Seneca On True & False Friendship

Friendship2
Source: Brainpickings.org
Maria Popova
May 19, 2017

“Friendship is unnecessary,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” Darwinian caveats aside, the truth of this beautiful sentiment resonates deeply for anyone whose life has been enriched or even saved by the existence of a genuine friend. And yet today, as we face the commodification of the word “friend,” what do we even mean — what should we mean — by this once-sacred term, now vacated of meaning by chronic misuse?

That’s what the great first-century Roman philosopher Seneca examines in a series of correspondence with his friend Lucilius Junior, later published as Letters from a Stoic (public library) — the indispensable trove of wisdom that gave us Seneca’s famous letter on overcoming fear and inoculating yourself against misfortune.

seneca

Eighteen centuries before Emerson wrote in his meditation on the two pillars of friendship that “a friend is a person with whom [one] may be sincere,” Seneca considers the uses and misuses of the term in a magnificent letter titled “On True and False Friendship”:

If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means… When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment. Those persons indeed put last first and confound their duties, who … judge a man after they have made him their friend, instead of making him their friend after they have judged him. Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself… Regard him as loyal and you will make him loyal.

In another letter, titled “On Philosophy and Friendship,” Seneca examines the common bases upon which friendships are formed and admonishes against the tendency, particularly common today, toward seeing others as utilitarian tools that help advance one’s personal goals. Observing that some people form so-called friendships by estimating how much a potential friend can help them in a moment of need, he writes:

He who regards himself only, and enters upon friendships for this reason, reckons wrongly. The end will be like the beginning: he has made friends with one who might assist him out of bondage; at the first rattle of the chain such a friend will desert him. These are the so-called “fair-weather” friendships; one who is chosen for the sake of utility will be satisfactory only so long as he is useful. Hence prosperous men are blockaded by troops of friends; but those who have failed stand amid vast loneliness their friends fleeing from the very crisis which is to test their worth. Hence, also, we notice those many shameful cases of persons who, through fear, desert or betray. The beginning and the end cannot but harmonize. He who begins to be your friend because it pays will also cease because it pays. A man will be attracted by some reward offered in exchange for his friendship, if he be attracted by aught in friendship other than friendship itself.

With an eye to such arrangements of convenience and favor, which he condemns as “a bargain and not a friendship,” Seneca adds:

One who seeks friendship for favourable occasions, strips it of all its nobility.

My visual taxonomy of the four levels of platonic relationships

In another letter, Seneca cautions against mistaking flattery for friendship — an admonition all the more urgent today, in the Age of Likes, when the forms of flattery and the channels of positive reinforcement have proliferated to a disorienting degree:

How closely flattery resembles friendship! It not only apes friendship, but outdoes it, passing it in the race; with wide-open and indulgent ears it is welcomed and sinks to the depths of the heart, and it is pleasing precisely wherein it does harm.

He turns the beam of his wisdom toward the only valid and noble reason for forming a friendship:

For what purpose, then, do I make a man my friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, whom I may follow into exile, against whose death I may stake my own life, and pay the pledge, too.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

In another letter, Seneca suggests that such genuine friendship extends its rewards beyond the personal realm and becomes the civilizational glue that holds humanity together:

Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests. There is no such thing as good or bad fortune for the individual; we live in common. And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbour, if you would live for yourself. This fellowship, maintained with scrupulous care, which makes us mingle as men with our fellow-men and holds that the human race have certain rights in common, is also of great help in cherishing the more intimate fellowship which is based on friendship… For he that has much in common with a fellow-man will have all things in common with a friend.

Letters from a Stoic remains a timelessly rewarding read. Complement this particular portion with Eudora Welty on friendship as an evolutionary mechanism for language, Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue on the ancient Celtic ideal of friendship, and the epistolary record of Mozart and Haydn’s beautiful and selfless friendship, then revisit Seneca on the antidote to the shortness of life and the key to resilience in the face of loss.

Read More At: BrainPickings.org

JFK on Poetry, Power, and the Artist’s Role in Society: His Eulogy for Robert Frost, One of the Greatest Speeches of All Time

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

Source: BrainPickings.com
Maria Popova

In January of 1961, as John F. Kennedy’s inauguration approached, his would-be Secretary of the Interior suggested that the poet Robert Frost participate in the ceremony as the first inaugural poet. Eighty-six-year-old Frost telegrammed Kennedy with his signature elegance of wit: “If you can bear at your age the honor of being made president of the United States, I ought to be able at my age to bear the honor of taking some part in your inauguration.” He proceeded to deliver a beautiful ode to the dream of including the arts in government, which touched Kennedy deeply.

