Tag Archives: courage

pressing matters

pressing matters

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975) examined those peculiar parallel dimensions of loneliness as a profoundly personal anguish and an indispensable currency of our political life in her intellectual debut, the incisive and astonishingly timely 1951 classic The Origins of Totalitarianism (public library).

Arendt paints loneliness as “the common ground for terror” and explores its function as both the chief weapon and the chief damage of oppressive political regimes. Exactly twenty years before her piercing treatise on lying in politics, she writes:

Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, [they] lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

What perpetuates such tyrannical regimes, Arendt argues, is manipulation by isolation — something most effectively accomplished by the divisiveness of “us vs. them” narratives. She writes:

Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pretotalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition.

Although isolation is not necessarily the same as loneliness, Arendt notes that loneliness can become both the seedbed and the perilous consequence of the isolation effected by tyrannical regimes:

In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.

[…]

While isolation concerns only the political realm of life, loneliness concerns human life as a whole. Totalitarian government, like all tyrannies, certainly could not exist without destroying the public realm of life, that is, without destroying, by isolating men, their political capacities. But totalitarian domination as a form of government is new in that it is not content with this isolation and destroys private life as well. It bases itself on loneliness, on the experience of not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.

This is why our insistence on belonging, community, and human connection is one of the greatest acts of courage and resistance in the face of oppression….”

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/20/hannah-arendt-origins-of-totalitarianism-loneliness-isolation-oppression 

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Vice Joins Trend Of Killing News Comments Because Giving A Damn About Your Site’s Community Is Just Too Hard

from the i-love-you.-here’s-your-new-muzzle. dept

We’ve talked a lot about how the trend du jour in online media is to ditch the news comment section, then condescendingly pretend this is because the website just really values user relationships…. napalming your on-site community because you’re too lazy to weed the garden certainly is a slight against those users. And as we saw with NPR, these users are well aware of this fact, and are more than happy to spend their time on websites that actually value conversation and user interaction, instead of just paying empty lip service to the concept.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20161227/09365436348/vice-joins-trend-killing-news-comments-because-giving-damn-about-your-sites-community-is-just-too-hard.shtml 

via

http://www.blacklistednews.com/

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music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui-cL6YOKHI

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Maternal genealogy is unknown beyond my mother except for the presence of a Scots-Irish (Presbyterian) family in Western Pennsylvania. The paternal genealogy includes DNA that is apparently (but confusedly) of Normal or Saxon origin which moved from the Iberian peninsula after the last Ice Age up into Norman or perhaps Breton turf until, apparently as mercenaries or in followership, the Norman conquest of England. My father’s mother was of Prussian heritage. Ancestral history in my family from before the crossing of the English Channel is very clouded.   

More precise records extend from the summer of 1638 when two brothers caught a ride aboard a ship out of Hull, England to cross the Atlantic to come to England in search of religious freedom. “They were men of respectability, ‘of good estate,’ and could probably have no hopes of improving their worldly condition by emigration. They were lovers of liberty, and men of distinct and well-marked religious views. They were non-conformists. They had too sturdy an independence, as well as too strong a sense of duty, to abandon what they held as truth even in the midst of the bitterest persecution. For this reason they left their homes and sought in the wilds of America a resting place from oppression, a spot where they and their children might enjoy freedom to worship God. They were men of thought and character….”  In 1639, they settled on land north of Ipswich with which to raise and breed sheep and establish the first wool clothier’s trade. The ship’s cargo included “the first printing press, later to be set up in Cambridge, the only printing press in the country until 1685”.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-m9PKdUHpb1o/U5YmEJw1FdI/AAAAAAAAuiM/hFDNCeJD2Yo/s1600/Town+seal+Rowley.gif

That familial reference to the first printing press in colonial New England seems uncertain but is confirmed by other references and sources. 

“… The first printing press came to British North America two years after the founding of Harvard College. The press was brought by Reverend Joseph Glover, who, when deprived of his position in the Church of England, shipped his family, his possessions, and his printing press to the colonies. Glover also paid for the passage of the man in charge of running his press, Stephen Daye, a locksmith by profession. Daye was under financial contract to work in Glover’s home in Cambridge in order to repay the cost of passage for himself, his wife, and his household—a total of around £51. Rev. Glover, however, did not survive the passage to the New World. When Daye and the press arrived, his debt was transferred to Glover’s widow, Elizabeth, now owner of the printing press.

Daye set to work almost immediately along with his son Matthew, an apprentice printer, and perhaps more skilled than his father. Within the first year in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, they printed The Freeman’s Oath, a broadside, which is generally believed to be the first tract printed in British North America. This was completed around the same time as “an almanac made for New England by Mr. William Pierce.” 1 By virtue of exploiting a loophole in colonial legislation, Daye printed the first book in the New World, The Bay Psalm Book, in 1640. This book became extremely popular and influential throughout the colony for the remainder of the 17th century.  It was only three years later that the first Bible published in the New World was also published in Cambridge.

Elizabeth Glover (born Harris), as an unmarried woman, was a rarity in colonial New England. Especially unique was that she was not only an eligible woman of property but also the owner of the only printing press in the British colonies. Her attractiveness as a mate was clear to the President of Harvard, Henry Dunster. On June 21, 1641 they were married, transferring all of her property to his home on the now-named Dunster Street. Elizabeth died in 1643, and her land and property, including the printing press, was passed on to Dunster and subsequently to Harvard College. During the same year Matthew Daye replaced his father as official operator of the press after the elder Daye was briefly jailed for fraud.

As Harvard grew in size and reputation, it became a logical center of printing in the American colonies. Cambridge was the location of not just the first printing press, but also the second when in 1659 a press was sent to the colonies from the British firm “The Company for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen Natives of New England and parts Adjacent in America.” Matthew Daye’s successor Samuel Green was in charge of printing at this point, but the British firm also sent over the America’s first professional printer, Marmaduke Johnson, to assist Green. The new press was set up in Harvard Yard, in a building called the Indian College, to print Reverend John Eliot’s “Indian Bible.”

Marmaduke Johnson acquired his own press in England in 1665, and planned to bring it to Boston in order to establish his own business. However, Harvard wanted a replacement for Glover’s original press, having become fragile over the years, and the Harvard leadership successfully lobbied for a state law stating that no printing could be done outside of Cambridge. Forced into staying in Cambridge, Johnson instead, without any affiliation to Harvard, opened the first independent printing press in the colonies and went on to publish 20 books between 1665 and 1674…..”

http://www.cambridgehistory.org/discover/innovation/American%20Printing.html 

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/occurrencessm.jpg

Facsimile of the first and only issue of the English-American colonies’ first newspaper, published in Boston 1690.

Early American Newspapering

by James Breig

We are here at the end of the World, and Europe may

bee turned topsy turvy ere wee can hear a word of it.

-Virginia planter William Byrd, 1690

In seventeenth-century America, colonial governments had rather do without newspapers than brook their annoyance. In 1671, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia wrote: “I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing and I hope we shall not have, these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both.” As the British government once told the governors of Massachusetts, “Great inconvenience may arise by the liberty of printing.”

Not until 1690 did the first English-American news sheet debut—Boston’s Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, published by Benjamin Harris. The authorities, in “high Resentment” that Harris dared to report that English military forces had allied themselves with “miserable” savages, put him out of business four days later.

By the end of the eighteenth century, however, scores of homegrown broadsheets and tabloids satisfied the information appetites of Americans hungry for intelligence of the Old World, for news about the Revolution, and for the political polemics of the infant United States. The history of newspapering in that century digests the beginnings of much of what is served on newsstands in this one.

As the century began, the fledgling colonial press tested its wings. A bolder journalism opened on the eve of the Revolution. And, as the century closed with the birth of the United States, a rancorously partisan and rambunctious press emerged.

The eras can be traced in the history of the family of Benjamin Franklin—the preeminent journalist of his time. But it best begins with another Boston newspaperman, postmaster John Campbell. In 1704, Campbell served up The Boston News-Letter, the nation’s second paper. It was a publication the powers-that-be could stomach. The News-Letter lasted seventy-two years, succeeding in an increasingly competitive industry, supported by the growth of communication and of commerce.

Campbell’s fellow postmasters often became newspaper publishers, too; they had ready access to information to put on their pages. Through their offices came letters, government documents, and newspapers from Europe. Gazettes were also started by printers, who had paper, ink, and presses at hand. Franklin was a postmaster and a printer.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/News-Letter_detail.jpg

Eighteenth-century editors filled their columns with items lifted from other newspapers—”the exchanges,” as they are called still—and from letters, said Mitchell Stephens, a New York University journalism professor and the author of A History of News. European news, taken from newspapers that arrived in ports like New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, got good play. The November 8, 1797, issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, for example, carried this item from New York: “Yesterday arrived here the ship Mary. . . . By this arrival we are furnished with London Papers . . . from which the most important intelligence is extracted.” David Sloan, a University of Alabama journalism professor, lists the sources of stories as “European newspapers, primarily English ones; correspondence sent in by readers; other newspapers in the colonies; and individuals who would drop by the print shop and talk.”

Julie K. Williams, a history instructor at Alabama’s Samford University, said publishers had such altruistic motives as improving communication and educating the public, but profit was their primary purpose. Maurine Beasley, a University of Maryland journalism professor, puts it plainly. The purpose of newspapers was “to make money.”

Williams said, “Newspapers brought in ad revenue and circulation revenue.” That income supplemented receipts from books, government printing jobs, merchant invoices, forms, and other ephemera.

