Saturday, July 28, 2018


As temperatures soar, California wildfires roar I just wonder why? Why are Americans so willfully blind to climate change. I know that oil company propaganda is effective but it can't be this effective. There are people, mainly men, who religiously object to doing anything about the environment whether it is climate change or just ordinary pollution because, they say, only God can control the environment. This is really what they say. Some anti-environmentalists are just haters--like some men are rapists, these (usually) men simply hate nature and believe it ought to be beaten into submission, trampled on, torn up just for the heck of it. These people really exist. But most of the opposition to doing anything about climate change and other environmental problems comes from deeply unconscious fears of losing control--it is a highly irrational response to a clear scientific problem.

Those of us who have studied some science understand that our climate is a "complex system" which means, by definition, that outcomes cannot be predicted with any degree of accuracy because there  are simply too many variables and there is no way, short of creating a model that is as complex as the Earth weather system and even now we lack not just the computing power, but the data to make it work. However, we can create various parameters and we can carry on rational risk assessments which generally proceed as follows: 1) you evaluate as best you can some range of probability as to the likelihood of the global temperature change and its possible effects with the best modelling you can find; 2) you evaluate what sorts of consequences might be in store for various temperature ranges; and 3) you evaluate the possible risks is you do nothing, a little, a lot, or genuinely try to do solve the problem. A risk analysis would say, for me, that there is a decent probability that we could face within a couple of decades a catastrophic positive feedback loop with methane rising out of the ocean and artic tundra as ice and tundra melt, since the artic is warming much faster. Now even if that probability is, say, 5%, is that a risk you would want to take? Now I thing that possibility is about 40%--by that I mean the probability no only that we would have a series of catastrophically high surface temperatures but that most life on earth as we know it would cease including all but a few very, very, very rich people who can afford to build little underground cities or whatever. The cost of actually trying to solve the problem would be, in my view, would be moderate in the short term and relatively minimal in the medium and long-term.

What is noticeable here is that no one (this calculus is being done in the security services who are planning for mass chaos and also by the rich in secret) in the media which is strictly controlled by the oligarch class which consists of hundreds of people and their retinues, is even addressing this risk assessment model even though each of the corporations that run the industry routinely make very sophisticated risk assessments of their business practices; few in academia are doing anything like this; and few if any in the general population even think that such a thing as risk-assessment even exists as a matrix for solving this sort of problem. Why? Because most Americans are, when confronted with a problem, either want to blow something up, or simply not think about it. Why? Because Americans are now used to living almost exclusively in fantasies.

Let me be clear, my even saying this in the tone I am saying it with is objectionable even to people who might agree with me. They say, that I am being too pessimistic and that, at any rate, they don't have time to think about this its too horrible. This is true of people I am close to, my own family, my friends. No one contradicts the truth of what I'm saying, it's easy enough to prove just do simple research and you can, in a few hours, draw up your own crude risk-assessment matrix and come to a similar conclusion. Certainly there is a chance that if we do nothing that nothing seriously bad will happen in our lifetime--but this chance gets lower every year. I am certain that unless we address this issue very soon, in a century only the rich will survive and even them might not be able to live in that future. There are people today who are going to try and upload their personalities into cyberspace and exist in a virtual reality.

The sad part is that a transition to non-carbon energy is technologically possible--I'm not going to go into it all here but I will say this, that with fairly primitive technology the US astronauts went to the moon less than a decade after JFK announced the project. We've forgotten that I guess. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

It Is What It Is So Just Be Who You Really Are

When I think about art or other creative projects I sometimes think that it's useless. My wife, June, in contrast, has no problem being recognized. We are both good artists but her work sells my work does not, her words are listened to and my words not so much. We waste a lot of energy comparing ourselves to others not because we do it--for that is normal, but because we want our own selves to be somehow different. We are, in short, arguing with reality. Each of us has a different role that we often have a hard time identifying because our minds are filled with some other person's gifts or tendencies. I have begun to compare myself to others and see it now as a partnership--even to people I don't know. We each have our own gifts and we can't discover them or use them unless we relax our expectations and allow ourselves to be who we are. We can be who we are by giving ourselves room to make bad choices because, then, our bad choices always turn into good choices when we are aware of those choices, that we see what went wrong in that choice. In fact that "wrong" choice will enable you to see, with more clarity, the right choice for you. By continually being open to who you are and not focusing on your conditioning, or what idea you may have about yourself or how you ought to be, you find your path suddenly clearing up. 

It's certainly better to start young in this and I think this sort of training needs to be part of any school curriculum. I don't want to say that who we have been or how young people were trained in the past was wrong or mistaken--and this important. We are as we are because of our collective and individual past. We can't cut ourselves off from our history, our families, or the history of our civilization. We are deeply rooted in all that. We are the current "now" expression of all of that. And each of us has a role of some kind in that tapestry of past and future lives. 

One of the problems we face, collectively, is we misunderstand the nature of the universe. This period of history where the old patterns of thinking, the mythological frameworks, have changed drastically, cannot fail to be experienced as confusing. We can't know who we are without some kind of context. So the source of identity is and must revolve from the inside out rather that from the outside in. Our job is to find ourselves by digging deeper inside ourselves rather than looking to the outside world to find meaning. It was perfectly good to see what society needs and then fit ourselves to that need but because "society" is so unstable and confusing in terms of values, it is giving mixed messages that cause stress in our bodies, our emotions and in our minds. In a sense we have no choice than to become mystics. Indeed the leap we must make can only be made where we start from clearly perceiving who we are on the inside. I've been through this before, but all you have to think about is the situation of our world--a world that seems out of wack. We have achieved great technological and scientific advances yet we are not happier we are actually more stressed and unhappy because our lives have just become more complicated. We are facing some serious existential problems. Aside from having world annihilation staring us in the face for almost three-quarters of a century we are currently running some rather startling environmental risks and not just through climate change. If we continue as we have, and we show no outward sign of changing in our country at least, we could start experiencing some even more profound and physically dangerous situations in the next few years if predictions I've seen come true. How in the world are we going to meet these and other challenges if we just live lives of going along to get along. That time is over because we are in crisis. We can see the cultural poison, the vitriol, violence, and other forms of coercion. Our mood seems angry on the surface but we are hurt, fearful, and sad underneath as the eruption of legal and illegal drugs have shown us. We live in a country where it is very hard to cooperate with each other and many of us feel isolated and alienated from each other and even life itself.

