Monday, July 6, 2020

"Bye Bye American Pie"

"Bye Bye American Pie"
by Jim Kunstler

"Way back in the 1950s, the popular euphemism to describe black children struggling in poverty was “underprivileged.” The elegant trope guided the nascent social services industry that reached full flower a few years later in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty - a cause as lost, it turns out, as the War in Vietnam. The wonder is that it took seventy years for the race-and-gender faculty to come up with the corollary notion that white folks must be excessively privileged, and must be punished for their broken promise to bestow more privilege upon those lacking it.

And so, in the paroxysms of early summer, 2020, with Covid-19 raging world-wide and the floor dropping from underneath our shuck-and-jive economy, and the climate doing… whatever it’s doing… Chuck and Nancy led their privileged minions in a ceremony of penance, taking their knees with shoulders draped in kente shawls of atonement, signifying… wait a minute… signifying what, exactly?

That they were surrendering their privilege? Cue laugh track. What it really signified was how plumb out of ideas they are for correcting this diabolical injustice. Of course, the animating principle of the Woke Inquisition is that nobody is forgiven for anything. Your request for absolution is only proof of your wickedness, requiring further punishment. So, what was to be done, then?

Well, nothing. Moiling mobs of the underprivileged were granted permission to go “shopping” after-hours on Rodeo Drive, Midtown Fifth Avenue, and other upscale zip codes around the country - accompanied by privileged white “allies” piously working out their own Ivy League bad karma. When there was no more schwag left to loot, the mob was invited to stage an orgy of statue-toppling. Nobody interfered with that tantrum, thinking, perhaps, that losing a few public monuments was a small price to pay for preventing some more ghastly blood-in-the-streets scenario. The police were reduced to acting as spectators while awaiting wholesale dismissal from their jobs and enduring the censorious opprobrium of their elected overseers, pledged to defunding law enforcement.

The nation managed to get through its shameful Fourth of July birthday without the demolition of Mount Rushmore or the torching of Mount Vernon, but the Sunday following a virtual army of black former military personnel (so they said), armed with assault rifles and clad in combat drag, marched into Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, where a colossal bas-relief sculpture stands carved into the rock wall depicting that trinity of Confederate arch-fiends Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson.
NFAC on the march at Stone Mountain

The militia styled itself as the Not F****ng Around Coalition (NFAC). It’s leader, name of Grand Master Jay, declared “every descendent of slavery a political prisoner” and proposed to found a new all-black nation - “We’ll take Texas,” GM Jay averred. They affected to be met by an opposing army of white supremacists, but none showed up. Perhaps the enemy was not informed ahead of time. The marchers pretended to be disappointed. “We here! Where the f**k you at?” their leader asked. Echo answered…. Battle of Stone Mountain averted.

Now what? What’s next in the escalating 2020 war of (so far) symbols? The resurgence of Covid-19 has prompted more shut-downs, meaning resumed job layoffs, business destruction, and anxious, seething, sweltering boredom for those not privileged to be working from home. The current round of government payments is about over, too, and millions may be facing eviction, mortgage default, car re-po, and other personal catastrophes. Another round of $600 “bonuses” will not avail to solve those problems, and when it’s spent on the imperative need for food, then what?

Well, the political conventions. Personally, and what with the virus rampant, I doubt they will be held in the traditional way - the great civic center jamborees of shoulder-rubbing, sign-waving, and conga-dancing. Meaning that even more than ever before, these extravaganzas will be reduced to mere TV shows that nobody will watch. Could be a boon to the phantom candidacy of Joe Biden, who would remain coolly stashed away in his basement sepulcher, presented to the electorate as a hologram. Then again, an entirely off-stage convention could invite backstage intrigue on the part of those unconvinced that a holographic president will do in this year of pending social and economic collapse. Hillary to the rescue, I’d say.

The embattled and sore-beset Donald Trump looks like he’s on-the-ropes. It’s hard to say if he even comprehends the gravity of this blossoming long emergency or fourth turning crisis. He’s fought off every effort to overthrow him by the Deep States pygmies of sedition, but the collapse of an empire is more like a battle against fate itself. Like him or not, you have to feel for someone in such a monumental struggle."

"Raise Positive Vibration - 528Hz Positive Energy, Self-Healing, Healing Miracle Music."

