Introduction: Reminder Why We Need Strong Super Hero Movies
I found a great article on Harrison Ford in Esquire where the writer Ryan asks Harrison what he thinks the point of stories are for people. Harrison answers:
“I guess the point is, these stories we see—movies, novels—we look for ourselves in these characters and these stories,” I say, rebooting.
He nods. “We look for ourselves, and we look for useful information to help us navigate our fucking lives and the world that we’re living in,” he says. “We don’t realize we’re looking for that. But we’re looking to pull out of a fantasy something that’s useful to us. And what’s useful to us is to emotionally participate in things outside of our own lives.”
-- Esquire | Harrison Ford Has Stories to Tell |Yeah, Indiana Jones is back. But enough with the legend stuff. We spent two days in L.A. with Ford—in his airplane hangar, at his house—drinking bourbon and talking about what really matters in life. By Ryan D'Agostino | PUBLISHED: MAY 31, 2023
To understand the animation of Hans Solo and his poached eggs you need to read the article in Esquire. In short, Harrison Ford is a super hero archetype actor. He’s acted in Star Wars (no date needed!), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Blade Runner (1982), Witness (1985), The Mosquito Coast (1986), Working Girl (1988), Presumed Innocent (1990), Patriot Games (1992), The Fugitive (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Air Force One (1997), and Marvel movies as the President of the United States, and more.
Harrison knows better than most why we like and need stories in our lives. He’s acted in a bunch of them after all where it is his job to depict Arches of Consciousness. That is what stories and movies are all about. And as Arches of Consciousness, every arch has a light side and a shadow side. Just as human beings do and this is because we get to decide what side of an archetype we act upon. Our super hero movies and modern stories, just like ancient myths, depict what happens to human beings when they choose to act on one side of an arch or the other in constantly changing situations, which is the position we all find ourselves in as conscious living beings throughout our lives.
Stories are short cuts to consequences, karma. And karma is nothing more than the consequences of conscious choices made by human beings. Stories show us what might happen when we choose to act using one side or another side of an Arch of Consciousness or if we only choose to act using a very narrow spectrum of our full conscious capabilities.
The Indoctrination Barrage
So let’s get back to the meat of consciousness and why we need to pay attention and use our minds critically every moment of every day. We need to do this work of critical thinking, which is how we work out our consciousness, to stay healthy and free. We need to work out our minds just like we need to work out our bodies to stay healthy and live a long life.
Here is the next section of Joost A. M. Meerloo’s landmark book The Rape of the Mind, Chapter 5: The Indoctrination Barrage, beginning on page 71.
The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments an propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-don't-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one. The flight from study and awareness is much too common in a world that throws too many confusing pictures to the individual. For the sake of our democracy, based on freedom and individualism, we have to bring ourselves back to study again and again. Otherwise, we can become easy victims of a well-planned verbal attack on our minds and consciences.
We cannot be enough aware of the continual coercion of our senses and minds, the continual suggestive attacks which may pass through the intellectual barriers of insight. Repetition and Pavlovian conditioningexhaust the individual and may seduce him ultimately to accept a truth he himself initially defied and scorned.
The totalitarians are very ingenious in arousing latent guilt in us by repeating over and over againhow criminally the Western World has acted toward innocent and peaceful people. The totalitarians may attack our identification with our leaders by ridiculing them, making use of every man's latent critical attitude toward all leaders. Sometimes they use the strategy of boredom to lull the people to sleep. They would like the entire Western world to fall into a hypnotic sleep under the illusion of peaceful coexistence. In a more refined strategy, they would like to have us cut all our ties of loyalty with the past, away from relatives and parents. The more you have forsaken them and their so-called outmoded concepts, the better you will cooperate with those who want to take mental possession of you.Every political strategy that aims toward arousing fear and suspicion tends to isolate the insecure individual until he surrenders to those forces that seem to him stronger than his former friends.
And last but not least, let us not forget that in the battle of arguments those with the best and most forceful strategy tend to win. The totalitarians organize intensive dialectical training for their subjects lest their doubts get the better of them. They try to do the same thing to the rest of the world in a less obtrusive way.
We have to learn to encounter the totalitarians' exhausting barrage of words with better training and better understanding. If we try to escape from these problems of mental defense or deny their complications, the cold war will gradually be lost to the slow encroachment of words -- and more words.
Resist, resist, resist the I-don’t-care reaction! Push yourself to learn, study, and understand. Run, don’t walk, towards the more intensified desire to study and to understand reaction that Joost A. M. Meerloo talks about. This is the only way we stay free. This is the only way we survive as a species on planet Earth because do you really think demigods like Trump, Putin, and the others really care about your freedoms, about your economic security, about the planet. If you really think they do, well, you’ve been successfully indoctrinated and are riding the barge to the end of the world
Images made on Genolve AI image generation options.
Feature Archetypal Animation
Music: The Baroque Ball (From “Cruella”) [Instrumental] — Roxane Genot
This is part 2 of the blog series: The Marvelization of Man
I began this series talking about Marvel’s reboot of Morbius who is a character created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. Morbius is a “Living Vampire.”
As a child, Morbius suffers from a disease that cripples him and makes him frail and weak. There are others like him; all will die young. But young Morbius is a smart kid and becomes a doctor. He finds a cure for his illness. And you guessed it, the cure comes from the genes of vampire bats.
Marvel hoped for another BIG blockbuster after the smashing hit of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). This movie earned $1.1915 billion US dollars. Morbius debuts in 2022 with a production budget of $75 million dollars but it only earns $163 million worldwide, with only $74 million dollars earned domestically, as reported by Forbes.
In short, Morbius was a great disappointment both financially and critically. Many critics said the plot was not well-structured.
While this may be true, I think Marvel also missed the mark of what Morbius’ character embodies. All movie character are symbols. This is why we like them. They remind of us of ourselves in some deep fundamental, eternal, and mysterious way.
Magic of Symbols in Storytelling
Marvel, and every other marvelous entertainment universe, draws on these symbols each time they tell us a story. The stories we watch today are not that much different than the stories the ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed.
Indeed, the stories arcs are virtually identical in nature, scope, and meaning. Stories such as Prometheus and the Stolen Fire, Orpheus and Sisyphus, or Echo and Narcissus have just as much relevance to 21st Century humans as they did for ancient Greeks and Romans. These types of stories crystalize unique aspects of what it means to be human. They harness and embody specific patterns of human behavior that we all recognize and can relate to. They center such patterns in specific characters who become the hero, ruler, everybody’s man, trickster, femme fatale, tragic hero, warrior, sage, knight-errant, and many more patterns of behavior we all relate to or have experienced.
These patterns of human behavior have been well observed and commented on since ancient times. Plato called these recognizable patterns of human behavior Forms. His philosophies on Forms create the foundation of Modern Western philosophy. What he meant by Forms is that there are pre-existing ideals or templates all humans access and use to navigate life as a conscious being.
Carl Jung dedicated his life to understanding the secret life of the human mind and called these often unconscious patterns of behavior primordial images or archetypes.
Archetypes are everywhere and influence more than 99% of human behavior. Most of us remain unaware of the energizing patterns that influence our lives in a myriad of ways every day. Archetypes inspire us, guide us, possess us, rule us, and live through us every day.
This is why our favorite movies and stories depend on characters who are possessed by and living out a powerful archetype. Pamela Buckle Henning writes for writers and actors of the stage:
Archetypal patterns are an unintended, unconscious presence in human life. Archetypes are primordial patterns that operate within the psyche of every individual. They also operate within groups of people. When people gather together for any purpose, they can become unwittingly entrained in archetypal dramas. -- STAGES, SKILLS, AND STEPS OF ARCHETYPAL
PATTERN ANALYSIS by Pamela Buckle Henning
Bottom line, archetypes are fundamental to telling a powerful story, one that lots of people will want to see and pay to go see. The most powerful stories have characters, both good and bad, who speak to and meet our collective unconscious. Characters and stories that get at and illuminate something that everyone feels but can’t seem to put their finger on or name.
Vampires Are Archetype of Narcs
As a vampire, Morbius embodies the narcissistic archetype.
The myth of Echo and Narcissus warns about the danger of narcissism as the beautiful wood nymph Echo falls in love with the young and very handsome human man Narcissus who sadly loves himself more than anybody or anything else. This causes Echo to disappear becoming a tree in her forest while Narcissus stares at himself in pond. He stares so long, he becomes a tree rooted to the bank.
There are other many other aspects of the narcissist archetype, but the most recognizable one is that these are people obsessed with their own self-importance and status. In Jungian terms, these are people possessed by and fascinated with all the negative aspects of the ruler archetype.
Narcissists personify the negative aspects of the ruler archetype in that they desire power and control, see themselves as fit and entitled to rule and see others as inferior subjects. They fear losing their power and use multiple strategies to maintain it. -- Narcissism and Archetypes - Children of Narcissists
These are fearful rulers who are afraid of being overthrown. Their paranoia grows so intense and overbearing that it corrupts and cripples all good qualities and instincts they would otherwise possess. This corruption essential rips the wholeness of their psyche, leaving a gap for the shadow to jump in.
According to Jung’s interpretation of the Shadow Archetype, the shadow contains all the sex and life instincts. It is created as the conscious mind grows in relation to its culture where conscious survival compels an individual to repress ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings in an effort to adapt and conform to cultural norms and expectations.
It is this side of a fearful ruler’s mind that takes over filling him with every negative, shadowy, repressed idea, instinct, or impulse he has ever had. Suddenly, this feeble, frighten man is transformed into a monster and becomes a Ruthless Ruler.
Narcissists descend to dark interior places inside themselves. In the darkness of their own Shadow, they lose the ability to regulate and balance their own emotions, even to power their own psyche (ability to think and focus). They have essentially split themselves in half and can no longer self-regulate. They feel constantly empty and void inside, which feeds their fear and widens the gap between their Good Self and their Bad Self.
Soon they must pick a side. It does not matter which side they choose. They have split themselves into two opposing parts, which leaves them psychically starving. The food they crave is attention. This is energy for the psyche, and a starving psyche will do anything to get it, which sets them off on their ruthless pursuit to control everyone and everything.
The best supply of psychic energy for a Narc is watching or causing another person’s pain. To a Narcissist, watching someone suffer is like a vampire feeding on another person’s blood to survive. For Narcs, human pain and suffering is psychic blood.
Back in the 70s when Morbius was created, he was an appropriate evolution of the original Dracula imagined by Irish author Bram Stoker back in 1897 who then captured the evolution of corrupted, evil ruler archetype for his time.
The 1970s was a time of unabashed proliferation of narcissism. No longer did a person need to be rich and famous to be a Narc, but now you could be poor and weak, a common man or ordinary woman. Narcissism invaded American society with a vengeance, partly due to unregulated capitalism. In fact, being a Narc was good for business.
So, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane captured the changing psychological landscape that everyone was encountering in the 70s with Morbius, who was a conflicted vampire. He wanted to do the right thing, but his vampire mind proves more powerful than his human mind, which is very much like a narcissistic mind craving attention, power, glory.
The superhero-villain was a very compelling archetype then and remains one now. It plays off the idea that it takes a monster to destroy a monster.
Narcissism: Humans Who Feed on Other Human’s Pain
Narcissists must feed on another human being’s pain and trauma to live. Narcissists are hollowed out human beings with extremely weak psychological coping abilities. In fact, they really don’t have them at all, at least not the healthy kind. Because of this, they are very emotionally damaged human beings.
They manage their inner pain and inner hell by making other people feel the pain and suffering they are too afraid to feel inside themselves. So they project their pain, their suffering, and their inner hell on everyone else.