Those who feel this call to the inner life are reacting in a healthy way to the discomfort of this time in history. There are many ways to go to the more authentic part of ourselves that lie in the depths of, usually, of our unconscious--that's where the gold is and has always been. But for most of human history we could safely avoid that and live our lives based on external influences. There was no necessity to wake-up to a deeper reality because we were never that far from the depths. 

As have become more confident of my interest in the depth I find I am no longer fighting reality or arguing against it--at least not to the degree I was. I felt ashamed at my interests in going within, in having visions, in my intense spiritual feelings and inspirations. I wanted to be like everyone else and not as sensitive. I hardened my heart to fit in. I toughened up somewhat but the part of me that was more authentic easily sabotaged my efforts to be "normal." But I now see that my sensitivity was so very much important and I regret, deeply, not allowing it to develop more fully. As I open up and allow my authentic self to emerge and integrate or process the parts of me that were more fragmented and inauthentic the world itself seems to unfold not as a static concept but a living being. For our science is also pointing to a reality where everything is alive there is no such thing as inert matter and the conceptual and sensory dimension we live inside is not all there is. We live, in fact, in a multi-dimensional reality or "multi-verse" where even past, present, and future can co-mingle or at least something very much like it. Otherwise we could not even begin to explain the reality experienced by human beings. Whether it is the existence of altered states of consciousness, magic, "aliens", spirits, fairies, sprites, angels, demons, succubi or the existence of spontaneous combustion or a rain of frogs and all the other "impossible" things people have experienced, reality is not limited to what the authorities say it is. They describe reality in ways that work for them by helping them control our states of consciousness.

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality" comes from T.S. Eliot's poem "Burnt Norton" and it says much of what we need to know. We seek mythological frameworks first and only those facts that fit within that framework. Why? Because frameworks are a requirement for human life. All cultures have them and they are a requirement for human life and for our civilization. As a practical matter frameworks exist so that we can get on with our lives so we don't have to occupy ourselves with philosophical pursuits or long periods of contemplation about the meaning of life in the middle of trying to make a living, raising kids, to keep and establish relationships. Human beings, correctly, expect society to have sane frameworks just as we expect a solid house so we don't have to worry every time there is a storm the house will collapse or that the plumbing will go haywire at any time. Mythological frameworks are our conceptual houses that, I believe, are even more important than physical houses. We live at a time when mythological frameworks have broken down or no longer work for the lives we live. Some people can easily move from one framework to the other if their original one had room to grow. But on average our frameworks from the past have been strained to the maximum. Many of us our faced with deeply contradictory values. For example some parts of our society tell teens that they should have sex as almost an initiation process--others say we shouldn't have sex and if we do we shouldn't have it with a lot of people. Some say it's ok to like members of the same sex, other people say we shouldn't and so on. Some say we should focus on making money, others say that there are higher virtues but aren't clear about what they are. Our society rewards, selfishness and "winning" and punishes compassion and "losing." At the same time, what many of us accept as a major source of information about the world, science actually has come to the tentative conclusion that that sort of culture is deeply and hopelessly going to lead to disaster. We have discovered the general parameters of what makes people happy, what makes society and cooperation work well and our way of life almost completely continues to move in the opposite direction.
Recently, I posted something about the fact that money is what people pursue and value over other values by pointing out that in our society money is, for most people, the final arbiter of all moral value. Of course, almost nobody will admit that because it violates other moral ideas but, where the rubber meets the road and when push comes to shove the choice is always to make more rather than less money even if it stresses us out and we justify it to ourselves and others. Corporations, the institutions on top of our social pyramid make their decisions almost always on the basis of money whether it is sacrificing money today to make money tomorrow or whether they decide to squeeze all of the money out of their market, their company that they can and the Devil take the hindmost.

As I've written often, because we have competing and often contradictory moral values two things have happened. The first I mentioned about--money becomes, by default our ultimate value--we may sense that there are other more important values but we're not sure. Money has the benefit of being tangible--it is something you can put in your hand to ultimately change the reality you live within so it is hard to argue with. The second response to our dilemma is the increase of fantasies. We spend a lot of time with fantasy worlds created by fiction writers, TV shows, movies, all which move us into an imaginary world that may or may not have anything to do with our world but, increasingly, are completely divorced from our world and the realities we face. Fantasy is useful to paper over contradictions, a hard to locate synthesis, feelings of being uncomfortable emotionally and morally with our lives and so on and of course money can buy is ever more realistic fantasies. We can move from the screen to fly-off to a fantasy destination and stay in a hotel with all the conveniences we can imagine or to hire service workers to give us the feeling of being valued. We can get a massage, we can hire a sex-worker, we can eat great and interesting food, good wine, and friends will naturally be drawn to us often on the basis of the money we have even if we are obnoxious or socially tongue-tied. 

We could say, and not be so far off, that we live for money to buy fantasies. For example, people often say, they want to "make" memories like fulfilling bucket lists, visiting places, taking pictures of those places to live inside some memories for some future time. When that future time comes, the memory of doing something really interesting somehow provides continual relief from what? Well, from the undesirable moment. It is the moment we live in now that gives us meaning, that makes us feel good without any need for memory, money, status, and it does not require a fantasy of any kind. If we look closely at what is directly in front of us in this moment now--there is always enough as long as we are fully present and not thinking about the future or the past. This idea is part of what we could call "the perennial philosophy" for it is present in most great mystical traditions across cultures and has recently become more well-known through the work of teachers like Eckhart Tolle and many, many others who say basically the same thing with various degrees of sincerity. 

