My friend, Susan Katz Miller, wrote this wonderful book about embracing two religions in one family. She tells in this blog (that I am re-blogging) about a book reading she recently did about her book by the same name: Being Both and reflects on this precarious moment the world faces.
I can’t wrapped my head around the hate Hamas has been cultivating and growing for 16 years since rising to power in Gaza, and many more before this. The hostile brutality of their murder rampage on 10/7 cannot be let go without serious, significant consequences. I would murder them myself if I could.
And then the suffering of the people of Gaza, the 2.2 million people being used by Hamas as human collateral, disposal pawns in their Hate War to incite millions of people watching as they point their fingers and cry like the little, frighten men that they really are how brutal Israel is being to them.
Narratives are funny things, especially when used to evoke and manipulate millions into emotional responses such as rage and fury. What I have heard in the days and weeks since the barbarous butchery Hamas unleashed on 1,400 innocent human beings, is an Israeli man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot rescue his kidnapped wife and daughters. And I have heard of a Palestinian man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot protect or even find clean water for his wife and two sons.
What kind of beings have we become when we can murder women, children, and babies. One cannot take any side and claim blamelessness of sin. And yet to bath one’s mind in hate and to teach one’s children and countrymen to hate, this is some human beings excel in doing. And no one is going to win in the end. No one is blameless, and no one deserves to be deprived of basic human rights, especially the right to live and life for being Jewish, Palestinian, Christian, Muslim, or for being black or brown, red or white.
I pray for peace, for understanding, for justice, for a kinder and more compassionate world where all human life is precious and celebrated. Where children learn how to grow and cultivate tolerance, cooperation, and compassion. We seem so very far away for such a world–War in the Middle East, War in Ukraine, threats and insults from dictators and terrorists tempting, baiting, provoking the rest of the world to be their very worst selves… because a world like that… bullies, villains, thefts, and monsters win.
Life is fragile. It can end in an instant. Don’t waste it hating others because you really just hate yourself if that is all you can do.
Hate is a suicide pact. Hate never ends peacefully with a perfect world. Hate is not Heaven.
On April 25, 2023, Carolyn Bryant Donham died in Westlake, Louisiana. She was 88 years old.
Sixty-eight years earlier, as a 21 year old girl, she accused the black teenager Emmett Tilll of whistling at her, grabbing her hand, and asking for a date. All of this except maybe the whistle (which could have been someone else, even someone white) was a lie, but her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam took it upon themselves to mete out justice, Jim Crow justice, justice laced with hate and loathing.
With Carolyn in the car, Roy and Milam broke into Emmett’s uncle’s house, kidnapped him, then beat, shot, and lynched Emmett beyond recognition. They threw his broken body into the Tallahatchie River where it would not be found for days.
The year was 1955. Because of the bravery of Emmett Till’s mother who insisted on an open casket funeral, the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi ignited the spark for the Civil Rights Movement, which would crash across America trying to washout hate.
But hate is a mighty sticky thing. It clings to craggy rocks inside the mind that are full of grievances, grumbles, and grudges. White people cling to hate in order to feel important,in command, and confident about their place in the world. Having seizing power centuries earlier, White people have created tremendous systems of inequality and injustice. And now, White people cling to these corrupted systems for dear life!
They do so because they don’t know if they really can stand on their own two feet. They really don’t know if they can make it in the world where everyone has equal rights, equal opportunities, and true equity. White people are afraid of their own incompetence, ineptitude, and inadequacy. I am White. I know.
I also know hiding behind a wall of seething hate makes people feel powerful for a minute, but that feeling is fleeting. And hate is a very heavy thing. Hate drags people down into Pits of Ignorance. These are very deep, very dark, and very nightmarish place inside every human being, except we are too scared to look.
But that’s the cure! Looking!! That is the only way to vanquish the haunting ghost of hate. Looking and confronting your own Pit of Hate, is the only way not to be controlled by hate. A person has to face it, to own it, and eat it. It is part of being a conscious being.
If you are human, you are processing all sorts of awful feelings and emotions that are in direct competition for your conscious attention. The only way not to get sucked in to one hole or another is to keep both opposites, both sides of yourself, within your gaze of conscious awareness.
Justice is a very important element in digesting consciousness and growing a stronger psychological-spiritual body over time.
No, there won’t. They last person involved in his murder has died.
This is the woman responsible for telling the lie that got Emmett Till killed.
I only learned about Carolyn Bryant Donham’s death yesterday (about a week after she died). I was wrestling with a section in my book about hate. I heard about her death on the Take Away while taking a break trying to do a refresh of my muddled mind.
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry was speaking with with Timothy B. Tyson who is the author of The Blood of Emmett Till and senior research scholar at Duke University. She was also speaking with Keith Beauchamp who is an award-winning filmmaker behind the documentary “The Untold Story of Emmett Till” and producer of the movie “Till” about what Bryant’s death means in the quest for justice in Emmett Till’s murder.
Side note: I am so disappointed with NPR for cancelling this show. We are living through times of unprecedented violence, ignorance, and hate. To survive such times, we need diverse voices. Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry through this show provides such a voice. It is a significant lost on the landscape of sanity, truth, and recovery from the fatal infection of hate.
The Take Away — Emmett Till
Melissa Harris-Perry recounts the events of that fateful day in 1955.
On August 28th, 1955, two adult white men, Roy Bryant and JW Milam, kidnapped 14-year-old Emmett Till at gunpoint from his uncle's home in Money, Mississippi. It was the middle of the night. Bryant and Milam beat and shot Emmett. They used barbed wire to tie a cotton jean fan to his neck, and they threw him into the river. When Mamie Till-Mobley received her son's remains, the child was disfigured beyond recognition.
She made a choice so vulnerable and courageous; it altered the course of history. At her insistence, for five days, Emmett's mutilated body lay in an open casket. More than 50,000 people visited the Southside Chicago Church where he lay and millions more saw the shocking photos of the brutalized Boy in Jet Magazine. All bore witness to the stomach-churning realities of Bryant and Milam's racist violence.
"When people saw what had happened to my son, men stood up who had never stood up before. People became vocal who had never vocalized before. Emmett's death was the opening of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the sacrificial lamb of the movement." -- Mamie Till-Mobley
Melissa Harris-Perry: Her steel-spined courage launched a movement for justice, but Mamie Till-Mobley never received even a modicum of accountability for the murder of her son. In 1955, an all-white Mississippi jury refused to convict the killers, and in 1956, Look Magazine paid the men $4,000 to print their confession to the murder. Throughout it all, there was a third co-conspirator, Carolyn Bryant now Carolyn Bryant Donham. It was Mrs. Bryant who told her husband and brother-in-law that Emmett Till whistled at her. It was Mrs. Bryant who told the 1955 Mississippi jury that Emmett physically accosted and sexually propositioned her.
It was Mrs. Bryant, who during the trial, brought her own young sons to the courthouse, dressed in their Sunday best. It's Mrs. Carolyn Bryant captured in a Black and white photo who stands with her head thrown back in laughter, embracing her husband Roy at the end of that farce of a trial. It's a photo that still haunts my dreams and my waking. Late last week, Carolyn Bryant now Carolyn Bryant Donham died at the age of 88 while in hospice care. Joining me now is Tim Tyson, senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and author of The Blood of Emmett Till. Tim, welcome to The Takeaway.
You can read or listen to the entire interview here.
My Take Away of The Take Away
I zeroed in on a point in their conversation about how jovial and happy the defendants were when a white jury found Roy and Milam Not Guilty.
Several months after their acquittal, the two men with the help of their defense attorney sold their story to Look Magazine where they admit their guilt. They get even more recognition and celebration by vast swaths of the White Community bathing in racism and hate.
I had to find a picture of these jubilant hate-filled white people. I did. It is very jarring. They are so young, so jubilant, so ignorant (and happy of it). What is even more jarring is that Carol’s sister-in-law, Juanita, looked a lot like me when I was that age.
With that recognition, I immediately realized that if had I grown up in a community infused with hate and racism, I could have easily been that girl smiling so brightly in the courtroom knowing they had all just gotten away with murder.
This recognition of how easily I could have been her is frightening. It elicits a deep and profound feeling of disgust and self-loathing inside myself. I want to condemn her and them, but I know I need to be honest about my own ignorance and hate.
So how do I do that?
The first step is recognizing that hate lives inside of me. It lies in wait like a sleeping dog ready to jump up and bite anything that threatens me, rejects me, injures me, makes me feel bad about myself, threatens my family, threatens my livelihood, threatens my beliefs.
Hate lives inside all of us. If you are a human being who thinks, you are creating hate. It is a natural byproduct of thinking, just like pooping and peeing are natural byproducts of eating. We all produce it just by being human and thinking.
Thinking is division. Thinking is cutting the world up into smaller and smaller pieces to understand it, predicate it, and make it feel safer for us to exist. But when you split the world into pieces in an effort to control it, you always get opposites. We name these opposites Good and Bad, or you might know them as Us and Other (the Evil Other).
So, I recognized myself in the picture of Carolyn and her sister-in-law laughing in court. And then, I found this picture of Carolyn. This picture captures her hate. I see it in the rigid tilt of her head, the stiffness of her shoulders, the hardness of her face, and mostly, I see it in her coldpinpoint, hard eyes.
When a person is calculating hate, their eyes narrow like slits. The pupils grow smaller and hard like bowling balls. Their glare hardens like ice picks. They are calculating how to kill you.
This the glare I see in this picture. It glare people recognize all over the world. When you see this glare, you should run!
Another source about Carolyn and the murder of Emmet Till is accounted by American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
It turns out that Roy, Carolyn, J. W. Milam, and Juanita were poor, really poor!
American Experience recounts:
Carolyn Bryant, the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse, hailed from Indianola, Mississippi, the nucleus of the segregationist and supremacist white Citizens' Councils. A high school dropout, she won two beauty contests and married Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier.
The couple ran a small grocery, Bryant's Grocery & Meat Market, that sold provisions to black sharecroppers and their children. The store was located at one end of the main street in the tiny town of Money, the heart of the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta. They had two sons and lived in two small rooms in the back of the store.
To earn extra cash, Roy worked as a trucker with his half-brother J. W. Milam, an imposing man of six-feet-two inches, weighing 235 pounds. Milam prided himself on knowing how to "handle" blacks. He had served in World War II and received combat medals.
On the evening of August 24, 1955, Emmett Till went with his cousins and some friends to Bryant's Grocery for refreshments after picking cotton in the hot sun. The boys went into the store one or two at a time to buy soda pop or bubble gum. Emmett walked in and bought two cents' worth of bubble gum. Though exactly what happened next is unconfirmed. She stormed out of the store. The kids outside said she was going to get a pistol. Frightened, Emmett and his group left. -- American Experience
Their collective act of violent hate made them popular! In fact, it made them celebrities for a minute.
Some reporters talked about Roy and Carolyn's "handsome looks" and J. W.'s tall stature and big cigars. They even alluded to Carolyn as "Roy Bryant's most attractive wife" and a "crossroads Marilyn Monroe." -- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
She is pretty in this photo. The hate is not in her eyes. She looks soft and like a doll, which how women had to look back then. Even though women had won the right to vote several decades earlier, misogyny still ruled and ran rampant just like racism. Carolyn knew being pretty was her only asset.
During the trial, the families arrived with their sons dressed in their Sunday best, Roy and J.W. in starched white shirts while their wives donned cotton dresses. Many whites in the surrounding counties showed up to watch the show. They brought their children, picnic baskets and ice cream cones. Meanwhile, African American spectators were relegated to the back and looked on in fear.
Carolyn testified under oath, but outside the presence of the jury, that Emmett said "ugly remarks" to her before whistling. -- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
Making up her lie about Emmett Till lifted Carolyn above her station in life, which was a pretty poor station with very few prospects, despite being pretty.
She hadn’t even graduated from high school. Her biggest accomplishments up til this time was winning two beauty contests and marrying Roy, then popping out two babies all before turning 21.
But suddenly, she was popular! Really popular! Hate had made her Great! She was getting noticed and being showered with so much love by others harboring and clinging on to hate, which was most White people in the South just like her.
Now, fast-forward to May 3, 2023. Have we changed very much since this horrible crime?
Hate Is Popular
Emmett Till’s death ignited the Civil Rights Movement. And a little less than 10 years after his brutal murder, it would be written into law through the civil rights act of 1964.
But not before a lot of pain and suffering occurred as recalled in this interview on 1A.
“Hate was popular,” Jeff Drew tells Jen White in an interview about The Birmingham movement, 60 years later produced by 1A. “What we were trying to do and continue to try to do is bring awareness that everyone is important. Every human being is important.”
On May 2, 1963, hundreds of school-age kids in Birmingham, Alabama, woke up with a plan.
Through coded messages broadcast by local radio DJs, they were given the signal to leave the classroom and meet at the park for a peaceful protest against segregation in the city.
“My mother said, ‘I’m sending you to school, don’t get in any trouble’,” said Janice Kelsey, who was a 16-year-old high school student in Birmingham at the time. “I was going to school. I just wasn’t going to stay.”
Jeff Drew also participated in the Children’s March. His parents were involved in the Birmingham movement for civil rights and hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their home.
“You cannot imagine the joy of being on one of those buses on your way to jail,” said Drew. “We were nearly dying to participate.”
Janice Kelsey and Jeff Drew joined us at the Carver Theater in Birmingham last month for a community conversation on the fight for civil rights then and now. Their actions as students in the spring of 1963 brought national attention—and a new momentum—to the civil rights movement, support for which had been waning as more adults were jailed and reluctant to be arrested.
Civil rights leaders, including James Bevel, recruited young people to participate in a peaceful demonstration on May 2, 1963 in what became known as the Children’s Crusade. Hundreds of kids were arrested by police for parading without a permit. Images of police dogs and firehoses being used on students in the city highlighted the injustices in Birmingham and prompted President John F. Kennedy to express support for federal civil rights legislation.
On our trip to Birmingham, we also spoke to the next generation of activists. Ashley M. Jones is a Birmingham native and the Poet Laureate of Alabama. At 32 years old, Jones is the state’s youngest-ever poet laureate and the first person of color to hold the position. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also joined us to talk about how the city’s past informs his role today.
And, 59 years after the Civil Rights Act, White Americans are still rolling in raging pools of hate. Hate is still immensely popular, so popular, people are making tons of money selling it to all the grumpy people holding onto grudges and hurts and who need to take a daily swim in their pool of hate to feel better about themselves!
We have lots of new celebrities helping to spread and celebrate hate. Here are three who have recently been in the news. But there are tons more! We are literally being drown them.
America has a huge problem with hate. We love it so much we want to tear our country in two again. The Civil War really did not end on April 9, 1865. It lives inside the minds of people who are swimming in their private pools of hate.
But, we don’t have to worry… collective hate is running rampant all over the world.
Hate remains really popular everywhere!
So, let’s tackle Collective Hate.
We all know what it is. Collective Hate is when one group of people dreams about crushing another group of people because it makes them feel powerful (for a minute, this kind of power is fleeting too).
When a group of people full of hate actually act on their hate-filled fantasies, they act like fanatical freaks. That’s because they are… because they have drained the humanity from their being, leaving nothing but a husk that looks human but acts like raging monster crushing, killing, stealing everything from the people they hate.
Collective hate is visceral. It is so toxic it drives the people infected by it mad. Mad humans infected by hate will do the most vicious, brutal, savage things like Roy and Milam did to Emmett Till. Mad, hate-filled humans act in barbaric, fiendish, heinous, hideous ways. It’s an epidemic on Earth right now.
Let’s delve into how hate wraps around a person’s heart and mind to steadily squeeze the humanity out of them.
Carolyn Bryant’s Story (or More Aptly Her Great Disappointment)
Now, there is no way I can possibly know what Carolyn was thinking or feeling that terrible day, but let’s suppose, she was feeling a little bit sorry for herself and unhappy about her life. She was a beautiful woman. She knew she was a beautiful woman.
If only things had gone a little bit different 90 years earlier, which is when the Civil War ended (April 9, 1865), she would probably, no: most certainly, she would be living a completely different life right now! (Hate always happens in the Now)
Why instead of being the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse from Indianola, Mississippi, Carolyn Bryant might instead be a beautiful, beguiling Southern belle like Miss Scarlett O’Hara! But, if only for one tiny, little glitch, that snatched her wonderful, beautiful life away like Gone With the Wind!
Of course the wind that blew her dream life away was that the Confederate lost the Civil War.
Because of this glitch, she was condemned to run a small grocery, Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, selling provisions to black sharecroppers and their children. She took turns with her sister-in-law, Juanita, watching their children and tending the store while their husband’s drove trucks to make extra money because they were all very poor.
The store was located at one end of the main street in the tiny town of Money, the heart of the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta. And also right next to Indianola, Mississippi, which was the nucleus of the segregationist and supremacist white Citizens' Councils.
Carolyn was a high school dropout, she won two beauty contests and married Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier. They had two sons and lived in two small rooms in the back of the store.
-- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder
This was not the life she was supposed to live. She was sure of that! And this made her mad, and more than a little bit grumpy as well as resentful.
These feelings are the perfect ingredients for hate to take root and grow. Combine her personal grievances with the steady drum beat of the Southern Segregationist and White Supremacists constantly spreading their toxic thinking far and wide and polluting the collective swimming pool of human connections that everyone needs to survive, Carolyn Bryant was the perfect instrument of hate.
She bought into the thinking that White people are suppose to give the orders and be in control. She bought into the feeling of being deeply wronged that White people couldn’t stack the social decks in their favor they way they used to do. She bought into the fantasy of yearning for and bringing back the old way of life in the deep South.
Carolyn Bryant was the perfect poster girl for Southern Hate.
Crash Course on Cognitive Dissonance
Segregationist and White Supremacists use cracks between reality and people’s dreams/fantasies to break social bonds. One of the things they work hard to increase in the hearts and minds of hurting humans is cognitive dissonance.
