Thursday, November 15, 2018

"November Snow In Texas? Experts Warn Decreased Solar Activity Will Shatter All Global Climate Models"

"November Snow In Texas? 
Experts Warn Decreased Solar Activity Will Shatter All Global Climate Models"
by Michael Snyder 

"Our sun has been behaving very strangely, and this unusual behavior is really starting to affect our weather patterns. There have been virtually no sunspots in 2018 as solar activity has dropped to alarmingly low levels. As a result, our atmosphere has been cooling and shrinking, and experts are warning that we are heading for a bitterly, bitterly cold winter. And even though the official start of winter is well over a month away, winter weather is already sweeping the nation. 

As you will see below, a giant winter storm is about to slam into the east coast, but what is happening in Texas is even more unnerving.  On Wednesday morning, the temperature in San Antonio plummeted to just 23 degrees, and that absolutely shattered the old record“This shatters the old record low of 28 degrees set back in 1916,” the National Weather Service tweeted of Wednesday’s weather. Tuesday night just before midnight, the city hit 28 degrees, breaking the previous record of 29 set in 1907, records show. Typically, November temperatures are significantly warmer. The average high for the month is about 71 degrees and the normal low is 51 degrees. San Antonio’s average low this year has been comparable to other years, but its average high, a cool 66.6 degrees, has been lower than normal.

Over in Houston, things were even stranger. When Houston residents woke up on Wednesday morning, they were stunned to see snow on the ground: "An incredible sight danced over the cities glistening skyscrapers of Houston this morning and likely caused many to rub their eyes and shake their heads. No, it wasn’t your lying eyes but rather the earliest snowfall ever observed in the city of Houston and surrounding areas. It’s official, according to the National Weather Service, that Houston has recorded it’s earliest snowfall ever observed - and not just by a day or two but by 10 days! The previous earliest trace snow was November 23rd, 1979."

It isn’t supposed to snow in mid-November in Texas. Louisiana got snow too.  On Twitter, one resident of West Monroe posted a photo of snow blanketing his vehicle on Wednesday morning, and it quickly went viral.
Something very usual is happening, but the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about it because it doesn’t fit the narratives that they are pushing. And all over the eastern half of the country, approximately 80 million people are about to be slammed by a perfect example of our new climate reality: "A winter storm that’s already responsible for 2 deaths will bring a messy mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to portions of the central and eastern U.S. over the next two days. Power outages, travel headaches and school closings are all likely as the storm strengthens. Over 80 million people live where some level of a winter storm alert is in effect, all the way from Arkansas to Maine over a distance of about 1,500 miles."

Yes, everyone knew that we were headed toward a solar minimum eventually, but solar activity was not supposed to drop off this much so soon. This extremely unusual decline in solar activity is causing our atmosphere to rapidly cool down and shrink, and this is greatly alarming climate scientists such as Dr. Tony Philipps: "Scientists say Earth’s atmosphere is about to get hit by some record cold – but it’s not because of anything caused by humans. It’s because of a lack of sunspots which means a major decrease in ultraviolet waves coming in our direction. Dr. Tony Philipps of SpaceWeatherArchive.com says there have been practically no sunspots in 2018, and that’s causing earth’s upper atmosphere to cool down and even shrink."

Another scientist that is sounding the alarm is Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. According to him, NASA’s Thermosphere Climate Index is now showing a reading that is “10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle”: "To help track the latest developments, Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center and his colleagues recently introduced the “Thermosphere Climate Index.” The Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI) tells how much heat nitric oxide (NO) molecules are dumping into space. During Solar Maximum, TCI is high (meaning “Hot”); during Solar Minimum, it is low (meaning “Cold”). “Right now, it is very low indeed. 10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle,” says Mlynczak."

10 times smaller? That doesn’t sound good. And according to Mlynczak, this decrease in solar activity could result in “a Space Age record for cold”“We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.” So I hope that you are ready for a very chilly winter.

Across the Atlantic, another expert that is sounding the alarm is Piers Corbyn. He believes that the lack of solar activity that we are witnessing could rapidly produce another “mini ice age”: "Solar activity and jet stream forecasts suggest a pattern of cold similar to the historic Mini Ice Age which occurred during the mid-17th century. The period otherwise known as the Little Ice Age gripped Europe and North America and saw Britons hold frost fairs on the frozen River Thames. “What we are looking at is a pattern of circulation similar to that which was observed during the mini ice-age,” Mr Corbyn said."

