Egalitarianism vs. Socialism (vs. Capitalism)

This is a brief examination of the essence of the concepts of egalitarianism and socialism. While capitalism is mentioned, I think most people are all too aware of what capitalism is and how it is playing out in our world. I am very confident that, in the world today, there are many people who claim to want a socialist society when, in reality, the concept they have in their mind is of a more egalitarian society. In 20/20 hindsight, I know I have made that semantic error. Words are powerful. Using the correct term to accurately express the concept we have in our mind is important. I think we often fall into the error of the misuse of a term, especially when that misuse is common around us.

According to Merriam-Webster, “egalitarian” is defined as:

“: asserting, promoting, or marked by egalitarianism“.

Egalitarianism is defined as:

1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs

2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people”

I think, when a lot of people use the word “socialism”, the above qualities are actually what they have in their mind. One other notable aspect which I think often accompanies the use of the word “socialism”, is that when thinking of increased equality, it is common for a person to be thinking only in terms of the rewards, the benefits, available within a society. True equality also means sharing in the work involved in developing and maintaining a society. There is much needed, in many different areas, to maintain a healthy society. Everything from picking up the trash on the side of the road, to brain surgery. It all matters. There cannot be viable equality in a society in which some only receive, or in which some only give. The imbalance will cause the society to topple. It’s such a simple principle, yet one that is so often overlooked: imbalance engenders instability which can, and will, result in a toppling.

All that being said, Merriam-Webster’s definition of socialism is as follows:

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”

I do not believe that this is what most people today who are using the term “socialist” or “socialistic” have in mind. I have a great deal of confidence that most people in the United States who use this term do not have “no private property” in mind. I know I don’t. I want to be able to leave my home in the morning and return to find it is still my home. The same with my car, tools, and essential personal property. On the other hand, sometimes working and contributing together to see that essential goods and services are available to all is a very good thing. Such a method is used widely to provide schools, police, fire fighter, and emergency response services. There are more essential goods and services which using a similar societal/cooperative approach in the provision of, could stand to benefit humanity greatly. That is another topic, not for this article.

It seems to me that the common use of the term “socialism” in the United States is a reaction to the extreme economic imbalance which is only increasing under the current capitalistic economic system. In every city, I venture every town, in the United States today we see people being marginalized. People are experiencing their needs going unmet, often not for a lack of actively contributing to the wellbeing of their community. We are seeing the end result of allowing the predatory reality, which is a purely capitalist system, to determine our economic reality. However, in contrast to egalitarianism, socialism opens the door just as wide as capitalism does to an extreme imbalance in economic reality and political power. I recommend those using the term “socialism”, as an alternative to “capitalism”, more closely examine it’s definition. Then examine the definition of “egalitarian”. Words matter. What term more accurately describes the reality you want to see emerge in the world?

Additional:

I just looked up “socialism” in a copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, 1991. It does not have the same definition as what I have above which came from the online version of Merriam-Webster. Most significantly, it does not include the idea of no private ownership. It does include the phrase “…in which the private ownership of the means of production and distribution has been eliminated.” I cannot help but wonder if the more extreme version has something to do with weaponizing the word? We live in a world in which we are seeing our language altered, definitions changed, sometimes clearly to benefit one group or another. We need to have greater reverence for our language, which is a significant part of our cultural, intellectual, environment.

It is time to remember our humanity.

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

Over the past 6+ decades “our” Federal Government has lied to us about the JFK and RFK assassinations. Also, the Vietnam war, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the first WTC bombing, MK Ultra, UFO’s, 9/11, WMD’s in Iraq, and more. Why are so many people so willing to blindly accept that we are getting the truth about COVID and the “vaccines”?To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a time, nor a set of issues, when so many qualified, independent, professionals have felt compelled to speak out against what the Government and media are presenting to us. Professionals from various medical, biological, other scientific and legal disciplines. They are putting their professional credibility, their livelihoods, on the line to speak out.

What is the reason for the “tunnel vision” that has gripped so many educated, caring people? The “masses” have blindly followed the directives to destroy livelihoods, to impose isolation, to deprive youth of educational opportunities, to witness dramatic increases in poverty, depression and suicides. To be complicit in coercing neighbors to be injected with a known hazardous substance which those people did not want inside their bodies. All this based in fear of a disease, which, if left totally untreated, has a 99.9% + survival rate. If the WHO had not unilaterally redefined the term “pandemic”, from it’s traditional meaning, during the time of the Swine Flu, what is going on would not be a “pandemic”.

