Category Archives: Knowledge

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #60

(Another late “Antierra Manifesto” blog post… better late than never ‘they’ say!)

She continues with the same angry, disillusioned tone:  “Why you want to hear stupid story?  They call you Desert Beast for green eyes.  You come from desert, yes?  This they say.  But you no beast, just bigger woman, longer arm, legs, stronger.  You die too, like us, like all woman.  No different.  Same.  All same, always same.  I know.  It the way of it.”

[end blog post #59]
______________________
[begin blog post #60]

I realize in that moment I’ve just had my very first conversation with a true T’Sing Tarleynan woman.  That is the mindset I have to work with.  A distant tale of some possible alien intervention on this world by a race of tall “green” people with scales (Reptilians?  Armour? Reflective pressure suits?) who appear to have been females.  A battle for control of Malefactus that resulted in the female alien race being defeated and destroyed to the last, the invaders in the “black sky boat” who looked like men made of metal taking control and instituting a new law that decreed females would be the slaves of males. 

Current facts certainly seem to bear the truth of the story.  Were the black sky boat metallic men a global phenomenon, or local?  Is all of this world under the same total domination by males?  I need to speak to the few black female slaves about their remembered experiences, if I can get them to talk.  Maybe it’s different where they come from?  Could they possibly be remnants, descendants, of those aboard the black spaceship, of slaves of the black metallic men?  Could these black “metallic men” have been a type of Melkiar Cyborg adapted from thousands of years lost in space? 

What about this world beyond the great water as they call their ocean?  What I learned of Malefactus before I incarnated here said it was a world ruled by misogyny.  Fear and hatred of the female was the modus operandi.  As a stack world, the effects have to be global.  So, for the time being, barring miraculous intervention or change I must continue to assume there could be no place on this world where a woman could conceivably escape to and find sanctuary. 

I cannot trust my Altarian research.  There were too many gaps in it, too many errors.  Whoever filed those reports must have had a rather shallow experience of this world.  I suspect the reports were written from observation orbit, not from personal interaction with the people of the planet.  How could I have been such an idiot?  Why did I not locate the source material used for this information?  How was it taken across the dimensional barrier?  Who was the recorder and courier?  How long ago?  The records were old and had no tracer and no date.

Then I begin to silently chuckle to myself.  I was no idiot then but I certainly am the idiot now! I knew then, as Al’Tara, where the research came from, and why it was so shallow and why I accepted it at face value without question!

I remember a time when I reveled in being a “conspiracy theorist.”  I made a point of considering every major event the result of a specific conspiracy.  I would immediately create a plausible scenario in my mind that explained the conspiracy.  Believe all things, believe in nothing, that was my motto.  Did Earthians actually land on the moon way back then in C-20 when they had no working space flight technology worth speaking of; their world poised on the edge of war based in radioactive nuclear fission technology?  Having just survived two world wars in one century only twenty years apart?  My answer was always, “No.”  It was a put up job.  A conspiracy to hide something else.  A hoax like their “The War of The Worlds”* radio program that created such mindless panic.

*(The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air.  Directed by Orson Welles, this was the radio program that created mass panic.)

But of course the answer was always “Yes” also.  You can always have both, according to Altarian Logic.  If you have one, you have the other.  Dangerous walkway that is, if you are betting your life on it.  I did, many times.  Why?  Because even if you can only see one side of a thing it is preferable to admit the logic that it must have two sides rather than stubbornly believe only in one side, claiming the other does not exist.

Take the information I found on Malefactus, from Altarian logic.  Who brought that information to Altaria and put it in the holorecs?  That’s simple: I did.  The day I received information about stack worlds and my mind began to “see” these realities is the day I began to enter the data in Altaria’s mem-banks so the computers would begin their algorithmic searches to extract useful ‘information’ for future research by whomever would be interested in the stack world theory.  That, of course, would likely be none other than I.  You see, if I were to bet my life on the reality of the stack world scenario (and believe me, nobody agreed with my conclusions then, few enough even later when it became obvious there had to be “something” in it) I needed something to begin my quest. 

I needed to look into the future far enough that I could create some plausible information from what I saw, index that information in a safe place, my home world of Altaria, so I could in the past that remained my future, access that information as if it came from someone else and use that “fabrication” to create my personal future living reality on Malefactus.  Hence I realize now, the inexplicable “gaps” in the reports and the research.  I could not place there what I could not know unless I had already lived on Malefactus, and that would not happen until I had studied the information available and formed a plan for that particular information-gathering life in the future. 

It was a catch-22 situation yet basically a simple and logical approach to the problem.  I was proceeding as with a conspiracy theory – from projections I mirrored back at myself to test their reliability.  Since both sides are true, and as in the Möbius strip, they are but one side, I could never be wrong.  I just had to accept I would have to trust my life on incomplete data, something that I was very familiar with having lived many lives on Old Earth.  Everything done there was based either on incomplete and unverifiable data, or data ever condemned to shortly become useless. 

Yet despite the gargantuan problems the race created for itself, it propagated like a veritable disease all over the planet.  Yes, you can live, you can function, you can learn with incomplete data.  It gets you started.  That’s all that’s needed for life to move forward: a volitional push.  It needs to be inseminated.  Wildly.  Seeds thrown to the winds of change and chance.  Without plan or forethought?  I still don’t know how to answer that question but the two naked lovers lying on their sweaty bed are answer enough.