What he is referring to is a period of substantial global cooling that occurred during “the Maunder Minimum”.  If you are not familiar with “the Maunder Minimum”, the following is what Wikipedia has to say about it: "The Maunder Minimum, also known as the “prolonged sunspot minimum”, is the name used for the period around 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots became exceedingly rare, as was then noted by solar observers. During that time, farming became much more difficult and horrific famines erupted all over the globe."

If our planet is now entering a similar period, we are going to be in very deep trouble very rapidly. Today, we barely produce enough food to feed the entire globe, and so a major worldwide climate shift could potentially produce unprecedented chaos on a global scale. So let us hope that solar activity returns to normal soon, because if it doesn’t, the unthinkable is going to begin to happen."
Related:

Musical Interlude: Vangelis, “Hymn”

Vangelis, “Hymn”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. 
Click image for larger size.
This sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole. Discovered on October 27, the position of a bright supernova is indicated in NGC 1365. Cataloged as SN2012fr, the type Ia supernova is the explosion of a white dwarf star.”

"The Most Precious Resource..."

"My favorite things in life don't cost any money. 
It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
- Steve Jobs

“A ‘Civil War’ Lesson for the Uneducated”

“A ‘Civil War’ Lesson for the Uneducated”
 by Paul Craig Roberts

"In response to my short essay on November 9, a reader sent me a link to secession documents that implicated slavery, not the tariff, as the reason for Southern secession. It is typical for the uneducated to come across a document of which they have no understanding and to send it off with a rude “got you” note to one who does understand the document.

I have explained the Southern states secession from the union in long essays.

Once again: When the Southern states seceded, they were concerned to do so legally or constitutionally under the Constitution so that the North could not legally claim that it was an act of rebellion and invade the Southern states. To make this case, the South needed to make a case that the North had broken the Constitutional contract and that the South was seceding because the North had not kept to the Constitution.

This presented a legal challenge for the South, because the reason for which the Southern states were seceding was the tariff, but the Constitution gave the federal government the right to levy a tariff. Therefore, the Southern states could not cite the tariff as a breach of the Constitutional fabric.

Slavery was the only issue that the South could use to make a legal case that it was not in rebellion. Article 4 of the US Constitution reads: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” In defiance of Article 4, some Northern states had passed laws that nullified the Fugitive Slave Act and other laws that upheld this article of the Constitution. The South used these nullification laws to make its case that Northern states had broken the Constitutional contract, thus justifying the Southern states secession.

Lincoln understood that he had no authority under the Constitution to abolish slavery. In his inaugural address he said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” The North had no intention of going to war over slavery. The same day that the Republican Congress passed the tariff, Congress passed the Corwin Amendment that added more constitutional protection to slavery.

Lincoln said that the South could have all the slavery that it wanted as long as the Southern states paid the tariff. The North would not go to war over slavery, but it would to collect the tariff. Lincoln said that “there needs to be no bloodshed or violence” over collecting the tariff, but that he will use the government’s power “to collect the duties and imposts.” The tariff was important to the North, because it financed Northern industrialization at the economic expense of the South.

During the decades prior to Southern Secession, the conflict between North and South was over the tariff, not over slavery. Slavery played a role only in the South’s effort to keep a balance in the voting power of “free states” and “slave states” in the attempt to prevent the passage of a tariff. The South’s effort to exit the union legally and constitutionally was to no avail. Secession was declared a rebellion, and the South was invaded.

The misportrayal of the War of Northern Aggression as Lincoln’s war to free slaves is also impossible to reconcile with Lincoln’s view of blacks. Here is “the Great Emancipator” in his own words:

“I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation [of the white and black races]... Such separation must be affected by colonization” [sending blacks to Liberia or Central America]. (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln vol. II, p. 409).

“Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and favorable to our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime.” (Collected Works, vol. II, p. 409).

“I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people” (Collected Works, vol. III, pp. 145-146).

How was Lincoln turned into “the Great Emancipator”? Just as Civil War history is mistaught in order to support the Identity Politics agenda of fomenting hatred of whites, the histories of the two world wars were fabricated in order to blame Germany, more about which later."

The Daily "NearYou?"

Philadelphia, Pa, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"There It Sits..."

"Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. 
But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops."
- H. L. Mencken

"How to Keep Emotions From Running Your Life"

"How to Keep Emotions From Running Your Life" 
by David Cain

"The worst period of my life ended shortly after I made a key discovery: most of the difficult experiences in my life arose directly from my desperate need to avoid difficult experiences. At the time, I was flunking in school. I was a bad student because I avoided asking for help or revisiting concepts I hadn’t grasped the first time. I avoided those things precisely because they made me feel like a bad student. It was a perfectly self-defeating strategy, but of course I didn’t realize what I was doing until later.

I had inadvertently made certain emotional experiences- in particular, the feeling of being seen as incompetent- so unacceptable that I’d do anything to avoid them, which is precisely why they continued to dominate my life. The light came when I discovered a simple principle that’s sometimes described as “exposure therapy”. You experiment, a bit at a time, with letting yourself feel the things you’re afraid to feel, and watch them lose their power over you. 

We Think About Our Feelings So That We Don’t Have to Feel Them: I was a particularly hard case, but we all do this to some extent. We empower certain difficult emotions by trying to never feel them. The effect can snowball until it becomes crippling.

Desperately avoiding the experience of embarrassment, for example, leads to habits of extreme shyness. This only further stigmatizes embarrassment, and stunts the social skills that can prevent it or mitigate it. Shyness seems, at first, like a reasonable defense against embarrassment, but it only makes it into a looming specter that controls your life.

Avoidance has a way of empowering the thing you’re avoiding. We suffer this effect in more subtle ways too. Today, because entertainment is so readily available, we’ve become almost entirely unwilling to feel boredom. We grow more indignant over delays and technical glitches than our parents and grandparents did. We pull out our phones dozens of times a day, and get anxious when the battery is low. Because we limit our exposure to boredom, it’s more painful than ever, and we’re needier than ever for ways to fend it off.

Experiences that we seldom have tend to be more destabilizing when they do happen. A Floridian who recently moved to New York will suffer more from a cold day than native New Yorker will. Still, there’s no point in seeking out difficult experiences we can reliably avoid. Avoiding hangovers will make you less prepared to deal with one gracefully when it does happen. But that doesn’t really matter if you’re in a position to never let them happen.

The avoid-at-all-costs strategy works against us, though, when it comes to inevitable human feelings like uncertainty, awkwardness, fear, and disappointment. These are universal, recurring experiences. None of us can live free from these feelings, no matter how badly we’d like to, so any given one will control your life to the extent that you see it as a completely unacceptable experience.

When these kinds of feelings do appear, instead of allowing ourselves to feel them, we often make one last desperate effort to avoid the experience: we think about why we shouldn’t be feeling them. The mind puts together a case about why this feeling shouldn’t have occurred. If you’re feeling uncertainty or anger or embarrassment, something must have gone wrong in the universe. The mind starts searching for who’s to blame, what so-and-so should have done, how you never get things right, how the world has been corrupted by corporations or bad people- some kind of explanation for why you should not have to experience these very normal feelings.

Ostensibly we do this to solve our problems, to identify offending parties and decide on our responses. But if you examine this kind of rumination, it’s obvious the motive isn’t to figure out what to do next, but to argue that this latest unpleasant emotional experience shouldn’t be happening at all. However, if you decline the bait, instead playing the brilliant chess-move of letting yourself feel the feeling, you might find something surprising: an unpleasant feeling tends to lose its venom shortly after you decide you don’t need to avoid it. It doesn’t stick around long once it has nothing to fight for.

How Freedom is Made: I’m convinced now that most of the barriers in our personal lives come from the absurd habit of trying to never feel certain totally normal, inevitable human feelings. Our insistence on complete safety from certain undesirable emotions only makes them more destabilizing when they do happen. Trying to live a life free of your least-favorite emotions is a perfect recipe for neurotic and addictive behavior. In college, I made an unenforceable rule that I must never feel embarrassment, and it basically made my life into a gushing fountain of embarrassment.

We can work on expanding our willingness to feel the full range of human emotion, and when we do, we gradually become more free. It’s really a matter of bringing curiosity, rather than combativeness, to the less-sexy aspects of the human experience. Uncertainty, for example, is nobody’s favorite feeling, but you’re a lot more free if you know how to manage it gracefully.

This is why I will advocate meditation until the day I die. It’s essentially a bit of time you set aside daily to simply meet your experience, whatever it is. You set up the simplest, least threatening situation possible- you, sitting still, noticing what it currently feels like to sit still. You are setting aside, for a short part of the day, your impossible mission to always feel a certain way.

