Ebola and sex

Tags

, ,

Ebola patients are being released from hospitals after the acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, have subsided, and their blood tests are clear of Ebola virus. Unfortunately, as the chart below demonstrates, there are still live viruses within the body of the victim, and it is not known what the rate of transmission of these viruses are.

Ebola labratory tests of Ebola victims bodily fluids.

This data is from an earlier outbreak of Ebola, but the new form should be similar.

From Journal of Infectious Disease – Assessment of the Risk of Ebola Virus Transmission from Bodily Fluids and Fomites

In the summary:
“The isolation of EBOV from semen 40 days after the onset of illness underscores the risk of sexual transmission of the filoviruses during convalescence. Zaire EBOV has been detected in the semen of convalescent patients by virus isolation (82 days) and RT-PCR (91 days) after disease onset. Marburg virus has also been isolated from the semen and linked conclusively to sexual transmission 13 weeks into convalescence.”

The earlier outbreaks of Ebola have been contained locally to villages, and the disease was eliminated from the population. The situation is different this time because the disease has become widespread, and appears to going beyond West Africa. The Ebola outbreak will not be over until every case of it has been eliminated from humans. A single case on December 1, 2013 became 10,000 by October 2014. The American medical establishment has what may prove to be excessive hubris when they claim they can control an outbreak in this country. Time will tell. The US and other advanced countries may be able to cope, but what will happen when the disease reaches densely populated areas with very little medical resources. Until a vaccine is available humanity will suffer.

The report above is bothersome because if the virus has been observed to live in the semen for 91 days after onset of symptoms, that means there is a risk of transmission that would not show up for 100 days. That makes discovering and isolating the carrier difficult. If the carrier is a truck driver he may have many partners before he is even suspected. If transmission via semen is impossible then there is no worry, but since the virus has been shown to prefer warm wet environments it will have time to find a new host. The male victims are being told not to have sex for three months, but that is like telling water not to run downhill. It may turn out that if the Ebola virus can live for 91 days in a male’s reproductive system, it may well make the adaptations to reside there permanently. If that happens Ebola will be with us until a vaccine is developed to totally rid the body of it, and that may not be possible.

With 80,000 cases by New Year’s 2015, half dying leaves 40,000 survivors, half are male and that leaves 20,000, and of those perhaps 10,000 are sexually active, and of that there would be 30 exposures times 10,000 or 300,000 exposures. That is a huge number so we must hope there is zero chance of transmission via sex.

Projections of Ebola’s response to effective vaccines.

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]
This logarithmic chart uses projections from the past Ebola cases and Ebola deaths with a speculative projection of the potential effects of large amounts of effective vaccines. The data in the solid lines from December 2013 through October 2014 is based on reports from the World Health Organization (WHO). The red disks and black Xs are derived from the reports on cases and deaths of the month ending where they are placed. The small dotted lines are straight-line projections into the future from from the previous six months.

There are already some possibly effective vaccine candidates based on inserting DNA strings into the Ebola DNA using the CRISPR technique to control their location. These vaccines must be tested for safety and effectiveness, but there is no time to do this with the approved methods, because the disease is doubling so fast. Desperate measures are going to be used to hurry the introduction of these vaccines, so some of them probably will fail to provide immunity, while others may cause disease themselves. Only with experience will it become known what will happen, and what will work, but if nothing is done the projection made on October 1, 2014 isn’t impossible, and that would be a tragedy equivalent to World War 2 by next October 2015. Ten thousand people will probably be dead of Ebola by December, 2014, but without an effective vaccine that could go to twenty million by next October. There isn’t any threat to humanity as a whole, because our population is currently expanding at seventy million per year.

Ebola vaccine human population response

Ebola logarithmic chart projecting the response to an effective vaccine.

TIME magazine post-dated to October 27, 2014 p. 22 writes, “Health officials in Serra Leone, for example, have given up on finding bed space for Ebola patients; instead, they are issuing instructions on caring for the contagious patients at home.” Ebola patients are now being treated by totally untrained, poorly educated people, without any safety equipment. They are issued a bar of soap. This fact makes our politicians telling us that we shouldn’t be worried, “Ebola is under control,” sound like fools.

