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POWER X

Another Division of NoMoreFakeNews.com

POWER X is your capacity to dream without limits and fulfill those dreams through your imagination.

...PLUS WORK. PLUS SKILL.

THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION IS TO PROVOKE AND INSPIRE THE EFFORT. IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S A MASSIVE PROVOCATION.

This, like the nomorefakenews home page, is a daily scroll. Like no other, I assure you. It consists of quotes from authors, art reviews, pieces from my own book-in-development, NOTES TOWARD POWER AND FREEDOM, and...many other things. Who can say? And so, here we go.


MONDAY, JULY 2. WELCOME TO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

ADD: As to THE GOD QUESTION, note well: There is nothing in this section which implies that faith in God is impossible. If imagination is infinite, and it is, and if the creative power of the individual is potentially infinite, and it is, well...there are many infinities. God can reside in any kind of infinity you believe in. Or you can posit Him as outside all infinities.

ADD: On the other hand, if you don't believe in God, then nothing about that position is excluded either on these pages.

ADD: The point is, no religious scripture, read carefully, and no materialist tract have ever put a limit on the power of the human being. That power is always up for grabs.

ADD: I'm talking about the power to achieve.

ADD: Achievement has no ceiling.

ADD: All the garble about self-esteem and self-denial and searching for the inner child within...and much other garble along these lines omits one very important fact: WHEN YOU ARE ACHIEVING WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, when you are on that super-highway, there is no lack of self-esteem. That problem vanishes.

ADD: Conversely, no matter how comfortable you become with yourself, if you don't know something you really want, and if you don't pursue that with all the imagination, skill, will power and concentration you can, then you will always feel unsatisfied--and the level of that dissatisfaction will not be the restless, searching, productive kind...it will be the roiling, gargling, swampy kind.

ADD: Without a goal, without a pursuit of that goal, how would you know you are winning or succeeding or getting anywhere?

ADD: And when I say goal, I mean something you REALLY want. I don't mean some second-hand piece of motivation that is glued and pasted on.

ADD: A goal can be brimming with potential $$$, or it can be small and threadbare, but if it isn't something you really want, it won't really satisfy you.

ADD: My own conclusion is this: Most people say, when in doubt, punt. I say, when in doubt, get bigger.

ADD: The dream always becomes larger.

ADD: No person is his own fear.

ADD: And with that, the ball is rolling. Much more to come. MUCH.

MONDAY, JULY 2. WHY write about art?

ADD: Art is imagination solidified. Being that, it points the way. To what? To the use of one's own imagination to create something more extraordinary, more adventurous.

ADD: But isn't ANY creation of the imagination equal to any other creation of the imagination?

ADD: Let's see. If you could create a mountain or a small pile of dirt, would you say, "I don't care which one."

ADD: So an encounter with art might in some way be contagious? Yes, if you can get past the idea that all art is merely entertainment, of no true value at all.

ADD: And some art might actually swallow you up in such a sea of emotion, contemplation, and uplift that you feel a new engine of force driving YOU to create beyond your old boundaries. And then you might feel more ALIVE.

ADD: The fantasy novel has fallen on hard times. I don't mean in the commercial sense. There are more 700-page blockbusters than ever. They seem to spring full-blown out of the mind of some balloon dancer. But is there any STYLE in the actual writing? Or is it just games in tunnels and castles, and excruciating maps and family trees whose sheer detail leaves you reaching for the pillow?

ADD: You might try Jeffrey Ford. His trilogy, The Physiognomy, Memoranda, and The Beyond.

ADD: The hero is Cley, a man who has been well taught the specious art of making character and legal judgments about persons from the details of their bodies. Through the three books, he wanders through realms of the strange and the bewildering. And he comes to see his delusions.

ADD: The writing is at once clinical and clean and poetic. It off-loads the gothic weight of fake romanticism and goes for the jugular--sometimes literally.

ADD: When I was 11, I read the Martian Chronicles on a bus ride from Niagara Falls to New York City. Ray Bradbury. Recently I picked up the book again. It still has sentences welling up from the kind of earnest romanticism you can't find translated in any of the vaunted science fiction movies of our time.

ADD: Here's a quick sample from Ford. The Beyond: "...I, Misrix, now one-quarter proud monster and three-quarters sniveling man, was born there. If I had not been kidnapped into the world of men, trapped by their language, and logic, I might still be the demon I once was, swooping down from a tree perch with perfect, unquestioning grace to disembowel a white deer. A man of great genius...changed all that, and now, though I still have wings, claws, fur, horns, and the eyes of a serpent, I sip tea from a china cup, eat nothing but plant meat, and am moved to tears by sheets of paper covered with wiggles of ink that tell a story about the death of love or a hero fallen in his quest."

TUESDAY, JULY 3. Most modern romantic classical music falls flat on its face.

ADD: Yet, if the true romantic spirit could be embodied in a modern symphony or concerto, without being smarmy and thick and goofy, without sounding like the score for another mindless movie or an ad for life insurance...

ADD: There are a few pieces. And they sweep you up to such a degree that life itself seems magnified. Magnified now. And possibilities shatter the old pattern of routine, of drudgery.

ADD: Here is one. Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto. But you must ignore all versions except the Leonard Bernstein-Isaac Stern, now re-issued on Sony.

ADD: Stern and Bernstein are unstoppable. And Bernstein gives Barber a life he never had, despite the fact that the two B-men didn't get along very well.

ADD: Turn the volume fairly high on this one.

ADD: The Violin Concerto makes Barber's signature piece, the Adagio for Strings, seem like a vapid funeral backgrounder.

ADD: We tend to believe that there are no more romantic themes, no more romantic musical themes to be invented. It's all been done. All the variations have been rung. All the possible 16-measure lines have been stated and re-stated and trampled to death.

ADD: Barber proves everyone wrong. Gloriously. Triumphantly. This is new, even now.

ADD: His Concerto was first performed on February 7, 1941.

ADD: Isaac Stern cannot be overpraised. He is the master of technique who has never lost his overwhelming passion. If there are benevolent and creative races living out in space, he is the time capsule to blow their minds and make them rush to our side in friendship.

ADD: The late director John Cassavetes said, "There are no great films. Only great moments." Barber's Violin Concerto contains moments that put you in the sky and in the thunder and in the spring earth. If you don't feel the urge to weep at least once, play the concerto again and again, until you do weep. Sooner or later you will. And what you'll find out then? I don't know. But you'll find out something. And you'll remember you thought it was lost forever.

EARLY EDITION, WEDNESDAY, JULY 4. Before we go any further on this new scroll, there is one poisonous idea we have to dispose of: "The practice of magick is the work of Satan."

ADD: Spare me. First of all, my analysis is not about whether magick works. This is not about whether SOME groups have used magick as a front for Satanic practices (of course some groups have). Some groups have used boys' clubs as a front for Satanism. Does that mean all boys' clubs are really the devil's franchises?

ADD: The Vatican started this attack on the women it called witches. And on the alchemists. And on Galileo and Bruno and so on. The Vatican attacked anyone who offered an alternative way of looking at reality. (And of course we all know that Galileo was Mephisto in disguise. At night he spread his bat wings.)

ADD: The modern diluted version of this is an attack on "New Age magick" under the rubric of: "THESE PEOPLE SEEK A POWER THAT IS RESERVED FOR GOD. THEY SEEK TO OVERTHROW GOD AND SUBSTITUTE LUCIFER." Really? How about the power to harness water for electricity? How about the power to build a jet plane? How about the power to heal disease with nutrients? How about the power to machine the barrel of a rifle so that the bullet exits smoothly and with force? How about the power to look through a telescope at another galaxy?

ADD: Where does it say that the power to create a reality is Luciferian--because that is what magick amounts to, once you lose the odd-sounding word. The power to create a reality that was not there before.

ADD: In a study reported in the Journal for Scientific Exploration some years ago, a volunteer was able to influence the molecular distribution of water in a container. With his mind. Precise and sensitive measurements showed this. Was he exercising a power reserved for God? Afraid not.

ADD: We are looking at the historical remnant of a scam. A scam to limit the power of the individual.

ADD: Magick is just a word. Nothing about it implies any necessary connection to Satanic rituals or blood sacrifices or anything of the sort.

ADD: If I accepted the old Vatican formulation, I would have to say that Beethoven was a master Satanist, because he certainly did create power. Someone might reply, "But that's different. That's not like being able to look at a glass on a table and push it across the table with your mind."

ADD: To which I answer, "Here's the difference. Beethoven, now couched in comfortable history, doesn't scare you. But if you saw a man point his hand and make a plant jump out of the ground and say HOWDY you'd run screaming into the night. And that's your problem. And you call that problem THE DEVIL. But really it was just you being scared. Would you be scared if a person could levitate a tumor out of the body of your daughter and take away her cancer? Would you want the person to put that tumor back in there because 'the devil had made it happen?'"

ADD: I don't think so.

ADD: Am I saying I know people who levitate plants and tumors? No. I'm saying that Beethoven's symphonies are just as good. At least as good.

ADD: Let's not tiptoe around this issue. Because the imagination of the individual has no limits. It has no borders. It has no moral stricture to contain itself to embroidery and doilies. That stricture is what drives people slowly into the garbage heap. For various reasons, they think they are not supposed to create. That's just a self-destructive opinion.

ADD: If Michelangelo had decided to employ his talents building a vast monument to humankind or to the crows or the alchemists or to the women called witches, instead of concentrating on a particular church ceiling, he would have been slowly roasted with olive oil and peppers, and it would have been called the Will of God.

ADD: Sorry. No sale. No deal. No dice.

JULY 4. Happy 4th!

ADD: Here is a quote from a 20th-century American novel. A quite challenging quote. See if you can identify the novel. It shouldn't be too hard.

ADD: "The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man's body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive."

ADD: And this: "Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees."

ADD: These days, what passes for spiritual teaching seems, more and more, to emphasize the agreeing aspect. As if agreeing is some form of high art and implies a Oneness with the universe.

ADD: The universe is portrayed as the ultimate entity which one needs to harmonize himself with...and then all will be well. Since when?

ADD: Is acceptance the key?

ADD: Is acceptance the highest value which ensures that you will fulfill your deepest dreams?

ADD: Is this the thing we have all been subconsciously striving for?

ADD: Acceptance?

ADD: Is this the philosopher's stone?

ADD: IT IS NOT.

