The supreme good is like water, which benefits all of creation without trying to compete with it. It gathers in unpopular places. Thus it is like the Tao.
The location makes the dwelling good. Depth of understanding makes the mind good. A kind heart makes the giving good. Integrity makes the government good. Accomplishments make your labors good. Proper timing makes a decision good.
Only when there is no competition will we all live in peace.
Sapience Sense | Where Does It Come From
In this chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Chapter 8), Laozi talks about how supreme good is like water.
So, just what is supreme good? Isn’t is our ability as human beings to know that we know… to know that we feel something… to know that we can do good in the world or we can do bad?
This is consciousness, right?
So how do we choose Good over Bad?
Is it entirely an individual choice: Good vs Bad?
Or, is there a collective responsibility hidden in this choice? A collective basin, deep reservoir upon which we all must draw from and upon which we all depend for our sentient sense… for our sentient life.
Song | Sapience | Synchronicity
The song I found for the feature archetypal animation is sublime! There is something very synchronistic going on with this song and this chapter in the Tao Te Ching. But, I can’t quite pin it down.
Verse 1 and 2 seem to get close to what/why I feel a synchronistic blending going on… a mixing of ancient wisdom with modern day experiences and feelings (I’ve copied the lyrics to this song below).
How often does competition and trouble arise in our lives from not being understood or being left behind by the group. How often do we simply need others to see who we are for what we are… all of what we are (the good parts & bad parts)?
When we don’t feel seen, heard, or understood… isn’t there a part deep inside of us that wants to fight to be seen, heard, and understood? We need it like water, like air. We need the attention of others, the sense of belonging, the feeling of unconditional love to live… it feeds us deep down inside the part of ourselves that is sentient… the invisible part inside of everyone that feels, perceives… that knows that it’s alive!
"And they had gold like water"
"They wanted to fight"
Maybe the gold like water is consciousness… the sublime boundaries of personal and collective consciousness.
Gold like water = consciousness, knowledge, knowing, kinship, culture, protection, safety…
Resistance requires bold acts of creativity. Without creativity, we lack the ability to imagine a better world.
This blog focuses on creative acts of resistance and resilience regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These five Bs are just but a few of the billions of ways we can resist violence and hatred wherever and whenever it pops up in our world. Without resistance, destructive people like Putin will turn our world into a Hellish place.
Food, art, dance, and storytelling (in any form) have always been creative tools of resistance and resilience for oppressed people living anywhere in world during any age or time. There are many ways to resist creatively, as many as there are human beings alive on the planet right now.
Wherever you are, know you are not alone, and you can resist creatively. The world is slowly catching up to the realization that we cannot leave any human being behind to be devoured by beasts like Putin or other fiendish, fascists monsters.
Each human being, be they rich or poor, famous or obscure, is critical to the social currency and fabric of human life on Earth. Not one person is dispensable or disposable, no matter how much the haters want us to think this is so.
I.Bake for Ukraine
There are so many ways everyone around the world can help the people of Ukraine overcome Putin’s War. Bake for Ukraine. If you sell your creations, donate some of the money raise to individuals as chef José Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen who are providing food to people trying to survive in places devastated by the same beast that held Europe in its grip in the wars that became global: WWI and WWII.
There is no ignoring this beast lives inside of Putin, his stooges, and his flying monkeys. We must stare it down right here, right now. We need to do what ever we can to help every Ukrainian wherever they are and in whatever way we can. We must merge our collective will into a force greater than the beast inside of Putin. If we fail, it will only grow stronger and swallow more of the world dissolving it into its acid of hate.
This is a beast desperate for its intoxicating food, which is destruction and death. So bake, shout, write your congressmen and women. Tell them to do more for Ukraine and all people suffering from brutality or indifference wherever they live in the world. If we do not deal with this now (if we do not stare down the beast wherever it pops up in our world), we will pay the collective price for ignorance (that is ignoring what we can do now to help others rather than just helping ourselves).
A.Bake for Ukraine — Acts of Creativity Are Acts of Resistance
This is a video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Sally Cooper by Foubert [as featured under Neutral Music on iPhone]
One way leads towards greater freedom and self-determination for people and countries. It is not any easy path for it roots out corruption in imposes consequences on the people who steal from others, who lie, who double-deal, who smear and slander others, who take what others need to live, including their lives.
The other way leads to less freedom and no self-determination for people and countries. It is an easier path because you just have to follow the crowd and keep your mouth shut, even if that means your business is taken from you to line the pockets of some rich billionaire or your child is beaten up for spraying painting an act of resistance against a fascist government or showing too much hair under a veil. This is the way towards dictatorial rule of a few people who want to control everything.
Everybody on the planet is choosing right now. What will you choose?
B.Bake, Bake, Bake for Ukraine and to Free Oppressed People Everywhere
Elena baked all these gorgeous cakes! Drawing on her rich and beautiful Ukrainian culture and heritage, she is mixing and baking a better way to be and live in our precious, fragile world.
This is another video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Space Space [I made this song using GarageBand!?!]
When people are eating together, they are not fighting each other.
We all choose our path in life. Do you choose love and kindness, sharing food and fun times with other people.
Eating together also requires physically being in the same space, something increasingly rare in our fast-moving, high-tech world. Do you choose hate and rage using your keyboard to troll and disparage others sowing seeds of fear and loathing through dark myths, lies, and misinformation… a evil form of creativity, closely associated with Dark Empathy and Narcissism.
C.World Central Kitchen
Food brings people together. Food nourishes people. Food is an act of love!
When people are eating together, they are not fighting.
Cook, bake, and create for the people of Ukraine and all people who are living under tyranny or trying to escape it. When we cook and bake for people, we are not ignoring them or turning them away from our borders after desperate journeys of survival and escape from injustice and violence.
II. Banksy & Other Street Artists for Ukraine
A. Who Is Banksy?
My good friend from Germany sent me a video about Banksy’s art in Ukraine. I did not know who Banksy is and had to look him up. Then, I was shocked I didn’t know about him.
His work is a creative act of resistance against the brutal, evil will of Putin and his fiendish cronies. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says if the Free World remains united like a fist, Ukraine will win this war started by Russia.
C. Other Artists Supporting Ukraine Through Creative Acts of Resistance
As I scrolled through Banksy’s work, I also saw other beautiful and inspiring murals, graffiti, and creative acts of unity and resistance. Art is a powerful form of symbols, and symbols have long united human beings in accomplishing difficult and dangerous collective action.
Now is no different than 10,000 from now or 10,000 years ago. We need each other to do difficult, dangerous things. And untied, as President Zelenskyy says, we will smote the evil flame Putin light on his bomb of greed and hunger to control and crush anyone who does not worship him.
III. Ballet for Ukraine
Ballet has always been used to symbolize and defy great powers of death and destruction and to inspire hope. Here are just two examples of how ballet is defying Putin’s hate.
A. Ballet dancers from across Ukraine bring ‘Giselle’ to the Kennedy Center
Some 60 Ukrainian dancers are scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., this weekend from The Hague. They'll perform Giselle, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, at at the Kennedy Center.
The dancers are refugees who fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. With help from local officials and dance professionals, they formed the United Ukrainian Ballet Company. The artistic director is Igone de Jongh, a former prima ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet.
The stories of how these dancers fled Ukraine by train, bus, car and by foot are harrowing. Vladyslava Ihnatenko was dancing with the Odesa Opera House when the Russians invaded. She decided to leave when she could hear explosions from her apartment. -- NPR, 1/28/23
B. Ballet for Refugee Kids in the Czech Republic
I learned about this beautiful program taking place in Prague, Czech Republic that helping Ukrainian refugee children find joy during a time of incredible stress and dislocation. I learned about this magnificent program from a friend who is in a writing group that we both belong. The story of how this program came into being is just as wonderful.
In the summer of 1995, Greater Europe Mission’s president, Ted Nobel, visited GEM workers Greg and Debby Nichols in Odesa, Ukraine. As they walked along the beach, Debby told him about her crazy thoughts and dreams of organizing an evangelistic concert at the Philharmonic Hall of Odesa. President Nobel said, “But what if those are not ‘crazy thoughts’ but rather the still small voice of the Lord prompting you to move ahead with this dream?” Those words still ring in Debby’s ears today. That was the beginning of three yearly outreaches reaching thousands of Odesans.
Fast forward to 2022. The Nichols now live in Prague, Czech Republic where part of their work has been with refugees over the past six years. When the Ukrainian war began in February 2022, the Nichols jumped in with both feet to minister to their hurting friends. After many years of practicing listening to the still small voice, they are quicker to discern. And yet, it still surprises them when God invites them into ministries that only he could think up.
As they personally provided help to over 50 refugees who journeyed out of Ukraine, the Nichols sought to bring Christ’s healing in varied ways to the bodies, minds and souls of the displaced Ukrainians. Out of this sprang the idea to create a ministry Center in Prague from which to better operate. As Greater Europe Mission sought to maximize its efforts toward the Ukraine crisis, GEM focused resources on two main areas of refugee ministry –Bucharest, Romania and Prague, Czech Republic.
You can learn more about ballet for refugee kids in the Czech Republic and Greater Europe Mission’s work here.
Special note, I just received an article from my friends that Prague unveiled a powerful new mural on anniversary of the Russian invasion.
“Ukrainians are brave, you can see it every day. And they often stand on the ruins and speak for Ukraine to be free.” – ChemiS
I think it is also important to point out that Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler for the same reasons and in the same manner as Putin invaded Ukraine. A very good friend of mine who is German told me his father who lived through Hitler’s tyranny of German said that Putin gave the very same speech justifying why Russia was invading Ukraine that Hitler gave before invading Czechoslovakia.
Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia before Poland. The world did nothing. Hitler kept going.
Our next-door neighbor is Peter Stein and he has written a truly compelling book about being a boy in German occupied Czechoslovakia. His father was Jewish and sent to a concentration camp. His mother was Catholic and forced to work in a German factory for long hours throughout the war.
Amazon: Peter J. Stein was a witness to history, a keeper of Holocaust memories and teller of its stories. He grew up the child of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father who was forced into slave labor and later disappeared. Nazi-occupied Prague was full of German soldiers everywhere and Peter’s loved ones vanished in mystery and secret. As a 12-year-old immigrant in America, he searched for a new identity that left his past behind. But as Faulkner tells us, the past is never past. When, as a college professor, a group of students sought his help to challenge a Holocaust teacher, Stein’s memories of his childhood resurfaced. A Boy’s Journey makes the past present and carries it into our future so that we do not forget.
C.BALLET BENEFIT RAISES FUNDS TO HELP UKRAINE’S CHILDREN
Throughout history, dance — ballet in particular — has played a vital role during times of war and exile. Ballet and other forms of art were used to both symbolize and defy great powers during World War II and other times of conflict. Today, as we near the one-year mark of escalated war in Ukraine, dancers from Ukraine and around the world are fighting back.
In August 2022, the National Ballet of Ukraine performed at Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, Florida. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, the Ukraine Ballet Benefit invited audiences to experience Ukraine’s culture through its national artists while raising funds to support those whose lives have been upended by the war. The performance, with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, was professionally filmed by the Parable Foundation in partnership with Full Sail University, and the resulting feature film is now available for free streaming. -- Unicef USA, Ukraine, Ballet Benefit to Help Ukraine's Children, January 25, 2023
Coming Soon, the historic performance by the National Ballet of Ukraine from the Taras Shevchenko National Opera House, live from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida. Accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, this monumental performance brings together Ukraine and the America united for the hope of Ukrainian independence and sharing the light of hope to the world through the art and power of ballet. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, this performance was filmed and produced by the Parable Foundation, in partnership with Full Sail University. All proceeds raised are donated directly to Olena Zelenska Foundation, Razom, and UNICEF to provide humanitarian aid relief to Ukrainians impacted by Russian military invasion. -- Promo - Ukraine Ballet Benefit
Ballet and dance are most definitely brilliant, powerful ways to resist fascism and unite the Free World in collective resistance to smote the evil flame Putin ignited when he invaded Ukraine in 2014. Dance is a brilliant flame to counteract any evil flame ignited by a budding evil fascists or hater in the world.
Let’s dance our world back into harmony and peace so all can live without fear and terror.
IV. Blook & Blog for Ukraine
Where would we be without writing and words? Probably, we’d still living in caves, I suppose. The first volleys of every modern war (even medieval wars) begin with words of hatred and dehumanization of the target to the aggressors seeks to diminish, control, or destroy. It has always been this way. The war begins inside the mind.
So too does the resistance and resilience. Words and stories and video blogs (aka blooks) help reconnect us to what is most essential about ourselves and each other. Words inspire us to be better humans and to act in ways to create a better world. During times of war, words will destroy the swords and bombs because they live in the hearts and minds of people.
I first learned about Olena from Anderson Cooper when he interviewed her in the first horror-filled and savage days after February 24, 2022.
Blogging is another powerful way to show what Putin is doing to real people, right now. And another powerful way to galvanize the world’s collective will against fascism and hate of any kind. As I explored in my last blog, fascism and hate is not confined to Putin and his cronies. It inflicts China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, the United States of American.
Fascism, hate, and ignorance lives inside of all of us. But, we do not need to be slaves to it. It only takes a little conscious awareness to illuminate the fullness of who you are and the choices that lay before you each day. It only takes a little self-awareness to choose loving kindness instead of hate and dictatorial impulses to control and degrade other human beings. No one on this planet is dispensable or disposable. No one!
Beliefs form our life boats upon the sea of being that we must all navigate throughout our lives. Here are two powerful individuals sharing how people survive against all odds to overcome the impossible and to thrive once again.
This is a deeply moving and compelling podcast. It illuminates just how devastating Putin’s insane war has on every dimension of being human. War…wherever it happens, however it happens, however big or small it is…it tears apart the nature and fabric of life and everything life needs to survive.
Anyone who desires war and can’t wait for the shooting and killing to start is a deranged human being. This is something my brother-in-law actually said to his son just before the events of January 6, 2021 unfolded. My brother-in-law is a deranged human being devoid of empathy, filled with hate, and obsessed with himself.
Perhaps our modern world has done this to vulnerable human beings in the world making them feel unmoored, frightened, and insecure. Like animals, a hurting human can lash out and hurt other humans. But, there is something more ominous and menacing going on in the world today. A thing that is boiling over into the rise of hate groups around the world. A thing that puffed up Putin into a blimp of terrific terror who is pummelling the world with his particular brand of hate and horror.
