The Demoralized Mind essay by John F. Schumaker | The Moral Order by Anthropologist Raoul Naroll

“Western consumer culture is creating a psycho-spiritual crisis that leaves us disoriented and bereft of purpose” states John F Schumaker in his essay in the New Internationalist The Demoralized Mind. How can we treat our sick culture and make ourselves well?

John F Schumaker is a Clinical Psychologist who also has a 25-year career as a university lecturer across nations including the United States, Zambia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. He has researched and published articles on cross-cultural mental health, depression, psychology of religion, eating disorders and human suggestibility.

The Demoralized Mind, essay, John F Schumaker, New Internationalist magazine

The Demoralized Mind essay by John F Schumaker in New Internationalist magazine

By contrast to many traditional cultures that lack depression entirely, or even a word for it, Western consumer culture is certainly depression-prone…In the largest study of its kind, Ramin Mojtabai of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health sampled over 5,600 cases and found that only 38 per cent of them met the criteria for depression.

Contributing to the confusion is the equally insidious epidemic of demoralization that also afflicts modern culture. Since it shares some symptoms with depression, demoralization tends to be mislabelled and treated as if it were depression. A major reason for the poor 28-per-cent success rate of anti-depressant drugs is that a high percentage of ‘depression’ cases are actually demoralization, a condition unresponsive to drugs.

In the past, our understanding of demoralization was limited to specific extreme situations, such as debilitating physical injury, terminal illness, prisoner-of-war camps, or anti-morale military tactics.

But there is also a cultural variety of demoralization that can express itself more subtly and develop behind the scenes of normal everyday life under pathological cultural conditions such as we have today. This culturally generated demoralization is nearly impossible to avoid for the modern ‘consumer’.

Rather than a depressive disorder, demoralization is a type of existential disorder associated with the breakdown of a person’s ‘cognitive map’. It is an overarching psycho-spiritual crisis –
Its driving features – individualism, materialism, hyper-competition, greed, over-complication, overwork, hurriedness and debt – all correlate negatively with psychological health and/or social wellbeing.

The level of intimacy, trust and true friendship in people’s lives has plummeted.

Without an existential compass, the commercialized mind gravitates toward a ‘philosophy of futility’, as Noam Chomsky calls it, in which people feel naked of power and significance beyond their conditioned role as pliant consumers.

Individualistic models of mind have stymied our understanding of many disorders that are primarily of cultural origin.

But recent years have seen a growing interest in the topic of cultural health and ill-health as they impact upon general wellbeing. At the same time, we are moving away from naïve behavioural models and returning to the obvious fact that the human being has a fundamental nature, as well as a distinct set of human needs, that must be addressed by a cultural blueprint.

In his groundbreaking book The Moral Order, anthropologist Raoul Naroll used the term ‘moral net’ to indicate the cultural infrastructure that is required for the mental wellbeing of its members.

Without an existential compass, the commercialized mind gravitates toward a ‘philosophy of futility’, as Noam Chomsky calls it, in which people feel naked of power and significance beyond their conditioned role as pliant consumers. Lacking substance and depth, and adrift from others and themselves, the thin and fragile consumer self is easily fragmented and dispirited.

Individualistic models of mind have stymied our understanding of many disorders that are primarily of cultural origin.

Human culture has mutated into a sociopathic marketing machine dominated by economic priorities and psychological manipulation.

Human culture has mutated into a sociopathic marketing machine dominated by economic priorities and psychological manipulation. Never before has a cultural system inculcated its followers to suppress so much of their humanity. Leading this hostile takeover of the collective psyche are increasingly sophisticated propaganda and misinformation industries that traffic the illusion of consumer happiness by wildly amplifying our expectations of the material world. Today’s consumers are by far the most propagandized people in history. The relentless and repetitive effect is highly hypnotic, diminishing critical faculties, reducing one’s sense of self, and transforming commercial unreality into a surrogate for meaning and purpose.

Cultural deprogramming is essential, along with ‘culture proofing’, disobedience training and character development strategies, all aimed at constructing a worldview that better connects the person to self, others and the natural world.

Erich Fromm sums up this challenge: ‘We can’t make people sane by making them adjust to this society. We need a society that is adjusted to the needs of people.’

Democracy in its present guise is a guardian of cultural insanity.
We are long overdue a cultural revolution that would force a radical revamp of the political process, economics, work, family and environmental policy.

