Broken Interlude

Actually, non

I was reading the following from our friends at youmightfindyourself:

People are born without language, but with a genetic makeup that allows them to acquire and express any of the languages that exist in the world. And the language they end up speaking is determined by who they’re raised by. At about the age of two their mother tongue is set, so that even though a person can learn new languages the fact is that there’s a basic hardwired one. Even with people who are multilingual, if you ask what their mother tongue is, they can tell you. And if they can’t, if they say “I speak these languages equally well,” and you ask, “When you calculate numbers in your head what language do you use?” there will be one answer.

via YMFY.

As an accidental polyglot from an early age I can confirm that the above is not actually accurate.  Greek is the first language I learned, my mother tongue if you will, as I lived in Athens until the age of seven.  Then learned French and Italian as a consequence of residing in those countries.  I learned English last, yet by virtue of it being the latest learned and most frequently used language, it is by all accounts my primary language … that is to say, that even when I speak in other languages, my thoughts have to now be translated from English.

Should I move back to Greece, France, or Italy, it would take several months to a year to begin to think completely in those languages but it would eventually happen.

I think the above is only true if a person’s ‘diaspora’ isn’t complete … namely if they retain a cultural and linguistic tie to their country of provenance after having migrated to their current country of residence.  Perfect examples of this are Chinese, Greek, and many other cultures who retain ‘ethnic’ neighborhoods in cities across the US and indeed the globe.

Nevertheless, without wishing to extrapolate theory from personal experience, I can to the limited degree that my experience can attest, confirm that the ‘mother tongue’ tie  🙂 isn’t as hard wired as one might presume.

Quote of the day…

“Il faut collectionner les pierres qu’on vous jette. C’est le début d’un piédestal.”

“Collect the stones that  are thrown at you.  It is the beginning [foundation] of a pedestal.”

– Hector Berlioz

Monroe Doctrine

Quote of the day…

“I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.” –  Friedrich Nietzsche

leaving …

3D Fractal

via: Merlinhoot: 3D fractal

Leggo My Ego

“A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there’s work to be done.” – Ram Dass

Greetings and welcome to yet another tedious episode of our dEGOnstruction (ego deconstruction) series.

Todays satsang 🙂 will focus on the suffering caused by the mind’s dependence and attachment to the possessive … or more simply put, the ‘my/mine’ construct.

My name
My thread
My post
My thoughts
My life
My idea
My past
My wife/husband/kids
My house
My pain
My beliefs
My sharona
My situation
My feelings
My experiences
My money
My religion
My future
My body
My dream
My grief
My goals
My world
My truth
My opinion
My love
My philosophy
My death
My secrets
My problem

When the mind attaches itself to thought and personalizes it, it strips that which it is trying to express of all truth. For when a thought becomes a personal possession it becomes part of the mind’s self defined identity. When a human identifies him or her self through what the mind possesses it is in fact defining everything but what we are as living beings.

To the mind this is what you are: imagine a box that bears your name on it, to the mind defined self all that you are is the accumulation of thoughts and experiences compiled through what it calls MY life. That is all one can be, namely a sum of thoughts.

It’s not that thoughts and the mind are merely illusions as some say. Illusion itself, like all concepts, is itself a meaningless concept. And it’s not an issue of discarding thought and mind for that is actually impossible, they are part of the truth and they are a vital component of this physical manifestation we call ‘life.’

It is more to assign them their rightful place in our existence as opposed to allowing them to define it.
As I have noted on a few occasions, allowing the mind to be in charge is akin to allowing the car engine to steer the car.

And how do we know this to be true even though the mind resists it?

Well, the fact that the mind is resisting it should be our first clue of the truth contained in that statement.

But more specifically, let us take the example of personal dynamics on ATS in order to highlight the deeper truth across all interactions in our lives.

Think honestly for a second of how you react if your post gets a star, or if your thread gets a flag, or if a staff member is nice enough to applaud you. Think about your first reaction if someone has posted the exact same thread as you. What is your reaction if a mod actions you or moves your thread? When a fellow member is rude to you? How do you feel if you worked on a thread for a week and get no response and someone who posted a random youtube video and barely a comment gets thousands? How about if you get actioned for something and someone doesn’t even though they said something worse? One of your friends got banned?

Can you let something go without having the last word?
Can your belief be attacked by someone without hurting you?
Do you get frustrated with others’ ignorance?

