- Eat dessert first.
- Spiritual friendships are of significant importance.
- Who spends the currency of time with you reveals what relationships are authentic and reciprocal (Observe the one-sided ones, let go of them, and see who stays).
- There is always one more thing you do not know about a person and/or a situation.
- Meditation by reading, music, or walking is vital.
- Faith and Science compliment each other more and more.
- Unlearning is the only door to continuing education, and embracing mystery is the only way of wisdom.
- Not having to be right in observing things from a non-dual point of view is true freedom.
- The end of one crisis is the beginning of another, and/or life changes continue ahead.
- Knowing who you are is primary to anything you ‘do’.
- People think you do not know when they are being dishonest.
- Animals are the best people.
Then New York University Professor Neil Postman would prove that the day after the most unnatural fatal day since World War Two would not come to an all stop, that the rest of us could still entertain ourselves to death (The title of his book in 1985).
While his title is a metaphor of the extremes of our cultural escapes, not even national tragedy would disrupt the truth about the identity politics of demand for profit show business and a direct supply to consumers. On September 12th, 2001, The Howard Stern Show was according to many of the listeners of that broadcast “The only live entertainment” still on regular scheduling for the entire city of New York. The unprecedented scale of tragedy the day before had much of the city leaving the city when flights resumed by the FAA. Postman’s theory proves correct even on Wednesday, September 12th, 2001. Choose any day since technology forever changed, and it’s hard to prove his thesis wrong.
Postman goes in other works to talk about our loss of literacy as a general population. This means language and reference to works in literary form are no longer widely taught, known, or even absorbed unless presented in a digital short piece format. This explains a popular YouTube channel series called “Crash Course” by now famous author John Green. The irony is I wrote a review of Green’s book and the film adaptation four years ago, to which in Postman’s terms two observable truth’s reside in it’s lack of distribution. The first is that no one will read that blog because reality in post modern capitalism people are too distracted in leisure time mainly in what Nietzsche calls, “Always racing to the next experience.” This suggests that there is no desire to find time to read in a society that according to James Gleick’s now eerily accurate book from 1999 is obsessed and unable to accept anything other than speed and speed that is, “Faster.”
The second point is that even if someone found the time to read my blog on Green’s book, they would most likely stop reading it because they have not the context required to absorb the blog without having read Green’s book for themselves. The Crash Course series is the video spark notes form of ‘drive by history’ summations in ten minute intervals to combine as a solution to those observations. For example the video on “English literature number one” has to this moment, 2,950,565 views. If everyone in The U.S. alone had watched it, it would have over 350 million views. Maybe video form is three million more than zero, but not a solution.
No matter the outcome of the midterm elections (ballot issues remain unchanged from my post two years ago) this November, anyone that was not a conscious and literately functioning adult in 1974 will not understand when the sound bites and printing press finally get publish the headline of their wildest dreams: “Our long national nightmare is over.” Of course that is the headline that identity political journalists are salivating to publish in rooting for history to repeat itself (whether that is opposition parties gaining majorities or a POTUS resigning.) It was a line by Gerald Ford when he became the 38th President of The United States on August 9, 1974, moments after President Richard Nixon became the first President to resign the office in history. It was what many believed to be the end of a dark period of corruption in government, and we can see why many would argue that maybe that wasn’t the only case (Howard Zinn, Et Al).
The version of historic analysis will from now on forever depend on to whom you ask, and at what level they are literate in ways Postman predicts may almost certainly become intellectually extinct. This is to say, the parallels that journalists currently live and sweat for in their daily work, will have no meaningful context to millennials, even if the NYT paper paid enough ads to be trending in the top feed of twitter trending topics. 71 million millennials will out number the 73 million baby boomers in 2019. How many would know the Gerald Ford quote? How many would even be directed or suggested to care? Postman says, distraction has taken over. If we have lost literacy, then, it isn’t a problem with a demographic of voters, it has become a problem of all voters. Thus, a society could not evolve at a more rapid pace than merely outliving previous generations. History then, will repeat itself as Huxley says, “The most important lesson from history is that men have learned nothing from the lessons of history.”
A NSFW podcast’s recent episode erupted in controversy when the comedian Nick Mullen revealed his perceptions on the hopelessness of drug users, in the context of what the audience could only assume was also his own personal experience and his own personal state of mental health. A paraphrase of his quote would be, “To be in that state, you have to have no other reason for living.” Later in the podcast comments were made about their perceptions of God and hell. “Think how F****** that would be if you were banished for all eternity. You know maybe enough time for a lesson but eternity?” (Mullen 2018).
What astonished me was that the co hosts began talking about Dante’s inferno, not realizing the significance of the connection between that body of work and the modern ideas of hell and God that are not biblical or archetypal to any traditional faith’s authentic texts. This is explained in detail in Jon. M. Sweeney’s 2014 book, Inventing Hell. You can listen to the episode of the NSFW (Not safe for work) adult podcast specific episode here :https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nick-mullen/cum-town/e/55506060
A go to mystical catholic theologian based in Albuquerque New Mexico addressed this in a recent talk from 2016 in Pasadena California at All Saints Church when touring one of his latest books. Richard Rohr struggled to understand how the western church had gotten so lost in reward punishment theology. You can see that talk at this link: https://youtu.be/DJDEHdjJ1yI?t=16m
Rohr also has done talks on what he calls the nine different stages of spirituality. One stage is not greater than the other, other stages just merely reflect where one currently is on their individual journey that is pertinent to their experiences, understandings, literacy, and discernment in spiritual life. Rohr says people at stage one are interested only in the inflation of the ego manifested in “feeling and looking good.” This is also the classic definition of hedonism in ancient Greece and Rome (the search and the aim for the highest good, as often as possible, as long as possible. The finest foods, wealth, status, sexuality, humanities, arts, conquest.)
In Inventing Hell, John Sweeney exposes in great detail how individuals like the hosts of a podcast could have a general and public understanding that would not otherwise exist in anyone’s ideas of God or afterlife if Dante Alighieri had not written down his imagination of poetic and idolatrous vengeance.
The podcast which began as a parody became increasingly popular, even while the host and co-hosts would still barely take it seriously. After feedback from the recent episode Mullen posted on Instagram that he was not suicidal but that while he still wanted to die, he won’t yet and he merely somehow hoped that the podcast helped at least in some way other people. The post had hundreds of comments that revealed and validated that the podcast indeed did have a positive impact on listeners in ways the hosts were entirely and totally unconscious. Just like bringing up Dante after a hell comment, without knowing that hell, in our modern understanding, remains entirely the mere imagination of Dante Alighieri.
