Tag Archives: Resistance

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/ 

 

[&&]{**}[##]

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/ 

 

[&&]{**}[##]

 

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 |

healing

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

Psychologists Explain Why People are Still in Denial About 9/11 Despite the Hard Evidence

 

https://vimeo.com/121786070

(Note: be sure to view the 30 minute video from which the transcript below was obtained. It has many images that I have never seen before – and I have probably spent a hundred hours or more studying the facts of 9/11.)

Seven psychologists plus author David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., provide insights on why so many people are in total denial regarding the truth about 9/11 despite “years of hard scientific evidence that disproves the government theory about what happened on September 11.”

Trauma, fear, pride, and cognitive dissonance (information that contradicts beliefs about our worldview) are among the reasons given for why people can’t handle the truth about 9/11.

The panelists were: Marti Hopper, Ph.D (Licensed Clinical Psychologist); Frances Shure, M.A. (Licensed Professional Counselor); Robert Griffin, Licensed Psychologist; Robert Hopper, Ph.D. (Licensed Clinical Psychologist); Danielle Duperet, PhD; Dorthy Lorig, M.A., Counseling Psychologist; John Freedom, M.A., Personal Development Counselor; David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., professor/author

Why are people resistant to looking at the hard evidence regarding 9/11?

At this point, we have 15 years of hard scientific evidence that disproves the government theory about what happened on September 11, 2001.  Yet, people continue to be either oblivious to the fact that this information exists or completely resistant to looking at this information.  So, the question becomes: Why?

Why is it that people have so much trouble hearing this information? From my work, I think we would be remiss not to look at the impact of trauma…

As we know, the horrors of what happened on 9/11 were televised all over the world. They were televised, in fact, live.  We witnessed the deaths of almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans.  We know that this had a very severe and traumatic impact on a majority of the population.   I, myself, cried for weeks after September 11.

A friend of mine, who is a psychologist in practice here in Boulder, said that her case load increased tremendously after 9/11.  People who she had not seen in ten years were coming back into her practice.

So, I think it’s safe to say that collectively, as a nation, because of what happened on September 11, we experienced trauma.

9/11 Truth Conflicts with Our Worldview, Causing Cognitive Dissonance

Why do people resist this information – the information that shows that the official story about 9/11 cannot be true?  What I’ve learned is that, as humans, each of us has a world view.  That worldview is usually formed, in great part, by the culture that we grow up in.

When we hear information that contradicts our worldview, social psychologists call the resulting insecurity cognitive dissonance. For example, with 9/11 we have one cognition, which is the official story of 9/11 – what our government told us and what our media repeated to us over and over – that 19 Muslims attacked us.

On the other hand, we have what scientists, researchers, architects, and engineers are now beginning to tell us, which is that there is evidence that shows that the official story cannot be true.  So now, we’ve lost our sense of security.  We are starting to feel vulnerable.  Now we’re confused.

Our Psychological Defenses Kick In When Our Beliefs Are Challenged

9/11 truth challenges our most fundamental beliefs about our government and about our country.  When your beliefs are challenged or when two beliefs are inconsistent, cognitive dissonance is created.  9/11 truth challenges the beliefs that our country protects and keeps us safe, and that America is the good guy….

When your beliefs are challenged, fear and anxiety are created. In response to that, our psychological defenses kick in and they protect us from these emotions.  Denial, which is probably the most primitive psychological defense, is the one most likely to kick in when our beliefs are challenged.

It’s Easier to Deny the Truth

America is a powerful nation.  It has never been attacked.  We were confident.  We felt secure.  And all of a sudden, that security collapsed.  People started to be fearful with all of the rumors, with all of the news.  People didn’t know what to think, which is a very uncomfortable state to be in.  Eventually, our mind shuts off.   Just like when a computer is overloaded, our minds get overloaded.  We can’t handle it anymore and we shut down. It’s easier to deny it and move on with our lives.

What some will tend to do is deny the evidence that is coming our way and stick to the original story, the official story.  We try to regain our equilibrium that way. Another thing that we can do is decide to look at the conflicting evidence and be sincere and open minded, and look at both sides of the issue.  And, then make up our own mind about what reality is.

We Will Do Just About Anything to Defend our Mental and Emotional Homes

If we can think of our worldview as sort of being our mental and emotional home, I think that all of us will do just about anything to defend our homes, to defend our families.  I see that with people.  I saw that with myself when my brother tried to talk to me about it: “Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with my home.  Don’t mess with my comfort with how things are.”

