Never a dull moment…

More joys of apartment living. Some neighbor down the way nearly caught the building on fire. Was sitting in the livingroom yesterday late afternoon and heard sirens nearby, then kept hearing sirens until finally I decided to go investigate. Thought maybe there was a problem on my street, but no, somebody downstairs fell asleep while cooking, so other neighbors told me. Apparently the guy was passed out drunk and his upstairs neighbor heard his smoke detector going off. She and another woman knocked on his door, no answer. Fire department arrived and knocked again — no answer. So they beat his door in. They said the guy finally woke up after that and began drunkenly fanning the smoke in his apartment with an empty beer carton.

Ugh. Yeah. Always something happening here. But the ordeal brought a lot of us out to see what was going on, during which I introduced myself to a neighbor down the hall who turns out to have lived here the last 3 years. Shows how much I interact with others who live here — my bad.

The guy downstairs responsible for the incident is said to be new here (personally never seen him before), and the word is that our landlord plans to boot him after this fiasco. Probably for the best.

Been waiting for somebody to eventually fuck around and catch this place on fire. Nearly 10 years here and no one has managed it so far (*knock on wood*), though one previous resident did manage to catch her stovetop on fire to where the entire appliance had to be replaced. Other than that, we’ve been pretty lucky. Kind of nerve-wracking living so close to others whom you depend on to at least not destroy all of our shit — that being the downside of apartment dwelling. I pay for rental insurance, but still, it would majorly suck to lose my home and everything I own because of someone else’s carelessness. The other neighbors were pretty pissed about the ordeal, as is understandable.

Alcohol’s a hell of a drug. I keep repeating that because it’s true. Many of us probably know what it’s like to pass out and wake up to smoke because we’re burning food. but that’s really not okay. Too much at stake to let that happen.

So…now entering my 7th week of sobriety (this time around), I’m grateful for the strength to walk away from such a destructive lifestyle. Been down that road too many times already — always leads to the same place. Always involves letting others down in one way, shape or form. Always culminates in disappointment and regret. Sincerely wishing so many of us would leave that drug alone, especially when it leads to foolhardy shit like that described above where people’s lives could’ve been put at risk. It’s no good.

An actually helpful grip tip when starting out shooting (plus additional thoughts)

Came across a video last night on the topic of proper grip when shooting:

Others kept telling me to simply grip tight and stay high up, but what this man explained is what he referred to as the c-clamp hand-grip and how that’s better than letting your fingers curl around in a squeeze since that impacts the trigger finger. Good call. Tried out his advice today and shot better than I have thus far, as someone who hasn’t shot often throughout my life (nor ever been properly trained) until in recent months when I began heading to the local shooting range (typically on my own).

A lady who works at the range has offered me pointers during a few visits, and I’ve tried to apply her advice as well. But this man’s explanation of proper gripping technique proved to be just what I needed. Pressing the grip from the front (in a pulling motion) and the back (in a forward motion)—basically squeezing the front and back portions of the grip of the gun specifically with my right hand and worrying less about the sides (though applying pressure against the grip with my left hand for stabilizing purposes)—makes sense to me now. Before I just squeezed all the way around with my right hand and pressed in as hard as I could with my left, because that’s what folks seemed to be advising me to do. Getting your other fingers out of the movement does help because the trigger finger wants to react when the resent of them curl tight.

It was an ah-ha moment, however small it might seem to others.  lol  Papa never explained much about guns other than don’t point them at others and then just try to aim in the direction of what you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Nothing else. No discussion of sights or proper holding of the gun or even explanation of what he handed me to shoot. So, that was my early experience with guns — the occasional opportunity to point at bottles in a sand pit and try to plink them off without much preparation of know-how. My one time at the shooting range with my ex-stepdad in my early 20s was no more educational, except for him being more safety conscious (and the location required wearing hearing protection, something Papa never brought up).

Fast forward several years and I had only been out shooting a handful of times as an adult. A guyfriend here or there allowed me to shoot at something on some rare occasions. A couple years ago two family members allowed Grandma and me to come out to shoot on their land after I had purchased my first revolver and wanted to try it out. My second-cousin and great-uncle were kind enough to share their guns as well so that I could try shooting them across the pond to see how they felt. That was a fun day, though I still didn’t know much beyond pointing and pulling the trigger. Managed to shoot all right under the circumstances though. At least hit the cardboard target much of the time.

Last November my former partner and I headed to the shooting range for the first time together ever to try out a second semi-auto handgun I had purchased. For years I had been wanting to learn more about shooting, increasingly out of self-defense concerns, but most of the men in my life never got around to taking me to the range or showing me anything despite many promises to do so. And I finally grew tired of waiting on them to make time. My former partner hadn’t fired a weapon in close to 20 years by then and is only very slowly getting back into the “hobby” again himself and so couldn’t really instruct me on much. Though he was kind enough to purchase some cleaning accessories for my guns as a gift.

So, I’m a perpetual newb at shooting. Decided to try to change that earlier this year and pressured my guyfriends to go to the range with me. One acquaintance did go with me one time, which was my first opportunity to shoot an AR-15. Extremely loud. But he and I parted ways for other reasons and haven’t been in contact since. The former military guy I used to hang around kept talking about wanting to go to the range with me — never happened. An old buddy I’ve known for many years keeps saying he wants to take me out into the country to shoot — as of this summer, still hasn’t happened. I understand he’s busy, but damn. How many years have we known one another now? Nine?  Grrr…

I get it. The whole world is busy with jobs and raising kids or drinking themselves into oblivion, etc. So I decided to take the initiative myself and signed up at a local shooting range and have been going in probably a couple times a month (on ladies’ day when it’s discounted) since probably late spring this year. Took pictures of a few of my targets afterward to send to close friends to demonstrate my progress (or lack thereof). Got frustrated on more than one occasion, wondering what I was doing wrong. Tried my best to listen to the lady who works there’s advice and apply it since she’s really the only teacher I have at this point. And I’ve watched many videos online to pick up what tips I can, though there’s so much conflicting info and hyped up material that doesn’t suit my modest needs.

One channel I’ve found great value in is Hickok45’s:

Basic stuff, sure, but it helps to gain a better understanding of why you’re being told to do whatever you think you’re trying to do.

His channel is chocked full of worthwhile things to know, considering how much babbling there is online about the differences between guns and people’s preferences. Can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and find those gems worth following.

Truth be told, I haven’t found hardly any female shooter channels I’ve been interested in following. So many are involved either in competitive shooting or are mostly just trying to sell gun-related items to other women or appear to be more directed toward attracting male viewers with sex appeal. Maybe that’s just what comes up in my feed — surely there are quality female shooter channels out there that I haven’t discovered yet that provide practical, no-frills and no-bullshit advice and ideas. But until I find them, I’ll continue sticking mostly with Hickok’s channel and a handful of others.

TL;DR: The first grip-related video up above helped improve my accuracy immediately — necessary basics lesson. The next 2 videos shown are of Hickok45’s channel, which is a quality resource for other newbs like me (and more experienced shooters). Highly recommended.

If anyone has any other channels or specific videos or websites on this topic they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears.

Perhaps it can be no other way…

Some people say they can’t understand how so many others can be deceived into supporting communism and denouncing capitalism. Others say they can’t comprehend the logic of those who display signs stating “support the blue.” People also like to talk about how silly it is to follow religions and pray to unverifiable deities.

There’s so much we can’t grasp about one another.

Something I can’t understand about a number of you is how so often you prove willing to accept government’s official narratives about events that couldn’t possibly have played out as described. Case in point: the events on 9/11/01. I’m still stuck back there, unable to accept political discourse since then as being anything more than farce. Yet I apparently belong to a minority in possessing these views. That’s been troubling me for a long time, this representing either a severe departure from reality for myself or for a whole bunch of you.

So I keep turning back to the question, again and again, trying to locate the flaw in my own thinking since people like to say that when you find yourself in opposition to most others, the problem likely lies within yourself. Fine. Challenge accepted. This has been an ongoing struggle in trying to reckon with what my lying eyes and mind are telling me versus what so many of the rest of you are saying.

A video I came across last night, just one more in a long line over the years, on top of so much I’ve read on the subject, along with the contradictory news reports from back around that time in 2001:

Building 7 makes no sense in accordance with the official narrative. Most won’t even touch that portion of the story, leading me to believe that people won’t reckon with its implications precisely because they fear the questions that will unearth. Flight 93 makes little sense either. Nor does the Pentagon attack. Nor do the twin towers falling into their own footprint.

