Thursday, March 30, 2006

What the Future Holds

How I wish I could say that the future is bright, but I've know since I was a child that it wasn't. As Art Linkletter put it, kids say the darndest things. I used to shock those around me with my dire predictions for the future of the Earth. Listen to kids today. They know where all this is headed, too. Really...take the time to listen.

Perhaps this is what must be. Perhaps we must suffer what is (in my mind, no doubt) coming because we have taken the easy road. We have chosen entertainment and comfort over life. That choice always leads to the same end--heartache and destruction. We always get the life we deserve.

Flashback: I was on the phone to my mother just before the election that would put, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, W in the White House the first time. I thought I was going to lose my mind. My mother and I have a good relationship. We are no longer mother and son, we are both adults who have known each other for a very long time and, so, can argue without taking it personally.

My mother has always voted republican. In the case of W, no exception. She thought the guy would do the country good. She'd lived in Texas during his gubernatorial term and thought he was charming and a good leader. Go figure.

I mention how my mother and I can argue without taking it personally as a lead up to the description of this "conversation." I was screaming at her over the phone. I remember well where this conversation took place. I was at a pub in east Sacramento, meeting some friends for a beer or two. Music was blaring on the patio, where my friends where situated, so I took the phone out into the parking lot. Eventually, feeling self conscious about how loud the talk was getting (on my side, at least) I moved further out into the alley. I'm not proud to report that my friends could still hear my ranting over the sound of the music on the patio.

This is not a normal state of affairs for me, that I'd get this loud. Sure, I have been known to make impassioned arguments, but this was something else. I knew, in the depths of my soul, that with this election we were turning a corner as a country. Things were about to get bad...bad in the way that I knew they would get even as a child. What I was saying to my mother in an overly loud voice was that her vote for W was a vote for everything she claimed to hate.

I told her that if he was elected, we'd be in a war in the Middle East inside a year. I was close in my prediction. I told her that a vote for W was a vote in favor of the completion of all the conspiracy theories we'd discussed and debated over the years. He would bring with him a cadre of people who were connected to all that sought war and manipulation of humanity for their personal gain.

Shortly after our argument, I apologized to my mother. No one deserves to be yelled at like that. I've since given up that kind of interaction. It does nothing but breed isolation and hurt feelings. And, I relate it here as a matter of record and as a confession, of sorts. I feel ashamed by my outburst...but I was right. My mother even agrees with me, now.

She, like all of us can be, was taken in by appearances and wishful thinking. It happens to the best of us. It happens to me all the time. The key, here, is to realize that these appearances are not happenstance. What appears to be true, what you and I are sold as our own thoughts, are carefully crafted. This is not "conspiracy theory," this is demonstrable fact. We think we look out on the world and make our own judgments about right and wrong, good and bad. We don't, unless we have worked very hard to get to that point. We see exactly what we are told to see.

Even worse, those who are programming us are not human beings. Don't worry, I'm not going into the Twilight Zone here with an Enquirer sort of story about alien mind control. Maybe that is the case. I don't know. I'm talking about something more down-to-earth. I'm talking about psychopaths.

You and I are being fed thoughts, through the media, by psychopaths on a daily basis. These are people who don't have even a moments hesitation about manipulating you, using you, then discarding you when you have lived out your usefulness to them. These are people who have the appearance of being human beings, but are lacking a critical component of humanness--a conscience. They can't feel compassion for another or remorse for their actions if they tried.

We--you and I--are being lead to our deaths by people without conscience. Think about it. We are at a crossroad. Never before, in generally accepted human history, have we been at a point where we have had the weaponry to wipe out all life from the planet. In addition to that, we have the global communications technology available to control those weapons from anywhere, and to put thoughts into the minds of people in every country.

