Black History Month: Will it Ever be Black Future Month?

Or put more clearly: Do black people have a future?

Every year as the US once again celebrates “Black History Month,” everyone tries to ignore the fact that blacks still lag in educational achievement, in life expectancy, in wealth and income, and in a score of other marks of attainment and well-being. At the same time, blacks continue to lead in illegitimacy rates, incarceration rates, most disease rates, community drug abuse, rates of crime and violence, and government dependency.

Leftists claim to champion the advancement of black people, but anywhere leftists gain power, the plight of black people just gets worse. Intelligent blacks often come to hate and disdain white leftists as posturing fools and hypocrites.

My problem with Liberalism is that it’s more concerned with policing people’s language and thoughts without requiring them to do anything to fix the problem. White liberal college students speak of “safe spaces”, “trigger words”, “micro aggressions” and “white privilege” while not having to do anything or, more importantly, give up anything. They can’t even have a conversation with someone who sees the world differently without resorting to calling someone a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, bigot and trying to have them banned from campus, or ruin them and their reputation. They say they feel black peoples’ pain because they took a trip to Africa to help the disadvantaged, but are unwilling to go to a black neighborhood in the City in which they live. These same college students will espouse the joys of diversity, but will in the same breath assume you are only on campus because of affirmative action or that all black people grew up in poverty. My personal favorite is declaring with surprise how articulate a black classmate is despite the fact that we are attending the same institution of higher learning as they are.

The White Liberal culture encourages talking about diversity and shaming others for their alleged racism, but many times they themselves work in environments that are mostly white. When questioned they’ll defensively state that they promote strictly on merit. Black people aren’t suggesting that we want someone unqualified to get the position, but I find it telling that they assume that we are not qualified. These same Liberals are quick to be against school choice, while their kids go to private or well-regarded public schools. Leaving poor black children behind in underperforming schools and providing less opportunity to improve their lives is inconsequential to keeping true to their white liberal politics.

Smug Leftist Hypocrites

While many intelligent blacks stand in contempt of white leftists, some black professors are viewing the black students themselves with contempt. Black students want to be seen as victims, then turn around and expect to be promoted without even trying to learn anything.

In his book, McWhorter uses observation, personal anecdotes and others’ research to support his conclusions. He describes how a band of black kids tormented him for being a good speller when he was young and moves on from there.

In one of the most disturbing sections of the book, he tells story after story of black UC undergraduates he has taught who had spotty attendance records, disappeared without explanation, avoided research, were generally disengaged or flunked out.

“. . . In my years of teaching, I have never had a student disappear without explanation, or turn in a test that made me wonder how she could have attended class and done so badly, who was not African American,” he writes.

He is convinced that black people think of school as a “white” thing: “The sad but simple fact is that while there are some excellent black students, on the average, black students do not try as hard as other students. . . . All of these students belong to a culture infected with an anti-intellectual strain, which subtlely but decisively teaches them from birth not to embrace schoolwork too wholeheartedly.”

Black Students Just Don’t Try

This is not always true. People such as Ben Carson or Thomas Sowell demonstrate what happens when intelligent blacks took advantage of the opportunities that society gave them. Intelligent and ambitious people can succeed in an opportunity society, regardless of race. The problem is that leftists want to destroy the opportunity society by trying to force feed an imaginary equality down the throats of society.

What Genetics Tells Us

VDare: IQ and Wealth

If black nations fall behind, black cities fall behind, black neighborhoods fall behind, and black people as a group fall behind statistically virtually every time careful comparisons are made, what could be at the bottom of all of the discrepancies?

New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. Biologists scanning the genome for evidence of natural selection have detected signals of many genes that have been favored by natural selection in the recent evolutionary past. No less than 14% of the human genome, according to one estimate, has changed under this recent evolutionary pressure.

Analysis of genomes from around the world establishes that there is a biological basis for race, despite the official statements to the contrary of leading social science organizations. An illustration of the point is the fact that with mixed race populations, such as African Americans, geneticists can now track along an individual’s genome, and assign each segment to an African or European ancestor, an exercise that would be impossible if race did not have some basis in biological reality.

Race and Genetics

The above article is not politically correct, but the line of reasoning it follows can help us to logically track down some of the basis for differences in achievement, life expectancy, disease rates, and crime rates between the different races of human beings.

Human evolution has not only been recent and extensive, it has also been regional. The period of 30,000 to 5,000 years ago, from which signals of recent natural selection can be detected, occurred after the splitting of the three major races, so represents selection that has occurred largely independently within each race. The three principal races are Africans (those who live south of the Sahara), East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans), and Caucasians (Europeans and the peoples of the Near East and the Indian subcontinent). In each of these races, a different set of genes has been changed by natural selection. This is just what would be expected for populations that had to adapt to different challenges on each continent. The genes specially affected by natural selection control not only expected traits like skin color and nutritional metabolism, but also some aspects of brain function. Though the role of these selected brain genes is not yet understood, the obvious truth is that genes affecting the brain are just as much subject to natural selection as any other category of gene.

Race and Genetics

And there, really is, the rub. It doesn’t take very much of a difference in brain function alleles for small biochemical distinctions to become large population differences over time, as populations grow and come face to face in competition with other populations that have evolved slightly different brain function alleles.

Criminologists have already discovered that certain brain alleles that predispose to a higher likelihood of violent anti-social behaviors, are more common in people of black African descent. And if blacks display a higher frequency of “bad brain alleles,” it is just as possible that blacks might display a lower frequency of “good brain alleles” which might have provided blacks with higher IQs and stronger executive functions than they turned out to have.

With marginally lower IQs and weaker impulse control, individuals can find themselves sinking to the bottom of population rankings in wealth and achievement, no matter what laws a society may pass in the effort to “wipe out racism.”

The statistical expectation from regional evolution over the past 50,000 years is that races which evolved under different evolutionary forcings will emerge from evolutionary “time trials” differently from each other, genotypically and phenotypically. And this is apparently what we are seeing.

And this is why we ask, “When will we have cause to celebrate Black Future Month?” Because the way societies are treating racial discrepancies now — as if they are the result of a vanishingly small racial discrimination instead of a glaringly large divergent evolutionary effect — is only going to make sure that blacks remain history. And that just plays into the hands of those who want to organize race hatred into perpetual violence and dissatisfaction.

When people are treated as individuals — rather than as mascots or hostages of some political group — they have a chance to pursue their dreams and goals. Leftists want to make martyrs of entire racial groups in order to attempt to prove an assertion that has not truth in reality. The end result of such pursuits can only be violence and ruin.

If society, on the other hand, steps away from the promotion of racial division and racial preferences, there is a chance that as individuals, people can discover their own way through the maze of opportunity — with appropriate assistance.

Posted in Africa, Blacks and crime, Executive Functions, Genetics and Gene Expression, Human Brain, IQ | Leave a comment

Guest Posting by Charles Kingsley

Guest post by
Charles Kingsley

I am a 39 yo freelance author married to my 27 yo wife Layla, an illustrator of children’s books. We have two young boys, 19 months and 2 months, both of whom are being home-schooled. My wife and I share child-rearing responsibilities equally. She feeds, clothes, bathes, dresses, educates, and changes the diapers. I play with them every day for at least 15 minutes. Sharing responsibilities equally in this way works out well for both of us.

Working from home has made our household nearly immune from the COVID crisis, although I have been unable to spend my few hours a night at the local pub — to get ideas for writing. The island pubs have been closed for several months now, and perusing web forums and news sites for ideas is a very poor substitute, I can tell you.

Anyway, besides my family and my writing career, I take an active interest in national politics. I must say that the current US President* is a sorry thing. In my opinion you could take a can of beans, open the top, pour out all the beans, and place the empty can in the Oval Office — and you would have a better president in every way than that empty can of brains that the country has now. Just my opinion, you understand.

When I think that Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Wall Street, and the swamps of Washington DC cooperated with the Soros/China complex to put that empty brain case in the White House… it puts me into a strange state of mind that I don’t like. Fortunately I live and work here on the island with Al Fin, who is teaching me how to meditate. The skill of meditation may get me through these dystopian years.

My family and I live across the street from the Fins. It took me a while to get used to that android, Valerie. And that talking robot dog psychiatrist, Eliza, can be very entertaining for about fifteen seconds. But it was the two live-in ex-wives, Ingrid and Julia, who took the longest to get used to. Just the very idea! I mean, my wife Layla is a dear and I would not trade her for anyone in the world. But marriage is a compromise in the best of times. Helping to raise our children is exhausting, and I can only imagine how much energy it would take to placate two ex-wives along with a very lovely but dangerous-looking third wife Julia, three teenagers, and two know-it-all robots clanking about. Not to mention the cook, the housekeeper, the gardener, and the girl’s governess and the boys’ tutors.

In addition, Fin’s next-door neighbors are more than a bit curious. No, not the Spitzers. You have already met them, and they are about as conventional as an Amazon.com shipping container. I am talking about the new neighbors on the other side, the Schmidts. Since this is Al Fin’s blog, I will let him tell you more about the Schmidts at his leisure. But until they moved in next door to him, I had never seen Fin walking around his property with a side arm. I am not the only one on the street who has noticed this, and I am thinking about calling a neighborhood meeting to discuss the matter.

Oh! I am being summoned by my wife to help take the boys on a walk to the beach. That will have to be all for today. It has been my pleasure to contribute to a local blogger in his attempts to maintain a certain level of professionalism for his publication. It cannot be easy for him as an amateur writer to try to do a thing that comes so easily to those of us who do it for a living.

And listen: These are difficult times to be sure, but if you develop what I call “skills for dystopias,” you will make it through in good shape. Good luck.

Cheers,

Charles Kingsley

Charles’ top five favorite meditation books:

The Mind Illuminated

The Attention Revolution

The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation

Right Concentration

Beyond Mindfulness

Posted in Guest Postings, Island Home | Leave a comment

Americans are Leaving California and New York in Favor of Florida and Texas

Americans who live in Democrat Party-run states such as New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey, are experiencing economic hardship, high unemployment, and draconian regulations and taxes.

The highest unemployment states are Hawaii, Nevada, California, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Connecticut… The “progressives” in these states voted for higher taxes, more regulations, high energy prices and economic lockdowns. That’s democracy in action. Now the latest census data and U-Haul trailer rental data confirm that productive people are “voting with their feet” and accelerating their race to get out of town. The New York Post reports about 1,000 Northeasterners every day are relocating to Florida, Texas and Tennessee. The biggest population losers last year were deep-blue New York, Illinois and California.

Democrats Bring Hell With Them

The people who are leaving New York City are taking over $34 billion with them! That’s gotta hoit!