About a week later, I read a lengthy article by professor Griffin about why he believes the official account of 9/11 cannot be true.  It was a very well researched article.  I was in my office at the time.  I sat there and felt my stomach churning. I thought that maybe I was going to be sick. And, I leaped out my chair and ran out the door and took a long walk around the block – around several blocks – and just broke down.

I understand now that my worldview about my government being in some way my protector, like a parent, had been dashed.  It was like being cast out into the wilderness. I think that is the closest way to describe that feeling.

I sobbed and I sobbed.  I felt that the ground had completely disappeared beneath my feet.  And, I knew at some point during the walk that at some point I was going to have to become active educating other people about this.  For me to retain any sense of integrity, I was going to have to take some action.  I couldn’t just let something like this go.

9/11 Truth Challenges Our Fundamental Beliefs About the World

Many people respond to these truths in a very deep way.  Some have a visceral reaction like they have been punched in the stomach.  To begin to accept the responsibility that the government was involved is like opening Pandora’s Box.  If you open the lid and peak in a little bit, it’s going to challenge some of your fundamental beliefs about the world.

Initial Reactions to Hearing Contradictory Evidence about 9/11

Following are some of those spontaneous initial reactions to hearing the contradictory evidence about 9/11:

“I don’t want to know the truth or I will become too negative and psychologically go downhill.”

“I’m not sure that I want to know.  If this is true then up will be down and down will be up. My life will never be the same.”

I refuse to believe that that many Americans can be that treasonous.  Someone would have talked.”

Initial Reactions are Based on BELIEFS, NOT Scientific Facts

But these are BELIEFS.  They are NOT scientific fact.  But, these beliefs do KEEP US FROM LOOKING AT THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

9/11 Truth Contradicts People’s Paradigm

You have empirical people who will simply say: look at the evidence and if it is convincing, I will change my mind.

Other people are paradigmatic people. They have a paradigm.  They say, this is the way the world works, and I am convinced that this is the way that the world works.  9/11 doesn’t fit into that paradigm.  So, I don’t have to look at the evidence.  It’s paradigmatic.

And then there is a third type of person that we often call wishful thinkers.  I call it wishful and fearful thinking.  So, they simply will not believe something that they fear to be the truth.  And, I find that to be, maybe, the most powerful factor of people rejecting 9/11 truth and not even entertaining the evidence.

The Truth is Not Bearable

So, whenever we say “I refuse to believe”, we can be sure that the evidence that’s coming our way is not bearable, and it is conflicting with our worldview much too much.

Denial protects people from this kind of anxiety.

A Common Emotion is Fear

As I thought about all of these responses, I realized that what is common to every one of them is the emotion of fearPeople are afraid of being ostracized, they are afraid of being alienated, they are afraid of being shunned.  They are afraid of their lives being inconvenienced – they’ll have to change their lives. They are afraid of being confused.  They are afraid of psychological deterioration.  They are afraid of feeling helpless and vulnerable.  And, they are afraid that they won’t be able to handle the feelings coming up.

When Presented with the Truth, Those in Denial Become Angry, Indignant, Offended and Ridicule the Messenger

None of us want to feel helpless and vulnerable.  So, we want to defend ourselves.   And the way that we often do that is with anger.  Then we become angry.  And, when we become angry, then we become indignant.  We become offended.  We want to ridicule the messenger. We want to pathologize the messenger.  And, we want to censor the messenger.

Raise Awareness with Gentle Dialogue and Gentle Questioning

So, how can we overcome this resistance in denial?  The first thing is to meet people where they are at.

One thing is that we need to raise people’s awareness about this – what I would call gentle dialogue and gentle questioning…  It doesn’t work to challenge people’s beliefs or immediately tell them “I know the truth about 9/11.”  A good way is to ask open ended questions that lead to open dialogue and discussion about it.

One of the ways to deal with the trauma is to find the answers.  That’s why I think it is of such importance to have a comprehensive investigation.

Pride is Another Reason People Deny 9/11 Truth

I believe that to become the type of country that we think we are, we have to face some of the things that are not as we think they are… Thinking that we are above such things – that it could happen in other countries, but it couldn’t happen here – that’s a lack of humility.  That’s excessive pride.  As, so not being able to see our dark side or our weaknesses is the most dangerous thing.

The observation that pride is one of the basic human flaws is absolutely correct.  This is especially true for Americans because we for a long time looked at other nations and said, “They are in such bad shape.  But, luckily we don’t have those problems.  We don’t have leaders that would do those things that were done in the Soviet Union, or done in Germany, or done in Japan… This is a type of pride that Americans have.

A feature of American history that makes particularly liable to this pride is this notion of American exceptionalism – that America is the exceptional nation.  That began from the beginning as this country was formed.

People would say that there was so much evil in the European countries, so much cheating, so much lying, so much using the people for the ruler’s purposes.  But not in America! We have leaders who are free from those sins.  This has made 9/11 particularly difficult for Americans.

Everyone can make mistakes.  But, our ideals and our principles get us back on track.

9/11 is One of the Defining Issues of Our Time 

This is one of the defining issues of our time.

Questioning IS Patriotic

So, we need to understand that questioning is patriotic.  Questioning is what we are supposed to do.  That’s our duty.

The Real Perpetrators Must be Held Accountable

When we come to the national level, when something like 9/11 happens, we need to be sure that we have a real investigation into who the perpetrators are.  And, then we need to make sure that those people are held legally accountable. It’s part of the healing process on an individual level and the collective level.

End.

 

t/c to Gary Kohls, M.D.

 

Metabolization

Metabolization

One of the chapters in Julia Cameron’s book “The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life” is entitled “This Writing Life” and so it is wholly appropriate — as I settle in on the upper floor overlooking the garden waterfall where a crow, a robin and a chipmunk are simultaneously frolicking — because it asks the reader to stop procrastinating and start writing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J84Rqbebgv8&index=5&list=PLRkBJwP48xnhbdkJFmhw9x2ZgO1tMMqww

“Writing is alchemy”, she says, perhaps a premonitory echo of my having written the outline for a major piece, a riff on a phrase in Joseph Farrell’s book on transhumanism. One term he used piqued my curiosity and gave me a key that would let me in to a fascinating and troubling shift in our barely-visible culture. See http://www.thesullenbell.com/2016/08/20/engineering-human-evolution when you’re done metabolizing this.

If you want to write, you have to read. Perhaps it is better said “if you want to write well, you have to read widely”.  Or, if you want to write something that is of interest and value, you have to do your homework.

The carpenter came by yesterday.  He’s already put in the hand grips and bannisters that will allow me to get into and out of the 800-square foot space in which he is constructing a half-bath that will serve the household, the visitors to the garden patio, and the grandkids sleeping over. After the carpenter comes the electrician and then the plumber and then we empty the storage unit with the desks and chairs, the mountain of books, the bookshelves, and so on. Two windows look out through the tunnel under the bedroom deck onto the first three feet of airspace over the patio; the prominent image in that frame is the potting shed which will become the prime office of the resident gardener.  Once my office is set up, some time around Labor Day, I’ll have my full computer, the ability again to process digital photography, the music playback/storage/production capacities, and a library amassed over decades.  I’m just getting warmed up here. I envision a portable high-quality wireless speaker with which to entertain myself, the birds and the chorus of frogs.

Diamond (pages 31-32) says that writing is about change in our lives and how we can help it along, lean in to it, cooperate with it. She offers up an exercise through which we can document and reflect on our life and the environments and situations in which we found ourselves, in which we lost ourselves, in which we gained new understandings, new directions.  Speaking from the perspective of her experience in screenwriting, she speaks of “entrances and exits”.  The writing challenge she lays out at the end of that chapter is to write about those times in your life (past, present and future) when you had to “metabolize”.

Metabolization suggests change and acceptance. The first thing it brings to my mind is Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity prayer”:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

Is the serenity prayer a passive-aggressive insistence that insures the success of the hidden powers of social engineering and the collective?  Keep calm and carry on. Hold still; this will not hurt you.

The textbook definitions of metabolism use the word biotransformation, or “the physical and chemical processes by which living organized substance is built up and maintained (anabolism), and by which large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules to make energy available to the organism (catabolism).”  In other words, “the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life”, which obviously focus on food, nutrients, fuel for the cells, but must also include breath.

This obviously also intimates that we may reject, toss back, or excrete that which has been forced down our throats.

If we include breathing, we must also include spirit. Where in the body does the spirit live, the ki?  Is it in the brain?  It is associated with the breath.  Is it in the lungs? The diaphragm? The belly?

