Domestication of the Savage Mind or Can’t Buy Me Love

…billions of American assistance dollars poured into programs in Afghanistan designed to help win “hearts and minds,” and bring stability to the troubled nation.

But, who unleashed the recent storm of chaos into this ‘troubled nation’ anyway? We did, of course! We also know that US expansionist plans, a.k.a. globalization, were crafted, honed, and rationalized by brainwashed policy wonks – graduates of the most prestigious Western institutions of indoctrination. Their mission is to build and establish stable social platforms receptive to our cultural, economic, and political agenda – our relentless hegemonic advance. This is no more clearly manifest than in the case of the USA international development process known as counterinsurgency.

The “hearts and minds” strategy [in Afghanistan], known as counterinsurgency, or COIN, called for a delicate balance of military pressures and civil incentives: military action against the enemy, combined with generous programs designed to win over the gratitude and trust of the people.

That has a nice ring to it – military action against the enemy.  Tell that to the tens of thousands of dead Afghan civilians (directly or indirectly) from the war we waged in their country and the stench of death we left in every mountain ravine and on every village path. This is a clear picture of the Janus-face of America’s totalitarian policy, in both its straight-up belligerent phase, and its subtler, inverted format – bribery and other incentives, a.k.a. “development assistance.” It is nearly the same game we used across the face of the globe: from war-torn Europe to the fall of the Iron Curtain, across Northern Africa to the Middle East, establishing military outposts and economic pawns all along the watchtower.  It is no different than our military occupation and reconstruction of Japan after the war, transforming it into a democracy – a genuine mini-me of Roosevelt’s New Deal. (I know, the Japanese attacked us first, just as Al-Qaida did in 2001 as we understand; but it was the perfect excuse to extend the reach of our hegemonic influence and imperial will).

Of course, counterinsurgency was engraved in our mission statement, long before it had a proper name. The earliest pilgrims to the New World, and explorers as far back as Chris Columbus, exercised this same methodology with the Native Americans: kill them with kindness and then, if they don’t comply, kill them with the sword. Subsequently, our government plied the tribes with trinkets, whiskey and promises; and when the going got rough, or some tribal groups refused to submit, the government sent in the troops, killing not only young braves defending their homeland, but elders, women, and children as well. (see H Zinn)

But, let us read from the 2006 copy of the Counterinsurgency manual issued by the United States Department of the Army.

…leaders at all levels [of a counterinsurgency operation must] adjust their approach constantly. They must ensure that their Soldiers and Marines are ready to be greeted with either a handshake or a hand grenade while taking on missions only infrequently practiced until recently at our combat training centers. Soldiers and Marines are expected to be nation builders as well as warriors.

What the army along with the policy wonks fail to understand is that some folks, particularly the tribal peoples of Afghanistan, just aren’t buying what we are selling; they don’t want our propaganda, our stabilization plans, or our occupying forces. We, the conquistadors – the warriors and nation builders – have finally met some real contemporary nomads and pastoralists who just will not fall for our tricks or our trinkets.  How dare those savages!  The indigenous populations of North America were not so fortunate, even as they resisted.  But, I am sure the cavalry is not yet through with the tribes of Afghanistan.  And we shall see how our armed forces will handle our own tribes again here in the homeland who are even now preparing a blockade of the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline. (I recommend that everyone go to Truthdig and read Chris Hedges latest posting from October 14th.)

One could argue, as I am sure the poli-wonks do constantly, that such counterinsurgency activities are beneficial to struggling nations, an exercise in extraordinary civilized behavior and conscience; that these efforts are intended to help people, demonstrating the good will of the aggressor.  As the military handbook says:

COIN forces aim to mobilize the good will of the people against the insurgents. Therefore, the populace must feel protected, not threatened, by COIN forces’ actions and operations… Effective commanders know the people, topography, economy, history, and culture of their area of operations (AO). They know every village, road, field, population group, tribal leader, and ancient grievance within it.

The avowed concern is to give those ‘peoples’ – the unwashed, the less than civilized barbarians – a helping hand so they can partake of the many benefits of our advanced culture, our advanced technologies, and most especially our evident material progress. Yet, the arrogance and ethnocentric condescension lodged within this view is itself unconscionable, as is the self-righteousness of the assumption that we have the solutions to their challenges.  The bottom-line is we want to exchange their lifestyle for ours; homogenize the globe, so they all look, believe, and behave like US.  Globalization 101 — covert colonization!  And no matter how many sushi restaurants pop-up around the globe, we all know that globalization really means Americanization, the unbridled spread of capitalism and its unrelenting temperament – consuming all resources in its wake.

