Chelsea Manning…A Lesson in Courage…Invulnerability

 

 

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And a federal judge in Virginia has sent U.S. army whistleblower Chelsea Manning back to prison after she refused a second subpoena ordering her to testify to a grand jury. The order came just one week after Manning was freed after spending 62 days behind bars for refusing to testify about her leak of hundreds of thousands of secret State Department and Pentagon documents to WikiLeaks — including evidence of U.S. war crimes. This is Chelsea Manning, speaking just before she was taken into federal custody.

Chelsea Manning: “Jails and prisons exist as a dark institution. And despite that, it doesn’t frighten me or disturb me. I’ve already been to jail, I’ve already been to prison, so attempting to coerce me with a grand jury subpoena is just not going to work.”

Manning faces up to 18 additional months in prison, and could be fined up to $1,000 a day while she refuses to testify.

I saw this news clip yesterday on a news show I watch and didn’t think too much about it until I was prompted to recall it earlier today and pondered this…

When someone has already experienced suffering, the prison institution and bullying, it becomes quite clear that the more the same kind of treatment is inflicted, the more valiant or invulnerable that someone becomes. Any further infliction from the hands of an unjust system just becomes counter-productive.

What they, the harbingers of the system overlook, is that in trying to instil fear and coercion, instead shows their own contradiction, fear and vulnerability. And furthermore, what they also seem to ignore is that everyone isn’t the same, vis-a-vis, is going to kowtow because of fear to a regime they represent and is all too apparent.

If Julian Assange had stood up, faced the music, and demonstrated her kind of courage, he would have saved himself a whole lot of prolonged wrangling. We can’t always, because of fear, hide behind closed doors and curtains especially when the powers-that-be are rigged against us.

I’ve had a vision of a big net full of people while she and Assange are beneath it.

There are plenty of others who should, instead, be behind bars.

image – courtesy of http://www.democracynow.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living Without Imagery

At the age of eleven, I was thrown out, along with the rest of my family from our flat in Biddlestone Road, Heaton, a suburb of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, and our possessions were cast into the street. A month later, we were thrown into a notorious estate, a slum dwelling called Noble Street on the opposite side of the city where the stairwells were pitch black, the corridors were strewn with dog shit or were often swilled with disinfectant smelling of the most revolting toxicity. The sizeable trash bins inside the sides and bottom of each block of flats, due to the disordered conduct of some of the residents, were often overturned likely attracting, although I never saw any, rats.

Here’s another, although very recent story…

I mentioned in the last post about an ongoing internet troll problem on a site I frequent. Due to my friendship with one of its members, the troll in question accused me of being a ‘yes’ man or some sort of lapdog to that member which isn’t true at all, except me and that member happen to share or agree, have things in common, and have developed a good chat relationship during the years since I’ve started chatting with her. He also invented some nonsense term such as ‘noodle’ and ‘schnoodle,’ to mock or belittle me in the context of my friendship with her. This attitude sadly and broadly demonstrates the pattern of polarization that exists among its members. How misunderstood can you get! The troll has since been ejected, as has his term, but the feeling of anger or annoyance in me still lingers. You might think, well, let it go. It was childish of him and silly anyway. Sure, I’ll reply, but why still keep feeling the anger or annoyance coming up from where? Memory, or that place where thought has been produced or produces due to the operation of memory, if I’m making myself clear.

What has all this got to do with the title of this post? Well, the story about being thrown into that notorious slum dwelling and the word example; the first which might be thought of as a disadvantageous incident and the latter an insult weren’t real. The Noble St incident has long since gone, but the insult hasn’t. By not being real, I mean, the first story was only a circumstance and the second was only about a word, and an invented word at that.

The word is only a label, a symbol, one that you can easily separate into letters and tare up; the first was only a set a set of circumstances. So, what’s the problem?

Neither, except it’s the image of the thing, the recording, the labelling etched into your conditioning and transferred to your consciousness that get’s hurt. And without being attentive on an ongoing basis to dissolve the anger, the hurt over the word or the humiliating circumstance, which some might view, will only continue or linger.

…Or, to admit or tell these stories. I’m sure there are countless others out there that could relate their own stories of hurt and humiliation.