I think Esther Perel is a wondrous voice of healing, hope, and regeneration beginning inside ourself and spreading throughout every relationship we have in every moment of our crazy, draining modern lives.
This is another talk by Esther Perel that dives in deep into how relational intelligence guides us towards well-being, success, and a better, healthy, more nourishing life. We need to nourish ourselves so we can nourish each other. We need this sort of nourishment, this sort of insight and self-knowledge desperately now before we blow ourselves up with hateful wars or destroy our planet with woeful ignorance and lack of the collective action to save our planet from our self-destructive actions based on competition, greater profits over the greater good, and self-annihilating focus on things, power, and control.
Love always finds a way. When it doesn’t, the world will end.
B. The Will to Win
Clarissa Ward has been reporting in Ukraine since Putin’s dramatic escalation of his ugly, brutal war on February 24, 2022. Nearing the one year mark since this horrible day one year ago, Clarissa returned to some of the places where she reported to reconnect with people and places during the earlier days of this invasion. And she connects with survivors of Putin’s indiscriminate killings.
It is a compelling testament to the resilience of the Ukrainian people and how love is overcoming hate each and every day of Putin’s hate. It is the Will to Win!
Whatever your joy is, whatever you like to do when you can really relax and sink deeply into yourself, do it now in one magnificent, massive act of creative resistance that will utterly, totally blow Putin’s flame of evil and hell out.
Both Archetypal Animations Draw from These Creative Sources
Street artists worldwide are paying tributes to Ukraine amid Putin’s invasion and showing their support for Ukraine. The invasion on 24th February 2022 has been widely condemned internationally as an act of aggression and has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
French street artist Seth Globepainter painted a little girl in Paris three days after the war began that symbolizes the Ukrainian people’s courage and determination to face the Russian invasion. Seth Globepainter visited Ukraine in 2017 when he painted a mural of a little girl for the Back to School Project at the Popasna school, located close to the frontline of the Donbas war, curated by Oleg Sosnov, Unicef Ukraine and Sky art foundation. The artist states that the school children he met in 2017 were the inspiration for his mural “Onwards Ukraine”. -- GraffitiStreet | Street Artists Paint in Solidarity with Ukraine, Worldwide 2022
A new mural featuring a young girl taking shelter under a Ukrainian flag with popular figures from children's entertainment can now be seen on Mojmírova street in Prague 4, a few blocks from Náměstí Bratří Synků.
ChemiS, the artist behind the work, told journalists on Friday that the mural is an an expression of his stance against the war in Ukraine, and an appeal for continued support of Ukrainians affected by the war.
For over 5,000 years, civilizations have repeatedly succumb to the desire to have more than they deserve and to dominate their neighbors. Instead of civilizing our species, civilizations have rather made us crazier and more violent than our most primitive ancestor.
Case in point: One year ago, Putin ruthlessly escalated his invasion of Ukraine. It is an invasion that began in 2014 when he ordered his Russian army to go into Ukraine and annex Crimea. With Putin’s dramatic intensification to bring the people of Ukraine back under the heel of his will, the illusion that all Putin wanted was Crimea was irrevocably broken into 10 million shiny shards of hate, ruthlessness, and horror. With his revulsive choice to bomb Ukraine into compliance, the idea that we live in a civilized world was also shattered. And, even more horrifying, we have not learned a thing about letting a monster like Putin have his way.
TheUn-Civilizing Effect of Civilization on Man’s Psyche
Instead of civilizing man, civilization has provided man the means to destroy itself. Civilization is a tool that allowed groups of humans to channel this little ability our primitive ancestors figured out to focus consciousness into a stream of attention and think.
This ability combined with the invention of civilizations has allowed human beings to do unbelievable things and to create amazingthings that never existed in the world before.
But there is a price for focusing consciousness into such narrow streams, and then creating powerful tools of destruction using our minds. A bloodthirsty ruthlessness has steadily been growing in the untended gardens called minds and men (and women) are increasingly getting lost in shallow, superficial thoughts that they confuse with reality. Engrossed in the jungle of thoughts, it is easy to see how people naturally gravitate towards thoughts of how to achieve more power, glory, and self-gratification.
Once lost inside the superficial jungle of one’s own mind, the snake of ruthless lies in wait. Once bitten, men and women will do anything to gain more power and status over others.
Some of Earth’s most hideous monsters are disguised as ordinary human beings. Expect for one crucial thing–they have become infatuated with themselves and their own self-importance and rather than using all their extraordinary gifts of consciousness for good and the betterment of all mankind, they use it to better themselves.
Individuals who possess an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance are cultivating a narcissistic mind. Individuals who possess a ridiculous need to have more than they need or deserve are growing a coveting heart. Such people believe their own lies (they are nurturing ignorance), and they will stop at nothing to get money, power, or whatever they desire (they are growing a malevolent soul full of venom, hate and malice).
Such people are extremely sick with a serious disorder called narcissism. But, civilization is sick too because we the people of Earth keep allowing such individuals to rise to the pinnacles of power within our systems of governance where they can terrorize others with licentious abandonment.
In A World Ruled By Narcissists
I wrote about the consequences for our collective failure to deal with narcissist who grab hold of power in a previous blog titled: Memory Wars: How Society Fails to Deal with Sin. The civilized world has a whole lot of sin to go around the world dozens and dozens and dozens of times. No modern civilization on this planet at this time is free of sin and the failure to deal with it.
Part of this failure to deal with our collective sin as a civilized species is that we, the people of Earth, are infatuated with narcissists. We worship them as heroes, great men, strong leaders… that is until they go too far… then we are shocked, shocked, that they turned out to be a monster!
There Are Many Types and Flavors of Narcissists… But All Ruthless Rulers Are Malignant Narcissists
9 of the Most Famous Narcissist in HistoryAlexander the Great -- exhibited all the characteristics of a raging narcissist. He believed that you were either with him or against him and he took his faithful soldiers on endless battles, much to their expense, solely for his own glory and personal conquests. He showed no emotion for the bloodshed of his generals or soldiers but believed in his grandiose visions.
Henry VIII -- was considered to be both charismatic and handsome, but he was also one of the cruelest and most egotistical leaders in our history. Famed for having six wives, two of which he had beheaded. He was known to show narcissistic traits such as a lack of empathy and being overly concerned with his appearance.
Napoleon Bonaparte -- The term ‘Napoleon Complex’ comes from Napoleon Bonaparte’s behaviour, which was to act in an overly aggressive manner to make up for feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. Napoleon was considered a tyrant by everyone that knew him, who had grandiose thoughts and believed he was special. In fact, in his book entitled ‘Thoughts’, he wrote: “It was precisely that evening in Lodi that I came to believe in myself as an unusual person and became consumed with the ambition to do the great things that until then had been but a fantasy.”Adolph Hitler -- is undoubtedly one of the cruellest leaders of the 20th century, led a campaign that saw the death of millions of innocent people. His actions also incited one of the largest wars in our generation, all due to his unwavering beliefs that he, and all other white Germans, were a superior race to everyone else.
His actions are typical of a self-obsessed narcissist in that he showed no empathy for the suffering of others, he spread his false propaganda about superiority in order to further his campaign and he demanded total acquiesce.
Narcissistic people are charming, charismatic, and magnetic people. They are people (women or men) who can read you (your soul) like normal people read books. They study and gather information about you sensing your vulnerabilities, dreams, fears, and rage.
Narcissists create glittery narratives about themselves using the intel they’ve gathered about you. They promise to provide you with the sun, the moon, and the stars, if only you sign on the dotted linegiving them full access to your soul.
Using their glittery narratives, well-crafted to make you think and do exactly what they want you to do, they use the illusion of whatever it is you want to see in them to manipulate you. Once hooked, you become something they consume for entertainment or they use as a deviant character in their narcissistic nightmare.
Ruthless men and women rely on natural born instincts to gather information and calculate how to manipulate others for maximum devilment and self-gratification. We all have these instincts, narcissists are simply willing to use them to hunt people.
These are dangerous people. They have become hollowed out by their bottomless selfishness and self-absorption. And they can become masters at whipping up crowds into mindless, hostile dummies who are willing to murder, maime, and destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t walk, talk, and quack like them (in other words, they hunt down and kill anyone who does not align with the narcissists).
Hitler’s rise to power is a perfect example of what an unchecked malignant narcissists can do. Part of his rise to power included creating a compelling myth that aligned to the wishes, fears, and desires of the German people of his time. He manufactured a hostile myth of white power that epitomizes how hideous and heinous a malignant narcissists can charm a civilized people into becoming mindless monsters.
THROUGHLINE explores Hitler’s myth creation and how he used it to justify the most abominable genocide ever committed in modern times. It is a myth still resonating in the hearts and minds of people around the world to this very day. It is this myth Putin is drawing upon to justify his dramatic escalation of his invasion of Ukraine one year ago.
ARABLOUEI: On November 9, 1938, Nazi party paramilitary forces executed a coordinated, planned attack on Jewish businesses and synagogues across Germany and Austria. At least 91 people were killed, and thousands of Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Many historians believe that this event, Kristallnacht, began one of the most deadly phases of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews and other people deemed racially inferior to pure Aryans by the Nazi party. That same year, Heinrich Himmler, one of Adolf Hitler's top commanders, sent a team of Nazi scientists on a mission.
PURANDARE: Himmler sets up a unit within the SS. The name of this unit is the Bureau of Ancestral Heritage. And what is its job? Its job is to find out the origins of the Aryan race. In 1938, he sends a team of five members of this unit to Tibet.
ABDELFATAH: Tibet. But why? The answer to that question makes this story even weirder.
PURANDARE: One of the theories is that there was this island called Atlantis somewhere between England and Portugal, and the Aryans lived there.
ABDELFATAH: Himmler thought the Aryans might be from the lost city of Atlantis.
PURANDARE: And one fine day, a divine thunderbolt hit the island. The island sunk. And the people of the island fled elsewhere. They swam to safety. And they looked for a more secure place to live in. These were the real Nordics, according to the racial theorists. And eventually, they moved to the Himalayas, specifically to Tibet. Why? Because, well, Atlantis had sunk, so you want to go to a place where you don't get a sinking feeling. One way of doing it is to get into the mountains, and the Himalayas are really tall mountains. And Tibet in particular is known as the roof of the world, so you'll be safest there.
ABDELFATAH: Himmler was searching for evidence of these Atlantis Aryans, and it was all part of a larger Nazi project to legitimize their racist views through, quote-unquote, "science."
PURANDARE: Himmler was hoping to come up with the exact definition of the Aryan race, the defining features that distinguish them from the rest of humanity, so that it would be so much more easier to identify those who are, allegedly, racially inferior. That was the whole idea. -- The Whiteness Myth, THROUGHLINE, 2/9/23
Another Insane Myth Used to Manipulated the Masses
This sounds about as insane as QAnon’s political myth story claiming former President Trump is facing down the shadowy cabals of Democratic pedophiles!
It Could Not Be Clearer What We Are Dealing With… Again
Putin told his people one year ago that he needed to dramatically escalate his invasion of Ukraine to De-Nazify it. But who is really the monster in this equation?
Selfishness is not just something the super rich, celebrities, and ruthless rulers suffer from, all of us need to look in the mirror that we call the human soul and take a good long stare. As you look, ask yourself, are you being complicit in going along with a monster’s narrative and diabolical goals? And, if you are captivated and under the spell of a narcissist, it is your responsibility to wake up, now!
Putin is Not De-Nazifying Ukraine
Putin invaded Ukraine because Ukrainians were waking up. They were rooting out corruption and dysfunctional narratives imposed on them, first by Imperial Russia, then the Soviet Union, and now Putin’s deep desire to return to Imperial Russia, again.
Ukrainians were doing the hard work of getting rid of corruption imposed on them by Russia that filled every system with deceit, duplicity, and double-dealings. Corrupt ion is how Putin rewards his Flying Monkeys, mainly oligarchs in Ukraine. All good narcissists cultivate Flying Monkeys to do their dirty work–be they oligarchs, presidents, or stinking rich capitalists.
This is why Ukraine was invaded. This and this alone. They were doing the hard work of flushing Putin and his shit hole corruption down the toilet bowel of history.
And we should do the same, right here in the Good Old USA. Yet, so many Americans seem intoxicated with authoritarianism and all the corruption that goes with it. These Americans seem to hero worship Putin and all the power and authority he has accumulated since ascending to the highest throne in his fatherland or motherland of Russia.
These Americans make distributing rumblings about how the United States should NOT continue to support Ukraine in its fight defend itself from a monster, which is Putin. At first, I thought line of thinking was just coming from Tucker Carlson, a nighttime host on Fox Entertainment and well-trained Russian Stooge, along with some other entertainment specialists such as Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Apparently, they all feel sorry for Putin’s shit ass army and are trying to help him regain the upper hand as Supreme Demon on the planet. I suppose they hope if they rub his back, he’ll rub their back when the time comes.
But his US stooges are failing him just like his army is failing. So instead of fighting a real war, Putin simply kills innocent civilians, kidnaps children (6,000) and sends them to Russian indoctrination camps, and arrests its own citizens who dares to speak out against his war.
But then one of my friends shocked me with this same shit ass idea!
He is a flaming ass liberal… who are supposed to be against anything the Putin USA entertainment team is rooting for!
“What the hell is going on?!!” I thought to myself.
It discusses the horseshoe theory of politics proposed by French philosopher Jean-Pierre Faye.
He believed that the political ideological spectrum—traditionally construed as a linear progression from some form of socialism or democratic collectivism through a bourgeois-liberal center and on to some form of totalitarianism or fascism—was not a straight line between ever-more-distant political positions but rather something like a horseshoe, with the extremes bending almost magnetically into conjunction with each other.
Based on his observation of the alignment of fascist and communist parties in early 1930s German domestic politics and then on the Nazi-Soviet alignment in the international sphere, perhaps best embodied by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, he believed that the political extremes have much more in common than a traditional interpretation of the political spectrum might suggest.
But low and behold, here you see it happening right here in the US, right now, over the war in Ukraine. There is a bizarre and truly hideous union happening between the Far Right (including Tucker Carlson, Rep. Marjorie T. Greene, Sen. Josh Hawley and other MAGA supporting Republicans) and Far Left (including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and company).
And oh yeah…arrogant, ignorant rich guys are joining in too. You know that man… who owns too many companies… what’s his name again? He owns Tesla… SolarCity… SpaceX (which owns Starlink)… Neuralink (yes, brain chips to combat bad AIs)… The Boring Company (yeah, it’s pretty boring, they actually drill tunnels)… Wyoming Steel… and OH YEAH, Twitter.