Narcs strange psychological math is: “I get rid of my pain by making you feel pain. In their mind, relationships are based on dominance and submission.” — Dr. Les Carter, Surviving Narcissism
Narcs feed off of your pain and enjoy abusing and crushing others to get their narcissistic high, also known as supply. Sounds a lot like drinking blood, doesn’t it?
And that’s exactly what it is, only psychic, emotional, spiritual blood. The 70s were a great time for Narcs to thrive, so enter a Marvel superhero specifically created to deal with them… because the old adage is correct: You need a monster to kill a monster!
And that is what Mordius becomes by trying to cure his disability with vampire genes; he becomes a monster, but he doesn’t want to kill his fellow humans unless he has to kill them. Then, he doesn’t mind and is pretty darn good at doing it. He even kills his childhood friend who goes off the rails with all these new powers of this cure of the childhood disease that they share.
Let’s Backtrack to Bram’s Dracula
Bram Stoker imagined Dracula in 1897.
Bram’s vampire, Dracula, is immediately recognizable around the world as this evil, fantom fiend who is already dead but keeps waking up to feed on the living.
He is of course a fictional character; however, Bram drew inspiration for this particular type of evil from a historical figure who was widely known back in his day for his thirst for blood.
This man was Vlad the Impaler. His real name was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. His father was Vlad II Dracul (or Vlad the Dragon) who was a prominent member of the Order of Dracul (also known as the Order of the Dragon).
The Vlads lived during the 1400s, which is a really tough time to be alive and running a minor kingdom sandwiched between two big empires fighting all the time as well as minor kingdom squabbles. The two great empires Wallachia sits between are the Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with the Roman Empire) and the Ottoman Empire. In addition to these great machines of human will, are a bunch of minor states and kingdoms trying to grow bigger and pledging allegiance to one or the other empire so they might be rescued if they are invaded by a hostile force.
Young Vlad III is taken hostage by the Ottoman Empire as a child with his brother to make sure his father keeps his pledge of allegiance to Mehmed the Conqueror the man who conqueres Constantinople thereby ending the Byzantine Empire.
It is during this time as a prisoner that Vlad III learns the torture tactics that will earn him his name. Vlad III employs these horrific tactics in service to Pope Pius II who finances his efforts to take back his kingdom along with uphold the territories of christendom.
Vlad III employs his skills with such brutality, cruelty, and at a scale of magnitude never before imagined that he rightly earns his name Vlad the Impaler. He goes down in history as one of Europe’s most bloodthirsty evil fiends. And of course, his trail of blood sows fertile ground for Bram Stoker to create one of the most reviled, evil, bloodthirsty villains ever to be imagined and to enter popular culture’s collective imagination through Bram’s book.
Narcissism in the 1970s is proliferating rapidly. It is becoming a much more socially accepted, equal opportunity disease. In fact, if you do not have a bit of narcissism going on, it is hard to get ahead in business, in romance, and virtually everything we are told we should love and adore in our modern world.
This is where you get vamps like Morbius who really don’t want to drink human blood, but there’s this beast inside that must be fed. There is a flowering of vampire dramas in the 70s that mirrors the flowering of narcissism in world.
There is the rise of black vampires like top-grossing Blacula (1972) and Ganja and Hess (1973) that will inspire Black horror movies like Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Spike Lee’s Da Blood of Jesus.
There is Vampire Circus (1972) starring David Prowse before he become Darth Vader. And there are the psychological vampires like Martin (1977), and the lonely vampire Nosferatu, The Vampyre (1979).
There are vampires who drink the beauty of other humans so they stay eternally young, there are energy vampires, and Omega Man (1979) where vampirism is symbol of humanity’s continual hunger for progress leaving all but one man little more than nocturnal prowlers of blood. To get a real detailed breakdown of 70s Vamps, see 10 Vampire Movies From the ’70s You Probably Haven’t Seen (But Should)
By the 70s, narcissism had long since descended from the pedestals of popes, sultans, and kings. Narcissism now flourishes in wanton abundance among all of humanity and has continued to evolve ever since.
Marvel Got It Wrong
This is where Marvel got it wrong.
The Narcs who send chills down out backs now are much closer to Harry Potter’s Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort uses a wand to project his dark magic on his victims. A Narcs like Donald Trump simply uses his tongue (a bit like a wand but more like a snake). Modern Narc project their poison then take possession of a person’s mind sucking them dry, then filling them up with their Dark Thoughts. This is the magic of our time. People who come under the spell of an evil, vampire-like, magician like Voldemort (or Trump) are doomed to become empty vessels who do his bidding.
Today’s Narcs want to occupy your mind and fill your head with their thoughts. Narcs want you to believe they are omnipotent, but really they are parasites, viruses, feeble infections who need your mind to survive in this world.
Narcs are disgusting, degenerative, dying babies. And even Lord Voldemort is even 10 years behind the evolution of narcissism in our world.
Stranger Things nails it even closer to our collective truth:
Lord Venca, Number 1, the Mind Flayer!
So poor Morbius really needs to catch up to the crystalizing, consuming power of Narcissists in our Modern World.
Lackluster Nature of Transactional Archetypes
Every modern human being must navigate a slew of complicated social dynamics each and every day. We must navigate the social dynamics at work, home, hectic, even the gym. We are social creatures and maintaining strong community relationships influences our social health, mental health, physical health, and psychological health.
So, how do we psyche ourselves up to complete a hundred complicated tasks every day spanning work, home, and the day care center? How do we prepare ourselves psychologically for the hours of focused conscious attention needed to complete one task after another after another? How do we maintain our focus throughout the duration of the project? How do switch between the type of attention needed at work and that needed at home or in community?
Each and every human being does this sort of switching of focused conscious attention continuously throughout our day. We do it so much, we don’t even think about how we even do it, nor do we consider there is a psychological ecosystem sustaining the energy requirements needed to have a single thought, much less 10s of thousands of thoughts each day matched by 10s of billion of conscious and unconscious actions and reactions to our environment and changing circumstances.
So how do we do it: Maintain a Steady Stream of Conscious Thought?
How do we pull out attention back to a difficult task when it wanders away?
Watered Down Archetypes
My beef with Marvel and Morbius is that more attention seems to be going into creating another blockbuster movie rather than architecting complex, relatable, and believable characters. Individuals with real flaws and real issues that resonate with our complicated, complex, hyped up, machine-like world.
Super heroes and archetypes should give us recognizable human patterns that we can empathize with and pretend to be if we find ourselves in a similar quandary or situation that requires us to dig a little deeper for those inner Super Powers (that we all have) to do something hard.
Marvel, by focusing on making blockbusters, follows a formula for success that waters down the characters into transactional beings. Instead of feasting on information-rich archetypal characters, we end up watching sad, sorry, distracted, transactional creatures trudge through unoriginal storylines and adventures.
The magic is gone.
Instead we are served up highly systematized, transactional characters, highly processed and mainstreamed into sugar coated, tiny packages labeled: This Is A Monster, This Is A Hero, This Is A Super Hero,This Is A Conflicted Hero.
"Social dynamics boil down to the two main categories of relationships—transactional and transformational. The former often alienates leaders to their peers, while the latter builds strong, trusting relationships with peers, helping them to feel like their work matters and giving them a reason to care."
-- The Risks of Having Transactional Relationships with Your Peers; Leigh Bailey | April 11, 2023 | Blog | Executive Coaching | Leadership Development | Leadership Team Development | The Bailey Group
We are allowed to indulge as much as we want on all this filtered, strained, sifted, rarefied, clarified, in short highly refined stuff just as long as we don’t take it seriously! After all, come on man, these are comic book characters!
As we live in smaller and smaller cubby hole roles that are striped of responsibility and original thoughts, we feel the pressure pushing in on us to Hold the Mold no matter what. We assume lives of repetitive, homogeneity, but inside we are starved for meaning and purpose. We are starved for healthy, robust, vigorous ideas of what we might be… if only…
We are not suppose to formulate an answer to that. We are just suppose to go to work so e can go watch another Marvel movie when it comes out.
Too Much Watering CausesChronic Hypoxia of the Human Mind
The next blogs in this series will take a deeper dive into the transactional nature of our modern living and how this is creating a chronic hypoxia occurring in our minds. Simply said, we are being starved of information-rich, highly symbolic, nourishing ideas.
Man’s mind must breathe and its oxygen are ideas. Creating a chronic condition of dehydrated, highly processed, synthetic ideas deprives man’s mind of the air it needs to maintain a homeostasis capable of providing normal focus human conscious attention. is no longer possible.
In the body when hypoxia occurs, it is due to a lack of oxygen. In the mind when hypoxia occurs, it is due to a lack of nourishing, rich ideas that help root us to our tasks, to each other, and the Earth.
Failure to correct the current hypoxia of the modern mind will result in greater susceptibility to what A.M. Merloo, M.D., called the Rape of the Mind.
Born as Abraham MauritsMeerloo in The Hague, Netherlands, Meerloo came to United States in 1946, was naturalized in 1950, and resumed Dutch citizenship in 1972. Dr. Meerloo practiced psychiatry for over forty years. He did staff work in the Netherlands until 1942 under Nazioccupation, when he assumed the name Joost (instead of the more Jewish-sounding Abraham) to fool the occupying forces. In 1942 he fled to Belgium, and from there he escaped to England (after barely eluding death at the hands of the Germans). He became a colonel and was chief of the Psychological Department of the Dutch Army-in-Exile in England.
He was the son of Bernard and Anna Frederika (Benjamins) Meerloo. He was the youngest of six children and the only one to escape his occupied country and survive the Holocaust.
He married Elisabeth Johanna Kalf Den Haag, on May 16, 1928. The couple divorced on February 19, 1946. He subsequently married Louisa Betty "Loekie" Duits, a physical therapist, in New York City on May 7, 1948.
When one thinks of totalitarian states, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and North Korea leap to mind. However, Joost explains in great detail the differences between overt thought control as practiced by torturers and subtle thought control.
Sneak Peak of the Marvelization of Man Series
Psychological Warfare as a Weapon of Terror
Every human communication can be either a report of straight facts or an attempt to suggest things and situations as they do not exist. Such distortion and perversion of facts strike at the core of human communication. The verbal battle against man's concept of truth and against his mind seems to be ceaseless. For example, if I can instil in eventual future enemies fear and terror and the suggestion of impending defeat, even before they are willing to fight, my battle is already half won. -- Merloo, M.D., called the Rape of the Mind.
Conversation From Previous Post
This is the end of a conversation I had with a friend about this first blog in this series. He shared with me this fascinating video about the Great Archetype that produced in me a great feeling and passion, which I suppose the the purpose of the Great Archetype. Below is my attempt to communicate this feeling to my friend
Thank you for sharing this. If you shared it to me previously, I did not recognize its importance then. But now, I can comprehend its significance! This is important. I'm going to have to digest it slowly as the visuals are stunning but knock me off course from reading the translations, which I know I need to read to fully understand.
From the Vimeo description, I am getting the jest that this is Christ Consciousness, Divine Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness.
It is that thing man glimpses but cannot seem to grasp.
But of course not... there is nothing there to grasp... it is a state of mind beyond 2-dimensional thinking.
There are those among us, and who have come before, us who have gotten there (to Divine Consciousness), and even more importantly, they have come back to share this knowledge with us, but human consciousness as it is now is in a terrible mire.
This is where we are now. It is a divisive stage of consciousness... that is thinking... for it only knows how to cut and divide, sort and calculate, and put into order everything it cuts into bits and pieces, but thinking does not know how to put it back together again in the unified whole it was before the scissors of thought got to it.
