Conscious apocalypse: outliving our ruling institutions

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This thread is about our consciousness. Our collective as well as individual consciousness about the world we live in. I am borrowing a template from one of the talks I've listened to recently, with its useful slide show of talking points, to see if there's a way to discuss those two dynamics. Here's a link to the video:

Conscious Apocalypse: Outliving Our Ruling Institutions

He introduces his video on the YouTube page with these thoughts:

Quote Craig Chalquist:

Although zealots have maintained for centuries that the world is about to end, is there nevertheless something apocalyptic about global warming, mass extinction, and even fanciful "news" about rampaging zombies? Why are all our key institutions failing us? What is the difference between conscious apocalypse--facing the Underworld as an initiatory rite of passage--and the unconscious apocalypse unfolding so destructively all around us? What tools and practices might guide us through a time of global rupture into the era of renewal beyond it?

After discussing what he sees as a rising consciousness about impending apocalypse and a broad range of accompanying feelings among human populations, at about 28 minutes in Craig Chalquist begins to outline his notion of the form that undertaking a conscious transformation might take. About five minutes later he ends up with the following list. A discussion around the points on this list alone, in relation to our current situation, could easily take up several threads, and that's if they are not derailed.

Conscious Apocalypse:

  • Letting go of failing institutions

  • telling and sharing new stories

  • welcoming what has been cast out

  • appreciating Earth's beauty

  • reinventing energy and transport

  • trusting the order of the world

  • strengthening community

  • reconnecting with nature

  • smart networking

  • transrevolution

  • terraspiriturality

As a note of caution, please consider that I find that those who are not familiar with issues like the structure of a rite of passage as a transformative mental event for those who go through one may have some difficulty with the language Dr. Chalquist employs to talk about apocalyptic concepts. Apocalyse here is more about becoming conscious of internalized world views, both individual and collective, and how those are challenged by external foces and circumstances, than about an actual event that involves raining down fire and brimstone and an emergence of the mythical four horsemen. In that sense, a rite of passage is a kind of individual apocalyptic event in which much of what the individual held as who they are before is brought to a crisis point, even a sense of death, and out of that comes the birth of a new consciousness. Military boot camp and all that goes on with transforming a civilian into a soldier is one such type of transformation to keep in mind.

Maybe it's time to talk about a cosmos filled with archetypes that we can use to find new ways to pattern our communities and our relationships with each other. In doing so we can also contemplate the results of increasingly desperate methods of saving industrial civilization, while we watch ice caps melt and face evidence of an impending 6th Mass extinction. Meanwhile we can verbally ravage those Apocalyptic Archons -- like the extractive energy institutions that refuse to acknowledge their life destroying toxicity while they drag us all into oblivion, and our governments that are also institutions acting on their behalf to the exclusion of ours. These are our modern day versions of ancient Greek archons. They too, it turns out, are part of the structure of apocalypse.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Comments

Hey, what fun! Surfing the Apocalypse is riding the Big Ones but not something with which we have no experience. Human development involves such journeys into darkness and revelations of light, of being lost--then found, and of having everything we thought we knew for sure be wrong or wrongly cast. It is not as if basic trust or our sense of being itself should go away, but that our constructs and narratives are in the process of discovery rather than set in stone. Or, that being set in stone is still not settled. Geologic time is like that curved space corrective to our linear, literal objectivism.

At this point I only want to comment on how we think as historians. What is the purpose of our story of our past and what does the information we gain do for our current grappling with the conscious apocalypse? The purpose we bring to doing history has everything to do with the story we form, and if we are trying to defend the worthiness of entropic institutions because they were fine at some point in the past, we can blame "modernity" for just about everything that has gone wrong. If, on the other hand, we are looking at the signs of our times in order to be conscious about what our gut is telling us unconsciously, seeing the patterns and the continuity is very helpful in sorting out the pathologies from the places of renewal.

I have mentioned Tom Stoppard's ARCADIA and the speech made by Valentine in the second half where he embraces joyfully "the opportunity to rethink almost everything we thought we knew!" Some look upon "everything falling apart" and Centers that "do not hold" and see the Four Horsemen bringing death and desolation. The French Aristocrats followed the old "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die." After us, the deluge. If what you have now depends upon holding onto entropy instead of embracing the apocalypse, what story do you see yourself in? What part do you play?

Stoppard's Valentine sees "the apocalypse" as release from entropy. Entropy really is not "the good life." But, until you can see some light, some path, something beyond desolation and devastation, denial and alliance with the principalities and powers of this world will make sense. Everything listed in your post, .ren, rings true to me. Being aware of our constructs and narratives is essential to the trust to doubt. Healthy doubting depends upon some psychological/spiritual foundation in basic trust, and alienation and suspicion are not the same thing. It is also OK for the world to revolve around the inquirer on our personal journeys of growth and development if we are in a Quantum Cosmos and not just being heliocentric in our narcissism.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Probably denial is the only real threat. I have to ponder this. I'll begin by re-watching the video.

I've been more than ready for a long, long time to toss aside institutions that have become increasingly dyfunctional...even poisonous. It took some doing to get there. Undoubtably I'm still cliinging to some that I'm not aware of.

Nature has been my primary cathedral for the past 40 years. It's where one touches the infinite physically and with all the senses. It's where one confronts liviing within the sacred in a very direct manner. At least, that's my experience of it. My favorite cathedral is Yosemite Valley...and a bird will do.

I take delight living in church...and wish people would stop desecrating it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Not everyone is going to ecstactically embrace change.

Some would rather things just stay the same.

Some ecstatically embrace the notion of apocalypse, almost as if it feeds their own narcissistic need to feed their sado masochistic subconscious drive to fulfill their ultimate destiny with death. Hedges alluded to that in that quote from a recent essay I provided on another thread. Erich Fromm also goes into the structure of the subconscious urges in that direction in his tome about why people flee from the responsibility of becoming conscious in Escape from Freedom, known outside the US as The Fear of Freedom. In seeking escape from the fear of freedom Fromm suggested the following set of characteristics may unfold:

  • Authoritarianism: Fromm characterises the authoritarian personality as containing a sadist element and a masochist element. The authoritarian wishes to gain control over other people in a bid to impose some kind of order on the world, they also wish to submit to the control of some superior force which may come in the guise of a person or an abstract idea.

  • Destructiveness: Although this bears a similarity to sadism, Fromm argues that the sadist wishes to gain control over something. A destructive personality wishes to destroy something it cannot bring under its control.

  • Conformity: This process is seen when people unconsciously incorporate the normative beliefs and thought processes of their society and experience them as their own. This allows them to avoid genuine free thinking, which is likely to provoke anxiety.

Those of us who attempt to understand the meaning of a brand new rising earth imagery, emerging as a photograph for public view over forty some years ago, when we all shared that glimpse of earth from an Astronaut's camera while he was watching it rise above the horizon line while standing on the moon, do have an opportunity to look at our home and environment in new ways. New ways that have become more than mere fictional speculation, and ways that can complement our shared human capacity for imaginitive thinking and playfulness, a characteristic that may once have helped make us the social beings we are. Of course certain science-based facts do threaten to take the fun out of the exercise.

What Stoddard refers to as entropic may not be that far off from the limits that this peculiar form of technological social organization -- call it industrial civilization, if you wish -- has reached. I tend to think of what I'm seeing sometimes as something akin to the experience of watching a family member go into a state of catatonia when I was a child. They were able to medicate her to bring her out of it, but I was never sure she was completely with us at that point. In her catatonia she was still conscious but unable to formulate a plan and therefore unable to put any plan into play as action. She was so numbed into a state of frozen inaction that even formulating a thought to express as a sentence appeared to be impossible, though sometimes it looked as if she was trying.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote polycarp:

Probably denial is the only real threat. I have to ponder this. I'll begin by re-watching the video.

Denial is certainly an impediment to facing reality. Fortunately it is usually only a stage in a process of mourning something beyond our control. You may enjoy this take on denial. Or someone may.

The Many Faces Of Denial, By Paul Chefurka

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Professor Kevin Anderson

"Are the climate deniers right? Are some scientists colluding with government to hide the truth about climate change? "Yes", according to top British scientist Kevin Anderson - but not the scandal you've heard about. Top scientists and government reports won't tell you we are heading toward catastrophic climate change. Emissions are skidding out of control, leading us to a world six degrees Centigrade hotter on average, much faster than anyone thought possible. Why doesn't the public know?"

"Why are world conferences still talking about staying below 2 degrees, as though that is possible?"

Excerpts from his presentation. Audio:

http://www.ecoshock.info/2012/11/kevin-anderson-what-they-wont-tell-you....

I sort of find myself in the position of a terminal patient...offered the hope that there may be a cure. Living with one foot in each possibility and assisting in finding the cure seems adviseable.

Cures are often seen as a return to "primitivism" rather than as survival. We'll either dismantle industrial civilization through a planned process, or the planet will do it for us. If we wait for the planet to do it, we may not survive it as a species. Most still deny the need for very, very radical change.

Being against fracking and tar sands, and wanting fuel for the private auto and power for the newest gadget is sort of a disconnect. No fuels equals nothing on supermarket shelves and nothing grown in the fields. Even agriculture needs a very quick overhaul. What's being done? Nothing.

Probably outsourcing our emmissions to China to produce our trinkets doesn't accomplish much.

Consciously giving life meaning within a collapse is undoubtably better than giving it none. First, one has to be conscious of the unfolding collapse. The meanings most give to their lives will simply abruptly disappear with nothing to replace them. They'll have no means to cope. I find a great sadness in that.

A site I've found useful: Dave Pollard:

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

One of the ways I keep my mental frame positive is I remember how ignorant we all really are, and that what we think we know comes from our very limited ability to translate the world through our mental processes, which are subjective and prone to distortion.

Of course, that's no reason to stand on the tracks and tell yourself the approaching train is an illusion. In certain circumstances I'm willing to take the risk I'm wrong and get off the tracks just in case it is a real train.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote polycarp2:

Professor Kevin Anderson

"Are the climate deniers right? Are some scientists colluding with government to hide the truth about climate change? "Yes", according to top British scientist Kevin Anderson - but not the scandal you've heard about. Top scientists and government reports won't tell you we are heading toward catastrophic climate change. Emissions are skidding out of control, leading us to a world six degrees Centigrade hotter on average, much faster than anyone thought possible. Why doesn't the public know?"

"Why are world conferences still talking about staying below 2 degrees, as though that is possible?"

Excerpts from his presentation. Audio:

http://www.ecoshock.info/2012/11/kevin-anderson-what-they-wont-tell-you....

I sort of find myself in the position of a terminal patient...offered the hope that there may be a cure. Living with one foot in each possibility and assisting in finding the cure seems adviseable.

Cures are often seen as a return to "primitivism" rather than as survival. We'll either dismantle industrial civilization through a planned process, or the planet will do it for us. If we wait for the planet to do it, we may not survive it as a species. Most still deny the need for very, very radical change.

Being against fracking and tar sands, and wanting fuel for the private auto and power for the newest gadget is sort of a disconnect. No fuels equals nothing on supermarket shelves and nothing grown in the fields. Even agriculture needs a very quick overhaul. What's being done? Nothing.

Probably outsourcing our emmissions to China to produce our trinkets doesn't accomplish much.

