Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ancient mosaic with esoteric celestial elements discovered during recent Pompeii excavations

image: @PlanetPompeii 26 January, 2019

Special thank-you to a specialist in ancient philosophy and history who alerted me to the recent excavation of an amazing floor mosaic which has lain buried under the ash and debris from the eruption of Vesuvius which engulfed the city of Pompeii and all of its remaining inhabitants in AD 79, and which has only recently again seen the light of day during an ongoing archaeological project in the Regio V section of the ruins.

On a late autumn night (long thought to have been August 24, but based on recent discoveries and analysis now believed to have been in either late October or November) in the year we today call AD 79 (or, if you prefer, 79 CE), the volcano known to the Romans as Vesuvius Mons erupted violently, sending a deadly and basically inescapable pyroclastic flow of superheated ash and toxic gas billowing down the mountainside over the seaside town of Pompeii, killing everyone who had not left the city during the preceding earthquakes and tremors which had provided ominous warning that the volcano was preparing to explode. 

The ash flowed around and over buildings, people, and animals, preserving them even as it entombed them for centuries, eventually burying them in hardened volcanic material over 80 feet deep. For conveying the human impact on the men and women and children who were overcome by the eruption on that night, as well as providing an outstanding examination of the city of Pompeii in ancient times and after it began to be excavated in earnest beginning in the 1700s, I recommend Professor Mary Beard's Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found (2008).

Recently, new archaeological excavations have been underway in the section of the city which is designated "Regio V." The buried city of Pompeii was divided into Regiones ("regions" or "wards") during the 1800s by archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli (1823 - 1896), who began to study the ruins of Pompeii in 1848. As Professor Beard explains in her book:
In the absence of ancient addresses, modern gazetteers to the city use a late nineteenth-century system for referring to individual buildings. The same archaeologist who perfected the technique of casting the corpses, Giuseppe Fiorelli (one-time revolutionary politician, and the most influential director of the Pompeian excavations ever), divided Pompeii into nine separate areas or regions; he then numbered each block of houses within these areas, and went on to give every doorway onto the street its own individual number. So, in other words, according to this now standard archaeological shorthand, 'VI. xv. 1' would mean the first doorway of the fifteenth block of region six, which lies at the northwest of the city. 20 - 21.
Below is a map showing the Regiones and Insulae ("islands" or "blocks") of Pompeii, from a book by Eustace Neville-Rolfe (1845 - 1908), entitled Pompeii Popular and Practical: An easy book on a difficult subject (1893):

As the reader can see from the above map, in 1893 when Eustace Neville-Rolfe's book was published, much of Regio V was still buried under the layers of ancient ash as well as the earth that had covered over it during the intervening nineteen centuries since the eruption. However, blocks (or Insulae) in the regiones which had been excavated up to that year are numbered according to Fiorelli's system.

Each of these blocks within the regiones contain dozens of individual buildings, as can be perceived by looking closely at the gorgeous 1911 map below:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As can be seen in that map as well, large portions of the city remained under layers of ash and later soil deposits in 1911, including most of the northern parts of the city in the region designated by Giuseppe Fiorelli as Regio V. However, as you can see in the map, some of the edges of the buildings lining the avenue leading across the town from the Porta di Nola (the "Nola Gate") were excavated prior to 1911. This important cross-town artery has been dubbed the "Via di Nola" in modern times, although as Professor Beard explains in her book linked above, we do not know the original name of the street, or whether the ancients even had "street names" in the way we think of them today (20).

Below is a map of Pompeii showing in different colors the periods in which various areas of Pompeii have been excavated thus far, prior to the new excavations in Regio V: V. xv. 1).

 image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As you can see from this map, significant portions of the south-eastern side of the city were excavated in the years following the publication of the 1911 map shown just above it (the areas in orange), as well as some additional forays deeper into the blocks indicated in green than were shown in the 1911 map. Nevertheless, large sections of Regio V, where excavations are ongoing today, are still uncolored in the above map.

Here is a link to an excellent modern map from the Visiting Pompeii website, showing the Regiones and outlines of buildings that have been excavated thus far, and also labeling the streets with their modern names.

The recent push to excavate more deeply into Regio V as part of the Great Pompeii Project (to prevent damage including water damage to unexcavated archaeological treasures) is turning up amazing new discoveries. Here is a short article from March of 2018 with some photographs showing excavated portions of Pompeii next to portions of Regio V which are still covered with undisturbed ash and soil, entitled "New Pompeii District to be Uncovered."

This previous post discusses one such new discovery, an amazing fresco containing an erotic depiction of the scene of the mythical episode of Leda and the Swan, in which the artist has Leda "breaking the fourth wall" by staring provocatively at the viewer no matter where in the room the viewer is located. That post also contains a video I made entitled "The Divine Spark descends to the Mortal Realm," discussing some of the celestial aspects of the myth of Zeus and Leda, and of other myths involving Zeus and his amorous affairs with mortal women, as well as possible esoteric messages conveyed by these erotic myths.

The cubiculum (probably a bedroom) containing the newly-discovered painting of Leda and the Swan was unearthed in Regio V during the 2018 excavations as part of the Great Pompeii Project. It was found in a villa located in a block along the Via del Vesuvio, near the well-known House of the Vettii (the House of the Vettii, in fact, is the house indicated by the example address given by Professor Beard in the quotation above: V. xv. 1). The avenue known today as Via del Vesuvio runs to the gate known as the Vesuvius Gate, along the northern wall of the city: you can find it in the multi-colored map above along the north wall, where two streets descend in an inverted "V" from a point at the gate (the Vesuvius Gate can easily be seen along the north wall because it is the point that has a larger "green-colored" section north of the wall, representing excavation that was performed between 1879 and 1923).

The Via del Vesuvio is the "right-hand" street extending down from the point of this inverted V, traversing all the way across the city from north to south (or northwest to southeast) and exiting at the Porta di Stabia (the "Stabian Gate"). It changes names from the Via del Vesuvio to the Via Stabiana when it crosses the Via di Nola.

In addition to the striking recently-unearthed depiction of Leda and the Swan, an even more-recently uncovered mosaic from a Regio V villa was revealed to the public in January of this year. This is a mosaic found in the so-called "House of Jupiter" or "Casa di Giove" ("House of Jove"), a villa along the Via di Nola which had been partially excavated in the late 19th century but which has rooms further back which are only now being unearthed. Here is an article from the Daily Mail dated August 2018 describing the ongoing excavations in the Casa di Giove (an article published a few months prior to the unearthing of the floor mosaic shown at the top of this post and discussed below).

The Casa di Giove is designated V. ii. 15 and it is linked to the building designated V. ii. 16 under the system of Giuseppe Fiorelli. You can see the actual floor plan of these buildings if you look closely enough on the close-up map contained in this article from the Visiting Pompeii website. I have taken the close-up map from that article and circled (in dark blue) the label indicating "block" or "insula" V. 2, and placed a blue arrow pointing to the buildings designated V. ii. 15 and V. ii. 16 (you can see the tiny "door numbers" indicated along the edge of the block facing the street labeled "Via di Nola," if you look very closely):

The striking mosaic recently revealed in the Casa di Giove is shown at the top of this post. It depicts a  winged anthropomorphic male figure shown from the waist up, emerging from a large scorpion. Below the scorpion is a massive coiled cobra, rearing up like an Egyptian uraeus.