It is time to remember our humanity, our individuality. It’s time to stop trying to force our own health care decisions upon everyone. The value and necessity of individualized care has been a standard within the medical field for some time. Right now, are people which the data shows to be highly susceptible to adverse reactions to the vaccines being truly given the benefit of informed consent? Again, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a time when those at the top of the pyramid of the medical, political and media establishment in the United States have so diligently kept accurate information about a disease, and about treatments, away from the general public. And there has never been a time when the American public has been so amenable to such censorship.

The world is in turmoil. What can we do?

Much of what’s taking place in the world today has been made possible by amazing communication technologies. While these technologies bring much of positive value to the world, as with so many other developments, they also offer those with dishonorable motives new avenues through which to prey upon communities. The latter application of these technologies has reached such proportion, If I wasn’t seeing it happen, I’m not sure I would have believed it to be possible. I grieve that it is.

I was born in 1950. I remember the U.S. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. I remember what I saw as a child of life in those times. I remember the post WWII mind set which was predominant in those days in the midwestern United States. There was an undercurrent of optimism, positivity. Diseases were being conquered, diplomacy, rather than war, occupied the headlines. People felt good that tyranny, authoritarianism, genocide, had been defeated. As is all too clear now, the world wasn’t as free of some of these human problems as many believed.

It’s not that everything was ideal, not at all. There were (and sadly still are) issues of ignorance, misunderstanding, fear, hatred, between people of differing races and religions. There were the major rifts between the nations identifying with capitalism and those identifying with communism. However, during WWII, people from many nations, nations with histories of distrust, antagonism, had pulled together to defeat a common enemy. There was optimism that the common values which had surfaced during the war could be built upon to establish lasting peaceful relationships. It was a time of the belief in unlimited possibilities for a better world.

What is absolutely apparent now, is that those who perceived the possibilities for improving the conditions of life for all people, weren’t the only ones seeing unlimited possibilities. There were those who saw the potential of using the new technologies, the developments in transportation, communication, psychology, medicine, and other disciplines, as tools for plunder. Rather than embracing the opportunities to engage in massive development, to facilitate improvements for the common good, they saw, and continue to see, human deficits through the lens of exploitation. Not as areas of need to be addressed with pervasive development and education, but as openings to be exploited in order to establish themselves in predatory positions of power within the systems of the world.

It is apparent now, that post WWII, those seeking personal wealth and power have been working, manipulating public perception. Often co-opting the very symbols which had represented the defeat of tyranny, authoritarianism and inhuman behaviors. They employ words and symbols which once stirred the most positive motives within people to obfuscate and shield their predatory agendas. One of the first major coups these people won was, via magazines, television, and other media, establishing the idea of unrestrained pursuit of personal wealth as a positive primary value in the psyche of people around the world. Once that lie, a lie which ignores basic values necessary to maintaining both healthy individuals and healthy cultures, was pervasively established in the minds of the population, the door to pandemonium was opened.

Competitive economics establishes a system in which those at the top have the distinct advantage. The oppressive, sometimes murderous, methods used to maintain and expand the wealth of those at the top become just the methods of “business as usual”. After all, it’s what you would do if you had all that money? Isn’t it? It’s the value system the media repeatedly portrays as the way of the world. And many, especially those who have never been exposed to something different, simply assume that impression to be the global, inescapable reality.

Abraham Maslow provided us with a working framework, a skeleton, within which it is possible to “flesh out” not only healthy, thriving individuals, also healthy, thriving cultures.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

How do we know what is needed to “flesh out”, to establish a viable, worldwide, thriving human culture? We have the findings of the work done in many scientific disciplines over many centuries to guide us. Psychology, sociology, medicine, agriculture, engineering, all of these disciplines, and more, hold information which provides the necessary answers. There are the developments in science and the arts which provide much instruction for the establishment and maintenance of a healthful, thriving human culture. There are answer available to us to the problems of housing, health, energy, pollution, and more. Sometimes these answers go unused because they interfere with the profit motive of those in positions of power. And we accept it because the culture of competitive economics has become normalized.

The thing is, we have got the tools we need to establish a world in which people of many different backgrounds can live together as vital aspects of our world ecology, interacting and enhancing each other’s experience of life. What is missing is the focus to make it happen. I would have said the “will” to make it happen, but I believe that will is present, inside every living human being. Sometimes it is dormant, sometimes it has been covered in so much pain and trauma, so many lies and misdirections, that it expresses itself in twisted, destructive ways. But it is there.

