The Ideology of Massacre

Prior to 9/11, the most destructive terrorist attack in America was the bombing of the Murrah Building in 1995. One-third of the nine-story building was destroyed, and casualties were concentrated in the day-care center on the first floor.

The perpetrators of the attack, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, were motivated in part by the actions of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas. Both incidents involved compounds led by apocalyptic leaders that believed the government was a tyrannical conspiracy. Disaster evolved when normal law-enforcement procedures were initiated against paranoiacs that resisted contact with the outside world. Their possession of gun arsenals was a particular problem.

Where most might have seen government missteps as indicating problems in practice in dealing with a new sub-culture predisposed to violence, the separatist militia movement saw things differently. Propagandized by Reagan’s “government has a boot on your neck” rhetoric and Gingrich’s anti-government messaging, the two incidents in jurisdictions a thousand miles apart were taken as proof of tyranny. Buoyed by this political rhetoric, McVeigh and Nichols saw themselves as freedom fighters, exercising their Second Amendment rights to strike a blow against the ATF agents housed in the Murrah Building.

Gingrich never recognized this connection, because his strategy had much narrower political motivations: attain Republican control of a Congress that had been dominated by Democrats since the New Deal. Rather than deal with specific issues, Gingrich attacked the government as a whole, indicting the Democrats by association. The reverence in which Gingrich is held by the movement reflects the continuing effectiveness of that political strategy: smearing government and blaming Democrats for all of its defects.

It’s the smearing government part that relates to mass murder in our public schools. To a young adult, a public school is the only governmental agency they interact with. When bureaucratic procedures fail to protect students from abuse (as in Columbine) or impose sanctions for paranoid aggression (Parkland), to justify mayhem the affected parties have only to make the same step made by McVeigh and Nichols.

What needs to be understood is that the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment zealots in the Republican Party advocate openly for that step. They characterize gun ownership as an essential element in maintaining a free society, a characterization that makes sense only if guns are actually used by individuals in resisting authority. It is this logic that requires the provision of military-style weaponry to the public, which when turned on unarmed civilians results in heartbreaking trauma.

So for Gov. Scott in Florida and others to assert that these incidents are reflections of “pure evil” should be seen as a self-indictment. These incidents reflect people doing what you tell them they should do, against a government that is incapable of controlling the dangers that your rhetoric incites.

Hypnosis Works

When I interviewed at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, I felt like I had come home. After years of having my compassion treated as a threat by abusive managers, it was welcomed as an asset to be celebrated.

The program is a significant investment. Everybody thinks that as a software developer I should be rich, but after a tumultuous divorce, several brief stints of unemployment, and nearly $30,000 spent producing and marketing my message of healing, the $10,000 tuition was nearly a third of my net worth.

So while I enjoyed the first month of classes, I was still nervous about whether this was finally going to give me the avenue that I was seeking.

I am drawn frequently into healing experiences, most often on the floor when I am dancing. Those environments also produce hostility though, most often from men whose sexual aggression is rejected by women that are relieved to find their prayers for kindness answered in my presence.

As I explained it to HMI’s education director, I was seeking a modality that would allow me to bring people into that space of healing in a controlled fashion. He understood, affirming that “hypnosis is a framework on which you can build many kinds of practice.”

I found confirmation this Saturday under surprising circumstances.

I went in to get a hair cut before yoga, and found myself stranded on the bench at Supercuts as stylist after stylist took a break. I was called to the chair by a younger woman, dressed severely, her long, dark mop of hair punctuated by a blue splash over the right eye.

After she had gotten started, she asked what I had done with the beginning of my day. I related that I had been working on hypnotherapy classes. She followed up with “What’s that all about?”

While we were given scripted responses in the first series of classes, they weren’t possible in the context (sitting shrouded in a sheet). So I began to ad-lib, stating that hypnosis enabled the client to access the full capabilities of their mind when trying to modify behaviors.

She broke in “But what if someone doesn’t want to confront the past?”

“Well, they don’t have to; you can choose to move forward. Hypnosis establishes a state of relaxation and clarity that allows you to remember what it is like to feel well and in control. When you go back to life, you can then clearly perceive what is pleasant and unpleasant, no longer obscured by the anxieties and stress of your habitual life.”

She was skeptical, and concluded the conversation with a dismissive comment.

But as she continued her craft, trimming the right side of my head, I had this sudden thought “She’s really open to me right now.” Extending my focus toward her heart, I took it gently and poured love into it.

