Archive for empire

Global Overview 2020 – A Brief Synopsis

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

There are a lot of thoughtful, creative minds working on the problems we face in modern 21st century society – and we have myriads of good examples, prototypes, and functioning, proven models to work with.

Mondragon and the co-op movement, crowd funding, alternative currencies, renewable energy, organic food and agriculture, permaculture, downshifting and simplicity, rural rebirth, relocalization, decentralization, grassroots activism, unity within diversity, solidarity and mutual aid, green homes, tiny homes, natural and integrative health, the birth of a serious anti-fascist resistance movement (after the faux “Resistance” of the Wall Street Democrats made a mockery of itself),  THE QUESTIONING OF AUTHORITY, along with MASS NON-VIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, and countless other examples of positive models and trends, are taking off and soaring.

That is an exciting, encouraging thought. 

That speaks of hope, and bodes well for the future; despite the ecological apocalypse we have made, and possibly already set in motion for ourselves. 

We will get through. But of course, the suffering will be far less if we take very bold action now, and not delay any further. Our backs are already pressed against the wall. 

Now is the time for boldness, in defence of constitutional democracy, freedom, the people and the earth, against the all-devouring assault by the new empire of global corporate rule.

The time is now.

Most governments are failing utterly to meet either the needs of the people, or the challenges of the environmental crisis. The corporate elite, who now effectively rule the world, and have taken over, are not meeting the needs of the people or the planetary crisis. They are lost in a truly sociopathic addiction to power-lust, egomania, and insatiable greed – and are devouring the poor, the middle class, and the earth.

Clearly, it is up to the people. It is up to us.

 

JTR,

August 2, 2020

 

See my first two published books for further reading:

Enlightened Democracy:

Visions For A New Millennium

and

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution, Or Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

 

For further reading see my recent essays:

Sinking All Ships (But Our Own)

and

Importing From China

 

Marcus Aurelius & The End Of Empire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 19, 2020 by jtoddring

To continue the conversation on Marcus Aurelius & The Delusions Of Authoritarianism (yesterday’s essay, or meditations)….

Reading more on the life of Marcus Aurelius I am softened in my views of him; but again, my critique was aimed at authoritarianism, not any one person, or school of thought, other than authoritarianism itself, which is always delusional and self-deceiving.

I can definitely love some of Marcus Aurelius’ words and philosophy; though flatly opposing other elements. I can even admire him as a person, from what I can gleam through the dusty lens of nearly 2,000 years of history. And I could imagine some people viewing him as a Good Emperor, as he has been called. (Remember, it was Machiavelli who coined the phrase, the Five Good Emperors, and he is the most vile and treacherous figure in all of Western philosophy, and not remotely what could be considered a reliable source.) But my point was this: there is no such thing as a good emperor, unless it is one who dissolves the empire into a federation of free republics; and there is no such thing as a good empire, since all empires by definition rest upon and entail domination, conquest and subjugation, pillage, plunder, slavery and servitude, which are the antithesis of freedom and of justice.

Maybe there are less evil emperors, certainly so; but there are, and can, be no good emperors. The same is true for empires. The Nazis were the worst, at least to date, but all empire is evil. They differ only in degree.

Was Marcus Aurelius the FDR of the ancient world, bringing in great reforms to increase justice for all? That would be a generous view. It would also be excessive. Again, Marcus Aurelius upheld the basis, principles, patterns, and power structure of the empire: he should be viewed in that light above all. That he made positive changes in culture, society and law in the direction of justice and equality is praiseworthy, but the changes were slight in comparison to the grave and extreme crimes against humanity, and war crimes, that were carried out annually and routinely by the empire, before, after, and during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. This marks him, sadly, as a war criminal, not a “Good Emperor”, which should be an obvious oxymoron, and a stark contradiction in terms.

People say good things come from empire. Foolish statement that is. Good things can come from earthquakes too; that doesn’t mean we pray for earthquakes.

Even terrible things can bring about mixed results, including some positive results. Still, no sane person wishes for terrible things for their loved ones, their fellow human beings, or themselves. Volcanoes bring fertlizing ash to regenerate soils, but we don’t pray for a million eruptions of Vesuvius.

Empire is evil. It needs to be abolished. That some good can come from great evil does not mean we should perpetuate evil. We should abolish it: quickly or slowly, but decidedly, and unhesitatingly, and as fast as we are able.

