We Need A Social Revolution


Source: PeakProsperity.com
Charles Hugh Smith
August 18, 2017

In the conventional view, there are two kinds of revolutions: political and technological. Political revolutions may be peaceful or violent, and technological revolutions may transform civilizations gradually or rather abruptly—for example, revolutionary advances in the technology of warfare.

In this view, the engines of revolution are the state—government in all its layers and manifestations—and the corporate economy.

In a political revolution, a new political party or faction gains converts to its narrative, and this new force replaces the existing political order, either via peaceful means or violent revolution.

Technological revolutions arise from many sources but end up being managed by the state and private sector, which each influence and control the other in varying degrees.

Conventional history focuses on top-down political revolutions of the violent “regime change” variety: the American Revolution (1776), the French Revolution (1789), the Russian Revolution (1917), the Chinese Revolution (1949), and so on.

Technology has its own revolutionary hierarchy; the advances of the Industrial Revolutions I, II, III and now IV, have typically originated with inventors and proto-industrialists who relied on private capital and banking to fund large-scale buildouts of new industries: rail, steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, the Internet, etc.

The state may direct and fund technological revolutions as politically motivated projects, for example the Manhattan project to develop nuclear weapons and the Space race to the Moon in the 1960s.

These revolutions share a similar structure: a small cadre leads a large-scale project based on a strict hierarchy in which the revolution is pushed down the social pyramid by the few at the top to the many below.  Even when political and industrial advances are accepted voluntarily by the masses, the leadership and structure of the controlling mechanisms are hierarchical: political power, elected or not, is concentrated in the hands of a few at the top. Corporations are commercial autocracies; leadership is highly concentrated and orders are imposed on the bottom 99% of employees with military-like authority.

Social Revolutions Are Not Top-Down

But there is another class of revolution that does not share this hierarchical structure, nor does it manifest in the large-scale, top-down power-pyramids of the state and private corporations: social revolutions are bottoms-up affairs, lacking centralized leadership and hierarchical control mechanisms.

Social revolutions eventually influence the state and private sector, but they do not require the permission, funding or leadership of these hierarchies; as a rule, social revolutions drag the state and corporate sectors forward, kicking and screaming, as the social fabric and values of the populace change and the state and corporate sector cling to the status quo.

Examples of recent social revolutions include the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and the gay rights movement.  The leadership of the state resisted each revolution, and was essentially forced to adapt to the new social order as it became mainstream.

Once corporations figured out ways to profit from the transformed social order, they quickly introduced new products and fresh marketing: all-Caucasian advertising, for example, gave way to targeted ethnic advertising and mixed-race national advert campaigns.

When social revolutions are suppressed by the state, they may spark a political revolution as the socially oppressed come to see the overthrow of the autocratic political order as a necessary step towards liberation.

In other cases, social revolutions may have little immediate impact on the political stage. Faith-based social secular movements–for example, the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century– were not overtly political; their eventual political impact (temperance, woman’s rights and support for the abolition of slavery) may manifest decades later.

In summary: social revolutions may generate political waves, but they need not be overtly political to do so, nor do they rely on political, financial or technological hierarchies to transform society.

The Decline of Social Groups and the Erosion of the Social Order

Robert Putman’s 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, documented the decline of social connections and what we might calling belonging in American society with reams of data. This erosion of social bonds is not limited to social groups such as bowling leagues; it is secular, spanning every social type of connection from family picnics to community and neighborhood groups.

If we extend Putnam’s findings to the core human bonds of family and friendships, we find the same fraying of social ties; people have fewer close friends, are more isolated and lonely, and family relationships are increasingly superficial or characterized by alienation.

The factors feeding this broad-based decline of connectedness and social capital are many: the nation’s economic mode of production has changed, requiring two incomes where one once sufficed, and globalization has increased both the demands on those with jobs and the number of adults who have fallen out of the work force.

This winner-takes-most economy has been accompanied by the rise of political divisiveness, a brand of politics that fosters us-versus-them disunity and the erosion of common ground in favor of demonized opponents and all-or-nothing loyalty to one party or cause.

The technological revolutions of broadcast television and radio homogenized the mainstream media even as they provided superficial substitutes for social engagement. The technologies of social media, mobile telephony and narrowcast echo-chambers of uniform opinion have created even more addictive forms of distraction that are not just shredding social connectedness—they’re destroying our ability to form and nurture social bonds, even within the family.

