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 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 thaat can be spoken is not the true Tao.”

Keep your cherished ideologies, philosophies, theories or beliefs, 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: Buddhism, Taoism, the perennial philosophy, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Thoreau, along with the values of the Enlightenment: liberty, equality, solidarity – which I would like to see 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. I am just a student. (See, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and The Bodhisattva Warrior) 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

 

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

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 (on Barnes & Noble)

and,

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,

Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

(Coming April 2020)

*

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)

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 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 free and just, 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

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.

Freedom Is Fundamental

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2021 by jtoddring

There is a great deal of noise and commotion, fighting and fussing, conflict and division, in many areas and many regards, over how people should live. Valuing freedom, in practice as well as rhetoric, ends most of that nonsense.

I don’t care how people dress, or who they sleep with or love, for example. I believe in freedom. If you’re not hurting anyone, then I say, do whatever you want, and live the way you want to. What business is it of mine? But when we are being force-fed global corporate fascism, and being told it is for our own good, then I object.

I have a problem with fascism. Call me old fashioned, but fascism, in any form, is always a nightmare and an atrocity, and can never be tolerated, no matter how it is dressed up or disguised. I think any sane person should agree.

Fight fascism in all its forms. Freedom is not only worth preserving – it is fundamental. Without it, our society rapidly devolves into a gulag. Do not be passive about this latest power bid, in what can be called fascism 3.0; and do not be silent.

J. Todd Ring,
January 22, 2021

The Death of Science

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 21, 2021 by jtoddring

Big business and the billionaire oligarchs are now taking over science, after having already taken over the global economy, the financial system and money creation, almost all governments, and all the major media, including, of course, the Big Tech “social media”. Welcome to the Brave New World. You will be told what to think, as well as what to do and how to live – and don’t bother yourself with facts, evidence, logic or reason, critical thinking or open discussion, for they are all now verboten.

JTR,
January 21, 2021

They Want It All

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2021 by jtoddring

“You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.” So says Davos founder and oligarch-in-chief, what’s his name….Vlad the Impaler? No, wait…Klaus Schwabb.


In any event, you’ll own nothing, while the billionaires own everything – including the governments, the economy, the media, the communications systems, all the major resources, and all the farmland. Welcome to happy clown funland, in the new global corporate fascist regime.

Bill Gates is now the biggest owner of farmland in the US, according to Forbes. He has quietly bought up 242,000 acres across 18 states. Yes, you will own nothing, but the billionaire elite will own everything.

This is nothing new, nor surprising, if anyone knows their history. All emperors and all empires sought ever greater power and wealth for themselves. They all fall in the end, but that does not prevent them from committing acts of mass violence and tyranny for a time. It would be unwise in the extreme to be passive or complacent about what is happening now. The new emperors, and the new empire, are simply repeating the worst mistakes and the worst crimes of history, or are in the process of doing so. They are living out the maxim made clear by Adam Smith: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”

75 years ago, in the 1930s and ’40s, during WWII, we recognized the threat of fascism for what it was, and we defeated it. Today, the great majority live as if in a trance, and do not even recognize the grave danger that surrounds them. This must change, and now. We can and must defeat the fascists, once again. And if anyone thinks these words be too strong, I would strongly advise them, to think again – do some more research, think for yourself, and keep your eyes open. We have only seen the beginning.

J. Todd Ring,
January 15, 2021

For further context and perspective, in-depth analysis, vision and strategy, see my first two published books: Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite. Both are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble now.

#BillGates #Davos #fascism #GreatReset

Additional References:

Michael Parenti – The Haves Want To Have It All
https://open.spotify.com/track/7FDQz2llfo648aNbKzkdG2?si=-wuP2AVSQFaiKnVeMZPeMw

Michael Parenti – Distorted Personalities
https://open.spotify.com/track/72TwUxVWjtkTXVxcOCMQxP?si=pfGUBrrLTVaXywq7KNevGw

Whitney Webb, Twitter: Forbes article on Bill Gates’ Take-Over of US Farmland
https://t.co/wejBNefIBF?amp=1

