What We Think Of America - For Jack

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Vanityfox451
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What We Think Of America - For Jack

How often have you had the chance to talk with someone who was seven times older than you? If you're 41 like I am today, the person you are sharing the time of day with over coffee and home made sponge cake is 287 years old. They were born in 1722, the year that the Three Years War began along the Maine and Massachusetts border,  Persia's Safavid dynasty fell during a bloody revolt of the Afghani people.  Dutch admiral Jakob Roggeveen landed on what is now Easter Island and, both Samuel Adams, American revolutionary leader and, Hyder Ali, Indian general and Sultan of Mysore, were born within months of each other.

If you were to sit amongst a group of twenty-five pensioners who averaged 80 years of age and combined their ages, all that life experience could well have almost witnessed the birth of Christ.

The reality is that you were 13 years old and the man who embraced you affectionately and shared his life history with you was 95, and had lived through the greatest developments of the human race. He tells you how in the deepest of winter, and while walking the streets of his home town, he and his friends would warm there hands through the glass shop front of their local chemist, that lit gas light to show off their wares. Then one day, they are mystified because there is light without heat; later learning of the magic of the electric light bulb.

Jack was all of 17 when he read in the newspaper that Orville and Wilbur had made their first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17th, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills in Wright Flyer 1. He was 23 when William Howard Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as the 27th President of the United States. He was 27 when The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified (allegedly), authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect income taxes. He was 28 when on the 28th of June 1914, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by a Bosnian-Serb nationalist, Gavrillo Princip, caused the catalyst that would become World War 1. He was 31 when at the battle of Passchendaele as a stretcher-bearer, he'd inadvertantly swapped places with his friend and lead the way in carrying a wounded soldier off of the bloody battle field. With a deafening crash that swept him up and burried his face in the mud; cut and bruised, when he managed to come to his senses, all that were left of the wounded soldier and his friend were arms, legs and smoking boots.

Ask me how it would be possible to talk with a man first-hand who fought in the First World War without a seance in 2009? For that matter, many of the men who fought and survived the Second World War have now shuffled off their mortal coil. Then I should consider this an honour that I was privellidged to hear the horrors of war from a man who sometimes sprouted tears from the corners of his eyes quite openly and without shame. His feelings were that the world had grown too fast and lost its ability to care. That there were too many people and not enough time to share conversation. That he felt his time was overdue and his maker had missed him somehow, on that battle field in 1917.

He talked openly of war, but what had hurt him most of all was the death of his wife Gladys after 56 years of marriage. All the good times and bad, the fights and laughter; the passion and love-making; moments shared as of the birth of their 2 sons and the places they'd travelled; the good friends they'd shared and lost over time, were more to him than all of the horrors he had witnessed in trench warfare. I understand now from the loss of a friend through terminal illness what it is like to say goodbye for the final time. The brightness that some people suddenly rise to, hours before their death, where they burn twice as bright and talk quickly of everything on their minds from subject to subject, right up to the moment where they 'chainstoke', then silently slip away.

The value of this experience should never be hidden away as it is to the western world. People will almost openly cross the street to avoid you if they possibly can, fearful that they'll be posessed by death; a fear that they will gain a truth of their own mortality. It is a shame that this world that we live in has become so insular, so much the parody of a movie, where we can fast forward the most explicit moments of our lives so as to place the loss as a kind of personal heroism that we should deem silently and alone. That murder comes easy and no matter how many times the hero is shot or he drives the inocent off of the road, you'll wager he is the good guy, so forget the carnage he left in his wake. What of reality.

Yet this is the life and times of a man who lived and died. Before I wrote of him he was almost an enigma to you. Strange that he is your neighbour; the old man in the street with highly polished shoes and a pressed clean shirt and tie that you can set your watch to for his morning newspaper. He is the world that you miss when you don't make eye contact and dismiss your self importance as charm. He is shuffling head-down with weighted bags at the grocery store and quickly shoved past on his unsteady feet as the door is closed in his face; he'll one day be you...

