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22
May 18

SPACESHIP LANDING IN A CEMETERY

Now available. SPACESHIP LANDING IN A CEMETERY: Songs of Death and Transcendence. By John Shirley and Jerry King–and a host of hot musicians. CD or download. It’ll be on Amazon and in a couple other venues too. Will be distributed in Europe–soon!–by Black October Records. https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnshirleyjerryking


22
May 18

Tiny Bunny, Giant Urban Landscape

Saw a tiny little bunny in a parking lot. Little brown bunny. Shoulda taken a picture. A very young wild rabbit not much bigger than a kitten. It was next to the car wash where I was waiting, and there was a very large vacant lot with only broken concrete in it, and there were some bushes growing up here and there, and to one side was a major freeway with giant trucks just roaring by.

The traffic was pounding the asphalt. And there was an area near the freeway with a whole lot of blackberry bushes–maybe he came from there. WIld animals live in urban places, around the edges, raccoons galore and possums and raptors and feral cats and rabbits and rodents. This one seemed so much in contrast,so defiant just being there, with cars on a major highway on one side, giant trucks on the freeway on another, a sprawling vacant lot, hideous stripmalls…all that…and the little brown rabbit.


18
May 18

ONCE UPON A TIME, BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

Once, billions of years ago, a vast sea of mind realized that due to inexorable physical laws resulting in “matter”, it was becoming subject to entropy. Time was making it slowly, slowly, very slowly bleed. It set into  motion a process to restore itself. The process gave a nudge to the material of the new, expanding universe, with a particular spin on action and reaction, which would cause “matter” to organize itself into what is sometimes called “living organisms”. It did not create the life, it only suggested the possibility, and once it was potentiated it gave it the tiniest but most exquisitely precise of nudges, so that it would develop, in a primitive form that, all on its own; so that it would tend to engage in a process of natural selection, making agglomerations of cooperative “cellular organisms” more likely. This process also led to more longevity and efficiency in some organisms.

Each organism had within it the tiniest speck–sometimes just one micro particle–of the material that becomes mind. This material emanated a very faint energy, as the original mind had supposed it would, which would be harvested, stanching the bleeding of the pondering vastness.

The great sea of mind kept a sort of fifth dimensional tendril in each small organization of “life” so it could see itself and its body, which was the cosmos, from the point of view of that discrete “organism”. This created another source of a very particular type of energy that fed the vast sea of mind. The vast mind knew that the process, once set in motion, which did not need it for any creational input, would eventually create organisms capable of processing the world with more and more refinement. These processes involved conflicts of yes and no, action and reaction, which released fine energies of ever more refinement. The more intelligent the “organism” the more refined this energy. In all the cosmos, there was very little of this refined energy. It was rarer than rareness. The whole process had been set into motion to create it. The participation of the vast mind’s tendrils in the experiential being of the intelligent “organisms” added the other energy form needed; the two together created a third form, which was even more exquisite, and which was needed to knit up the injury caused by the process of entropy.

Additionally, the vast sea of mind “enjoyed” the mirroring of its self through the subjective experience of “the organisms”, which created an endless living cosmic drama, with an unspeakably gigantic display with all the pleasures of music and theater. The vast sea of mind decided that…it was good.


18
May 18

Once, billions of years ago, a vast sea of mind realized that due to inexorable physical laws resulting in “matter”, it was becoming subject to entropy. Time was making it slowly, slowly, very slowly bleed. It set into a motion a process to restore itself. The process gave a nudge to the material of the new, expanding universe, with a particular spin on action and reaction, which would cause “matter” to organize itself into what is sometimes called “living organisms”. It did not create the life, it only suggested the possibility, and once it was potentiated it gave it the tiniest but most exquisitely precise of nudges, so that it would develop, in a primitive form that, all on its own; so that it would tend to engage in a process of natural selection, making agglomerations of cooperative “cellular organisms” more likely. This process also led to more longevity and efficiency in some organisms.

Each organism had within it the tiniest speck–sometimes just one micro particle–of the material that becomes mind. This material emanated a very faint energy, as the original mind had supposed it would, which would be harvested, stanching the bleeding of the pondering vastness.

