Archive for the Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing Category

Facebook is Dysfunctional

Posted in Commercial Corporations, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Multimedia Communication, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2017 by Drogo

It isn’t just people with problems, the design of Facebook is dysfunctional. 

Facebook is a clever concept, and works ok to connect people from around the World. However there are always many glitches in the programming, unnecessary updates that confuse more than help users, and few options for user control over the format. Many of the important utility icons are stupidly tiny, disproportionate with their function. The feed-streams and advertising are needlessly over animated, which creates loading glitches and mistakes. Facebook is poorly designed and has problems.

Rather than helping artists to make money, they ban the accounts of anyone pushing socially-acceptable boundaries. The best part of Facebook besides the basic operations, might be the easy way in which money transfers work. However there should be more ways for people to make money online, if only the 1% would create some jobs that we could do for them on Facebook (not holding breath). It is very difficult to get attention for personal independent advertising, even when you pay for it; and it is rare to get paying clients through Facebook (in my experience).

Worst of all about the design is that there are many ways to cause problems with other people’s accounts, like accusing them of ‘copyright’ or ‘nudity’ violations; both of which favor mega-corporations rather than individuals; AND no good way to defend the accused against the claims, while the accused are immediately judged and punished without trial (banned from posting, items deleted, threatened that account will be removed, and/or account disabled).

Facebook, as much as any media bound by laws, plays a role in censoring society because so many people use it. Facebook (FB) has chosen to punish people on their own pages for artistic expression, while the company reaps profit from ads. FB is part of the authoritative narrative that maintains that female nipples are obscene, and all human bodies in their natural state should be shamed. Human genitals that are responsible for giving us LIFE itself, are banned; as FB encourages society to continue to consider our sacred parts rude, offensive, and inappropriate for public knowledge or art.

The women of Pussy Riot and Femen are protesting in Europe more shockingly than in America, ironically because they have less freedom and less legal rights. Women in America have become complacent because they have largely bought into the commercial corporate male model of society. Those European martyrs are exposing their vulnerable bodies, shouting with their fragile voices, and putting their spirits in danger because we live in authoritarian state-run societies. Societies (as a whole) in Civilization evolve as cultures change through-out Time, and are influenced by those willing to defy traditions or conventions; often at the expense of their own safety.

The small text size in pop-up screens makes it very difficult to write significant messages to people. FB works best as a simple superficial message sharing commercial service, but it is barely adequate in message functionality, and fails to allow free expression by the user on their own pages. Artists have a difficult enough time in society, without being told they cannot show their own work on their own virtual page if FB or anyone else disapproves of it.

In protest of these problems I am going to start using other platforms more. Perhaps another form of social-media will help citizens to communicate better and share their lives and work without as much commercial intervention. Slowly society will grow and progress towards harmony with Nature and our own natural nudity. Diaspora and blogs seem to be a better way for free expression.  Democracy Cannot be Corporate.

Wowven Breasts

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To The Children of the Future

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Environmentalism, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Drogo

I am sorry that we of Generation X have not done more to preserve our Nature Environment. Yes we participated in protests, and various activist roles, but we have been largely apathetic as a whole, and the grip that the Baby-Boomer Generation has had on government has not lessened. Their corporate corruption certainly set the stage for Trump and his ilk. There was even talk among our revolutionaries of assassinating all the demagogues, but that did not seem reasonable to do on a weekend.

Instead of acting on our angst and over-throwing the system in order to replace with with real democracy, we instead spent our money (what little we could make in a diminishing economy) on movies and video games, preparing the way for the autism of Millennials. Ass-bergers is not to blame for the pollution of our water, land, and air; no the fault belongs to apathy and ignorance. I honestly thought that Rambo and Commando would solve all our problems through the kicking the ass of every enemy. Well we certainly helped accomplish global destruction of nature, as well as humans, through our aggression and belligerence. The shells of wasted ammo pile high, and the smog from spent fuel hangs heavy in the air. The smell of burning oil wells is our generation’s new ‘napalm in the morning’.

Cities have poisoned their own water supplies, corporations have waged wars on workers, and yet we still allow terrible, evil people to control our lives and ruin your future. I am sorry my children, I would have liked to have more green spaces for you to enjoy for quality of life, and technology for you to use for renewable energy. And yet we are developing every square foot of our country by paving over it, and building wasteful architecture. I have quite serving that system, to the best of my ability, and I fight against it, peacefully as much as I can. For you and me, I pledge I will never stop the struggle to allow us to thrive with nature, responsibly, and most of all for you because I love you.