The above questions are all rhetorical so I beg you not to painfully answer each one.

But if the answer to ANY of them is anything other than honest indifference then such is the consequence of personalized thought … what you call your thoughts.
If someone challenging, criticizing, or applauding “your” thoughts triggers any reaction in you then you are personally attached to your thoughts and define yourself through them.

To be affected by dissent or by approval is an indication that the mind is reacting to either the giving or withholding of another mind’s approval.

We know that thinking minds require mutual approval for that is why we have ‘like minded’ communities, religions, political ideologies, social classes, cultures … and we know what happens when ‘like minded’ communities of any kind are at odds with other ‘like minded’ communities. Conflict happens, wars happen, destruction happens.

And all of this happens simply because from birth we are conditioned to think that we are own beliefs.

But are we really?

Can’t a thought be just a thought without having it be personal?
Why does anything have to be yours or mine?

All this of course is just an observation …
I’m not suggesting it is the whole truth.
Just a tiny tiny fraction of the truth that despite it’s lilliputian mass that unless observed, understood, and realized, sure initiates a great deal of unnecessary suffering. Suffering that can easily be peeled away and discarded simply by disconnecting one’s identity from one’s thoughts and the mind’s need to own them.

There’s nothing that I, you, nor anyone anyone else can add as far as information to realize the truth. Information is food for the mind and we’ve all had plenty of that. This is about peeling learned and conditioned information, one’s identification with it, so that all that we all already know can manifest.

And it is all available right now, and you don’t have to do anything other than stop adding stuff.

I hear you say: “Sdog just killed my Descartes and has replaced it with nothing. So now what do I do?”

Well to begin with Descartes was misinformed … there I said it!

What he should have said is not “I think therefore I am” … at best he should have said “I think therefore I think I am” … that is if he should have said anything at all.

And as far as what happens when one disconnects their identity from their thoughts?

Everything and nothing … but it happens without resistance, it happens in the present moment, and it happens truthfully.

One final note … all this stuff is simple observations. and could easily be, and if fact probably is, all bullpoop. But I observed it because I have done all that I described and suffered for it, and made others suffer for it. It isn’t meant as a lesson nor do I presume any position of authority on the matter. I just was moved to write it down so I did. I hope no one feels insulted by it, and if you do, perhaps there’s more truth to what I am pointing to that what you are willing to concede.

In closing … this is not my post and these are not my thoughts.



“If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible.” – Ram Dass

via: ATS

Bunny Burgers

This is a little known and one of the best ‘setups’ ever, demonstrating once and for all that if there were such a thing as Hell, Dante would have created a basement for marketeers.

I miss Spy.


Man Hospitalized With Unwarranted Self-Importance

In a breaking news update, a prestigious hospital that no one gives a crap about until they get severely injured and then beg to be admitted to revealed that at precisely 8:03 am this morning, it admitted a patient who was suffering from high levels of unwarranted self-importance. The patient’s name was not released, as doctors stated that having the man’s name be spoken on national television would only serve to raise his level of unwarranted self-importance even higher.

Doctors are desperately trying to relieve the man’s levels of self-importance. They say that the normal treatment, forcing the patient to write depressing poetry, isn’t working, but are confident that their next planned treatment, having an astrophysicist explain that mankind is an insignificant creature in the face of the ever-expanding universe, will be successful.

According to a hospital employee, who also came close to suffering from unwarranted self-importance following this interview, the patient had claimed that he “had put those [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] forum trolls in their place” while browsing a popular online forum and that he had “achieved a victory for all of mankind” and “should be worshiped as a hero”.

When asked of the incident, the forum’s administrator stated that the patient had “just called those trolls [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] who should [expletive deleted] their [expletive deleted][expletive deleted] mothers while also [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] raped by a cow. He didn’t really do too much except make it worse.”

via: Delightedly Dreary News Network.

Quote of the day…

“Very high probabilities are different from certainties. Very high probabilities are usually derived from calculations whose relevance and validity are themselves uncertain.”

– John Kay

Oh dear…

Quote of the day…

My God’s Better Than Your God

My god’s better than your god,
My special book tells me so,
It tells me how to think, who to love,
And how my life should go.

My god’s better than your god,
He waits only for me,
Your name’s not on his list,
You are my enemy.

