Sunday, December 31, 2017

A new Russian Conspiracy Theory

The RUSSIANS started the ruckus over the Steele dossier, to distract from Uranium One, where they actually did do illegal things.  Don't ask me how: it's a damn conspiracy theory, OK?

This is similar to my idea that Bill Clinton started the Ken Starr investigation, to prevent anyone looking into his ties with the Chinese and possible involvement in the leaking--and even granting, in the form of dual-use nuclear technology--of important government secrets, in exchange for campaign support.

The fun thing about conspiracy theories is that no proof is ever needed.  Possibility is quite sufficient.  It is important, however, to remember that speculation is not evidence.  Still, I--obviously--have long enjoyed the game.

I might mention, for no particular reason, a game I spontaneously invented once with my kids.  I think I've mentioned this, but fuck if I can remember everything I post.

We had lunch at Pizza Hut.  There was a man sleeping in his car when we went in, which was odd.  When we came out, he was gone.  I immediately started inventing causes of his disappearance.  Holes in the ground, space aliens, rogue polar bears, secret government operations, he was secretly Inspector Gadget, etc.  We played this game for weeks.  The goal was to come up with the most outlandish and creative ideas we could think of.  My intent was to help them learn to think non-linearly, and "out of the box", as they say.  Quite often it is simply being in the habit of coming up with multiple possible explanations for everything you see, even when there is one most obvious explanation.  I'm pretty sure this guy just drove away.

But I will never know for sure.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yes, Obama did abuse our system to try and help Hillary

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/12/30/breaking-senator-lindsey-graham-just-confirmed-the-steele-dossier-was-used-for-2016-fisa-warrant/

Now, the actual evidence is unlikely to lead to his desk, but his DoJ and his FBI clearly used fabricated evidence to justify political wiretapping that was the sort of thing one would have expected in East Germany, or the old Soviet Union.

AND THEY STILL LOST!!!

This is the great part of all this.  But people need to go to jail.  As I have been saying for some time, anyone who cannot see how fucking serious this is is a fucking imbecile who should not be voting in local, much less national elections.  We are being turned into a totalitarian surveillance state, slowly, but surely. And if there is no punishment for people we know are guilty, then there is no reason all this will not continue until we reach a moment where everyone is afraid to speak anything that is not on the menu of the "Politically Acceptable", which need not stop with the merely courteous.  It need not stop short of the need for the continual praise of some Great Leader, nor short of the development of reeducation gulags, mass executions, and cradle to grave mind control.

It is that serious.


Friday, December 29, 2017

China, further thought

What if the  Chinese at some point chose to value their own people?  The leaders, I mean--the dictator, to be more specific?  What if at some point they became an actual Republic, or series of republics, which to my mind would make more sense?

What if they actually came to value justice, peace, human dignity, and freedom from oppression?  Just to take one obvious example, the KKK never built psychological torture camps for blacks, and I have no doubt that there are far, far more people in such camps at the moment--in 2017, almost 2018-- than were ever killed by the KKK.  The number might easily even be several million, which is roughly the total number of slaves at the end of the Civil War.  And as far as death tolls, there were years the Communists killed 10x the number of people who died on both sides in the Civil War.  There can be no comparison.

No Communist can accuse America of anything.  Their own crimes exist several qualitative leaps above our own, in their viciousness, systematic nature, and continuity over time.

China as a free nation: it's a beautiful idea, even if unlikely for the foreseeable future.  One can always hope that sleeping consciences might awaken, at least where they are not made fully absent by psychopathy, or the equivalent as embodied in rigid ideology.

China and North Korea

If it is true that China has been illegally helping to keep the dying North Korean regime alive, one has to wonder why.  Economically, China's fortunes are tied to the United States, and the West more broadly.  A war, which is made more likely in the event sanctions and following mass immiseration fail, will STILL cause mass suffering in the North, much more suffering.  It will also cause much suffering in the South, and presumably enormous problems for the Chinese themselves in the form of refugees.  It is a lose/lose situation for all around. 

The only good solution is regime change.  It is my understanding that the few defectors there are have been waging a campaign to float balloons into North Korea with USB drives or something like that, with videos showing life here, and calling for resistance and true revolution.  The defectors who made it across the border were starving, their intestines filled with worms, and the most recent one apparently had anthrax antibodies in him.  I'm not sure what to make of that, other than that Kim seems to be telling the truth when he says he is trying to weaponize anthrax for delivery on warheads, which I will point out can obviously be projectile warheads too.  I don't think I'm giving anyone ideas there.

So China would gain, economically, by not losing economically, if North Korea were to fall into the hands of the "people" it has always allegedly existed to serve.  As it exists today it is a Fascist oligarchy characterized by extreme disparities in privilege and wealth, with the vast mass of people living in conditions likely WORSE than those suffered by most serfs in the medieval period.  Not only do they face regular starvation, but they also face concentration camps I read are worse than those of the Nazis, and which have been a feature of life there for decades.  It is hard to imagine a more soul-killing, horrific regime.

And China itself is presumably still run by an enormously unpopular Fascist oligarchy, which is able to keep power mainly through allowing the very Capitalism/free trade to happen which its Communism would lead it to reject in principle. But they found they could not feed their people any other way.  They could not fund their military any other way.  They could not fund their internal Geheime Staatspolizei, and Schutzstaffel any other way, and who else could keep the oligarchs in power, when the people are rioting everywhere as often as they can (or were a few years ago)?

So one can, in a way, see the logic.  Even though economic logic and rational self interest should lead the Chinese to support what we are now calling "regime change" in North Korea, some combination of sentimentalism (some Chinese leaders may well have come out of the Cultural Revolution, and frankly likely did, and have somehow managed to avoid seeing the patent contradictions inherent in the wealth and privilege they enjoy compared to the brutal repression they visit on an often hungry and impoverished populace), and violent calculation that "as North Korea goes, so go we." 

The fact is, "The People's Republic of China" contains two lies.  It is China, certainly.  But it is a regime no different than that which Hitler would have operated if he had won all his wars.  There is the same censorship, the same relentless propagandizing, the same knocks in the middle of the night, the same concentration camps, the same elites drinking champagne and eating the Chinese equivalent of caviar.  There is no concern for the people.

And as I have said before, I actually respect the Nazis more than the  Communists, more than the Communist Chinese.  Hitler did, to all appearances, genuinely feel a sense of kinship and affection for the German Volk.  He was a psychopathic mass murderer, certainly, but there was at least some group he seems genuinely to have wanted, at least early on, to care for.

Had Hitler won the wars, there would have been slaughter on a scale never seen before.  Tens of millions of Russians and other Slavs would have been simply eradicated, as well as of course all Jews and other "undesirables".  Large sections of the globe would have been enslaved.  But Germans, ordinary Germans, those who toed the line, would have lived like kings.  All of them.  It would not have been s small group, it would have been all of them.

This is the thing that gets me about Communism.  It is run by intellectuals, most of whom have never known true poverty.  I was reading, in fact, that Lenin lived on what amounted to an allowance from his mother--like a child--for some thirty years.  These people don't understand the people they spout rhetoric for.  And they don't care for them when they get power.  Then they seemingly act surprised that the repressive regimes they implement "for the sake of the people" somehow create vast relative privilege for themselves.

The whole thing is lunacy, top to bottom.  It is incomprehensible, outside of an emotional world inappropriate for any but the smallest, most immature child.  It is the covetousness of a 4 year old, inflicted on the world.

To make a long story short, it seems obvious to me that, if they are smart, the Chinese will help us end the North Korean regime peacefully.  That is in everyone's interest, not least that of the tens of thousands, at a minimum, of North Koreans who will be killed in a futile war, the end of which is preordained.  The only question is how much pain they can inflict on the rest of the world, in dying.  Given that what hurts America hurts China--which I am going to go out on a limb and guess had an outstanding Christmas season--there can be no question what the intelligent course of action.  And that course is not violating sanctions and providing oil to North Korea.  Again, it is winter, and this is humanitarian aid, but everything gets much, much worse in the event of a war.   And Trump fully intends war, if no other solution can be reached to the problem of a lunatic using every resource he has to build nuclear missiles he keeps telling us he intends to launch at us at his earliest opportunity.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The 7 Deadly Sins

Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Greed, Lust, and Pride.  That is from memory, but I think it is correct.