From The World Health Organization WHO – official source, “People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.” This implies that symptom free people can still spread the disease, and some men have multiple partners.

For the next several months – the only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people. When effective vaccines become available Ebola may drop back to zero, or it may reside permanently in some people without killing them, and they become super-spreaders.

TIME will tell, but it won’t tell for a year or more.

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

Ebola updated logarithmic chart compared to war and disease

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES] Since the Ebola outbreak I have been charting the cases and deaths on a logarithmic graph. To compare Ebola to Flu, Plague, AIDS and major wars the data was inserted and then the historic death tolls were compared proportionally to our current population. The chart was changed as more data was added and it became confusing to interpret. The present chart covers all the orders of magnitude from one person to ten billion, so it will be adequate for several more decades. The new chart’s dates go from the first case of Ebola through January 2016. There are vaccines already being rushed through research and pre-production and perhaps by July there will be enough to vaccinate everyone at risk. Until that time the only effective prevention of spreading the disease is physical separation of the disease from people. Once a person has the Ebola symptoms the mortality rate is about eighty percent without medical care, and about half that with care. Considering the lag time for effective treatment, and the current projections for the future ten months without a vaccine, the future of West Africa is grim.

The Ebola epidemic shown in graphic detail.

Ebola logarithmic chart from 1st victim to vaccine control. With Plague, AIDS, World War 2, with a 1 year projection.

A log 10 by 26 month graphic shows Ebola growth from the index patient to the time of possibly effective vaccine control. The data points are from standard sources based on the World Health Organization (WHO)and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They point out that the data is not exact because many people refuse to report that they have relatives who are sick. Because of the nature of logarithmic charts even a failure of half of the victims being reported wouldn’t change the trend of the graph.

Probably the best that can be done for the people living in West Africa is to inform them of the ways to avoid catching Ebola. Basically that is to avoid sick people and their effluvia, and to wash themselves often. Also, I would promote not touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.

The only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

What do I believe that’s false?

Tags

,

I know people I like and respect that have some strange ideas they claim to believe. Some know that Heaven exists because they have talked to God and were assured that if they will be welcomed into Heaven. They are good citizens and, so far as I know, behave well within the published rules of Moses’ Ten Commandments. And, so far as I know, behave well within the published Laws of our Country, State and City. It would seem reasonable that if being obedient to official law is sufficient their eternal life of Heavenly bliss is assured.

I know other people who are obedient to those same laws, but haven’t had those same personal experiences with God, and so that short path to eternal bliss is uncertain. These people choose to believe in God as a hedge against being wrong and being forced into an eternal torment in Hell. It’s known as Pascal’s Wager, but I have warned these people that God is all-seeing and all-knowing, and he doesn’t like to be played for a fool. Because of their false belief they might be condemned to the worst torments imaginable, even to God, because of their lying to Him!

Some of my friends are Agnostic, and perhaps their thoughtfully intellectualized opinion is most reasonable. They don’t see any evidence of God, and don’t consider the existence of the Universe and all of the wonderful things within it as sufficient. They are worried that in such a huge universe any God would not have an interest in their particular being, and so they doubt. They have hope that when they meet, God or his representative at the Gates of Heaven, they can say in perfect honesty they didn’t disbelieve in God, but they didn’t believe either. Now, looking through the Gates they see and believe in Heaven, and looking the other way they see the fiery pits of Hell and believe in that too. They can now say upon this observation, that they truly believe and would prefer Heaven. Perhaps all the really interesting people are in Hell, but it’s no fun talking to them when they spend all their time screaming in agony. Although Heaven may seem boring at least it doesn’t hurt.

The Atheists I know come in two distinct categories. Those that never believed in any Unitary God, or even little gods, and hold that all things in our Universe are the interactions of material stuff. These folks believe their bodies will lose their life force when they die, and their elements will become part of the materials making up the non-living world. They believe their mind is a natural functioning of their body and its brain, and that when their body ceases to function their brain dies and their mind vanishes. What some people call the spirit is a construction of the mind, just like making sentences are constructions of the mind and when the brain ceases functioning the spirit, no matter how it is defined vanishes.

