Category Archives: current events

We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions — E.O.Wilson

excerpt 1:Very few species, however, have made the leap from merely social to eusocial, “eu-” meaning true. To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson’s definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice “at least some of their personal interests to that of the group.” It’s tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn’t you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge.

excerpt 2: Our hypersocial spirit is both a great blessing and a terrible curse. Experiments have shown that it is shockingly easy to elicit a sense of solidarity among a group of strangers. Just tell them they’ll be working together as a team, and they immediately start working together as a team, all the while attributing to each other a host of positive qualities like trustworthiness and competence—an instant five-star customer review.

Yet we are equally prepared to do battle against those who fall outside the fraternal frame. In experiments where psychologists divided people into groups of arbitrarily assigned traits—labeling one set the Blue team and another the Green, for example—the groups started sniping at each other and expressing strong prejudices toward their “opponents,” with the Greens insisting the Blues were untrustworthy and unfair. The “drive to form and take deep pleasure from in-group membership easily translates at a higher level into tribalism,” Wilson says, and can spark religious, ethnic and political conflicts of breathtaking brutality.

Wilson also traces what he considers the tragedy of the human condition to the private struggle of us versus me. He sees us as a kind of mixed economy, the complicated fruit of a sharply disputed process known as multilevel selection. By this reckoning, some of our impulses are the result of individual selection, the competition of you against everybody else for a share of life’s goodies. Other traits are under the sway of group selection, prompting us to behave altruistically for the sake of the team. It appears our individually selected traits are older and more primal, harder to constrain, the ones we traditionally label vices: greed, sloth and lust, the way we covet our neighbor’s life and paper over our failings with pride. Our eusocial inclinations are evolutionarily newer and more fragile and must be vociferously promoted by the group if the group is to survive. They are the stuff of religions and Ben Franklin homilies and represent the virtues we admire: to be generous, kind and levelheaded, to control our impulses, keep our promises and rise to the occasion even when we are scared or disheartened. “The human condition is an endemic turmoil rooted in the evolution processes that created us,” he writes. “The worst in our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be.”

E.O.Wilson’s New Take On Human Nature

rijksmuseum

rijksmuseum

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
And you in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
And one who can’t move.
But where are the clowns?

Just when I’d stopped
Opening doors,
Finally knowing
The one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again
With my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
Nobody there.

Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want –
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here.

Send in the clowns – Stephen Sondheim

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Guitars vs Erasure

Henry Grimes-bass, Chad Taylor-drums


Trump’s great political insight was that Obama’s time in office inflicted a profound psychological wound upon many white Americans, one that he could remedy by adopting the false narrative that placed the first black president outside the bounds of American citizenship. He intuited that Obama’s presence in the White House decreased the value of what W. E. B. Du Bois described as the “psychological wage” of whiteness across all classes of white Americans, and that the path to their hearts lay in invoking a bygone past when this affront had not taken place, and could not take place.

That the legacy of the first black president could be erased by a birther, that the woman who could have been the first female president was foiled by a man who confessed to sexual assault on tape—these were not drawbacks to Trump’s candidacy, but central to understanding how he would wield power, and on whose behalf.

Americans act with the understanding that Trump’s nationalism promises to restore traditional boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality. THE NATIONALIST’S DELUSION, Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

Kurt Seligmann 1938

You cannot tale what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere. —Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

h/t Desperado Pbilosophy’s writing on Ursula LeGuin, Words In Freedom .

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Days After The Day After

Aired November 20, 1983 to a worldwide audience of over 100,000,000 viewers. Nukemap

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#MeToo #notMe, Yes, of course me

metoo-png-Milano

Definition of Sexual Harassment via NotSurprised.org

‘We Are Not Surprised’: Read the Blistering Open Letter That Art-World Women Wrote About Artforum
The list of signatories is growing by the hour. artnet News, October 30, 2017

It seems to me consistent with the old fashioned archetypal view of hidden complexes and incumbent courses of social action and social response that the election of President Priapic would promote an intense and heartfelt compensation. This has begun to transform relations in the patriarchical social structures.

(Also, archetypically related to this are the sweep of the athletes protest against state violence against minorities and #blacklivesmatter.)

Personally, the questions for me are what might I experience, act, and, communicate differently? As soon as this had bubbled up, I spent an afternoon with my artistic collaborator Kathy to discuss our first creative collaboration. She took me to school not on sexual behavior or harassment but on entering and being present and self-aware in the sacred space of her studio. This is precisely where my attitude needs the most adjustment. For many men this is where the transformation could begin. For others the call beckons in a more fundamental direction.