Consciously giving life meaning within a collapse is undoubtably better than giving it none. First, one has to be conscious of the unfolding collapse. The meanings most give to their lives will simply abruptly disappear with nothing to replace them. They'll have no means to cope. I find a great sadness in that.

A site I've found useful: Dave Pollard:

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

The first thing you present there, from Kevin Anderson, is the most dishearteningly extreme scientific perspective of what's taking place on this planet. If people are already overwhelmed and struggling against the inherent anti human destructiveness of industrial civilization's curtailed version of culture, then facing the truth about what they take part in as the inevitable destruction-creating forces of the planet's potential to make life possible for any mammals larger than shrews presents a potentially insurmountable psychological challenge.

The last offering, from a young and very serious person I'm also familiar with, David Pollard, offers some sensible personal practices for going forward in the face of that challenge. But, of course, one must first have honestly faced the sense of hopelessness that goes with the terminal patient sense of conscious awareness that we may be on the route to short term extinction. And, while being on that route, we as individuals are locked out of the cab of our proverbial cultural vehicle where the all the driving controls are located. Thus we have this ability to learn about our situation, about the planet itself and how it works -- which is a wonderful freedom. Yet in finding out the truth of what's taking place on a larger scale, we also discover that we are individually powerless to have any meaningful effect on the larger processes involved with global industrial societies that appear to be driving the entire set of inter-related species of our biosphere to extinction.

The "cure" of course is not something any single one of us can control. It's just a hope. Which in the face of everything else we can take the trouble to learn, can be a very overwhelming awareness to hope for.

So what I see is that grappling with this notion of conscious apocalypse involves each of us coming to grips with the truth of our powerlessness.

Otherwise we may get stuck in a debilitating downwardly spiraling stage of denial, wherein we attempt to escape from that necessary awareness before we move more positively in the face of the great unknowingness. By attempting to escape, an entire population may become its own self fulfilling prophecy of doom, much as we have witnessed as such prophecies come true in the past century, with the rise of various impirial fascist states, which seem to recur over and over in the midst of full-on industrial civilization and all the challenges and curses it imposes on our existence as individuals.

Once again, as kind of background food for thought, I'd like to pull from psychologist Erich Fromm, who studied this process and shared some of his insights in with his first publication back in 1941, Escape From Freedom:

Quote Erich Fromm:

In the mechanisms we have been discussing, the individual overcomes the feeling of insignificance in comparison with the overwhelming power of the world outside of himself either by renouncing his individual integrity, or by destroying others so that the world ceases to be threatening.

Other mechanisms of escape are the withdrawal from the world so completely that it loses its threat (the picture we find in certain psychotic states66, and the inflation of oneself psychologically to such an extent that the world outside becomes small in comparison. Although these mechanisms of escape are important for individual psychology, they are only of minor relevance culturally I shall not, therefore, discuss them further here, but instead will turn to another mechanism of escape which is of the greatest social significance.

This particular mechanism is the solution that the majority of normal individuals find in modern society. To put it briefly, the individual ceases to be himself; he adopts entirely the kind of personality offered to him by cultural patterns; and he therefore becomes exactly as all others are and as they expect him to be. The discrepancy between “I” and the world disappears and with it the conscious fear of aloneness and powerlessness. This mechanism can be compared with the protective coloring some animals assume. They look so similar to their surroundings that they are hardly distinguishable from them. The person who gives up his individual self and becomes an automaton, identical with millions of other automatons around him, need not feel alone and anxious any more. But the price he pays, however, is high; it is the loss of his self.

The assumption that the “normal” way of overcoming aloneness is to become an automaton contradicts one of the most widespread ideas concerning man in our culture. The majority of us are supposed to be individuals who are free to think, feel, act as they please. To be sure this is not only the general opinion on the subject of modern individualism, but also each individual sincerely believes that he is “he” and that his thoughts, feelings, wishes are “his.” Yet, although there are true individuals among us, this belief is an illusion in most cases and a dangerous one for that matter, as it blocks the removal of those conditions that are responsible for this state of affairs.

We are dealing here with one of the most fundamental problems of psychology which can most quickly be opened up by a series of questions. What is the self? What is the nature of those acts that give only the illusion of being the person’s own acts? What is spontaneity? What is an original mental act? Finally, what has all this to do with freedom? In this chapter we shall try to show how feelings and thoughts can be induced from the outside and yet be subjectively experienced as one’s own, and how one’s own feelings and thoughts can be repressed and thus cease to be part of one’s self. We shall continue the discussion of the questions raised here in the chapter on “Freedom and Democracy.”

Fromm, Erich (2013-03-26). Escape from Freedom (pp. 183-185). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.

At the risk of presenting too much, I'd like to try to bring some basic structural ideas from David Pollard's blog page where he contrasts the characteristics of an "industrial growth society" that Fromm hypothesizes causes some of the above characteristics of alienation and anomie, with what he envisions as the characteriscics of a "sharing economy" culture that he imagines could enhance feelings of personal empowerment. I think the irony is that the industrial growth economy principles are promoted through vast systems of propaganda as the most self empowering form of culture humans have ever invented, while the sharing economy features Pollard offers are often seen in terms of truncated, villified scenarios lumped under rubrics like communism and socialism, with the embedded beliefs that these are the most individually disempowering form of culture.

I've discoved in trying to bring Pollard's chart to the board that presenting these comparisons as he has is not easy to do with the software we are offered here at Thom's, but I feel it's worth a try. I had to dismantle Dave's handy chart in order to do it, so bear with me and try to imagine the following two bolded categories presented as a chart with left and right comparisons:

Industrial Growth Economy

Purpose Facilitate the acquisition and ownership of property

Management Hierarchical management and control

‘Work’ Defined jobs at the discretion of owners

Financing of Activity Financial and venture capital and interest bearing debt issued by absentee shareholder-owners

Currency Centralized, fiat currencies loaned into existence, sustained by faith in their value

Sharing Economy

Purpose Facilitate access to the means of meeting needs

Management Collective stewardship in the common interest

‘Work’ The means of making a living for ourselves

Financing of Activity Collaborative, organic ‘social’ capital

Currency Tribute, barter, gift, community-issued currencies sustained by peer-to-peer trust

.ren's picture
.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Brief comment on the depression and alienation and what seems to be a youth reaction against it. Much of what appears to be apathy and resignation is also demythologizing and demystifying. Seeing the Naked Emperor may make you want to turn away and cover your eyes rather than investigate the details of what has been revealed. You sure don't want to have a beer with that guy!

What I also want to question in any radical division or oppositional analysis is whether it is not more about a change of perspective than a radical difference in what has to be done in an economy. Collective management is democracy, but it is not a very efficient way to do everything as a "collective," so we set up electoral processes and have representatives who are supposed to serve us. But, the point is that they are not endowed with authoritarian powers and shall not be allowed to think they have them.

There are other radical shifts, particularly about stopping the using up of everything as fast as possible as though that made us rich. What "money" is and how it is to be utilized and "exchanged" with other forms of trade or pure "sharing" depends upon what is seen as the function and bottom line of a sharing economy.

I also want to unhook or expand the idea that work is how we make a living for ourselves. Vocation, or what we do as our heart's desire or "mission" may well provide for our "living," but I want people to follow their vocational bliss to do what matters with far less economic motivation getting in the way. In my mind, we would be a lot more motivated to do good work and far less diverted into doing what we don't enjoy to pay the bills. Even if it is drudgery rather than laziness, it is not putting people where they will make the best contribution to our general welfare. I want them to put themselves "there" out of a much bigger and deeper vision of the world than "making their living."

That also comes up when the chores are shared and parceled out. We have too many people willing to shovel the shit for merit points and to be doing what nobody else is willing to do as if that was what they wanted to do. What I see in the new thinking is a much more human and green world being born in the minds of those engaged in it. When we think of how this new society/world is organized, it is worth taking the joy factor seriously so it is shared with the chores. What it would mean to be a manager in this world is morally transformed when it stops being owner and boss.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Ren, the "Sharing Economy" of David Pollard you outlined above is a function of recpirocal economic systems. Perhaps a hybrid of sorts could be developed...with down-sized co-ops for production of goods such as clothing, fabrics, etc. in an environmentally sustainable manner.

As applied in an agricultural economy:

http://thoughtmaybe.com/ancient-futures-learning-from-ladakh/

I ran across this....showing one of the cultural paradigms that would require a shift.

"The ideas that the mine should not exist, that growth should not be pursued, and that we should perhaps reverse the destructive capabilities of our community, are absent from the discourse. While this specific debate may have been confined to the Central San Joaquin Valley, it represents larger trends of our plagued society."

"In the West we have adopted what I will call the “progress paradigm.” The concept of “progress,” defined herein as development, industrialization, modernization and extraction as inherently good things, has become the hegemonic paradigm of the ruling classes in most of the world. While brave people in Latin America, Asia and Africa have mounted resistance to the extractive industries in-and-of themselves, us in the West consistently frame our resistance within the “progress paradigm” and merely criticize the way in which the destruction should take place.

"The widespread popularity of consumer choices and “green technology” as means for combating the impending environmental disaster provide numerous examples. In this paradigm, technology and consumption are not analyzed, criticized or even questioned, despite widespread evidence that they are indeed at the root of the environmental catastrophe. The terms “developed” and “developing” as categories in which to place all regions of the world show that the progress paradigm has left no room for those who seek to live outside of it."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/11/29/a-fight-in-san-joaquin-valley/

There are ways and means to address the on-going environmental collapse. Getting people to think about them and the necessity for them is another story. Overcoming denial of something that is very uncomfortable to face is a major hurdle. Facing the possibility of near-term extinction is a bigee.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I think we have moved or are beginning to move beyond the "development" model into "redesign" and "shifting paradigms." This does not automatically bring a question about everything, but it does open some doors that have been shut.

I also wish to demure slightlly from the "progressive" connotation about "progress" and its teliology. As a social reform movement of inclusion and broad participation in power, I would not identify its utopian vision with the Manifest Destiny myths of empire. They do happen at the same time and are often mixed by people who live in both stories, but Progressive Politics is not a lost cause of magic thinking.

Green and Indigenous are both properties of new thinking in "development" according to Korten. Yes, when the vision and the problems to be overcome are seen anew and from a new perspective, how we "progress" changes as well. Healing the earth can be the "new" progressive agenda.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

I want to address your post #9 where I feel you've raised some worthy points to consider, drc. I'd like to try a little follow through in order to attempt to reach some clarification.

Quote drc:

Brief comment on the depression and alienation and what seems to be a youth reaction against it. Much of what appears to be apathy and resignation is also demythologizing and demystifying.

Could you be more specific about where you see a “youth reaction against depression and alienation”? Because I'm not sure if you see that introduced so far or if you are adding in something new.

That's a different type of thought than the Erich Fromm psychological perspective of members of modern industrial society facing their individual freedom while at the same time grappling with the reality of a sense of their own powerlessness to actually deal with vast institutionalisms of these societies. I'm not sure if you are questioning that perspective or if you are adding something to it.

Nor am I sure how or even if you would incorporate what you characterize as "appearing" to be apathy and resignation with the discussion I raised as a follow up to poly's self revelation -- which I thought fit with the whole notion of the sense of powerlessness that goes with the paradigm I was trying to bring out when he analogized feeling like he was a terminal patient offered hope there might be a cure. I'm not sure that I can see, from your brief comment, how and where you see demythologizing and demystifying fitting in, or even if you do. Maybe you are going off on another train of thought. So perhaps you can expand on that point.

