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!
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
The Tao is like an empty container: it can never be emptied and can never be filled. Infinitely deep, it is the source of all things. It dulls the sharp, unties the knotted, shades the lighted, and unites all of creation with dust.
It is hidden but always present. I don’t know who gave birth to it . It is older than the concept of God.
Conservatives have long invoked the specter of the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs. Sandford in their fight against abortion rights, likening embryos and fetuses to slaves with no due process. Progressives now, too, are drawing parallels between the stripping of rights from people who may get pregnant and the infamous majority opinion penned by then-Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote, "a Black man has no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
Missing from this historic analogy, however, are the experiences of Black women, whose enslavement and forced reproduction was fundamental to America's rise. We speak with Dr. Deborah Gray White, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, about this not-so-distant history and the possibilities it holds for all American women.
My take away: In the wake of Roe vs Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court, Deborah Gray White was watching the dystopian story the Handmaid’s Tale with her daughter who said, “Oh my God, we’re becoming this!” Deborah replied, “We already are this. America has used black and brown women as reproductive commodities since its founding. What’s changing is now white women are getting closer to becoming commodities again.”
Alok Vaid-Menonis a gender non-conforming writer and performer who grew up in Texas to Indian immigrant parents. They use their creativity and platform to explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging, advocating and bringing visibility to the trans community. We speak with Alok about their work and advocacy, and what they learned from their aunt, Urvashi Vaid, the beloved LGBTQ rights activist who spent more than a decade working for equality at the National LGBTQ Task Force.
My take away from this amazing interview: The gender non-conforming community is showing the world how to love during a time of great division, growing hate, tremendous suffering, and huge oceans of human anxiety.
We talk about changing the Constitution and what comes next after the reversal of Roe.
This conversation is part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations around the country. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
My take away: I loved listening to Olatunde Johnson, professor at Columbia University School of Law | The United States Constitution was made by a bunch of slave owning, patriarchal, misogynistic pale males. It is ludicrous to think we cannot update or change it as our society changes and grows. This is what overturning Roe vs Wade is about. This is what Jan. 6, 2021 is about. It is about a bunch of people who want to live 18th Century lives in the 21st Century.
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.
What would you do if this was your last day on Earth today?
Perhaps write a poem?
It is our perception of reality that determines so much of what we allow ourselves to accept or not accept, what we allow ourselves to believe or not believe, how much we allow ourselves to love or not to love.
Poems are wonderful transformers of perception.
Here are some poems about nature, Earth, and life that have been written at very different periods in time, and yet, there is something universal, something incredibly current, something worth paying attention to in each and every one of them, especially today.
When all thoughts Are exhausted I slip into the woods And gather A pile of shepherd’s purse.
From Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1996.
Nothing in the cry of cicadas suggests they are about to die.
The bee emerging from deep within the peony departs reluctantly.
Summer grasses: all that remains of great soldiers’ imperial dreams.
From The Essential Basho, Translated by Sam Hamill. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1999.
The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me. The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered. No spring breeze even at this late date, Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.
From Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu, translated by John Stevens. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1995.
These Zen poems come from A Sampler of Zen Poetry. The author of this sampler says, “These are a few of my favorite poems by three of Japan’s greatest Zen monk-poets, Ikkyu (1394-1481), Basho (1644-1694), and Ryokan (1758-1831).”
They are indeed very beautiful and holy.
Today is Earth Day!
Go ahead, write a poem! Transcend space and time and perceptions of reality using nothing but your mind.
We never know when our last day on Earth will be.
Seize the moment, see more, feel your rightness in this moment, know you belong and you matter, right here, right now. You are it!
Four Letters to the World of Free Men and Women: Letter to the Ukrainian People; Letter to the Free World; Letter to Russian people; Letter to Americans
Letter to the People of Ukraine
Dear People of Ukraine —
I have let you down and the Free World has forsaken you.
You are dying because we are weak and afraid.
Please forgive us. We have forgotten how to live in the Present and how to be Present for each other.
If I could kill Putin with my thoughts, he would be dead 10,000 times already. And I would just be getting started.
The Russians don’t remember how Scythians fight, how long your unique and long history is.
They will remember when they see your eyes.
Know that you have already won.
Putin, his followers, enablers, and supporters wherever they are in the world will be uttered in the same breath as Hitler, Stalin, and all men who have chosen to become monsters instead of men.
The oligarchs full of piss and fear, the Chinas suppressing their people, the stupid ones like Trump and his menagerie will snivel like snails beneath the shadow of your courage, compassion, and willingness to die to live free.
If only the Free World had a smidgen of your dignity, courage, and spirit.
Instead, we sit and watch your pain, your suffering, your deaths like the spineless creatures we have become hiding under out fragile, artificial shell of civility.
We are not civil or modern.
We hide our barbaric nature with platitudes and policies and lies.
What good is civility when evil manifests in men like Putin?
Would Hitler have stopped his demonic rage had the Free World not finally intervened?
You have warned us: Putin’s madness will not end when Ukraine falls.
An evil like this is never satisfied by what it has.
It only has an endless hunger for more of what it already has and is willing to inflict great pain, agony, and destruction to get it.
How can we (the people of the Free World) abandon you at your greatest time of need?
How can we let this happen on OUR WATCH?
You are showing us (the Free World) how to be human when evil rears its ugly head.
Your dignity, courage, and spirit show us that to be fully human and not simply shells filled with doubt and fear, we show up to help our brothers and sisters.
Humans show up when their brothers and sisters are staring down the demons of destruction trying to devour their freedom like snakes from hell bent on turning our shared reality into a field of horror and our world into a living Hell.
You are precious. Every life Putin takes is a crime. I feel so helpless watching this happen to you. Please forgive us. Our failure to not do more is wrong.
Reactions of aHelpless Watcher Witnessing Evil Live on TV #1
Instagram Posts Beginning Night of Russian Invasion
Letter to the People of the Free World
To All People Who Value Freedom in the World —
This is a struggle in which the Free World cannot sit on its hands and watch. This is a struggle for all persecuted, suffering people anywhere in the world. People who are persecuted for any reason–racism, religious beliefs, gender, sex or political beliefs. The Ukrainian people are being overrun and killed by a ruthless dictator.
