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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

On Rescuing Our Language and Communication Skills From the Dustbin of History – And Our Standards of Basic Courtesy and Civility Along With Them

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 17, 2020 by jtoddring
Texting, instant messaging, online chat, the mainstream media, and the general direction of our modern society and “culture”, are destroying the people’s capacity to communicate, to think, to feel, and hence also, to act rationally….This must be addressed. Here is one response, to one part of that picture.
If you are sending many, frequent emails with reference links, maybe you can skip the formalities and courtesies, and just send the link – maybe. But, unless you are sending a lot of such emails, I would urge that you should always include BASIC COURTESY, RESPECT AND WARMTH. That means a warm greeting, with the name of the person you are writing to; a warm goodbye, with your name – and some proper English, with full sentences, in between.
Just a reminder…. 
Our standards, in some ways, are disintegrating before our eyes. Someone, or some of us, have to speak up for them. There are bigger issues by far than these, but language and simple warmth matter a great deal.
JTR,
August 17, 2020
 
 
 

Latin America, Te Amo – and – The Expat Exodus Continues

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

Being at home – et, bien etre

I reflect now, again, as I have for 30 years, since my first trip to Mexico and Latin America, that I feel far more at home in Latin America than in (the dark side of) North America (north of the Texas-Mexico border), including in my beloved home country of Canada.

I feel far more at ease, relaxed, and at peace in Latin America. I feel far more connected, welcomed, positively stimulated, joyous, happy, healthy, vibrant, empowered and alive in Latin America.

Why am I here, in neurotic, alienated, angry, divided, uptight, stressed to the extreme, increasingly expensive, unaffordable, unliveable, and Puritanical, corporate-ruled, fascist North America?

I could say the same about rural life and nature; and I would say the same about the monastery, as well, or at least being close by to a meditation centre. But my ideal would certainly combine all three.

Maybe when I’m 60. That would be 30 years later than I had hoped, but that’s ok. I look forward to liberating my family from el Norte, and liberating myself.

It would seem from the mass exodus of people and families, young and old, from the North to Latin America, that I am not alone in such feelings, misgivings and thoughts. The US is sinking economically, going fascist – or rather, already gone – and on the brink of civil war. And Canada has foolishly tied its fate to this sinking ship of an empire in decline. No wonder a million Americans have fled the US, and a half million Canadians have made the short, joyous exodus to date, as well, to Mexico alone.

Latin America isn’t the promised land. They have problems too. I have my eyes wide open – as they should be, unless you enjoy repeatedly falling in a ditch. Certain countries are in good to excellent state, in terms of places to live. I would list Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay among them. All three are in overall better shape than the US or Canada, despite delusions to the contrary. Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Venezuela, on the other hand, are in deep trouble.

Nevertheless, a well-chosen place in Latin America can be the nearest thing to paradise on Earth, at least to myself and to many people; and a damned sight better than this sinking bog, which is the collapsing empire of Washington on its dully dutiful satellites, such as Canada.

Yes, mein commandante! Bending over now, mein commandante! Blast away, mein commandante!

Place yourself where you are called to be, I say, or where you feel most at home, most at peace, or most alive. Whatever you do, choose actively and thoughtfully: do not merely drift, or allow mere circumstance to choose for you.

Life is fleeting. Seize the day.

JTR,

Aug. 15, 2020

 

PS: Listen to the Noam Chomsky interview, on Scheer Intelligence: The US has created a global dystopia. Then… Listen to Morris Berman on the Geopolitics & Empire podcast, on why exodus is best. The US is not coming back for a long time, it would appear, sadly. And Canadians seem content to join their US neighbours in the ride to the bottom. I’m suggesting a parachute or life raft might be a wiser, and better way to go. Exodus is neigh.

The Failure of the Intelligentsia

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

Intellectuals: what a sad joke. I am very much opposed to the commonplace anti-intellectualism of our society. It is dangerous, it is foolish, and it is self-blinding. However, I am not impressed by that loosely defined social strata, current or milieux known commonly as intellectuals. They presume too much and fail too routinely for any naive over-estimation of their craft, their knowledge and understanding, or their talents. Moreover, the intellectuals are as often caught up in the self-deceptions, illusions and lies of our society as are the rest of the people, and maybe more so. Worse, when the intellectuals fall into lockstep with the official narrative of the day, which is nearly always some form of illusion or outright deceit, they fervently believe they must be right – because they are intellectuals! Sound circular enough yet? Think for yourself. Question everything.

