Archive for the common ground Category

Who Are The CIA?

Posted in activism, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, American politics, analysis, anarchism, Bakunin, books, Chomsky, CIA, civil liberties, class, common ground, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, elite, empire, empowerment, Eric Fromm, far right, fascism, fascist, FDR, freedom, Jefferson, left, Lenin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, Marx, must-read, Orwell, people's movements, philosophy, police state, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, right, right wing, socialism, the right, the world's other superpower, Thoreau, truth, U.S., Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2020 by jtoddring

Who are the CIA? This will tell you everything you need to know.

Here’s where things really started to go wrong: 1947, the National Security Act, which created the National Security Council and the CIA, giving the CIA sweeping, ultra-secretive, unconstitutional powers, and near limitless budget through the legalized, covert re-allocation of funds from other government agencies – and the secret recruitment of thousands of Nazis: not just Nazi scientists, to create NASA; but Nazi spies, into the new CIA.

Can you say, “Deeply corrupting influence“? That would be an understatement. No wonder the CIA became instantly ghoulish, and has remained so.

Read, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, by Mark Zepezauer, for a brief overview of one of the world’s most truly evil organizations. Then read, Blowback: America’s Secret Recruitment of Nazis and Its Disastrous Effects On Our Domestic and Foreign Policy, by Christopher Simpson and Mark Crispin Miller – to see where it all started, and how it went deeply wrong in 1947, right from the beginning.

If there are any doubts as to the nature of the organization, the next step would be to read William Blum’s, Killing Hope. Noam Chomsky and Peter Dale Scott can shed light into this dark netherworld of deep state politics, as well.

The organization should be disbanded. JFK and RFK were right. It is a dangerous criminal organization that has waged a war on democracy and freedom around the world since its creation, including at home within the United States. There are 17 other intelligence agencies in the US. This one, can and should be abolished.

JTR,
August 3, 2020

 

Post-Script:

Am I a radical leftist? Yes.

By radical, I mean the original meaning of the word, from the Latin, radus, meaning root: “to get to the root of”; “that which gets to the root of”; or, “one who gets to the root of things”.

By leftist, I mean this. The political spectrum has been driven so far to the far right over the past 50 years by the slow motion global corporate coup, that anyone who questions the new global corporate empire, including moderate conservative Republicans such as Eisenhower, are viewed as dangerous radical leftists. (“Beware the military industrial complex.”) So yes, if Eisenhower, MLK and FDR would all be viewed today as radical leftists, which they undoubtedly would, then I am proud to say I stand with them.

Am I a terrorist? No, I believe, along with Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry David Thoreau, in non-violent civil disobedience, as a means of making our society better, more ethical, more just, and more sane. I have always disavowed violence; and I agree with MLK: “If I was not opposed to violence for moral reasons, I would be opposed to violence for reasons of strategy.”

Am I an authoritarian? A Marxist? Neither. Not a Marxist, no. Marx was a brilliant sociologist, whose writing is important, or at least worth while to read. He was a terrible political philosopher, however – precisely because he left the door wide open to authoritarianism: which is why Bakunin, the leader of the larger, libertarian socialist wing of the First International, which fiercely opposed Marx’s centralist, statist, and elitist, distorted vision of socialism, predicted that if Marx or his followers were ever to succeed in capturing state power, they would usher in a tyranny worse than that of the Tzar. That was a prediction Bakunin made decades before the Bolshevik revolution – and he was perfectly right. Kropotkin, my favourite political philosopher, along with Spinoza, Chomsky, Bookchin, Joanna Macy and Thoreau, also summed it up, when he said, after the Bolsheviks seized power, The revolution is dead. Meaning, of course, that the faux socialists, who in reality were and are simply statists, elitists, and authoritarians, had killed it. So no, I am adamantly and passionately opposed to all forms of authoritarianism, be they right wing corporate-fascist, or (pseudo-leftist) Marxist-Leninist. I would call myself a libertarian socialist, along with Chomsky, Kropotkin, Rocker, Bookchin, Ursula Le Guin and Bertrand Russell. But in the near term, and immediately, I would be very happy simply to see basic constitutional democracy and freedom secured, restored, and renewed. In fact, I would take Thomas Jefferson’s vision over Marx any day, in a heartbeat – because Jefferson had the clearer mind and clearer vision.

Decentralize power, and do not mistrust the people – beware instead the excessive concentration of power in the hands of an elite. That was Jefferson’s view; and he was far more prescient, prudent, and sane, than Marx, or any of his followers. So yes, I will take Jefferson over Marx any day.

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Anyone who uses such a phrase is either dishonest or deeply misled. It is a red herring phrase, designed to scare people away from serious investigation of their society. As Chomsky said, “The term conspiracy theory is used to poo-poo institutional analysis.” Amen. That sums it up perfectly. As Chomsky also said, with his usual matter of fact cutting through the bullshit and fog: “If you want to understand a society, you have to look at where power lies.” That should be obvious to everyone with even a glimmering flicker of intelligence. Naturally, in less than ideal societies, that takes you into dark corners, and shadowy areas steeped in secrecy and denial. To some people, that makes you a courageous freedom fighter, a seeker of truth, and a serious researcher, thinker, scholar or investigator. To others, that just makes you scary. But I will choose to side with the courageous, and not the mousy. As MLK said, “The moral arm of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

And if the CIA decides it has a bullet for me as well, for criticizing them or their crypto-fascist corporate masters, then I will happily take that, over silent complicity with great, on-going, systemic evils, which no good man or woman can acquiesce to, in any semblance of good conscience.

I’ve already pointed out many times that the emperor has no clothes. Somebody has to speak the truth. Thankfully, there are millions of us, who prefer truth to illusions and lies, and freedom to servitude or slavery.

I take my stand with Orwell and Huxley and Fromm, Chomsky, Thoreau and MLK. I could do far worse. It is hard to imagine a way to do much better.