Do you think this ends when Ukraine falls? Putin’s vile plan seeks to destroy freedom and democracy anywhere it appears in the world. He has chosen evil and he will keep moving steadily destroying democracies and freedom wherever it appears in the world. I do not agree with Biden saying it is going to be OK. It is not OK watching the Ukrainian people being slaughtered. In what world that values freedom and human life is this OK?
Our world has drastically changed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
The Free World is weak. It stares at its own navel hung up on its own comforts and conveniences. We (the people of the Free World) have left so many people behind who have been struggling for freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty over their own lives. The United States was particularly cruel and careless in its withdrawal from Afghanistan; however, the Free World has done far too little for the peoples in countries where “Arab Spring” protests were brutally put down, where protests in Hong Kong were harshly suppressed, where the military takeover of Myanmar and Rohingya genocide was savage, and this list goes on and one.
The Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives and freedom. They are standing up against a vastly superior force. They are showing the entire Free World how to fight for freedom. How to be human! Their courage, compassion, and dignity stands mighty before the rest of the world concerned about themselves and sadly it seems little more.
Putin is a maligned, demonic force of evil in the world. Such evil must be fought by all who stand for the right for life and freedom. This evil is never satisfied by what it has. It constantly hungers for more than it already has. It takes pleasure in inflicting senseless horror and pain on others. This fear, this pain that we are watching the Ukraine people suffer feds this kind of evil. It will never rest until it destroys all free people and all freedom in all lands everywhere in the world. Only then, will it finally turn on itself and devour itself.
Putin is a man who has chosen to become a monster. His madness is spawning thousands of minions who are carrying out his biddings. Yes, there are Russian soldiers shocked at what they are being asked to do and surrendering to Ukrainians.
But, there are also soldiers who are dragging people out of apartment buildings, lining them up along a wall, and shooting them. The longer this goes on, the more harden and brutal some soldiers will become to accomplish Putin’s ruthless wishes, indeed, they will be ordered to become ruthless killers. Huge explosions are being now used to destroy and level civilian infrastructure (e.g., apartments, schools, hospitals, colleges), not military as Russian “officials” said would be the focus. There are also reports of Russian soldiers shooting fleeing civilians in their cars as well as desperate phone calls to family members who made it across the border to Poland or Hungary of Russian soldiers coming into family homes and terrorizing loved ones who could not escape in time.
Putin lives in a world of savage fantasies. He lusts for ultimate power and glory, which sprouts from the demon seed buried deep in his depraved soul. His heart has been corrupted beyond all repairs. And his barbarism is being carried out with cold calculation by suicidal army meticulous trained to turn off their humanity and act like Putin’s attack dogs from hell. They have only heard and been fed a constant stream of distortions, lies, and misinformation. It keeps them in a foggy, soggy, sub-human conscious state of being, making them perfect puppets who carry out one man’s mad rage upon the world.
Deep down they know what they are doing is wrong. But I doubt it will burn away fast enough to save the people of Ukraine. And then, Free World, we are next.
This episode discusses what is happening in Ukraine with Leila Fadel (reporter on the ground in Ukraine), Kurt Volker (former US Special Representative for Ukraine), and others in the know about what is going on. What jumped out to me were the following elements.
Leila Fadel told about one woman she met on a train going back into Ukraine. She told Leila she felt Ukraine is a proxy war, a game being played by Russia, the US, and China for influence and power in the world. She is right.
Leila also talked about how all lives matter. She told about how she has met and talked with individuals who fled other war zones (e.g., Syria, Afghanistan, and many other places where the super powerful have violently suppressed the super vulnerable) and settled in Ukraine and now they are fleeing again.
Kurt Volker talked about how there is much more the US can do for Ukraine while walking the line of avoiding an outright conflict between nuclear powers. Yes! That is what I feel and desperately want the Free World to push it leaders to do (no more watching!!!).
And they discussed discrimination that African and Asian individuals in Ukraine have faced. They are also trying to flee violence and annihilation. Sara Sidner (American journalist with CNN) is in Poland and talked with individuals facing this sort of discrimination and says that they just don’t understand why they are being treated this way. There have been terrible documented treatment of foreign nationals with dark skin, but also many instances of compassion and humane treatment.
This is a very complex, fast moving tragedy that is changing constantly. All experts of this episode urge watchers, especially on social media, to dig for the latest information, not media and posts that are several days old. They also warn of misinformation efforts launched by Russia and Russian sympathizers around the world–vet the information you consume and vet your own systems of belief!( I get into this much more deeply in my letter to Americans.)
To the Russian People
The Free World is not at war with you. We are not your enemy. The anger you see from the world is directed at Putin. You are as precious to the world as the Ukrainian people who are being slaughtered by your President Putin. You are not being told the truth about this war.
This list goes on to account 58 journalists who have been killed in Russia between 1992 and 2022 with Motive for Death Confirmed as accounted for by the Committee to Protect Journalists. You may not trust anything except Putin’s State TV, but you know who are the Russians who have died.
You know critics of Putin have ended up dead.
Boris Nemtsov, 2015 — political leader of Russia’s “young reformers.”
Boris Berezovsky, 2013 — A self-styled tycoon who become a fixture in Yeltsin’s inner circle in the late 1990s, Berezovsky is believed to have been instrumental in Putin’s rise to power (including a media campaign that smeared Nemtsov)
Anna Politkovskaya, 2006 — Russian reporter for Novaya Gazeta whose book, “Putin’s Russia,” accused the Kremlin leader of turning the country into a police state.
"She was shot at point-blank range in an elevator in her building. Five men were convicted of her murder, but the judge found that it was a contract killing, with $150,000 of the fee paid by a person whose identity was never discovered. Putin denied any Kremlin involvement in Politkovskaya's killing, saying that her "death in itself is more damaging to the current authorities both in Russia and the Chechen Republic ... than her activities." -- Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways | Washington Post By David Filipov, March 23, 2017
This list goes on. Again you may think the Washington Post is fake news, but you know these Russians are dead.
You know Alexei Anatolievich Navalny sits in prison because Putin fears him. And you know that Navalny has called Putin insane and urges anti-war protests. Putin is insane. What man would kill innocent children?
