September Eleventh and The Tail of the Uroboros

[Let me state in advance that the deaths and injuries resulting from the events of September eleventh were nothing less than horrific. I feel for those families and their friends who have had to endure the senseless loss of loved ones.]

The tenth anniversary of September eleventh has now come and gone.  And the United States government pulled out all the stops, my friends.  They even had Billy Boy Clinton up there in the field in Pennsylvania, doing his best tear-jerk patriotic routine ever; his lower lip hanging characteristically, hand poised partially outstretched with thumb pinching finger, the audience hanging as well in desperate anticipation on his breaking words.  The former president telling those assembled that the passengers on Flight 93 “gave the country an incalculable gift.”   Excuse me?  What gift was that, Mr. President?  Their lives were lost, and to what end?  Or was it simply payback to the Empire for its continued aggressive incursions onto foreign soils?

And of course Barack Obama, the current emperor, was on the road as well, selling the great benefits of “service to America” as a way of consoling ourselves for those losses sustained ten years ago.   And perhaps between the fear mongering and the flailing economy, this appeal to service is working.  At least two of my most diligent undergraduate students from three years ago have already signed on with Uncle Sam to answer the challenge of terror.  But what can we expect when the only healthy employer in town, with cash on hand, is a purveyor of death?  There seems to be no shame among our elite political class, and no depths to which they won’t stoop in selling their snake oil, while soliciting obedience and sacrifice from the body politic for ends that are selfishly nationalistic, greedily self-aggrandizing, and ultimately unsustainable.

Tears have been shed by those who lost loved ones, the memorials have been opened, eulogies and prayers offered, speeches made.  But what does all of this have to do with giving us closure and a final accounting of what happened there ten years ago, and why?

The mysteries surrounding the events of 9/11/01 are multiple and complex.  And there is no need to rehash the theories, counter-theories, and the conspiracy theories here.  There are other, more pressing concerns that need addressing: issues preceding that event by decades, if not millennia, that may provide some perspective on the real, but often darkened trajectory of our republic, its policies, its self-understanding in world history, and ultimately its undisclosed role in that horrific event.

Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and author of numerous political works, reflects on this tenth anniversary:

 In [my book] 9-11, I quoted Robert Fisk’s conclusion that the “horrendous crime” of 9/11 was committed with “wickedness and awesome cruelty,” an accurate judgment. It is useful to bear in mind that the crimes could have been even worse. Suppose, for example, that the attack had gone as far as bombing the White House, killing the president, imposing a brutal military dictatorship that killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands while establishing an international terror centre that helped impose similar torture-and-terror states elsewhere and carried out an international assassination campaign; and as an extra fillip, brought in a team of economists – call them “the Kandahar boys” – who quickly drove the economy into one of the worst depressions in its history. That, plainly, would have been a lot worse than 9/11.

Unfortunately, it is not a thought experiment. It happened. The only inaccuracy in this brief account is that the numbers should be multiplied by 25 to yield per capita equivalents, the appropriate measure. I am, of course, referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September 11, 1973, when the US succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the [socialist-oriented] democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile with a military coup that placed General Pinochet’s brutal regime in office. The goal, in the words of the Nixon administration, was to kill the “virus” that might encourage all those “foreigners [who] are out to screw us” to take over their own resources and in other ways to pursue an intolerable policy of independent development. In the background was the conclusion of the National Security Council that, if the US could not control Latin America, it could not expect “to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.”

It seems that the United States feared “an irreversible Marxist regime developing in Chile” and exerted extreme diplomatic, economic, and covert military pressure upon Chile’s democratically elected socialist government to bring it down.

But, did not the USA (along with its good buddy the UK) also orchestrate a similar coup d’etat in 1953 in Iran, and create another dictatorship in lieu of a democratically elected regime there? Of course we did. Together with Britain, Uncle Sam overthrew the elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh who had only recently nationalized the Iranian oil industry, previously under control of the British company AIOC (a remnant of British imperial interests in Iran). The coup effectively turned a constitutional monarchy into an authoritarian regime under the Shah until he was finally overthrown in February 1979.

When I think of how America began, with the expulsion of the British, and then the war with Spain, not to mention additional land-grab conflicts and the ongoing slaughter of native North American Indians as European settlers spread across the continent, I am struck by the fact that, in addition to our religious and legalistic obsessions, we have always been a war mongering country. And, for the most part, these have been imperial wars of expansion, control, and indigenous subjugation. Our “national interests” – the securing of critical resources, commercial markets, and cheap labor – along with our pathological fear of being out-gunned by the bad guys, these have been the hallmark of our aggression and our campaigns.

Was not this the root cause of the Cold War?  Fear!  And did we not get close to doing the same thing in Cuba as well?  But, was this fear real, or was it manufactured, always a ploy, a piece of propaganda to keep the body politic in line without questioning our real motives – global domination? And is this not what we are still doing even now – in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya; and what we may be preparing to do in Iran (yet again) or perhaps in China? And especially this “War on Terror;” what a piece of political marketing this has been, and to what end?  In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 events, Condoleezza Rice called in her senior staff at the State Department to consider ways of “capitalizing on the opportunity presented by this catastrophe.”  Is this not a psychopathic country, or what?

We are a nation, or I should say, the leadership of this nation is obsessed with protecting (by any and all means necessary) an unsustainable lifestyle, expanding its hegemony, and dominating the entire planet until there is nothing left to control.  And it does so through military force and propaganda. Yet, our own acts of aggression and terror go unchecked in the world. After all, we represent the three hundred pound gorilla in the room; who would dare to challenge us? Remember the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush.  Well, that was a small challenge.  He was trying to alert the world to the American atrocities taking place in his homeland; he was doing it as some small expression of retaliation for the millions of Iraqi lives that were lost or sacrificed on the sword of American anger and arrogance.

But, the more important challenge was the one allegedly perpetrated by a tall, skinny, bearded “holy” man high atop the romantic sounding hills of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, a modern day David confronting the great and almighty Goliath.  And Osama bin Laden must have relished the idea of seeing our bloodthirsty nation in an unwinable holy war on his home turf. And so, there we are – guns a blazing, lives lost, pensions plundered.  But, perhaps no one over there knew to what extent Uncle Sam longed for an excuse to enter and rape that region of the world. Some folks even believe our leadership had some foreknowledge of the coming event and did nothing to stop it.  For, they wanted to go to war.

Is it any wonder with our history of violent incursions into foreign lands to prop-up and support dictators who would feed our imperial hunger – and increasingly with our push into MENA – that we may have at the very least whetted the appetite of those who would become our newest slaves?

