Calculating Hate… It’s in Their Eyes

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.

Notes for Book

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.

Will There Ever be Justice for Emmett Till?

This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in the Mississippi Delta in August 1955 after witnesses claimed he whistled at a white woman working in a store.
(  File / AP Photo ) | Photo from The Take Away, May 1, 2023

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.
This 1955 file photo shows Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman who accused Black teenager Emmett Till of making improper advances before he was lynched.
(Gene Herrick, File/AP Photo) | Photo from The Take Away, May 1, 2023

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.
Image from: Emmett Till’s Accuser Carolyn Bryant Donham Dead At 88
by The Michigan ChronicleApril 29, 2023
"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 cold pinpoint, hard eyes.

Woman whose accusation led to the lynching of Emmett Till has died at 88, coroner says | Image from CNN report on Carol’s death

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!


Getting Away With Murder

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.

Carolyn Bryant, Chicago Defender | Photo from American Experience — Getting Away with Murder
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?

Archetypal Animation from January 2022 blog | When Do We Get To Use Violence?

Hate Is Popular

Young protestors during the Birmingham Campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, May 1963. The movement, which called for the integration of African Americans, was organized by Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth amongst others. (Photo by Frank Rockstroh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) | From 1A; May 2, 2023

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. 
This conversation was recorded in April as part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations around the country, including WBHM. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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.

The Donald, The Rupert, The Tuckered-out Carlson — Drawing by me

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!

Collective Hate

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.

Scarlett O’Hara’s best lines (Gone with the Wind)

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 psychologycognitive dissonance is the perception of contradictory information and the mental toll of it. Relevant items of information include a person's actions, feelings, ideasbeliefsvalues, 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.[1] 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.[1][2] 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.[1][2][3]
In When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World (1956) and A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance(1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency to function mentally in the real world.[1] A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance.[1][2] They tend to make changes to justify the stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance (rationalization) or by avoiding circumstances and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance (confirmation bias).[1][2][3]
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.[4]    -- 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,[72][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,[73] 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.[74]
After the 2020 election, which Joe Biden won, supporters of former President Donald Trump questioned 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.[75] This was described as an example of Trump supporters suffering cognitive dissonance.[76]

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.[81]
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.[82][81]
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.[83][84]
In The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance: A Current Perspective[85] (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."[85]
The study Cognitive Dissonance: Private Ratiocination or Public Spectacle?[86] (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.[86]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.[87]

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.

All Quiet on the Western Front | Official Teaser | Netflix

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
Hitler’s Plans for the World if He Won
Adolf Hitler Speech in 1935

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
Terrifying Story Of Joseph Stalin’s Rise to Power
A Day in The Life of a Dictator: Joseph Stalin
"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
World’s Most Murderous Dictator Pol Pot

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.

Why Mao Zedong Was The Most Brutal Tyrant

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!

Young Putin | 1967 Peace Rally on the Red Square

Yes! Before Putin was a KGB agent and mass murder, he was a happy, happy hippy!

It’s true! It’s written about right here in the The Unlikely Hippy Past of Vladimir Putin.

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

Collective Hate rises from inside each and every individual. It is the collective accounting of grievances and wrongs every 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?!

Feature Archetypal Animation

Image From Funeral Home

Image From: CBS report | Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till killing

Image From: CBS report | Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till killing

Music: Jim Crow the Musical Add-2 | [9] Mama Said Skit


Second Archetypal Animation

Image From: Britannica

Image From: Stalin | Wikipedia

Image From: PBS | Who’s Who: Cambodia

Image From: Salon | The American Mao: Donald Trump has led the Republican Party into a cultural revolutionthat’s pretty fucking scary…

Music: It’s in Your Eyes | Disappeared Completely

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]

Unless….

What did the Lorax mean by Unless?

Image from: Are You a Lorax? | By  Jim Fitzpatrick – March 12, 2012 – Newport Beach Independent

This story had a deep and lasting impact on me. I was a child when it came out. I loved it the most of all the Dr. Seuss books. But it also troubled me. It felt very different from The Cat In the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, or Oh the Places You’ll Go.

It felt like a puzzle that needed to be solved and time was running out!

I felt that the one word the Lorax leaves behind for the greedy, old Once-ler was the key to solving the puzzle! But, what does it mean? Unless…what?!!

Dr. Seuss tells us what the Once-ler thinks Unless means at the end of the story. The Once-ler thinks that unless someone like the boy cares a whole lot, the world will never change.

It seems so simple. Surely, I felt as a child, there are bunches of children just like me reading this book and understand the message and will care enough. Surely, we the kids of the 70s get it, and when we grow up, we will change the world and avoid catastrophe.

But, we didn’t. Here we all are, 52 years later, and the world has not changed course. It remains fixed on the same course that it was on back in the 70s when Seuss first published The Lorax. In fact, it feels that we are all speeding ever faster… and to what? The End?

Clearly, the Lorax means something entirely different in his silent message he leave to the selfish, self-absorbed Once-ler. Clearly, Unless means something different than what the Once-ler thinks. But what? What do we need to do as humans to avert total disaster… perhaps even the end of the world as we know it now?

Quick Recap of The Lorax

Image from: ‘The Lorax’: A Campy And Whimsical Seussical | By David Edelstein – March 2, 2012 – Fresh Air

The young Once-ler arrives in the forest where the lovely Truffula Trees look like lollipops and the cute fuzzy Bar-ba-loots bears play alongside the beautiful Swomee-Swans birds and lovely humming fish!

Image from: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: Movie Adaption Information | By Carey Bryson — 3/17/17 — LiveAbout

But instead of seeing the incredible beauty all around him, the young Once-ler cuts down one of the incredible Truffula Trees and makes a Thneed!

What really?! A Thneed… this is the thing that everyone needs!

Dr. Seuss uses the Thneed as a symbol for the modern world’s obsession with fossil fuels. And Seuss is certainly right about this, gas-fuel-oil is truly something everyone needs in the world we have made.

There are lots of Once-lers in the modern world making millions and billions of dollars harvesting fossil fuels for all the things we need in our slick, fast-paced modern world!

Image from: ‘The Lorax’ review: Surgery was done on this Dr. Seuss | Published: Mar. 01, 2012 — OregonLive

The Lorax confronts the young Once-ler saying:

"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" —
he was very upset as he shouted and puffed —
"What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"
Image from: The Badness of The Lorax Is a Shock | by David Edelstein – MAR. 2, 2012 – Vulture

But the Once-ler does not hear the Lorax. Or rather he hears him but ignores him proclaiming he has a right to make money from the trees!

Image from: The Lorax | IMDb

The Lorax rallies all the animals and tries again to make the young Once-ler listen and understand.

Image from: It’s Seusstastic! How The Lorax Saved Hollywood | By Richard Corliss – 3/4/12 – Time

But there’s no stopping the happy young Once-ler. He cuts and chops and build a factory to make even more Thneeds! And then the Lorax is forced to come back and to tell him this:

'I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I'm also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loots suits and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits.'
Image from: the lorax | By Alison on June 18, 2011 – a tree grows in brookline and a teacher blogs about it

Nope, the Once-ler won’t listen. He builds an even bigger factory, and one even bigger than that one.

Images from: the lorax | By Alison on June 18, 2011 – a tree grows in brookline and a teacher blogs about it & Teaching Climate Change With The Lorax and The Jungle | By Mark Gozonsky on Getting High-School Kids to Read and Care About the Climate in Unconventional Ways — 10/21/19 — Literary Hub

Soon, the Lorax comes back with another dire message telling the Once-ler:

"Once-ler! You're making such smogulous smoke! My poor Swomee-Swans...why, they can't sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat."
Image from: Final #PostABird fact for #BlackBirdersWeek Day 2. Do you know why the Lorax sends the Swomee-Swans away? Because there is too much smogulous smoke. | Twitter

The Once-ler shrugs and continues chopping down the beautiful Truffula Trees and making a Thneeds.

The Lorax returns again. Now it is the Humming-Fish who can no longer hum.

This time the Once-ler gets mad and shouts:

'Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say, 'Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!' Well, I have my rights sir, and I'm telling you I intend to go on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I'm figgering on biggering and biggering and biggering and biggering, turning MORE Truffual Trees into Thneeds which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!'
Image from: THE LORAX BY DR SEUSS | Stella & Rose’s Books

Not long after this the Lorax does the thing that sticks in my mind and haunts me to this day. He builds a small platform underneath the Once-ler’s factory, waits for the Once-ler to look out, then without a word, the Lorax picks up the seat of his pants and flies away disappearing through the last blue hole in the polluted, ugly sky… and that is thatUnless...

Image from: THE LORAX BY DR SEUSS | Stella & Rose’s Books

So What Did the Lorax Mean?

Dr. Suess says many years after the last Truffula Tree is chopped down, the now very old Once-ler thinks the word Unless means:

Image from: THE LORAX BY DR SEUSS | Stella & Rose’s Books

But, it hasn’t worked. Hope is not enough. To fix this mess, it take action.

Are We Even Capable of Changing Our Fate?

Do we really need to destroy our planet before we care enough about it to fix it?

I know, I know, the seed the Once-ler throws down to the boy is a symbol of hope and we all need hope to Do The Right Thing. But quite honestly, do we really know what the right thing is that we should be doing?

And nature will do just fine after humans are gone. Kind of like 2067, an Australian SciFi film, where that is exactly what happens.

2067 – Official Trailer
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten Writer/Director: Seth Larney By the year 2067, Earth has been ravaged by climate change and humanity is forced to live on artificial oxygen. An illness caused by the synthetic O2 is killing the worlds’ population and the only hope for a cure comes in the form of a message from the future: “Send Ethan Whyte”. Ethan, an underground tunnel worker, is suddenly thrust into a terrifying new world full of unknown danger as he must fight to save the human race.

