Cults, Mind Control and Covid-19

Well before Covid-19 emerged on the world scene, in a series with a goal of freeing people who are in cults from oppressive mind control, cult expert and deprogrammer Steve Hassan had this to say about how cults gain control over peoples’ thinking and behavior: “Someone who’s skilled can figure out how to systematically and incrementally manipulate you into a vulnerable and isolated place, and start to control your behavior, control your information, control your thinking, and make you dependent and obedient.”

Bear in mind this is almost always, if not always, done with an expressed goal that involves loving yourself and others and the assurance that what you’re doing is for the greater good. There is also always a covert agenda of which the person being targeted has no idea. The covert agenda(s) are certainly never explained in any presentation by the cult. In this dominant/submissive scenario, any serious questions about the imposed ideas/rules are often unwelcome and may not be tolerated. If anyone who senses something isn’t right asks questions which threaten the leadership’s authority or in any way might address/expose the covert goals, that person may find themselves identified as someone who is suspect, possibly an enemy. They may be targeted with degrading and derogatory remarks. They may possibly experience harassments and threats to their wellbeing.

Particularly in regard to what those in positions of political power are proclaiming and demanding of the public in regard to Covid-19, I have to ask; is the scenario that Steve Hassan describes the scenario that is playing itself out in the U.S. and other places? Everything that Mr. Hassan describes in the above quote is most certainly taking place. What I think we need to be asking is: is there a covert agenda or, are everyone’s motives and agendas in the open? One logical subsequent question is: is there money and/or other worldly value at stake? In this case, concerning Covid-19, there are billions of dollars at stake in terms of sales diverted from one retail outlet to another. There will most likely also be many real properties being repossessed and they will become available to investors. And then there are the potential billions in profits from the sales of vaccine(s). So the answer is yes, in a very big way, money is on the table.

What about other worldly value? Is there economic and political power to be gained by the way things go during this period of time? There absolutely is. As we have seen, especially since the passage of “Citizens United”, in many ways, I would say too many, money controls politics. So yes, at this time it is an inescapable fact that economic and political power, along with great wealth, is in play with the dynamics around Covid-19.

The next logical question we should all be answering for ourselves, and maybe the most profound one, the one we really need to seriously be examining considering what is at stake is: are the people who are profiting, or who stand to reap future profits, people we can wholly trust? Are they people we trust with the level of control they have established and those they are working to establish over our lives? Over our childrens’ lives? Are they people who are being completely honest about their agendas and/or other Covid related factors which affect our lives and which may affect their current or future profits? It’s a very important question. After all, we’ve been rearranging, limiting, postponing our lives on the basis of their proclamations. In some cases people are being thrown into financial hardship, bankrupted, losing their businesses, losing their dwellings, losing educational opportunities, due to the demands being placed upon us.

So it comes down to: are we being lied to? Is the data around positive test results, “cases”, and even the deaths attributed to Covid-19 being covertly, manipulated? Is it being exaggerated? Are the authoritarian demands truly commensurate with the dangers in the situation? (Despite all the uproar and superlatives being thrown around by the media, the death rate, in the U.S. is less than 1/10th of 1% of the population.) Is the authoritarian response to Covid-19 grievously harming more people than the virus itself?

Are we being given half-truths and/or outright fabrications? Two differentiations I think we very much need involving the Covid-19 statistics are: 1. What is the number of people who are in the hospital for an unrelated medical condition, are subsequently tested, found positive, as opposed to those who actually check into the hospital for Covid-19 related issues? And, 2, What is the number of people who die with Covid-19 as opposed to those who die from Covid-19? Right now those two populations are apparently being lumped together. This is not a distinction without a difference, there is a very real difference in both the reality and implications involved.

We know there is certainly a very real motive, should the temptation be too great, for some to see the current situation play out a certain way. Are those controlling the data and the media reports, those making demands upon our lives; are those individuals above succumbing to the temptation of using their position of power to manipulate “reality” in order to funnel some of the substantial amount of wealth and power potentially available in this scenario into their own hands?

