The God Fetish, the God Phobia, and the Fetish of Words: Or, The Idolatry of Ideology

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

There are some who will read my writing and think – he’s a dangerous right-winger! But if they read more, they will realize that is obviously untrue. Others will decide I am a dangerous leftist extremist; but if they read on, they will understand that I advocate non-violence, freedom, democracy and constitutional rights – and if that makes me a dangerous extremist in the minds of some, then I would say they are dangerously delusional.

Others will read my writing and declare that, while they may agree with some of it, or maybe most of it, they lose me when I venture into the realm of spirituality or religion. To them I would say, keep an open mind. “There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.”

And then there are the religious fundamentalists, the sectarians, and the religious ultra-conservatives, who will feel that I am dangerously open to foreign, exotic influences. To them I say, I don’t think God has a fetish of names, and He, or She, cares little for our cherished ideologies, dogmas or sects. She is far beyond such narrow confines of little minds.

As the Tao Te Ching says, “Naming is the mother of the ten thousand things.” “The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.”

Keep your cherished ideologies, philosophies, dogmas, theories or beliefs, clubs and sects, if you wish, but hold them lightly, or you will see nothing at all.

As always, “There is more day yet to dawn.”

JTR,
January 10, 2021

Primary Influences

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

What are my primary influences? Among them I would list these: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Buddhism, Taoism, the perennial philosophy, Joanna Macy, Thomas Merton, Joseph Campbell, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Thoreau, along with the values of the Enlightenment: liberty, equality, solidarity – which I would like to see both defended and preserved, and lived up to, and the sooner the better.

In short, we are our brother’s keeper. But if we fall either to callousness, or to authoritarianism and illusions of control, then there will be hell to pay, for we will make a living hell on Earth. That is the crux of what I believe, and what I have to say. The power is in our hands, as always. It is up to us how or whether we will use it.

There are myriad other influences; I’ve cited them in extensive footnotes and references, bibliographies and reading lists. But these are some of the primary ones. A quick search of my blog for “reading”, “philosophy”, and the like, or the short article, Flash-Drive Revolution, will provide a great many resources, along with my first two published books: Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite.

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I fear no truth, and fear no falsehood.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
– Thomas Paine

JTR,
January 10, 2021

The Definition Of A Warrior

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

Here is a good working definition of a warrior. Chogyam Trungpa or the 13th Dalai Lama can explain it better. (See, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and The Bodhisattva Warrior.) I am only a student of the sages, even if, as a scholar, my writing frankly has few peers. Nevertheless, I think the following thoughts are worthy of reflection.

A true warrior commits to compassionate action, for the benefit of all sentient beings, and commits to pursuing the truth, and speaking the truth, to that end. There is no other summary or definition of what it means to be a warrior that I feel has any merit, or at least, any real depth. That includes speaking the truth even when it is unpopular, even when it is dangerous to do so. To do otherwise means that you are not a warrior, nor even, a decent human being, but a hollow shell, a sham, morally bankrupt, and a coward.

When Chomsky said, quite rightly, “If the Nuremberg Trials were held today, every US President since World War II would be hung”, that was an unpopular thing to say, but it needed to be said. The same is true for the covid hysteria. The crisis is real, but widely misunderstood. Worse, the crisis is being cynically used by elites to advance their own agenda, and as always, it revolves around greater power and wealth for themselves – and a good 70-80% of the people are silently acquiescing to the new gospel narrative and the power grab which it covers, or are actively, though unwittingly, aiding and abetting it.

A few people question the official narrative, but not many. Most are either subjugated into unthinking obedience by indoctrination and propaganda, or are cowed into silence, fearing to raise their voices, lest they incur the wrath of the obedient herd. They are cowards, and they are endangering us all, far more than would ever dare to imagine.

Speak the truth. Seek the truth, and speak the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular that may be; or else surrender to the new normal, of vacuous obedience to power, and docile conformity, even at the expense of your own sanity and capacity for rational thought – even at the expense of your freedom, your dignity, and your soul.

The majority of people are motivated by ego and the pursuit of comfort. They imagine themselves to be moral and decent, but, at least in this decadent age, it is largely a ruse, and a self-deception. They have basically decent impulses, as Chomsky said, but no courage. When their conscience or compassion conflict with their desire for comfort, or to be liked, they choose the latter. But as Gandhi said, “Cowards can never be moral.”

They herd are terrified of being driven out of the herd. The herd instinct makes them strong, in that they naturally tend towards compassion, empathy, solidarity, cooperation and mutual aid; but it also makes the majority cowardly, because they are afraid to risk losing the perceived safety of the herd.

This is why all significant positive change in human society has always come, and will always come, from a small, dissident minority. It was the small minority that led the movements for democratic revolution in America and France, the movement to abolish slavery, to gain universal suffrage, to end child labour and racial segregation, and on and on the list goes. Only when the brave minority, through tireless action, and tirelessly speaking the truth, reach a tipping point in terms of getting their message across to the broader society, do the majority decide, and usually rather quickly, that they are now on the side of the right and the truth, and they join in, as late-comers, in the drive for positive social change.

So, keep up the fight. Non-violently of course. Seek the truth, and speak the truth. There is more day yet to dawn. The revolution has only begun; and so too, the new renaissance.

Freedom and compassion must be united, just as the people must be united, or our future is dark. This is the central principle upon which an enlightened democracy is founded. But in order to achieve that end, we must speak up. We must question more, think for ourselves, and speak the truth, as best we understand it. This will lead us to a better world. Nothing else will – certainly not technocratic plutocracy and fascism, which is what we have now.

J. Todd Ring,

January 10, 2021

#covid, #covid-19, #coronavirus, #propaganda, #Warrior

Rescuing Plato, Rescuing Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Despite the fact that Western civilization (sic) has greatly venerated and virtually worshipped the ancients of Greece and Rome, in reality, they had little to offer in terms of philosophy. (I will qualify and elaborate on this broad statement in a moment.) That being said, modern philosophy, from Descartes through to the currently fashionable fascism and post-modernism – both of them being based in dangerous nihilistic delusions – is in general a dung hole, and should be suitably flushed, or at least, set aside for a couple of hundred years, until we can see it with fresh eyes.

In that context, it would be most helpful to rescue Plato and the ancients from the memory hole. Though the ancient Greeks and Romans have been overly emphasized, as well as dimly understood, they still have important things to teach us – if we have ears to hear, eyes to see, and, an ability to think critically, and do not simply worship at someone’s feet, or alternately, glibly reject them out of hand.

(I like rigour of thought; but I am not a fan of the narrow-minded and blinkered, authority-worshipping, pseudo-intellectual, prickly scholasticism that has come over Western society in these past few centuries since the Council of Nicaea, particularly within academia and “intellectual culture”, and which gilds the mind-forged manacles, as Blake so aptly called them, which we have come to worship in the place of knowledge, wisdom and truth, or any other sensible values. There are glowing exceptions to the general decline in Western philosophy since the Renaissance. Let Montaigne and Etienne de La Boite, rather than Newton, Bacon and Descartes, be considered the foundations of the modern world from hence forth, and we will be on far better and more sure footing. If you insist on a canon, which is always a risky thing to do, but valid enough, and useful, if done with intelligence, let these bright lights be among them: Spinoza, Hume, Emerson, Thoreau, Kropotkin, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Erich Fromm, Joseph Campbell, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Ken Wilber, Rianne Eisler, Murray Bookchin, Noam Chomsky, Morris Berman, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the writings and speeches of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Is there room for democracy, freedom, constitutional rule, human rights, tolerance and diversity, and science and spirituality both, along with philosophy? Naturally, and these things should be considered to be fundamental – which they are. Maybe with a fresh perspective, in this new millennium, we can actually begin to live up to calling ourselves a civilization.)

Aside from Socrates, who asserted little of his own views, but instead urged us to question everything, and Plotinus, who was the last of the ancient philosophers, and the best, there is no single philosophy from ancient Greece or Rome that can, or should, be taken off the shelf and accepted as a complete, ready-to-use philosophy, on its own. Aside from Plotinus, all of them offered defective and confused philosophies, and the best we can do with them, is to take what is valuable from each, and leave the rest behind. That includes Plato and Aristotle, the two most influential of all.

Plato was rabidly anti-democratic, and urged a totalitarian elite rule, by what he called philosopher kings. This should strike any sane person as an extremely dangerous idea, destined to create tyranny and a nightmare society. (My first essay in philosophy, in year one of university, was to rebut Plato’s philosophy of benevolent dictatorship by philosopher kings.) But this idea of wise and benign dictatorship has been glowingly and eagerly embraced by generations of self-deluding elites, for centuries and millennia; just as it is again today, with the Davos/Bilderberg billionaire oligarchs, who literally call themselves the masters of the universe, insanely, thinking themselves to be on a messianic mission to save us from ourselves, through bringing in a benign, highly scientific, technocratic fascism (which Huxley warned us about) – ruled by themselves, of course.

The Western power elite seem clearly to be ruled by a set of delusions elaborated by a bastard hybridization of Plato – the idea that the wise and benevolent ruling elite, as philosopher kings, should rule; Machiavelli – power is the only value, and any means are valid to achieve it; Hobbes – centralization of power is is necessary and good, or, more delusions of self-justifying and self-serving elite rule), Neitzsche – yes, he fell into nihilism, and yes, the elite are nihilists, as well as egomaniacs and sociopaths, as all power-mongers are; post-modernism – polysyllabic psychobabble based in nihilism and relativism), Malthus (yes, the elite are neo-Malthusian, with all the grim horrors that implies), and above all, Spencer (the godfather of Social Darwinism, who put forward the view most beloved by elites ever since: the view that extreme inequality, and extreme concentrations of wealth and power, are natural, normal, and good – the view that the might makes right, and the powerful are justified in devouring the planet, the poor, and everyone else.

*

Aristotle was more sane, with regards to political philosophy, arguing for democracy and equality. But Aristotle leaned toward a materialist reductionist worldview, and hence, was also partially crippled in mind, and not at all to be embraced uncritically.

If, however, we approach philosophy, not as a canon, but as a body of thought, then we can perhaps think critically, and look at what is valuable, if anything, in various works of philosophy, and not be so naive, or unduly deferential and mousy, as to believe that it is impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, or, heaven forbid, to synthesize and combine the best elements from various philosophies and thinkers.

For example, and chiefly, perhaps, we need to look at Plato and Aristotle more critically, and not simply embrace or reject them, but embrace and reject what is suitable to be embraced or rejected.

If we take Plato’s metaphysics, or ontology, if you prefer the term – which assert a unity of being, echoing the perennial philosophy, to use the phrase of Leibniz, or, the mono-myth, as Joseph Campbell called it – and reject his elitist call for totalitarianism; and we take Aristotle’s very sensible and prescient observations asserting that democracy is best, despite its flaws; but reject his materialist reductionism; and instead, combine Aristotle’s sensible love of democracy with Plato’s metaphysics of the unity of being: then we have an intelligent philosophy, based in the ancients, but not blindly bound to their mistakes, which can guide us well through the 21st century and beyond.

Aristotle, we should note, had the good sense to recognize that both wealth and economic power (which of course inevitably follows from wealth) tend to concentrate in a market-based economy: and if this trend is not checked, and policies put in place to redistribute wealth, then the rich will take over, and it will be a plutocracy, an oligarchy, not a democracy – and democracy will collapse, be eaten alive by the rising oligarchy (then as now), or alternatively, implode under the weight of civil unrest.

Aristotle presaged FDR. Roosevelt understood that if some measure of redistribution of wealth, and some measure of aid and protection for the poor, some degree of intelligent responsiveness to inequality, are not undertaken, then revolution would be the result. He was right. As JFK said, Those who make non-violent revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. For those who fear or are averse to revolution (I am not one) this sage advice cannot be ignored.

In 2020 we were beset by a new problem, which is really an old problem, in a new form. A crisis is being cynically used by powerful individuals for personal gain. Hardly anything new. (See The Shock Doctrine.)Powerful elites are seeking more power. This is also hardly anything new, but as dangerous as ever – and more dangerous than ever before, because the power of the global elite is now far greater than that of the Nazis, the fascists of the 1930s and ’40s, or any of the kings or emperors of the past 5,000 years. If we cannot learn from history now, at this critical juncture in time, and learn from philosophy as well, then we are indeed headed, and in fact plunging, into an extremely dark and dystopian world.

*

The Stoics deserve a brief mention only, and only because there is a growing new fetish for that grim philosophy of complacency. Stoicism is indeed a grim philosophy. It is the valuing of silent acquiescence and servility as the highest value. How dismal and pathetic. It echoes Confucianism in the East – which is the still-reigning religion, in truth, of modern 21st century China: “Know your place. Shut up and do what you’re told.”

No wonder the Taoists have mocked the Confucianists for over two thousand years – as they should. Stoicism, old or new, as with Confucianism – or the neo-Confucian/Maoist/Leninist/neo-feudal corporatism of contemporary China – deserves to be mocked, and to be rejected entirely.

Of course, even in a sewage pit, you can sometimes find little treasures. It is no different with regards to philosophy. There are elements of Stoic philosophy which are valuable, though the whole is a stinking bog, and a cesspool of the mind. The valuing of inner calm and composure, resilience and inner peace, are of course appealing to many people. But the Buddha offered a sure path to these goals, without the self-castration or self-evisceration entailed in Stoic deference to power and the status quo – whatever that happens to be; and without the perverse worshipping of repression as a pinnacle value, or the deranged notion that anything good can come through the staunch refusal to feel either pain or pleasure, sorrow or joy, or any human feelings at all. No, if you want inner strength, inner peace, inner calm, composure and resilience, there are better places to look, and better approaches to take, than to submit to the eye-gauging and soul crushing philosophy of the Stoics. Buddhism is just one option which infinitely supersedes this dismal quagmire. (Taoism and Liberation Theology are two more, among many.)