JTR,
August 3, 2020

 

The Central Challenge Of Our Time

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, analysis, anarchism, anthropology, banks, capitalism, Chomsky, civil liberties, class, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, ecological crisis, ecology, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, history, imperialism, inspiration, Jefferson, libertarian, Mussolini, must-read, nation state, national democracies, neo-feudalism, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2020 by jtoddring

What is the central challenge of our time? It is not what most people think it is. It is not race or gender, or climate change, or the environment broadly, or issues of war and peace, or poverty, or justice, or equality, or fighting terrorism, crime or violence, WMDs and disarmament, the arms and drugs trade, imperialism, national sovereignty and the rule of law versus aggression, “regime changes”, coups and “intervention”, or freedom, or democracy, constitutional rule or human rights. All of these things are extremely important, of course. But there is one issue which connect them all.

The central fact, dynamic or pattern, which connects all of these things, and is at the centre of them all, is the excessive concentration of power. This we must address, above all, and immediately, or we stand no chance of resolving any of these other issues, or even making any serious or lasting progress on them.

Until we address the extreme and growing, excessive concentration of power in the world, both within nations and also globally, we will have no chance at a better future, no chance at a decent future, and, in fact, little chance of a future of any kind.

*

Marx was a terrible political philosopher, it must be admitted – but it must also be admitted that he was a brilliant sociologist. That is, his analysis and portrayal of the problems of modern state-sponsored capitalism (and it is always state-sponsored, because the business elite demand it, and because otherwise it would even more quickly self-destruct) was very perceptive, honest, and revealing. We would do well to continue to study Marx – as a sociologist. His diagnosis of the problem held some considerable merit, even if his proposed solution was poorly thought out. And one of his central observations, as the clear-minded sociologist that he generally was, is that capitalism tends to concentrate wealth. And that much should be perfectly obvious to us by now.

In 1812, Thomas Jefferson warned of the growing power of the business elite, and said, prophetically and passionately, unequivocally, “I pray that we shall crush the birth of the moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for already it defies our laws, and seeks a contest of strength with our democratic government.” That was over 200 years ago. The central problem now is, quite simply: we failed to listen.

We allowed wealth, and far more dangerously, economic power, to grow unchecked, and to become astronomically concentrated, far beyond anything ever seen before in history. We placed checks and balances on political powers, but not on economic powers – foolishly, and most unwisely.

The result, is that 200 years after Jefferson’s warning, which we failed to heed, we no longer have liberal-democracy at all: we now have oligarchy – rule by the few, or plutocracy, which is rule by the rich, or as Mussolini defined it, corporatism, which as he said, is the merger of business and the state – as the business elite have grown so powerful as to take over the state – and which Mussolini said is the proper term and description of fascism.

It is called by sociologists, institutional capture.

The global business elite have captured (or effectively ruled from the start) the all of the major social institutions: including the major international organizations (the IMF, World Bank, WTO, ECB…), the financial system, the media, and the majority of the governments in the world – including all of the most powerful governments of the Western world.

The street level, plain English description is simply, a coup.

Well, the people had better recapture their democracy, or they will soon be slaves. They are already serfs – they will soon be slaves, if they do not act now, or very, very soon.

*

We now have a global situation where the largest 500 corporations, and the 2,000 or so billionaires who own or control them, have more power than the most powerful nation in the history of the world (the US, of course). A situation where the eight richest families control more than half the wealth on the planet. And the growing concentration of wealth, and far more dangerously, of power, continues to accelerate rapidly.

This is what people are referring to as the oligarchy – or plutocracy, or kleptocracy, or corporatocracy.

This is what I have described as a new world order of global neo-feudal crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy. It has already devoured democracy, and is busy devouring all freedom, all constitutional rule, and all rule of law (law is for the little people, the 99.9%, not for “the masters of the universe”, as they like to call themselves). The new global corporate empire is now, without question, devouring both the people and the planet – along with our freedom. Clearly this has to stop, or we will not only be in chains: the life-support systems of the living planet will be destroyed, and our future will be extraordinarily dark.

As I have said before, we now have one remaining choice: revolution, or a new dark age, followed by extinction, and collapse.

*

The new empire ruling the world is not the US empire, which is in decline and heading for collapse, bankrupt, and heading fast for economic and financial implosion; but the global corporate empire, which has swallowed the US empire whole, and uses it now as a puppet-master pulls his strings – mainly as a hired thug.

The new masters of the world, the new oligarchs, are an elite who are clearly drunk with power, and have become, not only insatiably rapacious, and much more dangerously, insatiably hungry for power, but also, parasitic, frankly sociopathic, rabidly anti-democratic, as well as anti-ecological, suicidal, and world destroying. We either remove them power, or they will destroy the Earth which we all share, not to mention our freedoms in the process.

*

The good news is that since 2001, it has been recognized even by the ruling elite, from their own global poll, which came back in early of that year, proving the point beyond any doubt: there is a profound and growing, crisis of legitimacy for the ruling powers. The people of the world are fed up with the power games and machinations of the ruling elite, and are hungry for change. There is a global awakening taking place.

However, the elite see the global awakening of humanity, not as a great boon, a cause for rejoicing, but as a threat.

The Davos club – what John Ralston Saul called, “the new Palace of Versailles”, and “the new royal court”, and which the world’s leading business journal, the Financial Times called, “the de facto world government” – knew in 2001, or it was spelled out to them by their intellectuals in residence, what their own global poll meant. It meant the Western power elite are experiencing the same kind of crisis of legitimacy which caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.

For the first time since its founding, the WEF meeting at Davos was not jubilant or euphoric – it was deeply nervous and glum. There were only three remaining options, in the face of the indisputable, serious and growing crisis of legitimacy: a) compromise, and give the people a New Deal of some sort; b) surrender power, or else get ready to lose power completely; or c) batten down the hatches, and prepare for lockdown, repression, fascism – a police state, and resort to brute force. The Western elite concluded very quickly that the first two options were unacceptable. You can figure out what conclusion they came to from that – and why we have been moving rapidly towards fascism ever since.