The question this expose raises is to what extent does nihilism take form in western individuals and beyond identity as ‘you are what you do’ and ‘what you do is only successful if you make X dollars a year, with X type of trophy girl, with X type of car, with X type of projects booked in a only rising career.’ Is the context of broken ego’s related to competition and capitalism, the stall of climbing the tower in what a person has been groomed to understand as the definition of success and the roots to purpose, and the measurement of identity?
The pursuit of happiness is greco-roman hedonism repackaged to results oriented illusions that become revealed as the false self (Merton) or the small self (Jung) breaks down. Is nihilism merely the period between discovering true/big self (Merton & Jung) and a spring board into two different direction, up or down(Craig 1994)? Rohr says we can’t go up without going down first, so the non-dualistic answer is both up and down, but down as up (Rohr 2013). St. Augustine described what Nietzsche would later describe as “God is dead” as his experience in the catholic dogma. Augustine writes, “poets who are called theologians, versifying of their men made gods, or of the worlds elements, or of principalities or powers…. If their fables contained anything that concerned the true God, it was intermingled with the rest that God was difficult to find” (Sweeney, 2014). It seems our modern culture agrees with Augustine and Nietzsche, that is until maybe someone highlights that actual reason to expose the Dante work for the common discourse and the conversation of what contributes to nihilism in different types of societies.
Craig, R (1994) True Self False Self: The Educational Theory of Thomas Merton. Journal of Thought, Vol 29, No. 3, pg. 51-59 https://www.jstor.org/stable/42589385
Gorelick S. PhD, (2010) What does a painting of the Fall of Rome have to do with News in the digital age? Blog post: https://tinyurl.com/yc4a3356
Mullen, Nick (2018) NSFW Podcast. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cum-town/id1113585468?mt=2
Rohr, R (2013) Falling Upward. Jossey- Bass San Francisco CA.
Rohr R. “The 9 levels of spirituality” https://store.cac.org/Levels-of-Spiritual-Growth-CD_p_100.html
Sweeney, John (2014) Inventing Hell. Jericho Books, Hachette Book Group, NY, NY.
Consider reading the previous post of this blog, “The United States of Distraction and Soupe Du Jour.” I explain why no one is listening to anyone, why no one cares about things that matter, why we post blogs, publish books, write speeches, give speeches with no one listening. Why we enact individual change that isn’t enough and don’t see results on a wider populous scale. Two years ago I prepared a forecast of the four years to proceed after The U.S. Presidential election of 2016. Gifted author Peter Zeihan had written his 2014 book, The Accidental Superpower where he predicted the now leveraged position of our energy policy becoming more independent from shale oil fracking, which turned out to be correct. Many of his predications came true, and so did the items I listed in my two year old post. What I had failed to predict was the full extent of what I had written in a different post in June of 2016:
Facebook trends (this was the algorithm at the time that has since changed) are based on the number of people talking about an item, and not on the merits of the item itself. A news channel breaks a story based on the number of people watching on another news channel’s network, and parrots the story to compete for the same audience, not to report a story on the merit’s itself. A newspaper front page to sell copies of the paper, and not as to inform readers by pertinence. This encourages voices outside the cookie cutter just described to only gain attention by being ostentatious. That shock and awe style of a person over YouTube, or social media, or the press corps to gain populous attention. Examples: The Trump effect and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The example of Milo Yiannopoulos to illustrate this new era of hyper hostile partisan and pseudo tribalism under the guise of competing world view ideologies not just in private individuals off the clock, but individuals who would (on the clock) only work for their corporations if those corporations towed the line or allowed agendas that matched personal ideologies. This weaponizes institutions politically to new levels in the contexts of new media technologies and the rapid fire rate of a coordinated talking point memo in strategy between shared ultimate goals between competing corporations in pursuit of deposing and unconvincing consumers of more adversarial or opposing corporations that their points of view are wrong and should not achieve political power at any level of state. We can see this at length in Sharyl Attkisson’s 2017 book, The Smear.
This same environment can also now be made a case for as being identical to the climate within the FBI from 2016 to now, and different aspects of the establishment or what pundits call the deep state ‘swamp’. Little did anyone know the firestorm that would now exist, or how blog posts or books would ‘age’ after the revelations of new facts. To this day, two years after I wrote that Loretta Lynch’s logic and behavior wasn’t stacking up, mysteries of her decision-making process remain both from her and her subordinates. The reality is that ideological wars exist primarily fueled by social media which feeds TV ratings. I wrote about ‘feelings in the air’ that resembled this in march of 2016. After the local controversy in the state of Oregon over a baseball players story of forgiveness, my suspicions on the true state of public discourse or the levels of consciousness that exist in mass have been now shown to be overly optimistic. Our divisions, assumptions, judgments, preconceived notions, tidbits, perspectives, experiences, perceptions, nuances, are all feeding the ego of narcissus, and not contributing to a dialogue of loving our neighbor (in the spirit of Judeo Christian selflessness.) How else can we explain a person who tweets what they just saw on the television news whilst taking a selfie of their outrage at the same time? Whilst unawares of other global or human events has absolutely no reaction.
The Greek performs with a mask on, and the opiner must be relevant to stay up with the times! Postman plugs astutely Jacob Duche’s 1772 quote in Borstin’s The Americans from 1958, “The poorest laborer upon the shore of the Delaware thinks himself entitled to deliver his sentiment in matters of religion or politics with as much freedom as the gentleman or scholar. . . . Such is the prevailing taste for books of every kind, that almost every man is a reader”(Postman 1985, page 34). Are you holding up a mirror yet? Replace books in that quote with a live twitter, facebook, or text message feed, and we’ve gone back to 1772. There should at least be some kind of false comfort that is isn’t some unprecedented time that we haven’t seen before. I hear often “unprecedented” or “not quite like this before” in many newscasts or analysis. Much is so overhyped I can only imagine what conversations about Thomas Paine were like the first months after his initial works distribution.
“Now what does all this mean in this great period of history? It means that we’ve got to stay together. (Yeah) We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity.You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula of doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. [Applause] But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. [Applause] Now let us maintain unity.” (King, April 3rd1968, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Address Delivered at Bishop Charles Mason Temple, in A Call to Conscience, ed. Carson and Shepard, 2001.)
Fighting among ourselves in the past usually includes: Fighting for power, wealth, influence, natural resources, collective or individual ego, nationalism, race, religion, and political ideology. The tragic part is during the course of these fights exists Denial, perception, and pride. It exists beyond mere identity partisan politics and externalizes to international geopolitics. Robert McNamara in the Fog of War, revealed how after years later meeting with Ho Chi Min, that the misperception and miscommunication of each other’s attempts and intentions were totally misconstrued and had better diplomacy or communication existed millions of lives would have been spared. (The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara Ellen Morris [Documentary] (2003).
