Archive for media

Good TV?!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2020 by jtoddring

Favourite tv shows, anyone? Post your favourites below.

I do hate tv, but I love documentaries and history shows, and I make an exception for certain things, like Star Trek, hockey playoffs, world cup soccer, the Olympics…

In no particular order, I’d say my favourite tv shows (originals only; most of them old, from the ’60’s and ’70’s) are:

The Nature Of Things

Time Team

Star Trek – TNG & original

The Pink Panther

The Twilight Zone

The Outer Limits – new & old

WKRP

Cheers

MASH 

Get Smart

Kung Fu

I don’t watch much tv, other than periodic blitzes of documentaries: maybe 3-4 hours a week. But I’m loving Time Team & Star Trek TNG right now! 

Most tv is poison, like most media, internet and social media content. But there is good stuff, if you search. Some things are highly subjective; some things, like news and analysis, are not. Don’t ingest poison, is rule one. Rule two is don’t be a glutton – keep a balance. More than four hours of tv a week means other, more important things are being neglected – like your family, your health, your reading, or your garden. The same goes for “social media”, and most films, games and internet content. Choose well, and keep the balance, I’d say.

It can’t be all politics and philosophy all the time – not for me, anymore. 30 years of total immersion is enough. Now I have to take it in moderation. Life is better that way, and the pace is more sustainable. 

Find time to tend your garden, and for sheer lightness. That’s important too.

JTR,

June 20, 2020

Distance Yourself From Evil, Not People

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2020 by jtoddring

The Boycott Big Tech Movement Begins Here

First rule: Question everything, and think for yourself.

Second rule: Don’t support your slavers. (Gandhi, MLK and Thoreau would understand. It’s time for mass civil disobedience.)

Nothing is free. If you want to say no to Big Brother, you have to pay for better tech that itself says no to Big Brother. That means boycotting Big Tech. It’s a transition we need to make. Start by ditching Google. Then Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Android….

Marco Polo is worth looking into, as well. (A video calling service) They refuse to use annoying ads, and more importantly, they refuse to sell client data or to be part of the new global surveillance state. 

Also of note: There is a new tech company making sleek black phones, tablets and laptops, which are not only built to last three times longer, but are built from the kernel up to be deeply resistant to the new global surveillance apparatus. Sorry the name escapes me at the moment. See the excellent podcast, Geopolitics & Empire, and you’ll find it; along with an extremely important interview with Robert Epstein on why boycotting Big Tech is imperative (my extrapolation).

See also, My Seven Simple Steps, by Robert Epstein, for further resistance to Big Brother.

The MAGATS – Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, Twitter, and the “social media” giant Farcebook – are all deeply embedded and eager partners with the new global corporate police state. We need to begin an exodus away from them, an intelligent social distancing campaign that brings people together, face to face, and in groups for rallies and protests, meetings, conferences and blockades, under freedom of travel, speech and assembly, and distance ourselves from the Big Tech tools of the corporate police state. Now that would be…pardon me, will be…intelligent social distancing. Distance yourself from evil – not from people.

“Social distancing” doesn’t work. The science indicates 27 feet is needed. Six feet is useless – unless you want to sow panic and fear, and divide and conquer the people, which of course is the elite-driven objective, which the lemmings blindly obey.

Masks don’t work, as even the WHO admitted. They do however cut off oxygen to the body and brain, lowering immune resistance as well as functional intelligence – which partly explains the mass insanity and loss of ability to think critically or to use basic common sense reasoning.

Mass quarantine, which is mass house arrest, doesn’t work, as Sweden and Taiwan have proved. In fact, it is causing alienation and economic devastation to soar, which will, if continued, result in surging poverty, sickness and death.

Moreover, this is not the Plague. The global death toll from covid, a new form of the cold and flu family, is under 300,000, while annual death tolls from the flu are 300,000-700,000.

Basic math, anyone?

Think for yourself.

Check the facts. Question everything. You are being lied to. Mass hysteria has taken over.

The covid crisis needs to be understood for what it is: a Davos billionaire oligarch-driven agenda of: 1. Mass distraction, 2. Divide and conquer, 3. Economic warfare, that is, class warfare, of the 1% vs the 99%, and 4. A pretext for a power grab, and the final stage of the 50 year process of neoliberalism, which has been the corporate take-over of society on a global scale, and the merger of business and the state, which as Mussolini said, is the proper definition of fascism.

Where is the left? I hope you are starting to get this right, or will soon. This is a corporate fascist coup.

Of course, to frame the issues in this way will put the 60-80% of people who have become complete lemmings, into total panic, hyperbolic mouth-foaming fervour, and vitriolic hysteria; but it simply must be done.

