After Math — The Magical Calculus of Consciousness

Here & Now

Arcade Fire – Afterlife (Official Video)

Recently, I had an astonishing conversation with a friend on Facebook. I consider it remarkable because so much of what transpires on Facebook (and all other social media platforms) is mindless. This is because that’s what Facebook peddles: distraction. Such platforms are the perfect place to project our deepest fantasies, dreams, desires, and distortions onto other people who have been reduced to simple icons or avatars. Instead of being ordinary people with complicated lives and good and bad qualities, just like ourselves, other people get turned into containers that we fill with our own undigested consciousness and more often with our unconsciousness–projections of ourselves temporarily lost onto others who inhabit the thing about ourself that we have not been able to accept or see inside ourself yet.

What woke me up in this exchange was something Barry said about the TV series Once Upon a Time (love the part in this sneak peak of this series where Snow asks ‘Where are we going?’ and the Evil Queen says ‘Somewhere horrible’ and laughs… doesn’t that sound like reality now?!). I had watched this series and enjoyed it. He had watched and observed something profound:

“Getting back to the remarkable dramaturgy in “Once Upon a Time,” I’m currently up to Season 5, where the main characters of Storybrooke pay a visit to the mythical Underworld, where they encounter a number of other incidental characters who have “Unfinished Business” which they need to resolve before going on to the “Better Place” or to the “Other Place” in the AfterLife. AfterLife is a term of art from Theology, but compare it to Aftermath (which should be written AfterMath). The “Math” is a reference to the individual calculating how they are going to handle a crisis in their life. The characters routinely argue over devising the best or most practical solution to the immediate crisis or dilemma.What happens throughout the series (but especially in the Underworld) is that the viewer at home learns key information about some character’s previously undisclosed Backstory and their associated Unresolved Burning Issues. How the characters eventually process it is often quite stark. Do they choose the unwise path of revenge (and thereby lose their “Happy Ending”) or do they choose the more saintly path of mercy, forgiveness, and healing.What astonished me is how beautifully this ABC-TV series illuminates the Storybook Character Model that I wrote up two decades ago within the scope of our NSF-funded research project at the MIT Media Lab. Click here for the narrative that attends this slide.”

Barry Kort
All credit to my friend Barry Kort who provided this in a comment on an ordinary post made November 3 at 7:58 AM  · 

This stopped me in my mindless tracks, since being mindless on Facebook is something I have learned how to do as a survival skill on this platform. I am exaggerating this a bit since I had several other meaningful exchanges on this post, but meaningful exchanges are rare on Facebook and most don’t last long.

Before I became a mindless user of Facebook, I use to bring my full attention into groups and conversations on Facebook because I thought there could be meaningful exchanges that could occur in this virtual space. But I quickly learned the constant flow of chatter drowned out pretty much anything meaningful transpiring there, sweeping it into the Sea of Forgettable & Forgotten Thought only to pop up again (almost word for word) in another group by someone else or on someone else’s timeline.

It is not plagiarism; it is only what the Sea of Forgetting does to all of us and it happens by design because our thoughts, behaviors, needs, and desires are being cultivated and harvested by these platforms for the good of others, not ourselves. So we are manipulated into thinking we are having a valuable exchange or conversation with another human being, but this is an illusion unless you bring your consciousness into the process, which most of the time, you will be punished for doing… so most people stop trying.

This is when we become most vulnerable to being herded by the algorithms, which constantly shift our NewsFeeds and point our attention here and there: all for the good of those who own the platforms (or who do business with them: the exchange of money). And like this, we become nothing more than Parrots of the Algorithms.

What do I mean by that?

Facebook knows basically at our primal core, we are herd animals. This means we can be herded and shepherded in very predictable ways. A lot like these sheep being herded and directed by sheep herders and well-trained sheep dogs to create the Mona Lisa with LED lights! Really, watch it…you’ll enjoy it.

Extreme Sheep Herding LED Art — Oct 19, 2012

On the Facebook platform, what is being herded is our time and attention— sent to places that are advantageous to the builders of the platform and the Captains of Commerce they are courting. When I say places, I also mean places in our mind: states of feeling, states of emoting, states of being; all these mental states affect us and inform our actions in the world (which of course is what Facebook and algorithms understand). And so the algorithms watch our every action. They even anticipate them like smart, bullish sheep dogs. And, they redirect us if we try to buck the system we are flowing inside by using the platform that has been created for us. Any undesired action or change of direction or new pattern–something that might wake us up, perhaps like genuine friendship and conversation–gets redirected (e.g., shut down, stops showing up in your NewsFeed, stops showing up in your friend’s NewsFeed).

I know about bullish sheep dogs. I have a Great Pyrenees-Pitt Bull puppy who can be very stubborn in getting me to do what she wants me to do, rather than what I want to do. After trying to use Facebook to cultivate generative conversations and reciprocal relationships (like friendships in the normal, real world work), I gave up after learning some hard and disappointing lessons.

  • I learned the more I chased after generative conversations on Facebook, the faster they dissolved and flowed somewhere else. It was like a bad episode in the land of Storybrooke where everyone suddenly forgets who they are and begins repeating the same mistakes that will lead to the same horrible outcomes, just as the evil Queen promises in the clip above.
  • I learned when most individuals sent me a friend request, they weren’t at all interested in being my friend. They simply were seeking a new follower for themselves because they had a carved out a wonderful space in their tiny corner of Storybrooke being played out all over the world on Facebook (and this includes any other social media platform one engages). In fact, I soon found out that it is virtually impossible to be a real friend on Facebook because the algorithms are constantly cutting us off from each other and directing us into community pools where intrigue, outrage, and wholly forgetting experiences are transpiring and repeating over and over again, basically the same mistakes occurring again and again for the good of a few.
  • I learned everybody wants to save the world on Facebook, and each individual believes they are the savior who has found the One and Only Solution, which makes them more of ruler, doesn’t it? You join their group and post something they don’t understand or don’t agree with and it gets quickly deleted or it doesn’t get approved or the worst Fate Ever on Facebook--it gets ignored.
Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Official Music Video) — [I love this group so much! They are definitely a favorite of my Last DJ of Earth character!!]

And so, I learned to bring my unconscious attention to Facebook because that is what Facebook traffics: unconsciousness and this is because it is always exciting and a little bit dangerous. But isn’t that why we go there? Because we are seeking the unexpected, a surprise, something to help us escape?

Escape what‘, you may ask?

Reality, of course. We, the Good People of Earth, have been reduced into beings who constantly seek escape from the extremely boring social containers we are forced to exist inside. We do this because that is the price of gaining the luxurious privileges of living inside the container of a modern Westernized civilization. But, of course, these privileges are not equal or fair for everyone. They simply appear to be fair, but it is an illusion cultivated by the system to maintain extreme imbalances baked into the system long ago.

I don’t think it is anyone’s fault for playing by the extremely unfair rules we were born to play. The system perpetuates these roles for it has been designed over thousands of years to keep us unconscious and divided because this way we are more easily herded like sheep for the good of the system. To not fall into the Pit of Greed designed into the system requires a feat of conscious growth that is definitely not encouraged and even actively discouraged because that would be dangerous for the well-being of system.

So, when Barry Kort said the above, I woke up, and then he added: “If there is one thing that guides my relentless and idiosyncratic drive to craft fundamental theories about the observable behavior patterns of our species and our culture, it’s the drive to Bear Accurate Witness. In “Once Upon a Time,” when Henry becomes the Author, that’s his guiding principle too.”

I asked him to comment more on Bearing Accurate Witness, saying: “Can you say more on the Drive to Bear Accurate Witness?I am pulling this over finally after a very distracting weekend 😉 … but I am bending my mind back to the task at hand. What you are saying is so utterly important in this Now.I am borrowing your brilliant insight AfterMath to title this resource page. I’ve added a tag — The Magical Calculus of Consciousness.Bear Accurate Witness is so important… could this be a baby Archetype forming inside the collective human sea of consciousness… one essential to take root and grow for us as a species to survive what is coming next? This election was very interesting, but we’ve just begun this struggle…”


When/if Barry responds, I will add his comments here, but the idea of Bearing Accurate Witness is extremely pertinent to the exponential rise of relative realities being projected into the world by the species Homo sapiens sapiens.

He answered: “There are three or four places where I dove into the concept of Bearing Accurate Witness.1. The stricture against bearing false witness is enshrined in the Ten Commandments.2. When I was in Grad School, studying arcane topics like Cybernetic Systems Theory and Feedback Control Theory, we came to the Fundamental Theorem of Feedback Control Theory. One-half of that theorem spelled out the requirement of reliably observing the current state, so that it can be compared against the goal state to determine the present amount of deviation. That deviation then drove the second phase, which was to compute the amount of adjustment to the controls to drive the deviation to zero as smoothly as possible. If you cannot reliably observe and report the current state, then you do not have a functional feedback control loop.3. Among the introductions Zen that one could find in an American bookstore was one by Bernie Glassman entitled, “Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace.”4. In Judaism, the affirmation of One God (the “Shema”) is recited multiple times in weekly services. But this affirmation appears exactly once (in Hebrew) in the Torah scroll and it exactly fits on one line. In the calligraphy, the last letter of ‘Shema’ (the Ayin) is written in oversize lettering, and the last letter of the last word (Daled) is also written in oversize lettering. These two Hebrew letters, together form a two-letter Hebrew word that means “Witness.” When I told this story to a class, one of them created this drawing for me.”

— Barry Kort
Image provided by Barry Kort

He also provided two other pieces he has written that are also extremely profound and worth your time and attention.

The Ninth Intelligence by Barry Kort — September 6, 2013

Moulton Lava — Solving for the BackStory

Moulton Lava — Moultonic Musings — aka Barry Kort — Solving for the BackStory — THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2005

Now, I will boldly ramble on… thus, Now is a probably a good time to skim what follows.

Projecting consciousness is not a new ability. Humans have been doing this ever since crossing the Threshold of Consciousness. I talk about this in my story and have imagined what it must have been like for the first human to cross the Threshold of Consciousness bring the entire species into they type of consciousness we know and understand today. It was not always like this. Consciousness has taken many, many channels of bing to get to us.

I will not say more about this now other than to provide a simple metaphor illustrating our ability to project consciousness. It is very much like what our sun does in emitting light. Mostly, this is a good thing…after all, there would not be life as we know it on Earth without it. However, sometimes huge coronal mass ejections occur releasing dangerous amounts of plasma and its accompanying magnetic field, which roar from the sun like a hot solar wind. These flares can be very destructive to the fragile life forms clinging to the surfaces of surrounding planets like Earth. Indeed, some theories speculate it was exactly such a devastation that befell Mars, causing its fragile life forms to disappear.


The Netflix series Away explores this idea in a deep and gritty drama that feels terribly real as the first humans to venture to Mars in order to set up the first base station there (and perhaps reintroduce life!). The series explores deep and complex realities of living in space alongside even more complex complications of cherished relationships left behind on Earth. As the first astronauts travel farther and farther from home, the vast distance and time delays threaten to collapse fragile bonds of the loved ones being tested and strained by circumstances beyond their control. And of course, some of these circumstances cannot be fully calculated by us, fragile human lifeforms, bolding exploring our home solar systems. Definitely worth watching!

Away | Official Trailer | Netflix | Aug 10, 2020

This video is a NASA animation of a Coronal Mass Ejection from our Sun.

NASA | Magnificent Eruption | coronal mass ejection | in Full HD | Sep 5, 2012

And this Alan Watts video about consciousness (as I begin to transcribe this video, I am bulled over that Watts begins this lecture by saying human evolved a system of self-consciousness…I had not paid attention to this as I wrote my musing above):

Alan Watts | The Cosmic Masochis |Posted Nov 14, 2020 by Haunted By The TruthWithout thought of white there is no black, without self there is no other, without life there is no death.

Partial Transcript of Alan Watts’ Lecture:

00:01: Several thousand years ago, human beings evolved the system of self-consciousness.

00:10: And, they knew that they knew: “There was a young man who said though it seems that I know that I know; what I would like to see is the I/eye that knows me when I know that I know that I know.

00:24: You see, and this is the human problem: We know that we know, and so there came a point in our evolution when we didn’t guide life by just trusting our instincts and had to think about it and had to purposely arrange and discipline and push our lives around in accordance with foresight and words and systems of symbols accountancy calculation and so on. And then, we worry once you start thinking about things you worry as to whether you’ve thought enough.

1:03: Did you really take all the details into consideration? Was every fact properly reviewed? And by jove, the more you think about it the more you realize that you really couldn’t take everything into consideration because all the variables in any human decision are incalculable.

1:22: So you get anxiety. This though also this is the price you pay for knowing that you know, for being able to think about thinking to feel about feeling, and so you’re in this funny position.


I will not wax and wane about our ability of consciousness and how it has allowed us to warp reality because I write about this in great detail in my story about Climate Change and Consciousness. Rather, I will simply highlight a few other moments that have captured my attention and inform my thinking on this usually, very abstract, but also very old idea.

Shape of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut, Shape of Stories (subtitulos castellano)

I love how this clip starts: “Now…where the hell are we?

Doesn’t that about sum up reality, especially these days in the Year of Our Lord 2020 with a raging global pandemic right after a highly contentious US presidential election called a clear winner but the loser refuses to accept reality.

Now, why do I start out this resource list with this timeless clip about the Shape of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut?

Because stories are how we have learned to collect, consolidate, and direct consciousness to do things in the world. We use stories to do this be it an individual consolidating his or her consciousness to do something in the world or a state, a nation, or a civilization consolidating all its individual streams of consciousness into a powerful river of consciousness to do something bold and daring in the world.

Kurt Vonnegut, Shape of Stories — This is a cheat sheet of the main story arches we love to tell as humans, but listen to the whole lecture because a critical story arch is missing from this list. [Image gotten from The Shape of Stories — Broadsheet]

Current Events Informing the Shape of Humanity’s Current Reality — Our Collective Calculus of Consciousness & Story

I want to spend a little time on current events in America because they have an outsized role in shaping and determining many other stories unfolding inside the United States as well as around the world.


The first and most profound, probably the event that will gleam loudly in history books around the world like a glaring code red alarm, is Donald Trump’s catastrophic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the very beginning, he chose the path of ignorance, denial, rapacity, and blatant disregard for human life. He did this because he wanted to place the health and wellbeing of the economy (specifically the part that benefited him and his despicable, greedy friends) over the lives of the people of the United States of America. It is a crime against humanity, and one day, an accurate witness of this terrible reality will need to be borne by all of the members of this society–our collective: the United States of America. But for now, Donald Trump continues to muddy the waters of our collective consciousness with more lies, fresh deceit, copious bluffs and endless confidence tricks. His efforts are so vast and so endless, the good people of this country have been worn down and worn out. This has made all of us vulnerable to being swindled out of our goodwill, our commonsense, our intelligence, and most of all, our inner moral compass. Once depleted of these intangible, but infinitely powerful parts of any individual’s consciousness, we, the people, have been cruelly cast adrift on a savage sea of unconsciousness. Donald Trump did not create this sea. We, the people, created it by turning away from the truth in our exhaustion. But he is using it to pound away at the foundations of our fragile democracy. His endless subterfuge will take years, perhaps decades (even centuries), to repair the memory banks that contain the collective psyche of our great country, which guides and informs every individual living inside this system of consciousness we call the United States of America. This is because too many individuals will continue to believe Donald Trump’s lies long after this man of deception, artifice, and divisive duping is dead.

This article in The Atlantic beautifully articulates the damage he has done in 4 percious, short years of his reign of flimflam wiling of the American people. We are paying the price of reality, not him. That’s what the twisted rich do with their power. They thrown other people under the bus of reality for their bad calculations of consciousness forestalling their own awful fate for a little longer… but not forever. In the end, fate always catches up and swallows its guilty, gullible victims of ignorance who never bother to grow their individual field of consciousness.


Trump’s Indifference Amounts to Negligent Homicide

The president’s behavior may not meet the term’s legal definition, but it captures the horror a government is visiting upon its people. | Written by James Fallows | 11/20/20

Image from The Atlantic article: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GETTY

Fallows begins by defining the title saying, “Negligent homicide has a specific meaning in the law books. The standards of proof and categories of offense vary from state to state. But the essence is: Someone died because someone else did not exercise reasonable care.”

Then Fallows quickly drills down to the nitty gritty details of death for which Trump ultimately is responsible.

“More than a year ago, I argued in these pages that if Donald Trump held virtually anyother position of responsibility in modern society, he would already have been removed from that role. The article was called “If Trump Were an Airline Pilot,” and the examples ranged from CEOs to nuclear-submarine commanders to surgeons in an operating room. If any of them had demonstrated the impulsiveness, the irrationality, the vindictiveness, the ceaseless need for glorification that all distinguish Trump, responsible authorities would long ago have suspended them. The stakes—in lives, legal exposure, dollars and cents, war and peace—would be too great to do otherwise.

At the time of that comparison, the main case against Trump involved his temperamental, intellectual, and moral unfitness for the job. But since then we’ve moved into the realm of manslaughter. Yesterday nearly 2,000 Americans died of COVID-19. By Thanksgiving Day, another 10,000 to 15,000 will have perished. By year’s end, who knows? And meanwhile the person in charge of guiding the national response does nothing.”

Take some time to read all of Fallows’ article yourself and draw your own conclusions. Even better, subscribe to The Atlantic to support their work for without this 4th estate (the media) operating free and open, Donald Trump probably would have gotten away with his scam upon democracy and the American people. He would have destroyed it and installed himself as dictator of the Greatest Nation that collapsed in on itself.


Photo: Bébé — Drawing on Fence Surrounding the White House the Day After the Election Was Called for Joe Biden

Another moment I would like to memorialize here is how Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon opened their broadcast on the day the election was called for Biden (11/7/20). It had been a long week waiting for the all the state counts to come in and CNN was maintaining continuous coverage of these events because this was such an important collective moment. They came on just after Kamala Harris and Joe Biden had given their speeches in Delaware and the moment was really sinking in for everyone, even Trump (though he refuses to admit it publicly still that’s not his shtik, a Yiddish word for act or gimmick, trick or a prank).

I love how Chris begins by asking how his cohost and friend Don is feeling. It was an important moment because this allowed something fragile, illusive, raw, and rare to emerge. All credits for the excerpt below goes to CNN’s transcripts page — thank you CNN!


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Good to see you, sharing history once again. And tonight is a big night for America. What does it mean? Well, we’ll discuss it together.

But we know this. For now, we have a President Elect Joe Biden. He came out, he addressed the nation and gave a call to give each other a chance, he said. That this is a time to heal. And literally, he’s right. We are sick from COVID right now, and a poison politics that is every bit as virulent. Don, how you’re feeling?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It’s – I almost can’t talk right now, because of the emotion that we will get to. So I’m not sure how much I want to say right off the top. But, you know, I’ve said all along, we have two viruses that’s infecting this country, and that’s COVID and racism.

And what we witnessed tonight was the complete opposite of racism, with the diversity, with the acknowledgement of all kinds of people, with someone saying they want to represent every kind of American, even the people who didn’t vote for him. We had been starving for that in this country. And it has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican, or being Conservative, or Independent, or Liberal. It’s about human decency.

So I have to be quite honest with you, the entire day I was asleep, because we got off this – we got off the air at what seven this morning. I forget it’s been going back and forth, 7, 8, 9; we got here at 7 o’clock this morning. I went ahead and had breakfast with my fiance, right. I’m a black man, a gay American. I live in New York City.

I went ahead and had breakfast with my fiance. I haven’t had time – that much time to spend with him. We had breakfast. I went home, I went to sleep. I am staying in a hotel because of these crazy hours not far from here. I heard – I’m on the 40th floor, Chris. I heard people cheering 40 floors below me. And I woke up and I said what is going on?

And I opened the drapes and I could see the city around me people were cheering in New York City. I turn the television on. And there were my colleagues announcing that Joe Biden had become the president elect of the United States, and not to forget, Kamala Harris, the first black woman. I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed by that.

I didn’t realize the PTSD, that many marginalized people, that African-Americans, women, Latinos, people of color, all kind of White people – PTSD that people are feeling around this country, because we have had whiplash from someone who only cares about himself and not uniting people.

Chris over just the last 6, 7, 8 months, you and I have been together. You have been – you were sick. I was – I worried, I thought one of my best friends was going to die. I cried on the air. We have more than 200,000 Americans who have died. And as a journalist, we have an obligation to tell the truth.

And we have been telling the truth about what this administration, this President has been doing with this virus. And so you got sick. I’ve lost – I lost a close childhood friend, I lost a close adult friend. Both of them died from complications from COVID. And then along came George Floyd. And I had to sit in cover that story – we all did, about a man who died on the street and we all watch it on videotape, from someone who seemed to not care about human life, just sat there with his knee on the neck. And we had all these protests around the country.

So immediately, my thoughts went back to these protests that happened this summer and when I saw and heard what was happening today, all I can think of was – think of was, how could we not have expected that if Joe Biden became the president elect of the United States that the streets would not erupt after what had happened in this country?

Just – and I’m just talking about the last eight months. I’m not talking about all the stuff that we dealt with before – the fake news and people yelling at us on the street and people calling me nigger and fag and all kinds of things, and you’re fake news and all of that. Never before that I’ve been in this business since 1991, have I ever had to deal with the crap that I’ve had to deal with over the last four years. It is disgusting.

And so just over the last months – last couple months, we’ve had all of that. And over the past few nights we have been saying, we’re going to give you some information. We don’t know who’s going to win. We’re going to – America was – and they’re yelling at us, please, please call this. We are sick of it. We cannot take much more of it.

And so when the call finally came, and I saw my colleagues – and I love all of them and everybody around, they’re all talking about – what about this and who’s this and they were – Democrats didn’t do this and Democrats – that’s not what America wanted. America needed a release valve at that moment. And they wanted to get it off their chest. It was like a third world country, people who have been oppressed.

[23:05:00] Finally, the relief came that no longer that we have to live under this oppression. No longer that we have to live under people who’re pretending that up is not up and down is not down, that one plus one doesn’t equal two. And so I can’t help but be emotional at this moment. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to say. So forgive me. I may not say all the right things tonight. I am very emotional. And guess what, I’m speaking for everyone.

But I got to tell you, when I watched that Black woman come out on stage tonight, and I saw all of those people from of all ages and all different backgrounds – the whole entire theme was everyone is welcome under this tent, we don’t care who you are. We don’t care if you voted for us or not. You’re all part of this American experiment.

It was – I was so overwhelmed to hear that. I don’t care what people think. If they think I’m biased tonight, I don’t care, because I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican, I’m not a Conservative, not I’m not a Liberal, I am an American. And we all deserve to be able to live in this country and have respect.

And what this administration and what this president doesn’t do, they do not respect people, or anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe. And so I’m very emotional. So when you ask me how I’m feeling right now, I’m sorry. That’s all I can tell you. This is how I feel right now. I am so happy to have this platform to be able to do this.

I may not have it after this. But I really don’t care. I am so happy to live in a country that has an administration that is going to go in regardless, I’m going to challenge them on their policies, I’m going to hold them to account. But when you say we’re all welcome, and we’re all equal in this country, amen. I’m in on that. And I love you. 

CUOMO: I’m glad I asked.

LEMON: Thank you for letting – thank you for letting me say that. And I got your phone call in the middle of the day. And I loved that you were out there with your daughter in the streets with people and showing her what true diversity is and what being a true American is. It’s not just performative – putting up flags and putting big flags in your yard. And I heard someone say, Oh, I don’t understand why – how Joe Biden could win, because I didn’t see a lot of flags and I didn’t see a lot of people with big events.

That is not what this country is about. It’s not about performative patriotism. It’s not about who can hang the biggest flag. It’s about who has the biggest heart. And who – who has class, who can turn the other cheek, who can forgive their neighbor. That’s what being a real patriot is. It’s not performative. It’s what’s – it’s what you hold in here and I hope we can get back to that. That’s it. I’m through for now. Thank you for letting–

Note: We should all take a moment to write our stories about this past weekend…imho...


Photo: Bébé — Drawing on Fence Surrounding the White House the Day After the Election Was Called for Joe Biden

In the past 8 months of watching CNN (more than ever I did before but I wanted to learn about COVID-19 and be informed about the Presidential election). In this time, I have come to greatly enjoy the little bits of dialog they share with viewers every night when Chris’ program ends and Don’s begins. They often tackle issues they do not always agree upon. They do it with passion, humor, and respect for each other. They are showing us in real time how all of us can have these types of extremely important, but often uncomfortable conversations. This is how we process, distill, and refine consciousness together. This work is absolutely necessary to sublimate consciousness as individuals and as collectives. You cannot transform consciousness and lift it to a higher level until you channel, process, refine, and purify–an refine again and again until you get different distillations can be sublimate a critical first step to transformation.

You skip these steps–your calculus of consciousness gets reset to the beginning and you get to start all over again–just like my friend Barry Kort was pointing out in his enjoyment of watching how all the crazy characters in Once Upon a Time were constantly recalculating their actions to get better outcomes and the aftermath that often follows miscalculations! Don’t we love the AfterMath and the chaos that often ensuing when we miscalculate our actions in the world. Thank you Barry Kort for this brilliant illumination of who we are as human beings… perhaps we are simply Consciousness Calculators… if we are, I love it!


Photo: Bébé — Drawing on Fence Surrounding the White House the Day After the Election Was Called for Joe Biden

The next moment from this broadcast I want to illuminate is Don’s interview with House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. This is important because back when the Democrats were trying to pick their candidate to run against Trump, it was James Clyburn when he made public who he was voting for in the Democratic Party presidential primaries taking place just before COVID-19 was going to turn the world upside down that consolidated support for Joe Biden that ended up being the spark that swept through Super Tuesday. All credits for the excerpt below goes to CNN’s transcripts page


LEMON: We are living history. Once again, another historic administration is coming – the Biden-Harris administration. Black voters overwhelmingly backed Biden by a margin – a margin of 87 percent to 12 percent, that’s according to the exit polls, playing a very crucial role in this election.

So let’s talk to the highest ranking Black American in Congress, and that’s House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us, Congressman, how you doing?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I’m doing good, and thank you very much for having me.

LEMON: Yes. I spoke to you. I think, it was one week ago and here we are now.

CLYBURN: Yes.

LEMON: I have to admit. I don’t know any other way. But honestly, it’s been a very emotional day for me. I tweeted out earlier that I was in Grant Park for Barack Obama and then now I am reporting on the first Black woman to be vice president of the United States. It’s an amazing time to be an American.

CLYBURN: It really is. And I think that people ought to think a little bit about this. Here we are about to inaugurate a gentlemen, who was Vice President to the first African-American president, as far as we know, and is also going to be president with the first African- American, Asian-American vice president. That is a tremendous thing. And also the daughter of immigrants.

I think this campaign when you’re still going to look at it and the Biden-Harris ticket, they say so much about what this country is all about. And you and I know, you are Louisianan, and I’m a South Carolinian, but we know what it is to live in a part of the country that has wrestled with these issues for years.

And we’ve been doing, I think, great work toward that more perfect union, until four years ago. And it turns out that the country took a big step backwards. And so this campaign and the success of this campaign, I think, is an indication of what a lesson Tocqueville said about the country when he wrote that America is not great because it is more enlightened than any other nation, but rather, because it has always been able to repair its faults.

The election Donald Trump opened up a fault line in the country. The election of Joe Biden is an attempt to repair that fault. And I think he will succeed.

LEMON: Did you have – I’m sure you did. But talk to me about how underserved – people who are in minority and underserved communities, what they had been dealing with over the last four years, this is beyond politics. Many of us have been under attack from this administration.