We have seen internal conflicts that sometimes but not exclusively lead to external conflicts if we were to pan over Western Civilization. Do we struggle with questions like, can good come from evil? I reflected on that on the 15 year anniversary of 9/11/2001, the ‘measuring time event’ of the 21st century and millennials. History, as highlighted modernly by the late Howard Zinn’s version of U.S. history, is remembered in negatives. If the press were to cover anything today, it is in keeping in the dissent that was born out of both Vietnam and the partisan establishment of a renowned collective ego of the press corps that hasn’t subsided since. Neil Postman writes in his last book that the news isn’t news as it is, it is the news as the reporter-producer or editor has interpreted events and decided that their interpretation and presentation of the facts is what a consumer reader wants (Postman & Powers 2008 page 13).
In the age of Twitter, as found in a Harvard Study, many tweets do not separate personal or professional lives in that the platform exists solely for them in the moment “expression of self” in that people who tweet about something would not write a blog about it. Basically twitter is the ego’s way of an individual saying, “I am right, I am in control, and you are ignorant or the enemy if you disagree, and if you disagree, I will either ignore/ghost you, ridicule and attack you, or accuse, spin, and twist your words until you show emotion.” (Reagle, 2015). This is the classic definition of trolling which has been repackaged outside the label boxes and re-hid itself into the unconscious of an individual. If we sample any discourse at all, low profile or high profile in the “class-conscious” (Zinn, 1994) point of view, we find that ignorance is the same in all classes, that the lack of intellectual depth, emotional intelligence, or ability to not just to hear but listen, is not a skill found in any class over the other or in really mass collective consciousness at all. (Rohr, 2013).
We have seen whole acts, systems, or collective lower consciousness acts or conditions in history before:
- In 725 B.C. Homer writes in Greek Mythology (The Odyssey) the Trojan war caused by Helen of Troy as timeless metaphor of the desires of mankind that has aged well.
- In 399 B.C. the Athenians made a decision. They would accuse Socrates of corrupting the youth, and his punishment would be a fatal cup of poison. (Thomas C. & Smith, Nicholas D. (eds.) (2002). The Trial and Execution of Socrates: Sources and Controversies. Brickhouse, Oxford University Press.)
- In 44 B.C. The Roman Senate had a persuasive discussion, and the decision was made. They would remove Caesar from power on the ides of March. The Republic of Rome would come to fall and collapse anyway. (O’Rielly & Dugard, (2013). Killing Jesus.)
- In 33 A.D. Jesus The Christ, a revolutionary teacher within Judaism in Judea, would be killed by his own people, whom rejected his claim that he was, “The King of the Jews, or The Messiah.” (O’Rielly & Dugard, (2013). Killing Jesus.)
- 300 A.D. The Roman Empire (and the Catholic Church) split in two, beginning the division within the one universal and apostolic assembly of believers.
- From 1095 to 1395, Christianity, Islam, and the Jews would fight over who owns Jerusalem, a fight which continued under U.S. President Truman in 1948, declared the capital of Israel to this current day. (Housely, 1992).
- In the 1500’s The Pope had a choice, his decision was made. Martin Luther would be excommunicated from the Catholic Church, coming with peril and consequence of which was unforeseen. (Bainton Roland, (1766). Here I Stand, A life of Martin Luther.)
- Martin Luther had a choice, his decision was made. He could not and would not recant, so help him God! He would rebel full well knowing despite his writing later that his intent was never to split to the church. (Bainton , 1766).
- In 1532 Niccolo Machiavelli, suggests Alexander the Great was killed by his own Army, others say he was poisoned by political opposition, others say he died of malaria or typhoid fever. I’m going with Machiavelli. Greece fell. (Machiavelli, 1532).
- In 1865, Abraham Lincoln who sought to ‘stop this bleeding’ of a North and South war would be killed. The south fell. (O’Rielly & Duggard, 2011).
- In 1963 the first and only Catholic President of The United States would be shot and killed. (O’Rielly & Duggard, 2012.)
- In 1964 The Vietnam War escalated to full blown conflict involving increasing numbers of U.S. troops under the direction of Secretary McNamara. (Morris 2003).
- In 1968, a day after he called for unity in the cause of a true liberation of freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed.
- In 1968, The first LGBT riot known as Stonewall occurs in New York City.
- In 1975, At the leadership of Richard Nixon, the Vietnam war ended. Over 1,353,000 people died.
- In 1981 the first cases of the HIV/AIDS crisis are reported. No action is taken by The U.S. Government.
- In 1983, On December 6th, The Federal Response to AIDS by a congressional subcommittee scathes the U.S. Government in negligence to act sufficiently in funding AIDS research and surveillance.
- In 1985, The United States Congress funds 70 million dollars of aids research.
- In 1985, Father Thomas Doyle warned of sexual abuse by clergy in a report given at the US conference of bishops. No action was taken.
- In 1985, Neil Postman published a book comparing and contrasting the realities of “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in the prophecies of Aldous Huxley that not what we hate will destroy or divide us as George Orwell wrote in “1984“, but rather like in a “Brave New World” what we love will distract us – additionally but not exclusively the context of evolving and new technologies of “speed” and entertainment. Dubbed “The United States of distraction.”
- In 1990, The Ryan White Act is passed requiring annual funding for AIDS resources nationally.
- In 1992, The city of Los Angeles riots the verdict of the Rodney King case after white officers are acquitted of excessive force.
- In 1992, Aids becomes the number one cause of death within The United States for males aged 25-44.
- In 1994, AIDS becomes the number one cause of death for all Americans aged 25-44.
- In 1994, President Bill Clinton ignored options to intervene in an impending genocide in the country of Rwanda. Over 800,000 people died. Even Howard Zinn wrote in favor of intervention in a 2006 article in his final living years.
- In 1996, AIDS is no longer the number one cause of death for all Americans aged 25-44, except African American demographics.
- In 2001, Saudi Arabia purged and killed corrupt members of it’s government that coordinated, funded, fueled, and co-conspired in the plans of the 9/11 attacks. I wrote about that as the story broke in this blog post.
- In 2000, the Presidential election was appealed to The Supreme Court of The United States, becoming the only time a judiciary vote 5-4 elected a sitting president.
- In 2002, The Boston Globe posted a story that The Catholic Church had covered up the facts of abuse cases by a Priest within the archdiocese of Boston.