“The human body is not an anatomical structure that is fixed in space and time. The human body is more like a river alive with energy, information and intelligence. It has a cybernetic feedback loop and can influence its own evolution and its own expression. It has the ability to learn from mistakes and the ability to make choices. The human body is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes from everywhere. In the last three weeks, a quadrillion atoms have circulated through our bodies that have circulated through the bodies of every other living species on the planet. We could think of a tree in Africa, a squirrel in Siberia, a peasant in China…. In less than one year, we replace 98% of our physical bodies… a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new stomach lining every five days, a new skeleton every three months. The bones that appear so hard, solid and permanent are dynamic structures. Even the DNA, which holds the memories of millions of years of evolution, comes and goes every six weeks. The physical body is recycled elements — recycled earth, water and air — matter in all of its solid, liquid, gaseous and quantum mechanical forms.

Any time I explain the quantum mechanical model to my friends and colleagues, they ask me this question: “If it is really true that the human skeleton replaces itself every three months, then why is the arthritis still there?”

The answer I give is that, through our conditioning, we generate the same impulses of energy and information that lead not only to the same behavioral outcomes but also lead to the same biochemical processes, and that these biochemical processes are under the influence of our consciousness, our memory and our conditioned responses.”

 

“Quantum Physics and Consciousness”, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in The Emerging Mind, ed. by Karen Nesbitt Shanor, PhD, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, CA 1999.

If, however, we are a brick factory that continually re-builds itself, that is subject to rapid and ongoing changes that may be manipulated or stimulated in some way, there is still that certain something that keeps us centered on a core intent and belief.  While core intent and belief is malleable or plastic, it is under your own control and it can also be hardened against external interference.

While we are arrogantly reminded that “The Mind Has No Firewall”, the spirit is nebulous (by definition, it has none) and thus is not subject to short-term hacking. Long-term engineering is another matter.

Political systems, pharmaceutical companies, the new sciences of epigenetics, and transhumanism are topics for another time and approach, as is the teleportation of information. We have the ability, however unused and undeveloped, to project or transmit information to others, just as we have micro-antennae that are tuned to receive.  What’s playing on your channel?

Julia Cameron’s metabolism exercise focuses on the personal.  In my case (and yours to the extent that you want to play along at home on your own writing pad), metabolization involves birth, family, maturation, adolescence, learning, geography, the behaviors of parents and siblings, the deaths of family and friends, interpersonal relationships, employment and career, geographic relocation, marriage, children and grandchildren, health, aging, and the decay and disease of physical and perhaps mental capacities.

For some, lather, rinse and repeat may be appropriate.

If you are writing, you can zero in on any sub-topic, any selected span of time, any place, any individual, any situation.

The questions may be “Did you change? How did you change? What happened to create the change?  What happened after the change?” Or how did you metabolize the inputs, turn them into energy or re-direction? What did you bring to that time or moment, and what did you take away?

There are three constants in life, says Steven Covey: change, choice and principles. As a child, and even up through the age of 25 (give or take a few years), you don’t get much choice, and your principles were not firmly cemented in place.

Socio-cultural context and physical/geographic environment have a good deal to do with the shaping of an individual. There’s a great degree of emphasis (too much, in my opinion) on development in utero, though in my case, I did try to return meditatively to that time when I was within ten days before birth. I’d have fitted my mom with a body cam if they’d been available then and I had the option, but we can’t go back, can we? She died of causes only hinted at, and there was no autopsy that I’m aware of; I wonder if in fact my father’s attitudes over the years were because he didn’t want a third pregnancy but got one anyway. The female is in charge of birth and its control and most often the mother who carries a child into the ninth month has created a bond that most men can only guess at.

So there I was, without her, five days out, in the land of pretzels and beer and coal and railroads and Pennsylvania Dutch farmers’ markets, in the era of Hopalong Cassidy, eventually with one male friend whose father ran a chocolate factory and another female friend whose father was my pediatrician and who drove a Cadillac in which we drove to ice shows at Hershey. My two most prominent memories were of sitting in a vacant lot pulling up and eating wild scallions, and of packing a suitcase, loading it into my red wagon, and running away.  What was I metabolizing back then? What happened in my first 10-12 years that still generates influence on my life?

I was pulled up by my roots and transplanted to a rural area tucked in just to the west of the Appalachian chain under the ridge across which ran the Appalachian trail itself out behind the plot of land we shared with a pileated woodpecker, a swamp, a pond and a deer trail. I was given the responsibilities of cleaning out the chicken roost, stacking the wood, breaking down the loose kindling, mowing and raking, and being told where and when to go to school.

Getting an education in grades 4 through 10 requires a ton of metabolization, especially when you change schools five times. It wasn’t as bad as being a military brat, but it’s hard to develop long-term relationships, themselves miniature training grounds for growing up and taking a seat in society, with anyone. If you are in an extended family that is spread around over a wide geographic space, or is distant from one another for other reasons, then you have to assimilate the arts of bonding and dialogue in other ways.

As an adolescent, you get to begin to assimilate world-view from your family, your teachers and, to some extent, the media. You begin to think about the world and your place in it. Your teachers begin to assess you with the tools of testing, psychometrics, and the challenges of a curriculum. In the classroom and out of school, you begin to gain a sense of what you are good at, and what perhaps you should avoid. Teachers, coaches and parents are quick to tell you; perhaps you have other ideas. If you are lucky, you are able to find a key teacher or instructor with whom you might start an ‘apprenticeship’ of sorts, even if it only lasts a short while. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have been graced with a parent who showed you, over many years, how to go about things, how to master a skill, how to build a toolbox, something of the external world. And then there you are, out in the world. Perhaps someone has had your back; perhaps you grew up with a pre-ordained life, a silver spoon in your mouth.  Perhaps you jumped or got shoved out of the nest, brandishing six-plus years of having assimilated or absorbed or experienced more than can be written anywhere except in your journal or in your DNA. You do understand how epigenetic change happens, don’t you?

So there you are outside the previous safety zone with a clear idea of where you are going (or not), how you are going to get there (or not), who is going to pay how much to put your through your learning curve and just what they expect to extract from you thereafter. I had the option of getting a lot of help from the US government in return for at least one tour of duty on point in some Southeast Asian jungle but I grew up in New England where the poet laureate wrote something about a fork in the road.  I did three tours of duty in an ambulance stateside. When someone asks me if I served my country, I can honestly say “yes”. I didn’t know where I was going, but I got there anyway.

Certainly the whole of life gives you the necessaries for metabolization.  Changing jobs, let alone careers, means re-wiring your brain and your situational awareness. Reading the unexpressed intent of your boss is an art form; most of my jobs entailed working for large groups of directors.  Physical and geographic relocation rewire your brain in different ways, both on the wider scale of terrain, weather, and road nets as well as inside the limited space of household.  My wife and still learning that we keep that particular thing over here now; it is no longer with those things over there.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RW9y46ziEEM/V7eWyMy724I/AAAAAAACXLw/2tOB_LE19koAm-Gi_za0E7o8bbSM0a2ZgCLcB/s1600/a%2Bisis%2Bimmig%2Bcan%2Bimmig2016-08-18-1.jpg

Moving at large in the world, politics and people are what you get to deal with.  You look around with innocence and wonder and you get introduced to learned and important people who are conning you all the while, treating you like a disposable or dispensable plaything or tool. They use you if and while they can, blindside you, and then sweep you away.  And then you get your own kids.  Some of us promise our kids something different and sometimes we are able to deliver.   Sometimes some of us promulgate a continuation of the grand hoax while they feed them junk food and junk thought.  And we watch astutely as we necessarily hand them over the the guidance and direction of others who mean well and are well-prepared, or who are prepared by people with a hidden agenda, or who simply don’t have the slightest fracking clue what in hell they are doing with the tender minds and spirits of the special human being you’ve brought far down the path.

And then we discover the new diagnosis and we get to metabolize a drawerful of pharmaceuticals, half of which bring side-effects for which there are more pills. And then we discover the bureaucracies through which we learn to navigate.

There are really nice people out there who will help when illness and disease come to your doorstep; if and when you find them, treat them well. Love them. Thank them. Learn from them.

Keep learning.  Believe in yourself. Learn to pray.  Learn to meditate. Read voraciously.

Keep metabolizing.

If you stop metabolizing, you’re finished.

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” — Ram Dass

The capacity to choose one’s attitude, as well as “purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty” have been noted by Viktor Frankl,

the neurologist and psychiatrist imprisoned at Auschwitz

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”  Epictetus

To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.

The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the U.S. military through the writings and example of James Stockdale, an American fighter pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam, became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and later a vice presidential candidate. In Courage under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993), Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison—including torture—and four years in solitary confinement.[63]

Faith and The Stockdale Paradox

Jim Stockdale was the highest-ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam War. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything be could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who would survive unbroken while fighting an internal war against his captors. He deliberately disfigured himself so that he could not be videotaped as an example of a well-treated prisoner. He exchanged secret intelligence information with his wife through letters, knowing that discovery would mean more torture and perhaps death. (His story is told in a book written by he and his wife called In Love and War.) He instituted rules that would help his fellow prisoners deal more effectively with torture. He instituted an elaborate secret internal communications system to reduce the sense of isolation imposed by their captors. Personally tortured over twenty times during his 8-year imprisonment, he lived out the war with no prisoner’s rights, no set release date, and no certainty as to whether he would ever survive to see his family again. When asked years after his release how he dealt with this uncertainty, he said “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted that not only would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life.” He went on to explain that it was the optimists who never made it out, the ones who said “Oh, we’ll be out by Christmas”, and then Christmas would come and go, and then Easter too, and Thanksgiving. They died of a broken heart.”

The lesson, he explained, was this:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, whatever the difficulties,., and, at the same time, you must also confront the brutal facts of your current reality and act on their implications.

from the book Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, cited in the sixth chapter of “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a Better Athlete (or anything else you want to be)” 

“… I really remembered Mark Van Doren’s quote. He said, “An intelligent person is one who, should a catastrophe strike, say doomsday… he could re-found his own civilization,” and I said, that’s what I’m here to do. And we had our own laws. I mean, I wrote them. And we had our own customs, and traditions, and proprieties.”

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/spc/debatingourdestiny/interviews/stockdale.html 

“… Every individual is connected with the rest of the world, and the universe is fashioned for universal harmony.[49] Wise people, therefore, will pursue, not merely their own will, but will also be subject to the rightful order of the world.[51] We should conduct ourselves through life fulfilling all our duties as children, siblings, parents, and citizens.[52]

For our country or friends we ought to be ready to undergo or perform the greatest difficulties.[53]

The good person, if able to foresee the future, would peacefully and contentedly help to bring about their own sickness, maiming, and even death, knowing that this is the right order of the universe.[54]

We have all a certain part to play in the world, and we have done enough when we have performed what our nature allows.[55] In the exercise of our powers, we may become aware of the destiny we are intended to fulfill.[56]

We are like travellers at an inn, or guests at a stranger’s table…”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epictetus 

 

Do the right thing even if it means dying like a dog when no one’s there to see you do it.

James Stockdale

 

Advance to meet the incoming negative energy and step out of its way; then redirect that energy and move to your advantage in a way that forces its submission.

Je Ne Sais Quoi #5

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Five

Stephen Pressfield

Steven Pressfield “is an American author, of historical fiction and non-fiction, and screenplays born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943, while his father was stationed there, in the Navy. He graduated from Duke University in 1965 and in 1966 joined the Marine Corps.[1] In the years following, he worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital, fruit-picker in Washington state, and screenwriter.[1] His struggles to make a living as an author, including the period when he was homeless and living out of the back of his car, are detailed in his book The War of Art.[1]

His first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was published in 1995, and made into a film of the same name, starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Matt Damon, and directed by Robert Redford.[2]

His second novel, Gates of Fire, is about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopylae. It is taught at U.S. Military Academy[3] and United States Naval Academy, and at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico.[4][5]

In 2012, he launched the publishing house Black Irish Books with his agent Shawn Coyne.[6] ….”

Stephen Pressfield’s “writing philosophy is a kind of warrior code—internal rather than external—in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that I call “Resistance” with a capital R (in The War of Art ). The technique for combating these foes can be described as “turning pro.” ….

[His] conception of the artist’s role is a combination of reverence for the unknowable nature of “where it all comes from” and a no-nonsense, blue-collar demystification of the process by which this mystery is approached.”

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PDF:  Resistance

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Short Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH5B2j843WU

Overcoming Resistance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00uKIVk-VUY

Turning Pro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boE5LYuMrsk

Do The Work

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdVhG7YUs1w

An 80-minute audio interview

Other resources:

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/ (home page and blog)

 

Newer books:

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/do-the-work/

http://shop.blackirishbooks.com/products/the-authentic-swing

His complete list of works: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/books/

Books by others about Golf: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/category/additional-reading/golf/

Books he recommends on war (he is and was a warrior): http://www.stevenpressfield.com/category/additional-reading/ancient-modern-warfare/

Writing Wednesdays An ongoing, blog-version of The War of Art.

 

Breakout (focused on the music & song-writing business):

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2010/12/sean-van-vleet/ 

Breakout (focused on the film-making world)

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2010/10/jeff-lipsky/ 

Musical Interlude for Notes:

The Good Life, Ahmad Jamal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjQN9g5hSQ (4:35)

I Get a Kick Out of You, Brubeck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ji6wt6VMyQ (5:16)

Anthenagin (Woody Shaw w/ Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jvoztry5rg (4:21)

 

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about your brain and how you use it… about re-programming your brain so that it helps you accomplish your goals and visions.  How the bleep can you do that?