Making money is still what keeps newspapers in business, and that is but one similarity between eighteenth-century papers and the twenty-first’s. As Sloan said, “Newspapers are still printed with ink on paper.” But more than that, newspapers then and now “still have opinions and letters. There was a sense then that newspapers should publish both sides of an issue, even during the Revolution and factional periods.”

Williams ticks off the surface differences in the newspapers of the two centuries—there were no headlines and few illustrations then, for example—as well as cosmetic similarities. “You can look at an eighteenth-century newspaper and recognize the column layout and the general news-ads look of a paper today,” she said. “It is interesting that the ‘look’ is still basically there.

“But the biggest similarity is what news is. We decided in the eighteenth century that newspapers were about ‘occurrences,’ and basically we have stuck to that. I think ‘departments’ are clearly an idea in the eighteenth century. The colonial printer had a standing format that he followed religiously that involved dividing the news by type. These sections were often labeled ‘foreign reports’ and so on.”

To Carol Humphrey, an Oklahoma Baptist University journalism professor and secretary of the American Journalism Historians Association, “The primary legacy of the eighteenth century for modern journalism is the right to comment on political events. The modern-day editorial has its beginnings in that era.”

The DNA of modern newspapers is found in the eighteenth century, Stephens said. “The look is the same,” and “the sense of what news is, is basic to human beings.”

Most colonial newspapers were weeklies, had four pages, and printed most of their advertisements in back. With little space, printers kept many stories brief, encapsulating even significant information into “one short paragraph, even a sentence,” Sloan said.

Newspapers also contained “essays, poems and humorous material, some of which they wrote themselves, like Ben Franklin,” Beasley said. “Sometimes, items that had a sensational or religious aspect appeared, such as a report of a strange creature being sighted or some unusual event occurring attributed to ‘divine providence.’”

Readers wondered about the course of wars in Europe and were curious about happenings in other towns and colonies—especially events that could affect their lives. But they were as interested as readers of today in the ordinary events of the life of their times. When they got their newspaper, subscribers perused such advertisements and news as:

Run away . . . a small yellow Negro wench named Hannah, about 35 years of age, had on when she went away a green plain petticoat and sundry other clothes, but what sort I do not know.—from a 1767 issue of Williamsburg’s Virginia Gazette

For Sale—The spars, anchors, rigging, and hull, of a brig, sixty four feet keel, twenty four and a half feet beam, and ten feet hold.—from a 1782 issue of the Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser

The noted High Bred Horse Old Mark Anthony, now in high perfection, and as vigorous as ever, stands at my stable this season in order to cover mares, at £3. the leap.—also from a 1782 issue of the Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser

Last Friday, the fatal and ever memorable Day of the Martyrdom of King Charles the First, a most extraordinary Misfortune befell this Place, by the Destruction of our fine Capitol. . . . The Cupola was soon burnt, the two Bells that were in it were melted, and, together with the Clock, fell down, and were destroyed.—from a 1747 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, but datelined Williamsburg, Feb. 5.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/first-gazette_detail.jpg 

When, as the century began, Campbell and his colleagues set up their forms, they entered a risky business. Printers were licensed by the government, and they could be unlicensed swiftly, and imprisoned. That happened to Benjamin Franklin’s older brother James, publisher of the New-England Courant.

James Franklin inspired his sibling’s interest in printing. “In 1717,” the younger Franklin wrote, “James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. . . . My father was impatient to have me bound to my brother.” The boy was at length “persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old.” But like the publisher of Publick Occurrences, James Franklin ran afoul of the authorities. “One of the pieces in our newspaper gave offense to the Assembly,” Benjamin Franklin said. His brother “was taken up, censur’d, and imprison’d for a month. . . . During my brother’s confinement . . . I had the management of the paper.”

When the government freed the older Franklin, it forbade him to print the Courant any longer. The brothers circumvented the order by putting Benjamin Franklin’s name on it.

John Peter Zenger, editor of the New-York Weekly Journal, was arrested in 1734 and charged with seditious libel for criticisms of Governor William Cosby. The facts were against Zenger, but a jury more sympathetic to free speech than to authority acquitted him. Franklin, who had moved to Philadelphia, where he founded Poor Richard’s Almanac and the Pennsylvania Gazette, endorsed the verdict in a couplet:

While free from Force the Press remains,

Virtue and Freedom cheer our Plains.

Typical for Franklin and his colleagues, the lines are lifted from a poem by Mathew Green, “The Spleen,” published in 1737.

As happy as editors were to see Zenger vindicated, they noticed that he had spent ten months in jail awaiting trial. His wife had carried on the Journal, but clearly a newspaperman’s livelihood and liberty depended on the forbearance of the government.

At mid-century, the press began to alter its stance and became more outspoken. In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published America’s first newspaper cartoon, a picture showing a snake cut into sections, each part representing a colony, with the caption: “Join or Die.”

Franklin became a wealthy publisher and editor. He linked print shops and post offices in a coastal chain, and spread newspapering up and down the seaboard. Newspapers founded under his aegis prospered and, as troubles with Great Britain mounted, became precisely the “great inconvenience” England feared.

Stephens said the purpose of newspapers “changed to the political and polemical after 1765—around the time of the Stamp Act-as tensions snowballed.” Sloan said, “During the Revolution, the main goal was to support the American cause.”

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/coffin_detail.gif

“Prior to the Revolution, newspapers existed primarily to inform people of what was going on in the rest of the world,” Humphrey said. “The Revolution changed the focus to events in the other colonies.”

Daily publication began in the 1780s, just as the new American republic emerged. There were about 100 newspapers by 1790, many of them were spirited, and some were great annoyances to men in high positions. It was a time of enormous press freedom, a freedom exercised frequently in behalf of the Federalist or Republican parties, which subsidized their own publications. Humphrey said, “Many newspapers in the 1790s were intended to accept a particular political party.” Two examples are the Gazette of the United States for the Hamiltonian Federalists; the National Gazette for the Jeffersonian Republicans. “Their editors believed that they should support their particular party in all that they did,” she noted, “so they wrote essays in support of their party and included editorial comments in the news pieces that either supported their party or attacked the opposition.”

This was the era of Philip Freneau, John Fenno, and James Callendar, sharp-penned scribes who used their journalistic skills to laud their friends and denigrate their enemies. This was the era when government officials and political figures—Alexander Hamilton and James Madison among them—adopted pseudonyms to promote their politics in the public prints anonymously.

Many of the founding fathers were enthusiastic about a free press. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787 that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Samuel Adams said in 1768 that “there is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants . . . as a free press.”

But newspaper partisanship had evolved from the Revolution. “Newspapers that were used to denouncing Tories and the King,” Stephens said, “slid easily into denouncing opposition parties, even the President of the United States.”

George Washington declared a lack of interest in newspapers before he was president, writing in 1786 that “my avocations are so numerous that I very rarely find time to look into Gazettes after they come to me.” But while in office, he sometimes was incensed at what he saw in print. In notes about a 1793 cabinet meeting, Secretary of State Jefferson recorded how the president went on in such “a high tone” about the paper of “that rascal” Freneau that the cabinet officers were momentarily stunned into silence.

Benjamin Franklin’s grandson and namesake, Benjamin Franklin Bache—also known as “Lightning Rod Junior”—edited the Aurora. Bache delighted in harassing President Washington, once labeling him “the source of all the misfortunes of our country” and declaring him “utterly incapable.”

When John Adams wrote “A Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” in 1779, he included a guarantee of liberty of the press. But as president, Adams endorsed the Alien and Sedition Acts, aimed at muzzling the opposition by jailing editors who dared criticize the chief executive.

Sloan said Bache was “a really ardent, zealous partisan. He epitomizes the intensely partisan editor.” Bache was indicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts but died before his case came to trial. Adams’s successor, Jefferson, released imprisoned journalists and allowed the law to lapse.

Stephens said that the free—and free-wheeling—press of the federal period helped to create the United States: “It is hard to imagine the United States arriving when it did without a free press. It was a wild, unruly press, but democracy was a great experiment and an aggressive press was part of it.”

Much has changed in the centuries since Benjamin Harris set up his type. Among other things, the web press, the linotype, and, eventually, offset printing came to the business. The telegraph and news services supplanted the exchanges. The First Amendment, written originally to protect the press only from the federal Congress, was interpreted to apply to the governments of the states. Illustrations and photographs became as important as words. Journalism emerged as a diplomaed, white-collar profession. And the role of the press as a “great inconvenience” to government is a hallmark of democratic government.

“How,” asks Stephens, “can you run a country without a free press?”

Jim Breig, an Albany, New York, writer and weekly newspaper editor, contributed “Out, Damn’d Proverbs: Eighteenth-Century Axioms, Maxims, and Bywords” to the winter 2002-2003 journal.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/spring03/journalism.cfm 

 

In 1638, the first printing press arrived in Boston.

By 1700, Boston became the second largest publishing center of the English Empire. The Puritans were the first to write books for children, and to discuss the difficulties in communicating with them. At a time when other Americans were physically blazing trails through the forests, the Puritans efforts in areas of study were advancing the country intellectually.

The Bible stimulated their intellect by promoting discussions of literature. Greek classics, Cicero, Virgil, Terence and Ovid were taught, as well as some poetry and Latin verse. The Puritans also encouraged themselves to create their own poetry, always religious in content.

Anyway, three English diversions were banned in the Puritans’ New England colonies: drama, religious music and erotic poetry. The first and last of these because they led to immorality. Music in worship, instead, created a “dreamy” state which was not conducive in listening to God.