As I reflect on 9/11 in the strange fog of its aftermath ten years hence, and recalling the history of our bellicose adventures (both overt and covert), it seems to me that our present US military-political hegemony may represent the final leg of this very civilized human race – a race that began back in ancient Sumer, with the growth of cities and the establishment of the first standing armies.  It is a cultural legacy stronger than any addiction, its impact on the psychosocial history of the civilized world now irrevocable.

It seems to me that our present positioning can only lead to complete destruction of the systems of hierarchy and the mechanisms of domination we have constructed, in a series of grand almost apocalyptic struggles as the beast strikes out in almost epileptic, involuntary fits of rage, trying mightily to free itself from its own destructive past in its final death throes.  It was in Sumer where this all first began. And it will be round about Sumer (the area comprising much of modern Iraq and Iran) where it all seems to be moving mechanically, intractably towards its end, a complete circle, back to the beginning: the self-consuming Uroboros, swallowing its own tail, a consequence of the empire’s headlong and self-consuming hunger for more.  But, unlike the ancient mythological snake, this empire will not be reborn; but most likely just vanish into itself.

Now, I do understand just how cynical this view must seem; but this is my sense of history’s current trajectory and its likely conclusion.  As well, I don’t think we will see it finally crumble until all of the fossil and nuclear fuels on this earth have been exhumed and exhausted in our furnaces and upon our funeral pyres.  And that may take a little longer than many of my more knowledgeable colleagues have forecast.  But, it can be said that 9/11/01 was a watershed event in the collapse of Western civilization, unleashing the agressive heart of the curriculum itself, and reminding us of its archaic origins.  This single event forced the charade of freedom and equality to be exposed for the myth it has been since hierarchical political systems made their arrival in Sumer so long ago.

69 Responses to September Eleventh and The Tail of the Uroboros

  1. kulturcritic says:

    Davy diver gave the following comment:

    “But Dubya’s Shanksville performance deserves an Oscar for the best fairy tale delivery evar! He didn’t even mangle his words. And Cheney, bellying up to the bronze rail at WTC – fingers feeling the names of the deceased like the blind touching the dead, what an exquisite expression on his face – I bet he wanted to unload his entire brain into that wet dark memory hole.”

  2. xraymike79 says:

    Aren’t our psychopathic elite such great actors. Truth be told, the majority of Americans were intoxicated with blind nationalism fever and the bloodlust for revenge The most interesting explanation I’ve found as to why they and the general populace cannot reconcile America’s warmongering past with the blowback of 9-11 is this:

    “Freud and others were fascinated by the concept of “infantile omnipotence.” This is what a child feels early in his life, and what he must eventually surrender, when he realizes he does not, and cannot, control the world.
    There are some people, though, who can never quite accept this truth. They don’t have a strong enough sense of self to sustain the psychic injury. And thus, they resort to magical thinking, delusions of grandeur, angry projections, wild superstitions. They become, in this sense, more closely aligned with primitive cultures.
    It is my belief that the enduring legacy of 9/11 resides in a permanent regression of the body politic, a narcissistic injury that we return to as a talisman of self-victimization, and which allows us to frame our sadistic urges as moral duties.
    The attacks stunted our capacity to accept the awful truth of the world. This is most obvious in the ravings of demagogues. But in the end, the demagogues merely provide cover for our own quieter, more subtle abdications.”
    http://therumpus.net/2011/09/the-decade-of-magical-thinking/

    • kulturcritic says:

      xray mike – thanks for joining our discussion. I like the quote with the following reservation: “They become, in this sense, more closely aligned with primitive cultures.” I think Freud and other early 20th century thinkers were generally wrong about ‘primitive cultures’. I am not arguing that they did not resort to what appears to be magical thinking; but, it only looks magical from our stunted perspective. They were more responsive to the animate nature of the surrounding environment… We have lost any such capacity. Otherwise, I think you nailed it about the blind nationalism and the war mongering. Please keep posting with us. sandy

      • xraymike79 says:

        You mean we have lost our connectiveness to the natural world upon which we rely for our survival. Of course with modern Capitalist Man, if he can’t commodify it and exploit it, then it’s of no real value or meaning to him. As Bush, Cheney, and Obama have all said, “Amerika’s way of life is not negotiable.” Therefore we will plunder every last land and people to keep it going. What is Amerika’s ‘way of life’ anyhow? From the elite’s perspective, our ‘way of life’ is essentially crony capitalism, militarism, and Too-Big-To-Fail-ism. Any sort of ‘Amerikan way of life’ for the rest of us has slowly and steadily been eaten up and taken away by the glutonous few at the top of our pyramid scheme who are now busily securing themselves behind walled compounds in the ever-increasing surveillance and security state of Amerika.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Precisely Xray! Everything is an object, and not subject. Even other people are commodified (within the capitalist system) and exploited for their monetary value (productive capacity). Nature itself is no longer alive, as a vital presence with which we interact, but a set of objects to be acted upon.

  3. StrayCat says:

    Well, Sandy, you have it right, and that is overwhelmingly sad. I often wonder why no one has described the shock and awe visited on Baghdad as terrorism, even though it was described as such by the Bushies in different words as it was being carried out. Are we so locked into a sophistic rhetoric that we can’t see for the bushels of words and pictures that we are assaulted with on a daily basis? Our personal shame is that we now see plunder, rape, terror and armed robbery as legitimate means to any end that we define, or just call, our national interest. Does anyone any longer even ask what those interests are, and how we come to claim them for our own? This state of affairs and state of mind can only come in a system of thought and social arrangement where the upper strata of the hierarchy can overrule reason in the face of all the evidence and convincingly declare that their vision of the world is the only one that is legitimate and that any other view is unpatriotic, or unreasonable, or, as happens every day on the national news entertainments, based on incomplete knowledge of the world. Only the security state has all the facts, so only they can know what to do. This fundamental assault on democracy is ages old, but has been refined to a high art in 21st century America. It is so refined that one must go to Europe and the Middle East for real journalism. Oh, I despair on a daily basis now, fighting the urge to pull up anchor and spend the rest of my days in self indulgent cruising- just seeing the remains of a once beautiful world that still exists in out of the way places that have either lost any value to the worm or have not yet been sniffed out by that beast that is the security state.

    • kulturcritic says:

      SC – the only problem as I see it, in your clear statement above is that they do not “overrule reason” (not in their book) but apply their reasoning process (an extreme form of hyper-rational logic), unsparingly. As a matter of fact, they would tell us that we are being overly emotional and highly subjective in our assessments, and that they alone are looking at things OBJECTIVELY, as things really are in the REAL world, that they alone are applying a hard, cold, calculating and unforgiving logic. As you well stated a bit later, “only the security state has all the facts” (answers).