The arrogant asshole who just cut Starlink off from Ukrainians, limiting their ability to navigate drones and make targeted strikes on the ruthless, aggression of Russia’s Imperial ambitions. He said he did it to prevent WWI, as if he ever could!
Since Russia attacked Ukraine, unprovoked, on Feb. 24, the discourse surrounding the war that has emerged in the United States has created strange bedfellows. Although the majority of the American public, led by U.S. President Joe Biden, have thrown their support behind Ukraine, many on the left and right alike have rushed to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime or, at the very least, have urged the United States not to intervene in Ukraine’s defense.
Tucker Carlson, the face of Fox News and host of the most popular show on cable news in the United States, has been spouting pro-Kremlin talking points for months (and is frequently rebroadcasted on Russian state television). Other right-wing figures regularly spew out anti-Ukrainian disinformation and rail against sending heavy weapons to the country.
Meanwhile, the luminary of the American intellectual left, Noam Chomsky, has invoked former U.S. President Donald Trump as a model of level-headed geopolitical statesmanship for his opposition to arming Ukraine. Left-wing sources—such as Jacobin, New Left Review, and Democracy Now!—have hewed to a party line that blames NATO expansion for Russia’s invasion and opposes military aid to Ukraine.
Online, armies of left- and right-wing accounts find fault with Ukraine’s politics, policies, and president. In Congress, seven of the most fervent conservative Trump supporters voted alongside progressive champions Reps. Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush against banning Russian fossil fuels; even more surprisingly, Omar and Bush are joined by so-called squad members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib as well as the far-right fringe of the Republican Party in opposing the U.S. government seizing Russian oligarchs’ assets.
All of these developments highlight a bizarre alliance between the two ends of the political spectrum. The question is: Why?
Letter to A Misguided Friend
I sent this article with a note to my “friend”. This is what I said to him.
I have found the holes in your wish-thought that Ukraine should stop fighting and ceded territory to Russia.
This article provides some insight into part of your thinking problem. I see your favorite philosopher and economist on the far Left (Noam) is in on this wish-thought.
Sadly, he is falling victim to the very thing he so eloquently and valiantly fights against using his brilliant mind and words.
Words are weapons my dear friend. War is seldom fought solely with guns and bullets and bombs. War begins first inside the hearts and minds of men who want things to run in a certain way. The more you want things to run in a certain way, the more you seek explanations for why the world isn't working out that way.
Oddly, Trump's MAGA Republicans and Bernie's Radical Communist Liberals (I say this tongue-in-cheek) are aligning on the same side about what should be done (or rather not done) with Ukraine. All of it, and I mean man's ability to think itself, is a flimsy outline of reality. The more you grasp at it the more reality slips between the fingers of your mind.
This article explains why your thought-wish about what Ukraine should do is wrong.
I understand your feelings. These are not wrong. Feelings tell us when something is off kilter, when something is out of alignment, when something is dangerous!
I wish there was no war in the world too.
But wishing and seeing what is really happening to real people in real time are two completely different things. No amount of wishful ideas that have not dived nearly deep enough inside the human psyche can accurately articulate reality or make a thought-wish
Reviving a Yalta Conference mindset, but from the left, these ostensible progressives refuse Ukrainians agency, oppose U.S. armed involvement, and yet believe that the United States has the power and right to parcel out Ukrainian land in exchange for peace in Ukraine. In the heart of this perverse leftist anti-imperialism lies the un-imperial impulse to wield imperial power but only, ostensibly, in the name of peace—no matter the will of the locals. -- Why America’s Far Right and Far Left Have Aligned Against Helping Ukraine; The discourse surrounding Russia’s war on Ukraine has created strange bedfellows.
Rather than act like a grown up and have a discussion with me, this “friend” taunted and teased me about his opinions about Ukraine knowing how worked up I would get whenever he brought it up or the subject came up. He thought it was fun.
This “friend” is no longer my friend. I have decided he is a narcissists himself. In a nutshell, I exploded. In searching to understand myself, I encountered this meme about INFJs and Anger. I am an INFJ and this is exactly what happened, and for damn good reason.
He’s a baby man who made the mistake of telling me (after coming to crash at our house without telling us far in advance that he needed to do this) that he did not support the US continuing to help Ukraine and wanted US to make Russia and Ukraine settle, being perfectly fine with letting Russia take territory and anything else Putin wants to take.
I could go on and list all the babyish qualities he clings to as a 70 year old man, but then I would fall ever closer into the category of a very angry (indeed raging) INFJ.
Let’s just say I tolerated him for 9 days and nights and my husband’s running away from the responsibilities taking care of this Baby Man under the auspices of helping our friends who are Ukrainian refugees. Yes, I feel very deeply the injustice of what Russia is inflicting on Ukraine. And, I feel this is not a time for the world to blink and look away.
We are right now (the entire world) staring down the glut of monster. We have seen this monster before… many times…Stalin, Lenin, Hitler… it goes back thousands and thousands of years.
And yet, here we are again, and there are some of us (many of us) on this precious planet pretending it’s not there and let’s just get back to being play boys and business as usual…
This is how we lose the planet… because this is the same attitude preventing global action on climate change.
And, then we little, stupid INFJs have to make such a big deal about these injustices… that’s what my friend did… then I exploded. I scared myself!
All personalities (all people who have not been hollowed out by narcissism or turned into Flying Monkeys for a narcissists) are capable or Righteous Rage. If we can’t tap into it now, God help us all.
What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?
So, I got rid of my “friend”. I’m not sure I can put Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are Rashida Tlaib into the narcissists box as my baby friend is, but the United States of America can surely walk and chew gum at the same time.
I think these individuals are falling victim to the narcissists’ game. Narcissists want us to believe there isn’t enough to go around.
They want us to think there isn’t enough money to deal with balancing the national budget and to help Ukraine fight the war. They want us to believe there isn’t enough money to feed all the hungry people in the US and help Ukraine fight the war. They want us to fear there isn’t enough money to fight racism and gun violence in the US and help Ukraine fight the war.
It does seem this way because every time Mitch McConnells or that guy who is Speaker of the House gets control of their body of congress, they are busy making policies and crafting legislations designed to stuff more money into their own pockets and the pockets of the rich friends (aka — Flying Monkeys).
Not having enough money is exactly what narcissists who are in power want you to think!
If you think this, they have won!
There is plenty of money to stop all wars and fed the entire world, if we wanted to do such a thing. We just need to dig is out of the claws of narcissistic billionaire like Elon Musk and Rage Entertainers such as Trump, Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, and Steve Bannon.
The Narcissists Game
Narcissists all over the world play this stupid game. They play it with people’s lives. Lives and people are merely things to be used to get whatever the narcissist wants. And if the narcissist doesn’t get it, they go into rage mode.
That is really all they are good at doing… Raging like Toddlers or little ducks whenever they don’t get what they want.
What Is Narcissistic Rage?
Bouts of rage when not given the attention they feel deserve.
Screaming and yelling.
Angry or explosive outbursts.
Sudden fits of anger.
Becoming verbally or physically aggressive.
Inability to control the rage.
Intentionally trying to inflict pain (emotional or physical) on others.
Do you want a toddler running your house?
We have to stop standing around wringing our hands, twiddling our thumbs, and wondering what to do whenever we hit global inflection point such as Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, climate change. We know what needs to be done.
We need to do it!
Rather than succumbing to the mesmerizing, hypnotic Call of the Sirens inside your mind–fear, confusion, trepidation–the things narcissists purposefully trigger with their double-speak and mythic narratives. It is all part of the illusion to fool you into complacency and into playing the narcissists game.
We all hear their songs: “There isn’t enough money. We’re going to start WWIII. This isn’t our war! It’s not our concern. Go away people in need.”
But the best way to do away with them, is to turn around and a face them straight in the eye. Under the scrutiny of a unified soul, heart, and mind, such hypnotic songs will fall silent and the hard work of routing out corruption can continue, everywhere, all at once!
Perhaps we are at the end of the story of how civilizations function in the world, but perhaps, this is just where we are supposed to be, so we can get down to writing a better story of Earth.
If you missed my blog last year, you can read Ukraine Letters, here.
Comment from a friend about this blog:
What do we do when we see injustice, cruelty, inhumanity? What emotion would compel us to stand up and fight for what is right? What if not righteous anger?
You are absolutely RIGHT!
And I realized that Leonard Cohen in the last album he recorded before his death told us exactly how to use Righteous Anger in moments like these.
The entire world learned back in 1945 what needs to be done in moments like these.
Sadly, too many people have forgotten the lessons learned by our fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers (many of whom did not survive these ancient times; I say ancient tongue and cheek, given the speed at which our technology propels and forces most of us to live our lives in the world today).
Ukraine is showing us (the Free World) what to do if we want to stay free.
WE KILL THE FLAME... this is what Cohen sings in his song You Want It Darker...
I use this song in one of the Archetypal Animations shared above. The one with Putin sitting on a train staring at his reflection, which is Hitler. (Sorry whoever owns Cohen's collection. I see the copyright claim on YouTube, but I did use a free sample available on Spotify. Supposedly, these samples are made available to market Cohen's legendary work?!)
Putin lite the Flame of Evil. Do you know what Evil is?
Evil is Live spelled backwards. It is anti-Live. He is a force that destroys the environment necessary to support life... that is evil. Nature can be evil, consider the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost by a destructive event of nature, which destroyed the conditions necessary for life.
Now days, we don't hold Nature responsible for Her actions... death is a natural part of life and when we are born into the world, there is no guarantees we will live a long life. Ever since we became conscious as a species, we have known this and it terrifies us.
However, when a person (who knows what is necessary to sustain life) takes away the environment and self-agency every living being needs to survive... now, we get to a conscious choice that has been made. We have called such choices and such actions EVIL for as long as man has been civilized.
Putin is consciously raining death, terror, and destruction daily on the beautiful people of Ukraine. He wants the World to Be a Darker Place. That's what Creatures like him need to feel powerful and in control.
So WE KILL THE FLAME of Evil, which is what he is manifesting in our world right now.
To KILL a MONSTER, you need a MONSTER. Our version of MONSTERS in our Modern World is technology... yes, it is very scary... yes, Putin is such a man who could push the button... but WE must stare him down and match him punch for punch with EVIL... might I say Righteous Evil?!!
All this is pouring into the Book I write (been writing for too many years, as you well know)... it is too much to explain in a comment on FaceBook. I know I am coming across as scary right now. I do apologize, but I've been through my own Hell and Survived it. I am trying now to communicate and help others survive Hell when it comes to visit... and it is coming... if Putin doesn't get us... Climate Change surely well.
Image From: OPINION: Did we tolerate Hitler? How long will we tolerate Putin? | Kyiv Post
“That’s a funeral in the mirror, And it’s stopping at your faceThat’s right, it’s come to thisYes, it’s come to this, And wasn’t it a long way down?” — These are the words of an early Leonard Cohen song aptly
Image From: Wagner head warns it could take two years to achieve Moscow’s objectives – as it happened — The Guardian
Image From: Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 360 of the invasion — The Guardian
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | The body of a soldier, without insignia, who the Ukrainian military claim is a Russian army serviceman killed in fighting, lies on a road outside the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 24.
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | A refugee child fleeing from Ukraine gestures when waiting for transport at Nyugati station, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Budapest, Hungary, February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Marton Monus TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | An aerial view shows a residential building destroyed by shelling in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, March 3. REUTERS/Maksim Levin
Image From: Russia-Ukraine War: What to know on Russia’s war in Ukraine — The Mainichi | A Ukrainian serviceman holds a baby crossing the Irpin river on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while assisting people fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
There is plenty of ugly fight left in Donald Trump’s presidency, which has already warped American culture. But it’s not too soon to contemplate a post-Trump challenge: tyrant-proofing the country, in case the next one isn’t such a clown.
The overgrown orange toddler has continued his mission to continually show his ass and embarrass America at this year’s NATO summit in Brussels. The news cycle has been a nonstop shit-storm of Trump’s bad behavior abroad.
Mr Xi has total control over China’s Communist Party, the state, and the Chinese military and dictates policy for the economy, development and foreign affairs.
Music: Wizard of the Hood (Collector’s Edition) | Violent J — Shiny Diamonds
Elon Musk Archetypal Animation
Image From: Elon Musk ‘donated’ Starlink terminals to Ukraine. U.S. taxpayers paid SpaceX millions for it. — SpaceX previously claimed the U.S. didn’t give them any money to send Starlink to Ukraine. (4/8/22) — Mashables
Elon Musk is a “Lair, lair… pants on fire!“
Image From: Elon Musk: Starlink internet service now active in Ukraine (2/26/22) — KTLA5
The arrogant nerd can’t even make it a year.
Image From: Musk’s Starlink isn’t only option for Ukraine, Pentagon says — The Japan Times
Image From: Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it can no longer fund Starlink internet in Ukraine — Firm reportedly asks US government to pick up bill as relationship between Musk and Kyiv breaks down (10/14/22) — The Guardian
Image From: Male human anus close-up — WikiMedia \ Reference is to: “Everyone has opinions just like they have assholes.”
Image From:North Korea fires ballistic missile with warning to US, South Korea, Japan — Stars & Stripes
Image From: Musk Says SpaceX Will Keep Funding Starlink for Ukraine (10/16/22) — VOA
Lair, lair… pants on fire!
Image From: Twitter Misinformation Efforts In Danger with Musk Takeover — New Scientist
Image From: Putin’s threat on nuclear capabilities presents challenges (2/27/22) — Boston Globe
Image From: In the 2020 Netflix movie, “The Midnight Sky”, what could be the cataclysmic event that decimates most of the Earth? — Bad Bart 2 on Reddit
I was captivated by another Throughline that aired on January 19, 2023. This episode explores possible Extremist Futures as envisioned by Omar El Akkad in his novel American War.
Omar’s novel is about America’s second Civil War. He imagines 50 years into our future. A time when climate change has turned Florida into an underwater theme park and climate disasters devastate the world. His vision is very similar to mine in my novel Sapience: The Moment Is Now (not yet published).
In American War, the world finally understands that it has to stop burning fossil fuels and bands them–but it’s too little too late. The US is the last to band fossil fuels. All states agree to switch to more sustainable energy except Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. These three states take up arms, deciding they would rather secede than stop burning fossil fuels.
They lose, again, but what follows is a years-long insurgency. This is where his story is mostly centered.
Something Omar says in the beginning of this Throughline needs to be emphasized. He says, “We read to feel into another.”
