Wealth in Thailand
I remember once commenting to a friend “how are there rich Thais when there is so little profit margins?” Some people talk of the Bangkok Elite and the poverty in Issan. When you have such stark contrasts it is not surprising there is trouble. The Forbes’ list contains:-
Dhanin Chearavanont 11.4
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi 9
Vanich Chaiyawan 3.65
Krit Ratanarak 2.8
Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth 1.75
Thaksin Shinawatra & family 1.6
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha 1.5
Keeree Kanjanapas 1.35
Surin Upatkoon 1.3
Thongma Vijitpongpun 1.15
Aloke Lohia 1.1
Some might note how low down Thaksin is considering all the trouble that is around him, It is quite likely all his assets are not included here, but that is equally likely of others on this list. Here is a list of Dhanin’s business involvement from Forbes:-
CP Group (Main parent company for all companies listed below)
Discussed in this Nation article
I just dreamt this storyline – I like it:-
People on the Path had gained some element of control. They designed and used drugs along with hypnotic tapes to put people on mission. This meant that mission people said and did what was on the Path but were indoctrinated. The Path Planners monitored these mission people until eventually the mission changed to the Path. What happens to the programme?
Just thought. Someone comes along and discovers the programme seeing it as sinister, and tries to find the Path Planners to destroy the Programme.
Will I do anything with it?
This is going to be a huge blog on hormones, my longest blog ever. I have been jotting stuff for a while but there was no cohesion. But now I have decided on an approach – forget trying to deal with the hormones.
Firstly I began an analysis of my hormones at different food phases in my life:-
This gave me a picture of the impact of hormones, it is important to be aware of hormones and the way they cause problems – in my case now primarily sleep and weight.
This was going to be part of a process of targetting hormones through hormone replacement therapy based on the book “Ageless” by Suzanne Somers – excellent book. The following is the thinking process the book was leading me through:-
The first thing to note about hormone replacement is that it has to be bioidentical. I haven’t come to terms with its meaning but I think it is something like you can find plants in Nature that have the same hormones as humans. Synthetic hormone like the cortisone cream I used are extremely dangerous, and cause further imbalance.
The first problem I have with her book is that it is discussed as anti-ageing. Now I have no problem with lessening the effects of ageing but I am not trying to regain youth. What about the raging hormones when I fell in love? I was out of control, and totally at the mercy of the woman concerned. Talk about dick-led. There is a question of premature ageing. I surmise that we age prematurely in a society whose food is so unhealthy and whose environment is equally unhealthy. At the same time unhealthy lifestyles are encouraged. In my case there are two lifestyle issues I never even considered were issues – not having breakfast and being a night owl. It was only until my knackered immune system allowed two flus in consecutive months that I realised my balance was gone. Place that in the context of my diet, and it starts to point at something. My diet did not address the issue of hormones ie a plant-based diet has the potential not to address hormones. And when I say plant-based diet I include macrobiotics.
Now I haven’t resolved my hormone problems yet, and might well have to spend to solve them, but I have no doubts at all that my change in diet is helping. However I appear not to be as healthy as I was two years ago – re-evaluated see below. At that stage (2 years ago) the hormone issues had not surfaced. I did feel a cold chest but the flu was still annual – just. My body was allowing me to heal it through the different stages as with detox, pH-balance, probiotics etc – detailed in the Zandtao plan. And the stage I am at is hormone balance. This means that the lifestyle issues of no breakfast and night owl are now raising their heads. I am satisfied with my breakfast change but Nature’s circadian rhythm is eluding me.
Why breakfast? The adrenal glands. They need food. I used to get up, not eat, and some days it could be early afternoon before I ate. I used to think I was developing kidney problems but I am now pretty certain that it was the adrenal glands that have suffered. But the night owl habits are proving extremely difficult. As a teacher I would stay up late – gone midnight, get up, rush out of the house, and barely be on time for school. My days improved when I went international because of their imposed school days. Starting at 07.00, 07.30, 06.15 in my 40s and early 50s forced me to get melatonin hours (23.00 – 02.00), and I felt better for them. Now I can do 02.00 – 08.00, nap during the day and get no melatonin hours. It’s no wonder that I eventually damaged my immune system – parathyroid gland.