What do we have to base our perspective, our answer to this question upon? In fact, the only thing we have is what we can learn about their behaviors, not their words, but their behaviors in the past. Especially if looking at the “distant” past, say 20 years or more ago, those behaviors may or may not be any real indicator of present behavior. Despite the protestations of those who maintain otherwise, people can and do change with time and experience. Some more, some less. It often depends upon the nature of the experiences in a person’s life. With this in mind, what are the more recent indicators of a person’s ethics, honesty?

So, again: can we trust those amassing and distributing the information regarding Covid-19 and, on the basis of that information, making subsequent demands upon our lives?

What do you think?

Deep within, and all around us all…

Deep within us all there is a connection. It is a connection with the infinite. When we are “in touch with” this inner reality which exists within and is a part of and available to all of us, it’s the most wonderful feeling. We want to stay there, we never want to leave, and, in reality, it must be true that we never do. But we are also alive here on the Earth, because we want to be. And the dynamics of our Earthly, sensual, reality can distract us, quite easily actually, from the reality of, the guidance of, our connection with our innermost selves. Distract us from our connection with the Universal Creative Spirit which we are all a part of and which ourselves, and everybody and everything else, exists within.

When we are in touch with, working with, our birthright connection to the infinite, to the Divine Universal Creative Spirit, we KNOW, we don’t merely think that, we KNOW that we are connected to, alive within, the infinite. We see it, we feel it, we KNOW it. When our motivation for action is coming from this part of ourselves, of our reality, a “miraculous” reality is working within us, with us. If called upon to do so, we can perform actions which place us in what seems, if we weren’t acting upon a motivation from this aspect of ourselves, certain harm, possibly death, and we will BE safe. Do you know the story of Daniel and the lions’ den? That IS the level of protection being in touch with, acting upon the pure motivation of, this innermost, most intimate yet shared with all, level of our being, extends to us. This I KNOW, because I have cooperated with, been used in such a situation, by the consciousness of infinite love, which is actually, deeply me, and is an integral aspect of our truest, innermost being.

When our attention, our mind, is caught up with our Earthly reality, we are caught up with our senses; sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. I imagine, the sensual reality of Earth is a part, to a greater or lesser extent, of why any and all of us ever desire to be born here. The sensual reality of Earth can, at times, be overwhelming. The pleasures brought to us via our sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch can wholly capture our mind and carry our consciousness away on magic carpets of experience. And there is nothing wrong with that. In participating in the enjoyments possible with our Earthly body. We are just enjoying our Earthly birthright, our being. However, there is a catch. While we are here, in an Earthly body, we are also firstly beings of a spiritual, energetic body. And were before we were born on Earth, When and if our Earthly body meets it’s demise, we will still BE as a spiritual, energetic being, within a spiritual, energetic reality. WE are spiritual, energy beings and, those who see auras tell us ,we can and do actually glow. Not figuratively but actually. And I have seen that sometimes, if our being is strong enough, if we are wholly enough in touch with our divine nature, we glow brightly enough to light the darkest room. And when we are involved with our Earthly perceptions and desires, the task we all face is to experience and act within that realm while still continually honoring our spiritual being and what we need on that level to be whole, to be perfect.

There are those who proclaim themselves as messengers of God who might tell us that this is what other beings do, beings more special, more blessed, than any of us. Beings we are supposed to give ourselves over to by listening to what they, the self-proclaimed messengers of God tell us. If they are a true prophet, maybe we should…but only if. For one thing, a true prophet is not going to tell us there is any person, any being, who is more a child of God, of the Universal Creative Spirit, than any one of us. A true prophet is not going to tell us there are spiritual gifts or states of being available to some that are not available to all. However, just as there are beings who have learned more about reading, or writing or mathematics than others, there are beings who have practiced, studied, being in touch with the Universal Creative Spirit, within and around us, more than others. Having the wisdom to consider such a person’s counsel is very much a worthwhile thing. If such counsel is genuine, it will resonate within our own innermost being and our own innermost voice will echo such a message. Such a message will feel right, and, if we consider it’s nature, it will be based in love. Not a selfish love, but a love which encompasses all life. Which is not to say that such a love will never carry with it what sometimes seems a difficult message.