People who do not understand these central facts of the past two decades of world history, understand nothing at all. Their advice is meaningless, for they have no connection to reality.

Remember Neville Chamberlain’s foolish statement: “Peace in our time!”

No, we need more serious voices and appraisals – and advisors – now. Churchill, for all his faults, is vastly preferable, to a Chamberlain, or worse, a Vichy government, or a Quisling – and believe me, the latter are in great abundance, while the former, at this, our truly darkest hour, is exceedingly rare.

*

The first step, is for the people to unite, and to reclaim their power. That, by now, will require revolution of some manner or another, in most nations on Earth. Whether by ballot box, or, more often, by blockades and political-economic siege, it is revolution – non-violent, Gandhian-King style – that is needed now.

What we must do, is to reduce the vastly excessive powers of the international business elite, and the trans-national corporations and institutions (such as the IMF, World Bank and ECB), which they control; and to either break up these giant economic empires, as is most wise, in most cases (such as the big banks, the fossil fuel giants, the arms merchants and the media empires), or else reduce their powers dramatically by some other means, and bring them under the control of democratic processes – meaning, bring them under control of the people, so that the people rule the nations, and set checks and balances on the powers of both governments, and also corporations and other economic powers.

The alternative is that the global corporate empire rules the world, as it effectively does now; and the 99.9% of the people who are not among the ruling elite, are reduced to peasants, serfs, or slaves.

Let us not play games. These are not realities we can safely avoid, or sweep under the carpet. We either face reality, and now – both political-economic reality, sociological reality, that is, as well as ecological reality – or our future will be bleak indeed.

*

The nation-state, as Chomsky has said, is the only institution powerful enough to be a counter-balance to the powers of big money. Therefore, we must, as Chomsky has also said, temporarily strengthen the nation-state, in order to reign in the excessive powers of big business.

In order to remove the corporate elite from their current position as the unelected and unaccountable, de facto rulers of the world, we will have to temporarily strengthen the nation-state, and national democracies.  This makes libertarians of the right and the left nervous, but it simply must be done. The alternative is neo-feudalism, and global corporate-fascist rule – which anyone of sound mind should view to be far worse, than a limited form of constitutional democracy asserting its power to reign in the corporate giants and the ruling business elite.

You can talk all you like about your libertarian or anarchist views, but you will be discussing them in chains, if we don’t deal pragmatically and immediately with the present order that now rules the world. Your high ideals, in short, will have to wait. We have more immediate dangers to take care of, first.

Once the people have recaptured and reclaimed their democracy, their constitutional republics;,and the business elite, the new corporate oligarchy, has been dethroned, and also placed within very firm checks and balances on their powers, then we can look to a further decentralization of powers – which would be…nay, will be, the further evolution of democracy and freedom. But first things first: we have a global oligarchy and police state to defeat. Fascism is here again.

And let us make no mistake, we will need all the tools, short of violence, that are at our disposal – including, most centrally, the state – in order to defeat this second round of fascist usurpers and would-be Gods.

*

Note that the greatest of libertarians, Chomsky and Thoreau, have argued for exactly the same thing. They combined a rare long-range vision which was highly idealistic, very far-sighted; and yet, at the same time, an immediacy of pragmatism: what do we do now – right now, in this moment, while keeping our long-term vision, our high ideals, and our dreams alive?

To my mind, the most important piece of political literature, the most important political document ever written, is not the Magna Carta, or the Bill of Rights, the UN Charter of Human Rights, or the Declaration of Independence, though all of these are greatly important, of course. But all of them, to the last, are merely pieces of paper – unless the people stand up to protect and defend them, and what they stand for.

For that reason, I believe the most important political documents ever written are those of Thoreau and La Boite – for they urge the people to stand up for themselves and one another, and to embrace their power. The other documents mean nothing without this.

(See Etienne de la Boite, The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude, and Henry David Thoreau’s short essay, On Civil Disobedience, which has reverberated around the world for over 150 years, inspiring Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the environmental movement, and popular movements around the world to this day.)

Thoreau remarked, in his famous essay, On Civil Disobedience, (and I am paraphrasing, mostly accurately, from memory here) “I heartily agree with that motto, “That government is best which governs the least”, and I should like to see it acted up to more speedily and more fully. And I would extend it to say this: That government is best which governs not at all. And when are prepared for it, that is precisely the kind of government they shall have.” (And note his emphasis – “when men are prepared for it”.)

But, having made his views clear as a decided libertarian, he goes on to say, “But I am not among the “No government men”. 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 towards attaining it.”

Now that, to me, as with Chomsky’s views, is what Thomas Paine might agree is a matter of Common Sense. Let us first secure our liberty in the broad sense; and seek to dispel the greatest dangers, and the greatest threats to it first – which is, to be sure, the growing police state and fascist architecture, which is being actively and eagerly created by a set of bankers and their business friends, cronies and stooges in high places.

After we have dispensed with the greatest of dangers, then we can afford to be more high-minded and idealistic in our visions. But for now, let us deal with the reality at hand. We must defeat the new corporate oligarchy, or not only will liberty be vacated, but the planet, and the people, will also be laid to waste; and the new God-kings will rule, until they destroy themselves as well.

Stand now.

It is now revolution or slow death.

Choose wisely.

To be perfectly clear, we must recognize this fact: the state and the government are going to exist for some time to come – the question is, who controls it: a handful of global bankers and an oligarchy of business elites, or the people?

Again, I would say, Choose wisely. This is the critical hour.

A shift in consciousness, culture and lifestyle are urgently needed and essential, if we are to survive as a species, much less have a good, or even a decent future – yes, that is undoubtedly the case. But no New Age revolution of mind, or any other kind of shift in consciousness, is going to be successful, or mean anything at all, unless the new would-be God-kings are deposed and dethroned, and removed from power.

