My Meeting With a Prophet
I met a prophet once when travelling around Asia. He said he was anyway and he was an interesting personality. The experience I had with him was interesting too.
In a fairly anonymous city my wife and I were passing through once we saw a congregation meeting on their day of worship and we decided to drop in to check it out. We were warmly welcomed and took our places in seats near the back as we didn’t really know anyone there.
As it turned out, that day there was a guest from overseas present and he was soon out front telling us a little about himself. He told us that he was a follower of multiple faiths which some people he had met on his global travels didn’t appreciate – you know, it was the… “you’re either one of us or you are not” type of attitude.
He gave an interesting talk about historical and religious issues. He told us that he considered himself a prophet and that he spent his life travelling the world seeking knowledge, wisdom and understanding and sharing those same things when he could.
That part was all fine and fairly normal.
Near the end of his talk, he invited up people to the front of the room to receive his blessing. The organizer of the meeting went first. The organizer stood in front of the prophet and closed his eyes. The prophet placed his hand on the head of the organizer and said a few words. At the same time, two “helpers” stood directly behind the organizer. I soon saw why they were there.
After his blessing, the prophet took his hand off of the head of the organizer and gave his forehead a soft tap. As soon as the organizer was tapped on his forehead, he instantly fell unconscious and slightly backwards where he was caught by the two helpers who gently lay him on the floor. The organizer was still unconscious and remained so for several minutes, appearing to be asleep on the floor.
By this time, another person was being blessed by the prophet and the helpers had positioned themselves behind them. Sure enough, after a soft forehead tap the second person fell backwards and unconscious and was helped to lie down on the floor beside the organizer. Then came a third person and a fourth and so on.
By about the time of the fifth or sixth person gently falling to the floor from their forehead tap, the organizer was slowly waking up. This process continued as everyone in the room made their way to the front to receive the blessing of the prophet. As each new person was being blessed, the previously blessed people were slowly waking up on the floor.
Always curious, once most of the room had been blessed, my wife and I made our way to the front of the room for our turn. Soon I saw my wife being lowered to the floor in a state of sleep and I found myself face to face with the prophet.
He said a few words and then came the forehead tap.
Nothing happened. I felt completely normal and wide awake.
He tapped my forehead a second time with the same result. Nothing.
I don’t think either of us really knew what to do for a second, so I just lay down – unassisted – myself on the floor beside my unconscious wife and waited for her to awaken which occured a few minutes later.
Once everyone had been blessed the gathering wound up and we were soon on our way.
But that experience has always remained in my mind and I have thought about it many times, and as usual, I had many questions.
How did the prophet get so many people to become unconscious with just a soft forehead tap? Was he a prophet and how is that term defined anyway? Why didn’t I ask him more questions?
Most importantly to me was the obvious question as to why I didn’t become unconscious like everyone else?
DId it have anything to do with faith? Was mine either of an entirely different nature to the others or is it lacking completely? Was my mind too closed off to be affected? Or was it actually too open to be affected? Was it an intellectual thing? Logic? Or some internal resistance to inwardly directed exterior forces? Skepticism?
I haven’t really come to any answer or conclusions other than the notion that this experience confirms to me that my mind does seem to operate differently to most other people’s – something which I had long suspected anyway.
My meeting with a “Prophet” was an interesting experience. I don’t think it enlightened or changed me in any way. In my more cynical moods, I take the experience as symbolic confirmation that most people are very easily led, to the extent of being rendered unconscious by a mere tap on the forehead by someone with slightly intruiging abilities.
In life, I believe most people are led around and influenced by authority figures of many different kinds. Bosses, mainstream media, government and political leaders, teachers, prophets.
Of course, no one is going to admit to this mainly because, in their mind, it is always the other person who is being mislead or misinformed. Besides, there are always plenty of people with similar views to join who will agree with you :o)
We should never take our own opinions too seriously.
As famous British philospher Bertrand Russell once remarked,
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”Bertrand Russell
I don’t think Bertrand Russell will ever be taught in schools. He should be though.
Why Have Humans Always Needed Someone?
Note – this post is written tongue in cheek and respects all faiths and beliefs.
Ever since I was quite small I remember being exposed to religion. There was not really any choice in the matter. One parent was a slightly devout Catholic and so myself and my siblings all had to trundle off on Sundays to the local country church.
It all escaped me really what was supposed to happen. An old bald man sat behind a mesh screen in a darkwooden phone box thing and I had to tell him what bad things I had done. I didn’t think I had done much to warrant telling this old guy and can’t remember what I must have said. Probably just made something up.
I wonder what others tell him. I guess if you think long enough you can find something wrong.
Many millions of people around the world tell some old guy something it seems. Each old guy (there are many younger ones these days) then tells another even older guy something at some point. And they all answer to this guy below, the infallible one, who draws millions of people to Rome each year to see him wave.
Funnily enough, there are no old ladies to spill your inner most thoughts to in this system and some of the others. Wonder why half of the created children aren’t allowed any part of running some of these particular shows?
Crowds don’t always flock to just religious figures, stories and places. Sometimes, millions are devoted to just one man, as in old China. I guess sometimes people’s natural inclination towards their devotion of others can be taken advantage of. Some people might actually warrant a little devotion, but who decides who gets it and how much devotion they get?
Weapons and money have often helped to decide these questions in many places and times all throughout history.
The country that has probably the greatest number of devoted people – practically the entire population – is India. Indians have been devoted longer than almost anyone else. For many millenia. Their long held devotion to their plethora of gods makes the Rome and Mecca based lot look like positive newbies. Some of the biggest single crowds in the world congregate in India during their festivals and other auspicious times. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad when I visited some of the sacred sites there. Only a few thousand devotees around, a positively tiny number.