Let me put it very bluntly and without losing my cool like I did with my mother. If we do not wake up to what is being done to us, we are screwed. Our leaders are not necessarily what we think they are. I do not accept that they are incompetent, making mistakes in going to war against Iraq and threatening war against Iran. They (or some of them, at least) are cold, calculating psychopaths who feel NOTHING for the lives of human beings. The deaths of thousands (or millions?) are nothing more than statistics.

Time to wake up. The snooze button has run out. Personally, being of the conscience filled human sort, I can't stand by and watch my fellow man go down in flames.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Psychopathy and Consumerism

It is difficult for us, by and large, to see any problem with consumerism. Sure, as a culture we might speak in vaguely disapproving tones about greed and how awful it is that both parents today are forced to work, leaving their children with day care, babysitters or after school programs instead of family. But we don't really see a problem with it. If we did, we wouldn't still be living these lives we lead.

The thing is, we tend to see the way things are at any given point as pretty much normal. For instance, most of the population of the planet for most of human history has not used money in the way we use it now. Yet, most of us see money as being something almost organic. We can't imagine human interaction without it.

The same goes for our particular uses of technology. Ask nearly any child today to imagine life in the days before television and you'll see that not only can they not imagine it, they have the impression that it must have been horrific. This is to be expected. It's naturally how our brains work. The world we see is modeled within the very fabric of our brains. Of course the way things are is the way they were meant to be.

I suppose there is truth in this, that things are the way they are meant to be. Nothing can be anything other than what it is supposed to be. But accepting that fact is a far cry from understanding how things are and that the way they are now is not the way they will always be.

And so, because we are immersed in consumerism, we assume that consumerism is the natural order of things. Yet, a brief tour of known human history will show us that this is not the case. The question is, why is consumerism so prevalent today?

The need to have, to possess, is a trait of the psychopath. Because they do not feel they seek to own. If you cannot love, you are only left with possession as an interaction with other beings. This will either take the form of possession of another through manipulation of their mind and emotions, or competition with others to see who can posses the most. As a bumper sticker I've seen too many times says, "Whoever dies with the most toys wins." It's not really funny.

Consumerism is indicative of a culture embracing psychopathy as the norm. Though the term psychopath and sociopath are used interchangeably in mainstream psychology, for the purpose of our discussion we will use the term sociopath in the way a mainstream psychologist would use the term secondary psychopath. That is, a person who is not genetically psychopathic but has taken on psychopathic traits.

I used to teach inner city kids. Sociopathy was common amongst that group. It makes sense that it would be. They have been placed in a situation in which they are always considered second-class citizens, at best. The only successful role models they have, those who have managed to pay rent, buy a car and provide for others, are psychopaths--drug dealers, pimps and hardcore gangsters. Many become sociopaths out of the need to survive.

On the other hand, I live in a rather affluent area of Los Angeles, though I am by no means affluent, myself. Curiously, the percentage of sociopaths among the population on this side of town seems even higher than in the inner city. In the ghetto, there are still people who will accept you no matter where you come from or what you have. On this side of the tracks, that's very rare, indeed.

Of course, the most affluent area of the city would contain the most sociopaths. In a consumeristic society, who will find the most success? The person driven by conscience, or the psychopath who is able to do anything at all in order to get ahead? The question doesn't need to be answered explicitly. We all know the answer.

We could limit the effect of psychopaths on our society by making the society one that is not so psychopath-friendly. If we held service to others in higher esteem than financial "success" the psychopath would obviously appear the odd man out. But that is not the path we have chosen. Rather, we have joined in the psychopathic race to posses. In doing so, we have learned psychopathic tendencies...we have become sociopaths in order to survive in the psychopath's game.

And we still hold on to the idea that it is the way things are meant to be. It is the way things are meant to be. When a culture makes the decision to follow psychopaths, this consumeristic culture is exactly how things are meant to be. But it is not how things must be. We need only a small fraction of what we desire. We work ourselves to the bone to enjoy a life during a brief vacation that we can enjoy on a daily basis, if we could only rid ourselves of our sociopathic tendencies.

