Sunday, March 31, 2019

Behavioral Obsolesence


Through millions of years of primate evolution, our nervous systems and the neuro-transmitters in our brains are hard-wired to choose particular members of our species as the "alpha" males and females, the preferred ones who got their choice of food and mates. Our bodies and brains were shaped by this basic principle of survival of the fittest: let the animals battle it out, and to the victor goes the right to pass on their genes. We're very much the same as most other mammals this way. So naturally, over time, those who are the best at climbing the hierarchy, those whose neurology is capable of navigating a centralized system of status and rank, pass this inherent instinct onto their children.

This divide continues today, taking many forms, but none more obvious than the separation between haves and have nots, between the wealthy elite and the poor of the lower class. Without enough time for our biology to evolve out of this particular behavior, our governments and corporations and organizations of all kinds still fall into this same hierarchic tendency that was formed in the jungle by our ancestors.

But that's not where or how most of us live these days. Today, we’ve developed the unique ability as a species to alter our world through culture and technology. By creating communities that punish violence through exile from the tribe (prison) or death, we’ve continually driven those with such genetic proclivities out of our gene pool. Similarly, by living in less fearful conditions we have more time for creativity and innovation, and we’ve created fields of science and technology that can tell us how our animal bodies function and therefore how to fine-tune them so that we are no longer victims to the useless or destructive remnants of evolution.

For this reason we are now facing a crisis in our contemporary world. Our ancestral behavior of limiting power to the “alphas” of our society is no longer necessary, but may actually be destructive to the point of potentially driving us into extinction. It might have once been the case that kings and government leaders had the luxury of information that the peasants and even other members of the elite were blind to. With low literacy, books that were prohibitively expensive, and slow communication requiring interpersonal interaction and horse-delivered letters, it made sense that we had a chain of command, a hierarchical system that ensured information could accumulate to someone capable of making a decision while the rest of the community focused on growing food.

Now we have smartphones and the internet. The average citizen is just as informed, if not more so, than many or most of our leaders. And we’re not struggling to pass on our genes anymore, so having a competitive hierarchy for the best mates is no longer necessary. Most people living in developed nations aren’t struggling to get food to survive. Instead, one of the biggest problems in America is overeating, as our obesity rate is over 70% and rising.

Our government has shown an inability to adjust in the same way, as the mere existence of Facebook and Twitter as new communication mediums have created a slew of unexpected socio-political propaganda, inciting high levels of hate crimes, civil unrest, and tension among the masses. Not surprisingly, the masses don’t feel represented, largely because votes are being funneled through a broken government controlled by corrupt politicians. A system that moves at a crawl, living in the bureaucratic jungle-mentality of the past like apes battling for power, when the rest of us can see right through the crap thanks to our technological prowess.

We now can see the failures of our government clearly; our technology has allowed us to see the blatant incompetence and corruption, and we’re furious that even when it’s this broken it can still manage to stay so powerful and resistant to the change the majority of us are fighting for. 


So what can we do about it?          - tomorrow's blog -

Saturday, March 30, 2019

the Enduring Quest

All of the enduring stories of the world are journeys. Whether of Don Quixote or Ulysses, the greatest stories are of a person who goes on a quest to measure himself/herself against the challenges and adversity of the world. I am no longer a young man. I have journeyed far, long jousting with my own windmills. I guess I identify with Don Quixote because, as an older man, he continued his quest with unrelenting zeal and passion, as do I. The thing about heroes on a quest is that while they may not outlive the burning out of the sun, they will outlive the brief candle of their own lives.

Friday, March 29, 2019

3rd Planet 'Blues'


Slaves work. Royals ride. Traitors lurk. Children hide.
Doctors don’t. Lawyers feed. Bankers tax. People bleed.
Teachers can't. Churches take. Preachers prey. Vultures wait.
Evil festered. Good buried. Coup hidden. Cults married.
 
Police force. Players play. Experts aren’t. Peasants pay.
Trillions stole. Ghouls cheat. Lives sold. Crimes repeat.
Student loan. Student slave. Banker owned. Debt to grave.
Models stuffed. Clowns drown. Children cuffed. Bodies found.

Heads turned 'not to see' kids in cages. Agony.
Kids stolen, congress saw, two-year-life-spans, swallowed raw.
Video, too sick to see. 'Need to know' epiphany.

Minors forced. Trials fixed. Lies endorsed. Parents tricked.
Crowds shot. Shooters drugged. Black ops. Truth mugged.
Kids murdered. Witness killed. Victims tried. Parents billed.

Babies ripped. Mothers lost. Souls gripped. Cosmic cost.
Baby's born. Baby smiles. Baby's killed. Parts piled.

Voters duped. Stooges picked. Ballots rigged. Public tricked.
Pensions stole. Unions hacked. Owners sold. Workers sacked.
Labor conned. Jobs shipped. Wages gone. Country stripped.

Micheal murdered. Seth shot. Justice slaughtered. Law's not.

Fighters quit. Exits stalled. Two hit. Three fall.

Freedom Coming. Peace Beginning. Justice Rising. POTUS Winning!


credit: think500

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thinking Out Loud


What were our minds made for? Sometimes I think we've all been given the wrong users manual. Our minds don't seem to have evolved to think. Not really. We were just not designed to be introspective; attempting to be pensive seems to mostly end up being counterproductive. It would be so much easier for us if we didn't think so much about things.

Imagine our ancestors in the bush - a hard-thinking progenitor likely would have been eaten by a lion while his non-thinking but faster-reacting cousin would have sensibly run for cover without having to think about it. Thinking takes up a lot of time, and is generally a waste of energy. Our predecessors likely spent more than a hundred million years as non-thinking mammals. While we pride ourselves today on our ability to use our brains as the successful species that we are, for the most part we do so mostly on subjects too minuscule or peripheral to really matter. If you think about it, we do a lot less thinking than we think we do; maybe that's a good thing, really!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

the Oumuamua Enigma


I was trained to think of the world in scientific terms. While looking for evidence to draw conclusions I generally subscribe to the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: "... when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." That being said, the first evidence for an extraterrestrial technology may have recently passed by the Earth a bit more than a year ago. The object was dubbed Oumuamua by the Pan-STARRS collaboration which spotted it on an orbit originating from outside our Solar System.

Since its discovery, Oumuamua showed unusual features. These features make Oumuamua weird, belonging to a class of objects never seen before. Based on its reflection of sunlight, it was inferred to be much more elongated or flattened than any known asteroid or comet in the Solar System. We do not have an image of it like the artist rendition above. The information about its shape stems from the variation in reflected sunlight as it spins. Even a thin sheet that is folded as an umbrella might appear from a distance similar to a rotating cigar based on the variation of reflected sunlight.

Moreover, Oumuamua's motion indicated that it originated outside the Solar System from the so-called “Local Standard of Rest" (obtained by averaging the random motions of all nearby stars), with less than one in 500 nearby stars being as slow in that frame.

But most intriguing was the fact that its trajectory deviated from that expected based on the Sun’s gravitational force. Such a deviation could be caused through a rocket effect from cometary outgassing (due to the vaporization of ice by heating from the Sun), but no cometary tail had been seen around Oumuamua. Moreover, cometary outgassing would have produced a variation in its rotation period, which was not detected. If not cometary outgassing, what could be causing the excess acceleration of Oumuamua?

