Sunday, June 30, 2019

"Amazon’s Collaboration With the Deep State Continues"

"Amazon’s Collaboration With the Deep State Continues"
By Dan Denning

"Editor’s Note: Longtime Diary readers know Dan Denning as Bill’s right-hand man on The Bonner-Denning Letter. That’s why, for today’s guest essay, we turn to Dan. Below, Dan shows that while technology may be neutral, it’s how we decide to use it that determines our fate… and why now is likely a better time than any to walk away from it all…

Amazon has suddenly become the single most dangerous company in American history. It’s on the verge of becoming the digital secret-keeper of the Deep State – the modern equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, with personal files and dirty secrets on thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, or perhaps even ALL Americans. But this time, it’s controlled by a corporation. And not only has it become powerful and influential in American politics (donating millions to political campaigns), it’s become a power unto itself, mostly thanks to the critical data storage services it provides to America’s defense and intelligence agencies.

If all that sounds too depressing and dystopian for you, well… too bad. The Orwellian future is here now. It’s a brave new world already, and it’s far worse than we imagined. You may not want to believe that, but let’s look at the evidence…

From Stock Market Favorite 
to Deep State Crony: Amazon is trying to make itself an indispensable cog in the surveillance machinery of the Deep State. Billionaire media titan John Malone, formerly of AT&T, recently described Amazon as a “Death Star” for every industry it touches. Once it installs itself in Washington as the digital secret-keeper for the U.S. government, Amazon will become the most powerful – and most dangerous – company in American history.

Amazon’s growing clout in providing cloud-based storage for the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency is a dangerous development. The military-industrial complex has always cooperated closely with the Pentagon to provide weapons for America’s military. But Amazon’s collaboration with the Deep State to provide surveillance tools is on another level altogether.

Silicon Valley is collaborating with elements of the Deep State to create a permanent surveillance society in the United States. And Amazon is part of that techno-coup. If you value liberty, the Bill of Rights, and your freedom, then you have a limited amount of time to do something about it. It’s not only your money that’s at stake… It’s your rights and freedom as an American, too.

As Abroad, So at Home: None of this might bother you if you are secure in the belief that the tools made by the tech companies for the Deep State are only used to detect and destroy America’s enemies. They’re only doing their job, right? And Amazon is only doing its patriotic duty, right? After all, Bill has discussed how the Deep State began to grow in earnest in the years immediately following World War II to combat the growing threat of the Soviet Union. America couldn’t have won the Cold War without the help of GE, Boeing, and IBM. The companies and the enemies are different today… But isn’t the issue basically the same?

And if you’re skeptical about my claim, please read this very carefully: The very same model the Deep State uses to run counterinsurgencies against governments overseas is being used now against Americans in America. This is dangerous. And it’s wrong. Why?

America was founded on the idea of limited government, with individual liberty as its core value. The State has no business watching us all the time – at least, not in what’s supposed to be a “free country.” But there’s more to it.

You can’t really be free if you’re looking over your shoulder all the time. When you know that you’re being watched, you start watching what you say. If you’re watching what you say, it means you’re watching what you think. And if you’re watching what you think, you stop thinking. Again, this is the whole point of ubiquitous surveillance in a police state: the suppression of independent critical thinking, speech, and action. Maybe you disagree. Fair enough.

But think about the future… If your data is being warehoused for all time, who’s to say that you won’t be found guilty of a new crime 10 years from now? Maybe it’ll be a thought crime. Or maybe it’ll be some pattern detected in your data that shows you’re on the path to some radical action. You’ll be guilty of “pre-crime,” like in Philip K. Dick’s short story, The Minority Report. Am I exaggerating?

No. In fact, get a load of this… Have you heard of Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART)? It’s Homeland Security’s creepy new database that will look to match up your face… your DNA… as well as people’s “non-obvious social relationships” (think of the people you may be friends with on Facebook, for example). Well… despite opposition from Congress, it’s going full steam ahead… and, of course, Homeland Security uses the Amazon cloud.

