Monthly Archives: January 2014

Masters of Change

Music video: (8:33)

What follows are excerpts from

Masters of Change: how great leaders in every age thrived in turbulent times, by William M. Boast, PhD, with Benjamin Martin, Marocome Ltd., ISBN 0-9763198-0-2, 2nd edition, 2005.

[I first encountered Dr. Boast and these virtually identical ideas in a package of twelve audiocassettes given to me by a professional colleague in1982 being circulated among symposia planners as part of a search for a keynote speaker.]

“Learning about” is not the same as “learning.”… “Knowing about” is not the same as “knowing.” ….  Individuals can change to the degree they can abandon past formulas and promises, and constructively conquer ambiguity and complexity.” [Pages 2-3]

“What did you do brilliantly in the last week? Have you noticed that most people have forgotten it already?” [Page 8]

“We may well be approaching the coincidental end of several cycles. Certainly, the industrial age is giving way to the age of information and technology. Western civilization is coming to a climax.  Whether it be the end — the death, as German historian Oswald Spengler saw it — or a major change into something new and different remains to be seen. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has plowed under the history of the last seventy years and exposed the reality of ethic tension, border disputes and fragile economies. The world, once kept in balance by only two super-powers, is being overrun by a scramble of nations flexing their economic muscles, clamoring for position and power.” [Page 10]

“The verb of your job is everything. All of the things–your business cards, stationary, title, telephone, desk, company car and even your policies and procedures manual–are superfluous. The pertinent questions of a successful business or focused not on its nouns but on its verbs: “What are you producing?” “Whom are you serving?” “How well we you do it?” Now add to these questions the fact that the world in which you “do it” is also a verb in constant flux. With the verb of your job running counterpoint to the verb of the business world, you have begun an idea of how much action is expected of you.

If your job is a verb, and if the economy is a verb, then the question arises: “Where is it going?” You have only to read last year’s Wall Street Journal or last quarter’s Harvard Business Review to realize that no one really knows. No one has the vaguest idea. Not one psychic, not one economist, not one politician is able to predict the future of the economy. Financial portfolios are promoted based on the “divination” abilities of the broker or brokerage house, but the accuracy of many brokers is often worse than pure guess.” [Page 9]

“If you list all the great artists in the history of the Western world, almost half of them lived in northern Italy at the same time and knew each other. It boggles the mind. And here is another key to capitalizing on the opportunities of crisis rather than being trampled underfoot by his dangers: create a community of success by filling it with special people. Methodologies are secondary.

If you list all the great composers in the history of the Western world, over half of them lived in Vienna or were centered near it. If you list all the great theoretical scientists in the history of the human race, over 98% of them lived in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Success flourishes in communities of success. Failure flourishes in communities of failure. One of the prime missions in a world of change is to maintain a community of excellence–and communities are people.

Never let a community of success slip into becoming a community of failure by letting mediocre people come into it or by letting the people in it slip into mediocrity.…

Not only do you need to safeguard against the perverse ability of communities of failure, but you also need to guard against developing a narrow range of answers. Biologists refer to creatures as having “spans of tolerance.” Highly specialized creatures have very narrow spans of tolerance, but highly generalized creatures have wide spans of tolerance. In conditions of eco-stability, highly specialized creatures flourish, but in conditions of eco-instability they become extinct. Only the highly generalized creatures, with their wide spans of tolerance, can make it through. They survived to go on to another time. Human beings can master both.” [Pages 16-17]

Source of image: 

“… You can successfully maneuver through the white water of change if your object is not to take the white out of the water, but to put a master in the kayak.” [Paraphrased][Page 20, and repeated thereafter]

“Common sense, combined with passion, makes a formidable [tool].” [page 20]

“Mastery begins in the ability to recognize what promises you bring to a situation and, in turn, what the situation is bringing to you.” [Page 23]

“The ancient Greeks did not have a specific word for art and a different word for science. Recognizing the need for both art and science in any effective, intelligent and responsible act, they had the word “techne”, which meant “art-science.” The time has come to replace the mechanical mentality of today’s management theory and formula with the Greek concept of techne. [ ]

Alfred North Whitehead, one of America’s great philosophers, gave a definition of education, but the definition also applies to succeeding in business, to making money and to living a full life. He said, “Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” Notice that he did not say that education was the acquisition of knowledge; he said it was the acquisition of the art of using knowledge. Tragically, we haven’t done that very much in American education.” [Pages 24-25]

“When decisions are made on the basis of dogma and not on skillful processing of the information, the battle eventually will be lost. Dynamic shifts… necessitate dynamic strategies. Only those with prepared minds, who have learned to suspend closure, who can take the techne of their craft and critically investigate their premises, will succeed.” [Page 32]

“An organism, or a social unit of any kind, rises and falls, functions and dies between the poles of its basics and its dynamics. The basics are those elements that are predictable and stable. The dynamics are unpredictable and turbulent. Every human system, whether it is a nation, corporation, office, production line, home enterprise, family or individual, finds its stability and its challenges in the constant flux and flow between two poles: basics and dynamics. [Page 32; the entire chapter three goes on to discuss this in detail.]

“In times of rapid change, experience is your worst enemy.”

– J Paul Getty


“… We must also determine the elements or qualities of any endeavor or problem that are dynamic–that have high degrees of unpredictability, chaos, disorder, randomness and challenge. Then we locate generalists who are prepared to handle the dynamics and help them to bring new solutions and appropriate responses to bear on the continuous changes of the environment. When you’re willing to accept the generalist vision, interpretation and direction, you must immediately seek out every basic to back it up in action.” [Page 45]

“After 20 years of brainstorming, observers have concluded that creative ideas are never reached by a group, but they are only generated by individuals in groups. Companies, as they strive for greater teamwork, should not overlook the role of individuals within teams. Teams depend upon their individuals within them: a team of jerks does not work any better just because it is a team, but teams can be made worse because of the jerks who are assigned to them.[Page 45]

The characteristics of people who achieve in dynamic situations has been determined to some extent. In chapter 4 of “Masters of change” the beginnings of the list have been compiled to include:

Comfort in ambiguity.

Productive inconsistency.

Intuition and instinct.

Vision and values.

Emphasis on action.


The ability to seek solutions instead of blame.

Potential for growth.

Logic and other tools of the mind.


The effective use of models in learning. 

The author of the book suspects that the list is incomplete and may include as many as 1,000 characteristics and suggests that our job is to find the rest.

“One of the easiest ways to spot losers is that they panic when you move their philodendrons.” [Page 56]

“When the swamp is drying up and no one knows what is coming next, you cannot wait for all the facts. By the time you’ve processed all facts”, others have already acted on their hunches and laid claim to all of the available resources.” [Page 59]

The key to success is not in your ability to adjust to change; “it lies in your ability to anticipate change.” [Page 59]

“Quality must be in the people first. In areas where the dynamics dominate, it is the talent, genius and character of the individual that matter most. No amount of experience can compensate for the lack of talent, genius or character. You can, and certainly must, provide training for the basics, but you are totally dependent upon the qualities in the individuals when it comes to mastering the dynamics.” [Page 61]

“Great golfers on the world tour sink beautiful putts that we watch with envy. On the other hand, I can find a professor of anatomy who can explain the articulation of every joint and precisely how it works in relation to making your golf putt; I can get a professor of neurology who can explain the firing of all the nerves that such an action requires; I get a professor of psychology who can explain the behavioral conditioning of the professional golfer in perhaps 40 or 50 pages with footnotes. I can get a geologist who can, with great bibliographic appendices, give you the exact chemistry of the soil or  a horticulturist who can explain the particular species of the grass on the green or a physicist who could explain the lever action. But none of them can sink the putt–you are the one who must sink the putt. 

It helps us intellectually to understand the processes. Certain actions can be enhanced by knowing, but ultimately, the actions must be unconscious and spontaneous. They must come from a mastery within the person and not from a set of rules thumb-tacked to a bulletin board or from a textbook of business management.

….I suggest that you read Thomas C Martin’s book Malice in Blunderland. It is an excellent book to have in your lower desk drawer in the turbulent, chaotic and, often, frustrating world. The author makes a very clear point when he says, “leadership should begin to take its clues from Olympic track coaches and stop relying so much on committees. After all, the job is to find one person who jumps 7 1/2 feet high, not seven little people who each jumped 13 inches. [Paraphrased]” [page 65]

Tools of the mind

Your ability to deal with ambiguity, productive inconsistency, instinct, action, creativity, field independence and growth potential all depend on the effective, intelligent and responsible application of your best tool: your brain. Your capacity to collect and use meaningful information effectively is the single most important tool you have for doing all the things listed here as characteristics of successful people in times of upheaval. And yet, most people know less about their brain as a tool than they know about the office photocopier or the keyboard on their computer. They know more about their filing system that about their own intellectual ability to handle categories and logic.

Most people have never been trained to think formally and have never been given the practical experience of thinking informally. They use their mind, haphazardly at best, as though they had been born with “the instinct” to think.

Training in logic, so necessary to clear thinking, has been totally neglected in our leadership, management, sales and administration workshops. Training and logical thinking should go hand-in-hand with training in analogical thinking to cultivate the creative side. We seem to have a very low regard for the human mind, to leave its development to such happenstance.…[page 45]

The old textbooks used in school were written by professors who wrote their books based on knowledge they have acquired 10 to 15 years before they wrote the book. We must question our sources and their appropriateness. In a new world, we must become continuously transformed specialists, standing solidly upon the generalized knowledge that comes from a real education in its broadest sense–for thought of for context period” [pages 70-71]

On page 73, inside chapter 4 on the topic of the qualities within the mastery of change, is a section on “models of excellence” which, interestingly, directly parallels Eric Booth’s theme of the creation of a personal “Hall of Masters” found in his book The Everyday Work of Art.  “The first function of good leadership is good modeling–not just communication, but something deeper than that. The mere process of communication, without character, is ultimately meaningless if not destructive. As history shows, methodologies result only an incremental improvement, while in-depth models result in quantum changes within the human.” [Page 74]

“The universal role in the dynamics of change is: “There is no universal rule.” [Page 76]

[There is not one instance of Machiavelli succeeding in social, political or business ventures… ” [Page 77]

“Mastering mastery requires that you stretch far beyond what you have and what you are. Although we are continually told, “just be yourself,” that is not good enough for mastery. Instead, you must “surpass yourself”–you must master not only your craft but also your potentials; you must master not only your skills but also the proper use of the skills. You must become a supreme craftsman in the use of all of the tools available to you, whether they are tools of the hands, or the mind or of your character.

Leadership isn’t leadership unless it works in the context of mastery. The mastery of the best human achievement, productivity or creativity must be exemplified in the leader. The leader must become the perfect model of that mastery.

But mastery always requires more than just a skill. Mastery is not true mastery until becomes unconscious and spontaneous….. Such mastery always pulls us to the edge of risk…. Mastery grows and expresses itself through the challenges of a dynamic world.” [Page 80]

“… All attempts to persuade… must evidence the deep concern of the speaker for effective, intelligent and responsible action.”  [Page 80]

“In anything you do, you must also be responsible, for when you are effective, intelligent and responsible, your effectiveness is reinforced beyond measure.” [Page 81]


The collective (teamwork, corporate culture, the organization, told total loyalty, etc.), in its decay, becomes dehumanized, rigid, rule-driven, bureaucratic and even tyrannical. The individualized, in its decay, becomes isolated, narcissistic and fragmentary. [Page 113]

[The book “Masters of change”] focuses on changes in people–the individual problems each person faces in change and the changes that must take place in each individual. Ultimately, no organization–company, state, school or home–and can keep up with change unless it is prepared within. “[Page 113]

“We must shape the world in which men and women, individually and collectively, can do their best in reaching their full potentials….”  [page 124]


“The alternative to the secular and the positivist is the spiritual and the creative. At the heart of all religions–Judaism in the Torah, Christianity in the New Testament, Islam in the Koran, Hinduism in the Bhagavad-Gita and others–lies a deep focus on the human being and what is human. Love and compassion, model and mentor, genius and beauty, will and power are all words system from within the human being. Though religion may often manifest itself negatively, it is uniquely human. I am not advocating secular humanism. Secular humanism is simply not big enough to face the challenges that I’ve been talking about.

Sacred humanism (as described by Socrates, Cosimo di Medici (the elder), Pico della Mirandola, Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas Moore, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Martin Luther King, Jr.) in some form or another becomes more important than ever before. When I speak of sacred humanism, I do not see “sacred” as synonymous with “Sunday school” or with the fundamentalism of any religion in the world. If we are wise and not merely arrogant, we can see that our individual potential is shared with the collective potential of all humankind and comes from a deeper source than some merely mechanical or behavioral brain…..  The great advantage of sacred humanism is its faith in human potential and spiritual grace.” [page 127]

“What [we] must ensure is meritocracy, much as Jefferson sought. It was at the heart of the founding of the United States [when] Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams just before his death in 1826 in which he made clear that the United States should not be run by the common man but by the aristoi. This aristocracy should not be based on wealth or birth, he espoused, but on merit and ability, or better yet, on ethos and genius.  [page 118 and page 156]



… Corporate fascism and corporate communism (as absurd as that sounds) may emerge because of a failure of truly humanist leadership.

I can assure you that without the responsibility and the people, the Corporation will become fascist and will not survive. Although nothing survives forever, the pattern of history demonstrates that things which are greatly made survive for longer periods of time and for the good of more people.

