Monthly Archives: January 2014

Explaining God-Kings & Divine Right

While growing up, one of the more difficult concepts to understand was the idea of how the Emperor of Japan could have been, essentially, ‘god on Earth.’ The concept seemed fundamentally alien and easily dismissed as a primitive cultural practice without any merit… It was an echo of what the Persians and Egyptians did, treating their Pharoahs as literal gods.

What does such a thing even really mean?

Emp. Showa

Can this ever be logical, or rational? And moreover, can even the idea of ‘Divine Right of Kings’ be treated as an honorable and respectable institution?

Lately I have been reading some Julian Evola, specifically Against the Modern World in which he divides the book into two parts — the Traditional & Modern worlds. His vast knowledge of mysticism and traditional spiritual views is absolutely stunning and he is able to tackle the question with quite good grace — my view of the situation is greatly affected by Evola and some of the very miscellaneous  information here, if not specifically cited to elsewhere, can (most likely) be found in Evola’s book… OK, OK, I know, something might slip in; this is just a blog after all…

If we look at the traditional way that a King or any leader is treated in the world, especially in Proto-Indo European cultures, the King traditionally was as a bridge between Heaven & Earth, the spiritual & nature. The Roman term for the head of the religion, Pontifex, literally means ‘Bridge’ and was such a role as the Emperor who also fulfilled the ceremonial rites. We also see that the Egyptians (who can traditionally fall into the P. I. E. [proto-indo-european] community by some measures) treated their Emperor as reincarnation of the son of Horus who likewise fulfilled daily rituals to fulfill this.

What is more important and relatable: everywhere from the Vikings to the Persians to the Indians, traditionally there is the view among P. I. E. cultures that a certain segment of the population is celestial and somehow linked to the gods, and is purer and overall more superior; a natural born aristocracy. This is seen as the Brahman & Kshatriya castesin India, and in Zoroastrian Persia there was also the dichotomy of the ‘noble’ classes (the Emperor, Clergy, the Warriors & the farmers of dry land) versus the unnoble (all other occupations, such as fisherman, herder, even merchant). In the Viking world, there was the belief that men who proved themselves to be King, and were of such lineage, had the blood of the Gods flowing throw their veins — the blood of the gods was not a distant concept but rather it was a reality. Men of distinction could claim direct descent from the gods.

Likewise, the view of the Japanese was that the royal family of Japan had the blood of the gods within it.

To form a better bridge between us understanding this phenomena and putting it into a useful and logical way for us to take in, let’s look to China, Korea and to Christian Europe & the Islamic world:

The Chinese, being traditional Confucianists, take a more moderated an cultivated view of this. As opposed to believing that there is a literal blood distinction between a certain class of people and the commoner, the Confucianists merely believed that the Emperor was the Son of Heaven, and ruled with the Heavenly Mandate (태명, 天命). This was something that couldn’t be disobeyed and gave the full right to rule but likewise it was something that occurred by choice of Heaven, and could be lost by disregard for Heaven.

That is to say: a differing family could become the next Imperial Family should the current one fail.

Likewise: in Europe or the Islamic world there was the idea of the Divine Right being that the Kings were inherently born into such positions as the will of God. God mandated that some men have earthly power and that they ought to be obeyed, just as he mandated the religious authority of some. A useful summary of the European concept of it can be found at the Wikipedia page, pay attention specifically to the Catholic points which are perhaps the most developed of them.

In the Islamic world, for a period the Caliphate was based off of the idea of a literal succession of people from the Prophet Mohammed, not of literal blood in the Sunni case but of literal blood ties in the Shi’ite one; after such a succession was lost the ideas would go back to Kings legitimizing themselves largely by their piety and their duty to spread the word of Islam, which necessitated great campaigns and excursions abroad. For the greatest part of Islamic history next to the Caliphate we see the Ottoman Empire since the 15th century occupying and controlling Mecca & Medina which made the Ottoman Sultan a most Holy Figure who had in his titles the great prestige of being the Protector of those places.

It is also important to note that in Protestant theory the King is often also the Head of the Church, and in the ideal political-religious synthesis proposed by Spinoza of the Netherlands and Hobbes of England, the only possible way for there to be a proper functioning state is that the Head of State (the King) would also be the Head of the Church.

The ‘Divine Right of Kings’ in medieval Europe and beyond, and also in the Islamic world, was not more greatly cultivated than it had been in previous times. If anything, it was a far more neglected idea that lost its spiritual significance that it traditionally had, and many of these families could be viewed as partly dependent on previous Traditionalist views that certain families were destined to loom over others. This idea would have been well preserved in the traditions of the cultures, considering also that Christianity & Islam both incorporated some aspects (and even spiritual aspects at that) that are traceable to pre-Christian and pre-Islamic times. Not to mention, what no doubt made this an even easier thing to stomach was that the disparity in education, culture and living standards between a Noble family and a non-Noble one would be so different it is hard to envision anyone outside of a differing Noble family questioning the ‘natural’ right of a Noble one.