      • StrayCat says:

        You are right on the reason issue, however, I have come to the conclusion that strict positivism, whether applied to law or ethics is irrational in that it ignores the greater part of our real experience. The entire idea that there is a clean break between the objective and subjective is unrealistic outside of the ivory tower of mathematical formulation and narrowly logical sentence structure. Finally, subjective does not automatically mean emotional in the derogatory sense of that word.

  4. xraymike79 says:

    I happened to come across a video recently on Youtube which incorporates one of my favorite films of all time, ‘Donnie Darko’, with another of Jake Gyllenhaal’s films, ‘Jar Head’. It’s the art of ‘political remix video’ where the practitioner will splice and mix together various film and media images in order to subvert the original message of the film and convey an entirely new message. The artist in this particular political remix video wanted to show the hypocrisy of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech as well as the futility and brutality of war. In Obama’s speech for the peace prize, he essentially offers the Orwellian and illogical message of ‘peace through war’. I think it’s a brilliant piece of work.

    For your enjoyment….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVuh4AiZ-VY

    • kulturcritic says:

      Xray – powerful video!! I was shocked when he was tapped for that award; but then on further reflection it fits in perfectly with the scenario of death and death-dealing that this civilization represents in its final days.

    • Disaffected says:

      Excellent video. I guess at this point the only question is whether or not NoBama actually believes all the shit he has to spout daily, or whether he’s just a plain old congenital liar like all the rest. My money’s on the latter.

      And back to 9-11, from Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine perspective, it was nothing less than the political goldmine of the century. Just another reason to believe it was an inside job all along (there’s a long list of other good reasons as well).

      Think about this as well: Imagine for a moment that 9-11 WAS an inside job if you’re not convinced already. As the new president takes office, the plot is revealed (although the cast of characters is still very small and anonymous, very determined, and potentially very lethal), and the long term game plan is dictated. NoBama is told in no uncertain terms of the consequences to him and his family for refusing to play ball and/or being silly enough to even try to reveal any of it. And to prove the point, the Salahi White House dinner incident is allowed to unfold, just to prove to young NoBama that accidents can indeed happen. Lo and behold, NoBama does a 180 on foreign policy, prosecution of war crimes, and closing Guantanamo immediately thereafter (and just abut everything else as well). Food for thought.

  5. Disaffected says:

    Fear is indeed the all-time political best seller. And with its formal implementation through the “War on Terror,” we have best one two punch in history: a “war” whose foes cannot even be defined – or better yet, can be endlessly redefined expressly for serving the political whims of the moment – and thus, cannot ever be “won,” and therefore will never end. Regardless of whether 9-11 was an inside job or not, the reaction to it was a political masterstroke of the highest order: perpetual war at the behest and the expense of the people. For tin pot dictators and crony corporate capitalists alike, it simply doesn’t get much better than that. Terms so good, even the dems had to buy in.

  6. rg the lg says:

    The idea that the US was founded on lies and half-truths must be included in the analysis. The original article is truly a brain tickler … the sort of thing I will make available to my HS kids (night school / credit recovery rebels) because I am sure they understand the dissonance between the rhetoric and the reality.

    I suggest to all that a good read (I was a library guy for years, doncha know, and thus can not help suggesting books) is “Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution” by Alfred Blumrosen and Ruth Blumrosen. The conventional wisdom, promulgated not only by the local school teacher and the ‘good ameriKan perspective,’ but by damned near every ‘perfessor’ of history in US ‘collages and un-iversity’ in ameriKa are appalled by the reality as expressed by team Blumrossen.

    I would also add, by way of being ticked about the whole thing, that the homecoming theme for our miserable HS was ‘Remember 9 – 11.’ The whole theme revolved around ameriKan exceptionalism … our godliness … etc. Of course, since football is a means of teaching tribalism … the idea that our warriors are better than the next towns warriors … it was appropriate that the military services were evident … . RUMOR has it that the recruiters were handing out stuff in the stands. As I wasn’t there, I cannot vouch for the veracity of the rumor. But, witnesses for whom I have respect, all reported the same thing.

    Ah, uhmeriKKKa … what a set of BS myths … . We are a nation projecting an illusion … and only we seem incapable of understanding it.

    On another matter, I don’t necessarily fault the politicos for mouthing the BS about maintaining our unsustainable life style. On that subject, I do think they reflect the greed of our populace. The population IS not victims … they are complicit.

    • Disaffected says:

      Our current delusional state indicates we’re still in step one: denial. Step two – anger – is gonna be a real bitch for a country so firmly ensconced in first world luxury as ours. Don’t count on the pols telling us anything resembling the truth for quite some time yet. Matter of fact, I think we’re several years out from even glimpsing rock bottom yet, so the real thrill ride has yet to even get started. Can’t wait to see what thrills and chills a Republican/Tea Party majority across the board delivers after 2012. It should be fun!

  7. John Bollig says:

    This is a war lifestyle, a lifestyle that is called the military industrial complex. We are as complicit as any empire. The israelis view all of the civilian population as military so, the terrorists veiw everyone as potential targets Isn’t it time for the concept of total war be taken to its ultimate zenith. Isn’t it time for telling the simple truth. The empire is going down, but it will take a lot of others with it. What is needed is the realization that the empire won’t matter if we are able to become self sufficent and go local, not global. Empires generate their power from creating dependency upon its resources. Empires foster unequal trade flows, uneven power relationships and monopolizing trade to benefit its own favored enterprises. The best way to cripple the power is to break the monopoly that the powerful have on you. This means denying them the tools to blackmail you into slavery. It means getting land and growing crops on your own, Denial of the levels of power will create stressors on the system that will cause collapse.

  8. Disaffected says:

    Another take on the current Perry/Romney duel for the heart and minds of the Republican faithful:

    Perry was brought in by Republican party elite movers and shakers (just as many contend the entire Tea Party party movement itself was similarly manufactured) as “the extreme candidate” (wow! is that even possible in such a wacky field as this?) for the express purpose of a.) pulling the entire political debate hard right for the next 18 months, and b.) ensuring Barry NoBama’s eventual reelection, albeit on even more favorable terms than they have already.

    Why would they do such a thing you ask, when the business establishment already has a perfectly good GOP candidate in Romney? Easy. Romney’s Mormon ties are still the major liability to the GOP right that they always were. And they likely always will be. Second, NoBama’s a known quantity at this point, and thus far a very good one at that. Third, NoBama provides the incalculable benefit during a period where any policy at all is likely to backfire in the short term of blame-ability! Fourth, NoBama sitting in the WH, effectively enacting GOP policies as nominally a “liberal democrat,” allows the Tea-Party and GOP the huge advantage in the “opposition” of resorting to all manner of political dirty tricks and stupidity to get their way and effectively change the political landscape for good (as in forever).