The other group of Atheists are former believers raised from childhood as true believers. These people are the more dedicated to their belief than any of the people discussed above, and the reason is that they were compelled by their own conscience to observe the contradictions within their former beliefs. This is a painful experience because it requires denying the validity of their parents’ beliefs, and rejecting a major part of the society they formerly lived within. For them to become  atheists requires courage, and thoughtfulness, and their commitment is deep, because they are not only rejecting those former companions’ beliefs, those friends and family will be rejecting them. Sometimes their rejections are accompanied with emotionally painful, perhaps physically painful experiences. The reward is a feeling they are living a more honest life because it is obedient to natural reality rather than one verbal constructed by men driven by panic and fantasy.

What do I believe that’s false? Religion is based on questionable assumptions, so do I believe in some things that are false?

Ebola – links to good source information and objective news

Tags

, , , , ,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES] On December 3, 2013 a two-year-old child died in the village of Meliandou of what in retrospect turned out to be the first case of the current outbreak of Ebola. Local doctors visited the village when several more related people died, but physical symptoms were not enough to separate the disease from cholera, malaria and others. There are many diseases in tropical Africa killing many people, but this one became obvious because of its contagion. From NEJM – “On March 23, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) was notified of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea. On August 8, the WHO declared the epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern.””

Source articles about the Ebola epidemic.New England Journal of Medicine – Ebola articles

  1. Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Ebola
  2. Nature com news. A premier scientific source of information.
  3. The Africa Paper: EBOLA: Hell in the Hot Zone. An excellent close-in account of the first few months of the Ebola outbreak and the responses.
  4. UNICEF Connect – Ebola and its devastating impact on children Photo in Meliandou
  5. WHO: EBOLA RESPONSE ROADMAP UPDATE = Google Search terms
  6. WHO: EBOLA RESPONSE ROADMAP UPDATE = 8 September 2014
  7. WHO: EBOLA RESPONSE ROADMAP UPDATE = 1 October 2014
  8. WHO: EBOLA RESPONSE ROADMAP UPDATE = 10 October 2014
  9. WHO: EBOLA RESPONSE ROADMAP UPDATE = 17 October 2014
  10. Wikipedia – WHO: Series of Ebola response maps as thumbnail maps
  11. Ebola vaccine development and testing
  12. PLOS Medicine – Ebola DNA analysis
  13. Journal of General Virology – The 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak
  14. Science AAAS – Ebola vaccine trials raise ethical issues.
  15. Ebola Deeply – Analysis of the current Ebola outbreak

The only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

Ebola projection graph compared to Black Death

Tags

,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES] Our government’s response to Ebola is like the guy who jumped out of a plane without a parachute, “So far there’s no problem, and its been fun talking about it.” They say not to worry, there’s no problem, because so far there has only been one case of transmission in the US. Just before Christmas only one little girl in Meliandou, at 8.6224 -10.0642, was sick with Ebola, and now about 10,000 have been sickened, and half have died. That is a growth of 10,000 times in under one year, and for authorities to say the disease is under control is not optimistic, it’s absurd and counterproductive. The authorities are promoting panic by making ridiculous statements themselves. The public is becoming panicked by seeing how irresponsibly the people who must make the important decisions are behaving.

Site of the first Ebola victim.

Map showing the location of the village of Meliandou, Guinea, West Africa. At 8.6224 -10.0642

Meliandou, the original site of Ebola

Meliandou village where the first Ebola deaths occurred. Imagery date is February 4, 2014.

There are many villages about this size in the area, and most of them are located inside a ring of forest trees, with farming areas just outside the forests. They are generally about a mile apart, and connected by paths. There are about seventy homes visible in this photo with a typical size of 300 to 400 square feet area. There are no cars visible, and the seven miles to Gueckedou, a city of 200,000 is on a one lane path barely passable to cars. This Google Earth photo was taken on February 4, 2014; it is after six people of the one hundred living there had died. It was March 22, before the lab results had identified the disease as Ebola. The simulated aerial side view shows Meliandou to be situated on a picturesque hillside that would be away from unhealthy swampy areas. Note the size of the trees near the path for scale.

Meliandou simulated aerial view

The path to Meliandou village in a Google Earth simulated aerial side view.

Aerial view of Meliandou

Meliandou village nestled in the hills looks so picturesque and safe.

