Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

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Darryl
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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 16 Jul 2012, 12:39

07/16/2012 – 2012 : The Ignorance of Knowledge and Information
http://darrylthomas.wordpress.com/2012/ ... formation/



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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 14 Aug 2012, 00:43

08/13/2012: 2012 & the Incoherence of the Religious Rebels
http://darrylthomas.wordpress.com/2012/ ... us-rebels/



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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 19 Aug 2012, 13:07

8/9/2012 - Why you Don't have "Free Will"
http://darrylthomas.wordpress.com/2012/ ... free-will/


The topic of Free Will has many dimensions and definitions, most of them based on opinion, misinterpretation and conjecture, and yet I find that the topic must be viewed with skepticism due to the unquestionably deterministic nature of this reality. Free will can only be properly defined as an exceedingly limited and highly charged term of art to satisfy and legitimize larger philosophical and theological systems of thought. I'm looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition of its conception of free will as a legitimizing component for the belief in "God." The narrative that God endowed and gifted His human creations with "free will" was a crucial concept in formulating the free will aspect of God. The theological definition of free will is wholly based on this narrative, which is nothing more than the patently specious metaphysical imaginations of the priests and the laity, as there is no possibility of anyone independently verifying the free will attributes of a "Supreme Being."

Free will is also often confused with "free choice," another highly charged definition and concept that is employed to reinforce and legitimize the liberal concept of "human freedom" within the constraints of capitalism. Yes, one can exercise their "free choice" by walking into a store and choosing between shirts, but one is limited to the stock on hand and the amount of money one carries. And here we come to one of the two crucial determinant factors of the negation of free will that has not been considered in this thread: one's access to money. The other of course, is the environment.

If I want to buy a Toyota Tacoma, yet do not have the money to do so, my free will has been overridden by a force outside of my control, the price of the truck.

If I was born the lowliest peasant in a Darfur refugee camp, my prospects of achieving the Nobel Prize in Medicine would be non-existent.

No amount of free will in the universe would allow me, under the current social and economic conditions, any workable trajectory from refugee to a world-famous physicist without extraordinary intervention. The environmental conditions alone would impede my mental capacity through malnutrition to a harshly debilitating extent even if I was lucky enough to escape the far more likely event of starving to death. Free choice is used as a buffer then, against existential anxiety within a world of deterministic events. Even someone who could acquire the means to live a life of self-directed will must accept an uncountable number of forces and events that will impede and limit choice. Even within the theological conceptions of free will must fail as God - if one accepts such a fantasy - denies each creature the choice of where and to whom one is to be born. (This is the main reason abortion infuriates the theologians and the laity, as this is viewed as an unacceptable overriding the Free Will of God by women).

The biggest determinant that limits the free will aspirations of most people is the access to money. We have all accepted that the most "rational" mode of socialization is the process of buying our survival from others. This mode has caused nothing but inequality, poverty immense and unnecessary human suffering . Free will cannot fix this problem because free will is an illusion . Perhaps ironically, it will take a will unimaginable to solve the problem of inequality by changing the current program from one where mankind serves money to one where money serves mankind.



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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 31 Aug 2012, 02:55

Day 18: The Snob

http://aformerseekersjourneytolife.blog ... -snob.html


According to some dictionaries, a snob is someone who believes that they are superior to others in taste and class, although the prime ingredient to be a snob is a self-importance that is offensively arrogant and annoying. And since I have experienced everyone in my life at one time or another to be arrogant and annoying, I feel that I am somewhat of an expert in bringing this character up for discussion.

Yes, I have been quite a snob in my life, usually about things that I believe to be the most important of matters. Style, books, politics, art, music. Especially music. Don't get me started on music, because it would be my immense pleasure to inform you of the two types of music in this world: the music I like - which is genius, and the childish crap you like, and the only difference between us is that I have taste. This is what makes me a snob.

Oh yeah, and your politics? More boring than reading Ayn Rand. I despise Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea-Baggers, Libertarians (especially so), anarchists, Communists, Socialists, whatever... They all represent the status quo and they all do more harm than good. None of them act in the best interests of the people anyway, so don't pretend that your political affiliation is worth bragging about because it isn't.

Movies? The ones I like are the ones you should like. Don't bother showing me your favorite movies or television shows because they are most likely crap. By virtue of my wonderfully impeccable taste in all things of art and culture, allow me to bestow upon you my favorites, as I already know you will extremely impressed with my erudite sense of style, fashion, taste and opinion. And if you aren't, it's only because you're a half-wit.

But what makes my snobby character so interesting is that it all my motivations for impressing others with my ideas, thoughts and opinions are based on a multitude of fears. Fears of inadequacies, failures, secrets, hidden shames. It took me a long time to realize this, but the tougher the talk the more insecure that person really is. Obvious so, isn't it?

