A Jack of all trades they say is a Master of None. But Masters of One can get served by Jacks in a variety of ways of which they know None..
We Americans love to live vicariously through athletic contests presented as television programming.
Welcome to Videodrome 2017…
Ideation has two modes of agency against extant ideas:
A new idea will be revolutionary by definition. It will shake up or wake up it’s adherents and alert it’s detractors a storm is coming. A responsive idea will contain remnants of the ideas it’s fighting against. Many time it’s a poisoning pill effect. One usually can’t defeat an adversary by aping their style. One can’t make a liar tell the truth by repurposing lies. The pitfalls pointed out by critical theories many time exist within them. Hence the constant revision. Which ends up being circular. A dash of philosophy in critical theory is a component that’s sorely missed. The theory may “tell” you something is true but is it right? Ideas chain together and are built on over time. Ideas are also co opted and their courses changed. Yet their origins matter. Conflicting consciousness in any sort of tribal based teleological framework is a sign the idea isn’t actual tribal. If a tribes ideas about itself aren’t entirely it’s own, then who’s are they? Do they make sense in the long run? Can they be stopped if they go astray? And importantly were those ideas ever meant to benefit “you…?” Ones hustle can be stopped physically or mentally and the mental battlefield actually leaves longer scars than even a physical contest do. The reason I mentioned philosophy within critical theory is that it can tend to showcase ones cultural perspectives. This leg of the theorizing would, or could, augment and/or squelch ideas which naturally spring from CT but aren’t advantageous to a group. Of course all of this only matters of the building or maintenance of a group or culture is the reason for your ideation. Ideas without focus are like autonomous cars. They can be safe and self directing. Or programmed to crash you into a wall you won’t see till it’s too late.
A bit of reflection on the current state of media in the U.S. is bound to unearth many contradictions. Especially if the analysis can be undertaken without falling victim to one ‘-ism’ or another, specifically the notions of altruism and cognitive dissonance about history. The rise of the term “fake news,” is actually quite astonishing coming from corporate news outlets and their billionaire backers. For the record, the above assertion is old news, and the capture of the public means of communication by financially empowered tycoons cum oligarchs is well known. One can truly be moved to the edge of their seat in laughter at the idea that the West has been completed snowed and beaten to the punch, namely if one has studied the history of the role of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Beginning in earnest during WWII the US Intelligence apparatus (USINT) has weathered the growing pains of losing many a battle to Soviet operatives during the Cold War. Choosing the power of management and technology over re-inventing the wheel of espionage, one of the oldest games on earth, the US has become a technological eye of Horus. Hovering both in the heavens and peering down and through the firmament electronically and sonically, looking to gain an edge on their adversaries. More powerful than anything has been the creation and promotion of narratives. This power is not controlled by one side. Narrative construction and management is a primary aim of any Intelligence agency working today.
We all know the tactic but don’t buck it. So isn’t that acceptance? Patriot act? Regime change. Fake news. All sorcery.
The “secret program to fund rebels” is their latest sigil. Even repeating that is a sign of brainwashing. They created mercenaries. The end
If your worldview comes from info and your own thoughts but you think in a method created to confuse and control you , well …
They get you debating the meaning of words like terrorism based on post modernist identity politics. Ask yourself, do They do that?
They don’t seem to run on the same inputs as the public for whom most inputs are provided even if they don’t know it.
Most countries still use names cast upon them by conquerers. Even knowing their past they didn’t reclaim it. Any good reasons for that?
You think you could invade & change the name of Spain or England ever, and if given the chance they wouldn’t change it back…?
Over time, the pen truly is mightier than the sword…
Nevertheless, I do not recommend bringing a ballpoint to a gunfight. Given a wide variety of reasons it can be seen as natural that two people might engage in conflict. History is full of conflicts – large and small – centered on resources, honor, perception, and desires. If we imagine a time of less complexity we can easily see two men from nameless tribes fighting over the remnants of a carcass during a drought. The need to feed one’s family and comrades takes precedent. There is a seemingly natural order of progression with human beings when life and limb are on the line. It follows a simple decision making equation
1. What is at stake?
2. How much is available?
3. Who deserves or needs it?
4. How to distribute the resource after it is under your control?
Over time this simple foundational schematic has expanded in complexity right along with the human world that was built upon it.
I. AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
Despite an innumerable amount of literature on the topic of human morality or utopian ideals, both religious and secular, we all inhabit a world brimming with clashes. These clashes are focused on race, politics, government, economics and ideologies. It is not without ample reason that any person could look at the world and global history and want for a viable explanation. History as presented is a collection of big personalities, heroes, villains, and outstanding miscellany. One of the most important features of history is wars, their causes, their execution and their results. The victors of course write history, and the histories we are in possession of are largely tales of conquest, control and preservation of one culture’s beliefs over the other. Said simply, human history is a history of conflict. What is the cause of humanity’s history of warfare, genocide and prejudice against other men and women? Is empathy real? I’d argue that in many ways the conflicts of the New World are based in its creation and a seemingly unacknowledged fact of human existence that ‘natural’ human bonds are tribal. They are not in fact global in scope or even as broad as a state such as California.
Technically speaking all notions that plug one’s beliefs into a massive network of similarly inclined peoples is not ‘real.’ Benedict Anderson called these constructs “imagined communities.” Anderson was referring to nations in his work, It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion… …Finally, it is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings. (49 – 50) The argument I will make in this paper is that the entire New World is an imagined community . While being suspended in air by ideologies and various cultural beliefs, the foundation of the New World is starkly tribal. In the end people will fight and die, for and with, the people they consider to be their family or relatives. While idealism throughout human history has succeeded in people joining ever-larger imagined communities, the last stage being ‘citizen of the world,’ it is unable to sever the ties that actually bind: relation and proximity.
II. VIRTUAL REALITY IN REAL LIFE
Human civilization has multiple starting points through history, both in time and location. While globalized commerce and syncretic culture have existed in what many would call the primitive past (Greek trade with Egypt, era of the China’s Silk Road, and the age of European invasions and colonization’s) the New World is a place of a different sort. For convenience sake the New World’s birthdate in this essay will be the year 1500. At this point we’ve had expeditions into territories previously unseen by European man, interactions with the native inhabitants and even examples of cultures never before seen physically in Europe making their appearance. On the global stage at that time there were aristocratic Kingdoms, the Church, mercantile and feudalist political systems, hunter-gather cultures and smaller sects of tribes and nations sometimes operating under a banner (Native American tribes, Bantu’s, Ethiopia, Aztec Empire). As time went on and European colonialism began to reshape the world one by one we see wars of survival between human beings over language, culture, religion, physical resources, and life itself. Via the deep and wide swathes of institutions, practices, and world view that places like England, Spain, France, the Baltics, and Germany have spread across the world, the literature, ethos and soul of Europe has effectively been superimposed on top of global antiquity giving us the New World we inhabit today. Naturally this statement is not all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be. It serves as the jumping off point for the focus of this essay.
III. THE EARLY STATES OF NATIONS
The history of nation states and nationalism is only a couple of hundred years old. That development was preceded the cementing of perceived racial differences between men in literature, “science,” laws and in physical reality. Prior the New World a majority of the focus one had upon their “social avatar” was confined to religion. Passages delineating people as Catholics or Christian, Muslims or pagan, are replete before the 16th and 17th centuries. These labels are unabashedly signifiers of difference and serve to “other” people not a part of your tribe. As western religions were adopted and underwent influence from its new adherents more and more sects and tribes within the nation state formed. In the end the nation state served the purpose of sharpening the conflicts within various groups into a point called, ‘nationality’ by which the conflicts could be amalgamated into a new identity and continued. Racism as a concept is codified in the 16th -17th century using ideas from both the Enlightenment and Renaissance in Europe to create a myriad of social classes and fields of “study,” which were used to bolster the imperialist desires of their creators in Europe.