One of more spectacular and highest attended gatherings of devotees in the world is in Mecca each year and occurs during the traditional Hajj pilgrimage season. Over 2.5 million pilgrims can be there during one season. And the patterns they form are mesmerizing as they circle the central point in devotion.
Even before the relatively modern organized religions there were aspects of nature we worshipped such as the sun gods. The Greeks and Romans had plenty of figures to be devoted to. And even more ancient people such as those which have inhabited Australia for 50,000 years or more believed in a range of gods as they sometimes recognized in natural landscape forms.
So it seems that for as long as humans have been around, we must deify someone or something. Perhaps very far into the future humans might outgrow this, who knows.
If you have been paying attention recently you will know that I’m a life long devotee to Abba. With the creation of their new music aptly titled “Voyage” these four fabulous Swedes have in a way resurrected themselves into the world’s consciousness. Perhaps they never really left, given the astounding popularity of the Mamma Mia! franchise.
Their cutting edge technology “Abbatars” will ensure that they live on maybe forever. And like the very best of other old European masters such as Beethoven, Mozart and Greig, Abba’s music – their message of hope and a source of joy worldwide – will undoubtedly remain in our hearts for many centuries to come.
But then we come to the important points to consider.
Nobody has been killed in the name of “Abba”. Abba don’t say, “don’t judge others” then proceed to judge alot. Whole nations haven’t been invaded in their name. There is no Abba inspired cultural system which rigidly segragates you into one of thousands of unalterable levels, ranked from top to bottom, the moment you are born. Abba haven’t caused huge loss of life simply to perpetuate themselves or their music. And from their many little known acts of kindness, Abba have been wonderful role models of humility and simplicity for everyone, especially children.
It seems to me that Abba are truely worthy of respect. The current revival of pure and spontaneous joy that has resonated globally really is a miracle.
Abba don’t tell people how to live their lives. Or discriminate against others. Or force their views on people. They are a simple source of happiness and joy who cut across nearly all cultural barriers. So why not worship Abba? If I am going to worship anything, it will be them. Even when they are old and bald.
Can One Person Really Make a Difference?
One comment you hear from time to time is, “can one person really make a difference?” In other words, why bother trying to improve anything as it is all too hard and one person can’t change anything anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard this or something like it.
It might seem all too hard, but, actually I believe ordinary people can create change. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing these posts.
Since my teenage years – almost five decades ago – I have loved the music of the Swedish group Abba. It is probably different for each person, but personally, I find it is much more than their music that I admire greatly. Of course, I have no connection to them, so how can I know anything about them? Well, I believe I do have some connection to them the same way we are all connected on this little blue ball.
When you understand the simple and humble story of the members of Abba, I believe their basic humanity shines through in the music they create. This is what appeals to me so endlessly. You can’t create or fake class and humility. Abba have this naturally. These qualities don’t end once the cameras are turned off.
Regardless of occupation, and especially in the entertainment industry I’m guessing, humility and modesty are not always encountered. With Abba, these things have been present from the beginning. And we still see it today, decades later. This is them.
Take Frida’s earrings. You can see she has worn the same gold drop earrings for years in many different videos. How many rich and famous ladies would wear the same earrings for so many years?
In their beautiful ballad “I Have a Dream” there is a section near the end where a children’s choir sings along with Abba. I don’t know anything about live shows but I assume it is a complicated and probably stressful undertaking. Especially when performed as part of a tour. Imagine having to set up stage, music, lights, sound, etc…perform perfectly, then move on to the next venue and do it all again. Over and over. Sometimes hundreds of times. Of course the performers have roadies to do most of the work, but Abba in particular are very demanding with quality and work to exacting standards.
So imagine, taking the decision amongst all of this work and effort when on long and demanding tours to add to your burden by teaching a new children’s choir to sing live at each performance, for just a short time during just one song – “I Have a Dream”. Abba could have easily just used backing singers, or pre-recorded children singing. Or got someone else to do it.
But they didn’t. At each city where they played, they personally took the time to teach a new group of children to sing along with them – just for one song. Who would do that?? In one video I saw where the children are being taught to sing by the Abba girls, the kids were singing pretty flat and off key…..quite bad actually. How much effort did Abba voluntarily expend to make this delightful live experience with the children occur? Who else would do this?
What a special memory for all of those children to keep for life and pass onto their own children – “Your mum sang on stage with Abba.”
And then the Abba juggernaut all went a bit silent. Well, it never did in my house. And probably not in millions of other homes around the world. Ordinary people kept the feeling alive. Possibly hoping against hope about some future Abba “experience.”
Myself, I was never really aiming for any new music – there was so much output of theirs to enjoy from earlier years, I was just content with that. Quality never goes out of fashion.
And then along came Mamma Mia! Abba was reborn to another audience. Mamma Mia didn’t involve the genuine performers, but for me it was well and good enough. A hugely wonderful and unexpected revival of their music. Mamma Mia gave Abba’s music a new and unique life all of its own. A life that has flourished for over two decades now and shows no signs of stopping.
There was initial hesitancy in opening Mamma Mia! in New York on the projected date of October 18, 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks. But in fact, the locals wanted it more than ever after the trauma of that day the month before and Abba’s music was undoubtedly a soothing balm on the wounds of the New Yorkers. It ran until 2015.
By 2018 we had Mamma Mia 2. That was an outstanding experience. And surely that was going to be it. We were very lucky to have all these outlets for Abba’s music but there couldn’t possibly be any more. Maybe a third Mamma Mia movie but that is definitely the end isn’t it? Surely.
No. It is not!
Today, in 2021, we have the real thing back in our hearts again with the aptly titled song, “I Still Have Faith in You.” Brand new and spectacular music for a troubled world.https://www.youtube.com/embed/pAzEY1MfXrQ?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
And with their new technology, Abba will be immortal almost. Immortal but still humble. In the 2021 video of the recording of this song, the ladies are naturally grey, no make up and wearing their reading glasses – just wonderful. Grandparents all and proud of it. No playing to the cameras. No pretence. Just pure and simple living. What role models they are for anyone.