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the perception of contradictory information and the mental toll of it. Relevant items of information include a person's actions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, values, and things in the environment. Cognitive dissonance is typically experienced as psychological stress when persons participate in an action that goes against one or more of those things. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person's belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein the individual tries to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.
Coping with the nuances of contradictory ideas or experiences is mentally stressful. It requires energy and effort to sit with those seemingly opposite things that all seem true. Festinger argued that some people would inevitably resolve the dissonance by blindly believing whatever they wanted to believe. -- Wikipedia: Cognitive dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance in Politics
Cognitive dissonance theory might suggest that since votes are an expression of preference or beliefs, even the act of voting might cause someone to defend the actions of the candidate for whom they voted,[self-published source?] and if the decision was close then the effects of cognitive dissonance should be greater.
This effect was studied over the 6 presidential elections of the United States between 1972 and 1996, and it was found that the opinion differential between the candidates changed more before and after the election than the opinion differential of non-voters. In addition, elections where the voter had a favorable attitude toward both candidates, making the choice more difficult, had the opinion differential of the candidates change more dramatically than those who only had a favorable opinion of one candidate. What wasn't studied were the cognitive dissonance effects in cases where the person had unfavorable attitudes toward both candidates. The 2016 U.S. election held historically high unfavorable ratings for both candidates.
After the 2020 election, which Joe Biden won, supporters of former President Donald Trumpquestioned the results, citing voter fraud. This continued even after such claims were dismissed by numerous state and federal judges, election officials, governors, and government agencies as false. This was described as an example of Trump supporters suffering cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive Dissonance in Self-perception Theory
In Self-perception: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena (1967), the social psychologist Daryl Bem proposed the self-perception theory whereby people do not think much about their attitudes, even when engaged in a conflict with another person. The Theory of Self-perception proposes that people develop attitudes by observing their own behaviour, and concludes that their attitudes caused the behaviour observed by self-perception; especially true when internal cues either are ambiguous or weak. Therefore, the person is in the same position as an observer who must rely upon external cues to infer their inner state of mind. Self-perception theory proposes that people adopt attitudes without access to their states of mood and cognition.
As such, the experimental subjects of the Festinger and Carlsmith study (Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance, 1959) inferred their mental attitudes from their own behaviour. When the subject-participants were asked: "Did you find the task interesting?", the participants decided that they must have found the task interesting, because that is what they told the questioner. Their replies suggested that the participants who were paid twenty dollars had an external incentive to adopt that positive attitude, and likely perceived the twenty dollars as the reason for saying the task was interesting, rather than saying the task actually was interesting.
The theory of self-perception (Bem) and the theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger) make identical predictions, but only the theory of cognitive dissonance predicts the presence of unpleasant arousal, of psychological distress, which were verified in laboratory experiments.
In The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance: A Current Perspective (Aronson, Berkowitz, 1969), Elliot Aronson linked cognitive dissonance to the self-concept: That mental stress arises when the conflicts among cognitions threatens the person's positive self-image. This reinterpretation of the original Festinger and Carlsmith study, using the induced-compliance paradigm, proposed that the dissonance was between the cognitions "I am an honest person." and "I lied about finding the task interesting."
The study Cognitive Dissonance: Private Ratiocination or Public Spectacle? (Tedeschi, Schlenker, etc. 1971) reported that maintaining cognitive consistency, rather than protecting a private self-concept, is how a person protects their public self-image.Moreover, the results reported in the study I'm No Longer Torn After Choice: How Explicit Choices Implicitly Shape Preferences of Odors (2010) contradict such an explanation, by showing the occurrence of revaluation of material items, after the person chose and decided, even after having forgotten the choice.
There’s a lot more to cognitive dissonance, but I digress and I am sure you see how this is a very handy tool in sowing fields and polluting rivers full of hate.
Now let’s get back to hate mongers and how they used cognitive dissonance to grow huge toxic waste pits of fetid, stinking hate. That is because hate is a natural malodorous waste product of thinking. A normal healthy human being is supposed to poop it out, not eat it. But that is what hate mongers know how to do. They know how to make people eat their own shit.
Here’s How Hitler Did It — Hitler’s Ignis Fatuus
Let’s define Ignis Fatuus so you know what I’m talking about:
Ignis Fatuus is a mid 16th century word. It originate from modern Latin speakers amd literally means ‘foolish fire’ (because of its erratic movement). It has evolved to mean: something deceptive or deluding.
This definition and images come from Oxford Languages Dictionary. I kind of like Foolish Fire! And I think men like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Putin (some of the biggest killers) like it too! It's like possessing the power of Dark Magic, knowing how to get people to believe Foolish Pipe Dreams... stuff men like Hitler can say, knowing he will never, ever deliver on the promises he is making to the masses. They are illusions, delusions, nightmares cloaked by glitter and sickening charm.
So back to Hitler’s ignis fatuus. He was part of a great body of people who just suffered a huge lost. This big lost was due partly to a style of self-inflated vanity, stubbornness, snobbishness, and stupidity corrupting the German hierarchy, which led to a massive miscalculation that lost the war.
The war Germany lost was WWI. And they were punished by the victors, and rightly so, but like Carolyn Bryant and lots of White people who used to make lots of money using slave labor, some of the German people were sore losers.
Among these sore losers was Hitler.
Let me be very clear, not everyone who experiences trauma or crisis ends up becoming a sore loser. In fact, the vast majority of people do not, many even grow stronger and get even better at accepting and assimilating reality.
But there is also a percentage who don’t grow or can’t grow. This is who I am talking about here, Germans who could not accept and assimilate that they were wrong, they lost, they needed to change.
Among this group of sore losers is Hitler: a roguish, impish, and deceitfully deluded man as well as brash and brazen. He captivates just enough sore losers to gain some traction. One he got a little power, he leveraged it to get more.
Then, many more Germans flocked to him like some new, exciting lover. Not all, of course, many Germans were afraid and for good reason.
Hitler understood all this, and manipulate everyone to leverage even more power. One way he galvanized public support was creating a good foil/a scape goat. Hitler attacked the Jews and mongrels. He was going to make the world pure again.
This fantasy was the cornerstone of his convoluted ignis fatuss and the disaffected Germans fell for it–hook, line, and sinker.
Adolf Hitler came to power with the goal of establishing a new racial order in Europe dominated by the German “master race. -- United State Holocaust Memorial Museum -- 9/20/19
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis believed that the world was divided into distinct races. According to the Nazis, each race had its own traits. These ... -- Nazi Racism | Holocaust Encyclopedia -- 12/15/22
Stalin’s Ignis Fatuus
Stalin’s ignis fatuus is similar, but he rode to power on the back of Lenin and the Russian Revolution, a wave that was sweeping across the world. It was a backlash to rapid industrialization and the ridiculous amount of power and wealth landing up in the hands of a very few; the rich, evil capitalists! See a pattern here?
Stalin carefully calculated his chances to take control of this great wave. When his chance came, he took it with tremendous ruthlessness–killing every rival in his party without mercy.
His passion for control mutated him into one of the world’s biggest control freaks. Russia still suffers to this very day from the devastation Stalin wrought. He is the very reason why Putin now controls Russia. Putin is imitating Stalin to a tee. Putin is pushing his foolish vision of a Great Russia once again on his poor, demoralized, broken, diminished people. They are so because Stalin killed so freaken many enlightened, differently thinking Russians.
Stalin's “revolution from above” sought to build socialism by means of forced collectivization and industrialization, programs that entailed tremendous human ... -- Library of Congress
Starting in the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin launched a series of five-year plans intended to transform the Soviet Union from a peasant society into an industrial ... -- History Channel
"Once he decided to attain absolute power, he would never relinquish it," observes Alexandre Allilouiev, nephew of Joseph Stalin. "He was a monster." In order to achieve his goals, Stalin set about re-imaging the vast empire in his own image, which included the extermination of all those who dared oppose or refused to adhere to his ideology. The film follows the activities of Stalin on November 24, 1938 - a crucial day that set in motion the end of his Great Purge. -- A Day in the Life of a Dictator: Joseph Stalin
He believes he's been chosen by providence to create the ideal socialist, communists society. To do this, he must destroy everything to recreate it. He puts into action a scientific, systematic plan to purge unwanted peoples of Russia. - A Day in the Life of a Dictator: Joseph Stalin
Pol Pot’s Ignis Fatuus
Another brutal killer who cloaked his ugly shit under the same auspices of the Russian Revolution, the backlash to a rapidly changing, globalized world. Lots of people longed to go back to the old ways, the old life, the idealized past. And, this is what Pol Pot sold bundled up with with a lot of hate.
The Khmer Rouge, organized by Pol Pot in the Cambodian jungle in the 1960s, advocated a radical Communist revolution that would wipe out Western influences in Cambodia and set up a solely agrarian society. -- History Channel -- Jan 7
Pol Pot wished to create a state focused on their rural idyll, with all citizens pledging loyalty in a way which prohibited all ... -- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Pol Pot's objective was to construct a classless, communal and self-sufficient Kampuchea, unspoiled by foreign influences, intellectualism and ... -- Alpha History -- 9/12/20
In 1960, a small group of Cambodians, led by Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot) and Nuon Chea, secretly formed the Communist Party of Kampuchea. -- United State Holocaust Memorial Museum
The party's aim was to establish a classless communist state based on a rural agrarian economy and a complete rejection of the free market and ... -- Al Jazeera -- 2/3/12
Mao Zedong’s Ignis Fatuus
Moa Zedong also rode the Red Wave. He also sold an idealized, backwards looking China who would vanquish all the evil Capitalists and live happily ever after! Xi Jinping is riding on the back of Mao now.
Mao and his communist supporters had been fighting against what they claimed was a corrupt and decadent Nationalist government in China since the 1920s. Despite massive U.S. support for the Nationalist regime, Mao’s forces were victorious in 1949 and drove the Nationalist government onto the island of Taiwan. In September, with cannons firing salutes and ceremonial flags waving, Mao announced the victory of communism in China and vowed to establish the constitutional and governmental framework to protect the “people’s revolution.” -- Mao Zedong outlines the new Chinese government
Cultural Revolution: Mao believed that this would ultimately create a new society where there was no gap between urban and rural, laborers and intellectuals. What are some of the ... -- University of Washington
Communism, Capitalism, and Democracy in China: Mao wanted to eliminate capitalism and its emphasis on property rights, profits, and free-market competition. He followed the ideas of Karl Marx, who envisioned ... -- Constitutional Rights Foundation
Moa Zedong was willing to kill to make his dream a reality. He was willing to kill lots of people, and he did.
Putin’s Ignis Fatuus
Let’s play a different game with Putin! Let’s pretend he had an ideal childhood and experienced lots of love growing up and was surrounded by peace-loving, Earth-loving Russians. Perhaps the descendants of people Stalin was trying to kill but missed. This Putin is a happy, pot-smoking hippy!
Yes! Before Putin was a KGB agent and mass murder, he was a happy, happy hippy!
What nice eyes this young, happy, hippy Putin has!
If only we could have this Putin back!
But sadly yes, this is a deepfake. It is made with AI. I saw an interview with the man who is making AI deep fakes, but he’s hiding, so I can’t share it.
Collective Hate rises from inside each and every individual. It is the collective accounting of grievances and wrongsevery civilizations harbors, especially if they have been around for a long time. All civilizations go up and go down; the stock market goes up and down; all people’s lives go up and down; all living beings experience ups and downs… that is called being alive.
Hate attempts to grab hold of only one side of the wave. Haters only want to exist on the up part of the wave (the up and up, we’re going up, we’re on the rise).
But in order to do this, reality must be split into Good and Evil. Hate mongers step into the Good Fairy Bubble and spew the Evil they have cut off from themselves on everyone else.
They know the ordinary man and women are afraid of their own shadows. Of course they know this because most modern societies and civilizations teach people to be afraid of their own shadows!
Hate-filled fear mongers tap into this pervasive fear and anxiety that plagues pretty much ever human living in a civilization. They tell people how unfair the world is treating them. They get them really good and frighten about all the things coming to ‘get them like the boogeyman‘, and then tell them that the Evil Others did this to them. Then they tell them that they better fight like Hell to keep their lives the way they want it and get their fair share.
Really, what hate-filled fear mongers are really doing is getting people to eat their own shit. If there are people who don’t do as they are told, and if the hate-filled fear monger has power, the disobedient people are killed.
“Do as you are told or else!” — the hate-filled fear monger cries
This is a tale as old as time, which for human beings living in civilizations is about 5,000 years that when all this hate and fear and more hate and more fear really started to grow. You’ll have to read my book on why this is so.
But in the meantime, do we really want to live a world ruled by Shitty Ideas and Foolish Fires?!
I found this song entirely by accident. I love putting together ugly images with beautiful music. And this one matched better than I could ever have intended!
Lyrics by Musixmatch
You always do this stuff We’ll never be enough You were floating in the life We were floating in the life It’s in your eyes [Hate lives in the eyes]
You think that’s not fun, the day is done With no other feelings Just why are your eyes not shining in lights? [Hate shuts down life… the shining lights of life] There’s more than one meaning Just get what you want, but again you got numb, [Greed feds Hate] It’s because of freaking illusion [Hate grows in Foolish Fantasies, delusions, and illusions] That life is not fiction, the sense in the description of love, [Life is wiggly… it goes up and down… fiction tries to make life all up all the time… that’s a lie] It’s an awful conclusion [No one likes to admit they have to poop and pee, but it is true — the origins of Shame another great catalyst of Hate]
You could always turn it back [Yes, turning back is always such a great idea! Look where we are as a world in the year 2023! It’s so Great!! Let’s do more turning backwards!] Get another heart attack [Let’s see… there is the Putin heart attack, Xi Jinping heart attack, Trump heart attack… should I go on?!!!] We roll! We’ll find ourselves in love
Oh fuck… [Yep… we are pretty much fucked as a species due to our propensity to engage in Foolish Fantasies]
Resistance requires bold acts of creativity. Without creativity, we lack the ability to imagine a better world.
This blog focuses on creative acts of resistance and resilience regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These five Bs are just but a few of the billions of ways we can resist violence and hatred wherever and whenever it pops up in our world. Without resistance, destructive people like Putin will turn our world into a Hellish place.
Food, art, dance, and storytelling (in any form) have always been creative tools of resistance and resilience for oppressed people living anywhere in world during any age or time. There are many ways to resist creatively, as many as there are human beings alive on the planet right now.
Wherever you are, know you are not alone, and you can resist creatively. The world is slowly catching up to the realization that we cannot leave any human being behind to be devoured by beasts like Putin or other fiendish, fascists monsters.
Each human being, be they rich or poor, famous or obscure, is critical to the social currency and fabric of human life on Earth. Not one person is dispensable or disposable, no matter how much the haters want us to think this is so.
I.Bake for Ukraine
There are so many ways everyone around the world can help the people of Ukraine overcome Putin’s War. Bake for Ukraine. If you sell your creations, donate some of the money raise to individuals as chef José Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen who are providing food to people trying to survive in places devastated by the same beast that held Europe in its grip in the wars that became global: WWI and WWII.
There is no ignoring this beast lives inside of Putin, his stooges, and his flying monkeys. We must stare it down right here, right now. We need to do what ever we can to help every Ukrainian wherever they are and in whatever way we can. We must merge our collective will into a force greater than the beast inside of Putin. If we fail, it will only grow stronger and swallow more of the world dissolving it into its acid of hate.
This is a beast desperate for its intoxicating food, which is destruction and death. So bake, shout, write your congressmen and women. Tell them to do more for Ukraine and all people suffering from brutality or indifference wherever they live in the world. If we do not deal with this now (if we do not stare down the beast wherever it pops up in our world), we will pay the collective price for ignorance (that is ignoring what we can do now to help others rather than just helping ourselves).
A.Bake for Ukraine — Acts of Creativity Are Acts of Resistance
This is a video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Sally Cooper by Foubert [as featured under Neutral Music on iPhone]
One way leads towards greater freedom and self-determination for people and countries. It is not any easy path for it roots out corruption in imposes consequences on the people who steal from others, who lie, who double-deal, who smear and slander others, who take what others need to live, including their lives.
The other way leads to less freedom and no self-determination for people and countries. It is an easier path because you just have to follow the crowd and keep your mouth shut, even if that means your business is taken from you to line the pockets of some rich billionaire or your child is beaten up for spraying painting an act of resistance against a fascist government or showing too much hair under a veil. This is the way towards dictatorial rule of a few people who want to control everything.
Everybody on the planet is choosing right now. What will you choose?
B.Bake, Bake, Bake for Ukraine and to Free Oppressed People Everywhere
Elena baked all these gorgeous cakes! Drawing on her rich and beautiful Ukrainian culture and heritage, she is mixing and baking a better way to be and live in our precious, fragile world.
This is another video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Space Space [I made this song using GarageBand!?!]
When people are eating together, they are not fighting each other.
We all choose our path in life. Do you choose love and kindness, sharing food and fun times with other people.
Eating together also requires physically being in the same space, something increasingly rare in our fast-moving, high-tech world. Do you choose hate and rage using your keyboard to troll and disparage others sowing seeds of fear and loathing through dark myths, lies, and misinformation… a evil form of creativity, closely associated with Dark Empathy and Narcissism.
C.World Central Kitchen
Food brings people together. Food nourishes people. Food is an act of love!
When people are eating together, they are not fighting.
Cook, bake, and create for the people of Ukraine and all people who are living under tyranny or trying to escape it. When we cook and bake for people, we are not ignoring them or turning them away from our borders after desperate journeys of survival and escape from injustice and violence.
II. Banksy & Other Street Artists for Ukraine
A. Who Is Banksy?
My good friend from Germany sent me a video about Banksy’s art in Ukraine. I did not know who Banksy is and had to look him up. Then, I was shocked I didn’t know about him.
