Friday, February 27, 2015

1600

Made 1600 LPI on Lumosity.  Thought I'd brag.  I'm still only in the 97.9th percentile for my age, but I'm only a week or two into my new exercise program. I'll make 99.  It's the Problem Solving--basically, really fast math--that is my weak spot.

I am channeling my Inner Nerd.  I do that from time to time.

It is odd, come to think of it, that we live in a culture nearly entirely characterized by outer appearances.  The popular kids are the ones who dress correctly, say the correct things, and who are edgy in just the right ways.

Nearly our entire cultural landscape, though, is populated with ideas begun with nerds.  Our political life is dominated by ideas originating with intellectuals--or in defiance of them.  Our business lives are shaped by enterprises begun in many, many cases by inventors and nerds.  Only perhaps in entertainment does this change, and think about that: entertainment--frivolity, what you do when you are not being serious, not working.

And even there, consider, say, "Rebel without a Cause."  The screenplay was based on a book written by Robert Lindner, and written by Irving Shulman, both of whom were likely nerds/introverts. Into this matrix stepped the ACtors.

It seems to me that the inner life is what creates meaning in the outer life, and denigrating those who largely live in their internal worlds is therefore a species of stupidity.  Of course, stupid is what stupid does.

You may never have thought of it this way, but nearly every word that leaves Obama's mouth has roots in the life and intellectual work of some Dead White Nerd (as whispered in his ear by a very living Iranian-Chicagoan woman).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Law of Attraction

Here is how I think it works: you are attracted to what you are.

We are presented daily with a nearly infinite amount of possible complexity. We survive with heuristics and habits.  We form patterns out of the overwhelming chaos.  Some things stand out; some we ignore or don't even consciously see.  These processes happen on a deep level.

How would you know if you passed up an opportunity your unconscious did not even allow you to consciously become aware of and evaluate in the daylight?

How would you know if some part of you gravitated to things which over time would prove destructive, if it felt "right" in some sense?

I do think this universe is interactive, but I don't think it rewards positive thinking directly.  I don't think there is a "law" which says that if we think constantly about what we want, it will be hand delivered to us in a gift wrapped box.

Neither do I embrace an idea of life as INHERENTLY one of struggle.

What I think happens is that small differences over time add up to large differences. People able to imagine themselves succeeding notice and exploit small opportunities as they present themselves, and over time this leads to much larger successes.

Me, I have to second guess my intuition, because half the time it leads me astray.  This is what I was taught.  This is what I have internalized.  This is why inner work is necessary for long term success.

Now, this by no means absolves me of responsibility.  No sane person should want to be absolved of response-ability, because that is a prima facie rejection of personal agency, and the possibility of GROWING beyond your--my--temporary constraints.

And there is, in my view, inherent benefit to figuring the system out, to learning to recognize negative patterns, and learning to diminish them.

And I would add that taking responsibility is not the same as beating yourself up.

I was watching a documentary/interview with Ingmar Bergman, where he was asked about his sundry and profound failures as a parent, if he felt guilt.  His reply was consonant with something I decided for myself.

He said something like: self abuse, self flagellation, is a form of vanity.  I cannot undo what I did wrong.  It was wrong.  I admit it.  And there is NOTHING I can do about it now.  I was an immature, self serving adolescent until some time in my fifties.  I can't go back and become a good parent.  I cannot heal, now, the wounds I inflicted then.

I think there is wisdom in this.  Theatrical guilt is a form of display.  It is a distraction.  It is a way of avoiding learning the lessons that need learning, and getting on with a better way of living.  You cannot undo hurt.  All you can do is become a better, more giving person.

And I will add that I say this as someone with a reasonably clear conscience. My worst sins, by most standards, are pretty weak.  But the guilt I feel is comparing who I could have been, with who I was.

But the more I learn, the more I see that all of us are in large measure simple progressions on the path on which we began life.  What merit is there in focusing on failure, where we did less than our future selves now feel was possible?

We can only exist in the moment, and try to do better.  That is all we can do.

And I think many moral narratives are polluted by the absolutisms of most religions.  Certainly in my case, growing up with the threat of eternal damnation for moral failings of a scale I had and have no means to assess, I ingested a sense that all small failings were large failings.  There is little compassion possible in a world where the stakes are eternal and unavoidable.  It does not breed nuance.  It does not breed a spirit of exploration, of failing and getting back up.  What it breeds is conformity and fear.

These are the issues with which I wrestle daily, and I think that is the case of most who grew up like I did.

It is so easy, SO EASY, to choose an absolutism, to abandon curiosity, to abandon open hearted and open spirited exploration.

All Fascism and Communism are, are secular rearticulations of ancient solutions to the problems of confusion, belonging, fear of the unknown, and the omnipresence of the possibility of death.

And all Islamism is, is a revivification of old solutions in the face of modern terrors of inordinate complexity, death, and moral confusion.

We need new pathways.  We currently live in an ocean, and many drown.  Again, this is what I am working to create.  I have yet to create myself, though, and that is the logical first step.  Until you can trust your unconscious, you can never know when you are leading yourself or others astray.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Islam and Gender Equality

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-kept-reform-muslims-out-of-summit-on-extremism/article/2560525

This is quite encouraging.  This is the first organized group of Muslims I have seen calling for universal human rights and gender equality.

And Obama, sack of shit that he is, is ignoring them.

I get angry sometimes.  I can readily imagine the calls to God that follow watching your wife and daughters being raped.  I can imagine peaceful men being hung on crosses until they die.  I can imagine the horror of watching your children killed in front of you, and everything you love burned to the ground by savages cursing the name of God while claiming to glorify it.