CLYBURN: Yes, and that’s what bothered me so much about the administration. George W. Bush and I have are good buddies. Yes, I won’t use the word friends, because we’ve never really had a close relationship. But we have a good working relationship. And we’re buddies and we still are.

We chatted at John Lewis’s funeral. Here’s George W. Bush, coming from Texas, to appear at the Homegoing service of John Lewis. And we got a president who barely acknowledges the first African-American to lie in state – in the state’s capitol. And I want to be sure that everybody understands, I know Rosa Parks, she was in repose. She was not in state. John Lewis was in state, and there’s a difference.

So he’s the first African-American, but we got a president who refused to even acknowledge that to be the case. It would seem to me he would have paid respects at the Capitol. That’s the kind of indignity that this guy has heaped up on African Americans.

I was on the program earlier today with Omarosa. I will never get over the fact that this president looked into a camera, spoke into a microphone and called Omarosa a dog. I will never be able to get over that.

[23:30:00]

I can’t get over the fact that this president looked at a mob down in Charlottesville, Virginia, and called them and said that there were good people on both sides. To have a president of the United States, driving wedges between people, it’s just not a good thing.

We know this is not a perfect country. This country back in 1619 brought their first African-Americans to these shores and they were enslaved and that’s lasted for 244 years. And then for another 100 years we had apartheid. He didn’t call it that. But “separate, but equal” was apartheid, no different than what we had in South Africa.

But this country wrestled with that. And in 1954, the United States Supreme Court in a unanimous nine to zero decision, Chief Justice, a Republican appointed by Republican, not partisan politics, but Americans said that’s wrong, and we’re going to do something about correcting that. And to have this president come in, and try to undo all of that, and try to turn the clock back, this is just too much to take for too many people.

LEMON: I want to talk to you about that, especially about working with – listen, there’s a difference between Republicans and Democrats trying to work together, then trying to work with someone who wants to deny reality, or deny that there’s systemic racism, or deny that people aren’t treated differently in this country. It’s really tough sometimes.

And I just have to be honest with you, Congressman, it’s really tough to sometimes to sit here and have to talk to people who you know are bigots, you know, they’re racists. And you have to sometimes pretend that there is some sense of fairness in the questions or in them, when you know, they’re not going to tell the truth, when you know, they’re making excuses for racism. 

How do you do that? Give us all some advice, including me. How do you do that when you are a representative? And you know over the past four years, many of the people who are not in your party have denied that there is even racism in this country, and has condoned every bigoted thing this president does, makes excuses for us. Help us out here what do we do?

CLYBURN: Well, I understand your frustration with that. And quite frankly, I’m frustrated a whole lot over the years. But I always try to look at the big picture. And I know what my parents went through much of what your parents went through. And I know a lot of the indignities that they suffered in order for me to be where I am today.

And so I take a lot of that, as part of what I need to deal with in order to make those three daughters of mine, those four grandchildren I have, to make sure that they have a better life. Strom Thurmond and I had a very good working relationship. Strom Thurmond and I did not agree on much, but we worked together on behalf of the people of South Carolina.

His sister Gertrude was one of my best friends and Strom, he is talking all the time. My sister Gertrude just loves you. Well, it’s because I recognize that our backgrounds, our experiences have been different. And I worked to do what I could to help reconcile those differences. I’ve always said that if the distance between me and opponent on any issue are five steps, I don’t mind taking three of them.

LEMON: Amen.

CLYBURN: And so that’s just the way that I have operated. And I will say to you, you do such a good job in the profession that you’re in. I just admire your work. I watch you every night. And I just think you do a good job. Don’t let the disagreements, the setbacks, define your profession, work to overcome that. And you do a good job of it. Keep doing it.

[23:35:00]

Don’t let anybody throw cold water on your dreams. And that’s what we’re doing. They come along, see your dreams and aspiration – I tell people all the time, I’m practicing Eleventh Commandment. And Ronald Reagan used to say it all the time. Though, I heard it before Ronald Reagan ever said it. Thou shalt not throw cold water on another man’s dreams.

LEMON: Amen. I got to – David, the producer is just giving me just a minute. I’ve got to ask this one question. I apologize. I’m going to take a little longer here.

CLYBURN: Sure.

LEMON: So this is what I want to ask you. Right after the president- elect talked about all the people he wanted this coalition, which includes every American, he said this, OK. He said he especially wanted to make – and I think he was talking about you in large part.

And he said, and “especially for the moment when this campaign was at its lowest, the African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back. And I’ll always have yours.” That’s when I started crying watching that speech. And that was because of you what happened in South Carolina. You revived this man’s campaign. The reason we have a president-elect Joseph Biden today is in large part because of James Clyburn.

CLYBURN: And James Clyburn stood where he did on that occasion, because of who – a young – not so young lady at St. John’s Baptist Church, who said to me just before the South Carolina primary, I need to know who you voted for. And when I told her, she looked in my face, and she said to me, I needed to hear that and this community needs to hear from you. It wasn’t Jim Clyburn. It was Mrs. Jones, sitting on the front Pew of St. John’s Baptist Church in Richland County, South Carolina. I did what I did for her, because she told me that she wanted to hear that. So, yes, it wasn’t Jim Clyburn. It was those people, my constituents, who told me time and time again, how they wanted me to conduct myself. And Mrs. Jones told me on that day, how she wanted me to stand up in this presidential election. And I responded to her wishes. 

LEMON: Congressman, it’s always a pleasure. I thank you so much. 

CLYBURN: Thank you about that.

LEMON: We appreciate you, and we love you. Thank you so much.

CLYBURN: Love you too, brother.

LEMON: And I see that Omega Psi Phi. I see that back there cute dog. And we see that Alpha Kappa Alpha is out there all for–

CLYBURN: They are roaming in the room for all the haters.

LEMON: Say again?

CLYBURN: I said, they are roaming in the room for all you haters. I tell all my Divine Nine brothers and sisters, in the final analysis, you may not know it, but you will end up in your Omega Chapter.

LEMON: Thank you. And we are appreciating the AKAs out there as well and the Deltas and don’t get mad, my sister was a Kappa sweetheart, so you know, it takes all kind.

CLYBURN: Well, that’s great. That’s great. And look, just remember, I told her – Kamala that I was an AKA through November 3rd, so her success allows me to go back to being the cute dog that I have.

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman. You be well. Thanks.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

LEMON: So America is getting to know its next Vice President. And coming up, we’re going to talk to a lifelong friend about the Kamala Harris. She knows on this remarkable night in American politics. We’ll be right back.


Photo: Bébé — Drawing on Fence Surrounding the White House the Day After the Election Was Called for Joe Biden

One more clip that I want to illuminate from this moment is the following which aired November 8, 2020 – 01:00   ET (CNN transcripts).


LEMON: Mmm! 

Let’s discuss now. Big night for America. John Avlon, S.E. Cupp, Nia- Malika Henderson. Hello, one and all. 

So what happened today in America?

(CROSSTALK) JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, this is a day to savor. This is from the celebrations that have been breaking out across the country, from New York, I realize Biden finally won when people started clacking pots and pans outside their windows and the celebrations and the car honking. 

This is one of the moments, using Biden was favorite poems, where hope and history run. And I think you’re feeling a deep sense that our democracy that has risen up in unprecedented numbers and really shown how strong it is. 

LEMON: I want to talk about the diversity that we have seen across the country. Listen, whether you supported the president or not, you had to — you see the pictures. These are young people, old people, all different ethnicities, either out there today celebrating or at the acceptance speech tonight in Delaware. 

S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: It was a really welcome, refreshing, uplifting, optimistic sight. And, you know, I experienced today from sort of two different perspectives, the first as a Republican who voted for Biden. 

And let me tell you, it has not been easy to be a never-Trumper over the past four years. It’s not always been comfortable. It’s been lonely. 

But I never bought into the need to make America great. I voted for Joe Biden to make America good again. And I think today our vote was not in vain. And that felt really good. 

The other way I experienced today was as a woman. 

And, Don, you and have I talked about this before. The greatest indignity of the past four years for women is not just that men are running the country; these men are running the country. 

And so to see a woman elected to go into the White House was really something. 

And I’ll just end by sharing a personal anecdote. I never talk about politics with my kid because he is 5 and he has a life. 

(LAUGHTER)

CUPP: Also, I just don’t want — why would I foist this upon him?

But it was big day. I was obviously watching TV and he comes in and he sees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the screen. 

He says, “What’s happening, Mom?

And I said, “Well, those two people were just chosen today to lead the country.” 

And he goes, “That’s a woman.” 

Could you lead the country, Mom?” And to say that I got emotional is an understatement. But when we talk about the need to see people like us represented in politics, in positions of power, in popular culture, it is that simple as to why. It is childlike as to why. 

[01:35:00]

CUPP: Because it matters to see yourself depicted back, reflected back. And in that moment, my son became a man who believes that women can do anything. And that was a very positive experience for me. 

LEMON: Wow. 

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I agree. All day hearing from friends and family about what this moment meant to them, my wife texting me as she was watching Kamala Harris, saying, wow, not only is Kamala Harris the vice president-elect; she acknowledged Black women in her speech, shouted them out in her speech and talked about Black women, the troubles and travails of Black women and the ways in which they’ve been the backbone of the country. 

To have that moment was really quite meaningful. My friend, who is Puerto Rican; his mom is 82 years old, lives in South Carolina, voted for the first time in a presidential election this year and was crying when the announcement came. 

And she felt like finally. This was a country that could she feel included in and that she voted for this president who was going to turn the world right side up again. So, so many emotions today seeing the outpouring of emotion of other people, because I think, over these last four years, there has been so much anxiety, stress and fear and pain, particularly from marginalized communities, women, people of color, gay folks like you and me, Don. 

And to just have this release today, that things will be different and we don’t have to wake up every day and see what Trump is tweeting, see what Republicans are excusing Trump from tweeting — 

LEMON: It’s like you become used to it. It’s normalized, right?

And all of a sudden you realize, it doesn’t have to be this way, there is, like I said earlier, there is this release valve. Wait a minute. 

CUPP: Exactly right. 

LEMON: This doesn’t have to be this way. And I have to say doubly so, we’re talking about diversity and minorities. 

But for women, for you to acknowledge what you just said, I thought that was beautiful, because your son may have grown up if this would continue. 

What is he, 5, 6?

CUPP: 5. 

LEMON: Not ever seeing what he saw today. And just the mere presence. 

CUPP: And he doesn’t know what he saw, right?

He doesn’t know. I don’t talk to him about feminism or — he’s 5. He cares about “Paw Patrol.” But what he saw was a woman could do anything. And he got that. 

LEMON: S.E., as a Republican woman, a conservative woman and you see what’s happened over the last few years with Trumpism, do you have any idea where this goes? 

What — have I some idea what the folks at home who are seeing because it shows up on my timeline, people who have found my contact information, you know. It doesn’t just go away. 

Is that wishful thinking to say that the madness and the craziness is going to go away from that group of people?

Because I don’t think it’s reflective of all conservatives but it’s certainly taken over the party. 

CUPP: Yes, listen. I think there is — we’ve seen two schools of thought right now emerging. And this is the mess that Joe Biden will inherit. There are people who want to unite enough to get him elected, right, and really want to come together. 

And then there are folks who really don’t have that interest at all. Those folks are on the Right. A lot of Trump supporters who have no interest in understanding one another

They’re also on the Left. A lot of folks who say, Trump supporters, eff you and good riddance and I’m going to step over your bodies on the way out. I think that attitude gets us three more Trumps at some point. 

We’ve got to figure out with a way to not excuse racism and bigotry disguised as economic insecurity; to not excuse it but to understand why we got here. 

LEMON: I got to get to the break, because I’m getting clobbered. Quick if you can. 

AVLON: Biden’s entire campaign core message was about this: question people’s judgment, not their motives. I’m a Democrat but I’ll be an American president. That I think ultimately is why you saw this turnout. We had a choice on this election between unity and division. And that’s why the relief. 

LEMON: Chris and have I been talking about. 

How do you do it?

That’s a mandate, if you want to call it, for the Biden-Harris administration but also, they’ve got to have people buy into it. 

How do you achieve that? We don’t know. But we’re going to try to continue to figure it out. We’ll be right back. 

You’re Fired… Or Wait… Maybe Not!!

Photo: Bébé — Drawing on Fence Surrounding the White House the Day After the Election Was Called for Joe Biden

S.E. Cupp is absolutely right!!! When our consciousness get split as individuals, it is considered a simple neurosis. When our collective consciousness gets split, the result into polarized politics. I think this splitting is entirely normal part of synthesizing and processing consciousness so that we understand it and can apply it more effectively in our lives. Doing this helps us see the other side more clearly–the divide begins inside. But, when we keep splitting and dividing until we grow so far apart from the other side we can no longer see the other side, then we have entered a very dangerous space within the Field of Mind. It is a very deep and dark place: the Pit of Division.

I made a mini movie about the day after we learned Biden won that I titled: You’re Fired — After the Math Was Done!

You’re Fired — After the Math Was Done

In the description, I say: “All of us are part of the light, if we choose to be. The light is love. Division is a deep, dark hole that we can fall into many ways…often starting small like getting angry with your brother or sister, or becoming pissed off about something a friend forgot to do, or getting pushed in by deceptive, manipulative people. It doesn’t matter how you get there… it’s just dark with the dirt of division, mistrust, hate, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, greed, rapacity, avarice…you get the idea. So, fill up you’re hole up with the sweet, nourishing waters of love, which runs deep inside of you… in the place we call soul.”


So we all have a role in the fate of the country. And we all can help heal the division by filling up our personal Pits of Division with the nourishing waters of peace, love, and understanding (I think there is a fairly famous song about this). There is nothing wrong or bad about falling into a pit. We all do it…all of the time…it’s one of the flaws or beautiful aspects of being human. It’s whether we stay there or not that really counts!

One Vote

(  Photo Credit: Dean Terry )

Description of this episode: “Come election season, it’s easy to get cynical. Why cast a ballot if your single measly vote can’t possibly change anything?

In our first-ever election special, we set off to find a single vote that made a difference. We venture from the biggest election on the planet – where polling officials must brave a lion-inhabited forest to collect the vote of an ascetic temple priest – to the smallest election on the planet – where there are no polling officials, only kitty cats wearing nametags. Along the way, we meet a too-trusting advice columnist, a Texan Emperor, and a passive-aggressive mom who helped change American democracy forever.”

Reported by Latif Nasser with help from Tracie Hunte. Produced by Simon Adler, Tracie Hunte, Matt Kielty, Annie McEwen and Latif Nasser. 


I only heard the beginning of this episode, but there are some absolutely shocking stories of where exactly one vote shaped world history. A couple of the things that shocked me included:

  • King Charles I of England was accused by the House of Commons in 1649 of treason against his subjects, one solitary vote cost him his throne and his head,
  • France from a monarchy to a republic in 1875 by one vote.
  • Thomas Jefferson was elected President by the House of Representatives in 1801 by one vote after an Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
  • Adolf Hitler was elected to be leader of the Nazi party by one vote!

— This list was complied from an article by Carl Hendrickson.


The Calculus of Chaos

Carduus — Thistle (Photo by Bébé)

Steve Schmidt (who was a senior advisor on John McCain’s campaign in 2008) is a co-founded of the Lincoln Project, which is a group of Republicans who banded together to help get rid of Trump. In an interview with Axios, Schmidt said, “Trumpism is a “noxious weed” and America needs to root it out.”

In an interview with Alex Kantrowitz, host of Big Technology Podcast, in partnership with OneZero, Steve Schmidt says:

“It’s impossible to talk about any of this without talking about the legacy of the most dangerous and the most injurious immigrant to America in all of our long history, and that’s Rupert Murdoch. And so we’ve had an increasingly extreme, very sophisticated, inner woven series of institutions that monetize billions of dollars driving anger and misinformation in this country, from talk radio, Fox; Facebook is a cancerous part of this mix as well now.

In essence, what voting has become for a lot of people in this country is an act of aggression where the vote is to impose punishment by electing a faction to do harm to the other faction that’s viewed as the enemy. And you see this playing out with Trump refusing federal aid for California because of the fires, threatening Democratically run states and cities.

There’s a lot, obviously, of racial animus that’s teeming throughout the Trump movement and that has been stoked by him. And the party that is the home for in our politics clearly in this era is the Republican Party. That’s part of it as well. We, as a country, have not addressed in any type of meaningful way the question of, what type of society, what type of country do we want to live in in 20 years?”

Schmidt explained that back in 2016, both Presidential candidates lied to the people:

“Hillary went there and lied and said that the clean energy jobs were coming. So this is an economically depressed, isolated part of the country, it’s really in a lot of ways fundamentally unchanged but for the devastation of the opioid epidemic since Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson toured through there in the late 1960s talking about poverty. And so Donald Trump went back and he said the coal jobs are coming back. What’s the easier lie to believe? The lie where there’s still remembrance of a life that’s no longer there but still seems within touch, or about jobs in a world that never existed ever in the first place, just a fantasy?”

Alex Kantrowitz begins this interview by asking Schmidt what’s happened to the Republican Party since 2008?

Schmidt replies: “The Republican party is in a state of moral, intellectual, and spiritual collapse right now. There’s not even a pretense that it stands for issues and you can evidence that by looking at the platform. And what the platform of the party says, ratified at the convention this summer, in essence confirms that the party is a cult of personality where to be in good standing requires obedience and loyalty to Donald Trump. And so what the party’s become in essence is an organized conspiracy to maintain political power for the advancement of the self-interest of the elected officials and the donor class that supports them.

It’s devoid of any principles, whether it’s the nutty pastors, the frauds, the money changers in the temple if you will, the Billy Graham Jrs., the Jerry Falwell Jrs., crazy Pastor Paul, the Joel Osteens of the world, these are the people that occupy a religiosity space around the party absurdly. You look at the Matt Gates’ and the Mark Meadows’ and the anti intellectualism, the anti-science, the abrasive incompetence, cronyism, corruption, the willful turning of the blind eye to all of Trump’s excesses.


If you are interested in these ideas, then you should read the full transcript of Alex Kantrowitz’s interview with Steve Schmidt, which is titled ‘Lincoln Project Co-Founder Steve Schmidt on Politics in the Age of Social MediaIf you have a message, you have conviction.

I am interested in Steve Schmidt’s insights because he sheds light (illuminates) the dark places on the Republican stage who the current actors on the stage want to keep hidden (mostly disgruntled, disgusting, angry white men). They want to hide and obscure these realities in the dark because it helps them mislead people down the path of authoritarianism.

This is what caught my attention about Steve Schmidt. I heard him say these things about Rupert Murdoch in an interview he gave to the BBC on Monday (11/9/20). Murdoch is part of a much deeper, darker arch of human consciousness playing out in the minds of ordinary men and women. It is a very old arch alive and well inside the human psyche. It is capable of ruthless totalitarian rulership that benefits only a chosen few. Those who are not chosen are at great risk of genocide. We have seen this before–many times in history. Unfortunately, unless we grow consciously as individuals and as collectives, we will see it again–just as S.E. says very accurately in the CNN interviews. She is a Republican woman, but she has not turned off her mind or heart, just as Steve Schmidt has not.

Will we pay attention and recalculate our collective path?

Or will we fall back into the Pit of Division and Darkness and Death?

And, I do understand the calculation of ignorance. It is a much easier path. Or so it seems when you first start down it. In the end, ignorance is the path to evil. It is the place in the human soul where the anti-lifers live. Spell evil backwards–l…i…v…e–those who end up in this inner hell cannot let others live and let live. They’ve sold their soul to the Merchants of Mischief and Misdeeds. And, these merchants have robbed them and left them naked and bear to a world that mocks them. So, to avert this sad and sorry end, the individuals marching down the path of ignorance must control everyone, everything. It is their only hope. Their favorite weapon is to ignore reality and to ignore others who do not look and act and talk just like them.

Knowledge is a heavy burden because once an individual knows something, action is required. And action takes strength, endurance, and energy. Right action is time consuming. It can eat so much of your time up that it leaves you no time to focus on yourself and what you want (or perhaps, it’s what you thought you wanted until you learned more about how reality works).

Ignorance is indeed a strong and noxious weed, just as Schmidt said in his Axios interview.

Do we have the courage, wisdom, and inner constitution needed to take action on what is real or is it more convenient to hide huge parts of our shared reality in the darkness of our ignorance?

Time will tell… that’s for sure…

How Whiteness Affected The Election

Image from 1A: Donny Wadkins holds a US flag outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center as ballot counting in the presidential election continues inside in Philadelphia.BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

The dirty little secret of American democracy is a long and destructive history of racism. It is a part of the current Republican stage kept wrapped in many, many layers of ignorance. It exists on Democratic stage too. If you are human, you are susceptible to secrets often kept for selfish reasons.

This is what I really like about this episode of 1A. It is a frank conversation about lies and selfishness. The guests take apart the monolithic ways we like to think of groups of people. No group is monolithic. Eddie Glaude says, “Black men can be just as selfish as white me.” He attributes much of the willingness of huge groups of people who voted for Trump as sprouting from a deep tap root of selfish impulses.


Trump is a very selfish man who promises to protect the selfish people of America. It is an effective rallying cry for individuals who have amassed a decent amount of money to live the lifestyle they choose that includes lots of fun time. It is a myth that Trump supporters are working-class and poor. We knew this back in 2016, see Washington Post article: It’s time to bust the myth: Most Trump voters were not working class.

The Voter Study Group published a fascinating article about Trump voters in 2017 titled: The Five Types of Trump Voters — Who They Are and What They Believe written by Emily Ekins.

Graphic from The Voter Study Group

The danger of simplifying reality is that we won’t understand it and because of this we will not take the action required to equalize inequities, disintegrate lies, and repair tears and rips in our shared human reality. The costs of not doing this has been all too evident and clear in the past 4 years of Trump. However, the gravity of ignorance is strong for it promises the delusion that life is easy if you follow the rules of those holding power. Many do.


The Pandemic Is The Worst. What Can We Do To Keep Coping?

Image from 1A: Residents head out to the Bethpage Bikeway in New York. Many residents have mostly remained in their homes for the past weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This entire episode is about loneliness and the pandemic. It is so nourishing to listen to Jen White talk about the deep impacts of being lonely with NPR’s Shankar Vedantam and the U.K.’s Minister of Loneliness.

Description: “People. We know it’s bad out here during the coronavirus pandemic. And at 1A, we’re lucky enough to be able to largely work from home and keep doing our jobs bringing the news to you. But almost everyone is having a tough time, especially with the emotional toll of maintaining social distancing, the labor to keep up with shifting pandemic guidance and the significant added stress on essential employees as they keep going to work.

The New York Times spoke with Aya Raji, 14, about what happened when her school turned to remote learning: “I felt like I was trapped in my own little house and everyone was far away,” Aya, 14, said. “When you’re with friends, you’re completely distracted and you don’t think about the bad stuff going on. During the beginning of quarantine, I was so alone. All the sad things I used to brush off, I realized I couldn’t brush them off anymore.


Will continue to add content from time to time.

Weaving Reality — So Many Humans, So Many Versions of Reality & How Did We Get Here?

Villagers – Occupy Your Mind (Official Video) — Feb 6, 2014

This song and video just seems to be the anthem for this resource-blog-post.


I went for a run late in the day after the remnants of Hurricane Zeta had dumped her worse on Virginia. I was running with my 10 month old puppy, Pumper, who looks a lot like a spotted furry bear and acts like one too. She was thrilled to get outside after so much rain to chase blowing leaves and scampering squirrels collecting their fall harvest of acorns like drunken sailors. My husband has taught her to sneak up on big trees to find squirrels, so now we stalk big oak trees, sometimes from a block away. It’s quite exciting for a 10-month old pup who is a crazy mixture of Great Pyrenees, Pit Bull, Boxer, Chow Chow, American Bulldog, Labrador, and the list goes on.

We proceeded down our favorite path that follows a small wooded stream that ends up at the Potomac River. Pumper pays attention to every thing. I do too, enjoying the wet leaves of fall still clinging to trees along with deeply inhaling the smell of damp leaves moldering on the ground. We were going at a good pace when Pumper suddenly stopped. She was staring at a tree that had fallen over by the roots because of the rains of Zeta.

I tugged on the leash gently to urge her along, but she didn’t budge. So I looked where she was looking, and there standing inside the root ball of the fallen tree was a raccoon! I had glanced at the fallen tree as I passed it but missed the raccoon who definitely saw us and was holding a defensive stance. If Pumper had been loose, I may not have been able to override her instincts. But since I had her on the leash, I coaxed her quickly away from the possibly frightened raccoon recounting stories in my mind I have heard about encounters with raccoons. A few hundred yards ahead, I saw a man running with his Doodle, which was running loose. So I warned him of the raccoon ahead and he quickly leashed up his beautiful Doodled and thanked me for the heads up.


This is a simple story, but I tell it to illustrate that all life once shared a common reality with benefits and consequences equal to all. Plants and animals evolved complex electrical and chemical signaling systems to help them respond and/or navigate their environment in order to optimize their survival (see The New Yorker | The Intelligent Plant). Among the mobile forms of life on Earth, instincts evolved that allowed animals to respond with split second intelligence allowing them to avert danger and live a little longer.


Man evolved a little further becoming conscious of his rising instincts, allowing him to alter them before acting on them. With this awareness, he choose an action much better than what his instincts would have dedicated. But, he could also choose an action far worse than what his instincts would have ever allowed. This ability allows man to choose and bring into the world through his action something divine or something dreadfully mortal. This ability gives man the power to choose to create Heaven or Hell right here, right now on Earth. It also gives man the ability to create alternative realities in his mind.

Different civilizations conceive of mind in very different ways. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to mind as most people immersed in Western Civilization think of it–as an unseeable place existing behind the eyes and between the ears. For the Westernized man, the magic of mind transpires somewhere between the scalawag of neurons creating the brain. This is where Western Civilization believes human beings make sense of and understand the world. For most people, they don’t care or think very much about how all this happens, happy to concede to the axiom:

“Cogito, ergo sum”

— René Descartes … “I think, therefore I am”

But, if you sit quietly and simply observe your thoughts, it quickly becomes very mysterious. They seem to pop into your head out of nowhere, continuously flowing like some dark imperceptible water streaming through your head. Perhaps this is where the phrase stream of consciousness arises because it is such a common experience among Westernized humans to experience thought this way.

If you continue to watch this flow and don’t try to control, a perceptive observer will begin to experience a spreading out of consciousness with it flowing everywhere and enveloping everything (inside oneself and outside of the self). Alan Watts describes this effect as flood light consciousness. He did not come up with this idea, but rather he was a magnificent translator of Eastern practices and Pools of Knowledge passed down from one generation to the next through practices and religions such as Taoism.

Flood light consciousness is a powerful form of consciousness, but man discovered he could also concentrate and channel his individual consciousness to accomplish specific actions in the world. The more concentrated his consciousness, the more powerful his actions, allowing him to alter the natural world to suit his needs, desires, and dreams.


I remember a song my parents loved to sing to me as a child:

American Folk Music (Southern): This Little Light o’ Mine — Voices in Time

Recently, I heard a rebroadcast about this song on NPR: ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ Shines On, A Timeless Tool Of Resistance that has stuck with me and transformed how I think about this simple, old song. Hearing this broadcast illuminated things I have been trying to imagine as I write my story about Climate Change and Consciousness.

The NPR story says, “It might seem odd to call such an innocent-sounding song defiant. But that’s exactly how blues singer Bettie Mae Fikes says she felt when creating her classic version of “This Little Light of Mine” in 1963. She improvised the lyrics after a protest in which several of her friends had been attacked. (…) Fast forward a half-century and the song is still unifying people.


