He is a contemporary of mine, and we did Electronic training together a long time ago (1965) and he rose to the giddy heights of procuring and deploying our Aussie defence satelites and was involved with pre hostilities "what if" scenarios in terms of communications. He and a small team had to plan to keep comms open. They also had to come up with 'exit plans' and he recalls they were aghast at the US plan that did not seem to even have one, making it extremely difficult for their allies (that's us..Australia) to make any realistic plans.
But as our conversation drifted to the 'outer limits'.. he related his knowledge of various Mars missions that he came across while at NASA. It appears that on one mission, when they turned on the video to see what Mars looked like.. they found only one color.. "Black".. because some joker had not removed the lense cover prior to take off from earth! The next mission included a 'Lense cap removal' tool and this time the video worked.... but when they put the 'probe' into Mars rear end.. the made a remarkable discovery.. "There was plastic on mars!!!!".... errr.. well not quite.. some other bod realized that the probe had in fact penetrated the discarded lense cover! Normality took over after they realized what had happened.
We began our training in the same year that Herbert Marcuse was writing his essay of oppression "Repressive Tolerance" in the USA.
I asked my mate about our time in Vietnam. Some political reflection so to speak. He spent a posting there, and I made a few short visits. I asked if he had any idea about the politics and morality of the war at that time.. he could only think of that well worded piece of propaganda "Domino Theory".. if Vietnam fell..it would be a chain reaction down to who knows where. I had no clue about the historical context or the high powered politics of that time.. as I certainly do now. But I'm not planning to digress into a 'who was the good guy/bad guy' of that War.
The point I'd like to leave the reader with is this: When we are in the middle of a point in time in history, it's most difficult to lift ourselves out of that point and see how and where it all fits into a bigger picture. The same is true of our social and moral situation. He and I discussed the issue of Gay Marriage and it was clear we were on the same page, that "Marriage" is between a man and woman. We agreed that if 'Gay' marriage was introduced there is no logical or social reason to disallow other types of marriage such as polyamorous or polygamous or 'unusual' types of marriage where the man or woman is bi sexual and wants to marry both a man and a women.
We agreed that our social order is under dire and relentless attack. I believe I was able to leave him with some hook points to various philosophers and academics who are driving this degenerate trend in our society. So it was a productive lunch.
All in all, I am forcefully reminded, as I look back to the 60s, that without an enduring and 'durable' moral compass and anchor, we will be subject to the whim and will of just about any drongo with a loud voice or a loud hailer and a few ratbags who can pound a drum and blow a whistle. Of course, having politicians who have spines is one way of combatting these social white ants, but looking at say Charles Schumer of New York in the American context and various others.. they just say what they think the people want to hear in order to be re-elected. Politics and spines seem to be almost incompatible.
John the Baptist rocked up as an environmental warrior (he only ate natural food.. locusts and wild honey.. I suppose Peta might have issues with John about stealing the precious food of those hard working bees..! but.. that was John) Nonetheless John copped a few choice names from the spineless politicians of his day "He has a demon" they said. Well then along came Jesus, eating and drinking with even tax collectors!...and they called him a hedonist and a degenerate. John came fasting and they called him a demoniac, Jesus came feasting and they called him a degenerate. It's not a smooth path for a man of God in either those days or these.
But both John and Jesus had a moral anchor. John prepared the way for Jesus, and Jesus exposed the nitty gritty of the human heart....
"For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” (Matt 15:19)
John called a spade a spade..and Jesus called sin sin! they both got called names by the nefarious, John lost his head and Jesus gained a cross...the price of purity can be expensive! In both John's and Jesus case.. they came to mankind within a framework of God extending his loving arm of reconciliation, and with that in mind, I want to give you a video of Pastor Wintley Phipps.. who happens to be a Seventh Day Adventist.. a theology I regard as quite incorrect... this does not mean that an SDA person is unsaved, it depends on the individual heart.. and Mr Phipps has a baritone voice of spectacular note.. and the song he opens with is heartfelt and heart touching.. my prayer is that he will touch your heart for Christ. You can work out your own salvation in the healthy fear of God by looking up the most profound book ever written outside the Gospels.. and that is Pauls letter to the Romans.
If you are interested in where a lifetime of reflection has led myself, on the issue of "National Renewal".. then you can have a read of a "work in progress" on that issue.
UPDATE ON MEMORY WORK.
I have now fully memorized the full text and spirit of MLK jr's "I have a dream" speech..and find it a liberating experience! Now.. (as Cicero and other masters of oratory have said) I am able to string words together in other contexts so much better. The power released by this experience is overwhelming. Not egotistical power...but oratorical. I urge you the reader to spend time (even like me if you feel it's for you) to go for a walk of about 40 minutes each morning..while memorizing some important document or speech. Thinking of the beginning of this entry, and my joking mention of the "5 things which tell you you have alzheimers".... I understand that brain stimulation is good for combatting that disease. FYI