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Alt-normal

http://squareone-learning.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Alpha-Male-v-Beta-Male.png

This graphic itemization is a precise folk catalog. It is normative and counter-reactionary given our current climate. Thank you for taking back the concept of alpha male; as far as this goes. Following from Luce Iragaray, I would hope there is a sorting through and beyond the androcentric claims. However, the boys of the alt-right, gamergate, red pill culture, are irredeemable. The Alpha female and her practical divinity remain in the shadow of the rude boy culture of our present and presentist problem.

(My fascination with the masculinist ideologies followed from my learning of the alt-right and the culture of so-called neo-reaction. This all was a consequence of my hoping to track cultural trends during the several years of the recent presidential campaign. Even though the religiously self-indulgent Trump is not in anyway a credible icon of the goal-oriented masculine idealization on offer from the arch masculinists of the alt-right, all of the rightward aggression found at the level of the aggrieved white male, follows from Trump’s racist and misogynist call to ‘reaction.’)

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Socially Engaged For Just an Aggressive Moment

TW-The-Genius-of-the-Deplorables-(2017)-9x18-Rijks-Museum-Stephen-Calhoun-copy

Roots-of-An-Approval-Rating-(2017)-10x18-Rijks-Museum-Stephen-Calhoun

TW-Your-Post-Modern-Republican-Party-(2017)-(8x18)-Rijks-Museum-Stephen-Calhoun

TW-Trumpocracy-(2017)-12.5x18

My art practice is not directed to be socially engaged in the conventional ‘art world’ sense of my intent and the work itself referring to social problems or political challenges. (In noting this, if I needed to, I would make a case for its capacity-building potential at the scale and level of individual consciousness. This increase in self-awareness may fund constructive benefits in the social domain.) However, I am a bit of a trickster, so i noted upon visiting the Rijksmuseum’s digital collection that they allowed for open use of available downloads of digitized images from their vast collection, Plus, upon request, the museum could supply to artists hi-resolution images. One has to ask nicely it would seem. Because I had previously manipulated purloined images (via Google image search,) of favored Flemish proto-surrealists of the 16th and 17th century, when I revisited the online Rijksmuseum I had already hatched an idea.

These four works are the result.

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Eclipse Coda

Eclipse 2017: One Nation Under The Sun | NPR from NPR on Vimeo.

If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. 
If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. 
If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.
—Lao-Tzu

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Zeitgeist 2017

SelfiePoint

h/t thinkingoutsidetheagora.blogspot.com

Alexey Kodakov

Alexey Kodakov

photo

Tellitlikeitis

TrumpBoss

pc

Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon, Raktabij, and Kali

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Age of the Scary Clown Has Commenced

trump-scary-clown

Ongoing notes on what may transpire now that a literal crazy person is our 45th President are here.

230 Things Donald Trump Has Said and Done That Make Him Unfit to Be President

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Hope and Walking

Vicki and Barb

Vicki and Barb

I haven’t been able to devote anywhere near as much time to volunteering to help elect Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the first woman President of the United States of America. Yet, today is finally the day where the people will make their choice.

I feel confident but know the election is going to be close, because our country is not only polarized, its two polar tribes are close to one another in size.

It has been enjoyable to return to the GOTV staging house in South Euclid and hang out and watch the ladies and the feminine spirit in action. Hat tip to the one million volunteers, to Lucy and Carol and the Shaker Square team, and, over the last several days to Janet, Sherry, Vicki and Barb.

I hope Trump gets squished like a bug!

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Zeitgeist, Autumn 2016

z2-MakeAmeriKKAGreat

Whoever the “rapist of Persephone,” whether it be Cephisus or Dionysus–and the Eleusinian Mysteries were carried out near the river Kephisos, indicating a link between the two gods–the disordering attack must be reexperienced and lived through, else the redemption of soul will not progress. The way is as much through chaos and death as it is through ecstacy and joy. (Nathan Schwartz-Salant, Narcissism and Character Transformation, p145.)

But, when the narcissistic structure escapes its trial, and the public figure soaks up the larger-than-life projections, projections based in the similar refusal or resistance to soul-making regression, then there is no depressive breakthrough, there is just the steady march to psychzoid splitting.

z2-howtoz2-GOPoops

W.H. Auden:
Patriots? Little boys,
obsessed by Bigness,
Big Pricks, Big Money, Big Bangs

z2-Crone-Power

Without a blow to inflated phallic pride no wisdom is possible. – Eugene Monick

z2-systemfailure

There’s a lot of trending collective identifications streaming wildly about as the USA aims to land its messy electoral democracy on the landing strip November 8. I ask myself what the point of my own research (into folk political economies cast under the light of archetypal psychology,) is when I also sense that it is almost pointless to reveal my abductions under the current circumstances.