We may not make it out of the mess we have made by ourselves using thought that only divides creating amazing and terrible things like the atom bomb, which this past week, some humans somberly remembered was 75 years since "at 5:29 a.m. (MST) on July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb detonated in the New Mexican desert, releasing a level of destructive power ..."
And it will soon be 75 years, since man took that awesome power and dropped it on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, August 6 and 9.
The events that Christopher Nolan has profoundly produced to remind us about in Oppenheimer, but I fear sadly due the Marvelization of Man, we (most of humanity) will not truly comprehend where we are at as a species on this planet.
I think Nolan duly points out that it does not matter that it is in the US where this terrible magic is cracked... people all over the world were cracking the code and figuring it out.... it was just a matter of time until humans figured it out.
Oppenheimer understood this and created an incubator to do it faster so that the Allied forces could win the wars against powers that had condensed into pure evil; powers rolling across the world stage like bulldozers achieving some of the most gruesome levels of destruction humans had yet achieved at that point in time remembered now as WWII.
Now, we can do even more hideous things to each other and we are doing so...
Now we hold the keys to our collective demise for destruction comes in all sorts of flavors--nuclear war, climate change, autocracies, and Marvelous Worlds full of capitalistic wonders that will dull us all down into one long droning wail of mediocrity very soon... and that is because ... we all agreed a long, long time ago... that only some people will be allowed to sit on top of functional hierarchies, which are the systems of power that rule the world as we know it now.
But we have all conveniently forgotten that all people are susceptible to the corrupting power of their own thinking!
And functional hierarchies are the most easily corrupted things we have created as conscious creatures. They are all around us like Trump Enterprises, Elon Musk, and the list is long of failed or failing corporations. The list is even longer of failed of failing states. The ones impacting us now are known as Russia, North Korea, and who knows, maybe even China maybe be in the running to rattle the nuclear rattle we hold in our tiny human hands in tantrums of ultimate self-hatred and self-destruction.
Some people I know put the USA, Great Britain, and all of Europe in this list too. I wrote a big blog about this...... I was pretty pissed because it is only in states that allow for free thought that we might still find the cure to our disease.
The kind of mega disaster that individuals like Christ and others tried to save us from... but still... most of us run directly into the flame of ignorance rather than grow up as we were meant to do from the very beginning...
And I do think God is woman
Now, I have diverged...lol...
All images, except for Feature Animation, use Midjourney AI to create the animations…that is until I ran out of credits. Following are the songs that enliven them.
Right now, as of today, the 2023 Alberta, Canada wildfires have burned over 842,000 hectares that is casting smoke that can be smelled in Washington, DC.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Mawaris bearing down on the island of Guam. This is a Category 4 Typhoon with sustained winds of 135 mph and storm surge expected to be as high or higher than roofs of one story buildings.
These are dangerous events that threaten lives and will destroy property totaling millions to billions of dollars. And these are just the latest in a series of serve weather events bearing down on the world--be it astounding flooding events, tornadoes, derechos, fires, and many other severe weather events (click on link to see just the list of 1 billion dollar disasters in 2022).
Layered on top of these events are mass shootings in the USA...a civilization so polarized, it's paralyzed.
Layer onto all of this the War in Ukrainewith 18,280 casualties (6,596 killed and 11,684 injured -- stats by Radio Free Europe) along with nuclear saber rattling by the crazy tsar Putin driving Russia into the ground and North Korea accompanied by Xi Jinping, China’s very uptight and control freak ruler, eyeing Taiwan
Human beings have always lived in uncertainty. It is only recently we feel it isn’t normal to feel uncertain about something.
But what if we need uncertainty to thrive?
Uncertainty has largely been replaced by routines made very predictable and reliable by all our technology. Living life today is so much more predictable than living it just 70 years ago, much less 150 or 700 years ago. Some may say modern human life is downright boring until something unexpected, unplanned, unpredictable occurs. Then, suddenly we may feel uncertain, anxious, uncomfortable, frighten. We want these feeling to go away because these aren’t the nice feelings we are suppose to feel in our technology rich, everything is at your finger tips society.
But wishing this to be so would be a huge mistake…
Do you want to know why?
Well, I’m not going to tell you. I’m going to let you dwell in a place of uncertainty and let you see what you find out.
However, I will provide a few road markers, if you are willing to take the voyage into the uncomfortable space of being uncertain, not knowing, a place that feels more than a little bit unhinged.
Are you a voyager?
Let’s find out what your look of today really is? Let’s dive into if it may be possible to imagine and see a different look… another way to live a modern life? Does this make you feel uncertain? Is this a bad feeling or a good one? Why?
Let’s explore some more….
The first road marker on this voyage into uncertainty comes from Humankind Public Radio in an episode called Constant Emergency.
This audio documentary explores what constant emergencies do to people. It delves into what living in constant states of anxiety and fear does to a person’s psyche and sense of wellbeing. One thing we know is that constant states of emergency translates in our bodies as constant Fight or Flight mode. Being constantly in Fight-or-Flight can generate unrelenting stress and anxiety that can further translate into violent self-talk as well as violence to others.
Have we entered an age of unrelenting chaos? As we grope for a “new normal”, has humanity reached a kind of turning point?
It feels that way — in the wake of the Covid pandemic, intensifying impacts of climate change, the war in Ukraine, mounting threats to our democracy, repeated mass shootings and so much more.
In this timely audio documentary, you’ll hear inspiring stories of survivors. We also listen to health care providers, clergy and others who offer specific guidance to help people navigate these choppy waters. They conclude that new, hope-giving possibilities are emerging.
You’ll learn about a fascinating group of caregivers who travel to trouble spots and train local residents in proven techniques that can help people to heal from trauma. In the lyrics of folksinger Carrie Newcomer: “there’s something holding steady and true, regardless of me and you.”
In this provocative Humankind program, we consider:
1) What resources are needed — for emotional and physical health and for the functioning of our communities?
2) What are ways out of thinking that, in all this commotion, we’re in a downward spiral, with no other options?
3) What simple self-care techniques can relieve the tensions now being felt my so many?
-- HumanKind Radio | Constant Emergency
Following are quick insightful impressions I gleaned while listening to the speakers:
Insights From Melissa Barnett
Each of us carry a full spectrum of emotions concerning our environment that range from love, fear, grief. And there is a lot of un–metabolized fear out there. My perception of the forest had changed after coming back from the fire. Instead of seeing quiet and green and calm, I saw fuel for fire resulting in panic. It was primal fear and hard to be there after the fire. After a catastrophe, isn’t having one’s faith shaken meant to do? Shouldn’t we re-think our patterns, our behaviors, or beliefs?”
“Working with children who came back after the fire, we did art, deep breathing, connection with animals, being outside and looking around their family and friends to see who is there to support them and thinking how they can help them.”
“Peace begins with me.” — Say this as a mantra while you breathe
— Melissa Barnett yoga instructorSonoma, California
Insights From James Gordon, MD
“Training people who are former caregivers (doctors, mental health workers) but also training teachers, preachers, household workers. First step is to shut up and focus on breathing, being here and now. This is a concentrative meditative exercise that calms down the flight or flight response. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It calms activity in the amygdala (responsible for violence) and places focus in Frontal Lobe (responsible for compassion, kindness). Deep breathing also activates cranial nerves (responsible for recognizing emotions in others) and frontal lobe come into function when we breathe slowly. When trauma is overwhelming, people go into freeze effect. People release neurotransmitters and disassociate from what is happened. It is a life saving response, but being constantly in freeze response it is deadly. We get people up and moving, maybe dancing, and something shifts inside. A man from Sarajevo who witnessed his entire family massacred after participating in Dr. Gordon’s deep breathing, relaxation, and dancing for the first time was not oppressed with visions of his family being killed.”
“To help people feel safe again in their lives requires hope, an internal shift that our lives can heal. Many people who have suffered trauma believe their is nothing they can do to change their lives. Trauma disables the healing aspects of our brains and minds.
— James Gordon, MD Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Washington, DC
Insights from Rev. Susan Beaumont
“For a vast majority of people living now there is a longing for simpler, easier, and more pleasant times. There are some eager to rush forward to resolution, but most want to turn back. There is a lost of hope. This is process of disintegrate of systems for new things to emerge. We have to live in this in-between place for the new thing to emerge. It is very hard to sit with Not Knowing. Lost of hope is biggest problem because we loss the ability to be creative in fixing what is wrong. In addition, there is a rush to restore the status quo. We have to remain unsettled so we keep creating, we keep innovating, but rather institute old practices as the New Normal (fueling the fire of collapse). For leaders finding the balance of feeling unstable and stable is very difficult.”
“New community needs to emphasize compassion and teach people how to sit with others and be present with each other in suffering without wrapping it up and putting a pretty bow on it. When people are in need, people benefit most simply from another person willing to listen and be present to the other person’s suffer and suffer it alongside of them… no solving, so strategy. We can be in it but not of it. We can surrender to the circumstances instead of rallying against them and then let it pass through us. A lot of our suffering comes from rallying against them.”
— Rev. Susan Beaumont Troy, Michigan
Insights From Nichole Warwick
“Grief is the BIG Elephant in the room. Not wanting to sit with our losses and our grief. Grieving is a sublet, multi-level process. Went through Al Gore’s Climate Change course, but after seeing so many images of devastation I was overwhelmed and grief struck but I couldn’t articulate it or see it in myself. So there was an element missing in the course for a long-time after I just couldn’t land what it was. A few weeks after the Climate Reality class, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then I understood what was missing. We live in a culture ill-equipped to deal with grief. Our culture wants people to hurry up and get back to “normal”. With this diagnosis, I didn’t have a choice about my grief. With the tsunami of feelings and emotions, I had to take my time and process is it all.
“It takes courage to see the things we don’t want to see. It take courage to act and show love to people in pain, experiencing loss, or trauma. Look for ways you can help others and this grows your courage to endure your own pain and trauma.”
— Nichole Warwick Sonoma, CA Community Resilience Collaborative
Insights From Sabrina N’Diaye
“Something amazing always grows from bad experiences. There is this tree that grows in the middle of abandoned buildings and rubble. I have witness the darkness and I have witnessed the beauty that rises through it. Sit with yourself, be with all of your feelings and emotions, do not run away so you can be there to see the tree when it rises. When I think of all the people I admire, all of them had to walk through trauma. When I’m doing my work, it is to remember I am supposed to have the experiences to make me afraid, angry, frustrated, joy, love, and laughter… (all of this teaches me who I am.)”
“When feeling overwhelmed, I let myself cry when I hear another person’s story of pain and trauma. I give myself permission to feel what the person is feeling. Also, so many leaders of countries are hurting people. I cannot change the President of Russia, but I can change how I talk to my husband and my children and everyone around me and this changes the energy around us.
The next road marker comes from one of my favorite philosopher-entertainers, Alan Watts. This is a podcast series hosted by Mark Watts, Alan Watt’s son. This one in particular is essential for understanding the beauty and value and necessity of uncertainty.
The third road makers comes from the Library of Consciousness (I love the name of this website-resource). I was looking for something Alan Watts said for my story, so I have highlighted nibbles from this transcript from one of his lectures.
“To act without being motivated by the fruits of action, [this is the way to get out of the wheel of karma.]”
“So long as you’re looking for results—be they good or evil—you’re still bound [by the laws of karma].”
“The word dharma—sometimes meaning “the Buddhist’s doctrine,” or a certain way of life when you talk about a person’s svadharma—you mean “their own function.” We would translate svadharma as “vocation.” Sva is the same as the Latin sus: “one’s own.” Dharma: “function,” in this case. “Operation,” “way of life,” “style of life,” “profession,” “trade,” “role.” It means all those things. And the one thing that dharma really never means is “law,” although it’s often translated that way.”