Quote drc:

What I also want to question in any radical division or oppositional analysis is whether it is not more about a change of perspective than a radical difference in what has to be done in an economy. Collective management is democracy, but it is not a very efficient way to do everything as a "collective," so we set up electoral processes and have representatives who are supposed to serve us. But, the point is that they are not endowed with authoritarian powers and shall not be allowed to think they have them.

First, I'm not sure how you are categorizing "any radical division of oppositional analysis" here. Are you suggesting that's what's being attempted? Because I'm not sure that's how I see it. So I'm only suggesting that you may be talking about something entirely different than the "conscious apocalypse" perspective I introduced with Dr Chalquist's talk. What I see him doing is a kind of Levi Straussian structural analysis of apocalyptic movements through history, where we can look back at them and see people reacting in a fairly unconscious way to a process rather than being conscious of the features of institutional failure, and in seeing that, perhaps we can become more conscious of our own, thus we get to this notion of a conscious apocalypse.

Secondly, the video I offered as a template is talking about a kind of pan cultural, big picture phenomenon that historically recurs as complex societies begin to go through a serious downturn or a collapse phase, and the population begins to awaken to the possibility of the failures of the institutions they've trusted up to that point. As he also points out, quite often that waking up process involves the dissollution of the meanings of their symbolic world-view paradigms, generally expressed in a religious or mythological symbology. Out of the wreckage often comes a Phoenix-like new paradigm with new symbology, perhaps even a new universe of god figures.

There are too many examples of this to list here, and if people aren't familiar with them, then that's going to be a deficiency in the discussion. In our own society I would see, for instance, the free market mythology as one of those sets of symbologies that are being questioned by many and are now coming unraveled. I would only suggest that the OWS movement would be one of those current examples. I think Chris Hedges, as one of our more conscious prophetic voices, is running a narrative on this questioning. I believe a glance at the titles of his articles on Truthdig.org can confirm that. This can be a very extensive subject to reveal, filled with many examples that may or may not accurately reflect what I consider a big picture paradaigm, but I am only trying to point out that we may be talking in very different terms, here, so I just want be sure we are on the same page, so to speak.

So in summary to my response to this point, I do see what I would consider a radical and oppositional analysis taking place throughout the evolution of industrial civilized society, and in those situations, yes, indeed they are often about raising a different perspective to the dominant paradigm. As poly brings up in the post that follows yours, we may be discussing a conscious envisioning of a new paradigm altogether:

Quote polycarp2:

I ran across this....showing one of the cultural paradigms that would require a shift.

"The ideas that the mine should not exist, that growth should not be pursued, and that we should perhaps reverse the destructive capabilities of our community, are absent from the discourse. While this specific debate may have been confined to the Central San Joaquin Valley, it represents larger trends of our plagued society."

"In the West we have adopted what I will call the “progress paradigm.” The concept of “progress,” defined herein as development, industrialization, modernization and extraction as inherently good things, has become the hegemonic paradigm of the ruling classes in most of the world. While brave people in Latin America, Asia and Africa have mounted resistance to the extractive industries in-and-of themselves, us in the West consistently frame our resistance within the “progress paradigm” and merely criticize the way in which the destruction should take place.

"The widespread popularity of consumer choices and “green technology” as means for combating the impending environmental disaster provide numerous examples. In this paradigm, technology and consumption are not analyzed, criticized or even questioned, despite widespread evidence that they are indeed at the root of the environmental catastrophe. The terms “developed” and “developing” as categories in which to place all regions of the world show that the progress paradigm has left no room for those who seek to live outside of it."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/11/29/a-fight-in-san-joaquin-valley/

There are ways and means to address the on-going environmental collapse. Getting people to think about them and the necessity for them is another story. Overcoming denial of something that is very uncomfortable to face is a major hurdle. Facing the possibility of near-term extinction is a bigee.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

So I would say this analysis I'm attempting with this thread is not about a change in perspective while keeping what's in place going, but more about perspective changes involved in envisioning an entirely new paradigm. That's the page I'd like to be on.

I felt, in an intuitive sense from the content and tone, that your other points do reflect that analytical perspective; like where you say you want to unhook presumptions that go with our industrial social paradigm involving an attitude towards what we call work. I find that's a deep structural assumption that a lot of people grinding away in the machinery of our institutions can connect through. I have broad ranging discussions with people about their sense of work all the time.

I do think you may invoke a presumption when you talk about things like parceling out chores. To me the very language of that invokes a kind of authoritorial institutionalism – that is, to parcel out as a verb involves some agent doing the parceling according to some management plan. If we are to move to a vision of the kinds of institutions that David Graeber brings out in his anthropologically-informed book, Debt, that you've referenced a number of times on this board, we will also need to investigate the nature and psychological depths of those kinds of embedded assumptions that we use in our casual every day conversation as well.

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.ren
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Quote polycarp2:

Ren, the "Sharing Economy" of David Pollard you outlined above is a function of recpirocal economic systems. Perhaps a hybrid of sorts could be developed...with down-sized co-ops for production of goods such as clothing, fabrics, etc. in an environmentally sustainable manner.

As applied in an agricultural economy:

http://thoughtmaybe.com/ancient-futures-learning-from-ladakh/

I've already brought in the part of your post that follows the above in my response to drc, and I hope I showed how relevant I found it to our discussion so far. What I want to say about your above point and the link to the Ladakh video is that we have a chance to revisit, reconsider, and perhaps even begin to integrate these past examples into a discussion about conscious apocalypse. Perhaps even find some sense of hope and inspiration by seeing things are already taking place for at least some of us towards creating new paradigms.

When it comes to the first point on Craig Calquist's list, mapping out a conscious apocalypse -- Letting go of failing institutions -- the first embedded institutional attitude I've let go, is the attitude the current political economy's institutional set can manage an entire political body through a collapse.

What follows, or perhaps even integrates with and verifies that letting go is the telling of new stories so that new paradigms can emerge at a grass roots level... if we've identified and let go the failing institutions. And in a system of vertically integrated institutions, which ones do we recognize as failing? And your video -- and, I note that it is not your first link to it -- is one of those tales. Good tales bear retelling. We have others embedded in the history of this board.

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.ren
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Quote drc2:

I think we have moved or are beginning to move beyond the "development" model into "redesign" and "shifting paradigms." This does not automatically bring a question about everything, but it does open some doors that have been shut.

I also wish to demure slightlly from the "progressive" connotation about "progress" and its teliology. As a social reform movement of inclusion and broad participation in power, I would not identify its utopian vision with the Manifest Destiny myths of empire. They do happen at the same time and are often mixed by people who live in both stories, but Progressive Politics is not a lost cause of magic thinking.

Green and Indigenous are both properties of new thinking in "development" according to Korten. Yes, when the vision and the problems to be overcome are seen anew and from a new perspective, how we "progress" changes as well. Healing the earth can be the "new" progressive agenda.

Yes, well, I did attempt to provide a kind of map for "moving beyond" with that video. Did you watch it?

I've been noting and commenting on the "teleology" of terms like "progressive" and "liberal" for most of my thought career, especially beginning with my first exposure to the sociopathy of institutions. In particular, in my case, with what we call "our" military institution, that involves all sorts of expectational behaviors from the population, which includes self designated progressives and liberals. As a result I avoid categorical labeling in discussions as if they are disease transmitters.

For quite some time my experience of U.S. military as a war-making machine, and it's very vividly blatant designation of those human beings sucked into it's machinery as managed automatons, was paradigmatic of humans in all modern industrial institutions who find themselves expected to behave as well-oiled, trained (sometimes termed "educated), but otherwise morally non thinking parts of something larger with a purpose that is not officially ore even necessary to their concern while doing their jobs. Those are the institutions that may now be failing us. The ones we may need to abandon.

The very nature of that has been a subject of much contemplation on my part, and I do see some relationship between what people assume when they use political terms on an ideological level, and what emerges as our national institutions. I don't believe there is an inherent naturally purposeful design involved with those terms, either in the sense of Manifest Destiny or in any other of the nationalistic political labels, even variants like being "green" in one's thinking. What I find as part of mass society's formula are process of communication where Ideological concepts are lobbed around more like bombs than being part of a creative, grass roots unfolding of adaptive processes more like the ones Korten is talking about in his ongoing works, for me beginning with his When Corporations Rule the World.

When language lacks individual fluidity and is seldom used with deeper sets of ideas as people creatively see fit in the moment, for me, that puts me in a state of skepticism, of questioning. And of course I have to be carefule because it puts me at odds with people who are resistant to change. A lost cause of magical thinking is to me more a structural state where people have accepted existing institutions as the necessary state of the human story to date. To question that story for some can be scary. I don't trust any label to define a dynamic mental state, so I prefer to leave the labels and move to something more descriptive. Of course that involves more words and a longer attention span as we dig deep and bring out the words that will replace labels.

But it seems to me that we have this gift of language; we humans can use our language capacity as if it's a giant set of prescribed memorized clichés -- and I think our mass media is a vast fund of cliché production processes, more oriented to reinforcement of what is than revolutional questioning. We also, if we choose, can use language dynamically in the moment, to reflect our own internal processes. Language can be a moment to moment art project filled with creative potential. I think the latter opportunity challenges us to be more creative in all aspects of employing our minds.

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.ren
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I still look forward to viewing the video, but getting the house ready to receive a Thanksgiving crowd and getting the china out of the heart of darkness in the basement, etc., has made it hard for me to read your comments and just do a first take. Your perspective on current labels is great zen discipline for awareness, and it is better reserved for discourse with those who wish to discuss than in the polemical bear pit. Your appreciation of human social behavior and institutions puts you beyond the appeal of partisan ideology looking for substantial shifts of behavior and thinking. I never dispute what you state in measured terms, but we can have questions of nuance and that old human language and connotation.

In general reference to your questions above, we are definitely on the same page, or at least in the same tome and narrative. You and Poly are raising questions that are too deep to address properly until I can take time to read and think instead of just catching up. I was responding to that sentence in his post which came in bold, saying that no reflection was being given to technology or consumerism, and I think Korten is a refutation of that blanket assertion.

In the next day or two, I will need a break from housepainting and will do the videos and re-read these very deep and thoughtful posts. Thanks to both of you, and anyone else who has chimed in.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

There's no imperative to rush.

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.ren
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In terms of telling stories, I've found the Environmental Education Media Project, founded and directed by John D. Liu, to be a rich source of alternative stories to counter the clichéd stories of the failing institutions of industrial society. He first came to my attention from shared interests of some of my permaculture friends when I was connected with his documentary: Green Gold.

China's Loess Plateau agricultural story (Lessons of the Loess Plateau) stretching back ten thousand years -- contained as only one story within the broader spectrum of stories in the above linked Green Gold documentary, is a long term story that we can apply to industrial civilizaton's short term development of a similar ecosystem on the North American Continent.

On that continent, an influx of Europeans, calling themselves Americans, took over a lush, natural eco system, displaced the native populations with various familiar empire dominating tactics, and, expanded rapidly during the past two hundred years, fueled by the excitement of their self-described industrial revolution, as well as from energy dense coal and oil in the native lands. In doing so, they developed a currently prolific industrial agriculture "bread basket" in the broad plateau now known as the Great Plains. That plateau is made up of deep, wind blown deposits of potentially fertile loess soils. Loess soils can be the most agriculturally productive terrain in the world.