The first newspaper was issued in Boston in 1704.

http://www.timerime.com/es/evento/986843/First+printing+press+in+Boston/ 

[Ed.: Today, of course, there is a growth industry involving audio forms of meditation, the neuro-cognitive research done to examine the concept of spiritual perception, in essence a merger between neuroscience and New Age approaches.]

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In 1754, four newspapers only were printed in New England, these were all published in Boston, and, usually, on a small sheet.; They were published weekly, and the average number of copies did not exceed six hundred from each press. No paper had then been issued in Connecticut, or New Hampshire. Some years before, one was printed for a short time in Rhode Island, but had been discontinued for want of encouragement. Vermont as a state did not exist, and the country which now composes it was then a wilderness. In 1775, a period of only twenty-one years, more copies of a newspaper were issued weekly from the village press at Worcester, Massachusetts, than were printed in all New England, in 1755; and one paper now published contains as much matter as did all the four published in Boston, in the last year mentioned.

At the beginning of 1775, there were five newspapers published in Boston, one at Salem, and one at Newburyport, making seven in Massachusetts. There was, at that time, one published at Portsmouth; and no other in New Hampshire. One was printed at Newport, and one at Providence, making two in Rhode Island. At New London there was one, at New Haven one, one at Hartford and one in Norwich; in all four I Connecticut;and fourteen in New England. In the province of New York, four papers were then published; three in the city and one in Albany. In Pennsylvania there were, on the first of January, 1775, six; three in English and one in German, in Philadelphia, one in German, at Germantown; and one in English and German, at Lancaster. Before the end of January, 1775, three newspapers, in English, were added to the number from the presses I Philadelphia, making nine in Pennsylvania. In Maryland, two; one at Annapolis, and one at Baltimore. In Virginia, there were but two, and both of these at Williamsburg. One was printed at Wilmington, and one in Newbern, in North Carolina; three at Charleston, South Carolina; and one at Savannah, in Georgia. Making thirty-seen newspapers in all the British colonies, which are now comprised in the United States. To these may be added one at Halifax, in Nova Scotia; and one in Canada, at Quebec.

In 1800, there were at least one hundred and fifty publications of this kind printed in the United States of America, and since that time, the number has increased to three hundred and sixty. Those published before 1775 were weekly papers. Soon after the close of the Revolutionary war, daily papers were printed at Philadelphia, New York, &c., and there are now, 1810, more than twenty published, daily, in the United States.

It was common for printers of newspapers to subjoin to their titles ‘Containing the freshest Advices both Foreign and Domestick;’ but gazettes and journals are now chiefly filled with political essays. News do not appear to be always the first object of editors, and, of course, ‘containing the freshest advices,’ &c., is too often out of the question.

For many years after the establishment of newspapers on this continent, very few advertisements appeared in them. This was the case with those that were early printed in Europe. In the first newspapers, advertisements were not separated by lines from the news, &c., and were not even begun with a two line letter; when two line letters were introduced, it was some time before one advertisement was separated from another by a line, or rule as it is termed by printers. After it became usual to separate advertisements, some printers used lines of metal rules; others lines of flowers irregularly placed. I have seen in some New York papers, great primer flowers between advertisements. At length, it became customary to ‘set off advertisements,’ and from using types not larger than those with which the news were printed, types of the size of French canon have often been used for names, especially of those who advertised English goods.

In the troublesome times, occasioned by the stamp act in 1765, some of the more opulent and cautious printers, when the act was to take place, put their papers in mourning, and, for a few weeks, omitted to publish them; others not so timid, but doubtful of the consequence of publishing newspapers without stamps, omitted the titles, or altered them, as an evasion; for instance the Pennsylvania Gazette, and some other papers, were headed ‘Remarkable Occurrences, &c.’ -other printers, particularly those in Boston, continued their papers without any alteration in title or imprint.

From the foregoing it appears that, from the time when the first public journal was published in the country, viz. in April, 1704, to April 1775, comprising a period of seventy-one years, seventy-eight different newspapers were printed in the British American continental colonies; that during this period, thirty-nine, exactly one-half of that number, had been, occasionally, discontinued; and that thirty-nine continued to be issued by the several establishments at the commencement of the revolution. The papers published in the West Indies are not included in this computation.

In the course of thirty-five years, newspaper establishments were, as previously remarked, multiplied in a surprising degree; insomuch, that the number of those printed in the United States in June, 1810, amounted to upwards of three hundred and sixty.

A large proportion of the public papers at that date were established, and supported, by the two great contending political parties, into which the people of these states are usually divided; and whose numbers produce an equipollence; consequently, a great augmentation of vehicles for carrying on the political warfare have been found necessary.

I cannot conclude what I have written on the subject of publike journals, better than by extracting the following pertinent observations on newspapers, from the Rev. Dr. Miller’s Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century.

‘It is worthy of remark that newspapers have almost entirely changed their form and character within the period under review* (*the eighteenth century) For a long time after they were first adopted as a medium of communication to the public, they were confined, in general, to the mere statement of facts. But they have gradually assumed an office more extensive, and risen to a more important station in society. They have become vehicles of discussion, in which the principles of government, the interests of nations, the spirit and tendency of public measures, and the public and private characters of individuals, are all arraigned, tried, and decided. Instead, therefore, of being considered now, as they once were, of small moment in society, they have become immense oral and political engines, closely connected with the welfare of the state, and deeply involving both its peace and prosperity.

‘Newspapers have also become important in a literary view. There are few of them, within the last twenty years, which have not added to their political details some curious and useful information, on the various subjects of literature, science, and art. They have thus become the means of conveying, to every class in society, innumerable scraps of knowledge, which have at once increased the public intelligence, and extended the taste for perusing periodical publications. The advertisements, moreover, which they daily contain, respecting new books, projects, inventions, discoveries and improvements, are well calculated to enlarge and enlighten the public mind, and are worth of being enumerated among the many methods of awakening and maintaining the popular attention, with which more modern times, beyond all preceeding example, abound. . . . “

Index to This Section:

Would there have been an American Revolution Without Newspapers and Mail? The Role of Communications in the American Revolution 

Getting the Word Out: Franklin’s Communications Revolutions

The Dangerous Lives of Printers:

The Evolution of Freedom of the Press

Newspapers in America Before the Era of the Revolution

Newspapers in Revolutionary-Era America and the Problems of Patriot and Loyalist Printers

A Patriot Printer and His “Forge of Sedition”: 

The Story of Isaiah Thomas

The Role of Newspapers in the Revolution:

Isaiah Thomas’s The History of Printing in America

Not Just the News: 

A War of Letters, Pamphlets, Broadsides, and Sermons

http://www1.assumption.edu/ahc/1770s/pprinthisthomas.html 

 

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“But I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both!” 

Governor Sir William Berkeley, 1671

 

The Germination of a Free Press: A Dissident Print Culture and the Stamp Act in Colonial Virginia

by

Roger P. Mellen

2006

42 pp.

http://web.nmsu.edu/~rpmellen/freepress.pdf

 

 

 

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“The editor objected to the use of Native auxiliaries in the invation of Canada during King William’s War after he heard reports of them torturing and killing captured French troops.”

“… The first newspaper ever printed in this country met the same fate dealt the first gesture towards press censorship and the first attempt to set up a commercial printing shop: “Publick Occurrances both Foreign and Domestick,” appeared on September 26, 1690, and was immediately forbidden from the Colonies. The Governor and council gave expression to “high resentment and disallowance” to this paper printed by Richard Pierce for Benjamin Harris of Boston, and forbade anyone “for the future to set forth anything in print without license first obtained.”

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1928/11/30/harvard-college-sponsored-first-printing-press/ 

 

http://wordwenches.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c84c753ef0133f4e8ff6a970b-150wi

“… The most intriguing objects found in the Harvard Yard excavations were pieces of lead printing type dating back to the 17th century. At first glance, these lead alloy bars may not impress, but they are small pieces of an important story. Each bears the mold of a single letter. When arranged in rows, coated with thick ink, and pressed onto paper, they created the first books printed in North America. The fonts, or particular shapes, of some of these letters have been matched to surviving 17th-century products of Harvard’s early press…..”

https://www.peabody.harvard.edu/node/2014 

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/bf/e0/bb/bfe0bbef4ee437f2e0c0c7f7350459ad.jpg

“… Ezekiel and his followers pooled their money to organise their New England passage. They left Rowley in the summer of 1638 and travelled down into Hull where they joined the ship John of London, lying in the Old Harbour on the River Hull. After sailing out of the Humber, their ship called into London en route and there picked up the Reverend Joseph Glover, a wealthy nonconformist minister, who brought with him Stephen Daye, a printer, and also what is believed to be North America’s first printing press. Glover is thought to have first visited New England earlier in the 1630s and supported the foundation of Harvard College – which eventually became Harvard University, the oldest institute of higher education in the United States.

Unfortunately, on the long and tortuous journey across the Atlantic, the Reverend Glover died before the vessel reached Salem Bay, Massachusetts in the December of 1638. The migrants probably spent a long first winter in Salem but in spring 1639 Ezekiel Rogers and his followers moved on to land some six miles outside of Ipswich, Massachusetts. House lots and properties were laid out along the township’s brook, allowing each family access to fresh water. Here the new arrivals built many houses and, bringing spinning and weaving skills with them from the East Riding of Yorkshire, they were amongst the first to establish a clothing industry in New England. They called their little township, Rowley after their East Riding village….