– Drogo Empedocles

Corporate Media Fails Democracy

Posted in news, Politics, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Drogo

Sadly it is up to bloggers and independent media to hold corporate government and media accountable, as underfunded as we are. In 2016 I would watch Bernie Sanders lectures online with enormous live crowds, while all news networks ignored his popularity and instead chose to air Clinton and Trump as their two pre-selected favorites. Every single day, every week, for months during the National election campaigns. It was blatantly obvious to me time after time, that our public news was being filtered in favor of the two candidates that their bosses had decided were worth reporting on. It was a ridiculous ‘good guy vs bad guy’ show, with no room for rational public dialog on issues that affect us.

The failing of big news media outlets to cover all the candidates was not just by ‘for-profit’ corporations like the major commercial tv networks, but also newspapers and ‘non-profits’. Obviously commercial news networks [FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, NY Times] would not want to advocate any politicians that threaten their corporate sponsors, but apparently even the ‘liberal’ news shows of NPR & PBS were not immune to their corporate sponsors either, despite receiving our tax payer money (some government funding) and a majority of their money from PUBLIC pledge-drives!! I will no longer donate to my beloved NPR or PBS until they begin to cover the smaller candidates much more during (at least) National elections. Usually NPR or PBS were the only intelligently sensitive news sources I had to rely on for many years, and I still love many of their shows. However the National election press coverage clearly showed that corporate money corrupts even the media, not just our government. In hind-sight they have done this with many other ‘lesser known’ but brilliant candidates that have represented popular beliefs, like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Cynthia McKinney.

We must remember that our media and government is there to serve us, not the other way around. If corporations insist on forcing us to submit to their influence, by dictating what or who gets propaganda and attention and how they get it, then we must not only resist but supply alternative solutions and vote for change. We the people must unite and show our opinions for support or boycott publicly. Thank you to all those who have done this resistance fighting already!!! Remember, remember, how they foiled our democracy; and have been doing it for a long time. Please continue to seek the truth so that democracy can work for us.

Bernie Sanders

My Tribute to Actress Betty Ford

Posted in Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2017 by Drogo

When i was a kid, a Hollywood actress came to stay at our Bed & Breakfast in Harpers Ferry.

Her name was Betty Dingeldein, but she had changed it to Betty Ford or something. Anyway she was so sweet to me, calling me cute etc, and she talked to me like a human she really liked. She learned i liked Ghostbusters, and she was friends with the actor that played Viggo the Cartpathean in G2, so she mailed me his large photos with signatures to me his fan. I must have been 12 years old, but it changed my life to know that i could talk to the people that i saw in shows like Hunter on TV, or get notes from famous movie actors, suddenly it felt like i could live the way i want when i grow up. I think i started to realize that the happiest adults pursue what they want, even if it is as insane as acting.

from Wikipedia:

Bette Ford (born Harriet Elizabeth Dingeldein; June 24, 1937) is an American actress and former model and professional bullfighter. She was the first American woman to fight on foot in the Plaza México, the world’s largest bullfight arena. Bette Ford was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. She began her career as a model and actress in New York, where her modeling credits included stints as the Jantzen Bathing Suit Girl, the Camay Bride, and the Parliament Cigarette Girl, and her acting credits included appearances as a regular on The Jackie Gleason Show and The Jimmy Durante Show. While on a modeling photo shoot in Bogotá, Colombia, Ford was introduced to the renowned matador Luis Miguel Dominguín and watched him fight in the ring. Soon after, Ford left New York for Mexico to train as a bullfighter. Warner Bros made a short documentary about her training.

Her historic debut at the Plaza México was followed by several years of fighting as a figura (bullfighting celebrity) in Mexico and the Philippines. The studio MGM, which had offered her an acting contract before she left New York to become a bullfighter, planned a full-length feature film based on her life story, and sent several writers, among them John Meston, the co-creator of Gunsmoke, to meet with Ford and discuss a screenplay. Ford married Meston shortly after they met and then retired as a bullfighter. Ford has appeared in feature films including the Clint-Eastwood-directed ‘Sudden Impact’ and ‘Honkytonk Man’, and television series including Cheers, L.A. Law, Melrose Place, and Felicity. Her voice can be heard in ‘The Animatrix’, the companion animated DVD of the film trilogy ‘The Matrix’, and numerous commercials.

Shortly after moving back to New York, she married another actor, David Ford, whose name she kept after the marriage ended. She later married John Meston (who died in 1979) an American radio and television writer best known for creating, along with Norman Macdonnell, the long-running radio and TV series, Gunsmoke. Her third and current husband is Scott Wolkoff.

i lost touch with her because as a kid i was not good at writing to adults. I learned that even famous people can care about those without as much fame or ‘success’. Which of course begs the question of what ‘success’ can be for most people.

