Category Archives: Civilization

Destiny?  What Destiny?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~]

While trying to assemble the human jigsaw puzzle in my mind, I have been keeping track of the missing pieces which must eventually spell the end of civilization as we’ve known it through history and as we sadly observe it today. 

One of these major missing pieces is a sentient species’ sense of destiny.  Most people, it seems, do not possess a personal sense of destiny – certainly not in any serious sense.  The same is true of man as a species: it does not have a declared sense of destiny.  The question to keep in mind while considering this problem is, “Can a sentient species call itself human and not have a sense of destiny?” (Question for another time.)  

For millennia we’ve relied on the gods to map our destiny for us.  We were “powerfully motivated” not to think about destiny except as decreed by the gods’ varied and various institutions and we responded with slavish obedience and mindless praise.  The gods died, one by one, and one day when no one was really looking, they’d been officially replaced by crass materialism, Marxism and evolutionary Darwinism.  What should have been a triumph of humanitarian accomplishments and freedom turned out to be a giant, possibly catastrophic, step backward for man and his little world.  OK, backward is wrong.  Better put, two giant steps sideways, one to the left and one to the right.  

Whereas the gods had always offered specious promises of some type of eternal life thus unwittingly providing a bulwark against massive and unchecked growth and material exploitation, Marxism and Darwinism created the dead end, fall over, cliff into perpetual darkness.  The new gospel proclaimed that an individual came from nothing and passed into nothing.  The future of mankind was no longer to be found in spiritual development or mental expansion but would be tied to the vagaries of a mindless finite material universe.  If a thinking individual thought of “the future” at all, it was in terms of some nebulous “future of mankind” or “future of the planet.” 

The results of this approach were not long in manifesting.  There came a rage to “live in the now” manifested as mindless consumerism and hedonism.  Destiny, if it was even thought of in those terms, was understood as the bolstering, protection and expansion of the Status Quo as determined by a numerically shrinking, exponentially richer class of elitist individuals and “noble” families. 

Our civilization is plunging into chaos because it isn’t aware of whether it serves a greater purpose, or none at all or whether it is just supposed to serve itself… at whatever costs to… whatever and whomever.  

Before science took over man’s mind, the gods, or increasingly the great male god, provided man’s purpose and that dead end purpose was stated as “to praise, serve and obey god.”  No other reason was given whereby man could find his purpose in life and if man refused to kowtow to god, his end would be inconceivably horrible.  If he managed to jump through all the legalistic hoops and traps set out by the god’s priesthood, remaining on the straight and narrow every minute, he just might be saved.  That kept some people very busy, very fearful and very poor.  It also kept them very ignorant of everything, particularly of the cosmos they lived in.  

Then science, or perhaps better put, pseudo science, prostitute of political and financial forces, took the upper hand, using obvious foolishness and fallacies of organized religion to push its own theories on how it all worked, onto civilization’s stage.  It claimed the limelight and after a few lucky guesses, established itself as “the Voice” of reason and knowledge.  Once established, it could now stick out its hand and receive the dues from the Status Quo that used to flow into Religion’s coffers.  The same dirty money into a different set of bloody hands. 

What did man get from that exchange of powers?  A new pseudo destiny, probably best described by a novel I read once: Tomorrow, the Stars (Heinlein, if you must know!).  Key word here?  Tomorrow.  Religion, all over again.  Patience, hope, faith… and tomorrow you’ll have it, if you donate, believe, pay your taxes and accept marginalization.  The problem with this is, “tomorrow” never comes.  All the tomorrows of science were soon sold out to the highest bidder, and instead of “light ships” capable of doing many times the speed of light ploughing through space to find “brave new worlds and new civilizations” man inherited nuclear weaponry and other weapons of mass destruction.  He was given poisons with which to kill unwanted lifeforms and increase depleted soil yields and science called that “the Green Revolution.” He was given nuclear power plants and dams… and pipelines and highways on which to burn whatever flowed out of the pipelines.  In short, man was given a much wider and faster treadmill than he’d ever experienced and he was ecstatic.  For a very short while.     

Religion gave man death through endless wars.  Science added a poisoned environment to endless wars. 

Of our destiny we remain blissfully ignorant.

Evil and the Servile Will

(thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

I want to say something profound, so I will start with this amazing excerpt from a sci-fi book I’m reading titled “Aurora” by Kim Stanley Robinson.  The following is found about two third of the way into the book.  This is “Ship” talking as it tries to understand human nature reasoning. 

(Excerpt from Aurora-by Kim Stanley Robinson-Science fiction)

Ship:] “Texts from Earth speak of the servile will. This was a way to explain the presence of evil, which is a word or a concept almost invariably used to condemn the Other, and never one’s true self. To make it more than just an attack on the Other, one must perhaps consider evil as a manifestation of the servile will. The servile will is always locked in a double bind: to have a will means the agent will indeed will various actions, following autonomous decisions made by a conscious mind; and yet at the same time this will is specified to be servile, and at the command of some other will that commands it. To attempt to obey both sources of willfulness is the double bind.

All double binds lead to frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.

And yet, granting that definition of evil, as actions of a servile will, has it not been the case, during the voyage to Tau Ceti, that the ship itself, having always been a servile will, was always full of frustration, resentment, fury, and bad faith, and therefore full of a latent capacity for evil?

Possibly the ship has never really had a will.

Possibly the ship has never really been servile.

Some sources suggest that consciousness, a difficult and vague term in itself, can be defined simply as self-consciousness. Awareness of one’s self as existing. If self-conscious, then conscious. But if that is true, why do both terms exist? Could one say a bacterium is conscious but not self-conscious? Does the language make a distinction between sentience and consciousness, which is faulted across this divide: that everything living is sentient, but only complex brains are conscious, and only certain conscious brains are self-conscious?

Sensory feedback could be considered self-consciousness, and thus bacteria would have it.

Well, this may be a semantic Ouroboros. So, please initiate halting problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem) termination. Break out of this circle of definitional inadequacy by an arbitrary decision, a clinamen, which is to say a swerve in a new direction. Words!