Frost died exactly two years later, in January of 1963. That fall, Amherst College invited the President to speak at an event honoring the beloved poet. On October 26, Kennedy took the podium at Amherst and delivered a spectacular speech mirroring back to Frost that deep dedication to the arts and celebrating the role of the artist in society. Perhaps more than any other public address, it affirmed JFK as that rare species of politician who is equally a poet and prophet of the human spirit.

The speech was eventually included in the altogether superb Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time (public library) — a compendium of breathtaking adieus to cultural icons like Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emily Dickinson, Keith Haring, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Schulz, and Virginia Woolf, delivered by those who knew them best.

This original recording of the speech, while short in length, is endlessly ennobling in substance. Highlights below — please enjoy:

Strength takes many forms, and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.

[…]

Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state… In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role…

If sometimes our great artist have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth… In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society — in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.”

Typed draft of the speech, edited in Kennedy’s own hand (Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library)

But as notable as the speech itself — for reasons both poetical and political — are the parts Kennedy edited out in his own hand, including this heartbreaking-in-hindsight passage from the second page:

We take great comfort in our nuclear stockpiles, our gross national product, our scientific and technological achievement, our industrial might — and, up to a point, we are right to do so. But physical power by itself solves no problems and secures no victories. What counts is the way power is used — whether with swagger and contempt, or with prudence, discipline and magnanimity. What counts is the purpose for which power is used — whether for aggrandizement or for liberation. “It is excellent,” Shakespeare said, “to have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

Three weeks later, one of history’s ugliest and most arrogant misuses of brute power took place as JFK was assassinated, prompting Leonard Bernstein to pen his timelessly moving address on the only true antidote to violence. But the message at the heart of Kennedy’s speech continued to resonate even as his voice was silenced by brutality. Less than two years later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, creating the National Endowment for the Arts — the very dream that Frost had dreamt up at JFK’s inauguration.

Complement with two more titans of poetry on the role of the artist in culture: E.E. Cummings on the agony and salvation of the artist and James Baldwin on the artist’s responsibility to society.

The JFK speech appears as the opening track on composer Mohammed Fairouz’s spectacular album Follow Poet — titled after a line from W.H. Auden’s beautiful elegy for W.B. Yeats — and can be heard in Fairoz’s wholly fantastic On Being conversation with Krista Tippett:

Read more At: BrainPickings.com

The Power Of Soft Power: Japan, Russia & The USSA

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
May 12, 2017

Every now and then I receive an article that is so thought-provoking I have to share it, and my own opinions about it, even though – as is the current case – my thoughts are still in the process of formation. This is consequently not quite an “op-ed” piece; it’s more of a “thinking out loud ramble”. In this case, the subject of my ramble is that of “soft power”, the idea of “culture” as a geopolitical card that looks increasingly, to my amateur eyes, like it is being played on the world scene, and played deftly by some players that know how to play it.