I think the Lorax is telling us something else. I think the Lorax is warning us about ourselves and that Unless we learn how to let go of bad ideas, we are doomed to create the world we are speeding ever faster towards making. The one that will kill us.

What Is the Lorax Warning Us About Ourselves?

I think it is Shame; toxic shame to be specific.

Shame is an emotion of civilizations. We feel shame, and it is necessary to feel it. Feeling ashamed motivates us to improve ourselves. It motivates us to take care of the people around us, so that we to treat them with kindness, dignity, and respect.

No one wants to feel shame. Of all human emotions, shame is perhaps the hardest one to endure. Because of this, it is one of the scariest, most loathed, most feared emotion in our human tool box.

If shame had a color it would be the color of pee. Listen to Snap Judgement, and you’ll understand.

My Big Pee Break

Actress Diona Reasonover was on the brink of her big break. But she never expected it to happen while she was on her vacation.
Diona Reasonover is an actress who lives in LA, you can check out her writing on “I Love You America” with Sarah Silverman on Hulu.
Produced by Adizah Eghan

Note: Diona had a knee injury and could not make it to the bathroom on the plane before others beat her to it. Then, the plane begins to descend and the flight attendant not very understanding. So you’ll need to listen to how Diona solves her dilemma.

Bearing Witness

The episode before this one is worth a listen too: Date With The Devil. This one touches on the topic of how ee always hear about the people who survive a disaster and who often give credit Jesus or God for their good fortune, but we never hear about the people who made the exact same calculations, believe just as much in a higher power, but ended up dead.

I think we have become a bit lopsided in thinking about our survival as individuals and as a species when we hear only miraculous stories of good fortune, good luck, or good timing that allows a person to avert a tragedy.

But what about the people who don’t avert disaster? What about the people who get killed?

D. Parvaz touches on this in a very different story. It is a scary, tormented, horrifying, heart-wrenching story about people (through no fault of their own) do not make it. Indeed, they are murdered by monsters. That’s what humans become when they don’t digest and assimilate all of who they are as a human being. This means seeing the good in one’s self as well as the bad in one’s self. And yes, shame is one of those things.

People who refuse to feel their shame, fear, guilty, or whatever makes them uncomfortable will project them onto other people. People who don’t feel shame will do shameful things, horrendous things. They are no longer human because they have thrown half of who they are away.

So, don’t thrown your shame away! You need it. You really, really do… and the Lorax understood how desperately humans need to feel shame and other parts of themselves that make them truly capable of being human.

The Hidden Shame That Threatens Our World

This article is about toxic shame.

John Amodeo (a psychotherapist for over 40 years) describes that how not dealing with our feelings of shame there are far-reaching, destructive consequences.

He says, “When shame lurks outside of our awareness, it can become the driving force behind the destructive rage, blame, and violence that is damaging our world.”

Have you ever encountered someone who is boiling with a seething rage bubbling just under their human-looking skin but really what is lurking underneath is a monster ready to explode at the drop of a pin?

Consider the shootings this past week.

  • A teenage honor student who knocked on the wrong door was shot.
  • Cheerleaders who accidentally opened the wrong door of a car late at night are shot.
  • Teenagers who pulled into the wrong driveway and were turning around were shot, one died.
  • Children playing basketball and their ball rolls into a neighbors lawn are shot at, one father lost a lung after getting shot in the back.

Amodeo describes shame as the felt sense of being defective and inadequate: “it as an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Shame has also been defined by Gerhsen Kaufman as a breaking of the interpersonal bridge. As human beings wired for connection, we dread isolation. Children fail to thrive when they don’t feel a safe and secure connection with caregivers. When healthy attachment is ruptured, a child feels unworthy of love and acceptance. This unbearable shame can lead to a mad scramble to prove our worth in distorted ways that often dehumanize others.
In a 2016 article, shame expert Bret Lyon, who leads Healing Shame trainings, describes how intolerable shame can be transferred to others:

“Driven by the need to keep the feelings of shame at bay and away from themselves, people can exult in their contempt and cynicism—finding a curious kind of gratification in it… In extreme cases, runaway contempt can cause people to lose sight of another’s humanity. Even their right to exist. This has led to extreme behavior, in Germany and many other places.”

The Hidden Shame That Threatens Our World

Amodeo drives home the point of toxic shame, the very same one that I think the Lorax is trying to drive home to us with his message Unless. Amodeo writes:

When the drive toward personal “success” or being superior becomes dissociated from our humanity, we seek gratification in ways that will never really satisfy us. We become disconnected from our souls, as our innate longing for love and connection curdles into a desire for status, money, or power. These substitute ways to seek gratification often spiral out of control—taking us on a perilous journey away from our fellow humans—and away from our true selves. This desire for a narrow self-gratification overlooks the reality that we are inescapably interconnected.
We can observe this shame-driven dynamic in our fraught politics, where looking good replaces being good (truly caring about others). We can see it in political and business leaders competing to amass the greatest wealth and power, which often translates into a race to see who can be the most contemptuous and divisive.
Some political leadersand followers who relish the thrill of belonging to a group that has special knowledge and that is superior to others—have so thoroughly dissociated from their vulnerability, their humanity, their hearts, and their souls, that they have no compunction to deny the rights of others, or, as we've seen in Ukraine and elsewhere, committing atrocities without any healthy shame to check their behavior.

The Big Choice

So… what are we going to do? Are we going to save our beautiful world full of life or are we all going to drown in a Yellow Sea of Seething Shame?

This is a job that requires every person on the planet to do. Every living individual needs to claim their shame and proclaim proudly: “I am human! I do stupid things! I learn from them! I become a better human because I use my shame to grow!”

Or, you can lock yourself inside a dilapidated husk of what used to be your humanity… deny your shame, cast it onto everyone else around you as you fake being a perfect human being.

But, your performance is nothing more than a rickety, glittery, shiny shell of who you used to be. Inside there is nothing to balance you out and make you human. You have become hollow; a garden hose flowing with seething shame disguised as rage.

On A Related Note

My college roommate from College of the Atlantic shared this story. It is closely related to the responsibility of each and every person to do the invisible work of sustaining and maintaining psychological as well as social health, which takes daily work.

Kicked out of the university lecture
Subject: Legal studies.
First lecture.
The professor enters the lecture hall.He looks around.
"You there in the 8th row. Can you tell me your name?" he asks a student.
"My name is Sandra" says a voice.
The professor asks her, "Please leave my lecture hall. I don't want to see you in my lecture."
Everyone is quiet. The student is irritated, slowly packs her things and stands up.
"Faster please" she is asked.
She doesn't dare to say anything and leaves the lecture hall.
The professor keeps looking around.
The participants are scared.
"Why are there laws?" he asks the group.
All quiet. Everyone looks at the others.
"What are laws for?" he asks again.
"Social order" is heard from a row
A student says "To protect a person's personal rights."
Another says "So that you can rely on the state."
The professor is not satisfied.
"Justice" calls out a student.
The professor smiling. She has his attention.
"Thank you very much. Did I behave unfairly towards your classmate earlier?"
Everyone nods.
"Indeed I did. Why didn't anyone protest?
Why didn't any of you try to stop me?
Why didn't you want to prevent this injustice?" he asks.
Nobody answers.
"What you just learned you wouldn't have understood in 1,000 hours of lectures if you hadn't lived it. You didn't say anything just because you weren't affected yourself. This attitude speaks against you and against life. You think as long as it doesn't concern you, it's none of your business. I'm telling you, if you don't say anything today and don't bring about justice, then one day you too will experience injustice and no one will stand before you. Justice lives through us all. We have to fight for it."
“In life and at work, we often live next to each other instead of with each other. We console ourselves that the problems of others are none of our business. We go home and are glad that we were spared. But it's also about standing up for others. Every day an injustice happens in business, in sports or on the tram. Relying on someone to sort it out is not enough. It is our duty to be there for others. Speaking for others when they cannot.”
                                      -- Shared by Liza Hall -- 12/4/22

Feature Archetypal Animation

Music: How Bad Can I Be (From “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”) — Geek Music

Good, Like Water

And Water Like Gold

Tao Te Ching — Chapter 8 |

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Man… and Woman 😉

Ancient Wisdom | Sapience

The supreme good is like water,
which benefits all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
It gathers in unpopular places.
Thus it is like the Tao.

The location makes the dwelling good.
Depth of understanding makes the mind good.
A kind heart makes the giving good.
Integrity makes the government good.
Accomplishments make your labors good.
Proper timing makes a decision good.

Only when there is no competition
will we all live in peace.

Sapience Sense | Where Does It Come From

In this chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Chapter 8), Laozi talks about how supreme good is like water.

So, just what is supreme good? Isn’t is our ability as human beings to know that we knowto know that we feel something… to know that we can do good in the world or we can do bad?

This is consciousness, right?

So how do we choose Good over Bad?

Is it entirely an individual choice: Good vs Bad?

Or, is there a collective responsibility hidden in this choice? A collective basin, deep reservoir upon which we all must draw from and upon which we all depend for our sentient sense… for our sentient life.

Song | Sapience | Synchronicity

The song I found for the feature archetypal animation is sublime! There is something very synchronistic going on with this song and this chapter in the Tao Te Ching. But, I can’t quite pin it down.

Can you?

Verse 1 and 2 seem to get close to what/why I feel a synchronistic blending going on… a mixing of ancient wisdom with modern day experiences and feelings (I’ve copied the lyrics to this song below).

How often does competition and trouble arise in our lives from not being understood or being left behind by the group. How often do we simply need others to see who we are for what we are… all of what we are (the good parts & bad parts)?