As a teacher of mine once said: “Life takes work, it’s death that’s easy. Just do nothing and you will die.”

All people emanate from and are inextricably a part of the Divine Creative Spirit. This aspect of our existence is represented by the golden circle in the center in the diagram above. The next area, the circle which surrounds the center circle, is the “Worldly Persona” which is the identity the rest of world knows us by. It is defined by our words and deeds which are observable to the rest of the people in the world. It is this persona that is the product of the process described below. Our persona reflects the sum total of our worldly experiences, desires and decisions.

There are no “bad people”, there are no “good people”, there are only people. What makes the difference between tyrants such as Adolf Hitler, Mary I of England, or Pol Pot and revered personalies such as Gautama Buddha, St. Teresa of Calcutta, or Martin Luther King Jr.? It is not some mysterious, unknown variables. The difference lies in the sum total of their individual experiences (education, indoctrination, relationships, interactions), their desires, and their decisions. It is important to note here that the “sum total” may include the experiences, desires and decisions of many lifetimes. Also that biology and/or injuries can play a major role in the development of an individual’s persona.

However, we are thinking beings with free will. We have the potential to change. We can mold not only ourselves, but the world we live in. If we decide we desire a better, more harmonious, world, and we act upon that desire, we can bring that vision to reality. It may take time, but the sooner we start, the sooner we arrive.

With the determination to do so, bitterness can be transmuted to understanding. Fear and hatred can be transmuted to caring and love. However, we must stay aware that the opposite is also true. Caring and love, with enough abuse and trauma, especially when accompanied by input and reinforcement to do so, can be replaced with hatred and cruelty. We must end the mistreatment, the cruelties we impose upon one another. We must see each other as being the children of the same Creator, which we are. As we now know, we are all inextricably interconnected. Isn’t it time we established the positive, harmonious, joyful, reality we all, at the core of our being, long for?

In summation, while we all can, at times, be negatively affected by the world around us, through enlightenment, education, understanding, we can transmute negative impulses into constructive actions. We can play a more positively determinate role within our own lives, within our relationships, and within the world around us.

At this time, around the world, we are being advised by individuals and agencies, which wield substantial worldly power, to be fearful. We are being urged, coerced, to be compliant, to follow the instructions we’re being given. Instructions which appeal to the fear the media and corporate powers are largely responsible for instilling. In their positions of power within the media, the corporate powers are wielding an incredible ability of censorship over information. They routinely do not publish truths which disagree with, which dispute the predatory agendas they are implementing. A predominant one at this time is the COVID/”vaccine” agenda. Any information which contradicts the fear based agenda they are pushing, is either censored in corporate media, or, if it is referred to, it is done so in such a way as to discredit that information.

A collection of various and sometimes overlapping people have introduced a previously unknown disease into the world apparently in the pursuit of a homicidal, special interest, agenda. And they may introduce more. They are offering toxic, death-dealing treatments and doing all they can to repress the knowledge of the existence of safe, effective treatments. And throughout it all, they are engineering the flow of vast amounts of the world’s wealth into their hands. Yet we can make the decision to comply with this heinous agenda, or not. We have the final decision in whether or not to allow the pollution of our minds and spirits with the fear and hate they are promoting. And, we have the final decision whether or not to allow the pollution of our bodies with the toxic substances they are pushing.

Changing the focus back to our inherent divine origin and heritage, even when we are being motivated by fear, anger, hatred, even then, through the filters of our mind which are active at that time, we are expressing the innate desire for life which is present within all of us. However, if we desire a more harmonious, healthful, joyful life, we need to discipline ourselves to refrain from expressions which lead to more harm, more trauma, more fear, anger and hatred in the world. While we cannot ignore such emotions when they are present, we must learn to see through to the primary, underlying reality of the desire for life which is there. We must learn to see it not only within ourselves, but in “the other”. When we can do that, and when we embrace the values of negotiation, understanding, mutuality, and the desire for resolutions which enhance the harmony of human interactions, we can have a genuine heaven on Earth.

All through my life I have heard skeptics, cynics, say that such a thing is “too idealistic”, not practical, not possible. Even they, in doing so, inadvertently acknowledge the ideal nature of such thinking. If we aren’t devoting our time and energies toward seeking and establishing the ideal, what are we spending them on? Seeking and establishing the mediocre? The dysfunctional? Or are we just letting entropy, the slow slide into dissolution, be our guiding motive?

