This is part 2 of the blog series: The Marvelization of Man
I began this series talking about Marvel’s reboot of Morbius who is a character created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. Morbius is a “Living Vampire.”
As a child, Morbius suffers from a disease that cripples him and makes him frail and weak. There are others like him; all will die young. But young Morbius is a smart kid and becomes a doctor. He finds a cure for his illness. And you guessed it, the cure comes from the genes of vampire bats.
Marvel hoped for another BIG blockbuster after the smashing hit of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). This movie earned $1.1915 billion US dollars. Morbius debuts in 2022 with a production budget of $75 million dollars but it only earns $163 million worldwide, with only $74 million dollars earned domestically, as reported by Forbes.
In short, Morbius was a great disappointment both financially and critically. Many critics said the plot was not well-structured.
While this may be true, I think Marvel also missed the mark of what Morbius’ character embodies. All movie character are symbols. This is why we like them. They remind of us of ourselves in some deep fundamental, eternal, and mysterious way.
Magic of Symbols in Storytelling
Marvel, and every other marvelous entertainment universe, draws on these symbols each time they tell us a story. The stories we watch today are not that much different than the stories the ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed.
Indeed, the stories arcs are virtually identical in nature, scope, and meaning. Stories such as Prometheus and the Stolen Fire, Orpheus and Sisyphus, or Echo and Narcissus have just as much relevance to 21st Century humans as they did for ancient Greeks and Romans. These types of stories crystalize unique aspects of what it means to be human. They harness and embody specific patterns of human behavior that we all recognize and can relate to. They center such patterns in specific characters who become the hero, ruler, everybody’s man, trickster, femme fatale, tragic hero, warrior, sage, knight-errant, and many more patterns of behavior we all relate to or have experienced.
These patterns of human behavior have been well observed and commented on since ancient times. Plato called these recognizable patterns of human behavior Forms. His philosophies on Forms create the foundation of Modern Western philosophy. What he meant by Forms is that there are pre-existing ideals or templates all humans access and use to navigate life as a conscious being.
Carl Jung dedicated his life to understanding the secret life of the human mind and called these often unconscious patterns of behavior primordial images or archetypes.
Archetypes are everywhere and influence more than 99% of human behavior. Most of us remain unaware of the energizing patterns that influence our lives in a myriad of ways every day. Archetypes inspire us, guide us, possess us, rule us, and live through us every day.
This is why our favorite movies and stories depend on characters who are possessed by and living out a powerful archetype. Pamela Buckle Henning writes for writers and actors of the stage:
Archetypal patterns are an unintended, unconscious presence in human life. Archetypes are primordial patterns that operate within the psyche of every individual. They also operate within groups of people. When people gather together for any purpose, they can become unwittingly entrained in archetypal dramas. -- STAGES, SKILLS, AND STEPS OF ARCHETYPAL
PATTERN ANALYSIS by Pamela Buckle Henning
Bottom line, archetypes are fundamental to telling a powerful story, one that lots of people will want to see and pay to go see. The most powerful stories have characters, both good and bad, who speak to and meet our collective unconscious. Characters and stories that get at and illuminate something that everyone feels but can’t seem to put their finger on or name.
Vampires Are Archetype of Narcs
As a vampire, Morbius embodies the narcissistic archetype.
The myth of Echo and Narcissus warns about the danger of narcissism as the beautiful wood nymph Echo falls in love with the young and very handsome human man Narcissus who sadly loves himself more than anybody or anything else. This causes Echo to disappear becoming a tree in her forest while Narcissus stares at himself in pond. He stares so long, he becomes a tree rooted to the bank.
There are other many other aspects of the narcissist archetype, but the most recognizable one is that these are people obsessed with their own self-importance and status. In Jungian terms, these are people possessed by and fascinated with all the negative aspects of the ruler archetype.
Narcissists personify the negative aspects of the ruler archetype in that they desire power and control, see themselves as fit and entitled to rule and see others as inferior subjects. They fear losing their power and use multiple strategies to maintain it. -- Narcissism and Archetypes - Children of Narcissists
These are fearful rulers who are afraid of being overthrown. Their paranoia grows so intense and overbearing that it corrupts and cripples all good qualities and instincts they would otherwise possess. This corruption essential rips the wholeness of their psyche, leaving a gap for the shadow to jump in.
According to Jung’s interpretation of the Shadow Archetype, the shadow contains all the sex and life instincts. It is created as the conscious mind grows in relation to its culture where conscious survival compels an individual to repress ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings in an effort to adapt and conform to cultural norms and expectations.
It is this side of a fearful ruler’s mind that takes over filling him with every negative, shadowy, repressed idea, instinct, or impulse he has ever had. Suddenly, this feeble, frighten man is transformed into a monster and becomes a Ruthless Ruler.
Narcissists descend to dark interior places inside themselves. In the darkness of their own Shadow, they lose the ability to regulate and balance their own emotions, even to power their own psyche (ability to think and focus). They have essentially split themselves in half and can no longer self-regulate. They feel constantly empty and void inside, which feeds their fear and widens the gap between their Good Self and their Bad Self.
Soon they must pick a side. It does not matter which side they choose. They have split themselves into two opposing parts, which leaves them psychically starving. The food they crave is attention. This is energy for the psyche, and a starving psyche will do anything to get it, which sets them off on their ruthless pursuit to control everyone and everything.
The best supply of psychic energy for a Narc is watching or causing another person’s pain. To a Narcissist, watching someone suffer is like a vampire feeding on another person’s blood to survive. For Narcs, human pain and suffering is psychic blood.
Back in the 70s when Morbius was created, he was an appropriate evolution of the original Dracula imagined by Irish author Bram Stoker back in 1897 who then captured the evolution of corrupted, evil ruler archetype for his time.
The 1970s was a time of unabashed proliferation of narcissism. No longer did a person need to be rich and famous to be a Narc, but now you could be poor and weak, a common man or ordinary woman. Narcissism invaded American society with a vengeance, partly due to unregulated capitalism. In fact, being a Narc was good for business.
So, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane captured the changing psychological landscape that everyone was encountering in the 70s with Morbius, who was a conflicted vampire. He wanted to do the right thing, but his vampire mind proves more powerful than his human mind, which is very much like a narcissistic mind craving attention, power, glory.
The superhero-villain was a very compelling archetype then and remains one now. It plays off the idea that it takes a monster to destroy a monster.
Narcissism: Humans Who Feed on Other Human’s Pain
Narcissists must feed on another human being’s pain and trauma to live. Narcissists are hollowed out human beings with extremely weak psychological coping abilities. In fact, they really don’t have them at all, at least not the healthy kind. Because of this, they are very emotionally damaged human beings.
They manage their inner pain and inner hell by making other people feel the pain and suffering they are too afraid to feel inside themselves. So they project their pain, their suffering, and their inner hell on everyone else.
Narcs strange psychological math is: “I get rid of my pain by making you feel pain. In their mind, relationships are based on dominance and submission.” — Dr. Les Carter, Surviving Narcissism
Narcs feed off of your pain and enjoy abusing and crushing others to get their narcissistic high, also known as supply. Sounds a lot like drinking blood, doesn’t it?
And that’s exactly what it is, only psychic, emotional, spiritual blood. The 70s were a great time for Narcs to thrive, so enter a Marvel superhero specifically created to deal with them… because the old adage is correct: You need a monster to kill a monster!
And that is what Mordius becomes by trying to cure his disability with vampire genes; he becomes a monster, but he doesn’t want to kill his fellow humans unless he has to kill them. Then, he doesn’t mind and is pretty darn good at doing it. He even kills his childhood friend who goes off the rails with all these new powers of this cure of the childhood disease that they share.
Let’s Backtrack to Bram’s Dracula
Bram Stoker imagined Dracula in 1897.
Bram’s vampire, Dracula, is immediately recognizable around the world as this evil, fantom fiend who is already dead but keeps waking up to feed on the living.
He is of course a fictional character; however, Bram drew inspiration for this particular type of evil from a historical figure who was widely known back in his day for his thirst for blood.
This man was Vlad the Impaler. His real name was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. His father was Vlad II Dracul (or Vlad the Dragon) who was a prominent member of the Order of Dracul (also known as the Order of the Dragon).
The Vlads lived during the 1400s, which is a really tough time to be alive and running a minor kingdom sandwiched between two big empires fighting all the time as well as minor kingdom squabbles. The two great empires Wallachia sits between are the Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with the Roman Empire) and the Ottoman Empire. In addition to these great machines of human will, are a bunch of minor states and kingdoms trying to grow bigger and pledging allegiance to one or the other empire so they might be rescued if they are invaded by a hostile force.
Young Vlad III is taken hostage by the Ottoman Empire as a child with his brother to make sure his father keeps his pledge of allegiance to Mehmed the Conqueror the man who conqueres Constantinople thereby ending the Byzantine Empire.
It is during this time as a prisoner that Vlad III learns the torture tactics that will earn him his name. Vlad III employs these horrific tactics in service to Pope Pius II who finances his efforts to take back his kingdom along with uphold the territories of christendom.
Vlad III employs his skills with such brutality, cruelty, and at a scale of magnitude never before imagined that he rightly earns his name Vlad the Impaler. He goes down in history as one of Europe’s most bloodthirsty evil fiends. And of course, his trail of blood sows fertile ground for Bram Stoker to create one of the most reviled, evil, bloodthirsty villains ever to be imagined and to enter popular culture’s collective imagination through Bram’s book.
Narcissism in the 1970s is proliferating rapidly. It is becoming a much more socially accepted, equal opportunity disease. In fact, if you do not have a bit of narcissism going on, it is hard to get ahead in business, in romance, and virtually everything we are told we should love and adore in our modern world.
This is where you get vamps like Morbius who really don’t want to drink human blood, but there’s this beast inside that must be fed. There is a flowering of vampire dramas in the 70s that mirrors the flowering of narcissism in world.
There is the rise of black vampires like top-grossing Blacula (1972) and Ganja and Hess (1973) that will inspire Black horror movies like Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Spike Lee’s Da Blood of Jesus.
There is Vampire Circus (1972) starring David Prowse before he become Darth Vader. And there are the psychological vampires like Martin (1977), and the lonely vampire Nosferatu, The Vampyre (1979).
There are vampires who drink the beauty of other humans so they stay eternally young, there are energy vampires, and Omega Man (1979) where vampirism is symbol of humanity’s continual hunger for progress leaving all but one man little more than nocturnal prowlers of blood. To get a real detailed breakdown of 70s Vamps, see 10 Vampire Movies From the ’70s You Probably Haven’t Seen (But Should)
By the 70s, narcissism had long since descended from the pedestals of popes, sultans, and kings. Narcissism now flourishes in wanton abundance among all of humanity and has continued to evolve ever since.
Marvel Got It Wrong
This is where Marvel got it wrong.
The Narcs who send chills down out backs now are much closer to Harry Potter’s Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort uses a wand to project his dark magic on his victims. A Narcs like Donald Trump simply uses his tongue (a bit like a wand but more like a snake). Modern Narc project their poison then take possession of a person’s mind sucking them dry, then filling them up with their Dark Thoughts. This is the magic of our time. People who come under the spell of an evil, vampire-like, magician like Voldemort (or Trump) are doomed to become empty vessels who do his bidding.
Today’s Narcs want to occupy your mind and fill your head with their thoughts. Narcs want you to believe they are omnipotent, but really they are parasites, viruses, feeble infections who need your mind to survive in this world.
Narcs are disgusting, degenerative, dying babies. And even Lord Voldemort is even 10 years behind the evolution of narcissism in our world.
Stranger Things nails it even closer to our collective truth:
Lord Venca, Number 1, the Mind Flayer!
So poor Morbius really needs to catch up to the crystalizing, consuming power of Narcissists in our Modern World.
Lackluster Nature of Transactional Archetypes
Every modern human being must navigate a slew of complicated social dynamics each and every day. We must navigate the social dynamics at work, home, hectic, even the gym. We are social creatures and maintaining strong community relationships influences our social health, mental health, physical health, and psychological health.
So, how do we psyche ourselves up to complete a hundred complicated tasks every day spanning work, home, and the day care center? How do we prepare ourselves psychologically for the hours of focused conscious attention needed to complete one task after another after another? How do we maintain our focus throughout the duration of the project? How do switch between the type of attention needed at work and that needed at home or in community?
Each and every human being does this sort of switching of focused conscious attention continuously throughout our day. We do it so much, we don’t even think about how we even do it, nor do we consider there is a psychological ecosystem sustaining the energy requirements needed to have a single thought, much less 10s of thousands of thoughts each day matched by 10s of billion of conscious and unconscious actions and reactions to our environment and changing circumstances.
So how do we do it: Maintain a Steady Stream of Conscious Thought?
How do we pull out attention back to a difficult task when it wanders away?
Watered Down Archetypes
My beef with Marvel and Morbius is that more attention seems to be going into creating another blockbuster movie rather than architecting complex, relatable, and believable characters. Individuals with real flaws and real issues that resonate with our complicated, complex, hyped up, machine-like world.
Super heroes and archetypes should give us recognizable human patterns that we can empathize with and pretend to be if we find ourselves in a similar quandary or situation that requires us to dig a little deeper for those inner Super Powers (that we all have) to do something hard.
Marvel, by focusing on making blockbusters, follows a formula for success that waters down the characters into transactional beings. Instead of feasting on information-rich archetypal characters, we end up watching sad, sorry, distracted, transactional creatures trudge through unoriginal storylines and adventures.
The magic is gone.
Instead we are served up highly systematized, transactional characters, highly processed and mainstreamed into sugar coated, tiny packages labeled: This Is A Monster, This Is A Hero, This Is A Super Hero,This Is A Conflicted Hero.
"Social dynamics boil down to the two main categories of relationships—transactional and transformational. The former often alienates leaders to their peers, while the latter builds strong, trusting relationships with peers, helping them to feel like their work matters and giving them a reason to care."
-- The Risks of Having Transactional Relationships with Your Peers; Leigh Bailey | April 11, 2023 | Blog | Executive Coaching | Leadership Development | Leadership Team Development | The Bailey Group
We are allowed to indulge as much as we want on all this filtered, strained, sifted, rarefied, clarified, in short highly refined stuff just as long as we don’t take it seriously! After all, come on man, these are comic book characters!
As we live in smaller and smaller cubby hole roles that are striped of responsibility and original thoughts, we feel the pressure pushing in on us to Hold the Mold no matter what. We assume lives of repetitive, homogeneity, but inside we are starved for meaning and purpose. We are starved for healthy, robust, vigorous ideas of what we might be… if only…
We are not suppose to formulate an answer to that. We are just suppose to go to work so e can go watch another Marvel movie when it comes out.
Too Much Watering CausesChronic Hypoxia of the Human Mind
The next blogs in this series will take a deeper dive into the transactional nature of our modern living and how this is creating a chronic hypoxia occurring in our minds. Simply said, we are being starved of information-rich, highly symbolic, nourishing ideas.
Man’s mind must breathe and its oxygen are ideas. Creating a chronic condition of dehydrated, highly processed, synthetic ideas deprives man’s mind of the air it needs to maintain a homeostasis capable of providing normal focus human conscious attention. is no longer possible.
In the body when hypoxia occurs, it is due to a lack of oxygen. In the mind when hypoxia occurs, it is due to a lack of nourishing, rich ideas that help root us to our tasks, to each other, and the Earth.
Failure to correct the current hypoxia of the modern mind will result in greater susceptibility to what A.M. Merloo, M.D., called the Rape of the Mind.
Born as Abraham MauritsMeerloo in The Hague, Netherlands, Meerloo came to United States in 1946, was naturalized in 1950, and resumed Dutch citizenship in 1972. Dr. Meerloo practiced psychiatry for over forty years. He did staff work in the Netherlands until 1942 under Nazioccupation, when he assumed the name Joost (instead of the more Jewish-sounding Abraham) to fool the occupying forces. In 1942 he fled to Belgium, and from there he escaped to England (after barely eluding death at the hands of the Germans). He became a colonel and was chief of the Psychological Department of the Dutch Army-in-Exile in England.
He was the son of Bernard and Anna Frederika (Benjamins) Meerloo. He was the youngest of six children and the only one to escape his occupied country and survive the Holocaust.
He married Elisabeth Johanna Kalf Den Haag, on May 16, 1928. The couple divorced on February 19, 1946. He subsequently married Louisa Betty "Loekie" Duits, a physical therapist, in New York City on May 7, 1948.