Yet I’ve read where physicists dismiss such inquiries with condescension. And I’ve taken note of the many mainstream publications backing the official narrative. I’ve also listened to military personnel aggressively admonish people who dare to scrutinize the official claims.

And still I remain stuck, unable to go along with the flow of what appears to be the majority in this country. Do my eyes and mind deceive me?

Everything turns into little more than a circus in light of that information. And the inquiry into it forces one back further into history, learning about how America hasn’t been what we’d like to believe for at least a century. Then further back, branching out across world history. Through this exploration I’ve learned a great deal about human nature and how people are willing to believe nearly anything under the right circumstances. How we’re prone to repeat certain cycles. How successive generations wind up having to learn hard truths for themselves, again and again, despite all prior warnings laid out for them by those who came and learned the hard way before.

Such inquiries have led me to the understanding that I am wasting my time and energy in identifying too closely with our human/material realm. Hence why past people sought to turn toward God probably. It’s a never-ending maze that covers the same ground again and again, yet we so often remain blinded to this fact. So much is an illusion, created by us and for us. Power has been the name of the game since antiquity. Lies and deception aren’t new, though what is new is the vast amount of information available to us today, allowing us to challenge what’s presented before us and compare it to historical precedents.

And yet still, many refuse to look. Why?

Because to do so would undermine our current beliefs, hopes, dreams and strategies. How does one orientate oneself within a twisted labyrinth with no way up or out? What does one believe in when the principles we’ve been taught to embrace and uphold are exposed as mere talking-point lures to lead us toward serving ends that defy these very same principles? What is the value of Truth in an impossible see of misinformation/disinformation, wherein acknowledging what is real leads to ostracism, ridicule and even threats of violence? Worse, where such expressed thoughts can get one labeled as “crazy” and, if very unlucky, sent involuntarily away to be evaluated by psychiatry professionals.

That’s where the truth appears to stand today. Exceedingly unpopular, rendering those who insist on speaking it social misfits and pariahs.

Certainly doesn’t help that there’s also this label of “conspiracy theorist” whereby one gets dismissed right away for mentioning anything associated with its major talking points. Also doesn’t help that some who embrace such subject matter are prone to take up other lines of inquiry that are much less provable/more speculative, reducing the credibility of “conspiracy theories” as a whole in the eyes of many onlookers.

I get to thinking sometimes these days that there really is no point in trying to “wake” people up to these ideas any longer. Sometimes I wrestle with the question of whether it’s right to even attempt to do so when they seem so blissful in their ignorance as is. Perhaps shattering their illusions is cruel and would only likely lead them toward deep depressions that they might not escape. Is it the selfish side of oneself that wishes them to see what you see, even if that means paying for it by descending into hell as a result? Is it a case of misery loving company? I suffer in this way and so should you? I don’t know.

But I have a few people close to me who claim to be happy and beg of me not to mention these sort of things, preferring their tranquility to remain intact. One I speak with on these topics occasionally, but he’s immune to my concerns on the topic. Just goes right along with his day as if nothing had been said at all. Never stops to question. Never seems to care. As much as I love him, I have never been able to understand him on this level. I’ve been forced to accept that it’s truly a difference in our personalities. But what he calls optimism, I call distracted escapism. Sure, he’s a good person. Probably a lot better and more helpful than I am. Yet in this instance he blatantly and outright prefers to not know. He prefers his peace of mind. He prefers the comfortable lie.

I told him today that while I can sympathize with people like himself, I won’t pretend to respect that decision. He said nothing in response.

And that’s how it goes. The silence of friends can be deafening at times. Many times I’ve wondered if I’m just losing my mind here. If there’s something wrong with how I interpret information. If I’m truly and utterly deluded in this respect. And if so, what can be done about it? But then I return to the materials and keep digging for answers, and it keeps telling me that I’m not wrong on this. Might not know what did happen on 9/11, but I know damn well what didn’t happen. What couldn’t possibly have happened. Regardless of what so-called “experts” have come out saying otherwise. They’re doing a disservice to their own fields of study by confusing people about the sciences in an effort to prop up political preferences. Deep down I believe they know that. I hope they do, anyway.

I’ve been wrong on plenty of things in this life. Don’t normally assume myself to be right about much. Mostly I am a wanderer and ponderer, asking questions and listening to various viewpoints while studying life. But there are a couple areas where I have to take a stand and state the obvious. Call me loony for plenty else, fine, but a building on fire for a few hours doesn’t fall like that. To “pull” a building means to intentionally demolish it.

Demolition.

A fire doesn’t cause a steel structure to fall like that (or to fall at all). Recall that that building wasn’t even hit by a plane.

How are we, in good conscience, to continue pretending this didn’t happen and that our government didn’t lie about it? How is it all right to lead people to believe there’s something wrong with themselves mentally if they won’t believe and accept the official narrative?

No, we’re certainly not all on the same team. That’s been made clear many times over. Many will sell the rest upstream if it means their precious illusions can be maintained for just a little while longer. Many care more about redecorating their homes and pleasing their corporate bosses than they do about the state of this nation. So why do I care about the state of this nation? I don’t have kids. The future isn’t mine. Why do I care about law and order if so many of the rest of you obviously do not, despite all your lip service to the contrary?

Not sure how to answer that, though I’ve felt my allegiance to our so-called social contract waning for quite a while now. What do I owe any of you? If ignorance is bliss, then have at it. You receive the government you deserve.

Sounds cold-hearted, doesn’t it? Does to me too. I don’t wish to feel this alienated, but I don’t know how to swallow lies and smile while doing so. I’d rather be alone if that’s the trade-off. So greater solitude is something I’m trying to make peace with currently. Can’t stand to watch another person walk away from these realizations and head back to the bar where he can drown it all out, year after year. Hard to listen to those close to me say they’d rather stay happy, nevermind these ongoing, unjustified wars in the Middle East that our tax dollars fund. How she’s too anxious about her own problems and past, too busy raising kids right now to worry over such seemingly irrelevant matters…

I’m not trying to judge my people harshly. But I do judge all of us. Someday when our economy topples and foreign nations intrude on our domestic affairs, do you think they will look upon us with kindness and charity for our human rights record? Do you imagine they will sympathize with our extravagantly hedonistic ways that led us astray? Will our God hear our prayers once we’re forced down our knees?

I don’t know. I just know this isn’t right, and I wish we’d care more about the exploration for truth rather than simply securing our comfort. And that’s a pipe dream. Humans simply are this way and always have been. Some of us have a fetish for staring into abysses, but that doesn’t necessarily make us better people either. I’m not sure what the game plan ought to be anymore or how to orientate oneself in this situation. Our government lies to us more often than not, and there’s little reason to have much faith in my fellow Americans to do a damn thing about it. I try to forgive us for being this way — perhaps we cannot help. Perhaps people have always been prone this way because it’s simply something within our nature hell-bent on being this way. So maybe it really can’t be helped. Maybe those who say there’s nowhere to turn but to God are correct. Whatever that even means in a world where religions have proven very deceptive as well.

Perhaps radical individualism is our fate. Maybe it can be no other way. Even as so many others opt to collectivize so as to skew power in their favor…

This is what an existential crisis looks like.

Anti-fascist?

Taking a look into George Soros:

A very powerful many indeed.

Consider this: if this is the face of anti-fascism, can you perhaps better understand his supposedly fascistic opposition? By that I really mean nationalists whose aim it was to protect their nations from influence by globalists of his sort. People pledging allegiance to their own cultures and histories rather than embracing a globalizing agenda wherein they lose local power and control.

Is it so hard to imagine why people might object to the activities of someone like George Soros? The meddling by his international Open Society Foundations into matters of great consequences to the peoples of these nations? Question: Does Haiti appear better off today after years and years of intervention by Soros and the Clinton Foundation?

Russia and Hungary (the latter being Soros’ own home-country) have in recent times ousted Soros’ foreign-funded NGOs and, as a result, been labeled as backward, “repressive,” “xenophobic parties” and “authoritarian” governments that pose a threat to human rights. Soros has even decided to sue Hungary for their refusal to tolerate his extremely powerful influence there. Does he sound like he’s really in pursuit of upholding human rights when he refuses to allow a nation of people to decide national policies for themselves? In that instance having to do with rejecting the EU’s immigration quota.