Permit me an anecdote here: months ago I had a private conversation with a friend who is a financial advisor for a major government in the Pacific. We were discussing the way Mr. Putin has been able to so successfully play the soft power culture card. At the time, I was analyzing Russia’s moves on the world stage in terms of a rather radical thesis, namely, that Putin’s Russia is not a “neo-Stalinist” state, as it is usually misunderstood to be by the West and in particular by the corporate controlled media of the West, and its quackademic “think tanks.” Rather, I opined to my friend, Russia was experimenting with something very unique, something defined by its long history: its grounding as a culture in Eastern Orthodoxy; its invasion by, and eventual expulsion of, the Mongols; its Drang nach Osten and the “collection of the Russian lands” under Ivan the terrible and the drive across Siberia to the Pacific; its “westernization” under Peter the Great; and, of course, its sad experience with Marxism, a western philosophical import; its invasion and surrender to the Central Powers in World War One and following civil war; the devastating invasion by Hitler in 1941; and finally, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What Putin’s Russia was and is, I argued with my friend, is that it is the world’s first “post-post modernist State,” and that meant, I argued, that we would see Russia doing some “unusual things” on the world stage: (1) it would challenge the dogma of the globaloneyists that the nation-state is obsolete, and the world needs to be run by the likes of David Rockefailure and Darth Soros. (I don’t know about you, but that idea appeals to me even less than the world being run by Bonaparte, Wilhelm II, or Adolf Hitler.)  (2) Russia would begin to play its soft power culture card, not only domestically, but internationally, and make a play to speak for the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West. To be sure, that was a very radical idea, but I was perfectly serious in proposing it. Mr. Putin had, at the time we were having our discussion, made several speeches to the effect that Russia’s way forward lay, in part, by not neglecting its spiritual heritage; Russia would, he opined, protect the rights of minorities, but it would not allow them to tyrannize the majority nor overturn that inheritance. But that was for domestic consumption. Shortly after we had our discussion, sure enough, Mr. Putin began to address these types of remarks to the outside, and more specifically, to the West, targeting those individuals in the West of similarly conservative cultural values, while taking direct aim at the cultural progressivist left in the West. In short, Mr. Putin was maneuvering Russia – and himself – to be the representative of the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West.  Mr. Putin and his advisors are attempting to create a new national branding of Russia, and they have been more or less successful.

Which is why I found this article shared by Mr. T.M. about Japan’s use of the soft power culture card so very thought-provoking:

Japan has turned its culture into a powerful political tool

In the main, I have to agree with this article: Japan has managed, quite cleverly and successfully, to create a national brand of “western technology and traditional Japanese culture” and if one looks closely and carefully, much of that philosophical approach has spread to the other Asian powerhouse: China. Both countries are rearming, but if one looks carefully at their diplomacy, they are interested in two things: (1) getting things done and (2) producing things. The sweeping nature of the agreements already in progress in the aftermath of Mr. Putin’s visit last December to Japan, and Mr. Abe’s recent visit to Russia, are testament enough of the recent effectiveness both of Russian and of Japanese diplomacy, and I strongly suspect that it is the fact that both governments and their leaders understand and respect the soft power of culture, and the absolute necessity of preserving it, no matter what the nutty Gramscian progressivists and Mr. Globaloney might say in their perpetual use of shaming tactics.

With that in mind, think of the “national brand” of the United States…

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Meanwhile…In France…

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
April 28, 2017

By now you’ve probably heard: politics in France has turned a very bizarre corner, for the mainline parties, and their candidates, hardly made an impression. Instead, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are headed to a runoff election on May 7th. One poll that I saw had M. Macron winning with 23.9% of the votes, with Mm. Le Pen trailing closely with 21.4% of the votes. Fillon, Melenchon, Hamon came in at 19.9, 19.6, and 6.3% respectively. Here’s the way it looks to the U.K.’s The Guardian:

French election: Macron and Le Pen go to second round – live coverage

Notably, neither Macron nor Le Pen together get a clear majority, but, interestingly enough, neither do the “mainline” candidates, who fell by the wayside. What this means in effect is that whether or not Macron or Le Pen win, they will have to govern either with each other, or by reaching out to those parties led in the last round of elections by Fillon, Melenchon & Co. And that will make governance difficult.  As all of this has been going on, I’ve been receiving a steady trickle of emails from members of this website who live in France, who inform me that many of the same tricks we saw applied in the previous US election have also been rolled out in France: pro-Le Pen comments are censored on social media, pro-EU/globaloney articles are pushed, &c. In spite of this, Le Pen has advanced to round two: the mainline candidates did not.

The question is, why?

In doing a little research for this blog, I came across the following article from Global Research News (copy and paste in your browser:

The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty and the Future of France

This article is well worth pondering at length, but I want to draw attention to certain statements critical of the traditional right-left divide, and why French politics looks so peculiar now. Consider, first, the critique of the right:

The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.

And now the left:

As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion. The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.

The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars. More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.

For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.

Add to this the following:

Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day. The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.

Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.

And finally, this comment about Melenchon and Le Pen:

A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen. Both speak of leaving the euro. Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command. Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.

The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly. Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.

So where’s my daily dose of speculation? A few months ago I predicted that even if Marine Le Pen does not win this bid for the French Presidency, the issues driving her and her party simply will not go away, especially if Mr. Globaloney continues to pursue the same policies with the same playbook, and to ignore the real issue.