Often these sessions are quite pleasant. But over time, you will be visited by all of the less-popular experiences: boredom, nervousness, soreness, restlessness, fatigue, excessive warmth, excessive cold, dampness, cravings for french fries and a thousand more.

In a very gentle and forgiving way, you see what happens when you allow yourself to simply have these experiences as they come. And you find that for the most part they’re not that bad- at least not as bad as living in fear of them- and that they don’t stay long unless you fight with them. When you stop trying to ban certain feelings from your experience, they tend to pass through relatively easily, in a matter of minutes or even seconds, and nothing is harmed.

Think of it this way: be with nervousness now, and you permanently shrink nervousness’s ability to control your life. Same with fear, boredom, restlessness, anger, indignation, disappointment, clinginess and everything else that’s difficult about being human. It is hard to overstate how liberating this practice can be over time. Life begins to feel a lot safer, because you’re always expanding the range of experiences you can live with. The more you let yourself feel a given feeling when it does visit you, the less trouble it is for you, forever.”

"A Specific Flaw..."

"In one of the earlier Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made an observation on logical deduction. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. There is, however, a specific flaw in that maxim. It assumes people can recognize the difference between what is impossible and what they believe is impossible."
- Peter Clines

"Economic Market Snapshot 11/15/18"

Gregory Mannarino, “Post Market Wrap-up 11/15/18: 
Why Increased Stock Market Volatility Is Here To Stay”
MarketWatch Market Summary
CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

"How It Really Is"

"What Is Social Darwinism?"

“Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer, whose ethical philosophies always held an elitist view and received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. However, Spencer quickly adapted Darwinian ideas to his own ethical theories. The concept of adaptation allowed him to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. After all, he claimed, that is exactly what goes on in nature every day.

However, Spencer did not just present his theories as placing humans on a parallel with nature. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit.

Social Darwinism was used to justify numerous exploits which we classify as of dubious moral value today. Colonialism was seen as natural and inevitable, and given justification through Social Darwinian ethics - people saw natives as being weaker and more unfit to survive, and therefore felt justified in seizing land and resources. Social Darwinism applied to military action as well; the argument went that the strongest military would win, and would therefore be the most fit. Casualties on the losing side, of course, were written off as the natural result of their unfit status. Finally, it gave the ethical nod to brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects.

Social Darwinism applied to a social context too, of course. It provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were paid sometimes pennies a day for long hours of backbreaking labor. Social Darwinism also justified big business' refusal to acknowledge labor unions and similar organizations, and implied that the rich need not donate money to the poor or less fortunate, since such people were less fit anyway.

In its most extreme forms, Social Darwinism has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population; such programs were sometimes accompanied by sterilization laws directed against "unfit" individuals. The American eugenics movement was relatively popular between about 1910-1930, during which 24 states passed sterilization laws and Congress passed a law restricting immigration from certain areas deemed to be unfit. Social Darwinist ideas, though in different forms, were also applied by the Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs.”
And so it is... though it'll never be admitted.

Free Download: Harper Lee, "To Kill A Mocking Bird"

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
 ~ Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Freely download "To Kill a Mockingbird", by Harper Lee, here:

"A Message From The Ministry Of Homeland Security, And H.L. Mencken"

"Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority - that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions.

At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas - that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend - and often quite honestly believe - that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy - that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty - liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons - say, bondholders of the railroads - without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it."
- H.L. Mencken,
"Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925)

If Mencken were alive today...

"The Implicit Desperation of China's 'Social Credit' System"

"The Implicit Desperation of China's 'Social Credit' System"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"I've been pondering the excellent 1964 history of the Southern Song Dynasty's capital of Hangzhou, "Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276" by Jacques Gernet, in light of the Chinese government's unprecedented "Social Credit Score" system, which I addressed in "Kafka's Nightmare Emerges: China's "Social Credit Score". The scope of this surveillance is so broad and pervasive that it borders on science fiction: a recent Western visitor noted that train passengers hear an automated warning on certain lines, in Mandarin and English, that their compliance with regulations will be observed and may be punished via a poor social score.


In the Song Dynasty, arguably China's high water mark in many ways (before the Mongol conquest changed China's trajectory), social control required very little force. The power of social control rested in the cultural hierarchy of Confucian values: one obeyed the family's patriarch, one's local rulers and ultimately, the Emperor.