The friend on the site mentioned a research professor and social scientist, Dr. Brene Brown, by recommending her book ‘Braving the Wilderness.’ As well as looking at the book and a couple of others by her and watching a lecture or two given by her and her being interviewed on a couple of talk shows, I am left with this conclusion…

Never hide away from the past in a cubbyhole by denying your background and never avoid feeling hurt. They simply won’t work, or as J. Krishnamurti said: ‘you can’t avoid, however hard you try, “what is”.’

Dr. Brown says opening up or admitting to what she terms ‘shame’ and ‘vulnerability’ are the ways to come to terms with yourself, unless you have consistent choiceless meditation or awareness.

And why relate these stories…?

According to Dr. Brown, if you don’t own your own stories by admitting to them, they will own you. These are clear ways or solutions for living without imagery and therefore standing alone and being invulnerable.

 

 

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What makes an Internet Troll: some thoughts

This subject seems quite a thorny one, not the reasons or issues behind it, but that it is quite difficult and impossible to resolve if or when the problem arises, as that’s what is at stake.

First off, it would be conducive to explain why I thought about writing about this. Well, it comes from being a member of a forum where I frequently visit because I like to see what’s going on, particularly if anything noteworthy or interesting has, or if there is anything else in particular. There is also a chat room, so I like to chat with a few members I’ve made friends with over the years and to see or follow them chat with someone else. It’s an immediate, on the spot chat, so it’s almost like chatting as though you were chatting with someone you are with except via a keyboard.

Like some of these sites, they do seem to attract all sorts of people from varied backgrounds and attitudes, and so on, so it isn’t without it’s problems which can result in the ineffective in terms of cross-bridging or filling gaps in communication and or differences and hogging the whole show or point of view being expressed. Most, though, due to a false sense of superiority which also comes from a false complexion of isolation, prefer to engage in blogging or discussing which makes the chat aspect suffer somewhat.

And it has, and still is, attracting the odd troll…

Watching the behaviour of one particular person, not to mention he’s been banned several times, and has just been again which prompted this post, but keeps on coming back with a new account ID, and even with an extra account to back up a main one, has been a learning curve for me; gauging how and why these people operate in the way they do; their patterns of behaviour, ways of thinking, and such.

How do they operate? Simple. They attack others, call them names, mock them, ridicule them, put them down; to spread as much conflict, hatred and division and intimidation where possible, and also to take sides with other members who aren’t engaged or as friendly with others. It can really get quite chaotic and destructive, and unless you have enough self-control, or better, equilibrium, it’s difficult not to get angry and end up doing precisely what they themselves are doing which is exactly their intent – making the problem worse instead of containing it.

So, what is the reason for all this? Again, simple, if you are attentive to it or like to use your mind to explore why it is happening, or the nature of trollism, and even engage with a member who thinks and feels the same way as you do, it isn’t difficult to figure out why. You don’t need a degree in sociology or psychology to understand the damaging result or effects of what? And I’m no expert.

Society in a cultural context is responsible, of course; those complex relationships and inter-relationships, disconnectivity each of us have towards each other, and are subjected to on a daily basis that have and do form it, and how it works, and how it never wavers, or how, according to J. Krishnamurti, it is highly structured, static or inflexible, so is therefore disintegrating, even more so these days. If it went the opposite way or became flexible, trolls might never materialise, so in a way it defeats its own purpose – by creating disharmony, but that is it’s underlying intent…

To spread division and control: one person or persons controlling or dominating another set, to bracket people as success stories or failure stories, somebody’s versus nobody’s, winners versus losers, which invite innumerable hurts, and so on, to make some people feel they belong while making others feel they don’t. The complexity goes on and on…

So, it’s no wonder some people become incurably wounded by dysfunctionality or low self-esteem, feeling socially excluded, and extend this to internet forum sites. It wouldn’t be so bad if these people could be courageous enough to admit they have a psychological problem or come to terms with themselves, what Dr. Brene Browne calls overcoming the ‘shame’ obstacle, but sadly, they don’t because they don’t have enough – if any – thing to resolve the distorted effects that come from where? Their ego or sense of self which they have been prevented from nurturing because of what I would call a ‘stonewalled’ struggle to fit in. And why don’t the sociological and psychological institutional structures do enough to address these issues?

Is it because, structurally, they are part of the same social framework, pattern, or apparatus itself, are hopelessly limited or inadequate, or don’t have the time, the patience, the inkling, or even the knowhow to deal with it?