I am becoming more and more convinced that my plant-based diet had deficiencies that affected my hormones, I am not prepared to say that the diets are intrinsically faulty but the way I practised them were. However I am happy to accept that the pace the plant-based diet took me through my healing was correct for me, but for hormone balance it needs changing. Now the book that made me alter my diet was the Perfect 10 book – torrent giving me the target of 40% carbs, 20% protein and 40% fats. In changing to this I increased fish, eggs and avocadoes, and I added butter and cheese. Now previously I hadn’t eaten eggs because I hadn’t found the free range, I had fish once a week – a bit more than that; my one “sin” interestingly was the occasional pizza. Now my breakfast includes salads with avocado (finding them has also been a new addition – if they were available previously I would have bought them), butter cheese and eggs. Healthy fat. Now butter and cheese I classified as dairy, didn’t eat them, and because I only ate some fish and no meat my fat was well below 40%. I think this was the negative affect on my hormones. I would note that the increased fats have not increased my weight although I am overweight – not true see below. I still snack late at night a little but not as bad as before – this is disappearing.
Where are my hormone issues? As far as I know they are melatonin primarily and weight – thyroid, insulin and DHEA I think.
Now to anti-ageing. The notion of that just goes completely against my Natural philosophy, but the problem is I don’t know what Natural ageing is. What make it worse is that many anti-ageing centres have all the plastic surgery stuff as well – something I abhor. So if I am going to try BHRT
I would prefer the political term appropriate-ageing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy – AABHRT. Now the book that has got me into this is Suzanne Somers torrent. This book is much more geared towards the hormone issues for women, but she introduced me to the possibility of bioidentical. But she does speak of anti-ageing too much.
Reading this brought up the issue of cancer:-
“As human beings, we are a bundle of cells reproducing. That is how we stay alive. So does it make any sense to avoid one of the essential elements of the makeup of a cell? By avoiding fats, people were left defenseless against cancer-cell growth. Remember, abnormal division of cells is the definition of cancer. So if you are avoiding one of the building blocks (fats) of the makings of a cell, there is no way a cell can reproduce properly. [p86]” There is not much fat in mb, yet I accept that it is an anti-cancer diet. And what about my hero, Gerson? That is a juicing diet, where is the fat there? Confused!! Maybe the healthy diet (plant-based) with the lack of fat inhibits the cell growth of cancers, and that maybe after they have gone there is a need to deal with the hormones. Knackered hormones are not a disease in themselves although the consequences could well be. Or maybe 40/20/40 (Perfect 10) is also anti-cancer.
Then she says this “That’s where they keep the real food—meat, chicken, fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. [p87]” Free range meat and chicken great, antibiotic-filled lumps of meat – can’t accept this. Perfect 10 told me dark meats, I tried duck and was so uncomfortable trying to retch it out. Normally on diet any meat that came my way was no problem – gluttoning on Brian’s sausages(!), but when I was considering unsafe meat as part of diet my body retched. I have listened. Iwill give free range meat a chance if it comes my way but only that. Suzanne can choose for herself. On dairy I have decided that it is the milk that is the issue. Cow’s milk builds healthy cows, but cows don’t eat butter and cheese. Butter and cheese come from milk but I have found them acceptable. It is a distinction that works for me but whether it is a principle I am unsure. Maybe it is because my body needs healthy fats, and it doesn’t want meat!!
On cancer again “Although no one really knows where cancer comes from, whether it’s diet or something else, the best prevention is to keep your hormones balanced. In fact, the doctors I have interviewed for this book all concur that the best prevention for the diseases of aging is balanced
“Remember those seven dwarfs: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up. [p103]” These are gauges for women and hormones, are they true for men? Answer “those seven dwarfs pop up again: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up. [p165]”
“For men, your grumpiness dissipates. You get your energy back. Your libido wakes up. You want to go out, have fun, and continue working. That fat around your belly now has a chance of going away, provided you are eating correctly and exercising in moderation. [p104]“
More on the ageing issue there was a letter that wound me up. The letter [Suzanne p71] basically addresses the word “appropriate” for me. It is basically a letter written by someone who is over the moon about BHRT. What is good in the letter is that he turned from a “given-up” old guy into an active guy.