“Because, you see, you don’t get the idea of law until you move to a culture where order is based on the idea of obedience. In the West, you see, the origins of law spring from where? The laws of the Medes and Persians, the Laws of Hammurabi, the Laws of Moses, and later Roman law. The only healthy legal tradition we have in the West is British common law, which proceeds in an entirely different way from code law.”
“Because, you see, the difference between code law and common law is that code law is laid down by the wisdom of an all-powerful ruler who tells everybody how they must behave, and they must obey him. But common law is evolved by discussion of particular cases rather than referring all the time to abstract principles which are put down in words. And the judge—the good judge—is a wise man, a man with a sense of equity and fair play who arbitrates an issue which is debated in front of him. And from the precedent from which he creates by his decision, common law evolves. You see, that’s a more organic way of producing law. The code law system, which we inherit from our most ancient theological backgrounds, is a tyrannical method of law by imposition.”
“And so you must understand that—in both Hinduism and Buddhism—there is really no fundamental idea of obedience to a personal ruler. Certainly not in Buddhism. A little bit, sometimes, in Hinduism. But even then we get terribly mixed up because, for example, I was talking of the Bhagavad Gita: this is often translated “The Lord’s Song.” Now, for Bhagavān (or Bhagavāt in Sanskrit) “Lord”—as an English equivalent—is quite inappropriate. Because a lord is one who lords it over you. Bhagavān is a title of reverence and respect and love. “The Song of the Beloved” would be much better, in a way—although it’s not quite correct from a strict point of view. We don’t really have an equivalent for this word, the Bhagavān.”
“So although, you see, there has been—in India itself—tyrannical rule, and although the Arthaśāstra (as a manual of politics) gives directions to a tyrant as to how to govern by absolute power, going along with this exposition of this very Machiavellian point of view to government is the constant advice of the sage: yes, this is what you have to do in order to fulfill your office as a ruler, but never forget that you’ll never succeed. The more you try to rule things by force, the more you will stir up violence against you. And so you can never hold on to your power and your possessions; it will always flow away from you.“
On Living With Uncertainty
“So there was one of those great rajas of ancient India who asked a jeweler to make him a ring that would restrain him in prosperity and support him in adversity. And the jeweler wrote on the ring: “It will pass.” But when we come to the deep cosmological and metaphysical ideas, we don’t have law in the Western sense, and therefore nature is not looked upon as something which is an orderly system because it is obeying a commandment.”
On Backward Thinking
And we get into the same confusion when we imagine, for example, that money is wealth. Here we have fantastic wealth, you know, and we have the technological possibility of making everybody on Earth the enjoyer of an independent income. We can’t do it because people say, “Where’s the money going to come from?” Because they think money makes prosperity. It’s the other way around: it’s physical prosperity which has money as a way of measuring it. But people think money has to come from somewhere, like hydroelectric power or lumber or iron, and it doesn’t. Money is something we invent, like inches. So, you remember the Great Depression; when there was a slump? And what did we have a slump of? Money. There was no less wealth, no less energy, no less raw materials than there were before, but it’s like you came to work on building a house one day and they said, “Sorry, you can’t build this house today. No inches!” “What do you mean, no inches?” “Just inches! We got inches of lumber, yes. We got inches of metal. We’ve even got tape measures. But there’s a slump in inches as such,” you see? And people are that crazy! They can have a depression because they have no inches to go around, or no dollars. That’s all a lot of nonsense!”
There Are No Separate Events
“There are no separate events. This is startling to people. But it’s really quite easy to see that there are no events in nature, because you can ask very simply—let’s take something called an event: how do we demark it from other events? At what point, shall we say, were you born? Were you born at parturition? Or when the doctor slapped you on the bottom? Or cut the umbilical cord? Or when you were conceived? Or when your father and mother were first attracted to each other? When was it? When did you begin? There’s no way of deciding except arbitrarily. And for legal purposes we say you were born at parturition. And that’s when the astrologer casts your horoscope—except that other astrologers disagree and want the conception time, and say that’s the real beginning. There isn’t a real beginning. It goes back and back and back in an inseparable continuity. When are you dead? That’s another big argument. And you can get all kinds of ideas about that.”
Point-Instants Are Imaginary
“So once you see that an event is a term in an intellectual calculus—calculus being the way of measuring, say, curved formations by reducing them to point-instants and counting it, you see? But actually, the point-instants are imaginary. The curve wiggles along and it doesn’t stutter from point to point. But in calculus you make it do that. So just as there are no point-instants in the curve, so there are no events in nature. Nature is a constantly fluctuating pattern. You can only designate particular wiggles in a pattern arbitrarily. You can count a convex formation as one wiggle or a concave formation as one wiggle. Then you decide if you call it—if you give the convex properties the title of “wiggle,” you have to deny it to the concave properties, and vice versa.”
Have You Ever Watched A Snake Swim?
“When a snake swims, there’s nothing more beautiful than watching a snake swim in water. Lovely motion! But, you see, it wiggles along. And its wiggle is conceivable, you see, as convex—or was it concave? This way and that way and this way and that way. Now, which side of the snake moves first hen it wiggles? See, it’s very easy to see there.”
Now When the World Moves, What Starts First?
“Now, when we interact with the world, what moves first? Who starts it? The objective world or the subjective world? But they are related as this to that. You can’t have an object without a subject or a subject without an object. Can’t have something known without the knower. And that gives the show away. There isn’t any real distinction between the knower and the known. There’s two ways of looking at something, yes; two poles of a single process. But the knower and the known are subsumed as the knowing. And all life is knowing, being, becoming. And it isn’t something, in other words, that works by the idea of “all this happens because someone shoves it.”
What Is Karma–Really?
But if it’s your karma, everything that happens to you—put it in another way: everything that comes to you is a return to you of what goes out of you. Yes, obviously that’s absurd if you confine the definition of yourself to your voluntary, conscious behavior. That’s a ridiculous definition of one’s self. One’s self, by any stretch of the imagination, must involve far more than the conscious and voluntary aspects of our behavior. And if we see that it involves, intimately and inescapably, the behavior of what we call the “other,” the “not-self,” the “environment,” and see that these two are moving together like the two sides of the snake when it swims, then you get a very curious feeling. And you have to be careful of it if you’ve got a Western background.”
“Because this is what happens to a lot of people who play around with psychedelic chemicals. There are many, many cases of inflation among these people. That is to say, when you get this sensation that the two sides of the world—the inside and the outside—are moving together, you may think: “I am ruling it!” “I am God” in the Western sense of the word. Therefore, your ego—instead of being, as it were, integrated and transcended with all this process—merely assumes vast dimensions, has megalomania, is blown up by the mystical experience. And so you get the holier-than-thou people going around who seem to think that they’re above all human conventions and have no obligations to anyone or anything: because they’re divine, and they can do as they damn please.”
Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils
What they haven’t realized is that doing as you will isn’t a new kind of behavior that you suddenly put on and say, “From now on, I’m going to go around doing as I will.” You have to realize first that that’s what you’ve always been doing. And you could look at this from a very simple point of view—it’s not a complete point of view—but you can say: “Well now, what about the people who did good and who did the things that they didn’t want to do?” You know, everybody’s mother said to us, “Darling, sometimes we have to do thing we don’t like.” Well, what about that? Well, you can always say the kid obeyed the mother and did the thing that it didn’t like because that was the better part of wisdom. In other words, if he hadn’t done that, something worse would’ve happened. And we choose the lesser of two evils. And when you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose the lesser of two evils, then you say, “I want out of here!” and you take the easiest way; you take the line of least resistance. So that’s your doing.”
Praising and Blaming
““That’s not my fault, that’s your fault!” And so we go around apportioning faults to everybody. Because if we’re going to apportion praise the good things people do, you can’t make praise mean anything unless you also go around blaming. Praise and blame go together. Supposing everybody was acting in a praiseworthy way and we praised everybody for everything—they’ll get tired of it. They wouldn’t even notice it anymore. So, so long as you’re going to get a kick out of being praised, you’ve got to go around blaming, too. It’s very simple.”
Sermon on the Mount
And Ananda Coomaraswamy once described the life of the liberated being as a perpetual uncalculated life in the present. And you say, “Wow! I don’t think I could do that.” That saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount about “be not anxious for the morrow.” The uncalculated life. “If God so clothed the grass of the field, will he not much more clothe you, faithless ones?” And I’ve never met a preacher yet who would really take that up. They all say, “Well, of course, that’s too hard a saying for most of us. It’s not practical. Everybody has to take thought for the morrow and calculate.”
We Are Just Kids WithPlastic Steering Wheels
“Well, at this point people can go in two directions. There’s one class of people who will say, “Alright, let’s live the uncalculated life. Let’s not make any plans.” And before you know where they are they’re living in a filthy pad, and scrounging around, and living on petty thievery, and so on. This is the usual thing. This has got into it the wrong way. The first thing to do is just as I said: whether you like it or not and whether you know it or not, the relationship between you and the environment is always one that is harmonious. So, in the same way, you are always living the uncalculated life. And you have to find out, first of all, that you’re always doing it, and that what you call your calculations and the things you did were funny little rationalizations. In other words, your ego has about as much control over what goes on as a child sitting next to its father in a car with a plastic steering wheel that is turning the car the way daddy drives it. Because, as I pointed out, most of the functions, most of the goings-on in you, around you, the circumstances of life, have nothing to do with your ego at all. And you don’t even know why you make up your mind to do certain things. We know superficially; we have a few ideas.”
The Pretender — “It’s All Fake”
“So whenever you do a thing like that, you see, you make a forced change. Now, if the change is to happen in the same way that a seed (at proper season) breaks open and sends up a shoot, see, it comes from the whole force of life itself. Now, when you see that, without your having to do anything—see?—you are living the uncalculated life and you’re only pretending you’re calculating it and arranging it, then—as it were—you will have a grasp of the total situation. And you can allow it to produce changes in action which are not forced. So this is why there is always a trend in every kind of spiritual doctrine which says something about grace. Divine grace. There must come about something in you, a change, which you can’t produce. And if you try to produce it you will be a victim of spiritual pride. But on the other hand, all teachers at universities are saying, “You’ve got to make an effort.” There’s some discipline. There is something you must do. Well, that’s the only way to get it across to people that you, as a separate effort-maker, are a myth, are a phantasm. Because if you really try to control your mind and only think the thoughts that you think are good thoughts to think, you will find that you’re going ’round in a circle. Krishnamurti’s awfully good at pointing this out. When people ask him, “How do you meditate?” he says, “Why do you want to meditate?” “Why are you concentrating?” “Why are you saying prayers?” “Why do you think you should believe in God?” And it always comes up: “Because I’m just a son of a bitch. I’m out for my own good, and this seems to be the way.” So he says, “You see? You don’t have any genuine love at all. It’s all fake!”
“My Basis for Moral Behavior Is Pure Selfishness”
And so you have to find, first of all, where the genuine love is. Now, you love you, don’t you? That’s genuine. I won’t argue about that. But then, when you start from this—I gave a talk some time ago to the Air Force; their camp or lab where they make weapons, do all the research. And they got a bunch of us there who were ministers and philosophers, and they had the nerve to ask us: what was our basis for moral behavior; personal moral behavior? Well, I said, “My basis for moral behavior is pure selfishness. And I’m talking, after all, to realistic people here, and I don’t think we need be sentimental and beat about the bush. After all, you’re all warriors and fighters and so on, and you know how rough things are. So I’m going to say to you, frankly: I’m out for me. But, of course, I don’t do it in a tactless way. I don’t go around and hit people over the head and say, ‘Give me this’ and ‘Give me that.’ I’m much more subtle. I say good manners, and ‘please,’ and ‘how nice you all are,’ and so on, and finally people feel massaged, psychologically, into a state where they’ll give.” But then I said after that, “There’s some things that bother me. The first one is: if I love me, what do I want? And furthermore, who am I?”