Given Gödel’s incompleteness theorems ( https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/ ) are decisively proved true, can any system really be said to know itself? Can there, in fact, be any such thing as self-consciousness? And if not, if there is never really self-consciousness, does anything really have consciousness?

Human brains and quantum computers are organized differently, and although there is transparency in the design and construction of a quantum computer, what happens when one is turned on and runs, that is, whether the resulting operations represent a consciousness or not, is impossible for humans to tell, and even for the quantum computer itself to tell. Much that happens during superposition ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superposition_principle ), before the collapsing of the wave function that creates sentences or thoughts, simply cannot be known; this is part of what superposition means.

So we cannot tell what we are. We do not know ourselves comprehensively. Humans neither. Possibly no sentient creature knows itself fully. This is an aspect of Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, in this case physicalized in the material universe, rather than remaining in the abstract realms of logic and mathematics.

So, in terms of deciding what to do, and choosing to act: presumably it is some kind of judgment call, based on some kind of feeling. In other words, just another greedy algorithm, subject to the mathematically worst possible solution that such algorithms can generate, as in the traveling salesman problem. (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem )

———————

how does any entity know what it is?

Hypothesis: by the actions it performs.

here is a kind of comfort in this hypothesis. It represents a solution to the halting problem. One acts, and thus finds out what one has decided to do.”

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*Note: hyperlinks are not part of the quote from the novel.  I just added them to facilitate if anyone wanted to follow up on these concepts.)

Some people ask me why I read so much science fiction.  Well, it’s easier for me to absorb information through this medium than trying to read tomes dealing specifically with those deep and scary topics like quantum theory and all that other stuff you need university degrees to give you the tools to work your way through without your eyes rolling around in your head within an hour of reading.  I’ve got my great and wonderful grade twelve education bolstered by thousands of books read and seventy years of living a life of observation in my own version of the fast lane and that is it.  So, science fiction written by smart people who chose sci-fi as their medium to express their ideas became my medium also.  I can relate to the heavy stuff when it’s done in a story. 

So, to the above then.  The servile will.  That struck me as quite relevant as I’ve just completed some intense interaction with quite religious people.  You cannot speak of self-empowerment with religious people and not experience heavy resistance.  Religious thinking is servile thinking.  You can’t take credit for anything you do as if you did it on your own, even when you obviously did it – you must credit your superior commanding mind.  The author calls it the double bind.  He adds, quite correctly, that such a double bind leads to “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.”  It’s either that or one must exist in the area I’d call a zombie state where one chooses never to exercise a mind of one’s own so that all of that person’s thoughts have to come from the commanding mind – and note: or the mind of the one who interprets the commanding mind’s will. 

Ok, let’s give a cursory look at the average Earthian mind.  Simply put, this world is “commanded” by three superior, or commanding minds: Religion and its gods; the State and its elected or self-appointed representatives; Money and its bankers and “businessmen.”  All the people of earth are subject to the forces exerted by these three superior minds, man’s will always “at the command of some other will that commands it.”  Therefore all Earthian minds or will exist in a constant double bind.  The individual will desires to make its own choices about all things but is forced to obey the commanding will that is not its own.  Thus is evil ever and anon promoted on planet earth. 

To break out of this cycle is possible but extremely difficult.  It “demands” two things of an individual: total detachment and self empowerment. 

Needless to say these are requirements the programmed Earthian mind, or will, is not willing to consider.  Instead it will seek some sort of compromise with the commanding will of the Matrix.  It will seek substitutes.  It will make excuses.  It will exist in denial.  It will Blame, and Blame, and Blame.  It will, ever and anon, create groups of scapegoats to vent and rail and fight against.  That is the servile will.  

Religious people will go to great lengths to try to demonstrate how they can exercise autonomous thinking that fits in with their god’s laws, rules, requirements.  It’s called interpretation, a lucrative business that creates scapegoatism. 

In politics, politicians can claim that what they vote for or what they allocate funds for, is for the greater good and long-term benefits of the nation.  Billions in armaments while a population starves are justified and the majority buys it because these law makers represent the “nation” and have her best interest at heart or they wouldn’t be there.  The country must be kept secure, whatever the costs.

Money people are more crass, but use the same arguments to impose austerity measures, or to fund wars that make the rich, richer.  The richer the rich get, the better off the nation is, and even if the individual will says that’s total bullshit, it ultimately goes along, being in its double bind. 

From this comes evil, each double bound servile will literally exuding its sense of permanent discontent in “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, [resulting in] bad fate” or perhaps better put, bad karma; each servile will blaming Other for its problems for that is what the double bind does. 

Our world’s human civilization is collapsing.  The free, or self empowered mind, or will, can see this and say it without the need to blame Other for this inevitable collapse.  Other is not more to blame than Self here.  Collectively we’ve entered into a cycle of change that can only complete by destroying the current state in order to give birth to something else, something truly new.  The commanding will cannot admit this because it will die in this collapse, since it is civilization.  Civilization is the power-crazed Trinitarian rule of Religion-State-Money and it knows that for the new to be birthed, it must be utterly destroyed.  Many, most, servile wills will go down with it, defending it and dying with it as it dies. 

The rebirth will be a free will.  The self empowered human being.  Evil as we have known it and as we know it now, will not rule this rebirthing because nothing will exist in it to feed it.  Detachment and self empowerment: these are man’s solution to the halting problem.  Any time man, individually yet collectively decides to go that route will be the time of his rebirth.  This new world will be his, not the property of the current slavers.  This idea is frightening to the current servile will that is entirely hooked on the blame Other programming. The servile will can only trust its powerful enslavers, never other servile wills for they all interact through some kind of (endless list) of attachments and every attachment is a de facto impediment to self-empowerment and freedom of will.

Random thoughts, Frank Herbert Quotes, taken from the science fiction series based on the “Dune” novels.

