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World War Reality II – Hypnotic Illusion

big-brother-obamaBarack – Grand Magician

World War Real – Part I

And from Misinformation onto Illusion…

Think on this – Illusion

Ultimately, much of what we understand to be “information,” may, in fact, be misinformation.  Information creates our own personal illusions about reality.  These illusions may be personal or social.  And, naturally, personal understanding affects an individual’s social understanding. Much like the North versus South conflict previously discussed, the conflict itself acts as a misinformation indicator.  The most heated conflicts in human interaction have political and/or religious roots.

First, let’s explore events of mass illusion.  The year was 1979, and Joe Newman presented free energy to the world with his latest “energy machine” design.  Scientists scoffed while he quickly gained popularity and reached stardom.  Despite all of the sophisticated reason scientists threw at it, people cheered Newman on.  People simply wanted to believe – and, well, they did.  Joe represented a symbol of hope.  He came from a humble background, and was a high school dropout.  Newman was the people’s hero during his moment in the spotlight – a scientific revolutionary!

With the country inspired by the free energy fire, Joseph Newman spoke of godly visions and waved Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity around.  Newman claimed that God appointed him as “steward for his gift,”  and explained that energy is sustainable at the speed of light.  Through using Einstein’s equation and visions, Newman appealed to disassociated authorities.  This obscured any authority’s identity through the devices of a largely scientifically uneducated society, and an unknowable god.  In effect, Newman created and continued to fuel this mass illusion of hype, hope, and an American dream.

Unfortunately, hope cannot defy the laws of thermodynamics.  Law one, or Conservation, overturned any probable notion of the perpetual motion device ever creating energy.  Law two, or Entropy, shut Newman’s case down completely – As, it states that when energy is expended, there will always be a loss.  Joe always boasted of what miracles the machine could never do, nor, would he ever be able to demonstrate.  The scientific community sharply debunked Newman’s claims with what is now taught in an introductory Physics course.

Street magicians such as David Blaine and Criss Angel would later rush in once again to steal our hearts, leaving us filled with mystery and awe believing that these gurus somehow gained insight into the metaphysical realm(s).  Angel walked on water, floated from building to building, while Blaine could throw a poker card at a moving bus window and make it appear on the other side.  Blaine wrote his book “Mysterious Stranger,” only to cast more shadows over his act.  He revealed some simple “magic” tricks, but offered spiritual advice, as well – never fully uncloaking himself.  Angel landed a TV show.  Both magicians pulsed through the internet on Youtube videos.  Angel caught my eye when he walked on water.  People were swimming underneath his feet while he was crossing over a hotel pool to illustrate that there was no solid platform underneath him.

Acts like those of Blaine and Angel swept the nation because they preformed with no pre-rigged stage to assist them.  Some people were convinced that they were performing real magic because the no “smoke and mirrors” environment made their acts seem impossible.  However, their fame was short-lived, and simply exposed by critical thinkers.  Both magicians used similar methods in their performances.  They utilized the entire shroud of the internet to distract the audience.  They would perform basic tricks in front of real enthusiasts and tape their reactions.  Then, they would later return to the area and use machines, props, and other tools of their trade that would have been easily spotted by the gawking crowd, earlier.  For example, Blaine would stage a partner inside the bus to stick an identical poker card to the one he would throw at the bus on the inside of the window.  Chris angel used cranes to “levitate” from building to building.  Angel also used clear, hollow (this explains people swimming under his feet), plastic boxes to walk across the water on.

Another interesting feat is “cold reading,” and the general science of hypnosis. Both, “cold reading” and mass hypnosis exploit subconscious suggestion.  In “cold reading,” a person claiming to be a “psychic” will say a basic, and very common name aloud – asking the crowd if anyone knows a “Bob” or “Michael,” or “Susan”…etc.  An even simpler tactic just uses a letter for the read.  Naturally, a member in the crowd will excitedly jump out of their seat and give up a name that it may be.  Then the “psychic” plays off of the information given, and may “cold read” for further information.  Mass hypnosis is can be simply powered in the same manner – by an idea.