Author Edward Luttwak made the distinction between force and power in his fascinating book "The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third": power is persuading people to cooperate, force is making them obey.

Power is people choosing of their own accord to comply, for reasons they find sound and that serves their self-interest; there is little need for the application of force.

Power is highly leveraged; a relatively small police/military and judiciary is all that's needed. Force, in contrast, doesn't scale: it's enormously costly in capital and labor to monitor an entire populace and impose control and obedience.

While the Song Dynasty had a police force, a judiciary and an army, the populace generally managed itself via an internalized secular religion that placed the father, civil authorities and the Imperial state at the top of a natural order that enabled the harmony of Heaven and Earth. To disobey would be to threaten the harmony that served everyone.

In the early days of the Communist revolution (1949 to 1965), the majority of China's populace embraced the values and authority of the Communist regime, despite the monumental hardships and setbacks of the Great Leap Forward (millions dying needlessly of starvation) and other centralized incompetencies. But the Cultural Revolution that was launched with Mao's blessing in 1966 was only embraced by the youthful Red Guards. The rest of the society had to be monitored and forced to comply with the mercurial injustices and arbitrary nature of the Cultural Revolution, which imprisoned millions of China's most accomplished citizens in various forms of forced deprivation: house arrest (the most mild); forced relocation to rural labor, re-education (i.e. torture) and imprisonment. Many were killed without even the semblance of a judicial process. In broad brush, the Cultural Revolution broke the social power of the Communist Party and government. Thereafter, the Party and the state only had force at their disposal.

The rise of broadly distributed prosperity (Deng's "to get rich is glorious") replaced the failed power of Communist ideology with a new social contract: obey the party and the state and you'll become prosperous. If this new contract were considered rock-solid power, why would China's government need the vast surveillance system they're putting in place for fine-grained control of the populace?

It suggests to me that the leadership (Xi and his cabal) are aware that the prosperity is not permanent, nor is it being distributed evenly enough to harmonize Heaven and Earth. Sensing their lack of social power, they are turning to technology to create a vast system of coercion (force).

Force is not a substitute for power. For this reason, the "Social Credit Score" system smacks of desperation. But China's history is clear: the culture and the people prefer a system in which power is maintained through social norms, not force. With Communist ideology a dead force, and prosperity about to wither, what's left? A system of forced obedience backed by Orwellian technology.

Other governments are keenly interested in following China's lead."Prosperity" isn't just phantom and asymmetrically distributed in China; it's phantom and asymmetrically distributed almost everywhere, and so other governments are just as desperate to protect their elites and control their restive populaces.
Chinese-style 'digital authoritarianism' grows globally Centralized force has limits. Like everything else we reckon has god-like powers, it works until it doesn't."

Musical Interlude: Justin Hayward, "Celtic Heart"; Moody Blues, "The Day We Meet Again"

Justin Hayward, "Celtic Heart"

Moody Blues, "The Day We Meet Again"

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Anger, Forgiveness, and What Maturity Really Means"

"Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Anger,
 Forgiveness, and What Maturity Really Means"
by Maria Popova

“Our emotional life maps our incompleteness,”philosopher Martha Nussbaum wrote in her luminous letter of advice to the young. “A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger.” Anger, indeed, is one of the emotions we judge most harshly - in others, as well as in ourselves - and yet understanding anger is central to mapping out the landscape of our interior lives. Aristotle, in planting the civilizational seed for practical wisdom, recognized this when he asked not whether anger is “good” or “bad” but how it shall be used: directed at whom, manifested how, for how long and to what end.

This undervalued soul-mapping quality of anger is what English poet and philosopher David Whyte explores in a section of "Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words" (public library) - the same breathtaking volume “dedicated to words and their beautiful hidden and beckoning uncertainty,” which gave us Whyte on the deeper meanings of friendship, love, and heartbreak.

Many of Whyte’s meditations invert the common understanding of each word and peel off the superficial to reveal the deeper, often counterintuitive meaning - but nowhere more so than in his essay on anger. Whyte writes: "Anger is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when we are overwhelmed by its accompanying vulnerability, when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or when it touches the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being."

