialism (yet again) in this Western world, again despite our lip speak against it, and have in recent decades expanded and evolved the job of the inspector. This is that state (or local, or county, or Federal…) tax-dollar-supported employee – or more precisely the body of them – who have the job of making sure the people and businesses producing your consumables are doing the right job. One man today works, and 10 get paid, and this is evidenced here again as the poor bloke making his own cotton candy has to contend with inspectors for fire prevention, electrical safety, seating capacity, food quality, product nutrition content and chemical constituency, product storage, business tax compliance, insurance standing, cleanliness, and the like. On his back at least 10 make a living, 10 who, on the whole, produce nothing. The maker of your Big Mac, for whatever his abilities, is by his efforts financing his store suppliers, the store managers, the district manager and his aides, the advertising and marketing departments and their aides, the Chairmen of the Board, the owner, and of course all those inspectors and tax men we just discussed.

Regardless of that, to get back on track we should have to admit that these inspectors exist because it is assumed by law that there are some people who are incompetent. The inspectors are necessary, theoretically at least, to assure competency, to make sure you get a safe Big Mac or Buick. In fact, these largest manufacturers often employ their own inspectors, on top of the state-sponsored ones. Therefore, Buick has all the inspectors the same as those of any in the auto manufacturing business, but they also have their own over-seers and self-policing mechanisms. Were competency and caring things guaranteed, inspectors would not be necessary. But when you have people who do not care what they serve, or what ends up on the shelf, or in the syringe – or what they put on the showroom floor, or on the tarmac – they become in today’s society almost indispensable entities. When you consider the scope of possible taintings of production – from microorganism invasions to improper disposal of nuclear waste, and everything in between, it would seem that indeed there are many terrible things that can go awry, and so it seems, at first, that we should thank our lucky stars for the existence of these inspectors.

A quick few moments of reflection on the matter will show that this apparent solution may in fact be more problem that it’s worth. Primarily, there is the problem of incompetence which extends even to these inspectors. You would be scared, I imagine, if you were to know how thorough, or rather lax, such inspections can be, and more shocked to know how much wasted effort under the guise of “safety” or “cleanliness” has little to do with either. When you combine the general tendency to incompetence we have been discussing with the particular neglects specific to inspecting you will soon realize these inspectors might not be worth what they cost. Too many examples exist of, oh, restaurant inspectors spending lots of time looking under the ovens for dust, or in the garbage bin to make sure it’s not too full, but who never test, or even taste, the sauce put on nearly everything in the shop. Despite the presence of these inspectors, people continue to get sick on foodstuffs, buy lemon automobiles, get ripped off by crooked dealers, see buried garbage continue to pile up, and even nuclear facilities have been known to fail. Not worst of all, we still get crappy Big Macs.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

E. It Ends With You

In the end, somewhat literally as you shall see, the only way to try to reverse this Time Of Incompetence is for EACH and EVERY ONE OF US to take pride in what we do, to bite the bullet and take on BOTH the responsibility AND the praise for the things or services of our production. The buck must stop here.

Recall again some thoughts hinted at in the last chapter, and consider again that theory I propose which begins with the premise that God, that Creator of all things whatever you wish to call Him, made Man in His own image. Ultimate Man, meaning Man at the level of the individual, is a species unto itself, to be understood as something possessed of but separate from the Idea of Man, and then again something possessed of but separate from Mankind, also known as the Homo sapiens sapiens genera.

This genus of Man, literally man in general, answers for the type of being we are. It is  impersonal and iconic, in brief the sum total of the qualities of all human beings past, present, and future. It is the one constant in the ever-expanding march of a God-driven human expansion, and the general form of Man corresponding to the idea in the mind. The human individual however, it must be remembered, is himself a species, at once possessed of the form and sharing in the archetype but with an individual destiny. Within each individual is a spark of divinity, a piece of God that is at once the source of his unique personality and power for his ability to produce and create ex nihilo, just like the Deity from which he comes.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

The way this system works is not easy to explain because in the end we are talking here about nothing less than the intra and inter-dimensional ontological and metaphysical manifestations that occur during a process of a continual growth and unfolding of a Deity. While not quite the way I see it, certain philosophies have tried to explain similar theories and thoughts relating the mind of Man to the mind of God by using symbols like overlapping circles, tiered pyramids, numerology, geometry, and the like. When I imagine the way the real system works, however, I see it as primarily vibratory and electrical, in fact resembling the structure and process of human nerve cells. When you consider we may be, each one of us individuals, nothing more than trillions of interconnected neurons with a whole bunch of padding and protection plus a feeding and disposal system, the analogy doesn’t seem so far-fetched. This in mind, I have made 2 diagrams to illustrate how this works.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

Now I should say at first that where this idea itself came from I cannot really say. On the one hand, who else but me could come up with such a crazy idea. On the other hand, while I “made” these pictures and composites, from an image or form in my own mind, how and why the idea entered into my reflection, and for that matter for what reason I decided to share it with the world, and at this time, is really unknown to me. While, truly, I have been contemplating Man’s fate through the eyes of my own, and while I have been thinking for many years about this human but God-like penchant for Creation beneficial and malevolent, and in particular in what directions we should aim our efforts, I still cannot say with surety that it was through my own efforts that I conjure these Diagrams. They in a sense came to me, and once formed, easily came together, for presentation here.