That the potential battle of all against all is fantasized by ‘white nationalist manly types’ as arriving at an extremely violent battle of all against all, at a literal civil war, because this is the only way the joined forces of global finance, Democratic and GOP party establishments, non-white races and ethnicities, feminists, so-called social justice  warriors, cultural marxists, environmentalists, may be finally defeated, stitches together a prospective tyranny of what is, by definition, a minority.

Practically, then what? Psychologically, might such warriors actually contemplate being killed for such a cause?

I remind myself that those with the time to fantasize always are pointing at the conflict between different utopian wishes for be-all and end-all social engineering. On a blog I have been visiting for over a decade, the ethos of its main commenters decries the utopian dreams of Mrs. Clinton ‘and her kind,’ without any ability to sense that all anti-utopias are nevertheless prescriptions for utopian engineering.

Those utopian dreams are, obviously, projections. The infantile /nobody is going to tell me what to do anymore/ is joined in our body politic with the masculine’s damaged feel for its lost potency.

So it seems that the ultimate fantasy is to return to manly swordsmanship. Not in the least incidentally, this mimics the dream and aims of another ripping collective of damaged men, daesh/ISIS.

‘obsessed by bigness, big wins, “winning so much winning will become boring.” Tyranny of the chaotic masculine, of the paradoxically powerful impotent tiny men, would beckon, except this collective thrust is about to be turned back.

Whether this particular collective complex will turn back into its self enough to own this new trial, and to begin to individuate, is the deeper question.

Numerous complex specifics of the current societal context in the USA aren’t supportive of this psychological shifting in the underlying currents.

(To me, there are significant questions about whether the archetypal framework for understanding conspecifics of collective change can actually do developmental duty here.)

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Persuasion, What Me Worry?

MAD-Magazine-Trump

Mad Magazine – used without permission

Trumpbert

Scott Adams, author of Dilbert cartoons, has been blogging about Donald Trump’s persuasion abilities for nine months. Adams styles himself as an expert on persuasion too, so it is no accident that he highlights Trump because he has his own books about persuasion to sell.

Adams is bold in his estimation of Trump’s abilities, believing, or having come to be persuaded, that Trump is one of the greatest of all persuaders, and, the proof of this will be articulated by a landslide election victory over Hillary Clinton. The gist of Adam’s theory of persuasion is drawn from his thin but supple comprehension of decision-making theory in cognitive and social psychology. Supple is a key qualifier because for Adams persuasion at its highest Trumpian levels is an all-purpose explanatory theory, even when it topples into tautology; ‘one is persuaded because one is persuaded, after all, every preference is produced by persuasion of some sort.’

There is a lot of research about the element of emotion and identification to be found in preference-making, decisions, and choice-making. Additionally, with the popularization of Kahnemann, Haidt, and Tsversky, and with other treatments of cognition “in practice,” and with prolix internet venues for virtual argumentation, more than ever more, people are aware of various cognitive biases, the fallacies of informal logic, and, other tactical means for making one’s own point.

Adams makes the distinction between 2D and 3D persuasion, with the latter being the realm where masters, such as Trump, practice the jedi arts of persuasion. Apparently, these advanced capabilities can arise naturally or be taught. Presumably, the capabilities operationalize a model concerned with emotional construction, but Adams is silent about specifics while he traffics in the broad brush provided by Trump’s ongoing demonstrations of efficacy.

Suckerbert

Adams is crafty! He knows that the psychology of preference-making, etc. will survive the falsification of his own folk-psychological prediction. He is one of the most successful cartoonists in all of human history. His prediction’s failure won’t change that fact. And, he knows should Trump win by landslide or squeaker, the hundreds of acolytes he has persuaded to praise his theory, will claim for Adams, victory.

(Note too: a theory of persuasion is only robust of it also can account for a person not being persuaded. Adams does not, wisely, go “there.”)

There are three aspects, among many, worth highlighting. First, the Dilbert blog has brought together over the last six months a commentariat that mostly consists of Trump fanboys. Adams was compelled to ban overt racists and Nazi sympathizers. Nevertheless, his blog collects together all the unusual suspects of the largely pro-authoritarian alt-right. The blog’s sociological mix is fascinating, and, at the same time it horrifies by showcasing the animosity and triteness of white male victimhood. Trump is their guy!

Second, the blog catalogues all the comeback lines of argument used to beat back opinions/facts contra-Trump. Many of Trump’s advocates on the Dilbert Blog style themselves to be hyper-rational, even objective, and so, for such advocates, support of Trump is a no-brainer. But the actual arguments, albeit repetitive over months, are unintentionally hilarious.

Lobotomybert

Third. Following from this no-brainer advocacy, irony rules the day on the Dilbert blog. Very early on it became obvious that many of the Trump supporters on the Dilbert blog ‘think’ alike on a single matter: ‘we have thoughtfully reached our conclusion, whereas everyone else will be subject, or prey, to Trump’s 3D powers of persuasion.

