Tag Archives: Derrick Jensen

massif on writing

I was often asked by readers, back before I moved radically in the direction of shutting off comments to prevent loads of spam and generally-related ‘cookbook’ gibberish masking the spam, what resources I could suggest for those who were beginners at the art of blogging and writing

I’ve mentioned several; Derrick Jensen wrote one that is still pretty much a bulls-eye, Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution.  It is “not only a hands-on method for learning how to write, but, like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a lesson on how to connect to the core of our creative selves”. I still keep a reminder close by: “Apply the ranch dressing rule.”

I have a bookcase full of other examples to which I turn on occasion (but not frequently enough), starting with Donald Hall’s classic “Writing Well”

My cousin Suzie gave that one to me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. She was a polymath, the daughter of the unforgettable fellow who taught and inspired Andy Warhol, and I think she dated Donald briefly.  It served as a companion to the efforts of the unforgettable Margaret Dale, my fifth and sixth grade Latin and grammar teacher; Miss Dale’s watercolor of Mount Desert as seen from Blue Hill, Maine hangs on my wall. Her lessons stood me in good stead until I was graced with “the Duke” for two years of AP English. (My screensavers feature photography of the Mount Greylock massif as seen from various locations off the western slopes.) 

In terms of sheer skill development, nothing much came close to Miss Dale and “the Duke” for decades  until I ran into The Great Courses four-disc DVD  featuring the University of Iowa professor Brooks Landon “Building Great Sentences”. I’m still digesting and mastering that. 

But recently I was introduced to another source I wanted to pass on because he speaks to the modern age of mobility and social media and the art of being effective in that arena (more on which later). 

I speak of Josh Bernoff’s “Without Bullshit” blog. I was introduced to Josh because I’ve made a habit of reading a news aggregation blog run by a woman who was a moderator at a discussion board I frequented (sometimes too frequently, or intensely). In addition to keeping the peace among occasionally or persistently warring members discussing politics, culture and more, she posted lots of really interesting stuff as “fodder” for the community. While I had my occasional disagreements with her, I found her to be fair and even-handed.  Affectionately, members knew her as “Snuffy” and she still is, at http://snuffysmithsblog.blogspot.com/.

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My [Josh Bernoff’s]  recent survey of business writers has a text box where people can type anything they want about their writing experience. They’re pretty upset about all the bullshit they have to deal with.

Here’s a sample. Each comment includes the information I have about the role and industry of the person who wrote it. I’ve lightly edited the comments for space, clarity, and grammar.

Read them here:

http://withoutbullshit.com/blog/what-frustrates-business-writers/ 

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Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (HBR Press, 2008), written with Charlene Li, is a BusinessWeek bestseller and the defining book for how companies can profit from blogs, social networks like Facebook, and other social media. Abbey Klaassen, the editor of Advertising Age, picked it as “the best book ever written on marketing and media.”

The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment (Groundswell Press, 2014), written with Ted Schadler and Julie Ask, is a comprehensive guide to mobile strategy. In his blurb about the book, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, said this: “Those who seize the opportunities described in The Mobile Mind Shift will grow at the expense of those who don’t.”

Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business (HBR Press 2010), written with Ted Schadler, is a book about management in the era of empowered customers and employees. We wrote it up in the Harvard Business Review.

http://withoutbullshit.com/josh-bernoff/ 

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Today, again, Michelle “Snuffysmith” Kearney posts another article, here reproduced in full:

Andrew Bacevich: Six National Security Questions Hillary, Donald, Ted, Marco, etc., Don’t Want to Answer and Won’t Even Be Asked

Posted on January 27, 2016 by Yves Smith

By Andrew J. Bacevich, the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, which Random House will publish in April. Originally published at TomDispatch

To judge by the early returns, the presidential race of 2016 is shaping up as the most disheartening in recent memory. Other than as a form of low entertainment, the speeches, debates, campaign events, and slick TV ads already inundating the public sphere offer little of value. Rather than exhibiting the vitality of American democracy, they testify to its hollowness.

Present-day Iranian politics may actually possess considerably more substance than our own. There, the parties involved, whether favoring change or opposing it, understand that the issues at stake have momentous implications. Here, what passes for national politics is a form of exhibitionism about as genuine as pro wrestling.

A presidential election campaign ought to involve more than competing coalitions of interest groups or bevies of investment banks and billionaires vying to install their preferred candidate in the White House.  It should engage and educate citizens, illuminating issues and subjecting alternative solutions to careful scrutiny.

That this one won’t even come close we can ascribe as much to the media as to those running for office, something the recent set of “debates” and the accompanying commentary have made painfully clear.  With certain honorable exceptions such as NBC’s estimable Lester Holt, representatives of the press are less interested in fulfilling their civic duty than promoting themselves as active participants in the spectacle.  They bait, tease, and strut.  Then they subject the candidates’ statements and misstatements to minute deconstruction.  The effect is to inflate their own importance while trivializing the proceedings they are purportedly covering.

Above all in the realm of national security, election 2016 promises to be not just a missed opportunity but a complete bust.  Recent efforts to exercise what people in Washington like to call “global leadership” have met with many more failures and disappointments than clearcut successes.  So you might imagine that reviewing the scorecard would give the current raft of candidates, Republican and Democratic alike, plenty to talk about.

But if you thought that, you’d be mistaken.  Instead of considered discussion of first-order security concerns, the candidates have regularly opted for bluff and bluster, their chief aim being to remove all doubts regarding their hawkish bona fides.

In that regard, nothing tops rhetorically beating up on the so-called Islamic State.  So, for example, Hillary Clinton promises to “smash the would-be caliphate,” Jeb Bush to “defeat ISIS for good,” Ted Cruz to “carpet bomb them into oblivion,” and Donald Trump to “bomb the shit out of them.”  For his part, having recently acquired a gun as the “last line of defense between ISIS and my family,” Marco Rubio insists that when he becomes president, “The most powerful intelligence agency in the world is going to tell us where [ISIS militants] are; the most powerful military in the world is going to destroy them; and if we capture any of them alive, they are getting a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay.”

These carefully scripted lines perform their intended twofold function.  First, they elicit applause and certify the candidate as plenty tough.  Second, they spare the candidate from having to address matters far more deserving of presidential attention than managing the fight against the Islamic State.

In the hierarchy of challenges facing the United States today, ISIS ranks about on a par with Sicily back in 1943.  While liberating that island was a necessary prelude to liberating Europe more generally, the German occupation of Sicily did not pose a direct threat to the Allied cause.  So with far weightier matters to attend to — handling Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, for example — President Franklin Roosevelt wisely left the problem of Sicily to subordinates.  FDR thereby demonstrated an aptitude for distinguishing between the genuinely essential and the merely important.

By comparison, today’s crop of presidential candidates either are unable to grasp, cannot articulate, or choose to ignore those matters that should rightfully fall under a commander-in-chief’s purview.  Instead, they compete with one another in vowing to liberate the twenty-first-century equivalent of Sicily, as if doing so demonstrates their qualifications for the office.

What sort of national security concerns should be front and center in the current election cycle?  While conceding that a reasoned discussion of heavily politicized matters like climate change, immigration, or anything to do with Israel is probably impossible, other issues of demonstrable significance deserve attention.  What follows are six of them — by no means an exhaustive list — that I’ve framed as questions a debate moderator might ask of anyone seeking the presidency, along with brief commentaries explaining why neither the posing nor the answering of such questions is likely to happen anytime soon.

