Pledge of Allegiance (Part One)

EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…

“I” will not be explained until part four. So, let’s examine what “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America” means:

Let’s start with pledge.

PLEDGE or PAWN, contracts. These words seem indifferently used to convey the same idea. Story on Bailm. §286.

PAWN. A pledge. Vide Pledge.

A pledge is a contract.

ALLEGIANCE. The tie which binds the citizen to the government, in return for the protection  which the government affords him.

What is government?

“Govern” means control and “ment” means mental. (mind control and ego construction)

Flag. a piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution or as a decoration during public festivities.

A flag is just a…

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Defining Sustainability

“Our labor system is set up so that people must be employed in order to gain money to survive, while the actual contributions these occupations have to society are highly suspect, showing that jobs often exist just to keep people doing something in order to live and support the economic structure itself. This is a waste of human life.” ~from the video

 

 

Laws of the Earth

 

Law.A rule of action prescribed by a superior, which an inferior is bound to obey: 36 C.J. 957

 

laws for atoms

laws for atoms (Photo credit: Will Lion)

What kind of world do we live in when sesame street has gone from ABCs and 123s to My Mommy/Daddy is in Prison and My Daddy/Mommy Broke a Law? How does this not scream crisis emergency epidemic to the world? How has humanity become so complacent that the existence of parents/people in prison has become so common place that Sesame Street has taken to incorporated it into their television programming and offering Incarceration Tool Kits. I’m not sure if that makes it better or makes it that much more tragic. It has become so normalized and such a standard (incarceration, breaking laws) that a progam dedicated to children is now using it. Let us forget for a moment about the abstractions that are laws and what it means to break an abstraction, let us play around in this reality for a while. The comic tragedy of it is no less severe. Watching the videos on Sesame Street’s website play out like a skit from SNL or perhaps MADtv or even The State or some parody on YouTube. Yet, sincerity and seriousness must be acknowledged. The US has stepped over yet another line in the consciousness, there are now so many people in prison (and not all of these prison sentences are just, but let us save that for another essay) that it is now not an HBO special or a trumped up, sensationalized multi-million dollar CGI Hollywood film, but a Sesame Street program. Has human existence sunk this low? Are there way too many laws anymore? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, perhaps there are. The number of federal laws in the united states for which anyone could be indicted for are innumerable? Does no one else find this disturbing. I’m sorry, what was freedom again.

Shouldn’t we be embarrassed? Shouldn’t we be raging against such an onslaught of obvious mockery at humans being? Shouldn’t there be crying and gnashing and clenching teeth in the streets that there never was any freedom, that the promises promised were never meant to come true, that EVERYONE is bound for the mental electric chair?

Yet, many too many line up voluntarily for the noose and consider themselves lucky to be given the soft rope, and place firmly their hands upon the plough. What mental holocaust should abound now that humanity has leased his grounds to the corporate teat?

No more, I say, shall I kneel as a coward before the sheep clad in gold. No more shall I walk with head bowed into the belly of an iron beast and shame my self esteemed great. I ask for no other to walk with me flat feet upon the earth, as I shall walk regardless, with my toes digging into the soft dirt and plush grass. I shall hang my hat upon a low branch, and I build my home among the upturned roots of a fallen tree.

Outside of the local conundrums of Schrodinger’s box can there be any concept like free. Until people realize the obviousness of this,  humans will continue to be incarcerated by laws so innumerable the only solution will be the creation of a paralyzed Utopia, intent upon the destruction of uncertainty, the murder of unknown, and the jailing of infinity in the name of human insecurity, fluttering away Life for what is sold on TV.

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals.” ~Alan Watts

Body Ritual among the Nacerima

The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different people behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. In fact, if all of the logically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is apt to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. The point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock.  In this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that it seems desirable to describe them as an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go.

Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago, but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east….

Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.

The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls.

While each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me.

The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.

The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charmbox of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshiper.

Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure.

In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated as “holy-mouth-men.” The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber.

The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.

In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client’s mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.

It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was to these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body ritual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite includes scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantly masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists.

The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress.

The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because “that is where you go to die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing but eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift.

The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. In everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized as part of the body-rites. Psychological shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the latipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen him in an excretory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are subjected to the scrutiny, manipulation and prodding of the medicine men.

Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.

There remains one other kind of practitioner, known as a “listener.” This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe that parents bewitch their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “listener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth.

In conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.

Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled as an act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition. Parturition takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants.

Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a magic-ridden people. It is hard to understand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. But even such exotic customs as these take on real meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he wrote:

Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization.

Originally written by Horace Miner

*Source

What Is More Obscene?