And here is where we stop. And here is where we begin. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I Feel Like It's the End of the Line and the Beginning of a New One

I've been recommending to clients, friends, and customers to not follow the news. I've told them that following the news, unless it is sports, show-biz or celebrities will just cause stress because it is designed to do that and by inducing it poison our minds with poisonous ideas and fake facts that have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with the power-elite holding power. And sure enough after endless repetitions of big and small lies, disinformation, misdirection and slight of hand up becomes down and blue becomes red. The power-elite, who own and run the media, can throw out anything they choose and the average citizen worn-down by generations of commercials and propaganda will salivate when the bell is rung. No need to think critically just follow the bouncing ball and sing together with your corporate overlords whose message is carefully crafted for your demographic.  This way, you avoid conflict with your family, your friends, your coworkers and your bosses. You don't ever notice the obvious, the Orwellians are always the other guy not your side.

For me, I did not have a deep problem with following politics--I was brought up with not just politics but foreign affairs in a diplomatic family. So I became a nerd. Early on as a teen-ager I moved from wanting to go to Vietnam to opposing the war when I started reading about Vietnam, it's culture, history and the events that began with the attempt of the French to re-establish control of Vietnam, the French defeat in 1954 and then the Geneva Accords of 1956 which, I found out, the US violated and refused to implement because it knew the leader of the revolt against the French, Ho Chi Minh would have won that election and he was a Marxist. I was shocked because I was brought up to believe that the US was the champion of democracy and freedom and wanted people to determine their own fate rather than be dominated by more powerful conquerors like the Nazis and the USSR--there it was in black and white. The US replaced the French as the new colonial power so I opposed the war from about 1966 onwards. One thing led to another when I realized the media was not reporting accurately that there was no "light at the end of the tunnel" and the US was at war there for other than the stated reasons. Gradually I started investigating other events like Jim Crow, our genocidal policies towards the Native people where we did precisely what we accused the Soviets of doing which was to seldom honor any treaty with native peoples who we regarded as animals.

As time passed I began to understand that the official story on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassination were cooked up fantasies and 9/11 proved to be more of the same. I learned the US routinely overthrew governments, assassinated popular leaders, allied itself with the most corrupt and brutal segments of any population whether in Latin America or places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Everything the government and media declared as true was, in fact, false and this information even before the internet was not that hard to find. Anyone investigating most of these events would have had the information they needed particularly after the Church Committee hearing of the late seventies that brought what we suspected were the policies and activities of the CIA were even worse than may of us thought and, in fact, subsequent research showed me that those hearings did absolutely nothing to inhibit the CIA except that they now used more contractors and learned to be very far away from any oversight such that today, the covert arm of the CIA operates in complete secrecy even from the President and, as is the case today, even is carrying out operations against the current President--of course, couldn't happen to a nicer guy but still this is not what we want or do we? I think the answer is yes. Those who I shared my left-leaning values now want a coup d'├ętat and a move towards more war abroad and coercive policies at home (political correctness, limiting speech, forcing people to violate their religious principles etc.).

I am clearly wasting my time attempting to present my ideas, my proof, my evidence and well-considered opinions as a result of my studies in social-science, history, and many other studies that I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to in my lifetime. Very few are open to this and I now realize that I have actually gone about all this ass backwards. My analysis and deep reading of culture and history (the list of influences are too long for this essay) caused me to come to one conclusion. We live in a post-rational age and my mourning for its passing is useless and is just arguing with reality--an argument I can't win nevertheless I've insisted on trying to win it in some twisted Quixotic way.

The advantage, I've found, to this age is that people are hungry for meaning, hungry for some spiritual connection with their fellow humans, animals and all sentient beings--in fact, since I sense and now have rational reasons for believing, all the universe is sentient. The reality is that people want some kind of cohesive and coherent mythical framework and mora order to operate in. This confusion over values and the meaning of life makes us all hungry not for facts but the deeper aspects of life. I know that the only path forward is through spirituality. That path has also been one I've pursued and am now comfortable teaching. My attachment to truth in an age that values only myth is a weakness I will try to overcome. There will always be those who pursue truth but the narrow truth expressed in politics is, I realize, not very valuable except as a spiritual practice. Thus, as one healer showed me, dislike for a political figure like George Bush II was not a good spiritual place to be and he taught me to love my enemies. This is a hard work for me but I need to change that focus so that all those that I oppose, those that seek war, who value cruelty over compassion, who think insults are better than dialogue, who want to destroy nature, who murder people, all of them doing thing that I see as bad or evil, I must love every one of them. I have been show this, I have had the teaching given to me by visible and invisible teachers and now is the time to practice that compassion rather than go on like the obnoxious uncle trying to wake up the family to the danger of the Federal Reserve and the rule of the finance oligarchs. No one cares, really, They want food for the soul not a lecture on how wrong they are.

Mythology, Theology, Unconsciousness and the Era of Trump

My instinct is to stop writing about politics, history or anything else that seems outside of the official Narrative that people appear desperate to cling to. While I can bring people other perspectives, really, it's very hard for people to see things my way. It's like asking people to get in a sailboat that they don't know how to sail (sailing takes time and experience to learn) and expect them to manage a sea voyage. I realize now it isn't an issue of believing what I say or not believing. I remember when I provided two people with advanced degrees from two elite universities with proofs that the official 9/11 story was false both told me, separately, something to the effect of the following: "even if what you say was true I would refuse to believe it." I thought this was just something to put in the "overeducated fool" category but it has nothing to do with that. We live on the basis of mythology not fact. Our society has accepted the notion that science, logic, reason and open inquiry ought to be our preferred method of understanding the world but this point of view is not actually used perhaps because that's not how human beings function.

