About WORDS

September 13, 2012

 

 

 

about words

 

Welcome to the About Words website. Below is a brief audio introduction to this site.

Did you know that one of the most popular words on the internet is God?

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transforming your expectations and your results

March 31, 2015

Imagine that most humans are in a state of repressed distress (unexpressed fears) such that a primary obsession of theirs is to avoid exposure to anything so unfamiliar that it MIGHT threaten to expose their latent distress. A possible threat may be treated presumptively as an actual threat until proven otherwise.

People in that state may fill their free time by focusing on trivial problems and controversies. Oddly enough, they may also seek out a private context (a safe haven) for them to vent their distress, perhaps toward an intimate acquaintance who does not expect it. They may actively cultivate dramas that allow them to privately (?) explore distress and fear and doubt.

Have you ever been shocked by someone else’s sudden outburst of rage or blame? Have you ever been annoyed by the naivete or stubbornness of someone close to you? What if you have also behaved in ways that violated other people’s naive expectations?

What makes an expectation naive? One issue could be whether someone recognizes that an expectation is simply an expectation. Some people relate to their own expectations from a fanatical fundamentalism: “here is how life should be.”

A recognized expectation would be “I suppose that life will happen in the way I expect, but I know that it might not. If life does not happen how I presume, then I can update my presumptions and expectations.” We could also call that humility or maturity (or alertness).

There may also be preferences and priorities. We can identify outcomes that we value, then take action to promote, preserve, or even prevent various possible outcomes.

There may be a certain range of distress that is comfortable for us. We may prefer to habitually stimulate a moderate level of distress (such as through regularly watching a TV show that is very stressful to watch). We have the familiar excuse of the show to explain any surfacing distress. We have a “cover story” to cover anything less “safe.”

Plus, we may get to calmly, deliberately practice dealing with those stress hormones. We know a familiar way to trigger moderate levels of stress or distress. We may cling to that method. We may even panic at the thought of missing the beginning of a show.

Isn’t that a remarkable thing… to be so interested in a TV show that NOT seeing it causes a venting of distress? As an analogy, if I was an investor in a company and I had a large concentration of my assets in that company, but then missed a big meeting, but then I was stressed about missing the meeting, what would that indicate? If I was stressed about missing that meeting (before it or after it), then that might be a signal to me that I am either too concentrated in that company (as an investor) or not informed enough about the operations of that company. I need to either diversify or stay better informed (or both).

When people were shocked by economic changes in Europe and the US several years ago, some of them learned quite suddenly how naive they were. Many were heavily invested without comprehension of their investments (especially in high-risk real estate speculation), then were very disappointed. They may have been embarrassed at the results they experienced, then focused on who to blame for the results of their own methods. Or, they were eager for a “savior” to come and improve the results produced by their old methods (conveniently allowing them to calm down without making any adjustments).

The time for a new challenge to popular presumptions and expectations is coming soon. The waves of disappointment, shame, blame, and rage can be expected. Some waves will be smaller and some larger.

Popular delusions will be revealed suddenly as delusional. Divisiveness may get very popular, which comes along quite naturally with panics of envy and blame.

“The government should save us from the laws of probability,” say the loyal worshipers of the state lottery. “How can my lottery ticket be worth less than I paid for it two years ago,” say the naive who gambled on high-risk, financed real estate speculation. “I am disappointed at the results of my methods, so who else can I blame for the results produced by my methods?”

“Just elect the right candidate and the laws of probability will be postponed,” says the TV star. “If you do not like the economic trends where you are, just change the channel to a station that focuses instead on the latest celebrity scandals,” says the award show host. “If we would just all work together to fix the media and make it how it should be, that could save us from the laws of probability forever,” says the holy champion of eternal political salvations.

What if the best way to change your results was not to change the government or the media or your dog or your cat, but to change your methods? “Transformation” is when you stop relating to results as a problem and start relating to results as a way to measure a method’s value to you.

In regard to the idea that no change in account balance is no change in wealth…

March 29, 2015

That may be a very imprecise presumption. Why? Because the purchasing power of every currency fluctuates- sometimes up and sometimes down.

I wrote recently to a client of mine (whose investments I manage) that in the time since I directed them to sell all positions in their IRA to move most of their investments to cash, the actual gain in purchasing power in the cash itself has been very large. For example, if you had traveled to Europe in mid-2014 and once again just a week ago, many prices for you (if you are from the US and thinking in terms of your US currency) would have dropped by about 20%. (I will also detail below a few change in the prices of several major commodities here in the US, including gasoline).

So, US Dollars have been doing very well as an investment for several months. However, that is  a distinct issue from whether now is or is not a great time to “exit from US Dollars for a safer position / a better position relative to potential for maintaining or increasing actual tangible purchasing power.”

Assuming that your budget and expenses have not changed (such as minimum payments on your auto loan  & rates for auto insurance or health insurance), then you may presume that the actual real value of US Dollars has not changed. That may be “wildly” false, as revealed in the chart below:

Inline image 4

So, what has actually happened lately with the purchasing power of the US Dollar? Since mid-2014, the US Dollar’s purchasing power (relative to a “basket” of several other global currencies) rose by over 25% (from under 80 to over 100).

You may PRESUME that “no change” in your account balance means “no change in purchasing power.” I understand that to be completely false (usually).

Why is gasoline way cheaper than 6 months ago in so much of the US? Almost no one thinks “because clearly the US Dollar has dramatically increased in purchasing power.” However, did the pattern across time of changing gasoline prices show something very unusual or something very similar to other prices?

We will look at isolated prices for gasoline and other fuels below.
First, here is a chart of commodity prices in the US (including gasoline). It shows a large decline since mid-2014 (which stretches all the way back to 2011 in fact).

Inline image 2

Note that the chart above is ROUGHLY the same as the one above (the US Dollar Index) except “flipped over.” Next are 1-year charts of 5 major fuel prices (priced in US Dollars / “USD”). Note that all 5 red lines are quite similar plus the total price change is a very tight range: between 37.7% and 40.39% in 4 out of the 5 cases (while crude oil prices fell much further than the others). The bottom chart shown is for gasoline.
Inline image 3

So, increasing dollar amounts in an investment account balance MIGHT be from a change in purchasing power of the currency (or might not). Most people know to call “a decline in the overall purchasing power for a currency” by the name “inflation.” For interest-bearing investments, like lending money to a bank (AKA a “savings account”), if you were getting interest of 10% a year (like would have been typical in 1980), that 10% interest rate could result in large taxable gains even without any actual increase in overall purchasing power of the account.

If you had a taxable account with any “capital gains” (across a single “tax year”), then that WOULD for *certain* create a taxable event…. even if it was ONLY due to inflationary “interest income.” However, that is not a major issue in any tax-sheltered account, such as an IRA account or an account for a tax-exempt charitable trust.

It is typical to presume that the purchasing power of all currencies is constant and stable with no increases or decreases. However, that is absolutely false. It is a convenient presumption (especially when it is close to being true), but also one that is reasonably easy to monitor in regard to exactly how accurate or inaccurate that presumption is.

Is the USA a democracy?

March 29, 2015

In the “holy” Declaration of Independence, there is a reason that the word “united” is so small and the word States (in the top right of the image) was so big…. Do you know why?

As for the idea that there was a political democracy in the past which was then corrupted by fascism (or socialism, etc), that is a remarkable idea. In the 18th century in North America when (a select group of rich white men from) 13 states revolted from Great Britain and formed a 14th entity identified as the central government of the 13 >u<nited States of America, the fraction of the population that could vote was tiny. Voting involved no women, no slaves, no Native Americans, and so on. There were HUGE barriers and restrictions on who could vote and how much it cost to vote.

Fascist systems of public indoctrination train the naive to presume that whichever ideals are programmed by the indoctrination system as holy… were always (or ever) the actual foundation of policy-making for that system. However, the accuracy of propaganda may not be as important to the propagandists as the effectiveness of the propaganda in influencing the targeted populations (governing the attention, interpretations, perceptions, and hysterical reactions of the targeted populations).

Awakened Language (in a Holy Empire)

March 26, 2015

First, earthlings developed the capacity for language. Only after the formation of certain physical foundations (including in the brain, the ears, and the vocal chords), then humans actually developed language. A variety of dialects and accents formed, then distinct languages.

Eventually, some humans developed special perceptiveness in regard to how language works. They developed special skills in regard to using language efficiently to produce predictable results.

We can recognize language as a type of signaling mechanism. Other creatures besides humans have signaling mechanisms, such as how a male peacock will extend its feathers and then dance around in a certain way. Certain deers will in special circumstances raise their tail to expose the bright white fur that is otherwise hidden. Those visual signals are generally similar to what a police officer might do when guiding traffic at an intersection, using hand signals to direct passing drivers to stop or proceed.