The Free World knows you are afraid. Putin has terrorized you with his slow steady trickle of threats, deaths, assassinations, and unjust imprisonments of anyone Putin fears. Heck, he’s even afraid of a fragile but brave old woman.
You have every right to be afraid, but should this also inform what you know?
The world stands with you, but please wake up to steady lies Putin feeds you to put you into a catatonic state of frightened inaction. Putin does this to you, the Russian people, because you have collective power. He knows that and he is afraid that you will wake up.
Look at what Putin’s restrained and targeted attacks look like on the ground by your brothers and sister in Ukraine.
Please wake up. The world needs you now. We need you conscious and alive and human more than ever!
We stand at a precipice inside the human soul. This precipice exist inside every human being alive right now.
People of Earth, do you call yourself human or monster?
Your actions (and inactions), your words, your thoughts tell us which you chose to be.
Those who call themselves human must reckon with this moment fully to the very core of who they are and what they believe, what they love, what they hate, what they know (or think they know) and what they don’t know.
Each person alive on this planet right now is choosing a stream of thought and system of belief that inform your actions in the next weeks, the next days,the next hours, the next minutes, and the next seconds.
And each second that goes by, each choice made realizes who lives and who dies in this brutal war waged on the innocent people of Ukraine.
We must chose something different than we have ever chosen before to stop this senseless slaughter that stalks the entire human race ever since we crossed the demarcation line that lets us know that we know who we are. The lists of genocides and ruthless slaughter is very long. It will not stop unless we change it inside ourselves. Each person must embark on this work. It will hurt, but it will not hurt you. It will wake you up.
Peoples of the World, you must chose to protect and sustain all life or let it continue to be destroyed by men who have chosen to become monsters.
Every human choice matters to alter the course of our shared fate.
What will you choose?
Reactions of aHelpless Watcher Witnessing Evil Live on TV#2
Twitter Posts Beginning Night of Russian Invasion
Letter to American People
If you call yourself a patriotic American, you don’t root for Putin and you don’t spread Russian misinformation.
Americans rooting for Putin are imitating evil. It will lead us to the same remorseless, ruthless state that Russia has become.
American rooting for Putin, do you really want to cut your soul off from your humanity? From the very essences that make you human? Do you really think it is worth it to become a demon just so you can control everybody and everything to your desires?
Yes, I hear your complaints levied at the liberal left. You feel that you are being overlooked and left out by political correctness and cancel culture, but you have persuaded yourself to feel this way. You know darn well you have the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges as every other American, except those who are not white. You know darn well you fear the power that white male supremacy has conferred to you is slipping away. And this is why you bawl and brew and stew.
We have paid a terrible price in the United State for nursing our grievances by using the fake news and misinformation spread by Putin to further our own cause. Now evil grows on American soil inside American minds and it will not be long until Ukraine’s fate is America’s fate as well.
Think hard about how easy your comfortable American life is, even poor Americans have it 10,000 times better than the people in Ukraine right now.
It is so disheartening to hear a poll after Biden’s first State of Union address that said 60% of listeners thought the US economy was more important than Ukraine.
This is why we are not doing more to help the brave, compassionate, and beautiful people of Ukraine survive. This is why we are watching them being slaughtered.
Because we prefer our own comforts over someone else’s?
Yes, it has been a hard 2 years. There are still supply chain issues and higher prices, and these are probably going to get worst. Yes, wearing masks to protect others who are more vulnerable to COVID has been hard, but it is worth it, isn’t it to save someone else’s life?
Or are we a people who just think about ourselves obsessively and shallowly?
These things have made life harder to juggle, but American people, you can still juggle these things. You still have homes. You still have jobs. You can still go to the store without being shot at or bombed. You can still go outside and go about with your life without fear of being burned alive in your car. Ukraines are being burned alive in their cars. They are being shot. They are being bombed. They are being hunted like animals.
Are so many Americans really so blind and so heartless?
This is a disgrace.
We are a nation disconnecting from our capacity to empathize with other people.
How heartless the American heart seems tonight.
The frontline that Ukraine is fighting is EVERYWHERE!
There is no place to hide from this kind of evil for comes from inside us. If Ukraine falls, this horror rests on us for failing to put aside our differences as Americans, our comfort, and our policies and act like human beings.
Ukrainians are showing us how human beings act. Human beings help each other when trouble descends, especially when evil manifests its ugly power in the world.
Are you going to be human or monster?
I know my words are harsh. Please look into your heart. Please feel the pain of the Ukrainian people and the pain of all persecuted people because you can do something about it. It may hurt, but it will not hurt you. It will wake you up.
The choice is yours.
From the Perspective of Americans Working to Destroy Democracy
The Letter to the American people is informed by a former friend who I e-mailed the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. My husband and I had happened to see Matthew Chance putting on his flak jacket the night the first bombs started dropping all over Ukraine. We were shocked and horrified knowing we were witnessing the beginning of the War.
The next morning, I sent an email to a person who I have been very tolerant of in his support of Donald Trump. Knowing how cowardly Trump was in standing up to Putin, I asked my former friend flat out, who does he support–Putin or Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine. Here is his reply.
I sent him a scathing reply, then blocked him. I told him he is not my friend, his beliefs are cat poop, and I stand in opposition to him. Even 10 days into the heroic fight the Ukrainians are giving the Russians, some Americans are still rooting for Putin.
These are not Americans that believe in freedom and democracy. These are wannabe dictators who are just as insane and mad as Putin. I say lock them up just as they chanted to lock up Hillary, but really they are just sad anti-Americans who have every right to voice their cocky, cockeyed opinions. And, they are really, really sad examples of being human in this century.
From the Perspective of Americans Working toSave American Democracy
One of the guest said, “This is a fight to be a human or a monster. Every person on this planet is part of this fight,” one speaker said today. I have been echoing this too. Action is required NOW.” #UkraineRussianWar#Ukraine#Zelensky#StopPutinNOW
Another guest said, “Two weeks ago, Zelenskyy was unknown. Today he is the most loved man on the planet. Courage is the sexiest trait a man can have…so don’t be afraid!” says one of the speakers today. Listen to this. #UkraineRussianWar#Ukraine#Zelensky
This is what makes America and democracy great. Diversity and lots of different people with different ideas who can come together to do something worth doing, something essential, something that will leave a mark on the world of mankind that is good, that humane, that is for life and all living beings not against it.
