Saturday, August 29, 2015

The 1980's

There were a succession of generations before the present one who lived through the Cold War and the perennial fear of nuclear war, and who were also much more conscious, seemingly, of the banality and alienation of the present age.  Looking back, there seems to have been a large explosion of exploration and ideas in the 1960's and 1970's, and ever since things have gotten slower and duller.  Me, I came of age in the Reagan era.

I just watched Koyaanisqatsi again last night, and it brought back a flood of memories. It made me think too of "End of the World", which I see was 1991.  That movie had a mood which captured that time well.  Even though we are far advanced in all the things which were feared back then, people seem trapped in banalities and distractions.  Perhaps they feel they have no choice.  It seems more likely that cowardice is becoming more and more common, even as our sense of the ability to control our collective destiny seems to shrink.

The people who might once have preoccupied themselves with the nuclear arms race--and frankly who ought to be equally or more concerned with nuclear proliferation, although of course that would fly in the face of their prejudices--now enforce speech codes and make college kids take classes whose essence is that you can't have sex with drunk women, even if they ask for it, and even if they decide 9 months later--as at Columbia--that consensual drunk sex they both enjoyed was rape.  Rape, we learn, is a construct just like your gender.  Because nothing makes sense.  And why should it?  Sense is a construct, but the notion that sense is a construct is not.  That is true.  Really, really fucking true.

Even if one finds fault with the notion of unilateral, or even unverifiable bilateral nuclear disarmament, these were at least important issues, of existential importance to the continuance of global civilization.

Reagan's success, and the continuing partial success of our partial free market system, has removed that issue, and largely those of profound, real poverty in the United States.

Globally, there are many important issues remaining, such as the status of Dalits in India, Islamic oppression of women, the oppressive Communist tyrannies in Cuba and North Korea, and the less oppressive tyrannies in China and Indochina, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and elsewhere, but the box leftist thinking puts around people--really the noose, which tightens slowly, suffocating first the capacity for independent thinking, and then the capacity for the consistent use of principle based reasoning--has made these issues invisible, and effective, reason based action impossible.

What mediocrity, and how dull, that young people's minds can only be fired up by issues like gay marriage, transgenderism, and the right to bully anyone who fails to wear the emblem of political correctness on their left arm.

There are large worlds waiting to be discovered.  Even in the sciences, we have yet to become intelligent and reintegrate field theories.  We have yet to plausibly explain evolution.  We have yet to bring into mainstream science the ample and empirically impeccably well validated research in things like Remote Viewing, and precognition, and telekinesis.

I understand, but I do not accept, the reasons people offer for why they are forced to live in cages.  This need not be the end of time and freedom.  It may turn out that way, but we all had and to the point HAVE choices.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Insurance

I don't go to the doctor often.  I never get sick, and I'm overall healthy.  I just got my first physical in maybe 5 years.  Everything good, but it got me looking at my insurance.  My insurance premiums tripled, while my deductible went up $1,200.  This is lose/lose.  The ACA is literally sucking money away from me to people who vote Democrat for a living.

Fuck these people, and fuck the people who use them. I am the type of person who makes America work, and the more stress on us, the less goodies to go around.  That's how the real world works.

Business Idea

I think we have reached the point where a Politically Incorrect store could do well.  If it gets picketed, that will only increase its credibility.  And if it is on-line, it can't get picketed, at least easily.

I wonder if we could roll back out all those joke books from the 1970's, with Pollack jokes, and black jokes, and Italian jokes.

It might be a flash in the pan, but I think for a time it would do a handsome business.  There are so many of us who are SICK with the abuses of truth and decency which are perpetrated by the Thought Police.

No black or Jewish person is helped if you don't tell that joke about the Jew, the basketball and the Greek.

In fact the ENTIRETY of the speech restrictions we are seeing work to reduce awareness of ACTUAL failures.  The more we fail to address important problems, the less we talk about them, and the more we talk about how we are talking.

The essence of talking about talking--which is more or less what occupies the time of the Communists in most Humanities Departments--is avoidance.  Or, to use a term I just learned, displacement, which is where you know you should be doing one thing, but instead do another.

We know that black babies are being born daily to teenage mothers and that the fathers are not in a position to, or willing to, take care of those babies, to father them, to nurture them, to provide for them what they need, and that this failure is going to create an enormous emotional strain on the mother, who will be even less emotionally available for that child, who in turn will eventually act out in socially dysfunctional ways, creating yet another generation of failure, but we TALK about the Confederate Flag.  We talk about "racism", as if this kids emotional well-being was not at risk from the start, as if the entire social world he was born into was not more or less geared to fill him with fear, self loathing, anger, and violence.

I seem to be touching some angry energies.  Good: anger has a place too.  I own it.  I admit it.  I am capable of anger.  I am capable of a great deal more, too.

It's Clobberin' Time

Read the comments on this article, which is plainly propagandistic in its intent: https://www.yahoo.com/tv/s/univision-jorge-ramos-comes-swinging-not-donald-trump-041857581.html

I only read about the first 30, but they told me clearly that Trump can win the nomination, and likely the general election.  Both Democrats and Republicans are forced in every election to vote for someone we don't really believe in.  A lot of people believed in Obama, but all but the most stupid have long since realized he meant very little of what he promised, that he is a cynic, and that he cooperates with the power elite just like Republicans do.

And I say again that the working class white vote--for that matter, the working class Hispanic vote, the "Mexicans" who don't speak Spanish and never have, who have been here for generations, as well as the working class black vote--is up for grabs.  Democrats assume that people should buy their propaganda, and not look out for their own interests, which they know better than anyone.

And, again, Hispanics are not stupid.  It is my ideological opponents, the Jorge Ramoses of the world who think they are.  They KNOW that the whole nation of Mexico can't come up here while preserving what is good about this country.

If you give them a nation, what do they do with it?  They create Mexico.  This is tautological.  And do THEY want Mexico?  Fuck, no: otherwise, why come here?

Motherless love

I think this might be seen as a synonym for addiction.

More truth speaking

Black people know that their culture, by and large, is fucked up in this country.

Mexicans know it is unreasonable to ask us to take everyone who wants to come over here and provide them numerous public services for free.

What is lacking is the courage to point this out.  When you respond to the unreasonable with cowardice, you empower it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Racism

If you can get them to admit it, I suspect 8 out of 10 white people would say that as the proportion of blacks in a neighborhood increases, so too do all the petty annoyances that go with it, including loud music, increased crime, litter in the streets, poor property maintenance, and simple lack of respect for other people on the street.

I tell my kid there is no group "black people", but I do tell them there are TYPES of black people, and a certain type EVERYONE, white and black, says oh shit I wish they didn't just move in there.  You know your walls and windows are going to vibrate every time they start up their cars.  You know you are going to smell weed in the air, and that especially on weekends they are going to be standing out in the street making noise until at least 1 or 2 in the morning.  You fear that sooner or later you will hear gunshots.

Now, the bulk of white people have solved this problem by white flight, by moving to places where black people don't go. Many of these people are self identified "liberals" who nonetheless would not under any circumstances live in a ghetto.

And you know there is no historical connection between a ghetto and poverty.  The term ghetto, if memory serves, was first used in Italy to describe a strong concentration of Jews.

It means poverty in this country simply because it is mainly--certainly not exclusively, since the various Chinatowns are ghettos too--blacks who wind up in homogeneous neighborhoods, and most of them are poor.

I see these kids--and I live in a very mixed neighborhood--and I KNOW that their homes are fucked up.  I KNOW they are acting out and playing the fool, and don't give a shit if they wind up in juvie or jail again, because they don't RESPECT themselves. Nobody ever loved them.  Nobody ever made them feel special.  Their mother was a child herself, and their father--himself the son of an absentee father--skipped town the moment he heard she was knocked up.

