Shocker: Some Things Are Learned For Their Own Sake; Not For Application

Lightning Bottle
NoMoreFakeNews.com
Jon Rappoport
June 21, 2017

At college a few lifetimes ago, one of my earliest experiences was reading Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium. Here is the famous last stanza:

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

At the time, in those college years, it was well understood that you learned some things for their own sake. You didn’t even have to agree with the sentiment expressed. You could appreciate the expression.

Certain expressions were aesthetic and spiritual and alive in their own way. Argument on that score was unnecessary.

What about the opening lines of Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill? If they don’t take you off your chair, read them out loud a few times:

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

No one asked the student how he was going to use those words of a poem when he was working, years later, for a bank. No one asked him how he was going make the words count when he was fronting for a suit filed by a corporation. No one said he had to postpone appreciating poetry because injustices still existed in the world.

Education can expose students to glorious things they will never apply.

Yet, those things can transform their lives.

As civilization declines, an impression is imparted that there are only crises. Every event is some kind of crisis.

If that were true, what would be left over? What inner life would be possible?

What joy could be experienced for its own sake?

All of this leads me back to a theme I’ve covered from many different angles over the years. Reality, ordinary reality is not the end-all and be-all.

Art, for example, proves that.

The thrill of actual poetry proves that.

Why do I bother saying all this? Because part of what it means to have a civilization is part of what it means to be an individual: there is a profound appreciation of human creations. When that goes by the boards, when education ignores that because “more important issues” must be presented and framed and slanted, for purposes of sheer indoctrination, life-force drains away.

Elevated language taken to poetic heights is not a mere distraction.

Many years ago, when I was working at a community college, I started an informal poetry project. I brought together a small group of foreign students and taped them reading poems in their own languages (Portuguese, ancient Persian, English, etc.). I wanted them to hear the sounds of those poems, apart from their meaning. I wanted them to hear the music(s).

Now we’re talking about real diversity, not the fake imposed version. Now we’re talking about great energies that have been injected into, and fortified in, many languages by individual poets from all times and places.

Now we’re talking about the heights those cultures reached, not the depths to which they sank.

Now we’re talking about an authentic level of understanding reaching across bridges and gaps.

There is something very right about that.

Burned flowers of the field
My noon is over, growing old
Everything I have is finally sold
Sewed designs for men with money
Thinking it was duty
To watch them lead the world to war
From my little field of beauty

I wrote that poem when I was 23. It was published in 1966, in The Massachusetts Review. At the time, I was focused on the break-up of The American Dream. Soon after, I had my moment of insight, when it became clear to me that individuals and their minds and imaginations and choices could exceed the negative reach of any civilization and, at the same time, fertilize that civilization. Reality (things as they are) is not the answer; it is the lowest common denominator, which waits for people to sign declarations of surrender.

Preposterous surrender.

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com

When It Starts With You, Not The World

Imagination&Obstacles
Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com
By: Jon Rappoport
June 13, 2017

I’ve always conceived of my work as “up one side, down the other.” Expose the roots of the major covert ops of our time; expose the power of the individual to mount his own “op” for a better future.

In this journey of many years, I’ve come to a conclusion: a person looking at the world to obtain clues about his own potential and power is looking through the wrong end of the telescope. He’s bound to come to wrong decisions.

He skirts the edge of: I can’t succeed because the corrupt world is organized to fail.

This idea takes you into the morass, into the quicksand.

Yes, a person needs to understand what is going on at a deep level in the world—this is vital, but it’s a prelude. A beginning.

The real meaning of power is creative power. And that pertains to the individual, not the group. So the question becomes: what does a given individual profoundly want to create?

Limitation, inaction, and self-sabotage may be a few of the characteristics of society, but the individual doesn’t have to reflect them.

Nor does he need to reflect notions like “average,” “normal,” and “status quo.” They are meat grinders that turn out typical sausage.

Speaking of society, it’s instructive to read what authors wrote about core values a hundred or two hundred years ago, because then you can appreciate what has happened to the culture of a nation. Try to imagine these famous and celebrated authors from the past gaining prominence in the mainstream now:

“All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.” — James Fenimore Cooper

“The less government we have, the better, — the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of [by] formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The former generations acted under the belief that a shining social prosperity was the beatitude of man, and sacrificed uniformly the citizen to the State. The modern mind believed that the nation existed for the individual, for the guardianship and education of every man. This idea, roughly written in revolutions and national movements, in the mind of the philosopher had far more precision; the individual is the world.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau

“They [conformists] think society wiser than their soul, and know not that one soul, and their soul, is wiser than the whole world…Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members….Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist…. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can you imagine, today, any of these statements gaining traction in mainstream media?

But the fact that the culture has devolved doesn’t get the present-day individual off the hook.

His independence, his contributions, his imagination and creative power are needed more than ever.
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.

Why Did Pope Benedict XVI Resign?