Reason for me, persuasion for you!

This makes the blog immensely more amusing–well, for me at least. All the dodgy and immature and even shocking commentary brought to bear on behalf of, and take your pick, white supremacy, men’s rights, red pill culture, biodiversity, anti-liberalism, anti-social justice, sovereign segregation, neo-monarchism, anti-feminism, sexism, Nrx, neo-traditionalism, racial segregation, anti-collectivism, (on and on might the litany go,) are each presented as being the product of objective reason rather than each position being the result of the bearer having been at some point suckered into their abject belief by a master of 3D persuasion.

Adams deploys a 3D hedge, but it doesn’t help the Trump supporters in the commentariat because these same supporters are so enthusiastic about the amazing (!) match between their prior support of Trump, and, Adams’s vaunting of their man’s abilities. The hedge is: as far as elections go, 3D persuasion only has to be effective with a portion of the electorate. This clearly doesn’t account for his theory’s lack of explanatory power, but it does open things up for pro-Trump commenters.

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Zeitgeist, Summer 2016

four-horsemen_zeitgeist

Buddha&Cat

The risk of inner experience, the adventure of the spirit, is in any case alien to most human beings. ~Carl Jung; Memories, Dreams and Reflections

trumpwich

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Another Vector of Contemporary Cultural Intrapsychic Polarization

UFOs

July 7: www.inquisitr.com/3283007/ohio-ufo-chased-by-military-helicopters-gigantic-un-earthly-ufo-filmed-over-cincinnati/

Just the other day, I seem to have taken a photograph in our garden of a UFO no bigger than a marble.

Garden-UFO

So if Hillary Clinton is running for president, why is she talking about UFOs?

Part of the answer may be that the Clintons have ties to a network of influential people who have lobbied the government to disclose the truth about UFOs. This includes the late millionaire Laurence Rockefeller (who funded John Mack’s research) and John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s campaign and a long-time disclosure advocate.

But there may also be a broader cultural cycle at work. Sociologists such as Christopher Partridge have suggested that disenchantment leads to re-enchantment. While secularisation may have weakened the influence of traditional churches, this doesn’t mean that people have become disenchanted sceptics.

Instead, many have explored alternate spiritualities that churches had previously stigmatised as ‘superstitions’ (everything from holistic healing to Mayan prophecies). The rise of scientific authority may have paradoxically paved the way for UFO mythology.

A similar change may be happening in the political sphere where the language of critical thinking has been turned against the scientific establishment. In the 1960s, Congress deferred to the Condon Report.

Today, conservative politicians regularly challenge ideas like climate change, evolution and the efficacy of vaccines. These dissenters never frame their claims as ‘anti-science’ but rather as courageous examples of free inquiry.

Donald Trump may have been the first candidate to discover that weird ideas are now an asset instead of a liability. In a political climate where the language of reason is used to attack the authority of science, musing over the possibility of UFOs simply doesn’t carry the stigma that it used to.

Joseph P. Laycock, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Texas State University.

excerpt: The Reason Why People Are Believing In UFOs Again

JungUFO

the problem of the Ufos is, as you rightly say, a very fascinating one, but it is as puzzling as it is fascinating; since, in spite of all observations I know of, there is no certainty about their very nature. On the other side, there is an overwhelming material pointing to their legendary or mythological aspect. As a matter of fact the psychological aspect is so impressive, that one almost must regret that the Ufos seem to be real after all. I have followed up the literature as much as possible and it looks to me as if something were seen and even confirmed by radar, but nobody knows exactly what is seen. In consideration of the psychological aspect of the phenomenon I have written a booklet about it, which is soon to appear. It is also in the process of being translated into English. Unfortunately being occupied with other tasks I am unable to meet your proposition. Being rather old, I have to economize my energies. Carl Jung letter to The New Republic’s Gilbert Harrison (1957)

The Symbol of the Hybrid Human/Alien Child in the Abduction Phenomenon: Rebirthing within the Psyche and the Psychosomatic Imagination
Robert J. Williams (pdf)

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Take A Hike Payday Loan Queen

Screw-You-DWS

The ominous and/or scammy front side of this envelope did not entice me to open it, but then I flipped it over prior to pitching it.

Then I thought of the truly horrible Debbie Wasserman Schultz and what kinds of framings for pitches she might have learned as a patron on behalf of the truly evil payday loan industry.

