Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor

20
Aug

Facts about Extremists

Facts about Extremists

Extremists tend to be unhappy people. They have a lot of anger. Feeling like nobodies, their causes make them somebody. They think that by fighting for something bigger than themselves, they are somebody. And fight they will. Many of them are very devoted to the causes they espouse. Extremists will work for their cause, at their own expense. Many are willing to face ostracization, jail and worse in the furtherance of their causes.

And make no mistake. These are not all a bunch of ignorant thugs. Some people get cold comfort thinking they are intellectually better than the extremists. Many extremists are intelligent, if misguided. Many are otherwise capable individuals into whose lives the proverbial monkey wrench had been thrown. Extremism is a way they compensate for the losses. That same intelligence has so enwrapped itself in their various ideologies that they can see no other way.

Doing things for their cause gives them a sense of validation. The more they commit to it, the more validated they feel.

Look at history. Both Nazism and Communism had attracted intellectuals to their side. Both systems had very intelligent people working on their development. The presence of smart people does not change the obvious fact that both Nazism and Communism both have a history of brutality, genocide and complete disregard for human rights. Both thrive on hatred for their enemies. Without someone to hate, both Communism and Nazism atrophy.

I would say the key word to understanding extremists is frustration. These are people who have been frustrated in one or more areas of their lives. Many have been made powerless by unfortunate events in their lives. Granted, it happens to others who do not choose an extremist path. However, for the people in question here, it has found outlets via participation in extremist ideologies and activities.

Be aware that however you react to them, you will not change them one bit. They have chosen their ideologies and have developed a talent for ignoring arguments to the contrary. Respond with silence and they say they have made people afraid to respond. Argue with them and they say you are being hoodwinked by some inimical group or ideology. Fight them and they claim you are violent. Even if you beat them, they claim victory because they say they got their point out into the open. Extremists thrive on getting a reaction: any reaction! For them, any publicity is good publicity. They are not going to back down from their viewpoints and they are not going to go away.

When you see that extremist, remember that he is a frustrated and angry person who feels that Life has cut him a raw deal. Maybe it has. Life is unfair. However, that extremist has chosen to deal with his frustrations in a way that is abhorrent to the rest of society. He has adopted an ideology which stands against the ideals of our society. He has become a weapon of that ideology. Under it all is a person who has a “hole in the soul.” You can rest assured that the extremism with which he tries to fill that hole will never suffice. Until he turns away from it and seeks a rational means of fulfillment, he will be a frustrated and angry person lashing out at the world.

******

How do I know this? Back in the 70s, I brushed wings with extremists. I have known people who adhered to various extreme ideologies and groups: For the most part, these were not casual acquaintances. Several were friends. And yes, I had the dilemma of not being able to introduce some friends to other friends. I knew many of these people well enough to know their histories, their families and some confidential details. Among folks I considered friends were people on both sides of the equation: Right, Left, White, Black, Christian, Jewish, Panthers, Nazis, Klanners, Commies, etc. The ones who really took their causes to heart all fit the profile given above. Some were still involved when I knew them. Some had cut ties to their extreme causes and chose a more rational life. I lost contact with the last of them over 30 years ago.

Many of these individuals I knew were good people at heart. The problem was that their innate goodness was buried under a lot of frustration, hate and misguided thinking. I had no doubt that their good nature did not extend to those they considered adversaries. The same person who might go to great lengths to help someone could just as quickly turn violently hostile when facing one of his enemies. Others were malicious folks seeking an outlet. Indeed, a waste of human potential.

18
Aug

If you are proud, show your face and say so!!

People who are proud of their words, their cause, their actions and themselves do not hide their faces.

14
Aug

Better to Know!

Ignorance is not bliss. We live in an era where knowledge is widespread and accessible. Therefore, we have no excuse to be ignorant. Nonetheless, there are people who think it is “cool” to be thought of as dumb. Recently, a popular entertainer proudly proclaimed that he is a “…great non-reader of books….”

Knowledge is power, knowledge leads to insight, and knowledge is a necessary ingredient of wisdom. We all do well to increase our knowledge in whatever fields and things interest us. Let the willfully ignorant suffer the consequences of their stupidity. And let us benefit from the results of our wise decision to pursue knowledge.

Knowing gives us the ability to accomplish more. Knowledge assures success.

13
Aug

Good and Bad Religion

This is something I wrote back on August 13, 2014

After more than half a century of dealing with religion, religious teaching and the like, I have noticed certain things which separate good religion from the bad counterpart. I have experienced both sides of it in my youth and have observed these things since attaining adulthood.