  • Valley of the Sun …. Bunny McGill (2011)
  • The Animatrix …. (voice only)
  • Final Flight of the Osiris …. (voice only)
  • The Division …. (TV Episode)
  • Felicity …. (TV Episode)
  • ER …. (TV Episode)
  • Providence …. (2 TV episodes)
  • Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place …. (TV Episode)
  • Promised Land …. (TV Episode)
  • A River Made to Drown In …. Lady with Whip
  • Nash Bridges …. (TV Episode)
  • A Face to Die For (TV Episode) …. (TV Episode)
  • It Was Him or Us …. (TV Episode)
  • Party of Five …. (TV Episode)
  • Thunder Alley …. (TV Episode)
  • Tales from the Crypt …. (TV Episode)
  • Melrose Place …. (TV Episode)
  • The Wonder Years …. (TV Episode)
  • The Commish …. (TV Episode)
  • Marked for Death …. Kate Hatcher
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air …. (TV Episode)
  • Hunter …. (TV Episode)
  • Major Dad …. (TV Episode)
  • L.A. Law …. (4 TV episodes)
  • A Year in the Life …. (TV Episode)
  • Crime Story …. (TV Episode)
  • Hotel …. (TV Episode)
  • Crazy Like a Fox …. (TV Episode)
  • Cheers …. (2 TV episodes)
  • St. Elsewhere …. (TV Episode)
  • Emerald Point N.A.S. …. (TV Episode)
  • Sudden Impact …. Leah
  • Falcon Crest …. (TV Episode)
  • Falcon Crest …. (TV Episode)
  • Honkytonk Man …. Lulu
  • James at 15 …. (TV Episode)
  • Emergency! …. (TV Episode)

CIA – Central Intelligence Agency

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by Drogo

‘Legacy of Ashes, History of the CIA’; by Tim Weiner

1945 – “In a global totalitarian war,” General Donovan believed, “Intelligence must be global and totalitarian.” Donovan and Allen Dulles replaced the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) that Roosevelt had created, with a bigger agency. The OSS had been loyal to the president, but the new CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) would serve the Pentagon. They believed in fighting fire with fire in during the Cold War against Communism. The CIA not only had an army of spies, but “began channeling clandestine political and financial support to Europe’s most ambitious politicians, bosses, publishers, teachers, clergy, and military officers; recruiting promising young men who might someday lead” subservient nations. Many groups around the world got “cash and counsel” from the CIA. “In WW2 the US had allied with communists to fight fascists, but during the Cold War the CIA used fascists to combat communists.”

1950s – CIA creators and commanders “proved unable to control the machine they had set in motion.” Burn-outs and back-blasts were hitting home already. Forrestal was found in the midst of traffic psychotically ranting about communists, and was committed to a psychiatric ward at Bethesda Naval Hospital. During his final hours he was copying a Greek poem ‘Chorus from Ajax’. Forrestal stopped on the word nightingale, after which he fell to his death out the window (16 stories). “Nightingale was the code name of a Ukrainian resistance force Forrestal had authorized to carry out a secret war against Stalin.”

Panama Canal Zone, like Guantanamo, bulldozed jungles to make cinder-block cells dedicated to “torture and brainwashing”, guarded by the Navy. Their other clandestine prisons were in Germany and Japan. Many foreign CIA double agents turned against them. Their “need for a way to own a man’s soul led to the search for mind-control drugs, and secret prisons in which to test them. Dulles, Wisner, and Helms were personally responsible for these endeavors.” They conducted Project Artichoke; testing heroin, amphetamines, pills, LSD, and torture interrogation experiments. Their efforts continued later in Project Ultra. One American unwitting test subject jumped out a window of a NY hotel. Most records were destroyed concerning these programs. The CIA ‘Young Germans’ project of funding and arming aging Hitler Youth created blow-back when they wanted to rebel against West German democracy, and it blew-up into a public scandal.

The CIA’s speculations about the Soviets were reflections in a funhouse mirror. Stalin never had a master plan for world domination, nor the means to pursue it. He was afraid of war.”

CIA Subversion by Ballot – 2003 covert action-order NSC-5518 from the White House authorized the CIA to use ‘all feasible means’; including payoffs to buy Indonesian voters and politicians, political warfare to win friends and subvert enemies, and para-military force; to keep Indonesia from veering to the Left.

1960s – It was an obvious conspiracy operation carried out by an enemy, to Director Richard Helms and Lyndon Johnson, when they first heard of JFK’s assassination. “I thought it was a conspiracy, and I raised that question.” – said Johnson. “Over the next year, in the name of national security, the CIA hid much of what it knew from the new president, and the commission he created to investigate the killing. Its own internal investigation of the assassination collapsed in confusion and suspicion; casting shadows of doubt that still linger. This account is based on CIA records and the sworn testimony of CIA officers, all declassified between 1998 and 2004.” Regarding the false-flag event which caused the Vietnam War, the NSA was silent about the truth, “destroyed the smoking gun – the (fake) intercept that McNamara had shown the president, and years later admitted it all. As the NSA’s 2005 confession says: The overwhelming body of reports, if used, would have told the story that NO attack had happened. The fake intelligence fit perfectly into the preconceived policy. Congress authorized the Vietnam War.”