  1. The War on Terror: Nearly 15 years after this “war” was launched by George W. Bush, why hasn’t “the most powerful military in the world,” “the finest fighting force in the history of the world” won it?  Why isn’t victory anywhere in sight?

As if by informal agreement, the candidates and the journalists covering the race have chosen to ignore the military enterprise inaugurated in 2001, initially called the Global War on Terrorism and continuing today without an agreed-upon name.  Since 9/11, the United States has invaded, occupied, bombed, raided, or otherwise established a military presence in numerous countries across much of the Islamic world.  How are we doing?

Given the resources expended and the lives lost or ruined, not particularly well it would seem.  Intending to promote stability, reduce the incidence of jihadism, and reverse the tide of anti-Americanism among many Muslims, that “war” has done just the opposite.  Advance the cause of democracy and human rights?  Make that zero-for-four.

Amazingly, this disappointing record has been almost entirely overlooked in the campaign.  The reasons why are not difficult to discern.  First and foremost, both parties share in the serial failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere in the region.  Pinning the entire mess on George W. Bush is no more persuasive than pinning it all on Barack Obama.  An intellectually honest accounting would require explanations that look beyond reflexive partisanship.  Among the matters deserving critical scrutiny is Washington’s persistent bipartisan belief in military might as an all-purpose problem solver.  Not far behind should come questions about simple military competence that no American political figure of note or mainstream media outlet has the gumption to address.

The politically expedient position indulged by the media is to sidestep such concerns in favor of offering endless testimonials to the bravery and virtue of the troops, while calling for yet more of the same or even further escalation.  Making a show of supporting the troops takes precedence over serious consideration of what they are continually being asked to do.

2. Nuclear Weapons: Today, more than 70 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what purpose do nukes serve?  How many nuclear weapons and delivery systems does the United States actually need?

In an initiative that has attracted remarkably little public attention, the Obama administration has announced plans to modernize and upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  Estimated costs of this program reach as high as $1 trillion over the next three decades.  Once finished — probably just in time for the 100th anniversary of Hiroshima — the United States will possess more flexible, precise, survivable, and therefore usable nuclear capabilities than anything hitherto imagined.  In effect, the country will have acquired a first-strike capability — even as U.S. officials continue to affirm their earnest hope of removing the scourge of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth (other powers being the first to disarm, of course).

Whether, in the process, the United States will become more secure or whether there might be far wiser ways to spend that kind of money — shoring up cyber defenses, for example — would seem like questions those who could soon have their finger on the nuclear button might want to consider.

Yet we all know that isn’t going to happen.  Having departed from the sphere of politics or strategy, nuclear policy has long since moved into the realm of theology.  Much as the Christian faith derives from a belief in a Trinity consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, so nuclear theology has its own Triad, comprised of manned bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched missiles.  To question the existence of such a holy threesome constitutes rank heresy.  It’s just not done — especially when there’s all that money about to be dropped into the collection plate.

3. Energy Security: Given the availability of abundant oil and natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere and the potential future abundance of alternative energy systems, why should the Persian Gulf continue to qualify as a vital U.S. national security interest?

Back in 1980, two factors prompted President Jimmy Carter to announce that the United States viewed the Persian Gulf as worth fighting for.  The first was a growing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and a belief that American consumers were guzzling gas at a rate that would rapidly deplete domestic reserves.  The second was a concern that, having just invaded Afghanistan, the Soviet Union might next have an appetite for going after those giant gas stations in the Gulf, Iran, or even Saudi Arabia.

Today we know that the Western Hemisphere contains more than ample supplies of oil and natural gas to sustain the American way of life (while also heating up the planet).  As for the Soviet Union, it no longer exists — a decade spent chewing on Afghanistan having produced a fatal case of indigestion.

No doubt ensuring U.S. energy security should remain a major priority.  Yet in that regard, protecting Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela is far more relevant to the nation’s well-being than protecting Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, while being far easier and cheaper to accomplish.  So who will be the first presidential candidate to call for abrogating the Carter Doctrine?  Show of hands, please?

4. Assassination: Now that the United States has normalized assassination as an instrument of policy, how well is it working?  What are its benefits and costs?

George W. Bush’s administration pioneered the practice of using missile-armed drones as a method of extrajudicial killing.  Barack Obama’s administration greatly expanded and routinized the practice.

The technique is clearly “effective” in the narrow sense of liquidating leaders and “lieutenants” of terror groups that policymakers want done away with.  What’s less clear is whether the benefits of state-sponsored assassination outweigh the costs, which are considerable.  The incidental killing of noncombatants provokes ire directed against the United States and provides terror groups with an excellent recruiting tool.  The removal of Mr. Bad Actor from the field adversely affects the organization he leads for no longer than it takes for a successor to emerge.  As often as not, the successor turns out to be nastier than Mr. Bad Actor himself.

It would be naïve to expect presidential candidates to interest themselves in the moral implications of assassination as now practiced on a regular basis from the White House.  Still, shouldn’t they at least wonder whether it actually works as advertised?  And as drone technology proliferates, shouldn’t they also contemplate the prospect of others — say, Russians, Chinese, and Iranians — following America’s lead and turning assassination into a global practice?

5. Europe: Seventy years after World War II and a quarter-century after the Cold War ended, why does European security remain an American responsibility?  Given that Europeans are rich enough to defend themselves, why shouldn’t they?

Americans love Europe: old castles, excellent cuisine, and cultural attractions galore.  Once upon a time, the parts of Europe that Americans love best needed protection.  Devastated by World War II, Western Europe faced in the Soviet Union a threat that it could not handle alone.  In a singular act of generosity laced with self-interest, Washington came to the rescue.  By forming NATO, the United States committed itself to defend its impoverished and vulnerable European allies.  Over time this commitment enabled France, Great Britain, West Germany, and other nearby countries to recover from the global war and become strong, prosperous, and democratic countries.

Today Europe is “whole and free,” incorporating not only most of the former Soviet empire, but even parts of the old Soviet Union itself.  In place of the former Soviet threat, there is Vladimir Putin, a bully governing a rickety energy state that, media hype notwithstanding, poses no more than a modest danger to Europe itself.  Collectively, the European Union’s economy, at $18 trillion, equals that of the United States and exceeds Russia’s, even in sunnier times, by a factor of nine.  Its total population, easily outnumbering our own, is more than triple Russia’s.  What these numbers tell us is that Europe is entirely capable of funding and organizing its own defense if it chooses to do so.

It chooses otherwise, in effect opting for something approximating disarmament.  As a percentage of the gross domestic product, European nations spend a fraction of what the United States does on defense.  When it comes to armaments, they prefer to be free riders and Washington indulges that choice.  So even today, seven decades after World War II ended, U.S. forces continue to garrison Europe and America’s obligation to defend 26 countries on the far side of the Atlantic remains intact.

The persistence of this anomalous situation deserves election-year attention for one very important reason.  It gets to the question of whether the United States can ever declare mission accomplished.  Since the end of World War II, Washington has extended its security umbrella to cover not only Europe, but also virtually all of Latin America and large parts of East Asia.  More recently, the Middle East, Central Asia, and now Africa have come in for increased attention.  Today, U.S. forces alone maintain an active presence in 147 countries.