His work is a creative act of resistance against the brutal, evil will of Putin and his fiendish cronies. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says if the Free World remains united like a fist, Ukraine will win this war started by Russia.
C. Other Artists Supporting Ukraine Through Creative Acts of Resistance
As I scrolled through Banksy’s work, I also saw other beautiful and inspiring murals, graffiti, and creative acts of unity and resistance. Art is a powerful form of symbols, and symbols have long united human beings in accomplishing difficult and dangerous collective action.
Now is no different than 10,000 from now or 10,000 years ago. We need each other to do difficult, dangerous things. And untied, as President Zelenskyy says, we will smote the evil flame Putin light on his bomb of greed and hunger to control and crush anyone who does not worship him.
III. Ballet for Ukraine
Ballet has always been used to symbolize and defy great powers of death and destruction and to inspire hope. Here are just two examples of how ballet is defying Putin’s hate.
A. Ballet dancers from across Ukraine bring ‘Giselle’ to the Kennedy Center
Some 60 Ukrainian dancers are scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., this weekend from The Hague. They'll perform Giselle, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, at at the Kennedy Center.
The dancers are refugees who fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. With help from local officials and dance professionals, they formed the United Ukrainian Ballet Company. The artistic director is Igone de Jongh, a former prima ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet.
The stories of how these dancers fled Ukraine by train, bus, car and by foot are harrowing. Vladyslava Ihnatenko was dancing with the Odesa Opera House when the Russians invaded. She decided to leave when she could hear explosions from her apartment. -- NPR, 1/28/23
B. Ballet for Refugee Kids in the Czech Republic
I learned about this beautiful program taking place in Prague, Czech Republic that helping Ukrainian refugee children find joy during a time of incredible stress and dislocation. I learned about this magnificent program from a friend who is in a writing group that we both belong. The story of how this program came into being is just as wonderful.
In the summer of 1995, Greater Europe Mission’s president, Ted Nobel, visited GEM workers Greg and Debby Nichols in Odesa, Ukraine. As they walked along the beach, Debby told him about her crazy thoughts and dreams of organizing an evangelistic concert at the Philharmonic Hall of Odesa. President Nobel said, “But what if those are not ‘crazy thoughts’ but rather the still small voice of the Lord prompting you to move ahead with this dream?” Those words still ring in Debby’s ears today. That was the beginning of three yearly outreaches reaching thousands of Odesans.
Fast forward to 2022. The Nichols now live in Prague, Czech Republic where part of their work has been with refugees over the past six years. When the Ukrainian war began in February 2022, the Nichols jumped in with both feet to minister to their hurting friends. After many years of practicing listening to the still small voice, they are quicker to discern. And yet, it still surprises them when God invites them into ministries that only he could think up.
As they personally provided help to over 50 refugees who journeyed out of Ukraine, the Nichols sought to bring Christ’s healing in varied ways to the bodies, minds and souls of the displaced Ukrainians. Out of this sprang the idea to create a ministry Center in Prague from which to better operate. As Greater Europe Mission sought to maximize its efforts toward the Ukraine crisis, GEM focused resources on two main areas of refugee ministry –Bucharest, Romania and Prague, Czech Republic.
You can learn more about ballet for refugee kids in the Czech Republic and Greater Europe Mission’s work here.
Special note, I just received an article from my friends that Prague unveiled a powerful new mural on anniversary of the Russian invasion.
“Ukrainians are brave, you can see it every day. And they often stand on the ruins and speak for Ukraine to be free.” – ChemiS
I think it is also important to point out that Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler for the same reasons and in the same manner as Putin invaded Ukraine. A very good friend of mine who is German told me his father who lived through Hitler’s tyranny of German said that Putin gave the very same speech justifying why Russia was invading Ukraine that Hitler gave before invading Czechoslovakia.
Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia before Poland. The world did nothing. Hitler kept going.
Our next-door neighbor is Peter Stein and he has written a truly compelling book about being a boy in German occupied Czechoslovakia. His father was Jewish and sent to a concentration camp. His mother was Catholic and forced to work in a German factory for long hours throughout the war.
Amazon: Peter J. Stein was a witness to history, a keeper of Holocaust memories and teller of its stories. He grew up the child of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father who was forced into slave labor and later disappeared. Nazi-occupied Prague was full of German soldiers everywhere and Peter’s loved ones vanished in mystery and secret. As a 12-year-old immigrant in America, he searched for a new identity that left his past behind. But as Faulkner tells us, the past is never past. When, as a college professor, a group of students sought his help to challenge a Holocaust teacher, Stein’s memories of his childhood resurfaced. A Boy’s Journey makes the past present and carries it into our future so that we do not forget.
C.BALLET BENEFIT RAISES FUNDS TO HELP UKRAINE’S CHILDREN
Throughout history, dance — ballet in particular — has played a vital role during times of war and exile. Ballet and other forms of art were used to both symbolize and defy great powers during World War II and other times of conflict. Today, as we near the one-year mark of escalated war in Ukraine, dancers from Ukraine and around the world are fighting back.
In August 2022, the National Ballet of Ukraine performed at Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, Florida. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, the Ukraine Ballet Benefit invited audiences to experience Ukraine’s culture through its national artists while raising funds to support those whose lives have been upended by the war. The performance, with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, was professionally filmed by the Parable Foundation in partnership with Full Sail University, and the resulting feature film is now available for free streaming. -- Unicef USA, Ukraine, Ballet Benefit to Help Ukraine's Children, January 25, 2023
Coming Soon, the historic performance by the National Ballet of Ukraine from the Taras Shevchenko National Opera House, live from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida. Accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, this monumental performance brings together Ukraine and the America united for the hope of Ukrainian independence and sharing the light of hope to the world through the art and power of ballet. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, this performance was filmed and produced by the Parable Foundation, in partnership with Full Sail University. All proceeds raised are donated directly to Olena Zelenska Foundation, Razom, and UNICEF to provide humanitarian aid relief to Ukrainians impacted by Russian military invasion. -- Promo - Ukraine Ballet Benefit
Ballet and dance are most definitely brilliant, powerful ways to resist fascism and unite the Free World in collective resistance to smote the evil flame Putin ignited when he invaded Ukraine in 2014. Dance is a brilliant flame to counteract any evil flame ignited by a budding evil fascists or hater in the world.
Let’s dance our world back into harmony and peace so all can live without fear and terror.
IV. Blook & Blog for Ukraine
Where would we be without writing and words? Probably, we’d still living in caves, I suppose. The first volleys of every modern war (even medieval wars) begin with words of hatred and dehumanization of the target to the aggressors seeks to diminish, control, or destroy. It has always been this way. The war begins inside the mind.
So too does the resistance and resilience. Words and stories and video blogs (aka blooks) help reconnect us to what is most essential about ourselves and each other. Words inspire us to be better humans and to act in ways to create a better world. During times of war, words will destroy the swords and bombs because they live in the hearts and minds of people.
I first learned about Olena from Anderson Cooper when he interviewed her in the first horror-filled and savage days after February 24, 2022.
Blogging is another powerful way to show what Putin is doing to real people, right now. And another powerful way to galvanize the world’s collective will against fascism and hate of any kind. As I explored in my last blog, fascism and hate is not confined to Putin and his cronies. It inflicts China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, the United States of American.
Fascism, hate, and ignorance lives inside of all of us. But, we do not need to be slaves to it. It only takes a little conscious awareness to illuminate the fullness of who you are and the choices that lay before you each day. It only takes a little self-awareness to choose loving kindness instead of hate and dictatorial impulses to control and degrade other human beings. No one on this planet is dispensable or disposable. No one!
Beliefs form our life boats upon the sea of being that we must all navigate throughout our lives. Here are two powerful individuals sharing how people survive against all odds to overcome the impossible and to thrive once again.
This is a deeply moving and compelling podcast. It illuminates just how devastating Putin’s insane war has on every dimension of being human. War…wherever it happens, however it happens, however big or small it is…it tears apart the nature and fabric of life and everything life needs to survive.
Anyone who desires war and can’t wait for the shooting and killing to start is a deranged human being. This is something my brother-in-law actually said to his son just before the events of January 6, 2021 unfolded. My brother-in-law is a deranged human being devoid of empathy, filled with hate, and obsessed with himself.
Perhaps our modern world has done this to vulnerable human beings in the world making them feel unmoored, frightened, and insecure. Like animals, a hurting human can lash out and hurt other humans. But, there is something more ominous and menacing going on in the world today. A thing that is boiling over into the rise of hate groups around the world. A thing that puffed up Putin into a blimp of terrific terror who is pummelling the world with his particular brand of hate and horror.
I think Esther Perel is a wondrous voice of healing, hope, and regeneration beginning inside ourself and spreading throughout every relationship we have in every moment of our crazy, draining modern lives.
This is another talk by Esther Perel that dives in deep into how relational intelligence guides us towards well-being, success, and a better, healthy, more nourishing life. We need to nourish ourselves so we can nourish each other. We need this sort of nourishment, this sort of insight and self-knowledge desperately now before we blow ourselves up with hateful wars or destroy our planet with woeful ignorance and lack of the collective action to save our planet from our self-destructive actions based on competition, greater profits over the greater good, and self-annihilating focus on things, power, and control.
Love always finds a way. When it doesn’t, the world will end.
B. The Will to Win
Clarissa Ward has been reporting in Ukraine since Putin’s dramatic escalation of his ugly, brutal war on February 24, 2022. Nearing the one year mark since this horrible day one year ago, Clarissa returned to some of the places where she reported to reconnect with people and places during the earlier days of this invasion. And she connects with survivors of Putin’s indiscriminate killings.
It is a compelling testament to the resilience of the Ukrainian people and how love is overcoming hate each and every day of Putin’s hate. It is the Will to Win!
Whatever your joy is, whatever you like to do when you can really relax and sink deeply into yourself, do it now in one magnificent, massive act of creative resistance that will utterly, totally blow Putin’s flame of evil and hell out.
Both Archetypal Animations Draw from These Creative Sources
Street artists worldwide are paying tributes to Ukraine amid Putin’s invasion and showing their support for Ukraine. The invasion on 24th February 2022 has been widely condemned internationally as an act of aggression and has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
French street artist Seth Globepainter painted a little girl in Paris three days after the war began that symbolizes the Ukrainian people’s courage and determination to face the Russian invasion. Seth Globepainter visited Ukraine in 2017 when he painted a mural of a little girl for the Back to School Project at the Popasna school, located close to the frontline of the Donbas war, curated by Oleg Sosnov, Unicef Ukraine and Sky art foundation. The artist states that the school children he met in 2017 were the inspiration for his mural “Onwards Ukraine”. -- GraffitiStreet | Street Artists Paint in Solidarity with Ukraine, Worldwide 2022
A new mural featuring a young girl taking shelter under a Ukrainian flag with popular figures from children's entertainment can now be seen on Mojmírova street in Prague 4, a few blocks from Náměstí Bratří Synků.
ChemiS, the artist behind the work, told journalists on Friday that the mural is an an expression of his stance against the war in Ukraine, and an appeal for continued support of Ukrainians affected by the war.
For over 5,000 years, civilizations have repeatedly succumb to the desire to have more than they deserve and to dominate their neighbors. Instead of civilizing our species, civilizations have rather made us crazier and more violent than our most primitive ancestor.
Case in point: One year ago, Putin ruthlessly escalated his invasion of Ukraine. It is an invasion that began in 2014 when he ordered his Russian army to go into Ukraine and annex Crimea. With Putin’s dramatic intensification to bring the people of Ukraine back under the heel of his will, the illusion that all Putin wanted was Crimea was irrevocably broken into 10 million shiny shards of hate, ruthlessness, and horror. With his revulsive choice to bomb Ukraine into compliance, the idea that we live in a civilized world was also shattered. And, even more horrifying, we have not learned a thing about letting a monster like Putin have his way.
TheUn-Civilizing Effect of Civilization on Man’s Psyche
Instead of civilizing man, civilization has provided man the means to destroy itself. Civilization is a tool that allowed groups of humans to channel this little ability our primitive ancestors figured out to focus consciousness into a stream of attention and think.
This ability combined with the invention of civilizations has allowed human beings to do unbelievable things and to create amazingthings that never existed in the world before.
But there is a price for focusing consciousness into such narrow streams, and then creating powerful tools of destruction using our minds. A bloodthirsty ruthlessness has steadily been growing in the untended gardens called minds and men (and women) are increasingly getting lost in shallow, superficial thoughts that they confuse with reality. Engrossed in the jungle of thoughts, it is easy to see how people naturally gravitate towards thoughts of how to achieve more power, glory, and self-gratification.
Once lost inside the superficial jungle of one’s own mind, the snake of ruthless lies in wait. Once bitten, men and women will do anything to gain more power and status over others.
Some of Earth’s most hideous monsters are disguised as ordinary human beings. Expect for one crucial thing–they have become infatuated with themselves and their own self-importance and rather than using all their extraordinary gifts of consciousness for good and the betterment of all mankind, they use it to better themselves.
Individuals who possess an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance are cultivating a narcissistic mind. Individuals who possess a ridiculous need to have more than they need or deserve are growing a coveting heart. Such people believe their own lies (they are nurturing ignorance), and they will stop at nothing to get money, power, or whatever they desire (they are growing a malevolent soul full of venom, hate and malice).
Such people are extremely sick with a serious disorder called narcissism. But, civilization is sick too because we the people of Earth keep allowing such individuals to rise to the pinnacles of power within our systems of governance where they can terrorize others with licentious abandonment.
In A World Ruled By Narcissists
I wrote about the consequences for our collective failure to deal with narcissist who grab hold of power in a previous blog titled: Memory Wars: How Society Fails to Deal with Sin. The civilized world has a whole lot of sin to go around the world dozens and dozens and dozens of times. No modern civilization on this planet at this time is free of sin and the failure to deal with it.
Part of this failure to deal with our collective sin as a civilized species is that we, the people of Earth, are infatuated with narcissists. We worship them as heroes, great men, strong leaders… that is until they go too far… then we are shocked, shocked, that they turned out to be a monster!
There Are Many Types and Flavors of Narcissists… But All Ruthless Rulers Are Malignant Narcissists
9 of the Most Famous Narcissist in HistoryAlexander the Great -- exhibited all the characteristics of a raging narcissist. He believed that you were either with him or against him and he took his faithful soldiers on endless battles, much to their expense, solely for his own glory and personal conquests. He showed no emotion for the bloodshed of his generals or soldiers but believed in his grandiose visions.
Henry VIII -- was considered to be both charismatic and handsome, but he was also one of the cruelest and most egotistical leaders in our history. Famed for having six wives, two of which he had beheaded. He was known to show narcissistic traits such as a lack of empathy and being overly concerned with his appearance.
Napoleon Bonaparte -- The term ‘Napoleon Complex’ comes from Napoleon Bonaparte’s behaviour, which was to act in an overly aggressive manner to make up for feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. Napoleon was considered a tyrant by everyone that knew him, who had grandiose thoughts and believed he was special. In fact, in his book entitled ‘Thoughts’, he wrote: “It was precisely that evening in Lodi that I came to believe in myself as an unusual person and became consumed with the ambition to do the great things that until then had been but a fantasy.”Adolph Hitler -- is undoubtedly one of the cruellest leaders of the 20th century, led a campaign that saw the death of millions of innocent people. His actions also incited one of the largest wars in our generation, all due to his unwavering beliefs that he, and all other white Germans, were a superior race to everyone else.
His actions are typical of a self-obsessed narcissist in that he showed no empathy for the suffering of others, he spread his false propaganda about superiority in order to further his campaign and he demanded total acquiesce.
Narcissistic people are charming, charismatic, and magnetic people. They are people (women or men) who can read you (your soul) like normal people read books. They study and gather information about you sensing your vulnerabilities, dreams, fears, and rage.
Narcissists create glittery narratives about themselves using the intel they’ve gathered about you. They promise to provide you with the sun, the moon, and the stars, if only you sign on the dotted linegiving them full access to your soul.
Using their glittery narratives, well-crafted to make you think and do exactly what they want you to do, they use the illusion of whatever it is you want to see in them to manipulate you. Once hooked, you become something they consume for entertainment or they use as a deviant character in their narcissistic nightmare.
Ruthless men and women rely on natural born instincts to gather information and calculate how to manipulate others for maximum devilment and self-gratification. We all have these instincts, narcissists are simply willing to use them to hunt people.
These are dangerous people. They have become hollowed out by their bottomless selfishness and self-absorption. And they can become masters at whipping up crowds into mindless, hostile dummies who are willing to murder, maime, and destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t walk, talk, and quack like them (in other words, they hunt down and kill anyone who does not align with the narcissists).
Hitler’s rise to power is a perfect example of what an unchecked malignant narcissists can do. Part of his rise to power included creating a compelling myth that aligned to the wishes, fears, and desires of the German people of his time. He manufactured a hostile myth of white power that epitomizes how hideous and heinous a malignant narcissists can charm a civilized people into becoming mindless monsters.
THROUGHLINE explores Hitler’s myth creation and how he used it to justify the most abominable genocide ever committed in modern times. It is a myth still resonating in the hearts and minds of people around the world to this very day. It is this myth Putin is drawing upon to justify his dramatic escalation of his invasion of Ukraine one year ago.
ARABLOUEI: On November 9, 1938, Nazi party paramilitary forces executed a coordinated, planned attack on Jewish businesses and synagogues across Germany and Austria. At least 91 people were killed, and thousands of Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Many historians believe that this event, Kristallnacht, began one of the most deadly phases of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews and other people deemed racially inferior to pure Aryans by the Nazi party. That same year, Heinrich Himmler, one of Adolf Hitler's top commanders, sent a team of Nazi scientists on a mission.
PURANDARE: Himmler sets up a unit within the SS. The name of this unit is the Bureau of Ancestral Heritage. And what is its job? Its job is to find out the origins of the Aryan race. In 1938, he sends a team of five members of this unit to Tibet.