My god’s better than your god,
His book is filled with truth,
Your book’s all wrong you see,
I have all the proof.

My god’s better than your god,
His ways are just and right,
His laws are like a roadmap,
That guide me to the light.

My god’s better than your god,
Yours is weird and wrong,
I have never heard of him,
And he’s been around too long.

My god’s better than your god,
He’s all shiny and real,
Your god belongs in hell,
He’s not the real deal.

My god’s better than your god,
Cause he’s without sin,
You’re a heathen non-believer,
Not good enough for him.

My god’s better than your god,
Yours has a silly name,
And your book is stupid,
Really dumb and lame.

I will go to heaven,
Cause I’m better than you,
I can do anything,
I’m amongst the chosen few…
…Cause my god’s better than your god,
You have to say its true,
Cause if you don’t,
My god will come,
And make you suffer till you do.


Divided and Conquered

via: Lysergic on Above Top Secret

Spiritual Interlude


Plato:  For the greater good.

Karl Marx:  It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli:  So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue?  In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

Hippocrates:  Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

Jacques Derrida:  Any number of contending discourses may be discovered  within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Thomas de Torquemada:  Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Timothy Leary:  Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Douglas Adams:  Forty-two.

Nietzsche:  Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Oliver North:  National Security was at stake.

B.F. Skinner:  Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.

Carl Jung:  The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre:  In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein:  The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein:  Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle:  To actualize its potential.

Buddha:  If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell:  It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history.  An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

Salvador Dali:  The Fish.

Darwin:  It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson:  Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus:  For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:  It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann von Goethe:   The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Ernest Hemingway:   To die. In the rain.

Werner Heisenberg:   We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume:  Out of custom and habit.

Jack Nicholson:  ‘Cause it (censored) wanted to. That’s the (censored) reason.

Pyrrho the Skeptic:   What road?

Ronald Reagan:  I forget.

John Sununu:  The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.

The Sphinx:  You tell me.

Mr. T:  If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!

Henry David Thoreau:  To live deliberately … and suck all the marrow out of life.

Mark Twain:   The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Molly Yard:  It was a hen!

Zeno of Elea:  To prove it could never reach the other side.

Chaucer:  So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

Wordsworth:  To wander lonely as a cloud.

The Godfather:  I didn’t want its mother to see it like that.

Keats: Philosophy will clip a chicken’s wings.

Blake:  To see heaven in a wild fowl.

Othello:  Jealousy.

Dr Johnson:  Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

Mrs Thatcher:  This chicken’s not for turning.

Supreme Soviet:  There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

Oscar Wilde:  Why, indeed? One’s social engagements whilst in town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience – although, perhaps, if one must cross a road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.

Kafka:  Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

Swift:  It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, ilth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.

Macbeth:  To have turned back were as tedious as to go o’er.

Whitehead:   Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Freud:  An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)

Hamlet:   That is not the question.

Donne:  It crosseth for thee.

Pope:  It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

Constable:  To get a better view.


Quote of the day…

“A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there’s work to be done.”

— Ram Dass

Three Wise Men

The story goes as follows …

Three men met on a flight to NYC. They landed at JFK airport and agreed to share a cab to central Park South where their three respective hotels were located. They got in a cab and told the driver of their destination. The driver asked them which way they would prefer to go. One said take the Midtown Tunnel. The second said, not at this hour, take the Queensboro Bridge. The third said, you’re both nuts, at this time of day take the side streets and take the Brooklyn Bridge.

They got out of the cab and argued at length. And though they had a common point of origin, and shared the same destination, they could not reconcile a mutually agreeable route. In fact so important became the route to them, that by the end of their argument they forgot all that they shared.

So they started fighting, and others joined in and defended the route they thought was best. After cursing each other they each got in their respective cabs and took their own route convinced that their route was the only true route. And disciples of each route wrote of the virtues of their respective routes, and convinced others of its merits. They built great buildings to speak of the routes and honor the original route takers.

And they all forgot that all routes started at the same location and led to the same destination.

And now, in year 4010, 2000 or so years since the original argument, after countless deaths and immeasurable suffering as a consequence of differences of simple route variation, they are still arguing … a lot.

It is fashionable to declare that it’s not the destination it’s the path that matters. And although that mantra is true enough, it is not entirely complete.