I’ve explained these issues countless times. Read my blog essays if anything here is surprising or alarming. It certainly should not be. And I am not willing to repeat myself ad nauseum.

The propaganda war is beginning to fail. People are asking questions, at last, and are waking up. The mouth-frothing, screaming, self-righteous, deeply hypocritical defenders of the “new normal” of pseudo-medical fascism, are losing. Keep questioning. Keep speaking the truth. Keep pressing the facts over hyperbole. 

Saddam Hussein did not have WMDs. A giant lie launched a war causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. Now we face mass distortions that will kill millions and enslave billions, if we don’t cut through the illusions, distortions, propaganda, hysteria and lies.

Choose solidarity and caring *with* freedom; or choose virtual lobotomy, and slavery to a brutal new Orwellian order. There is no third choice, other than in fantasy and delusion.

Remember what Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Sane, mature, confident people can admit when they were wrong. Insane, childish, petty, and weak-minded people cannot.

JTR,

May 10, 2020

Post-Script:

Privacy is a misnomer. The entire issue has been mislabelled. Freedom from surveillance and manipulation is the big issue. Vastly more important than privacy is that we don’t cooperate with our slavers: the new global corporate fascist police state. Just say no to Big Brother. See My Seven Simple Steps for important tips, as a starting place. #BoycottBigTech! #BoycottBigBrother 

Video Calls: Communication In A Hyper-Connected & Deeply Dissociated Society

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2020 by jtoddring

Thoughtful commentators to the Smithsonian and BBC recently “recommended limiting video calls to only those that are necessary. Petriglieri adds that positioning the video screen to your side may make it feel like you’re in a nearby room instead of under scrutiny. University of Québec psychologist Claude Normand tells National Geographic that turning off your camera and, if possible, taking the call by phone while going for a walk might be more productive.”

Re-read Orwell and Huxley now. We are being conditioned to accept the all-pervasive panopticon telescreen of Orwell’s dark vision, and a new global technocratic corporate police state. Resist. Seek the truth. Speak the truth. And disconnect in order to more truly connect.

We are increasingly disconnected, alienated, manipulated, and dissociated from reality, by our society’s norms; which are, increasingly, severely unhealthy for body and mind, for the body politic, and for our countries and our communities; as well as being increasingly authoritarian, crypto-fascist, technocratic and neofeudal. In this context, unplugging from the digital-electronic mesh is priority one, along with reflection, quiet time, reading, and reconnection with one another, nature, our bodies, hearts and spirits, on a deeper, more authentic and more richly meaningful level.

When possible, I would urge, we prioritize communications this way:

Some people will say the following is impractical or idealistic; but note that I said these should be choice rankings, not imperatives that can never be bent or strayed from.

We can make compromises. But we should also keep a clear set of values, goals, and guidelines in mind; otherwise, we succumb to the global race to the cultural and sociological, health and psychological bottom, where we will be nothing but hollow dead shells, and lifeless, mindless drones, in a neofeudal technocratic gulag society that would make Orwell shudder.

We are certainly well on our way to such a dark destiny. We need to change course, or further down will be our path.

*

First choice: face to face communication – in an office, board room, classroom or cubicle, if you must; but far better, when possible, outdoors, in a clean, green, quiet, natural setting. This is often achievable, with planning, if we value it enough to simply choose it.

Second choice: by typed or hand written letter.

Third choice: email – with courtesy, warmth, respect, full sentences, maybe even decent grammar.

Fourth choice: digital text or messaging – but please, with warmth, respect, full sentences, and attentiveness: not manic hyperactivity and inability to concentrate, focus, or show basic human warmth, civility or common courtesy.

Variable choice: Telephone is sometimes preferable to some people, over any of the above, at least for certain times. That may be fine for some people, but not all. It may further be deemed a necessary compromise at times; but face to face remains best; and often, letters and email are also better than the phone. (Corded, wired landlines are best, because evidence has been accumulating that artificial emfs, like artificial chemicals, do indeed increase health risks and cause harm. Speaker phones are second best.)

Last choice: Generally speaking, though there may be exceptions of course, video calls are worst – for stress, for health, and for human alienation and dissociation, despite surface appearances and corporate marketing PR.

Disconnect to reconnect, I say – at least sometimes, and much, much more than is the current norm.

Two hours a day, maximum, would be a wise limit on staring into any and all electronic screens – including cell phones, computers, video games and TV. Beyond this level, we are unquestionably degrading and decaying our bodies, our health, our relationships, our spirits and our minds, and are sowing dissociation and disconnection from one another, from nature, from our deeper selves, and from reality.

Dissociation, disconnection, alienation and division are poisoning us and our society, mentally, spiritually, politically and socially. We must reverse this trend, or it truly is a dark age ahead.