If that is not yet clear, it will be soon, and in terrifying ways. Better to act now, before the reality is confirmed in starker, more brutal ways.

Heed the warning, I urge you now. We failed to heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson, 200 years ago. That was a grave mistake. And the consequences will be even greater, and far more grave, if we fail to listen now.

Stand.

JTR,
March 15, 2020

Post-Script:

Flash-Drive Revolution:

Save this or any other document, image, video, poster, film or song that you find important, or socially/politically/philosophically relevant or pertinent, to a USB flash drive, for safe storage and sharing. Censorship is increasing now. We need alternative ways to communicate important ideas and information if, as is likely, censorship increases further. Consider, at least, all of my books, essays and writings as public domain. (Other living authors will have to decide the matter regarding their own works for themselves. I would urge people to respect their rights unless they state something similar to what I have just stated here.) I would appreciate people buying my books or making donations to support the writing and research, as I am a typically broke writer; but do share my writing with others – that is far more important to me. I certainly did not become a writer, much less a philosopher, for the money. Vive la revolution! For a better world for all.

WATCH THIS – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:

Whether this is a warm-up, a dry-run, a preamble to the big putsch, or the main event, the following short video will remain extremely important. Please watch immediately:
Celente: Police State Emerging Now        https://youtu.be/5aLiEVbNTUs

Further Reading:

Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Class Warfare, and Year 501 (These three in particular)

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, & The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

Naomi Wolf, The End of America

John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World

Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns

C Wright Mills, The Power Elite

Peter Phillips, Giants

and I would recommend my two first 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 And Beyond

 

The Collapse of Modern Civilization

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, anthropology, books, Chomsky, class, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, crash, crisis of democracy, democracy, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, Eric Fromm, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, good news, history, imperialism, inspiration, must-read, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, peak oil, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, resources, science, social theory, sociology, spirituality, sustainability, the world's other superpower, Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2020 by jtoddring

More than 150 years ago Thoreau commented, “Our sills are all rotten.” He was right. It is for that reason that Western, and Westernized, “modern” “civilization” is collapsing.

This could be cataclysmic, of course, (as in, an ecological holocaust), or relatively peaceful, (akin to the Maya abandoning their great cities and returning to rural village life). As a grand transformation, it could be more of a collapse, or more of a thoughtful and voluntary transition. So, the spectrum is between cataclysmic and relatively peaceful transition, depending on how we respond to the collapse that is already in progress and well under way.

We needn’t be pathetically fatalistic, it should be noted,  for that is self-neutering, self-disembowelling, and self-lobotomizing. But we do need to deal with reality. The slowmotion collapse of modern civilization is unfolding now.

At present, most nations are paying lip service to the growing, interconnected crises that we face. As a result, most nations and regions will likely experience the unfolding collapse and tectonic transition in cataclysmic ways, to varying degrees, unless radical action is taken en mass, and immediately.

Avoidance of reality never works well as a strategy for responding to change.

 

That does not mean that all is lost. We should, along with radical efforts at social change, and serious contingency planning, also look to the road ahead: to what comes after the transition, or collapse, as the case may be – and again, it will be more one or the other depending on the nation, region and community.

Thomas Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, along with Stephen Toulmin’s Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, among other important works, beginning with Thoreau’s, Walden, mark the beginning of the end of modernism – and they mark the beginning of post-modernism and the post-modern era. (Or whatever terms we come to settle on, after the dust settles.)

If the terms post-modernism and the post-modern era have any meaning at all, it is not in that pseudo-intellectual bog that is the incoherent and self-contradictory collection of thoughts in Western “philosophy” that have taken hostage of the minds of the Western intelligentsia for the past 50 years, and which is called “post-modernism”. No, it is here, in the deeper, more lucid critique of modernism, and the pseudo-scientific, quasi-religious ideology of modernism, and the social structures, institutions, power structures and systems of modernism which are built on this castle of sand, and which have dominated the world for the past 300 years, and which are collapsing now, thankfully.

And if we are to survive as a species, we will have to hasten their demise. 

Toulmin, Kuhn, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Fromm, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Rifkin, Kroker, Orwell, Bookchin, Eisler, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Vandana Shiva, Margaret Atwood, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, Wade Davis, Mathiew Stein, David Suzuki, and Helena Norberg-Hodge, Michael Hudson, Ellen Brown, Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein, Gregory Bateson, EF Schumacher, Morris Berman, and yes, Nagarjuna, Shankara, Meister Eckhart, Lao Tzu, La Boite, Socrates and Spinoza, are a few of the guiding lights who can help lead us into the post-carbon, possibly post-collapse, post-modern era, through the 21st century and beyond, with confidence, compassion, and clarity of mind.

And we will need every source of good guidance and light we can find.

Keep calm, and let the revolution, and rebuilding, begin.

We must remember, however, that there are two extremes to be avoided. One is passivity. The other is fascism. Both are “trending now”.

JTR,

March 12, 2020

 

Importing From China: A Virus? Or A Totalitarian Model Of Elite Control?

Posted in American politics, analysis, China, civil liberties, class, collapse, common ground, communism, concentration camps, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, deep integration, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, disaster, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health, human rights, imperialism, Mussolini, neo-feudalism, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, propaganda, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Someone prescient once said, “Those who would sacrifice a little freedom for a little security, deserve neither, and will lose both.” We would do well to remember those words now.

And we are most definitely in the process of losing both, as we speak.

But maybe we aspire to be very healthy, germ-free slaves?

*

A friend said to me the other day, “Do you think China has 700 million people under lockdown for no reason?!”

I replied by saying:

China has been a police state for over fifty years, at least since the start of the “Cultural Revolution” in 1966 – the Chinese government prefers lockdown, for reasons of control: any pretext will do.

The thought of China taking such drastic measures to contain this latest virus surely makes many people assume that the virus must truly be terrifically dangerous. Surely China would not take such drastic or draconian measures if it were not. But we just explained why the Chinese government prefers totalitarian control measures, under any and all circumstances – and any crisis, real or imagined, will do for creating the justification for authoritarian measures. (Disaster capitalism is a globalized game endeavour.)

