Great article on the use of software agents to dampen hostility on the web.
Perhaps the most sympathetic scriptural image offered to the person of faith in this age is the image of the lamb upon its creation. As I explain at Love Returns, the lamb was a device created from the Most High to be kicked around by angels afflicted with selfishness. It is the gateway through which the redeemed enter paradise when they can no longer escape the self-destructive consequences of selfishness, and so turn in desperation to Unconditional Love.
To be a servant of the lamb is to always be conscious, of those who torment you, that they are doing enormous damage to themselves. Forbearance and forgiveness are the rule of the day, lest they be able to accuse you of adopting their behaviors, and so lead others astray.
When that doesn’t work, of course, they resort to shouting you down. The most common trope is: “Well, you don’t care about people: look at all the victims that you’ve allowed us to create!”
Of course, they don’t characterize it that way. They see it as “giving people what they want.” It’s just that “what they want” is always an opportunity, and that opportunity is systematically snatched away or perverted. It’s a never-ending game of “give us what we want first, and then we’ll take care of you.”
My way throughout my life has been to walk away from these conflicts, knowing that the best that I can do is to focus on the gifts that God offers to those that nurture his creation, rather than exploiting it.
But I have before me one last chance to be of service to people: the hypnotherapy certification program at HMI. As I have navigated the personalities there, I’ve begun to have increasingly focused dreams about ancient history: the day-care center that hired girls from the porn industry and took out a restraining order when I gave a would-be seductress a poem about playing with my sons at the beach. The lawyer that offered to sodomize my sons “for their own good” and who tried to suborn perjury for the benefit of the day-care center. The ethnic cabal at the national laboratory that forced mid-level managers out of their jobs so that they could be filled with their co-religionists.
And now the owners of the company – one of them with deep ties into that ethno-religious culture that unites all of these persecutions – that I will leave as soon as I have established my practice.
So they attack the good will that I earn at HMI with constructive and appreciative comments to the instructors; with my moral and intellectual support of my peers; with the selflessness with which I approach therapeutic practice. They spin-doctor the persecutions as of my own manufacture, knowing that even the illusion of controversy will drive most people away.
They know that nobody reads this blog, and so feel that this writing presents no serious threat. But they forget that there is one who sees all. It took three billion years to create this opportunity to be freed from sin – which is the disease of selfishness projected onto others. The time for the harvest is near. It’s their loss: they’re going to have to do it all over again.
That’s the cost of denying me the opportunity to demonstrate the healing power of Unconditional Love. That’s the cost of turning away from real power.
In a metaphysical imagery workshop last Sunday, I allowed myself to be led into a sculptor’s workshop. Offered the tools to recreate myself, I shaped two hands from clay, a block beneath representing the cross and nails through the palms. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I chipped the first nail head away, then lifted the hand and melted it into my right. The second nail I pushed through the flesh before melting it into my left.
When I was done, I was invited to receive guidance from my Wise. I expected the Father, but instead my Lady came to me, easing my grief with this testimony:
You are everything that I ever desired.
When the tears of relief eased, she took my hands and offered:
It is time for you to rest. Let me do my Work.
Is this Mystery?
The feminine agency in salvation is obscure. Clearly the womb is a gateway, for it is through Woman that all virtue comes into the world. Surrendering that virtue to the sacred purpose appears to be among Woman’s challenges. Sarai resisted the faith of Abram, and Leah struggled mightily against the conception of Joseph. In desperation Jochebed surrendered Moses to the river. In Hannah we finally saw a woman offer a son gratefully to God, redeeming Israel with Samuel. But the Holy Mother herself resisted the ministry of Jesus. It is only at the wedding in Canaa that she surrendered to his warning that she would become merely “woman” if she commanded him to address the lack of wine. Later, Mary assembled the family and attempted to call Jesus home, to which he responded, “This is my family now.’
“Mary” (or Mariam) arises from “mry” in Egyptian, meaning “beloved,” and there are a great number of them in the New Testament: the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, Mary with Martha, and “the other Mary” heading to the tomb.
Women provide support for the ministry – financial as well as practical. While the men planned the administration of Jesus’ kingdom, despite their humble role it was from the women that social disobedience arose. They recognized the authority of Jesus’ love. The fallen woman used tears and hair to wash his feet at table.
But the most potent demonstration comes near the end. While the frightened men bickered in Jerusalem, it was left to a woman to play the role of the Old Testament priest, pouring oil over his head as he sat at table. Terrified, the Apostles objected to the waste of a valuable resource, for which Jesus chided them “She has done a beautiful thing for me.”
After Jesus was arrested, the Apostles scattered and Peter denied him. During Interrogation, both Pilate and Caiaphas demanded “Are you king of the Jews?” to which Jesus, foreseeing the disaster that would befall both Jerusalem and Rome, suggested gently: “You. Say I am.” Both feared that such testimony would incite the wrath of Herod, and so remained silent.
It is only right, then, that it was women bearing oil to the tomb who discovered the truth of the Resurrection. Even so they were shaken; both the angel and Jesus pled “Do not be afraid.”
I have private insight into the role of Mary Magdalene in the Passion. When I first encountered her spirit, we fell back through time to the Crucifixion, and as he struggled with the burden of our dependence on sin, an elder woman leaned over to whisper into the Magdalene’s ear: “He has need of you, child.” It was thus through the Magdalene’s devotion that time was opened to him, and to that devotion he returned. That yearning is evident when they reunited: she clasped him tightly – he responded obscurely:
Do not cling to me, for I have not yet returned to my Father in heaven.