In other words, the real motivation of the American imperial will may not be very difficult to ascertain. It seems to be our intention – under the cloak of ‘national security interest’ – to gain some concrete or meaningful control over foreign territories and their populations, economically and culturally, absorbing their diverse resources into empire for exploitation by its corporate benefactors.  Although we have recognized that colonization no longer requires actual physical take-over, still we leave occupying forces in place, and we utilize very effectively the softer tools at our disposal to control the colonized – economically, culturally, and politically with puppet regimes.

To this day, Okinawa remains a major offensive U.S. military base over the bitter objections of its inhabitants who, right now, are less than enthusiastic about dispatch of accident-prone V-22 Osprey helicopters to the Futenma military base, located at the heart of a heavily populated urban center.*

Yet, the Afghans seem to be telling us quite clearly that they want no part of it, that they do not want to be colonial subjects of this consumer-driven, commercialized, capitalist state. They do not care for our curriculum or its spectacle.  I also believe that some of their Muslim brethren sent a very loud message to us concerning this item back on 9/11/2001.  Unfortunately, I do not think our politicians read that memo carefully.

It has been noted by different poli-wonks and theorists of this ilk that “development assistance programs have limited impact in societies where tribal structures and dynamics remain strong,”* for example, in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.  Yet, all of these analyses are intended not as a deterrence to counterinsurgency efforts, but rather, as thought experiments enabling empire and its allies to overcome more primal tribal barriers to stabilization – colonization, commercialization, consumerism, and compliance with our wishes or demands, explicitly or otherwise.  Why do we feel compelled to destroy tribal and other “third-world” cultures?  Because the “Other” threatens our own sense of rightness, while blocking access to resources required in maintaining empire.

This is not unlike the game of chicken we have witnessed before and we still see with the economic development programs of the IMF and World Bank throughout the “under-developed” world; it is all a matter of subjugating the recipient country, and making their indigenous populations prisoners or slaves to the demands of our political and economic will: the acquisition of new markets, retention of cheap labor, and ready access to limited or shrinking natural resources.  When will it ever end?

As Chomsky concludes:

In 1962, war was avoided by Khrushchev’s willingness to accept Kennedy’s hegemonic demands.  But we can hardly count on such sanity forever.

57 Responses to Domestication of the Savage Mind or Can’t Buy Me Love

  1. feelitoff says:

    The US society is deeply influenced by the fact that it was based on mass destruction and establishing a New State Order over the native residents of once promised lands. The US policy was cut, faceted, cleaned and shone by those sailing on big ships across the ocean, those rejected and seeking for new opportunities looking for justice and loyalty, those who terminated life existing thousands of years, those who claimed independence (or simply got rid of responsibility). No wonder the US government cannot stop doing what the used to do for more than a half of the millenium.

    • javacat says:

      And we try to make money off the method…but this backfired for The Gap and its Manifest Destiny T-shirts:

      • kulturcritic says:

        Wow!! Ouch!! Ignorant people do ignorant things.

      • Disaffected says:

        Wow! That’s really interesting. I guess imperialist Americans can’t bear to have the truth shoved in their face so directly. Manifest Destiny is in fact what we’re practicing, so might as well say we believe it too. Enough so that we continue support for a totally corrupt and rotten government that practices it on our behalf anyway.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      Yet the United States is one of the most egalitarian of nations.

      What other nation proffers such a broad Egalitarian Clause—what academics should have called the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights—in its Constitution (or similar document)?
      Egalitarian dispersal of State power is the intended purpose behind the “right to bear arms.” It has nothing to do about “personal protection” or anything else except the “security of a free (egalitarian/power-sharing) State.”

      The Americans’ egalitarian bent expressed in the Second Amendment issues directly from close contact with the egalitarian/power-sharing Non-State eastern woodlands tribes, as documented in anthropologist Jack Weatherford’s Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America (1992) and Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (1988) and Jame’s Axtell’s The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America (1986) (especially chapter 13, The White Indians of Colonial America.)