2000s – False intelligence was used again in 2001 to uphold another president’s rationale for war, this time presented to the public by the CIA.

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‘Secret History of the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency’; by Joseph Trento

The politicians that decided to advocate propaganda for war with the Soviet Union after WW2, are being called heroes of “the greatest generation”, but perhaps we it was really the “CIA generation”. This book points out they were obsessed with fighting the Cold War using secret spy methods. Top secret government operations in the USA means having to lie to a democratic population, using propaganda and illegal activities to promote global domination. The CIA clearly advocated acts of war and war crimes, not only against all foreign countries, but also on Americans to insure obedience.

The Secret History of the CIA is not about America conquering godless Communism and winning the Cold War. It is more about ambition and betrayal than about patriotic achievement. It is about what happened when an age of fear caused us to turn extraordinary power over to a government agency run by human beings with weaknesses that we all share. It is about careerism, callousness, self-interest, and hubris.” Their careers “produced no real victories and many tragedies.” The CIA “risked the lives of mostly innocent people who were not combatants. Hundreds of thousands of people died in a series of proxy wars and secret operations,” often for insane purposes using unethical methods. The CIA mainly acts on behalf of the president, but sometimes even the commander-in-chief is ignorant of their elite conspiracies.

Truth, when talking about the CIA, is relative.” – James Angleton, CIA Chief

Yakterina Fursetseva was the powerful soviet that handled Lee Harvey Oswald. Her son-in-law was double agent Igor Kozlov. George Weisz was looking for a KGB mole in the Reagan White House, and when he was killed, it was made to look like suicide. The CIA was giving the country misleading estimates about the military power of the Soviet Union. “We deluded ourselves into believing that intelligence was more meaningful than information. We confused degree of difficulty with the value of the information. The really important information was sitting in front of our noses, because it seemed insignificant. Our problem was that we could not discern what mattered.” – William Corson explaining CIA propaganda revealed in the Princeton Papers.

Trento’s book mostly covers the Cold War. Agents were constantly paranoid that the KGB had moles everywhere, and in some cases they certainly did have double agents. “Today spy wars are conducted in sterile clean rooms by physicists and mathematicians examining pixels and dissecting algorithms.” – James Bamford

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‘Devil’s Chessboard, Allen Dulles, CIA, & the Rise of America’s Secret Government’; by David Talbot

Allen Dulles was the first CIA Director. “Dulles was more instep with many Nazi leaders than he was with President Roosevelt. Dulles not only enjoyed a professional and social familiarity with many members of the Third Reich’s elite that predated the war; he shared many of these men’s post-war goals.”

In the 1930s Eduard Schulte was a good German worker and family man, but he was skeptical of the morality of the Nazi party. In order to keep his position with the mining firm, he had been forced to join the Nazi-run German Labor Front. Even his hunting club was state-run. Ironically he fumed when his two boys came home one day in Hitler Youth uniforms. His wife reminded him it was compulsory and he was being hypocritical. He knew the ‘brown poison’ was seeping everywhere.

The Nazi ‘Final Solution’ was meant to remain secret, with most of the death camps located in remote outposts. An IG Farben official inspected the Auschwitz factory, and afterwards was told by a German worker about the terrors at the camp. “Great numbers of the people were being burned in the compound’s crematoria,” he said. The smell of incinerated flesh was everywhere. OSS passed the story on to Allen Dulles. Dulles expressed little interested in Schulte’s story about the Final Solution. Dulles was more interested in using propaganda to sway the German people to ally with the USA.

The Manchurian Candidate, the 1959 best-selling thriller by Richard Condon that was later adapted for screen, dramatized the concept of a flesh-and-blood robot, a man so deeply programmed that he could be brain-washed into a cold-blooded assassin. It was a paranoid fantasy with valid roots in the confusing Korean War debacle. American POWs had admitted to dropping biological weapons on North Korea and China; including anthrax, cholera, plague, and other toxins. When the prisoners returned, the confessions were retracted because they had been brain-washed by Communist interrogators. In response to these exaggerated rumors, the CIA developed their own programs that blended the science-fiction ideas of George Orwell with Philip K. Dick. One of the first of these CIA operations was code named ‘Artichoke’, because it was Dulles’ favorite vegetable. It was the first of many such insanely insidious operations.