The Roman Empire brought roads, sewers, urban life, engineering skill, libraries, and highly centralized power, authoritarianism and elite rule – a very mixed blessing at best. It also brought mass slaughter, mass plunder, mass subjugation, and mass slavery.

When, for example, Julius Caesar very narrowly defeated the united forces of the Celts in 52 BCE, I think it was; there were three million Celts in Europe. The Empire killed a million Celts, and enslaved another million. The one third left alive and “free” were brutally subjugated. Of this act, historians and others say the Roman Empire brought “civilization”.

The empire had a “civilizing” effect on the “barbarians”, we are taught. So goes the official narrative. Who were the barbarians? (As Judas Priest ask, who is “savage”?) A “civilizing mission”? Can we be more self-deluded? We need more Bob Marley, less newspeak.

Mass slaughter and mass slavery: how “civilized” is that? Empire is always barbaric. It is always held up by blood, by slavery, and by slaughter – no matter how well camouflauged or disguised.

To admire the Roman Empire, or any empire, would be insane. To worship it, sheer madness. To reject empire, but take positive elements from the present and the past, while learning from our mistakes, and being heartened by our genuine triumphs, is the only sensible, just or humane course.

No more empire. It is time for freedom. That means the new global empire of technotronic corporate fascism must end too. And now.

JTR,

June 19, 2020

Race, Class, Empire & Authoritarianism

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

The new empire we live under is a global neofeudal corporate imperialism, which is now morphing into fascism, to be precise. It is systemically racist, self-deluded, and culturally arrogant in the extreme, but its primary allegiance is always to class. Everyone who is not among the 0.01% ruling elite is viewed as expendable.

Recent events in the US have a long history behind them, of course. The main question now, is whether issues of race and police brutality will further divide the people, or possibly unite them. If it is the former, then the US is a powder keg, primed for civil war, as I wrote in an essay in 2006. If it is the latter, then there is real hope for the nation.

The people must unite to reject hatred, violence, empire and authoritarianism, since these things endanger and injure us all. That is the one and only hope for a better future, and a better world.

JTR,

June 9, 2020

Gender, Hierarchy, Civilization & Collapse: A Few Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

What did Sumeria ever do for us? Invented writing, our concepts of time, irrigation, cities, created the first literature…little stuff like that.

Sumeria predates ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Biblical times, though it was a completely forgotten civilization until very recently. The civilization spanned roughly 3,500 years, between 5,500 BCE & 1,750 BCE.

Remember, modern Western civilization is a mere 400 years old. Just a baby, by comparison.

The Sumerian civilization, mythology and writings inspired the book of Genesis and Homer, for example, and provided one of the primary the seedbeds for Western civilization, such as it is. Unfortunately they also invented or co-invented war, empire, conquest, ecological degradation, class division, hierarchy, plunder and inequality. Crappy stuff we’re still living with today. 

They did uphold gender equality, however. Mind you, this seems to indicate Eisler was wrong and Bookchin was right: hierarchy spreads as a corrosive social model that comes to infect everything, but it does not necessarily begin with gender. 

“Even so, the culture had been struggling to retain its autonomy ever since the Amorites had gained power in Babylon. A shift in cultural influence, evidenced in many respects but, notably, in the male-female ratio of the Mesopotamian pantheon, came with the rise to power of the Semitic Amorites in Babylon and, especially, during the reign of Hammurabi (r. 1792-1750 BCE) who completely reversed the Sumerian theological model in elevating a supreme male god, Marduk, over all others. Temples dedicated to goddesses were replaced by those for gods and, even though the goddesses’ temples were not destroyed, they were marginalized.

At this same time, women’s rights – which were traditionally on par with men’s – declined as did the great Sumerian cities. Overuse of the land and urban expansion, coupled with ongoing conflicts, are cited as the primary reasons for the fall of the cities. The correlation between the decline in the status of female deities and women’s rights has never been adequately explained – it is unknown which came first – but it is a telling detail in the decline of a culture which had always held women in high regard. By the time the Elamites invaded c. 1750 BCE, the Sumerian culture was already deteriorating and the [invading] Elamites simply finished the process.”

   – Joshua J. Mark, Ancient History Encyclopedia 

Hierarchy, inequality of class, empire, war, conquest, pillage and plunder, and ecological destruction: all of these things existed in Sumer alongside gender equality, it seems, and gender equality both in terms of cultural values, religion and mythology, and in practice. Therefore, we have to conclude that gender imbalance is a severe social, spiritual, and moral problem, but the evidence seems to indicate that it is not the root of all evils that it is sometimes presented to be.