It is proposed that the peculiar acceleration of Oumuamua is caused by the push (not heating) of radiation from the Sun. In order for sunlight to account for the observed acceleration, Oumuamua needs to be less than a millimeter thick but tens of meters in size. A pancake-like geometry was previously suggested to explain the unusual tumbling motion of Oumuamua as it spins. These inferred dimensions are unusual for rocks but we do not know whether Oumuamua is a conventional asteroid or comet since we do not have an image of it. It is quite conceivable that a thin object of the required dimensions could survive its journey through the entire Milky Way galaxy unharmed by collisions with atoms or dust particles in interstellar space. It is not known how long its journey has been.

If so, what is the origin of Oumuamua? One possibility is that the object is a light-sail floating in interstellar space into which the Solar System ran, like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean. A light-sail is a sail pushed forward as it reflects light. Indeed, the Spitzer telescope detected no thermal emission from Oumuamua, indicating that its surface is cold and highly reflective. If the reflectivity is high, the inferred size of the object drops from a few hundreds of meters (which was deduced based on the albedo of rock) to a few tens of meters.

It is unclear whether Oumuamua might be a defunct technological debris of equipment that is not operational any more even if it is still functional. Radio observatories failed to detect transmission from it at a power level higher than a tenth of a single cell phone.

If Oumuamua originated from a population of similar objects on random trajectories, its discovery requires the production of a thousand trillion such objects per star in the Milky Way. This number exceeds considerably theoretical expectations for asteroids. However, the inferred abundance could be reduced considerably if Oumuamua was on a reconnaissance mission.

Looking ahead, we should search for other interstellar objects in the sky. Like beachcombing, examining shells swept ashore from the ocean, not all shells are the same, and similarly only a fraction of the interstellar objects might be technological debris of alien civilizations. But we should examine anything that enters the Solar System from interstellar space in order to infer the true nature of Oumuamua or other objects of its mysterious population.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Q Post 2987

6 March 2019

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan


Never, in our history, has a communications project such as this taken place.
>Return Power Back to the People
>Truth, Transparency, and Equal Justice Under the Law.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (& women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men (& Women), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

WWG1WGA

Q

Monday, March 25, 2019

the Immigration Crisis


Illegal immigration, and the societal changes it will bring with it, is more than an economic issue, a public health issue, a law enforcement issue, or even a national security problem; it is an existential threat to the survival of the United States as a constitutional republic. The question is frustratingly repeated how Congress can continue to ignore this obvious assault on our national sovereignty and the fact that a majority of Americans favor the wall as the best means to secure our national security. In my opinion, Congress will continue to ignore the immigration crises as long as the majority of its members choose to believe that President Trump is a greater existential threat to their existence and grip on power than are the immigrants to the nation's security and continued existence.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

MKUltra - Origin of the Deep State???


The C.I.A., which began with relocated Nazis from Operation Paper Clip after World War II, is believed by some to control most of the wealthy people and estates throughout the United States. This was successfully accomplished after WWII through the practice of psychiatry, which was essentially a Nazi mind control science developed in Hitler's Germany. Psychiatrists, especially early on, were indoctrinated in school into secret societies and networks that, while brain washing them, paid them when entering practice to carry out hideous criminal acts and gross acts of human rights violations to serve the interests of the C.I.A.. The wealthy have always been heavily targeted by the C.I.A. through these criminal psychiatric psychopathic networks . Some of the perpetrators are actually on the C.I.A. payroll as active members of these networks. These networks were collectively entitled MKUltra (MK being short for Mind Control in German).

While the C.I.A. insists the program was abandoned in 1973, many believe it continues to control the powerful elite members of society and Hollywood while operating out of sight of public purview. Do the actions and words of many of our government leaders and Hollywood entertainers reflect the objectives of the C.I.A.? Are most of the powerful people in business, government, and entertainment merely helpless proxies for a Cabal overlord with a controlling agenda? Is this the real origin of the so-called Deep State and its proliferation?

The following extract from Wikipedia traces of history of MKUltra in the United States:

"Project MKUltra, also called the CIA mind control program, is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency—and which were, at times, illegal. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations in order to weaken the individual and force confessions through mind control. The project was organized through the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA and coordinated with the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories.

"The operation was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967, and recorded to be halted in 1973. There remains controversy over whether this operation ever ended, or continues presently. The program engaged in many illegal activities, including the use of U.S. and Canadian citizens as its unwitting test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate people's mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse (including the sexual abuse of children), and other forms of torture.

"The scope of Project MKUltra was broad with research undertaken at 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies. The CIA operated through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions were aware of the CIA's involvement.

"Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the United States Congress and Gerald Ford's United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files to be destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms's destruction order. In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKUltra which led to Senate hearings later that year. Some surviving information regarding MKUltra was declassified in July 2001. In December 2018, declassified documents included a letter to an unidentified doctor discussing work on six dogs made to run, turn and stop via remote control and brain implants.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Black Swans


The Urban Dictionary defines a black swan as an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable and results in massive consequences. A black swan is unpredictable, carries massive impact, and after the fact, we make up an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable than it actually was. The success of Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are all contemporary examples of black swans. So was 9/11... and 1914 and Hitler and the fall of the Berlin Wall and Islamic fundamentalism and of market crash of 1987. Nations dissolve into anarchy, wars start, unknown people suddenly become famous - all examples of black swans. In fact, black swans can be said to underlie nearly everything about our world, from the daily events of our lives to the formation of entirely new ideologies, yet we remain largely blind to their random occurrence.

Before the New World was discovered by the Old World everyone knew and accepted that all swans were white. When ornithologists spotted their first black swan in Australia they were shocked. An unassailable, completely authenticated belief, confirmed by observation for thousands of years, was invalidated by the confirmed sighting of the first black swan. If there is a lesson in this it is that it illustrates the severe limitation to our learned knowledge that is strictly derived from observation and experience; and that all knowledge, no matter how solidly believed and confirmed, remains fragile.

Count the significant events, the tech advances, and inventions of convenience that you have experienced since you were born. Compare them to what was forecast, predicted by the "experts". How many of these sprung up out of an anticipated plan or notion? Most of the events in our lives that have profound and lasting impact were not predicted. They are Black Swans. Since very little is the result of design and planning, perhaps we all need to rely less on managed top-down planning and focus more of our energies on spontaneous tinkering and preparedness for the unexpected. The social science followers of both Karl Marx and Adam Smith fail to understand that the reason free markets and a free society work so well is because they allow people to be lucky, thanks to serendipitous trial and error, not by issuing rewards for skill. We should all tinker more and not focus so much on what we think we know, always preparing for the random unpredictability of the world we live in.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Activating the Imaginative Potential


“True creativity doesn’t just make things; it feeds what feeds life. In modern culture where people are no longer initiated, the spirit goes unfed. To be seen, the uninitiated create insane things, some destructive to life, to feel visible and powerful. These creations are touted as the real world. They are actually forms of untutored grief signaling a longing for the true reality of village togetherness.”    Martín Prechtel, Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, p.232

We need to value the power of our own creativity, and to understand that we are always creating the reality we experience, whether we are aware of it or not. The more conscious we are of our creative power, the more we can use it to dream up a world we want to live in; to orchestrate our lives with the same skill and precision as a highly trained orchestral conductor.

We need to build a network of communities where we can study the raw matter of our cultural grief, where we can learn to compost it, and use it to grow new life, where we can discover how to create the “village togetherness” we all long for. We need spaces where we can experiment with and test out our powers of dreaming, encountering, understanding and interacting with the dreamlike nature of reality. We need spaces where we can build the self-confidence and courage that a “life artist” needs. We need public forums where our “life-art” is seen and honored. And all this needs to happen in a large enough group of people for our actions to hold weight, gather momentum and give courage to others.

