What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?

What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the summer of 1989, I was beginning my third year at West Point. My summer assignments that year included what was called "Beast 1," followed by a "voluntary summer training" commitment as part of the West Point parachute team, followed by Airborne School in Fort Benning Georgia (even though I was already an experienced skydiver with hundreds of skydives, freefall skydiving is completely different from military-style static-line airborne operations, so I had to report to Fort Benning to go through Airborne School after spending almost two weeks skydiving about six times a day).

"Beast 1" meant acting as part of the "cadre" during the first half of "cadet basic training" at West Point, which since the early 1800s has been unaffectionately known as "beast barracks" and which consists of full-time indoctrination of the "new cadets" arriving for their first summer at the Military Academy. By indoctrination I mean very intensive inculcation (in the new cadets, by the "beast cadre") of a complex set of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes, drills, and responses which are completely different in many ways from the rules, norms, behaviors and attitudes which are drilled into us as we grow up in "normal" society.

Here's a photograph of me and one of my good friends from that summer (I'm on the left as you face the picture, and Scott is on the right) to give you an idea of the level of hostility that is generally involved in the process of foisting this new super-structure of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes and responses upon the new cadets during their initial summer at West Point:

beast 89.png

Not very friendly-looking young people, I think it is safe to say, especially if you happened to be a new cadet in the summer of 1989. By the way, at the time this photograph was taken, Scott aka "the Cyborg" could probably bang out over 100 pushups in a row without stopping to rest, and could easily run two miles in around 11:00 minutes and change (and, I believe, he probably can still do that today, almost three decades later).

Anyway, on this particular summer morning at West Point in 1989, we went through our usual routine as part of being the "Beast 1" cadre for the new cadets during the first half of their summer training, waking the new cadets up at a very early hour to conduct physical training (that day I believe it consisted of what were called "guerrilla drills" -- a variety of calisthenics and other exercises in a grassy field, involving a lot of crawling around in the grass until your face and body are covered in grass-stains), followed by personal hygiene, a couple of formations, breakfast at the mess hall, and then marching the new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall where they were receiving some kind of lecture in a large-group setting.

While the new cadets were sitting in Eisenhower Hall receiving their lecture or other training, only a small contingent of cadre members had to stay with the new cadets, and the rest of us had a break and could leave the new cadets in Eisenhower Hall for their lecture and come back to get them again in an hour or so. On this particular morning, I distinctly remember walking back from Eishenhower Hall after dropping off the new cadets for whatever lecture they were getting, and finally having a free moment to myself.

As I was walking back, I suddenly realized for the first time that day that it was my birthday. I was twenty years old.

Here's where I was at the moment, walking back alone and finally having a bit of breathing room to collect my thoughts:

image: Google maps.

image: Google maps.

If you are familiar with West Point, you can just barely make out the enormous red-brick wall of Eisenhower Hall rising up behind the little white "Gingerbread House" near the center of the photograph (this "Gingerbread House" can be seen in the 1955 movie Long Gray Line, the real-life protagonist of which is Master Sergeant Marty Maher, who was an instructor at West Point from 1899 to 1928). 

The "X" on the sidewalk shows how far I had walked, alone with my thoughts, after leaving my charges at Eisenhower Hall and getting a little bit of a break, before I finally remembered for the first time that it was my birthday. I had managed to get up that morning (prior to waking up the new cadets), lead physical training (involving plenty of yelling at new cadets in order to continue their full-court-press indoctrination), get through a couple of formations and breakfast (involving more yelling at new cadets), and then march my squad of new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall to drop them off without my brain ever registering the fact that it was my twentieth birthday. 

The point is that even though my mind "knew" that it was my birthday, the pre-occupation with rules, infractions, yelling at infractions, norms, behaviors, and the rest of the knotted maze of entangling social constructs that are part of life at West Point (and in particular, the even more extreme environment of "beast barracks," in which as a cadre member I was responsible for trying to imprint this same set of entangling constructs onto the brains of other young men and women going through their first weeks at the Military Academy) had kept me from realizing that fact for several hours.

It was only when I was finally alone for a few minutes with my own thoughts, walking back by myself along the somewhat empty stretch of sidewalk pictured above, that the significant (to me, at least) fact that "today is my twentieth birthday" could finally surface. Until that moment, I was not consciously aware of it.

What is the point of this story? 

It's not just a story about a real-life incident that happened to someone else (me) in a very unique environment (beast-1 cadre at West Point during the late 1980s), a situation to which very few people can probably relate unless they happened to go through military training themselves. As such, it might be "interesting" but not particularly "applicable" to the very different life experiences that each of us encounters from day-to-day, most of which don't involve the kinds of things that were part of my life in the summer of 1989. Indeed, that was such a different time and place that it seems foreign even to me today, almost thirty years later.

But in a sense, this little vignette is illustrative of experiences that we all go through as part of the process of interacting with the entanglements of society, no matter what country or culture (or decade) we live in -- and thus, even though those societal entanglements and indoctrinations are probably very different (on a superficial level) from the various norms, rules, behaviors and attitudes encouraged (and enforced) at West Point during cadet basic training, the fact is that none of us are free from the demands of the norms and rules and behaviors and attitudes that are laid upon us over the years as we grow up in a society and learn to interact with other people, and which can be envisioned as being like a complex "superstructure" of intersecting lines of yarn laid down over our brains as part of the decades-long inculcation we went through during our first couple decades of human life, and which continue to be adjusted, reinforced, or added upon as we go through life even after reaching adulthood.

These norms and behaviors and rules and expectations are rather demanding, absorbing a lot of our mental energy as we go through the day. They include questions like who gets to go first at an intersection when we are driving, or what kinds of clothes we can wear to work, or which tasks out of the many demands on our time we decide to address first, and a host of other relationships with other people that we negotiate on a daily basis. Often, we no doubt find ourselves becoming angry at another driver who is not "following the rules" or "going out of turn," or we have to spend energy at work addressing issues that result from others making choices that we don't agree with, and these kinds of issues absorb our thoughts and our attention in very much the same way that the various demands of cadet basic training absorbed my thoughts and attention that morning in 1989, to the point that I did not even consciously realize that it was my birthday until several hours (and several dozen or more interactions with other people) had been navigated.

