Hard Work for Fritus Mandago


There was a building in Canarsie where the people living there had lost the concept of forgiveness.  Fritus Mandago infiltrated the building by posing as the super.


Upon researching the history of the building, Fritus learned that the tenants lacked the concept of forgiveness because the landlord a breakaway member of the California new religion “Love Everywhere” had raised them without the concept of a distinction between the inner and the outer, the Auto-Pope Seth Fishman.   His Self-Holiness Seth was the father of most of the tenants by different mothers, the rest were street people.


Fritus at first attempted to explain to the tenants the concept of deception using the Miller Mental State Array Cards and the North Dakota seems/is info-sheet.  He was successful in getting the tenants to accept that deception was conceptually possible, but unable to bring them to believe that it was an actualized possibility, as they argued that no sane person would pay the psychological cost of deceiving others.   As Mandago described it in his report “for the tenants the notion of deception was an idle philosophical paradox as Zeno’s paradox disproving the reality of motion seemed to the ancient Greeks” (F. Mandago, Report on Lack of Forgiveness Concept in Tenants of 208 Cropsey Avenue Realty Corp, 2014).

After consult with team,  Mandago developed an Intervention Plan whereby he told dissatisfied members of the community that there problems could be solved in a building several blocks over where there was abundant food and the possibility of rest (the building under investigation was on top of an iron filing factory and the noise of the grinding engines made sleep a rare and longed-for accident).  After several years of encouraging the fantasy he led an escape to the empty building and revealed it was disappointing.  His young charges learned that deception was a pragmatic possibility and returned to their building where they deceived their fellows about the qualities of the building in order to get economic and sexual benefits.


Ultimately after a small family war in which two died the tenants learned (82%) and became proficient (27%) with the concepts of deception, interiority, and forgiveness.  It was judged a successful intervention by F. Mandago and by his team, but was both hard and time-consuming work.


Religious But Not a Member of a Religion

I believe religiousness has a positive role to play in human life.  It can inspire ethical behavior, give us the feeling (or perhaps the reality) of communing with the absolute, and great art.  However religions have contributed to inter- and intra-religious warfare, persecution and anti-scientific thinking.  Is there a way to have the good part of religions without the intolerance?

I think there is if we give up the notion that being religious requires one to be a member of a religion.   As an alternative approach look at our attitude towards music.  We love music, it helps us emotionally connect with other people and provides a glimpse of the transcendent, but we don’t expect our musical tastes to give us an identity.  I can be a fan of Mississippi John Hurt and also a fan of J.S. Bach.  If you are a fan of one but not the other that’s fine.  I may be very sad and disappointed in what you are missing out on if you don’t like either one, but I am unlikely to try to force you to like them, or to claim you like them if you do not.  My fandom can be as narrowly or as widely focussed as I wish — so for example I could love Charley Patton and hate Robert Johnson or love all the blues or love just pre-war acoustic blues.

This strikes me as a good model for religion for the human race going forward.  If there are religious books or experiences or leaders whom we love we can love them and try to educate others to love them as well.  But we would not look to religious membership for an identity, and we would not try to police others so as to get in line with what we love in religion.  That way we would get the good of religion without the bad.

I think this perspective goes a long way towards putting to rest fears that Judaism is disappearing.   Judaism is not disappearing any more than the blues is disappearing.   The messages of Judaism may be more popular among different ethnic groups, and they may be mixed with other traditions, but the central message of Judaism “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God” will not disappear, any more than the blues chord progressions will disappear.  It will only become more powerful as it touches more hearts.


Adventures of a Thought

I thought to myself — it’s weird there are no ocean fungi.  There are lots of animals in the ocean — fish and whales and such — and many plants in the ocean — sea-weeds.  But there seem to be no fungi in the ocean.  Is it, I wondered, because salt kills fungi?  Is it just an inexplicable fact?

So I asked twitter why there are no fungi in the ocean and I received the following reply — a list of the species of higher ocean fungi:


Marine Fungi

Abyssomyces hydrozoicus

Acocordiopsis patilii

Adomia avicenniae

Aigialus grandis

Aigialus mangrovei

Aigialus parvus

Aigialus rhizophorae

Allescheriella bathygena

Alternaria spp.