Do our troops ever really get to “come home”?  The question is more than theoretical in nature.  To answer it is to expose the real purpose of American globalism, which means, of course, that none of the candidates will touch it with a 10-foot pole.

6. Debt: Does the national debt constitute a threat to national security?  If so, what are some politically plausible ways of reining it in?

Together, the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama can take credit for tripling the national debt since 2000.  Well before Election Day this coming November, the total debt, now exceeding the entire gross domestic product, will breach the $19 trillion mark.

In 2010, Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described that debt as “the most significant threat to our national security.”  Although in doing so he wandered a bit out of his lane, he performed a rare and useful service by drawing a link between long-term security and fiscal responsibility.  Ever so briefly, a senior military officer allowed consideration of the national interest to take precedence over the care and feeding of the military-industrial complex.  It didn’t last long.

Mullen’s comment garnered a bit of attention, but failed to spur any serious congressional action.  Again, we can see why, since Congress functions as an unindicted co-conspirator in the workings of that lucrative collaboration.  Returning to anything like a balanced budget would require legislators to make precisely the sorts of choices that they are especially loathe to make — cutting military programs that line the pockets of donors and provide jobs for constituents.  (Although the F-35 fighter may be one of the most bloated and expensive weapons programs in history, even Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has left no stone unturned in lobbying to get those planes stationed in his hometown of Burlington.)

Recently, the role of Congress in authorizing an increase in the debt ceiling has provided Republicans with an excuse for political posturing, laying responsibility for all that red ink entirely at the feet of President Obama — this despite the fact that he has reduced the annual deficit by two-thirds, from $1.3 trillion the year he took office to $439 billion last year.

This much is certain: regardless of who takes the prize in November, the United States will continue to accumulate debt at a non-trivial rate.  If a Democrat occupies the White House, Republicans will pretend to care.  If our next president is a Republican, they will keep mum.  In either case, the approach to national security that does so much to keep the books out of balance will remain intact.

Come to think of it, averting real change might just be the one point on which the candidates generally agree.

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Bacevich has written  “a searing reassessment of U.S. military policy in the Middle East over the past four decades” as well as of “a marriage of militarism and utopian ideology, of unprecedented military [that] invites endless war and the ever-deepening militarization of U.S. policy” .

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Another Example, Probably, of Hilarity and Clear Thinking

https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/drool-brittania-the-ongoing-imbecilization-of-britain-proceeds-apace/ 

 

Added on edit:

Right on cue, the next morning, as if in concurrence, Josh Bernoff shows us how to make an idea map in order to visualize the flow of a book:

http://withoutbullshit.com/blog/idea-map/ 

inside out

The gynormity of it all hit me a few days ago as I awoke at about 7:30 AM.

You could call it a re-awakening.

It seems to have taken about 40 days for my sister’s revelations to sink in, to percolate down through the deposited soils of six decades of having been protectively misled, lied to, prevented from knowing certain things, from having been put into a position in which everyone around me from the earliest days of my consciousness and my personal, cognitive and psychological development was not who they appeared to be but was a caricature created by my own ignorance.

So I sit alone inside a maelstrom, adrift on a raft in a gentle eddy in the center of a massive storm, carefully balancing the presence of wife and family; they are the only truths I know because they were not there; they were selected and created by my own free will, whatever persona I was then. They were not central players at the beginning of the mess but they now gravitate elliptically around someone they assumed was real and grounded but which, all along, was operating under a set of assumptions that turned out to be misconstrued, misperceived… that were inside out and backwards.

I started out as a child, to borrow from a well-known actor/comedian whose own projection was not what it seeemed.

I am going to have to enroll at Bright-Eye’s school of Theater in the Cavern.

Astute perception of old records by a nurse disclosed that my emergence from the hospital of my birth was delayed, that my discharge was unusually late because — well, see, right away I am into speculation, analysis and detective work — my recorded weight upon discharge was well beyond that of a newborn.

I’d apparently been kept after school.

I was in detention from the git-go and started the normal process of growth having been fed the formula given to newborns of that era whose mothers were absent.

Sara Clarke

My mother had died from — again, I’m into speculation, not having medical records, autopsy information, physician’s notes, or anything beyond what can only be considered as unsubstantiated hearsay because none of the people involved are alive and those who aren’t are working off distant memory built on hearsay in the minds of older siblings, shadows on the wall of the grotto of life, and I am hear at age 67 near the end of my life looking back through the mists of my own perception — blood clot to the brain.

It was explained to me years later — sometime soon after a distant relative, an esteemed member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, looked in on the birth of my first-born son — over lunch at the Harvard Club by that same esteemed OB/GYN expert, that the state-of-the-art in obstetrics back then wasn’t what it is today, and that they were unable to counter-attack well enough or fast enough to save my mother.

It’s not unusually ironic, given a long history of similarly weird synchronicities in my life, that my own awakening to the gynormity of it all occurred on the anniversary of my first outward adventure into the world.

And there is now some further correlation to the old rumor that one of the contributory causes of my mother’s death five days after I arrived wet, startled, soon enough hungry, may have been trauma at the hands of my father.

My father was, through almost every moment of my life, a distant and often absent character. He had work. My job was to learn. He had two and a half other people to be concerned about too, and I am given to believe (and it naturally follows) that one of the reasons I was kept in the hospital was because of a great degree of uncertainty about who was going to take care of my brother and sister, four years and three years older respectively. and me.

I was on the fast track to an orphanage.

Men did not do household and child-oriented work then.

Mr. Mom was still in the future.

I do not know into whose arms I was placed when I was sent home but, soon enough, a series of nannies was hired. I am told there were four to six people who played that role in my early years. When I was about four, my father married his third wife, the woman I know as my step-mother, the woman who was the adult female in the house for fifteen years until I dropped out of college and married.  She, I am told, signed on to a life-long contract to watch after three kids because she fell in love with the youngest one.

Preceding her was a mysteriously-unknown social climber from Yonkers, New York whose marriage to my father was annulled after eleven months for reasons unknown; the given legal reason had something to do with moral terpitude, but sometimes words are simply what was seletced to put in the blank space on the form.  I have no pictures, only the vaguest of memories of a blonde in a fur coat, but I am told she was rejected imediately by my older siblings who, at one time, arranged for a bucket of water to fall on her from the top of the door as she came home from a dinner date with their dad. I was apparently on the floor in a playpen in the living room with her cat prowling outside the playpen which, it seems, provided some of the substance for a recurring nightmare about tigers prowling outside my cage.  These are but old Kodak Brownie snapshots of the formation of a young mind and a young life.

Preceding her was a series of hired nannies, the dominant of which was one woman who apparently nurtured and loved me and had a secret crush on my father. She wrote to me when I was in college but, of course, I had no knowledge of and only the vaguest of memory about her.  She was the source of a few old photos and one negative of a portrait of my mother, the one above.  The nanny was a Mennonite (we lived in a major old industrial city on the fringe of Pennsylvania Dutch country) and she always wore the starched white cap that was emblematic of women in that sect. I have been able to ascertain the place where she was buried in Missouri.

The murmurs and memories that come echoing back (all who lived then are dead now, except for my sister) all say that the prime focus at that time (post-war America, after the bombing of Japan but before Korea) was finding homes for the three kids. Could the father sustain the family? He had work, but needed household help. He needed a mother for his children. All manner of effort was made to keep us together and to keep us out of homes, institutions, the uncertain roiling seas of society where children were at risk.