And what do you expect? Or why do trolls emerge? Precisely because of a world structure or view that is based on broken relationships and lack of wholeness; based on a sense self – or ‘me, myself and I.’

The powers that be, emanating right through the social scale, couldn’t give a damn, really, unless you happen to be someone on an individual basis who has compassion, empathy, knowhow, who seriously does care.

 

 

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Why is it so difficult to resolve conflict?

As I pointed out in the previous post, if it was merely a matter of reducing a few carbon emissions, these, vis-a-vis the human problem, would have been solved aeons ago. But since this isn’t happening, shows how rooted psychological problems really are.

Indeed, few seem incapable of giving up self to radically change their lives for the better.

Why is this?

Is it about contentment? Being easily led, satisfied? To be content with the way things are without being attentive or intelligent enough to really get to grips with facing facts as they happen to be?

We all want to escape into the next job, the next salary increase, to be distracted by some form of entertainment whether it’s from the latest smart phone addiction craze, and so on. There’s nothing much smart about a screen phone except to cause eye damage, transfer thinking and make a huge buck for the companies or businesses that manufacture and sell these gimmicks.

So, what is it about the inability to resolve conflict and bring about change?

All our problems come from the self. By the self I mean the centre. Some call it the ego, or the illusory, a false sense of identity  that arises from thought consciousness which creates it. This happens genetically and lasts until we hit the grave, and some of these thought patterns are deeply grooved or hidden, and some which are disordered or irrational, occur again and again.

To compound the problem, thought separates these thinking patterns making us think or believe they happen from somewhere else when the only source is within each one of us. This happens when we keep on projecting some intellectual mind or memory pattern outwardly, unless we are attentive or have enough intelligence to know otherwise.

What do I mean by attentiveness?

To be choicelessly aware from moment to moment without the self referred to above getting in the way or obstructing it. This is also part of meditation. If this gift can happen in our lives, significant shifts or changes can happen. But it takes a lot of investigation and observation to dissolve the nitty-gritty, those patterns or grooves in consciousness that keep in recurring.

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‘Extinction Rebellion.’ What’s it really all about?

I think it would be fair to say that, because of bias, conditioning, opposition and self interest, not to mention how cultures around the world have, since they were first incepted, developed their own patterns in the form of identities, languages, rituals, religions, traditions, and so on, that to bring about a different more radical change from the existing one, or ones, hasn’t worked very well, and indeed hasn’t worked at all. Yet makind, because it still thinks in terms of its own ideas and beliefs, keeps on falling into the trap of building new movements or protest groups, thinking it can bring about a new society straight from the old which, apart from tinkering with it here and there, is a nigh absurdity.

All revolutions of the past : social, political, economic; the American, the French, the Russian, the collapse of the Cold War, as examples, have led or have resulted in the decay or disintegration the world finds itself in today. Why is this? Because society has remained pretty much structured, static, or unchanged in the way that it is.

But it was no surprise to see another one of these reactionary grassroots movements spring up in the UK and the U.S. which is called ‘Extinction Rebellion.’  The idea that a movement based on limitations of thought-consciousness can save the globe and the human species from virtual annihilation simply by blocking roads, bridges, glueing hands to pavements, to the sides of buildings that house corporate interests, to the sides of trains, focuses of hostility is ridiculous if not entertaining.

All these people have done is get themselves arrested – not much more.

While it may be arguable that one might want to stage a protest against the harbingers of corporate greed and that it is they who are putting the planet primarily at risk and therefore the rest of us, it is unfortunately understandable, due to ignorance or a lack of self-knowledge, that Extinction Rebellion is going about this in entirely the wrong way.

If the members of the group were self aware or really understood themselves, they might realise that you can’t bring about peace, order and global stability, through conflict, since it is conflict itself that is the root cause of the present crisis and imposing conflict will only generate or bring about further conflict.

Mankind, because of lack of self-knowledge, keeps on thinking it can change the world outside of itself but it has never worked because it is the world inside, in the human psyche or consciousness that needs resolving, not the world outside.

Everyone, again because of ignorance, is raving on about the Swedish kid, Greta Thurnberg because of her deep concern about the warming of the planet. She said in an interview a couple of days ago that the only real problem is for CO2 emissions to drop.