It was not until I was actually alone with my thoughts for a few moments that a piece of information, and a piece of information of great importance (to me), was able to surface to the point that my conscious mind became aware of it.

Obviously, I had known all along, somewhere beneath the surface of my conscious awareness, that it was my birthday that day. If I had not known it, then the realization would not have popped into my conscious mind once I got away from the entangling demands of acting out my role as a beast cadre-member. I knew it, but I did not become aware of it until I had a moment of time alone. At that point, the realization surfaced and I became conscious of the fact (to my surprise) that it was my birthday.

I only share this (rather personal) story because I believe it illustrates a point which can be helpful to our lives every single day. Our conscious mind operates inside of its own self-imposed (or society-imposed) constructs, navigating an incredibly complex set of rules and decision-trees and hierarchies and relationships as part of the process of functioning within a society that includes other people. 

All of these tasks and judgments and decisions are necessary and important. 

However, they can (and do) so distract our conscious mind that it regularly overlooks and misses an enormous amount of important information that is available to our subconscious, or to the part of our being that operates beneath the "tangle of yarn" imposed like an artificial meshwork maze over the  very tip-top of the iceberg that is our deeper consciousness.

This neglected part of ourselves is aware of an enormous amount of information that we would find to be of tremendous importance, if we were to become conscious of it. However, unless (as in the story above) we somehow get a "moment to ourselves" to relax our focus on the tangle of yarn, so to speak, we can remain in complete ignorance of even the most obvious knowledge.

That's why regularly spending time alone with your subconscious (or whatever term we want to use) is incredibly valuable and necessary, and appears to have been practiced in ancient cultures around the globe. Ancient disciplines such as meditation, or the practice of Yoga, or the practice of drumming or shaking a rattle at a specific rapid beat for a sustained period of time, or the chanting of mantras (including mantras containing the sacred syllable "OM" or "AUM"), were passed down from one generation to the next as vital tools for stilling the chattering of the superficial mind on a daily basis, in order to spend time listening to our deeper subconscious and our wider being. 

Practices such as those mentioned above (and many others) can enable "messages" or insights or realizations to bubble up to our conscious attention, in much the same way that the realization that it was my birthday suddenly bubbled up into my conscious mind as I was walking back along the sidewalk pictured above on that summer day long ago.

Indeed, there is abundant evidence which suggests that our subconscious mind is actually aware of more than we can possibly explain -- that our subconscious is in fact somehow tapped into sources of awareness which could not be available to us through our five physical senses alone. Examples include the experiences, too many to simply dismiss as "coincidence" or "superstition," of those who receive premonitions about loved ones far away, only to have those premonitions confirmed later (these premonitions are not always negative in nature, either -- for example, in the harrowing story of young Norman Ollestad's descent from the side of a steep ice- and snow-covered mountain after a deadly plane crash in 1979, the premonition of more than one person brought them out to a road where they were able to see Norman after he had made his way down off the mountain -- even though nothing in their five physical senses could have detected Norman's presence on that day). 

In a very real sense, our subconscious appears to transcend the boundaries of the physical self and connect to a wider realm which is not bounded by laws we can explain through physics. Indeed, it may be that this part of our wider being is the connection to what the ancient myths of some traditions refer to as our "Higher Self," and which is dramatized in the countless world myths involving twins (one of whom is often divine, while the other is mortal), including Krishna and Arjuna, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Polydeuces and Castor, Eros and Psyche, Jesus and Doubting Thomas, and many others.

When we realize that quieting our chattering "superficial mind" is a way of spending time with and listening to our subconscious (and perhaps even to our Higher Self), then suddenly meditation (or the other similar disciplines which we can incorporate into our daily lives) no longer seems like a "chore." Instead, it is a way of spending time with someone very close to us, someone who indeed cares about us very deeply, someone we should not neglect -- and someone whose help we can use on a daily basis. Why would we not want to do that? Why would we not want to do that every single day?

Spending time quieting our superficial mind, and setting aside its entangling "maze of yarn," does not mean that those various norms and social structures and rules and customs that we have learned and incorporated into our lives are worthless or unhealthy -- indeed, they are necessary for interacting in a society that contains other people, and for navigating our way through the range of complex situations in which we find ourselves on a daily basis. To say that these learned structures are unimportant would be as foolish as to say that stop signs and lane dividers and all the rules of safe driving are unimportant: as long as we have to negotiate roads on which there are other drivers, the very complex set of laws and customs of the road are necessary.

But if we do not regularly give ourselves a chance to take a break from living within those artificial structures and entanglements, then we are very much in the situation that I was in, in the story related above, in which my focus on all the minute-by-minute minutia of cadet life (and in this case the very artificial, albeit very demanding, constructs of West Point's "beast barracks" indoctrination program) caused me to remain blissfully unaware of something I should have known, for quite some time, until I had a chance to "pause" and my mind became aware (as if out of the blue) of something it hadn't been focusing on at all.

I have had many experiences in more recent years in which my conscious mind would "receive" an answer or a "message" or an insight about something that I had been pondering, often upon waking up in the morning (when my conscious mind was shut down, but my subconscious was obviously still active, and used that "little break" in the scurrying and clattering of the conscious mind to deliver the "answer" to me that I had been looking for).

I am convinced that it is through the pathway down below the conscious mind that we make contact with the inner connection to the Infinite which the ancient myths portray again and again in various episodes and adventures, in sacred traditions from virtually every culture around the globe.