This is how we come to know and understand each other. A country or a state (I’m thinking of you Florida) that bans books because they might be subversive… God Forbid… they might give children ideas… is a system that seeks to keep its citizens in ignorance.
Break down the word: ig — nor — ance. States and countries that ban books are teaching their people to ignore what they see with their very own eyes.
And, people who are kept in ignorance are a heck of a lot easier to manipulate too!
He also says, “Story is the final act of Resistance!“
The New York Time’s describes his novel: “Omar El Akkad’s “American War” is a disturbingly plausible case in point — a tale of a future America torn asunder by its own political and tribal affiliations.“
This is what caught my attention too.
Throughline plays some from the audio book of American War that includes sound effects. Had I not caught the beginning, I might have thought I was listening to real, on-the-ground reporting.
Omar’s story feels real, very real. It feels like it is already happening.
He grounds his story telling by his real life experiences as a boy in Lebanon where he was a witness to the devastation of war and what happens to people in refugee camps.
Omar says, “A society subjected by warfare is akin to moving backwards in time.”
Think of what Putin is doing to his people and to the beautiful people of Ukraine. Every image coming out of his sick ego trip is likened to images from WWI.
The Academy Award nominated movie All Quiet on the Western Front vividly paints the insanity of rich, powerful men who send other men to die for their personal power and glory. In this movie (and of course the book), Paul Bäumer and his classmates are just cannon fodder for a fatherland that has gone mad.
If you are having a hard time remembering the horror and senselessness of death of WWI, then watch All Quiet to remind yourself that quiet means dead. Watch as these young, gifted boys sign up for service and get pumped up by grumpy, old narcissistic men who stuff them full of overly romanticized, patriotic notions of war and how they are defending the fatherland. It’s on Netflix, so you have no excuse.
Omar describes this souped-up patriotic messaging as euphemistic fraudulence.
This article begins with the college admission scandal that caught up actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli in acts of fraud to get their children into the best schools.
Robert writes, and this is important:
In an earlier blog post we suggested some reasons, grounded in behavioral ethics, that might help explain why reputable people and loving parents became involved in these frauds. The conformity bias, the self-serving bias, and incrementalism all may have contributed. The evidence disclosed in the indictment offers additional clues.
A euphemism, say’s Webster’s, is “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.”
Famed Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura writes of “moral disengagement,” suggesting that people, such as Loughlin and Giannulli, who think of themselves as good people can do something bad so long as they can selectively suspend morality for their activities. One way people do this is by use of euphemisms. Bandura notes:
“Language shapes the perception of events and the thought patterns on which people base many of their actions. The personal and social acceptability of given activities, therefore, can differ markedly depending on what those activities are called. Euphemistic machinations are used widely to detach and depersonalize doers from harmful activities. Cloaking detrimental activities in euphemisms can be a powerful weapon.”
Examples of the “sanitizing and convoluted language” (Gambino) of euphemisms that have helped people make their peace with wrongdoing include the following:
Dead civilians = “collateral damage”
Mass firings = “right-sizing”
Lies = “alternative facts”
Burning down villages = “pacification”
Fraud = “creative accounting”
Genocide = “the final solution”
Empirical studies indicate that “euphemistic labels can psychologically sanitize unethical practices, facilitating our participation in them.” (Moore & Gino).
The World is Either Good or Evil
This is a lie. Every modern human being born today is told this lie.
Omar talks about how this idea is used to twist us into doing all sorts of evil things. It is a notion, an idea, a belief drilled into us since the day we are born until the day we are dead.
It is this very idea that the world can be cleaved into a good side and a bad side that allows us to be manipulated.
I would add it is precisely splitting the world into Good and Bad parts that lets us justify just about any abominable violence we can dream up.
It is also what allows ruthless rulers to turn plain, ordinary, decent human beings into killing machines and monsters.
Ruthless Rulers are already monsters and include men such as Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-um, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Abdullah Aziz Al Saud, Bashar al-Assad, and there are many more (see the list of Current World Dictators).
We live with these monsters right here, right now on our planet. And they are pounding our world straight back to the Stone Age just as fast as they can.
What do you think? Are they winning? The Red countries that is… are there more red countries than yellow or green?
That is exactly what they want you to believe. But, perhaps you are beginning to sense out it is precisely this idea of division that is the problem.
One of Omar’s characters is an empathetic lair. He is the character that goes into the refugee camps and radicalizes the kids there.
Omar says there is no such thing as exotic suffering, but empathetic liars make you believe there is. Empathetic liars parse the fine threads of what we do and what is done to us. Empathetic liars play upon the lack of self-agency in a place like a refugee camp (or one of Putin’s prisons) and use it like a gleaming lure to hook their targets–kids (or Russian prisoners) whom they plan to turn into cannon fodder.
Omar says, “People go to bad place when their self-agency is taken away from them.” And the more damaged a person is, the more their circle of Trust closes in, making them extremely vulnerable to empathetic liars
And that is exactly what autocrats, dictators, and pretty much most of the Republican Party in the United States are doing. Whoever they are…all close ranks around their strong man, hype their followers up on FraudulentEuphemisms, and close the circle of Trust until only one man can be trusted.
And, there sure are a lot of want-a-bee dictators who desire to be the one and only man the entire human race can trust–Putin, Trump, Xi Jinping, Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-um, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Abdullah Aziz Al Saud, Bashar al-Assad, or pick your poison.
Yes, Omar is very right to envision the coming of America’s Second Civil War! Heck, we might be staring down the path to WWIII.
I think Empathetic Liars is another name for Dark Empaths. Dark Empathy is not a good thing. Dr. Ramani does a very good job in this video explaining why all of us need to be on the look out for Dark Empaths and Empathetic Lairs.
Reality? What Reality!
Omar talks about when a group of people believeanything they want to believe is real… you’re living in a very dangerous place and time.
Add the element of violent insurrection being a central part of a country’s narrative, and you have a tinderbox waiting to explode.
He admits he’s been amazed how reality has out did his fiction.
He warns, “There is a particular Force that when it emerges within a group of people, it must be stared down directly.”
I would add that when this Force is encountered: You cannot blink. You cannot turn away. And, if you falter, it will destroy you.
I’m writing about such a force too. I was reminded of a prologue I was playing around with to describe my story. I realize it is exactly what Omar is warning us about.
Image from: Penguin Random House Audio | “Powerful . . . As haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy [created] in The Road, and as devastating a look as the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America. . . . Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Following are a few things that caught my attention this week, especially since they are relevant to what I am writing about in my novel about the role of consciousness and modern cultures. The first thing isMemory Wars. It is a six-part podcast exploring how society confronts sin. I only heard one episode, but it got me thinking deeply about how societies fail to deal with sin.
Memory Wars: A podcast exploring how society confronts sin
I heard S1E2: The Two Reconstructions that explores the similarities and differences between the Reconstruction that happened in the U.S. after the Civil War and the one that occurred in Germany after WWII.
America’s Antebellum Period
The biggest difference between the two Reconstructions is that after the U.S. Civil War (April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865), there was no outside agent to oversee the period of Reconstruction following the demise of the Antebellum Period. Countless reparations and services were needed to repair the damage inflicted on nearly 10 million slaves alive at this time.
Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That’s right: a tiny percentage. -- How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?
by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | Originally posted on The Root
Slavery started in Jamestown Colony, the founding county of the British Empire in North America. It is also the founding colony for the soon to be United States of America. Slavery grows into a brutal industry that lasts for more than 200 years allowing white men to make tremendous profits and becomes the basis for how the economy works in the United States.
America’s Reconstruction Era | Brief & Incomplete
More than 200 years of slave-based industry has made Americans deeply unwilling to confront the brutal realities of being a nation built by slaves and founded on slave-based economic models. America’s Reconstruction barely got started before it was shut down. America’s Reconstruction era lasted only from 1865 to 1877.
After this, any positive steps made during this very short time were quickly turned around by Jim Crow laws, which quickly crippled and reversed gains made by recently released slaves.
America still hasn’t reckon with its brutal history, racist culture, and slave-based industry specifically designed to make business owners and shareholders rich while keeping ordinary workers poor.
The US has intentionally engineered extreme inequalities and injustices into its systems of governance and business. They are written into laws and US constitution. They are meant to elevate white people above all other people.
There are many white people alive right now who feel they are engaged in a life and death battle to maintain these laws. These individuals are willing go to great lengths of hypocrisy and false piety to justify their sin. Some are willing to die for their beliefs and attack the Capital and Congressmen and women who do not believe like they do.
We’ve been here before. It doesn’t end well. Sin never does.
First Archetypal Animation | Justifying Sin
In Germany after WWII, the U.S. led Reconstruction efforts.
On April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the Economic Recovery Act of 1948. It became known as the Marshall Plan, named for Secretary of State George Marshall, who in 1947 proposed that the United States provide economic assistance to restore the economic infrastructure of postwar Europe. -- The Marshall Plan (1948)
These efforts included exposing euphemisms Nazis used to mask their antisemitic and racial laws. Nazis did the same thing writing their sin into the German laws and policies. The Nazis were high on their brutal beliefs and worked like steamrollers to implemented their hellish vision in the lead up to WWII. Their fiendish frenzy included:
The 1933 “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” forced Jews and political opponents of Nazism out of Germany’s expansive civil service.
Jurists wrote and enforced laws removing Jews from public service, set their own racialist view of Jewish identity with the “Nuremberg Race Laws,” and eventually enforced laws disenfranchising, despoiling, and ghettoizing German Jews.
A large percentage of the planners of the Holocaust came from the judiciary. Men from the security apparatuses, ministries, and civil services—those groups Hannah Arendt described as “desk murderers” (Schreibtischtäter)—overwhelmingly came from the legal profession, marking just how much every step of the judicial process from training to the highest courts was active in the Nazi regime. -- The Reconstruction of Justice in Post-Nazi Western Germany; article on the continuities of German law and the jurists who spoke out against an authoritarian justice system.
August 11, 2021
These efforts were laid bare to make Germans reckon with their sin. Lots of Nazis were put on trial, indicted, and executed or imprisoned.
Denazification did not end there. Ordinary German citizens were made to watch Hollywood movies that showed the atrocities committed by the Nazis and drove home the role complacency by ordinary Germany citizens played in the horrors of the Nazi War Machine.
Germans had to watch these movies to receive food or other relief items. German citizens also had to fill out questionnaires that determined the level of their Nazism and this determine what kind of work they were allowed to do.
Denazification of Germany
This video provides a good recap of the positives and negatives of German Reformation efforts.
And it details the differences between what happened in West Germany (implemented by Western Allies) and East Germany (implemented by Russia under Stalin). It brings viewers right up to our current era where the lure of authoritarian governments is looming large again in the minds of so many “modern” people and neo-Nazis are on the rise around the world.
It is hard not to compare Putin’s outrageous claim that he is Denazifying Ukraine with the speech Hitler gave to the German people just before he invaded Czechoslovakia. He told his people he was reclaiming and reuniting the Deutschland, German speaking parts of Czechoslovakia.
Getting no push back from the rest of Europe, Hitler went on to invade Poland, France, Russia…and ultimately he would have invaded the world if we would have let him.
There is a direct line that needs to drawn by lies Hitler, Stalin (yes, this man was evil), and Putin tell about what they are doing or did. What they are doing is shining their warped beam of beliefs and focusing it into death and destruction.
In other words, these men are sin makers... they are creators of Hell on Earth. They are creatures who are far more deadly and dangerous than any dinosaur.
They are are monsters, not men.
Second Archetypal Animation | The Same Beast
Germany faced its horrible past. Can we do the same?
Shortly after the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2016 on the National Mall, I was speaking to some patrons of a successful nonprofit about the importance of candid racial dialogue in politics and in the places we live, work and worship.
One of the participants had recently toured the museum and had a pointed question. Why, she wondered, were all the exhibits that visitors first encounter dedicated to slavery? Among other things, she was referring to a reconstructed cabin built by former slaves from Maryland and a statue of Thomas Jefferson next to a wall with the names of more than 600 people he owned. “Couldn’t the exhibits begin with more uplift?” the woman asked, arguing that Black achievement was more worthy of the spotlight. She suggested that the museum should instead usher visitors toward more positive stories right from the start, so that if someone were tired or short on time, “slavery could be optional.”
Her question was irksome, but it did not surprise me. I’d heard versions of the “Can’t we skip past slavery” question countless times before. Each time serves as another reminder that America has never had a comprehensive and widely embraced national examination of slavery and its lasting impact. Yes, there are localized efforts. But despite the centrality of slavery in our history, it is not central to the American narrative in our monuments, history books, anthems and folklore.
Third Archetypal Animation | How America Just Keeps Justifying Sin: Make America Backwards Again
There is a simple reason: The United States does not yet have the stomach to look over its shoulder and stare directly at the evil on which this great country stands. That is why slavery is not well taught in our schools. That is why the battle flag of the army that tried to divide and conquer our country is still manufactured, sold and displayed with defiant pride. That is why any mention of slavery is rendered as the shameful act of a smattering of Southern plantation owners and not a sprawling economic and social framework with tentacles that stamped almost every aspect of American life. -- The Opinions Essay: Germany faced its horrible past. Can we do the same? By Michele L. Norris
JUNE 3, 2021
Locked Up: The Prison Labor That Built America’s Business Empires
This episode is presented by Reveal and shows how the American south quickly shut down Reconstruction and reinvented slavery by using the prison system as a new slave labor force. Before the US Civil War, less than 8% of people in prison were black. During the rise of Jim Crowe era and the prison industrial system that rose to replace slave labor, the new of black people locked up skyrocketed to over 75%. Most were incarcerated for petty crimes and sentences to hard labor for months and years. Some would not survive.
Fourth Archetypal Animation | Locked Up — How Jim Crow Created the New Slave Labor
Companies across the South profited off the forced labor of people in prison after the Civil War – a racist system known as convict leasing.
After the Civil War, a new form of slavery took hold in the US and lasted more than 60 years. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell investigate the chilling history of how Southern states imprisoned mainly Black men, often for minor crimes, and then leased them out to private companies – for years, even decades, at a time. The team talks with the descendant of a man imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade in Tennessee nearly 140 years ago, where people as young as 12 worked under inhumane conditions in coal mines and inferno-like ovens used to produce iron. This system of forced prison labor enriched the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad company – at the cost of prisoners’ lives.
At the state park that sits on the former site of the Lone Rock stockade, relics from the hellish prison are buried beneath the soil. Archeologist Camille Westmont has found thousands of artifacts, such as utensils and the plates prisoners ate off. She has also created a database listing the names of those sent to Lone Rock. A team of volunteers are helping her, including a woman reckoning with her own ancestor’s involvement in this corrupt system and the wealth her family benefited from.