You must anticipate the challenges of the wilderness. Many will be frightened by it. Many will seek protection against the anarchy and at any cost. There is no room here for victims. There is no room here for narcissism. There is no room here for stupidity or ignorance. Creative growth and development must dominate our very action and that growth must be spiritual as well as intellectual and aesthetic.… [ from The Conclusion, on page 157]


Fundamentally Repugnant

Continued from the previous entry, having watched the film from the beginning in its entirety with someone else….

NY schools test ‘panic button’ app in wake of Sandy Hook –Once the button is pushed, other school staff with the app are notified with instructions such as ‘lock down’ or ‘evacuate.’ 19 Jan 2014 Nassau County and a Manhattan private school are testing a new emergency-response “panic button” inspired by the Sandy Hook school massacre. The system, called School Safety Response, provides an instant link between schools and police and fire departments through an app installed on teachers’ smartphones. The app allows school staffers to touch a red “SOS” button on their phones in crisis situations, at which point an exact GPS location is sent to an emergency-response center, where a team can listen to what’s happening live at the scene. (0:42)


July 23-24, 2012 — Aurora massacre: several links between James Holmes and U.S. government research

James Holmes, the 24-year old suspect in the mass shooting of Batman “The Dark Knight Rises” movie goers in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 injured, has had a number of links to U.S. government-funded research centers. Holmes’s past association with government research projects has prompted police and federal law enforcement officials to order laboratories and schools with which Holmes has had a past association not to talk to the press about Holmes.

Holmes was one of six recipients of a National Institutes of Health Neuroscience Training Grant at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Holme is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience. Although Holmes dropped out of the PhD neuroscience program at Anschutz in June, police evacuated two buildings at the Anschutz center after the massacre at the Aurora movie theater. Holmes reportedly gave a presentation at the Anschutz campus in May on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class titled “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.”

Initial reports of Holmes having an accomplice in the theater shooting have been discounted by the Aurora police. However, no explanation has been given by police why the Anschutz campus buildings were evacuated after Holmes was already in custody in the Arapahoe County jail.

The Anschutz Medical Campus is on the recently de-commisioned site of the U.S. Army’s Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and is named after Philip Anschutz, the billionaire Christian fundamentalist oil and railroad tycoon who also owns The Examiner newspaper chain and website and the neo-conservative Weekly Standard. The Anschutz Medical Campus was built by a $91 million grant from the Anschutz Foundation.

In 2006, at the age of 18, Holmes served as a research intern at the Salk Institute at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. It is noteworthy that for the previous two years before Holmes worked at the Salk Institute, the research center was partnered with the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Columbia University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wake Forest University, and the Mars Company (the manufacturers of Milky Way and Snickers bars) to prevent fatigue in combat troops through the enhanced use of epicatechina, a blood flow-increasing and blood vessel-dilating anti-oxidant flavanol found in cocoa and, particularly, in dark chocolate.

The research was part of a larger DARPA program known as the “Peak Soldier Performance Program,” which involved creating brain-machine interfaces for battlefield use, including human-robotic bionics for legs, arms, and eyes. DARPA works closely with the Defense Science Office on projects that include the medical research community. Fitzsimons was at the forefront of DARPA research on the use of brain-connected “neuroprosthetic” limbs for soldiers amputated or paralyzed in combat.

According to his LinkedIn profile, James Holmes’s father, Dr. Robert Holmes, who received a PhD in Statistics in 1981 from the University of California at Berkeley, worked for San Diego-based HNC Software, Inc. from 2000 to 2002. HNC, known as a “neural network” company, and DARPA, beginning in 1998, have worked on developing “cortronic neural networks,” which would allow machines to interpret aural and visual stimuli to think like humans. The cortronic concept was developed by HNC Software’s chief scientist and co-founder, Robert Hecht-Nielsen. HNC merged with the Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), a computer analysis and decision-making company. Robert Holmes continues to work at FICO.

It has also emerged that Holmes, when he was 20, worked as a camp counselor at Camp Max Straus of the Jewish Big Brothers and Sister of Los Angeles. According to the Jewish Journal, among other tasks, Holmes helped to teach boys between the ages of 7 to 10 archery. In another unusual detail, the car Holmes used to drive to the Aurora movie theater had Tennessee plates. Holmes is originally from San Diego.

James Holmes is the grandson of Lt. Col. Robert Holmes, one of the first Turkish language graduates of the Army Language School, later the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California. Graduating from the Turkish language class in 1948, Holmes spent a career in the Army, which likely included more than a few intelligence-related assignments. Typically, U.S. military officers conversant in Turkish served with either the Defense Intelligence Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency at either the U.S. embassy in Ankara or the Consulate General in Istanbul, or both.

Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, in an interview with Cognitive Science Online in 2008, had the following comment about recent studies of the human brain: “Alan Newell [cognitive psychology researcher at the intelligence community-linked RAND Corporation] once said that when AI [artificial intelligence] was founded not enough was known about the brain to be of any help and in the early 1980s, symbol processing was the only game in town. That has changed and we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know [emphasis added].”

More than we need to know!

The links between the younger and elder Holmes and U.S. government research on creating super-soldiers, human brain-machine interfaces, and human-like robots beg the question: “Was James Holmes engaged in a real-life Jason Bourne TREADSTONE project that broke down and resulted in deadly consequences in Aurora, Colorado?” In any event, if the Batman movies are now serving as a newer version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” subliminal messaging triggering mechanism, — Salinger’s novel was of interest to a number of American political assassins — keep in mind that August 10 is the opening date of The Bourne Legacy. It may be wise to skip that film in the theater for a while.×337.jpg 

An excerpt: 

In speaking about the film’s storyline, Gilroy drew a distinction between the fictional programs in the Bourne film series:

On a practical level, the Treadstone program was about assassination. They’re basically assassins. They live in the world—you can see Clive Owen [in The Bourne Identity] as a piano teacher, they have covers—but they’re essentially assassins. There was nothing that would be described as espionage, [they’re] basically a kill squad. The Outcome program that Aaron [played by Jeremy Renner] is part of, [Oscar Isaac’s character] is one of them too… The conceit is that [Edward Norton’s character] is the mastermind of this entire franchise. We’re stepping back a little bit in time here, he’s been a developer, he’s been at the nexus of the corporate military and intelligence communities. There’s a very large corporate element, pharmaceutical corporate element…[15]

July 25-26, 2012 —  Aurora police chief’s dubious connections

As Aurora, Colorado police chief Dan Oates receives accolades from officials from President Obama to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Oates’s past position with the New York Police Department is noteworthy as more details emerge of the connections between the alleged Century 16 movie theater shooter James Holmes and government-funded neuroscience research.

Oates retired from the New York Police Department in 2001 after a 21-year career. He served as safety services administrator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the University of Michigan, designated by former CIA director Richard Helms as one of the five top CIA-Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) [now known as the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, or DARPA] “behavioral science” research campuses, along with Yale, M.I.T.,  U.C.L.A, and the University of Hawaii. In 2005, Oates left Ann Arbor to take up his present position in Aurora.

Oates’s last job with the NYPD was as the chief of the intelligence division. As a member of Police Commissioner Howard Safir’s executive staff, Oates’s prepared, according to The New York Daily News, a daily intelligence briefing for Safir, which lasted some two hours. Oates’s would have conceivably had access to a wide spectrum of intelligence information, including Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and other federal agency reports on the suspicious activities of a number of Israeli “art students” and “office movers” in the year leading up to the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Center.

However, Oates apparently missed the critical intelligence or, if he passed it to Safir, it was ignored. Safir, who served as New York Police Commissioner from 1996 to 2000 and was appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, previously served as a federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs agent and in 10972, was one of two BNDD agents who arrested Harvard University researcher Timothy Leary, a proponent of LSD use. However, Leary had also conducted research, under the guise of the Harvard Psilocybin Project. the Concord Prison Experiment, and the Marsh Chapel Experiment, for the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program. which was under the direction of CIA Technical Services director Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.

After Safir retired as police commissioner, he became the chief consultant to the CEO of ChoicePoint, Inc., the firm that was implicated in scrubbing voter rolls in Florida for the 2000 presidential election.

In December 2001, Safir became chairman and CEO SafirRosetti, a security firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Options Group, as well as CEO of Bode Technology, also a subsidiary of Global Options. Safir has also served as CEO of VRI Technologies LLC, a security investigations and data analysis firm; chairman of National Security Solutions, Inc., a counter-terrorism firm; chairman and CEO of the November Group Ltd, a strategic consulting firm headquartered in  Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, he has served on the the board of directors of Implant Sciences Corp., an explosive trace detection sensor firm;  and Verint Systems, Inc.

Verint was formerly known as Comverse/Infosys and the Department of Justice suspected the Israeli-owned firm, which had contracts to provide wiretapping systems to the FBI and Justice Department, of having significant links to Israeli intelligence. Comverse/Infosys, now known as Verint, was suspended from the New York NASDAQ index in 2007 over financial irregularities and money laundering brought about by the ex-CEO of Comverse/Infosys, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, an Israeli national. Alexander fled prosecution for securities fraud in the United States and he now lives in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. Efforts to extradite Alexander from Namibia to the United States have been unsuccessful.

Verint provided the closed-circuit television surveillance system for the London Underground when the system was hit by terrorist bombs on July 7, 2005. A company called Visor Consultants was conducting a training exercise in which dummy bombs were used to simulate a terrorist bombing of the London Underground as the actual bombs were detonated. Giuliani, who appointed Safir as his polcie commissioner, happened to be staying in downtown London at the time of the bombings. Giuliani was staying and attending an economic conference at the Great Eastern Hotel, at which then-Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was also present.

Netanyahu had expressed a certain satisfaction over the 9/11 attack on U.S. television in implying the attack would be “good for Israel.” The response to the 9/11 attack was severely affected by actual commercial airplane hijacking drills being run by the Pentagon during the actual attacks.

Ironically, Safir’s one-time intelligence chief, Oates, would also face the strange situation where an emergency medical drill in nearby Douglas County, on the outskirts of Aurora, that dealt with a gunman shooting up a movie theater, was being conducted during the actual shooting at the Batman movie in Aurora.

Oates, in remarks to the media after the massacre at the theater, immediately moved to quash rumors on the Internet. He also told CBS News Face the Nation: “All evidence we have, every single indicator is that it was all Mr. Holmes’ activity and that he wasn’t particularly aided by anyone else.” Oates was discounting anything other than a “lone nut” theory behind the mass shooting.

The Aurora police also revealed they were mistaken when they first reported that the car Holmes allegedly drove to the theater to conduct his shooting spree had Tennessee license plates. The alleged shooter’s father, Robert Holmes, worked in some capacity for the U.S. Navy Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego in 1988. The elder Holmes wrote a technical report for the center and the work appeared to have spanned from 1988 to 1989. In 2000, the San Diego center moved to a remodeled new “lab space” at the Naval Support Activity in Millington, Tennessee, near Memphis. The center was re-named the Navy Personnel Research, Studies and Technology (NPRST) Department. The Millington center concentrates on behavioral and social sciences research and is funded mostly out of the Human Systems Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Navy research branch that works closely with DARPA and the CIA. NPRST also has close working relationships with two universities, the University of Mephis and the University of Mississippi.

It has also been revealed that Holmes spoke at the Salk Institute at the age of 18 on temporal illusions. Holmes explains that a temporal illusion is an illusion that allows one to change the past. One of slides shows the name of Terrence Sejnowski, Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory. In 2008, Sejnowski wrote that since early brain research conducted by the RAND Corporation in 1980, “we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know.” In 2001, Sejnowski worked with the CIA to develop a facial recognition and analysis system to detect whether someone is lying. Three files of Sejnowski’s research papers are located in Box 58 at the System Development Foundation (SDF) in Palo Alto, California. SDF has a rather complex and mysterious origin is said to have been created “in the 1950s” as a not-for-profit entity. SDF has an archival depository relationship with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica.

RAND and Stanford Research Institute, two of the CIA’s top west coast research centers, were involved in temporal illusion research throughout the 1970s and 80s. The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency projects had various code-names, including GRILL FLAME and STAR GATE. All dealt with remote viewing, and WMR learned from a recent participant in the same program, now under the supervision of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland, has dealt on numerous occasions with temporal remote viewing, i.e., remote viewing of past and future events. The NSA program involves Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, according to the NSA source. 


True Stories : Bourne Identity (8:16)  
Full version :…


Byer: We are the sin eaters. It means that we take the moral excrement we find in this equation and we bury it down deep inside of us, so that the rest of our case can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary.

From the deeper archives: 

Remember this?

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes ‘executive assassination ring’ 

By Eric Black | 03/11/09


“…. After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.

“Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. …

“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

“Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.

“It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized…..” 


CIA’s darkest secret

By James Carroll

July 2, 2007

What if the CIA, that is, has not been protecting us, but has been protecting itself from us?


Ike appointed a secret commission to define the role of intelligence. Its chair, Jimmy Doolittle, the hero who had bombed Tokyo, issued his report in 1954:”It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, longstanding concepts of ‘fair play’ must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage, and counter espionage services, and must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, and more effective methods than those used against us. It may be necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand, and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.” 


