Amazon, Microsoft and Google compete for Pentagon Cloud warfighter project

By Will Morrow

Source: WSWS.org

Amazon, Microsoft and Google are competing to secure a multi-billion-dollar Department of Defense contract to build and oversee the US military’s Cloud computing infrastructure, which will be used to control every aspect of the Pentagon’s global operations.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project will transfer the large number of separate data control centers currently being run by the Pentagon into a centralized Cloud network that will be administered by one of the technology giants. The contract is reported to be worth up to $10 billion over the next decade, potentially making it the Department of Defense’s single largest acquisition ever. The winning bidder is expected to be announced in September.

The company that secures the contract will be completely integrated into all of the US military’s fighting operations. According to Nextgov, Brigadier General David Krumm, the deputy director for requirements for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described JEDI as a “global fabric” that will connect the headquarters with active combat forces, from an F-35 fighter jet pilot to a Pacific submarine captain to an Army platoon leader. “This is going to make a difference like few things have to get information to our warfighters,” Krumm said.

The Department of Defense hosted an industry conference on the project on March 7 in Arlington, Virginia, attended by technology companies, including representatives from Amazon and Microsoft. Krumm told the audience that JEDI would “change the way that this nation, its soldiers, its sailors, its Marines and its airmen fight and win our nation’s wars.”

The Cloud network will be required to hold data at all security classification levels, meaning security officials with top secret security clearances will be working at the facilities.

On May 16, Bloomberg Government published images of the advertisements produced by Amazon and Microsoft on electronic billboards in the Pentagon railway station about how their companies’ technology could support the military in battle.

Microsoft’s ad featured an image of a special operations soldier and the caption, “The cloud gets actionable insight while the action is still unfolding.” An Amazon Web Services ad included the statement, “Time to launch: months minutes,” to underscore that the cloud infrastructure will help coordinate missile launches.

The JEDI program was first announced in September 2017, a month after Trump’s Defence Secretary James Mattis carried out a tour of Silicon Valley boardrooms. Mattis met with Google’s Founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai, as well as executives at Facebook and Amazon, to discuss further integrating their technologies into the US armed forces.

The Defense One website reported on April 12 that “Brin in particular was eager to showcase how much Google was learning every day about AI and cloud implementation,” citing an anonymous senior Defense Department official. Mattis “returned to Washington, D.C., convinced that the US military had to move much of its data to a commercial cloud provider—not just to manage files, email, and paperwork but to push mission-critical information to front-line operators,” the article noted.

Significantly, the article notes that while Amazon and Microsoft have publicly expressed their desire to secure the contract, Google has “kept its own interest … out of the press. Company leaders have even hidden the pursuit from its own workers, according to Google employees Defense One reached.”

Google’s integration into the military’s operations has triggered widespread opposition among its employees. A letter published in April written to Google’s CEO Pichai and signed by more than 3,000 Google workers, demanded that the company cease its collaboration with the Pentagon.

The letter was a response to Google admitting in March that it is providing the military with artificial intelligence software that can be used to detect objects in video surveillance footage, under what is called Project Maven. This technology can be directly used to develop automatic targeting for the US drone murder operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Defense One article stated that “Maven is more than either Google or the Defense Department has admitted publicly, according to the senior defense official who called it a ‘pathfinder’ project, a starting point for future collaboration between the Pentagon and Google.”

Media reports indicate that the company most likely to secure the JEDI contract is Amazon. The company is considered to have an edge because it is already operating a Cloud network for the US intelligence agencies, under a $600 million contract reached in 2013.

Since September 2016, Amazon has been providing facial recognition technology called Rekognition to police forces and private intelligence contractors. Rekognition is able to process video footage from police body cameras, surveillance cameras and CCTV to “identify persons of interest against a collection of millions of faces in real-time, enabling timely and accurate crime prevention” (see: “Amazon providing facial recognition technology to police agencies for mass surveillance”).

The distinction between the technology corporations and the state has become almost entirely blurred as they become ever-more integrated into the military-intelligence apparatus. This takes place as Washington is working to outpace its major geostrategic rivals, above all China and Russia, in the arena of advanced warfare technology and artificial intelligence, in preparation for a catastrophic war that would inevitably involve the use of nuclear weapons.

As they integrate themselves into the American military build-up, the technology giants are collaborating in mass political censorship of left-wing and anti-war websites, above all the World Socialist Web Site, in order to suppress mass opposition to war. Since April 2017, Google has altered its search result algorithms in order to censor the WSWS and other left-wing and anti-war websites.

 

The author also recommends:

Google, drone murder and the military-intelligence-censorship complex
[19 May 2018]

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Posted in black ops, censorship, consciousness, Corporate Crime, culture, Dystopia, Empire, Geopolitics, imperialism, internet freedom, media, Militarization, military spending, news, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime, surveillance state, Technology, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SHAME: How To Beat The Two-System Blame Game That Takes Us Down & Keeps Us Stuck

By Jack Adam Weber

Source: Collective Evolution

Shame is different from guilt, because guilt is to feel badly about something we have done; shame is to feel badly about who we are. We might develop shame because we have been shamed at some point in our life. Shame can be a kind of anger and violence directed at ourselves or others.

Shame can get us into a vicious cycle of sabotaging ourselves, as if to prove to ourselves, to validate and enforce the belief of how worthless we perceive ourselves to be. This can be a form of self-abuse used to violently express our anger, often unconsciously. Self-shame also helps us remain in a victim role, as we victimize ourselves with self-administered punishment and negative reinforcement.