I Cannot Experience Me Without You — To Love Another, Is to Love Myself
“Because if I’m going to be realistic about getting what I want, I’ve got to be pretty sure what it is that’s me, and what is the state of desire in me. If I am desire, you see, if I am a center of desire, what’s it all for? Well, I think of all the things I want. Well, it so turns out that none of them are me. I might say, “I want dinner.” Doesn’t mean I’m going to eat me up. Any pleasure I can think of is the enjoyment of something that I haven’t thought of defining as myself. Because I like my sensations, I like what happens to my body when I take a fine wine and down it. But then, what’s the difference between my body and the wine? If I say I like the wine, I also mean I like me and the wine together; the mixture. But then I don’t eat you, or a friend, or a lover, in the same way as I drink wine. I live in association and like this. But then I’m loving things that aren’t formally supposed to be me. And as I go into it—in other words, as I investigate what I mean by “me,” I find that I can’t put any limits on it; that I cannot experience “me” without “you,” or without the “other.” They’re inseparable. But you don’t find this out until you investigate it, until you really go into the question: “What do I want?” And that’s the most important investigation anyone can make (which I’m going into in the next session): the question of power. And all these military men, they think they want power. And so I said to them some very subversive and undermining things without anybody knowing it until long after I’d left!”
What Do You Desire?
“Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? And when we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, “You do that, and forget the money.” Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living; that is, to go on living doing things you don’t like doing—which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And, after all, if you do really like what you’re doing—it doesn’t matter what it is—you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something: to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. Somebody’s interested in everything. And anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on doing things you don’t like, and to teach your children to follow in the same track. See, what we’re doing is: we’re bringing up children and educating them to live the same sort of lives we’re living, in order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to do the same thing. So it’s all retch and no vomit: it never gets there!”
What Do You REALLY Desire
“And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question: what do I desire? Well, when we answer that question in a naïve way, we figure out that what we want is to control everything: to create girls that don’t grow old, apples that don’t rot, clothes that never wear out, conveyances that get from one place to another instantly so we don’t have to wait, power available to do anything that you could conceive and do it just instantly; like that. To get this funny technological omnipotence. But if you take time out to think about that, and really go into it with your full strength of imagination and find out whether that’s where you want to be, you will soon see: that’s not what you want. Because the moment you have a situation where you are really in control of things—that is to say, in which the future is almost completely predictable—you will see, as I said last night, that a completely predictable future is already the past. You’ve had it. And that’s not what you wanted. You want a surprise. You don’t know what that’s going to be because, obviously, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you did. You want a pleasant surprise.”
Putin’s HELL… And All Other Tyrants Who Want to Control Everyone
“Imagine the situation of Big Brother: Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, Heinrich Himmler. To be glued, day and night, to a highly defended office with telephones, television screens, watching, peeking, spying on everyone and anything. Getting all this information together. Why, you could never leave the office! I mean, a character, I suppose, like J. Edgar Hoover goes home in the evening. But when he’s back home, you know, there are guards sitting outside the door, there’s that hotline telephone going to something. He’s always having to be in control. And he can’t take any time off, he can’t go for a walk in the park with a friend, or go innocently to the movies, or sit down and just relax and have an undistracted party in the baths at Big Sur. What a pauper this guy is! Completely deprived! Because he wants to be in control, because he wants power. People are frustrated in love; if you’re jilted. There’s a natural tendency in a human being to seek power as a substitute. And that’s a very negative thing. It’s like having a bad temper, to seek power after you’re frustrated in love. You should try and get back on the love beam. Because nobody wants power!”
Psychic Technology — Now That’s Power!
“Now then, when Oriental philosophy and religion was first introduced to the Western world, it was introduced under the auspices of people who were fascinated with power. It was introduced in the latter part of the 19th century, when we had heard all about evolution and how the human race was going on to ever greater heights, and we would eventually develop superman according to Nietzsche or G. B. Shaw and H. G. Wells. Remember all that early fantasy of where evolution would lead through the development of technology. And so, at this time, people like H. P. Blavatsky were talking about the mysterious wisdom of the East, and they phrased it, they commended it to us, in a technological spirit: that there was psychic technology, that there was something, that you could go way beyond anything that could be done through the physical sciences. You could cause your physical body to disintegrate to another level of vibration, and then transmit it and reassemble it somewhere else. You could live as long as you like because you control the fundamental processes. You could determine, if you decided to die, where you would be reborn, exactly. You would be a complete master of life. And so there are still innumerable books being sold which present Oriental philosophy and religion in this light. That charlatan, Lobsang Rampa, who writes about Tibetan mastery—people read that because they think that there may be a way of beating the game.”
Thinking Psycho-Technology All the Way Through to the End…
“So, therefore, the wise men of Asia were represented through this kind of propaganda as masters of life; as, for example, people whose emotions didn’t bother them, who could put up with any amount of pain by simply turning off their feelings, who could foretell the future, who could read your thoughts, and who were above all kinds of ordinary human frailty. Well, when I first met Buddhist priests, Zen masters, swamis, all these wise men from the East, one of the first things that impressed itself upon me was that they were perfectly ordinary human beings. They had bad tempers, they were fussy about certain things, they just acted as I would expect human beings to act. And so, at first, I was very disappointed. I thought they had feet of clay, but they didn’t come up to these promises of psycho-technology.
But after a while I got to realize why not: that they had already thought all that through. They had thought through what might be done if one had all these powers, and had decided that wasn’t what they wanted. The powers of this kind, in Sanskrit, are called siddhi. But there is hardly one decent scripture or text on yoga that does not say, again and again: if you get siddhi, ignore them. Go on to something else. These are only the foothills. These are, furthermore, not only foothills, but they are seductive, blind alleys. Won’t take you anywhere at all.”
Do You Really Want That Plastic Doll? That’s All?
Now, I think that this is the greatest possible lesson for the Western world to learn, because we are so hung up on the idea of power, of control, of being able to make everything go the right way, and we’ve never thought it through. When you get control of it, what are you going to do with it? Supposing I’m an alchemist and I have a whole secret closet full of love filters; very potent ones. And if I see a desirable woman, all I have to do is to offer her a cigarette or give her a glass of wine with one of my secret potions in it, and instantly I’m her master. Now, when I think that through, what would I do with a situation like that? Because all I’ve got, again, is that plastic doll that, when I push it, it does what I tell it to and doesn’t have any comeback. What you always are looking for in things is where the surprise is there, where there’s a comeback. And you say, “My god, this thing is alive! It has a will of its own. It is not in my control. And I would like to have a relationship with something like that, because it would never be dull.” And also, you would feel true affection. After all, you can make love to yourself in a mirror. You can have one of those Dutch wives; you buy them in a place in Kobe, where you get these rubber girls that you fill with hot water. And sailors take them on long voyages. But what an awful thing, you know, when you realize that this thing has no surprise in it, no thing that it does on its own, you see?”
Pursuit of Pure Pleasure Leads You to the Naraka Worlds
Because, you see, pursuing pleasure beyond a certain place takes you into what the Buddhists call the naraka world; that is to say, to hells. When you have explored pleasure to its ultimate limit, the only thing you can get a kick out of is pain. So naturally, you descend from the deva world at the top of the wheel to the naraka world at the bottom, where it shows all these beings in states of torture. Now, of course, the priests say—when they’re bringing up children—if you do bad things you will end up in the hell world. But this is a very inadequate way of showing how one gets to the hell world. You get to the hell world as a result of not knowing what you want, as a result of thoughtless pursuit of pleasure which ends you, eventually, in the pursuit of pain. So if you’re in the hell world, that’s where you want to be!”
What Do You Really, Really Want?
So then, we ask the question: if the motivation of power-gaining disappears—you’ve seen through it and you know that’s not what you want—what other motivation takes its place as the origin of actions? And it seems to me that the answer here is compassion. Simply because, when you want to relate to another living being, what you really are asking of them is that they be in the same situation that you are. You want to meet and encounter someone else who has your problems, your fears, and your delights. You don’t want a doll, you want another “you,” another “self,” because that would be at least as surprising to you as you are. And so, then, at once, when you see that that is the case, and that the most interesting thing in the world is the relationship with these others, and you can see at once yourself in the situation of all the other people, and then you think: no, I don’t want to control these people. I would like them—yes—to be controlled in the sense that they were happy to do the things I would like them to do. But obviously, I can’t force that. Because if I forced it, they wouldn’t be happy.”
This Is the Magic We Have Lost
“But there is, despite a lot of foolishness that goes on this, is a sound thing, you see? That there really is no greater satisfaction that you can imagine than that kind of personal relationship wherein you can trust a being who is other than you and not under your control to do for you what you want—because they like it. As you, on your side, would want to do something for them in that way, and so as to give pleasure to the other person. Just take, in sexuality, where you get a kind of a critical example of this: the biggest fun in sexual relationships is giving orgasm to women. And if that doesn’t happen, many men feel disappointed. Because a thing that they really wanted to do was to give pleasure and get their own pleasure out of giving it.”
Othering of the World
“So you see, it’s really, in a way, the same idea as the Hindu idea. When the Christian speaks of God giving the creature freedom of will, the Hindu says: no, God gets lost in that person and gives up power. And it’s really the same thing. It’s the idea that the all-powerful surrenders power. So that the more you give the power away, what you’re really doing is you’re “othering” yourself. Now, the more you “other” yourself by giving power away, the more of a “self” you are. Because “self” and “other” are reciprocal. So you find that people who, through a sādhanā (a yoga-discipline), have overcome their ego, have transcended the ego, are tremendously strong personalities. You would think, theoretically, they would all be non-entities and to lack entirely what psychologists call ego-strength. But actually, they’re nothing of the kind. They are—every one of them—unique. They’re all quite different from each other. And they are very, very (what I would call) strong characters. Because the more they have given it up, the more they get it.”
A Lovely Irresponsible State To Be In
So, in this way of thinking—let’s put it in another dimension for a moment. Let’s suppose we’re thinking of a relationship that is not just of people. People are very obviously other and independent of one’s ego. But give it to everything. Say to everything—which, of course, is going to include as much of yourself as you can objectify. In other words, your stomach, your intestines, your everything, you see? Say to it all: “Now it’s your turn. Let’s see what you’re going to do.” Let it happen. You know? You do this complete let-off of control. And you find that you—I have to put it in a provisional way first—you get the sensation that everything else is living you. It lives you. That you’ve given away control, you see, to everything else. It’s a lovely irresponsible state to be in.
Bllwp! In giving away the control, you got it.
But then, you see, you do the flip. Bllwp! In giving away the control, you got it. You’ve got the kind of control you wanted. That’s to say, where you had a loving relationship to the world but you didn’t have to make up your mind what it should do. You let it decide. Now, do you see: that’s how your bodies work. You don’t have to make up your mind what your nerve cells are going to do. You’ve delegated all that authority. If the president the United States has to lie awake at nights thinking what every official under his command is going to do, he can’t be president. He’s got to make an act of trust in all those subordinates to be responsible and carry on their things in just the same way as you make an act of trust to all your subordinate organs to carry on their functions without you having to tell them what to do. And this is the secret of what we will call organic power, as distinct from political power. Lao Tzu puts it in this way:
The great 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 merits are accomplished It lays no claim to them.