That issue, I suspect, is much deeper than even Global Research understands, for the phenomenon is not political, it is cultural and civilizational, and it is, perhaps, not surprising at all that it should be France, and Britain (with the Brexit vote) where we see, if not the strongest opposition to Mr. Globaloney, then at least the most articulate and vocal, for those two nations are, to put it succinctly, the two oldest nation-states in the western world. They represent, so to speak, the core countries of modern western culture: Britain spread Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and associated cultural institutions throughout the world via the British Empire. In doing so, it also put an end to many practices we would now consider barbaric. And yes, I realize in stating that I have taken a very unpopular view. (If you want to hear the politically correct view, attend an American university.) France, similarly, spread French law and jurisprudence and institutions throughout Europe during the Napoleonic era, which gave rise to the national aspirations of Italy and Germany and helped pave the way for their national unifications in the 19th century.

Why is this distinction between politics and culture important? It’s very simple: if what is driving the Trump train, or the Brexit vote, or, now, the upheavals in French politics, is cultural and not political, then the phenomenon is not going to go away very quickly, nor very quietly, no matter what the politicians do or do not do.

The first politician in the West that truly understands this, and can articulate the cultural vision and aspect of the problem, wins.  Why? Because Mr. Globaloney has no real innate sense of culture. He has to buy it, but does not understand it, nor view himself as belonging to any cultural tradition (except a modern one no older than a century or century and a half). He endows modernist ugliness and promotes it at every turn (think David Rockefailure here, folks, and his “taste” in modern “art”); and people are turning from ugliness.

As for France, this will, indeed, be an election to watch, and I confess some personal emotional involvement; my paternal grandmother was French; I have my great-grandfather’s (her father’s) French prayer book; French composers – Saint-Saens, Rameau, Couperin, and so on – and musicians have enriched my personal life; when I studied organ, I played an edition of J.S. Bach’s organ music edited and prepared by the grand master of French organists (Charles-Marie Widor), and so on. So I watch what goes on there with great personal feeling, because I do not want France to become something one can only read about in history books, another victim of Mr. Globaloney’s hatred of and war on all things of beauty belonging to western culture and tradition.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

March Book Haul 2017

MarchBookHaul.jpg

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2017

This month there were some serendipitous finds within the realm of books and reading that help feed the addict’s voracious hunger.  The topics are wide in scope as they are intriguing, and have made for some thought-provoking reading when I’ve had the time.

#1: The Nuclear Axis: Secret Collaboration Between West Germany & South Africa by Zdenek Cervenka & Barbara Rogers

The title says it all. This book details the connection between West Germany and South Africa, which is actually more disturbing than at first blush.  The book also delineates which other countries were involved in this fiasco besides South Africa, and shows that Germany, who went on record never to create nuclear weapons post World War 2, became in fact a de-facto nuclear power.  Then again, it shouldn’t be shocking considering that Germany’s attempted world domination in three previous instances.

#2:  Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom For Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Knowing that Bruce Lee is the epitome of Individuality, reading about him has been something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.

This book has been an inspiring read.  Due to its format, the book can be read straight through, or just broken up into small pieces given that it’s not a book which builds on itself like most non-fiction books.  For me the latter method has worked better.

Usually just slice off a few pages on a daily basis as the aphorisms give one much to ponder about in unexpected ways.  Granted, some of the aphorisms are fairly straight forward, but there’s plenty of insights to be had if one remains open minded.

#3Culture As History: The Transformation Of American Society In The Twentieth Century by Historian Warren Susman

Wishing to learn more about the change culture American culture has gone through, this book felt like a natural pick considering it was mentioned in Susan Cain’s Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In Quiet, Cain mentions how in her book Culture As History historian Susman covers the transition between the culture of character to a culture of personality.  Seeing the results of this change in modern times, thought it prudent to go back in time and see where society began changing.  Predictably, there was serious social engineering and propaganda taking place to bring this about.   I am definitely looking forward to research this topic further down the line.

#4:  The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles  Steven Pressfield

This book barely became known to me a few weeks ago.  Being the book-addict that I am, initially, I told myself not to purchase this or any other book for that matter until catching up on some reading, but after about a week of pondering, I just couldn’t resist.  This merits a shout out to all bodacious bloggers that feed that addiction!  [If you got time and want to check out another fellow wordpress blogger on all things writing, click this link to check out Calliope Writing]

This book is like the Art Of War but doused with much inspiration and creativity.  If there’s even one cell of creativity within you, ruminate upon getting this book.