In December, she, along with many members of the Florida delegation, signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation that would limit the federal government’s ability to regulate payday lenders in states, like Florida, with payday protections. But consumer rights groups and Canova say Florida’s laws don’t go far enough: In Florida, the average interest rate on payday loans is 304 percent, and the average payday loan customer takes out nine loans over the course of a year, according to data compiled by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Often, the result is consumers becoming caught in a cycle of debt. “It just perpetuates, with one loan paying for another paying for another,” says Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a nonprofit group lobbying for stronger payday lending protections. In April, Frisch’s group launched a campaign to highlight Wasserman Schultz’s support for the bill—including two billboards along high-traffic roads in her home district labeling her “Debt Trap Debbie.” Frisch also points out that, since 2004, Wasserman Schultz has accepted $68,000 in campaign contributions from payday lenders, including Amscot Financial, whose founder, Ian MacKechnie, pleaded guilty to civil racketeering charges in 1998 to avoid a criminal prosecution. Wasserman Schultz spokesman Ryan Banfill points out that $68,000 represents only about 1 percent of the congresswoman’s fundraising since 2004, and calls Frisch’s attacks “a little unfair.” And, he says, Wasserman Schultz also recently signed on to a bill by Democrats Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon and Elijah Cummings of Maryland designed to protect consumers from predatory payday lenders. Newsweek Why Don’t People Like Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The Newsweek article is a snow job. DWS failed miserably in the 2014 mid-terms.

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The Very Soaked, Very Dry, World

via The Guardian, UK

via The Guardian, UK

Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA, is 950 feet above sea level. We could probably take tens of thousands of climate refugees. I do not know what the effect of climate cahnge will be on the great lakes. Hey, I can look it up!

Forbes Magazine tells me “the great lakes are benefitting from climate change.”

Nature Geoscience, February 8, 2016 – Cooling and societal change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age from 536 to around 660 AD

PDF: Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region – Union of Concerned Scientists, Ecological Society of America

Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (i.e.,Glacial Rebound): The Great Lakes basin is, in effect, tilting over time as the result of the land rebounding after regional glaciers retreated about 10,000 year ago. The southwestern end of the basin is falling relative to the center of where the past glacier existed. This makes water levels in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, appear to be rising. At the same time, water levels in the northeastern portion of the basin (e.g., Georgian Bay, Ontario) appear to be dropping. This rebound accounts for about one foot of water level change (rising or dropping) in a person’s lifetime (International Upper Great Lakes Study 2009).

Climate change: Annual average air and water temperatures are rising and future climate models
project continued warming, which contributes to higher rates of evaporation. Projected future
precipitation amounts, rates, and annual variability in timing of wetter and drier periods vary by
model.

PDF: What Could Changing Great Lakes Water Levels Mean for our Coastal Communities? The Nature Conservancy

But what does all of this mean for water levels in the Great Lakes? This is an important question; after all, our current infrastructure around the Lakes, from ports and canals to beaches and boardwalks, were designed and built based on the water levels experienced throughout the Twentieth Century. This is a far more complicated question than the one facing coastal cities along the oceans that are contending with sea level rise due to glacial melt and thermal expansion of water. Water levels in the Great Lakes will be determined almost entirely by levels of precipitation and evaporation, as well as by the quantities of water removed from the watershed through consumption or diversion. A further consideration is that water levels are controlled at two points; at the outflow from Lake Superior, and at the outflow from Lake Ontario, as regulated by the International Joint Commission. This suggests that the Lake Superior, as the upstream lake, will serve as the bellwether for the rest of the lakes. How Will Climate Change Affect the Great Lakes? Earth Institute, Columbia Univ.

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Magical Inflation of the Pick-up King

If you regard honesty and humility as virtues, which I think most Iowans do, his ridiculous boasts demand derision. He’s the business genius who brags about screwing his investors and who has declared bankruptcy as often as some people overdraw their checking account. He sports the world’s silliest comb-over and makes fun of other people’s looks. He’s the tough guy who never served in the military, never risked his life or his interests for anyone other than himself, and disparaged the service of a decorated veteran.

He promises to make America great again and rejects the ideals and decency that made us great in the first place. Trump isn’t a fascist. He just says stupid, offensive things, seems unaware we have a Bill of Rights, and surrounds himself with aides who appear to have graduated first in their class at the Baghdad Bob School of Awesome Ass Kissing. Fascism is an ideology. Self-aggrandizement isn’t. -Mark Salter, Esquire

(Psychologist Howard) Gardner said, “For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous.” (from Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In! Henry Alford, Vanity Fair)

Trump is a masterful pitchman on behalf of his own self-interest because of the way he helps his supporters unconsciously understand that their own self-interests are impotent. I attribute his ability then to seal the deal with slabs of (Girardian) scapegoating to his insecurity, especially his sexual insecurity.

(Trump from the perspective of my own sense of cultural complexes represents the realization of the shadow of the so-called neoreaction.)