    In short, Perry’s a strawman set up for political effect, in much the same role Palin’s attempted to play (badly!) over the course of the past four years. We’ll see how it all plays out in due course, but expect Perry to alienate the business community in short order (actually, he’s scaring them already) and Romney to simply fail to inspire the legendary Republican base who worship the raving lunatics among them.

    As for the coups afterward? Still entirely possible, either as a means for cracking down on a strawman “opposition,” or as an excuse to install a hand-selected nut-case if things get really bad. Fun times ahead.

  9. Patric Roberts says:

    Sandy thanks for the courage of discussing the “elephant in the room” and pointing out the historic swept along blind ignorant cultural drift of the Roman Orgy happening in the Political Leadership Crisis in Western Civilization. Thank you!

  10. Brutus says:

    The many and repeated discussions of what we’ve done (“we” being the U.S., its leaders, strategists, intelligence agents, and ultimately, its military when all else fails — read John Perkins) all combine to create an impenetrable fog of truth, lies, conspiracy, psyops, and spin. No sane person can possibly reconcile all the competing stories of who we are and what we’ve done, so we all succumb to doublethink just to function. Or we tune out entirely. If each and every one of us (Americans mostly, no colorful respelling necessary) is not accordingly certifiably insane as a result of this toxic information spew, then it’s at least true that we live in an insane culture, an insane time, when all the indicators of reality about to impose itself upon us are denied and spun, deepening the fog. Even when a few truth-tellers and whistleblowers step forward (who are sometimes hard to distinguish from the conspiracy nuts), it doesn’t ultimately matter because the fog is still all enveloping.

    Therefore, maybe it doesn’t matter which truth one clings to, which conspiracy one subscribes to, which propaganda one repeats, which hope one harbors. The entire meme complex is so distorted and destabilized that only a few certainties remain, including the big one we all live with until our dying day.

    • Disaffected says:

      Very true. Although, I must say that further makes plausible any actual conspiracies that might be hatched out there, in that in the current “fog of digital reality’ in which we live, all possible conspiracy theories are equally viable or not, and thus are easily dismissed as being undecipherable, and thus irrelevant. That said, “the fog of digital reality” is a strategy in itself, so rest assured that someone somewhere out there in psyops land has at least some idea of what’s really going on. And you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s probably not favorable for most of us “little people.” Orwell’s insights are being borne out every day now right before our still mostly unbelieving eyes and ears.

    • kulturcritic says:

      You’ve stated it succinctly, Brutus. And perhaps more clearly than I. The combination of the words “meme” and “fog” go a good distance in disclosing that hidden structure of the curriculum that not merely distorts our perception of the real, but concurrently disables us from seeing our way through the distortions (the fog) generated by the peculiar style of self-denial and obfuscation characterizing our culture since its inception. The West is best! Whatever we do is self-justifying and destabilizing of the rest. There is a circularity that disallows escape. (Just a random thought at 1:30 am here in Siberia… good night!)

      • xraymike79 says:

        I think Chris Hedges’ writings best describe modern society’s digital hologram in which we are submerged, distracted, and numbed:

        “I remember when I was twenty years outside the United States, I moved back to New York City, and I was overwhelmed by the electronic hallucinations that bombarded me in my public and private space. And so, I retreated into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I could contemplate objects or paintings that didn’t move.

        And the more I think — I haven’t read the book yet [“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicholas Carr] — but I think he’s right, in the sense that you need to step back from movement. You need to spend significant amounts of time with print material to grasp complex thoughts, and that requires silence. It requires an absence of noise. It requires an absence of moving images. And the less we do that, the more — the shallower or the more manipulated we become.

        If you want to understand the nature of totalitarianism, then you better invest time in reading the great works on totalitarianism. “The Origins of Totalitarianism”, Karl Popper, “The Open Society and Its Enemies”, and if you don’t do that — Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated” — you can’t begin to understand what’s happening to you. And I think that there are powerful forces in this culture — and I think Carr is on to something — that intrude into our space to such an extent that we’ve stopped thinking. And I find it frightening.

        Kall: This is not a choice, though, this is what’s happening. I’ve talked to a good number of brain researchers and scientists, and they all agree. The brain is changing, and it’s getting more distractible. And it’s having more difficulty going into deep attentive states, and less and less people read print. The percentage of people under 30 who read newspapers — my God! It’s frightening.

        Hedges: Well then, that’s just what the corporate state wants. And they’re getting it. They want us to be constantly distracted. And what’s happening to us as a country as we are distracted.

        Our U.S. Treasury is being looted. We are racking up deficits to fund wars that not only can’t be won, but that we can never pay for. We have created a kind of permanent underclass of unemployed. One in four children need food stamps to eat. We have destroyed our manufacturing base so that the jobs that made a prosperous working and middle class possible will never come back.

        We have allowed the national security state to suspend habeas corpus, carry out warrantless wiretapping and eavesdropping on millions of Americans. I think it’s like 1.3 billion emails are stored a day by a national security state.

        And meanwhile, we’re all wrapped up in whether Tiger Woods’ mistress has bought a condo in New York. You know, it has a kind of Kafkaesque or absurdist quality to it. But it’s not accidental. And it replicates in a much more sophisticated form, precisely what happened in the Roman arena. Cicero spent a lot of time writing about it. The emotional and intellectual life of the Roman public as Rome became despotic was invested in the arena, until essentially, the Roman public was enslaved and the Republic itself collapsed into despotism, corruption, and finally, ruin. I think that the human heart remains a constant. Technology changes and we’re seeing exactly the same phenomena within American society.”
        http://www.opednews.com/articles/Chris-Hedges-Interviewed-b-by-Rob-Kall-100913-773.html

        This is exactly what Joe Bageant desribed in his superb essay “Lit up by the American Hologram”.
        http://www.alternet.org/media/146888/we're_living_in_a_theater_state_–_plug_in_and_be_lit_up_by_the_american_hologram/?page=entire

        Occasionally the truth breaks through this digital blur of misinformation, half-truth, and self-deceit that society is awash in; but only briefly, and then it’s stuffed back down into the dark recesses of the collective consciousness.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Xraymike – great post links. I think Hedges has a lot of it right; as did Joe. I spoke of some of this in my post, Resistance As Commodity: America Medicated and Enslaved.

        • Brutus says:

          I haven’t read everything you mention, but I’ve read Hedges, Bageant, and Carr. The first two are more about arguments, anecdotes, and storytelling, whereas Carr is soberly reporting on the picture slowly emerging as psychological research catches up on some of the devices and developments unleashed on an unwitting public. I don’t think anyone knew the implications of radio, cinema, or TV when they were adopted as the first mass media. The same is true of iPod, PCs, smartphones, etc. We’re plunging headlong into who knows what, essentially running an open-ended live human experiment without even a hypothesis or control group.