I am not a fan of George Soros. Though that doesn’t automatically make me a fan of his opponents either. Partisan politics has never been my bag. But I find it interesting how his organizations have influenced media outlets and encouraged negative reporting against the Koch brothers for donating millions of dollars to colleges while his own Open Society Foundations have donated nearly as many millions (if not more) to institutions of learning (mostly abroad) — though it deserves to be stated that Soros’ main priority has been direct political funding and lobbying efforts, particularly to groups dubbed 527 organizations (less traceable; made publicly known through leaked documents). That’s a supreme bias, which I don’t doubt Soros would dismiss as boiling down to amoral competition among rival camps. Still, it’s interesting to note how dirty he plays in aiming to undermine those he opposes via smear campaigns, casting doubt upon their motives while protecting his own from as much scrutiny.

I say all of this as someone who’s been highly skeptical of the Koch brothers in the past but who now realizes I may have been swayed for the wrong reasons. Perhaps I should take another look into who they are and what they support instead of taking the word of media outlets paid to speak against their efforts.

Though, admittedly, I’m not too cool with this trend of billionaires dumping money into universities in an effort to impact curriculum in their own ideological favor, regardless of which side of the aisle they happen to belong to. Nor was I a supporter of the Citizens United decision for campaign financing. But I suppose these are the times we now live in…

Fascists?

This week a new figure has come across my radar whom I knew little about: Oswald Mosley.

To get a feel for his preaching style back in the day, here’s a portion of a documentary titled “Europeans”:

Relevant portion beginning 1:13:25 in.

I have yet to watch the full documentary, only that end portion. One could dismiss it as propaganda, sure, but that doesn’t drain it of its intensity and prescience. People are attracted to this sort of information precisely because European nations have once again come under siege, this time as a result of their own leaders, adherents to the EU policies, who insist in flooding the land with immigrants from outside cultures, many of whom express no desire to assimilate within these Western cultures. That’s a problem for those who appreciate and wish to protect their heritage, as most humans are wont to do.

That they employed fascism as a means of protecting these cultures historically continues to perplex and upset our modern sensibilities. Which is understandable considering how much propaganda we have been fed in recent decades that denounce such movements as anti-Semitic and barbaric. It’s difficult to argue against what we’ve been taught about the Holocaust as it being anything other than a destructive and dark force. However, I find it helpful to attempt to suspend judgment for a spell and to try to imagine the perspective of Europeans at that point in history. Were they truly little more than blood-thirsty tyrants seeking a scapegoat to blame? That appears to be an uncharitable interpretation of events leading up to one of the worst wars the world had ever known. Why would people be so willing to die for that cause? What were they feeling so threatened by that they’d be willing to lay down their lives to oppose it?

There’s more to the story than we’re typically taught, as is usually the case. The victors write the history books and the opposition are commonly derided as lunatics deserving to be discarded in the waste bins of history. And yet, we’re made aware that the problem has not since been rectified and that people continue to seethe with resentment for how their resistance has been treated and ridiculed and distorted in the decades since. Might be a good time to stop and listen to those we’re so eager to dismiss as “fascists” so as to understand that they too were human beings, not mere monsters bent on the pursuit of power for no purpose — that they too were invested in protecting their cultures and societies against persons and opposing ideologies seeking to overtake them.

What would we do when confronted with forces that threaten to unravel all that we are and have ever been? All of history laid low and diminished, reconstructed in the textbooks with the goal to demonize those who came before in an effort to usher in a new vision for humanity. Nevermind if that new vision is antithetical to what most people actually want and believe in. If it’s packaged nicely enough and sold to us as progressive and bound to improve our lots in life, we buy into it. Foolishly so.

What am I referring to here? What many refer to openly nowadays as the New World Order. It’s not a new concept, though it’s no longer shrouded in secrecy. It’s the goal set by powerful financiers and the like who believe their vision for humanity should be brought to fruition by any means necessary. This goal has been made abundantly clear by now, and it was in the earlier stages of development around the time of the World Wars. People then saw it as a menace just as people now are reawakening to it. And it has been winning.

This is not merely about Europeans of old and their resistance. This issue now extends to include us all, peoples of far-flung nations. Some say it began with the formation of the Federal Reserve system (ushered in finally in 1913 in the U.S. after many prior attempts to do so), though it appears to date back much further than that, though that definitely was a key moment in time worth wrapping one’s mind around. Who all is behind this global initiative and why? That remains a debated topic that there are no clear and easy answers to. Just know that life is incredibly strange and that much of what we’ve been taught is not wholly accurately. In fact, much of it is deliberately skewed so that we might misunderstand the events of the early 20th century and not seek to reanimate them in the present day.

Before we go any further, let’s look at an interview Oswald Mosley did in 1975:

Observe the interviews’ interest in trying his best to paint Mosley as an anti-semite through and through. Despite Mosley explaining that the issue he took was with some Jews, not all, and with Zionism in particular. That’s a tactic still proving popular today, where we’re accused of anti-semitism if we level any criticism at all toward Israel or toward famous and powerful bankers and financiers who happen to be Jewish (like George Soros or the Rothschild dynasty). Even if we critique Israel’s decision to not open its national borders to immigrants while encouraging other nations to do so we’re commonly caricatured as if we’re knuckle-dragging idiots who secretly detest all Jews and who wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the planet. That slippery slope form of argument is all the rage still today and it seeks to place Jewish people uniquely in a category above reproach. This is identity politics, yes, and it achieves its aims through shaming people into staying silent by threatening to label us with the dreaded anti-Semitic epithet.

Why do we fear such epithets? Well, for one, it’s usually unwarranted and inaccurate. But, thinking beyond the box, does it not signal to wider society that we’re despicable persons? That we’re backwards and deserving of having abuse heaped upon us? For a relatively small minority on the planet, Jewish folks (or at least the popular ideology claiming to protect them in recent decades) have garnered immense power when this has become the case in all Western nations. Seriously think about that. We like to imagine we’re simply being protective of this group of people out of respect for historical atrocities that befell them, but is that really all there is to the story? A scratch of the surface demonstrates there’s more to it than that, but we’re strongly discouraged from speaking about it with one another publicly. To do so is to invite being labeled as a “fascist” or a “white supremacist,” with all the negative connotations associated with that. You’re automatically deemed illiberal, primitive and monstrously evil. Why must that be the case?

I personally believe in questioning everything. If someone says a topic is off-limits, I will investigate it out of stubborn rebellion. Because I strongly believe information channels deserve to remain open and that no vein of inquiry should be disallowed in our discussions and research. Because I prize protecting free speech and free thought over fitting in and following the herd. It helps to start off as an unpopular type, freeing you up to remain unpopular since you don’t know what you’re missing. Accusations and labels are par for the course. But that’s not to say such accusations don’t have teeth. Indeed they can. If you’re aiming to work your way up a corporate ladder, you’ll likely choose to keep such thoughts to yourself and to instead parrot what you’ve been instructed to believe is true. Luckily, the corporate world never held much appeal to me and I’m content with remaining relatively poor. There’s freedom in not being bound too tightly into the wider game, allowing more flexibility with fewer concern for consequences. And why should there be consequences to merely speaking words and sharing ideas? To investigating what really happened and why? Because powers-that-be actively discourage that and will try to make an example out of those who step out of line.

Imagine how much power that must entail to exert so much control over people, worldwide. This consideration unto itself demonstrates how entrenched it all is and how far back it spreads. The new normal. For an American to call upon our representatives to curb the amount of money handed over to Israel would spell out political suicide. Even to request greater oversight and accounting there will garner nasty insults and labels from elites and your brainwashed fellow Americans who don’t even know why they support what they do. It’s clear enough that we’ve been thoroughly programmed via our media and politicians to not only accept this way of life but to believe it to be right, beyond question. Beyond scrutiny. Does that not strike any of the rest of you as a bit queer?

We live in strange times that are growing stranger. To stand up against the EU is to be bashed and treated as an ignorant redneck best kept out of serious political conversations. Backwards — they love that word. Why? Because they see their way as the only right way forward. Is it? Well, if the Georgia Guidestones are any indicator I’d say that we’re all being played. In the end very few of us will matter. We’re mostly of value now in that we prove quite effective at keeping one another down.