And so it goes.  Nobody speaks these truths, because nobody REALLY cares.  The Left doesn't care.  Their whole system is oriented around generating feelings of self importance, moral superiority, and very concrete financial benefits.  How many of us would not love to get the speaking fees Hillary and Bill command?  Neither has done anything outside of politics.

The backdrop to all this is I just nearly got in a fight with three black teenagers, because they were smoking weed more or less at my front door, and I told them to stop.  They lied about it--as if you can conceal the smell of marijuana--and I told them not to lie to me.  They didn't like that.  One told me to "watch my mouth".

The thing about me is I have a scary temper.  I may or may not have admitted it here, but the flip side of terror is rage.  I only fully lose my temper about once every 3-4 years, but it is like a hurricane.  There is nothing, I am convinced, I am not capable of in the throes--in the control, the thralldom, of rage.

So I am going to move where there are no black people, or few.  There have been some here for some time who were quite congenial.  As I tell my kids: those people are not the problem.  They are just like you and me in every important respect.

But you know what?  I am speaking a truth, here, which has been spoken quietly in kitchens around this country--and no doubt in France, and Germany, and England and elsewhere--for some time.  You can call me racist, but I derive my opinions from experience.  Is the problem that I draw rational conclusions from accurate data, or that the data reflects a severely dysfunctional culture?

You cannot look at the statistics on black culture--or for that matter spend a significant period of time downtown nearly anywhere--and fail to conclude that there is a lot of violence, most of it directed against other blacks, but still by spillover likely more than whites direct against whites.

Can we perhaps coin the term Tacit Political Correctness, which does not accept the non-truths which the Thought Police attempt to force on us, but which also does not speak out against them?  They simply move to a neighborhood with half acre lots, and the rest takes care of itself.

In Europe, most of the "blacks" are Muslims.  I can just picture 14 year old Swedish girls saying "Mommy, those people make me uncomfortable", and "Mommy"--who is an emotionally detached ideologue--saying,
"they are just different than us, make them feel welcome."  When she gets gang raped at 17, "Mommy" wonders how these people can be reformed, how their "fundamental Goodness" can be made to shine.  She will never answer honestly: by rejecting the horrific demonism of Islam.  She will make excuses.  And her child will realize she is alone, that her mother does not actually love her.  And another excited youthful heart will grow cold.  And hard.

You know, I think all decent people of all cultures have a good, innate, idea of the differences between right and wrong.  I think historically many Islamic-based societies have found ways to reconcile Islam with their abhorrence of rape, or pedophilia, or the murder of innocents.

What I also think, though, is that the nihilism of the modern era often intersects with the worst impulses of various groups, resulting, in the case of Islam, to a recidivism back to the 7th Century.

Oh, we can all get along.  But it is reasonable to ask that people obey certain rules, hew to certain principles.  That they respect both themselves and others, and that they teach their children respect.  That they work honestly, and toil with diligence.  That they dream of better days, and work to make them happen.  That they value love and compassion and courage, and inculcate these values in their children.

As things stand today, most white kids are taught little, and most black kids are taught NOTHING; nothing but violence, anger, and a deep, deep sadness they cannot name or do away with.

If you picture a young man, filled with a sense of shame, anger, depression, anxiety, remorse, and defensiveness, does it matter what race he is before you conclude that he will act out, and that his actions will tend to be less than successful?

Gabor Mate

This is a nice video on addiction: https://video-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hvideo-xtp1/v/t42.1790-2/11290294_10153015585575983_595379980_n.mp4?efg=eyJybHIiOjMwMCwicmxhIjo1MTIsInZlbmNvZGVfdGFnIjoicWZfNDI2d19jcmZfMjNfbWFpbl8zLjBfcDBoYzBfc2QifQ%3D%3D&rl=300&vabr=107&oh=844f10d1875913b1984300ec0236b882&oe=55DF6920

At root, it is a sense of disconnection from self and others, and as he points out, our culture is founded, economically and psychologically, on emotional dissociation, on methods of distraction.

Spiritual Growth

It feels to me like an important part of spiritual growth is learning to accept and process ALL emotions.  As I continue my Kum Nye practice, I see that there is an other side to despair, and to loneliness, and to desolation and horror.  I see that to be useful, I need to be on speaking terms with all possible emotions.

You have to know yourself, what you are capable of, what might come out of you.  All of us can feel, potentially, all the "shadow" emotions, and it is not enough to simply make contact with them.  You have to learn to manage them, to master them, like training wild beasts.

And you don't do this violently.  This is a major mistake emotionally unintelligent people and systems make.  You do not get angry at anger.  You expand it, and then trace it back to its roots, in feelings of helplessness and fear.  You understand that you are in part a biological organism, and that that organism has needs which you cannot avoid, even if you can learn to meet them in non-traditional ways.

And I ponder, how do you put a value on something like Kum Nye, which can give you EVERYTHING and MORE than you could get from the most successful career?  That can make you more free than the richest billionaire with his beautiful women and expensive toys, and absolute freedom of action?  He can go anywhere, do anything.  But until he changes who he is--or rather, until he makes contact with his inner recesses, and learns to see in new ways--nothing really changes that matters at all.

I likely spend too much time introspecting.  I should be out drumming up new business.  My bank account is not what it could be.  But at the same time, these processes are so intriguing, so interesting, so satisfying, even when hard, that I have been tending to get driven by necessity rather than planning properly.

I make things work.  I always have.  It takes some ingenuity sometimes, some audacity sometimes, but I have plenty of both.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Political Correctness

I was reading what Big Sister has done in California.  I would not have thought it possible, but this is perhaps even more abusive that what she put in place at the TSA:

Surprisingly enough, this list of taboo microaggressions included many common questions and phrases seemingly devoid of any ill intent. One of the banned, supposedly offensive phrases is “America is a land of opportunity.” According to Napolitano and her politically correct cohorts, such a phrase is a form of coded, covert racism that creates a toxic campus culture.Other phrases university faculty were banned from saying include “America is a melting pot,” “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” and “There is only one race, the human race.” Another banned phrase was “When I look at you, I don’t see color.” Colorblind professors everywhere began quivering in fear.Faculty were also banned from asking students basic small talk questions, such as “Where are you from?” and “Where were you born?” These questions can be construed as racist. According to Napolitano, banning these microaggressions from California’s universities was part of an initiative to “improve campus climate.”

What you need to see here is what happens when no actual moralities are in play, when nobody truly believes ANYTHING. A morality is a reason to live.  It is a means of transforming the pains of life into meaning.

But if you reject in principle the idea that life always includes pain and difficulty, you have no reason for a morality.  Not having a reason for a morality, you instead live a life of avoidance, of evading truth, of denouncing the very idea of truth, precisely because your world view is counterfactual.  It is wrong.

This is the root of what I term Sybaritic Leftism, which I contrast with true Liberalism, which is a means of multiple moralities coexisting in peace.  And the vacuousness of this form of Leftism leads inexorably to Cultural Sadeism.  It cannot resist it.  It starts out nice and playful, and becomes cold and cruel.

All the ex-hippies teaching at the University of California cut their teeth on opposing "the System".  Now they ARE the system, and they are showing they have no ideas, nothing original to live for, nothing to add, nothing interesting to say.

This is always the case.  Communism--and these people are spouting Communist propaganda, using Communist methods of analysis, and proposing Communistic solutions--never adds anything any life.  What joy has Fidel Castro brought Cuba?  What joy did Mao bring China?  They brought death, fear, famine, and the collapse of all the soft traits, like trust and openness, which alone make life worth living.

Communism is the death of human beauty, and it is what is being preached in our best universities.

And we need to be clear that these kids are being conditioned to live in little boxes, to suppress all authenticity, to conform their views to what they are taught and not the evidence of their own eyes.  They are being talk to accept propaganda willingly, and to obey their elders, no matter how crazy they are.