And Obama is utterly unable to achieve anything approaching moral clarity on any of this.  There is more than a little of the pedophile in him.  He has that spirit--or rather spiritlessness.  I have often wondered if Frank Marshall Davis sexually abused him.  My best best guess is yes: I think both he and his maternal grandfather did.  That is why he is likely gay, and Michelle a beard found for him so he could be put forward as a mole people smarter than him could rely on.

And if one accepts that, one needs to wonder if his mother Stanley was abused as well.  Perhaps that is why she had to get away from her father permanently.  Perhaps that is why she herself likely fucked Frank Marshall Davis and posed naked for him at a very early age, in an era when that was DEEPLY, DEEPLY  aberrational.

Davis was almost certainly a sociopath.  And he was on Obama's own account an important early influence, a male presence for a boy denied both mother and father.

What the fuck is wrong with the goddamned media that none of this can be discussed?  People are not even being asked to take a bullet: they are merely being asked to speak of unpleasant truths and risk being called names.

Child Prostitution

I finally watched the documentary on the alleged Franklin (Nebraska) cover-up, Conspiracy of Silence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQHrbJPhus4

Linked was another documentary from 1981, titled "Boys for  Sale", of which I watched the first hour, after which I thought I had the gist of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWY8T3ujxNw

Few thoughts.

First, the dates for the events described in Conspiracy of Silence happened in the 1980's.  Nobody seemingly remembers anything any more, but I remember that the whole NOTION of sex crimes against children only got mainstream attention some time in the 1980's.

I have not studied this issue in depth, but the book Assault on Truth--which I think every student of the history of psychology should read--was published in 1984, and caused an enormous amount of controversy.

It does not appear that the pervasive tolerance of pedophila by the Catholic Church started encountering large scale public resistance until some time in the late 1980's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

Here is one lawsuit settled in 2003: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/11/us/archdiocese-of-louisville-reaches-abuse-settlement.html

Franklin, of course, is a staple of what is sometimes called "alternative media".  Much of this media is crazy.  But I consume it.  I read the stories about the alleged Marine who alleged there are bases on Mars.  I read Alex Jones, who I have come to believe is mostly sane.

I can rationalize this in several ways, several metaphors. One is Simulated Annealing, the net of which is that in initial exploration, it is useful and desirable to go as many qualitative different places as possible, prior to funneling attention more narrowly.  Another is Signal Theory, in which the goal is to increase Signal and decrease Noise, but which recognizes that the only way to allow all actual signals through, is to also allow all potential Noise through.

According to the "Boys for Sale" video, in 1981 about 350 boys were killed every year in Houston alone by perverts, most of whom were heterosexual in their open lives.  Most of these crimes were not reported as homicides.  One boy, for example, who was killed through what I guess is called fist rape, died of  "massive internal bleeding".  He was, if memory serves, found naked in a dumpster.

Searching for statistics, they are hard to come by.  Here is one resource from 1998: http://www.veronicasvoice.org/statistics/

Here is one from 2009:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-surprising-and-counterintuitive-facts-about-child-sex-trafficking

In that last one, it is interesting/disturbing to note that children under 18 are more likely to be charged with a crime than helped, if they turn to most authorities.

I will grant that in this post I am exploring.  I saw something a few months ago that gave me cause to believe that pedophilia is common among the power elite.  I won't say more than that, not least because it is hard to believe I saw what I saw, and I would not be prepared to swear on it in court.

But I do want to say a few things.

1) It is not necessary to believe in a Grand Conspiracy with regard to Franklin. It is merely necessary to believe in moral cowardice on the part of the FBI and Omaha police.

As with 9/11, as with Sandy Hook, there is a great deal of evidence that no one in a position of authority wanted to take up.  Doing so would have meant creating massive public controversy, becoming a target of very vicious attacks by the actually guilty, and perhaps even violence.

Mostly, though, I think in Franklin those who were responsible for conducting the investigation were unable to IMAGINE that these crimes were possible.  They were further lulled to sleep by people like the District Attorney, who in fact WERE in on a conspiracy, and finally put everything back on the shelf because to do otherwise would have meant taking bigger risks than they were prepared to make, all for allegations which befuddled them, and seemed inconceivable.

One sees the claim made, in discussing this documentary, that the trail went "all the way to the White House".  What actually happened is that an influential lobbyist--who later killed himself, if memory serves, prior to going to jail--took kids on tours of a closed, dark, sleeping White House.  They did not meet the President, and on no accounts did anything of a sexual nature happen in the White House.  It is certainly conceivable that someone able to put together large political donations would get privileges like this, without the President or his staff knowing just what was going on.

2) This is my more important point: The lessons of that 1981 documentary seem not to have been learned by anyone.  It seems extraordinarily unlikely to me that the market for teenage boys has disappeared.  According to one of the studies cited above, teen boys seemingly continue to constitute roughly half the prostitutes in America.  Back in 1981, hundreds were killed annually in Houston alone, and their deaths reported as everything but homicides.

Has male perversion decreased since then?  Or is this STILL going on, today, in nearly every major metropolitan area in the country?  The thing about young male prostitutes is they are not victims of "child abuse" in a formal sense.  They are not being held against their will in most cases, or forced into selling sex.  And at my age, I have never imagined or known that HALF the prostitution in this country was homosexual (I will note that Thomas Philpott took care to note that the homosexual aspect is secondary; it is the power dynamic that is primary).

I can't find statistics on this.  Why would the best documentary be 34 years old?

And here is one more major question: what happened to the masses of kids from Central America who flooded our border last year?