Go Dark, Walk Away, Spread the Word: You need to walk away from social media completely… and with haste. Technology is neutral. How we use it – or how we let it use us – is up to us. For now, at least. The threat is that Big Government will get in bed with Big Data and use all this data to control you.

Spread the word. The independent publishing industry is under attack by the big internet companies for a variety of reasons. They simply don’t want this kind of message being sold and distributed on their platforms. I wonder why! If you know someone you think would enjoy this, please share it.

Finally, there is something you can do to turn the tide on all this. We believe you change the world – at least, your world – with individual action. Control the things you can control and recognize the things that are out of your control. That’s a good philosophy. But what about your liberty? In a republic with representative and limited government, you also have a say in the laws of the land and in defending your rights and liberties as an American.

Due to popular demand, Bill and I have addressed many of the concerns about technology and Big Data in what we’re calling a “Digital Bill of Rights.” You can read and sign that Digital Bill of Rights here. Will it change the course of American history? I’m not optimistic. But the stakes are too high for you to do nothing."

Musical Interlude: Medwyn Goodall, "Invocation Part 2"

Medwyn Goodall, "Invocation Part 2"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The spiral arms of bright galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiframe portrait, composed of data from ground- and space-based telescopes. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 80,000 light-years across. 
Click image for larger size.
Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful blue star clusters, and pinkish star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars. But this detailed composite reveals hints of two anomalous arms that don't align with the more familiar tracers. Seen here in red hues, sweeping filaments of glowing hydrogen gas seem to rise from the central region of M106, evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk. The jets are likely powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.”

Chet Raymo, “The Sound And Fury”

“The Sound And Fury”
by Chet Raymo

“Not so long ago, I mentioned here Himmler and Heydrich, two of Hitler's most terrible henchmen. A friend said to me: "If there's no afterlife, no heaven or hell, then those two diabolical creatures got away with it. Their fate was no different than that of any one of their victims, an innocent child perhaps." And, yes, if there is no God who dispenses final justice, then we are left with an aching feeling of irresolution, of virtue unrewarded, of vice unpunished. Heydrich was gunned down by partisan assassins, and Himmler committed suicide a few hours before his inevitable capture, both fates arguably less tragic than that of their victims. How much more satisfying to think that the two mass murderers will spend an eternity in hell, while their victims find bliss.

This may not be a logically consistent argument for the existence of God, but it is certainly compelling. My friend says: "If there's no afterlife, then it's all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Of course, this emotive argument for the existence of God is balanced by another argument against his existence– the problem of evil: How can a just and loving God allow the existence of a Himmler or Heydrich in the first place. Here the argument is not just emotional, but consists of a thorny contradiction.

It comes down, essentially, to head vs. heart- what we would like to be true with all of our heart, vs. what our head tells us is an unresolvable conundrum. So each of us decides: To follow our hearts and make the blind leap of faith, or to follow our heads and learn to live with the sound and the fury. For those of us who choose the second alternative, the relevant words are that distressing coda, "signifying nothing." Our task is one of signification, of finding a satisfying meaning this side of the grave.

For many of us, that means finding our place in the great cosmic unfolding, and of recognizing that our lives are not inconsequential, that by being here we jigger the trajectory of the universe in some way, no matter how small, and preferably for the good and just. Yes, we make a leap of faith too, I suppose- that love, justice, and creativity are virtues worth living for- but at least it is a leap of faith that is not into the unknown, does not embody logical contradiction, and is consistent with what we know to be true, or at least as true as we can make it.”

The Poet: Denise Levertov, "Variation On A Theme By Rilke"

"Variation On A Theme By Rilke"
("The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1")

"A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me- a sky, air, light:
a being. 
And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, 
granting me honor and a task. 
The day's blow rang out, metallic-
 or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can."