This dynamic was explored in a recent essay in The Atlantic, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Any careful observer of present-day family life would add that the addictive draw of mobile telephony has also damaged the parents’ generation and the family unit itself.

Cui Bono: To Whose Benefit?

Longtime readers know I often begin an inquiry with the time-tested question: cui bono, to whose benefit? Who has benefited from the erosion of the social fabric and social capital, from the politics of divisiveness and the mass addiction to the technologies of superficial connectedness?

While we can take note of soaring corporate profits, and draw a causal connection between these profits and the modern-day “always connected to work” lifestyle of high-productivity corporate employees, it’s difficult to argue that corporations have benefited directly from the loss of social capital that characterizes American life.

Rather, it seems that the corporation’s relentless pursuit of narrowly defined self-interest, i.e. maximizing profits by whatever means are available, has laid waste to boundaries between work and home life as collateral damage.

In a similar fashion, purveyors of smartphones and the software and content that render them so addictive don’t necessarily benefit directly from the destruction of intimate, authentic social bonds, but they certainly have prospered from the feeding of the smartphone addiction. Once again, the loss of authentic social connectedness is collateral damage.

While it seems quite clear that political groups have fueled divisiveness to their own benefit, does the state (government in all its forms) benefit from the fraying of the social order? It’s difficult to discern a direct benefit to the state, though it might be argued that a fractured populace is easier to control.

But the erosion of the social order has gone beyond fracture into disintegration, and it’s hard to see how class wars and social disunity benefit the state, which ultimately relies on some measure of social unity for its authority, which flows from the consent of the governed.

It’s Time To Take Our Future Back

In Part 2: Rescuing Our Future, we focus on the self-evident truth that governments and corporations cannot restore social connectedness and balance to our lives.  Only a social revolution that is self-organizing from the bottom-up can do that.

And we detail out the specific steps each of us can and should take to develop the values and skills required to form and maintain authentic social wealth—the wealth of friendship, of social gatherings, of belonging.

It takes courage and independence to swim against the toxic tides of our economy and society. The good news is that true wealth is within reach of everyone. The steps we each need take are clear; it’s just a matter of having the will to invest the time and effort.

Do you have it?

Read More At: PeakProsperity.com

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The Battle For Imagination: The Individual Creator Vs. The Collective Box

“This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”
– Henry David Thoreau

TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
August 3, 2016

“Imagination decides everything.”
– Blaise Pascal

“Conceive of it this way. Far up in the sky you have people, individuals, who are inventing the fulfillment of their most profound desires, making them fact in the world, no matter what—and way down below, miles under the earth, you have other individuals who could be doing what the sky dwellers are, but they’ve bamboozled themselves into thinking they can’t. Instead, they think they’re trapped in every little response they might have to any old stimulus that comes along. Both groups of people are creative, but they’ve channeled their imaginations and creativity in vastly different ways. Waking up may be hard to do, but you either do or you don’t.”
Jon Rappoport, Notes for Exit From The Matrix

Jon Rappoport [NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com] has spoken at length quite greatly about imagination.  His relentless tackling of the subject has made me keenly aware of what we as a society, and ultimately as individuals, are missing, and missing badly.

Rappoport tackles imagination often and for good reason.  In the land of creative consciousness, imagination is the key to the kingdom.  The portal to possibilities, to action, to answers, to solutions. 

Why is imagination important?  Because imagination is arguably the main tool each individual has.

Imagination serves as an affluent tool of manifestation.  Everything that you ever used required the use of imagination for its creation.

For instance, imagine, just for one moment, that we were to remove the word failure from y/our vocabulary, what type of an individual landscape would a person have?  Ruminate on that for a moment.  Take a few minutes and ponder that very deeply. [1]

Heading into adulthood, however, imagination is removed, essentially castrated from our mind in many ways – as if it’s a child’s play thing.  Because of that, individuals, and ultimately society has suffered.

Why has imagination been stamped out?

Because although imagination coupled with creativity are responsible for everything ever created, the establishment would have you believe that the power that you – the individual –  have comes from the collective.  This subjugates the individual to the group, thereby laying parameters to imagination, when imagination doesn’t have any parameters.

By counting on the collective – by counting on others – one learns to train themselves to seek solutions beyond oneself – the individual.  Not only does that stifle individual progress, but it prevents the individual from being able to solve many problems, or even create rather intriguing solutions that they would otherwise do automatically if their imagination was used in its state of maximum potential all of the time.