It might seem that credibility, meaning and purposeful action would derive from the multiple threats to our safety and survival posed by the fatal mismatch between consumer culture and the needs of the planet. The fact that it has not highlights the degree of demoralization that infects the consumer age. With its infrastructure firmly entrenched, and minimal signs of collective resistance, all signs suggest that our obsolete system – what some call ‘disaster capitalism’ – will prevail until global catastrophe dictates for us new cultural directions.”

Though I am physically and emotionally fit, I’m financially challenged – affected more recently by dealings with several unscrupulous people in a recent housing situation. I’m happy however, and appreciate any donations towards my blog writing, eBook with science links, illustration, photography and music composition.
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Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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The Great Awakening | EcoSpirituality | Now Is The Time | The Giver

What is it that causes me to keep putting off taking my own work seriously? I have endowed ‘work’ for others all my life as something to value and adhere to? I learned the message from my parent’s, properly socialized into endowing ‘work’ from the outside, a duty, as something more of value than listening to the calls of my own destiny. It is true that I am presently suddenly endowed with heaps of ‘work’, that is helping to pay my credit card bills and rent. I am also working the hardest I ever have physically, to bicycle to get to these jobs; often commuting no less than 15 miles a day by bicycle.

I have however been given circumstances that have tremendously helped me in retrospect. One apartment that I moved into provided me with adequate warm clothing that I have been able to use towards my ski instructor job, for which I had had no adequate clothing with me since coming West a year ago. I have been able to acquire just what I needed to survive and make my little sphere of activity complete – allowing me to have the tools to prepare meals, something that i greatly value for health and aesthetics. I also have a favorite piano book with me which I use to go to a public place with a piano to practice. I have my bass guitar here as well to regularly practice a repertoire of songs that are part of that. I have been leant a bicycle to allow me to get to where I need to go. I am however feeling that I have been selling myself short.

I have had intellectual and spiritual nudges arrive just in the times that I have needed them. A week ago I suddenly became ill with a flu, which allowed me to now have a pause in work and the time to reflect and act in my own path. I have been so busy with working jobs for other organizations, that I’ve allowed my own path of completing my book, writing my blogs and composing music, to just drift to the side.

Prince Ea, Everybody Dies but not Everybody Lives

The path to a new beginning starts within you, with love. people-dont-choose-their-dreams-dreams-choose-them-prince-ea-everydody-dies-but-not-everybody-lives

I’ve been re-awakened again and again by the artist I recently discovered, Prince Ea, regarding not letting your own dreams drift away, and recognizing that to live fully, one must put effort and time behind one’s own dreams. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-mcdeez/what-prince-ea-wants-you-to-know_b_5945938.html

I read about this national immigrant walk-out day, after I experienced showing up to a local middle school and having all classes cancelled, and the entire school day disrupted, due to the fact that perhaps a third of the student body hadn’t shown up to school, as they were immigrant children. Santa fe is a sanctuary for immigrants.
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-day-without-immigrants-20170216-htmlstory.html

During this day of no classes, I was privy to watching a film held for 8th graders, which suddenly put into very real and understood terms, the ‘analogy’ of this. It was directed by Phillip Noyce, and the book written by the same title by Hannah Arendt.

The Giver,-film-by Phillip Noyce, book by Lois Lowry

The Giver,-film-by Phillip Noyce
Book by Lois Lowry

Funny how despite reading a typically critical (easer to critique and find fault than to understand the messages) review, I suddenly had a eureka moment upon seeing this film. Brilliantly done to stage a fantasy, the filmmaker Phillip Noyce reveals in a series of images and story, what the intellectual Noam Chomsky has been saying for decades about the human race in ‘Manufacturing Consent’; proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”, by means of the propaganda model of communication.

I watched the film and realized that the analogy, is actually what is happening. We are mutually ‘enculturated’ through https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enculturation what we learn through the media we consume (tv, commercial news, film & video and especially commercials) to learn what to value and believe in.

Sure, there are noble professions in which people strive to educate themselves and learn in order to bring a service or product that is helping humanity, but there is also a tremendous imbalance taking place, in which many people are working to live, and actually believe that they have freedom. As long as we are enslaved into believing that working to acquire a vehicle and to live up to the expectations of our peers in terms of material consumption, we are living a lie.

All those who are ‘studying business’ with the idea of making profit in mind, are even more demonstrating this. As long as we believe that our freedom is in material accumulation, the amount of time we can focus our attention on our electronic devices and not think twice about noticing a creature or sunset, then these corporate powers have accomplished their goal.