And what of these voices from our past; these ghosts of dead men who spoke so much truth in our time and of our pasts? They litter history and all you need care to do is stop and reflect on the folly of your government and those choices past down from them to the people. Of the news that castrates the truth or overlays the trivial on top of the valid. Of wars fought in the termination of global 'terrorism', which is as equally invalid as the 'evil' Russians and all the Cold War stood for. All this violence of our past. All of the violence of the present, and every drop of blood spilt on the streets of Iraq and countless other countries throughout the globe are fought with the power of energy supply in mind. The controls through media that stop the people of the Western World from rising up against their chosen governments.

It is the accountability that is at stake within all of us that allows this three ring circus to continue grinding madly on and fulfilling the people with the 'Bread and Circus's' that the Roman poet Juvenal wrote of. It is the indifference to the dying saddened faces of those in Ethiopia that charities advertise twice a year in your home town that you have slowly over time become immune to. It is the left and right paradym of right and wrong that misses all inbetween. It is the self righteous mockery of a new idea and the settlement in an old one. It is indifference to all but to the self and the self wins out.

Think of what is coming next from what has come before. Harold Pinter is just such a voice that has become a ghost. As more and more indifference plays a part in lives that are lead by the choices of a few powerful greed filled men; as you'll ball up this thread and throw its memory out into the trash like yesterdays news, you'll know you've been beaten into submission by the machine; that you didn't have the courage within you to throw yourself upon its gears.

Harold Pinter

 On September 10, 2001, I recieved an honourary degree at the University of Florence. I made a speech in which I referred to the term 'humanitarian intervention' - the term used by NATO to justify its bombing of Serbia in 1999

I said the following : On May 7, 1999 NATO aircraft bombed the marketplace of the southern city of Nis, killing thirty-three civillians and injuring many more. It was, according to NATO, a 'mistake'.

The bombing of Nis was no 'mistake'. General Wesley K. Clark declared, as the NATO bombing began: 'We are going to systematically and progressively attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate and ultimately - unless President Milosovic complies with the demands of the international community - destroy these forces and their facilities and support.' Milosovic's 'forces', as we know, included television stations, schools, hospitals, theatres, old peoples homes - and the marketplace in Nis. It was in fact a fundemental feature of NATO policy to terrorize the civilian population.

The bombing of Nis, far from being a 'mistake', was in fact an act of murder. It stemmed from a 'war' which was in itself illegal, a bandit act, waged outside all recognised parameters of International Law, in defence of the United Nations, even contravening NATO's own charter. But the actions taken, we are told, were taken in the persuance of a policy of 'humanitarian intervention' and civilian deaths were described as 'collateral damage'.

'Humanitarian intervention' is a comparatively new concept. But President George W.Bush is also following in the great American presidential tradition by referring to 'freedom-loving-people' (I must say I would be fascinated to meet 'freedom-hating-people'). President Bush possesses quite a few 'freedom loving' people himself - not only in his own Texas Prisons but throughout the whole of the United States, in what can accurately be described as a vast gulag - two million prisoners in fact - a remarkable proportion of them black. Rape of young prisoners, both male and female, is commonplace. So is the use of weapons of torture as defined by Amnesty International - stun guns, stun belts, restraint chairs. Prison is a great industry in the United States - just behind pornography when it comes to profits.

There have been and remain considerable sections of mankind for whom the mere articulation of the word 'freedom' has resulted in torture and death. I'm referring to the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people throughout Guatamala, El Salvador, Turkey, Israel, Haiti, Brasil, Greece, Uraguay, East Timor, Nicaragua, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, the Philipines and Indonesia, for example, killed in all cases by forces inspired and subsidized by the United States. Why did they die? They died because to one degree or another they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression which is their birthright. On behalf of the dead, we must regard the breathtaking discrepancy between US government language and US government action with the absolute contempt it merits.