Is all of this “conspiracy theory” mumbo-jumbo? Some like to paint it as such. And sure, there are plenty of people who will extend these ideas much further and incorporate all sorts of extraneous theories that can’t be proven or that seem so incredibly outlandish as to be little more than distractions. But because some lunatics exist says nothing about whether any and all conspiracies are fiction. Humans conspire. It’s what we do. We collude so as to protect what power we have and/or to acquire more of it. There are powerful persons in the world who operate behind the scenes in pushing agendas that many of us oppose. George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are a clear demonstration of that. It’s not even a secret any longer. And he was there back in the days of WWII, getting his start in first aiding the Nazis…but now look at what he’s up to. Is what he’s pushing today fascism? No. But it is a form of socialism of sorts. I’d argue it’s not truly going to improve the lives of most people and that really he’s sowing seeds of discord among us.

So what do we mean when we refer to fascism? National socialism? Is what we see unfolding in European nations and the U.S. truly nationalistic? No. Not anymore. Mussolini’s famous reference to fascism being little more than a fusion of government and corporations apparently had to do with nationalizing companies and guilds, bringing them under the power and influence of the ruling body of the time. Yet today in America we see major (global) corporations infiltrating and dominating our political system. In other words, the opposite scenario. Are we truly a capitalist nation? No, not since corporatism came on the scene and began dismantling capitalism (the origins of which stem back centuries). Are we a socialist nation? In some respects, arguably we are. Though the push to usher in more immigration and to ignore our borders is distinctly non-nationalistic in nature. Are we ruled by major corporate interests? To an extent, yes. And yet they have no loyalty to America and will abandon us when it proves most profitable to do so.

Is Israel nationalistic? Very much so. Is Israel socialistic?

Is this truly a battle between capitalism and communism playing out on the world stage? Not so much anymore. Dr. Erich Fromm wrote in one of his books about how capitalism and communism exist on the same continuum, whereas communism is what capitalist nations eventually have to look forward to. Not sure if he’s right about that, but it’s an interesting proposition.

I have no answers here. Only countless questions. I won’t guess at what the future holds since unforeseen variables can flip the script. But I do see us being forced to kowtow to narratives that aren’t serving us at present, and it seems a shame that we allow ourselves to be limited in these ways. It’s neither a position belonging on the political Left or Right to acknowledge these facts either. I just know that human life is messy and we should be cautious about accepting the claim that an entire people were monsters with no justification whatsoever for their actions, especially when they’ve otherwise generally proven to be high-minded, creative and well-educated. Such claims do not compute. There’s more to the story than we’re hearing. Question all narratives.

“The Land of my Ancestors” (my thoughts)

Isn’t this how it truly is? Inescapable truth collides with modern lofty idealism.

“Civilized” aspects of our being are always a veneer, something that is cultivated to allow us humans to build and prosper within civilizations. But it doesn’t run deep, nowhere as deep as the primitive portions of our being that call out for respect for shared blood, soil and sweat.

People like to dismiss such talk as “tribalistic,” as if it’s somehow avoidable. As if it’s a relic of bygone years that no longer matter, that no longer have a place at our civilized table. To those people, all I can say is that you do not understand human nature. Not deeply. And you will be in for a great disillusionment before all is said and done.

This is a topic that I ponder on often and am conflicted about. Not because I can’t understand but rather because I can. It is a bit terrifying to comprehend that so much of what we take for granted today may not withstand the turbulence on the horizon. Much of what we’ve come up dreaming about are just that — dreams, and little else. Wishful thinking. Naive and unrealistic.

The maternal side of my family (that being the genealogy I am familiar with) has roots in the South stemming back 250 years. Who knows when we first arrived on this continent from Western Europe? One record I looked at over a decade ago of a man sharing my Papa’s surname was brought over and directly placed in indentured servitude where he died. Unsure if he was part of my direct bloodline since so much has proven untraceable. Churches have burnt down, records have been destroyed. But he was the first with our name recorded on this continent, and he died as little more than a slave. My family records dating as far back as I’ve been able to locate have shown we were not slave owners either. Were too poor to be so. Arrived in Mississippi poor in the mid-1700s and managed to stay that way. And yet people blame us anyway, calling out our skintone as if that alone can tell you much of relevance about a people.

I’ve grown up in a society that speaks down about the U.S. South, denigrating us as a bunch of racists historically and presently. We’re taught this in our school curriculum, especially up north where the narrative largely goes unchallenged. We were taught to see ourselves as “rednecks,” “hillbillies,” “crackers,” and basically the scum of this country. The war fought for secession has forever been rubbed in people’s faces and used to vilify folks with the false claim that all was fought over slavery, that we were never about anything other than supporting and defending the plantation owners and their economic interests. It doesn’t make sense, but people repeat it, generation after generation, without questioning its validity. They continue to denounce us as racists despite the South remaining the home of the highest population of black people in this nation. You would think if Southerners were so racist that their descendants would’ve moved away over the last 150 years to escape the racial tensions — would’ve relocated to the Midwest where far fewer black people reside outside of the major cities. And yet they don’t. Blame it on stubborn pride if you must.

I personally know better. I’ve learned over the years how many people talk out of both sides of their mouths. How they pretend to care about people whom they would never agree to live near. How their politics parade as if concerned about those deemed to have the most unfortunate circumstances, when in reality they don’t give a damn. It’s just posturing. A way to make themselves feel good and look good to others. A reason to pat themselves on the back for being so “progressive.” Yet they don’t really want to know about the cultures and the history and what continues to bind people’s hands.

And now, these same types of people wish to push for and celebrate evermore “diversity” and “multiculturalism.” While they reside safely in their suburban cul-de-sacs and gated communities. While they secretly look down on us who they see as dirty, backwards, uncivilized. You know they are looking down on black people too. They just like to pretend the opposite is true. They look down on Hispanics also, feigning concern for them while reaping the benefits their “cheap labor” produces.

That’s what so much of this is really all about: economics. That was true in the days leading up to the Civil War and remains true ever since. Agrarianism versus the rise of Industrialization. The need to drive people out of small community-sustaining and self-sufficient or otherwise subsistence modes of productivity so that they would flee toward big cities and become cogs in some corporate system. This is what I mean when I keep repeating that slavery never ended, it just changed shapes. What was once called slavery is now rebranded as cheap labor. What’s the real difference? Now the workers are more expendable, more easily replaceable, and their employers are no longer responsible for housing and feeding them. Do you see that? Externalization happened. What was once the slave owners’ responsibility is no longer of concern to the modern employer.

People like to say that capitalism ought to be unregulated by the government, but if not for consumer protections fought for and enshrined in law working conditions would’ve remained terrible. When early capitalists could get away with working people to the bone, they did. No more concern about whether a person lived or died on the job because another person was waiting to take their place. Forever another person in waiting. The necessity to chase the all-mighty dollar fuels everything in modern times.

Hence why borders are being threatened once again. The desire for cheaper labor persists. Hence why American companies packed up and moved to Mexico and China since the 1980s where they can produce cheaper products with less government oversight and then turn around and sell those products back to us for a higher profit. Walmart destroyed many small towns in favor of this scheme, including my own hometown. And yet we’re not supposed to talk about that, lest we be labeled as socialists or communists.

The labels keep us from honestly reckoning with what’s happening around us and up over time.

But back to our blood bonds to our ancestors…  There is something within plenty of us that howls back toward history. Can’t escape its cry, its call for an awakening to where we’ve come from and where we stand now. We’re being taught to divvy up and see one another as problems and oppressors, when in reality we’ve all been played. Furthermore, why should we be made ashamed of our histories and our tribal instincts? Because we were not all on the same team didn’t mean that we were automatically enemies originally. But now we’re becoming so. Now we’re instructed to see one another as mere demographics, labels — a new form of tribalism, this time divided according to politics and class. But many of us remain in the same place we’ve always been, unmoved by these shifting tides. Still not far from the bottom, holding no significant claims to power, watching as we’re being whipped into competitive frenzies and encouraged to attack others in not much better positions than ourselves.

Plenty of us long for a simpler life. For simpler relations instead of being cast adrift in a sea of strangers and opportunists. People possess a need to create communities and to draw boundaries and to protect and conserve, yet all of that is being actively undermined. Though it’s not as if human nature changes overnight. Because we’re being forced into new circumstances doesn’t erase our primal needs. Because society and its expectations have changed over time says nothing about who and what we are and have always been and still remain. A culture or economy may “evolve,” but human evolution is much slower. It doesn’t become what we wish it would be. And I doubt all the social and genetic engineering we devise will be able to surmount that Truth.