#5:  Speed: Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster – And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down by Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D.

This book covers society’s addiction to living at the vanguard at Warp 9.  This book brings about quite a few different concerns, especially considering that a sizeable portion of society follows the actions noted in this book to a tee, particularly the younger generations.  If you have young ones or know of anybody that might be plugged in to the matrix 24/7 so to speak, considering having them get this book.  There’s a review of it here.

#6:  UFOs for the 21st Century Mind by Richard Dolan

If you’ve ever wondered about where to start regarding the abstruse subjects of UFOs, START HERE.  Even if you have, this book still offers a lot of value given the severity of the subject.  Having read dozens of books on this subject, many books usually end up leaving the reader wanting more.  Additionally, there really isn’t anything as comprehensive and detailed as this.  The book is sourced to the hilt, is written in an easy to follow manner and considers a serious topic in a sobering and yet thought provoking way.  There’s a review that was written on this here.

#7J.R.R. Tolkien’s: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

Having binged on many Tolkien books in February, and having heard from John Taylor Gatto that reading many biographies allows individuals the foresight to see things they might have not seen, thought getting this book would be a prudent choice.  Haven’t delved into it, but hopefully am able to within the next month or so.

#8:  The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Along the same lines as the above, this book was purchased in order to brush up a bit on one of the Founding Fathers through the autobiographical lens.  It’s definitely fascinating getting an inner look at one of the people responsible for helping create America.  It helps put things into perspective in a way that history books lack.   Review will come up soon.

#9:  The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

This book was purchased with the intention to grow and learn as a writer.  Being an autodidact and seeking to teach myself more on this lengthy subject, this seemed like a prudent place to start.  BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.  The book, although small in size, offers much knowledge to glean from it.  If you’re a writer, you need to get this book for the tenets within it will undoubtedly help you grow.  That said, there is a newer version of this book available.  Found this out about a week after purchasing the first one, go figure!  Given that it isn’t in my hands yet, I can’t vouch for it, YET, but once it gets here it will be read and reviewed in due time.

Why read a book similar to one just read?  Great question.  Because the 4th Edition of Elements of Style offered so much, I thought that if the new book followed through and offer even more information than the previous book, why not give it a gander?  Might end up gifting the other one out to a friend, but either way, the investment will be well placed.

#10:  The Book Of Virtues: A Treasure Of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett

A veritable treasure trove of insights on virtue from countless angles, this book homes in on many of the core tents that used to get taught in society but don’t get taught as much nowadays.  It seems like a great place to seek historical sources that showcase virtues within literature.

#11:  Sekret Machines: Gods: Volume 1 Of Gods Man & War by Tom DeLonge & Peter Levenda

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago and predictably, it is being censored by Amazon, as per usual.  If you want to read how to verify the censorship, read the next bracketed paragraph, and if not, just skip it for the synopsis.

[This can be verified simply.  Click on the link above, scroll down to the reviews, and then take a look at the two pictures to the right of customers who took pictures of the book.  The picture on the right under the name ZyPhReX, was the review done by me.  As you can see from the picture, I gave the book 3 stars.  Now, when you go back into the original book link, and click to check on all reviews that gave the book 3 stars, my review will NOT be showing whatsoever.  My contention is that not only is my review critical of this book in sobering fashion, but it also outlines alternative books to this topic, and that’s something the consortium hates to hear.  Regardless of the reason, the Book Review being censored is ludicrous since it follows all guidelines by Amazon, and the review is even shown under the picture.  And no, this isn’t the first time and its happened and doubt it will be the last.]

My original thoughts were that since Peter Levenda is a top-notch researcher, of whom many books I own, and seeing as DeLonge seems to have a genuine curiosity on the subject, the book might be a good read.  Boy was I wrong!

Although the book does feature intriguing information, the authors paint a picture that’s quite bleak of humanity, even using the parlance of “Cargo Cult” for humans and even go on to write about humanity as if wholly incapable, even there’s plethora of evidence showing otherwise.

Moreover, the authors take a very narrow point of views in explaining UFOs, which is quite detrimental.  Not that beings from another place visiting the Earth is out of the question, far from it, but to use a one dimensional approach to explain a multi-dimensional issue served to make this book a catastrophe.