[end blog post #60]

Gimpy

(A short story, by Sha’Tara)

I was starting my third grade year when I got to know a scrawny first grade little kid with large beautiful brown eyes everyone called “Gimp” or “Gimpy.” I just want to quickly write up how it was we actually met, I mean to talk to each other.

It was lunch time and most of the kids who didn’t go home for lunch gathered in one large room of multi-purpose usage. There were tables and benches and the odd older desk too for those who liked to sit alone and perhaps read, or draw. Remember that was a while ago, even transistor radios didn’t exist then!

I had picked one of the old desks because I wanted to continue reading a book I’d just got my hands on: Treasure Island. It promised well right from the beginning and I was eager to find out if Jim would get to go sailing.

I had opened my lunch kit and was inspecting my food when there was a bit of a commotion. A scrawny kid was being called names and laughed at. One of those at the ‘bully’ table called the kid over, dangled a chocolate bar in a wrapper in front of him, then threw it down the aisle. The kid raced after it, got it, tore open the wrapper to find that it had been stuffed with dirt.

Amidst the jeers and laughter, I looked at that kid’s sad, confused and disappointed face. He saw me looking at him and realized I wasn’t of those making fun of him. He carefully put the chocolate wrapper still filled with dirt into the garbage can and limped over to my desk. He stood there and I saw his eyes grow even bigger as he eyed my lunch.

I may have been only eight years old but I came from a large family and I knew a hungry look on a kid’s face when I saw one. I asked him to come over and sit beside me, then I offered him half of everything I had packed for myself. The kid ate every crumb and I realized that he was starving. So I gave him more and kept less. I felt, I dunno, something warm and good and powerful rising inside me as I watched him devour my lunch. I didn’t even feel hungry anymore.

We became friends, and I think he sort of adopted me as a big sister. So I decided to help him with his school work as well. He was, from my point of view, terribly slow. Obviously he’d never been shown how to read, write or even do simple arithmetic at home before coming to school. In fact, when I asked him his age, he reluctantly admitted he was also eight years old. He looked no more than five.

“How come you didn’t come to school when you were six like the rest of us then?”

“My mom said it was too much bother and she couldn’t afford to buy me new clothes, that school was useless anyway. So I stayed home and on the street until a lady called a social worker came to see my mom and after she got some clothes for me, I came to school. Is school really useless, Deena?”

“No it isn’t, Gimpy. School is like being on a holiday where you get to practice your imagination, you get to learn things only adults would normally know, and when you know how to read, oh boy, all those books, all those amazing stories you can make your own, like you can accompany those people in the stories, become one of them, play along, have endless adventures.”

“Why doesn’t my mom know this?”

I had no answer but to admit I didn’t know. My own parents loved reading all sorts of stuff and they made sure we would not be kept in the dark. I had learned about measurements from reading labels on cans and bottles. I had already tried some recipes printed on the back of cereal boxes. I knew how to tell the difference between several ‘medicines’ stored in the bathroom medicine cabinet, as well as those stored in the milk house to be used for the cows, pigs or chickens.

A couple of weeks after I had gotten to know Gimpy I had to miss a day of school. After school Gimpy came to my house crying, his jacket torn and with a terrible black eye and split lip. My heart raced when I saw that. Even more so when he told me that the bullies had assaulted him at afternoon recess and beaten him severely.

“What about Sister Blanche? Didn’t she see what was going on, or heard anything?”

“I dunno. She watched, didn’t do nothin’.”

“Did nothing… Oh, never mind, let me fix you up as best we can and we’ll deal with this tomorrow.”

As I remember that day, so many years ago now, it wasn’t one of my best days. I wanted to be a truly good person. I never wanted to get into any kind of trouble and certainly did not want to get involved in a fight with other kids, particularly bullies. But I knew I still had to confront them. After all they had assaulted my ‘little brother’ and this was a blood thing from my point of view.

I kind of started it wrong the next morning when I waylaid the chief trouble maker who had assaulted Gimpy with, “Hey chicken shit, are you so scared to take on someone your own size you gotta beat up a little kid?” And I walked right up to him, sticking my face practically in his. “That’s unfinished business you left yesterday and I’m here to make sure it is finished so you’ll know not to mess with us.”

That was the trigger. He threw down his books and came at me. Now I may have been a girl but my dad had taught me a few fighting tricks of his own, some of which he had warned me never to talk about or brag about. He taught me about men’s particular weakness down there between their legs and I saw my chance to test that particular move. Needless to say it worked like a charm. When the others saw their leader down on the ground moaning and crying, they not only backed off, they ran.

I suppose that would have been that except a sister of those bullies went to tattle to Sister Blanche who immediately stepped over to us, grabbed me by the arm, pinching as hard as she could and made me stand by the blackboard in front of the whole class. When all were settled she ordered me to bend over her desk and she certainly didn’t hold back on the strap. When I yelled that “they” had started it, I got more, so much I couldn’t sit straight the rest of that day.

I didn’t cry and swore I’d get even, not on the bullies, I knew they’d stay away from me and Gimpy from now on, oh no, my aim was Sister Blanche. Whatever was her problem I’d make her pay. And I did, though not in any way I had thought possible if quite impractical. What I needed was something practical, and that’s what I got, from a very practical source: my mother.

After school (and after I managed to give the evil eye to Sister Blanche) I took Gimpy home so I could do a bit of sewing on his clothes, and put more salve on his shiner – that left eye was almost shut by then. It happened that mom had come in from the fields and of course wanted to know the story behind the black eye. So I told her, and Gimpy haltingly told his own version, without embellishments, including my punishment at school.

