Broken Will, Lost Soul

RE: 8/12/2018 article of “Broken Guy goes down with plane” from the Los Angeles Times

However bleak and and fatalistic his views on Death of God and Nihilism might be, the one definitive thing German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche knew was this: “Anyone who has a why to live can bear also any hows.” How reassuring it is because it means that even if life presents you anything but shattered dreams, aborted hopes, and clipped anticipations for whatever you try to work out, as long as you still hold steadfastly onto a sense of purpose – that is a why to continue this so-called “life”- your life will not end in nil, or in crash such as the man I read about in the newspaper today.

His name was allegedly known as “Richard Russel,” according to his bantering with an airport controller during his audaciously precarious aerial heist of an passenger aircraft he had stolen from Sea-Tac Airport in WA. He was reported to be a 29-year old former ground service agent at Horizon who had also run a bakery with his wife until 2015. It is reported that he died in crash on a wooded area on Ketro Island south of Seattle, WA by saying, “I wasn’t really planning on landing it.” The plane did not hit any structures nor did it cause any collateral damages to private properties, since the island itself is underdeveloped. The whys and wherefores of Russel’s quixotic joy ride have not yet been manifested in the course of the current FBI investigation, but judging from his communication with the controller, he might have been suffering from existential vertigo in which he had lost a sense of purpose, a why for continuing his life in dealing with demands of tasks that everyday life had imposed on.

In case of art imitating life, Russsel on the passenger aircraft reminds me of Don Quixote who, on his beloved Rocinante, gallops toward the huge windmill to vanquish it, a stereoscopic symbol of pompous hypocrisy of life that generates nothing but the ills. Foolish, yes, needless to say. But heinous or even insidious? Hardly so. Stealing is one thing, but ending his life out of emotional distress is another thing, as they are apples and oranges in the sense that he meant no fatal harm on anyone by using the stolen aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction as in the case of the terrorist carnage of 9/11. I wonder what might have gone through his mind in the cockpit of the plane as he was nearing to the end of his life: a phantasmagorical display of his memories that he had collected through life, willed or unwilled? Perhaps, being a pilot of the plane might have given him a tactile sensation of being capable of piloting his own life, that ineffable stupendousness of capability, which would have given him the equal dose of confidence at the spur of the fateful moment.

Playing a pseudo psychiatrist is not my forte, but it is viable to think that Russel ‘s contemporary strains of life and postmortem malady that anesthetized his Reason and thus emboldened him to do such a foolhardily venturesome act at the expense of his own life are something that we can feel pathos at the least. And that is why I find it hard to criminalize him by putting him into a moral/ethical Procrustean bed, which also brings me back to an act in Macbeth:

“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage; and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

Bicycle for Two


Philippa is pushing through busy Main Street on a sunny Friday afternoon with her son Fred in the backseat of her bicycle by dint of solicitation and fortitude of the valorous McGreen family.  Fred, an orphan abandoned at the age of two weeks on the step of her gingerbread lookalike house, is her de facto son, the middle one between Alfred, the eldest son of herculean feats of athleticism and the youngest, Philip, “Phil,” who, on an account of the solidification of hereditary traits of the adventurous family, goes for jocular adventure. But Fred is a different soul, he is a sensitive soul with a great mind and a tender heart. And today the foundling of Philippa is very ill that requires a doctor’s immediate attention; hence the mother is forcefully working pedals to Dr. Hobson.

image (4)The mother and the son is also escorted by a trusty entourage of Phil, who is also concerned about his dear brother. Small as he is, Philip is all bravery and cheerfulness. He wants to make sure all’s well with Fred, who always reads him sweet bedtime stories by his nightly bedside as well as other illuminating stories about ancient Greek heros and the gods and goddesses of the Parthenon, great historical figures, and oeuvres of fine writers throughout the western civilization.  Fred to Phill is what Yoda is to Luke in the Star Wars. Philippa is pleased to see her sons bound by Charity, Hope, and Faith, the three theological virtues, not by dint of mere blood relation that is often devoid of the virtues by default.

image (2)When the McGreen trio arrives at Dr. Hobson’s office on Kingsbridge road, they are amiably accosted by  Helen, one of the prettiest and kindest ladies in Avonlea who is married with three children to a grocery proprietor Priam, who fell in love with her at first sight by thinking, ‘She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed. She’s a woman; therefore to be won.’ Helen and her three-old son George are pleased to see her neighbors there and wants to know what has brought all three of them to this far. “Fred has been in agony for two weeks due to a serious case of abscess on his right shoulder,” says Philippa, “But Fred did not tell me and his brothers until this morning, enduring all to himself only the gruesome pain that stymied his everyday activities, such as eating and working. In fact, the pain even prevented him from reading a book!”