The graph below is logarithmic because to show the data on a simple linear graph the lines would be vertical, and it is useful to show how straight the growth has been.

Log chart of Ebola

Ebola growth chart comparing it to Plague, AIDS, World War 2, with a 1 year projection.

Basing a one year projection on the previous ten months’ growth is not unreasonable and it only brings the death toll up to that of AIDS. Both of these diseases would be easily controlled by simple separation between sick people and others.

Take some time with the chart above, because there are lots of data related in comprehensible ways. The data can be verified with simple Google searches, but it is presented on a logarithmic chart so the relationships can be seen. The Red line representing Ebola cases begins in the lower left corner at 180 sick people on April 1st, and the black line just below it represents the deaths. It reaches 120 people by May 1st. The red line reaches 7,000 by October 1st, and the death line reaches 3,500 by then. The very first case at Meliandou could have been ignored as an isolated case, but by the time 180 closely associated people have the disease, it is called an outbreak, and graphing it makes sense. With a data base of half a year it is possible to make projections into the future if the factors forcing the outbreak haven’t changed. The population of West Africa is 340,000,000, so even with the horrific rate of growth it would take fourteen months to infect everyone. Of course that isn’t going to happen, but the potential is there if all factors remain the same, which they won’t.

At some point in time these lines will go horizontal and Ebola will be line in history like the ones at the top of the chart. The orange lines represent deaths from major wars, and the green ones major diseases. The great plague, the Bubonic Plague had killed very approximately 200 million people of very approximately 400 million people then living. The chart has dotted lines above those historical events that are scaled to our modern population to demonstrate the extent of those disasters. Our current population is 7.3 billion and theirs was about 0.4 billion so we have an 18 times multiplier.

We must do everything possible to make certain Ebola doesn’t get away and become a worldwide disease. The American medical authorities have been saying that it can’t happen here, and yet so far Ebola has been killing people at the rate seen in West Africa. The only known effective way for coping with Ebola is physical separation from the disease, and I support creating as much separation as possible.

The sooner we implement the policy of physical separation the sooner Ebola will go back to zero cases, like it was on December 1st. Until then it can explode again, just like it is doing now.

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

The Ebola panic may come with the winter flu season.

Tags

, ,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES] In the Probaway post Stop Ebola with physical separation methods list, under the subtitle Treating sick friends, the first item is – Treat feverish people sick with flu or malaria as if they have Ebola. When that list was being written I was thinking of personal home situations, but expanding that idea to the coming flu season, when there will be millions of flu sufferers throughout the world, it becomes a massive public worry. When every case of flu is being treated as a potential Ebola source there will be public disruption. If Ebola is confined to West Africa there will be little in America, but if there are cases here everyone will be afraid they are being exposed to that deadly disease when someone sneezes.

The present governmental policy of importing Ebola victims, so they can give them better care, and then turning these partially cured victims loose onto the public, will create the very panic they want to avoid. The official policy and propaganda of the moment is that Ebola is difficult to catch, and yet even here in American hospitals the medical personal themselves are catching it. Those sickened professional people in sterilized settings are the ones who would be using more antiseptic procedures than will be available at home. If nurses can’t prevent the transfer of infection, who can?

The official policy is, “Don’t panic, Ebola is easy to contain.” The problem lies in the obvious fact that they are not doing the only thing that is known to prevent transmission of the disease, and that is physical separation from the disease. When it comes to Ebola, absence of body is superior to presence of mind. In the isolated village of Meliandou, at 8.6224 -10.0642, about four miles north-east of Gueckedou, a two-year-old girl had the first onset of symptoms on December 2, 2013. From that single case the entire population of Earth is now at risk.

Ebola meliandou is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person with the mouth, nose, eyes or damaged skin. That might not seem much of a risk, but when I mentioned that to some friends at a restaurant Saturday morning, we looked around and half of the people there had their hands to their faces. When we scratch ourselves with our fingernails it is usually some place on our skin that has a problem. Unconscious scratching of a minor irritation can transmit Ebola if the fingers have touched something touched by a victim. What I propose for this problem, and what I am now doing, is to train myself not to touch my eyes. I put a little capsaicin on my finger tips. Now, when I touch my eyelids, nostrils or lips they burn for a minute. One application of Capzasin™ works for a whole day.