This esoterics and guessing out of the way, let’s explain a bit what Diagram A is showing. In its basic form, as you might be able to tell, Diagram A is a nerve cell, one single neuron of any general type. It is a transmitter, a conveyor, be it of thoughts, or the will, or ideas. It is an avenue, at once in contact with, yet distinctly apart from, even other neurons of the same type. It has structure but contains nothing of its own, being as it is “just” a road for the energies to travel along. While it is composed of a type of physical material, it never makes direct physical contact with anything, not even other neurons of the same kind, as its ends or synapses are most efficiently described as empty spaces (though we must be careful to remember really there is no such thing as “empty space”). While we must allow for a possible materiality beyond the scope of our measurements and even our imaginations, it at least appears to us as though contact made by a neuron is of a distinctly magnetic, vibratory, electrical, or otherwise “non-physical” nature, as we understand the terms.

Now I have divided this nerve cell into something like a Trinity. On the far right, where it says “Start Here”, and working left, we find represented (for ease of remembrance and lack of better names) God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son or the “Word made flesh”. It should be understood that these three cannot function without each other. God can think things all day but without a Holy Spirit he not only cannot create them, he cannot even imagine them as separate from Himself, and the Spirit can move all day without the Word it can produce nothing.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

The Creation, in this case of Man, is a creative act which is no different in process than that used for the manifestation of any concept, thing, creature, or even event. Here the Idea of Man begins in the mind or thoughts of God, it is a conceptual construction, a schematic as of yet undrawn, which requires separation, delineation, and finally manifestation in order to begin to exist in this phenomenal world. This initial “manifesting” of Man began a process that even now culminates at the level of each individual human being. Man creates himself as he goes, and all along the way a piece of God, instilled and forever a part of Man, travels along the circuits with him. In a real way, Man is in a state of becoming.

So when God originally thinks “Man”, intrinsic to this thought, that is, contained within it, is the scope and possibility of each individual man. Now moving left in this diagram, once we enter the middle realm we are going through that evolutionary process of coming to be, until finally, at the third stage, man is created, a new nucleus is formed which contains the germs of Humanity. This shown as the “essence of Man”. From this general idea of Man emanate the individual human types, the blood lines, and so on, which have existed from the first conception. These are represented in the diagram by the dendrites of the axon. Part of this Diagram A is then magnified in Diagram B to explain further how this works.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

If we imagine each dendrite a family – and you will notice some of them extending out further than others, and others merging with other dendrites, or family blood lines – you will see at each end there is a solitary human figure. This figure stands for the individuals at the current ends of the particular human blood line family. This is an example only, and the numbers are not significant. What is important has been blown up further, where in Diagram B we isolate one of the human figures and show him with a yellow plexus. Any one of the individuals at the end could be blown up in the same way. Each individual, at this level, is possessed of this divine spark, the idea of Man, and an individualized creative spirit that is in a sense an extension of God. This individual is you.

As we have noted previously, each individual human being is a part of God. Unlike any other of even the highest creations on Earth – the monkey, the dolphin, the dog, the elephant – the idea of Man, as conceived by God, contains free will, by which Man may act to create and produce beyond his internal general animal programming. For as it is, making Man “come to be”, as a process, is identical at first to that by which the amoeba, or the whale, or even the planets come to be. Nature has no need to deviate from what works. But in its final manifestation, man extends further to each individual. The dogs and dolphins each have one form, they are all the same in potential. Human beings have built into them devices which transcend simple animality, and so really each individual is a final form unto himself, a unique, one-of-a-kind expression of the Creator.

As we have said, God likes some things to be unexpected, for things to work on their own without His direct impetus. He likes surprises, to be amazed, and to see things from the many, many points of view provided by us humans. So while he might also set and maintain limits for their expression, God has in essence multiplied himself, to be able to experience many things from many sets of eyes, directed by heads turning on their own necks. The animals have no such power as their movements are all inborn and predictable. They amuse God at times but never surprise Him. As shown in the diagram, once manifest the deified human individual can continue the creative circuit, continue to amend and expand the impetus set forth by his Maker, and demonstrate his own God-like abilities. He too can make his thoughts into things, bring his ideas into reality, and all this by that very same Holy Spirit by which he came to be.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

F. You Are What You Do

In conclusion, the only way to stop the continued trend of non-caring and apathy that has stricken Mankind, the only way to derail this Time Of Indifference which has befallen the common man, is for us all to realize we are ends to ourselves, and divine ends at that, representatives of God’s creative spirit. The names and terms I have used are unfortunate but the easiest to detail. This system is not a phenomenon unique to any one creed, let me be clear, and that different languages complicate matters further should also go without saying, as Allah is God after all. Suffice it to say I can find the basis of your religion in this plan, whatever your religion might be.