This mysterious inner space illuminated by the consciousness we can observe is where we know everything we need to know about our world, or so we think.

Suffice it to say, we are complex products of the cultures and civilizations in which we grow up and are immersed inside and constantly bathed by the values, beliefs, and standards of behavior the collective has determined most advantageous for the survival of the group. These norms are seamlessly transferred from one generation to the next through customs, traditions, habits, conventions, procedures, protocols, as well as stories, fables, myths, and many other forms of communication used to transmit ideas and beliefs from one generation to another.

Collectives are incredibly complex things, perhaps even super beings, but they need the individuals living inside them to conduct action in the world. And, just like an individual, collectives have a dark side (the good, the bad, and the ugly).


What follows is a resource tool for another blog–a mind map, really, a collection of broadcasts, blogs, and individuals that have caught my attention and informed my thinking as I work to complete my story about Climate Change and Consciousness. I suspect this collective of resources will have little value to you (the reader), which is normal because YOU are an individual and are on your own journey through consciousness, meaning that you must discover, assemble and understandings that inform your actions in the world.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Time & attention are the most precious resources in the universe.

Time is mind.

When you tend to where you are spending your time, you are cultivating your mind.

So scan what follows, consume what you need, and leave the rest behind.

Warped Reality

Ted Radio Hour: Warped Reality — Picture by Mark Airs/dane_mark

There are 3 sections to this hour long episode produced by the Ted Radio Hour, which I have highlighted with things that struck me as important or illuminating.

How deepfakes undermine truth and threaten democracy | Danielle Citron | Oct 7, 2019

The first talk was given by Danielle Citron who began by telling how a deep fake video completely turned Rana Ayyub’s life upside down. Rana is a journalist in India whose work has exposed government corruption and human rights violations. But in 2018, her work and voice was cancelled by a malicious deep fake of a sex video that had her face superimposed on the female performing the sex act. A friend told Rana that she should have seen this coming saying, “After all, sex is so often used to demean and to shame women, especially minority women, and especially minority women who dare to challenge powerful men.”

Danielle says, “We’re attracted to the salacious, the provocative. We tend to believe and to share information that’s negative and novel. Researchers have found that online hoaxes spread 10 times faster than accurate stories. And, we’re drawn to information that aligns with our viewpoints. Psychologists call that tendency “confirmation bias.” And social media platforms supercharge that tendency, by allowing us to instantly and widely share information that accords with our viewpoints.

Danielle says,”Now, deepfakes have the potential to cause grave individual and societal harm.  Imagine a deepfake that shows American soldiers in Afganistan burning a Koran. You can imagine that deepfake would provoke violence against those soldiers.”


And here is how our very human beliefs transform reality. When we act in the world to defend our beliefs because we feel deep in the core of our being that our beliefs protect us from all dangerous stuff out there threatening to destroy us and the ones we love. This is how we weave our shared human reality in the modern world. And now our technology not only insulates us from the harsh realities of nature, but have been and are being used to harness our natural instincts and hijack our fragile mind-scapes to turn us, the ordinary man and woman, into the bad actors of the world. These are my conclusions of Danille’s talk. You should listen to her talk above and the Ted Radio Hour interview for yourself to draw your own conclusions.


Inside the bizarre world of internet trolls and propagandists | Andrew Marantz | Oct 1, 2019

Andrew begins his talk saying, “Now, if you’ve been online recently, you may have noticed that there’s a lot of toxic garbage out there: racist memes, misogynist propaganda, viral misinformation. So I wanted to know who was making this stuff I wanted to understand how they were spreading it. Ultimately, I wanted to know what kind of impact it might be having on our society. So in 2016, I started tracing some of these memes back to their source, back to the people who were making them or who were making them go viral. I’d approach those people and say, “Hey, I’m a journalist. Can I come watch you do what you do?” Now, often the response would be, “Why in hell would I want to talk to some low-t soy-boy Brooklyn globalist Jew cuck who’s in cahoots with the Democrat Party?” To which my response would be, “Look, man, that’s only 57 percent true.”

However, Andrew does find people doing this who are willing to talk to him. Many are well read individuals who know the real facts. Nevertheless, this is their business–the business of propaganda: spreading falsehoods, half-truths, and lies to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view: often something that will benefit them in some way. Halfway through his talk, Andrew says, “I became convinced that we cannot just look away from this stuff. We have to try to understand it, because only by understanding it can we even start to inoculate ourselves against it.


I am writing about this very idea in my story, and I am with Andrew in his conclusion that we have to pay attention to this stuff…to try to understand it so that we can resist it. Reality is complicated. It always has been. And now, it more complicated than ever before because of what we can do with our minds and technology. But again, this is my conclusions. Yours are just as important but to make informed opinions, listen to Andrew’s talk above as well as to the interview with him on the Ted Radio Hour: Warped Reality.


How I’m fighting bias in algorithms | Joy Buolamwini | Mar 29, 2017

Joy begins her Ted Talk saying, “Hello, I’m Joy, a poet of code, on a mission to stop an unseen force that’s rising, a force that I called the coded gaze,” my term for algorithmic bias.” And here is the really important part of what she opens her talk with: “Algorithmic bias, like human bias, results in unfairness. However, algorithms, like viruses, can spread bias on a massive scale at a rapid pace. Algorithmic bias can also lead to exclusionary experiences and discriminatory practices.”


We lose the very Middle Ground of Reality when we allow our time and attention to be dictated and directed by algorithms. Joy goes into very specific and scary uses of our Great and Fantastic Technologies, but I will leave it to you to pursue to the level of your interest for there are many, many issues constantly pulling at our time and attention, the most precious resource on Earth. Also, the Ted Radio Hour: Warped Reality is very good to listen to as well.

Not At the Dinner Table

Dysfunctional Family Dinner – SNL – Sep 16, 2013

The Highly Involved vs The Not So Highly Involved

This is an old but timelessly funny clip because all of us can remember an uncomfortable dinner conversation. Now more than any time in recent history, talking about politics is a recipe for disaster not only at the dinner table, but pretty much everywhere in our society. This week’s Hidden Brain explored an interesting counterintuitive idea about why this is. The idea is that we are not suffering so much from a massive political divide of Left versus Right but rather between those who are highly involved in politics versus those for who are just not as interested in politics.

Shankar Vedantan explores this idea Not At The Dinner Table with Yanna Krupnikov who is a political scientist at Stony Brook University, about an alternative way to understand Americans’ political views. and filter through the Zealous Voices of the Deeply Involved. I’ll let you listen and draw your own conclusions, or you can read a transcript at the Happy Scribe.

As I listened to this piece, the idea jumped into my mind that this divide doesn’t exist simply between just individuals who are deeply involved with politics and those who are not, but it exists between any one who has become deeply involved in any issue or field of interest, which is driven by our modern societies because to do well in the human world, people are told to specialize and pursue narrow bandwidths of interests from a young age. If you don’t pick a career and become an expert in it, then it’s your fault for not being good enough, smart enough, or worked hard enough to know everything in your narrow field of knowledge.

So, just by being a modern human being trying to survive and make a living in the ways of this world, we have by necessity isolated ourselves from everyone else who has not specialized in our field of expertise. Now there certainly are humans who maintain their natural inborn curiosity and stay engaged and want to learn about things outside of their own field of expertise. But the number of these individuals seems to decline precipitously as they get older and have to pay off student loans, car loans, parking tickets and credit card debts; need to pay rent and eventually (if your lucky) mortgages; need to buy food, prescriptions, medications; need to go out and have fun; eventually get married (that can be very expensive, especially if it needs to mirror a Cinderella pinnacle of achievement), and then have children (who are very, very expensive, but they are utterly worth every penny!). It is when a person gets here that they have an opportunity to go back to the beginning of this utterly modern cycle of life and remember what is really most important, which boils down to being alive, being here, being now. But, most people continue getting buried under the cycle of buying and having more than others.

This phenomenon of becoming highly involved in an area of expertise is required by our modern society to be somebody who can contribute something of value for the good of the group, but it may also be contributing to the cracking and shattering of our shared human reality. It is a trap, a catch-22, the cycle of the ouroboros…so how do we get out of it?

Consciousness… probably… cultivating curiosity… cultivating compassion… listening to someone who is highly involved in something that you are not highly involved in thinking about or doing like a scientist! This is called sharing and understanding realms and realities of other human beings who are just like us but know something we don’t know or have come to understand yet. This is how we grow our shared reality and how we grow our own Field of Consciousness. It’s pretty important because the alternative isn’t looking so good.

Climate Problems = Limbic Problems

A guide to happiness by Marc Picard (neuroscientist and admin of the Facebook group Climate Problems = Limbic Problems)

The following guide is written by my friend Marc Picard who is a neuroscientist and founded the Facebook group Climate Problems = Limbic Problems. Our natural born instincts (perfectly maintained by our limbic system) are absolutely part of the trap we have all found ourselves in. I will feature more of Marc’s insights in a new section of Resilience Resources, but if you are interested, you can go to Climate Problems = Limbic Problems to see more of his writing as well as others of liked mind and expertise. I have selected his guide to happiness to feature here because it fits perfectly.


A guide to happiness

1) DO NOT GIVE YOUR POWER AWAY

No one knows you as well as you know yourself. They have no idea who you truly are. Only you get to describe and define yourself. Others are always ready to use the negative of your past to judge you. Do not give them the power to belittle you or to raise you. It has begun with you, will continue with you, and end with you. Take complete responsibility of your life.At the end of the day, the only person you can 100% count on is you. Don’t make the unfortunate mistake of putting your happiness in the hands of others. We need to achieve happiness on our own before we can find someone else to share it with. Otherwise, it creates a detrimental dependency that prevents us from becoming self-sufficient.

2) ALL THAT YOU NEED CAME WITH YOU AT BIRTH

When you were born, you were gifted with every talent, every insight, and all the knowledge you need to excel in this world. You need to accept this and know it to be true. A lot of these truths won’t be obvious to you all the time, for which you need to develop patience. Your life experiences will help unveil some of those hidden truths. You have wisdom beyond your wildest imagination. Be patient and accept your beautiful self. With self-knowledge comes great responsibility. Be responsible.

3) PERFECTION IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

What might be perfect for one person may be the furthest thing from perfection for you. Every individual has their own opinion of what perfection means to them. The Media always has an opinion of what perfection is. You have to be skinny, small waist, big muscles, and of course brilliant in school; must be a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer. As a matter of fact, marketing and the Media will make you believe one thing today and, sometimes in less than a year, the same Media will tell you the exact opposite. Nope, there is no such thing as perfection! We were robbed of all original thoughts and turned into robots after birth. All those who loved us had a hand in modeling us their way. Somehow, we got lost.Begin by trusting your intuition, strive to be excellent, have really high standards (not just material) of how you want to live and be. Love yourself with all your flaws and change them if you want. Never confuse perfection with another people’s idea of how you should be. That will cripple you.Body image: There’s only 1 person’s opinion you should be concerned with when it comes to your body and that’s you. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, and healthy, then that’s the only thing that matters. Don’t let others tell you that you’re not beautiful/handsome. It’s a state of mind.

4) TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR THOUGHTS. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE.

Become a witness to your thoughts and not a slave to them. “Automatic” thoughts are mostly noise which keeps you from getting to know yourself. Start by observing your thoughts as though you were watching a movie on a big screen. Your thoughts create your reality, and yet most of your thoughts are unconscious. You have only few original thoughts (you will have more and more original thoughts as you become an adult); all of your unconscious thoughts were given to you as you were growing up. You are now living a life that someone else created for you (software installed by the “manufacturer”). Start distancing yourself from your everyday thoughts and begin to think the thoughts that you want to think. Become a real you (where the magic happens).

5) YOUR LIFE IS YOURS TO PROGRAM

You become what you think. What you believe is what you create. Look around you and you will see the “software installed by the manufacturer” (your comfort zone). The way to reach your happy place (where the magic happens), is by constant vigilant practice. Think of your mind as the most powerful SUPER-smart cell phone with its original apps (when you get a new phone, it comes with the default apps that everyone gets). Add and replace those apps with the new ones that fit with your true dreams. You can add as many new apps as you want. They don’t cost any money, but they require practice, practice, practice; and willpower. I know you’re not afraid of hard work.

6) THE ONLY TIME IS “NOW”

Move out of the old and into this moment we call “now”. You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one, or if you tell yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow” (when you can do it now). “Now” is the moment you should pause, take a deep breath, and marvel about your future and how you’ll create it. Once you know what you want, you must actively work for its fulfillment. You can’t take a backseat in life and expect things to happen.Make the best of every opportunity. Commit yourself to a happy future by acting “NOW”. You deserve it!

7) YOUR JOB IN LIFE IS TO FULLY EXPRESS WHO YOU ALREADY ARE

It’s your duty to be true to yourself by being your authentic self. Do not try to be someone else. It’s good to have a mentor to learn from, but do not try to become a copy of them. There are no two people alike in this world (even identical twins have different brain architectures). You are the only model of you. Become the one you were created to be, find your purpose in life and live it fully. Never underestimate the power of truth. Honor yourself, your intuition, and inspire others to do the same. Aspire to be the best that you can be. Make it your life’s work to leave the biggest imprint of your heart on all whom you have encountered.

8) OPPORTUNITIES COME IN THE SHAPE OF A CHALLENGE

Don’t look at challenges with fear and anger. All things that look like obstacles are truly an opportunity to grow. It is your experience in life, more so the difficult over the easy ones which will shape you into being the best that you can be. All things difficult are an opening of a new door to make a more powerful and courageous entrance. Know that you are a diamond in the making. Look at me and how I reacted to my latest challenge. I wrote a book for you and your brother. The challenge I faced became an opportunity.

— By Marc Picard

Interview with Nicholas Christakis

A message from Nicholas Christakis about COVID-19 — Sep 11, 2020

Also, see AMANPOUR AND COMPANY interview with Christakis: Yale Sociologist on Humanity’s Innate Instinct For Good.


Denial And Lies Are ‘Almost An Intrinsic Part Of An Epidemic,’ Doctor Says

Heard on  Fresh Air — October 29, 2020

I heard Nicholas Christakis on Fresh Air yesterday where he goes into much greater detail and depth about how plagues are not new to the human condition, they are just new to us, living here and now. His depth of knowledge as a scientist and public health expert I find reassuring and hopeful. We can learn about these new pathogens that have been with us since the very emergence of life on Earth. We can see things our ancestors could not see and know how to buy essential time so that we can collectively take a safer off-ramp to get to the other side of this pandemic. I would rather take action on science and medical expertise rather than denial and political narratives designed to mislead rather than inform the collective to survive something humans have had to survive since becoming humans.I would rather take action on science and medical expertise rather than denial and political narratives designed to mislead rather than inform the collective to survive something humans have had to survive since becoming humans. Listening to his interview on FreshAir is well worth one’s time, of course reading his book is the most effective way to become informed and take effective action to keep oneself safe as well as others safe.

Several moments from the FreshAir interview that jumped out to me are highlighted below, but you should listen or read for yourself because these are my simple weavings to understand our shared reality.


CHRISTAKIS: Well, amongst my colleagues, everyone was greatly alarmed in February. Now, why our political leaders didn’t respond, I don’t know. And it’s the case that many political leaders around the world failed to take this seriously.

One of the arguments that I like to make about epidemics is that it’s almost in the nature of epidemics that denial and lies about the — about what’s happening is itself almost an intrinsic part of an epidemic, that in other words, everywhere you see the spread of germs for the last few thousand years, you see right behind it the spread of lies. And partly, that’s because the person on the street wants to deny what’s happening. And partly, it’s because our political leaders don’t want to take it seriously either. But it’s their job to do so.


CHRISTAKIS: Yeah. So I think what’s important to understand about this pathogen or about epidemics in general is that no single intervention is typically enough to stop an epidemic. And what I – the way I like to think about this and the way many epidemiologists think about this is something known as the Swiss cheese model. So imagine you have pieces of Swiss cheese that you’re stacking up, and each of them has some holes in it. And they’re random pieces of Swiss cheese, like you’re making a sandwich and you’re piling up pieces of Swiss cheese.

If each piece of Swiss cheese represents a defense, a layer of defense – for example, one piece is wearing masks, and another piece is closing schools, and another piece is banning gatherings, and another piece is washing your hands, and another piece is, you know, restricting travel or something. If each of those pieces represents some intervention and each of the holes is sort of randomly positioned in each slice, by the time you stacked up two or three or four slices, none of the holes overlap. And so a virus can’t get through. It can’t penetrate all the layers of defenses. So if you just use masks, you stop a lot of viral transmission, but you don’t completely stop the epidemic. You also need to do something else.

And incidentally, this is why there was a super-spreader event at the White House. They relied on just one line of defense, which was testing. Testing was not enough. You need to do testing, let’s say, plus masking or testing plus masking plus physical distancing. And this Swiss cheese model also helps us understand why different countries have succeeded in combating the virus using different mixes of interventions. You don’t all need to use the same intervention. You can – each country or each region can use a different mix of interventions and still have success.

So, for example, in New Zealand, you know, they had border closures plus testing and quarantining. And in Greece, they had school closures and mask wearing and contact tracing and so on. So this is why masks are helpful, but they’re not enough and also why we can understand a great variety of other ways in which our response to the virus among us can and should be optimized.


CHRISTAKIS: Oh, I mean, I think we clearly needed a national response. I mean, you know, having a patchwork of responses is like designating one part of the swimming pool as suitable for urination, but not the other parts. I mean, we are a whole nation that’s bound together. And so we clearly need, in my view, a national response.

In fact, in some ways, you could argue we need an international response. But certainly from our own parochial point of view, we needed a national response. And even though it’s the case that many other leaders in European countries made similar mistakes to our leadership, I don’t think that lets our leaders off the hook. We’re the United States of America. I expect more from us. We have the CDC. We spend 17.7% of our GDP on health care, and this is our level of preparedness? I mean, this is how our great nation is brought this low by this pathogen? You know, I think it’s awful, frankly. It’s incompetent. And it was, in many ways, unnecessary. We could’ve done and we should’ve done, in my view, much better. Why – when the Chinese shut down their country on January 24, why we weren’t preparing to manufacture PPE and ventilators is mind-boggling to me. It was as if we were trying to wish the pathogen away.


CHRISTAKIS: It is a bummer. But, see, this is the thing. You know, plagues are also a time of grief. You know, we’re grieving not just the loss of people we know, you know, who died or our health, we’re grieving our loss of a way of life. We’re grieving the fact that we can’t have dinner parties with our friends. We can’t go to movie theaters. I mean, this – just like we were earlier discussing how plagues are a time of lies, they’re also a time of fear and they’re a time of grief. And I think, in some ways, as a nation, we just need to – I won’t say grow up. That sounds too flippant. I mean, we need to accept this unpleasant reality.

And this is, again, where I think leadership is so important. I mean, one of the things that’s crucial is public health messaging credibility, you know, people who get up and tell it to us even if it’s uncertain. Say, I’m not sure of exactly what’s happening. But I think this is most likely and here’s the data, because we need to prepare the nation, in my view, for this reality. I mean, what makes us think that we’re so different, you know, that we Americans in the 21st century, in our wealthy country, will be spared this fate? There’s no reason we should be spared. And I think that preparing the nation to come to grips with this unfortunate reality is crucial.

And, you know, we will see the other side of it. I mean, one of the things that’s also important to recognize is that plagues do end. They have always ended. Even the bubonic plague ended. It’s rare that there are so severe that the society is entirely annihilated. Although, that has happened, too. But that’s not the situation we’re facing. So there is also grounds for optimism in ways we can talk about.


CHRISTAKIS: Well, let me explain why that’s not a good idea in a very direct way. So if you had gotten this pathogen back in March, you would have had a higher chance of dying from it than if you get it today. Why is that? Well, because in the last nine months, we’ve learned how to take care of you. And in fact, we have discovered that a drug called dexamethasone, which is a simple steroid – which incidentally, the president also got – if given to you, if you’re seriously ill, can prevent you can reduce your risk of death by 20%. In other words, if you got seriously ill from coronavirus in March, you would have a certain chance of dying. Let’s say 25% chance of dying. But if you get it now, you might have, let’s say, only a 20% chance of dying. That’s a – seriously ill. That is to say now you would only have a 20% chance of dying. That is a big difference, and that’s why we flatten the curve. So that’s why not to go for the rapid herd immunity strategy right now.

That’s one illustration of the reason is that by getting – by postponing the illnesses until a later point in time, we allow our scientists and our health care system to function better. If you get sick from this condition like that’s happening now, for example, in Utah and in Idaho and in parts of Texas and in Oklahoma that are – where many of their hospitals in many cities are being overrun, when would you rather go to a hospital, when it’s packed to the gills and the doctors are exhausted and the nurses are sick from the condition, or would you rather go when the hospitals are operating normally? Obviously, the latter. So this is why not to let the virus just run loose in our society.


CHRISTAKIS: I think both of those are true. I think there is – on the one hand, you would, you know, there’s this – when there’s a serious threat afoot, you can have a kind of temptation to have sort of every man for himself. But it’s also in the nature of contagious diseases that we need – that we’re sharing a common enemy, so the impetus to band together to confront the common enemy is heightened. And it’s in the nature of this enemy that collaborative work is necessary.

You know, if there was an invading army on our frontier, each individual citizen can’t do anything about that. I mean, you can, you know, grab your gun and go to the frontier, but you can’t stop the invading army. And even if every citizen independently grabbed their gun and went to the frontier, that’s not very effective either. You need coordination. You need leadership. You need a way of working together to repel the invader. And that’s the kind of invader that we have. That’s the kind of adversary we have in this virus. We must and we are – slowly but, you know – working together to confront the virus. And this working together includes things like collectively implementing the non-pharmaceutical interventions. It’s almost an oxymoron. You know, we have to work together to live apart.

But it also includes, you know, all this scientific and medical and other advances and public health advances that we’re making. You know, we are working together as a species to develop knowledge that we can then use to fight the virus. So I, you know, I’m optimistic in this regard. Like I said, you know, we’re going to see the other side of this. I think Americans are going to see that they – that collaborative effort is required. I think as deaths mount in the coming winter, I think the motivation to do this will rise. And, you know, I have hope and expectation that we will do a better job than we have in fighting the virus.

Interview with Mike Giglio

The point italicized above (in red) dovetail in a terrifying way with the FreshAir interview I listened to the day before this one. The interview below occurred last year, but it gives you an idea who Mike Giglio is and his years of experience covering complex situations and civil wars, including being kidnapped in Ukraine by pro-Soviet rebels.

AtlanticLIVE: Atlantic Exchange with Mike Giglio — Oct 26, 2019 — And this is the link to Giglio’s Atlantic article.

After Covering Civil War Overseas, Journalist Examines U.S. Militia Movement

Heard on  Fresh Air — October 28, 2020

These are excerpts from the FreshAir interview that really struck me as extremely important Now. Reality is complicated. And human reality is the most complicated because there are so many versions of it exiting inside our minds, individually and collectively. But, natural reality has never gone away. When we stray too far off the narrow-bandwidth of a good and sustainable shared reality, we fall onto the hard rock of natural reality.


GIGLIO: You know, there is a stereotype of the regular, let’s say, militia member in America – someone who’s an armchair warrior, probably has no experience in the military. They talk about civil war because they’ve seen movies about it, and they think it’s this amazing, glorious thing. I was interested in the Oath Keepers because they advertise it. They actually had people who were veterans of police and military in their ranks and who understood what violence really means and how ugly it is.

And what I found was – I did connect with some members who had actually seen combat and, because of that, were actually among those who were most afraid of violence and trying to be – in this context at least, trying to be most careful about whether they might provoke it through what they were doing. A lot of those people, I should note, had left the group by now because it has – the founder has become more radical in the things that he says.

And then there are people who served in the military but never saw combat or who didn’t serve at all, and I think they were a little bit more immature about really understanding what it means when they talk about violence and may be more inclined to be more aggressive in their posturing.


GIGLIO: You know, it’s true. He never did see combat. And he wanted to be in the Special Forces, which is this elite part of the U.S. military that goes overseas. And one of their core missions is actually going out among local populations and training Indigenous forces and getting populations ready to support U.S. intervention or foreign policy. And, actually, that’s how he sees himself with the Oath Keepers. He says, like, they’re on a Special Forces mission but just in America. They want to train the population. They want to go out and bring people into their ideology.

So I do think he’s found a way to live out what his military dreams used to be when he was younger in the American context. And I think that that’s a thread that is really common in this movement. And I do think it raises questions. Like, you know, we as Americans are so comfortable with the idea of sending people out into foreign wars, and now they’re starting to look at America itself as part of that battle space.


GIGLIO: They are most famous for having a team of people who went to the protests in Ferguson, Mo., after Michael Brown’s killing. And they went with their AR-15-style rifles, and they patrolled the crowds, and they stood guard on the roofs of – the rooftops of local businesses. And, you know, to them, they were protecting businesses from looting and arson and rioting. To the protesters, it was a provocation. You know, it was portrayed as, you know, them being there to intimidate the protesters. But, really, you know, this – it was also kind of like a coming-out party for the group. It was all over the media.

And, actually, I was overseas at the time, but that was the first that I ever heard of the Oath Keepers. I remember seeing a news image of an Oath Keeper standing on a rooftop with his rifle and kind of staring out into the distance and just the hair on the back of my neck standing up and just wondering, what is happening in America? You know, it was interesting for me actually to, over the course of reporting this story, connect with that same person and talk with him about, you know, what he saw, you know, through his own eyes while he was doing that.


GIGLIO: I think what the president says and what his allies say really means a lot. And one thing I found is that the Oath Keepers and the part of the militant right that they represent are listening very closely to what the president is saying. And they believe him. You know, they think he’s a truth teller. And, you know, one example of that is I asked – I spoke to dozens of people over the course of reporting this article this year, and I asked almost every single one of them, what will you do if the president says that the vote was stolen, if he’s declared the loser of the election, but he says that there was fraud and it was stolen? And almost every one of them said, well, we all know that there was massive fraud by Democrats in 2016. They just take that as fact. And it’s because Trump has been saying it for four years and also because parts of the conservative media establishment and Republican politicians have in different ways been supporting him and that idea, that voter fraud is this real problem and that maybe it did happen in some massive way, like the president says, in 2016. But they’re very attuned to that. And they’re listening very closely when he’s saying it’s already happening for 2020.


GIGLIO: One thing that I learned overseas covering civil wars is that the first step down that path is convincing yourself that the other side is bent on your destruction, is convincing yourself that they do not have good intentions, that the arguments that you have with your neighbors are not political alone, that they’re also existential. And, you know, I only moved back to America a few years ago. And I was just really struck by the fact that that is how people in America are portraying the political divide right now to a large degree – just the level of polarization and division. And, you know, actually, on all sides of the political spectrum right now, you know, the level to which people are convinced that the other side is out to destroy them is really jarring to me.

And I think that’s the fundamental anxiety that I – you know, that I really honed in on while I was reporting this piece. And if you look at how President Trump portrays his reelection bid, how – even look at the first speech he gave when he announced that he was running for reelection. It’s the other side is out to destroy you and your way of life. These are the stakes. And I’m the last thing that’s standing in their way. You know, he’s obviously tapped into a very deep-seeded anxiety that he’s able to exist politically while and gain traction while speaking in really dire terms like that.


GIGLIO: So I was kidnapped at a checkpoint. And I was put in a bus – I think it was a school bus – and blindfolded. And there were a number of these rebels around on the bus. And they were driving me and some other journalists who had been kidnapped to a place where they planned to interrogate us. And I remember just listening, because I couldn’t see anything, and feeling the bus slow down to go through a checkpoint that I knew was on the road – and it was a rebel checkpoint – and then hearing them cock their weapons.