Post-modernism, and the ever-fashionable fetish among elites which is fascism – both of which being forms of nihilism – have resurrected the rotting corpse of ancient Sophism. Let’s just say that if nothing matters, in our deluded minds, then the holocaust, and the killing of millions of people, was a perfectly acceptable act, and not a crime of any kind. Of course, most people have a basic sanity, and therefore, they recognize that mass murder is not an acceptable thing, but a horrific and despicable act by deranged and dangerous people who should never be allowed to wield power. The lesson has not yet been learned, however – either by the delusional elite, nor by the masses, who allow them to rule, and allow them to repeat the horrors of history, in ever new and more dangerous forms.

If we, the people, are at all sane – and I am convinced that, despite the mass propaganda and the mass indoctrination, most people still possess common sense and basic sanity – then we will remove the power-hunger elite from power, and restore democracy and freedom, and constitutional rights for all, and immediately.

If we are not so lucid or so wise, then we will simply repeat the worst mistakes of history, all over again, and the bloodshed, and the horror, will be on our hands, and on our conscience, forever.

“The greatest of philosophers have found answers to life’s problems,

not just in theory, but in practice.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Act now.

J. Todd Ring,

January 3, 2021

Further Reading:

(A very short and incomplete list, naturally)

C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Year 501, and Class Warfare

Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

John Perkins, The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman,

and, A Game As Old As Empire

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

Allan Wallace, Choosing Reality

Rianne Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

Bertrand Russel, Roads To Freedom

and my own first two books:

Enlightened Democracy

and

The People vs The Elite

Knowledge Is Power. Panic Is Death. Reconnection Is Resilience

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Amidst the current global pandemic of fear, what is most urgently needed is perspective.

What must be done? In sum, we must disconnect from a dying system which is sucking the life out of us, out of humanity, and out of the planet, and thereby stop supporting it, stop feeding it, and stop giving it our energy and our power. Power structures only have power when the people give them their power. When the people stop giving them their power, they collapse, as we saw in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Remember that. That is the key. We must disconnect and decouple from dying, life-destroying systems, patterns and structures of power, and reconnect with community, nature, and our deeper selves. That will radically empower the people, while removing power from the system which feeds off the people and keeps them subjugated and in virtual chains. Only then can we begin to truly heal our world, and heal our communities and ourselves in the process.

Here are some thoughts on how we can make that shift, with the results being greater awareness, greater aliveness and empowerment, greater resilience, and a healing of ourselves, our families, our communities, our society, and the beautiful, fragile, highly resilient planet that is our home.

Belief in technology as salvation, or worse, technocracy as salvation, is a thought pattern stemming from poverty consciousness, scarcity consciousness, inner impoverishment, weakness, delusion, alienation and fear – and the belief that either technology or technocracy will be our saviour, will, I assure you, lead us into slavery, dystopia, and the slow and painful death of our species.

Knowledge is power. Bacon was right about one thing, at least.

People are afraid of wolves, coyotes, snakes, bugs, bears…the flu. Our ability to assess danger rationally in our modern, coroporate ruled, media manipulated, techno-entranced, deeply alienated society, is near zero, it would seem.

In terms of modern man’s fear of nature, it is, by and large, utterly unwarranted. Respect and alertness are needed – not fear. Nature is far safer than “civilization.”

Despite delusional and misplaced fears, which are pandemic, unless you do something stupid: like keeping food or toothpaste in your tent (bears will investigate anything with a scent that just may conceivably mean edible items), or feeding bears, or trying to pet bear cubs; or unless you’re in grizzly country, rattlesnake country, or polar bear territory, in the desert, British Columbia, the jungle or the far north; your chances of being attacked by dangerous creatures are nearly zero – in the wilderness, that is. 

The city is far more dangerous than the wilderness. Bad drivers can kill you. Even if you’re just crossing the street. Or the smog and pesticides will give you with cancer, or the stress will give you a heart attack. 

Get out of the city. Read Thoreau. Don’t follow the lost herd. Definitely don’t follow the media, the government, the technocrats or bureaucrats, the elite, or the “authorities”.

Think for yourself. Eat organic, lower your stress, exercise, and don’t believe the hype.

Most dangerous of all, statistically, are obesity and poor diets, along with poverty and malnutrition, pharmaceuticals, and cars. Covid is no more dangerous than the flu, the figures now confirm.

0.26% mortality rate for covid-19, compared to 0.1% typically for the flu, so it is slightly higher for covid-19, but still miniscule compared to cancer, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, obesity, death by pharmaceuticals, junk food, or cars. Even bathtub drownings killed more people in Japan than covid-19. Check and verify the figures for yourself. Look at the Italian government study, for a start. (See Trends Journal and GreenMedInfo for further evidence-based information and analysis.) 

Yet the lemmings panic on cue, like Pavolv’s dogs, and stay rigidly in denial of the really big dangers: growing environmental disaster, pollution, war, poverty, obesity, fast food, junk food, pesticides, and fascism.

(See my essays: Importing From China, Any Enemy Will Do, Geopolitics 2020, Trump Says Up, You Say Down… Reality Check, and, Danger & Delusion From ISIS To Ebola)

Don’t be manipulated by fear-mongering media, or elites who cynically use fear to their advantage.

Remember:

Divide and conquer is the oldest and most essential maxim and strategy of control, used by all empires, including the latest: the global neofeudal empire of technocratic corporate fascist oligarchy.

And as we also know, in terms of the corporate-state media and the elite:

If it bleeds it leads.

Necessary Illusions are good for plutocrats.

Manufacturing Consent is the basis of elite-ruled pseudo-democracy.

And any crisis will do for Shock Therapy.

Stay calm, boost your immune system naturally, with real food, omega-3s and vitamins C and D, exercise, sunlight, love and joy – and question everything.

Above all, it’s what you put in your mouth, as in, “food-like substances” which really should not be ingested, along with certain pharmaceuticals and injections, which are the biggest danger.

Get outdoors. Do your own research. And embrace your power.

Real power comes from within – and it is quiet confidence, energy and strength, that does not need to be showy or to boast.

After inner power and inner resilience, comes the power of community, and the power of nature. Build your connections on these three levels, along with a healthy body, mind and spirit, and your empowerment and resilience will grow.

Read, reflect, make time for solitude and nature, build networks of mutual aid, and we will, in the process, heal ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

Disconnect first. Then only can you truly connect to others, to the natural world, to your deeper self, or even to reality. Dissociation from reality is the great plague of the modern 21st century world. We are enmeshed and entangled in webs of illusion, and in systems and patterns which alienate us from one another, from nature, and from ourselves. We must, therefore, disconnect from human systems that are, to a high degree, based in delusion and dissociation from reality, in order to better connect to the real world, to ourselves, and to one another.

If you have not yet, then begin now: learn to love books, reading, reflection, solitude and nature; and the nourishing of your body, your spirit, and your mind.

Rediscover your love for others, for community, for the natural world, for humanity, for the Earth, for learning, for creativity, free expression, and for yourself. We all had these things naturally as small children. We have been socially conditioned to lose them, to deny them, and to suppress them. But they can and must be rediscovered – especially now, when our world is in crisis. These are the core things which will heal our world, our communities, and ourselves. Not technocracy, not Big Brother, not plutocratic elites posing as saviours, not technology, not drugs: it is love and wisdom which will heal us and our world. That requires that we disconnect from certain things, and reconnect with others.

Disconnect, listen, observe, read, reflect – these things are critical. Make the time. Nourish your body, and also your mind and your spirit. Then you can reconnect with life in deeper, healthier, more joyful, empowering, and more meaningful ways.

We must disconnect and decouple from the systems, patterns, thinking, organizations, groups and substances which drain our energy, deplete us, divide us, further alienate us, exploit us, degrade us, or make us sick. That generally comes in small steps; although, many have taken great leaps, as have I, many times, and that works too. Sometimes small steps are all that is possible. Sometimes a great leap is required to save our sanity, our soul, or our very lives.

We must examine things for ourselves, question everything, and decide for ourselves what is truly life-supporting, nourishing, or life-enhancing, and what things merely give the illusion of being life-supporting, nourishing or life-enhancing, but in truth degrade, disempower, alienate, exploit or impoverish us, drain us or enslave us. We must unplug, pause, and reflect deeply, in order to even begin to think clearly, or to see what is going on.

Excessive time spent staring into electronic screens, excessive time spent in buildings or cars, the mainstream media in general, the corporate world and corporate culture in general, the fiat money system, the myriad “food-like substances” which are in truth more poison than nourishment, along with the fundamental, root poisons, which are ignorance, greed and hate: these are among the things we must disconnect from, and which literally and figuratively drag us down.

Some things require a complete disavowal and refusal, such as crack cocaine or hillbilly heroine, or other dangerous drugs and other addictions, for people who have succumb to them. I would place the major media and the Fortune 1000 biggest corporations in that category, as well: they are poison, and they are life-destroyers. They must be boycotted and renounced.

Other things, like the internet, the phone or the TV, simply require a more balanced approach, and frequent disconnection, rather than permanent disconnection. (Although, I respect people who choose to eliminate them entirely from their lives, especially TV, and there are good reasons for such a response.)

But I leave it to you to decide what we must disconnect from, either completely or periodically, for greater well-being, quality of life, health, healing, ethical standards, empowerment, fulfillment, the healing of ourselves and our world, and simply for greater aliveness and joy.

There is much entanglement and much debris in our minds and our lives. Clearing our minds and our lives of entanglements and debris, and clearing away physical and mental toxins, is vital now.

Disconnect: We must first disconnect in order to reconnect; and thereby, live and love more fully, and with greater empowerment and joy. Then only, come the revolutionary changes and the regeneration we urgently need.

Reconnect: with others, with nature, and above all, with your deeper self. That is where our true power, liberation and resilience lie. Not in drugs, not in money, not in material things; and certainly not in cynical elites posing as the protectors and saviours of humanity.

A global awakening of humanity is underway, and is growing with accelerating speed. Remember that. The people will triumph. The oligarchs of East and West will fall. Our world will be healed, and regenerated, and the people will be free.

J. Todd Ring,

September 9, 2020

Further reading:

My first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

And

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto For A Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

And see my other recent essays:

Flash Drive Revolution

The Death and Rebirth of Freedom and Democracy

Covid Update

Any Enemy Will Do

Importing From China

Sinking All Ships (But Our Own)

Geopolitics 2020

Global Overview 2020

The Certainty Of Death, Or The Death Of Certainties

Also critically important:

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Choosing Reality – Allan Wallace

The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit Of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Pathology Of Normalcy – Eric Fromm

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley

Roads To Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

The Empathic Civilization – Jeremy Rifkin

The Ecology Of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice & The Blade – Rianne Eisler

Wisdom of the Elders – David Suzuki

The Wayfinders – Wade Davis

Stolen Continents – Ronald Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

A Short History Of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Class Warfare – Noam Chomsky

The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman – John Perkins

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil & The Attack On American Democracy – Peter Dale Scott

Iron Heel – Jack London

1984 – George Orwell

Giants: The Global Power Elite – Peter Phillips

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The New Rulers of the World – John Pilger

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Escape From Freedom – Eric Fromm

Shambhala: The Sacred Path Of The Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boitie

Walden, and, On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Plague: Then & Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Europe did not respond well to the biggest plague in its history, in 1347-1351, to put it mildly – with anti-semitism, pogroms, scapegoating, witch trials, burning heretics at the stake, torture, self-flagellation, misanthropy, self-loathing, death cults, cultural morbidity and dark obsessions, paranoia, highly dubious medical practices, xenophobia, soaring cultural and religious intolerance, dogma, conformity and group-think, etc.

But, to be fair, the Black Death did kill 30% of the population. Many people were sadly but understandably panicked. We have panicked, in 2020, over what amounts, statistically, to the common flu.

(Nerves of steel, I tell you. Clear-mindedness under pressure – to astounding degrees.)

By comparison, fewer than 300,000 have died globally from covid-19, which is comparable in death rates to the annual flu – with 300,000-700,000 deaths per year. That’s fewer than *one death per ten thousand people* from covid-19, versus *one in three dead* from the Plague.

We have utterly lost all perspective. The people have broadly lost their minds. Mass hysteria reigns.

“The study of contemporary archives suggests a mortality varying in the different regions between one-eighth and two-thirds of the population, and the French chronicler Jean Froissart’s statement that about one-third of Europe’s population died in the epidemic may be fairly accurate. The population in England in 1400 was perhaps half what it had been 100 years earlier; in that country alone, the Black Death certainly caused the depopulation or total disappearance of about 1,000 villages. A rough estimate is that 25 million people in Europe died from plague during the Black Death. The population of western Europe did not again reach its pre-1348 level until the beginning of the 16th century.” – Britannica

One in three dead, vs one in 10,000, or less. Yes, we have lost our minds. The response has no sane or rational connection to the reality.

Orwell would understand, as would Huxley. This is not complicated; but it does require a willingness to fact-check, to question authority, the media, the elite, and the standard narrative.

It requires a willingness to deal with reality. So far, that has been lost by the vast majority. That is the real plague: a plague of the mind. And Blake, as well, would understand that.

Everywhere, “The mind-forged manacles.”

Covid-19 is literally one ten-thousandth as deadly as the Plague – and about as dangerous as the common flu. And yet, people have lost their minds to hysteria, panic and fear. Why? Because they are easily manipulated by fear-mongering governments, elites, and the media.

And they are not only losing their minds and their perspective, but also their democracy and their freedoms, as a result.

Pretty poor showing so far. We have definitely returned to the dark ages.

Witch burning, anyone? How about a nice burning of the heretics, hmm?

Worse, we have all that, in essence, along with a modern technocratic, highly Orwellian police state.

Yes, we are in grave danger. But it is not due to a germ.

In the 1930s, the first wave of fascism arose; and the people recognized it, resisted it, and defeated it. In 2020, we have the culmination of a slow motion global corporate fascist coup – and the people see it not.

Their minds have been high-jacked. The psyops propaganda war has been perfected. And this time, the fascists are winning, while the masses are lost in panic and delusion, over an “invisible enemy” – over a germ.

But it ain’t over ’till it’s over. The people are awakening.

JTR,

May 9, 2020

Moral bankruptcy in a time of “plague”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2020 by jtoddring

 

20,000 children die a day of hunger, and nobody notices, nobody makes a peep: outcry is basically zero. But a new strain of the flu (statistically less dangerous than the typical annual flu) scares people into thinking THEY themselves are in danger, and everyone loses their mind. Clearly, we are a morally bankrupt society.