She didn’t react. But ten minutes later, she pulled out the steamed towel and began to clean the nape of my neck with a gratitude that penetrated deeply into the skin. After thanking her, I walked toward the register and one of her elder peers called out, “Thank you!”

And I realized that just knowledge of the theory of hypnosis had brought me the means I was looking for, even before mastery of the techniques of therapeutic practice.

I’m on the right path.

FOX Outed

Disgusted by the way Bill O’Reilly ran his cage-match shout-fests, I’ve scrupulously avoided FOX News for the last fifteen years. As TV has invaded our public spaces, that has come to require some discipline. Management often chooses to impose their political views on restaurant patrons. So at the local Jack in the Box, I turn my back to the FOX monitor and take the lesser of two evils: watching grown men ruin their bodies doing things that were intended to be forms of play.

Today it was the dual monitors that bracketed the bar at the Best Breakfast and Lunch in Port Hueneme. Confronted with the finishing counter, I couldn’t help but glance around for some visual stimulus. Much to my surprise, I found myself reading a FOX panelist explain that the reason America has a serious problem with mass violence is easy access to military-style weaponry.

Interest piqued, I kept on following along, and couldn’t help but burst out loud in laughter.

The response to sanity came a few minutes later, when another panelist retorted that America doesn’t allow easy access to guns, it protects the rights of citizens to protect themselves from tyranny. Now this is fatuous: a despotic government doesn’t need to wage war to subjugate a modern society – it only needs to turn off the water and power and stop collecting the garbage. But what brought on laughter was the unintended inference from a mouthpiece for a party that controls all three branches of the US government.

FOX admits that the Republicans are tyrants!

So I began to laugh, really heartily, and wondered why Trevor Noah can’t produce such hilarity. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe FOX isn’t shifting to the loony right to protect its brand from Breitbart, maybe it’s competing with Comedy Central.

But what would be the right byline?

The students in Parkland recognize the irresponsibility of Republican gun policy, as do some Republican Party donors. If the young and the sane recognize the need for sensible gun reform, that seems to leave only the senile as defenders of the gun industry. So should we think of FOX News as “Senility Central?”

That seemed to fit when Rush Limbaugh was brought on for the interview. I couldn’t help by think that Madame Tussaud’s had diversified into animatronics. The wavy pouf, painted face and elegant suit brought to mind a story by Horace Mann describing the antics of a senile man who encounters a beautiful boy while at a beach resort. Mann’s telling forces the reader to skirt the shadows of pedophilic sensibility. Limbaugh tends in a different direction, but perhaps no less offensive to the “forgotten men” that he claims to represent. It’s an implicit sympathy for entitled royalty.

Feeling that I was wandering into a Lewis Carroll novel, I listened in incredulity as Limbaugh intoned his support for full amnesty for all illegal immigrants, given a Democratic stipulation that that they not be allowed to vote for 15-25 years. Wow, Rush! Just throw all those jobless listeners of yours under the bus, why don’t you?

But wait, there’s more! The interviewer asked whether the Republican electorate wasn’t concerned that the recent tax bill was going to cause the budget to explode. Limbaugh countered that “not a single listener” had called in to complain. Again, I know that the young and the sane are concerned with the problem, so that leaves the senile as the patrons of Limbaugh’s blather – perhaps most prominent among them being Rupert Murdoch.

Tyranny arises when the political elite seeks to secure its privileges free from the discipline of responsibility to the public. That would-be tyrants take cause with a propaganda machine such as FOX is alarming, until we see how inept and clumsy the lies have become as occupants of the conservative echo-chamber wanders further and further from reality.

Through

As of Sunday morning, the 101 was still closed in Montecito, so I resolved to head down to Westwood for the Ecstatic Dance LA celebration. After lunch, rather than heading up to the Getty Center, I was inspired to visit the Armand Hammer Museum.

It was deja vu all over again as – just as when I visited with my sons during Kevin’s attendance at UCLA – most of the museum was closed for their annual rotation. Apart from the standing collection (mostly French and American oils from the 19th century), they had four environmental experiences.

The most profound is Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Saydnaya. Saydnaya is the death prison established by the regime of the Syria dictator Bashar al Assad. During the course of the civil war, more than 13,000 people have been destroyed there.

The guards at the prison maintained control through a strict regimen of silence. Any significant noise was punished by beatings – even the screams of those beaten were punished with further abuse. As a result, every sound was impressed upon the victims. Through acoustic forensics, interviews with those released have reconstructed the organization and operations of the prison.