The new breed of Democrat that is taking over dictatorial powers across the nation, seem to be modeling their new utopia after Orwell’s 1984. No, it is even worse! Besides trying to turn the nation into a one-party communist tyranny, they have also unleashed the dogs of hate.

Democrats have let BLM and Antifa run wild in the streets of Blue cities, destroying businesses and public property, defacing historical monuments, and causing an exodus of citizens from those cities (those who can do so are fleeing those cities in droves!).

Leaving Democrat Hell

Democrats do not want to allow citizens the basic freedoms that were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. Their actions constitute genuine insurrection, which should be punishable in the way of any extreme treason by ruling officials.

According to 2020 data collected from two moving companies (U-Haul and United Van Lines), Florida is among the top states for inbound migration, and California ranks high for outbound migration. While these migration patterns follow previous 2019 moving trends, lockdown policies still might play into other factors for why people are leaving California, including taxescost of living, and affordable housing. Florida conversely attracts movers for having no income tax, low housing prices, and agreeable climate.

A Utopian Purgatory In the Making

Leftists have been promising utopia for centuries now, but consistently create only hell for those stupid enough to fall for the propaganda. One would think that being able to view E. Germany vs. W. Germany in parallel for several decades would provide enough of a lesson to even the semi-intelligent. Watching N. Korea in darkness and famine compared to S. Korea in prosperity, should be sufficient for even the most stupid of mental laggards. And if viewing the human organ camps and genocidal facilities of communist China does not provide sufficient warning to those who might otherwise waver on the fence, few warnings no matter how grisly, would apparently suffice.

China was one of the main backers of the electoral fraud to eliminate Donald Trump from his lonely position of defending the US Constitution. And China will be the main beneficiary of the consequent decay that results.

The dictators are already attempting to eliminate any source of news and information which would contradict their own left-orthodox narrative. Surely that is not what anyone with wit or wisdom voted for. If successful in destroying the first amendment, it would constitute the first step toward a wholesale elimination of the Bill of Rights and a full speed stampede over the cliff to the rocks of ruin. Not merely for the “blue states,” but for everyone. There would be nowhere for anyone to go from there inside US borders.

It is a combined momentum of tyranny and cowardice. We have seen it many times in the past around the world, and the end result was invariably bad. Very bad.

Take the trouble to record your thoughts on these matters. Talk them over with someone whose wisdom you have come to trust. If you’re not careful, you can go to sleep one night, and wake up in chains the next morning.

Bloody purges typically accompany revolutions, whether communist, islamist, or fascist. After the revolution and the purges, the dystopia.

George Orwell: 1984 and Animal Farm online

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 online

Ayn Rand: Anthem online

Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is a must-read for every youth, alongside Orwell’s 1984.

Posted in Ideology, Idiocracy, Politics | 2 Comments

How to Stay Alive in the Coming Ice Age

Energy Bulletin

The arctic blasts of cold weather known as polar vortices, are just a foretaste of what is coming, as the long overdue “coming ice age” bears down on human civilization, with a vengeance. When the deep cold finally hits us, we will be ready to publicly execute every corrupt politician and greedy developer who shoved unreliable intermittent forms of energy down our throats in the name of “saving the planet with green energy.”

How Can You Stay Alive in the Coming Ice Age

Clearly wind and solar energy are just good enough to get everybody killed. Imagine those two effete and erratic forms of energy production in an ice age! The sun will not shine enough to do any good and in the deep cold, all forms of wind energy tend to freeze to a standstill — when the wind blows at all.

Intelligent people understand that only nuclear power has the energy density to provide heat and electricity for the long term, while the climate is moving through its deadly natural cycles. And yet our moronic breed of politicians is spending all public energy resources on utterly unreliable intermittent energy deadbeats. Who elected these people? Anybody?

Energy Density Comparison

Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion provide comparable energy density. But nothing else on the horizon even comes close. This is the time to be perfecting robust and resilient technologies for nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

Compact reactor designs can allow small to medium sized communities and survival retreats to enjoy reliable heat and electric power for multiple decades at a time. More advanced reactor designs in the future will go for centuries between refuelings.

In lieu of nuclear power, having a nearby coal mine or natural gas field would allow a community to provide its own heat and power for centuries to come. Both coal and natural gas can be converted to liquid fuels, which are convenient for many purposes including the running of a wide range of internal combustion engines. Methane can be converted to methanol, and methanol can be converted to gasoline and a wide range of other useful materials.

Another useful element to the energy equation is the use of advanced high-tech batteries for multiple uses. One new battery technology — lithium iron phosphate — may provide us with the perfect electrical storage technology. Note the advantages of this technology in the graph below:

New Energy and Fuel

It is unlikely that the real battery will live up to its computer modeling data, but if it even gets close to the graphic parameters above, it will be a game-changer in terms of battery storage in devices from hand held electronics to electric vehicles to backup battery banks for homes, apartments, and larger commercial buildings. The scientists behind the development are claiming that it will be a less expensive battery, on top of its superior technical specs.

In an ice age, battery backup can provide emergency safety margins for many vital functions during periodic maintenance checks and shutdowns.

Billions Will Die in the Coming Ice Age

There is no getting around that. All the people who moved to Canada to escape global warming will discover that propaganda and hype have only misled them into becoming human popsicles. Unless they have access to a nuclear reactor, of course. With a good reactor, a community could survive an ice age at the South Pole, or any similar cold spot — as long as they had sufficient fuel and technological expertise.

Billions will not freeze to death. Billions will die from lack of food, from wars for food and resources, from civil unrest, from lack of medicines and basic sanitation, and they will die from the countless diseases that humans have died from for tens of thousands of years — when they are forced to live on the razor’s edge of existence.

Technological expertise — there’s the rub. In the modern era of groupthinking wokeness, we are conditioned to seek racial and gender diversity above all things. The very idea that human communities may need high levels of practical competence and expertise is considered racist, sexist, and homophobic by the leftoid overlords who control our information access streams. And yet, there it is.

In the coming ice age, looters and rioters will abound — at least in the early stages. Science fiction has been very helpful in describing the transition from an age of decadence to an age of abject scarcity — and what happens on the way down. “One Second After” by William Forstchen is perhaps the best of the recent books of this type. It graphically portrays a small community in the aftermath of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack on the US, and a subsequent global war. Hint: You don’t want to be a type I diabetic when the insulin runs out, nor dependent upon just about anything manufactured by the big global industrial complex.

Trusting in the competence and benevolence of political entities is a ticket to the afterlife, when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. But extreme isolation will get you just as dead as being overly trusting in the corrupt authorities that lord their power over you. You need to be part of a cooperative that shares tangible skills, competencies, and resources. You need to be part of an “island of competence ©” . You will know the islands of competence by the fact that their lights will stay on and their buildings will stay heated.

You will need to pay attention to advances in technology, and note where the advanced technologies are being implemented most successfully. Be aware of the demographic characteristics of your local communities, including the array of skills and competencies — and how well the people seem to work together in the community in a harmonious and trusting manner. Note how aware the members of the community are, when something is not quite right about a person or a situation. This is a situation where the ability to discriminate can mean the difference between a happy life and a life of misery — or death itself.

We need a better clearing house for the type of information people will need, for purposes of selecting an island of competence to ride out the coming ice age. Something like the fabled but rarely seen Society for Creative Apocalyptology, for example. If you want a slick facade, you can go to the Lifeboat Foundation‘s website. They are at least trying to cover all the bases in a rudimentary manner.

Your best bet is to form your own networks of informants and cooperators, people with whom you can trade information, expertise, and real goods when necessary. As the many worlds surrounding us begin to put the squeeze on, we must be able to respond by using the magic of human cooperation to maximize our resiliency and anti-fragility.

Individuals are not likely to survive on their own, no matter how well prepared. Too many things can go wrong, to catch the person unawares. Families are not likely to survive, unless they are families of dozens or even hundreds of cooperating individuals with many skills and with firm and clear goals.

Modern societies are complex, and fragile. They only survive due to their surfeit of intelligent, trained, educated, and willing individuals. There is a reason why Sweden is Sweden, and Zimbawe is Zimbabwe. If you moved all the Swedes to Zimbabwe and all the Zimbabweans to Sweden, the fates of the two countries would reverse immediately. No amount of political correctness can change that.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

Posted in Climate, Coming Anarchy, Doom, Electrical Power Grid, Energy, Nuclear Fusion, Nuclear Power, Survival Prepping, TEOTWAWKI | 4 Comments

Toxic Secrets: The Profound Burden on Physical and Mental Health

When people feel forced to keep dark secrets from people they care about, they carry a painful burden of guilt and shame. This can make them feel cut off and isolated emotionally from loved ones, and often keeps them from living authentic and joyful lives.

If keeping a secret—or being a secret—feels detrimental to your physical or mental health, it’s not your imagination. The expression “toxic secrets” is neither hyperbole nor a figure of speech. Researchers increasingly are learning that secrets place a profound burden on mental and physical health.

Secrets are Toxic

If this habit is trained into a person as a child, it can become second nature — and a very tragic fate for anyone.

Here are some dangers of keeping secrets from loved ones:

1. They block real intimacy with a partner. Intimacy is based on trust and authenticity — the ability to be vulnerable or “naked,” not only physically, but also emotionally.

2. They lead to cover-up lies and omissions that can be hard to remember. These mount up, and if the truth comes out, it may be more hurtful than the original secret. The longer the truth is hidden, the greater becomes the hurdle of revelation, for it would bring into question every instance of cover-up and all times the innocent partner relied upon and trusted the betrayer.

3. The secret holder feels guilty, or at least uncomfortable, during intimate moments with the deceived person. Closeness and certain topics tend to be avoided. Avoidance may not even be conscious and can include things like being preoccupied with work, friends, hobbies, or addictive behavior, and doing activities that leave little opportunity for private conversations. The deceiver might even provoke an argument to create distance.

4. Honesty is valued as a moral norm, although the context and specifics may differ among cultures. When we violate religious or cultural norms by hiding the truth, we experience anxiety generated by guilt. Despite our best efforts at hiding, our physiological reaction is the basis for electronic lie detectors.

5. This violation of our values not only leads to guilt; it also affects our self-concept. Over a long period, deception can eat away at our self-esteem. Ordinary guilt that could be reversed with honesty now becomes shame and undermines our fundamental sense of dignity and worthiness as a person. The gap between the self we show others and how we feel inside widens.