Elizabeth Glover, continued with her late husband’s mission and supervised Daye in the setting up of the Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In January 1639, the Freeman’s Oath was the first piece printed. The following year, 1640, the press produced The Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the English colonies. This may also have been the first book to have been written in North America and is an important part of the history of print; it seems that only five original copies still exist.

The small town of Rowley prospered and Ezekiel Rogers bequeathed his library to Harvard when he died in 1660 and other benefactions from him also eventually went to this learned institution. Early settlers in Rowley played an important part in the establishment of this new country. Elizabeth Glover married Henry Dunster, Harvard’s First President, who had taken interest in the Press. Stephen Daye died in 1668. His son Matthew became an accomplished printer and indeed may have actually done much of the printing with that first press. Printing and publishing in the United States has certainly come a long way since Stephen Daye first sailed with the Rowley settlers back in the summer of 1638.”

Robb Robinson, December 2008

http://www.hull.ac.uk/mhsc/FarHorizons/Documents/EzekielRogers.pdf 

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This past Christmas weekend has been an opportunity for long-range thinking, planning, learning, observing and more planning. Numerous things have been poking me in my ribs, tapping me on my collar-bone, and crackling synaptically inside my skull.                               

We are advised that rumination is unhealthy and should be stopped. 

We are told to return to the source of our creative fire. 

First among the various stimuli is a slowly-emerging intent to focus on writing. Winter has driven me indoors into a little gem of a house with my office, bookcases, coffee pot, pellet stove and functional iMac; in the summertime, I can sit on the deck overlooking the man-made pond and waterfall and the women-tended garden working on a MacAir.

A small bookcase filled with little gems about the art and practice of writing awaits my more complete attention. 

A desktop folder filled with writing ideas and my own stash of “prompts” is now popping fresh new green sprigs. 

Awaiting my investment of time is the half-finished two-hour lecture course on DVD on the craft of writing world-class prose by a distinguished scholar of contemporary literature; there is a similar but not yet started six-hour course in creative non-fiction

I bought myself a copy of The Trickster’s Hat. It’s a “mischievous apprenticeship in creativity”.

I just discovered a new resource when I went looking for background on the popular writer Michael Crichton whose book “Timeline” generated some thoughts; his simple method uses 3×5 cards to plot out storyline

(Note that that web site has a number of great resources for writers. See this year-ending compendium of the top posts from the past year at Writers Helping Writers.

My wife bought me a book of prompts for uncovering the gems in my life’s stories, as well as the fourth edition of “The Craft of Research”. It is “a fundamental and accessible text that explains how to build an argument that engages and persuades readers, how to effectively anticipate and respond to the reservations of readers, and how to find and evaluate sources and integrate them into an argument.” It ends with a 30-page appendix crammed with bibliographic resources in 26 topical categories, starting with a significant two-page compendium of online databases. At $15, it’s the gift of the decade. It may take me ten years to harvest it. 

Meanwhile:

Obama has signed legislation enabling criminal charges for exercising freedom of speech. 

And Social Security has been weaponized by the State as a means of punishment and intimidation for those arrested arrested while exercising their right to assemble in protest. 

Recently the Internet has become a war zone and people have begun to discuss and debate, from both technological and other perspectives, how they will maintain and exercise the right to create, express and thrive independent of political control. 

I’m re-reading a book about “timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making” called Tempo which surely has some value in deciding what direction I am going to take in the future. 

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Four from http://www.strike-the-root.com: 

 

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/propaganda-war-exposed-in-aleppo-about-to-die-saying-goodbye-but-available-for-interview_12232016# 

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/12/more-fake-news-photos-from-aleppo-proven-false-poorly-executed-propaganda.html 

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/12/heres-how-the-government-is-working-to-erode-constitutional-privacy-protections.html 

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/12/23/this-is-how-the-u-s-government-destroys-the-lives-of-patriotic-whistleblowers/ 

 

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Alexa: Who dunnit?

SAN FRANCISCO – In what may be a first, police in Arkansas asked Amazon for recordings potentially made by an Echo device in connection with a murder investigation.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/27/amazon-alexa-echo-murder-case-bentonville-hot-tub-james-andrew-bates/95879532/ 

 

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https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/node_embed/public/media/images/photographs/2014_Burma_Harn_Lay.jpg?itok=IpRkWIFz

Obama Quietly Signs The “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act” Into Law

December 27th, 2016 by Kevin

Via: ZeroHedge:

Long before the “fake news” meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on such discredited mainstream portals as CNN and WaPo, H.R. 5181 would task the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “fact-based narratives” to counter effrontery propaganda.

In short, long before “fake news” became a major media topic, the US government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label “fake news.”

Posted in Dictatorship, Perception Management |

realization

realization

I recently bought a brand-spanking-new digital SLR, an EOS Rebel T5i with both the EF-S 18-55mm and the EF 75-300 mm lenses, from one of those big houses in NYC.  I got a steal of a deal, along with a standard beginner’s filter pack, and the usual. Canon was bringing out a new product and there was some shelf-clearing going on. 

So that’s not my image of the footsteps in the sand dune…

While I was waiting for my new Canon to arrive, I found my way to YouTube and built a file of dozens of hours of YouTube instructional videos from multiple sources plus the portals to over ten YouTube channels on tips and techniques for basic, travel, pro and business-oriented material. 

It’s tucked away in a file I call the Canon canon.

I’ve unboxed the camera, registered it, insured it, charged the battery, and started to learn all its bells and whistles as well as view some of those videos as a good refresher. 

I have a lot of learning to do.

photography

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The Art of Travel Photography (Lorne Resnick)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En0DIfiu6TA

[An outstanding 47-minute video lecture on the art of emotion in photography, sales, and more by a nationally-recognized pro in the field]

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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lomography/the-lomography-daguerreotype-achromat-29-64-art-lens 

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https://mediapsychology101.com/2016/04/09/what-is-a-picture-really-worth-logos-in-advertising/ 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPgshLhQBw 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUL6MBVKVLILongsjo1Two

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“… complete awareness of the body and mind in relation to the goal is known as zanshin.

Zanshin is a word used commonly throughout Japanese martial arts to refer to a state of relaxed alertness. Literally translated, zanshin means “the mind with no remainder.” In other words, the mind completely focused on action and fixated on the task at hand. Zanshin is being constantly aware of your body, mind, and surroundings without stressing yourself. It is an effortless vigilance.

In practice, though, zanshin has an even deeper meaning.

Zanshin is choosing to live your life intentionally and acting with purpose rather than mindlessly falling victim to whatever comes your way…..”

http://www.lifehack.org/383170/zanshin-learning-the-art-attention-and-focus-from-legendary-samurai-archer 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpbGNCmMrEs 

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The Network Effect, Jobs and Entrepreneurial Vitality

Posted on April 7, 2016 by Charles Hugh Smith

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/04/network-effect-jobs-entrepreneurial-vitality.html#more-55118 

“… All the incubator projects around the world are attempting to kickstart an entrepreneurial Network Effect…..”

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A link that showed up in my blog comments:

https://projectbreakthrough.com/ 

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“… The dangers that society will face in the years ahead are regrettable, but there’s no point in allowing anxiety, frustration, or apathy to overcome you. 

Face the future with courage, curiosity, and optimism rather than fear. You can be a winner, and if you plan carefully, you will be. 

The great period of change will give you a chance to regain control of your destiny. And that in itself is the single most important thing in life…..”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-08/greater-depression-has-started-comparing-1930s-to-today 

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“… Look around you. But don’t force your definition on what’s there.

Don’t anticipate what you will find.

It will find you….”

 

Richard Rappaport, in “Carnegie Tech, Robert Lepper and the Oakland Project”, 1989, about a 2-year course, “Individual and Social Analysis”, focusing on community and personal memory as factors in artistic expression

thought control

Source of featured image:  http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/01/13/mind-control-in-the-21st-century-science-fiction-beyond/ 

 

The free online full text of  

“Rape Of The Mind: The Psychology Of Thought Control” 

240 pages long, 18 chapters, with bibliography, published in 1956 and written by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces

Covering the topics of psychiatry, psychology, thought control, submission, confession, torture, conditioning, medication, brainwashing, menticide, totalitarianism, words, semantics, interrogation, courage, morale, treachery, treason

 

The first part of this book is devoted to various techniques used to make man a meek conformist. 

 The last chapter deals with the subtle psychological mechanisms of 
mental submission.

Getting Beyond

Getting Beyond:

Finding Purpose and Vitality After Enduring Systemic Insult

 

 

▶ David Crosby – Dangerous Night (Special) – YouTube

 

“Getting Beyond” consists of a hopefully-well-integrated series that totals over 200 pages but which is broken up for better digestion in the following manner: This is the main body of 45 pages with small inserts in pdf format.  It is dominantly my experience, thus deeply personal. It is followed by two sections of quoted excerpts from two books: “Deep Survival” and “Surviving Survival”, with two intervening and following sections on Tavistock, and on Porges’ polyvagal theory, the first short, the second one long. Links and videos are embedded throughout. These will be posted at

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-deep-survival/

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-surviving-survival/

The final section is called “Alignment of Purpose”, which will follow in six hours here:

http://boydownthelane.com/2014/05/01/alignment-purpose/ ‎ 

https://www.aamc.org/linkableblob/326256-1/data/stress200-data.jpg

source of image: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/getting-beyond-the-narcissismadvertising-complex/

  Preface and Acknowledgement Laurence Gonzalez is a journalist recognized for his  insights into the mind under duress that are “accurate, accessible, up-to-date and insightful”. The very first story in his book I’ve credited online with helping save my life is about the mental and emotional glidepath markers of landing a Navy combat airplane on the pitching decks of an aircraft carrier at night. I trust that this distinguished author will understand why I have excerpted more than is usual and customary  for a review in an attempt to get you the reader to go out and buy the books, read them, and apply them to your own life. The second book, the impetus for this piece, has been called  a “realistic,and accessible self-help book on the potential of growth from suffering” and “an education for those wishing to be of use in a stressful, often frightening world”.