— Lao Tzu
“Let’s see what you’re going to do.”
The more, therefore, you relinquish power—trust others—the more powerful you become. But in such a way that, instead of having to lie awake nights controlling everything, you do it beautifully by trusting the job to everyone else, and they carry it on for you. So you can go to sleep at night and trust your nervous system to wake you up in the morning. You can even tell it: “I want to wake up at six o’clock,” and it will wake you up just like an alarm clock. This seems a sort of paradox to say this, but the principle of unity—of coming to a sense of oneness with the whole of the rest of the universe—is not to try to obtain power over the rest of the universe. That will only disturb it and antagonize it and make it seem less one with you than ever. The way to become one with the universe is to trust it as an other—as you would another—and say, “Let’s see what you’re going to do.” But in doing that, you see—in saying that to everything else (that you have been taught to think is not you), you are also saying it to yourself.”
All the segments above come from the Library of Consciousness assembled by Organism Earth. I stopped at 1:28:18.
History Is Over!
The final road marker comes from an episode from Throughline titled: History Is Over!
As the end of the 20th century approached, Radiohead took to the recording studio to capture the sound of a society that felt like it was fraying at the edges. Many people had high hopes for the new millennium, but for others a low hum of anxiety lurked just beneath the surface as the world changed rapidly and fears of a Y2K meltdown loomed.
Amidst all the unease, the famed British band began recording their highly anticipated follow ups to their career-changing album OK Computer. Those two albums, Kid A and Amnesiac, released in 2000 and 2001, were entrancing and eerie — they documented the struggle to redefine humanity, recalibrate, and get a grip on an uncertain world. In this episode, we travel back to the turn of the millennium with Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood and the music of Kid A and Amnesiac.
Kid A & Amnesiac
Soundbites from this episode of Throughline
“It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” — SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “THE MATRIX” FISHBURNE: As Morpheus
“I’m not a bum. I’m a human being.” — SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1
“What is internet anyway?” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3
“You know, progress is not necessarily a good thing. Our success was not necessarily a good thing…” — YORKE
“Into the next century, anxieties will increase.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6
“Fire coming out from all over.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7
“The risk of the virus expanding worldwide.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8
“New cold war.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9
“A field of tears.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10
“Sea level rise.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11
“Millions still struggling to be free.” — UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #12
“There’s no question that we must feed the monster. Because the monster has already won. It’s like a movie, but you can’t stop it unless you wake up.” — YORKE
“Florida is where WOKE goes to die.” — Ron DeSantis
“You need to name it… name the fear, the dread… and it will begin to diminish.” — YORKE
“There’s always a sense of dread and a need to get beyond that fear so we can imagine and express a world that can look different than now.” — YORKE
One Last Thing to Ponder on Uncertainty
What is the opposite of space element?
Neither. Space is best thought of as an empty vacuum, and the opposite of space is density. It doesn’t matter whether it’s earth, water, gas… anything collection of atoms starts to develop a gravitational field, pulling more atoms in as well as space.
It really is quite spectacular that we are even alive at all. Perhaps, uncertainty is the rocket fuel that powers us into the unknown so we can know. And anyone who really pushes the limits and explores knows how much we need each other in this voyage… perhaps now more than ever before.
On April 25, 2023, Carolyn Bryant Donham died in Westlake, Louisiana. She was 88 years old.
Sixty-eight years earlier, as a 21 year old girl, she accused the black teenager Emmett Tilll of whistling at her, grabbing her hand, and asking for a date. All of this except maybe the whistle (which could have been someone else, even someone white) was a lie, but her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam took it upon themselves to mete out justice, Jim Crow justice, justice laced with hate and loathing.
With Carolyn in the car, Roy and Milam broke into Emmett’s uncle’s house, kidnapped him, then beat, shot, and lynched Emmett beyond recognition. They threw his broken body into the Tallahatchie River where it would not be found for days.
The year was 1955. Because of the bravery of Emmett Till’s mother who insisted on an open casket funeral, the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi ignited the spark for the Civil Rights Movement, which would crash across America trying to washout hate.
But hate is a mighty sticky thing. It clings to craggy rocks inside the mind that are full of grievances, grumbles, and grudges. White people cling to hate in order to feel important,in command, and confident about their place in the world. Having seizing power centuries earlier, White people have created tremendous systems of inequality and injustice. And now, White people cling to these corrupted systems for dear life!
They do so because they don’t know if they really can stand on their own two feet. They really don’t know if they can make it in the world where everyone has equal rights, equal opportunities, and true equity. White people are afraid of their own incompetence, ineptitude, and inadequacy. I am White. I know.
I also know hiding behind a wall of seething hate makes people feel powerful for a minute, but that feeling is fleeting. And hate is a very heavy thing. Hate drags people down into Pits of Ignorance. These are very deep, very dark, and very nightmarish place inside every human being, except we are too scared to look.
But that’s the cure! Looking!! That is the only way to vanquish the haunting ghost of hate. Looking and confronting your own Pit of Hate, is the only way not to be controlled by hate. A person has to face it, to own it, and eat it. It is part of being a conscious being.
If you are human, you are processing all sorts of awful feelings and emotions that are in direct competition for your conscious attention. The only way not to get sucked in to one hole or another is to keep both opposites, both sides of yourself, within your gaze of conscious awareness.
Justice is a very important element in digesting consciousness and growing a stronger psychological-spiritual body over time.
No, there won’t. They last person involved in his murder has died.
This is the woman responsible for telling the lie that got Emmett Till killed.
I only learned about Carolyn Bryant Donham’s death yesterday (about a week after she died). I was wrestling with a section in my book about hate. I heard about her death on the Take Away while taking a break trying to do a refresh of my muddled mind.
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry was speaking with with Timothy B. Tyson who is the author of The Blood of Emmett Till and senior research scholar at Duke University. She was also speaking with Keith Beauchamp who is an award-winning filmmaker behind the documentary “The Untold Story of Emmett Till” and producer of the movie “Till” about what Bryant’s death means in the quest for justice in Emmett Till’s murder.
Side note: I am so disappointed with NPR for cancelling this show. We are living through times of unprecedented violence, ignorance, and hate. To survive such times, we need diverse voices. Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry through this show provides such a voice. It is a significant lost on the landscape of sanity, truth, and recovery from the fatal infection of hate.
The Take Away — Emmett Till
Melissa Harris-Perry recounts the events of that fateful day in 1955.
On August 28th, 1955, two adult white men, Roy Bryant and JW Milam, kidnapped 14-year-old Emmett Till at gunpoint from his uncle's home in Money, Mississippi. It was the middle of the night. Bryant and Milam beat and shot Emmett. They used barbed wire to tie a cotton jean fan to his neck, and they threw him into the river. When Mamie Till-Mobley received her son's remains, the child was disfigured beyond recognition.
She made a choice so vulnerable and courageous; it altered the course of history. At her insistence, for five days, Emmett's mutilated body lay in an open casket. More than 50,000 people visited the Southside Chicago Church where he lay and millions more saw the shocking photos of the brutalized Boy in Jet Magazine. All bore witness to the stomach-churning realities of Bryant and Milam's racist violence.
"When people saw what had happened to my son, men stood up who had never stood up before. People became vocal who had never vocalized before. Emmett's death was the opening of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the sacrificial lamb of the movement." -- Mamie Till-Mobley
Melissa Harris-Perry: Her steel-spined courage launched a movement for justice, but Mamie Till-Mobley never received even a modicum of accountability for the murder of her son. In 1955, an all-white Mississippi jury refused to convict the killers, and in 1956, Look Magazine paid the men $4,000 to print their confession to the murder. Throughout it all, there was a third co-conspirator, Carolyn Bryant now Carolyn Bryant Donham. It was Mrs. Bryant who told her husband and brother-in-law that Emmett Till whistled at her. It was Mrs. Bryant who told the 1955 Mississippi jury that Emmett physically accosted and sexually propositioned her.
It was Mrs. Bryant, who during the trial, brought her own young sons to the courthouse, dressed in their Sunday best. It's Mrs. Carolyn Bryant captured in a Black and white photo who stands with her head thrown back in laughter, embracing her husband Roy at the end of that farce of a trial. It's a photo that still haunts my dreams and my waking. Late last week, Carolyn Bryant now Carolyn Bryant Donham died at the age of 88 while in hospice care. Joining me now is Tim Tyson, senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and author of The Blood of Emmett Till. Tim, welcome to The Takeaway.
You can read or listen to the entire interview here.
My Take Away of The Take Away
I zeroed in on a point in their conversation about how jovial and happy the defendants were when a white jury found Roy and Milam Not Guilty.
Several months after their acquittal, the two men with the help of their defense attorney sold their story to Look Magazine where they admit their guilt. They get even more recognition and celebration by vast swaths of the White Community bathing in racism and hate.
I had to find a picture of these jubilant hate-filled white people. I did. It is very jarring. They are so young, so jubilant, so ignorant (and happy of it). What is even more jarring is that Carol’s sister-in-law, Juanita, looked a lot like me when I was that age.
With that recognition, I immediately realized that if had I grown up in a community infused with hate and racism, I could have easily been that girl smiling so brightly in the courtroom knowing they had all just gotten away with murder.
This recognition of how easily I could have been her is frightening. It elicits a deep and profound feeling of disgust and self-loathing inside myself. I want to condemn her and them, but I know I need to be honest about my own ignorance and hate.
So how do I do that?
The first step is recognizing that hate lives inside of me. It lies in wait like a sleeping dog ready to jump up and bite anything that threatens me, rejects me, injures me, makes me feel bad about myself, threatens my family, threatens my livelihood, threatens my beliefs.
Hate lives inside all of us. If you are a human being who thinks, you are creating hate. It is a natural byproduct of thinking, just like pooping and peeing are natural byproducts of eating. We all produce it just by being human and thinking.
Thinking is division. Thinking is cutting the world up into smaller and smaller pieces to understand it, predicate it, and make it feel safer for us to exist. But when you split the world into pieces in an effort to control it, you always get opposites. We name these opposites Good and Bad, or you might know them as Us and Other (the Evil Other).
So, I recognized myself in the picture of Carolyn and her sister-in-law laughing in court. And then, I found this picture of Carolyn. This picture captures her hate. I see it in the rigid tilt of her head, the stiffness of her shoulders, the hardness of her face, and mostly, I see it in her coldpinpoint, hard eyes.
When a person is calculating hate, their eyes narrow like slits. The pupils grow smaller and hard like bowling balls. Their glare hardens like ice picks. They are calculating how to kill you.
This the glare I see in this picture. It glare people recognize all over the world. When you see this glare, you should run!
Another source about Carolyn and the murder of Emmet Till is accounted by American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
It turns out that Roy, Carolyn, J. W. Milam, and Juanita were poor, really poor!
American Experience recounts:
Carolyn Bryant, the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse, hailed from Indianola, Mississippi, the nucleus of the segregationist and supremacist white Citizens' Councils. A high school dropout, she won two beauty contests and married Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier.
The couple ran a small grocery, Bryant's Grocery & Meat Market, that sold provisions to black sharecroppers and their children. The store was located at one end of the main street in the tiny town of Money, the heart of the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta. They had two sons and lived in two small rooms in the back of the store.
To earn extra cash, Roy worked as a trucker with his half-brother J. W. Milam, an imposing man of six-feet-two inches, weighing 235 pounds. Milam prided himself on knowing how to "handle" blacks. He had served in World War II and received combat medals.