Amarenomyces ammophilae

Amylocarpus encephaloides

Anguillospora marina

Aniptodera aquadulcis

Aniptodera chesapeakensis

Aniptodera longispora

Aniptodera mangrovei

Appendichordella amicta

Arenariomyces majusculus

Arenariomyces parvulus

Arenariomyces trifurcates

Arenariomyces triseptatus

Arthopyrenia halodytes

Ascochyta obiones

Ascochyta salicorniae

Ascocratera manglicola

Ascosacculus aquaticus

Ascosacculus heteroguttulatus

Ascosalsum cincinnatulum

Ascosalsum unicaudatum

Ascosalsum viscidulum

Asteromyces cruciatus

Banhegyia setispora

Bathyascus avicenniae

Bathyascus grandisporus

Bathyascus tropicalis

Bathyascus vermisporus

Belizeana tuberculata

Biatriospora marina

Biconiosporella corniculata

Bicrouania maritima

Biflua physasca

Blodgettia confervoides

Botryophialophora marina

Buergenerula spartinae

Camarosporium palliatum

Camarosporium roumeguerii

Capillataspora corticola

Capronia ciliomaris

Carbosphaerella leptosphaerioides

Carbosphaerella pleosporoides

Caryospora mangroveii

Caryosporella rhizophorae

Ceriosporopsis caduca

Ceriosporopsis cambrensis

Ceriosporopsis capillacea

Ceriosporopsis circumvestita

Ceriosporopsis halima

Ceriosporopsis hamata

Ceriosporopsis sundica

Ceriosporopsis tubulifera

Chadefaudia balliae

Chadefaudia corallinarum

Chadefaudia gymnogongri

Chadefaudia marina

Chadefaudia polyporolithi

Chadefaudia schizymeniae

Chaetomastia typhicola

Chaetosphaeria chaetosa

Cirrenalia basiminuta

Cirrenalia fusca

Cirrenalia macrocephala

Cirrenalia pseudomacrocephala

Cirrenalia pygmea

Cirrenalia tropicalis

Cladosporium algarum

Clavatospora bulbosa

Clavatospora stellatacula

Coniothyrium obiones

Corallicola nana

Corollospora angusta

Corollospora armoricana

Corollospora besarispora

Corollospora californica

Corollospora cinnamomea

Corollospora colossa

Corollospora filiformis

Corollospora fusca

Corollospora gracilis

Corollospora intermedia

Complete list of accepted species of higher marine fungi
Corollospora lacera

Corollospora luteola

Corollospora maritima

Corollospora novofusca

Corollospora pseudopulchella

Corollospora pulchella

Corollospora quinqueseptata

Coronopapilla avellina

Coronopapilla mangrovei

Cremasteria cymatilis

Crinigera maritima

Cucullosporella mangrovei

Cumulospora marina

Cylindrodendrum album

Cytospora rhizophorae

Dactylospora haliotrepha

Dendryphiella arenaria

Dendryphiella salina

Dictyosporium pelagicum

Didymella avicenniae

Didymella fucicola

Didymella gloeopeltidis

Didymella magnei

Didymosphaeria lignomaris

Digitatispora lignicola

Digitatispora marina

Dinemasporium marinum

Diplodia oraemaris

Dryosphaera navigans

Eiona tunicate

Epicoccum spp.

Etheirophora bijubata

Etheirophora blepharospora

Etheirophora unijubata

Exserohilum spp.