Here is just one recent example, from this year.

The Green New Deal was a good idea when I first outlined it in my 2014 book, and it’s still a good idea now. However, in case anyone has been living under a rock for the last six months, or has foolishly believed the deceitful major media, and thus lost all remaining sense: there has been a global corporate authoritarian coup in 2020 – and that issue takes precedence over everything. 

But thanks are due to the “left”, the “intellectuals”, academia and the “alternative media” for getting it wrong, again, and utterly failing to understand yet another monumental and politically tectonic, massively pivotal issue. 

Bravo. 

If our “game” doesn’t improve soon, it’s a gulag society ahead – with systemic injustice, extreme inequality, violence, war and ecological holocaust, of course, brought to you by your new corporate masters. 

JTR,

August 15, 2020

Canada, eh?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2020 by jtoddring

I did not know – Quebec is nearly triple the size of Texas or France…which makes it roughly the size of Mexico. Wow. And that is just one Canadian province. Vast country, eh. Good thing nearly all 37 million of us live within 100 km of the southern border, gathered in a tight knot in cities, choking on smog and obscene housing prices, packed cheek to jowl.

(But don’t tell the anti-immigrant xenophobes that the country is virtually empty of people, or they might have a brain hemorrhage from intolerable levels of cognitive dissonance. And yes, we have more resources, more wealth, and more arable land than virtually any country on earth, and could take in many more people – and should, if we want to be able to support an aging population.)

Yet, we huddle in the cities – like rats in an ever-tightening cage, as if the dread of Nature terrifies us; or we are terrified that we may actually have to spend some time with ourselves.

(And the great majority of Canada, like the US, is public lands. Go figure. But nobody knows that. Nor is it an advertised fact. Land reform in Canada and the US? Now there is an idea whose time has come. Watch for the North American land reform movement – and guerrilla homesteading. It is coming, and soon. But for now, the people huddle together, in meek and mild-mannered desperation, afraid to leave the increasingly dubious comforts, and the increasingly illusory security, of the cities and the crowd.)

We wouldn’t want to be under-crowded, now would we?!

Heaven forbid we think of living in the….countryside! Yikes! And we are a country of practical, amiable, rough and ready, woodsy nature lovers? In theory maybe, historically certainly, but at present? Dubious. Timid mall rats, more like it – or so it seems we have become. Or, worse, hunker-in-your-digital-bunker-and-order-it-online, techno-entranced, obedient and docile consumer drones, placid as cattle led to slaughter.

Canoe…? What’s a “canoe”?

And please remind me again, what’s the Canadian motto?

Oh yes, I remember….

Give me Walmart, or give me death.

JTR,
August 14, 2020

P.S.: Better put out some extra blankets and sleeping bags, dust out the bunkie or the cottage, and stock up on back bacon and beer. We’re about to be over-run with refugees – American refugees, fleeing the ever-widening environmental disaster zones, and the civil war in the US. Our hospitality, I suspect, will soon be needed. Just a head’s-up. And no, I do not jest.

I suggest we revise our refugee policy now, this year, and without delay. Though it is unlikely to happen soon, since our national religion – nay, our modern world religion – is denial; it would be sensible and practical to ammend it thusly:

We will take in one US refugee, out of a good neighbour policy, along with one refugee from Africa, one from Eurasia, one from Oceana, and one from Latin America, to the total equivalent of our 2020 population of 37 million, over the next ten years.

Refugee families will be granted one to five acre plots of land, reallocated from public lands and corporate farms greater than 10,000 acres.

And give each Canadian a one acre plot as well, since the majority are sinking economically, and this lifeline may soon become essential to economic survival.

Note: Canada’s landmass is approximately 3.5 million square miles, or roughly 2.24 billion acres (excluding lakes and rivers). 74 million acres given out in one acre plots would require 3% of Canada’s land to be redistributed. We could thus give out 74 million *ten-acre plots*, at perhaps near to the upper limit, sparing the boreal forest which is the lungs of the northern hemisphere, and still be left with a country comprised of vast forests and tundra, with room to spare.