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think of myself as "better than" others simply because they don't agree with my perspectives and opinions.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think that others are not as smart as me because their glaring imperfections of their thoughts has blinded them to the obvious errors of their judgments and tastes.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that others are stupid, ignorant sheep who don't know their ass from a shovel and dumber than a sack of rocks.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to blame others for being really stupid and brainwashed by the cultural taste makers and media pundits.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to be angry at the cultural taste-makers and pundits for being so good at their job.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself for thinking to myself that people are hopelessly misled by forces beyond their reckoning.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to entertain thoughts that say that "this person is an idiot."
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel depressed over the fact that people won't "get it," that is, recognize what is happening around them, until it is waaay too late.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to become physically drained after entertaining snobbish thoughts during my day.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself for reacting in anger when I see or read something that is so patently and metaphysically wrong - usually in relation to people or a group of people being abused in an atrocious way, with the exasperated astonished thought being broadcast as, "How in the world is that allowed to happen?"
I forgive myself that I have not accepted and allowed myself to realize the consequences of holding the thoughts of snobbery, because nothing comes from snobbery except more separation - which is not a great thing.
I commit myself to end all manifestations of snobbery within my thoughts, words and deeds, and I understand it will be difficult, since I've been a practicing snob for many decades now. But I now understand that nothing useful comes out of producing more separation, which is exactly what snobbery does. Time to stop and get over it.



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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 02 Sep 2012, 21:56

http://aformerseekersjourneytolife.blog ... tical.html

Day 19: Apolitical

My political views have shifted during my time here on Planet Earth. I was born into a patently Democratic family for the most part. When I have voted, it's been either for Independents or Democrats. The last Presidential election I participated in was waaaay back in 1984 when I voted for whoever was running against Ronald Reagan (some stiff called Walter Mondale who lost nearly every state in the election).

But I noticed something in the years that followed. It seemed that the Democrats weren't all that different from the Republicans in the way they went about their business, that business being mostly looking out for their own asses first. I started looking at other political perspectives to find one that was aligned to my way of thinking.

Well, that was a bit daunting, as the American political flavors only come in two kinds of Vanilla. I began studying libertarianism, which at first seemed like the answer to my prayers. But as I began communicating with them through various message boards I realized that a lot of them were assholes, mainly Republicans who wanted to legally get high, not pay taxes and purchase their own highways.

I moved further to the left - which wasn't all that surprising since I would never move to the right - and found some voices that spoke to me. Emma Goldman. P.J. Proudhon. Karl Marx. Voltairine de Cleyre, and Noam Chomsky. I had been frozen solid by the voices of anarchism. I spent a year or so delving into anarchist thought until I read Bob Black and the post-anarchists. By now I am pissed - because I realized that anarchism was just as big of a dead end as the democratic and republican capitalist parties. While the anarchists made some very cogent points, such as the incompatibility of capitalism and liberty because of the crypto-authoritarianism of the market, their political dreams were as unworkable as the systems they rightfully criticized. I found myself in a conceptual pickle. There was really no visionary, effective or workable political framework that could address or solve the problems that we currently face. That is, until the Equal Money point emerged.

But there's something I have to get off my chest. I was political snob. I disliked people who identified themselves as Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Tea-baggers, Libertarian, whatever. In the past I would have said that they were all more dumber than a bag of rocks, which of course, wouldn't be fair to rocks. In the past, while I carried very profound political opinions, I stopped voting. I stopped because I felt that the political game was rigged. You have to be a millionaire to even run for office. You certainly have to be well-connected and agreeable to all kinds of shady, corrupting deals along the way. I just didn't want to be a part of it. I was even leery of Mr. Hope Obama when he ran for president. However, I have recently realized that it is essential to become more politically involved - now more than ever. Why? Because it's the only way to change this fucked-up system - from within. It's admittedly a long shot, but it's got to be better than being apathetic and doing nothing.

In this year's Presidential election where Obama and Romney are set to duke it out, I feel that apathetic feeling again. But maybe I'll write in Ralph Nader...


I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to believe that engaging the political process was an exercise in futility, as it seemed to me that nothing ever changed for the better. If you don't play the game yo can't affect the outcome.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to succumb to feelings of hopelessness which led me to become politically apathetic and irrelevant.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to resist to participating in the political process because I didn't trust any party enough to even want to participate.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to become disillusioned with politics because of my perception that the process does more harm than good.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to resist all political perspectives as "stupid," "venal" and "corrupt."
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to believe that all politicians are primarily concerned about their own self-interest rather than achieving solutions for their constituents.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself that politics have become "evil" and a destroyer of humanity.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to distrust every word that falls from the lips of politicians, because of my belief that they say nothing but lies that allow them to be entrenched in their seats of power.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to believe, even so briefly, that the political perspective of anarchy could be a viable alternative to what currently passes for politics.

I realized later that anarchy is an unworkable theory that sounds good on paper but could never be used in the form advanced by anarchists and libertarians. I realized that there will have to be some kind of central planning to keep society together because people are too programmed to exist in a de-centered society the libertarians and anarchist fancy. It was a revelation when working on the Equal Money how simple the solution is, and yet how much fear and resistance the concept Equal Money can generate within people. It seems most humans do not want what's best for all if it's thought to override what is best for self. This is kind of like a self-hypnosis that blocks off the simplicity and grace of equality from consideration - even in smart, intelligent people. So for this reason I commit myself to spreading the Gospel of Equality all over the Internet until it comes to fruition. And that also means becoming politically involved.

