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Tdad@92his first spring day my father turned 92.  He was in the hospital for a fall, but without much damage, so he bounced back fast.

His room provides a terrific view of the harbor and snow capped Mount Baker of the North Cascades.

The hospital staff conveyed one key point – Dad has a great sense of humor.  Everyone who knows him will concur.  Whether I live past 60 or 100 I know that the soul of wit and levity is too dear to be lost.  Forsaking humor for the sake of discomfort or fear is to lose all.

My father taught me patience of a particular sort born of persistent focus such as time may not weaken.  Humor sharpens focus and disassembles diversion, hence reinforcing patience.

I visit my folks every month and am looking forward to Dad’s 93rd day of birth when we may share a laugh in the new spring morning.

 

voteAdept politicians pay attention to voting bocs, which are aggregations of citizens who share interests that influence their voting.  Religion, ethnicity, and age are common issue clusters around which voting blocs form.

A voting bloc that has been neglected in the 2016 Presidential campaign is dead people.

It is fair to say that the 2016 Presidential election is a grave decision for voters, but it is a quite different matter that dead people register to vote in significant numbers and many of them do vote.

It is true that electoral officials work to prevent dead people from voting because they have no voting rights; still many of them vote anyway.

Election officials attempt to limit dead people voting by comparing voter registration roles and voting records against the Death Master File maintained by the Social Security Administration.image-20150417-3241-dmi4mw_cropped

When dead people vote and are found out it is considered election fraud.

People who assist dead people with voting are charged with election fraud as was recently the case with an 88 year old Illinois woman, Audrey R. Cook.

Her husband of 66 years, Vic Cook, recently applied for absentee ballots to vote in the 2016 election but died before they could complete them together.

So Audrey went ahead and completed Vic’s for him and sent both ballots in.

Vic’s ballot was identified as a dead person voting and was nullified.

Audrey now faces potential election fraud charges.

375px-Dark_Rosaleen_Anarchy_1The case is complicated by the fact that both Vic and Audrey were Madison County election judges, as Audrey was when she filed the dead person vote.

I hope that the Illinois Attorney General will cut Audrey a break.

She is grieving a loss and to her Vic is not really gone, so it is comprehensible to me that she would assist him in casting his last vote, even from the grave.

Vic’s dead man vote will not count in the election, of course, but we should have compassion enough for people like Audrey who lose those they love to understand how they may continue to act as if they were among the living.


Conversations on topics such as in this post are common at Death Cafe Corvallis.  You are welcome to participate. Information at Death Cafe Corvallis.

 

Image Acknowledgements

vote.jpg
https://warasto.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/vote.jpg

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https://62e528761d0685343e1c-f3d1b99a743ffa4142d9d7f1978d9686.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/files/78456/width926/image-20150417-3241-dmi4mw.jpg

Dark_Rosaleen_Anarchy_1.svg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_rose_(symbolism)#/media/File:Dark_Rosaleen_Anarchy_1.svg

lorenz_butterfly_effectIt seems to me that we do in the world has effects that continue even when the individual personality perishes. In that way a part of us – the active part – lives on.

Descartes asserted that in this life we are what we think.

That is an notion worth pondering because the truth in it is profound.

It is also worth pondering that when this life is over, we are what we have done.

Consider this notion in relation to both a surprising mathematical phenomenon and the reveries of a woman who came across unexpected traces of her deceased Mom.

Edward Lorenz (MIT) discovered and named a mathematical phenomenon known as The Butterfly Effect in the 1960s.

This aspect of Chaos Theory consists in small changes for initial conditions causing large differences in subsequent related states.  Basically, small actions can lead to large unexpected outcomes.

Lorenz applied The Butterfly Effect to explanations of weather and noted;

“if the theory were correct, one flap of a sea gull’s wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls.”

For an prescient literary treatment of this issue, read Ray Bradbury’s story “A Sound of Thunder” in which a butterfly is at issue, rather than a seagull.

archinis_papia_vlinder_10_o6pat

For just a moment imagine the 10,000 seemingly inconsequential actions that we do (or don’t do) in a week.

The vast majority of these happen nearly unconsciously and don’t even register in our memory.  But they really happen and they really have impact on the world.

Just a tiny impact, agreed, but that is the whole point of The Butterfly Effect – we just do not know what large effects our seemingly insignificant causes set into motion.

Just think of it. If even one mundane behavior in a lifetime turns into a significant outcome for other people – even if we have we have absolutely no knowledge of it – that makes us so much more powerful than we ever suspect.

It is not just one such effect in a lifetime.  It is many; maybe many in a single day.

We are world makers, you and I.  World makers with the potential to be intentional about transforming this world into what it should be.

When that potential is realized it carries on longSoundOfThunder past our passing from the here-and-now.

Lorenz’s seagull may alter the course of weather forever.

You have the power to change reality forever – you already do it.

The question is: to be an accidental catastrophe in the world or a sentient agent that acts with intention?

To be the later we only need to pay attention to what we do in every moment.

To pay attention to the here-and-now (every present moment) is to direct our thought into that part of us that will continue to exist eternally.

For a touching account of small actions having unexpected effects, read “Her secret history: I discovered my mother’s digital life after her death” by Kate Brannen.

Both Brannen and Lorenz discovered the persistence of little things in different ways.

So may we all.


Jon facilitates Death Café Corvallis which is open to all and meets weekly in Corvallis Oregon.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deathcafecorvallis

Sources
Brannen, Kate. “Her Secret History: I Discovered My Mother’s Digital Life after Her Death.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2016. Web. 08 May 2016.

Lorenz, E.N. (1963). “The Predictability of Hydrodynamic Flow” (PDF).Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 25 (4): 409–432.

Bradbury, Ray. “A Sound of Thunder” in The Golden Apples of the Sun. Garden City: N.Y., 1953.

Image Acknowledgements
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect#/media/File:Lorenz_attractor_yb.svg

archinis_papia_vlinder_10_o6pat.png
http://kivagottkepek.lapunk.hu/?modul=oldal&tartalom=1042554

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