As a nation, we seemingly STILL do not have a category for the systemic prostitution of, and abuse of, by any standard, boys.

Why?

Islam as counter-Imperialism

I was thinking about the link between the Left and Islam, and another connection occurred to me.

What you have to understand about the hard Left is that the don't believe anything.  There are no principles guiding their behavior.  Functionally, they are nihilists, whose sole reason for being consists in membership in a cult which uses the words and rhetoric of morality for anti-moral, anti-principled ends.

The history of Western Europe, and to a lesser extent America, from the Spanish conquest of the New World (to them) through perhaps the 1960's, was one of colonialism, which can also be called Imperialism. In some respects, collectively, Western Europe was conquering the world.  The British, at the height of their Empire, controlled more land than any nation in history, including the Mongols.


Watching this, and craving a global domination of their own, the Soviets and their allies expended considerable effort denigrating and denouncing these conquests, all while doing everything within their power to increase their own land holdings, first in the reconquest of Central Asia, then in the functional annexation of Eastern Europe.

The club of anti-Western denunciation was founded by propagandists, who saw no objection in principle to supporting conquests and empires, merely ideological incompatible conquests and empires, which of course were called one name, while regimes founded on torture and repression, like Cuba and China, were called another.  They were called "liberated".

You cannot be a Leftist and not find comfort in cognitive dissonance.  It is the icing on the cake, the salt on their meat.  It is the very craven, slavish conformity to blatantly subservient narratives which constitute the eradication of freedom and validation of cruelty which leftists so need and seek.

To my point, though: logically, if Western Imperialism is defined somehow as the acme of evil, then it is not enough simply to oppose it, but rather one must counter it through the "spontaneous" expression of alleged subalterns.  Thus, Obama's attachment to Islamism.

Now, it seems clear that Islamism is the result of long term Soviet propaganda operations, beginning in the 1960's and extending until that Empire's dissolution in 1990 or so.

But Islamism is categorically a world-conquering narrative.  It began as such and after a long hiatus, it longs to continue as such,  And so weak and decadent are the Europeans, that, as Mark Steyn has argued, demographics alone may deliver the cradle of Western civilization, the home of the idea of universal rights and generalized political freedom, to Sharia, a law rooted in political, social,and economic stasis; which seeks to create nothing, to change nothing, to improve nothing, because perfection has already been achieved.  And perfection, as I have already stated, consists precisely in universal and craven submission (this is the meaning of Islam) to laws which seek to eradicate the moral man ,the choosing man, and replace him with the conforming man, the company man, the drone, the insult to the opportunity God granted us to pursue our personal Enlightenment.

Like many of the ideas floating around for the past century or two, I find this prospect repugnant.  But it seems only America has the balls to even begin to resist this insult.  And we have been corrupted and infiltrated by people who hate Goodness, who hate freedom, and who love the ideas of tyranny and the inflicting of pain.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Night at the Museum

My inner work continues.  I saw, in what I will call a meditation, that people often settle into what amount to fixed displays.  They take on a static quality.  They get stuck somewhere.

You become a museum display.  Maybe you move around, like in the Zoo.  But you exist behind a glass wall, confined.  You have a place, and a time that never changed.  There is no flowing water. There is no evolution.

Except in the dark.  Even those tied up in chains move in the darkness, when the lights go out.  I would suggest this is in part why the Night at the Museum movies are more deeply evocative in some respects than outwardly apparent.

But this movement is confined, too, to the Museum, to the place where fixed displays happen.  There is no there, there.

I see this.  The most repressed, uptight person you know tends also to be angry and judgmental, perhaps from an allegedly Christian perspective.  All the emotions that are not daylight emotions--the hate, the rage, the anger, the sexuality, the fear, the sense of horror--they don't go away.  They percolate in the unconscious, in those parts of our bodymind that we cannot consciously access, which indeed our participation in the museum display program requires us to keep hidden from ourselves, and until they are seen and processed, we, too, must live a large part of our lives in darkness.

This is of course a psychological truism--and I'm repeating myself, again--but this metaphor feels powerful, at least for me.

Islam and Moral Relativism

If we posit that the principle practical manifestation of Moral Relativism as a habit, if not a formal creed--indeed, how could one concretize as a creed something inherently mutable and inimical to unchanging principle--is conformity coupled with legalism, then morphologically it resembles Islam quite closely.

Christianity calls for love.  This is quite different from legalism.  Love takes courage.  Legalism and conformity take fear.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Islam and Empathy

If you look around the world, substantially all violence is related to either Islam or Communism.  Darfur?  Islam.  ISIS?  Islam.  Cuba is a terror island, where informers are on every corner, and complaining might get you put in a box barely big enough to fit a dog, until you break. In North Korea, they might literally feed you to dogs.  You can be shot for possessing Western movies.

Consider this video: http://clashdaily.com/2015/02/religion-peace-woman-stopped-street-pronounced-guilty-shot-head-wearing-red/

I see no reason to watch it all the way through, but my understanding is she is shot dead  in the end.  Look at all these emotionally uncooked, immature, relentlessly dogmatic pseudo-men with rifles.  This is something like the peer pressure kids face in high school, except the penalty is death.  For her part, this woman probably said "fuck all this black shit. I'm wearing something colorful."  She was warned, and now she is dead.

And for what?  Red is apparently prohibitied in Islam.  Here is some commentary: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=83820

Note the tone.  Everything seems to be black and white.

Everyone in my view should read at least a few Sura of the Koran.  It doesn't seem to matter where you pick it up, it will consist nearly entirely in telling you the rewards of heaven and the torments of hell;  how it is right to be blessed by Allah, and horrible to be condemned by him.