Can I get One Vote for the Equality Party



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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 02 Nov 2012, 19:46

THE HUMAN POTENTIAL MOVEMENT: SELF-HELP GURUS. PT.1 2012-OCT-31
The belief that human abilities are expandable is not a new idea. The Human Potential Movement as a systematic program may have first begun in the West with the Stoics, who were active at the beginning of the 3rd Century BCE. Stoicism claimed that the quality of life of the human being could be improved by releasing anxiety (suffering) through attaining “peace of mind.” If ignorance and emotions caused suffering, reason and indifference could be used to nullify suffering. Of course, the Organized Religions have always produced literature (The Vedas, Dhrarmapada, Tao Te Ching, The Bible and Quran) which were touted as legitimate sources for self-improvement or self-transformational change. The New Thought Movement and Christian Science both focused on “mind-cures” to ease the suffering of physical illness. Theosophy claimed that there is a Divine Plan that ends with humanity evolving to a divine, posthuman state. The Integral Theorists represented by Ken Wilber and Sean Esbjörn-Hargens have updated this meme for the 21st Century.

Thus the Human Potential Movement has many dimensions – its origins stem from psychological, spiritual, existential and capitalist concerns. But while the method may differ, what they all have in common is a penchant for creating wealth for its creators by promising wealth and health for the consumers of the message.

Unsurprisingly, the drive for wealth, fame and power has caused more than a few to fall from grace. James Arthur Ray, a prominent self-help guru made famous by his appearances on Oprah and “The Secret” film, promised his followers, “harmonic wealth in all areas of your life.” Charging $10,000 a head to attend a “Spiritual Warrior” sweat lodge ceremony, catastrophe ensued, resulting in 3 deaths and a conviction for Ray on charges of negligent homicide. Ray was sentenced to two years in prison in 2011. While Ray claimed he had no excuses on what transpired at the sweat lodge in Sedona, he is now appealing the conviction on a technicality. [1]

Dale Carnegie (Dale Carnegay)

Dale Carnegie began a path to teaching public speaking which eventually led to the Dale Carnegie course, which promised to increase confidence in men, which made a healthy profit for Carnegie in the 1930s. Napoleon Hill taught that people could change their reality through positive thinking. By the end of the 20th Century, the New Age’s mantra that one could create their own reality, effectively made the New Age Capitalism’s Religion. Carnegie’s teaching did not go unnoticed by future self-help gurus like L.Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhard and Anthony Robbins.

Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) , a brilliant pupil and colleague of Sigmund Freud, was the first to predict and describe the sexual revolution in a work published in 1936. Acknowledged as the Father of the Sexual Revolution, Reich believed that the sexual liberation of the human being would bring about a healthier, happier and advanced human being. Although Reich was scorned and humiliated by the psychiatric community, his ideas were embraced by the emerging counterculture of the 1950’s.

“Orgone” was what Reich called the principal “life force” of the universe. By freeing the constrictions of orgone within the body through orgasms, or time spent in one of Reich’s Orgone Acculmulator, could one become more sexually free and mentally fit. Of course, liberation of sexual energy was heresy according to the Freudians, and Reich was drummed out of Freud’s circle, ruining his career. Although reviled and rejected by the psychiatric community, Reich’s idea’s would live on within his colleagues and followers, which were destined to challenge the psychiatric establishment after his death when they were deployed to inspire what would become known as the Human Potential Movement.

Dianetics and Scientology

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) was an accomplished, but poorly paid pulp fiction writer before his fortune changed with the publication of Dianetics:The Modern Science Of Mental Health in 1950. Hubbard claimed that all diseases of the mind and body were caused by “engrams”[2] lodged in the subconscious mind. These engrams were allegedly formed through dramatic events. Well-being could only occur after one was made to relive the situation that created the engram which then could be “cleared” with the help of a Dianetics “auditor.” The psychiatric community denounced Dianteics and Hubbard, claiming that Dianetics was not proper psychological treatment and that Hubbard fabricated case histories where he showed how Dianetics cured physical and mental illnesses. Internal conflicts, money problems and criticism from the medical community helped cause Dianetics to go bankrupt in 1952. Undeterred, Hubbard created Scientology, which essentially recast Dianetics as a religion. Scientology became an even greater success than Dianetics. Scientology went further than the everyday self-help tactics of Dianetics; it proposed to deal with spiritual problems that human being have to deal with, as well. Scientology still dealt with questions on why we do not reach our full potential, and apparently Scientology provided the answers people wanted to hear because Scientology became a world-wide religious institution despite the widely advertised legal problems that perpetually hounded Hubbard.

Hubbard, an acknowledged master of science fiction (indeed, the first publishing of Dianetics appeared in Astounding Science Fiction is said to have created a world religion entirely from his imagination and cunning. Critics accused Hubbard of being a charlatan and a criminal. Constant troubles and never-ending controversy finally drove Hubbard in seclusion where he lived out his last days before dying alone in a remote ranch in California

Humanistic psychology

Psychoanalysis and behaviorism were the two main forces in psychology during the fist half of the 20th Century. The philosophy of humanism is a dominant thread within the HPM, as well. At the center of Humanistic psychology is the idea that human beings are capable of fulfilling their potential. Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) contended that humans have a capacity for actualizing themselves and fulfill their potential. Rogers sought to treat patients in a way that they would be able to solve their own problems in the future.