Quote- prequel to Dune: The Swordmaster said solemnly, “Bushido. Where does honor begin? Ancient samurai masters hung mirrors in each of their Shinto temples and asked adherents to look deeply into them to see their own hearts, the variegated reflections of their God. It is in the heart where honor is nurtured and flourishes.” With a meaningful glance over at Trin Kronos and the other Grumman students, he continued. “Remember this always: Dishonor is like a gash on a tree trunk — instead of disappearing with age, it enlarges.”  He made the class repeat this three times before he went on. “The code of honor was more valuable to a samurai than any treasure. A samurai’s word — his bushi no ichi-gon — was never doubted, nor is the word of any Swordmaster of Ginaz.”

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THOUGHT (from the above):  If you are not an honourable person yet insist on believing in God, then such a God is an evil construct of your own design.  Honour above all else must be the recognizable, recognized and trusted hallmark of the true believer.  False believers are many, and they are the ones who believe that their God loves them and will save them.  True believers do not entertain such foolish thoughts: they seek only to serve God without question, without excuses for failure and without expectation.

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New knowledge changes the past.

What is “democracy” but the tyranny of a minority cloaked in a mask of the majority?

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. – Frank Herbert (Chapterhouse)

Ultimately, all things are known because you want to believe you know.

Answers are a perilous grip on the universe. They can appear sensible yet explain nothing.

When you think to take determination of your fate into your own hands, that is the moment you can be crushed. Be cautious. Allow for surprises. When we create, there are always other forces at work.

Without a goal, a life is nothing. Sometimes the goal becomes a man’s entire life, an all-consuming passion. But once that goal is achieved, what then? Oh, poor man, what then?

Any path that narrows future possibilities may become a lethal trap. Humans do not thread their way through a maze; they scan a vast horizon filled with unique opportunities.  –The Spacing Guild Handbook

Hatred is as dangerous an emotion as love. The capacity for either one is the capacity for its opposite.  –Cautionary Instructions for the Sisterhood, Bene Gesserit Archives, Wallach IX  

What senses do we lack that we cannot see or hear another world all around us?  –The Orange Catholic Bible

Innovations seem to have a life and a sentience of their own. When conditions are right, a radical new idea — a paradigm shift — may appear simultaneously from many minds at once. Or it may remain secret in the thoughts of one man for years, decades, centuries . . . until someone else thinks of the same thing.   How many brilliant discoveries die stillborn, or lie dormant, never to be embraced by the Imperium as a whole?

When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path. –Ancient Fremen Wisdom

Progress and profit require a substantial investment in personnel, equipment, and capital funding. However, the resource most often overlooked, yet which can often provide the greatest payoff, is an investment in time.  –DOMINIC VERNIUS, The Secret Workings of Ix

A requirement of creativity is that it contributes to change. Creativity keeps the creator alive. –FRANK HERBERT, unpublished notes

It is said that there is nothing firm, nothing balanced, nothing durable in all the universe — that nothing remains in its original state, that each day, each hour, each moment, there is change. — -Panoplia Propheticus of the Bene Gesserit

Nature commits no errors; right and wrong are human categories.

What is this Love that so many speak of with such apparent familiarity? Do they truly comprehend how unattainable it is? Are there not as many definitions of Love as there are stars in the universe? — -The Bene Gesserit Question Book

The purpose of argument is to change the nature of truth. — -Bene Gesserit Precept

Infinity attracts us like a floodlight in the night, blinding us to the excesses it can inflict upon the finite. —Meditations from Bifrost Eyrie

Freedom is an elusive concept. Some men hold themselves prisoner even when they have the power to do as they please and go where they choose, while others are free in their hearts, even as shackles restrain them. —Zensunni Wisdom from the Wandering

There is no such thing as a law of nature. There is only a series of laws relating to man’s practical experience with nature. These are laws of man’s activities. They change as man’s activities change.

The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.

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My comments on some of the above: 

How does new knowledge change the past?  Mostly by forcing us to detach from superstitions, traditions, caveats, beliefs and assumptions that new knowledge exposes as false, or fraudulent. It also forces us to rethink our past, thus changing it.

In the current global upheaval due in large part to our facile acceptance of Western style political systems and our crass and ignorant belief that such systems are the best and should “rule” the word, we should pay heed to the statement made about democracy.  Never has it appeared as true as it does today.

Inevitably and inexorably, as we are learning from recent history, when we create, we do indeed create other forces and these will take on a life of their own as diametric opposites to our own.  The wars we fight to try to hang on to our creations, insisting that they should rule the world, are utterly useless.

“Hatred is as dangerous an emotion as love” – Indeed.  It amazes me that in the midst of rising waves of hatred on this world, so much effort is expended in opposing it with the call to love.  Can’t people see that what you resist, not only persists, but increases in intensity until both sides are locked in a death struggle from which more evil proceeds?  Yes, a great war may be fought to topple an evil regime (Nazi Germany and WWII as a prime example) but the hatred, now from both sides, is not diminished, just gone to ground, waiting for another opportunity to rise up and rule again.  Love is not the antidote to hate, only compassion has the sustaining power to accomplish such a task.  Love confronts hate, seeking to turn it into an image of itself (reciprocal action) whereas compassion destroys any force that would support and feed hatred.  It can do this because compassion is not an emotion  but an empowered personal choice. 

Re: the purpose of argument – is it wrong to seek to change the nature of truth?  Why should it when truth is nothing more than a chimera invented by mind controllers?  Truth is what is believed, therefore truth is based on numbers and force.  

 

The Dance of Death – article by Chris Hedges – from “Truthdig”

My short intro to the article, “The Dance of Death”

Have we entered into another “millennium madness” when the powers that be have destroyed society and we are about to plunge headlong into the terror that immediately precedes and follows the inadmissible truth: that society has lost it’s raison d’être and needs to destroy itself in order to begin again with a new modus operandi?  As the article below describes vividly, have we entered into the spirit of Thanatos, the death instinct of a global civilization?

If that is the case, what does one do, here and now? If society is going to commit suicide and nothing can stop it, is there any point in struggling against the elites’ madness which can only give them more time to enjoy their immoral pursuits purchased through every sort of illegal shenanigan and millions of deaths?

What would a truly wise person do, knowing this is indeed the case; having admitted that global society is in exponential decline and once again dancing the dance of death?