As I understand it, my older brother and sister, being about a year apart, formed a team and gave numerous elders significant doses of pre-school grief. The kid in diapers simply needed to be fed and have his diapers changed.

And what exactly happened to each of us over the next several years and why remains murky to this day. My own ability to form and keep a coherent memory was still in formation, and their’s hadn’t had a lot of practice yet. Neighbors (the source of the information about my father hitting my mother as she went into labor) didn’t leave any diaries, testaments or testimony; people didn’t talk about these kinds of things back then. [They still don’t.]  And children’s physical and psychological well-being is still at risk.

My father’s boss, whose picture remains on my hard drive, having made the geographical and technological transition by some sort of para-normal IT event (it hijacked a ride on a disc) after I discovered his name and identity in connection to an alleged pedophilia/sexual abuse ring, introduced him to my eventual stepmother, to whom he may have been distantly related. These are things I discovered on my own in my 50s.

He was a heavy drinker, as was she.  He was a batterer and an abusive personality.  She battered me and psychologically abused me, but apparently not my sister or my brother.  He was a stern disciplinarian to us all and occasionally used a belt, especially when directed or prodded by my step-mother. My sister last month reported an attempted sexual advance by my father when she was in her early teens; my step-mother was very protective of her. My brother’s history remains very cloudy. There are some facts I can attest to, but he is dead now, the victim of estrangement, manipulation, possible sexual abuse at the hands of unknown people, and eventual death resultant from exposure to Agent Orange as an airman first class in the early years of the Vietnam War.  My brother was mustered into the US Air Force and spent time around locations known to have been involved with Operation Paperclip activities. All of this is deniable, of course. But back in 1952, when my step-mother arrived on the scene, her entire task was to lend some measure of stability to a family teetering on the edge of dissolution.

I have no doubt that she did that.  She was an occasionally-battered woman and she frequently battered me. Was this a kind of “reverse psychology” to insure that I did not grow up to be a batterer?  It could have backfired. Through the grace of God, it did not.  I’ve read enough of Arthur Silber and Alice Miller to know better. I’ve read Derrick Jensen’s “A Language Older Than Words”; my experience is insignificant when compared to what he suffered at the hands of his father.

Both my parents were deeply troubled people. My father’s own upbringing was troubled. He was an elitist, a racist, a misogynist and had been immersed in a culture of eugenics. He disowned me when I married a Catholic of French-Canadian descent. He despised Catholics and believed in the supremacy of the white male Anglo.  [I believe i have managed to shed most if not all of these influences.] Once, however, he got to know her (she was very intelligent and he admired intelligence, and she was a computer operator and programmer back when few knew what a computer was or could do and they required large air-condiitoned spaces), he warmed up to her. So he disowned me a second time when we divorced. He refused to attend our wedding ceremonies (one in a Protestant church, one in a Catholic ceremony).  And he wasn’t much impressed when he discovered my second wife was an Italian-American.  He hated Italians too.

He married a Scots-Irish Presbyterian and always said she was the love of his life. Growing up, I was never allowed to know anything about her.  I’m told she was a creative individual involved in crafts; she sung in the church choir. No pictures (or mention) of her were allowed on the household during my youth. I am beginning to think that this was not out of some viciously assertive jealousy or need for dominance as the female person of the household on the part of my step-mother, but may have been a means of protecting my father from his own self-destruction, mental breakdown, or ‘black alcoholism’ which we saw only very rarely. Rermember, I spent the first four years of my life totally in the dark, and the next ten years isolated away from any exposure or awareness.

My step-mother’s upbringing, emotional and romantic history, etc. are a mystery to me. There was a man, a sailor from World War II. She never ever discussed him; no one knows the story.  Perhaps he died in the war. Perhaps there was some other reason he was no longer in her life. She was a prototypical ‘Rosie Riveter’ working in one form of industrial work or another during the war years and, as such, was part of the vanguard of feminism. She was a hospital worker, perhaps an LPN, a Civil Defense captain, a social worker, a Cub Scout leader, engaged in the community, a social drinker who could pack away three Martinis PDQ.  She played industrial league softball. He was a Scotch drinker and an inveterate pipe smoker who spent some time on Wall Street just before the crash in some low-level investment banking job. His father was an expert in mechanical engineering, a 32nd-degree Mason who was the shop superintendent at a major firearms manufacturing plant in New Haven; the two of them had a falling out over the fact that the son would not quit smoking.

In response, I played the role of “the reclusive child”  I ran away a lot, hid myself in the woods, got lost in reading.

So to have learned these latest revelations late in life…  that my father made his third wife walk to the hospital when she suffered a bout of appendicitis, then forced himself upon her in the hospital bed after her surgery, is to have suffered a synaptic WTF that almost forces a kind of psychological plasticity.

Will someone invent an online brain game  for this kind of thing? They could call it Illuminosity.

To finally be able to have a conversation with a sister three years older than I about our lives six decades ago… to be in a position to divulge things about our brother she never knew because we were all prevented from knowing what went on in the lives of our siblings and because I developed enough curiosity to ask about the truth of what else we were told…. sets up further tensions, and these undoubtedly will reverberate in unknown ways down into later generations.

But the real enormity of the need for a massive re-thinking is the awareness that, through all those years, others around me must have known or sensed what I never knew or what was hidden from me.

Human beings are pretty astute, and they talk. My step-mother worked at the private day care schoool I attended, and those students (some of whom were the children of my parents/ peers, co-workers, social contacts) likely overheard or were told something about me and my life that I didn’t even know at the time. And middle school and high school teachers have experience in dealing with hundreds of families and thousands of kids, and they have access to educational records the kid never sees.

Not knowing meant that I acted and behaved in a certain way.

Their knowing whatever it is they knew or thought they knew drove their behavior

Our interpretation or “reading” (socially, sub-consciously or consciously) of those interactions drove impressions, choices, and opinions.

Who wants to go back through that tapestry and meditate on the pattern of the weave?

What’s past is past. What’s left is

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0031/5352/products/Time_is_now_5df7f640-107e-4df2-81c3-1f2fe056cb1e_grande.jpg?v=1382472440

32 Ways You Know You Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Family 

If you need more, simply tune into reality TV shows, family sit-coms or the evening news.

 

http://image.slidesharecdn.com/dysfunctionalfamilies-131117002001-phpapp02/95/dysfunctional-families-2-638.jpg?cb=1411431238 

 

Dysfunctional Families: Recognizing and Overcoming Their Effects

http://www.twu.edu/downloads/counseling/Dysfunctional_Families_-_Recognizing_and_Overcoming_Their_Effects.pdf 

originally written and developed in 1993 by Sheryl A. Benton, Ph.D., Counseling Services; updated/modified for the Internet in 1997 by Dorinda J. Lambert, Ph.D.

 

 

“Is there a silver lining to growing up in a dysfunctional family?

Bestselling recovery author Karen Casey looks at stories of people who grew up in dysfunctional families and “the good stuff” that can come from the experience. “Throughout my many decades in recovery rooms I have interacted with thousands of women and men whose journeys reveal, in detail, the harrowing history of dysfunction that has troubled their lives,” says Casey. “But what is also apparent in their stories is their eventual and quite triumphant survival, often against extreme odds.”