When shamed, we develop an internal persona that feels badly about who we are as a person. As a result, we might condemn ourselves, feel less-than, and perceive the world negatively. Shame is also often concomitant with some degree of depression, when we feel worthless. Yet, this feeling of worthlessness might be more a symptom of depression than bona fide shame. On the other hand, depression can also arise from being shamed by others and by ourselves.

Surprisingly, it can be scary to leave the insular world of shame. To maintain this suffocation and prevent against realizing that we have been living a small life and that we can change our reality by working through our shame, we seem to find every justification to stay in our little box of mediocrity.

To this end, we sabotage ourselves, turn away goodness (also because we don’t yet know how to let it in,) engage in negative perspectives and consider these negative beliefs we have learned and to which we have grown accustomed to be facts about who we are. Of course, this is not the case, as we can change our beliefs and perspectives, even if we have harboured shame for a long time.

One-Two Punch

Shame is a one-two punch in that it both creates a negative and impoverished sense of self and it perpetuates that poverty.

Shame’s first punch is a negative self-image dealt to us by impoverished and condemning others. To heal the punitive false beliefs about our core sense of self we need to contact and reprogram this narrative. To recover through shame we also need to address the emotions caused by the violence done to us, emotions that often remain repressed until we confront and begin to work with our shame.

We can uproot, unearth, and replace the negative operating system of false beliefs about ourselves. Releasing any pent-up rage, fear, and sadness from being unloved and shamed instead is also key because these emotions keep us stuck, especially by preventing us from receiving goodness. This way we can disarm shame’s first, original blow.

Shame’s second punch is a fear of feeling shame again, of admitting and seeing shame’s first punch. If we were to see shame’s architecture inside us, we might shame ourselves for being this way, which is to shame ourselves more and build more shame on top of shame’s first punch. In other words, shame scares us into believing that we would shame ourselves for admitting and embodying our original shame.

So, not only do we have the first punch of a negative shame operating in us, but to recognize and reveal that programming can trigger more shame: self-shaming ourselves on top of that shame that’s already there. This is why shame is particularly insidious: it prevents us from pursuing our healing because we shut down our recognition of it for fear of activating our self-criticism, the critical shame that hurt us in the first place.

Shame’s second punch might trigger this kind of self-talk: “Oh God, I’m so awful for having these feelings, for failing, and for being such a loser for so long.” Of course, if we are afraid of this voice, we might knee-jerk into shutting down awareness of our shame altogether so we don’t have to feel worse for self-judging ourselves over our shame. This of course only keeps our shame hidden and lethal.

Shame, self-condemnation and judgment can also develop through unhealthy envy. It’s one thing to feel envy — to covet what someone else has — but it’s another to spin a story about our unworthiness or being a complete failure because of it. Competitiveness can spark us to excel and even be fun, but when it’s used as a weapon against us, it becomes toxic and leads to shame that gets in the way of our thriving.

When we can recognize when shame’s second punch is being delivered, we can cut through its lies to get to our core shame. Remembering that shame’s first punch is not our fault and something we learned from someone else, often as vulnerable children, we can similarly work with shame’ second punch the same way. We can treat  shaming ourselves over our shame the same way we do our original shame: deconstruct, reprogram, and release any toxic emotions in our shame. Expressing and acting with self-compassion is crucial at this point as we allow the stuck feelings to emerge and learn to treat ourselves kindly and to tolerate relationships that also treat us well.

Sadly, we often learn shame’s second punch from those who dealt us the first. We might even hear in our own self-shame the haunting echo of a parent, sibling, or teacher. We break through shame’s double-whammy by recognizing the dynamics of all this. If we’re not able to notice and admit it, we don’t stand a good chance to heal shame that keeps us down. After all, we all have wounds, and to be a grown-up means to take responsibility for our own healing and not remain in old beliefs that perpetuate our mediocrity. In fact, healing our emotional wounds is a key initiation into adulthood, as we learn to free up the vitality, creativity, and aliveness that got squelched in us once ago.

Comfortably Numb

Part of the cage of negativity shame builds for us seeks to keep us in that cage. We humans like to stick with what we know. Believe it or not, it’s easier to remain stuck (and remain bitter) than to break free and learn a new way of being. To break out of the shame-game requires courage, humility, and an ability to tolerate the fear of scary emotions and to live outside our comfort zone.

If we have not recognized and decoded shame’s dynamic in us, we keep our world small by shooting down solutions, thwarting goodness and dismissing promising opportunities—because we don’t believe we deserve them. And, a less obvious reason why we do this is that growing into accepting goodness and abundance would rattle our comfortable, familiar cage and put us in touch our sense of unworthiness. It’s much easier to stay small and bitter rather than confront our fears and shadow by acting differently.

If we don’t mount the fight to overcome shame, it will cleverly and often covertly (beneath our awareness) sabotages goodness, as if to say, “See, it’s true, life is unfair and I’m right about how useless and worthless I am.” Mounting this “fight” against shame, mind you, includes lots of self-acceptance and self-compassion, because part of healing shame is to recognize the survival dynamics of why we developed shame: because once ago when we were unawares and powerless at the behest of adults, we took on shame for a fear of offending or upsetting our elders for fear that we would be abandoned by them—physically and/or emotionally.

Of course, these fears may not be true and to a child they are as real and terrifying as anything. As adults, these shameful beliefs we harbor aren’t factual unless we make them so. It’s the lie we tell to further sabotage ourselves. It’s what we secretly do to fend off the scariness of change and the realizations that come with it, which often includes some remorse for not doing the healing work sooner. But, hey, better late than never, and we can grieve and shake off the lost months and years so that we at least rescue the remainder of our life from the shackles of shame’s iron fist.