I should tell you, my mom has a fiery temper. She doesn’t “take any shit” as dad would often, and proudly say and she’d tell him to “shush George.” She didn’t say anything but I knew that she was brewing something up; I heard her and dad talking later that night.

Chores done, lunches made and time to head for school and here’s mom, in her Sunday best outfit, holding the door open, then walking with me to school.

“What’s going on, mom?” I asked and got the predictable answer,

“You’ll see.” And that was it. She went in with me and stood at the back of the room until the kids were settled at their desks then walked up to Sister Blanche and stated, loudly and clearly, “I want to have a talk with you, Sister. Now, and no excuses. Either right here in front of your class, or find us an office to talk in. Just know that I’m in no mood for games, savvy?”

I liked that “savvy” the way she said it. It was like reading a novel. I was so proud of her at that moment I swore to myself that I would become just like that some day. Anyway, Sister gave the class a reading assignment, put an older girl in charge and she and my mom left the room.

Sister Blanche came back a while later and let me tell you that if looks could kill, I’d have been six feet under and Sister Blanche in prison for life! I didn’t feel uncomfortable though. I gave her the same look right back, you know the kind when you feel that palpitation in your eyelids? The danger look full of hate and anger? It was at that moment that I realized Sister Blanche was just as much of a bully as those who had beaten up Gimpy. I grew up a lot that day!

That had been a Thursday and when Saturday morning was well engaged mom told me to get dressed, that we were going to see Gimpy’s mom. I was surprised but not terribly. Mom did things like that. If she had her mind on doing something it got done, (case closed as I liked to add for myself). That was mom.

When we got there, we had to bang heavily on the door to get an answer. Gimpy’s mom (who seemed too young to be a mom by my standards) stood there, holding on to the door, bleary eyed and her hair a total mess. She didn’t smell clean either.

“Where’s Gimpy?” asked mom.

“I dunno. It’s Saturday, innit? He’s probably roaming the streets looking for stuff.”

“You mean looking for something to eat, don’t you Violet?”

“I feed him. I got food here.”

“Yeah? Let’s see what you have that your kid could eat and live off of then.”

“Not today, I just cleaned out the fridge yesterday. I was going to go shopping today.”

“But you spent the money on booze, didn’t you, Violet? Look Vi, it’s none of my business what you do with your own life, OK? But the whole village is talking – not that those hypocrites are any better – but you’re going to lose your boy sooner than later. My daughter here has been seeing to getting Gimpy food at school, but that’s not enough. We could do more, but where would be your responsibility? By the way, I need to know your kid’s real name, Vi. What is it?”

“It’s Vidal. Don’t say I told you, and please, oh please, don’t call him that, he just hates it.”

“I don’t blame him. OK, at least I know. Now is not the time but later this afternoon I want you to come over to our house for tea, and I want for you and me to have a very, very serious talk, OK? You were a good girl not so long ago Vi. You babysat my kids and did a great job. It’s never too late to get back on track. If you don’t, Gimpy will be taken away from you and there won’t be anything any of us can do. Deena and Gimpy are very good friends and I’d hate to see them separated. Promise you’ll come?”

“I promise I’ll come Mrs. Bennett, I promise.”

“Good. I have a few dollars here for you to buy some decent groceries. Do something good for your boy, it’s high time to make him proud of you just as my kids are proud of me, if that makes any sense. Go shopping, hold your head high and ignore the snotty noses. Right now you have one thing in your favour as far as I’m concerned: you’re not a pew warming hypocrite. Not much but it’s something to go on. See you later.”

We walked home together, mom and I, and I held her hand as if she’d been royalty and I’d just been adopted. That kind of pride. And she taught me a new word. She said, “there’s a name for people like Sister Blanche and that’s a bigot. She thinks Gimpy’s mom is a bad sinner because she doesn’t go to church and she ‘entertains’ on her own. That’s why she didn’t help Gimp. You don’t ever want to be like that Sister Blanche.”

That was my mom. That was the shining light of humanity I swore to myself I would learn from, and I did. My mom didn’t actually die, she just moved inside me where I had left a big part of my heart for her to live in. She is there still.

I need to finish this, so here goes. Violet, that is, Mrs. Atkinson did choose to become responsible and raised her boy properly from there on. Gimpy became Doctor Vidal Atkinson, now retired. Sister Blanche was transferred halfway through that school year – she was not regretted by anyone, and isn’t it sad to not realize when one’s character is faulty and needs changing? The ‘bullies’ grew up and did change their characters… I even dated a couple of them and we had some pretty wild times. When my dad was dying, his last words were, “Don’t take any shit, Jane” as mom sat by his bedside crying and saying, “It’s so hard all of a sudden Todd. You were my life, my whole life. What will I do now?” But he passed on without an answer for her, or me.

And me? Well I’m still Deena Bennett and I’ve been sort of a writer of stories and tales and of the stuff that any observing person can see. Some of us just know how to put it in words so that others can also remember. Have I been successful? That depends. I was there for Gimpy and how many lives did he save as a good doctor? I grew a heart big enough to accommodate my mom and I and quite a few Violet type strays over the years. I never had to beg for anything.