As Paul Levy writes: “The universe is a collectively shared dream that is too seemingly dense and solidified for any one person’s change in perspective to transform, but when a critical mass of people get into alignment and consciously put together what I call our “sacred power of dreaming” (our innate power to dream the universe into materialization), we can, literally, change the (waking) dream we are having.”

This is why it is so vital to build communities of trust – we will not be able to change the reality we are currently experiencing alone. However, by cooperating with others we will find the power to co-create paradise on Earth: a reality in which war and violence will be completely unthinkable, where we honor and respect the Earth as the sacred life giver it is, where we are able to fully use the creative potential that lies coiled within each of us. The field-creating power of a group of people can both activate our imaginative potential and provide the vessel in which to create the life we long for.

Paying attention to our powers of dreaming is a simple first step towards comprehending the dreamlike nature of reality, as even those of us who believe that we are “not artistic” still dream each and every night, effortlessly creating symbols and stories that resonate through and inform us, if we take the time to remember and listen to them.

As Prechtel goes on to say, “dreams read life back to us like a storyteller” and as such, can be excellent and often uncanny guides in life. I’m sure all of us have had the experience of a dream that seems wiser than we are, a dream that gives an answer to a problem, or that seems to foretell future events.

What we think, say and do alters the whole, guiding a new form of reality into being in each and every moment. Once we realize this, our everyday lives become imbued with a new sense of purpose and responsibility. We must each consider carefully how we want to exist in this world. It’s much easier to believe that we are powerless; then we can escape any sense of responsibility. Victimhood is much more comfortable than agency. But if we want to realize the role human beings can play in global transformation, we must be willing to step into agency. We must understand that our inherent creative powers are a divine gift. We’ve been given the capacity to make drastic alterations to the world – in the natural environment, in human society, perhaps even to outer space. Now we must choose whether we want to use these gifts in service of life or continue using them against it—and so push ourselves off the brink of abyss.

Let’s choose to use the events of the world around us, without judgment, to actualize an expansion of consciousness, to shine a light deep into the roots of our “untutored grief,” and begin to dream into our potential as deeply creative beings with the ability to create the reality of togetherness that we all long for.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sheep's Guide to Manipulative Control


When I look up at the sky and see contrails zigzagging to the horizon, when I read the ingredient label of processed foods, when I consider what makes the awful taste in public water supplies, and think about the adverse side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, electronic equipment, and microwave towers, I cannot help but imagine there is a greater, dark agenda behind exposing the public to electromagnetic waves and chemicals that may be adverse to our well-being,

Is there a link between the chemicals and electromagnetic fields we are exposed to in our world and some sort of subversive mind control, brainwashing objective?

Is big pharma involved to provide the needed chemicals? Big Pharma may be preparing the human biology with its chemicals to maximize our docility and receptiveness to the subsequent phases of a mass mind control process. It may be Big Pharma that is the mean through which the nefarious powers that be - Big Brother - are chemically preparing the whole planet to become sheep. Thereafter, the Education System, the Entertainment Industry, and Big Tech are the means through which this now optimized collective human field is programmed and controlled to generate the targeted social and mental behavior allowing them to remain in complete control. Controlling us and humiliating us with tech may have been their modus operandi for thousands of years.

There is a U.S. patent (#US6506148B2) where we can begin to gain insight into exactly how they can manipulate our nervous systems using electromagnetic fields from our computer and television monitors to effectively generate our thoughts, manipulating them to allow them to control our minds. With this patent, physiological effects have been observed in human subjects in response to stimulation of the skin with weak electromagnetic fields that are pulsed with certain frequencies near ½ Hz or 2.4 Hz, such as to excite a sensory resonance. Many computer monitors and TV tubes, when displaying pulsed images, emit pulsed electromagnetic fields of sufficient amplitudes to cause such excitation. It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set. For the latter, the image pulsing may be imbedded in the program material, or it may be overlaid by modulating a video stream, either as an RF signal or as a video signal. The image displayed on a computer monitor may be pulsed effectively by a simple computer program. For certain monitors, pulsed electromagnetic fields capable of exciting sensory resonances in nearby subjects may be generated even as the displayed images are pulsed with subliminal intensity.

Computer and TV monitors can be made to emit weak low-frequency electromagnetic fields merely by pulsing the intensity of displayed images. Experiments have shown that the ½ Hz sensory resonance can be excited in this manner in a subject near the monitor. The 2.4 Hz sensory resonance can also be excited in this fashion. Hence, a TV monitor or computer monitor can be used to manipulate the nervous system of nearby people.

The implementations of the invention are adapted to the source of video stream that drives the monitor, be it a computer program, a TV broadcast, a video tape or a digital video disc (DVD).

For a computer monitor, the image pulses can be produced by a suitable computer program. The pulse frequency may be controlled through keyboard input, so that the subject can tune to an individual sensory resonance frequency. The pulse amplitude can be controlled as well in this manner. A program written in Visual Basic(R) is particularly suitable for use on computers that run the Windows 95(R) or Windows 98(R) operating system. The structure of such a program is described. Production of periodic pulses requires an accurate timing procedure. Such a procedure is constructed from the GetTimeCount function available in the Application Program Interface (API) of the Windows operating system, together with an extrapolation procedure that improves the timing accuracy.

Pulse variability can be introduced through software, for the purpose of thwarting habituation of the nervous system to the field stimulation, or when the precise resonance frequency is not known. The variability may be a pseudo-random variation within a narrow interval, or it can take the form of a frequency or amplitude sweep in time. The pulse variability may be under control of the subject.

The program that causes a monitor to display a pulsing image may be run on a remote computer that is connected to the user computer by a link; the latter may partly belong to a network, which may be the Internet.

For a TV monitor, the image pulsing may be inherent in the video stream as it flows from the video source, or else the stream may be modulated such as to overlay the pulsing. In the first case, a live TV broadcast can be arranged to have the feature imbedded simply by slightly pulsing the illumination of the scene that is being broadcast. This method can of course also be used in making movies and recording video tapes and DVDs.

Video tapes can be edited such as to overlay the pulsing by means of modulating hardware. A simple modulator is discussed wherein the luminance signal of composite video is pulsed without affecting the chroma signal. The same effect may be introduced at the consumer end, by modulating the video stream that is produced by the video source. A DVD can be edited through software, by introducing pulse-like variations in the digital RGB signals. Image intensity pulses can be overlaid onto the analog component video output of a DVD player by modulating the luminance signal component. Before entering the TV set, a television signal can be modulated such as to cause pulsing of the image intensity by means of a variable delay line that is connected to a pulse generator.

Certain monitors can emit electromagnetic field pulses that excite a sensory resonance in a nearby subject, through image pulses that are so weak as to be subliminal. This is unfortunate since it opens a way for mischievous application of the invention, whereby people are exposed unknowingly to manipulation of their nervous systems for someone else's purposes. Such application would be unethical and is of course not advocated. It is mentioned here in order to alert the public to the possibility of covert abuse that may occur while being online, or while watching TV, a video, or a DVD.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Re-Greening the Planet


The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and the data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India.

This surprising new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world's biggest populations are leading the improvement in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries. In 2017 alone, India broke its own world record for the most trees planted after volunteers gathered to plant 66 million saplings in just 12 hours.

The greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s, which amounts to a 5% increase.