- In 2003, The Bush Jr. Administration invaded Iraq on bipartisan distributed intelligence that turned out to be false. It opened a vacuum in the middle east that sparked proxy wars between Iran, Russia, Syria, and rebels evolved from AQI, (Al-qaeda in Iraq) which morphed into ISIS.
- In 2008, The Democratic party split ties with loyalty to the Clinton campaign and endorsed Barrack Obama to be the 44th President of The United States.
- In 2009, Barrack Obama and the democratic party changed positions in favor of Gay Marriage and LGBT equality and inclusion to campaign against laws of discrimination.
- In 2009, President Barrack Obama announced and began the draw down of U.S. coalition forces in Iraq.
- From 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama killed more people using U.S. drone missiles than any of his predecessors combined.
- From 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama deported more illegal citizens from The United States than any other president before him.
- In 2015, Former Sgt. of the Baltimore Police Dept. blew the whistle on abuses within the department. The department denied any allegations. Michael A. Wood JR. then wrote a book explaining our human obsession with the flawed systems of government and nationalism as they currently exist (Wood 2017). This was a classic example of the twitter climate explained in the first paragraph. People read what they want to read, to use it for what they want to use it for, then once the show business half life of a story has run it’s ratings course, the truths from it’s revelations are abandoned, discarded, irrelevant, until the cycle repeats itself and shows need an ‘expert’ to be relevant in their competitive coverage of current events. This also matches Postman and Powers point of the media having the one objective of making money (Postman & Powers 2008, page 10).
- In 2016, The Democratic party rigged it’s primary so that as they had decided, challenger Bernie Sanders could never become the nominee.
- In 2016, The Republican party, the liberal media, and the corporate establishment of The U.S. governments waged direct campaigns and money on super PACS (including a dossier of allegations funded by both democrats and original opposition research from former republican nomination challengers) to attempt to stop the nomination of Donald Trump as the official nominee for candidacy as the 45th President of The United States. The super PACS lost (Comey J. 2018 ). In 2018, Justice Kennedy, the last remaining vote of ideological balance on The Supreme Court of The United States announced retirement, threatening the majority of the court to sway conservative for the first time since the decision of Roe V. Wade in 1973.
Bainton Roland, (1766). Here I Stand, A life of Martin Luther.
Comey J. (2018). A Higher Loyalty.
Housely (1992). The later crusades, 1274–1580. From Lyons to Alcazar. 1274-1580, 528 pp., Oxford University Knighthoods of Christ.
Machiavelli, N. (1532). The Prince.
Morris E. (2002). The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
Murthy, D. (2013). Social Communication in The Twitter Age.
O’Rielly & Duggard. (2011) Killing Lincoln.
O’Rielly & Duggard. (2012). Killing Kennedy.
O’Rielly & Duggard. (2013). Killing Jesus.
Postman, N. (1985). Amusing Ourselves To Death.
Postman, N. & Powers S. (2008). How To Watch TV News.
Reagle, J. (2015). Reading The Comments.
Rohr, R. (2013). Yes AND… Daily Meditations.
Wood, Michael (2017). Crimes and Punishments II.
Zinn H. (1994). You can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train, p 163-165.
Zinn H. (1980). A Peoples History of The United States.
I needed some kind of explanation for the lack of sophisticated and off the cuff judgments I began observing in some editorial typology on the internet.
Real-time news has a squirrel effect. Momentum news starts as a little cigarette lighter, and grows to what James Comey in his memoir A Higher Loyalty calls, “A forest fire.”
Real-time is, going from immigration refugee family separation that existed under Obama and Bush, to Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring putting up in arms the entire ideological balance of the supreme court. Momentum news is drips of information over long periods of time to a climactic conclusion or falling action, OR, an instant real-time shock and awe story involving one of the ‘seven deadly sins’ that creates the doctrine if it ____, it leads or reads.
In 2009, Comic illustrator Stuart McMillen did a visual interpretation (see it entirely here) of Neil Postman’s book that unburied it and flew the dust right off it. The comic went viral and interest in the book surged, so much that it even got the attention of Richard Rohr O.F.M., who released an audio book called, “The Art of Letting Go” around the same time, discussing the comparing and contrasting postman’s now ever relevant observations on our obsessions with the prophecies of Orwell and Huxley.Postman wrote and McMillen resurrected to the online digital consciousness, while Rohr took it to the spiritual and religious community – we can now see with the collaborative efforts that the distinction made of Huxley, not Orwell, is shockingly right. If knowledge is scared for everyone to know, Huxley, Postman, Orwell, Rohr, and McMillen would certainly intend for the revelations of this expose to reach far and wide.
A Facebook acquaintance after the machine gun rapid fire of ‘political news’ this week summed up his feelings and I think the temperature of a large number of people this way:
With mass media designed in its new epistemological resonation as typography 2.0 in the form of tweets, blogs, texts, GIFS, Reedits, YouTube rants, Medium articles, television talking points and the original print press, the culture of narratives and expression has no longer one version of the truth even in the strongest academically cited formats. In the context of the internet, websites like Snopes.com originated in 1994 to ‘fact check’ stories that took rabbit holes online.
As the previous centuries were tied to the age of reason, we are tied to an age of semantical nuance, hyper-partisanship in the context of communal ego’s (single but separate tribes in a two-party system.) and an archive of information that competes for soup de jour’s attention.
On February 2nd, 2017, Andrew Postman rightly accoladed his father’s 1985 book, Amusing ourselves to death, as predicting the age period, circumstances, and reality that explain the election of Donald Trump. 2
Current status quo for intellectuals is no longer who can be persuaded to my point of view, as Andy Crouch once wrote. Current status quo is now if you haven’t been persuaded to my point of view by now, I don’t have time for you and you are the problem. This was ushered in by the mindset likes of José Micard Teixeira whom in 2014 wrote the following statement that began to be widely distributed from his blog as being said by Meryl Streep,
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship, I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Update: originally written by José Micard Teixeira claimed by him as a quote of Meryl Streep as debunked by Snopes.com 3
The mass virality of the quote resonated with people who feel and agree with José that a dismissal is a form of superior reaction to people whom we disagree than to continue the public discourse. While Crouch is right for any civil future of public discourse, Teixeira is wrong to feed and build on binary us vs them. The misquote distribution’s acceptance and ‘validation’ in spreading tells us volumes of the internet as a vast arena for misinformation at the pay off cost of driving personal agendas. People want what they want to be true, instead of seeking out the truth for themselves:
Unless you bring the truth to a person, it will be like this floor is lava meme. The like are NOT going to go seek the truth. You have to spoon feed it to them if their ego even removes itself enough for you to have a discourse in this age of absent civility.