          Carr writes about neuroplasticity, the rewiring of the brain throughout life in response to stimuli, which reverses consensus about the fixity of adult brain structure. Something I learned recently is that certain African tribes can distinguish colors we can’t and can’t distinguish colors we do because of linguistic differences — if your vocabulary merges colors or separates them, the brain’s interpretation of perception adjusts accordingly. I’ve also known for some time that text and video, though they are both perceived through the eye, are processed very differently, the former through language and the latter through emotion. Where a painting fits is unclear to me, since its motionlessness and wordlessness don’t plot clearly and the usual artistic intent is to communicate emotion.

          All said, the development of an omnipresent, mass media (now handheld) using multiple channels of stimulation, mostly to advertise, propagandize, and distract, has resulted in Bageant’s hologram: a fictional projection from which it is very difficult to escape. And most people don’t want to, since the alternative (reality) is not nearly so glamorous. So who’s gonna win the next Dancing with the Stars?

        • Disaffected says:

          Xray,

          Good stuff. Regarding to returning to the US after a time away, I had a similar experience when returning from Germany in 1992 after only three years away, back when things were downright quiet compared to today. Even then, it was quite an adjustment.

          “Our U.S. Treasury is being looted. We are racking up deficits to fund wars that not only can’t be won, but that we can never pay for.” Not only that, but we had NO INTENTION of either winning them OR paying for them right from the git go. That’s the REAL shit.

          Rome? Yes we are. The physical metaphorical – if not literal – reincarnation.

          DA

  11. ! says:

    PONEROLOGY: A NEW SCIENCE

    “No matter how eloquently and accurately authors (novelists, dramatists, poets, historians) describe the occurrence of evil, a disease cannot be cured through description alone. Our natural language cannot adequately explain the concepts surrounding such phenomena. Only a scientific understanding drawing from psychological, social, and moral concepts can approach the understanding necessary to prevent the emergence of mass madness seen so many times in the history of our planet.

    Ponerology describes the genesis, existence, and spread of the macrosocial disease called evil. Its causes are traceable and can be repeatedly observed and analyzed. When humanity manages to incorporate this knowledge into its natural worldview, it will have defensive potential as yet unrealized.”

    • Disaffected says:

      Is this link serious? It certainly sounds plausible on one level, but then sounds like something to draw in and ensnare the unwitting on another level as well. Psychopathy is certainly well documented, although lately it seems like the psychopaths are winning, and thus redefining the terms of their disease. And none other than ol’ Dick Cheney himself has got to be the posterchild of the “psychopathy is the new normal” movement. Sad thing is, Rick Perry and his breed are gonna make ol’ Dick look like Trappist monk before it’s all said and done.

      • kulturcritic says:

        RON GREENSTEIN WROTE:

        Since I read the book several years ago, I have subscribed to Peck’s definition of what evil is.
        Here are one of the catagories of quotations from the book, People of the Lie, by Dr. M. Scott Peck, other catagories are:
        http://www.geftakysassembly.com/Articles/Perspectives/MalignantNarcissism.htm
        The Narcissist: Refusal to acknowledge sin
        It is necessary that we first draw the distinction between evil and ordinary sin. It is not their sins per se that characterize evil people…The central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.p 69
        If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.p 71
        The evil hate the light–the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light of truth that penetrates their deception.p 179 Rather than blissfully lacking a sense of morality, like the sociopath, they are continually engaged in sweeping the evidence of their evil under the rug of their own consciousness.p 76
        The poor in spirit do not commit evil. Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves. The evil in this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisees of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination.
        Unpleasant though it may be, the sense of personal sin is precisely that which keeps our sin from getting out of hand. It is quite painful at times, but it is a very great blessing because it is our one and only effective safeguard against our own proclivity for evil. p 71-72

        DA REPLIED:
        Ron,

        I’m with you on most of this, and you’re obviously much more well versed and have given it a lot more thought than I. A couple of things:

        The use of the word “sin’ always gives me a lot of trouble, as a true A-“THE”-IST. I’ll swallow it in this context (at least as far as you go here), because I THINK(?) I know what you mean.

        I Googled M. Scott Peck, suspecting he was a religionist of one stripe or another. I thought I recognized that name. Turns out I actually read his stuff back in my “New Age” youth in the late 70s-early 80s. Excellent choice! I actually still respect his whole line of thinking after all these years, provided the Wiki entry still does him justice.

        I’m still troubled by the use of the term “evil,” if only because the religious right has so effectively co-opted that term already. Seems to me that the word “evil,” just as the word “liberal” before it, has now lost all practical meaning for the masses. Just as the political demagogues on the right intended.

        “The poor in spirit do not commit evil.” I’m not sure what you mean by that (although I think I might know), and I’m not sure it’s defensible in any case. I DO know that without further explanation, it creates a hole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through. At first blush, it seems to make an excuse for being poor (or at least that’s the attack I’d expect from the conservative right), even though I know that’s not what is meant. When attacking “evil” on purely argumentative grounds, I’m still reminded of the classic line from The Exorcist:

        The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/quotes

        And finally (admittedly, a nitpick): “Rather than blissfully lacking a sense of morality, like the sociopath…”

        I’m not sure I’d characterize the true sociopath as “blissfully” lacking anything; but rather, as merely lacking what most of us consider “normal.” The one true documented psychopath I’ve known in my life (He’s doing life for murder right now. He was a COMPLETE psychopath from an early age, albeit not a very effective one, at least as measured by his ability to evade law enforcement.) was not very “blissful” about much of anything. “Tortured” would have been a much better description.

        All the same. Good post!

        DA

    • Disaffected says:

      Hey Ron,

      JUST one more thing (I promise!):

      “The evil hate the light–the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light of truth that penetrates their deception.”

      I think we might have crossed the Rubicon in that regard. I TRULY don’t think the new “evil” among us give ONE RAT’S ASS who knows what they’re up to or what they they think about it. That’s the mark of the TRUE NEW AGE NARCISSIST. They are TRULY (at least in their own mind) TOTALLY REDEFINING both REALITY AND MORALITY.

      In that sense, their “deception” is no longer deception at all; and thus, the TRUE psychopathy of it all.

      Simply put:

      “Just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
      – George, in “The Beard”

      http://www.pkmeco.com/seinfeld/beard.htm

      DA

      • I think, the “evil” folks today seem not to care as much only because the culture itself is more in line with their attitudes. When I was a boy the culture still took vices to be vicious and virtues to be virtuous. Now, vices have become “virtuous” and aspiring to be virtuous has become “foolish, naive, or “there go those whacky liberal/socialist/progressive/bleeding hearts again.” So, those partaking in evil behavior believe they are the righteous and wise. The world is upside down.