So getting back to the question of the post – can an individual make a difference in the big world?
I just proved it!
I kept this dream of these gracious and natural quartet alive, and we wouldn’t be sitting here reading this post and discussing the question today if I didn’t. I didn’t do this alone of course – I had lots of help ;o)
It doesn’t matter what the topic is. I believe if enough people make just tiny efforts regularly, we can change the world. This blog is part of my humble effort to reduce inequality, prevent endless wars and suffering and reduce corruption.
We must call out the warmongering and corruption and hypocrisy and lies of “respectable” people and their nations. No one else is going to do it for you.
“I Still Have Faith in You.”
Our “Rights” Only Extend So Far – Right?
I saw an American man recently who was hospitalized from Covid 19. He was recovering from his symptoms in a hospital bed and will supposedly make a full recovery.
This man was very independently minded and insisted it was his right to refuse a Covid vaccine – which he had. Fair enough I thought. It was his right to refuse free government medical treatment. So why was he allowed to accept free government medical treatment to save his life?
Why was he even offered treatment?
We hear alot in the western world about “human rights” these days, about the rights of the individual, about how it is up to the individual (me!) to decide….
When does the right of the individual become subserviant to the rights of the community? Does it ever? I think it should.
In the United States, it seems “I” always wins over “WE”. To a certain extent, I sympathize with the view that the individual should retain the right to make certain decisions for themselves. That encourages individual responsibility, something that is a bit lacking today I believe in some societies, including my own.
However, in the case of the man above, by refusing the recommended government healthcare, I believe he had waived his right to receive any subsequent government health care. Which in this case, without that government healthcare, most probably would have cost him his life, as it had for other people he knew, who had also refused a vaccine.
The man seemed proud to have beaten Covid, and remained staunch in his refusal to receive a vaccine. Fair enough. But would he have survived if he had to pay for his treatment, or if he had no treatment at all?
We’ll never know that, as this scenario didn’t occur.
If people refuse to accept recommended health treatment then they should be aware of the consequences and not be offered any further treatment. They might then make a different decision. And there needs to be consequences if they continue to refuse.
Currently, they’re paying no price at all for their vaccine refusal – people are essentially getting the best of both worlds, without any risk.
Vaccination refusers should not receive government healthcare – they are putting other people at risk by entering a public health facility – and it was their own decision that landed them in hospital in the first place. Refusers should be denied access to public transport, shopping malls, sports and entertainment and travel facilities. Because there comes a point where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the individual. Even for advocates of personal freedom.
That is what laws are for right? As a society, we don’t allow everybody to decide for themselves what speed to drive at. Or how much alcohol they can drink before driving a motor vehicle. Those are community decisions and everyone has to abide by them, whether we agree with them or not. And if we ignore the rules (laws) of the community, then there are consequences. That is what underpins democracy, the form of government that most westerners would say is the best system.
Freedom of choice is a good thing but it isn’t a one way street. If you make a poor decision you must be ready and able to accept the consequences.
Whether it be vaccine refusers, Wall St banks or anyone else who has it in the back of their minds that they have a communal support system behind them (in the form of government medical support or financial bailouts) if they make a poor decision, it is becoming more clear that some people are getting an unfair advantage from “the system”. It probably could be considered a criminal advantage in some cases.
From the many presentations I have seen on the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it is apparent that potentially criminal activity was able to be completed within the global banking industry without criminal consequence. Laws – or community rules – seem to be either lacking completely in the case of vaccine refusers or totally ignored, in the case of the giant international banking industry.
It is a worrying trend. For the western world at least. The idea that some people are able to ignore the well being of the community in the persuit of their goals as individuals is not a sustainable one.
It seems to me that this is one of the fundamental probems with the “American way” of doing things. Thanks to the internet age, more everyday people can find out for themselves what is going on in their name. Wars, financial crime, overthrowing foreign governments to name but a few.
As hard as the mainstream western media works to actively support these distasteful things, ever so slowly, ordinary people, even Americans and the British, are realizing the whole “system” is a sham. Built and paid for by the elites, for the elites.
How long can this rigged global system go on?
Increasingly glaring humanitarian catastrophies in Vietnam and Cambodia, Central and South America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Palestine have arisen from this rigged system. And the list is a very long one.
Will the “pivot” to Asia change anything for the long suffering people of the world?
It is hard to see how it can get any worse for them.
Brilliant Ideas Are Often So Simple…
From the religions that I have had anything to do with – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism – it seems to me that the core essence of all are simple values and modesty. “Blessed are the meek” etc….
You would never know this when observing how many people live, including the religious ones. Immodesty, rising to boasting is not uncommon, irrespective of ones followings of religious teachings.
I came across the statements and observations below recently… I thought they were so simple, but so clever – brilliant actually – that they’re worth a post of their own! They are so clever that very few people could ever think of them. And maybe that is why I find them particularly fascinating. (or maybe it is just me that could never think of things like this…)
I have always been drawn to simple ideas and people and think that complications are what we can all do without – lol.
The old saying, “everything is easy when you know how” applies to most of us I think. Most people are receivers of information and ideas from external sources – they generate or create very little information of their own. The media knows this and take advantage of it when providing click-bait and misleading narratives.
But anyway, maybe the following little gems might provide you with a tiny amount of stimulus to see everything you come across from an alternative point of view. Or just help us realize there is often another angle to something which we haven’t considered yet.
Resist the temptation to race through the list – I reckon each and every one is worth some time to stop and consider.
If you attempt to rob a bank you won’t have any trouble with rent or food bills for the next 10 years, whether or not you are successful.