That being said, when gender imbalance begins, society rapidly spirals into ever deeper problems, because the fundamental balance between agency and communion is destroyed; until the society finally collapses, or rediscovers a balance.

Sumeria was well on the way to collapse, regardless of external threats, exactly as with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Internal imbalance always brings internal decline, and finally, either an eventual renaissance and rebirth, or the collapse of the civilization.

“Sumerian was well established as the written language by the late 4th century BCE and Sumerian culture, religion, architecture, and other significant aspects of civilization were as well. The literature of the Sumerians would influence later writers, notably the scribes who wrote the Bible, as their tales of The Myth of Adapa, The Eridu Genesis, and The Atrahasis would inform the later biblical accounts of the Garden of Eden, Fall of Man, and the Great Flood. Enheduanna’s works would become the models for later liturgy, Mesopotamian animal fables would be popularized by Aesop, and The Epic of Gilgamesh would inspire works such as the Iliad and Odyssey.

The concept of the gods living in the city’s temple, as well as the shape and size of the Sumerian ziggurat, is thought to have influenced the Egyptian development of the pyramid and their beliefs about their own gods. The Sumerian concept of time, as well as their writing system, was also adopted by other civilizations. The Sumerian cylinder seal – an individual’s sign of personal identification – remained in use in Mesopotamia until c. 612 BCE and the fall of the Assyrian Empire. There was literally no area of civilization the Sumerians did not make some contribution to but, for all their strengths, their culture began to decline long before it fell.”

   – Joshua J. Mark

Their civilization began to decline long before it fell and actually collapsed. Then as now. History is repeating.

We must regain the balance, in multiple ways, or we too are headed for collapse.

“When I observe the ruts in a road, I am compelled to think, how much deeper the ruts in the mind.”

– Henry David Thoreau

But as Thoreau said, it is never too late to give up our bad habits, or our old ideas. Remember: “There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

JTR,

May 19, 2020

Post-Script:

On a comic note, for comedic relief, note this. Trump must have been advising the Sumerians on wall construction. Something was clearly amiss. The futility is amusing, in any case. Decline and collapse was due to internal factors, not external threats. But it surely is a Homer Simpson moment to build a wall, and not even get the basic concept right!

“The Sumerian civilization collapsed c. 1750 BCE with the invasion of the region by the Elamites. Shulgi of Ur had erected a great wall in 2083 BCE to protect his people from just such an invasion but, as it was not anchored at either end, it could easily be walked around – which is precisely what the invaders did.”

Wow. Is that how historians will look at us in 4,000 years, presuming humans are alive on Earth by then? Ending our civilization with one big, “Doh!”

Oh, Marg….

 

Critical Reading:

Rianne Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

Wade Davis, The Wayfinders

David Suzuki, Elders’ Wisdom

Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Allan Wallace, Choosing Reality

Noam Chomsky, Year 501

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions

Henry David Thoreau, Walden and On Civil Disobedience

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

The end of civilization? I’d like to see its beginning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Civilization? Technology does not define it. Morality does. That makes all empires uncivilized, because they are based in conquest, plunder, mass murder and theft.

Amazing… Scholars still talking about the Roman Empire as civilized and civilizing… By what definition? Because they had sewers? I agree with Gandhi, Western civilization, “would be a good idea”. 

An otherwise thoughtful historian writes typical gibberish, which is universally accepted in Western civilization (sic) as matter of fact, common sense, and informed opinion:

“Wolfram points out that no other nationality, such as the Celts, seems to carry as much emotional and historical baggage as the Goths. They are either traditionally blamed for the destruction of the civilization of the Roman Empire that plunged western culture into a “dark age” or as heroes who refused to bear the yoke of Rome submissively (best exemplified in the figures of Athanaric, Fritigern, Alaric I, and Totila). It is entirely possible, however, to see the Goths as both these entities. Recent scholarship presents a view of the Goths which is more balanced than the either-or view, which has defined them for so long. The historian Philip Matyszak writes:

Until recently it was automatically assumed that Roman civilization was a Good Thing. Rome carried the torch of civilization into the barbarian darkness, and after the unpleasantness of conquest, Rome brought law, architecture, literature and similar benefits to the conquered peoples…There is now an alternative view, which suggests that Rome became the only civilization in the Mediterranean area by destroying half a dozen others. Some of these civilizations were as advanced as Rome’s, or even more so. Others were developing, and the form they might have finally taken is now lost forever. (9)

Since histories have relied primarily on Roman sources to present the history of the Goths, these people are frequently equated with the concept of the “uncivilized barbarian” or the “noble savage”. In fact, they were neither. As Wolfram points out, their history cannot be claimed as that of the ancient German people nor of the Slavic people nor of any people presently living (74-75).