IV. REALITY: WHEN MAGICAL THINKING RUNS OUT OF STEAM
Predicting the actions of any individual person is nearly impossible. However the actions of large groups of people, especially those operating under some form of ideology or nationalism, offer themselves more readily to prediction. People in every nation on earth know the power of mob mentality. Whether it be a fully formed armed revolution, a drastic change in social mores, or pogrom, the mechanisms are similar. The actions of a collective mob are most times not ‘ordained’ by any power but rather ‘granted’ from within the body politic by a combination of the social environment and ideological priming. In Unpopular Essays, Bertrand Russell writes,
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
The mob that arises to alter a particular environment is merely the resurfacing of a form of the base’s tribalism. Mob uprisings traditionally are seen to arise when the circumstances have moved so far in one direction or the other that aggrieved peoples believe they have no other course of action other than changing the regime in power. Referring back to the original decision tree the mob has decided that their freedom or economic well being is at stake. The reason being the some group, invader or fellow native, that has caused their distress.
1. What is at stake?
2. How much is available?
3. Who deserves or needs it?
4. How to distribute the resource after it is under your control?
There are a few ways that humanity’s base tribalism comes to the surface and they all center on adversity. If your brother or mother is starving do you feed them before your cousin? Where does a recent acquaintance rate compared to a life long friend when life and limb are on the line? History seems to show us that divisions of ethnic, social or religious groups become enlarged and scapegoated as the resources in an area are running low. It must be noted that scarcity many times is merely an invention of those in power but the implication of scarcity can be enough to trigger the mechanisms which lead populations to internal conflicts.
“Sheep only need a single flock, but people need two: one to belong to and make them feel comfortable, and another to blame all of society’s problems on.” ― James Rozoff
Anderson, Benedict Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983)
(This is a short post just to jot down some thoughts about. It may be revised and updated in the future.)
It’s quite possible that our infatuation with the US presidential election is in part due to something we’re not discussing. What does the passing of a Torch to the New Generation actually look like? This ‘world,’ is the product of the efforts of the Baby Boomer generation and their parents. Out of the kiln of world conflicts this cohort attempted to, and succeeded in, creating a new world. At the pivot of the world has been nation of America, and at its helm are Baby Boomers of many different stripes. Yet, what that also displays is a dearth of new energy into the artifices which we rely on to run this nation. The Boomers have been somewhat greedy, for a lack of a better term. Most positions of real power in this country are held by people in their late 50s and 60s, as the median age of the country stands at less than 40 years old. It begs the question if ageism, or attempts to alter the social structure by focusing on age may not become a focus of social activism in the future.
The average age in Congress stands in the low 60s, the average age of CEOs is similar. Much of the collective power to run this world still remains firmly in the hands of the Boomers. Hillary Clinton is 68, Donald Trump is 70, and Bernie Sanders was 74. As we discuss the mental health of Mr. Trump, and the possible physical issues with Hillary, what are we actually alluding to? We are alluding to the possibility of one of the either becoming physically or mentally incapacitated, or expiring, while in office. This somber event would initiate a succession of leadership, which would take place according to standing law, as is the purpose of a Democracy. However, the issue at hand can be seen as referring to the passing of the torch to the generation after the Baby Boomers. As sobering as a thought as it may be, people alive today will witness a rare event, an actual generational ‘hand-off’ of the globe. The baby boomers will slowly dwindle down before our very eyes until it is the generation of their children who are in the ruling seats. How would that world look?
In addition, the revolving door of CEOs, politicians, presidents and judges are made from this Boomer cohort and in many cases have not “allowed” younger people to gain experience in leadership through traditional modes of power. Most of the young stars of the world have been entrepreneurs in the tech spaces and other avenues considered outside of the historic power structures. As we have seen during this campaign, issues such as police activity, patriotism, racism and the economy, continue to polarize America across age ranges. So there is a possibility this ‘shift’ in culture that most expect to come, never materializes, or in the end isn’t as different as expected. And more importantly as this nation moves deeper into the ‘Social Justice Era,’ its most important apparatus, the Supreme Court, has a media age of 67 with lifetime appointments.
There is an old proverb, “May you live in interesting times…,” I for one see the future of America as one of the most interesting times we’ve ever lived in.