“Murder is illegal, but you take a picture of someone committing the act of murder they put you on the cover of Newsweek . . .what is more obscene: sex or war?” ~Larry Flynt

ONE OF THE MOST IGNORANT TESTS EVER*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“ONE OF THE MOST IGNORANT TESTS EVER” from Robert Huffstutter
“RELATIVISM AND THE THIRD MAN” by Jim Devlin

Interconnected Posts–

QOTD Violet Rose

It is illegal for women to go topless in most cities, yet you can buy a magazine of a woman without her top on at any 7-11 store. So, you can sell breasts, but you cannot wear breasts, in America. ~Violet Rose

*Image Credit (work used with permission through CC license)–
“Yvonne” by IvanClow

Interconnected Posts–

Ronald McDonald Rehab Center

Music: “Anxiety”, “Dark Pad”, “Fantastic Dim Bar” & “Awkward Meeting” by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
Stock footage from Stock Footage For Free

Images available through Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License from the following people:
Suan Eman
JeKemp
Sameold2010
Joe Gray
Jean Burgess
Duncan Laws
Cathepsut
Jonathan Kramer
Anthony Catalano
Sarah Gilbert
Aussie Gold
dwwebber
Steve Crane
harry_nl
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Simon Miller
mafleen

QOTD Eustace Conway

The ancient people understood that  our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost site of that. I don’t live inside buildings because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in a real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they have stepped outside the natural circle of life.

Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes.  They wake up every morning in a box of their bedrooms because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box.  Then they leave the box where they live and get into another box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken into little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to the house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box.

Break out of the box! This not the way humanity lived for thousands of years. ~Eustace Conway from the book The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

Chicago suburbs from the air

*Image Credits  (all artwork used with permission through CC license)
“Tijuana Suburbs” by Nathan Gibbs
“Chicago suburbs from the air” by Scorpions and Centaurs

The Perception of Type

The Nuance of Innocent Until Proven Guilty

“[T]here is no more one Truth, general, applicable everywhere and at all times, but a multiplicity of values which relativize each other, complement each other, nuance each other, fight each other, and are worth less for themselves than for all situations, phenomena, experiences they are meant to express.” ~Michel Maffesoli, Eloge de la raison sensible, 1996

Elegant Background 0005I do not know, too much does not make sense. Too much just seems to be a game created as a practical joke but the joke has been going on so long that no one remembers anymore that it is a joke and no one bothered to call April Fool’s. So, what is the alternative? What has to be done? Live as an animal in a zoo, trying to hoard its sanity in a Skinner Box built by Schrodinger?

The Modern Goddess of Satirical Mutilations I should hate, but I do not. I should, though, because existence could be easier momentarily. Except I would have to be an asshole, and I cannot do that to myself. It is weird though because ‘Asshole’ is just a word, a label, a name, innocuous on its own. But a weapon in an insecure society. A society intent upon the annihilation of ‘I’ (as the seat of consciousness) and the abhorrence of the egoless.

Animals habituate in a zoo, captive and captivated by the sickness called Man. We. HA! How can there be a We among Man when he cannot walk down the sidewalk without bitterness toward his fellow man? “What’s he got that’s better than mine?”The maxima of their sordid, little lives.

Sometimes, I must laugh because Insecure Society tells me that I am cold, as if that defines me and not their perception. As if within the actions I make sits “coldness”. As if coldness were composed of the act itself. This is a misperception. The burden of the label is not upon the shoulders of action and actor, but upon the witness. Insecure Society has bestowed Name to the actor; the act is not a performance. Do you see how easily reality is undermined? How quickly the mind can turn innocuous into guilty?

The Perception of Type“Innocent until proven guilty.”—Some say the justice system has forsaken that mathematical moniker [mathematical because it is more of a logic problem than it is a truth, but I digress], I disagree. I say that is wholeheartedly upheld by the justice system and those workers within the justice system. The focus ought to be on the “thought words/symbols” Innocence, Guilt, and Proven. What is proof of guilt or innocence? Further, what is Proof? And how is it done? Proof does not require rigor in Zoo Civilization. Proof only requires perception (and more words and symbols). Innocence or guilt is not a matter of inherent flaw detection, but simply a matter of convincing one party of the factual events (that alone without words can be perceived infinitely by any who bear witness) and whatever version of interpretation necessary to win the case or win the argument. It is just a matter of winning and who wins. Not about how to the crux of a matter so that it can be improved upon or changed or evolved or eradicated, if necessary.

See, no one is interested. It is just a matter of convincing. It is even in the language of the court: Conviction, a Judge pronounces Sentence. See? It is weird. So, when people talk to me about environment, they never mention the subtleties, the true nuances.

Lights of Fractal Metropolis 0009I am often (daily) accused of not understanding social nuances by those whom are now called ‘neurotypicals‘. I used to believe this and it drove me into madness. I no longer believe this blatant conundrum. It is not I who does not understand nuances, but members of the outgoing insecure society who do not understand nuances. See, nuance has to do with divining and awareness of subtleties. But when Society says social nuance it posits Do Not Mean What You Say, Do Not Say What You Mean and Say One Thing To Do Another. That is not nuance that is manipulation. And only in Western Culture could awareness become manipulation.