So we really have to look at two forms of conditioning.  First, the actual ideas of Communism are being taught, which reject all moralities in favor of conformity to an arbitrary dictator, and the modes of being of Communism are being taught, which are fear and bullying.

And in the process moral reasoning is lost entirely.  On one day they decry rape.  On the next, they decry "Islamophobia" despite the fact that Islam allows and even encourages both the rape and murder of unbelievers.  And they can't denounce ISIS, because that is a thought crime, despite the fact that most of their crimes are being committed against people who are ALSO Muslims.

As I have said often, Leftism is emotionally cartoonish.  It thinks in simplistic ideas of good and bad, and has no ability to differentiate among the "others" it allegedly wants to protect.  Who do you think most of the illegal aliens in America who are criminals criminalize?  Other illegals, and fellow Mexicans.  Almost all crimes are committed within groups.  You know who would be helped if these people were deported?  Mexicans living in the US.

I can only watch and hope that the sheer excesses of these anti-moral zealots will bring about a backlash.  We are already seeing it in Donald Trump, who I think will most likely be the Republican nominee.  And I think he will get bipartisan support, because Americans KNOW that we have many problems nobody has the balls to fix.

Actual Audacity

I'm telling my old friend alcohol again that we need to spend some time apart.  It has been a profoundly useful emotional anesthetic for many years.  And I am contemplating again living without it.

My dream is to help build another world, an actually better world, one which is peaceful, prosperous, and happy.  Given the sheer number of people who wish the other people on this planet rack and ruin, it is perhaps a foolish hope.  You can never know what is possible until you try, though.

But I am a student of history, and I cannot but watch in my mind all the great minds and spirits who failed to find a way forward, all the bodies I am stepping over.  Most of human history is a history of failure, is it not?  Have not wars and injustices and stupidities been our common lot for most of the recorded life of our race?

Has trauma not been an important fact of the lives of most people who have ever lived, and indeed who live even today? Obama was traumatized.  I have no doubt of it.

To think new thoughts, you have to step over bodies, you have to have a ridiculous sense of the possible, which necessarily means that you--I--think I am better able to express my intelligence usefully than they did.

And this thought makes me laugh.  It has aesthetic merit.  It has beauty in it, profound beauty.  And this comforts me.   And I need comforting.  We all do.  We all do.

Edit: do you get the feeling sometimes that no important cultural experiments have been done since the 1960's?  That we are stuck looking back, sorting through the rubble and wreckage?  That the major cultural changes have been a gradually tightening noose of conformism backed by the threats of social, political, and even physical violence?  That "love" is a marketing term, to be abused in the service of consumerism and quarterly results?

I remember the movie "My Dinner with Andre", and this felt sense that nothing new was going on.  No new ideas were being tried.  The revolutionary spirit was dead.  Everyone got ties, good jobs, mortgages, and life foreclosed on their dreams.

Obama, self evidently, was pushing focus group tested buzzwords when he spoke of Hope and Change.  He was touching deep needs that exist in this country at a fundamental level.  His appeal was obviously cynical, opportunistic, and abusive, but that does not mean that these words can no longer be used, that there are no causes for hope, that good change is not possible.

Hope.  Dare to hope.  Dare to dream of a better world, an actually better world.  We may just be able to pull it off.

Pyrrhus noted that the Romans died like men, facing their enemy.  There is no safety in this world, no absolute safety.  In fact, I guarantee Death will get you, like it gets everyone (the Singularity is bullshit).  What you can trust is your own resilience, and your own willingness to laugh in the face of everything, to make sport of this eternal game.

Flashback Time Machine

I was going through some old posts, and saw this one from 4 years ago.  Remains quite true.


Bit slow today, checking some things off lists. The entirety of Peter Bauer's "Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion" is quite wonderful, and well worth the read. As I argue constantly, to fail to consider the consequences of actions you conceive to be well intentioned, is to not be well intentioned at all, but self important and narcissistic, if not outright power mongering. YOU MUST CARE ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES, to all people, and over time.

Here are a couple quotes from the concluding chapter of a book in which he has ably demonstrated that foreign aid frequently does little but support income inequalities, autocracy, and continued generalized poverty, all claims that fly in the face of "conventional" wisdom, then (1981) and now.


what explains the curious situation of contemporary economics, especially the acceptance of evidently insubstantial, even bizarre, notions?

The expansion of the subject since the Second World War and the circumstances surrounding it must be considered together. Unlike the expansion in the natural sciences in recent decades, especially in physics and chemistry, the expansion in economics (and other forms of social study) was not an instance of the growth of knowledge leading to a quantum jump in the number of people and money attracted. The expansion resulted from the belief that economists could help significantly in solving social and political problems; and that their capacity to do so depended largely on their numbers and on the money at their disposal. . . But, as the term is usually understood, economic problems are different. Economic problems do not typically present themselves because of perceived gaps or inadequacies of knowledge. Rather economic problems are said to exist wherever there are differences between proclaimed norms and observed reality. Such problems evidently cannot be solved by improvements in knowledge alone. Indeed, as suggested in chapter 1 (and noted repeatedly elsewhere), economists and other social scientists generally create problems rather than solve them [emphasis mine].

In academic study unwarranted claims are apt to inhibit the advance of understanding. Attempts to justify unfounded claims, or to mask the failure to live up to them, encourage the proponents of such claims to shift their ground. For example, when certain policies widely canvassed by development economists as necessary for raising living standards, such as large-scale public investment, domestic production of capital goods, or the collectivization of agriculture, fail to bring about the expected results, the policies themselves come to be regarded as the very stuff of progress rather than as what they are, unsuccessful instruments for its promotion.

"When certain policies widely canvassed by development economists as necessary for raising living standards. . . fail to bring about the expected results, the policies themselves come to be regarded as the very stuff of progress rather than as what they are, unsuccessful instruments for its promotion."

Can there be a shorter summary of what is wrong with the leftist mindset, which does the same things over and over and over, always getting the same result--failure--and yet which fails to learn the lesson? As Bauer says, economics is not actually complicated. It is made complicated by people whose jobs depend on a lack of transparency.

Consider in that regard this quote he excerpts from a Professor Leontief.

Continued preoccupation with imaginary, hypothetical, rather than observable reality has gradually led to a distortion of the informal valuation scale used in our academic community to access and to rank the scientific performance of its members. Empirical analysis, according to this scale, gets a lower rating than formal mathematical reasoning. Devising a new statistical procedure, however tenuous, that makes it possible to squeeze out one more unknown parameter from a given set of data, is judged a greater scientific achievement that the successful search for additional information that would permit us to measure the magnitude of the same parameter in a less ingenious, but more reliable way. . . a natural Darwinian feedback operating through selection of academic personnel contributes greatly to the perpetuation of this state of affairs. Thus, it is not surprising that the younger economists, particularly those engaged in teaching and academic research, seem by now quite content with situations in which they can demonstrate their prowess (and incidentally, advance their careers) by building more and more complicated mathematical models and devising more and more sophisticated methods of statistical inference without ever engaging in empirical research.

This is how smart people become stupid: they makes things so complicated that the forest is lost for the trees. This is exactly the same dynamic in play with Global Warming. Rather than planting thermometers all over the poles, which is where the warming is supposedly happening, they develop statistical algorithms to in effect guess what the temperatures "must" be, based upon the sensors they have hundreds of miles to the south. This is not science. Statistics can NEVER substitute for measurements, when measurements are possible.

As I have said often, you can "prove" anything, if you start from the right premises. Garbage in, garbage out.

Christianity created Satanism

I was walking my dog this morning, on a very pleasant day, and it hit me how evil Christianity is, or rather how evil the description of the Christian God is.

We are supposed to start our lives in shame, feeling guilty for something we did not do.  And it hit me that shame begets a need for justification, for aggressive action, for do-gooding, which is necessarily compulsive, and as prone to harm as help.