24 June 2007.

Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience

Dual Use Discipline for Understanding & Managing Complexity and Altering Warfare

by John Stanton

The Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience (ECN) discipline, and its associated fields, may produce tools that advance humanity’s ability to understand and manage itself. Simultaneously, ECN may also yield brain-centric weaponry that drastically alters human warfare. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) may marshal significant resources–as it did during the 1941 to 1946 Manhattan Project—to drive ECN research, development and testing. DOD is the only entity in the United States with the capability to fully fund ECN programs. The DOD’s Defense Science Board and the United States’ Intelligence Community has recently suggested research thrusts into ECN and the merging of data-heavy sciences and social sciences. Success will ultimately depend on program directors and researchers’ acceptance of general Evolutionary Theory and, in particular, Evolutionary Psychology. Failure to do this will result in a mosh-pit of studies based on dated science and methodology.

The Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience disciplines are set merge into a unified field known as Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience or ECN. ECN may produce novel integrated micro, macro models of brain-behavior relationships based on the principles of general Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology and the findings of Neuroscience. Applications may range from predictive human behavior models to neuroweaponry.

Social science literature and United States’ Department of Defense (DOD) documentation also suggests that the time is ripe for an even larger merger between the data-heavy sciences and the social sciences. ECN may serve as both a conduit and foundation for this convergence particularly as the DOD recognizes its importance to national security. However, the entire effort will fail if program directors and researchers exclude general Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology from their methodologies.

Complexity (the number of ways-hows-and-whys a system can act) may become an anachronism as novel research demystifies consciousness reducing human complexity to a deterministic system. Biomachines that bypass time consuming conscious activity ultimately may be fielded by the DOD. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is already working towards this end. Through its Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts program, it has probed brain signals triggered when an analyst sees something interesting in a satellite image. The analyst’s brain registers the discovery long before the analyst becomes cognitively aware of it. “The brain can signal the discovery three times faster than the analyst can respond…My goal is to use these technologies to harness the speed of thought…I know it’s possible, especially if we confront these challenges not just as problems of biology and neuroscience but problems of physics, math, materials science and microtechnology.”

The DOD has a very aggressive interest in understanding and adapting to the Human Terrain (brain-behavior relationships in local, regional, national and global environments). With a budget of approximately $1.2 trillion ($US), and the ability to obtain additional funding, the DOD stands alone in its ability to accelerate research and development (R&D) programs in ECN, as well as catalyze the fusion of the data-heavy and social sciences. Such an effort may be as significant as the Manhattan Project (Atomic Bomb) or the development of Quantum Theory. There is historical precedent for thinking as much.

“I think the military is the place to do it…I think it is time for the Pentagon to do for human science what it did for chemistry in World War I, for physics in World War II and for computers in the post-Cold War era. I’m convinced that we’re fighting human wars now and that another stealth bomber, another battleship is not how to win these wars…”

This DOD R&D effort may certainly revolutionize warfare. In the process it may also transform the understanding and conduct of human affairs which in turn may present challenges to the legitimacy of long established, cumbersome institutions. For example, from a policy and organizational perspective, the United States may find it necessary to create some sort of DOD-Plus organization: one centralized defense and foreign apparatus that has a comprehensive capability to anticipate and respond to evolving threats in local, regional, national, and global environments. A secondary organization might be needed for post-response consequence and stability management.

Another side-effect of this R&D activity may be a significant shift in the way human beings view themselves nestled as they are on the outskirts of 1 of the estimated 125 billion galaxies in the known universe. Already, papers such as Quantum Physics in Neuroscience and Psychology: A Neurophysical Model of Mind-Brain Interaction offer intriguing insights and prospects. ECN encourages innovative thinking through progressive and tested science.

“Neuroscientists studying the connection of mind and consciousness to physical processes in the brain often assume that a conception of nature based on classic physics will eventually turn out to be adequate. That assumption would have been reasonable during the nineteenth century. But now, in the twenty-first century, it is rationally untenable. Quantum Theory must be used in principle because the behavior of the brain depends sensitively upon atomic, molecular and ionic processes, and these processes in the brain often involve large quantum effects.

The whole range of science, from atomic physics to mind-brain dynamics, has the possibility of being brought together into a single rationally coherent theory of an evolving cosmos that is not constituted by matter but by actions of agents. In this conceptualization of nature, agents could naturally evolve in accordance with the principles of natural selection, owing to the fact that their efforts have physical consequences. The outline of a possible rationally coherent understanding of the connection between mind and matter begins to emerge…A shift to this pragmatic approach that incorporates agent based choices as primary empirical input variables may be as important to progress in neuroscience and psychology as it was to atomic physics.”

In the United States, the ongoing obsession with national security and the enormous funding necessary to soothe a national psyche of fear and war is a key driver for enhancing security thereby eliminating the uncertainty of daily living. ECN may generate predictive and diagnostic biotechnologies to reduce tension. Such a development could eliminate much uncertainty and concomitant drama in human affairs by providing leaders with assets to manage the complexities in brain-behavior relationships. To get there though, reliable data on human beings, as they function as interconnected consumers, warfighters, enemies, refugees, diplomats, criminals, and citizens of their respective nations will need to be collected and assessed. The entire effort depends on the application of general Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology.

A comprehensive knowledge base of planetary ecosystems and how humans interface with those ecosystems will have to be constructed and meshed with the findings of brain-behavior functions. The dissection of the individual and global organism may lead to unprecedented forecasting capability The ultimate outcome may be the creation of biomachine systems that suggest procedures and diagnostics with which to anticipate and/or minimize a wide range of human problems. Biomachine tools that can suggest courses of action such as military intervention, diplomacy, containment, stability and consequence management operations, economic aid, covert operations, or a Pontius Pilate approach to nations that engage in internal self-destruction may become available.

Worldscape 2007: Savannah’s and Jungles

The United States diplomatic corps has made general use of standard psychology, game theory, and related social sciences to engage in diplomacy on behalf of the United States. Likewise, the Department of Defense (DOD) has used elements of the social sciences–especially psychology–to predict, for example, who will or will not earn pilot’s wings, or become a special forces operator.

Now, however, the DOD is moving far beyond its generalized use of the social sciences and is making a considerable effort to incorporate ECN and a bevy of related disciplines into its arsenal.

If approached correctly and conducted properly, this effort, and the technology and/or knowledge transfer from it, could be the catalyst for a certifiable revolution in human affairs. At the very least, DOD’s surge into these fields may produce unmanned and autonomous intelligence biotechnologies, warfighting and medical biomachinery (with civilian applications), along with thousands of terabytes of data on human behavior. In any other time this might be termed acceptable progress. Advancements in ECN and associated fields have changed what acceptable means.

Consider, for example, the Defense Advanced Research Agency’s (DARPA) Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) program. “Recent advances in cognitive psychology and neuroscience have given us a much richer scientific understanding of how cognition works in the human brain. The BICA program is developing a new generation of cognitive architectures and computational models of human cognition based on that new understanding.” One BICA team consists of scientists from the University of Michigan, MIT Media Lab, AlgoTek, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and Rutgers University. They have developed TOSCA: A Comprehensive Brain Based Cognitive Architecture. According to the researchers,

“This organization [TOSCA] starts to answer the question as to where is the magic in human cognition…”

The United States’ national security establishment has determined that the study of the brain-behavior relationships–and its participation and interaction with the global organism–is essential to national security. Today, in the intelligence community, for example, the social sciences are being called upon to assist analysts in the development of new methods for educing information (interrogation) from prisoners of war and/or conflict.

Beyond contributions to United States’ national security, ECN and associated disciplines may offer new approaches and solutions to minimize violence and ethnic conflict; prevent or manage warfare, pandemics and poverty; protect the global commons; reduce income disparity; and negotiate the allocation of finite resources and space amongst nations and/or groups. New gear is required to help humanity manage that which is the source of its complexity: brain-human behavior relationships.

“We are at a crossroads of human existence: We possess the technical knowledge required to provide for the material needs of all of humanity without systematic plunder and extermination of others: yet, systematic plunder and genocidal extermination continue to thrive.”

“We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.”

Humanity is one of the many children of evolutionary forces. ECN may play a key role in helping humanity relook its role on the planet. ECN may convince humans that they are agents in an interconnected local to global organism. The acceptance of this fact, this reality, may come just in time for humanity as it faces global instability. Such knowledge—and the practical application of it–now seems critical to the survival, stability and prosperity of our species and those that support us.

A key feature of homo sapiens’ evolutionary design has been the ability to forecast; to think ahead, to model and simulate multiple scenarios and outcomes for survival, stability and prosperity. Evolution seems to be working its magic as sections of the government, commercial organizations, academia, and the world’s public recognize that survival, stability and prosperity are very fragile realities. There seems to be a sense of urgency in developing new models to manage the future.

The human species faces global climate change; ethnic conflict in geostrategic regions; simmering immigration conflict in apparently stable democracies; intermittent warfare; disinformation; income disparity and employment insecurity, the mobility of corporations to roam the planet in search of low cost labor; the continued spread of weapons of mass destruction; and—significantly–a new era of global economic competition between individual powers like China, Basil, India, Russia, the United States, and consortium’s like the European Union, the South American Community of Nations, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

In local-to-global savannahs and jungles; nations, and groups that want to form nations, now have many choices for international support, recognition, and economic and military assistance. They can roam the globe via the Internet or by aircraft. They can openly appeal to national governments, covertly appeal to a government’s military-intelligence agencies and private security contractors, or to quasi-state groups for support. They have far more maneuverability to pit the larger global economic competitors against one another to get the best economic package, thwart a military intervention, or simply buy time to purse a policy. Iran, for example, in pursuit of regional influence, nuclear power and weapons capability, has conducted an impressive series of maneuvers that often match European Union, Chinese, Russian, Turkish, Pakistani and Indian economic needs against United States and Israeli interests.

Predators and Prey

On the flip side, larger nations can utilize smaller nations and quasi-state groups in an effort to pursue policies and destabilize competitors. With its military supremacy, the United States, like any upstanding, self-interested predator, has consistently made life and trade difficult for many intransigent nations and groups. But why do many nations prefer war? The phenomenon of removing the brakes on non-violent behavior and the promotion of war as a positive activity and economic engine is one of the most understudied issues in human history. ECN may be useful in understanding the war phenomenon as it relates to creation of dehumanized others and violence in general.

According to the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, approximately 16,000 people are murdered each year in the United States. Nations and peoples around the globe are coping not only with “crime”, but with the fallout from conventional and guerrilla warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Chechnya, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Colombia, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Kashmir, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Refugees fleeing conflict, increased global fuel costs, the spread of disease, and the creation of slums that house next-generation insurgents are just a handful of the effects of today’s conflicts.

The United States’ generic response to much of this international activity has been to restructure military commands and build more military bases, embassies and consulates around the globe to encircle and contain conflict areas. In short, a sort of quarantine -based approach. This is particularly evident with countries and regions rich in natural resources and in close proximity to sea and land-based choke points. A recent example of this was the creation of a new Unified Combatant Command called AFRICOM. Coincidently, the United States government announced AFRICOM’s existence on February 6, 2007, in the midst of the Chinese government’s 12 nation tour of Africa.

Global climate change, in the most severe scenarios, threatens to alter large portions of the planet and in the process either exterminate or relocate many of the humans, plants and other creatures that subsist on it. With the most advanced predictive human behavior models available, humanity may still ignore data forecasting catastrophe. Federal, state and local officials’ response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that even with ample warning and time to prepare for difficult outcomes, ignorance stymied success.

Severe weather events may continue to destabilize densely populated coastal regions resulting in refugee populations and disruption of commercial and national security enterprises. Hurricane Katrina temporarily shut down United States’ Navy contractor Northrop Grumman’s shipbuilding operations in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Katrina has hampered Northrop Grumman’s ability to hire skilled workers and house them. Hence, it is no surprise that global climate change has been determined to be an urgent national security threat to the United States by the influential Center for Naval Analysis in Alexandria, Virginia.

Just as global climate change is inevitable, so too is an increase in the world’s population. By 2050 there will likely be 9 billion human beings occupying the globe with 60 percent of that number living in urban environments in close proximity to ocean littoral zones. Approximately 1 billion of the 9 billion will be relegated to slum life or coerced to migrate as displaced human beings in search of improved economic opportunity.

One Thing Affects Everything

According to Robert Jervis, “Garrett Hardin gets to the heart of the matter in pointing out that, contrary to many hopes and expectations, we cannot develop or find any highly specific agent which will do only one thing…We can never do merely one thing. Wishing to kill insects, we may put an end to the singing of birds…Seeking to protect the environment by developing nonpolluting sources of electric power, we build windmills that kill hawks and eagles that fly into the blades; cleaning the water in our harbors allows the growth of mollusks and crustaceans that destroys wooden piers and bulkheads…”

Jervis pointed out that it’s the same in politics. “In politics, connections are often more idiosyncratic, but their existence guarantees that here too, most actions, no matter how well targeted, will have multiple affects.”

This dizzyingly interconnected environment has confused, perhaps even frightened, today’s global leaders and their advisors whose worldviews were heavily influenced by the binary simplicity of the Cold War and the illusory post-Cold War dominance of the United States. More problematic is local-to-global leadership that tends to consult antediluvian belief systems and mythical beings in their decision making processes. Hence, leaders the world over—particularly here in the United States–are making decisions based on a Flatland approach, ignoring consequences, fallout, outcomes, and linkages. This mode of thinking rolls downhill to infect local, regional, national and global populations.