We’ve had an international social, political, and economic order based on mass looting, conquest, rape and pillage for thousands of years – and nobody raises an eyebrow. But a germ comes along that might affect the privileged, affluent regions of the world, and everyone goes insane. 

Again, we are a morally bankrupt society, without question. All pretence of caring for the sick, and ending unnecessary suffering and death, is a joke and a deceit. If we were serious about such things we would end war and poverty. Clearly, we are not serious in the slightest.

6.5% of global GDP, according to the IMF, or five trillion dollars a year, goes to subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Another two trillion, at least, goes to war, militarism, and the growing global police state. If we were serious about human health and well-being, we would end this mass subsidy to slaughter, planetary destruction, plunder and the police state, and end poverty and war. Clearly we are not serious.

As Chomsky has said, This is a business-run society, whose cardinal value is deceit. That is the problem. Anyone who cares about human health or well-being must first start by dealing with reality.

You who scream your venomous, hate-filled attacks on anyone who questions the new global police state, and in effect beg for your chains: your moral arguments are hollow. You surely, secretly know this, in your heart of hearts; which is why the venom and the screams are so extreme, and extremely insane.

JTR,

May 8, 2020

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2020 by jtoddring

An idea for strategy is presented here in extremely concise form – an idea which could be decisive, and critical, to our survival, and our success.

Plus: Who To Trust?

Amidst Protests, Uprisings, Simmering Revolt and Revolution, and A New Renaissance Emerging,

vs

Reactionary Efforts of The Establishment Powers of Entrenched Global Neo-Feudal Corporate Oligarchy To Resist Change, and To Consolidate Their Power, The Question Arises:

Who Can We Trust, Who Is Worthy of Support, and Who Can Put Things Into Perspective?

*

Humanity is experiencing a global awakening, and the birth of a new renaissance, along with the birth pangs of a new, global wave of popular protests, uprisings, and democratic revolutions.

At the same time, and deeply inter-related, there is a deep and growing crisis of legitimacy facing the world’s business and political “leaders” – the elite – along with the media, political and economic institutions, and social systems, structures, institutions and powers broadly.

We are now, in 2020, entering the global showdown phase of that most central conflict: between a global awakening of consciousness and culture, an emerging new renaissance, and a new wave of global uprisings and democratic revolutions; and the elite powers and oligarchies that wish to halt them, and to retain their stratospheric power and privilege, their oligarchy, and their de facto global rule.

It is, in short, a global showdown between the people and the oligarchy – between the people, and the ruling elite.

Public trust in political and business elites has crashed through the floor, and are at historically low levels. Public trust in the media has likewise collapsed.

Pundits, academics and “experts” are now routinely called into question as well – and not surprisingly, when we repeatedly discover hidden motives, blind spots, outright lies or delusions, and frequent alliances with vested interests.

Everywhere, icons are toppling, people are questioning more and more – as they should, and must.

Everywhere, people are re-assessing basic questions, including, who can we trust? Who can be relied upon for generally reliable, as well as honest, thoughtful, and accurate information, and informed commentary and analysis?

Furthermore, who is truly worthy of support, and who is not?

In short, whom to trust, has become one of the central issues of our time, as old orders crumble and slowly die, yet fight to hold on; and a new world is not yet born.

For myself, as a Canadian, and after 35 years and more than 50,000 hours of intensive research, studies and reflection, I can offer a very short and incomplete list of some of the groups and organizations that I feel are most worthy of support, along with the sources of news and analysis that I hold to be most reliable. Remember, though: Think for yourself – and question everything.

Remember also, that good sources and worthwhile groups can be corrupted, co-opted, high-jacked, taken over, simply become lost, or positively go off the rails.

I don’t expect that to happen with any of my most trusted groups or sources, but we do live in strange and unpredictable times – so I would urge we take nothing for granted.

Question everything, and everyone. Trust is good, when it is warranted. It is good to have confidence in something, and in at least some few, as well as in the people and the Earth broadly.

So too, are vigilance, fact-checking, and above all, thinking for ourselves, very good, and essential, things.

*

Groups I feel are most worthy of support:

A very short and incomplete list, focused primarily on Canadian groups and organizations

Idle No More

The Canadian indigenous rights group that has transformed the environmental movement, positively fused the indigenous rights movement to the environmental movement, and brought non-violent direct action into the mainstream – where it belongs, and must remain, until the job is done, and we live in a just and free, clean and green world.

The Council of Canadians

Canada’s leading citizen organization: building grassroots activism for a clean, green, just and free, peaceful, democratic society

The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Canada’s leading progressive-left think tank, and one of the best in the world

Publishes the journal, The Monitor

The David Suzuki Foundation

The leading environmental group in Canada, along with Idle No More and others

Founded by the most trusted person in Canada, according to a nation-wide poll: environmental scientist David Suzuki

News and Analysis:

Trends Journal

Not even the best of the alternative media compares to Trends Journal for trend forecasting, trend analysis, and weekly news and analysis – and of course the major state and corporate media don’t remotely compare, being the propaganda systems for the ruling elite, as Chomsky has said, and thus, utterly unreliable.

Z Magazine & Z Net

News and analysis, in-depth commentary, activism, networking and solidarity for social change: Z Net is a giant David, or army of Davids, in the global movement for a better world. It’s now being censored and suppressed, like many other sources and individuals that speak the truth, but it is alive and strong, and you can find them. And you should.

The Monitor

In-depth analysis from the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives

Canadian Perspectives

News and analysis from the front lines of the grassroots movements for democracy, justice, sustainability and peace – from the Council of Canadians

Geopolitics & Empire Podcast

Quality varies with the guest, but generally excellent, in-depth global analysis here.

New Internationalist

Clarifying the real story on the biggest issues in the world for many decades now, NI is a rare gem, both as a journal, and as a grassroots networking organization, and also, as a publishing house

The American Herald Tribune

An independent media source that offers fiercely honest investigative journalism, news and analysis

(Watch for Anthony (Tony) Hall, Robert David Steele, Caitlin Johnstone, Philip Giraldi, Piers Robinson and Barbara Honeger in particular)

The Corbett Report

Another excellent source of independent research, news and analysis

The Centre For Research On Globalization

Also generally excellent for independent research, news and analysis

21st Century Wire

This source is new to me, but a recent episode of the weekly podcast was so exceptionally insightful, to such a rare level or degree, that I feel I have to list it here, among the best of the best. The host Patrick Henningsen has a level of understanding of global issues and power dynamics, and media manipulations, which is very rare. If one episode can impress me this much, like rare few sources ever do, then I am sure he must do a very good job of cutting through the fog on a regular basis.

John Pilger

Veteran investigative journalist and documentary film-maker John Pilger is a one-man media army. When the world is filled with the sound and fury of all-pervasive propaganda, lies, half-truths and illusions, and the echochamber of elite-spun narratives, which is the major media, seems to drown out all possibility for truth, or even basic sanity, you can count on John Pilger to cut through the fog and the lies and the convenient self-deceptions, to get to the truth, and the real story behind “the news”.

The Empire Files, with Abby Martin

A fiercely independent source of news and analysis, Abby Martin is what an investigative journalist looks like – along with John Pilger, Caitlin Johnstone, James Corbett, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and a handful of others left in the world.

GreenMedInfo

The most reliable, truly evidence-based source on health that I know of – in fact, the only reliable source remaining that I know of, now that most health information sources have fallen for the lies and hysteria that are broadcast and paraded, very much like a plague in fact, by the new axis of evil: Big Government, Big Media, and the Big Money powers that rule them both.

*

There are many other groups, movements and organizations in the world that are worthy of our support, of course. And there are a few other sources of news and analysis that are reliable – although, they are now extremely few, and increasingly rare, as well as increasingly censored and suppressed. But with even these few sources, and these few groups, and others like them, there is hope.

Everything is possible, and the future truly is in our hands.

What we do with that power, is entirely up to us.

Please be sure to read the important notes below, as well: sources for big picture perspective, and Flash-Drive Revolution.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

Post-Script:

Sources for big-picture perspective:

To compliment the short list of groups and news sources that I would consider worthy of our trust as well as our support, I would like to add a very short and incomplete list of authors and thinkers that I feel are extremely helpful in gaining clarity in terms of the big picture, and/or, in terms of in-depth analysis.

Again, there are millions and billions of voices out there, but only a handful rise to the level, in my mind, of being generally reliable sources of information, much less understanding and perspective. (Remember, few people are omniscient, to put it mildly. Let’s not expect infallibility. Question everything.)

These, to my mind, are among the best of the best, in terms of voices for big picture perspective, or in-depth analysis, or sometimes, rarely, both. Other people would present a different list. Here is mine. (In no particular order – and again, very incomplete.)

Henry David Thoreau

Etienne de La Boetie

Noam Chomsky

Peter Kropotkin

Bertrand Russell

Murray Bookchin

Rianne Eisler

Howard Zinn

C. Wright Mills

Peter Phillips

George Orwell

Aldous Huxley

Erich Fromm

Max Weber

Alan Watts

Allan Wallace

Joseph Campbell

Joanna Macy

Helena Norberg-Hodge

Vandana Shiva

Jeremy Rifkin

Naomi Klein

John Pilger

Gerald Celente

Michel Chossudovsky

Michael Hudson

Ellen Brown

Max Keiser

Yanis Varoufakis

James Corbett

Caitlin Johnstone

Abby Martin

Matt Taibbi

David C. Korten

David Suzuki

Arundhati Roy

Margaret Atwood

Ronald Wright

Maude Barlow

Paul Craig Roberts

Morris Berman

Stephen Toulmin

EF Schumacher

Gandhi

Martin Luther King Jr.

Peter Dale Scott

Anthony Hall

John McMurtry

Michael Albert

Chris Hedges

Cornell West

Piers Robinson

And my own writings, I would humbly submit:

my essays, here on my blog, along with my first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

and,

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,

Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

Both are available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon (though we should boycott the latter)

*

Flash-Drive Revolution:

As I have said before, and others have begun to say as well: censorship is increasing. The elite are scared – scared of change, scared of losing power. They are cracking down – especially on freedom of speech, and on dissent, as well as freedom of travel and freedom of assembly. (“Papers please.”)

I would urge people to begin backing up important texts, images, posters, data sets, videos, films, art and music that can be used in the fight for a better, freer, more just and clean, green, democratic world – and now.

Many of the best and most important writings, for example, are in the public domain. Others, like myself, are offering their work for free distribution.

Like most writers, I feel I am spiritually, intellectually, and culturally rich, but I am financially poor. Naturally I would like people to buy my books. But I certainly did not become a writer or a philosopher for the money. So, whether you do or not, and I ask that you do buy my books (mainly for my childrens’ sake); what is far more important to me is that the ideas and the writing be shared.

So, buy one copy, then share a digital copy with everyone you know, please. Hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks will be available for purchase, and I will also make electronic copies available for free, via Project Gutenberg, Librivox, my youtube channel and my blog.

Please take this document above, and my first two books, if you find them useful, and save them to a USB flash drive, along with other public domain writings you feel are  valuable or important  -Henry David Thoreau’s essay, On Civil Disobedience, for example, along with the UN Charter of Human Rights – or whatever you find relevant to the task at hand: and share them widely, everywhere.

These essays in particular I would encourage you to share, among others, from my blog:

Six Founding Principles Of Good Government

The Myth Of Progress – Pricking The Bubble

The Decline, Decay, Death and Rebirth of Democracy and Freedom

The Maxims of Empire (And the Maxims of Liberation)

The Failure of Propaganda

Decentralization & Localization, Or Collapse

Paradigm Shift

From Bankers Ruling The World, To The People Ruling The Bankers

along with several essays on mass digital addiction, the media, renaissance, enlightenment, and freedom of speech

If freedom of speech and dissent continue their current trend towards being censored and shut down, we will need alternative means of communicating. A Flash-Drive Revolution, sharing information and ideas freely, hand to hand, world-wide, by-passing the internet completely, could circumvent the oligarchs, and beat them. I think it is important, and it could imperative, and decisive. And I think we should begin right away – right now.

250 MB or even 1 terabyte USB flash-drives are becoming cheap. Use them. Bypass the closing down of society and free speech – while we still can.

Vive la revolution! For a just and free, clean, green, democratic society, and a better world for all.

And remember, We, the people, are the world’s other superpower – the greatest superpower.

Embrace your power now.

Let’s go.

Consider that the revolution has begun.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

With minor additions made in April 2021 – and an important note:

Some of the journals, organizations, individuals and media outlets listed above as being among the best, are no longer reliable, or have frankly become either addle-minded, or corrupted and co-opted – though it is hard to tell which it is – as was confirmed in 2020/2021: and that includes some of the vanguards of the progressives and the left. Where is the left in 2021? Largely lost, deeply befuddled, deluded, and profoundly confused. Question everything – and everyone. It is more imperative than ever.

Shatter the illusions of division, embrace diversity, and unity in diversity, and transcend the old partisan battle lines of conformity, hostility and group-think which divide us. Prioritize! Separate long term ideals from short term necessities – and uniting the people is the greatest and most urgent necessity of all. If we do not unite the people now, or very soon, we will all be slaves – make no mistake. Forget or at least temporarily set aside old notions of right and left. It is now the people vs the oligarchy. If we fail to understand that, we fail to understand everything. Do not be fooled by confused or deceitful narratives that divide us. Don’t succumb to fear, paranoia, or mistrust. But do question everything, and think for yourself. Above all, trust yourself. We build from there, or from nowhere.