Ebola is an RNA virus, and these tiny organisms are unstable genetically. They are mutating, and the greater the number of victims the more opportunities there are for Ebola to become worse than it already is. It may find new ways of transmission, it may become deadlier, it may become more benign so it will reside permanently in people without killing them but still be transmissible. Life naturally fills all niches available to it.

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

How to stop being depressed.

Tags

,

Americans are awash in depression, and there is a whole industry offering to help with their depression by selling them drugs, cars, wrist watches, cell phones, sugar products, and a myriad of other things unavailable to a billion people now living. And yet these Americans and others aspiring to live like them are not made happier by owning and using this stuff. The usual response is to go get more stuff, and there are whole industries of promoting them to do so, and saying they will be happier, healthier, wiser and wealthier – safer, more respected, and more loved, if only they accept the idea and pay a little money to get it. Oh, so little money for such a wonderful improvement to their life.

It has been well documented that beyond basic necessities having more money and the more stuff that accrues to having more money doesn’t improve one’s happiness. From NPR, “More than 1 in 5 women ages 40-59 are taking an antidepressant, the highest rate for any group.” Compared to any population of women who have ever lived, these should be the most happy; after all they have the most stuff. When these women are in that time of their life they still have their youthful health and an abundance of goodies, so why do they feel such a need for antidepressants? It’s because they are depressed.

Our whole society is suffering from setting impossible to attain goals, and when the goals are impossible they can never be satisfied. Depression comes to people who can’t cope with their problems, and taking drugs like alcohol and Prozac eases pain temporarily, but it interferes with solving the problems that cause pain, and so the problems get worse and the pain gets worse. It would appear that with problems that are clearly beyond our control, that we might do some small thing we believe will help, and then go about our business coping with problems we can solve. Doing something will ease our guilt of not doing anything, and then going about doing worthwhile activities will add more to the general welfare than feeling guilty and being depressed. Anxiety need not devolve into depression if we keep busy doing socially helpful things.

Set enjoyable goals, even high ones, for yourself, but ones that you can fulfill; and avoid impossible goals as you will only fail and then be depressed.

 

Ebola – Comments on UN News Centre reports

Tags

, , ,

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

UN News Centre 10/13/2014 10 October 2014 – Declaring that the world has never seen anything like the current Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa, senior United Nations officials today warned that the virus is “far ahead” of the global response as it is morphing from a local to an international crisis requiring all countries to scale up efforts and financial commitments to bring an end to the scourge.

Briefing the General Assembly on the situation on the ground, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), via video link from the operation’s headquarters in Ghana warned that the crisis caused by the outbreak is severe and unprecedented.

“The world has never seen anything like it. Time is our enemy. The virus is far ahead of us,” he said, emphasizing that the outbreak is more than a health crisis as it is now impacting every level of society in the most-affected countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – killing people, disrupting health systems, and derailing socioeconomic progress.” The authorities closest to this problem are saying it is out of control, and yet in the US the authorities are claiming we can contain it, and yet so far with only a few cases they have totally failed and Ebola has infected some of those near it.

“As long as there is once case of Ebola in any of these three countries, no country is safe,” he said calling for a broad global coalition to battle the spread of the virus. “We must rise to the occasion. We must defeat this disease.” a “contribution within days is much more important than a larger contribution within weeks.” Back in the winter there was a single case of human Ebola, and until there are zero cases in the entire world all humanity is at risk.

“Closing borders or imposing travel bans will not isolate the disease but rather the affected countries and will prevent urgent aid from reaching those in need. More funds are needed as well as a surge in trained personnel who can deploy to Ebola Treatment Centres.” That is poorly stated; the goal isn’t to prevent supplies getting in to help stop the disease, and help the people, the goal is to prevent people with the disease from getting out and creating a global epidemic.

“He warned that without the mass mobilization of the international community to support the affected countries in West Africa, “it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever.” This is exactly why Ebola must be contained to a local area, because once it is world wide it may be impossible to do anything about it until a vaccine or something else is developed. Until that time the only thing that works is separation of Ebola from people.