ABDELFATAH: Tibet. But why? The answer to that question makes this story even weirder.
PURANDARE: One of the theories is that there was this island called Atlantis somewhere between England and Portugal, and the Aryans lived there.
ABDELFATAH: Himmler thought the Aryans might be from the lost city of Atlantis.
PURANDARE: And one fine day, a divine thunderbolt hit the island. The island sunk. And the people of the island fled elsewhere. They swam to safety. And they looked for a more secure place to live in. These were the real Nordics, according to the racial theorists. And eventually, they moved to the Himalayas, specifically to Tibet. Why? Because, well, Atlantis had sunk, so you want to go to a place where you don't get a sinking feeling. One way of doing it is to get into the mountains, and the Himalayas are really tall mountains. And Tibet in particular is known as the roof of the world, so you'll be safest there.
ABDELFATAH: Himmler was searching for evidence of these Atlantis Aryans, and it was all part of a larger Nazi project to legitimize their racist views through, quote-unquote, "science."
PURANDARE: Himmler was hoping to come up with the exact definition of the Aryan race, the defining features that distinguish them from the rest of humanity, so that it would be so much more easier to identify those who are, allegedly, racially inferior. That was the whole idea. -- The Whiteness Myth, THROUGHLINE, 2/9/23
Another Insane Myth Used to Manipulated the Masses
This sounds about as insane as QAnon’s political myth story claiming former President Trump is facing down the shadowy cabals of Democratic pedophiles!
It Could Not Be Clearer What We Are Dealing With… Again
Putin told his people one year ago that he needed to dramatically escalate his invasion of Ukraine to De-Nazify it. But who is really the monster in this equation?
Selfishness is not just something the super rich, celebrities, and ruthless rulers suffer from, all of us need to look in the mirror that we call the human soul and take a good long stare. As you look, ask yourself, are you being complicit in going along with a monster’s narrative and diabolical goals? And, if you are captivated and under the spell of a narcissist, it is your responsibility to wake up, now!
Putin is Not De-Nazifying Ukraine
Putin invaded Ukraine because Ukrainians were waking up. They were rooting out corruption and dysfunctional narratives imposed on them, first by Imperial Russia, then the Soviet Union, and now Putin’s deep desire to return to Imperial Russia, again.
Ukrainians were doing the hard work of getting rid of corruption imposed on them by Russia that filled every system with deceit, duplicity, and double-dealings. Corrupt ion is how Putin rewards his Flying Monkeys, mainly oligarchs in Ukraine. All good narcissists cultivate Flying Monkeys to do their dirty work–be they oligarchs, presidents, or stinking rich capitalists.
This is why Ukraine was invaded. This and this alone. They were doing the hard work of flushing Putin and his shit hole corruption down the toilet bowel of history.
And we should do the same, right here in the Good Old USA. Yet, so many Americans seem intoxicated with authoritarianism and all the corruption that goes with it. These Americans seem to hero worship Putin and all the power and authority he has accumulated since ascending to the highest throne in his fatherland or motherland of Russia.
These Americans make distributing rumblings about how the United States should NOT continue to support Ukraine in its fight defend itself from a monster, which is Putin. At first, I thought line of thinking was just coming from Tucker Carlson, a nighttime host on Fox Entertainment and well-trained Russian Stooge, along with some other entertainment specialists such as Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Apparently, they all feel sorry for Putin’s shit ass army and are trying to help him regain the upper hand as Supreme Demon on the planet. I suppose they hope if they rub his back, he’ll rub their back when the time comes.
But his US stooges are failing him just like his army is failing. So instead of fighting a real war, Putin simply kills innocent civilians, kidnaps children (6,000) and sends them to Russian indoctrination camps, and arrests its own citizens who dares to speak out against his war.
But then one of my friends shocked me with this same shit ass idea!
He is a flaming ass liberal… who are supposed to be against anything the Putin USA entertainment team is rooting for!
“What the hell is going on?!!” I thought to myself.
It discusses the horseshoe theory of politics proposed by French philosopher Jean-Pierre Faye.
He believed that the political ideological spectrum—traditionally construed as a linear progression from some form of socialism or democratic collectivism through a bourgeois-liberal center and on to some form of totalitarianism or fascism—was not a straight line between ever-more-distant political positions but rather something like a horseshoe, with the extremes bending almost magnetically into conjunction with each other.
Based on his observation of the alignment of fascist and communist parties in early 1930s German domestic politics and then on the Nazi-Soviet alignment in the international sphere, perhaps best embodied by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, he believed that the political extremes have much more in common than a traditional interpretation of the political spectrum might suggest.
But low and behold, here you see it happening right here in the US, right now, over the war in Ukraine. There is a bizarre and truly hideous union happening between the Far Right (including Tucker Carlson, Rep. Marjorie T. Greene, Sen. Josh Hawley and other MAGA supporting Republicans) and Far Left (including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and company).
And oh yeah…arrogant, ignorant rich guys are joining in too. You know that man… who owns too many companies… what’s his name again? He owns Tesla… SolarCity… SpaceX (which owns Starlink)… Neuralink (yes, brain chips to combat bad AIs)… The Boring Company (yeah, it’s pretty boring, they actually drill tunnels)… Wyoming Steel… and OH YEAH, Twitter.
The arrogant asshole who just cut Starlink off from Ukrainians, limiting their ability to navigate drones and make targeted strikes on the ruthless, aggression of Russia’s Imperial ambitions. He said he did it to prevent WWI, as if he ever could!
Since Russia attacked Ukraine, unprovoked, on Feb. 24, the discourse surrounding the war that has emerged in the United States has created strange bedfellows. Although the majority of the American public, led by U.S. President Joe Biden, have thrown their support behind Ukraine, many on the left and right alike have rushed to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime or, at the very least, have urged the United States not to intervene in Ukraine’s defense.
Tucker Carlson, the face of Fox News and host of the most popular show on cable news in the United States, has been spouting pro-Kremlin talking points for months (and is frequently rebroadcasted on Russian state television). Other right-wing figures regularly spew out anti-Ukrainian disinformation and rail against sending heavy weapons to the country.
Meanwhile, the luminary of the American intellectual left, Noam Chomsky, has invoked former U.S. President Donald Trump as a model of level-headed geopolitical statesmanship for his opposition to arming Ukraine. Left-wing sources—such as Jacobin, New Left Review, and Democracy Now!—have hewed to a party line that blames NATO expansion for Russia’s invasion and opposes military aid to Ukraine.
Online, armies of left- and right-wing accounts find fault with Ukraine’s politics, policies, and president. In Congress, seven of the most fervent conservative Trump supporters voted alongside progressive champions Reps. Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush against banning Russian fossil fuels; even more surprisingly, Omar and Bush are joined by so-called squad members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib as well as the far-right fringe of the Republican Party in opposing the U.S. government seizing Russian oligarchs’ assets.
All of these developments highlight a bizarre alliance between the two ends of the political spectrum. The question is: Why?
Letter to A Misguided Friend
I sent this article with a note to my “friend”. This is what I said to him.
I have found the holes in your wish-thought that Ukraine should stop fighting and ceded territory to Russia.
This article provides some insight into part of your thinking problem. I see your favorite philosopher and economist on the far Left (Noam) is in on this wish-thought.
Sadly, he is falling victim to the very thing he so eloquently and valiantly fights against using his brilliant mind and words.
Words are weapons my dear friend. War is seldom fought solely with guns and bullets and bombs. War begins first inside the hearts and minds of men who want things to run in a certain way. The more you want things to run in a certain way, the more you seek explanations for why the world isn't working out that way.
Oddly, Trump's MAGA Republicans and Bernie's Radical Communist Liberals (I say this tongue-in-cheek) are aligning on the same side about what should be done (or rather not done) with Ukraine. All of it, and I mean man's ability to think itself, is a flimsy outline of reality. The more you grasp at it the more reality slips between the fingers of your mind.
This article explains why your thought-wish about what Ukraine should do is wrong.
I understand your feelings. These are not wrong. Feelings tell us when something is off kilter, when something is out of alignment, when something is dangerous!
I wish there was no war in the world too.
But wishing and seeing what is really happening to real people in real time are two completely different things. No amount of wishful ideas that have not dived nearly deep enough inside the human psyche can accurately articulate reality or make a thought-wish
Reviving a Yalta Conference mindset, but from the left, these ostensible progressives refuse Ukrainians agency, oppose U.S. armed involvement, and yet believe that the United States has the power and right to parcel out Ukrainian land in exchange for peace in Ukraine. In the heart of this perverse leftist anti-imperialism lies the un-imperial impulse to wield imperial power but only, ostensibly, in the name of peace—no matter the will of the locals. -- Why America’s Far Right and Far Left Have Aligned Against Helping Ukraine; The discourse surrounding Russia’s war on Ukraine has created strange bedfellows.
Rather than act like a grown up and have a discussion with me, this “friend” taunted and teased me about his opinions about Ukraine knowing how worked up I would get whenever he brought it up or the subject came up. He thought it was fun.
This “friend” is no longer my friend. I have decided he is a narcissists himself. In a nutshell, I exploded. In searching to understand myself, I encountered this meme about INFJs and Anger. I am an INFJ and this is exactly what happened, and for damn good reason.
He’s a baby man who made the mistake of telling me (after coming to crash at our house without telling us far in advance that he needed to do this) that he did not support the US continuing to help Ukraine and wanted US to make Russia and Ukraine settle, being perfectly fine with letting Russia take territory and anything else Putin wants to take.
I could go on and list all the babyish qualities he clings to as a 70 year old man, but then I would fall ever closer into the category of a very angry (indeed raging) INFJ.
Let’s just say I tolerated him for 9 days and nights and my husband’s running away from the responsibilities taking care of this Baby Man under the auspices of helping our friends who are Ukrainian refugees. Yes, I feel very deeply the injustice of what Russia is inflicting on Ukraine. And, I feel this is not a time for the world to blink and look away.
We are right now (the entire world) staring down the glut of monster. We have seen this monster before… many times…Stalin, Lenin, Hitler… it goes back thousands and thousands of years.
And yet, here we are again, and there are some of us (many of us) on this precious planet pretending it’s not there and let’s just get back to being play boys and business as usual…
This is how we lose the planet… because this is the same attitude preventing global action on climate change.
And, then we little, stupid INFJs have to make such a big deal about these injustices… that’s what my friend did… then I exploded. I scared myself!
All personalities (all people who have not been hollowed out by narcissism or turned into Flying Monkeys for a narcissists) are capable or Righteous Rage. If we can’t tap into it now, God help us all.
What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?
So, I got rid of my “friend”. I’m not sure I can put Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are Rashida Tlaib into the narcissists box as my baby friend is, but the United States of America can surely walk and chew gum at the same time.
I think these individuals are falling victim to the narcissists’ game. Narcissists want us to believe there isn’t enough to go around.
They want us to think there isn’t enough money to deal with balancing the national budget and to help Ukraine fight the war. They want us to believe there isn’t enough money to feed all the hungry people in the US and help Ukraine fight the war. They want us to fear there isn’t enough money to fight racism and gun violence in the US and help Ukraine fight the war.
It does seem this way because every time Mitch McConnells or that guy who is Speaker of the House gets control of their body of congress, they are busy making policies and crafting legislations designed to stuff more money into their own pockets and the pockets of the rich friends (aka — Flying Monkeys).
Not having enough money is exactly what narcissists who are in power want you to think!
If you think this, they have won!
There is plenty of money to stop all wars and fed the entire world, if we wanted to do such a thing. We just need to dig is out of the claws of narcissistic billionaire like Elon Musk and Rage Entertainers such as Trump, Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, and Steve Bannon.
The Narcissists Game
Narcissists all over the world play this stupid game. They play it with people’s lives. Lives and people are merely things to be used to get whatever the narcissist wants. And if the narcissist doesn’t get it, they go into rage mode.
That is really all they are good at doing… Raging like Toddlers or little ducks whenever they don’t get what they want.
What Is Narcissistic Rage?
Bouts of rage when not given the attention they feel deserve.
Screaming and yelling.
Angry or explosive outbursts.
Sudden fits of anger.
Becoming verbally or physically aggressive.
Inability to control the rage.
Intentionally trying to inflict pain (emotional or physical) on others.
Do you want a toddler running your house?
We have to stop standing around wringing our hands, twiddling our thumbs, and wondering what to do whenever we hit global inflection point such as Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, climate change. We know what needs to be done.
We need to do it!
Rather than succumbing to the mesmerizing, hypnotic Call of the Sirens inside your mind–fear, confusion, trepidation–the things narcissists purposefully trigger with their double-speak and mythic narratives. It is all part of the illusion to fool you into complacency and into playing the narcissists game.
We all hear their songs: “There isn’t enough money. We’re going to start WWIII. This isn’t our war! It’s not our concern. Go away people in need.”
But the best way to do away with them, is to turn around and a face them straight in the eye. Under the scrutiny of a unified soul, heart, and mind, such hypnotic songs will fall silent and the hard work of routing out corruption can continue, everywhere, all at once!
Perhaps we are at the end of the story of how civilizations function in the world, but perhaps, this is just where we are supposed to be, so we can get down to writing a better story of Earth.
If you missed my blog last year, you can read Ukraine Letters, here.
Comment from a friend about this blog:
What do we do when we see injustice, cruelty, inhumanity? What emotion would compel us to stand up and fight for what is right? What if not righteous anger?
You are absolutely RIGHT!
And I realized that Leonard Cohen in the last album he recorded before his death told us exactly how to use Righteous Anger in moments like these.
The entire world learned back in 1945 what needs to be done in moments like these.
Sadly, too many people have forgotten the lessons learned by our fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers (many of whom did not survive these ancient times; I say ancient tongue and cheek, given the speed at which our technology propels and forces most of us to live our lives in the world today).
Ukraine is showing us (the Free World) what to do if we want to stay free.
WE KILL THE FLAME... this is what Cohen sings in his song You Want It Darker...
I use this song in one of the Archetypal Animations shared above. The one with Putin sitting on a train staring at his reflection, which is Hitler. (Sorry whoever owns Cohen's collection. I see the copyright claim on YouTube, but I did use a free sample available on Spotify. Supposedly, these samples are made available to market Cohen's legendary work?!)
Putin lite the Flame of Evil. Do you know what Evil is?
Evil is Live spelled backwards. It is anti-Live. He is a force that destroys the environment necessary to support life... that is evil. Nature can be evil, consider the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost by a destructive event of nature, which destroyed the conditions necessary for life.
Now days, we don't hold Nature responsible for Her actions... death is a natural part of life and when we are born into the world, there is no guarantees we will live a long life. Ever since we became conscious as a species, we have known this and it terrifies us.
However, when a person (who knows what is necessary to sustain life) takes away the environment and self-agency every living being needs to survive... now, we get to a conscious choice that has been made. We have called such choices and such actions EVIL for as long as man has been civilized.
Putin is consciously raining death, terror, and destruction daily on the beautiful people of Ukraine. He wants the World to Be a Darker Place. That's what Creatures like him need to feel powerful and in control.
So WE KILL THE FLAME of Evil, which is what he is manifesting in our world right now.
To KILL a MONSTER, you need a MONSTER. Our version of MONSTERS in our Modern World is technology... yes, it is very scary... yes, Putin is such a man who could push the button... but WE must stare him down and match him punch for punch with EVIL... might I say Righteous Evil?!!
All this is pouring into the Book I write (been writing for too many years, as you well know)... it is too much to explain in a comment on FaceBook. I know I am coming across as scary right now. I do apologize, but I've been through my own Hell and Survived it. I am trying now to communicate and help others survive Hell when it comes to visit... and it is coming... if Putin doesn't get us... Climate Change surely well.
Image From: OPINION: Did we tolerate Hitler? How long will we tolerate Putin? | Kyiv Post
“That’s a funeral in the mirror, And it’s stopping at your faceThat’s right, it’s come to thisYes, it’s come to this, And wasn’t it a long way down?” — These are the words of an early Leonard Cohen song aptly
Image From: Wagner head warns it could take two years to achieve Moscow’s objectives – as it happened — The Guardian
Image From: Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 360 of the invasion — The Guardian
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | The body of a soldier, without insignia, who the Ukrainian military claim is a Russian army serviceman killed in fighting, lies on a road outside the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 24.
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | A refugee child fleeing from Ukraine gestures when waiting for transport at Nyugati station, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Budapest, Hungary, February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Marton Monus TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Image From: In pictures: Six months of war in Ukraine | Reuters | An aerial view shows a residential building destroyed by shelling in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, March 3. REUTERS/Maksim Levin
Image From: Russia-Ukraine War: What to know on Russia’s war in Ukraine — The Mainichi | A Ukrainian serviceman holds a baby crossing the Irpin river on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while assisting people fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
There is plenty of ugly fight left in Donald Trump’s presidency, which has already warped American culture. But it’s not too soon to contemplate a post-Trump challenge: tyrant-proofing the country, in case the next one isn’t such a clown.
The overgrown orange toddler has continued his mission to continually show his ass and embarrass America at this year’s NATO summit in Brussels. The news cycle has been a nonstop shit-storm of Trump’s bad behavior abroad.
Mr Xi has total control over China’s Communist Party, the state, and the Chinese military and dictates policy for the economy, development and foreign affairs.
Music: Wizard of the Hood (Collector’s Edition) | Violent J — Shiny Diamonds
Elon Musk Archetypal Animation
Image From: Elon Musk ‘donated’ Starlink terminals to Ukraine. U.S. taxpayers paid SpaceX millions for it. — SpaceX previously claimed the U.S. didn’t give them any money to send Starlink to Ukraine. (4/8/22) — Mashables
Elon Musk is a “Lair, lair… pants on fire!“
Image From: Elon Musk: Starlink internet service now active in Ukraine (2/26/22) — KTLA5
The arrogant nerd can’t even make it a year.