Without understanding fully all the creeds which adopt this name for themselves, it seems to me that Satanists, by and large, intend to reject this shame, this abhorrence of life and freedom.

And as parents would we ever contemplate throwing our children into the pits of hell if they failed to obey us exactly?  Would we threaten them with this?  Could we even contemplate this?  No: we assume goodness on their part, and do our best to love them, to cherish them, to teach them, and to help them if they fall off the path.  We never abandon them.

And who can accept a God who needs the ritual murder of animals, much less human beings?  Who can accept a God who requires a sacrifice of his son to satisfy his irrational rage at people who are by and large doing the best they can?

The key addition of Christianity is the concept of eternal damnation.  The Jews of course had the idea of Original Sin, but they had a system for managing the rages of their God, through sacrifice and piety.  They thought little about the next world.  They were like the Romans and Greeks in this.

Further, if God were as the Christians describe, would we only see his appointed representative once in the lifetime of humanity, in an insignificant part of the world, and would he only teach for something like 3 years?  If you were a parent, and you wanted to teach your children, would you not give them regular or even constant, direct, instruction?

Deconstructing Christianity is not that hard, but it is necessary for me, for my own healing.  I was raised as a Christian, taught John 3:16 and other similar verses, sang the hymns in church, was baptized, was taught to fear the Devil.

We need something like religion.  We need worship.  We need communion.  We need a place for the holy in our lives, for the sacred.  We need a concept of the Divine, of eternal life, of spiritual growth.  Foolish people see our choices as belief and disbelief.  I am no atheist, not even remotely.  I am, I think I can say honestly. a visionary.  I see visions.  I feel new realities.  I dream what has not been, but may yet be.

This is a hopeful post, one I intend to be filled with light.  What we leave behind is darkness when we accept something brighter.

Ashley Madison

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/were-only-3-zip-codes-175956661.html;_ylt=AwrT6V0PzN1VZ1wA4_YPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByb2lvbXVuBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg

I don't have any particularly incisive commentary.  I just thought this was interesting.  Do most of us not feel alone, even with those we are supposed to love?  Doesn't the grass always seem greener on the other side, and does it not prove disappointing in the end?

Think about it: who are the women who want to cheat, or make love to cheaters?  Are they sensitive, genuinely caring, emotionally intelligent people who satisfy the real needs men have to feel understood, appreciated, and respected?  I very much doubt it.  They can play the part for a time, but they want something.

Fucking, in my not inconsiderable experience, is almost always disappointing.  There is unquestionably an ego boost--a hit--in seducing a woman--it makes you feel manly--but the very mindset required for it separates you. In terms of what sex can provide emotionally, I think women in this--as in most everything else--are most right.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sacrifice, and Plus ca change

I remain, in Gibbon, in the period of the reign of Julian--who interestingly, among other things, tried to rebuild the Temple of the Jews--and he related casually that it was not at all uncommon for him to sacrifice 100 oxen, which sounds astonishing until you compare it to what the Bible relates concerning Solomon: 

And Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which he offered unto Jehovah, two and twenty thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of Jehovah. 1 Kings 8:63
Ponder that.  Ponder how, if it is even logistically possible--and it surely is, over some time horizon--what that carnage would look like. Ponder what a mere 100 oxen would look like.  And I don't know how they were killed.  A relatively large weapon would seemingly be necessary.

There is a great mystery in all this.  My working hypothesis continues to be that it is a means of appeasing our own predator, animal instincts, which was necessary before the principles of inner growth were developed.

Plus Ca Change: The Christians tore down the ancient temples of the Romans.  And they built their own churches on top.  Who else do you know who does that?

If you look at the history--ONLY the history--Christianity is not so very different from Islam.  They venerated martyrs, demanded absolute submission to their creed, and fought aggressive wars in support of their faith.

M

I was reading the back story on Fritz Lang's M, and found this curious: "Lang considered M to be his favorite of his own films because of the social criticism in the film. In 1937, he told a reporter that he made the film "to warn mothers about neglecting children"."

Further: M has been said, by various critics and reviewers,[17] to be based on serial killer Peter Kürten—the "Vampire of Düsseldorf"—whose crimes took place in the 1920s.[18] Lang denied that he drew from this case in an interview in 1963 with film historian Gero Gandert; "At the time I decided to use the subject matter of M there were many serial killers terrorizing Germany—HaarmannGrossmannKürtenDenke, [...]"

As should be obvious, I cast my perceptual net far and wide.  Within my lifetime, we have evolved from a nation of "free range" children--which is to say largely care free parents and care free children--to one in which parents risk having their children taken from them if they let them walk a few blocks to the park before a certain age.

How important to emotional development is freedom in early childhood?  One can scarcely wonder if, on one pole of this equation, Muslim women find it very hard to develop emotionally and particularly to build a sense of self which alone would make them capable of raising emotionally intelligent children; and on the other hand, it seems the tribal lives of say, American Indians in the pre-imperial period, might be optimally conducive to growth.

If you are faced with large fear from an early age, what effect does this have?  Does not fear bring with it an increased need for security, and is that not precisely what government promises?

It is an extraordinarily tenuous hypothesis, but I wonder if the spate of very prolific, very public serial killers in the 1920's in Germany helped the Nazi rise to power.  Conversely, I suppose one could wonder if the prevalence of such crimes indicated a national illness which eventually manifested in the Nazis.

I'm just spouting here.  It's what I do.  This whole post may be utter nonsense, but I have often found nonsense leads to better ideas which actually have value.  Exploration is always potentially useful.

Little shit

We Americans love to brag about our freedoms, but we have a shitload of petty regulations and bureaucratic procedures they don't have in other countries.

Take the FDA.  They block all sorts of things that are quite legal in other countries. I was trying to get some kind of weight loss supplement that apparently actually works, and they sell it in Canada, but not here, because some jackasses abused it.  You can abuse COFFEE if you are determined.

For that matter, they DON'T block things like genetically modified foods that are at least labeled in other countries.  And for God's sake, our government continues to subsidize the manufacture of high fructose corn syrup, which has NEGATIVE nutritional value.  Who helps put cheap cokes in the hands of the poor?  Uncle Sam, that's who.

Take ordering contacts on-line.  If my prescription hasn't changed in 25 years, who is hurt if I go three or four years without an exam?  The eye doctors.  They lose money.  They no doubt argued "safety" and in this country if you say fucking safety all the soccer moms circle their wagons, and the soccer dads say "are you sure it is safe now?"  You can smell the fear.

Fuck safety.  Life is either an adventure, or it is a niggling little prance in a small circle with boring people who do nothing, learn nothing, and are not overly missed when they leave this world because they didn't really contribute anything.

Americans, particularly, are obsessed with safety.  I don't know why. Perhaps it is our litigiousness.

Edit: tetanus shots.  That was another thing.  There are only about 30 cases of tetanus contracted a year in America, mostly in the pork industry.  The tetanus bacteria live in soil contaminated with fecal matter, which is to say virtually nothing in a city or the suburbs is even remotely likely to have it on it.

I tried to research how many people die from reactions related to vaccinations each year, but Google, Bing and Yahoo don't want to tell me.

This is another thing: we think we have access through search engines to everything we need to know.  Google for sure, and likely the others, are quite capable of tweaking the searches any way they want, and whatever they want hidden, will not be found except by profound persistence.

Edit: thank god for Alex Jones.  Google plus Alex Jones got me this: http://www.infowars.com/jimmy-kimmels-ignorant-vaccine-doctors/

Point 1: there is no reliable reporting system for vaccinations, so no one can claim it is safe using sound empirical evidence.  Doctors are at their own discretion to report reactions, and they can expect to be sued if they are found culpable.  No one--NO ONE--can base their opinions on responsibly gathered statistics.