The Certainty Of Death, Or The Death Of Certainties

Posted in philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 1, 2020 by jtoddring

 

It’s amazing to me, to see, even in thoughtful writings, even in exceptionally thoughtful writing, which is as far above the norm as the moon is from the bottom of the ocean, that even there, certain cultural constructs of the mind, certain prejudices or pre-formed and unquestioned assumptions, certain axiomatic, ideological presumptions and certitudes, are passed along without thought – as if the author were merely remarking on the sky being blue, and everyone knew it, of course, so such notions need no argument or support, but are taken as fact. These ideological constructs and presumptions are castles made of sand, but the authors, including most of the better thinkers and scholars, and virtually all people at all times, assume them to be as certain as the law of gravity. The blind, unconscious, unquestioning assumption of ideological constructs is almost shocking – at least when it is seen in otherwise intelligent people and otherwise intelligent writings. Concepts such as progress, development, civilization and civilized, freedom and liberty, democracy, evolution, or “evolved”, are tossed about with utter casual manner, with no rigour, no questioning of their actual meaning: meaning, in practice, their meaning has no meaning; or worse, and more commonly, their meaning means precisely the opposite to what it is presumed to mean. Orwell understood these things well. The fact that the vast majority, including the vast majority of intellectuals, do not, is very dangerous indeed, to say it mildly.

Fascism, war, slavery, cultural arrogance, and a culture of blindness, ignorance and shared delusion, the death of democracy and freedom, ecological holocaust, and the collapse of civilization (sic), are the likely results, the almost certain and inevitable results, and soon, if we do not begin to question far more, and assume far less.

Fortunately, all such concepts, ideological constructs and cultural certitudes are now being called into question. And none too soon. Our certainties are quite literally killing us. They are also a prison, and shackles and chains, of our own making. Let us shatter them now. It is time.

JTR,

February 1, 2020

 

Post-Script:

See my essay, Fundamentalism and Relativism, in my first book, Enlightened Democracy, for further reflections on the middle way between extremes, which represents basic sanity. Also, watch for my new book, The People vs The Elite, which is being released now.

Get ready for some exciting, but possibly quite turbulent times. The proverbial shit is about to hit the fan. And as usual, that will have both positive as well as negative consequences and implications around the world.

Anarchism, Political Philosophy & D&D

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2021 by jtoddring

Yes, I do love to play D&D once a week with my boy of fifteen. It’s great fun for us both, and I feel no need to apologize for it or be embarrassed by it. I love spending time with my kids, and this is one of many ways we spend time together, along with walks, talks, board games, cooking, gardening, camping, reading, kayaking…. It’s a great game for stimulating kids’ imaginations and creativity, and their self-expression, and their ability to collaborate, and work as a team. I think it’s great for kids. And I think it’s great for anyone. In any case, this short reflection or meditation on anarchism and political philosophy arose as a brief response to a great video on D&D Lore. The important matter is what is in the meditation or musings, however, not what sparked them. Here are some thoughts, in the form of an open letter.

*

Wonderful presentation, AJ. Thank you. One point, however: your comment on anarchists showed that you have read zero anarchist literature or philosophy. Please do not slur a political philosophy you clearly have never explored or properly examined, and clearly have total ignorance about. Otherwise, wonderful job!


Musings aloud: D&D as opportunity to elucidate political philosophy?

I play a paladin, by the way, neutral-good (or alternately a ranger) and a generally anarchistic dispenser of justice, or aid to others, and equally at home with concepts of justice as with anarchism. That is no contradiction.

Anarchism in its core rejects an excessive centralization of power in any form, and all excessive concentrations of power, since they inevitably lead to corruption, exploitation and oppression, as well as stupidity, degradation and dehumanization. One can therefore be a passionate defender of justice, and an equally passionate anarchist – and, simultaneously, respect decent and compassionate, just laws and rulers, even though the anarchist would prefer that sentient beings mature sufficiently that they no longer need to be told what to do.

However, sensible anarchists, such as Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, the Taoists or Thoreau – hardly bomb-throwing egotists intent on destroying all order, as you foolishly implied – understand very well that human beings are not yet quite ready for such maturity and self-government; and hence, as Thoreau said, and most sensible anarchists would agree, or should, “I do not wish for, at once, no government, but at once, a better government. Let every man state what kind of government would command his respect, and that shall be one step toward attaining it.”

That should help to clarify what anarchism is and is not. In its better forms – and not what is commonly indicated by those who call themselves anarchists, but understand it not – it is an extremely perceptive social and political philosophy which has clearly defined principles of non-aggression and non-domination, and holds voluntary mutual aid as the highest form of human ethics and nobility; and it has the ability to discern between long term goals and short term or immediate realities. In short, it is a vastly more intelligent, prescient and far-seeing social and political philosophy than any other major political philosophy in existence, which all look like crude barbarism in drag as humanitarianism, or some other ruse, and the finger paintings of pre-schoolers, by comparison.

I’d think twice before scoffing or sneering at anarchists or anarchism again. It is an indicator only of ignorance, my friend.

But please, do not take my broad sword critique as an offence. Almost everyone is grossly misinformed with regards to what anarchy really means (it does not mean chaos) or what anarchists think or believe. The rest of the presentation was wonderful, as I said. And thank you again for it.

JTR,
April 10, 2021

Post-Script, for D&D lovers only:

I’d prefer to be a wandering ranger or monk, alone in the wilds, paying homage to the noble Eldath, goddess of the groves, but the troubles of the world lead me back, and so, a paladin it is, protecting living beings, and smiting the tyrants and other monsters and villains. A quiet cabin in the woods would be preferable, but duty calls!

Post-Script Deux:

More depth and detail on

political philosophy and anarchism

There are some teenage boys, who think they are anarchists, who like to destroy things just for fun, and who want to immediately smash and tear down all authority everywhere, but they don’t know what they are doing and they don’t understand anarchism. They are angst-ridden, disillusioned boys and youth who need some counselling, psychotherapy, trauma therapy, or at least some guidance; and they need to see some hope in the world – they are rightfully angry and justifiably disillusioned. We have made a mess of the world, and many youth see little or no hope. That leads to misdirected anger, self-destruction, or outwardly directed destructiveness. That is not anarchism; that is a social problem, caused by the richest 1% having liquidated the middle class, leaving many people, both young and old, very angry – and some of them want blood, or at least violence and destruction. That is not anarchism; that is explosive tempers in a time of growing social unrest, caused by extreme and growing inequality.

Don’t mistake a sociological phenomenon for a political philosophy. Yes, the two do interact, but they are different. The sociological phenomenon of misdirected anger, arising from great inequality, accounts for most of the violence in the world – at the level of the street. That is not a political philosophy. Liberals and conservatives account for at least as much violence as anarchists, if you include domestic violence and white collar crime; and if you include crimes of the state – war and mass murder for oil and other resources, for example – then the liberals and conservatives have vastly more blood on their hands, than the few anarchists who throw bricks through Starbucks windows to make a symbolic point. Who are the truly violent ones here? The ones who support not only the state, but state violence in the form of aggression and mass murder, which is what war is.

Are there bad tempered, venom-spewing people who call themselves anarchists, who want to destroy things and blow things up? Sure, and they give a bad name and reputation to the great majority of peaceful and more thoughtful anarchists, who are the great majority.

Are there bad tempered Christians who spew venom and want to blow things up? Sure there are. They’re called Republicans.

Actually, that’s not fair either. There are now more war mongers, militarists and trigger-happy imperialists among the Democrats than the Republicans, or at least it is an even split.

*

Viewing anarchists as people who want to immediately destroy all authority, is taking the most extreme element from a broad cultural stream, and assuming, or pretending, that it represents the entire stream. It’s like viewing all Muslims as violent militant extremists who want to blow things up. There is a tiny minority among Moslems who feel and think that way. But in fact, there are many more Christians who are eager to blow things up than Moslems. They’re called war-mongers, and they give Christianity a bad name. In fact, they really shouldn’t be called Christian if they are braying and pushing for war. Jesus would tell them so directly.

Liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, fascism/Stalinism and environmentalism, and Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, represent six distinct streams of political philosophy, and six distinct streams of religious philosophy. Let’s consider them here briefly.

Of course, there are more currents or streams of philosophy than these twelve, but these are the most prominent twelve today. That is… Along with the growing dark force of nihilism, the cult of egotism, hedonism and narcissism which is taking over the minds of the majority, and the reigning quasi-religious dogmatism of materialist reductionism, which is the pseudo-scientific world view of Newton and Descartes, which is now a century out of date, since the birth of quantum physics, and is further overturned by research in ecology, systems theory, chaos theory, mind-brain research and epigenetics, but is espoused, or rather, used as a bludgeon to beat over the heads of the people, and especially anyone who dares to think, or to exercise critical thought, or, heaven forbid, to resort to evidence and empiricism. (Gasp!)

And of course, there are many different combinations of these twelve philosophies. There are liberal Christians, and there are conservative Christians; and yes, there are fascist Christians, and also anarchist, socialist and green Christians.

One important thing to understand, is that within each of these twelve different philosophies (some of which can be combined, while some cannot) there are in turn many different streams. After the Reformation, Christianity, for example, saw new churches pop up like mushrooms in the forest after a spring rain. And there are many different views and opinions and currents of thought within either liberalism, or conservatism, or socialism.

The same is true with anarchism: it is a broad river of thought, with many diverse currents within it. The central theme is a willingness to question authority, dogma, social structures and social norms, and to not assume automatically that they are just or legitimate, but instead, view that the burden of proof lies not with those who would question hierarchical power structures and social norms that constrain human freedom, but with those who would uphold or impose them.

I think that is a perfectly sensible view. We assume that freedom is a good thing, and a value worth preserving, based in human nature, and in historical and sociological analysis, and we challenge any who wish to limit or constrain freedom, to prove that it is justified to do so.

That is, said conversely, if you want to exercise force or coercion over another human being, you must justify yourself. It is not automatically justified. In fact, if you try to turn your neighbour into your slave, and walk over and put an iron collar around his neck, fastened to a chain which you hold tight, you might find he resists, and does not agree to it. Strangely enough, he feels that your imposition of “authority” and coercion upon him, is unjust and illegitimate, and is naturally and rightly something to be resisted fiercely – unless it can be proven to be justified, which, generally it cannot. The anarchist position, therefore, is one which we would, in general, or most of us, consider upon reflection to be a matter of what we would call common sense.

That central axis is what anarchism revolves around: the burden of proof lies with the person, institution, culture, organization, government or society that wishes to impinge or impose upon human freedom, to justify itself as legitimate. If it can, then most anarchists, or at least a great many, at least for the short term, will accept that partial restriction of human freedom, or that social order, law or authority, as acceptable, or at least tolerable, for the time being, even though they hold a long term vision and hope for human beings to mature to the point where they require no outward rules or bonds of social authority to direct them or to constrain them in any way.

It means that thinking, thoughtful anarchists – as opposed to fourteen year old boys who just want to let off steam and break some windows, calling themselves anarchists when they are really simply idiots and vandals – will accept laws and governments for the short term, if they are legitimate enough, and do some good in the world, or at least do not do too much harm.

Thinking anarchists would agree with Thoreau, and would rather see a better government immediately, and not, no government immediately, because the people probably aren’t ready to have no government, just yet. Instead, more thoughtful anarchists will look for ways to halt or reduce violence and the abuse of power, while looking for ways to increase human freedom, liberation and empowerment, and to improve the lives of people and other creatures, through personal or collective action.

*

Are there people who call themselves anarchists, who are in truth egotists and hedonists and narcissists, who simply want the full release of their libido and their selfishness and narcissistic desires? Yes, and they are, again, idiots who give anarchism a bad name. In the same way that the minority of Muslims and Christians who are fundamentalists, give Islam and Christianity a bad name.

If you cannot govern yourself, how can you possibly expect others to believe that human beings everywhere can govern themselves? Your very life and being is proof that they are not ready for it – or at least, and most definitely, you are not ready for it.

If you want freedom, then you need self-discipline. Freedom comes with responsibility. The ancient Greeks knew that, and we must know and realize it too.

That is why people seek to flee and to escape from freedom: freedom is a burden of responsibility, as well as a boon and a liberation. Those who fear the power of having to make their own decisions, and form their own views, commonly seek authoritarianism, fascism, or Stalinism, because they are terrified of freedom, because they have no confidence or trust in themselves.(See Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom.)

Those who fear freedom, fly straight into authoritarianism. But those who shun responsibility, calling it freedom, create such a backlash against freedom, that instead of finding freedom, they find they have created fascism, or totalitarianism, or some other form of repressive society – because they refused responsibility, refused to be their brother’s keeper, or to be a good neighbour, or to be of any help to others, or even to curtail their self-indulgence and reckless, destructive greed and licentiousness; and hence, the pendulum swung in response to the other extreme. This is the law of the inversion of polarities. (The Taoists knew what they were talking about, and they still know. We of the modern West should overcome our supreme, and supremely foolish, smugness and hubris, and bow, and learn a thing or two from the ancients, both East and West.)

By parading hedonism, narcissism and egotism, and unconsciously preaching hedonism, narcissism and egotism, though you realize it not, you are sowing the “law and order” mentality of authoritarianism, Puritanism, fascism, Maoism, Stalinism, technocracy, legalism and repression.

To those who want to free desire from all bounds and constraints, and release hedonism and narcissism and egotism on the world, as the salvation of humanity, I would say this. Get your own shit together, and that will inspire freedom everywhere – which comes with responsibility, or not at all.

*

By parading hedonism, narcissism and egotism, and unconsciously preaching hedonism, narcissism and egotism, though you realize it not, you are sowing the “law and order” mentality of authoritarianism, Puritanism, fascism, Maoism, Stalinism, technocracy, legalism and repression.

To those who want to free desire from all bounds and constraints, and release hedonism and narcissism and egotism on the world, as the salvation of humanity, I would say this. Get your own shit together, and that will inspire freedom everywhere – which comes with responsibility, or not at all.

Libertarians of the right, and anarchist-capitalists (a contradiction in terms and an oxymoron, suitable only for morons), I am talking to you – as well as to hedonists and narcissists who want to carry the anarchist banner or badge, in order to justify their utter lack of principles and their moral bankruptcy.

Libertarians of the right and anarcho-capitalists that I have encountered all seem to be decent, thoughtful, intelligent folk, but they have not realized two central facts: 1) if you refuse responsibility to your fellow human beings, then you lose integrity and true virtue, and moreover, you will end up losing your peace, and your freedom, in the end, as a result; and 2) if you shrink or eliminate the government, but leave giant corporations and great concentrations of wealth and economic power unchecked, then you will have a worse form of tyranny, and not liberation. How this is not obvious, I do not know, but it needs to be realized, and now.