Do twins ever realise that one of them is unplanned?
If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
Which letter is silent in the word “Scent” – the S or the C?
Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
The word “swims” upside-down is still “swims”.
100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.
Some say the glass is half empty, some say it’s half full. Actually, it’s just too big.
If you can think of any more, please share – once you’re in your simple mode that is.
The Universe Explained…Properly.
Freeing myself from the hold of the mainstream media was personal journey of about a decade. It even involved the discovery of new scientific laws as well as the application of some traditional old ones!
Two of Sir Issac Newton’s laws of motion are very useful when determining why so many people are blind to the mainstream media and their deceit, namely,
- An object at rest (like someone’s mind) remains at rest, and a mind in motion remains in motion at constant speed and in a straight line, unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
I’m am unbalanced force it seems according to Sir Issac. Oh well. It could be worse. At least I’m not just going in a straight line.
2. Whenever one object (mind) exerts a force (like an idea) on another object, the second object (mind) exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.
So there you have it from one of the west’s greatest ever scientists.
It is pointless trying to change people’s minds about anything really as either they are a bit thick and so their mind is stationery and it will remain in this position unless some unbalanced person comes along. In the absence of any unbalanced force coming along, most people’s mind will simply remain where it has been since they first entered the education system.
There is one group of people – whose minds are actually working and only in one direction and always at the same speed – we call them Politicians and Billionaires.
Politicians and Billionaires are permanently maintained in their upward flightpath by the people whose minds are stationary. These people are called Voters.
Of the two groups Voters constitute a much bigger group than Politicians and Billionaires.
Politicians and Billionaires go to great lengths to ensure that Voters minds remain at rest. Because Politicians and Billionaires realize that their constant velocity in the upwards direction, whilst Voters remain stationery, is actually, the most important law in the entire universe.
This is the hitherto unknown law of the universe which utilizes the exotic and secret “null force” to keep Politicians and Billionaires on their path. A force so powerful, yet so invisible that it hasn’t been fully proven as yet. Until just now.
The null force and how it is used in nature is such a stroke of genius that only the chosen few ever awake to it. For these people, it feels like breaking out of a tiny egg shell to see the daylight for the first time.
I mean, my god, who would ever think of it? The idea that it takes the combined inactivity of the minds of billions of Voters to actually supply the force needed to propel the few Politicians and Billionaires on their ever upward journey! It seems so illogical right? It’s actually… utterly brilliant!
Now you know how they do it too.
Politicians and Billionaires need to make sure that no unbalanced forces come anywhere near Voters minds – because then, unbalanced people, I mean forces, like me might upset the status quo and move people’s minds. Ever so slightly. Which isn’t allowed by the universe, as even that tiny movement might affect the null force and weaken the direction of the Politicians’ and Billionaires’ ever upward trajectory.
We can’t have that. Nature and stability and the universe must be preserved.
Politicians and Billionaires realize that they can’t be everywhere all the time so they make use of another compatible force which is on a similar but parallel trajectory. This friendly and compatible “strong force” is what we call The Media.
The Media exerts enormous pressure on Voters globally to ensure their minds remain at rest. Just doing what they have always done. Avoiding unbalanced forces. Which. Might. Make. Them. Actually…….. Move.
I mean, “Move” in some genuinely meaningful way. Every three or four years Voters are allowed very limited and temporary movement by the Strong Force, just to maintain their belief in the illusion of things called Progress and Change. This temporary and occasional movement is sufficient for most Voters, it has been observed, to choose to remain stationary for several more years. In fact, experiments show that increasing numbers of Voters are choosing to remain stationary permanently, wilfully forgoing even a tiny movement every four years.
Progress and Change are part of a group of forces that modern science now calls the “feeble forces”. Other members of the feeble force group have been discovered, including Democracy and Freedom, but none of the feeble forces gets much public attention.
Stationery objects like Voters have very limited sensory perception – they are sort of like a giant estuary of baby mud fish – and so to them, feeble forces like Progress, Change and Democracy appear highly significant. And they are happy with those things. But that is only because they are stationary objects sitting in mud and always will be. If they ever moved significantly under their own steam they would realize how feeble are the forces that are around them.
So, Politicians and Billionaires can continue in their direction of “upwards” knowing that these “feeble forces” have no effect on them, protected as they are by the “strong force” of the Media.
Science acknowledges that it is still remotely possible for million-to-one chances of random events to occur. Like a stationary object actually showing a random movement under its own steam every few million minutes or so. Even by accident, which it probably will be.
That is where Newton’s other Law of Motion comes into effect.
Remember it? Whenever one mind (object) has an idea (force), a second object (mind) exerts an equal and opposite force on the first. The constant application of equal and opposite “strong forces” by The Media, on stationery people’s minds – the Voters – ensures that Voters’ minds will remain at rest. Which is where they should be, just to keep the universe happy and feeble. And stationary.
So there you are. The Universe Explained….. Properly.
How Media Frame Things in Your Head With Careful Use of Words
Words are a major building block of life. They are what we use to describe things. A major part of the way we communicate. How we learn.
But the problem with words is that they can be lies as well. And cause misunderstandings, especially in English, which is a language more prone to misunderstandings than many. More prone than say the French language, which consists of far more words and also, makes more accurate use of words and grammar in order to minimise misunderstandings. It is not for nothing that French, not English, was the traditional language of diplomacy as French allowed for more precise meanings to be conveyed between gentlemen – essential if you are attempting to avert a war through the conducting of ongoing discussions. This isn’t done much anymore sadly. In any language.
But more than creating unintended meanings, giant media corporations today deliberately use words to build false pictures of reality in your mind.
A very simple example is the use of the word “former” in the following recent headline,
“Former US diplomat to Mexico sexually abused and photographed unconscious women for years.”