We should also point out: in Islamic tradition, building a Mosque is considered one of the Holiest things that one can ever do, and it is said that the person who builds a Mosque and thereby spreads the word of Allah receives the greatest gift in Heaven. Thus came about the title and idea of ‘Sheikh’ which exists both in the Sunni & Shi’ite worlds. Sheikhs are people that are so spiritually attune and enlightened that they can experience God and Faith in ways that normal people cannot, and they are great blessings themselves on to the Earth. A Sheikh doesn’t have to build a mosque or be so bloody rich as to be able to build a mosque, but it sure helps. Needless to say, people who were Sheikhs were not likely to ever be peasants (though this had occurred early, early on in Islam, examples like the freed slave Washi).

We also must understand that in both Protestant and Catholic traditions it was common for the second, third and other sons of Kings and Nobles to pursue lives in the Clergy — a tactic meant to help secure the right to rule of the first son, but also demonstrating a clear link between the power establishment and the religion.

More or less, a link between the Religion and the Rulers remained. Yet, the link in the medieval West & Near East had been greatly diminished and remained for centuries much like China: a tentative agreement between the two on the nature of Kings, but not one that was persistent in any idea of the King’s “Godhead” but rather one that hints at his “Godliness” and his certain role of being above reproach.

But remember: such traditions grew out of ideas that the Emperor, or the King, or even the mere ruling class as a whole, had an inextricable link to the gods through a series of rites and ceremonies. The Egyptian, Persian, Japanese, Indian, Germanic and Roman leadership did not sit on their laurels and collect the tax with zero risk unto themselves but were forced to perform daily rituals and tasks that linked themselves to the gods and to the well being of the state.

If these tasks were neglected or ill performed, it meant that there was the room for great calamity and dissent to grow. Neglect or abuse of these positions was viewed as a literal disaster…

They were not God-Kings in the sense that they were literal gods upon the Earth, but that they were as links between the god and the earth.

More than anything: they represented a communicative tool between Godhead and earth, and they represented the maintaining of a structure between the two; the Noble was followed because he represented a timeless principle and order of leadership…

I would also like to leave you with something from Book III of Plato’s Republic — in which Plato says that, essentially, there is no need for the government to legislate on most manners because good people will conduct themselves in a good fashion… But that theirs is the most important thing to do: to fulfill the sacrifices and ceremonies to the gods, which Plato considered to be of gravest importance, and something that would be a huge part of the lives of Rulers of government.

Clearly: the world was viewed as being held together, literally, by ceremony and ritual that insured being blessed from above.

And I ask you: what is politeness and culture other than its own ceremonial and ritual undertakings that are meant to be repeated (or avoided) to insure good results (and eschew bad ones)?

We should investigate the idea of ‘ritual’ and the idea of ‘ceremony’ and what these mean in the human psyche and let that be a meditation for us for the day.

Now, this has been a rather long and somewhat unorganized post but I feel this information is quite important to understanding history, and understanding the traditionalist view; I also think that herein lays some interesting ideas for understanding history and the entire culture of autocracy, aristocracy and… simply how government works.

Thanks for reading.

Macklemore, the Establishment Chooses You.

One of the great mistakes that people make in their youth is view popular musical figures (or any popular figures in general) as having meaningful messages meant to change society in a way that the ‘Man’ doesn’t approve of. This myth largely grew out of the idea that the protest and hippie cultural movement of the sixties was an entirely legit ideological vanguard of young people standing up for what they believe and changing the course of history. It was people power.

People power endorsed entirely by major corporations that printed the records, manufactured the clothes and chose the stars of the Revolution; people power that was profitable and controllable.

What people really fail to see: the Establishment in post-WWII industrial society no longer had its power base in Nationhood or cultural values, but was established entirely through the tax base and influences of the rich elite who bought & sold elections, who bought & sold cultures, who bought & sold wars and States.

Macklemore has had his special moment: he is now vetted and officially recognized by the Establishment as a dependable darling, a cash cow, and a cultural mouthpiece:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took their first Grammy Awards by storm.

The duo was named best new artist Sunday night, and they also won three major rap awards: best performance and best song for Thrift Shop and best album for The Heist.

“Before there was any media, before there was any buzz, before there was a story, there was our fans,” Macklemore said when accepting the award for best new artist. “Without them, there would be no us.”