~ Denise Levertov

“How Little Boys Learn To Be Little Men”

“How Little Boys Learn To Be Little Men” 
by David Cain

“Even in the information age I still occasionally encounter an otherwise reasonable person who insists that men really do think about sex every seven seconds. A little thinking reveals this to be pure nonsense—it would mean the average man has been perturbed by over 500 sexual fantasies before he even arrives at work. Yet you still hear it said with a straight face. (Scientists estimate that even college students usually only have about twenty sexual thoughts a day, not seven thousand.)

This not uncommon belief is so astronomically distant from the truth that some strange social force must be at play for even a single person to believe it. After all, we’re not talking about some kind of esoteric knowledge—50% of the population has direct access to a random sample of the data. For this belief to have become as popular as even a mid-tier myth like “gum takes seven years to digest”, think of how many men must have felt like they had to pretend, when the topic came up, that they were thinking about sex several hundred times more often than they actually were.

It’s hilarious, and kind of fascinating, that anyone could get it that wrong. But having once been a boy, and knowing how boys learn to be men, I can see how it happened. 

My dad’s eight feet tall: Conformism is the bedrock of our survival strategy as humans. Even when we have no idea what to do, which is often, we know that doing what everyone else is doing is a safe enough bet. Boys learn how to be men by emulating the boys and men around them. However, because everyone is doing this same kind of posturing and pretending, the system is subject to a feedback loop problem. Boys are emulating boys who are emulating men who were once those same boys, each of them with a variety of ludicrous ideas about what it means to be a man.

There’s no reality check mechanism into this system. Among boys, everyone kind of knows everyone else is full of shit, but there’s no precedent for being candid. My experience of being a boy was full of moments like this: “My dad’s seven feet tall!” my friend said, for some reason. “Well my dad’s eight feet tall!” I found myself saying immediately.

Clearly I made that claim without a single thought about whether it was true, or even of the importance of truth at all, at least in any kind of situation where someone is trying to outdo you (or your dad). I don’t know if I continued to argue that particular point about dad-height, but that impulse towards one-upmanship, along with a corresponding aversion towards backing down, was always there as a general dynamic in every boy-to-boy relationship.

This unchecked cycle of posturing leads to the feedback loop that can spawn, among other ridiculous myths, the old canard about men living every moment of their lives with a private sexual fantasy going on.

If everyone’s constantly pretending, who is it they’re pretending to be? And what are the chances that person really is on the inside what they appear to be from the outside? Let’s say young boys of the 1950s saw John Wayne as the ideal man and modeled themselves on him. Was John Wayne even like John Wayne? Of course he wasn’t—any on-screen image is always going to be simpler, more uniform, more uncompromising and uncomplicated than any real person. Even the people who knew The Duke personally wouldn’t have seen the bottom nine-tenths of the iceberg that was his private internal experience. Few of us advertise our self-doubt and existential worries, and I imagine that goes double in Hollywood.

So the kids trying to be like him built themselves on a false image built on other false images. And then they became dads. It’s such a common story that it’s a cliché now: a man meets his childhood hero and is devastated to find that he’s fallible, even pathetic—a drinker, a liar, a steroid cheat. And if they don’t have that disappointing but enlightening experience, they keep on posturing, becoming grown men who will, if pressed, earnestly try to convince you they’ve never actually cried. The feedback loop has driven them into the realm of what pop culture now calls douchebaggery—living as a persona that’s all posture and no candor.
The Yin-Yang Myth: The runaway feedback loop starts at playground age, when our ideas of masculinity are pretty basic. The main tenet is “Don’t be a girl”. This must be why many grown men and women still think that masculinity has no meaning aside from “not being girly”. But if you revisit the issue as an adult you can see it’s not true. The good qualities we associate with masculinity are strength, decisiveness, dependability, upright posture, and a few others. But clearly these qualities aren’t exclusive to men, they’re just the ones manliness emphasizes; nobody with any critical thinking ability seriously believes women are intrinsically weak, indecisive, unreliable and slouchy.