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) constructed a map of a “hierarchy of needs” It was Maslow’s theory that once these needs were met, then the person would be capable to realize their full potential. The problem with both theories is that they do not explain why more people in affluent societies don’t “self-actualize.”

Existentialism

The Human Potential Movement was also influenced by European existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1946 essay, “Existentialism Is A Humanism, had this to say:

“Atheistic existentialism, of which I am a representative, declares with greater consistency that if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it. That being is man or, as Heidegger has it, the human reality.”

Existentialism denies the universalism of human nature, or at the very least, denies that human nature is meaningful. The acceptance of free will is central to existential philosophy. Although no hope was given for any human transcendence or finding anything of value in an empty, indifferent universe, existentialism does acknowledge freedom of choice and finding value within self. In fact, the self is the only value that exists since only the self can give definition to existence. Existential philosophy claims that the human being exists in a state of freedom (Sarte claims humans are “condemned to freedom”), and cannot help but to impose meaning onto a meaningless existence.

Esalen Institute

Michael Murphy studied at Sri Aurobino’s ashram where he was introduced to the ideas of human and spiritual evolution. Aurobindo authored The Life Divine, a text that expounded on Aurobindo’s theories of spiritual evolution of humanity, “infinite consciousness” and various theories of existence. Murphy later met Dick Price in San Franscisco and soon founded the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California in 1960 on the property owned by Murphy’s family. At Esalen, they would explore human potentiality. Authors and proponents of “human potentialities,” such as Aldous Huxley[2], Jean Houston and Paul Tillich. The term Human Potential Movement is said to have been coined by George Leonard in 1962, and Leonard is acknowledged as being one of the principal intellectual forces of the HPM.

Esalen exerted a gigantic influence in the political, spiritual and philosophical shape of the counterculture of the 1960’s and 70’s. Alternative psychology was also featured, particularly the work of psychologist Fritz Perls (1893–1970) who once worked with Wilhelm Reich, first developed his brand of “gestalt psychotherapy”[4] in the 1940s before taking residence at Esalen where he led therapy group sessions. Encounter groups, meditation and psychedelics were used to liberate the potentials in the mind and body.

Werner Erhard (John Paul Rosenberg )

Erhard was a businessman, so it’s not surprising that he would be influenced by the ideas of Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie and L. Ron Hubbard. Erhard became interested in human potential theories of Rogers and Maslow and studied with Alan Watts. Erhard began his program of self-transformation in 1971,which he called, “est” (Erhard Seminars Training) after experiencing what he called a “peak experience” while driving. Erhard’s message was simple. The world can work for you.”At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives.”

During the 1970s, est and Werner Erhard was a worldwide phenomenon, which reportedly did not go unnoticed by a furious L. Ron Hubbard, who was incensed that Erhard had “stolen” Scientology ideas, prompting Hubbard to allegedly command his followers to harass and destroy Erhard. (LA Times article.) Erhard closed est in 1984 and ended up selling the business to employees in 1991.

Osho (Chandra Mohan Jain)

Chandra Mohan Jain (1931-1990), better known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and later as “Osho,” was a provincial college lecturer of philosophy in India during the 1960’s before becoming a controversial guru with a worldwide following before his death in 1990. There is no overarching principle to Osho’s teaching although he issued a torrent of books that were mainly transcriptions of him speaking about various topics. Freedom, love and self-responsibility were often subjects of his discourses. Mediation should be diligently practiced. Osho also taught that enlightenment was potentially available for all of humanity, and was also a very big proponent of capitalism and sexual liberty (the latter left Osho with the sobriquet of the “sex guru”). Unfortunately for Osho, his predilection for rebelling against authority along with the resentment caused by his flamboyant lifestyle (it is said he owned 93 Rolls Royces at his commune in Oregon) landed Osho in a federal prison where he served two years for immigration fraud and fined $400,000. Osho died at his commune in India after being deported to India.

Next: The Human Potential Movement Part 2. The New Age Gurus.

Notes

[1] Scott, Orr. James Arthur Ray appeals sweat lodge conviction. Prescott, Arizona: The Daily Courier, 2012.

[2] The term, engram, was first coined by the German biologist Richard Wolfgang Semon (1859-1918), who theorized that memories traces were stored in “engrams” inthe brain.

[3] Badliner, Alan Hunt. Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002. Print. Michael Murphy: “I was not impelled by any knowledge of or interest in psychedelics, but once we started, there it was. It was there, first of all, among the first famous figures who came here – like Aldous Huxley. In Mexico, he gave me Sandoz laboratory LSD and his wife Laura was my sitter.”

[4] Gestalt therapy directs the client toward appreciating the form, meaning, and value of his perceptions and actions. http://www.alleydog.com/glossary/defini ... rm=Gestalt

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Darryl
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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 02 Nov 2012, 19:48

THE HUMAN POTENTIAL MOVEMENT PART 2. THE NEW AGE 2012-NOV-01
The “Secret” with dealing with Rhonda Byrne? Sign the contract.

