During my years online, I’ve always devoted a portion of my time studying and fighting spam, hoaxes, scams and urban legends, among other Internet abuses.
After that prank when someone posted my resume on some of the most abusive job hunting sites, I was inundated with all manner of inappropriate offers. A great many of them were things for which I was simply unqualified, not to mention uninterested. The biggest bunch were variations of sales positions, under which I include recruiter jobs.
Some of these last types were outright scams. At least two of them required me contacting the upstream provider to shut off the spam, because their “opt-out” links were bogus. Others took almost two weeks to stop the flow. A couple of weeks ago it finally seemed about done.
Out of the blue today I got a sale job offering from an insurance outfit. You can check complaint sites like Ripoff Report and decide for yourself about the merits of the reports. Also note this company absorbed the notorious Mega Life Health Insurance. While I won’t post here my rant against the insurance industry, nor my dislike for salesmen and marketers in general, suffice to say I was offended at the very idea. So I fired off something rude:
Chances are I already possess more skill and talent in sales than anyone in your company. I also have better morals than to be a slimy manipulator marketing crap nobody wants or needs.
In case it’s not obvious to you, take me off your mailing list.
Shameful, no? Post your verbal abuse of me below in the comments. At any rate, the person identified in the return address was actually a human. An intelligent one, at that. Her response was something about God’s gift of humility, and that I was removed from their list. You can hear the hot air hissing out of the blowup doll.
So here’s to a class act, Sandra Washburn at Insphere Insurance. Mea culpa.
Scientists, and other people who represent the cream of human intelligence and wisdom, should not be trusted any more than the psychopaths who rule in governments.
There are good reasons for this:
1. Scientists, by the very nature of their pursuit, exclude God and spiritual concerns. Sure, the better ones recognize there may be motives for choices which aren’t exactly good science, but they tend to be dismissive and pressure you to do what their particular science god demands. There is a serious error in logic here, assuming whatever it is science can discover about observable and measurable processes is somehow the most important factor in deciding. Since when does it make you insane to choose one form of death over another? The very best of behavioral science still can’t answer the most basic question of why we bother to study human behavior. If we give the answer, “to improve human life,” you still haven’t answered, “by what morality.” That there is a consensus among fools does not make their answer any better.
2. Scientists lie. They are people, and have a vested interest in something they are doing. A few admit they simply want to discover something which will make them rich and/or famous. Science is simply the path to standard human ambition. Others lie to themselves worse than anyone else, presuming they can somehow actually be objective. For all it’s high moral objectivity, in that proper scientific method is striving to disprove your own theory, most of the time they aren’t humble enough to really put it to the test. They want to be right and competent, or at least appear to be, if only to themselves. With the huge number of verifiable frauds in just the past decade in the field of academic publication and medical journals, you’d be a fool to consider science any more trustworthy than any other activity which involves humans in groups with an agenda — politics.
3. Scientists are used. They don’t have to be aware of it for it to serve the manipulator’s purpose. There is a very short list of scientists who rejected funding or support because the source of it wanted to steer things just a bit, few enough to be literally remarkable. How many scientists can pursue their work without funding? And how often is it funded by anything other than a government, or some corporate grant agency? When did money ever come without strings attached? Not in this world.
Global Warming? Pure, unadulterated political hoax, easily shot down by real science. Worse, a provable effort to hide their awareness it was all fake, even as they promoted it by all these expensive fake studies.
Peak oil? Check the actual stats; the world is awash in excess petroleum which can’t be sold fast enough. The only reason prices remain high is through propaganda about a shortage, plus pushing it all through extra handling to raise costs. Here in the US, oil from offshore platforms is shipped out into international waters, then brought back to shore as an import, which the government duly taxes as such.
Vaccines? Check the actual track record; most are a bigger threat than what they pretend to treat. The human body was not designed to process stuff injected directly into the blood stream. Ordinary sanitation measures have done more to extend life all across the world than any measure of vaccination. Given the vast commercial and political interest behind the promotion of vaccines, it’s the last thing you should be willing to consider. Your doctor is a specialized politician and vendor.
Fluoridation of public water supplies? Proven to be quite the opposite of what they claim, it is a serious threat to your teeth. The whole thing originated with some industrial magnate trying to find a way to sell a nasty waste product, so he paid some scientist with a good reputation to lie for him. This stuff is hopelessly toxic.
Food Pyramid versus Paleo “Cave Man” Diet? Both are wrong. The first problem is cultural conditioning; infants cut loose in a full range buffet typically eat less junk food and prefer stuff lightly seasoned. There’s a real scientific tests for you! If we could simply remove the industrial toxins used by food companies to pad their profits, all in absolute secrecy because they are actively hostile to our wishes, we would have no trouble finding a proper selection of food simply by following our own instincts, selecting from what’s available. People who make “bad” decisions may be simply hearing a different drummer, not burdened with your particular morals and motivations.
Finally, this whole thing is deeply and utterly perverted by one factor: The State seeks increasing control. And how hard is it to understand the State’s only interest is economics? Not the general economic interest, but the economics of those who rule. If everyone is doing the same thing, regardless of right or wrong, it’s simpler and cheaper in terms of bureaucratic costs to maintain the system of control and taxation. All this crap about your health is really an issue of costs to the bureaucracy. Every other stated or implied motive of human welfare is pure sewage, and some of them know it. If you could make all your neighbors turn off their A/C so electric rates could drop and make it cheaper to run your A/C, would you do it? Probably not, but once someone’s head is pulled inside the bureaucracy, that sense of decency disappears.
And those who manage and direct those bureaucracies would gladly watch us all drop alive into a meat grinder, would push us into it themselves, if it made them a little wealthier and more luxurious in this world. At the same time, there is some perverted pride in “accomplishment” and “greatness.” This is what kind of morality rises to top of government and corporations, and is what’s behind virtually every pronouncement of “science in your interest.”
Mysticism includes a whole range of things, not simply the practice of Transcendental Meditation.
There will always be movements within a larger whole of any demographic. The mere existence of a thing which can be labeled “a demographic” requires acknowledging it will never be all one thing. Every group we can identify will always be composed of individuals who aren’t carbon copies of each other. Even in the shared identity label, there are usually variations on the theme.
Mystics are not all one thing. Mysticism is not so much a belief or practice or combination of the two, but a means to arriving at practices and beliefs. By definition, it is an approach which assumes there are at least two realms, and one which cannot be perceived by normal human senses. This is not inherently hostile to Christian faith because the Bible says most bluntly and literally “God is a spirit” and not a fleshly being confined to this fallen realm of existence. If He were otherwise, there would be something we could point to, leaving us with a totally different kind of debate restricted to mere minutiae, not major questions suggesting there may be no God.
Christianity is defined as following the teachings of Jesus. While there may well be much debate over what He said and what it meant, the mere presence of the thought one could evaluate any part of His teachings to pass judgment on them excludes you from the category “those who follow Christ.” That’s because Christ Himself said it was all or nothing. Conservative Christians rightly reject selective obedience to His teachings. My primary complaint with mainstream Christianity is this pernicious insistence on a form of logical approach which is inherently hostile to following Christ. It’s their particular intellectual assumptions going into the question of, “What did Jesus teach?” Their Aristotelian approach is what I find objectionable.
This approach necessarily results in a huge divergence into denominations, all with mutually exclusive definitions of “biblical faith.” Only when you restrict your epistemology to Aristotle to you end up trying to make a divine experience something subject to the Scientific Method. Just what tools would you use to examine a spirit born from above, and the move of the Holy Spirit upon someone? It leaves you excluding anyone who doesn’t fit into your narrow and precise clinical definition of God and His ways. That’s blasphemous. You can’t contain Almighty God in your written theology and creeds. Paul’s insistence on “pure doctrine” most certainly did not come from Aristotelian epistemology, but from ancient revelation.
I also reject the wide open Eastern mystical approach. I realize academically the whole thing can be lumped together as “anything other than Western.” To then judge the entire thing evil is silly on the face of it for Christians. Jesus was a Hebrew man; His Father was a Hebrew God, even as He said He was Creator of all things. While many of the statements in Hebrew Scripture are mysterious, it’s pretty hard to ignore the statements from the prophets in that Scripture and from Jesus that revelation came most clearly to the Hebrew people (see John 4:22). Jesus also said the current religious leadership of His day didn’t understand the God they were supposed to know, but the legacy of revelation to the Hebrews itself was not undone by their intransigence. This was a direct result of that leadership having embraced Aristotle and leaving behind something quite different, something unique among the various other brands of mysticism east of the Mediterranean Sea — the unique Hebrew culture, and the unique Hebrew intellectual approach, which God Himself created.
Mysticism among the Hebrews was simply the recognition there is something beyond the range of human perception. It assumes ultimate truth, however much we humans could access it, must come by revelation. The initiative rests wholly with God. Thus, if we are going to imagine those who worship Him would enter an altered state of consciousness, it is not at human behest. It does not require any particular atmosphere, nor any attempts by men to get into the right mode of operation and transcend their conscious state. When God chose, someone prophesied. Some folks were seized by the Spirit of Prophecy right in the middle of opposing God Himself. If they were called to such work, and comfortable with it, then it might happen pretty often. Still, the initiative always rested in God’s hands, and human efforts to cross the divide on their own initiative availed nothing.
There is nothing in Scripture demanding the followers of Christ enter an altered state of consciousness to be righteous and at the top of their game, so to speak. Yes, the Apostle John did enter a state he called “in the Spirit” during his introduction to Revelation. Yet we see plenty of times when someone was “in the Spirit” and fully conscious. Whatever you wish to make of that phrase, it does not require an altered state. To critics standing outside Christian faith, it seems it never occurs to them John was not on drugs or out of his mind, but was using standard Hebrew figures of speech. They want to insist it all has to be read from as literal a viewpoint as possible. That so many Christians agree with that intellectual approach is a real shame, given Jesus made so much of parabolic expressions to convey ineffable spiritual content.
When mainstream Christians insist on an Aristotelian approach, they presume to be careful with the definitions of terminology. So why do they then so quickly descend into propaganda mode and sling the term “mysticism” around like a dirty word? The whole thing smacks of intellectual dishonesty. Yeah, I’m suggesting some know, or could know, they are being deceptive. What’s the point of pretending to be academic and rational when you use the methods of propaganda, of trying to stir passions by hiding facts? Yes, there is a threat from the likes of the Spiritual Formation movement, but it’s their actions and doctrines so obviously contrary to Scripture (even from a Hebraic approach) which shows us their errors. Examining how they got there requires honestly examining the whole thing in detail, not simply slapping convenient sloppy labels on things you’d rather not discuss. You’ll notice Paul in his letters emphasizes opposing heresy based on its results, not the methods of arriving at heresy. Paul walked away from his Aristotelian rabbinical training, and returned to the ancient Hebrew ways.
So long as mainstream Protestant evangelicals refuse to examine the basic question of how different is the original Hebrew intellectual approach to things, they can never claim to understand Jesus. Refusing to understand how the Jewish embrace of Aristotelian epistemology (AKA Hellenism) is a major element in what made such a mess of Old Testament religion, they will find themselves followers of Pharisaism, not followers of Jesus. There is a uniquely Hebrew brand of mysticism, and God requires it to understand Him and His revelation.
Mysticism itself simply acknowledges the most important things to us as humans is beyond our normal faculties, because it is not constrained by the limits of our existence.
I hear a lot of folks crying about advertising on web pages.
One camp says they’ve gotten too aggressive, to the point you can’t access any content unless you permit the most egregious demands for placing tracking cookies, tracking webbugs, tracking scripts, etc., and the most annoying assortment of moving and disgusting images all over the page, hiding the content and necessitating you keep clicking through 15 pages of this junk to get 200 words of content.
The other side whines and cries that were it not for all this annoying crap, they couldn’t afford to post all that marvelous content. What they hope you ignore is that crap advertising usually only comes with crap content.
Let’s pretend for a moment the entire Internet protocol had to be changed for security reasons, and only few and tiny static images were permitted, say four, with each 1000 words of text. No more fancy multimedia, etc. What would change? We would probably lose anything which requires a fat budget to operate. Lots of servers are unplugged, lots of very well established web portals shut down, etc. All your big name major networks disappear or drastically reduce their footprint to reduce costs.
Since when did any of those sources do anything good and right? Where do you get the most reliable and useful information? I doubt much of it comes from sites which rely on advertising.
I was online just before AOL became the biggest ISP in America (though I never used them), and Prodigy was still big business. People still used OS/2 a lot. And there wasn’t much advertising, except at the few sites which were basically run by advertisers. You knew which ones they were, because the only ones with fancy stuff were the ones which had something to sell, a desperate need to get your attention. So they threw in some real information and “free” services as a bone to readers who had grown up with bulletin boards and newsletters with actual news about stuff you really wanted to know. There were even ISPs which offered free connections in exchange for advertising; remember NetZero, Juno, etc.?
Since then, we have somehow shifted to a thinking we cannot have an Internet without all these big advertising sites which masquerade as information portals. In this age when intelligent humans have long since realized the only reliable sources are among the bloggers and independent academic researchers, and hobbyists for entertainment, only the whiny mindless consumers are dependent on those noise portals.
So if the Net suddenly changed so all that crap was gone, what would we have left? Free bloggers, hobbyists and independent academic researchers. I realize ISP charges will likely go up in the long run, because it won’t be as it is now, a generic essential utility like telephones. Still, I have to wonder what would actually be lost? Okay, let’s compromise. Let’s give the popular consumers their own network via cellphones, and move the tablets to it. Or, hey, just let them keep the old protocols, or whatever new ones are being developed for them, and give us something different on the same wires.
Right now, I’m already among the tiny minority who uses software which blocks the most annoying garbage. I use Opera and keep cookies disabled by policy, only allowing certain sites. It allows fine tuning a whitelist policy and on-the-fly options such as allowing JScript at all. Most of the time I stick with Lynx. So few of us use these measures, the advertisers lose nothing because those of us willing to go that far would be the last people to buy anything from them in the first place.
The point is, those who know already understand it’s all a bunch of whining.
Inherent in the parabolic language of Scripture is the flexibility to cover lots of territory with the same narrative.
A picture replaces a thousand words, but only if those words are reduced to clinical descriptions. If you are trying to pass on something of moral importance, concrete images reduce the meaning; they get in the way. A fundamental reason why God forbid images in worship was to avoid narrowing revelation down to something humans could manage and control. This underlies the Eastern fascination with abstract art, because it doesn’t distract from the message. Truth is too big for concrete images. Concretion of ideas confines them by eliminating other ideas; revelation is pervasive and alive.
The Hebrew language was evocative and inculcated a wild imagination. When you told a story, you were transporting the individual back to that time and place to experience things for themselves. Any talk of God doing this or that was not a matter of relating facts, but characterizing Him from a particular context. In the next narrative He would be characterized in some totally different fashion, because the God behind the narrative was too big for any human grasp. They weren’t describing God, but indicating things we need in order to serve Him.
Whatever it is you want to make of the Garden of Eden story, don’t get wrapped up in the details of the narrative. That business of “the Serpent” was just a metaphor, an established device for indicating the Devil, the embodiment of temptation. It was a characterization, not a description. Hebrew language was indicative, not descriptive. It could be used to describe, and it’s pretty plain when the writer means to do so. But to the Postmodern mind, it’s often too subtle, woven together skillfully in a fashion foreign to any Western tongue. The business of trees was part symbolism, because the story motif was folks living in a private park with well managed greenery. It was God’s private garden, and Adam and Eve were gardeners, managers God employed while He pursued more important matters.
I’ve established the whole issue was not picking fruit, but choosing to live by human logic as opposed to revelation. Until that moment, Adam used the same means to manage things as were used to create them. The Scripture uses the metaphor of “God’s Word” in the sense of His express command. Perhaps Adam simply spoke to Creation and kept the Garden in shape, but that’s not what matters. All God’s revelation for quite some centuries was buried in stories and narratives which all pointed back to some particular commandment, or collection of commandments. This is how the Hebrew people thought of it. Narratives merely illustrated varying levels of obedience within a purpose, a calling, an assigned mission from God. The whole thing is built from the ground up in a culture dominated by the lifestyle of nomadic tent-dwellers in a semi-arid region of earth, ruled by Eastern potentates. Thus, the sin was not so much in picking literal fruit from a literal tree, but choosing a means of operations forbidden by the Sheik.
By choosing the method of human logic and talent to get things done, Adam and Eve were no longer in communion with Creation itself. The picture drawn is a sudden loss of enlightenment, the higher spiritual faculty dying inside them. They no longer even understood the Creation around them, nor the God who ruled it. They had made themselves foreigners to the place. So God cut them loose, because they could not begin to comprehend what was required of them any longer. He denied them access to the Heavenly space, which the narrative calls the Tree of Life, because they had chosen a much lower and weaker existence.
They were cast out upon a world which now resisted their efforts to manage things and draw their physical needs. They must of necessity find ways to conquer a resisting Creation. They chose human reason; they would need all it could offer just to survive. There is no going back to Eden without leaving behind this broken world. You have to go back and embrace that Flaming Sword of Truth, let it take your sinful life, which will then take you to another world. It’s both symbolism and reality, a subtle blending of figure of speech with a much deeper reality, and applicable on multiple levels.
On the first, most obvious level, you have to surrender your human pride in the reasoning ability and embrace revelation. That’s just so you can make a good life here on this plane. You have to conquer reason and place it in the executive — to execute — but leave the fundamental decisions to the Stockholder (a modern equivalent metaphor). The mind was supposed to plan how it would implement what was revealed, not pass judgment on it. The mind was required to be still and know there was a Creator, and give Him room to speak in the way He chose. It required the discipline of contemplation to suspend the reason just enough for the inner soul to hear from God. The mind’s arrogance had to die.
That’s all pretty much a different way of saying “nail the flesh to the Cross.” The “flesh” is not your physical hide and what it contains, but the human capacities and talents.
On another level, you cannot experience a spiritual rebirth, or reawakening, or resurrection without embracing revelation. You have to repent, turn away from the ways of humanity and embrace the ways revealed by God. We cannot pretend to understand how God does that, but we are told in His revelation He uses His commandments and Laws to set things up for this reawakening. You have to pass under that Flaming Sword of His Laws to find access to that Tree of Life.