I was dreaming today, as I do every day.  I wander in and out of wherever I am.  And I was dreaming of a world where the Church researches, and understands the psychodynamic roots of these "sins", and rather than viewing them as moral or spiritual failings, sees them as what they are: predictable results across statistical populations with certain common psychological histories.

The farther I go, the more I see, the more I feel that morality, per se, is stupid.  Fucking stupid.  It is not that I don't believe in doing the right thing.  It is not that human beings are not happier when the people around them behave in predictable and harmonious ways.

It is simply the case that water tends to flow downhill, and people tend to implement the patterns with which they were raised.  They tend to become what they see, and they tend to repeat what they become.

Now, for some, "virtue" is easy.  Virtue on my reading and rendering is simply enlightened common sense.  It is intelligent selfishness.  It is seeing the big picture, and being personally integrated enough to act on it.

For many others, and I would include myself here, we have large weights placed on us, and we are cut in a thousand places.  We want to get rid of the weight, and avoid being cut again.  For many, this means cutting others first, resisting others first, mistrusting them first.  It means in no case being open, or trusting anyone enough to hurt us again.

In Christianity we are told to love.  How can you love, when you are bleeding, and the people who cut you preached love?  Can you reconcile those wounds with charity and caring?  No. 

So my dream is that notions of "morality" coupled with judgment gradually give way to on-going efforts at understanding, remediation, and teaching.

To be clear, we need social and cultural codes.  We need to know what to expect from one another.  We need an internalized voice telling us what is right and what is wrong.  I do not dispute any of this.

I guess the question I want to ask, which needs answering, is "How do we make all the things we want more likely?"  How do we make what we call morality more likely?  How do we build empathy in people?  How do we build self knowledge?  How do we build perceptual capacity, such that they can see far down the road?

As for myself, I am still a sinner.  I still am often wracked with pain.  But I do have a vision.

One certainty about the Mueller investigation

His formerly sterling reputation will not survive. It does remain to be seen how deeply he is willing to muddy it, and that of the FBI, before he goes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Principle

All beginnings can be made beautiful.

The lie of evil

I have come in recent days to realize that my present task is to learn to live consciously with the split within me between my darkness, and my health.  When you see and feel the darkness, it is easy, and highly desirable from one perspective, to simply let it go away.  It is easy enough to ignore.  It is accustomed to being ignored, and thus accustomed to being able to assert itself in subtle ways, such as unwarranted certainties, followed by righteous anger.  Or as an unwarranted mistrust of people who have done nothing to set off alarms.  Or as a subtle tension about life itself.

When you see and feel this energy in its pure form, you want to avoid it.  I want to avoid it.  I want to do things where it does not come up.  I want to avoid activities, like Kum Nye, like prolonged periods of silence, like long sets of rolling and stretching, where it comes up.  It is unpleasant.  I want it to simply disappear, in one session.  I want to call out to it and tell it to go away.

But it is like a fog, liberated from one place, and now trying to envelop my life. I feel this. I feel it like the monologue at the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, where Cate Blanchett as Galadriel says something close to "The world has changed.  I can feel it in the air.  I can feel it in the water.  I can feel it in the Earth.  The world has changed."

But I of course have not changed at all.  I am simply becoming more conscious of who I am.  This is a change, I suppose, but closer to an unmasking than a true change.  My possibilities have increased, but only in the perceptual realm.

This morning I found myself spontaneously imagining the world as a Ring Wraith, which terrified me when I first read those books in the 5th grade.  What would it be like to look at the little hobbits as prey?  To feel a continual and unquenchable hunger for death and destruction?

Well, now, perhaps, I know.  I felt it in me.

And I feel how arbitrary the lines we draw between ourselves are.  We need tribes to feel at home, and we need violence, quite often, to reinforce the value of the tribes.  And to get beyond these tribes, we must confront our own darkness, as individuals.  The need to belong, and the need to reject, arise from the same place.  Violence and evil arise from the same place that the need for home and hearth, and kith and kin arise from.

The man wandering the wilds as a beggar or solitary hunter can be free from such compulsions, but this, too, is not a properly human life.  The way forward is for all of us to become free from the need for social bonds, then to reengage humanity as a great joy and open source of pleasure.  We must all become enlightened, in important ways.

But to turn to what occasioned this post, or in any event turned me from my lit incense and candles to my computer to type this, it seems to me that historically most all violence has felt just.  You do it in the service of your cause and your people.  Both sides in most conflicts feel themselves to be in the right.  This is a truism.

But even people working from the position of true selfishness, who simply want things, or power, or wine and women, rape and pillage--who, to be clear, do ALL the things we are supposed to reject on our shadow side, and thus in some respects become heroes to people who feel constrained by our world, and afraid--work from lies.  They do not perceive, and thus do not pursue their true interest.

To frame this slightly differently, even people who do not proceed from motives of idealism and zeal fail.  Their idealism is their own subjective sense of well being.  Their zeal is to have and be everything possible in this world, to fuck who they want, eat what they want, experience what they want, go where they want, to never be told no.

Even this is a failure.  Even this is Duhkha.  I feel this.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Silence and distraction

I feel that one of the main sources of persisting emotional pain in our world is the ease with which people can distract themselves, and the following lack of sustained silence in at least most Americans lives.

Just as you can go decades never sitting on the ground, you can also go decades never being in silence.  People turn their TV's on first thing in the morning, listen to the radio all day even at work, and of course in their cars, some home to TV, and fall asleep watching it.

Now, I think most people go for walks from time to time, but even there, they are with people.  They talk.

There is something about both sustained solitude and silence which is cathartic.  I think this is the word.  It brings up latent conflicts, pains, residual emotional scars, and what I have found is that in the feeling of them, they slowly diminish.  They resolve themselves.  They perhaps do not disappear, but become largely irrelevant to your life. You develop a solid, stable base, at the core of your personality, which is comforting.  "Life" becomes bearable.  You become philosophical in a good way.

The opposite is running from these things, which are simply asking to be completed, run through, checked off as done.  You can spend your life fearing the contents of your inner psyche.  And it will never grant you a moment of true inner peace if you do.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sufism

My children are, of course, my children.  My oldest is now thirsty for philosophical and psychological knowledge.  Her friends--inhabitants of a typically dreary academic cave--are telling her to read Marx, Freud, Nietzsche.  I am of course both horrified, and vaguely proud.  I bought her summaries of both modern psychology and philosophy, being sure to get her an Ayn Rand comic book (these things are actually quite useful) in the process, as at least a partial corrective.

My core personal philosophical collection, though, consists in three books: the Tao Te Ching, the Wisdom of the Idiots (Idries Shah), and my Kum Nye books.

The Tao Te Ching has influenced me since I first read the first line "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao".

Kum Nye, of course, I have spoken of often.  It is not a philosophy, but what I might term a means to the approximation of one.

But I wanted to comment on The Wisdom of the Idiots.  It is not the book itself which is so important, but what it represents to me.

I wanted to buy it for my daughter, but she said "no, I want to study philosophy".  And this--like nearly everything I see every day--got me to thinking.

There is no philosophy in this book, not in a traditional sense.  It is a collection of stories, some of which are quite difficult to "unpack" and grasp, and "grok". I am, I am quite certain, far from understanding most of them, even if I have from time to time talked about some of them.

What it is is a thousand shards of meaning, of contingent, partial perceptions.  It is a cloud of possibilities.  It is shimmering, moving, evolving, changing, both there, and not there.

The way of the Sufi, as I understand it, is breaking all our meanings into a thousand pieces, and allowing them to reassemble in a self organizing way directed by our deepest consciousness, our deepest intuitive awareness, on a level far, far deeper than anything possible for the conscious mind, but directly in connection with our spirit, our soul, our deepest possibilities.

Your way is your own way.  Far too few people want to grasp this.  They want to be told "do this, believe that, adhere to the teaching of this person or that person, and the way will be laid out in front of you."  Even though the Buddha--or one of his disciples--said something like "if you meet me on the path, kill me", far too few people are willing to do this.  There is a Buddha Dharma. There is a sangha.  There are doctrinal teachings.  There are mantras to be said obsessively across decades.