Above the winged figure is another winged figure, angelic in form (with feathered wings, unlike the somewhat "moth-shaped" wings of the first figure who is rising up out of the scorpion). This angelic figure has an upward-stretching arm pointing skyward (in a hand-gesture or mudra which is seen in other sacred artwork, such as the mudras discussed here, or those depicted in the Last Supper by da Vinci, for example). This same angelic figure also has a downward-reaching hand holding a torch, and this torch is extended downwards towards the head of the first figure (the one rising out of the scorpion). The torch is setting the head of the first figure aflame.

Above this angelic winged figure with a torch, we see a third winged figure holding a crown which appears to be made of laurel branches (a "laurel crown"). This top figure with the laurel crown is extending both arms downwards, offering the laurel crown to one of the two figures below.

The twitter account of the Pompeii-based website Planet Pompeii tweeted about this remarkable mosaic on 26 January of this year (link to tweet).
In that tweet, they called the mosaic "enigmatic" and then offered their interpretation, saying: "it would be the transformation of the gigantic Orion constellation after its fight against the scorpion."

This interpretation is worthwhile, and is at least pointing in the right direction, by perceiving that this ancient mosaic, buried beneath the debris of the eruption for 1, 940 years, is in fact based upon celestial figures found in the heavens above. While I commend their attempt to interpret the scene celestially, I disagree that the ancient mosaic depicts "the gigantic Orion constellation."

Just because the scene contains a large scorpion (which the author or authors of the tweet correctly suggest may be related to the constellation Scorpio) does not mean that the figure rising up from the scorpion is necessarily Orion. In fact, I would argue that the winged figure rising up from the Scorpion is associated with a different constellation, one situated immediately above the constellation Scorpio in the heavens: the constellation Ophiuchus.

The reason we can be quite confident that the winged man emerging from the scorpion and rising towards the heavens (where he is anointed with fire by the downward-facing torch of the angelic figure above, while another angelic figure descends with a laurel crown) is associated with Ophiuchus is the fact that the figures above him can almost certainly be associated with the constellation Hercules, located directly above Ophiuchus in the sky. The presence of a crown in the artwork, connected to the angelic winged figures, is yet another confirmatory clue, because this crown can almost certainly be identified with the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, which is located immediately in front of the constellation Hercules and indeed is envisioned as being "grasped" by the figures associated with the constellation Hercules in a great many myths from around the world.

Below is a star-chart showing the relevant constellations in the night sky, juxtaposed with an image of the newly-uncovered artwork from the long-buried mosaic in the Casa di Giove:

Working our way upwards in the mosaic, beginning with the giant scorpion, we can be fairly confident that the scorpion corresponds to the figure of Scorpio, in the heavens. I have drawn an arrow from the constellation Scorpio as we see it in the sky to the giant scorpion depicted in the ancient mosaic.

Immediately above the scorpion in the mosaic we see the human figure, rising up with arms upraised, with moth-like wings on either side. This figure, I am convinced, can be identified with the position of the constellation Ophiuchus in the night sky. The constellation Ophiuchus is an extremely important constellation, one which plays a central role in many of the Star Myths of the world. Ophiuchus figures in ancient myth include Dionysus, Odin, Christ, and many others. Note that all of these Ophiuchus figures are mystical figures, associated with ecstasy or transfiguration -- just as we see the figure in this enigmatic ancient mosaic from the floor of the House of Jove in Pompeii undergoing some sort of transfiguration.

The moth-winged figure undergoing some sort of transfiguration apparently has his head set aflame by a downward-reaching winged figure immediately above him. I would suggest that this winged figure with the torch can be clearly identified as being associated with the constellation Hercules. The constellation Hercules is located directly above Ophiuchus in the heavens. What's more, the constellation has a leg which appears to be stepping on one side of the triangular "head" of the constellation Ophiuchus. In the ancient mosaic from the floor of the Casa di Giove in Pompeii, this "forward leg" is instead envisioned as a "downward-pointing torch," but the outline and body position still match the outline of the constellation Hercules.

(The reader may note that the artwork on the mosaic appears to be "mirror-image" to the constellations in the night sky -- this is not unusual for artwork based on celestial scenes; for example, note that the tail of the scorpion in the mosaic points to the right as we face it, but the tail of Scorpio in the heavens points towards the left, or east, as we face the star-chart above: this is why the two angelic figures above the moth-winged transfigured man are also facing to the left with their feet extending to the right, even though Hercules in the heavens faces to the right or west with his feet extending to the left or east).

The reader may wonder about the massive weapon which the constellation Hercules in the heavens appears to be brandishing (this feature in the outline of the constellation shows up as a weapon wielded by mythical figures associated with this constellation in many of the world's ancient Star Myths, such as the club wielded by the hero Heracles in Greek myth, or the mighty mace wielded by the hero Bhima in the Mahabharata of ancient India). There is evidence that this portion of the outline of the constellation, often envisioned as a weapon, was alternately envisioned as forming the "wings" of an angelic-looking figure instead. For example, below is artwork from ancient Greece, showing the famous scene in which Achilles drags the body of Hector after defeating him in battle, as described in the Iliad:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that immediately behind the figure of Achilles in the chariot we see a winged figure whose leg position indicates beyond any doubt that this figure (usually interpreted as representative of the spirit of the deceased Patroclus) is associated in this particular piece of artwork with the constellation Hercules in the night sky. I discuss this scene in more depth in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, Volume Two (Myths of Ancient Greece). The other figures in the artwork are shown in that volume to be associated with other nearby constellations, thus confirming that the winged figure is indeed associated with Hercules (for example, Achilles in the chariot can be shown to be associated with the figure of Bootes in the heavens, who is located directly in front of Hercules and thus matches this ancient artwork on the vase quite precisely).

Additional confirmation that winged figures such as those found in the Pompeiian mosaic and the Greek vase above can be identified as being associated with the constellation Hercules can be found in depictions of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary down through the centuries. In these artistic depictions, the Angel Gabriel is almost invariably depicted in a posture characterized by a "deep knee-bend" and a "downward reaching arm," corresponding to the outline of the constellation Hercules. The other distinctive aspect of the constellation Hercules, the "upraised club" (or other powerful weapon) is instead envisioned as the over-arching wing or wings of the angel.

Below is an example of an Annunciation scene, painted around the year AD 1270, and showing the Angel with characteristics distinctive to the outline of the constellation Hercules:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that in the above Annunciation scene, the artist has chosen to depict the Virgin Mary standing in front of a tall rectangular tower with a triangular roof: this tower's shape is clearly evocative of the outline of the central body of the constellation Ophiuchus in the heavens (towards which the downward-reaching arm of the constellation Hercules can be seen to be pointing).

These examples should confirm that the angelic image in the mosaic recently unearthed in the Casa di Giove in Pompeii is associated with the constellation Hercules, and this helps to confirm as well that the moth-winged man being transfigured in that mosaic, just below the angelic figure, is associated with the constellation Ophiuchus.

Just above the first "angelic" figure we see another similar angelic-looking figure with feathered wings, this time reaching downward and extending a laurel crown. The arc of this wreath of laurels is almost certainly associated with the dazzling arc of the Northern Crown in the heavens, Corona Borealis (as indicated in the star-chart above, where I have drawn a green arrow pointing from the Northern Crown in the chart to the laurel wreath crown in the artwork).