      A good example of that dispersed—egalitarian—power being used against an entrenched, elite hierarchy, is The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) in August 1946.

      America’s Constitutional Egalitarian Clause coincides with how Christopher Boehm describes the evolution of egalitarianism in his Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior (Harvard University Press, 1999) as a “reverse dominance hierarchy,” that depends on the less powerful to band together “to deliberately dominate their potential master if they wish to remain equal.”

    • kulturcritic says:

      Your comment is right on the mark, Artur!

  2. Ivy Mike says:

    ”We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

    Freedom Fries, anyone?

  3. bmiller says:

    It is still amazing to me that the policy wonks in the military would have signed the dotted line and drunk from the cup on the Afghanistan war. After Vietnam once could read a score of books from the officer corps on the futility of this type of intervention. And they could read a score of books from the previous century about the futility of intervention in this area of the world by those who went before…. The hubris of an imperial power is truly astonishing. The need to project power is apparently compulsive even in the face of reality. Or, the reality is that the need to project power by an empire is necessary. Like a shark it has to keep swimming or die.

  4. Disaffected says:

    I’ll know we’re finally serious about changing course when the young and the disadvantage start refusing to volunteer for military service. Talk about starve the beast, that option is painfully clear and straight forward to implement if not for all that youthful energy that must be redirected elsewhere, hopefully toward something useful and productive. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the most useful and productive thing they’ll be doing initially will simply be resisting the hegemonic beast and/or actively contributing to its downfall. The Archdruid is currently in the middle of a series of posts that discusses that very subject.

    • bmiller says:

      I hear you. But the reality where we live (in the boonies) is that the military still remains the best career option for rural youth, urban youth and immigrants. Rome was never short of the poor and desperate to join their legions.

      • Disaffected says:

        How well I know. I’m retired military, and that was my main reason for doing it too. I’d like to think I wouldn’t do it now under current conditions, but you never know.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I like Druid; his pieces are just always so lengthy. I have a rather short attention span. Adult ADD I imagine.

  5. KC, this description you offer this week is, as I observe and intuit it, totally accurate. Isn’t it fascinating how few it seems allow themselves to identify with “the less than civilized barbarians?” The fear of being seen as, and treated like, one is a powerful motivator. Those who wish to control others rely on this manipulation. “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”

    Even more broadly, the conventional punishment/reward approach to social interaction is part and parcel in the manipulation of those with whom we struggle against in pursuit of our own self-interest. Wanting to have others cooperate with us by competing against them, to secure peace through war, enmity, and violence, to seek happiness by trying to control outer one’s circumstances is in a word: insane.

  6. derekthered says:

    yeah well, i have written about Afghanistan on other forums, what i always bring up is essentially “charlie wilson’s war”., and babrak karmal.
    and yes, if you read the history it was a bloody coup, or so we are told, who knows? could be beets, could be peaches, just cause it’s free don’t mean it’s no good.

    point being, if you look at all these places, we have meddled in their affairs for quite a long time.
    now, those dirty rotten commies, when they were in power they had like the beard police (really they did, brothers and sisters), where bandas, gruppas, and shaikas of reds stopped men on the street and forced them to shave their beards, and oh yes, they opened girls schools, such horrifying socialist practices as equality between the sexes, the nerve! it’s little wonder we had to arm the mujahadeen to put a stop to such effrontery.!

    so, here we are here, a brand-spanking new afghan constitution which states that no law may be at variance with the koran, your tax dollars at work. you can search it on the web, it’s there. what does one say? we managed to totally screw these people, just like in iran, just like in iraq, if you know your history of the cold war; throw out the reds, install puppet, act all surprised when radical fundamentalists take power, send in the troops, wash, rinse, repeat.

    that’s right bob! but that’s not all! wait for it!!!!!!!!! you also get massive profits for the military/industrial/media propaganda complex!!!! act now and we will be sending an extra 10,000 maimed/crippled for life soldiers home to mum and dad!!!!!!