For example, the United States’ involvement in Iraq and elsewhere on the Asian continent provides an obvious example of cloudy judgment by leadership and the subsequent disastrous fallout. Additionally, once dominant institutions, and important tools of United States foreign and economic policy, are seeing their influence wane in the presence of simple geopolitical competition The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are two organizations whose reach has been shortened by the inflexibility and predictability of United States’ foreign policy. The Chinese government has been courting alliances by disbursing large amounts of cash in the form of no interest loans and with minimal interference in the borrower’s internal affairs. This is in stark contrast to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who demand painful economic reforms from their borrowers.

With $1 trillion (US) in cash reserves, and an energy-hungry economy, China is acting as one might expect: it is maximizing its prospects for survival. stability and prosperity.

Exploring and Dissecting the Human Terrain

“The increasing global interdependence implies an increase in complexity. However, the relationship that was discussed between this complexity and the internal structural changes that are taking place in social and economic systems provides us with an additional insight. The change from hierarchical to distributed control implies that the complexity of collective behaviors is not only increasing, it is already higher than that of a single individual. In this context, the traditional conflict between individual and collective good and rights should be revisited. This philosophical and practical conflict manifested itself in the conflict between democracy and communism. It was assumed that communism represented an ideology of the collective while democracy represented an ideology of the individual. The transition to a complex organism implies that this conflict has been resolved, not in favor of one or the other, but rather of a third category—an interdependent complex collective formed out of diverse individuals.

The traditional collective model was a model that relied on the uniformity of the individuals rather than diversity. Similarly, the ideology of the individual did not view the individual in relation to the collective, but rather the individual serving himself or herself. It should be acknowledge that both philosophies were deeper than their caricatures would suggest. The philosophy of democracy included the idea that the individualistic actions would also serve the benefit of the collective, and the philosophy of communism included the idea that the collective would benefit the individual.

Nevertheless, the concept of civilization as a complex organism formed out of human beings is qualitatively different than either form of government. There are two natural conclusions to be drawn from recognizing that human beings are part of a global organism. First. one can recognize that human civilization has a remarkable capacity for responding to external and internal challenges. The existence of such a capacity for response does not mean human civilization will survive external challenges any more than the complexity of an organism guarantees its survival. However, one can hope that the ability to prevent local disasters will increase…Second, the complexity of our individual lives must be understood in the context of a system that must enable its components (us) to contribute effectively to the collective system…The merging of disciplines in the field of complex systems runs counter to the increasing specialization in science and engineering [but] it provides many opportunities for synergies and the recognition of general principles that can form a basis for education and understanding in all fields.”

In February 2007, the Defense Science Board (DSB) released a little noticed report titled, 21st Century Strategic Technology Vectors. In the report the DSB recommended that military planners explore the Human Terrain in which US warfighters operate. To do this, the DSB suggested a radical approach: tap into the non-kinetic social sciences network for analytical data and marry future findings and applications to the military’s warfighting toolkit.

“Human, Social, cultural and behavior (HSCB) modeling…pushes the boundaries of DOD’s comfort zone the farthest. However, it is an area that DOD cannot afford to ignore. The DOD needs to become much more familiar with the theories, methods, and models from psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive science, political science and economics in order to be able to identify those with real potential to add value to DOD’s toolkit. Coupling these to quantitative and computational modeling and simulation techniques from mathematics, physics, statistics, operations research, and computer science could lead to powerful new tools that represent complex human and social systems…One promising starting point for the application of HSCB models is to complement the more familiar physical network modeling with human/group behavioral models.

HSCB models are designed to help understand the structure, interconnections, dependencies, behavior, and trends associated with organizational entities. Macro HSCB models address nation states, socio-cultural regions, economies, and political systems. Micro HSCB models deal with religious and ethnic tribes, militias, insurgent and terrorist networks, and military units at the tactical level. Integrated models try to tie together the macro and micro models. A formidable challenge in modeling social and behavioral phenomena is to integrate and make coherent micro-macro models at multiple levels of data, granularity, and analysis, and across multiple disciplines of the social sciences, and to acquire and structure data that can be used to guide and test the models.”

Evolutionary Psychology: Some Basics

Evolutionary Psychology offers four linked, interdependent paths to understanding how brain-behavior relationships change over time in individuals and populations. Change and/or adaptation happens biologically through molecular development that affects the genetic substrates of behavior; psychologically through emotions, and conscious and unconscious mental activity; culturally through social life; and environmentally as behavior adapts to ecosystem and social system changes.

Evolutionary Psychology is an approach and a way of thinking. The mind is seen as a set of information-processing mechanisms designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors during the Pleistocene era. There are five basic principles that form the foundation of Evolutionary Psychology.

1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

2. Our neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve problems that our ancestors faced during our species evolutionary history.

3. Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of what goes in your mind is hidden from you. As a result, your conscious experience can mislead you into thinking that our circuitry is simpler than it really is. Most problems that you experience as easy to solve are very difficult to solve as they require very complicated neural circuitry.

4. Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems.

5. Our modern skulls house a stone age mind.

“Our species lived as hunter-gatherers 1000 times longer than as anything else. The world that seems so familiar to you an me—a world with roads, schools, grocery stores, factories, farms and nation-states—has lasted for only an eye blink of time when compared to our entire evolutionary history The computer age is only a little older than the typical college student and the industrial revolution is a mere 200 years old. Agriculture first appeared on earth only 10,000 years ago, and it wasn’t until abut 5000 years ago that as many as half the human population engaged in farming rather than hunting and gathering. Natural selection is a slow process and there haven’t been enough generations for it to design circuits that are well adapted to post-industrial life.”

Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience: Problem Solving Tool

ECN fuses Evolutionary Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience into one unified theory of human behavior based on the foundations of evolutionary meta-theory. The fruitfulness of ECN and, hence, the DOD’s R&D efforts to divine the Human Terrain, depends largely upon the willingness of participants and practitioners to accept and apply the general principles of Evolution and, most particularly, the basic tenets of Evolutionary Psychology.

“Like Pre-Darwinian psychology and other social sciences, cognitive neuroscience without evolution will have difficulty accurately describing the functional workings of the human mind…A cognitive neuroscience approach to ultimate questions without evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance makes little sense…An evolutionary perspective provides a structure from which to guide empirical investigations and hypothesis generation about brain behavior relationships…

Evolutionary psychology assumes that an evolved psychological mechanism and its corresponding neural substrates is an information-processing module that was selected during a species’ evolutionary history because it reliably produces behavior that solved a particular adaptive problem. Evolved psychological mechanisms are understood in terms of their specific inputs, decision rules and outputs. The filter of natural selection operates on psychological mechanisms that produce behavior. Natural selection cannot operate on behavior directly, but on the genes associated with neural substrates that generate the psychological mechanisms that produce the behavior…Evolutionary Psychology is not post hoc storytelling: its practitioners often use a deductive approach moving from theory to data…

The majority of psychological mechanisms are presumed to be domain specific. The mind is comprised of content-dependent machinery—physiological and psychological mechanisms–that is presumed to have evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. Psychological mechanisms can also be expressed as cognitive biases that cause people to more readily attend to some pieces of information relative to others…A domain, when referring to a psychological mechanism, is a selection pressure, an adaptive problem. Domain, then, is synonymous with problem. A domain-specific mechanism refers to a problem-specific mechanism—a mechanism that evolved to solve a specific adaptive problem. Although evolutionary and cognitive psychologists use the term domain-specific, perhaps some confusion could be avoided if the more accurate term problem-specific were employed.

Why is ECN important? Without evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance, cognitive science will fail to describe with anything but superficial accuracy the human and animal mind. Cognitive science will simply explain proximate mechanisms (i.e., the “how”) or brain-behavior relationships (most often using theoretical models derived from standard social science models). This is only half the equation. The approach misses the ultimate (i.e., “why”) questions of brain behavior relationships.

By adopting the ECN approach and directly addressing ultimate questions about brain-behavior relationships, scientists will be in a position to better describe the cognitive processes and the neural correlates that they investigate. Likewise without cognitive neuroscientific methods, evolutionary psychology may not be able to adequately describe and understand the neurophysiological mediators to psychological adaptations and hence may never be able to accurately describe the evolved nature of the human mind. Without peering into the brain with techniques such as modern functional neuroimaging, evolutionary psychological investigations can only describe the cognitive processing of human mental characteristics.

Evolutionary Psychology can describe function but is limited in its description of structure, and thus has no ability to relate function to structure which might be important especially in comparative investigations of cognitive evolution. The relationship between structure and function is inherently a problem of evolutionary biology; .i.e., the genes that give rise to brain structure and its component nuclei and modularity, as well as its ability to process information, were the combined units of selection.

The need for an integrated science of the mind that utilizes evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance to cognitive neuroscience investigations is overdue, but beginning to flourish…By adopting an ECN approach, scientists will be in a position to think about uniquely human traits such as higher-level consciousness, theory of mind and self awareness.

It is likely that the most exciting advancements in technology for understanding the evolved mind are going to come from interdisciplinary collaborations…In fact, ECN might be the only approach that can give rise to such an understanding. Evolutionary cognitive neuroscience might be the newest science of the mind.”


ECN may be used to inform current studies of human activity by providing insights as to how 21st Century humanity graduated from multiple hunter-gatherer bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and kingdoms to become nation-states. This may provide insights to public policy makers of the future, particularly given that humanity may be now working its way from nation-state back to tribal-state as the accelerated global mobility of everything from insurgent groups and viral strains to ideas and corporations threatens slow-moving governing institutions. Already, ECN has tackled matters as varied as water pollution and fetal development; the role of women and men in society and conflict; violent crime; leadership styles; terrorism, law and sentencing; world government; drug use, and an array of other issues falling into brain-behavior relationships.

In the end, humanity should be its own best resource for researching and solving complexity since humanity itself is the root cause of its problems. ECN may lead humanity to figure itself out. In that process there may be a possibility that this discovery will show that the species is really not as complex as it is egotistical and dualistic by evolutionary design. Humanity may find that it does, indeed, occupy a special place–not in the known universe or some mythical after-life, but right here at home.


Neuroweapons may be an outcome of ECN R&D programs. It is likely that DOD may classify as Top Secret programs that seek to turn the speed of thought into a weapon, or programs that blur the line between human and machine. With classification, no one may ever know of the existence of such programs. Some in the scientific community have suggested that, beyond the development of neuro-biomachinery and genetic manipulation, non-traceable neuroweapons with viral genetic payloads may be used to disrupt the brain and central nervous system. As a result, the creation of neurosecurity advisory and/or ethics boards may be required to keep R&D and testing efforts in bounds. 


July 31-August 1, 2012 — Holmes’s shrink’s government connections

WMR previously reported on the connections between accused Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes and U.S. government-funded neuroscience research programs at the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado and at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, in addition to his father’s research work on neural networks for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It has now emerged that James Holmes’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, worked as a psychiatrist for the U.S. Air Force.

Aurora police seized a notebook, containing drawings of stick figures opening fire with weapons, that Holmes mailed to Fenton before he allegedly carried out the massacre of the theater audience at a screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes’s defense attorneys are trying to obtain the notebook, which legal experts claim is privileged information between Fenton and Holmes, who was under her care during the time leading up to the shooting spree that killed 12 and wounded more than 58 others.

Fenton officially practiced Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Denver but she has specialized in the study of schizophrenia. Fenton has served as the Director of Student Mental Health Services at the Anschutz campus since 2008. Holmes was one of six students to receive a National Institutes of Health grant for neuroscience research at Anschutz, a program he suddenly withdrew from in May.

Fenton is a graduate of the Chicago Medical School in 1986 and did her residency at Northwestern University in 1990. Northwestern’s Department of Biomedical Engineering receives government funding to conduct research into neural engineering and rehabilitation, including restoration of human function, for example, neuroprosthetics, novel motor system therapies for stroke victims and assistive technologies for victims of neuropathologies, bio-inspired technologies for robotics, such as artificial sensor arrays, locomotion systems, sensory-feedback control algorithms. The former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, whose facilities Anschutz now occupies, specialized in neuroprosthetics for veterans who lost limbs in combat.

In May, before he dropped out of his NIH-funded program at Anschutz, Holmes presented a paper on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class on the Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.

The Salk Institute, where Holmes, an an intern, worked on temporal illusion projects, is part of the University of California at San Diego. The San Diego campus also hosts the Neural Engineering and Theoretical Neuroscience Laboratory and the Retina Engineering Center of the Department of Bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering, which has a program funded by the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), headquartered at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the home to a number of highly classified military medical research projects, incluidng weaponized anthrax research. One of the lab’s projects is the design of retinal implants to replace damaged photoreceptors in the eye by detecting light and properly stimulating neurons in the retina or, simply stated, a technology that would allow the blind to see.

Fenton was also the chief of physical medicine for the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, from 1990 to 1993.

On April 16, 2003, Air Force Colonel Philip Shue, a psychiatrist at the Air Force Medical Center, kissed his wife good-bye before driving to work. On his way to work, Shue was killed instantly in a crash in which the driver’s side was severely impacted. The Air Force, local, and state police determined that Shue committed suicide. End of story? Not quite.

Shue’s t-shirt was ripped open from his chest to his navel, with a six-inch vertical incision in his chest. Oddly, Shue’s nipples had been removed. Shue’s wrists were wrapped in duct tape. Investigators determined that Shue had suffered a psychological breakdown before mutilating himself and then committing suicide. A Kendall County grand jury later concluded that no foul play was involved in Shue’s death and no crime was committed.