Logos domination can lead to a degree of detsruction only hinted at by chthonic phallos behavior. The highest potential of masculine solar consciousness–spirituality, intellectual and institutional leadership–can tyrannize whatever is considered to be in error, whoever cannot “measure up” (an oblique reference to the interest males have in phallic size.) The tyranny is all the more devastating due to the cultural admiration of solar masculine attributes, behind which the shadow qualities fester. (Eugene Monick, Phallos, Sacred Image of the Masculine, Inner City Books)

It’s worth noting that in the psychological sense, given somewhat old fashioned ways of framing such phenomena, there is a strong cultural complex at work in our society that has to do with the unconscious restoration of phallic power. For the purpose of observing this we can look to Trump’s ‘priapic’ approach as being the natural attractor for the unconscious projections of the contemporary wilted masculine, and, the impotence of its various white-skinned tribes.

For me, it seems obvious that Trump is carrying the projection that makes of him the greatest vigilante possible: one issued by and sprung from tired pale loins. Revenge, finally revenge! Trump is the daddy who solves the problem and never asks question later; or, as Trump has put it, “People won’t like what it is necessary to do.”

As Dr. Carl Jung noted, ‘if you stack enough rifles in a warehouse they will go off all by themselves.’

The fantasy of the good guy shooting the bad guy is, obviously in these terms, a sexual fantasy, and the only possible result in the collective sense is the eventual orgy of badly aimed money shots; shots hopelessly exploded for the unconscious sake of gaining a moment of tumescent identity.

As I like to put it: the dream of being an effective vigilante requires a great deal of unconsciousness, and, a ‘swollen head.’

Then there are the urgings of the holler:

If there is more risky intrapsychic group attitude than that which attaches to another person’s parental persona mixed up with a sexualized complex, I’m unaware of it. This group’s ideational scaffolding to get to the point of supporting Trump is, in a word, frightening. That this evidently is evoked by the deeply energized unconscious misogyny of Trump has me hope this collision between one man’s shadow and collective won;t have any staying power.

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Syria, Remember Me

photo: Addison Independent

photo: Addison Independent

Deborah Felmeth married a Syrian man and lived a life with one foot in Vermont and another foot in Damascus, Syria. She taught music and movement and yoga in both places. Then, all hell broke loose. I don’t know the status of her husband’s family in Damascus three years into the terrible civil war.

A gifted photographer, she took pictures over the twenty or so years she lived in Syria half of every year. Her documentation provides an affirming gift of spirit amidst the tragedy of pride-induced violence, criminality, and nihilism.

Deborah’s video trailer (on Facebook) for the book is heart rending.

Syria, Remember Me (web site) | Facebook

Interview Coyote Network News

November 4, 2015 interview iTunes with Mike Smith (Vt. WDEV)

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Annals of Flight: Don’t Fly Drone Near Large Bird

bonus:

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Sam Harris Solves the Problem of Islamic Faith

Shortly after viewing the intensely puerile tag team tussle betwixt Affleck/Kristof/Steele and Maher/Harris (on Real Time With Bill Maher, October 3rd,) I knew it would take a little while, but that I would soon get an email sent from the ramparts of the Integral Empire pointing out that the Real Time combatants just don’t get religion like the Wilberians in actuality do get it.

Sure enough, on the 18th, Dustin DiPerna weighed in on The Daily Evolver (email newsletter) with Bridging the Chasm: Sam Harris, Ben Affleck, and a Needed Dose of Integral Theory. In turn, although the link back is not available in the newsletter, Mr. DiPerna contributed a longer article to Integral World, the safehouse for heterodox views of the integral. Finally, at The Daily Evolver itself is Jeff Salzman’s article/podcast Dog and God.

Predictably, came the appeal to the integral framework’s notion of levels in the flux of person and religious system.

DiPerna: Islam, like all of our world’s great religious traditions, is enacted according to the specific levels of development of the actors involved. To be sure, Islam has a particular shape and flavor that has consistency throughout all interpretations. Folks like Harris tend to emphasize the consistent dimensions of faith, often intentionally highlighting the aspects that many consider the most challenging to stomach, as a methodology to provoke or even dismiss entire traditions as “bad ideas”. But just as each tradition has a flavor and shape itself, it is equally true that every human being has a lens and worldview that brings forth particular elements of the tradition according to the world that he or she can see. There is not one version of Islam that is either “Good” or “Bad” but there are at least five versions of Islam, all dependent upon specific levels of interpretation. Each of these levels is not arbitrary. The levels are consistent across traditions and can be correlated with very specific stages of psychological development.

Whether we use the work of Harvard researcher James Fowler’s Stages of Faith or the early models of developmental progression found in the works of Jean Gebser, we see a very similar metric that can be used to explore five basic levels of development. These levels can be referred to using the shorthand terms: magic (Stage 1), mythic (Stage 2), rational (Stage 3), pluralistic (Stage 4), and integral (Stage 5). Each level has particular characteristics and hallmarks of how it shows up in the world. Furthermore, each level has both moderate and extremist orientations.