If "Playback Error" message appears play it here:

Spirit Tribe Awakening, 
"Raise Positive Vibration - 528Hz Positive Energy, Self-Healing, Healing Miracle Music." "Music is tuned to 528Hz and contains the 417Hz Solfeggio frequency. These frequencies have a specific healing effect on your subconscious mind. Peaceful, empowering and soothing music and nature to nurture your mind, body, and soul. Supporting and empowering you on your life journey."

A Comment: Listen to me. Do yourself a huge favor. Stop reading this blog. Now. Stop listening to the medias "news", lies and grief. Right now. Instead, listen to and watch this simply wonderful video. Forget about this damned world and its relentlessly never ending stupidity, horrors and fears for a little while. A moment of candor: I personally am sick to death of it all, as you must be also, far too often outraged, disgusted and horrified beyond expression. I'd eagerly, frantically escape from it if I could, but after almost 12 years of daily blogging I just can't, especially now, and have no choice but to remain right here for as long as possible. But we can escape it sometimes for brief moments, which is why I urge you to forget it all for a little while. Instead, be kind to yourself, relax, focus on and enjoy this truly beautiful, remarkable video, as I am.
- CP

"How It Really Is"

"Violent Crime Is Surging Dramatically In Major Cities All Over America"

"Violent Crime Is Surging Dramatically
 In Major Cities All Over America"
by Michael Snyder

"What we are witnessing all over the country right now is incredibly sad. In the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd, it would have been wonderful to see the entire nation unite behind an effort to make our society less violent, more just and more peaceful. But instead, we have seen a tremendous explosion of violence and lawlessness that doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon. Violent crime rates are surging in major city after major city, and the 4th of July weekend was particularly bad. At least 41 people were hit by gunfire in New York City during the holiday weekend, and this continues a trend that we have seen throughout the first half of 2020. Just check out these numbers:

"According to figures released by the New York Police Department, for the first six months of this year, there were 176 murders, an increase of 23 percent on the 143 killed during the same period last year. The number of shooting victims has gone up 51 percent to 616 this year. In June alone, there were 250 shootings compared to 97 in the same month last year. Month-on-month, burglaries are up 119 percent and car thefts up 48 percent."

I don’t know which one of those numbers is the worst, because they are all quite horrific. A tremendous amount of money has been shifted away from the NYPD budget, and that certainly isn’t going to help matters. For years, the hard work of the NYPD had helped to make New York safer than many of our other major cities, but now that is changing at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.  In fact, one British news source is now referring to the city as “lawless New York”:

"Two bullet-ridden bodies lay sprawled on bloodstained concrete steps. Alongside, relatives of the victims are wailing and collapse to the ground. In another part of the city, a gang of youths use spray paint to disable security cameras before robbing a corner store. Later, video footage captures police officers sitting helplessly in their patrol car as a baying crowd hurls glass bottles at them." This is lawless New York – a city that was once America’s glittering crown jewel but which risks descending into mob rule.

Of course New York still has a long way to go if it wants to rival Chicago. According to authorities, there are more than 100,000 gang members living in Chicago at this point, and the violence never seems to stop. Sadly, the last couple of days have been particularly bad. Over the 4th of July weekend, at least 67 people were hit by gunfire in the Windy City: "At least 67 people were shot, including 13 fatally, over the Independence Day weekend in Chicago, according to authorities. Nine of the weekend’s victims were minors, and two children died, officials told Fox32. That includes 14-year-old boy who was among four people who were killed in the South Side neighborhood Englewood on Saturday evening."

But instead of blaming the criminals, the Chicago Sun-Times seem to think that “cutting funding for police could lead to a better and safer Chicago”. Seriously? Do people actually believe such nonsense?

Philadelphia is another major city that is seeing a massive increase in violent crime at the same time funding for the police is being cut back: "Shootings are up 67 percent. Victims of armed violence are up 29 percent. Homicides are up 25 percent. So of course it makes sense to defund the Philadelphia PD by $19 million."
Most Americans desperately want their neighborhoods to feel safe, and this could be the one issue that could rescue the Republicans from a potential disaster in the November election. Right now, most Democrats are extremely hesitant to speak out against the violent protests that we have been witnessing all over the nation, and that is a huge mistake.

And we definitely witnessed more alarming violence during the political protests that were held over the past few days. For example, protesters in Portland were launching projectiles and shooting fireworks at police officers in Portland for hours. If Democrats want to win over independent voters, they cannot be seen as siding with such violence. By engaging in such utter lawlessness, these radical protesters are actually hurting their own cause, because it is only going to help President Trump.