When one thinks of totalitarian states, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and North Korea leap to mind. However, Joost explains in great detail the differences between overt thought control as practiced by torturers and subtle thought control.
Sneak Peak of the Marvelization of Man Series
Psychological Warfare as a Weapon of Terror
Every human communication can be either a report of straight facts or an attempt to suggest things and situations as they do not exist. Such distortion and perversion of facts strike at the core of human communication. The verbal battle against man's concept of truth and against his mind seems to be ceaseless. For example, if I can instil in eventual future enemies fear and terror and the suggestion of impending defeat, even before they are willing to fight, my battle is already half won. -- Merloo, M.D., called the Rape of the Mind.
Conversation From Previous Post
This is the end of a conversation I had with a friend about this first blog in this series. He shared with me this fascinating video about the Great Archetype that produced in me a great feeling and passion, which I suppose the the purpose of the Great Archetype. Below is my attempt to communicate this feeling to my friend
Thank you for sharing this. If you shared it to me previously, I did not recognize its importance then. But now, I can comprehend its significance! This is important. I'm going to have to digest it slowly as the visuals are stunning but knock me off course from reading the translations, which I know I need to read to fully understand.
From the Vimeo description, I am getting the jest that this is Christ Consciousness, Divine Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness.
It is that thing man glimpses but cannot seem to grasp.
But of course not... there is nothing there to grasp... it is a state of mind beyond 2-dimensional thinking.
There are those among us, and who have come before, us who have gotten there (to Divine Consciousness), and even more importantly, they have come back to share this knowledge with us, but human consciousness as it is now is in a terrible mire.
This is where we are now. It is a divisive stage of consciousness... that is thinking... for it only knows how to cut and divide, sort and calculate, and put into order everything it cuts into bits and pieces, but thinking does not know how to put it back together again in the unified whole it was before the scissors of thought got to it.
We may not make it out of the mess we have made by ourselves using thought that only divides creating amazing and terrible things like the atom bomb, which this past week, some humans somberly remembered was 75 years since "at 5:29 a.m. (MST) on July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb detonated in the New Mexican desert, releasing a level of destructive power ..."
And it will soon be 75 years, since man took that awesome power and dropped it on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, August 6 and 9.
The events that Christopher Nolan has profoundly produced to remind us about in Oppenheimer, but I fear sadly due the Marvelization of Man, we (most of humanity) will not truly comprehend where we are at as a species on this planet.
I think Nolan duly points out that it does not matter that it is in the US where this terrible magic is cracked... people all over the world were cracking the code and figuring it out.... it was just a matter of time until humans figured it out.
Oppenheimer understood this and created an incubator to do it faster so that the Allied forces could win the wars against powers that had condensed into pure evil; powers rolling across the world stage like bulldozers achieving some of the most gruesome levels of destruction humans had yet achieved at that point in time remembered now as WWII.
Now, we can do even more hideous things to each other and we are doing so...
Now we hold the keys to our collective demise for destruction comes in all sorts of flavors--nuclear war, climate change, autocracies, and Marvelous Worlds full of capitalistic wonders that will dull us all down into one long droning wail of mediocrity very soon... and that is because ... we all agreed a long, long time ago... that only some people will be allowed to sit on top of functional hierarchies, which are the systems of power that rule the world as we know it now.
But we have all conveniently forgotten that all people are susceptible to the corrupting power of their own thinking!
And functional hierarchies are the most easily corrupted things we have created as conscious creatures. They are all around us like Trump Enterprises, Elon Musk, and the list is long of failed or failing corporations. The list is even longer of failed of failing states. The ones impacting us now are known as Russia, North Korea, and who knows, maybe even China maybe be in the running to rattle the nuclear rattle we hold in our tiny human hands in tantrums of ultimate self-hatred and self-destruction.
Some people I know put the USA, Great Britain, and all of Europe in this list too. I wrote a big blog about this...... I was pretty pissed because it is only in states that allow for free thought that we might still find the cure to our disease.
The kind of mega disaster that individuals like Christ and others tried to save us from... but still... most of us run directly into the flame of ignorance rather than grow up as we were meant to do from the very beginning...
And I do think God is woman
Now, I have diverged...lol...
All images, except for Feature Animation, use Midjourney AI to create the animations…that is until I ran out of credits. Following are the songs that enliven them.
This is the first blog in a series discussing the Marvelization of Man’s Mind.
After watching Morbius, I felt flat and bloated like I had just downed a Family Sized Package of Cheetos too fast.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Morbius’ origin story!
The movie is well acted, well executed, and has superb special effects… just as we have come to expect from a Marvelous Marvel Movie… or should I say, just as we have been conditioned to expect?
Perhaps that’s it, Marvel Movies are entirely predictable. In the past 20 some years, they have become perfectly formulated to meet popular tastes. Because of this, we know what to expect, when to expect it, and how to expect it.
Marvel Movies run on well worn tracks of success. Yes, a few have been busts, but on average, Marvel Movies make $715 million dollars per movie with at least half of this gross-income, which means it goes right into the pockets of Robert Iger, CEO, and the Disney-Marvel Cinematic Universe. This has been the case since 2009 when Disney brought Marvel Cinematic Universe from Ronald Perelman who formerly use to pocket the bucks.
The Marvelous Marvel formula has evolved to include hooks and lures about how each newly rendered Marvel character retrieved from the Marvel vault and brought to life on screen will met up and team up with other recently revived Marvel characters for the next Marvelous Marvel movie.
Heck, soon the different Disney universes and their characters might begin meeting up with Marvel, or ever perhaps as, Marvel characters to fight off the bad guys.
Perhaps like this super cool new chic: Tinker Bell Die Hard Predator Ape?
Hell YEAH… this might actually BE interesting!
Marvel Characters Are Archetypes
We adore Marvel characters because they are archetypes. They speak to things deep inside of all of us: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Stuff that is really, really hard to speak to each other about in our overly average, highly regimented, very repetitive work, work, and more work worlds.
Mostly we don’t talk to each other about this stuff. It is so much safer (and let’s face it, it is so much easier) to be superficial with each other.
That’s what the movies are made for! Right?!
Movies give us an emotional release and a little freedom from all that stuff pent up and building up inside of us. The stuff we don’t or can’t talk to each other about, at least not on the deepest levels where our wounds usually lay. These are deep interior layers that we can seldom reach without self-expression that can lead to self-realization, if we allow it.
This is what archetypes partly do for us. They help illuminate things inside of us that are vague, mysterious, troubling, or even exhilarating. But things that are hard to put our finger on because they are inside of us and we can’t see them with our eyes. We can only feel them or try not to feel them when they bother us too much.
Archetypes are mental models that give shape and perspective on the shadowy, nebulous, unsettling, fuzzy states and feelings that can overtake us. They do a lot more than this, but for the purposes of this blog I’ll stick to how archetypes provide man with mental models on how to handle and act to feelings rising inside of him and all around him in other people.
Ever since Marvel’s founding in 1939 by Martin Goodman, which was then known as Timely Comics, the characters have been giving shape to man’s collective shadowy feelings and showing us possibilities on how to channel and handle our dim, indistinct inner worlds in our shared outer world.
In 1951, Timely Comics became known as Atlas Comics. It is not until June 1961 that it transforms into the franchise we know it today as Marvel with the launch of The Fantastic Four.
Ever since its beginning, Marvel characters were created to meet a moment. They emerged from the fabric of that time and in the spaces of what was happening in the country or world at that moment. Their creators invented characters who could met the demands and uncertainty of the times in which they were created.
I am sure each creator imbued their characters with the super powers everyone needed at that moment to survive mental through the demands, threats, and catastrophes of the times. That is what archetypes do. They provide strong mental images combined with stories that imbue inspiration, hope, and courage into the hearts and minds of real people who need to meet real life challenges as they navigate the ups and downs of life.
CharacterDate Created Creator(s)
Sub-Mariner | 1939 (Build up to WII)| Bill Everett
Human Torch | 1939 (Build up toWWII) | Carl Burgos
Angel | 1939 (Build up to WWII) | Paul Gustavson
Masked Raider | 1939 (WWII & shifting economics) | Al Anders
Phantom Reporter | 1940 (WWII & shifting economics)| Robert O. Erisman, Sam Cooper
Black Widow | 1940 (WWII & shifting economics such as women working to build war machines and bombs) | George Kapitan, Harry Gahle
Vision | 1940 (Intensification of WWII)| Joe Simon, Jack Kirby
Captain America | 1940 (Intensification of WWII)| Joe Simon, Jack Kirby
Black Marvel | 1941 (Intensification of WWII) | Al Gabriele
Uranian Boy | 1950 (First atomic bomb drop 1945) | Stan Lee, Russ Heath
The Fantastic Four | 1961 (It's the 60s and its Stan and Jack!) | Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
The Hulk | 1962 (It's the 60s and its Stan and Jack!)| Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Red She Hulk | 1962 (It's the 60s and its Stan and Jack!) | Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Thor | 1962 (It's the 60s and its Stan and Jack!)| Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Spider-Man | 1962 (It's the 60s and its Stan and Steve this time)| Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Iron Man | 1963 (Cuban missile crisis 1962)| Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck
Doctor Strange | 1963 (Cuban missile crisis 1962) | Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Black Panther | 1966 (Civil Rights Act sign 1965) | Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
-- See full timeline at Wiki
I think you get the idea.
So, What’s Wrong With A Little Marvel Time?!
There is nothing wrong with a little Marvel time.
The issue is much more subtle and pervasive than that. It is not so much that we go to the movies to watch great, big, spectacular dramas that take our minds off our worries or give us a joyful jolt of non-reality.
The issue is rather what we are not seeing when we go to the movies, especially the really BIG blockbuster ones that are highly formulated and super monetized to capture our time and attention.
These blockbuster cash cows act like somewhat steamrollers crushing the competition and funneling more and more money into the pockets of billionaires who own mega conglomerates that control the content and production of multiple franchises and merchandise.
And guess what the mega billionaires want you to do?
They want you to go to see more of their movies and buy more of their merchandise so they make more money.
And we do exactly that… and each time we do, they grow even bigger!
If you’re wondering why Marvel movies all look alike, it’s because of us. It is the way we are choosing to consume them.
I recently learned more about this from Terry Gross’ interview with Lucas Shaw, who is in charge of Media and Entertainment at Bloomberg and writes the Screentime newsletter. He’s the one who made me aware of how much content Disney owns!
But there are a lot of other big Media-Entertainment Titans operating out there too and all of them want to get inside our heads and tickle away some our money that we make working highly automated jobs that require at least 8 hours of our days, 5 days a week.
Sadly, despite popular opinions, most of us do not work in our Dream Jobs! Indeed, most of us must go through the motions 8 hours days doing very boring, tedious, monotonous work. So who wouldn’t want to break free and escape into a Marvelous Marvel movie when it comes out?
But that might be exactly what the super rich want us to feel and react. They can make money from lots of bored people who need to escape from their dreary, mind-numbing, mechanical lives with a Fantastic New Movie!
And, hey wait, you can also escape and feel just like the movie characters feel by buying this splashy new watch or this brand new fancy car or this mouthwatering, very pricey dress. And of course you need the latest technology to go along with all this! You want to look modern don’t you?
All these fancy, enjoyable costly things are there to help you escape from your boredom and ease your burden of living highly repetitive, unvarying, humdrum modern lives.
Lucas Shaw tells Terry Gross how the movie-TV-streaming business is becoming one super long ad promoting consumerism, capitalism, and merchandising by the new Titans of Industry.
SHAW: You know, Barry Diller, I feel like, has been declaring the death of Hollywood for a long time now, so I do take what he says with a little grain of salt. But he's right that the growth of Amazon and Apple, which I would say are now two of the six major studios in town - you know, they've replaced some of the other ones that have been consolidated in the deals that we've talked about - entertainment is not their primary business. And it speaks to maybe the lesser value of traditional film and television in broader culture, where it - so does the fact that YouTube is now bigger than any TV network, that if you - that TikTok is as popular as any streaming service.
You know, film and TV doesn't have the same stranglehold on culture and on youth that it used to. And it's - if I were running one of these traditional media and entertainment companies - running Warner Bros. Discovery, running Disney - it would certainly scare me that two of our biggest competitors don't care about making money from film and TV in the same way because it means that the stakes are lower. The approach is going to be different. And entertainment is just a means of selling something else - in Amazon's case, you know, diapers or books or whatever it is; in Apple's case, phones and other devices. -- FreshAir, July 20, 2023
So my take away from this conversation is that the purpose of movies, TV shows, and streaming platforms are increasingly veering towards a focus on how to keep viewing audiences glued to a particular station-conglomerate, so it can make more money–be that ads, subscriptions, or the super cool merchandise they make, create, and sell.
The Hollowing Out Effect of Money
This hyper-focus on making more money is a major force in hollowing out many Marvel characters. You can read about the reasons why 16 actors are talking about quitting or leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe here.
The Marvel universe seems to be becoming more one-dimensional and cartoonish as the focus on making another blockbuster and capturing the vast majority of the market take precedence over story. This focus on money has a watering down effect on the characters, making them feel less real, less vibrant, and less inspiring.
They are losing their numinosity, which is what archetypes hold for us. Numinous content gives our lives meaning, content, and purpose. Without numinosity in our lives, we feel drab, automatic, and mechanical.
But maybe the mechanization of man is one of the very objectives these new Titans of Industry seek to create inside of us.
If we are continually feeling unimportant, unremarkable, and unnecessary in keeping the clogs of industry running in the world, then we need to compensate for our super small roles in society.
How else can we wake up each morning and go out to do our boring, repetitive jobs?
So a good Marvel Movie is a great antidote to not feeling like a machine!
But, don’t get too caught up in the marvelousness of a Marvel movie! That would be going too far in our highly mechanized modern world.
If you do happen to believe Marvel characters are real and you look up to them and draw hope and courage from then (like any good archetype should do), then you will get laughed at because we are not really suppose to identify with them anymore. They are simply entertainment.
We watch them, then we get up the next day and go back to work to make some money so we can go watch the next amazing Marvel movie coming out soon because there was that little teaser at the end!
Another troubling result of the Marvelizationof Man is that Marvel movies are impacting how other movies are made or even more importantly, NOT BEING MADE.
With great big, super blockbusters with BIG special effects (like Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar), more and more people only go to theaters to see these on the silver screen. They don’t show up for the “other movies” being made and trying to survive in an increasingly one-dimensional entertainment universe.
Basically, every studio wants a piece of the action in this “shared universe” business.
But it’s hard to argue that any of them have been as successful as Marvel has.
This effect is drying up the field of creativity for the creation, production, and life of other types of movies that deal with difficult but really important stuff such as Women Talking:
The women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling their reality with their faith. Though the backstory, we see a community of women come together to figure out how they might move forward together to build a better world for themselves and their children. Stay and fight or leave. They will not do nothing.— Official synopsis
Or like the Fabelmans:
Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.
It is lpLoosely based on Spielberg's childhood growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, from age seven to eighteen, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret, and explores how the power of movies help us see the truth about each other and ourselves. —Toronto International Film Festival
He also encounters antisemitism and bullying, which is a very important issue that deserves far more airtime in our current culture and polictical climate.
Or going back even further to the time of radio like Suspense: Report From A Dead Planet
Another thing that struck me while watching Morbius is that really talented actors are playing pretty superficial, very simplified characters.
Matt Smith for example is the villain in Morbius. He is great as the villain, but his performance leaves me feeling empty. He is a really talented actor! Why don’t I feel more from his performance in Morbius?
Because I’m not supposed to?!
His super villain in Morbius is pretty vanilla compared to his roles in Season 1 and 2 of The Crown, The Last Night in Soho, and my all time favorite The Doctor of Doctor Who.
Also, Jared Leto who plays Morbius struck me as a super talented actor as well. I haven’t seen him before. He does a great job playing Morbius. In fact, he imbue more life into Morbius than the role allows.
Tarantino previously said that he would not want to direct a movie for Marvel Studios for the simple reason he is “not a hired hand.’ As someone planning to direct just ten movies in his career, and with only one of those to make up the number, it is probably not surprising that the Pulp Fiction helmer would want to concentrate on his own ideas. When it comes to the MCU, the director says that the franchise does not contain any “movie stars” as the characters are all people want to see. He said:
“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is… you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters, but they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times, you know, but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.” -- Quentin Tarantino Says Marvel Actors Are 'Not Movie Stars'
PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2022
Quentin Tarantino has been vocal about his feelings regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it looks like he isn't quite done yet.
I will still watch Marvel movies.