Like, they were so scared themselves and so clueless as to what was going on, even though they were the ones kidnapping us and, supposedly, in charge, that they were cocking their weapons even as they rolled through their own checkpoints. And it was just, like, a reminder of the fact that when a war breaks out, and especially a civil conflict, like, it is just confusion. It is just people running blindly around and, really, not knowing what to do and just that chaos itself sort of perpetuating.

And I think that that’s fundamental to understanding, like, what civil conflict really is. It’s just – it is not directed clearly. Whatever side you think you’re on, you might end up, you know, shooting them by accident, shooting them on purpose. It’s just chaos. I can’t – it’s just suffering and confusion.

And, you know, that is what ended up playing out. That was at the very beginning of that war, and, I mean, that’s what ended up playing out. Like, it’s just a senseless war that’s gone on for years where everyone suffers. There’s no clear political end. And I’m sure if you went back and reinterviewed every single one of those people that I was with back at the early days when they were starting the war, they would say in a second that they wish that they never had done it.

Disposable Income to Spend on Fun

CNN — Oct 20, 2020 — Dunes and Deplorables’: A Trump rally in the sand

‘Dunes and Deplorables’: A Trump rally in the sand that took place in Winchester Bay, Oregon, where a group of Trump supporters gathered for a dune buggy rally in support of the president. CNN’s Elle Reeve talked to them about why they think Trump is the best man for the job.

Why Are We So Susceptible To Misinformation

PBS NewsHour: Why we are so susceptible to misinformation — Oct 28, 2020

Moments that jumped out to me from this very intelligent reporting


Dannagal Young: The people who are susceptible to misinformation includes anyone who has a preexisting opinion about anything, so anyone.

When you think about this in terms of evolutionary psychology, we are hard-wired for survival, especially when we are under conditions that mimic fear and threat.

So, you know if you are encountering a tiger in the jungle or something, you’re not going to do a slow pro/con list of the different courses of action that you might take. Instead, you’re actually just going to make a decision quickly based on emotions and intuition. And the person who writes the pro/con list will be eaten by the tiger.


Kell Bales: If Biden were to win the presidency, seems to be clear, pretty clear evidence of fraud. We’re all skewed, right? My particular Facebook feed is — it’s blown up with conservative, with like-minded individuals. We’re all going to do that. We’re going to surround ourselves with circles of like believers, like thinkers.


Arlene Lehew: I go online to Newsmax, Parler. I follow Dan Bongino. Yes, I don’t agree with that. I just feel it’s truthful. I don’t — I don’t know if it’s conservative or not. I think people that are on the Democratic side — and I used to be a Democrat. So, people that are on the Democratic side don’t really want to hear the truth sometimes.


Dannagal Young: If you can connect on the very needs and desires that are driving people to hold these beliefs in the first place, right, create those connections, that’s where we create an inroad.

It’s hard, because we’re asking you to have empathy for individuals who might be holding beliefs that could undermine your own freedom or undermine certain aspects of social justice. But this — if the goal is to correct misperceptions and — then those relationships have to come first.

American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself

CBS This Morning: Alexandra Pelosi discusses her new documentary, “American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself”

I listened to an interview with Alexandra Peloi on American Selfie on WBUR, Here and Now (October 29, 2020), and two things really struck me.

From the social fabric of family and public life to democracy, phones are “destroying us as human beings,” she says. “The thing about a gun is you can decide to pull the trigger,” she says. “But with a phone, someone else is pulling the trigger and sending little bullets to your brain that make you happy or sad or anxious or depressed.”


Unafraid to push back on her subjects, Pelosi asked one man in Las Vegas why he was a drug addict. When he said drugs make life more tolerable, Pelosi responded with, “You’re a white man. The world is set up for you.” The man said no, the world is set up for the rich.

Guns and Elections

CNBC: Why Gun Sales Are Surging Ahead Of The Election: CNBC After Hours — Oct 29, 2020 — CNBC’s Josh Lipton breaks down the reasons why gun sales have been surging across the United States ahead of the presidential election between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Listening to this episode on The Daily, which aired on Oct. 29, 2020, it was abundantly clear both, the Left and Right, are imagining specters of violence conducted by the other side. Each side is projecting their anxiety and worst fears upon the other. The irony is both sides just want to feel secure and safe. The reporting by Andy Mills and Alix Spiegel puts each side into human terms — they are people who are afraid right now, so what do we do? How do we get back to a more peaceful, secure, and safe reality for everyone? Is carrying a gun really the way to safety for all?


The Daily: The Field: The Specter of Political Violence

This episode contains strong language.

With an election in which uncertainty may abound, concerns are swirling around the possibility of political violence. Experts and officials — including those charged with the security of polling stations and ballot counting facilities — have been taking extra precautions.

Americans across the political spectrum appear to be preparing themselves for this possibility, too: Eight of the 10 biggest weeks for gun sales since the late 1990s took place since March this year. Many of those sales were to people buying guns for the first time.

Today’s episode examines these anxieties from two perspectives.

Andy Mills, a senior audio producer for The New York Times, speaks to patrons of gun stores in Washington State about their motivations and sits down with a first-time gun owner who relays his anxiety, ignited by the unrest and protests in Seattle over the summer.

And Alix Spiegel, a senior audio editor for The Times, visits three women of color in North Carolina, one of whom says the scenes in Charlottesville, the killing of Black people at the hands of the police and the threat of white militias have encouraged her to shift her anti-gun stance.

For the full article as reported in the New York Times (10/27/20), see: A Divided Nation Agrees on One Thing: Many People Want a Gun

Unreality of Now

This American Life — Photo for The Unreality of Now — Taken by DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

This American Life: The Unreality of Now

This episode is covered through 3 acts that include:

Would You Like to Come Up to First Class? The journalist E. Jean Carroll is one of dozens of women who’ve accused the president of sexual assault or harassment. These stories have been so widely covered and everyone’s so used to them that to Carroll, it felt like at this point they were just being ignored.  Which seemed sort of incredible to her. She has a frank conversation with another one of the president’s accusers, Jessica Leeds. (16 minutes)

The Gun Reality of Now: The statistics on first time gun ownership are higher than ever in America. Producer Lilly Sullivan wants to know: What inspired people to buy a gun right now? What are people afraid of? (16 minutes) Lilly ends saying: “The United States of America is united in fear of each other…”

Second Time’s the Charm: Reporter Johnny Kaufman embeds with the election staff in Georgia’s most populated county to find out if the staff—who had a horrible go of it during the primary election—can possibly do better this time. (14 minutes) The election manager who Johnny interviews says at the end that he recently heard someone say: “I’ve lived through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and now every month of 2020!

Throughline: How We Vote

Aired on WAMU: Friday, October 30, 2020 at 1:00pm

Photo from WAMU Special Report: Nationals Park is one of three sports facilities that D.C. is repurposing as “super vote centers” for early voting and Election Day. Hannah Schuster / WAMU/DCist

This was a riveting hour long show that takes the listener all the way back to the days of George Washington and how we voted in America. I grew up thinking voting has always been the way I’ve experienced. I couldn’t be more wrong.

Drunken brawls, coercion, and lace curtains. Believe it or not, how regular people vote was not something the founding fathers thought much about, or planned for. Americans went from casting votes at drunken parties in the town square to private booths behind a drawn curtain. In this special presentation of NPR’s Throughline podcast, a look at the process of voting: how it was originally designed, who it was intended for, moments in our country’s history when we reimagined it altogether, and what we’re left with today.

How Whiteness Affected The Election

Image from 1A (11/9/20): Donny Wadkins holds a US flag outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center as ballot counting in the presidential election continues inside in Philadelphia.BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

This is an important conversation because it deconstructs the monolithic myth about we create about voters. Eddie Glaude Jr. who is the author, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own, talks about the role of selfishness in shaping who a person votes for, believing that this or that person will better guarantee their interests. He points out selfishness is not confined to a single race, any one can be selfish.

They also discuss what Code Switch’s Gene Demby said in a conversation about the white vote on All Things Considered:

“But, you know, we in the media have a million euphemisms for the white vote. We have a lot of ways to say white without saying white. We say evangelical, soccer moms, suburban women, NASCAR dads, etc. Never mind that, you know, plenty of people of color overindex on things like church attendance or that, you know, the suburbs all over the country are becoming browner all the time. White is kind of implied in U.S. politics, and because it’s left implied, there tends to be this hyperfocus after elections on the way that nonwhite voters behave.

So right now we’re hearing a lot about Biden’s underperformance among Latino voters in Florida, for example, but far less about the fact that Trump won 60% of white voters in Florida. And white voters make up nearly two-thirds of the electorate in Florida this year, at least according to The New York Times. So Trump’s viability relies almost entirely on his consistently strong white support. But because we don’t talk about white people that way, we tend to focus on these sort of marginal shifts with people of color.”

What You Expect From The Biden-Harris Administration

Image from 1A (11/9/20): President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, stand with their spouses, Dr. Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, after addressing the nation in Wilmington, Delaware. Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

This is a thoughtful discussion of where we go from here, especially in light of so many alternative realities believed by and clung to by millions of people. Excerpt at 18 minutes, 30 seconds: What do you do about the millions of people who do not believe that Biden was elected fairly?

Dale Ho: “… I’m glad to hear a few voices in the Republican Party who have acknowledged the reality of the election results. I think it is very troubling for the health of our democracy that we have so many voices that are calling into question the integrity of this election in absence of any credible evidence of any widespread tampering with ballots or ballots unlawful cast. It is a microcosm of the the different kind of Fact Spheres that people right now inhabit, but when it comes to basic machinery of democracy when so many people have so many unfounded beliefs, it is something that is going to have to be confronted.

Founding Fathers Expected Today’s Political State

Image from Morning Edition (11/10/20): First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country, by Thomas Ricks
Harper

This was a fascinating interview about the long arc of history. Yes, bad men and ignorance have a long and deadly arch on human history, but so too do good men, commonsense, and basic human decency and compassion.

Excerpt: On whether the founders anticipated the sort of political circumstances we’ve had the last several years

“Absolutely. Thomas Jefferson, at one point, said bad men will get into power. And Madison says himself he’s not a memorable writer, Madison, but he has one memorable phrase I can think of, which is that if men were angels, we would not need government. Government is intended to restrain the bad impulses of people, so, yes, they saw that one day we’d have a president like Donald Trump. The Donald Trump of their day was Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr very nearly became president in 1800, 1801. In just a few years later, he goes on and he shoots Alexander Hamilton and then he is indicted for treason against the United States, for a murky conspiracy he was involved in. He was a bad guy, Aaron Burr. And the system was designed to check and balance people. And check is not an easy thing. Think of a hockey check. That’s a rough hit. Well, they wanted those checks to happen.”

1A Across America: Are The Red Cracks In The Blue Wall Getting Redder?

This is an absolutely beautiful report! My parents live in this area of MN, and I could not understand for the life of me why they voted for Trump. But this reporting helps me understand. They voted for him because they are standing with their community. At our core as human beings, we want to be accepted and belong to the communities that we live within. To go against the grain or against the flow of the popular beliefs, opinions, and needs being felt by one’s community is to risk being ostracized–sometimes, shunning is a fate worse than death.

I am putting this resource here because half way through when James Morrison is speaking with two young people living in Winona, MN, which is a beautiful little city located in spectacular bluff country along the Mississippi River. Winoa’s most noticeable picturesque landmark is Sugar Loaf–a bluff on the Mississippi River topped by a rock pinnacle that looks like a miniature Devils Tower. The city is named after legendary figure Winona who is said to have been the first-born daughter of Chief Wapasha III.

As they hike up Sugar Loaf, they talk about everyone having their own reality and how everyone is playing their own game in life. As we can clearly see in this Moment of Now, too many alternative realities all playing for the same small physical stage in the bigger game called life can have adverse consequences.

That is all I will say about this piece. If it interests you, you should listen to the full report and see what sparkles for you in your journey of understanding.

‘How To Make A Slave’ Author On The Advice That Changed His Writing Career

Heard on  Fresh Air— November 3, 2020

Great Nonfiction Writers Lecture Series: Jerald Walker — Brown University

The above video does not come from the interview Jerald Walker did with Terry Gross; however, he is a great thinkers and distilled his craft of writing into something polished and worth paying attention precisely because his life experiences are so different than those of us living in the mainstream of American society, which by default denies realities such as what Walker writes about.

The following excerpt of Walker and Gross conversation whopped me, especially what Walker learned from this experience he recounts to Terry.


GROSS: Let’s start with a turning point in your life. You were in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and submitted a story that you thought was quite good. It was about growing up on Chicago’s South Side. Describe the story or personal essay that you had turned in.

WALKER: Pretty much everything I wrote back then was about how white society had pretty much ruined the lives of Black people, and we were miserable, angry, bitter and poised for absolute failure as a result. That was pretty much my theme at the time. And I submitted it to workshop, quite proud of myself for really capturing what it meant to be a Black person in America.

And my professor, James Alan McPherson, had a different view. And he – when he began to critique the piece, he prefaced it by talking about how Black gangsta rappers often use similar themes and tropes in their lyrics, but often these rappers don’t live those lifestyles and, in fact, are quite successful and wealthy. And then McPherson, to my absolute horror, accused me of doing the exact same thing.

GROSS: And you were really angry, and you confronted him about it. What did he tell you about staying away from cliches about being Black in America and about growing up in the ghetto? ‘Cause you had told him, like, everything I wrote in this is true and, like – describe what you told him when you got really angry with him.

WALKER: Well, I didn’t sleep after workshop because I was so upset. And I called him the next morning and demanded a conference, and he agreed to meet with me. And when we met in his office, I went through the characters one by one, and I pointed out that they’re real people. These are my siblings. These are my friends. We live in this community. I’m not making this stuff up. I’m not simply using these tropes for the enjoyment of a white audience, which is what he accused me of. And I demanded that he apologize.

And he was so stunned, I think, by my response that he stormed out of the room, and he ran into the hallway. And then the director came chasing him in one direction, and someone else chased him. And I sat there for maybe five minutes watching these people run back and forth, seeing my future career as a writer go right down the drain because I was a huge, huge fan of McPherson, and I felt that he had somehow misread me, misread my story. And if this man, this Black man who I so admired, saw no value in my stories, then I felt that there was no hope for me.

GROSS: I’ll interject here that he was the first African American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for writing. So, I mean, you not only admired him; he had real stature in the world of writers. But you thought about it and then talked to him again. And he gave you some advice, which is very interesting advice, and I’d like you to describe what he told you.

WALKER: Well, I think one of the things that cause us to sort of not see each other in the proper light is that what he thought that I was doing was trafficking in stereotypes. And I was. I don’t deny that. But I was also, you know, a young writer, and I simply didn’t have a handle on my material. But he said something to me that was so valuable that it did change the trajectory of my entire writing career. He told me that stereotypes are valuable but only as a way to entice readers into the text because what they are presented with at the beginning is familiar territory, but once they’re in the text, he told me, you have to show them what’s real. And I asked him, what’s real? And he said, you.

And I didn’t know what he meant by that, but I reflected on it for about a year. And I went back, and I asked him to do a directed study with me because I wanted to study myself to figure out what is real. And the thing that I came to realize after working with him for several years was that the philosophy that I had adopted, that Black people were primarily victims of white racism, was false by the very fact that I had overcome these obstacles to even be in the writers’ workshop. And we’re talking about a place with a 3% acceptance rate, and yet there I was standing there, proclaiming that Blacks had no future in anything because we couldn’t overcome our obstacles.

And so he made me see that I was focusing too much on the obstacles in the Black person’s life, too much on racism, too much on oppression, but not on the very qualities that made it possible for me to find myself standing before him.

GROSS: So he wanted you to write about the strengths of Black people and the things they’ve overcome, even if they’re not having a successful career as a writer or getting into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

WALKER: Exactly. It’s not the victory; it’s the fight. And I think that he made it clear to me that I was failing to talk about the fight. And he made the point that for people who could endure the brutalization of slavery and its aftermath, by necessity had to be more than the sum of that brutalization.

GROSS: And just to be clear, he wasn’t saying, you know, like, Black people can just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and nothing else is standing in their way; you could achieve whatever you want to. He wasn’t taking that approach.

WALKER: Absolutely not. What he was simply saying is that we don’t come from a tradition of defeat; we come from a tradition of resistance and fight and struggle and that these are the qualities that make it possible for people to have success. But they’re also the qualities that simply make it possible for you to situate yourself in the whole span of humanity, that we are people, like all people, who do not simply identify themselves solely as victims of some oppression or some obstacle.


You are real, you are real, you are real. This is what hit me hard from this interview. As we attempt to understand our individual circumstances, our fate, our reality as individuals… we must start with ourself first. But not in an artificial, unnatural, hollow, shallow, contrived, or superficial way (more about that with Watts below). As Walker ends this excerpt from the interview with Terry Gross that I have included above, he is absolutely right in saying: “No, Black people can not just pull themselves up by the bootstraps…” …nobody can… it’s impossible.

You’re Using ‘Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps’ Wrong — Jun 10, 2017 [This is not what I was looking for but it does make the point I was seeking in a funny way]

“Telling someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps just makes you sound like a jerk to normal people, and an idiot to super geniuses.”


You Cannot Improve Yourself – The Great Alan Watts — Sep 17, 2016

This is part of the transcript for this video marked by minutes into the lecture.

2:43: “We aren’t better because we want to be; because the road to hell is paved with good intentions; because all the do-gooders in the world whether they’re doing good for others or doing it to themselves are troublemakers.

3:01: On the basis of kindly let me help you or you’ll drown said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree. We white Anglo-Saxon Protestants British German American have been on a rampage for the past hundred or more years to improve the world. We have given the benefits of our culture our religion our technology to everybody, except perhaps the Australian Aborigines. And we have insisted that they receive the benefits of our culture and even our political styles our democracy–you better be democratic or we’ll shoot you! And having conferred these blessings all over the place, we wondered why everybody hates us! See because sometimes doing good to others and even doing good to oneself is amazingly destructive. [This is] because it’s full of conceit.

4:10: How do you know what’s good for other people?! How do you know what’s good for you?!!

4:16: If you say you want to improve, then you want to know what’s good for you, but obviously you don’t [know] because if you did you would be improved! So, we don’t know!!

4:39: So, what instead therefore, if we see that you can’t outwit yourself; you can’t be, shall I say: ‘self-conscious’ unselfconscious on purpose; you can’t be designitaly spontaneous; and you cannot be genuinely loving by intending to love. Either you love someone or you don’t.

5:12: If you pretend to love a person, you deceive them and build up reasons for resentment. They say, ‘Well, I ought to be honest.’

5:26: That’s the beginning of oh so many lies you can’t imagine… like when I hear a lot said about lovethe big love thing on me… everybody’s got a love everybody, but it sings songs about love. Do you know what I do? I buy a gun and bar my door because I know there’s a storm of hypocrisy brewing.

5:48: So, let’s look at this thing from another point of view, which you will at first think highly depressing. [Let’s] suppose we can’t do anything to change ourselves; suppose we’re stuck with [how we are]. Now, that is the the worst thing an American audience can hear there’s no way of improving yourself because every kind of culture in this country is dedicated to self-improvement!

6:29: So, you see, you went out to do a self-improvement, making money. You see [this thing going out and making money] is a measure of improvement, a measure of your economic worthwhileness. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be. It isn’t anything of the kind. But you went out in other words for the status instead of for the actuality.

6:50: So, if in other words, you do an art (such as) you’re a musician. Why do you play music? The only great reason for playing music is to enjoy. If you play music to impress an audience, to be… read about yourself in the newspaper, you are not interested in music. So in the same way, why do I come and talk to you? Because I enjoy. I like the sound of my own voice. I’m interested in what I’m talking about. I get paid for it, and that’s smart in this life is to get paid for what you enjoy.

7:25: So, here’s the situation, you see, there is no… that the… the whole idea of self-improvement is a is a will of the wisp and a hoax. That’s not what it’s about.

7:37: Let’s begin where we are.

7:43: What happens if you know? If you know beyond any shadow of doubt that there is nothing you could do to be better.

7:55: Well, it’s kind of a relief isn’t?!

7:59: Now, you say: ‘Well, now what will I do?

8:07: See, there’s a little fidget comes up because we’re so used to making things better… leave the world a better place than when you found it sort of thing.

8:15: I want to be of service to other people and all these dreadfully hazy ideas.

8:20: And, so we think does…there’s that little itch still… but supposing instead of that seeing that there isn’t really anything we can do to improve ourselves or to improve the world. If we realize that that is so… it gives us a little breather. In the course of which we may simply watch what is going on, watch what happens.

8:53: Nobody ever does this, you see. Therefore, it sounds terribly simple. It sounds so simple that is almost looks as if it isn’t worth doing. But ever just watched watch? Watched what’s happening and watch what you are doing by way of reaction to it?

9:11: Just, watch it happen. And don’t be in a hurry to think you know what it is.

9:20: In other words, people look at it and say, ‘Oh, that’s the external world.

9:27: ‘Oh how do you know?‘ The whole thing from a neurological point of view is a happening in your head.

9:32: That you think there is something outside the skull is a notion in your nervous system–there may or may not be, but it’s a notion in your nervous.

9:51: You think this that exists is the material world. Well that’s somebody’s philosophical idea. Or maybe you think it’s spiritual. That too is somebody’s philosophical idea. This real world is not spiritual, it is not material, the real world is simply [Watt’s claps his hands]…

10:05: So could we look at things in that way? Without as it were fixing labels and names and gradations and judgments on everything but watch what happens? Watch what we do?

10:33: Now, you see if you do that, you do at least give yourself a chance. And, it may be that when you are in this way freed from busy-body-ness and being out to improve everything that your own nature will begin to take care of itself. Because you’re not getting in the way of yourself all the time. You will begin to find out that the great things that you do are really happenings.

11:12: For example, no great genius can explain how he does it. “Yes,” he says, “I have learned a technique to express myself because I had something in me that had to come out. I had to know how to get it out.”

11:36: So, if I were a musician, I had to learn how music is produced. That means learning to use an instrument or learning a technique of musical notation or whatever it may be. If I want to describe something, I have to learn a language so that others can understand me. I need a technique. But then beyond that… I’m afraid I can’t tell you how it was that I used that technique to express this mysterious thing I wanted to show you.

12:04: If we could tell people that, we would have schools where we would infallibly train musical geniuses, scientific miracle minds, and there would be so many of who we wouldn’t know what to do with them. Geniuses would be a dime a dozen and then we would say well these people are after all not very ingenious, you know, PhDs how many of them are there?

12:35: Because what is fascinating always about genius is the fellow does something we can’t understand. He surprises us.

12:45: But you see, just in the same way we cannot understand our own brains, neurology knows relatively little about the brain, which is only to say that the brain is a lot smarter than neurology.

12:58: Yes, yet there is this [thing]… which can perform all these extraordinary intellectual and cultural miracles, but we don’t know how we do it, but we did.

13:14: We didn’t have some campaign to have an improved brain over the monkeys or whatever maybe our ancestors, it happened. Then, all growth you see is fundamentally something that happens.

13:28: But for it to happen, two things are important.

13:34: The first is, as I said, you must have the technical ability to express what happens. Secondly, you must get out of your own way.

13:50: But right at the bottom of the whole problem of control is how am I to get out of my own way?

13:58: And if I showed you a system–let’s all practice getting out of our own way–it would turn into another form of self-improvement.

14:06: Here is the dynamics of this thing. And we find this problem, you see, repeatedly throughout the entire history of human spirituality.

14:19: In the phraseology of Zen Buddhism: You cannot get this by thinking. You cannot attain to it by not thinking.

14:36: It is only, you see, as you… as getting out of your own way ceases to be a matter of choice. When you see that there’s nothing else for you to do. When you see…in other words, that doing something about your situation is not going to help you. When you see equally that trying not to do anything about it is not going to help you. Where are you? Where do you stand? You’re nonplussed, and you are simply reduced to watching.


Oddly, as I finish this transcript, I also just watched ‘The Crown’ Season 4: Episode 4: “Favourites” [Don’t click this link if you are watching the Crown and have not gotten to Season 4: Episode 4 yet.]

The Crown Season 4 | Official Trailer | Netflix | Oct 29, 2020

This trailer sets up the conflict perfectly between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher…in an exciting way. If you have been following this series, then you know the Queen has had to learn the art of doing nothing. And many, many times, it has worked for her in spectacular ways. But, things are changing… as they always do… and there is a new fish in the tank… a woman of action. Hmmm… I wonder what’s going to happen?!!


Ram Dass & RELATIVE REALITIES

Photo from Ram Dass website by Rohit Gowaikar via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.

“You have at this moment many constellations of thought, each composing an identity: sexual, social, cultural, educational, economic, intellectual, historical, philosophical, spiritual, among others. One or another of these identities takes over as the situation demands. Usually you are lost into that identity when it dominates your thoughts. At the moment of being a mother, a father, a student, or a lover, the rest are lost.” – Ram Dass

There is more if you go to the embed link to Relative Realities.


Dan P. McAdams

The Mind of Donald Trump Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency.

The Atlantic — Story by  Dan P. McAdamsJUNE 2016 ISSUE

Mark Peterson / Redux

I found this older article in writing my previous blog: We Are Running Out of Time. I thought I had heard this on the radio recently, but I found it doing research on this recent blog. And then my good and trusted friends in Germany, Michael and Sonka, sent me a translation of a recent interview Dan McAdams that is featured on NTV: Politik, which they translated for me.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2020: US psychologist on Donald Trump “The best analogy is the chimpanzee”

“It’s like watching a primal force or a wild animal.” Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Arizona, one of the swing states.”

Donald Trump is obviously a narcissist, but that only partly explains him. US psychologist Dan McAdams calls Trump an “episodic man” who lives exclusively in the here and now. “He wakes up every morning ready to fight to win.”

In 2016, before the then presidential election, you wrote an article in “Atlantic” about the narcissistic traits of Donald Trump. In a more recent piece you point out that narcissists tend to attract people, but that these fans usually turn away from their hero at some point disappointed or annoyed. Before we talk about why his fans don’t do this: Is this the reason for the constant changes among White House staff?


Dan McAdams: I think so. Staff turnover in the White House is higher under Trump than under any other president in recent history. There are a number of reasons for this. One of the most important is that Trump is extremely volatile. It is difficult to predict what he will do from one day to the next. Working for such a person is almost impossible. Looking at my 2016 article, I now think there is something deeper than Trump’s narcissism – something that explains it completely. Trump is what I call the episodic man. I think this also explains the high staff turnover of his government.

What do you mean by “episodic man”?

That is the central thesis of my new book about Donald Trump, “The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump. Episodic Man means that Trump lives exclusively in the immediate episode, in this moment, in the here and now. He wakes up every morning and is ready to fight to win. For that he does everything: lie, cheat – everything that is necessary. Then he goes back to bed, wakes up the next day and starts fighting and winning all over again. Yet every day is a different episode for him. They do not fit together to form any story or narrative. He does not live continuously from day to day like most of us do.
It must actually be hard to work for someone like that.

When you deal with such a person, you never know what will happen next. Maybe everything goes well on Tuesday because you did something that helped him win on that particular day. But on Thursday he might have to win in a different way. And if you can’t do that, you’re out. It’s not possible to adjust to Trump because, unlike most of us, he hardly remembers what happened yesterday or the day before, and he doesn’t think about the future, as almost everyone else does. Most of us develop the story of our lives while living. Trump not. That’s why he can’t devise any long-term strategies.

But he does pursue political goals, for example in the occupation of the Supreme Court.