The whole above story seems almost too ludicrous and ridiculous to even contemplate … that is if it hadn’t happened before and wasn’t happening now.

Above Top Secret


Locational Privacy

On Locational Privacy, and How to Avoid Losing it Forever

A Culture of Conspiracy

A Culture of Conspiracy:

Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America

By Michael Barkun

University of California Press, 2003

243 Pages, US$17.47

ISBN 0-520-23805-2

Why did Timothy McVeigh visit Area 51, the alleged flying-saucer test range, and view the film “Contact” on death row? Why did the harmless-looking phrase, “New World Order,” take on a sinister connotation as soon as the first President Bush uttered it? Why does the acronym FEMA send chills down the spines of a substantial number of Americans? We cannot dismiss these facts as unrelated coincidences. No: they are all evidences of a strange mutation that occurred in American popular culture in the 1990s, when formerly obscure forms of esotericism and conspiracy theory fused with traditional millennialism and popular pseudo-science. The result was not a movement, but a worldview that threatens to undermine trust in public institutions, and maybe even consensus reality.

Such is the argument of this useful book by political scientist Michael Barkun of Syracuse University, one of the leading authorities on the political implications of contemporary millennialism. The literature of conspiracy theory is vast and rarely a pleasure to read, so there is something to be said for any survey that shrinks the Illuminati, the Men in Black, and the Hollow Earth itself to manageable dimensions. The chief merit of this book, though, is the description of a dynamic in contemporary conspiracy theory, one that turns ordinary popular culture into a venue for the propagation of ideas that the consensus culture has not just dismissed, but condemned. This model may exaggerate certain features of the popular mind, but it clearly does have some applications.

The chief sources of the culture of conspiracy are the tradition of conspiracy theory, conventional millennialism, and what must be called “ufology,” or the belief in the existence and importance of Unidentified Flying Objects and other extraterrestrial influences. The place where these sources meet is the realm of “stigmatized knowledge.”

Some stigmatized knowledge is just obsolete knowledge, like alchemy or astrology, that the academic establishment no longer takes seriously on its own terms. Some of it is folklore and urban legends. Some of it is political ideas that have lost their bid for dominance in the wide world, but survive in niches and sects. The stigmatization of knowledge does not necessarily mean it is worthless: acupuncture, for instance, has risen from subcultural disrepute to the status of a recognized treatment. Whatever the merits of stigmatized ideas, people who accept stigmatized knowledge about one subject are likely to be more open to entertaining it in others. This leads to an attitude that views esoteric and unpopular ideas favorably, simply because they are stigmatized. Any official or consensus explanation is viewed with suspicion.

If you think that what most people believe about important aspects of the world is consistently wrong, the most economical hypothesis is that those people are being systematically deceived. This implies a deceiver, who must have confederates. The larger the conspiracy, the more a theory about it can explain: hence the attractiveness of conspiracy theories. “A Culture of Conspiracy” does not address the question of whether there is a perennial Western tradition of conspiracy theories, one that might include the legends about Rosicrucians, witches, Brethren of the Free Spirit, and similar shady characters. Rather, the book focuses on the well-known tradition of secular conspiracy theories, whose best-known originator is the Abbé Barruel. This tradition began in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Barruel’s account sought to explain the Revolution as the work of groups of a generally Masonic character, of whom the most famous were the Illuminati of late 18th-century Bavaria.

There were indeed Illuminati, and the revolutionary phase of the Enlightenment was often organized through lodges and secret societies. However, conspiracy theorists tend to view secret and underground societies, not as vehicles for political activity, but as its cause. They see the public acts of statesmen and political groups as a mere smokescreen. For conspiracists, is it not necessary that the puppet-masters be altogether secret. Financial institutions and private associations will do nicely, as they did in conspiratorial accounts of politics that appeared as the 19th century progressed. (Barkun mentions Ignatius Donnelly for his popularization of Atlantis, by the way, but Donnelly also had the Jewish-Corporate Government connection down pat as early as the 1880s.) Around 1900, the Czarist secret police produced the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which ascribed a plot for world domination to the early Zionist movement. By about 1920, there was a standard superconspiracy model. The model linked international bankers, the central banks, the Masons, the Jews, and other groups in a long-running project, always almost complete, to establish a worldwide atheist tyranny.