Such a reconsideration renders Whyte not an apologist for anger but a peacemaker in our eternal war with its underlying vulnerability, which is essentially an eternal war with ourselves - for at its source lies our tenderest, timidest humanity. In a sentiment that calls to mind Brené Brown’s masterful and culturally necessary manifesto for vulnerability - “Vulnerability,” she wrote, “is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” - Whyte adds:

"What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our own inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body or identity or voice, or way of life to hold it. What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of our caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.

Our anger breaks to the surface most often through our feeling there is something profoundly wrong with this powerlessness and vulnerability… Anger in its pure state is the measure of the way we are implicated in the world and made vulnerable through love in all its specifics."

One need only think of Van Gogh - “I am so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do,” he wrote in a letter as he tussled with mental illness - to appreciate Whyte’s expedition beyond anger’s surface tumults and into its innermost core: profound frustration swelling with a sense of personal failure. (Hannah Arendt captured another facet of this in her brilliant essay on how bureaucracy breeds violence -  for what is bureaucracy if not the supreme institutionalization of helplessness?)

With remarkable intellectual elegance and a sensitivity to the full dimension of the human spirit, Whyte illuminates the vitalizing underbelly of anger: "Anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here; it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it. What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete but absolute mirror-opposite of its true internal essence."

In a related meditation, Whyte considers the nature of forgiveness: "Forgiveness is a heartache and difficult to achieve because strangely, it not only refuses to eliminate the original wound, but actually draws us closer to its source. To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself, the only remedy being, as we approach its raw center, to reimagine our relation to it."

Echoing Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s historic dialogue on forgiveness, Whyte - who has also asserted that “all friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness” -explores the true source of forgiveness: "Strangely, forgiveness never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not actually meant to forget, as if, like the foundational dynamics of the physiological immune system our psychological defenses must remember and organize against any future attacks - after all, the identity of the one who must forgive is actually founded on the very fact of having been wounded.

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt, to mature and bring to fruition an identity that can put its arm, not only around the afflicted one within but also around the memories seared within us by the original blow and through a kind of psychological virtuosity, extend our understanding to one who first delivered it. Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

To forgive is to put oneself in a larger gravitational field of experience than the one that first seemed to hurt us. We reimagine ourselves in the light of our maturity and we reimagine the past in the light of our new identity, we allow ourselves to be gifted by a story larger than the story that first hurt us and left us bereft."

This question of maturity, so intimately tied to forgiveness, is the subject of another of Whyte’s short essays. Echoing Anaïs Nin’s assertion that maturity is a matter of “unifying” and “integrating,” he writes: "Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once. The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.

Immaturity is shown by making false choices: living only in the past, or only in the present, or only in the future, or even, living only two out of the three.

Maturity is not a static arrived platform, where life is viewed from a calm, untouched oasis of wisdom, but a living elemental frontier between what has happened, what is happening now and the consequences of that past and present; first imagined and then lived into the waiting future.

Maturity calls us to risk ourselves as much as immaturity, but for a bigger picture, a larger horizon; for a powerfully generous outward incarnation of our inward qualities and not for gains that make us smaller, even in the winning."

Maturity, Whyte seems to suggest, becomes a kind of arrival at a sense of enoughness - a willingness to enact what Kurt Vonnegut considered one of the great human virtues: the ability to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” Whyte writes: "Maturity beckons also, asking us to be larger, more fluid, more elemental, less cornered, less unilateral, a living conversational intuition between the inherited story, the one we are privileged to inhabit and the one, if we are large enough and broad enough, moveable enough and even, here enough, just, astonishingly, about to occur."

"Consolations", it bears repeating, is an absolutely magnificent read - the kind that reorients your world and remains a compass for a lifetime. Complement it with Whyte on ending relationships and breaking the tyranny of work-life balance."

"Sometimes..."

"Once in a while, life gives you a chance to measure your worth. Sometimes you're 
called upon to make a split-second decision to do the right thing, defining 
which way your life will go. These are the decisions that make you who you are."
- Perry Moore

"11 Signs That The US Economy Is Starting To Slow Down Dramatically"

"11 Signs That The US Economy Is Starting To Slow Down Dramatically"
by Michael Snyder

"The pace at which things are changing is shocking the experts. Just a few months ago, many of the experts were still talking about how the U.S. economy was “booming”, but since then a major shift has taken place. Most of the headlines have been about the huge stock market declines that we have been witnessing, but things have not been going well for the real economy either. Home sales are way down, auto sales are plummeting, the retail apocalypse is escalating, the middle class continues to shrink and economic optimism is rapidly evaporating. We haven’t seen anything like this since 2008, and many believe that the economic downturn that is now upon us will ultimately be even worse than what we experienced a decade ago. 