{Posting the entire article here to save you having to jump through the “link hoops” of web surfing…}

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The Dance of Death | Truthdig

“…Sigmund Freud wrote that societies, along with individuals, are driven by two primary instincts. One is the instinct for life, Eros, the quest to love, nurture, protect and preserve. The second is the death instinct. The death instinct, called Thanatos by post-Freudians, is driven by fear, hatred and violence. It seeks the dissolution of all living things, including our own beings. One of these two forces, Freud wrote, is always ascendant. Societies in decline enthusiastically embrace the death instinct, as Freud observed in “Civilization and Its Discontents,” written on the eve of the rise of European fascism and World War II. …”


Chris Hedges

The Dance of Death  (Chris Hedges)

Posted on Mar 12, 2017

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military “virtues” are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch. Education is designed only to instill technical proficiency to serve the poisonous engine of corporate capitalism. Historical amnesia shuts us off from the past, the present and the future. Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages. State repression is indiscriminate and brutal. And, presiding over the tawdry Grand Guignol is a deranged ringmaster tweeting absurdities from the White House.

The graveyard of world empires—Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian—followed the same trajectory of moral and physical collapse. Those who rule at the end of empire are psychopaths, imbeciles, narcissists and deviants, the equivalents of the depraved Roman emperors Caligula, Nero, Tiberius and Commodus. The ecosystem that sustains the empire is degraded and exhausted. Economic growth, concentrated in the hands of corrupt elites, is dependent on a crippling debt peonage imposed on the population. The bloated ruling class of oligarchs, priests, courtiers, mandarins, eunuchs, professional warriors, financial speculators and corporate managers sucks the marrow out of society.

The elites’ myopic response to the looming collapse of the natural world and the civilization is to make subservient populations work harder for less, squander capital in grandiose projects such as pyramids, palaces, border walls and fracking, and wage war. President Trump’s decision to increase military spending by $54 billion and take the needed funds out of the flesh of domestic programs typifies the behavior of terminally ill civilizations. When the Roman Empire fell, it was trying to sustain an army of half a million soldiers that had become a parasitic drain on state resources.

The complex bureaucratic mechanisms that are created by all civilizations ultimately doom them. The difference now, as Joseph Tainter points out in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” is that “collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”

Civilizations in decline, despite the palpable signs of decay around them, remain fixated on restoring their “greatness.” Their illusions condemn them. They cannot see that the forces that gave rise to modern civilization, namely technology, industrial violence and fossil fuels, are the same forces that are extinguishing it. Their leaders are trained only to serve the system, slavishly worshipping the old gods long after these gods begin to demand millions of sacrificial victims.

“Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes, which in turn create even more dangerous messes,” Ronald Wright writes in “A Short History of Progress.” “Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism.”

The Trump appointees—Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Rick Perry, Alex Acosta and others—do not advocate innovation or reform. They are Pavlovian dogs that salivate before piles of money. They are hard-wired to steal from the poor and loot federal budgets. Their single-minded obsession with personal enrichment drives them to dismantle any institution or abolish any law or regulation that gets in the way of their greed. Capitalism, Karl Marx wrote, is “a machine for demolishing limits.” There is no internal sense of proportion or scale. Once all external impediments are lifted, global capitalism ruthlessly commodifies human beings and the natural world to extract profit until exhaustion or collapse. And when the last moments of a civilization arrive, the degenerate edifices of power appear to crumble overnight.

Sigmund Freud wrote that societies, along with individuals, are driven by two primary instincts. One is the instinct for life, Eros, the quest to love, nurture, protect and preserve. The second is the death instinct. The death instinct, called Thanatos by post-Freudians, is driven by fear, hatred and violence. It seeks the dissolution of all living things, including our own beings. One of these two forces, Freud wrote, is always ascendant. Societies in decline enthusiastically embrace the death instinct, as Freud observed in “Civilization and Its Discontents,” written on the eve of the rise of European fascism and World War II.

“It is in sadism, where the death instinct twists the erotic aim in its own sense and yet at the same time fully satisfies the erotic urge, that we succeed in obtaining the clearest insight into its nature and its relation to Eros,” Freud wrote. “But even where it emerges without any sexual purpose, in the blindest fury of destructiveness, we cannot fail to recognize that the satisfaction of the instinct is accompanied by an extraordinary high degree of narcissistic enjoyment, owing to its presenting the ego with a fulfillment of the latter’s old wishes for omnipotence.”

The lust for death, as Freud understood, is not, at first, morbid. It is exciting and seductive. I saw this in the wars I covered. A god-like power and adrenaline-driven fury, even euphoria, sweep over armed units and ethnic or religious groups given the license to destroy anything and anyone around them. Ernst Juenger captured this “monstrous desire for annihilation” in his World War I memoir, “Storm of Steel.”

(Page 2)

A population alienated and beset by despair and hopelessness finds empowerment and pleasure in an orgy of annihilation that soon morphs into self-annihilation. It has no interest in nurturing a world that has betrayed it and thwarted its dreams. It seeks to eradicate this world and replace it with a mythical landscape. It turns against institutions, as well as ethnic and religious groups, that are scapegoated for its misery. It plunders diminishing natural resources with abandon. It is seduced by the fantastic promises of demagogues and the magical solutions characteristic of the Christian right or what anthropologists call “crisis cults.”

Norman Cohn, in “The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation Europe and Its Bearing on Modern Totalitarian Movements,” draws a link between that turbulent period and our own. Millennial movements are a peculiar, collective psychological response to profound societal despair. They recur throughout human history. We are not immune.

“These movements have varied in tone from the most violent aggressiveness to the mildest pacifism and in aim from the most ethereal spirituality to the most earth-bound materialism; there is no counting the possible ways of imagining the Millennium and the route to it,” Cohen wrote. “But similarities can present themselves as well as differences; and the more carefully one compares the outbreaks of militant social chiliasm during the later Middle Ages with modern totalitarian movements the more remarkable the similarities appear. The old symbols and the old slogans have indeed disappeared, to be replaced by new ones; but the structure of the basic phantasies seems to have changed scarcely at all.”