But in a very real sense, if you don’t die and leave this plane of existence, you cannot enter that level of existence which characterized the Garden of Eden. How do you describe a life so far beyond this ugly existence here? We call it “Paradise” — a word borrowed from the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. The meaning is mostly inscrutable to us here in the West, but we can safely equate it to the Garden of Eden in some sense. We also call it “Heaven” which is the Hebrew metaphor of the sky as some place physically above this plane of existence. This we managed to keep, but dirtied up the meaning a bit, by investing the word with a baggage not included in the Hebrew term itself. In the biblical language, Jehovah is God of the Sky Kingdom, traveling about in clouds He wears, not for the sake of modesty, but to indicate we can’t handle the full revelation of His Person. His Presence forces the evaporation of fallen existence. That means if you want to walk in the Sky Garden with God, you have to shed this mortal existence.
As a type of that sort of translation to another kind of existence, we talk about breaking free of our fallen limitations by focusing on the Spirit Realm and the values which characterize the Sky Kingdom. By regaining spiritual life here on this plane, where the grace of God breathes His Spirit back into some part of us beyond the flesh and intellect, we have a citizenship and a reservation in Eden. When we finish the assignment here, or rebel so much it seems obvious to God it won’t be done, He ends our mortal existence and that part of us which belongs to the Spirit Realm claims our full focus and consciousness.
The idea is we voluntarily strive to exercise that spirit faculty as much as possible before the transition, so that God can use us to testify of His revelation.
Moderation is a lost art.
A fundamental evil of Western Civilization is objectifying everything. We end up with the paradox of fearing death while we commoditize human life. The only people who don’t fear death tend to be nihilists. What a wonderful culture we have!
A primary feature of this objectification is the push to extremes in everything. Against the vast range of uniqueness in humanity, we have the bureaucratic impulse to force uniformity into every last corner of human existence. And, of course, we can’t organize anything without bureaucracy. We simply don’t know how, can’t bear the thought of anything else. Fairness and equality by design? We will all suffer equally. We know instinctively those who don’t bureaucratize are looking for an excuse to plunder. We are utterly lacking in the ability to even conceive of magisterial care and charity — the definitions of the words make it sound silly. Yet this very thing was a human ideal for thousands of years of human history, with numerous examples of those who achieved it, until the rise of the West. There is no such thing as humane treatment from a bureaucracy because it’s all so utterly dehumanizing. We are uniquely mistaken about most of the really important things in human history.
The current fears about the future difficulties are not completely mistaken. We are in for tough times, and only Pollyanna isn’t aware of it. But the centuries of human condition and cultural mythology raises these fears to fever pitch where folks are paying attention at all.
Take for example, something simple. Try as they might, the best military training in the world can’t change one thing: fear of injury. Real combat experiences do help a lot, but without surviving a few injuries, men just don’t quite get it. They may be able to handle their fear well enough, but the high degree of agitation still won’t die until the man himself has been near death more than once. Because of this, most people who train to fight, but don’t do a lot of real fighting, won’t be any good at it. Sparring is of limited value, and even tournaments have rules which reduce the risks. The problem is not human nature, but culture. Plenty of cultures outside the West have defeated this. Getting it through your head you will surely get injured, and it will hurt, and you can’t always win despite the duty to try, is foreign to our culture.
We give lip service to “rolling with the punches” but simply have nothing real behind it for the vast majority. It boils down to a rare inborn trait for a precious few elites. It can be trained, but it won’t happen unless you are fully aware of the cultural assumptions, even the epistemological assumptions, and beat them down first.
So in our culture, we have Preppers and Survivalists going to extremes. A few writers in the field understand, at least intellectually, the necessity of preparing first one’s own head. Good survival training will make you feel more confident, but much of what’s available fails to take into account real disaster experience from survivors. In the end, the only folks really ready for any measure of disaster are the human cockroaches, those who already survive without most of the benefits of civilization. Those socially excluded for whatever reason don’t need civilization. When it fails in whatever degree, they’ll be the first to shrug it off. What do they have to lose?
It would be easy to shock you with discussions of, for example, using leaves for toilet paper, but even that misses the point. Okay, can you ID poison ivy?
The real point is not just a survivor’s spirit and intelligence, but the real truth ignored from human history: Aside from Mount Vesuvius type events, future troubles will not destroy everything we know. All the evil being cooked up for us by the likes of the Illuminati does not include total collapse. We could conceivably have that total collapse, but They certainly don’t plan for it.
Here’s a more likely scenario. The biggest issue in human behavior is always economics. Reduced food supplies in the West always means trouble. Some cities will erupt in violence, but that’s not really news. Where there has been a reliable supply of it in the past, it will indicate a very serious and pervasive problem during bad times. Those in power will strive to insulate themselves by various means. Not all cities are cutthroat places, though. Regional subcultures can make a world of difference. Much depends on how thoroughly the local population thinks of each other as neighbors. Locales which have experienced disasters in the past will be the most stable — think earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. Strangely, terrorist attacks don’t offer that sort of benefit, unless there have been a huge amount of them. People fear most what’s rare.
Things will get tough, but most of us will get by. Depending on the depth and suddenness of change in food availability, there will be an initial panic and violence will soar. The idiots will die quickly, whether predators or victims. Then things will settle somewhat into a new social truce. Spontaneous social organization is generally dependable, and that includes reorganization. The real threat is a violent group of government officials refusing to adapt, trying to assert continuity in what they consider their legitimate control. This comes in all flavors, and it really does depend on who’s making the decisions. All other things being equal, nimble-minded officials are worth their weight in gold, and they do exist.
Economic shifts will hardly be uniform. Some places are sitting on top of all the resources and equipment necessary, as suppliers to others. Dependent places will be Hell on Earth, particularly in relation to whatever it is they have to import. Local governments will likely go to war, sometimes literally, because of this. Agencies with too many inflexible officials will die quickly, loudly and painfully once the first shock wears off.
The one best hope for the likes of the US federal government is no abrupt changes. If they can engineer holding off dramatic changes in favor of engineered incremental shifts, they will remain in charge much longer. They cannot realistically expect to stay there forever; there are limits. If nothing else, their social engineering has to fail at times. The obvious course being steered already is to remove elements which enable independence: communications (particularly high volume/high speed), transportation, defense, and wealth (stored goods and value). Each is being shaved a bit here and there.
All this noise and panicky hoorah is just trying to sell eyeballs to advertisers. The vast majority of recommendations for this or that particular survival item is pure sales pitch. Most of the folks presuming to advise you of secrets uncovered in the plot to enslave us all make their living that way. Frankly, there is almost nothing you can do about, say, HAARP and weather control, or whatever else it is they claim HAARP does. You can try to avoid GMOs and industrial toxins in your food, but there are limits. Nuclear generators will break and irradiate the environment without anyone honestly reporting how bad it is. Other threats from oversized entities are the same.
Until the system feeding those giant industries collapses, you’ll suffer some health problems, some permanent. Until the currency or the economy goes through some sort of collapse, you’ll suffer yo-yo effects from the bumps along the way, such as gasoline prices fluctuating all over the place. Unless you have a great tactical awareness and carry a weapon, you’ll be vulnerable to predators. Unless you’ve had a good long talk with your family about emotional leveraging (hostages, etc.), and prepared each member for escape strategies and the limits to rescue measures, you’ll carry a nagging fear no matter where you are. You’ll suffer losses, but they will be limited.
There is only so much any evil genius, or groups of them, can do to you. There are limits to what technology can do. There are limits to what you can do to prepare. For this reason, there are limits to what your suffering will be, but the biggest deciding factor is not externally controlled, but what’s in your own head.
The Bible differentiates between commitment and meanness.
We call someone a hard-head if they tend not to listen to advice, or even to learn from the evidence which beats them upside the head. They aren’t evil, just don’t appear to possess full competence in reasoning. Then there are people who are hard-hearted. In our English figures of speech, that’s someone untouched by empathy or sympathy. That’s evil.
Some folks exhibit a pre-disposition for backing themselves into a corner and refusing to discuss the possibilities. When it’s a matter of emotional damage, there are ways around it, but it takes superior grade patience and some training. This would be someone who takes all suggestions as a personal attack. When it’s more fundamental to their character, it becomes the bad side of something we could wish more people had — commitment.
Most things we find annoying in other humans is merely a symptom of something deeper. Depending on the context and prior conditioning, the same basic trait can manifest for good and for bad. One man’s hard-head is another man’s faithful servant. But the context can surely include a bad motive on the part of those trying to change their behavior. It’s an understatement to note not everyone wielding authority has benign motives, much less benign effects.
We could wisely wish more folks would stiffly resist evil, even while we debate what is evil. A strong character means unyielding about commitments. Commitment is another word for faith. It means so completely invested in some particular thing you are willing to pay a high price to avoid betraying that thing. It’s bigger than you, more important than you. Thus, it’s not petty, regardless of how it seems to manifest to the person forced to deal with it as a problem.
If you know well enough what it is you are committed to that you can say something intelligible about it, wise minds tend to give you more room. Fools aren’t going to understand anything they can’t use for themselves.
In the final analysis, the observer is half the equation. It is virtually impossible to be utterly objective when there is a conflict. While the fighting is on, it’s pretty hard to do a detailed analysis, and any history you may know is only what others are willing to let you learn. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious, but evil often puts on a good mask.
In Scripture, a hard head is a clear minded commitment to something precious to you. A hard heart is an evil commitment, as measured against revealed morality.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having wealth and power.
It’s dangerous, but it can’t be avoided, and it can be done well. The people who deserve our lasting despite, and perhaps bloody execution at the hands of a lynching mob, are those who get it by improper means.
If you go out and do things with your talents, particularly your hands and other direct outputs, which cause people to want to give you lots of money and power, it’s probably a good thing. For example, entertainment is a good thing. If you gain your power and wealth simply because you have a talent for manipulating people, you should be shot. Okay, we’ll give you ten minutes after the first warning to start doing the right thing before we execute your evil butt.
Say we have some guy who is really intelligent, and he sees things other miss. He notices if he can insert himself as the middleman into a normal commerce, making things simpler for those on either side of the exchange, he can make a little profit. That’s a useful service, and a little profit is just. If he corners the market on something he’s handling, he deserves to die. That desire and inclination to corner the market is inherently evil. If he colludes with others, kill them all.
The problem is not having power and wealth, but people wanting it. Not just desiring it in some kind of fantasy, but willing to harm others in order to get it. If everyone agrees to compete, that’s fine; let them battle it out on terms to which they agree. Let them not cheat on those terms. But the same bright minds crafting a wider system of marketing controls and regulation which achieves the same results as direct manipulation also deserve to die. If they lie to everyone about the purpose of their plans, they deserve to die.
It’s not so much what you do directly with your own hands, as it is what you are willing to cause, a willingness to see others suffer for your comfort.
The reason I am so bombastic about killing them is based on human history. It won’t take long for you to read how people have acted in the past to realize this stuff gets out of hand really quickly. You have to watch them like a hawk, and cut them off the instant you realize what they are up to, and if they don’t learn better, it’s because they have rejected the very notion of common welfare. It’s not so much we have to all love each other; I know better than that. Nor can we avoid people hating each other. What we can do is develop a cultural sense which threatens anyone who will manipulate any part of the system in order to harm others. Not so much because they actively wish to hurt, but that they don’t think it matters.
Clinical literature indicates precious few psychopaths ever get better. Regardless of your theoretical basis for how we get those psychopaths, we do know certain social conditions can cause a given population to produce more than their share of them. There are some fields of humanity more fertile for evil than others. Whether you want to move from correlation to cause isn’t the point; let’s go for a nicer correlation.
By no means do I propose a change in laws. Laws should always arise after the fact. Legal policy is another matter; that has to come first. Getting people to adapt is hard, but it’s been done to varying degrees of effectiveness. Unless they are crushed and humbled, there is no chance they’ll show any motivation. They may still resist, but that’s another matter. On a micro-scale, I offer the example of Apostle Paul, on the road to Damascus. After it was clear to him something far above his level was on his case, his being meaner than a snake was suddenly subject to modification. Paul didn’t even argue, simply asking his new Master what he should call Him. The question implied, “Whom do I now serve and what does He want?”
No, all I’m asking for is a consideration, a thoughtfulness. The more people who think about such things, the better the world as a whole will be. I’m quite willing to consider my muttering successful if all I get is an incremental improvement with just a few folks here and there.
People who want power and wealth are suspect. People willing to hurt others to get it should not be tolerated wasting oxygen.
As a group, the people who write most of the code for Open Source GUIs have no idea what typical users want.
I’ve noted before the strength of Open Source is those who code can do anything they like. That’s also it’s primary weakness, because they can be quite hostile to the interests of typical users. A significant minority of them are hostile when you ask them if they care. The result is the debacle called GNOME 3.
GNOME 3 will be pushed through simply because the number of folks involved is huge, and there is a significant minority of users who are mindless fanboys. They don’t take a clue from the multiple forks from GNOME which arose shortly after they offered their vision of the future. GNOME 3 will ensure a whole lot fewer people stick with the GNOME Project and start switching to other GUIs.
As other writers have noted, not a single user (as opposed to coder) has ever complained about “clutter.” They love it. It’s the developer who waxes poetic about “uncluttered” interfaces. What that actually means is free of anything they aren’t interested in adding, fixing and maintaining. In other words, I am charging the GNOME Project leadership and developers with being cranky misanthropes determined to make everyone do things the way they imagine humans ought to do. They are chasing the fantasy of reshaping the world to their liking. Down to some of the smallest details.
So let’s do this: You want “uncluttered”? Try the framebuffer CLI. That’s uncluttered. Nice, black screen with monospaced text in a handful of colors. No clutter there! And if just one project somewhere was born which promised they were going to try to create a TUI, a real text user interface, fully mouse-able, porting over some subset of features from GUI applications, I’d send them as much money as I could. I’d go out fundraising for them. I’d have no trouble finding more who would join me, people who, unfortunately, don’t write code.
It won’t happen, of course, because the only people who want such a thing are users, not developers. The idea Open Source coders would actually care what users want is a pipe dream. The alternative is no better, but for totally different reasons.
The barriers to the Hebraic grasp of spiritual matters are not hard to understand.