When we don’t feel seen, heard, or understood… isn’t there a part deep inside of us that wants to fight to be seen, heard, and understood? We need it like water, like air. We need the attention of others, the sense of belonging, the feeling of unconditional love to live… it feeds us deep down inside the part of ourselves that is sentient… the invisible part inside of everyone that feels, perceives… that knows that it’s alive!

"And they had gold like water"
"They wanted to fight"

Maybe the gold like water is consciousness… the sublime boundaries of personal and collective consciousness.

Gold like water = consciousness, knowledge, knowing, kinship, culture, protection, safety…

You tell me what you think is the resonance here?

Images for Feature Archetypal Animation

Marguerite Leucanthemum Composites Asteraceae | geralt | Gerd Altmann  •  Freiburg/Deutschland  •  Member since Sept. 15, 2012  •  #35

Flower Blossoms White Rough Meadow Marguerite | Hans | Hans  •  Deutschland  •  Member since Nov. 24, 2010

Hd Wallpaper Nature Wallpaper Drop Splash Water | qimono | Arek Socha  •  Stockholm/Sweden  •  Member since Jan. 27, 2016

 Earth Moon Flower Daisy Blue Water Droplet | DigiPD | Digital Photo and Design DigiPD.com  •  United States  •  Member since Sept. 27, 2013

Light Bulb Sea Turtle Digital Art Ocean Beach | DigiPD | Digital Photo and Design DigiPD.com  •  United States  •  Member since Sept. 27, 2013

Ocean Girl Walking Atlantic Mediterranean Cliff | DigiPD | Digital Photo and Design DigiPD.com  •  United States  •  Member since Sept. 27, 2013

 Loveourplanet Earth Peaceful Journey Travel | Jordan_Singh | Ajay kumar Singh  •  Age 35  •  Mumbai/India  •  Member since Jan. 23, 2017

Music: Gold Like Water | Constant Smiles | [1] Gold Like Water – Radio Edit    2:52

Gold Like Water — Radio Edit

[Verse 1]
Your voice always calms me down
I can’t explain it somehow
I need you to see who I am
And now that I’m here with you
I can accept what I’ve been through
To watch over the voices

[Chorus]
Oh-oh, Mary
And they had gold like water
They wanted to fight
And they had gold like water
They wanted to fight

[Verse 2]
And everyone you meet is someone you couldn’t leave behind
And now they’re getting close to the people that you know
And you’re still scared that they won’t believe you as much as you do

[Chorus]
Oh-oh, Mary
And thеy had gold like water
They wantеd to fight
And they had gold like water
They wanted to fight

[Breakdown]
They’re waiting for you
They’re waiting for you

[Chorus]
And they had gold like water
They wanted to fight
And they had gold like water
They wanted to fight

[Outro]
Oh-oh, Mary

Lyrics from Genius

Go out and hug someone today! Tell them you love them! And get outside in the warm embrace of our collective loving Mother Earth!

Resting In the Good Hands of Mother — A Love Story | Earth Alive Series

American War: A Novel About How Damage Begets Damage

I was captivated by another Throughline that aired on January 19, 2023. This episode explores possible Extremist Futures as envisioned by Omar El Akkad in his novel American War.

Omar’s novel is about America’s second Civil War. He imagines 50 years into our future. A time when climate change has turned Florida into an underwater theme park and climate disasters devastate the world. His vision is very similar to mine in my novel Sapience: The Moment Is Now (not yet published).

In American War, the world finally understands that it has to stop burning fossil fuels and bands them–but it’s too little too late. The US is the last to band fossil fuels. All states agree to switch to more sustainable energy except Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. These three states take up arms, deciding they would rather secede than stop burning fossil fuels.

They lose, again, but what follows is a years-long insurgency. This is where his story is mostly centered.


Ignorance

Something Omar says in the beginning of this Throughline needs to be emphasized. He says, “We read to feel into another.”

This is how we come to know and understand each other. A country or a state (I’m thinking of you Florida) that bans books because they might be subversiveGod Forbid… they might give children ideas… is a system that seeks to keep its citizens in ignorance.

Break down the word: ig nor ance. States and countries that ban books are teaching their people to ignore what they see with their very own eyes.

And, people who are kept in ignorance are a heck of a lot easier to manipulate too!

He also says, “Story is the final act of Resistance!


Disturbingly Plausible

The New York Time’s describes his novel: “Omar El Akkad’s “American War” is a disturbingly plausible case in point — a tale of a future America torn asunder by its own political and tribal affiliations.

This is what caught my attention too.

Throughline plays some from the audio book of American War that includes sound effects. Had I not caught the beginning, I might have thought I was listening to real, on-the-ground reporting.

Omar’s story feels real, very real. It feels like it is already happening.

He grounds his story telling by his real life experiences as a boy in Lebanon where he was a witness to the devastation of war and what happens to people in refugee camps.

Omar says, “A society subjected by warfare is akin to moving backwards in time.”

Think of what Putin is doing to his people and to the beautiful people of Ukraine. Every image coming out of his sick ego trip is likened to images from WWI.

The Academy Award nominated movie All Quiet on the Western Front vividly paints the insanity of rich, powerful men who send other men to die for their personal power and glory. In this movie (and of course the book), Paul Bäumer and his classmates are just cannon fodder for a fatherland that has gone mad.

All Quiet on the Western Front | Official Trailer | Netflix

If you are having a hard time remembering the horror and senselessness of death of WWI, then watch All Quiet to remind yourself that quiet means dead. Watch as these young, gifted boys sign up for service and get pumped up by grumpy, old narcissistic men who stuff them full of overly romanticized, patriotic notions of war and how they are defending the fatherland. It’s on Netflix, so you have no excuse.


Euphemistic Fraudulence

Omar describes this souped-up patriotic messaging as euphemistic fraudulence.

Texas University’s McCombs School of Business published an article that was written by Robert Prentice titled: Euphemisms Inflict Collateral Damage on Integrity.

This article begins with the college admission scandal that caught up actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli in acts of fraud to get their children into the best schools.

Robert writes, and this is important:

In an earlier blog post we suggested some reasons, grounded in behavioral ethics, that might help explain why reputable people and loving parents became involved in these frauds.  The conformity bias, the self-serving bias, and incrementalism all may have contributed. The evidence disclosed in the indictment offers additional clues.
A euphemism, say’s Webster’s, is “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.”
Famed Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura writes of “moral disengagement,” suggesting that people, such as Loughlin and Giannulli, who think of themselves as good people can do something bad so long as they can selectively suspend morality for their activities. One way people do this is by use of euphemisms.  Bandura notes:

“Language shapes the perception of events and the thought patterns on which people base many of their actions. The personal and social acceptability of given activities, therefore, can differ markedly depending on what those activities are called. Euphemistic machinations are used widely to detach and depersonalize doers from harmful activities. Cloaking detrimental activities in euphemisms can be a powerful weapon.”

“Working the System” – Euphemisms Inflict Collateral Damage on Integrity
Examples of the “sanitizing and convoluted language” (Gambino) of euphemisms that have helped people make their peace with wrongdoing include the following:
  • Dead civilians = “collateral damage”
  • Mass firings = “right-sizing”
  • Lies = “alternative facts”
  • Burning down villages = “pacification”
  • Fraud = “creative accounting”
  • Genocide = “the final solution”
Empirical studies indicate that “euphemistic labels can psychologically sanitize unethical practices, facilitating our participation in them.” (Moore & Gino).

The World is Either Good or Evil

This is a lie. Every modern human being born today is told this lie.

Omar talks about how this idea is used to twist us into doing all sorts of evil things. It is a notion, an idea, a belief drilled into us since the day we are born until the day we are dead.

It is this very idea that the world can be cleaved into a good side and a bad side that allows us to be manipulated.

I would add it is precisely splitting the world into Good and Bad parts that lets us justify just about any abominable violence we can dream up.

It is also what allows ruthless rulers to turn plain, ordinary, decent human beings into killing machines and monsters.

Ruthless Rulers are already monsters and include men such as Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-um, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Abdullah Aziz Al Saud, Bashar al-Assad, and there are many more (see the list of Current World Dictators).

World Dictators In 2022 By Location

We live with these monsters right here, right now on our planet. And they are pounding our world straight back to the Stone Age just as fast as they can.

This is a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the current world dictators and authoritarian regimes. In 2022 there are 57 dictatorships in the world. We define a dictator as the ruler of a land rated “Not Free” by the Freedom House in their annual survey of freedom.

What do you think? Are they winning? The Red countries that is… are there more red countries than yellow or green?

That is exactly what they want you to believe. But, perhaps you are beginning to sense out it is precisely this idea of division that is the problem.


Empathetic Liars

One of Omar’s characters is an empathetic lair. He is the character that goes into the refugee camps and radicalizes the kids there.

Omar says there is no such thing as exotic suffering, but empathetic liars make you believe there is. Empathetic liars parse the fine threads of what we do and what is done to us. Empathetic liars play upon the lack of self-agency in a place like a refugee camp (or one of Putin’s prisons) and use it like a gleaming lure to hook their targets–kids (or Russian prisoners) whom they plan to turn into cannon fodder.

Omar says, “People go to bad place when their self-agency is taken away from them.” And the more damaged a person is, the more their circle of Trust closes in, making them extremely vulnerable to empathetic liars

And that is exactly what autocrats, dictators, and pretty much most of the Republican Party in the United States are doing. Whoever they are…all close ranks around their strong man, hype their followers up on Fraudulent Euphemisms, and close the circle of Trust until only one man can be trusted.

And, there sure are a lot of want-a-bee dictators who desire to be the one and only man the entire human race can trust–Putin, Trump, Xi Jinping, Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-um, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Abdullah Aziz Al Saud, Bashar al-Assad, or pick your poison.