ADD: Acceptance is like a good night's sleep. If you can get it, it's good, because it recharges the batteries and it sets you up for the new day.

ADD: To fulfill your deepest dreams, you need to create what you imagine. That's obvious. To create you have to make a new reality come into being. One that was not there before.

ADD: That too is obvious, if you think about it.

ADD: Does this mean that creating is just a another way of saying "I'm aligning myself with the universe."

ADD: The meanings of the words tell the story. Create and align are not the same thing.

ADD: How about this? "We American colonists in the year 1776 will gain our freedom if we align ourselves with the current state of affairs. The King is what is real. The King is part of the universe and the universe is evolving, and if we just sit here and ALIGN, ACCEPT, AGREE, eventually the universe will absorb the King and move on to the next phase, which is freedom. We don't have to actually create a revolution."

ADD: Or: "In the year 2012, as several ancient prophecies predict, time itself will change and all history will end. We will move into another echelon. All the rules will change."

ADD: Such ideas are all around us.

ADD: But creating is an entirely different thing. And since it is, since it is in fact an opposite principle, you can consciously and with full purpose widen the limits of your own creating.

ADD: Does that sound old-fashioned? It isn't.

ADD: To create freedom on a new continent had many risks. One was this: Once freedom was achieved, what would they do with it? Sit in the middle of it, as if it were a high-class puddle, and absorb the benefits?

ADD: A subject for thought on the 4th of July.

THURSDAY, JULY 5. I have here the recent story of a boy diagnosed with ADHD. The boy's mother discovered he had a wheat allergy, and took him off all wheat products. It wasn't easy. Then she consulted with a nutritionist, who designed a supplement program. Then over the next three months the boy's grades improved and he slept better. He told her the school he was attending was full of distractions. She investigated and found that the classes were too large and out of control. She switched him to another school.

ADD: No more "ADHD." No drugs.

ADD: Over the years I've heard hundreds of stories like this. But in each case, something different was done. It wasn't one formula. But the absence of treating drugs was a common denominator.

ADD: Anybody want to do a book? Just hunt around and collect stories and publish them. Case histories. Go into the details. People will thank you for it. You can be sure I'll plug it on the site.

ADD: You could do a similar book on depression. There are lots of people out there who have cured themselves with non-drug solutions.

ADD: People always write and ask me about "solutions" to the world situation. Well, here's one. It's quite straightforward. Any takers?

THURSDAY, JULY 5. READER GETS IT RIGHT. The quotes from the novel yesterday? The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. One reader IDed the book and author.

FRIDAY, JULY 6. Encouraged by the correct answer on the quote from The Fountainhead, I proceed. Just testing the waters. Who is the poet who wrote this, and what was the poem? The prize? A free trip to Mars on the morning train.

ADD: Because I do not hope to turn again

Because I do not hope

Because I do not hope to turn

Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope

I no longer strive to strive toward such things

(Why should the aged eagle stretch his wings?)

Why should I mourn

The vanished power of the usual reign?

FRIDAY, JULY 6. TWO READERS GET IT RIGHT. The poem quoted from last night is Ash Wednesday, by TS Eliot. I'm happily surprised. I congratulate the winners. Their trip to Mars will take place soon, and they are instructed to look for faces carved in the rocks and other anomalies.

ADD: All right. Let's take it further. Just give me the name of the poet who penned these lines. "Only our love hath no decay;/ This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,/ Running it never runs from us away,/ But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day."

ADD: No fair just plugging in the lines to a web site and coming out with the answer. And oh yes, the lines are also to be READ.

ADD: Here are some lovely lines from Christopher Marlowe (1564-93). The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. "Come live with me and be my Love,/ And we will all the pleasures prove/ That hills and valleys, dales and fields,/ Or woods or steepy mountain yields."

WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 7-8. For most people, imagination is a spark that dies. They try it out for an hour, it seems to lead nowhere, and it is rejected along with a lot of other ideas.

ADD: One more thing for the garbage heap.

ADD: A toy that wore out fast.

ADD: That is why a lot of people shy away from art. It reminds them that the very imagination that created a riveting painting was the very thing they threw away.

ADD: Finding the way back home can be trying. But art is a place to start.

ADD: An afternoon of forced imprisonment in a museum is my personal recommendation. From room to room, looking at the paintings.

ADD: "Why should I?" "What good is it?" "What are these paintings about?" "What does this have to do with me?" "It's all junk." "It's all history." "How is this going to make me rich?"

ADD: Ignore the voices. Look at the paintings. Think about them. Walk inside them.

ADD: Find something there you like.

ADD: Then go to a bookstore, perhaps at the museum itself, and pore through the plates of paintings. Look for Piero della Francesca. There are several good books of his work.

ADD: The translucent universe of Piero.

ADD: Thought of as a painter's painter.

ADD: And don't dismiss the sudden moments of feeling, as you look at his work, that some greater harmony you had forgotten is now restored.

ADD: I know all this is cruel punishment, and why should one bother...but why not? Who knows? Maybe something greater is waiting.

WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 7-8. The subject of the imagination and its power is so poorly understood in our culture it's a wonder that we are still here at all.

ADD: The modern "version" of imagination seems to be, "Your thoughts and words create your reality. So be careful what you think or say."

ADD: This is sheer baloney. It breeds an atmosphere of caution and fear. No, the truth is, who cares what you think or say in an unguarded moment. It's irrelevant. Imagination is the prow of a very large ship, and it is the CONSCIOUS prelude to what you create.

ADD: Conscious. You consciously imagine what you want and then you consciously create it. That's a whole different story. But many people don't want to find out what they really want, and they don't want to risk actually creating THAT. So they settle for a perversion of Buddha's message. They shrink into a little box where they believe that a stray word or thought is their god and tyrant.

ADD: That's a dead-end street. It goes nowhere. It winds up in a weird befuddlement. It's a version of the old "Don't think of a pink elephant."

ADD: In my experience, the people I've run across who believe in that shrunken version of what imagination is NEVER GET WHAT THEY WANT. They are always dissatisfied. They are always stalling on the runway. They are picking through a graveyard of dead thoughts and trying to find one that seems to be a good and proper thought.

ADD: This is really an application of the bizarre rule, "Always be polite, no matter what." It's being polite and frightened of your own thoughts, and the ceiling on this is very low.

ADD: The real rule is, FIND OUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, ENVISION A CLEAR VIEW OF THAT, AND THEN GO AHEAD AND CREATE IT. THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS.

ADD: A culture based on that would be something to behold. And it's "REALLY WANT," NOT "SORT OF WANT." Not seem to want. Not supposed to want.

MONDAY, JULY 9. I once had a book in mind. It was called, THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. Subtitled: The Interview as a Form of 21st Century Therapy.

ADD: It wasn't really about therapy in the usual sense. I really meant: This is therapeutic in the widest sense.

ADD: I had noticed, in interviewing people for articles, that they changed after 4 or 5 hours of talking, especially if the article was about their own experiences.

ADD: The key was asking all sorts of questions, bringing out lots of details. It then occurred to me that if I interviewed a person about his life in general--everyone's life is interesting when you get into it far enough--there might be a good outcome.

ADD: So I tried it with a couple of people. The results were remarkable. So I tried it with a number of people. Same thing. A greater and renewed sense of being alive.

ADD: I wasn't trying to cure anything. I had no particular agenda. It was just a very long interview.

ADD: I wasn't trying to establish causes for any of the person's problems. So this wasn't therapy. I was really just trying to keep myself from being bored. Therefore, I jumped all over the place with my questions. And I took my cues, often, from the person's answers. He moved when he was 9? What was the trip like to the new house? Did you drive? Can you remember what the countryside looked like? Any damn thing. And since I like detail and image, I might ask, Well, what did those houses you passed look like? The person would tell me. Harmless interview. But something happened.

ADD: People like to talk about themselves and their experiences. Why not? And I would take the interview I wanted to. Your father went to jail? For how long? What were the charges? Did you ever visit him? When did he get out? Were you there when they released him? What did he do when he walked out of prison--what was the first thing he did?

ADD: Did you wear a tux at your wedding? Where did you get it? Harmless stuff. Who paid for the tux? Did your family like your girl friend the first time they met her? Did they fake it? What did they serve for supper? Did it taste good? Was it raining out?

ADD: Anything.

ADD: And sooner or later, something happened. The interviewee felt more alive. For real. And it wasn't just a brief flicker.

ADD: I'm not advising or recommending. But it does occur to me that if people started doing interviews of this kind--well, who knows? It's far more interesting than a lot of what passes for chit chat these days.

TUESDAY, JULY 10. Well, I saw AI, the film that is sort of sweeping the nation. It's not Kubrick, but not much is. It tries, like 2001, to graduate through a series of escalating episodes to a shattering climax. But unlike Kubrick, this way of telling a story is not coming off the press freshly minted and incredibly lucid. Instead there is a visual haze and a dark meshing of weird semi-visible machines that try to blend the episodes. They don't work. They obscure.

ADD: The boy, David, is directed with too much closed-box obsession. This kid resentfully wants his mommy and her love and he is programmed for exactly that...and when he gets it, it doesn't ring as the transformation of a robot into a human. Love does not seem to conquer all, which is the message of the film.

ADD: It's too bad, because AI IS an attempt to go beyond the bounds of ordinary story telling. It is an attempt to let the imagination go to wild places. And there are several stunning images. For example, the quick hit where David sits on the ledge of a half-sunken skyscraper and looks out over the gray water-logged city.

ADD: I don't want to be too harsh, because I admire any effort to surpass the usual Hollywood boundaries. And I would ordinarily say, better luck next time, but I don't think this is going to be a learning experience for the director. His Close Encounters is the film he should be studying to see where the next step is. The problem is, where are the great scripts going to come from? The writers are degenerating into mush, for the most part.

ADD: A suggestion. One that no one wants to take. Grab a great science fiction novel, like AE Van Vogt's World of Null-A, and just film it in perfect sequence, keeping all the dialogue, and don't cut in unnecessary special effects, and you would have a killer of a film. Film the novel. Achieve the mood through precise restrained sets and through excellent acting, and unleash that baby on the public. The budget would be low, and the profits would be surprising.

ADD: Hire a director like Lumet and tell him to do for science fiction what he did for police drama in Prince of the City. If you haven't seen Prince of the City, rent it. It's also episodic, but the scenes are like fine bones and the effect is extremely powerful.