Human Potential Movement and the New Age
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the followers of a Greek-Armenian mystic with a message of awakening to a “higher consciousness” promoted George I. Gurdjieff (1866?-1949) as an enlightened spiritual master. Gurdjieff claimed that human beings were helplessly caught in a “waking sleep” unable to perceive reality fully, thus Gurdjieff’s teachings were necessary in order for the student to transform his life into one of enlightenment and clarity.

Gurdjieff’s theories were allegedly given to him through a mysterious association of a secret spiritual group called the “Sarmoung Brotherhood,” an esoteric Sufi group that Gurdjieff claimed descended from the Assyrians who live somewhere in the “heart of Asia.” Modern critics claim that the Sarmoung was a fictive device Gurdjieff used to promote is ideas.

In America there was a concurrent, if small movement that taught that humanity was spiritually evolving. In 1924, Baird Thomas Spalding (1872–1953) began publishing a series of books called, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East. These books allegedly depict Baird interviewing beings of great spiritual power, “Ascended Masters” much like the “Mahatma” figures made popular by Helena Blavatsky and the mysterious Sarmoung Brotherhood of G. I. Gurdjieff.

Guy Ballard (1878–1939), who happened to be a friend of Spalding, claimed he met the Ascended Master “Saint Germain” on Mount Shasta. The message from the Ascended Masters was that they were once human beings after becoming perfect during reincarnation; their spiritual perfection allowed them to be immortal, residing in the higher planes of existence. They invariably mentioned that their evolution from human to god was destined to occur for all humanity, in accordance to the Divine Plan.

Even though the core of the HPM was wrapped around the pole of existential humanism, there was a metaphysical slant that appeared at the beginning, thanks to Esalen’s attraction to Zen Buddhism, and Esalen’s attraction to the ideas of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), who had worked on his theories of spiritual evolution and what he called, the “Supermind.” For Aurobindo, the Supermind is similar to the nous or the Logos of Classical Greek metaphysics, and the familiar all-pervading Brahman of Hinduism; the divine creative consciousness, transcendent and immanent within the world. According to Aurobindo, the potential exists within every human to access the consciousness of the Supermind which would lead the humanity into a realm of supernatural transformation.

Alice Bailey (1888-1949) produced a multitude of densely complex spiritual material that covered, in part, the role of what Bailey termed, the “Spiritual Hierarchy.” This squad of immortal masters were behind the physical and spiritual evolution of humanity. Whereas the “Mahatmas” of Blavatsky claimed that depictions of “God” were “imaginary,”[1] Bailey’s Masters argued that a “spiritual plan” presupposed its creation by “God,” and included an intervention of cosmic avatars who would descend to Earth and prepare humanity for the arrival of the cosmic Christ, who would then rule the Earth along side the Spiritual Hierarchy (which sounds much like a New Age reinterpretation of Christian fundamentalist view of the Book of Revelations). Bailey believed that the raising of one’s consciousness to the divine, as will as recognizing one’s inner divinity would initiate a golden age for humanity. [2]

In 1963, Jane Roberts (1929-1984) and her husband Robert Butts where playing on a Ouija board when she began receiving messages from a spirit who came to call himself, “Seth.” The material dictated by “Seth” energized and gave shape and form to the emerging New Age movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Seth repeated stated that the key to self-transformation was to “create your own reality.” The Seth Material almost single-handedly gave the New Age in the 1970’s its vocabulary, shape and cosmology. “Seth” continuously referenced “Inner Selves,” “Higher Selves” and that consciousness creates and influences the physical. Seth also loudly echoed and reinforced positive thinking principles. New Age luminaries like Shatki Gawain, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra and many others have referenced the Seth Material as being a great influence in their thinking.

J.Z. Knight (Judith Darlene Hampton) and her channeled being, “Ramtha,” who claims to be a being from an ancient and advanced race of humans in the distant past and became an “ascended master,” speaking through Knight and continuing in Seth’s path in the wake of Roberts’ death in 1984. The message from Knight/Ramtha was that consciousness and energy can change reality. Consciousness and energy are the same. Human beings, according to Ramtha, are on a path towards enlightenment, and we are also “divine” (echoing many spiritualists of the past).

Rhonda Byrne and “The Secret”
However, the culmination of 20th Century spirituality occurred in 2007 with the release of the film, The Secret. Rhonda Byrne, the film’s creator, claimed that the core ideas for the film were the messages from a book written in 1906; “Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World,” by W.W. Atkinson (a New Thought writer) and Wallace Wattles’ 1910 book, “The Science of Getting Rich.” The Secret contains many New Thought ideas such as, “No rules according to the universe… you provide the feelings of having it now and the universe will respond.” The Secret, although considered as “New Age” as anything, was primarily a reiteration of a century-old New Thought spirituality.