For a recent historical hint at how loess soils form we need only look back to the human-made disaster we now call the Dust Bowl. The solution to the causes of the Dust Bowl, which has been epitomized as the deep European plow that broke through and turned over the deeply rooted sod that kept the soil intact, increasingly threatens to become a player in the looming disaster of a future apocalyptic scenario. Modern scientific industrial agriculture methods-- from the machinery for potentially pumping dry the aquifers that keep the soil wet enough to grow crops on demand, to applying petro-chemical fertilizers and pesticides in order to maintain a vast and unnatural monoculture of plants and animals geared to human consumption -- faces some of those same short term deficiency factors that we find in the disaster cycles of the 10,000 year history of China's Loess Plateau.

The story of how we can overcome apocalyptic tending deficiencies embedded in the industrial agriculture methods, thus how we can let go the failing institutions involved, can be found in the Lessons of the Loess Plateau story.

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.ren
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I so appreciate your heritage of real agriculture and the loss of real value in the corporatization of ag in the name of progress. I had a farm grandparent set in Everson, WA. and my father's dad always had a backyard garden which I helped him weed. I recognize how rare it is for younger people to have had their hands in the dirt or to have known milking or chicken slaughtering. Gathering the eggs, and skimming the cream off for the oatmeal. The smell of the wood fired stove. Unheated bedrooms.

Part of that was very good. I like a bit of heat in the bedroom, but knowing how life can handle that helps make the death grip on the entropic kind of stupid, no matter what. I also found nature more a friend than foe, and now a best bud.

My "service debriefing" was as my dad dealt with recruits and then prisoners, first in Pendelton and then in NH at Portsmouth. His service as a Navy Chaplain was moral within his role. He found a number of people who did not belong in either boot camp or prison, so I can hear your experience with some insider backstory. I saw people who believed that "peace was their profession" and also how after all memory of the last war has faded, the next one will be inevitable. And, all the "non-wars" and "subwars" that don't make it to World Champion contention just bubble along.

A major in history where Latin America was a minor to American within the major made it about the hemisphere with a bit of blindness about the Northern border. American foreign policy does not come off well in the battle for democracy South of the Border; but it still took a debriefing of my myths about Asia to move me to committed anti-war and revisor of my own understanding of our "free world leadership" as I had rooted for it as a navy brat. Big time revision, and a sense of pivotal growing up in the process, much akin to your reaction to boot camp, etc.

Much of what I like about this conversation is where we are different. The common bond is felt without it having to be "agreement." The "soul" behind the cognitive meaning of the words comes through, and if this ain't soul, I don't want to trade it in. I look forward to digging in when I can.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

I lived on the Pole Rd for awhile, drc, not far from where it bends northward, crosses the Nooksak and lays its paved path into and through the town of Everson, then on towards the foothills of the Cascades.

My wife and I tended a vegetable garden, started a chimney sweep business, meanwhile I was taking classes from writers like Annie Dillard at WWU's fine arts writing department while my wife worked at refining her sculpturing talent in the art department.

I imagine they were still clearing the stumps of the giant Douglas firs off those flood plains that became the rich farm lands of the Nooksak valley about the time your grandfather was farming there. Some of those stumps would have been seven or eight feet across, stumps of magnificent trees that had stood nearly three hundred feet above a flood plain that seldom flooded before the beginning of this brief thumbnail history, flooding like it often does now that the deeply rooted ancient trees are mostly gone from the mountainsides eastward where the flooding begins.

From here on in this post I may get overly esoteric for some readers' tastes.

Military boot camp relates to this thread in a very personal way for me. But not just personally as my gut reaction to its introduction into what for me is the abhorrent, inhumane nature of institutions, a reaction that transpired in slow motion over several weeks as the boot camp "elders", as one might call them, ritually guided me through the lengthy ceremony in which they ceremoniously sheared we initiates of our individual hair styles, stripped us of our civilian personas, revealed the new knowledge that goes with our new social roles and with our new privileges, which would include the otherwise socially unacceptable killing of human beings, and reproduced us outwardly as a uniformed, gun toting, marching-in-unison automatons.

Aside from that it's personal as a sort of beginning for what became a private, separate life of questioning and investigation, a variation of individuality that probably was more accidental than intended by those who designed the boot camp ritual. In fact, most of the ritual, as I experienced it, seemed inclined to inhibit individual questioning. But there is a personal disintegration phase of the ritual that is unmistakable in its presence as a sense of the unknown -- if one faces it and experiences its full existential effects. For me there was no denying the questions that arose. Thus I found a correlation between that phase for me and Dr. Craig Chalquist's questions when he asks in his blurb about his YouTube presentation that I quoted in the OP:

Quote Craig Chalquist:

Why are all our key institutions failing us? What is the difference between conscious apocalypse--facing the Underworld as an initiatory rite of passage--and the unconscious apocalypse unfolding so destructively all around us?

I still wonder if I would have been inspired to explore the things I explored after I got back to the U.S. from Vietnam if it hadn't been for that initial boot camp experience. I wonder, would the very notion of a rite of passage have arisen little beyond a mere footnote in my interests as I moved forward with whatever intellectual pursuits I may otherwise have engaged? Instead, that experience emerged as a major metaphorical map in my studies of subjects like anthropology, and certainly in the phenomenological aspects of philosophy, where we studied the very structure of personal experience and the formation of personal world views. These studies are, of course, merely maps. The true territory of exploration is within each of us and only accessible to others as a kind of extrapolative guessing game, where the more empathetic and experienced we are, the better prepared we are to guess at what others might experience, feel and imagine.

An apocalypse, in its most basic aspect, is the personal perception that one's internal construction of the world is coming apart, and, as our beliefs about what's true disintegrate, sometimes terrifying otherwise hidden truths appear.

Apocalypse and rites of passages share kinship in this regard.

Structurally, a rite of passage can be an informal, spontaneous occurrance. Gail Sheehy made a career of writing about both ceremonious and unceremonious passages in our society.

Or rites of passage can be formal, culturally-designed ritual experiences. In many traditional societies they were experiences intended to break apart, thus question an individual's view of who they are -- say as a socially-defined child, or in our society's boot camp ritual, a civilian -- send an individual into a liminal state of consciousness where their social definition is put in suspension betwixt and between overt definitions, and, through a series of initiatory trials immersing the initiate in new knowledge, often combining learning experience, revelation, and disclosure, will then formally bring the individual back together, defined anew in a kind of birthing ritual, with the person accepted back into the social fold as a newly socially defined person. In our society, military boot camp is one of the more formal versions of that type of ritual. Most traditional marriage ceromonial practices would be another. A rite of passage is, then, both an ending and a beginning.

Compare that to this explanation of apocalypse from wiki:

An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning 'un-covering'), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century.[1] In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. In the Revelation of John (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου, Apocalypsis Ioannou), the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good over evil and the end of the present age, and that is the primary meaning of the term, one that dates to 1175.[1] Today, it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general.

With the idea of a "conscious apocalypse" I have been thinking less about today's common meaning for apocalypse and more towards the lifting of the veil or revelation aspects in the above description. And that's why I borrowed from Craig Chalquist's presentation, because he does what I consider to be a fine job of organizing a presentation that speaks to that aspect of apocalypse.

I feel confident I can say that one has an opportunity to face one's soul in the liminality phase of a rite of passage:

Liminality:

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold"[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual's liminal stage, participants "stand at the threshold" between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

The concept of liminality was first developed in the early 20th century by anthropologist Arnold van Gennep and later taken up by Victor Turner.[2] More recently, usage of the term has broadened to describe political and cultural change as well as rituals.[3] During liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt.[4] The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that enables new institutions and customs to become established.[5] The term has also passed into popular usage, where it is applied much more broadly, undermining its significance to some extent.[6]

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.ren
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Yes, my metaphorical use of the WASP Apocalypse was about "the end of the world" as White Anglo Saxon Americans (and those who identified "America" in their cultural images) felt diversity and pluralism replacing them. It goes back to the Good News for the Poor being an Apocalypse for the Rich in Isaiah.

Historical change does not take place in a linear projection from the past. We experience the future breaking in upon us before we are nearly ready epistemologically unless we go way beyond rationality to discern "signs of the times." The concept of "liminality" helps cushion the time frame of expectations, and it turns out to be more like how evolution works anyway. If you posit that we establish institutions and they begin to decay right away, but we trust them and use them as if they were next to eternal or certain to grow in a way we can manage or even control, obviously time and culture are on different vectors. Something's gotta' give. I doubt our institutions or cultural constructs will survive the need to live and keep up with the times. I think most of us will be glad in the aftermath.

My hunch is that what was in you that made you resist the intention of the boot camp 'leaders' would have surfaced had you had a less dehumanizing experience. I look at Veterans Against War and see a lot of grown ups. Our militarized, dominant authority society dresses itself up in "freedoms" and provides lots of "you're on your own, jack" instead. People who have invested themselves deeply in sacrifice for something do not want to feel defrauded. Pecking Orders happen where abuse and alienation works its way down the chain. Your spiritual strength of questioning came from a belief in your own humanity that runs deep.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Conscious Apocalypse and Outliving Ruling Institutions? There is a critical point that would be similar to all of the myths and worldviews of childhood...like Santa Claus...being dispelled in one blow. It's dis-orienting.

On a societal level, when institutions and worldviews begin collapsing, those societies that can quickly re-orient themselves with new institutions and worldviews survive. Those that can't, don't.

Consciously dismantling the myths one at a time isn't as traumatic as having them pulled out from under you in one swoop. The "one swoop" scenario is the one I see unfolding with a merging of economic, resource and environmental collapse.

Uncovering one collapsing worldview myth that one lives by makes it easier to uncover others without traumatic dis-orientation. That's been my personal experience. It may be different for others.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

More on liminality because understanding it relates to drc's and poly's posts.

Liminality

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold"[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual's liminal stage, participants "stand at the threshold" between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

The most intoxicating aspect of being directly in a liminal phase within one's own mind is the combination of surrender and truth. This, of course, one can only know from direct experience. Talking about it as a concept is not the same thing.

Truth means no more lying, no more games. It's direct, pure. When they say truth is a pathless land, that's another metaphorical way of describing its characteristic. Something to help recognize it when you enter it. It's like being in a wilderness with no roads, no trails, and the only compass is your inner moral and ethical one. It's face to face time with soul, the truth, not the game playing ego self that predominates most of social life. We are born into that state and by the time we are three or so we have found all the language tools within us to play the upcoming social games. Then we begin to learn game playing. Rite of passage? Call it kindergarten.

The games begin to possess an illusion of reality. For most people it will take some preparation to re-enter the liminal state because, for some people, the truth can be terrrifying. Some people seek it... could call them truth seekers. Generally those types find a place in art, shamanism, philosophy, and other non-centralized categories of society. People who remain in a liminal phase are often considered dangerous. Danger can be categorized in many different ways, including variations of a given society's normative concepts of sanity.

Uncovering the truth of collapse is, as poly puts it, uncovering a worldview myth that is potentially collapsing in the face of some denied and myth-veiled truth. The logic and rationality of denial is a normal human characteristic in this situation. Sitting quietly and facing the truth without the noisy monky mind is not normal. It's what the dangerous individuals in society do. They are both needed in a collapse scenario, because of their capacity for prophecy, and feared, sometimes to the point where they are repressed in the most extreme ways.