The Goths entered history at a pivotal moment in the decline of the Roman Empire and played their part in that drama. With the empire gone, they ruled over two great kingdoms: one of Odoacer and Theodoric the Great in Italy, and the other in France (that of Theodoric I).  In Totila, the last great king of the Ostrogoths, they produced one of the most brilliant military leaders in history, a match for the legendary Belisarius of Rome, known as the “Last of the Romans’. With Belisarius’ victory, the history of the Goths ends.”

It is therefore difficult at first to determine exactly what the legacy of the Goths is to the modern-day world until one realizes that, without them, there would not be one. The kingdom of Odoacer preserved the best aspects of the Roman Empire and that of Theodoric the Great maintained that preservation. Western civilization continued after the fall of Rome, an entity that was disintegrating daily and would have fallen anyway even if the Goths had never set a single boot on Roman soil; it was the Goths who preserved the light of western civilization, even as they helped to topple the empire that had given rise to it.”

(From Joshua J. Mark’s, The Goths, though it could be almost any standard issue text)

See notes above. Think again. 

Preserving civilization? What civilization?

Again, I say:

The end of civilization? I’d like to see its beginning.

JTR,

May 18, 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

History Repeats: The Decline & Fall of the Western Corporate Empire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2020 by jtoddring

“The Goths remained on Roman land and would ally themselves with the Roman army. Later, however, one man, a Goth and former Roman commander, rose up against Rome – a man who only asked for what had been promised him – a man who would do what no other had done for eight centuries: sack Rome. His name was Alaric, and while he was a Goth, he had also been trained in the Roman army. He was intelligent, Christian, and very determined. He sought land in the Balkans for his people, land that they had been promised. Later, as the western emperor delayed his response, Alaric increased his demands, not only grain for his people but also recognition as citizens of the empire; however, the emperor, Honorius, continually refused. With no other course, Alaric gathered together an army of Goths, Huns and freed slaves and crossed the Alps into Italy. His army was well-organized, not a mob. Honorius was incompetent and completely out of touch, another in a long line of so-called “shadow emperors” – emperors who ruled in the shadow of the military.” 

   – Donald L. Wasson, The Fall Of The Western Roman Empire

As I’ve said, history is repeating itself.

A shadow government, a military industrial corporate security complex, rules a decaying Western empire, while the peoples’ needs are met with snears akin to, “Let them eat cake”.

An empire in decline, the Western (pseudo-democratic, crypto-fascist) corporate empire, facing both growing internal revolt and rising external competition, reacts in desperation with ever more desperate measures, like a wounded, dying beast, lashing out.

“By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman imperialism was responsible for its own destruction.” Peter Heather summed it up well. And again, it must be seen, it is happening again, as a new empire repeats the mistakes of the past.

The over-reaction, the hubris, the over-reach, both internally and externally; and above all, the callous and imperious, brazen heavy-handedness, will only hasten the decline and collapse of this latest of empires, which is the Western empire of corporate oligarchy.

Would-be God-kings never learn.

The Roman Empire fell for a number of reasons, including simple brain poisoning due to foolish choices of consumption (sounds familiar: lead goblets then, pesticides and junk food now). However, among the various causes, chief was internal decay. (Echoes, then as now: a culture of materialism, perpetual distraction, bread and circuses, and spiritual decay.) But a stubborn refusal to meet the legitimate desires and needs of the people, was key to the collapse and fall of the empire. (Again, a mirror image, and an echo.)

We will see the same again soon. It may take fifty years, or it may take five, but the new empire of global neofeudal corporate rule will fall, sooner or later. It is only a matter of time.

For the sake of the people, for the sake of us all, and for the sake of the Earth, let us pray it is soon. And we must do more than pray.

Let us make it so.