As President Obama nears the end of his presidency, many of the usual issues are at the forefront of national discussion. Topics such as war, civil rights, and the economy, remain the major fossil fuels for discourse in this country. While much of the media discussion is focused upon society and the election, the “economy,” as an idea and a reality are probably more important to the average American. Remarkably, one can find pundits and polis alike who are touting an economy recovery for the everyday American based upon metrics such as the level of the S&P 500, median incomes, and other statistics released predominately from governmental institutions. (CBO, BLS, et al.) They are all complicit in one of the many media scams concurrently running in our fine republic. Pundits parrot the idea that if the market is trending up, it is a sign to consumers that economic prospects are bright and will spur them to invest more.
This is a bit of play on terminology that can be missed by the lay person. The consumer is not who you think it is. This statement refers to merely a notion, held in economic circles, that rising prices and a bull market is a sign to investors, business owners and the purchasers of securities, ie customers, that the future looks for financial investments, which spurs them to invest more. The so called customers are often the central banks who promote the idea of rising markets benefiting most people by the very nature. Yet in reality, rising prices to an average American, or any person, is rarely a good thing. Juxtapose that against our nation’s historically stagnant wages, drop in home ownership, crippling student and credit card debt and its most certainly a bad thing. In many ways we are all sitting in deck chairs on the S.S. 401(k) Titanic, but we don’t have any other options.
The 1980s saw the Federal laws restructured resulting in most of the population being loving herded into the 401(k) system of retirement planning. 401(k)’s differ from their pension plan predecessors in a few ways, the most important being varied returns and potential for loss, versus the fixed scheduled payments of a pension system. For the bulk of the population the 1980s saw the end of jobs with pensions in the private sector.
By the mid-1990s pensions were largely a thing of the past. Due to the influx of new investors via the 401(k) adoption by major corporations, the indicies rose to reflect both the in surge of money into the markets but the economic performance of America at the time. Those of us who only have a 401(k) are exposed to movements of the markets. Those people who were promised pensions have it made, right? Not exactly.
Pension are promises that must eventually paid out. However a corporation would be doing itself and its shareholders a disservice to fully fund pension liabilities before they are due. One of the greatest financial threats in the near to medium future is unfunded pension liabilities of municipalities, states, and corporations. Those monies are due to Baby Boomers and subsequently almost everyone reading this piece. (By relation or direct receipt). These pensions are invested in securities which trade on various global stock exchanges. In order to pay out these sums in the future in the amounts promised they need a continually rise market. The math at present shows large gaps in funding for massive pension/retirement funds such as CALPERs which should be unsettling for the millions of people who most likely have planned to receive all they’re owed. Our futures are tied to the market even if we don’t know it. The question is, does the market being “up” during a presidency or a period of time actually benefit large groups of people? Is the market representative of the economy?
In truth the alleged connection between the markets and the actual economy are far overblown, and is in fact a ploy to shape support for the FED’s money debasing excesses. Financial markets rising is in no way a direct correlation to positive real economic activity. Institutional investors, corporations, and central banks are the oil of our financial markets. Their large scale market decisions are due to a variety of factors, many of which have to do with financialization and profit seeking. Not necessarily cogent investments made on detailed research and proof in the actual economy to warrant a valuation.
In order to clarify this, we’ll work our way through a few statistics.
“According to a study from Fidelity Investments, the average retirement savings for 11.8 million 401k balances in America is just $74,600. In most cases, that is maybe the equivalent to a year’s salary. Certainly not enough to keep you in the life to which you have been accustomed for the twenty five or so years you will likely have left to live.”
“The median household income in America is $59,039 and around 56% of people living in America has less than $10,000 saved for retirement.”
If someone has the choice to buy individual stocks in their 401k it is guaranteed they are being ‘passed through’ some sort of price and fee adjustment. Any mutual funds you’re invested in are managed by professionals who have to find returns in an increasingly difficult environment. You lack the advantage of day trading or churning your own account to skim profits, due to rules of ERISA and your individual firms. In many ways the average American with a 401k is only near enough to the market to feel its burn, and they aren’t even the majority:
“53 percent of Americans have no money in the stock market, including retirement accounts. 62 percent of all US wealth owned by top 5 percent.”