The next line in Craig Chalquist's model for a conscious apocalypse, after

  • Letting go of failing institutions

  • telling and sharing new stories

is

  • welcoming what has been cast out

What has often been cast out is in some phase or degree of being liminal. Generally this involves people who do not fit the norms... People who the normatively compliant ones in a society consider dangerous. In searching for the most extreme cases of casting out the liminal, we just happen to have numerous historical examples to draw from. Recently, and on an extreme scale, we have what the fascist, Nazi-led Germans did in a period that could be called global apocalypse, WWII. Learn from history... or don't.

In terms of conscious, society-wide apocalypse, we can begin now to describe some of the characteristics that might emerge:

Liminal experiences in large-scale societies

The concept of a liminal situation can also be applied to entire societies that are going through a crisis or a “collapse of order”.[47] Philosopher Karl Jaspers made a significant contribution to this idea through his concept of the “axial age,” which was “an in-between period between two structured world-views and between two rounds of empire building; it was an age of creativity where ‘man asked radical questions’, and where the ‘unquestioned grasp on life is loosened’”.[48] It was essentially a time of uncertainty which, most importantly, involved entire civilizations. Seeing as liminal periods are both destructive and constructive, the ideas and practices that emerge from these liminal historical periods are of extreme importance, as they will “tend to take on the quality of structure”.[49] Events such as political or social revolutions (along with other periods of crisis) can thus be considered liminal, as they result in the complete collapse of order and can lead to significant social change.[50]

Liminality in large-scale societies differs significantly from liminality found in ritual passages in small-scale societies. One primary characteristic of liminality (as defined van Gennep and Turner) is that there is a way in as well as a way out.[51] In ritual passages, “members of the society are themselves aware of the liminal state: they know that they will leave it sooner or later, and have ‘ceremony masters’ to guide them through the rituals”.[52] However, in those liminal periods that affect society as a whole, the future (what comes after the liminal period) is completely unknown, and there is no "ceremony master" who has gone through the process before and that can lead people out of it.[53]

In such cases, liminal situations can become dangerous. They allow for the emergence of “self-proclaimed ceremony masters”, that assume leadership positions and attempt to “[perpetuate] liminality and by emptying the liminal moment of real creativity, [turn] it into a scene of mimetic rivalry”.[54]

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.ren
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Latching onto the coat-tails of a Fuehrer (leader) has often been the first response to collapsing mythologies. It's an avoidance mechanism. A grasping for certainty amidst uncertainty.

Children often see "truths" adults don't. They can often see things as they are rather than filtering them through cultural myths. 'Tis a pity they accept the adult's view that rationalizes them away.

Truths once known are forgotten as the brain re-wires itself and accommodates to shared worldviews. It's in the re-wiring process that childhood memories and the ability to perceive things as they are become discarded.

A homeless family sitting on the stoop of a vacant house makes no sense to a child. Adults, of course, quickly spout out many reasons for it...that if examined, make no sense outside of shared myths. False gods abound, even among atheists.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I think it is the myth of secular realism that allows the false god boom. Atheists make the mistake of thiking that religion goes away if there is "no god." But they are talking about the theistic symbol and not what its function was for those who did not question it. The problem for theist believers in God, is that they may resist or reject the claims of competing religions, itself a misreading of the problem, and/or they may presume that the secular world is free of all religion.

I have posted before about why Reality, subdivided into Sacred and Secular, provides a convenient and useful way to analyze and discuss a great deal of important information. What it does not do is make either half of Realty self-sufficient or Reality Itself.

How people live in both worlds, or both halves of reality, shows a range of strategies of varying effectiveness. Religion can be everything from "the enemy" to "the blessed community" with a range of ambiguous participation and mixes of secular and sacred in between. How many people have assured me that they believe in God but don't go to church, etc., because they think I care! Don't ask! What that fuzzy piece of nostalgic narrative and metaphysics does for them is akin to why pet cemetaries do business.

But, the other and more important point is that "secularism" blinds us to the warning of the First Commandment to accept no other "Realities" than the One True Mystery, which turns out to be manifold and nonsectarian. It is not about holding fast to dogma, but to something much deeper and more profound, to our souls, (read "our humanity)." Being wary against the false claims of the principalities and powers of this world is the more "contrary to culture" stance than our Mainline melding of religion and patriotism took. The Southern mode of Religion has had its turn and given us the Cross and the Flag in a new sectarian form of the "blessed community" in a fallen world. It turns out that the New Rome does not fit into "biblical faith" without a lot of re-engineering, and what we get is a new and different way to experience getting Church and State all wrong as well as making Mars and Mammon the altars of their new religion.

Reality, Power, Truth and even Love and Justice can be considered "names" for "God" when we think about what we worship and bow down to in this world. Religion itself, has become far less likely to be the vehicle for demon possession or religious malpractice.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Probably "connectedness" has to be moved from the abstract to the experiential.

Inter-relatedness of all living things, including people, becomes pretty obvious when observed in a natural setting over a period of time. It moves from the abstract...as an idea... to the experiential as an internal truth.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Indeed, move to the experiential.

Conscious apocalypse is not that complicated -- though verbally we humans are capable of making anything complicated, and then calling what we do intelligence. What we really need to do, as one visionary teacher once suggested, is to awaken our dormant intelligence.

As we come to grips with the fact of failing of modern institutions, it might become apparent that we do not have to logically reinvent a replacement for global management systems.

We do have the capacity to recognize that our ancestors lived and directly experienced this planet and all its marvels successfully for thousands of years. They did so with brains evolving from probable ancestor species like Australopithecines and Homo Habilis, roaming in Africa from 1.4 to four million years ago.

Modern humans, with brain capacities within skulls sized, shaped, and likely organically much like ours today, appear in the fossil record as early as 200,000 years ago.

In at least the last 75,000 years, our ancestors migrated out of Africa and spread into just about every ecosystem in place on this planet before they began to create the complex institutions that pretty much isolate most city dwellers today from their natural environment.

Meanwhile those institutions provide a vast, globally integrated system of consumption that, the best we can tell, is consuming the planet and its eco systems very rapidly into a new stage of Apo-collapse.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Reading Krishnamurti many, many years ago is perhaps what first set me on the path of questioning automaton thinking processes. "Leave tradition aside". Still good advice.

Thinking within traditional bounds....isn't thinking at all. It's like placing oneself within the confines of a small closet...unaware of the world that exists outside of it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The following can only be suggested from one person to another. The act of actual doing is an individual's personal responsibility:

Quote Krishnamurti:

We were saying the other day how very important it is to observe. It is quite an art to which one must give a great deal of attention. We only see very partially, we never see anything completely, with the totality of our mind, or with the fullness of our heart. And unless we learn this extraordinary art, it seems to me that we shall be functioning, living, through a very small part of our mind, through a small segment of the brain. We never see anything completely, for various reasons, because we are so concerned with our own problems, or we are so conditioned, so heavily burdened with belief, with tradition, with the past, that this actually prevents us from seeing or listening. We never see a tree, we see the tree through the image that we have of it, the concept of that tree; but the concept, the knowledge, the experience, is entirely different from the actual tree. Here one is surrounded by a great many trees, fortunately, and if you look around you, as the speaker is going on with the subject of seeing, if you actually look at it, you will find how extraordinarily difficult it is to see it all, so that no image, no screen, comes between the seeing and the actual fact.

From: The Awakening of Intelligence, p. 187, J. Krishnamurti.

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.ren
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I find much in the above posts to circle back to, and weave into the fabric of this discussion, a discussion for me that takes a concept, apocapalyse, from images of catastrophe to a conscious ceremony by adding consciousness and an epistemological structure to the notion of "end times."

Quote drc:

My hunch is that what was in you that made you resist the intention of the boot camp 'leaders' would have surfaced had you had a less dehumanizing experience. I look at Veterans Against War and see a lot of grown ups. Our militarized, dominant authority society dresses itself up in "freedoms" and provides lots of "you're on your own, jack" instead. People who have invested themselves deeply in sacrifice for something do not want to feel defrauded. Pecking Orders happen where abuse and alienation works its way down the chain. Your spiritual strength of questioning came from a belief in your own humanity that runs deep.

I want to introduce an ancient human practice here. We do not know how ancient, but anthropologists found the practice in many remaining native American traditional societies as they almost deperately studied them during a rather brief period of study that took place in the very late Nineteenth Century and through a larger portion of the Twentieth Century. Few such isolated, indigenous societies remain for such study today. The period I'm referring to was more like a brief window for engagement with these peoples, an engagement that took place after the fledgeling discipline of anthropology recognized that these "primitive savages" might actually have something valuable to share with the "advanced" moderns of industrial civilization. What little was gleaned from that brief period of study as these peoples and their practices were vanishing is going to be virtually impossible to repeat in our times, so it is more like a phase of journalistic literature about something we really no very little about than any form of rigorous social science involving principles of the scientific method.

The vision quest concept is about something that takes place as part of a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. Wiki offers a handy description, though the description should by no means be considered comprehensive, only a suggestion about what this experience entails for an individual:

Vision Quest - from Wikipedia

A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose. A Vision Quest can provide deep understanding of one's life purpose.

Back to why I brough drc's quote from his post #20 forward. This line in particular caught my attention with regards to vision quest ceremonies:

" I look at Veterans Against War and see a lot of grown ups." -- drc

The next paragraph from wiki describes a little more of the general structure of a vision quest ceremony:

A traditional Native American Vision Quest consists of a person spending one to four days and nights secluded in nature. This provides time for deep communion with the fundamental forces and spiritual energies of creation and self-identity. During this time of intense spiritual communication a person can receive profound insight into themselves and the world. This insight, typically in the form of a dream of Vision, relates directly to their purpose and destiny in life.

If one steps back from the whole of military "service" experience, looks at what takes place in certain aspects of it, like going into an actual war experience, one may notice many of the other aspects of rituals of passage, particularly the liminality experience and the opportunity for experience that may relate to that seclusion in nature and coming face to face with fundamental force and spiritual energy of creation are in place, thus a time of service can be for many an unexpected, and certainly unintentional, thus unguided vision quest.

After my own experiences over in Vietnam, I have been involved with several veterans against war groups. The first was Vietnam Veterans Against the War, still an active group, though we have broadened our vision to include other aspects of industrial civilization war making, other wars, and I continue to support it. Many of the veterans in those groups, like the group that drc mentioned, have had some form of revelation that could be called a vision. Some have more riveting experiences than others, but many have gone from a world view that sees military service as an honorable, life forming experience to something radically different, and that difference itself has brought about a deep and I would say spiritual questioning of society itself. In this sense I'm using spiritual as a kind of holistic concept that refers to both the logical rational mind and all the other complex senses we humans have as part of our nature. Senses that industrial society doesn't call upon in its institutional labor force. In general, senses we must discover and develop for ourselves, often outside our day to day traditional behaviors.

Boot camp is one of the more formal examples of rituals of passage I have personally experienced. I wouldn't say it was intentionally designed as a spiritual quest in hopes of inducing a spiritual transformation in the neophyte subjects of the process. If you knew me you'd know that's a bit of a dry understatement. However, more likely as an accident, perhaps even contrary to its embedded institutional intention, it sometimes does lead to spiritual awakening in some individuals.

