Tag Archives: ethics

“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.”

Pic for Blog DARKNESS_edited-3

   “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.”

“The Sound of Silence.”  I loved that song Simon & Garfunkel once sang together. It says so much about people and their need for introspection. That need for space to think and breathe.

There’s something special about being in that solitary space—alone in the darkness with your thoughts—where you can listen to your mind speak to you, where you can know what you really think. A place where you can evaluate and ponder and dream.

That’s pretty much what it feels like to be a writer. In the silence, a single thought flashes through your mind and you build a whole world, maybe even a universe around it.

It can’t be only writers who do that.

Others must silently ask important questions. Who are we? What do we stand for? Why are we here?

Or are we too busy taking selfies, reflecting images of our own empty faces, showing off our newest clothes, drooling over all the glitter of the celebrities around us, that we don’t bother to question our own lives or anything real any longer?

Do we only live vicariously in others, in their dreams?

Doesn’t that make you sad? It makes me very sad because our world of reason, caring, learning is being slowly deconstructed right under our noses. We can no longer hear our inner voice—the voice that brings understanding about life and its meaning.

            Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

Today I see a new kind of darkness, one where we don’t learn and pass on inner wisdom. Instead, it’s a kind of darkness filled with ignorance and fear.

Middle Ages-like-darkness.

A darkness where we’re so suspicious of people we have to carry guns. The kind of darkness that screams hatred of others—black, yellow, red, brown green, purple—anyone different than ourselves.

That kind of darkness is not my friend, and it’s not yours either.

In this current political turmoil, instead of finding substance, we find politicians vying strictly for attention and entertainment—not leadership. You know, the ones who make us laugh so we look at them and their empty thoughts.

We used to look to our future leaders for protection and honesty—now we get lies that are not challenged. By the time the truth surfaces, we’ve moved on to other lies—and on and on to the next sound bite of false information. And in this same treacherous loop, the news is no longer a bastion of responsible information, instead it passes on all those lies, along with the titillation we crave. We have become junkies, hooked on entertainment, hooked on buzz—not wisdom.

Whenever it was that we stopped paying attention to the real world, that’s when it became a place devoted to greed—greed that ravishes our deep inner desire for everything worth living for—our families, our homes, our friends, our land.

And now, all around us there are:

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share…


“Ambition, greed, hypocrisy—and murder. Bette and JJ Lamb have taken the battle over medical care and fashioned a droll, lightning-paced political thriller with more plot twists than Washington has scoundrels. I thought of the great Ross Thomas as I hummed through the pages. Prepare to laugh–and get ripping mad.”
David Corbett–Writer & Teacher

The Killing Vote cover 2




Pic. Elephant eye

There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, an ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea. —  Peter Matthiessen

I wish people were more like elephants.

Funny, huh?

But if you’re anything like me, you can’t help but enjoy seeing how elephants interact and live their lives – and it’s all there to watch every day on FaceBook. I could spend hours with them on the screen.

Rolling in the mud doesn’t look like real fun to me, even though elephants love it. Those mud baths help protect their sensitive skin, sort of like our sun screen. But splashing, rolling around in the water is more what I like to do. It’s not much different than going to the beach and throwing yourself into the ocean, especially if it’s the Caribbean or Hawaiian waters.

Take a moment, watch them care for their young, or the injured. It’s truly a community endeavor. Everyone looks out for every individual and no one is ever alone, unless they want to be.

I wish people could be that way and live in a world where everyone in their community cared about each other.

If an elephant youngster or any other member of the group falls or gets in some kind of trouble, several others come to comfort and take care of that individual. They encircle to create their own hospital unit, give their own treatment and do the best they can to save each other.  They are so kind and wise, and it seems so natural for them to love each other. Why can’t people learn to be that way and stop living such separate lives?

Elephant culture.

I wish I understood their language so whatever secrets they’ve learned can be passed on to us. What is it they are saying to each other that teaches them to be the way they are —such soulful beings. However they do it, they seem to communicate a sense of love and commitment that most humans don’t seem very interested in.

Maybe it’s because they’re naked.