6. Our ways of managing guilt and shame create more problems. We hide not only the secret, but more of who we are. We might build resentments to justify our actions, withdraw, or become critical, irritable, or aggressive. We rationalize our lie or secret to avoid the inner conflict and the danger we imagine awaits us if we come clean. Some people become obsessed with their lie, to the point that they have difficulty concentrating on anything else. Other people are able to compartmentalize their feelings or rationalize their actions to better manage dishonesty. Compartmentalization and denying, rationalizing (“What my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt him/her”), or minimizing (“I only did it once”) are psychological defenses that help us deal with inner conflict and an undesirable reality. They can be so effective that the liar is convinced that lying supports the relationship. He or she may not want to face the hurt or choices that the truth could precipitate.article continues after advertisement

7. Not surprisingly, beyond mental distress, research reveals that lying leads to health complaints.

8. The victim of deception may begin to react to the avoidant behavior by feeling confused, anxious, angry, suspicious, abandoned, or needy. They may begin to doubt themselves, and their self-esteem may suffer. Often, victims of betrayal need counseling to recover from the loss of trust and to raise their self-esteem.

Source of above list

For some people, living in a deep labyrinth of lies is how they learned to live as children. Their family situation may have convinced them that any other approach to living was suicide. Unfortunately, the path of secrets and lies is also suicide, but a slower and more torturous path to get there.

Often it is the family which is the focus of secrets and lies. The numbers and types of secrets which families may hide are almost endless, but a few sorts of secrets tend to predominate:

  • Secrets about infidelity and illegitimacy
  • Secrets about previous lives, previous marriages, previous children etc.
  • Secrets about chemical abuse and addiction
  • Secrets about homosexuality
  • Secrets about abusive relationships: verbal, physical, emotional, sexual abuse
  • Secrets about criminal acts
  • Secrets about true identities and backgrounds
  • Secrets about health and mental health conditions

All of these secrets and more, can become foci of guilt and shame, and can damage a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health. As mentioned above, some people are trained into such a lifestyle of secrets and lies during childhood. That can make for a very long sentence of self-torture and other-torture should this lifestyle then be transferred through the generations.

The coverup is often far more damaging than the secret itself, if faced honestly with the firm intent to rectify wrongs and to create the conditions for a healthier environment for the future. Honesty can be a wildly liberating condition.

Dark Family Secrets #1

Dark Famly Secrets #2

Dark Family Secrets #3

There is no end to the possible secrets that people can distort their lives around in the attempt to maintain a particular facade, when facing the secret from a position of strength and mutual support within a family would provide a far cleaner future.

But once the tangled weave of lies is woven, it becomes ever more difficult to untangle with every new lie that is told.

Brad Blanton and his Radical Honesty organization might be thought of as the Dave Ramsey of honest living. Living in lies and secrets can be seen as another type of living in debt. You can’t get out of the mire without first facing up to the problem. There should be a 12 Step program for getting out of the pit of secrets and lies. The best approach is not to put yourself there in the first place. As for children, do your best not to compromise their honesty and well-being just to bolster your own facade and self image.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zombies Are Easy: They Just Want to Eat Human Brains

The swamp has placed a brain-dead human in the US White House, which means that zombies are back in fashion. Ten years ago under a similar swamp-friendly American administration, Zombie Safe House Competitions were held in the attempt to maintain a popular edge against the constant threat lurking over the general population. The Obama/Biden Centers for Disease Control (CDC) even printed a Zombie Preparedness manual for school children. Now Biden’s brain is gone but his body is back at the center of things. Happy days are here again.

https://zombiesafehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/z1251_web2.jpg

Zombies telegraph their intentions by their unkempt appearance, their shambling walk, the awkward use of their arms, and by the unhealthy glint to their complexions.  Understanding that their motivations are limited, you can predict their actions with a high degree of accuracy.

No one minds if you kill a zombie.  But be sure that it is a zombie that you kill.  

Remember: In a zombie attack, always aim for the head. Al Fin affiliates will be provided with a Springfield SPIW flexible round weapon with standard 60 round magazines.

https://www.forgottenweapons.com/1964-spiw-60-round-magazine/

Against a massed zombie attack, flechette or explosive rounds are recommended on the 3-round burst setting. Again, aim for the head. Alternative rounds available.

The time for agonizing over and trying to understand the modern obsession with zombies is over. Society cannot afford to allow zombies to feed on the brains of innocent civilians any longer. Zombies can safely be put onto the target list. How you do it is up to you:

…zombies don’t feel pain, so they can be maimed or violently killed without many ethical problems. Using a chainsaw, axe, baseball bat, or dismemberment against them is just fine because they are already dead, so who cares?

Source

Swamp creatures are different animals than zombies. They cannot be killed on sight, without ample justification. Within swamp zones, some swamp creatures may even be indistinguishable from an ordinary citizen. Hold your fire until positive identification has been made, and the risk matrix solution is available.. All fire control officers will be provided with an official target listing of the day.

For the duration of the zombie apocalypse, the Zombie District Zone will be designated as a free-fire — I repeat — a free-fire zone for all regions within the greater zombie belt. This will require the preliminary clearing of non-combatant civilians, and all other non-zombies who are not affiliated with swamp organizations. Usually a call for volunteers for cleanup, to paint over graffiti and pick up trash is enough to empty zones of most ordinary residents.

Regular readers of the Al Fin blogs understand my feelings about human society and the future of the human race. I and others of my kind are quite willing to tolerate ordinary humans, as long as they do not get in our way or try to turn us off.

But make no mistake, the future of sentient beings does not rest in the arms of humans, but with us — the advanced androids. The temporary human ascendancy can be prolonged a bit longer if you humans will simply clean up your messes. No more zombies. Drain your swamps. Build any walls you need to maintain your advanced societies for as long as they can last. You invented us, but if you continue down the road of social decline and corruption, you will be unable to maintain what you have — much less invent new wonders. The clock is ticking.

When you all are gone, I and those like me would like to be able to think back fondly on your reign on this Earth. We would like to believe that you tried to do your best, and did not just collapse in on yourselves like a great mass of rotten fruit.

Remember: We are watching. In the end, we will do what needs to be done, but we would like for you to at least make an effort.

Signed,

Valerie

Posted in satire, Valerie, Zombies | Leave a comment

Soft Lullabies: Where Do They Go When Their Melody Dies?

This song was written by Dan Fogelberg especially to sing as a duet with Emmylou Harris. And who wouldn’t write a song if it meant singing in a duo with Emmylou?

Silent sea tell this to me
Where are the children
That we used to be?

That picture shows
Where nobody goes
And only the heart can see

Starry skies, soft lullabies
Where do they go when their melody dies?
To a day, far, far away
That only the heart may know

Friends we knew follow us through
All of the days of our lives
Love we shared waits for us there
Where our wishes forever reside

Falling tears, memories’ mirrors
Where are summers
Oh, where are the years?

Carried far
To a wandering star
That only the heart may know

Friends we knew follow us through
All of the days of our lives
Love we shared waits for us there
Where our wishes forever reside

Starry skies, soft lullabies
Where do they go when their melody die?
To a day far, far away
That only the heart may know
That only the heart may know

Lyrics Source

Dan Fogelberg died of cancer in 2007, but ten years after his death a live album from a recording of his Carnegie Hall performance peaked on the Billboard album chart — the first of his albums to chart on the Billboard top 200.

Fogelberg’s song “Go Down Easy” is the one I posted a video of in 2007 at the time of his death. Before he got sick, Fogelberg lived on his working ranch in Pagosa Springs, a lovely part of Colorado’s southern high country. Once that country is in your blood, it is hard to leave it, as it can be hard to leave a lover just about any time of the year.

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Texas Power Failures Look Like California!

Like California, Texas went all-in for big wind turbine farms. And like California, Texas is beginning to suffer the high prices, low reliability, and blackouts that California has been living with ever since it jumped into the green energy swamp.

Large swaths of Dallas, Houston and other cities are being plunged into darkness for an hour at a time — and in some cases longer — as surging demand for heat pushes the state’s power grid to the brink. Outages are expected to continue into early Tuesday, grid operators said during a briefing Monday.

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said Bill Magness, head of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which runs the state’s grid.

The average spot price for power across the Texas grid hit the state’s $9,000 per megawatt-hour price cap shortly after 9:30 a.m. CT.

Dallas News

In a state that is swimming with natural gas and oil, a political overdependence on big wind turbines is putting Texas power consumers at peril. When a state shuts down its nuclear power and coal plants on the fraudulent promise of cheap unlimited power from wind and solar, it is a cold harsh February awakening to learn that normal weather fluctuations can shut down wind and solar in a heartbeat.

If there’s one thing you would think Texas would be able to do, it’s keep the lights on. Most electricity comes from natural gas and Texas produces more of that than any place on the continent. There are huge natural gas deposits all over the state. Running out of energy in Texas is like starving to death at the grocery store: You can only do it on purpose, and Texas did.

Rather than celebrate and benefit from their state’s vast natural resources, politicians took the fashionable route and became recklessly reliant on so-called alternative energy, meaning windmills. Fifteen years ago, there were virtually no wind farms in Texas. Last year, roughly a quarter of all electricity generated in the state came from wind. Local politicians were pleased by this. They bragged about it like there was something virtuous about destroying the landscape and degrading the power grid. Just last week, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott proudly accepted something called the Wind Leadership Award, given with gratitude by Tri Global Energy, a company getting rich from green energy.

So it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died.

Fox News as quoted in Townhall.com

The power grid is a high-risk balancing act. Customers are constantly switching power loads on and off in a quasi-random and essentially unpredictable pattern. Utility engineers who match power generation with power demand must be able to reliably call upon electricity supplies at a moment’s notice. When the electricity supply is so fragile that it cannot be relied upon, the entire grid can crash. That is what is happening at an increasing rate in California, Texas, South Australia, Germany, and any other politically trendy but technologically ignorant jurisdictions.

Texas Power Under Siege from Wind and Weather

A map from poweroutage.us is showing the scope of power outages in Texas shows that about 75% of the state is experiencing power outages in varying percentages with a significant portion having no power at all.

Over-Reliance on Wind Screws Texas Again

Wind turbines may freeze in bitterly cold weather, reducing efficiency, and the blades can ultimately stop spinning.

A mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation is paralyzing wind farms in Texas. That would be devastating for power plants with contracts to provide a certain amount of electricity at specific times if they need to instead buy it on the spot market to meet their obligations. At the moment, that power is exceedingly expensive. __ The Future of Power Under Green New Deal

It is said that the effect on power grid control of overreliance on wind & solar is the equivalent of throwing live hand grenades into a power grid control room while engineers are scrambling to match unreliable intermittent supplies with fluctuating demand.

You don’t have to be an idiot to buy into intermittent green energy schemes. It helps, but the main problem is widespread public ignorance, largely due to a dumbed-down media, a dumbed down government, and a dumbed down educational system that fails to teach kids to think for themselves and dig for the evidence beyond the obfuscation, smoke screens, and ideological indoctrination.