        Only other thing to mention is that, it is my conviction, that all souls are redeemable ultimately. If not in this lifetime…

        • rg the lg says:

          Alas, I think it bears repeating … just in case you were lucky enough to miss it the first time?

          Regarding evil … it seems to me that a good place to start talking about evil might be the BLOG owners: ‘Apocalypse Of The Barbarians,’ by Sandy Krolick. I can not say I agree with everything he says … so I also suggest that you read the story of the ‘Arrowmaker’ in N. Scott Momaday, ‘A man made of words.’ My world view is tainted by my damned degree in geology (the one after the BIS, the one after the MA in history, but before the library degree) …

          • Disaffected says:

            My world view is likewise tainted by my “degrees” as well, especially since I work in that field (business) daily. In spite of that fact, I’ve NEVER taken my academic credentials seriously, recognizing from the start that they were a mere farce to allege “authority” where more often than not none existed. And my experience in the interim has ONLY reinforced my initial impressions.

            In my case, I’m constantly amazed at the number of apparent “neophytes” who quite apparently never got the education they actually claim, as well as the number of “accomplished professionals” who claim that they did, but obviously didn’t. Personal differences aside, it’s really QUITE amazing to observe the modern American so-called “professional class” at work, if only for their TOTAL lack of the same.

            Someone, somewhere, is OBVIOUSLY paying A LOT more for their educational credentials than they need to.

            DA

            • I experience academia as generally taking itself over seriously. Talk about the detriments stemming from hierarchical thinking. Indoctrination and training is passing itself off as education. There’s nothing wrong inherently with training or indoctrination as long as one accepts it for what it is. Love of learning (learning love) is open to all for all time. Most people, I’m afraid do not see it that way. 😦 Holding tightly to one’s opinions and beliefs places limits on one’s freedom to grow, to pursue truth, to question the many illusions that one is being programmed with if one is not paying strict attention.
              I spoke with a teacher at a street fair a few weeks ago. He was campaigning against teaching anything other than the conventional scientific presentation of evolution. I tend to see this “conflict” of creation vs evolution as a non-issue, as another mass distraction from from focussing on correcting the heist in progress. I asked him about encouraging his students to ask the questions rather than simply resigning themselves to parrot answers on those God forsaken, standardized tests. I could tell he was conflicted. Oh well, we have a long way to go or is it: to get back?

              • Disaffected says:

                I think I’ve learned more from the blogosphere over the course of the past several years than I ever did in school past my first two years of college. A much more free-wheeling and academically honest environment, where you actually learn as much by having to evaluate all the garbage out there as garbage as you do from listening to the platitudes of the masters.

            • rg the lg says:

              Ah, to be young enough to be a neophyte … . I loved the inquiry and learning of college … could have been a ‘professional student’ and whiled my life away …

              I started out with an information science degree … and was thus a victim of the idea that credentials matter. I was a history student because I wanted to understand why we did as we did … the earth and rocks have always interested me and I wanted (I told myself) to write about the history of science … and then I discovered the art of librarianship … and was caught in classification theory. Esoteric? Maybe … maybe not.

              Sandy has written about how ‘civilization’ is the root of the current angst. Maybe … but I go back to competition, and the cooperation, amongst our proto – bacterial ancestors to find the roots of our that angst. His analysis is one of the things that caused me to find this blog … and, while I think he has hit the nail on the thumb (thus was achingly close to hitting the head of the nail), I don’t think he went back far enough. [OK, bad pun … you don’t deserve this PUNishment, and it really isn’t PUNny … ]

              Further, in my critique, I would point out that if dogs can be changed from essentially wolves to dachshunds and greyhounds in a relatively short period of time, then evolutionary change is highly plausible … and as an evolutionary species, it seems equally plausible that we have evolved into the planet rapacious bunch we are as a function of the so-called ‘civilizing’ environment.

              • Disaffected says:

                RG/LG,

                Evolution? Say it ain’t so, Joe! You’ll burn in hell for believing in that non-sense, or so I’ve been told. I’m kidding!

                A word of explanation regarding my “relationship” with religion, since evidently SOME on this blog have judged me a little harshly (IMO) in that respect.

                I was brought up a fundamentalist protestant Christian in the “Great American Heartland” of Iowa and Nebraska. There, it’s perhaps not quite as ubiquitous as it is in the American South (where I’ve also lived for almost 8 years of my adult life), but it’s probably (in my opinion at least) at least as virulent among the “true faithful,” and (once again, in my opinion) a great deal more pathological, in the sense that it’s morphed into a weird 21’st century “Super Center” version of virtual retail religion, a la Walmart, which has also virtually taken over all the small mid-west towns that dot the interstate. In the Heartland, religion is now being actively marketed (and downscale at that) just like any other commodity, and the result is disheartening to even the likes of me – an avowed atheist – who still remembers a time when religion was at least what it was – honestly with no apologies – a stiff drink of fundamentalist thinking meant only for a select few.

                But I digress. “In the beginning” so to speak, when I was very young, I actually enjoyed growing up in a small town fundamentalist church. The pageantry of dressing up on Sundays, the sense of community of meeting up with everyone in the community once a week, the joy of the singing and the hallelujahs ringing out, and even the blatantly theatrical appeals of the Protestant preachers with their incessant weekly calls for the wicked to come forward and be “saved” and for the “back-slidden” to come forward and be “renewed.” I was into it ALL as a 3-5 year old simply for the experience! And it was GREAT, it REALLY WAS! It was a little kid’s play dream come to life, and it was FANTASTIC!

                But of course that was the 1960s in rural Nebraska, and we KNOW how all that turned out now, don’t we?

                I’d like to say that religion continued to hold me spellbound thereafter, but of course, it didn’t. Not even a little bit. As my “family” (already just me and my mom – divorced at a young age in an era where d-i-v-o-r-c-e still held a social stigma – although THAT was certainly about to change as well) moved to the “big city” (nothing at all compared to coastal US standards), the local religious alternative was already even then being commercialized. Our local church’s primary goal right from the start was an expansion fundraising drive, expressed by the “passing of the plate,” which increased proportionately with their lack of success in raising funds for the same. It was with no small sense of pleasure that I noted the Pastor’s eventual removal for “financial improprieties,” a few years after BOTH of his teenage daughters turned up illegitimately pregnant, both of which for whom he stood up before the congregation and asked for the “power of prayer” (and maybe a drop or two in the plate as well) to heal them.

                And then I grew up, joined the military, got to see the US, Europe, Polynesia, the Mideast, and the East IN PERSON, and realized how provincial my local perspective actually was (and still is). And like a few of my comrades (such an experience doesn’t guarantee anything), I’ve managed to elevate myself above the normal bullshit stupidity you’ll hear from corporate America 24/7.