I am not a “given-up” old guy, I’m having the best time of my life. I don’t have to work, and have sufficient pension to live this lifestyle. I swim 300m 3 times a week, and do some chilel. Where does it break down? Six months ago with the hormones. A changed diet has helped but not resolved all problems, and yet again I have become a pin cushion for the acupuncturist to try to balance the hormones. My hormone constitution is not causing illness, but I returned to the pin-couch because I felt the sniffles and because my sleep was all over the place – I would also note that my weight has gone up a little on the mediterranean diet.
I believe I need significant but not drastic tweaking, and that is why I am considering BHRT. Yesterday I investigated the possibility that the katoey pharmacy would be able to get “bioidenticals”. and the answer was no; I was willing to attempt melatonin adjustment myself. So if I go down this road it appears I have to deal with the Bangkok Hospital chain – starting in Bangkok; in other words load o’ money. Within reason I might do that.
Now back to the letter, how does this illustrate appropriateness? I am taking for granted that BHRT will produce benefits, but throughout the book Suzanne is promoting a panacea for youth. I don’t want youth, I just don’t want ill health and incapacity; I discussed this in hormone replacement
“My libido returned with a vengeance, and my wife keeps looking at me with that what-happened-to-you look. I have turned into a hiking fool and need to go straight up a mountain to get rid of this excess energy, and for the first time in my life, I am experiencing endorphins, which I love.“
A returning libido is the last thing I want, there’s enough unfulfilled desire issues in Thailand without my adding my libido. Presumably with use of testosterone I could mantain an erection, and have fulfilling sex but it doesn’t in terest me. I am much happier not having to deal with the libido
Some people think I have too much energy for my age. I am not one but I am far from listless. Whilst I watch too much TV I am not a TV cabbage. I sometimes have a tiredness issue when I am studying – particularly in the morning if I force myself to get up. I swim to keep fit, I do chilel to keep my energy levels up, and I have energy to work when I am not sleeping. Perhaps if I had to do a lecture tour or had greater demands on my time I would need more umph but for what I do Iam comfortable. I don’t need to be a hiking fool although in truth I would struggle if I had to go hiking. But that time has passed, I don’t need to be a westerner trying to keep up with shit.
“Most of my doctors told me not to do anything. “Let nature takes its course. We don’t know enough about testosterone and human growth hormone yet. Most of those supplements you are taking are probably ending up in Santa Monica Bay. Why do you want to do this?” [p173]” I feel like these doctors except that their expectations are way too low. This quote is from “premature-ageing” doctors, I want an appropriate-ageing doctor who would recognise a balanced regimen and help me keep it.
“I dumped all my doctors and found new ones who are young and forward-thinking. [p173]” Young sounds deadly. I don’t want to be a hormone-driven 20-something lurching from one personal relaionship crisis to another. I am an elder, and happy to be so. I have learnt about life. These “young forward-thinkers” might be fortunate enough to have stepped outside the box but they haven’t got my life of questioning. They don’t know why I am so much happier not having to deal with young shit.
“I feel better than I ever have and a lot better than any of my friends, who are really a bunch of grouchy old farts who pooh-pooh what I am doing while they are losing their minds and their bodies. [p173]” I already feel like this, I just want to improve.
After having a pop at this letter I read the interview with Suzanne’s son; this stood out for me:-
“He wasn’t trying to make me a twenty-five-year-old. That would be weird and dangerous. Everything is about moderation. Dr. Allen has been trying to get me five to seven years younger on the inside. That will manifest on the outside. That’s the benefit [p 177]” Now that’s more appropriate. But then he said this “I attributed a lot of that good feeling to the testosterone, the HGH, and the sixty-five vitamins, minerals, and Chinese herbs I take twice a day. [p178]” That pill-dropping is completely off – no way, where is that coming from?