The United States Steel Corporation helped build bridges, railroads and towering skyscrapers across America. But the company also relied on forced prison labor. After US Steel took over Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad in 1907, the industrial giant used prison labor for at least five more years. During that time, more than 100 men died while working in their massive coal mining operation in Alabama. U.S. Steel has misrepresented this dark chapter of its history. And it has never apologized for its use of forced labor or the lives lost. The reporters push the company to answer questions about its past and engage with communities near the former mines.
Behind the Lie of Monopoly
“We’re born into the world and think the world is simply the way we are born into it.” — One of the guests on Throughlin’s History of the Game Monopoly
Fifth Archetypal Animation | Monopoly…More Than A Game
Monopoly is one of the best-selling board games in history! It was actually created to get people to think about real life monopolies and how they impact real peoples daily lives.
Most people just love to play Monopoly because it is fun, especially if you need a distraction from the stress and monotony of earning enough money to buy your daily bread.
How Monopoly has been marketed to us is probably why we often don’t notice the deeper messages embedded in the game.
In this episode of Throughline, the narrators explore the origins and history of Monopoly. It’s not what you think. In fact, it reveals how a critique of capitalism grew from a seed of an idea in a rebellious young woman’s mind who created this legendary game that celebrates wealth at all costs. But behind the legend, we’ve been told a lot of lies; one was the theft of a young woman’s brilliant idea.
There's more to Monopoly than you might think. It's one of the best-selling board games in history — despite huge economic instability, sales actually went up during the pandemic — and it's been an iconic part of American life at other pivotal moments: a cheap pastime during the Great Depression; a reminder of home for soldiers during WWII; and an American export during its rise as a global superpower. It endured even as it reflected some of the ongoing inequities in American society, from segregation and redlining, to capitalism run rampant. That's because Monopoly is also built on powerful American lore – the idea that anyone, with just a little bit of cash, can rise from rags to riches. Writer Mary Pilon, the author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game, describes Monopoly as "the Great American Dream in a board game – or, nightmare." -- Do Not Pass Go (2022) | Throughline
We are responsible for noticing Sin. When we see it, we must name it. Sitting and watching from the sidelines is no longer an option.
We are responsible for paying attention to what is going inside and outside of our bodies.
If we misrepresent and falsify our sinful actions or fail to act to stop sin when we see it inflicted on others, we are whitewashing reality. This is sin and only leads us further down the road of turning Earth intoHell.
The prosperity gospel is quintessentially an American theology. It is 17th century Puritanism colliding with 19th century New Thought; a spiritual movement that included unconventional and nonconformist thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James.
This strange mix then gets hitched to capitalism with a generous sprinkle of hand raising, hallelujah happiness on top; a highly energetic spiritual movement emerging out of little old Topeka, Kansas, in 1901.
The prosperity gospel makes it alright to be rich. In fact, if you’re not rich, you are probably not a good Christian and probably going to Hell.
“The Lord is my banker; my credit is good”
This is Charles Fillmore’s reinterpretation of Psalm 23.
Fillmore founded Unity in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri. He wrote, “Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ; our objective is to discern the Truth in Christianity and prove it.”
It is one of the many religious movements towards the end of the 1800s coalescing and growing out of the New Thought movement.
Fillmore was known as an American mystic who was renowned for his spiritualist interpretations of Biblical Scripture.
His beliefs paved the way for even shinier and more fervent believers who felt God rewards those who are most deserving and faithful to him with money and wealth.
Laws of Prosperity
By the early 1900, the blending of the Puritan work ethic with New Thought was fully fermented into a very bubbly, verifiable, abiding religious zeal that would be enough to put any over-worked, poverty-stricken, overly anxious worker into a state of heavenly glory, at least for a little while, say the typical time of a religious revival promising wealth and prosperity to all of God’s law-abiding, hardworking sheep (Christian-speak for people of faith).
With earthquake-like economic disruptions caused by the Industrial Revolution, this refreshingly fervent religious pastime came just in time for greedy corporate capitalists who needed people to work hard, really hard, so they could make more money.
Add the Holy Fire of the Pentecostal church that believes spiritual gifts are the miraculous ways God works in the world today, and the bomb fire of the Prosperity Gospel Movement ignites into a big and growing spiritual fire of everlasting glory–Hallelujah…praise the Lord, our savior Jesus Christ!
Never mind about deep structural inequalities built into capitalistic systems that are designed to elevate and reward individuals who hold the reigns of power while holding down and keeping poor people who are not born into such privilege.
Russell Conwell and other very charismatic ministers (such as Kenneth Hagin, Ken Copeland, Oral Roberts, and Jim Bakker) blame poverty on an individual’s failure to believe hard enough or to be good enough people who deserve to be rich or to not giving enough of what little money they have to the preacher man.
The idea that you have to give money to get money is a fundamental message preached in the Prosperity Gospel like a little money seed that might grow into a great big money tree one day.
Trumpism Is the Prosperity Gospel Running Wild in American Politics
Since its beginnings in the early 1800s, the Prosperity Gospel has ebbed and flowed. It grew rampantly in the 1900s, then waned during the WW I and II years. It rallied again during the postwar boom of the 1950s, then waned only to return bigger and better than before with the big hair days of the ostentatious 80s.
The mega fall of mega church tele-evangelical preachers and power couples such as Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye or Becki and Jerry Falwell Jr. might have hinted at an incredible reservoir of hypocrisy bubbling underneath all the pretty God Loves You, hallelujahs, and Praise the Lord, but it wasn’t enough to inoculate the masses from the powerfully, tempting, very yummy Gospel of Prosperity.
Enter televangelist Joel Scott Osteen and his non-denominational very charismatic brand of christianity to save the day. He offers 40 powerful promises right from the mouth of God that he, little old Joel Osteen, can let you in on…if you buy his book, believe hard enough, and oh yeah, donated to his mega church in Lakewood, FL.
Jumping into the very big wake being made by Osteen and other mega-ministers who shepherd their ever growing flock of faithful followers with bigger, badder, ever better televangelism programming is the man with the yellow hair and permanent orange tan… and oh yeah, about half of the Republican Party who want to get in on all that fun and money!
And WOW-WE! Look how the Repubs are battling it out for who gets to have the biggest slice of followers! Looks like running down to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring on Trump’s orange hand after January 6, 2021 wasn’t enough to save you Kevin. God isn’t shining his spiritual gifts of prosperity on you today Kevin–that’s for darn sure!
But, I digress, let’s get back to Trump who makes a pretty simple political pitch that Jonathan Last sums up nicely in a piece he wrote after Trump whipped out a front page story about himself on February 6, 2020 at the 69th annual National Prayer Breakfast: Acquitted.
Trump’s simple pitch is this:
"God wants you to have what you want! I should know, because I have it! Come get yours too, for a small contribution!"
It might be interesting to note that at this time, while Trump was at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020, COVID-19 is already spreading in the United States.
Trump says nothing about COVID. Days and weeks after the prayer breakfast, Trump continues to gloat about his Acquittal but still fails to say much of anything about COVID.
He says nothing despite advisors warning him in December 2019 and in January 2020 and February and March of 2020 that COVID is coming!
Bob Woodward interviewed Trump during this time for his book Rage. Woodward repeatedly asked Trump about his response to COVID. Trump repeatedly played it down saying he didn’t want to cause a panic.
Rather than cause a panic, Trump turned commonsense ways of staying safe, such as wearing a mask, into a culture war.
The U.S. has one of the highest death rates from COVID since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019 and 2020. The vast majority of deaths occurred in 2020 while Trump was President and playing it down so he might get re-elected as President so he could make more money!
Personally, this doesn’t sound like a very good way to enjoy the fruits of the New Prosperity Gospel that Trump touts. Dying seems the very opposite of enjoying prosperity.
Wrapped & Tied in Knots of Powerful Positive Thoughts
Tara Isabella Burton sums it all up very well in her 2017 article published in VOX.
It’s difficult to say that the prosperity gospel itself led to Donald Trump’s inauguration. Again, only 17 percent of American Christians identify with it explicitly. It’s far more true, however, to say that the same cultural forces that led to the prosperity gospel’s proliferation in America — individualism, an affinity for ostentatious and charismatic leaders, the Protestant work ethic, and a cultural obsession with the power of “positive thinking” — shape how we, as a nation, approach politics.
Also see, Throughline’s very excellent episode, Capitalism: God Wants You To Be Rich, which aired July 8, 2021. Towards the end of this episode, they play a soundbite from an archived recording from a Trump rally.
TRUMP: You know, I said the other day - 'cause so many people, they carry around "The Art Of The Deal" because they're begging. They're begging their politicians, please, please read "The Art Of The Deal" when you negotiate with China and with Japan or with Mexico and with Vietnam.
One of the speakers in this episode unpacks what Trump is plugging into here.
BUTLER: And I think this is crucial for right now. It flows into a kind of Christian nationalism. It means that God is especially favoring, you know, the nation as a special place. And so the people who live in it, who follow after this particular kind of thing, are going to be more blessed than anybody else in the world.
And another speaker unpacks it a little further.
BOWLER: I think people crave - even if they might hate it, they crave a gospel where the responsibility always falls back on them. Because it's always the one thing we can control is ourselves. So if you preach an empowered individualism, you've got a gospel you can believe in, which is always us.
The prosperity gospel goes by many names: Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It. This “different gospel” teaches that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith. Prosperity theology developed in America in the last century and has been called a “baptized form of capitalism.”
The preachers associated with the movement — including Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and Creflo Dollar — have some of the largest congregations and best-selling books in the country, and they host television programs that seem to air at all hours of the night (and are some of the most-watched programming around the world).
1. John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The signature verse of the prosperity gospel, John 10:10 is used to suggest that God loves his followers and wants them to have every good thing. But interpreting this verse to promise physical gain neglects the depth suggested by its context.
The preceding verses illustrate the parable of the sheep and their good shepherd, Jesus, who calls them by name. The sheep know the good shepherd’s voice and follow. Verse 10 contrasts Jesus with false shepherds who steal and kill and destroy. The abundance of life suggested here has to do with knowing and being known by Jesus, not material things. The Tyndale Commentary explains, “He does not offer them an extension of physical life nor an increase of material possessions, but the possibility, nay the certainty, of a life lived as a higher level of obedience to God’s will and reflecting his glory.”
2. James 4:2 — “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
This verse is used to bolster the “name it and claim it” part of the prosperity gospel — if you don’t “have,” it’s because you haven’t prayed enough. This interpretation ignores the verse that follows, in which James says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Creflo Dollar says this of prayer: “When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass.”
While prayer (including intercessory prayer) is crucial to the life of a Christian, using it to force God into appeasing the believer’s desires also goes against the very prayer Jesus prayed on the eve of his crucifixion: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42
The last chapter of Maria’s book is: Why Fascism Is Winning and its subtitle is Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate. She is the recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her courage and work standing up to President Duterte, 16th President of the Philippines who was elected to the role of the presidency on June 30, 2016 (exactly 6 months after Trump did the same thing in the United States).
Both men went to work attacking the Press. Both men claimed they, and they alone, knew what is right and wrong. Both men labeled any coverage from the press that they didn’t like as Fake News, Unreliable, Unprofessional, Untrue. Both men worked furiously to annihilate truth, facts, and reality. They knew divided we fall!
To some extend, both men succeeded beyond their wildest mad fantasies!
Duterte’s Mad War
Duterte went to war, he said, to reduce ‘crime, corruption, and illegal drug trade‘. Many cheered. In reality, he would leave a brutal, bloody legacy of dead. Official numbers account that 6,248 people were killed, but human rights groups say the number is much higher, as high as 30,000 people.
Investigations show many victims of Duterte’s war on drugs were his opponents, leftists, drug users (who needed treatment, not a bullet), and some dealers. The UN has implicated Duterte in more than 1,000 killings and disappearances of people. Police whistle blowers have told how they planted guns and drugs on these victims to frame them as involved in the drug trade. For more on these stats, please see the BBC’s June 30 article: The bloody legacy of Rodrigo Duterte.
Trump’s Mad Dash to Dictatorhood
Trump’s 4-year term is just as distributing. He knew COVID-19 did not bode well to be elected for a second term. So when the virus arrived in the United States, Trump went into deny, distort, and distract mode.
He continually played down how deadly the virus was and mocked people who wore masks. This turned a cheap, easy, commonsense public health approach of keeping people safe into a culture war.
Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward on Monday called the former President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic a “crime” that killed more than 1 million people.
The Hill reports Woodward said: “I call it a crime, not telling the people that he had been warned that — by his national security advisers in the most vivid way, which is outlined in these tapes, the interviews with them, where they are telling him.”
This is the reason why Woodward released the tapes he recorded with Trump early in 2020 as he interviewed him for his books Rageand Peril; earlier, he wrote Fear.
As of November 23, 2022, over 1 million US citizens have died of COVID; the vast majority of these deaths occurring while Trump held office before a vaccine was available. Trump crippled the CDC and turned public health guidance into a political weapon.
There Is A Big Yang to Pay When Facts Fall Prey to AuthoritarianDisinformation Campaigns
Since we are on the topic of global pandemic, let’s take a look at President Xi Jinping. He has recently been elected to a historical third term. This of course is code for President for Life.
He has cozied up to Putin, imprisoned Chinese Wiegers, carried out a brutal crackdown on democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and most recently was posturing in a tense standoffs about the fate of Taiwan. Many think Taiwan could be the next Ukraine as XI Jinping lines up his ducks to make Taiwan China again.
But real life, especially nasty little viruses, don’t always go along with the next chapter of the Dictator’s Playbook. President Xi Jinping took a hardline approach to COVID when it first emerged in Wuhan, China.
Zero COVID policy worked at first and it became the main strategy of Xi. Local authorities eager to prove how loyal they are to Xi have implemented extreme lock down measures, including locking people inside their homes and whole apartment complexes.
Xi has bragged about how effective China’s Zero COVID policy has worked, while the rest of the world suffered. He didn’t put much effort into vaccination efforts other than insisting China make its own vaccine while claiming Western-made vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna would be ineffective.
“China would never do something crazy like use a COVID-19 vaccine made in the West! Heck, the Western World is falling apart… look at what happened at the US Capitol!“
Well, Xi is right about the US Capitol. We have lost our collective mind, but it is not because we have a free society and democracy (that is what he and his flying monkeys blameall the evil on).