Point 2: the same professionals we are supposed to literally trust with our lives disappoint about a quarter of a million people EVERY YEAR.  People die due to fuck-ups.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Codependence

If your sense of self depends on serving others, then your sense of self is connected to, and ultimately conflated with, others.  This in turn likely means that they are connected to you.  You lean on one another.

This is why you should watch children struggle with things for a long time, and why you should not feel bad when difficulties enter the lives of complacent people. Or your life, for that matter.

Trouble is wind for wings that are ready for it.  Let's call that a bon mot.

Worship

I was laying in bed this morning, petting my dog, and it occurred to me that true worship consists in offering love and connection to the universe, or perhaps in receiving what was already there.  When you are participating in love and laughter and useful labor, when your consciousness is entirely filled with the focus needed to accomplish some worthy task, that is worship.

I was listening to Gibbon talk about the Emperor Julian, how he had many altars and that he made animal sacrifices on them every morning and evening.  Picture yourself doing that. Picture someone handing you a live chicken, you ritually offering it to that God--let us say Jupiter--then ritually slitting its throat, or cutting its head off.  Then you offer the dead animal again.  And you do this twice a day.

It seems to me it would pacify the violence and bloodlust which always exist as possibilities for all of us. It seems to me much of the violence on television, and in movies and in video games exists to feed this primitive, primal part of us, which never gets to break peoples jaws, or shoot anyone, scream at the top of its lungs, or even OFFEND anyone.  My god, can you imagine anything more productive of rage, of Donald Trump, than making everyone keep their mouth shut about nearly everything?  Those emotions, that need to assert self, and to be heard, do not disappear.

But this blood also becomes something you NEED, something you feed on.  The spirit is that of a vampire.

No, wherever Goodness is, that is true worship.  That is what I feel.

And I will repeat the point I made in my Grand Inquisitor piece, that Christ did not intend to be taken literally, to have ritual cannibalism enacted in his honor.  Wherever wine is, love is, and there he is.  Wherever bread is, where communion is, there he is.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Good Article on "Global Warming"

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/23/tom-harris-global-warming-deceptive-temperature-re/

We live in an era in which the stupid people vote for Obama, and even most of the smart people still believe in global warming.  To even approach reason and truth you have to be willing to be castigated as an ideological dissident.  How did we get to this place in a free society?  How did we allow it?  

Parenting

It occurs to me that in raising emotionally intelligent children--which is to say, within my world view, the capacity for authentic Goodness--it is very important to allow them to name and express negative emotions.  You need to allow them to say things like "I am feeling very angry right now, and I don't know why.  Maybe I'm hungry, but I think I also need some space."

I think for most of history parents believed that if they created children who did what they told them to do, and acted as they were taught, that they had succeeded.  But history is a succession of violent scenes, scenes of grief, rapine, greed, vanity, and internecine violence (I would argue ALL violence is ultimately internecine), is it not?

Logically, if shame is the outcome of trauma, then a shame based society is a trauma based society.  You beat obedience into your kids, do you not?

New Emotions

It occurs to me to add as well that I experience "new emotions" regularly in my practice.  Part of it is asking for them, but much of it is simply avoiding labeling what comes up.

And if you think about it, if you do not like the feelings that occur daily for you, to change them you need new ones, more open ones, more empowering ones, and how could they not feel foreign at first?

There is metainformation in ANY new feeling, negative or positive: what it tells you is that something different is possible.  The sense of the possibility of change is necessary to ever consciously embrace change. And I think if it is not sought, some part of our unconscious snaps us back to the same spot regularly.  It brings us back to "who we are".

Moments

One of the consistent objectives of my Kum Nye practice is a sense of merging sensation with space, and I really am increasingly feeling a sense of expansion and diffusion.

Today, walking in the park on a very nice day, it hit me that what keeps us out of the present moment is past momentS.  We carry simultaneously many moments, moments of terror, of joy, of loss, of gain.

If you think about it, you can likely quickly access many life-changing or defining moments.  The moment your parents told you they were getting divorced.  Many moments hearing them arguing, but maybe one moment you really don't remember until you focus on it, when you started shutting down emotionally.

Perhaps you had something wonderful happen, and you said to yourself "I will never be happier than this", and your unconscious heard that, and took it seriously.

If you are a soldier, you may remember when you heard you were going to be deployed.  Or redeployed.  Or reredeployed.  You may have PTSD, and many, or certain, moments burned into your consciousness.  I suspect your healing will begin with the realization that there are other moments like that in you too, which are simply not as intense.  They passed away, and so too can these memories, even if it doesn't feel that way.

Emotionally, we are aggregates of many moments of heightened sense, heightened emotion, heightened connection, for better or worse.

And I felt this surge of energy and thought that it is time for all my moments to begin to open their doors to one another, to open up a general connection of feeling and emotion, and it felt clear to me that that is how you learn to live in the present, actually.

When you are living in the moment, you don't know it.  You can't will it, because in the act of observing it, you leave it.  I think there are people who talk about "the moment" who sit there thinking: "here I am, living in moment.  Fuck I'm awesome."

Conscious presence is an emergent property of a well organized nervous system and psyche.  It is then, in other words, an emergent property of emotional health, which makes psychological work--or let us say, more broadly, energetic release work--the path to it.

Kum Nye literally means to massage your subtle being, your intermediate part between your body and space itself.  It is built for this sort of thing.

The Yen

I was reading it is common in Japan for people to work 100 weeks.  Then I seemed to recall they have been trying Keynesian economics for quite some time--decades--then reasoned that they have likely inflated the currency.  I look it up, and sure enough, the dollar bought 85 yen about 5 years ago, and now it buys nearly 125.

Here is a summary:
The USDJPY traded at 122.26 JPY on Friday August 21, according to interbank foreign exchange market quotes. The Japanese Yen averaged 154.56 from 1972 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 306.84 in December of 1975 and a record low of 75.74 in October of 2011.
One of the first things modern "economists" tell developing economies to do is deflate their currency so that they can export more.  That makes their stuff more cheap for other countries, but also more expensive FOR THEM.  And the money comes from somewhere, does it not?  It doesn't grow on trees.

It comes from banks, normally from central banks, but also possibly from the government, depending on how things are set up; and from the fractional reserve banking system.

When you see Keynesian economics, you see this same dynamic, this same desire to pump money "into the economy", so that even though Japan was developed, it likely acted as if it weren't.  And when you see all this what you also need to see is a power elite making fortunes, by stepping on the necks of ordinary working men and women.  The same thing is happening here, just to a lesser extent than there.

I read the Japanese even have a word for "death from overwork".  It need not be that way, given sane economic policies.

Some day someone will listen to me.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Vapors

I think we need to bring this concept back to describe people overwhelmed by the presence of dissension and even criticism.  You get the sense that if you told them to go fuck themselves they would evaporate outright, and all that would be left is a cold foggy cloud.  At a minimum, they would wet and crap themselves and need sedation and several weeks to recover.

What nation can endure like that, in a world still containing many Morlocks, many cannibals from the deep?