 

Converting Information into Knowledge

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Converting Information into (useful) Knowledge

I’ve been rather “quiet” on the blog lately, not because I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to share but mainly because I’ve been absorbing information from a wide range of bloggers about a wide array of current topics. We talk about “informed opinion” and it is a “brute” fact that without information one cannot have informed opinions. The thing to be aware of is that information is neutral so the source of it is quite irrelevant. What matters is what happens when the information hits home: when the mind identifies it, translates it, sorts it, accepts, rejects. On a 100% scale, gathering information shouldn’t take more than a 10% slice of awareness. The 90% slice is converting it into knowledge.

I’ll make a simple comparison. A swimming pool does not equate swimming. I you can’t swim it won’t do you any good. You will stand at the edge, stare in it, then turn away, or you can jump in and drown. You need to learn how to swim to enjoy the pool. Once you’ve got that you can go to something more challenging, like a lake, a river, the ocean, and learn how to swim all over again. Sure, you’ll have the basics on how to stay afloat for a while, but what about current? Undercurrents? Waves? Underwater snags or those submerged reeds that grab the feet and tighten on the legs as you try to pull away? As a life-long canoeist, kayaker, river and sea lover I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn how to interact with various types of water bodies, of “information” to stay afloat in, to learn from and of course to enjoy. Desire, determination and drive to overcome the initial reticence of the land creature to interact with water. Then, training, training, training, with risk and daring.

That’s my analogy and I think it is fitting because children in this modern day are not taught how to go from wishing to accomplishing. As information is forced upon young minds, wishes, dreams and desires are awakened and stirred but that’s just sitting on the edge of the pool stirring the water with one’s feet. That’s not swimming. Modern education is failing abjectly because it is inculcating, stuffing information but without simultaneous observation and experience nothing of value is learned.  In fact such inculcation is easily surpassed by even low level AI application. Once upon a time learning that 2+2=4 was a big deal. Now the same kid can find out the square root of pi while at the same time being told irrational numbers cannot be squared. Does the kid understand the implication? No but more “searches” will give other “answers” and the little brain will feel like it really knows “something” about “something” when in fact a half hour down the road it will have forgotten. After all, why bother with memorizing when it’s all at one’s fingertips?

Before anyone objects furiously that “there are some really smart kids out there” let me remind the reader that I speak of the majority, not the exceptions and also remind s/he that exceptions prove the rule – a truism. If there was no rule, there could be no exceptions so when someone brings up an exception they are proving the rule. I need to repeat that as with information most people have never bothered to understand that correlation. 

So we have access to more information than ever before, at least that we can know based on our short span of questionable history.  I could list so many examples of beliefs (information) that once formed the basis of education. Flat earth. It is a waste of time and money to educate girls because women can’t learn “stuff.” Two of my favourites. Currently we are just as stuck in beliefs used, not to improve conditions on the planet but to bolster/counter old beliefs or feed some collective hubris. Darwinian evolution theory – raised eyebrow? I can do better: moon landings as false flags. Stop reading now? 9/11 and the burning of Notre Dame – inside jobs – am I certifiable yet?

How to we know if we can neither observe nor experience “it”? How can we be so sure? How did we come to accept that the earth was some sort of sphere? When it was no longer a matter of belief but overwhelming evidence (even though we may still be quite wrong about that “certainty” and future generations in for a bigger surprise without going back to the flat earth belief). To learn something we need to work through it from many different angles, to observe and experience it differently. I think, for example, that experience has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that women are at least as intelligent as men and all they needed was a chance to demonstrate their intelligence and dexterity side by side with men. Yet there are still large pockets of resistance to this (which bothers me a lot), as there are still sincere flat earthers (which doesn’t bother me in the least).

The problem with belief is, it is not founded on knowledge – it relies on supportive belief and rejects evidence. That leads to the perpetuation of the vilest types of abuse on this world such as misogyny, racism, zealotry, bigotry, the economic and sexual exploitation of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.  These are results of information not converted to knowledge.

Now the tough part: how do we convert our information into knowledge if we cannot observe first hand, or experience, the information? Is there a back door that can be used to let us escape the trap of being informed without being educated?

Though still not entirely satisfactory to me, I did devise a mental tool whereby I could determine the ‘value’ of certain information and the danger of other. I don’t know if my ‘tool’ has a name so I have to describe how it works instead.

I’ll take one of my favourite conspiracy theories: moon landings as false flags. (If you find yourself reacting strongly to such an accusation it’s time to look inside and ask, ‘why am I reacting negatively to such a statement? What’s in it for me? Am I afraid to realize I was taken in by the System so many years ago and spent my life believing a monstrous lie? Am I a patriot who feels obligated to defend “my country right or wrong”? Why is believing in the moon landings so important to me particularly?”) Already, that is the beginning of converting information into knowledge. But that’s not nearly enough. Let’s take the story all the way down – and yes, even if there is an American flag on the moon, and there are booted human footprints in its regolith.

Assume for a moment that I am a reasonably intelligent human being, not only well informed on what matters, but able to analyze that information and make use of it. Continuing with the “space program” (check this link for example about the reality of costs in space exploration and its purpose:  https://www.forbes.com/2009/07/16/apollo-moon-landing-anniversary-opinions-contributors-cost-money.html#2e1736181d04

Although it has been scientifically proven that getting live human beings to the moon – and back (that’s the big one) alive was impossible in 1969, as much as it is impossible today, with insurmountable problems of Van Allen belts radiation + solar radiation; weight of lander and impossibility of blasting free of even low lunar gravity based on available power, to little stupid details like camera and light angles, non-matching shadows and yes, numbers on rocks (staged!), that is not the issue for someone converting information into knowledge. Here’s what should matter: did these extremely expensive maneuvers “make America great again”?  Is the world in general in better shape socially, economically and environmentally today than it was in 1969? Yes, the “Evil Empire” (Soviet Union) imploded in 1991 but can we credit the moon landings for that? Even if we could, was that the end of the Cold War or did it just morph into another series of imperial endless wars mostly driven by America’s desperate need to control all major resources of the planet in order to maintain its military/corporate global empire?