The reason we are losing our collective mind is because our trust landscape is being destroyed by people who want to be just like him–a bully and a dictator—and digital clones, keep reading! But when you tell lies and spread disinformation to prop up your authoritarian ambitions, they tend to come back and bite you in the butt. And that is what is happening in China now.
CNN reported more than 17 protests occurring all over China, some very bloody. The deaths of people trapped inside their high rise apartment because the fire escapes had been locked due to Zero COVID lockdown measures ignited these protests but anger has been building all over China after 3 years of overzealous lockdowns. These measures are killing people too. Some have not been able to get medical care for heart attacks or other life threatening health conditions, others have committed suicide, all locked down have complained about getting rotten and substandard food or no food. This has lasted for months at a time.
Xi put himself into this very small box.
The protests are a real threat to his authority, but so too is China’s failure to create a vaccine that works. Virologists have compared China’s vaccine to Pfizer and Moderna and found it is not as effective.
Compounding the limited effect of China’s vaccine, China just has not put as much effort into vaccinating its population, relying instead on enforcing its Zero COVID policies with upmost brutalities. The result is the vast majority of China’s population are under vaccinated or not vaccinated. Nor do many individuals have immunity from a previous infection compared to the overall population.
If they let up on Zero COVID without vaccinating their population with a vaccine that works, COVID will roar through its population killing millions and while it does, it will be mutating and this could cause a BIG problem for the rest of the world, again.
If Xi relents and allows Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be used in China, he reveals his lies about Western democracies to his people and he looks weak.
Oh what a sticky misinformation landscape Xi has created for himself!
If Disinformation Doesn’t Work, Create A Scapegoat and Attack It
This is what Putin is doing now in Russia. He is losing the war in Ukraine. He looks weak and stupid. He needs a good distraction so his citizens don’t rise up against him and who knows, perhaps they castrate the man.
After all, it is his actions, and his actions alone, that have cut the Russian people off from the rest of the world–no Facebook, no Twitter, no vacations to Paris or Italy, no McDonalds–all because of his war with Ukraine.
So what does Putin do? Putin makes being gay illegal in Russia. He calls it a sickness of democracy and the Western World. He claims Russians don’t have gay people.
Come on Putin… now you look even more stupid than before. To read more about Putin and his flying monkeys, see Ukraine Letters.
The Dictator’s Playbook
Dictators around the world and throughout history use the same tactics. They attack the truth, exaggerate threats to make people afraid, and enflame emotions to herd as many people as possible under their make-believe umbrella constructed out of their annoying, droning chant: “I and I alone can fix it.”
That is the secret spell of a dictator. This stupid chant is his top-secret, classified magic potion. This is what every dictator throughout time has ever used to manipulate the masses. It is called ignorance dust. It is what evil fairies use to make their mischief.
What they don’t say out loud is …they broke it and they made up the boogeyman who you are now afraid of!
Dictators systematically claim they represent truth, decency, and dignity while fabricating facts, fiends, and fantasies about their own greatness.
Dictators pit people against each other, then they sit and watch the carnage on TV.
1. Expand your power base through nepotism and corruption.
2. Instigate a monopoly on the use of force to curb public protest.
3. Curry favour by providing public goods efficiently and generously.
4. Get rid of your political enemies.
5. Create and defeat a common enemy.
6. Accumulate power by manipulating the hearts and minds of your citizens.
7. Create an ideology to justify an exalted position.
You should read the article because Mark gives some very lively examples.
So, Just How Do You Stand Up to a Dictator?
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
This brings us back to Maria Ressa. She stood up to Rodrigo Duterte and to Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook nightmare. In an interview with Dave Davies on FreshAir she said:
I wasn't the only one under attack in Rappler. And Rappler is about a hundred people. We're - we just became - we hit 10 years. We're 10 years old January this year. So my gosh, we're going to be 11 by January next year. But it's 63% women. And our median age is 23 years old. So when our younger reporters came under attack, I became far more protective of our team.
And within a short period of time, we increased our security six times, seven times, because at some point it became very clear that online violence is real-world violence. And, you know, in your introduction, you talked about the attacks of President Duterte and Facebook. I think, by 2016, I was calling for an end to impunity, impunity of Rodrigo Duterte and this brutal drug war and impunity of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. They go hand in hand. One could not have happened without the other.
DAVIES: When you started Rappler, this news service, one of the things you note is that the population of the Philippines had already become remarkably attached to digital technology. Different from a lot of places in that way, wasn’t it?
RESSA: Yeah. Look, we were the texting capital of the world before this, the SMS capital of the world. And then we became known as the social media capital of the world. And by January 2021, for six years in a row, Filipinos spent the most time online and on social media globally. A hundred percent of Filipinos on the internet today are on Facebook. Facebook literally is our internet.
DAVIES : I mean, it seems that what you were discovering was that social media platforms, like Facebook, have discovered that people respond to sharply emotional messages. And so the algorithms give them more of that – anger, hatred, resentment – which, in turn, brings more engagement, which is what their economic model is based on. And it – you observed that this was allowing people who were telling lies that were destructive and poisonous to democracy to spread faster than truth.
The interesting thing is that you actually had conversations with Facebook executives about this, right? You met with a bunch of them. Did they get it? What did they say?
RESSA: Rappler was essentially an alpha partner of Facebook. We knew Facebook in the Philippines better than Facebook did. And I went to them with the data, hoping that they would give me more data and fix it. I thought it would be an easy fix 'cause in 2016, it was alarming to see this kind of, you know, incitement of hate. In 2017, I was one of about a dozen startup founders that Mark Zuckerberg met with. And, you know, I was trying to get him to come to the Philippines to see how powerful Facebook was. And at that point, 97% of Filipinos were there. And that's what I told him. I said, you know, you really have to come 'cause 97% of Filipinos on the internet are on Facebook. So he started frowning. And I thought, OK, I must have been a little too pushy. And then, he looked at me. And he said, Maria, where are the other 3%?
RESSA: I think that was the problem, right? They were so focused on market share, their profits, their goal for the business, that they forgot to look at the social harms. I also don't think it's a coincidence that they do not tell the difference between fact and fiction. It doesn't have any business or economic benefits to doing that. So at this point, you don't even have facts. So what did they do? They outsourced it. They gave - it became a fact-checking network that was doing this. But it was never integral to the product by design. Social media divides and radicalizes, and this is what we're seeing in the world today.
DAVIES: You write that, at one point, Zuckerberg wanted Facebook to start to really focus on weeding out offensive content. And you said, you’re missing the point. It’s – the problem isn’t content; it’s distribution. What did you mean?
RESSA: Because so much of the debate centers on content when that isn't the problem. Doesn't matter if your crazy neighbor talks about a conspiracy theory. You'll still like your crazy neighbor, and you listen. But it becomes different when that's the front page of your town newspaper. Imagine, the crazy things now make it to the front page. That is what goes viral. And that's the world we live in.Doesn't matter if it's real or not as long as it captures your attention. So it is your amygdala that decides, right? If you get angry, you'll share it.
And this is the - I mean, look, there is a - E.O. Wilson, who studied emergent behavior in ants, said that our greatest crisis that we face is our Paleolithic emotions, our medieval institutions, and our godlike technology. That godlike technology manipulated us to the point that the very systems of democracy that gave rise to this is now at the verge of failure.
DAVIES: You know, at the end of the book, you kind of ask the big question, which is, what do we do about this? I mean, now that you’ve – it’s apparent how harmful and poisonous this can be for democratic institutions. You know, in the United States, I mean, tens of millions of people believe made-up stories about a stolen election despite plenty of fact-checking that has been published debunking a lot of these stories. You think you have some strategies that might be effective? I mean, this is a little complicated, but share some of these ideas with us.
RESSA: In the short term, we decided, as we were walking into our presidential elections, that we would try to figure out what a whole-of-society approach to civic engagement could look like. And we created a four-layer, facts-first pyramid - four different layers. The bottom layer are 16 news organizations - the first time news groups worked together. You know, I've been trying since 2016, but we finally all work together. And that is the supply of fact checks.
But as you know, fact checks are really boring. They don't get wide distribution on social media. So that leads to the second layer. It's called the mesh - 115, 116 different civil society groups - NGOs, human rights organizations, climate change groups were there - business, the church. The Philippines is Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation. And the goal of the mesh layer is to share those boring fact checks, but to add emotion because emotion is what moves it through distribution. And what we found when we did that was that inspiration spreads as far as anger. The third layer are academic institutions. Eight of them total that took the data from the first two and every week told Filipinos how we were being manipulated, who was winning, who was losing, what were the media narratives being seeded? And then finally, the last layer, layer four, is rule of law. It's legal organizations from the left to the right in the Philippines, from the free legal group to the integrated bar of the Philippines to the Philippine Bar Association.
They filed, in less than three months, more than 21 cases, tactical and strategic, that helped protect the three layers. It worked. We were able to - it was the most successful attempt to try to take over the center of our information ecosystem. We mapped it. But more than that, within two weeks of launching this facts-first pyramid, the Philippine government - the office of the solicitor general filed a petition at the supreme court against Rappler and our commission on elections, because we were working with them at that point. They said that fact-checking is prior restraint. They tried to stop us from fact-checking. It almost made me laugh.
DAVIES: To kind of summarize here, it sounds like what you’re proposing is that news organizations need to overcome some of their competitive instincts and work together when there is important fact-checking to be done, connect them to other organizations in a way that puts energy and emotion into it and get that out there.
RESSA: Think about it like this. Like, if you don't have integrity of facts, you cannot have integrity of elections. And ultimately, what that means is that these elections will be swayed by information warfare. I mean, you know, it's funny. Americans actually look at the midterms. And they say, well, it wasn't as bad as it could be.Death by a thousand cuts - it's still bad. And if we follow, you know, what - the trend that we're seeing, if nothing significant changes in our information ecosystem, in the way we deliver the news, we will elect more illiberal leaders democratically in 2023, in 2024.
And what they do is they crumble institutions of democracy in their own countries, like you've seen in mine.But they do more than that. They ally together globally. And what they do is, at a certain point, the geopolitical power shift globally will change.Democracy will die. That point is 2024. We must figure out what civic engagement [looks like and], what we do as citizens today, to reclaim, [and] to make sure democracy survives.
In Maria Ressa’s interview on 1A, she explained surveillance capitalism and how it enabled want-a-be dictators like Duterte and Trump to actually get elected in Free and Fair elections. Something she told Jen would never have happened pre-Facebook (and other social media era).
Here is how she explains it:
technology has degraded facts and broken our societies. I became a journalist because I believe that information is power - it’s how we get justice. The death of democracy began when journalists lost our gatekeeping powers to the technology platforms that not only abdicated responsibility for protecting us ... but also destroyed democracy by destroying the facts ... for immense profit.
Like the age of industrialization, there’s a new economic model that brought new harms, a model Shoshana Zuboff called surveillance capitalism - when our atomized personal experiences are collected by machine learning, organized by artificial intelligence - extracting our private lives for outsized corporate gain. Highly profitable micro-targeting operations are engineered to structurally undermine human will - a behavior modification system in which we are Pavlov’s dogs, experimented on in real time with disastrous consequences. This is happening to you - to all of us around the world.
Engagement based metrics of these American tech companies mean that the incentive structure of the algorithms, which is just their opinion in code implemented at a scale that we could never have imagined, is insidiously shaping our future by encouraging the worst of human behavior. Studies have shown that lies laced with anger and hate spread faster and further than facts.
Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without these, we have no shared reality, no rule of law, no democracy.
In my upcoming book, the prologue I submitted last year began with the splintering of reality in Crimea in 2014. I had to revise that when Russia invaded Ukraine using the same narratives seeded then. Would that have happened if the platforms had acted 8 years ago? That is the true cost for the world.
Now these networks form a global nervous system of toxic sludge partly fueled by geopolitical power play. In 2018, we connected the information operations in the Philippines with Russian disinformation networks through websites in Canada. In 2020, Facebook took down information operations from China that were creating fake accounts for the US elections, polishing the image of the Marcoses, campaigning for Duterte’s daughter, and attacking me and Rappler. In 2021, the US and the EU called out China and Russia for Covid-19 disinformation.
We are all connected.
To read more on how to tackle this huge problem that the whole world faces, a psychological-social virus just as deadly as the Coronavirus, see her speech: The Assault on Freedom of Expression. It is jaw dropping.
No one can afford to sit on the sidelines and watch how this all plays out. Every human being alive right now has a choice to act or watch democracy fall. And if the choice is to watch, you will also watch the world fall over the Climate Cliff.
You (reading this right now)… you will be alive to watch this all happen. It is happening right now and it is going to happen faster than anyone has previously predicated.
If we don’t save democracies, we will never get around to collaboratinglike we have never collaborated before as a global species to solve the looming climate crises bearing down on all of us right now. These climate crises are going to push the entire human race over the Climate Cliff.
It is time to Wake Up!
And Ron DeSantis (another want-a-be dictator), go buy yourself a mask, fins, and snorkel because if Florida is where Woke Goes to Die…well, Florida ain’t going to be around after Earth’s glaciers melt… and it’s going to happen much faster than the Woke People you disparage are telling you it will happen!
Think about it. Think about it hard.
What will you say to your children and grandchildren 50 years from now when there are no more democratic countries and we fail to act on Climate Change?
What will you tell them when you did not try to stop the Putins, the Xis, the Trumps (and his flying monkeys), and the rigid old men in Iran persecuting and killing their young people?
And old men of Iran, for what? What are you killing your young people for… a strand of hair sticking out from a veil?! Come on you stupid old men… what are you going to do? Kill every young person in your country? Yes, probably you will… the ouroboros is the symbol for rigid old men clinging to their dictatorships.
And the North Koreas…well, Kim Jong Un is sitting pretty these days not collaborating with anybody not even his fellow dictators and firing off his rockets… he is the ultimate symbol for a manly male, a tough pluck... a virile coward if I ever saw one. Someone has to enjoy all the spoils he directs only to him and his loyal supporters.
Maria Ressa says we are all living in the upside-down now. Yes, the very same weird world as depicted in Stranger Things. In this world, only the ruthless get to relax in luxury. Everyone else suffers unbelievable poverty, abuse, and gets crushed under super surveillance systems created by dictators afraid of losing power.
We may be wise enough to know that Facebook is tracking us using super surveillance systems and this is pretty bad… thisis where we are now. We all exist in a world of digital clones that are used against us to make huge profits for the ridiculously rich people of the world (think Elon Musk— you can be a corporate dictator too!). These are nasty little things corporations and social media platforms use to make more money by tearing truth, facts, and reality into tiny shreds. Read Maria’s book!