Rationality is an approach to life that is useful to our ability to handle our environment, evaluate threats, plan for the future and have a reasonably accurate view of our surroundings as well as accomplish our tasks whatever they may be. But beyond that rationality seems to collapse. Rationality, to the extent it is present in us is limited to our conscious mind and that is only the tip of the iceberg of our being. Science and human inquiry have proven the existence of an unconscious that while invisible to us most of the time has a major and even critical role in our lives. The unconscious provides most of our motivation or lack thereof. We are unconsciously sexually attracted to certain people and to certain physical and emotional attributes in others. Our unconscious holds our urges that just seem to come over us. Most people when they watch or read or  hear commercials rarely consciously decide to buy a product or service based on what they saw. They usually ignore it yet, the size and income of the advertising industry proves that they know something else is at work. Commercials often seem silly or meaningless but that's only because most effective commercials are engineered to manipulate the unconscious of whatever demographic they are aiming their products to. Generally, commercials associate any deep fear, fascination, urge even that the conscious mind reject to manipulate people particularly those who are highly suggestive, that is, those who can be easily hypnotized. Our magic media whether it is TV or videos online put people into a mild trance so that whatever is suggested has some psychic power behind it. We will get a good feeling when we pick up a product that has been advertised but not remember anything about any commercial--we just buy it believing we have done something good even if the product is toxic, as most, say, food products that come out of the food industry are. On the one hand we know that these sodas we drink harm us on the other hand we get a good feeling when we pick up the soda with the magic logo. Advertisers are experts, even magicians, in being able to quickly strike to the heart of people. They must be very hip to what people are going through at this particular historical moment and have to have an overall understanding of what motivates people, how the psyche is constructed and, above all, the content of most people's mythological framework. The public-relations industry and the media propaganda organs all use similar methods to manipulate public opinion.

Jung divided up the unconscious into three parts, the individual, collective, and universal unconscious. The individual unconscious has to do with experience,  urges, ideas, that we have consciously rejected because we realized that in navigating the world these inner preferences urges, fetishes, traumas would weigh us down so we just drop them. The ego that dominates life is necessary to our survival but it must be constructed. When we come up out of the sleep/dream state we boot up our ego and reconstruct our identities with our ongoing narrative. We do it every day very quickly so we don't notice it. The juice, the power however resides in the personal unconscious this is where our spontaneous emotions, desires, goals and so forth are generated. The ego uses the power of these emotions to fuel its structure as it attempts to fulfill these wants and desires which is its job. In certain forms of meditation we are trained to observe as thought arise out of the unconscious and can begin to sense the force behind these thoughts, urges, fantasies.

The second part of our unconscious is our identity with the collective. To be precise that means our family, our culture, our country, our civilization and, to some extent, humanity as a whole. This area contains true mythology or the intellectual framework we are born into we instinctively accept these myths, on the one side, those who believe in the Bible as a guide to life and guns as necessary tools, on the other, those who were brought as atheists in a fairly permissive and cosmopolitan view of life and all the myths surrounding those particular points of view. Also, we have here all the deeper archetypes, the hero,  he damsel in distress, the fairy tales, the gods and goddesses of various mythologies that have force and are displayed, today, in fantasy movies particularly super-hero movies pre-figured, particularly, in the great epics of various civilizations.

Third, is the area where we, as individuals, connect with all that is. Here are the great spiritual traditions that emphasize our interdependence with the universe and transcendent realms where words no longer have great meaning where we approach the highest level of consciousness through a "cloud of unknowing." Here we go beyond both consciousness and unconsciousness this is where we find Faith and the Kingdom of Heaven, in the Christian sense, Samadhi, in the Yogic philosophy and Nirvana in the Buddhist sense.

These parts of the unconscious are intertwined--there are no boundaries where one starts and the other begins. Our deepest longings and fears are personal, social, and come from a wordless profundity we each can connect with. In order to have some rule-of-thumb we each construct some kind of mythological framework that might be our own ego-narrative but will be formed within the context of a cultural framework which can override even personal considerations. This explains, for example, heroism in battle or other sorts of self-sacrifice. In a sense within every desire, urge, and fear lies a depth our current set of mythological frameworks have not been able to grasp. In former eras when religion was more influential the frameworks were clear cut. Religion itself is an expression of these frameworks and its rituals connect us to those larger frameworks and, unlike today, don't ask us to have to either reject the deeper areas of consciousness (even if they are unconscious), or have to find our own way through a dizzying variety of world-views, spiritual practices and so on.

Because we lack strong mythological/religious structures since all of them are challenged by other structures that we can't avoid noticing (our ancestors who simply were not exposed to a lot of alternatives) we cling to any ad hoc combination of fragments. Thus we are vulnerable, more than at any time in our past, to any highly sophisticate mind-control regime like those in advertising, public-relations, propaganda and the panoply of cults, religions, gurus, lifestyle cults involving sex, fantasy, sports, gaming, obsession with politics and so on). Any of this could be the focus of our lives or we could have several of these structures in our lives--we can go to church on Sunday, play games during the week and obsess about Donald Trump the rest of the time along with eating, sleeping and making love with our partner. This keeps us internally fragmented and contributes to the growth of anxiety, depression and addiction. In the case of addiction, we solve the problem of fragmentation by focusing on a central occupation--feeding our addiction which becomes our religion. It has the advantage of immediate gratification, is deeply physical usually, provides us with a good feeling, and frees us from all the concerns that most people share.

With the contemporary world mediated by technology, drugs and a variety of urges, addiction, compulsions and a lack of an agreed upon way of looking at the world we become not just exhausted trying to navigate through life without a reliable compass we also have difficulty connecting to others. What if we reveal to other people what we really think and feel? Thus, in polite society, unless we are with people who exactly share our point of view, we are uncomfortable--but even then, if we are among Christians, we may have a very different approach to scripture and the church and some of these differences can be very sharp so the more we rely on our particular view the more threatened we are with those who don't view things the same way. If I believe the Bible is literally true in every way and another Christian tell me that can't be because of the contradictions in the Bible both factual and ethical then I'm threatened--I depend on that book to order my life--if I start doubting passages then where is the end of it? Our egos, who are tasked with helping us survive not just as organisms but socially because society is not an option--we require it to live unless, like religious hermits we've connected with the universal unconscious and made in conscious in our lives, we have transcended that need.