Techno-Tyranny: How the US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Fulfill An Orwellian Vision, by Whitney Webb
https://citizentruth.org/techno-tyranny-how-the-us-national-security-state-is-using-coronavirus-to-fulfill-an-orwellian-vision/

Further Reading:

Noam Chomsky – Year 501: The Conquest Continues, Necessary Illusions, and, Class Warfare

Ronald Wright – Stolen Continents, and, A Short History of Progress

Rianne Eisler – The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin – The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm – Escape From Freedom, and, The Pathology of Normalcy

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World, and, Brave New World Revisited

John Perkins – Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Wolf – The End of America

Henry David Thoreau – Walden, and, On Civil Disobedience

and my own first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite


Medieval Society – Then and Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2021 by jtoddring

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” ― Adam Smith

“You’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.” – John Lennon

Great short video, linked below, but the view of medieval peasant life is too one-sided – as is typical. Oh the smugness of modern society.


Medieval peasants had little freedom, and were bonded to the landowner class. But it cannot be overstated how profoundly impoverished modern society and culture have become, by comparison. The norm of modern society has become a deep alienation from others, from nature, and from ourselves. That, in short, leaves us as TS Eliot described: The Hollow Men. Bells and baubles, trinkets and gadgets, virtual death by glut of entertainment, and a mountain of consumer goods, can never remotely compensate for this profound, soul-vacating loss, and the resulting, crippling alienation from all that is truly real, and most valuable.

Freedom was the one thing we had going for us in the modern world, and now, we are rapidly losing that. We have both progressed from the medieval age, and regressed – and it would be smug and flippant foolishness to proclaim with any assurance that the gains have been greater than the losses.

I would say the losses have been greater. And now that we are entering a neo-feudal era, ruled by the super-rich, and a Brave New World, we are not only poorer, in important ways, than medieval peasants, but we are entering a dark age, and a gulag society. Re-read Huxley, Orwell, and Thoreau. We need to re-think everything now, and carefully.

We pride ourselves in the modern world on being clever, sophisticated, and civilized, but the reality is quite different. The modern world is based in extreme and growing inequality, servitude, domination and elite rule, pillage and plunder, and was founded on genocide, slavery, conquest, war, mass murder, looting and mass theft, and above all, on empire and class warfare. What do we have to pride ourselves on? The preeminent trait of the modern world is hubris; and as the ancient Greeks knew, hubris always leads to downfall – and that is precisely where we are heading, and with all speed.

There is, of course, much to pride ourselves on, and many positive traits in the modern world; but it is also a fact, and a far more important one to realize, that we urgently need both a renewed confidence, and a renewed humility and open-mindedness, and willingness to question our most sacred and dogmatic beliefs. Without this, we have no chance of altering our present course, which is a dark age of Orwellian dystopia, which we have already now entered, followed by extinction and collapse. Fortunately, an awakening, a new renaissance, has already begun. And it is certainly none too soon.


J. Todd Ring,
January 14, 2021


Medieval Towns – Timelines.tv
https://youtu.be/rXx6DzdJWxk via @YouTube

The Herd of Independent Minds | Noam Chomsky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYlI6vHFD0o

Surviving the 21st Century by Professor Noam Chomsky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJtfWZGxnGI

Noam Chomsky – Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind
https://open.spotify.com/embed/artist/5NEnjDZdPKESN9J7NoPmdz

Michael Parenti – The Haves Want To Have It All
https://open.spotify.com/track/7FDQz2llfo648aNbKzkdG2?si=-wuP2AVSQFaiKnVeMZPeMw

Michael Parenti – Distorted Personalities
https://open.spotify.com/track/72TwUxVWjtkTXVxcOCMQxP?si=pfGUBrrLTVaXywq7KNevGw

We created Al Qaeda / ISIS …| Hillary Clinton Confession
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJI_AlmwEJw

Whitney Webb, Twitter: Forbes article on Bill Gates’ Take-Over of US Farmland
https://t.co/wejBNefIBF?amp=1

Techno-Tyranny: How the US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Fulfill An Orwellian Vision, by Whitney Webb
https://citizentruth.org/techno-tyranny-how-the-us-national-security-state-is-using-coronavirus-to-fulfill-an-orwellian-vision/

Further Reading:

Noam Chomsky – Year 501: The Conquest Continues, Necessary Illusions, and, Class Warfare

Ronald Wright – Stolen Continents, and, A Short History of Progress

Rianne Eisler – The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin – The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm – Escape From Freedom, and, The Pathology of Normalcy

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World, and, Brave New World Revisited

John Perkins – Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Wolf – The End of America

Henry David Thoreau – Walden, and, On Civil Disobedience

and my own first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite

*

Run to the Hills

Iron Maiden

White man came across the sea
He brought us pain and misery
He killed our tribes, he killed our creed
He took our game for his own need

We fought him hard, we fought him well
Out on the plains we gave him hell
But many came, too much for Cree
Oh, will we ever be set free?

Riding through dust clouds and barren wastes
Galloping hard on the plains
Chasing the redskins back to their holes
Fighting them at their own game
Murder for freedom the stab in the back
Women and children are cowards, attack

Run to the hills
Run for your lives
Run to the hills
Run for your lives

Soldier blue in the barren wastes
Hunting and killing’s a game
Raping the women and wasting the men
The only good Indians are tame
Selling them whiskey and taking their gold
Enslaving the young and destroying the old

Run to the hills
Run for your lives
Run to the hills
Run for your lives

Yeah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Run to the hills
Run for your lives
Run to the hills
Run for your lives
Run to the hills
Run for your lives
Run to the hills
Run for your lives

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Stephen Percy Harris

Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills – YouTube

Savage

Judas Priest

Who gives you the right to come here and tell me
I have to leave this place my home
To you it’s a jungle, to me it’s a kingdom
Where my people are free there to roam
Born with the stars we are happy and peaceful
‘Til now we were left undisturbed
But you rupture the forests our gardens
And fill them with filth from your cities unheard

Savage, who is savage?
Leave your morals, stake your claim
Savage, you are savage
Modern man can take the blame

You poisoned my tribe with civilized progress
Baptizing our blood with disease
You christened our bodies with sadness and suffering
Saying then that your god is well-pleased
What have we done to deserve such injustice
Explain to us please if you can
But you can’t, no you can’t, we can see it in your eyes
Of us both who’s the primitive man

Savage, who is savage?
Leave your morals, stake your claim
Savage, you are savage
Modern man can take the blame

You poisoned my tribe with civilized progress
Baptizing our blood with disease
You christened our bodies with sadness and suffering
Saying then that your god is well-pleased
What have we done to deserve such injustice
Explain to us please if you can
But you can’t, no you can’t, we can see it in your eyes
Of us both who’s the primitive man

Savage, savage
Savage, savage
(Who’s the savage?) Modern man
(Who’s the savage?) Modern man

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Robert Halford / Glenn Raymond Tipton

Judas Priest Savage – YouTube

Babylon System

Bob Marley and the Wailers

We refuse to be
What you wanted us to be
We are what we are
That’s the way it’s going to be, if you don’t know
You can’t educate I
For no equal opportunity (talkin’ ’bout my freedom)
Talkin’ ’bout my freedom
People freedom and liberty!

Yeah, we’ve been trodded on the winepress much too long
Rebel, rebel!
Yes, we’ve been trodded on the winepress much too long
Rebel, rebel!

Babylon system is the vampire, yea! (vampire)
Suckin’ the children day by day, yeah!
Me say de Babylon system is the vampire, falling empire,
Suckin’ the blood of the sufferers, yeah!

Building church and university, wooh, yeah!
Deceiving the people continually, yeah!
Me say them graduatin’ thieves and murderers
Look out now they suckin’ the blood of the sufferers (sufferers)
Yea! (sufferers)

Tell the children the truth
Tell the children the truth
Tell the children the truth right now!
Come on and tell the children the truth
Tell the children the truth
Tell the children the truth
Tell the children the truth
Come on and tell the children the truth

‘Cause we’ve been trodded on ya winepress much too long
Rebel, rebel!
And we’ve been takin’ for granted much too long
Rebel, rebel!Got to rebel, y’all (rebel)
We’ve been trodded on the winepress much too long, yeah! (rebel)
Yeah! (rebel) Yeah! Yeah!