There is only one goal for Trump: to win. That is all he cares about. Of course he knows that the election is coming up. In this way, he can certainly take a longer-term perspective. But he is not in a position to develop a sustainable plan for political strategies. Take the Covid crisis, the biggest health emergency in generations for the United States and the world. Trump is unable to address this challenge because it would require a long-term plan. That is why Trump said in February and March, when the crisis hit the United States, that tomorrow it would all be over. “This is only a temporary moment” – he really said that. This is how he sees life, as a temporary moment, and you have to fight to win today. But when you are dealing with the virus, you need long-term concepts that work not just from one day to the next, but from month to month, maybe from year to year. He can’t do that. He has no idea how to do it. Nor does he let his experts and his employees work like that. Instead, he disempowers them all and fights to win on this one day.

For your book you asked yourself what it is like to be Trump. What is it like?

I tried to get inside his head. It’s not just the narcissism. He’s all wrapped up in himself and thinks only of himself all the time – but that’s only one aspect. For him, life is like a boxing match. The boxer gets up for the first round and fights for three minutes as if his life is at stake. Then the bell rings, he goes back to his corner, rests for a minute and gets up again for the second round. That is Trump’s life. This is probably how he has lived his whole life since his school days. He wakes up in the morning for the first round and will do anything to win. Anyone else would be devastated by such a life – not him. He loves to fight, he wants to eliminate his opponents over and over again. But you can’t solve long-term problems like this.

Then why on earth do 40 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of him, no matter what he does?

You’re right, it doesn’t matter what he does, and it’s probably more than 40 percent. Those 40 percent or more stick by him all the time. His approval ratings haven’t really risen much in the years he has been in office, but they don’t fall significantly below that mark either. Part of the reason is that Trump gives them what they want.

Trump’s constant fighting is simply a spectacle. It is like watching a primal force or a wild animal. Many of these 40 percent feel disenfranchised. This is a population group that tends to be less educated, older, white and male – not only, but predominantly. In a way, it is for them as if they were also in this boxing ring. And it is their last chance, because the United States is becoming more and more multicultural, multi-ethnic and increasingly post-industrial. The world simply leaves these old, uneducated white boys behind. They too are fighting a fight. But it is a hopeless endeavor. This population group is dying out. In a way, Trump is the last great white hope for them.

Do Trump’s fans actually see him as a real person or is he something like a fictional character for them?

For many of his fans he is not a real person. Even more: I believe that Donald Trump does not see himself as a real person. Of course his followers know that Trump is a flesh and blood person. But he has certain things about him that make him more than just a human being, as if he were a superhero or a mythical force. White evangelical Christians in the USA seriously believe that he is an instrument of God. To them, God’s will is manifested through him, although Trump himself is obviously not religious in any way.

Whether you see him as God’s instrument or as a wild animal fighting for you, or whether you see him as a little boy who is innocent in a crazy way, as some people think, the point is that he is above us. Trump does not have to play by the rules. As he once said himself, he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and he wouldn’t lose voters. To a certain extent, that’s probably true. For him, the rules don’t apply because he is more than a human being. From the point of view of his followers and from his own perspective, he is stronger, smarter, bigger. At the same time, he is also less than human because he lacks things that the rest of us have.

What does he lack?

He has no inner life. He has no doubts at all. He believes that he has never made a mistake. He does not just say that. He really believes that. He really believes that he is “a stable genius. There is something “non-human” about him. He has no empathy. If a tragedy happened, he wouldn’t think of cheering people up. As someone who is more than a human being in the sense that he is like a superhero and at the same time less than a human being in the sense that he has no inner conflicts, no doubts, no moral perspective and no empathy, he forms a category of his own. He can do anything, no matter how crazy it is. I believe that Trump sees himself that way too. He does not believe that the rules apply to him. And he doesn’t understand many things that others understand by nature. He fails to acknowledge the fact that more than 225,000 Americans have died of Corona. He just doesn’t grasp it, he can’t get a feeling for it either. There are not many people who are like that. He doesn’t hide it either. Trump isn’t hiding anything, it’s all on the surface.
So instead of being a real person, he plays the role of Donald Trump all the time. He has played the same role all his life, even as president. It’s really fascinating to watch that. It’s impressive, but it’s completely inadequate when it comes to the challenges we are currently facing.

You said he really believes he has never made a mistake. Is it true that narcissists often don’t think they are perfect at all? Is he different in that respect?

Trump is not your average narcissist. Narcissism is an important aspect of Trump, but this is. But there are many narcissists who see themselves as real people. For example, most narcissists can tell a story about their lives, about how they might have made a mistake once, but then got better and better. Or about how they got help from others or how they overcame problems and doubts. Narcissists tend to have stories like the one about going from dishwasher to millionaire, American dream stories.

Trump has no story about how he became what he is or how his life will evolve. Again, the comparison fits a wild animal. The alpha chimpanzee is not expected to have a story about how he became what he is and how he overcame difficulties. It is not expected to have a long-term plan for the future. It is not expected to think strategically. A monkey alpha male is expected to be intimidating and strong and powerful and to make deals to stay on top.

You compare Trump with a chimpanzee?

Well, he really behaves like a chimpanzee. He thinks he is powerful and forceful. He’s authentic and in many ways the opposite of most politicians – Joe Biden for example, but actually that’s true for everyone except Trump. They think strategically, they think long-term, they talk about things that will affect us in the future. Trump just wants to show everyone.

Could it be that Trump is a kind of projection screen for his supporters?

In a way, yes, they project wishes onto him. This whole fantasy of making America great again, of bringing it back to the way it used to be, whatever that might be – that’s a projection. But not in the sense that they see themselves in Trump. Donald Trump is admired by his fans, but they do not want to be like him. They are in awe of him. They see him as a tool for their salvation. But nobody says: I want to be like Donald Trump. Nobody says: When I grow up, I want to be God. Or: I want to be an alpha chimpanzee or a giant animal like King Kong. That is also the reason why his approval is so constant: He does not belong in the same category as the rest of mankind.

If Trump is so unique, who could follow him as a politician?

No one. He is unique. There is no legitimate successor. At the moment he cannot imagine not being president. If he wins the election – it won’t happen, and if it does happen, it will be because votes have been suppressed – he will probably want another term, even if that would be unconstitutional. He just has to win every time.

When we spoke four years ago, you said Trump was an imminent threat to American democracy because he delegitimizes the political system.

Things have turned out much worse than I predicted. I thought he was working to undermine democracy, but I could not imagine that he would succeed. Today I think he has succeeded to a certain extent in weakening our institutions. He has gone further than anyone could have predicted. Trump does not understand how a democracy works. The idea that power is shared between the institutions in a democracy is completely foreign to him.

NO DIAGNOSIS: Prof. McAdam is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. In an earlier interview with ntv.de, he described his assessments of Donald Trump as “a kind of psychological commentary”.

His view on the work of a government is ultimately feudal. The best analogy is again the chimpanzee. The alpha male is the boss, the supreme leader, and he remains in power until there is an uprising against him and he is replaced by a new alpha male. This is how authoritarian states work, and Trump sees no problem with that. Trump says he will not lose the election. He has refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of power. Jesus Christ! Since George Washington, we have had peaceful transfers of power in the United States. Never, never, have Americans questioned this. Some people may not like an election result, they may demonstrate against it, they may even resort to violence. But no one has ever questioned that a president relinquishes power when he loses a damn election. We are facing a constitutional crisis. He could carry out all kinds of maneuvers that no one ever expected, because so far the norms of our system have kept presidents in check. But Trump does not respect norms.

Hubertus Volmer spoke with Dan McAdams
Source: ntv.de

We Have To Choose Our Hard

Photo by Bebe — 10/25/20

CNN: Chris Cuomo’s Opening Statement on the Eve of Halloween 2020 — 10/30/2020

From CNN.com — Transcripts

Anderson Cooper: CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You are our Iron Man. Anderson, I’ll be watching, and then I’d be at the ready for you until this end. Get some rest, when you can. 

Chris Cuomo: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Happy Hallowe’eve! Not that reality isn’t spooky enough, right? 

We do have a real monster in our midst this year. It’s the virus. It’s on the move. It’s in the shadows. It’s in the light of day. The sense of foreboding that we all feel is very real. And yet, this is no boogeyman. It’s no figment of our imagination. It’s not true because somebody just tells you it is. And it’s not just in your head.

This has been the worst week ever for Coronavirus cases in the United States. We broke the daily case record again today. We have now surpassed 90,000 infections in one day

I know the President keeps saying “We are rounding the corner.” But be honest. Rounding the corner feels a hell of a lot more like spiraling into this complete hell of a hopscotching virus and more hospitalizations. 

The five worst days we have had have been basically in the last week. Five of the last eight days have been the highest five days we’ve seen. Not rounding the corner. Not going to disappear. There is no need for a jump scare in this story. The virus is no surprise, only Trump’s inaction is surprising. 

And yet, there is good news. The monster only haunts us if we allow it to. We know what to wear and how to live. But too many, in places with spread, are being told that they don’t have to, and they’re choosing to believe. That’s why the scariest people, this Halloween, ironically, will be the ones not wearing masks

Everywhere we look, from the pandemic, to protests, depressed economy, to our growing depression in our ranks, we are in a bad place. We have to be better than this. We must do better than this. And I believe we can. 

We’re treating one another as monsters. And these are polarizing times. But we’re making them that way. We could put the same energy into figuring out what we agree on, how to be together, and how to fight together. Why? It’s the same energy.

At the end of the day, living angry is hard. Living to be kind is hard. We need to choose our hard. Dividing is hard. Uniting is hard. Maintaining lies is hard. Sometimes telling people the painful truth is hard. Being sick is hard. Doing what you have to do to stay healthy is hard.

As individuals, and as one country, we have to choose our hard. Now, one choice is going to take us in a direction that’s going to feel like a trick. Another is sweeter. It’s better. It’s more who we’re supposed to be. And that is much more akin to a treat.

We’re not built for harshness. We’re built for sweet strength. We have always been, in this country, in a battle to get to a better place. We always have been. 

The question is, will that continue after Tuesday? That’s what this election is about. Both campaigns know it. They’re both focused in the places that matter. Today, the Midwest, and COVID is exploding all over. And you literally have a complete set of opposites in their final message.

Yes we are, Chris, yes we are: We are built for sweet strength and choosing this, living this, embodying this, especially now, is really hard. But we have to do it!

Some extra reports that resonated and reinforces why we need to work harder Now more than any other time to understand our shared reality.

Chilling Report on Meat Being Shipped to the US during the Pandemic

PBD NewsHour — Oct 20, 2020 — In Nicaragua, supplying beef to the U.S. comes at a high human cost

Judy Woodruff opens this report saying, “When outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat processing plants in the U.S. slowed production, American wholesalers and grocery chains turned to foreign beef suppliers. Producers in the small country of Nicaragua were happy to fulfill U.S. demand — but doing so has come at a high cost for local communities. Nate Halverson of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal has the story.”

Slow Down My Friend… Slow Down…

My friend John Kellden moderates one of the most thought provoking groups on Facebook (Conversations that Mind and Matter). But as a whole, Facebook is not a very thought place to spend your precious time as a human being. Recently, I have come to call Facebook Fakebook to curb my serotonin addiction to this intoxicating platform that only makes me more depressed.

It is not our fault we have become addicted to it. From its inception, it has been engineered to capture our attention with emotionally charged posts that project some of the lowest levels of human consciousness possible.

Facebook has done this very intentionally by engineering algorithms designed to hack our evolutionary programming. There is nothing wrong with our evolutionary programming for it has evolved to alert us to novel things that may benefit us as well as alert us to dangerous things that may harm us.

But our modern world is far different than survival in a wild natural world, and so we waste our time scrolling through post after post looking for the ones that trigger our instincts and emotions, just as we would have looked for the novel or the dangerous things on the savannah. The result is a collective descent to the lowest levels of consciousness.

You may ask: “How bad can it be to spend a time on Fakebook?”

Look at reality. What do you see: a global pandemic with a second wave hitting that could be worse than the first; global economic recessions and food shortages that are hurting many more people than the pandemic has so far; political polarization that threaten to fracture and destroy the fabric of collaboration and cooperation that modern civilization depends upon to exist; and climate change that will finish off anything that survives these current challenges.

Each and every day we create human reality with our minds. Our minds are channels for consciousness. When we descend as individuals and collectives to the lowest realms of consciousness, our thoughts descend too, and thoughts are rehearsal for action in the world. Bad thoughts lead to bad action. Bad action leads to a reality that looks and feels closer to hell than heaven.

Thus, it is in our best interest to work daily to elevate where our conscious awareness dwells. This takes daily work because there is great gravity constantly pulling us back into the muck of the lowest levels of conscious existence–natural gravity and manufactured gravity.

Why is there this gravity inside the mind?

Because we are easier to control in the lower realms of being. So consider the next time you feel provoked by a post or a tweet: Who is trying to control you?

How are you addressing your absence of consciousness?

I will not go into the conversation John pinged me on other than to say it is titled: Card Session: How are you addressing your absence of consciousness? But, I will share my reply:

Alan Watts saved me after my baby dog Cider died two days before Christmas last year.

Tribute to Cider — This is the story of Cider dog of wonder and life

You ask — well, how did a dead man save you? His voice and lectures have been immortalized on YouTube in these Chillsteps and regular lectures… they are everywhere. I made a playlist of Watts and listened to a lot of them.

Then, I digested… for a long time. 

You ask, digested… what?

Consciousness… consciousness is digested just like food is digested. Eat crappy ideas, you get crappy, constipated consciousness just like someone who eats crappy food gets a weak and constipated body.

The daily practices you and Michael discuss is beautiful and essential and has been known for centuries, especially by civilizations of the East… but these practices have been lost in our fast-pace modern world where everyone is programmed to get there fast.

Where is there?

It doesn’t matter… you just got to get there and do it fast… don’t think about it… just GO. That is what our culture (Cult — ure) does to us in this now. It has gotten most of us so lost. Some many of us living now no longer know how to get to the deeper waters of our beingness.

This is what Watts talks about again and again in his beautiful lectures…the ones that comforted me (and saved me) in January 2020 — just before the world fell over Corona cliff. This time now, it is only a practice run for a bigger fall that is coming up really fast because we can’t slow down anymore as species. We’ve been programmed by the Cult-ure controllers to go super fast, to not stop, to not see reality, to rely on insufficient beliefs that have been made up by other people who have agendas that are do not have the common man or woman’s best interest in mind. 

So buckle up… because every bit of higher consciousness we can muster as a species blessed with this usual ability is going to be needed to survive the next cliff we are going to go over–be it global unrest and war or climate disasters resulting in global disease and hunger… or something else… whatever it is, we speeding to it faster and faster and faster than ever before…

I’ve put Alan Watts into my story I’m writing as one of my character’s AIs that compile playlists to help him figure out how to pull off a mass transformation of human consciousness before the survivors of Earth are snuffed out and humans go extinct: Ra’s Playlist of Alan Watts… 😉 I added this Chillstep to this list.

Alan Watts – Kouyou | Chillstep 2019 | The chill mix John pinged me on

Ra’s Playlist of Alan Watts — Ra is an AI helping one of the characters in Sapience understand how to transform human consciousness on a scale never before achieved. Stay tuned, you will meet Ra soon in Book 1.

It Was An Orange Day

I was compelled to make this intense reply after spending time editing and writing about my latest video in a series that I call Have You Been Outside Today?

I started making these mini movies to try to survive social distancing during this time of Corona. I found by making these videos, I look for the beauty in the world, and when I look beauty, I see incredible things!

I have come to realize this summer just how blind I have been to all the life unfolding around me everyday, even in a great big city like Washington, DC. I have also come to understand how we are programed to go fast through our lives so we don’t question the rules. More importantly, so we don’t question the social programming we have all been subjected to.

I learned this on the bike trail where I have been yelled at and almost hit by other bikers who feel it is their personal right to go fast and for all slower users to get out of their way.

It is certainly intoxicating to go fast, especially if you have an expensive bike or have chiseled your body into a speed machine. But that does not mean you have priority over others who choose to go slower on public trails. And yet I see again and again, the faster ones projecting their anger on the slower ones.

This reminds me of our human social reality where the individuals who have great wealth continually ignore and run over the ones who are barely surviving. These powerful people don’t notice the weaker ones because it is inconvenient to do so. It would force them to slow down, even abandon their fast-paced, speedy lives that has intoxicated them with their own personal power and glory.

In making these videos, I have learned to slow down and to see the beauty in this world. Seeing the beauty makes me happy, and this lifts me a little bit from the pit of depression I fell into due to circumstances that are well beyond my control. Seeing beauty has become like a life raft that I can rest upon in rising sea of unconsciousness that is full of angry sea monsters who are speed and power demons.

It Was An Orange Day Today — Music: Blush Puppies – Extreme (as featured on iPhone moviemaker–beautiful, expansive song for the soul) — Series: Have You Been Outside Today? — Photos/Videos: Me

For my latest video, I said the following:

I make these mini movies while biking around the DC area. I never know what I will see and learned that often the first thing capturing my attention is only to slow me down and stop so I can see something more singular and spectacular as a being living traveling with other beings who are all moving together through time.

Today, in addition to the beauty of the natural world living inside a mega city, I saw two human event unfolding in time that captured my attention. The first was a road sign set up along the bike trail that said: “If you see something suspicious report it to the police.” I did not photograph it because I did not understand its significance at the moment, only wondered if me stopping to take pictures was suspicious activity. It had not been there on my other rides. Then, it hit me after getting home it suddenly appeared there because of the terrorist plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer and blow up a bridge in Michigan. It could happen here and that’s where I saw this sign along the Woodrow Wilson bridge. On my last bike ride, I talked with a local developer who has lived his whole life in and around Alexandria. This is a major bridge in the DC area that cost $2.42 billion to build and undertaken by four partners: FHWA, VDOT, MSHA and DCDPW. It was featured on the Discovery Channel’s Extreme Engineering Series as the world’s largest drawbridge.

The other uncommon event I encountered was a march protesting the U.S. support of Turkey. Marchers held signs about a second genocide occurring in Turkey and funded by U.S. support of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has held the office since 28 August 2014. ”The Ottoman Empire was since its foundation in c. 1299, ruled as an absolute monarchy. Between 1839 and 1876 the Empire went through a period of reform.The Young Ottomans who were dissatisfied with these reforms worked together with Sultan Abdülhamid II to realize some form of constitutional arrangement in 1876. After the short-lived attempt of turning the Empire into a constitutional monarchy, Sultan Abdülhamid II turned it back into an absolute monarchy by 1878 by suspending the constitution and parliament. A couple decades later a new reform movement under the name of the Young Turks conspired against Sultan Abdülhamid II, wand forced the sultan to reintroduce the constitutional rule in 1908. In 1909 they deposed the sultan and in 1913 seized power in a coup. In 1914 the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers as an ally of the German Empire and subsequently lost the war. In 1918 the leaders of the Young Turks took full responsibility for the lost war and fled into exile leaving the country in chaos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History…

The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians carried out in Turkey and adjoining regions by the Ottoman government between 1914–1923. The starting date is conventionally held to be 4/24/15, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide occurred during & after World War I (first with wholesale killing of able-bodied men through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by deportation of women, children, elderly, and infirm on death marches to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world are a direct result of the genocide.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia…

Fakebook & Friedrich Nietzsche

Lastly, this post dovetails with a conversation I am having with another friend living in Germany and who just deactivated his Fakebook profile. He is a biologist and studies the domestication of animals, including human beings. He sent me the following message today:

“1888 — Friedrich Nietzsche …
had his last year of clarity in Turin. 
His last ideas were among
 Umwertung der Werte
New evaluating Values
which of course, is absurd. 
Nobody can do this.
It is a Phase Transition
driven by many forces- no person can influence or control.
The current hierarchy and ranking of values is shaky and gets ever more chaotic.
So when you want to say something to a greater audience
you see, all territories are occupied already by someone-
fiercely defending his gold digger claim.
There is no free place anymore.
all subjects are occupied multiple times.
So you will be quickly placed into a pre labelled Box- from which you never get out again.
and we are a mental fast food society.
your main theme must be recognizable in 3 seconds ,
and then the attention span switches to something else
and the impression you leave – is superseded by other stuff.
We fast become intellectually obese and concept resistant.
To succeed- you need a big Trumpet and blast your message full power 24 hours.
The process becomes extremely exhausting and power draining. 
I wonder myself- how to organize time in a way- to be most effective.
Ever harder to do.

We may have to overlay an idea, a text- with music and images, videos
to grab the short attention.
ADD becomes a normal condition – to be tolerated…
almost impossible to talk to anybody

The other way is to ignore all this
To follow your own intuition
to do the things with the utmost value for Yourself.
No matter- what anybody thinks of it and you.
To be emotionally independent
ARETE – the Greek expression for posture, how you stand for yourself in your own way.
The only way to find any resonance ever – is being a Naked Soul
Gymnos
to dive into the Core of Yourself.
Know WHO you are.
Speak your own voice in your language.
To be as strong as you possibly can.
Immune to daily criticism, insults, fights.
The Value you create will shine
A Light Tower.
Do Inner Strength Training every day.
become as strong as possible.
To create out of Strength and Power.
You will be so remarkable- you can not be ignored.
I doubt from my experience that Facebook will help you ever.
It is far to shallow and almost a Mind Opiate …”

Halloween & Consciousness

I write about Nietzsche in my story that I have again been knocked sidewise from writing due to circumstances beyond control in my life, but Nietzsche features brightly in this final chapter I am trying to see clearly so I can get Book 1 published sooner than later. The timeline for my story beginning in 2020 in October. My fictional story is outpacing my ability to write it. Oh well… I realize it is the same in mind space as it is city spaces and natural spaces… to see the most singular and spectacular things, you must slow down!


Being its October and this post has a distinctly Halloween theme, check out my Last DJ’s Haunted & the Edge Playlist. Avoiding our inner darkness is not the way to evolve consciously. This is what the Last DJ learned, and this is what he preaches through his musical sermons in this fictional future. Here are some of the songs and stories he draws from to saved the survivors of Earth.

Lloyd’s Haunted & the Edge Playlist

This is a playlist created by the Last DJ of Earth who is trying to save survivors of Earth after a global catastrophe. He hacks Multinational satellites to broadcast his musical sermons, working day and night to bring down Earth’s new overlords–the ones who worship money.

Consciousness is the key. The Sapience Series tells this tale. Follow this site for when the first book is available: Sapience: The Moment is Now.

We Are The Story Earth Needs Now

Kurt Vonnegut, Shape of Stories

Each and every one of us is a story unfolding through space and time. Our stories are about what happen to us in our journey as a living being on Earth.

All living beings are unfolding stories…Homo sapiens simply gained awareness of their story as it unfolds, thus gaining the ability to alter it by choosing an action different than what nature would have dictated. This ability to be aware of our individual story of being a living being traveling through time is perhaps more singularly defining of being human than having a big brain, intelligence, or using tools.

Stories are to the awaken psyche as skin is to the body. They help to consolidate and contain the flow of consciousness through our being. They give our life meaning and purpose. They inspire action and galvanize collective action: culture–the most fundamental building blocks of every great civilization because stories help to bind us to one another.

They are perhaps the greatest culture building tool we have in our toolbox. It is through stories that great and powerful civilizations convey the symbols and images that excite people and spur them to action. So, figuring out how to tell a good stories is not only important for writers but for living a meaningful, productive, and powerful life as an individual and as a collective.

I love Vonnegut’s vignette above about storytelling because he is so darn genuine and playful! He very much echoes the same ideas that Alan Watts talks about in his many lectures, which is basically how to live a good and meaningful life by paying attention to our inner world and inner stories because these shape our outer world and realities whether we are aware of what we have chosen or not.


Two things I heard in the past 24 hours about how important stories are in cultivating our inner spaces include the following:

Honoring lives lost in the COVID-19 pandemic — Oct 9, 2020 6:20 PM EDT

I always sit down and watch the stories of the beautiful people who we have lost in just 7 months of COVID-19.

This story particularly resonated with me: “Those who knew 63-year-old Wanda Key said her personality was like magic. Her sister spoke of her giggle and a smile that would light up a room. Called Peppa by all those who knew her, she was a nurse practitioner, serving her Nashville community for 30 years. A beloved daughter, sister and mother, Peppa often shared a favorite quote with her sons: “What we achieve inwardly will change outward reality.


RIVA LEHRER — © 2020 Riva Lehrer. All rights reserved. [SIMON: And at the heart of your work, I think you’d agree today, are the extraordinary portraits that are called circle stories. They’re collaborative.]

And, I listen to NPR when I work and heard this amazing interview where Scott Simon speaks to the acclaimed painter, writer and teacher about her new book (Golem Girl) recounting a life growing up with spina bifida.

Below is the part of this interview that caught my attention, and I’ve highlight where Riva beautifully recounts the importance of story in our lives. She describes it akin to weaving who we are as human beings in relationship with each other.

We can’t help it… we are unfolding stories through time. This is why learning how to slow down and to stop and listen to each other’s stories is such a gift to ourselves and all humanity and life on Earth. It’s how we evolve consciously.

Here is the part of the interview that sent shivers down my back:

SIMON: And at the heart of your work, I think you’d agree today, are the extraordinary portraits that are called circle stories. They’re collaborative.

LEHRER: Yes. So I’ll meet someone – and it’s not all people with disabilities. What I really am interested in is stigma. And it can be queerness. It can be impairment. It can be a whole range of things. So I’ll fall in love with what they do and study their work, watch their performances, invite them to sit for me. And because people who are stigmatized have been presented with terrible images through the history of the media, making them hate themselves, want to be other, the main thing is if they’re going to sit for me, I want to give them control over what happens.

So it’s a long process. It’s interview-based. You know, it’s really – once you know how hard it is to be looked at, if I’m going to ask someone, can I look at you, I want that to be something that makes their sense of self better rather than it being another terrible, cringeworthy experience of being looked at.

SIMON: Yeah. Well, for example, could you tell us about a man you painted – it sounds like he has – like, he’s very funny, Jeff Carpenter?

LEHRER: Jeff was a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, I’ve lost contact with him. But he had had a dreadful thing happen. He was riding his bike down Ashland Avenue, and if I remember the story correctly, he was at a stoplight, and a car pulled up next to him and totally randomly shot him in the head.

SIMON: Yeah.

LEHRER: He ended up going to Cook County Hospital, where they did not do a wonderful job. He lost an eye and had some brain impairment. But when I met him, he was doing really darkly funny stand-up about trying to start to date again.

SIMON: It made me laugh, what you quoted. But oh, my word, it’s tough stuff.

LEHRER: Yeah. He was saying that he was trying to start to date again, and, you know, they’d be in the middle of some lovely rendezvous, and his artificial eye would fall out into the soup. And that would be the end of the date (laughter). And so I loved the fact that he was so brave and open about this is what I’m going through. So I did a portrait of him as if he were struggling with invisible angels. But that was the first of now 22 years, I think, of doing portraits of people. And I cannot tell you what an incredible experience the studio is. You sit there and – well, you know. You know. You sit there, and you exchange stories. And…

SIMON: Yeah.

LEHRER: …People tell you things that light you up.

SIMON: Yup.

LEHRER: But I also get to look at them, and I get to draw or paint them and think about how the story is weaving through their skin. There’s nothing like it.

Stay safe and well during these trying times! If you’re feeling uncomfortable feelings (anxiety, depression, anger), don’t discount them and push them away. Listen to your body, your mind… what are your feelings telling you?

Go outside today. Look for the beauty. Just being in nature helps to settle the restless waters of mind. Settling the mind’s restless waters brings peace and this allows for insight and wisdom to rise.