Image From: Musk’s Starlink isn’t only option for Ukraine, Pentagon says — The Japan Times
Image From: Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it can no longer fund Starlink internet in Ukraine — Firm reportedly asks US government to pick up bill as relationship between Musk and Kyiv breaks down (10/14/22) — The Guardian
Image From: Male human anus close-up — WikiMedia \ Reference is to: “Everyone has opinions just like they have assholes.”
Image From:North Korea fires ballistic missile with warning to US, South Korea, Japan — Stars & Stripes
Image From: Musk Says SpaceX Will Keep Funding Starlink for Ukraine (10/16/22) — VOA
Lair, lair… pants on fire!
Image From: Twitter Misinformation Efforts In Danger with Musk Takeover — New Scientist
Image From: Putin’s threat on nuclear capabilities presents challenges (2/27/22) — Boston Globe
Image From: In the 2020 Netflix movie, “The Midnight Sky”, what could be the cataclysmic event that decimates most of the Earth? — Bad Bart 2 on Reddit
The last chapter of Maria’s book is: Why Fascism Is Winning and its subtitle is Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate. She is the recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her courage and work standing up to President Duterte, 16th President of the Philippines who was elected to the role of the presidency on June 30, 2016 (exactly 6 months after Trump did the same thing in the United States).
Both men went to work attacking the Press. Both men claimed they, and they alone, knew what is right and wrong. Both men labeled any coverage from the press that they didn’t like as Fake News, Unreliable, Unprofessional, Untrue. Both men worked furiously to annihilate truth, facts, and reality. They knew divided we fall!
To some extend, both men succeeded beyond their wildest mad fantasies!
Duterte’s Mad War
Duterte went to war, he said, to reduce ‘crime, corruption, and illegal drug trade‘. Many cheered. In reality, he would leave a brutal, bloody legacy of dead. Official numbers account that 6,248 people were killed, but human rights groups say the number is much higher, as high as 30,000 people.
Investigations show many victims of Duterte’s war on drugs were his opponents, leftists, drug users (who needed treatment, not a bullet), and some dealers. The UN has implicated Duterte in more than 1,000 killings and disappearances of people. Police whistle blowers have told how they planted guns and drugs on these victims to frame them as involved in the drug trade. For more on these stats, please see the BBC’s June 30 article: The bloody legacy of Rodrigo Duterte.
Trump’s Mad Dash to Dictatorhood
Trump’s 4-year term is just as distributing. He knew COVID-19 did not bode well to be elected for a second term. So when the virus arrived in the United States, Trump went into deny, distort, and distract mode.
He continually played down how deadly the virus was and mocked people who wore masks. This turned a cheap, easy, commonsense public health approach of keeping people safe into a culture war.
Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward on Monday called the former President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic a “crime” that killed more than 1 million people.
The Hill reports Woodward said: “I call it a crime, not telling the people that he had been warned that — by his national security advisers in the most vivid way, which is outlined in these tapes, the interviews with them, where they are telling him.”
This is the reason why Woodward released the tapes he recorded with Trump early in 2020 as he interviewed him for his books Rageand Peril; earlier, he wrote Fear.
As of November 23, 2022, over 1 million US citizens have died of COVID; the vast majority of these deaths occurring while Trump held office before a vaccine was available. Trump crippled the CDC and turned public health guidance into a political weapon.
There Is A Big Yang to Pay When Facts Fall Prey to AuthoritarianDisinformation Campaigns
Since we are on the topic of global pandemic, let’s take a look at President Xi Jinping. He has recently been elected to a historical third term. This of course is code for President for Life.
He has cozied up to Putin, imprisoned Chinese Wiegers, carried out a brutal crackdown on democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and most recently was posturing in a tense standoffs about the fate of Taiwan. Many think Taiwan could be the next Ukraine as XI Jinping lines up his ducks to make Taiwan China again.
But real life, especially nasty little viruses, don’t always go along with the next chapter of the Dictator’s Playbook. President Xi Jinping took a hardline approach to COVID when it first emerged in Wuhan, China.
Zero COVID policy worked at first and it became the main strategy of Xi. Local authorities eager to prove how loyal they are to Xi have implemented extreme lock down measures, including locking people inside their homes and whole apartment complexes.
Xi has bragged about how effective China’s Zero COVID policy has worked, while the rest of the world suffered. He didn’t put much effort into vaccination efforts other than insisting China make its own vaccine while claiming Western-made vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna would be ineffective.
“China would never do something crazy like use a COVID-19 vaccine made in the West! Heck, the Western World is falling apart… look at what happened at the US Capitol!“
Well, Xi is right about the US Capitol. We have lost our collective mind, but it is not because we have a free society and democracy (that is what he and his flying monkeys blameall the evil on).
The reason we are losing our collective mind is because our trust landscape is being destroyed by people who want to be just like him–a bully and a dictator—and digital clones, keep reading! But when you tell lies and spread disinformation to prop up your authoritarian ambitions, they tend to come back and bite you in the butt. And that is what is happening in China now.
CNN reported more than 17 protests occurring all over China, some very bloody. The deaths of people trapped inside their high rise apartment because the fire escapes had been locked due to Zero COVID lockdown measures ignited these protests but anger has been building all over China after 3 years of overzealous lockdowns. These measures are killing people too. Some have not been able to get medical care for heart attacks or other life threatening health conditions, others have committed suicide, all locked down have complained about getting rotten and substandard food or no food. This has lasted for months at a time.
Xi put himself into this very small box.
The protests are a real threat to his authority, but so too is China’s failure to create a vaccine that works. Virologists have compared China’s vaccine to Pfizer and Moderna and found it is not as effective.
Compounding the limited effect of China’s vaccine, China just has not put as much effort into vaccinating its population, relying instead on enforcing its Zero COVID policies with upmost brutalities. The result is the vast majority of China’s population are under vaccinated or not vaccinated. Nor do many individuals have immunity from a previous infection compared to the overall population.
If they let up on Zero COVID without vaccinating their population with a vaccine that works, COVID will roar through its population killing millions and while it does, it will be mutating and this could cause a BIG problem for the rest of the world, again.
If Xi relents and allows Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be used in China, he reveals his lies about Western democracies to his people and he looks weak.
Oh what a sticky misinformation landscape Xi has created for himself!
If Disinformation Doesn’t Work, Create A Scapegoat and Attack It
This is what Putin is doing now in Russia. He is losing the war in Ukraine. He looks weak and stupid. He needs a good distraction so his citizens don’t rise up against him and who knows, perhaps they castrate the man.
After all, it is his actions, and his actions alone, that have cut the Russian people off from the rest of the world–no Facebook, no Twitter, no vacations to Paris or Italy, no McDonalds–all because of his war with Ukraine.
So what does Putin do? Putin makes being gay illegal in Russia. He calls it a sickness of democracy and the Western World. He claims Russians don’t have gay people.
Come on Putin… now you look even more stupid than before. To read more about Putin and his flying monkeys, see Ukraine Letters.
The Dictator’s Playbook
Dictators around the world and throughout history use the same tactics. They attack the truth, exaggerate threats to make people afraid, and enflame emotions to herd as many people as possible under their make-believe umbrella constructed out of their annoying, droning chant: “I and I alone can fix it.”
That is the secret spell of a dictator. This stupid chant is his top-secret, classified magic potion. This is what every dictator throughout time has ever used to manipulate the masses. It is called ignorance dust. It is what evil fairies use to make their mischief.
What they don’t say out loud is …they broke it and they made up the boogeyman who you are now afraid of!
Dictators systematically claim they represent truth, decency, and dignity while fabricating facts, fiends, and fantasies about their own greatness.
Dictators pit people against each other, then they sit and watch the carnage on TV.
1. Expand your power base through nepotism and corruption.
2. Instigate a monopoly on the use of force to curb public protest.
3. Curry favour by providing public goods efficiently and generously.
4. Get rid of your political enemies.
5. Create and defeat a common enemy.
6. Accumulate power by manipulating the hearts and minds of your citizens.
7. Create an ideology to justify an exalted position.
You should read the article because Mark gives some very lively examples.
So, Just How Do You Stand Up to a Dictator?
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
This brings us back to Maria Ressa. She stood up to Rodrigo Duterte and to Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook nightmare. In an interview with Dave Davies on FreshAir she said:
I wasn't the only one under attack in Rappler. And Rappler is about a hundred people. We're - we just became - we hit 10 years. We're 10 years old January this year. So my gosh, we're going to be 11 by January next year. But it's 63% women. And our median age is 23 years old. So when our younger reporters came under attack, I became far more protective of our team.
And within a short period of time, we increased our security six times, seven times, because at some point it became very clear that online violence is real-world violence. And, you know, in your introduction, you talked about the attacks of President Duterte and Facebook. I think, by 2016, I was calling for an end to impunity, impunity of Rodrigo Duterte and this brutal drug war and impunity of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. They go hand in hand. One could not have happened without the other.
DAVIES: When you started Rappler, this news service, one of the things you note is that the population of the Philippines had already become remarkably attached to digital technology. Different from a lot of places in that way, wasn’t it?
RESSA: Yeah. Look, we were the texting capital of the world before this, the SMS capital of the world. And then we became known as the social media capital of the world. And by January 2021, for six years in a row, Filipinos spent the most time online and on social media globally. A hundred percent of Filipinos on the internet today are on Facebook. Facebook literally is our internet.
DAVIES : I mean, it seems that what you were discovering was that social media platforms, like Facebook, have discovered that people respond to sharply emotional messages. And so the algorithms give them more of that – anger, hatred, resentment – which, in turn, brings more engagement, which is what their economic model is based on. And it – you observed that this was allowing people who were telling lies that were destructive and poisonous to democracy to spread faster than truth.
The interesting thing is that you actually had conversations with Facebook executives about this, right? You met with a bunch of them. Did they get it? What did they say?
RESSA: Rappler was essentially an alpha partner of Facebook. We knew Facebook in the Philippines better than Facebook did. And I went to them with the data, hoping that they would give me more data and fix it. I thought it would be an easy fix 'cause in 2016, it was alarming to see this kind of, you know, incitement of hate. In 2017, I was one of about a dozen startup founders that Mark Zuckerberg met with. And, you know, I was trying to get him to come to the Philippines to see how powerful Facebook was. And at that point, 97% of Filipinos were there. And that's what I told him. I said, you know, you really have to come 'cause 97% of Filipinos on the internet are on Facebook. So he started frowning. And I thought, OK, I must have been a little too pushy. And then, he looked at me. And he said, Maria, where are the other 3%?
RESSA: I think that was the problem, right? They were so focused on market share, their profits, their goal for the business, that they forgot to look at the social harms. I also don't think it's a coincidence that they do not tell the difference between fact and fiction. It doesn't have any business or economic benefits to doing that. So at this point, you don't even have facts. So what did they do? They outsourced it. They gave - it became a fact-checking network that was doing this. But it was never integral to the product by design. Social media divides and radicalizes, and this is what we're seeing in the world today.
DAVIES: You write that, at one point, Zuckerberg wanted Facebook to start to really focus on weeding out offensive content. And you said, you’re missing the point. It’s – the problem isn’t content; it’s distribution. What did you mean?
RESSA: Because so much of the debate centers on content when that isn't the problem. Doesn't matter if your crazy neighbor talks about a conspiracy theory. You'll still like your crazy neighbor, and you listen. But it becomes different when that's the front page of your town newspaper. Imagine, the crazy things now make it to the front page. That is what goes viral. And that's the world we live in.Doesn't matter if it's real or not as long as it captures your attention. So it is your amygdala that decides, right? If you get angry, you'll share it.
And this is the - I mean, look, there is a - E.O. Wilson, who studied emergent behavior in ants, said that our greatest crisis that we face is our Paleolithic emotions, our medieval institutions, and our godlike technology. That godlike technology manipulated us to the point that the very systems of democracy that gave rise to this is now at the verge of failure.
DAVIES: You know, at the end of the book, you kind of ask the big question, which is, what do we do about this? I mean, now that you’ve – it’s apparent how harmful and poisonous this can be for democratic institutions. You know, in the United States, I mean, tens of millions of people believe made-up stories about a stolen election despite plenty of fact-checking that has been published debunking a lot of these stories. You think you have some strategies that might be effective? I mean, this is a little complicated, but share some of these ideas with us.
RESSA: In the short term, we decided, as we were walking into our presidential elections, that we would try to figure out what a whole-of-society approach to civic engagement could look like. And we created a four-layer, facts-first pyramid - four different layers. The bottom layer are 16 news organizations - the first time news groups worked together. You know, I've been trying since 2016, but we finally all work together. And that is the supply of fact checks.
But as you know, fact checks are really boring. They don't get wide distribution on social media. So that leads to the second layer. It's called the mesh - 115, 116 different civil society groups - NGOs, human rights organizations, climate change groups were there - business, the church. The Philippines is Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation. And the goal of the mesh layer is to share those boring fact checks, but to add emotion because emotion is what moves it through distribution. And what we found when we did that was that inspiration spreads as far as anger. The third layer are academic institutions. Eight of them total that took the data from the first two and every week told Filipinos how we were being manipulated, who was winning, who was losing, what were the media narratives being seeded? And then finally, the last layer, layer four, is rule of law. It's legal organizations from the left to the right in the Philippines, from the free legal group to the integrated bar of the Philippines to the Philippine Bar Association.
They filed, in less than three months, more than 21 cases, tactical and strategic, that helped protect the three layers. It worked. We were able to - it was the most successful attempt to try to take over the center of our information ecosystem. We mapped it. But more than that, within two weeks of launching this facts-first pyramid, the Philippine government - the office of the solicitor general filed a petition at the supreme court against Rappler and our commission on elections, because we were working with them at that point. They said that fact-checking is prior restraint. They tried to stop us from fact-checking. It almost made me laugh.
DAVIES: To kind of summarize here, it sounds like what you’re proposing is that news organizations need to overcome some of their competitive instincts and work together when there is important fact-checking to be done, connect them to other organizations in a way that puts energy and emotion into it and get that out there.
RESSA: Think about it like this. Like, if you don't have integrity of facts, you cannot have integrity of elections. And ultimately, what that means is that these elections will be swayed by information warfare. I mean, you know, it's funny. Americans actually look at the midterms. And they say, well, it wasn't as bad as it could be.Death by a thousand cuts - it's still bad. And if we follow, you know, what - the trend that we're seeing, if nothing significant changes in our information ecosystem, in the way we deliver the news, we will elect more illiberal leaders democratically in 2023, in 2024.
And what they do is they crumble institutions of democracy in their own countries, like you've seen in mine.But they do more than that. They ally together globally. And what they do is, at a certain point, the geopolitical power shift globally will change.Democracy will die. That point is 2024. We must figure out what civic engagement [looks like and], what we do as citizens today, to reclaim, [and] to make sure democracy survives.
In Maria Ressa’s interview on 1A, she explained surveillance capitalism and how it enabled want-a-be dictators like Duterte and Trump to actually get elected in Free and Fair elections. Something she told Jen would never have happened pre-Facebook (and other social media era).
Here is how she explains it:
technology has degraded facts and broken our societies. I became a journalist because I believe that information is power - it’s how we get justice. The death of democracy began when journalists lost our gatekeeping powers to the technology platforms that not only abdicated responsibility for protecting us ... but also destroyed democracy by destroying the facts ... for immense profit.
Like the age of industrialization, there’s a new economic model that brought new harms, a model Shoshana Zuboff called surveillance capitalism - when our atomized personal experiences are collected by machine learning, organized by artificial intelligence - extracting our private lives for outsized corporate gain. Highly profitable micro-targeting operations are engineered to structurally undermine human will - a behavior modification system in which we are Pavlov’s dogs, experimented on in real time with disastrous consequences. This is happening to you - to all of us around the world.
Engagement based metrics of these American tech companies mean that the incentive structure of the algorithms, which is just their opinion in code implemented at a scale that we could never have imagined, is insidiously shaping our future by encouraging the worst of human behavior. Studies have shown that lies laced with anger and hate spread faster and further than facts.
Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without these, we have no shared reality, no rule of law, no democracy.
In my upcoming book, the prologue I submitted last year began with the splintering of reality in Crimea in 2014. I had to revise that when Russia invaded Ukraine using the same narratives seeded then. Would that have happened if the platforms had acted 8 years ago? That is the true cost for the world.
Now these networks form a global nervous system of toxic sludge partly fueled by geopolitical power play. In 2018, we connected the information operations in the Philippines with Russian disinformation networks through websites in Canada. In 2020, Facebook took down information operations from China that were creating fake accounts for the US elections, polishing the image of the Marcoses, campaigning for Duterte’s daughter, and attacking me and Rappler. In 2021, the US and the EU called out China and Russia for Covid-19 disinformation.
We are all connected.
To read more on how to tackle this huge problem that the whole world faces, a psychological-social virus just as deadly as the Coronavirus, see her speech: The Assault on Freedom of Expression. It is jaw dropping.
No one can afford to sit on the sidelines and watch how this all plays out. Every human being alive right now has a choice to act or watch democracy fall. And if the choice is to watch, you will also watch the world fall over the Climate Cliff.
You (reading this right now)… you will be alive to watch this all happen. It is happening right now and it is going to happen faster than anyone has previously predicated.
If we don’t save democracies, we will never get around to collaboratinglike we have never collaborated before as a global species to solve the looming climate crises bearing down on all of us right now. These climate crises are going to push the entire human race over the Climate Cliff.
It is time to Wake Up!
And Ron DeSantis (another want-a-be dictator), go buy yourself a mask, fins, and snorkel because if Florida is where Woke Goes to Die…well, Florida ain’t going to be around after Earth’s glaciers melt… and it’s going to happen much faster than the Woke People you disparage are telling you it will happen!
Think about it. Think about it hard.
What will you say to your children and grandchildren 50 years from now when there are no more democratic countries and we fail to act on Climate Change?