Nevertheless, as a common ritual in militarized societies within the systemic matrix of modern, global industrial civilization, and related to institutional management practices within that form of society, the "ritual" can be viewed, based on its structure and form, a purely rational and mechanistic indoctrination and training procedure to induce necessary forms a behavior within the institutional structure itself. Behavior that, when someone in the military ends their association with that institution, handily translates to all institutional structures in a general way in industrial society. Thus military training is part of a type of general, societal ritual of practice. So much so that this society tends to see no need for a ritual to transform individuals designated as "military personnel" back into civilians with another boot camp like ritual of passage.

In my own direct experience and subsequent study of boot camp, I see that the individuals involved are viewed more mechanistically, as potential trained parts in a larger system in which they can be expected to follow orders without resorting to their own spiritual guidance. There was a great deal of emphasis on training people not to think, not to consider people marked as superior by their uniforms in any human way, but to follow orders.

Nevertheless, many of those same individuals may spontaneously have a vision. I can mark my own, the date, the time, the place. So, as an introduction to the vision quest notion, I suggest that the people drc references with this line:

" I look at Veterans Against War and see a lot of grown ups." -- drc

Have had their version of a vision, and they grew up into lives with purpose.

This is just my version of an introduction to vision quest. For anyone interested there is much more to explore. Not everyone is likely to be interested in having a vision that offers them a deep understanding of their life's purpose. Shopping in malls, television viewing of shows with plenty of suggestions from commercial advertising, political argumentation within the spectrum of the goals of industrialized societies, and more offer, great promise of life fullfilling activities for those folks. So rest easy, life without a personal vision quest is not a life utterly without purpose. :-)

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I've long been a member of an environmental action group that was born on the first earth day in 1970. It should be obvious that I wouldn't belong if the group's purpose didn't matter to me personally. So that's a given.

What came from them in my email today relates to my larger concern about developing a conscious attitude about apocalypse.

Quote Drew Hudson Director, Environmental Action:

This was our year. 2013 was the year that fracking changed from a local issue to a full-fledged, people-powered movement with nationwide reach. That could not have happened without Environmental Action members like you. Together we took more than 150,000 actions to fight fracking on public lands, misleading NPR ads, research censorship at the EPA, and hauling fracking wastewater on barges.

Now that we've built this national movement together, we need to use it to ban fracking once and for all. 2014 just might be the year we turn back the tide of fracked gas that threatens our communities. We've got some big fights coming up soon

Here's the problem for me. While this group has been part of a successful movement to raise public awareness about an industrial process that threatens the environment, and us all, the group is almost hyperfocused on that one issue.

But to ban fracking involves removing something that fuels a much larger system. And many people involved in banning fracking are also involved in all the processes of that larger system, in fact for many, that's the only life they know.

If they remove that increasingly needed energy source from industrial civilization, as others dwindle on the down side of the peak oil curve, what will keep that system going and expanding full bore so that it can continue employing the very people who want to ban fracking? What will they do to survive as their lives begin to unravel into a form that can be called apocalypse? Will they be conscious of that choice they've made as their apocalypse takes place? Will they be accepting of what they have wrought (if indeed they are successful in their battle to ban fracking)?

No discussion from that group addresses that larger, systemic picture. It remains a silent and hidden truth in their public relations story telling front for what they are doing, a front that I imagine, like any group, they present as a public relations way to promote a sense of success that they imagine will keep people feeling energized in a specific, compartmentalized battle to end a specific element of the larger system. But that larger context forms a truthful picture involved with any notion of conscious apocalypse, and leaving it out of the discussion is a form of lying.

Where's the necessary integrating story telling we need to address this apocalyptic picture...? Are we simply too compartmentalized as a society to address all the systemic factors in doing what it takes to, as Drew's final words put it: "make fracking a historical afterthought"?

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I saw a Canadian eco-scientist offering emergency measures to save the polar caps and hopefully the cities that could not handle a meter increase in sea depth. He has written a book but previously he was here: david-keith-a-surprising-idea-for-solving-climate-change/ It's a misleading title, it doesn't solve, it mitigates until sanity appears.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Mitigating until mitigating is no longer possible seems to be called "change".

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Issue focused thinking neglects to deal with the narrative. We have seen how "framing" works in propaganda, and I agree absolutely that getting the story right is how to make sense of the issues.

drc2
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How do we get the story right?

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

By paying attention to the context of the issues and dealing with real problems. Knowing that the story matters, that others do not automatically fit into our narrative and have us in a different role than we thought in theirs is a big part of having the conversation. What I was addressing is the liberal tendency to be issue focused and to be frustrated when others do not understand how the evidence demands a conclusion based in fact. In fact, the others have a different understanding of what is and is not a fact because it has to fit into their story to get that status.

In a more positive frame, if we are all living our own narratives and appreciate the contextual nature of the meaning of the facts, we can join our personal take into a coherent narrative in which we all have good parts. The story is better because of our plural contributions, and our personal take turns out to be partial, but ok when we have it in the web of interdependence rather than fighting for its life against others. I am looking at the symbiotic, mutuality to get the story right.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

I'd love to see the strategic plan for that one.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Yeah, peace, love and understanding. Very strange indeed. Processed by zen laughter.

I am not entirely facetious here. Ontological individualism does not connect stories very well at all. The model is about competition and 'self-interest' and does not treat collective or in common very well at all. A lot of fear about "the loss of individualism" where individuality would do just fine. In the model of pluralism and diversity, the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and when we get that it is called "community." There is also an expectation that we will always learn from others, as well as "teach." But, the point is that listening happens when we expect to learn and much less when we think we are teachers. Letting the latter happen in response to the questions that arise from the narrative of the other requires patience and confidence.

Anyway, I think music and food have something to do with setting the mood. How we process anger needs to improve, and knowing that you belong and will be heard goes a long way. Fun figures high in my strategic plan.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

The American model needs to be expanded. "Self-interest" includes the interests of the natural world and the communities we find ourselves imbedded in.

Disease doesn't stop at the doors of a gated community...nor do floods and hurricanes. Pitchforks over-ran Versailles.

"Self-interest" includes the interests of the natural world and the communities we find ourselves imbedded in.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

My story-telling, to which I hardly expect anyone to cozy up and listen while we feel the warmth of a toasty fire licking quietly at the glass door of our wood stove as a storm blows outside in the dark, and I talk quietly about a conscious apocalypse rather than fear, anger and chaos, is about visions of renewal and change. Renewed community, renewed ways to make sure there's food for the winter that doesn't demand fracking the last of the energy out of the fissures of the earth. I see people pulling that plug out of the back of their heads that connects them to the matrix, then healing themselves.

Here's how one guy's working at pulling that matrix plug. It may not be fun to listen, but he's telling it like it is for the rest of us:

Inverting Washington's Reality by Paul Street

Quote Paul Street:

Never underestimate the ability of establishment journalists and other elite opinion-shapers to distort and even invert reality in accord with the interests of the business elite. Look, for example, at a recent “news” item penned by Gerald Seib, the longstanding Washington Bureau for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). In the wake of the government shut-down and debt-ceiling fiascos and the disastrous rollout of the Obama administration’s corporatist health insurance scheme (the so-called Affordable Care Act), the popularity of the president, Congress, the federal government, and both of the two dominant political parties are all at or near all-time lows.

What is the problem with the nation’s government and politics? According to veteran Beltway pollster and consultant Douglas Schoen, following a survey he recently completed on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. voters now see the two reigning political organizations as “too ideological and too negative.” The electorate, Seib cheerfully reports, is aligned with “Business leaders,” who “see many Democrats as being too interested in redistributing income and some [Tea Party] Republicans as too interested in gunning for [seeking the elimination of] even those government functions that business leaders see as legitimate and useful.”

“At a time when the favorability rating of Congress lurks in the low teens,” Seib continues, citing Schoen’s survey, “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s favorability rating is 71%.”.....

.......

Now, never mind that the Democratic Party has been moving ever further from its onetime partial commitment to redistributing wealth and income and towards serving wealthy elites and their corporations over the last four decades, consistent with the strong rightward ideological drift of the entire narrow-spectrum U.S political party system during the long neoliberal era (more on this below).

Forget that capitalist business interests who become involved in U.S. politics are highly ideological, trumpeting the great purported virtues of the so-called free market and regularly denouncing as pathological “socialism” and evil “big government” any attempts to tax, regulate, and enforce checks and controls on the investor class and to defend the interests of workers and citizens against business in the name of the common good.

Forget that Tea Party Republicans are beholden to representative of a faction of “the business community” – southern and western regional medium sized capitalists with their own rational, bottom-line reasons for seeking to limit and rollback federal power (see Michael Lind, “Tea Party Radicalism is Misunderstood: Meet the ‘Newest Right’.” Salon, October 6, 2013).

Never mind that few Americans have the slightest idea of what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is or does. And that the preponderant majority of Americans have long consistently rejected the highly ideological pro-business policy agenda advanced by the Chamber and numerous other leading capitalist lobbying and public relations organizations. Forget that most Americans think and have long thought that the rich and their giant corporations and financial institutions exercise far too much power over American politics and policy. And never mind that most U.S. citizens reject corporate and financial dominance, harsh socioeconomic disparity, and the ruination of social and ecological health in service to the rich and powerful and their powerful businesses......

.......Put all that aside – if you can – and reflect on the fantastic nature of the notion that the problem with Washington is its excessively partisan and anti-business ideological nature – a problem that cries out for an increased political role for “the business community.” As John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney noted four years ago, explaining why there would be no New Deal under Barack Obama, “The United States, despite its formally democratic character, is firmly in the hands of a moneyed oligarchy, probably the most powerful ruling class in history” (Foster and McChesney, “A New Deal Under Obama?” Monthly Review, February 2009, 7).........

.......On issue after issue, public opinion is irrelevant (or very close to it) in the realm of serious politics and policy, controlled by the nation’s “unelected dictatorship of money".....

.........“The Ultimate Green Party”-- The nation’s capital “becomes a determinedly bipartisan team when there is money to be made” (Leibovich, p. 142) —an “inbred company town where party differences are easily subsumed by membership in The Club” (p. 104), As Leibovich notes, “Getting rich has become the great bipartisan ideal: ‘No Democrats and Republicans in Washington anymore,’ goes the maxim, ‘only millionaires.’ The ultimate Green party. You still hear the term ‘public service’ thrown around, but often with irony and full knowledge that self-service is now the real insider play” (p. 9).

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

In my own conversations with people, I sense they know something is terribly, terribly wrong and just haven't figured out what it is.

Their views, however, aren't consistent with those presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being mainstream. Many do know that government no longer represents their interests and well-being and no longer trust it or its pronouncements. Government, the economic system and institutions are losing their legitimacy.

I've no idea how that will play out.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

It could play out as new stories arise and those stories reflect an actual reality taking place at the same time.

Paul Street used the word "inversion" to describe the story telling of main stream journalists who are trying to tell the nation about the political and economic policies that are taking place far away from their daily lives. As people look around -- as you represent is taking place in your own conversations with people, poly -- they potentially have more and more difficulty putting the inverted reality the main stream journalists present for them with their actual reality. That creates a huge difference of potential. In electricity, we call difference of potential voltage. The higher the voltage, the greater the generating power (in this case the people) the more powerful the amperage when a circuit is closed. Lightning is difference of potential being let loose in an (for we human witnesses at least) uncontrolled display of the earth's ability to produce voltage and amperage.