Remember, as the brilliant philosopher and social psychologist Erich Fromm said, “Normal only exists in relation to a profoundly abnormal norm.”

When the norm becomes toxic, it is time to change the norm.

JTR,

April 30, 2020

 

See also:

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

And the writings of Orwell, Huxley and Thoreau

Unplug: Nine Weeks To Basic Clarity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2020 by jtoddring

Important, extremely useful books here. A brain washing, in the sense of clearing away the fog and gaining some clarity and perspective, is critically needed, now more than ever. What Huxley and Orwell warned of is here. We need to read, reflect, and disconnect from the mediadrug.

Shut off the electronic media for nine weeks. Read one serious book a week – this nine would be a wise choice: and in nine weeks become extremely well-informed.

Or watch TV and surf the net and “social media” for nine weeks – and be more deluded and misinformed at the end of it as a result.

Your choice.

JTR,

April 20, 2020

Rules For Good Communication – Both In Writing, and Verbally, and In The Arts (Along with core points on the philosophy of language, knowledge, perception, consciousness, ontology and epistemology, and the nature of being and reality – and lessons on how not to be long-winded!)

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

Here are a few thoughts on writing and verbal communication, and all forms of communication. As an author, writer, reader, lover of books, and philosopher, I believe I have some potentially helpful thoughts to share on the subject, though my own communications are not without faults themselves. I am no great orator, such as Martin Luther King Jr., nor am I Shakespeare, Dickens, or Dostoevsky. But I think there are some valuable points here, for any who may be interested. And since communication is something that we all do, and something which is essential to being human, then I would say that it is something that we should all be interested in – and something we should be interested in life-long pursuit of improving. Why stop our learning at See Spot Run – or the level of the newspapers and major media, which is scarcely higher?

Learning is for life. Communicating clearly, and effectively, and well, is important – in all areas of life; and it is something which we should all aim to continuously improve. Why not? It can only benefit us, never harm us.

Why sound like an idiot? Put another way, why should our reading, writing, communicating or thinking, our lives or our minds, be on a low level?

Moreover, if the purpose of communication is to communicate – and not to obfuscate, sow illusion, deceive, evade, create separation or division, or to increase or maintain or consolidate one’s power or ego status, which, sadly, it frequently is – then we should learn how to communicate: a) clearly; and b) effectively (which is something beyond mere clarity). This requires learning and skill development, which requires both time and also practice. We should not be afraid to admit that we are not yet omniscient, nor infallible. Hubris is not helpful; but a balance of confidence and humility are always to our advantage.

1. Rule number one of good communication is: There are no rules of good communication. Use whatever works. Sometimes holding up a flower is the best way to communicate. Sometimes a finger pointing, for example at the moon, is the best way to communicate. A genuine smile of genuine friendliness, compassion, respect, cheerfulness, reassurance, or warmth, may be the most effective form of communication possible – and generally is. Keep it simple, and do not be hide bound by rules or an excessive complexity.

Remember what my great Swiss aunt was fond of saying, “Complicated works too.”

2. Rule two: All communication based in language, concepts or words are symbolic, and hence dualistic in nature, comparing this to that; therefore, no words, language, concepts or texts are capable of conveying the nature of reality, which is non-dual. (See Shankara) The best physicists have begun to realize the sages were right: reality is non-dual – and 400 years of Cartesian dualism have been based upon nothing more than a shared delusion; a delusion now crumbling in light of recent science. We are thus confined by the very nature of language and conceptual, discursive thought, to the realm of images and appearances, not reality in itself. We are discussing shadows on the cave wall.

See Plato’s parable of the cave. Or read the first line of the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.” Read the Lankavatara Sutra: “All of the scriptures are like a finger pointing at the moon. If you mistake the finger for the moon, you will understand nothing.”

Language, words, texts, spoken and written communication, are not definitely not meaningless; nor do they capture or convey reality. They are tools of communication, and they are also tools of perception, knowledge and understanding. They are very valuable tools – but they are also profoundly limited tools. If you expect them to tell you what reality is, you are mistaken – they cannot. That, you will have to see for yourself.

And in order to see, you must first cut through all illusion. Therefore, the via negativa, as the Western mystic tradition  calls it, is the only possible avenue – if, that is, we are at all interested in reality (most people are not).

We must proceed by stripping away all illusions, until the naked truth stands self-evident. Language, words, concepts, texts, spoken and written words, can all be immeasurably helpful. But they cannot take us to the final destination.

They can bring us close enough to jump into the ocean. But we must decide to dive in. Standing on the shore is like reading the menu outside the restaurant door, and being content with that, thinking you have sated yourself fully, when in fact you have not tasted a single thing.

Use language, concepts and texts; but understand that they can never convey the fullness of experience, or even, the nature of reality itself.