  7. Disaffected says:

    Just a side note, former South Dakota Senator and perhaps the last legitimate Presidential nominee (D, 1972) George McGovern has entered a end of life care hospice in Sioux Falls, SD. I came upon this bit of news while listening to NPR at work today (NPR REALLY broadcasts some remarkably good daily programming here in the hinterlands of NM!), where they were also broadcasting a tribute of sorts to someone who will almost certainly be remembered as the last of a dying breed, if nothing else. I had the privilege of listening to one of McGovern’s thoroughly scathing rebukes to his colleagues before voting on a measure regarding the Vietnam War. Then, as now, cowardice and complicity were the rule of the day. McGovern (what a totally fucking apt name!), was one of God’s (if there is such a thing) truly bright lights, in that he stood up to **The Evil** without blinking, and paid the price for standing his ground.

    “The Devil” himself of course “won” that fateful election in 1972, if indeed that’s what you want to call it. McGovern managed to eke out electoral victories in only Massachusetts and the D.C., although the “Tricky One” found his victory somewhat hollow and meaningless a few years later. Nonetheless, it sewed the seeds for a “limp-wristed, defeatist” liberalism a few years later, the backlash from which (the Reaganista neo-cons) we have still not recovered. Now that I’m finally getting up there in years (55 this year), I think more and more about the “long arc” of history, and what other smart people who managed to stay above terra firma for such lengths of time must have concluded. And all too often I imagine myself somehow smug and smart from my 2012 information technology enabled perch. And then I hear the words and of the deeds of TRUE legends, and realize how TRULY SMALL my expectations have become.

    In the end, George McGovern, in my humble opinion, represents one of the final breaths still breathing of when America might have still dared to be great. I know, I know, even that’s a stretch (and it is), but I think the 1972 election, and I think someone named Hunter Thompson said as much as well at the time, pretty much represented America’s last chance at redemption. And our choice was of course overwhelming and indisputable, as have the results been ever since.

    Obama or Romney? Give me another shot, hand me the gun, and double me down. My soul’s been sold anyway, what else do I have to lose?

    • derekthered says:

      i remember watching an interview with mcgovern and just being blown away, and i thought “this man should have been president”; but here’s the weird thing, old tricky dicky holds a sort of fond place in my heart, i know it’s weird. really, i think nixon was our last real president, the last potus who actually thought he had some sort of power, and that he had the right to actually lead, who was not completely a puppet. probably a form of stockholm syndrome.
      nevertheless, after the political assassinations of the sixties? mcgovern had some stones to do what he did, and i totally agree with you that maybe if he hadn’t been screwed out of his due this country may have had a chance to be more moral and somehow better.

      • Disaffected says:

        I’ve often thought that too. But then I pinch myself. We essentially got McGovern redux four years later with Jimmy Carter, and look how that worked out. Matter of fact Morris Berman (Why America Failed) pretty much draws the line in the sand with the complete rejection of Carter in 1980 as being the clear demarcation of when America officially said “fuck you!” to the rest of the world and its own original guiding principles. I tend to agree. In retrospect, I’d call McGovern the harbinger, and Carter the “anointed one” or “divine deliverer” of “enlightened liberalism’s” ultimate demise in the US, realizing of course that the whole process had begun at least two decades earlier in the wake of WWII. Nonetheless, McGovern does recall a far simpler time morally (who’d a thunk ANYONE who lived through THAT time would EVER say anything like THAT?). Indeed, his utter rejection in ’72 represented a moral purity that simply could not exist today, what with our 24/7 multi-media full court blitz. And THAT, I think, is what’s most nostalgic about McGovern’s passing in the end. It represents yet another tie cut to a time that was SO much simpler and easier to navigate (troubling as it was) for those of us old enough to remember, and yet another reminder to us as well that time waits for no one and sweeps all of us away in it’s wake.

        Whatever, whatever, whatever, I know. For me at least, McGovern’s death occurs at an oddly fortuitous time when I’m particularly discouraged about American politics and our collective fate, and yes, I’m also prone to the idea of “divine provenance,” albeit of a decidedly more secular nature than most. I just think it’s particularly odd that a man of this magnitude dies at this particular time and place in history, when two such utterly morally vacuous individuals vie for an office that at one time was at least potentially deemed to be great. And I think of how far we’ve fallen in my soon to be 55 years. And the depths yet to come. And I wonder, how will it all end, and god help me, will I merely reincarnate to reap the whirlwind we have sewn?