The reciprocity involved will require refugees of adult age to devote a portion of the year to environmental remediation and the retrofitting of every home and building in the country for double or triple the current insulation and energy efficiency levels – with funds made ready from returning corporate tax rates to 1980 levels, prior to four decades of cuts, and from a simple but necessary tax on pollution, and most urgently, on carbon in particular.

Other urgent projects to follow will include the building of a trans-Canada solar-hydrogen highway, the rapid conversion of all road-licenced vehicles less than five years old to hydrogen fuel, and a trans-Canada solar-electric mag-lev light rail corridor.

But then again, such a plan would entail boldly dealing with reality – something the people of this country, like most countries, have become steadfastly averse to.

So…. Let us eat cake.

Cataclysm it is, then.

And I pray that I am wrong.

Culture Shock – and The Culture of Puritanical Excess

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2020 by jtoddring

I backpacked around Mexico and Central America in 1989. I think I’ve been in culture shock ever since. Since returning to la-la land, that is.

I went to Latin America to see what is going on in the world, and because everyone told me the culture is very friendly and warm. Even being prepared for it, and expecting it, the friendliness and warmth….blew my mind, so to speak…and moved me deeply. I was broken-hearted to leave. I have felt the same every time since then, when it was time to leave.

My eyes were opened by the starkness of contrasts, and even more by the fact that Latin Americans don’t sweep their problems under the rug, as North Americans do. They have the same problems as we do, or many of the same ones – they’re just out in the open, and nobody pretends the problems don’t exist.

(Poverty and corruption, pollution, drug gangs, violence, organized crime – well, thank the good Lord we don’t have THOSE problems here!)

When I came back to North America, first to the US, then Canada, I felt like I was walking into Disney World – or Looking Glass Land. It was surreal. It’s like a giant, endless theme park, run jointly by PT Barnum and Mussolini.

The level of denial here is truly insane. And creepy and disturbing in the extreme. So too are the glaring, in your face, extreme excess, consumerism, materialism, gaudiness, showiness, pretense, all-pervasive advertising and corporatization of virtually everything, alienation, mistrust, repression, loneliness and fear.

It is a sad and lonely, mentally deranged land, we have created here in the, “land of the free” – despite the land being gorgeous, and the people being basically good, and even lovely.

Erich Fromm and the Frankfurt School were right: a repressive Puritanical culture breeds dark psychological and social patterns, just as surely as dark spaces filled with shit grow mushrooms. The answers are both implicit; and have frequently been made explicit, as well.

The problems facing American and Canadian society have recently exploded onto the surface, cracking through the denial like an atomic bomb bursting through thin, melting ice in spring. Now the denial is giving way to finger pointing, shouting and screaming at each other, or worse. But that is unsurprising. Problems do not go away just because you bury your head in the sand, as the Italian saying goes. And when you ignore, deny and suppress something for a long time, it is going to come out, and it is probable that it comes out explosively, or in dark ways. This is the trouble with either psychological or sociological repression – it simply doesn’t work: it is always counter-productive and conducive to bad outcomes. But, while dangerous, this manner of working through problems can be cathartic. Sooner or later calm discourse, maybe will return – and return with a greater honesty and openness. Then we can start to get somewhere.

The frenzy of speed, and the also insane levels of (frequently self-induced) stress, rushing, and manic, frantic norms, also hit me in the face when I returned – hard. Coming “home” to “civilization”, after my first wilderness canoe trip at the age of 18, I felt the same thing: this isn’t right – this is a madhouse, and I do not want to live in this crazed, concrete covered, nature- and sanity-deficient, bauble-obsessed, deranged, modern industrial society fueled by futuristic George Jetson technofantasies, and simple corruption, conformity, materialism, consumerism, escapism, perpetual distraction, and corporate greed.

I have traveled through 20 countries,on four continents, and have loved the people I have met in all of them; and have loved every land and culture, in a number of different ways.

I love all people, everywhere, truly – even the annoying ones; even the dim-witted; even the secular and religious fundamentalists, with their rock wall minds, and their oh-so-assured dogmas and certitudes; even the evil-minded, sociopathic few – who tend to fill the ranks of the ruling elite, and who must be forcefully, but non-violently, dethroned.