3. As every good musician knows, you must first learn the rules before you can bend or break them. Rule three, therefore, is to disregard rule one (which, you will remember, said there are no rules).

We must learn to think in paradoxes. As Sun Tzu said, you should be able to use conventional means or unconventional means, and to shift between, and blend the two, as needed, as the situation calls for.

No, there are no rules. But do learn the rules; for while there are no strict or universal rules for good communication, there are certainly useful guidelines available. (You’re not going to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix or Andres Segovia if you don’t first learn a few chords, at least.)

There are times for either/or thinking, and there are times for both/and thinking. For example, “free” universal education, including unlimited higher education, along with universal public health care, and a universal basic income (as even Milton Friedman recommended, and is advocated by both the left and the right), along with a Green New Deal, which is to say, a bold infrastructure building project to transition our society to one that is not driving us over a cliff of self-destruction, and which, in the process, would create millions of jobs, and launch the economy out of the recession which it has been in since the economic crisis of began in 2007, are all affordable and achievable, separately or together, so long as we do the other things which must be done in any case, and urgently so, for reasons of social justice and the preservation of liberty and democracy, and the defeat of the neo-feudal corporatism, aka fascism, which we have now. If we tax the richest 1% and the biggest corporations, in terms of income and profits (at 90% and 40% top bracket rate, respectively, for example); and further, tax the wealth of the richest 1% and the fortune 500 corporations (at even 5% or 10%, much less what is both needed and justified, which is 90%); put a tax on currency speculation; and de-fund the military industrial complex and the global surveillance and police state apparatus; then there would be – excuse me…will be – more than enough money and real world resources available for these things, which every just society, or sane society, should consider basic necessities to its integrity as well as to its wisdom.

But while these things are both attainable and also urgently needed, for reasons of justice, democracy, freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and sheer survival, this is the case, and there are also bolder actions yet which are also urgently needed, and for the same urgent reasons: such as, serious anti-trust action to break up the big banks, along with the Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Oil, media and military industrial corporate empires. It is not an either/or scenario. We need the bold yet moderate actions described above – universal education and health care, UBI and a Green New Deal; and we need more radical action – such as breaking up the big banks, and making all central banks publicly owned and democratically controlled. Either/or thinking only harms us, and puts us into what Blake described so vividly and so well: “the mind-forged manacles”.

This is an injection of political philosophy into the philosophy of language and communication, yes. It is also a fact: yes, there are no hard and fast rules to good communication; and yes, there are rules, in the sense of general guidelines, which are quite helpful.

It is both/and, not either/or. Secular and religious fundamentalists, and others who prefer mental straight-jackets and prisons, to living, and thinking, in the real world, are overly fond of either/or thinking. It is either this or it is that. But that thinking, while sometimes useful, is seldom appropriate, and often confusing, misleading, or simply, delusional.

So, the short answer is, yes, there are rules, or guidelines, for good communication, be it verbal, written, or otherwise (art, music, dance, theatre, film or architecture, for example). We should learn them and use them. Then be certain not to be bound and gagged by them.

4. Don’t be a name-dropper or otherwise pretentious. Communication, if it is good, is both clear and also effective (moving, emotive, or persuasive, for example). Parading one’s ego is not only childish, is also taints the communication, making it less effective. Showing one’s social connections by dropping names, or showing one’s erudition or good training or education, by dropping names, that is, by being showy about the use of names, only shows immaturity and insecurity, lack of confidence and lack of self-dignity, a readiness to debase oneself and lick boots for ego gratification, praise, fame, career advancement, power, wealth, status, or some other personal gain. By showing a lack of integrity, maturity, confidence and also wisdom, or discernment, the effectiveness of the communication is thereby, always, damaged and undermined. As the I Ching says, “He who shows himself does not shine.”

5. The corollary is this. Don’t be afraid to use big words, uncommon words, quotations, allusions, references, personal stories or histories, when using them will enhance either the clarity or the effectiveness of the communication. To argue passionately for liberty and democracy while quoting Thomas Jefferson or Martin Luther King Jr. is not only acceptable, it is a matter of simple intelligence. You use whatever powers you have in order to communicate clearly and effectively. You don’t fend off barbarians at the gate by using your letter opener alone, thinking it modest and therefore best. You draw your sword, naturally, and use the best tools you can find at hand. If that means calling forth Daniel or Dumas, Dickens or Dostoevsky, then you do it, and without hesitation, of course.

6. Be concise, but do not be hide bound by concision.

Martin Heidegger spent 700 pages to tell us that the question of the nature of being is one that is worth asking. All he accomplished by that tome of utterly long-winded but hollow verbiage was to get his name listed in the pantheon of Western philosophers – by proving that he could be as much of an addle-minded windbag as the best of them, and that he had absolutely nothing of value to say.