But I will seek out and watch more different movies that leave an impression in my psyche and make me think about the world in ways I might not have before.
I will continue to gravitate to movies where BIG ideas are explored rather than BIG action but increasingly hallow characters dance across the screen.
I want something that satisfies my imagination and feeds my psyche, because feeling alive and not like small cog in a BIG machine is important to me, and only I can change my perspective and the way I feel about things.
Stories and movies feed my imagination so I can feed and grow my soul.
Stay tuned for this series because I am going to go deeper into the effects and impacts of living in our super consumerism society on man’s mind.
For now, maybe the Oppenheimer-Barbie movies will provide a reprieve from the Marvelization of Man’s Mind.
I made all images with Genolve using AI generated images, specifically Midjourney, this time. So I am just listing the songs used in the above animations.
Feature Archetypal Animation: Nowhere but Up |  Break the Chain 4:53
Recently, I found out that I really hate the word hierarchy. I came to this conclusion after arguing with an old, ex-Facebook friend about “functional hierarchy“.
I fundamentally don’t believe any human hierarchy can withstand the corruption of thought. It is thinking too much that has gotten the world into the predicaments it is in, thinking is not the God it once was, and it is not going to get us out of our messes.
We are like 10 billion baby birds clustered in nests of endless thought and thinking, and we are terrified to fly. This will make sense if you keep reading! But before dropping into the underworld, you better watch this Mother video!!!
This whole convoluted conversation happened because of a very simple question I asked about a diagram this particular man made about Transformational Change.
In the graphic he posted, I noticed there is no pathway for what to do if people don’t agree on the type of Transformational Change needed or on how to implement it.
So, I made the following comment:
On the outer circle of Discuss & Agree... what happens when you Discuss & Disagree or even further have Conflict?
Without this other very real possibility included in a realistic way, this is a closed-circle of "Liked-minded" thinkers who will grow smaller and smaller in their shared beliefs and ideas of Transformation, which they may conclude: "Needs to Be Imposed on Everyone Else for the Good of the World."
So much trauma and cycles of destruction, reprisals, vendettas have emerged out of Closed-Systems of Thinking ending in "Do Gooder" agendas.
What do you think?
Well, maybe I was alittle too provocative and Alan Wattsy in my comment when I ask about Do-Gooder agendas. He probably has no idea what I mean. But, as you will see, he assumes he knows what I mean… but he has no clue.
What I am referring to is explained simply in this video:
His response to my comment is as follows:
true. Which is why this model aims to 'transcend to THEN include'... the ethical commitment to acton behalf of the whole.
Can you show me a model where informed democracy is addressing Overshoot? No... there is, unfortunately, a functional hierarchy which needs to honour those who CAN see more, sense more, grok more, on behalf of the whole system/social field. This is only part of the process
If interested you might find more here (it's a link to his website...)
GULP! Now, I have a whole bunch more questions!
Really, he has made a mental model thatCAN identify people who have transcended and these people get admitted into some governing body who will make decisions and act on behalf of the whole?
Does this mean, the whole world?
Does it mean all the misfortunate survivors of the coming catastrophe that is going to destroy most of mankind …pick your catastrophe:climate change, nuclear war, AIs take over the world; they do this because they were given instructions by a Do-Gooder programmer desperately trying tomake the world safe for all life, so the AIs decide that humans have to go to make the world safe for more lifeforms.
You think I am exaggerating?! Then, you better listen to the Godfather of A.I.s as we know them today. He cracked the code for how the human mind works and implemented his understandings to machine learning. And did you know machines hallucinate? Well, the intelligent ones do! I think this is utterly fascinating!
I also know that this guy (and many others in his circle of friends on Facebook) fervently believe the world is going to collapse, and it is going to be God awful, so we better have a plan.
Knowing this, and assuming I survive the collapse, what if I don’t like this transcended group of people who are going to jump into action with their plan to save us and ensure only actions that benefit the good of us all are implemented?
And Grok?!! Really, is this like Mork (where is Mindy?). Or is Grok more like super Geeky?
Whatever it is, I don’t think I want anyone grokking for me.
I should have given up the ghost at this point, but I was stupid and engaged further saying:
Ah yes, functional hierarchy like what we see in the Good’Old USA or Russia sure is showing the world how much more they see than the rest of us can see on how to make the world Great again!
I say this tongue and cheek but without allowing for conflict even on the highest levels of hierarchy, I just don’t see how the human race is going to be doing much transforming any time soon, except maybe some fizzy bubbles on the sides of spaceship Earth
By the way, I could have also brought up China’s ambitions, North Korea’s ambitions, India’s ambitions, Saudi Arabia’s ambitions, and the newly incorporated states of mind and ambitions of Trump & Company, Elon Musk & Companies, Zhong Shanshan & Companies, Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault & Companies, and the list of corporations who make more money than most countries GDP is endless. But, I didn’t want to overwhelm him.
He responded with gusto! Writing the following response:
At this moment I've just watched a program on Al Jazeera on Black Lives Matter, and seeing (one of) the deep dysfunctional divisions in the US - the US is in collapse (see Umair Haque or Chris Hedges) [OH?!! Thank God this guy knows something I didn't know! Thank God We're going to die!], and will continue to split apart along these and other fault lines as biophysical reality gets harder to cope with (with climate change and ecological collapse and resultant economic collapse - which is already happening).
These divisions are caused by competing for identity (and survival) at a level less than that needed for the higher-level collective identity - in the words of one commentator the 'more viable future' would be 'a multiracial society that can live in harmony'.
I need to interrupt here. This guy has just made a huge pivot and is lecturing me about my own country! I live in the United States of America. In fact, I live less than 5 miles from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Now, I’m not putting Al Jazeera down, but since I live here and I must navigate these competing “identity issues” every day, I think I know a little bit more about them than he does or a single documentary can cover.
In fact, I’ve made a few documentaries myself about these very divisions and dysfunctions.
Here are just a few of them:
Whew! I bet you thought I’d never stop listing them!
Back to ex-FakeBook friend’s comments.
When I refer to 'functional hierarchy' I mean the sort of hierarchy that every natural ecosystem has - nested, holonic, and operating on behalf of the whole AND with diverse individual yet interdependent autonomous beings. In nature this animate intelligence expresses itself through co-evolution and within the higher 'goal' of 'life'.
AH!!! The baby birds! I bet you read this far to see what the 10 billion baby birds in nests is all about! It’s about this comment.
First of all, I bet this ex-friend doesn’t know that being a baby bird in a nest is the most dangerous time of a bird’s life. It is a time of flightlessness that make baby birds vulnerable to all kinds of threats--crows, squirrels, snakes, cats, even wind.
The best thing for a baby bird to do is grow up fast and get the heck out of the nest!!! And have you ever looked at a nest after all the baby birds have left? I have! It’s full of poop!!!
I am not very impressed with his responses so far and started to do my own research on how to run a country or run a bunch of survivors after a great BIG disaster.
I quickly find based on his reference to nests,which I think he wants it to sound NATURAL, that he really doesn’t mean ‘functional hierarchy‘ at all — if he is really talking about a natural system where there is lots and lots of diversity and autonomous living beingswalking about and doing their thing, then he is talking heterarchy; full stop: NOT hierarchy.
I found an article rather quickly in Forbe’s about all of this and this article led me to Philip Bobbitt’s Shield of Achilles. I will talk more about this later. But clearly my ex-friend has never heard of Philip or his book.
Also, before moving on to the rest of his comments, let’s dig into this word holonic:
It is also a fundamental theory of machine learning. So, we are back to the end of the world by A.I.s!
Who knows, he might even be the Do-Gooder programmer who writes a well intention code to save as much diversity of life as possible that ends the human race because the AIs determine we are killing life faster than we are preserving it.
And the last thing I want to know: has he talked to this animate intelligence himself?!
How the HELL does he know that this thing or being has a higher goal and that the goal is life?
First of all, I know he doesn’t believe in God, but this is sounding a lot like a God with goals who is going to Make Something Happen!
This an important clue to his thinking, and it provides a glimpse into the Mega Myth he fervently believes runs the universe.
This myth is The Fully Automative Model. This short Alan Watts tells it best!
Alright, I’ve digressed enough, so back to his comments:
In Human systems we most often have structural hierarchies, with power-over dynamics. We DO need ways of inviting (creative) conflict across difference to discuss the options in front of us; and a functional Democracy is meant to assist that process. And, it can... but often at a level that is removed from the emerging future realities of biophysical collapse.
Wow — I’m so glad he pointed this out to me. I would still be thinking humans who live in great BIG civilized systems still gather around one GREAT BIG camp fire singing Kumbaya to solve conflicts!
Is he possibly admitting that there should be an arrow in his diagram for conflict?!!
We could have ended this entire conversation right here!
But wait! He goes on!
If democratic representatives were aware of the biophysical realities within which all their ideas and creative options are nested (functional hierarchy) then perhaps they might make collective decisions in mutual interest at levels required for what's coming. Unfortunately most people are ecologically illiterate and removed from nature so they don't realize that their current comfort levels and assumptions of entitlement, and fear of others taking them from them, are threatened by bigger, more encompassing forces (that will affect everyone) that will cause massive suffering as whole systems collapse.
Fine, these are overly broad generalizations that basically paint a picture that pretty much every human being living in a civilization on Earth is an illiterate, fearful, comfort-seeking coward with entitlement issues. If he wants to define nearly 10 billion people on Earth in this way, he’s not all wrong, but neither is he all right.
In making all my documentaries, I met and talked with so many motivated, well-informed, highly intelligent people who had profound ecological awareness and were not sitting home eating Cheetos! Rather, they were getting on a buses at 3 a.m. to get to marches happening in Washington, DC on Climate Change, Science, Gun Violence, Trump, Lies, and Black Lives Matter.
Perhaps he’s simply mansplaining again. But he still has more to say:
My point about 'transcend' is that only people that understand this can see which futures are no longer viable. That does not mean they 'know everything' - but it does mean they have a different worldview. They cannot guarantee 'the way' to go - there is no single direction. They can however point to many of the non-ways to go, because of Universal Harms that would and do threaten Universal Interests - not just the vested interests of any particular group that sees 'others' as the biggest threat to their identity and wellbeing.
Oh goodie! Transcendence! Yes, I really want to know more about what he means by transcend!
But, Hmmmmm… there are ONLY a select group of people who can understand this? My father was a pastor. My grandfathers were pastors. My great grandfathers were pastors as were many of my uncles and cousins… and you get the picture… I have been steeped in the language and imagery of transcendence.
What he describes is not transcendence. It’s intellectual arrogance, which is super creepy. At least he recognizes he and other transcended individuals might not get it right and cannot guarantee “the way to go“.
I remain highly concern about how power and authority is being ranked and sorted in his System of Transformation.
How is this really complicated human issue of governing itself in ever bigger and bigger systems of humans going to decide and select people to serve on this “functional hierarchy“? How in the HELL are they even going to recognize Transcended individuals?!
First of all, I don’t think you can recognize transcended people. In fact, for thousands of years, human beings typically tend to kill people who have transcended, in other words people who have become Holy.
Why do humans kill Holy people? Because Holy people scare the crap out of us regular, run of the mill human beings.
And why is this? Because Holy people are Whole people–they have fully integrated their Light and Dark sides, their Good Side and their Evil Side, the Savior and the Devil. This is not my idea. This is a very ancient idea as expressed by Alan Watts.
So, if you think you are a bunch of highly intelligent Transcendedpeople, you probably aren’t. But if you take the reins of ruling a great big bunch of humans, and you believe you are a transcended bunch of bloʊks, then you are eventually going to have to decide who lives and who dies.
Running huge human systems is not for sissies or for people who are squeamish because Nature makes LIFE and DEATH decisions every day, and if you think you are a bunch of Transcended humans running things like NATURE does, then guess what!?? You are going to have to make these kind of decisions too.
If you don’t,Kaboom! Another disaster! Overpopulation, perhaps like The Mote in God’s Eye, which is a science fiction novel by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, first published in 1974.
This story is about human beings first contact with an intelligent alien race. How exciting, except these aliens are more intelligent than humans and they keep something concealed from the humans who are trying to decide if they are friends or foes. The thing they are hiding is population issues…really, really serious population issues that have caused this ancient race of intelligent beings to rise to spectacular heights only to crash back down into primitive savagery again and again and again… something they call Cycles.
Such big and complex decisions required to run an advanced, intelligent civilization (regardless of whether they are human or aliens) depends entirely on what is being valued by the group and by who wants to do the running of things.
How is this any different than what is happening in the USA, in Russia, or in any hierarchical system on Earth? In fact, how is it different than how corporations, cities, towns, non-profits, and pretty much every modern, technology-using human system (and perhaps even intelligent alien system) are deciding how to run things?
If an intelligent group of beings decides to run things by a hierarchy, then they have to decide first on what they value. Based on these values, a ranking is created that determines how the hierarchy will be structured.
In other words, the values selected determine who will be placed on top of the pyramid to give to the orders and who will be placed in the middle and bottom of the pyramid to listen to and follow the orders. Another way of seeing this, is that the people in the middle and on the bottom (everyone who are below the ruling class) are the ones doing the work to hold up the agreed uponvalues.
Everyone–this includes rulers, managers, middle managers, bosses, workers, and through much of human history, slaves–assumes the mold of the Functional Hierarchy. Another way of saying this is that every person assume a role that holds the mold, which operates constantly in the background of everybody’s mind who lives in the system. This operating system provides unconscious instructions sort of like an algorithm, which are a set of rules to be followed or calculations to be made to solve problems encountered as the system operates through time.
The mental model of a pyramid is a powerful system of thinking. Indeed it is machine-like. It can be cold, calculating, and extremely brutal, perhaps this is why humans are so found on hierarchies, regardless of if they are functional or dysfunctional.
However, whenever (wherever) humans create hierarchies to run things, lots of people and things don’t make it to the top of the pyramid because they simply don’t fit into the desired values of the “functional hierarchy” (something humans created based on arbitrary ideas and values). The people and things(living beings) that get left outside of the ideal are automatically de-valued. Clearly, something important is being left out, being ig-nored, by the very ideas necessary to create a Functional Hierarchy.
Let’s see if he answers or addresses any of these concerns because so far he has not. But he’s also not done explaining (or should I say mansplaing):
In our approach we don't create 'safe-spaces' where everybody stays in their comfort zone. We create 'safe-enough spaces' where people are challenged. From our website Glossary: (his website again and another diagram)
“Safety is not the absence of threat—it is the presence of connection.”
– Gabor Maté
We use the term to describe spaces where we can have challenging Courageous Conversations about difficult topics, involving rigorous inquiry from multiple perspectives, and still hold space for “respectful belonging” where we can appreciate one another as we live the questions together.
Part of our approach is to hold people 'safe-enough' while challenging them not to collude at levels less than the biophysical system dictates is needed - ie. face reality and live the questions, together, in Universal Interests... and, yes, you are right to be cynical, for it is virtually impossible from this starting point... especially in the US at present.
Hmmm… I don’t really have a problem with all this mulling about safety and safe enough and challenging people. But he is not providing a tangible way of doing anything differently than what we are already doing in the world with all our hierarchies, functional or not!
And, WOW, he is really putting the USA down! I never knew he hated Americans so much!!!
So, once again I press on when I should have stopped writing this:
So how do you select people: "that understand this can see which futures are no longer viable."
How do you ensure all peoples, the ones still asleep in the safety of civilization and the people awaken to the the coming collapse, are represented in the decision-making of the 'functional hierarchy' (I don't think you used functional previously, but that is beside the point)... who gets to decide what is functional and belongs in a human hierarchy?
Might it not be our very own overthinking of every problem and solution digging us all deeper into the pit of collapse?
And who is "our" in approach? Is this the synthesize of your years of deep thinking and consideration, which is considerable and done with empathic intent, or are there others involved in the "our"?
And, you did not mention Russia or Putin? How does this transcendent approach handle this situation? Or is this Western propaganda at work blowing up the situation in Ukraine?
One quick side note on overthinking and/or clinging to an idea or a thought when clearly one should have let go of it long ago. When a person does this, the idea or thought tends to grow smaller and smaller.
This is because the process of thinking presses the LIFE FORCE right out of an idea or a thought. The more the LIFE FORCE is removed, the less and less alive the IDEA is inside ones mind, or should I say the MORE DEAD the IDEA BECOMES.
Every single person who is born into Western Civilization is trained to do this from the day they are born. It is essential they learn how to do this and to do this all the time so that they stay in the social order, the social hierarchy, regardless of it is a functional one or not.