Sera Beak documents the consequences of the Magdalene’s yearning in “Red, Hot and Holy.” Jesus was still rooted in the earth, and it was the Magdalene’s desire to continue his line that concerned him. No child should grow in a cauldron of suffering such as he experienced.
But what is a woman’s alternative? What other role does scripture offer her?
The answer is found in Revelation. In her first appearance, the Sacred Lady indeed manifested as a mother. But she remained after Christ was called back to heaven, bringing forth children to struggle against the dragon. To some, that tends naturally to the role of Mystery, the woman riding on the Red Beast. But in Revelation 20, a different outcome is foretold. The Bride steps forth, clothed in the works of the saints. It is not flesh that women should seek to gestate, but virtue.
While still suppressed, it is in Islamic history that women become active as facilitators of the sacred purpose. Khadija and Fatima are the avatars, and in Mohammad’s twelve wives we hear a strained echo of Israel’s twelve sons. In the great Muslim love poem, Yusuf and Zuleika, Potiphar’s spurned wife eventually reflects of her forbidden love:
Virtue was my beloved and thou
Had virtue’s impress on thy brow.
While walking Ventura’s March for Our Lives, I was touched more than once by Emma Gonzalez. I hold her most tenderly in my heart, her and all her friends. I offered that she could withdraw from her role – the feminine focus that holds her generation as it is led to wisdom. But she refused.
And in that endurance, strength and hope, I can indeed rest.
The death-lobby mouthpieces in the media continue to test the waters of public tolerance for attacks on the children trying to curtail the ever-increasing frequency of attacks in our public schools. Laura Ingraham on FOX News (the senility network) lost a number of advertisers when she took on Chris Hogg, the most vocal of the Parkland survivors. She was forced to retract her comments, citing “the spirit of Easter.”
But it doesn’t stop there. The Hill has published a criticism of Hogg’s exhortation for others to support the boycott of Ingraham. Saying that it “sets a dangerous precedent” in attempting to destroy Ingraham’s career, The Hill continues with assertions from a Parkland “2nd Amendment Rights” supporter that Hogg was being manipulated by the liberal media, and warns that Hogg’s continued advocacy makes him fair fodder for the kinds of destructive propaganda normally reserved to adults.
So first to Ingraham: there is a God. As evidenced in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, he strongly favors renunciation of violence. He sent me to Parkland to shower love upon the survivors. And if losing your fat paycheck (not at all equivalent to losing your career) is an unenviable prospect, in invoking “the spirit of Easter” to cover your toadying to Death and his minions, you are placing at risk your soul.
This extends to the rest of Death’s propaganda machine. You may be a distributed pustule uncontrolled by any political agenda or leader, but you are seen by God, and you will find yourself unable to enter heaven with those that fight for love.
And, again and again, as many times as it takes: you are beloved, my fair warriors for love. Hogg, Gonzalez: your courage in the face of evil is admirable, and will be rewarded.
Steve King of Iowa has posted a silly meme on his Facebook page criticizing Emma Gonzalez, Parkland mass shooting survivor, for wearing the Cuban flag. The thrust of the post is that Cuba’s history proves the need for citizens to carry arms to defend themselves against tyranny.
I could analyze this point, pointing out that Castro’s predecessor as dictator (Batista) survived only with US support, which – Bay of Pigs aside – suggests that the US military isn’t much of an asset to tyrannical government. They are our sons and daughters, and have always been listless in the service of despots.
Instead, I would like to thank Rep. King for elevating awareness of this issue. Many Republican voters in Florida are of Cuban descent, and this kind of ham-fisted attack on one of their own should play nicely for the Party of Sanity in the 2018 mid-terms.
When I started blogging, I entered the online world through the enlightened portal at Zaadz. Zaadz was a mediated forum for spiritual dialog. Its founder, Brian Johnson, hired a technology team to ensure that the forum facilitated meaningful dialog.
Among the features unique to the platform were:
- Comment threading, with the ability to block threads.
- The ability to ignore content from any account.
Basically, it was up to each participant to manage their experience, and to chose to interact with those that maintained civil rapport. Even with these features, the final paid moderator was at her wits’ end trying to keep apart the warring parties, often deleting acrimonious threads and banning people from forums.
That was bad enough, but my experience of social media since then has only gone downhill. As a person who can’t devote hours each day to social media, there are two problems: people that like to natter about anything and everything, and people with a vested interest in control of messaging. The former recreate the small-town neighborhood; the latter generate virtual cults.
As a generator of ideas, I find little gain in the former, and the structure of most social media platforms plays into the hands of the administrators of the latter. The critical failure is the “most recent comments” feature that pushes serious discussion off the screen.
Obviously, filtering mechanisms such as those provided by Zaadz are essential. I think that AI has a role to play. Among the features that would be helpful, and seem within reach of the current generation of technology:
- Relevance to the original post.
- Similarity to other comments (suppressing reposts).
- Civility (profanity and character attacks).
To this I would add comment threading.
All of these models could be run on the end-user machine, which would protect Facebook’s revenue model. But they should be developed and their usage monitored by Facebook to evaluate the social health of the communities they manage.