Hey Dave, very long time no see. We met back in Seattle in the 80s when the Center for Democratic Renewal was holding Hidden Hate Crime hearings in the U District. I was a psychology undergrad back then. Max, I've never met you, but I've become a fan of your killer videos. I was doing that kind of thing back in the day, only with crappy cassette recorders. I'm so jealous!
Now I'm a grad school dropout, convenience store cashier, house-painter extraordinaire, and Zen poet. I've been studying the mythological aspects of empathically-mediated altruism for some time now.
Joseph Campbell lectured for years at the Foreign Service Institute, beginning in 1956. Someone is using the power of myth to power weapons-grade propaganda in a process of manufacturing consent I call myth-jacking.
It's a synthesis of Klein's Shock Doctrine, radical behaviorism, military kinetics, and comparative mythology. This is how we do it!
I bow in your virtual directions,
Dave "knowbuddhau" Parker
Oak Harbor, WA
ALICE WALKER: "Well, I think it's it's quite a wonderful occasion. uh I would've liked, of course, a bit more feminine uh in the prayers, I would like a mother-father god rather than a patriarchal, only male god, um but I think that that is um something that we can live with, since we've gotten this wonderful new administration which I think can listen, it may not change things as much as we would like, but um I think we would have a hearing, which is would be very different than what we have suffered for the last eight years." [Democracy Now! Tuesday January 20, 2009 01:43:25-01:44:00 http://www.democracynow.org/pages/inauguration]
The Torturers are a Patriarchal Cult of Kinetic Power
And Cultist Warren invoked the ultimate terrorist, the torturer-in-chief. His "prayer" was a nationalist sermon. Sadly, Obama also sounded the themes of this patriarchal cult of kinetic power.ALAN WATTS: A society of ‘the saved,’ you see, necessarily requires outside it a society of ‘the not saved.’ Because if there is not that contrast, you don't know that you belong to the in group. And in this way all social groups with claims to some kind of special status must necessarily create aliens and foreigners. And St. Thomas Aquinas let the cat out of the bag one day when he said that the saints, in heaven, would occasionally peer over the battlements into Hell and praise god for the just punishment visited upon evil-doers.
Because our image of god, and the image, don't forget, has far more emotional power than any amount of theology and abstractions. It is "Our Father" which really influences us, as a conception of god, not "necessary being," or Tillich's decontaminated name for god, "the ground of being," or Professor Northrup's uh "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum," [laughter], uh these aren't very moving. even though subtle theologians prefer this kind of thing. and will tell us that when we call god the father, we don't have to believe literally that there is a cosmic male parent and still less that he has a white beard, and sits on a golden throne above the stars. Nobody no serious theologian ever believed in such a god.
But nevertheless the imagery affects us because the image of the monotheistic god of the West is political. The title King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the title of the emperors of ancient Persia. The image of god is based on: the pharaohs; the great rulers of the Chaldeans; and the Kings of Persia. And so this is the political governor and lord of the universe, who keeps order and who rules it, from, metaphorically speaking, above. So anyone who would say, I am god, is therefore implying that he's in charge of everything that he knows all about it and therefore everybody else ought to bow down and worship him. But in India if you say, I am god, they say, Congratulations, at last you've found out. Because the image is quite different.
See our image of the world is that the world is a construct. And it's very natural for a child to say to its mother, how was I made? As if you know you were somehow put together but that goes back to the imagery of Genesis where god creates Adam and makes a clay figurine. And then he breathes the breath of life into the nostrils of this figurine and it comes to life. So there is the fundamental supposition that even underlies the development of Western science: that everything has been made and then someone knows how it was made. And you can find out, because behind the universe there is an architect. This could be called, the Ceramic Model of the Universe.
Because there's a basic feeling that there are two things in existence: one is stuff, material, and the other is form. Now material, like clay, by itself, is stupid, it has no life in it--has no intelligence, and therefore for matter to assume orderly forms it requires that an external intelligence be introduced to shape it. And therefore with that deeply embedded in our common sense it's very difficult for people to realize that this image is not necessarily for a description of the world at all, in fact the concept of stuff is completely absent from modern physics, which studies the universe purely in terms of pattern and structure.