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Summary of CIA research:

It seems the CIA will sabotage Left or Right Wings of any government, if they think it benefits them or their corporate sponsors, regardless of how peaceful, democratic, or American their enemies may be. “If it’s secret, it’s legal.” – President Nixon said, who constantly conspired to make plans against Left Wing Americans by using our own secret agencies against our own people. The CIA historic trend appears to lean Right Wing, probably because authoritarian military control is part of Right Wing doctrine; whereas Left Wing doctrine advocates humanitarian civil rights. It is not a conspiracy theory, that our government lies to us. Following ‘the money trail’ is always a good start for serious political investigations, as representatives tend to be swayed by funding more than any philosophical theory, because they have bills to pay like anyone else.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

– President Eisenhower 1961

CIA Wikileaks Vault 7: CIA wants to be able control our cars to cause crashes whenever they want. , not just listen in with any of our digital devices for undetectable assassinations” are possible by remote controlling cars.. Knowing is half the battle. An informed public is necessary for democracy, it is not just paranoia to understand our reality and debunk those that want to label everything as ‘conspiracy theory’. To think that secret agencies set up to protect the public would not conduct plans to hurt members of the public, contradicts history and official documents on record.

All we can do as peaceful citizens is to be aware, talk about what needs to happen, vote for candidates that seek to actually create government transparency at the highest levels, and help pass protections that unfund state sponsored terrorism, and fund poor workers as a human right, in the ways that wise humanitarian leaders would.

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Open Letter to the National Security Agency

Posted in Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Jokes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2017 by Drogo

“Dear NSA, I hope you are listening because I heard a really cool plan to kidnap a gaggle of corporate politicians. Someone said that the CIA had a plan to put bags over the heads of the all most ignorant trumpsters, throw them in a van, and take them to a secure secret location… you know the one. Then those idiots will be forced to watch nature documentaries for many days while being told they are loved by a Pagan Goddess. Finally after they are starving and broken, they will be released naked into the wild. I can’t tell you who I heard this conspiracy from, because then I would have to spank you (plus I cannot recall as Reagan and every politician says that is ever put on trial for war crimes). The FBI already threatened to blackmail and torture me, but they are just jealous of the CIA. Please try your hardest to monitor any communications about this plot, as I am very worried that someone’s feelings might be hurt. I suggest spending millions of dollars of taxes from the poor and middle-class, like you normally do. Love, Bright Bard”

– from a new fiction book, Trumpster Gate: A Conspiracy Theory

Socrates and the Problem of Democracy

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, History, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Drogo

A generation before Socrates; Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus; practiced their philosophical teachings, laying the foundation for social dialectic epistemology. In just a few generations, philosophers went from theorizing about Nature (primal elements), to focusing on human mental and social abilities to know truths. Philosophers were often used by leaders to build theories and machines to wage wars against other leaders. In this way philosophers were similar to priests, in how they often were paid to sway public opinions for political support using ideas. However, rather than using the traditional pantheon of magical mythologies as priests did, philosophers used new ideas that could be embraced by practicing an eastern love of Wisdom (Goddess Sophia), that involved rhetorical talk persuasion, and mental reasoning aided by inner spirits called daimons (acknowledgment of self-ignorance and commitment to continual self-knowledge through dialog). Knowledge is virtue, not because of any power it earns, but because self-aware humble piety is good; as with the best comedy, the virtue of knowledge is that it can save us from ourselves, if we use it wisely. This is where we ended up with Socrates, and his conclusions about epistemology still resonate today on the streets and in the minds of many people regardless of class.

Few scholars take the time to investigate how events led up to the earliest, best form of government by the people, democracy, being responsible for putting to death one of the greatest philosophers in history. I will attempt to reconstruct how popular events and ideas may have resulted in official public conviction to execute a man who’s main crime seems to be that he asked too many questions of too many people, which bothered the existing system too much. Put simply, Socrates was killed by democracy because he was annoying.

This is a summary of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Socrates and the Sophists. Our main focus will be on how their philosophies related to their Greek politics and economics. Afterwards we will consider Plato’s Republic, and how the lessons of history can improve our current democratic government; based on the theory that ‘We the People’ can govern ourselves, and maintain civil rights economically and politically. This is why philosophical theory matters, because all our political and economic systems are based on people believing and practicing theories. Law and currency work because enough people agree that they have value. Laws are only suggestions unless they are enforced using ‘real’ actions. Money has symbolic mental worth to lives, which is used to get ‘real’ material property and control the minds of those that want it, so that they do ‘real’ work for a boss or client.

I’ve never heard anyone frame a talk on this before. To clarify the issue, it may be a conflict of disciplines is to blame for our collective ignorance on the subject. History, Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology are now treated as separate disciplines that should be legally kept divided so that a few professionals can make all the money, while keeping the public safe from those that might install ‘unsafe systems’ (AIA). Do not believe those false authoritarian dictates, whose laws mainly serve the elite few, and do not allow that even the poorest person may make good designs.