Alan Watts and many of great sages of Buddhism speak a lot about the need to let go of our ideas and patterns of thought and beliefs. They encourage us to fly, not to cling to dead and dying thoughts that make us do ignorant and increasingly crazy things. Once we outgrow our ideas or learn something new, we need to let go of them and move on with the flow of all things living in time and are alive.
Now, back to his thoughts and thinking:
...thanks for engaging. First, re 'functional hierarchy' I did mention it
I don’t think until this point he knew who I was, and I hit a nerve for sure: a functional nerve! In his original invitation for Transformational Change anyone, he does not mention functional. That is what I was commenting about. The first time he mentions functional and hierarchy is in his first comment to my original question. And his answer to that question is what made more questions in my mind.
But, he goes on:
"Can you show me a model where informed democracy is addressing Overshoot? No... there is, unfortunately, a functional hierarchy which needs to honour those who CAN see more, sense more, grok more, on behalf of the whole system/social field. This is only part of the process "
There’s the Geeky Grokking again. And the inference that some human beings are better than and more advanced than others, in what precisely?!
If you read it as hierarchy then you probably didn't see my point... it is a naturalfunctional hierarchy - which many debate, but which does exist, based on maturity, capability, consciousness levels and activation (or not) of human development potentials - NOT a constructed human hierarchy (like an imposed boss/ servant relationship - with power over).
OH WOW! He says it again, it is a natural functioning hierarchy! Which apparently should make all the difference something like what Simba discovered, right?
But, no, my ex-friend is not talking about a Natural System because he is dividing and cutting it up into all sorts of categorizes by using labels such as maturity, capability, consciousness levels and activation. This is what the thinking mind does; it cuts up reality into little tiny bits then messes them up, so we can never put it back together again…just like Humpty Dumpty or at least not as long as our selfish, self-center, fearful, greedy human minds are in control of the narrative.
And, he’s still not done mansplaining. So maybe there is still something in his explanation that won’t make the hairs stand on my arm.
Here he goes! Hold onto your steering wheel:
That said, people are, despite their best wishes and hopesNOT equal [I don't disagree with this, but please...] every parent knows this... you don't force a kid who can only crawl to walk before they are ready (or at all);[Well... duh!] yet you can assume they have the potential, and, if they see others doing it, will one day also do so - where does the leadership example come from...? Another younger kid? An older kid? An adult? [Ah, perhaps here's the natural functional hierarchy...you age into it? Is this what he's implying? Well, I take issue.] Hence we need to be careful NOT to assume people don't have 'potential' while also recognising that not everyone has actualised it yet - that's why we generally don't let kids drive trucks. [Haha -- he hasn't been to the USA! Here, we can do anything at any age!]
OK!!! Full Stop!!! We’ve got to explore this explanation a little bit more!
Hmmm… maybe babies can drive trucks!
And what if the evolution of mind runs in reverse to the evolution to the physical body?
I’m a MOM! I’ve raised a baby! Yes, my baby crawled, then she walked, and now she drives a truck!!! It all happened exactly as he says…LOL!
But, I don’t think WISDOM grows that way. I think on the Mental-Spiritual realm (this gooey, sticky place inside the human mind where we feel this utterly strange sensation of sentience, something we all simply refer to as consciousness) that growth rather runs in reverse to the body.
As we grow up, we get narrower and narrower in our thinking and focus. We are forced to shut out more and more of the world from our MIND so we can carry out the tasks of daily living (or survival in a manmade world). Eventually, we all get to an incredibly small world views with an incredibly small selection of thoughts, ideas, values that we think explain everything. What we fail to see is we have become a SINGULARITY and we are COLLAPSING in on ourselves!
This sounds terrible, but this is the mental world… not the physical world. This moment of COLLAPSE is the most exciting opportunity ever! It the MOMENT of Transformation.
The thing you got to do when you get to this MOMENT is KEEP MOVING… go man go!!!
Whatever crisis you hit, it’s there for a reason. It is your DOING, your HAPPENING because you want to GROW and TRANSFORM is what consciousness does... it is flowing, it is dancing, it is constantly making new patterns and experiences.
I can’t tell you what your moment of crisis will be or when you will hit it. But if you are human, you’re going to have a chance to thread the eye of your MOMENT IN TIME.
Each of us is born into this world with utterly unique capabilities and potential. Each of us is trying to master innate abilities we have always had, but we forget we have them because of all the training we get into HOW TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN.
Don’t get me wrong! There is tremendous value in this. Going around and hitting other kids over the head is not a NICE way to move through the WORLD (Trump and Putin obviously never moved passed this stage in mental development).
We all want civility in this world. That is how we all live in peace and plenty, but we cannot master our innate abilities without really digesting and integrating ALL the knowledge trained into us on how to be a GOOD CITIZEN and RECKON that with WHO WE REALLY are (and have always been since the day we were born).
Without this reckoning that is really going to feel like a constriction, a tightening and reduction of consciousness, you won’t get to other side of your Self.
If you are paying attention, there is going to a point of crisis in your life that is going to make you question everything. And this is ALL RIGHT! In fact, it is essential.
But, if you are not paying attention (Ron DeSantis, I’m talking AT you), and you don’t want to WAKE UP, then you are not going to WAKE UP. And this is ALL RIGHT too!
The only thing I can tell you if you do hit this point of constriction is:
But wait, my ex-friend is not done mansplaining:
Unfortunately many in politics (such as your infamous ex-Pres) reach arrested development at a level less than what is required to provide systems-ethical leadership for our times. Bully boy narcissism (pick any number of exemplars, globally) is not what's called for when the potential extinction of humanityis the writing on the wall.
[What did I tell you? He is totally into total collapse of our global system...and human extinction. But maybe we deserve to go extinct and resistance is futile, so why suffer the inevitable? It's a collective gamble that we all clearly lost...right?!!]
But this also pissed me off. Not the Bully Boy Narcissism comment, that just made it very obvious he is not paying attention to me or my work (as he pretended to do for years).
If he had been paying attention, he might have learned something NEW because I’ve been writing and posting about all this stuff (some stuff very humorously, some very critical of our ex-President) for a long time.
Basically, my take away from his comment is that he is implying this functional hierarchy is most probably going to consist of a lot of grumpy old men and a few token women who refuse to grow up.
I know this guy from lots of previous engagements, and I can read between the lines, and this is exactly what he is saying.
He is also implying HE is the one who can see further, run faster, and out thinkall the rest of us to lead this NEW functional hierarchy that will save the world from collapse (or after collapse)!
It leads me to wonder just which direction is he and his new functional leaders going towards? Is it truly the “right” direction to be looking or is it just more of the same tangled web of endless bureaucracies we are already stuck in up over our eyeballs already?
So these are some of the reasons this comment really pisses me off.
And also, some of the wisest, kindness, most inclusive people I know are young people. I would totally choose a younger people over jagged jerks like my ex-friend is being here as he defends his fictional “functional hierarchy.“
But, maybe I should still be patient and read keep reading:
As for "who are we when I say 'our'" - I provided a link to 'our' website - And Now What - and this is the About Us page - https://andnowwhat.be/about/ - and, yes, it is the result of "years of deep thinking and consideration, which is considerable and done with empathic intent" by each of us alone, and for several years collectively.
YEAH! Finally! He is addressing the Putin bastard and dysfunctional Russia!
As for Russia or Putin - what can I say... he would not be included in the 'transcendent' because he is, by definition, not aiming to transcend and include (partly my point) but to take-over by force... which, incidentally, also happens to be the way the US generally behaves - and it will continue to do so, for it fears losing the dominance its inhabitants take for granted, and fears what would happen if others behaved toward it as it has toward them.
But, hey wait! That is a huge BIG pivot! WOW, he really hates us. He didn’t even finish his thought about Russia.
I was REALLY hoping to learn something about his thinking on Putin.
Several years ago, back when we conversed all the time, I told him that the most evil character in my book is based on Putin. This was before Putin invaded Ukraine and Trump was cozying up to him like a pussy cat to a snake or is it a snake to a pussy cat or are they really both SNAKE CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe Putin and Trump mated and mutated!!!!!!!!!!!
He immediately put me down by lecturing me on how Putin is a pussy cat, really he isn’t a bad guy at all, he’s just watching out for his country like any good ruler would do. And, it’s a BIG country he has to take care of and the world isn’t very nice place, especially the WEST. He told me that I was simply indoctrinated by Western media and didn’t understand things accurately.
He kind of sounded like Trump (?!!)in that moment! I have never forgotten his put down. And, it’s probably the real reason I needled him.
But, I have digressed again! Let’s get back to his mighty man-splaination!
So, to be clear - I think you have just pointed to why there needs to be distinction between those who CANthink transformationally, on behalf of the whole system, and those who can only think of their own vested interests or for a smaller subset of the whole (individual, in-group, corporation, nation)...
So, if you had to try to create transformative change that might get the US out of the mess it has created for itself, who would you select? Who would you not select? And why?
I’m fine with leaving Putin out of the hierarchy too… DUH!
But HERE again he pivots and attacks my country lumping the USA in the same dusty coal bin as Putin and his goons.
We are having this conversation, by the way, over the United States Memorial Weekend, which is a time we reflect on the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, especially the ones who died or were injured.
I have 2 Great Uncles who served in WWI, an Uncle who served in Korea, and a brother who served in the Army Reserves. He’s really pissed me off NOW!
And Now What would have happened to the world if the US had not gotten involved in these great wars?
Would he really want a Kim Jong Un ruling over the whole Korean Peninsula? Does he know Winston Churchill begged the US to get involved in WWII? What if the US had just sat on its hands mumbling: “We don’t want to get involved in that war,” as it sang Kumbaya to itself as it pretended nothing’s going on over there?
Yes, the USA has made some really bad foreign affairs decisions. The US has sent troops into places they should not have sent them. The US has pulled troops out of places we have been when they should not done this: Afghanistan!!
What happened in Afghanistan is complicated. How do you define exactly when all the trouble began and how do you define when it has all ended? Was it 1219 to 1332 when the Mongol Empire ruled Afghanistan? Was it 1370 to 1405 when Timur (sometimes referred to as Tamerlane) ruled the land that would become Afghanistan plus a whole lot more of middle Asia? Both Empires are remembered for the barbarity of their conquests.
But that is ancient history, right? What does that have to do with the barbarity of our modern age? Well, have you seen Flee? If not, you should!
If you watch Flee, you may ask Why did the US fund the mujahideen?
Well that’s a long, sordid, complicated story that “began decades earlier, after the Soviet Union invaded that country in 1979. The U.S. wanted to do everything it could to counter the Russians during the Cold War. And so, at that time, the U.S. worked with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to arm Afghan Islamist fighters known as the mujahideen.” — Read or listen to PBS NewsHour and the Former head of Saudi intelligence recounts America’s longstanding ties to Afghanistan
This colossal battle between the two Titans of the Modern Western World, because if you’re going to be a Good Titan you’re going to need a Bad Titan. It has been this way in the human made world for 5,000 years. If you’re wondering why I pick this number, you are just going to have to wait and read my book.
Since WWII, the USA and USSR (now Russia) made so many Nukes if they went to war with each other, the world would descend into a nuclear winter so profound, life as we know it would cease. Something like Midnight Sky depicted:
So instead, the US and Russia poke each other through proxy wars that create a different sort of consequence: Blowback. I am not as stupid as my mansplaining friend wants to pretend that I am, nor are countless Americans like me.
US support of mujahideen created Osama bin Laden who would train Saudi men to fly planes into buildings pulling off one of the worst terrorist event on US soil 9/11. Leading to the US invasion of Afghanistan and hunt for bin Laden.
The Pakistan government has repeatedly denied that it provides any military support to the Taliban in its diplomacy regarding its extensive operations in Afghanistan.82 Of all the foreign powers involved in efforts to sustain and manipulate the ongoing fighting, Pakistan is distinguished both by the sweep of its objectives and the scale of its efforts, which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban's virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support. -- Human Rights Watch
Pakistan did this because it served their interests. US stayed for 20 years to encourage democracy because that served our interests. Then, the US pulled out due to a deal negotiated by the Orange turkey himself, Trump, and implemented by Biden, letting everything all come crashing down again, just like what happened to Amin and his family on April 28, 1992, and the USA played a role in this collapse too!
If we are really honest with what is happening in the world right now, it has so much more to do with ordinary, everyday men and women and their individual and collective beliefs, values, and biases than it has to do with a big bad Russia or a big bad USA.
Oh yes, humans know how to cluster together into great, big, bad armies and nations. We know how to build pyramids—Functional Hierarchies–structures that live inside our minds and operate endlessly like algorithmic codes transported seamlessly into our very souls on endless streams of thoughts (conscious thoughts or unconscious thoughts) and also the things we are told we must do or else!
We’ve been doing this for over 5,000 years. Creating human pyramids to get our way in this world; it is a very human thing to do. And it’s worked way too well!
Wherever Amin and his family fled, they had to fear the RULES and CUSTOMS of every country and nation where they had FLED desperately seeking safety… seeking a HOME.
How we treat the least of us is a global issue! Is there any place on Earth where humans have settled that can claim to be completely angelic and benevolent? Is there any nation, state, or city in the world from any time that has always made the right decisions at the right time, always and always and always… like a GOD or an angel?
I think my friend is a bit jealous of the USA’s status in the world because he knows his Functional Hierarchy is just a wish-dream. It is his performance; his great show in the world of men and their endless games of one-upmanships. Yes, indeed these are ships made out of thoughts built like pyramids. These Functional Vessels sail every day to the twin continents of Doom and Disaster.
This mansplayer knows very well where he’s going, and he also knows that he will never captain a ship as BIG as the Good’Old USA. But who cares?! He knows if he crows loud enough, long enough that we all just cry out: Hip, Hip Hooray–for that’s just what we say when another ship sets sail to the Land of Doom or Disaster!
Now, being pretty beyond pissed, I pressed him again:
I don't think you are really talking about hierarchies as how you explain it in the above comment.
Rather you are describing a Heterarchy, but this is your thinking and work, so you are absolutely free to name it whatever you like.
And, the And Now What? team looks exceptional
As for who would I select? There is absolutely no one I would select to form a team to transform the Good'Old USA. There is no way I am in a position to see, understand, or hear all the voices and ideas that would be necessary to do such a thing... this country will either survive or it will die, as things in this world have always done.
And to be clear... I am of the USA... but I am not of the fraction in the USA who are dead set... "to take-over by force" (as you put it) ...the rest of the world. Nor do I "fear losing the dominance" in the world, nor do I "take for granted" that the USA has dominance or that my Whiteness gives me privilege in the world as we know it. And, I am not alone in knowing this... and in the face of the pressure to conform to the Mold, I resist it, as do many others here in USA and as reports come on in Russia, despite the threat of death there, while here, it harassment, lost opportunities, and hate.
I must surmise your opinion of the United States is as low as your opinion is of Russia. I suspect you are implying that the US flows in the very same vein and mindset of World Domination and Control as Russia, China, North Korea, the unincorporated state of Trump, the unincorporated state of Elon Musk, and anyone else with power, authority, or money who can make others submit to them.
But be careful of over generalizing systems. They are always so much more complicated than you can fully see and comprehend. This is why I remain highly suspicious of hierarchies, even highly evolved, functional hierarchies, because when it comes down to it... it is only made up of men (and a few token women).
I might suggest that I am like a very small cell like an antibody reacting and responding to an overwhelming spiritual-psychological-psychic Viral Infection that seeks devastation and to do harm to pretty much anyone who is not on the "inside" of the infection.
And this infection is everywhere, not just Russia-USA, it is inside every human being on the planet, including myself... one can only acknowledge the infection is real, it is deadly, and it will not stop until human life is brought to its ultimate demise (self-inflicted and totally avoidable)...
I find by the way, the youngest humans among us are the wisest and healthiest. If I had to depend on someone to carry me to a safe spot because I ran out of energy (due to fighting against the overwhelming infection that I know is inside of me and everyone else and an infection that I know I cannot by myself overcome) I would choose the youngest among us in the infected country formerly known as the USA.
He responds with the infamous:
When people do this on FakeBook when there clearly is not a sickness, death, despair, or trauma, it means: “Fuck off” … with a smile.
By the way, Alan Watts says the best leaders are the most Selfish! What he means by this are individuals who have thought about what being Selfish means. Alan Watts says it so much better!
Anticipating Mansplayer would not be able to explain to me why I should trust a functional hierarchy to save the world, I did my own research. This is what I found.