But the next step is not so very far away in our collective global future. The people fighting for their very lives in Ukraine RIGHT NOW know this! They know Putin will not stop if he wins Ukraine. No strongmen, no dictator, no authoritarian is ever satisfied with what they have. They always want more. That is their purpose in life. They have made themselves into monsters and the only thing they can do is devour the entire world. There are a lot of monsters alive RIGHT NOW trying to do this very thing.
The next step Maria Ressa is very clear about is the fall of democracies around the world and the rise of dictatorships ruled by the ruthless. I believe her. And guess what? There is not much room at the top. What all ruthless rulers eventually do if they last long enough is turn on the very people who put them in power. Think about it. Ruthless rulers always need a foil,a ploy, an enemy, a scapegoat. Once they kill all the obvious people, they will start in on their loyal base of followers, the very people they put to sleep using their maniacal evil fairy dust:ignorance.
This is happening NOW on our watch!
How will you explain this to your children?
How will you explain food shortages, water shortages, raging floods and fires, sunken cities, more global pandemics, and governments that won’t even allow you to hold up a blank sheet of paper to protest not being able to protest for your most basic human needs and rights?
I wrote this piece about one year ago. Being brutalized (physically, psychologically, or spiritually) by someone who holds power over you takes unbelievable amounts of inner strength, courage, and perseverance. Feeling rage is never wrong. However, choosing how to express rage can cross social, cultural, and moral boundaries that exist for very good reasons.
I believe rage is something building up all over the world for many reasons such as being bullied by popular kids at school, bullied by a boss at work, bullied by governmental systems designed to enforce huge inequalities baked deep into its operating systems long ago, or bullied by another country who seek to control a people or a place through violence carried out with impunity.
It doesn’t matter where or how superior power is used to control another human being such use of force is humiliating and is meant to put someone else down. A person on the receiving end of this sort of abuse is suppose to feel fear, sadness, anger, and rage. It is part of the abuse. It is a form of social torture.
If you find yourself in a place of rage, you are right to feel it. Do not try to suppress your rage or run from it. Turn around and face it dead on. Only this way can you choose how to express this rage. It is energy. It has to flow. It will flow whether you are conscious of it or not.
How a persons deals with how rage flow depends on many factors such as family, culture, social groups, emotional maturity, personality, mental health, social structure, and so many other factors. But it is only with conscious awareness that you can capture your rage and choose a better path of action versus a more destructive path.
Rage is going to flow consciously or unconsciously. You begin to heal and regain your strength and dignity when you are conscious of your rage, when you feel your rage, when you own your rage. By doing this, you can use your rage to get to a better place like a sailor who uses the wind to get to where he wants to be rather than letting the wind blow you somewhere you don’t want to be.
Note: Rage can be manufactured, especially in these times. Let’s call this Fake Rage. It is artificially induced into people’s minds by other people seeking to manipulate public sentiment for their own purposes. This is not the kind of rage I am referring to in this blog.
Sacrifice to the Squirrel Gods
Thanksgiving… what a wonderful time to get together with family and friends and share our collective blessings, and oh how precious, after a year and a half of not being able to get together due to a global pandemic!
But, Thanksgiving, oh how aggravating, antagonizing, and infuriating it can be to get together with precisely the people who know how to get under your skin. The one’s who know how to rip off the fragile psychological Band-Aid you’ve managed to put over the bubbling hot well of pain, torment, and psychological abuse inflicted on you by people who are supposed to love and support you (friends or family), but instead they get their kicks inflicting emotional pain and psychological torture at your expense.
Since inflicting pain and torture back on them is not the karmic path you want to take, nor may you have the opportunity to tell them just how horrible and monstrous they have become as defectively amoral human beings… something like June was finally able to do when she confronted Serena Waterford in her prison cell in Season 4, Episode 7 of the Handmaid’s Tale. The part where she screams in her face ‘Do You Understand Me’:
If you don’t have this outlet to express your anger and rage at their moral deficiencies and extremely flawed character traits that are hurting you, then try a sacrifice to the squirrel gods!
t’s what our ancestors used to do long, long ago. We think it’s kind of silly and not what a modern person should be doing… but this is another ploy by your tormentors to keep you feeling horrible. They don’t want you to find your voice, your power.
You can’t let go of your rage any more than you can hold onto it.
The only thing you can do is to try to remove the inner obstructions that are hanging you up as you try to navigate through this blistering inner torrent that is moving through you like a river of rage searing its way through your soul.
That is what sacrifices where for long, long ago. They were never for some god sitting up on high making judgements over us all. They were for us… to help us navigate inner rivers of rage so that we do not become the monsters who are tormenting us and causing so much destruction not only in our lives but the shared reality of everyone.
So make a sacrifice…use your creativity to make your voodoo doll, your effigy of your tormentors. Project all their dangerous energies and damaged soul into your talisman and set it out as an offering to any animal spirit you choose–it could be ravens, wolves, or squirrels.
It is so satisfying…and when you feel this satisfaction inside, you have removed an impediment to your rage because it needs to flow, it’s part of your power and you need all parts of your power…the good, the bad, and the ugly… to heal and grow into the individual you want (and know) you are, which is not a monster like your tormentors but a healer and conscious decision maker of your destiny.
One year later, my rage has not gone away but it has evolved. Margret Atwood is a genesis in capturing the evolution of rage… the kind I’m talking about above. Season 5, episode 10 is absolutely awesome and Billie Eilish’s song dead on! Go Margret, go June, go Serena! Maybe there is hope!
It is she who said monsters are made. Think Frankenstein, definitely constructed by a human.
And we do this all the time…in our heads simply repeating the stories we tell ourselves that create indelible images, which we then project onto the world we live in. Or better said, the world we wish we lived in.
The Planet We Made
Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic–Danishartist known for sculptured and large-scale installation art that employ elemental materials such as light, water, and air temperature to enhance the viewer’s experience. He designed the cover of Time this month to highlight our collective climate crisis that will affect and impact everyone on Earth. Rich or poor, everyone will pay a huge price for further dithering and delaying on taking immediate action Now.
Olafur tells Time to create the effect on TIME’s cover, he employed a technique called after imaging. By following the instructions on the cover, when the page changes, your eyes re-imagine our overheated planet in the healthy vibrant greens and blues we, the human race, were born into and began our journey as a species through time.
The Monsters We Make
This same elusive after imaging takes place inside our minds. The images that get stored inside our minds are created by the stories we tell ourselves and the images we consume as ordinary citizens.
These images, let’s call them cultural images, are stored in our minds as belief systems. Beliefs are vastly more complicated images than the one created by Olafur Eliasson for the cover of TIME. However, compared to reality, beliefs are pathetic and paltry.
Belief systems tend to leave far more outside (the evil other) than inside (the person who sees the the world like you do). All of us adopt and cultivate belief systems. They help us know who we can trust. And, they help us survive by acting as short cuts to reality.
By popping your beliefs into a situation, you can just get down to action. Or really reaction to a situation because beliefs allow you to skip the work of hard thinking, critical analysis, and feeling into what you are actually experiencing.
Systems of belief are informed by the families we grow up in, the cultures we live in, and the religions we participate in (or do not participate in). Systems of belief are further evolved and informed by friends, peers, teachers, clubs, politics, and media, among many other sources.
Whether you accept the stories and images imparted to you through these systems, whether you believe them or you don’t believe them, beliefs about how the world is or isn’t are formed and held in the mind very much like the phantom image Olafur Eliasson created on the cover of TIME.
Each and every belief are things you have choose to accept, to believe, and to store in your head. You choose to believe the things you think are true or what you don’t believe or believe to be not true, regardless of whether they are empirically true or not true.
Once you commit to a belief (in other words you swallow an idea hook, line, and sinker), it creates an indelible image of how the world is, which gets overlay onto everything you do and everyone around you. Very much like the elusive image Olafur Eliasson made for the November 2022 cover of TIME. You put them there, and then you project them on the world.
Beliefs are more likes wishes, fears, and desires. They accord with more how we want the world to be rather than how it really is. Our wish/fear/wants live inside our minds and are projected on the world every moment of our lives. They hoover and cling to everything and everyone we come into contact with like a ghostly aura. Depending on what our projected system of beliefs tells us we should believe about a person or a thing that comes into our narrow bandwidth of focused conscious attention, aligns our actions and behavior in the world.
This rather simple ability has oversized implications–some good, some bad. It is an ability that we take for granted as human beings. Our ability to create systems of beliefs is a form of ignorance (ig–nor–ance, what we choose not to see) and it has gotten the better of us. It is what allows us to turn ordinary human beings into monsters or our world into a wasteland.
Kendra R. Parker explains our creation of and fascination with monsters this way:
When Dracula appeared in the 19th century, there was all of this fear, the English were preoccupied with borders, boundaries and nationalism. Between like 1881 and 1900 there was an increase in the number of non-English Jewish people. There was this xenophobia, this fear of Jewish people, this sort of threat of external colonization. And so these fears about the threatening outsider, who is going to come in and disturb the national pure body, finds its way into Bram Stoker's Dracula.
And if we come to the United States in 1898, we have newspaper images popping up out of North Carolina that depict Black men as vampires because there was this fear of Black men. There's this fear of black men being in politics and so that if you got black political power, then they're going to take over and destroy white women and all of that. And so you've got all of this propaganda.
And there are two images in particular. One is called "The Vampire that Hovers Over North Carolina." It appears in 1898, and it's a Black male vampire coming out of a ballot box. And there's another image that same time period in North Carolina where you got vampires coming out of the grave to vote and they're Black. And so there's this fear that if you let these monsters vote, they will take over and destroy our way of life.
The Monsters We Are
When we use our system of beliefs to turn other human beings into monsters, it is ourselves who become the monster. When hate becomes our fuel, then the transformation is complete. The monster has been made.
It is a way of being in the world that leads to Hell. It is the path of destruction, of mayhem, and of death.
It is a way of being in the world that may begin by being suspicious, distrustful, and skeptical. But it can quickly eclipse who you think you are and make you into a person who takes pleasure in being cynical, ghoulish, grisly, and grotesque.
Such a journey is often summed up by the popular phrase —Take The Red Pill. This means a person that falls down a rabbit hole. They start out innocently following juicy breadcrumbs of gossip and plausibly outrageous happens that grow ever more implausible. But once you get hooked on these toxic breadcrumbs carefully left behind by Master Manipulators who are experts in making the implausible sound plausible. Indeed, the Truth that you are willing to die for.
How To Make of a Monster
Step 1) Chop the world into absolutely good and absolutely evil, then choose a role to play in this absolute drama (it goes without saying that whatever side you play on… that is the righteous side, the good guys, the side that is going to slay absolute evil)
Step 2) Select a Mask for the role you will play in the absolute drama to rid the world of absolute evil (make sure you are the Super Hero of your story and everyone else is the bad guy)
Step 3) Strap Your Mask Tightly To Your Face So It Doesn’t Slip or Fall Off (you don’t want anyone to see you are merely human like the people and other living beings you are dehumanizing)
Step 4) Cut Up Bits and Pieces from the World and Other Stories, Then Mash Them Into Your Mask So You Become Unrecognizable Like Camouflage (it doesn’t matter if the bits and pieces make sense anymore, you are creating your super hero version of yourself!)
Step 5) Add Lots of Layers to Your Mask, Be Sure to Use Lots of Devilish Deceit and Deception, More Camouflage to Help You Better Play Your Role (God forbid anyone recognize that you’re really human behind your Fake Persona)
Step 6) Distort, Deform, and Mangle Your Mask to Create Fantastic New Levels of Distractions and Illusions, Even More Camouflage… Fighting Evil Isn’t for Sissies (this will draw others to you — your followers, your zombie army)
Step 7) Forget You Are Wearing A Mask: Now You Are A Monster
I have not read this book, Metaflesh. But, the image of the cover is captivating. To me, it perfectly captures how we can turn ourselves into monsters using any system of belief, any one at all. In the land of make believe, nothing is sacred. Once we slip down a rabbit holes inside our minds, the inner Hellish landscape allows us to endlessly violently project onto others what we cannot admit to ourselves that we are.
This is a book review of Metaflesh from where I got the image:
Metaflesh is written by Evan J. Peterson, author of The PrEP Diaries: A Safe(r) Sex Memoir and DragStar!, the world’s first drag performer role-playing game. Metaflesh is a book of verse and prose from the point of view of Frankenstein’s Monster. The reflections are inspired not only by Mary Shelley’s seminal work (double entendre fully intended) but also by the pop culture descendants of her novel. Sources include a wide variety of Frankenstein/mad scientist movies and song lyrics. The book also contains themes of Jewish folklore, queer culture, camp, and a lot of David Cronenberg-style body horror. The book covers the gamut of the Monster’s experiences through over a century of movies and songs, and portrays the Monster as both gender-fluid and a sort of chimerical film critic, reviewing portrayals of their self through lyric poetry and flash fiction.
This is an ingenious book of metafiction. Just as Dr. Frankenstein cut up different people and stitched the bits together, Peterson cut up and reassembled his sources, turning them into something greater than the sum of their parts. Borrowing from William S. Burroughs cut-up technique, he splices together Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with F.T. Marinetti’s Manifesto del Futurismo (Futurist Manifesto) and with J. G. Ballard’s essay, “Why I want to F*ck Ronald Reagan.” He apostrophizes the sexually explicit films of avant-garde queer Canadian creator Bruce LaBruce and doesn’t forget to include General Mills’ Frankenberry breakfast cereal or select lines from Mommy Dearest and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The combined imagery of classical Greek mythology, white supremacy, drag queens, Judaism, and zombie erotica do not merge into a hot mess but meld together into a deliciously readable book.
This literary retrospective is sad, funny, quirky, surgically precise, and captivating. I was never bored and didn’t skip through parts. I tore through my first reading at speed and have been taking my time through subsequent readings. The only spot which slows me down, pulling me to a frowning halt, is a simile in the poem, “His Name is In Me”: “gross as the tallest savage.” Although I’m aware that white supremacist imagery is intentionally used throughout the book—punching up, not down—the use of the word “savage” feels out of place here. It is a racial slur used against Black and Indigenous peoples and stands out awkwardly in a poem strongly based in Judaic imagery. If it is a slur used against Jews, I am unaware, but this is my only quibble with the entire book. -- Book Review: Metaflesh by Evan J. Peterson
Someone OnceTold Me
Someone once told me that my blog The StoryTelling Species Series was just a story. He really just wanted to put it down and elevate himself because we were having a very strong disagreement about COVID. I knew he was wrong, but could not explain to him why he was so wrong then.