USA Today

The new Queen of Rap extends a finger to the masses he attributes to his success; maybe, just maybe, he is that stupid and blind by his own self-righteousness to believe that it was an endless fight to get where they were today and the small fan base from the Northwest was pivotal and playing this role; he ignores the fact that he is a young, white, Suburban artist who is catering to the exact formula necessary to remove Hip Hop from the angry, black Urban base into something relatable to the masses… A pro-gay, plastic Paddie Pride album; hailing the hipsters who go to thrift shops for quirky & fun outfits…

An ironic stance against consumerism. Hopelessly ironic like a mustache on a fixie bike peddling gentleman with a postman’s bag on his hip. The weird jest of a snooty, popular girl before she takes her Glamour Shots for High School graduation.

Macklemore, show us your Thrift Store glamour shots:

(this image comes from MTV style)

The young man has the Look, he appears as a hopeless cross between a Williamsberg Elite & a man, a rapper; he has the Message, the strange hodgepodge of political & social consciousness directly aligned with the will of the Youth and the playful cool that sells the records. And he has the Color: a White Man who can speak, act and posture with the attitude of a rapper, but who is also hopelessly lily white — a trustable liberal with no divided allegiances that would ever lead to a Lauryn Hill moment of black nationalism.

The Hunger Games films hinted at something important: the way that entertainment can be used as a mechanism by the Elites to manipulate the political & social attitudes of the masses. Naturally, only a fool would get their ideas on rebellion from a major Hollywood film (V for Vendetta protest masks are such an embarrassment), but obviously the idea is correct: the Entertainment industry, as opposed to standing as an independent wing that calls itself ‘critical of the Establishment,’ is a mere part of the Establishment. The financiers of these $200 million dollar films, the operators and advertisers of MTV and every major network, are the Etablishment, and the Entertainment Industry is the Cultural Wing of the Elites.

Everything, yes, everything: a carefully crafted message meant to influence the masses. And after decades of hard work they no longer have to influence even the Artists — as the Artists come pre-packaged and nursed from birth by the Entertainment industry, and they arrive on the scene with their views fully conformed to Entertainment Industry norms.

The Establishment knows their recipe: they keep the people interested with new styles, new sounds, and they move them closer and closer to a helpless, fractured consumerist society whose entire basis of existence is cultural consumption. Every political message aimed at the ‘liberation’ of one segment of society is aimed more at the destruction of traditionalist conceptions of morality, behavior and culture; a concise and complete assault upon thousands of years of accumulated Western culture.

Cultural Marxism was never a threat to the Capitalist movement: it was the will. The cultural revolution was never a cultural revolution; it was a series of cultural reforms orchestrated by the establishment just as any policy is — largely completed in secret and without the knowledge of the masses until it was too late.

Why? Because the attitudes of conservatives always prioritized the Tradition over money, and Tradition over ‘progress,’ making them the natural enemies of both the Near Left (the free market orientated Capitalists) and the Far Left (that hodgepodge of a hundred ideologies). Through the destruction of tradition both parties achieve their ultimate goal by rendering the people hopelessly impotent and disjointed.

This is also what the Establishment Historians & Media focus on: portraying anything remotely linked to traditionalist views as barbaric, Nazi and ‘pre-Enlightenment’ (as if a word of such illuminating beauty was ever meant to apply to the non-spiritual). By this, they seek to discredit every challenge to the post-industrial world order.

Macklemore, Lady Gaga, Nirvana, the Beatles and the whole of the Flower Power movement were never the revolutionary vanguard against the status quo; they were the flowing lifeblood of the Consumer Capitalism machine aimed at goading the people out of their Ideals and into their Pockets. 

They are the soundtrack of decadence, the Will of the Bankers & the Voice of the Youth crawling out of the diseased wombs of yesteryear to carry on the march to amoral utilitarian consumerism — where the government taxes the middle class to feed the poor, and the poor spend it all at McDonalds.

Pay more attention to this theme throughout 2014.

Some Kierkegaard, Existential Crisis & Questioning Relations To Self, Society

One of the things that the great Christian existentialist Kierkegaard believed Christianity has failed at was serving the adult community in a meaningful manner. Of course, while this was written in 19th century Denmark the same seems to be true of today. Even outside of the context of the Christian church, which at that time more universally incorporated the adult population of Western soceities, the same seems to be entirely true if we merely replace the Church with contemporary Western institutions that have replaced it: namely, nothing. Or, what we can better summarize as ‘popular culture.’

Kierkegaard, however, doubtfully would be surprised to see that those outside of the bounds of the Church (or other religious institutions) were floundering in a world of general existential decay that has elevated suicide rates to a proportion that are absolutely astounding when compared to any previous time. For, after all, history seemingly has been on a collision course with the meaningless modern existence. 