ADD: The problem with AI is basically with the script, which sags in many places. It's really a second draft of what should have been five drafts.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11. I've been getting people's favorite science fiction films since I ran the piece on AI yesterday. Day the Earth Stood Still. Forbidden Planet. Close Encounters.

ADD: On my home page, I recommended the 1936 masterpiece, The Shape of Things to Come, directed by Alexander Korda. Sometimes just called Things to Come.

ADD: First of all, if art fails to move us, we can hang it up. We can put a Gone Fishing sign on the whole civilization and forget it. Art is what keeps the imagination alive. It gives us glimpses of what could be, might be, of what we ourselves can create if we widen our scope, if we decide that hair style and brand of beer are not truly the limit of human creation.

ADD: Things to Come builds a city of the future in black and white, and it's a thing to see. A world destroyed and a world rebuilt. The new world is very high-tech slavery, but with a promise of glory.

ADD: It's from a novel by HG Wells. 1933. Some say Wells was a political fascist, but his novels (read The Time Machine) explore ideas that have to do with slavery and freedom. Hope and despair.

ADD: Korda also directed another classic, Thief of Baghdad. You could do a lot worse than renting these two films. Baghdad is full of the kind of magic that thrills children and adults. It has the wild adventure of pulp science fiction without the excessively wooden characters.

ADD: If you've sworn off reading science fiction because the newer books don't seem to transport you into other realms, don't seem to engage your own thoughts and imagination, go back to the early AE Van Vogt novels and have a whack at them. They are are full of a strangeness that points up the fact that writers can present a highly individualistic view of realty. Years ago I met Van Vogt. He showed up with his two dogs, made charming conversation, and he was full of ambition even at his advanced age. Cantankerous, reserved, old-world, Hollywood, arrogant, very independent. An innovator down to his fingertips. An artist who had forged a place for himself in the world. Nothing mushy about him. A tough customer.

THURSDAY, JULY 12. Watch for a new book coming soon. It's called The Next Trillion, by Paul Zane Pilzer. Subtitled, "Why the wellness industry will exceed the $1 trillion health care (sickness) industry in the next ten years."

ADD: Here's a quote: "By the year 2010, an additional $1 trillion of the US economy will be devoted to 'wellness industry'--providing healthy people products to make them feel even healthier, look better, slow down the effects of aging, or to prevent diseases from developing in the first place."

ADD: And this: "No one really wants to be a customer of the sickness industry. Everyone wants to be customer of the wellness industry."

ADD: And this: "Most wellness industry sales did not exist only two decades ago. Today they already total approximately $200 billion in annual sales, about half the amount spent on US automobiles."

ADD: Looking for a business? Want to make money and do something worthwhile? Thinking of shifting your sights? Want to envision a dream and make it work? Here is very fertile territory.

FRIDAY, JULY 13. I've gotten a number of replies from my pieces on the film AI. Interesting, today's newsletter interview with Mel Winslow, ex-military man, rakes Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan over the coals as well. Winslow was blistering in his criticism. You can probably get under the wire if you subscribe now on the home page. We'll make sure you get today's issue.

ADD: Hollywood has an unerring way of making reality unreal even when it doesn't want to.

ADD: That gives unreality a bad name. But there are of course films which do, in fact, present reality in an unreal way and triumph. If you get what I mean.

ADD: In this vein, I recommend a 1957 classic directed by Orson Welles, A Touch of Evil. Welles also stars in it. This drama shows that the dark corners of experience can be uplifting.

ADD: Welles used Chuck Heston and Janet Leigh as foils. He let them do their usual turns in such a wacko setting that they stood out as a quite comic commentary on Hollywood itself. Only Welles would have thought of that.

ADD: At 24, when a lot of young men were still trying to figure out how to part their hair, he directed and starred in Citizen Kane. There has never been a debut like that in film. But apparently Citizen Randolph Hearst didn't like Welles' version of him, so Welles had a very tough time getting future work in Hollywood.

ADD: The opening sequence in Touch of Evil is the longest continuous tracking scene in film history, and legend has it that Welles did it that way--and in one take--because he didn't want the studio to cut it up in the editing room.

ADD: A talented photographer friend of mine saw the film for the first time on television. She came in half-way through and didn't know what it was. Her comment was, "Was that the movie where every frame looks like a great black and white photograph? Yep. It is. See it on the the biggest screen you can. And don't expect the usual Hollywood fare. The overlapping interrupting dialogue is a Welles trademark.

WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 14-15. OOOOO! Scary movie. If the brain is not the mind, then what is the mind made of? OOOOOOO! Scary.

ADD: Suppose the mind is made of......NOTHING?

ADD: Suppose the mind is YOU BEING ACTIVE WITH THAT THING CALLED THINKING OR THAT THING CALLED CREATING OR THAT THING CALLED IMAGINING?

ADD: Suppose the mind is you making an arrow into the future. By choice. By will. By your own power.

ADD: Suppose it's really that way. Suppose you are really free.

ADD: Suppose you have the power to launch yourself into the future.

ADD: Suppose you can do it.

ADD: Suppose the rest is all very thick baloney sold by a bad deli.

ADD: Suppose the answer to the koan, "What is the sound of one mind working?" is....NO SOUND AT ALL. Just the sound of space.

ADD: Suppose the results of mind are fantastic creations of every sort made by you. Boom, boom, boom. Bingo, bango, bongo.

WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 14-15. ON MY HOME PAGE, along the left column, you will see a listing for The Southern California Institute of Clinical Nutrition. I strongly suggest you visit it and hunt around.

ADD: It is run by my wife, Dr. Laura Thompson. Her clients have some fantastic stories to tell about their health changes. And now I'm doing a daily scroll of alternative health news on that site. Mostly ignored studies about the benefits of nutrition and other modalities.

ADD: The supplements that Dr. Thompson offers are tremendously high quality products. She does much research on this subject, because she knows that there can be a world of difference between several brands of the same nutrient.

ADD: Her books are packed full of vital health information. She specializes in brain nutrition, nutrition for kids, and natural hormone therapy for both men and women. But she covers many other areas as well.

ADD: She works with each client as an individual, having concluded that there is no single protocol that fits all.

ADD: So put her website on your daily list of sites to visit.

MONDAY, JULY 16. A book for you. I've mentioned it before and quoted from it on the home page. THE UNDERGROUND HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION, by John Taylor Gatto. Published by The Oxford Village Press, New York. ISBN # 0-945-70004-0. 212-529-9397 for orders by phone. I give all this info because the book may be hard to find in stores.

ADD: Aside from the startling history it presents, in showing how American education has sunk into its current swamp, it's the WRITING I admire. It has muscles. It has a passion that comes so obviously from the mind and guts of the author. That doesn't often happen these days, and the phenomenon is even more rare when the book is non-fiction.

ADD: Gatto is an American original. Like Eric Hoffer and Henry Miller, he is one of those men who has escaped the cubicles of security and the rewards of corporate America with his mind fully intact and his talent crackling. He doesn't just present facts (although there are miles of them in the book). He weaves them in a way that allows FREEDOM to breathe through.

ADD: As you read the book, you are also making a friend. Gatto himself. It's a very welcome feeling. Gatto describes the trench we are in, and then he's there too with us. He's not afraid to tell you what his research MEANS. He's like a Sugar Ray Robinson of education. He moves with great grace and authority, he sees the openings, and when he's ready he puts the man DOWN on the canvas.

ADD: This is an underground book. It doesn't spend all its time trolling for a wide undifferentiated audience. It aims directly at the minds of potential readers. It makes its own audience happen.

TUESDAY, JULY 17. Once upon a time, before television, there was a thing in America called READING OUT LOUD. That was quite a dinosaur.

ADD: I suggest you resurrect it.

ADD: Here is a SPIRITUAL EXERCISE for you.

ADD: Find a book of poems by Dylan Thomas, go to a quiet room, lock the door, turn off the phone, shut down your pager, and read the poem Fern Hill out loud. Just you. Alone, in the room.

ADD: Read it aloud five times from start to finish.

ADD: And then the next day, do it again. Five times.

ADD: And so on, for a week. Every day.

ADD: Don't read it in a monotone, as if the secret police might break in on you if they knew what you were doing. READ it. OUT LOUD. Give it some juice. As if you wrote it. As if it were your poem.

ADD: There are people who actually think this is greatest poem ever written in the English language.

ADD: Try it. And then write to me.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 18. Another book recommendation, which comes via a reader...and after seeing the author, David McCullough, on C-Span 2 over the weekend, I add my urging. The book is John Adams. It has been at number 1 on the NY Times best-seller list, which shows that Americans do, in fact, hunger for stories about REAL heroes.

ADD: If you happen to have $50 million or so, I suggest you buy up truckloads of these books and give them out to citizens all across the US.

ADD: Another great book (readers write all the time asking me for a booklist) is John Robbins' Reclaiming Our Health. Robbins blows a hole in the medical system that lets PLANETS in.

ADD: If you're a book hunter, try to find the series of volumes called DRAWINGS OF THE MASTERS. I believe there are 11 books in the series. I just purchased Italian Drawings (15th-19th centuries), for 8 bucks from a local second-hand store. I'm eyeing all the others on a high shelf in that store. The publisher is Shorewood. My Italian volume is copyright 1963. Libe of Congress catalog card number 63-19843. The plates are magnificent and numerous. Very little text. Looking at these drawings, you are at the birth of the exhilarating discovery of VOLUME...how to produce dimensional volume in the human figure on a flat page. It really quickens the pulse, even if you're not interested in painting or drawing.

THURSDAY, JULY 19. A rebel with a plan who also happens NOT to be a criminal can do nothing but good.

ADD: Good for himself and good for others.

ADD: If you were not a rebel, you wouldn't keep coming to this page.

ADD: So get a plan.

ADD: The juices of rebellion which do not fuel a project begin to back up and sour the whole person.

ADD: Those juices form a stagnant pool.

ADD: A rebel may be wise, but in the absence of action, that wisdom is simply growing dissatisfaction. It results in nothing. It seems to become an enemy of the person himself.

ADD: A rebel is born when he sees that the box called society is in some way a sham. At some moment, everyone becomes a rebel. But to accept that nothing can be done is to sign a treaty of surrender.

ADD: A rebel who surrenders is on his way to becoming a statue.

ADD: But a statue can be transformed at any moment. It is never too late.

ADD: A real rebel WORKS. He forwards a project, a plan. He makes an effort. He becomes ingenious. He doesn't think a frozen smile is the ultimate ideal.