image (3)Helen does not understand Fred’s reason of silence that was broken this morning, so she ventures to inquire about the cause. “Fred, why did you not tell your mother when it began to hurt you? Had you told her about it earlier, you would have been cured.” Fred is absorbed in all the dialogues between his mother and Helen and  forms the most honest and provident answer to the lady’s inquiry. “At first, I thought it would go away because it had happened before. But although I tried myself applying to a topical ointment and taking doses of pain suppressant and high hopes, it just became worsen… What’s more, I did not want to worry mom because she was always very busy with running the restaurant and the household all by herself. Now I am in great pain now, which has compelled me to alert mom about it.”

image (1)

Upon hearing such stream of heartfelt soliloquy of Fred, Philippa’s eyes are welled up in tears and with an insurmountable gushing power of pathos and charity (which actually means “Love” as its original meaning of Caritas,) she hugs her dear son Fred and tells him tender words that can only be true if carried out by the one who possesses such spirit and soul: “O, my dearie Fred! You really shouldn’t have worried about my work and myself because I am your mother. A mother is ascribed to attend to her child with unconditional love, and it is an immutably, intractably, cardinal duty of Mother, who is also endowed with magical power to endure anything. So you do not have to worry about me, ever, Love.” Feeling the heartbeat of Fred against her own, Philippa reminds herself of her mother’s advice that it is a wise mother that knows her own child. All the more, she believes that love’s reason’s without reason, especially in the family.



The Ills of Gentrification

RE: 8/10/2018 article of “A Home for Homeless Vets” by Teresa Watanabe of The Los Angeles Times

It has always been the case that those who who have suffered from afflictions of life appear to give helping hands to the bearers of the suffering. In Vigil’s Aeneid, when Aeneas and his people arrived at the shore of Carthage after the fall of Troy, the beautiful queen Dido welcomed the refuge with open arms and provisioned them with food and shelter and told Aneneas, “because I was once a sufferer of the affliction, I know how you and your people feel.” Now the time and space is translated in modern day California, and this very noble act of humanity in the figure of an old veteran solder continues.

A certain Japanese-American WWII veteran campaigns to provide affordable housing for veterans as well as low-income individuals and families at the risk of homelessness. He has even gone out of his way by establishing “Go for Broke National Education Center” in order to develop a five-story building on leased city land that would house the center and as many as seventy affordable housing units for the aforesaid applicants who find themselves between a rock and a hard place on the threat of eviction from their homes by landowners.

The article in fact brings light to the increasing number of homeless population that results from urban gentrification by which private developers plan to evict low-income residents from their newly acquired properties, so that such reworked properties will accommodate to the level of comforts required by those who can afford high rents, and thus create a totally new residential and commercial environments commensurate to the economic levels of the gentry.

The projection of building a low-income housing complex should be put into action forthwith without fail; it’s not about creating Skid Row, pace the popular opinions on such project in fear of tainting the atmosphere of communities and affecting the economic activities adversely due to the substantive presence of exiguousness incarnate.

I firmly believe that there should be more consorted efforts of fellowships of humanity as aforesaid to actively, substantially and tangibly help people in need to the extent possible by providing them with many more supportive “permanent” housing programs, not ad-hoc homeless shelters. It makes my head swivel in wonderment why politicians do not champion such existential programs, instead of hackneyed willy-nilly metaphysical ideologies that only divide this nation built upon liberty and justice. For if people are ruthlessly kicked out of their abodes just because they are undesirable in the eyes of the businessmen, where can they find liberty and justice to live their sovereign lives as resonated by the Gospel?

Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” – if you don’t give them the necessities of life? (James 2:15-16)

Writing is Ego Qua Meaningfulness

“Hi Stephanie, wow what a great and well-written review. Thank you very much for posting it on your blog! We will share it on our Facebook page and have also retweeted it!” 

A very well-written and comprehensive review of our new book on Marie Antoinette. Check out the blog post and discover more about this controversial queen of France.



My book review of Marie Antoinette: A Captivating Guide to the Last Queen of France Before and During the French Revolution, Including Her Relationship with King Louis XVI by Captivating History was posted on the publisher’s Facebook today. Although I held no intention of being publicized by the publisher of the book when writing the review, it’s certainly good to be recognized by such a credible, esteemed establishment.

