The Assault Upon Our Democracy

Graphic: Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

As we enter 2021 the United States is filled with a citizenry which, on the whole, is more troubled, fearful, angry, and poorer than they ever have been in the last 75 years. A citizenry which is increasingly homeless and hungry. A citizenry which is increasingly being “ruled”, not governed, by a cabal composed of the wealthiest who have managed, over the past 60+ years, to shape the thinking and culture of the nation to their liking. Joe Biden was certainly correct when, in his speech on Jan. 6, he stated “…our democracy is under unprecedented assault…”. However, he is sorely inaccurate in his assignment of the source of the assault merely to those who were demonstrating, and rioting, at the Capital Building.

While the demonstration and riot did manage to achieve a graphic display of the dissatisfaction which is widespread in the U.S., as far as preventing a fulfillment of the results of the last election, it was a misguided, futile effort. The pervasive and, at this point, long standing threat, the primary threat to American democracy: which is on the verge of dealing a fatal blow to the American experiment in democracy, is the dissemination of inaccuracies, lies, propaganda, which those occupying the highest positions in both government and industry have been increasingly engaging in since the end of the Second World War. It is impossible for a healthy democracy to exist without a steady flow of honest, accurate information for the people, who are at the heart of the system, to base their decisions upon. As we enter 2021 we must face the fact our democracy is crippled in this regard by five realities:

  1. Our “representative government has in reality become a government/industry amalgamation which routinely cries out “national security” to prevent the citizenry from gaining access to critical information. Information essential to any genuine effort at democratic government.
  2. The corporations deeply entrenched in governmental function are so obsessed with being at the “top of the food chain” in a predatory corporate culture, lying to the public is simply standard operating procedure.
  3. The governmental agencies which have been originally tasked with the protection of the interests of the public, have been co-opted by the industries the public expects them to be regulating. Their proclamations are little more than corporate PR.
  4. The “mainstream” news media (the fourth estate) has been monopolized by large corporations and, collectively, have become little more than conveyors of propaganda disseminated under the guise of “news”.
  5. Our government is increasingly populated by self-serving politicians who: have learned how to manipulate the system for personal gain, are increasingly dependent upon the wealth of corporations and certain wealthy individuals to obtain office, employ professional speech writers who expertly write speeches which divert, manipulate and placate the public. Speeches which they have no compunction against delivering. The U.S. has not yet had a President which does not fall into this category during the 21st century.

So yes, Joe Biden is entirely accurate with his claim of an unprecedented assault being waged upon our democracy. However, his assigning the primary source of that assault to those who engaged in the misguided actions in Washington, D.C. on Jan 6th is just more diversion and manipulation. It is more misinformation, which is, in fact, the true assault upon our democracy.

The key to dismantling this monstrosity of a manipulative system is simple and easily available to every individual in the U.S. In fact, every individual in the world. It is love. It is having love for all of humankind. It is basing our speech, our actions, our systems on the reality of that love. We must embrace the reality encapsulated in the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” and genuinely and thoughtfully apply it in our lives. We are all an important part of an interdependent system. When we realize that, “One for all and all for one.” becomes much more than an interesting motto from a book.

The timeless observation of Hannah Arendt.

In this post I am referring the reader to another article. It is a well-written examination of the events of the past year, which are still ongoing, as characterized by the observations of Hannah Arendt of Adolph Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem .

LINK:

The “Curious, but Quite Authentic, Inability to Think

Covid-19: Who should we believe?

In the video linked at the end of this post, doctors and scientists from around the world all say the same thing: the pandemic, as reported in the media by and large, is a fraud and the vaccine is dangerous, don’t take it. That summary is blunt and lacks the full authority and other details to be found in the video itself. It is not meant to be an introduction to the video and falls far short of doing justice in that regard. Please watch the video. There are two links in case one has been cut off. (Which presents it’s own question. In this land of “free speech”, why are presentations that call a worldwide vaccination program into question being pulled, not by their authors, from publicly accessible websites?)