In one form or another, this model has been remarkably durable. People with all kinds of perspectives can adapt it to fit any historical circumstance and any set of characters. Theorists with little interest in Jewish conspiracies, for instance, might read “Illuminist” in the “Protocols” wherever the text reads “Jew.” So great is the explanatory power of superconspiracies, however, that they threaten to engulf in despair those who believe in them. Conspiracy theorists often think that little stands between them and an intolerable future, brought about by forces that are invisible to the general public and yet nearly omnipotent.

The forces of evil are happily less omnipotent in millennialism, which is the general term that “A Culture of Conspiracy” uses for endtime belief. One of the chief factors in conspiracy thinking in the early 21st century comes from the revival of premillennialism in the first half of the 19th century. Premillennialists generally often believe the advent of the Millennium to be near, but expect it to be preceded by “apocalypse” proper, the period when God’s wrath will be poured out on the world. During this time, the world will be ruled by Antichrist. Identifying the Antichrist, and more important, his future collaborators, is an activity very close to what secular conspiracy theorists do. Premillennialists with an interest in current events borrowed the Illuminati and the cabal of international bankers, often adding their own traditional villains, such as the Vatican. Versions of eschatological conspiracy became widespread during the 20th century, but did not begin to join the general popular culture until the 1970s.

The bridge between the land of stigmatized knowledge and the world at large was the UFO phenomenon. UFOs made their way into millennialism as part of the great deception of the endtime; the aliens became demons who pretended to be angels of light. There was also some tendency for premillennialists to reinterpret their eschatology in physicalist terms, so that the pretribulation rapture sometimes becomes a rescue by spaceship. Michael Barkun has coined the term “improvisational millennialism” to describe this syncretism of motifs. Secular superconspiracists, for their part, had no trouble adding UFOs to their list of things that the powers-that-be were covering up. In some versions, the Great Conspiracy is in league with the aliens. In others, there were no aliens, but UFOs were being faked to cow the public.

In the 1980s, some quite new motifs appeared. There were the black helicopters, which served the conspiracy in a way that varied from theorist to theorist. There were the concentration camps that were said to be being prepared for dissident citizens for when the Day came. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was supposed to lead the effort to impose martial law. When disaster struck, either real or staged, FEMA would become the government. Then there was mind control, which government agencies were alleged to have perfected in the 1950s and ’60s.

As is often the way with urban legends, there were sometimes thin threads of fact in these Persian carpets of fantasy. Yes, police tactical helicopters sometimes are black. The CIA really did experiment with mind-altering drugs. For that matter, there were even contingency plans around 1970 to create temporary camps if civil disorders got out of hand. However, the structures that placed these fragments in a greater whole could never be verified, or even tested.

There were also fascinating adaptations of older ideas. For instance, the notion that the Earth might be hollow, and the seat of one or more advanced civilizations, has an old pedigree. In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, it sometimes figured in fiction. When UFOs entered the popular consciousness, these subterranean realms became alternative or supplementary points of origin for these vessels. Admirers of H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith will be interested to learn that many of their story devices reappeared as bald assertions of fact in later conspiracist literature. (I might mention H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” not specifically cited in the book. That novella has as many subterranean aliens as a reasonable man could ask for, as well as an Antarctic locale, which is also important in many conspiracy theories.) The malevolent reptile-people who play such a key role in the conspiracy theories of David Icke seem to have slithered right out of the stories of Robert Howard, the creator of “Conan the Barbarian.”

Much of 19th-century theosophy came straight from popular fiction, so the 20th-century adaptations simply continue the tradition. A tongue-in-cheek British documentary broadcast in 1977, “Alternative 3,” described a conspiracy of elites to flee Earth before ecological catastrophe struck the planet. As happened in other contexts, some people immediately interpreted the fiction as an encoded account of the facts. And, of course, conspiracy theories form the basis for later fiction, such as the once fashionable “X-Files” television series. I would also note John Carpenter’s film from 1988, They Live. In that story, certain people are enabled to see our reptile overlords as they really are, consorting with ordinary upper-class humans who know the aliens’ identity. (“They Live” should not be confused with “Them,” an older and much better film about giant ants.)

The culture of stigmatized knowledge has facilitated other revivals. The channeling of extraterrestrials by New Agers looks like nothing so much as communication with the Ascended Masters whom Madame Blavatsky used to consult. Similarly, the allegations that the conspiracy sometimes captures people for sexual slavery bear more than a few points of resemblance to the 19th century stories that purported to expose what really goes on in Catholic nunneries.