Basing his arguments on the evidence that he found in myths from around the world, Alvin Boyd Kuhn in his 1940 masterpiece Lost Light declares:

The kingdom of heaven and the hope of glory are within. They lurk within the unfathomed depths of consciousness. Divinity lies buried under the heavier motions of the sensual nature and the incessant scurrying of the superficial mind. 46

In the image at top we see a famous statue from ancient Egypt, depicting the 4th dynasty king Khafre, thought to have lived somewhere around the time we call 2500 BC (or BCE, if you prefer). Behind the king's head, and in fact invisible from the front, we see the falcon-god Horus -- perfectly depicting the concept of the Higher Self or connection to the Infinite, to which we all in fact have access, at any time.

This image, in fact, can be helpful to consider while beginning to meditate, or to spend time with your own subconscious or deeper and wider consciousness.

Looking at this ancient statue, we might ask ourselves, "Why would we not want to spend time each day getting in touch with our own subconscious -- or, indeed, our own Higher Self?"

I am thoroughly convinced that doing so has tremendous benefits. We may not hear "mystical voices" (when I realized that it was my birthday, that realization did not come to me in the form of a voice -- and when some insight about some issue or question that I am working on makes itself available to my conscious mind upon waking up in the morning, for example, or while sitting in meditation, it just arrives as a "thought," and not as a "voice" -- at least in my own personal experience, although for others it might be different). But we will undoubtedly be made aware of things which we might otherwise have overlooked.

I also have a suspicion that regularly spending time setting aside the superficial tangle of yarn made up of the norms and value-judgments and societal expectations that we have absorbed can help us to be less "fanatical" about "enforcing them" on others (less likely to fly into a rage, for instance, when someone else doesn't observe the expected strictures, and "cuts" ahead of us in traffic, for example).

And I am convinced that this very important teaching can be found to be at the heart of many ancient myths, given to humanity in most remote antiquity, for our benefit and blessing -- and pertinent to our lives even in this modern day and age, even in our "ordinary" lives, even if we are not in the middle of cadet basic training, and on all three hundred sixty-five (and a quarter) days of the year, and not just on our birthdays!

Seizing Venezuela's natural resources is an Affront to the Gods

Seizing Venezuela's natural resources is an Affront to the Gods

Above is a new video I've just posted entitled "Seizing Venezuela's Natural Resources is a Grave Assault on the Rule of Law."

If you still believe that the united states stands for the "Rule of Law" -- well, the coup attempt currently underway in Venezuela should be a wake-up call.

The preceding post argued that fiscal austerity has as its ultimate goal the privatization of the natural resources given by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature) to the people of a nation. In the above video, you will hear National Security Advisor John Bolton of the united states announce that the goal of the overthrow of the elected government of Venezuela is to have "American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela." 

In other words, the current leaders of the united states are not happy that the elected government of Venezuela has chosen to "invest in and produce" the natural resources with which their nation has been blessed by the divine realm, for the benefit of their own economy and their own people. The current leaders of the united states would prefer to have "American oil companies invest in and produce" those natural resources instead.

The natural resources of Venezuela were given to the people of Venezuela. If the government of Venezuela wants to use those resources to benefit Venezuela, instead of opening them up to foreign corporations (for the benefit of the shareholders of those foreign corporations), then that is the right of the people of Venezuela, who elected that government more than once, in monitored elections.

For the current leaders of the united states to engineer a coup d'etat in order to replace the elected government with a puppet who will happily sell-out the natural resources which belong to the entire nation (in exchange for a piece of the revenues to be obtained from those stolen resources) declares to the world, "We only support democracy and elections up to the point where the results benefit our corporations and our ability to privatize your nation's natural resources."

In the above video, you will hear united states National Security Advisor John Bolton declare that Juan Guiado is the president of Venezuela, even though Juan Guiado was not elected by the people of Venezuela but instead declared himself president on January 23, 2019 (and was simultaneously declared president by current leaders of the united states and some of their client states, indicating collusion between Guiado and the leaders of the united states whose interests he serves). 

In the above video, you will also hear united states National Security Advisor John Bolton declare that any action taken against Guiado (who himself has called the elected government illegitimate, urged its overthrow, and declared himself the new president) by the elected government of Venezuela will be viewed by the united states as "a grave assault on the rule of law."


So, by making such pronouncements, the current leaders of the united states (engaged in an active coup d'etat against the elected leaders of another sovereign nation, in order to seize the natural resources given to that nation by the gods) attempt to robe themselves in the mantle of the so-called "rule of law" -- a preposterous and transparently ridiculous claim to which they have no right under heaven.

Apparently, this coup d'etat is on behalf of "democracy and prosperity in Venezuela" -- because the "rule of law" now means that if the men and women of another nation vote in a way your nation does not like, then you can overturn their vote (in the name of "democracy"), and if the elected leaders of another nation decide that they want to use the natural resources given to their nation for the benefit of the people of their nation, then you can seize their natural resources and develop them with the corporations of your nation (in the name of "prosperity")!

Thank goodness for the "rule of law"! What would the men and women of the world do without this "rule of law" and those who so diligently support it? If we didn't have such defenders of the "rule of law," how could private corporations and well-connected individuals and families seize the natural riches of the earth given by heaven for the benefit of the people? 

Anyone who pays any attention at all to such developments cannot help but conclude that the united states no longer cares about democracy, the will of the people, or this vaunted "rule of law" which its leaders constantly invoke in support of their serial coups around the globe (if indeed it ever did care about such things).

However, such a conclusion is deeply unsettling and even threatening to the paradigm or vision of the world which is pounded into citizens of the united states from their earliest days in school and which is reinforced by lying media from all directions and on a continuous and ongoing basis. To the degree that one's conscious mind has incorporated such propaganda into one's own identity and "sense of self," evidence which exposes the lies upon which these mental structures or constructs are built will be viewed as dangerous and hostile, and may be vigorously resisted and even mentally filtered out. 

As explained in the previous post, our conscious mind is quite capable of buying into constructs which do not accurately reflect reality at all, although our subconscious (which detects and absorbs far more information than does our conscious mind) can and does know what is going on, even if the subconscious is filtered out by the conscious mind. 