                Religion, MY DEAR FRIENDS, is nothing more than mass-marketed BULLSHIT, being sold to you by the same motherfuckers who sell you everything else. IF a guy named Jesus the Christ (by the way, “the Christ” is actually an honorary title, it’s NOT his FUCKING NAME!), actually existed (his actual existence is secondary to the myth that has since been told), and was alive here today to speak, he would tell you ALL PERSONALLY that the story of his life was appropriated for political purposes even before he died, and was thus totally distorted.

                And today? In spite of all the distortion, a VERY select few, still get it. Needless to say, they’re not powerful or influential, nor do they have any desire to be. They also know that being “saved” from anything was inspired from the start by the need to make the masses compliant with an edict from a “higher order.” How convenient that that original “higher order” was a politically ordained person in the form of the Pope. The Protestant’s, bless their hearts, were only slightly more successful in eliminating human authority, but succumbed to they did eventually anyway.

                So in the end, I’d recommend nothing more to readers of this blog than to “save themselves” from the scourge that IS modern day religion. If you feel the need to be “saved” from something, let me suggest that it’s nothing more than the externally marketing driven need for you to “do something” (almost ALWAYS with a price tag attached) in order to drive appropriate (read: PROFITABLE) market related behavior.

                If you REALLY want to “find yourself” (aka “get religion”), I suggest you do the EXCEEDINGLY HARD WORK that the TRUE MASTERS have ALWAYS prescribed:

                First accept, but then reject all gurus, turn inward, and find YOUR OWN TRUTH!

                And the tremendous practical upside? It’s all FREE!

                DA

                • Disaffected says:

                  An addendum, as if the previous diatribe wasn’t enough:

                  Believe it or not, I have MANY (at least relative to my total number of friends, whom are few) religious friends with whom I interact daily. I’m NOT anti-religious in the sense that I reject personal relationships based on religious orientation, ALTHOUGH, as you might have guessed, I am more often than not rejected in turn based on the same.

                  Fine, you say. You’re an asshole who fairly BEGS for rejection thereafter by your sheer rigidity. I dunno.

                  I find myself CONSTANTLY driven and (yet) attracted to relationships that do exactly that. And therein lies the rub.

                  DA

        • Disaffected says:

          If you happen to believe in reincarnation, the term “evil” begins to make a lot more sense. If you don’t, the whole heaven and hell thing comes into view. On intellectual and common sense grounds alone, I accept the former and reject the latter. On further intellectual examination of the latter (why would an “all powerful GOD” reject ANYTHING that HE HIMSELF had created for rejecting him for something that was apparently outside his “all encompassing power?”), the latter made even LESS sense. And after observing society as a whole for the past 53 years, which is mostly based on belief in the latter, it made NO SENSE AT ALL!

          “Evil” as it’s currently defined has lost all (most) meaning, as has the word “God.”

          Who to blame for this state of affairs? Who else? The FUCKING RELIGIONISTAS THEMSELVES! Just as they planned from the first.

          When it comes to assigning blame for this country’s “lack of faith,” look first to the heart of the matter. Look to those who purport to represent such under the cheap guise of mere “religion.” THEREIN lies our problem! And it won’t be solved until we recognize and eliminate it at its root.

          DA

        • Disaffected says:

          Reincarnation. It’s the only logical/intuitive explanation for it all.

          DA

  12. John bollig says:

    Evil is a moral issue and not a scientific issue.

    Evil is also relative and time limited. For example for many years, states and social authorities made interacial marriage a crime. Malum in Se, so to speak. The instrument of the state made it also Malum prohibitum. At one time, contraceptives were considered evil. Now you can get condoms at the local walmart.

    I could go on and on about the morals of the past that have changed.

    • rg the lg says:

      When you said: “Evil is a moral issue and not a scientific issue” my first response is only if you think in terms of some manner of higher power.

      But, what if one is a pure skeptic? [This would be defined as someone who simply does not believe anything … rather ascribes potential and plausibility in terms of levels of acceptance. Let us ask about god … is there one? This type of skeptic would say that god is possible … though not plausible … and therefore irrelevant.] So, without some external definition, can there be good … can there be evil? Can one be moral.

      I would posit that yes, evil / good/ morality is an evolutionary product … going back to our bacteria-like ancestors … in which some forms of cooperation are essential in terms of benefits to the individual by benefiting the group.

      I suspect that I could make a case for the scientific explanation of ‘evil / good’ in terms of science … and that the issue of morality is therefore scientific. It would take more space than either of us are willing to invest …

      • Disaffected says:

        rg the lg,

        Excellent points, and ones I have argued PERSONALLY to some detrimental personal effect THIS VERY DAY.

        As a PURE SKEPTIC, I can assure you that the idea of a “GOD” (for lack of a better word) does indeed exist among such as us, although it’s QUITE AMUSING to note that among us it’s QUITE AMUSING the sheer incredulity that those of “the Faithful” show toward such statements. Indeed, “the faithful” are so often remarkable, if only for their lack of “faith.”

        I would FURTHER argue (as, in fact, I OFTEN do in person), that professions of “faith” simply prove that “the professor” lacks the true convictions of BELIEF and ACTION. In other words, why simply TELL me about it? Just DO it instead.

        Of course, what’s good for the goose…

        DA

    • Disaffected says:

      John,
      I’m inclined to agree.
      DA

    • Disaffected says:

      John,

      Had this argument just today. The Catholic Church STILL believes that ALL SEX is meant to procreate, thus justifying their belief in the prohibition of contraception.

      Therefore, if you are a TRUE Catholic you ONLY believe in sex after marriage, you ONLY believe in sex for purposes of procreation, and you therefore TOTALLY REPUDIATE birth control. There simply IS NO half measure.

      What does this effectively mean? Either you are going to be having EXTREMELY LIMITED SEX, or you are going to be having ONE HELLUVA LOT OF KIDS! Take your pick. Needless to say, how many Catholics do YOU KNOW that are living up to their vows?

      Religion. I LAUGH AT the concept! FUCKING DELUSIONAL IDIOTS!

      DA

      • rg the lg says:

        Delusional … yes. They are that.

        Fucking … yes, that too, and it starts to show around the fifth or sixth month that someone has been, unless you are into immaculate conception … just look at all of the kids in our GRADS (the pregnant mommies, high school age mommies) program here in our hyper-religious community! This town has about 14k people and (at last count) over 30 active churches. That the fathers of some of the kids in our GRADS program are also the child’s grandfather says volumes.

        Idiots? I am not so sure … can one be delusional and an idiot? I suspect that the delusional part is a mental disorder which results in idiotic behavior … but is the reverse true? Is idiotic behavior anything other than the manifestation of delusion?

        Enjoy working on that one.