I write not to impress anyone, but I simply like doing it out of sheer egotism and aesthetic pleasure, both of which strike the chords with George Orwell’s reasons for why he writes. Writing is in fact an act of fulfilling my creative and experiential values that chimes the notes of Viktor E. Frankl’s Logotheraphy, a third Viennese School of Psychotherapy based on existential analysis focusing on ego qua meaningfulness, i.e., will to meaning as opposed to Adler’s Nietzschean doctrine of will to power or Freud’s will to pleasure.

Kurt Vonnegut’s immutable, timeless adage should resonate with bells and trumpets to remind us of the nobility of being a creator of art: “To practice art, no matter how well or badly, is to make your soul grow. So do it.” That’s so patently true. Remember the ever popular catchy advert phrase? Just do it. Think Nike.


Marie Antoinette: A Captivating Guide to the Last Queen of France by Captivating History

Marie Antoinette: A Captivating Guide to the Last Queen of France Before and During the French Revolution, Including Her Relationship with King Louis XVIMarie Antoinette: A Captivating Guide to the Last Queen of France Before and During the French Revolution, Including Her Relationship with King Louis XVI by Captivating History

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

History is a branch of literature made by artificers and artists with stories full of events, people, and places woven into a timeless stereoscopic tapestry of humanity, which in a succession of ages lays bare truths unjustly condemned in the circles of Treachery, Heresy, and Wrath by the winners of the epochal changes. In this regard, Marie Antoinette by Captivating History is a viable account of one of the most arguably scandalous figures in the history of civilization written without prejudice but with facts based upon the extensive collection of historical evidence of letters, small notes, and other written records that is testament to the veracity of the characters and historicity of the events concerning with the lachrymose last queen of France and her family swept in an indomitable whirlwind of epochal changes.

The book delineates the humane sides of the Bourbon couple, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI with an ample provision of personal aspects of the king and the queen in the context of regarding the historic accounts that give the reader new insights to the last dynasty of France and the bellicose retribution of the revolutionaries. Maria Antonia became the famous “Marie Antoinette” at the wedding with Louis XVI, an academic introvert who was into locksmith work and carpentry with a generous soul and deep love for France and the people. The young couple was bounded by spirit of charity and benevolence and exemplified the epitome of nobless oblige: To illustrate, Marie Antoinette told the French not to pay “Queen’s Belt Tax,” a customary tax that the subjects must pay when a new queen ascended the throne because she had heard the woes of the impoverished states of the people. Also, both Marie and Louis founded the Maison Philanthropique and hosted evening meals at Versailles and built cottages for the needy, which the French willfully forgot and forced themselves to remember the ridiculous price of bread when they later invaded the palace and demanded the lives of the Bourbon family.

With respect to the monumental achievements of Louis XVI, the promulgation of Edict of Versailles, also known as the Edict of Tolerance, permitted the French to practice their own religions and marry without converting into Catholicism. In addition, he abolished for the first time servitude akin to serfdom and slavery in France and did cut back the personal budgets to the extent possible by funneling the money into a multitude of charity organizations, all of which was willfully overlooked or ignored by the demagogic revolutionaries and vengefully ambitious bourgeoisie and their populace whom they used as minions to overthrow the monarchy by force.

The book leads the reader to a kind of Eureka moment of light to see the souls of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI in their captivity at the Temple, an ancient royal prison where the family was incarcerated and unjustly tried, during their numbered days before the executions by the mob. We see Marie’s hair turned completely white a day before the execution, which is now known as “Marie Antoinette Syndrome,” as was in the case of Thomas More prior to his execution, and feel her fear at the kangaroo trial where she was arbitrary and intractably accused of (1) stealing French money and sending it to Austria; (ii) planning the deaths of revolutionary soldiers; and (iii) abusing her youngest son, which was patently manipulated by the perfidious revolutionaries to make her a scapegoat for the social ills of the past monarchy because she was a naïve foreigner with soft manners and cultural sophistication, which was an ad hominem embodiment of aristocratic refinement that must be annihilated in a new brave world of the middle class and its peasant class as their henchmen and women.

Nevertheless, this is not a revisionist book on the last queen and the king of France. Rather, it is a book of rare gemstone that is discrete from so many other books on the subject in a pervasively uniformed perspective that does not cast positive light thereon because of the modern complacent intellectual attitudes that discourage an objective scrutiny of historical facts by safely choosing to remain in the political correctness of history. However, truth will come to light at the length; Truth is truth to the end of discreditable reckoning of demotic, partisan views and defamatory opinions on infamously misconceived historical figures that deserve of equitable judgment of the characters and deeds thereof. All this makes this book enjoyable and enlightening read, which is much to recommend it if you are willing to find out facts that lead you to beacons of truths.