Gloeosporidina cecidii

Gnomonia salina

Groenhiella bivestia

Gymnascella littoralis

Haligena elaterophora

Haligena salina

Halocyphina villosa

Halographis runica

Haloguignardia cystoseirae

Haloguignardia decidua

Haloguignardia irritans

Haloguignardia oceanica

Haloguignardia tumefaciens

Halonectria milfordensis

Halosarpheia bentonensis

Halosarpheia culmiperda����

Halosarpheia fibrosa

Halosarpheia kandeliae

Halosarpheia marina

Halosarpheia minuta

Halosarpheia phragmiticola

Halosarpheia trullifera

Halosarpheia unicellularis

Halosphaeriopsis mediosetigera

Halotthia posidoniae

Heleococcum japonese

Heliascus kanaloanus

Hispidicarpomyces galaxauricola

Humicola alopallonella

Hydronectria tethys

Hydronectria tethys var. glabra

Hypophloeda rhizospora

Hypoxylon oceanicum

Kirschsteiniothelia maritima

Kohlmeyeriella crassa

Kohlmeyeriella tubulata

Koralionastes angustis

Koralionastes ellipticus

Koralionastes giganteus

Koralionastes ovalis

Koralionastes violaceus

Laboulbenia marina

Laetinaevia marina

Lanspora coronata

Lautitia danica

Lautospora gigantea

Leptosphaeria australiensis

Leptosphaeria avicenniae

Leptosphaeria oraemaris

Leptosphaeria pelagica

Leptosphaeria peruviana

Lignincola laevis



Lignincola longirostris

Lignincola tropica

Lindra crassa

Lindra hawaiiensis

Lindra inflata

Lindra marinera

Lindra obtusa

Lindra thalassiae

Lineolata rhizophorae

Linocarpon appendiculatum

Linocarpon nypae

Linocarpon pandani

Lophiostoma mangrovei

Lulwoana uniseptata

Lulwoidea lignoarenaria

Lulworthia calcicola

Lulworthia curalii

Lulworthia fucicola

Lulworthia grandispora

Lulworthia halima

Lulworthia kniepii

Lulworthia lindroidea

Lulworthia medusa

Lulworthia sp.

Luttrellia estuarine

Macrophoma spp.

Magnisphaera spartinae

Manglicola guatemalensis

Marinosphaera mangrovei

Marinospora calyptrate

Marinospora longissima

Marisolaris ansata

Massarina acrostichi

Massarina cyrystophorae

Massarina lacertensis

Massarina thalassiae

Massarina velatospora

Massariosphaeria typhicola

Mastodia tessellate

Melanotaenium ruppiae

Moana turbinulata

Monodictys pelagica

Mycaureola dilseae

Mycosphaerella apophlaeae

Mycosphaerella ascophylli

Mycosphaerella pneumatophorae

Mycosphaerella salicorniae

Mycosphaerella staticicola

Mycosphaerella suaedae-australis

Nais glitra

Nais inornata

Natantispora lotica

Natantispora retorquens

Nautosphaeria cristaminuta

Nectriella laminariae

Nereiospora comata

Nereiospora cristata

Nia vibrissa

Nimbospora bipolaris

Nimbospora effuse

Nimbospora octonae

Oceanitis scuticella

Ocostaspora apilongissimma

Ondiniella torquata

Ophiobolus australiensis

Ophiodera monosemeia

Orbimyces spectabilis

Orcadia ascophylli

Panorbis viscosus

Papulospora halima

Paraliomyces lentiferus

Passeriniella incarcerate

Passeriniella obiones

Passeriniella savoryellopsis

Payosphaeria minuta

Periconia abyssa

Periconia prolifica

Phaeosphaeria albopunctata

Phaeosphaeria gessneri

Phaeosphaeria halima

Phaeosphaeria macrosporidium

Phaeosphaeria neomaritima

Phaeosphaeria spartinae

Phaeosphaeria spartinaecola

Phaeosphaeria typarum

Pharcidia laminariicola

Pharcidia rhachiana

Phialophorophoma litoralis

Phoma laminariae

Phoma marina

Phoma suaedae

Phoma spp.