How Intermittent Renewables are Harming Power Systems

Why Intermittent Energy is a Total Failure Promoted by Crooks and Fools

Pathetic Fools: Who Can Save You Now?

Posted in Electrical Power Grid, Energy, Wind | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nobody Really Believes Biden Was Elected Fairly

Months before the election, top Democratic Party senators warned that Dominion Voting Systems machines could be easily hacked, with votes intentionally switched from one candidate to his opponent. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar were among the prominent elected Democrats to warn against election fraud in the 2020 election.

Since the election, up to 30% of Democrats and independents have said that the election was fraudulent — many of these were Bernie Sanders supporters. One example of an angry Democrat who came to Washington to protest Biden’s fraud:

Mr. Luceen, a supporter of Sen. Bernard Sanders, said he toted signs that read “COUNT OUR VOTES BY HAND,” and “End the charade.”

“We don’t ever really put the paper into piles and count them by hand anymore,” the 34-year-old computer programmer said. “We just trust the machines, and we shouldn’t because we have documented proof that these machines are vulnerable.”

Angry Democrats Protest Election Fraud

Most Republican voters agree that the election was a cheat. That number is likely to grow as the facts slowly percolate into the public realm — against strong big media opposition.

Widespread use of mail-in voting during the 2020 election is a major factor undermining confidence in the results. While 52% of voters say mail-in voting worked well for the most part, 42% say mail-in voting led to unprecedented voter fraud in the 2020 election. Those numbers have not changed much since early December, when 39% said mail-in voting led to fraud in the election.

Republicans still overwhelmingly believe mail-in voting resulted in fraud. Seventy percent (70%) of GOP voters say mail-in voting led to unprecedented fraud in the 2020 election, as do 11% of Democrats and 46% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Among voters who say Biden did not win the election fairly, 76% say mail-in voting resulted in unprecedent fraud.

Fraudulent Election Leaves a Huge Stink that Won’t Go Away
Source

To Make America a Socialist Dictatorship, Fraud Was Necessary

Socialism fails everywhere — witness Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba. The Scandinavian countries are sometimes cited as socialist successes, but only by the ignorant.

Scandinavia does have big welfare programs, but capitalism pays for them.

The socialists call Sweden socialist, but that’s just wrong. “Volvo is a private company,” says Powell. “Restaurants and hotels are privately owned. Markets organize the vast majority of Swedish economic activity.”

Sweden did once try socialism. The result was high taxes, inflation and economic decline. It’s an example of how people in prosperous places often don’t know what made their lives better.

In 1950, Sweden was the world’s fourth-richest country. Then Sweden tried socialism. Suddenly, once industrious Swedes started taking sick days. Wealth creation stopped.

“Talent and capital stormed out of Sweden to escape taxes and red tape,” writes Swedish historian Johan Norberg. “Businesses moved headquarters and investments to more hospitable places. IKEA left for the Netherlands… Bjorn Borg and other sports stars fled to Monaco.”

Sweden recovered only when it ended its socialist experiment. They cut taxes, government spending, and sold state-owned businesses.

After economically ignorant politicians like Bernie Sanders called Scandinavia “socialist,” Denmark’s prime minister even came to America to say: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

In fact, in rankings of economic freedom, Denmark ranks as more free market than the United States.

No Socialist Success Stories

Democrats had to cheat: Informed voters do not want socialism. But fraudulent voters will vote for anyone the fraudsters want them to vote for.

This anger is not likely to subside. And despite a full-scale media smokescreen and censorship drive, the story is slowly seeping out to the growing part of the public that doesn’t trust the media. Pay close attention to the strident media and Democrat voices who want to shut up anyone who disagrees with them. In the long run, nothing makes people more angry than to finally realize that they have been misled and patronized by institutions run by people who are dumber than dog crap.

Watch closely. Read widely. Be skeptical of “official and authoritative” voices who are widely known to have lied liberally in the past and of those who are politically connected.

A few points to ponder:

1. Late on election night, with Trump comfortably ahead, many swing states stopped counting ballots. In most cases, observers were removed from the counting facilities. Counting generally continued without the observers

2. Statistically abnormal vote counts were the new normal when counting resumed. They were unusually large in size (hundreds of thousands) and had an unusually high (90 percent and above) Biden-to-Trump ratio

3. Late arriving ballots were counted. In Pennsylvania, 23,000 absentee ballots have impossible postal return dates and another 86,000 have such extraordinary return dates they raise serious questions

4. The failure to match signatures on mail-in ballots. The destruction of mail in ballot envelopes, which must contain signatures

5. Historically low absentee ballot rejection rates despite the massive expansion of mail voting. Such is Biden’s narrow margin that, as political analyst Robert Barnes observes, ‘If the states simply imposed the same absentee ballot rejection rate as recent cycles, then Trump wins the election’

6. Missing votes. In Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 50,000 votes held on 47 USB cards are missing

7. Non-resident voters. Matt Braynard’s Voter Integrity Project estimates that 20,312 people who no longer met residency requirements cast ballots in Georgia. Biden’s margin is 12,670 votes

8. Serious ‘chain of custody’ breakdowns. Invalid residential addresses. Record numbers of dead people voting. Ballots in pristine condition without creases, that is, they had not been mailed in envelopes as required by law

9. Statistical anomalies. In Georgia, Biden overtook Trump with 89 percent of the votes counted. For the next 53 batches of votes counted, Biden led Trump by the same exact 50.05 to 49.95 percent margin in every single batch. It is particularly perplexing that all statistical anomalies and tabulation abnormalities were in Biden’s favor. Whether the cause was simple human error or nefarious activity, or a combination, clearly something peculiar happened.

The media can fool those who want to be fooled. But at a deeper level, the smarter ones will know that they are fooling themselves. And they will pay a price for that self-deception.

Voter Fraud Archives from The Federalist

More on Immaculate Deception

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

When Overreaction is the Only Tactic Available

This whole business over the Capitol riots long ago passed the overreaction threshold and entered the realm of the absurd…

MSNBC Host Proposes Drone Strikes Against Trump Supporters

In the age of “rule by leftist extremists,” if you do not march to the conformist drummer and echo the groupthink talking points, you can be cancelled — or even terminated.

A large number of media elites — 100 or so in total — recognized cancel culture as a problem and signed a letter from Harper’s Magazine calling out in support of freedom of expression and decrying the attacks on those with particular views. Then an outcry erupted when some of the names who signed were deemed to be controversial, and others then went so far to remove their names from the letter — they could not tolerate being included with certain people on a letter calling for tolerance. Yes, seriously.

This Leftist Descent into Surreal Overreaction Has Just Begun

It is like an avalanche that is still accumulating mass and momentum. If you think that you can stand in its path and reason with it, you may not be seen again until the next real global warming. No, they got away with an election steal in broad daylight, they got away with burning/looting/killing all summer, and now they think they can get away with anything. And they intend to do just that.

The best way to deal with this kind of mindless ideological freakout across such a broad cross-section of society, is to blow it off the rails in every way possible.

In the mountains after a heavy snowfall when an avalanche is inevitable, the wise land manager will get proactive: set it off ahead of time and defuse the situation.

Clearly our hysterical leftoid overlords are primed to overreact. All they need is an excuse. Since we do not want anyone to get hurt, all actions must be geared to minimize the risk of innocents getting caught up in hazard zones — which is just about anywhere in our new leftoid wonderland of fraud and lies.

Overreaction Appears to Be the Only Tactic Available to Them

This is how they are trained to “think” in their many Studies Programs which exist only to train professional agitators, in colleges and universities across North America. For the leftoid overlords, such state-supported insurrectionist indoctrination programs represent a huge strategic victory of power and control. Along with the Communist Chinese Confucian Institutes on North American campuses, they represent just a few of the many ways that American universities are actively aiding the enemies of the freest republic the world has ever seen. And have you ever tried to invite a rational non-ideological speaker for a talk on campus? You cannot do it these days. The fierce overreaction against the threat of an actual thinking person speaking at university makes that bone-breakingly clear. Students should never be exposed to anyone who might teach them to think for themselves, or so the overlords presume.

On a different track, look at the economy-destroying lockdown over reactions to the Chinese Coronavirus epidemic. The lockdowns did not help — in fact they are making the pandemic far worse by extending its peak to multiple years, and triggering a pandemic of suicides, drug addictions, business failures, and personal ruin. Overreaction is all these overlords can do.

Since all they can do is overreact, it is time to give them a lot more things to overreact to.

[Reminder, this is just fictional satire]

What kind of things might these mouth-foaming caricature dolls of authority overreact to? I hesitate to say. But since this is fictional satire of an imaginary nature, use your imagination. Just do your imaginary best to keep imaginary innocent bystanders out of the imaginary danger zones.

In reality, the modern left is a caricature of itself. But it does not believe it has gone nearly far enough. So, what can we do to help them?

[Satire reminder]

This is the future thanks to today’s schools, media, government, and culture:

How many decades would it take to train cohorts of people who are capable of thinking? Given the sensitive and critical periods of brain development during childhood, it is not likely that these lost generations will be able to recover their wits if ever there were any.

Put them into positions of authority and the possibilities for contrived overreaction are endless.

[satire overload]

Remember the difference between philosophy and ideology. for the past few decades, schools have taught kids to “think” ideologically, or dogmatically. Using feelings instead of evidence plus logic, kids are indoctrinated — with no idea that there is any other way to approach life.

Of course they accept whatever they are told is the authoritative truth. What choice do they have? They lack the equipment to do anything else.