The more violence that we see, the more the American people are going to want it to stop. If tens of millions of voters believe that “Joe Biden’s America” is an America filled with rioting, looting and violence, that could potentially be enough to push Trump over the top in November. So Joe Biden’s unwillingness to strongly call for law and order may turn out to be his Achilles heel.

The way national elections are won in America is by winning over the millions of confused people in the middle, and right now the images of these protests that those confused people are viewing on their television screens are definitely not helping Democrats.  For example, over the weekend protesters in New York were burning American flags as they chanted “America was never great”: "FAR left protesters have burned American flags outside Trump Tower and the White House. Video shows the Stars and Stripes being burned just outside the White House as the demonstrators chanted “America was never great”.

Does anyone out there actually think that such stunts will make the confused people in the middle more likely to vote for Democrats? Right now, Trump is way behind in the polls, but if he makes these protesters the central issue of the campaign over the next several months he may still have a chance of winning.

But no matter who wins in November, it appears that we have now entered a new era of violence and rioting in this country. Many of our major cities already resemble war zones, and what we have experienced so far is just the beginning."

"Economic Fantasy Snapshot AM 7/6/20"

"Economic Fantasy Snapshot AM 7/6/20"
Chronicling the most enormous fraud and theft in human history,
down the rabbit hole of psychopathic greed and insanity...
No resemblance to reality is intended or claimed. Read at your own risk.
Only the consequences are real, to YOU, never them.
"The more I see of the moneyed classes, 
the more I understand the guillotine."
- George Bernard Shaw

Gregory Mannarino, AM 7/6/20:
“Alert! Another Trillion In Stimulus! Markets Set For Big Gains”
MarketWatch Market Summary, Live Updates

CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

"Average American In Big Trouble; Auto Sales In Depression; EvictionsTo Soar; Stockpile Cash"

Jeremiah Babe,
"Average American In Big Trouble; Auto Sales In Depression;
 EvictionsTo Soar; Stockpile Cash"

Sunday, July 5, 2020

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 7/6/20"

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 7/6/20" 
- Frequently Updated
Please visit these sites often for the very latest 
Covid-19 Pandemic and Economic news and information.

"How Badly Is America Doing?"
by David Leonhardt

"When can schools safely reopen? When will the economy really start recovering? And when will you next eat in a restaurant, go to a movie, watch pro sports or hang out at a friend’s house? All of these are, in fact, versions of the same question: When will the United States finally start to get the coronavirus under control? And the answer appears to be: not any time soon.

The U.S. looks ever more like an outlier. Over the weekend, President Trump again played down the coronavirus as a serious threat, falsely claiming 99 percent of cases are harmless. In many places, Americans continued to socialize in proximity, without masks.

Much of the rest of the world is taking a very different approach. It is slowly moving back toward more normal functioning, without setting off major new outbreaks. Schools in Japan and much of Europe have reopened. Restaurants in Iceland are bustling. The South Korean baseball season is in full swing. Thomas Chatterton Williams, an American writer living in France, asked in a recent Atlantic piece: “Do Americans understand how badly they’re doing?”
By The New York Times | Source: Johns Hopkins University
The U.S. now ranks with Brazil, Sweden and Peru as having one of the world’s most rapid virus growth rates. (Online, you can find a detailed version of this chart, with lines for more countries.)

There have been two main ways that countries have managed the pandemic successfully. The first approach prevented major outbreaks through an aggressive initial response that included travel restrictions, tests, contact tracing, quarantining and mask wearing. Several Asian countries, like South Korea and Vietnam, followed this model.

The second set of countries, including several in Western Europe, did suffer major outbreaks. But they responded with lockdowns and then began reopening carefully. All of these countries continue to cope with new cases, and will for a long time, but the numbers are small.

The U.S. reacted too slowly to prevent an initial outbreak, and only some regions - like New York - have responded forcefully since then. Much of the country instead declared victory prematurely, leading to the current surge of cases.

My colleague Ben Casselman, an economics reporter, has a thoughtful way of explaining the dynamic. “Recent developments raise some real questions about what ‘good news’ even means right now,” he says. The economy is a central example. Its surprisingly rapid growth in May and early June initially seemed encouraging, Ben points out. But it now seems to have been a sign that Americans were resuming normal activity in ways that spread the virus. Now the virus’s resurgence is causing new shutdowns that will delay a true recovery.