Dr. King understood the only way forward was to carry all mindsets until they came to arrive at deeper levels of consciousness, that is new ways of seeing. Only the transformed mind can get to the action of progressive change. This involves a form of letting go. This involves the ability to listen precisely at the point when we have our mind made up, even in the circumstances where we may be convinced we are right (and we may be right) but the discipline of transformation at the mastery level is still always listening, unlearning, reproaching, adjusting.
In The Old Testament, the Jews came to a period where God had taught them to focus on “Just enough mana for today.” The media in the age of the internet, television, mobile phones and endless interconnectivity to the always-on phenomenon, is interested in capturing enough of your attention ‘for today’.
Goals and agendas can be long-term, but today’s headline is a race, in a scourge of lesser headlines that get buried, yet can be repackaged or resurfaced in concert to force and change algorithms to trend and control the news cycle in favor of one parties ideologies over the other upon demand, especially on slow news days.
There are journalists, celebrities, and the like to make names for themselves. There are ego’s that convince themselves that only their worldview is right, and anything less or anything else is the enemy and must be destroyed at all levels. What better way then tabloid style information in all resonating forms of current distributable epistemologies? To so cram all forms of media with enough of a narrative that ‘the persuasion of our neighbors’ is spoon fed to brains at the door, instead of sudden individual and isolated awakenings or crystal ball revelations at Woodstock concerts. The tweet forms as a typology to ignite a ‘true’ or ‘false’ response.
In internet typology, there is scarce and almost impossible room for non-duality by design. A mere ‘retweet’ can suggest agreement merely by the reality that it was retweeted at all. A retweet legitimizes a point of view, in the same way, video footage of criminals ‘immortalizes’ scenario, names, and dates into consumers psyches. Exposure becomes legitimization. It is why people opposed P. Donald Trump meeting with the leader of North Korea.
Yet there are also are just people, both who produce information and those who consume it, that have no idea the context of how those specific stories landed on those screens/pages/texts at those specific times and with what catch the authors want to duplicate and insert back into “public discourse.”
The like are doing what Andy Crouch calls the title of his book, even applicable outside it’s Christian context, as Culture making (2009). The question for us is, in the age of distraction can we afford or accept that culture without pushing back in a counterculture of change? Until that collective awakening at critical mass, history suggests to us individual change will not be enough.
“If you push that button, there’s no going back.” ~ Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom.
A Time To Blame
The inability to control what happens in the tragic and dark elements of life stands by itself in the ineffable experiences of peoples various lives. With a struggle to comprehend the complexity of some realities, at its basis tragedy with the left part of our logos mind must somehow be attempted to be explained. We want to understand why the Titanic sank, which the community eventually turned to blame. I wrote about this in a past post. Blame is what we use to scapegoat our misunderstanding or inability to comprehend a logical reasoned narrative to deeper unknowns behind the mystery of things.
Rene Girard as explained in this post here, coined this struggle to modern reference-able phenomena where communities must outcast an individual in response to our logical queries to resolve the unexplainable via our logos. The Scapegoat, or scapegoating. We need someone or something to blame. Who do you accuse to blame? Parents? Capitalism? Racism? Classism? Misogyny? (Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History of The United States”?) Extremist religion? Atheism? Political party? Alcohol life-style? Monogamy? Drugs? Psychology, ethics, values? It begins with the accusation, or the accuser.
We know from the Duke Lacrosse case (see my post on that here) that a mere accusation definitely does not mean convicted, and we also know that lack of conviction does not suggest wrongfully accused as well. Different voices around those two paradoxes find solace in the blindfold over Lady Justice. That there is some higher gravity to the impartial truth finally escaping all the attempts at being loopholed away and “coming to the light.” The question is, should accusations be tried court cases on live national television, podcasts, twitter hashtags?
The me-too movement long existed before the outing of abuses by certain Hollywood profiles (read my post on that here) more recently. Any local town with a public education teacher, or private education teacher, say a priest, or a doctor, or a police officer, or a politician, any position of power or authority, where the perceived outcome is a victim of a crime, and in most media reported contexts, is the accused perpetrator of a sexual crime.
A Time To Blur the Lines
In 1989 came the novel, “A Time To Kill” by John Grisham. The novel became the basis for a 1996 motion picture that cast Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson, where the film is about an African American juvenile female that was raped on the way home from getting groceries, and the father of the daughter takes justice into his own hands on those accused. In this fictional depiction, the controversy is highlighted to involve both race, power, gender, age, and socioeconomic context for different elements of the culture and environment that people could argue did or did not contribute to the commission of such a crime.
The fuller depth of the story is that people make the arrival of avenging the racism and white privilege of the accused in concert with the other ineffable actions that the white men Samuel L. Jackson’s character Carl Lee Hailey kills to avenge injustice. That murder in that context (John Grisham writes) becomes okay, because they were perpetrators of not just crimes, but sexual crimes. There is stigma about really bad crimes being worse than other really bad crimes, when they are at certain levels all equally bad. The word for bad is actually evil. That which is harmful or injurious in a mild dictionary definition, which also lists, “T
A Time To Accuse
As discussed here, we saw this behavior in the media’s reaction to the reports of the Aaron Hernandez case, people calling for him to receive the death penalty. Then Hollywood actors were accused of sexual misconduct. This came after the Oscar season that Spotlight won best picture, a film that portrayed the staff of the Boston Globe uncovered the sex abuse scandal of the Catholic Church within the Archdiocese of Boston and other places. Suddenly the mainstream media would turn on that same Hollywood crowd in accusing (innocent or guilty) Rufus Buckley, the prosecuting attorney in “A Time To Kill”, played in the 1996 film by Kevin Spacey.
Actor Kevin Spacey is accused of abuse from over twenty years ago. Other wealthy names that only name in the media because of their wealth have been reported also. The latest is MTV host of the show, “Catfish” Nev Shulman. His career is known for advocating for the proper treatment of individuals in romantic relationships, and outing fake secret admirers who take on alternate identities via social media in pursuing relationships with their crushes. The term for that is known as ‘catfishing.’ He has been accused and denies the allegations. San Francisco NFL player. Rueben Foster’s accuser admitted recently that she in fact made up rape allegations against him because she wanted revenge and actually stole $8,000 in cash from him. Just from talking about sexual topics you can be fired or ostracized, if it’s outrageous enough. This happened to Milo Yiannopoulos, and he over a year later still can’t go out in public.