Western philosophy has perfected the art of needlessly obscure, needlessly long-winded, needlessly difficult and cryptic writing. That is, in general, an unconscious habit arising due to: a) the need to conform to arbitrary and foolish norms which accomplish nothing, but do a disservice to the entire field; b) the need to conform to an academic fashion which likewise does more harm to the field than it does any good; c) the need to be perceived as writing something profound, and profoundly important, simply because the writer cannot write clearly or concisely, but, again, can only utter needlessly obscure and long-winded verbiage, as if the lower the quality and greater the length of the writing is proof of the importance of the thought – which of course, is absurd; and d) to hide the fact that the writer really has little or nothing of value to say. (And yes, there is that value word. Post-modernism is a revival of long-dead ancient Sophism, and should be treated as the rotting corpse that it is – and buried.)

Someone once said of physics, and it is generally true in most fields, though admittedly more difficult in some than others, that if you cannot express your ideas in ways that an intelligent lay person can understand, then you probably don’t understand your subject.

Keep it simple. Keep it short and concise – when and where appropriate, of course! Don’t be unnecessarily obscure. Don’t make a virtue out of being arcane or esoteric. Don’t fetishize jingo. (My good Lord how I hate that pervasive trait.) And don’t be long-winded. Use enough words – not too many, nor too few. And who decides that? You do, of course. Not convention. Not literary fashion. Not social custom. You.

If Western philosophy is renown for being needlessly obscure, arcane and long-winded, then the rest of Western culture (sic) is obsessed with speaking at an eigth-grade level, to match the general “dumbing-down” of the culture and the people, and obsessed with concision: to the point of reducing all thought and communication, with few exceptions, to the status of sound bites.

The modern journalistic style of writing and speaking has been useful, but it is far too bound by rules of concision (among other systemic problems which are even more dire in implications, such as nearly universal deceit) – and worse, the rule of concision for journalism has bled into the general culture, such that everyone feels they have to be hyper-concise at all times.

Few people read books anymore, and when they do, it is generally pop psychology or cookbooks, not philosophy or political-economy, for example. (There is nothing wrong with popular psychology books, in principle, nor with cookbooks. We should simply not limit our reading to that.) Attention spans had been shrunken to seven seconds, by the 1980’s. With the invention of cell phones, “smart phones”, texting, instant messages, emails, and “social media”, attention spans are now commonly at two seconds. A single long sentence loses most audiences now. But if people cannot concentrate for longer than two seconds, then nothing of significance can be communicated, or discussed, or even thought; and hence, we are doomed.

We must recover the ability to concentrate. That means that we cannot be afraid of long, in-depth conversations – that actually focus on something, or even several things, but not a thousand things, in an endless stream of hyperactive, scattered, unfocused sound-bites, which is now the norm. We (the people generally, that is) must learn again to read an entire book, and not just consume a never-ending stream of disjointed and largely superficial sound bites.

7. While we should not be pretentious or showy, we should also not “dumb it down”. If everyone speaks, writes or otherwise communicates at the lowest common denominator, we will find that no one is left who can speak, write, communicate, or think, beyond an eight grade level. If that happens, then, again, we are doomed.

We must refuse the impulse, or the implicit order, to dumb it down at all costs and at all times. We must refuse to write solely in short sentences, and short paragraphs, using small, commonly used words.

We must be willing to use long sentences, long paragraphs, and a vocabulary that goes beyond what is contained in See Spot Run. At least, some of us must continue to speak and write for adults.

Not all of us can follow the downward arc of a “civilization” in moral, spiritual, cultural and intellectual decline and decay, writing only for the infantile and the childish, as the mass narcissistic regression continues, and continues to accelerate.

Some few, at least, must stand strong, and remind us all that higher aspirations are still possible, and are never wasted, and not ever futile.

What goes down must also, sooner or later, go up again. Every collapse is followed by a rebirth – and a renaissance; assuming of course, we don’t annihilate ourselves, by, for example, refusing to rise above a childish and infantile, narcissistic culture of common and mutual degradation.

Choose your audience. Is it academia? Is it intellectual culture more broadly? Is it an intelligent, wide audience? Or is it more narrow than that? There is room for popularization, and that is not a style of writing or communication which should be disparaged. But not everyone must write for the collective of 8-12 year olds which our techno-entranced, hyper-disconnected, reality-avoidant, functionally illiterate, largely lobotomized, modern 21st century “culture” represents.

8. Use a dictionary – and a thesaurus; at least until the need diminishes to minimal use. Keep a hard copy next to you, or keep a browser tab open, of/with the Oxford dictionary, or the Oxford Canadian dictionary, or Miriam-Webster, if you prefer – and use it constantly, for decades, until you rarely need it, and can refer to it only occasionally.