        • Disaffected says:

          rg the lg,

          Touche! Well the psyche people tell us that the term idiot is – strictly speaking – a technical term merely denoting lack of IQ (below 80 if I remember right). But IQ being in somewhat disrepute these, who the hell even knows? From personal experience, I’d MUCH rather share company with a legitimate idiot (and I’ve met and known quite a few in my travels) than a delusional anything. The former at least knows what he knows, even if it ain’t much, while the latter is simply delusional. While delusion itself may or may not be a mental disorder in itself, it’s SURELY the ONE distinguishing factor of ALL mental disorders.

          DA

  13. rg the lg says:

    I must have missed something … in the above comments there are a lot of comments that make religion the whipping boy. [I might add, well deserved] Alas, I don’t see anything about trying to change any persons opinion.

    While I am a skeptic, and thus find religion to be totally irrelevant, the fact that some people are comforted by their myths does not mean that I do not respect their right to be wrong. Unfortunately, many such are not as generous when they evaluate what I neglect to bother to believe.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Now, there’s a clarifying statement, huh Rg/lg!

    • The skeptical/scientific-minded folks have taken a step away from the influence of fundamentalist, traditional creeds. This is done by rejecting that which is outside of their experience or been scientifically observed. What they hold on to from religion are certain moral codes that appeal to the unique leanings of their hearts. Scientific materialism has had the upper hand in setting the cultural paradigm for the last several hundred years. Before this it was religion that was the “authority.” Now, most people, whether they identify as being religious or skeptics, are materialistically-minded. So we have the skeptics choosing to hold values that lie at the core of all the religious creeds, while “religionists” live with the contradictions of their fantastic beliefs versus the powerful cultural influence of materialism.

      In their purest expression and at their core, both science and religion seek truth. One who takes up either path, depending upon his/her sincerity and determination, can discover, uncover, or recover truth. Ultimately one gets steered onto an inner path of disillusionment, questioning the conventional, and the actual experience of a bigger picture via inspiration, intuition, insights, etc. This type of experience gives deeper meaning to the moral codes that felt “right.” It can give meaning to religious symbols, myths and poetic devises that sounded stupid because of the limitation of the perception. A path of unfolding wisdom begins with unlearning, experimentation, self-examination, and ultimately ego annihilation.

      I have to stop now as my wife wants to use the computer. I am not even sure if this is the place for this?

  14. kulturcritic says:

    I must agree with Squire here. I went away to the dacha for two days (no internet), and I come back to find all this diversion about religion and the constitution of evil. I began to delete some of the comments, but felt guilty and reentered them for comment continuity. I just don’t know what happens to you folks sometimes… Oh well!!

  15. rg the lg says:

    Regarding evil … it seems to me that a good place to start talking about evil might be the BLOG owners: ‘Apocalypse Of The Barbarians,’ by Sandy Krolick. I can not say I agree with everything he says … so I also suggest that you read the story of the ‘Arrowmaker’ in N. Scott Momaday, ‘A man made of words.’ My world view is tainted by my damned degree in geology (the one after the BIS, the one after the MA in history, but before the library degree) … which is a segue of sorts to …

    The recent earth quake in Virginia …

    Fracking, introducing fluids into rock to shatter the rock in order to extract oil / gas / the other liquids we crave, creates a ‘soft spot’ where before there was hard rock. Is it possible that ‘fracking’ in nearby areas caused a certain softness in the ancient rock of the Appalachians such that a fault could then slip? Or, consider Haiti and the earthquakes there? What, my dears, is the impact of extraction? Here, in southeastern NM (right next door to the TX of the ‘shrub’ [aka: little bush] fame) we suffer from what is euphemistically called ‘subsidence.’ There is an interesting corollary between high levels of activity (ie, extraction of oil and gas) and incidents of subsidence.

    Just sayin’ …

    • Disaffected says:

      rg the lg,
      I’m only surprised you haven’t been trumpeting these same points a little louder previously. Just sayin’…
      DA

    • kulturcritic says:

      Look folks. Somehow, we had an unwanted visitor (!) who posted a quote from her favorite book on the spiritual nature of evil. That began an unfortunate series of threads on the topic of evil. “Evil” is a concept created by the same folks who brought you the concept of “human nature.” A set of civilized concepts often used in tandem to frighten the unwitting populace into compliance with civil and religious law, and to justify the terrorism delivered by their (politicians and religionists) own hands. These are a set of myths perpetrated by the various legislators and their owners to control us under the aegis of maintaining civi order in a world that would otherwise devolve into Hobbes’ “War of all against all.” Now, I have asked a couple of you to give this discussion a break, but if you all insist than I and Squire will sit back and watch the sparks fly. all my best, sandy

  16. Disaffected says:

    Squire,
    I’ve gotta say, you filled even LESS space while managing to say almost NOTHING AT ALL. Good work!
    DA

    • Disaffected says:

      You’re assuming I’m trying to make them do anything. As if that were even possible! And obviously someone is listening, even if it’s only you, who insist on complaining about what I’m saying, instead of merely not listening(!), like you tell me everyone else is doing. Maybe you should take your own advice?

      Had a great conversation with a fellow religionista just this very morning, which quickly turned heated (of course), as she tried to tell me that the onus was on non-religious people to prove that her holy book wasn’t true. Well, I could only shake my head and laugh at the absurdity of that statement (and if I have to tell you what it is, then you’re beyond the pale as well), so I let it go. But it does illustrate the rabid and non-critical mindset of the “true believers” in our midst, and THAT Mr/Ms Squire is TRULY DANGEROUS if it continues to go unchecked.

      And REST ASSURED that I – loudmouth opinionated motherfucker that I am – WILL NOT let an opportunity go by in the few remaining days I have left to call out the ignorant bastards that push the cancerous mind-drug that they affectionately call “religion,” but the rest of us simply refer to as “legalized, organized, tax-free, insanity.” Or as Karl Marx correctly characterized it, “The opium of the people [masses].”

      DA

      • kulturcritic says:

        Squire – I just want to know one thing. Where do you come down on all of this? Are you a believer or not; I cannot tell? Just curious. – sandy

        • kulturcritic says:

          Thanks Squire for the bit of bio; and I think you are absolutely correct in your evaluation of the criticisms that DA often launches into. I think he wanted to be a believer as well, and is pissed off about it. But, I am sure he will whack me now about that comment of mine. Oh well. Hey, DA!!

  17. Don says:

    It doesn’t have to end this way.

    Open the black projects and classified programs to the people

  18. david39910 says:

    Cynical No way You have hit the nail on the head. Holland, Spain, England all wanted to tell the world how to live. Now it was Americas turn and we screwed it up better than they could have combined. wHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO FIGURE OUT THIS ISN’T A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN THING IT’S A POWER THING (fear and greed) We need our fellow patriots on both sides and rail against the PTB.
    David NC

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