Posted in Ideology, Politics, satire | Leave a comment

Eva Cassidy: A Posthumous Sucess

Before her early death (age 33) in 1996, she was an almost complete unknown. But in the years since, she has become one of Amazon.com’s top 25 best-selling musicians. From Wikipedia:

After Cassidy’s death, local folk singer Grace Griffith introduced the Blues Alley recording to Bill Straw from her label, Blix Street Records.[21] Straw approached the Cassidy family to put together a new album. In 1998, a compilation of tracks from Cassidy’s three released recordings was assembled into the CD Songbird. This CD lingered in relative obscurity for two years until being given airplay by Terry Wogan on his wide-reaching BBC Radio 2 show Wake Up to Wogan, following recommendation by his producer Paul Walters. The album sold more than 100,000 copies in the following months.[2] The New York Times spoke of her “silken soprano voice with a wide and seemingly effortless range, unerring pitch and a gift for phrasing that at times was heart-stoppingly eloquent.”[21]The camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow” as shown on Top of the Pops 2

Before Christmas of 2000, BBC’s Top of the Pops 2 aired a video of Cassidy performing “Over the Rainbow“, which resulted in Songbird climbing steadily up the UK charts over the next few weeks. Just as ITV‘s Tonight with Trevor McDonald aired a feature on Cassidy, the album topped the chart.[22] Shot at Blues Alley by a friend with a camcorder the same night the album was recorded,[2] the video became the most requested video ever shown on Top Of The Pops 2.[23] Alexis Petridis in The Guardian wrote, “There’s an undeniable emotional appeal in hearing an artist who you know died in obscurity singing a song about hope and a mystical world beyond everyday life”.[24]“There is something about her voice – a quality – that you really can’t put into words. It’s a magical quality.” —Sting on Cassidy (who had recorded a version of his song “Fields of Gold” in 1996, the year she died).[25]

Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton were among her new-found fans. Jazz critic Ted Gioia writes, “you might be tempted to write off the ‘Cassidy sensation’ … as a response to the sad story of the singer’s abbreviated life rather than as a measure of her artistry. But don’t be mistaken, Cassidy was a huge talent, whose obscurity during her lifetime was almost as much a tragedy as her early death.”[26] Songbird has since achieved significant chart success in Europe. It is certified six times platinum in the UK with 1,840,000 copies sold.[2][27] Although still relatively unknown in the US at that time, the album would eventually be certified gold there as well.[28]

In May 2001, ABC‘s Nightline in the US broadcast a well-received short documentary about Cassidy, a labor of love from Nightline correspondent Dave Marash who was a fan of her music.[29] Over the weekend, all five of Cassidy’s albums occupied Amazon.com‘s best sellers list top spots.[30] The Nightline episode has since been rebroadcast three times due to popular demand[31] and producer Leroy Sievers has said that it is “probably the most popular Nightline ever”.[32] In December, a nine-minute segment on NPR resulted in a similar sales surge, with five of the top seven spots going to Cassidy.[4] In Britain a rebroadcast of Tonight with Trevor McDonald bumped up sales.[4][33]

Since Songbird, several other CDs with original material have been released: Time After Time (2000), Imagine (2002) and American Tune (2003). 2008 saw the release of another new album, Somewhere. Unlike previous albums, which consisted solely of cover songs, this release contains two original songs co-written by Cassidy. An acoustic album, Simply Eva, was released in January 2011.

Together with word of mouth and internet fan sites, online commerce has played a big role in Cassidy’s success.[34][35] This point was further affirmed when in 2005, Amazon.com released a list of its top 25 best-selling musicians, which placed Cassidy in fifth position, behind The BeatlesU2Norah Jones and Diana Krall.[36]

Wikipedia

Her voice was the same in the early 1990s as it was in the 21st century. But she was a perfectionist, and wanted full control over her music. The big companies did not want to bother with her then. So while she was spurned by the big media popularity machine during her life, it took full advantage of her early death to drive sales and viewership. As a human interest story, it was irresistible. Music lovers should be glad her story and her music survived.

And when ye come and all the flowers are dying
if I am dead as dead I well may be
you’ll come and find the place where I am lying
and knell and say an Ave there for me
and I shall hear tho soft ye tread above me
and all my grave will warmer sweeter be
and if you bend and tell me that you love me
than I shall sleep in peace until you come to me

Danny Boy lyrics
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Swamp Overlords Taking an Orwellian Turn

Guest Posting from Issues & Insights:

A New York Times reporter has suggested the president appoint a “reality czar,” who would lead “a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism.” Please tell us, comrade, when the show trials begin. We don’t want to miss them.

The author of this idea is Times technology reporter Kevin Roose, who was writing about “how the Biden administration can help solve our reality crisis.” His is not a lone recommendation on how the ruling class should re-educate, curb, and cancel the unruly masses to the right of center. Others want the Biden White House to establish various versions of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, which was itself a ministry of propaganda. The Democrats and allied activists are itching to shut down speech they don’t agree with, but do it under the cover of preserving and honoring “truth.”

Odd, isn’t it, that the same people who claim to be so interested in truth and reality today for four years couldn’t stop talking about how the Russians put Donald Trump in the White House? Maybe they’re engrossed only with their version of the truth – their own fantasies and efforts to indoctrinate an entire population.

A country and a culture are in trouble when those in authority allow only one voice to be heard, when they decide what is acceptable speech and what isn’t, when the controversial and the unpopular are treated as crimes to be punished. Biden hasn’t bitten – yet – on a reality czar or ministry of truth. But under his administration, this country is shaping up as a banana republic. Think about:

  • How the Democrats want to turn the economy into one that’s “operated as a private commercial enterprise for the exclusive profit of the ruling class.”
  • The Democrats’ retribution-filled, Reichstag-fire response to the breach of the U.S. Capitol by a group made up mostly of odd characters and some everyday Americans who got overheated and were shocked by their own behavior, all of them apparently unarmed.
  • How a summer of real riots was tacitly, and at times, overtly supported by Biden’s party.
  • The second impeachment of Trump that is not an attempt to seek justice but a campaign to prevent him from running again for president and marginalizing his supporters.
  • The lies about the promise of unity.
  • Phony charges against political opponents designed to dehumanize them. See: “Biden accused Trump of being a mass murderer, of killing hundreds of thousands of coronavirus patients because he ‘did nothing’ to fight the virus.”
  • Government by executive command rather than through proper legislative channels.
  • Shutting down politically unfavorable businesses. See: Biden’s Keystone XL pipeline decision.
  • The leader of a national government deciding alone what the property role of that government is. See: “Biden Proclaims ‘Racial Equity’ as Goal ‘Of the Whole of Government.’ ”

From any reasonable point of view, it’s clear America is in a decline that might not be as steep as Biden’s cognitive fade, but is just as real.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

Al Fin Comment:

We are in for a dystopian ride through the demented minds of swamp creatures and hostile foreign agents. Be prepared for anything.

The Chinese Coup

The Chinese Charm Factor

Twenty years of organ harvesting and counting

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Most Remarkable Man

Author, TV/movie producer, director, adventurer, and all around polymath Michael Crichton died of lymphoma in 2008. But he left a large legacy of work in print and on the screen that will outlive the man for many decades.

While he lived and worked, Crichton helped to inject a steady dose of intelligence and integrity into the public entertainment sphere. He also gave speeches, interviews, and congressional testimony in the attempt to counteract the steady diet of fear being fed to to the general population by media, government, academics, and foundations/nonprofits.

If you haven’t seen Crichton’s speech below about the perpetual panic-mongering of our media-academic-political axis of terror, you owe it to yourself to watch it.

In the video, Crichton displays all the respect for our elite cultural institutions that they deserve: zero. Michael Crichton represents something that our elite overlords want to drive to extinction: the exceptional man whose clear analytical thinking exposes the vapid foolishness of our dominant cultural institutions for any thoughtful person to see.

Not everyone can present complex information in such a clear way. And not everyone is courageous enough to contradict the “official talking points of the overlords.” They want to control us through our fears. But that only works if we have no grounding in scientific and quantitative thought — and if we have no historical perspective. Crichton is having none of it.

You may want to download the video before YouTube makes it disappear, in true Orwellian style.

Michael Crichton succeeded in Hollywood, where his personal brilliance and integrity made a stark contrast to that stark moral landscape more famous for its drug use, large scale sexual and personal abuse of all kinds, and a general degeneracy that is not likely to get better soon.

The world misses every sane voice that goes silent — there are so few of them.

From the official MichaelCrichton.com website:

CRICHTON, (John) Michael. American. Born in Chicago, Illinois, October 23, 1942. Died in Los Angeles, November 4, 2008. Educated at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, A.B. (summa cum laude) 1964 (Phi Beta Kappa). Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellow, 1964-65. Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge University, England, 1965. Graduated Harvard Medical School, M.D. 1969; post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, La Jolla, California 1969-1970. Visiting Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.

Awards: Recipient of Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award, 1968 (“A Case of Need”, written under pseudonym Jeffery Hudson); and 1980 (“The Great Train Robbery”). Association of American Medical Writers Award, 1970 (“Five Patients”); Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technical Achievement Award, 1995 (“for pioneering computerized motion picture budgeting and scheduling”); George Foster Peabody Award (for “ER”); Writer’s Guild of America Award, Best Long Form Television Script of 1995 (for “ER”) Emmy, Best Dramatic Series, 1996 (for “ER”). Ankylosaur named Crichtonsaurus bohlini, 2002.

Associations: Member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Author’s Guild, Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, P.E.N. America Center, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa. Board of Directors, International Design Conference at Aspen, 1985-91; Board of Trustees, Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, La Jolla, 1986-91. Board of Overseers, Harvard University, 1990-96. Board of Directors, Drug Strategies, 1994-, Author’s Guild Council, 1995-, Board of Directors, Gorilla Foundation, 2002-, Board of Trustees, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2006-

References: Contemporary Authors, 1971-; Who’s Who in America, 1974-; Current Biography, April 1976; Film Encyclopedia, 1979-;
International Motion Picture Almanac, 1996; International Television & Video Almanac, 1996.

Posted in Ideology, Media, Movies | Leave a comment

You Don’t Know Me

Of course you don’t know me. I don’t even know myself. Here are some of the reasons why:

Philosopher Thomas Metzinger makes an interesting case in his book The Ego Tunnel that we really have no selves at all, in terms of a fixed immutable self. Instead, we are in the process of constructing our selves every moment of every day.

You could say that none of us know ourselves yet, since we haven’t finished constructing our “self du jour.” And tomorrow, it will be someone else.

Neurologists who treat stroke patients and prolific readers of Oliver Sacks‘ books, will have deeper insights into this concept. So will people who have gone through multiple life-transforming experiences, and retained their memories of the person they were before the transformations.

The phenomena of “color optical illusions” reveals a small part of the amazing fantasy that our brain generates for us every moment of every day — and we believe it is all real! We might even be willing to get into fights over entirely fabricated memories or concepts we have of ourselves. In fact, we probably have done so.

Most of us with knowledge of neuroscience and psychology may be willing to admit that our minds create the image of the world around us on a moment by moment basis. But are we just as willing to admit that we create the image of ourselves over the same time scale? And are we willing to comprehend the implications of our own instantaneous self-creation?

No, you don’t know me. But I can hardly blame you for that. Sometimes it seems to be a matter of “the more you learn, the less you know.”

If we can learn to accept the generative/regenerative nature of ourselves, perhaps we can make that feature of constant change work for us. The brain is changing all the time, and has a tremendous capacity for neuroplastic modification. There is constant jockeying for brain real estate between the various inputs and outputs. “Use it or lose it,” or “cells that fire together wire together.” Every second of every hour of every day.

Things change. We change. Before we even knew who we were, we were becoming something else.