"China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet's land area covered in vegetation, a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation," said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University.

China's outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there and 82% of the greening seen in India comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.

The land area used to grow crops - more than 770,000 square miles - is comparable in China and India and it has not changed much since the early 2000s; yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits, and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.

How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.

"But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models," Nemani said. "This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action."

The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world, which is dominated by India and China, does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain, but overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings.

"Once people realize there's a problem, they tend to fix it," he said. "In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn't good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That's what we see in the satellite data."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

the Mystery of DIA


Today is the 25th Anniversary of the commemoration of Denver International Airport. It is a day I reflect back upon with fond memories, as I was there, on Day 1, to help open the world's second largest airport. Working for a ground transportation company based in Vail, Colorado, that had a dispatch office at the terminal, it would be a place I would frequent daily as a part of my employment, but also a place that would stir a growing curiosity within me over the past quarter century.

I have sat in front of its strange murals for hours waiting for flights since I first worked there, wondering about their dark symbolism and what was behind it.

The marker pictured was set above a time capsule at the airport's dedication 25 years ago. Its contents were not to be unsealed for one hundred years by decree of the New World Airport Commission, an overseeing body that somehow never existed. On wonders what contents future Denverites will witness when the capsule is opened in 2094.

The airport covers 53 square miles of sprawling, what was virtually empty land. As you approach it by car, you notice two things. The first are the large, rolling hills that surround the airport. But, in fact, they are not hills. The area was fairly flat before the airport was built. The hills are actually mounds that formed when the area was excavated during construction.

Over 110 million cubic yards of earth were removed from the ground (enough to cover 32 city blocks to a depth of one-quarter mile if dumped into a single pile) in order to build the tunnels and the concourses. That amount of earth far exceeds the size of the airport's construction.

Conspiracy theories abound, but the fact remains: all that unearthed dirt had to come from somewhere beneath the airport. Whistleblowers report a bunker the size of a city beneath the airport complex. It was built to be a place of retreat for the elite powers that be at the time of some future planned catastrophic event. Some say the CIA used it for data storage; some say the military is involved; and some say it was destroyed by forces counter to the power elite.

Perhaps we will never know, but something mysterious is hidden there, right out in the open. From the demon blue stallion statue named Blucifer that greets you as you approach the airport - to the dark murals painted within - to the airport's design from above in the shape of a swastika, a clandestine message awaits our description.

Monday, March 18, 2019

On Living in Zen

by Alan Watts

"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone."

"Problems that remain persistently insoluable should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way."

"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax and float."

"If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging, but letting go."

"A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily."

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."

"The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless."

"Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command."

"When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us."

"Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present."

"Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations."

"We don not come into thsi world, we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves", the universe "peoples". Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe."

Sunday, March 17, 2019

On Who You Truly Are

by Alan Watts

"Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you are. In our culture, of course, they'll say you're crazy and you're blasphemous, and they'll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However, if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, 'My goodness, I've just discovered that I'm God', they'll laugh and say, 'Oh, congratulations, at last you found out'."

"Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know."

"And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words... as if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning."

"How is it possible that a being with such jewels as the eys, such enchanted instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god?"

"What I am really saying is that you don't have to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all."

"It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it against the wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So, in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourseves as only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually - if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning - you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You're still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as - Mr. so-and-so, Ms. so-and-so, Mrs. so-and-so - I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that too. But we've learned to define ourselves separate from it."

Saturday, March 16, 2019

On the Meaning of Life and Death

 by Alan Watts

"The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves."

"You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing."

"If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don't like doing, which is stupid."

"Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes."

"Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up... now try to imagine what it is like to wake up having never gone to sleep."

Friday, March 15, 2019

Living in the Moment

by Alan Watts

"Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun."

"This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play."

"I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is."

"The art of living is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive in each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind wholly open and receptive."

"We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causitive past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, or will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions, and ideas."

"Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

How to Make Yourself a Better Person


As a young impressionable lad, I developed a fascination with Zen Buddhism for about three years, voraciously reading all that I could get my hands on, especially that written by Alan Watts, the British philosopher, writer, and speaker best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for Western audiences. Looking across at my book shelf, forty years later, I still have eight of his books within reach. Zen was not a legitimate academic pursuit of mine and was never meant to be. If I came away with any understanding of its wisdom, it was that if I really wanted to live a life in Zen, I must first burn all of my books on Zen. While I only symbolically acknowledged this high and mighty simple commandment, the message it was meant to convey has rooted deeply within me for a lifetime, even though I have not given much attention to the study of Zen since.

I still like to one of his books from time to time. His timeless words still ring fresh, sparkling as the condensation of dew on the petals of flowers at the break of dawn. One cannot really put a figure to how much another person has influenced their life story, but Alan Watts definitely caused a pivot somewhere in my early years. I have always been guided, methinks, by his thoughts on self-improvement, the topic of today's woo-woo.

Self-improvement would seem to be a natural impulse of any responsible human being. Since the self-improvement industry generates about $10 billion annually, a lot of us must be seeking improvement through therapy, mindfulness, reiki, and all manner of New Age fads. Watts believed all such efforts to be futile at best, saying that "human beings are largely engaged in wasting enormous amounts of psychic energy in attempting to do things that are quite impossible."

"All sensible people there begin in life with two fundamental presuppositions. You are not going to improve the world, and you are not going to improve yourself. You are, just what you are. And once you have accepted that situation, you have an enormous amount of energy available to do things that can be done. And everybody else looking at you from an external point of view will say, "My god, how much so-and-so has improved."

What he is saying is that the desire to improve yourself increases only your desire, which serves only to increase suffering, ultimately making things worse, not better.

To improve the way you are implies that there is some objective best way to be, the time and energy you've been putting into anxiety and beating yourself up can be used to simply do things with your life. Just live and don't worry about it.

For those around you, it may look like you are indeed showing improvement. But for you, it won't matter, because such is no longer a concern of yours when you are content with exactly who you are.

Everything is just Perfect. Just go and enjoy life. Never lose sight of Bobby McFerrin's little jingle: "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Very Zen.
Thank you, Bobby. Thank you, Alan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Healing the Collective Shadow of Humanity


A key lesson of meme theory is that when we are conscious of the memetic viruses we are less likely to adhere to them blindly. Conscious awareness is like sunlight through the cracks of a window. Thus, one of the starting points for healing is the simple act of ‘seeing wetiko’ in ourselves, in others, and in our cultural infrastructure. And once we see it, we can name it, which is critical because words and language are a central battleground.

We are all entangled in the unfolding of reality that is happening both to and through us. In place of traditional certainties and linear cause-and-effect logic, we can recast ourselves “as spontaneously responsive, moving, embodied living beings - within a reality of continuously intermingling, flowing lines or strands of unfolding, agential activity, in which nothing (no thing) exists in separation from anything else, a reality within which we are immersed both as participant agencies and to which we also owe significant aspects of our own natures.”

If wetiko exists, it is because it exists within us. It is also entangled with the broader superstructure, relationships, and choice architecture that we are confronted with within a neoliberal system on the brink of collapse.

Forbes reminds us that we cannot ‘fight’ wetiko in any traditional sense: “One of the tragic characteristics of the wetiko psychosis is that it spreads partly by resistance to it. That is, those who try to fight wetiko sometimes, in order to survive, adopt wetiko values. Thus, when they ‘win,’ they lose.” A lot of reform-based initiatives, from the sharing economy to micro-lending have succumbed to the co-optation and retaliation of wetiko capitalism.