Will we do it? Not to sound pessimistic, but I doubt it. It is not by chance that we have fallen into this pit. We have been lead here by something dark, something that hates life and love, something that we do not want to believe exists. We have never been left to our own devices. We are cattle, and the chief tool the ranchers have to keep us in line is our ignorance of their existence.

We are sleeping sheep, having a dream of a beautiful life with our big-screen TV's, SUV's and nice homes. And, if we don't wake up, we will suffer the fate of all sheep in a tended flock. We will be lead to the slaughter.
Reality makes fighters of us all.

No matter how passive we are in our day-to-day lives--even if we are wont to allow others to run roughshod over us in order to maintain the peace--we seem willing to fight to the death to maintain our illusions when faced with the grim spectre of reality.

A case in point. I was having a conversation with a coworker, recently. This particular fellow was not a passive person by any stretch of the imagination, so this is not a perfect case in point, but you'll get the idea. Somehow, the conversation turned toward 9/11 and terrorism.

Now, this fellow is someone whose political views lean way to the left of center. He is a self-described Bush administration hater. He considers this entire administration as murderous bastards seemingly capable of doing anything to gain and maintain power. I casually mentioned the fact that it is physically impossible that a 757 had crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Suddenly, the conversation took a sharp turn from our agreements about the Bush administration to his belief that I'd completely lost my mind.

This didn't come as a surprise to me. I've been studying the workings of psy-ops and COINTELPRO long enough now to realize that these folks are capable of creating seemingly impenetrable blind spots in the vision of even the most open-minded person. What I found most instructive in our conversation from that point was observing the specific ways in which he'd been programmed to avoiding even considering the facts of the matter.

No matter what physical evidence I attempted to bring to his attention, he kept coming back to the fact that something had done serious damage to the Pentagon on that day and a 757 with a bunch of passengers on board had disappeared. If it didn't crash into the Pentagon, what happened to it? Was I suggesting that somehow "they" managed to keep all of these people quiet about the fact that their plane hadn't actually crashed on 9/11?

I pointed out that I did not think for a moment that any of those people were still alive. Surely, I reasoned, he was aware that there are other means of killing people and disposing of an airplane than by crashing it into a building. He wouldn't budge. In his mind, I'd lost mine (mind, that is).

I tried to turn the conversation toward the physics of the matter. In order to do anything like the damage that was done to the Pentagon, the plane would have had to impact that building completely normal to the face of the building! For those of you not familiar with the term normal, it means perfectly perpendicular. In other words, if this plane was facing slightly nose up or nose down when it hit, its tail section would either have bounced into the ground (leaving a really big divit to replace) or been flung toward the top of the building, leaving a lot of tail wreckage on the roof. Neither of these things happened. Considering the fact that the plane had to make a descent toward the building--it didn't hit the cars of the freeway, after all--it could not have been flying perfectly level as it would have had to have been doing for a normal impact against the building.

The conversation became a bit heated at this point, from his side, that is. He argued that they had clearly cut their engines and were descending while maintaining level flight because they were losing speed. He claimed that also accounted for why none of the witnesses reported hearing the eardrum blasting roar of those jet engines as the plane passed overthem on the freeway. He even went so far as to claim that all commercial airliners cut their engines completely when they come in for a landing.

Here, he'd descended into utter absurdity in order to defend his illusions. Anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airliner (and I know for a fact he can count himself amongst this group) knows full well that the only jet that lands without power is the one coming in for an emergency landing because it has unexpectedly lost power. How is the jet to taxi down the runway toward the terminal without its engines? It isn't until the last bit of the trip to the gateway that the aircraft is hitched up and dragged by one of those glorified golf carts. And what if the aircraft needs pull up because of an irregularity on the runway at the last minute? Without engines, it is screwed, to put it mildly.

He knew he was wrong on this point, so he retreated back to his fallback position. What happened to that flight if it didn't crash into the Pentagon? I agreed that this was a very good question. As a matter of fact, I told him, I'd take it one step further. What happened to that flight if it did crash into the Pentagon? What happened to the wings and the engines? Why wasn't there any wreckage of a 757 found at the site?