Noted pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy — determining there was more than one assassin — and other high-profile deaths, concluded that there was no way that Shue could have mutilated himself and that Shue fell victim to torture and homicide. A trial over payment of Shue’s USAA life insurance policy did result from the death but the presiding judge changed the cause of Shue’s death from suicide to homicide although he ruled in a “take nothing” decision that USAA was not liable in paying out Shue’s life insurance claim to Shue’s first wife. Nevertheless, the Kendall County Sheriff’s office refused to re-open the case as a homicide. And, like the trial of James Holmes in Aurora, the judge ruled that cameras were not permitted in the court room during the Shue trial. Subsequently, in a politically-motivated prosecution by the Bush administration, Wecht faced 84 criminal counts of misuse of his public office as Allegheny County medical examiner, including alleged misuse of an Allegheny County fax machine. In 2009, the Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh dismissed all charges against Wecht. However, the case left Wecht $8 million in debt.

Shue’s murder, deemed a “suicide” by authorities, fits a familiar pattern of the government eliminating witnesses to illegal activities and gross misconduct. Although Fenton preceded Shue by ten years at the Lackland psychiatric department, Shue’s suspicious death is an indication that he may have become aware of unethical activities at the medical center. Shue had also announced his decision to retire from the Air Force shortly before his death.

In 2005, Fenton received a reprimand from the Colorado medical board for prescribing Vicodin, Xanax, Lorazepam, and Ambien to her husband, her employee, and herself. 


Interestingly, though no connection is clear or verified, Scott Creighton mentioned — back in May 2010 — a Robert Holmes who was well-connected to the Tampa/St. Pete Special Ops Command structure [ ] :

“Richard Pack, CEO – Prior to joining International Media Ventures, Dick Pack was the Vice President of the Special Operations Support Division of L-3 Com, GSI, located in Tampa, Florida. The organization that he led served the Special Operations Community in a variety of locations, under several separate contracts including the U. S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.

Robert Holmes – Director of Stratigic Communications – Prior to joining International Media Ventures,  Brigadier General “Bob“ Holmes was the  Director, Inter-Agency Task Force, Center for Special Operations, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.  Pior to his role at USSOCOM General Holmes was  the Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Central Command.

Marc Sherril – Director of Operations – Before accepting his current position with International Media Ventures, Marc Sherrill was a Senior Program Manager for IT Engineering Support to the Special Operation Resources Business Information Systems (SORBIS) for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)  IMV About Webpage


“As [Tom Burghardt] documented in “Unconventional Warfare in the 21st Century: U.S. Surrogates, Terrorists and Narcotraffickers” (Antifascist Calling, December 19, 2008), the Pentagon’s field manual (FM 3-05.130) titled Unconventional Warfare lays it out in black and white:

Irregulars, or irregular forces, are individuals or groups of individuals who are not members of a regular armed force, police, or other internal security force. They are usually nonstate-sponsored and unconstrained by sovereign nation legalities and boundaries. These forces may include, but are not limited to, specific paramilitary forces, contractors, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistance or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political “undesirables.” (Unconventional Warfare, p. 1-3)

****  ****  ****

Additional reading resources:…75_CIAHits.html 

U.S. Government Can Execute Its Own Citizens With No Judicial Process And Based On Secret Intelligence

Phantom Ray UAV Capable of Completely Autonomous Operation


The Real World: Mercenaries, Murder and the American Way 

Written by Chris Floyd 

Wednesday, 05 August 2009…erican-way.html



Department of Commerce

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Commerce

(DOC) organized a workshop on December 3-4, 2001. This report incorporates the views expressed at the workshop of leading experts from government, academia, and private sector, and detailed in contributions submitted thereafter by members of the U.S. science and engineering community.

‘…the combined role of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology in accelerating

advancement of mental, physical, and overall human performance.”

“Changing the societal “fabric” towards a new structure”



Over 400 pages long and indexed…


 Expendable Elite: One Soldier’s Journey into Covert Warfare (new expanded edition)A special operations perspective on the Vietnam War and the truth about a White House concerned with popular opinion This true story of a special forces officer in Vietnam in the mid-1960s exposes the unique nature of the elite fighting force and how covert operations are developed and often masked to permit and even sponsor assassination, outright purposeful killing of innocents, illegal use of force, and bizarre methods in combat operations.Expendable Elite reveals the fear that these warriors share with no other military person: not fear of the enemy they have been trained to fight in battle, but fear of the wrath of the U.S. government should they find themselves classified as “expendable.” This book centers on the CIA mission to assassinate Cambodian Crown Prince Nordum Sihanouk, the author’s unilateral aborting of the mission, the CIA’s dispatch of an ARVN regiment to attack and destroy the camp and kill every person in it as retribution for defying the agency, and the dramatic rescue of eight American Green Berets and hundreds of South Vietnamese.

Daniel Marvin is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces and former Green Beret who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He lives in Cazenovia, New York.

Visit for more information about the book and its author.

From the recent past: 

The U.S. military is already using, or fast developing, a wide range of technologies meant to give troops what California Polytechnic State University researcher Patrick Lin calls “mutant powers.” Greater strength and endurance. Superior cognition. Better teamwork. Fearlessness.

But the risk, ethics and policy issues arising out of these so-called “military human enhancements” — including drugs, special nutrition, electroshock, gene therapy and robotic implants and prostheses — are poorly understood, Lin and his colleagues Maxwell Mehlman and Keith Abney posit in a new report for The Greenwall Foundation (.pdf), scheduled for wide release tomorrow. In other words, we better think long and hard before we unleash our army of super soldiers….

In this possible mutant future, what enhancements should be regulated by international law, or banned outright? If an implant malfunctions or a drug causes unexpected side effects, who’s responsible? And if one side deploys a terrifying cyborg army, could that spark a devastating arms race as nations scramble to out-enhance each other? “Does the possibility that military enhancements will simply lead to a continuing arms race mean that it is unethical to even begin to research or employ them?” Lin, Mehlman and Abney wonder.

The report authors also question whether the military shouldn’t get give potential enhancement subjects the right to opt out, even though the subjects are otherwise subject to military training, rules and discipline. “Should warfighters be required to give their informed consent to being enhanced, and if so, what should that process be?” the researchers ask.

The ethical concerns certainly have precedent. In a series of experiments in the 1970s aimed at developing hallucinogenic weapons, the Pentagon gave soldiers LSD — apparently without the subjects fully understanding the consequences of using the drug. During the Cold War U.S. troops were also exposed to nerve gas, psychochemicals and other toxic substances on an experimental basis and without their consent.

Moreover, it’s theoretically possible that future biological enhancements could be subject to existing international laws and treaties, potentially limiting the enhancements — or prohibiting them outright. But the application of existing laws and treaties is unclear, at best. ”Could enhanced warfighters be considered to be ‘weapons’ in themselves and therefore subject to regulation under the Laws of Armed Conflict?” the researchers write. “Or could an enhanced warfighter count as a ‘biological agent’ under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention?” 



by Michael Tennant

December 24, 2012

The December 14 murder of 20 children and 6 women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has garnered vast media attention and caused countless people with no connection to the victims to grieve for them. This is not a new phenomenon: nearly all mass murders carried out by civilians generate the same type of coverage and response.

But what of the far more numerous incidents of government murder of innocents? Most of them hardly make the news at all; fewer still produce widespread outpourings of sympathy.


The George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations deliberately sabotaged Iraq’s sanitation systems and prevented their repair through sanctions. That, too, was not widely reported, and neither president apologized for it. Quite the opposite: Clinton’s secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, told a reporter that “the price” — half a million dead Iraqi children — was “worth it” to oust Saddam Hussein from power, an objective the bombings and sanctions manifestly failed to achieve.

Under Clinton, too, federal agencies laid siege to the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, and in the name of saving children from abuse killed 17 kids and another 59 adults inside the compound.

No government employees were ever brought to account for that incident, though some of the surviving Davidians were tried and convicted for daring to resist the feds’ assault on their home.

Going back even further, one could point to Harry Truman’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the Allies’ firebombing of German and Japanese cities, which also targeted first responders, under both Truman and his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt. Even today those actions are justified by many Americans on the basis that “all’s fair in love and war”; and besides, they “saved American lives” — the only ones, apparently, that count.

The U.S. government, of course, is not alone in murdering innocent people. One thinks immediately of the great evils of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists, who killed perhaps 11 million people, or the communist regimes of the Soviet Union, China, and elsewhere, responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 million. All told, governments killed more than 262 million people in the 20th century outside of wars, according to University of Hawaii political science professor R.J. Rummel. Add to that the war dead, also the responsibility of governments, and the figure becomes astronomical. The vast majority of instances of death by government are unknown to all except researchers such as Rummel. Those that are more widely known often have their apologists.

No sane person sticks up for the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre. Likewise, it’s about time people stopped sticking up for governments that perpetrate far worse killings — and started prosecuting the people who order them and carry them out.


American Death Squads

Terrorism with a “Human Face”: The History of America’s Death Squads

The Establishment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research,

4 January, 2013

The recruitment of death squads is part of a well established US military-intelligence agenda. There is a long and gruesome US history of covert funding and support of  terror brigades ….

See also:


More Than Human? 

The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers


FEB 16 2012, 3:57 PM ET

“… As you might expect, there are serious moral and legal risks to consider on this path. Last week in the UK, The Royal Society released its report ” Neuroscience, Conflict and Security.” This timely report worried about risks posed by cognitive enhancements to military personnel, as well as whether new nonlethal tactics, such as directed energy weapons, could violate either the Biological or Chemical Weapons Conventions.

While an excellent start, the report doesn’t go far enough, as I have been explaining to the US intelligence community , National Research Council, DARPA, and other organizations internationally. The impact of neural and physical human enhancements is more far-reaching than that, such as to the question of torturing the enhanced. Other issues, as described below, pose real challenges to military policies and broader society…..” 


America’s Death Squads 

** [has some good embedded links]



Google the term “viral receptor mapping”. Scan the entries. If you can understand any of it, write a guest article.


“You ever seen a Cognitive Degrade, Marta?”

In 1976 George Wald, Nobel Prize winning biologist and Harvard professor, wrote:

Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution…. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. Our morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain…. For going ahead in this direction may be not only unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.

Ethical Dangers of Genetic Engineering 



Monday, May 13th, 2013

Military Biotech: Genetically Engineered Animals for War

Excerpted from “Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts” by Emily Anthes, published in March 2013 by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2013 by Emily Anthes. All rights reserved. 

“… Like it always does”

Yesterday, I sandwiched two chores (the final brush strokes on a kitchen re-do project, and the grocery shopping) in between chunks of the now-infamous  speech by the POTUS on NSA reform (see ) and the last two-thirds of a movie.

I gave the day a nickname: “The Quadrant of Fiction”.

The non-functional garnish on the day was Larry King’s self-promo “Does the media lead us, or do we lead the media?” [See ]  Much of my TV dial is taken up with the Omega XL informercials. But I digress…

I also spent a few moments jotting down some thoughts in reflecting back on the debates about alternative media. I scrawled pencil across four sides of some 4×6 index cards. The problem in trying to parse out a specific story, incident, hoax, etc. is that most sources — starting with the mainstream media and proceeding through to some alternative media sources — don’t write well, with simplicity and clarity, and often don’t “link out to” or cite (or even state) their ‘evidence’, argument or even their thesis. They assume that the reader or viewer has already seen ref, viewed or otherwise consumed and digested what the source has seen, Another problem is the inability (or lack of desire) to stick with the subject. opting instead to change the subject, as did Jim Braude on NECN’s Broadside on Friday night when pressed on the Presidential statement and the ongoing assault on fundamental (inalienable) rights: Braude said “speaking of rights, what do you think of the Rep. Henriquez case sentencing? [ ] Does the judge have the right to do that?” Braude went on, in a lame effort to link to the Pats-Broncos game (Colorado having legalized marijuana and Massachusetts contemplating further action on the topic [ ], to talk about football fans who were “high on weed” who beat up those who root for the other team. [The NSA will now surely put these folks under surveillance:]

Another problem in a world littered with Twitter, Disqus, etc. is the lack of interactivity, or the failure to ask any follow-up questions, or our own drive to self-complete them with further research when those questions are avoided or side-stepped, and then publish the results.

The movie I mentioned was “The Bourne Legacy”, notable for its parkour [ ] , its chase scenes, a few mind-freaking phrases and the hanging question about the line between fiction and reality. Scroll down for music …. That’s the fourth in the series, the first three starring that fellow Damon, and they are fiction. [Well, aren’t they?] They’re about the CIA and its assassination programs, also fiction, we’re told. MK-Ultra has been tabled, shredded, and never existed in the first place, right?. But Treadstone, Blackbriar, Outcome, and LARX are real on the screen.

And “The next installment of the Bourne franchise has a release date. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the action-spy sequel – which stars Jeremy Renner as the genetically-enhanced CIA agent Aaron Cross – will hit theaters on August 14th, 2015. The film will be directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious).

[ ]


“LARX is a beta 2 stem program. Amped mission fidelity, minimized empathy.” Also described as; “Treadstone without the inconsistency. Outcome without the emotional noise.”

The films have been noted for their “well placed”, “understated” and “tastefully done” product placement of a “diverse” range of brands, which in the case of the third film, earned the producers tens of millions of dollars.[29][30]

[Nothing like corporate-sponsored movies about “programmable behavioral design” and “genomic targeting”….]