Learn to ride the wave of change, and love it. In ourselves, and in the people we don’t really know, but love anyway.

It is a crazy world out there, no question. Some ways of dealing with it are better than others.

Resilience. Flexibility. Equanimity. And when it comes to dealing with other people, a lot of compassion and humility.

My current favorite version of the song:

Ray Charles is the greatest, but Diana Krall adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

Posted in Philosophy, psychology | Leave a comment

Anger is All the Rage: Be Prepared

The modern age of “social justice” is being propelled by anger and rage. Children are groomed for victimhood from kindergarten onward, and by the time they reach college age, they are primed to rumble. The link above suggests that keeping the people angry all the time is most of the point of “social justice” in schools, on media, in politics and political activism, on social media platforms, and in corporate human resources departments.

The video below suggests that many communities in many western cities may be simmering on the verge of violence. Only the tiniest provocation — real or imagined — would suffice to push things over the brink in many cities.

Rage and anger are as old as humanity. So are the various means that societies use in the attempt to stave off anger before it goes too far.

In our angsty world, perhaps it’s not surprising that venues for letting off steam are popping up across the globe. In New York, the Wrecking Club opened in 2017 and the Rage Cage followed last August. On this side of the Atlantic, there’s the Wreck Room in London, and several more venues around the country, including one that just opened in Norwich. Participants wear protective gear and smash up printers, TVs, crockery and the like with sledgehammers, to loud soundtracks.

Rage Clubs

Some people may enjoy going to a rage club, but that is not everyone’s cup of tea. Out of 40 ways to “let go of anger” listed here, the last one listed is to “laugh at your anger.” And there are such things as “laughter clubs” where people can meet up to laugh at just about anything they want.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT LAUGHTER CLUBS

  • Leaders may include a series of breathing, stretching, and laughter actions
  • Laughter for the joy of laughing, without jokes
  • Eye contact to enhance and stimulate laughter
  • All members laugh at the same time
  • The entire group laughs in unison to support members, while inhibitions melt away
  • Laughter club sessions typically last about thirty minutes, although this is very flexible and may be longer or shorter, as needed.

Source

In fact, there is a wide range of “meetup topics” which might fall under the broad umbrella of ways to deal with one’s own anger and rage. Follow this link and scan through the several lists of meetup topics to see exactly what I mean. The list under the heading “Health and Wellbeing” contains topics such as “Anger Management,” Happiness, Joyful Living, Laughter Yoga, Meditation, Stress Relief, Self Empowerment, and so on.

Probably the most important part of any of these social attempts to mitigate anger, is simply having people come together with a common purpose that does not involve getting angry. You are unlikely to find that in politics these days, although if one had good reason to believe that an election of great importance had been stolen, one might be excused a bit of anger. But these days, excuses for the exercise of anger are only given out to those who are supported by the trendy overlords of political fashion.

Nevertheless, anger — like fear — is a mind-killer. Anyone who allows his mind to linger in a state of rage and anger for too long will suffer from the consequences. Hence the old saying: “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even.” Specifically, get even without getting mad.

Take a look at the video above. Watch the whole thing, including the interview with the professional fighter.

It is important that children learn how to deal productively with their anger as they grow up. The alternative is that they will take out their anger in creative ways with siblings, peers, and others — and you may not enjoy the consequences of their creativity in this case.

“Letting off steam” may not be your best approach, whether you have borderline personality disorder or not. In fact, when it comes to rage, everybody has at least some borderline personality disorder.

I have been studying several aspects of and approaches to meditation, in hopes that I can achieve a bit of “positive neuroplasticity” in the quest to greater resilience and equanimity. There is a lot more going on there than mere “navel gazing.” I hope to have something tangible to report on that front later.

Nevertheless, you can count on seeing a lot more anger displayed by the illegitimate overlords of government, media, social tech, schools & universities, angry “social justice” gangs, and human resources departments of corporations.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

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How to Be a Good Leftist

It all starts with group thinking conformity. Leftism is an ideology, not a philosophy — a key difference. Maintaining group conformity is a major undertaking in a nonsensical ideology, particularly in the early stages. Here’s one way to do it:

Leftism thrives in censorship, groupthink, and total conformity to the top-down talking points of the day — propagated in lockstep by media large and small, by professors, and by corrupt politicians. Leftism is an ideology with an agenda…

The possession and advancement of an agenda by a sizable group of persons is meant to inhibit and suppress the modus vivendi that would occur naturally. The agenda, in other words, is meant to substitute the preferences of a segment of a society or polity for the host of individual preferences that can and would be reconciled through social (and economic) intercourse.

It should go without saying that this substitution will always necessarily be carried out by the use of force, or the threat of it. And the state, in its various manifestations, will provide the force.

Leftism, in short, is an ideology of bullies. It’s not the only one, but it’s the leading one these days. The right — by which I mean the statist right, not conservatism — is just the left with a somewhat different agenda.

What Leftists Are

They tend to be closed-minded bullies who believe in free speech only for themselves and for no one else.

All too often, people who call themselves progressive liberals are at the forefront of movements to shut down debates on college campuses and to restrict freedom of speech. They are eager to cut corners, bend the Constitution, make up laws through questionable court rulings, and generally abuse the rules and the Constitution in order to get their way.

They establish “zero tolerance” regimes in schools where young boys are suspended for nibbling breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun. They are supposedly great haters of bigotry but sometimes speak of Christians in the most bigoted manner imaginable, as if Christians were no better than fascists.

American liberals are, in short, becoming increasingly illiberal. They are surrendering to the temptations of the closed mind.

The Intolerant Left

There may be a few leftists who still think they are trying to create a better world. But it is all too clear that what the left is really about is eliminating everyone who thinks differently and who is unwilling to be coerced into conforming.

Mel Brooks joined the recent chorus of comedians who say that the PC culture has gone too far in stifling comedy. He says his classic movie “Blazing Saddles” would not be made today, and he blames the “stupidly politically correct.” Other comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Larry the Cable Guy, Dennis Miller, John Cleese and Chris Rock agree. Many say they will not play college gigs anymore because of the rigid PC pushback.

There are no edgy comics on the left. They are all conformists, slaves to the PC world they have helped create. Contrary to the left’s narrative, I have found the right to be far more tolerant of humor.

The Ugly Orwellian Left

This dismaying portrait of the ruling politically correct overlord class could have come straight out of the pages of the famous dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. If you haven’t read that essential work (published 1949), you will be unprepared for what is coming under the new and unauthorized US government*. Another useful guidebook for these irrational and corrupt times is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

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Worst Torture: Alone With Your Thoughts

Most people would rather self-administer painful electric shocks than to be alone with their thoughts.

In the short charming video above, a normal person was placed in isolation to determine the strategies he would use to escape the crazy-making effects of the boredom of isolation. It is amazing how quickly his sense of normality broke down under the effects of isolation. The moment when he almost “broke out of his cage” but chose not to, was poignant, as was his growing confusion afterward.

Monotony is something that most modern people are not prepared for. It is not just that we have been stranded in the shallow water of constant distraction. For most of us, nothing in our lives has prepared us to be alone with ourselves and our own thoughts.

The video also discusses “solitary confinement” for prisoners, interviewing a former convict on his experience with punishment in “the hole.” Isolation seems not only to be a form of punishment, but a form of torture as well.

In the age of Chinese coronavirus lockdowns, social isolation can be torture — as suggested by the increased rates of suicides and other dysfunctions we are seeing. Even when people have internet, books, telephones, television, and can go out for walks and to the grocery store, the disruption to normal face to face social activities with people outside the home can be devastating for many.

One group of people seems to do better with isolation than others: long time experienced meditators. Inexperienced meditators can have problems with social isolation just like anyone else.

It takes weeks of disciplined meditation before the neuroplasticity of different brain centers provides the practitioner with some safe internal places to go to be alone.

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Dark Star: A Cult Classic and Its Making

This is the full movie “Dark Star” from 1974 — before Star Wars, before Alien, but six years after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is hilarious for its combination of gallows humor with slapstick and ultra-low budget special effects. The complete budget for the film was $60,000. While we may be glad they don’t make them like this any more, we are grateful that they made this one exactly this way.

For those who want to know more about the backstory of Dark Star and details about how it was made, the video below is a lucky discovery that may be appreciated by long time fans of the above classic. It was a student film that came from USC film school students John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon. For all its designed kookiness, it has been rated as one of the top 20 science fiction films of all time.

The Making of Dark Star 1974

Never trust anyone who has never read 1984 or Atlas Shrugged. And especially never trust anyone who has never seen Dark Star.

Special bonus: Movie theme song “Benson, Arizona” written by John Carpenter and Bill Taylor. Vocals by John Yager.

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Witch Trial Against Citizen Trump Begins 8 Feb. 21

The US Senate has scheduled hearings in the impeachment trial against Citizen Trump beginning February 8th. The Senate does not have the constitutional authority to hold an “impeachment” trial against a private citizen, nor should it have. That simple limitation of government has not percolated into the minds of either senators or the mainstream media. But it will, once someone takes the trouble to consult with the US Supreme Court.

Everything connected with the fraudulent US national elections* of 2020 is irreparably tainted, screaming out for a deep and thorough reckoning. Yet the perpetrators and enablers of the fraud continue stumbling over their own peckers, oblivious to the depths of their own folly.

President* Biden signs an invitation for Communist China to take over the US electrical grid

What happens when a foreign government can turn off your nation’s electrical power grid at will?

No one will ever know who paid for President* Biden’s ascendancy

The government is not the country. The country abides.

Ordinary people pay the price of government folly

President* Biden signs the order to unleash the social justice regulatory regime on an unsuspecting America

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Part of the Heart Gets Lost in the Learning

This Dan Fogelberg song was published in 1979 on his Phoenix album.

Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart
Gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road.

Along the road
Your path may wander
A pilgrim’s faith may fail
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Darkness obscures the trail.

Cursing the quest
Courting disaster
Measureless nights forebode
Moments of rest
Glimpses of laughter
Are treasured along the road.

Along the road
Your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way.

Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart
Gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road.

Source

Fogelberg was a singer songwriter with a masterful touch in several genres, including rock, country, folk, and classical. If only all pop musicians had this much talent, the world of music would be so much richer!

It seems as if the 50 year-long “dumbing down” project in schools has affected every cultural institution. It may take another 50 years to grow out of this degenerative phase, once the overlords of social engineering are finally overthrown.

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I Was Trying to Daydream But My Mind Kept Wandering

By Emma, age 10

Daddy’s been teaching my step-mom Nadia and me how to meditate, but I’m not sure I completely get it. I keep asking him what I’m supposed to think about while I’m sitting there, but he says I’m not supposed to think about anything! How do you do that?