However, once we are in the mode of seeing wetiko, we can hack the cultural systems that perpetuate its logic. It is not difficult to figure out where to start. Following the money usually leads us to the core pillars of wetiko machinery. Those of us that are within these structures, from the corporate media to philanthropy to banking to the UN, have access to the heart of the wetiko monster.

For those of us on the outside, we can organize our lives in radically new ways to undermine wetiko structures. The simple act of gifting undermines the neoliberal logic of commodification and extraction. Using alternative currencies undermines the debt–based money system. De-schooling and alternative education models can help decolonize and de-wetikoize the mind. Helping to create alternative communities outside the capitalist system supports the infrastructure for transition. And direct activism such as debt resistance can weaken the wetiko virus, if done with the right intention and state of consciousness.

By contracting new relationships with others, with Nature, and with ourselves, we can build a new complex of entanglements and thought-forms that are fused with post-wetiko, post-capitalist values. We have to simultaneously go within ourselves and the deep recesses of our own psyches while changing the structure of the system around us. Holding a structural perspective and an unapologetic critique of modern capitalism - i.e., holding a constellational worldview that sees all oppression as connected - serves our ability to see the alternatives, and indeed, all of us, as intricately connected.

Plato believed that ideas are the ‘eyes of the soul.’ Now that the veils obscuring wetiko are starting to be lifted, let us give birth to, and become, living antigens, embracing the polyculture of ideas that are challenging the monoculture of wetiko capitalism. Let us be pollinators of new memetic hives built on altruism, empathy, inter-connectedness, reverence, communality, and solidarity, defying the subject-object dualities of Cartesian/Newtonian/Enlightenment logic. Let us reclaim our birth right as sovereign entities, free of deluded beliefs in market systems, invisible hands, righteous greed, chosen ones, branded paraphernalia, techno utopianism and even the self-salvation of the New Age. Let us dance with thought-forms through a deeper understanding of ethics, knowing, and being, and the intimate awareness that our individual minds and bodies are a part of the collective battleground for the soul of humanity, and indeed, life on this planet. And let us re-embrace the ancient futures of our Indigenous ancestors that represent the only continuous line of living in symbiosis with Mother Nature. The dissolution of wetiko will be as much about remembering as it will be about creation.

Adapted from Kosmos, a Journal for Global Transformation

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

the Nature of Cultural Infection


When Western anthropologists first started to study wetiko, they believed it to be only a disease of the individual and a literal form of flesh-eating cannibalism. On both counts, as discussed, their understanding was, if not wrong, certainly limited. They did, however, accurately isolate two traits that are relevant for thinking about cultures: (1) the initial act, even when driven by necessity, creates a residual, unnatural desire for more; and (2) the host carrier, which they called the ‘victim,’ ended up with an ‘icy heart’ - i.e., their ability for empathy and compassion was amputated.

The reader can probably already sense from the two traits mentioned above are the wetiko nature of modern capitalism. Its insatiable hunger for finite resources; its disregard for the pain of groups and cultures it consumes; its belief in consumption as savior; its overriding obsession with its own material growth; and its viral spread across the surface of the planet.

It is wholly accurate to describe neoliberal capitalism as cannibalizing life on this planet. It is not the only truth - capitalism has also facilitated an explosion of human life and ingenuity - but when taken as a whole, capitalism is certainly eating through the life-force of this planet in service of its own growth.

Of course, capitalism is a human conception and so we can also say that we are phenomenal hosts of the wetiko mind virus. To understand what makes us such, it is useful to consider a couple of the traits that guide the evolution of human cultures.

We have decades of evidence from social science describing just what highly contextual beings we are. Almost all aspects of our behavior, including our moral judgments and limits, are significantly shaped in response to the cultural signifiers that surround us. The Good Samaritan studies, for example, show that even when people are primed with the idea of altruism, they will walk by others in need when they are in a rush or some other contextual variable changes. And the infamous Stanley Milgram experiments show how a large majority of people are capable of shocking another human to a point they know can cause death simply because an authority figure in a white lab coat insists they do so.

We really are products of our environment, and so it should be taken as inevitable that those who live in a wetiko culture will manifest, to one degree or other, wetiko beliefs and behaviors. Looking through the broader contextual lens, we must also account for the self-perpetuating nature of complex systems. Any living network that becomes sufficiently complex will become self-organizing, and from that point on will demonstrate an instinct to survive. In practical terms, this means that it will distribute its resources to support behavior that best mimics its own logic and ensures its survival.

In other words, any system that is sufficiently infected by wetiko logic will reward cannibalistic behavior. Or, in Jack Forbes’ evocative language, “Those who squirm upwards [in a wetiko system] are, or become, wetiko, and they only perpetuate the system of corruption or oppression. Thus the communist leaders in the Soviet Union under Stalin were at least as vicious, deceitful and exploitative as their czarist predecessors. They obtained ‘power’ without changing their wetiko culture.”

This ensures that the essential logic of cultures spreads down through generations as well as across them. And it explains why they self-organize resources to maintain a high degree of continuity in distributions of power, when those distributions efficiently serve their survival and growth. When this continuity is interrupted or broken, revolutions occur and the system is put under threat.

However, as the above quote suggests, the disruption must happen at the right level. Merely trading one wetiko for another at the top of an otherwise unchanged wetiko infrastructure (as in the case of Stalin replacing the czars or, more contemporarily, Obama replacing Bush) is largely pointless. At best, it might result in the softening of the cruelest edges of a wetiko machine. At worse, it does nothing except distract us from seeing the true infection.

The question, then, for anyone interested in excising the wetiko infection from a culture is, where is it? In one respect, because it is a psychic phenomenon that lives in potential in all of us, it is non-local. But this, though ultimately important to understand, is not the whole truth. It is also true that there is a conceptual place where the most powerful wetiko logic is held, and that, at least in theory, makes it vulnerable.

In the same way that a colony of bees will instinctively house its queen in the deepest chambers of the hive, so a complex adaptive system buries its most important operating logic furthest from the forces that can challenge them. This means two things: first, it means siting the logic in the deep rules that govern the whole. Not just this national economy or that, this government or that, but the mother system - the global operating system. And second, it means making these rules feel as intractable and inevitable as possible.

So what is this deep logic of the global operating system? It comes in two parts. First, there is the ultimate purpose, which we might call the Prime Directive, which is to increase capital. We often dress this up in a narrative that says capital generation is not the end but the means, the engine of progress. This makes the idea of dethroning it feel dangerous and even contrary to common sense. But the truth is, we have created a system that artificially treats money as sacred. At this point in capitalism’s history, life is controlled by, more than it controls, the forces of capital. The clue is really in the name. But if you need further proof, look no further than how we define and measure progress: GDP. More on that below.

Then, there is the logic for how we, the living components of this system, should behave, which we would summarize with the following epithet: Selfishness is rational and rationality is everything; therefore selfishness is everything. This dictates that if we all prioritize ourselves and maximize our own material wealth, an invisible hand (ah, what a seductive meme!) will create an equilibrium state and life everywhere will be made better. We are pitted against each other in a form of distributed fascism where we cocoon ourselves in the immediate problems of our own circumstances and consume what we can. We then couch this behavior in the benign language of family matters, national interests, job creation, GDP growth, and other upstanding endeavors.