So, if we don’t recognize our shame, we never get to move beyond our illusory limitations. We never get to experience, hang onto, and build upon abundance because we don’t believe we are worth it. This goodness is so incongruous with our perceived self-image and inner dialogue that we just aren’t able to accept it, hold onto it and build upon it . . . until we break through. Having the cognitive understanding of shame’s first and second punches helps us navigate and cope ahead as we travel healing shame’s unsettling and unsettled waters.

Becoming Conscious

We will do almost anything to keep ourselves down, just the way we are, so we don’t have to confront our shame and all the dreadful emotions and regrets that come with it. Often, we do this unconsciously. But if we can see the territory before entering into it, then we have a better chance to move beyond the apparent roadblocks that prevent us from healing the toxic mess shame makes of our lives.

Shame operates unconsciously until we become conscious of it. Some of these unconscious mechanisms include gambling away our savings, talking ourselves out of or compulsively rejecting an attractive and worthwhile partner and coming up with many reasons not to accept better opportunities. These include a) focusing on and emphasizing the negative or risky aspects of anything new b) attacking others’ suggestions for how to move into a different and better life and to make different, often uncomfortable, changes c) treating ourselves poorly by not exercising or eating poorly, and c) repeatedly recreating stressful, impoverished, abusive scenarios.

Shaming, especially what we receive from an early age, is pernicious. While we might feel that the people who shamed us or otherwise instilled worthlessness in us might be evil and deserving of the cruelest punishment, at some point we have to be willing to move beyond blame. Paradoxically, at first this might look like unleashing our hatred towards them in a safe, therapeutic context in which we let out our venom for being abused. We don’t have to express ourselves directly to the person who shamed and hurt us. Working with a psychotherapist can help determine appropriate action and how to vent and purge without causing more damage and burning bridges in the process. As this toxicity is purged, we naturally move through and eventually beyond blame . . . and shame.

By releasing the hatred in our toxic shame instead of directing it towards ourselves or others, we also diffuse the backlog of anguish we have used to punish and keep ourselves down (as well as our loved ones). Simultaneously, we learn to talk and treat ourselves more kindly. As we take responsibility, learn to receive goodness from everyone and everything, we might find we stop blaming the world for our misfortune . . . which we realize was just a way for us to defend against healing and moving through the gauntlet of shame.

So yes, we have obstacles, yes we have suffered, yes we have some tough healing to do. Yes we are angry and full of rage, yes we didn’t deserve it and yes we have every good reason to be exactly as pissed off and resentful as we are. At the same time, we have every reason to take responsibility for and transform our current state and reclaim our lives. We overcome shame by noticing and admitting our dynamics, processing hurt feelings, thinking differently to gain positive new perspectives, and acting in ways that build resources to improve our lives. All these obstacles require that we endure the uncomfortable lies and mediocre ways of being we have learned and are now unlearning. This way we learn to tolerate goodness until it becomes a new normal.

In Sum

Tolerating newfound goodness from the graveyard of shame can be difficult because it pushes our buttons; it flies in the face of who we have believed and witnessed ourselves to be. This is part of why we sabotage and try to keep our world small: so we don’t have to deal with the distress of cognitive dissonance, of moving beyond our self-image, which only keeps our world small and suffering large.

Another reason we might not want to confront goodness and abundance is that we might have to stop complaining and condemning as much. Yet another reason is because we might wake up to the fact that we have been sabotaging ourselves for a long time, maybe years or decades. And this sad realization can sink us into grief or even depression. So, coming out of shame is no small task and if the going gets too rough or we can’t seem to break through, it’s probably best to seek the support of a therapist.

Once we see the dynamics of shame’s one-two punch—how it diminishes our lives and then perpetuates that poverty—we can set out with courage and confidence and appropriate humility to purge the toxic emotional backlog, rewrite the narrative for our self-care and care of others, and inhabit a new life of prosperity. Heck, one day we might even help others heal from their own toxic shame. If you or someone you love suffers from shame, I hope this writing has helped you.

 

Posted in conditioning, consciousness, culture, Health, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Matinee: The Occupation of the American Mind

From OccupationMovie.org:

Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and its repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people — a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel’s increasingly right-wing policies. (Running time: 85 mins)

If you are a member of a major library system you can watch the full film at Kanopy.

Posted in Activism, Art, culture, Film, media, Media Literacy, news, propaganda, Saturday Matinee, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack

More than two years after the allegation of Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was first made, conclusive proof is still lacking and may never be produced, says Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Source: Consortium News

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement.  That did not prevent the “handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to WikiLeaks.”  Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA “assessment” became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump.  It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself.  No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still “can’t share the evidence” with me … or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

WikiLeaks

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of “emails related to Hillary Clinton,” throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders.  When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions “to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”  The diversion worked like a charm.  Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer’ Fox, Bernie didn’t say nothin’.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating “forensic facts” to “prove” the Russians did it.  Here’s how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the “handpicked analysts” who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do.  The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the “hack” that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider — the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the “fluid dynamics” principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated, “We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: “Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

“No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

“Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as ‘news fit to print’ and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since.

“The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, ‘did not get the memo’ in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: ‘WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.’

“The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use ‘obfuscation,’ and that Marble source code includes a “de-obfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

“More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a ‘forensic attribution double game’ or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.”

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical director, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun.

The CIA’s reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued:  “Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review.  [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this.  Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be ‘masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin’ [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

“‘Hackers may be anywhere,’ he said. ‘There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.’