If an interpretation is dependent, and decisively dependent upon the lens and worldview discoverable at the scale of the individual–and this is implied by religion enacted according to the specific levels of development of the actors involved–then there are as many versions of a religion at such a scale as there are actors.

This follows from DiPerna’s organic analysis that uses the blunt conceptions, via Jean Gebser, of integral analysis. A reader such as myself then can anticipate the arrival of the prescriptions.

DiPerna. Integral orientations (as with all later stages) sees the entire spectrum of growth and development. In doing so, this stage of religious orientation seeks to build bridges connecting various levels of interpretation. Understanding that everyone starts the developmental process at stage 1, this level sees the importance of building conveyor belts of potential growth and development in each tradition. Rather than merely sitting in a circle in dialogue (as the Pluralistic level might do) the integral stage combines discernment and compassion acknowledging that some views are broader, more compassionate and more inclusive than others.

In his podcast, Dog and God, Integral insider Jeff Salzman will get to this same Stage 5. (His discussion of religion in the context of stage of development begins at 11m into the podcast. download )

A reader such as myself, (having followed along with the Integral framework since 1979,) can anticipate the arrival of the prescription.

DiPerna. Rather, what is needed is the critical comprehension that individuals, with different levels of development, are enacting Islam (and all other religious traditions) according to their own worldviews and levels of development. And even more importantly, we must come to the understanding that there are paths that can be highlighted that can help individuals move along that developmental spectrum from magic, to mythic, to rational, to pluralistic, to integral versions of each tradition. As development unfolds, interpretations of faith move from being more restrictive, ego-centric and ethno-centric in view to orientations that more compassionate, open, and world-centric.

Sam Harris, transcript of the clip: 

There are hundreds of millions of Muslim, who are nominal Muslims, who don’t take the faith seriously, who don’t want to kill apostates, who are horrified by ISIS, and we need to defend these people, prop them up, and let them reform Islam.

Harris’s view is obviously crude and unreal, and, for someone who spins dimes into bullion on the anti-mythic religion trail, his prescription is shockingly and shamelessly a product of his being deeply ignorant about what religions generally are about, and how religions come to change–let alone, be reformed.

Salzman’s cop from DiPerna is less crude but is no better:

Integral teacher and scholar Dustin DiPerna, also inspired by the Maher/Harris/Affleck flap, wrote a terrific essay for Integral Life on how development trumps religion.

Were Salzman, DiPerna, and Harris deep critics of their own biases, I’d have some hope for the development of better prescriptions with regard to the problem of religiosity and its variable contexts. Although, I don’t know of anybody in the post-conventional community who is so devoted to such radical solutions that he or she is willing to evangelize for free, directly to the target audience. As far as I can tell, Harris mostly preaches his degenerate prescriptions for religion to people who already have ejected themselves from religion’s clutches, or, have little experience with religion.

It would be quite remarkable for it to someday be demonstrated to be the true case that religions actually are driven to evolve in the direction promoted by the Integral idealization, an idealization itself rooted in the nowadays diffuse and defused transpersonal and noetic counter-culture of the late sixtes and early seventies. Wilber’s own philosophy soon enough came to be reactionary, constitute a logo-therapeutics, realize a messianic brand and industry, and engage a magnificently one-sided, touchy but no feely, developmental track today termed the Super Human Operating System. Could this be the inkling of the first world post-religion?

This is to suggest that those higher Integral stages are themselves geared to enlighten, but, at the same time, in the shadow of those later, higher stages, are currents strong enough to evoke the clearly promethean demiurge that supposes the point of a human life is superior development, and, this is given so as to, among many effects, trump religion, blind the religious as it were by the light of higher consciousness, bend the lower stage aspirational wills by contact with consciousness liberated from its worldly objects.

This leads to the chicken/egg problem that can bias investigation of religion. This problem is in extremis in the Integral milieu. The problem clearly comes to the surface when, for example, Harris offers a potential for reform of Islam to be caused in the crucible of ambivalence. I take this lightly to be a person speaking about changing something he is innocent of. Do we understand what the amiable endpoint of Islam will be, from being able to conjure a Fifth Stage?

I consider the Integral view on religion to be largely incapable as a hermeneutical tool. Still, it would be a remarkable coincidence if it turns out Ken Wilber has in fact discovered the optimal stages of human development, and these, as DiPerna states, have come to trump religion!

Harris? Salzman? DiPerna? Wilber? Does such a person carry close to them a criticism of their own prescription? After all, at least with all the starry-eyed advocates for centauric development, it can be presumed he or she has developed powerful tools with which to deconstruct and parse via the AQAL, and further analyze, and, process via the ironic turn, the beneficial and costly ramifications of their own prescription, and such prescriptions would be born from their own experience, biases, expertise, and ignorance.