The installation is simple: at the entrance, two large speakers that first demonstrate the effects of a 19 decibel drop in sound – reflecting the drop in the volume of the prisoner’s speaking when the prison stopped serving any investigative purpose and became simply a death camp. The recording starts with a loud siren, and drops through a series of declarations of annihilation (including the extinction of frog species in the Amazon). When the volume is inaudible, the recording continues with the testimony of a prison survivor describing the use of silence as an instrument of torture. Finally, the artist and acoustic specialist describe their methods.

The entry is dim, as the main installation is set off by a large partition. Walking around the partition, we are confronted with a number of overhead projectors, each bearing a ray tracing of the acoustic reconstruction. Two smaller text projectors add testimony of the investigation to the setting.

I entered during a lull in the recording, and stood in the center of the room, amidst the projectors, trying to feel my way into the situation. It was distant until I turned around to look behind me, and found that my shadow had fallen across the ray tracing on the partition. The pain washed through me then, and I turned my back to the young female docent as I allowed it to penetrate. When I finally left, I made the mistake of asking her “Do they have a PTSD therapy program for you after you spend all day in here?” Her face nearly cracked with grief. I don’t think that she understood before that moment.

I went down to the Peet’s Coffee on the corner and resolved to soak in the sun and listen to music. Brahm’s First Piano Concerto seemed appropriate, but the street traffic was noisy. After finishing my coffee and scone, I thought to head back into the Hammer atrium where I’d be able to focus on the music. As I stepped into the quiet, I had the sudden inspiration that I should do my listening in Hamdan’s exhibit.

The first movement of the concerto is an elegy to Robert Schumann, Brahm’s unstable contemporary who committed suicide at a young age, leaving a wife and young children. Much as the exhibition’s recording, it opens with crashing orchestral chords that evoke the trauma of receiving news of a tragic loss. After extended orchestral development, the piano solo enters with an echo of those chords. It was at that point that I paused the recording before walking up the stairs.

As I settled on the floor in the back of the projection space and resumed the concerto, the exhibition recording started, blaring loudly over the music. Again, the trauma and sorrow washed over me.

This was the process, then: holding onto the pattern of the music as the noise and words stepped over it. The stronger chords exerted themselves even through the loudest sections, but Brahm’s meditation has passages of delicate arpeggios and simple, haunting melodies that even hushed voices would occlude.

The thought that I projected was only this:

If they won’t let you speak, then hear this; share it.

To not be forgotten. To receive evidence that love transmutes sorrow into beauty. And, as the first movement ends with it’s playful re-iteration of the opening themes, to hope that children would come to restore joy where greed and fear have made a wasteland of the human heart.

Finally, the Right Channel

When I went up after the session to talk to the facilitator, she enthused:

You project a great deal of healing energy.

I told her that I brought that forward from a past life, and that it came with connections to many others that I was sorting through.

When I was a post-doc in Livermore, Robert Silverberg wrote a series of science fiction novels. On the cover of one, a young man wore a helmet that in the story allowed him to directly relate to all of the information stored in the great library. He experienced the lives of all the great personalities, seeing through them the experiences of the lesser.

When my girlfriend asked me how I looked without a beard, I spontaneously took her into my den, pulled the book off the shelf, and testified “Like this.” I don’t know from where the artist drew inspiration, but it looked exactly like me.

Many years later, when I put up my first web site at http://www.everdeepening.org, I had a dream in which an opponent to my efforts indicated that I was plugging the internet into my mind. It’s why I don’t mind that my readership is so low. It was true also of the time I spent playing Runescape. I was connecting psychically to the community of online gamers, just as here I make a connection to the community of online intellectuals.

All of my writing – my books, my web-site, and my three blogs – have been an effort to explain how I organize my personality to serve as a locus for healing energy. It’s not something that I project; rather, I am transparent to it. I offer it without conditions to those that need it.

More than that, the interaction is an introduction that allows them to pursue an independent journey with the source of the energy.

Early in my experience of LA Ecstatic Dance, Ataseia would invite the participants (usually less than thirty) to articulate an intention for the dance. Most people had specific needs, but a number of one-time participants came in looking for “meaning” or “hope.” I felt myself drawn to that need, and felt the door opening in me. In turn, during closing circle, they would incline toward me to testify with some version of “I received what I was seeking.”

The problem with social media is the one identified by Barack Obama in his turn on Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” Social media environments such as Facebook and Google seek to provide you more of what you like, rather than forcing you to confront alternative views of the world. This has allowed propagandists to create cesspools of fear that trap audiences in dependency.

Fear is a powerful motivator – it harnesses our most primitive survival instincts. Worse, it is the default mode of the infant brain, a mode prevents development of social skills in those that do not receive consistent, loving reassurance.