Images for this animation come from the video featured at the top of this blog and from my previous blog: Moonlight Shaken from a Cranes Bill(Oh how so much can happen in such a short amount of time. I published this blog 7 days ago when the world was a different place.)
First Archetypal Animation
Music:  Anybody Out There 3:48 | Ouroboros | Saint Punk
Image from: Ouroboros | Nether Realm on SoundCloud
Image from: Legends and Secrets of the Cosmic Ouroboros “There are few creatures that evoke the range of emotions like the earthbound snake. Across ancient cultures and civilizations, snakes have been viewed as mystical, dangerous, repulsive, and ultimately one of the most fascinating beings in the animal world. However, there might be a deeply rooted reason for human’s fascination with this creature, one that is embedded in the oldest mythology known to humans: Ouroboros, or the one who devours itself.”
“It’s an ancient circular symbol, dating back to 5000 BC, which depicts a snake or dragon eating its tail. Archaeologists discovered the oldest known example of an ouroboros on a jar that is possibly 7,000 years old. It belonged to the neolithic Yangshao People, who lived along the Yellow River in what is now eastern China.”
“One fine day you realize to your astonishment [that] there is no way at all of having your mind anywhere else but in the present moment because even when you think about the past or future, you’re doing it now, aren’t you?!“
Alan Watts — The Taoist Way
Alan Watts lectured often about the concept of being present in the Now. Being in the now is a practice of Buddhism and Zen, which is a way to stay on the path of the inner Sage. The ultimate goal of the Buddhist path is release from the round of phenomenal existence with its inherent suffering. To achieve this goal is to attain nirvana, an enlightened state in which the fires of greed, hatred, and ignorance have been quenched.
In Carol Anthony’s book The Philosophy of the I Ching, she writes:
“Freeing out mind (what we focus on and listen to within) of the dominance of the ego and our inferiors [Note: the I Ching refers to our worst impulses and instincts as inferiors. It is plural because there are many troublesome instincts, attitudes, and rigid beliefs to contend with inside of ourselves.] is part of the work by which we re-attain our natural state of innocence. Through self-discipline, we keep our mind’s eye open, and our inner space free of the thoughts that our inferiors would introduce if we fail to resist them. In the time of youth we are automatically open-minded; it is unnecessary to make a conscious effort to be so. After we learn structured ways of dealing with the world, and listen to the urgings of our fears, our inner view becomes blocked and our inner space filled. We are no longer able to see or her within, but are attuned only to the external world and how we think we need to be to deal with it. Through self-development we de-structure our patterned ways of thinking: by conscious effort we keep our inner view and inner space empty. In this manner we reconstruct our original innocence. The only difference is that our new innocence is consciously maintained; it is not the unconscious innocence of childhood.”
Carol Anthony — The Philosophy of the I Ching
Indeed, if what Carol Anthony has come to understand through her own life and practice using the I Ching is right, then she is showing us how to heal our inner selves and how to bring forth our inner unconsciousness in gentle, constructive, non-violent ways. Without this conscious effort, we are bound to fall prey to our own karma and act in the world in ways that are harmful to others and that will bring great pain and sorrow onto ourselves as we try to make our way through and navigate our inner flow of consciousness, which is time.
Time is the great equalizer.
And, it is always happening Now.
Alan Watts continues saying:
"Even when you think about the past or the future you're doing it now, aren't you? And that results in a very curious transformation of consciousness you feel that you that the present moment is flowing along and carrying you with it all the time just like the flow of the Tao. The flow of the Tao is what we would call the flow of the present. Zhong Yong in his book The Unwobbling Pivot says the Tao is that from which one cannot deviate that from which one can deviate is not the Tao.
To put it into the form of a zen story, the Master Joshua said to Nansen what is the Tao? Nansen replied your everyday mind is the Tao. Joshua asked how do you get into accord with it? Nansen replied when you try to get into accord, you deviate."
Watts says there is no recipe for learning how to be in the present and in the flow of the Tao, which is the eternal Now. Every person must learn to feel it for themselves.
Alan Watts tells how Christian missionaries translate the Tao as logos.
"They took as their point of departure the opening passage of Saint John's gospel in the beginning was the word. Now if you look up a Chinese translation of the bible, it says in the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with god and the Tao was god. (...) So they've substituted the Tao with God. Now, that make a very funny effect on a Chinese philosopher because the idea of things being made by the Tao is absurd. The Tao is not a manufacturer and it's not a governor. It doesn't rule as it were in the position of a king. The Tao flows everywhere...both to the left and to the right. It loves and nourishes all things but does not lord it over them. And when good things are accomplished, it lays no claim to them. In other words, the Tao does not stand up and say: I have made all of you I have filled this Earth with its beauty and glory... now fall down before me and worship me."
Alan Watts goes on to discuss the idea of mutually arising. It is a very important Taoist expression that all things arise mutually together. Watts loved to says, “although the bees and flowers look different from each other, they are inseparable.” He talks about how bees and flowers coexist in the same way as high and low exist together, or back and front go together, or long and short define each other. He further explains how all of the opposites and things that look completely different from other things interdepend on each other for existence, this is the Tao. Mutual arising is one of the most important concepts to grasp in understanding the Tao, the eternal Now.
All of us living in the Western world have been taught that everything is separated. This is a very Newtonian philosophy of the world, as if it’s a huge amalgamation of billiard balls that don’t move unless they are struck by another ball or a queue (Watts describes). After explaining this, Watts loves to say, “But of course from the standpoint of 20th century science, we know perfectly well now that that’s not the way it works. We know enough about relationships to see that the mechanical model which Newton devised was all right for certain purposes but it breaks down now because we understand relativity and see how things go together in a kind of connected net.” [Note: See Indra’s Net.]
“Now figure a world in which everything happens by itself it doesn’t have to be controlled it’s allowed.”
Alan Watts — The Taoist Way
Watts says here, “This does not mean that everything is in chaos. It means that the more liberty you give the more love you give the more you allow things in yourself and in your surroundings to take place the more order you will have.”