A prophet most widely known by a translation of his name, whom we most widely call Jesus, gave us some insight to our spiritual reality in many of his teachings. One of these teachings gives us insight to staying in touch with our spiritual birthright: Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” That is how it is. Our innermost voice, usually, speaks to us gently, as in whispers. Even in the most dire of situations, this voice maintains it’s gentle, loving nature, it may become more persistent, more insistent, there can be more energy, but we are always, ultimately, consciously left with the decision. And I venture most of us have experienced the sometimes immediate “oh no” that can result if we ignore the gentle counsel of our innermost selves.

Within the totality of our being, within our lives here on this wonderful planet called Earth, with all it’s beauty, all the sensuousness, we encounter, lies our task, our challenge: how do we live our lives in this wonderland in a way which satisfactorily honors both our essential spiritual nature and the physical realities of our Earthly life? As stated above, there is much in the way of sensuous enjoyment that goes along with being a human being on Earth. There is also work, and sometimes pain that goes along with it. It is only natural that we want to seek the pleasure and avoid the pain. And in the middle, at the crux of it all lies the work. Both the mental and the physical work needed to truly successfully navigate the layered, dimensional, reality of our lives here on Earth.

To begin with, we need to understand the absolutely interrelated nature of everybody and everything that is here, now. If we are involved with doing the right things, doing the things which most enhance life in general, we will be simultaneously enhancing our own life. And, conversely, we cannot do things which harm, or impede life in general, that pollute our environment, without simultaneously harming, impeding or polluting our own life. Some results, some consequences, wonderful or awful, show up right away after we have done the best or worst thing. We immediately receive the sweet taste of the honey we have just eaten, or we feel the prick of the needle we just poked our finger with. Some results/consequences take a little longer, some much longer. Yet, if we are in touch with our connection to the divine reality we are a part of, we always have guidance at hand to what is the right thing and what is not. However, as with all the decisions in our lives, the decision is ours to make.

If we keep in mind just as with our bodies, the world, the universe we live is organic, is an organism, and that we are organically inseparable from our environment; that realization can help guide us in how think and act in relation to others and the environment which sustains us.

In order to move ahead…

View to the west from Mt. Erie, Fidalgo Island

I woke up this morning with thoughts racing through through my mind around every important relationship I’ve had. All at once. What could have been better, what didn’t go well, what would be the right thing to have happened, who did what, etc., etc. Then all that business just sort of evaporated. I am someone who has spend a lot of time and energy into studying human behavior; thinking about such things has been an ongoing process within me beginning in early adolescence. The thing about that process is that it’s full of traps of judgementalism. In a culture filled with such thinking, it’s easy to fall into them and start blaming, or feeling “cheated”. It’s easy to be trapped in our thoughts about the past, to get hung up in the “what if’s”. And while exploring the “what if’s” of our past actions/events may offer some exercise in constructive thinking, getting too caught up in it can also keep us from fully realizing the “what if’s” of our present.

We have to realize our parents, our friends, our lovers, our spouses, our siblings, our children, our neighbors, everybody including ourselves, we’re all on a learning curve. We’re all trying to utilize the tools, mental, emotional and physical, which we have at any given moment as well as possible. And sometimes we make a mess of it. And then sometimes it seems we’re simply handed a mess. In the latter case we may, as a knee-jerk response, just want to angrily fling blame…rather than look for what there is to work with. The best we can do is learn from the past, forgive the shortcomings, forgive the “mis-takes”: both on the part of others and those we brought into being, and move forward. Rededicated (or dedicated for the first time) to living wisely, caring for ourselves, others, our communities, our planet.

We are complex beings and, as a species, we’re finally accruing enough knowledge about our make-up, our needs, our faults, and our potentials to truly work together to engineer a world we can all not just live in, but flourish in. Let’s get away from the adolescent “it’s all about me” mentality humanity has been languishing in for a few decades. Let’s realize our interconnectedness, celebrate both our kinship and diversity, and act out of love to turn this place into the amazing home for humanity and other living things which it has the very real potential to be.

Oh, the wonders we can see…

(c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

We live in an unprecedented time on the planet Earth (at least as is known in recorded history). We, humankind, actually, on this very day, possess the ability to cultivate and to distribute enough food to feed the entire world’s population. We have the materials and technologies (old and new) and the manpower to build middle-class (by developed world standards) housing for everyone who needs it. We possess the means to see that everyone on Earth has electric energy available to utilize modern technologies. And we can do it without polluting our environments. We have the facilities, the technology and the teachers to educate anyone in the world who desires an education. We have more effective treatments, old and new, available for the treatment of the various diseases humankind is subject to than ever before. And, maybe more importantly, we understand more about what we need for healthy bodies and minds, how to prevent the diseases we are subject to, than ever before. All of these knowledge and material necessary for these things currently exists, and all the work necessary could be accomplished in less time than the passing of a single generation.