To put it mildly, this kind of language does not breed nuance.  You are being told, over and over and over and over, that your IMMORTAL soul's future depends entirely on conformity to the Koran, as interpreted by men long dead, and men currently living, depending on men long dead.

And here is the point I wanted to make.  As Steven Pinker, in the first useful writing of his of which I am aware, points out, violence is seemingly at an all time low globally.  Many things factor in to this but one major influence he cites is the advent of the novel and short story.  What these do is build empathy in people.  They put you in other peoples heads and teach you to think about being in their shoes.  They teach rapport, understanding.  Moreover, the painting tradition of the West involves considerable amounts of portraiture, which also helps you SEE people.

Islam lacks all this.  They read one book, by and large.  Even Western educated Muslims seemingly crave and are fascinated by the cult-like ideological adherence demanded by the Koran, by its rejection of personal agency, by its rejection of human moral choice, by its reduction of every last aspect of human life to inalterable law.  Like Communism, Islam rescues people from freedom, from free will, from confusion, from doubt.

Their refusal to allow individual pictures means something.  NO ONE can be pictured.  This is why pictures of their alleged Prophet are so infuriating for these moral children and savages.

Individuation is a process of trial and error.  It consists in making choices and learning from them.  It consists in learning to interact in harmonious and spontaneous ways with people who are different from us.  It is not a straight line process, but if people are granted and use freedom, they eventually attain psychological maturity.

Nearly all the process needed for individuation are absent in strict Islam.  People do not read novels (although of course in practice many do, I'm sure).  They do not paint pictures.  They do not make moral choices.  All their choices are made for them, and enforced by the most fanatical--which is to say the LEAST individuated among them.

All the modern Western inventions which lead naturally to tolerance of difference, of diversity, via genuine empathy, are absent in Islam.

Islam is a cage, within which animal passions are allowed to rage with impunity through jihad. It is not pure ugliness--despite it all, many decent Muslims exist around the world, because Goodness is a natural impulse among us all.  And it has had many moments of reform, such as through Sufism.  But the orthodox kill the Sufis.  They torture  and torment them.

There is no love in their hearts.  And if Love is the only commandment, then they are pure sinners in the only way that matters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Manual Labor

I've been wearing work boots and blue jeans (Ballroom Jeans, to be exact, because that ad made me want to buy something from them, and I've never had cause to regret it) for 7 years or so.

Here is the thing about construction: you can't posit anything.  You can't make a washer with a 1/2" diameter have a 1/4" diameter.  You cannot build anything you don't have the tools for, which means you need a detailed plan of attack.  You need to think concretely about what you are going to do, in what order, and what will be needed at each stage.  I'm in the middle right now of a fairly complex, involved piece of work that involves a lot of tools and pieces.

Many times I have encountered obstacles that made me want to quit.  I've faced problems I didn't think could be solved.  EVERY TIME I have found a way.  That is my job.  That is what I am paid for.

But here is the thing: in the life of the mind, if you run into an apparently insurmountable obstacle, you can just ignore it.  You can pretend it doesn't exist.

You can pretend, for example, that we are not facing a major crisis in Medicare, and that no hard decisions have to be made now or in the future.

You can pretend it is possible for everyone to be nice all the time, and to form plans based on it.

If it never touches a tape measure, delusion need have no end.

Why our funding of ISIS is unlikely to be investigated

John McCain and Lindsay Graham (and others) were on board.

What do you call a policy of arming and training violent men which results within a year or two in those arms being turned on civilians for the purpose of mass slaughter?  I don't think incompetence is strong enough.

And why the fuck were they even wanting boots on the ground in Syria again?  It never made sense to me then, either.  We have no skin in the game.  It doesn't matter who wins, except to the extent that EVEN  THEN it was obvious that if Assad lost we could expect an Islamist state.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Obama and ISIS

I would like to call again for a Congressional investigation as to what, if any, training and arms were provided to ISIS when they were pretending to be "Syrian Rebels".  My memory is not short.  It is not confined to the news cycle.  I remember Obama and Hillary trying to get us to share trenches, blood, and bullets with the very same people who even then were dismembering Christian children because it amused them.

Why would they have NOT have given "our allies" training and material support?  This seems to have been the whole point of Benghazi--to funnel arms--and why would some training not have come with it?  As I have seen very knowledgeable commentator note, somewhere around 2012-2013, the ragtag "rebels" suddenly learned how to maneuver in larger groups, which is what enabled them to conquer the territories they have.

And while I'm at it, a brief word on Gitmo.  Only lunatics would argue that serial rapist and murderers should be free to roam the streets of America.  We recognize that some people have to be put away for life, and in point of fact thousands if not tens of thousands of violent felons have been thus incarcerated.  Had he not been executed, Ted Bundy would still be in prison.

Why, then, is Gitmo objectionable?  Granted, everyone should receive a trial by military tribunal.  I categorically, absolutely support that.  Standards of evidence should be relaxed, given the chaotic circumstances of war, but some evidentiary hearings should be done, with everyone.

But having done that, they are no different than the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world: they need to stay in jail for the safety of everyone.

I read our brilliant government has put a $5 million bounty on a someone WE RELEASED.  Who, anywhere, can justify such imbecility?  Yes, I get that no leftist anywhere gives a shit about brown people killing brown people--they are so hard to tell apart.

But surely such lunatics remain the exception even in the Obama Administration?  

Meaning system

I thought the last post was a bit off.  I would of course like to define as wrong all Meaning systems I don't personally agree with, but that is inconsistent with my belief in freedom of movement.