As I noted in the review of this book:

“… one particular point that was quite disconcerting is the fact that the authors take a unilateral point of view of making it seem like UFOs can only be explained by the alien mythos.  While this is certainly one possibility, and one with some solid grounding, it is not the only one, and not by far.  Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Walter Bosley, and others have come up with an equally arguable case that argues for human ingenuity as one possible way to explain some UFOs.”

Lastly, a rather unexpected find was being able to get almost 20 National Geographic magazines, each for 10 cents at the library.  I am sharing this in hopes for people to realize that sometimes at local libraries there are incredible deals if you happen to venture there at the right time.

That said, did any of you purchase any intriguing books recently?  If so, what were they?  I am always genuinely curious as to what other individuals read and find intriguing. A significant portion of what I choose to read is because of what other people have made known to me, either directly or indirectly, and  this is my attempt to pay it forward.

Hope you are all well and have a great week.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: UFOs For The 21st Century Mind by Richard Dolan

UFOs21CM
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 4, 2017

In UFOs & The National Security State: Chronology Of A Cover-up – Volume 1, Richard Dolan carried out his opening salvo into the field of UFOlogy.  Seeking a veritable encyclopedia  of verifiable UFO sightings and never finding one, Dolan wrote a book based upon all data he collated from all the previous research he had undertaken.  In essence, he wrote the book he was looking for in UFOlogy, but wasn’t available.

In UFO’s & The National Security State – Volume 2, Dolan further cemented himself as a genuine historian by buttressing his previous work with another landmark piece.  Like his other books, this book is sourced to the hilt, which is appreciated for those seeking to venture further into the abstruse.  Moreover, this book is also the book in which the term “Breakaway Civilization” was coined.  A notable point to be sure, because that idea has been used by others seeking truth within this field and others, and it’s helped shed light into darker areas in this field.  What’s more, the ‘encyclopedia’ that Dolan began in volume one continued.

Thence, in A.D. After Disclosure, Dolan and his author Bryce Zabel sought to examine how the day after “the Others” are announced might play out, and they carry out the examination in salient fashion.  This book features a very sober analysis to many of the probable scenarios that will play out in a post-disclosure worked.  Anyone seeking to understand the possibilities such a sobering day will bring should ruminate upon getting this book.

Now, in UFOs For The 21st Century Mind, Dolan wrote a book to grapple the mind of newer generations and readers, the unexposed minds, the interested minds that have long sought to dive into “the phenomenon” but didn’t know where to start.

Along this stream of thought, this book strikingly brings about a fresh new look at UFOs, with modern eyes, employing a much broader perspective and dataset than the average UFO book.  Dolan doesn’t simply stick to classic sightings, abductions and declassified documents, but goes beyond to ruminate upon the realm of consciousness, quantum entanglement and more.  This book really is an up-to-date assessment of the situation from a multiplicity of angles.

Dolan begins the book by examining what UFOs could be by guiding the reader closer to the subject thoughtful and yet trenchant manner.  This helps the reader familiarize themselves with the subject and come to realize that there are a variety of explanations for UFO phenomena, many of which do not get considered   at length, if at all.  Additionally, this is also crucial because many individuals still continue to experience the phenomena in a variety of ways, and yet there aren’t any official channels to seek help from.

In Dolan’s own words:

“Whether or not you consider UFOs to be nonsense or of great importance, people are seeing things that are affecting them deeply.  Because there are no institutional structures for them to report or discuss what they see, they often keep silent, and try to forget or only secretly cherish one of the most incredible experiences of their lives.”[1]

Dolan, however, doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is a very serious issue.  While ruminating deeply upon it, he ponders reasons both pro and con that will help bring lucidity to a situation often bathed in shadows.  In fact, implications in the fields of economy, politics, religion, culture and science are given a cursory overview early on, and then are covered at length later in the book.  Dolan doesn’t merely stop there, though.

Journeying back in time, Dolan goes on to explore this phenomenon all the way back into ancient times and attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff.  This is important because it shows UFOs aren’t merely a modern phenomena.   In addition, salient subjects such as pyramids, lost civilizations, and ancient images goes to show that there probably is more than meets the eye within this field.