  8. Malthus says:

    Obama or Romney. Take a look at South park episode 8 season 8 on youtube and because of copyright issues it will lead to the site that shows the episode. The name of the episode is the douche and the turd, and that is our choices now. Hunter also said the only ones that know where the edge is are the ones that have gone over it. Welcome to the other side DA. It seems all of us that come here to Sandy’s blog are on the other side of the edge.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Yes, Malthus… just watch the knife edge, when you cross over… it can hurt!! LOL

    • The Tweedledee/Tweedledumb duopoly sham presidential election retains the interest of voters by continually focussing on one issue or another. The pundits, horse-race analysts, if they ever do speak of policies, will only focus on one at a time. Thus, most voters will decide to vote for one or the other on one issue they decide is important to support. Such as: an environment issue, abortion, same-sex issue, money, patriotism, taxes etc. The big picture is IGNORED. Needed radical change is unconsciously considered blashphemous. This is exactly what the puppet masters want to come out of the election: a bunch of people obsessed with, and at odds with their fellow citizens over one issue, be it conservative or progressive. Each candidate will provide them their streams of income and control.

      The puppet masters must do their celebrating whenever they see the citizenry or any government entity split close to 50/50. This urges people to feel the need to identify with one side or the other, or if that seems too inconvenient , simply IGNORE the bloody thing.

      Q- So what is worse in this country the citizen’s ignorance or its apathy?

      A- I don’t know. A- I don’t care.

      • derekthered says:

        “Each candidate will provide them their streams of income and control.”, that’s pretty much the way the game is played, in the arena you need sponsors, as in the hunger games.
        “if they ever do speak of policies, will only focus on one at a time.” indeed, such as lamenting the number of people in prison, but not discussing the drug laws; or talking about bio-fuels, and never mentioning how many varied products can be made from hemp. and this is not the lone example.
        with a complex system such as our society is, it is all synergistic, the big picture matters.

        • Disaffected says:

          I can easily imagine an election in the not too distant future that is decided as a market solution. Imagine if you will: the D’s and the R’s both become officially incorporated (if they aren’t already?), and simply become publicly traded “political firms.” Soon thereafter, the Constitution is amended and the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches all become officially outsourced to the highest bidder, with the caveat that the officially recognized (read: licensed) political firm bidders must compete for each seat individually. D’s and R’s (and whatever other fat-nosed swine managed to muscle their way to the trough) must still compete for each seat in each individual district (all of which would be up for grab as well), with political favors being be bought and sold on over the counter exchanges like so many pork bellies in Chicago. Hmm… I’ll give it til 2020, maybe 2030 at the outside.

    • Disaffected says:

      All of the true adepts ride the razor’s edge. I’ve always prided myself in at least attempting to find it. Glad to say, I’m finding it better these days.

  9. Here is a letter to the Editor I submitted a few weeks ago, and was published in a couple of local weeklies yesterday. Its theme seems in line with this current essay. See what you think, KC.

    Is our stance hypocritical?
    Other than the convenience of following “conventional wisdom,” is there any sound reason Americans should conclude our feelings of anger, hatred, and frustration toward persons considered to be enemies of the state are more righteous or reasonable than these same feelings felt by these so-called terrorists?
    Furthermore, can this conventional wisdom be adequate justification for using torture as a scare tactic, or for exterminating even one of these fellow human beings untried, unheard, not understood and not even faced by their accusers and executioners?
    Certainly not — not with honor, not with compassion, definitely not with courage, nor with a spirit of generosity.
    We would do well to take a different angle when looking at what is being done in our name.
    Ron Greenstein
    El Cerrito

    • Disaffected says:

      Better watch El Cerrito, or El Obamanator’ll have you locked up in El Guantanamo and lose the key. But I hear ya otherwise. I keep coming back to the change in Obama after getting elected though. Something’s going on there, unless he was just the best Trojan Horse actor to ever come down the pike. And he doesn’t impress me as all that in the acting department. He damn sure ain’t shit as a debater, which we’ll get our final nauseating taste of tonight, especially when faced with an unrepentant bald-faced liar like Mittney. I think the sheer audacity of it flummoxes him. Fuck it! I’m watching it as pure theater from here on out. Let the lying begin!

      • bmiller says:

        I’m with you on the theater part. I find that a bottle of wine will help the lies go down easier. Cheers and Shhh! The curtain is rising.