In addition to the officer waving one hand, a loud whistle or siren may be used to help in the signaling of drivers. We can recognize the value of those simple signals that are easy to see or hear. However, we can also recognize that visual signals could be more complex, such as a sports referee identifying different kinds of penalties by moving their arms in to distinct positions. Or, if a coach if signaling to a player on the field using secret hand signals, those can also be quite complex.

Signal gestures may be encoded, which means that there may be no obvious connection between a particular gesture and what that gesture signals (unlike the very obvious signals of a police officer guiding traffic). With codes, the sequence of the individual signals also can matter. Each individual signal can even alter the meaning of the others.

Here are some examples of how sequence can change the meaning:

“The boy kissed the girl.”

“The girl kissed the boy.”

“The boy and the girl kissed.”

Here is an example of how the meaning of earlier words is altered by later words:

“The boy and the girl kissed their grandmother.”

“The boy and the girl kissed their grandmother on the forehead one last time and then the funeral director closed the casket.”


Individual words can be used as simple signals, such as the sounds “go” or “stop.” A red octagon with the word “stop” written in the center in big white letters is also one signal (one sign).

In systems of visual signaling, we could use a side view of a person walking as a sign to walk across a street. That is just a signal. However, if we use that same shape in a sequence of shapes, then we may be using a written language like hieroglyphics.

Icons or ideograms are also shapes that represent ideas. In contrast to shapes that represent concepts, there are also shapes that represent sounds (or even represent the way that a mouth looks when making that sound, such as in the case of the letter O).

So how did humans go from using very simple signals to using complex sequences of sounds? Obviously, that requires a very refined form of intelligence.

In contrast, the brains of parrots may allow them to be able to repeat complex sequences of sounds with their throats, but repetition does not establish comprehension. Parrots do not generate original sequences of sounds in order to influence reality in specific ways. Even gorillas that are taught hand gestures of “sign language” show much more intelligence than parrots. They can make very specific requests. Parrots cannot.

Why did complex language develop? How was it adaptive? How did it benefit the human species such that written language has helped to balloon the total population of humans on this planet in just a few thousand years?

Language is a technology. It is a tool for producing predictable results. Further, it is an incredibly flexible tool.

Some researchers suggest that a big part of how language developed was through hunting parties. Of course, simple hand signals could be used to organize a group of hunters. However, hand signals only work when people can see each other. In darkness or when otherwise invisible to the other humans, vocal signals work better than hand signals.

Further, if there is a long sequence planned, can that be effectively communicated just by drawing in the dirt? That might work okay for planning pass routes for a football play, but that is very different from hunting a herd of elephants.

Imagine a plan for various people to get in to various specific positions, then each one will do a specific action within a complex sequence that is all precisely timed. To create an organized plan like that, they need to prepare weapons, then to train to use them well, and then scout the terrain and study how elephants respond when ambushed. Then, after all of that, they can make specific plans for an attack.

Further, there could be a situation in which the plan gets modified suddenly like this: “okay, you two swing left and you three swing right, then converge back toward that big pine tree. Do you see the one I mean? Okay, go!”


At certain points in human development, there was nothing so dangerous or so valuable as hunting large prey. Before herding and the domestication of livestock for food, successful hunting would be a major factor in which individuals and groups survived and thrived.

After the development of herding, a new issue arose: defending the herd from other humans. Not only were fences made to keep animals in (and, to a lesser extent, to keep predatory animals out), but also to protect the herds from theft.

Security officers (such as shepherds) were trained to keep the herd secure and safe for later shearing, breeding, and slaughter. The larger a herd of sheep, the more attractive it might be to competing humans who individually or in groups might attempt to steal one or more sheep.

Eventually, branding of animals was developed as a method for marking which ranch owned which creature. In other words, the brands were signal markings of ownership.

So, when groups of humans got together to abduct sheep from a neighboring rancher, they could call themselves a squad or an army. If they went around from ranch to ranch and demanded a continuous flow of wealth from each ranch, they could call themselves the local governing extortion racket. They could exchange “military services to protect your property rights” in exchange for a constant flow of wool or other valuables.

Who did they protect the ranchers from? From the other groups of extortionists (and other thieves) in the area.

Further, humans could be organized in to herds as well. They could be trained and employed in herding and in extortion and so on. They could be physically branded or tattooed (as in the case of slaves or concentration camp inmates) or they could be individually numbered and named (as with the Social Security Administration).

As for the issue of language, humans can also be ritually trained in regard to the meaning of various special terms. For example, military units not only use complex secret codes for planning attacks, but also use abbreviations and acronyms for everyday efficiency. They are trained to know what a variety of commands mean. They are trained to use certain equipment in certain ways. They are trained to communicate with each other in certain specific ways (typically, with special attention to the rank of the person or people who are involved).

People may not be aware of this fact, but military groups are the basic foundation of modern civilization. The famous Hebrew warlord Moses, just prior to ordering the invasion and slaughter of the Midianites, created a few distinct ranks of officer (which were known as distinct priesthoods, called “the captains of thousands” and “captains of hundreds,” as in deacons and bishops). Phinehas was awarded a special priesthood rank for sneaking up on an Israelite who was having sex with a Midianite woman and then killing them both with a single thrust of a spear through both of their bodies. Within his military system, there were also court officers (who conducted very formal rituals for managing the military in general) as well as chaplains (for managing the morale of the soldiers and the extended community).

See Numbers chapter 25, especially verses 6-17, which ends with the two verses below:
http://biblehub.com/niv/numbers/25.htm

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them….”

Ideas of hell and heaven were very useful for motivating soldiers to risk their lives for the interests of the military group. These ideas were also very reassuring for the families of the conscripted soldiers-to-be.

(Note that the idea of voluntary participation in the invasion of neighboring tribes was a distinct issue from the command to assemble and attack. “Draft-dodgers” would be punished just as would soldiers who were too far below average in their enthusiasm and performance.)

In the later case of the Norse tribes, the military aspect of promises of an afterlife were even more extreme: the only way to get to heaven (Asgard) was to die honorably in battle. From among the fallen soldiers, the beautiful virgin angels (called Valkyrie) would come and select those who had been most courageous and obedient. Then, the privileges and pleasures that allegedly awaited the selected soldiers became famous among the soldiers. Those stories are generally similar to the stories used in ancient Hinduism in regard to obedient people reincarnating as a prince with a royal harem (or similar stories of paradise in Islam).

In the temples of many ancient groups, would it surprise you if the captured women of the enemy tribes would be imprisoned and kept for the pleasure of the victorious soldiers who survived a full term of duty in military service to the empire? In some cases, the returning soldiers could be given the right to choose a wife from among the captured women (as part of his compensation). In the case of certain convents, similar claims have been made in regard to the high-ranking members of the priesthood having “special access to the nuns.”

From the Book of Numbers (in the Hebrew Torah and Christian Old Testament):

31:25 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,

31:26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, of man and of cattle, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the assembly;

31:27 and divide the prey into halves, between them that conducted the war, who went out to the battle, and the whole assembly.

[I believe that this means that the soldiers got half and the war-planners got half]

31:32 And the prey, the rest of the spoil, which the men of war had taken, was six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep,

31:33 and seventy-two thousand oxen,

31:34 and sixty-one thousand asses,

31:35 and of human persons, of the women that had not known sleeping with a man, all the persons were thirty-two thousand.

[Among the conquered Midianites, all males and all women who were not unwed girls were slaughtered by the Israelites/ Hebrews.]

31:40 [one half of that total of the spared] human persons numbered sixteen thousand, of whom the tribute for Jehovah was thirty-two persons.

Note that, according to these passages, the LORD Jehovah had promised to attack the Israelites with a plague and then did so, killing 24,000 of them before withdrawing the plague after Phinehas plunged his spear through the two lovers. The killings by Phinehas were rewarded by the LORD such that the LORD ended the plague.

See Numbers 25:9
http://biblehub.com/numbers/25-9.htm

Note that the Bible is known as the most published book in the world. When considered in combination with the Torah (which also contains the Book of Numbers that was cited repeatedly above), it is hard to say that these stories are in any way secret. However, through focusing on other curriculum, modern institutions for influencing humans tend to promote certain predictable responses in people if ever exposed to these stories.

Many people will say “that is horrible” or even “that cannot be true.” Their emotional maturity may not be developed to the point of simply recognizing the long history of organized violence by humans.

Notably, they may argue about what they desperately *hope* that a passage means rather than read even one of the many commentaries written in the last few thousand years by scholars who were competent to understand the original Hebrew passages. As for stories that are not clearly documented in the most published book in the world, many people today might be too deep in distress and paranoia already to be able to even entertain the possibility that the kinds of activities reported in the Holy Inquisition really took place. Of course, it is possible that some stories were exaggerated to promote terror with added efficiency. However, the basic idea that governments use terror to intimidate their subjects seems so hard to deny with logic, yet also so hard for so many people to admit.

