A Rare Sighting…..

Among these many posts and in my book,”see my book“, I frequently posit the question of how far one would go to achieve true personal authenticity. What sacrifices would one make in order to find one’s true self. That has been an historic search among the eons. But recently, like a brief glimpse of Bigfoot, I have come across perhaps a very real example.

There is a new biography out called, “The Stranger in the Woods”, by Michael Finkel. In it, he describes the 27 year sojourn into the Maine woods by one Christopher Knight. Approximately, 30 years ago, Mr. Knight parked his car, walked into the nearby woods, and effectively disappeared and lived entirely alone for the next 27 years. He didn’t seem to plan it. He didn’t have supplies or gear. He just left his car and walked away from society. Now that might seem to be the behavior of a disturbed or troubled man, but as this biography reveals, he is a man of thoughtful and clear-minded goals.

He survived by stealing from cabins during the winters, committing some 1000 burglaries, thus a somewhat hunted man. Eluding that for 27 years, he was finally arrested after one cabin break-in.

Given Maine’s affection for self-reliance and independence, Mr. Knight’s crimes were reduced in severity by the local courts, and he is a free man. There is much in this “interview” that taps our many issues. Mr. Knight observes, upon returning to the society he left behind, “the lack of aesthetics, the crudeness, the inanities, the trivia, the inappropriate…aspirations and goals.”

It is a slim book. Much of it dwells on isolates and “hermits” through the ages. But it does paint an intriguing picture of Mr. Knight and uses his sojourn into solitude to explore the issue of finding a self that might be lost, yet authentic and perhaps, after all, findable.

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

Advertisements

EL FARO

Last Sunday, 60 Minutes featured a report on finding the remains and voice recorder of the cargo ship, El Faro, that was tragically lost in a hurricane last year. Though the show didn’t play the complete transcript, it was sufficient to gain an insight into the crew’s final hours.

Though this is certainly not the only explanation of these events, the premise of this blog and my book”see my book“, can, I think, shed some light on the actions and events in those final hours.

What particularly stands out in the transcript is the behavior and dialogue of the crew and captain. Both seemed to stand in stark contrast to what was happening in and around the ship. The ship was clearly bearing into a hurricane that was also bearing ever closer to the ship itself. All the while, the crew and particularly, the captain clung to a routine, “a script”, that governed all such voyages. Even as the storm grew in fierceness, and the ship tossed and tipped accordingly, the captain as he was accustomed to do, went to bed. He retired to his cabin and did not reappear for 8 hours, during which time it is assumed he slept. He is quoted as having said, “I slept like a baby.” When he returned to the control deck, the ship was already listing badly from having taken on water through a damaged hold door. Yet his dialogue was reassuring and perhaps even dismissive. “It’s like this in Alaskan waters every day.” The crew asked after his coffee and whether he wanted sweetener. He answers, “Splenda…not the real sugar.” And the mate proceeds to comply. They were all within 50 minutes of perishing.

Without belaboring the dis-associative dialogue that transpires, (you can access this CBS report and others yourself for verification) I would venture an explanation. I think Captain and crew were caught in an habitual and fatal script. Rigidly scripted behavior can be a real advantage in certain venues….military, medical, police, fire, theatre, etc. But there can be times when that rigid adherence to script prevents critical thinking.

In war, in battle, in the operating room, in public crises, on a high wire, the practiced rituals very well might serve frequently, but the participants may at times need to realize they are outside the box and change accordingly.

A new book my Michael Lewis called, The Undoing Project, explores the many aspects of expert decision making. The central theme is how often expert opinion and action is in error. The cause: emotions that too often delude the expert.

In the case of the El Faro, I believe that the practiced script they had so often enacted in both calm and stormy weather had in all cases, till now, worked. But habitual, scripted behavior is always inherently dangerous. It locks up your critical faculties. The more often you enact it and it proves successful, the more reliable it seems and goes unquestioned. Whether in the operating room, in battle, or in crisis one must keep living the events and not the script.

Lewis’ book feature two psychologists, Kahneman and Tversky who by exploring events and people’s efforts to predict or deal with those events found expertise and logic wanting in the outcomes. Habit and expectations cloud critical faculties.