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

“Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

“We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental.” The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

Posted in black ops, CIA, Conspiracy, corporate news, culture, Deep State, Dirty Politics, Empire, FBI, Geopolitics, media, Media Literacy, news, NSA, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neoliberal Defenestration and the Overton Window

By Stephen Martin

Source: CounterPunch

‘It is difficult to get Artificial Intelligence to understand something, when the Research and Development funding it depends upon its not understanding it’

Paraphrase of Upton Sinclair.

defenestration  (diːˌfɛnɪˈstreɪʃən)

n

the act of throwing a person or thing  out of a window

[C17: from New Latin dēfenestrātiō, from Latin de- + fenestra window

The freedictionary.com

‘If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists of treating another human being as a thing

John Brunner ‘The Shockwave Rider

This small article a polemic against neoliberal hegemony; in particular the emerging issue of ‘surplus population’ as related to technological displacement in context of a free market, an issue purposive to such hegemony which as an ‘elephant growing in the panopticon’  i.e. not to be mentioned?

The central premise is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Robotics  comprise a nefarious as formulaic temptation to the elite of the ‘Technetronic era’ as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it: this consistent with a determinism as stems ontologically from ‘Empiricism’  form of a  ‘One Dimensionality’ as Marcuse phrased it over five Decades ago; and which thru being but mere simulacra, AI and Robotics represent an ontological imperative  potentially expropriated under pathology to denial of Kant’s concept of ‘categorical imperative’?  (That Kant did not subscribe to determinism is acknowledged). The neoliberal concepts of ‘Corporatism’ and ‘free market’ are powerful examples of this ‘one dimensionality’ which is clearly pathological, a topic notably explored by Joel Bakan concerning the pursuit of profit within a Corporatist framework.

– ‘One dimensionality in, one dimensionality out’– so it goes ontologically as to some  paraphrase of GIGO as trending alas way of ‘technological determinism’ towards an ‘Epitaph for Biodiversity’  as would be – way of ‘Garbage’ or ‘Junk’ un apperceived as much as ‘retrospection’ non occurrent indeed -and where ‘Farewell to the Working Class’ as André Gorz conceived to assume an entirely new meaning: -this to some denouement of  ‘Dystopian Nightmare’ as opposed to  ‘Utopian Dream’, alas; such the ‘Age of Leisure’  as ‘beckoning’ to be not for the majority or ‘Demos’,but rather  for the ‘technetronic elite’ and  their ‘AI’ and Robotics – such ‘leisure’ being as to a ‘freedom’ pathological and facilitated  by the absence of conscience as much as morality; such the ‘farewell’; such the defenestration of ‘surplus’ , such the ‘Age’ we ‘live’ within as to ‘expropriation’ and ‘arrogation’  to amount to  ‘Death by Panopticon’ such the ‘apotheosis’?

It is being so cheerful which keeps these small quarters going.

But digression.

–  It is a relatively small step from ‘the death of thought’ to ‘the death of Life’under Neoliberal Orthodoxy as proving to be the most toxic ideology ever knownsuch the hegemony as a deliberative, shift of the ‘ Overton Window’ currently occurring as to trend deterministic; such the mere necrotrophy as a ‘defenestration’ – and the ‘one percent’ but a deadly collective of parasitic orifice? For what is ‘Empiricism’ when implemented thru  AI and Robotic Technology in a Corporatist economy as but a ‘selective investment’  as to Research and Development by elite ‘private interests’,  which to a determinism so evidently entailing a whole raft of ‘consequence’ ; such the means, such the production, such the ‘phenomenology’ as ‘owned’ indeed? Under pathology, selectivity is impaired to point of ‘militarization’?

But foremost amongst said ‘raft’ of consequence – the concept of ‘classification’ as incorporates methodological reduction of the particular to a composite of generalities so typical of ‘Science’ as expropriated; the fruition thereof replicated not least thru ‘Consumerism’ – and ‘Lifestyle’ – as much as ‘Life’ reduced as much as abrogated to but correlation way  of ‘possession’ of ‘things’: this  as said replication expressed as much ‘thru’ Linnaeus as Marx  concerning ‘class’- and as results in concepts’ Incorporated’ such as the ‘Overton Window’ – as will be explored by way of ‘extrapolation’ below? The debasing of identity as a correlate of possessions as a necessary ‘abrogation’ by way of engineered ‘bio hack’ is only furthered, such the loss of dimensionality as a potential, by such as social media? An excellent multimedia illustration of such loss is found here.

It’s to be noted that for Empiricism the concept of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ entails an extra dimensionality  as ‘metaphysical’ – and that ‘Politics’ so deconstructed despite abuse under orthodoxy as to ‘mitigation’ remains as  ‘Moral Economics’ – this despite the  mitigative contention of neoliberal orthodoxy that there no morality in the ‘synonymy’; to a pragmatic as ‘Utilitarian’ point of a ‘Killing the Host’ prevailing at paradigmatic as much as Geopolitical level as but explicative of a ‘necrotrophy’; as much as the ‘defenestration’ as euphemism herein proposed this small article  would explicate?

Kudos to Michael Hudson for exposing, and continuing to expose, the ‘death of thought’ which Neoliberalism as an orthodoxy as but a mere ‘racket’ of ‘transfer of resources’ represents.

– Are we ‘on a roll’ here as much as ‘off the leash’ – such the rebellion ‘psycho political’; such the ‘CounterPunch’ by way of digital pamphleteering as ‘restricted code’ rejected evidenced by way of ‘alternative’?

‘Politics’ should mean a diversity biological as much as phenomenological; it should mean more than Empirical ‘utility’, by way of the extra dimensionality which Metaphysics represents; this, as much as ‘Democracy’ demands diversity; ‘thought permitted’ as evidencing same as much as questions allowed to be asked; while Corporatism as antithesis demands ‘line’, a homogeneity, a uniformity, an abrogation as to a contingency?