The entire assumption that the danger must be real if the government response is so extreme, simply falls apart upon examination, or the slightest critical thought.

China now has 600 million security cameras for 1.2 billion people – one camera for every two people, and with ever growing, soon to be total surveillance.

China now has a system of social credits, incorporated into its social control system, which is plugged into its surveillance system, and its economy. If you spit on the sidewalk, or jaywalk, are involved in one of the thousands of protests occurring every day, or, heaven forbid, criticize the government, then, low and behold, you find that you are refused for loans, mortgages, even the purchase of a train ticket. (And Facebook is working hard to introduce a similar system for the West. Good ole’ Zuck.)

China has gone headlong, and willfully, into a very consciously totalitarian system of extreme authoritarian control. What the Chinese government does, should not be taken as a good model for our policies, responses or behaviour: China is a police state.

Not only are China’s actions frequently and utterly unacceptable in a free society; but its actions are frequently motivated, not by concern for public health, for example, but by simple control.

*

What we should be more concerned about, is not the import of a few germs from China, which, so far, are much less dangerous than the flu: but the import of a totalitarian social model which would make Orwell cringe in horror.

But, then again, we in the West now have our own brand of technocracy, corporate fascism, and Orwellian oligarchy. It’s called the ECB, the Fed, the military-industrial-security complex – or simply, the corporate police state.

We needn’t import anything from China, as far as authoritarian social models go. In fact, the elite from East and West might want to swap notes. And I’m sure that Western and Eastern oligarchs have, and are, busily sharing notes.

After all, the Chinese authoritarians are our business partners now. A shared hatred for democracy and freedom, which is common, and nearly universal among the ruling classes of both East and West, simply seals the pact.

China has embraced neo-feudal corporatism. The West has embraced corporatist neo-feudalism. One is the mirror image of the other. The former has the bureaucratic elite in charge of a corporate capitalist economy; the latter has the corporate elite in charge of the bureaucratic and political-state powers. But although they have different inflections, both represent the merger of business and the state, which, as Mussolini said, is properly called corporatism, which is the proper term for fascism.

So, welcome to the Brave New World, germophobes. Wash your hands before kissing the ground before your masters, please.

*

De-industrializing the Western nations, and offshoring production to China and other low-wage regions, was astronomically profitable for the Western business elite. But, it destroyed the middle class at home; destroyed and gutted domestic consumer market demand, thus destroying and hollowing out the economy, which is now ready for implosion and collapse; caused inequality and poverty to soar; has led to a growing backlash and rising social tensions, as well as right-wing pseudo-populist movements of demagoguery and scape-goating (think Trump and co, and even worse); and with the resulting social, economic and political tensions about to erupt, either into revolution, or civil war, as a result. Good plan.

This has been truly great leadership, for the past 50 years. Now, we are reaping the harvest.

Short-sighted would be one word for it. The destruction and collapse of the United States, and the entire Western world, brought on by the greed and egomania, and power-lust, of the Western business and plutocratic elite, would be a more precise and detailed description.

In any case, to import China’s model of authoritarian, Orwellian, and totalitarian social control – based on the full and active cooperation of the new tech giants, and the Western corporate and governmental powers, is, quite simply put, disastrously insane.

We are importing a dark age. And everyone is worried about a few bugs.

Smart thinking.

JTR,
March 9, 2020

Thomas Jefferson, Ursula Le Guin, and Collective Rebirth

Posted in activism, analysis, anthropology, books, collapse, common ground, consciousness, ecological crisis, ecology, elite, empowerment, end-game, environment, freedom, inspiration, Jefferson, must-read, people's movements, philosophy, political philosophy, reading, social theory, sociology, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, truth, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Reading a novel by Ursula Le Guin, I think, not only is she a joy to read, in so many ways, but she refused to give in to a culture and a society that is, frankly, deeply lost. 

I think of something Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Ursula Le Guin would understand that. 

(And yes, the morally bankrupt, or simply spineless and snivelling, will point fingers at Jefferson; but Jefferson, despite his faults, was a true leader, who helped to catapult us above and beyond our limits of the time, to a higher, though still far from perfect plane. And for that, he stands in general, many leagues above his rather petty and small-minded critics. I’m sure something similar can be said, and will one day be written, of Ursula K. le Guin, as well.)

The ancient Greeks, like the ancient people of India and China, recognized a pattern that was sometimes called The Four Ages of Man, and saw that 2,500 years ago we were already in a dark age, and have remained there, despite the boasting and the juvenile fanfare, though we are free to awaken from it at any time. I am sure Ursula Le Guin understood this quite well, too. Our culture and society are to be guided and corrected, not blindly followed or naively cheered.

She refused to become a typical post-modernist dogmatic nihilist, as has been the norm among “intellectuals” for over forty years; and she refused to embrace a staunch and unwavering moral relativism. 

She stood with timeless principles; and when conformity to the crowd or obedience to authority dictated that the bleating herd once again abandon all conscience to embrace the latest madness and depravity, in the unspoken and devoutly religious service to power, greed, vanity and egomania, she quietly left the crowd to their unthinking obedience and conformity, to fall in a ditch, unfortunately, as it is said, and rejected the self-serving demands of the elite to once again abandon all principles. 

She held to, upheld, and aspired to principles of devotion to family, community, service, sacrifice, spirituality, reflection, home and hearth, honesty, loyalty, kinship and alliances of neighbours and friends, patriotism in the thinking person’s sense (which of course forever questions everything, as it must, if it is not to be tragic, blind, or insane); and she upheld values of freedom, equality, compassion, balance, and both confidence and humility, which must always be balanced, along with open-mindedness, adaptability, courage, resilience, perseverance, patience, boldness, silence, duty, justice, forethought, ecology, and peace, and truth, among other high ideals, which we would be most wise to hold fast to, and to further pursue, and most foolish to abandon.