There is not answer to that question to report. By this time, our break was over and his mind was obviously swirling with thoughts of how I'd suddenly turned into a complete lunatic. He was perfetly willing to not only doubt my sanity but to rewrite the laws of physics on the spot in order to defend his illusions. The very laws that hold our universe together were not going to stand in the way of his personal view of the world.

In other words, hew was ready to fight to the death against the encroachment of reality upon his personal illusions. This is something we are all guilty of. Even those of us who consider ourselves open-minded generally maintain that view of ourselves through our clever avoidance of those aspects of reality that will challenge our illusions. In his case for example, like much of the political left in the U.S., he has skirted the reality of the systemic sickness of U.S. politics by demonizing the right and believing that a change of residency at the White House will solve any real problems. He has also hidden in the belief that what has been reported to have happened at the Pentagon must have happened, otherwise it would have been found out by now.

He, like so many others, believes in the power of global communications technology to make the truth known. What he forgets is that all power has two poles, like the postive and negative poles of a battery. The power to dissemenated truth via the Internet and communications satellites is match by the power to to spread disinformation and confusion. The problem is, the folks spreading disinformation and propaganda are organized, while those seeking the truth are not. Who wins in that scenario?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Greater the Beauty the Darker the Cloud

The greater the beauty the darker the cloud that attempts to obscure it. The more the potential for revelation of some truth, the more liars you’ll find crowded around.

I experienced this myself in a very tangible way during the summers of 2003 and 2004, when I was taken to England to shoot footage for a proposed documentary on the crop circle phenomenon. I approached the project with excitement. I’d read about crop circles, had seen a lot of pictures and talked to several people who actively investigate the phenomenon. At last I’d get a chance to experience them for myself. I was excited.

Because what I’d read was mostly written during the “heyday” of the crop circle phenomenon, when thousands would crowd into Wiltshire, England and environs to meditate, hold various rituals, take measurements and discuss the possible explanations of these mysterious formations in the fields, I had expected something of a carnival atmosphere of metaphysical musings conversation. What I found was something else altogether.

I should say right up front that there are many people involved in the crop circle experience that I like and respect very much. I met people who struggle year after year to make sense of something mysterious and ephemeral. And mysterious it is. I have no doubt that something is going on in fields all over the world (the fields of southern England being the most famous for it) that is outside anything we generally accept as normal…and I mean this in two distinct ways.

Do I think that at least some crop circles are formed by an unknown, non-human agent? Absolutely, yes. I don’t see how it could be otherwise. There have been too many similar reports from too many individuals across to great a time period of strange goings-on witnessed in the night to discount them all as the ravings of lunatics or wishful thinkers. There have been too many formations that have appeared on rainy nights when any walking across flattened crop leaves tell-tale signs of muddy footprints, yet no muddy footprints are to be found in the pristine formation at the break of dawn. There are far too many crop circles of high precision and great mathematical and artistic beauty to be accounted for by any reasonable number of hoaxers, especially considering the fact that the phenomenon occurs worldwide.

All this suggests that the crop circle phenomenon represents something we generally do not accept as normal in one way in the sense that the formations (or some of them) appear to be artifacts of interactions between our planet and an intelligence that is not accounted for in our philosophies and science. It is also outside what we generally consider normal in how infused the phenomenon is with PSYOPS and COINTELPRO.

We don’t consider this normal because we’ve been trained to think of this kind of spy stuff as the fanciful notions of the authors of spy novels or something that only goes on between governments in the dark alleys of eastern European communist countries. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is everyday life all over the world. We normally don’t notice it because one goal of the efforts of PSYOPS and COINTELPRO is to keep the populace corralled toward the middle of the road of opinion and knowledge. As long as you are living your “normal” life, going to work, watching your favorite TV programs and arguing politics within the parameters set by the mainstream news outlets, the agents remain quiet. Step just a little bit away from the center and you might feel their gentle hand guiding you in the form of a friend or loved one calling you back to the middle. Step a little further out and you might feel a metaphorical slap. Step out as far as the crop circle phenomenon and things get really weird.