So, that’s the only problem, is it? If the warming of the planet gets reduced, all the social problems: greed, fear, injustice and disintegration, which have been happening for centuries, not to mention other aspects of human disorder, will suddenly disapper or melt away with those emissions. How ridiculous.

JKrishnamurti said ‘there is only what is.’ Anything other than this is an escape from it or an inability to face facts and the facts as they are.

 

 

 

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Chomsky and Observation

I was watching a lecture given by, and follow-up discussion with, the celebrated linguistics professor and political dissident, Noam Chomsky, earlier today. I always find his public addresses interesting. By interesting, I mean entertaining. The show that ran the lecture used such flattery or adulatory expressions as ‘best’ or ‘well-loved’ to describe the renowned talking head and that he has reached the grand old age of ninety.

So, what was the lecture’s interesting or entertainment value? Well, it outlined the external crisis that is confronting humanity and the globe right now: the rise of ultra national reactionary movements in Latin America, the attack on the freedom of the press with the arrest of Julian Assange, the threat of nuclear war and the worsening climate crisis, not to mention the cronyism that got Netanyahu re-elected.

However well-versed intellectual addresses on the global crisis might or happen to be, not one of these lecturers ever admit or ignore the simple fact – that the crisis happens to be inside – not outside each one of us. They ignore this fact simply because it isn’t their concern or isn’t on their agenda or that they themselves are too important; therefore it would contradict their agenda and themselves. Given that the earth upon which we inhabit is supposed to be a part of the rest of an ordered cosmology, but that it’s present state is in disorder is precisely because we as humans are in disorder and that it is our disordered inner condition extending outwardly that is responsible for the current chaos.

So, other than the flattery, adulation, or the urge to keep on becoming, from one lecture to another, from one job to the next, and so on, one begs the question how much, or far, are these events really serious or really want to go further than merely addressing the human problem that has existed for a very long time?

Chomsky also addressed how massive protest movements to counter the external crisis are the only way forward. Well, millions took to the streets in 2003 to demonstrate against the U.S. engaging in war in Iraq. Did those millions prevent the war? No. Counter reactionary protests have been taking place for a long time and nothing has changed other than superficial modifications here and there.

The only real revolution is within, to quietly watch, look, and observe the workings of your own brain or mind patterns and to find out that that is where the problems really lie, rooted and hidden, not in some public address or other.

If through pure observation which doesn’t involve thought or thought-consciousness interfering or getting in the way which is also responsible for the whole global crisis, one may begin to break through the self-ridden patterns of one’s own conditioning and maybe it is possible for a very few solitary individuals to live out their lives without conflict.

 

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‘Psychological Warfare.’ What does it mean?

The phrase ‘psychological warfare’ stepped into my mind earlier today. When you are aware, or have clarity of insight, it’s not hard to see what it means.

First of all, it isn’t difficult to see the outer turmoil that’s happening throughout the world: the wars, the strife, the conflicts within and without, not to mention all the barriers between nation states that have been going on for donkey’s years. Some of these issues are now quite critical such as Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip or how poorer countries are suffering at the hand of richer more selfish countries such as getting the brunt of the climate crisis.

You’d think, given the gravity of the situation, that these intolerable issues should have been solved by now, or at the very least, are being solved.

But the fact that they haven’t, and haven’t been able to be solved, shows that something is deeply and wrongly rooted in the human psyche.

Isn’t it all about ‘me, myself and I,’ or ‘looking after yours truly or number one?’

Just, for a second, observe the goings on inside yourself instead of superficially, intellectually, or what goes on the surface or outside of you and you might get an acute sense of the turmoil that’s going on in your mind and nervous system.

If you quietly observe how the mind continuously projects itself outwardly towards some goal or other in the need to be certain, whether it’s some job, some idea, perhaps the need to belong, it becomes apparent that the need for security is what’s at stake; not just about locking the door or scanning your luggage at an airport, although these motives are connected.

There is, in theory, enough resources in the world for everyone to share but this hasn’t happened because of desire: to shore up attachments, to accumulate, to think you are lessening fear when actually by increasing possessions you are adding to the problem. Then the problem of inward, of psychological security, keeps rearing its head causing more and more suffering both in the richer and the poorer countries around the world.

This is why there is very little logic or resolution to the current world crisis because at a personal or local level, the crisis is in each one of us, not outside of us.

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