The popularity of speculating or even arguing about how governments “should” conduct their operations varies from place to place. It is one thing to have preferences and take actions to promote those preferences. It is very different that so many have such deep attachment to certain expectations about how governments WILL operate and then, when faced with a clear observation of a government operating beyond their expectations, some people cling to their expectations and hysterically attempt to reform governments to match their expectation, rather than calmly reform their expectations to match their observations (and then promote whatever new or old policies that they prefer). Many people also say things like this: “this one exception is the only case like this that I know of and I presume that this kind of thing never happened before- not with this government at least- so now I will look for who to condemn as the one who recently betrayed my ideals about how I presume that this government had previously operated… up until this one exceptional case that I am still struggling emotionally to accept.”

Language is a type of complex signaling which is used to direct human attention (so that certain things are observed and not others). By directing attention, language also directs interpretation and perception (because if only certain things are noticed and not others, then which patterns are noticed can be predictably influenced). By directing interpretation and perception, language also directs the behavioral responses that people have toward their interpreted perceptions about whatever they notice as happening (or imagine to be happening).

Is it possible that governing systems train people (through the use of language) to relate to governments in very specific and predictable ways? Could governing systems intentionally create specific expectations and presumptions about how governments will operate? Could governing systems reward youth for loyally repeating slogans and ideals back on academic tests… even though some of those slogans and ideals might not be entirely accurate?

Could governing systems deceive their targets with stories about a beneficent authority figure who rewards those who are obedient with gifts every Christmas morning? What if the stories that are publicized to the targets are not entirely accurate?

What if one of the most universal concerns in a herd of human resources is the idea that an individual may be naive? What if there is a programmed paranoia about others perceiving you to have ever been naive? What if the masses react with rage at suggestions that they may still be naive not just when they were striving to please Santa Claus?

Governments regulate. They regulate deception, oppression, fraud, crime, extortion, violence, and even language. They define, criminalize, monopolize, license, and subsidize each of these kinds of activity.

Ultimately, they regulate the attention of humans, the subjective perceptions of humans, and the behavioral responses of humans to their own programmed perceptions. In other words, they regulate the behavior of their human resources.

What do all governments seek to prevent? People who self-regulate attentively could be perceived as the worst threat to any government. For governments to thrive, they form herds and then regulate, regiment, and tax those herds.

However, governments may cultivate anti-government activities by sponsoring anti-government anti-propaganda propaganda. Why would governments do that? They may want to create a steady, manageable stream of dissent, which also can occasionally be incited to criminal rebellion to justify the advance of anti-gun laws (or fake rebellions can be staged and then publicized as real in order to advance the same kinds of laws).

In one of the most popular books of the 20th century, titled 1984, the author details an anti-government campaign led by the government to attract “bleeding heart intellectuals” so that the intellectuals will identify themselves to government. Note that the author of the book was a British government propaganda agent. Note also that in 1954, the book was made in to a TV show for the BBC (a public TV station) and then aired. What happened when the controversial show was aired? Floods of phone calls came in from viewers to protest the first airing of that programming.

What did the British government do when all of those phone calls came in? We can presume that they asked everyone who called in for their name and address, then took whatever other action the government deemed relevant to take in regard to monitoring and regulating those who called in to protest.

Next, after a huge wave of scandal and publicity, the BBC re-broadcast the show a few days later and it was then viewed by one of the largest audiences in the history of the BBC as of that time. Then, in 1956, it was first made in to a movie. I was assigned to read that book in a class of a public high school. The book was a massive success in terms of reaching a big audience and influencing culture.

See “Reaction” in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four_(TV_programme)

I am aware of many people who speak with contempt and shame about the specific branch of government that rules where they live. “I do not want to be associated with that institution,” they may say. They may renounce wealth (because wealth is protected by the government). They may join an idealistic reform movement to make a government more heroic in their opinion, and to discontinue practices that cause them shame, guilt or horror.

Again, it is one thing to have preferences and pursue them. Sometimes, the general population is strong enough in the practical sense that governments do not interfere with most popular preferences. In other cases, certain programs are subsidized or even made mandatory in order to assert the preference of lobbyists and the special interests that hire them. In some cases, certain popular preferences are criminalized, such as the prohibition on the possession of alcoholic liquids in the early 20th century in the US.

Governments have existed for a long time and in general seem quite stable to me as systems that keep working. Governments systematically redistribute wealth from one group (such as the Midianites) to another (such as the Levites). Through colonial conquests and a steady flow of tax proceeds from occupied territories, thousands of sheep, oxen, steeds, and virgin maidens have been taken from the care of some people and transferred to others.

The total benefits to soldiers, weapons manufacturers, and private mercenaries are immense… even shocking. Governments can efficiently provide massive concentrations of privilege to certain special interests. That is what they do and they do it well.

To promote public morale and compliance in relation to their operations of conquest, intimidation, and extortion, governments can regulate and license broadcast media, churches, and schools. Governments can even subsidize “loyal” institutions of indoctrination. In the extreme, governments can directly operate schools and public media so as to better program and train their target audience.

Do I recommend that people reject all governments for some reason? For what possible benefit would I do that? As a joke, perhaps I could direct someone to reject exactly 62% of reality (or exactly 144% of reality).

Could I recommend that someone rebel in a specific way from a certain government for some reason? That is certainly possible. If I ever did so, that might be more an indication of my interest in a particular person than in a particular government.

I could make a sweeping condemnation of specific uses of language, such as a specific word or phrase. I could glorify some contrasting word or phrase. “Reverse psychology should not exist because it does not exist.”

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In general, I am interested in whether or not people habitually use language (without being attentive) plus how exactly they are attentive and inventive. When people use “awakened language,” that can include the same patterns of language they have always used… or maybe some new and inventive ones, but it is the user that is operating metaphorically “awake,” not the language, right? They “die” to the old habitual momentums and are “reborn.”

There are just some people who are unusually alert to the activity of the use of language. They may be relaxed in certain ways that correspond to them using language in ways that other people do not think to do or do not dare to do. There are also many people who are confused about or ashamed of how language works. Moment to moment, attention and alertness shift in whatever ways that they shift.

I am interested in those who are self-regulating in general and also in particular in their use of language. It may be silly to discard the value of regularity and regulation. Every governing system uses a different combination of methods of regulating humans and the methods all have some possible value / appeal.

It may be naive to expect anyone to suddenly be competent at self-regulating through some ritual declaration. However, that could also be valuable.

Plus, it may be interesting to note who respects the field of human endeavour known as government and who habitually condemns certain things while ritually worshiping and glorifying others. I respect language, including relevant, precise language. I notice that many government officers seem to do so as well. Their various rituals in the use of language may be deemed relevant to study on occasion. One could also study how language works in terms of neurology.

How do medical doctors (who are all licensed agents of a government) program their patients to notice certain things, to interpret them in certain ways, and respond to those interpretations? How do police officers and judges and soldiers and politicians use language to program attention, interpretation, and reaction? How do humans use language to govern and regulate other humans?

What works well consistently? What is usually disappointing or even frustrating? What works very well at least occasionally?

“The boy and the girl kissed their grandmother on the forehead one last time and then the funeral director closed the casket containing the body of their grandfather. Next, the funeral director invited the three survivors to come in to the hallway for some refreshments.”

making peace with frustration

March 26, 2015

Daniel and I talked today about frustration in general, then eventually launched a fun review of the typical sexual frustrations of the many males who are in their adolescent decades (not that either he or I would know anything about such things).

part 1:

part 2:

Gently making fun of literal interpretations: “Thou shalt not kill potatoes”

March 24, 2015

Gently making fun of literal interpretations: “Thou shalt not kill potatoes”

Most humans begin life at a very young age, which may explain why they can be so naïve when it comes to complex things like language. When there are two distinct languages and someone is translating from one language in to the other one, there are at least three distinct factors that affect the quality of the translation.

The first two are quite obvious: the more fluent that a translator is in each of the two languages, the better that we can expect their translation to be. In other words, if we had 100 translators all together, we would expect that the translators who were the most fluent in both languages would probably produce the translations that were most likely to be approved by everyone else in the group, too. In that case, consensus or popularity could be a decent measure of accuracy.

Another issue besides general fluency in each of the two languages is familiarity with the way that the original author is addressing the specific subject matter. This is already assuming that the translator has some expertise in the subject matter itself (like even if I know two languages very well, I might not be the best person to translate an instruction book for how to perform brain surgery or piloting a helicopter). But what about the nuances that the original author may have used? What about any “inside jokes” or symbolic references?

It could be a notable thing when a group of people present so little direct comprehension of a subject that they rely on books (or even translated ancient texts) as the foundation for how they organize their activities. It is one thing to respectfully credit ancient sources for their usefulness as resources (tools). It is quite distinct to assert that authority comes from certain sequences of words.