It is an undeniable fact that figures associated with the constellation Hercules in ancient myth and ancient artwork are frequently described or depicted as grasping an arc-shaped object which is associated with the Northern Crown (Corona Borealis). Indeed, the Northern Crown is located immediately in front of the constellation Hercules in the heavens, and although the constellations are not "usually" or "normally" seen as being connected, we can easily envision a line from the downward-reaching arm of Hercules to the nearby stars of the Northern Crown:

There are a great many myths from around the world in which a Hercules figure is envisioned as grasping a figure associated with the Northern Crown. One familiar episode on which I have written extensively in the past is the story of the Judgment of Solomon, from the book of 1 Kings in the Bible. In that story, Solomon directs a figure (whom we can designate as the "Swordsman") to cut a living baby in half and give one half to each of two mothers who each claim the baby to be her own (the swordsman does not actually cut the baby in half, in case you are not familiar with the story -- Solomon commands "Stop!" before the baby is actually divided, by which fact we know that Solomon is talking to someone else with a sword, and is not wielding the sword himself in that story).

In that episode of the Judgment of Solomon, the Swordsman can be convincingly shown to be played by the constellation Hercules in the heavens, while the infant being held by the Swordsman is associated with Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Artwork down through the centuries consistently represents the Swordsman in a posture reminiscent of the outline of Hercules, with sword held overhead, and consistently shows the baby in a "hard arch" representative of the arc of the Northern Crown in the heavens:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Finally, we can address the coiled cobra snake depicted beneath the scorpion in the mosaic. As shown in the star-chart above, I believe this serpent corresponds to the constellation Hydra in the night sky, which is located just to the west of Scorpio, and which features a "circlet" at the front of the sinuous serpent shape, very suggestive of the hood of a cobra. Indeed, the outline of Hydra could be envisioned as suggesting a cobra with head rearing up. I have drawn an arrow in the star-chart between the constellation Hydra and the coiled serpent in the mosaic. Note that once again the serpent in the artwork is "mirror-image" to the direction of the constellations in the sky -- this mirroring is consistent throughout the mosaic and appears to have been a deliberate choice on the part of the artist. Again, such mirroring is not unusual in sacred artwork depicting figures who are based on heavenly constellations: sometimes the scene is mirror-image to the way we see it from earth looking to the sky.

Thus, we can see that the evidence supporting the assertion that the recently-unearthed mosaic from the Casa di Giove in Regio V of the ruins of Pompeii depicts a scene that is patterned after the celestial figures in the heavens is quite abundant, and quite compelling (I would say conclusive).

The scene does not appear to depict the constellation Orion: rather, I would argue that it depicts a transfigured mortal who is depicted in the position of the constellation Ophiuchus in the heavens, directly above a great scorpion (the constellation Scorpio) and a coiled cobra-snake (the constellation Hydra). Above, we see an angelic being with a torch, setting the head of the rising man aflame: this angelic being can be confidently associated with the constellation Hercules. Above that, we see yet another angelic being, also (according to my analysis) based on Hercules, but this time offering a crown instead of a flaming torch. This crown is almost certainly identified with the Northern Crown in the heavens, which is often envisioned in other myths as being held in the hand of the constellation Hercules.

The parallels to other artwork and other myths in this newly-discoverd mosaic are striking. The fact that I have published analysis of other artwork based on these same constellations from other myth-traditions years before the "mosaic of the transfigured man" from the floor of the Casa di Giove was ever revealed to the world is powerful confirmation that the previous analysis was correct, and that these ancient patterns based on the constellations were used in myths from many cultures (and are even found in artwork that we have not re-discovered at the present date).

It should be fairly self-evident that the image of the "transfigured man" contains many symbols which are today thought to belong to literalist or Biblical Christianity. The mosaic depicts an angel bringing a crown down towards a transfiguring mortal: this iconography is a direct parallel to scriptures describing  the awarding of a crown by a heavenly angelic figure, found in the Biblical passages of Isaiah 62: 3, 1 Corinthians 9: 25, 2 Titus 4: 8, 1 Peter 5: 4, Revelation 2: 10, and Revelation 4: 4.

Similarly, the mosaic depicts an angelic being placing flames upon the head of the transfiguring mortal: this iconography is a direct parallel to scriptures describing flames coming down upon the heads of the assembled faithful at the Pentecost gathering described in Acts 2: 3. The scene can also be seen as having parallels to the scene described in Isaiah 6: 6 - 7 in which a cherubim brings a live coal held with tongs and places it upon Isaiah's lips.

I would argue that these parallels arise because the scenes described in the scriptures and the scene portrayed in the mosaic are based upon the same celestial figures, the important constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules, as well as the Northern Crown.

It is quite moving to think of this piece of ancient artwork, buried by the deadly eruption of the powerful volcano Vesuvius in AD 79, a full 1, 940 years ago this year, resting under its heavy blanket of congealed ash and debris, waiting patiently in darkness and in silence, bearing its powerful message through the centuries, to finally emerge at this date to proclaim it again.

It is a message which declares that the world's ancient myths and scriptures are celestial and esoteric in nature, and that they are united by an ancient system of metaphor which has been forgotten or suppressed for many centuries (although it was obviously known during the years prior to the eruption of Vesuvius Mons).

And it is a message of our connection to the heavenly realm, the realm of the Higher Self, associated with the higher elements of air and fire, with which we are actually connected even during this incarnate life, imprisoned as we are for a time in the realm of the lower elements of earth and water, and surrounded by serpents and scorpions.

We can only wonder what other ancient treasures await re-discovery underneath the yet-unexcavated Regiones of the ancient city of Pompeii.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Contemplating aspects of the terrible crash of February 19, 1979 in Norman Ollestad's "Crazy for the Storm"

Forty years ago on February 19, 1979, a small plane carrying young Norman Ollestad (11), his father Norman Ollestad, Sr (43), his father's girlfriend Sandra Cressman (30), and pilot Rob Arnold (27) crashed into the side of a rugged 8,600 foot mountain in a blizzard.

The story of young Norman's harrowing journey down from the peak alone after the deadly crash is told by Norman thirty years later in his 2009 memoir Crazy for the Storm, interspersed with his memories of his relationship with his father and the lessons his father taught him growing up which helped the 11-year old survive.

Here is a link to a blog post I wrote in 2015 about this remarkable book and Norman's gripping account of his childhood and adolescence and that terrible day in February of 1979. Entitled "Crazy for the Storm, and the inner connection to the Infinite," the post examines some of the terrain maps of the site of young Norman's ordeal, as well as touching on some of the other aspects of the story which are extremely noteworthy and turned out to have been essential to Norman's survival that day.

In particular (and those who have not read the book itself may want to stop and do so before reading further), there were several "synchronicities" which enabled the 11-year-old to be found prior to nightfall after he made his way down off the rugged mountain during the blizzard.

A young mother named Pat Chapman was awakened on the morning of the crash by what she describes as a loud thud. "Her first thought was that it sounded like a plane crashing," she explained (263). She also heard a strange beeping sound and a coyote who wouldn't stop howling. The text continues:
Later that morning, nagged by a remote yet unshakable feeling that something bad had happened on the mountain, she led her two sons on a miserable hike to the meadow. They called out toward Ontario Peak, above the crown of rock, into the long apron that she called Gooseberry Canyon. Although the canyon was several thousand feet away, their voices echoed off the canyon walls. The wind and heavy fog buffered their voices some that day. When no one answered, she figured that her hunch was wrong. 263.
As it turns out, young Norman was trying to make his way towards this meadow, which he thought he had seen from the steep cliffs near the top of the mountain, and towards which he steered after he made his way down through the terrifying ice-chutes and funnels formed by the rock faces of the mountainside below the crash site.