But I do have a certain particular fondness for Italians (and Southern Europeans generally, I would presume, if I knew them better) and Latin Americans, I must say. They’re generally relaxed, unhurried, calm, warm, friendly, hospitable, open, inviting, and welcoming. They know how to appreciate the little things that mean the most, like food, friends, family. They try to keep things simple and uncomplicated. They’re passionate, and yet relaxed at the same time – or almost always so. And they tend to be straight-forward.

“Ay, say what you mean, uh? Why not? And feel free to speak with your hands!”

But then, there is something to be said for paranoid, wound up tight, stressed out, frantically rushed, status-driven, hyper-materialist, hyper-consumer, Puritanical, repressed, strung out, alienated North American culture, too.

And as soon as I think of it, I’ll get back to you.

One proud Canuck, most saddened by his country’s current state, signing off.

Thoreau would understand. So did Farley Mowat. They are my kin. And I can ask for no more solace or comfort in difficult times, than that.

JTR,
August 2, 2020

 

Post-Script:

Americans, Canadians: not to fret – the entire modern world is insane. North America is simply the most insane, at least from what I have seen. The US is running itself into the sewer, and Canada, Britain, Europe, and most of the rest of the world, are racing to keep up with the race to the bottom.

Maybe we had better question our direction?

Remember also, what Thomas Paine said:

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

And Thoreau:

“There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

 

See also:

America Has Built A Global Dystopia – Chomsky, Scheer Intelligence

The Morris Berman Interviews – Geopolitics & Empire

T.S. Eliot Recites, “The Hollow Men” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAWaZqDf-VE

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

The Pathology of Normalcy

The Sane Society

Escape From Freedom

Necessary Illusions

Requiem for the American Dream

The Shock Doctrine

The Corporation

The New Rulers of the World

The Pursuit of Loneliness

The Poverty of Affluence

A Short History of Progress

The Iron Heel

1984

Brave New World

Walden

We

 

Renaissance & Rebirth, or Decline & Decay?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2020 by jtoddring
And the demonic take-over continues…. Or so it would seem. Evil rules the political realm, the economic, and increasingly, the cultural as well. An awakening of humanity continues to unfold. But the war on compassion is only getting hotter and more intense. Cynicism drips from everything, like blood off rotting meat.
For example, and just one example of a countless many: Four or five “Netflix original” TV series I have sampled so far. All were too nauseating to continue watching. All were nihilistic, narcissistic, sadistic, superficial, lacking all depth, desensitizing, waging war on compassion, leading to a further hollowing out of human feeling, and making light of suffering and violence, while glamourizing them and reveling in them.
Yes, suffering, killing, violence and death are funny, amusing, and fun! LOL! Ha ha!
This isn’t Star Wars, Spielberg, Dickens or Blake – culture based in the values of the Enlightenment, and in universal values of compassion, love and solidarity. This is Satanic.
Do the corporate elite, who control virtually all the major media, want us all to become isolated, narcissistic, numbed consumers? Well, that is a naive question, isn’t it?
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a mass derangement.
Renaissance and rebirth, or decline and decay? Both are happening. The jury is still out as to which will predominate.
But I can tell you this. It is up to us.
JTR,
August 1, 2020

Musings On History: Goths, the Fall of Rome, and the Future of Humanity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2020 by jtoddring

 

I love a good mystery. Who were the Goths? Where did they come from? How did they manage to sack Rome and defeat the most powerful empire the world had ever seen? What is their true cultural, mythological, spiritual, philosophical and ideological history? 

(Genetic history means little, since we are all close family, in reality; and there is more genetic variation in a single family line than between supposed “races”. But cultural history diverges widely, and that is significant, to say the least. It is as significant as it is open-ended, and it is completely open-ended. Racism, xenophobia, eugenics and Social Darwinism can all end here, should end here, if we are sane. They have no valid basis in reality, but are based only in delusion.)

How was a supposed Gothic-Germanic-Scandinavian mythology used and abused by fascists and Nazis, and corrupted and perverted into a dark poison? (There’s a good question for my anthropology and history scholar friends.) How are they really related to the Germanic peoples, and possibly to Scandinavia, or to Germanic and Norse mythology? To the Vikings and other raiders? 

A bigger mystery is this…

Every nation was a raider nation, from pre-Hellenic, Homeric Greece, through the “great” Roman Empire, the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English empires, etc., to the US empire, and the new global corporate empire, which at present, and for the moment, rules the world. 