People are not free. As I was leaving the film riding home on my bicycle, I realize how this local community are completely isolated from one another in their automobiles; which they hold as their truest value, their acquisition and their demonstration of power. I realized that the corpocrisy is what is in control. And when I though about the huge, huge prominence of pharmaceuticals (both legally and ‘medically sanctioned’ and illegal) I realized that this dumbing down and diffusing of emotions and passion into black and white and grey, through (accepted diagnostic treatment) is indeed a tool of control by the powers which control us. We don’t even see it, because we accept that these are normal adaptations. Commercial advertising dictate what is important, physical beauty and prestige through material possession. I have stepped into the public school system and see that these are institutions designed in the treatment of the students as if they are in a penal system in which the utmost demonstration is not curiosity but obedience to authority.

Just days ago one of these insight gifts tumbled into my awareness, this article by Dahr Jamail, interviewing the ecologist Joanna Macy.

Learning to See in the Dark Amid Catastrophe: An Interview With Deep Ecologist Joanna Macy
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout

Learning to See in the Dark Amid Catastrophe: An Interview With Deep Ecologist Joanna Macy By Dahr Jamail, Truthout, Interview

Learning to See in the Dark Amid Catastrophe: An Interview With Deep Ecologist Joanna Macy
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Interview

In it she speaks of the philosopher and writer Hanna Arendt, who wrote “The Origins of Totalitarianism

“The inhuman economic machine does not love us back. It makes us into robots. It sucks us into the destruction of all that is. And even if we can’t turn it around now, at least we can wake up, so that in the time that is left we can discover who we are, just looking into each other’s eyes. Just looking into the face of the moon at night, or the trees, or the faces of our children and free ourselves. I think we want that.”

Now Is The Time, Leonardo DiCaprio, Speech on Climate Change

“Now Is The Time” Leonardo DiCaprio’s Moving Speech on Climate Change

Man, animation by Steve Cutts

Man, animation by Steve Cutts

Interesting that a few weeks ago I got a ride hitching down the Santa fe Ski mountain with a scientist who picked me up. We began talking about Trump and the environment. This man has been working with the National Park Service. He mentioned that within the first two days of Trump’s presidency, when Trump noticed a reference to ‘Climate Change’ among the National Park Service, that he immediately blocked off the entire National Park Service twitter account. Immediately frozen. Yet, that within just hours of this occurring, a brilliant IT person hastily established an ‘alt national park service twitter account’, to which more than a Million scientists joined within the first day. The ‘alt twitter account’ has been embraced by NOAA, NASA and other scientists and agencies just as swiftly. The man said to me with a twinkle in his eye

“Who would have thought that the resistance would be lead by Park Rangers?”

I happened to hear the same theme coming up in my own mind spontaneously and through the words of friends and communication of writer’s and artists simultaneously all around me, is that love does conquer fear. And I happened with delight within a text by Thick Nhat Hanh and reminder of the same concept that I heard associated with the Aboriginees, Indigenous people of Australia, that to truly love something and to have empathy for it, to become it, is the only way that people will wake up to loving every aspect of creation. As long as we are separated and isolated to our true nature by this imposed economic viewpoint that the pursuit of money and material accoutrements is the only goal, we will be perpetually living the lie, that is conveniently continually jammed down our throat. No peace and love and harmony do not arrive through full-throttle blinded identification with money and its pursuit, but by grasping in each moment the miracle of life that surrounds us.

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/band-of-sisters-universe-story-ecotheology/

Wildlife Conservation Agenda, Defenders of Wildlife

Wildlife Conservation Agenda, Defenders of Wildlife

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Carol Keiter the blogger back in Tucson, Arizona summer '16

Carol Keiter the blogger back in Tucson, Arizona summer ’16

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Power & Powerlessness

Dedicated to Marshall Slade Agresto Smith, who killed himself the day after his 22nd birthday. His family includes French, Spanish, Native American and Lebanese blood. The blood of his life is on all of our hands.

suicide, cultural ills, guns, Marshall Smith

Marshall Slade Agresto Smith candlelight vigil dedicated to his life, which he ended with suicide with his own gun.

He was an acquaintance whom i met at the bar where I asked to dj and incorporate my own music with the set. He hung out there from time to time, when he wasn’t working as a chef. Cooking was his passion.

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to him, commenting that the way he dressed, he looked like the carpenter apprentices in Germany who wear a particular uniform and only walk between their apprenticeships, Zimmerman. I couldn’t remember the name, and intended to tell Marshall the next time i saw him.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

A Zimmerman is basically a journeyman.