Ultimately, whether in the United States or someplace else in the world at large, the term coined in the U.S. by the authors of the Declaration of Independence, “We the People“, represents a reality which can stop tyrannical abuses and elevate humanity. It is within our individual decisions, that we collectively possess the ability to determine the direction this period of history will follow.

Conditioned Reflexes: and the role they play in promoting “vaccination”.

Most anyone who has taken a Psychology 101 course is familiar with Pavlov and his dogs. He taught them to salivate when he rang a bell. Such a simple thing, such profound implications. Over one hundred years since Ivan Pavlov and his assistant, Ivan Tolochinov, did their work on conditioning of reflexes, we find ourselves facing an application of the principles of his work in the most massive, and heinous, assault on humanity in recorded history.

For those who didn’t have the pleasure of taking a Psychology 101 course, what Pavlov did was to ring a bell before he gave food to the dogs that were in his experiment. He had surgically implanted a device to measure the dogs’ salivation. He found that, after repeating this sequence a number of times, the dogs would begin salivating after they heard the bell ring, before they received their food. The dogs had been taught to so closely associate the bell with the arrival of food, they now had a “conditioned reflex”. The dogs would even salivate when no food followed the bell.

In summary, a conditioned reflex is when a living thing, a dog, cat, bird, human being, has learned, or been taught, to respond in a certain way in response to a stimulus. A common example of a conditioned reflex in humans is, when driving a car, stopping for a “STOP” sign. Especially in those situations in which it may be perfectly clear there are no other cars on that section of road to worry about.

In Pavlov’s experiment what he didn’t have to teach the dogs is their reaction to food. That is a reaction they had learned, developed, from countless encounters with food. Pavlov just trained (conditioned) them to reacting the same way even when food wasn’t forthcoming.

Fast forward to the present.

There is no question that one of the major benefits societies today have experienced, over decades, is the ability of vaccines to protect individuals from certain diseases. The polio vaccine, smallpox vaccine, in Europe the tuberculosis vaccine and some others. Of course any good thing can be overdone, but that is another topic. The point is vaccines are most widely associated with saving lives. People have been conditioned to trust the word “vaccine”. Not as part of some diabolical plan, but just as a function of what most people’s experiences with vaccines, either directly or indirectly, has been. When I grew up I can remember two individuals in the small town in which I lived who bore the crippling after effects of having had polio. I venture there are many reading this who have never seen such effects. The reason for that is commonly attributed to the advent of the polio vaccine.

Just as having learned to salivate when given food was a reflex learned by Pavlov’s dogs simply by the reality of food, trusting vaccines is something that most people have learned from visits to benevolent doctors and nurses who oversaw the administration of them. I will qualify that generalization by saying that has not been everyone’s experience, even with polio vaccines. However, for the vast majority of people in the world, we have become conditioned, via decades of life experiences, decades of positive associations, to regard vaccines as a good thing. A great number of people on the face of the Earth have, via these experiences and associations, developed a conditioned reflex to “vaccines”.

What many may not stop to think about is that, along with the development and proliferation of vaccines, a definition of what a vaccine is and how a vaccine is made has been established. The following is direct quote from The CDC’s website. This is what was on the site on 8/13/2021 under the heading “Vaccines; The Basics“: (I have added italics.)

Vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. (For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib vaccine contains Hib bacteria.) But they have been either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t make you sick. Some vaccines contain only a part of the disease germ.

A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.”

This definition of vaccines accurately describes every product defined as a vaccine which has ever existed, up until now. This definition does not describe the products which are being presented to the public as “COVID vaccines”. The COVID vaccines are not what is described in the CDC’s longstanding definition of a vaccine. None of the COVID “vaccines” have been made in the manner described and none of them function in the manner described. As anyone who has ever worked in a modern medical and/or technical field knows, accurate, reliable, terminology is essential. For centuries scientists have regarded the process of correctly, appropriately, classifying a new discovery as of the utmost importance. To try to inaccurately, inappropriately name a thing, to try to pass it as something it is not, is contrary to the entire concept of an orderly, reliable, scientific system. Which brings us to the question: why would the companies who have developed the mRNA injections want to call them a vaccine? If bringing a new treatment method to the world, why not celebrate it for what it is? Why try to pass it as something it is not?