Perhaps what Kierkegaard was really fighting was the continued degradation of the soul through an increasingly material dependent existence. That is to say: by working so hard to fulfill aspects of our Earthly and our physical life we necessarily begin neglecting our social and spiritual ties, both to each other and to ourselves.

Everywhere we look there is an emphasis on getting ahead by whatever means necessary. We see books and shows on achieving financial liberation, on planning our lives right; we have it emphasized to us that we must pursue a certain path to gain security and happiness for ourselves, and we learn to complain most of our difficulties with our cars, our cell phone plans, our academic paths and career plans that all the time become more important to us than our relationship with others and our relationship with ourselves.

For the fact is that man is a complex being. We are so constantly aware of ourselves in such superficial ways... An awareness of a desire to eat within the hour; an awareness of a desire to listen to a song; an awareness of dull pain in the lower back. Seldom do we perceive ourselves beyond these small, partially revealing parts of ourselves and it seems that we rarely take the time to think of ourselves as a collective whole, let alone relating ourselves as a collective whole back to the society in which we live.

Many of us have fooled ourselves into the idea that we are somehow more free and more liberated, that we have become more individualized, more truly ourselves in this age of consumer material. We ascribe to false identities that we believe suit us well but in reality become burdensome and are not even ourselves, but they are an awkward collection of our desire to relate in a specific way to a specific image within the social structure as opposed to an actual fulfillment of our inner selves.

This seems to be something which Kierkegaard hints at in The Sickness Unto Death: the idea that men often hide behind material and construct for themselves great artifices, which Kierkegaard speaks about quite eloquently. The purpose of this exercise is to 

– (a) Create a pleasantly true fairy tale which serves as a distraction from a difficult (or dull) reality (stated by Kierkegaard), and

– (b) attempt to convince others of their self-important relation to the society as a whole (hinted by Kierkegaard), and

– (c) they also are born into it, and have from the start perceived their role and their self as functioning within this material world; they are born spiritually and socially blind. Something that can be perceived of as being generally implied.

The great source of our modern existential conundrum goes back to our overemphasis on our material existence and its replacement of healthy social interactions; this insidious way that the material seems to begin to replace some inner longing for the manifestation of a purer spirit…

And we can see how the Church failed to ever address this as much of the stale Church infrastructure and environment remains the same to this day, and let it be known that of course this was likewise bungled by popular culture who offers no relief except for Miley Cyrus and Fashion Week Paris.

Oh, OK, let’s be fair: it offers up the occasional sill film that scratches the smallest surface of the soul.

It gives us one of those Indiana Jones & The Crystal Skull pseudo-religious, pseudo-philosophical, total bullshit moments: maybe… They’re in the spaces between the spaces.

Or we are given the Oprah Winfreys who enjoy fulfilling the spiritual lives of the monochromatic housewives that wish to insert multiculuralism each day at four PM through a temporary spiritual experience with a hearty, soulful black woman…

These small ways that the pop culture attempts to dispense spiritual Pez into the mouths of adults can only lead us to a hopelessly glum, existential experience.

The only solution is seeking something of far greater import — unfortunately, this falls on each person to undergo this mission for themselves, and it is not an easy road.

Iran: Moralizing & Combating Social Ills Through Film

One of the major issues that we face when looking towards Iran is our inability to view Iran, or seemingly any Muslim nation, as having meaningful social progress and good society. So hard has the unsubstantiated right wing worked to portray Islam as universally evil and ironically the anti-religious undertones of the Left have sided with this idea and attempted to increase the anti-religious (also anti-traditionalist) sentiment.

This has only led to extremely juvenile and inaccurate views of Islam as a whole and the ME in specific, and nowhere is it more inaccurate than when it comes to the Republic of Iran.

In Iran, Islamic law is followed and there are guidelines for behavior that are set into law concerning the appearance of men and women. Likewise, there are allowances of some things such as polygamy and marrying off daughters at young ages, as well as the rather unique phenomena of temporary marriages used for prostitution. Iran has hitherto had issues with the treatment of women (just as all parts of the world has had since the dawn of time), and being right next to the world’s largest opium supplier, Afghanistan, and sharing similar climate, it is a nation that struggles with drug addiction.

Being a country that is still developing, Iran does not have unlimited resources to throw at these issues. It also is dealing with problems that cannot be solved with money: problems that concern specifically the attitudes of the people towards one another.

So what the Islamic Republic of Iran has been doing is commissioning films that focus on improving the moral disposition of the people and modernizing many of the attitudes towards marriage and women. It is funny to think that a nation where polygamy is legal is also one that is campaigning against polygamy, more or less.

They have released films covering every topic from drug addiction to blackmail to thievery to child abuse.