This sounds very hard to allow in 2021 when the whole world seems to be besieged by polarized opposites. In the U.S., for example, you have the extreme Right and the extreme Left bombarding each other with word bombs that are blowing up into real life consequences such as the January 6 insurrection of the Capitol that left people dead and maimed and traumatized. Or the mistrust that has grown like a cancer in our country of one side or another side (or mistrust of doctors, scientists, anyone seen as other) that is contributing to hesitancy of the COVID-19 vaccine, a deadly virus that has killed more Americans in a year and a half than died in both WWI and WWII. Right here and now, COVID-19 (the Delta variant) is surging this summer. NPR reported recently that COVID-19 cases are particularly surging in areas of low vaccination. More than 97% of people entering hospitals right now are unvaccinated. This mistrust, this rampant partisanship is destroying the gentle, fragile fabric of democracy.
This is what Alan Watts was trying to warn us about more than 50 years ago. We know what to do, but we don’t do it. Why?
Watts goes on in this lecture to talk about karmic debt, which I find utterly fascinating, but that’s not what I have chosen to focus on here. I am pondering the point in this lecture when Watts comes to T.S. Elliot’s idea that the person who has settle down in the train to read the newspaper is not the sam person who stepped onto the train from the platform. Watts says to his audience, “Therefore also you who sit here are not the same people who came in at the door. These states are separate. Each in its own place. There was the coming in at the door person, but there is actually only the here and now sitting person, and the person sitting here and now is not the person who will die.”
Jerry Seinfeld talks about this idea too. He talks about Night Guy who likes to eat cookies at night and he is the guy who also likes to stay up late at night. He wants to live for the moment. But, then there’s Morning Guy who has to get up and go to work and has to deal with 5 hours of sleep and too many cookies. He feels awful! HiddenBrain did a spectacular episode on this too, the different phases of self in You, But Better.
So, just what is Alan Watts getting at? Surely we are not a bunch of separated unconnected selves sleep walking through life. It is all a grand illusion of being? Or maybe we are?!
Watts tells us. He says, “We are all a constant flux and the continuity of the person from past through present to future is as illusory in its own way as the upward movement of the red lines on a revolving barber pole. You know it goes round and round and round and the whole thing seems to be going up or going down whichever the case may be but actually nothing is going up or down.”
"So when you throw a pebble into the pond and you make a concentric rings of waves there is an illusion that the water is flowing outwards and no water is flowing outwards at all water is only going up and down what appears to move outward is the wave not the water. So this kind of philosophical argument says that our seeming to go along in a course of time doesn't really happen. The buddhists say: suffering exists but no one who suffers, deeds exist but no doers are found, a path there is but no one who follows it, and nirvana is but no one who attains it."
This is a confusing concept. When a person rushes to understand something that has happened to them or a new concept, the person is bound not to understand the thing at all. Watts explains that it is a matter of getting to a position where you no longer feel the symbol the thought the idea the word as a block to life, no longer feel it and something you are using as a means of escape. He says: “liberation of the mind from identifying itself with symbols is the same process exactly as breaking up the links between the successive moments the illusion of a self continuing self that travels from moment to moment and picks them all up corresponding to the illusion of the moving water in the wave.”
We are more like a melody being played, Watts describes. We must select the notes in relationship to the places we exist–that means in relationship to everything around us and rising inside of us. If we are not discerning and select everything, the music becomes a jumble and does not make sense. So it is as human beings that we have the capacity to focus in on certain things, to see the symbol of these things in our minds, and select how to arrange these symbols in our mind and how it flows in our never-ending stream of consciousness (i.e., our inner story about what has happened to us during our journey through time and space). When we become more attached to the symbol in our mind rather than to how we are in relationship to each other, with our inner Sage and inferior, and with the whole of nature (indeed the universe), then this is where and when we get into the trouble of bad karma and the cycle of suffering.
Consciousness is a rare and precious gift. It does create problems such as present self and future self and the natural conflict between them.
Yesterday, Jeff Bezos blasted off with his brother and Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen. You’ve already seen the headlines:Lefty Democrats hit Jeff Bezos over space trip, want him to pay ‘fair share’ of taxes. The dividing and the othering and the criticism goes on and on. If it’s not Bezos, it’s Dr. Fauci or a scientists working on climate change or a researcher working on viruses. It seems recently that this is all human beings are really good at doing, othering and dividing things up so they don’t go together any more.
But we can put the pieces back together again because we did this all inside our minds. We got attached to the symbols we created to explain to ourselves what is happening to us. When we get attached to symbols created inside our minds, we divide things… cut them up into little pieces and stand on sides lobbing bombs at the other side opposite our points of view. But, don’t you see… it all goes together?
I really like something Bezos said in an interview with Anderson Cooper when he was asked about this criticism he was getting about this all being a race to space by billionaires. Anderson asked, “Don’t you think it is better to spend you money here, now to take care of all the problems we are facing on Earth?” Bezos replied, after a moment of consideration, “We have to do both. We have to work on the Here and Now. And we have to work on the future. That is what humanity has always done.”
He is right. Because we can see the Present Self (the Here and Now), but also the Future Self (a brighter, better future on the horizon). Men and women throughout human history have taken care of their needs in the here and now and ventured boldly into the unknown. That is what Homo sapiens does. We are a species who originated in Africa, and then we boldly voyaged far and wide until we filled every niche of our beloved planet. We used to live caves or congregated grass huts, but we used our abilities to take care of our needs in the here and now as well as envision a bigger, brighter future and build it. Often such envisioning is seen only by a few individuals of any particular time. Those who cultivate their minds to see distant inner horizons of being. Not all future possibilities are possible, but all visioning of such future possibilities cause conflict for a tribe or group of people of any time because such seeing into the future means change. But it is precisely these abilities that have allowed Homo sapiens, sapiens to build great cities with towers made of glass and to fly around the world in a day inside airplanes. We are able to see ourselves in the Here and Now (like Jerry Seinfeld’s Nighttime Guy), and we can see our future self. Using nothing more than our minds, we can play out inside our minds what the future consequences of the choices we make in the Now (or do not make), which then inform the actions we take in the Now (or do not take).