Appendix

Ted Radio Hour: Climate Mindset

Ted Radio Hour: Climate Mindset — In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change.

There are four segments and two talk about the power of story in facing the Climate Crisis.

Tom Rivett-Carnac: How Can We Shift Our Mindset To Fight Climate Change Together?

Christiana Figueres: How Can We Choose Optimism — Even In The Darkest Times?

Xiye Bastida: How Are Young People Making The Choice To Fight Climate Change?

Oliver Jeffers: An Ode To Living On Earth

Happy September 20, 2020!

I don’t have much to say, except that is is a beautiful blue day unlike several of the previous days when we had silvery skies from the fires burning on the West Coast.

Silver Skies — Western Fires: All Is One — Music: Lighter Than Air by Zhao Cong — Series: Have You Been Outside Today?

Two years ago, we were traveling between my father’s memorial service and our niece’s beautiful wedding. Here are some of the pictures of this journey:


And, this was the beginning of an artistic journey that I am still on. These are Consciousness Warriors I drew for my Divine Dodo story! They are still coming.

Consciousness Warriors — The Divine Dodo!!

Have a beautiful day!

We’re losing time

In this version of On Our Way by The Royal Concept at the end the chorus includes: “It’s 9/11… It’s 9/11…” and included in the original lyrics is the phrase “the sky is burning…”

Those Happy Golden Days — On Our Way: CO Days

We Have Lost Our Way To Our Hearts

I believe songs communicate essential inner symbols that can heal the soul. Some songs weave complex meanings that are numinous and stir recognition of inner and outer truths that have deep meaning to the entire species capable of this sort of cognitive recognition of meaning. To me, On Our Way is such a song that can be interpreted on multiple levels. One is it is a simple love song, but if you fall into the gravity of what love really is…then this song is much, much more because love is what holds everything we hold dear together. Love is how we weave our shared reality. Where the threads of love are shredded and torn asunder by hate, indifference, and “othering” (e.g., those radical liberals, alien migrant invaders), our shared reality begins to dissolve and disappear.

Now, We Are Shredding Our Shared Reality

Trump is a master of “othering”. He does it to get ahead, to stay on top, to grab power and keep power for himself and his loyal followers. In Googling examples of Trump’s “othering” efforts, I encountered an article considering what a Trump presidency might look like back in the summer of 2016, June to be precise when it was still not clear Trump would cinch the nomination. This paragraph is particularly striking…even haunting:

“In sum, Donald Trump’s basic personality traits suggest a presidency that could be highly combustible. One possible yield is an energetic, activist president who has a less than cordial relationship with the truth. He could be a daring and ruthlessly aggressive decision maker who desperately desires to create the strongest, tallest, shiniest, and most awesome result—and who never thinks twice about the collateral damage he will leave behind. Tough. Bellicose. Threatening. Explosive.”

From Atlantic article: The Mind of Donald Trump — Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency. Story by  Dan P. McAdamsJUNE 2016 ISSUE

Insights Missed or Simply Shredded

This old article further states the following insights:

Combined with a gift for humor, anger lies at the heart of Trump’s charisma.

And: “Trump appeals to an ancient fear of contagion, which analogizes out-groups to parasites and poisons.

And: “Narcissism in presidents is a double-edged sword. It is associated with historians’ ratings of “greatness”—but also with impeachment resolutions.

Photo: Mark Peterson / Redux — From Atlantic article: The Mind of Donald Trump — Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency. Story by  Dan P. McAdamsJUNE 2016 ISSUE

Basically, most of the country knew what we were getting into when Trump was elected as evidenced by the 2017 Women’s March.

Sustain the Flame — Promo of Citizen’s Documentary of the Women’s March
Sustain the Flame – Full (Best Version) Women’s March on Washington 2017

Here and Now: Trump and the Coronavirus

Now, here we stand almost at the other side of Trump’s Presidency and Bob Woodward’s book Rage has just come out with an explosive tape where all can hear Trump knew how dangerous the looming Coronavirus was way back at the beginning of February, but he gleefully tells Woodward that he likes to play it down. Indeed, he did more than play it down. He told us it was less dangerous than the flu while he brags to Woodward that it appears to be 5 times more deadlier that the flu. To this day, he mocks people who wear masks… a simple, effective way to protect oneself and others from inadvertently passing this deadly virus between us when social distance cannot be maintained. Even worst, he did nothing to prepare doctors, nurses, and frontline workers for the coming tidal wave of people who would become seriously sick from this virus or to protect our medical workers with the personal protective equipment they would need to treat very ill people safely. Since March, the daily death toll hoovers close to 1,000 deaths a day–many days, there have been more. The hot spots have spread out to every corner of the country with some regions gaining ground, only to lose it again.

Today, on 9/11/20, the death toll in the U.S. has eclipsed those of every other country, according to a shocking article recently updated by NBC.

Graphic: Coronavirus deaths in the U.S., per day — More than 190,000 people have died in the U.S. of COVID-19. Track which states are getting hit the hardest and which direction the country’s death rate is going. Updated daily. First Written: April 7, 2020, 8:12 AM EDT / Updated Sept. 10, 2020, 6:39 PM EDT
By Joe Murphy, Jiachuan Wu, Nigel Chiwaya and Robin Muccari

Honoring victims of the coronavirus pandemic: Every night, the PBS Newshour honors and remembers people who have died since March 2020 from coronavirus in the United States. On this day when we are also honoring and remembering the people who died during 9/11 nineteen years ago, this was the Newshour’s honor roll for this day in 2020.

Honoring victims of the coronavirus pandemic — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

College Students With COVID-19 Host House Party: Cops — And then this happened today, of all days! At the current rate of spread, new estimates of Americans who will be dead by January 1, 2021 are 410,451 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. by Jan. 1! This is less than one year people. If this rate of death was to continue for as long as the AIDS epidemic lasted (which is 38 years now), we would lose 15,597,138 Americans. To contrast this with the AIDS epidemic, 700,000 Americans died between 1981 and 2020 with 32 million people dying worldwide over 38 years.

Inside Edition: Police in Ohio say house parties are booming, despite restrictions meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Bodycam video shows an officer breaking up a party and discovering something disturbing. The Oxford Police Department says the people at the house attend nearby Miami University, where 1,000 students tested positive for COVID-19. Inside Edition Digital’s Mara Montalbano has more.

Here and Now: Trump and the Climate

Since Donald Trump has been in office, he has pursued “an unrelenting fossil fuel agenda, Trump has scaled back or eliminated over 150 environment measures, expanded Arctic drilling, and denied climate science.” — President Donald Trump’s Climate Change Record Has Been a Boon for Oil Companies, and a Threat to the Planet — BY VERNON LOEB, MARIANNE LAVELLE, STACY FELDMAN (SEP 1, 2020/Inside Climate News)

His denial is like fuel being poured on the fires burning out of control this very moment up and down the West Coast of California (not to forget the terrible fires that scorched Australia at the beginning of 2020). The BBC headlined: Trump on climate change report: ‘I don’t believe it’.

Sept. 10, 2020 — NASA’s Aqua Satellite Captures Devastating Wildfires in Oregon

Death toll jumps to 15 as record wildfires continue raging in California, Oregon, and Washington, U.S. [Now it is 21 dead] — Posted by Julie Celestial on September 11, 2020 at 13:43 UTC — The Watchers

“There are 24 massive fires reported in California, 16 each in Washington and Oregon, 11 in Idaho, 9 in Montana, 7 in Arizona, 6 in Colorado, 5 in Utah, 4 in Alaska, 2 in Wyoming, and 1 each in Nevada and New Mexico.”

Death toll jumps to 15 as record wildfires continue raging in California, Oregon, and Washington, U.S. [Now it is 21 dead] — Posted by Julie Celestial on September 11, 2020 at 13:43 UTC — The Watchers

Wildfires Rage in California and Other Western US States — By VOA News — September 09, 2020 11:12 AM

“About 14,000 firefighters are continuing to battle 25 wildfires in the western U.S. state of California that have burned more than 890,000 hectares.”

Wildfires Rage in California and Other Western US States — By VOA News — September 09, 2020 11:12 AM

Here and Now: Trump and Everything Else

I have written extensively about Trump and how he is twisting the awakening of institutionalized racism in American, how he is smothering the uprising of Black Lives Matter taking place all over the country and world (e.g., Naked Athena — Splendor or Spectacle, Black and Brown Lives Matter, My Hometown Is Minneapolis), and how he encourages cruelty that is directed towards immigrants and anyone he perceives not to be on his side. I will not do so here other to say that Black and Brown Lives Do Matter! When we discriminate and conduct violence on black and brown people, it is as if we are cutting off parts of our shared humanity.

The human soul is a clear place. The human body is a clear place. It is the human mind that has become cloudy and lopsided, in fact, it have become very diseased. We need all of us to heal the sickness we have inflicted on each other and our planet. We need to use our minds to understand science again, to do the hard work to seek the truth in complicated events again, and to follow the facts again. These three things are powerful tools (mind tools) that have help us humans survive a very complicated reality, and a reality that we have made far more complicated with our meddling in natural balances nature worked out over billions of years. Now, here we stand (Homo sapiens), about to undo these balances in the catastrophic ways, in a mere few centuries. We must think again. We must value the difficult work of thinking again, and of innovative ideas and inborn creativity all humans possess and bring to solving our collective problems. To not do this now, is to continue our headlong rush into ignorance, which is going to end in death on scales we can scarcely imagine, even in this year of so much death in 2020.

I Skipped My Senior Prom for Science — 2017

Back to Lyrics and Their Numinous Symbolism

We are young…” — Yes, we are a young species in comparison to just about every other species on our pale blue planets. Will we be the species to wipe out all the other ones?

“The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020, published today, sounds the alarm for global biodiversity, showing an average 68% decline in animal population sizes tracked over 46 years (1970-2016).”

WWF Living Planet Report 2020 reveals 68% drop in wildlife populations

I’ll believe when the sky is burning…” — Well, they are now burning up and down the Pacific Coast and across the west in the US… forests, towns, and meadows are burning, turning the sky orange and red. Prayers to all who are in the way of these deadly flames of 2020 and to those who have lost their homes and lives.

I’ll believe when the storm is through…” — And, the COVID storm is still not through. We continue to lose about as many people every day as we lost on 9/11 nineteen years ago.

Prayers to all who have lost a loved one in the United States (over 196,520 Americans have died of coronavirus as of 9/11/20). And, prayers to all people around the world who have lost a loved one due to coronavirus or have lost their livelihoods or suffer from long hauler syndrome (916,337 have died worldwide as of 9/11/20). — COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC (This is a pandemic that has been handled so badly by Trump who has used it as a political weapon and continues to do so by sowing misinformation designed to stir up division, fear, and hate).

Prayers to the memory of all the precious lives lost in the 9/11 attacks carried out nineteen years ago, an attack also born out of hate … something that only grows in human hearts.

We’re losing time, time, time…”

– Yes, every day we let hate, fear, jealously, greed, and all the thoughts, feelings, and states of being human contain inside of us that seeks destruction win through our deeds and actions in the world, we are losing precious time.

— When we become so divided inside ourselves that we lose sight of love, courage, trust, generosity–we are losing time.

— When these human qualities become “the other fellow out there who is out to get me” then we lose our ability to heal from traumatic pain and to maintain healthy relationships to ourselves and to others, we are losing time.

—- When this inner divide grows so wide and so deep that all the love and compassion inside of us disappears from our inner reality, then we are destine to lose our balance and fall into this hole in our mind.

—– When this happens, we all destine to fall into this inner chasm we created in our minds and when we do, we will all die because the truth is we are all connectedinside and outsideus and other are merely illusions of mind.

—— We are running out of time to understand this and to take meaningful action to heal.

Lyrics for On Our Way by The Royal Concept

I’ll believe when the walls stop turning

I’ll believe when the storm is through

I believe I hear them say

David won’t stop writing songs

I never wanna shake their hands and stay

I never wanna shake their hands and stay

Oh no let’s go

We are young, we are one

Let us shine for what it’s worth

To your place, place, place

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way somehow

Hold me close, close, close

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re falling to the ground

I’ll believe when the sky is burning

I’ll believe when I see the view

I believe that I hear them say

David won’t stop dreaming now

And everybody clap your hands and shout

And everybody clap your hands and shout

Oh no, they shout

We are young, we are one

Let us shine for what it’s worth

To your place, place, place

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way somehow

Hold me close, close, close

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re falling to the ground

We are young, we are one

Let us shine for what it’s worth

To your place, place, place

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way

Hold me close

We’re losing time

Hold me close

We’re falling to the ground

Taxi drive the sun is rising

Damn the sirens, keep on driving

Flashing light, oh what a night

I miss her bed, I lost my head

And it’s sunning, we’re still running

For her rooftop, our last stop

Barefoot, naked, don’t you let me go

To your place, place, place

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way somehow

Hold me close, close, close

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re losing time, time, time

We’re falling to the ground

We are young, we are one

Let us shine for what it’s worth

To your place, place, place

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way, way, way

We’re on our way

Hold me close, we’re losing time

Hold me close, we’re falling to the ground

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Carl Wikstrom Ask / Magnus Nilsson / David Larsson / Filip Bekic / Povel Olsson

On Our Way lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Special Note:

I make these videos to help me heal from the devastation I have been facing for the past 5 years that sent me into a deep depression, which became even worst 2 years ago sending me into a near fatal downward spiral… those who know me, know my story… those who don’t, it is enough to just enjoy the video(s) 📷 Stay safe everyone wherever you are in the world.

It Came From Inside — Promo — Tragedy Can Trigger Inner Renewal
It Came From Inside — Artistic Journey of Inner Facing Great Despair and Tragedy to Get to Healing

Appendix

A Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Wildfires:

The Daily (produced by the NYT) explores a pattern of building and rebuilding that has increased the destructiveness of the fires ravaging the American West. We are to blame for this. Us. Humans. We have created these systems and now we have become stuck in them. If we don’t take drastic, compassionate action to correct these problems, it can and it will get worst. Reality is complex. And, we humans have made it even more complex with our thinking that can created systems stuck in dangerous patterns.

California’s North Complex Fire has burned 254,000 acres.Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York Times

‘Unprecedented’ Pacific Northwest fires burn hundreds of homes: PBS Newshour

“Firefighters were struggling to try to contain and douse the blazes and officials in some places were giving residents just minutes to evacuate their homes. The fires trapped firefighters and civilians behind fire lines in Oregon and leveled an entire small town in eastern Washington.

The devastation could become overwhelming, said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

“This could be the greatest loss of human life and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Brown told reporters.”

Red sky and thick smoke are seen in Salem City, Oregon, U.S., September 8, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. Picture taken September 8, 2020. ZAK STONE/via REUTERS

Western fire crews grapple with resource shortages, misinformation in addition to flames: Fire command center burned Monday night in Oregon. PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

“These firefighters, commanders, and support staff are one of the many incident management teams that assemble during wildfire season to battle blazes throughout the West. Late Monday night, as winds picked up across the region, a fire broke out around their incident command post in the small town of Gates, Oregon. As the fire quickly spread, the group, which totaled about 380, many of whom were staying in tents and campers outside the post, began a battle to save their own building.”

Western fire crews grapple with resource shortages, misinformation in addition to flames: Fire command center burned Monday night in Oregon. PBS Newshour, 9/11/20
Western fire crews grapple with resource shortages, misinformation in addition to flames: Fire command center burned Monday night in Oregon. PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

Shields and Brooks on virus aid impasse, Woodward’s Trump revelations: These guys are two of the most balanced, deep thinkers that I watch as often as I can. Tonight, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the congressional stalemate over pandemic relief legislation, revelations from Bob Woodward’s interviews with President Trump and the political impact they may have and whether Joe Biden’s campaign message is resonating with voters.

Shields and Brooks on virus aid impasse, Woodward’s Trump revelations — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

Oregon’s governor on her state’s wildfire crisis and ongoing racial protests: “This historic early fire season is devastating in its scope and toll. With fires merging and moving closer to Portland, that city now has the worst air quality of any in the world. Officials say they need twice as many firefighters as they have now. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the crisis as well as her response to months of public outrage over racism and police violence.” — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

Oregon’s governor on her state’s wildfire crisis and ongoing racial protests — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

The unveiling of painter John Singer Sargent’s unsung muse: This is an uplifting story about how and why Black Lives Matter in every aspect of being. “When John Singer Sargent was commissioned to paint a series of gods and goddesses at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, he turned for inspiration to Thomas McKeller, a young black model. Little has been known about the pair’s relationship — until now. Special correspondent Jared Bowen shares Boston’s Apollo, an exhibition that was showing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum before the pandemic.” — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

The unveiling of painter John Singer Sargent’s unsung muse — PBS Newshour, 9/11/20

Presencing

On Presencing — fair warning to my friends on this artificial platform, which is any social media platform you choose to use because all pit us against each other for ungenerous, teensy-weensy, Lilliputian amounts of limited and fractured attention. And, these platforms continue fracturing what conscious attention we have left as a human species, so if you bring up presencing with me, you will trigger my anger.

Let’s Define It

In the past year, I have been observing more and more individuals who have become completely captivated and activated by this movement called prescencing. So, I looked it up:

“Presencing is a movement that lets us approach our self from the emerging future. In many ways, presencing resembles sensing. Both involve shifting the place of perception from the interior to the exterior of one’s (physical) organization.” — seems that Otto Scharmer may have begun this movement.

Pat Yourself on the Back

I say to you — congratulations! Now you know what all of life knows, you are submerged in a sea of consciousness that is becoming visible through your senses. 

Now, I ask you, what are you going to do about it?

If you are just going to bask in the beautiful (and terrible) light of consciousness (for consciousness has both sides–they go together like two sides of a coin) but do nothing with it but look to your left and then look to your right and smile in the glory of being: why not be incarnated as a sponge on the bottom of the ocean, or a flower basking in the glory of the sun, or a bee buzzing about a flower.

You have grown out of this Earth for a reason. You are aware of your consciousness for a reason. So, I ask you again, what are you going to do with your tiny plot of consciousness?

Visualizing Consciousness

I made this video yesterday after sinking down to figure out why I got angered by this word.

I Am Everywhere… And Nowhere

Music: Defeat — Hiatus 

Have You Been Outside Today? series

Photos: Me

Hashtag Consciousness

Hashtags to consider in moments of presencing:

#Presencing #Consciousness #Unconsciousness #Good #Evil#BeingHuman #WhatWillYouDoWithYourConsciounessToday#MoreImportantlyWhatWillYourUnconsciousnessDoWithYouToday

Time & Attention

Where you put your time and attention grows in this world. So, I ask you again: What are you going to do with your plot of consciousness? Where are you sowing your seeds of time and attention? What grows in this world right now in this very moment because of where you are putting your time and attention? These are just some of the places individuals are placing this most precious resource in the universe, human time and attention:

#COVID-19

#Love

#JusticeforAll

#EndingRacism

#WhiteLies

#Peace

#Anger

#Capitalism

#Resistance (and what are your resisting)

#Wisdom

Naked Athena — Splendor or Spectacle

Taking a break from the news over the weekend, I had not paid attention to the emergence of Naked Athena until I heard NPR’s Michel Martin talk with Portland NAACP President E. D. Mondainé about ongoing protests taking place there.  Martin begins saying:

“Let me just go to the piece that you wrote. It’s gently worded, but it’s very tough in its message. You said that I don’t believe it’s a time for spectacle; unfortunately, spectacle is now the best way to describe Portland’s protests. Vandalizing government buildings and hurling projectiles at law enforcement draw attention. But how do these actions stop police from killing Black people? Was there a particular moment in the course of all this that made you feel this way? I mean, in your piece, you speak about the woman who’s being described as Naked Athena…”

NPR’s Michel Martin — Portland NAACP President On Protests As A ‘White Spectacle’

Reality is Messy & There is Never One Simple Narrative to Explain It, Ever

Naked Athena — Portland, OR

I had to see Naked Athena in Portland, OR. When I found her, I did not see spectacle. I saw splendor. For centuries, women have live under lopsided male-centered, patriarchal cultural bondage. It goes on today taking many forms, but the core impulse is to control women and deny them their rights as a human being–often cruelly and violently. The same weekend as Naked Athena made her appearance in Portland, teenage girls were harassed and spit on by the Moral Police in Iran. I heard this report on the BBC and found it written up in UK The Daily Mail.

“An Iranian undercover morality agent spat at teenage girls and asked them ‘where’s your dirty owner?’ after seeing them without a hijab. In a shocking video, which has been circulating on social media, a man stops his car and gets out before hurling abuse at the youngsters.”

Undercover morality agent SPITS at teenage girls, asks ‘where’s your owner?’ and says ‘I’ll f*** your mother’ after seeing them without hijab in Iran

You think these two events are unrelated?

Think again. Reality is never as simple as we would like it to be as human beings. It never has been, nor will it ever be. But our propensity as a species to simplify reality is tremendous. It always has been, and probably always will be.

In times long past, humans used myth, folklore, and magical tales to explain complicated, perplexing, and frightening things that confronted them and challenged their survival. In my last blog, The Beautiful Gift of Outrage, I give an example of old Scottish folklore about fairies that swap out a healthy human baby and replace it with a changeling to explain why a new born infant would fail to thrive. They did not know modern medicine. They did not understand that their newborn baby was sick and needed care, not to be left out on a fairy hill to see if the fairies would bring the real child back to them. But our species has created many stories that now days sound strange and outlandish to explain the unexplainable.

And, we are still doing it today.


Untied States of Conspiracy

Frontline is airing an episode tonight titled: The United States of Conspiracy. Also, Fareed Zakaria aired a special on CNN about Conspiracy Theories; Mondaire Jones; Hillary 2016 Communications Director; Your Anecdotal Census; and Protesting During a Pandemic. Both of these episdoes explore the deep roots of misinformation entering into American culture, politics, and the rise of Trump who has long purported kooky conspiracy theories, such as the birther theory hurtled against President Barack Obama. Trump used this cockeyed theory to launch his political career (or more aptly to launch his political farce and mockery of democracy). Zakaria covers all the conspiracy theories of the past 50 years, including one of the most recent to emerge: QAnon, which is a far-right conspiracy theory detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged “deep state” against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters. Zakaria makes the connection between believing in fairies and fairytales in times past to believing in whimsical, outlandish, bizarre conspiracy theories today. Doing so, provide simple, linear explanations to reality, especially to people who feel like they are losing control of their lives or their values or their culture.

From the Frontline report , a write up says:

“The United States of Conspiracy includes a striking sequence that illustrates how Trump adopted Jones’ claims — voicing them publicly in a way that shocked even InfoWars staffers as he ran for the highest office in the land.”

Alex Jones and Donald Trump: How the Candidate Echoed the Conspiracy Theorist on the Campaign Trail

It further states:

As 2015 drew to a close, then-candidate Donald Trump made an appearance that was unprecedented in the history of modern presidential campaigns.

It was on InfoWars, the hard-right outlet run by extremist conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a trafficker in false information who had exploited national tragedies from 9/11 to Newtown. And it was brokered by Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone, a frequent InfoWars guest, in a bid to win over Jones’ millions of viewers.

A new FRONTLINE documentary traces how the alliance between Jones and Trump, facilitated by Stone, would help to bring conspiracy theorist thought into the political mainstream — ushering in the current era, in which misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has spread like the virus itself.

Alex Jones and Donald Trump: How the Candidate Echoed the Conspiracy Theorist on the Campaign Trail

So, What Does This Have to Do with Naked Athena

Everything. The spectacle is Trump and the rise of modern myths and fairytales that millions of people believe–stories that are just as strange and farfetched as fairies and changelings. Trump is taking advantage of this human fallibility to win. He got away with it in 2016, but reality is catching up with him. The Coronavirus refuses to comply to his fairytale, and his complete and utter failure to deal with it is causing him to lose in the polls. Of course, he is losing in the polls because of this. We are nearing 150,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19. Meanwhile, many European and Asian countries have successfully gotten the novel virus under control so they can reopen their economies safely and mark COVID deaths in the hundreds… not the hundreds of thousands. But, not us.

What exactly does 150,000 deaths looks like? What if all these deaths were concentrated in one geographic location? What would it look like?

It would be like losing McAllen, Mesquite, and Killeen, Tex.; Dayton, Ohio; Fullerton, Orange, Valencia, Torrance, Pomona, and Pasadena, Calif.; Syracuse, Borough Park, Astoria, and East Hampton, N.Y.; Savannah, Ga.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Naperville, Rockford, and Joliet, Ill.; Paterson, N.J.; Clarksville, Tenn.; Hollywood, Fla.; Kansas City, Kan.; Alexandria, Va.; or Springfield, Mass. Eric A. Gordon captures this for us to imagine in a compelling article titled: 150,000 dead of coronavirus in U.S.: What monument will they have?

So Trump needs a distraction. He needs his loyal believers of his fairy tale about reality to not look at the real spectacle of this moment–his utter lack of interest and ability to deal with reality–but to believe that America is falling into the clutches of the fatal-thinking, wacky left wing democrats. So, what does he do? He co-opts the beautiful, genuine cascade of Black Lives Matter protests and marches that are sweeping across the country, and across the world, after the brutal murder of George Floyd by a white police officer who believed he could get away with murder. Well, he didn’t. Here is a map a professor created of all the protests around the world evoked by George Floyd’s death.

Black Lives Matter Protests 2020 — To date, 4,352 cities or towns world wide have protested since May 25, 2020

This is the battle Trump is fighting. He is turning a long overdo moral accounting of White Privilege into an urban war to scare the hell out of his core supporters. He and his collaborators (like Barr) are not interested in saving or protecting human lives. If so, Trump would be sending PPE and swabs to hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, clinics in the 70% of the country he said not to look at when he was telling America how well we were doing in combating the coronavirus. He would be much more concerned with human life (black, brown, elderly, and everyone else) rather than abusing his power as President of the United States of America to protect a building in Portland. In the same insane compulsion to win the 2020 election, Trump is systematically and cruelly undermining all the hope and promise that the Black Lives Movement is bringing into the light of day. This means coming to terms and reckoning with everything this country has done to black and brown people–slavery, Jim Crow laws, Redlining, endemic impoverishment of black and brown people due to racism and structural inequalities putting white people first, and police brutality.

This is Trump’s War. He is making sure these changes don’t happen on his watch and that’s why his supporters need to reelect him in 2020, but what he keeps hidden to himself is that he doesn’t have an ounce of empathy for his supporters. He does not care what happens to them after he is elected. He is demonstrating this right now in more outlandish ideas about miracle cures for COVID-19 citing a doctor (just yesterday) who talks about demon sperm. He just wants to serve himself to more helpings of greed and gluttony for another four years.

This is a video I made of the Black Lives Matter protests that also surged and grew in DC after Trump violently cleared Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020 for a photo opt (with Barr overseeing this launching of violent counteroffensive manuvers to get law and order video footage to re-elect Trump)
If you happened to missed the news on Demon Sperm, Trevor Noah does a really good job summarizing where America is at right now… and he has a fantastic fundraiser going on right now: The Bail Project works to prevent incarceration and to fight racial and economic disparities in the bail system. Check him out… he understands what’s going on without resorting to simplifying reality.

Wag the Dog

Most U.S. Presidents who have gotten in trouble just before their second term are fabled to begin a war to keep in power. Trump’s war is with Americans. He is sending in federal troops (many contracted military units not trained to deal with lawful protesters) to stir up trouble precisely so he can get great photos and video footage to bolster his lopsided narrative of America falling into chaos and violence. This is the spectacle.