Casey interviewed more than 24 survivors of families rife with dysfunction; survivors who willingly shared their stories and came to realize they had, surprisingly, thrived as the result of their often harrowing experiences. In “The Good Stuff from Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family,” Casey shares the stories and the skills these survivors developed to live more creative and fulfilling lives.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17864233-good-stuff-from-growing-up-in-a-dysfunctional-family 

 

http://www.lpcdlc.com/Growing_Up_In_a_Dysfunctional_Family.pdf 

 

Brain-610x250

“… If a culture is based on emotional dishonesty, with role models that are dishonest emotionally, then that culture is also emotionally dysfunctional, because the people of that society are set up to be emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional in getting their emotional needs met.

What we traditionally have called normal parenting in this society is abusive because it is emotionally dishonest….”

http://www.woundedsouls.com/index.php/roles-in-dysfunctional-families 

 

“Last December I saw an advertisement outside an electronics store. There was a little boy, delirious with delight, surrounded by computers, stereos, and other gadgets. The text read: “We know what your child wants for Christmas.” I stared at the poster, then said to no one in particular, “What your child wants for Christmas is your love, but if he can’t get that, he’ll settle for a bunch of electronic crap.”

Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2070741-a-language-older-than-words 

Read that book. Start with the quotes in the link above. Go to the library and borrow the book. Better yet, buy it directly from the author.  If you need to save a buck, look online and find it at a used book seller, here or here; I’ve used and recommend both.

Read the book, not to learn more about Jensen’s experience or mine, but for his insight into what the psychopathology of the dysfunctional and abusive household means for your world and what is going on today in virtually every corner of the plant, in most societies, in the minds of the governance currently in place and looking to cement itself in place. 

Then move on to the next level and find and read both volumes of Endgame.

It’s getting late.

grizzly encounters and expectations

The Blog That Roared Back

A blogger scans widely for some clue that someone somewhere is actually reading his blog.  It might be assumed, and perhaps correctly, that it is because of ego. 

It might be with an eye towrd improvement, perhaps in terms of technical outreach (what the cognoscenti call SEO), or it might be to insure that output is interesting.  

Blogging is simply another form of communication (“information exchange between two or more participants in order to convey or receive the intended meanings”) or, as the radioman from a USN boomer once described it, memetic engineering

Or it might be to begin to better understand and nurture contact toward some as-yet-undetermined end. 

So when I read “the-blog-that-roared’ —written by someone who is not terribly far away and who covers my Eastern flank — he regularly reads the big city daily in the Hub of the Universe as a means of keeping an eye (with a raised eyebrow) on both mainstream media and the city that is so terribly important to life in the land of many small hills and few Indians — I wasn’t sure if he was riffing on my keyboard solo, if he was agreeing, or if he was dissing me. 

He started off by saying that my thought — that the lion and its killer had gotten too much press—  bugged him too, and then he bore in the topics of trees, woods, the lion, the global wildlife crisis, poaching and other African acts of pillage, and other aspects of mankind’s attitudes and relationships to animals. 

Point well taken, Rocker. 

I should have stipulated to it. 

I don’t think I’ll forget the day I was first successful enough with my bow and arrow so as to actually hit a bird in the tree; I gave it a private quasi-ceremonial burial.  I was raised by a woman in a land of bigger hills and fewer people out at the end of the state; during deer season, she sat cradling a .30-06 out in the open on a rock in the middle of the trail that ran off the ridge past the apple orchard and down to the pond and the spot where the hunters would park their pick-ups, sending a message to the hunters out in front of her and the deer behind her; neither the deer nor the hunters know the weapon had no firing pin. 

Neither men — hell, some (even those who run for President) can’t even respect women, let alone animals — nor mankind has a proper understanding of the power inherent in animal life in the wilderness. 

http://media.skynews.com/media/images/generated/2015/8/9/410705/default/v1/rtr2o7tr-1-736×414.jpg

http://news.sky.com/story/1532616/man-dies-after-yellowstone-grizzly-bear-attack 

And now it seems “we” want to kill the animal who killed the man, who must have though he was Brother Lapp

I’ve read enough Derrick Jensen to have a more-than-introductory understanding of the issues. He’s the author of Endgame, The Culture of Make Believe, A Language Older than Words, and many other books, which I have recommended and include in the bibliography of my e-book. 

I was glad, in his two-volume Endgame, that he left a choice outside of violent and destructive resistance; I took the choice.  He himself has said that change in the activities of mankind will not be enough soon enough to make a difference. 

The eco-psychologist Carolyn Baker, the former associate of the revered-in-some-corners author of Collapse, Mike Ruppert, offers up grief counseling, podcasts, books, life coaching and this dialogue with Derrick.  And she’s taken over Mike Ruppert’s radio show and his mantle as chief proponent of  — well, I’ll leave it to others to decide what he was advocating since he can no longer speak for himself. 

This might sound as though I place the human being on a higher plane or pedestal than animals, wildlife, etc.  I’ve read and own Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World and Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche as well as Listening to the Land: Conversations About Nature, Culture and Eros. I attended a two-day workshop with Carolyn Baker. 

I had a falling out with Carolyn in part because of what I discovered about some of her friends and colleagues (one of them offered up a diet of the miond control agent scopolamine in response to an online comment) and in part because of Baker’s complete lack of interest in what had happened in the Aurora theater shooting (despite obvious evidence) or in moving toward an investigative or accountability-seeking footing. (The patsy was just sentended to live in prison where his mind and his life will be totally destroyed and they can finish the job they’d begun.) 

Which brings me to my point, the one I had hoped I was making in my original post about Cecil the Lion:

We must be focused on investigative inquiry and journalism that exposes the rampant psychopathology of men.  

It is not mankind we need to be focused on. This is my argument about global warming as well. 

The “war crimes that have occurred in Palestine, the genetic destruction of peoples with depleted uranium weaponry, the pedophilia that is sustained by people ensconced at the highest levels of society, or the infamy of multiple false flags created to drive the world deeper into destructive wars or to sociologically ‘engineer’ cultures into obeisance to totalitarianism. 3,000 people died on 9/11.…”: all of those acts were sponsored, perpetrated, initiated, planned, and engineered by a tiny percentage of mankind, by a handful of men (and women)

Most members of the human race would have acted speedily to prevent them if they hadn’t been blocked or prevented from doing so by those same people and their co-villians.  

Or should I say eco-villains, since many of those acts (like their toy HAARP and depleted uranium and the deployment of STUXNET software) are environmentally destructive.  

An argument could easily be made, on the basis of transhumanism, eugenics, the work of the Tavistock Institute, and the research done by many into the elitists gathered during the enlightenment by Adam Weishaupt, that the intent of this relative handful of men is the death and destruction of everything else except them.  This is increasingly evident as we edge closer and closer to nuclear war.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-88rlR7r0icM/VcXErV3d2lI/AAAAAAACMPQ/42KQbDVy3LM/s1600/CLxVp0dVAAEYjIZ.jpg

They are members of a self-selected and self-taught cult of sociopathic mental disorder; their self-designated exceptionalism enables their greed and their lust for power and control, and their supreme arrogance.  

They have been students and are teachers and practitioners, at both collective and individual levels by both indirect or direct methods, of the manipulation of people and society.

They treat people as chattel and as groups to be victimized, sacrified or made the subject of unconscionable psycho-pharmaceutical and/or electro-shock methods of mind control such as they are known to have studied and used on others (see this pdf:  CIA Experiments on Children ).