From the very day we left the shores (trodded on the winepress)
Of our Father’s land (rebel)
We’ve been trampled on (rebel)
Oh now! (takin’ for granted) Lord, Lord

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Bob Marley

Babylon System (1979) – Bob Marley & The Wailers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMcilBWgo3w

Call It Democracy

Bruce Cockburn

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North south east west
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Bruce Cockburn

The Essence of the Path

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

Here are a few things that I have gleaned, from listening, from study and contemplation, and from some genuine experience. I believe they can be helpful. But above all, think for yourself. Question everything.

“Don’t take anyone’s word for things, not even someone you respect, not even myself.

Examine things for yourself.”

– The Buddha

There are many paths to the mountain top. Do not become dogmatic or sectarian.

“There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.”

– Shakespeare

Don’t obsess over your symbols. And all words and concepts are symbols.

“Naming is the mother of the ten thousand things.”

“The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.”

“Return to your original nature.”

– The Tao Te Ching

“All of the scriptures are like a finger pointing to the moon.

If you mistake the finger for the moon, you will see nothing.”

– The Lankavatara Sutra

There is value in extensive, rigourous study and deep contemplation. There is value in elaborated expositions. Yet there is also value in pith instructions, and in concise expressions of the heart of things.

The most important thing is compassion: it is utterly simple, and yet, the most important thing of all – and sometimes, the most challenging.

Do not confuse wordiness for wisdom, complexity for profundity, or verbosity for depth. Simple is best.

But,

“Complicated works too.”

(Swiss folk saying)

Practice matters. Patience, perseverance, focus and effort, when combined, bring results.

“Be gentle with yourself. If you can be gentle with yourself, you can be gentle with others.”

– Lama Yeshe

“Trust yourself. It is extremely important that you trust yourself. Don’t be afraid of yourself. Trust yourself. You can trust yourself. Trust that your natural intelligence is working itself out.”

– Chogyam Trungpa

Calm abiding, with meditative awareness and pure view, motivated by compassion: this is the essence of the path. Start where you are.

JTR,

January 5, 2021

Post-Script: An important note

Here is a short letter that I sent to friends, elaborating on the essay here.

Hi there,


Here is my best summary of 35 years of study, reflection and meditation on the nature of being and mind, and the path to enlightenment. It comes down, after the preamble, to a single line.

(The brief essay is linked below.)

In that line, there is a term used from Buddhism that many will not be familiar with: pure view. It means, in short, to view all phenomena – all beings, things and sense objects – as pure and empty. It is important that this term not be misunderstood. So what on Earth does it mean?

Pure view does not simply mean thinking positive thoughts. It means viewing all phenomena as they truly are. Pure means uncorrupted and incorruptible – that all phenomena are the infinite Universal Mind, or Wisdom Mind, which is stainless and incorruptible. That does not mean that there is nothing to be done. When we do not recognize the true nature of being and mind, which is non-dual, then illusion arises, and with it, suffering, and also, actions of body, speech and mind that are based in illusion, generating misguided and harmful actions, leading to further suffering. What is to be done, therefore, is to wake up, to see reality, for the first time, as it truly is: empty and pure.

Empty does not mean non-existent, but means, precisely, empty or void of all inherent existence, or independent existence. Empty therefore means that all phenomena are mutually arising, or dependent arising, meaning they are interdependent.

Empty of inherent existence means that all phenomena, despite appearances, are both interdependent and also fundamentally one. It means that all ego-attachment, fear, greed and hate arise from delusion, and delusion alone. This is the meaning of pure view. This is the ultimate practice, along with, of course, universal compassion. Both must be cultivated, or else there is zero chance for enlightenment, and we are confined to the prison cell of samsaric, dualistic illusion, and the suffering it brings, forever.

Please read the short essay below, and let me know your thoughts.

Warm wishes,

Todd

(JTR, January 7, 2021)

https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/the-essence-of-the-path/

Sent with ProtonMail Secure Email.

Post-Script Deux – Or Duh 😉

Two more important notes should be made here: on practice versus theory, and spiritual materialism versus true enlightenment. The latter first.

Spiritual materialism, as Trungpa Rinpoche described it, is using spirituality to re-enforce the ego, or to inflate or defend the ego. This is not enlightenment. This is recoiling further into the prison of dualistic delusion.