In line with the structure of conscious apocalypse I presented in the first post is something that riveted my attention when I was studying processes like rites of passage and cultural transformation on this conscious level of story telling. One of the ways societies used to keep balance, and avoid huge amperage discharge as the voltage of difference of potential built up, was through rituals of inversions. These are society-wide rituals where the every day standards of a given society are turned upside down and acted out in a society wide drama, a drama, or scripted play-like procedure that, because the entire society participates, makes it into a form of ritual behavior. It's like everyone taking part in the play, not just actors on a stage. When the ritual period comes to an end, as a kind of pre-arranged agreement, society returns to its normal routines, but now everyone has had a brief experience in seeing things in a disordered, inverted form. What exactly that means for everyone is not possible to determine with any precision. Our humanity is too complex for such attempts at achieving certainty about ourselves and our needs.

It's possible that without these rituals societies lose a kind of consiousness balance that allows for all sorts of balancing behaviors, such as expressing a sense of humor about the absurdities and indefiniteness of life itself, and that may explain why it may go into an extreme form, like the Nazis did in the Thirties. Rather than a balancing ritual of inversion bringing their society back into a normative, non violent form, the world was plunged into the inverted chaos of war. That form of natural cultural inversion could in fact be taking place now in our society, possibly because it has grown too large and institutionally complex to answer to our individual temperaments and the consciousness of our root humanity that a ritual of inversion serves.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Sure, the servants got to play the masters for a day. Then they went back to the set roles and took them as given. Rituals can be refreshing or they can reinforce the stale by domesticating the spiritual and moral into the happy pickanninies dancing in Gone With the Wind.

How to keep rituals fresh and renewed is a problem for those who plan worship or lead any set liturgy for the dramatic experience. While it is possible to keep each repeated act of the set tradition "real" in what you bring to it, lip synching can also mean that there are no surprises there, only what is known asserting itself as all there is to know, a deadening.

I have a problem with the role of belief in faith as we currently use the words. To me, "Belief" as a growth stage in the formation of realized beings, is about Trust and not so much about Knowing. It is about being "believed in" as a real person of worth and value as well as belonging to a family, community, etc. in which you are a first-class human being along with the others. To believe that one is properly a slave or servant, ordained by Life Itself to be in bond to a master, is to fit into that world as a slave. To believe in the right to enslave others is a more dangerous spiritual deformity.

Asserting the primacy of a human vision over the assertion of force and violence requires more than wistful hopes. Dickens was good at exposing the humanity gap of his society, and we could use some similar cultural stories to replace the warrior and CEO as our modern 'heroes.' I spoke above about connecting to the hurting and doing the healing as the nexus for our narratives feeding each others. Being bugged about what is wrong is better than explaining it away, so rather than having to explain it before getting involved, follow those moral hunches.

Imagination is also exercised better in praxis than in isolation. Vision quests are about the special time of being away, but are not about being a hermit. That is another thing entirely. When we are deeply involved, taking some time to be clear and to let thinking happen works well. When we are alienated, boredom and solitaire are more likely to occupy our increasing "down time." Alienation is depressing, and depression happens more than we know when we just feel crappy.

Individualism confuses imagination with individual genius, and our culture's economic morality would reward individual genius more than love and justice workers. Our economy runs on things like greed, not on a vision of world peace and justice. Or, if that latter vision is put forth, beware the means being baptized to attain it. Destroying the world in order to save it has not become a better idea over the years of the American Empire. It just gets less shocking when repeated this often.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc:

Sure, the servants got to play the masters for a day. Then they went back to the set roles and took them as given

Your understanding of complex indigenous societies is impressive. Really draws me into your narrative. This what you mean by having "fun"?

Quote drc:

While it is possible to keep each repeated act of the set tradition "real" in what you bring to it, lip synching can also mean that there are no surprises there, only what is known asserting itself as all there is to know, a deadening.

In modern America, the version of the ritual inversion, Halloween, is about having fun. Didn't you want it be fun, too?

But then, I ain't a no preacher nor a ritual designer of any kind. So I have no direct "praxis" in those kinds of management level expriences for designing inversion and chaos into a society for the sake of balance. All I ever got to see was the chaotic version of upside down for me, when an institution dressed us up in uniforms and marched us off to Vietnam, all under the duress of a sort of veiled blackmail concerning my right to live the rest of my life in the freedom they talked about in school that we were supposedly marching off to protect.

Quote drc:

I have a problem with the role of belief in faith as we currently use the words. To me, "Belief" as a growth stage in the formation of realized beings, is about Trust and not so much about Knowing. It is about being "believed in" as a real person of worth and value as well as belonging to a family, community, etc. in which you are a first-class human being along with the others. To believe that one is properly a slave or servant, ordained by Life Itself to be in bond to a master, is to fit into that world as a slave. To believe in the right to enslave others is a more dangerous spiritual deformity.

I don't recall mentioning belief and faith, though of course I can recocgnize that they can be assumed to be part of individuals' participation in any society, along with doubt and skepticim. Not sure where you are going with this. This seems to me to be an individual cognitive issue, which is where I don't pretend to be able to go in another's praxis, nor do I consider it the province of any manager in any position in any institution, though of course that does not prevent them from trying. Belief and faith are generally the subjects of mass public relations manipulators. And they have learned their craft well, combined with modern day technology that even Orwell didn't completely anticipate, though much of it was already in place when he wrote 1984 in 1948.

Quote drc:

Asserting the primacy of a human vision over the assertion of force and violence requires more than wistful hopes.

Is there a context for that hypothesis? Who does that? When? Where? Are you referring to the mythology of the individual and the vision of a great society that comes from selfish interest in making and buying products that are part of a large system of production and consumption? Or are you suggesting that it's hopeless to try to individually achieve some sense of individual consciousness as a society stumbles blundering into yet another unplanned inversion event? Without some context it's difficult to make any connections.

Quote drc:

Dickens was good at exposing the humanity gap of his society, and we could use some similar cultural stories to replace the warrior and CEO as our modern 'heroes.' I spoke above about connecting to the hurting and doing the healing as the nexus for our narratives feeding each others. Being bugged about what is wrong is better than explaining it away, so rather than having to explain it before getting involved, follow those moral hunches.

When you say "we" can you at the same time imagine where those modern day Dickens writers' stories are being shared on a mass level? I find plenty such stories being written when I bother to look for them. However, I'm more of a reader than a consumer of pop media, so I'm not a paying participant in most of the mass media sharing that goes on, thus I am no critic of everything that's out there. What I do see on rare occasion is seldom Dickens-like. And that bugs me, I guess you could say. I encourage others to follow their moral hunches best I can, in my own praxis.

Quote drc:

Imagination is also exercised better in praxis than in isolation. Vision quests are about the special time of being away, but are not about being a hermit. That is another thing entirely. When we are deeply involved, taking some time to be clear and to let thinking happen works well. When we are alienated, boredom and solitaire are more likely to occupy our increasing "down time." Alienation is depressing, and depression happens more than we know when we just feel crappy.

My imagination flights of fancy works best when I'm by myself. That probably makes me a neurotic of some sort, in somebody's sense of normal. When I'm with other people I tend to focus and pay attention to what is going on with the behaviors around me, which, of course, is still my imagination at play, because, after all, who really knows what's going on in another's head? I don't. I have to use my imagination.

When I'm out in the woods walking around by myself, imagination is a big part of trying to understand my surroundings, where I am, where I'm going. After all, did you ever see an actual working eco system? You just see parts all over the place, not how they are systemically connected. We have to imagine any connectedness taking place as an active process.

Certainly no corporate institution aimed at harvesting gas through fracking or harvesting oil through mining/extraction shale bothers to exercise imagination of ecosystems when doing that feature of the vertically integrated production/consumption process we can call modern, neoliberal, free market global economics. Certainly no member of any managed labor group involved in the process need bother with imagining anything beyond their job of operating the machinery and the doing of what takes place. Is that lip synching taking place? Some may imagine outside their jobs. Don't know if any that do such imagining are morally grounded in anything other than the ideology of their work ethic when they do.

Quote drc:

Individualism confuses imagination with individual genius, and our culture's economic morality would reward individual genius more than love and justice workers. Our economy runs on things like greed, not on a vision of world peace and justice. Or, if that latter vision is put forth, beware the means being baptized to attain it. Destroying the world in order to save it has not become a better idea over the years of the American Empire. It just gets less shocking when repeated this often.

Well, as poly likes to remind us at the end of his posts, ideology can be a disease. Individualism, being one of those nefarious isms, becomes an ideological construct that goes well with the mythology of free marketeering.

Ayn Rand pulled from the ideology of free markets to advance individualism by objectifying selfishness -- The Virtue of Selfishness. That's about as explicit a paradigmatic example of your point as we need if each of us applies our imagination. Now simply step back and look at all those who have fallen under that sense of morality and see where that takes a society bent on allowing the private forces of the free market the right to frack the commons for the last gasps of energy out of this planet to feed their individuality.

Noted, of course, that an individual does have to step back and look at that, and do so with some imagination, unless of course it's done as "lip synching" with those we deem to be our movement leaders. This stepping back and really looking can be accomplished by anyone with a little effort, and, can even be enhanced with any handy well drawn road map in hand for the structure of authoritarian relationships. With a little effort we can each draw one for ourselves. The territory is all around us. Each one of us can discover our world is filled with charlatans waiting to take that role in any upside of our revolutionary inversions if each of us doesn't bother to imagine it for ourselves, and, by escaping our inalienable freedom in that way, we let them.

Sometimes another's map can be fun for comparison:

The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I was not arguing with you at all, just taking the idea of ritual you raised to talk about how it can either inspire or crush imagination. Getting our critical consciousness symbiotically connected instead of atomotized is the general idea. Part of this is a recognition of our own potential to fall into beliefs that have more to do with our desires than what is true, and the internal and external correctives we listen for and pay attention to. What rituals or rites do we have that bring us to reality instead of wishing on a star?

If I want a sensuality to realized being it is because I think it is part of the model we present of being 'real' in the zen sense of the moment rather than in a fixed attatchment to a particular being or identity. "Fun" is not to be taken lightly or avoided in dire times.

I tried to credit being alone as opposed to loneliness, and that walk in the woods taken alone can be very refreshing and change time as well as space in your experience. But, you also collaborate and converse with others where imagination gets a prod or a boost and we enjoy going there. My point about ontological individualism derives from work I did on Robert Bellah's work, particularly Habits of the Heart. He identifies this isolated individualism as a cultural problem which has made community and social reality more virtual than real. What I have tried to do in my treatment of developmental stages of growth is to re-introduce the support community and why it helps to have it rather than being alone or a bunch of strangers doing their own thing alone.

This goes back to how we structure the consciousness of the apocalyptic to transform dread into hope (not expectation) and an embrace of living with others in harmony and balance with the earth. I think we have a problem with a culture where individualism is the image of maturity instead of being the preparation for being at one, which ought to be the image of maturity.

I hear your personal story as a great example of not being brainwashed and dehumanized, of finding critical consciousness and compassion as well as your own way of bringing your own story together in what you are doing now. You add great value to every conversation, so what more could I wish?

I have no problem with rituals of role reversal as played in most cultures. I just didn't agree that it works as revelation instead of reinforcement of the dominator culture. Liberation Theology is what happens when a story tells the people who hear it that they are human, not slaves, and that they are not morally bound to their condition. Still, a different version of that same story had them see themselves as children waiting for Jesus. Sorry if I ran over cultural anthropology with a throw away line.