We who are not members of that elite cult, however, do have one thing most animals lack: a massive (and functionally-integrated) frontal lobe or higher brain with which to bat the shuttlecock of conscious awareness about life on this earth back and forth across the corpus callosum (‘this neural tissue facilitates communication between the two sides of the brain’) enough times in succession without the achievement of its near-terminal entropy in the lower brain. 

We think, we create, we love, we collaborate; we abhor and eschew death and destruction.

It really helps if we play “pass the talking stick” with that shuttlecock of consciousness awareness across the neural net of what Peter Russell  has called, in his streaming video, The Global Brain (requires sign-in).

http://www.greattransitionstories.org/mediawiki/images/b/be/GlobalBrain.jpg

In The Global Brain (originally published in UK as The Awakening Earth), Peter Russell shows that humanity has reached a crossroads in its evolutionary path. The Internet is linking humanity into one, worldwide community – a “global brain”. This, combined with a rapidly growing spiritual awakening, is creating a collective consciousness that is humanity’s only hope of saving itself from itself. However, Russell warns if we continue on our current path of greed and destruction, humanity will become a planetary cancer.

Selling more than 100,000 copies and translated into ten languages, his seminal work, The Global Brain, won acclaim from forward thinkers worldwide. It was regarded by many as years ahead of its time, and its original predictions about the impact of computer networks and changing social values are now being realized.

Peter Russell, who holds advanced degrees in theoretical physics, experimental psychology and computer science, makes no apologies for presenting what may seem like a Utopian theory. He advises, “The image a society has of itself can play a crucial role in the shaping of its future. A positive vision is like the light at the end of the tunnel, which, even though dimly glimpsed, encourages us to step in that direction.”

DVD’s, video and the book are available here and at a bookseller near you. 

 

And we can discuss whether “one, worldwide community – a “global brain” is or is not an inducement into (or the equivalent of) a one world government or a new world order.

 

We have “the ability to alter our expectations by changing your thoughts, feelings and beliefs — and therefore, influence our experience of reality.”

We can, the next time we look forward to something, We can “expect the unexpected and see what happens”.

 

In our case, Rocker, we could discuss it over a cup of coffee, or perhaps a bottle of ale and a large heap of boiled or steamed crustaceans… near your small hill or mine. 

What can we do?

 

What can we do?

 

Music audio:

Dhafer Youssef & Hüsnü Şenlendirici 

‘dance of the invisible dervishes’ 

19.07.2012 Istanbul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8n24hAhmEM 

(36:50)

“What can we do?” is an attempt to answer the question for myself and perhaps for others “what we can doin the face of rampant, nearly-unstoppable psychopathological evil taking form in genocide, endless war, total surveillance, advancing militarization, and near-complete totalitarianism.

I apologize for the length of this entry (100 pages). Brevity has never been my strong suit.  But I am learning and trying. (Mrs. Blogger brought home from the book store two more books: “Born to Blog” and “Twitter for Dummies”. Mastery of the latter requires brevity and it will also help the former.)

I have broken the piece down into three chunks, and I will provide a summary/abstract follows and is repeated at the conclusion. See the tag cloud above.

The whole thing contains 78 links, seven pdf’s, five videos totaling 19 minutes, and nine pieces of music totaling 93 minutes.

It is an opinion, a POV, a synthesis that contains some thoughts about self-awareness, the use of the metaphor of aikido in communications and relationships, the story about Gurdjieff’s teachers by LeFort, the book “Born to be Good” by Keltner (about the facial muscles and communications, and more), a book by Standage about social media as practiced for two millennia, some thoughts about physicians entailed “Further Prescriptions”, and a book by a physician entitled “Why Us?”.

Indeed, why us?

It is broken into three parts.

Part One, including this summary or abstract, runs about 20 pages and includes the introductory thoughts, a four-page pdf intro to Dacher Keltner’s “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life”,  a 4-page pdf sidebar on verbal aikido and the use of aikido concepts in situations of conflict (and there are other books by Dobson, Heckler, et al), some thoughts on awareness, an intro to LeFanu’s book “Why Us?” and a 15-page pdf of excerpts, some thoughts on conflict, and catharsis, a link to a major article on planetary consciousness, another on native American perspectives, and a short look at my own orientation to mountains.

Part Two focuses on empathy, the concept of wu wei, creativity, contains a 14-page look at my orientation to physicians, has a further focus on children, relationships, society, alignment, leadership, the failure of science in a specific case as noted by a highly-recognized-and-honored scientist, more on face-to-face communication, and a short précis on organizational learning.

Part Three looks at happiness, self-awareness, Heaven, truth, conflict, some further personal expressions on what we can do, a look at Rafael LeFort’s story about his search for the teachers of Gurdjieff (as well as links to articles that have an opposing POV) and an academic paper on the influence of Gurdjieff on noted jazz pianist Keith Jarrett).

What we can do is to keep learning.  This comes from LeFort’s story about Gurdjieff and elsewhere. 

We can learn about consciousness (see Zimmerman, Burrowes, Le Fanu et al, and consult your own mind). 

We can gravitate toward truth, at least our truth

We can practice alignment

We can engage in harmony during conflict (see Ueshiba). 

We can become better at and practice more frequently the arts and sciences of interaction, encounter, and face-to-face communications (see Keltner). 

We can master social media (see the books mentioned above, and others, and Standage). 

We can create community (see Corbett). 

We can become leaders of our communities, if only through the above steps. 

We can teach our truth (see “Architect for Learning”). 

We can engage with the dominant mainstream media more effectively, and we can create new media

We can create. 

We can touch people. 

We can move people.

We can love. 

 

Comments are welcome through the contact page.  I will assemble the best and most articulate, and post them.

 

 

What can we do? (Part One)

I awoke one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago with a lot on my mind.  

Perhaps it was remnants of a dream, or more likely the mental dust from having browsed a few books lying around on my bed and bedside table.

Right now, my reading has been somewhat discombobulated; I’m jumping around.

I jump from book to book, and personal problem or encounterto another of a different type, and then back to a book after extended reading on the world wide web.

Sometimes synthesis emerges from this.

I decided I’ll give it a try here.

My biases, I noted to myself, are that I come from

  • an autodidactic study of positive/performance psychology with a minor sub-branch in cognitive science that seeks to empower individuals,
  • from a lifetime of focus on emergency service, and
  • from the combination of those two in teamwork and leadership.

Pressing on the corpus callosum of synthesis: the recent expressions of frustration and despair I’ve seen on the net which join my own.

I speak of Kenny and Noor, specifically, though they are only representative of a much larger group.

“In my travels this week it has been both discouraging and disappointing to find that although there are many willing to talk about what’s going on in Iraq and the Middle East, there are few who understand what is really happening. That’s not to say I have it all correct but most regurgitate the mainstream slop as reality and it means the propaganda is working. A calm mention of false flags and hired deviant Wahhabi terrorists or wars for empire and Israel are met with odd looks. Americans are so slow to catch on and admit they have been deceived. Awareness is a first line defense. Unfortunately it is in short supply.”

Posted by kenny at 12:02 PM

We all ask what is it that we can do….

“Your contribution can be as simple as making changes in your personal life and aligning yourself with right principles and truth. It may be as big as speaking out on important issues and spreading ideas for change.…”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/rogue-government-prepares-heated-conflict-historical-cycles-point-coming-clash.html

A number of pictures serve as the backdrop; all of them feature children. The best of us think of the children we know and how we can care for them, guide them, nurture them. (How can you not cry when you read of Namous?)