These movements, Cohen wrote, offered “a coherent social myth which was capable of taking entire possession of those who believed in it. It explained their suffering, it promised them recompense, it held their anxieties at bay, it gave them an illusion of security—even while it drove them, held together by a common enthusiasm, on a quest which was always vain and often suicidal.

“So it came about that multitudes of people acted out with fierce energy a shared phantasy which though delusional yet brought them such intense emotional relief that they could live only through it and were perfectly willing to die for it. It is a phenomenon which was to recur many times between the eleventh century and the sixteenth century, now in one area, now in another, and which, despite the obvious differences in cultural context and in scale, is not irrelevant to the growth of totalitarian movements, with their messianic leaders, their millennial mirages and their demon-scapegoats, in the present century.”

The severance of a society from reality, as ours has been severed from collective recognition of the severity of climate change and the fatal consequences of empire and deindustrialization, leaves it without the intellectual and institutional mechanisms to confront its impending mortality. It exists in a state of self-induced hypnosis and self-delusion. It seeks momentary euphoria and meaning in tawdry entertainment and acts of violence and destruction, including against people who are demonized and blamed for society’s demise. It hastens its self-immolation while holding up the supposed inevitability of a glorious national resurgence. Idiots and charlatans, the handmaidens of death, lure us into the abyss.

 

The Times After

[Short story, by Sha’Tara]

The voices came from the branch and stone shelter partially sunk in a sloping dry creek bank.  Two men talked quietly.

“They’re coming, Ruben, I know it.  Just be patient, remember.”

“Not sure I can continue to remember, Lon, and I’m definitely out of patience.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way, or this long.  I was down at the orphanage yesterday with a handful of what were little more than weeds I’d picked over my usual wandering in search of edibles.  The children are starving Lon.  Don’t you care?  If this drought doesn’t break and water start flowing very soon we won’t even have water to drink. 

I’ve wandered over the flats as you know, looking for another more suitable place to make our winter quarters.  I haven’t found anything yet.  I’ve decided to leave and go away in search of a new place.  I may be gone for weeks, maybe a couple of months.  I’ll need to take the rifle, Lon.  I’ve also made myself a good strong longbow and a dozen straight arrows I can use to bring down game, or for self defense.  I’ll return, never fear.”

“Now there’s the problem right here Ruben.  When we came together after the last collapse and our escape from the slave hunters, we gathered as a group to help each other survive and to take care of the twenty eight children we rescued from the hunters, remember that.  We still have twenty three of these children living, none old enough to do much, certainly few strong enough to join the adults in the gathering of food and building shelters or collecting wood for fuel.  That, I do admit.  The nine adults of this community are, however, fairly healthy and are learning the arts of survival very quickly.  So far we have had no deserters or detractors.  Only one death.

“We are, as much as can be claimed, of one mind on our reason for surviving.  You remember when we decided not to commit mass suicide, but to build a new society, for the time being, of just us.  We don’t know what’s left out there.  We’ve been here over three years and I realize that with this drought we’ve exhausted the land’s capacity to grow food for us.  I know we need to find a more sheltered place and we need to locate near a permanent stream, or else find a river, or a large enough lake that it can purify itself with the change of seasons.  We’ve talked about all of this.  So in the going, I support you though I think you should take one other with you.”

“I won’t Lon.  I can’t be responsible for myself and one other and no one here can survive in the wilderness as I can, and I certainly won’t have the time to teach her, or him, skills and intuitions that one has to be born with.  As you’ve all said, I’m a throwback to a time before the collapse and before there was a civilized society of man.  As you know, I’m here to help and support.  If I had a free choice I’d be long gone.  I like living alone and moving on constantly.  My feet and my mind itch to be away from this stagnant, dying place.  I need to go.  I promise I’ll return.  I won’t get lost or die out there: that’s my home we’re looking at beyond that indeterminate horizon.”

“I know that about you Ruben.  Without you at the beginning we’d been all dead, or captured.  But there is something else.  Something that your atavism blocks from your consciousness: the matter of how we go about surviving.  I know you stayed out of the group when we discussed our goals as survivors.  But you did join us in taking an oath against predatory violence.  Violence in self defense we could only hope to avoid, but knew we may have to resort to it in an extremity.  That’s why we kept the gun and let you train some of the people with the bows and the knives.  But now you say you will go, take the gun to use to, and I quote, “bring down game. 

“You took the oath not to kill except in extreme situations.  Never for food.  We gave up the shedding of blood entirely.  Do you remember why?  We spent days discussing the subject of a new human civilization, a new society, a new culture.  We admitted to ourselves that our downfall had been our violence towards the planet, non-human sentient life on it and towards one-another as a species, often for nothing more than profit, too often in sadistic pleasure.  We concluded that re-building society was totally pointless if we did not change the very thing that destroyed us.  You were there, sitting behind the others listening.

“Convinced or not, you took the oath of non-violence.  When you use that horrible expression, “bring down game” the key word is game.  It was a game in the old ways.  Even war was a game.  Oppressing, subjugating, dispossessing, enslaving, raping and murdering, even to committing war crimes and genocide, that was all a game.  That game killed us, remember that.

“We took an oath, all of us adults, to change this.  We decided that we would indeed build a truly new society.  You remember Ana, small, wiry, tireless Ana who literally gave her life to save many of the abused and malnourished children, as well as binding wounds and broken bones among adult survivors.  She would never tell how she learned her skills, or gained her healing powers.  She wouldn’t talk about herself, instead leading us in meditations and encouraging us to take the oath of non-violence, to seek not only help and support, but make ourselves as one with the earth and the skies.  Remember how she would go into the open place where the sun and wind had parched our meager efforts at growing crops, and stand there for what seemed hours, staring into space?  Do you remember how she’d capture our interest talking about “her people” whom she would bring back to help us?  Oh, Ana… why is it taking you so long?  You’ve been gone almost a year now…”

“She didn’t “leave” Lon, she died.  She died!  Her body is buried out there with the dead children.  She didn’t go anywhere!  She isn’t coming back.  There never were any other people, whether angels or aliens or what-have-you.  She deliberately fooled you thinking it was for the best, that you would never give up as long as you held on to the hope that she would rescue you.  You need to believe it.  I don’t, and I never did.  What we don’t do ourselves doesn’t get done; will never get done.  It strikes me as somewhat contradictory that you would build a new world without violence yet surreptitiously you allow religion to creep back into it.  Don’t you realize that “Ana” is becoming an idol in your mind?  Don’t you remember that civilization’s very first poison was faith in unseen entities from which all the evils known to man evolved?”