Put these two parts of the puzzle together and it’s easy to see why the banker who generates excess capital receives vast rewards and is labelled ‘productive’ and ‘successful,’ almost regardless of the damage s/he causes. Those who are less ‘successful’ at producing excess capital, meanwhile, are rewarded far less, regardless of the life-affirming good they may be doing. Nurses, mothers, teachers, journalists, activists, scientists—all receive far less reward because they are less efficient at obeying the Prime Directive and may even be countermanding the ‘self-interest’ operating principle. And as for those who are actually poor - well, they are effortlessly labelled not just as practical but also moral failures.

This infection is so far advanced that the system now requires exponential capital growth. The World Bank tells us that we have to grow the global economy by at least 3 percent per year to avoid recession. Let’s think about what this means. Global GDP in 2014 was roughly USD $78 trillion. We grew that pie by 2.4% in 2015, which resulted in the commodification and subsequent consumption of roughly another $2 trillion in human labor and natural resources. That’s roughly the size of the entire global economy in 1970. It took us from the dawn of civilization to 1970 to reach $2 trillion in global GDP, and now we need that just in the differential so the entire house of cards doesn’t crumble. In order to achieve this rate of growth year-on-year, we are destroying our planet, ensuring mass species extinction, and displacing millions of our brothers and sisters (who we commonly refer to as ‘poor people’) from around the world.

So when people tell us that the market knows best, or technology will save us, or philanthro-capitalism will redistribute opportunities, we have to understand that all of these seemingly common sense truisms are embedded in a broader operating system, a wetikonomy, with all that that means. And the more they are presented as ‘unchangeable,’ the more often we’re told, ‘there is no alternative,’ the more we should question. There is actually a beautiful irony in the fact that, when we know what we’re up against, such statements are our signposts for where to look.

It is not that we should be against markets, technology, or philanthropy - they can all be wonderful, in the right context - but we should be against how they are being used as alibis to excuse the insanity of the wetiko paradigm that they are inseparable from. We are reminded of Jack Forbes’ heavy words; “It is not logical to allow the wetikos to carry out their evil acts and then to accept their assessment of the nature of human life. For after all, the wetiko possess a bias created by their own evil lives, by their own amoral or immoral behavior. And too, if I am correct, they were, and are, also insane.”

Adapted from Kosmos, a Journal for Global Transformation

Monday, March 11, 2019

the Cannibal Within


What if you learned that humanity is being driven to the brink of extinction by an illness? That all the poverty, the climate devastation, the perpetual war, and consumption fetishism we see all around us have roots in a mass psychological infection? What if we went on to say that this infection is not just highly communicable but also self-replicating, according to the laws of cultural evolution, and that it remains so clandestine in our psyches that most hosts will, as a condition of their infected state, vehemently deny that they are infected? What if we then told you that this ‘mind virus’ can be described as a form of cannibalism. Yes, cannibalism. Not necessarily in the literal flesh-eating sense but rather the idea of consuming others—human and non-human—as a means of securing personal wealth and supremacy.

You may dismiss this line of thinking as New Age woo-woo or, worse, a lefty conspiracy theory. But this approach of viewing the transmission of ideas as a key determinant of the emergent reality is increasingly validated by various branches of science, including evolutionary theory, quantum physics, cognitive linguistics, and epigenetics.

The history of this infection is long, strange, and dark. But it leads to hope.

Many spiritual traditions, including Buddhism, Sufism (the mystical branch of Islam), Taoism, Gnosticism, as well as many Indigenous cultures, have long understood the mind-based nature of creation. These world views have at their core a recognition of the power of thought-forms to determine the course of physical events.

Various First Nations traditions of North America have specific and long established lore relating to cannibalism and a term for the thought-form that causes it: WETIKO. Understanding this offers a powerful way of understanding the deepest roots of our current global crisis.

Wetiko is an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess, and selfish consumption (in Ojibwa it is windigo, wintiko in Powhatan). It deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others (others in the broad sense, including animals and other forms of life) is a logical and morally upright way to live.

Wetiko short-circuits the individual’s ability to see itself as an enmeshed and interdependent part of a balanced environment and raises the self-serving ego to supremacy. It is this false separation of self from nature that makes this cannibalism, rather than simple murder. It allows - indeed commands - the infected entity to consume far more than it needs in a blind, murderous daze of self-aggrandizement. Author Paul Levy, in an attempt to find language accessible for Western audiences, describes it as ‘malignant egophrenia’ - the ego unchained from reason and limits, acting with the malevolent logic of the cancer cell.

Wetiko can describe both the infection and the body infected; a person can be infected by wetiko or, in cases where the infection is very advanced, can personify the disease: ‘a wetiko.’ This holds true for cultures and systems; all can be described as being wetiko if they routinely manifest these traits.

In his now classic book Columbus and Other Cannibals, Native American historian Jack D. Forbes describes how there was a commonly-held belief among many Indigenous communities that the European colonialists were so chronically and uniformly infected with wetiko that it must be a defining characteristic of the culture from which they came. Examining the history of these cultures, Forbes laments, “Tragically, the history of the world for the past 2,000 years is, in great part, the story of the epidemiology of the wetiko disease.”

We would presumably all agree that behavior of the European colonialists in North America can be described as cannibalistic. Their drive for conquest and material accumulation was a violent act of consumption. The engine of the invading culture sucked in lives and resources of millions of others and turned them into wealth and power for themselves. The figures are still disputed, but it is safe to place the numbers killed in the tens of millions, certainly one of the most brutal genocides in history. And the impact on non-human life was equally vast. Moreover, it was all done with a moral certainty that all destruction was justified in the name of ‘progress’ and ‘civilization.’

This framing belies the extent of the wetiko infection in the invader culture. So blinded were they by self-referential ambition that they could not see other life as being as important as their own. They could not see past ideological blinders to the intrinsic value of life or the interdependent nature of all things, despite this being the dominant perspective of the Indigenous populations they encountered. Their ability to see and know in ways different from their own was, it seems, amputated.

This is not an anti-European rant. This is the description of a disease whose vector was determined by deep patterns of history, including those that empowered Europeans to drive ‘global exploration’ as certain technologies emerged. The wetiko meme has almost certainly existed in individuals since the dawn of humanity. It is, after all, a sickness that lives through and is born from the human psyche. But the origin of wetiko cultures is more identifiable.

Memes can spread at the speed of thought but they usually require generations to change the core characteristics of cultures. What we can say is that the fingerprints of wetiko-like beliefs can be traced at least as far back as the Neolithic revolution, when humans in the Fertile Crescent first learned to dominate their environment by what author Daniel Quinn calls ‘totalitarian agriculture’ - i.e., settled agricultural practices that produce more food than is strictly needed for the population, and that see the destruction of any living entity that gets in the way of that (over-)production - be it other humans, ‘pests’ or landscaping - as not only legitimate but moral.

This early form of wetiko-logic received an amplifying power of indescribable magnitude with the arrival of Christianity. “Let us make mankind... rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground,” said an authority no less than God in Genesis 1:26. After 8,000 years of totalitarian agriculture spreading slowly across the region, it is perhaps not surprising that the logic finds voice in the holy texts that emerged there. Regardless, it was driven across Europe at the point of Roman swords in the two hundred years after Christ’s death. It is no coincidence that, in order for Christianity to become dominant, the existing pagan belief-system, with its understanding of humanity’s place within rather than above nature, had to be all but annihilated.