There is a famous story of how for a very long time no Iranians wanted to admit they had drug addicts in their family, but after releasing a film which showed the drug addict in a sympathetic and non-condemning fashion, almost immediately the number of people voluntarily enrolling themselves and others into drug rehabilitation centers increased dramatically. The film was financed by the Iran Drug Control Headquarters. (I will edit in the name of this film when my girlfriend is able to remember it / track it down for me). They are even currently broadcasting a reality TV series concerning this (Tehran Times).

Not to mention, there is the very famous film HISS, Dokhtarha Faryad Nemizanand (Hush, girl’s don’t scream) which tackles the issue of child sex abuse in Iran and how there has been an aura of silence around it that has enabled the problem to continue to spread.

Hush, Girls Don’t Scream (poster)

 

The movement to moralize the society has had a large, positive impact and it only increases year by year.

Of course, this is a side of Iran and of Islam that the Left & the Right both of the West do not want you to see. They would prefer you to see them as a society incapable of helping themselves or with permanently backwards values.

Nothing is further from the truth.

US Military To Allow Turbans / Beards On Case By Case Basis

A very interesting development, indeed, that can potentially serve to open up a lo of appearance leniency — but is more reflective of the role that the military has taken as play-pool for social and public policy experiments; it has become as a tool for politicians:

New US military guidelines have opened the way for service members to wear religious clothing such as turbans or skullcaps while on duty, the Department of Defense has announced.

The guidelines, published on Wednesday, also allow for facial hair, body art and other expressions of religious belief. It is not a blanket permission, however; requests for dispensation from stated uniform policy are to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The military counts thousands of Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Wiccans and members of other religious groups among its ranks. The groups have protested against the exclusion of religious apparel, saying it forces them to choose between their religious beliefs and a desire to serve.

To be approved, changes in apparel or presentation must not impair the operation of weapons, pose a health or safety hazard or interfere with other military equipment such as helmets, flak jackets or wetsuits, according to the guidelines.

“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members, unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt Cmdr Nathan J Christensen.

The Guardian

What makes this so interesting is, of course, how the policy is phrased.

One can assume that the actual operating procedures will be in place to only allow exceptions for Sikhs or other minorities. The likelihood that a Christian or Muslim who was particularly conservative lobbying for the right to grow a beard in guidelines with their own religion might be something that is not going to be particularly smiled upon.

Here we see an interesting process within bureaucracy: the ability for it become allowing of exceptions but also to be forced to phrase the policy in an objective way that would allow for more occurrences in the future cases. Yet, these will be severely limited as it is case by case.

But when something is reviewed case by case we are inherently in a situation where there will always be double standards. The Sikhs have a religious view important to themselves, and then comes the question: is the religious view of a Sikh more important (and vital) to them as a conservative Christian or Muslim that would seek to wear hijab in ranks?

That question, of course, is unanswered. But the solution is in this idea of case by case basis, which anyone knows is really just putting a cap on a bottle of Potential Inequities and waiting for it to inevitably explode.

We also see those infamous words: unit cohesion. Used in a rigorous fashion nearly anything could be deemed to impact unit cohesion. However, the current trend is creeping closer and closer towards allowing essentially anything until the military becomes a very typical 9 to 5 job (or 5 to 5 if you have any real sense of how the military works).

Unit cohesion is fast approaching the status of being an irrelevant factor. What used to be able to justify all manner of increased uniformity and discipline is seldom used because we see the sheer de-emphasis of the individual discipline, of the conformity to standards.

This is because the military ceases to be an organization that exists to accomplish literal tasks, and an organization that exists for its own purpose, but has become a tool for social & public policy; it is now something that we wish to become a reflection of the State. I think we all know that it would perhaps be better to be turned upside down a little: perhaps the State should be more of a reflection of the military, a trim and efficient, a purposeful and effective organization. But one can only dream…

Was it wise to make exceptions for capable persons? Certainly, I can see why that would be justified… But this is not a simple one off instance but rather is a testament to the new direction of the kinder, friendlier, gentler paradox of a military that is encouraged by the new media and new government (and new democracy).

It would be interesting to investigate the philosophy of the ‘Exception’ to the Rule as opposed to the philosophy of writing the exceptions to the rules into the rules; one emphasizing the ability of individuals to come to terms and be rendered a part of the body with a few exceptions, and the other emphasizing the necessity of the Whole Body to Bend to the Limb. 

The Asian Education Torture Machine

Most people who have never even seen the Asian education system up close are also aware that the amount of studying is, in a word, absurd, and that the amount of pressure to perform on each student induces far too much stress and, of course, that far too much rides on a single test. The below video illustrates the point precisely:

It should be noted that this ’20 hours a day studying’ is really counterproductive in the end. There are a thousand reasons for that but we can skip that for now.