Fictional ‘Bourne Legacy’ not so far-fetched, says writer-director

Originally published Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 5:30 AM

A Q&A with Tony Gilroy, writer-director of the new film “The Bourne Legacy,” who spent countless hours immersed in military and intelligence research to create the fact-based fictional universe behind a CIA assassin.


The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — “The Bourne Legacy” is a work of fiction, but the scientific, political and corporate partnerships it depicts are very real.

Tony Gilroy, a writer on the first three “Bourne” films, based on the Robert Ludlum series, and writer-director of this latest installment, spent countless hours immersed in military and intelligence research to tell the story of CIA assassin Jason Bourne.

When tasked with expanding Bourne’s universe for “Legacy,” Gilroy again looked to reality: Hundreds — if not thousands — of secret government and quasi-government programs funded by millions and millions of dollars with little oversight, all designed to build better weapons and better soldiers.

Such advancements are at the heart of “The Bourne Legacy.” Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, a super agent who has benefited from the government’s top-secret medical research; Rachel Weisz is the doctor who helped develop the science; Edward Norton acts as the kingpin, a sort of corporate-military-intelligence hybrid, who tries to control it all.

Gilroy talked about his inspiration for the story and why truth can be stranger than fiction:

Q: How did you go about broadening the “Bourne” world?

A: There needed to be a pulling back the curtain, a much larger conspiracy. Edward Norton has his agency that he’s carved out there at the center of the Beltway, and (we) found a niche for him in the military-industrial-corporate espinocracy food chain … It has all of the funding and all of the motivation and all of the secrecy that we would expect with a government program, but then it has all the lack of oversight, the human error, that we know always comes with everything. …

Q: Did you discover anything so far-fetched that moviegoers might not believe is true?

A: I wanted to keep everything really kitchen sink-y and crude and authentic and real and did not want to have it feel science-fiction, and I knew that what we were talking about is really on the way here or certainly a lot of people have it up on the chalkboard. … The thing that seemed most applicable to me and that helped me most in my story was gene doping, genomic alteration. That was a little bit sexier and a little more on the horizon than some of the other things. It’s kind of fascinating, in the last month, since the Olympics have come up, I’ve seen two mainstream articles — the scientists who are responsible for doing all the drug testing for all the athletes, that’s their cutting edge. That’s their next (question), how do we monitor gene doping. And they don’t know how to do it, and it’s really fascinating. The scenario is they introduce chromosomal gene doping through a synthetic virus. And that’s happening now. That’s what Olympic doctors are worried about … .

Q: Writing the three previous “Bourne” movies must have made stepping into the director’s role more thrilling.

A: With the trepidation of not wanting to have people think that you’re doing science fiction. We’re not really going for any suspension of disbelief here, so it’s a little bit tricky to try to convince everybody that this is really on somebody’s menu.

Q: After all your research in this area, has anyone from the intelligence community ever contacted you, either admiringly or threateningly?

A: No. I have some other friends who troll the same sort of espionage porn that I do and dig around, and we always wonder if we’re entering this number of search words all the time, what metrics are you entering into in some gathering site somewhere? I don’t know. I don’t think that’s overly paranoid. But no one’s ever contacted me.×400.jpg

Believe it or not, the covert, violent, and deadly world of Jason Bourne is actually grounded in reality. We take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the CIA to see how a super assassin like Matt Damon’s conflicted hero is created. We also probe the intelligence agency’s controversial past operations, involving sinister mind-control experiments and often bizarre assassination plots.

“… I was involved in surveillance both on foot and by car during my CIA career. If I had ever destroyed as many cars, motorcycles, sales booths and the like in Manila — as we see done during a chase in The Bourne Legacy — I would probably still be in a Philippine jail. The Chicago film critic Roger Ebert commented in his review of The Bourne Legacy that there are three chase scenes in the movie. Regarding the motorcycle chase, he says “The chase lasts way too long. I glanced twice at my watch.” I checked my watch even more often. How much disbelief do the filmmakers expect us to suspend? ….”

Former CIA officer Vaughn Sherman is the author of “Sasha Plotkin’s Deceit,” which can be purchased from Camel Press

An excerpt:

how this basically works….

Most gene modification techniques involve placing genetically modified DNA inside a virus and injecting it into the human body. The virus then enters human cells, and its modified DNA attaches itself to the human DNA inside those cells.

When you really stop and think about this kind of technology, the implications are staggering. 

An excerpt: 

“DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research arm, has just put out a new solicitation for a project called, “Advanced Tools for Mammalian Genome Engineering” on the government’s Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) site.

This project isn’t just for engineering any mammal’s genome, however; it’s specifically for the bioengineering of humans.

The proposal explains the project’s details:

“The ability to deliver exogenous DNA to mammalian cell lines is a fundamental tool in the development of advanced therapeutics, vaccines, and cellular diagnostics, as well as for basic biological and biomedical research… The successful development of technologies for rapid introduction of large DNA vectors into human cell lines will enable the ability to engineer much more complex functionalities into human cell lines than are currently possible.”

The project’s stated objective is to “improve the utility of Human Artificial Chromosomes (HACs).” (Gallows humor jokes about how DARPA wants to literally HAC(k) you can be made at any time.) A Wikipedia entry explains in relatively plain language what a HAC is and what it does:

“A human artificial chromosome (HAC) is a microchromosome that can act as a new chromosome in a population of human cells. That is, instead of 46 chromosomes, the cell could have 47 with the 47th being very small, roughly 6-10 megabases in size, and able to carry new genes introduced by human researchers.”

So DARPA and its team of associated scientists want to introduce an entirely new 47th chromosome into human genetics as a vector platform for inserting bio-alterations and wholesale genetic “improvements”  into our DNA.

The agency hopes that development of a new chromosome will allow a solution to the limitations of current “state-of-the-art” gene transfer technologies (including plasmids, adenovirus-, lentivirus-, and retrovirus-vectors, cDNA, and minigene constructs). The proposal explains that existing approaches must be improved due to known drawbacks in the scientists’ failure to control their results, causing a few minor major problems:

“These include random DNA insertion into the host genome, variation in stable integration sites between cell lines, variation in the copy number and expression level of DNA that is delivered, limitations on the number and size of DNA constructs that can be delivered, and immunological responses to foreign DNA. “

Yet these techniques are already in use? How reassuring.

Ever hear the term ‘playing God’? Scientists who work in these fields not only refer to themselves as “genome engineers,” but “biological designers” in their journal articles. This January 2013 piece in the journal Molecular Systems Biology introduces the topic with a chilling description:

“The phrase ‘genome-scale engineering’ invokes a future in which organisms are custom designed to serve humanity. Yet humans have sculpted the genomes of domesticated plants and animals for generations. Darwin’s contemporary William Youatt described selective breeding as ‘that which enables the agriculturalist, not only to modify the character of his flock, but to change it altogether. It is the magician’s wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mold he pleases’ (Youatt, 1837).”

It’s impossible to even compile an accurate listing of all the potential slippery slopes at play here, yet it is clear that this entails a momentous grasp at controlling life, which not only empowers an already dictatorial technocratic elite, but emboldens a delusional and destructive cadre intent on overwriting the existing species now on Earth.

Watch the 30 second promo video below [now unavaialble and marked “private”] where an investment firm (with their creepy all seeing eye logo) nonchalantly projects that within 50 years, science will displace natural life by a factor of 50-to-1 with artificial lab-created species – including plants, animals, humans, bacteria and viruses.

Fidelity Investments Forecasts the Creation of 50x More Synthetic Biological Species than Known Natural Species

Through DARPA, our government funds a laundry list of projects to gain technocratic control of the future that reads more like a summary of the latest sci-fi horror film plots. Case in point: just today Activist Post reported “Secret DARPA Mind Control Project Revealed: Leaked Document“.

When looking at one DARPA project to perfect mind control techniques — or a second DARPA project to study the human hormone oxytocin to ‘improve’ our response to government propaganda — or a third DARPA brain interface project that would literally turn soldiers into cyborgs, it’s creepy enough. However, when looking at all of these projects together as a combined effort… it raises chilling questions as to what kind of dystopic, technocratic future they are forcing us into….”

Engineers are pioneering a new way to explore the viscous fluids of biological environments, like the inside of the human body, where microscopes are difficult to place. Called a “bio-bot,” the microscopic biological machine swims like a sperm, is powered by heart cells, propelled by a tail and can navigate the aquatic world of micro-organisms on its own.

Researchers from the University of Illinois, led by Taher Saif, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, wanted to probe an emerging science involved with using cells to communicate with each other and drive a synthetic organism forward. Their study, published in the journal Nature Communications, marks an “exciting advance” in the area of self-propelled biological robots…..”

More here: (video and animation at link)

Other related (?) links:

Behavior Design Patterns: Engineering Human Behavior Models

source of image:

The Bio-Intelligence Chips Program (BIC) … is interested in omni-omic expressions encompassing, but not limited to, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenomics, microbiomics, immunomics, glycomics, and lipodomics. The best known of these omics categories is genomics, which deals with bioinformatic data developed from the analysis of DNA sequences. The other categories include: (1) transcriptomics, the analysis of information derived from RNA transcription levels of expressed genes within a cell population; (2) proteomics, the analysis of expressed proteins and their associated modifications; (3) metabolomics, the analysis of levels of metabolites (small organic molecules, including regulatory peptides) associated with the maintenance of homeostasis; (4) epigenomics, the study of heritable changes that are not directly encoded in DNA sequences; (5) microbiomics, the analysis of the species, numbers, and locations of parasitic and commensal organisms, e.g., bacteria that live endosymbiotically with their hosts; (6) immunomics, the analysis of information pertaining to changes in the immune system, particularly those associated with adaptive immunity; (7) glycomics, the analysis of all glycan structures in an organism including the glycan’s interaction with lectins and other biomolecules; and (8) lipodomics, the analysis of pathways and networks of cellular lipids in biological systems, including the quantification of lipids, the analysis of their conjugates (e.g., glycans) and their interactions with proteins, metabolites and other lipids…..” 

As Magnus Berggren, professor of Organic Electronics and leader of the research group  in which Klaus Tybrandt (who invented the chip) works:

“We can, for example, send out signals to muscle synapses where the signalling system may not work for some reason. We know our chip works with common signalling substances, for example acetylcholine”×265.jpg

Source of image:

June 10, 2013, 6:25 PM ET

How Spies May One Day Predict The Future

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a little-known U.S. government organization, is developing analytic programs for the National Security Agency that could make recent revelations about the NSA’s activities look antiquated by comparison. Rather than reviewing archival data, it may use current data to predict the future.

IARPA is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops new technology for the military. “IARPA does for NSA what DARPA does for the military,” said James A. Lewis, director and senior fellow of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “A lot of their programs are black,” he told CIO Journal, meaning that they’re classified and funded from a classified budget.

Certain of its programs are not classified. One such program is Open Source Indicators, which reviews a range of publicly available sources, such as Tweets, Web queries, oil prices and daily stock market activity, to gauge the likelihood of certain “significant societal events,” according to a program announcement posted on The goal of the program is to develop continuously automated systems that use information from these sources to predict when and where a disease outbreak, riot, political crisis or mass violence might occur. Currently, the project is focusing on events in Latin America. IARPA did not respond to requests for comment.

It may sound like a far-fetched idea, but already that project has correctly predicted events, days in advance. For example, researchers were able to accurately forecast sudden protests that occurred in Paraguay when the president was impeached, said Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Mr. Ramakrishnan is leading a team of about 60 people from the University of Maryland, Cornell University, Children’s Hospital of Boston, San Diego State University, University of California at San Diego and Indiana University and two companies CACI International Inc.CACI +0.23% and Basis Technology. The team can earn up to $13.3 million if it’s funded over the full three-year term of the project.

The project was also able to accurately predict a Hantavirus outbreak in Argentina last year, said Mr. Ramakrishnan. The team is trying to find which pieces of data most accurately forecast an outbreak. For example, project team members are looking at the numbers of cars parked in hospital parking lots from satellite images and trying to figure out if an increased number of cars in the parking lot can be an early indication of an increase in disease outbreak, he said. IARPA keeps a log of all the predictions forecast by researchers and checks them against articles in local newspapers to determine which ones were accurate. Each month, his group gets a report card from IARPA telling the researchers how well they performed.

Mr. Ramakrishnan says his researchers are trying to preserve individual privacy as they create their algorithms to mine this data. “In the case of civil unrest, we haven’t come to the point of modeling government opposition groups,” he said. His group is trying to predict when and where a protest might occur, but not the individuals who are participating in that protest. But Mr. Ramakrishnan acknowledges that somebody could potentially use this information in ways that are not intended.