Not to in any way diminish the tragic loss of life on the El Faro, I think the tragedy was in part set up by sailing into a known storm within a script that had always worked before….until it didn’t.

We must always know when we are in a script. Our lives depend upon it. Not knowing makes us blind and unresourceful. Being locked in a script, whether in relationships, a bad marriage, a bad job, a toxic life style is never good when uninspected. A script is often comfortable. Comfort leads to pattern, habit. Even if you like the script you are in. Knowing it, being aware of it, is crucial. That kind of awareness, I think, could have saved the crew of the El Faro. It can save you, too, when storms approach your comfort zone.

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

“FAKE NEWS”

You heard it here first, folks.

A couple of years ago I published my book, AM I IN YOUR PLAY OR ARE YOU IN MINE. Then about a year ago, I started this blog to further explore these same themes. Both of them anticipated this current explosion of “fake news”.

I was planning to draw this blog to a close, but events keep forcing me to write one more blog. In my book”see my book“, I have the following quotes in the intro:

“You are surrounded by authors who would script your life (and mind) to their liking.”

“Who you are, is being scripted by others.”

“Everyone is seeking to make you a character in their play.”

“Without the awareness of this, you will be the character in many, many plays, but never in your own.”

The loss of your own identity and authenticity is the risk in today’s voracious world of writing narratives they (your authors) want you to believe and live in.

“Fake news” is the current euphemism made now famous by Pres. Trump that encapsulates all of the above.  The media would have you believe what they say or show (in order to control the narrative) is the very truth.  Inside the narrative there is no there there.  It is merely a fabrication to control your thoughts and behavior.  You are the marionette and they are the strings and voice.

Putting ideas into a narrative is a much more persuasive form of indoctrinating than merely positing ideas and issues.  A news story that seems based in reality with a protagonist that lives out a piece of theater enacting a parable that reflects a political view is far more persuasive and invasive.

Washington is now the battleground of warring narratives.  It always has been.  But now the vehicles for narration abound.  Not just speeches, posters, interviews…but newspapers, magazines, network tv, cable tv, Facebook, blogs, texting, ads, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, endless outlets and spaces for fiction and fabrication.  Who can tell the truth of any of it?

You can know it’s phony; you may know it’s false, but it still gets in your head.  The merchants of lies have become so good at it, so pervasive, it is hard, perhaps futile to resist.  Perhaps only the outrageous anger and attacks of POTUS himself can take on and illuminate the onslaught of false narratives…. fake news.  I, for one, am thankful that he is using the bully pulpit to badger and defeat the poobahs who promote false narratives, false scripts that seek to forward their agendas. As Steve Bannon said,  “If you think these people are going to give up easily, think again.”  It will take all the effort and voices of the Trump administration to wrest the ink from fake news. And it will take all your clear vision as well.

But we have to guard that they too don’t answer fake news with other fake news.  Politicians and actors have great affinity. That’s why Hollywood and Washington have always had such an easy alliance. Politicians are actors and seek the stage that is Washington. Hollywood and DC both love drama more than facts. POTUS was an actor on television. Reagan was an actor in Hollywood. They love writing the play, being in the play. They all seek the limelight. When the facts get in the way of a good script…let the facts be damned.

So.. it is we who have to keep our sanity and clarity.  It is we who have to seek the facts. We have to be diligent in our wariness of scripts seeking to persuade us that they are reality. We have to learn to see the difference.

Reading this blog and my book is a start.

 

 

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

 

 

Play the Trump card

This blog has sustained the search for personal Authenticity for many months now. Further it has shown how difficult that is in the face of cultural efforts to mold you into some corporate or political self that is not you. Scriptwriters abound who wish to dictate your persona. But much of that is dwarfed by the scope and scale of “scripting” by the New World Order of the Democratic Party and the Clinton machine.

That reprise is preamble to a blog post about this election that we are all besieged by. Americans live in the naive belief that their freedoms can never be taken away.  They believe that some form of political coup is impossible in a country that so cherishes a history of openness and freedom. That coup is in progress and this election may well be the final chapter.

