Repost: Occam and Me on JFK and 9/11

(My first piece ever at that grand old group blog The Mitrailleuse, November 2014. With an intellectual background like the one below, no wonder I wrote a novel titled Sanity…)

The first reference to Occam’s Razor I ever saw, age 12, was in Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel, which sent me to the encyclopedia (and yes, I’m that old), because who could read the mysterious words “Occam’s Razor” and not be dying to know what it was?

I began reading about the assassination of President  Kennedy when I was 14, my interest sparked by Josiah Thompson‘s book Six Seconds in Dallas, which I found through the proven technique of a random walk through the public library stacks, scanning spines for anything that caught my eye and grabbing it. Who knows why or how these fascinations begin, but by the time I finished Thompson’s well-written and reasonable book I was hooked, leaning toward the “second gun” theory, and on the prowl for more of the seemingly endless supply of fact (and especially, fancy) on the events of November 22, 1963. Continue reading

(I’m republishing some essays that first appeared in The Mitrailleuse several years ago–this one from January, 2016. It’s funny that at that time I was working up a non-fiction book titled “Sanity.” Two years later I published the novel, Sanity. Some things work better as fiction.

I’d just gotten into Scott Adams’s work outside of Dilbert in October 2015. I liked his work very much, thought some of it was genius, but his insistence that Trump would be the President seemed preposterous. At the time…)

It’s interesting that before he became the first human to die live on the Web, Tim Leary changed his tune (and the title of one of his books) from Exo-Psychology to Info-Psychology.

Leary acknowledged that his one-time obsession with space exploration and the future of humanity off-planet was at least partly the result of his time in jail in the 1960s and 70s and the natural tendency of the mind to want to free itself by flying high above the prison grounds. For an old dude, he seems to have rapidly grasped the possibilities of the Web and some of the changes to our lives that digital world would bring. He apparently continued to consume plenty of drugs up until the end. The funny thing, to me, is that there’s no indication that in all his years of psychonauting he ever deeply explored the free, easily available and abundant resource that’s provided to us every night: The Dreamscape.

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In the month or so I’ve been away from most web activity I spent two weeks on a family vacation and all my spare time studying Self-Directed NeuroplasticityLucid Dreaming, and Scott Adams on persuasion and hypnosis. I’m working on my own book, that was working-titled Sanity but is now Essays on Sanity because it’s not going to be that big. Since it is going to be a lot more weighty than the typical 96-page Amazon self-published special, I expect to finish with it in April.

Don’t worry, when it’s available I’ll be going around to flog it mercilessly, so you won’t miss out.

My personal strength (or shtick) is really synthesis, not deep and original thought; so here are a few connections amongst the above smattering of subjects. It appears, looking at the people around me every day and the people I read about in the papers, that most not only don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing; most of the time they aren’t really conscious, by McPhee’s definition in his lucid dreaming book. They’re not seeing that they’re seeing, hearing that they’re hearing. Most of all, they don’t know that they know. And by sleeping through their dreams and not remembering anything of them, they’re missing the best chance to be in contact with the unconscious part and get a glimpse of what’s really going on in the (90 percent?) of themselves that they’re not consciously aware of.

You Are Not Your Brain, which I began reading first, emphasizes the same principal, differently. The constant stream of “thoughts” that most of us experience, most of the time, are not you, that is, not your consciousness. You need not controlled by them, nor by the bodily sensations that they drive and that can drive you to take various, ineffective and even harmful measures to alleviate. Instead, it’s possible to refocus and redirect when we have these uncomfortable sensations, and eventually consciously rewire the brain (Self-Directed Neuroplasticity) so that we feel them less and they drive us less.

I started reading Scott Adams’ blog just a few weeks ago; people are starting to notice that he was one of the few who stated, back in August, that Donald Trump would win the general election, because Trump is a “Master Persuader.”

Scott is also a trained hypnotist of the Ericksonian school, which once again is coming at the same Big Idea, from a different angle: Are you running your brain, or are you just a herd animal full of Mind Parasites planted by Mommy, your first grade teacher Ms. Progressive, and your very expensive education at Uni? Are you a Persuader, or Persuaded? We’re all both, of course, but it’s nice to know what’s happening rather than being pulled about like a sleepwalker.