Phomatospora acrostichi

Phycomelaina laminariae

Pleospora avicenniae

Pleospora guadefroyi

Pleospora gracilariae

Pleospora pelagica

Pleospora pelvetiae

Pleospora spartinae

Pleospora triglochinicola

Podospora inquinata

Polystigma apophlaeae

Pontogeneia calospora

Pontogeneia codiicola

Pontogeneia cubensis

Pontogeneia enormis

Pontogeneia erikae

Pontogeneia padinae

Pontogeneia valoniopsidis

Pontoporeia biturbinata

Pronectria laminariae

Pyrenocollema pelvetiae

Quintaria lignatilis

Remispora crispa

Remispora galerita

Remispora maritima

Remispora pilleata

Remispora quadriremis

Remispora spinibarbata

Remispora stellata

Retrostium amphiroae

Rhabdospora avicenniae

Rhizophila marina

Robillarda rhizophorae

Saagaromyces abonnis

Saagaromyces ratnagiriensis

Savoryella lignicola

Savoryella paucispora

Septoria ascophylli

Septoria thalassica

Sigmoidea luteola

Sigmoidea marina

Spathulospora adelpha

Spathulospora antartica

Spathulospora calva

Spathulospora lanata

Spathulospora phycophila

Sphaeria incarcerate

Sphaerulina albispiculata

Sphaerulina oraemaris

Splanchnonema britzelmayriana

Sporidesmium salinum

Stagonospora haliclysta

Stagonospora sp.

Stemphylium gracilariae

Stemphylium triglochinicola

Swampomyces armeniacus

Thalassoascus cystoseirae

Thalassoascus lessoniae

Thalassoascus tregoubovii

Thalassogena sphaerica

Torpedospora ambispinosa

Torpedospora radiata

Trailia ascophylli

Trematosphaeria mangrovei

Trematosphaeria striatispora

Trichocladium achrasporum

Trichocladium constrictum

Trichocladium lignincola

Trichomaris invadens

Tubercularia pulverulenta

Turgidosculum ulvae

Varicosporina prolifera

Varicosporina ramulosa

Verrucaria cribbii

Verruculina enalia

Wettsteinia marina

Xylaria psamathos

Zalerion maritimum

Zalerion varium

Zopfiella latipes

Zopfiella marina


The Reveal, the Plot Twist, the Turn, the Removal of Ignorance

A significant part of the pleasure of narrative comes from what Aristotle calls anagnorisis, or the removal of ignorance.  In more contemporary language this moment in the story is called a reveal, a plot twist or a turn. Examples are numerous: every foundling from Moses to Neo who realizes he is a savior, and every hero who discovers his society is based on a lie, every family that thinks they are safe and then spots the tracks of a monster is experiencing an instant of anagnorisis.   The best cases of anagnorisis are ones in which the main character learning What it’s All About, also learns Who He Is.  The perfect example is the story of Oedipus, the ur-detective, who searches for the murderer of the king and the source of the plague, only to discover that the murderer is himself, and the source of the plague is his own incest with his mother.   The moment the king discovers the nature of the crime that confronts him is the same moment he understands himself.

Why is it called “removal of ignorance” and not “gain of knowledge”?  Oedipus is culpable for his ignorance.  His mistaken view of himself is a positive substance that needs to be cleared away, like the covering we remove when we dis-cover something, or the Lethe (forgetfulness) that is removed to give us the ancient Greek word for truth: aletheia.

Obviously we are not to blamed for every instance of our ignorance.  We were not actively forgetting the fact that Mars had two satellites for example — we just didn’t know it.  But the most powerful dramatic moments come when we see a character come to a realization about her state and her situation and realize that she was herself the one blocking her own view.  At the same moment as she realizes what the solution to her mystery is she realizes that the villain is herself.

Stories at their best are not just a source of pleasure, like a candy bar, they are tools for achieving self-knowledge.  When we let a story of anagnorisis become a part of our emotional and cognitive lives, we remove our own ignorance just as the character does, but not at the same time.  If the story works, we see who Oedipus is and what faces him, a moment before the king does.  If we know it too soon the tale bores us, if we think we never could have guessed it frustrates.  When the story works perfectly just as the scales fall from his eyes we feel that we knew it already.  This can give us the uncanny sensation that whoever or whatever is living our lives through us is aware of what we need to know and who we are, a fraction of a second before we are.

All we need to do is open our eyes and we will catch up.


An Atheist Kaddish

Magnified be the person who holds on to his hopes from the morning of his life until his very last day.

Whose heart is not tainted and whose ways are upright,

And who never despairs in his quest for redemption.

In whose heart is both the world’s suffering and its joys,

who is its radiance both manifest and hidden

Hope will not end with him

And the way of the upright will not perish.

May the glory of humankind be forever blessed.