Better is possible.  How is this: Meaning is a felt sense combined with a chosen path which combines to create a sense of Flow with regard to an ACTUAL goal.

Now, the ACTUAL goal does what I need it to do.  The purpose of Democart/Communist politics is not to help people. It is not to remediate racism, alleviate poverty, further global peace, or foster social harmony.  Those are merely propaganda memes.

The PURPOSE, the actual purpose, is to get your people in power and implement their policies.  These people and these policies care only about continued survival.  They are not oriented around an actual GOAL.  They ARE the goal.  Power IS the purpose.

Now, yes, this, too, is a goal, but it is one which contradicts the stated purpose.  The goal is a lie, and no coherent, USEFUL sense of meaning can be built on a lie.  That, I think--and I feel I will need to revise this again--is what I mean by an Ersatz meaning system: one based on self deception.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ersatz Meaning Systems

Imagine global peace, global prosperity, and a world filled with tolerance and equality before the law.

What do you do with yourself?  What purpose or purposes of living would you choose?

It is my contention that many solvable problems are not solved because the people controlling the discussion NEED those problems not just to keep political power, but for a sense of purpose.

Poverty, for example: two parent homes, sound money, free markets.  Done.  After a time, even two parent homes would not be needed.

Global Warming: nothing but the umpteenth resurgence of Malthusianism (aka Dismalism), trotted out because it serves an EMOTIONAL need on the part of many, which in no small measure is the need for centralized control and the "freedom through unfreedom" it implies, itself a Meaning System constructed by imbeciles.

This is where atheism is vastly inferior both scientifically and existentially. It is inferior scientifically because it uses a 19th century world view as its model.  People were shoveling coal into train cars when this world view took hold, and cars had not yet been invented.  Indians roamed the American South, and buffalo herds could be seen to the horizon.

Existentially because you remove from the table all possible purposes which cannot be found within a single lifetime. Practically,  what are left are engagement with work, estheticism, and "changing the world".  But it is my contention that all tend to acquire an unhealthy dose of fanaticism, precisely because on a deep emotional level they have rejected free will, meaning of any transcendent sort, and connection of more than an animal nature (perhaps disguised as congenial intellectual compatibility).  We are talking animals, and animals themselves are merely cleverly constructed biological machines.  It is a dismal world view.

All poorly constructed Meaning Systems should be viewed merely as facades, as shells, as plastic on the outside, and nothing on the inside.  I have room for countless viable and good Meaning Systems, but any which fosters compulsions which squelch genuine curiosity, which become ends in themselves, should be discarded after careful analysis.

Problems exist to be solved.  They do not exist to pull us away from our existential, spiritual work.  The formation of true, authentic meaning is a problem, and it can be solved.  I can't solve it for you, but I can point to failures.  And do, often.

Curiosity

The argument I want to make, I think, is this: trauma--true trauma, which is a short circuit in the nervous system--comes with a masking element.  It hides, or tends to.  Part of the self splits off, and becomes dormant, and we don't notice this because it is a primal part of us, not needed directly to function day to day.

But its silence must be bought.  It must be fed.  Evil--taking pleasure in the pain of others--activates this primal instinct which is not that different than that which leads lions to tear apart gazelles and devour them. It is a rage and a satiation. It is compulsive precisely because it does not partake in higher consciousness, in the front cortex.  It is an instinctual hunger.

I have posted that--at least in my understanding of Peter Levine's contention--neurologically, the circuits activated by curiosity are the opposite of those which store trauma.  To be curious is to engage precisely in an open and free way, versus engaging in a hostile and disconnected way.  Curiosity heals trauma, or at least reduces it.

Logically, then, curiosity is the most important virtue, as it is the virtue most directly opposed to the psycho-neural circuitry which conceives and perpetrates evils of all sorts, from racism to war to rape.

This has been my intuitive, "gut" sense for some time, but I think I can now rationalize it using words and concepts readily available in the public domain.

It is precisely a lack of curiosity which permits generalized anger and all the cognitive distortions it enables.  Put another way, a curious society is a good society.

And in what political form can curiosity most readily be pursued?  Freedom.  This means that morally freedom is necessary for true Goodness, as is an immense tolerance for diversity of all sorts.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tee Tot and American Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T8Vya-Znf0  Tee Tot Song

Rufus Payne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Payne

Little Hank Williams learned a lot of what he knew from a black man playing the blues.

For his part Jimmie Rodgers also hung around a lot of black folks when he "worked" (he got fired for doing something close to nothing but different than the day before) at the railroad.

Inescapable conclusion: substantially all American music originated in the South with at least substantial influence by black Americans.

As Muddy Waters sang, the blues had a baby and they named the baby rock and roll.

The babies older brother was country music.

Here is one more fun fact: Elsie McWilliams actually wrote many if not most of Jimmie Rodgers songs. It's not entirely clear how many, since she never wanted credit.  Jimmie is often called the father of country music.  Maybe it had a mother, or at least parents.

Certainly, the impression I got visiting the Jimmie Rodgers museum in Meridian, talking with the curator, was that if not for Elsie, no Jimmie, and if not for Jimmie, possibly a very different, less rich musical history for the past 100 or so years.  He pointed to her piano and said "that's where country music began."

You know, giving birth to something is the hard part.  Adapting it, tweaking it, changing it: these are often needed to make something USEFUL.  But without that original Promethean fire: little or nothing.

God bless the creators.  May everyone on Earth one day become one.