When he finally did make it to the meadow, it was only because he saw Pat's bootprints in the snow and followed them that he was able to trace his way through the forested areas surrounding the meadow back to a dirt road where he was eventually found by another person who followed a hunch, a teenaged boy named Glenn Farmer.

In addition to these "coincidences," which enabled the injured 11-year old to be found after his hours-long ordeal on the mountainside, Norman later returned to the mountain twenty-seven years later (during the warmer months this time) and was surprised to discover that there was no way to see the meadow at all from the part of the mountain that he had traversed -- it was hidden by another ridgeline the entire way!

And yet, if he had not navigated towards that meadow, and then followed the bootprints left in the snow by Pat Chapman and her two children, young Norman Ollestad might not have found anyone to help him in that remote location. Writing his book nearly thirty years later, he considers this thought, and the perplexing fact that based on the unmistakable physical layout of the terrain, he could not have actually seen the meadow at any point as he made his way down off the side of Ontario Peak:
And even in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence I still have a vivid memory of heading toward that meadow, compelled to reach it, believing that it would guide me to safety. 
Bears and wolves navigate wilderness by instinct, and migratory birds are guided by an internal compass, so maybe the notion that I had to see the meadow in order for me to perceive it is an artificial concept. 
Maybe I sensed a place where I could rest from the steep ice and broken terrain -- a place where other humans like Pat were compelled to go -- just as a wolf or bear can sense such places. Maybe the footprints of Pat and her boys, those human markings, called to me, and because I was cut off from civilization I was able to access my animal instinct and hang on to life. 267.
This revelation, and Norman's reflections upon it almost thirty years later, are among the most important lessons from an entire book filled with insights of all sorts about life in general (and in modern society in particular), in my opinion.

The fact is that some part of us, which we might call "the subconscious" but which appears to stretch even beyond what is usually allowed by that term, appears to have access to information of tremendous importance, and to which we are usually completely unaware. Sometimes, such as in life-threatening situations like the one 11-year-old Norman Ollestad faced that day on February 19, 1979, that information makes itself known to our conscious mind.

As the book also notes, when Pat Chapman told the sheriff's deputy later that day about thinking that she had heard a plane crash (the thudding sound that woke her up that morning, and which later caused her to hike out to the meadow with her children, on a "hunch"), the sheriff's deputy told her that it was impossible for her to have heard the crash, due to the distance from her house. It must have been the snowplow she had heard, they said (263 -264).

As Norman Ollestad notes in his own reflections on this information, the animals of the natural kingdom appear to have access to this kind of awareness, which goes beyond what can be explained by the five physical senses alone, and which is usually dismissed as "instinct." We ourselves are usually cut off from that awareness which is retained among the animal kingdom -- cut off by the complex entanglements of human society (the complexity of which, and the trauma with which these entanglements are imposed upon us as we grow up in the modern world, are depicted in graphic detail during the other parts of Norman Ollestad's powerful memoir).

In a sense, we are cut off from a very important part of ourselves by this process (necessary as it is in order to function in human society). I am convinced that healing this division, and becoming re-integrated with that part of ourselves from which we have been severed, is a central part of the message of the world's ancient myths, and of ancient practices such as meditation. Previous posts dealing with this question are numerous, and include:


Note that in one of the above-linked blog posts, there is an embedded video entitled "Greatest dad saves EVER!!!" in which some amazing rescues, primarily of infants or very young children, by dads are caught on film. One of these, fairly early in the video beginning at about the 0:06 second-mark in the clip, involves a dad who actually appears to be asleep when his hand suddenly shoots out to catch an infant about to fall head-first off a couch -- an infant the "dad" was not even looking at when his arm extends seemingly on its own to save the baby from potential disaster.

These types of incidents, which are barely explainable by our strictly "materialist" conventional paradigm, even with the vague catch-all phrase "instinct," indicate that some part of ourselves (our subconscious, which is a useful term as long as we realize that our subconscious appears to be tapped into a much wider field of awareness than is usually admitted by conventional science) has a level of awareness or sensitivity that goes beyond anything that can be explained by the five physical senses. In the case of Pat Chapman (who was awakened by the "sound" of a crash that was seemingly much too far away for her to have heard it from her location) and the meadow "seen" by young Norman as he made his way down off the mountain during his life-or-death ordeal, it appears that the subconscious (or whatever term we want to use) can in fact be aware of information at distances greater than what is possible for our physical senses.  

These life-saving aspects of the historical facts surrounding Norman Ollestad's survival on that terrible day of February 19, 1979 are reinforced by many other incidents in which "ordinary" people had experiences or premonitions that are equally difficult or impossible to explain under the conventional paradigm, the accepted paradigm which ignores or dismisses them as "coincidence" or "superstition" or some kind of psychological projection.

I believe these are extremely important subjects to contemplate.

I highly recommend reading Norman Ollestad's remarkable memoir Crazy for the Storm, about the plane crash forty years ago but also about so much more. We should be grateful for his willingness to share such a personal story.

In a way, it can be seen as another one of the "greatest dad saves EVER."

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Welcome to new visitors from 13 Questions podcast! (and returning friends)

Big thank-you to Darren Grimes and Graham Dunlop, the hosts of the successful Grimerica Show podcast, who have assembled a new team to launch a brand-new podcast in addition to the Grimerica Show entitled "13 Questions to be a Better Man," in which they explore questions of "manhood in the digital age."

The podcast is born out of a desire to provide perspectives on difficult questions we face during this particular time in history, and hearing heartfelt answers from a wide variety of guests can be quite eye-opening and very helpful, and something that I think would be of interest to all men and women, even though they are tackling these subjects from a "modern manhood" perspective.

Their plan is to interview a wide variety of guests while asking the same "13 Questions." Above is an interview with Christian Takes Gun Parrish, the artist and Native American dancer Supaman, answering the 13 Questions with Darren and Graham in the second-ever episode of the new show. Below is a video of Supaman with world champion dancer Acosia Red Elk (White Swan Rising from the Water) dancing to Supaman's song "Why."

I hope you will check out the new 13 Questions Podcast. Even if you don't agree with every single point of view offered by every guest on the program (and it would be impossible for everyone to agree with everyone else on these questions), I believe that Darren and Graham and team are providing a really valuable new forum that can really change lives. The podcast lets you hear a wide variety of people pondering difficult questions and offering things they have learned in these different areas from their own varied life experiences. Gaining just one new perspective or one new thing to try from each interview would make listening to that interview worthwhile, even if you disagreed with everything else!

I was humbled to be asked to be on the show as they were launching the podcast. These aren't easy questions to answer! Looking back since the interview, I have thought of many other things I could have said in answer to some of the questions, but hopefully something here or there in my interview will be helpful to someone. More importantly, I think what is most valuable about this podcast is to listen to it as a kind of a tapestry or "quilt" in which all the pieces add up to something bigger than any of the individual strands or squares.