“I have authority because I am repeating the exact words of the ancient teacher who actually did not speak this language at all, but they said something like this and then some translators with however much comprehension of the subject created some translations. So, now I worship exactly one of those translations as having special authority as the exact words of the ancient teacher who did not actually speak this language that I am using. Got it?”

For example, in the famous stories about Jesus, did Jesus assert authority based on quoting Isaiah? Jesus repeatedly quoted Isaiah, but was Isaiah the source of the authority of Jesus? In fact, there is at least one passage in the Bible noting how Jesus did not quote scripture as the basis of his own authority, but instead spoke with authority whether or not he was quoting scriptures from prior teachers.

If, hypothetically, we were to assert that the authority of Jesus was based exclusively on his repetition of Isaiah’s statements that were later written down, then where did the authority of Isaiah come from? Did Isaiah’s statements have special authority before they were written down or only after they were written down (or without regard for the issue of whether they were later written down)? Did Isaiah’s statements have authority before Jesus ever read the transcripts of Isaiah’s prior statements?

The audience who is fluent in a particular language is who can give meaning to sequences of words in that language. How many meanings can different audiences give to the same words? More than one meaning, right?

Next, let’s focus on something simple that needs no quotations to be obvious. The word authority is related to the word author and also to the word auto. Authoritative means self-generated, like authorship or automated.

How can the authorship of Jesus come from anyone or anything outside of Jesus? Someone’s authorship can be said to come through them or from within them, but logically it cannot come from someone else.

I cannot invent a saying that I have already heard. That would not be inventiveness, but duplication.

What if logic, not conformity to prior traditions, was the basis for authority? Traditions may have social influence through popularity, but do they have practical relevance? Someone who focuses on the practical qualities of relevance and logic and inventiveness may be a more effective leader than someone who simply has a lot of followers.

The idea of authoritative inventiveness is of course distinct from social influence in general, such as the influence of an armed robber or of a wealthy lobbyist or of a propagandist who creates the programming curriculum for a television network or a school system. Maybe those people are inventive in their actions and maybe they are not.

Note that inventiveness is also not limited to words. There are many ways to be inventive.

Earlier, I mentioned three issues in regard to translating an ancient transcript of an oral tradition. Two issues were the fluency in first the original language and second in the “destination” language. The third issue I mentioned was the translator’s familiarity with the specific way that the original author was addressing a subject.

For instance, how familiar is the translator with the subject of inventiveness? If unfamiliar, then they can easily create an imprecise translation- even one that lots of other people who are also unfamiliar with inventiveness will agree is technically accurate (though perhaps of no practical value).

When someone is unusually inventive and then talks about inventiveness, that could be rather challenging to translate well. They may talk about it in an inventive or unfamiliar way. That can be had to understand at all, much less to translate.

Further, why are people even so interested in a translation about inventiveness? Doesn’t their own lack of comprehension of the subject of inventiveness create the interest in the subject at all?

לֹ֥א יָדְע֖וּ וְלֹ֣א יָבִ֑ינוּ כִּ֣י טַ֤ח מֵֽרְאֹות֙ עֵֽינֵיהֶ֔ם מֵהַשְׂכִּ֖יל לִבֹּתָֽם׃

”They have no da’as nor binah; for their eyes are smeared over, that they cannot see; and their levavot, that they cannot understand.”

http://biblehub.com/ojb/isaiah/44.htm  (Isaiah 44:18)

For those of you who are not familiar with the Hebrew language, here is a more complete translation:

They have not known, nor understood: for their eyes are covered that they may not see, and that they may not understand with their heart.

Here are a few versions of Isaiah 6:10, in which Isaiah uses similar metaphors:


“Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

“Dull the minds of these people; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed.”

“Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”

So, while these metaphorical references might be famous to Christians as sayings made by Jesus, he was just quoting Isaiah, which is explicitly noted in Matthew 13:14-15….

http://www.openbible.info/labs/cross-references/search?q=Matthew+13%3A14-15
Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

So it is clear enough that both Isaiah and Jesus were interested in the subject that we could call spiritual blindness (or “spiritual darkness”). In other words, they appreciate poetry and are aware that most people do not even understand poetry. Many people could even worship the word inventiveness and yet be completely blind to the simple reality of inventiveness itself.

Sorry, I meant to say that only some people appreciate pottery, not that only some people appreciate poetry. Of course everyone appreciates poetry. Don’t be silly.

Everyone knows that Harry Potter is the father of his son, who shall be named Emmanuel, which of course is Hebrew for “Clay.” So, therefore, Clay “Emmanuel” Potter was conceived by a virgin (like Horus, which is probably just the word for clay in another language).

Excerpt from http://freethoughtnation.com/isis-is-a-virgin-mother/ :

The virginity of Horus’s mother, Isis, has been disputed, because in one myth she is portrayed as impregnating herself with Osiris’s severed phallus. In depictions of Isis’s impregnation, the goddess conceives Horus “while she fluttered in the form of a hawk over the corpse of her dead husband.”  In an image from the tomb of Ramesses VI, Horus is born out of Osiris’s corpse without Isis even being in the picture. In another tradition, Horus is conceived when the water of the Nile—identified as Osiris—overflows the river’s banks, which are equated with Isis. The “phallus” in this latter case is the “sharp star Sothis” or Sirius, the rising of which signaled the Nile flood.  Hence, in discussing these myths we are not dealing with “real people” who have body parts.

Obviously, by now you must be wondering what all of this has to do with killing potatoes. I will now reveal this deep and practical spiritual doctrine.

Those who harvest potatoes may notice that the part of the potato plant that people eat is the root of the plant (like the carrot is also a root, as well as the onion). If you eat the root of a plant, then the rest of the plant is basically going to die, right?

So, because God commanded you personally not to kill anything ever, you will go to hell and experience eternal guilt if you have ever eaten any potatoes (or carrots or onions etc). Without killing the organism, you can eat a fruit or a single leaf of a plant, but you can’t eat a carrot without the carrot dying, right? You can’t eat a potato without killing it either. So you are guilty of killing potatoes even if you personally did not kill them yourself (but just ate some that someone else killed before you ate it).

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As for those who assert that there is no commandment in the Hebrew tradition of “thou shalt not kill,” these people are probably hysterical and need to be whipped and crucified in public in a holy ritual of human sacrifice to show everyone that killing is very bad. The Hebrew people (some who even claim to understand the Hebrew language) may protest that the commandment is actually “thou shalt not murder,” but they have no right to make such an assertion because they are not even real Christians, right? How arrogant of them to question our logic, right? What could they possibly know about human history?

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Sure, maybe God commanded Moses to start a war and slaughter a few neighboring tribes, but what about the ancient teaching to take an eye for an eye? If someone cuts the eye out of your potato (at least without your written permission), then don’t you have the right to put a needle in the eye of a rich camel trying to get in to heaven? If you do take the camel’s eye, what are you even going to do with it? Where are you going to take it? Why would you even want a camel’s eye? That is really disgusting of you and you should be very guilty about this entire potato-killing situation.

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In conclusion, all religions teach peace and love. I know that there is a saying in the book of Ecclessiastes about a time for love and hate, for peace and war, for killing and healing. However, if I do not like the content of those passages and find them embarrassing or terrifying, then I can just claim that those translations were imprecise (probably while I worship other translations from the same translators).

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So, when people lack self-confidence in regard to their own perceptiveness, inventiveness and authority, then they may cling to groups, such as a particular denomination or political party. That can be reassuring for those who are most anxious. That can be good for them at that stage of development. Maybe they even seek the glory of a position within such a group. Such positions certainly have their value.

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Later, they may realize that all large groups have a tendency to favor familiarity over relevance and precision. So, they may value a particular author or teacher more than a specific network. That is also good for them at that stage of development. Maybe they even seek the re-assurance of socializing with others who are fans of the same “cult celebrity.” They can bond with each other and validate their emerging common interests (which may be beyond the typical range of interest of a large group or institution).

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Rare is the one whose preference is to both appreciate competent guidance from a perceptive expert… while also developing inner clarity and intuition. They may value a relationship with a particular teacher, but not for the sake of attracting validation from others who also respect that same teacher. What if they valued the teacher simply because of the quality of the teaching?

Last, if some teacher says that they are only interested in promoting a particular set of spiritual doctrines, why would they say that? Why exclude all other possible priorities and interests (other than spirituality in general or even just one specific spiritual tradition)?

Beware of those who present spirituality as the pinnacle of human purpose. It is a doorway to be used, not to be worshiped. It may seem to be a very valuable doorway (which someone may experience with an over-powering attraction to explore). Let them do so.

But why expect anyone else to value it the same as you? Maybe you do value it now. If so, isn’t it true that until you did, you didn’t?

Likewise, we should not celebrate the root of the potato as if that is the only part of the plant. Maybe that is the only part we eat, but without the leaves and the soil, the root would not grow.