Time for work.

Maybe, maybe not

Feels good to vent on here lately. Gotta think out loud some way to work the thoughts out and examine them.

Never expecting others to agree with me. Hell, I don’t always agree with me.  lol

I don’t know what the future holds. The optimistic side (if I can call it that) within is keen on keeping an open mind about unforeseen variables. Nada es impossible. Though, it’s not clear how we figure that shit’s going to change for the better while we’re not paying close attention. Not on the day-to-day political back-and-forth shenanigans necessarily — just in trying to gain a better understanding of where we as a nation have come from; what history in general (assuming one can locate a morsel of genuine history) has to teach us humans; what our psychologies involve; what social trends over the last century or two have pushed society to where it stands currently, etc., etc.

Instead so often we choose to entertain ourselves to death. I know I’m guilty of this. Which is kind of understandable for those of us who don’t kids and thereby don’t feel as invested in the future of this country (gene pool ends here). Hard to imagine not wanting to learn about this life. It’s frickin’ fascinating. Even while acknowledging America cruising toward becoming an Orwellian/Huxleyan totalitarian state (as we’ve seen on the horizon for years).

Hell, my Papa assured me as a teen that a civil war will occur during my lifetime. Was he right? Who knows? Guess we’ll find out.

People like Mike Cernovich are right in some ways too (much as I used to not like the guy, I’ve found his twitter feed worth reading in the last couple of months). Some finessing could be done on the part of Republicans. As with the supreme court nomination — he’s probably right that the Christian woman would’ve been a better (and more qualified) selection for the position. Plus, it would’ve been the politically strategic move if we’re back up and look at how much easier she would’ve been to try to defend in the court of public opinion right about now. Yeah, I get how that can seem like kowtowing to Democrats, but you’re not talking about selecting a Democratic candidate, just one who wouldn’t be treated like a lightning rod for Leftist projections (i.e., a white, pro-life man who attended Yale). Is that fair? Well, that depends. Am I suggesting white men deserve to be overlooked? No, not necessarily, but we are a multiracial society and there undeniably is a lot of resentment at this point in history toward how much power white men have wielded in high positions of this country up until now. That’s just a fact. Women (generally speaking) are pissed off at men (especially white men). Black folks have their grievances. Hispanics have theirs too. As do Native Americans. Legitimate concerns even.

Power’s about to be transferred one way or another. Accusations of racism and sexism are all the rage right now, as we all know. And there are so many balls moving at all times — so much to keep up with, so many battles to fight. I wasn’t keeping up with supreme court picks and wouldn’t even be aware of all this drama if not for becoming a Twitter addict since the summer, so I’m not familiar with the lady in question or how she stacks up against Kavanaugh. No clue. Just sayin’. If she was equally qualified then Trump could’ve saved the public a headache by going with her instead. Instead we’re caught up in a neverending she said/he said contest dating back to 35 years ago, resulting in people who only skim headlines assuming Kavanaugh to be a schmuck. That’s not right and that’s not fair if he’s innocent. He probably didn’t need this headache either.

But when it was Clarence Thomas it was possible to garner a bunch of public support because he was a black conservative man. Identity politics at play, sure, but how is it to be avoided, especially now compared to back then? From what little I know of him he sounds like a good judge, so he deserved to be defended (assuming he was innocent of the allegations made).

That’s the other thing: we’re talking about sexual assault and harassment here. These are most difficult cases to prove typically. So much occurs behind closed doors that others are not and cannot be privy to directly. Even if you talk to someone afterward, it’s still one’s word. Unless the act is caught on camera, what proof really exists (except where great physical violence was done)? These are tricky matters that get me thinking about Orwell’s book Nineteen-Eighty-Four where he describes the sexes divided, behaving hostilely toward one another. What sex they engage in imitates rape because all romantic bonds have long-since been broken. Hence why it was such a big deal that Winston and Julia decided to steal time away together in private and learned to love one another. That was forbidden. They were tortured on account of it. This is what I’m pointing at when harping on about how sex segregation (pushed by “MGTOWs,” Muslims and some feminists alike) being such a bad idea. And yet…

Do you see what I see?

An intentionally antagonistic situation is brewing that is being actively stoked and encouraged by mainstream media and university departments. Race and sex are at the forefront. People are buying into some of it because they’re indoctrinated, but also part of it because some of the rhetoric is true. Or at least it’s not completely wrong. Leaving aside what can’t be done about the past. We’re confronting a bunch of ideologues (with more on the way) who are utterly obsessed with ushering in a more “equal” arrangement. Granted, I understand that much of what we see is coming across as outright discriminatory against white men — true. But here we stand today. People are at least tired of seeing the same old, same old, whether they’re going to wind up with it in terms of politics as usual or not.

Mike Cernovich brought up a good point about how some of these folks view Trump literally as Hitler. Yes, that’s bizarre, especially considering Obama was just as bad, as were the Clintons, as were the Bushes, etc. He’s a continuation on an old theme, though it looks a bit different since he’s from the business world and is best known through tabloids and television shows. But that’s what they’ve convinced themselves of, so they’re going to fight dirty ever chance they get in response. That’s what you do if you honestly think you’re fighting fascism. Are they deluded? I think so, but my reasoning can’t penetrate most of them. Tried plenty in the past and failed.

(As an aside, I’m coming to take Jonathan Haidt’s words in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion more seriously with each passing day. Our values stack up differently. Leftists place more emphasis on the “care/harm” value whereas conservatives embrace a wider and more equally distributed set of values. Plus, we’re driven by our emotions first, reasoning/rationality second.)

It does help to try to understand where one another is coming from, at least generally speaking and so far as we’re able. Are Leftists taking much time to try to comprehend conservatives? No, I’d say more honest investigation actually runs in the other direction. But still. Know Thyself. Then know your enemies.

Not sure if we’re taking this one to the streets, considering how the most vocal activists on the Left tend to live on the West and East coasts, leaving the Midwest and South with the densest populations of conservatives. We’re living apart for the most part, at least in terms of our most radical fringes, though also in regards to our neighborhoods/communities too — so that much of our discourse can’t help but take place online (aside from the years we encounter each other on college campuses or in schools). Hence why censorship online is such incredible BULLSHIT and deserves our attention and push-back. THAT’s a concern we need to focus on, not whether a guy pulled his dick out back in college (who didn’t? Ugh! It’s like fighting air!).

And yet we get swept up like it’s the Macarena every. single. time. We fall for drama so easily. Hard not to get caught up in it. They certainly have our number and know how to distract us well.

Gotta train ourselves to keep our eyes on more important matters. Bitching at one another gets us where? So many act like they’re scared of the System, yet they want to try to use this System to usher in what changes they want to see. So we all fight and squabble and vote and conduct our “2-minutes of hate” ritual on the regular, and what happens? That System we’re all worried about continues growing, continues doing whatever it ultimately wants regardless of what pressure we the people put on it in our fragmented state. Not winning. Just being manipulated and lied to and tossed a carrot every once in a while to occupy us for a spell.

We’re easily played. Truth be told.

What can be done about this? Well, we can try to boil down what matters most and focus there primarily. Freedom of speech, of a free press, and to assemble as we choose are numero uno priorities to me. Because without that, we got nothing. That goes for ALL of us. Across the board. If we can’t even defend that then we might as well hang it up. We’re done as a country and should get ready for a new totalitarian reality since it’s right around the bend. Are things going to get worse before they get better? Oh yes. Hence why it’s so shocking to me how many folks out there don’t seem super worried about any of this and are contentedly going about their lives and watching their ballgames as if nothing is happening. Blows my mind.

That’s just it. Maybe that’s where we are and we’re just struggling to come to terms with it. For nearly two decades we constantly hear people talk about needing to wake others up, and this is as far as we’ve gotten in 2018. I try really hard not to get too down about it, to accept that humans have a penchant for needing to learn every goddamn thing the hard way. C’est la vie. Somehow have to forgive ourselves for this enduring folly. But perhaps this is precisely why empires always fall and always will: the people turn soft and grow more concerned with raiding the public coffer than actually upholding fundamental principles. So, down Rome topples. Maybe it can’t be any other way. Bread and circuses stole the show. Comfort and ease lulled us into such a deep sleep that some would prefer to live in a virtual reality if it meant keeping that dream going. Scientism and transhumanism have taken hold in our collective imaginations, leading people to relax into the dream that technology will eventually set it all right.