Whether ‘Empiricism’ as to Philosophy is ‘Essentialist’ or ‘Instrumentalist’ is as of much political relevance as the Medieval question ‘how many angels can dance upon the head of a needle?‘ – the tragic fact remaining in ‘Oceania’  become to Corporatism  is that the economic impact of (AI + Robotics) constitutes a ‘technological displacement’ which under a ‘one dimensionality’ as ‘Orthodox’  is as a ‘political impact’ at a quintessential or axiomatic level, such the ‘formulae’ as (=Ecocide) ‘completes’ under a determinism of hegemony as demands ‘whoredom’? AI and Robotics destroy the symbiotic relationship between production and consumption thru reducing the requirement for human labor as waged in the productive process; AI and Robotics thereby impact upon the distribution of resources as wage based. The fairy tale of compensatory employment opportunities is at best wishful thinking, at worst it is a purposively contrived propaganda?

‘Biodiversity’, alas, becoming more limited to a ‘Thanatos‘ of ‘Military Industrial Corporatist Complex’  as explicates the ‘Age of the Anthropocene’as of the ‘1%’ as funders of ‘hegemony’ such the transfer of resources?

‘As ‘we’ view the world so it becomes’, indeed – this as much as how ‘Others’, through hegemony as ‘Utilitarian’, would have it viewed – and that such a large part of ‘Currency’ as ‘it’  to the permit of ‘Hegemony’ which would control and issue views – such the window as ‘Overtonian’ as can be shifted?

How long before the ‘collateral damage’ concerning premature fatality and reduced life expectancy as evidenced in homelessness, withdrawal of social welfare, militarization of policing, drug abuse, including prescription of synthetic opioids, incarceration all as obscenities explicating the ‘cheapening of life’  becomes ‘formalised’ under neoliberal orthodoxy as euthanasia? To such an Overton Window would it at first be ‘voluntary’?

It was ‘Utilitarianism’ as gave the World the concept of ‘Panopticon’ back in the Eighteenth Century.

Apropos to such ‘Thanatos‘ identified:

Wherefore art thou ‘Eros’: as represented by checkout operator, bank teller, driver, warehouseman, barista, cook, secretary, journalist, lawyer, receptionist, ‘ human voice at the end of the line’ – such the insidious inroads being made consequent the advance of Empirical based Technology?

The ‘Litany’ of such ‘displacement/defenestration’ could go on, as it undoubtedly shall under prevailing Hegemony ‘Western’ as ‘Oceanic’ as much orthodox as ‘deadly’, such the invasive penetration of ‘one dimensionality’ as ‘technological displacement’ evidenced under neoliberal orthodoxy as entailing a transfer of resources to mere ‘Stateless Bastards’, such the point of a determinism as would prevail woeful?

Ponerological questions such as would not be asked commensurate:

Is the ultimate ‘stateless bastard’ satan?

Can ‘synonymy seen’ be’ revolutionary’?

‘Technological displacement’ under an ontology of ‘One Dimensionality’ aka‘Corporatism’ but a euphemism for ‘surplus population’; this as much as ‘Corporatism’ promotes the illusion of ‘Democracy’ by way of ‘mental cheating’; such the synonymy as ‘simulacra’ an ‘illusion’ denied – but ‘real’ under ‘doublethink’?

‘Trickle down economics’ is as real as much as ‘technological displacement’ to be compensated for in the ‘opening up of a whole new vista of opportunity’, such the death of thought as neoliberal orthodoxy represents some parallel of tales told by such as Horatio Alger to point of ‘illusion’ encouraged?

These small quarters would ‘rip a new one’ in Neoliberal Orthodoxy by way of polemic.

It remains a ‘big’ question under contemplation of the genius of Orwell and the highly perspicacious ratio of ‘1/15/84’ (hence the ‘one percent’) as to why, within an undoubtedly comprehensive as prescient Dystopian vision where ‘oligarchic collective’ a synonym of ‘technetronic elite’, he ‘permitted the currency’ of the ‘Prole’ as ‘84%’ to prevail as a presence rather than but a memory disappeared by way of ‘memory hole’?

Under neoliberal orthodoxy the political utility of the ‘Proles’ and in particular the ‘Lumpenproletariat’, alas, is as to but fear as a ‘stick’; a basis of control and manipulation same sense as Upton Sinclair explicated ‘carrot’ contingent by way of synonym seen: to wit;  accept control and manipulation as ‘rewarded’ or be ‘expelled’; be but as a ‘Prole’ subsisting and awaiting death, such the economic incarceration as ‘CAFO’ epitomises the cheapening of life under a hegemony as has corollary of alienation, marginalization and impoverishment wielded under Dystopian imperative; this to a ‘transfer of resources’ from ‘Eros‘ to ‘Thanatos‘ reinforced thru contingency of profit such the ‘ponerology’ of ‘Biodiversity’ reduced by way of paradigm Geopolitical?

To love Life is to loathe the deadly; such the philanthropy as would only be evidenced, such the irony, by the ‘ragged trousered’ as so reduced, such the divide et imperaevidenced?

-And so to ‘defenestration’ as ongoing 21stC. by way of ‘surplus population’ generated deterministically as to be dealt with ‘Utilitarian’ as much as the elimination of ‘Biodiversity’ such the ‘technetronic era’ as much as of Dystopia for Humanity as opposed to a Utopia for (AI + Robotics)?

In the annals of International Finance, in which ‘usury’ figures large as polymorphous(?), the power of (AI + Robotics) ‘growing’ as ‘metastasising’ –  as evidenced by the concept of ‘Dark Pools’, and in political manipulation to point of control and issue of currency  by algorithms, such as  infamously deployed by the now defunct Cambridge Analytica using data ‘supplied’ by Facebook are on the rise – such the ‘technetronic era’ furthered?