Thus, it is quite possible for men and women who have bought into (and even built their own identity, at least in part, upon) assertions such as: 

  • "the united states is the world's leading democracy, and a proponent of democracy and a defender of democracy around the globe," and

  • "the united states stands for the glorious 'Rule of Law,' unlike more benighted countries of the world where they don't operate under a 'Rule of Law' like we do," and

  • "the united states is for 'free markets,' which is related to the 'Rule of Law' and means that we like to 'let the market decide,' unlike more benighted countries of the world where men and women foolishly hanker after socialism, which is pretty much the same as worshiping the devil,"

to actually filter out and refuse to see the plain evidence being played out in front of their very eyes which indicates that the present leaders of the united states does not care about democracy and the expressed will of the people of Venezuela whatsoever, nor do they care about free markets or the rule of law, but instead they are perfectly willing to brazenly engineer a coup d'etat in order to overturn the expressed will of the people and seize the assets belonging to the men and women of another sovereign nation, in complete disregard for their oft-repeated reverence for the sacred "Rule of Law" and the concept of "free markets" (except to the extent that "free markets" means "free to trample over any laws which stand in the way of private profits").

Even for those who are so committed to the paradigm expressed in the above ridiculous assertions, however, it is impossible for their subconscious to see the brazen coup d'etat presently being inflicted upon Venezuela (only a few years after a similar coup d'etat was inflicted upon the people and elected government of the Ukraine, which itself was only a recent manifestation of a pattern which has been going on for decades and even for more than a century in the foreign policy united states) and to reconcile this coup d'etat with the professed ideals of "democracy," "freedom," and "Rule of Law."

Again, to employ the brilliant characters developed for the long-running popular television series "The Office" (united states version), without implying that these actors would in any way agree with the assertions made in any of my blog posts, the conscious mind and its (often unrealistic and idealistic constructs and sense of self) can be likened to the cringe-worthy and often clueless (albeit good-natured and generally likable) regional manager Michael Scott, pictured below:

As we look at the above image, we can imagine him repeating mantras such as "Rule of Law" and "free markets" and "good for the economy" and "at least it's not socialism!"

At the same time, as discussed in that preceding post, our subconscious is not so easily fooled by the constructs and mental structures which the conscious mind has built up and to which it clings for safety and for the preservation of identity. It perceives much more of what is going on in the surrounding world (and indeed in the wider universe itself, to which the subconscious appears to have a mystical and inexplicable connection). As the conscious mind repeats, "Rule of Law," and "overthrowing the government on behalf of democracy and prosperity," the subconscious mind responds:

Such a massive disconnect will inevitably create a "schism" within our own psyche, resulting in a background level of angst or anxiety which our conscious mind cannot necessarily explain or even detect, but which will impact everything we are doing and feeling as we are going about our lives.

Those who are perpetrating these crimes against the rights of men and women -- and indeed crimes against heaven and against nature itself -- rely upon their ability to reinforce the false paradigms and constructs which keep our conscious minds clueless and oblivious to what is actually going on in the world around us. They will reinforce those "talking points" and artificial structures relentlessly using mass-media and carefully researched propaganda techniques, and will vigorously attack any counter-narratives that become too popular or begin to show signs of demolishing the mental structures that they have diligently imposed upon the minds of the populace (especially their very useful and longstanding "fear of socialism" framework, which is showing increasing signs of strain and may begin to crumble despite their best efforts to maintain it).

For a previous video opposing the smug commentators who for the past several months have been loudly proclaiming that Venezuela's crisis is a natural consequence of "socialism" and a textbook example proving that "eventually you run out of other people's money," see this post from September of 2018.

Engineering a coup d'etat against another sovereign nation in order to seize their natural resources is a grave affront to the gods (or, if you prefer, "the divine realm," or Nature), who are the source of those gifts and who gave them to the men and women whom they allowed to be born in that nation.

That this coup d'etat is being engineered in the name of "democracy," "freedom," "prosperity," and the "Rule of Law" is an affront to those concepts and an insult to those who actually support them.

That this coup d'etat is being done in the name of the citizens of the united states (and in the name of the citizens of other nations including Canada, France, UK, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iceland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Ecuador, Australia, and many others) is a profound misrepresentation of those men and women in those countries who actually see what is going on and who are revolted at such a criminal act of aggression being perpetrated supposedly with their support or consent.

With this blog post and above video I am hereby voicing my strongest condemnation of this illegal and despicable attempted coup against the people and government of Venezuela, and I urge others to oppose it and raise their voices in whatever way possible, including through participation in nonviolent protest, to help stop this grave violation.

It is well past the time to shake off the mental cages which we ourselves have constructed (out of tinkertoys given to us from the time we were very young, and reinforced by an overtly dishonest mass-media apparatus) and which keep our conscious mind happily insulated from the reality that is going on all around us, imposing a deep schism and sense of alienation and anxiety upon the human psyche, while at the same time enabling the crimes and depredations of those oppose democracy, freedom, and human dignity, along with their cynical collaborators who are willing to sell out their own nations and fellow citizens for a share in the dishonest gain.

Austerity is an Affront to the Gods

Austerity is an Affront to the Gods

Here is a video I made entitled "Austerity is an Affront to the Gods," which refutes austerity-mongers who are presently to be found in control of both the "right" and the so-called "left" (who are not really left) in most nations of the global west.

The term "austerity" as used here means "fiscal austerity," which seeks to limit the ability of elected governments representing the people to use fiscal policy (including sovereign spending and tax policy) to influence the economy for purposes of full employment and economic benefit. 

Austerity in practice involves increasing taxes and reducing sovereign spending on infrastructure and on social welfare. 