The great sea of mind kept a sort of fifth dimensional tendril in each small organization of “life” so it could see itself and its body, which was the cosmos, from the point of view of that discrete “organism”. This created another source of a very particular type of energy that fed the vast sea of mind. The vast mind knew that the process, once set in motion, which did not need it for any creational input, would eventually create organisms capable of processing the world with more and more refinement. These processes involved conflicts of yes and no, action and reaction, which released fine energies of ever more refinement. The more intelligent the “organism” the more refined this energy. In all the cosmos, there was very little of this refined energy. It was rarer than rareness. The whole process had been set into motion to create it. The participation of the vast mind’s tendrils in the experiential being of the intelligent “organisms” added the other energy form needed; the two together created a third form, which was even more exquisite, and which was needed to knit up the injury caused by the process of entropy.

Additionally, the vast sea of mind “enjoyed” the mirroring of its self through the subjective experience of “the organisms”, which created an endless living cosmic drama, with an unspeakably gigantic display of all the pleasures of music and theater. The vast sea of mind decided that…it was good.


16
May 18

Astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole ever seen

“right now, this massive black hole is the size of at least 20 billion suns”..

(CNN) Astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole ever seen in the universe, and they’re calling this one a monster with an appetite. It’s growing so fast it can devour a mass the size of the sun every two days….The discovery of this massive black hole calls the existing science about black holes into question….”

If as this suggests black holes have no “speed limit” and can grow faster and faster, and absorb more and more, can they combine one into the next, can we have one giant black hole? I find myself imagining that the end of the universe (this one) as we know it is not what is usually envisioned but will involve a giant black hole that is, in effect, turning the universe inside out, crushing it within this cosmos encompassing black hole, then compressing it into a cosmic egg which then explodes into another big bang, another universe, another iteration of the eternal kaleidoscope’s shifting.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/health/fastest-growing-black-hole-trnd/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_topstories+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Yahoo+Search+Results


12
May 18

Can Trump be Pried out of Office before the 2020 Presidential Election?

I doubt Mueller will have provable charges against Trump unless he can show Trump was DIRECTLY involved in money laundering at his hotels. Sure, that crime went on–but prove he knew of it (yes, he did, but prove it). The collusion thing–yes it happened but hard to prove legally, in Trump’s case. He can claim he didn’t know his staff was doing it…the obstruction of Justice is real but too legally ambiguous in his case…I agree with Bill Maher that Trump will not leave office no matter how he’s pressured–he will just dig in his heels and say no.

There are too many people making out like bandits, looting the country under his administration, banking concerns, and so on, and those people push the buttons on Congressmen. So he’ll never be impeached through Congress. However–if Dems take control of congress after November…then maybe….

I believe it’s likely he can only be removed through voting him out in 2020. And the problem with that, at least now, is more people are giving him their approval because they got a small break on their taxes after the tax reform (I know, it’s only temporary). And Trump got lucky on North Korea…so far. The economy is strong in some ways–especially if you’re a person with money to invest. …so Dems will have to work hard to unseat Trump in 2020. You’d think it would be a no brainer, but too many Americans JUST DO NOT CARE that he’s paying off porn stars, that he’s treated women like dirt, that there is corruption swirling around his administration. They only care that they got their small tax break.

I believe that Trump is a criminal who has engaged in money laundering and who is using his office to promote his private business interests; is a serial harasser of women, may have committed rape…Has likely committed treason…Deserves to be in jail…is doing vast damage to the USA and the world through his vindictive deregulation and his idiotic posturing and his “decisions” on Iran and the Paris Climate Accords… But I think it’ll be hard to pry him from office before 2020.


5
May 18

Capitalism, Communism, Democracy: Words Losing Their Meanings

For some people regulations on banking, on business, are “a stage of Communism”. They have a fuzzy idea, of course, as to what Communism is, and they have an equally fuzzy idea as to what regulations are. They seem to believe that regulations disallow capitalism from being capitalism, prevent a market from being a market. Next time I encounter someone with the view that regulations mean that we’re not longer in a capitalistic market place, I’ll resort to the overused but often handy sports metaphor: “Do you like baseball or football or basketball?” They do. “Do you regard them as healthy competition, as really as tough struggling for a win?” Yes. “So how would your favorite sport work out without any rules? If you removed the rules, would baseball be as much fun? Or would it be a chaotic muddle, possibly including violence?” Probably it would be a mess. “Capitalism with regulation is like sports with rules. It makes the game possible. Many rules are about fairness, so it arranges a fair playing field. Competition, marketing, striving to win, are all still part of a regulated capitalism.”