It is interesting how the son was argueing for Lance Armstrong to be able to use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy [p179]. I have no idea what drugs “disgraced” Armstrong in the end but even if they were hormones that he took he knew the rules. Whether it is wise for an athlete to take hormones is a different question. Synthetic hormones definitely not. Are steroids hormones? There are no doubts that steroids some athletes take adversely affect them psychologically. Of course the problem with sports and drugs is that common sense is not the issue, athletes professional or otherwise seek performance enhancement to the detriment of their bodies, sort science is concerned with human performance whether at the expense of the athlete or not. Athletes often splodge after they have finished. I remember Billy Bremner. He was a midfield dynamo for Leeds when they still played football. He died with a pot belly at 44, I think after a stroke; my view, he was stretched to the extreme when playing. I think that extreme happens often in sport – legally or otherwise. Taking recommendations of sports adrenaline-junkies is not something I will do.
“Yes, those cells that make their own progesterone need to be healthy to keep making their own progesterone. So it’s really a balance between maintaining circulating levels of systemic hormones and replacing those that are no longer being produced.
Looking at all the hormones requires a balancing act among all of them. As we age, the synchronous production of hormones becomes dissynchronous. The rise and fall during the day gets dysregulated and upset, so part of the skill of replacing hormones is trying to bring some synchronous side to hormones. DHEA, for example, is probably best given at bedtime. [p186] “
Talking of Lance Armstrong brought up a memory of a squash friend (a couple of years older than me) who I thought of as an adrenaline junkie – before I knew about hormones – adrenaline was just a word for stuff that came in your body in sports or when you were hyped. I was 49 or 50, and playing the full squash session was a struggle for me. I used to be able to “give him a game” because I could hit winners thus making the scores more even. I am fairly sure I always lost but I can’t remember. My point about this was that after he played me he would go off into the gym to do weights whilst I struggled to a shower and jacuzzi. After a year of this he moved on jobs, and the next I heard he’d had a stroke. Our paths crossed again and he was a shadow of who he’d been – but he was in recovery, but there was still in him this adrenaline junkie but he couldn’t do it. It is more than 10 years since I’ve met him and he is still alive – I don’t know about the condition of his heart or physical exercise now. At that time I wasn’t particularly fit but he was over-the-top. Hormones a problem, maybe, but if he took bioidenticals would his mind feel the chemicals and he then push his heart too much?
At this point I was looking into bioidenticals so sought a solution online. Looking online for hormones is too risky. The people who answer are selling, they are not there to answer questions that will guide people away from their product. I contacted provacyl mentioning bioidentical, and asked about the contents getting a standard reply – reasonable. I pursued the query got the same reply. I wrote back saying my question wasn’t answered, and someone engaged saying that the product was herbal and encouraged hormone development so then I asked a two-part question:-
The first part got no reply, I asked if there were no synthetic hormones (lost the question.
But there was a reply to the second part of the same email with a further list of ingredients, some of which were hormones. Decision – too risky.
There was homeopathic melatonin online. They said melatonin was usually synthetic, I asked somewhere else but got no answer.
I would guess that all of the above took a month to grow. During that month I have almost completed a course of acupuncture. This acupuncture has seen a growth in energy levels (verified by the acunouncture pulses) but it has not seen a change in sleep patterns – nor has it altered the weight issue. Above I discussed cheese and butter. I overdid them. The plant-based diet saw the end of them – or at least I had thought so. Perfect 10 started me on Mediterranean, and that meant cheese and butter. When I overdid it, I got phlegm problems. I stopped the cheese and butter, and what happened cheese cravings. I think I am sufficiently in tune to recognise that this is not errant taste buds but a bodily need. Balanced cheese and butter are needed. Why Perfect 10 came up with 40% fats I don’t know but I feel it is in the ballpark.
But 40% fats is giving me weight!!! Danger!!!