Philosophy is broken. As I have noted from time to time, one of my favorite saying from any book ever is the quote I wrote down when I was 18 from Moby Dick.  Here is the quote in full, which is worth reading:

“I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances. All this struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is--which was the only way he could get there--thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should no be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such and such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have 'broken his digester.”

It is the last line I loved so much.  There is no path but the path you make.  Even the Existentialists teach this, but they wind up being Communists.  One extreme breeds the other, if no wisdom intervenes. 

There is no safe path, no path free from the continual risk of delusion, self deception, grandiosity, unwarranted self satisfaction, obsession.  My mind wants to add "freedom" to this list, where it does not seem to belong, but as I contemplate, yes, it does belong there.  Freedom, true freedom, is also a risk.  How can you go where no one has gone before, truly?  It is scary, frightening.  To go your own way, you do need to become accustomed to fear.  You must make it your friend.  You must learn to allow it to recede, even in the unknown, and unknowable.

I do not think it unreasonable to call myself a Sufi.  I admit I am an idiot.  I am an idealistic, stubborn idiot.  Fully grasping the extent of your own futility, the extent of your failures and imbecilities, the vast ocean of things you can't begin to say you understand, the impossibility of ever reaching in this world anything approaching a complete understanding: all of these constitute the BEGINNING of the path.  It becomes possible then to BEGIN the process of learning, of seeing, of perceiving with your own eyes and ears, your own body, your own tongue and nose.  And it is a path which winds off into a horizon which never gets any closer.  The path is your home, here.  It can never be any more.  But that is the point of life.  It is the purpose for being here.  And it can be a home.  It can be happy and fulfilling, when you let go of all the things which seek to keep you rooted, frozen, immobile, hopeless, and lost.

I mentioned this some years ago, but I was in fact annointed a Sufi in a dream once.  I was told by a group of wise men that I was to be crowned a Sufi.  There was a majestic ceremony, fit for a king.  And when the great moment came to place the crown on my head, it was 6" too big on every side, and fell immediately on my shoulders.  We all laughed.  It was the laughter that completed the ceremony.

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There is a Nasruddin story I can't currently find, in which an aspiring shopkeeper asks Nasruddin how to ensure he will be successful in business.  He tells him something like, dress up like a chicken and make funny noises for three days in front of your shop when you first open, then proceed as you would normally.

Some months later, after some travelling, Nasruddin passes through that village, and stops by to check on the shopkeeper.  He is told something like, "it was HORRIBLE.  Everyone thought I was crazy.  I had to work twice as hard just to stay in business.  Now my business is good, but no thanks to you.

Nasruddin replies: "oh no, it worked PERFECTLY."

I was contemplating this morning, staring out into the rain, that I think hated my mother by the time I was 3, and I think she hated me. She wanted to break me, and not unreasonably, I did not want to be broken.  I had, and I think have, in some respects, a very powerful will, although of course I was broken.  I remember the dream where it became clear to me, a dream I had over four decades ago.

And I feel this sense of having been hated--and having felt hate--is not something that will ever leave me.  It was early, primal, primordial, fundamental to who I am and have become.  And it was extraordinarily unpleasant.  My home was never a happy home.  I never felt truly safe at any time in my childhood.  Never.  Anywhere.

But this primal deficit is the source of my energy.  It is why I felt I had to save the world to prove myself.  It is what fed my relentless drive for self improvement, for knowledge, for wisdom.

And I felt "you can't replace memory".  Then it hit me "what if I could?"  What if I could eliminate all those feelings of anger, worthlessness, isolation, pain and fear? What if I could do a memory wipe, such that only whatever good there was--and of course there must have been--remained?

I would not do it.  Who I am is who I am.  All of us have to learn how to deal with negative emotions.  All of us have to learn how to transmute them, energize them, use them for good, for growth, for wisdom and learning.  I would be neutering myself, destroying myself, eradicating the foundation for everything I have built.

None of us are truly wise enough to finally distinguish good and bad in this world.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The billionaire Index

The amount of ludicrous caterwauling I am seeing over this tax cut is unbelievable. It is very literally the case that most generic leftists have not a fucking clue about the rationale behind tax cuts, and the core elite that run the propaganda are agitating them so much no one has a moment to contemplate anything, or feel anything but outrage that 80% of us will get to keep more of our money.

Here, though, is one heuristic. Given a free market--which is to say one in which the government has not been corrupted into protecting or actively supporting monopolies--a rough sequence of events can be stipulated. To create one free market billionaire you have to create, say, 10 people worth 100 million, 100 people worth 10 million, 1000 people worth a million, and ten thousand people making $100,000 or more. These are very roughly, say, Facebook, or Google numbers.

Now if resentment outweighs self interest, you can enact policy to ensure no billionaires emerge, at least through the natural operation of free markets (Communist regimes, obviously, create very big winners, which is not hard when you can take money from anyone you like and give it to anyone else). Logically, if you prevent the billionaire, you also prevent everything downstream. You create Venezuela. You create Zimbabwe. You create the Soviet Union. Nobody has anything. Everyone is poor. And you STILL have huge income disparities, because some pigs are more equal than others.

Base your life on a positive vision for yourself, not envious resentment of someone else.

IT SPEAKS!!!!

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/tim-scott-roasts-huffington-post-writer-for-calling-him-a-prop-at-trumps-tax-cut-speech/article/2644080

In other news, white leftist commentators were astonished to learn that a house negro possessed the ability to form complete sentences, and every appearance of coherent thought.  They are still trying to decide what to make of this shocking development. If they all get like that, it's only a matter of time before white "liberals" aren't needed.

Comment on Jerusalem

The core truth the talking heads seemingly do not want to make obvious, although they know it, is that the Arab world has long had the destruction of Israel as their goal. They do not want peace, and they certainly do not want to admit Israel has a right to exist as a nation. 

They have used the refugees from a war that they started 70 years ago--and lost, despite overwhelming military superiority--as a bargaining chip and pawn in a long term effort to overturn the will of the UN, which created Israel. Recognizing Jerusalem is nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than saying publicly that Israel has a permanent right to exist. 

Those who oppose this move effectively are declaring that they do not and never have wanted anything for Israel but its destruction, and the death by brutal murder of all its Jewish inhabitants.  In a sane world, it would be shameful to oppose this move.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mueller

It occurs to me that there is an arc to this whole Mueller investigation.  One of the key pieces of advantages in assessing the situation Trump has--relative to us speculators--is knowing what information Mueller COULD find.  Now, Trump has gotten audited every year for many years.  He knows the drill.  He knows what he can get away with, if anything, and what he can't.

But we are rapidly reaching a point where not only has Mueller found nothing but an incoming National Security Advisor guilty of nothing but some combination of stupidity and hubris--complacency might be the word, since "wire-tapping" senior officials then releasing the transcript for political purposes, then cajoling a contradiction under oath, has not traditionally been a low our intelligence/counter-intelligence apparatus would stoop to--but has begun breaking the law himself.  He recently sought and received, seemingly illegally, thousands of emails he had no right to.

The thing about arcs is they can reverse.  All the cannons firing at Trump can one day, at the right time, be made to fire at the foundations of the Deep State.  Mueller himself can be investigated for his investigation.  He can be investigated for sundry blatant conflicts of interest, for overreach, for willfully overlooking blatant violations of the law by Democrats.  He can be investigated, and perhaps indicted, for failing to end the investigation outright the moment he realized that the entire thing was based on fabricated evidence created by a combination of Clinton operatives and law breaking members, and spouses of members, of the Deep State.

It is like the whole thing is on a bungy, that is getting ready to bounce back up.

Or, to use a metaphor that is a bit cliched (I did something like jiu jitsu for 7 some odd years): it is like judo, where in the classic iteration, you use the energy of your opponent against them.  When you are dealing with skilled opponents, though, this almost always needs to be through a feint.  You have to appear to give them an opening, something they want, to which they commit too much energy.  This energy then becomes your means of taking their balance and throwing them.

I have seen calls already for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Uranium One.  Since these people have no reasonable bounds, I would think Mueller himself, and everyone under him, could equally be objects of investigation.  Applying the same standards applied to Flynn, Mueller might even be an indictable criminal.

Unless I am missing something major, it would seem to me he himself would be prudent to give people reasons to stop asking about and digging into the Steele dossier that started the whole thing, and why he brought on board so many people who were hyperpartisan, and plainly guilty of serious derelictions of duty.