So why aren’t these wonderful potentials being realized?

They aren’t being realized because there are too many people afflicted with a profound blindness of our spiritual reality. Too many people see themselves as islands, separate and apart from everyone else, and see life as a competition in acquisition. And I don’t necessarily mean people in primitive, “underdeveloped” areas of the world, I’m referring to the people in the so-called developed countries. It isn’t the people who most need these blessings that are principally preventing their realization: it is the people who actually possess the means of making everything mentioned above a reality. They simply do not realize the full nature of the potential that they hold in their hands.

In fact, it would take a good deal of material wealth to do make all the wondrous things mentioned above a reality. But the material requirements are not the biggest obstacle: It requires a shared vision. It would take a commitment and cooperation on the part of a whole lot of people. But think about it, we’re already putting a lot of work into the mess we’re trying to cope with. What on Earth can be more fulfilling of our existence as intelligent beings on this beautiful, wondrous planet then to engage in creating the most healthful, “user-friendly”, human culture possible? To honor and care for the Earth we have been given in the process? Isn’t such a realization the ultimate material acquisition, the ultimate material accomplishment available to human kind?

And when we should attain such an addressing of human kind’s basic needs, can we even imagine the heights to which the human spirit can aspire and the further wonders we can realize?

It begins with a shared vision, a will to make it so. And this vision can and should be rooted not in a fleeting fantasy, but in the enduring spiritual reality that all people, all life, is interrelated, interconnected and interdependent. Some say such thinking is unrealistically idealistic. We don’t have to lose touch with reality to create such a society: we need to get in touch with reality. It is illusion and fantasy that obstruct us.

We need…

It won’t matter much if we have women’s rights to their own bodies or bans on abortions, gay rights or no gay rights, equal pay for women, if we finally rid our country of racial discrimination, looser or tighter immigration laws, prayer in schools or no prayer in schools, a lot of today’s social issues just won’t matter much if the legalized piracy, and that’s what it is, piracy, of inordinate amounts of the capital in the world by the ruling elite continues along the pattern it has been the past few decades.  A pattern which has recently been escalating dramatically.

The economic/sociologic trend we’re seeing in America is that life expectancy is decreasing.  Our communities are seeing ever increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness, hunger, unaddressed physical and mental illnesses.  Infrastructure is deteriorating.  People seem to be worshipping greed, which is truly a psychological/spiritual pandemic destroying lives and communities.  The idolization of the ways and means of those who are capturing the wealth of the world is on par with idolizing a deadly plague.

We don’t need people to be scheming and hoarding hundreds of millions and billions, even a trillion dollars’ worth of the capital which we, our parents and grandparents, and ancestors back centuries, have worked to develop and produce in the world.  We need better governance than what we’ve been receiving which not only allows such inequity but encourages and subsidizes it.  We need the resources of the Earth to be cared for and distributed in a way that all people have their basic needs met:  housing, food, education, medical care. 

And, yes, we need all people to be contributing to the care of our world and communities.  We don’t need a welfare state. That’s not good for the psychological and spiritual well-being of people.  With the rise of technology taking over so many labor jobs, we need shorter work weeks, job sharing:  but all with a living wage.  We need to be paying for services which do not produce a financial profit but are necessary to maintain healthy, viable communities.  That is true profit:  healthy people within healthy communities.  A world which nurturers the wellbeing of and the development and progress of humanity.  Progress in the arts, sciences, and greater understanding of our shared spiritual reality.

We need people to take reproductive responsibility within the reality of our world and finite resources.  We don’t need men and women making babies which they cannot and have no genuinely viable plan of adequately caring for.  Would-be parents should have a plan which demonstrates consideration of and responsibility for one’s family and the communities we all live within.  We need social programs which provide a temporary “life-boat” for people hit with unexpected hardships.  But living on welfare is not a socially, nor even a personally, responsible plan for supporting a family. However, in order to have a job, jobs need to exist, and when a parent can have more money coming in from welfare than the jobs which may available to them, something is wrong with the economic system.