We take the yin-yang image, with its clean lines and stark tones, much too literally. Masculinity and femininity aren’t opposites. They aren’t even yinyang mutually exclusive. They are loose groups of universal human qualities, each benefiting us at different times, but which are usually celebrated more in one sex than the other. We can all be nurturing; we can all be aggressive. We can all be stoic and we can all be sensitive.

If there’s a starkness anywhere, it’s in which of these universal qualities we men and women are supposed to advertise, and which we’re supposed to downplay. I was told not to be a girl, and that meant don’t draw unicorns, don’t wear pink, don’t cry if anyone can see you, and don’t skip. And definitely don’t tell a man you love him unless you add the word “man” at the end.

We learn these rules so young that they have to be simple and kind of dumb. But the earlier we learn something, the harder it is to challenge and refine our views on it. And if we’re not challenging a given view we’re probably reinforcing it.

So it was really encouraging last week to see Maria Popova’s piece on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s creativity research. He found that high-achieving creative men and women tend to exhibit both masculine and feminine qualities to a greater extent than the general population.

In all cultures, men are brought up to be “masculine” and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as “feminine,” whereas women are expected to do the opposite. Creative individuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers. (from Csikszentmihalyi’s book "Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention")

Note that these people aren’t “keeping to the middle”. They’re doing the opposite. By reaching freely into both conventional territories, they have access to modes of thinking and interacting that are usually unavailable to most of their peers and competitors.

A person who is willing to embrace qualities beyond the stereotypes for their gender “in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.” Letting ourselves make use of the whole human toolbox sounds like a good deal to me. These findings also suggests that relaxing our gender expectations isn’t only a social justice concern—it could also help us become a smarter and more capable species. You can probably imagine, as one example, how our foreign policy ideas might change if there were fewer grown men afraid to look too girly in their responses to problems."”

“Just Sit Down And Think?”

 “Just Sit Down And Think?”
by Oliver Burkeman

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; 
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” 
- Thomas Edison

“’All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone,’ wrote the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. It's a line repeated so frequently, in the era of smartphones and social media, that it's easy to forget how striking it is that he wrote it in the 1600s. Back then, a sentence such as "Yo is a messaging app that enables iPhone and Android users to say 'Yo' to their friends" might have got you burned as a witch.

Yet even in 17th-century France, apparently, people hated being alone with their thoughts so intensely, they'd do almost anything else: play boules, start the Franco-Spanish war, and so on. Still, I'd wager even Pascal would have been disturbed by a study published recently in Science, showing that people detest being made to spend six to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think – even to the extent of being willing to give themselves mild electric shocks instead. It's natural to conclude that there's something wrong with such people. Which means, all else being equal, that something's probably wrong with you, too.

Modern humans spend virtually no time on "inward-directed thought", and not solely because we're too busy: in one US survey, 95% of adults said they'd found time for a leisure activity in the previous 24 hours, but 83% said they'd spent zero time just thinking. The new study, led by Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia, first asked students to entertain themselves with nothing but their thoughts in an "unadorned room". Most said they found it hard to concentrate; half found it unpleasant or neutral at best. In further experiments, older people, and those who rarely used smartphones, got similar results. Meanwhile, those given the chance to do something outward-directed, such as reading, enjoyed it far more. And when 42 people got to choose between sitting doing nothing and giving themselves electric shocks, two-thirds of men and a quarter of women chose the latter.

Are we mad? In his book "Back To Sanity," the Leeds Metropolitan University psychologist Steve Taylor answers: yes. The condition he diagnoses, "humania", isn't recognized as a disorder, but only because we're all victims, he argues, and it's part of the definition of a mental illness that most people don't have it. The "urge to immerse our attention in external things is so instinctive that we're scarcely aware of it", he writes. We often speak of emails, tweets and texts as if they're annoyances that we'd eliminate if we could. Yet the truth, of course, is that half the time we're desperate to be distracted, and gladly embrace the interruption.