When neoliberal orthodoxy states Say hello to my little friend!‘ way of the militarization of ‘AI +Robotics” then a ‘defenestration’ form of ‘take all to hell’ will occur, such the shift of the ‘Overton Window’ in progress?

As to the ‘Overton Window’ as in title this small article; a fellow ‘CounterPuncher ‘sees thru it’ most apposite:

Overton described the evolution to broad public acceptance as a process that develops by degrees: “Unthinkable; Radical; Acceptable; Sensible; Popular; Policy.” The right used this model and stuck with it for 30 years to achieve its current dominance. Ideas like slashing unemployment insurance and welfare, privatizing crown corporations, gutting taxes on the wealthy, making huge cuts to social programs and signing “trade” deals that give corporations more power, were all “unthinkable” or “radical” in the beginning. But after 30 years of relentless promotion and the courting of politicians, all of these ideas are now public policy.

Murray Dobbin

– You see it is really quite ‘simple’ when boiled down, such the reductioad absurdumas ‘one dimensionality’ the result of Empiricism embraced to an exclusion of alternative, as ‘Evolution’ circumscribes as much as theoretically delineates?

‘The Talking Heads’ got it right regarding the consequences of neoliberal orthodoxy as concerns the masses and the ‘death of thought’ whereby a ‘Road to Nowhere’  becoming more ‘incorporative’?

Thru Empiricism as an ‘Ontology’, Man in process of nurturing a necrotrophy, such the orifice as existing to be stuffed to a ‘friction of the finitude’. Each ‘Billionaire’ as become so Empirically quantifiable as under such ‘neoliberal jungle’ such the paradigm of abrogation is as to to an obscene ‘transfer of resources’ whereby egocentricity a ‘Thanatos‘ as opposed to ‘Eros‘, and whereby in such land of the blind as a ‘Kingdom’, the ‘one eyed’ as ‘one dimensional’ as much as Empiricism lack any sense of empathy let alone mercy, and which AI and Robotics to epitomise?

Under such ‘paradigm’ of necrotrophy as debasement as much as abrogation it is as blessed to be a Prole? As Martin Luther so humorously said:

‘So our Lord God commonly gives riches to those gross asses to whom He vouchsafes nothing else’

The rationale for composing this small article is not to be pessimistic, rather such the pretension it is as to be a ‘gadfly’ against the manifestly ongoing cheapening of life thru which such a small minority profit from, and which yet remains mutable, as future submissions shall propose.

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Conflict Theory and Biosphere Annihilation

By Robert J. Burrowes

In a recent article titled Challenges for Resolving Complex Conflicts’, I pointed out that existing conflict theory pays little attention to the extinction-causing conflict being ongoingly generated by human over-consumption in the finite planetary biosphere (and, among other outcomes, currently resulting in 200 species extinctions daily). I also mentioned that this conflict is sometimes inadequately identified as a conflict caused by capitalism’s drive for unending economic growth in a finite environment.

I would like to explain the psychological origin of this biosphere-annihilating conflict and how this origin has nurtured the incredibly destructive aspects of capitalism (and socialism, for that matter) from the beginning. I would also like to explain what we can do about it.

Before I do, however, let me briefly illustrate why this particular conflict configuration is so important by offering you a taste of the most recent research evidence in relation to the climate catastrophe and biosphere annihilation and why the time to resolve this conflict is rapidly running out (assuming, problematically, that we can avert nuclear war in the meantime).

In an article reporting a recent speech by Professor James G. Anderson of Harvard University, whose research led to the Montreal Protocol in 1987 to mitigate CFC damage to the Ozone Layer, environmental journalist Robert Hunizker summarizes Anderson’s position as follows: ‘the chance of permanent ice remaining in the Arctic after 2022 is zero. Already, 80% is gone. The problem: Without an ice shield to protect frozen methane hydrates in place for millennia, the Arctic turns into a methane nightmare.’ See ‘There Is No Time Left’.

But if you think that sounds drastic, other recent research has drawn attention to the fact that the ‘alarming loss of insects will likely take down humanity before global warming hits maximum velocity…. The worldwide loss of insects is simply staggering with some reports of 75% up to 90%, happening much faster than the paleoclimate record rate of the past five major extinction events’. Without insects ‘burrowing, forming new soil, aerating soil, pollinating food crops…’ and providing food for many bird species, the biosphere simply collapses. See Insect Decimation Upstages Global Warming’.

So, if we are in the process of annihilating Earth’s biosphere, which will precipitate human extinction in the near term, why aren’t we paying much more attention to the origin of this fundamental conflict? And then developing a precisely focused strategy for transcending it?

The answer to these two questions is simply this: the origin of this conflict is particularly unpalatable and, from my careful observation, most people, including conflict theorists, aren’t anxious to focus on it.

So why are human beings over-consuming in the finite planetary biosphere? Or more accurately, why are human beings who have the opportunity to do so (which doesn’t include those impoverished people living in Africa, Asia, Central/South America or anywhere else) over-consuming in the finite planetary biosphere?

They are doing so because they were terrorized into unconsciously equating consumption with a meaningful life by parents and other adults who had already internalized this same ‘learning’.

Let me explain how this happens.

At the moment of birth, a baby is genetically programmed to feel and express their feelings in response to the stimuli, both internal and external, that the baby registers. For example, as soon after birth as a baby feels hungry, they will signal that need, usually by crying or screaming. An attentive parent (or other suitable adult) will usually respond to this need by feeding the baby and the baby will express their satisfaction with this outcome, perhaps with a facial expression, in a way that most aware parents and adults will have no difficulty identifying. Similarly, if the baby is cold, in pain or experiencing any other stimulus, the baby will express their need, probably by making a loud noise. Given that babies cannot immediately use a cultural language, they use the language that was given to them by evolution: particularly audibly expressed noise of various types that an aware adult will quickly learn to interpret.