Dalits


India’s National Crime Records Bureau has found that more than four Dalit women are raped every day across the country. Dalit Media Watch, a group that reports on crimes against India’s lowest caste, has reported that two Dalits are assaulted, murdered and have their homes torched every hour.
But the reality may be far worse than the statistics show: “The national figures are grossly under reported since many cases of rape of Dalit women are not even registered,” says Pratap Kumar, a Dalit rights activist in Lucknow, the capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. “Conviction is a distant dream for many,” 
Here is another resource: http://www.overcomingviolence.org/en/resources/campaigns/women-against-violence/now-we-are-fearless/dalit-fact-sheet.html

Although Indian law prohibits discrimination and violence against Dalit people, in reality atrocities are a daily occurrence.
  • 13 Dalits are murdered each week. 
  • 5 Dalit homes are burnt each week.
  • 6 Dalit people are kidnapped or abducted each week. 
  • 21 Dalit women raped each week.   
It is estimated that a crime is committed against a Dalit person every 18 minutes. The problem not the law but the lack of political will, at local and national levels, to apply these laws. In 2006, the official conviction rate for Dalit atrocity cases was just 5.3%.
Social discrimination is also a major problem. Dalit people are considered ‘untouchable’; most higher caste people would not marry a Dalit, invite them into their home or share food with them.
  • Dalit children sit separately from other children in schools.  Almost 1 out of every 3 government school in rural areas prohibit children from sitting together.
  • Dalits are prevented from entering police stations in 27.6% of rural villages,
  • Public health workers refuse to enter Dalit homes i1 out of 3 rural villages,
  • Almost half oDalit villages are denied access to water sources,
  • Dalit and non-Dalit people cannot eat together in 70% of rural villages
Dalit women experience triple discrimination based on their caste, their economic situation and their gender.
  • 70% of Dalit women are illiterate in rural India
  • Thousands of girls are forced into prostitution before they reach puberty. .
The International Dalit Solidarity Network states “ Violence, including sexual assault, is used by dominant castes as a social mechanism for humiliating entire Dalit communities.”
13 a week works out to 672 a year.  Let's compare this to the lynchings in the South:

From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States.  Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were black.  The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7% of the people lynched.  These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded.  Out of the 4,743 people lynched only 1,297 white people were lynched.  That is only 27.3%.  
This works out to 55 a year, 40 for blacks. (It's worth noting that there were periods of white lynchings, for example a number of Germans were lynched when we declared war in WW1).

Let's compare this number to South Africa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid 

I can't find good numbers in the time I am allocating to this exercise, but it looks like 70-odd were killed in Sharpsville, and there were occasional massacres in following decades, with perhaps a 1,000 dead.  Steven Biko, if memory serves, was tortured to death, and of course there were atrocities like the South Africans taking pages from the Communist playbook and relocating millions of Africans to places where they were poor, and unable to effectively sustain themselves.

Net: NOTHING in modern history, in a developed democracy, comes close to the scale of these atrocities.

Why, then, is no one talking about them?  Why, as an educated, reasonably aware and switched on person did I only recently become aware of this?

Simple: brown on brown violence does not fit the narrative that Soviet propaganda disseminated, that white imperialists were somehow uniquely evil, rather than uniquely good as colonizers.  Empires, violence, conquests: these are older than history.

What is rare is conquerors reforming themselves morally.  What are rare are attempts at empathy and connection.  What is rare is GUILT.  Historically, only white Europeans suffer from this, by and large (although one could of course cite people like Ashoka).

This is why I spoke of Leftist hypocrisy in the last post. They want to relive the American 1960's because it was a period of relative moral clarity.  What they do not want to do is ask themselves to live by consistent moral standards and to apply those standards around the world.  They don't CARE about the women raped by upper caste vegetarians, because they don't know about them, and they don't know about them because their thought leaders don't want them to know.

Jefferson Davis

I recently spent a week touring the Deep South.  Rather, I had work there, and as usual planned some sight seeing.

I visited Jefferson Davis's final home, Beauvoir, in or right next to Biloxi, Mississippi. It is quite literally as far south as it can be, sitting right on the beach, or as close as prudent in an area prone to hurricanes; and of course in the State in my mind at least most associated with the Antebellum South.

Two things caught my attention.  One, he was married to Zachary Taylor's daughter, who died three months after they were married, leaving a seemingly permanent hole in his psyche.

Second, and much, much more importantly, he was arrested after the Civil War, and placed in prison for two years without charge.  The obvious charge would have been treason, but he was never tried.  Why?

BECAUSE THE COURTS MIGHT HAVE VINDICATED SECESSION.  The right to secede has never been argued before the Supreme Court, in my understanding.  Lincoln simply DECLARED it illegal, and with a solidly Republican Congress behind him (all the Democrats, by and large, left with the South), was able to get war declared and waged.

Legally, though, the case has never been put before a high court, or so I believe.

It is of course impossible to defend slavery.  It is quite possible to put it in context by noting that it was then and remains common in the Islamic world, and that slavery has been a feature of life for all of human history.  What we know of the Roman Republic comes from a Greek slave, Polybius.  The Spartans depended on slaves for their ability to train warfare full time.  Most of the major cities in Ireland were established by Viking slavers, who bought the slaves created when one Irish clan or tribe defeated another.  The word slave comes from Slav, since so many Slavs were enslaved particularly for the Ottomans.  Etc.  The world over you find this.

At the same time, I believe NSA spying on every American was made possible by Appamattox.  Our Founding Fathers read history, and they understood that power tends to concentrate, and having concentrated, it tends to increase, in a manner quite similar to Newton's Laws of Motion.