The United States has in fact - since the end of the Second World War - persued a brilliant, even witty, strategy. It has exercised a sustained, systematic, remorseless and quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good. But at least now - it can be said - the US has come out of its closet. The smile is still there of course (all US presidents have always had wonderful smiles) but the posture is infinitely more naked and more blatant than it has ever been. The Bush administration, as we all know, has rejected the Kyoto agreement, has refused to sign an agreement which would regulate the trade of small arms, has distanced itself from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention. In relation to the latter the US made it quite clear that it would agree to the banning of biological weapons as long as there was no inspection of any biological weapons factory on American soil. The US has also refused to ratify the proposed International Criminal Court of Justice. It is bringing into operation the American Service Members Protection Act which will permit the authorization of military force to free any American soldier taken into International Criminal Court custody. In other words they really will 'send in the Marines'.

Arrogant, indifferent, contemptable of International Law, both dismissive and manipulative of the United Nations: this is now the most dangerous power the world has ever known - the authentic 'rogue state', but a 'rogue state' of collosal military and economic might. And Europe - especially the United Kingdom - is both compliant and complicit, or as Cassius in Julius Caesar put it: 'peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves'.

There is, however, as we have seen, a profound revulsion and disgust with the manifestations of US power and global capitalism which is growing throughout the world and becoming a formidable force in its own right. I believe a central inspiration for this force has been the actions and indeed the philosophical stance of the Zapatistas in Mexico. The Zapatistas say (as I understand): 'Do not try to define us. We define ourselves. We will not be what you want us to be. We will not accept the destiny you have chosen for us. We will not accept your terms. We will not abide by your rules. The only way you can elliminate us is to destroy us and you can not destroy us. We are free'.

These remarks seem to me even more valid now than when I made them on September 10. The 'rogue state' - without thought, without pause for reflection, without a moment of doubt, let alone shame - confirmed that it is a fully-fledged, award-winning, gold-plated monster. It has effectively declared war on the world. It knows only one language - bombs and death. 'And still they smiled and still the horror grew.'

Samuel Barber - Adagio For Strings, op.11

Paul

 

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack
Vanityfox451 wrote:


Zapatistas in Mexico. The Zapatistas say (as I understand): 'Do not try to define us. We define ourselves. We will not be what you want us to be. We will not accept the destiny you have chosen for us. We will not accept your terms. We will not abide by your rules. The only way you can elliminate us is to destroy us and you can not destroy us. We are free'.

These remarks seem to me even more valid now than when I made them on September 10. The 'rogue state' - without thought, without pause for reflection, without a moment of doubt, let alone shame - confirmed that it is a fully-fledged, award-winning, gold-plated monster. It has effectively declared war on the world. It knows only one language - bombs and death. 'And still they smiled and still the horror grew.'

Paul. 

LOVE the Zapatistas saying.  Unfortunately, I don't know how realistic they are being.  Although they are a political movement, rather than ethnic I think the same principle still applies. I really don't want to burst their bubble.  But look at most small societies or races in history such as the Basques on the border of spain and france who were persecuted for being different.

It has always been the way in human history.  If you are bigger and stronger, you can just take what you want by force.  If you are enlightened enough to see that is not the way, and you refuse warfare, you get annihilated.  So it never seems to be that peaceful peoples get to reproduce - so according to Darwinian principles - you are deemed not the fittest to survive.  This is discussed quite well in the book I once read "the last hours of ancient sunlight". 

I suppose that is why people often speak of us needing a spiritual revolution.  But the question is, could this beat the fully fledged award winning gold plated monster ????

 

 

 

 

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Vanityfox451
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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Hi Amanda,

thankyou for your comment. So far it surprises me that out of 200 viewings to this thread, you are the only one that has so far laid a claim to it with a point of view. I have to correct you though, because the Zapatistas are used as a metaphor for the part where Harold Pinter wrote :-

"US power and global capitalism which is growing throughout the world and becoming a formidable force in its own right."

...was explaining where the Zapatistas motto is :-

'Do not try to define us. We define ourselves. We will not be what you want us to be. We will not accept the destiny you have chosen for us. We will not accept your terms. We will not abide by your rules. The only way you can elliminate us is to destroy us and you can not destroy us. We are free'.