The primary tyrannical power in the 21st century, is not the church, not the monarchy, not the aristocracy, not even the government or the political powers of the state, but the corporate oligarchs who have taken over the nations and the world. Realize and understand this, or we are all serfs, moving rapidly into slavery.

*

So yes, while there are many streams of thought within anarchism, the majority of them are very thoughtful, and very intelligent, very prescient, and very peaceful. They are far from violent, and they are far from naïve. If anyone is naïve, it is those who uncritically obey and believe their government – which is the majority of people. What are they thinking? And if anyone is violent, it is again those who uncritically support their government, and their government’s actions of mass violence.

This is not the highly dramatic image of the anarchist as venomous bomb-thrower wanting to destroy every authority instantly, but that image is a child’s cartoon; one that the people have been told to frighten them away from the very serious and thoughtful stream of thinking, which anarchism represents. It is a bogey man created by the lovers of power, and it has very little connection to the real world.

*

State violence, and corporate violence and destruction, account for the overwhelming majority of violence and destruction in the world, but we ignore them, and pretend they doesn’t exist.

State and corporate violence and destruction make street violence seem small and almost insignificant by comparison.

Liberals and conservatives routinely support war, which is mass murder, in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people are killed, by these same peace-loving liberals and conservatives who supported the war. Meanwhile, in an act of supreme hypocrisy, these same liberals and conservatives, who have just supported war and mass murder, and who have blood all over their hands, want to wag a finger at a few youth who call themselves anarchists, for being violent and throwing bricks through a window. They are out of their minds. The hypocrisy is extreme. And they are living in a dream world.

*

I listed six major political philosophies here – liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, environmentalism (it is now a distinct body of political philosophy unto itself) and fascism/Stalinism or authoritarianism. But where do the progressives and the libertarians fit in? They don’t. They are a fiction. They are a name without a political philosophy.

First of all, libertarianism was a movement of the left, historically, until laissez-faire capitalists in the United States got a hold of the term and called their laissez-faire capitalist ideology libertarianism. It is not libertarianism, it is an extremist wing of liberal democratic ideology. It means, total deregulation of business and capital. That would lead to a toxic wasteland, and a dystopia in which a few robber baron oligarchs and giant neo-feudal corporate empires ruled the world. Strangely enough, that is exactly where we are heading. Isn’t it lovely?

Conservatism used to mean a supporter of monarchy and feudalism, but after the democratic revolutions, when feudalism and monarchy were discredited, conservatism came to mean a particular wing of liberal democracy, in terms of political philosophy. Libertarians of the right, are thus a faction or wing of conservatism, which is itself, in reality, a faction or wing of liberal democracy.

What is a “progressive”? Everybody and his dog wants to call himself or herself a progressive now. It is absurd, and it is pointless, and it only adds to the general confusion that engulfs the people. Either a progressive is a classical liberal with a flowery name; or a progressive is an anarchist or a socialist who doesn’t want to admit it. “Progressives”, therefore, are either liberals who don’t want to call themselves liberals, since that name has been too degraded by decades of right-wing mud-slinging; or they are socialists or anarchists who don’t dare to admit their real political philosophy. In either case, the word “progressive” simply muddies the waters, and hence, should be dismissed and abandoned. Similarly, right wing libertarians should just call themselves conservatives or liberals who support deregulation, and not cover over their ideology with pretty sounding labels which mean nothing, but conceal much.

Are you a liberal, a conservative, a socialist, an anarchist, a green, or a fascist or Stalinist, or are you just concealing the fact that you really do not know what you stand for, and are blowing a lot of hot air, with a muddy philosophy that only muddies the waters, and adds nothing but confusion to the mix? Maybe that is too harsh on the “progressives” and the libertarians of the right, but it is a question that is certainly worth asking. Vague, muddy ideas, based in vague, muddy political philosophy, covered over by a pretty name, do not help us any.

I would urge all those who call themselves libertarian, to decide, clearly and overtly, whether they are liberals of a certain strain, or conservatives of a certain strain – meaning, that they want a market-based economy, combined with constitutional democracy and freedom; and if they are honest, but unprincipled, combined with an unquestioning acceptance of big business and the new globalist corporate oligarchy, which means in truth, they are siding with the fascists; or whether they are authentic classical liberals or conservatives, who will stand up for constitutional democracy, human rights and freedom, and hence, must question, challenge, resist and overthrow the global corporate oligarchy, and they must also, therefore, seek proper and sensible checks and balances, and limits, on great concentrations of economic power, just as they insist on it for government and political powers. That is, either they become coherent, or they become silent, and admit they have no idea what they are talking about. Or, they accept and embrace left-libertarianism, which means anarchism, or anarchist socialism. Either way, they must clarify their thinking, or admit they are full of hot air and are incoherent.

*

Now that I have given a rather scathing critique of progressives and libertarians (of the right), we must not leave the new stream of political philosophy which is environmentalism, or the greens, without a similarly close examination.

Environmentalism, broadly, as a body of political philosophy, is, of course, very diverse, just as there are many approaches to liberalism, conservatism, anarchism and socialism, and there are many flavours or “variants” of authoritarianism and fascism.

There are, quite literally, eco-fascists. In fact, several of the biggest environmental groups have made a deal with the devil, and have joined forces with the Davos-based global corporate oligarchy, presumably thinking they can win gains for environmental protection. They are fools, and they are being played for fools. The Davos billionaires are true fascists, though they mask their agenda of simple greed and power-lust, with a thin veneer of “sustainability” and “inclusivity”. The billionaires’ plan for the environment is neo-Malthusian, genocidal, fascist and ecocidal, and their version of the Green New Deal, will lead us into an Orwellian, neo-feudal, technocratic, neo-Dickensian police state, while enabling them to go on devouring the people and the planet alike. That kind of faux green we can do without, and we should passionately and fiercely resist.

Then there are democratic socialists who are green, and liberals who are green, and conservatives who are green, and anarchists who are green. Any of them would be, of course, vastly preferable to an eco-fascism run by the world’s global corporate police state.

But while there are many shades of green, and many diverse views and currents of thought within that broad stream which is green politics, we should be aware that the strongest and most predominant, until the recent sell-out to the Davos fascists, was deeply libertarian – in the original sense, which is to say, left libertarian, libertarian socialist, or anarchist.

Greens generally do not oppose business or a market economy, but favour cooperatives and decentralization, or localization, of both political power, and more importantly, of economics and economic power. That makes them decidedly anti-authoritarian. The greens need to remember that. At present, they, like the liberals and the left, have temporarily abandoned their common sense, and their faculties and their principles, and are either silent and thus tacitly giving their consent to the currently on-going global fascist corporate coup, or they are actively cheering for it, not understanding what they are doing.

As with the progressives, libertarians, liberals, conservatives, socialists, and anarchists too, the environmentalists and the greens, in general all need to lift their heads, question far more, take a look around, and realize what is staring us in the face. We have been taken over by corporate fascists. If you do not understand this, then any hope for serious action on either environmental protection, or social justice, or economic soundness and vitality, will amount to a very precise sum – of zero.

*

There is still a small minority of people who believe in theocracy, or monarchy, or military dictatorship. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, ruled by a dictatorship of one family’s dynasty, for example. But I would count those who believe in theocracy, neo-feudal monarchy or military dictatorship among the authoritarians, who also include the Marxist-Leninists, the fascists and the Stalinists, and the Chinese Communist government, as well as those who believe in technocracy – which is simply a form of scientific (or pseudo-scientific) fascism. And while they are a small minority of the population, we should not underestimate the very real and great danger they pose.

In fact, the billionaire’s club of Davos, the World Economic Forum, is now quite literally fascist. They believe in technocracy, and they are driving the world into technocracy and fascism, though the great majority of the people are so bewildered, stupified, distracted and indoctrinated, that they see it not.

Worse, the great majority of the Left is blind to the global corporate fascist coup which is now underway. Worse yet, the great majority of liberals and the left, are actively supporting the “new normal” of corporate-driven technological fascism. Thinking people need to question this, and resist it fiercely and unwaveringly.

*

I would not call myself an anarchist, even though I believe anarchism is the most intelligent, coherent, hopeful and liberating of all the various political philosophies in existence to date. I would only call myself an anarchist if I was speaking solely to a group of people I knew were anarchists – because once you introduce a label or an “ism”, people automatically assume they know what that means, and all thinking and all thoughtful dialogue ceases.

“The structure of language determines not only thought, but reality itself.”
– Noam Chomsky

That is why Orwell is particularly important in his work – he understood the power, for good or evil, or the use and abuse of language.

Labels can be helpful in clarifying the reality we are dealing with. For example, we should call the billionaire plutocrats and oligarchs what they are: they are fascists. But aside from certain uses of labels in certain times, within certain circumstances, labels can cloud minds and hide realities, more than they clear or reveal them.

*

For nearly 2,000 years, people deferred to Aristotle as the virtually all-knowing thinker and philosopher, who had no peer, and nothing of merit or significance was felt to be possible that Aristotle had not already said – or Plato, or Thomas Aquinas, or some other figure of presumed authority. This is foolishness. Question everything. But we still do the same thing today. The great majority of people, and the great majority of scientists and other “intellectuals”, merely bow their heads, and defer to one form of perceived authority or another. It is mindless group-think and scholastic dogmatism, and it should be questioned, and challenged.

For 10,000 years, people viewed that monarchies, empires and feudalism were normal, natural, inevitable, just and legitimate, ethical and right. And they viewed (small d, small r) democrats and republicans as radicals, and dangerous extremists, or at the very least, naïve utopian dreamers, out of touch with reality, and aiming for impossible goals. Now, after the birth of modern democracy, after the American and French Revolutions, most people view democracy, constitutional rule, human rights, equality and freedom, as things that are given, and they take them for granted, as being not only right and just, but also guaranteed. They are right and just, but they are certainly not guaranteed – and we are losing them, and fast.

*

I would say, as I have said before, that for the long term, as a vision for human society, I would agree with Kropotkin, who merely echoed, and gave form in political philosophy, the teachings and example of Jesus: love your neighbour, treat all with compassion and kindness, help one another, live in peace, and share and cooperate – exactly the things we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, but apparently did not.

That is, we should live in freedom, and in peace, and with voluntary mutual aid, as the norm. And that is entirely possible for human beings, although it seems clear that the majority of people are too steeped in narcissism and hedonism and escapism, and an excessive or one-sided individualism, which denies the moral obligation to be our brother’s keeper, to be ready for such a stateless and classless society. That is anarchist communitarianism, or anarchist communism, to be more precise. And that is attainable, as well as desirable – in the longer term, or in small pockets where people aspire to higher values than crass egotism, narcissism, selfishness and greed.

(See Mutual Aid, by Kropotkin, World As Lover, World As Self, by Joanna Macy, Ancient Futures, by Helena Norberg-Hodge, The Ecology of Freedom, by Murray Bookchin, The Chalice and The Blade, by Rianne Eisler, Roads To Freedom, by Bertrand Russell, and The Empathic Civilization, by Jeremy Rifkin not all of them advocate anarchist communism, but all of them are profoundly relevant, and most of them are explicitly anarchist or libertarian socialist in perspective and philosophy.)

In the nearer term, I would like to see a society that is based in libertarian socialism, where not all property is shared in common, but where the values of liberty, equality and solidarity, which are the fundamental values of the Enlightenment, are acted upon, and not just mouthed or espoused or held up as banners, that we then go on to ignore in actual practice.

(See Chomsky, Bakunin, Bookchin, Rudolph Rocker, Emma Goldman, Bertrand Russell, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and my own writings, Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite – and my new book that is coming this spring of 2021.)

But in the immediate present, I would simply like to see constitutional democracy lived up to, and defended and protected, and renewed. That is a small and attainable goal for the immediate present, which we should all strive to create and to achieve, if we have any sense at all – whether we be liberals, conservatives, democratic socialists, anarchists or greens. In fact, the only people who do not value constitutional democracy, human rights and freedom as fundamental and non-negotiable, are the fascists, the neo-Maoists and Stalinists. The rest of us can, and should, and must, unite, to defeat the corporate fascists now, and decisively.

*

What I would like to see, and what I believe we urgently need, is a uniting, a federation, or an alliance, of all forces and all people who are not fascists or Stalinists, or supporters and advocates of some other stripe of authoritarianism. What that means, is that we need an alliance of all sensible liberals and conservatives – that means, those who reject neoliberalism and neoconservatism, and who also reject the new corporate oligarchy which is pushing on us a global technocratic fascism; joined together with all sensible democratic socialists, anarchists and greens, who likewise understand what is going on, and reject the new corporate fascist police state. We can and must unite the liberals, conservatives, anarchists, socialists and greens, and defeat the fascists that are being led by the Davos billionaires. We can do this, and we must.

*

We defeated the fascists before, 75 years ago, in World War II. We can defeat them again. And we will.

What matters now, in this moment of history, is not what political philosophy you have, or what political party or political affiliations you are involved with or support, but one question only: Do you value freedom, constitutional rule, human rights and democracy, or do you side with the fascists who have taken over? All other issues can be dealt with later. First, we need to defeat fascism, once again, and we will need to unite the people in order to do that.

We must say it, and explain it, enough times that the people begin to understand it:

Unite the people now. All other more secondary and minor issues can be dealt with later, once we have defeated the corporate oligarchs, who are imposing a new kind of scientific (or pseudo-scientific) fascism on the world. Understand this, or prepare for a very dark age ahead. It cannot be emphasized enough. Unite the people now. And take your power back.

JTR,
April 11, 2021

***********

(Somehow I accidentally copied and pasted part of the essay or post-script above, here below. I must go back and edit this, as soon as I have a moment to do it. My apologies for the unusual boggle of text! If you scroll down until you see several stars in a line, that is where the duplicate text seems to end, and a small but important addition is waiting. Ta-daaa!!)

So yes, while there are many streams of thought within anarchism, the majority of them are very thoughtful, and very intelligent, very prescient, and very peaceful. They are far from violent, and they are far from naïve. If anyone is naïve, it is those who uncritically obey and believe their government – which is the majority of people. What are they thinking? And if anyone is violent, it is again those who uncritically support their government, and their government’s actions of mass violence.