In other virus developments:
• New data - made available after The New York Times sued the federal government - shows the extent of racial disparities: The contraction rate is almost three times as high for Black Americans as white Americans and more than three times higher among Latinos than whites.
• Nick Cordero, a 41-year-old Broadway star known for his tough-guy roles in “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Waitress” and “A Bronx Tale,” died after a three-month battle with the virus.
• Evidence increasingly suggests that the virus lingers in indoor air for extended periods of time. That, in turn, suggests that masks, air ventilation and ultraviolet light are key to slowing its spread.
• Australia has locked down nine public housing towers in Melbourne to control the virus, telling about 3,000 residents that they must not leave for at least five days."
Highly recommended:
"How A False Hydroxychloroquine Narrative Was Created, And More"
Hat tip  to our friend Michel Parmentier for this material!
The Covid Tracking Project
"The public deserves the most complete data available about COVID-19 in the US. No official source is providing it, so we are. Every day, our volunteers compile the latest numbers on tests, confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and patient outcomes from every US state and territory."

The COVID Racial Data Tracker
"COVID-19 is affecting people of color the most. We’re tracking the data in real time. The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the COVID Tracking Project and the Antiracist Research And Policy Center. Together, we’re gathering the most complete race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the United States."

Click image for larger size.
July 6, 2020, 3:33:58 AM. For updates click here:

Musical Interlude: Liquid Mind, "Velvet Morning"

Liquid Mind, "Velvet Morning"
Liquid Mind ® is the name used by Los Angeles composer and producer
 Chuck Wild of the best-selling Liquid Mind relaxation music albums.

"A Look to the Heavens"

“What's going on in the center of this spiral galaxy? Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. Reasons for the Sombrero's hat-like appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on. Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge. Close inspection of the bulge in the below photograph shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters. 
 Click image for larger size.
M104's spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don't yet fully understand. The very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and is thought to house a large black hole. Fifty million-year-old light from the Sombrero Galaxy can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of Virgo.”

"Our Collective Fate..."

"We live in radical times surrounded by tasks that seem impossible. It has become our collective fate to be alive in a time of great tragedies, to live in a period of overwhelming disasters and to stand at the edge of sweeping changes. The river of life is flooding before us, and a tide of poisons affect the air we breathe and the waters we drink and even tarnish the dreams of those who are young and as yet innocent. The snake-bitten condition has already spread throughout the collective body.

However, it is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears where deep losses become acknowledged. Along the arc of healing the wounds and the poisons of life are created the exact opportunities for bringing out all the medicines and making things whole again."
- Michael Meade, "Fate And Destiny"

"I Believe..."

Rudi en Corlea, “Hoor Jy My Stem”
A hauntingly beautiful song sung in Afrikaans by
South Africans Rudi Claas and Corlea Botha.

"I believe...
love is stronger than death.”
- Robert Fulghum

"Why the Grieving, And You, Should Read Hamlet"

"Why the Grieving, And You, Should Read Hamlet"
by Meghan O'Rourke

"I had a hard time sleeping right after my mother died. The nights were long and had their share of what C.S. Lewis, in his memoir "A Grief Observed"*, calls "mad, midnight … entreaties spoken into the empty air." One of the things I did was read. I read lots of books about death and loss. But one said more to me about grieving than any other: Hamlet. I'm not alone in this. A colleague recently told me that after his mother died he listened over and over to a tape recording he'd made of the Kenneth Branagh film version.

I had always thought of Hamlet's melancholy as existential. I saw his sense that "the world is out of joint" as vague and philosophical. He's a depressive, self-obsessed young man who can't stop chewing at big metaphysical questions. But reading the play after my mother's death, I felt differently. Hamlet's moodiness and irascibility suddenly seemed deeply connected to the fact that his father has just died, and he doesn't know how to handle it. He is radically dislocated, stumbling through the world, trying to figure out where the walls are while the rest of the world acts as if nothing important has changed. I can relate. When Hamlet comes onstage he is greeted by his uncle with the worst question you can ask a grieving person: "How is it that the clouds still hang on you?" It reminded me of the friend who said, 14 days after my mother died, "Hope you're doing well." No wonder Hamlet is angry and cagey.

Hamlet is the best description of grief I've read because it dramatizes grief rather than merely describing it. Grief, Shakespeare understands, is a social experience. It's not just that Hamlet is sad; it's that everyone around him is unnerved by his grief. And Shakespeare doesn't flinch from that truth. He captures the way that people act as if sadness is bizarre when it is all too explainable. Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, tries to get him to see that his loss is "common." His uncle Claudius chides him to put aside his "unmanly grief." It's not just guilty people who act this way. Some are eager to get past the obvious rawness in your eyes or voice; why should they step into the flat shadows of your "sterile promontory"? Even if they wanted to, how could they? And this tension between your private sadness and the busy old world is a huge part of what I feel as I grieve—and felt most intensely in the first weeks of loss. Even if, as a friend helpfully pointed out, my mother wasn't murdered.