We need to see the stock market abolished.  We need to see giant corporate farms broken up and an increase in smaller, ecologically responsible, farms.  We don’t need a corporate or national mentality of “saving” money, or of not funding needs in one area only to spend exorbitantly in others:  we need a mentality of the wise use of money.  The same way our bodies do not “save” blood and nutrients it carries, but keep it in circulation throughout the entirety of the body for the health of the whole. 

And, to be healthy and to have healthy communities:  we need truth as truly as we need healthful air, water and food.

Demonstrations, protests and riots are going on all over the U.S. Why?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Why do I use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a concept key to a successful life as a person or for a culture.

In many important, essential ways, people, by and large, aren’t all that complicated.  Maslow knew this aspect of our reality and took the time to try to organize our needs by importance in relationship to our survival and well-being.  Of course we don’t always find ourselves involved with filling each need in exactly the order Maslow arranged them, however, if our needs aren’t met at one level, the more desperate the need we feel, the more we’re stuck on that level.

We need to keep this reality in mind when we are working to understand and/or figure out how to respond to the demonstrations, protests and riots going on in the U.S. and elsewhere.  What these events are, every one of them, are symptoms of unmet needs.  They are populated by people who can no longer stand idly by while feeling their innate human needs go unmet.  It might have worked for them at one time.  A time when they were, for whatever reasons, able to suppress their internal urges because they felt hope that a pathway was going to open up for them to pursue fulfillment.  But when that hope wanes, desperation comes in on it’s heels.

The “rugged individualists”, particularly the ones who have found themselves in comfortable positions, might say:  well it’s their fault, they didn’t work hard enough to take care of themselves, they’re lazy.  Maybe, to some extent, for some of the people, there is some degree of truth in that.  But there is something obvious that really flies in the face of that logic:  those “lazy” people are out marching in the streets.  They are feeling a need and somebody, or something, provided them with a direction.  When one is desperate, doing something, anything, even if it’s wrong can be preferable to doing nothing.  If a direction offers some degree of even blind, hope, it is going to have an attraction.  That’s how desperation works.

The fact people are out marching, protesting, even rioting, shows that, given a direction, they are willing to take action to do something, anything, to try to gain fulfillment for their unmet needs.  It is clear that what most people need in such a situation is direction.  What is being demonstrated in these events is raw, potential energy looking for a way to become kinetic, to provide what is needed to fulfill the unmet needs.

In a civilized society it should just be a given that we are working together to meet the needs of all.  Whether we privately own things, communally own things or work with a model that embraces the best method for the immediate needs at hand, as long as we have the mind that it is a combined effort for the good of all, we will be fine.

Have you ever been poor?  After two-thirds of the month has gone by have you ever found yourself wondering how you’re going to eat for the remaining third?  When you are in that position, and you walk into a grocery store, you want EVERYTHING.  It can seem that you couldn’t possibly buy enough to satisfy your hunger.  However, if you’re not poor, if you’re well fed and you enter a grocery store, it’s not that hard to be totally satisfied picking up whatever it was you came for.  People are like that, in more ways than simply regarding food.  When we are feeling an acute shortage of something, a deep-down need for something, we can easily find ourselves thinking we want it all.

No matter how absurd or grandiose the participants’ expressed demands in the heat of desperation may be, when the people involved see and feel their needs are being genuinely fulfilled, they will, however tentatively at first, begin responding favorably to whatever is providing, and shows it can continue to provide, that fulfillment.   To merely offer such a movement resistance is to stand squarely in the way of much needed hope and change.

A footnote:  This is not to advocate for a program of ongoing free stuff for all dissatisfied people.  In Maslow’s hierarchy, self esteem is a basic human need.  Working at a fair rate in exchange for what one receives is a part of healthy self esteem.  Sometimes a person’s being able to accept “free” stuff is needed in order to pull that person up when they are down, but it’s not a viable long term solution.