On the evening of August 24, 1955, Emmett Till went with his cousins and some friends to Bryant's Grocery for refreshments after picking cotton in the hot sun. The boys went into the store one or two at a time to buy soda pop or bubble gum. Emmett walked in and bought two cents' worth of bubble gum. Though exactly what happened next is unconfirmed. She stormed out of the store. The kids outside said she was going to get a pistol. Frightened, Emmett and his group left. -- American Experience
Their collective act of violent hate made them popular! In fact, it made them celebrities for a minute.
Some reporters talked about Roy and Carolyn's "handsome looks" and J. W.'s tall stature and big cigars. They even alluded to Carolyn as "Roy Bryant's most attractive wife" and a "crossroads Marilyn Monroe." -- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
She is pretty in this photo. The hate is not in her eyes. She looks soft and like a doll, which how women had to look back then. Even though women had won the right to vote several decades earlier, misogyny still ruled and ran rampant just like racism. Carolyn knew being pretty was her only asset.
During the trial, the families arrived with their sons dressed in their Sunday best, Roy and J.W. in starched white shirts while their wives donned cotton dresses. Many whites in the surrounding counties showed up to watch the show. They brought their children, picnic baskets and ice cream cones. Meanwhile, African American spectators were relegated to the back and looked on in fear.
Carolyn testified under oath, but outside the presence of the jury, that Emmett said "ugly remarks" to her before whistling. -- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder.
Making up her lie about Emmett Till lifted Carolyn above her station in life, which was a pretty poor station with very few prospects, despite being pretty.
She hadn’t even graduated from high school. Her biggest accomplishments up til this time was winning two beauty contests and marrying Roy, then popping out two babies all before turning 21.
But suddenly, she was popular! Really popular! Hate had made her Great! She was getting noticed and being showered with so much love by others harboring and clinging on to hate, which was most White people in the South just like her.
Now, fast-forward to May 3, 2023. Have we changed very much since this horrible crime?
Hate Is Popular
Emmett Till’s death ignited the Civil Rights Movement. And a little less than 10 years after his brutal murder, it would be written into law through the civil rights act of 1964.
But not before a lot of pain and suffering occurred as recalled in this interview on 1A.
“Hate was popular,” Jeff Drew tells Jen White in an interview about The Birmingham movement, 60 years later produced by 1A. “What we were trying to do and continue to try to do is bring awareness that everyone is important. Every human being is important.”
On May 2, 1963, hundreds of school-age kids in Birmingham, Alabama, woke up with a plan.
Through coded messages broadcast by local radio DJs, they were given the signal to leave the classroom and meet at the park for a peaceful protest against segregation in the city.
“My mother said, ‘I’m sending you to school, don’t get in any trouble’,” said Janice Kelsey, who was a 16-year-old high school student in Birmingham at the time. “I was going to school. I just wasn’t going to stay.”
Jeff Drew also participated in the Children’s March. His parents were involved in the Birmingham movement for civil rights and hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their home.
“You cannot imagine the joy of being on one of those buses on your way to jail,” said Drew. “We were nearly dying to participate.”
Janice Kelsey and Jeff Drew joined us at the Carver Theater in Birmingham last month for a community conversation on the fight for civil rights then and now. Their actions as students in the spring of 1963 brought national attention—and a new momentum—to the civil rights movement, support for which had been waning as more adults were jailed and reluctant to be arrested.
Civil rights leaders, including James Bevel, recruited young people to participate in a peaceful demonstration on May 2, 1963 in what became known as the Children’s Crusade. Hundreds of kids were arrested by police for parading without a permit. Images of police dogs and firehoses being used on students in the city highlighted the injustices in Birmingham and prompted President John F. Kennedy to express support for federal civil rights legislation.
On our trip to Birmingham, we also spoke to the next generation of activists. Ashley M. Jones is a Birmingham native and the Poet Laureate of Alabama. At 32 years old, Jones is the state’s youngest-ever poet laureate and the first person of color to hold the position. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also joined us to talk about how the city’s past informs his role today.
And, 59 years after the Civil Rights Act, White Americans are still rolling in raging pools of hate. Hate is still immensely popular, so popular, people are making tons of money selling it to all the grumpy people holding onto grudges and hurts and who need to take a daily swim in their pool of hate to feel better about themselves!
We have lots of new celebrities helping to spread and celebrate hate. Here are three who have recently been in the news. But there are tons more! We are literally being drown them.
America has a huge problem with hate. We love it so much we want to tear our country in two again. The Civil War really did not end on April 9, 1865. It lives inside the minds of people who are swimming in their private pools of hate.
But, we don’t have to worry… collective hate is running rampant all over the world.
Hate remains really popular everywhere!
So, let’s tackle Collective Hate.
We all know what it is. Collective Hate is when one group of people dreams about crushing another group of people because it makes them feel powerful (for a minute, this kind of power is fleeting too).
When a group of people full of hate actually act on their hate-filled fantasies, they act like fanatical freaks. That’s because they are… because they have drained the humanity from their being, leaving nothing but a husk that looks human but acts like raging monster crushing, killing, stealing everything from the people they hate.
Collective hate is visceral. It is so toxic it drives the people infected by it mad. Mad humans infected by hate will do the most vicious, brutal, savage things like Roy and Milam did to Emmett Till. Mad, hate-filled humans act in barbaric, fiendish, heinous, hideous ways. It’s an epidemic on Earth right now.
Let’s delve into how hate wraps around a person’s heart and mind to steadily squeeze the humanity out of them.
Carolyn Bryant’s Story (or More Aptly Her Great Disappointment)
Now, there is no way I can possibly know what Carolyn was thinking or feeling that terrible day, but let’s suppose, she was feeling a little bit sorry for herself and unhappy about her life. She was a beautiful woman. She knew she was a beautiful woman.
If only things had gone a little bit different 90 years earlier, which is when the Civil War ended (April 9, 1865), she would probably, no: most certainly, she would be living a completely different life right now! (Hate always happens in the Now)
Why instead of being the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse from Indianola, Mississippi, Carolyn Bryant might instead be a beautiful, beguiling Southern belle like Miss Scarlett O’Hara! But, if only for one tiny, little glitch, that snatched her wonderful, beautiful life away like Gone With the Wind!
Of course the wind that blew her dream life away was that the Confederate lost the Civil War.
Because of this glitch, she was condemned to run a small grocery, Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, selling provisions to black sharecroppers and their children. She took turns with her sister-in-law, Juanita, watching their children and tending the store while their husband’s drove trucks to make extra money because they were all very poor.
The store was located at one end of the main street in the tiny town of Money, the heart of the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta. And also right next to Indianola, Mississippi, which was the nucleus of the segregationist and supremacist white Citizens' Councils.
Carolyn was a high school dropout, she won two beauty contests and married Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier. They had two sons and lived in two small rooms in the back of the store.
-- American Experience: Getting Away With Murder
This was not the life she was supposed to live. She was sure of that! And this made her mad, and more than a little bit grumpy as well as resentful.
These feelings are the perfect ingredients for hate to take root and grow. Combine her personal grievances with the steady drum beat of the Southern Segregationist and White Supremacists constantly spreading their toxic thinking far and wide and polluting the collective swimming pool of human connections that everyone needs to survive, Carolyn Bryant was the perfect instrument of hate.
She bought into the thinking that White people are suppose to give the orders and be in control. She bought into the feeling of being deeply wronged that White people couldn’t stack the social decks in their favor they way they used to do. She bought into the fantasy of yearning for and bringing back the old way of life in the deep South.
Carolyn Bryant was the perfect poster girl for Southern Hate.
Crash Course on Cognitive Dissonance
Segregationist and White Supremacists use cracks between reality and people’s dreams/fantasies to break social bonds. One of the things they work hard to increase in the hearts and minds of hurting humans is cognitive dissonance.
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the perception of contradictory information and the mental toll of it. Relevant items of information include a person's actions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, values, and things in the environment. Cognitive dissonance is typically experienced as psychological stress when persons participate in an action that goes against one or more of those things. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person's belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein the individual tries to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.
Coping with the nuances of contradictory ideas or experiences is mentally stressful. It requires energy and effort to sit with those seemingly opposite things that all seem true. Festinger argued that some people would inevitably resolve the dissonance by blindly believing whatever they wanted to believe. -- Wikipedia: Cognitive dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance in Politics
Cognitive dissonance theory might suggest that since votes are an expression of preference or beliefs, even the act of voting might cause someone to defend the actions of the candidate for whom they voted,[self-published source?] and if the decision was close then the effects of cognitive dissonance should be greater.
This effect was studied over the 6 presidential elections of the United States between 1972 and 1996, and it was found that the opinion differential between the candidates changed more before and after the election than the opinion differential of non-voters. In addition, elections where the voter had a favorable attitude toward both candidates, making the choice more difficult, had the opinion differential of the candidates change more dramatically than those who only had a favorable opinion of one candidate. What wasn't studied were the cognitive dissonance effects in cases where the person had unfavorable attitudes toward both candidates. The 2016 U.S. election held historically high unfavorable ratings for both candidates.
After the 2020 election, which Joe Biden won, supporters of former President Donald Trumpquestioned the results, citing voter fraud. This continued even after such claims were dismissed by numerous state and federal judges, election officials, governors, and government agencies as false. This was described as an example of Trump supporters suffering cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive Dissonance in Self-perception Theory
In Self-perception: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena (1967), the social psychologist Daryl Bem proposed the self-perception theory whereby people do not think much about their attitudes, even when engaged in a conflict with another person. The Theory of Self-perception proposes that people develop attitudes by observing their own behaviour, and concludes that their attitudes caused the behaviour observed by self-perception; especially true when internal cues either are ambiguous or weak. Therefore, the person is in the same position as an observer who must rely upon external cues to infer their inner state of mind. Self-perception theory proposes that people adopt attitudes without access to their states of mood and cognition.
As such, the experimental subjects of the Festinger and Carlsmith study (Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance, 1959) inferred their mental attitudes from their own behaviour. When the subject-participants were asked: "Did you find the task interesting?", the participants decided that they must have found the task interesting, because that is what they told the questioner. Their replies suggested that the participants who were paid twenty dollars had an external incentive to adopt that positive attitude, and likely perceived the twenty dollars as the reason for saying the task was interesting, rather than saying the task actually was interesting.
The theory of self-perception (Bem) and the theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger) make identical predictions, but only the theory of cognitive dissonance predicts the presence of unpleasant arousal, of psychological distress, which were verified in laboratory experiments.
In The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance: A Current Perspective (Aronson, Berkowitz, 1969), Elliot Aronson linked cognitive dissonance to the self-concept: That mental stress arises when the conflicts among cognitions threatens the person's positive self-image. This reinterpretation of the original Festinger and Carlsmith study, using the induced-compliance paradigm, proposed that the dissonance was between the cognitions "I am an honest person." and "I lied about finding the task interesting."
The study Cognitive Dissonance: Private Ratiocination or Public Spectacle? (Tedeschi, Schlenker, etc. 1971) reported that maintaining cognitive consistency, rather than protecting a private self-concept, is how a person protects their public self-image.Moreover, the results reported in the study I'm No Longer Torn After Choice: How Explicit Choices Implicitly Shape Preferences of Odors (2010) contradict such an explanation, by showing the occurrence of revaluation of material items, after the person chose and decided, even after having forgotten the choice.
There’s a lot more to cognitive dissonance, but I digress and I am sure you see how this is a very handy tool in sowing fields and polluting rivers full of hate.
Now let’s get back to hate mongers and how they used cognitive dissonance to grow huge toxic waste pits of fetid, stinking hate. That is because hate is a natural malodorous waste product of thinking. A normal healthy human being is supposed to poop it out, not eat it. But that is what hate mongers know how to do. They know how to make people eat their own shit.