Banksters
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
June 4, 2017

That question has been hovering in the background of European geopolitics ever since he did it, and one Italian geopolitician and strategist, Germano Dottori, thinks he has an answer, according to this article shared this week by Mr. G.P.:

https://onepeterfive.com/italian-geo-strategist-fuels-debate-over-pope-benedicts-resignation/

The essence of Signor Dottori’s argument is this:

The conflicts between the Church and the United States did not become less, even with the passing of John Paul II. They instead continued during the pontificate of Pope Ratzinger, in the course of which, what exacerbated them was not only the [policy and strategic] investment made by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood during the so-called Arab Spring, but also the firm desire of Benedict XVI to achieve an historic reconciliation with the Patriarchate of Moscow [under Patriarch Kirill], the true and proper religious coronation of a geopolitical project of Euro-Russian integration, which were in his intentions strongly supported by Germany and also by Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy – but not by that more American-friendly one [Italy], which is to be recognized in Giorgio Napolitano [Italian President, 2006-2015].

How it has come to an end is well-known to everyone. The Italian and papal governments were simultaneously hit by a scandalous, coordinated, and unusually violent and unprecedented campaign, even involving more or less opaque maneuvers in the financial field, with the final effect coming to a head in November 2011 with Berlusconi’s departure from the Palazzo Chigi and, on February 10 [sic – 11], 2013, the abdication of Ratzinger. At the height of the crisis, Italy progressively saw its access to international financial markets closed, while the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) [the Vatican Bank] was temporarily cut out of the Swift 4 circuit.

Note the implied claims:

(1) the Vatican, with Germany’s blessing (Ratzinger was, after all, the first German pope in about six hundred years), was pursuing a closer relationship with Eastern Orthodoxy, principally through Patriarch Kiril III;

(2) This was apparently being done in conjunction to create a “Eurasian integration”, which apparently was emphasizing the cultural basis of that integration in a common Catholic heritage;

(3) the Vatican and Italy were both hit by “a scandalous, coordinated, and unusually violent and unprecedented campaign,” which we may assume is “code” for the pedophilia scandals rocking Ratzinger’s pontificate. Dottori is clearly suggesting this emanated from the circles of western power. (At this juncture, one has to pause, and mention another possibility: with the pedophilia scandals erupting around western leaders, and the arrests in this country and others associated with it, that possibility emerges from the fact that, a few years ago, when one said “pedophilia rings” one thought of the Vatican, and, to a lesser extent, other churches. Now, however, there has been an interesting shift of perception, for when one says “pedophilia rings” one thinks of corrupt, and largely secular, western politicians. This may indicate a covert counter-operation emanating from the Vatican.)

(4) This campaign was also coordinated with a campaign to strip the Vatican of its access to international financial markets.

We can recall much corroboration of these suggestions, in that shortly after the beginning of his pontificate, Jorge Cardinal Bergolio (Francis I) began to attempt to clean up (yet again) the operations of the Vatican Bank, even going so far as to appoint the same auditor for it as for the Bank of International Settlements and, reportedly, Lloyd’s of London. In short, Bergolio’s efforts appear to cave to the pressures being exerted by the West and the USA.

It’s that first point, however, that seems to have been much more important than meets the eye:

Here an Italian expert in geo-strategic studies thus claims that both the Italian government under Berlusconi and the papacy of Benedict XVI were toppled due to financial maneuvers that put both states in jeopardy. Alessandro Rico published, on 17 May, an article entitled “Ratzinger costretto ad abdicare dal ricatto di Obama” (“Ratzinger Forced to Abdicate Due to Obama’s Blackmail”) in the Italian newspaper La Verità – a publication which has no inclination toward traditional Catholicism at all, but, rather, sharply rebukes traditional and conservative Catholics in that same 17 May issue (as Giuseppe Nardi points out). Rico himself puts the Dottori statement in context with the 20 January 2017 Open Letter to President Trump, published by the traditional Catholic newspaper The Remnant, which called for an investigation into a possible U.S. intervention against Pope Benedict XVI. As Rico points out, Pope Benedict at the time stood in opposition to President Obama’s collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, especially with the pope’s Regensburg address in which he criticized Islamist fundamentalism. The U.S., as Rico along with Dottori explains, was not in favor of a papal rapprochement with the Patriarch of Moscow which could further support a European rapprochement with Russia. A partial basis for this desired rapprochement could also be a rejection of the moral relativism of the West.

When speaking about the financial pressure that was, in 2013, put on the Vatican by excluding the Papal State from the SWIFT system – which interrupted the credit card payments in the Vatican City, and thus in the Vatican museums – Rico also recalls: “Strangely, this [SWIFT] function was re-established immediately after the resignation of Benedict XVI.” (Bold-italics emphasis added)

In other words, American policy was deliberately attempting to forestall the formation of what can only be called a “Christian bloc.” If this seems farfetched, one should recall that Russia, prior to the Soviet era, played precisely this role in European and world geopolitics, as the protector of Orthodox Christians. The Vatican exercised this role through proxy states, most recently through Austria-Hungary, Italy, and various other Catholic regional powers.

“OK, so what?” one might think. “Where’s the high octane speculation?”