Heterarchyvs Hierarchy vs Anarchy
In a hierarchy, if A is over B, and B is over C, then A is over C — your basic pecking order. In a heterarchy, though, you can have A over B, B over C, and C over A. Think of the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Paper covers rock; rock crushes scissors; scissors cut paper. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
“A heterarchy of values determined by the topology of nervous nets.” — Warren McCulloch’s 1945 essay
A HETERARCHICAL SYSTEM In a heterarchy, as opposed to a hierarchy, there is no “top” or “bottom” ranking. However, unlike in an anarchy, there is superiority and inferiority as each element is activated in some circumstances and inhibited in others. McCulloch calls these circular configurations of neurons: “dromes of diallels.”
Copyright Strat for 2016 www.stratfor.com
This is a fascinating article in Forbes: Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time. You need to read the whole thing yourself, if you are interested in this idea, but here are a few parts that really capture my excitement in discovering this word I did not know existed.
Interestingly enough -- and here's where both problems and possibilities start popping up -- this circular logic is identical to what Nobel economist Kenneth Arrow described as the "Voter's Paradox." The problem goes all the way back to the late 18th century when it was identified by Marquis de Condorcet. Consider the case in which one faction prefers candidate A over B and candidate B over C; a second, equal faction prefers B over C and C over A; and a third faction prefers, you guessed it, C over A and A over B. The choice that eventually gets made will not be a reflection of the real preference of the whole society, but will instead result from "irrational" and arbitrary issues like who voted first and who voted last. And over time and subsequent elections, the decision may cycle from one choice to another with no apparent reason. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
Why the quotation marks around "irrational"? Because in the analysis of the relationship between hierarchy and heterarchy, it is precisely the definition of what counts as rational that is at stake. As McCulloch explained:
“Circularities in preference instead of indicating inconsistencies, actually demonstrate consistency of a higher order than had been dreamed of in our philosophy. An organism possessed of this nervous system — six neurons — is sufficiently endowed to be unpredictable from any theory founded on a scale of values. It has a heterarchy of values, and is thus internectively too rich to submit to a summum bonum [highest good].”
Now there is a phrase to conjure with: "internectively too rich to submit to a summum bonum." This sounds like the Middle East. Or the geopolitical, global problematique. Or the Republican primaries in the United States. Or the problems of the European Union.
The problem with heterarchy, and the challenge to making it work, is not the lack of hierarchy, but too many competing hierarchies. And that's the reality we live in. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
"Heterarchy" is an unwieldy word. Our ongoing discussion group on making heterarchy work eventually abandoned the word when one of our members looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary and found the definition to be "rule by aliens." That's not what we meant at all. Despite its unwieldiness, and shadows of aliens, though, the term recommends itself for the way it mediates the dialectic between hierarchy and anarchy. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
As Francis Fukuyama showed in The Origins of Political Order, the first hierarchies were imposed by "strongmen" and then later justified by ancestor worship and a priestly caste. From all we can determine, primitive hunter-gatherer bands were heterarchical. Teamwork joining different skills was necessary to bag a woolly bison. But no one leader called for deference to a summum bonum.
With the transition from nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers to larger settlements with agricultural surpluses, patriarchy and hierarchy were required to maintain some degree of order. As my colleague in this space, Ian Morris, argues in his several books, the bargain we humans made with hierarchies might strike a visiting Martian as odd once it compares the life of the unencumbered hunter-gatherer with the lives of later citizens suborned under often onerous hierarchies. But once you start down that road toward hierarchy, from the point of view of defense and security, bigger is almost always better. So there is a natural logic of larger, more powerful hierarchies conquering and subsuming smaller, less powerful hierarchies.
Next thing you know, people are talking about "the American Century," or "the Chinese Century," as if it is perfectly natural that some nation must be number one. I recall an invitation to give a talk at Rand a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The concern at Rand was how to manage a "unipolar world" now that the bipolar order of the Cold War had come to an end. I tried to tell the researchers at Rand about heterarchy ... but they were not interested. There was a mindset there, a hierarchical mindset, that insisted that somebody must be "number one," and it better be us.
You see this mindset at play in the well-worn epithet of the lion as "king of the jungle." Who says that the jungle has to have a king? The jungle is not a political order, however many alpha male gorillas may roam its paths. The jungle is an ecology -- an incredibly complex web of metabolisms, relationships and interactions, some of which may be hierarchical. But there is no summum bonum in the jungle. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
Three Types of Hierarchies
Chapter 25 of Philip Bobbitt’s Shield of Achilles. In those 60 pages, Bobbitt develops three scenarios:
As you will not be surprised to hear, these scenarios and their names can be associated with certain geopolitical avatars, namely, North America for the wide open Meadow, Europe for the publicly managed Park, and East Asia for the ethnocentric Garden. "In a meadow all is profusion, randomness, variety. A park is for the most part publicly maintained, highly regulated with different sectors for different uses. A garden is smaller, more inwardly turned -- it aims for the sublime, not the efficient or the just."
Bobbitt then explores a range of drivers and trends, possible events and challenging decisions prior to the articulation of the three scenarios in which all of these elements play out in different ways. In my humble opinion, the truly remarkable climax of Bobbitt's very long book is the elegant construction of the heterarchy of choices playing out in the global geopolitical dynamic involving the United States, Europe and East Asia. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
If you read this far, you should go to the full article: Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes — 2/4/16 and read carefully all the possible scenarios of the three different ways the 3 different ways of organizing hierarchies interact and lead to global outcomes. . No wonder my ex-friend is terrified, but then again, he is trying to solve an impending cataclysm with yet another type of hierarchy.
Hmmm… yeah… like that is going to work after more than 5,000 years of increasingly dysfunctional myopic hierarchies!
For five centuries, the State has evolved according to epoch-making cycles of war and peace. But now our world has changed irrevocably. What faces us in this era of fear and uncertainty? How do we protect ourselves against war machines that can penetrate the defenses of any state? Visionary and prophetic, The Shield of Achilles looks back at history, at the “Long War” of 1914-1990, and at the future: the death of the nation-state and the birth of a new kind of conflict without precedent.
Mythos and Melodrama in the Philippines
Another thing about hierarchies is that they can go sideways fast. Big ones can. Little ones can. Corporate ones can. Non-profit ones can. Peace-loving ones can. Bottom line, if humans build a hierarchy to run something, it seems too tempting for humans not to take advantage of it.
Also, governments of any kind are dealing with a lot of information, pushes and pulls, demands, crises, polls, budgets, public opinion (that is by definition pretty variable depending on the day) and so many more things. So to take a country like Russia or the USA and make the comments my ex-fakebook friend said is a pretty naive and ignorant thing to say.
This episode on Throughline is very compelling. If you want to see how easy it is for a hierarchy to go sideways, listen to this one.
Corruption. Wealth. Authoritarianism. Torture. These are the words many people associate with Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines, and his wife, Imelda. But in 1965, on the day of his presidential inauguration, clad in bright white traditional Filipino clothing, Ferdinand and Imelda were the picture of hope and progress: the Camelot of the Philippines. They styled themselves as mythical figures with a divine right to rule, even as their democratic ascent reached a dictatorial peak.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled for two decades. And then, in 2022, more than thirty years after his death, the Philippines elected a new president: Ferdinand's son, Bongbong. Both in his campaign and since taking office, Bongbong has evoked the Marcos era as a golden age — effectively, rewriting history.
Welcome to the "Epic of Marcos." In this tale of a family that's larger than life, Ferdinand Marcos is at the center. But the figures that surround him are just as important: Imelda, his muse; Bongbong, his heir; and the United States, his faithful sidekick. The story of the Marcos family is a blueprint for authoritarianism, laying out clearly how melodrama, paranoia, love, betrayal and a hunger for power collide to create a myth capable of propelling a nation.
Today on the show, the rise, fall, and resurrection of a dynasty — and what that means for democracy worldwide.
The Freedom of Speech
Another thing about hierarchies is that they need to select and enforce the values that matter. But just as I was needling my ex-friend, how are these values selected? Are we conscious of them or not?
This episode of THROUGHLINE goes through the history and conscious and unconscious biases of the USA selecting and enforcing just one value: Freedom of Speech. If you are interested in this process, take a listen. It is worth your while!!
Book bans, disinformation, the wild world of the internet. Free speech debates are all around us.What were the Founding Fathers thinking when they created the First Amendment, and how have the words they wrote in the 18th century been stretched and shaped to fit a world they never could have imagined? It's a story that travels through world wars and culture wars. Through the highest courts and the Ku Klux Klan. What exactly is free speech, and how has the answer to that question changed in the history of the U.S.?
Most anarchists are disappointed hierarchists. From Mikhail Bakunin to Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, anarchists have taken potshots at the failings of hierarchy: They shoot holes in the purported legitimacy of exercises of authority, whether by the divine right of kings or the use of violence to impose subordination.
As Francis Fukuyama showed in The Origins of Political Order, the first hierarchies were imposed by "strongmen" and then later justified by ancestor worship and a priestly caste. From all we can determine, primitive hunter-gatherer bands were heterarchical. Teamwork joining different skills was necessary to bag a woolly bison. But no one leader called for deference to a summum bonum[the highest good, especially as the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system].
-- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time
So in summary of the Forbe’s article and Throughline episode, hierarchies can be concluded understood as:
Organic vs Mechanical World View — More From Alan Watts
Throughout this series I have been trying to explain two fundamentally different ways of looking at our world, one characteristic predominantly of the West and the other of the East. And these might be called, respectively, the way of description as opposed to the way of seeing. The way, in other words, of understanding things in words or in terms contrasted with the way of understanding through looking and seeing a field or a subject totally all at once. Or you might call these the linear view (strung out in a line) or the total view (seeing all at once), or the serial view on the one hand as contrasted with the simultaneous view on the other. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, in classical Western science we have depended largely on this serial or analytic view, which understands the world by translating it into ideas, into words, or into, say, even series of numbers. The basic feature of it being that things are understood in a step-by-step way in sequence. And insofar as we constantly look at nature in that way, we tend to think of nature as something constructed—something, in other words, made or put together as we ourselves make and put things together through a series of steps. And perhaps this gives us the feeling that if we understood nature sufficiently, if we understood in full detail all the steps which go to the making of our universe, we could ourselves make it. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, it’s here, you see, that we get a very fundamental contrast between East and West, and especially through Chinese and Japanese ideas of the formation of nature. Because for them it seems extremely odd to think of nature as being constructed or made by a sort of step-by-step procedure.Their feeling is rather that the world and its forms are not so much constructed as grown. And one of the most important keys to an understanding of Far Eastern thought is to see the difference between a view of a constructed world and a grown world. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, to give a sort of crazy illustration of this: supposing I construct something—for example, an artificial flower—and you know, when you get instructions, how to do this, and you buy a book of do-it-yourself artificial flowers, you get a step-by-step procedure which tells you what to do. Step one: take a piece of wire with a black button and fix it to the end. Step two: take the stamens previously cut out and affix it to the button. Next step: insert a disk of sticky material, push the wire through the middle, and then affix the petals. Here they go. And notice that, as I put them on, I take them from outside and around me—things that are bits—and I bring these bits together to make the flower a construction, or whatever form it is that I’m intending to create. And so from going around to the center, from getting something that was previously pieces and bringing it all together, I get my flower. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
But now watch how an actual flower grows; how it starts, as it were, from the center. And it unfolds itself not bit by bit, but all the parts of the flower exfoliating together from the center outwards, in contrast to the making process, which goes from the outside inwards. From a situation where the parts are originally all apart (all in bits) and then assembled, contrasting with a situation where you have some simple beginning (like a seed or a bud), and as it expands it constellates or forms its own parts from within itself. And this is the fundamental process of natural growth. It’s in the same way that the human baby is formed within the womb. It’s in the same way that, if you watch crystals under a microscope forming a solution, you will notice the whole area of the crystal, the whole structure of the crystal, coming into being all together at once, and you will not see a kind of bit-by-bit assemblage which we use when we make machines or make houses or make tools. Even when we carve a block of wood—although the block of wood is not originally a lot of distinct parts, nevertheless we work upon it from the outside towards the inside, whereas all processes of growth go from the inside to the outside. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, in our current scientific way of thinking in the West, this kind of growth, this kind of formation, is always talked about in terms of what we call field theory; fields of force. And I suppose one of the most striking exhibitions of what a field is can be seen in looking at the formation of magnetic lines of force in iron filings—as when we take filings that are not magnetized, just thrown chaotically over an area, and then, with the magnets underneath, notice that all the filings form together into a pattern, the whole area moving together, every single part of it simultaneously into its shape. And that shows us the whole nature of a field of force. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
(Blab, blab, blab…I skipped a lot of important stuff from his talk to get to the part that links up to my inquiry about hierarchies vs heterarchies, but what Watts says here is exactly what Jay Ogilvy is sharing in the article in Forbes)
And then, in turn, in the field there is a structure, and the structure of the field is thought of as governing the formation of the universe. And you may remember that, in the last program, I gave you a particular Chinese world which meant the basic pattern or order of the world. Do you remember this word, which is pronounced lǐ, and which had as its original meaning “the markings in jade,” “the fiber in muscle,” or “the grain in wood.” This word, then, designates the basic structure within the tao, within the fundamental field of the world, and thus its order—which can be, as it were, understood by looking at it, but is too complex, too much happening so fast all together at once, for us ever to be able to analyze it in the relatively clumsy language of words. Now thus, you see, it seems to us that that order is enormously complex. The order of nature, the order of beauty, the order of ethics—all these kinds of orders baffle us when we try to think about them bit by bit. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
But actually this order is only a complicated order when we try to think about it. I mean, it’s very simple, isn’t it, to drink water if you put it in a cup or a glass and toss it down. But it would be extraordinarily complex if one tried to drink water with a fork. And in the same way, the world and the order of the world, the activity within the field, seems incredibly complicated to us when we try to translate it into thinking and into words. But this, then, is the fundamental Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhist view of how the formations of the world arise. Not by a step-by-step process which can be put down in a line like the instructions for making the flower, but by something which happens spontaneously all together at once. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
For more on Mansplaining and Other cruel things people to on FAKEBOOK and other social media outlets, see:
All this writing about Transformation has made me remember that I wrote a blog about this very idea 6 years ago, way back when I started this blogging business (which is a pretty useless one at that).
One of my very early posts was titled Is Collective Transformation Possible? It was sandwich between my Girl With Dragon and Divine Dodo series. Also, I had just finished my Women’s March Documentary documenting why thousands (millions) of women and men around the world gathered to march against Trump and after doing all that work, well, yes, I was hoping some people would watch it…at least some of it…and commune with me about some of the really important issues people were bringing up. We all felt what TRUMP stood for and it was revolting. But no one really watched my documentary and NO ONE communed (communicated) with me about any of the issues explored in my Women’s March Documentary, except my REAL friends in Germany.
I joined hundreds of Facebook groups to meet liked-minded people who might care. It was so exciting and so hopefully for a minute, then my time of constriction came.
I knew it was coming. I could feel it. It had been building up for quite some time. But no one I was talking to then understood what I was talking about. I told this one group that felt itself to be an extremely rare group of enlightened beings, that I needed to go through a very small hole or to make a very difficult journey. They just smiled politely and said: “Oh, maybe you’re already on the other side? Maybe you’re already HERE!!”
And when my time of constriction gripped me with such despair that death sounded more pleasant that life and thoughts of violent murder and suicide floated continuously through my mind… all these NEW, hopeful, FAKE friends vanished like THE NOTHING. Many of my physical friends did too.
I was left to navigate my inner DARKNESS where a good part of my inner collective wanted me dead. I was drawing my journey. I was documenting my descent. But you know what Mansplanyer said to me at a point of crisis, a time when I simply needed a compassionate listener and occasional cheerleader? He told me he didn’t think the Dodo was a good look for me and I shouldn’t continue… people might get the wrong impressions!
Well…DUH, Duh, duh! Do you see what is happening to Dodo? He’s being crucified for GOD’s sakes! Don’t you think I know DEAD is not a GOOD look?
As my inner collective divided into fighting factions–some aspects of myself wanted to help me, other aspects not so much, my exterior collective crumbled as well. These were the real life people who said they were my friends but they dried up like the Great Salt Lake, leaving nothing to help me during a very difficult time–a kind word, likes of my blog posts, regular comments on my Facebook page–would have meant so much to me at this time.
The System of Facebook is not set up to operate with kindness and compassion. Rather it is set up for Performers to Perform.