Magnified, indeed, be the Hebrew person on his land

And sanctified be the one who lives with the memory of the life that has been taken away.

Life has ended, sealed in the soil of Yagur, in its toil, in the hearts of its members.

May his memory abide with us as a blessing.

by Zvi She-er, quote in Dalia Marx


Until Engineers Become Poets and Poets Become Engineers there will be No Perfected World

Praxiteles and Polemarchus were brothers in the Greek colony of Melos in the Aegean sea, during the period directly before the Peleponessian war.  Praxiteles, who was the eldest, won the laurel crown at the local ode-writing competition while Polemarchus went into business.  Praxiteles once came to visit Polemarchus’s place of business, a gold mine in Scotland and wrote a poem about it which gathered him some reknown.  Horrified by the acrid smoke, the dead vegetation, and the sheer ugliness of the hole in the Earth Praxiteles wrote a poem comparing the Earth to a mother and the mine to a wound that her ungrateful children had stabbed into her breast.

Polemarchus felt indignant in his breast but finally went to his brother and gave vent to his heart:

“Brother, your most successful ode was one that compared a gold necklace on the neck of your girlfriend Lydia to the sun setting behind mountains.”

“It was, brother” quoth Praxiteles “Did you like it?

“I may I may not.  But I cannot both like it and the ode you just wrote condemning the mine that brought forth the gold that made the jewelry in which you find beauty.”

Tears came to the eyes of Praxiteles.  “Forgive me brother!”  He knelt at his feet.  “I have wronged you.  How can I make amends?”

“Before you write a line of verse, my beloved brother” said Polemarchus “I beg you to submit it to the rules of the guild of engineers.  Is what it says true?  Is it consistent with other poems?  Will those who endeavor to live according to your poetic vision in fact have their lives enriched thereby?  Or will they suffer?  Your poems are after all structures that you erect in the minds of men.  Exercise due care, I pray thee, that the structures not collapse crushing the men within them.”

“I will do so, brother.  I promise.”

The two brothers started a school of engineering and poetry called The School of the Brothers.  At this school,  engineers were taught to open their hearts to beauty in order to embody it within their work and in fact, to recognize that their work of remaking the Earth as a fit habitation for man was nothing but poetry in stone and steel, while poets were taught to think carefully and honestly about the consequences of their poems, and, indeed to view their poems as so many machines and structures for the upbuilding of the human psyche.

The greatest result of their work was the line “there is a budding morn in midnight” and the mobile siege tower, used to great effect in the siege of Rhodes.

As many know Melos was conquered by Athens, its inhabitants enslaved, and its wealth taken as booty.  Among the stolen wealth was the motto of the School of the Brothers “Engineers Must Become Poets and Poets Must Become Engineers” which was appropriated and debased by the philosopher Plato into “Kings Must Become Philosophers and Philosophers Must Become Kings” — a much worse motto as it appeals to bullies and braggarts of all stripes.  Because if a King claims to be a philosopher who has the courage to tell him he is not?

If Plato had suggested his motto at the School of the Brothers he would have been sent back to the drawing board!


Problems with History of Philosophy

If I’m writing a history of military strategy I don’t have to be a successful military strategist myself because I can evaluate military strategies based on their results.  I would give a lot of attention to Roman military strategies and not so much to those of the neighboring Italian states of Latium because the Romans won and the Latians lost.   The task of studying the history of philosophy is harder: it’s as if I am given the strategy books of history’s generals but the knowledge of the success or failure of these strategies is barred to me because the world is hidden by a fog.  I have no way of knowing whether the generals I’m studying won or lost.  How do I figure out who to study?  How do I figure out who to pay attention to?  I need to evaluate Eisenhower without knowing if the D-Day invasion was a success or a fiasco.

If I want to evaluate whether Kant was an important or a minor figure I need to figure out for myself whether or not the central claims of the critique of pure reason make sense or they don’t.  Otherwise I am just doing the history of publishing — there was a man in such and such a place who wrote some pages.  I can’t even say who is influential or who is not, because the people who claim to be influenced by Kant may be incorrect.

The only way to do the history of philosophy is to do philosophy.  Every historian is a good or bad philosopher.