No, really. They don’t worry about wearing the latest high-fashion shoes that look more like stilts in training for high acrobatics, or feel the need to buy new clothes every week, as though shopping is a human endeavor essential to growth and understanding.

What is human culture? What is it about?

Is it consumerism?

Maybe that’s what keeps us uncaring and isolated from each other. And most consumers already have so much that the same money could be spent on assisting others in their community (our herd). We could help people who haven’t enough to eat. Imagine trying to survive on the streets where people have to save their food to feed their young, while they go hungry.

Our Earth is dying all around us. What we’re not killing, climate change is. Even with all our instruments and scientific savvy, and our superior intelligence, humans have yet to find a cohesive way to act in their own best interests.

Where do elephants get that kind of wisdom?

They know when it’s time to migrate, time to search for water to survive. They understand their world, and they even know when it’s time to die. Each member of the herd acts not only in its best interest, but in the interests of its community.

That’s their world.

What’s wrong with us? Why can’t we be that way, too?

Coming Soon: The Organ Harvesters
A damning evaluation of a system that had put technological advancements ahead of human rights, and protection of the environment


Our Animal Ambassadors

It’s no secret I grew up in the Bronx. I’m not proud or ashamed of it. Rather, I remember how I survived it. Most people who know me have heard about my life there at one time or another, but very few know that one of the things that helped me to survive, saved my soul was the zoo.

The sidewalks of New York can be like a separate, unrelenting entity that roars with massive crowds of people. And when I was a girl, they all pushed at me. Sometimes it was like drowning, being trapped in a crush that swept me away in a raging river.

I visited the zoo from the time I was twelve years old through my late teens. My parents were Russian immigrants and they were hard working, but they were always working, and I was always alone.

When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I would escape to the only place that seemed to make sense – a place with a different pace, sense of time, kind of life. It would slow everything down. Would soothe, would comfort.

The Bronx Zoo was my second home. It was my runaway place. And I usually sat on a bench right across from the gorilla grotto. Those incredible beings seemed so calm, so wise.

I remember there was one very large male in particular that I bonded with. We would stare at each other for long periods of time, and I knew if he were next to me, he would wrap his arms around me and hold me close. He seemed to know how unhappy and alone I was, how much I needed him. I don’t know what passed between us, but it was some kind of energy. And I do know that after a while, looking into his dark eyes, I felt better.

It’s hard to believe that a young girl would want to go to the zoo and sit in isolation for hours, even in the winter with snow on the ground and no one around. But it’s where I went, sometimes just to study, or to be near the animals and the plants, to be someplace where I could smell the earth and the different animal odors.

Strange, all alone, I always felt safe there on that bench with my friend looking across at me.
I know so many people are against zoos. I am too. I’m not a fan of caging any living being, whether its lions, tigers, or elephants, or humans. And penning up dolphins and whales in their watery cages makes me choke.

Shouldn’t we all be able to meet our destinies on our own terms? Isn’t that true, no matter what your shape, or form, or species? Shouldn’t we all live in freedom? Doesn’t every single individual have a right to be free?


But how could a city girl like me ever have found the solace, the company of other different creatures if that zoo wasn’t there? How would I have grown up to love animals and feel the pain of their suffering when people torture or abuse them, or kill them for trophies or to steal their body parts? How would I ever have understood the agony a powerful elephant endures being penned up while it rocks back and forth? How could I ever comprehend the utter loneliness he or she feels isolated from the herd, from their primal land? Would I have ever felt any sadness when watching a panther pace a cage from one end to the other to define a nonexistent territory? Would I have even learned compassion for my animal friends, or every living being?

I came to understand those lessons from going to the zoo.

Is there a better answer to exposing children to wildlife, without caging wildlife?

Today, when I see wild animals living in freedom, having beautiful friendships with humans, for a moment, I smile and my heart swells with a special joy. But in the next breath, I want to scream out: Stay away! Stay far away from us. Humans are not your friend. If you want to live, run! Run from a future dystopian hell!

Have you ever had that same feeling?

What do you think of zoos? Do they only crush the spirit of animals, or are they sacrificial ambassadors to save their species?