Bezos told Anderson Cooper his vision is to create the infrastructure so that future humans can move toxic and polluting industries off Earth, so we can protect our beautiful and fragile planet. This is a beautiful vision, and he is right to hold it and to start something small that will grow into something big. And he can also take care of the here and now and did with $100 million gift each to Van Jones and chef Jose Andres. Sure he could pay more in taxes and probably should. But we do this together, moment by moment… we all create reality.
What will you do with your plot of consciousness today? How will you step into the flow of the Now without a train of burdensome thought cars following you into it?
“Breath Is Too Precious for Hate” — Rev. William Barber
In a time of Great Grief, one must find a thread of Great Belief to hang onto. Not just any thread, but one grown and spun from the center of your heart… the core of who you are as a living being traveling through space and time with other living beings all struggling to survive the setbacks and challenges inherent in being a space-time being. It must be a thread spun with compassion, understanding, truth (at least a willingness to sink into and see truth as it is revealed through time), kindness, patience, and love. This is an elusive thread to find because so many of our systems of being are based and reward the opposites of all these precious qualities of being human. But to survive Great Grief, this is the only way that will lead you and everyone you love to a better place in space and time.
But how do you do this? How does one find this rare and precious thread inside oneself to hang onto as the waves of lost, injustice, disease, death, isolation, exploitation, cruelty, ill treatment, and so many other things that happen to us as we try to survive through time…things that wash away at our very soul?
Just breathe… breath is powerful.
In a Scientific American article that I link to below (Vision and Breathing May Be the Secrets to Surviving 2020), the Stanford neurobiologist Andrew Huberman discusses two things all of us can do to control our response to distress, trauma, pain, and suffering, even during a high-stress time such as this past year has been with an extremely divisive election, racial disparities spotlighted in brutal, traumatic ways in the killing of George Floyd (and so many more individuals unjustly) and unequal access to wealth and healthcare causing black and brown people to suffer the highest death tolls from the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world.
Breathe has never been more forefront and center than it has been this past year with the tragic events leading to chants across the country, indeed the world, of “I can’t breathe” combined with COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe as the novel coronavirus robs them of their ability to do so.
In the article mentioned, Andrew Huberman says, “Breathing represents a bridge between the conscious and unconscious control of the body.” Since I’ve been writing about consciousness and unconsciousness in my story Sapience, drawing much from Carl Jung’s work, I wondered what is the equivalent to breath for the psyche. Then, I remembered this song Breathe by Télépopmusik.
I brought you something close to me Left for something you see though you’re here You haunt my dreams There’s nothing to do but believe Just believe Just breathe
Another day, just believe Another day, just breathe Another day, just believe Another day, just breathe
Breath has long been a symbol for spirit–that invisible force powering all living beings. As human beings, we are aware of this spirit that is powering us and flowing throughout our life on Earth. Jung talks of the importance of this thing that is aware, he calls it Self or psyche. He explains that this small part of self that is aware must swim between that which is conscious inside oneself and that which is unconscious inside oneself to generate the energy necessary to maintain consciousness. This is what gives us the ability as human beings to choose actions different than what our instincts would otherwise dictate. It requires us to ascend up and down within the parts of ourselves that we know about because they exist within our sphere of consciousness and the parts of ourself that we do not know about because they exist within the sphere of our unconsciousness (the bigger sphere). Belief might be like a psychic vessel (a ship, a submarine, or maybe a fish) that we create inside ourselves (in our mind space) in order to make our epic journey through space and time.
However, belief is not omniscient (all-knowing, all-wise, all-seeing) in and of itself. Belief is a part of the immortal body that exists somewhere in the realm of mind, but it is also very mortal and because of that imperfect. For belief to exist through time, just as the body exists through time, beliefs must be refreshed and refined with new knowledge (hopefully even wisdom) all the time, just like the lungs must be refreshed all the time with new air, fresh air so the corporeal body may live.
So how does one hold on during a time of Great Grief, Great Sadness, Great Stress, and Great Lost--like now? It is breath. It is belief. But one must take care to keep the immortal and mortal air breathed clean and refreshing for beliefs can lead individuals into very dark places as well as into illuminated places. It is up to you to choose which place you journey through space and time.
Following is a collection of stories percolating through me since I heard them that have inspired these thoughts. Or perhaps, I should say immortal breaths…and so, another day, just believe, another day, just breathe…
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: And finally today, it’s been less than two weeks since the Biden administration took office, and it has already been a whirlwind. The president has signed more than two dozen executive orders addressing everything from immigration to climate change, as well as one of the issues he says propelled him to run for the presidency for this third time, racial justice.
So we thought this would be a good time to check in with civil rights activist, the Reverend William Barber II. He was invited to offer the homily at the inaugural prayer service. The text came from the prophet Isaiah.
SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING of the Rev. WILLIAM BARBER II:
“And so the prophet gives the nation God’s clear guidance out of the jam it is in. Choose first to repent of the policy sin, and then repair the breach. The breach, according to the imagery of Isaiah, is when there is a gap in the nation between what is and how God wants things to be.”
MARTIN: It was both an affirming message but also a call to action, so we wanted to hear Reverend Barber’s take on what that should look like. To remind, he is the president of an organization called Repairers of the Breach, which is based in Goldsboro, N.C. He’s a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, and the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. And he is with us once again.
Reverend Barber, welcome back to the program. Thanks for joining us.
BARBER: Thank you so much for having me on today.
MARTIN: What gave you the inspiration for the sermon?
BARBER: Well, I was asked to deliver it, and that was quite a humbling request. And then they asked me, did I know much about Isaiah 58? And, of course, that is one of the major passages of scripture recognized by Jews, Muslims and Christians especially. It is a scripture specifically speaking to the nation about how to repair itself after it has been through lying leadership, extreme leadership, mean-spirited leadership, oppressive leadership. And it really gives a step-by-step what has to be done.
MARTIN: Well, to — you know, to that point, I mean, the president in – President Biden in running for office and certainly at his inaugural message has been stressing a message of unity. And during your homily, you spoke of unity. I mean, you said the breach would be knowing the only way to ensure domestic tranquility is to establish justice, but pretending we can address the nation’s wounds with simplistic calls for unity. Can you expand on what you’re saying here?