I noticed the last time I saw him to my astonishment that he had a real gun in a holster carried on his belt, hanging at his stomach. He said “yeah, it’s legal here in New Mexico”. Bout a week later, i was swinging by the plaza of Santa Fe coming into town at dusk and saw all these people standing holding candles and ‘CANDELARIOS’ lined up around the center.

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

I thought to myself, which tragedy happened now around the world, a new bombing or flight disaster? I approached and tried to see in the darkness the picture setting there. I soon learned that it was a vigil for Marshall, who killed himself several days earlier. The day after his 22nd birthday he shot himself with his won gun. His family stated in the announcement of his obituary, to not let people who drink be near guns, and not let people with guns near alcohol.

I came across this article a few days ago and sensed it that it’s appropriate to the current zeitgeist.

Broken Open, Heidi Barr, grief

Broken Open Heidi Barr on grief

“Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

So I don’t think we need more guilt, or rage, or powerlessness.  We surely don’t need more entitlement, self hatred, or shame.   But we do need to grieve that which has been lost, that which has died, that which we or our children will never have, and that which is at this very moment fading away.  Stephen Jenkins says, “Grief requires us to know the time we are in.  We don’t require hope to proceed.  We require grief to proceed.”

Marshall’s one grandfather had been president of a local college, St. Johns. The other, a Native American who’s a fantastic chef, bringing the family together through this ritual and art, which his grandson Marshall adopted with a passion.

I feel that this is representative of a sickness of our culture.

We’re all ‘expected’ – by whom – cultural norms and habitual responses – to conform; i.e. in our economic incentives, the way we dress, the appendages and material possessions we obtain, through the work we do, the way we express ourselves and how we view and even interpret reality. It’s a structural conformity, that filters down to our routines and habits, the ‘weekend’ celebration, the time allotted from our economic machine to gather… otherwise – put your head down and don’t question. French, Ukrainians…question. Americans are severely brainwashed. Noam Chomsky communicated how the media contribute to this structural conformity in Manufacturing Consent. “proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion, by means of the propaganda model of communication.”

Suicides, drug addiction are all representative of cultural ills. War is a condoned, anticipated and enculturated norm which is uncanny. War and artillery, weapons and the military industrial complex are viewed through the cloak of nationalism. It is your duty, and is equated with loyalty and honor to your country. I become so disgusted with this that I often feel just disappointment with my fellow man, and have more affection, adoration & praise for other animal & life forms, including plants.

This young man was not a conformist by any means>>>>and our culture screams for conformity. Consumerism overpowers the urge for genuine communication and cooperation. We all quickly assess and judge by clothes. How do you dress? What kind of automobile do you drive? What are these things broadcasting about you? What is your job or profession? How do you make your way in the world to pay for your housing and clothes…so that you have a place to sleep when your weekend respite arrives to spend some time at home enjoying these? We drive by one another insulated in our automobiles or interact while attending an entertainment event which we usually need to pay for. The entertainment standard is something we passively ‘watch’, rather than interactively participate in. I have been viscerally thinking about this and wrote while waiting to attend the ‘visitation’…that I’m disgusted with Marshall’s suicide, feel it is representative of cultural ills – not merely family.

fiery orange sunset

fiery orange sunset

The same day that I walked out of the visitation for Marshal and caught a glimpse of this fiery orange sunset which lingered pink on the horizon as I rode away, I later communicated the circumstances to a friend living in New Mexico who also saw this sunset. She said that just that day she had been reading about the Bridgend suicides, which were this sudden increase in suicides among mostly teenagers and young adults in the last few years in Wales. I found this article about it. The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend county

“The author talks to “cluster suicide” experts…Outbreaks like this are rare but not new…They have happened in Germany, Australia, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Micronesia…Psychologists familiar with the phenomenon are saying that what’s going on in Wales is a classic case of the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next…”

“These suicides are a symptom of a deeper societal malaise.”

This was just one individual, yet it prompted me to wonder how common suicides have been in history. It’s something I’ve never really wondered aboutinternational suicide rates. It appeared from my search that this has been on the rise in a number of different countries. I can’t imagine that this was common hundreds of years ago somehow.

International suicide statistics

International suicide statistics

About the same time that this occurred, George Monbiot – an environmental, social, economic and political writer – wrote this blog. “There Is Such a Thing As Society

Why should plagues of mental illness surprise us, in a world being ripped apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th October 2016

“What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis…There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same. Human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.”

“Though our well-being is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.”