Egalitarianism and Political Correctness

I was reading this today and wishing to hell it were satire, but it isn't:


Christina Hoff Sommers is an avowed feminist and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She's spent a lifetime visiting college campuses. Recently, upon her arrival at Oberlin College, Georgetown University and other campuses, trigger warnings were issued asserting, in her words, that her "very presence on campus" was "a form of violence" and that she was threatening students' mental health. At Oberlin, 30 students and the campus therapy dog retired to a "safe room" with soft music, crayons and coloring books to escape any uncomfortable facts raised by Sommers.
The problem for students and some professors is that Sommers challenges the narrative, with credible statistical facts, that women are living in a violent, paternalistic rape culture. As a result, she has been "excommunicated from the church of campus feminism" in order to protect women from her uncomfortable facts. This prompted Sommers to say, "There's a move to get young women in combat, and yet on our campuses, they are so fragile they can't handle a speaker with dissenting views." I wonder whether there will be demands for the military to have therapy dogs and safe rooms in combat situations.
The University of New Hampshire published a "Bias-Free Language Guide," which "is meant to invite inclusive excellence in (the) campus community." Terms such as "American," "homosexual," "illegal alien," "Caucasian," "mothering," "fathering" and "foreigners" are deemed "problematic." Other problematic terms include "elders," "senior citizen," "overweight," "speech impediment," "dumb," "sexual preference," "manpower," "freshmen," "mailman" and "chairman." For now, these terms are seen as problematic. If the political correctness police were permitted to get away with it, later they would bring disciplinary action against a student or faculty member who used the terms.

What I will submit is that Political Correctness is an ANTI-morality.  It does not teach its adherents what constitutes a good life.  It has no equivalent to Eudaemonia, and likely in most cases explicitly rejects "normative" moral systems.

But what is left?  Attack.  That is all that is left.  If you cannot live your own life in peace because you believe nothing--you don't believe in the ideals of "manliness" or "womanliness", or fathering or mothering, or believe in America, or God, or Christ, or even Goodness of any sort--then all you can do is detract from the lives of others.

Egalitarianism is the creed that all people are equal, but it is not the creed that all CREEDS are equal.  If it were, it would be tolerant.  As it is, it is radically INtolerant.  It reject and punishes anyone who believes in notions like the relative worth of one morality versus another.  It rejects and punishes anyone who thinks moral and spiritual growth are possible, since that would necessarily imply that some people are morally better than others--which is obviously, plainly, blatantly the case, which is why the propaganda and violence, to hide this fact.

This is why Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor wanted to immolate Christ.  

This is why, to take a vastly different, but relevant example, Dr. Frank N. Furter had to kill Eddie in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".  It has been some time since I've seen this movie--25 years at least--but I remember Meatloaf projecting an unambiguously masculine energy, in a world where all such distinctions were erased.  All of these things, all of these signs, are all around us, of moral decay masked as moral superiority.

I just yesterday saw some informational buttons which had Male, Female, and Other.  

And one has to ask: who is helped?  No one.  Who do I help, really, refusing to use the word American?  Homosexual?  Mothering?  Elder?

This is a system formulated by and for drooling, philosophically imbecilic children.  There used to be a grandeur and respect that attended being an "elder".  "Mothering", in a positive sense, was understood as one of the most important tasks possible.

We lose all the good that came with these words when we lose the words.  And we gain nothing.  This whole thing is a system whose sole function is to allow anti-social, emotionally disconnected nihilists to feel the thrill of moral superiority doing nothing but advancing violence into the world under the banner of peace.  

My Czech editorial

The notion of Obama getting elected--an obvious closet Marxist, an obvious red diaper baby, someone obviously dedicated to pushing a far left, anti-American agenda--drove me crazy in 2008.  I don't do helplessness well, so I reasoned that chain emails start somewhere, so I started a bunch of them.  I sent them to a list of about 100 people, which included business and personal acquaintances, and the editorial emails of various news journals and journalists, like National Review, Front Page Magazine, and Glenn Beck.  My hope was they would go viral.  At least one apparently did, as it is still being referred to in the present era.

Here is one link: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/11/obamas-america-the-view-from-prague.php

I do seem to swim to the beat of my own drummer, if I might mix metaphors in an appropriate manner.  I can see why someone saw fit to attribute this to someone outside the system, capable of seeing it from a high level, from a distance.

But what I do is phase in and phase out.  I can exist in the system, and outside it.  I can and often am the only person on the planet saying certain things.  My treatment of the financial system is a good example.  And I think this makes me useful.  It is a burden, a hardship, a heavy load sometimes doing the WORK of seeing things with fresh and untainted eyes, but it is my "terrible privilege", to quote Tony Stark.

The background of this commentary should be obvious.  In his first few years, and again when he was running for reelection, I often summarized the negatives of Obama.

There can be no question that the "Stimulus" was a political payment--with zero or even negative economic utility--and little question that large, multi-billion dollar sums were redirected to causes and people unknown.

There is no doubt that the IRS was used as a political weapon.

There is no doubt that Fast and Furious was a very cynical ploy to support gun control.

There is no doubt that Obamacare is intended over time to either force Single Payer, or create a system in which a small insurance oligarchy controls the market, and works in a fascistic fashion with the government to create complete bureaucratic control.

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama created ISIS, in the process of trying to overthrow the government of Syria in support of Saudi objectives.

There is little doubt in my mind that Obama, his supervisor Valerie Jarrett, and whoever his actual backers and handlers are, want the Iranians to get nuclear weapons.

To this small and very incomplete list can be added many things, which would include the secret things we still don't know about, such as the possible intentional diffusion of chemical weapons to Al Quedists in Syria for a false flag operation.  One happened.  People died.  Does anyone other than me remember this?  Do you remember Obama wanted a war, with our soldiers fighting next to the rapists and murderers of women and children, in support of their supremacy?

I will say this: if you required all voters to describe the major candidates, their views on three specific issues, and the pros and cons of those views, you would reduce the electorate by at least 90%.

We have people who can't say who we fought in the Revolutionary War.  We have people who can't name the century in which the Civil War started, or find France on a map.

In important respects, Donald Trump is the conservative--really, moderate--answer to Barack Obama.  He appeals to the same needs, the same desires, the same avarices, but adds to this at least some REASON.

It has become problematic rooting for this country.  It has become socially disadvantageous in many groups to root for white people, for working class people, for the people who founded, and run this country.

We KNOW what happens when you put Mexicans in charge of a country.  They create Mexico.  Do we want that?  Do even they want that?  The root problem with most Latin Americans is that they have no problems with the abuse of law and principle, as long as it is THEIR group in charge.  Much of the world is like that.  Only in the Western world have people risen above principal identification with their clan to look to the well being of the whole.  And look at what we have created.  The place everyone else wants to come to, take advantage of, and in their avarice, to tear down.

Things to do.  I'm ranting.  That's enough for now.

Love in a time of treason

That would be a better book title for the present era.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kant and Kum Nye

I was reading that Kant apparently suffered from depression: http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/kants-depression/

It would seem to me the author, like Kant himself, draws the wrong conclusion.  Kant's philosophizing--his obsession with reason and with transcending and separating from his body and its sensations--was likely the RESULT of unprocessed emotions.

When I study Western history, it is in large measure the history of IDEAS, when ideas are only a part of the human experience.  There is no history of practice, so much.  Yes, various churches had various practices.  The Romans practiced sacrifice.  They kept altars.  Christians began singing early on, and took the Eucharist and wine and practiced baptism.

But these are all outer, social rites.  Only in things like the practices of St. Ignatius does one find something possibly useful for personal growth.  In the modern era, even most psychology has been useless or even harmful.  Only perhaps in the past 30-40 years have useful things like cognitive psychology and positive psychology, and trauma therapies come into being.

To this I would oppose the many spiritual practices of the East, like yoga, and various meditations, and my favorite, Kum Nye.

I wonder if one could summarize modernity as the collective realization that ideas do not provide spiritual food.

And I wonder if we could view the advent of Christianity as the substitution of orthodoxy for orthopraxy.  How often does one see the latter word in the history of the West?  Virtually never.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Trauma and Shame

It feels to me like the feeling we call shame is biological, instinctual, and an inherent part of trauma.  The fact of shame is a flattened ego, a sense that one cannot take part in human affairs as a full equal.  You cannot exist.

Guilt can lead to shame, but what is the fact of shame?  Social isolation,  Withdrawal.  The rejection of others, in shame based social orders.  I think shame is the thing that makes your dog put its tail between its legs and hide.  It is fear, but also a profound sense of withdrawal.