The point is that the epidemiology of wetiko has left clear indicators of its lineage. And although it cannot be pathologized along geographic or racial lines, the cultural strain we know today certainly has many of its deepest roots in Europe. It was, after all, European projects - from the Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution, to colonialism, imperialism, and slavery - that developed the technology that opened up the channels that facilitated the spread of wetiko culture all around the world. In this way, we are all heirs and inheritors of wetiko colonialism. We are all host carriers of wetiko now.

Adapted from Kosmos, a Journal for Global Transformation

Sunday, March 10, 2019

the Viral Spread of Ideas


One of the most well-accepted scientific theories that helps explain the power of idea-spreading is memetics. Memes are to culture what genes are to biology: the base unit of evolution. The term was originally coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. Dawkins writes, “I think that a new kind of replicator has recently emerged . . . It is still drifting clumsily about in its primeval soup, but already it is achieving evolutionary change at a rate which leaves the old gene panting far behind.” He goes on, “Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain, via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.”

One of the high priests of rationalism, the scientific method, and atheism, Dawkins is also the father of the meme of ‘memes.’ However, like all memes or ideas, there can be no ownership in a traditional sense, only the entanglement that quantum physics reminds us characterizes our intra-actions. Of course, similar notions of how ideas move between us have been around in Western traditions for centuries.

Plato was the first to fully articulate this through his Theory of Forms, which argues that non-physical forms - i.e., Ideas - represent the perfect reality from which material reality is derived. Modern articulations of the Theory of Forms can be seen in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s idea of the Noosphere (the sphere of human thought) and Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious, where structures of the unconscious are shared among beings of the same species. For Jung, the idea of the marauding cannibal would first be an archetype that manifests in the material world through the actions of those who channel or embody it.

For those who prefer their science more empirical, the growing field of epigenetics provides some intellectual concrete. Epigenetics studies changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than any physical alteration of the gene itself. In other words, how traits vary from generation to generation is not solely a question of material biology but is partly determined by environmental and contextual factors that affected our ancestors.

Adapted from Kosmos, a Journal for Global Transformation

Saturday, March 9, 2019

the Democratic Party Mantra


In a Capitalist society every person is free to seek to make as much money as he or she may want, without limit, as long as the means are legal. For those that become millionaires and billionaires through their own efforts, some want to take back much of their wealth for the benefit of those that have not been as successful. It seems that some believe that if you are wealthy it can only be because you engaged in something nefarious and took advantage of others along the way. For these folks the world is a zero sum game; if you are rich, it is because you are immoral and took advantage of the poor. These folks follow a more Socialist doctrine where fairness and equality are the highest social ideals.

But life is not fair, and we are not born equal. In a Capitalist world every person has an equal chance and as fair a shot at success and wealth as the next person. In a Socialist world, freedom and choice are removed by a central authority that manages equality and fairness in society.

By and large people that are poor are not the result of being taken advantage of by rich people. Anyone that promotes that idea is instigating class warfare that is not grounded in facts. Take a quick look at just four companies whose founders have a billion dollars and more… Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Let’s see what these immoral folks have done on the backs of the poor. They have revolutionized shopping, communication, information retrieval, among other advancements that have benefited the entire human condition of both rich and poor. These few immoral visionaries have created companies that employ nearly one million workers whom they pay approximately $100 billion a year in salary with many more billions in benefits.

It is not the successful innovators of a Capitalist society that are immoral, it is those who stir class unrest by abandoning responsibility for one's actions and championing the cause of victimization for the less successful. This has become the battle cry and mantra of the Democratic Party as it seeks to build a broad coalition of victims that it itself has created to fill its ranks - the likes of women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQs, welfare recipients, immigrants, senior citizens, government workers, and college students.

This is the left. If you used your food stamps to buy bags of Cheetos, cases of Pepsi and are morbidly obese … it's not your fault. You are a victim of pernicious food companies. Add to that, you are likely a victim of homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, racism, white privilege and of course, Trump and the Republican Party. No matter what your problem in life may be, it is not your fault, you are not responsible because you are a victim.  This is the Democrat Party mantra.

Just when the Democrats were running out of their list of victims, along comes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to save the day. Evidently the state has a $2.3 billion revenue shortfall. Apparently the state along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California are victims of the new tax law that limits deduction for state income taxes. The wealthy are leaving these states in droves for low or non-tax states like Florida, Texas, and Nevada. The golden geese are tired of being fleeced and they are outta there. Does Cuomo blame his own state for people fleeing outrageous taxes? Of course not, as that would require taking responsibility. That the rest of the country’s taxpayers have been subsidizing these progressive high tax states for years seems lost on Cuomo. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the entire government of New York is a hapless victim of… you guessed it, of course, Donald J. Trump. “Surprise, Surprise.”

Friday, March 8, 2019

Who's Really Behind Facebook?


We live today in a world of advanced technology where billions of us use the Internet to communicate. If you walk down the street, go shopping at the mall, or just visit a restaurant or movie theater your face is recorded by more cameras than you might imagine, saved to some data base for some potential future use. Intelligence Agencies worldwide scan and flag any messages on any media containing key "buzz" words. We've become paranoid, and no wonder - we're never alone and seemingly always being observed. Welcome to George Orwell's era of Big Brother.

Facebook, with access to more than 87 million peoples' names, addresses, friends, activities, travels, details about them, even email and phone numbers, is connected to the CIA. What Intelligence organization would not want access to the data Facebook collects? Given the CIA's reputation for doing whatever it takes to get the information it needs, including torture, abuse, and abductions, you better believe it has access to all the data of the world's largest social media company.

Everything is interconnected and related in some way. After Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerburg at Harvard, it was jump-started by angel investor/venture capitalist Peter Theil, founder and former CEO of Paypal, who just happens to have had strong ties to the CIA. This happened on February 4, 2004, the very same day that the Defense Department's research arm DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Products Agency) killed its LifeLog Project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person's entire existence. Coincidence... that the objective that LifeLog was attempting to achieve coincides precisely with what Facebook has become???
And wht can you say about the fact that many senior officials at DARPA immediately moved directly over to Facebook? 
 
DARPA's LifeLog was created to manage the needs of national security; LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, car rentals, tax returns, the e-mail sent and received, which posts you read and comment on at Facebook, obliterating the Constitutional right of privacy in this country. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive patterns in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences. LifeLog's backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users an almost flawless recall of what each one of us has done in the past. DARPA officials claimed it was cancelled under pressure from civil libertarian groups due to the invasion of privacy it would create, "coincidentally" on the same day Facebook was founded!!

Facebook is DARPA's LifeLog, essentially. The public would not have voluntarily offered information to LifeLog as backed by the Department of Defense and CIA, so the government moved it to a new platform, to something perceived as cool, to Facebook. When you look at the background of the intelligence people that work at Facebook and follow the money for funding an essentially unprofitable venture like Facebook, it becomes obvious that THE LARGEST 'COLLECTIVE' SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM IN THE WORLD IS OWNED AND OPERATED (COVERTLY) BY THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. The Chinese know this; they know the CIA is behind Facebook and therefore do not allow it in China.

Bulk data gathering continues surreptitiously through Facebook. By using Facebook each of us consents to having our personal data processed and stored by them forever. On Facebook we establish a personal profile, develop relationships, send messages, perform searches and queries, form groups, create events, and transfer information through a variety of channels. In turn the company collects all this so as to "provide better personalized service"... supposedly for you, but in reality the ones being served are the Intelligence Agencies. Google's DragonFly, which is being created for China, will ultimately expand the surveillance of American citizens along with Twitter's Leg Track. Google, like Facebook, also has its origins in DARPA. All of the ABC Intelligence Agencies have equal access to all bulk data collected. Very little escapes the watchful eye of Big Brother.