I am also moved by how much in Hamlet is about slippage - the difference between being and seeming, the uncertainty about how the inner translates into the outer. To mourn is to wonder at the strangeness that grief is not written all over your face in bruised hieroglyphics. And it's also to feel, quite powerfully, that you're not allowed to descend into the deepest fathom of your grief - that to do so would be taboo somehow. Hamlet is a play about a man whose grief is deemed unseemly. Strangely, Hamlet somehow made me feel it was OK that I, too, had "lost all my mirth." My colleague put it better: "Hamlet is the grief-slacker's Bible, a knowing book that understands what you're going through and doesn't ask for much in return," he wrote to me. Maybe that's because the entire play is as drenched in grief as it is in blood. There is Ophelia's grief at Hamlet's angry withdrawal from her. There is Laertes' grief that Polonius and Ophelia die. There is Gertrude and Claudius' grief, which is as fake as the flowers in a funeral home. Everyone is sad and messed up. If only the court had just let Hamlet feel bad about his dad, you start to feel, things in Denmark might not have disintegrated so quickly!

Hamlet also captures one of the aspects of grief I find it most difficult to speak about - the profound sense of ennui, the moments of angrily feeling it is not worth continuing to live. After my mother died, I felt that abruptly, amid the chaos that is daily life, I had arrived at a terrible, insistent truth about the impermanence of the everyday. Everything seemed exhausting. Nothing seemed important. C.S. Lewis has a great passage about the laziness of grief, how it made him not want to shave or answer letters. At one point during that first month, I did not wash my hair for 10 days. Hamlet's soliloquy captures that numb exhaustion, and now I read it as a true expression of grief:

"O that this too too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!"

Those adjectives felt apt. And so, even, does the pained wish - in my case, thankfully fleeting - that one might melt away. Researchers have found that the bereaved are at a higher risk for suicideality (or suicidal thinking and behaviors) than the depressed. For many, that risk is quite acute. For others of us, this passage captures how passive a form those thoughts can take. Hamlet is less searching for death actively than he is wishing powerfully for the pain just to go away. And it is, to be honest, strangely comforting to see my own worst thoughts mirrored back at me—perhaps because I do not feel likely to go as far into them as Hamlet does. (So far, I have not accidentally killed anyone with a dagger, for example.) The way Hamlet speaks conveys his grief as much as what he says. He talks in run-on sentences to Ophelia. He slips between like things without distinguishing fully between them - "to die, to sleep" and "to sleep, perchance to dream." He resorts to puns because puns free him from the terrible logic of normalcy, which has nothing to do with grief and cannot fully admit its darkness.

And Hamlet's madness, too, makes new sense. He goes mad because madness is the only method that makes sense in a world tyrannized by false logic. If no one can tell whether he is mad, it is because he cannot tell either. Grief is a bad moon, a sleeper wave. It's like having an inner combatant, a saboteur who, at the slightest change in the sunlight, or at the first notes of a jingle for a dog food commercial, will flick the memory switch, bringing tears to your eyes. No wonder Hamlet said, "… for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Grief can also make you feel, like Hamlet, strangely flat. Nor is it ennobling, as Hamlet drives home. It makes you at once vulnerable and self-absorbed, needy and standoffish, knotted up inside, even punitive.

Like Hamlet, I, too, find it difficult to remember that my own "change in disposition" is connected to a distinct event. Most of the time, I just feel that I see the world more accurately than I used to. ("There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.") Pessimists, after all, are said to have a more realistic view of themselves in the world than optimists.

The other piece of writing I have been drawn to is a poem by George Herbert called "The Flower." It opens:

"How Fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev'n as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shrivel'd heart
Could have recover'd greennesse? It was gone
Quite under ground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown;
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown."

Quite underground, I keep house unknown: It does seem the right image of wintry grief. I look forward to the moment when I can say the first sentence of the second stanza and feel its wonder as my own."
“Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1, 
‘To Be, Or Not To Be’ Soliloquy”
by William Shakespeare
Adrian Lester speaks Hamlet’s soliloquy from act III, scene 1,
in which the prince reflects on mortality and considers taking his own life.

“Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die; to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ’Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die; to sleep; -
To sleep? Perchance to dream! Ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffl’d off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”

- William Shakespeare (1564–1616),
"The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark"
(respect=realization; quietus= final settlement/release from life; 
contumely= disrespect/abuse; bodkin=dagger; 
fardels= heavy burdens; bourn= countryside; conscience= awareness)
Freely download "A Grief Observed", C.S. Lewis, here:

"It Seems..."

"It seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the foolish person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings." 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Why There’s Too Much On Your Plate"

"Why There’s Too Much On Your Plate"
by David Cain

"The great complaint of our time seems to be “I’ve got too much on my plate.” I wonder how long people have been saying that for. When did plate room, whatever it is, become the thing we can’t get enough of? It’s hard to imagine our hunter-gatherer predecessors keeping multiple-page to-do lists, or perpetually pushing back their actual hunting and gathering because of incessant meetings.

Presumably, we stack so much on our plates because each item returns something necessary for the life we want, something pre-industrial people wouldn’t have had: more security, more luxury, more fun, more fulfillment. Yet we can’t seem to refrain from stacking things too high, and suffering the resulting stress, overwhelm and sense of falling behind.

Modernity has brought unbelievable benefits to us and we shouldn’t take that for granted. I’m not pining for the days of rickets and involuntary fasting. But it is amazing to me why it’s so chronically difficult for us not to overfill our plates with obligations, diversions, work, and projects, given all the technological advantages we have over our ancestors.

Part of the problem is that abundance isn’t what we think it is. It isn’t just what’s on the good side of the “enough” line. Abundance is a narrow window between scarcity and overabundance, and it’s easy to overshoot, especially in societies that worship wealth, productivity, and economic growth.

It’s not long before the problems of not enough start to give way to the problems of too much. More food is a good thing, for example, up until the point where you have enough food. Then it begins to create problems - far more Westerners struggle with the incredible ease of acquiring and consuming caloric energy than with the age-old problem of securing enough of it.

News and information about the outside world used to be scarce too. It made sense to seek every scrap of it you could find. Now we live in a perpetual torrent of information, much more than we can use productively, and it’s making us lonely, polarized, intolerant, worried, and jaded.

Too much convenience technology is quite clearly making us lazier, and quietly eroding our initiative and problem-solving abilities. Entertainment too - our endless free videos, podcasts, and mobile games are making us less capable of doing so much as going for a walk or waiting for a bus without being simultaneously entertained.

Abundance is good when you’re coming from a place of scarcity. But if we don’t make a point of pruning away the excess, we end up with an overabundance of one thing and a scarcity of something else, often something much more vital: time, self-esteem, physical and mental health.

At some point we must have sailed past the happy medium. When was there just enough on our plates? 1950? 8,000 BC? I suppose it’s different for each category of overabundance.

We need to remember the source of abundance in so-called developed societies: a very hard, single-minded push towards ever-greater economic growth and material wealth. Just by living in such a society, you are being perpetually coaxed to take on more and more material possessions, amenities, information, entertainment, and work obligations, because nothing can drive perpetual growth except a population that never says “enough” to these things.

This push towards excess is the prevailing wind in the Western world. Balance isn’t a target or a even a guiding consideration, even though it’s what we want on an individual level. We do not actually want to live with a constant dearth of time, peace, sanity and health, just so we can drown in too much of some other resource, like entertainment, food, news, or souvenirs.

But we will, if we don’t recognize the direction of this push, and compensate for it with constant culling and pruning on a lifestyle level. Why am I starting all these projects? Why do I replace every single thing that breaks? Do I need meat at every meal? Do I need to say yes to all these requests? Do I need really need five screens of apps? Are all these monthly subscriptions necessary?

In other words, because of the way our society creates abundance, we need to be constantly pruning our intake of information, possessions, entertainment, and voluntary projects, or else we can easily end up with dangerous scarcities in other areas: well-being, health, financial security, self-esteem, mental clarity, and optimism.

How do we know which abundances to cull and prune from our lifestyles? Whatever makes more scarce the things we already don’t have enough of. For most of us that means tightening up our use of entertainment media, news consumption, discretionary spending, and half-hearted self-improvement projects. Avoiding overabundance in these categories will generate, seemingly magically, more time, money, clarity, peace of mind, and other resources that seem ever-elusive for most people in a consumer society.

These resources aren’t intrinsically rare. But they do become scarce when we let other things take their place. If we’re not careful, that’s what will happen, because - at least in this era, in these parts - that’s the way the wind blows.”