Here’s How Hitler Did It — Hitler’s Ignis Fatuus
Let’s define Ignis Fatuus so you know what I’m talking about:
Ignis Fatuus is a mid 16th century word. It originate from modern Latin speakers amd literally means ‘foolish fire’ (because of its erratic movement). It has evolved to mean: something deceptive or deluding.
This definition and images come from Oxford Languages Dictionary. I kind of like Foolish Fire! And I think men like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Putin (some of the biggest killers) like it too! It's like possessing the power of Dark Magic, knowing how to get people to believe Foolish Pipe Dreams... stuff men like Hitler can say, knowing he will never, ever deliver on the promises he is making to the masses. They are illusions, delusions, nightmares cloaked by glitter and sickening charm.
So back to Hitler’s ignis fatuus. He was part of a great body of people who just suffered a huge lost. This big lost was due partly to a style of self-inflated vanity, stubbornness, snobbishness, and stupidity corrupting the German hierarchy, which led to a massive miscalculation that lost the war.
The war Germany lost was WWI. And they were punished by the victors, and rightly so, but like Carolyn Bryant and lots of White people who used to make lots of money using slave labor, some of the German people were sore losers.
Among these sore losers was Hitler.
Let me be very clear, not everyone who experiences trauma or crisis ends up becoming a sore loser. In fact, the vast majority of people do not, many even grow stronger and get even better at accepting and assimilating reality.
But there is also a percentage who don’t grow or can’t grow. This is who I am talking about here, Germans who could not accept and assimilate that they were wrong, they lost, they needed to change.
Among this group of sore losers is Hitler: a roguish, impish, and deceitfully deluded man as well as brash and brazen. He captivates just enough sore losers to gain some traction. One he got a little power, he leveraged it to get more.
Then, many more Germans flocked to him like some new, exciting lover. Not all, of course, many Germans were afraid and for good reason.
Hitler understood all this, and manipulate everyone to leverage even more power. One way he galvanized public support was creating a good foil/a scape goat. Hitler attacked the Jews and mongrels. He was going to make the world pure again.
This fantasy was the cornerstone of his convoluted ignis fatuss and the disaffected Germans fell for it–hook, line, and sinker.
Adolf Hitler came to power with the goal of establishing a new racial order in Europe dominated by the German “master race. -- United State Holocaust Memorial Museum -- 9/20/19
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis believed that the world was divided into distinct races. According to the Nazis, each race had its own traits. These ... -- Nazi Racism | Holocaust Encyclopedia -- 12/15/22
Stalin’s Ignis Fatuus
Stalin’s ignis fatuus is similar, but he rode to power on the back of Lenin and the Russian Revolution, a wave that was sweeping across the world. It was a backlash to rapid industrialization and the ridiculous amount of power and wealth landing up in the hands of a very few; the rich, evil capitalists! See a pattern here?
Stalin carefully calculated his chances to take control of this great wave. When his chance came, he took it with tremendous ruthlessness–killing every rival in his party without mercy.
His passion for control mutated him into one of the world’s biggest control freaks. Russia still suffers to this very day from the devastation Stalin wrought. He is the very reason why Putin now controls Russia. Putin is imitating Stalin to a tee. Putin is pushing his foolish vision of a Great Russia once again on his poor, demoralized, broken, diminished people. They are so because Stalin killed so freaken many enlightened, differently thinking Russians.
Stalin's “revolution from above” sought to build socialism by means of forced collectivization and industrialization, programs that entailed tremendous human ... -- Library of Congress
Starting in the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin launched a series of five-year plans intended to transform the Soviet Union from a peasant society into an industrial ... -- History Channel
"Once he decided to attain absolute power, he would never relinquish it," observes Alexandre Allilouiev, nephew of Joseph Stalin. "He was a monster." In order to achieve his goals, Stalin set about re-imaging the vast empire in his own image, which included the extermination of all those who dared oppose or refused to adhere to his ideology. The film follows the activities of Stalin on November 24, 1938 - a crucial day that set in motion the end of his Great Purge. -- A Day in the Life of a Dictator: Joseph Stalin
He believes he's been chosen by providence to create the ideal socialist, communists society. To do this, he must destroy everything to recreate it. He puts into action a scientific, systematic plan to purge unwanted peoples of Russia. - A Day in the Life of a Dictator: Joseph Stalin
Pol Pot’s Ignis Fatuus
Another brutal killer who cloaked his ugly shit under the same auspices of the Russian Revolution, the backlash to a rapidly changing, globalized world. Lots of people longed to go back to the old ways, the old life, the idealized past. And, this is what Pol Pot sold bundled up with with a lot of hate.
The Khmer Rouge, organized by Pol Pot in the Cambodian jungle in the 1960s, advocated a radical Communist revolution that would wipe out Western influences in Cambodia and set up a solely agrarian society. -- History Channel -- Jan 7
Pol Pot wished to create a state focused on their rural idyll, with all citizens pledging loyalty in a way which prohibited all ... -- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Pol Pot's objective was to construct a classless, communal and self-sufficient Kampuchea, unspoiled by foreign influences, intellectualism and ... -- Alpha History -- 9/12/20
In 1960, a small group of Cambodians, led by Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot) and Nuon Chea, secretly formed the Communist Party of Kampuchea. -- United State Holocaust Memorial Museum
The party's aim was to establish a classless communist state based on a rural agrarian economy and a complete rejection of the free market and ... -- Al Jazeera -- 2/3/12
Mao Zedong’s Ignis Fatuus
Moa Zedong also rode the Red Wave. He also sold an idealized, backwards looking China who would vanquish all the evil Capitalists and live happily ever after! Xi Jinping is riding on the back of Mao now.
Mao and his communist supporters had been fighting against what they claimed was a corrupt and decadent Nationalist government in China since the 1920s. Despite massive U.S. support for the Nationalist regime, Mao’s forces were victorious in 1949 and drove the Nationalist government onto the island of Taiwan. In September, with cannons firing salutes and ceremonial flags waving, Mao announced the victory of communism in China and vowed to establish the constitutional and governmental framework to protect the “people’s revolution.” -- Mao Zedong outlines the new Chinese government
Cultural Revolution: Mao believed that this would ultimately create a new society where there was no gap between urban and rural, laborers and intellectuals. What are some of the ... -- University of Washington
Communism, Capitalism, and Democracy in China: Mao wanted to eliminate capitalism and its emphasis on property rights, profits, and free-market competition. He followed the ideas of Karl Marx, who envisioned ... -- Constitutional Rights Foundation
Moa Zedong was willing to kill to make his dream a reality. He was willing to kill lots of people, and he did.
Putin’s Ignis Fatuus
Let’s play a different game with Putin! Let’s pretend he had an ideal childhood and experienced lots of love growing up and was surrounded by peace-loving, Earth-loving Russians. Perhaps the descendants of people Stalin was trying to kill but missed. This Putin is a happy, pot-smoking hippy!
Yes! Before Putin was a KGB agent and mass murder, he was a happy, happy hippy!
What nice eyes this young, happy, hippy Putin has!
If only we could have this Putin back!
But sadly yes, this is a deepfake. It is made with AI. I saw an interview with the man who is making AI deep fakes, but he’s hiding, so I can’t share it.
Collective Hate rises from inside each and every individual. It is the collective accounting of grievances and wrongsevery civilizations harbors, especially if they have been around for a long time. All civilizations go up and go down; the stock market goes up and down; all people’s lives go up and down; all living beings experience ups and downs… that is called being alive.
Hate attempts to grab hold of only one side of the wave. Haters only want to exist on the up part of the wave (the up and up, we’re going up, we’re on the rise).
But in order to do this, reality must be split into Good and Evil. Hate mongers step into the Good Fairy Bubble and spew the Evil they have cut off from themselves on everyone else.
They know the ordinary man and women are afraid of their own shadows. Of course they know this because most modern societies and civilizations teach people to be afraid of their own shadows!
Hate-filled fear mongers tap into this pervasive fear and anxiety that plagues pretty much ever human living in a civilization. They tell people how unfair the world is treating them. They get them really good and frighten about all the things coming to ‘get them like the boogeyman‘, and then tell them that the Evil Others did this to them. Then they tell them that they better fight like Hell to keep their lives the way they want it and get their fair share.
Really, what hate-filled fear mongers are really doing is getting people to eat their own shit. If there are people who don’t do as they are told, and if the hate-filled fear monger has power, the disobedient people are killed.
“Do as you are told or else!” — the hate-filled fear monger cries
This is a tale as old as time, which for human beings living in civilizations is about 5,000 years that when all this hate and fear and more hate and more fear really started to grow. You’ll have to read my book on why this is so.
But in the meantime, do we really want to live a world ruled by Shitty Ideas and Foolish Fires?!
I found this song entirely by accident. I love putting together ugly images with beautiful music. And this one matched better than I could ever have intended!
Lyrics by Musixmatch
You always do this stuff We’ll never be enough You were floating in the life We were floating in the life It’s in your eyes [Hate lives in the eyes]
You think that’s not fun, the day is done With no other feelings Just why are your eyes not shining in lights? [Hate shuts down life… the shining lights of life] There’s more than one meaning Just get what you want, but again you got numb, [Greed feds Hate] It’s because of freaking illusion [Hate grows in Foolish Fantasies, delusions, and illusions] That life is not fiction, the sense in the description of love, [Life is wiggly… it goes up and down… fiction tries to make life all up all the time… that’s a lie] It’s an awful conclusion [No one likes to admit they have to poop and pee, but it is true — the origins of Shame another great catalyst of Hate]
You could always turn it back [Yes, turning back is always such a great idea! Look where we are as a world in the year 2023! It’s so Great!! Let’s do more turning backwards!] Get another heart attack [Let’s see… there is the Putin heart attack, Xi Jinping heart attack, Trump heart attack… should I go on?!!!] We roll! We’ll find ourselves in love
Oh fuck… [Yep… we are pretty much fucked as a species due to our propensity to engage in Foolish Fantasies]
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.
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!
Here is another great work of art created by Mark Wagner:
Also see Tahiti and the Thing for more on how greed and self-absorption and can do terrible things to a person and everyone around them.
Another facet playing into uncontrolled self-absorption and greed along with contributing to an uncontrollable evil willingness to destroy just about anyone and anything isnarcissism. There is a reason why Trump chooses orange make up when he goes on camera.
I came across this great series of blogs as I was coming to grips with navigating the complexities of narcissism in my own family tree.
The Money Trap
Is there any way out of the money trap?
Alan Watts said once upon a time about there was an old woman and other matters relating to rampant capitalism and rugged individualism that tilts so far one way or the other that it becomes a pathological way of being in the world and relating to each other. He said:
“George Herbert Mead where he called the conceptions that we have of ourselves the interiorized other in other words the sum total of all the things that people have told us we are because you do not know yourself as a self except in a society–just as you do not exist biologically without a father and a mother–you do not carry on an existence without a society.”
“The reactions of other people to you provide you with the mirror in which you attain a realization of yourself you know who you are in terms of your relationships with others.”
“So then now, uh, when we contemplate this disappearance of privacy and a completely integrated human society we can look at this from two different points of view pro and con.”
“Let us first look at the pro point of view how great to have nothing to hide how great to give up all worries about ownership because you could say if somebody says that they would like something you have, and you say, “Please have it,” because you know very well you can go to someone else and say, “Could I have that?” and they’ll give it to you.” — Min 124:49
Also, see this blog as another possible antidote to greed and the money trap:
And, check out this blog about being in the world and how we create the world we live in each and every moment of every day:
What Matters& Reality
Love mattersreality just as lack of love matters reality.
What kind of reality do you want to experience today?