Is spirituality deserving of unique respect among all fields of human endeavour? Perhaps for you it will be for a time. However, if someone told you to hold your breath until you master spirituality and experience enlightenment, that might be a joke (though perhaps a joke that provokes very clear insight very efficiently).

If a particular “spiritual exploration” produces for you an increasing respect for all aspects of life, so be it. Spirituality can even be used as an excuse to retreat from a particular momentum of activity (and that may also be quite appealing for someone at a certain stage).

Use it like a tool, like a ladder. If it does not reliably produce a noticeable improvement to the quality of life for you and your kin, why else would you invest any further time in it?

Those who are most terrified by an idea may be the fastest to flee from it. Those who are disturbed but not totally horrified may be likely to hysterically argue against it. How reassuring it can be for them to gather in to groups to validate their presumptions, pretenses, and delusions!

Many creation myths feature “virgin births,” such as the birth of Eve from out of the side of Adam (who was of course a virgin in the sense that he did not engage in sexual activity in order to produce Eve). Pictured here is an ancient statue detailing a similar myth regarding the birth of the Buddha from out of the side of his mother (which in many sects of Buddhism is not emphasized or even mentioned at all).

What really bothers me is that different cultures and groups are inventive in different ways. Don’t they understand what inventiveness means?!?! ;)

The origin and function of ideas of hell

March 22, 2015

I do understand the appeal of this kind of “comedy.” However, I am not a big fan of condescension (as distinct from something like skepticism).

There is a reason that there are several variations on the idea of an afterlife- some of which are familiar to billions of people. Can we begin with respect for these ideas at least for their popularity?

In may traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, for instance, there are a few twists on the idea of afterlife. The Buddhist “wheel of life” has 6 states including hell and heaven and 4 others. Further, the whole point of that teaching is to contrast those 6 realms with a 7th possibility, the state of Nirvana, as in the “extinction” of the persona. Buddhists may refer to spiritual death, metaphorical death, the “death” of any *thoughts* of preserving a specific identity / ideal of “who I am/ how I should be / how life should be.”

What is it that “dies” in some Buddhist traditions? Various delusional ideas and hysterical desires are sorted for relevance, then “sacrificed” or “starved” or “killed.”

In Zen Buddhism (which is basically the same as the Dhyana Yoga of Hinduism), however, there is typically a total dismissal (as not essential) of the very idea of any speculation of life beyond the life of the immediate physical body. They simply focus elsewhere.

In the Jewish mystical tradition, there are some very explicit commentaries on “hell” and “heaven” as states of human experience. The classic saying of seven hells and seven heavens did not originate with the author Dante in his writings, but even in his case there are specific types of behavior that lead to the various levels of hell or heaven.

>>

What most/many Christians do not know is that in Hebrew doctrine, there were 6 commandments first, then a 7th was added by Noah, and then later a few others were added by Moses. Notably, most Christians have so little comprehension of the Jewish tradition that they think of Moses as the origin of Commandments.

We also can see that in the Buiddhist traditionS, there are several “precepts” (which is just someone’s translation of an ancient word from another language, which is the same way that some old Hebrew word was translated as commandments). How many precepts are there? There are 5, 8 or 10, depending
on the tradition, plus separate precepts/ vows that are only for “monks/ disciples.”

Different Buddhist traditions have different precepts, but they all look a lot like the 6 commandments given to Adam or the 10 given to Moses:
http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln360/Precepts-2.pdf

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A distinct thing about Noah is that he announced that the 6 precepts / commandments prior to him were suddenly not just for the Hebrews to force upon other Hebrews, but to force on all people. They began a system of a global police state or holy empire.The invasions and slaughters led by Moses were based on those doctrinal innovations from the earlier time of Noah.

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In some Buddhist traditions, it is taught that it does not matter if you take a vow or not in regard to the issue of cause and effect. It operates in your life with or without any vow. If you practice certain linguistic models (for instance, about how life should be), that will lead to certain psychological consequences/ interpretations/ experiences, then to certain patterns of action and social interaction (as responses to how I interpret or relate to whatever I witness), then those behaviors lead to social consequences.

With some forms of delusional idealism about how life should be, there will be envy, blame, resentment (various states of hell). There will also inevitably be confusion and inner conflict such as guilt (from the social consequences of rageful action, greedy action, lustful action, etc).

So, these various demons or desires must be tamed in order to “escape” from hell. One way to begin to tame them is to take vows in relation to them. Take notice of them. Be mindful of them. Be wary of them. Renounce them as immature and risky and inefficient. Refrain from them.

In other cases, there is less “initiative” involved and some authority can just say to the 2nd graders “it is forbidden to ________, so whenever you think of doing that, then think of getting grounded and losing your video game privileges, plus having punishments of extra chores, plus Santa will punish you further, plus when you die demons will eternally torture you and rape your gramma in front of you.”

Typically, the latter kinds of threats would be reserved for rebellious teenagers. Bribes regarding Santa will usually be enough to alter the behavior of 2nd graders. The intention is to shock them in to compliance- to intimidate.

So, we can notice a stack of “prohibitions.” 2nd graders may be taught that “humility is good” rather than given long explanations on what arrogance is and why it is bad and how to use inattentive language in arrogant ways (about “how life should be” and “how churches should be” and “how people should be”). People in hysterical distress can say “the disciplinary methods of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should not use stories about Santa Claus because that might be slightly deceptive.”

Not the contempt and condescension and arrogance of someone to condemn their **methods.** A lot of hysterical rants neglect to focus on actual results (as in the functionality or utility of a method) and instead condemn a *method* based on whether someone finds it morally terrifying (emotionally disturbing). “I do not want someone lying to me about Santa because that could reveal my massive naivete, which I deny because of anxiety about social perceptions of me, which I also deny.”

In other words, the rants are being spoken by people in hell about how other people should not talk about hell because the topic is embarrassing to them. That is predictable. Some methods are designed to be shocking and disturbing, so to condemn them as shocking and disturbing is to miss the point and reveal one’s own confusion and hysteria.

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So, back to the various states of hell, there is also that issue of vows/ patterns of speaking and action. Because of the personal relevance of actual everyday consequences, there are actions that may be encouraged or discouraged.

Churches and governments predictably promote the idea of tributes, donations, and taxes. Why? Because it benefits the institution.

There are various hellish consequences to certain patterns of action and those lead to the organizing and publishing of behavioral principles. Some principles are “automatic” and apply to everyone.

Still, someone might take a vow to recognize those principles and abide by them. In that case of swearing vows or oaths about their behavior, they can be inducted in to a priesthood that has extra privileges and penalties. Examples include a Buddhist monk, a Jesuit or Masonic spy/assassin, a licensed medical doctor, and a city cop.

In the classic anthropology sense, those are exclusive “priesthoods” that can only be entered through an initiation ritual with vows/oaths. A more common version of that is being a “member of the congregation.” People are actually brought in by social rituals to acknowledge their change of social status. Even the marriage ceremony originates from the same tradition, with a totally new legal category (distinct from “single”) called “married.” There are real social consequences for participating in that ritual and taking the vows / entering that new contract *with the government.*

Many people focus on the vows to their spouse. That part may have little legal consequence. When people get married, they reform their relationship to the local government. In the state of Arizona (and a few other states), a new legal entity is created by the marriage.

When one person dies, the legal entity of their political rights is called their “estate.” However, that estate is a legal entity that exists prior to their death. When a state official rules someone incompetent or mentally incapacitated, the state is taking over their estate even while they live.

During a marriage (like until a divorce or death of either spouse), some states invent a new legal persona which is the “community property” of the marriage. The future income of each spouse is subject to the “community property” rules PLUS the rules of regular “estate law.”

I use that example simply because it may be familiar. When I got married a few years ago, I did not read the statutes of Arizona in advance and consider the “vows” that I was making with Arizona by both #1 being a resident here and #2 being married. In fact, if someone gets married somewhere else and then moves here, Arizona will still relate to them as being under the “community property” rules here.

In practical terms, all you have to do to “take new vows” is to cross a border (like a county line or the city limits). The Prophet Noah is claimed in the Jewish tradition as the one who set up the entire idea of “involuntarily granting jurisdiction,” which is also the legal basis for slavery, military drafts, etc….

Hebrew males who did not respond to calls by war chiefs (like Moses) to report for duty in military invasions were charged with a newly invented crime, then killed in a public ritual of human sacrifice (often by hanging). Their corpses were left in the public squares as reminders to the local youth of the penalty for being a young man who does not report for military service.

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So, there are consequences to different behaviors. There are also doctrines to promote certain behavioral outcomes in the audience. There may be rituals in which people can vow to adhere to certain behavioral principles, such a court hearing for setting bail (and arranging for release from detention).

One type of doctrine that is popular is the doctrine of hell, the underworld, or even multiple hells. The flip side of that doctrine is the promise of heaven and Valhalla and virgin sexual partners and lots of video games from Santa.