Weapons alone, do not kill people, but beliefs doHitler commanded and army with an idea. Saturated with Hitler’s propaganda, the German Third Reich society became convinced that the Jewish people killed their Lord and savior. Ready and willing, the army took up the sword of vengeance and moved on their perceived enemy. Aldolf Hitler’s tactics are sickening, but he was not the first war commander to use this method.  Not by any measure.  Information is the very fulcrum, upon which social leverage functions.  Information is the axis upon which the social world spins.  Information becomes an idea when believed in, and a force of nature when fueled by emotion.  In Hitler’s case, the emotion of love and other honorable and ethical notions were channeled into a system of ideas grounded in a pre-existing framework of the nation.  Hitler simply stoked the embers Martin Luther left behind – igniting a white hot fire, religious in nature. Did Hitler invent this form of social control? Not by any means. The ancient Mayans were convinced that the gods would not let the sun shine until a sufficient amount of human blood was offered.  The ancient Egyptians are said to have believed that their rulers were gods, themselves.  This belief fueled war and slavery alike. In his book, “The Art of War,” war master and descendant from a rich bloodline of war advisors, Sun Tzu (500 BCE), named religious faith as the “first constant.” in successful warfare:

The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

History is rich with other examples, as well.  In conclusion – massive cultural alignment, or paradigm, is catalyzed by a very religious type of faith. In ancient tribal traditions, the spiritual advisor, or, Shaman of the tribe, was/is placed beside the King, or tribal leader.  In terms of cultural alignment, the Shaman’s advice wields the highest appeal to authority – even placed beyond the influence of the tribe’s Alpha male.  Also, another mysterious example of illusion is the Tibetan Tulpa Effect (must read – very interesting) .  All these examples denote instances, if not constants, of mass illusion – from Hitler to the tribal Shaman.

However, mass hypnosis is not so complex in models illustrating its effects on smaller group dynamics. A religious faith emotionally charges ideas, but is not the only game on the block.  Social dynamics allow for a variety of “controls.”  Peer pressure, non-religious ethically charged forms of leadership (aka – political ideologies), societal values, social deviance, in group/out group dynamism, sub-cultural facets, and other pockets of social/group motives may all be culprits of mass illusions. Yet, inducing hypnosis is as simple as planting an idea through a sleight of hand delivery – or, tapping another’s subconscious.

Current U.S. president, Barack Obama, not only monopolized on the minority vote simply by being a minority himself, but flawlessly executed other key tactics of mass hypnotism by sparking positive associations with his campaigns.  Obama demonstrated textbook propaganda techniques in wording “hope,” “change,” and his platinum hit “Yes we can!” in his speeches.  These simple techniques touched on deeper levels within the democratic identity of American policy.  Obama hit the very mark to ignite cultural alignment – And, with both tact and precision.  His win was a easy prediction to call from my perspective. Now, if only we could bet on it, haha. I could make quick and lofty financial gains every four years.  But, with all his hope preaching, the national economy still plummeted as projected, and he finished where his predecessor, George W. Bush left off.  Since then, we’ve seen criminal corporate bailouts, the passing of more laws, the unnecessary expansion of government, and…I’ll just stop there.  I do have a larger point here.

There are several options to choose from when a U.S. voter registers, but since the presidency in America was established, two primary groups have been the only players in the presidential circuit.  In the beginning, there were Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  The two groups changed their game uniforms up, and are now the Republican versus Democrat false dichotomy.  It’s amazing what linguistics can achieve.  Unfortunately, this is where class division begins.  And, by class-division, I mean social inequality.

To restate the thesis of this writing series – Misinformation instills a mass illusion creating social inequality, and thus establishes ranks of enslavement.  

Social Inequality will be thoroughly discussed in the next piece of this series.  Stay tuned! Sources will be cited eventually!

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Make It Small

Do you ever want to change the world?  If so, your broken dreams are, and have been, crushed underfoot while you had been looking to the sky.  You change the world with every atom sent into the atmosphere through exhale.  Today I realized how one small act of kindness can prevent a universal upheaval.

Action 1 Comics - Rags Morales

Earlier today, I suggested in a political forum that spreading good acts is an alternative to counter the negativity we see around us in the world.  Sure – these small acts of humanism may seem small.  It may feel that these small candles  lit by us may only flicker against disillusioned hope.

Naturally, that is a perception perpetuated by how small the individual may feel when contrasted against the vast backdrop of an Earth populated by 7 billion people. The problems that the world faces may seem mountainous in scope.  Size is relative.

If it all seems too big – make it small.

How is this done?

While watching the evening news tonight, I discovered the perfect illustration to demonstrate the “make it small” philosophy…     I turned the channel to CNN, and the cast was discussing the clip below.  This was a “road rage” induced conflict.

Now – imagine how different this scenario could have turned out if the teenagers slowed down and kindly waved the man ahead of them…  No, don’t shrug this off.  If the victim brandishing the handgun would have been pushed further into his fear, into his confusion, into hate…etc…this may have ended in people unnecessarily dying over something that could have been prevented by a person with a different perspective. Beyond picking our fights, the most important fights may be the ones we evade.

The things we say, or don’t say to our boss – our clientele – our brother – our friend – our mate…

The things I say to you – or to me. What we say – what we do. Raw power rolls from our fingertips. Reason unites choice with action. Action unites the individual with raw reality. On the platform of this reality, the self is realized.  Here, you strum the harp of gods.

The things we do on a daily basis pioneer the future. Daily interactions. Inaction in action, and action in inaction. The things we do while operating on autopilot could change everything you thought you knew about reality. Here, we are either rumbled by the world’s reach, or the world shrinks in your shadow…

 

“Make It Small”

5 yr. old Clark Kent : “The world’s too big, mom.”

Martha Kent“Then make it small”

People are powerful beyond measure, but I’m afraid that mine is a voice in the wilderness.  When power becomes immeasurable, it gravitates into the boundary of responsibility…

If there were one, and only one, piece of all my rambling and rhetoric I could pass onto the people that have ever enjoyed my work – it would be this one.  This is a point I have made time and time again, through various method and means.  Take all this combined media and make it yours.  “Make it Small” is actually cut from Nietzsche’s philosophy.  I have only dissected the finest point.   “Size is Relative” – well, that’s Einstein.  All else tumbles through the fine tones and enhanced vision of my perception.

….and only we stand in our way.

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Mind Blade: Philosophisiticeral Violence

Mind Blade Assassin

Mind Blade Assassin

The word ‘philosophy’ is among the more abused terms in the English language.  Philosophy is primarily an umbrella term, and not for social linguistics.

There are five core divisions under the philosophy umbrella: Metaphysics, Ethics, Aesthetics, Epistemology, and Logic. Each study branches out into a myriad of primary cores and sub-division. Every thought can be traced to a study of thought. Philosophy, quite literally, encompasses every aspect of human existence. There are branches for every study, as well. Physics, Mathematics, Science (general), Art, Linguistics, The Mind, Biology, Culture, Psychology, Anthropology, Evolution, Technology, History, Politics, Life (general), Education, Religion, Economics, Legal, Naturalism, Environmental…are a few counted dimensions, among many, of modern thought. Each area, is an official designation of philosophical study.

Many put a high price on its head, expecting it to simply be this or that. It must be done this way! Or, it may be shrouded in mystery, as if dense mists move within and around it in easy, obscure flows – stowing away its secrets. Some may present it in hard edged deductive constructs. Others may envision vast landscapes, with low lush green valleys and high mountain ranges, whitened with fresh snow – Each crag and crack hinting at its mysterious process of formation. Theists have shown various shades in staking claim to it. Some were named among the pioneers such as Immanuel Kant, or the literary artist – Ralph Waldo Emerson. However, on the current cultural front, rationalism, reason and logic are noble steeds driven fiercely into deep pools of muck in jockeying for position.

Cultural storms have been crashing and brewing since the first culture rose from the soils of sentience. Informal and formal practices of debate have spread out amongst a much broader range of social discourse with the modern age of the internet. Anyone with a computer and a network connection can chime in, and sign their name to, their own unique propaganda. Many don’t realize that they are on the frontlines of culture war when they are etching their piece of mind onto a computer screen and sending it adrift in cyber space.

Religion and politics are keystones of societies, handed down by tradition. Puppetry and magic are the sources of passionate argument in open discussion, though hearts beat rapid and anger clouds clarity. Hard heads collide, as one is set upon cracking the other. These regions of the social jungles are dark with desire and rich with snakes. These topics are entangled with emotion, and furrowed brows casting shadows upon the looking eyes. Old ghosts of times lost are still held high by their bumbling followers and gallant knights. Each side screams their battle cries as they dig their heals in and push it deeper. The divide threatens and they dare not slight, sheath their swords, nor compromise; and rarer still – an apology.

Over discussion, they split each hair – And, I say welcome to…culture warfare. Through their words bare gnashing teeth and bloodshot eyes. Maturity has brought me the kindness and calm. I wonder now, what they fight for. It has been so long – I can’t see it anymore. I am lost in the gun smoke, fire and clashing steel. Wandering and wondering, my heart opens out. The scene is obvious; the cultures war.

History reminds me about these pains and plights. There is little good born by it, mostly rising tempers and misuse of the written word.  Pens are sharp and wits can dance around slower minds. Societal cancer chews away, but there’s no blood on the ground. Rhetoric is rendered , but no lives are lost, I cannot help but imagine that this is actually progress.  Maybe it is a move forward, and that is difficult to imagine. A few minds here, and a few minds there.  In this arena, the brain rises above the brawn. Thoughts playing at conflict, but this could the answer to physical violence.

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Allegory of the Cerebral Cave

Politics. Religion.  Beliefs.  These are all components of topics I write on, if not the topics themselves.  A good question to ask is “why?”  Why do I write on these subjects?  There is good reason these conversation pieces are forbidden at the dinner table.  Beliefs mark the parameters of one’s mental blueprint.  That is, beliefs are the vehicles used to navigate our comprehension of both social and personal reality.

It could be argued that a belief is not much more than a wager.  Strangely enough, this wager liberates the mind – but, only to various degrees.  This leap of faith lends to the structure of our mental framework.  A stair must first be conceptualized before the climbing may proceed.  It is not conceivable that a person can operate without holding certain prejudices pertaining to reality.  Some choose apathy over understanding the implications concerning these crucial observations.  The choice made to write on controversial topics does not extend from a personal conceit.  I do not think I possess some ultimate perception that governs truth.  Rather, I feel that social paradigms need agitation.  This is my personal belief.

As with argument, I feel that intellectual conflict facilitates communication.  Effective communication stimulates clarity within the collective.  All too often, people settle on the convenience of a belief.  Unfortunately, this behavior breeds stagnation.  I find myself in shock at times when I confront someone’s belief only to watch them desperately cling to it without a shred of rational thought.  I can sympathize with a person that has grown old with a particular set of conceptual schemes.  Their neural pathways are reaching solidification.  There is no known cure for this aside from prevention.  Children are naturally open to fluid belief structures because they are engaged in the process of framing, for the first time, this mental construction.  They seek pieces of understanding to map onto a working dynamic, as their elders did before them.  Older people do not easily correct, whereas, the youth are resilient.  The complication arises; however, when stagnant paradigms are taught to new generations.

Socialization often creates generational cycles within a culture.  These cycles can be progressive, regressive, stagnant, or destructive in nature.  Religious and political ideologies have rarely shown to be progressive.  Only after experiencing a critical mass, does a society seek out resolutions to ratify change in these areas.  Only when groups rise to confront systemic ideology can critical mass be  reached.  Sadly, war has often resulted in the past.  Why?  War is also the result of a belief paradigm – the belief that it provides a solution.  Though, war practiced in defense is the only justifiable means of an acceptable end.   Rarely do small militaries practice offense by attack larger advanced forces.  This only happens out of extreme conceit, stupidity, and/or insanity.  There is always a motivational belief structure at the helm in all cases.  Some ideas are viral, and quickly consume the whole.

The average individual is commonly rendered helpless by massive social movements.  They conform through fear and feel they must pick sides on the battlefield.  Wait…they don’t pick sides at all, do they?  Their allegiance is predestined in correlation with physical location.  Billions of people have signed over their voice during times of war because choice was not evident.

It is my contention that until power is restored to the individual, authentic choice will always elude them.  Some think that discussing these systemic ideologies is a futile, misdirected, and useless aim.  “Leave people alone with their personal beliefs and let them have their freedom.”  From my perspective, liberation is the idea…and it is necessary for real change.  As thought the “Philosopher” of Plato’s Cave.

 

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Thinking for Yourself in a Social World

Most people feel that they are ultimately in control of what they believe, why they choose to believe it, and that their beliefs are individually unique.  Unfortunately, research suggests otherwise.  Everyone is a conformist at some level.  The human being is a social animal, and adaptation has shown to play key roles in survival of the human species and all other species as well.

Another area many people feel comfortable with is in maintaining a generally liberal bias.  The average person will not easily admit that they are judgmental toward others.  Yet, this is a survival skill that all animals employ naturally.  An environment must be cataloged accordingly in order that a species may survive it.  When discussing evolution, it is commonly misunderstood that the theory postulates that the fittest are favored to live on – avoiding extinction.

Ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed have become extinct.  This places survivors roughly in the one percentile.  The big and bad have fallen among this ninety-nine percent.  It is better stated that adaptability sustains a living being.  During the time when large carnivorous predators scoured the earth’s surface for sustenance, every living being was targeted.   Evidently, it was not the strongest that survived.  Rather, the small mammals that were able to burrow underground eventually would lead to us – the homo-sapien.  These small animals adapted, thus, leaving a very important lesson about the processes of evolution behind.  As it turns out – sharp elongated teeth, powerful muscles, and sheer size does not guarantee passage through the shifting sands of time.

Adaptability requires a comprehensive understanding of the surrounding ecosystem(s) and the dynamics of cohabitation in that environment.  Humans expend little worry about wildlife today.  Instead, their focus is centered on survival within their own species.  Upon meeting a stranger, a multitude of judgments pass through our decision making processes in order to determine how (or if) the new subject is to fit our social hierarchy schematic.  Some of these evaluations are conscious, others are not.  This is known as the primacy effect.  No one actually gets a second chance to make a genuine first impression.  In contrast, incorporating the idea of susceptibility to change into how we think of others is a wise choice.  Otherwise, we can be easily deceived.

Modern civilization finds itself in a historical seat that has become the very fulcrum for the balance of survival – not only of its own species, but the rest of the inhabitants of the earth, as well.  It has monopolized adaptation to the point of selfish lethargy.  This is also known as apathy.  The dark irony lurking in these very human shadows is the idea that caring for each other and our environment may prove to be the height of our adaptation.

In light of this looming threat of social conformity, truly unique thought may seem impossible.  That is due to the fact that society is the product of a progression.  There are no completely independent thoughts – but there will always be room for progress.  And…it is progression that defines the future.  Think…interdependently – think progressively – this is the key to survival in such a strange and cumbersome world.

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The Detriment of Ignorance

When I was 20 years of age I decided to join the military.  A more important note is “why?” – why did I join the military?  I was peeking around a local unemployment department one day – looking for work.  I had a fairly long list of job history under my belt at the time.  In other words – I had already been employed and quit more jobs than most people do in their entire lifespan.  Nothing fit.  Nothing fit, and I was heartbroken at the time.  I just quit my latest relationship as well.  Needless to say, I was discouraged.  I paced around the building gathering information and browsing websites.  I just wanted out.  Out of my situation and do something exciting.  I wanted to travel and see the world.  Or something…  Truthfully, I had no idea what I wanted.

Head down, I moped out of the front doors of the building.  I looked over to my right and there was a building hosting every type military recruiting office.  I always liked the Army – so, I went there.  I wanted to be something creative like an aircraft mechanic, I told the recruiter.  He scanned the pages of his job catalog.  He didn’t say much before an older, white whiskered, stout man snagged my attention.

“Let’s have a look at you” as he grabbed both of my shoulders in a firm grip.  His eyes moved over my upper body.

“Do you like to hike, repel, and work outdoors?”
My eyes widened.  “Yeah!”  I said excitedly.  “Well, son, you should sign up for 11 Bravo!”

I just wanted out of my skin.  There wasn’t much thought involved.  Sign me up – send me around the world.  I was simply young and wanted nothing more than a shiny new life.  Before this moment, I had worked in a restaurant, a trucking freight warehouse, data entry, department stores, temporary work, and I was even a car salesman.  I walked off jobs.  I even jumped a fence one time because I just didn‘t want to deal with my manager.   The last job I previously held involved working for a general construction contractor.  I had served as a pack horse for three months.  I didn’t want to be anyone’s slave, either.  I didn’t have the drive to work in modern day society anymore.  This explains why the Army looked like an agreeable option at the time.  Though, the work would offer something equivalent to a hired thug.  I had even been to college and dropped out by then.   I was twenty years old, and empty – but still searching.

Long story short – I found myself on a plane to Fort Benning, Georgia.  I had signed up for the job the old guy with a dad feel to him sold me.  I signed up for what he suggested as if he held my best interest in mind.  But, the recruiter told me…that I was going hiking?

