Putin’s Face, Soul, & Ages of Man

Reuters has run a really silly article, “Want to know Vladimir Putin’s secrets? They’re all right on his face.” On other occasions, I’ve responded to silly articles with dour condemnation, for example, when Reuters engaged a comic-book writer to critique the F-35. But Dan Hill’s article, which touches on whether Putin has a soul, offers all kinds of opportunities to be silly myself. I try to keep open source intelligence a serious endeavor, which means a limit on how far I am willing to go, publicly, on a hunch. But with Putin’s soul on the table, the sky’s the limit.

The article cites Bush the Second and Joe Biden as having conducted ophthalmic examinations of Putin’s eyes. Although not visible in official pictures, Bush and Biden must have used the opthalmic instrument known as the funduscope to clearly image Putin’s retinas. No mention is made of cataracts or macular degeneration, although Drs. Bush and Biden differed as to whether a soul was observed. Since the medical records do not indicate that Putin’s eyes were dilated for the examination, it is hard to understand the confidence of the examining physicians regarding the presence or absence of soul pathology.

Somebody, somewhere, said  “the eyes are the windows of the soul”, and it was catchy. The great authority, Spirit Science and Metaphysics, says it’s true, so it must be. This is why the U.S. Government, as part of the security clearance process, looks long and carefully into the applicant’s eyes, and notes the presence or absence of a soul. It is a requirement for many responsible positions that the applicant have a soul, with exceptions made for bond traders and bank presidents. And, as is well known, in criminal courts adhering to English common law, the presence or absence of a soul is admissible evidence. In cases of doubt, innocence or guilt can be established by ducking, stocks, or trial by fire.

Further adding to the mess is the recollection of New Yorker columnist Evan Osnos. Quoting the Reuters article, “An unfazed Putin, Biden recalled during a later conversation with the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, replied with a smile, ‘We understand one another’.” Testimony by Osnos would be inadmissible hearsay. And, of course, Putin is protected by the Fifth Amendment from direct questioning about his soulfulness.

The above, and the contradictory findings of Drs. Bush and Biden, raise doubt as to whether the finding of soul should be admissible evidence into the trial of a person’s character. If at some point in the future, Putin is brought to trial before the International Criminal Court, he might try to have the case dismissed, based upon his uniquely variable condition of soul capacity. In all the annals, it is has been either one or the other.

Whether Putin has a soul must be left to some future occasion, when perhaps, an impartial panel of experts armed with the most modern opthalmic equipment will reach a firm conclusion. So let us move on.  In preface, I am no apologist for Putin.  Putin’s destruction of the free press, and other transgressions against Western ideals, are tragic. When he revived nationalism within the borders of Russia, I thought it was an ugly curiosity. Partnering with a bunch of apes to tear apart Ukraine is unforgivable.

Nevertheless,  four paragraphs of a Reuters article devoted to an idea as tenuous as the soul, and an idea is all it is, contributes to the demonization of Vladimir Putin. This simplification is unhelpful to understanding someone who, at this moment, must be considered our opponent. As  they are understood by the superstitious, demons are very simple entities, because they serve only one purpose, “evil”,  so abstractly pure, it supposedly, according to believers, requires no further explanation. But Putin has all kinds of motives. He may believe many or all of them are good. He may believe others are excusable errors, or casualties of circumstance, such as the shooting down of MH-370. The mix is infinite. Demonization deprives us of the ability to see him as a complex individual, a creation of his time, his country, his life experiences, and personality: the combination psychologists call nature/nurture. For those of you who stare into people’s eyes, I have few words. Modernize yourselves; read William James’ monument, Psychology. It’s been in print since 1892.

To be continued shortly.