Links to add the show to your regular line-up of podcasts to listen to are below. There is a subscription option that is explained at the beginning of each show, offering extended content, a regular newsletter, valuable online courses, and (most valuable of all) the opportunity to record your own interview asking the 13 Questions to someone you respect, and send the interview in to the 13 Questions team to be shared with the world.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the summer of 1989, I was beginning my third year at West Point. My summer assignments that year included what was called "Beast 1," followed by a "voluntary summer training" commitment as part of the West Point parachute team, followed by Airborne School in Fort Benning Georgia (even though I was already an experienced skydiver with hundreds of skydives, freefall skydiving is completely different from military-style static-line airborne operations, so I had to report to Fort Benning to go through Airborne School after spending almost two weeks skydiving about six times a day).

"Beast 1" meant acting as part of the "cadre" during the first half of "cadet basic training" at West Point, which since the early 1800s has been unaffectionately known as "beast barracks" and which consists of full-time indoctrination of the "new cadets" arriving for their first summer at the Military Academy. By indoctrination I mean very intensive inculcation (in the new cadets, by the "beast cadre") of a complex set of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes, drills, and responses which are completely different in many ways from the rules, norms, behaviors and attitudes which are drilled into us as we grow up in "normal" society.

Here's a photograph of me and one of my good friends from that summer (I'm on the left as you face the picture, and Scott is on the right) to give you an idea of the level of hostility that is generally involved in the process of foisting this new super-structure of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes and responses upon the new cadets during their initial summer at West Point:

Not very friendly-looking young people, I think it is safe to say, especially if you happened to be a new cadet in the summer of 1989. By the way, at the time this photograph was taken, Scott aka "the Cyborg" could probably bang out over 100 pushups in a row without stopping to rest, and could easily run two miles in around 11:00 minutes and change (and, I believe, he probably can still do that today, almost three decades later).

Anyway, on this particular summer morning at West Point in 1989, we went through our usual routine as part of being the "Beast 1" cadre for the new cadets during the first half of their summer training, waking the new cadets up at a very early hour to conduct physical training (that day I believe it consisted of what were called "guerrilla drills" -- a variety of calisthenics and other exercises in a grassy field, involving a lot of crawling around in the grass until your face and body are covered in grass-stains), followed by personal hygiene, a couple of formations, breakfast at the mess hall, and then marching the new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall where they were receiving some kind of lecture in a large-group setting.

While the new cadets were sitting in Eisenhower Hall receiving their lecture or other training, only a small contingent of cadre members had to stay with the new cadets, and the rest of us had a break and could leave the new cadets in Eisenhower Hall for their lecture and come back to get them again in an hour or so. On this particular morning, I distinctly remember walking back from Eishenhower Hall after dropping off the new cadets for whatever lecture they were getting, and finally having a free moment to myself.

As I was walking back, I suddenly realized for the first time that day that it was my birthday. I was twenty years old.

Here's where I was at the moment, walking back alone and finally having a bit of breathing room to collect my thoughts:

image: Google maps.

If you are familiar with West Point, you can just barely make out the enormous red-brick wall of Eisenhower Hall rising up behind the little white "Gingerbread House" near the center of the photograph (this "Gingerbread House" can be seen in the 1955 movie Long Gray Line, the real-life protagonist of which is Master Sergeant Marty Maher, who was an instructor at West Point from 1899 to 1928). 

The "X" on the sidewalk shows how far I had walked, alone with my thoughts, after leaving my charges at Eisenhower Hall and getting a little bit of a break, before I finally remembered for the first time that it was my birthday. I had managed to get up that morning (prior to waking up the new cadets), lead physical training (involving plenty of yelling at new cadets in order to continue their full-court-press indoctrination), get through a couple of formations and breakfast (involving more yelling at new cadets), and then march my squad of new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall to drop them off without my brain ever registering the fact that it was my twentieth birthday. 

The point is that even though my mind "knew" that it was my birthday, the pre-occupation with rules, infractions, yelling at infractions, norms, behaviors, and the rest of the knotted maze of entangling social constructs that are part of life at West Point (and in particular, the even more extreme environment of "beast barracks," in which as a cadre member I was responsible for trying to imprint this same set of entangling constructs onto the brains of other young men and women going through their first weeks at the Military Academy) had kept me from realizing that fact for several hours.

It was only when I was finally alone for a few minutes with my own thoughts, walking back by myself along the somewhat empty stretch of sidewalk pictured above, that the significant (to me, at least) fact that "today is my twentieth birthday" could finally surface. Until that moment, I was not consciously aware of it.

What is the point of this story? 

It's not just a story about a real-life incident that happened to someone else (me) in a very unique environment (beast-1 cadre at West Point during the late 1980s), a situation to which very few people can probably relate unless they happened to go through military training themselves. As such, it might be "interesting" but not particularly "applicable" to the very different life experiences that each of us encounters from day-to-day, most of which don't involve the kinds of things that were part of my life in the summer of 1989. Indeed, that was such a different time and place that it seems foreign even to me today, almost thirty years later.

But in a sense, this little vignette is illustrative of experiences that we all go through as part of the process of interacting with the entanglements of society, no matter what country or culture (or decade) we live in -- and thus, even though those societal entanglements and indoctrinations are probably very different (on a superficial level) from the various norms, rules, behaviors and attitudes encouraged (and enforced) at West Point during cadet basic training, the fact is that none of us are free from the demands of the norms and rules and behaviors and attitudes that are laid upon us over the years as we grow up in a society and learn to interact with other people, and which can be envisioned as being like a complex "superstructure" of intersecting lines of yarn laid down over our brains as part of the decades-long inculcation we went through during our first couple decades of human life, and which continue to be adjusted, reinforced, or added upon as we go through life even after reaching adulthood.

These norms and behaviors and rules and expectations are rather demanding, absorbing a lot of our mental energy as we go through the day. They include questions like who gets to go first at an intersection when we are driving, or what kinds of clothes we can wear to work, or which tasks out of the many demands on our time we decide to address first, and a host of other relationships with other people that we negotiate on a daily basis. Often, we no doubt find ourselves becoming angry at another driver who is not "following the rules" or "going out of turn," or we have to spend energy at work addressing issues that result from others making choices that we don't agree with, and these kinds of issues absorb our thoughts and our attention in very much the same way that the various demands of cadet basic training absorbed my thoughts and attention that morning in 1989, to the point that I did not even consciously realize that it was my birthday until several hours (and several dozen or more interactions with other people) had been navigated.

It was not until I was actually alone with my thoughts for a few moments that a piece of information, and a piece of information of great importance (to me), was able to surface to the point that my conscious mind became aware of it.

Obviously, I had known all along, somewhere beneath the surface of my conscious awareness, that it was my birthday that day. If I had not known it, then the realization would not have popped into my conscious mind once I got away from the entangling demands of acting out my role as a beast cadre-member. I knew it, but I did not become aware of it until I had a moment of time alone. At that point, the realization surfaced and I became conscious of the fact (to my surprise) that it was my birthday.

I only share this (rather personal) story because I believe it illustrates a point which can be helpful to our lives every single day. Our conscious mind operates inside of its own self-imposed (or society-imposed) constructs, navigating an incredibly complex set of rules and decision-trees and hierarchies and relationships as part of the process of functioning within a society that includes other people. 

All of these tasks and judgments and decisions are necessary and important. 

However, they can (and do) so distract our conscious mind that it regularly overlooks and misses an enormous amount of important information that is available to our subconscious, or to the part of our being that operates beneath the "tangle of yarn" imposed like an artificial meshwork maze over the  very tip-top of the iceberg that is our deeper consciousness.

This neglected part of ourselves is aware of an enormous amount of information that we would find to be of tremendous importance, if we were to become conscious of it. However, unless (as in the story above) we somehow get a "moment to ourselves" to relax our focus on the tangle of yarn, so to speak, we can remain in complete ignorance of even the most obvious knowledge.

That's why regularly spending time alone with your subconscious (or whatever term we want to use) is incredibly valuable and necessary, and appears to have been practiced in ancient cultures around the globe. Ancient disciplines such as meditation, or the practice of Yoga, or the practice of drumming or shaking a rattle at a specific rapid beat for a sustained period of time, or the chanting of mantras (including mantras containing the sacred syllable "OM" or "AUM"), were passed down from one generation to the next as vital tools for stilling the chattering of the superficial mind on a daily basis, in order to spend time listening to our deeper subconscious and our wider being. 

Practices such as those mentioned above (and many others) can enable "messages" or insights or realizations to bubble up to our conscious attention, in much the same way that the realization that it was my birthday suddenly bubbled up into my conscious mind as I was walking back along the sidewalk pictured above on that summer day long ago.

Indeed, there is abundant evidence which suggests that our subconscious mind is actually aware of more than we can possibly explain -- that our subconscious is in fact somehow tapped into sources of awareness which could not be available to us through our five physical senses alone. Examples include the experiences, too many to simply dismiss as "coincidence" or "superstition," of those who receive premonitions about loved ones far away, only to have those premonitions confirmed later (these premonitions are not always negative in nature, either -- for example, in the harrowing story of young Norman Ollestad's descent from the side of a steep ice- and snow-covered mountain after a deadly plane crash in 1979, the premonition of more than one person brought them out to a road where they were able to see Norman after he had made his way down off the mountain -- even though nothing in their five physical senses could have detected Norman's presence on that day). 

In a very real sense, our subconscious appears to transcend the boundaries of the physical self and connect to a wider realm which is not bounded by laws we can explain through physics. Indeed, it may be that this part of our wider being is the connection to what the ancient myths of some traditions refer to as our "Higher Self," and which is dramatized in the countless world myths involving twins (one of whom is often divine, while the other is mortal), including Krishna and Arjuna, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Polydeuces and Castor, Eros and Psyche, Jesus and Doubting Thomas, and many others.

When we realize that quieting our chattering "superficial mind" is a way of spending time with and listening to our subconscious (and perhaps even to our Higher Self), then suddenly meditation (or the other similar disciplines which we can incorporate into our daily lives) no longer seems like a "chore." Instead, it is a way of spending time with someone very close to us, someone who indeed cares about us very deeply, someone we should not neglect -- and someone whose help we can use on a daily basis. Why would we not want to do that? Why would we not want to do that every single day?

Spending time quieting our superficial mind, and setting aside its entangling "maze of yarn," does not mean that those various norms and social structures and rules and customs that we have learned and incorporated into our lives are worthless or unhealthy -- indeed, they are necessary for interacting in a society that contains other people, and for navigating our way through the range of complex situations in which we find ourselves on a daily basis. To say that these learned structures are unimportant would be as foolish as to say that stop signs and lane dividers and all the rules of safe driving are unimportant: as long as we have to negotiate roads on which there are other drivers, the very complex set of laws and customs of the road are necessary.

But if we do not regularly give ourselves a chance to take a break from living within those artificial structures and entanglements, then we are very much in the situation that I was in, in the story related above, in which my focus on all the minute-by-minute minutia of cadet life (and in this case the very artificial, albeit very demanding, constructs of West Point's "beast barracks" indoctrination program) caused me to remain blissfully unaware of something I should have known, for quite some time, until I had a chance to "pause" and my mind became aware (as if out of the blue) of something it hadn't been focusing on at all.

I have had many experiences in more recent years in which my conscious mind would "receive" an answer or a "message" or an insight about something that I had been pondering, often upon waking up in the morning (when my conscious mind was shut down, but my subconscious was obviously still active, and used that "little break" in the scurrying and clattering of the conscious mind to deliver the "answer" to me that I had been looking for).

I am convinced that it is through the pathway down below the conscious mind that we make contact with the inner connection to the Infinite which the ancient myths portray again and again in various episodes and adventures, in sacred traditions from virtually every culture around the globe.

Basing his arguments on the evidence that he found in myths from around the world, Alvin Boyd Kuhn in his 1940 masterpiece Lost Light declares:

The kingdom of heaven and the hope of glory are within. They lurk within the unfathomed depths of consciousness. Divinity lies buried under the heavier motions of the sensual nature and the incessant scurrying of the superficial mind. 46

In the image at top we see a famous statue from ancient Egypt, depicting the 4th dynasty king Khafre, thought to have lived somewhere around the time we call 2500 BC (or BCE, if you prefer). Behind the king's head, and in fact invisible from the front, we see the falcon-god Horus -- perfectly depicting the concept of the Higher Self or connection to the Infinite, to which we all in fact have access, at any time.

This image, in fact, can be helpful to consider while beginning to meditate, or to spend time with your own subconscious or deeper and wider consciousness.

Looking at this ancient statue, we might ask ourselves, "Why would we not want to spend time each day getting in touch with our own subconscious -- or, indeed, our own Higher Self?"

I am thoroughly convinced that doing so has tremendous benefits. We may not hear "mystical voices" (when I realized that it was my birthday, that realization did not come to me in the form of a voice -- and when some insight about some issue or question that I am working on makes itself available to my conscious mind upon waking up in the morning, for example, or while sitting in meditation, it just arrives as a "thought," and not as a "voice" -- at least in my own personal experience, although for others it might be different). But we will undoubtedly be made aware of things which we might otherwise have overlooked.

I also have a suspicion that regularly spending time setting aside the superficial tangle of yarn made up of the norms and value-judgments and societal expectations that we have absorbed can help us to be less "fanatical" about "enforcing them" on others (less likely to fly into a rage, for instance, when someone else doesn't observe the expected strictures, and "cuts" ahead of us in traffic, for example).

And I am convinced that this very important teaching can be found to be at the heart of many ancient myths, given to humanity in most remote antiquity, for our benefit and blessing -- and pertinent to our lives even in this modern day and age, even in our "ordinary" lives, even if we are not in the middle of cadet basic training, and on all three hundred sixty-five (and a quarter) days of the year, and not just on our birthdays!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Seizing Venezuela's natural resources is an Affront to the Gods

Above is a new video I've just posted entitled "Seizing Venezuela's Natural Resources is a Grave Assault on the Rule of Law."

If you still believe that the united states stands for the "Rule of Law" -- well, the coup attempt currently underway in Venezuela should be a wake-up call.

The preceding post argued that fiscal austerity has as its ultimate goal the privatization of the natural resources given by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature) to the people of a nation. In the above video, you will hear National Security Advisor John Bolton of the united states announce that the goal of the overthrow of the elected government of Venezuela is to have "American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela." 

In other words, the current leaders of the united states are not happy that the elected government of Venezuela has chosen to "invest in and produce" the natural resources with which their nation has been blessed by the divine realm, for the benefit of their own economy and their own people. The current leaders of the united states would prefer to have "American oil companies invest in and produce" those natural resources instead.