Professors usually skip through the ‘pre-socratics’, cover the basics of Socrates, and then move on to Plato’s responses; which of course was to propose the Oligarchy of the Republic because democracy had killed the wisest man, and because Macedonian emperors would soon rule Athens. Plutocrats tend to think they know best, simply because they have money which is power in a corrupt Capitalist system. The story of the trial of Socrates, should really be an invitation for all of us to put democracy on trial in a much larger way, and begin to resolve the problems of self-governing; which is not just about demagogue representatives, but more importantly about what ‘We the People’ want.

Democratic problems might be described as mass commercial competitive propaganda, and unethical majority mob bigotry; which can perpetuate cycles of unbalanced emotional vengeance. Those problems are not exclusive to democracy, but what makes democracy better than oligarchies is rule by the many, that everyone has a vote, and at least the majority rules. Why is it good for all people to have a say in how they are governed? It is important to empower people with the evidence that their vote matters, otherwise they will lose interest in supporting the government, and ‘representative’ government can easily fail to care about the majority of the population, regardless of whether those representatives were elected by the people or installed by only a minority of elites (oligarchy). Direct vote elections by the people needs to have power at the highest levels, not just the lowest levels, or risk complete system failure due to internal apathy and deceit. All people having a vote in democracy means that all people have a value in society, even if they are mentally or physically sick or disabled, homeless, or cannot provide for themselves in normal ways. Good political leaders are inclusive and represent proportionately majority and minority agendas, by proposing democratic laws that can get popular support from a majority of the actual population, not just corporate business campaign donors.

Ethical fairness and justice for all, means that progressives must challenge existing laws which conservatives think are working fine. The Left Wing must constantly beg the Right Wing to not be so abusive to the majority, while the Right Wing must constantly tell the Left Wing it should be grateful that the majority are not abused more, because free-thinking liberals and war veterans are hard to restrain, and liberals and veterans do not have the economic power of corporate business campaign donors, so they should shut up and stop causing problems for the current oligarchy that got entrenched by laws they said were good for all, but lied about or were wrong.

The philosophical problem of democracy, or any political governing system, is also the psychological problem of individual minds. The natural self-destructive urges we feel, are also related to the problems of larger social systems (Freud). This truth is why Socrates not only put his accusers on trial, during his own trial, but he also put himself and everyone he met on trial, every day, for many years. Socrates was dedicated to the concept that we could make things better by actively and constantly pursuing knowledge, by admitting our own ignorance. This process was called philosophy, or loving Wisdom.

The historic context that set the stage for philosophy, was a Greece recovering from a dark age after the fall of the Mycenaean Empire. Whatever the reasons for the Greek system collapse, it happened. A society can be judged by comparing the property and power of their leaders with that of their people, regarding fairness and equality. Empires are not considered ‘just’ civilizations, because they tend to have plutocracies that perpetually wage war to keep the masses enslaved to their unfair system. Smaller countries tend to hold their leaders more accountable for their actions, and therefore successful leaders may be upper-class, but they can not own much more than average people, if they want to be beloved by the people as one of their own. Tyrants in city-states can be overthrown quicker than those controlling vast Empires.

During this dark age, Greece probably was dominated by constant violent despotic regimes, plagues, and famines. The diminished populations of the Dark Age abandoned writing, transitioned weapons from bronze to iron, many cities and towns vanished, and the redistributive economy collapsed. The Trojan War was long past, and the subsequent Western (Aeneas in Italy) and Eastern (Philistines in Palestine) settlement colonies by migrant veterans had dissolved into ‘native’ populations.

Most of our knowledge of the Greek Dark Age comes from burial sites, weapons, and geometric art on pottery, with no written records. Eastern empires began to grow and threaten Greece again, around the time that Greek writing was reborn (from Semitic), and philosophy began in Eastern Greece. Persians were just the latest large group of migrants that had come to power in Mesopotamia. Greece was a collection of city-states (polis) run by kinship groups and family households (oikoi).

Greek History leading up to Classical Age Athens

900-700 BC – Dark Bronze Age ends, Archaic Iron Age begins: Homer

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element

500 BC – Classical Age begins: Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides

400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers

300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Chieftains were the main leaders of villages, and they were buried in heroons (hero shrines). the main economic resource for each family was the ancestral oikos plot of land, the kleros (allotment); without which a man could not marry. Greek culture was very bardic, as so much of their lives revolved around mythical and legendary stories, songs, and plays at community theaters.

Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes created theories of the primary elements of Nature. Then Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides argued about change vs non-change with Math as religion. Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus addressed universal powers like the elements of nature and love and discord. They were upper-class Classical Age humanitarians dedicated to education and love more than war. The groundwork was laid for the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to talk about laws, careers, epistemology, virtue, and metaphysics. The world was about to get weirder.