FRIDAY, JULY 20. I am preparing a nomorefakenews special on medical research fraud, as defined in purely conventional med terms, based on published mainstream studies.

ADD: But in order for this to make sense, readers must be able to translate percents into fractions. You know, in order to perceive the true impact of the fraud.

ADD: So I want you to refresh your arithmetic skills.

ADD: Here is the following test. Translate the following percents into fractions: 26%, 32%, 58%, 6%. Fractions must be reduced to lowest terms. You must not use a calculator or a table. You must work by hand.

ADD: And to make it a bit harder, you must translate the following fractions into percents: 2/17, 3/11, 26/37. No cheating. No chewing gum. No Ritalin.

ADD: The first winner to email me with a sworn and notarized statement that he/she did not use a calculator or other bogus device, gets a free train trip to Mars. Winner means all answers correct.

ADD: Many moons ago, when I taught algebra to teenagers at a school in Connecticut, I found they couldn't do these problems. They were totally at sea. They couldn't take, say, a fraction like 3/13 and turn it into a percent and a decimal.

ADD: Of course, neither could I. I had to spend a couple of hours the night before this lesson refreshing my skills. And in the process, I realized I had never been taught the whole translating operation with clarity.

SATURDAY, JULY 21. Well, GD, RK, and MC all passed my little math test from yesterday with flying colors. 100%. Congrats. You will all be contacted soon about that train ride to Mars. I understand it takes 14 years, but if you pack a decent lunch, everything should be okay.

ADD: Here's an email from a reader of this Power X page. It made my day. It concerns my piece on The Rebel, and the page in general: "It's working. I am getting the message...Power X agitates me. I like it. I hate it. What if I decide to DO SOMETHING?????? Then the fire heats up for sure...I used to ASPIRE TO becoming a statue!!!!!!!!! Couldn't quite pull it off."

ADD: For a real rebel (who is not a criminal) dissatisfaction is a form of happiness.

ADD: That fact often slips under the public radar screen.

ADD: We are taught by ads that happiness is frothy and easy and natural and able to be bought for a few bucks and then a few more bucks...and if we don't have that happy thing there must be something wrong with us.

ADD: We are also led to believe that dissatisfaction is pathological. A symptom that needs to be cured, erased, wiped out like a germ.

ADD: The only 2 presidents in the last 40 years who projected even the slightest amount of dissatisfaction--whether it was real or not--were Kennedy and Reagan. And they were perhaps the most popular presidents during that whole period. Wonder why. Was it because they were tapping into that stormy well of dissatisfaction that lives in EVERYONE?

ADD: Opposition to the status quo is really like a good workout. It gets you into gear. It moves you into another realm. It suggests even better things to come.

ADD: Those who reject dissatisfaction are desperately trying to find a fur-lined box they can live in, and it's a losing search.

ADD: No institution of any society ever spent a cent on preparing and educating true rebels. That should tell you something.

ADD: In ancient cultures, if you had a dream at night, you automatically interpreted that dream so that it would fit into the prevailing myth-structure. That should tell you something.

ADD: It's a sneaky truth, but the rebel really has the high ground. He has the lever that can move the world.

SUNDAY, JULY 22. My pieces on The Rebel seem to be striking a nerve. That is good.

ADD: Einstein was a good example of a rebel.

ADD: He was deeply annoyed that the new physics of his time was suggesting that, at the most basic level, energy was BOTH a wave and a particle. That disturbed his sense that the universe should be coherent. He didn't like the idea that a seeming contradiction should be at the heart of the description of the universe.

ADD: So he consciously set out to destroy that double-headed theory.

ADD: His theories of special and general relativity were, in part, mounted to achieve that destruction. Of course, at the outset he had no math to justify his theories. It didn't exist. So he decided he would have to invent/discover such a mathematics.

ADD: He consciously worked from his own imagination, and he was determined to make a universe that would conform to that imagination. But he went further than that. He wanted the universe he "created" to be the real universe too.

ADD: What a huge undertaking!

ADD: What a rebellion.

ADD: And, to a surprising degree, he succeeded. He gave himself a universe that actually responded to physical experiments he conducted based on his theories. He invented a theory which could be confirmed by physical test cases.

ADD: "I want THIS universe. I'll make a theory that asserts that universe, and then I'll carry out experiments which confirm that my theory is correct."

ADD: A rebel with a cause.

ADD: The rebel says, I WANT X TO EXIST. I'LL CREATE X. I'LL PUT IT INTO THE WORLD. IT ISN'T THERE NOW, BUT I'LL CREATE IT. AND THEN THE WORLD WILL SEE IT IS THERE.

MONDAY, JULY 23. Imagine that a person can create all the sensations his body feels.

ADD: He can create them without having a body.

ADD: And also imagine that he can immediately change any sensation his body feels in response to life.

ADD: In which case, the so-called normal or average or unpleasant sensations his body feels are entirely changeable on the moment by him.

TUESDAY, JULY 24. A true rebel (who is not a criminal) does not wait for someone to tell him it is all right to launch a counteroffensive against entrenched fear and ignorance.

ADD: A rebel learns to overcome his own fear.

ADD: A rebel does not wait.

ADD: A rebel does not allow comfort to overtake his sense of what needs to be done.

ADD: He does not hold on to conventional ideas at the level of his being where action is born.

ADD: He does not feast on hope to such a degree that it makes him lethargic.

ADD: He does not refuse help.

ADD: A rebel gives help to those who are already on their way to exposing the crimes of the enslavers.

ADD: A rebel is not so paralyzed he refuses to turn fantasy into reality.

ADD: A rebel does not consider every feeling that bounces down the pipeline a signal ordering him to stop or start his action.

ADD: A rebel learns that by doing what he decides to do he will find NEW feelings.

ADD: A rebel courts the old and the new, the tested and the untested, and he courts them long enough to learn what he can learn from them. And what he so learns he uses to renew his action in the direction of changing reality.

ADD: A rebel makes his own newness.

ADD: A rebel finds that by inventing reality he can achieve victories.

ADD: A rebel finds he can discard old ideas. He is not so sentimental about old ideas that it forces him to walk the same path everyone else is walking.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 25. "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night." Edgar Allen Poe.

ADD: "One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves." Albert Camus, The Rebel.

ADD: "On the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence--through a curious transposition peculiar to our times--it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself." Camus, The Rebel.

ADD: Think about this as a perfect description of the medical cartel at work.

ADD: "Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being." Camus, The Rebel.

ADD: "What is a rebel? A man who says no." Camus, The Rebel.

ADD: "The theme of permanent revolution is thus carried into individual existence." Camus, The Rebel.

ADD: The true rebel is not a criminal. The true rebel builds new things.

ADD: The true rebel is involved with art.

ADD: The rebel learns how to accept what is and how to reject what is.

ADD: The rebel knows the difference between blind striking out and digging up the truth out of a sea of lies.

ADD: The rebel knows his value to the future, and more than that, the rebel knows his own intrinsic worth. Then, now, and forever.

ADD: The rebel is not someone with a can of beer and a Confederate flag. The rebel is not someone who wears a KKK hood. The rebel is not a social planner with a foundation grant. The rebel is not someone who believes that everyone should believe in his god.

ADD: The rebel is always learning more about freedom. The rebel rejects all forms of coercion.

THURSDAY, JULY 26. I keep getting emails about the rebel series of pieces, so I'm continuing.

ADD: A rebel does not accept defeat. Crashing into the ashes becomes somehow the occasion for a new offensive. A new spring offensive.

ADD: A rebel reaches out. Even after he has painted himself into a corner.

ADD: A rebel knows that his imagination is always there. It can never be destroyed. The destruction of imagination is impossible.

ADD: A rebel is, like a good fighter, always looking for openings.

ADD: A rebel will deliver the truth in whatever form he chooses.

ADD: A rebel does not waste his time asking for permission to oppose the villains.

ADD: A rebel does not conclude that wallowing in crap is more world-wise.

ADD: A rebel makes sure he is not being mindless and stupid.

ADD: A rebel does not accept what ANY group tells him merely because the group appears to be devoted to the Good.

ADD: A rebel does not reject power.

FRIDAY, JULY 27. The true rebel both attacks and creates.

ADD: The rebel is not trying to build a single world for everyone else. He is trying to build freedom.

ADD: The freedom from which individuals can build many worlds.

ADD: The rebel can intensely create his own word while still understanding that others build their own.

ADD: The rebel finds or creates a platform from which to act.

ADD: The rebel understands that acceptance can easily become passivity.

ADD: The rebel does not accept acceptance as the ultimate principle.

ADD: The rebel does not accept that the world is doomed to be what it is.

ADD: The rebel does not act within boundaries of stagnation.

ADD: The rebel destroys stagnation.

ADD: The rebel is not a fan of "the human condition."

ADD: The rebel changes the human condition.

SATURDAY, JULY 28. A rebel is not WAITING AROUND.

ADD: A rebel invents SOLUTIONS.

ADD: A rebel knows that a paucity of apparent solutions is a self-created mirage.

ADD: A rebel knows that what is wrong with the world is no excuse for doing nothing.

ADD: A rebel PROCEEDS.

ADD: A rebel doesn't waste his time trying to awaken the devotees of sleep.

ADD: A rebel doesn't get hung up on those who won't look at the truth.

ADD: A rebel doesn't use the intractability of others as an excuse for doing nothing.

ADD: A rebel doesn't spend his life on those who won't get out of the box.

ADD: A rebel recognizes the symptoms of those who utterly believe in authority.

ADD: A rebel recognizes those who put their faith and freedom in the hands of authorities.

ADD: A rebel does not cower before scientists with their pronouncements.

ADD: A rebel invents SOLUTIONS.

SUNDAY, JULY 29. A rebel has faith in freedom.

ADD: A rebel believes that freedom is an answer.

ADD: A rebel believes that if more people understood freedom, they would never have a child unless they were prepared to raise that child in freedom--which means, in part, that the parents DO NOT ABANDON THE CHILD TO FREEDOM, they teach freedom, they give freedom, they reveal freedom, they show that freedom is a living breathing thing--not a cop-out.

ADD: Freedom means not gouging someone else's freedom.

ADD: Freedom is life.

ADD: Freedom means respecting another's freedom.

ADD: Freedom is much more than trying to make a child a copy of the parent. Freedom means much more than passively letting a child destroy himself.