“So, while the disease is now spreading faster than efforts to contain it, “we know what needs to be done and we are going to do it before this virus can cause more death and misery.” They say this, and yet thousands of people are now dying. With so many thousands of people having the disease there will be unreported cases infecting more people that go unreported, and the disease will linger. It will be a long time before the last case survives and is cleared of the virus, or dies.

“President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa said “Ebola is a threat that can easily land at any nation’s doorstep.” Given the unprecedented nature of the epidemic, the international community must work together to come up with innovative solutions to contain the further spread of Ebola, declared the Assembly President.” This a sad statement because the only effective containment for Ebola is isolation of the disease from human beings, and bats, the probable wild source. The only innovative solutions available at present are physically separating Ebola victims from other people.

A list of the first known cases of the current Ebola outbreak

The first known cases of Ebola were in the village of Meliandou

Gueckedou, Guinea is a city of 200,000 (8.563 -10.134) near the triple point of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The first cases of Ebola were from a typical village of the area named Meliandou, (at 8.6224 -10.0642). It is on a dirt path seven miles north-east of Gueckedou. This new subspecies of Ebola needs a unique name to keep it separate from the earlier forms of Ebola. The single-stranded RNA virus would be appropriately named Ebola meliandou  It would be a unique name, locality derived, but not so offensive as naming a disease for an entire country. The new name EVD meaning Ebola Virus Disease just makes a confusing acronym.

Here below is a link to the Ebola virus official data sheet from the Public Health Agency of Canada. It covers the hospital procedures, protocols and risk factors.

EBOLAVIRUS PATHOGEN SAFETY DATA SHEET – INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES

Links to a history of Probaway’s [EBOLA UPDATES]

Poets Squared Off In Quotations – Searching for their magic.

Tags

, ,

Last year this blog posted 128 philosophers under the rubric – Philosophers Squared Off and that means to me — “To assume a fighting stance and be prepared to fight for a philosophical idea.” The quotes in each post are from the internet and can be sourced with a web search. Links here are for a search of Probaway philosophers squared off, and for reference here is Wikipedia’s long list of philosophers. Also, see the Index list below but in Alphabetical Order.

That was a terrific task, but it changed my life for the better because I became more exposed to the good sense of the Classic Greeks and Romans. I had read Marcus Aurelius in my late teens, but little of the others. My deeper search into philosophy began in my late twenties with a multiple reading of H. L. Mencken’s A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources, searching for authors who manifest Wisdom, defined as Common Sense to an Uncommon Degree. That aimed my mind into a search for testable, verifiable reality. I created some interesting things because of that, including the book Tao and War and a couple of theories of human maturity including Paths to Maturity, the Probaway Happiness Scale, the Adverse Childhood Experience versus Positive Childhood Experience Chart, and others.

Now I am exploring the spiritual world, and that is risky. Simply looking into that extrasensory reality mostly destroyed Alfred Russel Wallace‘s scientific career, and even brought the Scientific American some lasting opprobrium. What I intend to do is try to find the substance that makes this subject so attractive to so many people. Early on in this process it seems reasonable to explore what is magical about poetry. The strange thing about poetry is its meme like lasting power, even though many of the most famous lines are basically nonsense.

John Keats English poet

John Keats’ portrait done in 1819, near the time he was writing Ode on a Grecian Urn.

The English Romantic poet John Keats in May 1819 wrote in Ode on a Grecian Urn:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”  

That is clearly pure foolishness, and yet is evocative and carries many a mind away into dreamy ecstasies. Truth and beauty are not the same things, even though truth is often beautiful, and sometimes beauty is truthful, but not always. Each of these terms can modify the other but asserting that they are blended into one entity destroys both of their defining properties. And, to underline the absurdity, to assert this is all ye need to know is inapplicable to any living thing. Following the advice of these famous lines is a short path to personal destruction. Each of the three assertions is false. Beauty is truth, truth beauty is false; that is all Ye know on earth is false; that is all ye need to know is false. It would appear obvious that tacking three false statements together does not make a profound truth.

It has been said that “The opposite of a great truth is often a great truth,” but where has it been said that stringing false statements together makes true statements? And yet the world is awash in just this sort of rhetoric. It must be explored. I consider this a form of exploring the unknown unknowns.

“The truth is out there!” is a false statement, because truth is a mental construct about something, and therefore it isn’t out there it’s in one’s mind.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers