Tag Archives: social media

going deep

going deep

The aforementioned book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport was correctly assumed to be an update in a modernized high-tech world (maybe I should call it an upgrade, or version 2.45, of my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind …” ).

Newport’s effort is not aimed at teenagers or athletes or incoming college freshmen; it’s specially targeted at performance in an information economy.

I bought it as fuel for my own deep dive into authorship. I already understood what it had to say; I had to see what he said, what he added, and how I could apply it to my world.

Source of featured graphic: http://strongproject.com/blog/how-cal-newports-deep-work-concept-will-influence-office-design/ 
music: EST Symphony
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi5n_mibc9s&list=PLhTM0_t0hv0rlfxG2DO5-15TNnk6ZXFoA

 

I’m 75 pages into the book, and I paused to give you a taste of this gem so I won’t give away the the deeper gemstones in it or the conclusion. You can use the link above to find a version that works for you. You can also use it as an impetus to diving back into my e-book, which I’ve considered updating and upgrading.  We know a whole lot more about the human brain now than when I started it (or finished it) or finally got around to getting into shape so it could be shared.

I had to chuckle with delight as the first two pages are focused on the architecture of deep work; Newport talks about Jung’s Bollingen Tower and other examples of how people configured their space and their tools for their own deep work. I am about to enter the second year here in this little bungalow on the edge of a small river and a forest, close to the roadways and locations necessary to the rest of life.  My workspace has three locations (one primary with two desks and three tools, and three secondary seats, each wide side chairs and tables). Oh, and blank paper, lots of pens and two computers. The main one is on the lower floor in my office corner; the second is in an open space kitchen/living area with laptop or out on the deck overlooking the garden or even on the patio in the garden.

Let me now race through some excerpts from the book so you can decide whether it has application in your world and your life. I’d like my son to get into this book; he dropped away from athletic pursuit (save on the golf course… he came in third in his club championship last year), and into his professional career, now two decades old.  He built the flagship for a regional golf equipment retail chain and drove its sales through the roof, then left for the wholesale side of the game. He’s now a regional sales manager for a golf apparel company in a company in which his people are currently ranked 1, 2 and 3 in their salesman of the year contest.

Deep work, says Newport on page 3, are “the professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes cognitive capabilities to their limit in a hard-to-replicate manner, thereby creating new value and improved skill. “We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is necessary for improvement in cognitively demanding fields.”

I’ve seen it at work on those times when my daughter would retire into her internal mental space and emerge to perform at levels that won her national ranking despite her apparently small size; the coach from one major recruiting school got back in her car and drove off when she saw my child from a distance of ten feet and then read about her selection as the All-Region Player of the Year four years later. The coach from a California powerhouse university whose performance consultant was a nationally-recognized expert in peak performance asked her counterpart from the Northeast snowbound school who that little girl was who’d hit the two 3-run home runs and just exactly where on earth did she come from?

Cal Newport isn’t focused on fastpitch softball, though; he is focused on the world of software, networking, social media and digital communications when he talks about missing out on massive opportunity when he says to his readers that “you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things”, that “to succeed, you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing” and that that output will be valuable in a world where someone with a better product that can be found easily and which is now being readied for the marketplace. Deep work is both scarce and valuable and is a key currency in a world that can also easily produce a lot of something else to distract you. Who is having your lunch today?

Newport talks of “fierce concentration”, minimizing in your daily life and space that which is shallow and increasing, with greater intensity, those times of uninterrupted and carefully-directed concentration.

If you want to thrive, you have to learn how to master hard things, and you have to produce, in terms of both quality and speed, at an elite level. You have to master the foundational skills — think of my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind …” as your elementary school.

On pages 33-36, Newport again mentions the new field of performance psychology and mentions K. Anders Ericsson (whom I first heard about during a presentation by Leonard Zaichkowsky, Ph.D.: see the attached pdf  Becoming a Champion in Sport and Life), who says in Deep Work on page 34,

“… the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.”

The concept of deliberate practice is addressed in the sections on mindfulness in my e-book and especially within the books written by Ellen Langer.

The core components of deliberate practice are defined as follows:

  1. your attention is focused tightly on a specific skill you’re trying to improve (or an objective you’re trying to achieve) or an idea you’re trying to master; and

  2. you receive feedback so you can correct your approach and keep your attention exactly where it’s needed or will be most productive.

The first is central to Newport’s book.  I regard the second as also of vital importance; it’s simply “the other side of the coin”.  Feedback comes from competition, or at least scrimmage and free play, and perhaps from simulation and/or dialogue.

The footnote on page 34 describes how Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of deliberate practice in his book Outliers which generated attempts to poke holes in Ericcson’s theory, answered by Ericcson in his article “Why Expert Performance is Special and Cannot Be Extrapolated from Studies of Performance in the General Population: A Response to Criticisms” [ http://www.progressfocused.com/2013/12/anders-ericsson-responds-to-criticisms.html ].

Focused attention requires deliberate practice.

“Let your mind becomes a lens, thanks to the converging rays of attention; let your soul be all intent on whatever it is that is established in your mind as a dominant, wholly absorbing idea”, said Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, a Dominican friar and professor of moral philosophy in “The Intellectual Life” .

The new “science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you develop more myelin around the relevant neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit [ of neurons ] to fire more effortlessly and effectively. To be great at something is to be well myelinated…. The repetitive use of a specific circuit triggers cells called oligodendrocytes to begin wrapping layers of myelin around the neurons in the circuit, effectively cementing the skill.”

“.. the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work. If you’re not comfortable going deep for extended periods of time, it’ll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally. Unless your talent and skills already dwarf those of your competition, the deep workers among them will outproduce you.”

What type of work that you do requires you to go deep?

Buy the book.  Get busy. The world needs your best work.

 

somebody holds the key

somebody holds the key

“Not all that long ago I touted a warning that I felt was about to plague social media in a way the social media complex itself never bargained for. That warning? When advertisers suddenly become “spooked” about where and how their content for advertising gets distributed across the web.

What that warning entailed was not so much how the providers would react e.g., the social media platform providers such as Facebook™, Twitter™, Google™, et al. But rather, how the advertisers would react. e.g., The ones that actually pay for that placement…..”

Read more, especially the update:

https://markstcyr.com/2017/03/21/f-t-w-s-i-j-d-g-i-g-t-28/ 

See also:

AT&T and Johnson & Johnson, among the biggest advertisers in the United States, were among several companies to say Wednesday that they would stop their ads from running on YouTube and other Google properties amid concern that Google is not doing enough to prevent brands from appearing next to offensive material, like hate speech.

The companies made the moves, which did not extend to Google’s search ads, amid boycotts of YouTube by several European advertisers that began in the last week.

On Tuesday, Google had outlined steps it would take to stop ads from running next to “hateful, offensive and derogatory content” on YouTube and websites in its display network. While Google pledged to improve, brands wanted to hear there would be zero risk that their ads would appear near content promoting things like terrorism, said Brian Wieser, a media industry analyst at Pivotal Research.

“They’re saying they’re trying harder — that’s insufficient,” Mr. Wieser said of Google. “They don’t seem to understand the scale of the perceived problem.”

Continue reading the main story

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/business/atampt-and-johnson-amp-johnson-pull-ads-from-youtube-amid-hate-speech-concerns.html?_r=1 

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source of featured graphic above:

https://medium.com/vajra-resources/presence-breath-awareness-the-trinity-of-mindfulness-3eb68afb353b#.ex0advu7m 

music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Bm2xvuzCA 

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Years ago, I encountered a series of ads in a major national newspaper for which I once applied to be a proofreader. (I think they’re still laughing out there in Chicopee.) The newspaper has changed in a number of ways since then, particularly in ownership, but the emphasis on numerical accuracy is still required. The ads were clearly written by people who were advanced professionals in the art of communicating and were about — among other things—  literate writing and clear thinking. I was so struck by the overall quality of the series that I wrote and, although I had to wait for a while for the answer, apparently was eloquent enough in my request that it was granted. One day in the mail a large packet arrived with quality 8×11 photocopies of every one of the ads ever done. They were published by a major corporation that used the ads not to advertise its products, or even itself, but to spread ideas that were in keeping with its philosophies about society. Today that might be called “terraforming” or social engineering.

I preserved that packet in a bulky file folder for years until finally I couldn’t truck it around with me anymore. The WSJ Blogger, coincidentally, is doing and has done the same thing. Follow that link or use your search engine links above and you may discover that it is slowly being brought to the digital world through Pinterest and LinkedIn. 

One of the ads that made a lot of people sit up and take notice was the one that admonished corporate executives to stop using the phrase “I’ll have my girl call your girl.”  It went on to explain that “the girl” in question has a name, is a real person with real skills and is a bona fide part of the success equation for the exec and the company. 

Another one, one of the most memorable for me, is the one in this pdf: Keep It Simple

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[Ed.: I don’t know yet what to make of Dan Siegel (a child and adolescent psychiatrist) and his venture into “interpersonal neurobiology”.  I thought I’d explore the possibility of buying a couple of his books. Feel free to share your impressions via the “contact” page.]

http://www.drdansiegel.com/about/interpersonal_neurobiology/ 

Want to Learn More?

For further reading on interpersonal neurobiology, please see Norton’s professional series which was founded by Dr. Siegel and includes over twenty texts. See also Dr. Siegel’s books, including The Developing Mind, The Mindful Brain, The Mindful Therapist, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, The Developing Mind, 2nd Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are  and The Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind!

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Dan Siegel, M.D. on mindfulness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqUNtLbwoj4 

[21 minutes]

Room to Breathe is a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation.

Visit roomtobreathefilm.com for more information.

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Dan Siegel, M.D. on

How to Successfully Build an “Integrated” Child

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h51lgvjI_Zk 

[15 minutes]

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIeKn9BgSr0 

[55 minutes]

At the Garrison Institute’s 2011 Climate, Cities and Behavior Symposium, Dr. Dan Siegel of the Mindsight Institute discusses the neurological basis of behavior, the mind, the brain and human relationships in the contect of cities. He explains one definition of the mind as “an embodied and relational emergent process that regulates the flow of energy and information,” and describes the role of awareness and attention in monitoring and modifying the mind. He recommends using the notion of health as a means of linking individual, community and planetary wellbeing. To learn more about the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Mind & Behavior Initiative:

Visit our website: https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/cli…

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/climatemind

Left on autoplay for access to many more by the same fellow on the same topic

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It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.

On Soldiering for the American Praetorian Class

http://www.magickingdomdispatch.com/2016/12/the-secret.html 

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Miyamoto_Musashi 

http://www.magickingdomdispatch.com/2014/10/on-soldiering.html 

https://theintercept.com/2014/10/27/iraq-war-now-fought-people-children-started/ 

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I have the annoying and life-long aggravation of not being able to remember people’s names.  It’s not related to an ability to recognize a face; I just can’t remember what’s-his-name more often than not.  Kicking around on the world wide web for some understanding, I discovered brainblogger.com whose home page immediately coughed up /the-science-of-raising-a-friendly-psychopath/.

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-information-superhighway-the-feeling-of-absurdity-something-is-inherently-wrong-buried-in-a-snowstorm/5580708 

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Will wonders never cease… 

http://jamesfetzer.blogspot.com/2017/03/joachim-hagopian-global-elites.html 

 

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2017/03/21/no-other-choice/ 

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[Ed.: As a former EMS administrator with an intense interest in both mass casualty incident management and emergency management, I can attest to the nature and accuracy of this article. I used to think the way forward was to enhance our ability to save lives but clearly the more lucrative career path was the one that specialized in how to destroy them.]

We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living. 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44357.htm

information

information

Social Media Is Killing Discourse 

Because It’s Too Much Like TV

We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump.

November 29, 2016

music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO6qcRdedck 

An excerpt:

“… social media represents the ultimate ascendance of television over other media.

I’ve been warning about this since November 2014, when I was freed from six years of incarceration in Tehran, a punishment I received for my online activism in Iran. Before I went to prison, I blogged frequently on what I now call the open Web: it was decentralized, text-centered, and abundant with hyperlinks to source material and rich background. It nurtured varying opinions. It was related to the world of books.

Then for six years I got disconnected; when I left prison and came back online, I was confronted by a brave new world. Facebook and Twitter had replaced blogging and had made the Internet like TV: centralized and image-centered, with content embedded in pictures, without links.

Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside….

Neil Postman provided some clues about this in his illuminating 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. The media scholar at New York University saw then how television transformed public discourse into an exchange of volatile emotions that are usually mistaken by pollsters as opinion. One of the scariest outcomes of this transition, Postman wrote, is that television essentially turns all news into disinformation.

“Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing … The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” (Emphasis added.) And, Postman argued, when news is constructed as a form of entertainment, it inevitably loses its function for a healthy democracy. “I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?…”

Hossein Derakshan (@h0d3r) is an Iranian-Canadian author, media analyst, and performance artist who lives in Tehran. Find his latest project, an exploration of the intersection of performance art and journalism, at @talkingtagsart.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602981/social-media-is-killing-discourse-because-its-too-much-like-tv/?utm_medium=email_marketing&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=engagement_socialmedia&utm_content=active_subs 

Posted by Michele Kearney at 7:47 AM  

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The Magic of the Book: Hermann Hesse on Why We Read and Always Will

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/07/the-magic-of-the-book-hermann-hesse 

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Must read:

http://www.duffelblog.com/2017/01/veteran-misses-simpler-time-fighting-unwinnable-enemy-unknowingly-helped-create/ 

via Naked Capitalism

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Vincent_van_Gogh_-_The_Public_Soup_Kitchen_F1020.jpg 

On page 27 and 28, in Lesson #3, Read Your Head Off, in Patty Dann’s book “The Butterfly Hours” :

 

“Read books and magazines and the labels on the backs of cereal boxes. In Beloved, Toni Morrison wrote that one of her characters died “soft as cream.” You can’t use that brilliant line, but when a sentence like that is in your mouth, there is a possibility you’ll find another to offer to the gods.

People often switch genres as they get older, of what they write but also of what they read. They will say “I don’t know why I am suddenly reading poetry” or “I’ve given up reading fiction altogether.” People are often surprised or even uncomfortable, as if they’d suddenly begun an illicit affair if they switch writing or reading certain genres. “But I always loved fiction,” they say. It is as true as swimming in a lake where the water suddenly changes temperature. It can be unsettling, but the oldest students in my class, those in their nineties, just smile and say “And it will change again. You will see.”

Genre does not matter, as long as you’re reading. If you’re not reading, you’re not writing. Reading is part of your daily devotion if you are a writer. When you read as a writer, it is different than reading for pleasure.  You are studying the craft, just as an artist must go to the museums to see the great masters, and a musician must listen to Mozart and Miles Davis, and everyone should read Vincent’s letters to his brother, Theo

When you read as a writer, read a sentence and try to imagine the sounds, the touch, the taste, the smells the writer is writing about. As you write, you put yourself back together.”

http://vangoghletters.org/vg/interface/home/15.jpg 

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An observation in this age of social media, driven by TV, Hollywood and other practices of the creation of a “brand”, is that brand image is the new battleground for supremacy of information. The mainstream media have been knocked off their high perch and, while the pre-season scrimmaging for audience share and recognition has been underway for some time now, the new ratings period is open.  The New York Times is selling its office space, oligarchs are venturing into news company ownership and web site creation, and ioncreasingly we see competition for who should be seen as the premier purveyor of acuracy.

Everyone, before and after the numerous infilitrations, was and is responsible for their own minds.

What we are witnessing is the Oprahfication of truth. The hapless reader is asked, nay being forced, to choose between the Kardsashans of investigative journalism and the others.

It’s just the latest variant or extension of contempt for your own ability to read, decide, and more.  Indeed, along with the Oprahs and her offspring, the Kardashian sub-industry, “reality TV”, revamped and re-packaged TV news, and dozens of other choices, it’s a battle for where and how you should place your attention.

The book “Deep Survival” will explain the real importance of attention.

Eric Booth’s “The Everyday Work of Art” stands as a pinnacle.

Find a copy of Terry Orlick’s interview with the world-class cardiothoracic surgeon Curt Tribble, M.D., in which he discusses the ability to function with an element of uncertainty, the critical importance of focus and distraction control, and the ability to deal with sub-optimal outcomes, all relevant to any pursuit of excellence.

It has been said that the information we allow into our consciousness is what determines, in the end, the content and quality of our lives.

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Leonard Bernstein on Cynicism, Instant Gratification, and Why Paying Attention Is a Countercultural Act of Courage and Rebellion

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/10/03/leonard-bernstein 

death of conversation

death of conversation

”… It seems that the feeling of loneliness is a real epidemic of our society. But why do we feel this way while numerous ways of communication with other human beings are available to us at any minute of every day? To answer the question the title of the article asks, first of all, let’s figure out what loneliness actually is. While the dictionary suggests that it’s a state of being alone paired with the feelings of sadness and isolation, loneliness is far more complex than that.

Have you ever been in a company of people you didn’t have much in common with? Or maybe in a company of strangers/acquaintances who were good friends with each other and didn’t pay much attention to you? If you have been in similar situations, you will agree that in those times, you were feeling lonely without being alone.

This is what loneliness really is – a lack of connection and understanding, no matter if you are alone or not. In fact, this feeling may be even more intense when you are among people you don’t resonate with rather than when you are by yourself. Let me cite Robin Williams here: “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

So isn’t it the reason why we are so lonely in an over-connected world we live in today? Popular culture and our excessive reliance on the social media have basically made us believe that human communication is about quantity, not quality.

what we lack in the modern world is a deep and meaningful connection with other people, which inevitably makes us feel lonely. We are constantly surrounded by people (if not physically, then at least virtually) and yet, we rarely feel truly close to someone mentally and emotionally.

If you think about it, it makes sense why human communication has become so superficial, since the entire mainstream culture is based on superficiality and shallowness. We are made to believe that all we need is to satisfy our physical needs and fulfil our selfish desires.

To sum up, remember that the only way to avoid loneliness is not about being and communicating with people all the time. It’s about establishing a deep connection with the right people along with being a self-sufficient individual who doesn’t need approval from others.”

http://themindunleashed.org/2016/07/feel-lonely-in-an-over-connected-world.html 

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There’s an e-mail making the rounds filled with cartoons addressing our culture’s obsession with androids called “The Death Of Conversation, captured here in a pdf.

The Death Of Conversation

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http://en.ria.ru/art_living/20160705/1042485515/persia-poet-dicaprio-movie.html 

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

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WHISPERS OF LOVE

Lover whispers to my ear,
“Better to be a prey than a hunter.
Make yourself My fool.
Stop trying to be the sun and become a speck!
Dwell at My door and be homeless.
Don’t pretend to be a candle, be a moth,
so you may taste the savor of Life
and know the power hidden in serving.”

Mathnawi V. 411-414 (translated by Kabir Helminski)
The Rumi Collection‘, Edited by Kabir Helminski

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKxDCMYWi-c

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I died as a mineral and became a plant,

I died as plant and rose to animal,

I died as animal and I was Man.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar

With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood

I must pass on: all except God doth perish.

When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,

I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.

Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence

Proclaims in organ tones,

To Him we shall return. 

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

human interaction

human interaction

In the age of the internet and smartphones, there is no denying that technology continuously shapes our everyday lives….

featured graphic:

https://notalwaysright.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/1743544_857602394269215_1619534653_n.jpg 

music audio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WH9HET1j_o 

In the age of the internet and smartphones, there is no denying that technology continuously shapes our everyday lives. Ours is an ever-connected society, and social media in particular has transformed human interactions well beyond the confines of our immediate circles. We can now communicate with friends, family, and likeminded communities regardless of physical location, and sharing even the most intimate aspects of our private lives has become the norm.

Whilst global connectivity is no doubt extremely positive, a closer look at social media highlights a more destructive reality for the individual. In a world where everything is seemingly on show, it is crucial to question just how real social media is and to consider its impact on our mental well-being.

Social Media: What’s The Appeal?

To truly understand the relationship between social media and self-image, we need to recognize what draws us to online networks in the first place. Keeping in touch with far-flung friends and relatives may be an obvious advantage to sites like Facebook, but our fascination with social media runs deeper than that: it taps into our desire to be heard. Indeed, the internet has given us all a voice, with affordable packages such as this one making it easier than ever before to create a website or blog using common WordPress themes. Practically anyone can become a published writer or photographer within the online sphere, and the abundance of user-generated media stands testament to our inherent need to share. Social media presents not only another platform through which to express ourselves, but by apparently focusing on the banalities of everyday life, it enables us to construct an identity over which we have total control.

Through status updates, location check-ins, and photo uploads, we appear to give our online friends all-access insight into our lives, but in reality, the majority of us are presenting an edited version. Whilst this is necessary for maintaining some degree of privacy, the danger arises when we become more fixated on portraying the perfect existence than actually living it. Posting only the most flattering selfies or fun-filled weekend snaps may seem completely harmless – and is indeed a natural reflex for many online socialites – but our obsession with airbrushing every aspect of our digital lives can actually have some rather alarming psychological implications.

The Actual Self Vs. The Online Self

The notion of keeping up appearances is not unique to social media; from job interviews to meeting new people for the first time, it’s only natural that we put our best selves forward.

According to Edward Tory Higgins’ self-discrepancy theory (1987), we all identify with three different types of self: the actual self – the person we perceive ourselves to actually be; the ought self based on who we believe we should be; and the ideal self shaped by hopes, wishes, and aspirations – the person we want to be. Higgins believed that the larger the perceived discrepancy between, say, the actual and the ideal self, the more prone the individual is to negative emotions, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and even self-contempt.

Of course, it is not only our own profiles that affect our mental wellbeing. Several studies have identified a correlation between Facebook usage in general and dissatisfaction with one’s own life, with envy cited as the most common emotion induced by the site. Bombarded with constant reminders of other people’s “perfect” lives, it can indeed be incredibly difficult to see through the illusion that everyone else is flying higher, having more fun, and going to better places. Our failure to fully realize our own goals is once again highlighted, and we feel inadequate – and miserable – by comparison.

External Validation or True Self-Worth?

According to Statista, 73% of the US population had a social media profile in 2015, a figure that grows significantly year on year. The question remains, then: if social media makes us feel so bad, why do we continue to subscribe and take part? Fear of missing out no doubt plays a major role, as online networks have become so integral to the way we interact with our peers. Another key factor is our inherent need to be regarded positively by others, as explained by psychologist Carl Rogers’ theory of personality. There is no denying that posting a picture online and receiving likes and comments is one of the most instant – and measurable – forms of external validation, and gives us quite the buzz. In that respect, social media has made it all too easy to choose the path of instant, short-term gratification, with the ideal or online self often taking precedence over the actual self. Whilst social media provides a quick-fix, the ever widening gap between the actual and ideal selves can leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled in the long term.

Loving Yourself In The Age of Social Media

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.

Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1961)

A significant part of Rogers’ theory is the concept of self-actualization through reaching one’s full potential, ultimately aligning the actual self with the ideal self. Although this is an ongoing journey rather than a fixed destination, the more congruent we perceive the two selves to be, the greater our sense of fulfilment. However, in a world where social media paints a glossy picture of perfect lives, there is a growing tendency to abandon the pursuit of self-actualization and to live vicariously instead through the online self.

Someone who knows only too well just how toxic this can be is teenage model Essena O’Neill. Having previously made a living through her social media posts, she dramatically quit Instagram last year, exposing a deeply flawed reality behind the perfect scenes. No longer able to cope with the discrepancy between her real life and the life she was portraying online, she has shunned social media in order to focus on “real-life projects.” In an emotional video that clearly captures just how miserable it made her feel to be “defined by numbers,” O’Neill strongly urges others to follow suit.

Achieving and maintaining a positive self-image in the social media age is not necessarily about quitting Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Rather, it is about readjusting your perception of the online world and finding a balance between digital and real life. Firstly, learning to see through the smoke and mirrors of other social media profiles will break the habit of comparing yourself unfavorably, so that time spent online is more about connecting with friends than highlighting your own shortcomings.

Secondly, it’s crucial to focus wholly on aligning your actual self with your ideal self, rather than simply projecting these aspirations onto your online profile. Be 100% present in every moment – do things that actually fulfill and satisfy you, regardless of whether it makes an impressive social media post. Nurturing face-to-face connections and placing more value on your real-life state puts a much-needed perspective on social media, ultimately boosting the way we perceive ourselves and paving the way to genuine, long-term happiness.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/03/10/self-worth-in-the-age-of-social-media/  

via

http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_Psychology_Of_Social_Media_or_How_Our_Online_Lives_Are_Harming_Real-Life_Happiness

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http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4TcLyVL8l1w/Ufk2ig7caaI/AAAAAAAAAP4/G-0cGVel20Q/s1600/cartoon.jpg

Source:

http://tmgnorthwest.blogspot.com/2013/08/human-interaction-there-isnt-app-for.html 

 

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Consciousness wants to create new consciousness, and it can. Imagination is how it does it. If there were some ultimate state of consciousness, imagination would always be able to play another card and take it further.

In any arena of life, and especially when it comes to the mind, perception, power, empathy, and so on, there is always a status quo. It’s merely the place where a person says, “Well, that’s enough. I’ll settle for what I have. I’ll stop here.”

Sooner or later, this leads to boredom, frustration, problems, and conflict. It leads to a decline.

Imagination, which knows no bounds, is the source for the most adventurous explorations. It can have great impact on the material world, of course, but one mustn’t therefore conclude it is composed of matter or energy. Imagination is non-material. To think otherwise winds you up in using some version of physics to depict imagination—and then you are imposing limits on it. This is an error. Imagination doesn’t obey any laws of physics.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’ve flattered reality enough. It doesn’t need any more. Imagination creates new realities.

You can create the same thing over and over, and eventually you’ll be about as alive as a table. Inject imagination into the mix, and everything suddenly changes. You can steer that boat anywhere you want to.

The lowest common denominator of consensus signals an absence of imagination: everyone agrees; everyone is bored; everyone is obedient. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are massive floods of unique individual creation, and then that sought-after thing called abundance is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

Sitting around in a cosmic bus station waiting for reality is what reality is. Everything else is imagination.

There are those who believe life is a museum. You walk through the rooms, find one painting, stroll into it and take up permanent residence. But the museum is endless. If you were a painter, you’d never decide to live inside one of your canvases forever. You’d keep on painting.

The relentless and obsessive search for all those things on which we can agree is a confession of bankruptcy.

When we re-learn to live through and by imagination, we enter and invent new space and time.

With imagination, one can solve a problem. More importantly, one can skip ahead of the problem and render it null and void.

Imagination isn’t a system. It might invent systems, but it is non-material. It’s a capacity. It feels no compulsion to imitate reality. It makes realities. Its scope is limited only by a person’s imagining of how far imagination can go.

The human race is obsessed by the question: what exists? It appears to be a far easier question than: what do you want to create? This comparison explains why civilizations decline.

Imagination is a path. Walking on that path long enough, you find answers to all the questions you’ve ever asked, as an incidental side effect of the journey. You also find power that most people only dream of.

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/power-beyond-mind-control-2/ 

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http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-every-human-interaction-offers-you-the-chance-to-make-things-better-or-to-make-things-barbara-brown-taylor-64-12-13.jpg

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https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/004/442/536/426850fa013fea9d930634fa52e2356d_original.jpg?v=1441400319&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=1495993d86bd7b5cb6f41788e8106d2f 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1164329758/the-wonderful-world-of-creatures-and-code/description 

[Ed.: This book arrived last week; I am pleased to have received it for free since I was one of the “kickstarters”. I gave it to my daughter, an elementary school teacher, and just ordered one of the last “leftovers” to read to my grandkids.]

‘sense of outrage’

A Sense of Outrage

Image source: http://www.whosefaultyvision.com/photoblog/2012/10/24/veiled-face-london/

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

There are enough active shooter scenarios going down lately that it’s all but impossible for one person to follow, investigate, deeply investigate and analyze them all.  Some of them seem to be, or have proven to be, hoaxes, or at least laden with jarring gaps in factual evidence and reporting so as to invite inquiry.

There are a growing number of bloggers who inquire, probe and analyze. It’s hard enough to make the rounds to see what they are saying and compare it to what the mainstream media are saying, or the governmental spokesepople have said at any given time or moment. These events also “play out” in the social media with heavy “gatekeeper” invovlement. 

But it has gotten to the point where some specialized service or institute or dedicated branch of investigative journalism could be devoted to the task. The latest — well, now, actually, second-latest — is the one in Chattanooga where gaps and discrepancies became evident almost immediately. There’s one that just popped up in Maine that strikes me as the real deal.

(See my pdf entitled “catastrophic crunch” for a sampling of offerings about the Chattanooga shooting incident.  Nothing here should be seen or construed as a criticism of anything there.)  The individual reader still has to have an active mind, a well-honed “crap detector” and some time.  catastrophic crunch

But the active shooter scenario is just one small focus.  The anniversary of the incident involving MH17 (as discussed here  and here) is another example.

 

“In times of terror, when everyone is something of a conspirator, everyone will be in a situation where he has to play detective.”

Walter Benjamin

 

If you’re a regular reader of Occurrences Foreign and Domestic, its source blogs, and other outlets I might not yet know about (hint, hint), then you are perfectly well aware that there is a whole host of events, people, industries, corporations, governmental agencies, politicians and more who deserve a greater degree of attention than they are geting or want. We live in the era of increased governmental transparency, we are told, when the reality is quite the opposite, when government itself is wholly engaged in surveillance, and when they are hastening to put all of their activities behind a locked barrier.

I’ve regularly suggested a coalescence, some collaboration, a congealing and coordination among like-minded individuals to hone and sharpen focus, improve efficiencies, etc. Many online centers of activity are regularly begging for financial support, spinning their wheels, fending off hackers and DDOS attacks, scrambling to add technologies (and pay for them) or otherwise looking over their shoulders.

Open question: Where is the best source for training and education in investigative journalism? Perhaps someone involved in the investigative trades could convene a panel discussion or online virtual seminar to help bloggers and citizen journalists get better, stay safe, and do more incivisve homework.

 

“All the clues are there in front of us, hidden under a veil, we cannot get the clue by searching for, we have to search for the veil instead.”

Arkopaul Das, THE DEAD VETERAN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gwuo6Fto1U

“All people, whether Aspie or neuro-typical are predisposed by their society to make guesses, jump to conclusions and then seek to defend those conclusions, regardless of logic or changing circumstance. This is sloppy, illogical thinking which may not hinder your life too much, under normal circumstances. But if you want to be a great detective, then such thinking will absolutely ruin your chances.”

Alexei Maxim Russell, Trueman Bradley – The Next Great Detective

 

 

“Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources.

Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. began in 1975 as the brain child of a small group of reporters from around the country who wanted to share tips about reporting and writing.

A meeting was organized in Reston, Va., by essentially four people: Myrta Pulliam and Harley Bierce of the Indianapolis Star’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team; Paul Williams, former managing editor of Sun Newspapers in Omaha, who worked on the Boys Town expose; and Ron Koziol of the Chicago Tribune, who covered police and courts.

Others at that inaugural get-together were columnists Jack Anderson and Les Whitten; David Burnham of the New York Times; Len Downie of The Washington Post; Robert Peirce of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat; Jack Landau of Newhouse newspapers; Frank Anderson of the Long Beach Independent; John Colburn of Landmark Communications; Indianapolis attorney Edward O. DeLaney and former New Orleans reporter Robert Friedly.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which had passed resolutions supporting freedom of information, helped in the formation of IRE, including the design of the first IRE logo. A grant from the Lilly Endowment also helped IRE get started with a $5,278 bank account.

About 300 reporters attended the first IRE conference in Indianapolis a year after the Virginia meeting. For three days, experienced journalists offered advice in 90-minute segments on how to tackle everything from city hall to ethical problems.

The conference was significant for two reasons. Not only had a group of reporters and editors struck upon a highly successful model for sharing information, the organization voted to turn down a major grant from a non-journalistic foundation. The new membership was determined to rely upon the support of professional organizations and journalists themselves.

At the organizational meeting, Les Whitten asserted that what most characterizes the investigative reporter is “a sense of outrage.”

During the course of the meeting (and with the help of a dictionary), it was determined that the simplicity of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the resultant acronym, IRE, seemed to fit such an association.

Reporters and editors who had been investigative reporters or who had organized investigative teams were at the initial meeting in Reston. They remain the backbone of the organization, although professors, students, freelancers and book authors also have joined IRE.”

https://www.ire.org/about/

 

“Of course it’s very hampering being a detective, when you don’t know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you’re doing detection, and you can’t have people up to cross-examine them, and you have neither the energy nor the means to make proper inquiries; and, in short, when you’re doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard way.”

A.A. Milne, The Red House Mystery

 

https://www.ire.org/resource-center/ [For members only]

Includes tipsheets, a library of stories and story packs (collections of IRE and NICAR resources designed to help you approach certain topics and beats with an investigative mindset), a bookstore with printed and digital resources, listservs (mailing lists to exchange ideas, information, techniques and war stories with members and non-members), and a large collection of archived audio recordings from conferences, webinars and other training session.

 

“Blackstone’s Police Operational Handbook recommends the ABC of serious investigation: Assume nothing, Believe nothing, and Check everything.”

Ben Aaronovitch, Moon Over Soho

 

Tipsheets available at IRE (for members only)

Several of the most popular are listed here:

Story ideas and development

Investigating Local Government

Effective Information Mining on the Web

Project Checklist

(More than 5) Databases for criminal justice reporting

Investigative Reporting on a Budget: 8 Simple Rules

Investigating Nonprofits

The Art of the Interview

Policing the police: Uncovering law enforcement

Following the dollar in public spending – Vendors, Grants and Contracts

 

“Persistence is often a detective’s greatest ally.”

Lara Adrian, Taken by Midnight

 

Blogs: 

http://ire.org/blog/extra-extra/

http://ire.org/blog/on-the-road/

http://ire.org/tag/transparency-watch/

http://ire.org/tag/behind-the-story/

These are open for public consumption; there are others for members only, for internal organizational news, as well as blogs built around ongoing conferences.

 

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

Raymond Chandler, Red Wind: A Collection of Short Stories

 

http://ire.org/publications/book-list/ [Holy Cow! A seemingly-endless list of books I’ve barely heard of, all written by investigative journalists, many of  which I’d like to read (or at least a review)…

http://store.ire.org/

http://ire.org/blog/ire-radio/2015/07/13/ire-radio-podcast-conversation-laura-poitras/ [Laura of course has been in the news recently, as has her compatriots Gleen Greenwald and Edward Snowden)..

https://www.ire.org/events-and-training/

https://www.ire.org/events-and-training/upcoming-events/

https://www.ire.org/about/board-directors/ IRE has a distinct “mainstream”. flavor.

Here’s their list of staffers: http://www.ire.org/about/staff-bios/

That’s one resource. Are there others? Or better ones?

 

“I may not carry a detective’s badge, but I’m certainly the highest ranking member of Albatross Harbor’s neighborhood watch program. And like tilapia, I know something smells fishy when I taste it.” — Jarod Kintz

 

“… Unlike many professions, a degree in investigations is not a requirement to enter into this field. Competing against individuals with extensive backgrounds in law enforcement, security and investigations can be a daunting task, but many industry veterans certainly believe hitting the classroom can help jumpstart a career in investigations…..”

http://www.pinow.com/articles/1115/top-25-private-investigator-training-education-2012 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5J5TRF4XIo 

 

“The general public have a warped view of the speed at which an investigation proceeds. They like to imagine tense conversations going on behind the venetian blinds and unshaven, but ruggedly handsome, detectives working themselves with single-minded devotion into the bottle and marital breakdown. The truth is that at the end of the day, unless you’ve generated some sort of lead, you go home and get on with the important things in life – like drinking and sleeping, and if you’re lucky, a relationship with the gender and sexual orientation of your choice.”

Ben Aaronovitch, Moon Over Soho

 

Every morning I wake to sunshine and birdsong (sometimes a little bit of morning fog). I rise to take my morning coffee. (There is always coffee. And my pantry is always full of good food. Make a note of that.)

Then I begin my work. I do this work on behalf of all of you, although I’ve never spoken of it before. But lately I’ve heard people wondering: why is it we are not more upset by the things that are going on in the world? In our own country, our own town? Why is there no generalized rage at the contempt for life displayed by those in power? Why are we so servile to the rich and corrupt? Why do we not swarm the streets in protest every day, demanding someone’s head on a platter?

Well, now I’ll tell you: It’s because of me. Every morning I actualize the consciousness that in most of you is only potential, and (I am convinced) it is this mighty force that continues to keep things in place. Which is good for me, because my life is truly fine (see above). It would be ungrateful and hypocritical of me to wish to upend the status quo, when it has given me everything I need and more. And so through this work I do I’m really just trying to give back to the universe.

But whenever things seem to be a fraying a bit at the edges, I start to worry. Perhaps I alone am not enough. More of you should be aware of the power you wield, and wield it consciously; otherwise at some point things could get bad, even for me. So I’ve decided to go public. I’ve decided to ask you all to join me in a single daily meditation (yes, that’s all it takes).

There’s no personal ambition here – I’m not seeking power or celebrity. And there’s no cost – I’m not in this to get rich; I am already rich, relatively speaking. I just want to keep the good life that I have. And from observing you closely every day where I work, where I live, and when I travel, I can see that you do too. Many of you have told me as much. Why shouldn’t you? You’re human! It’s that simple.

So now I invite you to join me in my daily practice. Here’s all you have to do. Repeat along with me:

Nothing in my life is changed by Euro-austerity and the humiliation of Greece.

Nothing in my life is changed by the latest mass shooting.

Nothing in my life is changed by the latest oil spill.

… the Chinese stock market panic.

… the mass deaths of migrants.

… the War on Terror.

… the War on Drugs.

… the acidification of the oceans.

… the suicide rate of children, transgender people, or soldiers.

… police assassinations.

… the disappearance of the Monarch butterfly.

And so on…

More here:

The Cognitive Dissidence Mantra

by Christy Rodgers / July 15th, 2015

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/07/the-cognitive-dissidence-mantra/#more-59141 

 

“It takes a certain kind of man willing to work long, grueling hours in a career offering few rewards.”

Jon Michaelsen, Pretty Boy Dead

 

Source of quotes:

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/detective 

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.

From The Harbor of the Long Cut Bank

Before I left on the trip north, I rechecked something — based on my wife’s question as to why what I had mentioned wasn’t on the news.

I had mentioned the breaking story on the evening of the 30th about a major “ground stop” at LAX due to a computer/phone outage. I didn’t have a rational answer for her. She’s often raised her eyebrows at stuff I report off the ‘net, and is fully aware of my predilections for wild and wooly tales about events that aren’t covered the same way or with the same detail on the primary local news channels. I went back to the computer briefly to check and re-check and found the report on the CBS/AP story that lay at the core of what I’d read on What Really Happened.com.  I was aware as well of some of the opinions about Michael Rivero, though I don’t agree with them. I went back to re-read the reports, to see if they stemmed from a “member’s story”, if there’d been a fact-checking slip-up or an infilitration of the cognitive sort.

I told my wife that two thoughts came to mind:

  1. The Internet is appreciably faster at delivering “breaking news” (thus making it vulnerable to hoaxes and disinformation), and the traditional mainstream news business exists in great part on the basis of stories already written, filmed, produced and “in the can” (thus a serious financial investment has been made before they are aired), and most MSM outlets do not yet monitor online media (though they are improving and learning). [I’d jumped ahead in Standage’s book noted below to read about blogs, more about which later.]
  2.  That perhaps there was a reason mainstream news didn’t want to cover the story, though she said a halt in air traffic in LA seems to be a pretty big story. I printed the article from CBS  and made a note to check further on the detail and coverage of these events when I returned.

 

As I left on the trip north, it was announced, that while I would be gone, there would be a Boston-based homeland security exercise of the Urban Shield variety. I’m just now back and haven’t been able to check to see if there was any residua, sequelae, or coinky-dinkies associated with that event.

 

It was also announced that Fox TV will be making a TV series based on the Boston Globe authors’ book on the Boston Marathon Bombings.

FOX Reportedly Wants to Develop a Boston Marathon Bombing Miniseries | Complex

No word yet from Hollywood on who will play the cameo walk-on parts of the employees of Craft International [I’m thinking this was probably a purposeful pre-scripted event by someone to jump-start a false lead for the conspiracy terrorists crowd the FBI warns us about] or get the prime supporting role of Ed Davis.

http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/the-widow-of-american-sniper-chris-kyle-sues-the-company-her-slain-husband-started.html/

http://bollyn.com/craft-international-silent-on-boston-bombing/

MEDIA BLACKOUT: Boston Bombing Secrecy Surrounding Private Military Contractors “Craft International” and the Killing of Their Founder! : Political Blind Spot

Boston Bombing: Third Man with Craft International Ops Carrying TWO Bags / Others quickly Leave | American Everyman

 

Sinn Fein’s old name in the news got arrested on a decades-old murder charges based on research done at Boston College; perhaps there is a reason for conspiracy theorists to keep on keeping records and archiving material, no?

 

http://www.maineharbors.com/msailcov.jpg

Source of image: http://www.maineharbors.com/decbk04.htm

 

When we finally hit the road, I got off the hyper-fast-and-crowded Interstate at the first mindful opportunity, dropping down off the bluff into the valley and alongside the river that emptied New Hampshire mountain runoff and urban sewage into the estuary, one of many known for its sailing ships. I hugged the north side, almost immediately inching through detours necessitated by the high water damage of extensive spring rains. At the end of April, the river was swollen for so long that lesser road surfaces had simply dissolved into the torrent.  I crossed up under the overpasses at the convocation of three-lane highways turning heading Down East; we were a small part of a migration of humanity in search of steamed crustaceans, short celebrations of a diverse personal nature, and accommodating hoteliers and restaurateurs. Quickly, then, I was on the shore road, the easternmost, slowest, and most scenic route along a short distance which, if I’d stayed on the highway, we’d have arrived soon after the top of the paragraph. But we were only getting started.

Almost immediately, I was within a block of the ocean, visible irregularly amidst the paraphernalic evidence of clam shacks, lobster boats, places to buy beer, wet-suit-clad people with surf-casting pole, rocks, sand, mist, fog, and sea spray.