So why not just post the video and skip the writing? Because I feel a need to say something about the larger question, which is: Is it really possible that enough of the world’s leaders, enough world media, and enough of the world’s highly placed medical authorities are working together to attempt such a large scale manipulation of people around the globe? I think most people are going to have the knee-jerk response to that question of “no, it’s unthinkable”. That is certainly an understandable response born of years or decades of repetitive presentations which, directly or indirectly, tell us that such a thing is unthinkable. Presentations within schools, colleges and by the media, along with maybe some wishful thinking. After all, who would want such a thing to be happening in our world? Certainly not me.

But here we are, with conflicting information flying around us. With experts in the fields associated with the events around Covid-19 (Covid) putting forward statements that absolutely contradict what seems to be the worldwide assumption: that Covid is a genuine, deadly pandemic, that it infects millions, has killed hundreds of thousands, and requires worldwide vaccinations if we ever want to be safe again. Yet, with so many outspoken, qualified, doctors and scientists, from many countries, with nothing to gain and a lot to lose by doing so, with their professional reputations and livelihoods on the line, telling us it just isn’t so, who are we supposed to believe?

There are some questions I think everyone should be asking, the answers to which are available within information, which is not disputed, which has been put forward as of this date. Here they are:

The first question is: Can we trust the numbers of Covid “cases” and deaths which the those in positions of governmental authority in the U.S. are putting forward. Numbers which the mainstream media by and large passes along unquestioned? The numbers which those in the positions of governmental authority are basing the lockdowns, the restrictions upon personal movement, and recommendations around vaccination on?

My response is no, we most certainly cannot. The reason I say that is because the numbers and the manner in which they are presented seem designed to deceive the public into believing the reality of the presence of Covid-19 (if it actually exists) is worse than it is. I inject “if it actually exists” because, as you will see in the video, there are some very knowledgeable people who are not convinced that it does. Some very knowledgeable and qualified professionals state the virus has never been isolated. However, if we assume for the time being that it does exist, and that it is resulting in actual illnesses and deaths, is it actually responsible for the numbers of illnesses and deaths the media are attributing to it? Again, the answer is clearly no.

Concerning the reported “cases” of Covid, in the U.S. the reality is that the PCR test being used to supposedly establish incidents of exposure to the virus is notorious for false positives. So in that alone we see an exaggerated figure being put forward. The second criticism I offer relates to a somewhat more subtle psychological ploy being used in reporting the number of “cases”. It is that the exaggerated number of presumed exposures to the virus is being called “cases” at all. In fairness, I have found that within the specialized world of the CDC the presence of a pathogen in a person warrants it being termed “a case”. However, in the day to day world of the average person a “case” of a disease commonly means someone is actively symptomatic, actively ill. Calling people who have no symptoms, are experiencing no ill effects, from a virus “a case”, while maybe defendable in a court of law, in fact, leads people to believe that things are worse than they are. If we had used this method with any other flu or disease that has shown up in the past, we would have seen numbers way higher than the numbers of active illness we used to define those outbreaks. It is a fact that relative to any potentially pathogenic virus that comes along, our body’s immune system will immediately begin defending us and, as is the case with Covid-19, the vast majority of us simply will not become actively ill. Why intentionally put forward a such a large and anxiety provoking exaggeration? What is there to gain?

Regarding the reported number of hospitalizations from Covid, what I have learned is some, or all (?), hospitals are testing people who may have been admitted for reasons entirely unrelated to Covid and, if the test is positive, that hospitalization is reported as a Covid hospitalization. Again, why? Why distort a number in a manner which will predictably increase anxiety and fear in the population at large? What is there to gain?