Taylor's explanation for this puzzle borrows from Buddhism (among other places). We mistake ourselves for individual, isolated beings, trapped within our heads. No wonder we don't dwell on what's inside: that would underline the loneliness of existence, so obviously watching TV is more fun. To sit comfortably with your thoughts first requires seeing that there's a sense in which they're not real. A less new agey way of putting it is simply that you don't need to believe your thoughts. Whereupon they become fun to watch, and the need for distraction subsides. To quote the title of a book by Sylvia Boorstein, a meditation teacher: don't just do something, sit there.”

Good luck!

The Daily "Near You?"

Valley City, N. Dakota, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

Life Lesson #72"

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
- Douglas Adams

So you may need this...

"This I Believe..."

“This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most
valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind 
to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: 
any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.”
- John Steinbeck

“The End Of Our Empire Approaches”

“The End Of Our Empire Approaches”
by Chris Martenson

"History is clear on where we are headed... Do you have the nagging sense that our empire is in decline? If so, don't be embarrassed by it. Historically speaking, we’re in very good company. Far larger and longer-lived empires than ours have come and gone over the millennia.    

This was hit home for me on a recent trip. I scored a major "dad win" by taking my youngest daughter, Grace, to England for her 18th birthday (we live in Massachusetts, USA). All on her own, Grace developed an abiding love of mythology at a very young age: Greek, Roman, Norse, Native American, Aztec…you name it. She’s read the Iliad four times, a different version each time, as each has the biases of the translator subtly woven throughout. 

Naturally, her dream mini-vacation involved going to the British Museum where the Rosetta stone lies, along with Viking horde treasures and every possible Roman, Greek and Egyptian artifact one could hope to see. 

The British empire came of age at the perfect time to muscle in and “retrieve” the cultural treasures of many different countries. Such are the spoils of empire. Who knows, perhaps one day we’ll see sliced off segments of the Palace of Westminster on display in Cairo’s main square.  History ebbs and it flows. Back and forth. Victors and losers swapping places over and over again.

If the British Museum reveals anything it’s just that. The long sweep of human history shows us that the more things change, the more things stay the same. The treasures on display at the British Museum also show us that every race and culture has revered beauty. The most intricate and delicate and objectively beautiful jewelry and adornments were worn by kings and queens, priestesses, nobles, and warlords alike.

Sutton Hoo: Consider the find of the Sutton Hoo burial moundAn eminently important and revered individual (possibly Raedwald) was buried sometime around the year 740, with an enormous ship 89 feet in length serving as his burial chamber.

Just imagine how many people it took to dig a hole in the ground that held the ship to its gunnels, and then bring forward enough earth to cover the whole affair in a gigantic mound of earth more than ten feet high in the middle. As a gardener, I can tell you that dirt is heavy stuff that really resists being moved by hand. Hundreds of people must have labored for a very long time to create this burial mound.

Whoever this person was, he was revered enough to be buried with an astonishing collection of wealth. And, perhaps more amazingly, none of it was looted.

Here’s the sword belt, made of an intricate lattice of pure gold and polished garnet:
Click image for larger size.
Isn’t that a beautiful work of art?

Again, nobody came back and looted this afterwards.  Maybe they killed the workers who built the gravesite, but surely folks still knew a very rich ruler had been buried in the area. And yet nobody looted the site. To me, it's hard not see that as a sign of how much the man buried there was respected by his kinsmen. Here’s a close up of the dragons head from that sword belt:
Click image for larger size.
If you’ve ever worked with garnet, you know just how devilishly hard it is (a 7.5 on a scale of 10) and how much work it must have taken to polish up even one of those tiny panels, let alone all of them, and into such careful shapes.

Similarly, these shoulder clasps meant to secure an article of clothing (like a cape or cloak) are also magnificent:
Click image for larger size.
Again, the detail and workmanship are impressive. But what struck me most was how these works of art are so… beautiful. And from a time of early medieval history referred to ‘the dark ages’ and popularly described as a period of bleak survival. If they were, somebody still had the resources to churn out works of extraordinary precision and beauty. That much is clear.