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Are Valkyries angelic ETs who are beautiful females in appearance? Are the stories based on fact, or were these just morale-boosters for sending young men off in to battle. Note that the ONLY way for someone to get to heaven in Norse Mythology was to die gloriously in battle. That does sound like a system to promote participation in military activities, doesn’t it? But could there be some truth to the “legends?”

http://www.viking-mythology.com/valkyries.php

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According to Sumerian mythology, the origin of stories about an underworld where people are surrounded by fire and put in chains and constantly laboring is… actual history. An ET came to this planet from somewhere else, set up mining operations here, then kidnapped earthlings and “trained” them to work in the gold mines.

The training involved whips and physical torture in order to “break” them or “tame” them (to promote future compliance). Certain earthlings were rewarded as “slave captains” and “slave generals.” That was the origin of human priesthoods and governments.

When we read the Old Testament and it says that “the Lord of the Most High rules over this planet and puts humans in positions of political leadership at his whim, subject to removal at his whim,” that is not about a conceptual deity. That is about a “demon” who rules this planet “from the clouds.”

When we see similar descriptions in Sumerian, Hindu, and many other traditions, we may find these references intriguing. Naturally, because of the issue of efficiency, these references may be omitted from the mainstream religious doctrines which focus on simpler parallels like Santa Claus.

However, the old bearded man in the red suit who bestows gifts is called in the Catholic tradition by the title of Cardinal (assuming that the Cardinal does not shave his facial hairs). Saint Nicolaus (the Catholic) wore a red suit, as did all cardinals.

In Tibet, the suit might be purple rather than red. In India, it might be bright orange rather than red. However, the idea of the old man who judges us and rules over us is nothing new.

Further, the idea that the local Cardinal is actually just the “agent” of a massive institution of terrestial political influence is widely known. What is not so widely known is the idea that an actual living being (not just a legal entity or a character in a book) rules in secret behind all of these human institutions. The ET in that position may not just be a series of organisms that all have the same title (like Pharoah or King of Kings), but an actual organism that lives for several thousand years.

Note that many ancient cultures depict very similar art showing tortures of humans that fit classic descriptions of hell. The Christian tradition “simplifies” all of that art in to depictions of the torture of a crucified Jesus, skin ripped open from whipping and face bloody from a crown of thorns. Typically, that artwork will be displayed right behind the pulpit where the priest would address those gathered there.

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{There is a reply then my counter-reply below after a series of pictures.}


KB (who posted the top photo of comedian Bill Burr) replied:

Wow J R you could write book in a day haha and yeah, Bill Burr is condescending no doubt haha, crude too. I posted this because I think that he’s making fun of religiousness(mainly anyways haha) which I think of religiousness as holding a belief and then having fear of questioning/challenging to the point of delusion so that you feel undeniable correct in believing, which often comes with a sense of impunity in practicing those beliefs that can be dangerous(ISIS as a clear example). This way of belief seems to cause people to be perturbed because they are fearfully stuck with a mental imprisonment of holding only their current ideas of the many meanings to life which can be very limiting to people emotionally, spiritually, etc..

I think having beliefs, that don’t harm anyone, is fine, even if illogical cause they can often be quite useful to have during your path to enlightenment, however being stuck in fear of losing your current belief is truly the problem at hand in my opinion.

JR replies back:

There is a basic issue that I will call argumentativeness (vs humility). Some people are “looking for a dispute to prove how holy they are.” I do not know if Bill Burr actually is terrified of being humbled or not, but many people are. He seems to me to be in that typical mode of “look how much smarter I am than all of those people who are the problem,” but maybe that is just part of his act and not sincere. However, with guys like Bill Hicks, they seem quite sincere and their unhappiness and contempt pour out of their “comedy act” even though they may also offer clever observations. Still, they can be dangerous influences if someone values cleverness over relevance, humility, etc….

I warn people of the dangers of being an “arm-chair” critic who says “as long as no one gets harmed, I don’t care.” On one hand, that may be better than contentious, antagonistic argumentativeness. On the other hand, there are a lot of smug assholes who dismiss the simple fact that there are dangers out there, including groups of humans who get together to conspire to do violence and harm to other beings, including other humans, such as through armies and police departments.

Those operations exist to train select people in conducting organized violence and coercion/ intimidation. The ruling priests/ soldier class then target internal and external enemies for reasons like “our sponsors over at DuPont consider hemp textiles to be a threat to their business, plus we make money off of charging the taxpayers $40,000 per year to warehouse people, plus we pay them 14 cents an hour for labor in prison, plus we spend on average $12,000 (or whatever) per conviction- to pay for prosecutors and cops and court clerks and so on.”

So, someone invents the idea to criminalize possession of marijuana. Then, someone funds some research to demonize marijuana. The research is grossly unscientific, but is presented as valid science through the university priesthoods of ritually-inducted PhDs. Eventually, the complete nonsense of the original propaganda is acknowledged (such as the government-sponsored movie “Reefer Madness” to promote hysteria in the general public about marijuana). However, the laws stay in place because they are still good for DuPont as well as for the “correctional industry.”

Governments are systems for ritually harming, injuring, and killing humans. They do it one person at a time or lots of people at once.

We can notice this with respect, with fear, without contempt, without argumentativeness, with humility. Bill Burr says “you’re just some guy” about Jerry Falwell, but not about Barrack Obama or Osama Bin Laden or Al Capone. Warlords are not “just some guy.”

Is Bill willing to loosen any beliefs that “people should not conspire to harm other people, to systematically defraud or deceive other people?” Governments regulate fraud. They ritualize it. They perfect it. Is Bill willing to discard blinding beliefs that “they should not do that” and simply recognize that “that is exactly what they do?”

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FYI, I was referencing this 1936 US government propaganda film: http://info.umkc.edu/unews/76-years-of-reefer-madness/

There was also some “scientific research” designed to justify a pre-determined headline of “marijuana is bad for you.” The research can be found if you are interested and you can read about the massive flaws (total fraud really) that is in the research, plus how popular it was, how often it was referenced to justify criminalization, and how influential that research was, not based on any scientific merit, but because well-funded and powerful people (county prosecutors, police chiefs, etc) presented it as if it had scientific validity. It never did.

But, for all the “scientific flaws” in the method, the method worked very well to promote the criminalization of marijuana. Promoting delusional hysteria is just part of what governments do to govern the human resources.

Obama condemns Abe Lincoln for his role in 9/11

March 20, 2015

RQR wrote (sharing a link with this comment):

There are lots of conspiracy theories about 9/11. I don’t claim to know the truth. But several bits of info that I picked up in support of a conspiracy do not prove a conspiracy. The narrator presents that several jets were scrambled but the attack went ahead anyway. What I recall was lots of confusion about identifying that an attack was actually underway, and how many and which planes were part of it. And (the report doesn’t mention) that planes that were scrambled were unarmed, and there was not a policy on what to do if a situation like that happened (shoot down a passenger plane, for example).

DB replied:

It’s an interesting conversation. Truthfully, all I remember is waking up and turning on the news. I lived in Arizona at the time so most of the action had already taken place. Confusion and disbelief are the first things I remember. Anger is the second. I don’t remember having any fear. Everything I know about what happened came from the media or internet sources. I do not believe these are “truthful/reliable” sources for information. Fact of the matter is, I do not trust or believe there are ANY reliable/truthful sources of information these days.

If there are no trustworthy sources of information people are left to believe whatever they want. I believe this is the beginning of what is commonly referred to as “chaos”.

My recommendation is if the future is chaos, arm yourself with reliable weapons, and more importantly, trustworthy friends.

RQR:

DB, my frustration is about like yours. There is really no way for the average person to know the truth. And all these presentations are obviously done with a preconceived conclusion in mind. So they are giving a sales pitch, not a true analysis. I’m really tired of being subjected to a such an onslaught of propaganda.

JR:

re ” …there was not a policy on what to do if a situation like that happened (shoot down a passenger plane, for example) .” If you seriously believe that there was no policy for handling “stray” hijacked passenger planes, you may have already been watching far too much propaganda Bob. (Yep… sometimes it is nice to stay away from mass media and public schools and their campaigns of hysteria promotion.)

That reminds me. There is a substance that every liver on planet produces and for decades it has been presented as a deadly poison: cholesterol.

Oops- no, that may just be some of the popular quackery publicized thousands of times a day somewhere. However, if you are presented a “compliance test,” just find out the answer that gets you a passing grade and regurgitate it on demand.

Also, you mentioned frustration and I was not exactly sure what you meant. Did you mean that you expected history books and mainstream media to be honest, diligent and unbiased? If so, that kind of expectation could lead to frustration unless you just drop the expectation (like based on actual observation).