When some degree of genuine understanding is attained, or maybe even some degree of direct realization, there can be an unconscious temptation to use this gained knowledge or experience to re-enforce the ego. But ego is the primary illusion to be overcome.

In order to gain full enlightenment, a union of wisdom and compassion must be generated; and, a balance and union of confidence and humility must be cultivated. That means a confident realization of the non-dual, and intrinsically pure nature of being and mind, must be combined, not just with true humility, and freedom from ego-grasping, but with the realization that the separate self, or ego construct, is an illusion, thus precluding any ego-attachment of any kind.

Practice is key – which brings us to the second point.

It is not enough to have a theory, a concept, of the true nature of reality, being and mind. This will not suffice. It is a mean stepping stone, a jumping off point. Experience is required for full enlightenment. That means direct realization of the non-dual nature of being and mind. It means that second hand information is not sufficient. It means that, while studying, contemplation and receiving teachings are important, and generally essential, no one can tell you the true nature of being, nor can any book. These are all pointers, and invaluable pointers, but you must still see for yourself. As Morpheus said, “I can only show you the door. You have to walk through it yourself.”

In terms of seeing: that is what realization means – it means to truly see, and that is enlightenment. Seeing means pure view; it means wisdom; it means enlightenment. And seeing, wisdom, or enlightenment, mean one thing only: the direct realization of the non-dual nature of being and mind.

Nothing else can properly be called wisdom, or enlightenment, or even seeing. If you do not see that all phenomena are intrinsically pure and empty, then you do not see reality at all, but only shadows on the cave wall, only illusions projected by your own mind.

Practice is generally needed, as well as teachings and guidance from one who has seen. Books are invaluable, but generally not sufficient in themselves. We need a qualified guide, direct teachings from a qualified guide, and, along with study, receiving teachings, and contemplation, there is usually a need for practice. A rare few individuals can have the true nature of being and mind pointed out, and instantly achieve full enlightenment. Generally this is not the case.

It is said that, “Sometimes there is meditation, then enlightenment; sometimes there is enlightenment, then meditation.” This means that usually there must be practice first, then enlightenment follows; but sometimes, there is a glimpse, a taste of true enlightenment, but the enlightened view cannot yet be sustained, and so, practice must follow enlightenment, in order to stabilize the view. In either case, in all but the rarest of exceptions, practice is necessary.

Seek and ye shall find. But do not expect instant gratification. Patience, perseverance, and yes, effort, virya, diligence or vigour, are all necessary, along with focus, and of course, a receptive mind. With these things, enlightenment will dawn, most definitely. And along the path, while there will be obstacles, there will be a growing degree of confidence, understanding, and yes, awareness, compassion, joy and peace.

Patience, grasshopper – so I say to myself, and to my fellow travelers on the path of wisdom. Enjoy the journey, and practice, practice, practice.

JTR,
January 7, 2021

Acknowledgements:

For my teachers and mentors, profound thanks are in order. They are: Lama Zopa, Lama Tharchin, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, and the venerable Robert Carter, professor emeritus in philosophy, Trent University.

Indirectly, my other teachers include: The Dalai Lama, Namkai Norbu, Trungpa Rinpoche, Alan Watts, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Joseph Campbell, Aldous Huxley, and many others. To them, and to my friends, family, and fellow travelers along the path, I say thank you, sincerely and with deep gratitude.

Russia In A Nutshell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 15, 2020 by jtoddring

Whatever problems Russia has, and every country has problems, as does Russia, two things are clear:

  1. Russia is not trying to take over the world. Davos and Washington are doing that.
  2. The West is in no position to criticize any nation over human rights. We have imported the Chinese totalitarian model in 2020, as I said in March. We have become a corporate fascist police state.

We need to deal with our own problems, and confront the real dangers, which are here at home. The literally fascist billionaire oligarchs are by far the greatest danger to the world, both at home in the West and around the globe. Anyone who is not cognizant of this fact is simply not dealing with reality.

J. Todd Ring,

December 15, 2020

See former senior Russia analyst and 27 year CIA veteran Ray McGovern for details.

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