Another article and preview of the film which it refers to also presented itself during these same last few days.
From Brexit to Donald Trump: welcome to the age of hypernormalisation in London

“No one talks about power these days. We are encouraged to see ourselves as free, independent individuals not controlled by anybody, and we despise politicians as corrupt and empty of all ideas…But power is all around us. It’s just that it has shifted and mutated into a massive system of management and control, whose tentacles reach into all parts of our lives. But we can’t see it because we still think of power in the old terms—of politicians telling us what to do.”

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization, film, Adam Curtis

Still from trailer of Hypernormalization film by Adam Curtis

“The aim of the film I have made — HyperNormalisation — is to bring that new power into focus, and show its true dimensions. It ranges from a giant computer high up in the mountains of northeast America that manages and controls over 7 percent of the worlds total wealth, to the complex algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice you make online- giant computer constantly compares events happening around the world to events in the past. If it sees a dangerous pattern, it immediately adjusts its trillions of dollars to keep things stable. That is real power. The algorithms on social media constantly look at the patterns of what you like and then feed you more of that—so you enter into an echo chamber that constantly feeds you back to you. So again nothing changes—and you learn nothing new that would contradict how you feel. That too is real power.”

In the meantime, Native Americans and a handful of white people are in North Dakota trying to defend their land.

In North Dakota, Dakota Pipeline, protestors, Water Protectors

In North Dakota, the Dakota Pipeline protestors are actually Water Protectors

By the way, I learned the other day from a man I met who had been adopted by a Native American family who is a Native American Literature professor, that in contributing to the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Iroquois. The Six Nations: the Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

“The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House… The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history.”

Iroquois, 6-nations, Participatory Democracy

Iroquois 6-nations Oldest Living Participatory-Democracy on Earth

Karl Marx was also influenced by the Iroquois in his political philosophy.

In fact, every kid in school is indoctrinated into this with the daily pledge of allegiance.

United States Declaration of Independence

Second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence

And yet, I don’t particularly feel that we are all created equal, especially when those who inspired the declaration are the very people who live in sacrifice zones – A sacrifice zone is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are most commonly found in low-income and minority communities.

Speaking of Democracy, wikileaks now reveals that it is not ‘we the people’ in a Democracy who vote for our representatives, but in fact just before the last election it was Citibank who were already planning even before Obama was elected, who were going to be taking the top posts in the Federal government. This New Republic describes The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton

What John Podesta’s emails from 2008 reveal about the way power works in the Democratic Party.
BY DAVID DAYEN October 14, 201

“Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.”

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.”

 Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Meanwhile in his article addressing climate change and the disasters and devastation of the petroleum industries’, Monbiot writes in his blog “What Lies Beneath” – a nice play on words – is as biting and bold as his honest assessments always are.

“All this nonsense is a substitute for a simple proposition: stop digging. There is only one form of carbon capture and storage that is scientifically proven and can be deployed immediately: leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“Their (governments in the pocket of the oil industry) choices are as follows. 1. a gradual, managed decline of existing production and its replacement with renewable energy and low-carbon infrastructure, which offer great potential for employment. 2. allowing fossil fuel production to continue at current rates for a while longer, followed by a sudden and severe termination of the sector, with dire consequences for both jobs and economies. 3. continuing to produce fossil fuels as we do today, followed by climate breakdown. Why is this a hard choice to make?”

In the meantime,

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

The Great Barrier Reef is officially dead: http://www.theearthchild.co.za/great-barrier-reef-officially-declared-dead-25-million-years/

I am in the library with my laptop, the only place to come to, not having residual cash to pay at a cafe to sit and linger in communication with the rest of the world. I’m here among library patrons along with a regular homeless population, of which, I guess i’m sort of one. In Tucson, at the grandiose university student library, there were a lot of homeless people too. There are no places to congregate really, unless you have money to spend. I wish to continue writing blogs and doing the research to complete my book, wish to continue playing bass guitar and piano and composing music with computer programs. I am lost as to how to find an artist residency.

… I entertain myself through learning and reading and doing various creative projects, which except for the tools – is free – all the time and effort put in to it have returns in the delivery of delight and joy gained through doing something. It is empowerment through action, not through consumption.

I have been kicked out of numerous places over the last year; parent’s home in PA, the workaway on a ferry in Brooklyn, my friend’s house in PA, the WWOOF i had arranged in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, and then voluntarily from the place i could no longer afford by paying rent with my credit card…and a few other places among familiar people, because people need their space. In fact there are a lot of quite large homes here in Santa Fe and people with homes left vacant while they live in their other homes….and I now have even more stuff that I’ve aggregated to my side; a suitcase of clothes, my laptop, bass guitar, favorite piano book, camera, now a few more frisbees since I’ve joined in on local ultimate frisbee pickup games in each towns I’ve lived in…and yet am almost homeless again, as I’m living so far up into the hills – literally encroaching on the animal habitats of the animals that have no more space for their own territory to live and survive – that my back is started to feel the weight of carrying everything with me down the hill and then trekking back.