The natural resources of Venezuela were given to the people of Venezuela. If the government of Venezuela wants to use those resources to benefit Venezuela, instead of opening them up to foreign corporations (for the benefit of the shareholders of those foreign corporations), then that is the right of the people of Venezuela, who elected that government more than once, in monitored elections.

For the current leaders of the united states to engineer a coup d'etat in order to replace the elected government with a puppet who will happily sell-out the natural resources which belong to the entire nation (in exchange for a piece of the revenues to be obtained from those stolen resources) declares to the world, "We only support democracy and elections up to the point where the results benefit our corporations and our ability to privatize your nation's natural resources."

In the above video, you will hear united states National Security Advisor John Bolton declare that Juan Guiado is the president of Venezuela, even though Juan Guiado was not elected by the people of Venezuela but instead declared himself president on January 23, 2019 (and was simultaneously declared president by current leaders of the united states and some of their client states, indicating collusion between Guiado and the leaders of the united states whose interests he serves). 

In the above video, you will also hear united states National Security Advisor John Bolton declare that any action taken against Guiado (who himself has called the elected government illegitimate, urged its overthrow, and declared himself the new president) by the elected government of Venezuela will be viewed by the united states as "a grave assault on the rule of law."


So, by making such pronouncements, the current leaders of the united states (engaged in an active coup d'etat against the elected leaders of another sovereign nation, in order to seize the natural resources given to that nation by the gods) attempt to robe themselves in the mantle of the so-called "rule of law" -- a preposterous and transparently ridiculous claim to which they have no right under heaven.

Apparently, this coup d'etat is on behalf of "democracy and prosperity in Venezuela" -- because the "rule of law" now means that if the men and women of another nation vote in a way your nation does not like, then you can overturn their vote (in the name of "democracy"), and if the elected leaders of another nation decide that they want to use the natural resources given to their nation for the benefit of the people of their nation, then you can seize their natural resources and develop them with the corporations of your nation (in the name of "prosperity")!

Thank goodness for the "rule of law"! What would the men and women of the world do without this "rule of law" and those who so diligently support it? If we didn't have such defenders of the "rule of law," how could private corporations and well-connected individuals and families seize the natural riches of the earth given by heaven for the benefit of the people? 

Anyone who pays any attention at all to such developments cannot help but conclude that the united states no longer cares about democracy, the will of the people, or this vaunted "rule of law" which its leaders constantly invoke in support of their serial coups around the globe (if indeed it ever did care about such things).

However, such a conclusion is deeply unsettling and even threatening to the paradigm or vision of the world which is pounded into citizens of the united states from their earliest days in school and which is reinforced by lying media from all directions and on a continuous and ongoing basis. To the degree that one's conscious mind has incorporated such propaganda into one's own identity and "sense of self," evidence which exposes the lies upon which these mental structures or constructs are built will be viewed as dangerous and hostile, and may be vigorously resisted and even mentally filtered out. 

As explained in the previous post, our conscious mind is quite capable of buying into constructs which do not accurately reflect reality at all, although our subconscious (which detects and absorbs far more information than does our conscious mind) can and does know what is going on, even if the subconscious is filtered out by the conscious mind. 

Thus, it is quite possible for men and women who have bought into (and even built their own identity, at least in part, upon) assertions such as: 
  • "the united states is the world's leading democracy, and a proponent of democracy and a defender of democracy around the globe," and
  • "the united states stands for the glorious 'Rule of Law,' unlike more benighted countries of the world where they don't operate under a 'Rule of Law' like we do," and
  • "the united states is for 'free markets,' which is related to the 'Rule of Law' and means that we like to 'let the market decide,' unlike more benighted countries of the world where men and women foolishly hanker after socialism, which is pretty much the same as worshiping the devil,"
to actually filter out and refuse to see the plain evidence being played out in front of their very eyes which indicates that the present leaders of the united states does not care about democracy and the expressed will of the people of Venezuela whatsoever, nor do they care about free markets or the rule of law, but instead they are perfectly willing to brazenly engineer a coup d'etat in order to overturn the expressed will of the people and seize the assets belonging to the men and women of another sovereign nation, in complete disregard for their oft-repeated reverence for the sacred "Rule of Law" and the concept of "free markets" (except to the extent that "free markets" means "free to trample over any laws which stand in the way of private profits").

Even for those who are so committed to the paradigm expressed in the above ridiculous assertions, however, it is impossible for their subconscious to see the brazen coup d'etat presently being inflicted upon Venezuela (only a few years after a similar coup d'etat was inflicted upon the people and elected government of the Ukraine, which itself was only a recent manifestation of a pattern which has been going on for decades and even for more than a century in the foreign policy united states) and to reconcile this coup d'etat with the professed ideals of "democracy," "freedom," and "Rule of Law."

Again, to employ the brilliant characters developed for the long-running popular television series "The Office" (united states version), without implying that these actors would in any way agree with the assertions made in any of my blog posts, the conscious mind and its (often unrealistic and idealistic constructs and sense of self) can be likened to the cringe-worthy and often clueless (albeit good-natured and generally likable) regional manager Michael Scott, pictured below:

the office finger guns GIF

As we look at the above image, we can imagine him repeating mantras such as "Rule of Law" and "free markets" and "good for the economy" and "at least it's not socialism!"

At the same time, as discussed in that preceding post, our subconscious is not so easily fooled by the constructs and mental structures which the conscious mind has built up and to which it clings for safety and for the preservation of identity. It perceives much more of what is going on in the surrounding world (and indeed in the wider universe itself, to which the subconscious appears to have a mystical and inexplicable connection). As the conscious mind repeats, "Rule of Law," and "overthrowing the government on behalf of democracy and prosperity," the subconscious mind responds:

the office eye roll GIF

Such a massive disconnect will inevitably create a "schism" within our own psyche, resulting in a background level of angst or anxiety which our conscious mind cannot necessarily explain or even detect, but which will impact everything we are doing and feeling as we are going about our lives.

Those who are perpetrating these crimes against the rights of men and women -- and indeed crimes against heaven and against nature itself -- rely upon their ability to reinforce the false paradigms and constructs which keep our conscious minds clueless and oblivious to what is actually going on in the world around us. They will reinforce those "talking points" and artificial structures relentlessly using mass-media and carefully researched propaganda techniques, and will vigorously attack any counter-narratives that become too popular or begin to show signs of demolishing the mental structures that they have diligently imposed upon the minds of the populace (especially their very useful and longstanding "fear of socialism" framework, which is showing increasing signs of strain and may begin to crumble despite their best efforts to maintain it).

For a previous video opposing the smug commentators who for the past several months have been loudly proclaiming that Venezuela's crisis is a natural consequence of "socialism" and a textbook example proving that "eventually you run out of other people's money," see this post from September of 2018.

Engineering a coup d'etat against another sovereign nation in order to seize their natural resources is a grave affront to the gods (or, if you prefer, "the divine realm," or Nature), who are the source of those gifts and who gave them to the men and women whom they allowed to be born in that nation.

That this coup d'etat is being engineered in the name of "democracy," "freedom," "prosperity," and the "Rule of Law" is an affront to those concepts and an insult to those who actually support them.

That this coup d'etat is being done in the name of the citizens of the united states (and in the name of the citizens of other nations including Canada, France, UK, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iceland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Ecuador, Australia, and many others) is a profound misrepresentation of those men and women in those countries who actually see what is going on and who are revolted at such a criminal act of aggression being perpetrated supposedly with their support or consent.