Clinically, I feel, the two manifested elements of trauma are dissociation and shame.  The first detaches you from your instinctual emotions, which is to say from yourself; and the second detaches you from the rest of society.

The two combine to lead to the presenting symptoms of depression, anger, paranoia, intrusions, and the like.  When you detach from the world, it becomes out there, and out there is not controllable or predictable.  It becomes foreign ground, occupied by strangers.  Everyone is a stranger, even the person looking at you in the mirror.

I think this is close to the truth.  My work continues.

Edit: to be clear, I think most of tend to think people feel shame because of something.  The most obvious example is incest, which transgresses rules we can be aware of consciously.  But I don't think this gets at the root of it, where there is no "because". It is because it is. It is because it is built into us as animals.  It is a direct nervous system level disruption of the social instinct.

Biltmore, some economic thoughts

When you first look at this majestic house, it is impossible to suppress feeling like you are seeing the home of an aristocrat, someone wealthy beyond the imagining of most of us.

And I well know that many see that house and see abuses, see crime, see theft, see injustice and unfairness. I think it might serve as the basis of an interesting thought experiment comparing Capitalism--to the extent we have it--and Socialism.

When it was built, from 1890 to 1895, it employed hundreds of skilled workmen, the talents and energies of two of the best architectural minds of that era, and bought, from near and far, large quantities of materials which were sold for profit by those providing them.

It spread wealth, in other words.

Once occupied, it employed hundreds of domestics, paying, as they noted, New York wages in rural North Carolina, making employment there a highly sought after opportunity.

And I suspect that today it employs even more people than it did back then.  You have a ticket office.  You have the same numbers of groundskeepers.  You have someone standing in nearly every room.

And outside the gates, there is an entire village devoted to cashing in on the tourist traffic.  You have nice cafes and steak houses, and gift shops and art galleries.

That home, in other words, was from its inception to the present moment an engine of economic opportunity, of wealth, of employment.  It was and is productive of all the material comforts which attend prosperity, for every layer of the community. Someone owns the cafe where I had an excellent Florentine and eclair.  They will be called Capitalist.  But people work there, and work there only because that cafe exists.

Let us run this experiment in reverse.  Let us say that Socialists had seized power and confiscated the allegedly ill gotten wealth of George Vanderbilt, and handed it out on the streets in tens and twenties until it was all gone.

The home disappears.  Those construction workers are never employed.  The architects lose their contracts.  The domestics remain impoverished in homes with dirt floors.  The village is never built, the jobs of people working there are never created.

In short, a system of wealth production and sharing is never conjured into being.  It is killed before it can sprout and bloom.

The precise defect of Socialism is that it kills things before they can come into being.  Since most people are stupid, since most people do not see what COULD have been, but never was, they continue to fail to see how destructive it is.  Their energies are engaged in tearing down, not seeing that they hurt themselves and their posterity in that very process.

Capitalism is the goose that lays golden eggs.  Unfettered trade and innovation create more of the same, generalizing wealth.  Fettered trade, and the punishment of new ideas, create poverty.  If you look at most of the world, most of the poverty you see is, at root, the result of some combination of resentment, greed for gain without corresponding effort, and simple sloth.

And what were the advantages that the Vanderbilts enjoyed?  They had indoor plumbing, but now we all do.  They had people to cook their meals, but are we not in effect employing the labors of servants whenever we go out to eat, which was rare in that age, but ubiquitous now?  We can pay people to do our laundry, to clean our homes, to mow our lawns, and these are very affordable services, even if most choose to do their own work.

In short, as a result of the very imperfect operation of free markets--wealth creation being undermined by those who create and debase our currency and the public wealth--most of us enjoy comforts only afforded the elites of bygone eras.

Even the Roman emperors used chamber pots.  Ponder that.

Christianity

First of all, I am going to comment that the place I blog from seems to have had its foundations eroded.  I was out in a glorious day yesterday--for me a glorious day is one with rain and sun, fantastic clouds, and nature--and it really hit me that my Kum Nye work is yielding results.  

Specifically, it hit me that thoughts are like branches floating down a river, and that my experience is the river.  The river is the PRIMARY reality, and thoughts merely a periodic interruption.  Joy and happiness are found in the flow, and thoughts interrupt this flow, even if they are necessary.

And it hit me too that thoughts are a type of perception.  Thinking is a sense like sight.  We don't think of it that way, but it is.  It is a way, for example, of "seeing" the future, or possible futures.  It is a way of seeing things far away in time and distance. It is a sort of magical power which can allow us to exist everywhere BUT the present moment.  But since the present moment is the only place we actually can exist, thought and existence are incompatible in some respects, even if this magical power is enormously useful, and represents the primary difference between us and animals.

I am in an odd, unfamiliar territory.  And whether I like it or not, my brain tells me that cautious optimism is in order.

To my point, I was listening to the history of the conflicts between the Arians and the Niceans, and was forced into the conclusion that Christianity may well have caused more specifically religious death and violence than any religion which came before, and if we consider that Islam merely takes the worst elements of Christianity--dogmatic absolutism based on a terror of eternal damnation, coupled with physical violence to impose conformity to that dogma--then we are forced to conclude that no more violent religion has ever existed on Earth.

Both great cultural imperialisms--Islamic conquests, and Christian conquests--arose from the atmosphere of early Christianity.  Western languages and Arabic are spoken across most of the globe because of the early theological conflicts within Christianity, and, importantly, how they were resolved.

In pagan religions, by and large there is great tolerance.  If you believe in a multiplicity of gods, there is no reason to fear new ones.  There were cases of statues of Moses and even, if memory serves, Jesus, simply being added to temples as added objects of veneration and worship.

What Christianity adds, uniquely, is the idea of eternal damnation which, combined with the doctrine of Original Sin, makes nervous wrecks of everyone. I drive around the country a lot, and it is not at all uncommon to see giant billboards saying things like "Hell is eternal", and "If you die tomorrow, where will you go?" (with the words Heaven in white, and Hell in red superimposed).

Do you think the people putting up these signs are uncommonly kind, uncommonly charitable in a spontaneous, open way?  How would they react if they found out their child was gay?  How do they raise their children?  If they raise them anything like I was raised, they raise them to FEAR God.  They raise them to fear disobedience.  They raise them, in other words, in a loveless, oppressive environment which teaches them to embrace the psychological tortures inflicted on them gladly, to feel they deserved it, to feel what I might term Original Shame, and to find emotional release ONLY in the compulsive worship of a God who loved them so much he had to inflict the fear--and potential reality--of eternal damnation on them.

Only scholars remember the conflict between the Arians and Niceans.  They differed, as Gibbon points out repeatedly in his inimitable and brilliantly witty and subtle way, more or less in the exact pronunciation of one Greek word, that for consubstantiation.  The entire conflict rested on the exact interpretation of the notion of the divine Trinity.

And in the course of this conflict many people were slain.  Literal rivers of blood--which filled the rain ditches--were spilled.  Men and women had their mouths forced open by wooden devices that a Holy Wafer might be forced down their unwilling throats.  Vestal virgins were whipped and raped, and had their breasts pressed between wooden plates.

All over nothing.  Literally nothing.  The difference between PotAEto and Potahto.  Words.  Empty words.  And I know enough of the history of the Church to know a great deal more blood is coming, well over a thousand years of blood and rapine, all in the name of a man who preached Love.

It is inconceivable to me that if Christ was in fact a holy man, a deeply spiritual man, that he could have looked at what was done in his name and do other than weep at the vanity, folly, avarice, violence and stupidity of men.

All of this mania is driven by the profound fear, the horror and terror, of eternal damnation.  It is an odd fact that we are required by this theology to love a God whose bloodlust, whose eagerness to condemn us to unending and unimaginable tortures, is without comparison in other world religions.  The Chinese had nothing like this, or the Indians--Asian or American.  The Greeks and Romans had nothing like this.  I don't know much about African religions, but I doubt they did either.