I do understand nuance, I see nuance everywhere. I cannot possibly comprehend if someone does not say what they mean or mean what they say or say one thing to do another (which is actually rather close to deception). And for some reason disagreement means incomprehension in Society. I cannot fathom how twisted Western Culture can be. How twisted that every one act becomes another. Confidence becomes arrogance, Quiet becomes fighting, Help becomes Attack, Ask becomes Compulsion, Voluntary becomes Required, Agreement becomes Contract, and Tradition becomes Law

Tell me, what is the true perception?

Unknown

*Image credits  (all work used through CC license)–
“Lights of Fractal Metropolis 0009” by Andrew Ostrovsky
“Elegant Background 0005” by Andrew Ostrovsky
[“Unknown”] by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
“The Perception of Type” by arnoKath
“The Modern Goddess of Satirical Mutilations” by Derrick Tyson

Time To Pretend

“All the great empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” ~Winston Churchill

What I mean by hard-wiring caused by years and generations of socialization is that genetically humans are now predisposed to suffering. Suffering, in the social environment, has become normalized, and anyone who should deviate too far from this standard is considered “crazy” or abnormal.

Now, before I continue, let us come to an agreement about what constitutes suffering? Not a definition of suffering but what can be called suffering in the human condition (as we exist in a societal environment). In what form does suffering come? Suffering can be called an intangible state of being, that is, one’s being exists in a state of suffering. Suffering, once had a definite and easily determined cause, i.e., racism (but let us not veer off into efforts of indoctrination or further observations at this movement through sociology’s eyes just yet), womanizing, immigration (and by immigration, I mean, in the early days of Europeans arriving in America and their efforts at rising out of poverty), etc. [NOTE: I purposefully chose social movements, that is large acts of deliberate oppression enacted upon other groups of humans by other humans within a society. I could not go to an indigenous culture for several reasons, but mainly, because I don’t consider myself well-versed enough in indigenous culture to do so and I think much of human suffering that we are talking about stems from western culture and western society constructs. Further note: I am looking at human suffering solely from an anthropological perspective]. Okay, these kinds of mass suffering no longer effects western society as deeply, save only in a mass destructive way, i.e. Hurricane Sandy, and human suffering suddenly comes to the forefront.

Sociology says that natural disasters are usually the times in which human beings will come together and forget about all the differences that the day before loomed so important as to cause neighbor to fight with neighbor and realize that “We are all human beings” that we bleed the same blood, etc. etc. Well, why is that? Why is it that humans only understand suffering following a natural disaster (there is a whole other element about this that disturbs me when I think upon it. In what I have been reading of late (anthropology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, which are naturally intermarried and naturally lead to consciousness) it seems as if humans do not unite because suddenly they caught a glimpse of what is really important, but out of fear and a unity in loss. Everybody understands loss)? It is as if humans require a disaster, some cataclysmic event, in order to set aside our petty differences. I think this is part of the reason why these unified acts of kindness are only temporary. Once enough time has passed, or that the event is forgotten or that some other kind of remedy has occurred, that time of bonding falls away, and we return to our “normally” suffering selves. This is a fundamental problem, I think.

I reason that there must be some deeper cause for humans’ [current] inability to understand human suffering or the suffering of others. I mean, if you believe in Kohlberg’s scale of Moral Development, there is more than one dimension, more than one scale of existence, and some humans exist on different scales. We are not all equal, in other words. Now, here is an element of reality that some are reluctant to discuss or even entertain the notion that it is true. We are not all equal. Equality can only be an extrinsic quality offered to humans in society; meaning, equal protection from police, equal representation in court, equal opportunity at law, you know, this kind of philosophy. However, it is not true biologically, psychologically, physiologically, culturally, or genetically, you know? I think we don’t fully understand this, as humans. There is a distinction in some things. It is only so on a certain level. It’s like humans try to create a unified theory of everything in everything. This would create a homogenous existence, what could be learnt from this? What use is a homogenous existence? That would be like playing the game not to lose. Risk is not necessarily a negating property, nor is chance, and I think that playing the game not to lose is to surrender risk and chance.

But, don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that there is potential and probability that the world can be different. I think fear is a powerful obstacle. But, this too, will end. As in chaos theory and entropy, randomness slows down to order, and order slowly breaks down [entropy] and then transforms to something else, some other unrecognized pattern (what we then call chaos). We, as a race of humans, are learning that the once archetypal ways of living are outdated and obsolete. We are realizing that the acts we have and are committing upon ourselves, upon our consciences, upon our environment, upon the planet; we are now comprehending that every act has an equal and [sometimes] opposite reaction. We are learning to love what we are and then live that way. The times are changing and the time to pretend ends like a clock slowly winding down until it stops on high noon.

*Digital Art by Jeanne Masar.