Austerity has been implemented to a greater and greater degree since the rise of "monetarist" policy beginning in the late 1970s and especially after 1980; the monetarist school wants to supplant fiscal policy (implemented by a nation's elected representatives) with monetary policy (implemented by central banks), using monetary policy almost exclusively to manage the economy and trying to encourage full employment and price stability, even though monetary policy is a very clumsy instrument for these tasks and actually admits to using increased unemployment as a counter to inflation.

Austerity reflects a vision of scarcity rather than a vision of plenty. It is enabled and sustained by a general lack of understanding of the abundance of the natural resources given to a nation by the gods (or, if you prefer, by Nature), including the most important gift of all which are the talents and abilities and ambitions of the men and women whom the gods (or Nature) allow to be born into that nation.

Advocates of austerity (whom we could legitimately label "austerity mongers") seek to limit the ability of a nation to implement fiscal policy to such a degree that spending on infrastructure and social welfare is drastically curtailed, taxes are increased (or threatened to be increased for any increased spending on infrastructure or social welfare, which we are told we "cannot afford" otherwise), underemployment and unemployment rise which means that men and women are unable to fully use their gifts (given to them by the gods, or -- if you prefer -- by Nature), and standards of living are dramatically reduced.

Ultimately, the end result of austerity policy, as explained by Professor Michael P. Hudson in a quotation included in the above video and cited from an interview he gave in February of 2014 (the entire interview is linked in this previous post), is the straitjacketing of representative government to the degree that it must sell off natural resources to private parties (corporations or hyper-wealthy individuals), a process known as privatization -- which has, not coincidentally, increased at a steady pace since the implementation of monetarist austerity regimes beginning around 1980.

Professor Hudson explains:

And stage two is when the governments have to pay by selling off the public domain: the land, the natural resources, the forests, the ports, the electrical systems, the natural monopolies, and the infrastructure -- the roads and the bridges -- and the economy's turned into a tollbooth economy, and so you're going very rapidly back to feudalism.

Austerity mongers on the right typically argue for privatization and for drastic cuts to spending on social welfare (but not cuts to spending on military arsenals and standing armies). Austerity mongers on the supposed "left" typically argue for increased spending on social welfare but for simultaneous massive increases in taxes on the people, consistent with the paradigm of austerity -- and they are usually not opposed to privatization either (in fact, many of them argue for more of it).

Ultimately, as this video attempts to demonstrate, the entire paradigm of austerity is built upon a false and even "upside-down" vision of the world, including the role of the sovereign government in the creation of money, as a small but growing group of economists in the so-called Modern Monetary Theory school have demonstrated. The MMT economists show that men and women have been basically deceived with a bunch of claptrap about how macroeconomics operates, and which actually has nothing to do with reality.

I would argue that this situation is very much illustrative of many other situations in which our "conscious mind" has accepted a false paradigm or framework which actually goes against reality and nature itself. In these cases, I would argue, we actually know deep down (in our gut, in our bones, or in our subconscious) that the vision we have accepted and under which we are operating is completely false -- and yet our conscious mind may not know it. 

Our conscious mind is quite capable of accepting a false paradigm, reinforcing it, and operating as though it is true -- even to the point of filtering out evidence which challenges that false paradigm, in some cases to the point of actually not seeing something (or telling ourselves we didn't see something) which would upend the false paradigm in which our conscious mind is operating. 

Meanwhile, our subconscious is not so easily fooled, and actually knows the truth -- creating an internal schism and a kind of alienation from one's own self which is extremely characteristic of the modern world. 

To illustrate using the brilliant characters created for the popular television series "The Office" (united states version), without implying that these actors would in any way agree with things asserted in this blog, I have in the past compared the conscious mind and its constant chatter to Michael Scott, who often appears to "believe his own line" even when it is obviously ridiculous, with a kind of unshakeable good humor and cringe-worthy self-confidence:

Meanwhile, our subconscious mind (which is aware of much more of what is going on around us and even in the wider universe than is the conscious mind), is not so easily amused, and not so ready to accept the elaborate paradigms and constructs which the conscious mind buys into:

If we see increasing numbers of hungry, homeless men and women in the streets and yet continue to tell ourselves that the economy is just fine (and even "nearing full employment"), then I would suggest that it is very likely that we have (in our conscious mind) bought into a false construct of one sort or another (see top picture, above) but that deep down our subconscious mind knows better (see bottom picture, above) and we will then be living with a kind of "schism" within our own psyche, creating a background level of angst or anxiety which our conscious mind cannot necessarily even detect or explain, but which will influence everything we are doing and feeling as we go about our lives.

The same situation would apply to a man or woman who knows deep down (at the level of the subconscious, which detects much more than does the conscious mind) that his or her wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend is having an affair, but whose conscious mind refuses to see the evidence, in order to maintain a paradigm or world-view or sense of self which is not in line with reality and which eventually will likely come crashing down (but, until it does, the disconnect will create a deep sense of background anxiety and general psychic discomfort).

I would argue that much the same thing is going on with regard to massive criminal events such as the collapse of three steel-frame high-rise buildings into their own footprints on September 11, 2001, supposedly due to "fire": our conscious mind can (desperately) cling to the false narrative which is constantly repeated for our acceptance (see top picture, above) even though our subconscious mind knows deep down that this narrative cannot possibly match reality (see bottom picture, above). The threat to our paradigm and vision of the world is so great that our conscious mind will resist looking at or even refuse to see things which threaten the paradigm or structure or vision of the world which the conscious mind has constructed.

The good news is that the ancient myths given to humanity are all about showing us how to heal the schism between our conscious mind and our subconscious mind, in every way.

This fact explains why the ancient myths remain so relevant to those who are trying to fool humanity, impose austerity on men and women, and take for themselves and their cronies the gifts given by the gods (or, if you prefer, by Nature) to the people of various nations.

And it explains why going to the ancient wisdom given in the world's myths, scriptures and sacred stories points us to the solution for the schism we find within ourselves, and in the wider world around us.

Happy Lunar New Year and Propitious Year of the Pig!

Happy Lunar New Year and Propitious Year of the Pig!