Are we a bunch of cowards? Probably. What are we about? Relatively petty shit most often. Are more going to wake up? Likely not until it’s too late. Humans like to dwell in the stream of least resistance. Some will ride that their whole lives if you let them. (Hence why universal basic income doesn’t sound like such a good idea.)

So then what? That’s the million dollar question. Might be in people’s best interest to learn more about ourselves, one another, history (from many angles), and to learn to discern what values ultimately matter most. Freedom of speech is the scaffolding for all the rest. A free people don’t exist without it. For a bunch of misfits who take issue with authority figures, it’d be in our best interest to figure out how best to rule our own selves. As individuals but also in relation with others. We’ve received the government we deserve based on how we’ve chosen to live and what we’ve been willing to tolerate (both historically and present-day). We lost our ways and now are being dragged. Leftists might appear to be winning, or at least waging a hell of a fight, but in the end we’ll all lose. There’s no winning where we as a society are headed.

The Political Left has won the culture war

Haven’t listened to anything from Stardusk/Thinking-Ape in a long time, but come to find out his newer material very much jibes with my own thoughts at this time.

He’s right. World War II was a serious game-changer, for various reasons. Not least of which was that it promoted widespread sympathy toward Jews in particular since the Holocaust centered around them categorically being blamed for the ills of German society, leading then to a plan for their extermination. This is what our history books tell us repeatedly, however factual all of the related claims may be. It’s that historical focus that has been spread down, generation to generation, to all of us alive today, drilling into our minds how horrific of an event it was and how we must NEVER (under ANY circumstances) allow an atrocity of that nature to occur again (most especially against Jewish people). I got the message full-on and took it very seriously while growing up, as have most others. Seems like the most humane position to take.

What that message left out were the atrocities committed by communists in the Soviet Union and China. Instead of us being taught more broadly about totalitarianism we were specifically indoctrinated with information about Nazi Germany (at the comparative exclusion of all else). Was that an accident? Doesn’t appear to be now, does it? Considering school curriculum still hasn’t been updated to address this imbalance many decades later.

Why? Well, it appears the U.S. government had some sort of affinity with the Soviet Union all along, even after we publicly ceased being known as allies and entered the Cold War. So much that we are taught is slanted, intentionally distorted — lies by omission. How do you prove such a claim? I don’t know, but the evidence seems clear enough right about now in viewing what’s been unfolding across time.

Yes, the Political Left has been making incremental changes over many decades, leading them to possess the power they wield today. And yes, any attempt to lawfully shift the political tides would also take a concerted effort spanning decades. The problem is there isn’t time left for such a gradual game change. This country has already been compromised and now, partly thanks to the rise of Big Tech and the stronghold of globalizing powers, this process is guaranteed to speed up. Meaning that the Left will make more rapid moves and greater changes in the years to come, further transforming this country and culture beyond recognition. How do you stop a runaway train?

The old way lost, and if I’m honest with myself I can admit that this really began at the time of the Civil War. That defeat was the beginning of the end. Half a nation of people were successfully fought and disallowed from seceding. Tyranny forced compliance, and the South laid down and accepted those conditions in the end, and has been harshly treated by the history books ever since. So much so that people have allowed themselves to be convinced that it was a war fought over slavery, dismissing all talk of states’ rights as if that’s some sort of humorous deflection from facts and reason. That’s where it all began in this country, truly, because that’s when a part of Americans’ spirit died. The dissidents of that era were taught that resistance is futile, and they—despite their big talk ever since—did not stand by the words of the forefathers they claim to love so much and DEMAND either liberty or death. No, instead they laid down their guns and chose to live. And this is what they’ve lived for, this nation as it stands today is what they passed on to successive generations. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Decades later, Americans were united under the guise of protecting our freedom by engaging in World War I & II. Do you know what really undermined us after the Second World War? Our compassion. Noble as it is, that proved to be Americans’ undoing. Compassion toward Jews and the story of the Holocaust wound up being our shackles on down the line. I do not say this as someone who has a particular problem with Jewish people (as already explained before elsewhere on this blog) — just that I can see how that narrative weakened us in terms of convincing us that violence on that scale was wrong in all cases for Americans (at least on American soil). Nevermind the killing of others we commit in wars abroad since — that somehow proves less relevant, despite many in the Middle East considering this a Holocaust of sorts being brought against them (and quite effectively, I might add). I’m not much of a defender of Muslims and am known to be very critical of their religion, speaking out regularly against their immigration to Western nations, yet still I can see this plainly.

Our shackling to Israel has been out of a deep sense of guilt (for whatever reason) and alliance through compassion (as well as Christians being convinced by their televangelist preachers that the Jewish people must all return to that region of the world if ever Jesus is to return to the earth — crazily enough). But even now when many can see that Israel is undeserving of so much military aid, we the people can’t seem to stop it. Politics have gotten outside of our control.

Compassion undermined us. Why? Well, for one, it dulled our collective imagination and kept us from seriously reckoning with the idea that some groups within our society mean to do this nation harm and ought to either be locked up or expelled. And because we’ve been heavily steeped in propaganda about that war, along with being strongly influenced by Jewish thought through the media and Hollywood productions, we’ve come to embrace the notion of multiculturalism, not yet knowing that that would prove to be our unraveling. (Or at least it rendered us unwilling to stand up for one culture above others, setting the stage for events to come.)

Some of this appears to be due to trends not specific to or arising from American culture in the last century, such as postmodern thought imported from France. So perhaps this trend is more universal, less localized, as it now seems to be unraveling European nations as well. Has this been intentionally orchestrated? Hard to argue that it hasn’t been. Perhaps just a result of a preponderance of chicanery where opportunists seized at every point along the way what influence and power they could.

Stardusk mentioned how this likely can’t be reversed quickly, short of some sort of war breaking out perhaps, and then there’d be the risk of the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. Which to me means something akin to what arose out of Wiemar Germany. (Though, who would we fight today and how? Declare war on all who consider themselves left of center? Besides, most are far too docile to seriously consider taking matters into our own hands if it involves violence. Except maybe thugs/Antifa.) We hear people today so readily dismiss one another as “fascists” for any little deviation, anything they can label and denounce as wrongthink. That’s priming people to accept that resistance is futile, knowing you’ll be mischaracterized and roundly attacked by their fanatical army (while most of the brethren on your own side sit out the battle, preferring not to have their good names wrecked by weighing in the fray). So those willing to step into the ring and fight at this point can’t help but be outliers, and they will all find themselves harshly labeled as belonging to the “alt-right” and accused of being “nazis” and “full of hate.” Others will distance themselves from these people as a result. We might speak about them online and attempt to defend them with our words, and, as we already see underway, we will be punished accordingly (some even going so far as losing their jobs — more and more this keeps happening).

Makes a person really stop and question their morality and where they learned it from. I often have to ask myself if my beliefs are born out of a slave morality, because it seems that way when it renders me incapable of even launching an effective defense. That calls into question the role of Christianity (or at least how it’s commonly interpreted) at this point in history, though I will leave that topic for another time.

What do we owe to one another at this point? How do you contend with people who don’t give a damn about the principles you’re struggling to uphold? And what do you do if those same principles are tethering your hands and disallowing you from going toe to toe with those hell-bent on supporting tyranny? I don’t know, but I ask myself this regularly enough nowadays.

There doesn’t appear to be a future worth salvaging in this dilemma. If we opt to try to live in peace, then we’ve agreed to comply — we’ve chosen complicity. It’s anyone’s guess what this nation will be like in 30 years at the rate it’s currently going. Does their “vision for the future” truly look to you like a healthy place to raise kids? Does it appear to be the kind of society you’d like to live to old age within? Serious questions for serious times.

Some might read this and think I’m just upset about the Kavanaugh confirmation or some other current event, but no. I don’t care much about that matter aside from taking issue with how ruthless the politics at play are showing themselves to be. Have no stake in him as a person and don’t particularly care about his career either way, though it is rough watching a man get dragged through the mud if he is innocent, all because of unprovable accusations brought to light at the perfect time to do maximum damage. Just sayin’. I’m tired of seeing this gender war devolve into woman screaming that they deserve to be believed no matter what, evidence be damned. This idea that people can ruin our lives with their words and we’re left with no recourse. All because of politics unchained. Been coming to this for a looong time, and now it’s threatening to upend so much that’s fundamental in our society, including a right to due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But, if we’re honest to ourselves, we’ve been here before during the Jim Crow era when an accusation was all that was needed to determine a man’s fate. So perhaps this nation’s foundational principles haven’t been shit for over a century already. Perhaps we’ve been fooling ourselves to imagine otherwise.