With this blog post and above video I am hereby voicing my strongest condemnation of this illegal and despicable attempted coup against the people and government of Venezuela, and I urge others to oppose it and raise their voices in whatever way possible, including through participation in nonviolent protest, to help stop this grave violation.

It is well past the time to shake off the mental cages which we ourselves have constructed (out of tinkertoys given to us from the time we were very young, and reinforced by an overtly dishonest mass-media apparatus) and which keep our conscious mind happily insulated from the reality that is going on all around us, imposing a deep schism and sense of alienation and anxiety upon the human psyche, while at the same time enabling the crimes and depredations of those oppose democracy, freedom, and human dignity, along with their cynical collaborators who are willing to sell out their own nations and fellow citizens for a share in the dishonest gain.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Austerity is an Affront to the Gods

Here is a video I made entitled "Austerity is an Affront to the Gods," which refutes austerity-mongers who are presently to be found in control of both the "right" and the so-called "left" (who are not really left) in most nations of the global west.

The term "austerity" as used here means "fiscal austerity," which seeks to limit the ability of elected governments representing the people to use fiscal policy (including sovereign spending and tax policy) to influence the economy for purposes of full employment and economic benefit. 

Austerity in practice involves increasing taxes and reducing sovereign spending on infrastructure and on social welfare. 

Austerity has been implemented to a greater and greater degree since the rise of "monetarist" policy beginning in the late 1970s and especially after 1980; the monetarist school wants to supplant fiscal policy (implemented by a nation's elected representatives) with monetary policy (implemented by central banks), using monetary policy almost exclusively to manage the economy and trying to encourage full employment and price stability, even though monetary policy is a very clumsy instrument for these tasks and actually admits to using increased unemployment as a counter to inflation.

Austerity reflects a vision of scarcity rather than a vision of plenty. It is enabled and sustained by a general lack of understanding of the abundance of the natural resources given to a nation by the gods (or, if you prefer, by Nature), including the most important gift of all which are the talents and abilities and ambitions of the men and women whom the gods (or Nature) allow to be born into that nation.

Advocates of austerity (whom we could legitimately label "austerity mongers") seek to limit the ability of a nation to implement fiscal policy to such a degree that spending on infrastructure and social welfare is drastically curtailed, taxes are increased (or threatened to be increased for any increased spending on infrastructure or social welfare, which we are told we "cannot afford" otherwise), underemployment and unemployment rise which means that men and women are unable to fully use their gifts (given to them by the gods, or -- if you prefer -- by Nature), and standards of living are dramatically reduced.

Ultimately, the end result of austerity policy, as explained by Professor Michael P. Hudson in a quotation included in the above video and cited from an interview he gave in February of 2014 (the entire interview is linked in this previous post), is the straitjacketing of representative government to the degree that it must sell off natural resources to private parties (corporations or hyper-wealthy individuals), a process known as privatization -- which has, not coincidentally, increased at a steady pace since the implementation of monetarist austerity regimes beginning around 1980.

Professor Hudson explains:
And stage two is when the governments have to pay by selling off the public domain: the land, the natural resources, the forests, the ports, the electrical systems, the natural monopolies, and the infrastructure -- the roads and the bridges -- and the economy's turned into a tollbooth economy, and so you're going very rapidly back to feudalism.
Austerity mongers on the right typically argue for privatization and for drastic cuts to spending on social welfare (but not cuts to spending on military arsenals and standing armies). Austerity mongers on the supposed "left" typically argue for increased spending on social welfare but for simultaneous massive increases in taxes on the people, consistent with the paradigm of austerity -- and they are usually not opposed to privatization either (in fact, many of them argue for more of it).

Ultimately, as this video attempts to demonstrate, the entire paradigm of austerity is built upon a false and even "upside-down" vision of the world, including the role of the sovereign government in the creation of money, as a small but growing group of economists in the so-called Modern Monetary Theory school have demonstrated. The MMT economists show that men and women have been basically deceived with a bunch of claptrap about how macroeconomics operates, and which actually has nothing to do with reality.

I would argue that this situation is very much illustrative of many other situations in which our "conscious mind" has accepted a false paradigm or framework which actually goes against reality and nature itself. In these cases, I would argue, we actually know deep down (in our gut, in our bones, or in our subconscious) that the vision we have accepted and under which we are operating is completely false -- and yet our conscious mind may not know it. 

Our conscious mind is quite capable of accepting a false paradigm, reinforcing it, and operating as though it is true -- even to the point of filtering out evidence which challenges that false paradigm, in some cases to the point of actually not seeing something (or telling ourselves we didn't see something) which would upend the false paradigm in which our conscious mind is operating. 

Meanwhile, our subconscious is not so easily fooled, and actually knows the truth -- creating an internal schism and a kind of alienation from one's own self which is extremely characteristic of the modern world. 

To illustrate using the brilliant characters created for the popular television series "The Office" (united states version), without implying that these actors would in any way agree with things asserted in this blog, I have in the past compared the conscious mind and its constant chatter to Michael Scott, who often appears to "believe his own line" even when it is obviously ridiculous, with a kind of unshakeable good humor and cringe-worthy self-confidence:

the office finger guns GIF

Meanwhile, our subconscious mind (which is aware of much more of what is going on around us and even in the wider universe than is the conscious mind), is not so easily amused, and not so ready to accept the elaborate paradigms and constructs which the conscious mind buys into:

the office eye roll GIF

If we see increasing numbers of hungry, homeless men and women in the streets and yet continue to tell ourselves that the economy is just fine (and even "nearing full employment"), then I would suggest that it is very likely that we have (in our conscious mind) bought into a false construct of one sort or another (see top picture, above) but that deep down our subconscious mind knows better (see bottom picture, above) and we will then be living with a kind of "schism" within our own psyche, creating a background level of angst or anxiety which our conscious mind cannot necessarily even detect or explain, but which will influence everything we are doing and feeling as we go about our lives.

The same situation would apply to a man or woman who knows deep down (at the level of the subconscious, which detects much more than does the conscious mind) that his or her wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend is having an affair, but whose conscious mind refuses to see the evidence, in order to maintain a paradigm or world-view or sense of self which is not in line with reality and which eventually will likely come crashing down (but, until it does, the disconnect will create a deep sense of background anxiety and general psychic discomfort).

I would argue that much the same thing is going on with regard to massive criminal events such as the collapse of three steel-frame high-rise buildings into their own footprints on September 11, 2001, supposedly due to "fire": our conscious mind can (desperately) cling to the false narrative which is constantly repeated for our acceptance (see top picture, above) even though our subconscious mind knows deep down that this narrative cannot possibly match reality (see bottom picture, above). The threat to our paradigm and vision of the world is so great that our conscious mind will resist looking at or even refuse to see things which threaten the paradigm or structure or vision of the world which the conscious mind has constructed.

The good news is that the ancient myths given to humanity are all about showing us how to heal the schism between our conscious mind and our subconscious mind, in every way.

This fact explains why the ancient myths remain so relevant to those who are trying to fool humanity, impose austerity on men and women, and take for themselves and their cronies the gifts given by the gods (or, if you prefer, by Nature) to the people of various nations.

And it explains why going to the ancient wisdom given in the world's myths, scriptures and sacred stories points us to the solution for the schism we find within ourselves, and in the wider world around us.