A house divided against itself…

Fotosearch_k22192444
(c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

In our attempts, our efforts, at building a viable, vital society, we can learn much by observing and understanding the functioning of our own bodies.  There is a saying attributed to Hermes Trismegistus:  “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.”   This is often shortened to “As above, so below, as below, so above”.  This concept, or the observation of the nature of our reality, provides us with an understanding, which, if applied to our efforts at creating and maintaining a human culture, can do much to guide us toward what will be in harmony with the natural world.  The natural world which we are working with and within and therefore toward a more vibrant, stable and enduring culture.

Our bodies are miracles of design.  They are self-repairing, self-renewing, and they offer us multiple senses, or avenues of interface, with our environment.  They provide us with much enjoyment and pleasure.  And provide us with discomfort and/or pain to let us know when we’re not supplying them with what they need, or too much of what they don’t need.  Ultimately what makes the whole thing work is the the organs, the cells, within the body work together to keep the body, the whole, alive and well.  One of the serious threats to the health of our bodies is the occasion when some cells become sickened and engage in a pattern of runaway duplication (growth) and a voracious appetite for energy.  One could say they get greedy for resources and want to take over.  They behave more competitively than cooperatively.  Of course, as our ancestors knew centuries ago:  Mark 3:25, Jesus states, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  

Now really, just think about that last statement for a minute, it’s not rocket science.  It’s something that immediately makes sense both intellectually and emotionally.  I think this is one of those truths that people just innately know, that comes with birth.  Yet it is one many people quickly turn their backs on when the world dangles some bling in front of them and says:  Go now and compete.  Within human cultures around the world that is the genesis of a cancer that is destroying our cultures with the same certainty that an untreated malignant cancer destroys a human body.  I can imagine someone thinking, but isn’t that just exercising personal freedom?   Yes it is.  And freedom is an essential aspect of a healthy human culture.  However, it is also just exercising personal freedom to take an automatic weapon to an elementary school and start shooting students.  Freedom is a double edged sword and is only an asset to humanity when it is combined with wisdom.  Such as the wisdom that if we aren’t all working together, cooperatively, for the good of the whole of humanity, the body of humanity, we are in the process of destroying that body.  And just as the cells of a body cannot survive for long once the body as a whole becomes unviable, no matter how adept a survivalist one might think they are, human beings cannot survive indefinitely outside a viable human culture.

All my life I have heard Charles Darwin exalted as one of the, effectively, high priests of the natural world.  I don’t think it’s possible to think of Charles Darwin and not think of the phrase survival of the fittest.  That is the phrase those most industrially disseminating information within popular culture have locked onto regarding Darwin.  But today those who are seriously researching Darwin’s ideas and adaptive strategies are saying friendliness and cooperation is the most successful strategy for survival.  This is just one more example of how spirituality and science are converging in the world today.

If we are to survive as a species on this planet we must recognize our oneness, our interconnectedness and interdependence.  Not merely within cities, or nations, but as global body of humanity.

The Lifeguard Principle: What it is, what is it good for, how to make friends with it.

Fotosearch_k22192444
(c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

I am realizing that many of us, me included, have a tendency to readily notice and respond to the things in the world that are blatantly wrong, or problematic, and that this may consequently mean we simultaneously are not giving enough attention to the things that are right. 

I first became aware of this tendency decades ago when I worked a couple summers as a lifeguard.  When I found myself in the lifeguard chair, looking at a large, crowded pool with lots of noise and activity, I had a moment of doubt.  I wondered how in the world am I going to see someone in trouble in this chaos?  I asked an older lifeguard that question and he replied that I just needed to keep my eyes on the pool and if someone got into trouble, I’d see it.  Sounds too simple, right?  It isn’t.  As it turns out our attention is drawn to the things that aren’t right.  Whether it is inconsistencies, differences in movement, sometimes the obvious shout for “help”, or some other more esoteric phenomenon, it is a reliably real thing.  I would always find my attention drawn to someone in trouble.  Sometimes a few seconds before they were actually experiencing the distress.  Of course it is also true that my mindset, my internal desire, was to see such occurrences.  That may be a part of the function at work.  I began calling this tendency to have our attention drawn to what is wrong “the lifeguard principle”.