 

I’ve been suggesting that people buy and read books to learn more about how their mind/body/spirit unit works for two decades now. Gonzalez will then hopefully appreciate the line from that graceful old powerhouse of an intellect I met at the very end of her career — retired Admiral Grace Hopper — who said, clutching her handful of nanoseconds, “It’s easier to apologize than it is to ask permission”.  I’ve taken great liberties with his work without expressed permission, but it is laden with such insight and understanding that I make no apologies.

 

I must acknowledge “my funny valentine”. We’d been through some difficult back country, and we’re still hiking. There are bears on the trail, and wildcats, but she’s a trauma nurse and knows something about survival herself. I met her almost 40 years ago a few days before Valentine’s Day; she forgave me, and love still abounds. ▶ Pat Metheny Trio & Nils Landgren “My funny Valentine” – YouTube 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdDJ0XwlJyM (7:51)

 

I acknowledge as well the small army of medical professionals with whom I have worked through the spectrum of discovery, testing, coordination, action, trial, error, support, rehabilitation, release, and follow-up. There are too many of them to be named, but they include cardiologists, experts in electrophysiology at three tiers, physical and occupational therapists, dozens of nurses, and Gene the equipment man, a pastor and jazz afficianado.

I acknowledge “Gabriel”, without whose care, attention and love I would probably be dead, or broken.  I offered to re-pay the $15K she coughed up to cover my expenses at a time when I had nothing.

She told me to “pay it forward”.

This is one of the payments.

 

The calligraphic art used as textual separators are the Chinese symbols for resilience.

I received an e-mail a few months ago from an author; it arrived out of the blue. But it was properly titled so I’d open it and it came from a name I recognized immediately: Laurence Gonzalez. I’d written to him a long time ago. I’d read his book Deep Survival years back and, after some reflection and recovery, credited him, in a review at Amazon [ Permalink ] and in direct correspondence to him, with having assisted me in my own survival. In the e-mail, he thanked me again and told me about his new book “Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience”. I  bought it immediately. There ought to be a copy of these two books -– dog-eared, highlighted -–with accompanying materials -– in every high school guidance counselor’s office, three or four copies in the executive suites of every insurance company, one each in every hospital medical library and medical staff break room, and certainly one in every mental health, social and other counselor’s offices. I’’ll be buying a copy of the new book he’s sending to press now for publication in July :

http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294978729

I’d already given copies of “Deep Survival” to both my adult children and to my wife. I had to search around for my own copy… I’d already “let it go”, having mined it, having added it to my Bibliography pdf of performance psychology titles. But I knew instantly there was still something to be learned from this fellow (I’ve already invited him to dinner if he ever comes my way).

And I suspected strongly and correctly that what he had to teach me was also applicable to those of us who still harbor the occasional moments of melancholy, depression, despair, etc., having suffered through the purposeful repeated traumatization of 9/11 and its related sequelae.  

“The collapse of a Tower in a dream can represent a severe psychological break.”

Aangirfan: CONTROLLING YOU THROUGH SYMBOLS

Frank Culbertson was aboard the International Space Station that morning and shot footage of the attack. The next day, he wrote a letter and said “Other than the emotional impact of our country being attacked and thousands of our citizens and maybe some friends being killed, the most overwhelming feeling being where I am is one of isolation.”   “But as the September 11 attacks turned into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number of researchers at universities across the US have warned that media consumers who repeatedly expose themselves to such gruesome images could be putting themselves at risk of psychological damage.

Roxanne Cohen Silver, a professor of psychology and social behavior at UC Irvine, said that people who spent four hours or more soaking up 9/11 or Iraq War coverage were more likely to experience acute stress.

The results suggest that exposure to graphic media images may be an important mechanism through which the impact of collective trauma is dispersed widely,” Silver said, as quoted by the university’s website. “Our findings are both relevant and timely as vivid images reach larger audiences than ever before through YouTube, social media and smartphones.”

http://rt.com/usa/video-911-attack-space-broadcast-290/

“Don’t feed your amygdala any scary raw data.” 

[Page 241, Surviving Survival]

Some of the people I know of or read on the Internet are more closely attuned or connected to the degradations of the neo-conservative-Zionist-US war of terror against the peoples in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, the Balkans, and perhaps elsewhere. Some are the victims of those warsszs, and some are the warriors. Surviving Survival has a great story of one warrior, the one who crossed a bridge. I’ll use the great big lump of 9/11 as a metaphor, since that event was used as the precursor and progenitor of so much about which we despair, including the degradation of the political processes and the Constitution. Equally, the civilian victims and the soldiers whose boots were on the ground have had to re-build their lives and their bodies, and in some cases their minds and their souls. And at least a few people have recognized the short-term and long-term genesis of the war of terror: the political and psychological leanings of Freud, Bernays and others that have emanated out of the Tavistock Institute. “Ah, conspiracy theories” comes the echo, but more than a few people have spent the time and done the research and the reading. Personally, I became a full-fledged information warrior sometime back in 2004, after the discussion board that grew out of John Kerry’s campaign morphed into a free, open and not-so-disconnected discussion board that had thousands of active members, dozens of sayanim and trolls, and a few moderators with subtly-hidden agendas. By the time the discussion board was closed because most people had left behind the nasty battles, I was ranked among the top 20 contributors and had become one of the leading people to openly question “the official story.” This naturally made me a target, and I re-traumatized myself again and again watching videos, reading articles, etc. And I did some “post-graduate research” in which I was — all at the same time — a goat, a hero, a victim. [Steven Pressfield speaks of the triad of interacting selves as

“victim, perpetrator, rescuer”: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2014/04/the-victim-the-perpetrator-and-the-rescuer/;

yTkbBRGTE

I’ve been oriented to “rescue” for most of my adult life and was given the derogatory appellation of “Mr. Band-Aid” by someone I tried to help. I affixed a Band-Aid to my refrigerator as a daily reminder to understand and connect more deeply.]

As someone with a degree in media and political science and an orientation to news, I’ve long been at least tangentially involved and aware, but I’ll have to confess to having fallen back asleep after the Gulf of Tonkin affair. I had turned away from any further involvement with the military after one year in the all-volunteer Bay State Special Forces. I’d learned where to place the explosives underneath a bridge, how to kill someone with my bare hands, and how not to survive when thrown in the water with my hands tied behind my back and to my feet. [They had to jump in and fish me out.]  (I heard distant echoes of this when I was force-fed oxygen in an attempt to rehabilitate my lungs after having been on a heart-lung machine.) I got out of a weak college major in English and jumped with both feet into the world of news and communications studies. Career and marriage soon took over.  I took a sharp turn at the end of college and started specializing in saving lives. I did re-awaken when my kids were just getting into their teens; a fresh new investigation into the assassination of JFK took me deep into four or five books. But marriage, kids and the hunt for legal tender keep us all occupied enough to prevent us from getting beyond the smokescreen of diversion and propaganda until we finally set aside the time or are forced to look more deeply.  By 2004, I was chronically unemployed, pissed off enough about the Bush administration, and able to spend the time and some money pursuing some deeper interests. And my kids had finished college, moved out of the house, and my wife and I were beginning to become estranged.

It was, at first, a case of transition, of empty nest syndrome, of unemployment, of depression.  And I was isolated as an individual who spent time online reading non-mainstream sources. [Today, they call people like me mentally ill, or a terrorist. ]  On the famous scale that measures stressors due to life changes, I had a number of serious markers and operated regularly with a score at around 200 or more.  I lived with and thus was at times a caregiver for an individual who required a lot of energy; in Julia Cameron’s terminology, she was a “crazymaker”.  I was alternately unemployed or under-employed or ecstatically employed. My spouse’s nose and the grindstone were on intimate terms. My kids were out of college and on their own, and my involvement in their lives as a “sports parent” had chunked down several gears.  I got involved with umpiring fast-pitch softball in order to give something back to a game that had given much, and I took up aikido.  I was still learning and reading performance psychology, but frankly no one else was interested in what I had unearthed: the key to the mind and its effective application by its owner. I wasn’t really aware of the depression; I regarded it as minor and essentially a normal part of life’s ups and downs. I could and did “pick myself up” without much difficulty.  I never needed any pills; other than a rare exception dealing with marital matters, I’d never saw any psychologists or counselors. I’d been a graduate of three tiers of “Actualizations” with Stewart Emery. ▶ Human potential – Steward Emery – YouTube (22:00).