There are some glaringly obvious answers to those questions. And, regrettably, none of them have to do with the health and wellbeing of the American citizenry or of any other nation’s citizens. Here are three of them:

  1. The process of bringing a vaccine to market is much less complicated, much less expensive than bringing an entirely new treatment method to market. There is a less rigorous demand on safety testing. After all, vaccines are widely accepted as being generally safe. We know that, in reality, vaccines do have their fair share of problems which are too often cavalierly overlooked, however, that is another topic for another time.
  2. The U.S. government has seen fit to grant vaccine manufacturers immunity from prosecution for adverse effects resulting from the use of their products. No other pharmaceutical nor treatment method of any kind has such a blanket absolution from any injuries which might result from their use. I’m sure every developer of a new pharmaceutical or treatment method would dearly love to be able to claim such immunity.
  3. The word “vaccine” carries with it a conditioned reflex, a conditioned acceptance. A new vaccine, in general, do not evoke the appropriately circumspect attitude that people would have toward a new, particularly a new and not thoroughly tested, treatment method. A treatment method which has never been widely used on human beings, ever. A treatment method with virtually unknown long term effects.

If you think about those three benefits from being able to call the mRNA injections “vaccines”, it should be apparent to you that every shady operator dealing in any questionable product in the world, of any kind, would dearly love to have such advantages going for them. Call your product whatever you want. Don’t worry about penalties, liabilities. Capitalize upon a widespread trust that another product has established. Wow, it’s a charlatan’s dream come true.

How does a new product get away with calling itself something it is not, bypass stringent testing and safety protocols such a product is supposed to follow, and gain complete immunity from liability for whatever is going to happen when it is released upon an unsuspecting, and misled public? The only possible answer I can think of is “connections”, that’s how. Knowing the “right” people in the “right” places. Possibly having those same people beholden to you. And, possibly, by being involved in the pursuit of covert agenda which those in positions of power happen to also be involved with.

In closing, such a thing would not be possible without the conditioned reflexes which have been established, over decades, within peoples’ psyches toward “vaccines” and the entities responsible for public safety, such as the FDA. What is going on with how the mRNA injections are being depicted within the media and by public health officials. and in the push to see as many people as possible injected with the mRNA treatment, is a deliberate, glaring and unconscionable abuse of the public trust.

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.

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

fake-news-2

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.

Psychology, manipulation and the coronavirus.

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

I began studying psychology in 1969, as a Freshman in college. I had a predisposition to being interested in human behavior. I felt the same about psychology as I imagine a lot of people do about chemistry, engineering, nutrition, or medicine. I felt psychology held the keys to understanding and improving the quality of life for everyone. During my Sophomore year I changed my major to psychology (it had been music).

As time went on, I found myself in a wide range of environments, exposed to just about the full gamut of human behaviors. All through this time I have had the good fortune to be exposed to instruction ranging from the cutting edge, the esoteric, the eclectic and the classic trains of thought. My life has pretty much revolved around working to understand why we humans do what we do. I am happy and grateful to report that, on the whole with information coming from a plethora of fields of study, we humans have garnered a very great deal of knowledge about ourselves.

We know much about what we need to have healthy, full, wholesome, complete lives. However, as a race, there has possibly been no other time in recorded history, in which we, as a species, have ignored so much available information. I would add: not only are we widely ignoring so much available knowledge, some working to advantage their own wealth and power, around the world, are perverting and abusing much of the knowledge that we do have. I don’t think there’s any field of study more widely abused right now than psychology.

The “powers that be” within industry and government, very early on recognized the potential the information coming from the field of psychology offered for manipulating people. Not for informing and leading people to understand ourselves, make wise decisions, and have healthy, full lives. But for manipulating people to do the things “they” want to see people doing. Buying things “they” want people to buy. Believing things “they” want people to believe. Behaviors that enrich their lives, not ours.

The contemporary, industrial use of psychology as a tool for manipulation of the public began manifesting as: advertising, which evolved into public relations, which has evolved into engineering consent. Engineering consent is currently the art of controlling what people perceive so that their/our reactions will pave the way for the fulfillment of the controllers’ agenda(s). We used to simply call it “lying”, and that definition still applies. But the current manipulative efforts are happening in such a sophisticated and technological manner, being done in service of people whose agendas are so totally based in egoism, so devoid of consideration for those who are the targets of the manipulation, that merely calling it “lying” doesn’t do justice to the depths of depravity these manipulative efforts emanate from.

Back in the early twentieth century, one of the seminal people in this dark trend was Edward Bernays. A nephew of Sigmund Freud, His efforts contributed heavily to women getting into smoking tobacco and fluoridation of public water. He is often referred to as “the father of spin”. I would say his title should more appropriately have to do with mastering the art of betrayal of trust.

