Looking at the current state of America, one cannot but reflect on the devolution of what was once the home of the brave, and land of the free, for now that is just a memory, but perhaps it is one that can be resurrected and renewed, if there is the courage and the Political will.
Since 9/11 the decline of America (and others) has become mired and pronounced in areas of control, the sacrifice of the Public good for Private gain, facilitated by the Government support of the Private sector. Since, a national strategy of control, conformity and aggression (a warfare mentality), all these have been marked and profound, all these reactions come from fear, not from strength.
It may be spurious to draw parallels between the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and the ongoing destruction of the American Republic, but let’s have a look at this.
By its very nature this is a ongoing project, here we begin with an overview … I have used many resources in this brief analysis, the first post of a series. For History reference, the 3 Volume set of Edward Gibbon treatise on the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, the recent – “The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire” by Anthony Everitt – for societies themselves – Jared Diamonds book .. “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” and “Republic, Lost” by Lawrence Lessing, chosen for its particular reference to America.
The omnipresent profound public face of ignorance of the Tea Party / GOP and its Fundamentalist ideology, brings Politicians to the fore who seem to be making a headlong dash to ignorance and the lowest common denominator. They may be being manipulated and through their ignorant inflammatory words manipulate the wider population, through playing up negatives, using fear, control, ignorance and denial (Climate Change, Women, and minorities rights for example). The apparent misogyny that men have any right to decide the path of women, especially their sexual rights, and the ridiculous obsession with Gay and Lesbian relationships; is a proof of their misdirection, everyone has inalienable rights to self determination, no matter their colour, creed, sexual orientation or religion.
Whilst I don’t believe the majority of people in Government in Washington and elsewhere are necessarily bad people (some undoubtedly are), there are too many that are under the influence of money that is in the wrong place (Lessing) with the expedient attitudes of many Politicians, this brings us back to the cesspit of the unintended and intended corruption that is Washington DC and some state capitals, the American Political system itself (and others countries I am sure) has been hijacked for the benefit of Wall Street and those who benefit from Wall Street – the inequity that this corruption brings is at the expense of the waste majority of Americans trying to make ends meet in main street, USA.
That the far religious right plunge towards fundamentalism is predictable, their mentality is tribal, judgmental, expedient and valueless – they are in love with the ideology, but have no faith (Pope Francis calls this as an Illness see here ) they have no belief is such basic religious precepts, such as forgiveness, kindness, understanding or compassion … they merely judge … many proponents of the ideology of “Christianity” cherry pick examples from the Bible, out of context to justify their rants – as it is now and way too many times in the past Christianity is used as a weapon to impose rather than to moderate and heal …. the irony must not escape you, what these limited souls forget is that Jesus said, faith is a private thing between you and God – and “love one another” was his major precept! – I can only think they haven’t read as far as the New Testament as yet, or perhaps the words do not suit their strategy.
In 1912 in the USA, there was a similar situation (Lessing) of the oppressive Influence of inappropriate money, it was overcome with a combined swing away from the conservatives to the progressives, when they captured 70% of the popular vote, in the then Presidential election – too late to stop the great depression … but a major outcome after the depression was the Glass-Steagall Act, an act that held that held financial markets in control – President Clinton passed a law which compromised Glass-Steagall .. it may be conjecture but many commentators argue that the repeal of the relevant provision of this act, led in part to the Global Financial melt down.
Positive change is possible, there just needs to be the will of society – however too many are distracted by tiny irrelevant problems that are used to divide and distract the nation … so much information, so much bad news, people become apathetic and indifferent, perhaps they think, what can I do? So the apathy extends to not bothering to vote, what those in control want.
It must be conceivable, that one day America may become something no one surely wants them to be, a liability to the world and its own people, rather than what it was (looking in the wider context mainly in the past) a light for what was right.
My own view is that until the influence of money (intended or otherwise) stops, America is on a path to tyranny, the root problem is that attention to Campaign financing should be a priority.
The insatiable greed or the rich and their profitable corporations are subsidized, by the people … the only possible limitation to their unparalleled power is the once powerful Unions, which have been systematically weakened, (culminating in the Reagan era) that they cannot fight the Oligarchy and the entitled – for much of the middle class have no power, and the Trade agreements worked for the Corporate masters, as it moved so much labour off shore, out of reach and protected geographically, the income from these are financially protected by Tax havens, thus evading the appropriate Corporate taxation – starving the USA of revenue.
Admittedly the overt power of the Unions in the past and the way that it was sometimes expressed through violence and intimidation (in Australia) also added to their downfall and the loss of membership (there are parallels with America itself here).
Remember every society in the history of the world has collapsed, ours will as well, the when is up to us. If the rich thought about the implications of this selfish strategy or tax breaks, low taxation, reducing social service nets and education all by the influence of the 1% .. they would understand it is this pursuit of more and more, is taking from the majority, who already have little, perhaps nothing – one day when families, these mothers and fathers have nothing more to lose, especially when they have lost hope that their children will have a better future, then you will have your revolution and the cocoon that the rich and the 1% have built around themselves with money, will not protect them.
I am an Australian, the reason I am writing about this is because the USA is a trend setter, and where changes bleed down to other cultures around the world, and unfortunately in this bad example, one of them is Australia. Already the fundamentalist ideology of the Tea Party / GOP is affecting decisions in Australia, through the influence of our Corporate masters, we need to learn from the American experience and stop it whilst we can.
The inequities are profound, the Machiavellian manipulation of Christianity, well Christian ideology, where just those cheery picked parts to further and justify the strategy – and rather than allowing the population to be informed, the media focus (for they are an integral part of the control strategy) are used to divide the population by directing the population to unimportant issues whilst at the same time running an agenda to further the gap between the rich and the balance, the 80% + of America that are in difficulty.
The percentage of the budget that goes to education is abysmal … America came to the forefront in the world by nurturing and expanding minds, not by controlling them. This strategy to defund Public education, it built around reinforcing a class system, by making the majority of the population poorly uneducated, only suitable for wage-slavery or the military – to be basically expendable.
The charging of student debt at such high rates forces student (if possible) to join the very system that is oppressing them, this will perpetuate this system of control, all to pursue the myth of the American dream, or perhaps the nightmare of it.
Campaign reform must be an absolute priority.
Politicians, many have an expedient value base, that says the end justifies the means, they are controlled through their ego, their weaknesses and their aspirations which are either recognition and or power – they are influenced (intentionally or otherwise by contributions) and their own external validation and the biggest illusion, the pursuit of security and money.
· The question – should there be career politicians? Should there be other parameters as well, like empathy,education and intelligence.
· Influence – The progression of Government employees, including elected officials moving to K Street, and the Lobby industry influences decision by inappropriate contributions to campaigns or directly to personal wealth of politicians, either by direct funds or perks – here with the seed of the beginning of corruption and manipulation.
· The lack of enforcement of existing laws to provide punitive and corrective action to stop the now seemingly fascist tendencies of government, Federal and in some cases states.
· Their Militarisation
· Their Values, morals and legal training.
· Lack of appropriate education and training
The perception of the change from “Protect and Serve” ethos for the community, to an apparent them and us mentality – I am not a Policeman, so I am trying to understand this shift in focus. The situation seems most profound in the USA, where there are no effective limits on the availability of guns, nor any legal limits on their carry and sometimes usage (stand your ground laws) Some Police (and some of the population) shoot first and reflect later.
Gun Laws – Surely a change in the law to minimize the 30,000 deaths per year which directly come from their easy availability and thoughtless use, premeditate and accidental deaths could also be looked at. Self defense is not included.
There is a huge number of Policeman that have honour and integrity and are morality based, for them I apologise unreservedly, I am addressing here those that aren’t.
There are truly good people in America, many evolved souls that think before their act, rather than react before they think.
Religion is being used to control – the influence of Corporate Church’s and cults of all types where they are tax exempt, too many are only about the money – an area to examine is whether Churches who have this status are indeed healing the world, and not dividing it also Churches, whose only function is to accumulate money and influence should be treated as secular instruments and taxed accordingly. I am thinking of the most visible of these right now, one that used intimidation of those that dissent .. Scientology
I frankly do not understand this issue at all. I can see how those in power manipulate the populace using fear, however it makes no sense, as all nations including all Americans, if you look into their ancestry all came from somewhere else.
There are other areas I will cover in the coming posts, the concept of Liberty and freedom – the Constitution – (Politicians and the Media re-writing it) – Continuous War – the total lack of care or compassion for returning soldiers, who sacrifice and suffer for America and then are seemingly deserted by it … many become homeless because of PTSD or other reasons associated with their service .. surely this cannot continue. Rome and its citizens honoured their soldiers.
Attention to be given to the way the USA projects power based on their moral values through influence, but more often for Private gain, and control. The Military, Industrial and Intelligence communities and Private armies. The Unaccountability of Politicians .. when they insist on it for other leaders as demonstrated by Nuremberg and more recently Saddam Hussein (Iraq) was held accountable, but those behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan .. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Blair are all jointly responsible for perhaps 300,000 + civilian deaths, yet they are all free.
I must be careful to approach these subject without projecting my beliefs onto it, hence If anyone wants to contribute or help me understand those things that I do not, then I welcome their input, or have any contrary thoughts to my current thoughts. I would welcome any constructive thoughts and dialogue that do not come from dogma, aggression or fear.
Is the future legacy of those who in the past defended to the death the Republic – to be forgotten, or will it’s future be hi-jacked and replaced by tyranny, a dictatorship or worse a fascist autocracy, or will it shake off this momentary aberration and continue to evolve and prosper – time will tell.
Perhaps I am an optimist; I believe the light of the founding fathers still burns within Americans. They may come through the other side of this – if so they will be changed for sure, hopefully for Politicians, when the choice comes to exchange liberty for short term gain, they will baulk … and recede from the abyss.
From my new blog A Mindful Union –
Let’s look at an overview of meditation itself
For me, I believe we don’t meditate to find peace. We meditate to be at peace with what we find – in Mindfulness meditation we develop the ability to accept the emotions and feelings that occur during the meditation.
For meditation, we need to develop the ability to stay present. What I mean by that is to stay in the moment, without reliving the past or having expectations about the future.
Imagine yourself meditating half way down a long hallway in a house, from the front door to the back door. The thoughts come in the front door, you note them and accept them (for they are you) … then you lightly move on, without engaging in the thought itself, (it will go, once you don’t validate it) the thought then moves on down the hallway and out the back door, it may come back, each time it does follow the same process, it will lose its urgency its .. you need to engage with me.
The thought may be about the past (depression, regret or shame perhaps) or about the future, such as anxiety or fear about a forthcoming event, or perhaps the fear of loss. We cannot invest or follow the thought (no matter how important or urgent it seems), for the moment we do, we drop out of meditation, because we are no longer present, so we can no longer be mindful.
Once we regularly meditate, we develop mindfulness, in part it allows us to understand what we can change, and what we can’t – to detach from things we cannot control, for instance, other people’s action (or any influence outside of us) that effects us. I find now, that mindfulness itself is not difficult, but what is difficult is to remember to be mindful in our day to day lives.
Note; Mediation is not something to be achieved, it is something we have to be the person to properly meditate – it can be a slow process of becoming, but take heart, even sitting on a mat for 30 seconds with a clear mind, is worth celebrating, remember little steps forward – often. Each day if you truly wish it, it will get better it – but it does takes time – remember nothing worth having is a easy fix.
Sleep – the great restorer
Once I regularly meditated, it affected my whole life. Sleep, became deep and restorative. Sleep, especially uninterrupted sleep can be elusive, yet mindfulness meditation assisted me in getting more restorative regular sleep, without medication.
Mindfulness meditation can allow us to gradually develop greater control over our emotions, which leads to clarity of thought in difficult situations. For me the revelation was that once I realised that everything changes, nothing seems to be that imperative in the moment, remember it’s not the situation that is causing you pain, it is your thoughts about the situation.
We go through life, one foot in front of the other, focusing on the next goal, the next thing, always the next thing …. then … life happens.
In my case I had been in a relationship for years, we were deeply involved, when all of a sudden she said "David, I can’t do this anymore" … do what I thought … the most monumental challenge of my life was about to begin – I had to face it head on.
I know the more widely accepted model is the Kubler-Ross model, but I felt this was was more applicable to my emotional or spiritual challenge
Stage One – SHOCK & DENIAL
We may react to learning of the Challenge with numbed, uncomprehending disbelief. You may deny, frantically try to rationalize the reality of the loss in order to avoid the pain. The shock is normal, experience it, as it provides the emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks or longer,
Stage Two – PAIN & GUILT
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of profound pain – this is normal, please try to experience the pain fully, and not hide from it, at this point is is incredibly important not to escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
Life feels chaotic, uncertain and scary at this point ..
Stage 3 – ANGER & BARGAINING
Frustration increases and may give way to anger, be aware that you may project this anger and anxiety onto family, friends or medical professionals – be aware and try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time to look outwards and find ways to release the bottled up emotion.
You may shout at the rain, Why Me ? You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never …. If… )
Stage 4 – "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS
A relatively long period of reflection may overtake you. This is a normal stage – flow with this, do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning friends or family. Encouragement from others does not penetrate and serves no function but to increase the self doubt. For during this time, you finally comprehend the true magnitude of your loss, and it depression deepens, you may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories – this may be exacerbated by feelings of emptiness, despair and frustration and self doubt.
Stage 5 – THE UPWARD TURN-
As the reality of starting life without, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" the feeling that your head feels like a sponge with no ability to think begins to lift.
Stage 6 – RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself looking for realistic solutions to the life challenge posed by life without your loved one. You start to work on practical ways of reconstructing yourself and your life.
Stage 7 – ACCEPTANCE & HOPE
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, we learn to accept and deal with the reality of our situation. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily bring instant happiness.
Given the challenged face and the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living
I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is me
I later went into meditation, mindful meditation and movement therapy such as Thai Chi and Chi Gong (Qigong) … it was the initial reason why I give to others by teaching mindful meditation and movement therapies like Qigong and Tai Chi. online and in person http://mindfulunion.wordpress.com
Writing meditation is an exercise that I have used on many occasions – The purpose is to help direct our mind to change our behavior, by understanding the causality of that behaviour.
The way I have understood it is that any challenge we have undergone, in the past or even a current challenge is often not understood at a feeling level – because we are face to face with it.
Hence by writing we can forge a connection between the conscious mind and that part of our mind that houses feelings. Now do correct me if I am wrong but feelings are placed in the mind in the mammalian brain, referred to as the Limbic system … its where feelings are, it where all decisions are made … so I have found by writing every day we gradually form a link between the feeling part of the mind and the rational mind … we convert the feelings into something we can understand … we have to do this as the Limbic system does not have language hence, we have to understand its messages another way …. gradual and regular journal writing did that for me, perhaps it can do it for you?
Gradually over time, we form a link between the parts of the brain and will understand that a frustration we might be feeling may be something like a past regret, a depression or some level of anxiousness about something in the future …the quickest way to start to understand this is to say …. if you are feeling depressed or shameful then the event you are thinking about occurred in the past. If you are feeling fearful or anxious then the event you are concerned about will occur in the future.
Many of the common feelings come from fear … control comes from fear, aggression comes from fear … even conformity is based on control which comes from fear, there can also be fear that non-conformity will hinder us in attaining their goals or being accepted … Governments love it, but conformity is a pipe dream as it is quite unattainable.
Take a few minutes a day … find a quiet place and start writing …
I have found that after about a week of being quiet and writing, you will find yourself becoming more in tune with your feelings, you will become calmer … this can help with your day to day relationships —- My experience is that the changes in your understanding and behaviour will take place without any conscious effort, no matter how old, or what has happened in the past in the normal course of your life, writing a journal will literally calm and bring understanding to your life in just a matter of a few weeks.
This is not the usual content for this site, and I suppose this is a little subjective … but here goes … for years I used Seagate drives and Hitachi (formerly IBM ) drives ….
After the failure of a batch of Seagate drives I thought I would do a comparison …
Exactly 54 weeks ago, I bought the following drives at the same time … used in the same way, stationary on a desktop as a general backup drive.
Qty One Seagate Expansion Disk Backup drive – 2 TB capacity USB 3.0
Qty one Aldi (Supermarket) Disk Backup drive – 1 TB Capacity USB 3.0
All seemed well then exactly 53 weeks, the Seagate drive failed … it just stopped … one week after warranty expired.
The Aldi drive which was cheaper than the Seagate, but is still going strong ….