Anchor journalists, Gymnastics coaches, and movie stars. A now former State Attorney General of New York. Former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards. The name list get’s blurred from those accused of the unethical and those accused of the unlawful. Bill Clinton’s crime was perjury, pundits argue over the ethics of just what exactly the smoking gun is in and of itself. Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant’s spouse, Anthony Weiner. Again an example of the lines blurring together between criminal and merely unethical. Donald Trump, when he had his mob or wired money himself to keep a female porn actress quiet before or after the campaign. Was it a crime, or was it just unethical? Either way, the media paints this blurry grey line sometimes as equal, wherein the Grisham novel there is bad, and there is worse, and the bad get’s a pass, in retaliation of the worse. Selective justice like that removes contrast.
A Time To Kill?
The same traditional faith book that mentions these very crimes at different levels against interpersonal relationships is the same one that talks about certain reactions to those crimes being the same level of immorality, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” So the blindfold of Lady Justice then is to keep what is harmful, harmful, and not play nuance semantics when it suits a persons identity politics narrative above all other standards of justice too. The whole walk and chew gum at the same time concept. It is as written before, that all of us inevitably begin a fall or path of descent. Yet a time to kill in war or extreme circumstances is inevitable, as noted in this post about Barack Obama’s Noble Peace Prize speech.
A Time to Smear
The moral or theological question to certain people especially in sock puppet alter ego social media accounts ask who get’s a pass or who doesn’t have dirt? The constitution of the United States merely says after X standard is met such an accused merely get’s a day in court. The mere existence of a day in court is skepticism of the human condition to be as principal higher than to so as falsely accuse, embellish, sensationalize, “Alter facts”, skew, smear, defame, conspire, fraudulently report, etc.
A Time To Divide
An incredibly gifted and talented starting pitcher for Oregon State University was removed from the mound last year after The Oregonian did a hit piece on Luke Heimlich’s past right before he would pitch to win the team to the collegiate World Series. The team lost without him on the mound. At the start of this season, Heimlich returned to the team. Luke has always denied that he ever did any part of the accusations, that he pleaded guilty only to resolve the legal matter and to move on with his life. Do you think that stopped the New York Times from publishing the story again as the season nears the baseball playoffs again? Corvallis Oregon and the beaver nations fans, most of them, receive him well on the mound and embrace his talent. Forgiveness and understanding seem to have happened at some levels of the community and, what a powerful statement that someone who addressed the accusations head-on, went through treatment, could now continue on his God-given journey as an incredibly gifted athlete. Luke one week ago had a career high of 14 strikeouts in one game, beating his earlier in the season record of 12 earlier in the year.
If there is any time or place for forgiveness to be a powerful demonstration for the rest of the world, would it not be now? Jason Stallman, editor of the Sports Page at The New York Times, does not think so. He continues to let reporters report on Luke’s past, with an inability to let go. Anything for a read. Anything to whip up these unresolved emotions, to squeeze on every drop of other peoples pain to get website clicks and revenue. Yet that won’t stop Heimlich from opening in tonight’s game. Nor will anyone wake up in the morning and think, wow, after that reported story, I sure need to subscribe to the NYT.
A Time For Court
In the constitution, the accused get’s an automatic “full stop” to whatever inertia is moving such a flurry of claims against a person (whatever the sources, be inside positions of power or a random childhood friend) to move forward so quickly. A pause gives a better than nothing second chance for the truth, in whatever direction it exists, to come out. While the truth is not guaranteed, the authors of this part of the constitution clearly must have intended that this was the more likelier than not scenario for the best chance for truth to come out in comparison to the alternatives. Yet we have this incessant obsession with the desire to punish as explained by hyper-intellectual and policing expert Michael A. Wood Jr. here in a selected soundbite:
Gateway to silence:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
“Is the time to mend, now? What would it take for us to forgive?
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
In 1978 per Wikipedia, “Soul Gems were introduced in a Warlock crossover with Spider-Man, and the full set of six appeared as the death-obsessed villain Thanos attempted to use them to extinguish every star in the universe.
Warlock’s evil alter ego, the Magus, next sought out the stones in Infinity War, a 1992 limited series (Infinity Crusade # 1-6 June – Nov 1993). This is paralleled in LOTR’s Morgoth who’s arguable alter ego is Sauron, who is always seeking the one ruling ring.
The Song of the Nibelung was written between 1191-1204. Scholars believe someone at the court of Wolfger von Erl, The presiding Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Passau Germany, a branch of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising wrote the poem. In the now translated English version we can read glimpses of the origins of ‘the ring’ in lines from the Nibelung like 449:
The royal Brunhild’s prowess / with terror was it shown. Into the ring they bore her / in sooth a ponderous stone, Great and all unwieldy, / huge it was and round: And scarce good knights a dozen / together raised it from the ground.
Gandalf to Bilbo, “You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? “you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” ~ Tolkien, “The Hobbit.”
“Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV:
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
“A HIGHER CONTROVERSY, OR WHAT REALLY REALLY HAPPENED.” President Carter was unable to release American hostages in Iran as his Presidency came to a close. President Clinton left office in a constitutional crisis where the Supreme Court of the United States would decide his successor. President Bush Jr. left office with a car industry and banking crisis. President Obama would keep the tradition of parting office controversies with both of his successor candidates under criminal investigation. A final crisis seems to be the new outgoing gift to whoever holds that seat.
Former FBI James Comey wrapped up his media blitz this week after publishing his memoir of public service. In it, he details a final controversy that President Obama faced in the last six months of his presidency. Comey had an interview on ABC’s “The View” on April 18th*, where he described how he was ready to tell the public a hint about Russian interference in the election, even writing a draft editorial to send to a newspaper. He recalls that the President decided not to because that would let them win by having a President weigh in on a pending election, that that would be by definition allowing them to influence the outcome. This is in the light of that particular context in which most people admittedly including Comey thought that “Hillary was going to be the next President of The United States.” *Source Hyperlink.
One only wonders if Obama regrets his decision after the outcome, or in an odd twist finds some strange comfort that the American people will see Donald Trump self-destruct, and seal a new wave of votes and power for the Democratic Party when the pendulum comes full swing. We can see the Soros et al funding of the ‘Women’s March’ and now the ‘March for our Lives’ funding with Clooney and Oprah et al, an attempt to jump-start evangelization of young people and other minorities to show up to the polls. That a modern Nixon “forest fire” presidency would cement an awakening of mass consciousness to not allow ‘no-show votes’ to be a reason for the outcome of an election ever again. Comey’s admission of Obama deciding not to inform the public of the Russian saga during the election makes consistent the Susan Rice email to herself on Inauguration Day.