BARBER: Well, surely. You know, one of the things I think more than just being a civil rights activist, I’m trying my best with others to be, you know, a moral leader, one who looks at things through the lens of moral analysis, moral articulation and moral activism. And you can’t have a simplistic view that all we need is “Kumbaya.” All we need to do is slap back — is pat each other on the back. No, no, no, no. There are real forces — and we have seen them — forces that we saw that would rather put a person on the Supreme Court than protect people from dying in caskets from COVID, forces that would rather give trillions of dollars — trillions — to corporations during COVID while billionaires make almost a trillion dollars and then fight to just give a few trillion to poor and low-wealth people and those who are hurting. These are real battles. And some people are not going to unite with justice. But if enough of us can unite with justice and love, we can move this country forward.
MARTIN: But I am interested in how you feel that happens when some have made it abundantly clear that they do not agree with this agenda. I mean, for example, I mean, your first, as I – you announced on Twitter that beginning tomorrow, the Poor People’s Campaign will be holding special Moral Mondays events. Your first event will center on increasing the minimum wage. Your group is calling for some very ambitious things like universal health care, limiting defense spending. I mean, the fact is that a significant number of people in this country don’t agree with that. So how does he reconcile both the desire that some people clearly have for a more sort of temperate, more moderate, more constructive tone and yet people like yourself who say, no, there are ambitious things that need to happen? How does he resolve that?
BARBER: Now, yes, 70 million people voted for Trump, but over 80 million people voted for Biden and Harris. They knew they were going to pass – they were going to fight for living wages, addressing systemic racism and to address health care. Biden won 55% of all poor and low-wealth people voting under – that made under $50,000 a year. In Georgia and other places, poor and low-wealth people voted for Biden and Harris at a rate 14% higher.
We’re talking about, how do we heal the soul of the South Side? And it’s only by healing the sickness in the body. And so what we’re talking about is a must – is a must. These things must happen, and when you have the power, even if you only have one vote – Republicans showed us something. They did it for the wrong reason, but they didn’t care if they had just one vote. They did what was wrong. So people who have one vote now must do what is right.
MARTIN: I can’t tell from listening to you whether you feel encouraged or you still feel frustrated.
BARBER: So I’m encouraged because the movement is encouraged. I’m encouraged because more people turned out to vote in the midst of COVID than ever turned out in the history of this country. I’m encouraged because 6 million more poor and low-wealth people turned out in this election than they did in 2016. I’m encouraged because this country has shown us that if you run on a progressive agenda, if you talk about health care, living wages and dealing with racism, you can win in California. You can win in Georgia. You can win in Pennsylvania. You can win all over this country if you give people a vision of progress for which they can vote.
I am discouraged on one thing, and it’s — but it’s going to come — that we still don’t hear enough about poverty. We hear Democrats talking about the middle class and workers. But if 43% of this country was poor and low-wealth before COVID, and 8 million more have been thrust into poverty since May of last year, and if only 39% of this country can afford a thousand-dollar emergency, we must use the word poverty. We must talk about poor and low-wage people. We must say their name and say their condition. And we must say we’re not going to lift from the middle up. We’re not going to trickle down. We’re going to lift from the bottom up.
MARTIN: So before we let you go, I want to acknowledge that, as you have acknowledged, that many people are still struggling because of the pandemic, because of the downturn. Obviously, some people – many people were struggling before that, but a lot of people are suffering right now. And this is something that you brought up in your homily. And I just wondered if you had some words of encouragement for people who are struggling.
BARBER: You know, as a pastor, I will tell you, in this season, sometimes I have not had words. I’ll just be honest. All we’ve had is presence, even if it was distant presence. All we’ve had is love. All we’ve had is sometimes just getting on a video and crying together when people couldn’t go visit their loved one. Sometimes that’s all we’ve had.
You know, one of the things some of us have done is ask the question real seriously, why are we still alive? I mean, in this moment when any of us could be gone in seven days, seven minutes – you know, we could contract COVID. We could be breathing fine one minute, and it could all shut down – why is it that we’re still alive? Or more importantly, what is it that we’re going to do with the breath we have?
And some of us have decided in the midst of the tears, in the midst of the hurt, in the midst of the pain, we decided that breath is too important to waste. We don’t have any breath to waste on being mean and hateful and unjust and hurting people. The only real use of our breath is to try to breathe some more love and truth and grace and justice into this world and in this society.
And so whether we live seven minutes, seven days, seven months, seven years or 70 years, that’s what we’re committing ourselves to do with every breath we take from now on because this moment has been a moment where we all have to face the potential of our own mortality in a very real way. We can end any moment, be alone on a breathing machine with nobody able to come and see us. And many people have died like that. And in their name and in their memory, even with our pain, we must use every breath we have to turn things around, to push our political system to do right from the bottom up, with every breath we have left until we have no more breath in us.
MARTIN: That was the Reverend William Barber II. He’s president of Repairers of the Breach. He’s co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. Reverend Barber, thank you so much for joining us once again.
BARBER: Thank you so much. And blessings to you and your staff.
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After hearing the Rev. William Barber speaking with Anderson Cooper earlier in the year of 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and then again in the aftermath of the brutal murder of George Floyd, I was so inspired by his deep wisdom, knowledge, and words that I created a playlist: Repairers of the Breach. We are all responsible for the existence of this breach, which grows deeper and wider with every act of ignorance, malice, and hate that we conduct into the world through our thoughts, words, and actions.
But we are all also healers of this breach, and we can repair this breach when we act with knowledge that we have distilled from our experiences in the world and that we have gained by taking the time to educate ourselves about things, about great mysteries and unknowns in this complex and beautiful world, and when we pay attention to great masters/teachers who have lived throughout time who can help us remove the veils of illusions and delusions–sadly created by others who have chosen to trick and deceive people for their own self-betterment.
We can repair this great divide, the breach we have all forged inside ourself and between each other when we conduct ourself with love and compassion, when we take time to pay attention to other people, especially to people who are suffering, who are in need, who have been ignored and left behind, who have not received the blessings meant for all living being on Earth because these blessings have been diverted and hoarded by a few, especially in these modern times.
Each of us is a healer and repairer of this terrible breach that has broken so many families and friendships recently, but we must constantly refresh our beliefs.
I had heard Act 1 of This American Life before (Down the Rabbit Hole, which is the story of Lenny Pozner, whose son, Noah, was killed at Sandy Hook. In the years after Noah’s death, Lenny and his family were harassed by people who believed the shooting at Sandy Hook never happened – that it was all a conspiracy. Until one day, Lenny decided to fight back).