What will you tell them when you did not try to stop the Putins, the Xis, the Trumps (and his flying monkeys), and the rigid old men in Iran persecuting and killing their young people?
And old men of Iran, for what? What are you killing your young people for… a strand of hair sticking out from a veil?! Come on you stupid old men… what are you going to do? Kill every young person in your country? Yes, probably you will… the ouroboros is the symbol for rigid old men clinging to their dictatorships.
And the North Koreas…well, Kim Jong Un is sitting pretty these days not collaborating with anybody not even his fellow dictators and firing off his rockets… he is the ultimate symbol for a manly male, a tough pluck... a virile coward if I ever saw one. Someone has to enjoy all the spoils he directs only to him and his loyal supporters.
Maria Ressa says we are all living in the upside-down now. Yes, the very same weird world as depicted in Stranger Things. In this world, only the ruthless get to relax in luxury. Everyone else suffers unbelievable poverty, abuse, and gets crushed under super surveillance systems created by dictators afraid of losing power.
We may be wise enough to know that Facebook is tracking us using super surveillance systems and this is pretty bad… thisis where we are now. We all exist in a world of digital clones that are used against us to make huge profits for the ridiculously rich people of the world (think Elon Musk— you can be a corporate dictator too!). These are nasty little things corporations and social media platforms use to make more money by tearing truth, facts, and reality into tiny shreds. Read Maria’s book!
But the next step is not so very far away in our collective global future. The people fighting for their very lives in Ukraine RIGHT NOW know this! They know Putin will not stop if he wins Ukraine. No strongmen, no dictator, no authoritarian is ever satisfied with what they have. They always want more. That is their purpose in life. They have made themselves into monsters and the only thing they can do is devour the entire world. There are a lot of monsters alive RIGHT NOW trying to do this very thing.
The next step Maria Ressa is very clear about is the fall of democracies around the world and the rise of dictatorships ruled by the ruthless. I believe her. And guess what? There is not much room at the top. What all ruthless rulers eventually do if they last long enough is turn on the very people who put them in power. Think about it. Ruthless rulers always need a foil,a ploy, an enemy, a scapegoat. Once they kill all the obvious people, they will start in on their loyal base of followers, the very people they put to sleep using their maniacal evil fairy dust:ignorance.
This is happening NOW on our watch!
How will you explain this to your children?
How will you explain food shortages, water shortages, raging floods and fires, sunken cities, more global pandemics, and governments that won’t even allow you to hold up a blank sheet of paper to protest not being able to protest for your most basic human needs and rights?
On June 11, 2022, the Washington, DC 2022 Capital Pride Parade began with full regalia and ceremony followed by rowdydow fun and celebration. This is the first of four videos from this day.
For the video, I wrote this:
Today was like walking into a rainbow. After more than 2 years due to COVID, the WDC Pride Parade of 2022 took place in an embrace of joy and celebration. It was one big mass of human exuberant celebration. Such a different energy than the Trump rallies that twisted and deformed into the raging, dangerous mob of Jan. 6, 2021.
I filmed one of the earlier Trump rallies, and I filmed one of the Black Lives Matter marches after the murder of George Floyd. The paranoia and double-standard of the Trump years faded to a distant unpleasant memory in the embrace of so many people celebrating differences, diversity, and inclusiveness.
What kind of world do we want?
Do we want one that is angry, overly righteous, mostly white men who want to control women's bodies and turn America into a desolate land of mediocrity and conformity?
Or do we want one that celebrates diversity, lifts up inclusivity, and makes space for everyone to shine their truth and colors as they feel them?
I choose the rainbow hands down over The Divine Republic of Gilead as depicted in Canadian author Margaret Atwood futuristic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale that feels more and more possible each passing day, especially since the Trump years that made hate great again in America.
Hate is not what makes us a great nation: Love is what makes us great and moments like this Parade are more important than ever, especially with the plotters of Jan. 6 still scheming how to turn America into a totalitarian state like Russia...
I suppose so we could exterminate the world in a mutual annihilation of scapegoats because that is what cheap, cowardly, hate filled people do...blame everyone else for their problems and who they really are inside.
This is the inspiration for this blog: the idea of diversity and the mutual arising of opposite things in the world because on this same day, 31 members from the group Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho.
Pride Parade in Idaho
Thirty-one men, faces covered with masks and carrying baseball bats stood packed in the back of a U-Haul like illegal immigrants sneaking into the state. The truck was heading to the Pride Parade in the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Their purpose was to start a riot.
Police said the men came from at least 10 states. They are members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front, previously known as the white nationalist hate group Vanguard America. It rebranded itself after a neo-fascist was photographed holding their shield just before he ran his car into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA.
Interview with Mother of One of the Men Arrested
Earlier this week, a mother of one of the men arrested gave an interview with Sara Sidner.
From the video above: When "a little army" of men with shields and other riot gear was spotted near a Pride parade in Idaho on Saturday, authorities soon linked the men to a relatively new White nationalist group and charged them with conspiracy to riot. Most of the men arrested had logos on their hats "consistent with the Patriot Front group," and some had other clothing associated with the White supremacist group, Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said. CNN’s Sara Sidner reports
This Same Hate Perpetuates Racism & Wars
This is the same hate that fuels racism and perpetuates continuing inequalities and brutality against black and brown people in the United States. Slavery is barbaric, and so too is racism. Americans went to war and died over ending slavery in America. This war began on April 12, 1861 and lasted until April 9, 1865. In the end, more than 620,000 men were dead, roughly 2% of the U.S .population.
However, this is far less dead than the number of men, women, and children who died being transported from Africa to America, who died as slaves from violence and mistreatment, and who have died since emancipation due to the continuing violent beliefs and hate embraced by white supremacy.
Black Live Matter March
Photos From Gettysburg National Military Park
Emancipation Proclamation & Juneteeth
Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It was the most ambitious push of General Robert E. Lee into the North. Each side fought fiercely. This battle turned out to be the turning point of the war. It is also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address.
Word of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans finally reached Texas on June 19, 1865 where people were still being held as slaves. More than 150 years later, Juneteenth has finally been made a federal holiday commemorating and remembering the legacy of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in America.
Yet, this horrible battle still rages in the hearts and minds of far too many white Americans still to this very day. Hate still has a home in America.
Photos From Gettysburg National Military Park
One of Trump’s Rallies After Losing the 2020 Election
A Call To All Humans Who Value Freedom and Democracy
This Arises… That Becomes
I finally came to understand the idea of This Arises… That Becomes… from a lecture Alan Watts gave.
It is the basic principle of dependent origination as described by Buddha. In Buddhist doctrines, it is called Pratītyasamutpāda.
Pratītyasamutpāda consists of two terms:
Pratītya: "having depended." The term appears in the Vedas and Upanishads[note 2] in the sense of "confirmation, dependence, acknowledge origin". The Sanskrit root of the word is prati* whose forms appear more extensively in the Vedic literature, and it means "to go towards, go back, come back, to approach" with the connotation of "observe, learn, convince oneself of the truth of anything, be certain of, believe, give credence, recognize". In other contexts, a related term pratiti* means "going towards, approaching, insight into anything".Samutpāda: "arising", "rise, production, origin" In Vedic literature, it means "spring up together, arise, come to pass, occur, effect, form, produce, originate".Pratītyasamutpāda has been translated into English as dependent origination, dependent arising, interdependent co-arising, conditioned arising, and conditioned genesis.[note 3]
Jeffrey Hopkins notes that terms synonymous to pratītyasamutpāda are apekṣhasamutpāda and prāpyasamutpāda.
The term may also refer to the twelve nidānas, Pali: dvādasanidānāni, Sanskrit: dvādaśanidānāni, from dvāvaśa ("twelve") + nidānāni (plural of "nidāna", "cause, motivation, link").[quote 2]Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidānas.
Dependent origination is a philosophically complex concept, subject to a large variety of explanations and interpretations. As the interpretations often involve specific aspects of dependent origination, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive to each other.
One interpretation (which I feel is closest to what Alan Watts refers to in his talk) regards this doctrine…
...as describing the arising of mental processes and the resultant notion of "I" and "mine" that leads to grasping and suffering. Several modern western scholars argue that there are inconsistencies in the list of twelve links, and regard it to be a later synthesis of several older lists and elements, some of which can be traced to the Vedas.
Rocks of Ignorance & Rainbow Flags
In other words, we only know inclusivity and love in comparison to callousness and hate. Like a river diverted by a rock–some water flows to the right, some flows to the left. The rock in the river is an idea, a symbol of reality, but it is not reality. Indeed, all words, all thoughts, all ideas are poor substitutes to what is really going on in life.
What should be noted is that both streams flowing around the rock are of the same river of being. They are only being briefly divided and diverted by a rock of thought that got lodged in the river of being.
Maybe, One Day
Another way of looking at this idea is that inclusivity and love are the polar opposites of callousness and hate. Although opposites, both qualities and ways of being in the world go together just as a magnet has a North and South pole. If you chop a magnet in half, there is still a North Pole and a South Pole because a magnet is one cohesive whole thing.
Since I choose to support rainbows and Pride Parades, I stand on this side of our polarized America. It is a conscious choice to flow in the stream of being that includes rainbows and diversity. And it means I am making a conscious choice to embrace all sorts of people and their differences as well as recognize how similar we are because deep, deep down I believe what Alan Watts says that we are the fabric of existence itself.
Maybe one day, we can let go of our rocks of ignorance that we cling to for security and comfort. By letting go, we can grow as a species. And if we grow, we might be able to really feel one day our oneness with each other and all life on this planet. When rocks of thought due appear in our river of being, we can better navigate the currents of division driving us apart and pushing the entire world to a tipping point that we may not recover from due to a mutual massacre of scape goats.
Maybe one day we will know we are all part of the stream of humanity no matter our skin color, sexual preference, our religious beliefs. It has always been this way. It is only when we cling to our rocks of thoughts and rocks of ignorance, which if we are constantly anxious, nervous, angry, and afraid–we are clinging to an idea, which is one of these rocks dividing us and causing so much suffering and pain in the world.
The intersection of gay rights, racism, and white supremacy continue intersecting through time. Will we ever grow up as a species to embrace and hold all of who we are as human beings? Or will we simply continue to label, divide, and conquer each other with hate and despair? See Hate Arises… Rainbows Become… to explore more on these ideas.
We stopped at Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania on our way up for our daughter’s graduation from Middlebury College in Vermont. It was late in the day, cloudy with a little drizzle–perfect weather to walk the roughly 6000 acres of historical pasture and woodlands where Union and Confederate soldiers met in General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North.
It was the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, and the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”.
My husband found a monument dedicated to the 13th and 16th Vermont regiments. From their forward position, the nearly 1,500 men of these regiments poured devastating point-blank fire into the enemy ranks. They inflicted terrible casualties and ravaged the Confederate flank. The battle that was going in favor of the Confederate side began to slip. The Vermonters helped turn the tide of the battle and because of this win, turn the tide of the war itself. It would turn out that we were staying in a valley from where one of these regiments came from in Vermont.
Today, in 2022, it seems like the battle that took place on July 1, 1863, occurred so long ago and that the wounds inflicted from a country being torn apart by different ideas and ideals of how to live a good and just life would be long healed. The pictures of the wildflowers and wildlife are a testament to time and nature’s ability to regenerate.
However, the human heart and soul seems to still be torn and hurt. There are people alive today ready to do damage and tear apart America’s delicate democracy. There are people willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get more than they deserve or inflict their own will on the will of the people. Democracy isn’t easy. It requires compromise, and word that seems to have disappeared from American political and culture vocabulary. It does not require every share the exact same beliefs or values, but it does require tolerance and willingness to learn about the beliefs and values of people who are different from oneself. It requires curiosity and a basic agreement of facts and shared reality.
Will America be able to keep this fragile flower of self-governance in the face of a Republican Party that prefers to stick to loyal tests rather than truth, in the aftermath of Jan. 6, in the ongoing disenfranchisement and brutality to African Americans and any people with a darker skin tone, in the double standard that it is OK to regulate a woman’s body, but it is not alright to regulate guns?
“Every day, on average, 316 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention.” — Team ENOUGH
“Guns have become the leading cause of death for American kids. early two-thirds of the 4,368 U.S. children up to age 19 who were killed by guns in 2020 were homicide victims, per the CDC. Motor vehicle crashes, formerly the leading cause of death for kids one and older, killed nearly 4,000 children.” — Axios
If you are upset by these statistics, by politics, by anything that gets you shouting at your TV or computer screen. It is time to get outside. If you find yourself getting enraged by a rainbow flag celebrating Pride Month or want to join the next raiding party of the Capitol, why not try going to a place like Gettysburg? Walk the park rather than drive. Let yourself sink into the blood-soaked earth where flowers now grow and birds once again sing. Talk to the park rangers, read about what happened, feel yourself being transported back to that time when the sound of gun fire and exploding canon balls rang continuously like a speeding train.
War is bloody. Conflict kills. There are other ways to solve conflict arising from diversity. We have one of those ways. It is called Democracy.
The people of Ukraine are fighting fiercely for this way of organizing society. They are showing us what it means and takes to defend freedom, liberty, and justice for all against a brutal, totalitarian regime; a regime that lies to its people, that exterminates anyone who becomes a threat to it, that concentrates wealth and power among a very few.
In America today, it seems we are choosing whether to stay a democracy, which means making room for tolerance and compromise again. Or will we choose to become a dictatorial regime (like Russia) where lies and distortions are used to whip up dissent and division so that truth, justice, and liberty for all becomes a distant dream.
Stay Human! Go outside today and hug another living being!
Said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.
— Alan Watts
Why This Story?
Alan Watts often tells this short story about the monkey and the fish. It is so short, I wasn’t sure it was worth blogging about, and then this happened yesterday.
Watts in His Own Words
Minute 6:23: “Because the road to hell is paved with good intention. Because all the do-gooders in the world whether they doing good for others or doing it for themselves are troublemakers on the basis of ‘Kindly let me help you or you’ll drown,’ said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.”
Alan Watts on Virtue (around minute 32): “The highest virtue is not conscious of itself virtue (…) in other words when you breathe you don’t congratulate yourself on being virtuous but breathing is a great virtue.“
“Diabolical things are done in the name of righteousness.”
“Rest assured everybody regardless of nationality, political frame of mind, or religion always goes to war with a sense of complete rightness...the other side is the devil.”
Putin is an Evil Monkey
Except Putin is an evil monkey like the ones from the Wizard of Oz because he knows he’s telling a lie! He knows he’s deluding his people by telling them the war he’s waging on Ukraine is righteous. It’s a righteous bunch of lies! He’s the Nazi the world needs to be rid of. See the resemblance?
WATTSWAVE VI: The Web of Life 2Akira The Don The Secret 4:33 From a Certain Point of View 6:10 Gangster Arrangement 5:03 Consider Death 3:08 You! Love! Yourself! 4:46 The Shadow 5:01 Completely Honest 5:47 That Thing Which Really Is Genuine 4:07 It’s a Trap 4:59 The Sound of the Rain Needs No Translation 7:22 Patterns 3:09 Your Idea of Heaven 5:50 Playful 5:53 What Games People Are Playing 2:52
Music for Second Archetypal Animation:
WATTSWAVE II: How To Be A Better Person Akira The Done 2:56 Alan Watts Motivational WordsAlan Watts Go Out With A Bang Not A Whimper 3:12 Overthinking 2:47 Dont Be Tone Deaf 3:12 What You Really Are 1:21 Man & Nature 3:04 Zen Stories 5:20 The Symbol Has No Value 5:09 Nirvana 3:19 Come Unhinged 3:34 How Do We Love Each Other 2:18 Existence Is A Relationship 3:12
For more about Ukraine and the evilness Putin has unleashed into the world, see:
On a recent Saturday afternoon, I was working on my story while listening to NPR, as is my habit. I remember perking up and paying attention when This American Life introduced the subject of this episode: Bloody Feelings — Stories about the Power of Blood. The stories were not at all what I was expecting from the title.
Act 1 was about Adele who she described herself as “the worst phlebotomist in the whole hospital.” She was a physical therapist until the Coronavirus gripped the country. With all her physical therapy sessions cancelled, she was not needed there. But what the hospital really needed was more people to do blood draws. I loved her story.
Act 2is about the discovery of 30 century-old postcards written in old Yiddish by a distant family member challenges David Kestenbaum’s ideas about the unimportance of blood ties.
Act 3 is about a Shakespeare theater production that involved a lot of blood that was a little too real for the audience and what befell everyone.
Act 5is about a broken heart… no, not a love sick broken heart… a heart that required open heart surgery.
Walk In The Woods
While I enjoyed these stories, I wasn’t bowled over by them as other stories I’ve heard, although the color red stuck in my mind. I finished what I was doing and got my pup ready to go for a trot. This is our pandemic routine. Pumper loves our trots, especially when we see other dogs! I am pretty sure that she thinks all dogs exist on Earth to play with her. She plays well with all dogs no matter their size or temperament, adapting herself to whoever she mets for an instant playdate.
So, when we caught sight of big dog ahead of us, it was Pumper’s mission to catch up with them. They were walking fast, but Pumper was pulling me faster. Eventually, we caught up and found out the big dog was a Great Pyrenees–-Poodle mix– a Pyrepoo! It was the first one we’d ever met, and it was only 7 months old but already twice as big as Pumpernickel (now 15 months). I was admiring all the similarities between the two dogs who got along splendidly together. The owner of the Pyrepoo just told me how the Great Pyrenees were guard dogs of a flock not herders. And I just told her my dog was a Pyrepitt (she’s actually many more dogs mixed in but the Great Pyreness and Pitt Bull are the most dominate) when a Pitt Bull came upon us.