Mythology, it turns out is King and its mate the Queen of the sciences is theology. Theology is not only the study of God are the gods but a study of the universal unconscious. This study is much neglected and, in my view, explains many of the ills of our culture. It is deeper and more important than philosophy, it's younger sister, because it goes deeper. Philosophy uses intellectual power to create a mythological framework rather than the blend of emotional and intellectual power. Theology represents the unity of mind and heart that philosophy can and often does point towards. Whether we like it or not mythological frameworks that involve both head and heart are a requirement--we all live by them. Our current situation is that these frameworks are ungainly pastiches and promote, even by denying the spiritual world, anxiety and conflict. We need these pastiches and so cling to them often desperately. Maybe we'll suddenly jump to another set of priorities. Maybe our religious ideas will lead us to jump to focus on sex or our sexual lives will suddenly cause us to jump full steam into religion. Whatever it is it not very rational--it is rational only in the sense that it meets needs and the ego requires survival no matter how ungainly the structure.

This brings me back to our political/tribal/cultural struggle now magnified by the very strange and distorted lens of the Trump era. Donald Trump, a fixture in the culture as an colorful and eccentric real-estate developer who displays a combination of oafishness, narcissism, sentimentality, and a sort of honesty seen in reality TV has, no matter what happens in the next few years, already changed the course of US history. It has deeply sharpened political and cultural differences to a near fever pitch. His one policies and views are a strange pastiche that reflects our own pastiche-frameworks. There has never been a time I have experienced or read about in US history when both polite society (the upper-middle class), the communications media, and the governing establishment has been so opposed to a President. Before this era, President Carter was hated by some of these groups (not polite society though) because he thought human rights were more important that mere power politics. This created and internal rebellion in Washington that was able to paint Carter into a corner no matter how hard he tried and he, facing a hostile bureaucracy and press really couldn't have done much to change that except seen it coming--but he was, in many ways unprepared for the job. Trump, in contrast has faced a more intense opposition and a near revolt of the CIA, the most powerful actor in Washington, and still been able to survive a year and a half in office. Whatever his faults he has survived though I have my doubts that he'll be able to serve out his term facing this kind of high-level opposition.

Trump's rise is important beyond his particular policies and personal quirks. He is the great symbol of the country, the exposure of deep unconscious urges coming from our collective unconscious. Obama, in contrast, signified the tight rule of the ego--he appeared to smooth the waters, to keep things in place, to represent a kind of collective ego that was pleasant and acceptable to most Americans. Trump, in contrast, has turned over rocks, assaulted common decency and become a deeply divisive figure who has caused an explosion of irrationality on all sides of our culture. Calm reasonable analysis is gone. The mainstream media's attempt to be dignified has changed and it mirrors Trump in their insults their promotion of utter fantasies as realities, not unusual to be sure since their main function is to be propaganda organs for various factions within the power-elite but their fanciful accusations fueled by the relentless pressure from powerful figures that believe that Trump needs to be removed from office as a traitor to his country, a Russian agent who is going to deliver the riches of the USA to Mr. Putin. This conspiracy theory, unlike other more potent conspiracy theories that actually have real evidence to support them, is utterly without foundation. Sure Trump is suspicious and clearly an eccentric and has a major problem with what most of us would agree is the truth--but, again, that's become at this time a national trait. We, collectively, are exactly like the Trump so many hate. We are deeply narcissistic, sentimental rather than compassionate, love money and "winning", and have little or no interest in actual science and reason (only the appearance of it), lack knowledge and erudition even in the severely degenerate intellectual class, and prefer fantasy to reality. By hating Trump we avoid our own vices, by hating Russia we avoid dealing with the collective problems we face here and now. By promoting war abroad and cultural conflict at home we avoid our own angers and fears and thrust them from our unconscious to the "outside" without having to work through the emotions that are the real source of our anger, anxiety and depression.

Trump and Putin become, collectively, the Devil--but where is God? Therein lies our deep distress.

associate, pleasure, status, valorizing cravings, sexual appeal, myths we hold of freedom, liberation, greed, selfishness, or generosity. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Slippin' Into Darkness

Slippin' into darkness
Take my mind beyond the dreams

There's beauty in the breakdown and we need to find it. Our culture on all levels is breaking down, circling the drain, and slippin' into darkness. We can see this in the general movement not just of statistics, the expansion of opiate addiction, the high incidence of addiction, depression, anxiety and general stress. In addition, for the first time in a very long time our life-expectancy has gone down quite unusual for any developed country. A recent report by the UN Special Monitor's on extreme poverty made it plain our country has a major poverty problem in addition, we know that half the population wouldn't be able to come up with $400 in an emergency and this re-enforces other statistics. Over a 40 year period the US has seen a steady rise in the percentage of money going to the very rich at an unchanging rate no matter the political party that control the Presidency or Congress. The fact we don't seem more in decline has to do with the in the gaming of statistics to make it appear things aren't as bad as they are. How this happened has been well-documented by some economists on the left and largely ignored by economists on the right and center and who are favorites of the mainstream media. In addition, it became obvious for a decade and a half that the place we put most of our resources, the military, has been unable to actually prevail in conflicts it has engaged in except in very limited ways--at the same time our reputation for honesty, pragmatism has given way for the perception by most people in the world that we are the greatest threat to world peace because of our aggressive military and covert wars in at least half the world. Over the years the United States and Israel are the two states that have been consistently ignoring international law, treaties and agreements of all kinds and even the Geneva Conventions on War that the US once favored and supported--to such a degree that I can safely state today that there is simply no such things as "international law" any more. We are not only the only country that does not have some kind of universal health-care system but we are the only developed country that seeks to not only ignore the poisoning and pollution of the environment but actively resists climate science and any field that puts into question the world-view that life is strictly about the strong exploiting natural resources and the working-class throughout the world. We appear to embrace the philosophy of might makes right.