The rest of the artifacts are similarly extraordinary - especially the helmet, shields, and coinage. Just take a look at this purse lid:
Click image for larger size.
Taken together, I see a culture where reverence mattered. Sutton Hoo's buried leader was revered enough that his tomb was not looted afterwards, promptly or otherwise. The items buried display a reverence for his authority as well as for beauty. 

These burial artifacts were by no means trivial items. Each one could have supported a family for many generations at a time when resources were scarce, only obtainable through the hard labor of many.

And yet they were left untouched. Who among today's leaders would be honored enough as a leader that their tomb would not be looted for massive personal gain? Where can you see that our culture reveres beauty to the same degree, being willing to place so much collective effort into its creation?

The Taranto Scepter: Everywhere else in the British Museum were similar displays of honoring the feminine - the women and the goddesses of the world. Many of the Egyptian displays caught my eye, as did the Greek, but one piece stood out so much that I came back to it three times, so amazed was I by the beauty of it and the message I took from it.

It came from “The Tomb of the Taranto Priestess” and dated from 350 – 340 BC.  Since kings did not rule Taranto during that period, it is believed to have been the property of a priestess. First, her scepter is truly extraordinary:
Click image for larger size.
The entire scepter is perhaps 18 inches in length and capped in extraordinary gold adornment. But what really caught my eye is the gold mesh you see running down the shaft (lost to history, thought to have been bone?). It consists of extremely fine gold wire wrapped in even finer gold wire, and is woven into a meshwork of little diamond shapes with tiny circles at their corners. Each of these circles contained a tiny gem or enameled treasure of some sort (most, again, lost to history). Here’s a close up:
Click image for larger size.
The gold wire used is finer than hair. This scepter speaks of power and delicacy in equal balance, one reinforcing the other. Only the lightest of touch could hold the scepter without breaking strands of gold that fine. That made me think of the woman who wielded it with such a delicate touch. Again, this person was revered to such an extent that an object of such immense value and beauty was entombed with her, and not robbed at a later time by someone who knew what the tomb contained.

Power, honor, reverence, and beauty. All attributes that show up again and again all throughout history.

The entire British Museum is packed to the rafters with such expressions. I came away both elated to have gotten back in touch with these better expressions of humanity, but also saddened because I can't locate their equivalent in today’s world.

One missing element from today? Reverence for the goddess, for the feminine. I cannot think of a single western homage paid to the feminine. No temples to the goddesses and no elevation of feminine attributes. This is important to note, not because we wish to bash the masculine, but because anything out of balance requires rebalancing.In fact, re-elevating the feminine will actually bring honor and meaning back to the masculine. 

Our world is caught up entirely in money, and power, and wars, and force. We revere power over rather than power withinSo the questions I’d like to leave you with are these:

Where do you have beauty in your life? Do you consciously manifest it?
What do you revere?
How honorable are you?
Do you instill a sense of loyalty in those around you? Who would rob your grave and how quickly after you passed?
Who do you honor, and how? Also, why?
How important is it for you to be surrounded by people you can trust, and whose opinions you trust?
Where and how do you respect, honor and encourage the feminine in yourself (whether you are male or female), in others, and especially in nature?
Finally, are you ready for the massive changes that are coming?

Our Empire Of Debt: The British museum is a testament to the fact that empires have been rising and falling for thousands of years. The common elements of every empire include its own appreciation for works of extreme beauty and human craftsmanship, along with strict hierarchy. They all expressed a strong connection to the divine, however they felt it, each with their own mythologies and attendant religions to make sense of it all…and help cement the rulers place(s) at the top, of course.

Each empire had a mythology by which it self-organized and people bought into that belief system. Looking back they seem like such obvious mental traps it’s easy to scoff and wonder how people could have been so blinkered.

Here’s the thing about hierarchical societies in every era…in every single one there were always a very few haves and a whole lot of have nots. How were the masses kept in line? Why did the vast bulk of humanity in every empire live in relative poverty and misery, never lifting a finger in revolt except under very rare circumstances?