Of course, from the initial moments after birth and throughout the next few months, a baby will experience an increasing range of stimuli – including internal stimuli such as the needs for listening, understanding and love, as well as external stimuli ranging from a wet nappy to a diverse set of parental, social, climate and environmental stimuli – and will develop a diverse and expanding range of ways, now including a wider range of emotional expression but eventually starting to include spoken language, of expressing their responses, including satisfaction and enjoyment if appropriate, to these stimuli.

At some vital point, however, and certainly within the child’s first eighteen months, the child’s parents and the other significant adults in the child’s life, will start to routinely and actively interfere with the child’s emotional expression (and thus deny them satisfaction of the unique needs being expressed in each case) in order to compel the child to do as the parent/adult wishes. Of course, this is essential if you want the child to be obedient – a socially compliant slave – rather than to follow their own Self-will.

One of the critically important ways in which this denial of emotional expression occurs seems benign enough: Children who are crying, angry or frightened are scared into not expressing their feelings and offered material items – such as food or a toy – to distract them instead. Unfortunately, the distractive items become addictive drugs. Unable to have their emotional needs met, the child learns to seek relief by acquiring the material substitutes offered by the parent. But as this emotional deprivation endlessly expands because the child has been denied the listening, understanding and love to develop the capacity to listen to, love and understand themself, so too does the ‘need’ for material acquisition endlessly expand.

As an aside, this explains why most violence is overtly directed at gaining control of material, rather than emotional, resources. The material resource becomes a dysfunctional and quite inadequate replacement for satisfaction of the emotional need. And, because the material resource cannot ‘work’ to meet an emotional need, the individual is most likely to keep using direct and/or structural violence to gain control of more material resources in an unconscious and utterly futile attempt to meet unidentified emotional needs. In essence, no amount of money and other assets can replace the love denied a child that would allow them to feel and act on their feelings.

Of course, the individual who consumes more than they need and uses direct violence, or simply takes advantage of structural violence, to do so is never aware of their deeply suppressed emotional needs and of the functional ways of having these needs met. Although, I admit, this is not easy to do given that listening, understanding and love are not readily available from others who have themselves been denied these needs. Consequently, with their emotional needs now unconsciously ‘hidden’ from the individual, they will endlessly project that the needs they want met are, in fact, material.

This is the reason why members of the Rothschild family, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, as well as the world’s other billionaires and millionaires, seek material wealth and are willing to do so by taking advantage of structures of exploitation held in place by the US military. They are certainly wealthy in the material sense; unfortunately, they are emotional voids who were never loved and do not know how to love themself or others now.

Tragically, however, this fate is not exclusive to the world’s wealthy even if they illustrate the point most graphically. As indicated above, virtually all people who live in material cultures have suffered this fate and this is readily illustrated by their ongoing excessive consumption – especially their meat-eating, fossil-fueled travel and acquisition of an endless stream of assets – in a planetary biosphere that has long been signaling ‘Enough!’

As an aside, governments that use military violence to gain control of material resources are simply governments composed of many individuals with this dysfunctionality, which is very common in industrialized countries that promote materialism. Thus, cultures that unconsciously allow and encourage this dysfunctional projection (that an emotional need is met by material acquisition) are the most violent both domestically and internationally. This also explains why industrialized (material) countries use military violence to maintain political and economic structures that allow ongoing exploitation of non-industrialized countries in Africa, Asia and Central/South America.

In summary, the individual who has all of their emotional needs met requires only the intellectual and few material resources necessary to maintain this fulfilling life: anything beyond this is not only useless, it is a burden.

If you want to read (a great deal) more detail of the explanation presented above, you will find it in Why Violence?’ and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

So what can we do?

Well, I would start by profoundly changing our conception of sound parenting by emphasizing the importance of nisteling to children – see Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’ – and making ‘My Promise to Children’.

For those adults who feel incapable of nisteling or living out such a promise, I encourage you to consider doing the emotional healing necessary by ‘Putting Feelings First’.

If you already feel capable of responding powerfully to this extinction-threatening conflict between human consumption and the Earth’s biosphere, you are welcome to consider joining those who are participating in the fifteen-year strategy to reduce consumption and achieve self-reliance explained in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ and/or to consider using sound nonviolent strategy to conduct your climate or environment campaign. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

You are also welcome to consider signing the online pledge of The Peoples Charter to Create a Nonviolent World.

As the material simplicity of Mohandas K. Gandhi demonstrated: Consumption is not life.

If you are not able to emulate Gandhi (at least ‘in spirit’) by living modestly, it is your own emotional dysfunctionality – particularly unconscious fear – that is the problem that needs to be addressed.

Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here. http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

Robert J. Burrowes
P.O. Box 68
Daylesford, Victoria 3460
Australia

Email: flametree@riseup.net

Websites:
Nonviolence Charter
Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
‘Why Violence?’
Feelings First
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy
Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy
Anita: Songs of Nonviolence
Robert Burrowes
Global Nonviolence Network

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Two for Tuesday

Long Lastin’

 

 

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Overcoming the Myth of Authority

By Gary Z McGee

Source: The Mind Unleashed

“For thousands hacking at the branches there is one striking the root.” ~Henry David Thoreau

If, as Albert Einstein said, “unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth,” then it stands to reason that we should think critically toward, rather than blindly believe in, authority. No matter who or what that authority might be.

Whether it’s an eccentric physicist with wild hair or an authoritarian president demanding respect without giving it. Whether it’s a flat-earther challenging the very foundations of physics, or an overreaching cop high on false power. Belief in authority is a huge psychological hang-up for our species. It’s an evolutionary impediment of monumental proportions.