Naked Athena is the beautiful emergence of ancient knowledge and wisdom of dealing with men like Trump and the troops his has sent into cities that do not want them there. It is no accident she was named Naked Athena–the Goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. These ancient Gods and Goddesses are not dead because we no longer believe in them. They live inside of us. They are part of us. They are the building blocks of our psyches that hold the energies inside each of us that move us to take action. How that action is expressed depends on the constellation of archetypes that begin to take shape when we are born and become consolidated when the ego is born at the moment of the Primal Split, as defined through Melanie Klein’s work and object relations theory. Archetypes were first described by Carl Jung. They are poorly understood by modern humans, but they hold the psychological templates of everything that we feel and do: love, fear, greed, war. If we do not pay attention to them and the balance of our inner worlds, they can get triggered and take over our minds–sometimes this is good, often it is bad. They can also emerge collectively in moments like these and quickly turn into monsters. Naked Athena placed herself between the beasts of our collective rage on both sides of the divide. She emerged at the right moment like soothing rain to calm the archetypes rising in rage against each other. That’s what the ancient myths, legends, and folklore are all about. They are stories about our own abilities to create reality or to destroy it. To me, Naked Athena is a beautiful counter force to hate and violence–in her nakedness, she is vulnerable and unadorned by trappings of modern civilization, placing her body bravely in the middle of the line of conflict. Some say this is the moment that these protests descended into spectacle. I say, it is a moment they ascended into a realm of transformation and good trouble. We must remember how to travel and navigate our inner spaces. This is where things become cloudy, inside the mind, for the body is a clear place.


Appendix of Resources

I am not going to digest all these things here, but all of them feed into my ideas about why Naked Athena is part of the Splendor of this moment rather than the Spectacle of it. White people have a lot to work out now and a lot of it is between other white people. So much has been hidden, kept secret, silently enforced. There is a reckoning going on many levels and the streams inevitably will spilt, but the force all of them are pushing back against is the spectacle of Trump, his base, and his collaborators, not naked Athena or any of the protests going on that include examples of Good Trouble and Bad Trouble, yes, reality is messy and there is not one easy, simple, all-inclusive narrative to explain any of it.


Owning Up: Why America Can’t Ignore Its Past And Its Failings

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty Images (From WAMU website on this show)

A flawed response to a global pandemic. A string of falsehoods concerning the efficacy of mail-in voting. A violent and undemocratic response to nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.

The president of the United States has a lot to answer for in the eyes of his critics.

Ibram X. Kendi is the author of “How to Be an Antiracist” and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He’s written a cover story for The Atlantic detailing how President Donald Trump’s racism has forced America to confront its own, especially the prejudiced systems which have allowed the oppression of minority communities in the United States.

Ed Yong is a staff writer for The Atlantic. He recently published a piece for the same magazine painstakingly detailing the numerous failures and inadequacies in the federal government’s approach to combating the coronavirus. Yong explores how the underfunding of medical resources left minority communities particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, contributing to the country’s skyrocketing death toll.

We ask both of them: Is America ready to reckon with its past? And what happens to America’s future?


How Is The Federal Crackdown On Cities Sitting With Conservatives? — NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to conservative writer Jonah Goldberg about the tepid response from conservatives against the president sending federal troops into cities which have seen violent protests.

This is a five-minute listen that is time well spent. One of the thing Jonah says is ‘we are going to see glorious video clips of how violent and degenerate America has become in future Trump for President ads and during the republican national convention.’


Seattle mayor calls Trump’s response to protests ‘un-American’ — Protesters and police again clashed in a number of U.S. cities over the weekend, including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. President Trump has defended sending federal law enforcement to the cities, but many local officials say their presence is only exacerbating the existing unrest. Amna Nawaz reports and talks to the mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, about what she’s seeing in her city.

I found the following part of this interview particularly compelling:

  • Amna Nawaz: Mayor Durkan, I should point out, your critics will point to the fact that, for weeks, protesters several weeks ago had basically taken control of a few downtown city blocks.Your police chief had to go in earlier this month with heavy machinery and riot gear to clear that area. There was already concern about violence over the weekend. The police chief called it a riot on Saturday night.Do you think that the presence of federal forces could help quell these protests before they get out of control, and something similar to what happened before happens again, where protesters are able to take over some chunk of city space?
  • Jenny Durkan: I think that when you saw that the area on Capitol Hill that we were able to return to normal, that our police were able to go in there and clear that area with very little conflict and restore it back to a place that all the neighborhood and businesses could enjoy it.Contrast what’s going on in Portland, where, night after night after night, it is proven that what they’re doing is not working. They have not quelled anything. To the contrary, they have escalated it.So I do not believe that there’s any evidence whatsoever that any of the strategies that the president is trying to employ will lead to peace. And I don’t think he wants it to.He’s been very clear that what he is doing is targeting cities that are led by Democrats to show that there can be division and the lack of law and order, so that he can run on that as a president.That kind of political maneuvering of law enforcement really is un-American. And I think it’s dangerous for us to go down that path.
  • Amna Nawaz: Mayor Durkan, very briefly, you weren’t told before the current federal team that’s on the ground in Seattle was sent in. Do you have any assurance you will be told in advance of any further deployment?
  • Jenny Durkan: So, the assistant secretary did say he would call the chief of police and myself if the posture changed. But I know that — look, there’s one person who’s guiding the activities of this administration, and that’s the president of the United States. And so, regardless of assurances that anyone else might give me or any other local government official, we have to take the president at his word. And he keeps escalating his rhetoric, and then the behavior follows that rhetoric. And so, as a mayor of a city, I will tell you, I do need the federal government’s help. I need more testing for COVID-19. I need to make sure that, as this health emergency gets worse, that my hospitals can withstand it. I need the kids who are hurting not going to be back in school to be able to learn. That’s the kind of help we need from this federal government that we don’t get. A president should step forward and lead the nation. And, instead, he’s dividing the nation. And I think it’s a really dangerous time for America to be on this point of inflection in our history. And what — our choices today will decide what happens for generations of Americans to come.

When Trump first pulled this stunt (with Attorney General William P. Barr serving as his hedge man and is is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee this very day about this despicable day of failed democracy), I published this short video blog:


Portland NAACP President On Protests As A ‘White Spectacle’ — NPR’s Michel Martin talks with Portland NAACP President E. D. Mondainé about ongoing protests taking place there — and the federal government’s response to them.

Portland NAACP President On Protests As A ‘White Spectacle’ — Image from KGW8 article Published: 5:51 PM PDT July 27, 2020 by Author: Tim Gordon

This is the interview that spurred me to write the blog.


White Supremacy A Pervasive Scourge In Oregon History — This is a very important part of this story and why Naked Athena was such a brilliant move in the face of Trump’s culture war. KLCC reported this a while ago, and we need to really pay attention now:

“White supremacy has made recent local news, between Jeremy Christian’s murder trial in Portland, and the presence of white nationalist groups in rallies across the state.  A special edition of the Oregon Historical Quarterly is out now, that reminds residents that the problem is actually rooted deep in state history.

KLCC’s Brian Bull talked to the journal’s editor, Eliza Canty-Jones. Bull asked how ingrained white supremacy is in Oregon’s settlement.”


Chris Cuomo and Difference Between Good and Bad Trouble — The CNN anchor went on to define what is “good trouble” and “bad trouble.” Cuomo echoed Lewis’ assertion that the Black Lives Matter movement was “good trouble,” but noted that the “riots” and “touching to hurt” and “destroy” was not included, suggesting that focusing more on the violence rather than the protests is “bad trouble at work.”

Image from Fox News article: CNN’s Chris Cuomo says he was ‘borrowing’ John Lewis quote when claiming protests don’t have to be ‘peaceful’

This is a Fox News report. I watched this broadcast when Chris Cuomo made these comments and did not come to the conclusions being made in the Fox article. But, we all do this, twist what we see and hear to fit our narratives. Trump is a master in doing this. He has a natural born instinct how people are reacting and how to twist any reality playing out in front of him to appeal to his willing supporters and collaborators


Complicit Collaborators: Journalist Anne Applebaum On The ‘Twilight Of Democracy’ — This aired 7/27/20 on WAMU’s 1A. It is the most important nugget of the resources I have listed to consider and attempt to understand in order to survive the moment we are in right now. The description of this broadcast states as follows: Across the globe, authoritarianism is on the rise. We talk about it almost every week on the Roundup,as we scrutinize Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. And the U.S. isn’t immune, as historian and journalist Anne Applebaum argues in her new book, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. In addition to focusing on the military and government officials that enable nationalist leaders, Applebaum also examines how she’s noticed friends get lured to the far right. In a feature for The Atlantic, she writes:

“To the American reader, references to Vichy France, East Germany, fascists, and Communists may seem over-the-top, even ludicrous. But dig a little deeper, and the analogy makes sense. The point is not to compare Trump to Hitler or Stalin; the point is to compare the experiences of high-ranking members of the American Republican Party, especially those who work most closely with the White House, to the experiences of Frenchmen in 1940, or of East Germans in 1945, or of Czesław Miłosz in 1947. These are experiences of people who are forced to accept an alien ideology or a set of values that are in sharp conflict with their own.” 

Complicit Collaborators: Journalist Anne Applebaum On The ‘Twilight Of Democracy’
Why Intellectuals Support Dictators — New York Times article By Bill Keller that was Published July 19, 2020Updated July 20, 2020 about TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACYThe Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism By Anne Applebaum

One of the powerful things Applebaum said during this interview is that politics are just ideas that men and women form in their minds, then get together to try to implement in society, nothing more. Often these ideas have nothing to do with the reality of the people. Rather, they tend to be overly idealized and simplified ideas of how to run a civilization. For Trump, it is even more lopsided because he knows the ideas he promotes has nothing to do with reality. To him, it is a game to see how many people he can get to believe them.

The example of the old Scottish folklore about fairies swapping out a healthy human baby and replacing it with a changeling, comes from Outlander. Claire is the lead character of this series, and she would soon find out why her friend Geillis Duncan warned her not to go up the Fairy Hill. Claire did not listen. She searched for the child, but found it too late. It died from exposure. All she could do was hold it tenderly; her heart broken because she could not find it in time. Her beloved Jamie finds her, puts the baby back in the tree, and takes her home… telling her perhaps believing the real child will live forever with the fairies will bring comfort to the parents who lost their child.

In the next episode or so, we find out why Geillis warned Claire not to go up the Fairy Hill. She was not warning Claire about the fairies, but the town’s people. When Claire and Geillis get arrested and put on trial for being witches, Claire listens in horror as the mother of the child she tried to save testifies to her witchery and spells. She realizes as she listens and looks at all the town’s people crammed into the court that they are turning into an alien, broiling, in-human lump of hate and violence that seeks only one thing: To see her and Geillis burned alive. The Fairy Hill was a metaphor for the townspeople who lived in a one-sidedness that was unsustainable. The monster inside of them all had to be let out once in a while, and it was coming out now as she and Geillis were about to be killed by these gentle folk. They were they fairies, and they were turning into zaries right before her eyes–evil, mischievous, in-human things.

Fairies to Zaries by Bebe

Watch out… watch out… the Zaries are rising…

The Beautiful Gift of Outrage

I pay attention when things come in threes, and so it is now with outrage. I have also been writing about Cloud Atlas recently, which uses Fyodor Dostoevsky’s often-quoted maxim derived from his book The Idiot as its super structure: ‘Beauty will save the world.’

So, let’s get after how such a feeble, fleeting, and fragile thing like beauty intersects with outrage to save the world.

Number 1: “I’m Mad As Hell”

Chris Cuomo opened his show last night with this clip from Sidney Lumet, 1976 movie: Network.

NETWORK, Sidney Lumet, 1976 – I’m Mad As Hell and I’m Not Gonna Take This Anymore!

I found a fellow blogger who writes eloquently about this clip and Beale’s speech. And, I love Neil Hughes byline — Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own! Bravo! We need more unique thought in this world! I leave it to Neil Hughes beautiful written recap of the circumstances causing Howard Beale to rebel live on TV. But, I will carry over this powerful speech, which still resonates vividly still today.

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. (shouting) You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’ 

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

Are you going to your window? I think this clip is an absolutely magnificent moment distilled by the writers and filmmakers of this movie from the 70s showing the beauty of being human. In our super modern world, we need such moments to keep us human.


Number 2: “Give Back the Goat!”

My new favorite series is Outlander–I don’t know how have I missed this story for so long? And so after getting my fill of the news, I switched to story, and last night I watched episode 5 of season 1. You guessed it… it’s about outrage.

Claire is the main character, and she is the outlander in this world. I will not spoil why she is if you are like me and have not read this story or watched this series. Do not read what comes next if you plan to read or watch Outlander because it will spoil all the surprises.

If you are continuing to read, Claire has proven herself as a capable healer and is taken on a road trip to help Dougal (who is the brother to the clan’s king) to collect the rents from their tenants of the land Mackenzie. While on the road she is faced with the horror of the conflict between the English and the clans (and the injustices of collecting rent from people who have practically nothing to give). While she grapples with these horrors occurring between landowner and peasants together with the growing conflict between the Scottish-highlanders and the British, she becomes keenly aware of the future bloodshed that her Scottish friends will soon face: The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the ’45. (Eye, 45, seems an ominous number throughout the course of human history).

This clip is a little cheesy, but it does a good job explaining why Claire feels outraged, which is absolutely beautiful in its purity, intensity, and passion.

Outlander Episode 5 Recap: The Rent {SPOILERS}

Number 3: A gentle reminder

My friend Jurgen, who is a brilliant blogger, sent me his blog several days ago, but I did not read it until today. He writes beautiful pieces on his site called Mach was!? (Do something!?). This one is titled: ‘A gentle reminder’. He begins this piece by saying:

“Having spent nearly three months in complete seclusion from the outside world, alongside a next-to-perfect disappearance of electronic communication channels for most of that period, I had a lot of time to think about, and feel into, the so-called Corona crisis. It was a time of intense joy over the increased quality of life, owed to civilization’s coming to an almost complete halt, and it was also a time of intense agony over what my growing understanding of the crisis brought to light, both in terms of outer truths and of the resurfacing of psychological traumas.” 

He goes on to say: “It’s time to re-discover our common humanity and the huge pile of pressing issues we need to look at right now.

Indeed it is. Jurgen writes extensively and from a point of consolidated consciousness that I find compelling about culture and civilization and we are indeed at a moment of reckoning now. He says: “My credo though – whether explicitly or implicitly stated – remains the same throughout: this culture will eat the world alive and turn it into poisonous trash.” This is the very same truth expressed beautifully in Cloud Atlas when the character Adam Ewing writes in what he believes to be his final letter to his beloved wife and family summarizing everything he’s seen over the last couple of months and says:

One fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself.” (11.15.7)

And indeed this world is realized in the one where Somni-451 has been condemned to live, except she ascends consciously and learns the truth as to where her sisters (her fellow servers cloned by the corporation to cater to the banal needs of consumers who are also the prey of the corporation) are taken in Xultation. Sonmi-451 is a beautiful arch in this complex and dazzling story compelling us to examine what makes us human!

Cloud Atlas- The Truth About Xultation Clip (HD)

Truth and Trauma — Reality is a Gift

Truths and traumas are the common thread running throughout the three examples I have shared above. We are one human tribe and when one part of us goes a little bit rotten, or completely rotten, feeling itself entitled to rob ‘the other’ from their humanity and right to exist in space and time, it is mostly certainly WRONG and deserves our OUTRAGE!

It is entirely human to feel shock and horror triggering outrage when we encounter the grotesque wrapping of our shared human nature.

It takes courage to act on outrage, but most of us have been put to sleep or are too afraid to act on it any more, and this is another twisting of our birthright as human beings who have been granted the precious gift of consciousness. But, we are wasting this gift and turning Earth into a barren desert where life cannot survive.

What are these modern horrors that I speak of: consider the crisis in Yemen. This is entirely a manmade crisis of a more powerful group of humans destroying another less powerful group. I do not buy the narrative that these women, children, and beautiful people of Yemen deserve their fate or created these circumstances because they are vibrating on the wrong wavelength. NO! Their despair and suffering is on our hands. It is the failure of those of us who are not suffering like that to take action to mitigate and remove their source of pain. This lack of action to help ‘the other’ is what will be marked in time.

Or consider racism, the brutal enslavement of an entire race of people just because of darker skin. It is one group of people systematically and cruelly removing the humanity of another group. It is an unjust system that sanctions and allows individuals like George Floyd to be killed right before our eyes with impunity by officers of the law who are suppose to safeguard everyone’s human rights. But instead, because of the infection of racism, they have taken the lives of so many beautiful people of color who have been murdered by them under the cover of this barbaric system underpinning Western civilization, which all of us living now have been baked into.

Or consider the brutalities we allow as modern human beings to be conducted upon other living beings with whom we share this planet such as the recent revoking of a law banning hunters from blinding hibernating mother bears and their babies so the hunters can kill them easier. If these things do not strike disgust, shock, or horror inside your heart, there is a deep sleeping going on and a silent support and holding up of brutal ways of being in this world.

When one becomes conscious of injustice, brutality, and the grotesque wrapping of human nature, it deserves, in fact, demands our outrage. Without it, we are destined to wobble off the cliff of extinction as a species on this planet. This is what happens when we ignore reality by stifling our inner truths and failing to take right action to correct course.

Look around today. What do you see? Then, look inside yourself. Take your time like my friend talks about doing and really notice what is rising inside of you. What do you really feel in you now? Is now a time to be silent, to watch, and to do nothing?

I cannot answer your conscience. This belongs uniquely to you. But silence for me is not an option, nor is hiding under a Rock of Ignorance. To be clear, this rock is entirely mine. I was born under it and have carried it with me through time ever since. All of us are born into ignorance and must work steadily throughout our lives to shift through and dissolves the barriers to reality that living in groups has necessarily required of us. And yes, I still listen to the news. But, I choose my sources carefully. I agree with Jurgen…many sources of news have been co-opted by people desiring power…lots and lots of power. It gets twisted and warped into grotesque propaganda, but it appears so good to consume, which is what is intended so that it gets into your mind and sets up its workshop of ignorance manufacturing. And, news today, let’s face it, is mainly entertainment, especially social media where so many of us get our news these days, which is a little scary. So, you must choose your news wisely. I choose to listen to scientists and news sources I have grown to respect over time (e.g., PBS NewsHour). I also consume large amounts of other sources of information such as the writings of Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Alan Watts, and many others.

Then, I digest what I consume over long walks and bike rides in nature, by journaling, or through artistic endeavors such as drawing or making mini artistic movies of my rides. It is very important to digest what is consumed through our culture, our media, and our lives. We often forget that digesting information is just as important as digesting food. This is how we grow our individual field of consciousness and diminish the burden of our Rock of Ignorance.

This is one of the little movies I have made about the beauty of nature while digesting ideas

Most importantly, I act on what I have consumed and digested. Consumption without action is imbalance. It risks growing so huge and lopsided inside your mind that you will surely collapse under the weight of your own ignorance. Action must be taken daily to distill, transform, and sublimate what you have ingested into your mind. Only you can do this. I believe it is possible to reach a state of consciousness where knowledge of everything, including current events, is simply known inside yourself. My journey through time leaves me far from this state, and so I must pay attention to my surrounding, digest what I consume, and then I write. This is my act of transformation. Mostly I write the story I have been working on since 2012. This is a story about the collective transformation of human consciousness after the world falls over the climate cliff. I will also act wherever I can to stand up against racism and to participate in the politics of my country, which is failing right now, badly.

Lastly, as I write this blog (which is a process of digestion of the ideas I have consumed), I realize all along I have been doing what Neil Hughes suggests: Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own!

What is uniquely your own?

Find it, claim it — it is your precious contribution to Indra’s Net. Humanity needs every jewel of consciousness we can distill and sublimate now.

Art by Bebe

Appendix

There is such a thing as False Outrage. This is a twisting of basic human nature for someone else’s purposes. It feels like it is your own personal outrage, but it has been carefully crafted by a swindler, a pretender, a cheat, a Confidence Man. In a time of rapid change and growing crisis, these men emerge like roaches from the woodwork of civilization where they are normally regulated to live. But during times of upheaval, people crave to consume confidence, simple stories of their lives and their fate, and they flock to such men giving them their time and attention and unquestioning loyalty. This simple thing makes such men grow big and strong, making them look like magic men, saviors, but they are not. They are twisted and wrapped. They are dangerous. And we, the Good of Earth, are extremely vulnerable to such men and the mobs they create during times of crisis. These men create and seed False Outrage. It is very contagious. This is why each and every individual must fed their mind with good, nutritious mind food that is fully digested and then put into action. This is the only way to grow your individual field of consciousness.

I add this due to two things consumed since posting this blog yesterday.

Number 1: Confidence Men — Co-opted Outrage

NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Miles Harvey about his book The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch.

Photo of Miles Harvey and his book

Number 2: Seeing Black Jack Randall’s real personality — Twisted Outrage

This is Outlander again. Yes, I consume lots of stories into my mind. I suppose it is like eating dessert when I am too tired to work but not tired enough to sleep (which is a super digesting time for the mind… watch your dreams… pay attention, especially now). This episode immediately following the one before where true human outrage is so beautifully expressed by Claire, now shows the viewer a twisted soul. A man who deceives and preys upon others for fun. These sorts of people live in every century. They are master manipulators and extremely dangerous individuals for they are not stupid. In fact they know how to sharpen their mind, but they choose destruction, disaster, monstrous actions in the world. This is their masterpiece, as Black Jack Randall gruesomely reveals to Claire in this episode. I will say no more for my story delves deeply into such souls. This recap does a good job explaining what happens.

Number 3: Screaming Into The Void: How Outrage Is Hijacking Our Culture, And Our Minds — Impotent Outrage

I heard this last year, and it belongs here because I believe we are all being manipulated by False Outrage. Listen to this excellent episode of Hidden Brain to learn more.

VEDANTAM: Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Julie Zimmerman checked Twitter and saw something that made her upset. It was a video filmed hundreds of miles from her home in Ohio at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

JULIE IRWIN ZIMMERMAN: There was this older Native American man, and these kids surrounded him and were yelling things at him and laughing at him. And they were blocking his path. He apparently was trying to, you know, walk over to the Lincoln Memorial or something like that, and they wouldn’t let him through.

VEDANTAM: The kids surrounding this man looked like 15-year-old boys. They were nearly all white. A few were making gestures that looked like tomahawk chops. Some wore hats that read Make America Great Again.

ZIMMERMAN: These kids were making fun of this guy because he was Native American because he had a drum and was chanting something unfamiliar to them. It was pretty cringeworthy.

VEDANTAM: We’re going to look at Julie’s encounter with the story in some detail because it’s revealing about how outrage works today. Like many others watching that day, Julie fixated on one boy in the video. He was standing directly in front of the Native American man staring at him. He had what looked like a smirk on his face as the older man sang.

ZIMMERMAN: His image evoked all the horrifying things Americans have done to Native Americans throughout the centuries.

VEDANTAM: As the day went on, more details emerged. The boys were students at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky just across the river from Cincinnati, where Julie lives.

ZIMMERMAN: I started seeing tweets that the kids were chanting build the wall, build that wall.

Number 4: ‘Doomscrolling‘ — Impotent & Imprisoned Outrage

The modern world has brought us many wonders. We understand reality so much better than just 200 years ago when folklore, myths, magical thinking ruled most societies. Not that there is anything wrong with myth, folklore, or magical thinking, it is only when it becomes a cage for the mind that trouble sets in, which has happened again in our modern age with the brand-new behavior (but very old instinct) of doomscrolling. Watch out. You are being imprisoned in your own mind. Don’t believe me? Consider several experts studying this phenomenon. Clinical psychologist Dr. Amelia Aldao warns that doomscrolling traps us in a “vicious cycle of negativity” that fuels our anxiety. She says, “Our minds are wired to look out for threats. The more time we spend scrolling, the more we find those dangers, the more we get sucked into them, the more anxious we get.” Not only this, all this doom is triggering massive releases of neurotransmitters that are attaching to receptors in your brain. The more you do an activity that triggers the same response, the more your brain gets wired to want more and more…it is like an addiction. Your brain actually grows (rewires itself) to be dependent on bad news and doom. Instead of harnessing your natural outrage to do good in the world, you turn it in on yourself and consume your own brain, reducing your mind’s ability for creative thought, rational thought, and the expression of kindness, compassion, and healthy emotions. You must take back your mind first, otherwise you will likely never leave your room of doom.

A postscript on Doomscrolling:

My friend, Rag Mars (pseudonym), provided a thought provoking comment to an update I posted about this blog to my friends on Facebook.

He said:

“As a German Biochemist Ph.D., in my view, it is the fast accelerating complexity and pressure [that we live in today as modern humans]. We have no way to understand the most simple things anymore. In the Supermarket, I saw a Mouse Pad [that was] imprinted with the periodic table of all chemical Elements. [Imagine that how taken for granted this knowledge is to humans today.] [Meanwhile,] the Alchemists [were rigorously trying to figure out all we know today.] [They] were convinced, Mercury is the Element that can be transmuted into Aurum [the Latin word for gold]. In Quantum Chemistry, we know [today], Hg, Mercury has 80 protons, and Aurum, Au, has 79 protons. We also know, when a proton captures an electron, it can be transmuted, converted into a neutron. When in the nucleus of Hg (Mercury), [if] one electron from outside hits a proton [inside], it will [be] converted into a neutron, hence becoming Au 79–Gold.

“The Alchemists had no way to know anything about Quantum Chemistry. So how did they use Hg to perform the transmutation to Au 79?[It remains] a mystery. Today, we have no Mysteries anymore, we know [everything, or so we think]. And we also know, economically, it makes no sense [to do this–convert Mercury into Gold this way]. But, [in this knowing] we have lost the mystery. A mysterious insight in the strange cosmos. Not knowing–and still gaining insight. This riddle puzzles me. In our hyper complexity, we could know a lot. [But,] we do not–[our lives are flowing much too] fast [and we consume way too much knowledge.] [Because of this,] we have lost All of the Ancient Mysteries and Insights [our ancestors had]. So in this view, we are much more impoverished. We may even ask, was there [ever a time of] so much mystery? [We have forgotten to leave space in our mind] as the little known [is] too [small] to fill a great and bright mind, and so an Alchemist had to search for a deeper, complex hidden world. [He did so rigorously and did not settle for simple answers, and he stumbled upon amazing things.] [What did] he find access to [within his mind]? Was there Magic [there?]–[an inner realm where he was driven to] because of [his more} simple reality? Mind boggling to me.”

I responded:

“Once again you write about what I write about right now–mysterious things such as the parallels between quantum mechanicians and ancient knowledge of the Alchemists (and even further back!). I did not know about this strange link between Mercury and Gold. It is fascinating and it illuminates a little more of my own inner darkness — not that this darkness it bad, it is simply unseen.

Seeing is knowing and with knowledge we are able as human being to make different choices than what has proceeded us before. Knowledge is illumination–it is inner light (at least one form of it). Again, I veer to the story I am currently consuming Outlander to help add insight to these ideas. In this scene, Claire hears a baby crying in the forest. Her friend Geillis Duncan tells her this:

Claire, that’s a fairy hill. That baby is no human child. That’s a changeling. When the fairies steal a human child away, they leave one of their own in its place. You know it’s a changeling because it doesn’t thrive and grow. If you leave a changeling out over night in such a place, the wee folk will come, take it back, and return the child they’ve stolen.

Claire; however, knows different and runs up the hill to help the child, but she is too late, the child has died from exposure. She is devastated, but Jamie finds her on the hill and comforts her by saying, perhaps the belief that their child will live forever stay and happy with the fairies is a comfort to this family who placed the infant here.”