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Happy Chinese New Year, a Lunar New Year, to all readers far and near!

Chinese New Year is determined using a lunisolar calendar, in which the actual date is determined by the New Moon, but anchored to the solar cycle.

This year, the 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal signs brings us to the twelfth sign of the cycle, the Year of the Pig.

The Pig is a propitious animal in Chinese culture, associated with Yin energy, compassion, and generosit

The Pig is also associated with wealth. Those who have taken the time to learn Chinese characters know that the symbol for the word which signifies family or household, pronounced jia in Mandarin and gaa in Cantonese, is a symbol representing a pig underneath a roof:


While dogmatic advocates of the ideology of materialism typically resist any suggestion that the heavenly cycles (including the annual cycle related to the earth's relationship to the sun and the changing background of stars "behind the sun" as we travel through our orbit each year, as well as certain longer cycles including the background of stars through which the faraway planet Jupiter will move as it goes through its roughly twelve-year orbit around the sun) could have an impact on our feelings, behavior, or situation here on earth, the nearly universal belief exhibited by ancient cultures around the world that the changing positions of our planet relative to the other planets and the sun and moon can have an impact on events in our lives suggests something beyond mere "superstition" or "pre-scientific groping for explanations" about our natural world.

Indeed, as pointed out in the preceding post, the fact that our subconscious mind can sense and perceive information which is overlooked, ignored, or even actively filtered out by our conscious mind (which has its own agenda, including defending its own self-constructed "identity" and world-views or paradigms which it has built up or borrowed or adapted in its attempts to make sense of the world in which it finds itself) is beyond dispute. 

Often, our subconscious will provide us with answers, insights, or intuition which does not come from the efforts of our conscious mind. For instance, pioneering chemist August Kekule (1829 - 1896) reported that one day while pondering the problem of the chemical structure of the hydrocarbon benzene, he slipped into a kind of reverie or daydream state in which he saw a snake grasping its own tail in his mouth -- and upon waking realized that this vision provided him with the solution to the problem (the benzene molecule consisting of a hexagonal ring of six carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms). 

Whether or not Kekule was just making up an anecdote or actually slipped into a dream state and saw the serpent he described, these "answers from the land of dreams" are actually a fairly widespread phenomenon which many readers will recognize as having occurred at some point in their own life, as discussed in this previous post. More than once, I myself have had similar revelations in which an answer is present after waking up to a problem I was thinking about the night before. These insights and answers cannot be said to have come from the conscious mind, since the conscious mind is "unconscious" when we sleep, although the subconscious continues to operate.

Indeed, the subconscious mind is so sensitive, powerful, unfettered, and wide-ranging that in some cases it seems to perceive or tap into sources of information that "should not" be available to it, if its only source of input comes from the five physical senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and scent. The subconscious mind at times appears to be able to gather information available "at a distance," or even perhaps available to the subconscious mind of other men and women. In some cases, it is possible to argue that the subconscious mind at times appears to be sensitive to information that comes from the Invisible Realm itself.

Given this understanding, it is not unreasonable to consider the possibility that the subconscious can and does gather information regarding the impact of phenomena, motions, and alignments far beyond those perceived by the conscious mind, or even considered possible to detect by the conscious mind -- to include the arrangements of the planets or the relative positions of the earth and the moon or the earth and the sun. 

If our subconscious receives information, feelings, sensations and vibrations from our surroundings including the height of the ceiling or the arrangement of the furniture or the shape of the room in which we are standing or sitting or working at any given moment (and I would argue that our subconscious most certainly does receive and absorb such information), then it is certainly possible that even more distant arrangements, including the various geometries and gravitational tugs created by the relative positions of sun, moon and planets, could perhaps be registered in our subconscious, regardless of the fact that our conscious minds tell us that such a thing is completely impossible.

Presently, from our perspective in the inner solar system, the mighty planet Jupiter is positioned such that it is located "in" the constellation of Scorpio (in other words, the stars that we see as the constellation Scorpio form the "background" or "backdrop" for the planet Jupiter when seen from our perspective). Last year at this same time, the planet Jupiter was in the preceding zodiac constellation, of Libra, and next year at this time Jupiter will have moved along its roughly twelve-year orbit to a position "in" the constellation of Sagittarius (which follows Scorpio in the zodiac). 

Is it not possible that the position of this enormous planet, as well as the positions of the other large bodies in our solar system (to include the central sun, as well as our nearby moon, and the other planets on their orbits) might create subtle changes in the environment around us which our subconscious can read and absorb, even as our conscious mind remains blissfully unaware of such changes (and even as most of the constructs we create as part of our identity as a "modern man or woman" exclude without any hesitation the very possibility of such perception, let alone the possibility that these changes could impact the way we feel or behave)?

This question is all the more intriguing in light of theories put forward over the course of the past century or two which suggest that the actual orbits of the planets themselves might be responding to influences from other dimensions beyond the three dimensions which we normally acknowledge (but which may not be the only dimensions that exist, at all). For more on that subject, see this previous post entitled "The gods are real."

As that post suggests, it is very possible that there are certain actors on the world stage who are very much aware of the sensitivity and power of our subconscious (and its possible ability to make connections that even go as far as other dimensions and other realms), and who may be incorporating such alignments into their own plans.  

However, the ancient wisdom available in the world's myths indicate such power can (and indeed should) be used for beneficial purposes, in order use our own gifts as effectively as possible, for our own benefit and for the benefit of others (see for example this previous post).

As we reach the point of another Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year, these are very important subjects to consider. It is certainly a part of the year which is taken very seriously in a large part of the world -- a time for giving respect and reverence to the gods, and to one's own ancestors who made our own existence possible.

At this start of a new Lunar New Year, I am grateful to all who interact with the ideas I share in this blog and in my books and videos, and wish all of you a very Happy New Year and a propitious Year of the Pig!