I make this point, and I only need one, to demonstrate how the moon landings, real or false, were nothing more than a massive propaganda effort to bolster the military industrial complex and turn the US and subsequently the entire world into a controlled “security state” a la George Orwell’s “1984.”

Honestly, the whole world got worse. Credit (blame) whom you will for that but I “blame” the sheeple for believing without evidence; for accepting without reasoning, testing, experiencing.

“The world of spirits is unpredictable Mrs. Santiago. Are you a believer, Mrs Santiago?”
“Si, si, I believe, I believe. I pay more… I believe!” (paraphrase from the movie “Ghost”)

How I got from There to Here-part 2

 

[getting it together    ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

From the last post on this topic:

“The frightened child had grown into an adult. I had learned to bluster my way into the adult world even if I felt I were an alien or something weird. I hid my real thoughts and feelings and expressed only those I thought would make me seem normal and acceptable. I used ideas and words from books, magazines, the radio, songs, sermons, political speeches, and that seemed to satisfy people even though it polarized them. For a time I was a complete stranger to myself but at least I had some peace and a pretense of belonging and power.”

So this was the time when marriage, kids, responsibilities and full time employment ganged up on me as I plunged headlong into environmental and social activism and into politics. Obviously a perfect condition to bring in mental implosion. Certainly I learned much in those crazy years and the outworking of central power patterns began to make a bit of sense but I overloaded on the smorgasbord.

It was “too much of nothing”* The peace I knew was fake. The belonging I felt was from those who wanted to use me, or my ideas, or my mouth. The power was the same that all revolutionary leaders use and I saw the pointlessness of using it yet knew of no other source. It took me ten years to implode in which time I lost everything that meant anything to me ending up without home or family or real friends along with a seriously deteriorating health, and I was only thirty four. I could barely walk or get in a vehicle and drive. What had been diagnosed as collapsing disks in my late teens had worsened and I was looking at a wheelchair condition.

I reached the edge of the abyss and looked down the black hole but it no longer scared me. I decided enough was enough and planned my quiet exit. The fateful day came but things did not go as intended. There was an “intervention” which at the time, being still a believer, I attributed to God. I was “miraculously” healed of my symptoms and given some very strict directions on how I should proceed with the rest of my life. There were conditions, not that the healing wasn’t real but it would not “take” if I did not change my entire perception of what one’s life is for; what it’s all about.

“We’re not going to ask you to change your world, just your own nature. Will you agree to that? Will you agree to trust us?”

I had no idea what that “trust” would entail but at that moment I felt there was nothing left to lose so I agreed. I made the commitment to change. Christianity calls it being born again and that’s what I called it except that this wasn’t to be a ritual, it was to be a tough and often harsh time of life change. Every new idea about myself I came up with I had to put to the test. Those who watched over me at that time I dubbed “the Teachers” and nothing would get past them. I still did some ghastly stupid mistakes and they had to save my life a couple more times but I meant to change and they knew it better than me.

Let me introduce, in name only, my three life savers and changers: YLea, El Issa and Phaelon. They never said why I was the recipient of their attentions, only that I should pay close attention for their time would eventually be up and they stayed around at great risk to themselves. I wouldn’t understand that until years later when I came to figure out the workings of the “Powers” in this universe.

As I worked through their many teachings I discovered how we are programmed and so easily brainwashed. I went through the process of arguing for the shutting down of my “soul implant” with a representative of the Powers and achieved the neutralizing of it. Sounds like la-la land doesn’t it? Well, much more could be accomplished on this world if such information was taken at face value. The reason nothing, and I mean nothing, ever gets resolved here is because of that programming implant. It’s there, in everyone, whether one believes it or not: not knowing a thing does not make that thing unreal. Many, oh so many, however, believe the programming that their “soul” is their very essence, and so it is for it’s a matter of belief and practice. That keeps the wheel of fate, or karma, turning.

Once the implant was neutralized and the tendency to repeat bad performance was under control of my own mind I saw things I had never understood. Three things I’ve gone on about a lot came up for review: faith, hope, love. After much analysis and testing I unilaterally rejected all three as having any sort of value to me. They belonged to the Powers, their systems of oppression and of course to the Earthian cooperative called civilization, as did their opposites: faithlessness, hopelessness and hate. I realized that if I held on to the three positives I’d have to remain enslaved to the three negatives. Oh the joys of living in duality.

Many things were explained to me, or became obvious through tests and trials. False morality could be replaced with living a compassionate life. That took years to understand because compassion can only be understood by living it. It cannot be taught. To live compassion it was obvious that I would have to become detached from all the things that were of convenience, importance or comfort to me – they could no longer matter. “When none of it matters it will all be yours.” said YLea. Make no mistake I’m still struggling with that after almost forty years of experimenting.

I learned the necessity of living the self empowered life. Ultimately every decision I made for or in my life had to come from me and only me. Nothing anyone else offered or proposed could I accept at face value (except the Teachers, but after their twenty year “tour of duty” with me they were gone and I was truly alone. Everything had to be weighed on a personal scale and every decision was signed in blood, i.e., I had to put my life on the line – and I continue to do this.