This is a powerful, heart-breaking, and terribly important story to hear. So, if you have not heard it, you should start with Act 1.
Act 2 is new to me, and it blew me away. Reporter Jon Ronson travels to Texas to uncover the origin story of Alex Jones, infamous founder of InfoWars. Having just finished watching HBO’s Watchmen, I was into origin stories. This is one that needs to be heard because it encapsulates an Archetype of our time. One that is dominating the minds of millions and millions of people these days. One defined by Conspiracy Obsession—Satan Fixation—Bully Compulsion tendencies. It is so prevalent in America society today, percolating even more fiercely by the isolation imposed on every human being in the world due to COVID-19. Alex Jones is a man who had great sway and influence on our former President, Trump, who has a very similar mental world bound by the same Conspiracy Obsession—Satan Fixation—Bullying Compulsions as Jones—something we all saw fall off the page of Facebook and come to life in the storming of the Capitol of the United States of American on Jan. 6, 2021.
I can just feel how one’s breath must tighten and grow shallower and shallower as one depends deeper and deeper into such rabbit-holes of deception and obsession that leads to hate, grief, and pain all for the good of someone like Alex Jones or Donald Trump, not for the good of the ones going into the holes.
Which direction in life will you choose to go? The journey running away from grief and pain by going to fancy parties and coronations in fancy golden high heels? Or will you choose to climb the highest mountain to see the llama or the Lama? 😉
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The TedRadio Hour
Breathe— “Breathing is essential to life. And lately, the safety of the air we inhale, or the need to pause and take a deep breath, is on our minds a lot. This hour, TED speakers explore the power of breath.”
This episode is all about breath. I did not think too much about it after I heard it, but then I heard the words of Rev. William Barber and I saw the importance of these stories in a new light. Because of this, I am highlighting them here and providing links to them so you can listen to them as you have time and interest to do so if you decide to explore the links between breathing, believing, and life. [Note that the images accompanying each story do not necessarily match the TedRadio Hour images but rather link to similar ideas/stories but different sources.]
Description:In 2002, free diver Tanya Streeter completed a record-breaking dive of 525 feet—in one breath. She reflects on the obstacles she faced, and the experience of pushing her body and lungs to the limit.This is a riveting story!
About:Tanya Streeter is a world champion freediver who was inducted into the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame in March 2000. For more than two months, she held the world record — for both men and women — diving to 525 feet in the “no limits” category, which is still the women’s world record for No Limits Apnea.
She has been featured in the documentaries, Freediver, and A Plastic Ocean. She also hosted a show on BBC Two called Shark Therapy, in which she attempted to overcome her fear of sharks.
Streeter received degrees in Public Administration and French from the University of Brighton.
Description: Journalist Beth Gardiner and activist Yvette Arellano explain the long-term health effects of air pollution. Yvette lives in a Houston neighborhood near the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S.
About: Beth Gardiner is an American journalist based in London. For ten years, she reported for the Associated Press in New York and London.
Now, her reporting primarily focuses on the environment. She has discussed her work on NPR’s All Things Considered, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and the BBC’s World at One.
Gardiner is the author of Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution, an exploration into the long-term health effects of air pollution. Gardiner received grants to support her work on Choked from both the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Description: Dinosaurs ruled Earth for 180 million years, but to dominate they had to outcompete a slew of other animals. Paleontologist Emma Schachner thinks their lungs could have been the competitive advantage.
About:Emma Schachner is an anatomy professor at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. She also specializes in the 3D digital modeling of anatomy from CT and MR images, as well as scientific illustration, which merges anatomy, art, and scientific communication.
Schachner’s research uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the soft tissue and skeletal anatomy of a broad range of animals including alligators, chameleons, parrots and ostriches. She uses these data to reconstruct the biology of extinct reptiles, particularly dinosaurs and the fossil ancestors of crocodilians.
She received her master’s degree in paleontology at the University of Bristol and her PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fifth Story: Andy Puddicombe: How Can Breathing Help Us In An Ever-Changing World?
Description: Mindfulness expert and Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe guides listeners through a meditative reflection on breath and impermanence.
About:Andy Puddicombe is a former Buddhist monk and the co-founder of Headspace, a project to make meditation more accessible to more people in their everyday lives.
Puddicombe also writes for The Huffington Post and The Guardian on the benefits of mindful thinking for healthy living.
He attended Wellsway Comprehensive School in Keynsham, and studied Sports Science at De Montfort University. He also has a Foundation Degree in Circus Arts.
Each day, we breathe about 22,000 times–and all that time we smell. Scent historian Caro Verbeek recreates scents of the past. She says, just like music and art, smell is a part of our heritage.
About:Caro Verbeek is an embedded researcher of olfactory heritage at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum and International Flavours & Fragrances. She creates olfactory tours and interventions for museums.
Verbeek teaches the course ‘The Other Senses’ at the Royal Academy of Arts The Hague and is the curator in chief of the olfactory culture program ‘Odorama’ at Mediamatic Amsterdam. She is also an advisor for immaterial heritage projects at Mondriaan Fonds.
She received her M.A. in curatorial studies at VU Amsterdam University and her M.A. in art history at the University of Amsterdam.
NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Sophie Fustec, known artistically as La Chica, about her new album La Loba, in which she comes to terms with her brother’s recent death who died after jumping into a hot spring to save his dog. I was deeply touched by this interview and Sophie’s beautiful voice.
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Then there is the tragic death of another beautiful Sophie–Sophie Xeon who was popularly known as just Sophie. She died at 34 after a terrible accident where she fell from a roof that she climbed to get a picture of a full moon. Ludovica Ludinatrice, Sophie’s representative, said: “True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us. The family thank everyone for their love and support and request privacy at this devastating time.”
Each breath we take is precious for every breath links us to every individual we ever come into contact with each and every day. Breathing\believing is how we weave the web of life (our shared reality). It is a timeless process done in our corporal bodies through breath and in our immortal bodies through belief. We all need to breath…to believe to survive and thrive.
What will you do with your breath today?
It is so precious…you are so precious…and life is so fragile and short.