Then National Security Advisor Susan Rice emailed herself on January 20th, 2017, two weeks after a meeting at the advice of White House Council. (Note the absence of A.G. Loretta Lynch is a deliberate circumstance, without the context of if she was ordered not to go with Dep. A.G. Yates tapped instead):*
On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims.
On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book. *source hyperlink.
What we can see here is that Obama must have known that dossier was funded by rogue ruthless elements of his own democratic party. It may have served as a flashback to the ugly primary he faced against the Clinton machine in 2008. Whether the dossier was true or not, the fact that this item was the foundation of going forward must have made people uncomfortable. It reeks of the Clinton ruthlessness. It also reeks of leaks within the investigative agencies of the Justice Department wings of the U.S. Government. Consistent with Comey thinking Clinton would win, in hindsight it’s hard to see that certain individuals would not have leaked information to the press on a larger scale regarding Trump associates and Russia.
The question remains possible that even government investigative officials didn’t know enough yet to leak if they had the chance before election day. It’s hard to think James Comey didn’t know his number two Andrew McCabe did not have a conflict of interest in investigating the newly revealed Anthony Weiner emails of classified information and the possible political damage of its public revelation by his boss six days before the election. Someone in the investigative body of the Justice Department tipped off the Clinton War machine to fund, compile, and then leak the steel dossier.
Comey was deceived by the Russians, by Andrew McCabe, and later by Donald Trump. His inability to foresee, foreshadow, or detect adversarial relationships will black eye his legacy, and justify, no matter who had become President, his termination from office.
President Obama, unlike Comey, decided not to step into the public election. Decisions by both men that will be consequential and debated for years to come. Obama did not fire Lynch for a tarmac meeting, nor did he fire Comey for an unprecedented announcement during an election. Obama saw both the Clinton War machine and the Trump mob slobs, and one could only imagine how unethical both ego’s grabs to power were. I wonder how candid he will be about it in his Presidential memoir if the pattern of Comey under the bus will suffice. Comey covered his ass in advance on that by outing Obama’s decision not to go public on Russia.
With a mask on all day long, he will say Clinton was a better choice, whom he probably thought would win. Yet he will never forget the 2008 primary, we know that he must have been sad for this chapter of our flawed republic no matter the outcome. James Comey says that is the whole goal of his book, and why he is now a political independent. He wants this conversation to take place, so we can return to values over policies in selecting leaders of the most powerful institutions in our land. One only wonders if he would have written the same book, with the same message and intent, being fired by President Hillary Clinton. Will you get both sides of this topic in Hollywood screenplay, or more tell-all books to come?
Partisans want a scapegoat on either outcome of this election. Yet these big issues remain no matter who holds that office: see the ‘big issues’ list I wrote from August of 2016 by clicking here.
While a certain number of millennial’s are taking selfies in Coachella, this last week celebrity Will Smith debuted Instagram’s first ever live interview of the International Space Station. He put all his joking aside after asking if astronauts have experimented with procreation in outer space and asks a simple but complex question, Why are we, and why should we, be in space? Drew Feustel answers, “Well we know that so far not one species can last on earth forever, and we need to explore that question so that in thousands of years our species can continue. Our little blue ball here is all that holds us from the emptiness of outer space.” We don’t have to wonder why Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film so enraptures the wonder of evolution, time and space, mortality, and the pertinence of everything. It’s why a successful reboot continues to have positive audience reactions.
Jurassic World in 2015 was about the original park twenty years later, and it explores the mystery of why such a species as the dinosaurs went extinct. Astronaut Drew Feustel was basically saying Jurassic World is right, species have an hourglass here, and the mystery of searching and exploring should be part of the journey. It’s why the sequel coming out on June 22nd will have enormous success.
In August of 1998, then President Clinton engulfed in a special counsel investigation and facing what would become perjury in testimony before Congress, was dealing with a plan behind the scenes to bomb Iraq as consequences of harboring, distributing, or using Chemical or WMD. You can read three of the New York Times articles from twenty years ago at these following links:
- 1998: ATTACK ON IRAQ: THE OVERVIEW; IMPEACHMENT VOTE IN HOUSE DELAYED AS CLINTON LAUNCHES IRAQ AIR STRIKE, CITING MILITARY NEED TO MOVE SWIFTLY
- 1998: AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE PRESIDENT; Clinton, Dogged by Scandal, Juggled Politics and Bombing
- 1998: Bombing Iraq Isn’t Enough
Last evening, President Trump after a day of PR controlling scandals de jour, announced that the US, UK, & France with Israel and public support from Canada and Saudi Arabia, did symbolic surgical airstrikes in Damascus Syria which is in the midst of a ten plus year regional civil proxy war. One year ago last week I wrote the following in an original post viewable here: The World Sleeps 4/7/17:
“The presidencies of both Obama and Trump will now be completely tied to the unchecked actions of Putin and the international consequences. How many bodies later has yet to be written. That is the story of history and politics of this decade. News leaks, hacking, emails, etc, won’t even make the textbook. The pressure will mount on the West to confront Putin. If we fail to do that, in the name of preventing war, it will lead to war anyway.”
Today NATO coalition forces continued strikes on Iranian targets within Syria, leaving the controlled narrative of a ‘one-time strike’ from S.O.D Gen Mattis. While it is doing more than President Barack Obama, it is so limited that it is essentially in the same category. Symbolic violence without an achievable deterrence is less than even a temporary solution. It is not arguable to be a solution at all, but saber-rattling and grandstanding. Control of the narrative, propaganda and information wars. Two opposing sides debate the information on hazardous chemicals deployed onto human beings. As the saying from “The Dark Knight” (2009) goes, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”
Bashir Al Assad will not stop at anything less than “victory.” Yet the 45th President hails the blast of a chemical facility yesterday a “mission accomplished.” Words his domestic and foreign enemies will now use in a crusade against him with one goal: removed from office, mission accomplished.
Putin in causing discord within the United States despite whichever candidate won has bought time to divide and distract us internally while he and the USSR implement and plan geopolitical chess goals. I’ve mentioned several times Russia’s ultimatum goals for recreating the former soviet union states as a matter of its survival as discussed in the 2016 book, “The Accidental Super Power.” by Peter Zeihan.
Peter Zeihan really so far has proven to be one of many eerily accurate Oracles, and we do live among Oracles. Oligarchy looks more and more attractive in the Star Trek metaphors when we see the inevitability of history repeating itself in what Ken Wilber would definitely called a lower state of collective consciousness.