For instance, we all have heard of group brainstorming, the epitome of collectivism.  Group brainstorming is one form of collective structure that seeks creation ‘by the group’ at the expense of the individual.  However, this corporate tool is fraught with issues.

Regarding this author and psychology researcher Susan Cain explains in her landmark book, Quiet:

“Psychologists usually offer three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming.  The first is social loafing: in a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work.  The second is production blocking: only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively.  And the third is evaluation apprehension, meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one’s peers.”[2][Emphasis added]

How many individuals suffer from such system?  It’s certainly not optimal, although the illusion of it is always pushed as such.  Furthermore, due to all those reasons, the imagination an individual could use otherwise lays stagnant, rarely if ever used except in certain circumstances.

Not only that, but the larger the group becomes, the less efficient it is.  This, of course, makes more and more individuals mere clogs in a machine when they could be harnessing their own endless creative potential.

Regarding large group inefficiency, Cain further notes:

“…some forty years of research has researched the same startling conclusion.  Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: groups of nine generate fewer and poorer ideas compared to groups of six, which do worse than groups of four.   The “evidence from science suggests that business must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” writes the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.  “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity and efficiency is the highest priority.”[3][Emphasis added]

Furnham’s words boil down this particular issue down to the individual.  It’s at that level that individuals shine the brightest.

Speaking about the issues regarding individuals taking part in groups, Malcom Gladwell, author of the intriguing book The Tipping Point:

“…when people are asked to consider evidence or make decisions in a group, they come to very different conclusions than when they are asked the same questions by themselves.  Once we’re part of a group, we’re susceptible to peer pressure and social norms and any other number of other kinds of influence…”[4][Emphasis added]

As we can gather, the collective is not where an individual’s maximum potential for imagination lies.

When the individual becomes part of the collective, creativity suffers, and thus, his imagination.

That is why it’s up to you to traverse from the periphery of the common place, dull, cookie-cutter reality that’s offered to us as ‘normal’, and warp into the cauldron of creativity that lies in every second, in every page, in ever canvas of your life.

The box is not all there is.  In fact, the box doesn’t exist.  The box is a construct, a precept, a structure.  An idea.  An idea that an individual can transcend.

Life – consciousness – is a boundless canvas of creation, where artists, writers, thinkers & visionaries create endlessly.  This is an inexorable interplay that just spawns more creativity, which spawns more actions, which spawns more solutions, which spawns more…

You get the picture.

Such thoughts would render the establishment obsolete.  They do not want that, at all.

People that use their imagination often are more self sufficient [thinking of countless ways they can create efficiency for themselves], rely on the system far less [who needs the establishment when you can create most of not all of your own solutions], and do not fall for ruses as much [because they know what’s possible, and not just what the box tells them is possible].

Using your imagination/creativity to its utmost degree will spawn the advent of solutions that will literally increase the quality of life you hold.

The individual which uses imagination doesn’t wait for solutions to come to them.  The individual that uses imagination not only seeks solutions, but creates them.  They don’t take anything at face value.  They check – they research.  Why?  Because they realize they control their own path.  They live a better life, a healthier life, because they imagine better possibilities and put them to action.

These individuals don’t allow themselves to be stopped because they’re incapable of being stopped.  That’s not within their DNA.  It’s not part of their reality structure

Curiously, the proclivity to create is so ubiquitous in creative individuals that not creating seems rather foreign.  They always seek create beyond the lines, outside ‘the box’ – always in action, always creating.

The canvas of endless possibilities is there for the taking.  It requires the desire to create to the nth degree coupled with conscious action for the canvas to become something more than just a mere possibility.

What would happen if we all realized our canvas is reality itself?

As the well philosopher Sun Tzu once intimated:

“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”
____________________________________________________________________________

Sources & Notes

[1] This notion will be addressed more precisely in a future post rather soon.  It’s not being covered in depth in interest of length and time, but its mentioned for the purposes of showing what an individual can manage to see as possible by just employing the use of imagination.
[2] Susan Cain, Quiet, pg. 89.
[3] Ibid., pg. 88-89.
[4] Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, pg. 171.

NSA Surveillance Extends To Biomedical Implants Including Pacemakers To Collect Data On Unsuspecting Americans

BigBrotherSPyingNSA
Source: NaturalNews.com
J.D. Heyes
June 17, 2016

Maybe it’s something in the water at the National Security Agency, but for some reason, officials there just can’t seem to get enough of spying on us by continually expanding their surveillance dragnet.