This is not the highly dramatic image of the anarchist as venomous bomb-thrower wanting to destroy every authority instantly, but that image is a child’s cartoon; one that the people have been told to frighten them away from the very serious and thoughtful stream of thinking, which anarchism represents. It is a bogey man created by the lovers of power, and it has very little connection to the real world.

*

State violence, and corporate violence and destruction, account for the overwhelming majority of violence and destruction in the world, but we ignore them, and pretend they doesn’t exist.

State and corporate violence and destruction make street violence seem small and almost insignificant by comparison.

Liberals and conservatives routinely support war, which is mass murder, in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people are killed, by these same peace-loving liberals and conservatives who supported the war. Meanwhile, in an act of supreme hypocrisy, these same liberals and conservatives, who have just supported war and mass murder, and who have blood all over their hands, want to wag a finger at a few youth who call themselves anarchists, for being violent and throwing bricks through a window. They are out of their minds. The hypocrisy is extreme. And they are living in a dream world.

*

There is still a small minority of people who believe in theocracy, or monarchy, or military dictatorship. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, ruled by a dictatorship of one family’s dynasty, for example. But I would count those who believe in theocracy, neo-feudal monarchy or military dictatorship among the authoritarians, who also include the Marxist-Leninists, the fascists and the Stalinists, and the Chinese Communist government, as well as those who believe in technocracy – which is simply a form of scientific (or pseudo-scientific) fascism. And while they are a small minority of the population, we should not underestimate the very real and great danger they pose.

In fact, the billionaire’s club of Davos, the World Economic Forum, is now quite literally fascist. They believe in technocracy, and they are driving the world into technocracy and fascism, though the great majority of the people are so bewildered, stupified, distracted and indoctrinated, that they see it not.

Worse, the great majority of the Left is blind to the global corporate fascist coup which is now underway. Worse yet, the great majority of liberals and the left, are actively supporting the “new normal” of corporate-driven technological fascism. Thinking people need to question this, and resist it fiercely and unwaveringly.

*

I would not call myself an anarchist, even though I believe anarchism is the most intelligent, coherent, hopeful and liberating of all the various political philosophies in existence to date. I would only call myself an anarchist if I was speaking solely to a group of people I knew were anarchists – because once you introduce a label or an “ism”, people automatically assume they know what that means, and all thinking and all thoughtful dialogue ceases.

Labels can be helpful in clarifying the reality we are dealing with. For example, we should call the billionaire plutocrats and oligarchs what they are: they are fascists. But aside from certain uses of labels in certain times, within certain circumstances, labels can cloud minds and hide realities, more than they clear or reveal them.

*

For nearly 2,000 years, people deferred to Aristotle as the virtually all-knowing thinker and philosopher, who had no peer, and nothing of merit or significance was felt to be possible that Aristotle had not already said – or Plato, or Thomas Aquinas, or some other figure of presumed authority. This is foolishness. Question everything. But we still do the same thing today. The great majority of people, and the great majority of scientists and other “intellectuals”, merely bow their heads, and defer to one form of perceived authority or another. It is mindless group-think and scholastic dogmatism, and it should be questioned, and challenged.

For 10,000 years, people viewed that monarchies, empires and feudalism were normal, natural, inevitable, just and legitimate, ethical and right. And they viewed (small d, small r) democrats and republicans as radicals, and dangerous extremists, or at the very least, naïve utopian dreamers, out of touch with reality, and aiming for impossible goals. Now, after the birth of modern democracy, after the American and French Revolutions, most people view democracy, constitutional rule, human rights, equality and freedom, as things that are given, and they take them for granted, as being not only right and just, but also guaranteed. They are right and just, but they are certainly not guaranteed – and we are losing them, and fast.

*

I would say, as I have said before, that for the long term, as a vision for human society, I would agree with Kropotkin, who merely echoed, and gave form in political philosophy, the teachings and example of Jesus: love your neighbour, treat all with compassion and kindness, help one another, live in peace, and share and cooperate – exactly the things we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, but apparently did not.

That is, we should live in freedom, and in peace, and with voluntary mutual aid, as the norm. And that is entirely possible for human beings, although it seems clear that the majority of people are too steeped in narcissism and hedonism and escapism, and an excessive or one-sided individualism, which denies the moral obligation to be our brother’s keeper, to be ready for such a stateless and classless society. That is anarchist communitarianism, or anarchist communism, to be more precise. And that is attainable, as well as desirable – in the longer term, or in small pockets where people aspire to higher values than crass egotism, narcissism, selfishness and greed.

In the nearer term, I would like to see a society that is based in libertarian socialism, where not all property is shared in common, but where the values of liberty, equality and solidarity, which are the fundamental values of the Enlightenment, are acted upon, and not just mouthed or espoused or held up as banners, that we then go on to ignore in actual practice.

But in the immediate present, I would simply like to see constitutional democracy lived up to, and defended and protected, and renewed. That is a small and attainable goal for the immediate present, which we should all strive to create and to achieve, if we have any sense at all – whether we be liberals, conservatives, democratic socialists, anarchists or greens.

In fact, the only people who do not value constitutional democracy, human rights and freedom as fundamental and non-negotiable, are the fascists, the neo-Maoists and Stalinists. The rest of us can, and should, and must, unite, to defeat the corporate fascists now, and decisively.

*

We defeated the fascists before, 75 years ago, in World War II. We can defeat them again. And we will.

What matters now, in this moment of history, is not what political philosophy you have, or what political party or political affiliations you are involved with or support, but one question only: Do you value freedom, constitutional rule, human rights and democracy, or do you side with the fascists who have taken over? All other issues can be dealt with later. First, we need to defeat fascism, once again, and we will need to unite the people in order to do that.

We must say it, and explain it, enough times that the people begin to understand it:

Unite the people now. All other more secondary and minor issues can be dealt with later, once we have defeated the corporate oligarchs, who are imposing a new kind of scientific (or pseudo-scientific) fascism on the world. Understand this, or prepare for a very dark age ahead. It cannot be emphasized enough. Unite the people now. And take your power back.

*******

(This appears to be the end of the duplicate text. The following addition is important, I believe. I will correct the error as soon as possible, sorry.)

We must shake the people out of their stupor of denial. Politely and gently and respectfully wherever possible, but assuredly, and by whatever means are necessary short of violence. They are addicted to escapism and to comfort, and it is making them into virtual zombies. Addle-minded and numb does not begin to describe the horror or the reality of it. Their addiction to comfort will be their slavery, and the death of them, if they do not shake themselves out of it.

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end. If you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin (And I would add, they will lose them both in the end.)

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” – Benjamin Franklin

We either unite the people, or we live in an Orwellian dystopia, and a police state.

Which is it, people? Freedom and unity, or slow and painful death?

Number one task: Rouse the people from their sleep-walking state, and show them the danger they are in, and what is really going on.

Task number two, which must go along with the first: Remind the people of their power, and inspire them, empower them, uplift them, and remind them that it is right and good and appropriate, and necessary, critically necessary, that they embrace their power, and that they trust themselves.

Task number three, which must also conjoin the first two: Unite the people.

If we do these three things, then we will have a good future, and indeed, a beautiful future, and a new Renaissance. If we do not, then it is a very dark age ahead, followed by the slow death of extinction. Our task is clear, and so too, our choices.

JTR,
April 11, 2021

Stop Buying Bottled Water! Get A Berkey Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2021 by jtoddring


Everyone should have one of these – a Berkey water filter, that is a whole other standard for clean water. We simply can’t be using bottled water. Bottled water causes massive pollution and waste and is killing the oceans with plastic. The plastic bottles also leach toxic chemicals into the water that you are drinking. And the source of the bottled water is highly questionable to begin with. Dasani, for example, is owned by Coca-Cola, and reportedly uses city tap water from Burlington. Then there is the issue of bottled water companies depleting local water supplies, where local residents are already experiencing water shortages. Then there is the issue of supporting giant evil corporations, such as Nestle and Coca-Cola, which, between them, own most of the bottled water brands. Coca-Cola has a history of murdering labour union leaders across the Third World, earning them the nickname, Killer Coke, and Nestle has openly declared that it wants to control all water on Earth. If that isn’t Dr. Evil, level of evil, I don’t know what is. And then there is the simple issue of wasting money on bottled water. One Berkey water purification filter set provides the same amount of water (though far cleaner and safer) as 44,000 500mL bottles of water, which would cost $7,000 retail. Then there is the issue of city tap water. Do you really want to drink that stuff? You shouldn’t. No one should. It’s loaded with flouride, which is shown to cause bone cancer and significant reductions in IQ. It’s also chlorinated. Chlorine doesn’t just taste and smell foul, it’s also a known cancer-causing toxin, particularly linked to colon cancer. Remember that chlorine gas was used in chemical warfare in WWI. When you see images of gas masks from the first world war, that was chlorine gas they were trying to escape. Do you really want to drink that? Bath in it? Let your kids drink it? Get a Berkey. Now.

A Berkey water purifier can be used at home, at an office, a cottage, or taken on the road in an RV, camper trailer, caravan or camper van. I would not want to drink tap water ever again, and I simply refuse to drink bottled water unless there really is no alternative. So, that means using a water purifier, and there is no other system that compares to Berkey, to my knowledge. Regular water filters, like Britas, are good, but they are extremely rudimentary compared to a Berkey, and they remove only a small percentage of the stuff that can kill you. Why not remove 99.97% or more? Why drink partially safe, partially toxic water, when you can drink extremely clean and safe water?

Lastly, there is the issue of emergencies. They do happen, and they seem to be happening a lot more often lately, now that we’ve fucked up the entire planet that we live on. In an emergency, it is important to have some basic emergency kit, at least. That means at least some small stock of food, medicine, first aid kit, warm clothing and blankets (depending on where you live, of course) – and water. But what is far better than stocked bottles of water, is a water purifier that you can use with almost any water that is not ocean water (because it’s salt water, of course). You can take water from any lake, river, stream, even dirty stagnant pools and ponds, and the Berkey will remove any harmful bacteria, as well as toxic pollutants. And you can easily pack a water purifier in a car or truck or camper van, but you can’t so easily pack in several cases of bottled water, on top of all your other gear, clothing and personal items.

Mobility, adaptability, preparedness and resilience are simply intelligent in any time. Nobody gets into a car and plans to have a car accident, but if you’re intelligent, you put your safety belt on anyway, just in case. You don’t plan to have your teeth fall out, and you’d probably rather they didn’t, so you brush your teeth, as a sensible bit of foresight and precaution, as well as good hygiene. So, just get an emergency kit together, including a water purifier, just the same way you brush your teeth: automatically, as good hygiene, and as a precaution – so your teeth don’t fall out; and so your family is not caught unprepared if an emergency does arise.

It just makes sense. It should be common sense. It’s strange that these things have to be explained. It’s like not spending every penny you have, plus going as far into debt as possible, but instead, if at all possible, saving a little bit every month, even a few dollars here and there, for dreams on the one hand, and for a rainy day or emergencies on the other. It only makes sense.

Does anybody remember Hurricane Katrina? A major US city was devastated – and the US government essentially stood by and watched people die. They were mostly poor black people, so who cares, right? Emergency relief was disastrously slow and utterly inadequate – in the richest country in the history of the world. It was a total disgrace. It showed that the US government has abandoned the people. So don’t count on your government helping you in an emergency. Maybe they will, and maybe they won’t.

What’s more, ecological disasters are becoming far more frequent. Even at the time of Hurricane Katrina, I was riveted by the fact, which very few people know yet, that on two months either side of Katrina, there were five other major environmental disasters around the world. And the pace is increasing.

Think of the wildfires that burned out of control across the US west coast, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, and across western Canada, and the northern Canadian prairies, and northern Ontario and Quebec, and Australia, and in places around the world.

Floods are more common all over the world. And Texas – sweltering hot Texas – just had freezing cold weather, which Texans are utterly not used to expecting, and people had to flee and evacuate or freeze to death – and many did freeze to death.

We’ve been foolish in our relationship with nature. As Margaret Atwood titled her recent book, nature may have some ideas about Payback. It’s not vengeance or spite. It’s just a lesson. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. And since modern industrial humanity has sown a shit-storm for itself, it would be extra-smart to be prepared for emergencies, because we have created for ourselves one Long Emergency ahead, as James Howard Kunstler laid out very well.

(See: The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler; A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright; Oneness vs The 1% by Vandana Shiva; my own books; and, When Technology Fails, by Mathew Stein.)

Thinking ahead simply makes sense. Living without forethought does not make sense. That is just plain stupid.

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No, I get no commission for promoting Berkey water purifiers. I just want to promote ideas and alternatives that I think are important and worthwhile.

Get a Berkey now. Seriously. Protect yourself, your family, and the Earth. No other water filter compares, and nobody should be drinking either city tap water or bottled water – ever.

JTR,
April 10, 2021

Stoicism: A Philosophy of Powerlessness; And, Meditations on History, Religion, Philosophy & Science

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Stoicism is recently faddish and in vogue, but it is popular and attractive only to those who don’t understand it.

It is not surprising that Stoicism is attractive to many people now, in the same way that many people are attracted to a death fetish: Stoisism is a philosophy of fatalism, and that attracts people who feel powerless and hopeless, just as death cults and death fetishes attract people in times of civilizational decline.

Exactly as happened in the late Roman Empire, when that civilization (sic) was in decline and crumbling, just as ours is in decline and crumbling now, people turned to death cults, death fetishes, and gladiatorial blood sports, and they turned to Sophism, which is to say nihilism, and they turn to Stoicism, which says that everything is predetermined, so, you may as well be fatalistic about it, because you have no power over anything anyway.