The complexity of human and social phenomena was long ago subsumed by the abject claim, given here by DiPerna, “Integral orientations (as with all later stages) sees the entire spectrum of growth and development.”  Certainly, as a social cyberneticist and Batesonian, the analytic operating methodologies for systematically evaluating spectrums of growth and development as expressed in Wilber’s own body of work is amusingly and ironically reductive, naively one-sided, rarely counter-factually argued in a very spotty literature, and, is shamelessly innocent of the apparently dull details of, to name two gigantic fields of study, psychology and religion.  So, you say “entire” and I hear: gigantic.

There was a time around the turn of the century when Ken Wilber’s vision for the Integral Theory was that it needed adherents to go into the academy and become better schooled and eventually some exchange and synergy and informed evolution on both ‘sides’ might result. But, then stuff happened, and Wilber didn’t ever lead this charge. Instead, he built with help, the Integral Technologies, technologies just recently termed the Super Human OS.

Install this OS and trump really old stuff?

schuon_esoteric_exoteric

Meanwhile, neo-traditionalist, ‘not-of-the-world,’ radical Takfiri Salafism, can’t be understood to center Islam, but, those particular jihadi offshooters are on an intensely devotional mission to convert the unbeliever everywhere, or be martyred making the attempt.

I doubt a unitarian-like revolt from the fringes could make a difference, Mr. Harris.

My own prescription only has to do with what anybody might decide to do in taking initial steps for the purpose of understanding any complex human matter, such as religion, or a religion.

First, how do you identify what your tool set will be?

What are the given problems and opportunities given by where you start your investigation from?

What are the nature of your biases ?

What frameworks and tools for knowledge/sense-making are congenial or seem to carry a prospect for intrinsic motivation?

What do you need to know firstly?

Where will you start, and why start there?

How will you gather up resources and mentors?

What will be the qualitative measure of your inevitable partial understanding?

What will you not understand if you are unwilling to “do” or experience the religion?

Second, speaking very broadly, there are fields for investigation of religion, and religions. For the anthropologist, religions are largely in the local context of historical and present-day development and concrete practice at the small scale where individual, family, community practices, beliefs, representations, imperatives and prohibitions are able to be studied. How is this all to be understood to be a driver and sustainer of, or otherwise support, individual and group actions, practices, beliefs, knowledge?

For sociologist, religions are largely in the larger scale context given by how institutions and relationships between social groups come to bear upon both local practice and the organization of local practices, beliefs, representations, imperatives and prohibitions into the larger social scales, and, organizational practices and routines, of a society or well-defined group. How is this all to be understood as a driver and sustainer of institutions and their practices?

For modern historians, the development of a religion asserts how a religion came to center or otherwise instantiate crucial social impacts and changes at the scale of community or tribe or group or nation or region or continent or planet, and, at all of those scales altogether.

Psychologically or social-psychologically, the nature of religion refers to its aiding cognitive cum psychological organization of individual and intrapsychic and intersubjective and group: identity, meaningfulness, symbolic systems, inheritable interpretation of history, ethics, birth/life/death, family, theories of mind (or consciousness,) development, aspiration, and relations to the profound objects and possibilities larger than one’s own single mortal self. In a psycho-anthropology, how is this all to be understood to be a driver and sustainer of, or otherwise support, individual and group actions, practices, beliefs, knowledge?

There are also many other fields and disciplines, like philosophy of religion, plus, all the various fields possess lots of disciplinary subsets.

My gloss here is intended to sketch lots of choices, showcase complexity. Also, this gloss supposes all sorts of tacit relations and subject matters between the disciplinary fields. Obviously, I recognize my own investigations are at the level of what is called the ‘folk,’ and so I also recognize whatever I do happen to know is more lightly disciplined and more subject to error than that of most masterful experts.

As far as I know, most of the thrust of Integral investigators is inexpert too. There is to my knowledge not a single deeply informed integral treatment on the subject of religion, (or on any other subject for that matter!)

I sense the deep irony unintentionally embedded in the various Integral prescriptions.

It is clear to me that even if the post-religion implicit in the higher stages of Integral development drives the good will of those who urge upon Islam reform for the sake of Islam evolving to become trumped by the Integral (!), the various Integral self-proclaimed scholars do not yet seem to me to be at all conversant with religion as a social scientific object of study, let alone conversant with Islam proper.

As for Bill Maher, I enjoy his New Rules, but he is, in the main, an asshat and charlatan.

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Posted in cultural contradictions, current events, integral, psychological anthropology, Religion, social psychology, organizational development, sociology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment