Friday, February 23, 2018

Musical Interlude: Liquid Mind, “Serenity”

Liquid Mind, “Serenity”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“It's the bubble versus the cloud. NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula, is being pushed out by the stellar wind of massive central star BD+602522. Next door, though, lives a giant molecular cloud, visible to the right. At this place in space, an irresistible force meets an immovable object in an interesting way. 
Click image for larger size.
The cloud is able to contain the expansion of the bubble gas, but gets blasted by the hot radiation from the bubble's central star. The radiation heats up dense regions of the molecular cloud causing it to glow. The Bubble Nebula, pictured above in scientifically mapped colors to bring up contrast, is about 10 light-years across and part of a much larger complex of stars and shells. The Bubble Nebula can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia).”

"Perhaps It Is Better..."

"Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. 
But it is the best of all to be sane and happy. Whether our descendants
 can achieve that goal will be the greatest challenge of the future. 
Indeed, it may well decide whether we have any future."
- Arthur C. Clarke

“When Martin Luther King Reached the Point of No Return”

“When Martin Luther King Reached the Point of No Return”
By John W. Whitehead

    "I have begun the struggle and I can't turn back.
I have reached the point of no return." 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

“The official dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial took place on Sunday, August 28th, 2011, the 48th anniversary of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. If anyone deserves a national monument in his honor, it would certainly be Martin Luther King Jr., a man who inspired countless Americans, including myself, to take a stand against injustice. King was an amazing individual: courageous, passionate about freedom, willing to tackle large-scale issues (such as materialism, militarism and the Vietnam War), and relentless in his pursuit of justice - he stood his ground, even in the face of death threats and opposition from friends and associates. A warrior and a visionary, King saw first-hand what tyranny looked like and worked tirelessly to oppose it. As King observed, "The universe is on the side of justice."

King's journey to the "mountaintop," as he put it, began with a boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. City officials had done everything possible to stem the boycott of their segregated bus system by the black citizens of Montgomery. Inevitably, the city resorted to what had always worked in the past: the use of police power. The date was January 26, 1956. It was in the afternoon, and the young minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, was on his way home with two fellow church members. The acknowledged leader of the highly controversial boycott, he was put on notice to follow the traffic laws meticulously. There was no reason to make himself an easy target for arrest. But, as fate would have it, the police targeted the young minister, and he was arrested: "Get out King; you are under arrest for speeding thirty miles an hour in a twenty-five mile zone."

Thus began Martin Luther King Jr.'s journey toward jail. The moment of truth, however, had arrived for the young minister. Warned that he could be made to disappear by the authorities, fear began to grip King. As he writes: "As we drove off, presumably to the city jail, a feeling of panic began to come over me. I had always had the impression that the jail was in the downtown section of Montgomery. Yet after riding for a while I noticed that we were going in a different direction. The more we rode the farther we were from the center of town. In a few minutes we turned into a dark and dingy street that I had never seen and headed under a desolate old bridge. By this time I was convinced that these men were carrying me to some faraway spot to dump me off. "But this couldn't be," I said to myself. "These men are officers of the law." Then I began to wonder whether they were driving me out to some waiting mob, planning to use the excuse later on that they had been overpowered. I found myself trembling within and without. Silently, I asked God to give me the strength to endure whatever came."

This was at the height of segregation in the American system. It was a time where, when blacks got out of line, at a minimum they faced jail time. Only a month earlier, Rosa Parks, a seamstress, had refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man. This violation of the segregation law brought a swift arrest. But King by now was the troublemaker.  Cut off the head and the movement dies. This King knew. That is why he began to panic as his ride with the police continued: "By this time we were passing under the bridge. I was sure now that I was going to meet my fateful hour on the other side. But as I looked up I noticed a glaring light in the distance, and soon I saw the words "Montgomery City Jail." I was so relieved that it was some time before I realized the irony of my position: going to jail at that moment seemed like going to some safe haven!"

As the jail doors slammed shut behind King, he felt a strong inner peace: "For the moment strange gusts of emotion swept through me like cold winds on an open prairie. For the first time in my life I had been thrown behind bars." Soon King's bail was posted and King was free to leave. But King's rendezvous with jail cells was just beginning. More importantly, the movement that began in Montgomery was moving beyond state borders. A nationwide movement with a capital M was in process. This made King even more of a target.

Several weeks later, King happened to be in Nashville giving a lecture when he learned that he, with others, had been indicted by a grand jury for violating Montgomery's segregation laws. He immediately booked a flight home, stopping over to see his father in Atlanta. Martin Luther King Sr. recognized that a new scenario had developed. The threat was no longer jail time. It was death. "My father, so unafraid for himself," writes King, "had fallen into a constant state of terror for me and my family."

Earlier, King's home in Montgomery had been bombed and the police were watching his every move. After the bombing, King's mother had taken to bed under doctor's orders. King's father brought some of Atlanta's leading citizens into his home to speak with his son about the dangers of returning to Montgomery. But King knew that often courage in the face of tyranny is all that the oppressed have at their disposal. It was time, as King said, to take a stand. As he told those assembled: "My friends and associates are being arrested. It would be the height of cowardice for me to stay away. I would rather be in jail ten years than desert my people now. I have begun the struggle, and I can't turn back. I have reached the point of no return."

Upon arrival in Montgomery, King headed for jail to discover that the others indicted with King had the day before surrendered for arrest. "A once fear-ridden people had been transformed. Those who had previously trembled before the law were now proud to be arrested for the cause of freedom." Against incredible odds, the blacks of Montgomery won the right to be treated equally on the city's buses. Soon, the movement took on amazing proportions which would compel a government that refused to hear their pleas to listen and heed their demands. But not a shot was fired by the blacks of Montgomery. Led by a man who believed in nonviolent resistance to government oppression - a man who believed that governments must listen to and heed our demands, these brave people would soon transform the face of America.

Few suspected that King's voice would be prematurely silenced, but King knew his days were numbered. He knew there was a larger force at work in his life. And that's how he concluded his sermon - the last words he spoke in public: "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Fifty years after King's assassination, our nation is still plagued with wars, government surveillance and a military-industrial complex that feeds a national diet of warmongering. And King, once a charismatic leader and voice of authority, has been memorialized in death to such an extent that younger generations recognize his face but miss out on his message. Yet he still speaks volumes to us today. "Speaking truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act," George Orwell once said. Such was Martin Luther King. They may have killed the man, but his spirit of truth lives on. We would do well to learn from him how to speak truth to power.”

"Focus on the Good: Raise Your Vibration"

"Focus on the Good: Raise Your Vibration"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOm

"There are many ways to raise your vibration including thinking positive and uplifting thoughts. Everything in the universe is made of energy. What differentiates one form of energy from another is the speed at which it vibrates. For example, light vibrates at a very high frequency, and something like a rock vibrates at a lower frequency but a frequency nonetheless. Human beings also vibrate at different frequencies. Our thoughts and feelings can determine the frequency at which we vibrate, and our vibration goes out into the world and attracts to us energy moving at a similar frequency. This is one of the ways that we create our own reality, which is why we can cause a positive shift in our lives by raising our vibration.

We all know someone we think of as vibrant. Vibrant literally means “vibrating very rapidly.” The people who strike us as vibrant are vibrating at a high frequency, and they can inspire us as we work to raise our vibration. On the other hand, we all know people that are very negative or cynical. These people are vibrating at a lower frequency. They can also be an inspiration because they can show us where we don’t want to be vibrating and why. To discover where you are in terms of vibrancy, consider where you fall on a scale between the most pessimistic person you know and the most vibrant. This is not in order to pass judgment, but rather it is important to know where you are as you begin working to raise your frequency so that you can notice and appreciate your progress.

There are many ways to raise your vibration, from working with affirmations to visualizing enlightened entities during meditation. One of the most practical ways to raise your vibration is to consciously choose where you focus your attention. To understand how powerful this is, take five minutes to describe something you love unreservedly—a person, a movie, an experience. When your five minutes are up, you will noticeably feel more positive and even lighter. If you want to keep raising your vibration, you might want to commit to spending five minutes every day focusing on the good in your life. As you do this, you will train yourself to be more awake and alive. Over time, you will experience a permanent shift in your vibrancy."

"What Is The Joy About?"

“There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy. But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their offensive; you can feel their pressure, and yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?”
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Musical Interlude: Billy Joel, “We Didn't Start The Fire!”

Billy Joel, “We Didn't Start The Fire!”

The Daily "Near You?"

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

"You Think They're Nice..."

"That's why crazy people are so dangerous. 
You think they're nice until they're chaining you up in the garage."
- Michael Buckley

"Why The Next Recession Will Morph into a Decades Long Depressionary Event...Or Worse"

Past is prologue...
"Why The Next Recession Will Morph into a 
Decades Long Depressionary Event...Or Worse"
by Chris Hamilton

"Economists spend inordinate time gauging the business cycle that they believe drives the US economy. However, the real engine running in the background (and nearly entirely forgotten) is the population cycle. The positive population cycle is such a long running macro trend thousands of years in the offing that it's taken for granted. It is wrongly assumed that upon every business cycle downturn, accommodative monetary and fiscal policies will ultimately spur greater demand and restart the business cycle once the excess capacity and inventories are drawn down. However, I contend that the population cycle has been the primary factor in ending each recession...and this most macro of cycles is now rolling over. Without this, America (nor the world) will not truly emerge from the next recession...instead it will morph into an unending downward cycle of partial recoveries...contrary to all contemporary human experience." Please read the rest of this excellent article at the link:
"How Did America Go Bankrupt? Slowly, At First, Then All At Once!"

I highly recommend your viewing this site, new to me, but full of 
excellent, and very well graphed, economy related articles. 

"Imagination Land"

"Imagination Land"
by The Zman

"All of us live in a silo of our own making to some degree. We read news sites we like and we like them because they tend to cover the stuff we think is important, in a way we hope is accurate. We admire opinions with which we agree. We hang out with people who share our interests. That’s normal. It’s also normal to know it and know others have different opinions and interests. Most normie conservatives get that Fox News is biased toward the Republicans, but they know all of the other stations are heavily biased to the Democrats.

This self-awareness has never applied to the Left. Every normal person has had a conversation with a Progressive friend where they claim the news is biased against them or is too easy on some conservative they currently hate. They will argue that Fox News is poisoning the minds of the public. When you point out that 90% of the mass media is run by hard left true believers, they scoff and say you’re nuts. The hive mind of Progressives has always allowed them to pretend they are surrounded by a sea of their enemies.

One point made by some on the Dissident Right is that this blinkered view of the world has infected the so-called conservatives. They are blind to the intellectual revolution going on over here, because they stare at Lefty all day. Like people looking directly into the sun, they are blind to everything else. As a result, the legacy conservatives carry on like it is 1984 and Dutch Reagan is riding high. Much of what so-called conservatism is these days is just a weird nostalgia trip, celebrating a fictional past with no connection to the present.

There are many reasons why so-called conservatives are becoming irrelevant, but the main reason is that their good friends on the Left are racing off into a fantasy land of their own creation. Listen to a modern Progressive talk and it is a weird combination of echolalic babbling and paranoia about dark forces that are imaginary. Replace “Russian hacking” with “work of the devil” and their howling makes more sense. Things like “foreign meddling” and “institutional racism” are just stand-ins for Old Scratch.

This increasingly weird disconnect between the Left and this place we call earth shows up in their main propaganda organs. Those old enough to remember reading English versions of communist newspapers can recognize the unintended humor on the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post. This front page item from last week is a good example. Everything in that “news” story describes a world that only exists in the fevered imaginations of the Left. It was a fictional account of present reality written for believers.

This Andrew Sullivan piece bumps up against this reality a little bit, but from a different angle. His argument is that the fantasy land of academia is casting a long shadow over American society, so it is imperative that the college campus be reformed to look something like reality. His framing of things is mostly wrong because he is just a slightly less berserk member of the hive he is trying analyze. His description of the dynamic on campus, though, is correct. It is a world untethered from reality.

The fact is, the college campus is the apotheosis of Progressive spiritualism. It has been dominated by the Left for as long as anyone has been a live. The constant flow of credit money into American higher education has removed all restraints on the people in charge. They are free to indulge whatever fantasies they have at the moment, as no one ever gets fired and the money spigot stays open. As a result, the American college campus is the full flowering of the Progressive imagination. It’s Wakanda for cat ladies.

This lurch into madness is the result of plenty. Up until recent, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the lack of universal prosperity has reined in the excesses of the Left. In order to win elections, Progressive politicians had to focus on better economics and expanding opportunity. Of course, the Cold War kept everyone focused on practical reality, as a mistake could have set off a nuclear exchange. That’s no longer the case as prosperity is near universal, in human terms, and there are no looming threats.

Progressivism has always been a spiritual movement. It is the quest for cosmic justice based on the notion that we are only as good as the weakest among us. That is a fine and noble sentiment, as long as it remains a sentiment. The reality of scarcity has always kept this spiritualism in check. As we enter into what appears to be a post-scarcity world, Progressives are free to explore the far reaches of their mysticism. The result is a ruling class that is looking more like eastern mystics, than pragmatic rulers.

It is why civic nationalism is a dead end street. You see it in the Andrew Sullivan piece about the campus culture. What he is arguing in favor of is the same things we hear from civic nationalists. They all agree with Progressives that we need a unifying religion. They just want a debate about the contours and end points of the religion. The fact that no one has ever pulled this off without ushering in a bloodbath never gets mentioned, Instead, all of these folks prefer to frolic in imagination land, where all their dreams come true.”

“Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far,
Above the light of the morning star.”
- William Blake, “The Land of Dreams”

Greg Hunter, "Weekly News Wrap-Up 2/23/2018"

"Weekly News Wrap-Up 2/23/2018"
By Greg Hunter’s

"The sixth edition of the “World Government Summit” in Dubai didn’t get much media attention in the United States, but it should have. That’s because it is overtly anti-American and anti-freedom and anti-Christ. America is standing in the way of the new world order that top globalists, communists and Islamists want at all costs. American is under constant attack by the globalists’ propaganda and lies. They want to disarm America and destroy our freedom, and then tell us it’s for our own good. When you look at all the treason, crime and attacks, it can be simply summed up that it is all being done by people who want communism and hate freedom. The Democrat Party has really turned into New World Order (NWO) communists. We should start calling them what they really are and not simply “progressives.” The Democrats/Marxists/NWO are, once again, pushing gun control and not worrying about real solutions and protections for American victims.

The mainstream media (MSM) is out with a new poll that says 70% of people want gun control. The weasels in MSM would not stoop to lying, would they? You know, the same lies they told over and over again in the 2016 election that said Hillary Clinton was way ahead in the polls and Donald Trump didn’t have a chance? Rasmussen Reports is also out with a brand new poll, but it says “only 24% trust the government to fairly enact gun control laws.” I think the MSM is lying again to score political points. They have to lie because their ideas hurt America, but that’s the point.

The economy is on pins and needles because of fears of inflation and rising interest rates. Former Fed Head Alan Greenspan has been worried about the potential of “rapidly rising interest rates” since August of 2016. Looks like the wild swings in the markets mean traders might be finally seeing it like Greenspan."

"Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up."
After the Wrap-Up:
(Correction: I meant to say if the 10-year Treasury hit 3.2% not 2.3%) Look for more volatility, not less, in 2018 says Gerald Celente, Publisher of the Trends Journal. He will be the guest for the “Early Sunday Release.”

Musical Interlude: Georg Deuter, “Morning Light Silhouettes”

Georg Deuter, “Morning Light Silhouettes”

"How It Really Is"

"Just Because..."

"Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, 
that doesn’t mean we deserve to conquer the Universe."
- Kurt Vonnegut

“Allegory Of The Cave Updated”

“Allegory Of The Cave Updated”
by T4C

"Socrates: “Why do people think philosophy is bullsh*t? Let me put it this way - imagine you’re in a cave, all chained up so you can’t turn your body at all, and all you get to look at is this one wall. Some fools behind you are making shadow puppets using the light from a fire and making echo noises and that’s all you or anyone else chained up has seen or heard all your life. Sounds terrible, right? Except it’s all you’ve ever known, shadows and echoes, and that’s your whole world - there’s no way you could know that, really, you’re watching a slightly-improved M. Night Shyamalan film.

In fact, you get pretty good at understanding how the patterns in the show work, and everyone else chained up is like, ‘Holy sh*t bro, how did you know that that tree was going to fall on that guy?’ and you’re like, ‘It’s because I f*****g pay attention and I’m smart as sh*t.’ You’re the smartest of the chained, and they all revere you.”

Glaucon: “But Socrates, a tree didn’t really hit a guy. It’s all shadows.”