Unlike our present culture and society, she held higher values than narcissism, or collective narcissistic regression to an infantile and boisterously ever-demanding egocentric state, which is the current course and trajectory of both the self-deluded elite, and what seems to be the great majority – who are approaching staggering levels of self-delusion of their own, though they are modest compared to those of their masters. 

There are many who still do hold to higher values. And that is refreshing. And amidst a global awakening, which is occurring now, their number are growing. 

Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, Maude Barlow, Michael Hudson, Gerald Celente, Peter Dale Scott, Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, and millions of others, hold to higher values than the current fashion of narcisistic hedonism and escapism, relativism, conformity, status-seeking, celebrity worship, and obedience to power – to name a few bright lights in the darkness.

She, and they – and we, any of us who seek to keep our hearts and minds alive, in a truly insane society that seeks to drown them both – are cause for celebration: and for confidence in the future; and for hope.

JTR,

February 19, 2020

Degeneration, Collapse, and Rebirth

Posted in activism, anthropology, carbon, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, ecology, elite, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health, neo-feudalism, people's movements, police state, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, social theory, sociology, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, Uncategorized, war on democracy, wellness on February 18, 2020 by jtoddring

What we are facing is systemic degeneration: ecologically, culturally, spiritually, intellectually, psychologically, socially, and biologically in terms of degenerating health and shortening life spans. This is the slow-motion collapse of a civilization. What is needed is not to self-medicate or mask the symptoms, or to manage the symptoms of degeneration, or to slow the degeneration, but to halt and reverse it, and begin the process of regeneration and renewal: at the global, national and local levels, the societal, the ecological, the cultural, and the individual. It is time for rebirth. It is time for renewal. It is time for a new renaissance.

JTR,

February 17, 2020

 

New studies show babies have basically decent impulses and are strongly driven by moral imperatives

Posted in analysis, anarchism, anthropology, books, class, common ground, consciousness, democracy, elite, empowerment, freedom, Hobbes, inspiration, Kropotkin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, must-read, people's movements, philosophy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, psychology, reading, science, social theory, sociology, the world's other superpower, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by jtoddring

More research shows once again that compassion, empathy and mutual aid, and an instinct toward cooperation, are innate in human beings, confirming what the great Russian biologist and anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin had already amply demonstrated over a hundred years ago, in his monumental work, Mutual Aid. My but our cherished ideological self-deceptions die slowly.

The dark view of human nature presented by Hobbes and many others, is still alive and well, despite the growing mountain of evidence to the contrary. The ideology of social Darwinism, hatched by Herbert Spencer, and not, emphatically, by Darwin himself, still holds considerable sway, especially among the power elite, to use C. Wright Mills term, who use this grand self-deceit as a rationalization for their callous and frankly sociopathic behaviour.

But, as Chomsky has said, the great majority of people have basically decent impulses. Since this is the case, and since those who gravitate to positions of great power tend to be power-mongers and sociopaths, far more often than altruistic benefactors or true leaders, we should question our learned obedience to government and other elites and power structures, and trust our own common sense, and ourselves, far more.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/as-babies-we-knew-morality/281567/

J. Todd Ring,
November 18, 2013

The Lion’s Roar: Cutting through illusion to the heart of the matter

Posted in analysis, books, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, must-read, ontology, peace, philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, psychology, quotes, religion, religious philosophy, social theory, spirituality, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by jtoddring
“There is no difference between theism and non-theism, basically speaking. Declaring an involvement with any kind of ‘ism’ turns out to be a matter of self and other. In fact, the whole question of self and other can then become very important. But if you really pursue any spiritual path, you will discover, surprisingly, that self and other are one thing. Self is other, other is self.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Speaking of Silence

It is extremely rare to hear anyone speak of spirituality or philosophy who actually gets to the heart of the matter, and does not merely flit about the surface. Chogyam Trungpa and a handful of others are the exception to the rule. In a sea of noise and dross, confusion and illusion, such voices of basic sanity are profoundly refreshing to hear.

The atheists and the theists are both off the mark – the former probably more so than the latter, admittedly. But that is alright. They will figure it out sooner or later. Reality will dawn on all, eventually.

“The number of minds in the universe is one.” – Erwin Schrodinger

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

More from Trungpa Rinpoche:

GREAT COMPASSION IS PAINFULLY REASONABLE

“With great compassion, because you have developed clarity, you do not have doubts and you are not unreasonable. You realize that the best way to be skillful is to be reasonable. When you are fully reasonable, actually reasonable—and to a certain extent, painfully reasonable—you begin to experience the genuineness of situations and act accordingly, in a way that is appropriate to the situation.”

—The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two, by Chögyam Trungpa http://www.shambhala.com/the-bodhisattva-path-of-wisdom-and-compassion.html

The second central truth to all authentic spiritual paths, is that, since self and other are intimately related, interconnected, interdependent, and in truth, one, therefore, love, kindness and compassion are not just nice, pleasant, virtuous or noble, but simply a matter also of enlightened self-interest.

If we are awake, then we will live with compassion. That is the central teaching of all the great religions. It is also the central premise of the Enlightenment – the central underlying value which underpins and is the foundation of the core Enlightenment values of liberty, equality, solidarity and democracy. This is the foundation for an enlightened life, and also, an enlightened society.

J. Todd Ring,
November 13, 2013

For further reading, see Ken Wilber, No Boundary; Alan Watts, The Book; Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy; Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe; Renee Weber, Dialogues With Scientists and Sages; Holgar Kalweit, Dreamtime and Inner Space; Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self; The Diamond Sutra, The Heart Sutra, The Prajnaparamita Sutra, The Uttaratantra; The Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu; The Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyers Transl; Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Harvard Divinity School Address; and the writings of Chogyam Trungpa – as a good start.