The car crawled north, its occupants lost in conversation, the pace slowing, winding, halted by road construction crews with heavy machinery re-moving rock and dirt, re-channeling water, repairing a winter’s worth of coastal storm damage at another half-dozen locations. The seas were still angry, the last rainfall having ended the night before, the waves grey with salt foam, the sun arriving in cloud breaks to the west, illuminating the crossing of a huge estuary navigated instinctively and by following the roadside markings for the northerly route known simply as “1”, the Navy yard where the USS Miami died ahead, beside and behind us as if we were flying but our speed only due to close proximity.  Now behind us, I was in terrain I’d never seen, my eyes alert only for a single intersection miles ahead that would open up the first section of coastal Maine.

I’d been up and down the Maine coast on numerous occasions. Like many, I spent a summer vacation on the rocks, had ancestral roots in the harbors and rivers that send ships down to the sea, the sap of the pointed firs coursing in my blood, but not the sailing. A landlubber aye, hard-pressed to master a wooden row boat, let alone something with a mast.  Yet here I was among he deepest roots of the post-Revolutionary growth of the US merchant-men and their familial haunts. Captains abound, shorelines heavily speckled with mansions and wealth but now deep haven to the arts, tourism, and an economic tale that lay on the surface.

The escapade was a gift to my wife on her retirement from a company where she’d worked for two and three-quarters decades; the company credited her with 19 years but, with overtime on salary and the daily commute, it played out like 27 years and tool an equal toll. She was given a gift certificate for a stay at a bed and breakfast, highly rated and appearing on the list of national historic sites, having earned clusters of repeat customers and the maximum amount of diamonds in the industry’s rankings. It came with another gift certificate for a small consortium of restaurants.  The locale is and was famous for a number of reasons. Both inn and restaurants were tightly clustered at the head of a small harbor where, three hundred years before we drove up, they built ships. The inn was built by shipwrights during an economic blockade — today we call them sanctions — during the second American war against fractional reserve banking fought to prevent an empirical indebtedness relationship with the British royalty, the City of London, and eventually the Rothschildian infiltration. As colonists grappled with the concepts of freedom and currency, trade and livelihood, they built fleets of sailing vessels , and mansions, and moved on down the ways of elitism.

On the first night we stayed on the coast, we used up my wife’s restaurant gift certificate and had a meal that started with oysters trucked in from Westerly, Rhode Island. It was once said that the very best oysters in New England came from the Damariscotta River in Maine.  Eat local food. The lobsters were caught nearby and then made “happy” with a saffron-based cream and some fettucine.

The barside conversation by the local patrons was about the case of the Zumba lady. “Portland defense attorney Gary Prolman, the only lawyer to get an accused john acquitted in last year’s high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to launder money for a drug trafficker….”

The musical entertainment seemed passable and superfluous. I gather we caught them on a kind of “off” night with a vocalist among the missing and maybe another instrumentalist.  The group needed a bass player. They played in front of a large photographic mural of the scene outside the front door, though the boats in the mural were in the water, not wrapped in plastic on the shore. There was a lead guitarist and a key board player, with the guitarist handling the vocals. (Perhaps he was doing his Chet Baker impression.) There were some good tunes; the cover of “All Blues” was the best of the night.  The worst of the night was the effort, vocally and musically, in trying to cover “Waterloo Sunsets”.  It was more like waterlogged sunsets.

After we retired to the lodgings for the night, I was treated, to a serenade by outdoor thunder and indoor high-pressure low-flow toilet flushings from other rooms resonating in the timbers (required by the Energy Policy Act signed into law by George H. W, Bush), some light reading in the book in the upper right hand bureau drawer entitled “Can Man Live Without God?” (foreword by Chuck Colson) [ Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias | 9780849945281 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble] and the ticking of the timer on the gas fireplace.

The next morning, after the stupendous breakfast (breakfasts at B&Bs are the without which there is no reason quintessential foodie experience in some circles), we played tourist and looked around downtown. We’d already spent some time scouring the countryside just following our noses and noting that — almost literally– every third house was for sale.

 

Maine’s economy on the rise as real estate sector rebounds | MEREDA – Blog                     Download the full report here.

Maine Coastal Program – Coastal Access Resources and Technical Assistance

http://www.ceimaine.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Colgan-Report-Final.pdf

Later in the trip we saw on some menu a lobster mac and cheese made with orechiette. The heavily-favored restaurant mentioned positively by several people at breakfast and noted to be George Bush’s favorite didn’t make a a real positive impression on us. (It was less than a mile away from Walker’s Point.) The establishment with the green-and-white-striped awnings — on the other side of the bridge from the little shack where a TV promo with hired actors and free lobster rolls had been filmed on the day before its season-opening — was the best meal of the weekend.

 

The portable reading of the weekend: 

Bloomsbury – Writing on the Wall

In the first chapter — in other words in the foundation of Standage’s theory about social media — he speaks of the relative sizes of the primate brain, which got larger and larger through evolution. Standage says we humans have a large frontal cortex because of our need to track social information within our social network, the development of language an important necessity.

He speaks of “grooming”, that activity of lesser primates in which network members groom each other’s fur, removing insects, parasites, dirt, etc. and which is an activity that is inherently pleasurable, reducing heart rate and nervous behaviors and releasing beta-endorphins, and which serve as the basis for a strong bonding process. This is interestingly where we left off in the discussion of survival and the polyvagal theory.

Standage speaks of “the Dunbar number” [Dunbar’s number – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] and says on page 13 that “for humans, grooming is longer a primarily physical activity” but has become an activity of language (rhetoric, committees, the telephone, Facebook, and Twitter).

And therein lies the giant hole through which you may drive your 4×4 into the New World Order.

I think an important comprehension has been left out of Standage’s presentation if not his (or Dunbar’s) theory about human communication and bonding.

I posit that touch plays a critical role. My wife the classically-trained nurse (by that I mean the product of a diploma school whose focus was on “hands-on” training under-experienced craftswomen) has been an advocate of touch since I’ve known her. EMT’s are taught that patient assessment is incomplete without palpation. Diane Ackerman (whose book on the five senses remains packed away at the moment) brings home the neurology of touch; you can access A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman.  And then we can re-visit the theory that we will survive in small groups based on how we touch one another. Perhaps we are too immersed in touch screens and touch pads and not enough in sensing the world through our richly-enervated fingers.

 

It’s ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact,” Schanberg explained, “and it affects damn near everything we do. No other sense can arouse you like touch; we always knew that, but we never realized it had a biological basis.”

“You mean how adaptive it is?”

“Yes. If touch didn’t feel good, there’d be no species, parenthood, or survival. A mother wouldn’t touch her baby in the right way unless the mother felt pleasure doing it. If we didn’t like the feel of touching and patting one another, we wouldn’t have had sex. Those animals who did more touching instinctively produced offspring which survived, and their genes were passed on and the tendency to touch became even stronger. We forget that touch is not only basic to our species, but the key to it.”

▶ Wooden Ships – Hot Tuna & Airplane Reunion – YouTube (4:38)

 

Wax Tablets and information warfare

“… Tom Standage has redeemed us. In his well-written and entertaining book, Writing on the Wall: Social Media — The First 2,000 Years, he argues that email, blogs, Twitter and Facebook are simply the latest version of humanity’s natural fondness for swapping information. What’s more, he says, the mass media — newspapers, radio, movies, TV — are an aberration and deserve oblivion.