So then I get to wondering what it is we’re supposed to be fighting for here? A revival of America? How is that even possible? We’re far too divided and have been for so long. Probably irreparably so by now. We like to think Leftist were supposed to be the compassionate ones, the “bleeding hearts” among us, and yet look at what’s been happening all around. Do you see compassion there? Yet so-called conservatives keep pandering to them, as if that’s the way this game must be played.

You know what I think? I think this is a bit of an indictment of capitalism, at least in this most-modern era, because it allowed people to branch off in pursuit of our own individual goals and dreams, relinquishing loyalty to our communities in the process. Chasing money has corrupted us to where we now stand divided. We don’t know one another barely anymore and have little reason to trust one another. We don’t share a common faith any longer. Our values are selected at will. Many don’t even vote, especially not locally, thereby dropping the reins even on what little political power they may have possessed. All because we were busy celebrating our individuality and trying to get ahead in the economy. Well, now we’re up against a united front of ideologues who are possessed by a drive toward power. What can be done about that? Certainly not an issue to be rectified by voting this late in the game.

So then what? Shall we drown our sorrows in nihilistic hedonism and await a societal collapse, as some are fond of talking about these days? Should we risk speaking out and having our livelihoods destroyed while others go about their regularly scheduled routines and ignore us? Should we call upon a higher power to direct us, even if that means undertaking unpopular action on our own? That’ll get you locked up for even trying to talk about it. Shall we just continue watching this crazy saga unfold like we always have, chomping neurotically at the bit like we usually do? Shall we try to brainwash ourselves with positive thinking in an effort to find peace within this storm?

I don’t know the way forward from here on out. Mostly I’m plagued with a bunch of questions. A gradual shift in another direction won’t be coming though, that much I’m willing to bank on. And I’m not sure how tolerant we can expect to remain while our rights are stripped from us.

It’s a hell of a conundrum we find ourselves in nowadays. But, as always remains true: nobody promised us a rose garden. C’est la vie.

Apartment living among strangers

Always something going on in my apartment complex. Yesterday while I was indoors roaming the internet peacefully there came a knock on my door. The police, again. They were trying to get my next-door neighbor to open up, having been called by his son and asked to conduct a wellness check. In other words, the man’s son was worried about his safety and wanted the cops to look in on him. So, they had tried knocking on his door and received no answer, then knocked on mine to ask if I knew the man. Said I didn’t. Actually don’t even know what the guy looks like. Told them that we have such a high turnover rate here, particularly in that apartment, to where I just don’t barely keep up with who moves in or out. (People have to stick around here for several months or a year before I take much notice of them — perhaps sad, but true.)

While speaking to the police the man next door did answer. He barely got his door open before falling with a loud thud. Sounded rough. Like maybe he hit his head. The cops were talking with him, asking if he could hear them. Another neighbor opened his door and we both exchanged looks at one another while listening to what transpired. I could hear the fallen man making a sort of groaning/wheezing noise. No clue what was wrong with him or what led to his condition. Decided instead to head out to my next work appointment before the ambulance arrived and blocked our driveway.

Sound crass on my part? Welcome to the modern world, folks. Tis the age where many of us do not know our neighbors nor barely care to. Though, in our defense, the lady across the hall who’s lived here a couple years did knock the night before to offer me a bowl of her homemade chicken noodle soup — wasn’t half bad. And I do offer food and cosmetic items to another lady who lives upstairs. The man who lived directly beneath me was sociable but recently moved (they always do), as did the couple downstairs whom I’d grown to like quite a bit. Besides an old lady down the hall, I’m now officially the longest lasting tenant in this joint, approaching the 10 year mark this winter. But out of 30 units, I know people in maybe 5 of them at this point. Maybe.

This place is like a revolving door. Always people moving in and moving out. Half the time you don’t even find out they’ve moved until a couple weeks have gone by. The herd of buffalo who lived above are gone, which only dawned on me after belatedly realizing it’s pretty quiet around here. No clue how long they had been gone before I awoke to that realization.

Our parking lot is filled with all sorts of people who are always coming and going, some who live here, some who are just picking up people who do, a couple others who seem to be up to shady shit out by our dumpster (not curious enough to investigate — maybe sex in their cars?).

As I tell people, this place is much nicer than when I first moved in. Out with the meth heads, in with the Mexicans and Africans. A better lot of people overall. Though, I wasn’t a fan of seeing women’s panties hanging off the satellite dishes, nor was I enthused about finding a used condom left near my door. But we haven’t caught people fucking in the stairway anymore, so that’s a bonus. And the rowdy kids who lived here last summer (one of whom was responsible for busting out my car’s rear windshield accidentally) are all gone.

Could be worse, could be better. I don’t mind living here. Cheap rent. Not too much bullshit usually. Though it wasn’t that long ago when the cops were knocking on my door asking about a couple who abandoned their van in our parking lot and presumably ran into our building. Showed me pictures of them — no clue who they were. Doubt they live here but I wouldn’t be able to say for certain. The cops roamed around our building for a couple hours that night, searching the periphery with their flashlights (searching for what, I do not know) while waiting for the tow truck to come remove their van.

Several months ago we had another joker abandon a vehicle in our parking lot and take off on foot. Not sure why they like to do that here. *shrugs*  All I know is I went out to my car to grab something and while out there I see his van roll up, the driver’s door opened and a short black (presumably African) man stared at me before bolting out of it and running toward a nearby street. His van slowly descended toward the rear of our parking lot, narrowly missing the dumpster before coming to a stop. I had to call the cops on that event so as to report the running, abandoned vehicle that needed to be towed. Perhaps because of calls like that in the past is why the cops like to keep knocking on my door nowadays. Not sure.

Not that I mind. The cops around here are a pretty friendly bunch. They don’t scream at us the way Omaha and Mississippi cops used to. Very professional and helpful overall. These ones around here don’t seem to have much of an axe to grind, though some of the locals like to chide them all the same, pretending as if the police here are horrible about violating our rights and behaving as racists. I’m not seeing it, even while living in such a diverse building as I do. You’d think if they were wanting to pick on people of color they’d hang around here more often and act like jerks while here, but they don’t. So I see no reason to give them guff.

Gotta appreciate the good ones where you find them.

Anyway, no clue what happened to the old man next door. Never did get a good look at him either. Maybe I was skittish over the ordeal due to all we went through 4 years ago when the older man across the hall drank himself to death. Was a pretty unnerving situation that I’ve yet to stop thinking about. Basically just holed up in his apartment and quit eating and decided to drink vodka until he died, resulting in his body being effectively mummified. That is, until his body was moved by the paramedics/the guys in hazmat suits. I wasn’t around to witness that day, but a neighbor who’s since moved away told me everything. She was very shaken by the ordeal and had been worrying about him for many days before the landlord finally went inside the apartment to check. His name was Sam. I had dinner with Sam once, not too terribly long before he died. Never had a problem with the man and let my cat go over to hang out with him occasionally.

Anyway, I know I’ve written about him on here before, but I suppose it’s hard not to think about him when the cops show up in the hallway. It was a sad situation that most of us aren’t sure how we should’ve handled differently. I interacted with him more than I did with most neighbors here at that time (and more than I have with others since). His family didn’t come by to visit him, and I know he seemed upset about a lot of things, most of which I don’t know the details of. I was mired in my own personal drama back then and was pretty depressed, so it was just a rough time all the way around up in this corner of the building. But I didn’t realize he was that depressed. How would I though? People who pass one another every few days on the stoop.

The man right next door has been there maybe a month (or has it been two?). I never see him coming or going. Never hear anything from his apartment. Kind of sad to think that I was sitting here yesterday, probably no more than 30 feet away on the other side of a wall from a man who was in a bad way. Had no idea. Wouldn’t have known either had his son not reached out to the police and requested that they check in on him. Perhaps we’ll eventually see him come and go and get a chance to speak in the future.

So, yeah, that’s what people have to look forward to when living in apartments in the city around folks they do not know, especially where low-income persons congregate for a few months or a year and then move on to the next place. Just a constant trickle of people in and out. Here one month, gone the next. Breaking leases and taking off. A couple deaths. Listening to indistinct beats of music drumming in through an open window — location unknown. See so many faces one time and then never again. The routine scent of weed wafting through the hallways. This is just a place for us to lay our heads, store our stuff, rest and relax when we’re not working. Maybe everywhere is becoming this way.