RQR:

JR, I believe that there is a rational way of looking at it and there is a sales pitch of one’s favorite ideas (or paranoias). I think it’s possible to present a rational overview of events, and avoid framing it by collecting evident in support of a preconceived (and usually sinister) conclusion. As an example, I believe it’s possible to make the case that Obama is doing about the best that can be done in a difficult set of circumstances, rather than that he is an evil destroyer of America. But you’ll find a lot more of the “evil destroyer” rationales than you will the “best efforts” ones. That’s frustrating, and causes me to be suspicious of all these negative scenarios.

JR:

A primary issue is relevance. Why do I care about an issue and how?

I cannot be frustrated about public debates about the sainthood of President Frederick Thompson of South Carolina State University. Why? Because I am not interested enough.

If I have a hysterical attachment to promoting the idea that he is making his “best effort,” then perhaps I would be frustrated by people criticizing his choice of wardrobe or whatever issue “really gets me.” Also, if I have a hysterical attachment to promoting the idea that he is an evil destroyer, then I experience antagonism toward anyone who is not enthusiastic enough in making public condemnations of him.

As for anti-government conspiracy theories making paranoid accusations about how a government would ever take an action that is not in the personal best interest of every single one of it’s constituents, I hereby condemn that idea as demonic and delusional. Case in point: the state lottery (at least in this state) is a government-regulated investment system that allows all participants to have above average results (relative to the average of all total participants).

However, in certain other states besides our holy and righteous state of Arizona, I have heard that most of the people who play the state lottery actually lose money. Rather than amass wealth through military invasions of other neighboring states and then distributing that abundance to residents of a particular state, some states allegedly conspire against their own citizens to attract a positive cash flow from their very own citizens. Disgusting, right?

My government would never do that. Fortunately, you and I are privileged (of course because of our highly meritable actions in our prior incarnations) since we do not live in an evil empire, such as South Carolina, Vermont, France, Romania, or Detroit.

As a point of logic, once someone has done some research and reached a conclusion, any later presentation about “the past” may be organized around a particular narrative / conclusion. Also, you personally are responsible for the salvation of the USA, so you should pay “your share” of the national debt and also invest 9.3 hours per week in to correcting the consciousness of people in and around the USA so that they conform with your own preconceived notions of how they should think and act (which were delivered to you and millions of others through rituals for governing human resources)

Lyrics: “TOO RISKY (STOP)”

March 17, 2015

“TOO RISKY (STOP)”

She said she was a victim, then a survivor, then a reformer, then a provider
she said she’s got to move on, put it behind her, be an adult about it, don’t let it blind her

with rage

She said the rage is evil, it is just like a demon, it creeps up and sneaks in, then tries to get inside her
it puts a knife up to her, then makes her say things, then makes her do things, and uses no protection

Stop     she screams       but the demon       proceeds
to do        the things           that demons        all need
to feel         alive        to relive        the drive
to keep         old emotions      from coming          too high
I’m not scared     I’m not sad       I’m not crying     I’m not bad
I’m not how      they all say       I’m not that      I’m okay
I just try       every day      to be perfect        every way
I must hide           anything      that could be      too risky

he said he was a blank slate, and then a bad boy, and then a nervous wreck, and then a good boy,
he said he hated every minute, he hated everyone, somebody might see through him, call him a demon

from hell

He said it shouldn’t be like this, life should be different, somebody is to blame… for the evil system
it’s not like he was taught… that systems ought to be. It is deceptive, while preaching honesty.

It used to be so pure, back when he believed. It’s never been so bad… until just recently.
Back in the good old days, there was no propaganda. He knows the day it started… to be a life of hell.

Hey       I don’t deserve this        I should be like them       but I’m not jealous
They don’t deserve it         but I’m not jealous       These aren’t opinions    and I’m not jealous
I’m stating facts      and I’m not jealous         I deserve better         but I’m not jealous

for jealous rage is for the weak and I am stronger than that evil slut
Stop    he screams     but the demon      proceeds
to do     the things      that demons       all need
to feel       alive         to relive      the drive
to keep        old emotions           from coming      too high

I’m not scared     I’m not sad       I’m not crying     I’m not bad
I’m not how      they all say       I’m not that      I’m okay
I just try       every day      to be perfect        every way
I must hide           anything      that could be      too risky
Stop      everything       that could be         too risky

Stop       everything    that could be         too risky

Stop         everything        that could be         too risky

Stop
We said keep this a secret… or there are penalties, plus no one wants to know, they hide from anything

too risky

Confidence, competence, and why not to buy lottery tickets from MDs

March 15, 2015

The Secret of Confidence
Confidence is a word that is used in a variety of ways. Being confident is related to being assertive as well as being calmly alert (rather than pre-occupied or barely awake, etc). But what about the issue of actual competence?

The basic meaning of confidence that I use is the experience that comes first from being alert to the details of a situation, then recognizing the situation as something that you have already successfully handled, and finally a willingness to display (to assert, to demonstrate) your own perceived ability to being able to produce a particular result that you consider relevant/ favorable.

However, a momentary experience of confidence is not an actual guarantee of results. Confidence is just an experience associated with a reasonable and sincere expectation of the capacity to produce future results.

This definition of confidence is intentionally specific to a particular situation. “Confidence” as a general trait is often confused with boldness or even naivete. There is no authentic confidence except in regard to producing a specific result. In other words, there are no “confident people.” There are assertive people and courageous people, but people are confident relative to a specific issue or outcome.

Things like optimism or the absence of doubt are not the same as confidence. We can easily recognize when confidence is present or absent by the various reactions that someone may display if their alleged confidence is challenged.

Consider the example of asking an MD whether a particular drug is effective and relevant. If the MD sincerely believes that a drug is good for a specific case (and has no special concern or doubt about the issue), then they may display sincerity. But how would they display real confidence? We’ll come back to that.

First, here is an example of sincerity: “I have studied thousands of cases in which this method was successful. If you would like, I can share some research on the subject with you.”

Sincerity is not the same as accuracy or competence. A person can be sincere (honest) without being accurate (experienced).

Here is a simple display of confidence: “Would you like to review a few testimonials about cases very similar to yours in which I produced the results you value?” When there is a lot of confidence, the response can be very calm, concise, and specific.

How about this: “I have personally applied this method many times and with increasing success over time. I gradually refined my expertise. I learned how to modify the method, like how to tell when to slow down or speed up. I also have seen many cases that other practitioners did not address well and then I analyzed the cases and produced the desired results through refining the methods.”

Imagine someone who has a reputation within their industry for excellence (and who has endorsements from many other experts within the same specialty). Now, with a “leading expert” in mind, what would be the difference between confidence and arrogance?

Arrogance is actually a state of fear in which someone knows that they are not as competent as they are pretending to be. They may get defensive or antagonistic if their competence is challenged.

Someone confident is not especially interested in challenges to their competence. If challenged, they may offer some indications of competence, but also may feel no urgency to be validated by others. They may be more interested in why to invest time in to an interaction than in compulsively defending a reputation.

How about when a new concern is raised? Does someone confident belittle people for raising concerns (shaming them or guilt-tripping them)?

If an MD has been trained to give statin drugs in order to promote health in particular situations, they might not be interested in research on the effectiveness of statin drugs. They may be very confident about using the method (sincere). They may not be confident in the actual results, but they may be confident (sincere) in their presumption that the method will be beneficial to the patient.

They may also be very confident in their social position and their business. Again, that is distinct from confidence in medical results. They are just  not concerned about getting sued for fraudulently claiming that statin drugs are effective (or detrimental). They are relaxed and calm.

However, because of their training, they may have never actually been skeptical about the effectiveness of a particular treatment protocol. They may have never researched it. They learned someone’s else’s second-hand conclusion then repeated it back on a few tests, got a passing grade, and never considered the issue further.

They may have never scoured through the research looking for procedural flaws or holes in logic. They were not assigned to challenge the conventional presumptions so they may even sincerely think of the conventional speculations as accurate. They are confident in their textbooks and their training and their instructors, but that is not the same as being confident in the actual effectiveness of a treatment.

If they have never researched the effectiveness, they cannot be confident about it. They can be calmly presumptive though. They can be sincere.

They can be confident about using the method. They just cannot be confident in the results unless they have actually studied the measurable results produced in “scientifically-controlled,” clinical trials.

They do have a commercial interest in performing interventions that are profitable to them. Further, they have a vested interest in maintaining their perception that a profitable procedure is effective. They may be hesitant to review anything that brings skepticism or criticism. In other words, they may have an element of insecurity (fear).

What about the issue of injuries caused by a treatment protocol? If the MD has followed the rules of their insurance provider (for malpractice insurance etc), then they may have little or no interest in the actual research on risks. Their role is not to assess the risks of treatment methods. They pay an insurance company to handle that. They are just a technician trained in identifying certain issues and then more or less mechanically responding to their diagnosis with an approved treatment (approved by the insurance plan, by the state licensing board, etc).