Paul Selig reveals a secret menu that's available to all of us

Paul Selig reveals a secret menu that's available to all of us

Here's a fascinating interview conducted by Andy Zaremba of Vancouver Real with Paul Selig, who has learned to listen to the voice or voices of what he calls "the Guides" and to convey the message of what he hears for the benefit of others.

Below is an audio version of the same interview, if you prefer (as I often do) to listen while driving,  while taking a walk, or while doing a task such as washing dishes:

As you listen to the interview, you will at times hear Paul beginning to hear the Guides and repeating their message verbally, with the words sometimes coming through so rapidly that it is almost impossible to distinguish the words, which he will then repeat at a more conversational rate for the benefit of the listener.

Where are these messages coming from?

It would seem that the words are coming so fast and yet with a meaning so coherent that it is difficult to imagine that they are the product of Paul's conscious mind. Having listened to the interview more than once, I would suggest that Paul has either become capable of hearing and repeating messages from his subconscious mind or capable of hearing and repeating messages from outside of his own mind entirely (from what the world's ancient myths and sacred stories refer to in various ways, as the Other Realm, the Invisible Realm, the realm of the gods).

Does it matter whether these messages are coming from the subconscious or from another realm?

I would argue that this distinction is actually not very meaningful, since we don't really even know "where" the concept we call "mind" actually resides.

The question of whether these messages are coming from "within" Paul's mind or from "outside" of it will primarily be of interest to those individuals who want to deny the possibility of the existence of anything outside of the material plane of existence, those committed (at an ideological level) to the categorical rejection of even the possibility that anything might exist outside of the realm of matter.

Those committed to such a dogmatic position will reflexively deny any explanation which leaves open the possibility of anything which operates beyond the laws of physics which help us to explain the operation of matter in the physical universe. Those committed to the doctrines of materialism to such a degree will often claim that even the barest admission of the possibility that anything could operate on a non-physical level would undermine everything we know about physics and shatter any scientific progress that has been made in understanding the way matter operates, which is actually false and quite an illogical position to take.

It is particularly illogical in light of the fact that overwhelming evidence has demonstrated that the phenomenon we refer to as "consciousness" cannot be explained as being generated by physical, chemical, mechanical interactions in the structures of the body alone, and indeed overwhelming evidence suggesting that consciousness appears to operate and reside in some sense "outside of" or "beyond" the physical structures of the body. Two previous posts touching on just a tiny sliver of the evidence for the ability of consciousness or "mind" to transcend the physical limitations of the body include "The ideology of materialism" and "Crazy for the Storm, and the inner connection to the Infinite."

Even if we want to argue that the messages Paul is receiving are coming from his subconscious mind, we should by no means discount the power of the subconscious to perceive and to know things which completely escape our conscious mind -- and the ability to listen to what is already present in our subconscious would be potent and life-changing.

In addition, our subconscious (if that's what we want to call it) seems to at times have the ability to tap into knowledge which, by the strict laws of physics, would be beyond what could be gathered through the five physical senses of sight, hearing, taste, scent, and touch -- such as when we receive a premonition regarding a family member or loved one who is far away (a phenomenon which has been documented so many times that it cannot be dismissed as simply a coincidence or an illusion). 

Thus, I would argue that whether we want to say these messages are coming from "the subconscious" or from "the realm of the gods" is actually immaterial. It might be more accurate to say that we make contact with the realm of the gods through our subconscious -- and that any technique or practice which enables us to tap into that source of information, whether that technique is clairaudience, meditation, or any of the numerous ways of entering into a shamanic trance state which have been practiced in all cultures around the globe for millennia, should be considered valid, particularly if it provides access to the unbelievable power of the subconscious mind, and through it the divine realm.

While I am convinced that certain individuals appear to have a specific gift giving them special levels of access to the hidden realm, the Other Realm, it is also quite certain that every one of us has a subconscious -- and thus access to realms of knowing that are beyond what we normally perceive with our conscious mind. I myself have had many occasions while thinking about a particular myth when I went to bed thinking about a certain question or problem, and woke up with the solution the next morning (insights into a myth and its meaning often far beyond where I had finished the night before) -- a solution which clearly could not have been delivered to me by my conscious mind (which was not operating while I was asleep) but rather by the subconscious.

So, I myself don't really get hung up over the question of whether the Guides that Paul is channeling are "outside of" his own mind or not: I certainly do not think the channeled messages are the product of his conscious mind, and if we want to say that they are coming from his subconscious mind, I would say that the subconscious mind is incredibly powerful and that the subconscious mind appears to have access to information beyond what can even be gathered by the physical senses -- which means that it appears to be in contact with the realm of the gods, and to be a channel through which the gods can make contact with men and women.

Materialist science at this point cannot even tell us where consciousness resides or how it arises, and thus if a materialist feels more comfortable saying that these messages come from the subconscious mind, that's pretty much the same thing as saying that they come from the realm of the gods, in my opinion.

Wherever the messages are coming from, the things Paul is relaying in some of the things he has heard, and which he discusses in the above interview, appear to me to be very much in accordance with many of the central themes of the messages conveyed by the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories -- such as the reality and existence of a Higher Self (or, as Paul refers to it, "the True Self") with whom we can become more attuned during this incarnate life, helping to free ourselves from our own self-imposed (or societally-imposed) limitations on what we can actually accomplish and what we should be accomplishing.

Beginning at approximately the 0:59:00 mark in the interview, in response to a question from Andy about how we can go into the unknown if we don't know what's possible, Paul says:

Well that's because the "small self" knows itself through history.  And the Guides say again and again, you know, nothing can be claimed until it's first a possibility. So the example that they've used fairly often, you know, when they teach, is that we're always "ordering off of the menu of what we think we can have." Now, you know: clairaudience wasn't on my menu when it showed up -- it really didn't exist: I didn't think in those terms -- it was an odd thing, and I had to understand it, through the experience with it in an ongoing way. But it exists! And it can be had. And there are people who come to the workshop sometimes, and they're opening up psychically after the fact, and perhaps only because, you know, they're with somebody who says, "You know, this is possible." And suddenly it "becomes" possible. It's always been possible, but it's been unclaimed. So imagine, you know, you're going to the Thai restaurant, and all of a sudden you want the pasta, you know, you want the meatballs. You assume you can't have it. But you don't know: I mean, there may be a whole other menu that's available to you, and to all of us, of potential, that we haven't begun to claim.