I’m going to attend the debates tonight again in a public forum, just to exchange with people around me in their loathing. I had found a place and exchanged a friendly conversation for almost two hours with the woman with whom i thought we had a lot in common, and she said she had to sleep on it, and then never bothered to call me to say she didn’t want me as a housemate. then i moved to this mountain home guest of a man living alone there whose dog I walk, and the other woman who i was going to move in with and had to wait 2 weeks + to move in, called it off at the last moment, after i’d taken down all my signs, stopped looking for housing. a day before move-in i received an email in blue ink, very comforting looking, saying that she wasn’t moving in. then i had my first day at a job substitute teaching and instead of the principal telling me that it wasn’t going to work while I talked to her about potentially exchanging positions with the music teacher substitute who didn’t know how to read music…didn’t bother to tell me to my face that the job was off, but i found a ‘system response’ later that night. Had i not seen it, i would have gotten up again at 5:30 am to get there. then last night, i went to practice bass with a band, and neither of the guys bothered to phone to tell me that this was off, in fact they were playing earlier together with another guy on bass, when the day before i was trying to arrange an alternative night to accommodate the one guys’ new job.

It appears to me that gay men control the fashion and the art industry and then a small percentage of people control everything else. I’ve put out housing ads, and there have been a few people who randomly contact me with obscure cryptic texts, and then there have been a few men who send me pics, practically sexting, to their abs in pictures.

In the meantime, An eye-opening flight over California’s dying forests
By Kurtis Alexander Updated: August 6, 2016 8:00pm

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras, California's dying forests

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras – California’s dying forests

The four crew members were halfway through two weeks of flights over landscapes shifting ominously from green to brown, and already they’d begun to draw their conclusion: The mind-boggling number of trees that have died in California due to drought — an estimated 66 million over five years — is only the beginning.

It’s creeping farther north, and to higher elevations, not only providing tinder for wildfires, but also obstructing the forests’ fundamental ability to provide clean water and absorb carbon dioxide.

All i want is an artist residency where I can physically contribute to learning about and maintaining sustainable living, while also helping to ensure animal habitat conservation. My dream; a community of people contributing this, who are also committed to completing new works on an ongoing basis, the work which blends into education and awareness of the fragile planet and interrelationships that need to be sustained. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHRE THESE EXIST? WITHOUT A WAITING LIST?

guess i'm going to have to adjust the sails

guess i’m going to have to adjust the sails

Le plus dur n’est pas de rêver, mais de ce réveiller

….the most difficult is not to dream, but to wake up…..

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Journalist who Reveals the Truth | George Monbiot

Eureka, yesterday I made an astounding discovery, the writings of George Monbiot. I feel like I’ve struck gold. Perhaps this reveals my naïvité. I hadn’t been familiar with his name or writings, having not been a regular reader of the British Newspaper “The Guardian” among the places he has contributed. Monbiot’s candid humor amuses and his scope pierces your awareness. Recirculated by The Mind Unleashed | Uncover Your True Potential Monbiot’s article “The Eco-Apocalypse in Indonesia That No One is Talking About” was extracted from his writing within his website category Environment and the Natural World, Nothing to See Here. He states, “In the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st Century (so far), Indonesia has been blotted out by smoke. And the media.”

His website http://www.monbiot.com features a ferocious list of categories of articles he’s written about. The blog posted yesterday within this same category, is provocative, to say the least.The Dolphin Killers of Cardigan Bay/ Subtitled and predicated with the statement “Why does the Welsh government propose this gratuitous act of destruction? It refuses to say.” He talks of the absurdity that the primary place where dolphins gather in the British Isles, Cadigan Bay, which is – his words, ‘on paper’ – a ‘Special Area of Conservation’, is precisely where Welsh scallop dredgers and beam trawlers are given reign to destroy the seabed; the primary source of food for young dolphins.

George Monbiot, blogger, rspb, Royal Society Protection Birds

Here’s a picture of George Monbiot as guest blogger on rspb | Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Giving Nature a Home


His writings are crisp exposés, rather than soggy, one dimensional limping around the truth. His broad perspective brought to every analysis comes from his driving thoroughness in investigating the topic and background interest in the environment, politics and economics. This makes all of his writings on whatever subject refreshingly clear, in how he pierces into the truth rather than the typical white-washed and watered down mass media glimpses into a story.