Even as we daily self-overcome, so too should we daily overcome the myth of authority. It’s a myth because it’s foremost a story. It’s a story we’ve all fallen for –hook, line, and sinker. It’s a story that most of us were culturally conditioned to believe in. It’s a story that most of us take as a given, but certainly should not. For, ultimately, “it’s just the way things are” is a cowardly copout.

Rather than cowardice, rather than willful ignorance, complacency, and intellectual laziness, we should challenge the myth of authority –across the board. We should be ruthless with our skepticism, like a scientist regarding his own hypothesis, like peer-reviewed interrogators keeping the science of others honest.

Because the art of life, especially an examined life that’s well-lived, is scientific, logical, and reasonable. It strikes at the heart of the orthodoxy, whatever that may be. It undermines the Powers That Be, whoever they may be. And that’s likely to upset more than a few blind worshippers, myopic rule-followers, and willfully ignorant law-abiding citizens. So be it. Upset their precious apple-cart anyway. Especially if that apple-cart is outdated, violent, and based upon parochial reasoning and fear. As Oscar Wilde stated, “Disobedience was man’s original virtue.”

Overcoming authoritarianism:

“As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.” ~Wendell Berry

The problem with belief in authority is that it leads to the idea that we need to give a group of people permission to control us. And, as Lord Byron taught us, power given to an authority tends to become corrupt.

The problem with power is not the intent behind it. The problem with power is that it tends to corrupt the one wielding it regardless of their intent. So, since we all know that power tends to corrupt whether one has good or bad intentions, and since we know that we will all seek power anyway, it behooves us to be mercilessly circumspect both with our own power and against the power of others.

It stands to reason that we should not ignorantly give power to an authority by blindly believing it. We should instead challenge authority first, and trust it second, if at all. The best way to use our power is to use it against authority by ruthlessly questioning it. It’s a social leveling mechanism par excellence. As a wise, young sixth grader once said, “Question authority, including the authority that told you to question authority.”

Otherwise, people will fight and murder and commit genocide and ecocide for the so-called authority that they “believe” in. But they might not have fought so violently and thoughtlessly had they simply taken the power dynamic into deep consideration, nonviolently challenged that perceived dynamic, and then moved on smartly with their lives.

The best way to maintain a healthy skepticism, and not devolve into an ignorant, sycophantic, violent mess, is to take things into consideration and question them rather than blindly believe in them.

Overcoming tribalism:

“To be modern is to let imagination and invention do a lot of the work once done by tradition and ritual.” ~Adam Gopnik

By becoming worldly patriots instead of patriotic nationalists, we turn the tables on xenophobia, apathy, and blind nationalism, and we become more compassionate and empathetic towards other cultures. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of cultural affiliation into the round hole of colonialism, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional concept of metamorality.

By reinforcing global citizenry rather than nationalism, we turn the tables on both our lizard brains and the Powers That Be. Like Joshua Greene says in Moral Tribes, “We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.”

Going Meta with morality launches us into a big-picture perspective. We’re shot out of the box of outdated tribal thinking and into a realm of higher consciousness, where our inherent tribalism gets countered by an updated logic and reasoning. We gain the holistic vision of “over eyes” (like the astronaut Overview Effect), where societal delusions and cultural abstractions dissolve into interconnectedness and interdependence.

Overcoming magical thinking:

“Every fact of science was once damned. Every invention was considered impossible. Every discovery was a nervous shock to some orthodoxy. Every artistic innovation was denounced as fraud and folly. The entire web of culture and ‘progress,’ everything on earth that is man-made and not given to us by nature, is the concrete manifestation of some man’s refusal to bow to Authority. We would own no more, know no more, and be no more than the first apelike hominids if it were not for the rebellious, the recalcitrant, and the intransigent.” ~Robert Anton Wilson

Overcoming magical thinking is vital for the healthy and progressive evolution of our species. Healthy progress depends upon courageous individuals capable of challenging authority. Especially authorities that are based in magical thinking.

If we don’t have the courage to challenge an authority that preaches magical thinking, then we are doomed to become a victim to their magical thinking. It’s for this reason, above all, that authority should be challenged.

Refusing to bow to an authority is not without its consequences. But upsetting an authority should not be avoided at the expense of progress. Progress should be embraced at the risk of upsetting an authority.

Otherwise, there would be no progress. We would remain stuck in parochial, magical thinking. We would become a stagnant –or worse, devolving– species. To avoid unhealthy stagnation and entropic devolution, we need courageous individuals who refuse to bow to authority and instead choose to ruthlessly question and nonviolently challenge that authority.

Without those who are willing to disobey, we are lost. Without them, we are left with cowardly conformists, xenophobic nationalists, complacent pacifists, dogmatic believers relying upon blind faith, and tyrannical powermongers using their power to control others. In short: we are left with magical thinking over logic and reasoning.

So, I implore you, if you would be courageous, reasonable, healthy, progressive human beings: challenge Authority. Strategically disobey. Nonviolently revolt. Lovingly crush out. Tenderly recondition the cultural conditioning of others lest they collapse in upon their own cognitive dissonance. Dare to pull the blindfold from your brother’s eyes lest they unwittingly force the blindfold back upon you.

Above all, practice self-overcoming. Otherwise, power –either yours or someone else’s– will overcome you. Be just as circumspect with your own power as you are toward the power of others.

Authorities will come and go. As they should. Your own authority will wax and wane. As it should. The balance of power within the human condition is vital for the healthy and progressive evolution of our species. And nothing balances out power better than the courage to challenge authority. The biblical courage of David pales in comparison to the individual who bravely challenges the modern-day Goliath of entrenched authority.

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