No more games, no more pretense, no more Earthian shenanigans. No more religions, politics or even allowing myself to think that money could ever solve any problem. No more social contracts. I had become a Watcher and an avatar of compassion. I had broken free of the programming of social conditioning. No more gregariousness or attraction to the herd. I had become one and although my new nature made me inclusive in terms of outreach to others, I was now an exclusive individual, a kind of spiritual lone rider or knight errant.

Why is reaching such a condition so important? I’ll tell you straight: the Earthian social condition is corrupt to the core. It is led by corruption and it feeds on corruption. It is endemic to the entire complex called civilization and it has no cure. Any individual so motivated can find an individual cure for her/himself but that comes at the extreme price of mental and spiritual independence from all that is of Earthian provenance and systems including independence from any Power, God or Goddess recognized or worshiped by any collective.

That is how I got from there to here and that is how I will go from here.
________________________________________________

Too Much of Nothing
Bob Dylan (1967) – The Basement Tapes

Too much of nothing
Can make a man ill at ease
One man’s temper might rise
While another man’s temper might freeze
In the day of confession
We cannot.

(More at MetroLyrics)

Our World is Essentially a Violent Place (or if you wish, How did I discover myself here from there?)

[scattered remembrances from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

This may come across as a strange piece of admission but…???

When we are young we live as if we were immortal. That is a truism except that for some of us, we do not want that immortality which translates as eternity. It demands responsibility we have no idea how to deal with.

Some of us are born watchers, observers of our world, perhaps because at birth we partially broke out of the programming, or because it didn’t take. So what do we see, or to be more personal (and honest) what did I see?

I saw that the weak and the meek get the raw deal. Though I sometimes saw the other side of the coin what hit home was its dark side: the fear, the hate, the distrust, the anger – the IN-JUST-ICE!

I cringed when the parents fought each other and there was no place to hide except under useless blankets if I couldn’t get dressed quickly enough to run for the barn and hide among the cows, not for protection but for their warmth and so as not to have to listen and feel the “terror” taking place in the house, a terror that could quickly turn against me as the convenient scapegoat.

Then I got older and saw that the family squabbles resembled the world squabbles only these were on a much greater scale. I was learning responsibility too at the same time. More choices.

Mine, I judged, was a harsh world with little leeway in terms of forgiveness. You made a mistake, you paid a price, often way beyond the weight of the mistake. The same was true of nations and races; of the poor and for the powerless gender, all claims and propaganda to the contrary.

I so desired to do away with myself but what to do? I had a life and my religion stated unequivocally that if I took that life I was damned to exist in a burning hell for eternity: again, no escape, not even the warm flank of a milk cow there. I would stare at a pitch fork and try to imagine what it would feel like to be endlessly prodded by that as a punishment for something I had done out of despair millions of years ago. I would also know that despair was another mortal sin that was added to my punishment, of course.

So no escape, just choices. I saw and felt pain, my earliest recollection. Then I saw jealousy and senseless expectations. I saw injustice and how it nurtured fear, doubt, distrust, hate, anger and brutality. Where in that did I fit in? Nowhere, but since there was nowhere to hide from all of it, and as my knowledge expanded exponentially, I sensed a growing awareness of the essential brutality of the world and I was forced to make hard choices.

I saw two: I could choose to accept and suffer the arrows of injustice upon myself and for the most helpless of the world (I did not know that was known as being empathetic) or I could fight back. Fighting back meant using violence, no matter what word is used to hide that fact and using violence meant losing my heart. It wasn’t what I wanted but it seemed to be the only logical choice.

At the beginning of this journey and still much in the dark as to who I was and what I would choose to become, I chose anger as my companion and then violence just seemed to make sense. It took several years before I realized that my reliance on anger was eating me up and then came more guilt: was I committing suicide? I wanted to leave this world desperately but was I willing to risk the potential consequences? I had already sacrificed my heart to one choice, would I lose myself for eternity?

The frightened child had grown into an adult. I had learned to bluster my way into the adult world even if I felt I were an alien or something altogether weird. I hid my real thoughts and feelings and expressed only those I thought would make me seem normal and acceptable. I used ideas and words from books, magazines, the radio, songs, sermons, political speeches, and that seemed to satisfy people even though it polarized them. For a time I was a complete stranger to myself but at least I had some mental peace, a pretense of belonging and discovered I had accessed some power.

I might continue this and explain how I came to the edge of my own personal black hole and found myself inexplicably pulled out of it.

Judging U.S. War Crimes – a reblog

Judging U.S. War Crimes

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.

Chelsea Manning has already paid an extraordinarily high price for educating the U.S. public about atrocities committed in the wars of choice the U.S. waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chelsea Manning was a U.S. Army soldier and former U.S. intelligence analyst. She already testified, in court, how she downloaded and disseminated government documents revealing classified information she believed represented possible war crimes. In 2013, she was convicted by court martial and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks. On January 17, 2017, President Obama commuted her sentence. In May of 2017, she was released from military prison having served seven years.

“Where you stand determines what you see.” Chelsea Manning, by virtue of her past work as an analyst with the U.S. military, carefully studied footage of what could only be described as atrocities against human beings. She saw civilians killed, on her screen, and conscience didn’t allow her to ignore what she witnessed, to more or less change the channel. One scene of carnage occurred on July 12, 2007, in Iraq. Chelsea Manning made available to the world the black and white grainy footage and audio content which depicted a U.S. helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. Twelve people were killed, including two Reuters journalists.