 

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/75588000/jpg/_75588871_022736352-1.jpg  

[Shirley Horn sings in the background …. “Why Didn’t I See?”

Earlier, she asked  “Where Do You Start?” ]

(Music informs our personal and interpersonal synthesis.)

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aA7CSWXN7cE/U6Q_og6xOCI/AAAAAAAAEr0/M3lDi9IYbDY/s1600/gaza+city.jpg 

Israeli airstrike creates a pond in Gaza City

 

 

I read about the world and the current turns of events; all I want to do is weep.

Iraq again? I am speechless at what these demons do to work their evil on Russia and China via Iran via Iraq. Iraq was Balkanized for the creation of just such regional wars as we see today ~ all goes according to plan.

I read about the nuclear depopulation programme in place and feel so helpless ~ there is so much to Iraq and DU and Fukushima and Chernobyl ~ it is overwhelming. But, I digress, back to Iraq.

What plan? Any plan. They have created so many stewpots of division and hatred around the globe that there is no shortage of plans to fall back on. Anywhere.

That hatred we work so hard to keep under wraps is giving me a tough time. Hatred is such an easy fix but giving in to hatred means one has given up all hope. It concedes defeat. It is a weakness to be exploited since hatred seems to warp all focus. So I cry a lot it seems. Listen to a lot of music, stare out the window and think. That light at the end of the tunnel seems to get further and further away.

Our losses seem to keep mounting up, like the Canadian Federal Government approving the Enron pipeline this week.   Yet they have the nerve to brag about Canada’s environmental record! No one wants this development although it is already far more along than most people are aware. Construction preparation is well underway. It makes me truly want to vomit.

Posted by Noor al Haqiqa at 11:54 PM

 

All this has, of course, intensified as a result of the events in the Ukraine and the continued and escalated genocidal attacks on the people — especially the children — inside the open-air concentration camp known as Gaza. These are modern-day technological advances on the occupation of Native American lands and the actions at Wounded Knee et al.

The books include Dacher Kelter’s “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” [see http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/author/Dacher_Keltner], started in seriousness, with highlighter as bookmark, before I got distracted with having to pack everything and hump it all down a flight of stairs. In my case, a lot of the heavy lifting got done by family. I hit a rut when he got to the part about coding facial displays and understanding the emotional controls through the vagus nerve. I stopped at the the facial muscular vocabulary and the choreography of “smile”, and have yet to tackle the parallel material dealing with “laughter”, “tease”, “touch”, “love”, “compassion”, “awe” and “reverence”.

Because I tend to jump around, I did highlight a small piece on page 226 which read as follows:

Flight/fight tendencies of self-preservation are continually at odds with tendencies to care in the electro-chemical flow of our nervous systems. The content of the mind shifts between the press of self-interest and the push of compassion. The ebb and flow of marriages, families, friends, and workplaces track a dynamic tension between these two great forces — raw self-interest and a devotion of the welfare of the other. The study of emotion is experiencing its own “sympathy breakthrough” thanks to recent studies of compassion, which are revealing this care taking emotion to be built into our nervous systems. The study of this emotion holds new clues about the health of marriages, families, and communities.

 

I’ve picked Born To Be Good back up now and you can follow along: see the sidebar in pdf format here.     Dacher Keltner Jen

Is this a suggestion for the value of face-to-face interaction in a world heavily given to faceless social media? Yes.

How do we encounter people halfway across the globe and who speak a different language?

Is the emerging technology of online collaboration viable?

Online_Collabloration_Paper

 

I’ve all-but-finished Tom Standage’s “Writing on the Wall” [ writing-on-the-wall ], a chronology of media since the days of the Roman Empire; I’m the 20th century and moving toward the 21st. I’m at the part where he describes the development of “webs” of communication among the telegraph operators (foreshadowing “Mr. Tom” and his friends who used listserv mechanisms among computer operators before the Internet was formalized.) [Today you can build a private discussion board for invited guests only or fashion a Twitter network.] There are some good thoughts about the press and the social media which make me, a blogger by choice, reflect. I’ll have to finish his section on radio and its use as a means of propaganda dissemination; today we have podcasting. And I haven’t yet delved into his discussion of television, “the drug of the nation”. But then I already have a degree in communications studies and I have blogged about these for years.

I’ve watched/listened to James Corbett’s podcast/video which promises and delivers free and critical thinking; as a blogger, I’m certainly an alternative and have left the MSM/TV world except as momentary entertainment or glimpse into the world to which I am opposed. [They’re watching us so intensively that we need to keep an eye on them to know what they’re doing, capable of, and planning.]

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dJz4fO4BnGs/U6Ui5TduEvI/AAAAAAAB9Ag/Lpn_kJc8Rsw/s1600/Calvin-Louv.jpg

I’m working on and thinking a lot about verbal aikido, or the application of the lessons of the Shintoism-oriented shaman I know as O Sensei, that little man who took the violence that he found and transformed it into an effective tool of defense and simultaneously a tool of teaching, enlightenment and love.

He reminds me of Derrick Jensen in his transmutation of hate and violence into teaching and activism [see “A Language Older Than Words” et alia].

I write a lot about aikido, not because I progressed far in the discipline but because it fascinates me and I’ve read a lot about it.  [I did progress far enough to peer through the rip in the curtain.]  Again, see the sidebar on aikido below.

 

 

aikido and relationships 

I mentioned my fascination with what aikido has to teach us about relationships and the fact that it might inform someone close to me about whom I care deeply (both parties in the conflict) in a short e-mail to a new contact; he’s a fellow who has had significant contact with the world of military intelligence but left it and explored the world of Native Americans.

He sent me

Being Nature’s Mind: Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Planetary Consciousness [ delvingdeeper.org/being.pdf ]as well as a link to his own work:

Napi in the new age (on quantum mechanics and the Native American).

What jump-started this thought process was having leafed through some sections of James Le Fanu’s “Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered The Mystery of Ourselves”:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-us-james-le-fanu/1112946548?ean=9780307378071.

Le Fanu is an open critic of materialism and Darwinism.[4] He is the author of the controversial book Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, in which he claims that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a materialistic theory that fails to explain consciousness and the experience of the human being.[4] He states that it is not enough to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the study of bones, genes and brains alone.[7] According to a review of his book by the New Scientist, Le Fanu argues for the existence of an immaterial “life force”.[8] Le Fanu is not a creationist and does not argue for God, instead he argues for a non-physical cosmic force which he claims could explain where consciousness originates from; he also claims it may explain many of the other mysteries unexplained by material science.[9][10] 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Le_Fanu

.http://www.worldmag.com/media/images/content/348_348_/lefanu.jpg

For more on this book and author, see the sidebar below entitled “Why Should We Be Different?”

Why Should We Be So Different?

 

I’ve spoken of the need to find or form an association of bloggers — perhaps this feeds into Corbett’s thoughts on alternative media — and Ron said he wanted to know what I’d found, or join in.  [He’s already done so with his contributions here.]

James speaks of empaths [I hope I am one] and psychopaths [I’ve met more than a few and hope that I am not one of their peers.].

James says “It is a fundamental mistake to battle your opponent using their weapon of choice”, an interesting variation of the aikido lessons about disarming an opponent.