Yes, Omar is very right to envision the coming of America’s Second Civil War! Heck, we might be staring down the path to WWIII.

I think Empathetic Liars is another name for Dark Empaths. Dark Empathy is not a good thing. Dr. Ramani does a very good job in this video explaining why all of us need to be on the look out for Dark Empaths and Empathetic Lairs.

The Dark Empath VS the Narcissist: The Signs | Med Circle

Reality? What Reality!

Omar talks about when a group of people believe anything they want to believe is real… you’re living in a very dangerous place and time.

Add the element of violent insurrection being a central part of a country’s narrative, and you have a tinderbox waiting to explode.

He admits he’s been amazed how reality has out did his fiction.

He warns, “There is a particular Force that when it emerges within a group of people, it must be stared down directly.”

I would add that when this Force is encountered: You cannot blink. You cannot turn away. And, if you falter, it will destroy you.

I’m writing about such a force too. I was reminded of a prologue I was playing around with to describe my story. I realize it is exactly what Omar is warning us about.

The Last DJ on Earth | I wrote and read the beginning of this video. My husband plays the Last DJ and my friend Brain (who has since passed) plays the Persuader

Will we listen? Can we listen anymore?

Feature Archetypal Animation

Image from: American War by Omar El Akkad, book review: Should be read as a cautionary tale | The Independent — This impressive debut imagines a second American Civil War set from 2074 to 2095 and is set apart from other dystopian novels because of the fully realised plausibility of the scenario 

Image from: Penguin Random House Audio | “Powerful . . . As haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy [created] in The Road, and as devastating a look as the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America. . . . Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Image from: The American Civil War, a Summary | AAREG

Music: 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War Anonymous 4 | [15] Home, Sweet Home / Polly Put the Kettle On   

First Archetypal Animation

Music: Heaven Or Hell | Don Tolive | [1] Heaven Or Hell    

Free to Choose

The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.” 
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

In the second episode of Shantaram, available on AppleTV, Lin steps out of his friend Prabaker’s tent in one of Bombay’s sprawling slums. He looks around at all the people in the bustling slum who are looking at him and wonders if they are afraid of him and hate him. He knows he doesn’t belong there, but fate has put him there.

Thinking to himself, he says something like this: “It is what people know about themselves that make them afraid of you.

In A World…

I rewound and watch this moment again. I was not expecting a nugget of wisdom in this drama. But, there it was…something real, something true, something very pertinent to the world we live in now. Today, no matter where you live, we live in a world….

…where MAGA Republicans think all Democrats are evil beings who drink the blood of children. This belief makes liberals and Democrats not really human. If they aren’t really human, then that makes it all right to kill them, all of them.

“Oh? You don’t believe me?”

Listen to this man right here. He’s the man with the littlest Wiennie of them all. The man in the middle touting hate, lies, deception, stories of separation, fear, and division. He’s Steve Bannon.

Steve Bannon Swears Revenge On His Democratic Enemies After Being Sentenced To Prison — Politicus Media; 10.2K subscribers

This little man, Trump’s Rasputin, knows that a democracy divided is easy to control. And he wants to control everything. Look at his beady eyes and scrubby stubble. He’s a tormented man doing everything to create confusion, chaos, and destruction so he can rise as a Christ for a world of sinners. If you have not seen CNN’s special report Divided We Fall, it is time to watch it.

CNN SPECIAL REPORT: STEVE BANNON, DIVIDED WE FALL Reported by Drew Griffin

Oh — you don’t trust CNN?

You say it’s the radical left touting Joe Biden’s radical agenda…and before that it was Hillary….and before that it was Obama…and before and before…

How far back should we go with the blame game and ‘I don’t trust you‘ contest? To Adam and Eve? Is it really that nasty little snake who started it all?

If you’re playing this game, you have already swallowed the Red Pill, and it’s working its toxic poison deep inside of you. It’s a poison that makes you deeply afraid of others and deeply afraid of your own shadow. And, you probably should be deeply afraid of your own shadow.

That is what Lin is aware of while standing alone in the slum of Bombay. That sneaky shadow that lives inside all of us casting its evil intensions and desires onto everyone else, except for you.

If you are playing this game, you have joined the ranks of people who violently participate in the denial of diversity. You do this to legitimize your own violent fear of anyone who doesn’t walk like you, talk like you, look like you, act like you, or think like you. You secretly believe and harbor a wish to bring into being a world that obeys and worships you.

The dirty little secret is hidden deep inside of you is a greedy, little, bloodthirsty thing who rages and whines about inflicting pain and suffering onto others. You want to do this so that you can enjoy your comforts and privileges. You need to do this because how would you know you are enjoying comforts and privileges unless others are suffering?

When you get called out on your racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and racism, you rage. You rage against the radical liberals who are merely pointing out your evil shadow. But, you don’t want to see the evil inside of you. So you build a wall. It’s a really tall wall that is made from the seething anger and rage boiling inside of you. If anyone gets too near, it burns like a living fire.

‘God damn it!’ if anyone is going to penetrate you inner wall and see that howling, wounded, frighten, greedy thing that lives inside of you.

That thing…. that scoundrel, that fiend, rascal, rogue, fraudster, trickster, beast, son of a bitch, deviant thing, loser, weirdo, cry baby, stupid brutal bastard, and bully. But guess what? So am I, and so is everyone else you know. We all have this evil thing living inside of us.

It never goes away. It bubbles and boils and burns inside us all. It pursues and terrorizes us in our dreams. Lin says, “A dream is when a wish and fear come together. A nightmare is when they are the same thing.”

Remaining ignorant of your evil being merely locks it inside of you where it is hidden behind the carefully constructed idea of yourself (your persona: the role you play in your community and for your family). It is your personal internal prison cell behind the giant wall that you built to conceal your evil being. You built the wall so well, most of the time you can’t even see your evil being locked inside your mental prison cell with you.

This thing inside of you is relentless and torments you night and day. In an act of utter desperation, you spew it out onto others and shout in a voice dripping with rage and fury:

“There! There is the boogeyman!

There is the Devil!

There is the Evil Thing that must be annihilated!”

Or, if the other person (the boogeyman) was once part of your exclusive club of people who know the Truth and what is really going on, you might shout:

“Hang Mike Pence!!”


In a world where Putin calls the people of Ukraine Nazis. Never mind he is the one acting like the Nazi. He is the one full of hate. He is the one who has driven out close to a million Russian men because they don’t want to fight in his barbaric, poorly equipped, and pretty bad army. He is losing. So he resorts to lies and double downs on stupid while waging his limp, impotent Nuclear Weiner.

Do not be fooled by Putin’s weak, victim-based, impotent hysterics! He is exactly the type of man who would push the button.


In a world where Iran’s Moral Police beat up and kill young women simply for wearing their hijab too loosely. But it is themselves they are really policing. They are afraid that if they see a single strand of hair sticking out from a hijab, their Limp Weak Weiner will grow. And if this happens, they are afraid they’ll lose control and turn into the Devils they know themselves to really be deep, deep down inside. This corrupt and bankrupt regime has already killed 272 young people and beaten and/or tortured 1,110 others.

In each world outlined above, each man’s rigid, inflexible thinking and bullshit is camouflage for the shitty little men they really are. They lust after power and cluster together helping each other hold onto power and control in their stinking palaces riddled with long, long corridors of terror.

Maps of Hate

This is what the corruption is and this is what it does to human beings. It is a kind of moral bankruptcy. It takes root inside individuals who find each other and clump together in groups that try to take control in order to enforce their style and way of thinking. If they do get control, they quickly create systems that exclude diversity and impose their way of doing things in brutal ways meant to terrorize everyone else into compliance. When a government becomes populated by such individuals, it turns into a structural system of terror bent on brutalizing anyone who is not exactly like them.

There are three main mappable categories of this deadly psychic virus: Dictators, Terror Groups, and Hate Groups. But the corruption lives inside everyone and is readily expressed in every day transactions. You see it in families, in workplaces, in schools, between friends and lovers. It thrives in ignorance and lack of self-awareness. It particularly loves to reside inside narcissists!

Dictators of the World

Current World Dictators
This is a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the world's current dictators and authoritarian regimes. In 2022, there are 57 dictatorships in the world. We define a dictator as the ruler of a land rated “Not Free” by the Freedom House in their annual survey of freedom. See the interactive map and photos below or click to visit the current dictators category.

Of course, the dictators of the world will point to all the yellow areas of this map and claim, “There! There is the evil capitalists who are draining the world of resources and polluting our planet!

They are not entirely wrong, expect they think in black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. They split the world into opposite halves. Then, they step inside the Good Bubble, created entirely inside their mind and spew out their pent-up boiling hate, vengeance, and destructive tendencies on everyone else. They never take responsibility for themselves. They are the consummate victim, and always the hero in their narcissistic story. And so, it is in this way that we (the human race) will split the planet into two unreconcilable halves and all die together in a seething puddle of hate.


Terror Groups

One step behind dictators and authoritarian rulers of the world are terror groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS, and Taliban (which actually managed to retake control of Afghanistan bumping them back up to the dictator map above). The map below shows terror groups around the world and provides a list of largest terrorist groups worldwide.

These are groups of people who twist words and religions to bolster their brutal causes. They are mostly stateless centers of terror who are trying to grab some land and people who they can crush and ruin.

2021 Global Terrorism Index
Overall Terrorism Index Score: GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators: incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage. To measure the impact of terrorism, a five year weighted average is applied.

Hate Groups

One step behind terror groups are hate groups. Rather than centering their brutal activities in one spot or country, hate groups operate like a distributed network that hock, sell, and propagate hate. It is easier than ever to breed hate with the advent of the Internet and people who live their lives online.