You could say that whoever is behind Facebook knows everything about YOU!! Be vigilant what you post!!!!! Be vigilant what you say!!!!! There is NO PRIVACY. Big Brother is always watching.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Creating Your Own Reality


“All perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.”

                                        Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907

It is mind-boggling to consider the idea that our internal consciousness, the synapses and chemicals manipulated by our very own thoughts, can literally alter the physical photons that surround us. Reality then becomes a personal manifestation customized by each of us. Are we each merely a unique isolated mind in a theatre of our own creating, continually using our willpower to repaint the stage by altering the frequency of the photons that we are immersed within?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Creating Happiness


Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about. It’s very similar to how nerves carry electric from the sensation in your toe all the way up to your brain where it’s actually “felt”.

So here’s the kicker: Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. This is a microcosmic example of evolution, of adaptation. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Let that sink in for a moment before you continue, because that’s a seriously profound logic-bomb right there.

Beyond the absolutely incredible fact that your brain is always doing this, consistently shifting and morphing with every thought, even more exciting is the fact that the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality: your intelligence, skills, aptitudes, and most easily accessible thoughts (which are more-or-less the source of your conversation skills).

Let’s dig deeper into the logic behind that. Consider you have two pairs of people throwing a ball back and forth. One pair stands ten feet apart, the other at a distance of 100 feet. One partner from each team throws their ball to their respective partners at the exact same moment with the exact same speed. The first team that catches the ball gets to dictate your personal decision and mental state of mind. So which team will get the ball first? Basic physics of distance, time, velocity tell us that it will always be the pair standing 10 feet apart. Well this is basically how your thoughts work. Through repetition of thought, you’ve brought the pair of synapses that represent your proclivities closer and closer together, and when the moment arises for you to form a thought ( and thus throw our metaphorical ball of electric energy), the thought that wins is the one that has less distance to travel, the one that will create a bridge between synapses fastest.

The Buddhists say that the universe is suffering; this is because the universe is chaos, and thus by its very nature out of our control. When we try to force desires, we are bound to find innumerable occasions where the universe will not comply. At some point I decided to stop desiring to the point of attachment. I started to practice the acceptance that Buddhists speak upon, to Drift in the Tao, to accept the natural flow with an optimistic love, to say to every moment that came my way, good or bad, “thank you for the experience and the lesson, and now bring on the next moment so I can give it the same love.”

Over and over I did this, moving those synapses closer and closer together, to the point where any synapses in my brain associated with sadness, regret, pessimism, fear, desire, melancholy, depression, etc had a smaller and smaller chance of triggering before the synapses of love gave me my reaction, my thoughts, my personality. And so my default state become one of optimism and appreciation, and the illusory burdens I attached to this existence lessened.

Nature appreciates chaos, and our brain is no different. And so it’s important that I point out that this obviously is not a fool proof practice that will completely eradicate negativity from your consciousness; sometimes emotion weighs too heavy and sometimes the chemical charge will be the negative one; but, like any muscle, if you exercise those loving synapses enough, you will find yourself in possession of a new innate strength that will make the world shine more beautifully far more frequently. You will also find yourself being far more happy because of better health.

It’s not just your thoughts that can alter your brain and shift those synapses; the thoughts of those around you can do it as well. If there’s any ability that truly separates us from our primate ancestors, it’s that of imagination. It’s the root of all art and architecture, of the (fictional) stories that formed religions that now control the lives of billions—even to the point of war over which fairytale is the “right one.”

That human failing aside, imagination lets us live in the past and in the future, and by escaping the present moment we can use our memories of the past to predict what will happen in the future; ie: I know from past experience that fire burns skin, so I know inside my minds-eye that if I stick my hand into a fire I will lose my flesh. This is so instinctual we don’t even recognize it’s constantly happening with every symbol that we’re perceiving in our day-to-day moments. But it is this ability that allows us to navigate the complexity of our society. Even more exciting is the fact that this skill also works with emotions, not just situations.

The premise, again, is quite simple: When we see someone experiencing an emotion ( be it anger, sadness, happiness, etc), our brain “tries out” that same emotion to imagine what the other person is going through. And it does this by attempting to fire the same synapses in your own brain so that you can attempt to relate to the emotion you’re observing. This is basically empathy. It is how we get the mob mentality, where a calm person can suddenly find themselves picking up a pitchfork against a common enemy once they’re influenced by dozens of angry minds. It is our shared bliss at music festivals, or our solidarity in sadness during tragedies.

But it is also your night at the bar with your friends who love to constantly bitch, whether it’s about their job, the man, the government, or about their other so-called friend’s short-comings, or whatever little thing they can pick apart in order to lift themselves up and give themselves some holier-than-thou sense of validation when you nod your head in acquiescence, agreeing like a robot afraid of free-thought : “Totally, man. It’s bullshit.”

But it’s not bullshit. It’s life, it’s chaos, and as you continually surround yourself with this attitude, you are continually trying out this attitude by firing the synapses in your brain. And as explained above, every time you fire these synapses, you’re reshaping your brain. This is why it is so important to spend time with people who lift you up, because your friends are moving those fearful, cynical, pessimistic synapses closer together, making your default, short-path-personality as jaded and bitter as your peers.

Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people who rewire your brain towards love, not towards fear of being invalidated.

The thing about all this negativity, of regretting, of attachment to desires, of pointless complaining about impermanent things that will always continue to pass in an existence where time moves forward—the thing is: it all causes stress. When your brain is firing off these synapses of anger, you’re weakening your immune system; you’re raising your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and a plethora of other negative ailments–as psychologytoday points out below.

“The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on.Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy.

This week, two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence. Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism.” — Psychology Today. And if you need more evidence for the damaging effects of stress, there are innumerable more studies that show the negative impacts of pessimism, bitterness, and regret on your health.

The bottom line is this: The universe is chaotic, from unpreventable superstorms of wind and rain, to unpredictable car accidents or to the capricious whims of our peers whose personal truths even have the ability to emotionally damage or physically hurt others. And every moment holds the potential to bring you any one of these things, any shade along the gradient of spirit-soaring bliss and soul-crushing grief.

But regardless of what it brings your way, your choice is simple: Love or Fear. And yes, I understand it’s hard to find happiness on those nights when you feel like you’re all alone in the world, when a loved one passes, when you fail that test or get fired from that job; But when these moments come, you do not have to live in regret of them, you don’t have to give them constant negative attention and allow them to reshape your brain to the point that you become a bitter, jaded, cynical old curmudgeon that no longer notices that the very fact that they’re alive means they get to play blissfully in this cosmic playground where you get the godlike power of choice.

What you can do is say; “Yes, this sucks. But what’s the lesson? What can I take away from this to make me a better person? How can I take strength from this and use it to bring me closer to happiness in my next moment?” You see, a failed relationship or a bad day doesn’t have to be a pinion to your wings, it can be an updraft that showcases to you what things you like and don’t like, it can show you the red flags so that you can avoid them. If there was a personality your ex-partner had that drove you insane, then you now have the gift of knowing you don’t want to waste your time with another partner who acts the same way.

If you are mindful to the lessons of the failures, there is no reason that you can’t make the default of every day better than the one before it. Do something new everyday, learn its lesson, choose love over fear, and make every day better than the last. The more you do this, the more you will see and appreciate the beauty of this existence, and the happier you’ll be.

Adapted from CuriousApes.com

Mermaid's Wineglass

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