Standage is a historian of science and technology; an earlier book, The Victorian Internet, describes the impact of the telegraph on the 19th century. Now he goes all the way back to our primate ancestors and their fondness for sociable behaviour. It first took the form of grooming — picking lice out of one another’s fur, especially if the other was a high-status individual who protected his or her friends.

With language, grooming turned into gossip — chatter about other people in the group, supplying useful and entertaining information. Gossip bought a network of friends and allies.

Written text was originally a kind of spreadsheet on clay, tallying livestock and other forms of wealth. But by the time of the Romans, the social media were in use — at least by the rich….

[snip]

Standage points out that even the noblest Romans spent time in the provinces as governors (or exiles). They still needed their networks at home, and letters from friends were a convenient way to stay in touch (and maybe wrangle a ticket back to Rome).

With a good postal system using good roads, such correspondence was highly popular — so popular that satirists poked fun (in their own letters) at the letter geeks hurrying to the port to pick up their mail from overseas.

In a sense, it was voicemail: the author of a letter dictated it to a literate slave, who wrote it down and made copies. Such letters were written as “rivers of words,” without spaces or punctuation. When they reached their destination, a specialist slave called a lector would read it aloud, putting in pauses and emphasis. (Standage observes that “slaves were the Roman equivalent of broadband.”)

Other media were equally social. For local texting, you could send a slave across town with a tablet holding a wax “screen” on which your message was inscribed. Your friend could smooth out the wax and write a reply, using abbreviations for stock phrases.

The Romans also had a daily news feed, created by Julius Caesar himself. The acta diurna populi Romani — daily acts of the people of Rome — was a way to provide political information to his populist supporters, thereby undermining his enemies in the senate. (Diurna is the root of our modern word “journalism.”)

[snip]

 

The early Christians relied on social media to link their scattered congregations. But being ordinary, middle-class Romans, they couldn’t afford slaves to read St. Paul’s letters. So Christian copyists invented sentences, capitalization, and punctuation as a way to give readers clues about how to read Paul aloud. Such letters were copied and forwarded to far more groups than just the Corinthians or Galatians. Significantly, Christians ditched the scroll and adopted the codex, creating what we know as the modern book. Like today’s tablets, the codex was portable, easy to navigate, and easy to read. (But we scroll again on our screens.)

Social media also dominated the spread of Protestantism. Newfangled printing presses multiplied almost as fast as the books and pamphlets they cranked out. Martin Luther was a new-media genius: He published countless pamphlets against the Catholic Church’s evils, and his vernacular German was instantly understandable to his readers. His opponents, still thinking in terms of Latin correspondence and medieval illuminated manuscripts, were simply outmatched. “In all,” writes Standage, “some six million pamphlets, perhaps a third of them by Luther, were printed in the first decade of the turbulent period known today as the Reformation.”

Luther was also a skilled flamer. In one pamphlet, he addressed a trolling critic: “I am sorry now that I despised Tetzel. Ridiculous as he was, he was more acute than you. You cite no scripture. You give no reasons.” Significantly, Luther’s pamphlets inspired Protestantism by “synchronizing opinion,” much as social media did in the Arab Spring.

The modern newspaper arose in the new coffee houses of 17th-century London. Every customer who entered was asked, “Have you any news?” Many of those who hung out in a particular house (Lloyd’s was favoured by shippers and insurers) began to keep records of what they learned. These were the first newsletters, first copied out in longhand and eventually printed as corantos.

For just that reason, the authorities frowned on early news media. Longhand newsletters were tolerated as low-circulation and often written by upper-class gentlemen for their upper-class friends. But a printed coranto reached ordinary people with “scurrilous and fictitious” reports.

Still the news cycle accelerated: gossip in a coffee house was soon all over London (or Europe), attracting even more coffee-house visits to exchange the news both orally and in print — daily, for hours. Standage says some thought coffee houses were socially harmful: “They lamented, like critics of social media today, that coffee houses were distracting people and encouraging them to waste time sharing trivia with their friends when they ought to be doing useful work.”

Technological limits on printing made most newspapers one-man operations serving local communities. But in the early U.S., newspapers could be sent free through the mail to other papers, turning each into a kind of blog with the editor’s comments filled out with copied news from elsewhere. This was a low-cost, low-profit business model — much like modern blogging.

But in the 19th century, everything from the telegraph to the steam-powered press to increased literacy came together to create the highly capitalized modern mass media. For a penny or two, you could read breaking news gathered by foreign correspondents (and paid for by ads for local merchants).

You could also get your opinion synchronized for you by William Randolph Hearst and other media moguls as you were dragged into the Spanish-American War — and a long succession of other media-promoted disasters. As journalist A.J. Leibling observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

Radio, film, and TV only made matters worse. Apart from a brief period of amateur “ham radio,” they all needed immense capital to produce news and entertainment — and even then they needed advertising, whether as commercials or as product placement. The mass media had little need or room for individual response beyond fan mail or letters to the editor. News and entertainment became a one-way street.

“The broadcast model,” writes Standage, “considers the role of the radio listener and television viewer to be merely that of a passive consumer. This is as far as it is possible to be from a media system in which people create, distribute, share, and rework information and exchange it with each other. It is the opposite of social media.”

Standage is therefore not too concerned about the demise of the mainstream media. But he sees potential for harm in the new social media as well: They enable everyone from the NSA to teenage jerks to monitor what people are saying, and punish them for saying it.

He also makes a convincing point that new technologies are always opposed by those in charge if they permit the lower orders to make their views known. Literate workers reading penny-dreadfuls and dime novels — what was the world coming to? Airheads tweeting about what they had for lunch? Who cares about their opinions?

Eventually the new social media will settle down. “They are all shared social platforms that enable ideas to travel from one person to another, rippling through networks of people connected by social bonds, rather than having to squeeze through the privileged bottleneck of broadcast media,” Standage concludes. “The rebirth of social media in the Internet age represents a profound shift — and a return, in many respects, to the way things used to be.”

The Tyee – Social Media, Roman Style 

 

 

http://tomstandage.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/roman-ipad.jpg?w=545&h=457

 

Additional resources:

tomstandage.com

About me | tomstandage.com 

 

Tom Standage – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2, 000 Years: Tom Standage: 9781620402832: Amazon.com: Books  

 

▶ Lessons from ancient social media: Tom Standage at TEDxOxbridge – YouTube  

 

 

The primary story came to me courtesy of 

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED | The History The US Government HOPES You Never Learn!, posted by a “member” there who goes by the name of StingRay, which probably means that he drives one, or lives in coastal Florida, or both. 

 

All this history of social media is utterly fascinating, of course, but I haven’t watched the TED talk nor read the book.  I may buy it this afternoon.  The note about the use of slaves in Roman era in assisting with the flow of information is an interesting observation in light of the recent move away from Net Neutrality.

ITake note of who it is that employs Standage.  I am curious about what, if anything, he has to say with media and governmental involvement directly or indirectly in media manipulation, the disinformation games now visible and underway about the racism of a Nevada rancher, editing without moral integrity, PhotoShopping, the presence of Duck Dynasty actors wearing patches they can buy on the Internet, the history of the Wurlitzer under Dulles and his Mockingbird,  Cass Sunstein and cognitive infilitration, or other forms of culture and governance by deception.