Holding up the mirror to today shows no contrast and that the other option, while I am not Mr. trumps biggest fan, wasn’t much of a difference from the 1998 Clinton articles. Different party, same circus. Pew Research’s article out today shows record number of millennials including me that are registered as an independent. The pendulum swinging soon is that a two-party system must evolve or capitalism is destined to repeat the trajectory of Ancient Rome – ruins and collapse by the blinding of collective ego and pride. I went into detail on this in my blog post last December, check it out here.
Millennials are set to outspend boomers as consumers for the first time this year at 1.3 trillion dollars. (Seel 2018.) Over the next twenty years, a thirty trillion approximate value will transfer from boomers to their inherited successors. Millennials make up 23.4% of the population, at 75.4 million strong. (Seel 2018.) Dr. David Seel in his new book The New Copernican’s brings us these figures with the same old song we’ve heard since the 1948 essay of Paul Tillich on The Protestant Era:
” In the United States and in Europe—namely, the social and intellectual situation of late capitalism—the problem of mass disintegration is relevant in America, too, though more as a threat than as an actually existing reality. By “mass disintegration” is meant the situation in which the group formations which grew up under feudalism and early capitalism break down and give way to amorphous masses, in which the laws of mass psychology operate. In such a situation the individual differentiation and integrations of groups and personalities are supplanted by identical mass attitudes; special traditions are forgotten, old symbols have become powerless; a meaningful personal life, especially among the masses of industrial workers, has become impossible. Disintegration, in the last analysis, leads to meaninglessness in the economic, as well as in the social and intellectual, spheres. The meaninglessness of existence is perhaps the most characteristic phenomenon of the period of late capitalism.” (Tillich, Chapter 15, The End of the Protestant Era?)
The message is basically that left brain sermons aren’t working and in even some contexts backfire. People are at different spiritual levels. We cannot uniformly preach the gospel to the rich and expect any change at all from their words. It’s a social club, except for the second half of lifers. If it were that simple to merge the different individuals in the second half of their spiritual journey, it would be intergenerational both in those who are “awake” and in those “planted or rooted” but don’t see anything yet because they are not yet at the level of transformation.
The Gospel of the poor (the beatitudes included) almost have to go directly the poor. Constantine in 300 A.D./C.E did a disaster for the Church in making the faith and it’s Gospels ‘the state religion’ hijacking Christ’s message to the rich and elite only to fall on deaf ears. (Rohr, Job and the Mystery of Suffering, 1998.) A change will take a crisis or a ‘now what’ moment for the mud to be removed from their eyes. (Mark 8:23) Our spirits cannot hear the voice of the spirit until we identify it’s lowest place in us and the reality in which we leave. We can only encounter God by experience. The experience of descending, the experience of surrender, what Chambers used to call, “At our wit’s end.” That is the Gospel is for the poor, and the poor in spirit.
The 40% of ages 18-29 are religious ‘none affiliated’ which was only 20% in 1986. The first half of life is lasting longer for Millennials. While there are those in all generations at all ages who enter the first and second halves at different times on their individual journey, data suggests millennials have little to no preparation for the path of decent parts of life. Until our wit’s end, (poor in spirit) we will try and rationalize everything in the limited scope of logic and reason. We won’t hear until a now what moment, or the now what moment turns the volume up on our left side of the brain so much that we look to science, atheism, or enter a season of nihilism. (This goes back to Tillich’s prediction of the fear of meaninglessness and leads to contributions of the mental health and suicide problem within the western culture.) Books from atheist authors can get attention during this time in a person’s life. Yet where Albert Einstein got at the end of his journey was more an agnostic mysticism revealed in his quote, “I don’t know the answer, but whatever it is, it will be simple, and it will be beautiful.” That’s a definite switch from the left side of the brain to the right side of the brain at later discernment period for even Mr. Einstein.
Until left brained individuals turn to like Job, silence from their questions, and must enter what Tara Brach calls the title of her 2004 book, Radical Acceptance to the mere presence of the mystery… Individuals may remain in nihilism, atheism, or worse yet turn to escapism that may damage or end their tenure here among us. Jesus can’t have a new context until our new pair of eyes has arrived. (Acts 9:18.) Dubbing this as a ‘now what’ moment. A crisis or unexpected turning point in one’s life. A death of a pet, or family member. A divorce. A collective tragedy like a shooting or 9/11. A heart attack, the loss of a job or lack of promotion. The inability to get or sustain a wholesome romantic and fulfilling relationship. Deterioration of friendships. These all happen simultaneously and in some contexts can be a toxic combination of circumstances.
Pew Research from a 2011 Paul Taylor book The Next America, shows millennials are taking longer to get married. Which means they are taking longer to have kids, and or are having fewer kids. Also getting a salary for an independent autonomous living is missing. Of 75.4 million, it has been reported up to 60 million at one point lived with another person, or at home.
College debt exists at levels unique to the generation. The highest immigration population in the United States are Asian Americans, who also have the highest college graduate level and reach higher incomes. The second highest immigration population is the Latino/Hispanic Americans, who have the lowest college rates in the country. Caucasians/white Americans will be a growing minority from now until 2050. Some Millennials even prefer living in travel trailers per Ted Doering’s book Myth of the Millennial. Yet Winograd and Hais from their 2011 book Millenial Momentum, put the best in summation of all this relevant data:
“Millennials are the most ethnically and religiously diverse, tolerant, and gender-neutral generation in U.S. history, and their unique attitudes about how life should be lived will cause a major transformation in the structure, composition, and behavior of the nation’s families. These changes will influence how we work, worship, as well as where we live.”
The first half of lifers are least likely to end up in a church or their own journey of faith while building their tower of success until the second half of their life. (Rohr, Falling Upward 2011.) As baby boomers retire and go to see the king, tithing in protestant churches will fall, and an ecumenical merge between denominations will occur. Interfaith sites and unprecedented cooperative multi-use building spaces will exist like we have not seen before. Certain denominations have funding set aside to train laity in equipping skills to run churches. Pastoral shortages will exist, especially in males. Some first and second half of lifers are what author Rachel Lee-Chapman calls in the title of her book, Relig-ish. She suggests that people who are spiritual and not religious but value traditions and similar values for their families as well as sacred spaces or experiencing the divine outside of institutions are people of faith and non-religious. These people mostly in the millennial and boomer generation are “relig-ish.”
Not discussed at length yet as contributing factor: Public Relations propaganda and consequences from the ‘evangelical’ right wing support of Trump and or the church being seeing as too political, This tweet should sum it up:
The evangelical support of Trump will be an indictment against its validity as a Christian movement for generations to come.
— Richard Rohr, OFM (@RichardRohrOFM) October 10, 2016