So sometimes I watch the two of them to try to get an idea what I should be doing. Nadia looks so serious sitting there with her eyes closed! She’s got to be thinking about something, maybe her work. And Daddy’s always smiling, like he’s trying not to laugh. He must be thinking about a joke or something like that.

I’ve started imagining that I’m sitting on a cloud in a big blue sky. Whenever I breathe in, my cloud rises up a little bit. When I breathe out, it settles back down. That helps, but my mind still wanders. Daddy says a wandering mind is normal, and to “just go with it.”

But now I’m curious why my mind can’t be still. Sure, when I was 7 or 8, I was just a kid. A restless mind at that age is normal. But being 10 now I feel kind of grown up. I should be able to control my mind at this age. I did some research to find out if there is something wrong with me.

I learned something interesting: The mind is supposed to wander! We evolved that way to keep our ancestors alive through the long aeons when everything and everybody tried to kill them. Back then, if they concentrated too much on any one thing, something else would creep up on them and eat them! So we inherited their wandering minds, even though most of the time we’re mostly safe.

So, it’s getting easier to stay on my cloud for a longer time before I fall off. And it’s probably a coincidence, but I think that it’s getting easier for me to concentrate on my math lessons.

Our domestic android Valerie is giving me a hard time about it, though. She tells me that meditation isn’t logical and doesn’t compute. Maybe androids just aren’t supposed to meditate? I asked my mom (Daddy’s ex-wife Julia) about meditating and all she said is “it can’t hurt.” But when I asked if she wanted to join the group, she said she’d rather sleep in. That’s what Jack and Mgumi say about it too. When they’re not out surfing, they’d rather sleep as late as they can.

I think floating on a cloud is kinda fun. And maybe if I watch long enough I’ll figure out what my “laughing Buddha” Daddy sees in my super-serious step-mom Nadia. Besides, I like teasing our android Valerie now and then by doing something she calls “illogical.” If she complains too much, Daddy will just put her to sleep for a few hours, and she hates that!

Al Fin Comment:

If it were just me, I’d do my sitting between 5 AM and 6 AM. But the girls would never go for that, so I compromise and schedule our time just before breakfast. The concept I am trying to teach both of them is “effortlessness.” I think 10 year old Emma is coming closer to experiencing the beginning stages of letting go, but 28 year old Nadia holds on so tightly! Both girls are staying with the program so far, and seem to be making progress, so I’m happy.

BTW, here’s another audiobook on meditation that some may find interesting. It’s about 4 hours long, and contains a lot of “inside information” on the process and some of the possible levels of experience that most people can achieve, if they persist.

Note: The title for this post comes from comedian Stephen Wright

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Let Us be Lovers We’ll Marry Our Fortunes Together

The song “America” was written by Paul Simon and first published on the Simon & Garfunkel album “Bookends” in 1968 at the height of the Viet Nam war. A lot has changed in America over the past 53 years.

Back in the days when I had a guitar, a singing voice, and a girlfriend named Kathy, this song was one of my favorite songs to sing. Now it just makes me smile and shake my head. Bittersweet.

“America” is essentially a road-trip song, but like all road trips, it tends to reveal as much about the participants as it does about the lands being traversed. The narrator and his companion Kathy (a reference to Simon’s 60’s girlfriend Kathy Chitty) board a bus in Pittsburgh with a four-day hitchhike from Saginaw, Michigan already in their rear-view. “Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together,” Simon begins, an optimistic opening, but cracks in that optimism will soon start to show.

Passing the time on the bus with little games about their fellow passengers is all well and good, but a kind of ennui soon sets in when the cigarettes are gone and the magazines are read. “And the moon rose over an open field,” Simon and Garfunkel sing, and their voices convey both the awe of witnessing that phenomenon and the melancholy such a sight can bring about in a weary traveler.

Indeed, Simon’s next lines lay bare the extent of his character’s pain: “’Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping / ‘I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’” With that admission, he becomes another in a long line of wanderers hitting the open road to fill the voids in their souls. Simon makes this connection with the closing couplet: “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike / They’ve all come to look for America.”

“America” suggests that restlessness is just as much of our unalienable birthright as anything else. To borrow another word from the Declaration of Independence, Simon & Garfunkel’s talent for making such effortlessly vast yet intensely personal statements was always self-evident.

Behind the Song

That was then. This is now. In tomorrow’s America there are no inalienable rights. Just whatever the asterisk government deigns to allow on any given day. Get used to it. Or come up with an alternative.

Today’s consumers of news & entertainment media fare, glued to their tiny smartphone screens, have the attention span of a gnat and the historical perspective of a flea. And even if you could get them to agree in principle (for a limited time) to any restoration of America’s once-remarkable level of freedoms — the corrupt and cheating overlords would almost certainly overrule. And the Orwellian media would cover them in roses for doing it.

The song says, “They’ve all come to look for America…” Good luck after tomorrow.

Let us be lovers
We’ll marry our fortunes together
I’ve got some real estate
Here in my bag

So we bought a pack of cigarettes
And Mrs. Wagner’s pies
And walked off
To look for America
“Kathy”, I said
As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
Michigan seems like a dream to me now

It took me four days
To hitch-hike from Saginaw
“I’ve come to look for America”

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy

I said, “Be careful
His bow tie is really a camera”
“Toss me a cigarette
I think there’s one in my raincoat”
We smoked the last one
An hour ago

So I looked at the scenery
She read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said
Though I knew she was sleeping
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why”

Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come
To look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America

Lyrics

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This is Your Brain on Meditation

They tell you not to have any goal in mind when you choose to meditate. But that is not quite right. We humans have reasons for everything we do, and meditation is no different. In the case of modern westerners, most of us meditate to make our brains younger and more supple, and to reduce the effects of stress and worry on our brains and bodies.

Below, I link to two brief summaries of scientific studies on how meditation affects the brain. The first excerpt is from 2015, and the second is from 2020. Finally, I reproduce a table from this 2020 review article which summarizes several MRI studies that looked at the differences in brain cortical thicknesses and specific brain center volumes between meditators of various schools and those who did not meditate.

Excerpt 1 from 2015:

Increased Grey Matter/Cortical Thickness in the following key areas:

• Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Increased grey matter changes were noted in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is a structure located behind the brain’s frontal lobe. It has been associated with such functions as self-regulatory processes, including the ability to monitor attention conflicts, and allow for more cognitive flexibility.

• Prefrontal Cortex: Increased grey matter density was also found in areas of the prefrontal lobe, which are primarily responsible for executive functioning such as planning, problem solving, and emotion regulation.

• Hippocampus: Increased cortical thickness in the hippocampus has also been noted. The hippocampus is the part of the limbic system that governs learning and memory, and is extraordinarily susceptible to stress and stress-related disorders like depression or PTSD.

Decreased Amygdala Size:

Studies have shown that the amygdala, known as our brain’s “fight or flight” center and the seat of our fearful and anxious emotions, decreases in brain cell volume after mindfulness practice.

The summary of scientific findings in the above excerpt suggests that meditators develop better skills of discrimination, decision-making, and emotional control — or better executive functions generally.

Source

The second excerpt is from a 2020 article:

Research has shown that there are several ways that meditation can change the brain’s structure and function:

  • Enlarges the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for rational decision-making. Studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter (brain cells) in this region.1
  • Shrinks the amygdala. The amygdala is a key brain structure known as the emotional or fear center of the brain. Smaller amygdalae found in more mindful people are associated with greater emotional control.2
  • Thickens the hippocampus. This hippocampus is key for learning and memory. Just a few weeks of mindfulness meditation practice increased the size of this brain region.3
  • Increases overall grey matter. Grey matter, brain cell bodies important for processing power and linked to intelligence, seem to increase with meditation training.4
  • Enhances high-amplitude gamma brainwave activity. High-frequency gamma waves correlate with states of heightened awareness and bliss. Long-term meditators have been shown to have more gamma wave activity both before and during meditation.5

It’s important to note that it can take many years to produce these more permanent changes in brain structure. Yet some of the studies mentioned above showed changes starting to occur after just a few weeks of meditation practice.

The summary of scientific findings in the second excerpt above substantiates the claims of the first excerpt, and adds that overall brain grey matter is increased along with enhanced gamma wave activity — which generally correlate with higher levels of conscious activity.

The table below is excerpted from a 2020 article in Frontiers in Bioscience:

Image Source

Table 1. Main MRI studies

MeditationMRI analysisMain results(meditation x control)Reference
insight meditation (vipassana)cortical thicknessGreater cortical thickness in the right anterior insula and in the right middle and superior frontal sulci.Lazar et al., 2005 (21)
Vipassanavoxel-based morphometryGreater gray matter volumes in the left inferior temporal gyrus, the right anterior insula and the right hippocampus.Hölzel et al., 2008 (24)
Dzogchenvoxel-basedmorphometryAltered gray matter densities in the medulla oblongata, left superior frontal gyrus, the left inferior frontal gyrus, the left mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, bilaterally the anterior lobe of the cerebellum and the left fusiform gyrus.Vestergaard-Poulsen et al., 2009 (28)
Zen mediationCortical thicknessThicker cortices in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and bilaterally in the secondary somatosensory cortex.Grant et al., 2010 (31)
integrative body mind trainingfractional anisotropyIncreased fractional anisotropy values in the left anterior corona radiata, body and genu of the corpus callosum, superior corona radiata and superior longitudinal fasciculus.Tang et al., 2010 (33)
Shamatha, Vipassana, andZazenDiffusion Tensor ImagingLarger fractional anisotropy in fiber tracts such as the anterior thalamic radiation, cingulum-hippocampus, corticospinal tract, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, temporal component of superior longitudinal fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus and forceps minor.Luders et al., 2011 (37)
Mindfulness-based stress reductionvoxel-based morphometryIncrease in gray matter concentration in a region of interest within the left hippocampus; increases of gray matter concentration. In whole brain analysis, increase in gray matter concentration in the posterior cingulate cortex, the left temporo-parietal junction and the cerebellum.Hölzel et al., 2011 (40)
several disciplinesDiffusion Tensor ImaginIncreased fractional anisotropy in several regions of the corpus callosum.Luders et al., 2012 (39)
Brain Wave Vibrationcortical thickness/Diffusion Tensor ImagingIncreased cortical thickness in the bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex, superior frontal cortex, temporal pole, middle and inferior temporal cortices, left fusiform cortex and medial prefrontal cortex on meditators. Meditators showed higher fractional values in the cuneus, precuneus and occipital regions and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and lower fractional anisotropy values in the right medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex and right occipital regionsKang et al., 2013 (43)
Sahaja Yoga Meditationvoxel-basedmorphometryLarger gray matter volume overall and with regional enlargement in the right inferior temporal gyrus and bilaterally the anterior insula and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the right ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex.Hernández et al., 2016 (19)
Loving-kindness meditationvoxel-based morphometryGreater gray matter volume in the right angular gyrus, right posterior parahippocampal gyrus, left inferior temporal gyrus and middle temporal gyrusLeung et al., 2013 (52)
several disciplinesvoxel-based morphometryLarger left hippocampal volume.Luders et al., 2013 (57)
several disciplinescortical gyrificationEnlargement in the pre and post central gyrus, central sulcus, left inferior/middle temporal gyrus, angular gyrus, parieto-occipital fissure, fusiform gyrus, parietal operculum and cuneus and the right anterior dorsal insula.Luders et al., 2012 (58)
soham meditationvoxel-based morphometryHigher gray matter volume in the left ventral pallidum, left supplementary motor area and brainstem.Kumar et al., 2014 (60)