Socrates:  “No sh*t, Glaucon, but you don’t know that. You think the shadows are real things. Everyone does. Now STFU and let me finish.

So eventually, someone comes and unchains you and drags you out of the cave. At first you’d say, ‘Seriously, what the f**k is going on?!’ Well, actually, at first you’d say, ‘HOLY SH*T MY EYES’ and you’d want to go back to the safe, familiar shadows.” But even once your eyes worked you wouldn’t believe them, because everything you ever thought was real is gone. You’d look at a tree, and say ‘That’s not a tree. I know trees. And you, sir, are no tree. THAT DOWN THERE is a tree.’ But you’re wrong. Down there is a shadow of a tree.

Slowly, as your eyes got better, you’d see more and more. Eventually, you’d see the sun, and realize that it’s the source of all light. You can’t see sh*t without the sun. And eventually, you’d figure it out. Something would click in your brain: ‘oh, sh*t, that IS a tree. F**k me. So… nothing in the cave was real? I feel like such an assh**e.’ 

But it’s not your fault, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Finally you’d want to go down and tell everyone about everything you’ve discovered. Except, and here’s the hilarious part, they think you’ve gone f*****g crazy. 

You’d say, ‘Guys, real trees are green!’ and they’d say, ‘What the f**k is green? THAT is a tree over there.’ And you’d squint and look at the wall, but you know you’re f***ed because now you’re used to having sunlight, and now you can’t see sh*t. So they’d laugh at you, and agree that wherever it was that you went, no one should go there because it turns people into idiots.

Philosophy, same thing. The soul ascends and apprehends the forms, the nature of everything, and eventually the very Idea of Good that gives light to everything else. And then the philosopher has to go back to the cave and try to explain it to people who don’t even know what Green is, to say nothing of the Good. But the philosopher didn’t make up the Good, it was always there, and the only way to really make sense of it is to uncover it for yourself. You can’t force knowledge into a dumbass any more than you can force sight into a blind man.

So if you want to learn, be prepared for a difficult journey, and be prepared to make some mistakes. That’s okay, it’s all part of the process. True knowledge must be obtained the hard way, and some people just don’t want to see the light.”

Put another way...
"In 'The Republic', Plato imagines human beings chained for the duration of their lives in an underground cave, knowing nothing but darkness. Their gaze is confined to the cave wall, upon which shadows of the world are thrown. They believe these flickering shadows are reality. If, Plato writes, one of these prisoners is freed and brought into the sunlight, he will suffer great pain. Blinded by the glare, he is unable to seeing anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But eventually his eyes adjust to the light. The illusion of the tiny shadows is obliterated. He confronts the immensity, chaos, and confusion of reality. The world is no longer drawn in simple silhouettes. But he is despised when he returns to the cave. He is unable to see in the dark as he used to. Those who never left the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well."
- Chris Hedges

"'Some' people just don’t want to see the light.”? Only "some"?
Those who know will understand...

"Forget the Russia Meddling Story”

"Forget the Russia Meddling Story”
by Bill Bonner

"If mockery is an art, here’s a fellow who calls out for the talents of a Leonardo: Mr. Robert Mueller. Clean as a whistle. Hard as steel. Incorruptible. Unstoppable. He just keeps going, hammering away…until he nails a dangerous felon. Or railroads someone else…

Last week, Mr Mueller handed in his indictment. After so many months of rumors…accusations…counter charges…and fake news, we now have a federal prosecutor who’s managed to collar a gang of real desperadoes. Who are these hellish perps? What mayhem and murder have they committed? Did they plant a charge of dynamite under the Capitol dome? Have they given the nation’s nuclear codes to our mortal enemies? Stay tuned…more in a moment.

Back in Baltimore: We got back to Baltimore yesterday evening, after a long drive from Dulles International Airport. It was bumper to bumper the entire way, adding an extra hour to the trip. Even coming into Baltimore, where traffic is normally fairly light, the backup caused us to take a detour through the slums. ‘I hope you locked your doors,’ said a friend. ‘I don’t even stop for red lights in West Baltimore.’

It was an unseasonably warm evening. People were out on the sidewalks, sitting on their front steps, or standing on street corners. Here and there, junkies wobbled and shook. Mothers screamed at their children. Loud, boom-boom music came from parked cars.