As an aside, it occurs to me now that the reason the Western Christian churches – the Catholics and the Protestants – became transfixed on the crucifixion, and focused on the suffering and death of Christ, while the Eastern Orthodox church has always focused on Christ’s resurrection and triumph, may have a lot to do with the fact that in 180-400AD, when the Christian churches were still new-born institutions and far more malleable than today, and Augustine’s dark vision became the official church dogma, during the same period the Eastern Roman Empire was strong, while the Western Roman Empire was in decline and decay. In the West, in the decaying Western Roman Empire, the prevailing mood or spirit of the time was a sense that life and the future are at best weary, and at worst horrific – the same spirit or mood of the times which gave rise to the popularity of Stoicism, also gave sanctification, endorsement and canonization, to Augustinian grim determinism, and his dark philosophy of worldly futility and powerlessness: a workd view which is echoed in Augustine’s philosophy, and was the very heart of the Stoicism which preceded it, and which, along with Manichaenism, gave birth to the dark philosophy of Augustine.

Nietzsche and Gibbon were wrong. Christianity is not a weakness to be overcome, and a weakness that led to the fall of the Roman Empire. But the fatalistic philosophies of Stoicism and Augustine are weaknesses and pathologies that almost certainly did contribute to the fall.

Internal decay, caused by great and excessive inequality, corruption and unresponsiveness of the ruling government, self-insulating and out of touch elites, and great suffering and oppression of the people (all of which strongly parallels what we see today), combined with hubris directed outwardly as well as inwardly, meaning, imperial over-reach, were the two primary causes of the decline and collapse, but it can be reasonably argued that the fatalistic philosophies of Stoicism and of Augustine sped the process of disintegration and fall. Apathy is not a wise or intelligent philosophy in any time, and particularly in difficult times.

It also did not help that the Roman elite liked to eat and drink from lead bowls and gobblets, and even sprinkled lead on their food as a flavour enhancer. We now know that lead causes brain damage and mental derangement. The elite drove themselves insane with hubris and the physical poisoning of their brains. The parallels are again striking. History is repeating. And, in the modern industrial world, we accept as normal the routine and systematic poisoning of our air, water, soil and food, and as a result, our bodies and our brains. With the elite self-deluded with hubris and insularity, and the people poisoned both in body by toxins, and in mind by propaganda, indoctrination, delusion, distraction, division, nihilism, illusions of powerlessness and apathy, fall and collapse can not be far off.

I would say that the best scholarly interpretation as to the primary cause of the fall of the Roman Empire is that it was a case of accidental suicide. But that makes it sound like this is an aberration in history. It is not. All empires commit suicide, unwittingly, if they are not brought down by revolution, war, or ecological collapse, which are the other three major causes.

In fact, accidental suicide is far too vague. What that really means, is that the government, and the elite who controlled it, carried out a series of actions and policies that led to the internal decay and ultimate collapse of the empire. What that means, in essence, is that they pursued a policy of imperialism abroad, and callous disregard for the people internally, until they brought the impressive house of cards down around their heads.

What caused the fall of the empire was therefore imperial over-reach – which is what all empires do in the end, because they are driven by hubris, power-lust and greed, and cannot stop themselves; and by corruption and self-serving contempt for the people on the part of the ruling elite, until finally the people began to refuse to pay their taxes, and a tax revolt so weakened the empire internally, that any relatively small precipitating factor was enough to collapse the system. The proverbial barbarians at the gate were a perfect example in history of the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It was a slow motion collapse, exactly as is happening in the late 20th and early 21st century with the global corporate-state empire, but these were the reasons: over-stretch abroad, and corruption within, leading to inevitable decay and decline, and a slow motion disintegration, before the final collapse.

The best summary that I can see to date for the primary reasons the Roman Empire fell (there were many minor and contributing causes, of course), is that a) a combination of imperial over-reach in terms of foreign relations; and b) corruption and extreme inequality within, which led to a crisis of legitimacy (then as now), and which in turn led to a tax revolt; combined with c) a deliberate policy of devaluing the currency, which led inevitably to hyper-inflation; together led to the weakening of the empire to such a state that any relatively minor crisis was enough to bring the system crashing down.

Again, the parallels are striking. The Soviet Union experienced a slowly growing crisis of legitimacy over several decades, until, seemingly suddenly and overnight, it collapsed. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the crisis of legitimacy took nearly 300 years to weaken the empire to the state that “barbarians” were able to sack imperial Rome, and trigger the final fall. But whether slow or fast, an unfolding crisis of legitimacy will bring down any nation or empire if it is ignored. Empires and nations have only two choices when faced with a crisis of legitimacy: honour the people and serve their needs; or alternately, smugly dismiss the people as irrelevant, paper over the problem with ever-increasing and ever less effective propaganda, control mechanisms and PR, and thereby, ensure collapse. The US, and the broader global corporate empire which has swallowed it whole, along with most nations in the world, seem hell bent on repeating the same pattern as the Soviet Union and the Roman Empire. The results will be predictable. The fall is coming. Hubris has guaranteed it.

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Not that the Roman Empire, or any empire, was or is worth preserving, but at least we should be clear about why that “civilization”, or to use more neutral terms, that society, collapsed and fell. It did not collapse because of Christianity – in fact, what both Augustinian misinterpretations of Christianity and Stoic religion were, one after the other, viewed by the ruling elite as being essential to the Empire.

Religion can be a source of strength, or of languishing and decay, but it is like technology, or science, or philosophy, in that sense: it depends entirely on how we relate to them. They can be opiates that blind, or beacons that illuminate and inspire. Don’t blame religion if people sometimes, in some places and some eras, relate to it foolishly. Science, technology and philosophy have been used foolishly many times, but we would be fools to reject them carte blanch and in their entirety, just as we would be foolish to reject all of religion in the same way.

Religion can give us luminary figures such as Jesus, the Buddha, Shankara, Lao Tzu, Moses and Mohammed, Gandhi, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, St. Francis, Tommy Douglas, Archbishop Romero and Martin Luther King; or it can just as easily give us jaundiced, neurotic, scraping and groveling, boot-licking apologists for empire and preachers of the virtues of apathy, fatalism and grim, pious resignation, such as Augustine. Philosophy can offer us beacons of light and basic sanity, such as Socrates, Spinoza, Emerson, Thoreau, Montaigne and Thomas Paine; or it can lead us into a rotting bog, as it has done with Machiavelli, Spencer and Hobbes, and with the Stoics, the Sophists (nihilists, is a better and more accurate term), and the new Sophists, who are called post-modernists. And science and technology can bring us the telescope, Galileo and Einstein, or just as easily bring us thalidomide, Monsanto, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons and DDT. The problem lies not in religion, philosophy or science per se, but in how we relate to them. To dismiss any of the three – religion, philosophy or science – in their entirety, would be foolish in the extreme, and very highly self-defeating and self-injuring, if not outright madness, since it would be an act of self-blinding, and the gouging out of our own eyes.

As to the fall of the Roman Empire causing a dark age, to meander and return to an earlier thread, as all good thinking and all good conversations do, we should note that the Roman Empire could in no reasonable way be called civilized, since it was an imperialist project and a slave-based society that enjoyed blood sports and venerated itself on the self-indulgence, hubris, insularity and oppressiveness of its rulng elite. The Roman Empire was part of a longer dark age, as the ancient people of Greece, India, China and Tibet all knew very well, but we moderns in our “sophistication” have forgotten. If the collapse of the Roman Empire led to a temporary further darkening, prior to a rebirth and renaissance, which was also due in large measure to its fall, then that new temporary darker dark age was due to the collapse of a system – not, emphatically, a civilization. We should be perfectly and absolutely clear, or at least as clear as possible, in our thinking, and in the terms which both reflect and shape, and often constrain our thoughts.

Another aside, but a profoundly important one, is this. Who were the real barbarians? The Celts, for example, who have been called barbarians, or the Roman aristocracy and the Empire it created? I am not trying to idealize Celtic society, but to simply correct a 2,000 year old bias, prejudice, and deep confusion. Unless we worship power as a value in itself, which is a spiritually, morally and intellectually bankrupt attitude to take, or place an absurd and greatly excessive value on mere engineering and legalistic bureaucracy, which would be equally vacuous, blinding, and spiritually and intellectually bereft, we should view the Roman elite and their empire as the real barbarians. When the Roman Army, after centuries of attempts, finally subdued and conquered the Celts, there were an estimated three million Celtic people in Europe. The Roman Legion slaughtered an estimated one million, and enslaved another million. How is that in any remote sense something that can be called civilized, and not barbaric? Empires always corrupt the people, the society, and the elite in particular. We should not venerate them, if we have any sanity or sense at all.

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More side notes, I offer you, the reader, in this unusually meandering essay, on what began as an essay on Stoic philosophy, and expanded to include its historical and religious context, and now, other, broader points of philosophy as well. But that is fine. We will return to our more narrow focus momentarily. It is good to broaden our minds, and our scope, from time to time.

Listening to history and philosophy podcasts, which are sometimes excellent, and far more often mediocre to abysmal, a point on tone and deliver, aside from content, comes to mind. (And yes, there is no replacement for books, however valuable a very small minority of podcasts and video documentaries may be.) We should note here the wide divergence and great difference in speaking, listening and dialogue between a fairly representative Brit of the older generations, such as Rupert Sheldrake, who never rushes in his speech, nor, presumably, in his thought, and hence communicates, and thinks, with uncommon clarity; and on the other hand, what has become the norm in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and especially in North America, which is to rush through everything, talking as if on crack, speed, crystal meth, or simply too much caffeine, or more often, simply a habit of rushing through everything at all times, as if the goal were to reach the end, which is death, and not to enjoy the journey, or to learn something along the way. If you value learning, teaching, communicating effectively, or you value life, slow down. Unless your objective is a frenzied intellectual entertainment merely – which is useless and only clutters and clouds the mind – and not thinking, learning, communication or truth, slow down.

Thoughts, readings, conversations and discussions, as with life and its events, should be fully present to us, and we to them, and they should be digested and reflected upon, and not simply fly past us in a blur. It may seem impressive to talk fast or to read fast, or to live in a perpetual frenzied rush, but we are only fooling ourselves, for it is foolish and self-defeating. Slow down.

As Thoreau and Trungpa both said, the first thing to do is to cut the speed. Slow down. It cannot be emphasized enough.

The French have said of the Americans that they are so perpetually in a mad rush, and so unduly venerating of action over reflection, that they fling themselves into what they think is a solution before they have properly examined or understood the problem. This, of course, is a recipe for disastrous solutions, which compound the problems many times over, rather than solving them. And this too, is exactly what is happening now, and not just in the United States, but around the world. Slow down. Pause to reflect. Otherwise, our solutions will be the death of us all. Our safety measures in particular are killing us, and are killing our democracy, freedom, human rights, and common sense. Such solutions deserve scorn and firm rejection, not praise and pious self-congratulation. Slow down, pause, and reflect, or it is a true dark age ahead for us all.

But we have digressed…or rather, not digressed, but we have widened our scope beyond the initial focus of this short essay. To return to Stoicism….

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That grim philosophy of fatalism, determinism and powerlessness which Stoicism represents, has captured the minds of many recently, just as it did roughly 2,000 years ago, as the Roman Empire was beginning to collapse. It is as foolish and addle-minded now as it was then. It is the rationalization of despair, and the turning of a cult of impotence, into a virtue.

In its determinism, or the view that all things are predetermined, Stoicism echoes Augustine, or rather, was echoed by Augustine, the deeply neurotic and deeply jaundiced “philosopher” who the new imperial “Christian” church adopted, foolishly, as its primary and over-arching patron saint and guide – sadly displacing Jesus and the prophets in the process.

Augustine held that all things are predetermined. Not surprisingly, he viewed the world, nature, human beings and all life, as futile as well as utterly degraded, wicked and vile, and essentially pushed a philosophy of fatalistic resignation and of powerlessness.

Both Stoicism and the Augustinian heresy, as it should be called, worked wonderfully for the empire, and for the new, hierarchical church powers that were lining their pockets, while aligning themselves with the Empire. It is the same now as then. Demoralize your enemy, is principle number one, according to Sun Tzu and the Art of War, the unrivalled master of strategy, and his major work. Tell them they have no power, and convince them of that, and the war is won before it begins.

“Shut up and know your place, and do as you’re told, because you have no power, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.” This is Stoic philosophy, in its brainless, or for emeror’s use, deceitful, core.

Stoicism is very much akin to Confucianism, which, unsurprisingly, is linked deeply to authoritarian neo-Maoist/Leninist/corporatist technocratic and totalitarian contemporary Communist China. Stoicism is also akin to the caste system of India. Both say, is essence, “Know your place, do what you are told, and shut up.” Except that Stoicism and Augustinian philosophy are vastly darker than either Confucianism or Hinduism, which look beatific and pure geius by comparison.

In any event, either one, Stoicism or Augustinian “Christianity”, suited the Empire perfectly. And yes, Stoicism and Augustine’s “Christianity” are not only deeply linked, but are almost interchangeable – because both told people that everything is predetermined, and therefore they have no power, and therefore told them resign themselves to obedience, and taught them that obedience is virtue, and that believing you are powerless is a virtue. It is madness, of course, but the emperors and bishops and popes loved it.

Marcus Aurelius, who is considered a “good emperor” (which is an absurd oxymoron, suitable only for morons) even considered Stoicism as politically essential to the empire, and said so. A short time later, its mirror image in Agustinian “christianity” would likewise be considered as indispensable to the empire: because both fostered conformity, obedience, and illusions of powerlessness among the plebes and slaves and conquered peoples, and even among the landed aristocracy and the patricians. The Empire is the natural and inevitable, heaven-sanctified, unalterable order of things, and resistance is futile. Of course emperors love that sort of thing. But saner minds should not, and should reject it entirely.

So, when someone advocates Stoicism, tell them you don’t want a philosophy of fatalism, powerlessness, repression, submission and servility, thank you very much.

I could think of worse philosophies than Stoicism – fascism, nihilism, cynicism, totalitarianism, for example… but then again, both Stoicism and Augustinian philosophy both, feed into all of these dark states of mind, ideology and world view, perfectly well, like hand to glove.

Stoicism offers some glittering nuggets of sound advice, but it is fool’s gold, because it comes as the outer wrapper and pretty packaging for a dark seed within, which is the philosophy of futility, powerlessness and despair. Reaching for Stoicism, therefore, from all the many philosophies we could choose from, is truly scraping the bottom of the barrel. It is the dregs of the Western mind. We can do much, much better.