ADD: Freedom is the springboard. From freedom comes imagination and creation.

ADD: Sooner or later, a free child wants to learn. And when he does, he really learns.

Continued on Page 2 (July 30 - September 25)

 

News Reports and Commentary from John Rappoport

A Jon Rappoport Tribute Page

Power X Pages:

Page 1 (July 2 - July 29)
Page 2 (July 30 - September 25)

Comments & Links:

Frederick Mann: The Power X material on the left is by Jon Rappoport. We've reversed the sequence of the original material, so the version on the left is in date sequence with the earliest coming first.

More Jon Rappoport links:

I'm tremendously impressed with Jon Rappoport's insights, views, and writings. I also see individual power and freedom as key issues. If left to their own devices, the people currently controlling much of the world (certain bankers, politicians, lawyers, business and religious leaders), may create a Draconian future Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. would be proud of. The urgent antidote is for individuals to empower themselves -- and free themselves from the clutches of their would-be oppressors.

For some people, a good place to start the empowerment process is #TL10B: Escape from Helplessness and Move up to Power and #TL03B: Apathy, Psychological Inertia & Success.

*****
From 'WAKE UP AMERICA! - THE DYNAMICS OF HUMAN POWER':
Lao Tzu wrote the 'Tao Te Ching,' which has been translated many times. One such translation is by R.L. Wing: 'The Tao of Power.' Wing said:

"Lao Tzu believed that when people do not have a sense of power they become resentful and uncooperative. Individuals who do not feel personal power feel fear. They fear the unknown because they do not identify with the world outside of themselves; thus their psychic integration is severely damaged and they are a danger to their society. Tyrants do not feel power, they feel frustration and impotency. They wield force, but it is a form of aggression, not authority. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that individuals who dominate others are, in fact, enslaved by insecurity and are slowly and mysteriously hurt by their own actions. Lao Tzu attributed most of the world's ills to the fact that people do not feel powerful and independent."

Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher, wrote that "will to power" is the essence of human nature. In a book compiled from his notes after his death, 'The Will To Power,' is written:

"My idea is that every specific body strives to be master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: Thus they conspire together for power."
...

To feel that we are worthwhile individuals, to know that we exist, we have to express our power - feel that we are in control. This imperative to express our power and experience control is central to human behavior. Every human does something to express his or her power in the world. This power can be expressed creatively or destructively.

Humans first attempt to express their power creatively. If such attempts fail repeatedly, they experience themselves as powerless. They may feel helpless and hopeless, and become depressed. What they experience is that they cannot make a positive difference in their own lives or in the world. A cognitive breakdown occurs between their actions and the results they produce. Mentally and intellectually they cease to understand the connections between their behavior and the consequences of their behavior. Then they express their power destructively.

****
Many people may find it difficult to discover what they really want -- positive things they can be passionate about. (Some people can become passionate about negative things, such as murdering "abortion doctors." They tend to express their power destructively.) So how do you DISCOVER WHAT YOU REALLY WANT?

UNLEASH YOUR CONQUERING FORCE

Everyone has certain CORE DESIRES. Most people have no idea what their Core Desires are. If you work at some job (or any activity) that doesn't satisfy your Core Desires, YOUR HEART ISN'T IN WHAT YOU'RE DOING, and you are unlikely to achieve success.

Through REVEALING your Core Desires, you UNLEASH YOUR CONQUERING FORCE. Successful people are successful because they operate to satisfy their Core Desires, their HEART is in what they do, and they unleash their Conquering Force.

To Discover Your Conquering Force. (Although Jack Zufelt's course is specifically aimed at multilevel marketing, most of it applies to life generally.)

*****

HOW TO DISAGREE AND QUESTION EVERYTHING

The second July 2 entry includes a most important phrase: "...trapped by their language, and logic..." The vast majority of humans have no idea of the extent to which they are trapped in their language, which effectively forces them, in certain areas of life, to think and communicate in terms of "logic" that tends to reduce their personal power, while increasing the power of their oppressors. See The Anatomy of Slavespeak and the other Clear-Your-Mind Reports.

*****

The first July 4 entry ("early edition") contains a most important sentence: "A scam to limit the power of the individual." In 'A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind,' Jonathan Swift wrote:

"…[A]t a grand committee, some days ago, this important discovery was made by a certain curious and refined observer; that sea-men have a custom when they met a whale, to fling him out an empty tub, by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the ship. This parable was immediately mythologiz'd: The whale was interpreted to be Hobbe's 'Leviathan,' which tosses and plays with all other schemes of religion and government, whereof a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and noisy, and wooden, and given to rotation."

Consider the possibility that much of religion and government -- even most of it -- is really "hollow... and empty" and "a scam to limit the power of the individual."

*****

Regarding "the imagination of the individual has no limits," John C. Lilly formulated what some call "Lilly's Law":

"In the province of the mind, what is believed to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind, there are no limits."

"I tell you, as long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it. This is the law of my life. That is the working within me of Life's incessant aspiration to higher organization, wider, deeper, intense self-consciousness and clearer self-understanding." -- George Bernard Shaw ('Man and Superman')

*****

HOW TO DISAGREE

The second July 4 entry ("happy 4th!") contains a most important quote by Ayn Rand from 'The Fountainhead':

"Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees."

This raises the question: WHAT SHOULD YOU DISAGREE WITH?

And even more important: HOW DO YOU DISAGREE?

Disagreeing is a thinking skill most humans have hardly developed. In general, parents teach their children to agree.

I spent 10 years in so-called "government schools" and (with one exception) no teacher spent even one minute on teaching me how to disagree. They all focused 100% on telling me what I should agree with. I recall only one brief exception. One brave teacher -- this was in South Africa -- asked, "What if apartheid is wrong?" Then he immediately continued his lesson, as if he hadn't asked the question!

I read dozens of "school textbooks." Not even one sentence in any of them told me how to disagree. They were all devoted 100% to telling me what I should agree with.

Preachers, politicians, journalists, etc. are forever telling you what you should agree with. Basically, they want you to agree with them and their viewpoints or spin. They may tell you to disagree with their so-called "opponents" because they "are wrong," "have bad intentions," "are dishonest," etc. Maybe these are only superficial disagreements -- SURFACE DISAGREEMENTS.

But what if there are deeper things for you to disagree with? -- DEEP DISAGREEMENTS?

If "the creator is the man who disagrees," what should you disagree with and how do you develop the thinking skills to disagree with all you need to?

The answer is to learn to QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. What if there is SURFACE QUESTIONING (relatively easy) and DEEP QUESTIONING (much more difficult)?

And what if deep questioning will subject you to the risk of having to admit that you've been a fool and an idiot all your life for agreeing with (believing) certain things that "everyone knows and believes to be true?"

And what if practically all humans agree with and believe certain foolish, idiotic things very strongly. And if you tell them you disagree with any of these foolish, idiotic things, they'll denounce you as "crazy" or "insane?"

After all, aren't there certain things no one should ever question?

Let me suggest an epistemological attitude: EVERYTHING IS OPEN TO QUESTION!

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense." -- Buddha

You may want to go deeper and be willing to ALSO question EVERYTHING that "agrees with your reason and your common sense."

But how do people learn to question everything? Maybe I was fortunate that at about the age of four, I realized that my parents didn't always know what they were talking about when I asked them about "things and the world." Much of what they told me was open to question. I also didn't automatically believe my teachers and their textbooks. In my mind, much of what they said was open to question.

However, I asked only surface questions and had only surface disagreements. I had not yet developed the ability to ask deep questions and to disagree on deep levels.

My ability to question and disagree on deep levels was triggered in 1976 when I read 'No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority' by Lysander Spooner.

My ability to question and disagree on deep levels developed further during the ensuing years from reading, thinking about, and silently comtemplating the following:

  • Friedrich Nietzsche: 'Twilight of the Idols'
    'The Anti-Christ' 'Beyond Good and Evil' 'Ecce Homo' 'The Will to Power' 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'
  • Ayn Rand: 'Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology'
  • John C. Lilly: 'The Center of The Cyclone' 'The Human Biocomputer' 'Simulations of God' 'The Dyadic Cyclone' (with Antonietta Lilly) 'The Deep Self'

I acquired my own isolation tank and spent many hours in it.

"You may look at the world any way you please, through any window you choose. Nor does it always have to be the same window. Naturally how the world appears, what you see and what you miss, and the angle on what you see, depends on which window you are using, but how can a window be right or wrong? A window is a window. I elaborate on what can be seen through various windows, not to say that you should look through them, more to point out that there are other windows that sane, sensible, responsible, amiable, and otherwise normal people can and do look through, and it is perfectly OK to try another window if what you see through yours seems meaningless or inadequate... The number of different windows is endless. The unbridled conceit of the western nexus is to say that only certain windows are 'sound,' and that others are wrong, misleading, hallucinatory, etc." -- James Keys (aka G. Spencer-Brown in 'Only Two Can Play This Game')

"We further define a "consensus reality" as that set of beliefs/ assumptions/ postulates/ interpretations/ simulations that each of us is given/ absorbs that are said to be real/ true in our culture/ society/ family/ school, etc... Examples are the various human legal structures (city, county, state, nation, etc.), the pictures of realities created by the media (newspaper, TV, radio, etc.), the financial realities created by banks, taxes, salaries, wages, etc., and the scientific community's picture of reality. Consensus reality is thus one collection or another of simulations of i.r./ e.r [interneal reality/ external reality] with which one agrees/ disagrees. A large fraction of our most securely held sacred beliefs is in the consensus group of simulations of reality. Feedback with lovers, family, religious/ political/ business groups generates beliefs/ disbeliefs in each of us. These beliefs are difficult to unearth; it is difficult to become aware of their existence and influence on our thinking/ doing/ feeling." -- John C. Lilly ('The Deep Self')

Based on my experience, a small percentage of humans have the ability I call Deep Questioning. Deep Questioners have the ability to question everything, particularly "deep religious and political concepts."

They have the ability to question the validity of "deep concepts" in their minds. It's as if they're hard-wired (or culturally unconditioned) to be able to do this. The vast majority of humans have not yet developed this Deep Questioning ability.

Typical libertarian and anarchist types can question "the legitimacy of government or laws," but haven't developed the thinking skills to question the notions/ concepts of so-called "government" and so-called "law" in their own minds. (Similarly, most atheists can question "the existence of God," but haven't developed the thinking skills to question the notion/ concept of so-called "God" in their own minds.)