I can laugh about it now.  I quickly found out that I signed up to be a killer, and guess what?  I have held violence in contempt my entire life, and I just took the most violent job they had to offer.  I was gullible…so gullible, when I was younger.  I believed in people and I still do.  I never read the fine print at that age.  I was green, naïve, and ripe for the hustle.  I was optimistic.  I had doubts concerning this new lifestyle, but I told myself I was going to do it.  I would be a killer if that’s what it took to find my place in this world.  The more cunning side of me was after the bonuses and G.I. bill, but I was just lost and throwing myself to the wolves.

I conditioned before I went in.  I ran often – sometimes for ten miles or so.  I lifted weights.  I honestly wanted to be an effective soldier.  I sold myself on it all.  The conditioning paid off and so, all the push-ups, flutter kicks, and other creative physical training didn’t phase me.  The defining moment of clarity came when I was in the middle of a two hour drill focused on bayonet attacks.  The drill consisted of hopping in a three point turn.  At every point, the platoon in unison, would perform three stabbing maneuvers.  Every time we used our rifle to stab we had to shout “Kill!”  Each first thrust exacted stabbing at the groin, the second at the torso, and the third at the neck.  “KILL, KILL, KILL” we shouted for two hours as we jabbed the air with bayonet armed combat rifles.  I made a mental note to carry extreme amounts of ammunition because this was preparation in the case my last clip ran dry in battle.  Images of stabbing enemy soldiers coursed through my mind.

I felt like a savage maniac.  That’s exactly what they were training me to be.  Later on, I was sent through courses and stabbing humanoid targets.   It wasn’t long before my personal bubble of illusion burst, and reality crept in.  My optimism felt like a cunning dark joke.  There were talks of “peace keeping missions” in the Middle East.  They were saying that most of us would go.  That shifted from a rumor to an ice cold reality when the drill sergeants gave their platoons the news.  Killing others became a reality I knew that I would soon confront at that point.

This all gave me a lot to think about.  Everything became clear when I stopped conforming and dared to think.  I had taken a year of psychology in high school.  It was my favorite class, along with art.  My eyes were open the entire time, and I had realized the mechanical being I was becoming.  Before, I had convinced myself that I belonged there.  As soon as I stopped tricking myself, the behavioral conditioning the Army used to coerce my conformity screamed at me from every corner I turned.  I had been there for eleven weeks up to that point.  I was two weeks from graduation.  Yet, I wanted out…and NOW!  I looked over my paperwork during my down time.  I scanned through the thick stack of legalities I had barely glanced at upon when I was unknowingly signing my life over.  Finally, I found a door.  The contract was not officially binding until I graduated basic training.  I decided to refuse to train in order to prevent my graduation.  I first told my drill sergeant.  He barked at me.  I didn’t move.  He sent me to the Captain of the battalion.  From there, I was sent from officer to officer.  One of them spit in my face and told me I was a disgrace to the U.S. flag.  The words sailed over me like some foreign object that I didn’t understand.  I took no offense.  Apparently, the flag was an idol symbolizing something he believed in.  I was reminded of pledging allegiance in grade school.  Flag praise seemed like lunacy to me, though I wasn’t very judgmental at the time.  I was a child and I figured flag worship was what the adults in my community did.  I had not learned to question authority – nor, conformity.

What is the point of this story?  I may have not been taken against my will to appease some cultural god, but my ignorance proved to be the shackles around my feet.  I had taken “Think For Yourself” 101 in a very rudimentary setting.  I wanted to rip the brochures out of every high school.  I wanted to talk with children like myself that were convinced the war machine of America deserved their devotion in the name of all that is right and good.  I wanted to devour a thousand times, the ignorance that had chained me.  I looked around, wagging my heavy finger, but there was no one to blame but myself.  I did not have the warrant to push my anger in such directionless aim, yet I was placed upon a sacrificial mantle nonetheless – another body adding to Army numbers.

Ultimately, our awareness is molded by our own choices about how and what we think.  I made a choice to not fall in line.  I made a choice to look within.  I did not see a murderer in myself.  It did take more courage to walk away.  That much was true.  I chose to be lost again instead of found by something other than myself and used like a tool.  This is an issue with generations of modern times.  War is an ongoing theme, and the flag may as well be the stone idol that the Aztecs appeased by pouring sacrificial blood on it.

I took time to study reactions of the other boys training to become sacrificial men. The authorities in this arena would explain war as a necessary evil without hesitation if a new recruit were to question it.  I watched some embrace the change, and I watched it break wills.  Lost children did everything from plunging off a high roof top to drinking laundry detergent in a means to find their way out.  The training techniques were concrete.  It was an orchestrated force conducted by instructors, who themselves, were weapons forged on the same anvil.  Like a river, it (the training and propaganda) coursed through the psyche of the young men around me and eroded their doubts – for, it was pure belief at work. Psychologist B.F. Skinner coined this project in mental technology, “behavioral conditioning.”

To put it bluntly – beliefs are dangerous.  A belief can be sold, and/or forced.  Lying in wait, these viral ideologies are coiled to strike.  It is belief that drives me to write these very words.  The core of it all is – what is a belief based on?  Quite simply, a belief is grounded in knowledge in one form or another.  The knowledge may be abstract or unquantifiable, yet it is the credibility perceived that makes an idea undeniable.  Whether it holds truth is irrelevant to its existence.

In finality, to answer the question concerning whether one can be certain of something – definitely.  Yet, this confirmation alone does not verify any truth beyond how the knowledge is perceived.  Thus, you see, knowledge and certainty maintain very human elements in regard to objective reality.

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Beliefs Are Dangerous

A proficient philosopher (anyone who understands relative connotations in a story) understands that models, metaphors, and other forms of illustration are necessary for expressing certain concepts. Personally, I find it meaningful to extrapolate from history for both guidance and illustration while demonstrating real world application. History is my greatest teacher. From its clutch, I can uncover rich parables and lessons from those who‘ve treaded earthly crust before me. It’s simple enough to point to Nazi Germany or Mao’s China, but tribal civilization is the oldest well to draw from. The events leading to the social collapse of the Easter Islands is a decent starting point.

The Easter Islands were once abundant with tropical life. Plants, animals, trees… It was paradise according to modern ecologists, geologists, and historians. Today, the island is barren much like a desert, though restoration attempts are underway. Remains of carven stone will continue to serve as a lesson to the human species. The island was originally colonized around 1200 BCE. The new inhabitants were likely Polynesian – a superstitious culture. However, as with most cultures, their beliefs varied as time passed. Since 300 – 400 BCE settlers had come, all carrying with them different perspectives on reality, gods, natural forces, among other cultural themes. The dominant cultures believed that the dead supported the living with luck, health, and overall survival. With a bit of positive reinforcement in those areas – one could even strive for a happy and full life. Thus, this supernatural facilitation was valued highly. When things went well, praise was given. When hard times came, some cursed the gods and spirits.

The idea of a god allows for a venue of belief and/or knowledge that provides reason for what seems otherwise unpredictable and frightening. Some gods give purpose in the believer’s mind. Tribal peoples have traditionally placed great emphasis on finding a reason behind natural phenomena. Why? A deity can explain away raging seas, wind gusts, rain, sun, temperature, etc. In effect, forces that once evaded primitive comprehension were made tangible – and thus, available for control to some degree. Once in awhile a coincidence would coin someone a medicine man, or, “Shaman,” in tribal rank. For example, a ritual performed by the individual may coincide with a natural event. Such a phenomenon is enough to nudge along the idea that the practicioner is in touch with conjured unseen forces. Those believed to maintain a connection with the unknown were/are often sought for their counsel. Through Shamanic understanding, believers could glean off of the promise of obtaining metaphysical knowledge. Leaders sought/seek counsel from the Shaman, as well. At times, Shamans were/are even elected to lead. Throughout history, there are not many cultures that have closed Shamans out of their councils. The Shamanic seat of authority can be shown to greatly affect physical reality, and not through magic. Rather, the role of the Shaman is a political one. In this model – Easter Island Shamans suggested erecting monuments symbolizing the deified dead.