Who could have imagined 100 years ago that literally every public communication in the country might be subject to the scrutiny of a Secret Police?  Our cell phones are tracking devices, which can be used as microphones for eavesdropping.  Every telephone call can be monitored.  Every email, every fax.  Some people even have wired in Kinect's or Wii's, that transmit EVERYTHING going on in your living room, in an EXACT replication of Orwell's Big Brother.

Historically, it is clear that the Supreme Court has been the most proximate agent of tyranny.  Even now, it has not rendered an opinion on NSA spying, which if it is not violating the 4th Amendment, we may as well throw that Amendment out.

But all of the massive vitiations of Constitution were enabled by the after-math of the Civil War, specifically the Amendments passed by Congress after the Civil War granting the Federal government rights it had not previously possessed.  Were the goals admirable?  Of course.  But they were also long lasting, and have worked today for the concentration of an increasingly abusive and unaccountable Federal government.

Without the Civil War and its after-math you could not have a Roe v. Wade (not everyone realizes that this ruling was derived entirely from the Bill of Rights and one prior case ruling designed specifically to engineer this bench legislation) or Obamacare. One can certainly argue the merits of both, but my view was and continues to be that the only possible resolution of complex moral problems is through distributed solutions.  Let Texas be Texas and Oregon Oregon.  Anyone who dislikes their climate sufficiently can move to more congenial places.

But slavery.  Here is my take: did slavery end with the Union victory?  Did blacks benefit in immediate and measurable ways?  Did they?  Do you know?  What happened to them after the war?

The South was wrecked, culturally, economically, politically.  Everyone became more poor. And who was most poor to begin with?  Blacks.  What did most former slaves do to earn a living?  Share-crop.  Was this better?  Hard to say, but it was certainly not a large improvement.

Fast forward to Brown versus the Board of Education.  The Supreme Court mandates integration, despite the fact that this policy likely would not have made it through Congress or southern legislatures.  The problem is so huge, they effectively said, that SOMETHING must be done.  Something must be done.

And they did something.

And Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, ending legal segregation and discrimination.

And Affirmative Action policies came into being, policies which actively and openly discriminated against whites (and eventually Asians).  Progress, right?

Where, now, today, do most blacks live?  What is their average socio-economic status relative to the rest of the country?  What is their average income?  What does their typical home look like?  What is their average level of education?  At what rate do they get Ph.D's?  As a group, what are their cultural ideals?  Who are their heroes?

Frederick Douglas had balls and vision.  Martin Luther King, Jr. had balls and vision.  Is Black America where they would have wanted them to be?  What do you think?

Here is my contention: complex social systems can only evolve in helpful, hopeful, useful ways when they evolve gradually.  If you pull out a hammer and follow the Fabian vision of change (I had actually not until this moment realized that both hammer and sickle are also weapons), it doesn't take.  It is like a hollandaise sauce that clumps up (I have lots of experience with this).  It's not only not optimal, it can even be retrogressive.

No one can call the Civil Rights movement a success who looks at the plight of blacks today, and in my view no one can blame anything but the destructive ideas of restitution and self pity which leftists implanted for use in their own political games.

Finally, one last reflection. The Antebellum South was in some respects a caste system.  You had the rich plantation owners. the soldiers, the businessmen, the poor farmers, and the slaves.  It was not unlike India, with its Untouchables.

I bring this up because I recently read about India's on-going violence against so-called Untouchables.  It is horrific, and as bad or worse than anything done to blacks in the South.  Here is one article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0602_030602_untouchables.html

People watch Selma and they cry, and they cry as if America is the only nation in the history of the world to commit crimes.  No: we are the MOST MORAL, because we have deeply moral impulses en masse, and because our crimes are admitted publicly, and atoned for.  There is a monument to the Selma march in Montgomery.  There are Civil Rights monuments throughout Mississippi and Alabama.  I saw many of them.

Who is speaking, today, about the 160 million Indians living virtually without rights?

The hypocrisy of the Left is nauseating.  I'll leave it there.

The myth of the Apocalypse

Watch two tiger cubs playing.  Then watch two boys rough-housing.  It is the same behavior, and serves the same purpose: it sharpens their senses, forms mind-body connections, and increases emotional intimacy (although granted, of course, these get deployed differently).

Picture a Hungry God.  Picture Moloch, who was believed to consume children in fire.  Hunger is a human trait.  Why would it be a trait of gods?

The more I grow as a person, the more important I feel is the "gut brain" (the Vagus Nerve and Dorsal Vagal System, in my understanding of Peter Levine's taxonomic description) in human life.

We are animals, are we not?  We share large segments of our DNA with mammals in particular, and we evolved from more primitive forms.  As I have often said, it is my STRONG contention that the overwhelming evidence favors a field theory of life, which clearly played a role in directing evolution, which is in important respects intelligent (this article, because it is able at least to guess at a materialistic solution, discusses the problems with the orthodox narratives), but the truth still remains that we are animals.

We evolved to eat, to survive, to enter into conflict, to bond.  And in my view, Moloch is a projection of a primal gut instinct to eat.  There is something insect-like in us, something worm-like, something dis-gusting (look again at that word) in us, which is in our gut.  It is almost like an intruder, if we choose to treat it that way.

And this is the problem with modern life, in my evolving view: we have taken the anger, the violence, the primal ENGAGEMENT with life out of it, and an important part of us, a primal, unthinking, unspeaking, completely unnuanced part of us misses it.

One could perhaps think of sacrifice, particularly human sacrifice, as war waged within a civil order, a managed, staged, ritualized war, but a war nonetheless.  Lives are lost.  Carthage was an advanced civilization for the time, but they seem to have immolated children, in what most today would view as a sort of Satanism.