Simply by adding the word “Former” to all associations with this story, in fact making “former” the very first word, the severity of these acts is ever so slightly diminished.
By US diplomat Mr Bryan Raymond being a “former” diplomat, some readers might think that he has already been punished somehow, that he got found out and sacked. Which is already a punishment of sorts right? And he’s probably sorry for his actions.
Starting the headline with the word “former” might make other people misunderstand the situation and think that Mr Raymond committed these sexual acts as a “former diplomat.” Which is still bad, but it is not quite as bad as committing these crimes whilst still serving as the American people’s official representative to another nation is it?
Once again, quite deliberately I believe, the media use very simple techniques – sometimes just the inclusion of a single word – to downplay the seriousness of an article. Of course, in the case of some other nations or groups – say a nation that Washington or London doesn’t like very much as they might have different views – then the opposite in wordplay occurs. Harsh, exaggerated and misleading words are added left, right and center.
Studies show that between 60-80% of people only ever read the headline before forming an opinion on a story and its subject. Most people never read the article but simply rely on a headline to form an impression. Impressions add up.
The inclusion of just one word in the headline of this drug rape case committed by a then serving American diplomat to Mexico, over a 14 year period, will slightly diminish the global severity of the story, when it is read by many millions of people. Additionally, all of the other thousands of stories about American activities will have had the same treatment. None of these stories or headlines are huge in themselves, but when thousands are combined day after day, over the period of someone’s adult lifetime they can have a dramatic effect. It is called Brainwashing. Propaganda. Just as CNN Director Charlie Chester admitted and as reported on in other posts at The Font.
We laugh at North Korea with their huge portraits of the Dear Leader all around the country. We laugh at their media which constantly feature over the top stories of the leaders’ stupendous achievements. What stupid people they must be to believe all this, we think to ourselves. And how sad it is they don’t realize they are being brainwashed.
The German people were just the same in the 1930s. And in 2020, there were 74 million American people who believed Donald Trump was a good role model as President. Another 81 million thought Joe Biden was.
Western propaganda is just as effective as that in North Korea. It’s just that our propaganda is much more subtle, much more invasive, much more clever. It is pretty much invisible. That makes it even more dangerous. If North Korea uses a sledgehammer to brainwash its people, western governments use a fine surgical laser. But the results are the same.
It is impossible to miss someone wielding a sledgehammer. But a fine medical laser can be used very cleanly and painlessly – wihout even leaving a scar.
Other notible examples of how serious events can be downgraded in the public’s consciousness, or your attention refocussed onto something, or someone else occur when the media and governments simply ignore the prime subject of the event. By ignoring who or what was at fault, the public gets false impressions of things over time, even if just sub-consciously.
The “Monica Lewinsky Scandal” is an example of this. We all know straight away what I’m reffering to right? But why is it mostly called or remembered as the “Monica Lewinsky” scandal, sometimes the “Clinton-Lewinsky” scandal? Why isn’t the correct name of the scandal the “President Clinton Scandal”?
“Remembering the Monica Lewinsky Scandal in Pictures”
UPDATED: JUN 10, 2019 ORIGINAL: DEC 20, 2017
“Monica Lewinsky Scandal”
Of course, calling it the “President Clinton scandal” might be hard to pin down in the public mind to a specfic event. But calling it the “Clinton Whitehouse Sex Scandal” should suffice, especially if Ms Lewinsky’s name is added further into the article. But then, remember only a minority of people read past the headline. So that is no good. The Lewinsky scandal it will remain to many people.
Another example of how media push negative impressions onto innocent parties is the well known “Iran Contra” scandal during the Reagan administration.
Actually, Iran had very little to do with it. The major crimes being committed were by Reagan administration officials in Washington. Iran didn’t do anything wrong. There was no role for them in the American scandal.
Senior Reagan administration officials were violating American law by illegally selling weapons to Iran. That is not Iran’s problem. Furthermore, senior Whitehouse officials broke more American laws, by then giving the proceeds of the already illegal arms sales to rebels in Nicaragua. American laws prevented any American citizen from funding these people in Nicaragua.
Again, this is nothing to do with Iran or Nicaragua. Iran was simply a customer dealing with the world’s largest weapons seller, the United States. They don’t care about domestic American law.
But history has recorded this series of law breaking activities by the American government as the “Iran-Contra” scandal. No historical mention is made of “Reagan” or “American” or “North” or “Poindexter” or anything or anyone connected to Washington – where it was all actually planned and carried out, or to any of the 13 Americans who were criminally charged for breaking the law.https://www.nytimes.com/svc/oembed/html/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F1987%2F11%2F19%2Fworld%2Firan-contra-report-arms-hostages-contras-secret-foreign-policy-unraveled.html
This New York Times headline, America’s most famous and respected newspaper, is typical – “Iran-Contra”, “Secret”, “Policy”, “Unraveled.”
None of these words sound particularly sinister do they? In fact, they seem to indicate that it was Iran was up to no good, not President Reagan’s officials. A series of major crimes were planned and executed at the highest levels of the American government, and the New York Times simply refers to that as a “policy”. Like education is a policy.
And when this series of high level crimes were discovered and the perpetraitors criminally charged, we’re told the “policy” simply “unraveled” like it was a ball of soft fluffy wool.
Out of the 13 government officials charged with criminal offences, including those senior staff answering directly to the President, only Thomas Clines, a low level CIA field officer, ever served time in prison, at 16 months. Clines’s crime was for tax fraud. The remaining 12 government officials were all either pardoned by President George H W Bush, had their convictions overturned or received probation.
We read and hear this type of gentle, almost invisible manipulation every single day. That is why it is so important to mostly disconnect yourself from the global mainstream media. As CNN Director Charlie Chester said on secret tape, the only real unbiased information today comes from private citizen journalists and media outlets. The mainstream media, Chester said, was just propaganda.