Good religion:

Religion should provide acceptance. That includes self-acceptance and acceptance of and by others.

Religion should provide a sense of direction.

Religion should encourage and assist an individual’s self -expression.

Religion should empower an individual to stand on his own two feet, to think for himself and express his independence as a human being.

Religion should offer a means of belonging.

Religion should acknowledge the connection between the human and the divine. It should help people come to know the divine that abides within the human.

Religion should contribute to an individual’s confidence and sense of security.

Religion should be a vehicle for spirituality. It ought to enhance spiritual growth and understanding.

Bad religion:

Religion should not encourage total obedience to any person, entity, organization or scripture.

Religion should not penalize people for questioning it.

Religion should not be employed to cajole, brainwash, manipulate, coerce or otherwise abuse the free will of others.

Religion should not teach hate, intolerance or bigotry.

Religion should not impart feelings of fear, unworthiness and insecurity.

Religion should not teach that different beliefs make their believers inimical, hostile, or worthy of mistreatment of any kind.

Religion should never undermine, inhibit, contradict or otherwise diminish spiritual growth and development.

04
Aug

The Chris Christie Horse’s Ass Serenade

The Chris Christie Horse’s Ass Serenade

(To the tune of “The Mr. Ed Song”)

A horse has an ass, of course, of course
And none can talk to an ass , of course
Unless you meet our governor
Talk to Portly Chris

He wants you to think he’s upper class
In spite of the gas that he will pass
He is New Jersey’s Horse’s Ass
Look at Portly Chris

Chris goes round the Bridgegate way
The people he will sass
But Portly Chris can never hide
The fact he’s a horse’s ass

He’s never in Trenton, of course, of course
Approval rating getting worse and worse
The nation’s lousiest governor
Chris the Horse’s Ass.

You can hear the song on Youtube. Follow the link below

https://youtu.be/CZMtyvc01dg

28
Jun

Rune Musings: The Odal Rune – No Borrowed Ancestors

Odal – No Borrowed Ancestors

Being adopted, I had a hard time connecting with MY ancestors. For several reasons, I could not and would not borrow the lineage of my adoptive family.

I was not going to fuss over honoring borrowed ancestors.

Finding a lineage of my own came in an odd and wonderful way. Audrey and I were looking at the old veterans’ gravestones at Tennent Church. Many casualties from the Battle of Monmouth are buried there. We were looking at stones from those who had died after the War. At the start, some were marked Continental Line. Others were marked NJ Militia. From there it went to later wars, such as the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, etc.

That was where I found my lineage. The Continental Line was the regular Army of the Revolution. The Militia was the predecessor of the National Guard. I had served both in the regular Army and the National Guard, and felt a connection. Here was a lineage that fit me. I am part of that line of American soldiers stretching from the old militia to the present.

There are other groups that give a sense of precedence and continuity. Members have the feeling of being part of a tradition that predates them. These may be fraternal groups such as the Freemasons or Elks, veterans groups like the American Legion, various occult groups, and religious societies like the Knights of Columbus. I should note that only a few of the aforementioned groups and others like them are over 100 years old. Nonetheless, each has its traditions which help establish a feeling of continuity among members. They have a lineage, whether short or long.

The idea of ancestry and lineage connects us to the past and present. Instead of being a lone thing, it gives us a sense of belonging to something that was ours before we were born. For most people, it is easy. They have a family lineage. For others, a sense of continuity from a precedent must be discovered.

Being without a familial lineage, I am more cognizant of the need for a connection to some precedent. Fortunately, I found more than one.

******

My wife can trace her ancestors back to the 14th century. Through marriage, I have become part of her family tree. I can’t borrow her ancestors, but I do have a small place in the scheme of things.

****

What of past lives? That is a difficult thing to undertake. Better to find something in your present life on which you can find it.

********

Family is a nebulous subject for me. I know there is a natural family from which I came, but I have no contact with them. I can’t trace ancestors past my birthday. As to my adopted family, their lineage is not mine. They have not been an active presence in my life for a long time. Then again, who really matters? My answer to this comes from a lifetime of experience.

The people who matter in life are the people who love you and are there for you. And even if you have not seen some of them for years, they are still your people. That is the truth. Family or not, those who do not care for you and those who do not want you may as well be strangers. Focus your goodwill and best intentions on those who love you and show it. They are the people who deserve you. And always remember: actions speak louder than words. A lot of people talk, but the ones who count are the ones who show it in what they do.