Coming from Europe, the effect is shocking - and not just the poverty. We’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere. Every third house was boarded up. Trash was everywhere. Broken windows and doors…busted signs…burnt-out stores. There was no new construction. No investment. No attempt to fix up or improve. No flower pots. No neighborhood bars or restaurants. No theaters. No commerce or industry, except for the liquor stores and convenience stores run by Koreans.

This was a real ‘sh*thole’, right here in the USA.

What kind of society produces such a forlorn, degenerate place? How could it exist just an hour away from the Washington Swamp, where dollars flow in by the trillions from all over the country? ‘Baltimore’s homicide rate hit a new high last year - 353 murders in 365 days. That’s almost one a day,’ our friend continued with mock pride. ‘There was some guy around your neighborhood a few minutes ago. He looked crazy and he was carrying a gun. I called the police. By the time they got here, he had gone. Welcome home!’ 

Claptrap story: But thank God, we’ve got crime fighters like Robert Mueller on the job! He’s assuring the safety of our citizens and the integrity of their institutions. And at last, after months of following elusive clues and spending millions of dollars of other people’s money, he’s nabbed some fiendish criminals.

Who? A retired St Petersburg police officer…a 31-year-old web designer…and various other big-time miscreants earning $4 to $6 an hour! And what did they do? We turn pale and recoil at the sheer horror of it: They were tweeting…blogging…and posting on Facebook…with messages such as, ‘Trump is our only hope for a better future’.

No kidding… The Russian government wasn’t involved. The meddlers spent a trivial amount of money putting out dumb messages, most of which were never delivered and never read. They organized protest marches, to which no one showed up…and must have had zero impact on the election. And now that Mr Mueller has brought the heavy hammer of justice down on their heads, we can all sleep more soundly.

Hopeless laughingstock: At least, that’s the spin from the mainstream media. They made Mr Mueller the Hero of the Hour…the pride of the US legal system…proof that the judicial system works! But just drive through West Baltimore; it doesn’t work at all.

A young man here is more likely to go the jail than to college. Children are lucky to have one parent. Many people can neither read nor write. Few have jobs. What more damage could the Russians do to these people…to these neighborhoods? They are so unsafe, insalubrious, and ungenial that you can’t even give away a house in them.

And Mr Mueller. He is not a dumb man. What does he think…in the dark of night…without his suit and tie…without the media egging him on…when stark reality hits him like a recurring nightmare? Does he realize that, by taking on such a silly, woebegone project - making a federal case out of nothing - future legal scholars will regard him as a hopeless laughingstock?

Donald Trump is right: The Russians must be laughing their a**es off.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chet Raymo, “Retreat From Reason”

 “Retreat From Reason” 
by Chet Raymo

“Is there a flight from reason in the United States? Everywhere we look, science is under attack. In government. In the schools. In the churches. We are offered faith-based substitutes. The “Left Behind” series of apocalyptic novels outsells everything else on the shelves. People are more interested in astrology than astronomy. Intelligent design is championed at the highest levels of government. Alternative medicine - faith healing, homeopathy, energy therapies, New Age healing, and the like - is more popular than ever. Scripture and revelation are embraced as more reliable sources of knowledge than anything we might learn empirically.

We are entering, it seems, a new Dark Age. For a substantial number of our fellow citizens, it's as if the Enlightenment never happened.

Let me take you back to the Hellenistic city of Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt, in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. Alexandria was then the seat of a magnificent flowering of mathematical and scientific thought. The city welcomed all comers - Eratosthenes from Cyrene, Aristarchus from Samos, Archimedes from Sicily, Apollonius from Rhodes, Hipparchus from Nicaea, Galen from Pergamon, and so on - the only requirement being an inquisitive mind and a bent for explaining the world in terms that made no reference to the gods. Geography and astronomy became mathematical sciences. Eratosthenes measured the size of the Earth. Aristarchus deduced the sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon.

These spectacular achievements get no more than passing mention in textbooks of Western Civilization. We learn in school about the Golden Age of Greece and the glory that was Rome, Sophocles and Ovid, the Parthenon and the Pantheon, triremes and aqueducts, but very little of the invention of scientific thinking in the white city at the mouth of the Nile.