JTR,

May 17, 2020

Work and Workaholism: Puritanism – and, A Day Off

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

A few thoughts aloud, for anyone who might be interested – with a little philosophical, historical and political reflection in the midst:

This morning when I got up, feeling exhausted again from the on-going 30-year stint of sleeplessness and insomnia, I thought, I should take a day off – considering I pretty much never take a day off.

(Some people imagine that writers and philosophers sit around all day staring at their navels. Obviously they have never lived the life.)

But, despite my good intentions, shortly after mid-day I realized that my, admittedly joyous and quiet, “day off”, had consisted, so far, of readings in philosophy, politics and history, and the writing of three new essays. Then, as usual, I feel guilty for not accomplishing more. I’m not boasting – I am complaining to myself gently, that I don’t know how to stop or take a break, even when faced with physical and mental exhaustion. This is not a virtue – it’s simple idiocy.

I’m as stubborn as a mule, as the saying goes (though I hear that is unfair and inaccurate with regard to these noble, gentle beasts). And I realize again, what I have realized recently (we are a mystery to one another, by and large, and even to ourselves, at least for a long time): that I am indeed, and always have been, a workaholic.

Again, that’s nothing to be proud of. It is sheer stupidity. My Puritan up-bringing and cultural indoctrination – which everyone north of Paris and the Mexican border, and from Switzerland and Germany, at least, West to the Pacific Ocean, has been condemned with from birth for some few hundred years now – is hard to shake; even with decades of highly conscious efforts!

(I have gotten far better at life balance, but it is a definite work in progress. From purism and ascetic minimalism, and being exceedingly in my head and always lost in thought, to trying to balance that out and in turn becoming, unintentionally, a certified bon vivant, and then back again more moderately in the other direction, and finding, finally and at last, a bit of a better balance…but still definitely working it out…)

And so I say to myself, as a reminder (and to anyone who feels it may apply to them – and I would say it applies to virtually everyone in the North-West quadrant of the globe called The West, and more recently, The North, and to most urbanites outside this capitalist-Puritan empire’s heartland – and to the Japanese and Koreans, as well.):

First of all, unplug. Take a break, at least once in a while. Then…

Go outside! Remember what it is like just to sit and watch the birds and squirrels, the leaves and the grass, the trees in the wind, the sky and the clouds, and to simply be alive. And at least for a few minutes a day, sit or walk outdoors, with no music, no podcasts, no reading, no talking – just silence and nature.

Breathe. Just sit and breathe – for five minutes, at least. Do nothing but breathe, and pay attention to your breathe, as a focal point simply, letting your thoughts and your mind do whatever they like, but gently guiding them back to your breathe, every time they wander. Just sit (or walk) and breathe. And maybe smile as you do.

I am not joking, nor am I being pretentious. I am reminding myself to meditate daily – at least for five minutes, if not twenty minutes or an hour. It is simple, it is uncomplicated, it is something anyone can do, and it is powerful beyond all medicine, at least in the most important of ways: gradually, slowly, over time, grain by grain, it brings peace, calm, and clarity of mind, as well as openness of heart, and a simple joy of being alive. Just sit, and breathe. It is that simple.

Don’t over-complicate things. As my Swiss aunt liked to say, “Complicated works too.” But then, why choose complicated, when simple generally works better, or at least as well.

Take a walk in the forest (see Forest Bathing, if that inspires you, or the writings of Thoreau); or walk by the water – or at least around the block! (No headphones or earbuds, of course, preferably – if you possibly can be quiet for a few minutes, without distraction. Some people can’t. Or think they can’t. Fortunately, that I can do.)

Take a sauna, sweat-bath or steam – or a hot bath (ideally with Epsom salts).

Read a book for sheer pleasure – not out of duty, not for work, not even joyful seriousness (which is my normal reading), but sheer pleasure.

(A Wizard Of Earthsea, I have meaning to get to! Ah, how I love high fantasy, a la, Tolkien – and I love Ursula Le Guin!)

This corner of the world, which is Northern Europe and North America, north of the Mexican border, came, largely through a series of historical accidents (and brutal, genocidal conquest, followed by violent colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism) to dominate the globe for the past 500 years. (The declining relative power of the North-Western elite and their empire is now bringing a tectonic, fascistic, Orwellian, world-endangering power struggle into play, by the way, as some alert few have realized.)