Over the years during which I was trying to play the game in mainstream denominational Christian ministries, there were thousands of conversations about very fundamental issues of how to frame our thinking about faith. It was essentially unanimous in one particular thing: a deep fear and suspicion of anything which could not be controlled intellectually. If it could not be studied, broken down into the smallest analytical fragments, and perhaps even quantified, then there was something wrong with it. There was an academic rigidness which excluded things fuzzy and unexplained in concrete terms.
This, on top of all sorts of lip service to the ineffability of God and things Above. Even those willing to leave the details of a miracle unexamined were afflicted by what they admitted was a fear of what was over on the other side of that invisible line of human intellect. Notice how utterly man-centered this is. Some characterized it all as the uncontested domain of demons. Thus, the entire range of non-intellectual grasp of the Spirit Realm was consigned to Satan.
Which is rather silly, when you consider Satan really is pleased with that. This is the same instinct that causes people to fear the unknown, to be spooked by haunted houses, regardless of knowing the whole thing is staged. It’s that same exact taste of fear, because it’s described in precisely the same words, the same feelings from emotionally laden terminology, as those who fear the monsters under the bed or in the unlit closet.
When I embarked on my study of the Bible’s mystical roots — carefully focused on the established ANE brand of mysticism — what few vestiges of those fears I still bore all died quickly. It was a marvelous sense of relief. To see how far reaching this might be, I spent some time examining the stuff most Christian ministers wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole (sometimes quite literally, leaving the room and building where it was stored). I read some of the pagan and Satan-worshiping stuff, examined quite a broad sampling of stuff which many told me would afflict me with demons just for touching it.
Here’s a concrete measure for you: God now hears my prayers better than ever before in my life. What that really means is God and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to issues I bring to Him in prayer. There are plenty of things I don’t expect, but I always find a very real peace about everything.
This whole mythology of what the Devil controls is very much the same silly nonsense we dig up from European, and particularly German, mythology. It’s the same basic stuff. While not every evangelical adheres knowingly to the Neo-Pentecostal assumptions, there is a huge overlap in their instincts about the Unknown.
Among the Charismatics is a very powerful thread of mythology about the power of words spoken. They believe they can find support for this in the Bible, but only if you remove the bulk of the Hebrew way of understanding their own writings. This is the fundamental error of Hellenized Judaism, Kabbalism, and the like. The whole din of noise about the Tetragrammaton comes from that time period when Kabbalism was in its infancy. It’s the same thread of thinking in the Judaizers seeking to pull the First Century churches back under the yoke of the Talmud, whose objections to genuine Christian doctrine gave birth to Gnosticism. And if you dig deep in the Exodus revolts against Moses, you realize it was the same error of those who argued against Moses’ leadership. Their complaint was, in essence, if they could just get Moses to reveal the secret rituals and words of power, any of them could have caused the same miracles as Moses. The ancient heresy simply lowered God to an extra powerful human with the same petty demands, but the more modern version comes from the Hellenistic tendency to objectify and depersonalize ultimate truth and power.
The underlying thread which ties all this together is never pushing into things where one has no control. There is a complete fear, distrust, even revulsion at opportunities to see what God will do. When you hear most people use such wording — “let’s see what God will do” — it’s often used as a coating to avoid saying what they are not quite sure will happen. Since it’s obvious they can’t predict the results in detail, they think it’s holier to say God will do His thing, but they are pretty sure in general terms what will happen. When something occurs completely outside the full range of what they expected, they simply say, “Satan got the victory.” That’s just a catch-phrase for not liking the results, not being prepared to find God’s purpose in it.
This is, indeed, a vast mountain which needs to be removed into the sea. It’s more than a culture war, but a war between competing civilizations. What we have today is a poor, fragile and shaky excuse for a real civilization. It majors on shallow technological achievements, fleeting accomplishments in this physical realm, and utterly devoid of any knowledge of what lies beyond that. Everything not quantifiable by scientific formulas is dismissed as not worth examination. Not just ignorant, but hatefully angry at any attempt to expose what’s on the other side. The whole thing is written off as superstition, mere emotion, when it is the silly superstitions of this age which makes them fear.
I’m praying God open hearts and perceptions. The realm of mysticism is knowable; it can be examined academically, but it requires a different academic process. The logic and parabolic language of Heaven, that part which was revealed for us here on this plane, is not hidden by anything more than fear. Whole civilizations of the past had no trouble with it, including pagan scholars who didn’t love the God of Israel. Ever hear of Balaam? He was a pagan scholar who knew how to communicate with that same God of Israel, and get reliably useful answers about dealing with very real and concrete matters on this earth. He wasn’t special; thinking of him that way is just an excuse to avoid dealing with reality.
Reality is far larger than most of the world wants to see.