I have arrived at my strategy. Humans produce their own hormones. There might be cases in which synthetic are appropriate – but not for me. Bioidentical seems to make sense. Measure hormones, an expert decides on an appropriate level, and then tops up with bioidenticals; makes sense. It is good use of intelligence to investigate Nature’s “bioidenticals” but is that use for normal ageing or if something is going wrong? I have decided on the latter.
The three tenets of Zandtao are clear:-
Improving the mind
Harmonising our energy
Taking care of our bodies
Now that I have a local acupuncturist I can balance the energy along with doing chilel; I can attend regularly if I feel energy is out-of-sync. I am following a balanced diet – with Perfect 10 adjustments. I can focus on certain things – such as seaweed for thyroid, and fruit-shots for the pineal. I trust balance, I trust Nature. There is exercise, sauna and massage. There are hormones to be monitored but pills-for-hormone-levels is not for me. Doesn’t feel natural; science in daily life need not push in that direction. Why shouldn’t I be out of balance now? I lived 55 years without diet, so why shouldn’t hormones have got screwed – especially when you consider other ways I screwed with my body. It is time to end hormone fixation. Watch them, follow the three tenets, and trust that Nature will return to normal. Don’t be attached to rupa – anatta – 3rd tenet.
I feel OK even though there are sleep and weight issues, that is what matters – long-term happiness.
I have been running a facebook thread about the troubles in Bangkok. As my analysis has got deeper it has become clear to me that Thailand’s Establishment is yellow and that supporting the Reds – even though they are the Thaksinocracy is important. Here is the thread:-
Before Occupy I used to be yellow. This was because I had no historical perspective in Thailand. I realised that Thaksin was extremely corrupt, and it was the yellow who were trying to bring him to order. It was also before there was a yellow government who killed 90 reds because the red demonstration was disrupting commerce. Now the yellows are demonstrating with a platform of non-democratic reform, are disrupting commerce, and the government is not responding with violence. When Thaksin was ousted there were deep divisions, and the red outcry was poverty. The yellows claimed that Thaksin was buying them off but when the yellows were in power they made no effort to heal the wounds through fair governance; they just continued with policies that favoured the Bangkok Elite. With this increased historical awareness of Thai politics it became clear to me that the division was not just based on Thaksin.
Thailand’s division is also geographical with the Red parties favouring the North and North East (Issan), and the Yellow parties favouring the Bangkok Elite and the South. The geographical nature of this division is also reflected in a division of production. Issan produces rice and the South produces rubber. A significant bone of contention with the current government concerns a subsidy for rice. The Yellows are claiming that this subsidy does not have balanced accounts – subsidies never do. The Red government are failing to honour subsidy pledges. Apparently there are rice stockpiles that haven’t been sold, and the government have failed to raise a loan to honour the subsidies because the banks are refusing to lend the money. Why are the banks refusing? Banks are in business to profit from loans so why aren’t they lending to a safe payer?
So is this all about the 1% or is Thailand different? Well every country is different, and it is not always clear how the 1% works. The first tell-tale sign is the distribution of money. In Thailand there are wealthy business families and landowners, and there are many poor farmers and peasants as well as cheap industrial labour. This is a 1% benchmark. The Thai political parties are of a particular type, they are parties formed around an individual or business interest rather than a political platform. Ostensibly in the UK the Labour party represents the working-class, in the US the Democrats represent democratic policy supposedly, and so on. In the West we expect political parties to at least pay lip-service to a political platform. In Thailand that is not the case, as far as I can gather a political party represents a particular financial interest. It is therefore not unusual for the Pheu Thai party simply to be a vehicle for one person and what they do – the Thaksinocracy. The allegiance of the voters appears to be what the party can do for them. In the end that is the case in the UK but at least Labour used to represent the working-class in the class struggle. Of course that is not the case now. It is very important to understand this historical allegiance. In the UK there are traditional Labour voters, in view of the conduct of Tony Blair and with an understanding of 1% politics such voters need now to review their allegiance. [This review is particularly important for the communist parties whose analysis as far as I can gather has failed to change with the emergence of the global Occupy movement, Horizontalidad, etc.] So what are the allegiances of Thai politics? That is difficult for me to know as I am not steeped in Thai politics, but that does not mean the 1% model does not apply.