*******

This is the last of the latest rundown of the Runes. I will likely do another one in the foreseeable future. If you have enjoyed my work, please consider my books. Profits from the Runes help cover the costs of these websites. They are available here:

Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

*****

Here is a set of Rune attributes using an interesting version of the Futhark. We contiue to use our old names for the Runes rather than proto-Germanic.

Rune Interpretations

27
Jun

Rune Musings: The Dag Rune – Rise and Fall of Light and Darkness

Dag – Rise and Fall of Light and Darkeness

Calendars have their uses, but sometimes we lose sight because of them. When we consult a calendar, we see a day. There is a twenty-four hour period of time divided into day and night. And that is where we stop. One day equals daytime and night: one and the other.

The reality is that a day is not a single, absolute thing. It is a process of dawn to noon through afternoon to dusk and the dead of night to twilight and then dawn again. Except for the North and South Pole, the day is not an absolute, nor a pair of absolutes. The change at both ends is twilight – “two-light” – a blend of light and darkness as one gives way to the other.

For some things, it is useful to see the Dag Rune as being two absolutes, just it there are situations where one does best to see Day and Night as complementary. For others, we need to consider Day and Night as cyclical processes of growing and waning light followed by increasing and diminishing darkness. The day is a process and for most of us, we live through that process. Breakfast to lunch to dinner. Waking to work and then back home. Relaxing after dinner to going to bed to awakening. Many of the things we do and when we do them are determined by the passage of the day. When we eat and what we eat follow the daily schedule. The early day breakfast differs from the mid-day lunch, which differs from late day dinner. Our sleep, our daily travel and our activities follow the process of day and night.

Most of us live according to the rising and waning of the light. Our schedules are geared to the process that begins with Dawn, changes at Dusk, and resumes with the next Dawn. Our lives are more attuned to the daily cycle than many had realized.

There is a practical precedent for this. It is hard to do farm work in the dark of night. It is also hard to hunt at night. We work when it is possible under the best conditions, and rest when we cannot work. This is reflected in how we live even to this day.

Consider the ramifications. The daily cycle determines work schedules, which subsequently affects commuting. Train and bus schedules are written to coincide with the greatest movement of people. This movement is based heavily on making the best advantage of the day. The roads and rails are busiest in the daytime. Late at night, there is little commuter traffic because fewer travel during the darkest hours. Even our electric use is affected by the time of day. The greatest use of electricity is during the day. Utility companies have to plan for the hours of greatest usage. At night, use of electricity drops considerably. Most businesses are closed at night. The dark hours tend to be cooler, thereby demanding less use of air conditioners in summer. All is affected by passage of daytime and night time.

On one level, the Dag Rune is a balance of opposites. On another, it is a process of moving gradually from one extreme to the next. We do not jump from light to dark. Daylight fades into darkness, and darkness fades into light.

Ponder this gradual aspect of the Dag Rune. It brings to light other facets of this Rune which can be given practical application.

*******

If you want to learn more of the Runes, we offer several books on the subject. Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.
http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

26
Jun

Rune Musings: Ing Rune – The Seed Thought

Ing – The Seed Thought

Some rune interpretations claim that Hagal is the seed. These are based on the work of a German kabbalist and occultist named Guido von List. I regard von Liszt’s work as a Hermetic attempt at the Runes and put little stock in his work.

The real catalyst is the Ing Rune. This is a Rune of fertility, among other things. (It is also a Rune of agriculture, of the hearth and of protection.) Specifically, it is male fertility. That means it is the thing that starts the process. It is ignition, the spark that starts a fire or lights a fuse. It is the sperm that meets the ovum which starts gestation. Ing is also that germ of thought that starts a movement, a revolution, a leap in technology, a step forward for humanity.

Ing can represent the power of an idea. And here I am in my element.

Many years ago, I began giving a talk called “The Power of an Idea.” And these many years later, I am more convinced than ever that one idea can transform a person’s life, an enterprise, and even a nation. One idea taken, nurtured, supported and put into action can take a dire situation and turn it into a shining success.

The basic concept is that a genuine idea comes with everything necessary for someone to eventually implement it. Eventually? That might mean five minutes, five days, five weeks or years. Each one is different. When the idea presents itself, the work begins. Ideas rarely transform just by popping up. They must be implemented. That means work and planning.

Many an idea has sounded good, but the person who received it lost interest. Maybe he let other things get in the way of the work needed to turn it into results. An idea will not generate results if the person who received it spends all his time in a gin mill or watching the television for hours on end. An idea will fail if he brags about it to friends, and lets these idlers eat up his time.* An idea will be stuck in the station if the person fritters from one thing to the next rather then focusing on making that one idea come to fruition.