The guy walking the Pitt looked a bit anxious, but neither I nor the owner of the Pyrepoo took alarm. As he passed us with the Pitt on a super short leash, the Pyrepoo pup went over to say hello. This is common doggie custom to greet all new incoming dogs with a sniff. But no sooner had the pup approached the Pitt to sniff when he yelped in pain. The Pitt had bite him and would not let go. Both owners tried desperately to pry the Pitt’s jaws open. Pumper and I stood stunned and helpless watching what was happening before us.
Finally, the Pitt released its grip and Pyrepoo pulled back to a safe distance. I was relieved to see his nose was not the part bitten, but blood dripped from his lower lip. There was also blood in the Pitt’s mouth, and blood on the hands of both owners. It turned out the man was helping his sister with her dog and apparently didn’t know the Pitt’s temperament. The whole thing was terrible. I helped flag down a Kleenex for the owner of the Pyrepoo, then they were off to the vet get stitches. I felt so bad because had we not stopped them to say hello, they would have missed the Pitt Bull.
The synchronicity of the moment was duly noted. I have learned to pay attention to such moments when I recognize them. There is usually more going on that needs to be understood, but I had no idea what. Ruminating on blood was something I did not do, really at all… perhaps due to cultural programming.
Brooklyn Center — Then & Now
The next day, another terrible synchronicity occurred when Daunte Wright was fatally shot in Brooklyn Center, MN during a ‘routine’ traffic stop. The shooting occurred hardly more than 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. And it happened right in the middle of the trial of Chauvin, which had just completed its second week of heart wrenching testimony about George Floyd’s final moments, his life, and lost potential and presence in the lives of all who loved him. It was painful to absorb. And then, another young black man lost his life at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota.
These deaths hit close to home because I grew up in North Minneapolis. I know where George Floyd died and where Daunte Wright was shot. I could walk to Brooklyn Center from where I lived. I often went to the old Brookdale Mall in Brooklyn Center because that’s where you went with your friends in high school (well, maybe that’s where the nerdy kids went). It was a place we could go to feel young and free.
I remember meeting my girlfriends at Rocky Rococos, then walking around the Brookdale Mall. We mostly just walked and talked, dreaming about our futures. None of us had much money to spend, but every once in a while, one of us would buy something special there. I remember hunting for prom dresses there with my friends and buying one even though I didn’t have a date and did not go to my high school prom. But I wanted a picture in a prom dress…lol. Looking back at these moments, they were times we were pretending to be all grown up, and the Brookdale Mall was the perfect backdrop to step into our fantasy lives.
Back in its day, the Brookdale Mall was part of cutting edge suburban social architecture being one of 5 malls opening around downtown Minneapolis to provide the perfect place to go for suburban housewives and families who needed ordinary household supplies, furniture, school supplies and clothes–whatever was needed for a suburban household. They were knows as the Dales and included Brookdale (Brooklyn Center), Rosedale (Roseville), Ridgedale (Minnetonka), and Southdale (Edina). Brookdale first opened in 1962 and grew in stages. A lovely blog called Abandoned Retail recounts the rise and fall of the Dales surrounding Minneapolis, specifically the Brookdale Mall.
When I was growing up, I never considered the privilege my white skin afforded me as I walked around places like the Brookdale Mall or drove to it myself after getting my driver’s license. I never thought about how the dreams I entertained or how the gallivants with my friends at the mall were carefully packaged in specific ways designed to make us believe we each had a chance to become Cinderella and to find our Prince Charming.
It would take decades before I realized how fatal the childhood fairytale fantasies I reveled in were. How they obscured brutal realities embedded throughout American society, inherited from its long history of slavery and institutionalized racism. Places like the old Brookdale Mall sold the white suburban fantasy to white Americans, but it was an artificial, super sugary coating trying to cover up the cruel realities faced by black and brown people every single day.
I have never feared for my life being pulled over for a traffic violation. I never felt watched by workers at stores who worried I might steal something. I know now my friends and I got get out of jail free cards simply for being white. This was not so for my friends and classmates who were brown and black who were losing their lives for making the very same mistakes I had made.
Policing & Justice in the United States of America
Description of this episode: Last summer, millions across the country took to the streets to protest police violence. Now, against the backdrop of the trial of Derek Chauvin, criticism of the criminal justice system in America is once again under scrutiny. Recent shootings of Black men by police officers in the suburbs, including in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, have attracted new attention to the changing demographics of the suburbs and the tactics police use there.
We recommend this thread from researcher Will Stancil, who is one of our guests for this conversation:
And conditions are often different for people in wealthy, white suburbs. From a piece called “The Case For Defunding Police Is In Our Affluent White Suburbs” in Mel Magazine:
Homicides, robberies, rapes and other violent crimes happendisproportionately in poor minority communities. Crime rates have been falling across the country for the last 30 years — it’s statistically the safest era to be an American. But Black and brown people, especially those in inner-city communities, are victimized by crime that’s practically unseen in whiter, more affluent suburbs.
Those suburbs aren’t safe and clean and orderly because they’re white and wealthy. White, wealthy suburbs are safe because they benefit from two world-shifting factors: 1) the police harass less and solve more serious crimes; and 2) there’s significant funding for municipal and social services, whether that’s schools or health-care facilities or simply park space.
How are police and local officials responding to changing demographics in the suburbs? Have police been able to answer calls for justice from local residents?
We’re talking about how policing works in the suburbs.
Black Americans being victimized and killed by the police is an epidemic. As the trial of Derek Chauvin plays out, it's a truth and a trauma many people in the US and around the world are again witnessing first hand. But this tension between African American communities and the police has existed for centuries. This week, the origins of policing in the United States and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
Description: Black girls are suspended six to seven times more than white girls in schools across the U.S. Now, Rep. Ayanna Pressley is reintroducing a bill that aims to disrupt the school-to-confinement pipeline.
Here & Now’s Tonya Mosley speaks with Rep. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, about the bill to address the disproportionate punishment of girls of color in schools.
Description: Recently, The Takeaway convened five of those voices, across law enforcement, advocacy, and academia, and asked them to come together to talk about the way forward. What is the future of policing in America? In our ongoing coverage, we tackle what’s broken in today’s system and what it would take to fix it.
April 20, 2021 — Today Was A Monumental Day, But We Are Not Done
Wow — I did not expect this verdict today. What a relief. It is one step in the right direction towards justice, but there is still a long ways to go and a lot of work to do to transform as a people, a society, a nation that values the lives of all its people–black, white, Asian, indigenous, immigrant, religious, non-religious–whoever you are, you belong in a society that treats everyone with dignity and respect and justice.
We Are a Nation of Beautiful People and Each & Every One Is Precious, If We Could Just Learn to See
The United States of America is at another inflection point; a time of reckoning of cultural precepts obscured and hidden through false politeness and talk of freedom for all, but with harden attitudes and deep brutality and injustices baked into our systems, our stories, and our brains. To change deeply ingrained attitudes, actions, and behavior, they need to be made visible. Even when they are made visible, they need to be reckoned with honestly by each individual in which they exist.
Perhaps that is why my attention got drawn to blood and its brutalities just before another police officer killed another precious soul in my hometown. Just the word blood conjures up violent, brutal images. But it also heralds new life (though any mother will tell you labor is hard and painful work). To do the work necessary to transform collective reality requires lots of individuals doing the hard work of self-development. A good place to begin is how we are programmed by our culture. For a modern man or woman, this gets complicated fast because modern society frequently requires belonging to lots of groups with each possessing its own unique culture that exerts an influence an individual’s mind space. This is important because it is here in this invisible space of mind where our values, beliefs, and attitudes are formed. These then inform our actions in the world, which create our collective reality.
Shankar Vedantam explored recently how culture and the cultural narratives we carry around inside of us influences our individual attitudes and actions in a podcast called Made of Honor. He introduces this episode saying, “Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us to heal from trauma. They also shape our cultural narratives, for better and for worse.” His guest speaker, Ryan Brown, begins with a story from his childhood where he finds himself along with his boyhood friends flying down a dark country road with no headlights on, no seatbelts, no helmets. The car was driven by a friend but appeal to him to go slower only goaded him to go faster. It was a moment Ryan believed he and his friends would die. It was also a moment that led Ryan to become a psychologist at Rice University in Texas.
Ryan Brown now understands why his fried refused to slow down nor apologize later for his reckless behavior. His friend was following a cultural script based on honor culture. “Honor cultures are societies that put the defensive reputation [of the group] at the center of social life and make that defense one of the highest priorities people have.” It is a culture that encourage excessive risk-taking behavior to show how brave and tough a person is, especially males in the culture. Doing so is a way to build and solidify one’s reputation in the society. In an Honor Culture, if your honor is threatened, you never back down, especially as a man, then you can only double-down and never show an ounce of weakness.
Ryan tells how his ancestry traces back to Southern Scotland that is steeped in the values and beliefs of Honor Culture. Residue of Honor Culture have been brought over from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and many other immigrant groups that had these beliefs. These attitudes and values took root and grew strong in the Southern colonies, even when the United States had not been born yet. And they continued to flourish when the Southern colonies transformed into the Southern states, and then they pushed West.
Ryan says (12:39): “And so if you think about westerns, if you think about Western movies or Western history, there are always rough and tumble guys with names that sounded kind of Scottish, a McTavish McDonald, McDougal, Graham, et cetera. And that’s not an accident. So even today, even though most people in the us in the South, I don’t think of themselves as byproducts of Scottish history. You can still see this cultural residue in some fairly powerful patterns of, of social life, that social scientists, many others, including myself, have documented over the last 20 years.”
Over the past 20 years, Ryan and his colleagues have documented a strong connection between Honor Culture and Military Valor. This is a positive trait of this culture but there is a dark side too because honor cultures can get trapped in endless cycle of violence where retribution for dishonor is followed by retribution upon retribution of escalating violence. Honor cultures are found all over the world in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and also found in black and brown communities in the U.S. Honor culture is particularly prevalent in states like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas. The names of towns and businesses even reflect honor culture such as a little country town in Texas called Cut and Shoot. But, naming places is only one small example of how honor culture shapes the lives of millions of people.
Honor cultures tend to take the stance: “That’s not my people. That’s not my family. That’s not my community.” Such a mental stances discourages individuals to reflect on situations that arise that end in conflict, even violence, and these cultures do not cultivate empathy, kindness, and compassion. These qualities are considered signs of weakness. If you lose your honor in an Honor Culture, you lose your value, your standing, your reputation and never get it back. Honor cultures tend to have a veneer of extreme politeness, but violence bubbles below and can break out at the slightest perceived slight. For instance, a simple insult in an honor culture can rapidly escalate into a violence.
Gender roles tend to be highly rigid as well in Honor Cultures with Ryan saying (29:59), “If you’re a real man in an honor culture, then that means you’ve built a reputation as someone who’s strong, tough, brave, loyal, and utterly intolerant of disrespect. If you’re a woman in an honor culture and your considered a good woman and honorable woman, that means that you’ve lived up to the social standards that say you should be loyal to family, especially loyal to your husband and sexually pure.“
In a complicated country such as the US, honor cultures have effects on how politics play out (47:55) “And what to spend a few minutes talking about the role of honor culture in politics. You’re a list of States where there is a strong honor. Culture include South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee and States that don’t include Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Minnesota. It’s hard not to see a division there between, you know, a prototypical red States and prototypical blue States, Republican States and democratic States, right?“
AprilSometimesBrings More Than Showers
Honor Culture explains a lot, but it’s not the only influence shaping individual attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. There are many factors shaping who we are as individuals. Circumstances such as social status, economic status, rural or urban dweller, religious community all exert tremendous influences on individuals. To be a modern human living in a highly technological society requires belonging to many systems and groups that all have unique cultures all exerting expectations and limitations on individuals. In short, modern humans live in very complicated worlds, made so by us. Although living in groups has proven to be an undeniably successful strategy to survive, there is a price and there is a dark side. The eruption of violence seems to be a deadly cost of living in huge groups.
As I did research for this blog, I came across an article about how April 14 to April 20 is historically a Bad Week for violent or disastrous events to occur. I will not speculate why bad things seem to cycle in patterns or occur in series, but here is a partial accounting of this week through time:
April 19, 1995: Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in downtown Oklahoma City on
April 19, 1993: a 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX ended in a devastating fire that killed more than 50 people, including children
April 20, 1999: the Columbine shooting occurred that left 12 students dead and 21 injured happened
April 16, 2007: the Virginia Tech shooting killed 32 people and wounded 17 others
April 14, 1912: the Titanic sank
April 18, 1906: the most deadly earthquake in U.S, history hit San Francisco.
Regardless of whether violence is because of honor culture, racism, or the growing disease gripping the United States of America of mass shooting, it leaves a on survivors too. One group, impacted more than most, is hardly ever heard. Millions of children around the country are affected by gun violence every year. Whether it’s sitting through safety and violence prevention programs in school, losing a friend or loved one, or being a victim themselves, this brand of cruelty has an effect on the young.
1A talks with author John Woodrow Cox who shares powerful stories from young victims–and looks at what their experience can tell us about preventing further harm, both physical and mental.
Here & Now talked to racial trauma therapist Resmaa Menakem in this interview. He brought up something terribly important in the wake of the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death almost one year ago. Menakem says what Chauvin did was not only traumatic but meant to inflict terror in the community as well. He says (which has been said by many others as well in the past 24 hours) that “— guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — is not justice, but rather accountability. It took uninterrupted, uncut video evidence to prove what people of color have been saying for decades about the police.” He said, “This particular video, compared to other taped incidents of police violence against Black Americans, represented white body supremacy so clearly that people could not dismiss it anymore. [But] still, there are significant swaths of people who don’t believe there are innocent Black and Brown people who are profiled and unfairly targeted by police.“
I know such people. I know what Menakem says is true about white people in particular.
Menakem further states that “there’s pain in not being believed, and also trauma from racialized gaslighting — a form of psychological manipulation that white bodies in the U.S. have done to Black, Brown and Indigenous people for centuries.“
I’ve experienced gaslighting, and I know people who still suffer from the pain and trauma of being gaslighted by people they depended on who gaslighted them instead of took care of and nurtured them. Mencken is right to point this out. It is tremendously painful and highly effective at tearing apart the fabric that sustains us all. A gaslighter is a person who makes other people feel like they are the one who is going crazy. They are insidious, crafty, deceitful people.
“If a white body says something and then a body of culture says something else, what ends up happening is that the white body is always given the benefit of the doubt,” Menakem says. “So throughout the trial and verdict, people of color held onto hope for accountability on one hand while on the other hand, knew “white bodies will never admit that this system is feral.”
It is feral. The United States of America has a completely lopsided, feral system. And because of all the sugar coated, fluffy fantasies white kids get fed in their youth combined with being instilled with you’ve got to be somebody, white people are left with very little inner resources to see and deal with the truth. It is much easier to pretend not to see how brutal, how feral, how sick our culture really is.
Healing is possible, Menakem assures. He ends saying we need to start by turning towards each other and seeing other other rather than away from each other. This is powerful advice.
Lots of Human Beings, Lots of Disasters
Human beings seem particularly prone to creating circumstances that end in disaster:
You get the idea. Now, how do we get out of cycles of violence and disaster (mostly human made)? How do we recover and get to a place where something better can take root and grow?
Something else flows alongside the red blood cells in our bodies. It is not something that is visible, but it can be felt. This invisible substance (or perhaps force) is essential to sustain our inner spaces and to maintain a healthy state of mind. Each and every human being is born with this invisible force flowing through them just like blood flows through them. Because we are human, we are aware of this force and this awareness allows us to channel it and to alter instinctual responses and urges before acting on them. Human beings can suppress instinctual responses. They can amplify them, and they can transform them into something else entirely. Carl Jung called this ability consciousness, or perhaps it is spirit blood.
It is through our choices and how we alter instinctual responses before acting on them that our collective reality is created. Eastern traditions, religions, and philosophies call this power Karma, which is simply the recognition that every action creates a reaction, a consequence.
This all ascends quickly into the realm of spiritual and metaphysic concerns, which is a realm most often regulated to religions to grapple with the nebulous inner spaces where thoughts, attitudes, and bias materialize into action.
I was raised Lutheran, but during the time of my father’s death, I found my childhood religion negated the realities of powerful synchronicities that occurred and inner experiences my father and I experienced during the 10 days he lived beyond the moment he should have died. I have written about his previously, so will not do so again here.
Instead, I would like to highlight something that my friend Ali Raza Saleem posted, which caught my eye during the time my attention was focused on blood. My friend is a neuroscientist and scholar of Jung and posted the following:
Qalb (Faculty of Heart) and Lataif e Sitta
The faculty of heart (Qalb) is the faculty of the Spirit, not the biological pumping heart when we refer Qalb in terms of spirituality. The nerves associated with heart are primarily concerned with pumping of the heart, conveying signals to muscles, as well as sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to control the pace of heart beat.
Faculty of Heart, spiritually speaking, isn’t tied strictly to ’emotional aspects’. Brain has designated centers for emotional perception and the affects are mediated through signals to the body including changing contraction and pace of the heart, bodily sensations, fight or flight mechanisms etc.
Faculty of Heart is the faculty of immaterial Rooh (Spirit) that along with other faculties (lataif) ‘feels’ Love, Suffering of the other Soul, Compassion, Benevolence, Bliss, Tranquility (itmenaan), Gratitude, Spiritual longing and Joy of Union with Beloved, Divine Beauty and Majesty etc, and blocked by Greed, Anger, Arrogance, Bukhl (stinginess), Hasad (Jealousy), Bughaz (spitefulness), malice, malevolence etc stemming from unpurified Lower Nafs (Ego). The emotions resulting from gratification or failure of gratification of lower Nafs (Ego) are also more of bodily/’brainy’ in nature. But in a loose sense, speaking poetically, heart can be said as preceptor of emotions in general as their ‘Affect’ is ‘felt’ at the heart.