Write to 


See also, courtesy of , these past articles:

Genetic Engineering 

CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine In An 8-Year Span When It Was Contaminated With Cancer Causing Virus

July 22nd, 2013

Via: Prevent Disease: The CDC has quickly removed a page from their website, which is now cached here, admitting that more than 98 million Americans received one or more doses of polio vaccine within an 8-year span from 1955-1963 when a proportion of the vaccine was contaminated with a cancer causing polyomavirus called SV40. It […]

Scientists Create Artificial Human Chromosome

July 11th, 2013

Via: Independent: Scientists have created genetically-engineered mice with artificial human chromosomes in every cell of their bodies, as part of a series of studies showing that it may be possible to treat genetic diseases with a radically new form of gene therapy. In one of the unpublished studies, researchers made a human artificial chromosome in […]

Stanford Bioengineers Make Transistor from Genetic Materials

April 3rd, 2013

Via: Extreme Tech: Bioengineers at Stanford University have created the first biological transistor made from genetic materials: DNA and RNA. Dubbed the “transcriptor,” this biological transistor is the final component required to build biological computers that operate inside living cells. We are now tantalizingly close to biological computers that can detect changes in a cell’s […]

Genetic System Performs Logic Operations and Stores Data in DNA

February 14th, 2013

Via: Nature: Synthetic biologists have developed DNA modules that perform logic operations in living cells. These ‘genetic circuits’ could be used to track key moments in a cell’s life or, at the flick of a chemical switch, change a cell’s fate, the researchers say. Their results are described this week in Nature Biotechnology. Synthetic biology […]

See also these categories at Cryptogon for past stories:

Mind Control 

Perception Management

Police State

Rise of the Machines

Social Engineering




“… sadly all the TV ads selling drugs and promises of “nice quiet Sunday’s on the porch sipping tea” are nothing but Hollywood creations.  Those images help to keep us taking the bait.  We’ve swallowed them easily in the past but they are getting harder to take.” [Bruce K. Gagnon | 11:41 AM ]


Music video: (4:51)

‘Extreme Ways (Bourne’s Legacy)’ was re-recorded in LA partly at Moby’s home studio and partly at Sony Pictures Studios with a 110 piece orchestra with the help of composers Joe Trapanese (Tron: Legacy) and James Newton Howard (The Dark Night, The Sixth Sense, King Kong, I Am Legend) who has also scored the original soundtrack for the movie.

Moby’s ‘Extreme Ways’ originally appeared on the studio album ’18’ released in 2002, and has since been used for the closing credits of each movie in the Bourne movie series.

Full film soundtrack here: 

If anger is taboo, thought will starve to death.

con·form·i·ty –noun, plural -ties. 1. action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc. 2. correspondence in form, nature, or character; agreement, congruity, or accordance. 3. compliance or acquiescence; obedience. 

non·con·form·i·ty  –noun 1. failure or refusal to conform, as with established customs, attitudes, or ideas. 2. lack of conformity or agreement. 3. ( often initial capital letter ) refusal to conform to the Church of England.

The Transcendentalists, especially Henry David Thoreau, appalled conforming to society merely for the purpose of “fitting in”. They advocated that society corrupted a person’s inner goodwill. They believed that by remaining outside of society’s influences a person could transcend the evils society tempted them with and achieve true peace. In his essay Civil Disobedience, Thoreau supported violating the laws set forth by the government if one felt that they were harmful. Thoreau practiced as he preached and refused to submit to the concept that slavery was morally acceptable. He attempted to enlighten others and bring them over to his side. He was shunned by many for his radical ideas. However, he ignored the protests and stood up for what he believed in. The definition of non-conformity is considered a failure to conform. However, Thoreau saw it not as a failure, but as a success;  a successful method of exercising ones intrinsic right to defend his beliefs.  “A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority.”-Henry David Thoreau.

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”-Emerson, Self-Reliance 

“Society is a joint stock company in which members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”-Emerson, Self-Reliance×368.jpg

Quotes About Nonconformity


Nonconformity to Society as Source of Self Development – College

At, this is one of those essays (writen in 2008) that appears to be something you can rip off the web and turn it or at least cite for some paper you were to be writing in a class about society and self-development.  Check the opening premise.. 

As human beings, no two of us are the same. We look, act and think differently from each other. However, man cannot live without community because it is the essence of social bond. Community binds one person to another, transforming aggregates of individuals into coherent social groups.”

The essay goes on to cite Hobbes and Durkheim, but I didn’t “register” so I could read the conclusion.  [Don’t need to… it’s playing out all around us day by day.]

And there’s a similar essay here: 

Summary: Non-comformity to society can have both negative and positive consequences. It can lead to personal disaster or to positive social change. The act of non-conformity is examined in two films, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Remember the Titans,” as well as in the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks.

Non-conformity is an act of rebellion, opposing the expectations set by society. Non-conformity should be admired and admonished, valued and reproved, depending on the various situations it is applied to. I believe that non-conformity may have both positive and negative outcomes, ghastly consequences and excellent results. Those who choose not to conform either do it knowing it will result in an affirmative or negative outcome, or not knowing it what they are doing at all. In all fact, an act of non-conformity cannot be judged by it’s rebellious nature, but by it’s effects on the society or things involved. Acts of non-conformity can have both minute and immense effects on the environment that surround their occurrence, but either way they will definitely have clear consequences. In many forms of literature and entertainment, there are examples of non-conformity and their consequences evident, whether it be…”

“I’d really like to be normal and conform, because, at heart, I’m not a risk-taker at all,” said Grand Rapids, MI, high-school sophomore Christine Kornowicz. “But if I want to fit in, I have to be different. If you don’t stick out, everyone at school makes fun of you.”

“I’ve started wearing all black, painting my nails, and shaving my head, just to fit in,” said Jonathan Auger, a Binghamton, NY, high-school junior. “You can’t understand how hard it is for a young person not to make waves these days.”,783/×866.jpg

Notoriety: Outrageous Appearance & Personal Behavior as a Social Art Form

Lady GaGa

the entire Kardashian complex

Brittney Spears

Miley Cyrus

Justin Bieber

Lindsay Lohan 

Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking

Posted by samzenpus on Monday December 09, 2013 @08:07AM

from the you-are-all-individuals dept.

An anonymous reader writes

“Despite how much people might say they like creative thinking, they don’t, at least according to studies. ‘We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,’ says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity. ‘As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,’ he says.”

Coercion and Social Cohesion

December 26th, 2013

(by Adam Elkus)

Reader PRBeckman left a very great comment on my “Legibility at War” post, placing the WWI draft effort in perspective:

The federal government wanted to conscript millions of eligible men, but it had no information about those men and it lacked the institutions and money to gather that information so it depended upon private, voluntary organizations to fill the gaps. This is where the culture of voluntary associations reveals its dark side. The army’s estimate suggested that perhaps 3 million men never registered at all. This illegibility was a great dilemma and that’s where voluntary associations came in. Americans of this era are famous for their prolific creations of associations of every kind. You would think that would be a good thing except that they too often veered into vigilantism. These organizations were populated by people who weren’t themselves eligible for the draft, but they saw it as their duty to ensure that those who were eligible weren’t shirking. Organizations were formed all over the country, the most prominent being the American Protective League which counted 250,000 members. In 1917 and 1918 the APL and these other organizations, in collaboration with federal, state & local gov’ts, ran “slacker raids” to try to find those men who were eligible but who hadn’t registered. The accounts of these raids are frightening. The raids varied in size but they culminated in a massive operation in New York City on September 3-5, 1918:

“The APL later estimated that somewhere between twenty thousand and thirty thousand men participated: city police, government agents from the Department of Justice, more than two thousand soldiers and one thousand sailors, and thousands of American Protective League operatives. For three days they scoured the city’s streets and public places interrogating somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 men. A man who lacked a draft registration or classification card found himself escorted by these self-appointed authorities to the nearest police station.”

They surrounded the “exits and entrances of every train, ferry, subway” station, “cordoning off whole blocks and interrogation men on the street. Later they raided theaters, saloons, billiard parlors, and boarding houses. Sailors wandered through the city’s restaurants moving from table to table inspecting the cards of diners.”

All the consequence of trying to achieve ’legibility’. And it would have an impact on concepts of citizenship, changing how citizens interacted with their government. The WW1 period was the transition era from the “illegible,” “wild and unruly forest”-era of citizenship to one that has taken on “a more legible shape.”

It’s worth pondering this when we hear endless appeals from pundits about how if our politicians and partisans were only forced to abandon their substantive political differences and get together, if our populace was regimented by a peacetime draft unconnected to urgent military danger for the purpose of social cohesion, we would somehow be a more perfect union. John Schindler rightly dispenses with these ideas:

A Swiss-style mass reserve force would make a great deal of sense if the United States worried about actual invasion from Canada or Mexico, something which even Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn’t think is a realistic threat. Otherwise, not so much

Moreover, what would the U.S. military do with all those people? Since, unless you want to replicate the worst features of the pre-1973 draft, when flimsy exemptions abounded that privileged the privileged, the Selective Service system would have to direct millions of young men (and women too? how, in gender-equal 21st century America, could they be excluded?) into the forces. Even allowing that a high percentage of young people would be kept out on grounds of rising obesity and general idiocy that are spreading in wildfire fashion among American youths – many place that number at seventy-five percent unfit for military service these days – the Pentagon would need to find lots of make-work work for many big battalions of teenagers.

I don’t hear anyone suggesting a draft period of two years, as it was before 1973, so we’d be talking about a one year – twelve months – service period at most (Austria is down to six months coerced service, as a reference point, which has limited functional utility for the active forces.). Which would mean the U.S. military would have to invest in a vast training system resulting in lots of units filled with half-trained troops plus many others counting the days until they get out. It’s not difficult to see why you hardly ever meet career military types, of any rank, with any enthusiasm for restoring peacetime conscription.

Schindler acribes this to the utopian dreams of pundits that never had to endure military discipline themselves but want someone else’s sons and daughters to do it. However, even this is actually too charitable. I wrote and scrapped a column for War on the Rocks that analyzed this at length (it was getting too dense for a typical op-ed format) and I came to the conclusion that there is actually an strong element of authoritarianism in this.

The idea is that, in essence, with a regimented body of Americans we have cohesion again — cohesion, however, defined by the pundit’s own views about what politics America ought to have. What Dana Milibank’s column (which Schindler’s column rebuts) amounts to is the idea that a regimented America is one that will be more likely to agree with his own subjective political beliefs. Key is his sentence at the end that the ultimate goal of this would be to do undo the damage of “self-interested leaders” and the fact that the shutdown was the impetus for his column:

It’s no coincidence that this same period has seen the gradual collapse of our ability to govern ourselves: a loss of control over the nation’s debt, legislative stalemate and a disabling partisanship. It’s no coincidence, either, that Americans’ approval of Congress has dropped to just 9?percent, the lowest since Gallup began asking the question 39 years ago.

If partisanship is what regimentation seeks to cure, than the unspoken assumption is that a drafted public is one more likely to share Dana Milbank’s view of American governance. Let us be direct: his view of governance is one that conflates ideological disagreement (combined with the particularities of the US system) with pettiness and flaws of character. And the implication is that regimentation, authority, and discipline will reduce disorder and make American politics legible to him and other observers — like the China-fetishizing New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

Don’t get me wrong, I found the shutdown disturbing too. I dislike partisanship as well. I think that the shutdown was also a failure of American governance. But it had complex structural causes,  not some sudden and simplistic deprecation in the character of Americans raised on butter instead of guns. Structure, particularly when combined with ideology, matters. And we should start being very careful when an intellectual avoids existing structural analysis, warns of societal decadence , and declares that we must regiment ourselves and quash disagreement to save the polity. We should particularly be concerned when said intellectual creates a mono-causal explanation for a complex set of social problems and declares we must regiment ourselves and quash disagreement.

In any event I’d rather have vigorous partisanship and democracy (even if it results in gridlock and partisanship) than the kind of America Milbank seemingly wants to build. And knowledge of history should make us very cautious about the constant of the intellectual proposing coercion for the sake of order, cohesion, and discipline in society. Diversity builds robustness and strength, and centralization and regimentation can have substantial costs.

Posted in intellectuals, theory | 3 Comments »

There is a fine line that separates conformity from nonconformity, and both of them from intelligent decision making.  Although the distinction may seem clear, I believe the difference is far more complex than most people are aware of.  Why?  Because an accurate measure of conformity or nonconformity is based exclusively on an individual’s true understanding of a subject.  It doesn’t matter what decision a person actually makes, or if someone else has made a similar decision.  What does matter is the reasoning behind the decision.

Many people believe conformity is tied solely to the act of following the masses.  This viewpoint is inherently flawed.  Let’s keep this ridiculously simple.  The circular tire is one of the most commonly used tools in existence.  Am I conforming because I use 4 of them on my automobile?  The answer is no.  I use them because I have fully evaluated the circumstances and concluded that circular tires get the job done right.  Would I be a true nonconformist for trying another shape of tire?  No, I would be practicing nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity with no value added, and actually spoiling my productivity in the process.

Conformity is not just about following the masses.  True conformity involves following the masses without first evaluating why the masses are doing what they are doing.  Many times the masses are correct.  If you properly evaluate the circumstances and conclude that the masses are indeed correct, you would be foolish to run the other way, or practice any form of nonconformity.

This brings me to my next point.  Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity is conformity.  When people try too hard to be different, they usually end up being just like everyone else who is trying to be different.  Don’t conform to nonconformity for the sake of it.  Mindfully evaluate the circumstances. Once you fully understand your options, make the decision that works best for you…..



“… I encourage people to question society, their parents, their boss, and themselves. And to question, of course, authority.

Since a young age — since, I don’t know, around the age of 6 — I’ve always questioned things. In high school, I was one of those grunge/punk kids that rebelled against “the system” (until I dropped out due to boredom, that is). I eventually went to college and dropped out of that, too. Not because I was lazy, but because I never intended on getting a degree. I chose to go to classes that I was interested in, instead of following core requirements and a major program. I’m not trying to downplay the value of diplomas, or degrees, but the path of self education has always felt the most right for me. (See: becoming a raw foodist, Jeet Kune Do, blogging, drumming, writing, web design, and reading at least one book a week.) I commend those that follow the traditional path of education deliberately (instead of doing it because they’re told it’s a good idea). It just wasn’t for me, personally.