A little while later in this same part of the discussion, Andy asks if it is when we begin to align with our True Self that other possibilities begin to open up for us?

Paul responds:

I get: "Yes!" Absolutely: because you're not limiting yourself to what you've had. 

This would appear to be some very important wisdom to contemplate carefully.

An example from ancient myth which comes to mind (to me) might be the situation we see in the Odyssey, Book Five -- when we are first introduced to Odysseus in person, and find him languishing on the island of Ogygia, in the middle of a trackless ocean, a prisoner of the nymph Calypso. He is stuck in the same place that he has been stuck for many years, seemingly unable to move forward or to go back, tormented by the knowledge that he has something else he should be doing (namely, being a husband to his wife Penelope, and being a father to his son Telemachos, as well as civic responsibilities he should be performing as the king of the island of Ithaca).

What changes?

A message comes from the gods, delivered by divine Hermes, and Calypso releases Odysseus and tells him he can go home. In other words, the ancient myths themselves illustrate to us a situation in which breaking out of being stuck takes place as a message from the divine realm "puts an option on the menu" which previously seemed impossible.

Thus begin the memorable adventures of Odysseus on his journey home recounted in that ancient epic, during which time and time again Odysseus himself admits that he would certainly have perished, had he not been attuned at certain critical points to the voice of the gods (particularly the goddess Athena, and also on occasion Hermes). Indeed, it can be argued that one of the things which distinguishes Odysseus from all others in that epic is his willingness to be attuned to the messages from the divine realm and to listen to what they are saying to him.

Thus, the Odyssey can quite convincingly be argued to show to us that each and every one of us needs to be attuned, like Odysseus, to the messages from the gods (or, if you prefer, from the subconscious, which I personally would argue is a conduit for the divine realm, but which at the very least has access to information and knowledge far deeper than that available at the superficial levels on which we usually operate and upon which we often base our decisions and our actions).

How can we listen more regularly to our subconscious -- and perhaps to messages coming from that realm of the gods to which Odysseus was listening?

I would suggest that one way is through regular practices which help us to tune down the constant  scurrying and chattering of the conscious mind and to spend time with our subconscious, such as through various types of meditation, or through shamanic drumming, or the repetition of mantras, or chanting, or through many of the other disciplines which men and women have used for millennia for this very purpose.

I would also recommend considering the important concepts Peter Kingsley explores in his amazing book In the Dark Places of Wisdom, some of which I discuss in a recent video here

And, if you want to learn more about Paul Selig and his means of listening to the messages from the Guides, you can check out one of his workshops, one of which is coming up in Vancouver on February 23 and 24.

Finally, I would suggest regularly spending time with the world's ancient myths, which by their very nature (as stories) speak more directly to our subconscious than to our conscious mind -- and may well have been designed to help us to see beyond the menu of what we previously believed possible.

Descending into Darkness

Descending into Darkness

Above is a new video I've just made, entitled "Descending into Darkness."

The video explores celestial aspects of Revelation chapter 9, in which the bottomless pit is opened, and the constellations and region of the sky which it is describing, as well as its connections to other mythological themes relating to the same heavenly features, and some aspects of the profound message these myths may be trying to convey to our understanding.

I hope you will enjoy it, share it with anyone who may find it to be helpful, and investigate some of the concepts it is discussing.

Previous posts which relate to some of the themes examined in "Descending into Darkness" include:

90 years after the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is up to us to continue his work towards creating a society where "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless"

90 years after the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is up to us to continue his work towards creating a society where "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless"

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- born this day in 1929, ninety years ago this year.

As everyone knows, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a towering champion of justice, democracy and human dignity, and a courageous and tireless opponent of oppression, racism, segregation, poverty and colonialism.

His life and message was one of opportunity for all. His message was against fear, against violence, and against the idea that giving opportunity for one group necessarily required taking away opportunity from another group.

In a text he wrote in 1961, entitled "After Desegregation, What?" speaking of those involved in the movement on college campuses against segregation, he declared:

The problem is not merely a racial one, with Negroes set against white; rather, it is a tension between justice and injustice. Therefore, their movement is not aimed against oppressors but against oppression.

In his participation in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he stood against segregation -- and also for full employment. 

His message was not just against the oppressive structures of racism and oppression, but also included a positive vision of creating a society in which men and women could attain their full potential, and "the achievements of the human mind and heart would be limitless" (see "After Desegregation, What?" page 7).

This focus on the positive was absolutely essential to Dr. King's message and plan of action. Indeed, in the same text he declares:

This constructive program is a basic part of any genuine non-violent movement, for non-violence is essentially a positive concept. Its corollary must always be growth. Without this broad range of positive goals, non-cooperation ends where it begins (5).

Dr. King's message was so powerful because it realized that violence is only a negative tool, and that it could be overcome by positive action -- indeed, that it could not stand against positive action, if only enough people could be awakened to what is right, and emboldened to act on behalf of what is right. 

This same message can be heard very clearly in one of his very first public speeches calling for a stand against injustice, at the mass meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association in December of 1955, in which he pointed to the unjust arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to relinquish her seat on a public bus, and called for a non-violent boycott of the buses of the city and municipality.

At that meeting (transcription here), Dr. King announces:

We are here, we are here this evening, because we're tired now. And I want to say that we are not here advocating violence. We have never done that. [. . .] The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest.

The power of that message was such that it woke people up, around the country and around the world, in a way that violence never could have done. 

But it is now up to us to heed his message and continue his work, to prove that justice is stronger than violence.

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).