The last thing I would ask of anyone is to pay attention to pop culture instead of reading or anything of real interest to the mind or soul. Nonetheless, as 'cultural pathologist' I find this stuff very revealing because it is relatively innocent and naive rather than well worked out theory. Our fascination with vampires and zombies fits with Hedges. The amount of gasoline exploding on our screens as high tech militarism and superheroes save us poor schmucks from evils and dangers we cannot possible confront with our mere human powers could be a metric of illness.

We have a slew of crime detection dramas with clearly defined good characters chasing deeply evil and twisted bad characters. Then we get Breaking Bad and Americans are fascinated by a meth dealer. Yadda!

And the video games. It does not take a weatherman or a literary critic to know this is wrong in some deep and dark way. As with porn, the question is why anyone is attracted to this stuff? I would be shocked were you into any of it, but I do find people with these 'secret pleasures' of pop and tawdry natures and I do wonder what these things satisfy. But I have similar questions about the attraction of Downton Abby and another Upstairs/Downstairs drama about preserving or weeping for the lost aristocracy. I think it is all too appropriate for our own class divisions, but so safely British instead of about us. A total waste of time and narrative, thanks PBS!

We could have real drama on tv. But only if we pay for it in taxes instead of expecting the entertainment industry to produce great art. We pay a lot for trash, so why not chip for something much better with government support and subsidies. And NO, it is not about picking winners and losers in some arbitrary manner. We just allow people to write and produce culture that helps us process the times we live in.

We might begin small in our attention to rituals that need refreshing for apocalpytic consciousness and good thinking, like getting the celebration of war out of Memorial and Veteran Days as well as out of our football telecasts. There is a perfect example of how what is needed for transformation has been captured by the Empire to become a tribute to American blood spilled in the defense of freedom, blah, blah. No it was not. It was wasted in the racket of war and shed by people who were sent to do what should not have been done. All our post WWII wars fit this bill, and most of the ones that went before do as well. WWII has a mixed enough history to undercut any triumphalism and call us to serious peacemaking, but you don't see it.

What I am saying is that we live in this story all the time even if you live in the woods and don't watch tv. Have your own strategy for dealing with it, as you do, but you know that the apocalypse will not be selective and avoidable, it will only require being ready and prepared to take a wild ride. All the wild rides in our movies operate in entropic time and space. Or they get really lame about how the aliens will welcome us, etc. I like the idea that exciting and interesting times are exciting and interesting even if the Chinese are right.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

I didn't see you as arguing. What you may have been doing is missing my point when I attempted to introduce a pan societal pattern, recognized in anthropology as the Ritual of Inversion, similar in a structural way to the rite of passage I'd introduced earlier.

I was not attempting to design anything for some tentative conscious apocalypse. Personally I believe that the inversion that takes place in rituals will take its course no matter what we individually try to do about it. The patterns are part of our thinking, what makes a difference to me is how I'm able to recognize them and be conscious of the patterns.

Talking in terms of identifiable structures in this way is similar to talking in terms of metaphors and symbols in literature. In literaterary structural analysis, otherwise known as invoking the discovery of metaphor and symbol to make sense of storytelling, we endeavor to make sense of stories. Once I went past my love of reading stories, that endeavor became more and more important to me. I find a commonality with others in that regard, and I call upon the support from these wise words from novelist Dorothy Allison: "Literature is the lie that tells the truth." Hope that helps you to see what I'm trying to say a little better.

Ruth Benedict made a huge breakthrough in methodology for a few imaginative anthropologists when she wrote Patterns of Culture. Claude Levi Strauss took it to greater heights in works like Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture, breaking through the logical positivist-grounded ultra rational structural tradition that anthropology couldn't seem to escape with their lack of literary imagination.

When you applaud me for bringing from my personal experience to bear on the subjects I discuss, that's me bringing this metaphorical, symbolically structural analysis to my past experiences and using them as a map for the world I see as "our" society. For me, science and its factual truths are useless without "lies" of literature, which to me are how we can tap into the mysteries of our deeper awareness and understanding.

When I bring my stories of boot camp and other experiences into a discussion like this, it's not about something important to my ego, it's more like bringing my own subjective literary fiction to a subject, where I tend to find metaphorically structural similarities. If people connect, that's cool, if they don't, that's cool too. It's up to the reader. I think that's out of a basic urge to tell each other stories like the ones we may find on the cave walls in the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I don't know how else to reveal my own vision, other than to talk abstractly and objectively, which seems insufficient to making human connections.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Ren, I'd equate it to the symbolism of religion. The symbolisms are meant to convey the abstract and unfortunately, are often interpreted to be what they are merely pointing to.

Freedom is what? A definition by whom? People throughout history have gone to war for tyrannts and dictators to protect their "freedom".

I refer to your oft quoted line, "The map isn't the territory".

Now I'll settle down and read your links. As usual, I'll probably find them fascinating.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Literature is not the only lie to tell a truth. I think that is what metaphysics and myth have always been about, and poetry and song stretch hermeneutics a lot. We have beaten up enough logical positivists together for me to know where you are on this.

As I said above, my comment on rites of inversion is not to bellitle them, only how they can become established as a trivialization of the injustice involved. I could discuss the theology of Communion in similar terms of having God inverted into flesh and our unity with other humans founded on sharing the Body of Christ at the Table. This transcendent ritual and symbolism has been blasphemed often in practice. Excommunication alone ought to have been a scandal.

Our great truths come in stories, rarely if ever in essays or academic treatises. The meaning of the story, if it is worth its narrative, is interactive rather than melodrama or fable. It requires the hearer to make some choices and interpretations. Which is why when the Lord was asked a question, he would respond by, "let me tell you a story." I have been trying to understand and interpret our American story for some time. I would like to lure others into the same activity because our having a conversation about it is better than having a lecture.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Corrected link to Levi Strauss's Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture

It appears to me that what happens in our minds when we share the stories we consider literature is closely related to what happens in our minds through sharing the stories of religion, at least that's my perception when I look at literature's evolution during the last milennium.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

One significant role reversal was fictional but a powerful statement, "The Prince and the Pauper".

I was reviewing this book the-universal-traveler-, I have a couple editions. One of the steps besides the one that listed De Bono's Lateral Thinking was another about knowing yourself and it had an exercise. We think we act and behave some ways, and usually when asked it is according to our core values. Well the exercise asks you to have a third party video you in a social setting, with close ups, wide panning and from a distant, then watch your body language and see if it is what you thought it would be, or if you didn't know it was yourself, what is your impression of that person? Listening to yourself on a tape never sounds like you hear yourself when you speak, but it is how everyone else hears you, just as the guy in the tape is how everyone else sees you.

Alexis De Toqueville did a third party viewing and documenting of the US, and it was surprising to many. Do over agressive soccer parents ever see themselves making asses out of themselves?

The video records of townhall meetings probably weren't surprises, as there were training tools issued to the astroturf grassroots, and how to raise the biggest ruckus.

A Jonathon Swift scripted tv show set in anytown USA would certainly be a third party pov. There used to be a value to societies in the sense of shame. What would shame me seems to be worn on the sleeve of many. I don't think the country recognizes how it is viewed, or is offended if it is anything other than the image they've been brainwashed with. The Peoples History of the US, by Zinn might be on some University's reading curriculum, the ones not held hostage by the endowment mafia.

btw, Frontline does some investigatve reporting, and first rate quality. I met a Frontline team on a London to DC flight once, returning from assignment.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote drc2:

Literature is not the only lie to tell a truth. I think that is what metaphysics and myth have always been about, and poetry and song stretch hermeneutics a lot. We have beaten up enough logical positivists together for me to know where you are on this.

As I said above, my comment on rites of inversion is not to bellitle them, only how they can become established as a trivialization of the injustice involved. I could discuss the theology of Communion in similar terms of having God inverted into flesh and our unity with other humans founded on sharing the Body of Christ at the Table. This transcendent ritual and symbolism has been blasphemed often in practice. Excommunication alone ought to have been a scandal.

Our great truths come in stories, rarely if ever in essays or academic treatises. The meaning of the story, if it is worth its narrative, is interactive rather than melodrama or fable. It requires the hearer to make some choices and interpretations. Which is why when the Lord was asked a question, he would respond by, "let me tell you a story." I have been trying to understand and interpret our American story for some time. I would like to lure others into the same activity because our having a conversation about it is better than having a lecture.

I don't think anyone sat down to invent a ritual of inversion. I tried to explain it as the result of some sort of pressure, like a difference of potential that creates voltage, with the ritual itself that may form coming later as the result of what may once have been a singular lightning bolt discharge of amperage.

Probably your sophisticated level of understanding of theology would bear well on the same sort of analysis. I happen to be familiar with Anthropology's language because its the one I discovered to help map my way out of the darkness and chaos I personally experienced after Vietnam.

Story-telling is probably a long lost art among many families who have kids in their bedrooms playing video games while ma and pa sit in the "family" room watching corporate-programmed television. Both are easily available and probably quite entertaining. I don't condemn anyone for their choices. I've looked into modern television storytelling, I can stream them from Netflix. Some of it's surprisingly rich with metaphor. I've looked into computer games, which also have some rudimentary storytelling involved along with the action, though much more emphasis on the technology of simulating action than any story telling on a deep symbolic level. My suspicion is that they do somehow provide some level of symbolic and metaphorical interaction with modern life for people. It's worrisome that people don't control their own storytelling narrative. The classic literature I read as a very young child -- it was all I really had in the house, thankfully -- shows me that people were once very sophisticated in their story telling.

I just picked up Stop Here by Beverly Gologorsky. It's an easy read, I'm nearly done. I was inspired to get it after I read this essay: In the Shadow of War: Life and Fiction in the 21st Century by Beverly Gologorsky. I found its synchronicity with my thoughts timely for this discussion.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote douglaslee:

One significant role reversal was fictional but a powerful statement, "The Prince and the Pauper".

I was reviewing this book the-universal-traveler-, I have a couple editions. One of the steps besides the one that listed De Bono's Lateral Thinking was another about knowing yourself and it had an exercise. We think we act and behave some ways, and usually when asked it is according to our core values. Well the exercise asks you to have a third party video you in a social setting, with close ups, wide panning and from a distant, then watch your body language and see if it is what you thought it would be, or if you didn't know it was yourself, what is your impression of that person? Listening to yourself on a tape never sounds like you hear yourself when you speak, but it is how everyone else hears you, just as the guy in the tape is how everyone else sees you.

Alexis De Toqueville did a third party viewing and documenting of the US, and it was surprising to many. Do over agressive soccer parents ever see themselves making asses out of themselves?

The video records of townhall meetings probably weren't surprises, as there were training tools issued to the astroturf grassroots, and how to raise the biggest ruckus.

A Jonathon Swift scripted tv show set in anytown USA would certainly be a third party pov. There used to be a value to societies in the sense of shame. What would shame me seems to be worn on the sleeve of many. I don't think the country recognizes how it is viewed, or is offended if it is anything other than the image they've been brainwashed with. The Peoples History of the US, by Zinn might be on some University's reading curriculum, the ones not held hostage by the endowment mafia.

btw, Frontline does some investigatve reporting, and first rate quality. I met a Frontline team on a London to DC flight once, returning from assignment.

I suspect all of that would be helpful for anyone interested in developing their own conscious apocalypse.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

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