It should also be pointed out that the sheer number of hours put into studying prior to the entrance exam is equally colossal. Attending institutions until 10 PM from junior high (or even before), and attending schools and private institutions even on Saturdays… The sheer amount of investment, both in time and money, is staggering from the perspective of any Westerner.

Graph showing the year to year increase of education expenditures; in 2009, the average expenditure was 328,000 Won (roughly $325 USD) and took up a total of 14.2% of monthly expenditure for South Korea. Consider this is the average for a nation where having one child is normal and these days two children is becoming increasingly a luxury. Source: http://www.hankyung.com/news/app/newsview.php?aid=2011071061371

It should be noted that there is even competition among Jr. High students to get into the most elite high schools (Korea Herald), a phenomena that I imagine only happens among the most elite of Westerners.

The results are obvious:

– A large portion of working class (and below) students only have one real chance at getting into a University.

– The rich, who also have more resources at their fingertips to enable their studying, have an unfair advantage.

– The rich can merely send their children to Universities abroad if they do not get the requisite scores to go to excellent Chinese schools.

Nothing was ever so pronounced to me as when I spent some time teaching at a Hagwon (private institute) for impoverished children as the vast disparity between the skill of them and those who were richer. Not to mention: the emotional toll it took upon them to be painfully aware of their position as the underclass. Though too young to have an intimate grasp of economics, it was clear to them that they were somehow fallen behind. This despair translated into often erratic and wild behavior.

It was clear that they were, at best, the future working class of the nation with few exceptions. Although such a judgment may be considered hasty, do not think that I pronounce this with a happy heart but rather say so with a sad resignation.

I am unsure that the whole system is to fault as it is easy to criticize a choice borne of necessity. They are merely doing the best that they can with extremely limited resources.

Perhaps it is important to point out that it will be impossible to improve the situation until the lives of the more impoverished within China are to such a level that they do not feel the need to compete with such fervor over the limited number of slots. Which, of course, also would entail that there would be a larger demand for skilled labor within China, which would result in there being more people who would regularly attend University

I am not sure what I can say about the situation that is practical in terms of a soluton.

However, one can simply say: Behold, the fate of the less fortunate! Competing in ways far too extreme for a limited number of slots.

How lucky we are! 

Many of us did not bother trying particularly hard in HS and still ar able to succeed in and after University. We take far too much for granted.

Welcome To Your American Plutocracy

… I know, quite late of me to point out that the status quo of America for several decades (it would be hard to pinpoint) has been one of rule exclusively by the rich (as is the gravitational pull of all democracies that allow business interests & funds to determine the outcome of elections) …

The Clintons are not particularly rich but they are certainly part of the continued enrichment of the elite, a process for which they are duly rewarded, as are the Bushes. And now there seems to already be fundraising preparations for the Lady Clinton to run for the Presidency:

In the latest sign that Hillary Rodham Clintonwill run for president, the nation’s largest left-leaning super PAC said Thursday that it is raising money for the former secretary of state – an effort that will be led in part by two Bay Area residents.

Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor who now lives in Oakland and teaches public policy at UC Berkeley, will co-chair the Priorities Action USA political action committee, along with President Obama’s former campaign manager, Jim Messina. UC Berkeley law Professor Maria Echaveste, White House deputy chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, was also named Thursday to the PAC’s 14-member board.

SF Gate

If Lady Clinton is elected in 2014, that will mean that six of the last eight Presidencies have all come from one of two families; if she is elected to a second term, that will be 7 of 9.

The nation is ruled by monetary and financial interests and they enjoy choosing who they can trust to take the reigns of the nation – the leadership who will consistently go to bat for them and keep them enriched and likewise fulfill the cultural policy of rendering irrelevant the religious and other social groups that pose general resistance to the consumerist culture.

Enjoy, America.

Cynicism, Patience, Understanding Of The Blood Encrusted Pure Spirit (Blutverkrustet Seelenrein)

All solvable problems are fixed in part by patience and understanding, and without patience and understanding, you are capable of turning all things into a problem. We are not perfect beings capable of always acting in such a way as to always possess some great Christlike patience, nor are we smart enough to understand all things; but at the end of the day it is our duty to ourselves and especially to those around us to make some effort to come to terms with things.

I have become less preachy about politics partly because I have become a bit more cynical — cynical enough to become disengaged. I also realize my own faults… And I also feel a bit overcome with frustration at the state of things. Perhaps it is better to talk about more simple things that I can control as opposed to things that are uncontrollable, but of course, I will keep talking about politics… It is my duty as a citizen and it is a great distraction.