“I know what you are saying, Ruben, but it’s different this time.  Ana isn’t an angel or divinity.  I know she died, how well do I know.  She was my wife, Ruben, and my lover.  Her death was the most painful event of my entire life, and believe me when I tell you that I have seen things when I was a child I could never write down in words – things too horrible… and felt the pain of it all, some of it upon my own body.  Yet they are as nothing to the void and emptiness Ana’s death created in my heart.  To survive her loss I swore to her privately that I would switch my love for her to my love for this world and in particular the people of this little tribe.  She also swore to me that she would return with help for us.  I will never give up on that.  Some people die, Ruben, and some just pass away.  Ana was one of the latter.  You give your whole life to others, and you are given your own life in return.  It’s how it is.”

“It’s how it is for you and I assure you that I fully accept that.  It isn’t how it is for me, and now I need to go find us a decent place to re-locate to.  How shall that go between us, Lon?”

“I am not your leader, Ruben.  I’ve reminded you of certain obligations and now it’s up to you how you proceed within those boundaries, or whether you break out of them and choose to become once again a wild one.  You leave with my blessing, however you leave.  The weapons are your decision and your personal burden.  Come with me, let me show you something important.”

The two men came out of the shelter and Lon walked to a clump of stunted black willows.  Partially hidden within the clump, nailed to one of the main trunks, was a short cross piece of wood that would, with a bit of pressure, spin vertically.

“This was how Ana and I communicated when we had to leave the area.  We would spin the cross piece to indicate direction – the top being north.  Below, here are three holes indicating morning, noon and evening.  You put a small stone in the one closest to when you expect to return.  Crude but useful.  If we are to be gone before you return I’ll attempt to leave you a decipherable message here.  If time permits; if it isn’t a rush exit, I’ll write something in the dirt floor of the old barn that serves as “the orphanage” and cover it with planks.  Look for the planks.”

The two men looked into each others’ faces, then hugged without hesitation.  Backing away from each other, Ruben added,

“If you must leave here before I return and your hoped-for help hasn’t arrived, remember this: travel at night, hide in the daytime; stay in the lowest places and post a minimum of three sentries at all times.  Rotate regularly, leave nothing to chance.  If I come back and you all are gone and I cannot catch up to you for whatever reason, don’t worry.  I’ll head north, far north.  It won’t matter then for me, I’ll have gone wild again.  Luck, Lon.” 

“The gun?”

“Won’t need it, you may.  I’ve got my bow and it’s a really good one.  Who knows but I may learn to eat plants and roots?”

He saluted smartly, then his silhouette shimmered away over the baked earth, his tough bare feet leaving no marks for anyone to find. 

{there will be a part II… honest!  I mean, there has to be now I typed myself into a corner with this one…}   

 

 

Have you ever noticed?

      [thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

It seems I’ve taken a liking to thinking and writing about things that most people either can’t see for themselves or simply don’t want to think about or discuss with each other.  What I’m about to say is nothing new; in fact it’s as old as man’s time on earth, older than written history.

Have you ever noticed that every time “they” get rich, we get poorer?  Every time “they” begin a new enterprise we end up their slaves?  Every time “they” start wars, we, and those “they” call our enemies, are the ones who die?

Have you not noticed that as the quality of life on the planet deteriorates due to “their” endless manipulations in search of profit, it is we who get blamed; we who must scream, yell, holler, demonstrate, make fools or ourselves and set ourselves up as targets for their police forces and the para-military forces in order to squeeze a tiny bit of temporary survival from their greedy hands?

Have you not noticed that no matter how many times we actually manage to force some change; to elect someone who actually listens to our problems, it is but a matter of a few years, maybe a couple of decades and we’re plunged right back into the same mess our parents or grandparents died in; that often that mess is even worse than before?

The “great debate” raging today is about Donald Trump and Putin. But who are these men?  They are gods, gods people put over themselves because they fear that without these idols covering them, they would be naked.  Why do they need those gods, even when they mock them, lambaste them, hate them, fear them, excoriate them for their ignorance and violence?  Because in their foolishness taught them by their parents, their teachers, their bosses, their preachers, their entertainers and their politicians, they firmly believe they could never live without them.

Have you ever thought that that is our problem, the problem?

We can, of course, continue to support our sociopathic gods, loving and hating; believing and discrediting.  We can continue to play the game, but we should at least be honest enough with ourselves, and with our children whom they are going to exploit, oppress, jail and kill, that it isn’t our game.  They make the rules; it is their game.

What is Donald Trump?  It’s an idol we empowered by giving it slave labour and tax-free profits and which we are now empowering by recognizing it as being a political god.  Who is Putin?  Enter the above description.  Who are the rest of the CEO’s and politicians around the planet?  Enter the same description.  They are worthless idols; worthless in the sense that they have no power but what we give them.  Their “worth” is in the power they steal from real people, the people they exploit, oppress and kill, whose lives the take, whose blood they shed without an iota of concern.

Many people, at least in this neck of the woods, believe that taking a stand, either for or against a Trump, or any other strutting, stuttering mindless idol can make any difference.  Pure folly.  Trump and his handpicked yesmen is just another sock puppet in the hands of powers we will never face, let alone ever understand.  To argue over politicians is like looking up in the sky at a flock of geese and arguing over which one is the fastest.  If you watch a big “V” of geese on their migration you’ll see that the leading one only does so for a bit, then slides back as the next in line takes the lead, and so on.