But five thousand years of conquest mentality, empires, raiders, looting, rape and pillage, narcissistic egomania and infantile grandiosity, slaughter and slavery, is enough. We can do better.

The bigger mystery is this. Why do the people settle for so little?

Dream big. A better world is entirely possible, if we want it.

This could be the last empire, if we want it to be. We can be free, if we choose it.

All empires fall. What we need now, is an end to empire itself.

JTR,

May 18, 2020

Covid-1984: The Worst Of Both Worlds

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

With covid-1984, which is a virus that is statistically as dangerous as the common flu, we have taken extreme, draconian, authoritarian measures. In short, we have dangerously and vastly over-reacted, and in doing so, we have combined the worst of both worlds: medieval and modern.

If we’re going to go medieval, let’s do it intelligently, at least. We can have freedom, democracy, constitutional rights, plus culture & charm. Instead, we have a gulag and police state, corporate monoculture, and the Inquisition. Brilliant.

So, we’re taking the worst of the medieval period, and combining it with the worst of the modern period. Isn’t that kind of backward from what any sane person should want? I’d say so.

Time for a change.

JTR,

May15, 2020

The Bridge of Montaigne; and The Roots of Our 21st Century Crisis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2020 by jtoddring

What a delightful bridge Montaigne has been, and is: not only between the present modern world and the Renaissance, which is stupendous treasure enough, but also, in another short span, to the ancients. And he takes us over the bridge with such immediacy that in an instant we are there!

(Modernity has forgotten more, and more important things, than it has learned. Talk about hubris! And blinders! Mind-forged manacles, and mental prisons and chains!)

And even if he was only a bridge to himself and his own thought, that would be treasure enough to make him more than worthwhile to read. He speaks to us with relevance and timeliness that the internet-addicted, cell phone glued and media-addled can scarcely imagine.

Moreover, he pricks the bubbles of our delusions with such deftness – and lightness, and wit, and charm – that I almost feel I am reading Thoreau, Emerson, Blake, or Chuang Tzu. And he is as refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable as they, as well. Read him and weep – with joy!

*

The political class today, and for a long time, like the majority of academics, the major media, the senior bureaucrats and the technocrats, and the business elite which rule them all, is steeped in a quagmire of the mind – a veritable rotting bog.

That bog is a strange mixture of post-modernist/existentialist/Nietzschian nihilism; combined and conjoined and bizarrely fused, like the dead parts of Frankenstein’s monster, with a kind of modernist secular fundamentalism, which is neoliberal corporatism, which should be recognized as the rationalization and justification of the corporate take-over of the democratic process, the society and the state: which means, the full merger of business and the state; which, as Mussolini defined it himself, is the proper term for fascism.

It is  a self-serving philosophy, which is essentially a bastard philosophy justifying Machiavellian power-lust, deceit, thievery on a mass scale, and grandiose delusions supporting elist fantasies of a self-justifying class rule of the new oligarchs. Caligula might be proud of their accomplishments – we should reasonably take a different view.

Worse, the 99.9% who are not among the ruling elite, and who do not typically or in general share such convenient delusions and rationalizations, are wedded to illusions of powerlessness and fatalism. (They have the psychology of peasants; and if they don’t snap out of it, they soon will be slaves.)

It is the illusions of the many, who always hold the greater power – the illusion of powerlessness above all – which are more the root of our problems; not the shared delusions of the elite few, heinous and hideous as they may be, and are.

All of the writers and thinkers mentioned here, along with Montaigne, and the beautiful bridge that he provides, could help us greatly now, at this, our darkest hour.

I suggest we have ears to hear, and eyes to see.

The money changers have taken over; and the Sophists are defending them. This is as old as time. But it is more dangerous than ever. It is time for the people to wake up. They are in great danger, yet they remain passive, divided and distracted. This must change, and now.

If we want treasures, ideas, tools to work if, we need only lift our heads. Step away from the internet, the newspapers and TV. Go to the library – when the fascist mass house arrest ends, if it does.

We have 5,000 years of history, knowledge, experience and acquired wisdom to work with. If that is not enough, then we truly are destitute – of spirit and mind – and we are the blind following the blind. A ditch will be the least of our worries if we don’t lift our heads and look around, and look up to see where we are going.

We must pause briefly, to find our bearings. Clearly, we have lost them entirely.

JTR,

April 18, 2020

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