A good many people extolling the new left, the youth-left, and even some older people who should know the definitions of things better, suppose that “capitalism” must always mean an unfair crushing of all underdogs; must mean a flawed system in which the poor always lose. Then you say to some of these very people, (for example),”But you  own a coffee house. You’ve innovated a brand of coffee you sell. Isn’t that capitalism?” “No,” they say, “I’m fair to employees and to consumers. I don’t pollute. I don’t discriminate racially.” “That doesn’t keep it from being capitalism. You’re using capital to invest, to make a profit. Only, you’re doing it with a conscience. That’s the best capitalism.  Not only is it capitalism–it’s the ideal capitalism.” Again and again I encounter people who sell things–their own books for example–saying that “capitalism” is bad. And they are not selling editions of Das Kapital. They do not know what capitalism actually is–it’s just making a living investing time, labor and resources, to over-simplify. It can be done responsibly or irresponsibly. Good capitalism is carried out responsibly.  Talk to them, you find out  that many people really, truly, don’t know that.

There is a new phenomenon, shown by recent polls: young people who (seemingly) do not think “Democracy” is a good idea. It turns out they have mixed up the idea of democracy with “government as it is now” and “elections at their worst”, with big money taking over elections and government. That takeover–something we’re struggling to stop now–is partly a consequence of predatory individuals mis-using democracy. But this particular group of young people think that Democracy is only that. It’s synonymous in their minds with bought elections and bad government. They are unaware that it means: “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” (Random House Dictionary.) So when they say “not a good thing” in polls, they are not saying what we think they’re saying. They are not actually saying “Dictatorship is better”. They’re not being asked to address the question of what would be better than the damaged Democracy we’re burdened with in the era of big-money campaign financing.

In parallel, the alt-right and their libertarian friends who say “regulation is Communism” are unaware that Communism is: “a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.” They think the word applies to regulations in general.

The very meanings of these powerful words are being lost. Clearly the answer to this muddling of terminology is education. Civics is scarcely in evidence in schools now. That needs to be changed. And a campaign to explain these concepts to those who don’t grasp them should be undertaken.

 


3
May 18

Internet News Even From Reputable Sources: SLOPPY

Internet news, as opposed to newspaper news, is very sloppily put together. It’s hasty, and as a consequence has far more typographical errors and badly thought out headlines. This is the entire headline of an abc news article online: “DNA TEST LINKS WOMAN TO BIOLOGICAL FATHER AND 7 HALF SIBLINGS” – the actual story IS news, as it’s about finding a father and siblings she didn’t knew she had, but the headline…? It’s like– “You’re related to your dad and siblings! News at eleven!” All they had to do is take the time to write the headline so the point of the story is part of it. But no. Don’t have time. The jittery, feeble internet attention spans must have eighty thousand stories a second thrown at them.


27
Apr 18

Nattering New-Age Nitwits

It annoys me no end when New Age nitwits coo glowingly of the spiritual deeps of pre-Columbian civilizations. The Maya, the Aztec, the Inca, had impressive civilizations, impressive cultures, with fine art, significant engineering skills–all that is true. But: “While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya and Inca have been recorded…the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimu civilization is unprecedented in the Americas — if not in the entire world,” National Geographic said.

The Carthaginians (in what we now call Tunisia) also had an impressive civilization–and they tossed babies into furnaces. (See link in comments.) ANY people who let magical thinking and a penchant for ritualistic cruelty lead them into human sacrifice was as debased as the gabbling Christian priests who tortured and mass-murdered “heretics” for the Inquisition and the so-called Church. THEY ALL SUCK EQUALLY because they’re all human beings and human beings are prone to sleepwalking through their entire lifespans, while having complex waking dreams that they mistake for waking life. They can do fine things and debased, monstrous things in the same day without knowing the difference. Humanity cheerfully dives headlong into the basest most toxic ideas, so long as it’s in some way comforting; so long as it aids in keeping them in their cozy state of waking sleep…

Another popular form of New Age Nitwit nattering is found in that weird mix of scripted fixation and pseudo-documentary “What the Bleep do we Know?” which is actually a recruiting video for the Ramtha (JZ Knight) cult. It’s suffused with pseudo-science, cherrypicked quotes mixed with utterly made up bullshit, and other rubbish. Yet this fraud was and is a successful film. It’s been debunked many times but no one seems to care.