Mastering the Moment 

You can achieve a state of being by what you are doing. Yet getting to a place of being by way of something you are doing is a very long way around and, more importantly, it is rarely more than temporary. Most people do not put on a piece of soft music and remain calm the rest of their lives. Most people do not pray and continue to be at peace every succeeding moment. You can completely shift the axis of your experience by your decision to come from a state of being, rather than to try to get to one. It turns everything around. This decision of yours places the source of what you desire within you, rather than outside of you. That makes it accessible to you at all times and in all places. At present, most of your states of being are “reactions”. They do not have to be this. You can make them “creations”. When you move into any moment, you rarely do so with your ‘state of being’ determined ahead of time. You wait until you see what the moment contains and provides, and then you respond by being something. Perhaps you wind up being sad, or happy, or disappointed, or elated.  But… Suppose you decided beforehand how you were going to be when you moved into that moment, no matter how that moment showed up.  Do you think it would make any difference in the way that you experienced the moment itself? This is genuine power, the kind of power that changes lives…. This level of being can be reached in a single moment. It can also take a lifetime. Everything depends on you, on how deeply you desire it. You may achieve any inner state of being you wish by simply choosing it and calling it forth.  When you decide how you are going to show up before the moment itself shows up, you have begun to move toward mastery. You have learned to master the moment. When you decide ahead of time what your inner state of being is going to be, then no matter what any outer moment brings, the outer world loses its power over you. In fact, the wonderful irony of this is that what the outer world is doing will very often be affected by what you are being.

My wife was wrapped up heavily in her work, and she had the primary responsibility of dealing with her mother, with whom we lived. Her mother was chronically ill with cardiac and spinal problems, as well as having been plagued by continuing mental health issues. She’d had several hospitalizations, was diagnosed as a narcissistic schizophrenic (R. D. Laing’s “Sanity, Madness and the Family” just arrived several days ago).  She’d had a couple of nervous breakdowns over the years; my wife had began “nursing” her through her migraines when she was a 12-year old girl. The child grew up to become a twice-specialty-certified nurse with a stellar career; ‘mother’  had had three ECT treatments, multiple heart procedures and back surgeries. During one critical period, she was hospitalized, often with 911 emergency response to our living room, forty times in five years. And her presence and style was abusive. This I recognized because I grew up in a dysfunctional household with two abusive parents (one through absenteeism and the other physically and psychologically). My ears can still remember their being grasped and twisted; forced labor in a rural environment was a norm; and there’s more. Hidden rage is an ugly thing. So in 2001, in a household centered on a very ill woman who choked off dialogue with a glance, my own stress meter was bouncing off the far-right red zone.  I was professionally oriented towards emergency management and was able to follow the “blinking red” run-up to that “severe clear” day in September quite closely, and I was screaming and teeming enough that I sent an e-mail of warning and hope to my daughter, then in grad school in Queens, the night before. It was her e-mail the next morning that alerted me to events in Manhattan. I’d been involved in early efforts in the development of online discussion and dialogue. I dabbled in a few progenitors of the online learning movement. I volunteered for a task force at learningtimes.net where I met the fellow who developed the interactive “Game of Games” and became one of his beta testers. By 2004 I was in full florid online discussion with a bunch of people who were actively denying that there was anything amiss. I’d devised a “game engine” for a desktop simulation system that forced discovery through dialogue. And slowly and subtly I started to fall into a trap. It was a cosmic turbulence, a wilderness of rapid change. During this same period of time, I’d become interested and involved with the binaural beats audio meditation system known as Holosync, developed by the Centrepointe Institute and described in great detail, with scientific explanation and the supporting research, in the book Thresholds of the Mind. [A Google search will turn up lots of information, including reviews, scribd and pdf files, and more.] Holosync was, at first, simply an escape, a proven way to relax. As I progressed more deeply into the program, especially when I got to “The Dive” and “Immersion”, I could feel the waves of stress flowing off my body. I felt more rested and my experience was wholly consistent with expected results. And I began to notice changes I couldn’t explain, but only experience and explore. It played an integral role in my experience, in my health. I began to have increasingly one-on-one and private discussions with one of the women in this discussion group of 2,000. She had an interest in the noetic sciences, and I had a flourishing interest in sports and performance psychology. I wanted to find a way to make that interest come to life in a job of some sort; my wife suggested I find a psychologist or psychiatrist under whose umbrella I could continue to learn and work. The online dialogue continued to the point where we decided to actually talk on the phone. My wife would come home from work and a long commute and, very tired, do psychological battle at the dinner table with her mother (who was quite adept at dividing the two of us– see Pressfield above), and I couldn’t bear to see what she was doing to her daughter. [It was a living seminar in the triangular nature of family dynamics.] But her daughter refused to counter the abuse, and took her bottle of fortified wine upstairs to the bedroom, closed the door, and fell asleep in front of repeated episodes of “Law and Order”.  I did the dinner dishes and went down cellar into my office to my laptop and online connection where, soon enough, I had installed Skype. I was three floors away from the other two who were asleep. Did I fall into a honey trap?  It may have been one, but only in the sense that Little League is like AA ball.  At one point, I likened it to the experience when two comets cross paths, coming in to orbit from another distant place, a gravitational pull that allowed each to affect the other, and then to shoot back off into space, “spinning unheard in the dark of the sky”. I struck up the conversation. The lady “down South” was troubled, and lacking in confidence. She informed me she had to open up her own practice in a couple of weeks. “Practice?” said the man who had a library of understanding about sports practice, motivation, belief, and performance psychology. “What kind of practice?” “I finish my residency program in two weeks and will be going into practice.” “Residency program?” “Yes.” “You’re a doctor?” “Yes.”  (Light bulb goes on. No wonder she’s so intelligent. I need intelligent people in my life around me.) “What kind of doctor?” “A psychiatrist.” “Oh….   Well, I might have something that could be of help to you. You’ve been preparing to go into practice now for years.” ‘   What can you offer?’ was the unspoken response. So I told her about all the reading I’d done, my e-book called Summon The Magic, and the fact that my two children had been practicing too…where the material had come from, their accomplishments with it, and the fact that the material had been made available to top-flight elite athletes with similar effect.  (I once did a successful intervention with a pitcher who owned a gold medal from the Olympics and the NCAA strike-out record.)  (I posted “If You Want to Achieve Excellence” on the chain-link fence next to the dugout at UHartford and the ‘adept’ went three-for-three with three home runs, one to each field.) Same thing… Walk up to the plate (the door of her practice) and hit a home run. So she asked for more, and I offered up the table of contents, and she said “Send me the 5th, 9th, 12th and 14th chapters.” “Well,” I proffered, “usually people read them in order, but if you’ve gotten yourself through medical school and a psychiatric residency, you can read them in any order you want.” She read them by the side of the pool at the country club. And we talked about the issues and problems. We talked about her five-year old daughter, the product of a failed relationship with a Turkish diplomat assigned at the time to a well-known Mediterranean country and with whom she visited Istanbul. She refused his offer of marriage and was frightened for her child and herself in the middle of a well-armed cadre of protective guards. She returned home to finish medical school and he married a pediatrician he’d met when he was assigned to Moldova. [Check the map and the current news.] And, at the end of the summer, Katrina happened, and we talked some more, and I talked her out of rushing off willy-nilly to New Orleans to offer her services by explaining the term dysfunctional mass convergence, and she motivated me to spell out and publish my understanding of the dynamics of emergency response. I wrote a draft (“This is crap”, she said),  and then took three months to research and write a 57-page paper. “How will people learn about and read this?”, she prompted me to get it published…  internationally [http://www.iaem.com/documents/SimsandVCOPs1.pdf ]. And she’d started her practice. As we talked, it became obvious that she had some kind of sleep disorder, and it occurred to me that she was exhibiting some signs of dissociative personality disorder. I’d done some reading about MK-Ultra and the long-term effects of sexual abuse and, at one point in a conversation during which we had become particularly close, I asked her if she’d been sexually abused. “How did you know? I never told you that.” Well, she owned up to the fact that her father, a physician himself who was a sub-contractor for the CIA as a reserve officer in the USAF, did in fact sexually abuse her when she was 9, and it continued until she was 15. Or so she said… But she did have the symptoms. Or was she play-acting? Well, she acted suicidal on more than one occasion, and asked me to continue to talk to her through the wee hours of the night until either she or her daughter fell asleep. She fed the child Benadryl and herself Ambien, and waited for what my broadcasting professor called my “bedroom voice” to put her to sleep. And, to make a long story shorter, I fell in love with her. She kept coming around singing me up. And I became addicted. On one occasion, we agreed to meet in person  and when she sent me her picture, I fell off the chair.  She was stunningly beautiful.  And smart. And, I thought, needed someone.  And I felt unneeded. And she called or e-mailed every day, more often than not two or three times a day. Every night’s telephone conversation was something we both looked forward to. I had, it seemed, something she needed or wanted. Months went by. And then she “diagnosed” my medical problem. Well, “diagnosis” is perhaps too strong a word, but unquestionably her trained ear heard something in my voice and she insisted, forcefully, that I seek medical attention ASAP. She wanted me to hang up the phone and go wake up my wife and tell her to call the ambulance. “No”, I said, “that’s not going to happen.” I wasn’t going to march upstairs and wake up my wife and tell her the woman I’d irrationally fallen in love said I was having a stroke. But I did promise her I’d make an appointment with a doctor. Three days later, the 6’4” Czechoslovakian cardiologist leaned back from having auscultated my chest and asked “Has anyone ever told you you have a heart murmur?” No one had, and no one had previously told me I needed to have an echocardiogram and a catheterization and a stress test. But I did.   Findings: Moderate-to-severe aortic stenosis due to a damaged aortic valve. Now, I had been in touch with my brother… my long-lost brother … [that’s a whole ‘nuther story]… and he called out of concern and asked my wife, whom I had not told about the medical tests, how I’d made out at the hospital.

http://www.clanimalzoo.com/Kats/Cat%20in%20bag1.jpg

  Music video: Chris Botti, Someone To Watch Over Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eC_Qm78Gkg (9:30)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Someone_to_Watch_Over_Me_(song

http://www.lyrics007.com/Ella%20Fitzgerald%20Lyrics/Someone%20to%20Watch%20over%20Me%20Lyrics.html  

And so the situation unraveled and, as had been hastily planned after the psychiatrist had been informed of the cardiologist’s findings, the old ’99 black Pontiac Trans-Am was packed with clothing, books and music… a great car on the open road across the top of Western Maryland and down the backside of the Appalachian ridge.