It has been perhaps an act of genius for Trump to let this whole thing play out, to distract and obsess the Democrats, and ultimately--after the smoke clears, after Mueller has done his best and found nothing--to provide a clear means of unmasking a vast mass of traitors in our midst.

It is perhaps the case that the "insurance policy" was a terrible idea, even if it was illegal, and indictable.

Monday, December 18, 2017

This blog

This blog exists for people to steal my ideas, to use as they see fit.

Well, that is one purpose, in any event.  I have said this from time to time, but it has likely been a year or two.

I make no claims on any content here.  I renounce all copyright, all intellectual property claims, other than that I don't ever want to see anyone claim my ideas as their own and sue me for it.  The public record, in any event, is likely clear enough.

We all of us need to be using our brains and hearts to figure out the way forward.  This is a collective project, a human project.  I tend to feel alone, because it is natural for me, but of course many, many people share my passions, my fears, my hopes, and my work, broadly understood.

As far as people I interact with on a daily basis, I only know of one in my home town I have told about this blog, and I don't know if she reads it regularly or not.  I like to think I am anonymous here.  I can't sustain this thought too far, but it is still a congenial thought.

We can all do better.  If I inspire or stimulate you in any way, then that is an accomplishment.

Happiness

You know, skilled fault finders, in looking at the world, can quite easily survey the landscape and see a lot of misery.  It is not hard to see conflict.  It is not hard to find unhappiness.  It is not hard to find people with tough stories, with hard lives, with tales of quite sincere woe, even if they are fighting the good fight.

And it's not hard to feel that previous generations--our "parents" in a general sense, that of those who created "this world"--have failed us.  Intellectually, it is hard to find anything useful in most universities in the "love of truth" departments.  You will need to look in the "study of the mind" department, and then only if they have chosen to focus on happiness, using antique "love of truth" ideas like Eudaemonia.

It is easy to think this is a terrible time to live.  We face the risk of nuclear war from North Korea, and nuclear attack from anyone who can get the materials.  Technology becomes steadily more intrusive, such that any tyranny enacted by the Federal government would be effectively impossible to combat.  We see many ludicrous movies where rebels plan and organize in secret, when such a thing would be in fact impossible, as Frank Church recognized long before the internet, the iPhone, and Facial Recognition technology.

The possible list is long, and my imagination--and knowledge of perils recognized in the public domain--is considerably larger than that of most.

But this morning I was doing my Heartmath, and it occurred to me that in the Buddhist and other traditions, ANY incarnation as a human being is a blessing.  Just showing up here, just being alive on this planet, is a blessing.

And we live in a time where all the best ideas of the entire history of mankind--the public part at least--are available everywhere all the time.  I have most of the primary texts of the forms of Buddhism which interest me.  I can and am using Neurofeedback to calm my brain, which will save me decades of patient and very, very slow effort.  It is not "40 years of Zen", as one person with a talent for marketing, but seemingly little wisdom, put it, but it is a huge advantage.

I have my Heartmath.  I have time, precious time, time not contingent on membership in a monkish convent, time not devoted to backbreaking labor.

As Yogi Berra put it, "it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future", but it is quite easy to make predictions about your own future states, if you develop the ability and capacity to choose them.  This is really the essence of the spiritual path: cultivating the ability to calm yourself, to choose happiness, and to choose communion and expansion.

I was contemplating yesterday that it takes a fair amount of wisdom to plumb the depths of your own stupidity.  Realizing how little you know is the beginning of the spiritual path.

And spirituality is absolutely compatible with ordinary happiness, with being in a good mood, with positive feelings, with enthusiasm, with enjoying your work, with enjoying an innocent good time, with smiling, with laughing, with being of good cheer.

It is so easy to confuse a permanent frown and furrowed brow with profundity.  My youngest--who in many ways takes after me the most--was recently sharing with me that her happiness and enthusiasm makes some of her friends uncomfortable, that she seems "ditzy".

But the SCIENCE that has emerged clearly places a premium on happiness.  Happy people work harder.  They are more creative.  They are more fun.  They live longer.  They have better relationships (of course, having good relationships makes you happier too).  They do all the things our culture supposedly values better, as well as those things we don't value sufficiently, like play.

In my own work, I think I have finally reached a complete summary of how I became how I am.  I won't share all that here, but even though the past few days have been hard for me, I am glad to finally get there, to feel I have been to every major latent feeling within me.  What this means, now, is that I can begin focusing on the positive ones.

I will add a comment on that.  What I have found, is that I have long been able to access positive states, for a time, but there is always this dark cloud that smells them out, then shows up.  Clinically, I can be doing Neurofeedback, doing deep relaxation, and I am on track, exactly on target, then out of nowhere massive tension shows up.  It is like when you are having a good time, and somebody you don't want there comes along, and the whole vibe of the thing changes. 

Put another way, I have never been able to trust fun, trust relaxation, or let down my guard for any length of time without regretting it.

But this tension, these angers, these traumas, they all arose long ago, and are now nothing but a conditioned association, a neurological habit.  As such, I can think of them as echoes of something once real, but now gone, and practically, I can practice merging them with relaxation.  I practice learning to see them come, then still revert back to where I was.  If I do this often enough, they will stop showing up.

And when this happens, the ache that has dogged me all my life will lift.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fractiousness

I am indeed skilled at finding fault.  I spot problems easily, inconsistencies, lies.

But I feel some guilt at the moment, for doubting in some respects the power of love, and communion.  Sex is also the perfection of an open soul, and the sharing of its contents.  It is a mystery, and a rite of beauty.

I have felt much pain in my life.  It has colored my vision.  But according to my own lights, my own principles, my own beliefs, my goal is to rise far above where I have been, and to do that I need to become a better good-finder.  There is no skill in repeating the past.

Communism and Nazism

Fascists--and the Nazis particularly--were leftists in their embrace of totalitarian government.  "Everything in the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State" is how Mussolini defined his creed.

Leftists will sometimes say fascism is "corporatism", which is to say, in the version their propagandists like to articulate to help differentiate their own delusions from those of the fascists.  But this gets things backwards.  It does not mean corporations rule the government.  That did not happen in Italy.  It did not happen in Germany.  It did not happen in Spain.

Rather, the government forms a partnership with the largest corporations to mutual benefit.  The corporations back the government and support it materially and politically; and in turn the leaders of the government award all the contracts to the Krupps and I.G. Farben's of the world, which makes their owners enormous amounts of money.

Inherently, Fascism favors large corporations--which can be easily controlled by making sure those in charge support your cause--and denigrates and damages small business.

Inherently, therefore, and in my view this is a necessary conclusion, any policy which damages small business and rewards large business is tending towards fascism.

Obamacare damaged small business.  It was heavily supported by the largest insurance providers, who stood to destroy their competition, force industry consolidation, and provide very lucrative, secure business for many years to come.  It is not widely commented upon, but most Medicare plans are administered by the very corporations which the Left--in calling for "Medicare for everyone"--denigrates as for profit monsters.  Their OWN POLICIES are used to make the largest corporations richer.  If they got everything they wanted, we would have de facto Fascism in the insurance business.

But when and where have Leftists ever demonstrated the SLIGHTEST capacity for independent thought? 

Finally, and this is the actual point I had started to make, I wanted to note that Communists derive their identity from their PARTY.  Fascists get it from their nationalism, Communists from their Party, which their arrogance enables them to equate with the interests of people they don't understand, which is to say "the workers."

You have a small, inward-looking cabal in both cases.  And practically, of course, the Party equals the delusions and prejudices of narcissistic intellectuals.  What is actually referenced is a precise form of mental illness, and shattered reality testing.

Let's talk about sex

It's a song, isn't it?  Listen to the radio, it is filled with varying degrees of open pleas to find someone to connect your genitals with, go through a period of more and more tension, then finish with what is hopefully an enormous release of energy, leaving you feeling calm and happy.

In some respects, could we not say that the obsession with sex in our culture is in some measure an obsession with tension, and with the need to release it?  Could we not say sex, at root, is about relaxation?  About a release from tension, more specifically (as opposed to a deepening of a preexisting tendency for calm and rest)?