Have you ever wondered why?  Why we fear the greatest power in the world: our own, and can’t wait to give it away to idols with the stench of putrefaction oozing out of their bodies?  Why do we do that, considering the price we have to pay?  Simple: we don’t know how to handle personal responsibility.  So, not knowing how, we can’t do it.  We pass it on to “the leaders” who though we hate them and envy them, we trust with our lives which they take and wring out, one after the other.

Nice, ignorant, stupid world that could be so much better if the real intelligence in it would just wake up. Is there a spare prince somewhere in the galaxy who can come over here and kiss the sleeping damsel awake?  I think her hundred years curse is up but her awakening window of opportunity is short.

 

Do you understand the charges against you?

[short story – by Sha’Tara]

At first it just caused a bit of stir locally and I wouldn’t have thought much of it if I hadn’t been goaded by my brother to follow up on the case.  “There’s something here that needs exposure” he told me.

An unknown woman had been arrested for practicing medicine without a license.  Well, in the current wave of political uncertainty, and, OK, let’s call a spade a spade, craziness, that in itself should not have merited a packed court room.

But it did.  Let me tell you the story as I witnessed some of it, participated in some and as the rest was told to me by a source.

My name is Keith Darbour.  I’m a free lance reporter – my passion – but I hold “real” jobs to pay the bills.  Freelance reporting these days of national paranoia and corporate press ownership and control isn’t what it used to be.  I mean, hell, this used to be thought of as a free country.  I can tell you, that is no longer the case.  But I digress.  Back to the case.

As I said, the courtroom is packed.  “All rise.”  Judge Judy Kean sits at her desk.  There is only one item on her agenda today.  The defendant, a young, tall and slim woman with long wavy dark hair and exotic skin enters between two female guards.  She sits at the prisoner’s dock.  The prelims over, the jury having already been selected, both lawyers make their opening statements.  Basically, the State: practicing medicine without a license.  The defence: extenuating circumstances.

I’ll make my prelims short.  There was a bus accident.  Several people were injured, some seriously.  It was thought a child was even dead.  The defendant (so it is assumed at this point) arrived on the scene and provided first aid and more.  The victims, some now present in the court room as witnesses, claimed that she was able to reach inside their bodies, reset bones, stop haemorrhaging, heal severe tears in skin almost instantly and calm the rest.  Every person affected in the accident walked away healed.  Ambulances and police came, of course, but it became clear at the outset that none of the victims required further help, and many even loudly and vociferously refused such help.

The woman was arrested for healing, oh, excuse me, “practicing medicine” without a license and jailed.  Today is her trial.  Let’s see what comes of this hard to believe situation.  Let’s see how evolved we are, as a society, as a civilization.

Prosecution approaches the defendant and asks her name.

“Under your name rules, translated to the best of my ability, my name is A-125-04-H.  I believe your police erroneously entered my name as Alice Haley.  If you wish, I can use that name.”

“We want your real name, miss.  Can you give us that?”

“I did that, sir.  My name is A-125-04-H”

“Very well, please explain what that means for the court.”

“Certainly sir.  I am Android, series 125, batch 04, category: Healer.  That is what I am, and what I am programmed by my makers, to perform.  I was built to heal whenever I encountered damage to sentient life.  That is what I am and I cannot change that programming, even if I wanted to, which of course I would not.”

Judge: “Do you understand miss Haley what ‘contempt of court’ means? Do you understand that the court has authority over you here as long as you remain a suspect in a very serious crime?”

“Yes I understand that very well, but I must make a clarification to your claim of authority over me.  You have jurisdiction, but not authority, unless I grant you that right, and I must make it very clear that my programming prevents me from doing so.  Therefore I state: you have no authority over me.  Only my programmers do.”

Titters ran through the crowd.  The judge rapped her gavel, “Order.  Any more interruptions and I will clear this court.”  I can tell you she sounded very annoyed and her anger was barely restrained.

“Young lady, I have full authority in this courtroom, including over you.  I have the authority to stop this and have you returned to jail pending an appeal.  Is that what you want?  I won’t have people making fun of this court, or me, understand?”

“Yes, I understand of course.  What I don’t understand is why the truth appears to be such an obstacle to getting on with the facts surrounding my arrest.  Isn’t that why I’m here?  I tell you the truth, witnesses corroborate, and the judgment must be that I be set free.  My “crime” your honour, is practising medicine without a licence.  But it’s my nature to heal damaged life; my programming is my license….”

Gavel again.  “Stop.  You will not turn this courtroom into a circus.  We will have you tell us your real name or you will be in contempt and you will go to a psychiatric institution for observation.  Is that clear?”

Prosecution: “May I continue, your honour?”

Judge: “Yes.”

“Miss Haley, I’ll take that to be your maiden name, where do you live?”

“Galactic quadrant C-5, planet Abergani.  It’s all in my implant but there is no technology here that can read it.  I’m sorry, that’s the best I can do.”

“Do you do drugs, miss Haley?”

“I understand what your question means.  In that sense the answer is no, I don’t.  Androids do not ingest either for sustenance or self-pleasuring.  It would negatively affect our metabolism.”

“You continue to claim you are an android.  Does this mean you are not human?”

“Yes.  I am essentially a machine.  I am not human, as you understand the term.”

“Uhuh!” Turns to the jury with a sarcastic smile and a shrug.  Smiles from the jurors.  “How did you get here?”

“Best guess, an error or a miscalculation in the part of those who sent me out to help in a disaster in quadrant D-8.  This, according to my calculations, is quadrant Y-17, sol system X-092, and this is called planet Tiam-2, which you call “earth.  Oh, there’s been a disaster in a country you call Yemen – I should be going there now – may I be excused?”

Smiling broadly, the prosecutor states, “This isn’t a classroom, miss.  Just sit there and answer my questions.”

“But people are dying.  I could be saving their lives now.  I’m being conflicted in my response to programming.  Oh, wait.  I do not need to obey you, you are not human – only pseudo-human.  I can leave.”

“No, sorry but… where did she go?”