Are there MDs who are more focused on research? Of course some are more focused on innovation than others. However, generally speaking, the researchers are not taking walk-in patients and billing insurance companies.

We can think of MDs in a more “libertarian” setting (without so much bureaucratic supervision). Maybe they are in a warzone or remote area where certain common medical supplies are simply not consistently available. They may be forced to innovate and experiment.

However, that is not the typical MD. Most MDs are just doing whatever they have been trained to do. They may measure progress in individual cases, but they are not analyzing their data and comparing it to “control groups.”

Lawyers and insurance companies understand that when MDs use a particular treatment method, there are financial interests in promoting profits. Lobbyists and PR companies can be hired to govern biases and create specific kinds of favoritism. Researchers can be hired with explicit or implicit bias toward particular kinds of results. If a particular study does not produce the desired results, another study can be conceived and funded (if the profits behind a particular method are sufficient).

In a legal case, a lawyer may not be interested in accuracy. They are simply promoting a particular financial interest. They are promoting a particular decision (and influencing the perceptions of the jury with a very specific bias in mind).

Which research gets funded? That is guided by commercial interests.

Which research gets mentioned in a congressional hearing or a court case? That depends on the interests (biases) involved.

Oddly enough, according to my first-hand research of US government documents (a report from the Department of Justice), there have been many huge awards in civil lawsuits  to people injured by vaccinations in the US. I have heard (without researching the details) that similar rewards have been made in Europe in court cases.

In other words, judges and/or juries assessed the facts of the cases and gave big rewards to the injured patients (or to surviving relatives). My research excludes any cases in which the defendants (such as insurance companies) “settled out of court.” In some cases, the injured party may even sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Generally speaking, most people trusted MDs who instructed them to receive vaccinations or take statin drugs etc. Because of the general public confidence that MDs are competent and honest and using methods with scientific merit, some patients would not even associate any negative experiences with the medical interventions.

In the case of statin medications, healthy people do not generally use them, right? So, any deterioration in health is likely to be identified as “in spite of the medical interventions” rather than “specifically the result of the medical interventions.” Of course, there are exceptions to that as well, such as in the case of certain cancer treatments regularly causing hair loss.

However, how many MDs can say “I know this method will benefit you and I know exactly how?” Yes, statin drugs produce a predictable biochemical effect (as distinct from placebos), but what defines a “benefit?”

Hypothetically, it is up to a patient to identify something as beneficial or not. Do they feel better? (So do many people who take placebos….) Can they measure significantly better performance in daily life? (Again, what about with placebos?)

My understanding of statin drugs is that they inhibit the liver’s ability to manufacture an essential nutrient. How did it ever seem attractive to inhibit the manufacture of an essential nutrient?

I do not know that it ever was medically attractive. What if a researcher determined that a particular drug had a particular result and then the marketing department was called in to figure out how they might be able to get people to pay far more for that product than it cost to manufacture it?

The head of the marketing department said “what if we create a hysteria and present this product as the solution? If statin drugs inhibit liver function, then what about liver function can we use to sell this medication to the public?”

How about this: the liver manufactures an important component of the immune system which the body then uses to combat certain health challenges. When particular kinds of health challenges are present, the liver raises production of that substance.

So, the presence of that substance is correlated with certain medical diagnosis. The marketers may have noticed all of this and then said “what if we demonize the substance as if it were a poison that CAUSES the medical ailments that it remedies?”

So, they funded some researchers to conclude that cholesterol causes certain problems. Maybe it was pseudo-scientific, fraudulent quackery from the start, but it was definitely good for business, right?

Later research shows that statin drugs still impair liver function (just as was established by the original trials). However, a “shocking” conclusion eventually came to the attention of some very disappointed patients: it is actually better to do nothing than to systematically impair the function of the liver.

So, the civil lawsuits may begin to flow a decade or two after the procedure has been effectively marketed to some group of consumers. The massive profits of the procedure can be used to fund lawyers and lobbyists to defend / protect the practice (even generating taxpayer-funded subsidies or mandates for compulsory participation).

What is the connection between statin drugs and vaccinations? I did not say that there was one. Frankly I am insulted that you would even imply that there could be any connection between MDs and convenience store clerks.

However, back to what I was saying before, wouldn’t it be awesome for business if, just for preventive precautions, everyone was compelled to take statin drugs just to make sure that their livers do not ever get “too active?” How many procedures should be compulsory? How much should the government force consumers to pay for these interventions?

Is it possible that the health of a particular individual is no major concern for any particular bureaucrat (or any particular MD)? Maybe there is an interest in promoting the health of certain specific individuals or groups. Maybe there is a willingness to risk the health of the certain individuals or groups.

What I find re-assuring is to keep in mind the existence of government-sponsored lotteries. Someone could win a prize of 66 million dollars this very week somewhere. Lots of people play the lottery, so it must be a good investment and you will probably win a grand prize eventually if you just keep playing long enough.

Note that the cashiers at the convenience stores care very much about the results of every individual participant in the gambling operation. In that regard, they are like MDs.

Most participants in the gambling operation will not get any benefit and are just paying for a bunch of bureaucrats to have jobs. Of course, someone gets a big prize occasionally too. Further, convenience store clerks probably get some benefit from the continuation of the system as well.

However, with a state lottery, you can only lose the amount of money that you invest in to buying lottery tickets. It’s not like buying tickets will impair your liver or something really major, right? Also, have you ever noticed that people who have been convenience store clerks for a few years eventually seem less and less enthusiastic about investing their own money in lottery tickets?

But as I was saying, vaccinations are very important, totally safe, and everyone should get vaccinated at least once a week, especially convenience store clerks and MDs (who frequently interact with the public). In fact, MDs should probably get vaccinated every day so that they do not infect their patients with any stray cholesterol.

Also, lawyers should get vaccinated twice a day (to help us be certain that there are no negative “side effects” to any vaccines). Keep in mind that when I say vaccines, I am implying that all vaccines are basically the same and no subcategorization is relevant.

As for confidence, people who make jokes may or may not be confident. Their jokes may be evasive distractions. Or, they may be pointing to something obvious but rarely addressed. Some things may just be too disturbing (to most people) to be addressed in any other way than through comedy.

That is why comedy should not exist, logically cannot exist, and therefore must be carefully prevented through the consistent use of statin medications. Plus, comedy must be immediately regulated, licensed, and criminalized because comic treasons and heresies could be a threat to the commercial success of certain business operations.

In conclusion, when I say to someone “how confident are you that the MD you have been seeing is competent,” they should display their calm confidence by raising their voice, displaying that they are offended, and then hysterically saying “you are not suggesting that I am disappointed by the recent results…. or in some way interested in social approval, are you? I certainly am not interested in approval (except in regard to validating my own patterns of activity in which I have the least confidence). Sure, I want constant re-assurance through my social network and TV ads and so on. But who doesn’t? You’re not saying that I am an outcast or reject, are you? Anyway, if you dare to question the logic of any of my actions, I may begin to suspect you of being interested in the actual results that I experience… and you best be careful of me perceiving you to be a threat to my chronic tensions of carefully-constructed pretenses and repression.”

That is why pace is important. It is important to be attentive to how motivated people are to developing clarity, competence, and confidence. If it is relevant to slow things down or speed things up, that is important to notice. Are they really interested in producing certain results or do they just value the social re-assurance that their favorite pretenses are working well enough to avoid punishment?

It is not good to be a convenience store clerk and give people prudent investment advice. They won’t buy any lottery tickets from you if you keep emphasizing the fact that the government operates the program so it therefore must be very good for all participants. They will probably just buy lottery tickets from some other store.

Likewise, if you want someone highly competent at promoting health, why would you automatically go to an MD? What clinical trials have you read that compare the results produced by MDs with competitors in other related fields?

If you use an MD, how do you select a specific MD? How much time do you put in to assessing their effectiveness against other MDs within the same specialty?

How motivated are you to assess the effectiveness of your most familiar ritual habits? How interested are you in results?

Do you want to be confident that your methods are very popular and will not lead to any social complications in regard to people questioning you (or harassing you) about why you are so much more interested in actual results (more interested than other people seem to be_? Or, do you prefer to be confident that the methods you are using reliably produce the results that you value most? Are you willing to assess the results of various methods in order to intelligently experiment with different variations so that you improve your results?

Are you willing to risk learning? Even at the risk of some of your most familiar presumptions being revised or corrected or discarded, are you willing to learn?

Why not just focus on being condescending toward other people who may be more interested in social validation than in other results? Why not shame them and harass them? Why not repulse them and distance yourself from their influence so that you can take a moment to relax, to calmly assess what you value most, and to measure the different results of different methods and then invest your time and resources accordingly?

Yes, there is a presumptive experience that is often called confidence (as in sincerity or naivete). Quite distinct from that is “real” confidence based on actual expertise or competence, such as confidence based on repeated trials with control groups, precise objective measurements, facing “constructive criticism,” and so on.


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