Much of what I suffered as a child was a direct result of these beliefs. I think my parents were driven largely by vanity, by fear that I would misbehave and make them look bad, but on to all of this was layered on weekly sermons teaching love through hate.

Fear and love are opposites.  They cannot coexist.  And it takes an enormously well developed spirit to overcome the fear of the lakes of hell in favor of genuine, real, spontaneous love.

The British conquered in no small measure in the name of love.  So too did the Spanish, who tortured eagerly those who were too slow to embrace their new God. The gods of the Aztecs merely consumed the blood of their victims.  The Christian God consumes the very souls of those who He deems unworthy.

As I grow as a person, I increasingly realize that most of humanity is crazy.  There is no correspondence  between what they do, and their own true interest.

 I visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville yesterday, and it struck me amid all the opulence that the only true and lasting pleasure it could have brought its inhabitants came from the pleasure of entertaining, and that the true and fulfilling root of that is simply the comfort and joy of human companionship, of love, of community, of connection. The quality of their lives was not determined by their wealth, but by the possibility of giving and receiving the affections of others with sincerity and depth.

George Vanderbilt seems to have been a decent human being.  Certainly, one can expect the story to be skewed in his favor in his own home, but I believed what I heard.

But so much more is possible.  There are METHODS of developing deep feelings which are incomprehensibly valuable.

I looked at those high ceilings, and it struck me that all the civil wars in the Roman world which I have been hearing about revolved around buildings of that sort, around petty vanity, around petty avarice, around the gratification of base feelings which were a curse on those feeling them.  They did not really want or need fame and power. What they wanted was to feel less alone, to feel loved, accepted, valued, cherished, and to be part of a family of humankind.  We all need that.  I need that, perhaps more than most.

As I have often shared, I have ideas in this regard.  I am very close to going operational, as I put it.  I am going to do a trial run, then open my doors to everyone with what I am likely going to initially call a social experiment, but which I fully intend to become a Church of Goodness, which will accept everyone who is lonely, lost and hurt, which is most of humanity.

I have had an extraordinarily difficult time getting to this, but my hope is that I am on the verge of creating something great.  My faults are sundry and on some days regrettably obvious to all, but thinking small cannot be numbered among them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Donald Trump

I was forced to watch CNN today in a restaurant, and they were, of course, talking about how Trump might be alienating the Hispanic vote.  What if this gets him the WHITE vote?  There are still a lot of white people in this country, and a lot of them have seen their real wages go down as a result of the competition with Mexicans.  As far as that goes, so too have blacks, in all likelihood.  Would it make a Leftists head explode to contemplate that there can be differences that matter other than white heterosexual Christian men, and everyone else?  

Trump's plan is bold, and I literally cannot recall a viable candidate in my lifetime who proposed ANYTHING bold.

And here is something I've wondered about: we can expect Democrats to try and rig this election.  There is no doubt there was cheating in the last one, although it remains unclear if it swung the election.  Do you think Donald Trump is going to accept that like the very amiable loser Mitt Romney did?

Political Correctness is oppressive.  It is anti-Humanist.  It is anti-Liberal.  It is intended not to help people but to lump them into groups to build power for an elite that will allow them to TREAT them as groups.  It is anti-individualistic.

Trump is the only candidate I can remember, other than the Paul's, who I honestly think consistently speaks the truth as he sees it.

Now, he is of course an egotist and opportunist, and he is clearly not deeply principled.  But the problem of illegal immigration is a big problem.  It is hugely costly in terms of money, lost opportunities for American citizens, and crime.  And he is the only one who might actually do something about it.

To get anything done that matters in this current climate, you have to not give a shit, and it certainly helps to be rich.

We may have to get used to looking at that hair for a long time. If he does nothing other than address border security, it would be worth electing him.

Gibbon

I find myself insensibly adopting the written affectations--indeed the very manners--of that very assiduous and unaffectedly zealous scholar, who filled his volumes with the most erudite, unprepossessing, and noble sentiments, such that the unconcerned reader cannot but find his mind bent towards an eager and even enthusiastic pursuit of, uh, the purple.

I needed to work specious in there somewhere.

Sorry.  I really do find myself listening to phrases from his book running through my head as I go to sleep.  I think on balance it is a good thing.  He is a master of snark.  One phrase I remembered was "if we are to believe the accounts of antiquity, chastity was far from being her most conspicuous virtue", on Severus Septimius's wife.

I am getting a lot more of his subtle humor because the reader is quite astute at turning phrases.

I started a post on Athanasius, and the persecution of the Christians by the Christians, but I think I am going to defer until tomorrow.  Long day.

I do feel, though, that the influence of this book on my own prose will be permanent.  That was the entire reason I started it, although I am unexpectedly learning a LOT about Christianity that I had not known.

And I will say again that there really is a qualitative difference between reading a book and listening to it.  You process them differently.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Donald Trump, another thought

It occurs to me that a big--perhaps key--reason Trump continues to lead the field is that it is a way for exasperated conservatives to tell the complicit media to go fuck itself.  We GET that they don't like him.  We GET that the reason hit piece after hit piece shows up in our news feeds and as headlines everywhere is that they want him gone.

Their hate becomes a reason to support him, regardless.  And why not?  Despite all the negatives about Obama, his media stuck with him through thick, and now several years of thin.

And I ask you: what major public figure other than Joe Arpaio had the balls to call bullshit on Obama's birth certificate?  Maybe Michael Savage.  But Glen Beck wouldn't touch it, and Fox sure as hell wouldn't, and of course all the rest simply laughed it off.  Birthers.  Crazies.  Neither Romney nor McCain touched it, despite the fact that the FACTS were plainly, clearly, unambiguously on their side.

And as far as him being a Democrat, the Democrats have not always been dominated by anti-American socialists.  There was a time they ACTUALLY gave a shit about the Little Guy.  There was a time they ACTUALLY loved America.

Here are some relevant quotes from Norman Lear, widely known as a "liberal" and lifelong Democrat: 

“Everybody knows me to be a progressive or a liberal or lefty or whatever,” the 93-year-old Lear said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I think of myself as a bleeding-heart conservative. You will not fuck with my Bill of Rights, my Constitution, my guarantees of political justice for all.


“The people who are running just don’t seem to have America on their minds, not the America I think about,” he said. “When I was a kid we were in love with America. As early as I can remember, there was a civics class in my public school. And I was in love with those things that guaranteed freedom before I learned that there were people who hated me because I was Jewish. I had a Bill of Rights and a Constitution, those words out of the Declaration that protected me. And I knew about that because we had civics in class.
“Everybody loves America. But I don’t need their flag plans to prove it. I’d like to go back to civics lessons.”
These are sentiments no conservative can fault.  There is room for valid differences of opinion with respect to the exact role of government.  As long as one side is not dominated by hard-core ideologues--and the Democrats clearly are--discussion is possible.  
Where we are at currently is that all possible dialogues start with the question as to whether or not conservatives have stopped beating their wives yet.  The intent is to rally the indoctrinated around the idea that we are evil in some essential way, and to keep us either constantly on the defense, or in attacks which can be portrayed as racist, bigoted, homophobic, classist, or whatever other -ism serves the needs of the moment.
Most career politicians soon learn to kowtow to the Left because they don't like having to defend themselves, and lack the courage and ambition to fight back.  This leads to a single party controlling--or strongly influencing--every discussion.  For at least 15 years, the discussion has been oriented around the question of to what extent the future generations of Americans will be betrayed.  Sanity is never even on the table.  
Trump at least swings back.  
If I can't get Rand Paul, I will gladly vote for a gun slinger, and simply hope for the best.  He can't be worse than Obama, and he may just do good work.