Johanna Faust, a mixed race Jew, prefers to publish pseudonymously. She is committed: first, to preventing war, ecological disaster, and nuclear apocalypse; last to not only fighting for personal privacy & the freedom of information, but, by representing herself as a soldier in that fight, to exhorting others to do the same. She is a poet, always. All these efforts find representation here: "ah, Mephistophelis" is so named after the last line of Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, whose heretical success flouted the censor for a time.

In Honor Of EXSKF, A Most Excellent Blogger

The blogger of whom I am about to speak, arevamirpal::laprimavera (an acrostic of whose pseudonym marks the left margin of the poem below), has been, and continues to be, of incalculable value to our real time and historical understanding of the consequences of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear nightmare that struck the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on March 11, 2011.  

Not only are these consequences still unfolding:  they are barely less dire than they were a year ago, and may be more so.  Our continued attention is vital if we are to develop intelligent, effective strategies with respect to our health.  No matter where we live, we will not be unaffected.  Responses, however optimal in theory, become literally no better than delusions, denial, and superstition, absent reliable information. 

Most main stream media, however, neither know nor care.  And they demonstrate their apathy and ignorance openly and without apology. The media landscape, despite the promised potential of a rapidly advancing, inherently democratic technology, is in fact so devoid of meaningful activity in this regard that without EX-SKF (and, it must be said, a small handful of notable others), even those who are most capable of serious inquiry would at best frequently find themselves halting and frustrated.

It is unfortunate that the brave, strange and horribly, irresponsibly  compliant, modern world of the 21st century has such journalists in it.  The author of EX-SKF is an individual who happened to find himself in the right place and at the right time to be able to begin to address this, and, more importantly, who recognized it as his duty. (Read his own account of it: Japan Marks March 11.)

We are lucky for that alone.  I think I may say, without exaggeration, that we may count ourselves unbelievably so when we realize how level headed, slow to jump to conclusions, rational, observant, patient, respectful of all viewpoints, tolerant, humble, capable of reporting his observations without confusing the facts with his own opinions, or the biases inherent in his cultural or political perspective. 

Were I naïve, I would still think (as I did in college) that a training firmly grounded in the scientific method would be such an asset as to be commonplace.  Certainly much, much more frequently encountered among thinking adults than it in fact turns out to be. It is clearly superior when merits are measured, be that at the beginning, middle, or end of a session of inquiry.  Superior by virtue of the usefulness of data collected through its lens;  by virtue of the precision with which specific details may be tested, rejected, or revised;  by virtue of  the verifiability of the patterns and correlations that may later be recognized; and  by virtue of the repeatability, and predictive accuracy, of the robust theories that result. 

This is progress.  This is practical.  This is success.  One does not have to limit the applications to the strictly scientific: thinking clearly brings success to all rational inquiry.  One would think that this is the fabled 'common' sense in its most basic form: frequent recalibration in light of the actual facts, as opposed to the fruits of the theory or model, that banishes the evil that would be wrought by force or fraud.

Perhaps because it works so well, it is, however, not common.  In fact, the widespread ability to think for oneself has been under seige, at least in America, for over a century.  The profits earned by successfully discovering truth, it would seem, are dwarfed by those earned by keeping it hidden.

I do not, however, actually believe that.  In fact I have the temerity to think that such ill gotten profits are short lived, since one cannot change the nature of phenomena merely by giving it another name, however clever, nor can one forestall dangerous consequences by refusing to address them, however fascinating or convincing the emotional appeal.

So tenacious is my optimism, in fact, so hardy and drought resistant, that not only would I like to think that I would do the same, given the same difficult circumstances — I would like to think that most of us would.  If we could.  I can not, can never regard the lying, corrupt, irresponsible, vicious, ugly, senseless behaviors of my fellow human beings without thinking: This is broken. This can be fixed. 

All that is necessary is that we understand our choices, that we be awake.  If people are good, and I believe we are, it seems too many of us are asleep; if this is true, let our consciences visit us in our dreams. If all good people are asleep, may they at least be asleep and dreaming.

A better world is possible.   

The author of EX-SKF is, if I may judge from his posts, one blogger who understands this, who possesses an uncompromising and hopefully uncompromisable sense of ethics.  For this, and to salute him in a manner hopefully fitting and to his liking, I present him with the following verse:

EX-SKF Marks March 11:
In Honor of Whom
       (or, once upon a time, 
       a beautiful child: 
       keys to mountains)

all of us (or is it just me)
respond more often, and more readily
either (if unseen) as --  known and known well -- (or
visible)  -- as -- more familiar still --
at best it seems proven in barely a glance
more than enough time to make that -- askance
it is this against which the best of us strive
reasoning thus (hopeful), our virtue to thrive:
purposes righteous make all outcomes serve;     
aspire perhaps just to be sure we deserve.
Love of Truth, though effect, by analogy draws us
: :
Love of Truth is after all, also -- what causes.
a chance misunderstanding can (such a swift easy doubt)
poison this well as from within as without
respect of perspective, or the faith of reflections,
intelligence humbles the heart's best intentions.
may we then find in this virtue such pleasure
as will, enough to discover, find leisure;
vanity prove no temptation at all;
each as eagerly heed his own call:
response as able as willing: as if, in what was heard,
as much the call -- as his calling -- inferred.
by johanna faust


on the anniversary of the disaster:

by arevamirpal::laprimavera

The poem in it's first 

Nuclear Disaster
 blogs of note:


and perhaps now and again
my own

1 comment:

  1. Part of the general non-scientific nature of the multitude is that there is no material understanding of atomic power - what it is, what the dangers are; the common sense quality of people cannot operate without knowledge and understanding as a basis. The Great Danger is not "radiation", but contamination. Particles that emit ionizing radiation, when they get inside a living thing, damage it. Fukushima is going to spew and continue to spew, mostly cesium. Diluting the spume means that the same number of people will die from contamination, statistically speaking, but that the deaths will occur over a larger area... This is a remedy? Well, that's the practical truth about atomic power. Meantime, when the stations run, they are vastly "profitable"... That puts people in a tight spot, doesn't it? Thanks for the poem... Larry