...so, McDonalds, Walmart and Pepsi Cola are spread around the world like a cancer and the control of your countries interests are swallowed up in this way, so that you have no control of your own countries produce and, the Free Market System can work at you, in reverse, like the countries that were invaded in this way in 'Pinters' short piece, with the likes of :-

" Guatamala, El Salvador, Turkey, Israel, Haiti, Brasil, Greece, Uraguay, East Timor, Nicaragua, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, the Philipines and Indonesia" -

New Zealand, For example...Wink

Thom Hartmann - 'The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight', is yet another book that I've to add to my collection when I find he writes :-

" With increased velocity of communications, thanks to technology such as the internet, the power to spread new stories is tremendous. We don't even need to create new stories - they already exist and, in fact, humanity lived by these "alternatives" for 190,000 years. I don't think it will take an enormous number of people - we just have to reach critical mass. So if we hear the wake-up call, and share the message with others, then change is possible. That will create a better world for our children than the one we are preparing now. The stakes are very, very high, but if we do it, it will be a phenomenal thing "

Thom Hartmann - Bodhi Tree Transcript

http://bodhitree.com/lectures/hartman.html

...his view on the idea of - "If you are bigger and stronger, you can just take what you want by force" is true in its own right, but there are extremes. These extremes have been with us for millenia. They are eclypsing now, yet we still don't learn from the past. Imagine then, that you lived in Vietnam and were subsisting with your family and community. You have built a house from the available trees around you and you till the ground to create crop. Years of work have been put into the creation of this community, but there is a war on the way and you are faced with the dilema that you've to defend yourself from the politics your country has beholden you to. At the very least, you wish to protect those that are most precious to you. But an army, that is fueled by a "left\right paradgm of 'right versus wrong' - with nothing to question inbetween, is arriving full force and blindly at your homestead. The soldiers aren't questioning their orders or the real reasons why they are there. Ask yourself, if this is known as a classic American film, complete with Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando, how can the USA public question who the hero is? Supposing for once 'We' are the ones living in the village being bombed in this clip :-

I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Morning

...are the American extremes of war so very necessary?

What of the present, and israel :-

Final Gazza Toll shows 960 Civillians Dead

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20090312/tpl-uk-palestinians-gaza-toll-43a8d4f.html

...with American military fire-power. Is this equal to valor and dignity on the winning' side?

What of the Iraq war, and all the soldiers that went there to look for the people that caused 9\11. Were they really there for that reason, or for the only insipid reason I can think of - that it was for oil and to gain a base where 90% of the worlds remaining oil supply sits. Dale Anderson's voice rings more true :-

...or maybe cultural comedy from another ghost from the past who could see reality staring him in the face :-

Bill Hicks - 1961-1994

...and all the time it is the accountability of the people, by the people and for the people. Yet figures seem to promote the idea that between only 10 and 20% of Americans own a passport to identify with the broader world and that true reality :-

http://www.gyford.com/phil/writing/2003/01/31/how_many_america.php

...which makes me wonder how a soldier who's no more than 22 years old and with his first view of the world outside the USA, he's given a gun and, bolstered by his culture and his trainng propoganda, is sent out into one of a 1000 American bases of the globe - including Iraq - without a single real identity of his own to question the authority to STOP! Even in his attempt, he would be crushed at the start, so he may as well keep sending money home to his wife and family...

I can only hope that when we finally hit rock bottom with global oil production, and we don't completely destroy our world with war, this "fully fledged award winning gold plated monster", really will be replaced with a revolution to something spiritually more valuable. 

'Jack' was my childhood friend when I was 13. I met him in the summer of 1981 when I began a newspaper round. He never had one delivered and always fetched one himself, even when I offered to get him one by putting extra in my bag. He was an artist and calligrapher, (that dying art of beautiful writing) and gave me my very first and last hand-painted Christmas card. He wrote in a Valentine card for a girl I admired with his gorgeous words and we shared hours of conversation about the things in his world that had mattered most. Then one day, in April of 1982, I knocked his door and he didn't come to answer. A week went by, and all of his treasured things disapeared from the small bungalow he'd lived in for over 20 years, right down to the curtains. Only then did I knock the door of a neighbour to be told that he'd died peacefully in his sleep...