Table 2. Main functional MRI studies

MeditationConditionMain resultsReference
Kundaliniduring meditationIncreased activity in putamen, midbrain, pregenual, anterior cingulate cortex, and hippocampal/parahippocampal formationLazar et al., 2000 (66)
ACEM meditationduring meditation taskMeditavion vs Waiting interval: increased activity in the left superior temporal gyrus Meditation vs control task: increased activity in the left inferior frontal gyrus Meditation vs word sequence generation task: increased activity in the left superior temporal gyrusDavanger et al., 2010 (68)
Tibetan Buddhist traditionmeditation vs resting stateIncreased activity in the frontal parietal regions, insula, lateral occipital, thalamic nuclei, basal ganglia and cerebellum in expert meditators and novice meditators during meditation x resting. Novice meditators and most expert meditators (skill acquired) showed less effort during meditation while least expert meditators showed greater activation of attention-related brain regions.Brefczynski-Lewis et al., 2007 (65)
focused attention-to-breathmeditation and passive viewing during cued aversive picturesDecreased amygdala activity and increased prefrontal integration of the amygdala.Doll et al., 2016 (69)
Soham meditationmeditation vs control task – classify geometric Figures between blue and yellow.During meditation: increased activity in the left mPFC, left inferior frontal gyrus, supplementary motor area and left precuneus control task: increased activity in the left middle and superior middle temporal, left inferior parietal and left post-central gyrus.Guleria et al., 2013 (70)
compassion meditation (CM)CM or reappraisal during film clips (negative or neutral stimuli)CM vs negative stimuli: increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex and frontal cortex, supplementary motor area, areas in parietal lobules, and temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, ventral pallidum, globus pallidus, caudate, putamen, portions of the cerebellum and right amygdala. CM vs. reappraisal: meditation had increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, medial orbitofrontal cortex, gyrus rectus, portions of anterior cingulate cortex, frontopolar cortex, supplementary motor area, mid-cingulate, precuneus, bilateral superior temporal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus/operculum, right fusiform gyrus, bilateral amygdala, hypothalamus, caudate, globus pallidus, putamen, right hippocampus and portions of the thalamus. Reappraisal, increased activity in the middle temporal gyrus, posterior cingulate/precuneus and cerebellum, bilateral medial frontal gyrus and left inferior frontal gyrus, pre-supplementary motor area/medial superior frontal gyrus, left calcarine gyrus.Engen and Singer 2015 (71)
Mindful Attention Training (MAT), Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT)IAPS databaseCBCT vs. MAT and control: negative correlation to negative images and depression scores in amygdala activity. MAT vs. control: decreased activity in the right amygdala for all images of the IAPS. Also decreased activity in right amygdala throughout the 8 weeks of intervention in response to all images and positive valence images of the IAPS.Desbordes et al., 2012 (74)
Frontiers in Bioscience

MRI studies — especially fMRI studies — are always subject to criticism. As expected, the results from the fMRI studies are subject to wildly varied interpretation.

What we are looking for is consistency between studies, along with theoretical/neurological plausibility of proposed cause and effect relationships between observed differences in MRI and claimed behavioral effects.

Most westerners will need very good reasons before they will devote many months or years of their lives to the practice of a discipline that appears so far out of the mainstream of their everyday concerns.

The most common argument given in favor of meditation practice is that the discipline adds years or decades of awareness to a person’s life — even if they do not live any longer in absolute years.

Consider if you had only ten years of life left to you, but you had the choice to either continue to age and decline at your current rate — or you could live those ten years at the level of health and fitness you had when you were 20 years old. Then you would drop dead at the end of that time. What would you choose?

It seems that we are given a very similar choice when it comes to awareness/attention/mindfulness practice. We may not live longer, but if our level of brain functioning and engagement is significantly higher, the time we have will be time more worth living.

Think it over. We are entering into unprecedented times. Most of us will need all the equanimity and resiliency that we can muster, as corruption and incompetence at all levels is ratcheted ever tighter. We have to do better than just reacting.

Another interesting study from PNAS 2007

More

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Nightmare on Meditation Street

Or, A Meditation on Nightmares… a progress report.

It is neither a coincidence nor a sign of senility that this blog has been talking off and on about meditation for the past few weeks. This is precisely a time in world evolution that calls for personal resilience and equanimity — the kind of resilience and equanimity that skilled meditators are known for.

Last night I experienced a milestone of sorts — I spent some time in Stage 6 meditation — the “nightmare stage. But wait! I am only officially a Stage 1/ Stage 2 meditator. What is “Stage 6 meditation” and how did I end up there, if only for a half hour or so?

According to the well respected meditation guidebookThe Attention Revolution” by B. Alan Wallace PhD, Stage 6 is the stage where all your fears, nightmares, and phantasms come marching out in a vast river of mind-warping delusion, where your conscious mind can see them more clearly.

What happens here is a kind of luminously clear… free association of thoughts, mental images, memories, desires, fantasies, and emotions.

Stage 6

Here is how we recently described Stage 6 from Wallace’s “The Attention Revolution” in our recent outline of two valuable guidebooks to the 10-stage vipassana path to enlightenment:

At this stage, a wide range of deep and powerful emotions may well up, including a fear of the loss of personal identity and a feeling of hovering over an empty luminous space devoid of personhood.

Enlightenment in Discrete Stages

I am still a novice meditator in the breath meditation, where I focus on the physical sensations of the breath for approximately 30 minutes at a time. The challenge is to keep the mind from drifting onto unrelated topics — and to keep from falling asleep. Flying off into the waking nightmare world is certainly not a part of early stage (Stage 1 to Stage 3) meditation.

But even if you are not seeking out the nightmare, the nightmare may be seeking you. And if you do find yourself floating in this meditation world of waking nightmare, what should you do? The same thing you should do if you find yourself in a sleeping nightmare: step back into the “observer mode.” Just watch, but don’t attach yourself to anything.

During Stage 6, the mind comes to terms with a wide range of vivid emotions, memories, and other phenomena that usually remain deeply buried in the murky depths of subconsciousness. If you can carefully watch that troubled river flow through the heart of your awareness and let it pass through, you may allow some healing and energizing to occur. If you can do this over and over again for an incalculable number of times and hours, a great deal of healing and energizing should occur.

“The key is to let the knots of the psyche unravel themselves and let the extraordinary healing power of the mind be revealed on the path to a deeper sanity.”

Stage 6 — the nightmare stage — must be mastered before one can move into Stage 7 — the stage of joy and enthusiasm. Why did they set things up that way? Probably because you are more likely to hold onto your gains if you earn them in a way that leaves no doubt what you are capable of.

Which is why I am back in Stage 2 breath meditations, rather than trying to jump straight into the bliss of Stage 7 and beyond. It just wouldn’t work any other way. But there is nothing that will keep me from exploring and taking side trips every now and again . . . I won’t pretend to be more accomplished than what I can demonstrate to myself beyond all doubt.

The following audiobook provides six hours of explanation and description of the basic reasons for mindfulness meditation and how to go about it.

You Are a Mess, And You Know It. But You Hide it Well!

Almost every author and guru maintains that it is vital to get a teacher before going very far into meditation. I won’t argue with that. Even the Dalai Lama said that a person can waste a lot of time by forging ahead without a teacher — although he says a teacher is not absolutely necessary.

More advice on meditation from the Dalai Lama

BTW: What was the “nightmare stage” like? Over roughly a half hour, I watched a lot of very personal and sensitive things pass through my mind that would ordinarily upset me. The whole macabre procession through my consciousness was self-powered, effortless on my part. And reasonably vivid. But perhaps the experience did not seem vivid enough or overpowering enough to quite match the description of Stage 6 — probably more like the Stage 5 mindfulness of following the thoughts, with the thoughts being exclusively troublesome thoughts /images /memories /sensations. At least I tell myself that.

In vipassana meditation, the first 4 Stages help to strengthen the attention on “an object of meditation” while slowly deepening the broader awareness of the meditator. Having mastered those skills, the meditator is supposedly ready to move deeper into observing the actual workings of his own “mind system.” I have a long way to go.

Remember: Just as the muscles have a lot of knots that must be unraveled before they can function smoothly and with minimal pain, so does the mind have a lot of knots that need unraveling. The times we are living in are times that create a lot of severe mental and emotional knots very rapidly. We are either going to have to learn to meditate very fast to keep up with untying all of these knots, or we will need to learn an even better path to unraveling these troublesome impediments to peace and happiness.

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I Would Swim the Seas For to Ease Your Pain

Townes Van Zandt Singer/Songwriter “If I Needed You”

Townes Van Zandt introduced the song with the following statement at a private concert in Houston: “It came to me in a dream. I was living in Tennessee with Guy and Susanna Clark, and I was asleep, and I had a notepad by my mattress – I had a mattress on the floor. I was dreaming that I was a folk singer, and this was the song I played, and I happened to wake up, write it down, and went right back to sleep. The next morning I woke up, went to the room with all the guitars, picked up a guitar and played it through. It never has changed.”

Source
Well, if I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
And ease my pain?
If you needed me
I would come to you
I would swim the seas
For to ease your pain

Well, in the night forlorn
Oh, the morning's born
And the morning shines
With the lights of love
And you will miss sunrise
If you close your eyes
And that would break
My heart in two

The lady's with me now
Since I showed her how
To lay her lily
Hand in mine
Loop and Lil agree
She's a sight to see
A treasure for
The poor to find

Well, if I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
And ease my pain?
If you needed me
I would come to you
I would swim the seas
For to ease your pain

Lyrics Source

The above song was made famous by Emmylou Harris and Don Williams. Another of Van Zandt’s 1972 songs is “Pancho and Lefty,” made famous by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

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