Concerning the reported Covid deaths, Dr. Deborah Birx, in explaining how the government is accumulating and reporting this number said they are taking a “very liberal” approach to death reporting and Covid-19. People who die with Covid (meaning the virus is reportedly present in their body) but not from Covid-19, are being counted as a Covid death. Again, if this method of reporting had been used with any flu in the past (as with the “cases” reporting) we would have seen greatly increased numbers of fatalities from any incidence of flu. Is this an accurate way of determining Covid deaths? The answer is clearly “no”. Which again begs the question, by implementing this clearly exaggerated method of reporting, what is there to gain?

So the second question: What is there to gain and by whom? The answer to this question doesn’t take long to answer, there are hundreds of billions dollars to gain. Not millions, not billions, hundreds of billions. But only if “we the people” believe we are facing a ferocious disease which threatens the very fabric of humanity. Because if we don’t believe it, we aren’t going to keep trotting ourselves out to the testing centers. We aren’t going to tolerate our businesses, our restaurants and bars, being closed down for weeks on end. We aren’t going to tolerate our schools being closed. We aren’t going to just accept the additional economic and emotional hardships the restrictions and lockdowns impose. And, maybe most importantly, we aren’t going to line up for the vaccinations in the numbers we will if we believe the mainstream narrative.

If we didn’t believe the narrative so far, Jeff Bezos and the other billionaires who are reaping windfall profits wouldn’t be the recipients of all that money. Big Pharma wouldn’t have received the billions in funding to develop a vaccine and they wouldn’t be looking at billions more in future sales. Wealthy real estate investors wouldn’t be looking at the properties coming available due to defaults on loans which they’re now looking at. And these are just the Covid related profitable situations I know about. How many are there I don’t know about…yet? So are there people with something to gain with what is taking place with Covid? Yes, big time. But again, only if we believe what those in positions of governmental authority and the media keep telling us.

Which brings us to our third question: Who should we believe? The many doctors and scientists from around the world who, with nothing material to gain and everything to lose, are telling us, essentially, that we’re being manipulated, lied to? Or the people who are looking at windfall riches if only we keep believing, keep feeling the fear the media has done such a effective job of creating and maintaining?

Finally, there is the question stated in the beginning of this post and implied in all of what is above: Could it be possible that people in key positions of government, media, and medical authority, in many countries, could all be brought on board to facilitate such an abuse of the general citizenry of the world? It would definitely be a first in recorded history. However, if the past 100 years should have taught us anything, it’s that we’re living in an age of “firsts”.

Links to video:

The Question on Everyone’s Mind

The Question on Everyone’s Mind

What has happened to the promise of science?

We take the path of our own choosing. Although sometimes we can be led to believe our choices are limited to those another would choose for us.

I can remember growing at a time when there was a general understanding among people of what “science” is. It was known to be a method, a system, of approaching a problem, or a question, which will result in our having the most true and accurate perception of the thing. Then, using those results, we can make the best decisions, the decisions which will best serve humankind to not only survive, but have the best and brightest future possible. Of course, in our scientific explorations we also discover things which can be used for death and destruction, but good people have the wisdom to put those things aside unless possibly needed to defend ourselves, to defend our lives. We trusted those to whom we entrust the reins of leadership and our cultural wellbeing, to be people of honesty and integrity who will make wise decisions in our best interests and who will not lie to us about matters of consequence. That is the beautiful concept of a world I was introduced to in the mid-twentieth century.

So what happened? I think, in retrospect, a hazard of new fortune happened. Immediately prior to, during, and just after the second world war, humankind came into a wealth of knowledge about our world, our selves. Knowledge which could be made widely known and, while challenging some of our previously held beliefs, could help humankind have a collectively brighter future. Or, could be kept secretively in the hands of a relative few and the power of that knowledge used to manipulate everyone else, the general population, into becoming impotent, docile servants to a new version of “conqueror”. Conquerors who, for the most part, utilize the manipulation of ideas and our own perceptions to lead us into a willing enslavement which we perceive as the cost of defending our safety, even our freedom. Conquerors who use the tool of our own mind against us.