I would soon learn all these “NEW” friends were FAKEFRIENDS. They were happy to court my attention IF (and only IF) I FOLLOWED THEM. The more blindly I followed, the more FAKE ATTENTION they might throw my way, and even that was ify. Most just had to be constantly admired!
This behavior is called Bread Crumbing or Baiting. It is an aspect of a significant psychological disorder called Narcissism. And FAKEBOOK is especially calculated up to cater to Narcissists and for people suffering from the opposite imbalance of this disorder: the ECHO Personality.
I was an echo that nobody missed when my voice began to fail and fade.
I chose to surround myself and to trust people who were nesting, in hollow holonic circular thoughts that spun round and round shrinking, sinking, shrieking point of consciousness that was cut off from true human understanding.
I pulled the Cloak of Darknessand Doubt over my own head and descended into HELL.
To be a genuine human being requires self-sacrifice. It requires suspension of thinking and judgement. It requires listening, sometimes for hours and hours and hours, as someone else wails in grief and despair due to the circumstance of their life. To be alive, to be a real authentic human being requires give and take… not just take, take, take… and abandoning others when they become a burden to you.
To be a trustworthy person, you have to be a person that another person can TRUST to be there when TIMES are TOUGH. This might require sitting for hours and hours in complete silence just being with another human being who is being crushed by their circumstances. It is only people who are capable of doing this who can be TRUSTED with AUTHORITY. Only people who other people can depend on to BE THERE when YOU NEED THEM can be trusted with the Authority to make decisions for the Greater Good, which might very well require the Sacrifice of Self.
Just like what is going on in Ukraine right now… hundreds of thousands of men and women are STANDING UP, STANDING AGAIST BRUTALITY… TO HELL with my MANSPLAYER ex friend who equates the USA with Russia! I STAND WITH UKRAINE! I stand with every person doing creative acts of resistance as well as every person fighting, killing other people to defeat Russia NOW!
This is the stuff my father did. He was never called to serve in a war. He was a listener. He provided compassionate assistance to anyone for as long as they needed it! He was a healer. He gave his time, his money, his life for others. This is how the world is saved… not by abandoning each other when we need each other the most because it takes too much TIME! Time is all we have… and how we value our time decides the type of world we live inside.
Saving the World is not the stuff being hocked on FakeBook or pretty much anywhere you look or turn for security and comfort (not comfortable but for solace and support) in our modern, overly complicated, pyramid-based world.
We made this world out of thoughts! It is a world that forces every civilized person to Hold the Mold of their cult–ture, of their caste, of their race (because the Modern World is extremely racists), of their economic situation, and of their place in the social order (all the hierarchies in which they live and must navigate to work, to play, to live).
The Modern World was built by narcissists to lift up narcissists that is why narcissist are rising to the Top of Likes like frothy bubbles on FakeBook, this is why they rise and hold the highest levels of power in almost every modern human civilization on Earth–each one built out of pyramid schemes. That is why everybody wants to be a narcissist in our world or at least they need to learn to play with narcissistic people and like it. Because that is how you wield POWER in the physical world NOW.
If you aspire to be a narcissist,FakeBook is the place for you! There are so many narcissists playing and sparring with each other on FakeBook. And there are so many echoes (like ME) attracted to all the glittery, sparkly thoughts, ideas, wishes, and dreamsthe narcissists spin. But, they are simply spinning hollow holonic nests of dead and dying thoughts. And the spinning of these expiring, nesting thoughts creates a vortex that has a suck. And if you get sucked into one of these vortex (most often it is one of your own making), you are heading straight down to HELL.
I knew what was happening to me, inside and outside of me, 6 years ago. And, The Dodo knew that I had pulled the Cloak of Darkness and Dark over my head. The Dodo knew I did this to myself, but the Dodo did not judge… he was just there providing glimmering specks of creative imagination, LIGHT—sparks of light (but not thinking light), that were guiding me through HELL.
And the Dodo was the one thing that Mansplayer didn’t want me to have. He told me to give up the Dodo, to stop drawing him!!! And, I did stop drawing him, but I also stopped following the Mansplayer. But I was still in HELL; however now, without my guide, the dumb, stupid Dodo! HELL is a place of our own making... HELL is where you doubt yourself! Doubt is the Dark Force!
In this old post where I wonder if Collective Transformation is possible, I provide a list and links to all the wonderful people I was meeting on Facebook 6 years ago. I cannot recommend any of these people today. Not the artists, musicians, or writers who are listed, but the people who made me DOUBT myself. These people I cannot recommend.
These people know who they are. They are the ones playing at DOING something to SAVE the WORLD. But they can’t even SAVE THEMSELVES much less take a MOMENT in their very busy days to HELP anyone else who is drowning.
“OH NO!” You’ll hear them yell. “I can’t stop. You’ll slow me down! You’re too much of a burden in this state of despair. I’m the only one who can SEE more, RUN faster, TRAVEL farther than ALL the REST!! I’m the only one who can SAVE the WORLD!!!!”
All of them yell this. Mansplayers and Womansplayers, there are hundreds of thousands of them all yelling different version of this chant night and day…telling you (begging you) to follow them! But the only place you are going to go if you follow them is down because without the super powers of kindness, compassion, love… these people, all of them, are just hypoallergenichollow holonic nesters spinning around and around a vortex of their own making, drilling deeper and deeper into the darkest parts of themselves on streams of endless thoughts.
You are MONSTERS…you people who pretended to care about me and then abandoned me when I really needed a helping hand. You, the ones who treated me as if I were the contagion, while in reality it is you suffering from the most prolific pandemic of our MODERN time: Narcissism and Supreme Ignorance created by OVERTHINKING. This is the Greatest EVIL of our TIME. We are all vulnerable to it but some fight it off better than others.
I don’t know how I survived this time. It lasted for more than 6 years! But the story that my very dear friend from college told me about her suicide attempt somehow stopped me from mine. Today, I don’t think Collective Transformation is possible, even though this is what my story is about. The one I have been writing since 2012.
Have a GREAT DAY! And, remember, GO FOR IT! Follow your passion and whatever you do, keep moving, don’t stop!
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
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!
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!
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?"
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!
The Lorax rallies all the animals and tries again to make the young Once-ler listen and understand.
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.'
Nope, the Once-ler won’t listen. He builds an even bigger factory, and one even bigger than that one.
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."
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!'
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 that… Unless...
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:
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.
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 UsAbout 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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 leaders—and 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.
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?"
"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.
"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
In the second episode of Shantaram, available on AppleTV, Lin steps out of his friend Prabaker’s tent in one of Bombay’s sprawling slums. He looks around at all the people in the bustling slum who are looking at him and wonders if they are afraid of him and hate him. He knows he doesn’t belong there, but fate has put him there.
Thinking to himself, he says something like this: “It is what people know about themselves that make them afraid of you.“
In A World…
I rewound and watch this moment again. I was not expecting a nugget of wisdom in this drama. But, there it was…something real, something true, something very pertinent to the world we live in now. Today, no matter where you live, we live in a world….
…where MAGA Republicans think all Democrats are evil beings who drink the blood of children. This belief makes liberals and Democrats not really human. If they aren’t really human, then that makes it all right to kill them, all of them.
“Oh? You don’t believe me?”
Listen to this man right here. He’s the man with the littlest Wiennie of them all. The man in the middle touting hate, lies, deception, stories of separation, fear, and division. He’s Steve Bannon.
This little man, Trump’s Rasputin, knows that a democracy divided is easy to control. And he wants to control everything. Look at his beady eyes and scrubby stubble. He’s a tormented man doing everything to create confusion, chaos, and destruction so he can rise as a Christ for a world of sinners. If you have not seen CNN’s special report Divided We Fall, it is time to watch it.
“Oh — you don’t trust CNN?“
“You say it’s the radical left touting Joe Biden’s radical agenda…and before that it was Hillary….and before that it was Obama…and before and before…”
How far back should we go with the blame game and ‘I don’t trust you‘ contest? To Adam and Eve? Is it really that nasty little snake who started it all?
If you’re playing this game, you have already swallowed the Red Pill, and it’s working its toxic poison deep inside of you. It’s a poison that makes you deeply afraid of others and deeply afraid ofyour own shadow. And, you probably should be deeply afraid of your own shadow.
That is what Lin is aware of while standing alone in the slum of Bombay. That sneaky shadow that lives inside all of us casting its evil intensions and desires onto everyone else, except for you.
If you are playing this game, you have joined the ranks of people who violently participate in the denial of diversity. You do this to legitimize yourown violent fear of anyone who doesn’t walk like you, talk like you, look like you, act like you, or think like you. You secretly believe and harbor a wish to bring into being a world that obeys and worships you.
The dirty little secret is hidden deep inside of you is a greedy, little, bloodthirsty thing who rages and whines about inflicting pain and suffering onto others. You want to do this so that you can enjoy your comforts and privileges. You need to do this because how would you know you are enjoying comforts and privileges unless others are suffering?
When you get called out on your racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and racism, you rage. You rage against the radical liberals who are merely pointing out your evil shadow. But, you don’t want to see the evil inside of you. So you build a wall. It’s a really tall wall that is made from the seething anger and rage boiling inside of you. If anyone gets too near, it burns like a living fire.
‘God damn it!’ if anyone is going to penetrate you inner wall and see that howling, wounded, frighten, greedy thing that lives inside of you.
That thing…. that scoundrel, that fiend, rascal, rogue, fraudster, trickster, beast, son of a bitch, deviant thing, loser, weirdo, cry baby, stupid brutal bastard, and bully. But guess what? So am I, and so is everyone else you know. We all have this evil thing living inside of us.
It never goes away. It bubbles and boils and burns inside us all. It pursues and terrorizes us in our dreams. Lin says, “A dream is when a wish and fear come together. A nightmare is when they are the same thing.”
Remaining ignorant of your evil being merely locks it inside of you where it is hidden behind the carefully constructed idea of yourself (your persona: the role you play in your community and for your family). It is your personal internal prison cell behind the giant wall that you built to conceal your evil being. You built the wall so well, most of the time you can’t even see your evil being locked inside your mental prison cell with you.
This thing inside of you is relentless and torments you night and day. In an act of utter desperation, you spew it out onto others and shout in a voice dripping with rage and fury:
“There! There is the boogeyman!
There is the Devil!
There is the Evil Thing that must be annihilated!”
Or, if the other person (the boogeyman) was once part of your exclusive club of people who know the Truth and what is really going on, you might shout:
“Hang Mike Pence!!”
In a world where Putin calls the people of Ukraine Nazis. Never mind he is the one acting like the Nazi. He is the one full of hate. He is the one who has driven out close to a million Russian men because they don’t want to fight in his barbaric, poorly equipped, and pretty bad army. He is losing. So he resorts to lies and double downs on stupid while waging his limp, impotent Nuclear Weiner.
Do not be fooled by Putin’s weak, victim-based, impotent hysterics! He is exactly the type of man who would push the button.
In a world where Iran’s Moral Police beat up and kill young women simply for wearing their hijab too loosely. But it is themselves they are really policing. They are afraid that if they see a single strand of hair sticking out from a hijab, their Limp Weak Weiner will grow. And if this happens, they are afraid they’ll lose control and turn into the Devils they know themselves to really be deep, deep down inside. This corrupt and bankrupt regime has already killed 272 young people and beaten and/or tortured 1,110 others.
In each world outlined above, each man’s rigid, inflexible thinking and bullshit is camouflage for the shitty little men they really are. They lust after power and cluster together helping each other hold onto power and control in their stinking palaces riddled with long, long corridors of terror.
Maps of Hate
This is what the corruption is and this is what it does to human beings. It is a kind of moral bankruptcy. It takes root inside individuals who find each other and clump together in groups that try to take control in order to enforce their style and way of thinking. If they do get control, they quickly create systems that exclude diversity and impose their way of doing things in brutal ways meant to terrorize everyone else into compliance. When a government becomes populated by such individuals, it turns into a structural system of terror bent on brutalizing anyone who is not exactly like them.
There are three main mappable categories of this deadly psychic virus: Dictators, Terror Groups, and Hate Groups. But the corruption lives inside everyone and is readily expressed in every day transactions. You see it in families, in workplaces, in schools, between friends and lovers. It thrives in ignorance and lack of self-awareness. It particularly loves to reside inside narcissists!
Dictators of the World
This is a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the world's current dictators and authoritarian regimes. In 2022, there are 57 dictatorships in the world. We define a dictator as the ruler of a land rated “Not Free” by the Freedom House in their annual survey of freedom. See the interactive map and photos below or click to visit the current dictators category.
Of course, the dictators of the world will point to all the yellow areas of this map and claim, “There! There is the evil capitalists who are draining the world of resources and polluting our planet!”
They are not entirely wrong, expect they think in black and white, good and evil,right and wrong. They split the world into opposite halves. Then, they step inside the Good Bubble, created entirely inside their mind and spew out their pent-up boiling hate, vengeance, and destructive tendencies on everyone else. They never take responsibility for themselves. They are the consummate victim, and always the hero in their narcissistic story. And so, it is in this way that we (the human race) will split the planet into two unreconcilable halves and all die together in a seething puddle of hate.
One step behind dictators and authoritarian rulers of the world are terror groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS, and Taliban (which actually managed to retake control of Afghanistan bumping them back up to the dictator map above). The map below shows terror groups around the world and provides a list of largest terrorist groups worldwide.
These are groups of people who twist words and religions to bolster their brutal causes. They are mostly stateless centers of terror who are trying to grab some land and people who they can crush and ruin.
Overall Terrorism Index Score: GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators: incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage. To measure the impact of terrorism, a five year weighted average is applied.
One step behind terror groups are hate groups. Rather than centering their brutal activities in one spot or country, hate groups operate like a distributed network that hock, sell, and propagate hate. It is easier than ever to breed hate with the advent of the Internet and people who live their lives online.
Hate groups traffick outrage and outlandish accusations designed to divide the world into Us and Them, into people you can trust and people you can’t trust. Hate groups are insidious and invade peoples minds like a drug. Once you become addicted to hate, it is an addiction that is harder to kick than heroin. It is a poison to your mind that is more destructive than Meth. Hate literally changes the neural pathways of your brain.
The following images are from Jigsaw, an incredible website that helps you visualize hate.
Another excellent mapping project is the Hate-Map using real time data of hate events to create a map that shows hotspots and how hate is growing worldwide.
The Hate Map is populated with data submitted both by our internal researchers, the public and our network of volunteers. This data largely stems from publicly available news-sources and consolidations of information from other public data-sets and records. Existing records are however often limited in scope and fail to give a comprehensive picture of the global activities of the far right ranging from spread of propaganda and low-level activities through major terrorist incidents.
All data in the Hate Map is verified and quality controlled by internal researchers who are experts on far right extremism and experienced in the field of open source intelligence (OSINT) building on public sources and providing verifiable documentation before it is made available in our public-facing database and dashboard. Our researchers take great care to verify sources where there might exist any doubt. Links to external sources are provided for all our database entries in order to ensure that the public further can verify any incident independently.
Our dataset is cross referenced against the work of other institutions and organizations mapping the far right in order to ensure as comprehensive a picture of the global situation of the far right as possible, in keeping with the highest academic standards.
The Hate Map is a living document and both recent and historic events are added and verified on a daily basis. -- The Hate-Map
Regardless of if you are a dictator; an authoritarian ruler; a leader or member of a terror group; a leader or member of a hate group; a narcissistic boss, sibling, friend, or parent, you play from the same dirty handbook. That book repeats one mantra over and over, which is to inflict as much pain, terror, and suffering on your enemy (which is anyone who does not agree with you) while constantly claiming to be the victim. And if you can’t win that way, then you have the right to destroy everything.
This attitude, belief system, behavior is all a big cover up of who you really are. It is a smoke screen and distraction because deep, deep down inside yourself you feel inferior, impotent, dithering, confused, frighten, and like a limp Weiner. That’s why you run around the world hurting everyone else. If you can’t have it your way, then you want to be the first to destroy it!
Looking at these map, it is pretty clear we are not doing very well as species. No wonder we are not paying attention to Climate Change. Perhaps we won’t need to after all. The way things are going we will blow ourselves up before nature cleans us off the surface of the planet with climate disasters that are only getting bigger and more deadlier by the year… and this trend is only going bigger and badder not the other way.
Perhaps we all better stop, take a deep breathe, and listen to the Whale Songs again. The ones Vermont biologist Roger Payne captured and brought to us in the 1970s!