Hate groups traffick outrage and outlandish accusations designed to divide the world into Us and Them, into people you can trust and people you can’t trust. Hate groups are insidious and invade peoples minds like a drug. Once you become addicted to hate, it is an addiction that is harder to kick than heroin. It is a poison to your mind that is more destructive than Meth. Hate literally changes the neural pathways of your brain.

The following images are from Jigsaw, an incredible website that helps you visualize hate.

Red Pilling: Signalling allegiance to a group or ideology often becomes an all-consuming project for extremists. Even once an extremist has been formally admitted into a group or online forum of extremists, formers described the need to prove themselves as “down for the cause” or “white enough” by committing more and more time and energy. This performance of dedication often escalates in a competitive fashion, resulting in hate speech and violence.
Red Pilling: The rise of informal white supremacist communities online over the last 20 years has made it easier to find, join, and become radicalized into white supremacist groups. Whereas groups in the past might have recruited at white power rock shows or amenable bars, online radicalization no longer requires this investment of in-person time and physical vetting. Today a person can spend hours online moving through increasingly radical content and discussion forums. The immersive nature of these online forums and communities can create a “new normal” that contradicts offline social norms28. This also means younger children and teens, who could not be recruited at bars or white power concerts in the past, can more easily join white supremacist groups at impressionable ages. One former interviewed had entered a white supremacist forum at age 13 and, drawn to the provocative memes and secretive chat forums, had adopted national socialist beliefs by 15. By 18, he was part of a neo-Nazi terrorist organization proscribed in the UK.
Formal and informal extremist groups often coexist online, playing complementary roles
White supremacy is a globally networked movement

Another excellent mapping project is the Hate-Map using real time data of hate events to create a map that shows hotspots and how hate is growing worldwide.

Interactive Hate Map | You need to go to the site embedded in the Hate Map, but as you zoom into an area, the number of incidences increases in the the places that appear white in the map above this one.
The Hate Map is populated with data submitted both by our internal researchers, the public and our network of volunteers. This data largely stems from publicly available news-sources and consolidations of information from other public data-sets and records. Existing records are however often limited in scope and fail to give a comprehensive picture of the global activities of the far right ranging from spread of propaganda and low-level activities through major terrorist incidents.
All data in the Hate Map is verified and quality controlled by internal researchers who are experts on far right extremism and experienced in the field of open source intelligence (OSINT) building on public sources and providing verifiable documentation before it is made available in our public-facing database and dashboard. Our researchers take great care to verify sources where there might exist any doubt. Links to external sources are provided for all our database entries in order to ensure that the public further can verify any incident independently.
Our dataset is cross referenced against the work of other institutions and organizations mapping the far right in order to ensure as comprehensive a picture of the global situation of the far right as possible, in keeping with the highest academic standards.
The Hate Map is a living document and both recent and historic events are added and verified on a daily basis. -- The Hate-Map

The Playbook

Regardless of if you are a dictator; an authoritarian ruler; a leader or member of a terror group; a leader or member of a hate group; a narcissistic boss, sibling, friend, or parent, you play from the same dirty handbook. That book repeats one mantra over and over, which is to inflict as much pain, terror, and suffering on your enemy (which is anyone who does not agree with you) while constantly claiming to be the victim. And if you can’t win that way, then you have the right to destroy everything.

This attitude, belief system, behavior is all a big cover up of who you really are. It is a smoke screen and distraction because deep, deep down inside yourself you feel inferior, impotent, dithering, confused, frighten, and like a limp Weiner. That’s why you run around the world hurting everyone else. If you can’t have it your way, then you want to be the first to destroy it!

Looking at these map, it is pretty clear we are not doing very well as species. No wonder we are not paying attention to Climate Change. Perhaps we won’t need to after all. The way things are going we will blow ourselves up before nature cleans us off the surface of the planet with climate disasters that are only getting bigger and more deadlier by the year… and this trend is only going bigger and badder not the other way.

Perhaps we all better stop, take a deep breathe, and listen to the Whale Songs again. The ones Vermont biologist Roger Payne captured and brought to us in the 1970s!

Songs Of The Humpback Whale – by Dr. Roger Payne
Gordon Snyder; 494 subscribers

Yetzer Harah

I realized this thing Lin said in the second episode of Shantaram is part of the puzzle of the Yetzer Harah.

I first heard about the Yetzer Harah while listening to Alan Watts lectures who describes it like this:

So, in Hebrew theology incidentally. That there is a thing called the yetzer harah. And in the beginning of time when God created Adam he implanted in him the yetzer hara and the yetzer hara means that wayward spirit. He put something funny in man so that man would be a little odd and it was a result of the yetzer hara that Adam was tempted by Eve who was tempted by the serpent to eat that famous fruit. And, but the Hebrew believes that everything that God created is good. Including the Yetzer Hara. Because if it hadn’t been for the yetzer hara, there would have nothing ever happened. Everybody would have obeyed God and God would have said well this is kind of a bore. 

Now that you see, you can’t you can’t just get up to someone and say disobey me, because if they do there are varying you. See that’s a double bind. Say to somebody disobey me but God is much more subtle than that. He didn’t tell Adam to disobey he told him to obey. 

But suddenly he put this yetzer hara thing in like that so that, God would say well I’m not responsible. For this thing’s going to happen on its own because what everybody wants is something to happen on its own. And everybody wants that. 

Because you see, this sensation of being you. This curious lonely center of awkward sensitivity, subject to the most peculiar feelings and pains and anxieties and all that sort of thing all that. Is an essential prerequisite for feeling something else. These two experiences go together. -- 2.4.9 Way Beyond Seeking Part 2; Alan Watts Organization

In short, the Yetzer Harah is why we do evil things, why we fear people we don’t know, why we wage wars, why we cheat each other… pretty much why we are living in the mess we made of the world today.

Shantaram tells the story of how Lin made a mess of his life (surely guided by his inner Yetzer Harah that tempted him into making a lot of bad choices that landed him in prison). Then, Lin makes a courageous choice, escapes from prison, and gets a second chance to live his life, which he is messing up again–gosh darn it!

I’m only on episode 2…so Lin is probably going to embark on different mistakes. And I bet he is going to grow from these mistakes because Lin demonstrates the capacity to reflect on his new situation and past mistakes, which pushing open the door of the prison cell inside your head, just a little bit, but if you look…there is vast and beautiful field of wisdom beyond your prison cell behind your wall of ignorance.

Is wisdom perhaps the reason God implanted the Yetzer Harah into man at the very beginning?

I suppose we will never know because clearly we are going to kill each other long before we can collectively learn how to embrace diversity and celebrate life in all its many facets and ways of being in the world.

Images For Archetypal Animations

Feature Archetypal Animation

Cucuy: The Boogeyman
Free Evil Fiend Art Prints and Artworks
Alice In Wonderland Clip Alice Falls Into a Rabbit Hole 2010 HD
Shop Alice Falling Down The Rabbit Hole Designs in Fabric
White rabbit runs and falls into a hole

Music: Down the Rabbit Hole: Emma Wallace [1] Rabbit Hole    2:02


Second Archetypal Animation

I was searching for exactly what Lin said to himself when he woke up the first morning in his friends tent in the Bombay slum. I could not find it, but I found a lot of other great quotes from Gregory David Roberts who is the author of Shantarm. So, I have sprinkled these in between the credits of where I found the images for this animation.

Shantaram TV Review

“Civilisation, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit.” 
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“Fear dries a man’s mouth, and hate strangles him. That’s why hate has no great literature: real fear and real hate have no words.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love; the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing; the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.” 
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.” 
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Charlie Hunnam And Shubham Saraf Tell Us About How The Spirit Of Chaos (And One Drunken Night) Fueled ‘Shantaram

“While I was chained to a wall and being tortured, I realized, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

“The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,’ he said. ‘It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men – it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone – the noblest man alive or the most wicked – has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

“It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

Charlie Hunnam Fell In Love With India While Working On ‘Shantaram’ But Also Fell Severely Ill!

“There’s a truth deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless, usually, in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world, but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know that truth is to share it, from heart to heart, just as Prabhakar told it to me, just as I’m telling it to you now.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

“Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram
Inde. Bombay ou Mumbai, il faut choisir son 

Music: Shantaram (Chapter Four)Various Artists [1] Aeternum    9:16 [2] Inner Fire – Yuriy from Russia Remix    9:15

Spirit of Emptiness | Chapter 6 — Tao Te Ching

The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.

It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Text From:

Microsoft Word – Tao Te Ching – trans. by J.H.. McDonald

Ancient Wisdom | Modern Images & Music

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Other Things to Wonder & Ponder

Throughline’s award winning episode on Afghanistan is well worth listening to and perfectly aligns with the sentiments of Chapter 6 of the Tao Te Ching.

Afghanistan: The Center of the World (2021)

Afghanistan: The Center of the World (2021)

Description: This episode was published days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and just weeks after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. It is the first part in Afghanistan: The Center of the World, our Peabody Award-winning series about Afghanistan, focused on the country and its people.

Afghanistan has, for centuries, been at the center of the world. Long before the U.S. invasion — before the U.S. was even a nation — countless civilizations intersected there, weaving together a colorful tapestry of foods, languages, ethnicities and visions of what Afghanistan was and could be. The story of Afghanistan is too often told from the perspective of outsiders who tried to invade it (and always failed) earning it the nickname “Graveyard of Empires.” In this episode, we’re shifting the perspective. We’ll journey through the centuries alongside Afghan mystical poets. We’ll turn the radio dial to hear songs of love and liberation. We’ll meet the queen who built the first primary school for girls in the country. And we’ll take a closer look at Afghanistan’s centuries-long experiment to create a unified nation.

Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban (2021)

Description: This episode was published days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and just weeks after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. It is the first part in Afghanistan: The Center of the World, our 2022 Peabody Award-winning series about Afghanistan, focused on the country and its people.

How did a small group of Islamic students go from local vigilantes to one of the most infamous and enigmatic forces in the world? The Taliban is a name that has haunted the American imagination since 2001. The scenes of the group’s brutality repeatedly played in the Western media, while true, perhaps obscure our ability to see the complex origins of the Taliban and how they impact the lives of Afghans. It’s a shadow that reaches across the vast ancient Afghan homeland, the reputation of the modern state, and throughout global politics. At the end of the US war in Afghanistan we go back to the end of the Soviet Occupation and the start of the Afghan civil war to look at the rise of the Taliban.


Images for Afghanistan Animation

As Trump doubles down on Afghanistan, Russians shake their heads — The US president’s decision to extend the war, reversing his campaign pledges to withdraw from it, stand in sharp contrast to the lessons that Mikhail Gorbachev and the USSR took from the conflict almost 30 years ago.

Music: A Gift of Love – Music Inspired by the Love Poems of Rumi | Deepak Chopra [1] Valetine To Rumi    0:57 [2] My Burning Heart    1:00

Treat all life and everyone with dignity, kindness, and respect. It is the only way we move forward.

Hate Arises… Rainbows Become…

Pride Parade in DC

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.

Into A Rainbow | Washington, DC Pride Parade 2022
10 views, Premiered Jun 13, 2022

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.

She says her son’s hateful ideology sickens her after he was arrested with alleged Patriot Front group. She tells Sara that: “He’s trading Compromise for Hate, and this is not how I raised my son.” (Click underline text to see interview with Sara Sidner).

Report About Who Patriot Front Is

What we know about Patriot Front and its origins
132,051 views, Jun 14, 2022
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

Black Lives Matter
111 views, Jun 8, 2020

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

Cacophony — The Beautiful Humans of Earth
127 views, Premiered Nov 14, 2020

A Call To All Humans Who Value Freedom and Democracy

Help Ukraine | Calling All People Who Value Freedom in the World
44 views, Premiered Feb 27, 2022

This Arises… That Becomes

I finally came to understand the idea of This Arises… That Becomes… from a lecture Alan Watts gave.

Alan Watts – Interdependent origination
3,739 views, May 1, 2015

Pratītyasamutpāda

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."[26] The term appears in the Vedas and Upanishads[note 2] in the sense of "confirmation, dependence, acknowledge origin".[27][28] 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".[28]

Samutpāda: "arising",[26] "rise, production, origin"[29] In Vedic literature, it means "spring up together, arise, come to pass, occur, effect, form, produce, originate".[30]

Pratītyasamutpāda has been translated into English as dependent originationdependent arisinginterdependent co-arisingconditioned arising, and conditioned genesis.[31][16][note 3]

Jeffrey Hopkins notes that terms synonymous to pratītyasamutpāda are apekṣhasamutpāda and prāpyasamutpāda.[37]
 -- Wiki
Photos from DC Pride Parade — June 11, 2022
The term may also refer to the twelve nidānasPalidvādasanidānāni, 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.
 -- Wiki
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.
 -- Wiki

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.[8][9] 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.[9][10][11][12][13][5]
 -- Wiki

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.

Let go and flow!

One Day | Yellowstone

One Day — Yellowstone
77 views, Jul 26, 2020

One Day Lyrics

Sometimes I lay under the moon
And thank God I’m breathin’
Then I pray, “Don’t take me soon
‘Cause I am here for a reason.”Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around becauseAll my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will playOne day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, ohIt’s not about win or lose, ’cause we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent
Blood-drenched pavement
Keep on movin’ though the waters stay ragin’In this maze
You can lose your way, your way
It might drive you crazy but
Don’t let it faze you, no way, no way!Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around becauseAll my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will playOne day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, ohOne day this all will change, treat people the same
Stop with the violence, down with the hate
One day we’ll all be free, and proud to be
Under the same sun, singin’ songs of freedom likeWhy-ohh! (One day, one day) why-oh, oh, oh!
Why-ohh! (One day, one day) why-oh, oh, oh!All my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will playOne day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, oh

— Lyrics from One Day by Matisyahu

Sources for Feature Image

War Destruction Despair Fear Helplessness Sorrow | Alexas_Fotos | Alexa  •  Steh über den Dingen/und finde DEINEN Weg  •  Member since Jan. 6, 2015  •  #25

Plant Sprout Dicotyledon Life Growing Seedling | lanailic | English  •  Member since Feb. 6, 2014

Rainbow Beautiful Devon Nature Sun Sunset Sky | PublicDomainPictures | English  •  Member since Dec. 11, 2010

Family Love Rainbow Boy Child Chromatic Colorful | GDJ | Gordon Johnson  •  USA  •  Member since June 3, 2015  •  #2

A Few Other Things

Deeper Into A Rainbow | Second Video of DC Pride Parade

Deeper Into A Rainbow | June 11, 2022
4 views, Premiered 29 minutes ago

Music: Hot Foot (Groovy, Groovy) — Chico Mann [as featured on iPhone!] and Roof Down — Daniel Health [as featured on iPhone, music for the soul!]

Series: Have You Been Outside Today?

Photos/Videos/Editing: Me

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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.

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For other blogs on being human, see:

What is Your Source of Energy – 5/2/22
Kindly Let Me Help You or You’ll Drown
Ukraine Letters | Four Letters to the World of Free Men and Women: Letter to the Ukrainian People; Letter to the Free World; Letter to Russian people; Letter to Americans

Walk Through Time | Gettysburg National Military Park

Walk Through Time | Gettysburg National Military Park | May 23, 2022

Music: Airtime — Justin Hori [as featured on iPhone, music that gets you moving!]

Series: Have You Been Outside Today?

Photos/videos/editing: Me

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

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!

There Was An Old Woman

There was an old woman who lived in a Speakeasy.

There Was An Old Woman Who Lived in a Speakeasy

She lived in a Speakeasy because she loved money so much she could cheat people all day and all night saying, “It’s so easy!

Cheating People is So Easy!

She cheated so many people out of so much money for so long she built a great big pile of money that she kept to herself as she smiled like an evil elf tittering all day and all night, “Hee Hee.”

“I killed Santa with my chainsaw!”

She loved this great big pile of money so exceedingly that it leaped to life one day and gobbled her up, whereupon it said, “Hmmmm, that was cheesy!

“Ahhhhh! The Money Monster!”

The End

Be sure to listen to the songs embedded in each of the moving animations above. Just click the sound icon to hear them. I am sure you’ll want to run out and get the song for the evil elf animation!


Postscript

Note: See Mark Wagner’s Wild Scenes Crafted from Currency, which are some the images used to create the last animation above.

Here is another great work of art created by Mark Wagner:

by Andy SmithPosted on December 8, 2018
Mark Wagner — Article by by Andy Smith says, “Wagner’s artwork is an entry point to a conversation extending far beyond the art world,” a statement says. “Decades dedicated to destroying banknotes has provided Wagner with a unique perspective on the nature of money. Modern man’s obsession with finance and our wistful attempts to tame it through economics belies money’s emotional, mercurial… even fictional nature. Wagner addresses these issues in writing, lecture, and interview as eloquently as he does through his artwork.”

Also see Tahiti and the Thing for more on how greed and self-absorption and can do terrible things to a person and everyone around them.

Tahiti and the Thing

Another facet playing into uncontrolled self-absorption and greed along with contributing to an uncontrollable evil willingness to destroy just about anyone and anything is narcissism. There is a reason why Trump chooses orange make up when he goes on camera.

I came across this great series of blogs as I was coming to grips with navigating the complexities of narcissism in my own family tree.

Defence Mechanisms –– This is a spectacular blog on defense mechanisms every human being depends on to navigate life’s complexities. The problem is when we get stuck on the lowest levels, then we are heading into pathological living patterns that don’t end well for anyone, especially the narcissist and their loved ones.

The Money Trap

Is there any way out of the money trap?


Alan Watts said once upon a time about there was an old woman and other matters relating to rampant capitalism and rugged individualism that tilts so far one way or the other that it becomes a pathological way of being in the world and relating to each other. He said:

George Herbert Mead where he called the conceptions that we have of ourselves the interiorized other in other words the sum total of all the things that people have told us we are because you do not know yourself as a self except in a society–just as you do not exist biologically without a father and a mother–you do not carry on an existence without a society.”

The reactions of other people to you provide you with the mirror in which you attain a realization of yourself you know who you are in terms of your relationships with others.”

So then now, uh, when we contemplate this disappearance of privacy and a completely integrated human society we can look at this from two different points of view pro and con.”

Let us first look at the pro point of view how great to have nothing to hide how great to give up all worries about ownership because you could say if somebody says that they would like something you have, and you say, “Please have it,” because you know very well you can go to someone else and say, “Could I have that?” and they’ll give it to you.” — Min 124:49

Alan Watts – You are EVERYTHING (Black Screen, No Music) [3.5 hours long]

Also, see this blog as another possible antidote to greed and the money trap:

Diamond Body and the Secrets of the Golden Flower

And, check out this blog about being in the world and how we create the world we live in each and every moment of every day:

How to Feel Better and Create a More Beautiful World

What Matters & Reality

Love matters reality just as lack of love matters reality.

What kind of reality do you want to experience today?

And remember, don’t be cheesy.

Reflections on Thoughts

Thoughts rise

Thoughts Rise

Like streaks of broken light

Like Streaks of Broken Light

Falling from the stems of freshly cut flowers

Falling from the Stems of Freshly Cut Flowers

Thoughts & Philosophy: The Philosophy of the I Ching

In the preface of the book, The Philosophy of the I Ching written by Carol K. Anthony, she describes how the I Ching addresses the limitations of only relying on one’s intellect (and the powerful ability of thinking) by saying the I Ching cautions the beginner that:

By limiting himself to his intellect, he will only see the surface and never experience the depths.”