The Secret, with the help of media attention, slick packaging and being in the right place at the right time, made millions for Byrne, and brought attention to the stable of speakers featured in the film. Byrne was embroiled in a legal dispute with two former associates who claimed they were promised a cut of the profits from Byrne’s film, which reportedly grossed $20 million in the first eight months (The film and books ended up raking in over $300 million collected worldwide). When the subject of payment came up with her Australian director and co-author of the screenplay, Drew Heriot (who had personally kicked in $10,000 towards the production), Byrne instead fired him.

“Essentially, she said my company wouldn’t be working with her again and they’d be using another writer and director for the sequel. I said, ‘I can’t believe you are doing this. Are you saying there is no profit-share?’ She said, ‘Yes, but I can return the $10,000 you gave me.’”[3]

Heriot sued Byrne for copyright infringement and fraud. Heriot sued Byrne, but lost in court in 2009. [4] Heriot vowed to appeal. Apparently, the Law of Attraction works better if you get it in writing.

Esther Hicks and “Abraham”

One of the main speakers in the original cut [5] of The Secret was Esther Hicks and her channeled entity (or entities, as Hicks claims Abraham is a collection of beings), who carried their Law of Attraction message to a wider audience. Esther Hicks was influenced by Seth Material, in particular, “Seth Speaks” and (not surprisingly) Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” which seems to be the go-to book for anyone wanting to make a splash in the Human Potential Movement. Abraham/Hicks goes a step farther beyond being indebted to the Law of Attraction, for if you visit the Abraham/Hicks site you’ll see a rebranding of the Law of Attraction as the “Teachings of Abraham” and where your grandfather’s Law of Attraction took time to get what you wanted, the Teachings of Abraham offers of manifesting your desires “instantly.” I suppose we can call this Law of Attraction 2.0.

Next: The Human Potential Movement Part 3. The New Prosperity Gurus

Notes

[1] The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, 2nd. ed., TUP, 53, 1926. pg.142- 43.

[2] Bailey, Alice. A Treatise on White Magic, Lucis Publishing 10-11

[3] Guilliatt, Richard. “The secret of Rhonda.” Australian Magazine. 28 2008: n. page. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.

[4] “Heriot recalls that early on Byrne promised him a percentage of the film’s profits, but rebuffed his request for a written contract. “Rhonda actually insisted that we not have a contract – she said they limited people’s freedom, that they’re designed to guard against things going wrong, which is not the way of The Secret because it is focusing on the negative,” he says.” (Guilliatt).

Indeed, since Heriot did not get the promise down in writing, he effectively failed “to guard against things going wrong,” allowing Byrne to “burn” him out of millions.

[5] Salkin, Allen. “Shaking Riches Out of the Cosmos.” New York Times, 25 Feb. 2007. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. Byrne promised the Hicks 10% of the DVD sales, but just before the big money came in, Byrne told the Hicks that they would either have to accept ripping up the contract or be cut out of the film. The Hicks took $500,000 and went away.

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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 02 Nov 2012, 19:50

HUMAN POTENTIAL MOVEMENT PART 3. THE NEW SELF-HELP GURUS


Wanna make a million? Write a self-Help book.
The New Self-Help Gurus

They’ve given seminars, been on television and made millions with their self-help books flooding the market. It is the Holy Trinity of Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer. Their messages are essentially interchangeable, based as it is on a mash-up of various spiritual and philosophical sources, mixed in with a penchant for giving their followers opinionated homilies passed off as “truth.” All spiritual teachings are essentially one teaching: that if one listens to this transference of “wisdom,” then one will become more healthy, wealthy and wise. But the reality is that nothing practical will ever be given to aid all humanity by these super-salesmen.

Eckhart Tolle (Ulrich Leonard Tolle), experienced an epiphany which eventually led to Tolle writing books and holding seminars discussing enlightenment and other subjects, namely the transformation of human consciousness, which may be the highest form of human potential possible, according to these gurus.

Tolle, like everyone else involved in the consciousness-raising business, often engages in opinion-making that he presents as fact. For example, the well-known experience of Tolle’s “epiphany” – an event which changed a once-suicidal depressive into a spiritual leader and best-selling author, has colored everything the man says. So when Tolle gives an opinion delivered as “fact,” it sounds like this:

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”

The “evolution of consciousness” is a narrative that just about explains anything. Unfortunately, nobody can prove such an evolution is happening. The trite simplicity of Tolle’s quote above, however, causes one to wonder why people choose to believe such things, as the quote suffers badly when lightly taken apart. So when we go through our day, are we responsible for our experiences, or is “life” (?) dictating what befall us? Am I choosing to experience an event, or is “life” selecting events for me against my will? Why is “life” interested in the evolution of my consciousness, anyway? Obviously, Tolle’s epiphany has a lot to do with the shape and content of his opinions. He believes that he experienced some form of enlightenment which has “evolved” his consciousness.” But he doesn’t actually know what happened. Besides, if you read any of Tolle’s books, you will not be able to find one single new idea anywhere. Tolle’s works, along with those by Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, etc., are nothing more than a spiritual stew full of rehashed mash-ups of ancient ideas and philosophies, without the nuance and mystery. Seems more like a devolution of consciousness is happening here, folks.