My first direct encounter with one of the darker agents of those working to confuse the crop circle issue both put the hair up on the back of my neck and elicited such a strong emotional reaction from me that I hardly knew what hit me. I became almost immediately furious, so much so that I felt shocked by it. I verbally lashed out, loudly.

I would liken it to this strange situation that happened to me some years earlier. I was staying in a motel in my own town. Work was being done on my place and I needed to be out of the house for the night. Not wanting to spend a lot of money on it, I took a room in an inexpensive motel, though not in a bad part of town. In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of the door to my room being opened. Somehow, someone had a key to the room and was using it at about 3:00am. As I remember it, two men were coming in. It could have been that the hotel mistakenly given them a key to my room, or it could have been that they’d picked the lock and were coming to rob me. I’ll never know, because I instinctively reacted to the potentially dangerous situation by becoming a virtual wild animal.

My girlfriend of the time was with me. My reaction shocked her. My voice became very low in pitch and very loud, like the roar of a lion. I roared out, almost loudly enough to shake the windows, “What the fuck are you doing?” Whatever these two men intended, they changed their mind at that moment and ran for it. After we’d settled down from the surprise, my girlfriend and I were both a bit shocked by the force of my voice.

That’s the sort of reaction I had when encountering this fellow who claimed to be a crop circle hoaxer. In his presence, I felt something unmistakably dark, foreboding and malevolent. Just like in the motel room, the strength of my voice instinctively trying to drive this presence away shocked me and everyone else who was there. But here is where this situation and the motel situation were radically different. This fellow didn’t run. He wasn’t in the least bothered by my verbal attack. He seemed to like it.

Well, I didn’t quite expect that. I was under the assumption before this, as all of us are trained to be, that this sort of fellow was merely misguided or crying out for love and attention. At that point in my life, I didn’t accept the reality of a “dark side.” I optimistically saw all human beings as basically working toward good with varying degrees of success based on how much insight and mental clarity they possessed. I learned that day that this view is not accurate. The dark side—evil, if you will—is very real, and our barking does nothing to scare it away. It enjoys our anger. It feeds off the energy. Our righteous indignation is merely lunch for it.

The darkness of this sort of energy is enough to either scare off anyone who turns their mind toward the esoteric or drive them insane. I’ve witnessed both in the crop circle community. Those who don’t leave the fields in disgust usually end up holding tight to any manner of belief that seems to provide refuge from the darkness. In doing so, they become agents for the dark side. They begin fighting with their former friends who now espouse a competing belief, giving up on the search for truth in favor of defense of their new religion.

Those who peek in on the outskirts of reality like the crop circle phenomenon see all this fighting and, if they value their own mental wellbeing, stay away. Instead of looking for something extraordinary in this phenomenon, they maintain their interest at a purely aesthetic level by ordering crop circle calendars and logging on to one of the many crop circle websites each spring to see the latest formations as they appear along with the superficial geometrical analysis that always follows.

PSYOPS and COINTELPRO agents are all around us. They work this same scenario in every important arena in which someone might become interested. Politics, for example, is only palatable to the general public in the form of brief encapsulations in the newspaper and on TV or radio. Get in close and the average person comes away dazed, confused, angry and sickened.

The agents of the dark side have a job to do and they do it well. Their job is to keep us corralled toward the middle of the road. They are, effectively, shepherds of the flock, and we are the sheep. Stay in the middle of the flock and life is easy. Stray a bit and you’ll feel the gentle nudge of the shepherd’s crook. Get anywhere near leaving the flock and you’ll face the dogs and the darkness.

So, most of us remain close to the middle of the flock and convince ourselves that it is all that there is. It isn’t, but it is definitely more comfortable.