Music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0WDS-EQoIM (4:36)

The cardiologist had said “No, I won’t refer you to a surgeon to have the valve replaced because your heart isn’t strong enough to undergo the surgery”, and I was now under the care of a psychiatrist who lived 800 miles away. There may be a book written about the 15-month-long experience. I’ve at least written a prose poem [Eros and Psyche] in which each word and each phrase is a cryptogram of memory. I met the psychiatrist’s mother (once), who threw me out of her house before I was two steps into her kitchen. [Her daughter then ‘keyed’ her car when we left.] Even over the phone, I’d watched a horrible relationship between her and her daughter that also affected a five-year-old grand-daughter. I thought I could offer some sanctuary. [I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Laurence Gonzalez can explain why I was not aware of the fact that I was doing so.] I sat in the passenger seat with the child in the back seat as the shrink followed her mother bumper-to-bumper in their matching Toyota Camrys over three laps of a winding circuit across the urban center and the suburban hills while they talked on the cell phone, child screaming in the back seat. I accompanied doctor and daughter to the movies one night in a moment that will forever live in my memory; doctor sat entranced through great parts of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. I’d already heard about the extreme fiscal situation the doctor was in, and her binge online shopping.  Previously, she’d told me on the phone that when she got home from rounds there was nothing to eat in the house; she said she couldn’t afford to use her credit card and order up a pizza delivery. When I worked in her office, I watched the doctor’s accountant manage her practice finances and, perhaps, her mind. [He was a Disciple of Christ too.] I watched her male medical partner (formerly with the Secret Service) have (and end) a relationship with his male office clerk, the same fellow who circulated nude pictures of patients among other patients in the waiting room of the medical practice, the same fellow whose job I took for eight weeks when I convinced my friend the lady psychiatrist to insist that he be fired immediately. (Among other things, I did the patient intake, took the vital signs, kept the charts in order, and helped set up the Suboxone program.) The lady psychiatrist passed her boards with flying colors on the first try without any help from me and was a specialist in psychopharmacology. She had taken me in the same way she took in the puppy dog one of her patients had left in her office. A pet store found a new home for the dog. I eventually found a new home in a rehab hospital.

Given to me by the psychiatrist from “down South”: My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton G. Erickson (edited and with commentary bny Sidney Rosen), W.W. Norton & Co., 1982. Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton Erickson, M.D. (Volume One), Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Grinder & Associates 1975. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha M. Linehan, Guilford Press 1993. Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha Linehan, Guilford Press 1993. Conversational Hypnosis: A Manual of Indirect Suggestion (Examples, Induction Scripts, Pre-Session Talks), Carol Sommer, 1992. The Art of Political Warfare, John J. Pitney Jr., University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. Given to me to read but retained in her possession:

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

by Kay Redfield Jamison

Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

by Kay Redfield Jamison

 Eight weeks into the period in which  I had ‘gone south’, she invited me — knowing it was expressly against the wishes of her mother — to visit her at her own little bungalow on the family compound. Everything there is all up and down,; literally your neighbor can be 500 feet above you or below you. (Good exercise to make my heart stronger, at least.) I lived in a condo that was about 500 feet higher than and about a three quarters-of-a-mile away from her, high up in the clouds and fog over the river.  Mother was all ready to have me arrested for trespassing the moment I arrived.  I had previously stifled her assumptions about my being a pedophile by offering to present myself to the local WV State police barracks and have them deliver their full report on my legal and moral transgressions directly to her.  I had already explained to the daughter that, as a tenant, she had a right to invite whomever she pleased.) So the tableau was set. Previously, on Thanksgiving, I’d made myself familiar with the area by strolling around the rim of the “holler” in which this family resided.  It was a special section of the land they had owned on the maternal side of things for generations as a giant pig farm, but they leased the land to a series of shopping centers built around a new four-lane road for 10% of the proceeds (or so I was told). During that walk, I was surprised to see a man perched with a high-powered hunting rifle high up in a pine tree that towered over the holler from the edge of its rim in the back of a church parking lot. Deer abounded in the neighborhood and a 10-point buck had once sauntered onto the deck around my condo as I sat in the kitchen with my coffee. Perhaps that image of the man with a .30-06 flashed through my subconsciousness as I walked out the door and started down the hill. Perhaps I went into florid pleural edema as a physical reaction to that part of my Stream, as Gonzalez calls it. Perhaps I had the subconscious sense I was being set up. [See Candace Pert on the molecules of emotion.: Pert Molecules.]

Now it’s a moot point; I turned around and struggled against the advancing tide of water in my lungs to get back to my condo. The Stream had turned into a flood. I walked in and hunched over the kitchen sink where I spit up some pink blood, a sign I immediately recognized and interpreted correctly; I’m a former EMT. And then, as I noted to Gonzalez years later, I grabbed my car keys, hung up the phone without comment when the doctor’s mother called to ask where I was, as the cops were on the way, and — disdaining 9/11 — I got in my car and drove down the hill to the nearest emergency room where the shrink was on staff.   I arrived in time to be able to throw my car keys to an EMT in the parking lot, asking him to ask hospital security to secure the car, and I went into the emergency room and puked all over the floor, and then blacked out. When I awoke moments later, I called the lady psychiatrist, and told her I now had some “skin in the game”.

[See a slice of the prose poem I wrote as an outline for the book here: http://boydownthelane.com/2013/11/27/reverse-911-a-remembrance-of-thanks/ ]

The emergency room staff got me stabilized, took the medical history, and put me in the ICU for the weekend. The cardiologist got the complete history and gave me a chemical stress test on Monday morning; as he advanced the plunger of the needle, I began to black out and told him to stop, and fell on the floor in cardiac arrest.

He revived me, rushed me back to the ICU, asked me if I had “seen the light” of an NDE [I hadn’t], and made arrangements for emergency open heart surgery and valve replacement downtown in the morning. I called my wife and son, and they made  arrangements to fly in. [My wife hates flying; have you ever hopped that old Saab bucket of bolts out of Detroit and landed on top of a mountain?] The next morning, after being asked if I were afraid (I wasn’t), I was wheeled through the doors of the OR and given a Versed and propafol IV cocktail that knocked me out in two seconds and made me unaware of having my sternum split, my heart stopped, an artery patched after they put in a new bovine valve — and then, hours later, being mooved back to the special ICU in the special heart surgery unit. My family arrived while I was in surgery.

There was one small problem… They left a “bleeder”.

I’m unconscious, my wife is in the waiting room with the heart surgeon and my friend the psychiatrist (whom she’d never met face-to-face or even talked to) to whom I had signed away power of attorney.

I’m glad I’d been unconscious.

I was unconsciously having an “Isn’t It Ironic?” moment, as I was fully aware of the fellow at the University of Virginia Medical School who was a performance psychologist (Doug Newburg) working with cardio-thoracic surgical teams to promote excellence under pressure.

Gonzales talks about surrender. I gave it over to people who cared about me, an ICU nurse named Pascha, and God. [Everyone of them came through for me.]

Four units of transfused blood later, someone finally figured out what the problem was and they wheeled me back to the OR, where the surgical team repaired the bleeding artery, but some arterial plaque “jumped” free and floated off to my brain, giving me a multiplex hemiplegic stroke that left my left leg totally immobilized, my left arm mostly immobilized, and my heart wafting in and out of atrial fibrillation. [No physicians have been sued in the telling of this story.  I knew about the risk going in and had no choice but to go in, without fear.]

Whenever it was that I finally awoke, days later, I was told I had a stroke. Totally numbed out by the depth of the experience, having hallucinated several times, still under the influence of whatever meds they were pushing along with the feeding tube in my right arm, I was fixed to the mattress. I needed help for the slightest of movements and mostly wafted in and out of various mental states of quasi-psycho-spiritual hypnogogic and hypnagoggic and hallucinatory restorative grace.

Well, the story trends with me getting superior cardiological care, 8 weeks of in-patient rehabilitation, moving my residence again [nine times in eleven months], having the lady doctor support me financially throughout the entire process, having her actively working to nurse me back on my feet (at one point  when I had an infection at the site of my feeding IV, she was on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor with disinfectant). She visited regularly, marshaled support and human resources, and provided a good deal of spirit, the sunshine of her presence,  and oversight of the medical care.

On a snowy day, she borrowed an old battered pick-up truck and personally hauled what little belongings and furniture I had out of the four-story condo atop the hill to the new place, stopping by the hospital long enough to throw me into the front right seat. She negotiated with the building supervisor and we got me installed into a cold apartment in mid-February.  The next morning, I grabbed a cab and went back and retrieved my car from the deep parking zone by the hospital where my son had left it when he grabbed his launch out of Yeager. It was an adventure to drive after I’d been immobilized in a bed for ten weeks, a lesson in how automaticity works and doesn’t work. I took it nice and s-l-o-w. The building super got the heat fixed and the lady shrink would come by to check on me and spend some time sharing the tales of her day, and I’d read sections of a book out loud I’d found on medical diagnosis and problem-solving (it was like playing “House”).   I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day she talked about tradecraft as she got ready to do “rounds”.