Ever driven down the highway for several minutes thinking about “stuff,” internally focused, and “woke up” to find you can’t remember the last five miles? That’s hypnosis baby, as much or more as some guy on stage in Vegas getting people to take off their clothes. No, definitely MORE.

Sanity is soundness. Sanity is more time being conscious and being more in touch with your unconscious. Sanity is being awake when you’re awake and more aware of valuable experiences when you’re asleep.

None of this, on the surface, may seem to be related to my interest in Neoreaction or to “politics” as such, but as one dives into this material, one realizes.

There’s a hell of a lot more to “becoming worthy” than lifting.

Civil War 2.0 Will Be Livestreamed

(A repost of my piece at the dear departed Mitrailleuse blog almost exactly four years ago–July 16, 2016. And I  now give it four stars out of five…it just turned out to be even better, four years later. We now return to those days of yore when no one knew who would be the next President, but somehow everyone knew it was gonna be LIT.)

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

~The events of this summer are a taste of what’s to come in the fall, and even more so, November 9, 2016.

Someone is going to win the Presidential election, and regardless of whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the loser’s supporters are going to feel existential angst about America, and their place in it, far beyond the usual.

Pat Buchanan advises us to take a Chill Pill; “For when a real powder keg blew in the ’60s, I was there. And this is not it.” And yet…in “The ’60s” (and the early ’70s, which is when some of the worst SHTF) we had the evening TV news and the papers. The crazy spread slower then. This time, any and every incident is going to be magnified and extremely accelerated.

Scott Adams, one of the most intelligent commentators extant, catches something significant here in a few well-chosen words:

So now we have a situation in which Team Clinton has scared citizens into thinking the threat to their lives is mostly domestic, coming from Trump, Trump supporters, and anyone who looks like them. People who are scared will act. And we see those actions now in terms of violence against police, violence against Trump supporters, and death threats to bloggers such as me. And we already have one attempted Trump assassination.

So far, Trump has showed a willingness to annihilate any professional politician that gets in the way. And he’s annihilated professional reporters and news organizations that got in his way. And he’s tough on non-citizens. But Trump hasn’t tried to turn American citizens against each other. Clinton has, and successfully so.

You can blame Trump for Trump University, and for his uncivil language. You can blame Trump for lots of stuff. But the police shootings and the recent uptick in domestic racial violence are mostly Clinton’s doings to win the election. And it is working. Unless Trump finds a way to counter Clinton’s racial persuasion, he will lose in November.

I expect Trump to go full-attack after the conventions. It would take the world’s greatest persuader to redefine Trump in a way that he can win the election. But as it turns out, Trump is probably the world’s greatest persuader. That’s why I predict he will win in a landslide. Unless someone kills him first.

Everyone, I think, senses something different, something large and vibrating and vaguely menacing, coming down the pike. I recently finished Jon Meacham’s semi-hagiography of George H.W. Bush and I was struck by Bush’s bewildered reaction to his loss to Bubba in 1992: How could America elect a draft-dodging, in-your-face serial liar and shameless philanderer over a man who’d volunteered to go in harm’s way, had his plane shot out from under him by the Japs and done his conscientious best to serve the nation for 30 years?

The answer, of course, was that Bubba and Mrs. Clinton and their friends in the media who’d gone to Harvard and Yale with them had finally got into positions of influence to make their ’60s-’70s Frankfurt School/Rules for Radicals dreams into realities. All of that Old School crap about Duty, Honor, Country was now inoperative. The Republican Party subsequently nominated a series of decent, moderate men, only one of whom could win, and that mainly because of the manifest weaknesses of his opponents.

Which brings us to the Current Year.

People who are scared will act…

(Insert now-removed video  of guy in Trump hat being chased and beaten by peaceful protesters)

There’s going to be plenty more of this, at the conventions and after. The BLMers and Black Blocers and Mexican Flag Wavers seem to believe they’re immune to serious retaliation from Trumpers, who actually support Western civilization. But from what I see on Twitter and elsewhere, limits will shortly be reached.

“Civil War 2.0” is, of course, hyperbole. Half a million Americans aren’t going to die in the next four years over who wins this election. Only one side, this time, seems to be spoiling for actual violence.

They’d best be careful what they wish for.

(photo credit)