What began as, and still is, a science with so much promise for improving the quality of life for humanity (which is how most sciences get started) is going through a time of profound perversion.  Mental health services are, I think, the most common interface between the general public and psychological expertise.  However mental health in many cases has become just another sales outlet for the pharmaceutical companies.

The reality of the evolution of the science of psychology is that what we have learned can show us much of what is needed to establish personal and sociologic well-being.  One example is Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” which provides a basic template for personal and collective well-being.  But these aspects of the science of psychology, the aspects relating to the general population becoming healthy and whole, seem to be truly frightening to those who have been using psychology for manipulation and exploitation.

Restating the situation briefly:  the science of human behavior contains great deal of understanding of what we need to be whole, as individuals and as a culture.  What we know about what we need to be whole and healthy, as individuals and as a culture, is often directly contradictory to what many in positions of industrial and political power, around the world, want us to believe.  What we need for health and wholeness often informs us to behave in ways those currently holding the reins of industrial and political power do not want to see us behaving in. Ways that do not primarily serve them and their egoistic agendas.

Very often today the field of mental health is viewed with skepticism.  The results frequently experienced by those accessing mental health services, and seen by those around them, tends to cast mental health services as a marginally effective service at best. To a very significant extent, this is a result of what I call the unidirectional nature of how mental health knowledge and services are most often applied.  Every challenge to our mental health is occurring within a context. To try to resolve the issues by only addressing the dynamics within the person experiencing the challenges (mental-emotional distress, maladjustment, mental illness) without simultaneously addressing any pathological dynamics within the context, the society, the person lives within, is to simply ask a person to be healthy within an unhealthy culture. It is a unidirectional approach to mental health.

(There is a similar unidirectional phenomenon happening with laws and law enforcement in the U.S.  But that is another story for another time.)

There is a saying: “Culture is to people as water is to fish.”  The fact is, a human being cannot be whole and healthy within an unhealthful culture any more than a fish can be whole and healthy within a polluted lake.

The best that can be hoped for is to compensate as well as possible until the challenges with their accompanying stress finally take their toll. Physical illness, and/or mental illness, and eventually a hastened death are not an uncommon result. One coping option, one which some have been using for centuries, is that an individual, or a group, can try to escape the hellish dynamics too often present in society at large by attempting to live in a self-contained society. Monks and Nuns have sought refuge in such an attempt at controlling a micro-environment for centuries. In the U.S. small communes have experienced varying degrees of success. However, such efforts come at a price. That price is the seclusion itself. While those opting for such a lifestyle may genuinely feel that the benefit is worth the cost, such a system is not a viable answer for everyone.

So where does all this leave us? Exactly where we are right now. We are a species too often turned upon itself. Narrowly defined self interest expressed in predatory financial practices, an absence of consideration for others and even an absence of consideration for our natural environment itself, is genuinely threatening to extinguish us as a species. We are on a spaceship called Earth. You would think that even the most narrowly self-centered among us would have consideration for the natural life-support systems we all rely upon. But, as widespread pollution and destruction of essential habitat and species shows, that isn’t the case. Right now, the fact is, there are some extraordinarily short-sighted, narrowly focused, inconsiderate, egoistic, ignorant (by default or by design) people running too much of what is going on. And we’re letting them.

As I’m writing this, April 1, 2020, much of the U.S. and the world is quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic. As someone has put it: It’s like mother nature has sent us to our rooms to think about what we’re doing. Will we? Will we, across the globe, use some of this time to consider our own thinking, our own behaviors, and rejoin the world at large better for it?  Will our individual and collective well-being be prioritized higher than corporate profit, corporate well-being?  We’ll see.

Will we, can we, as a species, realize our interconnectedness (as demonstrated graphically by the current pandemic) and apply this awareness to the betterment of our collective well-being? It’s all up to us. Part of what a genuine recovery will entail, is the realization of how pervasively our cultures have been being manipulated by those with narrow, self-serving agendas.

Too often we are being manipulated to hate and fear those who are different in some way from ourselves. We are being manipulated to believe that pursuing narrow self-interest is what we should be doing. We are being manipulated to believe that those who are the most successful at narrowly pursuing their own self-interest are the successes in life. That we should look up to them, emulate them.

As a species, ultimately, we cannot survive, we absolutely cannot ever thrive, with such a mindset.  But if we truly grasp our interconnectedness and act in ways which, in every way, further our personal well-being and our collective well-being, we have the potential to experience a quality of life beyond what many have imagined.