Some investigations I have done showed the general failure rate of Hitachi and Western Digital Drives in between 1 and 3%
… the failure rate for Seagate drives in over 9% peaking over 13% …
I just thought that this was worth sharing … I guess the learning experience for me .. is what good is a backup drive that fails on such a high and regular basis … taking with it important files…at the end of the day, Seagate though cheaper, followed the old adage that you get what you pay for …
Needless to say I will not be buying Seagate or any of their brand names … no matter how cheap they are.
For an unbiased view point on drives see here http://www.pcworld.com/article/2089464/three-year-27-000-drive-study-reveals-the-most-reliable-hard-drive-makers.html
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At times in our lives, circumstances bring us to a junction, we delay, we rationalise but eventually we face an excruciating decision, that in all cases, asks the question, do I stay on the path that I believed would lead me to my destiny, or do I take the road less traveled – sadly in this case I feel the decision has been made for me.
Life when lived in the present moment, begins in Acceptance, for life is all that we create in the present .. the future; is yet to be made … the past is history, or our personal version of it, it is really a personal memory, it’s only use is to learn from, the memory will all to soon become a fading life lesson or joyful experience of the past – be grateful for all life experiences … then in the present, that overpowering moment will come, you dread it, but the letting go begins, eventually in the future at some point that will transition into “moving on” … at this time a place is created for synchronicity to enter your life again … for new experiences, and yet still we wonder, especially if it is a fondly held desire or experience …. maybe its not over!
I believe that letting go is always an intention we must have in the present moment, it is not state to be reached on a mountain to be climbed, for after a while, what was once a cherished experience, or an ambition or a person .. we struggle, we seek to try to triumph over the obstacles, we try … but at some point an awareness comes that perhaps the gap between you and your beloved is so vast, you don’t know the way, you can’t fix what is wrong yourself – you need help, but it does not come, you are adrift in a fog at sea without a paddle or compass … the gap between you widens, the relationship begins very slowly to wither, perhaps because of lack of thought, kindness, or even empathy for the others experience, or perhaps for your own … these are the little deaths by degree, we fear, we doubt – especially when we reflect on the wonder of what was – but it withers before our eyes, we should engage to heal, but if that isn’t possible, we fight – we tenaciously hold on by our finger nails, but inevitably we will accept what is clear, it’s over. Eventually we will emulate that well trodden historical meme … “time heals” … we detach, and we have a space in our lives, for something to come at some point … and suddenly we are in a strange place …. we are free, that kind of scary freedom, where we are truly responsible for our lives, hold true to your values in choosing what may come … eventually that once cherished dream, becomes a memory which eventually we will place at the back of the dark bookshelf in the archive of our mind – from this we can draw some comfort from the understanding that without forgetting life would be impossible.
We then begin the hardest task of all, for its time to go on alone, we feel someone is strangely absent, but strengthened that the world didn’t end … we process the loss and in some cases even the expectation of what never came into our present … and we begin at first with the most tentative baby steps, we step by step create the future from what comes into our present at that future time. We forgive the past, we smile lovingly at those that visited for such a short time, then eventually we are free to begin again, we do this so we don’t carry the past with us, and so the past does not affect our future … but still even after all this, in the solitude of the moment we reflect, perhaps whilst we wait in line for coffee, or in solitude at the park, we wistfully muse on what might have been, and wonder !!
Much, much later, we wander through our senses and you discover that life has a different taste … a sense of wonder for what may come … for me, I want the present I have to manifest in its full glory, if not I wonder what is to come, but I know that whatever comes, I will be open to it and flow :)
I wrote about the principles of Socrates Fundamental Principles – on this blog – http://bit.ly/qW3zgk
Here I am writing about Gandhi and his 7 Dangers to Human Virtue … the 7 things that will destroy us.
- Wealth without work
- Pleasure without conscience
- Knowledge without character
- Business without ethics
- Science without humanity
- Religion without sacrifice
- Politics without Principle
We as a culture and a society fail in every single count. We need change in our society.. because we are not living in harmony, we are living, or trying to live alone … I coined the term “Social Intelligence” — a crowd sourced consciousness and intelligence
If we can somehow live the life for others, which of course means that others live their life for us .. what is wrong with that or we could encapsulate it by saying “If we all lived for others – sounds so great, as remember that means that others are living their life for you”
Remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1955 … “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.”