The problem here is that there is no clear way to move beyond this situation. The power-structure is impregnable. The power-elite control the media-narrative and there is, despite all the storm and fury, no viable opposition to the main lineaments of the situation I described above. We imagine that there are deep political difference among different factions but they are minor--all sides seem to accept the  notion that the fundamental meaning of life lies in consumerism/materialism. The alleged "left" has, for the most part, become another right-wing faction--largely pro-military, pro-corporate whose politicians pretend to be concerned with economic inequality and the environment but when they've had the ability to do something about it they demur and wave their hands to indicate their concern--"I feel your pain" as Bill Clinton used to say. Both political parties (the system only allows two parties) vie for corporate money and support and have no interest in change and both sides deliberately champion an overall vision of American Exceptionalism. I've been kind of shocked at the depth of this view, even now, contrary to all evidence, Americans on the left, right and center still believe that our country should run and police the world.

We are, clearly, living in a post-rational society. Most of the issues and problems we face all have clear and scientifically verified solutions whether in health-care, education, transportation, diplomacy/war, crime, addiction, mental health, and so on. In all those and many other areas those clear solutions (there are more than a couple) are consistently ignored in favor of only actions that don't upset the status-quo and don't take away business from major corporate cartels. These solutions and possible policies are mainly ignored by the mainstream media for obvious reasons thus these ideas are only spread on the Internet particularly in social media--however, because of the signal to noise ratio being very low on the Internet the real ideas that are real gems are lost and, because of a bad educational system, we are unable to sift through the mess and are rapidly diminishing ability to communicate and socialize makes real debate and discussion, even in academic circles, next to impossible even if we took a rational approach to these matters.

There are people in dissident circles who think "outside the box" on both the left, right and, even better, those people who think logically and with compassion who are all around but in very small numbers.

I find that this movement into a post-rational age began with the fairly consistent and rapid move to the right in our culture starting with the late 70's and increasing consistently. The modern conservative movement has been in reaction to modernism, skepticism and uncertainty. They meet the challenge of modernity by trying to simplify everything into "good" and "bad." Or as George Bush liked to say, you are either for us or against us. The point is that the right while not completely ignoring rational and scientific thought rejects, automatically, anything that violates the assumptions of their ideology. In short, this ideology consists of the notion that human beings are deeply flawed and need to be corrected and coerced into living the right way. People should be deferential to authority, unless that authority is centrist or on the left as they view it, their often skewed notion of traditions, and the ideology that life is about hard-work and that hard-work is rewarded and that reward reflects their virtue--or more to the point, if you make money you are virtuous if you are poor you are immoral and should be punished. The saying, "the beatings will continue until morale improves" is apt here. This is why right-wingers depend on enemies and struggle for power. They are, in short pessimistic about human beings. The left, in contrast, used to emphasize egalitarianism, the idea that people despite their material situation are basically of equal worth. They also believe that society ought to be nurturing to all people even the poor. Also, the left was open to social change to attempt to bring people of color, sexual minorities, and women into full citizenship and be regarded as worthy and, very importantly, liberals and progressives were open to new ideas, and rational discourse, alternative lifestyles, and creating a a convivial society. And the left was once very hesitant to go to war or to increase international tensions. But this has changed radically in recent decades. Today the left has devolved in an obsession with political correctness, identity politics, and, strangely, increasing international tension and war.

Ok, so, where is the beauty in the breakdown? How can I see the good side of all this? First, we need to see our era within a long-range historical context.

Even beyond the political tribalism we see the population as a whole is kind of marooned in a world of illusions, fantasies and unexamined assumption without the ability or interest in navigating out of it. The situation is utterly hopeless on the face of it and we appear destined for major conflict even low-grade civil war if we manage to avoid some kind of world-war.

All this actually can bring us to the next step in evolution and human development. The secret is to see this as an opportunity. If society is breaking down morally and socially and politics seems to offer us no way out except towards chaos. Recent studies of Congress show that Congress pays almost no attention to the interests of the American people and there is no way and no movement to remedy that situation since money, as time passes, rules the roost. The System we live in is systemically corrupt--reform is impossible--too many people are feeding off of both the governmental and corporate system which has become one and the same or at least tightly locked in together. The average person is not only a victim of drastic disinformation but also willingly pulls the wool over their own eyes. We have an inverted totalitarian system that is moving towards true totalitarianism or, at best, a neo-feudal set of arrangements. So what is left? We in the United States, in contrast to other developed states, have only one direction we can go in--spirituality. From the spiritual point of view as we circle the drain we have the opportunity to experience a more transcendent reality--one rooted in an expansion of consciousness left unfinished in the 60's through active government repression and fear of change. Today, that fear of change is dissipating because change is now a requirement, we have no choice but to dramatically change our culture towards a new ethical framework base on compassion, community and an opening of the heart. We need healing from the high degree of stress, depression. addiction, anxiety, confusion and so on. There are clear ways to relieve those problems that involve connecting with each other. Science has shown, unambiguously that our illnesses are caused by isolation, alienation and stress--these are easy to address by seeing each other as rothers and sisters rather than enemies or competitors. We will find, I believe, that the forces in the corporate and the government that want to hypnotize us into believing we are worthless unless we buy their products or follow their orders, will be seen for what they are--monstrous forces motivate by almost pure evil. Evil, after all, is ultimately about fragmentation, isolation, egotism and selfishness all qualities that our culture seems to want to push us towards.