The immaterial lataif including Qalb (heart) have specific locations on the body (metaphysically superimposed on various organs like heart as in the case of Qalb) as described in Lataif e Sitta, where the virtues associated with them are experienced spiritually.
He further sent me this graphic.
And he explained:
For a Sufi his body is in service (submission) to Divine Will helping him fullfil the tasks for nourishment of the Spirit/Soul.
The terms in this diagram maybe used in different meanings compared to the ones used in Psychology like the term Self here have meanings different to what we use in Psychology. This article further explains the model and the meaning of terms used in this diagram.
I know so little about Muslim teachings and wisdom, but I find everything Ali Raza Saleem shared extremely helpful in understanding the workings of the Invisible Self. These are the parts not visible to others unless we share them through words or actions. I have also been reading The Philosophy of the I Ching by Carol Anthony and have found her writing also very illuminating about the Invisible Self. Beginning on page 35, she writes:
“People who can hear within are called psychic, but, in truth, we all have this ability; it is simply suppressed in most of us. Through inner listening we can also become aware of other people’s conscious thoughts. Our superior self listens and looks, but does not speak. What we receive from the inner world that we perceive and know as intuition comes from inside and apart from ourselves, just as what we see of the outer world is outside and apart from ourselves. What we hear within comes from the teacher, the same Sage who speaks through the I Ching. It knows the way and comes to help. We can only hear it when we maintain emptiness, innocence, and receptivity. When we jump to conclusions because of fear and impatience, we can’t hear the quiet suggestions of the Sage within.“
“When we say a thing ‘comes totally out of the blue,’ this is an intuitive ways of saying that we are helped by the Sage. We say ‘out of the blue,’ because our words have the clarity of the sky and come from nowhere. What we say is what needs to be said and is perfectly appropriate. Innocence and emptiness make it possible; we are noticeably free of emotional attachment and our words come in the vernacular of the moment; everyone understands and agrees. when this happens we are always a bit surprised. The fact is, we are not in possession of such moments, although we make them happen through being in a complementary relationship with the Creative Power. This we can do only through cultivating our superior man within.“
This makes me thinks how each of us is a livingwork of art constantly in progress and transformation. As living works of art, we are both artist and the art. We choose the colors, patterns, subject, and background–and by so doing, we live them, we feel them, we see them, we know them. The canvas is our mind. And we develop our art of being by listening and learning how to regain our innocence and inner emptiness that allows us to be open and receptive to every moment we met. This is how we can transform ourselves, and by doing so, transform the world.
— Myths of Fear, Marks of the Beast, and the End of the World
Storytelling Species: Makers & Players of Reality Bubbles
Part 5 in The Storytelling SpeciesSeries
Oh How We Love Scary Tales & Stories Skirting the Edge of Being Bad
We play with reality. We do this with our minds. The world is not a perfect place and a lot of bad things happen in it. When we don’t understand something, it is in our nature to make sense of it, and we do this most often by telling each other stories. Collective stories provide a critical glue that hold people together in a common understanding of reality. But that is not all collective stories do. Collective stories activate our inner worlds. They energize them and inspire action in the world. They are powerful and people who seek power know this and they know how to manipulate stories to benefit themselves or a small few.
Recently, the idea of alternative facts and reality has entered the mainstream Western lexicon with a vengeance. It’s been confounding to watch common, ordinary facts get twisted and ripped apart, then thrown in the air like confetti. Today, pretty much anyone can be a Magician of Reality; pretty much anyone can concoct elaborate myths and illusions of reality, and then peddle their piddle as truth. People do this for lots of reasons: to entertain, to distract from something bad they’ve done, and to manipulate and misguide others to make a lot of money.
Profit & the News (or Should I Say Altered News Meant to Tantalize, Titillate, and Terrorize)
People profit from misinformation. People like Alex Jones. It is so very tempting, in fact, it is irresistible to become a Master of Illusions. If you have not heard This American’s Life episode titled: Beware the Jabberwock, now it a good time to stop reading and listen to this episode.
There are two acts in this episode. The first is one is called: Down the Rabbit Hole where producer Miki Meeks picks up the story of Lenny Pozner, whose son, Noah, was killed at Sandy Hook. In the years after Noah’s death, Lenny and his family were harassed by people who believed the shooting at Sandy Hook never happened – that it was all a conspiracy. Until one day, Lenny decided to fight back. (24 minutes)
The second one is called: Alex in Wonderland. It is narrative by Jon Ronson who travels to Alex Jones’ hometown to validate the Alex Jones myth. He finds many, many holes in Alex’s recollection of his own past.
This act’s description is: Alex Jones spread the idea that Sandy Hook was a hoax, on his radio show and website for years after the shooting. He’s probably the country’s most famous conspiracy theorist. He’s even had Donald Trump on his show. Reporter Jon Ronson travels to Jones’ hometown in Texas, to investigate the story Jones tells about himself, and how he became who he is. Jon Ronson and his producer Lina Misitzis originally created a version of this story for Audible. They also produced Jon’s latest series, a longform Original “The Last Days of August,” the never-before-told story of what caused the untimely death of 23-year-old porn star August Ames. It’s available exclusively on Audible.com. (27 minutes)
Fake News, Fake News — EverywhereYou Look — Get Your Fake News HitToday, Just Click Here
Much has been written about misinformation, but it was not until after the election results of 2016 that more people started paying attention to the real life effects that misinformation can have on ordinary, every day, real people. the AmericanPress Institute published a very good article: Factually: How misinformation makes money in 2019. Just a little teaser from this article:
“There has been much written about how fake news websites and other sources make money from spreading misinformation. During the 2016 election in the United States, it even became a cottage industry.
Now a new study quantifies just how much misinformers are profiting from online advertising. Spoiler: It’s a lot.“
Because There Is Billions and Billions of Dollars Out There
An article in GWToday reports on a virtual forum hosted by GW’s Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics that explored the harm being caused by online disinformation related to COVID-19 and social media regulation (or lack there of it). This article reports that Facebook netted $17.4 billion in advertising in its most recent quarter (back in 2020).
“Fear mongering, fraudulent groups are using social media to scam users with false rumors and fake claims about COVID-19,”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “Foreign actors including Russia, but not exclusively there, are flooding platforms with conspiracy theories and lies to sow national dissent as America protests racial injustice. Even our own president is using social media to fan the flames of intolerance and hatred during this precarious time in the nation’s history.”
So,Let’s Hurry Up and Make a PageThat Misleads, Misguides, and Makes Lot’s of Money TOO!
Insider reported in October of 2020 about 40 Facebook pages identified as ‘super-spreaders’ of election misinformation that were reaching million of users.
The Bigger the Lie — The More We Will Make!!
Sadly, we know how this misinformation cumulated into the Big Lie touted by Trump and his diehard cronies in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. In a letter to the editor of Lehigh Valley Live, one person summarizes the danger this type of information presents to us all.
The Big Lie headlines once again. Joe Biden and political commentators reference “the big election lie” to describe President Trump’s narrative regarding the election results. With repetition, the big lie takes on a life of its own. It becomes the truth to many and empowers its believers to think and act according to itself. Trump, his big lie and the believers of the big lie are cited by non-believing white people as the destroyers of democracy and the bearers of death.
Trump’s lie may be the modern Big Lie, but what is the biggest lie, the lie that has endured years, decades and centuries … the lie that shelters itself in our hearts … the lie that is passed from generation to generation?
If we white people of good will refuse to see ourselves reflected in the white supremacy that rose up on Jan. 6, then we choose to reject the truth that will free all of us. The truth will enable us to destroy our protective wall of white privilege and co-create with all our fellow human beings a society that respects the worth and dignity of each of us.
The biggest lie is the lie we choose to live. Choose truth.
In May 2020, Open Secrets explored how dark money networks hide political agendas behind fake news sites. One of the most super successful Master of Illusions to rise in recent history is Donald Trump (who Alex Jones counts as a close friend).
“Tax records analyzed by OpenSecrets reveal ACRONYM’s most recent financial information and shine light on its cozy relationship with affiliated entities.”
“ACRONYM raised $9.4 million from secret donors during its second year of operation through April 2019, more than seven times the prior year according to its tax returns. Three anonymous donors giving more than $1 million each made up more than half of that, with the top donor giving more than $2 million.”
Terrorizing people and misleading them is BIG Business!
And still, here we are reporting on the costs and consequences of misinformation in the world. For instance, this article about the very real dangers of COVID-19 misinformation was published on Jan 6, 2021. Ironically, the day the U.S. Capitol was ransacked by people who had ingested, believed, and acted on another myth filled with misinformation fed to them by the Big Lie.
Anti-Semitism, Evil Powers, the End of the World— Oh, and Don’t Forget How Eve Messed Everything Up
Michael Blume, a political scientist who serves as anti-Semitism commissioner for the government of Baden-Württemberg against anti-Semitism since 2018, has explored theories of religion and the effects in the brain (“neurotheologies”). In a recent interview, he says:
“Supporters of conspiracy myths believe that evil powers rule the world, says Michael Blume, who has just written a book on the subject. It is not a question of education: “You can have an engineering degree, a PhD or a professor’s degree and use all your intelligence to sink all the deeper into conspiracy myths. With regard to the QAnon conspiracy myth, Blume predicts that the movement will disintegrate after the US presidential election. The remaining followers will, however, become more radical, he fears. ‘It cannot be ruled out that further violence will result from this conspiracy movement.‘”
In another interview, he was asked about Querdenken 711 and explains:
So you’re not surprised about some of the statements being spread in these demonstrations? [i.e., Germany’s anti-lockdown movement “Querdenken 711”]
“Yes, it’s always been like that. Whenever a pandemic has occurred in history, we have had two possibilities. Either we face the fear and uncertainty and inform ourselves, while living with the fact that we don’t have any ready answers. For example, we do not know when the vaccine will be available. And the other option is simply to block it out: I don’t accept the fear, I look for a group to blame. All I have to do is shout at them and go out into the street. And then everything is supposed to be fine.“
“Many of these conspiracy myths already existed in the 15th to 19th centuries. Sometimes it even gets a bit boring, because they are always the same building pieces. People demonstrate together, whether they are left, center, or right, but what connects them is their image of the common enemy. And that is the important thing: People are so fixated in their fears that it is not even creative. They never come up with a Brazilian world conspiracy or a world conspiracy of Quakers or the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s always, always, always Jews and women behind it.“
In another clip from another interview, Jitarth Jadeja explains how he found QAnon in 2017, and then spent two years entrenched in this virtual cult. His biggest regret he tells is sharing the conspiracy theory with his father.
And Good Morning America explored how QAnon is tearing families apart.
But Let’s Return to thePlandemic Myth & Dig A Little Deeper
The myth that COVID-19 was planned follows the classic pathways of myth creations humans have been using since we began telling stories about ourselves and what has happened to us as we journeyed through time and space. It uses pseudo sources of trusted sources of information about the coronavirus. One such pseudo experts is the radiologist that Trump appointed to the U.S. Corona Task Force. Trump appointed this idiot because he preaches about the benefits of herd immunity–something Trump was preaching in his vain effort to get re-elected. To Trump, the Coronavirus was an unwelcome reality check that pulled the covers off his levees of lies and levers of deception he was using to hoodwink his supporters into believing he was looking out for them. But, he wasn’t. He doesn’t look out for anyone but himself. Every moment of his life is a transaction he must win. So, Anthony Fauci’s science-based knowledge about what was happening to us was inconvenient to Trump’s failed narrative of how he would Make America Great again. Thus, enter the pseudo expert, a radiologist with no knowledge or understanding of infectious diseases spouting off the lies Trump wanted you to believe.
Or the doctor Trump retweeted promoting hydroxychloroquine as a legitimate treatment for Coronavirus despite overwhelming evidence this immunosuppressive drug normally used as an anti-parasitical treatment for malaria had significant risks of triggering a heart attack in Coronavirus patients. In this same video the Trump greatly amplified through his mindless retweet, this pseudo doctor blames America’s current health problems on demon sperm. I’m not exaggerating…I really, really wish I was, but Trump really retweeted this doctor.
Trevor Noah explains it much more plainly.
As you know, this sort of crazy thinking is not contained only to the United States. It is spreading globally like a goopy goo crisscrossing the glove through social media channels–being spread through anonymous document like the one I got hoodwinked into editing. It is absolutely a mind virus spreading and has many names; the most popular being “Plandemic“.
Let’s Make A Myth & Make It Stick (Like Really Sticky Goopy Goop)
One story line of the Plandemic (there are many out theredepending on who you want the enemy to be) goes something like this: There is a group of global elites who created the virus and unleashed it on the world to make more money (as if global elites don’t have anything better to do with their lives than commit mass murder, well…maybe some, but this narrative is hiding something lacking in the person drawn to it).
There is something incredibly glittery about pinning all the ills of the world on some super elites (and I agree they do share a bigger burden for perpetuating many of our current problems), but it’s too glittery, too black-and-white, too clean and neat… and reality is not clean and neat, it is messy and confusing, and confounding most of the time. But that is the appeal of myths, they make sense out of ignorance, mindlessness, folly, foolishness, idiocy, imbecility, incapacity, senselessness, and stupidity.
Now, Back to QAnon & the Shaman!!
Now, let’s dig deeper into another glittery conspiracy myth: Q (or better known as QAnon).
This article labels Angeli as Inter-dimensionally Stupid, but is he, really? Is he not rather tapping into something deep living inside all of us that is trying desperately to navigate its way through intensely troubling tremendously stressful, fully anxiety riddled, and sometimes quite terrifying times?
Everyone is looking for answers to really scary, complicated stuff that leaves even the best and brightest of us feeling incompetent and with no personal control of what is happening to us, to the ones we love, to the world. It is during times like this when myths are more powerful and important.
So Who Is Q?
No, Q is not the beloved, mischievous character from Star Trek. Although one might just consider this for a minute. I bet the Star Trek Q is exactly who the Russian Special Disinformation Agent known as Sergei was thinking of when he scribbled out a scrappy story for his Internet disinformation campaign he had been assigned to back in 2016.
Sergei just happened to hit gold dust when he scribbled down and spewed out his fictional character Q onto the social media channels he had been assigned to pollute. Oh how the angry Americans he was interacting with gobbled Q up in the lead up to the 2016 election. Sergei crafted his mysterious Q to have mysterious access to all the dirt on Hillary Clinton. Since then, Q has evolved into the great peculiar leader of QAnon, a conspiracy theory/myth alleging there is a battle between good and evil in which the Republican Mr. Trump is allied with the former.
Good Bubble | Bad Bubble
It should be. It is the classical story arch all great stories and myths follow. Returning to our good friend Mr. Trump, it is as if he found and is guarding the good bubble of reality for all of us to step into and be safe just like Glinda the Good Witch of the South who arrived just in the nick of time to help Dorothy survive the land of Oz.
But if you have a good bubble and a good witch, there must be a bad bubble and a bad witch, right?
AndThis Guy Named Q
The Wall Street Journalreported on this newest (and pretty strange story) about this guy named Q saying: “QAnon followers are awaiting two major events: the Storm and the Great Awakening. The Storm is the mass arrest of people in high-power positions who will face a long-awaited reckoning. The Great Awakening involves a single event in which everyone will attain the epiphany that QAnon theory was accurate the whole time. This realization will allow society to enter an age of utopia.”
So, Sergei still sits in his sod hut somewhere on the Siberian Tundra typing out tangy new details about Q while chomping on Spicy Cheetos and shooting down shots of vodka. Sergei is particularly proud about how QAnon has inspired enthusiastic new believers to carry out a despicable vandalizing attack on 3 galleries in Berlin. These vandals used some oily substance, which they threw on ancient artifacts such as Egyptian sarcophagi, stone sculptures and 19th-century paintings held at the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Neues Museum sustained visible damage during the attack on 3 October, as reported by The Guardian. Reportedly, they did this because these museums were thought to be one of the centre of ‘global satanism’.
This is crazy stuff, right? But it is happening now in 2020 landing it right up there with the man who drove up from North Carolina, entered a beloved family pizza place called Comet Ping Pong, and shot off rounds from his rifle. Terrified families threw themselves and their children under tables while he babbled about freeing the fictional children enslaved in the basement of the pizza joint by Hillary Clinton and other Democrats elites. It is a very sad moment now known as Pizzagate.
Splitting— The Magic Ingredient of Conspiracy Myths — A Kind of Mind BubbleThat Tend to Pop Pretty Fast When It Hits the Rock of Reality (Mother Earth… the ground upon which all life must stand upon)
To spin his illusions Sergei counts on our human fallibilities that get heighten during times of highly charged social unrest such as current American politics or the pressures of globalism or the looming calamities Climate Change promises to rain down on us. Sergei knows when humans feel stressed and not in control of their stress, he can prey upon the looming hopeless and despair threatening to crush them. When people feel like this, it is easy to lure them back into an immature and destructive psychological defense mechanisms called splitting.
Splitting allows humans to make just about anyone or anything into an instant enemy. Sergei knows this and makes his mysterious Q just vague enough so people project whatever they want into his fantasy character. Once frighten desperate people have their leader, it is very simple to create an enemy out of just about anyone or anything in 4 easy steps: Step 1) Take ordinary reality and cut it into good and bad parts, Step 2) Walk inside the good bubble created by splitting reality into polar opposites, Step 3) Inhabit your good bubble and invite your friends, then zip up your bubble, Step 4) Everything remaining outside of your good bubble is the enemy, this is the bad bubble that must be popped.
Anyone can do this. In fact, we have all done this because it is a normal psychological defense mechanism all children pass through on their way to becoming adults. It becomes a maladaptive psychological defense mechanism when adults continue to do it long into their adult years. When it becomes the only thing they do to deal with the unpleasant aspects of reality it can be pathological. One of the best write ups I have read describing psychological defense mechanisms (i.e., they range from the most highly evolved and mature mechanisms to the most neurotic, immature, and pathological mechanisms) is this excellent blog simply titled: Defence Mechanisms.
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