The idea will grow and work for the one who works with it and lets nothing keep him from doing all that is necessary.

Thomas Edison had one idea that would make the electric lightbulb. The filament was the idea. Edison tested almost 2,000 materials before he found the best wire for a filament. He knew the idea was right and he worked to make it useable. George Washington Carver had an idea about making the peanut more useful. He knew that he had to subject it to heat and pressure. Subsequent experiments led to 300 new uses for the peanut. Another idea about the sweet potato lead Carver to discover over 150 uses for the plant. Bessemer had one idea and thereby was able to produce steel on an industrial scale. These all began because the individuals had an idea and worked to make results of it.

I used to lecture in a drug and alcohol rehab. One of my talks was the Power of an Idea. One fellow really took it to heart. Tyrell was almost done with his time in rehab. He had no prospects for employment and was only going to be able to stay with a relative for a couple of weeks. Because of antics during the addiction, Tyrell was permanently forced out of a line of work that he loved.

After I gave the talk, Tyrell came to me. He had a lot of questions. Something I said gave him hope that he could earn enough money on his own until a job came along.

Before his addiction took over, Tyrell had learned how to do silk screening and to use the patterns on t-shirts. His one idea was to use that skill to earn enough money for food and shelter. When he finished his time in rehab, he bought the gear he needed and set to work. Most of the shirts had slogans for people in Recovery. Tyrell sold them at meetings for alcoholics and addicts. The man made enough money to get a room and to eat. One idea – his ability to do silk-screening – gave him hope and the means to get back on his financial feet. It served as a bridge until he could find regular employment. Eventually he found a job he liked.

All it takes is one idea and the willingness to put it into action. One idea can make the difference. It demands effort and persistence in order to bring its benefits.

*********

Many times when a new enterprise begins, idlers find it convenient to drop in and waste time. I believe they feed off the creative energy. Of course, they do nothing to enhance it. They are there looking for a place to waste time. Those beginning an enterprise, especially a home business, have to be fastidious in dissuading idlers. These people love to distract from the work with idle
chatter. Some will even have the nerve to try to tell a person how to run his enterprise.

A person who is beginning something has to ward off those who would impede it. That includes chasing off the idlers. Better they get hurt feelings than they contribute to the whole enterprise’s collapse.

****

If you want to learn more of the Runes, we offer several books on the subject. Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

25
Jun

Runic Musings: The Lagu Rune – Fishy Distortion

Lagu – Fishy Distortion

Be it a lake, river, ocean or brook, water has some interesting peculiarities. No matter how clear or murky water is, it distorts what we see when we look into it. Anyone who has tried spear fishing or bow fishing knows this. The fish you see is not exactly where you see it. The only way to spear or shoot the fish is to adjust one’s aim. He aims not where he sees the fish, but where he knows the fish should be. Water obscures the position of the fish.

Try it for yourself. Fill a clear glass halfway with water. Now insert a straw, pencil or other long object. Look at the glass from the side. The top of the straw and the bottom appear offset from one another.

An aspect of Lagu relates to emotions. Indeed, emotions can distort perception just as water distorts the position of things under its surface. How we feel about a thing can affect how we perceive it. That can interfere with getting a realistic view of it. Emotions such a fear, anger, greed, lust, and guilt can very well alter our outlook on a person, thing or situation.

Many years ago, I was counseling a young man who was early in Recovery from addiction. He was at an open discussion for recovering addicts. Several of the people there were newcomers. The young man focused on one woman whom he found attractive. Physically, she was his type. I saw by her behavior that she was a newcomer and her recovery was still at the shaky stage.

The young man had taken one look at her and he was smitten. He told me that he was very much attracted to her. I knew that this was all wrong. The woman needed time to get stronger in recovery. Having a fling with a young recovering addict would not be good for her or him. Nothing I said could dissuade him. For every objection, he had an excuse.

Finally, I asked one thing. “When she starts talking, close your eyes. Really listen to what she is saying. Do that for me.”

The young man agreed.

The discussion started and the young addicts all took a turn speaking, a la “round robin.” (I was not part of the discussion and had to leave until it was over.).

Afterward the young man found me. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. “Wow!” “He said, “That girl is really sick. I’m going to leave her alone.”

By removing the emotional content – in this case, his physical attraction to her – the intellect could work unimpeded. Emotion and instinct told him, “I want her.” Intellect informed him that for his good and hers, she needed to be left alone.

We rarely if ever are able to exclude all emotion. However, we can minimize it to the point that intellect becomes the overriding factor. Instead of seeing a thing masked in the filter of our emotions, we want to see it clearly without any filter at all. Many times, feelings about a thing can diminish our ability to deal with it most effectively.