Well, brace yourselves, because it’s a whopper: note that the actions taken against the Vatican were (1) a pedophilia scandal and (2) a severing of access to international financial clearing in response to Ratzinger’s statements about fundamentalist Islam. (And at this juncture, please recall that Francis I has indicated that Christians do have the right of self-defense against Islamic terrorism, a point often lost in the shuffle). This suggests, as the Russians were similarly affected by threats of exclusion from SWIFT, to the point of developing their own domestic, and ultimately parallel system of international financial clearing, that the Vatican may have been attempting to do an end run around the Western Financial blackmail (denial of service, effectively, to SWIFT), and to gain access to the system(s) being built out by and in Russia. In short, this means the Vatican was attempting to gain access also to the space assets that make international clearing possible.

If this reading of the covert warfare taking place against the Vatican by Mr. Globaloney (and vice versa, if my reading of the pedophilia scandal having moved from the Vatican to western politicians is true), then what one is witnessing is a long-term strategy and goal of the Vatican, which, for the moment may be summarized in the following high octane speculation:

(1) Intermediate goal: Gain access to other systems of financial clearing that are independent of that of the West. For the moment, this means the systems being put into place by Russia and China and, to a lesser extent, existing Japanese capabilities in the Pacific (and for a historical note, do not forget that connection between Japan and the Vatican, via Emperor Hirohito who deposited some of the Golden Lily loot in the Vatican bank, according to Peggy and Sterling Seagraves in Gold Warriors);

(2) Longer term goal: use contacts thus gained to utilize (and perhaps finance) their space launch capacity to launch Vatican-owned communications satellites;

(3) Ultimate goal: build out an independent system of financial clearing by and for the Vatican and any allied churches.

If that high octane speculation is correct, then the USA and the Vatican are engaged in a covert war, just as are the USA and China and the rest of the BRICSA bloc, for those independent financial clearing systems, more than anything else, are a direct challenge to the US dollar reserve currency status.

(And as for the religious “rapprochement”, Orthodoxy’s position has always been clear, because conceptual/doctrinal content defines Orthodoxy, not institutional boundaries or adherence to supreme authorities claiming infallibility: if there is to be such an arrangement beyond mere ecumenical cooperation, then there must be a full return of Roman Catholicism to that conceptual content, and a jettisoning of all those doctrines added to Orthodoxy on the basis of papal authority alone. While this is not the place to elaborate on this, it is to be noted that the recent statements of Francis I and Kiril III focused, not on doctrinal differences and the departure of the Papacy from that tradition, but rather on areas of common cultural concern. This would seem to indicate that both churches perceive a very serious existential threat, perhaps exhibited by Benedict XVI’s remarks about Islamic fundamentalism which led, according to Dottori, to his resignation.)

There’s one more implication here: if indeed Ratzinger was forced to resign, i.e., resigned under duress, then a case might be made that the resignation is null and void… and that, of course, would be a scenario that would throw the papal church into a position it has not been in since the middle ages, and it may thus be the “high trump card” the plotters of the coup are holding over Bergolio.

Whatever one makes of these high octane speculations, this is definitely one to watch, because we have not heard the last of this story.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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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”.

Book Review: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri | #SmartReads

DivineComedy
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 2, 2017

The Divine Comedy is one of those timeless pieces of literature that everyone should read, if at least once.  In fact, if public schooling followed any type of common sense and had appreciation for High Culture, The Divine Comedy would be part of a strong school curriculum along with classics such as The Iliad & The Odyssey, The Lord Of The Rings, The Aenid, and others.

Each of those books makes learning about virtues, and countless other themes vastly more interesting than the nonsense that is espoused in education today.  Furthermore, it would strengthen the public schooling curriculum that is rather lacking in depth, although not in ‘method’.

Due to those reasons, and others, thought it prudent to avail myself of The Divine Comedy as the prospect of reading the book has always resonated with me, especially after having read Dante’s Inferno a few years ago.

The Barnes & Noble Edition of The Divine Comedy is as demanding a read as it is satisfying.  Moreover, the book is peppered with dozens of Gustave Dore’s illustrations, which saliently add a more vivid and engrossing journey for the reader.  At times, the neophyte reader might need a dictionary handy to clear up some confusion, but otherwise it’s readable at least.

In contrast, Dante’s Inferno, the version that was translated by Stanley Lombardo, is a much more reader-friendly version of this piece, which is modern in its diction and poetic in its presentation.  That said, that is only book one of Dante’s triumvirate, but I am mentioning for those that might be interested merely in the opening salvo of Dante available in a much simpler format.

The Divine Comedy really is an adventure to be intellectually enjoyed, and everyone who chooses to set out in a fictional foray would benefit greatly from it.

As an allegorical account of his spiritual journey being guided by his lover Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is timeless for a reason.  Not only is the book unique, but it stokes the engines of imagination in ways most other books do not, while also offering readers ample intellectual considerations to ruminate upon.

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Related Links:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals 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, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, 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 other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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
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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”.