I was reading Salma Hayek's story today, and it occurred to me that the life of Harvey Weinstein has been a continual pendulum between tension, rage and anger, and their temporary cessation through sex, and through the abuse of power to get that sex.

As I have said before, we ask far too much of sex.  We ask far too much of single partners--of husbands, of wives, of lovers.  We ask that they "complete us".  We have visions of a single person who will resolve all these tensions, all these confusions, all these inchoate rages (for many of us).  We ask that they make the world right, when in reality, how can they?  Confusion about the future is inherent in our time.  Far too much is going on, far too balls are bouncing around, for anyone to have any good guess about anything.

And to ask someone else to provide you the calm you need is to petition them to allow you to suck them dry.  And some people will allow this.  This is clearly true.  Most forms of this we call codependence.

I like looking at naked women.  It calms me down.  I have some old Playboys I will take out and look at from time to time.  And I do watch porn from time to time as well, although most of it I find gross.  I even hit a strip club once a year or so.

But I find if I don't allow my mind to confuse me about what my body truly needs, then listening deeply to great music is vastly better than using my wiles to seduce women I don't truly plan to love or cherish.  I used to be good at it, then I just stopped.  I can't justify it.  And it never got me what I really needed.  It was, in important respects, not just abusive, but stupid.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  So many of us adopt behavior patterns that do nothing for us, but which we continue for lack of imagination, and lack of the courage to see the truth.

I have seen several commentators note the vast difference in sexual energy in India versus the United States.  I have not been to India, but most Indians I know are pretty relaxed people.  They invented yoga.  They invented many forms of meditation.  In the United States, on the other hand, we might not have invented obsessive work, but we certainly learned how to mass produce it.

Work and sex: could we not call those the idols of our present moment?   Tension, and release, and nary a whiff of wisdom or genuine insight in the middle.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

AA suggestion

Rather than saying "My name is Bob, and I'm an alcoholic", how about "My name is Bob, and my heart is filled with unexpressed griefs and losses I have never figured out how to share, or heal"?

It's a bit longer.  How about "My name is Bob, and I feel emotional pain every day"?

When AA works--and it does work for some, although not for most over the long term--I feel it is because people find a communion they needed, among their own kind, among people like them, among people who have felt what they have felt, hurt like they have hurt.

It is painful to say you are an alcoholic, but perhaps even more painful--but more useful, possibly--to admit that you feel vast rivers of emotion you don't know what to do with, how to deal with, and that a major part of your illness is having lost a sense of belonging, and of intrinsic self worth.

Positivism and Mourning

I overdid the alcohol a bit last night.  Not much, for me, but I woke up with the bed spins.  This never, ever, ever happens to me. And I remembered that alcohol and Neurofeedback can be mutually exclusive.

Then it hit me that I have perhaps--likely--reached the end of the road with alcohol.  It has proven a worthy friend, but this time may really be the end.

And then I felt a softness and a sadness.  Alcohol is not just alcohol.  It is the stand-in for, and symbol of, all the love I missed when I was growing up.  To give up alcohol is to trigger a process of mourning, not just of this reliable friend, but of all that it replaced, or did a poor job of trying to replace.  It was something, where there had been nothing.  To give it up is to look farther, to see and to feel the nothing, and feel all that I lost, all that is gone, all that was, all that was not, and all that can never be again, never will be again.  Everything I have to say good-bye to, in order to open up the present and the future.

And I feel mourning as a process of reassembly.  It is dealing with pieces that have been broken.  It is recognizing a whole that is no more, that never will be again, but that not all is lost.  There are pieces.  There are tools, and resources, fragments of a self, a coherent mind, a personality of sorts, and together all this can be put into a new form, resembling the old form, but hopefully wiser and larger.

And I feel that in our world coming across this need for mourning is a strange thing.  We Americans, particularly, tend to view life as an endless series of positive experiences, of things we can buy, of improvement in our lives, of progress of all sorts.  Progress, progress, progress.  Everything is always moving forward, in a dynamic tide of optimistic gain for all, all the time.

But loss is a cessation.  It is a halt.  I was looking at the clock on a funeral home yesterday, and even though it was 6pm, it showed midnight (or noon).  It is always midnight for the dead.  But it can be midnight for the living too.  We, too, can stop.

I am feeling increasingly like King Theodin in the Lord of the Rings, as he awakens from Sarumon's spell.  Some part of him knew he had lost his son, but could not feel the loss, could not mourn the loss.  For my part, I am beginning to feel what I lost, and it is a strange thing.  These things happened 30 years ago or more.

But how many of us are like this?  I think of Tarkovsky's postman, in the beginning of The Sacrifice, who tells his friend that he feels like he is just beginning to live, despite his advancing age.

Some flowers bloom in winter.  It is sometimes the only way, the only time.  And it is always good when what should be, is.

I do feel deep grief sometimes.  I grieve for myself, and I grieve for all of us.  Your problems are not my problems, and my path MUST go through healing myself before I can be the least reliable bit of good to anyone else.

We are all is such different places.  Humankind is a patchwork of countless colors and hues.  Some of us are dull and gray, or rust colored, some bright blue and orange and vermillion.  And all of us are in larger or smaller processes of continual refinement, expansion, contraction, love, hate, anger, sadness, grief, malice, generosity, envy and love again.  I can't see it all.  It is as large as the stars.

But we do need to break this spell of pretending that life is all sunshine and apples.  Sometimes it is rotten.  This is an inherent feature of it, and the more we all see this together, the deeper our bond, the deeper our possible sharing, and the more profound our possible joys and loves.

If you think about it, the notion that machines are better than life, because they are replicable in an exact way, can be disassembled and reassembled reliably, and never do anything surprising, is inherent to the positivistic mindself.  If we are to make endless progress, then logically human beings, flawed as we are, must go.

But look at that idea.  What is the point and purpose of "progress"?  What do we really want, and is there anything shameful in wanting it?

Underlying this mania is sadness.  Sadness that we must all go.  Sadness that we are easily broken, easily damaged, weak, and profound in our ignorance.  There is so much we do not know.

I feel and I think understand this sadness.  I understand the drive towards both artificial intelligence--our replacement--and the Singularity, a world beyond death and stupidity.

These are deep feelings in our nation, in our people.  They may drive us to the extinction of humankind.

What most people need is a deep seated and honest sense that things will be alright.  A believe in the after-life helps with this immensely.  That is why I have often made the very obvious point that this topic is of VAST scientific importance, and that immense resources should be devoted to it.

My mind boggles at certain points.  This is why most spiritual traditions focus on the heart, on innate wisdom.

I hope one day to be able to say honestly that I love you and wish you well, no matter who you are.  I am not there yet.  I still live in a cold, confusing world, and I continue to try to be a little less of an asshole every day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Frank Church on the NSA, 1975

Results of the investigationEdit

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, and discussed the NSA, without mentioning it by name:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Church Committee

It is past time to resurrect the memory of, and spirit of, this time. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

Speak of the Devil

If you want a face to go with this idea, here you go: https://www.infowars.com/ex-spy-chief-admits-role-in-deep-state-intelligence-war-on-trump/

Ponder further that this guy went to work for what I understood to be something like a mercenary CIA, a private, for-profit company that would "take care of things" like, oh, I don't know, murderering Putin's personal chauffeur?

Ponder this.  Ponder what someone without a conscience and with a lifetime's experience dealing out lies and disinformation could do with a billion dollar check.

For my money, he either needs to be legally put into permanent retirement, or the books of his company regularly audited, so that we know precisely who he is working for and what they are doing.  All this needs to be made the law.

And we need to assume that anyone he was close to at the CIA or elsewhere is part of the Traitor State.  We are not a nation of purges, but there is something to the logic of guilt by association.  I am not proposing jailing or killing them, as the Communists would, but simply removing them from the web of capabilities that being within our intelligence apparatus gives them, and then putting a permanent and close watch on them.  Give them a sizable payout, then let them take up painting or yoga somewhere remote.

North Korea and the Traitor State.

As I ponder it this morning, is "Traitor State" not better than Deep State?  In the very best scenario, these people are corrupt.  If they were simply protecting illicit sources of revenue, they would be less contemptible than they appear to be.  What they APPEAR to be is an organized group, effectively, of Communist agents.  They may not call themselves that--in fact I would assume most don't.