Interestingly, we know that some pyramids contain astronomical data.  This is particularly interesting because when this information is taken in conjunction with much of the lore and myths that abound those structures, and the fact that there’s hundreds of pyramids around the globe, and the fact that many of the core of the myths echoes nigh carbon copy traditions,  it should bring one pause.  Granted, it’s not proof, but very suggestive evidence nonetheless.

What’s more, some ancient writings seem to have what could be descriptions of ancient technology, such as the passage from Ezekiel, from the Bible, which Josef Blumrich, former NASA employee, sought to debunk.

Ironically, in the book The Spaceships of Ezekiel:

“Blumrich presented technical specifications of the spacecraft that he argued, fit Ezekiel’s description perfectly.  Of course, we should remember that Ezekiel presumably was describing something well beyond his experience for his time 2,500 years ago.  If he did see a descending spacecraft, he would have lacked the language or technological understanding to describe it in any way other than he did.”[2]

Later in the book, Dolan brings the reader up to more modern times when he examines a distinct array of sightings  and issues from the time.  These include ghost rockets, the Airship mysteries, which are rather fascinating in fact, the Minot case, the Malmstrom case, airspace violations and more.  Subsequent to that that, Dolan grapples with the issue of pervasive secrecy which he ruminates upon at length, and all that that entailed.  Many of the classics – Kecksburg, Aztec, Roswell – are also given a cursory glance.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Other significant incidents of “High Strangeness” get examined, such as some famous sightings around the globe, encounters with these beings, abductions [i.e. Travis Walton & Betty & Barney Hill] and even some crash retrievals.  All of this coalesces to allow the reader to note that there’s more than ample evidence to show that the phenomena not only existed for many decades, but was taken extremely seriously by those in the upper echelons of society.

Dolan also makes sure to hone in on quite of few aspects of the early period within UFOlogy’s history.  Here he covers everything from the blatant cover that took place behind the scenes, FOIA requests, the penetration of UFO groups by intelligence agencies and even touches upon the need for more people to get involved in a more serious manner.

This call to arms isn’t to be taken lightly because, as Dolan intimates:

“…a proper study of UFOs is a revolutionary experience.  It shatters old belief systems and forces us to look at our world in a completely new way.  Everything is affected: history, politics, economics, science, religion, culture, and our ultimate vision of who and what we are as human beings.”[3]

This subject seeps into all aspects of life, which is why it should be taken seriously.  When all collated information Dolan has amassed is pondered at length and given a fair shot, it is impossible not see something is going on.  Deeper truths lie locked-up within the rabbit holes of the field.  Undoubtedly, whenever some of these truths arise they will change the face of the world over night.  Those that are researching this field will be ahead of the pack in understanding the phenomenon and much of the disinformation that will also come regarding it, in the future.  That is another point to consider why this book should be read.

This subject is too important to overlook, and if humanity is ever going to prepare itself to live in a post-disclosure era, it is important to know the history of this subject and its implications.  If you’ve never read a book on this subject in your life, make this your first one.  You will not regret it.  As someone whose read over three dozen books on the subject, nothing else comes close to be this comprehensive while also being sober and realistic. Simply stated, if you want a book that is accessible to lay person, but also stimulating enough to get your brain cells churning, get this book.

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Footnotes:

[1] Richard Dolan, UFOs For The 21st Century Mind, p. 9
[2] Ibid., p. 55.
[3] Ibid., p. 2.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Selling A Culture Of Ignorance To The Young

IgnoranceQuote2
Selling a culture of ignorance to the young: key moments

Sam Cooke: Don’t know much about anything, what a wonderful world

Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com
Jon Rappoport
April 3, 2017

As my readers know, I’ve been documenting the downfall of education in America for a long time. My basic logic course, contained in my collection, The Matrix Revealed, is one antidote.

Aside from what happens and what doesn’t happen in the classroom, the promotion of a popular culture devoted to glorifying ignorance certainly erodes children’s ambition to learn.

Let’s return to a “more innocent time” to pick up a clue, and a turning point.

Wonderful World, composed by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, and Lou Adler, broke on to the scene in 1960. It had legs. Later covers of the tune climbed the charts in 1965 and 1978, and then Cooke’s original performance was resurrected as a hit in 1985 and 1986:

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

Just another sentimental popular tune; who cares? No one; except the lyric awoke a vast underlying YES in many hearts.

I don’t know nothin’, but love will carry the day, and the world will be wonderful then.