American and Canadian Politics – A brief comparison and lay of the land

Posted in alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, Barack Obama, Canada, Canadian, Canadian politics, civil liberties, class, climate change, common ground, consciousness, conservative, Conservative Party, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, deep integration, democracy, Democrat, democratic deficit, Democratic Party, ecological crisis, ecology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by jtoddring

Canada and the US have the largest trading relationship in the world between any two countries, as well as the longest undefended border in the world, and share a great deal in common as friends and neighbours. The public opinion polls have shown repeatedly and for decades that, like most of the world, the values of the great majority of the people in both countries are centre-left, and frankly, democratic socialist – although most people, especially in the United States, are unaware of this fact; mainly because they get their “news and analysis” from the corporate and state-run media, and have been brainwashed and indoctrinated to believe, at least in the US, that socialism is the equivalent of Stalinism – which of course could not be further from the truth.

(Since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, when Leninism was finally thoroughly discredited, most socialists around the world have been highly wary of state power, and highly opposed to authoritarianism or tyranny of any kind. And for the far larger number of people world-wide who hold socialist values – the values of compassion, cooperation, solidarity, freedom and equality – but would not call themselves socialist, the same is true: there is a healthy skepticism and wariness toward government and the state, and a strong aversion and opposition to any form of tyranny, authoritarianism or abuse of power of any kind. This is what I mean by socialism being fundamentally at odds with such tyranny as we saw in the former Soviet Union.

Yes, the Soviet rulers called themselves socialists, and they called their gulag empire socialist – and they did that because they wanted to enhance their credibility with the people. And the Western powers, being pro-corporate, liked to call the Soviet tyranny by the name of socialism, in order to discredit socialism by associating it with tyranny. Both the Kremlin and the Western corporatists were lying however. Soviet style totalitarianism has nothing to do with genuine socialism. It was simply another form of neo-feudal elite rule, and the tyranny of the few over the many. Socialism is about freedom and the emancipation and empowerment of the people, or it is about nothing at all, and does not deserve the name.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet empire and the final discrediting of Leninism, there were two camps of socialism, from its inception, which came out of the Enlightenment. There were those who followed Marx and later Lenin, and who were definite statists with a strong authoritarian, if not totalitarian streak; and there were the libertarian socialists, following in the tradition of Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rocker, Bookchin and Chomsky, who were and are adamantly opposed to the statists and to authoritarianism or tyranny of any kind. After the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the final, thorough discrediting of Leninism, outside of a few small pockets, such as North Korea, only the latter kind of socialists remain, by and large, and the vast majority of socialists now are passionately opposed any form of excess or abuse of state power.

But let’s stick to specifics, and skip over the labels and isms, which tend only to cause schisms, and lead to further misunderstanding.)

The great majority of the people in both Canada and the United States, as with the majority of the people in most nations today, are in favour of strong social programs to help the poor and the working class; a fair and equitable distribution of both wealth and also power; authentic, participatory democracy; rule by constitutional law, with respect for freedom, civil liberties and minority rights; strong environmental programs and regulations; peace, and an end to war and militarism; universal public health care; jobs for all, and other centre-left policies.

But despite what the people want, the corporate powers have taken over, and they rule the two countries to their pleasing, compromising with the people only when they feel they have no other choice, and only for as long and to the extent that they feel they must.

Still, there are, of course, major differences between Canada and the US, as well as commonalities, and these do not end with the very differing views and culture with regards to guns.

Here is a rough translation of Canadian political culture for Americans and others who may be unfamiliar with the political landscape of the second largest country on earth, the holder of the largest oil and mineral resources on earth, the pantry to the American empire, one of the richest nations on the planet, and a member of the G7 group of nations.

Generally speaking, a conservative Canadian = a very “progressive” Democrat. A liberal Canadian today – after the major slide of all of the major North American political parties to the right over the past thirty years – is to the left of that, but still centrist and pro-corporate, wittingly, or more often, unwittingly. A New Democratic Party supporter in Canada is minimally left of centre, on average – when viewed by world standards of course, and not the extreme right wing politics that now dominate both parties of the US – though NDPers are typically wishy-washy and passive, and by and large are content to moan from the sidelines, and let the two major parties of corporate rule, rule.

Far right Republicans seem to most Canadians to be straight out of Dr. Strangelove – there really aren’t many people in this country that would even call them sane. We kind of look at them as something akin to Frankenstein’s monster – surreal, almost a comic book fiction, but frightening and disturbing nonetheless.

Not that anyone in Canada with half a wit of political savvy is any fan of Obama now, if they ever were, with his incessant and ever-expanding wars, his murderous drone campaign, his shredding of civil liberties and the Constitution, his support for a global surveillance state and also fracking, the Keystone pipeline and generally ecological holocaust-inducing policies, or his on-going massive bail-outs and protection for the Wall Street elite and big banks who funded his election and put him in power, but that is an aside.

We must note also, at least in passing, though it is beyond the scope of this short article, that with the signing of the SPP, the “Security and Prosperity Partnership”, Canada and Mexico agreed to a “deep integration” with the United States in a new “Fortress North America”, as the elite who thought up and pushed through the agreement called it: a deep integration in the realms of economics, law and regulations, military, security and intelligence services – meaning, an essential union of the three nations, without calling it a union – the fate of Canada is now tied to the sinking ship of the United States, and worse, to the corporate powers which rule over it: at least until and unless the people decide to assert and to actively reclaim their sovereignty, and say no to the dissolution of national democracies and their submergence into larger power blocks under corporate rule. I have written on this extremely important subject elsewhere, so I will say no more about it here for the moment. I would urge all Americans, Canadians and Mexicans to look into the subject for themselves, however.

All that being said, and with the acknowledgment that US politics are far to the right of Canadian politics, to say nothing of Europe, it must be understood that neoliberalism, or the ideology of the super-rich who dominate and rule the country – which means, corporate globalization and corporate rule, or more simply, freedom for the ruling corporate elite to do as they please, and subjugation, soup lines and sweat shops for the rest – this corporatist ideology has, for the moment at least, conquered Canada, just as it has conquered the United States and most of the world.