So anyway — back to the story: During my short-lived high school days, I wanted to disengage from the machine. So I became “anti-everything.” I rejected popular notions, traditions, belief-systems, religions, and anything classical, formal, or institutionalized.

Now this was something I was really proud of back in the day. It was everything street cred and a serious symbol of how “real” you were. It was a seal of renegade pride to not wear anything with a label or brand name. If you were a true non-conformist, you didn’t listen to music that was on the radio. You read books and listened to music that were considered “underground,” and often admired artists simply because they were unknown. We called this being real.

If you want to meet a real non-conformist (hell, the title of his blog is The Art of Non-Conformity. Helloooo.) I suggest you check out Chris’s blog. He also has a really badass free ebook called A Brief Guide to World Domination. You won’t be disappointed. Plus you can’t be even if you wanted to. It’s free.

Before I talk about the pitfalls of this approach, I’ll say a bit about the reasoning for questioning authority and all things popular.

See, if you’re really down, if you’re really with it, then you know that the whole reason for non-conformism is to not live unconsciously. It’s to get in touch with who you really are and express your own individuality. This is wonderful. This is beautiful.

While it doesn’t happen all the time, I occasionally get criticized for admonishing other people to follow their own path and rejecting the mainstream. Following your own path, for the sake of being different, isn’t very smart when you’re trying to reinvent the wheel.

That’s because modeling the success of other people is often one of the quickest ways to become successful. I have nothing against this. I don’t think it’s wrong, but it only makes sense if that’s really a deliberate choice.

We’re all a bunch of posers.


If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.

—Bill Vaughan

We all live our lives within a giant melting pot of borrowed ideas. Our beliefs and views about ourselves and the world are nothing more than a collage of things we’ve heard from other people, or ideas we’ve picked up and patched over our existing mesh of ideas along the way. We can pick up new ideas, new beliefs at any time and shed the old skin of what we no longer identify with.

So yes, in a way, nothing is original. Nothing is unique. We all have the same DNA, just arranged differently.

We’re all saying the same thing, in different tones. We only perceive it as different because we’re reorganizing the notes on the ledger. A musician may play the notes at different lengths, in different time signatures and varying progressions and keys. But they’re all the same notes.

Studying martial arts and Jeet Kune Do has led me to see that conformity to systems of fighting doesn’t make much sense. Placing your attacks and defenses into set patterns leaves you fixed and immovable when real life happens. Fighting, like real life, is alive. It’s dynamic. Bruce Lee was known for rebelling against all styles because he said “We all have two feet and two legs. How can there be any other style of fighting, unless you have three feet or three legs?”

In the same way, we’re all living life with the same stuff. We all work, sleep, and eat the same way. Though we might have different expressions of these things, we all put on our pants the same way.

So yes, blindly rejecting the mainstream is pretty stupid. Non-conformity for the sake of non-conforming is still conformity.

Rejecting all patterns and styles blindly is still a pattern.

Do I think that rejecting everything because it’s popular is conformity masked as some rebel badge of “with-it-ness” or a sign of how “real” you are? Yes, I do. I think it’s just as unconscious as blindly following trends. But I also think that questioning is a deeply sacred part of life. Yes, it can become lame when questioning everything becomes an institution in and of itself. But I think it’s a better alternative to some other traditions (see: not questioning a book written over 2,000 years ago).

So yes, I’m a conformist. And I encourage you to be one, too. After all, non-conformity can be quite ugly taken to the extreme. You wouldn’t want to chop off all your limbs or stop wearing pants for the sake of being different, right? I didn’t think so.

What this all comes down to is…

Living deliberately.

If you want to wear chucks and cardigans as a badge of your indie-ness, go right ahead. If you like rules, routines, and detailed plans, do that. Follow trends or boycott them. Avoid all cliques or be a scenester. Embrace the system or rage against it, but do so consciously and deliberately. And remember, life is dynamic and you’re alive, and therefore subject to change. If you rejected something because you thought it was trendy and you found out later that you really did like it, be honest with yourself and accept that.

Free spirit or group-think, express yourself authentically. Accept that who you are now and what you believe now may not be the same in 5 years or 5 minutes.

Embrace your aliveness. Embrace that you might not recognize who you were yesterday and that’s okay. As you grow and change, so will your dreams and desires. The good news is that your integrity never changes. It’s always nudging you to accept what you really feel. It doesn’t differentiate between what’s popular and what’s not. It just knows what is. Call it intuition, your conscience, whatever you like; it’s probably a good idea to listen to it. When I do, things just seem to work a whole lot better than when I resist and try to “rebel” against things because of their homogeneity.

You might also be wondering: if I really don’t think that mainstream ideas are evil, why do I continually write posts in a way that comes at things from an unconventional angle? Why do I write articles with titles like “Productivity is a Waste of Time” and “If It’s a Good Idea… Don’t Do It”? Is it because I think that unconventional ideas are better? No, I don’t.

I just happen to get bored reading the same things all the time. I like to explore uncommon, lesser seen angles to view things from. Everything conventional is already being said, anyway; why would I want to repeat the same echo?

The whole unconventional, counter-intuitive thing is my style. It’s the way I like to do things, but it’s just my flavor. It’s nothing different, really.

It’s just my way of rearranging the notes.

“… Many people are becoming successful because they chose to become both conformists and nonconformists. So, for an individual like you, there is a great chance for you to become successful and happy by choosing to be a conformist and nonconformist.

Further readings on Conformity and Nonconformity:

I recommend you to read the great and inspiring book of Chris Guillermo: ”The Art of Non-Conformity“, that shows you how to make you life an adventure, find your life’s meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.”

About the author: Michael Newman is the founder and the author of this psychology dedicated blog. He is a psychologist leading training sessions, an expert in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), transpersonal psychology and Eastern philosophy.  Email 

Source of image: 

“To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death.” ~ Jules Henry

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Seeing What Is Concealed

It’s been a while since I visited here.

I’ve been under the weather, literally and figuratively, swamped by successive waves of benign viruses  and a storm named Hercules which is now dumping 14-28 inches of snow on my county, all this sandwiched around a re-scheduled furnace rehabilitation (the old one still works), and the residua of the holidays.

Over at the Bell [] , I’ve posted some recent Madsen articles.

And soon I’ll proceed to catch up with what I perceive was a dormant news cycle, unless you’re interested in Sharon’s organs or Sotomayor’s dropping the ball on the ACA. Doink!

While recuperating from nasal and chest congestion and the sniffles, and apart from having finished reading Operation Kronstadt and starting Volume One in seriousness of The Gulag Archipelago, I had a chance to browse through the TV dial.

9/11 students may or may not find something of interest on the Science Channel  show “Blowdown”, in which the former spy ship the USNS Vandenburg is sunk to make an artificial reef off the coast of Florida by fitting its steel hull with lots of explosive charges fitted by the company Controlled Demolition Inc. that blew holes in it after the drilling of air holes that allowed the air to escape as the sea water in. (7:11)

This show was followed by the demolition of a “Hurricane Proof Tower”, but I didn’t watch that one.

I didn’t get much out of it, though I was torn between the TV and the kitchen and the phone and other ADL’s, but it seems to fit into a larger pattern about which most of you are already aware: the making of TV to further muddy the waters of cognitive awareness and understanding by the use of close-but-not-exactly-the-same docu-drama and reality TV and fictional stuff that seems to be “predictive programming”, that flirts with the sense that the people behind the lens know more than they are telling, and which thus may actually lead the truly-interested researcher (as apart from those that Solshenitzyn called the rabbits and we sometimes refer to as the sheeple) astray.

Another such example showed up early in the morning when I arose to a) get the trash and the recyclables curbside before the storm arrived, b) be alert and awake for the arrival of the HVAC sub-contractor (the electrician was stuck in traffic somewhere, I presume) and, c) to check on the weather forecast. Having satisfied myself with the local weather update, while waiting for the contractor to call, I hit the combo of numbers on the remote that would bring me to the movie channels and immediately hit pay-dirt, dropping in late for a showing of a movie that was clearly topical and predictive and water-muddying programming: Antitrust “(also titled[4] and Startup[5]) a 2001 thriller film written by Howard Franklin and directed by Peter Howitt.[1][6].” Panned by the critics, its about software, programming, the open source movement, surveillance, the theft of intellectual property, the infiltration of government agencies, and the world-wide distribution of media.  It got and kept my attention.

Working with his three friends at their new software development company Skullbocks, Stanford graduate Milo Hoffman is contacted by CEO Gary Winston of NURV (Never Underestimate Radical Vision) for a very attractive programming position: a fat paycheck, an almost-unrestrained working environment, and extensive creative control over his work. Accepting Winston’s offer, Hoffman and his girlfriend, Alice Poulson, move to NURV headquarters in Portland, Oregon. [Vancouverites will recognize much of the scenery and architecture.]

Roger Ebert found Gary Winston to be a thinly disguised pastiche of Bill Gates; so much so that he was “surprised [the writers] didn’t protect against libel by having the villain wear a name tag saying, ‘Hi! I’m not Bill!'” Similarly, Ebert felt NURV “seems a whole lot like Microsoft“.[8] Ebert wasn’t alone making these observations; parallels between the fictional and real-world software giants were also drawn by Lisa Bowman of ZDNet UK,[9] James Berardinelli of ReelViews,[10] and Rita Kempley of the The Washington Post.[11] Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said, “From the trailers, we couldn’t tell if the movie was about [America Online] or Oracle.”[9]

Antitrust’s pro–open source story excited industry leaders and professionals with the prospects of expanding the public’s awareness and knowledge level of the availability of open-source software. The film heavily features Linux and its community, using screenshots of the Gnome desktop, consulting Linux professionals, as well as cameos by Miguel de Icaza and Scott McNealy (the latter appearing in the film’s trailers). Jon Hall, executive director of Linux International and consultant on the film said “[Antitrust] is a way of bringing the concept of open source and the fact that there is an alternative to the general public, who often don’t even know that there is one.”[9]

Despite the film’s message about open source computing, MGM did not follow through with their marketing: the official website for Antitrust featured some videotaped interviews which were only available in Apple‘s proprietary QuickTime format.[9]

Antitrust was released as a “Special Edition” DVD on May 15, 2001[32] and on VHS on December 26, 2001.[33] The DVD features audio commentary by the director and editor, an exclusive documentary, deleted scenes and alternative opening and closing sequences with director’s commentary, the music video for “When It All Goes Wrong Again” (which is played over the beginning of the closing credits) by Everclear, and the original theatrical trailer. The DVD was re-released August 1, 2006.[34]

Here’s the trailer: (2:31)

I wasn’t able to see the whole film; I came in at the second act or so, but I stayed to the ending, a bit lame perhaps, in the context of the current NSA dust-ups, but interesting nevertheless. Automotive fans will be thrilled with the appearance of a 2CV in cherry condition.


Closing disclaimer: Stanford University has not endorsed this motion picture and no filming took place on the Stanford campus. There are a number of other entities and persons with names which may be the same or similar to those used in this motion picture. However, this motion picture is entirely fictional and (except for minor incidental references) is not intended to depict or refer to any other existing entities or persons and any such references are purely coincidental.


When the flick was over, I went back upstairs to bed, swallowing the morning pills and an extra Day-Quil, for a 4.5-hour nap. [I’m related to the family Ursidae and tend to hibernate in the winter.]

So what’s the point of all this movie madness? Should you go in pursuit of these things?  I’d suggest no, unless you’re really really interested in one of the sub-topics.  Television is, by its very essence, the means by which we are diverted, dissuaded, persuaded, mislead, intrigued, misinformed, propagandized. I take note that two of the leading names associated with television were Zworykin  and Sarnoff.

In January 2011, Sarnoff Corporation was integrated into its parent company, SRI International, and continues to engage in similar research and development activities at the Princeton, New Jersey facility.[2][3]

“I hate what they’ve done to my child…I would never let my own children watch it.” – Vladimir Zworykin on his feelings about watching television.


Speaking of children, there is this crossing my threshold recently:

Zuckerberg’s Dream of Connecting the World: What Can We Expect? (Part 3)

30 Monday Dec 2013

Posted by Ken S. Heller in Media Effects, Media Psychology, Psychology



Facebook, ICT, Impact of ICT, Influence, Internet,, Media Effects, Mobile Computing, Mobile Phones, Persuasive Technology, Social Change

Recapping the earlier posts on this topic, Mark Zuckerberg’s new non-profit consortium of information and communication technology (ICT) corporations would like to connect the remaining 5 billion inhabitants of the planet to the Internet who are not now connected (, 2013). Many of the five billion people in question will most likely come from collectivistic non-western cultures. What effects can we expect?

More at the link above…


I wonder if Ken has read this?: or these:

And of course there’s no connection to the former Director of National Intelligence, the man who ran death squads, who misled Congress about what his right-hand-man was doing with “Total Information Awareness”…


But, then, on the other hand, I learned in my collegiate-level introduction to the mass media that the word tele-vision means to see across the distances [], and I’m a sucker for travelogues because I love to travel.

Television, or TV for short, (from French télévision, meaning “television”; from Ancient Greek τῆλε (tèle), meaning “far”, and Latin visio, meaning “sight”



Aside from the old standby of Rick Steves, here are some new HD examples:


And now I’m off in search of some insight for my next edition of