What follows is part of the dialogue from the classified US military video footage from July 12th:

US SOLDIER 1: Alright, firing.

US SOLDIER 4: Let me know when you’ve got them.

US SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light ’em all up.

US SOLDIER 1: Come on, fire!

US SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’.

US SOLDIER 2: Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

Amy Goodman described the next portion of the video:

AMY GOODMAN: Minutes later, the video shows US forces watching as a van pulls up to evacuate the wounded. They again open fire, killing several more people, wounding two children inside the van.

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly picking up bodies and weapons.

US SOLDIER 1: Let me engage. Can I shoot?

US SOLDIER 2: Roger. Break. Crazy Horse one-eight, request permission to engage.

US SOLDIER 3: Picking up the wounded?

US SOLDIER 1: Yeah, we’re trying to get permission to engage. Come on, let us shoot!

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

US SOLDIER 1: They’re taking him.

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

US SOLDIER 4: This is Bushmaster seven, go ahead.

US SOLDIER 2: Roger. We have a black SUV —- or Bongo truck picking up the bodies. Request permission to engage.

US SOLDIER 4: Bushmaster seven, roger. This is Bushmaster seven, roger. Engage.

US SOLDIER 2: One-eight, engage. Clear.

US SOLDIER 1: Come on!

US SOLDIER 2: Clear. Clear.

US SOLDIER 1: We’re engaging.

US SOLDIER 3: I got ’em.

US SOLDIER 2: Should have a van in the middle of the road with about twelve to fifteen bodies.

US SOLDIER 1: Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield! Ha!

Democracy Now, in the same segment, asked former U.S. whistleblower Dan Ellsberg for comments about releasing the video. “What were the criteria,” Ellsberg asked, “that led to denying this to the public? And how do they stand up when we actually see the results? Is anybody going to be held accountable for wrongly withholding evidence of war crimes in this case…?”

Chelsea Manning’s disclosures also led to public awareness of the Granai massacrein Afghanistan. On May 4, 2009, Taliban forces attacked U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan’s Farah province. The U.S. military called for U.S. airstrikes on buildings in the village of Granai. A U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber was used to drop 2,000 lb. and 500 lb. bombs, killing an estimated 86 to 147 women and children. The U.S. Air Force has videotape of the Granai massacre. Ellsberg called for President Obama to post the videotape rather than wait to see if Wikileaks would release it. To this day, the video hasn’t been released. Apparently, a disgruntled Wikileaks employee destroyed the footage.

Were it not for Chelsea Manning’s courageous disclosures, certain U.S. military atrocities might have been kept secret. Her revelations were also key to exposing U.S. approval of the 2009 coup against the elected government in Honduras and U.S. dealings with dictators and oligarchs across the Middle East, which helped spark the Arab Spring rebellions.

Prior to her arrest in 2010, Chelsea Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth, regardless of who they are. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Chelsea Manning’s principled and courageous actions provide guidance for us to control our fears. We must seek an end to war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas where the U.S. terrifies and kills civilians.

More articles by:

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org 

March 11, 2019
Kathy Kelly

Judging U.S. War Crimes
Nick Pemberton

Killing a Mockingbird
M. G. Piety

On Biblical Inerrancy: Some Reflections for United Methodists and Other “Christians”
Evaggelos Vallianatos

Robots in the Vast Memory Palace of Myth
George Ochenski

Dying to Make a Living: the Shame of Industrial Mortality
Louisa Willcox

Action Jackson: Of Poachers, Grizzlies and Coexistence
David Schwartzman – Quincy Saul

The Path to Climate Justice Passes Through Caracas
Norman Solomon

Biden on the Relaunch Pad: He’s Worse Than You Thought
Martha Rosenberg

The Downside of the World’s Love Affair with Shrimp
Dean Baker

What’s Behind the Weak February Jobs Report
Ralph Nader

Who will Displace the Omniciders?
Laura Flanders

Making American Journalism Great and Different
Thomas Knapp

Don’t Panic: The Retail Apocalypse Isn’t Disaster, It’s Progress
Elliot Sperber

Dragonfly or Drone
Weekend Edition
March 08, 2019
Friday – Sunday
Andrew Levine

Border Security: What and Who is it Good For?
Paul Street

As the World Burns: Hurtling Towards an Unlivable Planet
Rob Urie

Gender, Class and Capitalism
Jeffrey St. Clair

Roaming Charges: Flag Humpers
Charles Pierson

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the Bomb
Sudip Bhattacharya

Capitalism and the Reactionary Power of White Identity Politics
David Rosen

“Deaths of Despair”: Trump and the White Working Class
Joseph Natoli

No Strategies to Erase Damage Already Done
Nicolas J S Davies

The Conflict of Our Time: U.S. Imperialism vs the Rule of Law
Kenn Orphan

The Blindness of Empire
Jeff Mackler

U.S. Gears Up for War on Venezuela
Sarah Gertler

Criticizing Israel isn’t Anti-Semitic, Here’s What Is
John Feffer

The Trump/Kim Bromance: It’s Gross, But Let’s Hope It Leads to a Third Date
Nino Pagliccia