That conquest mentality was a horrific mistake, as well as a horrific crime against humanity and nature. But the conquest began at home, we should realize. The mass of men, women and children in Europe, and in what became Canada and the United States, were first colonized, conquered, dominated and subjugated (incompletely and temporarily) by the ruling domestic elite, before that same elite sent them off to fight and die, to subjugate, colonize, conquer and dominate other peoples in other parts of the globe.

(The 99% great majority of the settler-colonial culture was being subjugated internally while its elite were busy with conquest, subjugation, slavery and genocide of the cultural “other” in the Americas, Africa and Asia. But the internal subjugation of the many by the few began first, and was necessary for the latter to occur at all. In short, we were pawns. We still are pawns. But no free man or woman is content to live as a pawn – much less as a pawn in some evil man’s game.)

The mechanisms of this foreign and domestic conquest and subjugation were, and remain: elitism in its various forms and its ideological rationalizations, subtle or overt authoritarianism, the sowing of fear, mistrust, paranoia, alienation and division, materialism and consumerism, the “manufacture of consent” and “necessary illusions”, along with thought control, PR and propaganda; and yes, Puritanism – and, not only a radically unbalanced way of life and approach to life, which arises from it, and a secretly self-loathing masochistic martyr complex and eagerness to be virtual slaves; along with a radical mistrust of nature, one another, and ourselves – which is the root of alienation, division, disconnection, dissociation and dualistic delusion, and is pure spiritual, intellectual, psychological, political and sociological poison.

This, among other things, is what we must unearth and exhume from our collective subconscious, this rattling skeleton, or rotting corpse, which not only haunts the world, but to a large degree controls, through insidiously, through stealth, the modern Western mind – up to and including the present day. By bringing it into the light of day, the light of consciousness, we strip it of its power; and thus, liberate ourselves, our societies, and our world: so that we can be free, and the world can indeed be born again.

And Thomas Paine was right: it is within our power to begin the world again.

As Arundhati Roy said,

“A better world is not only possible; it is already being born. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathe.”

Balance, re-connection, re-integration, re-examination, reflection, de-cluttering of the mind, simplifying of our lives and our approach – and with these things, and from these things, empowerment: this is what is needed now.

Time for a greater balance. We are too busy, yet, also put up with too much. We settle for too little. Bells and baubles and trinkets, distractions and entertainment, we have galore – we’re drowning in it. It is a sea of shiny, glittery sewage, and our world is drowning in it. But the things we need most, and which give our lives the greatest richness, meaning, and joy, we are impoverished in; or, as with liberty and democracy, and our basic human rights and freedoms, we are losing before our eyes.

We must now disconnect, in order to re-connect. Slow down, in order to re-balance. Do less, in order to regain a greater clarity, heart-centredness, and inner power. Then, begin again – with more power, more clarity, and more openness of heart; and all will be better, you can be assured.

At least, we can know this: lacking these things, and not taking time for such replenishing and re-focusing and re-connection, we can and will do less, and accomplish less – and will do it all with less clarity, and possibly with disastrous results, due to a lack of clarity.

Slow down, and sometimes, simply stop. Pause. Take a breath. The world will go on. Or it won’t. Being forever frenetically busy will not help anything. It will only cloud the issues, cloud the mind, and sow exhaustion and ill-health, while depriving your life of richness, meaning and joy – as well as many a great potential accomplishment.

Slow…down.

Breathe.

Life is not a race – no matter the conditions, or what is going on.

No matter the urgency, no matter the stakes: never hesitate, and never rush.

Remember the words of Rumi, and Emma Goldman:

“Ours is not a caravan of despair.”

And,

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

Amen, sister.

Moreover, if we do not slow down and find a better balance, our chances of success in anything important – including rescuing humanity from suicidal ecological destruction, or from slavery to the new global neofeudal corporate empire – will be slim.

Nourish yourself in body, spirit and mind. Slow down. And know when to take a break!

Peace.
JTR,
April 29, 2020

See also:

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice and the Blade – Rianne Eisler

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Psychotherapy East and West – Alan Watts

Choosing Reality – Allan Wallace

Stolen Continents – Ronald Wright

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Pathology Of Normalcy – Erich Fromm

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Walden, and On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boetie

The speeches and writings of MLK and Gandhi

 

Coronavirus & Common Sense

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2020 by jtoddring

“We were once distressed by crimes: now, by laws”, wrote Tacitus.

How relevant is that today? Extremely so; but the sheep are trained not to think; and see, therefore, only what they are told to see – which, they obediently do.

Orwell would shudder in horror.