When we see the world a bit more like it really is and begin to understand the forces at work in our own lives that keep happiness away we can begin to make changes in our lives. They will happen smoothly once we begin to cleanse the doors of perception through love, spiritual practice, various forms of therapy, psychedelic adventures, and connecting with the natural world and our own essential nature. This is fully possible in a dizzying array of methods and paths that are now available. We have a rich community of alternative practitioners that, rather than want to mask our symptoms and suppress the crises we go through will help us move through these blocks and gain power and agency. The system wants to weaken us the alternative community that has a different message wants to empower us. Of course, there are and will be dead-ends, mistakes, con-artists, and so on but if we keep our wits about us and avoid fantasies and spiritual glamor each of us can find our way. As more people begin to do that, very quickly, society will become nurturing rather than exploitative and we will experience a rapid paradigm shift that will finally allow us to enter into the real world of the 21st century and gradually be able to deal with the enormous challenges our globe faces with joy rather than trepidation and fear. Of course, we could also choose to further isolate ourselves dive deeper into darkness, deeper into escapism--the choice is ours. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Manipulation, Misinformation, Media and Mythology

I like to look at CNN (online, watching those jokers makes my mind nauseous) items to discern what the official "line" is on current events because the network attempts to appeal to a wide audience.
There is a piece about how Trump "cozies" up to dictators. I didn't read it because I can write it--I know the "line." Suddenly Trump decides, since he is Hitler according to the Democrats, to make friends with "dictators" (dictators are any foreign leader the US ruling class doesn't like for some reason) i.e., there is no actual criteria for the term "dictator" other than that. Though Putin just got re-elected by elections that appeared to objective reporters as reasonably honest he is a dictator because, well, like Trump, he is Hitler. Assad, when he became an "enemy" became a dictator despite the fact they do have elections and Assad, by all opinion polls is very popular among Syrians as Putin is among Russians--still they are dictators just because. Iran, similarly has a transparent election system that is limited by it religious organization, still the choice for Iranians is equivalent to the kind of choices we have in this country yet Iran is a dictatorship just because. Yet, the Saudi King is not a dictator because he is our guy.

When Chavez was President of Venezuela he was a dictator despite the fact his elections were clear and honest according to many international observers but he and Maduro are still dictators just because they don't follow orders from Washington like the rest of the Empire--oh and just because the USA has troops stationed around the world in half the countries of the world doesn't make the USA an Empire, just because--you know, we are the "leader of the free world" a term that is undefined and means, essentially, the Empire, the new Rome.

What is deeply amusing is that the USA has usually supported dictators throughout the world when it was in the interest of Empire (Empire started, haltingly, after WWII and took off afterwards). Honest Presidents or leaders become dictators very quickly--look at Noriega in Panama. They loved him then they didn't--what happened? I leave that up to you to find out. Saddam Hussein was supported by the US during its war with Iran--then, all of a sudden he was an evil dictator who must be crushed--what happened?

Since Americans forget the past as quickly as it happened we won't keep in mind the flow of history. We won't connect dots and when we do we're called "conspiracy theorists" despite the fact that, as history shows us, conspiracies are the mother's milk of politics and constant whenever a lot is at stake. Without any particulars I can assure you there are dozens of conspiracies going on today, as I write this, in Washington and elsewhere; most are fairly innocuous but some very consequential--any real student of history knows this but few contemporary historians dare write about it since publishers and universities have grown very skittish these days.

Anyway, the key to understanding the mainstream is to understand that media is meant to get you to buy products, services, ideologies, histories (almost always false), twisting and torturing reality to fit a Narrative, make you think up is down and down is up. Can I prove it? You betcha. I've tried to do that in my posts. One of the things most Americans even dissidents like me, seem to refuse to admit is that people are not motivated by "facts" or tangible reality tested through scientific rigor but through mythology and mythology is used by the master persuaders whether they are called Donald Trump or PR/advertising experts to manipulate, not our conscious minds, but our unconscious--and this is precisely the reason why Americans are so laughingly gullible--we mainly don't want to admit the existence of the unconscious.

Literally, when I talk about the unconscious and how it works as a result of my studies, people's mouths either actually gape or their minds do--mainly they won't believe it. I may be watching TV with someone and a commercial comes on and I show them what the objects in the ad symbolize and how they are trying to manipulate us--but most people don't see how the could be manipulated by them. Yet, the reality is that when people are in a store they pick up a product that's been advertised and they buy it because it just feels right, never thinking of the commercial they've watched a dozen times--but that commercial was ENGINEERED to do just that to suggestible (we are all that to some degree) people particularly those who are suggestible and open to a mild state of hypnosis. Look at a video of hypnotists who make people do absurd things--look! That's the unconscious in action and hypnotizing people is actually not hard to do. If it didn't work why would businesses spend a shitload of money to produce these ads and advertising execs make unbelievable large sums of money?

I now command you to Wake Up and ignore all the suggestions that have infiltrated your mind NOW (fingers snap). 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Declaration of Independece and Now

This would be a good day to reread the Declaration. It is an extraordinary and revolutionary document and a real break with the conventional wisdom of that time. It says that all of us are created as equal. Obviously, what is meant by "equal" is equal rights within a political regime since that is the subject of the Declaration. This is, essentially, arguing against the notion of class and arguing for the idea, coming from Christianity, that we are all brothers and sisters as God's children. This was and still is a radical idea that all ruling-classes then and now oppose. The fact that phrase got in there is pretty dramatic since the delegates who signed the document were all members of the ruling class and the man who wrote it owned slaves. That does not mean these men were hypocrites so much as it meant they had a vision of what humanity could become despite the realities of oppression.

Even stranger than equality is the idea that we ought we have a right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. These men were all lawyers and knew that by capitalizing these terms they meant them as legal concepts. Any system of governments that impinges on any of this has to be called to account. When such governments refuse to grant citizens these basic and "unalienable" rights it is our right to change or overthrow the government. This is important. This document came before the Constitution and, to me, overrides it. It's saying, essentially, that we don't have to put up with the sort of shit we are currently putting up with we have the right and, as the Declaration clearly states the DUTY as citizens to overthrow this government. Essentially this document states the sovereignty of the people of the country to fashion their own government not on some religious foundation, not on the Divine Right of Kings, not on the basis of some aristocracy or men who "know better" but on the everyday people like you and I. It is by the needs and inclinations of the people that we institute governments.