The connection to yourself is this; each society has a set of reasons in place that explain to the people on the lower levels why they belong there. In some prior cultures the explanation was that authority was invested the royal blood line. You either had it or you didn’t.

In other societies, the rulers were said to be closer to the gods, if not descended directly from them. To go against the rulers meant you were assaulting or dishonoring the very gods you prayed to and on which you utterly depended.

While the mythologies in place “explaining” the hierarchy differed, the results did not. They always resulted in a few at the top and an expanding pyramid of population and entitlement laid out below them.

The middle management in this story, those that had relative advantage were the necessary keepers of the systems in each culture and each system. They had more to lose than to gain through revolt and so they stayed true to the system through their entire lives.

The people on the very bottom, despite having a vast numerical advantage, had the limiting belief that they had no power. So revolts almost never happened. Systems of hierarchy persisted until the empire had run its course, almost always failing because it ran out of resources to maintain itself and its growing complexity.

The lessons of history are absolute; nothing lasts. Everything changes, especially who’s in charge.

So what are our explanations today that keep us all in line? What keeps us from revolt? To what do we bow our daily collective heads in fealty to? The answer is Money. What we call “money” today was a wicked genius invention that popped up right around the same moment in history when humans were working out other keen, life-altering inventions such as clocks, and printing presses.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”
~ Goethe

A person in debt is a person controlled. But they think it was their own decision. Hence the Goethe quote above. A nation in debt is a nation controlled. The debt trap is especially insidious, and it relies on the illusion of free will combined with the full weight of ‘the law.’

By attaching a stated rate of interest to a loan, a person’s future output was yours if you were the holder of that note. What a stroke of pure (evil) genius! Set the rate high enough and the term long enough and you can get all of your money paid back plus another 100% of that amount or more, every bit of which was actually the future productive output (i.e. time) of the borrower.

Conjure up a promissory note out of thin air and then you get to skim the true productive output of that person, regardless of outcome. Whether they succeeded or failed in the endeavor, you still won. If they paid you back, the win was obvious. If they failed you often had collateral on the back end protecting your “investment.” No matter what, you won. And even if that wasn't the case? Well, you lost the amount of effort on your end that it took to draft up the note. In other words, nothing really.

I’ve yet to find this laid out in any museum even though the introduction of debt-based money was arguably the most course-altering invention of the past thousand years. It transformed millions of human slaves kept in check by threat of power and physical coercion (if not death) into billions of humans perfectly willing to hand over their labor to a very few elites at the top who did little to no work themselves.

Before this transformative invention money was always a very concrete thing – you either had a stash of silver or gold or you didn’t. Afterwards money became abstract. You could loan someone something you never had, written on a slip of paper, and the belief invested in that idea was sufficient to enslave that person until that debt was repaid. “Your” money might never be seen or handled by you at all, which is true for most people today. It exists as digits on a statement or computer screen. Yours, but utterly intangible. A powerful force, never actually seen or handled. In other words, a shared idea. A mythology imbued with tremendous power by a culture that served to enforce the current system of hierarchy.

There is a vast empire now spanning the globe but the mystery of it all is that it’s not based on or in any one country. It is an empire of debt. Those issuing the debt are harvesting the output of entire nations, no different in final effect than the Romans enforcing the practice of tithing from extant countries in AD 100.

We now live in a world of, by and for bankers, and other financial elites. Where once it was your royal lineage, or direct connection to the sun god Ra that assured your place at the top, today it's your proximity to the temples of money. 

But what happens when the economic pie is no longer expanding, yet the keepers of the system seem unable to turn off their own desires to grab more, more and yet more from that same pie? That is where we find ourselves today. The economic oxygen is being sucked from the middle and lower classes and the social and political pressures are building.

Meanwhile more and more claims (currency and debts) are being piled on top of this stagnant economic pie thereby increasing the pressure on a creaking system. Someday that all gives way rather spectacularly and ends very badly. History says it ends with a lot of social anarchy and quite possibly another world war.”