Life-changing for me, because he’s a true journalist who cuts to the core, uncovering and revealing stories from multifaceted angles. “The Eco-Apocalypse in Indonesia That No One is Talking About” reveals promptly the difference between typical mainstream journalism and his crisp dissection of the real issues and correlation to the real sources of the problem. In this case, the continuing practice of clear-cutting and burning rain forests in Indonesia, to support the lumber and palm oil industries, which together with El Niño and climate change, are manifesting as the worst ecological disaster and highest input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, to date. His exposé of the political and economic culprits behind this manmade disaster lie beneath the story of the damage that is being done to the inhabitants, wildlife and nature there.

Upon reading the title of one of his books, “The Age of Consent; A Manifesto for a New World Order”, I immediately thought of Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent; The Political Economy of the Mass Media”. Chomsky proposes that the mass communication media of the United States are a system of effective and powerful ideological institutions carrying out messages that reinforce certain ideals and tendencies among the population – propaganda. He states that the former ‘anti-Communism’ model of social control was replaced by the present ‘War on Terror’. In The Age of Consent, Monbiot writes that “Our task is not to overthrow globalization, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity’s first global democratic revolution.”

In Michael Meacher’s “ review of Monbiot’s The Age of Consent ” for the Guardian, Meacher states, “This is an extremely important book. George Monbiot offers a searchingly rigorous analysis of the sources of American power and presents a package of proposals that would radically redraw the present world order. It is breathtaking in its radicalism, but for anyone who is serious about tackling the current US hegemony, it is difficult to fault the logic.”

There are plenty of topics George Monbiot has written about, which you can read and educate yourself to your heart’s delight.

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/georgemonbiot
http://www.monbiot.com

What Does Net Neutrality Mean to You? | It’s a 3

Lifescience says humans can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours (in an extremely harsh environment) without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food or sleep – with some exceptions – or you’ll perish.

Humans are social creatures. We survive and flourish through nourishing our physical bodies and minds. Throughout our lives we take in, learn and share information. It is our right.

To deprive a modern human being who has already been introduced to the free flow of information, by putting a price tag on the content and flow, should cause each human being to revolt, in 3 months. Reject the (too large monopolistic) providers withholding the information : for yourself, for your friends, your children, cousins, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, grandmother… until new smaller providers, out of necessity, pop up to take their place with a resilience of free-market healthy competition.

Think globally, act locally. Down with corporate lobbying strongholds. United consensus must be felt and acted upon from the public, to hold-out until smaller providers emerge to pollinate and populate the infrastructure.

Why does net neutrality matter anyway? Those at Lifehacker explain that “The basic principle driving net neutrality is that the internet should be a free and open platform, almost like any other utility we use in our home (like electricity).”

What does it mean? It was Tim Wu,

Tim Wu who coined the term Net Neutrality Read more of this post

Nick Vujicic’s Empowerment message vs. Income Realities of Expat & DE’s Harz IV | Chomsky ‘Profit over People’

This is the second time I’ve encountered a video featuring this man’s message, an Australian motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic, who has no arms or legs, yet manages to make the most of every moment of his life. Nick_Vujicic_inspirational_speaker “We become so preoccupied with what we don’t have, that often we forget what we DO have.”

Kids responding to Nick's positive message

Kids responding to Nick’s positive message

Well, after seeing his message, being engulfed in my own sense of worth and well-being, concerned with how I’m going to make my next dollar, seems petty. Yet, after trying to screen (after putting out online ads) who is sincerely responding with legitimate offers for work and who is trying to scam me, it is rather daunting. The majority have been scams, from asking ‘how old I am’ – after listing my skills and offers for numerous types of honest work – to sending a pdf form asking for my bank account and yes, a signature to send back to them as well.

Per Nick’s video message, what is important in life is not how much money one has, or power, or beauty…but one’s attitude. Yet, I, as everyone else, am inextricably part of a matrix of what we’ve all decided is a currency, exchanging the work that we do. Living in a foreign country, in a WORLD in which ‘nationalism’ prevails, doesn’t make things easier. All the German bureaucracy ( no doubt all Western European countries & US ) put up roadblocks to offering one employment. Yet in the three months that I’ve been here, I’ve encountered a LARGE number of young, healthy capable people from 20’s through 50’s in age, who are willingly committed to the German Hartz IV program. They obtain money from the government while unemployed, ‘arbeitslosgeld/unemployement compensation’ and go through the motions (as if) they are looking for work – just enough – to keep this flow of money coming; just enough to pay rent and buy food. It turns out to be more attractive to some people (a substantial number of people), than to actually push ahead in the work force to develop their crafts. I’ve been informed that this is not at all representative of the rest of Germany, but predominantly happening in Berlin. Reflecting Berlin’s unique history as an island of capitalism existing within the clench of a Soviet dominated fist.