In some ways the 1% model applies to Thailand more than in the US and the UK. These individualist parties are particularly concerned with financial accumulation, Pheu Thai accumulation to the Thaksin family and the Yellows accumulation to the business elite. At least in the UK there was the Labour movement, and in the US democracy and libertarianism; although now elections are dominated by campaign contributions typified, but not exclusively, by the Citizen’s United ruling.
Lifting the Veil describes the political model of the 1%. It is a model that plays out a charade in public of animosity between two leading parties, but when either gets in power the policies are those which increase accumulation to the 1%. This is exactly what happens in Thailand, however there is a legitimate distinction that is interesting. The 1% whilst greed is their underlying motivation have recognised the need for unity within their ranks, with Thaksin separating from the 1% fold in Thailand we have perhaps a different situation.
But the real issue of all politics is where does the money go? Quite simply the money goes to the rich. Historically this has been the case in Thailand as anywhere else. With the money going to the rich sensible politics argues for any party that will increase the percentage going to the poor. Although the motivations of the Thaksinocracy are to increase personal wealth their policies have increased the money that goes to the poor. Where did the Thaksinocrats get their money from? The Bangkok Elite. Money that previously flowed to them began to flow towards the Thaksin fortunes with some landing in the pockets of the rural poor. This small margin is what is worth supporting the Reds for. This Thaksinocracy would never allow a revolution in which the ruling-class would change to labour, but with the working people of Thailand so divided such a class struggle is far from a possible outcome.
Is violence a possibility? Of course there has been some violence, and most wars are fought between the rich to determine which rich get the wealth. I consider this unlikely because the military are very clearly behind the Bangkok 1%. Such incidences of the murder of the 90 Reds could well happen again if a yellow substitute, such as the Senate, is forced into power. In fact I would see such violence a likelihood when the yellow 1% divert the democratic process.
When you consider Thai politics in terms of the 1% it is easily understood. Government agencies do not carry out their duties evidenced by the failure to ensure the availability of the electoral-democratic process on Feb 2. The Yellow demonstrators are appealing to their backers to bring the army in to oust the legitimately-voted Red government. This is not government having control otherwise why wouldn’t the government ensure that there was the possibility of 95% of the seats. At the same time why hasn’t the government got a loan to pay the rice subsidy? Banking practice normally takes on a secure loan, but as the 1% they fear the continued emergence of the
Whilst Yingluck appears to be becoming a statesman don’t be deluded she has control.
Doris Lessing died on the 17th November last year; she was, and still is, my favourite author. When I was still teaching in London term-time was full of booze but somewhere inside of me the spirit emerged during the Summer holidays. Part of those holidays was walking but a most significant part when I wasn’t writing (ie most of the time) was reading. Two Summers of reading were Doris Lessing. I can’t remember what I read the first year but I know it included some of Martha Quest, the second year was the Shikasta books. I would love to read Shikasta again but I start and then stop; maybe reading them would coincide in a serious effort towards novel-writing again. And I must also mention African Laughter which I read when living in Botswana, it was a great perspective. She will have much to offer to all even in her death. Try these 31 Doris Lessing books.
People still speak about the power of government. They attack the government blaming the government for what is happening. The governments are employed puppets, and their individual payment depends on how much they do for the 1% – look at Tony Blair. The struggle is not just against government but also in the workplace. Against the government we can make their lives uncomfortable and perhaps change some policies. But when we force a change they redirect their aims, there cannot be genuine democracy whilst the people in power do not have democracy as their agenda. Politicians need to be trusted to act in the interest of the people, but they are not they are working for the 1% paying lip-service to democracy and/or morality. Activists cannot mobilise against every action these puppets do. This Trans-pacific partnership (or this) is going to provide huge benefits for the 1%, how can activists mobilise against this? Who even knows what it does? (I don’t).