Paul

 

 

Harold Pinter Author, Playwright and Political Activist

 

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Amanda,

Great book  (The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight), the second book after "The Long Emergency" that put me on to the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.

It was all down hill from there, LOL.

SG

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Being a US citizen who grew up overseas, I think I have a unique perspective on both this country and our parent countries. I shall neither defend or accuse, but perhaps widen the torch beam just a little.

The United States, is perhaps, the most perfect distillation of all that was excellent and all that was corrupt in the countries of our ancestors. We were formed through a melding of many cultures, with none of our own. We were spawned in a period of warfare and revolution, not just us fighting for our freedom in this new land, but also our previous countrymen fighting for their liberties against tyrannical governments and injustices of corrupt systems. Many of us were refugees fleeing persecution, political and religious, in our country of origin. Many of us (as in Australia) were society's cast away garbage: the debtors, the convicts, the thieves, and those who dared to think differently. The founders of our new nation attempted to devise a system that would protect us from the hells unleashed in the worlds they had just escaped from... unfortunately, we brought some corruptions with us and were just as blind to them as our parents across the sea.

Manifest Destiny, so conveniently projected by the rest of the world as an American abomination, is exactly the same as Imperialism and Expansionism that has plagued every civilization and government since time recorded. England, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, and so many others marching back into history... all of them have believed it was their Divine Right to expand and consume everything within their reach through force and manipulation. It is not surprising that this mentality carried over into the "New World". 

Here, in this fertile, unexploited land, with no formal culture to restrict us, there was finally an environment that allowed unadulterated Natural Selection to run rampant for a few generations. Once again there was a true fight for survival in our daily lives, long forgotten by many in our countries of origin. There were droves of untapped resources that had long since become rare commodities in the lands we came from. Here, a hard-working and ingenious man really could profit from the fruits of his own labor. This difficulty, vastness, and opportunity drove us and formed within us a new culture... a distillation of all that came with us in the fires of all that laid before us when our previous countrymen had long since forgotten these things over the centuries of exploitation and dwindling resources.

The newly born United States compelled the rest of the world to spin their machinery and minds faster. Great inventions and advances came about all over the world through the infectious nature of our "childhood". We were once lauded for our energy and enthusiasm and the spark we lent to the rest of the world. Now, that we have become a manifestation of the old Empires, other countries (who were once themselves Empires) complain and whinge because the boot is on the other foot. What was "right and good" while they were doing it is now "wrong and evil" while we are doing it. It is the hypocrisy of man and history.

NOW - I am not saying that Manifest Destiny, Imperialism, Expansionism, or any other form of government and society that supports exponential growth (particularly by force) is right, good, or even acceptable. But it is the nature of human in all of recorded history. It is a deformity of human cerebral sentience combined with animal biological imperative. Our thinking brains allow us to worry about the possible future, to justify killing our neighbors and taking their resources from our fears that someday we may not have enough and we will need theirs, too. Our cerebral rationalization of acts we know in our hearts to be wrong (if we ever bothered to stop and think about it) drives us, as a civilization and species, to make war against each other and every other creature on this planet, to take by force what we feel we are divinely entitled to... for God gave us dominion over the Earth (religion, is of course, just another rationalization -- totally separate from spirituality). It is our own Anthropocentrism, taken to extreme, that causes us to put ourselves (our clan, our country, etc) above everything else... including our own longterm survival. There is a short-circuit in our brains... one that makes us focus on the negative what-ifs and allows us to justify the short-term gain at all costs in the name of a long-term possibility.