But they would call themselves something like Realists, or Pragmatists.  They would say "we can all see the worlds resources are dwindling", or perhaps some are even so deluded as to believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming, their own lie, and say "if nothing is done, humankind will go extinct."  Perhaps they think their globalism will mean global peace, and the end of war.

Collectivism, though, never means the end of war.  It means the institution of permanent war between the people and the State.  Where war does not exist, it is threatened, in the form of the possibility of arrest, confinement, torture, and murder.

All of this means that government employees, likely in close collusion with private sector individuals with either great wealth, or large political influence, are betraying their oaths of office to protect and serve both the American people, and the people they work for.

Having said all that, for practical purposes it seems to me that some large chunk of the CIA at least has gone over to the enemy.  What would prevent them, in the event of war with North Korea, from false flag attacks intended to destabilize the nation, and potentially even create the climate for a coup?

Silicon Valley

I was dreaming about the Bay Area last night.  I lived there for some 5 years.

What is interesting about that place is that the pace and expense of life turns people into assholes, into functional psychotics, and this is happening at the same time as the relative influence of the people who work there is increasing drastically.

Look at the influence Google and Facebook, specifically, wield.

Look at the influence the words compassion and justice wield, even when denuded of functional content, even when driven into being their very opposites.

I went to Berkeley.  I found the people there cold, rude and unfriendly.  There are too many people in the Bay Area, too much traffic, homes are much too expensive, work is too stressful, taxes are too high, and by the time many people get home at night, all they want to do is hide.

These are the people who want to rule our lives. As groveling as most of the peasants are, there are kings and queens, dukes and earls, and a landed aristocracy.  And their sense of purpose in life seems to derive in no small measure from plans to lighten the load of plebians they do not understand, do not interact with on a regular basis, and whose relative failures and successes affect them in no important way.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Brain Training

As I have mentioned from time to time, I do Lumosity fairly regularly.  It drops when I get busy, but I suspect I will play a lot this winter.

I don't know if these games actually help me think better, but what I have noticed--and I do think I have commented on this, but will comment again, since I can't remember exactly what I said--is that there is a part of me which holds onto patterns which cause me to make mistakes.  I get in touch with a psychological stickiness.  There is a need there, which makes me stupider.

Even in apparent abstraction, even in places where emotion should not intrude, it does, clearly.

And I would submit that most of the maladies of the modern world stem from something like what causes me to make mistakes on River Ranger or Speed Match.

When you are dealing with abstract problems, the abstract solutions can be suffused to overflowing with emotion, drenched in it, composed with it, but expressed in such a way that they seem rational.

What else, to take obvious examples, could the obsession with Jews the Russians had be composed of?  Lenin created the process of what might be termed "classicide", and all Hitler did was take that same "logic"--which indeed predated both Lenin and Hitler--and apply scientific efficiency to it.

One can indeed speculate that if Russians were built psychologically more like Germans, if something like a Final Solution might not have been implemented with regard to the people the Communists disliked.

On consideration, though, no.  Communism is very different from Nazism.  The narcissism and inward-looking of the Nazis had content.  There was in fact a German nation, a German history, a German language, a German culture.  When Hitler said "German", there was a concrete, if idealized, referent.

When Communists refer to "the workers", there is no referent.  Russia in 1917 was an agricultural nation, where something like 10% of the economy or less was industrialized.  The entire coup by the Bolsheviks was a sham.  It was based on the lie that people who knew nothing about a class which was in any event nearly non-existent within their domain could speak for them, work for them, build for them, better them.

And historically, the oppression fell first and hardest on the very workers in whose name what they disingenuously called "The Revolution" was conducted.

But there is never any there where Communists are concerned.  This means they never actually agitate FOR anyone, not even themselves, at least consciously.  It is a confusion, a mental illness, a sort of schizophrenia, where whatever needs to be true for them to retain some semblance of psychological structure is treated as if it were true.

And the Big Lie upon which all Communists rest their sense of self is that the project is intended to improve humanity as a whole.  Not some segment of it, which was the Nazi's project, but all of it.  All of us are supposed to be made better by their obsessions.

This means logically that conscious mass murder is anathema.  It is acting as if they were not the saviors of the world, not the creators of a mass utopia.  It is rejecting people in principle who would love them if they only understood them as liberators.

And if you look at Communist death counts, the vast bulk of them are from famine. Stalin used the Holodomor to bring the Ukraine under control, yes, but I think he also needed the food to feed his loyalists, since his system was failing already everywhere.  Mao thought the peasants--and they were peasants under him too--were hiding food, and that reports of the failure of his crop seeding ideas, which he thought were genius, were lies.  In Ethopia, their state of delusion was so complete that they thought moving people from one place where farming worked, to some other place where it did not, would be effective policy simply because miracles happen, and whatever they needed to believe to protect their own psychological integrity HAD to be true.

Thus, I would argue the true crime of Communism as an ideology is not the death count, not the genocides which it plainly has committed, but rather the pervasiveness of what I called Psychicide, the manic need to destroy human souls, human spirits, in order to protect the psychotic impulses of people who have used abstraction to manage emotional excesses which they have hidden from their conscious awareness and thus conscious control.

Reading this, I see there is a connecting thought I have not fleshed out, but for students of history, or any long term readers of my blog, the pattern should be clear enough.  We should not excuse the Cubans, as one example, simply because their version of Communism did not result in the deaths of large numbers of Cubans.  Their project--their continuing project--has been to convince the Cuban people that they love their leaders, that they love mass incarceration, humiliation, and poverty.  Their continuing project has been to enslave the minds of their people, to facilitate their physical enslavement, which is made in the minds of Communists liberation, because that is what they need to believe.  Ah, I'll leave it there.

I am quite capable of delivering sermons like this face to face, but do not presently know anyone who would listen.  Still, I feel better.  I'm going for a walk, then to get something to eat.

Essential oils

I don't know if anybody reads this, but it seems to be therapeutic for me to write, so I continue.  This is a way of releasing ideas within me, so that more can take their place.  Creativity is a habit, and you can only feed it by letting fly what comes, wishing it well, and waiting for new ideational children you will know for a moment, then let them go too.

As I have shared, I have major sleep difficulties.  I have clinical Complex Trauma, which is PTSD, but worse.  EMDR, for example, doesn't work because I can't remember anything, and it is my reasonably plausible theory that it depends on visual memory for at least part of its efficacy.

Be all that as it may, I have found that essential oils seems to help a bit.  I put Vetiver, typically, in an atomizer, and mix Lavender into an otherwise unscented lotion which I spread on my chest and arms and belly.  I notice the difference when I do this, versus when I don't.  I also take some sort of melatonin supplement every night, and the ones with ZMA in some form seem to work best for me.

In the mornings I have also taken to putting different oils in lotion and spreading them on my chest, arms and belly.  The skin is highly efficient way, or so I read, of getting them into my system in a relatively healthy way.  They tell me not to ingest them, but I will occasionally anyway.

I particularly like Birch, Cedarwood, Bergamot, Hyssop, Clary Sage, and Angelica. I can't say if they help anything, but it is a practice I have grown to like.

I rarely get sick--I go years without having anything but the "bottle flu", which I have largely stopped doing as well--but when I do I find Eucalyptus and Peppermint oil help.  I will either put them in an atomizer or put them in a pan which I heat to create steam, and inhale.

I have also made Sage and Thyme tinctures.  I will drink a few drops of those from time to time.

I just made some Tarragon soda, which is quite tasty.  I got myself a Central Asian cookbook, and that is apparently a thing there.  I made it from ginger bug, though, and they apparently just mix in club soda.
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I won't get into all my projects, but thought I might share a couple I thought might be of use to someone.

The idea of pleasure

I treated myself to a nice brunch yesterday.  I had a very nice tomato-basil soup, and some filet mignon on blue cheese biscuits, with excellent coffee.  It was in a tony part of town, filled with wealthy, well dressed, largely happy looking people.

My first thought in places like that is that I have vastly more in common with the wait staff than most of the patrons, which is certainly true.  If I apply myself I make good money, but it is doing work most people would consider menial.  Most of the guys I work with smoke, no small number of them chew, and if any of them own suits, it is for church and funerals.

But I was also contemplating that so much of what we call pleasure is the IDEA of pleasure.  We think to ourselves "I must be having fun, because this is what everyone wants to do, but most people can't afford."