The Clinton machine and her Uber Left Party believe in the absolute opposite of personal freedom and authenticity. They believe in social engineering. They believe that a central government knows how best to control and engineer people into a liberal mold within which people should exist and behave. The pursuit of individual authenticity is impossible.  They hold in disdain the public’s capacity for authentic and personal actions.  (see the hacked emails that reveal their disdain for religion, for public vs private positions on the issues, for the “deplorables”) Authenticity within the Left can only be found in adherence to its social engineering principles of conformity and dependence.

To achieve this leftist goal, certain steps had to precede it.  First, one must take over the education system.  That has been done.  Teacher’s unions control the public schools.  The unions support the Democratic Party thus the DP controls the schools.  They teach the kindergartners and elementary students the feel good processes of protecting the environment, diversity of people, classmates with two dads or two moms, etc.  The pupils are defenseless.  The indoctrination gets more subtle and specific in later grades as political correct thinking is imbedded, and history is told by Howard Zinn.  By college these students are so fragile they cannot cope.  They have been infantilized.  They recoil from bad words, and must be warned of “micro-aggressions”.  The repeated evidence at college campuses wherein speakers who threaten to speak of ideas anathema to their liberal biases are banned from campus.  Their professors and administrators are enablers.  Is free speech a touchstone of American freedom?  Have the colleges eradicated that among their students?  Yes.  Their job is done. The education of the new world order is complete.  And in the future they promise to keep giving it for free.  How else do you control and indoctrinate your young?

Next, like any true revolutionary group, you must seize the radio and tv stations so you control the news.  You already know that has been accomplished.  The Left controls 90% of all forms of media.  Never has that been made more clear than by this very election cycle.

A robust economy of middle class earners is anathema to controlling a society.  Dependency is essential.  Food stamps are preferable to a good income.  All eyes and needs should be looking to the government for solution and filling.  Proof that this has been accomplished among the young was evident in millennial love for Uber Left Socialist Bernie Sanders.  They are the first complete generation of leftist zombies who have been sold the Kool-Aid that mommy and daddy government knows best.  They have gone from helicopter parents to helicopter government.  The nanny state is their Nirvana.  Once again college education has done its job.

Healthcare.  How better to create the need for the nanny state than to teach the young that their very health and welfare, their escape from death and disease will come from the generous hand of government.  Universal healthcare is the ultimate umbilical.

Having a needy electorate is important.  But some of that electorate will self-succeed and prove independent in spite of the nanny state.  Thus you need ever more needy recruits.  Thus open borders.  Almost all new immigrants vote democratic.  It’s the party that enables them, welcomes them, gives them things and seeks to keep them dependent as long as possible in order to capture their vote.  Immigrants are the endless procession of new and Democratic voters.

(A moment here to trumpet the one visionary who has seen the coup coming and even make the case that is has already occurred.  Dennis Miller is listed as a comedian by the press as a way of diminishing him.  He is the finest social satirist since Swift.  He is hilariously funny if you can keep up with his speed, and deeply incisive in his thought and analysis.  Catch him as you can on Fox or on tour.)

I could go on, but I think you get it by now.  The Republican Party used to be the polar opposite, believing in the individual, self-assertion, hard work and private success.  But that party is in shambles.  Mostly due to protecting itself in a suicidal attempt to guard its turf and power.  Along came Trump.

I am no apologist for Trump.  He maddens me as he does most other anti-left voters.  As of this day, he has even jettisoned his party stalwarts.  He is closer to an independent than Stein and Johnson.  But like it or not, he is your only hope to keeping the coup from being complete in 20 some days.  As maddening and erratic as he is, he only need accomplish a few basic things, if elected, to blunt the past and invigorate a better future.

He need not build the wall.  All he has to do is enforce the laws we have, and give power to those who attend to that.  End sanctuary cities and pay attention to the details of immigration.  Learn from the mistakes of Europe on refugees and slow up on this  process and proceed more cautiously.  Common sense, not zeal, commands this simple equation.

Repatriate all the corporate money overseas.  Bring it back by lowering the tax rate and demand that half of it be spent on job production and not kept on corporate balance sheets.  It will explode the economy into productivity.

Make constitutionalist appointments to the Supreme Court.

Continue his attack on the media until they recognize their  historical role of keeping EVERYBODY honest and their feet to the fire.