Mainstream media outlets are just brightly coloured circus style distractions. There is nothing real inside them. They are integral to the process of public manipulation and should be avoided, apart from maybe the weather report – probably the most reliable aspect of the mainstream media. Which gives you some idea…
You will never understand how the world works by engaging with it.
Why I’m Back Near The Fence on Climate Change
Climate change. It is one of the biggest “hot button” issues of our time, maybe the biggest. I used to be a firm believer in it.
Now I am not so sure. The most significant thing which has put me back near the fence came after I gave global warming some thought and did some researching on Capped carbon emmissions, Carbon trading, Kyoto accords, Carbon Trading, Exchanges etc…
From this, I realised that Carbon “trading”, the thing that’s supposed to save the world, is founded on yet another “free market” idea, ie: that a colourless and invisible naturally occuring gas can be “traded” as it turns from and into other chemical compounds by entirely natural processes. That thought in itself gives me the creeps. Free markets do have a place, but they have also reeked great havoc in many societies when left unchecked. It is beyond doubt that inequality has increased since these ideas became mainstream again in the 1980s.
So it seems a bit suspicious to me to link the “free market” with mother nature. I mean, we do it with oil – how does that work out?
And what will be next? Will we trade water and fresh air ? Oh wait, private corporations have already tried to “own” rain water in Bolivia some years back – that idea didn’t go down too well (pun intended) with the locals – and that idea was abandoned. But it does highlight the fact that no idea is too preposterous for “free market” devotees to try and slip into law, somewhere, somehow.
But let’s say Carbon trading is the way to solve this climate crisis – now to do this trading of Carbon, you need Traders and Exchanges, just like any other sort of commodity.
And who are usually the main beneficiaries of the efforts of traders and exchanges ?
The already wealthy.
Sure, some every day people benefit from trading shares, either directly or through some sort of managed scheme, but generally speaking, only the minority of ordinary people benefit from any form of share trading. Far fewer people – only a very tiny number – benefit from other forms of trading and exchange such as currency trading, futures trading and bonds trading.
Back to carbon trading – one financial opinion from London opined that greenhouse gas trading could become “the biggest commodity market in the world” if all the major polluting countries and corporations could be persuaded to sign up to an exchange.
How would you convince nations and global corporations to sign up to an invisible gas exchange ? You’d have to convince them that they needed to clean up their act… that they needed to reduce their “carbon foot print”, that they can actually profit from making themselves look good by becoming, at least on the surface, globally responsible citizens and saving the world.
Well, if you were already well connected in western political and financial circles that would help alot to get the ball rolling right? If you were already a known “brand”, and a trusted public figure you are half way there to convincing enough other influential people to start holding conferences, create UN committees, create lobby groups, get new laws and standards passed, get your friends in the media on board, etc….that is, to build a movement from the ground up.
Someone did take the plunge in the early 2000s. The first and most significant company involved in Carbon trading was “Generation Investment Management” – or GIM, founded in 2004. This company today advises its now huge list of major corporate clients of their responsibilities in lowering their carbon foorprints and going “green”. And advising them how to take advantage of the legal and political winds that might blow green or brown. It would be helpful to know the movers and shakers in Washington and Brussels to accomplish that.
But you also need a trading exchange as well in order to save the planet and fortunately for GIM, this exchange had already been created as well the previous year in 2003.
It was called the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).
The CCX was co-founded by Richard Sandor, a former research professor at Kellogg Business School, Chicago along with former Goldman Sachs Bank CEO, and later Bush Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, seen below on the right.
The CCX carbon trading exchange had connections with the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, (ICE) whose subsidiary is the International Petroleum Exchange, the world’s largest petroleum futures options market. The “green” founder of CCX, CEO Richard Sandor had served as an Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) board member since 2002.
Hmmm… not very green is it?
Anyway, by 2006 a new phenomenon had arrived around the world – A documentary movie called “An Inconvienient Truth” made by former American Vice President, Al Gore.
We all saw it. It even won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Everyone was suddenly aware of climate change. Or global warming I think it was still called back then. Maybe this new climate change thing is really serious after all seemed to be the common thought back at that time.
I saw the film but I always thought the extreme right hand side of Al Gore’s temperature graph didn’t make sense…if CO2 today is “off the scale” – as the graph shows – why aren’t we all burnt to a crisp? Is Gore saying there is a lag effect which hasn’t shown up yet due to the huge time scale of the X axis? That we can measure CO2 content accurately but not temperature? Maybe that is true, I don’t know.
In Gore’s chart, the white temperature line simply stops following the already increasing CO2 red line.
These figures are now at least 15 years old now, so the increase in CO2 content in the atmosphere today, 2021, should be almost one-third the way along onto the “projected CO2 in 50 years” data point. Has today’s mean global temperature increased accordingly, looking at this chart?
But it is not even this chart or the science behind it that really concerns me the most. As a scientist, I am aware that you can create statistics, figures and charts to support any conclusion you want.
What bothers me the most about this particular mix of climate change philosophy are the types of people involved.
You see, An Inconvienient Truth in 2006 was not the first environmental creation of former US Vice President Al Gore. Before he created eco-movies Gore created Generation Investment Management (GIM) in 2004, the corporate carbon trading advisory company talked about at the beginning of this post.
Of even more concern, is that Gore’s co-founding partners in Generation Investment Management were former chief of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) David Blood, along with Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris, also of Goldman Sachs. GSAM also became the largest Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) shareholder, with about an 18% ownership.
Al Gore’s GIM was the fifth largest shareholder.