The market works as an price, not value, aggregating mechanism. Prices are bid “up” as part of how the system is structured. There is an assumption that a “rational investor” will sell if they can make a profit, can do so to achieve flexibility or to raise cash. The latter two examples can include taking a loss on the exchange. Generally we all would like to make money on an investment we entered for that reason. However this very mechanism kills the average 401k participant who doesn’t have access to hedging tools or the ability to negotiate bid prices. A loss of 5% of your portfolio will not be recouped by a 5% gain. The reason being the 5% you made back is based upon your current balance or the current stock price (which had dropped by said 5%.) Therefore we see the average investor, time and time, again double down on losses or attempt to catch trends to late because their actual ability to earn alpha while in a 401k is hampered by their plan rules.
The financial markets can move up due to variety of factors including, trading volume, the closing of short positions, rumors, geopolitical turmoil, or the simple fact that the most traded stock on the index, Bank of America, has a big swing day. Literally none of those factors directly plug into the everyday American’s personal life and wealth. To make reality worse, the historically low savings rates the globe has been forced into by profligate central bank policies is the result of those same banks in turn have lowered rates in order to stave off the mounds of government debt all over the world from exploding. The savings rate that central banks have dropped to zero, in order to make their payments on the interest smaller, is the same rate you receive interest in your savings accounts. So while you’re not truly reaping the gains of the market, you do feel the repercussions of actions committed by financial monks in the ivory towers of finance.
The market, economy and consumer are all economic theoretical concepts that can’t truly be outlined or depended on to function as the books like to state. Greater knowledge of the reality of the economic system is extremely important as we make our political decisions and future plans. We are all staring down the barrel of a generational hand-off the scope of which the modern world still isn’t prepared for. Within the next 20-30 years the Boomers will literally leave the earth. Their assets will be liquidated or inherited and those who have entitlements owed to them will supposedly collect. The economic shift based upon these mortality events alone have the potential to rock our entire geopolitical edifice. The actions of the FED, the IMF, and ECB, portend they will continue to Lionel Messi the can down the road until it slams into a wall of protestors at the gates of power.
Unless America finds the political will to deal with government spending, corporate profiteering and the health of the market its future is tired to, the joke may be on us.
How the stock market is a sham for the working and middle class. 53 percent of Americans have no money in the stock market, including retirement accounts. 62 percent of all US wealth owned by top 5 percent.
In each successive generation a society is seemingly predisposed to claim that they are the zenith or apex of one pressing dilemma or another. Social phenomena move in cyclical waves throughout history as a society ages and deals with its fears, desires and responsibilities. While giving due credit to the limited perspective that any person can have, it still appears that the U.S. is experiencing a low point for Intellectualism and the desire for rational debate.
This comes at a time when a dizzying array of ideologies and ideas are rapidly zipping to and fro between academia, cyber space and the average citizen. Over specialization in the past 2-3 decades within academe has lead to the production of people razor sharp in a slim area of concentration. A lack of perspective haunts the halls of our minds. A unacknowledged hint of totalitarian leanings flavor the actions of factions from all side. We hurtle ever faster towards a possibly apocalyptic cultural crescendo largely created in the cauldrons of cognitive distance over the two centuries. Ideas of what it means to be a nation-state or corporation jostle with the forces advocating on behalf of more empathy and collectivism. All the while the idea makers and media moguls who influence and create most of the generally accepted public discourse shift their productions back and forth along the various lines of political thought looking for a position which enables them to control the most powerful positions while controlling the opposition as well.
“…actors can more easily assimilate into their established image of another actor information contradiction that image if the information is transmitted and considered bit by bit than if it comes all at once. This is the basis for the use of conditioning as a deception technique…”
-(CIA) research paper: Deception Maxims- Fact and Folklore,
This site aims to serve as place to catalog and discuss ideas and most importantly perspective on ideas. The intellectual genealogies of thought are more important now than ever as Internet search engines the gamification of news and education, and blatant lies from corporations and governments threaten, more now than ever, to alter and erase the real history of many peoples. In addition, we shall attempt to use a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary lens in our discussions and analysis of topics. This is purposely done to push back against the calcified patterns of thought that have been inherited due to decades of over specialization and singular foci by the academics and lay people a like.
The goal is the expansion of vision.