Unfortunately, if possibly predictably, those holding the reins of power at the time chose the latter path. I say predictably because I have learned it is normal for children to get it wrong before they get it right. And the plight of humankind is as children trying to make a life on a beautiful planet which we have somehow, miraculously, found ourselves upon. It seems that, in the process of finding our way, as in the book “Lord of the Flies”, humankind is quite capable of allowing our imaginations and intoxication with power, along with some bad assumptions, into leading us to taking cruel actions upon one another. Unlike the children in “Lord of the Flies”, I don’t think we can expect a military rescue. If we are going to be rescued it is upon us to rescue ourselves. We must get in touch with our better nature, turn to the values, the thinking and behavior, which will lead us to a recognition of our kinship, brothers and sisters bound, if by nothing else, by the mutuality of our plight. A plight which, if handled with loving care, can be realized as a blessing in which we can fulfill our best and brightest dreams.

So what has happened to the promise of science? That bright, shining, light on the hill which has so often wonderfully inspired our hopes and imaginations? Along with the reins of our economy and government, it has been captured by those driven by the profit motive. The goals of many occupying the most visual, authoritative positions within science have been turned from being concerned with the collection of knowledge for the wellbeing of all humankind, into, far too often, being concerned with maximizing profits for one corporation or another. It’s that simple. Science itself, as the public often interfaces with it, has morphed from a tool for the betterment of all into, again, far too often, a tool primarily for the enrichment of a few. As it turns out, science, as with any other tool humankind has ever developed, is only as good as the motives and methods of those wielding it.

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?

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.

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.

Always, never, sometimes, all, none, some.

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

I’ve been writing letters to our local paper and articles for my blog for some time.  However, all that pales in comparison to countless conversations with many people over many years.  When you converse with and/or get written feedback from intelligent people on the ideas that you’re expressing, it can lead one to have to refine one’s communications.  That’s a good thing.

One thing which over the years I have had to face repeatedly in my communications, and which I often see in the communications of others, are the instances in which, by design or default, a person makes an all encompassing statement which, in it’s breadth, renders the statement inaccurate, untrue.  One often sees this in cases in which someone is angry about something, or purposely trying to sway the opinion of an already biased audience.  The thing about the heat of emotion is that it often abates in the presence of objective (coolheaded) thought.  This can be good if the goal is to find rational resolution to problematic issues, or bad if the goal is to incite thoughtless anger.

One clue that what is being communicated is not based in reality, often is the use of the words “all”, “no”, “always” or “never”.  Or statements which clearly imply the use of those words, even if the words themselves are not present.  This is particularly true when the topic has to do with human traits, characteristics, and/or behaviors.  For example, and I am going to jump right in with a loaded example, if I write that all men are emotionally shallow, cruel people, I, unfortunately, may be accurate about some men, but because I include the word “all”, my statement is untrue.  The same is true if I omit the world “all” and simply say that men are emotionally shallow, cruel people.  The implication is clear that I am referring to all men.  But if I state that some men are emotionally shallow, cruel people, that is a statement which is defendable, true and accurate.  This same principle is at work if I make the statement that no men are shallow, cruel people.  At this point some reading this are probably going, yeah, been there, done that.  Some are possibly considering this information for the first time.

The difference this adjustment in our communication, and our thinking, can make in the world is tremendous.  We human beings are complex beings and, in our complexity, sweeping statements trying to characterize genders or races, referring to deficits or strengths in any particular area of our thinking and/or behavior, are seldom, if ever, accurate.  This is the case no matter the gender or skin color of the people being referred to.

So the next time you’re arguing with a friend, or your spouse, or getting ready to deliver a characterization of a particular person or group of people, please give some thought as to whether or not what you’re about to say, or write, is actually, literally accurate/true.  Sometimes doing this can lead us to realize that we are not correct in our initial thinking/perception.  Sometimes that can be a very good, comforting thing.  And it is always going to put us a step closer to resolving issues, reaching agreements, if we aren’t inciting defensiveness and hurting feelings by mischaracterizing those we’ve found ourselves in a problematic situation with.