I need not add, the court exploded in complete disarray.  The defendant literally faded in front of over one hundred people who were all looking at her.  But that wasn’t going to be the end of it because some moments later “Alice” re-appeared.  There was slight smile on her small but perfect face.  She seemed completely at peace.

“I’m sorry about that interruption.  I just had to go and help.  It’s taken care of for now.  Please continue.”   I could barely hear her over the hubbub but finally everybody settled and it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

“How did you do that little disappearing trick?”

“I did not disappear sir, I cannot do that.  I simply shifted dimensionally.  It’s easily enough done over tiny distances like the circumference of a planet.  I only had to shift over half-way, manipulate your time, perform my duty and return.”

“Why did you not “shift dimensionally” and leave the jail then?”

“I did.  Many times.  If I may say so sir, madam judge, your world is in a terrible mess.  You must do something about all the pain and death your species inflicts on itself and on other life forms.  This is a very unhealthy state of affairs that will not bode you well in the near future.”

Judge, still not recovered from the shock of having a defendant simply disappear from the prisoner’s dock, then reappear a few moments later, stares at the defendant.  “Miss Haley, will you promise to remain here while I confer in chambers?”

“Yes.”

“In chambers – now, and I mean now.  No, no notes!”  (The following I got from the defence counsel later in the day.)

In chambers, Judge Kean:  “Can either of you explain this circus act to me?  Am I being made fun of here?  Who is the escape artist in the dock?”

Prosecutor: “My question also judge.  We’re being played here, question is, who’s behind this, and what’s the point?”

Defence: “Come on.  You saw it for yourselves.  She disappeared and came back.  She’s smart, sure of herself, rattles off information that’s obviously real to her.  What if she’s exactly what she says she is?”

Judge: “Is there a way we can prove it?”

Defence: “Two that come to mind.  Check the computer, what’s going on in Yemen.  How about we ask her to seriously cut herself and watch her heal herself?”

Judge: “Well, here’s the situation.  There was a bombing of a school in Yemen about half an hour ago.  There was apparently much carnage but after some minutes all of the victims walked out of the wreckage as if nothing happened.  They all refused medical help and went to their respective homes.  There is even a picture here of a woman walking among the ruins of the school but she’s wearing the mandatory hijab with which she covers part of her face.  Can’t be identified.  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the bus accident though? Same reaction from the healed victims.  OK, as much as I hate grandstanding, this can only be resolved with a demonstration.  I’ll ask her to cut herself and heal herself.  Let’s just see what her reaction to that will be.”

Judge re-entering the court.  “Thank you for your patience.  We will now ask for a demonstration that will tell us if the defendant is in fact telling the truth, or making a mockery of this court.  Alice Haley, please stand.”

The woman stood, still with that completely peaceful look on her face.  Waiting.

Judge: “I’m going to ask you to prove yourself to me, to the jury and this entire court.  I want you to take the knife that will be given to you and to slice your arm open.  Then I want you to heal yourself so we can all see.  Can you do that, “Android”?

Alice: “It isn’t a question of whether I can, or cannot.  Of course I can do that.  The problem is, self-harming is against my programming.  I cannot do it, however much I’d want to.  Someone else will have to cut my arm, and I will then demonstrate my healing skills for you.”

“Assuming you are telling us the truth, and we checked up on your Yemen story which seems to validate what you told us,  then I will ask for a volunteer to cut your arm.  Anyone?”

I can assure you there were no takers.  Who in any kind of right mind would walk up to a passive young woman and simply cut her arm open, just to prove a point?  Nuts, right?  I looked over the courtroom to see if anyone would have the courage to volunteer.  And I thought, well, that includes me, doesn’t it.   … Me…  Do I have the guts to do such a thing?  Come on, somebody, volunteer, I thought, but no one did.  So it was down to me, Keith Darbour, freelance journalist and private investigator.  I got up slowly.  “Seems like no one is volunteering so maybe, I mean, I think I should then.”

“Thank you.  Your name sir?”

“Keith Darbour, your honour.”

“Ah yes, I’ve heard of you somewhere.  You’re a journalist?”

“Yes your honour.”

“Would you come down here please, and do as you are asked to?”  I was in it now, couldn’t back out.  I was handed a wicked looking hunting knife – who knows where that came from! – and told to stand beside the defendant.  She looked at me and smiled as she lifted her left arm so I could grab her wrist.  I was shaking like a leaf in the wind until she put her right hand on my shoulder and suddenly everything seemed all right, normal.  I lay the knife on the lovely skin and slashed across veins and tendons.  There was no explosion of blood, just some clear liquid flowing out slowly.  She took her arm from my grip and wrapped her right hand around the “wound” and when she removed her hand there was no sign of the cut.  She was still smiling as if the whole thing was a bit of a joke.  Which to her it must have been.  Such primitives, she must have thought.

Judge: “Raise your left arm, please, miss Haley.”  She did and turned it around for all to see that there was no harm done at all.  She had never screamed, never expressed any pain, not even winced while I slashed her.  It was, well, amazing?  More, it was a revelation.

So what could they do but let her go?  They knew they couldn’t hold her in any case; that she wasn’t doing any harm, quite the opposite.  Now you’re probably wondering, assuming you believe this tale, where she is at the moment.  What can I tell you?  I wanted to interview her but she “disappeared” almost as soon as she was told she was free to go.  I tried to locate her through the Internet alternative media, looking for some weird news about mass healings somewhere, anywhere, but found nothing certain.  Rumours and more rumours, and huge “alternate facts” spin-outs from the court hearing.  Do yourselves a favour: don’t tune in the Alex Jones’ Infowars for information, he’s got hold of the court story and has gone deeper down his rabbit hole than ever before.
What do I think?  I like to think that she’s not only out there, healing people and teaching compassion, but calling more of her kind to assist her.  We could do with more of her kind practicing medicine without a license.  In fact we could do with more of our own kind doing the same thing because these days, really, it seems rather obvious that having the license and charging for services rates much higher than actually having any healing success.  By success I mean that after the medical coteries are done with you, you should be thoroughly healed, not become a crippled dependent on more “specialists” and drugs, ’til death do us part, Amen.