So I would argue, that this is not an American Phenomenon at all. That we have, in our youth and vigor, somehow only been more quick and effective about it... a more pure distillation the amassed quickly and grew unchecked. As long as our radical growth benefitted the countries of our ancestors, all was good... but now when the entire GLOBAL system is finally reached its breaking point, we are being blamed for the fall that has been building for centuries throughout the world. All of us, every single "advanced" country and civilization that has ever graced this planet is responsible for what is happening right now... the US may only just be the catalyst through the unique confluence of factors leading to our birth as a nation and our rise as a world power.

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Plickety,

how it is possible to dissect, then fully corroberate human nature in seven paragraphs and make it work is just plain genius. But there is a spark of something that I've been trying to grasp at over the days since you posted that has knawed at me.

That we are indeed at that moment in history that has past, time and time again, where civilisation is in sight of its own crash. When such things become plain view, so again we'll rationalise our species as violent; as corrupt as we make it; as greed-filled for the making; it's just the way we're made? I think we've yet again proven that the means of law is not designed to protect the inocent of sorts, but more in tollerating cruel acts and a fine to the guilty. We're appeased with the sight of violence in media to the point where we can rationalise and de-sensitise right into the hands of a mathematical equation. When I think of the disgusting things that children can do without guilt because they've yet to learn reason, I think of the model we've set them in modern cities and the last three generations of these childen born to them. This daily biological, physiological and psychological societal experiment that you and I have been born into looks, upon its surface, perfectly rational to us. Yet when we dig a little deeper...

We're flying to the other side of the planet to visit old friends and we marvel at the science and technology where we can put food into out mouths at over 600 miles an hour by its velocity, but 60% of the fuel keeping the plane in the air was won by both war, or sending worthless electronic digits called money through the ether for payment to third world countries.

We keep continents such as Africa completely submerged in intense debt and loans through projects we first offer as altruistic and sharing the wealth, when in reality it is to capitalise on an ulteria motive. Resource.

As first nations, we live coddled lives of perpetual inovation, yet where one first nation gains the wealth one hundred of a third world nation do the work.

The majority are so bias to the continuence of this fraud that they do not see it 'as' fraud, but free trade capitalism.

What I'm really trying to broker on this thread and my previous posts is that the requirement we drive a need for is killing ourselves and the planet in the process of finding 'It'. We can't find 'It' in cities because the mindset is corrupted, yet the majority of the human race are now living in cities and 'literally' losing site of 'the woods for the trees'.

Are we going to go to war in the next several years? I see it as a certainty.

What are we really going to be fighting for? Honour and Freedom? Are these real or manifest?

What will be the end result of all these master technologies if we use them as a form of self destruct?

Nobody is really 'running' a city, or country, or even the World in a required way that sustains flora and fauna for our next cancerous growth of population. We're simply moving several indescriminate chess pieces around the board against a powerful oponent called environment, and she's gotten us down to about 7 pieces left to play within just 70 years.

In about 20 years, I'd say we would have kicked past the tipping point entirely with our climate that'll be iritrieveable, have seriously limited resources to maintain what simple tasks we derive today and be watching vast swathes of the planet dying through drought and starvation.

From the stage set by Kermit Roosevelt in Iran in 1953, where democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was removed from power by a coup detat set up by the CIA, so, a global model of corruption that is three-fold in its attempts has been a standardised assault by American might and Western minds. Mosaddeq :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mossadegh

...is one of many since :-

John Perkins

...so that Western societies could end up with unsustainable suburban studies of excess such as :-

The End Of Suburbia

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6478590936988054561&ei=n83CSdqEMaCU2ALfn7iuBQ&q=the+end+of+suburbia

...and an end result in short such as this :-

Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast?

Friedrich Nietzsche talks of an element called :-

Eternal Return

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_recurrence

...I wager that human nature never learns from his past because his route begins again and again at that biological president you stated. Again we'll set our hopes as a species to build a new and vast society again. We'll not need this present day philosophy to rebuild because we truly only work with what is within us. And there we will lay the foundation stone for another decline, and so another rebuild; on and on into...

War...