While paying attention and looking for trouble was an explicit part of that job, I think it is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent.  It definitely is a survival trait in times of threat.  Maybe it’s a carry over from the days when we were walking through forests or jungles and we had to be aware of our surroundings to avoid being eaten.  It definitely is a behavior that is necessary in times of warfare, one person, gang, tribe, nation, attacking another.  I believe it is universal among humankind.   For those interested in looking into such things, there is some correlate in the functioning of our “exciting” and “calming” neurotransmitters.  Our bodies have evolved in a way that we deplete our “calming” neurotransmitters well before we are in danger of running out of “exciters”.  I suppose that would help keep us from just lying down and being eaten when being chased by a tiger.  But now, in the year 2020, for many if not most of us, the dynamics we face in our day to day lives are not quite the same as they have been through much our existence.

It’s not that there still aren’t some acute dangers in the world; in some places much more than others.  However, the dangers most of us face in developed nations are more of a chronic nature.  We don’t get pounced on and quickly killed and eaten by a tiger, we get killed more gradually by being slowly consumed by worries, fears, anxieties, and insecurities.  Just as the nature of the threats has changed over time, our reactions to the threats we’re facing needs to change also.  A sudden, pervasive startle, fight or flight reaction to all the, sometimes subtle, threats an average person may face during their day would certainly result in a person becoming overly stressed, burned out, and significantly more at risk for a plethora of diseases.  Further, not only would such a reaction pattern do that, having such acute reactions to daily stressors has and is doing that to people today, every day.

Sometimes we need to intervene in what direction our “autopilot” chooses and become more reasoned with our reactions to life’s events.  Having an innate sensitivity to things that are “wrong” in our environment can be part of an important survival system.  Our “lifeguard principle” exists for just that purpose, to help guard our lives.  This brings to my mind a book by Gavin De Becker:  “The Gift of Fear”.  It addresses the important role fear can and does play in our lives.  However, with both the “lifeguard principle” and “The Gift of Fear”, whether or not these innate aspects of our being serve us or sabotage us depends entirely on how we react to the input we receive from them.

In our complex, more populated, human culture primitive responses to what are often sophisticated situations become less and less viable.  As a culture, we need to get way more invested in learning more about what it is to be human and what we inherently, and universally, require to establish and maintain healthy, vital, lives.  When we learn to respond to human, social, problems in a manner seeking to solve those problems on the basis of seeing needs met and lives stabilized, we are going to find ourselves in a thriving, vibrant world such as we have only had the partial passing enjoyment of, you could say glimpses of, during a few periods of time in the past 150 years.

Within the current available knowledge from the fields of psychology, sociology, physiology, and spirituality, we have all we need to have more than a good start.  It only requires our will and determination to do so.

 

What does a new “case” of covid-19 mean? (And is it okay to shout “fire” in a crowded theater?)

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In almost every discussion I have had regarding covid-19 and the various governmental responses to it, one of the first issues that comes up are all the inconsistencies and contradictions in what we’re being told and what we’re being told to do.  But before I get into that, I want to look at one other aspect of the covid-19 picture that we in the U.S. are hearing and reading about every day:  the growing number of “cases” being found every day. 

One of William Shakespeare’s most well-known questions is: “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  However, it is also well known that names, words, can and do make a great difference in how we perceive a thing.  The noun “case”, especially when relating to illness/disease is one of these words.  We have to be aware that sometimes a word means something in common usage, and also, within the specialization of one discipline or another, that word may have a particular meaning.  For example, we all know what the common usages of the word “head” are.  Either a body part or possibly the boss, or leader of something.  However, in the Navy, the word “head” can and often does refer to the toilet/WC.  Sometimes it all depends on the context the word is being used in.  The word “case” has some similar usage issues.

In common usage I venture to say we usually think of a “case” as being something that holds something else, like a cellphone case.  Or, when speaking about illness, a case is commonly thought of occurring when someone is actively ill with something.  We’ve all probably heard about someone coming down with a case of food poisoning, or, heaven forbid, a case of cancer.  The fact that someone ate some food which somehow, later, turned up as tainted, means that maybe the person might “come down with a case of food poisoning”, but not necessarily.   With cancer I have heard that at any given time most (all?) of us have some cancer cells in our body, however that doesn’t mean we’re suffering with a case of cancer. A “case” of something commonly means someone is actively suffering, ill, with whatever it is.   The CDC and other public health related people and agencies however, seem to have a different meaning for the word “case” within their technical jargon.  In that usage a “case” can evidently mean simply a positive test result. 