The following are 11 signs that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down dramatically...

#1 When economic activity is rising, demand for oil increases, and oil prices tend to go up. But when economic activity is slowing down, demand for oil diminishes, and oil prices tend to go down. That is why what is happening to the price of oil right now is so alarming:"US oil prices plummeted 7% to a one-year low of $55.69 a barrel on Tuesday. It was crude’s worst day since September 2015. The losses in the oil world have been staggering as worries deepen about excess supply. Crude is down 12 straight days, the longest losing streak since futures trading began in March 1983."

#2 One new poll has found that only 13 percent of Americans plan to buy a home in the next year. That number has fallen for three quarters in a row, and it is now down by almost half over the last twelve months.

#3 As the market dries up, the inventory of unsold homes is absolutely soaring nationwide: "With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that inventory countywide soared 86% among single-family homes and 188% among condos in October compared to a year prior, according to newly published data by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. It was the most massive year-over-year increase on record, dating back to the Dotcom bust, a rhythm that has some asking: Is the housing industry about to go bust?"

#4 California once had the hottest housing market in the entire nation, but now home prices in the state are plummeting like it is 2008 all over again.

#5 According to the latest Bank of America survey, global fund managers are the most bearish that they have been since the financial crisis of 2008: "According to the survey, 44% of the fund managers expect global growth to decelerate in the next year, the worst outlook since November 2008. What’s more, 54% are anticipating a slowdown in Chinese growth in the next year, the most bearish they’ve been in over 2 years."

#6 America’s ongoing retail apocalypse just continues to accelerate. According to a recent Bloomberg article, things are going so poorly for some mall operators that they “handing over their keys to lenders even before leases end”: "Things are getting worse for malls across America. So much worse that their owners are walking away early from struggling properties, a trend that has mortgage bond investors bracing for losses.

Mall operators, eyeing defaults caused or made more likely by shuttered stores such as Sears Holdings Corp., are handing over their keys to lenders even before leases end. That’s forcing loan-servicing companies to either take a shot at running the properties or sell them cheap. And if they’re unable to salvage the debt payments, investors in commercial mortgage-backed securities will take a hit."

#7 Despite the eruption of a major trade war, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world is on pace to set a brand new all-time record in 2018.

#8 One new study discovered that 62 percent of all U.S. jobs do not currently pay enough to support a middle class lifestyle.

#9 At this point, most Americans barely have any financial cushion at all. According to one recent survey, 58 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

#10 Right now, more than half of all U.S. children are living in households that receive financial assistance from the federal government.

#11 As the economy slows down, an increasing number of Americans are being forced into the streets. More than half a million Americans are currently homeless, and that number is growing with each passing day.

Meanwhile, more troubling news continues to emerge from Wall Street on a daily basis.  One of the big stories this week has been the fact that General Electric appears to be on the verge of “collapse”.  They have been completely locked out of the commercial paper market, they are being completely overwhelmed by the giant mountain of debt that they are carrying, and their formerly “investment grade” bonds are now being traded like junk. The following comes from Zero Hedge: "Two weeks after we reported that GE had found itself locked out of the commercial paper market following downgrades that made it ineligible for most money market investors, the pain has continued, and yesterday General Electric lost just over $5bn in market capitalization. While far less than the $49bn wiped out from AAPL the same day, it was arguably the bigger headline grabber.

The shares slumped -6.88% after dropping as much as -10% at the lows after the company’s CEO, in an interview with CNBC yesterday, failed to reassure market fears about a weakening financial position. The CEO suggested that the company will now urgently sell assets to address leverage and its precarious liquidity situation whereby it will have to rely on revolvers – and the generosity of its banks – now that it is locked out of the commercial paper market.

GE is not a financial company, but could this be a candidate to become “the next Lehman Brothers”? The upward economic downturn of the last couple of years is totally gone, and many believe that there will soon be a feverish race for the exits on Wall Street. If you have not already positioned yourself for the coming crisis, now is the time to do so. As we saw in 2008, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up.

And once things get really crazy on Wall Street, the real economy can fall apart at a pace that is breathtaking. In 2008, millions of people lost their jobs within a matter of months. This will happen again, and there are an increasing number of signs that this is going to happen much sooner than most people had anticipated."