Now I can. I knew it is the stories we tell ourselves that make us into heroes or villains, good or evil, saints or monsters. Now I know how it happens inside our minds.
Given how susceptible we are to believe our own stories and lies about ourselves, it is best to give all other people the benefit of the doubt and trust they are not the monster you are afraid of… the one that lives inside of you. It is best just be human and to recognize that we have a little bit of good and a little bit of bad inside of us.
It is when we hang onto the evil inside of us and refuse to let go of it that we make ourselves into monsters and turn Earth into Hell. Trust that reality is far more interesting than the stories we tell ourselves about our selves and others.
Trust that you belong here and now with everyone else and that together we can heal ourselves. This is something we can only do together. And if we heal, Earth heals and our burning hot planet may once again shine in its brilliant, beautiful, life sustaining blues and greens!
In the second episode of Shantaram, available on AppleTV, Lin steps out of his friend Prabaker’s tent in one of Bombay’s sprawling slums. He looks around at all the people in the bustling slum who are looking at him and wonders if they are afraid of him and hate him. He knows he doesn’t belong there, but fate has put him there.
Thinking to himself, he says something like this: “It is what people know about themselves that make them afraid of you.“
In A World…
I rewound and watch this moment again. I was not expecting a nugget of wisdom in this drama. But, there it was…something real, something true, something very pertinent to the world we live in now. Today, no matter where you live, we live in a world….
…where MAGA Republicans think all Democrats are evil beings who drink the blood of children. This belief makes liberals and Democrats not really human. If they aren’t really human, then that makes it all right to kill them, all of them.
“Oh? You don’t believe me?”
Listen to this man right here. He’s the man with the littlest Wiennie of them all. The man in the middle touting hate, lies, deception, stories of separation, fear, and division. He’s Steve Bannon.
This little man, Trump’s Rasputin, knows that a democracy divided is easy to control. And he wants to control everything. Look at his beady eyes and scrubby stubble. He’s a tormented man doing everything to create confusion, chaos, and destruction so he can rise as a Christ for a world of sinners. If you have not seen CNN’s special report Divided We Fall, it is time to watch it.
“Oh — you don’t trust CNN?“
“You say it’s the radical left touting Joe Biden’s radical agenda…and before that it was Hillary….and before that it was Obama…and before and before…”
How far back should we go with the blame game and ‘I don’t trust you‘ contest? To Adam and Eve? Is it really that nasty little snake who started it all?
If you’re playing this game, you have already swallowed the Red Pill, and it’s working its toxic poison deep inside of you. It’s a poison that makes you deeply afraid of others and deeply afraid ofyour own shadow. And, you probably should be deeply afraid of your own shadow.
That is what Lin is aware of while standing alone in the slum of Bombay. That sneaky shadow that lives inside all of us casting its evil intensions and desires onto everyone else, except for you.
If you are playing this game, you have joined the ranks of people who violently participate in the denial of diversity. You do this to legitimize yourown violent fear of anyone who doesn’t walk like you, talk like you, look like you, act like you, or think like you. You secretly believe and harbor a wish to bring into being a world that obeys and worships you.
The dirty little secret is hidden deep inside of you is a greedy, little, bloodthirsty thing who rages and whines about inflicting pain and suffering onto others. You want to do this so that you can enjoy your comforts and privileges. You need to do this because how would you know you are enjoying comforts and privileges unless others are suffering?
When you get called out on your racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and racism, you rage. You rage against the radical liberals who are merely pointing out your evil shadow. But, you don’t want to see the evil inside of you. So you build a wall. It’s a really tall wall that is made from the seething anger and rage boiling inside of you. If anyone gets too near, it burns like a living fire.
‘God damn it!’ if anyone is going to penetrate you inner wall and see that howling, wounded, frighten, greedy thing that lives inside of you.
That thing…. that scoundrel, that fiend, rascal, rogue, fraudster, trickster, beast, son of a bitch, deviant thing, loser, weirdo, cry baby, stupid brutal bastard, and bully. But guess what? So am I, and so is everyone else you know. We all have this evil thing living inside of us.
It never goes away. It bubbles and boils and burns inside us all. It pursues and terrorizes us in our dreams. Lin says, “A dream is when a wish and fear come together. A nightmare is when they are the same thing.”
Remaining ignorant of your evil being merely locks it inside of you where it is hidden behind the carefully constructed idea of yourself (your persona: the role you play in your community and for your family). It is your personal internal prison cell behind the giant wall that you built to conceal your evil being. You built the wall so well, most of the time you can’t even see your evil being locked inside your mental prison cell with you.
This thing inside of you is relentless and torments you night and day. In an act of utter desperation, you spew it out onto others and shout in a voice dripping with rage and fury:
“There! There is the boogeyman!
There is the Devil!
There is the Evil Thing that must be annihilated!”
Or, if the other person (the boogeyman) was once part of your exclusive club of people who know the Truth and what is really going on, you might shout:
“Hang Mike Pence!!”
In a world where Putin calls the people of Ukraine Nazis. Never mind he is the one acting like the Nazi. He is the one full of hate. He is the one who has driven out close to a million Russian men because they don’t want to fight in his barbaric, poorly equipped, and pretty bad army. He is losing. So he resorts to lies and double downs on stupid while waging his limp, impotent Nuclear Weiner.
Do not be fooled by Putin’s weak, victim-based, impotent hysterics! He is exactly the type of man who would push the button.
In a world where Iran’s Moral Police beat up and kill young women simply for wearing their hijab too loosely. But it is themselves they are really policing. They are afraid that if they see a single strand of hair sticking out from a hijab, their Limp Weak Weiner will grow. And if this happens, they are afraid they’ll lose control and turn into the Devils they know themselves to really be deep, deep down inside. This corrupt and bankrupt regime has already killed 272 young people and beaten and/or tortured 1,110 others.
In each world outlined above, each man’s rigid, inflexible thinking and bullshit is camouflage for the shitty little men they really are. They lust after power and cluster together helping each other hold onto power and control in their stinking palaces riddled with long, long corridors of terror.
Maps of Hate
This is what the corruption is and this is what it does to human beings. It is a kind of moral bankruptcy. It takes root inside individuals who find each other and clump together in groups that try to take control in order to enforce their style and way of thinking. If they do get control, they quickly create systems that exclude diversity and impose their way of doing things in brutal ways meant to terrorize everyone else into compliance. When a government becomes populated by such individuals, it turns into a structural system of terror bent on brutalizing anyone who is not exactly like them.
There are three main mappable categories of this deadly psychic virus: Dictators, Terror Groups, and Hate Groups. But the corruption lives inside everyone and is readily expressed in every day transactions. You see it in families, in workplaces, in schools, between friends and lovers. It thrives in ignorance and lack of self-awareness. It particularly loves to reside inside narcissists!
Dictators of the World
This is a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the world's current dictators and authoritarian regimes. In 2022, there are 57 dictatorships in the world. We define a dictator as the ruler of a land rated “Not Free” by the Freedom House in their annual survey of freedom. See the interactive map and photos below or click to visit the current dictators category.
Of course, the dictators of the world will point to all the yellow areas of this map and claim, “There! There is the evil capitalists who are draining the world of resources and polluting our planet!”
They are not entirely wrong, expect they think in black and white, good and evil,right and wrong. They split the world into opposite halves. Then, they step inside the Good Bubble, created entirely inside their mind and spew out their pent-up boiling hate, vengeance, and destructive tendencies on everyone else. They never take responsibility for themselves. They are the consummate victim, and always the hero in their narcissistic story. And so, it is in this way that we (the human race) will split the planet into two unreconcilable halves and all die together in a seething puddle of hate.
One step behind dictators and authoritarian rulers of the world are terror groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS, and Taliban (which actually managed to retake control of Afghanistan bumping them back up to the dictator map above). The map below shows terror groups around the world and provides a list of largest terrorist groups worldwide.
These are groups of people who twist words and religions to bolster their brutal causes. They are mostly stateless centers of terror who are trying to grab some land and people who they can crush and ruin.
Overall Terrorism Index Score: GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators: incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage. To measure the impact of terrorism, a five year weighted average is applied.
One step behind terror groups are hate groups. Rather than centering their brutal activities in one spot or country, hate groups operate like a distributed network that hock, sell, and propagate hate. It is easier than ever to breed hate with the advent of the Internet and people who live their lives online.
Hate groups traffick outrage and outlandish accusations designed to divide the world into Us and Them, into people you can trust and people you can’t trust. Hate groups are insidious and invade peoples minds like a drug. Once you become addicted to hate, it is an addiction that is harder to kick than heroin. It is a poison to your mind that is more destructive than Meth. Hate literally changes the neural pathways of your brain.
The following images are from Jigsaw, an incredible website that helps you visualize hate.
Another excellent mapping project is the Hate-Map using real time data of hate events to create a map that shows hotspots and how hate is growing worldwide.
The Hate Map is populated with data submitted both by our internal researchers, the public and our network of volunteers. This data largely stems from publicly available news-sources and consolidations of information from other public data-sets and records. Existing records are however often limited in scope and fail to give a comprehensive picture of the global activities of the far right ranging from spread of propaganda and low-level activities through major terrorist incidents.
All data in the Hate Map is verified and quality controlled by internal researchers who are experts on far right extremism and experienced in the field of open source intelligence (OSINT) building on public sources and providing verifiable documentation before it is made available in our public-facing database and dashboard. Our researchers take great care to verify sources where there might exist any doubt. Links to external sources are provided for all our database entries in order to ensure that the public further can verify any incident independently.
Our dataset is cross referenced against the work of other institutions and organizations mapping the far right in order to ensure as comprehensive a picture of the global situation of the far right as possible, in keeping with the highest academic standards.
The Hate Map is a living document and both recent and historic events are added and verified on a daily basis. -- The Hate-Map
Regardless of if you are a dictator; an authoritarian ruler; a leader or member of a terror group; a leader or member of a hate group; a narcissistic boss, sibling, friend, or parent, you play from the same dirty handbook. That book repeats one mantra over and over, which is to inflict as much pain, terror, and suffering on your enemy (which is anyone who does not agree with you) while constantly claiming to be the victim. And if you can’t win that way, then you have the right to destroy everything.
This attitude, belief system, behavior is all a big cover up of who you really are. It is a smoke screen and distraction because deep, deep down inside yourself you feel inferior, impotent, dithering, confused, frighten, and like a limp Weiner. That’s why you run around the world hurting everyone else. If you can’t have it your way, then you want to be the first to destroy it!
Looking at these map, it is pretty clear we are not doing very well as species. No wonder we are not paying attention to Climate Change. Perhaps we won’t need to after all. The way things are going we will blow ourselves up before nature cleans us off the surface of the planet with climate disasters that are only getting bigger and more deadlier by the year… and this trend is only going bigger and badder not the other way.
Perhaps we all better stop, take a deep breathe, and listen to the Whale Songs again. The ones Vermont biologist Roger Payne captured and brought to us in the 1970s!
I realized this thing Lin said in the second episode of Shantaram is part of the puzzle of the Yetzer Harah.
I first heard about the Yetzer Harah while listening to Alan Watts lectures who describes it like this:
So, in Hebrew theology incidentally. That there is a thing called the yetzer harah. And in the beginning of time when God created Adam he implanted in him the yetzer hara and the yetzer hara means that wayward spirit. He put something funny in man so that man would be a little odd and it was a result of the yetzer hara that Adam was tempted by Eve who was tempted by the serpent to eat that famous fruit. And, but the Hebrew believes that everything that God created is good. Including the Yetzer Hara. Because if it hadn’t been for the yetzer hara, there would have nothing ever happened. Everybody would have obeyed God and God would have said well this is kind of a bore.
Now that you see, you can’t you can’t just get up to someone and say disobey me, because if they do there are varying you. See that’s a double bind. Say to somebody disobey me but God is much more subtle than that. He didn’t tell Adam to disobey he told him to obey.
But suddenly he put this yetzer hara thing in like that so that, God would say well I’m not responsible. For this thing’s going to happen on its own because what everybody wants is something to happen on its own. And everybody wants that.
Because you see, this sensation of being you. This curious lonely center of awkward sensitivity, subject to the most peculiar feelings and pains and anxieties and all that sort of thing all that. Is an essential prerequisite for feeling something else. These two experiences go together. -- 2.4.9 Way Beyond Seeking Part 2; Alan Watts Organization
In short, the Yetzer Harah is why we do evil things, why we fear people we don’t know, why we wage wars, why we cheat each other… pretty much why we are living in the mess we made of the world today.
Shantaram tells the story of how Lin made a mess of his life (surely guided by his inner Yetzer Harah that tempted him into making a lot of bad choices that landed him in prison). Then, Lin makes a courageous choice, escapes from prison, and gets a second chance to live his life, which he is messing up again–gosh darn it!
I’m only on episode 2…so Lin is probably going to embark on different mistakes. And I bet he is going to grow from these mistakes because Lin demonstrates the capacity to reflect on his new situation and past mistakes, which pushing open the door of the prison cell inside your head, just a little bit, but if you look…there is vast and beautiful field of wisdom beyond your prison cell behind your wall of ignorance.
Is wisdom perhaps the reason God implanted the Yetzer Harah into man at the very beginning?
I suppose we will never know because clearly we are going to kill each other long before we can collectively learn how to embrace diversity and celebrate life in all its many facets and ways of being in the world.
Images For Archetypal Animations
Feature Archetypal Animation
Music: Down the Rabbit Hole: Emma Wallace  Rabbit Hole 2:02
Second Archetypal Animation
I was searching for exactly what Lin said to himself when he woke up the first morning in his friends tent in the Bombay slum. I could not find it, but I found a lot of other great quotes from Gregory David Roberts who is the author of Shantarm. So, I have sprinkled these in between the credits of where I found the images for this animation.
“Civilisation, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“Fear dries a man’s mouth, and hate strangles him. That’s why hate has no great literature: real fear and real hate have no words.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love; the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing; the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“While I was chained to a wall and being tortured, I realized, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,’ he said. ‘It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men – it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone – the noblest man alive or the most wicked – has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“There’s a truth deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless, usually, in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world, but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know that truth is to share it, from heart to heart, just as Prabhakar told it to me, just as I’m telling it to you now.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
Music: Shantaram (Chapter Four)Various Artists  Aeternum 9:16  Inner Fire – Yuriy from Russia Remix 9:15