I am reminded of a woman whose ex-boyfriend was a self-made loser and small-scale scoundrel. Every time he came to her for help, she relented. And every time it happened, she came to regret it. Her problem was that she still had feelings for him and let her emotions override common sense. “He’s not really a bad guy. He’s just a screw-up,” she would say. It was only when one of his antics got way out of control that she finally realized she needed to be rid of him. His misdeed was a glaring fact that no emotion could distort.

Feelings are not facts. Lagu teaches us that emotions can distort how we see things. We must adjust our perception to deal with facts as they really are rather than how we feel about them. Here we see the old formula: Intellect over Emotion.

10,000 years of human civilization has proven that when you put your faith in reason, you tend to get the best results.

******

If you want to learn more of the Runes, we offer several books on the subject. Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

24
Jun

Rune Musings: Mannar Rune – The Good We See and the Bad We Don’t

Mannar – The Good We See and the Bad We Don’t

An aspect of the Mannar Rune is the reconciliation of two sides of ourselves. These are the What – the many roles a person fills, and the Who – the inner person under it all. Ideally, the What serves as an expression of the Who. Normally, what a person is or does is an expression of who they are.

Normally.

What happens when the inside and outside are in conflict?

There was a woman who was very concerned that people think her a nice, pleasant, dignified person. She was very careful to maintain this image. At least, to people whose opinions she valued. Behind the facade, she was a very resentful person who carried a lot of baggage from a dysfunctional childhood. The woman had a lot of anger over long-past wrongs. Outside, she was pleasant, but inside was a monster.

The meanness worked its way out in other manners. The woman would often berate her son and add, “You are so full of hate.” She treated him worst because she knew she could get away with it. For his part, he wondered what he did that was so wrong. Yet the hate was not his, but hers. She projected her resentments and anger at those around her, accusing them of her ills.

Ironically, much of the woman’s time was spent gossiping about the faults of others. That became her reputation, which she either did not realize or found some way to ignore. Her inner conflict worked its way into visibility through gossip and backbiting. When people distanced themselves from her, she blamed them.

In another case, there was a man who did not like the way he lived. He was in the company of ne’er-do-wells, low-lifes and general miscreants. He lived at the bottom of society. The man came to the conclusion that the problem was the city in which he lived. A job came along that required traveling to different locations for a few months at a time. He took it because he thought that doing so would get him away from the city and thus end his problem.

The first location looked promising .It as a new town and while working there, he met some nice people. Things looked up for a few weeks. Then things changed. He found himself going to the same kind of places doing the same kind of things with the same kind of people he knew in the city. Blaming that town, he felt that when sent to the next location, things would improve. Things looked good for a few weeks, but again, he soon found himself in the same straits as he had been in the city. This process repeated itself at every location. The problem was not the cities and towns, but the man himself. Everywhere he went, he gravitated toward the people, places and things most like himself. The change of location did not work because wherever he went, he brought himself with him.

There is an old story that a man moved to a new town and got into a conversation with an old Quaker. He spoke of his old town. “The people there were horrible. Drunks and bums, liars and thieves. The worst kind of scoundrels.”

The Quaker replied, “And ye shall find them here, also.”

Another man overheard the conversation. he said, “I have to disagree. I lived in that same town. The people there were kind and honest and generous.”

The Quaker said to him, “And ye shall find them here, too.”

Who you are will gravitate to its equivalent . Like attracts like. Water seeks its own level, and so shall you.

In both stories we see the inner nature might be hidden, but at some point will come to the fore. The plain fact is that wearing a facade and blaming woes on others only prolongs the misery. The first step in the process is to recognize one’s true nature, for better or worse.

Things will not change. They cannot be changed until the person changes himself. A hateful person will only find new people to blame unless he or she confronts her own vitriolic spirit. An angry person will continue to create turmoil in his life until he recognizes and remedies his irate self. A mean-spirited person will be despised and avoided until he deals with the thing in himself that causes his spitefulness.

It is said that the world around you is a reflection of yourself. There is nothing esoteric or miraculous there. People gravitate to that which is most akin ot their inner selves. It is not who a person thinks he is, but who he really is that determines where he goes.

In a way, life is often like riding a bicycle. You go in the direction toward which you are looking. Change your focus to change your destination.

The Mannar Rune is the key. It is not in the outer self – the “What” of ourselves – where change must be initiated. True change begins in the “Who” of us – the inner self.

***

If you want to learn more of the Runes, we offer several books on the subject. Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

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