Journal Drawing of this idea in The Philosophy of the I Ching by Carol K. Anthony

The depths referred to is the fullness of one’s inner Self (or as The OA says, the invisible self). This includes those parts of Self that are accepted by one’s Self, and thus exist in the conscious mind of Self. It also includes the parts of Self that are not accepted by one’s Self, and thus exist in the unconscious mind.

The unacceptable parts are often taught to us as being unacceptable early in life by parents, peers, teachers, and society at large. They tend to be the savage and most selfish parts of Self that must be tempered and controlled in order to live in a civil society, otherwise very bad things would indeed happen.

But when these parts of Self disappear underneath the demarcation line of consciousness and become unconscious, this is dangerous too. Indeed, this is the most dangerous thing that could happen to a conscious living being because we loose the ability to maintain balance and cannot navigate the challenges in life due to our inner lopsidedness.

Very often this occurs when we mistake the Mask of Self for who we really are. But it is not who we really are. It is only the most outer shell of who we really are. Essentially, it is the outer most crust of our Sphere of Consciousness–that mysterious thing that illuminates the world inside and out and gives us the feeling that We Know Who We Are.

This outermost crust is actually the smallest part of who we really are, and it is the most fragmented part of ourSelf. It is the part of ourSelf painstakingly assembled based on all the things we have been told to be or not to be by others. Most of these things are distortions of who we really are because the very same thing has happened to the people who are telling us to be this or that or the other thing.

This is the Story of Separation and Polarization. It begins inside one’s Self when the Mask of Self separates from the parts of Self that have been thrust deep into one’s unconsciousness. In the depths our unconsciousness, the lost and abandon parts of Self go to work making the rip between the Mask of Self and the Rest of Self into a rift that grows into divide that transforms into a chasm that mutates into a terrifying and endless abyss.

The more we insist on believing we are only the good parts of ourSelves, which essentially is the Mask of Self that we projected to others for the benefit of society, the more neurotic and unstable we become. This is because the bad parts (along with all the undiscovered parts) haven’t gone anywhere. They are still very much there in our psyche. They have simply been rendered invisible because they are forced to exist in another dimension–the unconscious mind. And they very much want a seat at the Table of Self, just like the good parts have (or more accurately, the accepted parts of Self that we have pounded into our Mask of Self that can include bad things we have been told by others that we are and we believe them).

If the unconscious parts of Self are denied a seat at the Table of Self, they get projected outside of the Self. Suddenly, the evil that one refuses to see inside of oneSelf surrounds the Self. But, this is only you fooling yourSelf, as Alan Watts liked to say. And, Carl Jung called this man’s greatest evil, which is when man’s unconsciousness is projected onto others because he/she cannot bare to see all of who he/she really is.

The I Ching consoles the very same wisdom for this is a book about self-development and cultivating wisdom in one’s inner garden of consciousness. This can only be done by finding the hidden parts inside of ourSelves, especially the parts that have become buried in the unconscious mind. Of course, many good qualities of Self are buried there too. These are parts of ourSelf we have not found yet because we have not grown our inner light of consciousness bright enough and big enough to see them. And, so they remain unconscious too.

Time and time again, we find out eventually that both good and bad qualities are needed to feel successful, and even more important, they are needed to provide a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Without doing the inner work necessary to grow our individual field of consciousness, these treasures inside of oneSelf remain hidden and out of our grasp.


Summary of the Book: The Philosophy of the I Ching by Carol Anthony

Chapter 1: This book presents the cosmological background of the I Ching and its many concepts. It describes the Tao, the binary system of numbers that forms the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, the Sage who speaks through it, the I Ching view of existence, and the hidden Cosmic order that underlies all apparent chaos. Thus rather than: 'In the beginning there was chaos,' one sees that 'In the beginning there was order.' Chapter 2: describes what in the I Ching is called the 'superior man' or 'noble Self' as the unconditioned true self; the 'inferior man' is seen as the socially constructed self-image, or ego. The 'superiors' or 'helpers' described by the I Ching are revealed as inherent character-traits, such as natural modesty, natural kindness, and the capacity for patience and perseverance. The 'inferiors' are discussed as aspects of the bodily self that speak, as when they say, 'I am hungry, I am tired.' Also discussed are the many references in the I Ching text to cultivating the true self and that imply self-development to be necessary if we are to learn how to harmonize ourselves with the way the Cosmos works.// Chapters 3 and 4: discuss the anonymous wise Sage who speaks through the I Ching, and the attitudes that are important on the part of the I Ching student if he is to gain the Sage's help.// Chapters 5, 6, and 7: describe the process of self-cultivation undertaken when we accept the Sage as our teacher. It describes how the Sage teaches us mostly in real-life learning situations, so that what is perceived in the head is transmitted to the heart as wisdom. It also describes many important I Ching principles, such as coming-to-meet-halfway, and working through the power of Inner Truth.// Chapters 8 and 9: describe the more technical aspects of the I Ching within the context of its historical development: the development of the lines, trigrams, and hexagrams. It also describes its traditional methods of use, but gives an entirely new method discovered by the author that enables the student to understand its messages very precisely. 

  -- Description on Amazon about Carol Anthony's book

Thoughts & Time: This Too Shall Pass

In Buddhism, the Master and the Student strive to maintain balance in every situation encountered in life. While some situations that occur appear to be beneficial to one’s Self and considered Good Luck, if not extremely advantageous to one’s wellbeing and fortunes, other situations in life can seem harmful, injurious, and hurtful to one’s best interests and wellbeing. These are perceived as Bad Luck, if not down right evil. All experiences, regardless of how we feel about them or perceive them, help us grow as conscious beings, if we allow them to penetrate into deeper levels of ourselves and darker realms of consciousness.

In every situation encountered in life, we are always free to choose our actions. We are also free to choose how we express our feelings and emotions about these situations. Our ability to navigate the turbulence of our inner and outer world of experiences grows throughout our life, especially when we tune into our inner world rather than just reacting to the outer world.

Constantly reacting and defending one’s Self against perceived threats, adversity, and maleficent dangers is exhausting. This is because if all one’s psychic energy is constantly being poured into building walls against outer reality in order to defend a fractured sense of who we are, then we have less energy to live in the present moment, to be happy, to be successful, and to treasure family, friends, and life. This is truly the greatest treasure one can cultivated in life. To cherish and nurture time with others who can share the beauty and splendor of this beautiful world and who will stand by you when your fortunes turn in life as they always do.

People who have chosen to pursue fame, money, or power are really the most impoverished people you will ever met in life. This is because they have to sacrifice their time and attention to being first, to having more than others, to controlling everything around them, which they can never do but their inferiors keep trying. The karma for this foolishness is alienation from other human beings, including friends and family. These individuals are truly alone in this world with no one to share the good times with and no one who will stand by them when their fortunes turn the other way.

To understand the tremendous fullness of reality, which we all must share, means empathizing with another’s person perspective. It also means using one’s powerful intellect to ask questions about one’s own beliefs, opinions, and perceptions. We must do this in order to see and understand why another person might perceive a situation differently. This is important because no one exists exclusively in a bubble. Everything in this world, indeed the universe, has arisen mutually. Because of this, to understand the whole of reality, every person’s perspective, experience, and view point must be included. Not only that, all of life must be included and given a voice at the Table of Being–this includes animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and even rocks. This is not my wisdom. This has been known and understood for centuries by many peoples. And it is documented in the oldest book known to belong to humanity: The I Ching.

Perhaps this story may illuminate this ancient wisdom a little more concretely. It is a famous Zen-Buddhist story: 

To read the story, click on: Good Luck! Bad Luck! Who Knows?!

Thoughts & Character: The Importance of Self-Development

The I Ching was create to provide console to those who seek its wisdom and guidance during times of life experienced as times of elevation (e.g., elation, good times, good luck) as well as during time of life experienced as time of decline (e.g., misery, bad times, bad luck).

As one develops, one often comes to understand that we have no control over these cycles, although our ego (and what Carol Anthony says the I Ching refers to as our inferiors) will insist otherwise. They will kick, scream and have a melt down railing against fate, circumstances, reality. But all this will be for not because these cycles cannot be controlled by sheer concentrated of power of will or muscle force or any perceived power of the ego.

We can only find peace inside when we learn to put aside our feeling of frustration and fear that we will be destroyed by forces of evil or chaos perceived surrounding us. Most of the time, this is a false perception of reality cause by inner disharmony and separation.

But take comfort, for it is precisely when we feel like it is the darkest hour that the cycle of yin and yang swings the other way; when he vexing thing begins to fade away as a new cycle begins, a new reality gets underway.  

Everything we experience in life is impermanent and transitory–it comes and goes like waves on a beach.  Nothing stays the same. For if it does, it is undergoing a transformation of passing into something else (otherwise known as dying).

During times of decline, which is when one is likely to feel high degrees of fear, frustration, and extreme agitation, it is consoled by the I Ching to use this time on self-development (e.g., the I Ching hexagram 53 | Self-Development | Gradual process). This hexagram specifically refers to self-development, but all the hexagrams teach about developing one’s inner self and learning more about one’s inner world.

To learn more about one’s inner reality, the I Ching provides consoles through many hexagons of the importance of taking care of yourself, of practicing patience, of listening to others and their needs, and of listening to what is rising inside of you, especially from your inner Sage.

Most interestingly, it is precisely during times of decline (when things are not going our way) when we have the greatest opportunities to learn the most about ourSelf. This is because we have more time to explore hidden inner landscapes–that is, the parts of ourselves we have not yet discovered or uncovered.