I have to admit that I have been foolish too many times to count. I have been prone to anger, indulgence; drinking too much, thinking too little. I have been guilty of outbursts. I have many regrets. Regrets that unsettle me every few hours.

But I hope to decrease all of these and that, each day, I do become more inclined to doing the right thing…

Perhaps it can even be said that cynicism is a part of patience and understanding. If things were ever logical, ever rational, it would require very little patience and understanding them would be far simpler. There would also be less crippling anxiety in my life — less reason to grimace, shift uncomfortably, count the fingers on my hands and sink deep into the world of my phone or a book or a game… There’d also be less reason to drink.

And there’d be almost no reason to fight.

But the world is not this way and so we must dedicate great amounts of our energy to deal with the asinine issues of the day. Ceaselessly.

Sometimes I feel hopelessly done with this mess. This miserable shit I see surrounding me everywhere I go.  I want to see it destroyed. In my mind, I play over a thousand disasters, a thousand curses that could maybe disrupt the status quo so greatly that I could be left alone by this festering, rotten society created accidentally by imperfect beings.

I often let myself stew in an existential hatred. A hatred that sometimes even extends to my imperfect self. A hatred that is all consuming. Because there is a profound (and justified) skepticism that anything can improve — and if we cannot have a good existence with all of the technology at our fingertips, what is the point of having an existence at all?  I even flirt with ideas of primitivism — perhaps we must return to the small, tribal societies and live not unlike animals to regain some sense of dignity in our existence.

I just really, really want to live as a dignified person free from these social and existential burdens put on us. I would rather live 24 years as a Wiking warrior than live 75 as a middle class consumer. I want the echo of my battle cry to be heard through centuries; I don’t want a fucking new Cell Phone, but if that is all you are going to fucking offer me, fine. That’s what we get. What a miserable deal.

Starvation, famine, senseless violence; fine, bring it on. It’s what I wanted in the first place. It’s what we deserved in the first place. And if we can do live by our own hands, if we can live in Nature and not Lording over it, and if we can live in communities that are more honest and straightforward, then that is a reasonable price.

I cannot help but conclude: The world is ever in crisis. The self is ever in crisis. And this is not a statement directed solely at the miserable corners of the world — no, this is directed chiefly at the nations we think of as working, as functioning. 

We have to accept that this is what we get; accept it as it is and for what it is; we have dissected it and we see it for the rotten thing that it is. We look into ourselves, and we understand that a great portion of ourselves also is not any pretty sight. We become cynical.

And from this all pervading cynicism, we derive our sense of patience and understanding. Of Wisdom & Of Love.

This is because these are the only tools around that can fight Evil; these are the only things we can do to drag ourselves from our beds and proceed through the day.

We’re fighting evil everywhere we go because we are always fighting the worst part of ourselves.

We’re fighting evil everywhere we go because society sullies everything it touches. Most of them didn’t mean to. They were well intentioned. But, like us, individuals are flawed and thus the composite bodies they produce are also flawed.

We cannot fight the evil in us and outside of us with more evil; we can only fight it by trying to extinguish the bad parts of ourselves. And to do this, we have to be patient and understanding so that we can buy the time that we need to love other things, and to try our best to not stain them with the impure parts of us.

There is the song by the band Eisenwinter entitled Blutverkrustet Seelenrein; the Blood Encrusted Pure Spirit.

What a miserably accurate description of our existence. We are pure spirits with pure goodness that exists in a part of us, but we are brought down and humbled by these wretched vehicles of the flesh that harm the greatest part of us with their base desires and animal behaviors.

What it would be to be Free from this! What Heaven to be free from the cage of the flesh, to no longer be “Blood Encrusted,” but to be only Pure Spirit. I now understand that Heaven is not a place where we are doted upon with pleasures — heaven is a place where we have no physical presence but exist purely as beings of knowledge and spirit, genderless, ageless, unencumbered.

Heaven is where desires themselves cease to exist because there is no physical burden of necessity. 

And everything is spirit and interrelates as spirit. Nothing is crooked, nothing is fat, nothing is emaciated with hunger; nothing is diseased, nothing is crippled with avarice and nothing chokes with sexual desire and thus there is no hatred, no jealousy.

And it is through our patience and our understanding we can summon up the Pure Spirit and wipe away the Blood & the Flesh, and we can exist for a time even in this world with a feeling of Heaven; we can try to give this feeling to the others around us.

In the moment that the Soul ignores & no longer feels the Body, and thus no longer feels the Necessities of a Physical Existence, we are simultaneously practicing “Non-Being” and “Being;” We are simultaneously “Existent” as a Spirit, and “non-Existent” as a Body. And it is at this time we can reclaim a sense of pure innocence & goodness.