Washington’s Escalation for Venezuela’s Oil
Brian Cloughley

Trump Moves the World Closer to Wars
Rev. William Alberts

Biblically-Legitimized Imperialism
Ron Jacobs

Hijack the Starship, Major Tom
Sam Husseini

Ilhan Omar’s Choice
Binoy Kampmark

Militarised Conservation: Paramilitary Rangers and the WWF
John W. Whitehead

Forced Blood Draws & Implied Consent Laws Make a Mockery of the Fourth Amendment
Manuel E. Yepe

Venezuela Wins Round One Against the Empire
Karla Molinar-Arvizo

Worse Than a Wall
Seth Sandronsky

Police Violence and a Safe Black Space
Dean Baker

Medicare for All is Doable and Most Americans Want It
Chris Zinda

Realtime Training for the Cascadia Megaquake
David Swanson

Has NATO Met Its Match?
Raouf Halaby

The Whoes Hectoring Ilhan Omar
Neve Gordon

The Witch Hunt at Westminster
Jérôme Duval

The “Hirak” Movement in Algeria Against Bouteflika’s “Mandate of Shame”
Olivia Alperstein

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Start a Nuclear War
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

Our Preoccupation with the Presidency is Killing the Planet

When I was Nineteen

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.
Everything seemed cut and dried.  Art and music were fine, but could they
explain anything?  Could they tell me why I was alive or what the world was
all about?  I didn’t think so.  And ever since, I’ve lived a compromise: I
wouldn’t try to kill myself, because there was always a chance something
would happen to explain everything.”  (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)

It is the end of another year, my seventy-second year, which isn’t bad considering I’d set my “best before” termination year at fifty. It seemed reasonable at the time, what could I possibly accomplish of anything worthwhile past fifty in a society that worships (fake) youth and gobbles its world as if it is a melting chocolate ice cream?

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.” So did I, definitely, but my reasoning was much more pathetic: my lover dumped me. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but each one brought its own degree of particular inescapable hurt.  It would be many years later, having survived (dig the maudlin self pity!) the many losses, that I realized these experiences in an otherwise sated and bloated consumerist society was how I manipulated reality to grow a bigger heart.

I began to sense that my personal pain was but one of endless extensions of this world’s pain. I began to look at ways I could use that sorrowful “me” to become a part of the rest; to make sorrow my bed partner. I learned to cry in the night and though the tears were mine, gradually they were no longer for me.

Unlike Greg Bear’s heroine in “Songs of Earth and Power” however, I did not hang around for the chance that something would happen to explain everything. I used my awareness as a key to that explanation. Since I am my awareness, my own mind, I would be the key that would open the door and allow the “something that would explain everything” to come into my life and claim me as its lover. Once more, I fell in love, this time with a very dangerous character, an actual terrorist, someone for whom there would be no secrets, the ultimate WikiLeaks.

If I desired to know, all I needed was ask and he took me upon secret paths, through mined fields, under electrified fences of razor wire, into secure, severely guarded places where explanations were taking place.  He made me listen in and I discovered that official secrets were constantly being made up with all seriousness.

The first time I saw this, I wanted to laugh out loud. Only my dangerous lover’s hand over my mouth saved me. We would leave those places, return to city traffic, lights, pedestrians, noises, smells and facades of endless body accomodations, find our own and talk through nights that became ever shorter.

“There is nothing new under the sun” he’d quote from Eclesiastes.

“But I still don’t understand” I protested. “How can there be secrets, then? How do we not know everything?”

“I will not lie to you. The truth is, there are no secrets. You’re a victim of gross mis-direction, all of the time. That is the System, how it controls you, makes you fear; makes you hope. Then it dashes your hopes, deliberately, and starts the whole thing all over again. Each time you are left drained, like losing a lover, and while you are in this heart-mind weakened state you are taken by something else, on the rebound. You don’t want to let go of that last thread of hope and the next lie weaves itself into your dying hope and pulls more out of you. This goes on until you die. Nothing is ever explained because there is nothing to explain – that’s the realization that made you want to laugh when in the vault of secrets: there are no secrets, just manufactured lies.”

“So, if I choose knowledge, what should I do?”

“Use your key. Use you. You are your own source of all the knowledge that exists; all you need do is free your mind. Trust your imagination and go along for the ride.”

“How will I know where I am going?”

“You won’t; you can’t. If you did, that would be another false path, another lie. Where is the freedom in following an already existing path? Obviously it wouldn’t be yours and if you can see it, someone designed it as a trap for you, to seduce you once again upon a way that isn’t yours and will prove disempowering and end in loss, again.”

“Why do the great teachers ask us to follow them? Their teachings?”

“Because they are lovers, not great teachers and their teachings are powerless to change anything.  Because they want you for themselves and have no intention of ever giving you anything of themselves.  Because they are liars.”

“So, no great teachers, and I know everything?”

“Yes, potentially. You need to trust yourself; believe in yourself. You need to realize you were meant to walk this path alone. In fact, there is no path, just endless choices, the best ones seemingly impossible but remember this: nothing is impossible.”

“What happens now?”

“Now I will leave you because you no longer need me. You are equipped to live your life as a self-empowered being. You not only possess the key to all knowledge, you are that key. Much of that knowledge does not pertain to this, your reality, so you must learn to choose wisely, what you keep in your pockets, in your pack, and what you leave behind for the time being.”

“I am scared to be so alone!”

“Fear is the mind killer. I will not fear, I will face my fear… do you remember that? You learned it because you already knew you would need it. Now is the time. You walk alone, you never look back, you never doubt yourself.  Goodbye, lover.”