During times of elevation, we often must focus our conscious attention in the outside world. Thus, we do not have as much time or energy to see inside, unless of course, we have previously completed the inner work needed to illuminate more of our inner world.

If we are able to change our inner attitude during times of decline from that of it being “a punishment” to an opportunity, then we unleash inner abilities such as forbearance, patience, and mildness that allow us to flow with adversity better.

Even the most horrible times come to an end.

Think of the hundreds and thousands of Afghan civilizations now trapped under the control of the brutal and barbaric Taliban. This is a truly terrifying reality for hundreds, even thousands, of people now living under Taliban rule–many may well end up dead. It may seem in our modern Western world that we face the same adversity (e.g., mask mandates or vaccine mandates). But this is a distortion of reality.

When we do not use our abilities to flow with reality as it comes to us, and rather choose to fall back into our inner fortresses of beliefs, opinions, convictions, and credences, we force the flow of reality to bend around our inner ramparts constructed long ago to defend us from all the cruel evil perceived surrounding us. Most of the time, these attitudes, opinions, and belief have become very rigid and worn out due to over use. Reliance on such rigid inner structures quickly turns into a heavy, heavy weight that we end up carrying around with us for the simple reason that we refuse to let go of them and put them.

Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves because of our circumstances, think of other people who are undergoing even greater struggles. This might just open a secret door inside of yourSelf that allows your consciousness to illuminate parts of yourSelf remaining hidden from view. You need these parts of yourself to navigate the storms life inevitably throws your way. Such inner work not only grows empathy for others but for oneSelf.

And aren’t you worth it?!

Thoughts & Now: The Importance of Suspending the Constant Barrage of Thoughts from Time to Time

I make videos documenting just some of the beautiful moments in life happening all the time. Moments I forget to notice because I get stuck in the steady train of thoughts that constantly worry about this, think about that, consider the other thing I forgot to do yesterday or need to do tomorrow or did and made a fool of myself. This is a neurotic way of being in the world and we have been taught to do it since childhood. It is hard to give up and just be here / now.

I have found a few strategies that help me root my attention in the present moment. Photo journeys are one way that works for me to switch off my spot light consciousness and tune into my flood light consciousness, as Alan Watts talks about in so many of his seminars.


Ways of Connecting to Now Through Photojournalism

It’s the little moments that count the most!

Music: Hard To Say Goodbye – Washed Out [as featured on iPhone — music that heals the soul!]  Series: Have You Been Outside Today? and Doggie Tails & Trails: Hunting for Beauty Every Day 


Music: Divide – Dualist Inquiry [as featured on Apple iPhone 7 — music that heals the soul!] Series: Have You Been Outside Today?


Journey Through Time — Age of Man

Music: Dreamer — Brian Reitzell [as featured on iPhone — music that heals the soul!] Series: Art Yoyages Photos/Videos: Me

Ways of Connection to Now through Blogging

Blogs related to nature, being alive, and cultivating one’s inner sphere of consciousness include: 

 * Part 1: The Storytelling Species: Makers & Players of Reality – 1/6/21 (79 hits)

Storytelling Species

 * Part 2: The Story of How We Created the Sea of Misery & Misfortune – 1/18/21 (35 hits)

Sea of Misery & Misfortune

 * Part 3: Story of the Death of a Father – 2/12/21 

Death of the Father

Part 4: Collective Storytelling: The Stories We Tell Become the Myths We Live – March 31, 2021

The Stories and Myths We Live

 * Part 5: Collective Storytelling: Who Is Q & What The Heck Is the Plandemic and Anti-Vaxxers All About?!! – April 12, 2021 

Who is Q

 * Part 6: Individual Storytelling | The Magic Ingredient – April 24, 2021

The Magic Ingredient | Individual Storytelling

 * Sisyphus | The Living Myth of Now – May 12, 2021

Sisyphus | The Living Myth of Now

 * Trolls! – May 17, 2021

Trolls

 * It Feeds on Fear and Sadness – 6/17/19 (1168 hits)

It Feeds on Fear & Sadness

What will you do with your plot of consciousness today? More importantly, what will your unconsciousness do with you today?

That’s all I have… it’s not much… but enough for this moment.

Synchronize

Blood & Bringing Into Being a Kinder, Better World

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.

Bloody Feeling — Stories about the Power of Blood | This American Life

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 2 is 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 4 is about fibroids and a uterus that gets turned into a play titled: There’s No ‘Us’ in Uterus. Oh, Wait…

Act 5 is 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.

What to Know About the Trial of Derek Chauvin | NYT: Last Updated April 16, 2021, 12:31 p.m. ET

Police fatally shoot man, 20, in suburban Minneapolis, sparking protests | Washington Post: April 12, 2021 at 3:52 a.m. EDT

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.

The Old Brookdale Mall that used to be in Brooklyn Center, MN — Where Your Dreams Could Come Ture

From the Strib’s archives: A trip back in time to Brookdale | StarTribune:  MARCH 13, 2015 — 7:49AM


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

How Policing Works in the Suburbs | 1A | WAMU

Image from 1A (WAMU) | A woman holds up a portrait of George Floyd as people gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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:

From 1A | WAMU | April 19, 2021

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 happen disproportionately 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.


Chicago Police Killing of Adam Toledo Brings Police Violence Against Latinos Back in Focus | The Takeaway | WNYCStudios |

Image from The Takeaway | WNYCStudios | April 19, 2021

Description of this story: What happened to the 13-year-old at the hands of police draws national reaction after police release footage showing Toledo had his hands up before he was gunned down.


Throughline: Policing in America

Image I made for Throughline’s Powerful Podcast on Policing in America
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.

Ayanna Pressley Reintroduces Bill To Address Disproportionate Punishment Of Black Girls In Schools

Image from Here and Now | WBUR | April 19, 2021 — Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

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.

This segment aired on April 19, 2021.


State Rep. John Thompson Pushes For Police Reform In Minnesota

Image from Here and Now | WBUR | State Rep. John Thompson Pushes For Police Reform In Minnesota | April 19, 2021

Description: Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson was an activist who joined the legislature in 2020 hoping to be more effective in the push for police reform and accountability.

He reflects on how impactful it’s been so far and how his community is grappling with this moment.

This segment aired on April 19, 2021.


The Future of Policing in America | The Takeaway | Series of Five Stories

Images from The Takeaway series on Policing in America

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

PBS NewsHour full episode, Apr. 20, 2021 | Derek Chauvin Guilty on All Counts

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.


Black Lives Matter | Filmed June 2020 on Black Lives Plaza in Washington, DC

Today Was A Moonwalk Day | April 20, 2021 | I shot these pictures just before the verdict was announced in the trial for justice for George Floyd today. This is dedicated to George Floyd and his family and loved ones.

Mother of Grief — Remembering 2020 | Excerpt about the Impact of Coronavirus and Racism in America | Mother of Grief video is a journey through art and music remembering some of the events that reshaped our shared reality over the past year spanning roughly Feb. 2020 to Feb. 2021.

In this excerpt, the base video credits go to The Power of Street Art Under COVID (aired on PBS 7/7/20) — https://www.pbs.org/video/the-power-of-street-art-under-covid-tg7su0/ Photos from the Black Lives Matter march were taken by me during a march in Washington, DC in June 2020 seeking justice for George Floyd and so many more black and brown people killed by police in the United States.

This clips ends with a little girl dancing on the Black Lives Matter mural painted on the WDC street leading to the White House with a street musician singing justice, justice. Yesterday, George Floyd’s family got justice with guilty verdicts handed down to the police officer who murder him on May 25, 2020.

To read more about the full length video (Mother of Grief — Remembering 2020), go to: https://www.sapience2112.com/2021/03/20/mother-of-grief-remembering-2020/

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.

Honor Culture

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?


April Sometimes Brings More Than Showers

A Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2021 — The shootings never stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, they just became less public, researchers say. | The New York Times — April 16, 2021

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.

To see more of the dreadful events that occurred during this week, see the article by AFRO: April 14 to April 20: An Historically Bad ‘Week That Was’ (4/19/13)


In the Aftermath of Violence & Disasters

Regardless of the type of violence or disaster, the aftermath is trauma, which leaves deep, lasting scars on the inside of people.

Grieving Parents Share Pain of Losing Daughter in Mass Shooting | WYC Studios | April 19, 2021

Image from The Takeaway | WNYCStudios | April 19, 2021

Description of story: Sandy and Lonnie Phillips lost their daughter Jessica Redfield Ghawi during the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado


How Gun Violence Affects American Children | 1A | WAMU | April 14, 2021

Playground Image from 1A (WAMU) | How Gun Violence Affects American Children | April 14, 2021 | John Woodrow Cox’s new book is “Children Under Fire: An American Crisis.”Scott Olson/Getty Images

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.


Healing After Chauvin Murder Conviction: Is It Possible? | Here and Now | WBUR | April 21, 2021

Image of London Williams bursting into tears on April 20, 2021, in Washington, after hearing that former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd from Here & Now (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) | Other Photos I took or from NPR podcast series on White Lies

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 manslaughteris 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.

Gaslight (1944) – You Think I’m Insane Scene (5/8) | Movieclips | “You Think I’m Insane“: After becoming hysterical at a friend’s house Paula (Ingrid Bergman), Gregory (Charles Boyer) shares his frustrations with her.

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:

Mother of Grief — What We Loss in 2020

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?

Spirit Blood

Alongside Our Red Blood Cells is Another Kind of Blood — Consciousness — It Allows Us to Synthesize & Decide How To Use It

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.

Father | Celestial Tendencies

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.

From Ali Raza Saleem | The Productive Muslim Company

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 living work 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.

Inner Sage — Spirit Blood — Nourish Your Beingness in the World