If he does no more than this, which he could do in the first hundred days, he will have been a success.  Its all domestic.  As for his overseas adventures, he can be held in check.  He will find tougher slogging when he tries to lower the deficit, curb spending, fix healthcare and social security.  Fix the tax code.  Reduce the national debt.

It’s the simple first 100 days of the above agenda that warrants DJT’s election.  He need do no more to end and reverse the coup and its attendant tentacles.  Just his continuous and ongoing attack on political correctness will get this country back on track. We need his madness in this quagmire.  Gentleness won’t do.  Nice cannot prevail.  Belligerence is in order.  The pillars of the coup are in deep granite.  A mighty push is in order.  Delicacy is not sufficient.  Brashness is called for.  We can settle down later.  The foundations of this near coup must be shaken.  The gentility of all those candidates left behind and rued by many was not up to the task at hand.  Riding roughshod over the coup is necessary before it becomes a coup de grace.

It will take a four year tantrum of the Trump variety to stamp out the roots of this near complete coup of American and personal freedom.  Trump tantrums are not a pretty sight.  They do not sit well with the delicate.  But nothing less will suffice.  The tap root of the coup is deep.  It has been long in coming.  It will not wither easily. Tectonic trembling must occur to rediscover our old bedrock.  A slightly crazy man is in order this time.  We need a stubborn mule that kicks.  We need a firestorm.  Exorcisms and purification rites are not pretty.   We can get back to  civility after the coup is crushed.

Vote on November 8 and PLAY THE TRUMP CARD !!

 

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

 

 
en

Summation 1

Between the approx. 60+ blog posts here, and the references to my book,”see my book” I think the issues herein have been given a clear and thorough examination. Thus it seems to me it is a time to wrap these topics up and conclude this particular blog. A new theme for the future is in order. But to wind this theme up, I would like to write this one final post on the issues themselves, and then use the next five to ten posts to do a summation of the threads we have examined here.

This last post on the idea of life as theater and all that surrounds are scripts by others, could not be complete without observing this most recent example.

Donald Trump was in San Diego on Friday May 27. His tour of speaking engagements have been haunted by demonstrators and some mayhem. The local San Diego paper, the Union Tribune, wrote this front page headline on that day. “SOME ARRESTS AT RALLIES MAY BE SCRIPTED” Then the article that follows begins, “If arrests are made at today’s Donald Trump rally, watch carefully. What looks like chaos may be choreography. Getting arrested can be a powerful demonstration of commitment….some are the results of advance negotiations. Police and protestors often confer before marches and rallies, discussing everything from the time and location of the protest to….how and when people will be arrested. They come to us and say, “These individuals are going to do this, and we understand when they do this you are going to arrest them”, said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “A lot of times, they designate a person or persons to be arrested.”

Life as Theater, dear readers. Scripted events for television digestion. As we already know, many if not most of these demonstrators are paid. They are “actors” for hire. Street Theater as political advertisements. There are “aggregators” who will hire and perform a demonstration of your desired object complete with posters from either side of the political spectrum.

The regular readers of this blog can see and understand the simulacrum, the reality that isn’t, at work here. We can see the script. We know the reasons why. That is why I think it time to move to some concluding blogs. The lessons are learned. The readers educated. But I couldn’t help but post this one last narrative that so aptly demonstrates what we have been talking of for these now many months in these now many postings. Thank you for reading.

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

Simulacra as Crime

In my book “see my book” and this blog I have explored the simulacrum as a vivid replica of reality rather than reality itself and the confusion that causes and all the consequences that entails. Recently, we have seen instances where this confusion has turned upside down and has become criminal.

Earlier blogs explored “the selfie” and its ramifications, particularly for the young. Newer apps have expanded the purview of the Selfie. Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat allow users to live stream their videos. In at least two cases recently, crimes such as rape and corruption of minors have been recorded by someone who allowed the fore-mentioned crimes to proceed while they recorded and streamed them live. Two such cases have been brought before the courts and the accused face possible prison time if convicted.

Reporters have historically faced the moral dilemma when photographing or filming war, riots, etc. Do they continue filming or do they intervene? Today, almost everyone is equipped with a camera that takes both stills and videos. The moral dilemma is now upon us all.