Using the game of chess as an analogy may illustrate this. Chess is played on a board with pieces (pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, queens, and kings) according to a set of rules. Principles have been formulated, which players can apply to improve their ability to play chess. Chess players have concepts in their minds related to the game of chess. They don't hold these concepts as fixed "life-givens," but as related to and useful for chess.

Now imagine a game of chess where the "pieces" are actual human beings, dressed as pawns, knights, etc. The human "pieces" don't consider themselves to be pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, queens, and kings. They realize they're just part of a game and that they can step off the board at any time and stop participating. They don't hold any chess concepts or their roles in the game as fixed "life-givens."

Now consider people playing politics. The players believe that political notions/ concepts such as "country," "state," "government," "law," etc. are fixed "life-givens." They believe they are "citizens" (pawns?) or other classes of "pieces" who must play the game of politics and can't exit the game or unsubscribe from it.

They don't have the thinking skills to question and deconstruct the deep political concepts/ notions in their minds. In my experience, this applies to a large majority of humans. It's as if their thinking is locked into politics and political concepts/ notions as fixed "life-givens." They can't think about politics the way they think about chess. This also applies to practically all libertarians, anarchists, and other political critics.

The following Deep Questioners (in addition to those mentioned above) have demonstrated the ability to question and deconstruct certain deep concepts/ notions (though they may not have applied this ability extensively to deep political concepts/ notions):

  • Lao Tsu: 'Tao-Tae Ching':
    "The people with no one to command them would of themselves become harmonious."
  • Ettiene de la Boetie: 'The Politics of Obedience':
    "He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you."
  • William of Ockham:
    "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily."
  • Francis Bacon: "The Idols of Human Understanding":
    "All superstition is much the same whether it be that of astrology, dreams, omen, retributive judgment, or the like, in all of which the deluded believers observe events which are fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common." ('Novum Organum')
  • Voltaire: 'Philosophical Dictionary':
    "I couldn't determine to accept or to reject in my brain all the ideas that entered it to fight each other and that took my medullary cells for their battlefield. When they have thoroughly battled it out I've gathered nothing from their remains but uncertainty. It's very sad to have so many ideas and not to know precisely the nature of ideas. I admit it; but it's much sadder and much more foolish to think we know what we don't know."
  • Jeremy Bentham: 'Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden:
    "Look to the letter, you find nonsense -- look beyond the letter, you find nothing."
  • Jonathan Swift: 'Tales in a Tub' and 'Gulliver's Travels':
    "There was another point which a little perplexed him... I had said, that some of our crew left their country on account of being ruined by 'law'... but he was at a loss how it should come to pass, that the 'law' which was intended for 'every' man's preservation, should be any man's ruin. Therefore he desired to be further satisfied what I meant by 'law,' and the dispensers thereof... because he thought nature and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us what we ought to do, and what to avoid... I said there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, accordingly as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are slaves."
  • Lewis Carroll: 'Alice in Wonderland':
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
    "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all." ('Through the Looking Glass')
  • Max Stirner: 'The Ego & His Own':
    "The decision having once been made not to let oneself be imposed on any longer by the extant and palpable, little scruple was felt about revolting against the existing State or overturning the existing laws; but to sin against the idea of the State, not to submit to the idea of law, who would have dared that?"
  • George Gurdjieff': 'Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson':
    "To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world."
  • Hans Vaihinger: 'The Philosophy of As-If':
    "Actually the greatest and most important human errors originate through thought-processes being taken for copies of reality itself."
  • Alfred Korzybski: 'Manhood of Humanity,' Science and Sanity,' etc.:
    "There's been plenty of wisdom in this word for millenniums... Wisdom alone doesn't work. You have to have a method for applying it continuously... I firmly believe that the consciousness of the differences between these levels of abstractions; i.e., the silent and verbal levels, is the key and perhaps the first step for the solution of human problems... There is a tremendous difference between 'thinking' in verbal terms, and 'contemplating,' inwardly silent, on non-verbal levels, and then searching for the proper structure of language to fit the supposedly discovered structure of the silent processes... If we 'think' verbally, we act as biased observers and project onto the silent levels the structure of the language we use, and so remain in our rut of old orientations, making keen, unbiased observations and creative work well-nigh impossible. In contrast, when we 'think' without words, or in pictures (which involve structure and therefore relations), we may discover new aspects and relations on silent levels... Practically all important advances are made that way."
  • George Orwell: 'Nineteen-Eighty-Four':
    "The 'B vocabulary' consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them... the 'B' words were a sort of verbal shorthand, often packing whole ranges of ideas into a few syllables... even in the early decades of the Twentieth Century, telescoped words and phrases had been one of the characteristic features of political language; and it had been noticed that the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most marked in totalitarian countries and totalitarian organizations... the intention being to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness... ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centers at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word 'Duckspeak' meaning 'to quack like a duck.'"
  • Gustav le Bon: 'The Crowd':
    "Civilization is impossible without traditions, and progress impossible without destroying those traditions... no example could better display the power of tradition on the mind of crowds. The most redoubtable idols do not dwell in temples, nor the most despotic tyrants in palaces; both the one and the other could be broken in an instant. But the invisible masters that reign in our innermost selves are safe from every effort at revolt, and only yield to the slow wearing away of centuries... The precise moment at which a great belief is doomed is easily recognizable; it is the moment when its value begins to be called into question. Every general belief being little else than fiction, it can only survive on the condition that it be not subjected to examination... The only real tyrants that humanity has known have always been the memories of its dead or the illusions it has forged itself."
  • Albert Einstein: originator of the "Theory of Relativity":
    "Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions."
  • Jiddu Krishnamurti: 'The First and Last Freedom,' 'Freedom from the Known,' etc.:
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
  • Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World,' etc.:
    "Man is an amphibian who lives simultaneously in two worlds -- the given and the home-made, the world of matter, life and consciousness and the world of symbols. In our thinking we make use of a great variety of symbols-systems -- linguistic, mathematical, pictorial, musical, ritualistic. Without such symbol-systems we should have no art, no science, no law, no philosophy, not so much as the rudiments of civilization: in other words, we should be animals... But symbols -- as the history of our own and every other age makes so abundantly clear -- can also be fatal... Consider, for example, the domain of science on the one hand, and the domain of politics and religion on the other. Thinking in terms of, and acting in response to, one set of symbols [science], we have come, in some small measure, to understand and control the elementary forces of nature. Thinking in terms of, and acting in response to another set of symbols [politics and religion], we use these forces as instruments of mass murder and collective suicide. In the first case [science] the explanatory symbols were well chosen, carefully analyzed and progressively adapted to the emergent facts of physical existence. In the second case [politics and religion] symbols originally ill-chosen were never subjugated to thorough-going analysis and never re-formulated so as to harmonize with the emergent facts of human existence. Worse still, these misleading symbols [politics and religion] were everywhere treated with a wholly unwarranted respect, as though, in some mysterious way, they were more real than the realities [if any] to which they [supposedly] referred." (Introduction to 'The First and Last Freedom' by Krishnamurti)
  • David Bohm: 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order,' etc.:
    "...[W]e went on to consider the general disorder and confusion that pervades the consciousness of mankind. It is here that I encountered what I feel to be Krishnamurti's major discovery. What he was seriously proposing is that all this disorder, which is the root cause of such widespread sorrow and misery, and which prevents human beings from properly working together, has its root in the fact that we are ignorant of the general nature of our own processes of thought. Or to put it differently it may be said that we do not see what is actually happening, when we are engaged in the activity of thinking." ("A Brief Introduction to the Work of Krishnamurti")
  • Alan Watts: 'The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are':
    "Fictions are useful so long as they are taken as fictions... But the troubles begin when fictions are taken as facts... [T]he deeper troubles arise when we confuse ourselves and our fundamental relationships to the world with fictions (or figures of speech) which are taken for granted, unexamined, and often self-contradictory."
  • Timothy Leary: 'Exo-Psychology,' 'Neuropolitics,' etc.:
    "Guilt, innocence, punishment, forgiveness, law and order, rehabilitation -- all constitute the mythology that masks the simple reality of badly wired robots bumping into one another. Most agonizing and supposedly intractable social problems are caused solely by our ignorance of the brain's capacity for rote repetition and abrupt change. Brainwashing is happening to all of us all of the time. Knowledge of brain function is our only protection against it. The solutions to our predicament are neurological. We must assume responsibility for our nervous systems. Our robothood can remain static if we endlessly repeat the imprints of infancy to adolescence, or it can be drastically altered by brainwashers without our consent, or we can take control of our nervous systems. If we don't assume this personal responsibility, somebody else will; if we do take over the control board, we can each be any person we want to be."
  • Robert Anton Wilson: The Illuminatus Trilogy, etc.:
    "Language creates spooks that get into our heads and hypnotize us." (Introduction to 'The Tree of Lies' by Christopher S. Hyatt)
  • Steve Biko, originator of "Black Consciousness":
    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
  • Robert Pirsig: 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance':
    "But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repairs of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself. And if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government..."
  • Kurt Vonnegut: 'Cat's Cradle,' 'Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons,' etc.:
    "Hazel's obsession with Hoosiers around the world was a textbook example of a false karass, of a seeming team that was meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done, a textbook example of what Bokonin calls a granfalloon. Other examples of granfalloons are the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company, the International Order of ODD Fellows -- and any nation, anytime, anywhere.
    As Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:
    If you wish to study a granfalloon,
    Just remove the skin of a toy balloon."
  • Robert Heinlein: 'Stranger in a Strange Land,' 'Revolt in 2100,' etc:
    "First they junked the concept of "justice." Examined semantically, "justice" has no referent -- there is no observable phenomenon in the space-time-matter continuum to which one can point, and say, "This is justice." Science can deal only with that which can be observed and measured. Justice is not such a matter; therefore it can never have the same meaning to one as to another; any "noises" said about it will only add to the confusion."
  • Thomasz Szasz: 'The Myth of Mental Illness,' 'Heresies,' 'The Second Sin,' etc.:
    "Man is the animal that speaks. Understanding language is thus the key to understanding man; and the control of language, to the control of man."
  • Robert Ringer: 'Restoring the American Dream,' etc.:
    "The government has a seemingly endless arsenal of subjective, meaningless and/or distorted words and phrases with which it mentally seduces the public... "Government." Again, wherever I have referred to government I specifically have been alluding to individuals, namely to those individuals in power; i.e., elected politicians and non-elected bureaucrats. If one thinks of government as a living entity, it tends to take on an aura of sanctity in his mind... [T]he subconscious tendency of people to think of government as a living entity is one of the factors which keeps them so passive in the face of government aggression. A violation of your natural rights is not warranted just because it is committed by government -- i.e., by those individuals who operate under the banner of "government"."
  • Max More: 'Deep Anarchy':
    "Traditional anarchists want to abolish the "State." In planning their strategies and in doing their thinking about this they rarely question the existence or fundamental nature of their enemy. This situation wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that their mistaken beliefs often lead them into counterproductive political strategies. Thus we observe the ludicrous sight of self-named anarchists joining political parties (usually the Libertarian Party) in order to hasten the end of the system. The idea seems to be: We can remove it by being absorbed by it!"
  • David T. Freeman: 'The Great Voting Hoax':
    "However, as time passed, the misleaders, oppressors, and exploiters, learnt better and less obvious ways to mislead, oppress, and exploit. They became better organised, and more efficient in their ways. They realised that by co-operating with each other, in large numbers, that their efforts were much more effective. They also discovered ways to hide many of the bad things they do - such as by making up many extra words, which supposedly meant entirely different things - where really they didn't, but most people unquestionably accepted their words/concepts as "valid" and "appropriate". They organised themselves into a hierarchy of "power" and "authority", with the "head" of this arrangement calling himself by a name of "king" or "emperor". The others had names of "queen", "duke", "prince", "princess", "lord", "archbishop", "bishop", "earl", "viscount", "count", "baron", "knight", etc. Anyone who had one of these "titles" was somehow perceived to be "special" and "important" - their "status" was "elevated" in the minds of "lesser humans" - who "lowered" themselves when in the presence of someone "important". They defined which areas of land were "their territories", "realms", etc. The general belief was that the "king" had a "Divine Right from God" to "rule over" everyone in "his realm". An extensive religious system was established in support of all this, which also served to "educate" everyone about these ways. They also instituted great systems to administer all their slaves - who were no longer called slaves - they were now called: "vassal", "serf", or "subject". The "king's" will was "law" - which "must" be obeyed by everyone else - or they would be clubbed, hung, tortured, slain, burnt, etc. (or at least that's what was threatened!)"