So when we hear about all the new cases of covid-19 turning up, what does that mean?  Does that mean all the people represented by that number are actively suffering from the severe ravages of covid-19, which we’ve heard so much about?  If we’re thinking in common usage terms, the word “case” tends to lead our minds down that path.  However, the reality is that in terms of the daily covid “scoreboard”, it doesn’t mean that at all.  It means more people have been tested and some of the test results are positive.  Kind of like someone eating some food with some unwanted bacteria growing on it.  Does that necessarily meant they are going to come down with a case of food poisoning?   As with exposure to just about every potentially harmful substance on Earth, there a few other variables involved such as the amount of the “dose” of bacteria and the person’s pre-existing state of health.  I think that the robustness of the human immune system is being largely ignored as the covid scenario progresses.  Which brings us back to: will someone who tests positive for covid become ill, develop symptoms?  Maybe. I’m not sure there are any reliable numbers on the relationship between testing positive and becoming symptomatic.  But even if odds are that an infected person will develop some symptoms, as the World Health Organization states:  “COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.”

At this point I find myself asking, would the daily news have the same quality of sensationalism if what is reported are “positive test results”?  As it is, while typical pornography titillates feelings of lust, what is being titillated by the current media onslaught is fear.  I don’t think it’s inaccurate to call it “fear porn”.  So, imagine the headline:  “Today an additional 1,000 people tested positive for covid.”  After a few weeks, how many people are going to be on the edge of their seats waiting for the latest tally?  But if they say there are 1,000 new cases of covid, especially without any qualifying explanations, our minds, our imaginations, tend to take us down the path of common usage to a forest of doom and gloom, don’t they?  So, are we being misled?  I think so, I think the folks putting the words together know exactly what picture those words are likely to conjure up in the minds of the general public.  However, are they lying?  I think it can be easily argued in a court of law that, no, the health officials are merely reporting the facts as they define them.  And the media is just parroting what they’re being told. 

I think the reporting which is taking place around covid by the mainstream media in the U.S. begs the question: is it okay to shout “fire” in a crowded theater?

Getting back to the matter of the inconsistencies, I probably don’t need to go much further, if you’ve been paying much attention to the claims about covid and the various orders coming from the various levels of government you could probably enlighten me about a few notable inconsistencies.  However, here are a few I’ve encountered:

  • One major inconsistency I’ve heard more than once is that while the State Legislature in Washington State is still meeting online, the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is looking at, at least some, students being back in the classroom.
  • Another I’ve heard a couple times is: if covid is so contagious, why aren’t cities, or whoever, prescribing safe methods, or providing receptacles, for disposing of all the used facemasks and gloves? Personally I’ve seen quite a few discarded masks and gloves on the street or in parking lots.
  • If gathering in large numbers inside enclosed spaces is not okay, why is it okay to shop in large numbers at Walmart and other “big box” stores but not okay to shop in smaller numbers within smaller, local stores?
  • However, one I find most notable is: with all the expressions of danger and concern coming from the CDC, State governments and the Federal government, why aren’t our leaders showing the will and wisdom to use the same medicines and methods which are being used in the countries which have already been able to return to functioning for the most part as they were before the virus showed up?

With all that is at stake, with all the losses, of jobs, homes, and lives that have taken place and will take place around the covid scenario, there possibly has been no time in modern U.S. history in which it is more important for average citizens to be diligently seeking information about the situation facing us from all sources offering such information. Then the task we face is to sort through that information, seek what bits and pieces from the various sources hold up to scrutiny and fit together with other bits and pieces which we have confidence in the reliability of.  We must also factor in motives of individuals or groups which want us to do, or not do, something or another.  Are we “all in this together” or are there winners and losers?  Why?  When a relative few of the richest are becoming richer and millions are losing significantly, when those in seats of power are obviously garnering more power through their manipulations of the situation, there obviously are some personal interests being served.   What’s happening isn’t all about health.  It’s also very much about economics and power.  We should be looking into every nook and cranny that presents itself, then, with thoughtful analysis, we can begin to see the “big picture” of what is actually taking place.  Sometimes we may not like where our own observations and conclusions may take us.  Sometimes the truth is not the reality we want to acknowledge or have to deal with.