I need a valium and a lay down...Laughing

Best,

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Paul,

While I am one of those Idealists who wishes for a Utopian world without strife, I just don't think humans are at this point in our evolutionary path (if we ever will be). I think this is the reason that my secret heart hopes there is a much larger extra-terrestrial civilization that will spank the ever-living shite out of us if we try to colonize space before we get our own act together here on Earth first.  Of course, that assumes that there could exist some inter-galactic race(s) who are more evolved in their thinking and are more peace living/loving than we are... but aren't afraid to use non-lethal violence to keep a warlike contagion from spreading.

I don't know if the violence in the media is actually desensitizing us, or whether it's extremity and frequency is it a sign that our over-socializing is reaching critical mass so more steam valves are necessary.  So, instead of it causing increased violence, it is actually a vicarious means to satisfy a necessary human psychological function.  Consider the example of sports.... they are just stand-ins for things that were once actual necessities to survival, but are now just done for entertainment.  Perhaps we are structured such that packing us together in cities with endless social rules and restrictions is so abnormal to our psyches that we actually need cathartic representational violence in order to stay sane in these conditions; and we have reached a point where these representations can no longer contain the actual violence that is triggered by such dense proximity and regulation... hence, we see more actual violence occuring.

It's hard to say one way or the other; but I do agree that "he who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it" and we humans seem to be pretty slow learners sometimes!

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Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

Plickety,

Again and again, and just like you, I struggle to maintain my humility when the world turns upon itself; fight or flight? But it is in its very struggle to learn tolerance that we misplace the reality that we are more accepting of tragedy than we deem ourselves possible. It is that we can be moved to perform such incredible acts of cruelty if we are ordered to, and only after, realise in our grief exactly what we achieved.

The story of German soldiers in the last days of the Second World War, who set fire to a barn with hundreds of Jews within. Who shot any that tried to escape. The bodies of victims half burned, trapped under the door they tried to dig themselves out from under; their fingernails embedded in the wooden slats. When the Aliance finally arrived, a soldier was asked why he did it. He told them, "I was ordered to..."

There was a study in the 60's where a man was 'supposedly' wired up to a high-powered mega, producing upto 3000 volts. Individuals were paid to keep giving electric shocks to this 'victim' if he were to get a question wrong. The study proved that a large percentage of people would carry on operating the ever increasing voltage way beyond the limits the human body could tollerate. Operated the machine way beyond, in many cases, the very people that were running the study. Without surprise, several of those paid committed suicide some time after the event, at their own self disgust.

It is also in what societies will tollerate before they break out and escape their persecutors. This is a piece I've transcripted from a book by Steven Levitt :-

" In 1966, one year after Nicolae Ceausescu became the Communist leader of Romania, he made abortion illegal. "The fetus is the property of the entire society"' he proclaimed. "Anyone who avoids having children is a deserter who abandons the law of national continuity".

Such grandiose declarations were commonplace during Ceausescu's reign, for his master plan - to create a nation worthy of the New Socialist Man - was an exercise in grandiosity. He built palaces for himself while alternately brutalizing and neglecting his citizens. Abandoning agriculture in favour of manufacturing, he forced many of the nation's rural dwellers into unheated apartment buildings. He gave government positions to forty family members including his wife, Elena, who required forty homes and a comensurate supply of fur and jewels. Madame Ceausescu, known officially as the Best Mother Romania Could Have, was not particularly maternal. "The worms never get satisfied, regardless of how much food you give them", she said, when Romanians complained about the food shortages brought on by her husband's mismanagement. She had her own children bugged to ensure their loyalty.

Ceausescu's ban on abortion was designed to achieve one of his major aims: to rapidly strengthen Romania by boosting its population, Until 1966, Romania had one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world. Abortion was in fact the main form of birth control, with four abortions for every living birth. Now, virtually overnight, abortion was forbidden. The only exemptions were mothers who already had four children or women with significant standing in the Communist Party. At the same time, all contraception and sex education were band. Government agents sardonically known as the Menstrual Police regularly rounded up women in their workplaces to administer pregnancy tests. If a woman repeatedly failed to concieve, she was forced to pay a steep "celebacy tax".