The monotheistic god of the West is a tyrant who forces inert, stupid, god-forsaken dirt into order from the absolute outside. We do the same with everything outside our skin; with drugs and medicines--and potent ideologies-- we do the same on the inside, too.
We are free, sure: free to follow his dictates to the letter, any discrepancy being reason enough to cast us into burning hell forever unless we beg convincingly for mercy.
This is the mythology of the torturers.RICK WARREN: Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can't see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story.
The Scripture tells us Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
I [a man,] humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS) [a man], who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Myths shape the cosmos in which we enact the theater of life. We use our war machines to raze our enemies to the negative second power, simultaneously exalting ourselves to demi-god status—we’ve turned deus ex machina into “Shock & Awe.”
In his address, Obama invoked another political god: our Father in Washington, General George Washington, neatly conflating God, Washington, and himself, drawing on divine authority for political power.
So much for separation of church and state!
BARACK OBAMA: We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you,” for we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those—to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow, to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect, for the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them, not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.
And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all, for as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends—honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but, rather, seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by nine campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.
At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: “Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.”
America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/21/president_obama_calls_for_new_era
Here are two examples of myth-jacking from the Foreign Service Institute Web site. I wonder what the report on US looks like? That's why I'm writing to you two: if you were tasked with myth-jacking US to war, how would you do it? From McCarthy to McCain, I'm tellin' ya, brothers, this is how we do it. The first paragraph is perfectly Campbellian.
POLITICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IRANIAN URBAN MIDDLE CLASS AND IMPLICATIONS THEREOF FOR U.S. POLICYAttachment 2/ /6/Confidential, Drafted by Bowling on March 20.
A meaningful definition of the Iranian urban middle class must be sociological and historical, not primarily economic. The urban middle class constitutes that element of Iranian society in which there are present two cultures, two value systems, the traditional and the Western. Those elements of society in which the traditional value systems are overwhelmingly predominant are excluded, i.e., the peasantry, both in the countryside and recently arrived in the large cities, most landlords, older religious leaders, and the great majority of small merchants and artisans outside the capital. Similarly excluded is the very small minority of thoroughly Westernized individuals, in high levels of society, who are really strangers in their own society.
The political middle class must be identified with the process of cultural clash.
Good and Evil
There are certain key concepts of the world which are born and bred into Iranians which unfortunately tend to sharpen the terrible psychological dilemma outlined above. They are rooted in Iranian history, and can be traced back to Zoroastrianism and picked up again in the Iranian interpretation of Shi'a Islam.
Persians tend to believe in the all-pervasive presence of a powerful force of evil in the world. All actions, all motives, are divisible into good and evil. It is probable at any time in history that the forces of evil control the world, while the good man, like the hidden Imam, is forced to hide and remain inconspicuous, to lie and pretend if need be, until the moment arrives for battle. Thus, most Persians cannot ascribe political actions with which they disagree to error, or to grant good intentions to the author of such actions. The term "political compromise" cannot be translated into colloquial Persian without a connotation of "sell-out".
Two results follow from this--first, since the forces of evil are strong and organized, actions by others which one disapproves are not isolated, they are linked together in a mesh of intertwining conspiracies with an overall evil motive behind them. Second, public and private morality are inextricably confused--no politician with a reprehensible private life can be other than evil in his public actions, and no saintly man can be really wrong in his public life.
As a corollary of the above, Persians tend to follow blindly a man who has convinced them that he is on the side of right, without examining political issues critically. Since members of the urban middle class have deep aggressive drives against the traditional ruling class and the Westerner, it is natural to associate a saintly leader with opposition to these two forces. All the ingredients are present for what we would call demagogic politics directed against them as scapegoats and as evil forces. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/kennedyjf/xvii/17704.htm
U.S. Policy in the Horn of Africa[...]
James Swan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
4th International Conference on Ethiopian Development Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
August 4, 2007
The Eritrean Government has fabricated a national mythology by demonizing neighboring Ethiopia, for the central purpose of garnering complete compliance with his autocratic domestic policies. By channeling Eritreans' patriotism into hostility toward Ethiopia, the government ensures that [it] can rule as it likes, without public opposition. Democracy and economic opportunity remain purely theoretical concepts for the people of Eritrea. [http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/90573.htm]