This cultural landscape launched the decline of resources available based on the belief that raising stone idols appeased these godly ancestors. The expense was high, and would prove to be the island’s demise. Carving the stone required hard labor. The statues were erected with log built structures. The logging eventually led to deforestation. People were enslaved to carry out the tasks. The second element involved in this extinction event was an increase in population. Depopulation later became justified by a new cultural movement called the Bird man Cult. The cult contended that the direct line to the dead was no longer sufficient through the monuments alone, but must be attained through physical combat. Emerging victors were thought to have won the favor of the gods. Reminance of petroglyphs laden with bird man features tell pieces of their story. The creator deity, “Makemake,” was thought to play a key role in combat proven leadership rituals.

Europeans would eventually arrive and erect a monument to their god of choice (also known as a church). Peruvian raids raked the region repeatedly shortly after to capture slaves to be either sold or sacrificed to gods in their culture. Many island inhabitants vanished. Due to a devastating lack of resources, cannibalism plagued the region as well. The statue production left the land torn and the tree roots that once bound the tall trees to the ecosystem no longer served their vital purpose. Soon, soil erosion devastated the remaining vegetation and the land could not support a significant population. After the environmental decline, under 50 people were reported to be remaining inhabitants. The island serves as a microcosm for the final conclusion within a much larger schema. This allegory is merely one tale in history where ignorance was placed higher than achieving crucial knowledge. This same plague eroded other ancient civilizations despite their demonstration of possessing a much deeper understanding of the workings of the universe and their respective ecosystems.

Ancient ruins of the Mayan people, some archaeologists estimate to be roughly 10,000 years old, echo both tales of civilized success and civilized destruction. Mayan peoples sought to appease their gods of belief as well, by holding rituals for many occaisions – some performed to harness the power of the sun. Despite the idea sounding like lunacy today, this was a reasonably logical aim. Modern civilizations today understand that the sun is a necessary resource. If modern technology could wield its power, it would be a valuable commodity – bought and sold on the stock market. Mayan natives of old were an industrious civilization focused on agriculture, technology, architecture, art, cosmology – among other crafts. For its time, Mesoamerica housed a highly advanced empire. The culture was among the first to develop a complete language. Through observation, they formed a highly accurate calendar that is the centerpiece for archaeological marvel today. With an intricate understanding of mathematics, they built temples that also capture modern scientific awe.

Mayan interest in cosmology seeded the culture with a rich scientific background. Day and night, the Mayan peoples watched the sky move in order to record natural events and effects. Their keen observations spawned a practical system for understanding the world in which they lived. Mayans consistently held pantheist views that bridged human existence with nature, animals, and the universe. Yet, they also maintained a diverse allegoric mythology. Gods were assigned to disease, lightning, thunder, rain…among other elements and animals. Often, “Maize” is seen as the primary cultural deity of the time – A female commonly personified through important resources such as Jade, Maize, or Cacau. Ritualistic practices, including human sacrifice, were incidentally packaged in their ideas concerning the workings of the universe as well. Ritual that reflects the depths of cruelty and inhumanity.

Human sacrifice was conducted by Mayan culture to sanctify events. Most religions host a deity, or system of deities that require sacrifice of some kind. This is a common theme found in superstitious thinking. Rituals can call for fasting, bowing, and/or some form of sacred practice that displays worship, humility, obedience, and/or an act of sanctity. Captured rulers and warriors were highly honored in this tradition. The sacrificed were thrown to the masses to be eaten. The not too distant Aztec culture held similar beliefs. According to record, the Aztecs sacrificed 20,000 people in a single ceremony once. The lifeless corpses were then eaten by the crowd below.

This all may sound a bit shocking and well beyond current trends concerning moral rationale. I assure you that this streak of humanity’s capacity for bloodshed is not buried in the distant past as you would prefer to believe. A particular practice prevails in current civilizations and is visible throughout human record. This plague spans the globe. I am addressing the practice of war. Simply because this act runs beneath a different title, does not exempt it from the discussion. In principle, war parallels the travesty of human sacrifice. The difference between war and religious sacrifice is the driving ideology behind them. Generals send soldiers to their deaths just as ancient rulers once forced heads upon mantles.

In conclusion, what ties this brief exploration of human history together is belief itself. The Polynesians exploited their local resources to the extent that the ecosystem became unsustainable. The Ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures cruelly captured human beings and sacrificed them. The entire world has practiced human sacrifice through war since men came into being. There are countless examples, ranging from the petty to the magnificent, that can show the motivation of belief behind such moral deviance. Aside from auto mechanical bodily function, everything humans do requires a quality of hope, belief, knowing or ideological motive.

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