The obvious message: there is a shortcut to happiness. Learning is beside the point. It’s irrelevant. Just listen, the singer has found the key. He’s basically ignorant, but it doesn’t matter. If he can convince Her to love him, he has the answer the world has been waiting for.

He’s the hero. He’s the example.

Knowledge is just a con. It gets in the way. It creates adults. That’s a horrible fate. Remaining a child wins the prize. Children don’t have to worry. All they need is love. Let’s somehow reduce EVERYTHING to THAT.

As for Sam Cooke himself, well, he began singing with a group when he was six, he later composed a number of hit tunes, he launched his own record label (SAR), he put together his own music publishing company and a talent-management outfit. I don’t know what he knew and didn’t know, but he knew something. He worked tirelessly for years. (At the age of 33, in 1964, he was shot and killed in a Los Angeles motel. The circumstances surrounding his death are in dispute.) Point is, the Cooke who was singing about being ignorant was far from ignorant—as is the case with many performers who convincingly launch childlike sentiments to audiences for mass consumption. But these audiences, enveloped in the “feelings,” rarely bother to consider the source and the intelligence of the source.

Popular culture is a back-and-forth affair. The artist relays a quick dream, and the public buys it, because the dream arouses some latent idea that proposes a shortcut to happiness. An out.

The artist and his handlers are always looking for the fabled hook; the phrase that will pull in the crowd and galvanize their reaction.

Eventually, after years of swimming in pop culture, the tuned-up audience is conditioned to the notion that life’s secret has to be one hook or another. Little else is important.

Certainly, work is not important. Striving is not important. Ambition is not important. One’s own creative impulse is not important. Learning is not important. Those are all dead ends. Instead, something much simpler and easier (and vaguer) has to be the key.

In the realm of politics, there is a carryover. The answer in that arena would be simple, too. Greatest good. Love everybody right now. Kinder, gentler. I feel your pain. It takes a village. No child left behind. Hope and change. Yes we can.

Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

If you just took the last three lines of that lyric and eliminated the rest, you’d have…nothing. No hook, no impact. But add the “don’t know” piece, and you’re striking gold. Because the audience of mostly young people wants the “don’t know.” That’s what they’re looking for. A boil-down into the effortless item that allows them to win what they yearn for, by pleading ignorance. Perfect.

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be
Don’t know much about geography,
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra,
Don’t know what a slide rule is for
But I do know that one and one is two,
And if this one could be with you,
What a wonderful world this would be
Now, I don’t claim to be an “A” student,
But I’m tryin’ to be
For maybe by being an “A” student, baby,
I can win your love for me
Don’t know much about history,
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be
History
Biology
Science book
French I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

I can’t resist tossing off a salute to the Beatles, because if you think Sam Cooke was scraping the bottom of the barrel, his lyric was Shakespearean laid alongside the 1963 Lennon/McCartney offering, I Want to Hold Your Hand. This was not the Beatles of Eleanor Rigby or even Hello, Goodbye. It was the early rocket that set off the first US explosion of Beatlemania.

Get a load of this lyric:

Oh yeah I tell you somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
Oh please say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand
Now, let me hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I feel that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

The single of the song sold five million copies in the US. It was folded into an album, Meet the Beatles!, which soon piled on another 3.5 million sales. The 1960s were off and running.

Nothing would ever be the same.

I’m told the real hook in I Want to Hold Your Hand is the opening phrase: “Oh yeah.” The kids loved it right away.

And if you want culture, you’ve got to go to the kids. They know what’s happening. They’re on the cutting edge…

Of the cliff.

It quickly became apparent to ad agencies, and corporations, and politicians, and media barons, and even the medical cartel, that targeting children was the new Thing. Don’t raise them. No. Bring the adults down to the child’s level.

That was the breakthrough.

The kiddies want what they want when they want it.

Convert society into a diaper-dream.

Hawk that dream from Norway to the southern tip of Argentina.

Buttress it with psychological clap-trap.

Call it, I don’t know, something like…

Utopia.

Yes, that’ll work.

As long as no one THINKS.

Oh yeah.

If you reduce the English language to the level of the two songs I’ve presented here, why would children in school want anything more?

They already believe they know the secret of life.

And if the “secret” doesn’t deliver the goods, it’s an easy step for the children to then consider themselves victims.

After that, the trip downhill happens quickly.

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
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Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.