And I got to thinking about wealthy people skiiing Aspen, staying in expensive chalets, eating fine meals every night.  And I can't help but think that while there is CLEARLY an inescapable element of pleasure in all this, that it cannot but be comingled with an awareness of being elite, of being special, of doing something most people can't do.

We feel pleasure in the places where we are supposed to, but some portion of this pleasure actually disappears in the IDEA we form of the context.  The idea of what we are doing mediates to some extent the reality, the direct experience, of it.

And to the extent we mediate our emotions by our sense of what it is we are supposed to be feeling, we are unfree.  The world comes to us, and we filter it.  We seek what is "good", and avoid what is "bad", but in neither case do we ourselves ride out to meet the world as it is, on its own terms.

Does pleasure uniquely arise in us in response to circumstances?  Or is there something in us which can rise up anywhere, and influence our understanding and experience of circumstances, such that the connection between what happens "to" us is influenced BY us, making all circumstances potentially under our emotional control, such that we can remain positive and happy in varying circumstances?

In my understanding, this is substantially the argument made by Buddhists, among others. How do you make the ordinary beautiful?  How do you make the beautiful spectacular?

How can I get MORE pleasure from Waffle House than a 5 star restaurant?  It all depends, does it not, on who I am when I walk in, what I hear, what I feel, what I see?

Tinnitus and trauma

I rarely mention it to anyone--I only told my kids in the past few years--but I have had tinnitus for many years, often in both ears.  It's not something I worry about, or spend more than a few moments contemplating in an average day, but I made a decision a while back to incorporate some POSSIBLE solution into my daily routine some years ago.  I'll take some pill most people say doesn't work for a few months, and it doesn't work.  Currently, I am taking the pharmaceutical grade Gingko Biloba.  I may stick with it since it seems to have other good properties too.

But I also recently picked up an interesting pamphlet, https://www.amazon.com/Tinnitus-Tyrant-Friend-Ringing-your/dp/1515102440/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1512918907&sr=8-2&keywords=tinnitus+books .

In it, he describes curing himself of tinnitus by treating it as a outcome of nervous system dysregulation, specifically chronic "alarm bells", chronic activation of the fight or flight response.  As such, there is a clear and fundamental homology between tinnitus, in this description, and PTSD generally, and I am reading the book as such.

One point he makes often and clearly is that most "tinnitus people" (he describes a type, with many of the typical characteristics applying to me) rarely take time for self care, for finding things that genuinely make them happy, make them feel warm, make they feel relaxed.  I certainly have long had trouble with this.  I am good at making lists, doing half of them--although often many of the hardest things on it--then collapsing emotionally and getting drunk.  That I have long experience with.

In his telling, and I think he makes a good argument, tinnitus is then a barometer of the state of internal hyperarousal.  It is a thermometer for inner systemic tension.  Curing tinnitus is then nearly the same--perhaps exactly the same--as curing PTSD.

I am going to try and be kinder to myself.  I am certainly long practiced in being cruel.  I am going to try and find things that do make me deeply happy.  Nothing is coming to mind at this moment, but starting to look is a first step.  This is the beginning of a move from mere survival to living.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Jerusalem

As I think about this a tad more, it occurs to me that the line which has been crossed is that the idea that Israel will just fade away and disappear, through some miracle, is no longer tenable.

Jerusalem, the City of Peace, has been the Jewish capital, arguably, since before the word Jew meant anything specific.  When Solomon built his temple, the Old Testament--as people raised in my own tradition call it--had not been completed.  I forget what the Jews call it.  I believe it is the Mishnah.

For their own purposes, the Israelis have long claimed Jerusalem, in the modern era, as their capital.

Thus, as many commentators have pointed out, including Nicki Haley (who I love), Trump has done nothing more or less than ratify publicly the existing status quo.

And here of course is the problem.  The Arab world, in a sustained fit of magical thinking which would put even today's Never Trumpers to shame, does not want to accept this step because it ratifies the existence of the Jewish state, which they STILL reject 70 years later.

Now, one can reasonably ask how it is possible to conceive this, that a highly successful, vastly more militarily powerful nation could just up and vanish, just stop being, so that lazy, ignorant, and emotionally retarded people could just march in and proclaim it reclaimed for Islam and the greater Arab world.

It is ludicrous, farcical.  Israel would destroy most of the Middle East before it would allow itself to be conquered by anyone.

But the thinking around this has not evolved at all in far too many minds in 7 decades, 7 decades in which the children of refugees lived their lives in tents, fed by charity, and unable to find work or anything like a productive, dignified life, all so that ugly minds could continue to nurture ludicrous and ugly dreams.

Often, the first step in needed change is the speaking aloud, in public, of clear and obvious, but unwanted truths.  Trump has done that.

Psychicide and virtue

In classic grump-eccentric style--which is to say in the style of a grown man who has carried far into his life unbearable wounds he cannot let go of or heal--I have taken to allowing myself to speak to myself when I am in private.  It's a lot like Freud's free association, and a method I've developed to allow my unconscious to literally speak.

One thing that has come out is that both of my parents watched the light fade from my eyes.  Whatever hope and spontaneous joy and innate creativity I was born with died at some point.  I became dull and listless, then angry for reasons that were unclear to me.

But it occurred to me that there should be a word for either failing to feed someone's light, and certainly for actively encouraging defeatism, failure, cynicism, and moral and emotional death.  Hence Psychicide, which seems to be unique to me.  Google comes up with nothing, although to me the idea seems obvious enough.

And as I ponder it, it occupies a unique place between homicide and suicide, because the root of the death can be, and usually is, a combination of Others (Sartre's les autres might here be apposite) and one's own being, as divided into a combative, self destructive component, and an unexpressed capacity to return to home and authentic goodness.

I was watching an interview with the killer they called the Iceman, and he loved to watch the light of life flicker and fade when he killed people, and loved that the last thing they saw was him.

There are people in this world who love this equally, but not as the result of physical murder.  It is the love of power, the root of the love of power.  When you have power, you can suppress the innate individuality of everyone who is subject to you.  You can lessen everyone else.  You can dim their light.  And in many cases, you can sap their will to live outright, which again is what I am calling Psychicide.

And I wanted to emphasize that true morality, true goodness, flows from an authentic and spontaneous, free sense of self.  As I have said before, the Tibetan Windhorse is a fantastic image.  It is a horse, running freely, with speed, for the love of movement, and a fantastically bright shining jewel on its back, spreading light wherever it goes.

The opposite, of course, is killing movement, killing freedom, killing the joy of movement, making everything dark and unclear, and destroying beauty, substantially all of which were, AND REMAIN, core objectives of Communists like George Soros.

If I were Trump, I would assign a group of highly intelligent and well funded people specifically to counter Soros and other well funded propaganda.

Far too many people are talking about human survival as a race of animals, as if our mere physical continuance is a major victory.  What I see is that if we do not retain the beauty we have evolved, it is all for naught.  There is no beauty in machines.  They are not alive, and cannot be.  Life is not a mechanical process: it is a spiritual process.

Clearly, you can mimic life, as you can mimic virtue, if I might complete my thought.  Many dead people do all the things that truly virtuous people do--or at least pretend to--but they mean none of it.  I was reading recently the story of a priest who seemingly--he was just convicted for it--raped and murdered a young and beautiful girl 50+ years ago, who made the mistake of being too Catholic.

Did him being a priest matter in the slightest?  But the case is worse: seemingly, local church officials, and local Catholic law enforcement officials were worried that a scandal might hurt Kennedy's election chances.  So this priest was sent to the same places they sent known pedophiles, to lay low for a time, then be reassigned somewhere.

Is there anything sacred about such a process?  Even if every sacrament, every Mass, was delivered correctly, is this something Jesus would recognize as his own?  Is this something God would proclaim holy or good?

Virtue is nearly always hidden.  It lies dormant in most.  Yes, most people have been habituated to doing things in certain ways.  Habit and courtesy intermingle, and we call the combination salutary when we recognize our particular habits in others.

But who are you is the deeper question.  What do you mean in the recesses of your heart?  Who would you be if you knew you could get away with anything?  My own feeling is that perhaps a third of the people out there are quite capable of murder.  There have been times I would have been quite capable of it.  I have felt that feeling in myself.  I still do, sometimes.  It would not pang my conscience a bit to put a gun to George Soros head and pull the trigger repeatedly, just to be sure.