The following satire indicates how a Deep Questioner might describe consensus human politics:

**********
POLITICS ON DUMBTOPIA
"This is one of the most delightful things I've read in a while. Thanks." -- Robert Sterling, Editor, The Konformist

Far, far away, on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy, there's a beautiful planet called Dumbtopia.

Dumbtopia's inhabitants are called Idiots.

They believe in a Supernatural creature they call Skybless.

Dumbtopia is divided into Dumbcountries -- at least, that's what the Idiots believe. They sporadically fight and slaughter each other over some skyblessforsaken patch of land -- "For Skybless and Dumbcountry."

Apparently, each Dumbcountry is ruled by a Plusidiot. Plusidiots are wiser than Idiots because they have blue blood -- or so they say. Common Idiots have red blood and believe that Plusidiots are their Superiors.

Apparently, each Plusidiot has a Dumbcouncil to help rule the common Idiots. Plusidiots have a secret magic drink called Etherwise. They give it to selected Idiots to drink. It makes their heads spin. After they've been drinking Etherwise for about a month, they experience Dumbliss, become Halfwits, and qualify to serve on Dumbcouncils.

Plusidiots and Halfwits pretend to have the ability to speak and write magic words called Pluswords -- Pluws for short. Common Idiots believe that Pluws are special holy, sacred words that must be obeyed. To make sure this dumb belief sticks, Plusidiots employ Dumbcops to punish and kill Idiots who "disobey The Pluw."

Many common Idiots campaign to "Improve the holy, sacred Pluws."

Every hundred years or so, as a result of an unusual evolutionary mutation, some common Idiot wakes up and realizes that all the political systems on Dumbtopia are scams, hoaxes, and frauds. The woken-up Idiot then suggests that Plusidiots really have red blood, just like all common Idiots, and that there's nothing special about so-called "Plusidiots" and "Halfwits" -- they're really common Idiots like everybody else.

As soon as the Dumbcops discover a woken-up Idiot, they kill him or her. "Skybless help us if the Idiots ever discover that so-called "Plusidiots" and "Halfwits" are really impostors and liars -- common Idiots like all the rest -- and that their pretended "Pluws" are hoaxes... strings of dumb lies written by "clever" Pluwyer Idiots!"
**********

"There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own." -- Herman Melville ('Moby Dick')

See The Nature of Reality: Three Positions.

*****

The first July 5 entry is about ADHD. Thom Hartmann has written some great books, including:

  • Attention Deficit Disoreder: A Different Perception
  • Beyond ADD: Hunting for Reasons in the Past & Present
  • ADD Success Stories: A Guide to Fulfillment for Families with Attention Deficit Disorder

See also the work and writings of Peter Breggin.

*****

Highly relevant to the July 7-8 entry is 'The Path of Least Resistance' by Robert Fritz -- scroll three-quarters down the page.

*****

The July 16 entry is about John Taylor Gatto. See "ARE OUR SCHOOLS CONCENTRATION CAMPUSES FOR MIND DESTRUCTION?"

This may be a good point at which to introduce you to "Project Abolish Stupidity & Increase Intelligence."

*****

The July 19 entry says, "The juices of rebellion which do not fuel a project begin to back up and sour the whole person." If you're not working on a project of your own, consider helping me improve "Project Abolish Stupidity & Increase Intelligence" -- email me at f-prime@buildfreedom.com.

If you're uncertain about what kind of strategy to use for your project, have a look at Freedom Strategy.

*****

The July 25 entry ends with, "The rebel is always learning more about freedom. The rebel rejects all forms of coercion."

WHY YOU MUST RECOGNIZE AND UNDERSTAND COERCION

"The greatest fallacy in the entire history of the human species is the idea that it is necessary to employ coercion to eliminate disorder." -- Andrew J. Galambos

"Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"One who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman." -- Mahatma Gandhi

What Is Coercion?
My dictionary (Webster's New Collegiate) defines "coerce" as:
1. To restrain or dominate by nullifying individual will;
2. To compel to an act or choice;
3. To enforce or bring about by force or threat.

Coercion is essentially the overwhelming of the will of another by force or threat of force, or through less noticeable forms such as fraud. The use of coercion is the means by which a person or group of people impose their will upon another or others. (Coercion can also be used to forcibly or fraudulently take the property of others.) Ayn Rand made the crucial qualification of the initiation of force or the threat of force. As long as an individual has done nothing to harm others or violate another's rights, no one has the right to initiate force or the threat of force against that individual.

Consent is an important consideration. When two boxers of their own free will enter the ring, both give consent to the violence that ensues.

A distinction needs to be made between initiated force, and force used in self-defense. You are quite justified in using force, threat of force, bluff, deception, etc., to prevent others from coercing you. (Though you need to decide for yourself , depending on the circumstances, if it would be worth the risk of being harmed more by resisting someone's attempt to coerce you. When confronted by a robber with a gun, and if you don't have a bigger gun, it may not be prudent to use force to defend yourself.)

How To Treat Your Neighbors
Suppose you want to organize a picnic with your neighbor and his family. What would happen if you went to your neighbor's house and told him that he and his family must join you in organizing a picnic and that he must pay his "fair share"; and if he doesn't submit to "voluntary compliance," then you will "enforce" his "co-operation" by hiring some goons to confiscate his property and/or lock him up, and if he resists then they may even shoot and kill him!?

Would this way of behaving be a formula for conducting harmonious relationships? Or would it cause all kinds of resentment, conflict, and other problems?

Please think about this. Is this the sort of formula that "government" bureaucrats typically apply?

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." -- George Washington

"The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the state is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" -- Isaac Asimov (through his character, Mayor Salvor Hardin from book 1, part III of the 'Foundation' trilogy, "The Mayors")

See also #TL07B: THE NATURE OF GOVERNMENT.

There is a common-law principle that states that for there to be a crime, there has to be a victim (corpus dilicti). Without a victim there is no crime. There can't be a "victimless crime." There is also a principle which states that for a contract to be valid it has to be knowingly and voluntarily entered into. Attempting to force people to do something when they haven't committed a crime or entered into a contract to do it, is coercion.

Persuasion vs. Coercion
Coercion needs to be distinguished from persuasion, where someone may merely argue truthfully and convincingly with someone else over why he or she should or shouldn't do something.

When an advertiser says, "Buy my product because it will provide you all these benefits," that's an attempt to persuade. Provided no misrepresentation or fraud is involved, there's no question that this is attempted persuasion. If a TV ad includes "small print" that "flashes by" before anyone can read it, then a degree of misrepresentation or fraud may be involved and the ad is coercive. However, this form of coercion is relatively innocuous because the advertiser doesn't accost you with a gun, saying, "Buy my product or I'll shoot you!"

Many people are severely deficient in some thinking skills. People who can't think soundly about a particular area or topic, tend to substitute coercion for thought. Sometimes this happens in several areas of a person's life. Example: A parent, lacking the necessary persuasive skills to persuade a child to do "the right thing," resorts to coercion, establishing a pervasive and destructive pattern. Many children learn that the way to get someone else to do something (or no do something) is to apply physical force.

Coercive political systems are simply the extension of this phenomenon to the level of society. If people tolerate the substitution of coercion for thought in themselves, it's no wonder that they support coercive political systems to practice coercion on their behalf.

Levels Of Coercion
In its strongest form, coercion involves killing another. Next comes threatening to kill someone unless he or she obeys you. Threatening to beat, rob, or incarcerate comes next. The strong forms of coercion involve force or threat of force, sometimes deadly force. "Government" bureaucrats tend to operate at these levels as a last resort. Political power comes from the barrel of a gun, said Mao. This is also the level of the violent criminal, the robber or murderer.

Then there's extortion: unjustly obtaining (money, promises, etc.) by violence, force (or threat of force), intimidation, misrepresentation, etc. Sound familiar? Consider the possibility that the word "government" is largely a euphemism for institutionalized extortion. "Pay your taxes, or we'll seize your property, jail you, etc!"

Blackmail is an interesting issue -- compelling someone to make a payment or perform a specified action (or not), with the alternative of being harmed in some way (typically by disclosure of a secret). I'll leave it to the reader to decide when blackmail involves coercion and when it does not. Can there be good and justified blackmail? Suppose I know someone plans to perform a coercive act. I know a secret about him he doesn't want revealed. I tell him that if he proceeds with his coercive act, I'll reveal his secret to the world.