My writing here has been a bipolar oscillation between posts that explain the reasons we should hope and posts that attempt to undermine the logic of fear-mongers. Both messages require time to process that few possess, and once presented rapidly become “dated.” People looking for answers want variety: they want to read what’s new, not immerse themselves in what is eternal. It is only in the wordless experience of dance that I have been able to confront them with the presence of the eternal.

I have offered several times here that the Holy Spirit was the original world-wide web, and a far better version because it only propagates ideas that serve the purposes of love. I have written and written in the hope that the internet would serve a similar purpose. Now I realize that it cannot. What it does is encyst the poisons that once percolated in the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 12 and 13 explain that Jesus’s incarnation was accompanied with an effort by the angels to cast selfishness out of heaven, where it now rages through humanity on earth. Revelation 20 describes the return of Jesus to cast that spirit out of humanity. It is described as a war, but it is a spiritual war, not a war of physical destruction. Using the strength of his will, Christ simply forces evil out of human nature.

If I have served Christ in any way during this life, it has been as a tool for evolving the methods to accomplish that aim. Manipulators have had less and less purchase on me, and over the last year, I have stopped reasoning with them and simply started projecting:

You don’t belong here any more.

The spiritual and intellectual shields that allow me to enforce that judgment are all in the public domain. They are written here for those that wish to experience them. It is not my job to promote them against the resistance of those that would corrupt them. That leads to death.

That’s been done already.

No, my job right now is to project strength into the final resource for the oppressed, the only resource to those abandoned by a system that finds no profit in their survival. I must focus on psychic projection of the truths held in the Holy Spirit, and thereby expand the domain of its influence.

Blessings on you all. May God send angels to walk at your shoulder, to take you by the elbow when you face difficult decisions, and to fill with hope the holes in your soul made by the messages of fear that steal joy from you.

I’m going to find a way to spend every day offering healing to people that to this point has only been accepted on the dance floor.

Its Her Time

The wave was presaged for me in my college years. Meeting with friends, I had to ask what this t-shirt slogan meant:

A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle.

Growing up, I noticed at church gatherings that while all the men stood up to strut, the women went around quietly in the background and actually got things done. This was what they were allowed. Then in the seventies something snapped. That t-shirt was preceded by bra burnings.

The era of gender turmoil could be abusive. My college dormie warned me that if I didn’t hold the door open for his mother, she would call me rude, and if I did she’d call me condescending.

In Genesis, it is said that a man will go live with his woman because they “become one flesh.” When I came into my spirituality in my 40s, I began to realize how much of what goes on in the business world has to do with the woman at home. They build their men up in spiritual armor and send him out in the world to rape and pillage. They don’t see it that way – they see it as protecting their man. But when their man needs protection because he rapes and pillages, that distinction is moot.

Among the counsel that I received when I was going through my divorce, two things stood out. The first was to be warned that ethically I was way outside of the norm, and the court system would have no clue how to respond to me. The second was that I had married somebody from a culture that was far less sophisticated than ours, and that I should be more selective in the future.

Unfortunately, that was followed by a dream in which an elder showed up to announce that I was a “nation of one.”

Understanding that the cabal of homemakers wants a peer to negotiate with, I’ve spent most of the last twenty years studying feminine virtue, trying to figure out how to call it out of hiding. In his song “Winterwood,” Don McLean gave voice to my inspiration:

No time can pass your sight unseen,
No moment steals away unfound.
A lifetime lived in such a dream,
Floats like a feather to the ground.

A woman has the power to guide her man around conflict, not push him into it.

And of course the feminist would complain that women have their own gifts to express. That’s true, and I become frustrated when the dynamic among people is dominated by sex. Talent doesn’t reveal itself in those circumstances.

If this has been confusing, well, that’s how gender politics has been in America for the last forty years. Everybody has to figure out their own path.

I have been as frustrated as anyone else. A friend at work yesterday counseled me to look at Japanese or French women – ladies that “grant their men their space.” I affirmed that capacity, but observed that it was an outgrowth of their need to submit to male-dominated societies. When I was in my teens, my  mother told me that I should find a Geisha to marry. There is an attraction there.

The other path is the Muslim or Orthodox path, where women veil themselves and lead a separate existence. I’ve seen amazing beauty in such woman, but they are often brittle.

The American experiment is chaotic and often ugly, but it’s worth supporting. If I’m ever going to be in a relationship again, it will be with a woman that has chosen to exit the game, allowed men to celebrate her without possessing her, and come back looking to figure out how to join her virtues to a man’s.