Trade unions now have little bite. Union action used to be able to halt production lines, but now they just move the plant. But who make sthe decisions to move the plant? Who does the work to provide the bosses with the information? Who researches where such plants are viable? These working people make daily compromises that damage the state of the planet and fellow man. It’s all fair in business is what is killing us, killing the planet. It is individuals who have to find a way to live their lives in conscience – not as puppets. I am a politician, I am a puppet, I am a teacher, I am a puppet, I am middle management, I am a puppet. No I am not a puppet, I am a person of conscience, I live my life by truth and compassion. Foolish rantings, maybe. But sadly it is the only way forward.
I am mainly writing this because this blog can be a resource of recent publications:-
Oxfam have written a report about the 1% – Working for the Few
The Transnational Institute have written State of Power
and have given some infographics:-
You don’t have to know these numbers, if you know the 1% you know the truth. But maybe some people pretend they want convincing, in reality they are living with their compromise.
Be skeptical, learn to listen (The 5th Agreement)
The truth is silent knowledge, it just is. There are no words to describe that , because once you describe the truth it is not true – it is an idea.
So how do we live with this? And the answer is to learn to listen to this truth. Be skeptical means not accepting any of the stories, illusions, beliefs and lies that make up the contents of your mind. These contents are not truth. Even such an obvious description of society as the 1% are exploiting the world needs questioning. It needs updating, what we think of as 1%, exploiting etc all needs updating, they constantly change. What is your relationship to this description? Does this change? You need to learn to listen to what is happening around you and ask questions.
When someone argues with you about the 1%, learn to listen. Why do they choose not to understand such an obvious description? Maybe it is fear. They have their homes and families, so recognising that their security is based on a group of people exploiting the poor and destitute of the world is perhaps too difficult to come to terms with; after all they only want a home and family. Listen, maybe they do agree but can’t say.
Maybe they can’t agree with you because of what you would expect of them. The 1% exploit, my home comes from their exploitation, I cannot give up my home and my family, what do you want me to do? Listen, find where you agree and be satisified with that. It is not the agreement that matters – the agreement is only an idea. It is the questioning, the listening together.
Trying to understand the dream of the other person, trying to understand their traps, trying to understand their delusions, this is discussion – learn to listen and question together. We must all compromise with the 1%, as they control the currency. Learning to listen to how another compromises, how their compassion and insight works, this is discussion. And if discussion is conducted in this way then maybe when the person is not comfortable with their compromise they will talk to you. The world we live in can be a great source of suffering, for most this suffering comes from subscribing to the system the 1% has created. Even the 1% are caught in the world of suffering they create eg Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada. Don’t envy the 1%, they are not happy. They have their own traps, they are caught in their own power games, their own demands for more money, their lifestyle has stresses around striving for money and power. Listen to these people when they talk, and ask yourself if you were saying that would you be happy?
Listen and question, these are such great sources of happiness because we can learn and see through all the false demons we erect as deities, all the ideas we create as belief-traps, all the beliefs about ourselves that we also create as false images of ourselves. I am this person, I must live up to this image, I must behave this way, where is the freedom in these traps? Look at your behaviour and listen to your mind as it observes your behaviour. Are you free from the chattering of your own mind?
Tags: apartheid, Corporatocracy, Intellectual
Here is an interesting documentary on apartheid by Pilger:-
It was made in the late 90′s and it questions the liberation struggle. For me Pilger showed his Trot roots but at the same time there were aspects of his humanity that make his Trotskyism difficult to dismiss.