Guess I’m just reflecting on my answer to the cop about the man next door, not knowing for certain when he moved in or what he looked like. And I wouldn’t have even thought about it if not asked.

I’m not convinced that we humans can all adapt to this sort of atomized style of living. I can understand why it proves so depressing to plenty out there, especially if they lack family and a strong social network. Especially in the winter months when we’re trapped indoors. But, strangely enough, I seem to be adapting, albeit not in the most pro-social way admittedly. Guess I ought to keep an eye on this situation and how it may be impacting me and my other neighbors. Kind of disconcerting to think we may be witnessing the full-on erosion of any sense of community right here in a place like this. Close proximity alone doesn’t necessarily bring people together—barring an emergency—not when walls and locked doors exist where we can retreat into our own individually-stocked cubbyholes.

Harari on our lack of freedom & Free Will (my thoughts)

This afternoon I came across an article in The Guardian titled “Yuval Noah Harari: the myth of freedom” (Sept. 14, 2018).

A few notable excerpts from the article:

Unfortunately, “free will” isn’t a scientific reality. It is a myth inherited from Christian theology. Theologians developed the idea of “free will” to explain why God is right to punish sinners for their bad choices and reward saints for their good choices.

[…]

Though “free will” was always a myth, in previous centuries […]

But now the belief in “free will” suddenly becomes dangerous. If governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will.

[…]

In recent years some of the smartest people in the world have worked on hacking the human brain in order to make you click on ads and sell you stuff. Now these methods are being used to sell you politicians and ideologies, too.

[…]

Liberalism has developed an impressive arsenal of arguments and institutions to defend individual freedoms against external attacks from oppressive governments and bigoted religions, but it is unprepared for a situation when individual freedom is subverted from within, and when the very concepts of “individual” and “freedom” no longer make much sense.

[…]

The very same technologies that we have invented to help individuals pursue their dreams also make it possible to re-engineer those dreams. So how can I trust any of my dreams?

[…]

There is nothing new about doubting free will or about exploring the true nature of humanity. We humans have had this discussion a thousand times before. But we never had the technology before. And the technology changes everything.

My initial reaction after reading that article:

Having now read it through a 2nd time, I’d like to elaborate a bit further.

First off, I listened to the audio version of Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens a couple years back and generally appreciated it. Though I haven’t kept up with the author since then and was unaware of his shifting views. Now, the reason I reacted as I did to his latest article is based on a number of reservations and concerns.

1.) The notion of Free Will being a “myth” approaches sacrilege among average Western minds. Our entire history up until this point is predicated on the idea of individual rights and freedoms, as Harari acknowledges. But I’m not aware of anyone who would claim that Free Will can be defined as 100% freedom over oneself with no regard whatsoever for our human, environmental or cultural limitations. Scientific exploration indeed has taught us much about the role genetics play in directing our desires and weaknesses, but are we mere animals bound to deterministic cause and effect? There is plenty of evidence to the contrary in that area as well. We humans are a mixed lot, existing within and impacted by the material realm while also possessing potential to transcend what’s given to us to an extent, at least psychologically. In short, we are both directed by forces beyond our control as well as directors of our own lives, simultaneously.

2.) Blaming Free Will off onto Christianity (though it’d be more apt to include Judaism in this as well) seems to imply that this religion somehow did humans a disservice in this regard, that it lied to us about Reality and our role within it. Furthermore, it appears Harari assumes that individualism didn’t arise organically on its own — that is to say, is a natural part of the evolution of our species. Instead he seems to be arguing that such a notion was born strictly out of this monotheistic religion, which is confusing since which came first, humanity’s trending toward individualism or the idea of individualism being encapsulated within a religious context?

3.) Harari’s argument appears to be that while individualism and the notion of Free Will proved useful previously, it’s no longer of much (if any) value moving forward. Why? Because we have failed at the calling to Know Thyself and therefore are being rendered at the mercy of other humans and the technologies they employ to sway, deceive, control and make money off of us, all while convincing us that we’re actually acting as free agents. Okay, that much I can agree with. We, collectively speaking, have dropped the ball in taking seriously the navigation of our own individual lives, preferring instead to flow with the mainstream channels provided to all of us. But still, recognition of this does not negate the existence of Free Will. Rather, it points to our option to not embrace it (that being an important part of the concept of Free Will). We’re not required to strive to understand it and act upon it, though arguably we should. Because people often prove weak and fail at this task still doesn’t negate the Free Will option (again, despite it not being about 100% freedom since that’s an impossibility; we human beings not being gods in our own right).

4.) It seems that Harari is suggesting that artificial intelligence is coming on the scene, whether any of us like it or not, and that it will necessarily prove dominant over all of us. Okay, that might happen. But is Harari fine with that outcome? Is he suggesting that we should bow down and accept that fate as the “hackable animals” that we apparently are? Is it his opinion that resistance is futile? Because that’s the way it sounds, and that comes across as extremely deterministic, which then causes someone like me to feel pangs in my soul at such a thought.

5.) Harari’s position also seems to leave out consideration over whether this AI-dominated future that’s unfurling will be psychologically compatible with us as human beings. I personally don’t believe it will. Already a good many of us are disturbed by the effects of modern life and are exhibiting chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result. Plus there are the falling birth rates (perhaps due to our “captivity” conditions) and the rising suicide rates among Westerners. It’s possible that we’re heading in a direction that will wind up pushing more of us to the margins of society, if not off a cliff entirely. (Though, some then might argue that’s evidence that we who can’t or won’t adapt are not strong enough in this game for survival, so adios.)

6.) The idea that if we give up our notion of individuality and Free Will we’ll then be free to listen more to others and become more actively engaged in protecting the environment sounds absurd. If anything, this trend would lead to more nihilism which may lead to more violent backlashes and reactionary inclinations to attempt to dismantle society itself. Just sayin’. (Perhaps he would argue that the anarchistic spirit within some is just another genetically-determined drive and/or a manipulated reaction stoked by those with a hidden agenda? *shrugs*) Anyway, why would a person care about a future world where humans aren’t free to be human, where life’s meaning has become trivialized, where our choices and options are supposedly pre-determined, and where Big Brother dominates us all whether we like it or not? Sounds like hell on earth, not a place I’d care about trying to save.

7.) Because science has not (or perhaps cannot) explain a phenomenon doesn’t automatically mean it’s not real. As others have suggested, scientists have barely scratched the surface in trying to make sense of consciousness — and yet, here it remains. What is it? We don’t know. Where did it originate from? We’re not certain. What is its purpose? That remains to be seen. Should we deny it outright and treat it dismissively because scientists can’t explain it? No. We continue studying and pondering on the topic, all while utilizing the very thing we’re unable to understand. Life is paradoxical like that. So much remains a mystery. Yet some place so much faith in human accomplishments and ingenuity that anything that falls outside of that which our sciences can readily explain winds up being treated as if inconsequential. To our detriment, I’ll argue.

8.) Harari speaks disdainfully of those who retreat away from this AI-dominated future vision, preferring instead to turn back toward traditional ways of life and the religions of old. He sees this trend as problematic, refusing to acknowledge that perhaps this too is a perfectly natural response for humans confronting a future that may very well spell our demise. Instead of having compassion for that reaction, he labels it as a threat. Which then gives me the impression that he’s actually in favor of this new world order he speaks of. (New world order = totalitarian in nature, tech-dominated, highly centralized, surveillance-infested, socially-engineered so much as possible, with the emphasis placed on our unity as persons on this globe, no longer citizens of nations.) Much as he seems to be warning us about it, he also appears to be pushing for it, hence why he chastises those who wish to break rank and seek a way to escape or fight back against it. That’s not too cool. Doesn’t sound like someone’s advice I’d care to follow.

So, those are my points of contention with what Harari wrote in the article, as well as what I listened to thus far from the podcast he went on with Sam Harris (uploaded yesterday):

Happened to be cleaning my guns while tuning in, which turned out to be a fine task while concentrating on a conversation of that nature. Then the phone rang and I’ve been distracted ever since. Decided to post this up before resuming listening.

If nothing else is certain to be true, I can safely say it’s a hell of a time to be alive.

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The next day: I have now listened to the following talk from Harari (uploaded a month ago):