Better yet, spend an hour here and there just reading the dictionary. Start with a word you have heard or read but may know only roughly. Then carry on. The more language you have, the more words you have, the more tools you have for both communication and also for understanding. Use them, expand the collection; then use the ever-enlarging collection, so they are retained and incorporated.

Don’t make the speaker or writer feel he or she has to dumb it down for you. Instead, rise up to his or her level. We are all equal in worth; but different in skill sets and knowledge. There is nothing wrong with that. And yet, there is no excuse for being lazy, either. We can learn for life, and we should.

9. If writing is important to you, or is something that you want to do, then you have to do it. If you say it’s important but you make no time for it, then clearly it’s not important at all. How you spend your time is your decision. Stop making excuses. If writing or communicating in one form or another is important to you – be it non-fiction books, essays or articles, novels, short stories, poems, or art, music, dance, theatre, film, or some other medium of communication – then you have to make it a priority. Don’t let your death bed be a place of sad regret. If something is important to you, do it now. Life is fleeting, and the hour of death is definitely uncertain. Do it now. Never hesitate, never rush. Make your priorities your priorities – not simply a set of routines that you do because you’ve drifted into them, or out of habit. Choose your life consciously and deliberately, and live it!

10. Immerse yourself in communication – especially good communication. That means, read voraciously. It also means, read the best books first. It means, read widely. It means, reflect on what you read. It means, see art, films, theatre, architecture, live music, dance. The more you immerse yourself in reading and literature, and in other forms of communication, the more you absorb of the means and methods of communication, as well as culture and understanding. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

JTR,
April 15, 2020

Welcome To The Brave New World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2020 by jtoddring

Speaking of censorious scrupulosity….

While censorship is rising rapidly, with Google, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the major media, controlling and restricting what people can see or read, say or share; Facebook is now blocking me from posting my own essays from my blog to my Farcebook page. Welcome to the Brave New World. The global police state has truly arrived.

Follow my blog if you want to stay informed. Big Tech is now squarely in the business of surveillance, social engineering, censorship and social control.

Time to re-read 1984, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited, We, A Handmaid’s Tale, and Iron Heel – and Erich Fromm’s, Escape From Freedom, as well. It’s happening now. It’s here.

See also:

Chomsky: The US Has Created A Global Dystopia

The Corbett Report: Medical Martial Law

Piers Robinson: Is Coronavirus The New 9/11?

Barbara Honegger: Here We Go Again

And my own essays, particularly:

Any Enemy Will Do – Even A Virus

Six Principles Of Good Government

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

and

Global Geopolitics 2020

Also excellent and extremely important:

Trends Journal: March 2020 to present 

“It Depends Who You Talk To” – Relativism, Nihilism & Mass Insanity

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

Let’s get some things out of the way, right from the start. Our society is insane. Fromm was right, and there is no doubt about it. Illusions, delusion, lies and half-truths, distortions of the truth, avoidance of reality, denial, psychological numbness, narcissism and disociation are all epidemic. That is in addition to the many serious mental and physical health problems that are created by, and pervasive in, our truly insane, delusional, wildly out of balance society.

How is our society insane or delusional? By thinking that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet, for example. By perpetuating fossil fuel addiction while knowing it is planet-destroying and suicidal, for example. By, for example, fervently believing that the production and consumption of ever greater quantities of material goods and entertainment can solve all of life’s problems, and is itself the source of human happiness – when in fact, this ideology, world-view, psychology, paradigm, or philosophy, is rapidly destroying all life on Earth, as well as being both the cause and the symptom of a pervasive epidemic of spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological, political and social decay. That’s just three out of countless examples.

Treating differently-abled people with callousness or disrespect is not a good thing, of course. It should be overcome. It can be overcome, just as other forms of cultural ignorance, bigotry, prejudice, oppression or discrimination can be overcome, by raising awareness. But oppression, injustice, unkindness, prejudice and discrimination cannot be overcome through censorship, or the closing down of freedom of speech.

In fact, the closing down of free speech is about the worst and most dangerous thing that anyone can do. It gives vast powers to those who are power-hungry, and who care nothing about injustice or oppression, but are quite eager to chain and exploit all people for the sake of their own power-lust, egomania and greed. It is imperative that the social justice movements clearly understand that.

Moreover, we must be able to speak about our reality, or the insanity of our society will not be overcome, but will only get worse. And in this case, what we need to directly identify, name, and speak about, is precisely the insanity of the society in which we live: its chronic lies and self-deceptions, its rationalizations, its self-delusions.