But how do you disarm an opponent that is armed to the teeth?

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID24575/images/Kobudo2.JPG 

http://www.examiner.com/article/weapons-as-part-of-your-training 

The picture is reminiscent of the staves carried by the residents of Worcester County as described in Ray Raphael’s “First American Revolution”.

Taking the weapon away from the opponent:

You must take a position in which you are facing the same direction or “seeing things” the way your opponent does… you must get close to him in order to control him and his weapon. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVaC2UY1vRA (2:32)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrJ5Y6tuNj8 (1:56)

Compare this to the infiltrative techniques practiced and taught by neoconservative Jewish intellectualism and the theories espoused by Edward Luttwak in his book Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook

What is the effective counter-move? 

If the truest, most honorable warriors were willing to risk their lives to count coup on an opponent without intention of harming that opponent, we can only marvel at the nonviolent psychology and wonder where it might have gone.

http://hastingsnonviolence.blogspot.com/2010/10/counting-coup-and-evolution-of-conflict.html

Brad J. Bushman published “Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame?” (PSPB, Vol. 28 No. 6, June 2002 724-731) which demonstrates that “catharsis” is not effective in reducing anger or aggressiveness. While expressing emotion is healthy, it does not extinguish the source of the emotion. Learning to kick, punch, or be “powerful” doesn’t deal with the issue causing negative emotion and this study demonstrates that individuals who depend on cathartic behaviors tend to be more reactive in future moments of stress, anxiety, and conflict.

http://www.searchofpeace.com/blog/2014/07/09/letting-off-steam-is-not-the-ki/

Zimmerman’s treatise on indigenous and Native American spirituality, sent on by Ron, talks about unbridgeable chasms between culture, methods by which we can “finally begin to see into another way of being and other ways of knowing”, and introduces the topic of child-rearing. The hand that rocks the cradle, and the involvement of the village, and other theories not withstanding, Zimmerman, George Lakoff, and Ron approach the issue from the perspective of “dialogue at the meta-level”.

Mary Jane Zimmerman’s goal “is to help readers from any culture begin to become aware of how deeply embedded our cultural modes of perceiving are and how different they may be from those of other cultures. This type of self-reflexive awareness is necessary for true dialogue and can also be facilitated by dialogue.”

“It is now crucial for members of the dominant Western culture to begin to see how current global environmental, social, and political problems have sprung from the Western tendency to think in terms of discrete units and how we have largely lost the ability to see connected, interwoven patterns of motion.”

I’m not going to try to characterize Ron’s perspective. I’ve just begun to get to know and read this fellow and I am struck by the depth of his experience and perception. We share some common experiences and interests, but probably in the way that an apple and a banana both share a peel. I urge you to begin to read his blog. I have much to learn. I also urge you to read Mary Jane Zimmerman’s work on planetary consciousness

“… everything in the cosmos is connected and that all physical bodies and all minds are expressions of a deeper spiritual essence “(Begay and Maryboy 277)….

“The human is closely related to the mountain because both exist at the center between Mother Earth and Father Sky.”

The Native American and the Taoist — connected through a land bridge— both understand this.  The Shintoist Morihei Ueshiba understands this and brings it to the art and discipline of aikido. There’s an understanding of quantum physics buried in all of this too. It is spoken of as “a participatory understanding of reality. If we see the world as a place of gift, where the earth and the beings on the earth are fond of humans and want to help them, we will experience its abundance; we will be able to ‘participate in the conversation of the Gift’.”

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/35/Mount_Greylock_Massive.JPG/569px-Mount_Greylock_Massive.JPG

My own relationship with mountains includes Greylock and Cadillac. I have chunks of granite and marble from each as desktop talismans. I’ve seen the sunrises and sunsets off both, have camped on or near them, but these are not uncommon experiences. Nor, I hope, are the ones I’ve had throughout New England in moments of deep meditation.

Greylock is one of the rare and southern-most taigaboreal forests in New England.  I spent a decade living in the lower mouth of the glacial cirque at its Western base; that location is hidden, at virtual dead center in the photo. The Taconic range stands behind to the west.  The estate belonging to a Rockefeller and her husband and devoted to the genetic betterment of farm livestock sprawled across one of its ridges. [How is is that we are interested in breeding better cows and chickens at the same time we bomb wheat fields?]

The origin of the present name of Greylock and its association with the mountain is unclear. It first appeared in print about 1819, and came into popular use by the 1830s. It may be in reference to its appearance, as it often has a gray cloud, or lock of gray mist upon his head, or in tribute to a legendary Native American chief, Gray Lock.[18] Gray Lock (c. 1670-1750) was a Western Abenaki Missisquoi chief of Woronoco-Pocomtuc ancestry, born near Westfield, Massachusetts. Gray Lock distinguished himself by conducting guerrilla raids into Vermont and western Massachusetts.[19]

Derrick Jensen’s works speak of forging an orientation to and awareness of the indigenous people who once occupied the land you occupy.

The Mahican people were closely associated with this region, and it was easy for a child weaned on “Light in the Forest” to imagine himself a Mahican as he walked, ran and sat in contemplation.

One day when I was about 12, I set on my haunches on the edge of a brook, lost in the thoughts facilitated by the continuous burble of the run-off from the rain forest.

A bobcat came down the to the edge of the stream to drink its fill.

http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/graphics/lynx5.jpg

I wasn’t afraid. It looked up at me suddenly when it discovered that I was there too, but I instantly and silently telegraphed a message that I meant it no harm. It turned back to its satiation, and then disappeared as suddenly and quietly as it came.

Years later, I sat with my back against the warm granite shelving of Pemaquid Point and listened to the waves as I basked in the sun. I think the expression “lost in reverie” is appropriate; I was on the way home from a three-day honeymoon trip up the coast of Maine to Acadia and back. I’d shown the future mother/grandmother the loveliness of Mount Desert Island.  I still kick myself when I think about the fact that we couldn’t find the way to buy that 10-acre plot of land at the northern-most tip of Somes Sound. But coastal Maine has lots of magic to be found in it, and that afternoon it sent me a message. I’ve written about that moment several times. It was an epiphany.

The message I got in an instant, downloaded at quantum speed, was that I was part of it all, and I was it, and that it was me, and that I was “here” for it, and that it was “here” for me.

http://www.apertureofmysoul.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Pemaquidlongviewrockssmall.jpg

“Rupert Ross, a Canadian lawyer who has worked most of his life on the northern reserves in Ontario, also writes about the sensitivity and open attitude required to learn what he calls “pattern-thought,” the ability to take in vast amounts of information from the natural world (70).”

Derrick Jensen has written an entire book on this called “Listening to the Land”, “conversations with environmentalists, theologians, Native Americans, psychologists, and feminists, engaging some of our best minds in an exploration of more peaceful ways to live on Earth.”

Michael Murphy and others have delved deeply into the ways in which the human mind can connect with the cosmos; I think in particular of “In The Zone” and The Future of the Body, “a massive historical and cross-cultural collection of documentation of various occurrences of extraordinary human functioning such as healing, hypnosis, martial arts, yogic techniques, telepathy, clairvoyance, and feats of superhuman strength. Rather than presenting such documentation as scientific proof, he presents it as a body of evidence to motivate further investigation.”  [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Murphy_(author) ]

Ron sent me something on remote viewing, too.