The people of Canada, as in the US and most nations today, do not believe in the ideology of corporate globalization, neoliberalism, corporatism or corporate rule – which are essentially different ways of saying the same thing. This ideology has lost the battle in the propaganda wars, the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. The ideology of the ruling elite has been thoroughly defeated. But, and this is the big “but” – the corporate elite have seized power, and have put their ideology and their agenda into practice, the people be damned, and they are advancing it further every day. And they continue to rule, which means their failed and failing ideology continues to rule, despite the deep and growing crisis of legitimacy which they face; simply because the people have not yet embraced their power, but instead, passively acquiesce and do not challenge the illegitimate and unjust, frankly suicidal and ecocidal rule of the global corporate and banking elite. 

The corporate coup has taken over democracy here in Canada, and it is actively tearing it to shreds and devouring it, just as it has done and is actively doing in the US and most nations in the world today. The major difference between Canada and the US is that the drive towards full corporatization of the society is less brutal here than in the United States, primarily because Canada has a long tradition of tolerant, freedom-loving, constitutional social democracy, and the valuing of compassion and mutual aid; and the people would not stand for a gloves-off, rapid fire destruction of all social programs and safety nets, or a more rapid move towards stark neo-feudal corporate rule. But make no mistake: we are heading down the same road – and will continue to do so, until the Canadian people find their cajones, and stand up.

The same is true in America and Europe, and most nations world-wide.

Stand up people. It is time.

J. Todd Ring,
October 10, 2013

The Key of Keys

Posted in analysis, books, Buddha, Christianity, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, Jesus, must-read, Nag Hammadi, ontology, peace, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reading, religion, religious philosophy, resources, science, spirituality, theology, truth, wellness, world religions with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by jtoddring

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates:

There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across him, and recognized him in his dirty rags and filth. He exclaimed, “My prince! Your father has been worried sick about you! What are you doing? You must come home at once!”

The Upanishads tell a similar story. There once was a god who dreamed he was a pig. For years he wallowed in the muck and the mud, oblivious to who he was. After a long time, the other gods became pained by his confusion and his delusion, and called out to him: “You are not a pig – you are a god! Stop this madness, and remember who you are!”

Or again, from the Uttara Tantra: There once was a poor farmer, desolate in his impoverishment and despair. Daily he ploughed his fields, eking out a meagre existence, never knowing there was a great treasure buried right beneath his house.

Or as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

Or as Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German Christian mystic, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”

Or as Lao Tzu phrased it: Return to the source – return to your original nature. There you will find peace, joy, liberation, the ultimate happiness, and your authentic self – your true nature.

Or William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”

This is the perennial wisdom. It has surfaced in all cultures in all times. It is the timeless wisdom. It is the voice of wisdom leading you home to yourself.

Know thyself. You are not less than you think you are, but inconceivably more. Your being is commensurate with the universe itself. Awaken!

Don’t be absorbed in yourself. Everyone has pain; everyone suffers. Life is full of suffering, as well as beauty and joy. Shift the focus from your own happiness to that of others. If you do, you will be surprised, maybe even amazed – and you will find happiness.

It is not always easy, no doubt: it takes effort, and practice, but it is worth it, and it pays off. And it pays off the most when you seek nothing and expect nothing. Love others, and peace and joy will come flowing in. It is a matter of a subtle shift of perspective – that is the entire answer to everything: a subtle shift of perspective. Parallax is the word. Shift the perspective, and everything becomes clear.

And remember, the yin – to use the Eastern terms  – that is, the receptive, is in certain important ways superior. The yang, the assertive principle, is useful, and also essential, vitally essential; but the yin is the foundation.  Knowing and opening to the yin, the receptive, will allow you to harmonize with others, and with life and nature: and that is the basis of relative happiness, ordinary happiness.

Deeply opening to the yin, the receptive, is the gateway to true knowledge, to prajna, to wisdom, to knowing who you are, and to returning to the source, the true nature of your own being.

Therefore, protect and nurture the yin, just as you respect and embrace the yang. Harshness will damage the yin, as the Taoists have rightly remarked. Beware of aggression, which is the exaggeration of the yang principle of assertion – either in others, or especially in yourself. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. There are times for firmness, and times even for fierceness; but gentleness is the best general rule.

With gentleness as the general rule, not only will you avoid harming others, not only will you avoid the blowback and negative repercussions that come from harming others, but you will avoid harming yourself – and avoid harming your vision, which is most important. To sow your own suffering is tragic, ill-advised and unwise. To cut out your eyes and perpetuate your own blindness, is worse by far.

Don’t rush, and don’t hesitate. Rushing is an imbalance toward the yang, and leads to aggression and strife, as well as stress, strain and exhaustion. Hesitation is an imbalance toward the yin, an excess of yielding or receptivity which creates a collapse into passivity, which leads to self-disempowerment and a loss of vitality, as well as a loss of satisfaction and joy. Find the middle way. Not too tight; not to loose. When in doubt, be gentle, and pay attention: the cues to action will reveal themselves in their own time.

Remember also, as the Zen saying goes: Before enlightenment, the dishes. After enlightenment, the dishes. The little things matter. Show care in all you do. And enjoy the journey.

Seek. Contemplate. Combine method and wisdom, effort with seeing – like the two wings of a bird, which give it flight. Then glimpse. Taste. Meditate. Know. Understand. Have confidence. And abide in your true nature, which is the infinite ground of being itself, commensurate with the entire cosmos in all its vastness, emptiness and glory. There is no more to be said. This is the key of keys.

J. Todd Ring

Sept 16, 2013

(See Lama Yeshe, Namkai Norbu or Sogyal Rinpoche for further reading, along with The Power of Myth, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Uttara Tantra, The Mother of the Buddhas, The Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers, transl.), The Perennial Philosophy, The Divinity School Address, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Michael Talbot’s The |Holographic Universe, Holgar Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, and Alan Watts’, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.)

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