Fact is, metaphysicians have urged others to evolve the human being metaphysically for at least 30 centuries. Shamen, gurus and spiritualists have forever been proclaiming that raising one’s nature “high enough,” one becomes as “God.” The New Self Help gurus of the 21st Century are merely regurgitating commonly known spiritual language and dressing it up modern parlance. It seems that the metaphysical experiment has reached the end of its life as a living art; a deadening hollowness exists at its core, failing to offer anything truly new in 3000 years; it has endlessly repeated itself to the point of absurdity. It offers nothing but ancient, discredited promises dripping from the voices of a disingenuous, but crack metaphysical sales team.

At the beginning of its reign, the Human Potential Movement was largely a program for profit. When someone discovered, like Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale or L. Ron Hubbard, that there existed a sizeless, titanic market of selling people their own desire to “improve” themselves, they most likely couldn’t believe their luck. The mass consumption of self-help books has turned out to be insatiable and everlasting (Dale Carnegie materials and courses are still available and profitable after 80 years). The best advice to someone wanting to be published is to write a self-help book.

Listen: self-transformation ingeniously linked to the dollar and spiritual perfection has given the self-help industry enough legs to continue its run well into the 21st Century. Although the movement’s heyday occurred during the 1960’s and 70’s, the program of focusing on intense personal achievement by the individual is still being pushed to this day by an opportunistic and self-aggrandizing sales pitch, and many of them only give broadly vague or distasteful solutions for the intractable problems in this world. For example, Osho’s solution for homosexuality was to segregate gays from the rest of the population. Esther Hicks and Abraham only solution to poverty, suffering or abuse is to not dwell on negative thoughts. Seriously. And as stupid as that sounds, people eat it up.

The irony should not be lost here. The teachers of the Human Potential Movement concentrate on getting the individual sorted out mentally and “spiritually” first before concentrating on getting what they want and make their dreams come true. While humanity’s world continues to devolve and splinter apart, listen to the Human Potential Movement – it wants you to become a “winner,” although it fails to offer any solution to rampant human suffering, the nature of evil, or inequality. It promotes an agenda based entirely on imagination. Remember the message of The Secret: get what you want by thinking about it. Physical action not necessary. That message clicked because of an agenda built upon “spiritual” fabrications, human desire and most of all, the glorification of personal self-interest while everyone one else can go screw.

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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 03 Nov 2012, 22:19

Why I am voting for Obama


I'm registered to vote in my state and it will be the first time I voted in a presidential election since 1988, 24 years ago. I wasn't really enamored with the Democratic candidate and I remember voting more against Ronald Reagan and not voting for Michael Dukakis. Dukakis could have been the Man from Mars, it didn't matter to me, it was Reagan I despised.

I find myself in a similar position this election. I'm not voting for Obama as much as I am voting against Mitt Romney. Regular reader will know that my fervor for Obama is less than lukewarm. Since my last Presidential vote, and in fact, long before, I had long-held a distrust towards the electoral process. I was nominally raised a Democrat by default since it was the Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill while the Republicans largely opposed it. However, I eventually lost all kinds of love from the Democrats, who seemed unable to run anyone (except for Clinton) but the lamest of stiffs. I also began to see that the two-party system was outdated, corrupt and hopelessly locked in a bicameral conflict that renders the system to be unable to respond to the ills that face this country. I have a suspicion that Washington likes it this way. So I developed the my distrust and ambivalence towards the political system into a viewpoint that s voting doesn't matter.

Now I was out of the country for the last election, so I don't know if there was the same kind of naked politically fueled racism that I'm seeing now. And what I am seeing now is a rebroadcast of the Old Politics of a new War between the States led by Romney as the Great White Hope and Obama as a foreign Muslim Socialist.

Actually, this internal conflict between the North and South has never abated. Apparently, this rift cannot be mended. Mitt Romney has been championed as the last Great White Hope. If you look at the political map of the US, you'll see an interesting thing; the southern states align to Romney and the Northern states to Obama. Since 1964, the year the Civil Rights bill was passed, southern white voters have typically voted Republican, especially for President. The republicans, starting with Nixon's Southern Strategy, have become adept at race-baiting and playing on prejudices of white Americans (To be white in America means that one is an American Prime).

The Republicans are attempting to throw one last Hail Mary pass into the end zone of the Presidency by targeting a shrinking white electorate. More than ever America has become victimized by racial divisions. 91% of likely Romney votes will come from whites. Minorities and women will vote for Obama. With the U.S. population becoming more multiculturally diverse along with the shrinking numbers of white men, the Republicans realize with their internal fragmentation between neocons, tea-baggers, Christian Right and fiscal conservatives, their time is about over. This is the last election where white males will have a chance for a favorable outcome. The fear for white males voting for Romney is that their unearned privilege and influence of their birthright is destined to end.

Of course, this has exacerbated racial tensions and the Republicans are milking this dysfunction for all its worth. Polls are showing that most whites in America have racial dislike for non-whites.

But none of these things are reasons why I am voting for Obama. Mitt Romney lies too goddamn much. I get that all politicians lie. But Romney has so willingly stretched to superhuman lengths of mendacity, it's frightening to think about what he would lie about in office. I am not voting for Obama because he's black. I'm voting against Romney because it seems he can't open his mouth without lying about who he is, what he really stands for or what he intends to do.