And speaking of war itself, do we not constantly invoke SACRIFICE (which I note periodically means "act of the sacred")?  Can we perhaps speak of those thrown into battle as human sacrifices of a sort?

I tend to believe America tends to wage wars not based in primal anger, primal violence, but I know from firsthand accounts that many of our soldiers develop a taste for it.  They like it.  I remember talking with a couple of West Point graduates at my bar, and they kept volunteering to go back.  They said it got in their blood.

I would argue this tingling of anticipation, this sense of not knowing where some large emotionally charged event is going to go, FEEDS our gut brain.  Combat is in some respects exhilarating for some.  It is a rush they can't get any other way. And many of these people are otherwise psychologically normal.  They are not sociopaths, who would get off more on the death and destruction part of it, that they can feed by torturing small animals or serially seducing and abusing women.

War plays an important role in the human psyche.  We (most Americans) have not seen war on our soil in well over 100 years.  Not in the lifetime of anyone.  And how have we reacted?  Go look at your local Red Box, and see what people are watching.

Horror movies feed this beast, just like sacrifice does, just like war can.

I was in Napa a month or two ago, St. Helena to be specific, and there was a giant poster of a demon king of sorts posted in the window of one of the Main Street businesses, a design firm if I'm not mistaken.  It was the sort of thing you would expect on the wall of a Satanic temple.

And I thought: this is logical.  I am in a Sybaritic Paradise, the place where pleasure and congeniality reign.  Why wouldn't dark, deep spirits come to be needed?  We NEED to feed this beast.  It will not be ignored.

And to get to the purported topic of this post, I woke up yesterday thinking about all the apocalyptic thinking and imagining going on: Mad Max, Hunger Games, Divergent.

Add to this Biblical imaginings: an End Time, a reign of fear for the unbelievers, chaos on the face of the Earth: Left Behind.

And I think this myth, too (we need not fall into chaos; death and destruction need not be our collective fate), serves to feed this beast.  ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TIME, the pious, the calm, the bored, the sybaritic will face demons worth fighting.  They will activate their core, abusive, indefensible, violent, protean selves and fight to live or die trying (add hip-hop to the drama of war, and the gangster mythos).

This, I am convinced, is Freud's Thanatos.  It is deeply biological.

At the same time, I view we are animal spirits.  We are mired in the mud of unfreedom, of instinct, of emotions based on biological heritage.  At the same time, we are SPIRITS here.  We have free will, a little bit.  What our freedom is, is to choose within a range of options what direction we want to evolve.  We hve perhaps 10%, perhaps 1%, perhaps 99% freedom.  Who can know?  But we counter the gravity of heritage with what I like to call "Non-Statistical Coherence", which is to say, we have the power to negate our programming, to some extent.  We can defy expectations, and go in new directions.  And it is likely the more we exercise our free will, the more of it we get.  It is like building flexibility in your body.  You may not start with much, but change happens gradually over time.

And how do we tame this restless spirit?  How do we tame this primal pit into which we have always thrown unwilling sacrifices violently?

I feel the answer is engagement.  Ponder the image of the Wind-Horse, the Tibetan symbol for Goodness.  It is a racing horse with a radiant jewel on its back.  Become this horse.  Feel the wind blowing by you as you race across a high plain.  Feel the thrill of motion, the engagement, being fully in the moment.

Or put yourself on a catamaran, at full speed, racing on the ocean.  Every sense is engaged, every emotional pore is open.  You are excited, thrilled, successful, and finally rested.  You feed the beast, then you  rest.

This is living well.

The sense of flow, of excitement, of engagement: these feed the beast, in my view.  It can't be just intellectualism.  It can't be thought alone.  This in fact suppressed the beast, which will then come out in ugly ways.  You become a Communist.  You become a Nazi, like a famous and ugly director recently admitted.

You cannot not feel.  Our bodies see to that.  If we remove some part of our body--our SELF, to be clear--from conscious awareness, it intrudes in disturbances in our thought.  It is like a rock in a stream.  It disrupts the flow of water.  The water still flows, so you may not notice.  But what might have been--the beauty or clarity that might have been--is not, and you neither notice it nor correct it, if your destiny is to be in the thrall of ugly emotions, as for example von Trier seems to be.

These are in my view deep thoughts, that are getting close to the root of the human condition.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Principle

If everyone is included, no one is included.

If everyone is inside, then outside has no meaning.

As always, the emotionally detached narrative of egalitarianism, works to, in a Hayekian sense, and in my personal opinion, alienation, precisely because it does not recognize the biological imperative of tribalism.

It argues it is an anti-tribalism, but in my assessment and experience, they would be unable to cohere in any way without constant violence directed at the supposed "haters".

It is a little known fact, but in my recollection a quite true one, that Hitler intended to build a museum detailing Jewish culture: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/hitlers-proposed-museum-of-an-extinct-race/

Even if he had succeeded in killing all Jews, there still would have been a place to come to hate their memory, and commemorate, together, the victory of the National Socialists in their eugenic success.

Dogs are friendly animals, but not to strangers.  There are a couple dogs that bark at me and my dogs every morning when I walk them.  Those same dogs are no doubt very friendly inside the house.  Dogs are territorial animals.  You can train it out of them, but they are born that way.  My dog, every time that dog barks at us, pees on the ground, then does a ritual claw dig, throwing grass behind her, every time.  She is marking her territory, saying "you get that; I get this.  You claim that for your master: I claim this for my master."  She was born that way.  I did not teach her to do this obviously, although I could in theory train it out of her.

I would consider these observations facts, and worth treating as such.  Any successful purposive activity must, in my view, begin with important truths.