Historical and technological developments gave a boost to the culture of conspiracy. Conspiracy theory had been an activity conducted through small newsletters and pamphlets before the assassination of John F. Kennedy; within a decade, it was an industry. Just as important was the growth of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, which made even the most obscure materials available to virtually anyone, virtually anywhere. Accessibility was not the only important factor; so was the lack of authoritative criticism. For that matter, “authority” was increasingly in short supply offline, too. The academy, during the postmodernist episode, undermined the assumption that consensus reality was more than a mere construct. The distinction between stigmatized and consensus knowledge did not quite collapse, but it became far more porous.

Michael Barkun is not happy about these developments. He notes that antisemitic motifs had formerly been wholly excluded from popular culture. Now they are reemerging, often in scarcely altered form, as elements of widely disseminated superconspiracies. He also points out that the culture of conspiracy responds badly to emergencies. Conspiracists reacted to 911 by demonstrating how it fit into their preexisting explanation for what is wrong with the world. The same might also be said of other people, perhaps, but the conspiracists’ explanations made them suspicious of collective efforts to deal with the situation.

For my part, I think that any discussion of conspiracism should acknowledge those contexts where the conspiracists are onto something. When evangelical Christians perceive a New Age conspiracy to extirpate Christianity, they often are quite right about the biases of some elements of the academy and the media. When opponents of the New World Order say that international organizations are plotting to subvert the sovereignty of the United States, they are sometimes just citing the law journals. About the gay agenda we need not speak. Conspiracists are not delusional when they say that important people often collaborate to bring about appalling results. The Great Conspiracy has two weaknesses, however. First: no cabal small enough to be hidden could have the leverage to control the world, or even to guide the public life of a single nation. Second: no cabal at all could survive with its agenda unchanged for generation after generation. Real conspirators are people just like you and me. They don’t have a clue, either.


Copyright © 2004 by John J. Reilly

Stephen Hawking’s Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

So, according to famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it’s time to free ourselves from Mother Earth. “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” Hawking tells Big Think. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.”

via #5: Stephen Hawking’s Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction | Dangerous Ideas | Big Think.

Cadenced Interlude

Quote of the day…

“In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating.”

– Michel Foucault


Discordianism is a religion centered on the idea that chaos is all that there is, and that disorder and order are both illusions that are imposed on chaos. These are referred to, respectively, as the “Eristic” and “Aneristic” illusions. It was founded circa 1958–1959 by Malaclypse the Younger with the publication of its principal text, the Principia Discordia. There is some division as to whether it should be regarded as a parody religion, and if so to what degree.[1] It has been called “Zen for roundeyes“, based on similarities with absurdist interpretations of the Rinzai school. Discordianism recognizes chaos, discord, and dissent as valid and desirable qualities, in contrast with most religions, which idealize harmony and order. Eris, the Greek mythological goddess of discord, has also become the matron deity of the religion Discordianism.[2]

Wiki: Discordianism

Quote of the day…

“Black sheep are still sheep.”

– Discordian memebomb

Retroparisian Interlude

Famous Last Words

Samuel Johnson – ‘Iam moriturus’ (I who am about to die)

Lord Byron – ‘Come, come, no weakness; let’s be a man to the last!’

Emily Dickinson – ‘I must go in, the fog is rising’

Robert Louis Stevenson – ‘What’s that? Do I look strange?’

Anton Chekhov – ‘It’s a long time since I drank champagne’

Mark Twain – ‘Death, the only immortal, who treats us alike, whose peace and refuge are for all. The soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved’

Leo Tolstoy – ‘We all reveal … our manifestations … This manifestation is over … That’s all’

Franz Kafka – ‘Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me … in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches, and so on, (is) to be burned unread’

Virginia Woolf – ‘I feel certain that I’m going mad again …’

James Joyce – ‘Does nobody understand?’

via YMFY

Not much to argue with here

I was pointed to  this rather incisive post/speech by a good friend … thought it worth sharing:

Coxsackie-Athens Valedictorian Speech 2010

Here I Stand

Erica Goldson

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” 
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” 
Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not

to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States. (Gatto)

To illustrate this idea, doesn’t it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.


My Epitaph