I know he's fond of saying he has a "plan" to create 12 million jobs. Really, what kind of jobs and how much do they pay and how does he plan to do this? He hasn't said. He's probably lying. Romney's etch-a-sketch style of morphing into another personality when circumstances change is just weird, and it may bite him in the ass yet.

That being said, I remain as skeptical and suspicious of politics and this phony-baloney hand-wringing pandering to the middle-class. It's a false, pernicious narrative at it only serves to keep both the elites and underclass in their place. Both Obama and Romney are guilty of this pandering to the middle class, which is just so much promise-making towards a majority who identifies with the otherwise meaningless term. Making specious promises to the Middle Class will only guarantee the status quo. Only an Equal Money system will level the playing field, and one day we will have a candidate running on that platform.

So until then, I'm voting against Romney, and voting for the lesser of two evils in Obama. Obama left a lot on the table. He could generate enough power with a Republican Congress stopping his every move. Maybe Obama can get more things done in a second term. But in any case, this election will be the last, hopefully, of cynical, race-baiting politics casting disgrace upon our dishonored land.

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Re: Darryl's Blog Timeline // 2008

Postby Darryl » 12 Nov 2012, 16:07

The Triumph of American Neoliberalism? 2012-NOV-12
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Obama has been reelected and the Triumph of American Neoliberalism marches on. I recall 4 years ago when we thought that this time, things would be different. We finally had someone who would bring change to America. Obama was the Jesus of Politics in 2008, easily fending off a crotchety John McCain. But the more things change... I imagine that Obama fully intended to keep his promises, but probably when he sat down at his presidential-sized desk and was given "the real story" of the state of the world and our country, he had to think how much easier things would have been if he lost the election. He was told, in no uncertain terms, what to do and why. You might be wondering who would be able to give orders the most powerful man in the world. Welcome to the triumph of American Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism manifests itself within the spheres of politics and economics. Think of economic neoliberalism as the updated version of classical economic liberalism. Classical liberalism conceived of the free market, free trade, with as little of government intrusion as possible. The "free market" bit was amplified to glorify Individualism as it related to Capitalism. Neoliberalism goes further; it is now allowable to intervene into other markets, eradicate social welfare, deregulating business, forming stateless corporations which can move its properties, capital and resources freely across national boundaries. Sounds like an Ayn Rand libertarian wet dream, doesn't it? The first observance of economic neoliberal shenanigans can be found in Major General Smedley D. Butler's pamphlet, War is a Racket. At the beginning of War is a Racket, Butler says:

WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

General Butler goes on to say:

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side...it is His will that the Germans be killed. And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies...to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious. Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

Butler's book came out just before the commencement of World War 2. The pattern has held for all subsequent wars up to the present day. Propaganda is stilled used to further hypnotize Americans into an alternate reality where the myth of American Exceptionalism (another tendril of Neoliberalism, where the American Empire has a duty to liberate and install democracy the world over), is propagated through Hollywood and the mainstream media. This was how the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan were sold (propaganda is a commodity) and justified. Neoliberalism is a pervasive idea that has justified the toppling of duly elected heads of states, the appropriation of resources from sovereign countries and most of all, war (although there are voices who claim this gambit is in danger of failure in the future). I can't imagine Barack Obama could have had any idea how much blood would be on his hands by simply winning an election. And now he's won two. Apparently, Obama has grown into the job. I don't expect much will change with a second term. That Obama the Drone Killer could win the Nobel Peace Prize while enacting military policies that reduces his stature to that of a war criminal shows that the triumph of American neoliberalism is secure for the moment. Another clue to the plutocratic domination of American Presidential politics occurred in the last debate between Obama and Romney where Romney agreed that he largely shared much of the president's view on how to go ahead with U.S. international policy. Romney must have gotten the same message that Obama was given. Who gave the messages? Follow the money.

What do we do to become more cagey and advanced in sniffing out the brainwashing lies of the media? We start by realizing that most everything we see on the "news" is a manufactured reality who's only purpose is to brainwash you with an irrelevant narrative of "news" today. "Oh, Romney lost the election because Latinos voted for Obana!" Realize that nobody asks the question why is it that neither candidate spoke about the growing poverty problem in America, or why nobody cared to ask why both candidates pretty much agreed on the status quo of bombing the shit out of people in far away countries?

Second, look for smaller independent sources to get your news, or at least learn to read between the lines and look for what is not being said. Second, understand your place. The elites control the media, but they can't control everyone's brainpan. The internet was the worse thing that happened to the plutocracy. Their machinations are a bit more visible now.

Third, goddamn it. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Read a good history book, expand beyond the subjects that you prefer to read and become aware what is happening around. That way, when Desteni talks about an equal money system, you won't think it's a communist plot.

Fourth, I know this will sound hilarious to some, but get out and vote. I know it seems inconsequential, tedious and self-defeating, but at least get involved in the community and vote on every local issue that comes up. Don't ask me why, just do it.

The only thing that keeps me going is that American Neoliberalism is destined to fail. It is just too evil and greedy to last forever. The bottom is due to drop out.




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