Watch Kekule's dream (from Youtube.) Only 59 seconds, we are told.
The Uroboros stimulated the German chemist August Kekulé, to come up with a major insight: that the benzene molecule, C6H6, has a ring structure. Quoting:

      "I was sitting, writing at my text-book; but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation: long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis."

That was in 1866. One consequence, people's lifespan has, on average, vastly increased by pharmaceuticals with carbon-ring structures. Will they bring forth a cure for our new onslaught of viral pandemics? One can dream, can one not? 3

In the twilight, after a day of doing a jigsaw puzzle to take my mind of that fatalistic analect that intruded in a dream:

• Confucius said, "All is lost! I have yet to see the man who can see his own faults and censure himself!" (Lun Yü 5-26)
Confucius in dream

The Master had come back. I got up and knew what to do. 4

Canada's bicameral government escapes the pitfall of all our rulers having been elected by people who are unable to comprehend what needs to be comprehended. Our senators have been appointed! Appointing Canada's senators is gilded with protocol; the Master would certainly approve of that. Quoting from Lun Yü 13-3:

      "When protocol is not instituted correctly, what is said is not accepted; when what is said is not accepted, matters are not accomplished ... Thus with protocol instituted, a junzi may begin to speak and what is said may be enacted. What a junzi says is but earnest."  

When protocol is followed, whatever an Honourable Senator says is in earnest. But there lurks a problem. According to Lun Yü 11-20 and 6-14, Confucius perceived it clearly: if opinions are expressed with sincerity may we assume the speaker is a junzi? Or is he merely dignified by appearance? In this day and age, it is difficult to be spared.  6

Duplicity is a hallmark of politics and that includes the political wranging toward Canada's Confederation in 1867. John A. Macdonald, one of the Fathers of Confederation and Canada's first Prime Minister at one point assuaged the worried well-to-do, "We must protect the rights of minorities, and the rich are always fewer in number than the poor." (At the Quebec Conference in 1984.) A year later, in the Canadian Legislative Assembly, he showed a different impression of his thinking: "Springing from the people, and one of them, [the senator] takes his seat in the council with all the sympathies and feelings of a man of the people, and when he returns home at the end of a session, he mingles with them on equal terms and is influenced by the same feelings and associations, and events, as those which affect the mass around him." I mentioned these quotes in my Senate essay "On guard in a global environment." I envisioned a functional distinction between our senators: Senators seeking to understand citizens' concerns ("Citizen contacts") and Senators who represent Canadians indirectly ("Complex-problem solvers"), beginning here.  7

* * *

In February of 2016, a Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization held its first publicly televised session. The work started with a bang. Many an expert witness was invited to give and defend his or her opinion. A senator had invited me to make myself available for an appearance, but I was never called. Eventually the Committee's work petered out over a ten-month period by March, 2018. Reports were duly written. I gave up reading them after watching four sessions of committee members discussing—bickering, really—a draft report about the Westminster System—emphasize the. And that while our senators harbor different perceptions of what that undefined Westminster System entails. Experts opined it applied to the Commons, but our Conservative committee members did not budge from extending the Westminster system from including the Senate as well thereby maintaining their partisan stance, an effort akin to the Republicans down south frustrating Democratic presidents.

• Confucius said, "The junzi encompasses all and is not partial. The petty man is partial and does not encompass all. (Lun Yü 2-14)  8

During a Committee session held in November, 2016, the Honourable Elaine McCoy asked,

      "Does a modern Senate need an official opposition or any opposition groups at all?

      "That question, I think, is the wrong one to ask ourselves. Do we need organized groups? Yes, absolutely. That's the right question. Do we need a way to structure debates in a disciplined way to review legislation? Absolutely, yes. Those are the right questions. In fact, as in all of your readings, you will have read the constitutional duty to give advice and assistance on all weighty and arduous matters of concern to Canada. We heard it said six times again yesterday, and we're going to hear it, I think, another eight times today.

      "Those are the words by which the Queen, through her Governor General, summons each and every one of us to take up our place as senators. We are asked to come to give advice and assistance on all weighty and arduous matters of concern to Canada. And what could be more weighty or arduous than legislation? So, it is absolutely a constitutional duty that each and every one of us has, and that is to give advice and assistance in passage of bills.

      "It is also our responsibility—I think the Senate's record over 150 years indicates we've certainly lived it—to not hold up the government of the country. We haven't had a deadlock situation here like we've seen in the United States, or even in Australia.

      "The question of how we undertake that constitutional duty to give advice and assistance on legislation is, I think, very much a pertinent one. At that point, so are these two: Do we need organized groups? Yes. Do we need a way to structure debates in a disciplined way to review legislation? Absolutely, yes.

      "Do we need an official opposition? No."  10

Following the Master, a junzi does not compete, except in sports, Ref Lun Yü 3-7.  10a

Senator Sinclair

"On January 31, 2021, I will be leaving the Senate to focus on Indiginous law mentorship and my memoir. While generations of work rmain, I am proud of the steps we have taken toward Reconciliation. Thank you to everyone who continues this work," says Senator Murray Sinclair.
   Senator Sinclair, the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the Broken Trust Report on the Thunder Bay Police Service has been a frequent speaker in Thunder Bay, and across Canada.
   The Senator was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Trudeau."  

Wrong! Senator Sinclair was appointed on April 2, 2016 by the Governor General on behalf of the Queen upon a recommendation by Prime Minister Trudeau who had chosen from a short list of cadidates presented by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments of which the members and its mandate originate in the Prime Minister's Office. The stated objective of the Board is Senate appointments based on merit (elsewhere: on diversity) instead of allegiance to any political party. Hope I got it right. I doubt that the Honourable Senator was fond of Sir John A. who considered native Canadians as savages. Here, from the National Post, "... over his career Macdonald would pursue an Indigenous policy so draconian that even his contemporaries would come to accuse him of going beyond the pale."  11a

We need diverse citizenship and tolerance in our school curricula right across the country. We need well-supported, highly-qualified media, independent of advertisers' financial pressure.  12

* * *
• Duke Ching of Ch'i asked Confucius about ruling.
   Confucius replied, "Let the lords be lords, the subjects be subjects, the fathers be fathers, the sons be sons."
   Duke Ching said, "How well said! If the lords were unlike lords, the subjects unlike subjects, the fathers unlike fathers, the sons unlike sons, then even if there were grain, would I be able to eat it?" (Lun Yü 12-11)

and Honourables be junzi.  13

Canada's bicameralism wih its non-elected Senate offers a fine opportunity to follow a middle way, a way between a failing democracy, succumbed by a financial elite, and a ruthless dictatorship. We can, I believe, develop a functioning blend of democracy and meritocracy. Why squander such a fine asset? Expeditiously so, because global warming is accelerating, waters and tempers rising in a world increasingly desparate.  14

But then, again and again, aren't solutions the main cause of problems?  15


Senator McCoy referred to an email I had written a day or so before the session to all our senators.  *  fn1

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