It is when the broken, evil animal is vanquished; it is when we are “No Bodies” (literally) that we become “Some Bodies” (figuratively).

When we say, “Satan, leave this Man,” we should be saying: “Man, leave this Satan.” And so we exit our bodies, our blood encrusted existence.

And the world can no longer harm us because we are no longer present in it, but we exist in a realm Above; and more importantly: we are no longer harming ourselves because we are no longer simply ourselves in the sense as we know them but we exist as the spiritual being above it.

Then, finally, are we ready to approach our problems with patience and understanding that we have gathered in our brief states of being unburdened.

Today we should sit down and relax every muscle, relax every part of our physical beings until you almost cease to be aware of it, and we should draw your existences out from their respective flesh… To start our day, to start anything without having done this or having the strong memory of this event within our minds, would be a great mistake.

Korean Birthday Sends Rodman to Rehab (Obviously…)

A bit of non-news for anyone who has lived or partied in Korea: if you have any substance abuse issue, a Korean birthday party is probably not the place to be as it may exacerbate your alcoholism and drive you towards gross substance abuse…

(Reuters) – Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman has checked himself into an alcohol treatment program, his spokesman said Saturday, just days after returning to the United States fromNorth Korea, where he ignited a furor over comments he made about an American citizen held prisoner there.

Rodman voluntarily entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility several days ago, according to agent Darren Prince. The location of the facility was not disclosed.

Rodman returned to the United States this week after a trip to North Korea where he attended the birthday party of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“It had been a very stressful day,” Rodman said earlier this month. “My dreams of basketball diplomacy were quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed.”

 

Reuters

What makes this all delightfully silly is the ‘basketball diplomacy’ comment.

I enjoy how there is always this feeling that people think we can overcome great differences through a relatively superficial aspect (sports, music, film)… One would have thought Rodman would only get this idea while drinking alcohol.

Obviously, though, while it was not spelled out… We can be quite sure that Rodman was drunk as a skunk for quite some time in north Korea if there is any similarities between north and south.

Rodman is just another one of the many Westerners who ventured to Korea and had their alcoholism elevated  new heights.

Assad More Popular Than Obama

In the world of international politics it is important to have the air of respectability (unless you are the Saudis, the Chinese or, well, are otherwise wealthy and economically integrated enough into the New World Order of global capitalism to get a free pass); it is thus important to seem liked by your people and to, in some way, be at least not a big jerk (who would, say, be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in a country that you aren’t even at war with). 

Assad appears to have all of the swag that a globally respectable leader should have in terms of popularity and lack of (nearly) arbitrary massacre of other people’s civilians: 

The Anglo-American press reports on an internal NATO study (dated June 2013), which takes stock of Syrian public opinion [1].

The study shows that 70% of Syrians support President Bashar al-Assad, 20% adopt a neutral position and 10% support the “rebels.”

These figures are presented as reflecting a change of heart. The population is tired of the abuses and divisions of the armed opposition. From NATO’s perspective, what we are witnessing is not a phenomenon that is occurring in view of the approaching “Geneva-2” peace conference.

Voltaire.net

That has to be a little awkward to everyone, as Obama is generally polling at the ‘term average to date’ of 49% approval (Gallup).  Assad’s 70% seems nothing to scoff at.

Maybe if Obama apologies Assad can come and give him a lesson on how to influence others and make people like you?

Assad enjoys great popularity with both the ladies & the men.

Obviously, war time leaders always get a surge of support of their people (particularly when they are not extremists who behead people publicly), and so on some level this is probably not indicative of a peace time Assad. However, if even NATO is noting that Assad is generally supported by the people at this point, it is a wonder to imagine Obama amping up anti-Assad sentiment in the West as he had been for several months, speaking of even sending aid to the minority rebel groups that are secular in nature….

It also brings out the question: where is Obama’s war time surge of support? Or is this merely a protracted, unpopular series of wars that we are all half-assed committed to? The answer is obvious.

It is also important to note that, as the Bible says in Proverbs, as a dog returns to vomit, so too does a fool return to his folly.

Which seems to be what the United States has persistently in mind: to reinsert itself into a Middle Eastern conflict with the hope of somehow playing some positive role. Something that, by now, one would think we understood more thoroughly as having no guaranteed positive result considering that Iraq is slowly sluffing off the tender democracy placed upon her by the US and moves ever more closely to outright open civil war as the situation deteriorates in the Anbar province and the insurgency reclaims Fallujah.

We have to stay out of the Syria conflict because it is clear now, more than ever, that the Obama administration and NATO, need to listen to their underlings assessment of the situation in Syria and regardless of how much they want to pose for the Democracy’s Hero of the Year award, things are not going to work out for them (or the rebels) in Syria.