She played a supportive and perhaps major role (but I suspect not the final critical one, that having perhaps been given over to political influence called in by the psychiatrist’s mother) in getting my Social Security Disability application approved five months later.  I’d moved into an extended outpatient recovery with leg brace, walker and wheelchair in a hastily-rented small apartment in a building with an elevator, and gotten a pacemaker put in to keep my heart on the straight-and-narrow.

I never did find the key to the doorway she’d built and locked in front of her own heart/mind/spirit unit, though she clearly was having more and more problems. At one point, I remember asking that building super if he knew of a book that would help me understand women, and he replied “Ain’t been written yet.” She had what I can only, in my limited knowledge, call a psychotic break due to her mother’s harping or perhaps induced in other ways by others, and the several visits during which she somewhat vividly worked on getting me to end any thoughts of a continued relationship or an extended stay in her neighborhood by relapsing into a vicious alcoholism, asking me if I didn’t want to beat her up, and offering to join hands and fly off the 9th floor balcony (both of us kept our heads and our feet on the ground, and I kept my fists open and soft). I urged her to get formal help; how do you ask a psychiatrist who is an expert in psychopharmacology that she needs to see a psychiatrist? She told me she hoped to go to a hospital near Blacksburg, VA and get some ECT treatments. She did end up working with a psychiatrist and a psychologist on a personal basis. I am told she’s married, went through some serious abdominal surgery herself, and is back at work.

▶ Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – If this is goodbye [Bingolotto -06] – YouTube

 She did make a trip to see a Russian psychiatrist in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and I held my breath for about ten days. She returned and took a weekend to travel out to Nag’s Head [have you read JFK and the Unspeakable?] and sit on the dunes; she came back with a bumper sticker that said “Life is good”, but her resolve to be rid of me was now more stabilized and certain.

I’d seen both poles of her disorder; when she was at the right end of the dipole, she was one of the more powerful, super-intelligent and focused people I’d ever met. When she was at the wrong end, she was a mess. But it was clear that there was little I could do because I wasn’t going to be given the chance, the right, the role, to be of any assistance.

Eros and Psyche

Music video:

Notting Hillbillies Feel Like Going Home – YouTube 

 I negotiated, with the help of my son, a return back to Massachusetts and entrance into a successful re-establishment of a relationship with my wife.  I drove back on Thanksgiving, arriving on a wing and a prayer at the front end of a very tired caravan of driver/Pontiac/U-Haul negotiating the snowstorm, and the curves and hills of about 800 miles of Interstate highway, in time to surprise wife and daughter and to get a piece of pie. [Delicious baked humble pie.]

Relationships were tentative at first, for obvious reasons; I made apologies, and was forgiven.  I lived in a spartan, drafty four-room flat in between the rail line and the airport in a decaying industrial town near my daughter so I could perhaps be of some value to some one. Many months later, I walked my daughter down the aisle and handed her off to an environmental engineer who’s a D-I-Y kind of fellow; they have two delightful kids. My son gave me another grandkid in between those two, and the pictures of the three populate the wall space at home. My son and my daughter were the witnesses in the private ceremony in which my wife and I exchanged new vows we’d written in the middle of a garden labyrinth we found. I had been given a Clew.   Music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j-VHVIQZSg (2:57)

  I registered with all the right doctors and eventually got my old pacemaker installed correctly [yes, that same surgeon screwed that up too] and I’m on a small list of chronic meds with attendant side-effects. I got myself onto a regular system of treadmills and exercise bikes [http://www2.keiser.com/en/ ] and a Keiser weight system and exacerbated an old lacrosse injury to my hips and spine, went to the chiropractor for a year, had to stop the exercise regime, fired her, put on a lot of weight, but have been managing otherwise pretty well despite chronic leg numbness, an ever-present threat of another stroke, and the need to manage myself and ten medications along the thin ledge of homeostasis. Things are much much better now that wife has seen some things differently, as have I, and due in great part to the fact that her mother has been placed permanently in a nursing home, no longer able to care for herself in any meaningful way. And my wife recently retired so we have the place to ourselves (except when the grandkids visit). I did continue with my regime of Holosync-driven binaural beat meditation and then discovered, in the appendix of Izthak Bentov’s Stalking the Wild Pendulum, his theory that kundalini meditation dumped stress out through the aortic valve. When I asked my electrophysiologist about this, he answered “What do you care? You survived, didn’t you?” He tells me I may no longer go to the gym; I am limited to walking. We recently added the diagnosis of paroxysmal atrial flutter. And the aging progress continues….

“This is a very unusual area of medicine,” said Ann Webster, Ph.D., director of the Program for Successful Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine. “These are things people can do for themselves.” [ http://annwebsterphd.com/home.html ]

It was at the Benson-Henry Institute that the term “relaxation response” was first coined. It’s an actual physiologic state of deep rest that’s the opposite of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.

“This is a time when you restore energy to every cell in your body, and this is also a time when healing can take place,” said Webster.

Watch Report

It may sound far-fetched, but they say it’s grounded in real, cutting-edge science and proven to help people avoid high blood pressure,  pain syndromes and even rheumatoid arthritis.

“Take in a deep breath. Hold it … a few seconds, and then let it go,” said Webster. “By the end of the third breath, they’ve already quieted down.”

To turn on the relaxation response, Webster suggests meditation coupled with deep breathing every day for at least 20 minutes, along with:

  • Staying fit and eating right
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Social support
  • Staying engaged in life even after retirement
  • Getting quality sleep

According to Webster, the number No. 1 barrier to successful aging is obesity.

http://www.wcvb.com/health/mindbody-medicine-helping-patients-live-longer-stronger/24528140#!DUC6O 

 

http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/assets/pdfs/Successful%20Aging.pdf 

 

  My story isn’t as exciting or as vibrant a recovery as that of people who have battled mountain lions, sharks, bears, improvised explosive devices or breast cancer.  But my wife went through chemotherapy, radiation and an elective bilateral radical mastectomy when she developed breast cancer for the second time one year after I returned.  I was there to play a supporting role.

My own recovery from survival has been helped by Gonzalez’ second book, if only by recognition of the process. It was there, in his discussion about The Stream, through which I realized the true reason I was able to save my own life as I approached the threats in the holler. That realization precipitated the heart problems and the heart attack in an already-weakened heart and lead to the surgery in which I also almost lost my life twice, and then I had to look forward to the recovery of the rehabilitation and the long trail afterwords, which continues today, as I battle small and minor residua and wonder what to do with my survival. I have annoying loss of strength and dexterity in my left hand, gait problems exacerbated by an old minor hip-back injury in college, and a generalized clumsiness that belies a different self, but these pale and are inconsequential when compared to the problems of others with brain injury, overwhelming disfigurement on the surface and the interior, or other sets of circumstances that are far worse.

I consider myself immensely lucky, and I am glad that I went through the trouble.

One of the promises I made myself as I stared at the ceiling hour after hour and listened to the assembled music CD’s and summoned up bits of energy with which to try to tackle the strenuous physical and occupational therapy sessions thrown at me two and three times a day — the hardest work I’ve ever had to do, and I loved every minute of it, and I loved the professionals who cared for me, including the psychiatrist — was to survive long enough to be able to get back to the computer and online in order to post and share the assembled tome of excerpts from my performance psychology research. I had managed to save most of it across those many residential transitions despite several technological breakdowns and losses of computer capability but finally I started up a blog at Google in which the bulk of it was laid down for others to read. No one seemed much interested, to be frank, a disappointing reality due in great part to how I presented it, perhaps, but the events of the day and my returning anger about what was happening in the world — and the failure of many people (including my own family) to understand them, their causes, their consequences, and the meaning of all of that to their lives — gradually brought me back to an old orientation to the news and a blogging focus that was more dissident.

Most Americans seem unaware and unaffected by what is happening in America and the world, while the rest of the world waits for us to begin our recovery.

But I did save most of those performance psychology excerpts.

As I noted at the top, there are some who are in despair, or who find their way back to that state of despondency or depression or anomie, and it is them to whom Gonzalez’ book “Surviving Survival” should speak.

Music video: Let Down (Christopher O’Reilly)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZtLXmVstjY (5:33)

http://oneinabillionblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/concept-resilience.gif

See Excerpts from “Deep Survival” and “Surviving Survival” here:

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-deep-survival/ http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-surviving-survival/

The 10 Big Ideas 

from the book “Deep Survival”

http://joshkaufman.net/deep-survival/ 

[This is a podcast interview with the author and is an outstanding (and portable) introduction to him, his books and how they apply to you. 

http://www.aaronmchugh.com/2013/10/30/18-survival-resilience-laurence-gonzales-podcast/ ]

Here, if it is more suitable to you, is a PowerPoint presentation done for a conference of social workers.

Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (1

naswilmeets.org/wp-content/…/SurvivingSurvivalNASWConf20131.pptx

Surviving Survival: the Art and Science of Resilience by Laurence Gonzales; Personal characteristics; Successful vs. ineffective strategies for surviving the …

 

This is the hour-long keynote address by Laurence Gonzalez at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in 2013. 

http://vimeo.com/84254950 

Are we at risk and existing in a wilderness?

Episode 39 – Laurence Gonzales 

http://podbay.fm/show/409450648/e/1321823159?autostart=1