Still no one can think, question, or do basic math? Two million “confirmed” cases globally now of coronavirus, it is reported. No testing is required to verfiy this. Suspicion is proof, as in the dark ages.

But even if we took the figures as accurate, which is highly doubtful, they should not be alarming if the slightest thought or investigation is done.

Stanford professors of epdemiology assert that coronavirus mortality has been exaggerated by several orders of magnitude. It has been claimed to be as high as 19% or more. Professors in the field state it is more likely in the range of 0.01-0.1%. That puts it on the level of the annual common flu. That explains why it is dangerous only to the very old and the very ill.

Voluntary self-quarantine by the very old and very ill may be reasonable. Mass quarantine of the healthy is not only utterly unjustified, it is also a socio-economic and public health disaster, as well as a prelude to fascism.

(Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!” here. We should, too.)

Any death is tragic, but to accept the standard narrative, sown by the six corporations who control 80% of the major media globally, along with the governments and WHO, both of which have also been taken over by the corporate oligarchy, is to succumb to irrationality and hysteria.

This is not the Bubonic Plague – but we are reacting to it as if it is even worse. “Unprecedented!” Yes, what is unprecedented, or at least not seen since the dark ages, is the level of mass insanity, hysteria, fear and delusion.

But, despite all that, let’s imagine two million cases is not exaggerated, though that is doubtful, since, without testing, which has not been required to “confirm” cases, infections or deaths by the flu can easily be mistaken for coronavirus, and under conditions of manufactured panic and hysteria, most certainly routinely are.

Let’s imagine a 20% mortality rate, which is also certainly exaggerated, likely by a factor of 100 to 1,000, as Stanford professors assert.

Simple math: 20% of two million is 400,000. Add the previous total deaths globally of just over 100,000, and you have a total of just above 500,000. Annual death toll from the flu is 200,000-700,000. So that would put coronavirus on par with a typical year for the flu.

That explains why the mortality rate for Europe did not rise this year, but has been lower so far, compared to the three previous years: because the coronavirus shows no signs yet of being any more dangerous than the common flu.

Remember, these numbers are based on what are almost certainly exaggerated figures in terms of “confirmed cases” of infections and deaths by coronavirus, as well as mortality rates, which are likely exaggerated 100-1,000 fold.

Meanwhile, no one questions whether the WHO is credible, or perhaps corruptible? It is unthinkable.

No one checks the facts to find out that yes, indeed, the WHO, like most Western governments, has been captured by Big Pharma, along with the 2,000 or so corporate oligarchs of Davos, who now effectively rule the world.

The WHO is uncorruptible? It could never lie? We assume it is trustworthy, even when the figures don’t add up?

We assume governments never lie? They never take advantage of a crisis to advance vested interests? Does anyone remember the Gulf of Tonkin? Three million people were killed in South-East Asia, based on a lie.

Has anyone heard of Operation Northwoods? Event 201? The Rockefeller Foundation’s “Lock Step” plan?

I am not saying the virus is a bioweapon or that it is fake. I am saying that governments and elites have planned and carried out dark actions many times in the past. To assume governments are acting now solely out of deep concern for public health, does not fit the facts of the record of their actions over the past years and decades. To assume they cannot lie, and could never exploit a crisis for certain vested interests, would be even more remarkably naive.

Naiveté now would be foolish in the extreme.

The present crisis is a four-fold boon to the Western and Eastern oligarchs, and they are exloiting it for all it’s worth.

1. Distract the people from vastly bigger issues – such as, most centrally, the corruption and criminality of the oligarchs and the resulting growing popular discontent; along with war, empire, inequality, erosion of democracy, environmental emergency, poverty…. (The list is long.)

2. Divide and conquer: sow fear, division, “social distancing” and mass house arrest; and reap greater and more consolidated power.

3. Economic warfare: the Davos oligarchs vs the 99.9%. Simple rape and pillage – intensified 1,000-fold above routine levels.

4. Consolidate the power of the ruling oligarchs, both in the West and in China, by creating hysteria in order to justify a police state.

Anyone who still, 10 weeks into the “new Pearl Harbor type event”, remains unquestioningly accepting of the standard narrative, and the fascist regime it legitimizes and rationalizes, really should step back, and take a long, hard look at the facts, before crying out more for their chains to be securely fastened, and their legs, and minds, shackled in place – for our own good, of course.