But the CCX didn’t do very well. People had not sufficiently understood Gore’s eco-movies it seems and in May 2010 the Inter Continental Exchange (ICE) – owner of the huge International Petroleum Exchange – agreed to purchase the Green CCX and its parent company Climate Exchange, along with two of its other exchanges – the Chicago Climate Futures and the European Climate Exchange – for $603 million.
By November 2010 the green CCX founder Richard Sandor had already pocketed an estimated $98 million from the CCX sale from his 16.5% ownership of it. Just how much Al Gore’s GIM and Goldman Sachs Asset Management ended up with from the sale is unclear – but they probably did okay out of their dealings with ICE.
So, we now know that Al Gore, ostensibly a global climate crusader had already set himself up privately to potentially make huge profits via his green GIM company, even before he became a public climate champion in 2006 via his famous eco-movie. If his public lecturing and climate policies were ever enacted, by say, the Kyoto and Paris climate accords, Gore was set to make potentially healthy profits from ventures he had set up some years earlier.
Is it a big deal that Mr Gore had pre-positioned himself using his well established public and political profile to profit from his climate change message? Is there a connection ? Does it matter?
And are Mr Gore’s dealings with Wall St types like Goldman Sachs, Henry Paulson and David Blood etc cause for concern? After all, these are the same types of people who had helped to create, and then profit from, the 2007/08 global financial crisis, and the subsequent taxpayer funded bail outs of the companies they ran.
Are these Wall St and Washington elite type activities well meaning efforts to save the world, or cyncial manipulations to grab more public money, or some combination of the two?
We can’t ever know for sure whether Mr Gore is genuine in his crusade, but, knowing of his pre-positioning of himself in the “climate business” does take a bit of the authenicity off of his message for me.
It may well be Gore is still correct in his climate beliefs. But after finding out a bit more background about his dealings, and who the people and organizations he has had dealings with, I’m now less convinced. I’m now back closer to the fence.
I’m now wondering is this whole thing just another elaborate Wall St scam?
Let’s hope it is. If it isn’t we’re all in big trouble.
How Big Do People Think?
What are the dreams of most people?
Many years ago back in my corporate days, I attended a series of interactive training sessions for professionals that ran for one day a week for 7 weeks. It was a great course that I took away many lessons from. The presenter himself was fulfilling one of his dreams of being a facilitator of such training courses and so he was a good example – practicing what he preached in other words.
The other attendees at the course were all well known to me as most of us had worked for the same employer for many years. It was a good and positive work environment and that was reflected in the level of participation in this particular 7 week course.
At the end of the seventh session, the presenter summed up the overall content of the teachings and then asked each of us to reflect upon the experience. Finally, once we were all feeling very positive about ourselves, he asked the group a series of questions, the answers to which were to be written down and shared with others only if we chose to.
The last question, which I remember in particular, was, “what one great thing, something that you have always dreamed about doing, would you dare to attempt, if you KNEW that you could not fail? You knew beforehand that you will succeed.”
He repeated the question quietly, providing encouragement for us to write whatever we could possibly imagine achieving , doing or having in life.
Then the course came to an end and we had some time together to chat and go over the experience.
I like to ask questions, as answers from people are always optional and always illuminating. So I asked a couple of colleagues what did they answer to the question about what one great thing would they dare to do if they knew they could not fail.
I respected both people that I asked, which is why I was interested in their answers, and interested to know if they would share their answer. I told them beforehand that I wrote, “to be Prime Minister of New Zealand.”
This was back in the days when I thought politics and political parties mattered. That has all changed now, for I now think the opposite, but back then, that was a goal I thought I could achieve if I dared to persue it.
I was slightly surprised when one person told me their greatest dream was to take their family on holiday to the United States. The other person said, their greatest dream was to be a senior manager.
I acknowledged their replies and was grateful that they shared them.
But ever since, I am left wondering what are the greatest dreams of most people? Honestly, I was taken aback that two well respected senior staff in a corporate environment had dreams that were alot more modest than mine. (as I thought anyway). Especially, the one about taking the family to Disneyland etc.
That could be done anytime I thought – if you really wanted it enough. Even if you had to borrow money, which I assumed this person would not have had to do, you could achieve that dream in no time at all and without much effort.
Now that I have lived my life in a decidedly “forwards” direction, and having learnt more about people and the world, I can appreciate perhaps how many people have difficulty opening themselves up to the opportunities of the world. How little it is that many people expect from life.
Let us say there is a bit of truth to this notion – the next question would be why is that?
Why is it that so many people have limited dreams in life? Lack of opportunity? Poor education? Low expectations in their upbringing? Religion? Not wanting to look silly?
Who really knows.
How big are your dreams? Do you have any?
It has been a long time since I did that excercise actually – stop and re-evaluate my life.
I wish I had a hammock.
Thanks for being here.
Are YOU Able to Change Your Mind ?
Something I now realise quite clearly is that many people have a great deal of trouble changing an opinion. By “opinion”, I mean a long held view on a substantive issue, a view that you are associated with by the people who know you well.
I’m not thinking of trivial things like which cafe to have the obligatory coffee and cake at today… cinnamon or chocolate, etc? What I am talking about is, can you, once you have formed and held and publicly expressed an opinion or view on a substantive issue for a period of years, some time later on – if say you have new information or a new perception about the topic or the information – abandon your long held, publicly expressed view, and distinctly alter your opinion, as would be acknowledged by others?
An extreme example might be your religious views. If you are of waivering or intermittent faith, is it possible you could see yourself openly abandoning that faith altogether one day and becoming a free thinker or even come out against religion entirely? Maybe not. It is more likely that people might go in the other direction and become born again.
A more likely, less extreme circumstance could involve the views about a nation or an institution like the media. Remember when we all thought TV and newspaper articles were the gospel truth? (I’m 62 ha ha). Especially the biggest or most prestigious media outlets like the New York Times or the BBC. They all spoke and wrote so professionally and authoritively and they dressed so well and smiled so much, it would never occur to ask what could be wrong with believing in them totally would it?