Besides the fact that many inhabitants of the developed world have comparatively a great deal of wealth, at the same time, many of these people have a lot of ‘issues’. Issues which lead to unhappy, unfulfilled lives, resulting in various addictions and distractions. We live in a finance, commercially driven time with a lot of brain-washing, regarding what to strive for. A world which holds up false/photoshopped images and ideals of beauty and promises from material acquisition and power. Messages which are based on false ideals, to stay on top of the game, that actually lead to pitting people against one another. Nick’s point, is to forget about feeling ‘not good enough’. There will always be people who are drop dead gorgeous, or with incredibly brilliant minds, others with fabulous wit, extreme dedication…to compare ourselves to. Yet, each of us has something to offer through our love and genuine joy of doing what we love. Our responsibility is to follow our hearts and find what it is that we love to do, and therefore do well, to offer to others.

To me, seeing all of the kids listening and receiving this man’s message, is wonderful. It reminds me that we do all genuinely feel better when we are kind and compassionate and loving, and can care for what another human being feels. And we all do feel better exchanging positive energy and prompting smiles in others. This has absolutely nothing to do with how one looks or how much money one has in their bank account. Because yes, it is each and every one of us that have the gift of life, and we forget just how precious this is. Nevertheless, I still have to make 150 euros in 2 days, because I am challenging myself to do it. I am also down to no milk, no vegetables or fruits, used up the potatoes, the oatmeal is gone, still ample onions and garlic left. Great that I drink a lot of water primarily anyway, rather than buying anything else. ‘-)) I don’t know if I just love a challenge. Or, if by genuinely following my heart and speaking what I feel, is so against the grain of the consensus of modern society, that not to accept these ideals, appears to be naive and foolish. I say consensus in the context of Noam Chomsky’s messages about ‘Neoliberalism and the Global Order’ excerpted from his book “Profit Over People”. “The “principal architects” of the neoliberal “Washington consensus” are the masters of the private economy, mainly huge corporations that control much of the international economy and have the means to dominate policy formation as well as the structuring of thought and opinion.Chomsky has been a highly influential academic figure throughout his career, and was cited within the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar between 1980 and 1992. His work has influenced fields such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, logic, mathematics, music theory and analysis, political science, programming language theory and psychology.

This stage will pass, but it is now a bit scary

Halloween Geist

Ghost Figure for Hallowee

 

 

 

– good thing that Halloween is coming.

 

Scary halloween pumpkins

Carved Halloween pumpkins

Deafening Silence on Climate issue in U.S. Presidential Debates

There was no mention of the ‘climate’ issue by the U.S. presidential candidates nor their moderators, nor the media, during the debates.

Links re: mainstream media and political candidates not speaking about the climate

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now has featured Bill McKibben – founder of 350.org – (on the ppm of carbon dioxide acceptable in the atmosphere) .Bill McKibben was one of the featured speakers on Democracy Now, regarding the lack of anyone’s mention of the climate.

McKibben is staging a new tour in November of 2012 to inform the public about the terrifying math corresponding with the climate crisis. http://math.350.org/

More recently, Amy Goodman has featured Noam Chomsky on her program, discussing what topics were glossed over on the presidential debates.

As well, a recent tomdispatch blog features Rebecca Solnit writing about climate and the fact that it was not discussed whatsoever in the presidential debates.

Rebecca Solnit mentions that basically both candidates are keeping their mouths shut “After all, we made it through four “debates” with 60 million or more viewers each, and not a single one of the four moderators asked a question about climate change, nor did a presidential or vice-presidential candidate let the phrase pass his lips or bring the subject up.” I presume that they’re whipped by the corporate powers that feature the U.S. Government and the media. “Hundreds of thousands of words on events in Benghazi, Libya, and just that one sarcastic sentence on climate change. Someday people will surely look back on this election season with a kind of nightmarish wonder at the fear and denial our leading politicians (who knew better) exhibited in the face of the power and financial clout

of the

energy industry

and its lobbyists.”