The lies, illusions and delusions which grip the majority must be recognized, spoken, and identified for what they are, or we are quite simply doomed, and will wake up in a very Orwellian world where everbody “knows” that 2+2=5, war is peace, and slavery is freedom.

Relativism and nihilism must also be identified and named. There is reality, whether we understand it or not. Therefore there is truth – truth is that which is in accord with reality: truth is reality; reality is truth. Truth is therefore not a social construct, as the addle-minded post-modernists, or neo-Sophists, contend.

Post-modernism is neo-Sophism. It falls apart upon the slightest rigorous examination. It is founded on the dogmatically asserted, anti-doctrinaire doctrine, the fervently, rabidly dogmatic ideology, which claims to be anti-dogmatic and anti-ideological, that all truth is a social construct. That means that people who believe the world is round, and people who think the world is flat, are both right. Clearly, post-modernism is an incoherent and thoroughly self-contradictory plathering of polysyllabic psychobabble, not worth the paper it is written on.

The world is round, not flat. If every media outlet and every “journalist”, pundit and “expert”, and every government “authority”, stated unanimously that the world is flat, and disagreeing with that official narrative is a thought crime, it would still not make the world flat.

It is not a matter of opinion whether the holocaust happened – it did, and was a horrific crime against humanity. It does not “depend on who you talk to” whether or not gravity works – gravity works, period, regardless of what you believe. You can believe anything you like, but if you throw yourself off a cliff, you’re going to fall, and probably die.

We may be clear, partially clear, or unclear, as to the facts. We may be extremely well informed and clear on a subject, or we may be extremely misinformed, deceived or deluded – or we may be anywhere on the spectrum between these two poles, of basic clarity versus basic delusion. But the facts remain the facts. It is not a matter of opinion.

Gravity works, the world is not flat, and facts are facts, regardless of what the frequently deceived and deluded, manipulated masses may be persuaded to believe.

Are we clear on that? I should hope so. A great deal depends on it, including the future of our world, and whether we will be slaves, or free.

JTR,

April 2, 2020

 

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

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

 

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

vs

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

Groups I feel are most worthy of support:

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

 

Idle No More

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

 

The Council of Canadians

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

 

The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

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

Publishes the journal, The Monitor

 

The David Suzuki Foundation

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

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

 

News and Analysis:

 

Trends Journal

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

 

Z Magazine & Z Net

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

 

The Monitor

In-depth analysis from the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives

 

Canadian Perspectives

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

 

Geopolitics & Empire Podcast

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

 

New Internationalist

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

 

The American Herald Tribune

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

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

 

The Corbett Report

Another excellent source of independent research, news and analysis

 

The Centre For Research On Globalization

Also generally excellent for independent research, news and analysis

 

21st Century Wire

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

 

John Pilger

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

 

The Empire Files, with Abby Martin

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

 

GreenMedInfo

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

 

*

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

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

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

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

JTR,
March 26, 2020

 

Post-Script:

Sources for big-picture perspective:

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

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

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

Henry David Thoreau

Etienne de La Boetie

Noam Chomsky

Peter Kropotkin

Bertrand Russell

Murray Bookchin

Rianne Eisler

Howard Zinn

C. Wright Mills

Peter Phillips

George Orwell

Aldous Huxley

Erich Fromm

Max Weber

Alan Watts

Allan Wallace

Joseph Campbell

Joanna Macy

Helena Norberg-Hodge

Vandana Shiva

Jeremy Rifkin

Naomi Klein

John Pilger

Gerald Celente

Michel Chossudovsky

Michael Hudson

Ellen Brown

Max Keiser

Yanis Varoufakis

James Corbett

Caitlin Johnstone

Abby Martin

Matt Taibbi

David C. Korten

David Suzuki

Arundhati Roy

Margaret Atwood

Ronald Wright

Maude Barlow

Paul Craig Roberts

Morris Berman

Stephen Toulmin

EF Schumacher

Gandhi

Martin Luther King Jr.

Peter Dale Scott

Anthony Hall

John McMurtry

Michael Albert

Chris Hedges

Cornell West

Piers Robinson

And my own writings, I would humbly submit:

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

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium (on Barnes & Noble)

and,

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,

Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

(Coming April 2020)

*

Flash-Drive Revolution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Founding Principles Of Good Government

The Myth Of Progress – Pricking The Bubble

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

The Maxims of Empire (And the Maxims of Liberation)

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

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

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

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

Embrace your power now.

Let’s go.

Consider that the revolution has begun.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

The Sins of Assange

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2020 by jtoddring

“Assange’s arrest represents an abuse of power, highlighting not only how true journalism has now been banished in the West, but also how politicians, journalists, news agencies and think-tanks collude with each other to silence people like Julian Assange and his Wikileaks foundation who are a nuisance to US imperialism.