Alexandria was built on a ribbon of land between Lake Mareotis and the Mediterranean Sea. It was graced with forums, temples, marketplaces, palaces, a double harbor with a famous lighthouse, quays, warehouses, and, prominently, a museum ("place of the muses"), and the famous library over which Eratosthenes presided. The museum and library were together the equivalent of a great modern university. It was the dream of the first rulers of Alexandria - the Ptolemys - that the library would possess a copy of every book in the known world, and within a century hundreds of thousands of scrolls were collected within its walls. By the middle of the first century B.C. Diodorus of Sicily could say that Alexandria was "the first city of the civilized world, certainly far ahead of all the rest in elegance and extent and riches and luxury."

In his book "The Greeks and the Irrational", the scholar E. R. Dodds was thinking of the Greek culture of Alexandria when he wrote: "Despite its lack of political freedom, the society of the third century B.C. was in many ways the nearest approach to an 'open' society that the world had yet seen, and nearer than any that would be seen again until modern times." It was a society confident of its powers. Aristotle had asked his fellow citizens to recognize a divine spark within themselves: the intellect. Men and women who exercise reason can live like gods, he said. For Zeno, the human intellect was not merely akin to God, it is God, a portion of the divine substance. Temples are superfluous, he said; God's true temple is the human intellect.

Of this supreme confidence in rational thought, the Alexandrians created a new empirical, mathematical way of knowing. But the seeds of irrationality were also there, embedded in popular culture, or perhaps embedded in the human soul. Soon enough, supernaturalism returned. Astrology and magical healing replaced astronomy and medicine. Cults flourished, rationalists were scapegoated, and scientific culture began to decline.

The old dualisms - mind and matter, God and nature, soul and body - which the rationalists had striven to overcome, reasserted themselves with fresh vigor. Dodds calls it "the return of the irrational." He writes: "As the intellectuals withdrew further into a world of their own, the popular mind was left increasingly defenseless. . .and left without guidance, a growing number relapsed with a sigh of relief into the pleasures and comforts of the primitive. . . better the rigid determinism of the astrological Fate than the terrifying burden of daily responsibility."

Harvard historian of science Gerald Holton sees a similarity between Dodds' description of the decline of Greek culture and the resurgence of anti-science in our own time. Once again, astrology, magical healing, and other kinds of superstitious thinking are in ascendancy. Once again, cults flourish and rationalists are scapegoated.

The Greek experience shows that movements to delegitimize science are always present, says Holton, ready to bend civilization their way by the glorification of folk belief, violence, mystification, and the rabid ideologies of ethnic and nationalistic passions. Dodds calls it "the fear of freedom - the unconscious flight from the heavy burden of individual choice which an open society lays upon its members."

Science can only prosper in a free and open society, in an atmosphere of rational skepticism where traditional patterns of thought are challenged and subjected to critical scrutiny. Science will only flourish when a people have confidence in the power of the human intellect to make sense of the world."

X22 Report, “The Transition To The New System Has Already Begun, People Don't Know It Yet”

X22 Report, “The Transition To The New System Has Already Begun,
 People Don't Know It Yet”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “The Event Is Not Working As Planned, Moving On To The Next Phase”

Musical Interlude: Alan Parsons Project, “Ammonia Avenue”

Alan Parsons Project, “Ammonia Avenue”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“What are those red clouds surrounding the Andromeda galaxy? This galaxy, M31, is often imaged by planet Earth-based astronomers. As the nearest large spiral galaxy, it is a familiar sight with dark dust lanes, bright yellowish core, and spiral arms traced by clouds of bright blue stars. 
Click image for larger size.
A mosaic of well-exposed broad and narrow-band image data, this colorful portrait of our neighboring island universe offers strikingly unfamiliar features though, faint reddish clouds of glowing ionized hydrogen gas in the same wide field of view. These ionized hydrogen clouds surely lie in the foreground of the scene, well within our Milky Way Galaxy. They are likely associated with the pervasive, dusty interstellar cirrus clouds scattered hundreds of light-years above our own galactic plane.”

The Poet: Maya Angelou, “Alone”


“Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home,
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone.
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong,
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone,
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use,
Their wives run round like banshees,
Their children sing the blues.
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone,
But nobody,
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone,
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know...
Storm clouds are gathering,
The wind is gonna blow.
The race of man is suffering,
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody,
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone,
Nobody, but nobody,
Can make it out here alone.” 

- Maya Angelou