I realized this thing Lin said in the second episode of Shantaram is part of the puzzle of the Yetzer Harah.
I first heard about the Yetzer Harah while listening to Alan Watts lectures who describes it like this:
So, in Hebrew theology incidentally. That there is a thing called the yetzer harah. And in the beginning of time when God created Adam he implanted in him the yetzer hara and the yetzer hara means that wayward spirit. He put something funny in man so that man would be a little odd and it was a result of the yetzer hara that Adam was tempted by Eve who was tempted by the serpent to eat that famous fruit. And, but the Hebrew believes that everything that God created is good. Including the Yetzer Hara. Because if it hadn’t been for the yetzer hara, there would have nothing ever happened. Everybody would have obeyed God and God would have said well this is kind of a bore.
Now that you see, you can’t you can’t just get up to someone and say disobey me, because if they do there are varying you. See that’s a double bind. Say to somebody disobey me but God is much more subtle than that. He didn’t tell Adam to disobey he told him to obey.
But suddenly he put this yetzer hara thing in like that so that, God would say well I’m not responsible. For this thing’s going to happen on its own because what everybody wants is something to happen on its own. And everybody wants that.
Because you see, this sensation of being you. This curious lonely center of awkward sensitivity, subject to the most peculiar feelings and pains and anxieties and all that sort of thing all that. Is an essential prerequisite for feeling something else. These two experiences go together. -- 2.4.9 Way Beyond Seeking Part 2; Alan Watts Organization
In short, the Yetzer Harah is why we do evil things, why we fear people we don’t know, why we wage wars, why we cheat each other… pretty much why we are living in the mess we made of the world today.
Shantaram tells the story of how Lin made a mess of his life (surely guided by his inner Yetzer Harah that tempted him into making a lot of bad choices that landed him in prison). Then, Lin makes a courageous choice, escapes from prison, and gets a second chance to live his life, which he is messing up again–gosh darn it!
I’m only on episode 2…so Lin is probably going to embark on different mistakes. And I bet he is going to grow from these mistakes because Lin demonstrates the capacity to reflect on his new situation and past mistakes, which pushing open the door of the prison cell inside your head, just a little bit, but if you look…there is vast and beautiful field of wisdom beyond your prison cell behind your wall of ignorance.
Is wisdom perhaps the reason God implanted the Yetzer Harah into man at the very beginning?
I suppose we will never know because clearly we are going to kill each other long before we can collectively learn how to embrace diversity and celebrate life in all its many facets and ways of being in the world.
Images For Archetypal Animations
Feature Archetypal Animation
Music: Down the Rabbit Hole: Emma Wallace  Rabbit Hole 2:02
Second Archetypal Animation
I was searching for exactly what Lin said to himself when he woke up the first morning in his friends tent in the Bombay slum. I could not find it, but I found a lot of other great quotes from Gregory David Roberts who is the author of Shantarm. So, I have sprinkled these in between the credits of where I found the images for this animation.
“Civilisation, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“Fear dries a man’s mouth, and hate strangles him. That’s why hate has no great literature: real fear and real hate have no words.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love; the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing; the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
“While I was chained to a wall and being tortured, I realized, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,’ he said. ‘It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men – it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone – the noblest man alive or the most wicked – has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“There’s a truth deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless, usually, in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world, but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know that truth is to share it, from heart to heart, just as Prabhakar told it to me, just as I’m telling it to you now.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.” ~ Gregory David Roberts
Music: Shantaram (Chapter Four)Various Artists  Aeternum 9:16  Inner Fire – Yuriy from Russia Remix 9:15
Not long ago, in an extremely rare moment of bipartisan unity, Republicans and Democrats came together to discuss UFOs, now called unexplained aerial phenomena or UAPs by the military. It is the first Congressional meeting on the topic since 1969.
David listened into the hearing along with Mick West.
Mick West is a British science writer, skeptical investigator, and retired video game programmer. He is the creator of the websites Contrail Science and Metabunk, and he investigates and debunks pseudoscientific claims and conspiracy theories such as chemtrails and UFOs. Wikipedia
This short episode of This American Life is a curation of their discussion of the Congressional Hearing while they listened to military officials present a report to Congress that includes about 400 incidents, which is up from 143 assessed in a report released about a year ago.
Mick explained a lot of the unexplained aerial phenomena as camera artifacts such as these:
Scott W. Bray, the deputy director of Naval intelligence, told lawmakers there is no evidence of aliens, and they still haven’t uncovered anything “nonterrestrial in origin,” although there remain incidents they can’t explain.
That Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Real
Despite lacking physical evidence that proves the reality of UFOs (other than other explanations such as camera artifacts, mylar balloons, and contrails) that does not mean there isn’t something very real going on. Indeed, this unexplained phenomena is as old as man’s ability to articulate his experiences to others. What makes humans extraordinary on this planet is our shared ability to perceive and share physical reality through words, symbols, and ideas. Human beings also share the ability to perceive and make sense of inner realities. Indeed, mankind’s most spectacular ideas and inventions originate from this inner dimension of being.
Carl Jung is best known for his theories of the human subconscious and the idea he termed the Collective Unconscious. Through his practice as a psychiatrist, he came to believe humanity shares a subconscious mind that stores the memories of all human beings, dead and alive, that are available to us through images, visions, dreams, and other phenomena humans experience, especially at times of stress, trauma, life and death.
Jung wrote a book about UFO and paranormal phenomenon. Here are two summaries of this book:
While Jung is known mainly for his theories on the nature of the unconscious mind, he did have an interest in the paranormal. In this essay, Jung applies his analytical skills to the UFO phenomenon. Rather than assuming that the modern prevalence of UFO sightings are due to extraterrestrial craft, Jung reserves judgment on their origin & connects UFOs with archetypal imagery, concluding that they have become a "living myth." This essay is intriguing in its methodology & implications as to the nature of UFOs & their relation to the human psyche. -- GoodReads: Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies
In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets.... Even people who would never have thought that a religious problem could be a serious matter that concerned them personally are beginning to ask themselves fundamental questions. Under these circumstances it would not be at all surprising if those sections of the community who ask themselves nothing were visited by `visions,' by a widespread myth seriously believed in by some and rejected as absurd by others.--C. G. Jung, in Flying Saucers Jung's primary concern in Flying Saucers is not with the reality or unreality of UFOs but with their psychic aspect. Rather than speculate about their possible nature and extraterrestrial origin as alleged spacecraft, he asks what it may signify that these phenomena, whether real or imagined, are seen in such numbers just at a time when humankind is menaced as never before in history. The UFOs represent, in Jung's phrase, a modern myth. -- GoogleBooks Summary
Jung maintained throughout his life that man’s inner life, dreams, images, visions is real and carries a reality, a gravity that can be felt in our lives each and every day.
Reality Is Strange | We Need Inner Astronauts Now More Than Ever
Perhaps we need more inner astronauts willing and able to go where no man has gone before, equipped with abilities to chart our inner space, just as we do our outer space. Indeed, inner space may be far vaster than the universe, which may be a little phenomena of this vast inner space that we do not understand very much at all.
In a time of so much crisis, we need to learn how to better articulate inner weather and dangerous patterns just as we have learned to watch and predict weather patterns and identify dangerous patterns such as Hurricane Ian.
There have been many dangerous and horrible natural disasters this year, including devastating floods in Pakistan, acute heat waves and historically lower water levels in rivers throughout Europe, and increasingly bigger and deadlier fires worldwide (see 2022 International Wildfires: As of Sept. 8, the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) estimates that within European Union countries, between 2 million acres and 2.1 million acres have burned).
There is also dangerous and deadly inner weather that is sweeping the world. It travels on currents of propaganda, misinformation, lies, and conspiracy myths. Hurricane Putin is meaning the entire world with his threats of nukes, sabotaging his own pipeline (a play he used to get into power when he had apartment buildings blown up and blamed it on Chechen separatists), and the death, destruction, and torture of Ukrainians. His maniacal invasion of Ukraine rides on his strangle hold on power in Russia allowing him to infect and propagate a collective homicidal psychosis among his people. His and other strong arm actors in our world are distracting us and contributing to our collective failure to mitigate climate change while we still can.
Can you tell which pictures that are Putin’s hurricane of devastation and death and which are Ian?
Several days ago, I heard Rachel E. Gross interviewed on the The Takeaway about her new book “Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage.” Melissa Harris-Perry, the host, introduces Rachel saying:
Rachel's new book looks at the historical dis, miss, and lack of information about the bodies of people with vaginas, which includes women, trans men, intersex people, and non-binary people. In the introduction to her book, Rachel describes conversations she had with multiple scientists who tried to explain why we understand so much less about female anatomy and vaginas compared to male anatomy and penises.
Interesting things Rachel says about vaginas:
"When pressed, he and others acknowledged that this discrepancy at its heart is due to sexism within science and who is actually doing the investigating. For most of history, women, especially women of color, trans women, and women who are sexual minorities have been excluded from the supposedly universal endeavor. As I reported this book, it became clear to me that the two problems were inseparable. The marginalization of women's bodies from science is largely due to the marginalization of women from science."
"A huge theme in this book is that you only see what you expect to see and you can't see what you aren't looking for. That mostly comes up when we're talking about these older, usually male anatomists who are looking at female bodies and expecting to see something. They expected the female body to be reproductive, to be mostly about the uterus. To not really have that big a capacity for pleasure or for active dynamic processes going on."
"What they illustrated was very passive, a hole or a cave. The word vagina actually means a sheath, which suggests that its main role is to house a penis, which it is not. There definitely is a reimagining going on by a lot of new scientists and you can see that in the art throughout the book. Every chapter opens with an illustration that really looks at these organs in a new way. Usually, one that is active, dynamic, and resilient."
"Unfortunately, the idea of shame has really impacted the way that science, medicine, and people with this anatomy have viewed the "female body." There's a really strong pattern going back to Hippocrates of anatomists really insisting on naming these body parts after shame, especially the clitoris and the vulva. Hippocrates called all the genitals the shame parts, essentially, but that continued. Every time a French anatomist would, ''discover" the clitoris, he would name it the shame part."
"Even today you have words like Scham Lippin in German, which means the shame lips and refers to the labia. You have pudendum, which is an anatomical term that's hopefully being phased out, but it means the parts for which you should be ashamed. Again, it refers to only the vulva. Shame has really attached itself to the female genitals in particular, and that has affected the way science is done. There is a hesitancy of looking directly at this part of the body. There is a tendency to associate it with danger, sexuality in a negative light, the threat of pregnancy and STDs and disease."
"It's really blocked us from looking at the incredibly unexpected and expansive things that this system is doing. The ovaries are producing hormones that support body-wide health from bone health to heart health, to brain health. The uterus is one of the most regenerative organs in the body, and when it's not pregnant, just going through monthly menstruation, it's ushering stem cells and immune cells to heal this wound painlessly, it's creating new blood vessels and it's doing this every month on cue, and it probably has a lot to teach us about regenerative medicine in general but having looked at these organs with themes like shame and only reproduction in mind has really narrowed the view."
The female body has long been shamed by modern civilizations and many religions for centuries. Rachel says it has been colonized with the same imperial brutality inflicted on native peoples and the land worldwide. I think this is shameful: Man’s capacity to inflict brutality upon his fellow human beings and all life.
The Shame of Being a Sexual Being
Around the same time, I heard The TakeAway, I also listened to a lecture by Alan Watts about Repressed Sex. I never know where Synchronistic Stories are going to lead me, but this one seemed important.
Alan Watts artfully captures our confusion and shame around sex. Above is the video with his lecture and below is a transcript of it if you prefer to read. I’ll let you make your own connections, if you’re interested.
Transcript from video with time markings:
0:08 min Because naturally when you love someone 0:10 very much indeed in the enthusiasm and 0:13 ardor of youth you say things that are 0:18 hardly logical or rational you stand up 0:24 before an altar and you say my darling 0:25 my sweetheart my perfect pet I adore you 0:28 so much that I will live with you 0:30 forever and ever until death do us part 0:32 and that’s the way you feel at the time 0:36 in rather similar mood ancient peoples 0:40 would hail their kings and say O king 0:42 live forever obviously this was not 0:45 literally meant they were just wishing 0:48 him a long life but to live forever no 0:50 sir no mortal does that so the trouble 0:56 was you see that when certain kinds of 0:59 extravagant poetic expressions got in 1:04 the hands of people like Agustin and 1:06 Tertullian who were rather influenced by 1:10 Roman literalness they wrote it into the 1:13 law books and so this amazing situation 1:19 came about but we still have not fully 1:22 explored the subtlety of it let us 1:27 consider certain periods when this 1:31 attitude of PrudeISM towards sexuality 1:34 was in us in an ascendancy nearest to 1:38 our times is the bourgeois revolution 1:42 you might call it in Victorian England 1:45 and the United States we all say 1:48 Victorian as an adjective to indicate 1:51 grundyISM extreme monogamya definite 1:59 disgust for all things sexual and yet 2:04 when we really go into the history of 2:07 the Victorian period we find that it was 2:10 an extremely luscious 2:12 EPOC one has only to look at the 2:17 lushness the victorian furniture he 2:20 realized that chairs are disguised women 2:26 that the way even piano legs are shaped 2:30 when this kind of thing is throughout 2:33 Victorian art forms and the conduct of 2:37 the British aristocracy during that 2:39 period record description people like 2:45 Freud and Havelaar Kellis made certain 2:49 mistake yeah they said about the church 2:57 and about religion in general that it 2:59 was nothing but a form of sublimated sex 3:04 they said these people for curious 3:06 reasons suppressed sex and therefore it 3:09 becomes a very powerful force for them 3:14 you must remember of course that they 3:16 worked on a hydraulic analogy of human 3:18 psychology that they liken it all to a 3:21 river if you dammed it up that would 3:23 burst it down he doesn’t actually follow 3:26 that human psychology is hydraulic but 3:29 this is the metaphor they used now they 3:31 said the church has repressed sex but 3:34 actually if you look at its symbolism it 3:37 is nothing but an expression of sex 3:40 everything is reduced to libido as the 3:43 fundamental reality and the church 3:49 replied “It’s nothing of the kind we deny 3:52 this we think that this reduction of 3:55 everything for sex is just a way of 3:57 attacking holy things and on the 4:01 contrary we would say that people who 4:03 are fascinated with sex and make it 4:05 their God are replete are repressing 4:06 religion 4:11 now the problem in this debate everybody 4:13 missed the boat the church should have 4:18 been in a position to say to Freud well 4:20 of course 4:21 thank you very much ah yes indeed our 4:25 symbolism is sexual, the steeples on our 4:28 churches the vesicle shaped windows and 4:36 of suffer addict shields on which we put 4:39 images of the crucifix or the Virgin 4:42 Mother of God these are all quite 4:45 plainly sexual, but you see the sexual 4:49 biology in its term reveals the 4:53 mysteries of the universe; sex is not 4:56 mere sex sex is a holy thing and is one 5:04 of the most marvelous revelations of the 5:06 divine but imagine the church just 5:11 couldn’t say that if you look at Tibetan 5:16 Buddhist iconography they’re images or 5:20 you look in Hindu temples you will find 5:23 things that Europeans and Americans have 5:27 never been able to understand here are 5:30 images of Buddhas and of the gods 5:33 engaged in amazing diversions with their 5:37 female counterparts and everybody thinks 5:40 it needs a kind of dirty sculptures now 5:43 they are nothing of the kind they are 5:47 saying to the people who look at them 5:51 the play of man and woman is on that 5:57 level on the level of biology a 6:00 reflection of the fundamental play of 6:02 the cosmos the play of the positive and 6:06 negative principles of the light and the 6:08 dark of the mental and the material they 6:13 all play together and 6:17 the function of sexual play is not 6:22 merely the survival and utilitarian 6:24 function of reproducing the species as 6:27 it is among animals to a very large 6:29 extent what peculiarly distinguishes 6:33 human sexuality is that it brings the 6:38 partners closer and closer to each other 6:42 in an intense state of United feeling in 6:46 other words it is a sacrament the output 6:48 and visible sign of an inward and 6:50 spiritual grace bringing about love and 6:54 so if that is peculiar to human beings 6:58 it is perfect nonsense to degrade human 7:02 sexuality by saying it should only be 7:04 carried on in the way that the animals 7:06 do theirs because they have not yet as 7:11 it were evolved to the place where sex 7:13 is the sacramental expression of man and 7:19 woman’s love and this love in that sense 7:23 is a kind of enthusiasm which means a 7:27 being possessed by the Divine falling in 7:32 love although considered by practical 7:35 people to be a sort of madness is 7:38 actually the same sort of thing as the 7:40 mystical vision a grace and in its light 7:48 we see people in their divine aspect 7:54 when as the song says every little 7:57 breeze 7:58 whispers Louise there is a sort of 8:02 extraordinary state of mystical 8:05 intoxication in which the ideal woman 8:10 has become the goddess which is from one 8:17 point of view what every woman is if you 8:20 see her with the scales of your eyes and 8:24 likewise every man 8:28 seen with the scales of her eyes so what 8:38 happened then 8:38 as a result of this historical situation 8:40 was mutual name-calling between the 8:45 proponents of religion and the 8:47 proponents of scientific naturalism such 8:51 as Freud and Havelock Ellis and in our 8:57 own times Albert Ellis and people of 9:02 that kind they’ve never got together 9:06 because they’ve never understood 9:10 neither the church nor the opponents of 9:13 the church have clearly understood that 9:15 the secret or unconscious motivation of 9:18: sexual repression is to make it all the 9:20: more interesting and on the other side 9:26: it has not been clearly understood that 9:28: the sexual biology and all that goes 9:38: with it is a figuring forth on the level 9:47: of biology of what the whole universe is 9:50: about ecstatic clay so as a result there 10:04: has been a kind of compromise 10:07: today in ecclesiastical circles sex is 10:11: being damned with faint praise people 10:18: are saying after all yes sex was made by 10:20: God and we should remember the Jewish 10:22: point of view and it is perhaps for 10:27 something more than reproduction to 10:29 bring about the cementing of the 10:31 marriage ties between husband and wife 10:33 but 10:37 still in practice it remains the 10:42 frightening taboo on the other hand the 10:50 opposition to Christian prudery goes 10:54 overboard and always moves in the 11:00 direction of total license you see 11:04 what’s going on as a contest between the 11:06 people who want the skirts pulled down 11:08 to the floor the people want them pulled 11:10 up to the neck and you you know you’ve 11:14 got to draw the line somewhere but the 11:17 play between these forces is where are 11:19 we going to draw it well that’s very 11:21 exciting provide neither side wins 11:24 I mean imagine what it would be like if 11:28 the libertarians won and they took over 11:31 the church so that on Wednesday evenings 11:34 the young Presbyterian group would meet 11:37 for prayer through sex every child would 11:45 go to the school physician for a course 11:47 in hygienics and they would have 11:49 classes and that have plastic models and 11:51 all the children would do it in class 11:52 very clean hygienic circumstances all 11:56 sprayed with rubbing alcohol it’ll be 11:58 fun imagine how boring it would all 12:00 become so you see the people who say no 12:05 modesty is important have something 12:07 right about but they mustn’t be allowed 12:10 to get away with it but they mustn’t be 12:13 obliterated see life works that way 12:17 let’s take an entirely different analogy 12:19 let’s take a given biological group a 12:22 species we’ll call a it has a natural 12:26 enemy B now one day a gets furious at 12:31 the natural enemy B and says let’s 12:33 obliterate it and they gather their 12:35 forces and they knock out their natural 12:36 enemy well suddenly after a while they 12:41 begin to get weak they get over 12:43 populated there’s nobody around to eat 12:45 up their surplus creatures and they 12:47 don’t have to keep their muscles tensed 12:49 against 12:50 any enemy and they begin to fall apart 12:52 because they destroyed their enemy what 12:55 they should do is cultivate the enemy 12:57 that’s the real meaning of love your 12:58 enemy there is such a thing as a beloved 13:01 enemy and if you don’t have a beloved 13:07 enemy in other words if the Flies and 13:10 the spiders don’t go together you’re 13:12 going to be too many spiders or too many 13:13 flies and these balances are keep the 13:17 course of nature going well it’s exactly 13:19 the same thing as between the Libertarians 13:21 and the Prudes they need each other and 13:25 you should thank if you’ve got a prudish 13:28 father and mother you should be very 13:31 grateful to them for having made sex so 13:33 interesting 13:41 so don’t defy them completely don’t go 13:43 around campus with placards bearing 13:45 four-letter words because that’s going 13:50 to spoil the show that every generation 13:53 must react to the one before you see to 13:56 keep this tension going and it is by 14:00 this tension this play of the opposites 14:03 that we have the love that makes the 14:05 world go round.
The Shame of Being a Conscious Being
The third synchronistic thread I encountered is the Primal Split. This is the moment an infant becomes aware that he or she is a separate being from the mother. This is the beginning of a complicated cascade of emotions and conflicts that spark the awakening of ego-consciousness and symbolic thought, if the infant makes it to the other side of this split. If the infant navigates this crossing successfully, there is a moment of shame that must to be dealt with on the journey in becoming a fully conscious being.
I was doing research on the Primal Split for the book I am writing and realized its connection to Rachel E. Gross’ book and Alan Watts’ lecture. I also discovered this amazing performance art exhibit about the Primal Split created by Oya Damla.
Following is background on Melanie Klien and Oya Damla along with a fascinating theory of knowledge that is very much related to the Primal Split, shame, and how we come to know who and what we know as human beings. Again, I’ll let you make your own connections.
Melanie Klien& The Primal Split
Melanie Klein was an Austrian-British author and psychoanalyst known for her work in child analysis. She was the primary figure in the development of object relations theory. Klein suggested that pre-verbal existential anxiety in infancy catalyzed the formation of the unconscious, resulting in the unconscious splitting of the world into good and bad idealizations. In her theory, how the child resolves that split depends on the constitution of the child and the character of nurturing the child experiences; the quality of resolution can inform the presence, absence, and/or type of distresses a person experiences later in life. -- Wiki
While Freud's ideas concerning children mostly came from working with adult patients, Klein was innovative in working directly with children, often as young as two years old. Klein saw children's play as their primary mode of emotional communication. While observing children as they played with toys such as dolls, animals, plasticine or pencils and paper, Klein documented their activities and interactions. She then attempted to interpret the unconscious meaning behind their play. Following Freud, she emphasized the significant role that parental figures played in the child's fantasy life and concluded that the timing of Freud's Oedipus complex was incorrect. Contradicting Freud, she proposed that the superego was present from birth.
After exploring ultra-aggressive fantasies of hate, envy, and greed in very young and disturbed children, Melanie Klein proposed a model of the human psyche that linked significant oscillations of state, with the postulated Eros or Thanatos pulsations. She named the state of the mind in which the sustaining principle of life dominates the depressive position. A depressive position is the understanding that good and evil things are one. The fears and worries about the fate of the people destroyed in the child's fantasy are all in the latter. The child tries to repair his mother through phantasm and behavior therapy, overcoming his depression and anxiety. He employs phantasies representing love and restoration to restore the others he destroyed. Morality is based on the standpoint of depression. Klein named it the depressive position because the efforts to restore the integrity of the damaged object are accompanied by depression and despair. After all, the child doubts whether it can fix everything it hurts. Many consider this to be her most significant contribution to psychoanalytic philosophy. She later developed her ideas about an earlier developmental psychological state corresponding to the disintegrating tendency of life, which she called the paranoid-schizoid position. Klein coined the term "paranoid-schizoid defense" to emphasize how the child's worries manifest as persecution fantasies and how he defends himself against persecution by separating. The paranoid-schizoid position develops at birth is a common psychotic condition.
Klein's insistence on regarding aggression as an important force in its own right when analyzing children brought her into conflict with Freud's daughter Anna Freud, who was one of the other prominent child psychotherapists in continental Europe but who moved to London in 1938 where Klein had been working for several years. Many controversies arose from this conflict, and these are often referred to as the controversial discussions. Battles were played out between the two sides, each presenting scientific papers, working out their respective positions and where they differed, during war-time Britain. A compromise was eventually reached whereby three distinct training groups were formed within the British Psychoanalytical Society, with Anna Freud's influence remaining largely predominant in the US. -- Wiki
Check out Oya’s website for more about her beautiful interpretation of the moment of the Primal Split. The images of the Second Archetypal Animation come from photos she shares of this performance. She also shares original sound track for this performance. To hear this, you need to go to her site. It is well worth your time if this topic interests you.
Sex, Kids, and The Theory of O
With the birth of consciousness, humans enter a new realm of being. In this realm, knowledge and truth are incredibly important because they help us navigation through the world of symbols, which we use to navigate through our lives. Truth and knowledge especially matter in the corrosive vat of anti-truth and anti-knowledge. Our modern age is full of false prophets touting false truths and false knowledge, in short, they are full of shit and hocking lots of lies to enrich themselves or to exert control over other peoples minds.
I write about truth and knowledge in my story and encountered one of the most fascinating theories of how humans come to obtain knowledge or lose it. It is Bion’s Theory of O. Here is a bit of his theory. It is complicated. I’ll let you make your own connections if it interests you.
"Bion, who was to become the awesome explorer of the "deep and formless infinite" of the psyche, first immersed himself in the theories of Freud and Klein and then gradually developed a revolutionary metapsychological metatheory for psychoanalysis. Bion incurred the criticism of his colleagues by daring to investigate faith, spirituality, religion, mysticism, metaphysics, and fetal mental life. His concepts of transformations in L(ove), H(ate), and K(nowledge), as well as ofintuitionistic and subjective science[Transformations in "0" (Ultimate Truth, Absolute Reality)], constitute an objective and numinous psychoanalytic epistemology."
"Bion was preoccupied with the concept of ultimate reality and absolute truth and reoriented psychoanalytic metapsychology into a theory ofthinkingandmeta-thinking aboutemotions. He distinguished the "thoughts-without-a-thinker" from the mind that had to develop in order to think them. I believe that his concept of"intuitionistic thinking"also presumes the presence of a more profound aspect of that mind: Not only did a mind develop to harvest the "thoughts without a thinker," but another aspect of the mind had to originate these "unthought thoughts." I believe that Bion came to a realization that true "thinking" ("dream work alpha" along the dimensions of "L, H, and K") is an unconscious -- if notpreconscious -- act and that what we normally term "thinking" (application of the ordinate and abscissa of the "Grid") is really"after-thinking."
"By realigning psychoanalysis with metaphysics and ontology (existentialism), Bion perforated the mystique of ontic "objectivity" implicit to logical-positivistic, deterministic science and revealed its own unsuspected mythology--itsabsolute dependence on sense data. Applying his concept ofreversible perspective,he found myths, both collective and personal, to be themselves "scientific deductive systems" in their own right (Bion, 1992). Mostly, Bion founded a new mystical science of psychoanalysis, a numinous discipline based on theabandonment of memory, desire, and understanding. To Bion, mysticism is "seeing things as they truly are -- without disguise" (personal communication). He was preoccupied with the question of how we know what we know."
"In this contribution I emphasize my understanding of Bion as theintuitionistic epistemologist, the"emotional mathematician"(Bion, 1965), the "mystical scientist" (Bion, 1970), the intrepid voyager into the deep and formless infinite, "O." I suggest that a "Transcendent Position" is implied by Bion's conception of "O," the latter of which overarches"nameless dread," beta elements, the "thing-in-themselves," the noumenon, "absolute truth," "ultimate reality," and "reverence and awe." -- From BION'S "TRANSFORMATION IN 'O' by James S. Grotstein
On the other side of O is Q. That little mark on the right side of Q is the sign of the corruption of thought and descent into lies. It is the sign of anti-truth, propaganda, and infantile rage.
It is the sign that a person is stuck in the paranoid-schizoid position. These individuals have split the world into the Good Mother (all that is good) and the Bad Mother (all that is bad), and they have stepped into the good bubble and seek to destroy all that is bad failing to realize it is all one, everything is connected. The Good Mother and Bad Mother are the same Mother. The Good Reality and Bad Reality are the same Reality. Destroy one and you destroy All. This is indeed a shameful place humanity has allowed itself to fall into basically because we are afraid of who we really are.
See Juliette Kayyem‘s story in The Atlantic. Trump is an outsized purveyor of propaganda and lies. So is Putin. We will pay with our precious world if humanity continues to close its eyes to the danger these liars and the threat they pose to everyone and existence itself. For the human beings who buy their lies and false truths, they give up their individuality to become part of a psychological monster bent on destroying the Bad Mother…never understanding that the Good Mother and Bad Mother are One.
"For a man who believes in nothing, has no coherent ideology or value system except his own continuing relevance, obsesses over conspiracies, and subsists on grievance and anger, Donald Trump took a long time to fully embrace QAnon. For some time, the former president has been flirting with the cult—which believes, among other preposterous things, that Democrats are part of a global child-sex-trafficking ring that Trump will ultimately defeat. But lately, that courtship has turned into a consummated marriage, as Trump incorporated QAnon tropes into an Ohio rally and started spreading them on his social-media service. -- About the author: Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Barack Obama, is the faculty chair of the homeland-security program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters." -- The Atlantic by Juliette Kayyem
Trump never found his mother. He never reconciled the Good Mother with the Bad Mother. He is permanently stuck in the paranoid-schizoid position. He is a permanent infant; a raging toddler, and so too is any one who paints the world in absolutes, in black and white , in this and only this is good: everyone else is bad. We will end the world if we remain hostages to such infantile men such as Trump and Putin. Any human being stuck in the authoritarian position is playing the Confidence Man game, which is a ruse for being a permanent paranoid infant. These are mad men leading us collectively straight to Hell.
Trump and his infantile, paranoid comrades are shameful.
The End of Shame
The final synchronistic thread that struck me is the death and burial of Queen Elizabeth II. Death is definitely the end of shame. It is the end of a journey through life. It is the end of that person’s story, of what that person came to understand, to know, to feel, to treasure or despise, to love, to cherish, to hate, and how they reconciled differences and conflicts. How we navigate our lives, everything we come to know and loves, comes to an inevitable end with death.
Alan Watts is absolutely right, the church is full of symbolism about sex. The steeples and naves of Christian churches are ripe with human sexuality, which is the most awesome act of creativity we are capable of as living beings. And so it is in death we end our journey through life and we are returned the womb, the tomb, from which we came.
This is what I wrote in reflecting about the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
For anyone who has lost a loved one, the ceremony of the burial of Queen Elizabeth II was poignant and full of rich symbolism and pageantry. There are many who mourn her passing, and there are many who say the time for royals is over. But, we as the people of Earth have never needed the symbolic role that Queen Elizabeth II played for more than 70 years more urgently.
We are crumbling under the weight of modern inconveniences, complexities, and confusion. We are losing our inner rudder, our collective moral compass. When we as the people of Earth can no longer unite under a common cause, let suppose this is the continuation of a habitual planet conducive for life, then we will simply rip apart the fabric of society necessary to met the challenges of this century.
Queen Elizabeth II played a role. She knew she was a symbol of stability, of hope, of continuity and the ability of her people to endure the tough times as well as enjoy the good times. Lacking such role models, symbols of strength, virtue, and compassion, it is easy to fall prey to our own thoughts of competition, revenge, vengeance, hate. No, she was not perfect, no human being is or ever will be and much was left undone in the wake of British imperialism. But, she showed a path, a better way, and we the Good People of Earth should take heed.
There are terrible problems ahead of us. Nuclear destruction has never been closer with the savage craze of Putin. This is such a man capable of pushing the button, so is Trump. And if nuclear war doesn't get us, then the global food crisis Putin has unleashed with his vengeful war will kill millions beyond the hundreds of thousands he has already killed with his insane war. And, he is creating the ultimate distraction preventing the world at the very moment it has a chance to mitigate the worst effects of Climate Change. There is only 8 years left. We are the people who will leave this great task left undone, so the future of life on Earth certainly hangs on the thinnest thread yet.
It is truly a time to take stock and act as we have never done collectively as a species before.
Feature Archetypal Animation:
Images for First Archetypal Animation:
Gross was asked to sketch out some basic ideas for each chapter for the illustrator, Armando Veve, who did opening chapter illustrations for each chapter. “The result was very fun, and developing the final illustrations was super collaborative,” Gross says. Rachel Gross — The Open Notebook
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.
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.
Ancient wisdom blended with modern images and music.
When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created. When people see things as good, evil is created.
First Stanza & Archetypal Animation
Being and non-being produce each other. Difficult and easy complement each other. Long and short define each other. High and low oppose each other. Fore and aft follow each other.
Second Stanza & Archetypal Animation
Therefore the Master can act without doing anything and teach without saying a word. Things come her way and she does not stop them; things leave and she lets them go. She has without possessing, and acts without any expectations. When her work is done, she takes no credit. That is why it will last forever.