        • Disaffected says:


          Romney: I’m a liar, and I LOVE to lie. I have every reason to lie, for if I lie good enough, I’ll be rewarded for lying some more. I’m lying to you now as I speak, and if you give me the opportunity to lie to you even more in the future, I promise to that I’ll do so. Of course that statement itself might be a lie… Nevertheless…

          Obama: I’m a proven liar. I lied to you in the campaign in 2008, I’ve lied to you very year since, and I’m lying to you now. Can any of you possibly doubt it? In addition, unlike Gov Romney, I’ve learned to occasionally mix truth with lies to confound you, thereby proving myself to be the superior liar! I AM THE DEVIL!!!

          Romney: You’re a liar!

          Obama: Yes I am!

          Romney: [momentarily confused] No you’re not!

          Obama: No I’m not!

          Romney: [thoroughly confused] I know you are, but…

          Obama: …Who are YOU!

          Romney: Stop tape…

          Confusion follows. The debate is declared a draw and details are not released.

    • javacat says:

      This feels of such a different time and place, even as I remember the incidents. Do you see more of this coming or think this is what we need?

      • kulturcritic says:

        I know, it does. I am not sure if this is what is needed, but I think this prestty well sums up what happens to indigenous (i.e., tribal) peoples when empire is on the warpath!!

        • Ivy Mike says:

          It has been Cain vs. Abel since the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution. Abel represents paleolithic foragers.

          Cain represents:
          • the first murderer
          • the first agriculturalist
          • the first city-builder
          • the first neo-liberal/lolbertarian/capitalist to come up with the excuse, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

          But certainly not the last. Atlas Shrugged has a whole chapter—V: Their Brothers’ Keepers—devoted to sneering at anybody who dare have compassion for the indigenous who find themselves in the way of empire’s domination of the globe.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      I wonder if Russell Means knew that the philosophical goddess of the LoLbertarian Party, in which he was heavily involved, thought in terms of freedom much like Bill Lumbergh’s freedom to take Milton’s Red Stapler.

      “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land … any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.” ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

      All the LoLbertarian bullshit talk about “rights” is meant mostly to obfuscate the white person’s right to take, and keep what he took.

  10. I was coaxed into watching the first Presidential debate which I found beyond boring and mildly nauseating. I did not watch the other debates. Instead of this, I had a great and uplifting time watching the San Francisco Giants play inspiring baseball in two playoff series to get their team into the World Series. I am a long time fan. So much about values, wisdom, leadership, cooperation, and the role of competition could gleaned from this than from the debates. of this I feel certain. I recommend reading an article or two about the Giant’s player, Marco Scutaro, who received the MVP award for performing his awe-inspiring role as one “who gets on base for his teammates.”

    This morning I felt this headline title and subtitle justified my attitude about this corporate (PTB) staged election:
    Final Presidential Debate
    Barbs aside, similarities rise to surface
    Little contrast in candidates’ foreign policy positions, leaving leadership style as the overriding difference.

    This said, I quote Adlai E. Stevenson: “Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.”

  11. derekthered says:

    let’s play a game shall we? it’s called word search!
    here are some suggestions. street, crime, home, invasion, wall, crooks, gangster, nation, dead, broke, food, prices, inflation.
    it would be interesting to see how many of these words were used by the candidates and in what context.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      Red, I thought you were WOPR for just a sec. hehe 🙂

      “Wouldn’t you prefer a good game of chess?”

      • derekthered says:

        I’m sorry, i’m afraid i just can’t do that.
        I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

    • Disaffected says:

      My ABSOLUTE favorite soliloquy EVER!

      • I have not checked to see if in fact this is from George Carlin, but I find it worthy of being said, heard, challenged by, embraced, and practiced.
        Isn’t it amazing that George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent…and so very appropriate.
        A Message by George Carlin:
        The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways ,but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

        We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

        We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

        We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

        We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

        These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

        Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

        Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

        Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

        Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

        Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

        Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


        Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

        If you don’t send this to at least 8 people….Who cares?

        George Carlin

  12. Misko says:

    “When will it ever end?” Hhhmmmm, six thousand years ago would’ve been nice…ten thousand even better. Been looking forward to the end of “it” for what seems like a hell of a long time now. It’s almost incredible how stupid, arrogant and destructive an intellect backed by a limitless sense of entitlement can be.

    Great post as always. Really looking forward to reading your “The Recovery of Ecstasy: Notebooks from Siberia” I just ordered.

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