The lowest level of coercion is to use misrepresentation or fraud to induce someone to do something (usually harmful to themselves) that they wouldn't do if they knew all the relevant facts. Much of "government" operates at this level. This is also the level of the sophisticated criminal, the conman, the embezzler. They lie to get your money. It is also the level of the brainwasher (e.g., "government teachers", coercive religions, cults, etc.). They lie to get your mind.

We also need to examine indirect coercion. When I buy gas for my car, part of my money goes to "government" bureaucrats in the form of "taxes." Whenever I pay "taxes," I'm being coerced indirectly, and I'm also indirectly supporting the coercion perpetrated by terrocrats (terrorist bureaucrats or coercive political agents) -- by paying their wages to practice more coercion. Terrocrats use this "tax"-money to pay more terrocrats to further coerce others through their "tax" and other "systems," and to murder people during their "wars," amongst countless other atrocities (like the massacre at Waco).

Most people think that they don't have a choice in this. However, if you read the Tax Reports and other relevant information available on BuildFreedom.com, you'll discover that you always have a choice. It's important to realize that if someone points a gun at me and says, "Give me your money or I'll kill you," it's my choice to obey or not. It may not be practical for me to disobey, but I have a choice. (I may also be able to effectively deceive the robber and persuade him to go after other easier marks.)

There is also a form of indirect coercion we might call "coercion by proxy" -- instead of a terrocrat killing someone himself, he hires a hit man. Another example of coercion by proxy is where someone "votes" for a politician who'll give him some money (or more money) which was obtained through "taxing" someone else -- instead of this person robbing the other person, he uses the "political system" to do it for him. (Of course the politician and his fellow terrocrats take a large portion of the "tax"-money before passing on the rest to their "dependents.")

We can also make a distinction between individual coercion and organized coercion -- the difference between the individual mugger and the criminal gang -- for example, mafia (and, for the most part, "government").

Examples Of Coercion

  • A car-salesman gets someone to buy a car from him by telling the buyer that the car is in "excellent working order," when the salesman knows that the car is really in very poor condition. (Type of coercion: fraud.)
  • A parent forces a child to do something by beating the child or threatening to do so.
  • Terrocrats "fine" and "jail" parents who refuse to send their children to "government schools." Sometimes the children are taken away by force.
  • Terrocrats imposing the "state curriculum" on private schools and home schoolers.
  • A robber mugs someone ("Your money or your life!" Initiating violence, or threat of violence).
  • The "taxmen" threaten to "fine" and "jail" people who don't pay "taxes." (This is the same as the "taxmen" saying to their victims: "volunteer to let us to rob you, or we'll just rob you by force anyway!")
  • Military terrocrats threaten to "fine" and "jail" people who don't "register" for the "draft."
  • Military terrocrats promise their victims that if they join, they'll receive free medical services. Later they tell their victims that some of their ailments ("Gulf War Syndrome) are "imaginary."
  • Terrocrats raid private businesses at gunpoint, terrorize innocent people, rob them of their records, equipment, and money -- smashing their businesses.

    All humans are free and sovereign by nature. For humans to submit to coercion is a perversion of human nature; yet almost all humans submit to various forms of coercion every day.

    Most people are blind to subtle coercion. Why? Because so long as you always obey others, you may never notice when someone is coercing you - it may all seem perfectly normal and acceptable. Few people recognize the "requirement" that people register their cars with a "government" department as coercion or violence. If you don't "register" your car, a "policeman" might pull you over. If you resist his unwarranted coercion, he may physically attack you, and may shoot and kill you! Few people recognize that forcing children into schools is coercion. Many parents don't recognize the coercion they perpetrate against their own children as coercion or violence.

    American culture - as in the rest of the world - teaches that the big and strong, especially those with guns, get their way through violence. Children must obey their parents because their parents are big, strong, and violent. Subjects must obey their "government" because their "government" is big, strong, and violent.

    Coercion or violence is the hallmark of a feudal (slave/master) society. Voluntary co-operation is the essence of a free society.

    Freedom Or Coercion
    In other reports, I indicate that reading two books is essential to understanding freedom: 'How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World' by Harry Browne, and 'The Discovery of Freedom' by Rose Wilder Lane. For those who are relatively new to freedom, I recommend a third book: 'For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto' by Murray N. Rothbard.

    Consider that it might be a basic principle that freedom and coercion are incompatible.

    Many people believe that certain things can only be done through coercion and we must have a "government" to coerce people. 'For a New Liberty' brilliantly makes the case that initiated coercion is evil and unnecessary.

    What is meant by "evil"? Evil is defined in my dictionary as: Something that causes harm; something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity. Often, the greater the evil, the more blind we tend to be to it, the more difficult it is to confront. Some people default to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

    Of course, two boxers enter the ring to fight each other. The best fighter wins. This form of coercion is compatible with freedom because it is based on mutual consent with full knowledge. Whether you, I, or anyone else disapproves of their activities, is probably none of our business. Similarly, if two people want to fight a duel, the believer in freedom will use no more than persuasion to attempt to stop them.

    Some may argue that most people give consent to "government coercion," therefore there's nothing inherently wrong with it. The problem with this argument is that the victims were and are lied to by the imposters who fraudulently masquerade as "government" (so-called) -- see:

  • #TL07: THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY.
  • #TL07B: THE NATURE OF GOVERNMENT.

    Sometimes it's necessary to use coercion against children to prevent hurt or death. Suppose I see a young child about to run across the street into the path of a speeding car; I grab her and yank her out of the way. I have no right to practice such coercion, nor do I have a duty. I use my superior strength to overwhelm another's free will. But I justify my coercion by claiming that my superior wisdom and judgment enabled me to foresee what the child didn't see. Her ability to observe, think, and act appropriately isn't fully developed, so I use force to overwhelm her will and save her life. (If my absent-minded friend carelessly steps onto the road, I might do the same; or, without coercing him, I could simply yell out to him to "watch out for the car!")

    Can we formulate a principle: The only permissible coercion is that coercion -- to prevent a greater evil -- which someone personally initiates, performs, and takes full responsibility for?

    Some people say, "I believe in freedom and individual sovereignty, except for..." The problem is that if you add up all the coercive exceptions of the people who profess their love for freedom and individual sovereignty, you get the modern "slave-state" that all "countries" are now in, at least to some extent.

    Coercion is the essence of slavery. Coercion is the negation of individual freedom, self-ownership, and individual sovereignty.

    Can we formulate another principle: Become wise, strong, wealthy, and powerful -- or suffer coercion?

    "He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own." -- Aesop

    Some forms of coercion imply that the information of the coerced or victim is no good and/or the victim can't think for himself or herself (can't process information). Therefore the coercer must decide for the victim. For example, compulsory state "education" (coercion at its most insidious), compulsory compliance with "regulations," "anti-drug laws," etc., imply that people are powerless victims, nothings, and nobodies who can't think for themselves. Most coercive bureaucracies operate on the same principle: creating dependency, helplessness, and powerlessness.

    When coercion is perpetrated, there is almost always a loser. Coercive "government" is a win-lose or lose-lose game -- it's destructive. In contrast, voluntary exchange is win-win -- it tends to benefit all parties.

    Consequences of Coercion
    One of the problems with "government" coercion is that the benefits enjoyed by the relatively few benefactors are often immediately obvious, while the bad consequences usually suffered by many more don't immediately become evident. For example, the benefits of a "government" program to feed children at school are obvious to anyone. It's not so obvious how the extra taxes to pay for the meals and the bureaucrats who administer the program affect the overall economy in the long run. Also not obvious are the long-term consequences of the degree to which schoolchildren adopt an attitude of "dependence on government" because of the "manna from heaven" they receive.

    In 'Why Government Doesn't Work,' Harry Browne writes:

    "Government [coercive] programs promoted by well-intentioned citizens are almost always derailed by unforeseen consequences:
  • Poverty programs don't reduce the number of poor people. On the contrary, they encourage more people to qualify as poor and get on the gravy train.
  • Rules and regulations don't reform society as expected. People respond by looking for ways around the rules they don't like.
  • The War on Drugs makes drugs more profitable -- increasing the incentive for drug-pushers to recruit new customers.
  • The underground economy thrives as a means of earning money without losing it to government -- reducing the revenues that had been expected to pay for government programs."
  • In Six Myths About Libertarianism, Murray N. Rothbard writes:

    "If a person is forced by violence or the threat thereof to perform a certain action, then it can no longer be a moral choice on his part. The morality of an action can stem only from its being freely adopted; an action can scarcely be called moral if someone is compelled to perform it at gunpoint. Compelling moral actions or outlawing immoral actions, therefore, cannot be said to foster the spread of morality or virtue. On the contrary, coercion atrophies morality for it takes away from the individual the freedom to be either moral or immoral, and therefore forcibly deprives people of the chance to be moral. Paradoxically, then, a compulsory morality robs us of the very opportunity to be moral.

    It is furthermore particularly grotesque to place the guardianship of morality in the hands of the State apparatus – that is, none other than the organization of policemen, guards, and soldiers. Placing the State in charge of moral principles is equivalent to putting the proverbial fox in charge of the chicken coop. Whatever else we may say about them, the wielders of organized violence in society have never been distinguished by their high moral tone or by the precision with which they uphold moral principle."

    Reject Coercion
    Practice using your mind to persuade, instead of your muscles to force, and you'll become much more capable.

    The recognition and rejection of coercion constitutes the shift from backwards, barbaric savagery, to true civilization! It is vital to our progress and survival that the currently increasing trend of coercion, perpetrated by those who call themselves "government," be stopped, reversed, and ultimately eliminated altogether!

    The solution for the individual is to reject the use of coercion, prevent yourself from being coerced, and withdraw your support from coercers -- the means for doing this is called Freedom Technology.

    Note: There's some important information on coercion in #TL07C: WENGER DEBATE #1.

    *****

    The July 26 entry says, "A rebel does not conclude that wallowing in crap is more world-wise" and, "A rebel makes sure he is not being mindless and stupid." Another reason for checking out "Project Abolish Stupidity & Increase Intelligence."

    *****

    The July 27 entry says, "The rebel is not trying to build a single world for everyone else. He is trying to build freedom." See BuildFreedom.com.

    Frederick Mann


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