One of the reasons for this web site is that I have had many such changes in my public opinions these last years. My long held opinions about the UK Royal Family for example – being a decided royalist in past decades – have morphed in more recent times, to a point now where I think the institution must go. And on that note, my traditional views about Diana, Princess of Wales, which were not always flattering, have changed as well. I’m now much more sympathetic to her and her life, to the point where it makes me wonder how she really did die. I’ll cover that in another post.
My point is simply that from my observation, I don’t know anyone who changes their traditional views and opinions very often – if ever. Even in the face of what seems to be clear and obvious challenges to their views. Perhaps their views never change especially in the face of challenges to their views. They dig in.
Maybe I’m a bit like that, but I don’t think so. Alot of my views are relatively newly held, based upon a much wider understanding of, and interaction with, the wide world. Most people it seems to me, don’t really interact with the wide world at all – they have only superficial or fleeting contact with it via the internet and global mainstream media, which as we now know, only supplies information to their screens that they know the user already likes. So no challenges to opinions from those sources.
It seems to me that once people have formed a view on something, they stick with that view forever. Once you declare yourself to be a “royalist” you stay a royalist, or you stay a christian or a liberal etc. You stay a soccer person and not a rugby person and vice-versa.
Of course, some people have trouble actually forming an ongoing and crystalized opinion in the first place. Forming the type of opinion that has been publicly defended in a cohesive structured fashion over time. It is easy to ambivalent on things, for you are never wrong and always partially correct. So these people don’t really have a genuine opinion to change anyway. These people’s comments include “that doesn’t interest me” or “I’m keeping an open mind about that.”
That might be the way to go for some people but that is not for me.
Thanks for being here. Think about your opinions and ask your friends. Share your stories. And mine too please :o)
Do You Live Life Forwards or Backwards?
It occured to me recently that most people live their lives backwards. Not in the literal sense of course – none of us have a tardis I don’t think. But backwards in the sense that many of the highlights come early in life in the conventional sense.
Take young people – they are often passionate about some cause or other, trees, whales, snails…. they might even become involved in protests and affirmative action programs, as they are sure this cause needs their help to succeed. Young people are idealistic and passionate. And of course, they know everything.
They travel more and for longer than when they get older and in my country, New Zealand, young people often complete what we call “The Big OE” or “Overseas Experience.”
This where young kiwis (as people from NZ are called) leave school or university and travel overseas for maybe a year or two, carrying not much more than a back pack and a credit card. The traditional destination used to be Britain, where friends of friends were telephoned and asked if a kiwi could sleep on their couch for a few days until they find accomodation of their own. Permission was usually granted.
The new arrival proceeds to find accomodation, and a job and then saves sufficient money to travel around Europe for a few months before heading back to the UK to start the process all over again or to travel back to New Zealand. A long overland trip home is often part of the deal. I know many people who have followed this pattern.
Then after settling back in NZ, it’s time to establish a career, and start a family. Work hard to support the family and attempt to advance your career. Some call this “the treadmill.”
After a great career, you suddenly find out you are a grandparent and it is time to plan for retirement. You start to sell or give away items of no further use and look at “downsizing” your house, car, aunty’s piano etc….
And then it’s over.
Is this living life forwards or backwards?
As we get older, we realise we didn’t know as much as we thought we did when we were younger. As the saying goes, “youth is wasted on the young.” I think this sort of means that as an older person, all the things we think we should have done as a young person are now not really possible due to age. We have regrets. Our lives are now getting increasingly smaller and we look back fondly at “the good old days.”
So why don’t we live life going forwards – in other words, hold off travel and devotion to “causes” until later in life when we have more knowledge and life experience to draw on. In our early years, we should still work hard but invest wisely and create a solid platform for later in life when we have matured a bit and are able to get so much more from different cultural exchanges through travel. Maybe we can take the kids at that time too just before we set them free – a sort of parting gift of wisdom to them. If we have planned well our later years can be the most rewarding ever.
I have been to places in the world that meant nothing to me really when I whizzed through them as a younger person on the well worn tourist paths that millions of others were on with me. Then, later in life, I went to the same places and it meant so much more that second time around, when I had knowledge and a bit of experience under my belt. It was a far more rewarding experience later in life.
You might have guessed that this is a bit like my own story. I got established in life as soon as I started working, and even though I wasted my fair share of money on food and alcohol, I was always careful to spend only after things like large mortgage payments were made.
Now that I am in my 60’s my life is opening up more and more. I have been sort of retired for 15 years or so. I have lived in Asia for 7 years and experienced a broad range of cultures up close and personally, which is impossible to achieve when you’re on the tourist paths. My wife and I do not have children so that could be said to be an advantage, but I am sure we could have worked a family into this equation if we had both wanted and planned for this earlier.
So rather than my life getting slowly smaller in my golden years, it seems to me that my life is still expanding actually. I have recently picked up the skills to create my own web site and blog and enjoy the interactions with people around the globe.
With all these new experiences as I get older (“living forwards”) and by simply using the powers of observation and thought, I see a very different world out there today than the one I used to see, when I was living “backwards” – that is, in a corporate career, focussed on things at hand instead of things further afield.
Today I see a western world full of propaganda and dis-connection. This exists in the east I am sure but as I now live back in NZ I’ll leave those issues to them to sort out. One of the worst aspects I see of western culture and politics and large governments today is the constant interference in other people’s lives, either on a small scale or even an unasked for, fully blown military invasion. And resultant death and suffering.
It really is outrageous the behaviour of those who claim to be leaders of the free world.
Anyway, that is getting back to politics.
This “magazine style” page is meant to be politics free and a place to simply swap thoughts, stories and ideas about every day life and experiences.
Why not add yours?