In the end, I was killed.  I died.  My parents watched the light fade from my eyes.  I joined them in the darkness.  And my entire life path has been spent seeking, and slowly finding, resurrection.

I am not there yet.  I have many, many miles to go.  I'm not even at the end of the beginning.  I'm at the beginning.  But learning to walk again is a prerequisite to one's first step.  And to do that, you have to get off the ground, and learn to stand upright.  And you can only stand on your own two feet.  You cannot stand on those of anyone else.  Your path is your own.  Only you can travel it.  Only you can see it.  Far too many people give their lives away, because they fear the freedom they have been given as a gift, and far too many people are all to happy to take that life, because it gives them, for a time, the ability to pretend that they, too, are not neglecting their own way, their own path, their own destiny.

Edit: I did find a few instances of Psychecide.  My Greek is non-existent, so perhaps this is more faithful.  Still, I will stick with my neologism.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Green Tara

I've been giving some thought to getting a Thangka, and found these images of Tara: http://www.thangkapaintings.com/Content/Catalog/Browse/?CID=d3d9446802a44259755d38e6d163e820|5f5d

I read she is the most popular goddess in the Buddhist pantheon, and her description--click on detail on any of them for a more complete summary--sounds not that unlike Mother Mary.

What if focus on, meditation on, an image of perfect feminine compassion and wisdom is a method for dealing with maternal attachment issues?

And I would submit that the ideals of feminine and masculine represent real potential energies within each of us.  I do think psychological androgyny is clearly most healthy, but that is not the same as confusing the energies, conflating them, or denying their utility as ideals in human consciousness.

What myths do we still retain in our world, myths that mean something?  We have a propaganda of efficiency, which was called such by Jacques Ellul in the early 1960's, of which "hacking" is but the most recent manifestation.  We have of course residual religious sentiments, but they are under sustained and somewhat effective attack.

We have the myth of Science, as a quasi-omniscient God.  But this is an entirely masculine ideal.  It has no compassion, no nurturing, no love, no feeling.

We have the myth of Compassion, but it has in large measure been denuded of actual sentiment, if not sentimentality.  It is for practical purposes most often wedded to Science, in what to my view looks like a gay marriage.  Both are masculine, as implemented.  Compassion is not listening in the modern world, not when expressed politically, which is where the word is most often used.  Rousseau, who more or less directly called for mass murder, used the word often.

Where is there time to listen?  To feel honestly?  To love honestly?  Who embodies this for us?  Mother Teresa, perhaps, for a short time.  The Dalai Lama? 

Women, in our world, are much too eager to be bad men.  It may be that substantially all things men can do women can do.  But it is certainly the case that there are things women can do that men cannot hope to do as well.  They have natural strengths, such as empathy, which are not much valued in an industrial/information industrial economy.

We all need balancing.  We all need to believe in unconditional love.  We all need to believe there is a place for us, and the feminine is what creates and preserves those places.

People--here of course I mean Leftists--would not be in such a hurry to destroy everything they see if they felt they were in fact loved, that they did have a place, and that there was a sanctuary at the end of their day.   They lack the sacred feminine.

The Archetypal Feminine

The place of your mother within your consciousness, how the thought of her makes you feel, what images come to mind, what you associate with her memory and her presence--if she is still alive, or even her "relics" if she is not--define much of who you are.

It occurred to me that throughout history not all homes have been happy.  Not all wives have been glad to be with their husbands, or happy to bear their children.  Not all children have been loved, and many resented silently and even hated.  I see no reason not to believe this has always been so.

Here, though, is a to-me-interesting-thought (TMIT): what if the role of archetypal feminine, of the compassionate goddess, the female angel, the Virgin Mary, serves to complement and improve the images and feelings which came with childhood for the individuals within that society?

Can we not posit that honest myth, used properly, completes pictures which are incomplete, in addition to presenting ideals, and expressing unpleasantness otherwise not subject to public examination?

I have my own issues, obviously--which I have discussed too much, almost certainly, although if it does me good, and it has, it obviously isn't too much--but I'm not the only one.  This is an interesting thought, which springs from a very specific set of intrapsychic events I choose not to discuss here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jerusalem

I think announcement will simply bring into the foreground, into the light, the massive underlying anti-Semitism--the racism, to be clear, the real, old school fertile ground from which mass murders and judicial injustice have long proceeded--which causes people to hate Israel so much.

There is no just reason to hate Trump the way he is hated.  He has simply brought the underlying hate--which sought and often found plausible covers behind which to hide--into the light.

Likewise, what drives Israel hatred is not love for the so-called "Palestinians"--who in reality are refugees, the children of refugees, and the grandchildren of refugees, from what I have taken to calling the 1948 War of Israeli Survival, who all should have been permanently resettled long, long ago--but rather hatred of Jews.

Real racism still exists in this world.  It is clearly and pervasively tolerated by those most eager to accuse everyone but themselves of this particular crime, and quite frequently practiced outright.  If you hate white people, you are a racist.  If you hate Jews--even if you are a Jew--then you are a racist.

What I see is that so much of this is simply cover for underlying, psychodynamically driven rage, which is then easily harnessed--and indeed amplified and fed--by political cynics and opportunists, for their own greedy, power mongering, selfish agendas.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Maternal bonding

I am just going to throw this idea out here.  I don't know how to evaluate it.

What if Leftwing ideology has its deep psychodynamic roots in poor maternal bonding? 

Here is my logic.  At its root, and since at least the French Revolution, and following succession of tyrannies, the idea has been to overthrow everything that is, and replace it with something new.

Psychodynamically, what--or here, who--connects you with your past and culture in the deepest sense?  Your mother. Your father might teach you concepts like patriotism and honor and courage, if you are a man, but your mother teaches you who you are.  She tells you, through her behavior and bonding, whether or not you belong.

And if you can find no means to belong, revolution as an abstraction to replace failed emotional attachment would or could come to be very emotionally logical, even life-saving, which would explain the fanaticism which often--usually or even always might be more accurate--accompanies this form of psychopathology.

And I want to be clear: differing, true statements can be made about the management of human affairs.  Differing political forms can "work", depending on how we define that term. I do not want to critique dogmatism in a dogmatic spirit.

What I am targeting is delusional politics, which seeks a utopia which is made impossible by the very blindness which occasions the quest.

Political post

I posted this somewhere on the internet, and thought it worth sharing here. 

I would simply submit, in an effort to help you understand "the other side" (which is of course as heterogeneous as your own), that there are vital differences between CORPORATE tax rates, and INDIVIDUAL income tax rates. 

My personal belief is that corporate rates should be zero, because everyone working there is already taxed. Even the CEO's can't shelter ordinary income in the places where they do business, but it makes vastly more sense for corporations to do business where they keep more of their profit. 

Profit is the motive for doing, and substantially everything you see or use every day was built for profit. This would include your car, your computer, your cell phone, the medical devices your doctor uses, the coffee you drink, and even the roads you drive and bridges you use were paid for with taxes paid by people seeking profit. 

The second point I would make is that from my perspective, Single Payer equals Zero Choice healthcare. I get assigned the doctor some bureaucrat chooses for me. I know the literature says that I will get lots of choices, but we were also told on the front end of Obamacare that "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor", despite the fact that the bill itself, in the small print, said otherwise. And in point of fact, many people lost health insurance outright. 

Regardless, much of this comes down to trust. Do you trust government more than the free market? You obviously trust government. In my own case, I don't trust either, but I see free markets as a quick and easy way to fix problems--market demand creates business response--which are not present with government bureaucracies, which have not inherent incentive to be efficient, competent, or caring. Businesses are not caring either, but they want our money, and the only way they keep getting it is by providing good service.

And I will note, finally, that the monopolies so often feared are rarely seen. In fact, they are usually only achieved, and certainly only maintained, when government supports them. In my view, the reason the biggest health insurers supported Obamacare was to squeeze their competition out of the market, something which has happened, although regulators have prevented some of the largest proposed consolidations from happening. And I will end by asking: are you aware that most Medicare plans are administered, for profit, by the largest health insurance providers, like United Health Group?