JTR,

April 17, 2020

The Maxims of Empire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2020 by jtoddring

(And the Maxims of Liberation)

There are at least six known, central maxims which all emperors understand and employ, which have been used for millennia by the elite in order to control, rule over, and generally fleece and rob, oppress and exploit the people. They are:

1. Divide and conquer: keep the people separate.

2. Bread and circuses: keep the people distracted.

3. Necessary illusions: keep them fed on lies, half-truths and illusions which rationalize and support the elite agendas of the emperors.

4. Sow dependency on the great benefactors and saviours – which means, of course, US: keep the people believing that the ruling elite are not simply self-serving parasites, rentiers, and sociopathic plunderers and slavers of the people, but their great liberators and most desperately needed protectors, even messiahs – their only salvation from certain doom.

5. Psychological and economic warfare: keep the people weak, and preferably in debt bondage, afraid, isolated, and demoralized – never let the people unite; and even more importantly, never let them realize their power.

6. Elitist fantasies and other cultural supports for empire must rule the public mind: Promulgate and promote ideologies, philosophies, paradigms, cultural attitudes and worldviews that support elite rule, oligarchy over democracy and freedom, and elite agendas that allow for the continued pillaging and subjugation of the people and the planet. The rabidly anti-democratic Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, along with authoritarianism, militarism, along post-modernist nihilism, neo-Malthusianism, social Darwinism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and – above all – classism, an alienating and isolating, atomizing ethos of narcisistic consumerism, materialism, egocentrism, selfish individualism, misanthropy, cynicisn, fatalism, conformist pseudo-individualism and digital escapism, instant gratification,  technocracy, neoliberalism, corporate globalization, globalism and corporatism, are a few that, among others, are core.

Any real resistance to tyranny, injustice and oppression must sooner or later come to understand these principles of empire, or else remain forever subjugated.

Our responses should be clear enough from this.

*

Maxims of Liberation

In case the conclusions from the former principles are not clear, we can say the following.

These are a few of the central maxims of liberation:

1. Unity in diversity: unite the people. And it must be a unity amidst diversity, or else it is not truly uniting the people; and moreover, any other form of unity will not last, but will collapse.

2. Bread and roses: uplift the people with a reminder of the central challenges of the time, and the courage to confront them directly.

3. Necessary awakenings: speak the truth and expose lies. It is true that the truth shall set you free. Cutting through lies and illusions, therefore, is the central revolutionary task of liberation.

4. Sow empowerment: both individually and also collectively, both materially and psychologically, uplift, inspire and empower the people. Above all, awaken people to their fundamental unity, and to their power.

5. Economic warfare: unleash the power of the many united. With that, liberation from any and all fetters, tyranny and chains, can and will be won. What does that mean? It means the 99.9% vs the 0.1%. And this is how we defeat them, in order to achieve a greater equality, justice, freedom and peace, and in order to secure real democracy; and most urgently, to secure a viable future for humanity on this Earth.

The latter can take on many forms, including: community economic development; sensible, green and just national economic development; building resiliency at all levels; debt cancellation; a fair tax system; rejection of neoliberalism and corporate glbalization; abrogation of unjust and anti-democratic “trade” or other agreements; a tax on currency speculation; nationalizing central banks; serious anti-trust action, and the breaking up of monopolies and cartels – especially the big banks, big media and big tech; and co-op movements, co-op banking, buy local movements, small scale farmers’ movements; along with boycotts, divestments, strikes, move your money campaigns, shareholder activism, and blockades.

6. Democracy and solidarity; not oligarchy and globalism: What we need is internationalism within democratic federations, not corporate globalism or globalization; or what has been called globalization from below. In short, we need citizen-based participatory democracy, not elite rule, or rule by corporations, technocrats, oligarchs and plutocrats, or billionaires and their minions.

7. Revolution. Serious change is urgently required for the continuation of human life on Earth. This requires a systems change, not mild reforms. Systemic change requires the removal of the corporate oligarchy from their current position as de facto rulers of the world. In sum, the change needed is from oligarchy to citizens’ democracy and self-government. And by now, that means, and requires, revolution.

This is, of course, an incomplete list, but it is a good foundation, and a very good start.

We should remember as well, that while Che may inspire some, and Adam Smith may inspire others, it is Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. who are our better guides.

Above all, we must realize this:

There is no time to spare. These principles will help us. But we must act now.

 

JTR,

April 11, 2020

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