It’s odd–they don’t seem to get the irony in the title of their film.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biggest-child-sacrifice-evidence-archaeologists-national-geographic-peru-chimu/


25
Apr 18

IN DARKNESS WAITING: EVIL IS DEHUMANIZATION

[My foreword to my novel IN DARKNESS WAITING, for its new edition, seems relevant to our times. And to humanity's perennial dilemma, its persistent question: What is the Nature of Evil?]

Foreword to IN DARKNESS WAITING: The “Director’s Cut”

This edition of In Darkness Waiting has been re-edited. I updated it a little, cut some youthful excess, tinkered with a few sentences and trimmed some slow bits. But it’s essentially the same book, and it definitely has the same theme. It’s a hard-charging horror story—I suspect it would be difficult to find a horror novel with a scene more extreme than the climax of this book—but its subtext is what is most important to me.

Paradoxically, some books seem more relevant as time goes on. Or perhaps their relevance is simply brought into prominence by resonant times. In Darkness Waiting seems to me to be one of those books. Before there was any thought of reprinting IDW, I found myself referring to it, more than once, while writing some recent online opinion pieces. I was writing about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, as well as the abuse of women and “unbelievers” by Fundamentalist Muslims. How can people stone a woman to death because someone raped her? They do. How can American soldiers gleefully torment and beat and humiliate their prisoners, most of whom had nothing to do with terrorism? They did. When an atrocity comes about, it starts inside the perpetrators. Something happens, in them—a process whereby they dehumanize their victims. Well before the act, the atrocity has begun psychologically—and neurologically.

People are not innately monstrous. Most people can be quite compassionate, sympathetic, in the right circumstances. Yet somehow they can also switch that compassion off—some unknown trigger comes along, and it’s switched off, within them, like switching off a light. As I mention in IDW, Nazis guarding concentration camps tossed bread to hungry, snow-bound birds, feeling genuinely sorry for them, while a few feet away children starved to death, watching enviously as the birds eat crumbs. How can they calmly accept taking part in starving those children, and then feed the birds? Many of these monsters had wives and children they loved. What is the mechanism of the repression of normal human empathy?

There are many examples of dehumanization from American history. In the book The Plutonium Files by Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen Welsome, we learn that in the 1940s thousands of powerless Americans–blacks, institutionalized children, the poor, prisoners, soldiers— were deliberately exposed to plutonium, often in injections, as part of experiments essentially designed to find ways to protect the experimenters from deadly radiation. The researchers worked for the government, on military grants (all done in secret), to try to find ways to protect the developers of nuclear weapons from radiation. So they injected radioactive particles into people; they gave hundreds of children radioactive iron particles, spoonfed to them in oat meal, and then, quite dispassionately, they monitored the health of experimental subjects–eventually, their deterioration–in this effort to protect their own kind. They dehumanized their subjects for the sake of their own survival; to find ways to protect them, the researchers, and people like them, from radiation, at the expense of powerless Americans–who were never told what was happening to them. President Clinton appointed a committee to look into these allegations, and the committee reported its shocking conclusions on the very day that the OJ Simpson trial concluded–perhaps so that the story would be buried in the press, as in fact it was.

In my online piece I wrote: I again call for scientific research into the psychological and neurological mechanism of dehumanization. We need to realize that it’s integral to human behavior–and only through understanding it can we find ways to overcome it.

It is perhaps significant that the original title of this novel was Insect Inside. If we are not careful to make conscious choices, we become insects, inside.

In Darkness Waiting is an entertainment. If you like horror, I think there’s a good chance you’ll find it damned entertaining. (Or should that be “entertainment for the damned”?) But it’s also about something that honestly troubles me. It’s also about real life. Yes: all-too-real life. I gave the phenomenon a name in the book. E.S.S.: Empathy Suppression Syndrome. That clinical label was a strategy to promote the notion that we need to engage in a whole new level of what Gurdjieff and the Buddhists call “self-observation.” We need to observe ourselves as a species, with new objectivity, or we’ll never understand the nature of evil.

And if we don’t understand it, we have no hope of standing against it.