As reported by The New American, the agency is now looking into possibly stealing data from Internet-connected biomedical devices like pacemakers, according to the NSA’s deputy director, Richard Ledgett.

“We’re looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now,” Ledgett told the attendees of the 2016 Defense One Tech Summit, held June 10 in Washington, D.C. Defense One is a defense/national security oriented news and information website.

The deputy director referred to the devices as just “another tool in the toolbox” of electronic surveillance, agreeing with a comment that the data that could be collected from pacemakers and other devices would be akin to a “signals intelligence bonanza.”

“As my job is to penetrate other people’s networks, complexity is my friend,” he told the conference. “The first time you update the software, you introduce vulnerabilities, or variables rather. It’s a good place to be in a penetration point of view.”

The ‘Internet of things’ is turning out to be a huge privacy issue

Penetrating networks is spy-speak for essentially violating rights that are supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment, which (supposedly) guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures … .” The amendment also requires government to get search warrants issued only “upon probable cause” from a court of law, which describes “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The NSA would likely get cute and argue that hey, signals from a pacemaker aren’t “papers” or “houses,” so they aren’t covered by the Fourth Amendment. But they certainly are “effects,” and no one could reasonably argue that stealing data from a device (without a warrant) is not an invasion of privacy, given that the data was not being sent to NSA for analysis voluntarily.

Are you starting to see why this “Internet of things” isn’t all it is cracked up to be?

That said, according to The New American, Ledgett is not the only one who is anxious to begin collecting data from biomed devices and other Internet-connected devices and appliances:

At a Senate hearing in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Internet-connected devices of all sorts could help with “identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.”

In a letter to electronic privacy champion Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Clapper actually identified, in passing, some devices that could be hacked by the NSA and other federal agencies so that they could gain access to private data. Those items included “a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a child’s toy.”

No more value of liberty?

The fact that top officials with U.S. intelligence agencies are so blatant about their desire to scoop up as much personal data on American citizens as possible ought to be alarming to many in Congress, but at least publicly there has not been much push-back. Many of these intelligence briefings are held in secret; there are portions held in public, but eventually the House and Senate intelligence committees most generally launch closed-door sessions so that they can discuss classified materials.

They apparently also discuss new and innovative ways to destroy constitutional protections.

Very influential states’ rights advocate and jurist, St. George Tucker, wrote regarding the importance of the checks included in the Fourth Amendment: “The constitutional sanction here given to the same doctrine, and the test which it affords for trying the legality of any warrant by which a man may be deprived of his liberty, or disturbed in the enjoyment of his property, can not be too highly valued by a free people.”

In the Information Age, however, “free people” seem to have forgotten what value is inherent in liberty.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

FBI Caught Planting Microphones Under Rocks, Inside Light Fixtures, & At Bus Stops In California

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 2.03.05 PM
LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
Michael Krieger
May 15, 2016

When a reporter for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command interviewed Frank Zappa for the commands news syndicate, the story was held by a superior who demanded that Zappa – who had been rather hard on the army – answer one more question: just who does he think will defend the country without the army? 

Zappa’s reply: “From what? The biggest threat to America today is it’s own federal government…. Will the Army protect anybody from the FBI? The IRS? The CIA? The Republican Party? The Democratic Party?….The biggest dangers we face today don’t even need to sneak past our billion dollar defense system….they issue the contracts for them.” The interview was not run. 

*Note: It’s uncertain whether the above exchange ever took place, since the interview was never run. Nevertheless, the point is clear, instructive and serves as the perfect introduction for this post, whether the words were actually said or not.

One of the greatest afflictions affecting these United States at the moment is the general public’s overwhelming gullibility when it comes to government. You may think this sounds insane given surveys that consistently show Congress with a less than 10% approval rating, but I think this clouds the fact that most people have yet to accept just how completely corrupt and authoritarian government has actually become.

I don’t mean for this to become some sort of big rant against government in general. Our founders set up a brilliant system which has served the country well for over two centuries. What people seem to forget is our system of government wasn’t set up to create a new set of parental authority figures for the public. The entire intent behind the Constitution was to create a series of checks and balances to restrain government from becoming too powerful and working against the interests of the public. Government’s primary role in America is supposed to be to protect the Constitution and defend the cherished civil liberties defined within it. In 2016, it does precisely opposite.