Believe as a comfort, even if it has nothing to do with reality, why do humans do this?

A couple days later, I watched a documentary about Trump and his conspiracies theories by Fareed Zakaria. After going through and showing us all the fanatical modern day conspiracies ranging from Q to Alex Jones and other fantastical conspiracies manufactured and believed by millions and millions of people in the U.S. (and around the world) is akin to believing in witchcraft and fairies and monsters from times long ago. Fareed explains this is because reality is complicated and people strongly desire to feel safe and in control of their world and their fate. Thus, if magical thinking explains why something devastating happens in a way that gives them a sense of lost control, they grab onto it, regardless of how little it has to do with reality.  You can hear Fareed’s show in the link below.

Fareed Zakaria on Conspiracy Theories; Mondaire Jones; Hillary 2016 Communications Director; Your Anecdotal Census: Protesting During a Pandemic

Remember, you are beautiful just the way you are right now. Your inner beauty will save yourself and the ones you love, and even the world when you remember just how magnificent you are. Each and every one of us has tremendous capacity to do good in the world. This is power that is equal and opposite to the ones choosing to do bad in our beautiful world of so much complexity and life. In fact, I bet there are far more ‘Good People of Earth‘ than there are ‘Bad People of Earth‘. You spin your thread to freedom every moment of every day by the choices you make. Make them consciously.

Hidden Brain

How Outrage Is Hijacking Our Culture And Our Minds — It can feel impossible to escape outrage nowadays. Anger is present across our screens — from TV news to social media. New social science research asks: What’s the effect of all this outrage?

Screaming Into The Void: How Outrage Is Hijacking Our Culture, And Our Minds — Social media changed after the 2016 presidential election.  “I felt myself getting sucked into feedback loops where I would read something, I would feel outraged about it, [and] I would feel compelled to share it with my friends,” says Yale psychologist Molly Crockett. “I would then be sort of obsessively checking to see whether people had responded, how they had responded, you know, lather, rinse, repeat.”

The Logic of Rage — Neuroscientist Doug Fields was on a trip to Europe when a pickpocket stole his wallet. Doug, normally mild-mannered, became enraged — and his fury turned him into a stranger to himself. Today on Hidden Brain, we explore the secret logic of irrational anger. 

Black & Brown Lives Matter

The Protest & March in Washington, DC — June 6, 2020

Photo by Bebe

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, 12 days after George Floyd was brutally murdered by a Minneapolis policeman, I went down to Lafayette Park to be one of thousands of people from the Washington, DC metro area to go down and push back against a brutal system taking the lives of black and brown people. It is a brutality occurring for more than 400 years—ever since the first human being was taken from his or her home to serve another human being without pay, without basic needs, without rights, and without dignity for these humans were taken as slaves and the takers took their humanity as well. 

Photo by Bebe

I went down to the protest despite the global Coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the DC area for 2.5 months and taken 110,000 American lives. A disproportionate number of people who have died from Corona have been black and brown people who are black and brown. This is because of structural and systemic racism that have marginalized entire communities and people. It is a brutality that is baked into our systems denying people essential services, justice, and rights just because of the color of their skin. Black and brown people are failing because they do not have proper health care, enough grocery stores, enough community and supportive services, proper education, or access to high paying jobs that locks millions into poverty. 

Racism is a Global Pandemic that has Lasted for Centuries

Photo by Bebe

It too is a global pandemic that is much older than six months. This pandemic has gripped the world for centuries, and it grew stronger and became institutionalized when Portugal and other European kingdoms began the transatlantic slave trade in the 15th century.

In America, the first slaves were brought to Jamestown in 1619. But this is a worldwide pandemic growing stronger in recent years as racists ideologies have steadily increased everywhere. The cruel, barbaric death of George Floyd by a white police officer and three other officers that was captured on camera ignited protests around the world that are pushing back on its growing strength. But there have been many sparks before this one ignited a huge global response. 

Photo by Bebe

This is why I braved the Corona pandemic, as did thousands of other people from the DC area, so that I could be one more body (perhaps anti-body) in an immune response to a much older pandemic that has brutalized and killed far more people. The DC protest was an organic response that swelled into marchers who almost encircled the perimeter fence Trump set up to protect himself after being rushed down to the White House bunker on a Friday night when the first wave of protests began to sweep across the country and world—protests that have been sustained and have grown into a second week and occurring everywhere—in cities, in suburbs, in towns and rural communities.   

Photo by Bebe

The Black Lives Matter Protests in DC

In DC, there were shouts and chants, but there was also joy permeating the DC protests expressed through music and dance and singing. The newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza was a gathering point for this powerful demonstration of joy and celebration of life. To me, this was one of the most a powerful part of this protest for it demonstrated boldly the strength, endurance, and resilience of people who have suffered for generations under the ignorance and structural racism that has been baked into every layer of the systems we live within.  I bet this joy bothered Trump more than watching the marchers, but all of it was vital to be expressed and heard and understood. Another powerful part of the protests is the spontaneous ecosystem that has emerged supporting all the protestors who come with free food, free water, and medical support. This is truly inspiring.   

Photo by Bebe

Enough is Enough — Pushing Back on Racism

Even if you cannot participate in a protest, each and every person, especially white people, has an opportunity to expand personal knowledge about racism. Now is also a time to grow and strengthen our empathic abilities. Both are needed to push back and go past the constricting systematic racists systems and beliefs put in place by our forefathers and that we have all been taught.

This was written on the Department of Justice — Photo by Bebe

Now, is the time to push steadily on every boundary, on every level, which includes responsible social media, safeguarding truth, safeguarding justice, and voting, but it also includes deep cleaning of our minds. Each of us is responsible for implicit and overt biases that exist inside our minds. They are our beliefs and opinions. Each of us must find them and dispel beliefs that do not serve us anymore. One measure of if an opinion or belief is worn out and needs to be discarded is asking yourself who does this benefit and who is left out? And are the people left out hurt by the belief? 

This takes practice. It is not as easy as it appears because we have all developed blind spots that hide the truth all around us. So, to get rid of the blind spots—one needs to listen, one needs to grow their knowledge by seeking and delving into diverse sources of knowledge and perspectives that are different from what we have known and are comfortable inside. To cling onto these old beliefs is dangerous to us all because we are all connected and we need every individual to participate in our shared reality to overcome the next great challenge humanity must met together, and that is Climate Change. To disregard one human being, one human voice, we will not make it because we are all one human species, and we are all connected.

Local artist Rich Shaadryan is painting hope on the boarded up buildings in DC. See www.richshaadrayan.com for his work. Photo by Bebe

Together, we can change the world.

Some of the Images from the Black Lives Matter Protests in DC

This is an artistic tribute of my experience at the protests on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Video Tribute to all the protestors and people all the world standing up for justice for all people everywhere in the world.

Music in Video

Life Size Ghost — Image from EP Review by Faded Glamor

Mt. Wolf – Life Size Ghosts (Catching Flies Remix) by Catching Flies – The Stars-EP album. I discovered Life Size Ghosts through Apple Music. “Catching Flies is an English musician, DJ and record producer from London, England. His sound has been described as sitting on the “smooth, mellow side of electronic music” somewhere “between Flying Lotus and Bonobo” and “contains shades of everything from hip hop to house, from soul to jazz.” – From Wiki

Image from article entitled Language of Soul By Emily Tan

Brown Power by Zeshan B – Melismatic album. I discovered Zeshan through an interview on Weekend Edition with Lulu Garcia-Navarro: Zeshan B On ‘Melismatic’ And Creating Music That Champions Brown Power    

Jon Batiste cover of Hollywood Africans

Smile by Jon Batiste – Hollywood Africans album. I discovered Jon Batiste in a rebroadcast of Live From Here with Jon Batiste the guest host. It is a wonderful show you can listen to by clicking the link.

Green Hill Zone by Jon Batiste – Hollywood Africans album

IDK (fet. Bjay McFly) by Bebe O’Hare – Made, Vol. 3 album. I discovered Bebe O’Hare through Apple Music. She is a Chicago native who has captivated fans and garnered respect as a rapper, singer and songwriter. Follow her on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Flyin’ Home cover photo

Flyin’ Home by Hannibal Leq – Flyin’ Home album. I discovered Hannibla Leq through Apple Music. You can follow him on Facebook.

What a Wonderful World by Jon Batiste – Hollywood Africans album.


How I Am Examining My Beliefs & Biasis

Marchers in DC on June 6, 2020 — Photo by Bebe

In a time like this, it is my instinct to preach, which I come by naturally as my father was a pastor. But I will choose instead to turn this preaching on myself and focus on self-knowledge and self-development. These are some of ways I am working on myself to dispel my worn out, dysfunctional beliefs.


“Racism in America is Like Dust in the Air”

I heard Kareem Abdul-Jabbar interviewed on CNN about an Op-Ed he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. In this essay, he says “racism in America is like dust in the air. It’s invisible until you let the sun in. Then, you see it everywhere.”  He says other really important things in this Op-Ed, and I have been thinking about this and the dust.  It seems to me as a white person growing up in America, we are exposed to all this dust and it settles inside our minds and over time it turns into shapes and objects (these would be our beliefs and opinions). But, if we went inside and did a solid housecleaning and we cleaned and dusted all these shapes and objects that have accumulated inside our minds, they would just disappear because they are made of dust. They are fragmented beliefs and opinions of the systems we have grown up in… systems that punish everyone when they step outside of expected norms and values… the problem is Western Civilization’s norms and values have brutality baked into them and this is hurting everyone, most especially black and brown people.  These beliefs need to be cleaned out and thrown away.  And, I am following Kareem on Twitter now.  My social media needs a better diet! His article is titled: Op-Ed: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge.

LA Times Op-Ed by By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, MAY 30, 2020, 7:29 PM

A Leader Cries Because A Leader Embraces All of Their Humanity

Anderson Cooper spoke with Professor Cornel West after the beautiful funeral of George Floyd who was laid to rest today in Texas. Cornel West was speaking so eloquently and passionately about what this moment meant. I was tearing up when I realize Anderson was too. This interview is worth watching. It embodies truth, justice, dignity, resilience, and joy.

Image from CNN — click CNN to view the interview

Consequences of Racism

I heard Clint Smith on the TED Radio Hour. Clint Smith is a writer, poet, teacher, and Emerson Fellow at New America. He is so smart. His TedTalks are powerful antidotes to the dust and infection of racism. He has done two talks. One is one “The Danger of Silence” and the other is “How to Raise a Black Son in America.” Collectively, they have been viewed more than seven million times. For the TED Radio Hour episode, he discussed “The Consequences of Racism.”

TedRadio Hour — Clint Smith

What is Next?

Call To Mind: Spotlight on Black Trauma and Policing — “White comfort Trumps my liberation.” “Normal wasn’t good for me. We ain’t going back. Normal wasn’t good for me.” We need a new philosophy… a living philosophy to build a new cultural container for transformation — This is at about 1 hour 7 minutes. This entire discussion is so important. If you only look at one of these resources, listen/look at this one.

MPR News: The death of George Floyd, a black man killed while being forcefully detained by a Minneapolis Police officer, has sparked peaceful demonstrations and destructive riots between protesters and police in the Twin Cities and across the country. MPR News host Angela Davis had a discussion with cultural trauma experts Resmaa‌ ‌Menakem‌, Justin Terrell, and Brittany Lewis about the most recent high-profile incident to become an example of historic racial injustice.


Policing Wasn’t Always This Way

Policing Is An ‘Avatar Of American Racism,’ Marshall Project Journalist Says: Lartey is a staff writer for The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. Lartey notes that America’s model of policing is a relatively recent phenomenon: “Policing wasn’t always this way. It wasn’t always this big. It wasn’t always this bureaucratic,” he says. “Modern policing — the policing that you and I and listeners recognize today — is really a product of the 20th century.” He says that Floyd’s death — and the deaths of other black people in police custody — highlight the need to change a broken system.

FreshAir: Protesters hold a portrait of George Floyd at a demonstration against police brutality in New York City. Policing “wasn’t always this big. It wasn’t always this bureaucratic,” journalist Jamiles Lartey says.
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

‘I Want to Touch the World’

The Daily remembers George Perry Floyd Jr. who nearly 30 years ago told a high school classmate that he would “touch the world” someday. Manny Fernandez, who is The New York Times’s bureau chief in Houston, went to the funeral in Houston of an outsize man who dreamed equally big and whose killing has galvanized a movement against racism across the globe.

Photo from The Daily: A memorial to George Floyd in Minneapolis.Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Here, Again

Intense and informative, This American Life present 4 compelling acts about this moment in time. It is introduced this way: “An exhaustingly familiar story. Maybe it’ll have a different ending this time, but maybe not. We hear what different people said and did one weekend in reaction to the killing of George Floyd.”


Mr Eastside

This is another This American Life that tells about the other pandemic that is taking so many good people, trusted people, people who are making a difference in the world away from us. This pandemic is also striking black and brown people at a higher rate. This story tells about one precious life lost: “Some of the first Covid-19 patients to arrive at Henry Ford Hospital were police and others who’d attended a community breakfast in early March called Police and Pancakes. Aaron K. Foley has this story of this breakfast and of one man — Marlowe Stoudamire — who ended up at Henry Ford.” (20 minutes) 

This American Life — The Reprieve — Mr. Eastside

Ingrained Injustice

TEDRadio Hour: As protests for racial justice continue, many are asking how racism became so embedded in our lives. This hour, TED’s Whitney Pennington Rodgers guides us through talks that offer part of the answer.


How Can We Win Kimberly Jones Video Full Length David Jones Media Clean Edit #BLM 2020 What Can I Do

“We are the land of 10,000 communities, as well as 10,000 lakes… this is time to reflect on trauma through voice…” Lady Midnight on Live From Here on June 13, 2020. Her album is all about how to process death and grief… that’s what it means.

Moral Decision Making

Image from Hidden Brain podcast — DNY59/Getty Images

The Hidden Brain is always illuminating, and this weekend I listened to Justifying The Means: What It Means To Treat All Suffering Equally. 

It is all about “when we are asked to make a moral choice, many of us imagine it involves listening to our hearts. To that, philosopher Peter Singer says, “nonsense.” Singer believes there are no moral absolutes, and that logic and calculation are better guides to moral behavior than feelings and intuitions. This week, we talk with Singer about why this approach is so hard to put into practice and look at the hard-moral choices presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

And, I still need to listen to this one: 

Image from Hidden Brain podcast — Hannah Groch-Begley listens to Dylan Matthews play the ukulele at their home in Washington, D.C. Dylan had hesitated to buy the ukulele because it felt like too big of an indulgence.
Shankar Vedantam/NPR

Playing Favorites: When Kindness Toward Some Means Callousness Toward Others.

If we do a favor for someone we know, we think we’ve done a good deed. What we don’t tend to ask is: Who have we harmed by treating this person with more kindness than we show toward others? This week, in the second of our two-part series on moral decision-making, we consider how actions that come from a place of love can lead to a more unjust world.


Social Networks — Just How Unbiased Are They?

Image from RadioLab — (  Simon Adler )

Radiolab re-aired a show about Facebook titled: Post No Evil. It is about our social networks and how they police their platform, or more aptly, how they do not police their platforms due to implicit (or not so implicit) biases.  Brief highlight: Breastfeeding, beheadings and bombings, Facebook has rules to handle them all. Today, we explore those rules and ask what they tell us about the future of free speech.


Rabbit Hole

This is a riveting podcast. I have only heard the first one, but I am hooked. This is such an important topic in the Age When Everyone Is An Expert and Has An Opinion (or do they?). This series gets down into the trenches of how the social media platforms manipulate us. Highlight: “What is the internet doing to us? The Times tech columnist Kevin Roose discovers what happens when our lives move online.”

Screen shot of the NYT series — Rabbit Hole

White Lies

Image from NPR’s White Lies podcast

About a month before George Floyd was brutal murder by a Minneapolis police officer, I had listened to the NPR broadcast of the podcast White Lies. It is about the Rev. James Reeb who was murdered in Selma, Alabama. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held to account. Fifty years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the city where it happened, expose the lies that kept the murder from being solved and uncover a story about guilt and memory that says as much about America today as it does about the past.I listened riveted to each episode that unravels the web of lies white people told and continue to tell about their role in perpetuating racism. One thing that really resonated with me is that even white people who cross the lines that have been baked into our systemic systems of racism are victims of brutality, like Rev. Reeb. Anyone in our modern Westernized capitalistic systems that does not obey and serve the corporate masters is subject to inhumane and cruel retaliation that can become particularly savage when white people cross the invisible lines of standing up against racism and fighting for justice and equality for all people. Rev. Reeb was white and killed for supporting the protests in Selma and the killers were protected from the law for more than 50 years by the White Lies. And, it is still happening today. Take for example a man you admits to being a leader of a Ku Klux Klan in Virginia uses his car to hit peaceful protestors: Man who allegedly ran over protesters is an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Virginia officials say.

These are the segments from White Lies:

Introducing White Lies

The Murder Of The Rev. James Reeb

The Who And The What

The Counternarrative

The Sphinx Of Washington Street

The X On The Map

Learn Not To Hear It
A Dangerous Kind Of Self-
Delusion


“All Our Voices Make A Difference”

This is one of the compelling messages that NASCAR drivers put out in a video against racism and inequality. I have to admit I have held a negative bias against NASCAR, but these men are changing my mind. They are showing us how to change inside out! I saw the interview on CNN and could feel Bubba Wallace’s candor and commitment not to just virtue signal but act. He was speaking on behalf of all the drivers who collaborated to make this video. This is huge because this hits right in the center of Trump’s base, which until this moment has been unmovable. It is moving now. Watch it.

NASCAR drivers unite against racism and inequality

“Bubba Wallace says NASCAR Confederate flag ban is about inclusion at races, not getting rid of it everywhere.”

“Wallace, the only African American driver in NASCAR’s top series, said he and his colleagues understand that for many, the flag is about heritage hot hate, and they aren’t trying to tell anyone what to do in their personal life, but he wants all fans at the track to feel included.” — both quotes and full article can be read on the Fox News Channel

But the cruel, dispicable backlash has begun as NASCAR announces a noose was found in black driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama over the weekend. Learn more in Justin Wise’s article in The Hill published June 22, 2020.

Photo from Fox News Channel article on Confederate flag ban at NASCAR races

Native Americans Need Justice Too

Photo by Joe Catron in the Grist with article by By Bill McKibben on Aug 22, 2016

Let us not forget the oppression of Native Americans. After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native Americans. This is an older article dating back to 2016, but our brothers and sisters from our Native communities have been fighting hard for clean water, equal rights, and justice. In my previous post, I told how I met Sioux Z Dezbah at the 2017 Women’s March and how she had been shot in an eye from a rubber bullet and almost lost her vision.

Excerpt from this article: “It would mean that after 525 years, someone had actually paid attention to the good sense that Native Americans have been offering almost from the start. It’s not that American Indians are ecological saints—no human beings are. But as the first people who saw what Europeans did to a continent when given essentially free rein, they were the appalled witnesses to everything from the slaughter of the buffalo to the destruction of the great Pacific salmon runs.”

Special note about Bill McKibben. He is a Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at my daughter’s school, Middlebury College, and he a founder of 350.org as well as a member of Grist’s board of directors. I just participated in a Zoom talk with Bill McKibben a week ago.


Black Lives Matter — 1965

James Baldwin’s “Black Lives Matter” Speech (1965) 

He is speaking about our inner guidance systems of reality: Our beliefs, opinions, assumptions. He elegantly speaks about the importance of one’s state of mind and how easily it can be blinded by cultural, system-wide biases and built in brutalities. It is well worth listening to. With COVID, we have time to slow down. Ask yourself two questions in this moment: Where are you putting your time and attention now? How is this growing your reality?


I continue to add to this list under Resilience Resources, which can be found on this site under the category listed below. To explore more on how to combat racism, please see these resources.

EQUALITY FOR ALL PEOPLES BEGINS BY BRINGING EVERYONE TO THE WORLD TABLE: While one human being any where in the world remains oppressed, so do we all.


Mapping Black Lives Matter Protests Around The World

This map is too darn cool not to include here. Just heard this aired on Here & Now:

More protests are planned Monday in American cities to support Black Lives Matter. They’ve been happening every day for weeks after the police killing of George Floyd.

To help give some perspective on the scope of the demonstrations, one man created an online map that shows the many cities worldwide standing up for racial justice.

Here & Now’s Tonya Mosley speaks with Alex Smith, a geographic information system analyst in Tucson, Arizona.This segment aired on June 22, 2020.

Map created by Alex Smith, a geographic information system analyst in Tucson, Arizona. Click here to see the map in real time.

Invisible Man

Just before I headed down to the DC protests, I heard Scott Simon read the first page of Invisible Man (no, it is not the one on TV now). This Invisible Man is a classic written by Ralph Ellison who had put his life on the line to fight in WWII only to return to an America that spite and despised him.

This is the Opening from: “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me, they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination - indeed, everything and anything except me.
Nor is my invisibility exactly a matter of a biochemical accident to my epidermis. That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of the construction of their inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality. I am not complaining, nor am I protesting either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves. Then too, you're constantly being bumped against by those of poor vision. Or again, you often doubt if you really exist. You wonder whether you aren't simply a phantom in other people's minds. Say, a figure in a nightmare which the sleeper tries with all his strength to destroy. It's when you feel like this that, out of resentment, you begin to bump people back. And, let me confess, you feel that way most of the time. You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real world, that you're a part of all the sound and anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognized you. And, alas, it's seldom successful.
One night I accidentally bumped into a man, and perhaps because of the near darkness he saw me and called me an insulting name. I sprang at him, seizing his coat lapels and demanded that he apologize. He was a tall blonde man, and as my face came close to his he looked insolently out of his blue eyes and cursed me, his breath hot in my face as he struggled. I pulled his chin down upon the crown of my head, butting him as I had seen the West Indians do, and I felt his flesh tear and the blood gush out, and I yelled, "Apologize! Apologize!" But he continued to curse and struggle, and I butted him again and again until he went down heavily, on his knees, profusely bleeding. I kicked him repeatedly, in a frenzy because he still uttered insults though his lips were frothy with blood. Oh yes, I kicked him! And in my outrage I got out my knife and prepared to slit his throat, right there beneath the lamplight in the deserted street, holding him in the collar with one hand, and opening the knife with my teeth - when it occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he, as far as he knew, was in the midst of a walking nightmare! And I stopped the blade, slicing the air as I pushed him away, letting him fall back to the street. I stared at him hard as the lights of a car stabbed through the darkness. He lay there, moaning on the asphalt; a man almost killed by a phantom. It unnerved me. I was both disgusted and ashamed. I was like a drunken man myself, wavering about on weakened legs. Then I was amused: Something in this man's thick head had sprung out and beaten him within an inch of his life. I began to laugh at this crazy discovery. Would he have awakened at the point of death? Would Death himself have freed him for wakeful living? But I didn't linger. I ran away into the dark, laughing so hard I feared I might rupture myself. The next day I saw his picture in the Daily News, beneath a caption stating that he had been "mugged." Poor fool, poor blind fool, I thought with sincere compassion, mugged by an invisible man!
Most of the time (although I do not choose as I once did to deny the violence of my days by ignoring it) I am not so overtly violent. I remember that I am invisible and walk softly so as not to awaken the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers. I learned in time though that it is possible to carry on a fight against them without their realizing it. For instance, I have been carrying on a fight with Monopolated Light & Power for some time now. I use their service and pay them nothing at all, and they don't know it. Oh, they suspect that power is being drained off, but they don't know where. All they know is that according to the master meter back there in their power station a hell of a lot of free current is disappearing somewhere into the jungle of Harlem. The joke, of course, is that I don't live in Harlem but in a border area. Several years ago (before I discovered the advantages of being invisible) I went through a routine process of buying service and paying their outrageous rates. But no more. I gave up all that, along with my apartment, and my old way of life: That way based upon the fallacious assumption that I, like other men, was visible. Now, aware of my invisibility, I live rent-free in a building rented strictly to whites, in a section of the basement that was shut off and forgotten during the nineteenth century, which I discovered when I was...


Racism is a killer pandemic spanning centuries…

Mind Viruses — Bebe

It gets into the mind this way…

Ig-nor-ance by Bebe

THE LOST BLUE HORSE TRIBES: OIL SPILL IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

Sinking Deep

Do rivers weep? Does the Arctic Ocean feel the pain of pouring deluges of oil? Does it feel the energy dripping of deep magenta and cayenne red? Dripping with no respect of boundaries? Sinking deep within the depths of your layers? Nothing you can do as the oil rigs have collapsed. They gave way. They let go falling into a trust fall that you would catch them. And you did. Not that you had to but where else was it to land? The narwhals, the orcas, the humpback whales sent out their sonar communication, crying and crying but it was all too late. A lullaby far past the hours of soothing.

State of Emergency

The permafrost was melting. The structure gave way in the land of the Russian Siberian full of forests, tundra, mosses, reindeer, moose and caribou. Their domain too. All will be taken over red blood on lichen. Deep red on marina pristine clear waters. Tainted. We did it again, we keep messing up.

Today The Arctic Circles Is Blood Red by Donna Alena Hrabcakova‎ 

Falling Into The Oil

A State of Emergency is called in the region of Norilsk, Russia. Yet, isn’t already too late? Ambarnaya and Daldykan Rivers filled with purple highlights, violet and burnt red oxide. On fire. Bleeding. Damaged. Will it ever really clean up?

Falling Into The Oil by Donna Alena Hrabcakova‎ 

We Are All One

All of this is happening while chants for George Floyd are recited as a holy mantra all over the world. Black Lives Matter. We are all one. But didn’t we once know that in the beginning of time? How soon did we forget that lesson?

Witnessing The Death of Two Blue Horses by Donna Alena Hrabcakova‎ 

Death of Two Blue Horses

The drums are also beating, the heart beats of all, a pandemic is in the forefront, stealing lives and breath and we still are not fully listening are we?

Witnessing The Death Of Two Blue Horses by Donna Alena Hrabcakova‎ 

The Elders Are Listening

We are trying. I have to give us credit. I have seen you protesting. Thank you. I see you painting. I see you writing. I see you playing your violin all alone at night writing ballads for health care workers. Thank you. I see you baking non gluten free bread for the one whom is in need. I see you holding the hand of an elder listening and offering love.

The Lost Blue Horse Tribes — Their Eyes Never Forget — Northern Russia and Arctic in a State of Emergency by Donna Alena Hrabcakova‎ 

Thank you.

Ancient Walk About

I feel deep in the narrative are my blue horses. I felt they have been aware of the oil spills to come in their Motherland. They were there on their Ancient Walk About, they have been so many times. I know they are present, they knew there was a reason they were to gather there. Sadly a few did not make it, even though they have lived in that region for so many eons. They could not survive and they so very selfishly gave up their spiritual existence to help us.

They see it all in the Universal Consciousness of their eyes.

Their soul eyes.

The Ancient Ones. The Lost Blue Tribe of Horses.

They are here. Transmuting energy.

They have always been here.

They will continue to guard the North Lands, the Sacred Circle till they are no longer needed. But, for now they are needed more than ever.

They will continue to circumambulate the Arctic. They walk the cold lands with their Nordic Companions. They walk on this ancient walkabout and have been here in time without time. Timelessness. Eternal. The blue horses will continue to hold the Sacred Stories. It is their destiny. They showed up the day the waters turned crimson.

They are holding us.
They know we are suffering.
They will continue the walk about till we are no more.
They are weeping with us.

The Lost Horse Tribes See and Hear Us –Paintings by Donna Alena Hrabcakova (animation by Genolve)

Written on June 5, 2020
Alena Hrabcakova
Midwest USA