Ceausescu's incentives produced the desired effect. Within one year of the abortion ban, the Romanian birth rate had doubled. These babies were born into a country where, unless you belonged to the Ceausescu clan or the Communist elite, life was miserable. But these children would turn out to have particularly miserable lives. Compared to children born just a year earlier, the cohort of children born after the abortion ban would do worse in every measurable way: they would test lower at school, they would have less success in the labour market, and they would also prove much more likely to become criminals.

The abortion ban stayed in effect until Ceausescu finally lost his grip on Romania. On December 16th, 1989, thousands of people took to the streets of Timisoara to protest his corrosive regime. Many of the protesters were teenagers and college students. The police killed dozens of them. One of the opposition leaders, a forty-one-year-old professor, later said it was his thirteen-year-old daughter who insisted he attend the protest, despite his fear. "What is most interesting is that we learned not to be afraid from our children", he said. "Most were aged thirteen to twenty". A few days after the massacre in Timisoara, Ceausescu gave a speech in Bucharest before one hundred thousand people. Again the young people were out in force. They shouted down Ceausescu with cries of "Timisoara!" and "Down with the murderers!" His time had come. He and Elena tried to escape the country with $1 billion, but they were captured, given a crude trial, and on Christmas Day, executed by firing squad.

Of all the Communist leaders deposed in the years bracketing the collapse of the Soviet Union, only Nicolae Ceausescu met a violent death. It should not be overlooked that his demise was precipitated in large measure by the youth of Romania - a great number of whom, were it not for his abortion ban, would never have been born at all. "

I'm more inclined to believe it is the influence of corruption by a few shallow and controlling individuals who play with the psychology of the many that are those that require policing out of power. An understanding of just how much influence political and corporate power has played in our evolution has to be taken for the blame it deserves...

This man has many answers to give, and his corruption we can but guess at :-

Henry Kissenger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kissenger

...but I'm more likely to be clutching at straws, yet :-

The Trial Of...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2815881561030958784

...may well influence you...

This gripped me :-

11'09''01 - Sept. 11 - complete freedom of expression

...and this broke my heart :-

Gold For Bread - Zimbabwe

...But human survival against spiteful retribution equal to religion or culture for its excuse :-

Hunting The Tigers - Sri Lanka

...in all of these intolerable actions there are ulteria motives as a design by a few that are empowered by the many by their ignorance of what is to come.

I wonder that we really are being watched by the 'Little Green Men' as some form of entertainment? I recall an episode of the Twighlight Zone that really explains human nature far too well for something that was supposedly late-night early 60's entertainment :-

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

"He who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it" - George Santayana

I've considered that quote (The actual quote reads - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it") whilst thinking of how I would reply. I thought of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the book 'One Hundred Years Of Solitude', where I recall Gerineldo Marquez stating that, "The beauty of man is that he has the ability to forget some of the greatest horrors of his life, for if he couldn't, it would be a burden for which he would not live". I believe that maybe 'that' is mans downfall...

Best,

Paul 

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

...let the child speak :-

...has anything changed markedly since then???

Best,

Paul

AliceAshleigh's picture
AliceAshleigh
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2009
Posts: 1
Re: What We Think Of America - For Jack

The United States exercises global economic, political, and military influence. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and New York City hosts the United Nations Headquarters. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.C., and many host consulates around the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. However, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Bhutan, Sudan, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) do not have formal diplomatic relations with the United States. Retrenchment is a synonym for reduction or scaling back. A company in the middle of retrenchment, or about to be retrenched, is basically one that is losing money and has to initiate layoffs and compound job loss in order to survive. Company closure can result with too much retrenchment or economic slowdown. The economy is currently in a retrenched state, and the forecasts are for both a turnaround by years' end, or for extended doom and gloom.  It's another word meaning the same bad thing; don't let the conflagration of business terminology confuse you. Regardless, a lot of us would give quick payday loans to stem retrenchment.

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