Our government isn’t just corrupt though. Indeed, the primary function of government at the moment is to protect status quo criminals from the public, not the other way around. This is why the rich and powerful are never held to account, which is in turn why it continues to get worse and worse. A key gatekeeper in this whole scheme against the citizenry is the FBI.

Continue Reading At: LibertyBlitzKrieg.com

Does The United States Still Exist?


Source: ZeroHedge.com
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
March 27, 2016

An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida

To answer the question that is the title, we have to know of what the US consists. Is it an ethnic group, a collection of buildings and resources, a land mass with boundaries, or is it the Constitution. Clearly what differentiates the US from other countries is the US Constitution. The Constitution defines us as a people. Without the Constitution we would be a different country. Therefore, to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

Does the Constitution still exist? Let us examine the document and come to a conclusion.

The Constitution consists of a description of a republic with three independent branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, each with its own powers, and the Bill of Rights incorporated as constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights describes the civil liberties of citizens that cannot be violated by the government.

Article I of the Constitution describes legislative powers. Article II describes executive powers, and Article III describes the power of the judiciary. For example, Article I, Section 1 gives all legislative powers to Congress. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war.

The Bill of Rights protects citizens from the government by making law a shield of the people rather than a weapon in the hands of the government.

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, the press, and assembly or public protest.

The Second Amendment gives the people the right “to keep and bear arms.”

The Third Amendment has to do with quartering of soldiers on civilians, a large complaint against King George III, but not a practice of present-day armies.?

The Fourth Amendment grants “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and prevents the issue of warrants except “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment prevents police and prosecutors from going on “fishing expeditions” in an effort to find some offense with which to charge a targeted individual.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits double jeopardy, self-incrimination, the taking of life, liberty, or property without due process and the prohibition of seizing property without just compensation.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees speedy and public trial, requires that a defendent be informed of the charge against him and to be confronted with the witnesses, to present witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of an attorney.

The Seventh Amendment gives the right of trial by jury to civil suits.

The Eighth Amendment prevents excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment says that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution does not deny or disparage others retained by the people. In other words, people have rights in addition to the those listed in the proscriptions against the government’s use of abusive power.

The Tenth Amendment reserves the rights not delegated to the federal government to the states.

The Tenth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The Third Amendment protects against an abandoned abusive practice of government. The Seventh Amendment is still relevant as it allows damages in civil suits to be determined by a jury, once a protection against unfairness and today not always the case.

The other seven amendments comprise the major protections of civil liberty. I will examine them in turn, but first let’s look at Section 1 and Section 8 of Article I. These two articles describe the major powers of Congress, and both articles have been breached. The Constitution’s grant of “all legislative powers” to Congress has been overturned by executive orders and signing statements. The president can use executive orders to legislate, and he can use signing statements to render sections of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president into non-enforced status. Legislative authority has also been lost by delegating to executive branch officials the power to write the regulations that implement the laws that are passed. The right that Section 8 gives to Congress to declare war has been usurped by the executive branch. Thus, major powers given to Congress have been lost to the executive branch.

The First Amendment has been compromised by executive branch claims of “national security” and by extensive classification. Whistleblowers are relentlessly prosecuted despite federal laws protecting them. The right of assembly and public protest are overturned by arrests, tear gas, clubs, rubber bullets, water cannons, and jail terms. Free speech is also limited by political correctness and taboo topics. Dissent shows signs of gradually becoming criminalized.

The Fourth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. In its place we have warrantless searches, SWAT team home invasions, strip and cavity searches, warrantless seizures of computers and cell phones, and the loss of all privacy to warrantless universal spying.

The Fifth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The criminal justice system relies on self-incrimination as plea bargains are self-incrimination produced by psychological torture, and plea bargains are the basis of conviction in 97% of all felony cases. Moreover, physical torture is a feature of the “war on terror” despite its illegality under both US statute and international law and is also experienced by inmates in the US prison system.

The Fifth Amendment’s protection against deprivation of life, liberty, and property without due process of law has been lost to indefinite detention, executive assassination, and property takings without compensation. The Racketer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) passed in 1970. The act permits asset freezes, which are takings. The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act passed in 1984 and permits police to confiscate property on “probable cause,” which often means merely the presence of cash.

Continue Reading At: ZeroHedge.com