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Now let us review: Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus. (click on names)

So to summarize all of these pre-socratics, they were very dedicated to the first scientific inquiries that we have on historic record; and then suddenly, shit got weird, and the first democracy in the history of human civilization put a retired mason, an unemployed teacher by the name of Socrates, to death for wanting to learn the Truth. Next we will revisit the story of the famous Socrates.

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Socrates was from Athens, Greece circa 400 BC. He was a philosopher, stone mason, soldier, and mentor. He was considered a public gadfly because he would stand around the stoa and engage random people in his pedagogy by a ‘method of dialogue’ (elenchus) which involved asking questions to arrive at truths. Socratic dialogue uses deductive reasoning to advance epistemology. Although the Delphi Oracle said that “None was wiser than Socrates”, Socrates believed this was only because he was more aware of his own ignorance. Socrates annoyed prominent Athenians so greatly they put him on trial and sentenced him to death; which he eventually accepted, despite his suggestion that they pay him for his public services instead.

His ‘dialectic method of inquiry’ supported his assertions that knowledge equals virtue, questions lead to excellence, and knowledge of self, friendships, and community was more important than pursuit of material wealth. He refused to be a career politician because he did not feel comfortable telling others how to live, when he himself was not sure. He called his intuition on matters of courage and honesty his ‘inner daemon’.

Golden Rules of Socrates:

“I only know that I know nothing.”

“As the Delphi Oracle says: Know thyself.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

4 Virtues: Justice, Wisdom, Courage, & Moderation

“Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.”

“Do not do to others, what angers you if done to you by others.”

“Be kind to everyone, as though they are fighting a hard battle.”

The Oracle at Delphi seemed to support Socrates. Apollo was the main god of Delphi, but the older tradition of interpreting the Pythia prophet was an ancient religious power which once dominated from Egypt to Crete, Greece, and Indo-European lands where priests and priestesses worshiped horned bulls and snakes. Christianity eventually destroyed Delphi, and Snakes were ‘chased out of Ireland’, but many religions still consider those animals sacred; and the history of those animal cults is very long.

Wisdom according to Socrates meant the use of knowledge, but also knowledge of ignorance. Even Socrates had habits and repeated or contradicted himself hypocritically as humans do. Yet he asked “what is the way we ought to live?”, and consciously and socially contemplated social norms, to improve life and gain self-knowledge (which is akin to self-love and ability to love others). We should examine life, and find out for ourselves ‘what good is happiness’? Wrong doing, even willful wrong doing, is a result of serious ignorance. Knowledge was virtuous if it could be used to balance courage and temperance, and Socrates believed that knowledge used wisely was equal to virtue.

A veteran of the Peloponnesian wars, Socrates had lived through the horrors of battle, famine, and plague. He had witnessed hoards of his fellow soldiers, men of Athens, be shipped to their slaughter abroad and massacred here at home. The greatest hero of Athens, Pericles, his mentor Anaxagoras, and the military generals too, all paid for their political ambitions which had built Athens up, and taken Athens to war, and brought it down. Socrates was not a fan of the rich Acropolis glitz that Pericles had insisted was needed to make Athens great. He had gone to war to serve his country, and the wisdom he was teaching appealed to the young men of Athens, who once ‘corrupted’ with a love of wisdom began resisting authority.

Review Plato’s writings about Socrates (click on link)

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It seems there were always economic incentives for political wars, and they are almost always based on irrational greedy ambitions, that far out-weigh any practical humanitarian morality or ethics. How do greedy people convince others that their ambition is better than being humble? Three main reasons for the success of Corporate greed spring to mind: first they use envious bigotry; then they use loyal patriotism, and finally it is obvious to all rational citizens that war reinforces the economic driving force of the system that employs most workers. Those reasons for war and torture however, pale in comparison with the reasons based on the best things in life which to the wisest are love, happiness, and peace. The best national dreams cannot be tied to a heartless, soulless system.

The system of ‘Progress’ defined as ‘always taking more and more’, is destroying our environment and causes wars. Call it ambition, greed, corporate marketing, commercial consumerism, or corrupt Capitalism. No laws yet tried seem capable of constraining beasts who are successful at the cost of countless others, and no free-market theory seems realistic at a large scale (ironically much like Communism). We know that unbound competition breeds hateful resentment in losers, and ruthless monopoly or egotistical pride in winners. It is proven that companies prefer to hire thugs like the Pinkertons or call in law enforcement, rather than bend to the will of the people. The natural truth of this can be realized when one considers how twins from birth may become like Janus opposites, if nurtured diametrically. The twin that is taught that they are good, and given rewards, becomes convinced they are good; and the twin that is taught that they are bad, and taken from, becomes convinced they are bad. Whether the twins are actually good or bad, may not matter if they are convinced they are those things, and they convince others that they are ‘truly’ those things. This is why to every above-board system, there will be an under-ground.

Yet we allow our rulers to wage war, and worse yet, we allow them to make us do it too, with purchases we make and taxes we pay. All it takes for bad things to happen in politics, is for good people to take no responsibility and allow bad leaders to make them complicit in national crimes against humanity. The tools of teaching and communication are available to the masses more now, than ever before in history; therefore it is more possible to have a more informed public than ever before, that is also more self-aware through network-hive complexity. It may be necessary to deconstruct our addiction to industrial consumption, commercial propaganda, and corporate consumerism; and relegate those obsessions to children’s cereal boxes, toys, and sports paraphernalia.

NEXT LECTURE: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Also let us not forget about Diogenes the Cynic (circa 410-320 BC)!

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Why this lecture is relevant now in 2017 – Trump

I had been putting off writing this essay because the complexity of the setting, subject, and topic kept me exploring the mysteries involved. Mysteries lost in time like myths, are hard to grasp. The legends of Socrates were certainly told in different ways when they were first written. The comedy plays that depicted him were caricatures, similar to our political cartoons in newspapers, comedy shows on television, and tabloids all wrapped up into live theater performances. This essay means only to introduce novices to these mysteries, and suggest that an epic movie could be made that covers this period in Greek history. Every area of human life could be addressed in the telling of this story.

SCOD member Sir Jeffy the Psychologist Astrologist, said he was getting more interested in ‘street epistemology’ and the art of dialectic or philosophical dialog. I told him that is the reason that Socrates is so famous and loved by people continuously; his dedication to challenge people to share what they think they know with others, ask others what they know, then to reconsider what they think they know, and to think for themselves by repeating this process as often as needed. This dialectic method makes for intensely deep conversation, and is not just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ by arguing opposing ideas for no reason, the goal of true knowledge is important. We should not just accept what others tell us is true. Thinking and evidence was not even enough for Socrates, as his search for truth led him to actually confront others face to face, and directly challenge their intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom on any issue, and at any time they were in public. This dynamic socratic theory does not allow its practitioners to successfully submit to authorities, like average industrial age workers are expected to, as is the case in modern Greece where workers continue to unionize against bosses.

The problems inside humans are often the same problems in politics. Problems manifest socially, often before leaders catch on, just as internal problems in an individual go undetected and then avoided. Then of course, there is the problem of Power, and the tendency for psychopaths to be attracted to power. Psychopaths are too egotistical and vain to care about other people. Sociopaths at least care about those they can control. There are hybrid psychopath-sociopaths, like Dexter, and they can be highly functioning politicians. When the psychopath cannot handle their own psychosis, we might call them schizophrenic, as their ‘break with reality’ becomes evident and unacceptable to themselves and other people. Internal discord is the root cause of narcissist tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, and Trump. They cannot be nurturing or loving for long enough to convince anyone who has a free-will, that they should give up their freedoms to serve them, so they must use bully words and brute force. These worst of demagogs of mankind, must be questioned publicly using socratic method, and exposed as frauds. False and untrue leaders should not be allowed to rule, and democracy must meet this challenge by constantly striving to be correctly informed, and question its own perceived truths.

THE END?

*   AUDIO RECORDING of Lecture

References:

Encyclopedia Britannica*, Socrates to Sartre, and other philosophy books

Dr. Sadler’s Philosophy videos on Youtube – thank you Greg!

Jeff Milette – SCOD “psychological astrologer” aka rehabilitation counselor

West Virginia Coal Mine Wars – Corporate war against workers is real!

Socrates’ criticism of democracy*

“Socrates’ analysis of the hatred he has incurred is one part of a larger theme that he dwells on throughout his speech. Athens is a democracy, a city in which the many are the dominant power in politics, and it can therefore be expected to have all the vices of the many. Because most people hate to be tested in argument, they will always take action of some sort against those who provoke them with questions. But that is not the only accusation Socrates brings forward against his city and its politics. He tells his democratic audience that he was right to have withdrawn from political life, because a good person who fights for justice in a democracy will be killed. In his cross-examination of Meletus, he insists that only a few people can acquire the knowledge necessary for improving the young of any species, and that the many will inevitably do a poor job. He criticizes the Assembly for its illegal actions and the Athenian courts for the ease with which matters of justice are distorted by emotional pleading. Socrates implies that the very nature of democracy makes it a corrupt political system. Bitter experience has taught him that most people rest content with a superficial understanding of the most urgent human questions. When they are given great power, their shallowness inevitably leads to injustice.”