Having said that, it is clear to me and, I'm guessing, to many of us view that the current government is clearly not acting in the interest of most people but only in the interest of oligarchs. Now let me be clear, I am an anarchist or someone who is against government on principle. I'll briefly explain what anarchism means to me--most of us believe that human beings are naturally cooperative and sharing in manageable groups and communities. Anyone who has been face with an emergency situation knows that leadership and teamwork occur spontaneously--those who can, use their skills as needed--no one needs a job title or job definition--what needs to get done gets done. I submit that in normal situations the same thing can occur. The reason it does not occur at present is because our life is highly regulated by both the legal government and the government of the workplace. We are all subjects to the State at this point in our history as well as subjects to our employers. Even if we are CEOs we our actions are constricted by the "System" which is really the overall government that includes all aspects of our life and includes all the rules, laws, regulations, systems of punishment and reward, information and education systems, and so on and so on that are tightly interlocked so much so that certain subjects of conversation are forbidden even in social situations. We all know what those subjects are and we know that only people who clearly agree with our outlook will want to hear anything we have to say and the rest will be upset and not only turn away but will ask us to stop talking about forbidden subjects. This self-imposed social constraints on what we can talk about is, as much as our parallel rejection of logic, science, and coherence (it's hard to hear a discussion that isn't just a bunch of platitudes strung together) due to a perverse kind of militant ignorance that, while present in my youth, goes way beyond that point--today inarticulateness is the norm.

To put it another way, our highly authoritarian System has aided in the degeneration of the population. It started in earnest with the assassinations of the 60s. JFK was murdered by a consortium of forces led by the CIA and his government was the last legitimate government. Had the mainstream media not failed us (they were worried that any doubt of the official story of the murder would create social chaos and cripple our ability to continue with the Cold War (one of the main reasons JFK was shot was that he was actively plotting with Premier Khrushchev to end that war against the advice of their respective militaries and government apparatchiks). The 1968 assassinations were existential in nature. Martin Luther King was becoming the nightmare of the ruling elites by threatening to create one big movement consisting of Labor, Civil Rights, the Poor, and the Anti-War movements in what was threatening to make flesh the dreams of the IWW of  "one big union" that would be, at least on an equal basis as the oligarch class. Robert F. Kennedy was close to being elected President and he was in an alliance with King and might have turned Washington upside down, as Nixon actually thought of doing, by revealing the lies of the official JFK story. Others like Jesse Jackson and George McGovern were never able to fill those shoes first because they knew that the Deep State would no longer tolerate real dissent from the official picture and would then, as now, stop at nothing to maintain their grip on power which they hold to this day.

lf Americans understood not only this history, which one can research for him/herself with hundreds of books and monographs on the JFK and other operations which all show in excruciating and obvious detail how utterly fictional are the mainstream media Narratives on those events and countless others. If people understood that the mainstream media are clearly and unambiguously controlled by the intelligence services and learned how that control is applied every day. If people understood that there is not and was not a real "War on Terror" (the very name should arouse suspicions--how can there be a war on an emotion?) this was an invention. That does not mean some groups don't use terrorist tactics at times--all major powers have used these techniques the list here is too long here to list but most modern warfare does involve terrorist tactics. I can list chapter and verse for most wars of the past century or so even wars everyone supports like WWII involved massive civilian deaths--i.e., civilians were targeted to terrorize and wipe out vast populations on both sides of the conflict.

Not only do we live in an era of active denial and a the glorifying of fantasy at all levels of our society but we also live in an age of cowardice. Courage is rare in both private and public life. I'm not immune--there have certainly been situation where a little bit of courage would have helped me. But the fact that courage as a kind of abstract ideal may exist but as a practical matter it is highly discourage by society. In its place is our obsession with "security" and comfort. For all the faults of the signers of the Declaration, they did not lack for courage. They changed history because they cared about their society and cared deeply enough to risk their lives in an enterprise that was not assured of victory against the most powerful empire in the world. Fortunately for the Signers, that empire had overstretched itself and had many enemies so it didn't take that much for the colonists to prevail--but they really had not way of knowing that on July 4, 1776.

We must find the courage first to move away from living in the fantasy of "American Exceptionalism" which means that we are, by nature, superior to all societies and are destined to rule the world because we only act in the interests of freedom and democracy unlike every other major power in the world. This is obviously and demonstrably false and has no logic or proof--it is the equivalence of a cargo cult--it is a belief system that is even more primitive and illogical than the most absurd religions you can imagine. Even the Nazis only though they deserved to rule because they were a "master-race" and they had little interest in the happiness or prosperity of anyone else--ironically, many Zionists feel the same way about Israel and Jewry--they deserve to rule because they are a master-culture but they are only interested in benefiting their own people and could care less about the rest of us. But we, in the USA, believe we are out for the welfare of everyone when most of the evidence points in exactly the opposite direction--except the reality is that we, as a country, aren't even interested in our own welfare and support a ruling elite that is stunningly selfish and greedy. Why? Because mythology always trumps reason and, indeed, this showed up most dramatically in the election of Donald Trump.

We need to take tonight to think of these things. We don't need to "do" anything because there is not much we can do--other than this--we can change. We can change and use our mythological illusions as mythological strengths. We can actually use the words and slogans we tell ourselves to live our commitment to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness starting in our own lives and moving into the lives of others close to us. We need to understand that we humans are "hard-wired" for connection with each other--we need connections of all kinds not just sex--in fact we put way too much of a burden on sex to connect. We need to connect and celebrate together, to bond, to move away from our culture of narcissism and selfishness and do for others using our unique gifts as we can not as an assertion of ego but as an assertion of the wisdom of the heart. I believe the Signers of the Declaration we are and should celebrate today were a rare group of people who not only wanted to improve the lot of their fellows but had an eye for posterity which means us. Yes, as individuals they did not value human life equally--but they felt it was important that they should--it was an ideal they did not meet but, nevertheless, it was an ideal that generations could work out and in many ways we did despite the coup of 1963, despite the murder of MLK and so on. We do it now when we refrain from the easy and reflexive hate-speech, when we refrain from blaming others without looking deeply into our own hearts. 


As temperatures soar, California wildfires roar I just wonder why? Why are Americans so willfully blind to climate change. I know that oil ...