Now if we believe this, that we be, somewhat, gods, then every moment of every day we are lucky to experience on this planet and in this life we ought to spend putting our entire selves into what we do, body and soul, and giving it our “best shot” at every go. Sure, it is difficult, but nevertheless an admirable goal to pursue. If we don’t build the whole item produced, but merely a part of it, we should want to see the final product and care about what it becomes, how our pieces fit in. In this way we may again take some sort of pride in accomplishment and completeness, and bear some responsibility for failures and shortcomings.

Really, though, the remedy for this Time Of Incompetence is once again not much more than an abiding by the Golden Rule, or following a Kantian Categorical Imperative. Make things for others as you want them made for you; treat others as you want them to treat you; prepare everything as if you are preparing it for yourself, or your own child; and do or work for others as you would expect them to do or work for you. This simple ancient maxim, perhaps older than written history is for one form of Buddhism the only oath necessary in life. We can believe anything, we can claim to be this or that, and describe ourselves as this or that “type” of person. We can set standards for ourselves, make promises and resolutions, even write about the kind of people we are, whatever be the truth of any of it. All I know for sure is it is what we do that determines what we really are.

Just one example should suffice, one indicative of problems we encounter when values and definitions, even about what things mean, become changed. Christianity has millions of adherents around the globe, and to say that the different varieties and flavors of worship, the sects, fight amongst each other, despite worshiping the same deity, would be an understatement. One look in Northern Ireland today, or oh, somewhere in rural Virginia, would prove this easy enough. Catholics argue with Baptists who argue with Lutherans, and so on. Never mind the conflicts between the different religions, say between the Jews, Muslims, and Christians, who in reality, if they cannot be said to have the same God, have certainly at least the same prophets – and the same basic One Creator God theology.

XIII: The Time Of Incompetence

A Christian, in particular, were we to speak truthfully, is a rare being, very hard to find among the rabble that is the worshiping flock. For if he is a Christian at all, he would not take up arms against his brother, or even enemy, let alone don a pastor’s frock and pray for more dead on the other side; he would not kill another human under any circumstances, to where eventually he has to pause to even kill a fly; he would forgive not only his loved ones, but particularly his enemies; and he would love not only those who love him, but those who would even want to take what he has, or who would want to harm him or his reputation. THIS is a Christian by definition. How far most of us are from this ideal is easy to show. Just think how angry are your thoughts, if someone were to merely inadvertently cut in front of you in a line, or in traffic, never mind if they were to purposefully give you “the finger”.

Many, many people claim to be Christians, who act anything but religious in their everyday lives. You can see why, because of how difficult it is to be the most religious of all, and give love in return for hate. This is a Creation of the Highest Order, hardest to master of all the other yogas and spiritual exercises put together. All would I ask is, if you intend to be Christian, or any other ian or ist, is to act like it, in this case be a real Christian, that is, be like Christ. This particular course is not easy at all, and that more people say they are Christian – or Muslim, or Buddhists, or Hindus – for that matter realists, or materialists – than who actually are also ought go without saying. That so many claim to be something other than what they are is not just another sign of the Time Of Incompetence. It is also a sign of ignorance, ignorance of the very core of basic beliefs on which one supposedly grounds one’s self.

To relate this example of Christianity to our diagrams, rather than try to be like Christ, certain little Creator Axons leave it to their artistic abilities to instead remake what it means to be a Christian, such as confounding it with Old Testament, primitive tribal customs, and the orders of overly zealous pastors and priests. Old revenge dictates like “Eye for eye tooth for tooth” are precisely what were overturned by the Christian philosophy, for example, but often embraced anyway by modern evangelists and, of course, their constituencies.

What this all means is, as we have said already, that the holiest, most religious of men might never attend a church at all, or worship anywhere but in their own minds. On the one end of the spectrum there are millions upon millions who give lip service to “doing a good job” and being “good people” and “good Christians”, who begin to sin in the very parking lot of their twice-a-week church services. On the other extreme end there are those who never attend any particular church at all, who claim to be of no denomination whatsoever, with no particular religion, who by their often hidden and quiet acts, considerations, and dedications to others, show themselves to be religious, and sometimes, even true Christians. It doesn’t matter what you think. You are what you do, and by what you do, you will be judged. Should it be any other way? After all, and too often, the road to misery is paved with good intentions.

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