Assange is “guilty” of two “cardinal sins”: revealing US war crimes committed in Iraq and committing the unpardonable sin of publishing the emails of Clinton, Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, thereby revealing such chicanery in US domestic politics as the fraud committed against Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries.”

– Piereccini, American Herald Tribune:

Julian Assange Is Guilty Only of Revealing the Evil Soul of US Imperialism

Revealing the facts of US war crimes, and the fact that the Democratic Party is deeply corrupt? No, no….we kill you for that. We attack viciously and ruthlessly anyone who reveals such truths.

As Noam Chomsky said, This is a business-run, huckster society, whose cardinal value is deceit.

Amen. Thank heaven for the truth tellers. One day, if we are courageous enough, and willing, they will set us free.

JTR,

March 24, 2020

Media Analysis & Research 101: Assessing Sources

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

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
– the Buddha

~ * ~
People need to learn how to evaluate sources. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine is a somewhat reliable source of information on health. Facebook chat groups are not. Better still, generally speaking, are Andrew Weil and GreenMedInfo, for science-based health information that is not based on hysteria, fads, corporate manipulations, marketing or whitewash, government disinformation, or out-dated models, information and ideas. Remember, no one is infallible. Question ALL sources.
*
In terms of media, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, CBC, and the establishment media in general, are simply not reliable. And that is an extraordinarily mild way to put it.
*
They are unreliable at best. More generally, they parade lies, half-truths and illusions (as Thomas Jefferson described the media of his time, and it has not changed since) and market this as “the news”, or informed commentary and analysis.
*
It’s not news. It’s propaganda. Read Chomsky: Necessary Illusions. Or just look beneath the surface, question, and look to the actual facts – do some fact-checking.
*
Go to multiple sources. See what other people are saying – people outside of your clique or milieu included. And venture beyond the establishment media.
*
80% of the major media in the world is now controlled by six corporations. This is not “news”. It is an echo-chamber of disinformation narratives, spun by the ruling elite, for the benefit of the ruling elite.
*
Question everything.
*
Question what your family, friends, clergy, teachers, professors, and neighbours believe, and question what you believe, and what you assume to be true.
*
Question every assumed fact, and every assumed truth, every authority and every source. Then, piece by piece, glimmers of truth will appear, and slowly become clarified. Slowly, the fog will part. But only if you question; and dig for the truth.
*
And when you find one good source, that leads to an explosion of new information, new perspectives, and new ideas, which leads to other new sources, and more information, new perspectives and new ideas.
*
But remember, the new wonderful source may be wonderful only for a short while – until you strip away more layers of illusion yet.
*
The Huffington Post, for example, may seem like a wonderful improvement over CNN, MSNBC or Fox, and maybe it is, at times. But that is a pretty abysmally low standard to beat. That’s like winning a contest in integrity with sewer rats, and strutting around bragging about it.
*
When you begin to see deeply held illusions that are pervasively held at that source as well, and deeply held cognitive bias, deeply skewed “reporting” that omits major facts and major elements of the story, and worse, adopts the greater part of the standard official narrative that is being put out by the echo-chamber of the major corporate-state media, then you might come to realize that the Huff and Puff is only marginally better than the big corporate news empires, and only by a very slim margin at that.
*
Keep digging.
*
Where to begin? Start with Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies. It’s a book, also available in audio, and I think the grand old dissident may have made it available free online. That is essential reading. Then look to John Pilger: one of the few honest, or even, real journalists left in the world, as we move into a Brave New World that would make Orwell shudder, as the new global corporate fascist empire takes hold.
*
Between Pilger and Chomsky, you will have an excellent head start. And you don’t have to agree with them on everything. Just listen to what they have to say.
*
Above all, think for yourself – and question everything.
*
JTR,
March 17, 2020
*
(Now, if only WordPress would stop being buggy – which it usually is not – and let me format my writing without use of stars to separate paragraphs! Techno-savvy I am not…)
And Happy St. Patty’s Day! I’m going for brunch with my boy. And remember what Public Enemy said: “Don’t believe the hype.”
*
Post-Script:

Want to know what’s happening? Listen to John Pilger and Gerald Celente. What to understand the deeper patterns and big picture? Listen to Chomsky. Between Pilger, Celente and Chomsky you will understand the world very well. No one is infallible, but they’re 99% right, 99% of the time.

#Coronavirus.hype=fascist.machinations

 

Further reading – big picture analysis:

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies,
Year 501: The Conquest Continues,
Class Warfare, and
Requiem For The American Dream: The Principles Of Concentration Of Wealth & Power
George Orwell, 1984
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Jack London, Iron Heel
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World
Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns
John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World
John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, and
The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite
Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom
Bertrand Russell, Roads To Freedom
Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self
Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

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