J. Todd Ring,

April 5, 2021

Question Everything: Metaphysics, Science, Philosophy & Common Sense

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Here are thoughts on a short video linked below, but I would frankly assert that the thoughts presented here in this reflection or meditation are more interesting and more useful than the talk that they are commenting on.

This seems to me an unnecessarily obscure talk (linked below), even though the subject is admittedly challenging.

The question is, or one of the central questions is, what is the relationship between our perception of reality, and reality itself. It is extremely useful to state the problem, and the subject, clearly from the outset.

And we should remember what the brilliant philosopher Alan Watts said: “Most metaphysics are unconscious metaphysics, and unconscious metaphysics are bad metaphysics.”

Then you may, at some point, explicitly state what you are definitely not saying, or not intending to say, at least. That is, I would say, for myself, I am not asserting a philosophical position or world view of nihilism, eternalism, dualism, materialist-reductionism, atomism, or a mechanistic view, nor solipsism, Skepticism, Sophism, Interactionism or Idealism.

What that leaves is non-dualism, or some other cruder approximations to it, such as an ecological world view, a systems theory world view, or pantheism, panpsychism or monism. I am asserting non-dualism is the reality, to be clear and precise.

But then you must clarify further.

Here Chomsky seems to agrees with the dominant view in science, which is to take Hume’s challenge to our assumption of a correct, accurate or valid relationship between our thoughts, mental constructs or perceptions of reality and reality itself, seriously enough to refuse to say anything about reality, but to speak only of our perceptions of reality. Of course, that is solipsism, or radical Skepticism, and is unlivable in the real world of daily life. So in practice, we pay lip service to Hume, if we pay any attention to him at all, but then disregard him completely. That utterly anti-empirical and anti-science, utterly unfounded mode of thining and of relating to the world, is what we erroneously call science, philosophy, and common sense.

In short, neither science, in general, though there are some scientists who differ, nor philosophy, nor the common view of life and reality, has any firm basis in reality. Who answers Hume adequately? Only Nagarjuna, the preeminent philosopher of Buddhism, and the Middle Way view of Buddhist philosophy, I would strongly suggest, and state flatly.

Chomsky is brilliant in political analysis, though not infallible, brilliant in political philosophy, and brilliant in linguistics. He does not seem so brilliant in terms, of metaphysics or the philosophy of science, but more run of the mill, and mistaken.

Question everything – and everyone.

J. Todd Ring,

April 5, 2021

Mass Digital Addiction vs Reading

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Remember, as Thoreau said, “Read the best books first, otherwise you might never read them at all.” And in this age of pandemic digital addiction, media overload and mass information glut, when most people’s lives are far too “busy” – meaning, they have lost all sense of priorities and spend an average of four hours a day, 28 hours a week, watching TV, and four hours a day, 28 hours a week, on “smart phones”, the internet and “social media”, and laughably say they have no time to read – we should also say: if you erroneously and self-deceivingly believe you truly do not have time to read a book – ludicrously, because you are saying in reality that you have no sense of what is important, and therefore have no sense of priorities – at least watch well-chosen documentaries, films, podcasts and videos on the internet, on serious subjects, based on good sources, and not just fluff and entertainment – or worse, far worse, serious subjects covered in misleading and misinforming ways by people who are either liars and propagandists, or more commonly, misinformed idiots who are way out of their depth.

Whitehead is another great thinker who is worthy of our attention (short video below), but that is an incidental thought. We could list dozens here, but that is not my focus at this moment. This is:

98% or more of what is in the media, the “alternative media”, the “progressive media”, the “independent media”, YouTube, “social media”, podcasts, talk radio, TV, films, videos, the newspapers, magazines, and the internet generally, is not worth a second of our time. And that is a conservative figure. I would estimate it is closer to 99.999%.

Choose wisely, choose well. Question everything – especially your sources. But read widely, outside of your clique or social group, where everyone says essentially the same thing! And when you find good sources – not infallible, omniscient sources, but simply good sources – treat them like gold! In fact, they are infinitely more precious than gold. Gather them like secret treasures – then share them widely! But be prepared to change your mind and your views, and be prepared to have your icons toppled, your illusions shattered, your sacred cows and cherished assumptions questioned, and your heroes questioned and challenged, as well.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fluff is fine. Entertainment is fine. Humour and lightness, and a little playfulness and wildness, are imperative and essential. I acknowledge these things, certainly. But we should make time every week, if not every day, for quiet, solitude, nature, health and fitness, reflection, the people we love, and serious reading, and serious subjects – otherwise, our lives will be vacuous, superficial, and lacking in depth, vision, clarity, and integrity, as well as being fleeting, which they inevitably are.

Remember what the Upanishads say:

“You should seek the truth like a man whose hair is on fire jumps into a lake.”

Seek truth above all, and you will find it. Seek comfort, or approval, or conformity, or status, fame, wealth, power, endless consumption and material possessions, an ego boost, perpetual entertainment, or some other trivial and foolish obsession, and you will see nothing, but will live in a cave of shadows forever, enchained and imprisoned by your own actions, of voluntary servitude and unquestioning docile compliance and apathy, in the mind-forged manacles you have fashioned, or at least, accepted and secured, for yourself.

JTR,
April 5, 2021

Stand Up To Corporate Fascism!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Massive new mural in Germany protests the wrongful imprisonment of whistle-blower publisher, and hero of free speech and the public’s right to know about the crimes of the power elite, Julian Assange. Speak up, people! Your democracy, your rights, and your freedom – yes, yours, and all of ours – are dying, and being crucified.

Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of thought and belief, freedom to peaceably protest, human rights and constitutional democracy, are all under full-scale attack by corporate fascists globally. Stand up! Speak up!

JTR,

April 5, 2021

To repeat, because it bears repeating:

Massive new mural in Germany protests the wrongful imprisonment of whistle-blower publisher, and hero of free speech and the public’s right to know about the crimes of the power elite, Julian Assange. Speak up, people! Your democracy, your rights, and your freedom – yes, yours, and all of ours – are dying, and being crucified.

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Robertson Davies and Alice Walker: A Review By Someone Who Has Never Read A Single Word They Have Written

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Such a delightfully warm and witty man, Robertson Davies seems most definitely to be. He looks so severe, when you first look at his face, but then he speaks, and there is such an effusive warmth, gentleness, sensitivity, good-heartedness, magnanimity, graciousness, playfulness, optimism, compassion, humour and wit, that you realize he’s not severe at all, or in the least. What a truly lovely human being. He reminds me of a male Alice Walker – and hopefully people won’t be offended by that, but you never know, because people are always getting offended about all kinds of things, some with good reason, and many without. But she has all those beautiful human qualities as well. I know these two characters only in the slightest way, but you can see in them from just two minutes of them talking, or thirty seconds, or two, all of these wonderful qualities so vividly shining through their being, in their faces, their words, their expressions and their tone – through their spirit. I know the two only through brief video taped interviews, and not through their writings, but their qualities and their humanity were absolutely clear from the briefest encounter. Now I definitely want to read them both. What wonderful, wonderful human beings. People like that remind me of the goodness in humanity, which I never doubt for a moment, but am always joyously thrilled to rediscover it anew, every time I see it afresh, in someone new, or someone I have known a long time, or anyone at all.

The Zen saying is true: you can tell everything about a person from the way they pour a cup of tea – or do anything at all. Some people make a methodology of hiding their humanity and their being, and that puts a thin film or cover over it, making it sometimes more difficult to see, but usually not very. But with people who are comfortable with themselves, people who have the self-confidence and the self-dignity enough to simply be themselves, they let their being shine through freely, and do not hide, and then the transparency is clear, and the radiance shines all the brighter, and more clearly.

I’m not trying to be flowery or poetic, or to make some kind of pretension. I’m simply describing what I see. And it makes me think, that another of the great qualities of great writers, great artists, or great souls, is that they are delightfully candid – not in a cruel way, but in an honest and human way, and sometimes in a sympathetic way, and sometimes in a playful way, sometimes in an anarchic way, or a humourous way, but always in an honest and candid way. They are the uncarved block, that the Taoists talked of: the have the magnificent quality, of being simple and uncontrived. They simply are, and there is no artifice about it. And that, is their greatness.

JTR,
April 4, 2021

Ditch Apple & Big Tech

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Just a little rant here, for a change, but one with an important point:

Man, Apple is such pure shite. The fanfare and mob hysteria is definitely undeserved. Yes, it is better than Microshite, but that’s like comparing yourself to a dung pile. Pretty low standard to beat. I foolishly bought an iPad, completely unworthy of every penny of it. I use it for work, writing and research daily, and daily it annoys the shit out of me. Stop prattling on about how wonderful Apple phones, tablets and computers are! They’re junk – over-priced and vastly over-hyped, highly disposable junk – only slightly less shitty than Microsoft. And they’re just about as evil. Switch to Linux asap, and ditch the evil Big Tech shitware, including Apple, Google, Android and MS, completely, I say. I plan to do the same.

Fucking Apple shit!!! I say that virtually every day. Time to make a change.

JTR,

April 3, 2021

On Torture

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Torture, disappearances, kidnappings, rule by executive decree, the dispensing and systematic violation of human rights, parliamentary democratic powers and constitutional rule, passports required for travel inside one’s own nation, indefinite detention without trial, the suspension of habaes corpus, presumption of guilt until proven innocent, pervasive and continuous fear-mongering, warrantless searches and seizures and arrests, home invasions by police without warrant, universal surveillance, tracking and tracing programs, a cult of obedience and conformity, the suppression of freedom of speech, along with freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, demonization and intimidation of dissenting voices, censorship, mass propaganda and summary extrajudicial executions, are the hallmarks of fascism. And across the West, we now have them all.

Torture is in violation of international law, the Geneva Convention, virtually every constitution, and the UN Charter on Human Rights, under any and all circumstances, and is utterly prohibited by all moral and ethical imperatives. It is also proven not to work, in terms of gaining actionable information – though that is incidental to the law and to all moral imperatives – because people being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop. Further, if the Nuremberg Trials were held today, every military, paramilitary, security or “intelligence” personnel, and every politician involved in wars of aggression or torture, would be hung for war crimes and crimes against humanity. That includes most British and Canadian Prime Ministers of recent decades, including the present servants of the US Deep State and Davos, and every US President since WWII.

These are the ugly facts. Worse yet, 50% of Americans support torture, because they have been brainwashed by Hollywood and the corporate media. These are dark times, and the clear and indisputable trend is toward fascism. And it is an understatement to even call it a trend. It is here.

Everyone with a trace of integrity, intelligence, or moral courage remaining in them, should state their clear and firm opposition to torture, and to fascism and police state powers, clearly and publicly, and share this everywhere.

“You have to stand up for something, and if you can’t stand up against torture, what can you stand up for?” – Former CIA Intelligence Officer Ray McGovern

As the Ivy league studies have confirmed, in a case of science confirming the obvious, the US is no longer a democracy, but is now an oligarchy. And even that is euphemistic. It is now a corporate fascist vassal power of the ruling oligarchy of international banking and business elites, based in Davos, Basel, Wall Street and the City of London. The same is true across the Western world, and in most nations the world over.

Do not take this lying down. Find your spine and stand for something. Maybe freedom, democracy, constitutional rule and human rights are worth preserving. If you don’t think so, reflect on Aushwitz. If you think such terrors can’t happen again, I’d say you are plainly delusional, frankly. Stand up now.

J. Todd Ring,

April 3, 2021

Again, I would urge people to read two books above all:

Vandana Shiva’s Oneness vs The 1%, and my own: The People vs The Elite.

And read them now. Order them from the library or online today.

Former CIA man Ray McGovern warns about CIA sanctioned torture in NATO nations and black sites

https://youtu.be/vLzhwPsqPy8 via @YouTube

Paradigm Shift: A Revolution of the Mind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Below is a high level talk by a theoretical physicist, which I will critique here. Yes, that is audacious, but not unfitting. Here are my thoughts.

Really wonderful and lucid talk that is presented here by Michio Kaku, aside from the frankly naïve view of technology as inevitably liberating; however, there is another major oversight and flaw. This is the view of the dying scientific paradigm of Newton and Descartes, in essence: despite the talk of string theory and quantum physics, it is still locked in the paradigm of mechanistic materialism – it is based in an atomistic, mechanistic, dualistic, materialist reductionism, which quantum physics – bravely addressed – along with ecology, systems theory, chaos theory, epigenetics, and mind-brain research, all show is obsolete and out-moded.

Yes, Newtonian mechanics still work as useful equations, but the world-view underlying it is what is out-moded. The underlying mechanistic and materialist bias and paradigm, makes the entire narrative akin to how we today would view a Ptolemaic scholar talking about the nature of life and the universe. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, as the great historian of science Thomas Kuhn called it. In the near future, when the paradigm shift is complete – and these things take decades and sometimes centuries – if we survive, we will look at this presentation of the nature of the cosmos as woefully inadequate and utterly crude.

It is time we embraced a non-dualistic, holistic and organic view of life and the cosmos. Yes, as Einstein said, consciousness is the hidden variable, the fifth force – and simply because we have not yet mathematically or by measurement verified that, does not change the fact that that is the sole logical conclusion from the evidence we have clearly seen. The science is clear, and the evidence is conclusive. We – other than a minority of scientists, sages, thinkers and others – have simply not yet made the shift in consciousness to accord with it.

Einstein, Schrödinger, Wheeler, Bohm, and Allan Wallace, point to the way ahead. As brilliant and accomplished, and affable, as Michio Kaku may be, and is, he does not represent the leading edge either in science or in philosophy. As Einstein said, “We must cease to talk about the particle and the field. The field is everything.” And, “The perception of a division between subject and object is a kind of optical delusion.” When we realize the non-dual nature of consciousness and matter, subject and object, and all phenomena, that will be the breakthrough that makes the Copernican Revolution look like a child’s tea party. And that is coming fast. We are moving in that direction – although it seems painfully slow – in reality, with great speed. This is the revolution of the mind that we have awaited, and that we urgently need.

JTR,
April 3, 2021

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