The young believe everything must be photographed. “Something only becomes real if it is recorded in some way.”, is often quoted as the reason for such excess of recording. Thus the simulacrum (the photo or the video) becomes the real when looked upon, as opposed to the real event which lacks veracity when simply lived. Taking pictures on vacation is a bit like this, keeping the real alive in pictures to be viewed later. But in this long tradition, the picture is known as simply a prompt, a reminder. (I explore in my book and earlier blogs the issue of travel brochures being taken as the reality of travel destinations, and when the traveler goes to said destinations they want to visit the pictures. If the real vacation is not the brochure, the vacation is often deemed a disappointment.)

The picture, the video, the simulacrum as a truer reality is now pervasive among us all, particularly the young who have grown up with social media and everyone having a camera. The pocket phone is now almost more universally used as a camera and message sender than as its original purpose, making or receiving a phone call. The powerful need to record a moment so that one can re-live it even more powerfully as a picture or video is seductive, dangerous and almost psychologically perverse. This transmutation deserves deeper analysis than this short blog can avail. That one girl would video and live stream the rape of her friend rather than being outraged and intervening is a mind-boggling change of behavior created by technology. Our machines are warping us. This is but one compelling example.

That simulacra (which all photos and videos are) should evolve from accepted replication to more scintillating alter reality is a distress call. When pictures and phantasies are taken as more real, madness is upon us. Social media has become dangerous. When crimes are recorded without compunction, simulacra have become criminal.

Add the next revolution of VR where simulated reality surrounds you….add the ever improving CGI in movies that makes anything imaginable seem totally real….and the ever finer line between reality and imitation is shrinking if not gone. You now have the makings of a sensory shift that is both technical and existential….and dangerous.

THE SIMULACRUM RULES !!

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg

OBEY!

My book”see my book” and this blog seeks to aid the search for the authentic self, but I believe 90 percent of the world wants to obey. I believe their one and only single free will choice is what or whom to obey.

Freedom is fraught with anxiety and confusion. Freedom requires an endless chain of considered choices. Freedom is a world without red lights and green lights. It is not easy.

As this anxiety builds, the person makes a selection of choices that dictate behavior and mental processes. Religious choice probably contains the largest and most detailed of dicta. Christian, Jewish, Islam, Buddhist, etc. each having within them further choices finally arrives at a host of rules and dictates that control one’s daily and life-long choices. A strong second world of rules is cultural. National cultures, ethnic cultures, regional cultures all have stated or implied rules of behavior and thought.

Add in a variety of other sources of rules or expectations proceeding from schools, professions, affiliations, government, families, and you have little wiggle room left for independence or free choice. Diet books, health books, advice books and fashion further seek to dictate behaviors and limit choice.

We all champion freedom. We all like to think of ourselves as free, particularly in America. At least, in America, we get to make the first choice. There are whole countries and cultures where even the first choice of free will is unavailable. You are simply told from birth what you will worship and obey and you are surrounded by enforcers.

Run your day through your mind and consider how many choices you make are truly free. Look about you and see how dictated is your environment. Peer pressure alone is a significant influence. Even abstract theories, ideas, influence your choices. How many of your choices or life components are a result of belief in global warming, or protecting the environment, or political correctness….all ideas that are drumbeats in your daily life.

Now consider all of the above and visualize what a narrow slice of life remains available to free choice. “Am I in your play, or are you in mine” becomes pervasive. You are in a vast variety of plays, some of which you chose, none of which is of your own authorship. Even selecting what you want to eat off of a menu is less a matter of what you would like to eat, but more a matter of what you should or shouldn’t eat.

Freedom is hard. A daily litany of choices is stressful. It’s fifty/fifty that you will make the wrong choice. Existential angst is a real burden. What to do? What to do?

I think a healthy exercise is to review one’s daily life, as well as one’s larger life picture, and list and evaluate the various components as to which is a free choice, and which is a choice derived from another source and its influences. I suspect you will be shocked to see how little is a free and personal choice. If it is a larger proportion, you deserve to give yourself props.

cropped-51a-yewil8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx278_sy278_pikin4bottomright122_aa300_sh20_ou01_1.jpg