Before getting into the main theme of this blog I want to ask the question “what did the Trots want to see as the end of Apartheid?” One can understand criticisms that the Freedom Charter was dismissed in favour of maintaining the previous economic system, he later referred to as Global Apartheid, whose current term Occupy has given as 1%. But to maintain the Freedom Charter would have seen the end of money in South Africa, would have seen white flight, and would have left a destitute country along the lines of what I perceive Zimbabwe is now. Did Pilger want South Africa to be the same as the rest of sub-Saharan Africa – the rest of Bantu Africa? What do we have there? Black puppet dictatorships with the power-elites of those countries treating their black countrymen as bad as, if not worse than, the white supremacists of South Africa. It is this reality that I saw. Before going to Botswana I hated the Afrikaaner accent – this was my western socialism. Once in Africa I saw the damage that the puppet dictators were doing to their own people, and the only complaints in the West was that their donor money was being misappropriated. South Africa continues to be a player in the world economy, all of its people have benefitted to some extent although it is quite clear that a number of richer blacks have been bought off. But of course this was to be expected. What did the Civil Rights Movement produce in America? A wealthy black middle-class. Pilger is right to expose what has happened (1998), and probably continues to happen (2013).
Pilger alluded to some of the following, should he have done more? For the West the apartheid struggle was totally liberal. By this I mean that the western version of the struggle was concerning the liberal issue of race. It was the abhorrence of racial difference being enshrined in a constitution that raised the sheckles of western liberals. If one were to look round other parts of Africa at the time you would see poverty, you would see huge disparities of wealth, and you would see economic systems in these countries that enriched a few in the country and maintained the flow of profits to western multinationals – bog standard neo-colonial exploitation. Apart from putting a snip in the Oxfam envelope these scenarios did not disturb western liberals. But South Africa did because the rulers were white and they maintained a white power over blacks. This horrified the western middle-classes. Western governments had to hide their allegiances – Maggie was a friend of white South Africa but never made a public display of it even though she displayed horrendous behaviour to her own working-class.
The issue was always liberal – middle-class. So when it ended there was no interest amongst white middle-classes to see a class revolution, they wanted a liberal model and Mandela delivered that. And the ANC continues to deliver that.
However for the very same reasons of liberalism this was an important victory for the world’s middle-classes – and therefore for the 1%. Middle-class liberals who boycotted SA produce, who supported Gleneagles, can turn round and say they were part of a victory, a liberal victory in which race was not part of the constitution. But South Africa continues to work within the Global 1%, South Africa is now the same exploited model that the UK is. A country of wage-slaves in which a few make profits. The 99% suffer the same in South Africa as they do in the UK as they do in Europe, as they do in the US. In all these countries the middle-classes are bought off, and are just higher-paid wage slaves. But they perceive themselves as choosing their work, choosing their professions, choosing which type of wage-slavery. Since apartheid South Africa is the same with the same liberal attitudes. The whites can have their liberal issues, they can complain that the wealthy don’t care enough for the people, and can campaign liberally (especially all aspects of ecology is a proud issue in white SA) without the discomfort of knowing that race is constiutionalised.
But none of what is now accepted is a solution. The middle-class are wage-slaves globally but because of their share of the pickings they consider themselves different from the working-class – 99%. This divide is important in maintaining exploitation by the 1%. Working together the 99%, working-class and middle-class, might be able to do something; as the 99% our struggles are the same. Separated nothing will happen. As always political analysis comes down to recognising that the only possible way forward is Unity, politically as the 99% – and spiritually we are ONE planet.
Tags: Corporatocracy, Insight, Intellectual
I recently watched Homeland series 3, and found it very gripping. I noted from the beginning of Homeland that it was originally an Israeli series so was prepared for propoganda. Undoubtedly throughout the series there was such propoganda, primarily anti-Islam. There is a subtle distinction drawn in the rhetoric of western governments that it is Islamic terrorists that they are targetting. But when you see the actions of the western military this is clearly not the case. When you see the rise in Islamophobia since 9/11 you can see what the reality is.
Since the post-war creation of Israel the country’s media has developed an anti-Arab position. Their target is Arabia, and more recently has moved beyond the Arab world – to the wider Muslim world starting with Iran. The Israeli view presented through their propoganda is that the Muslim world is the aggressor. They then claim that the media is biased against them, and as far as I know the majority of Israelis accept this. The power and influence of the Israeli lobby in the West is such that many westerners believe similar. Personally I have no doubts at all that the aggressors in the Middle East are the Zionist regime backed by international business – the 1%. On such matters I will not be able to persuade you nor will I try to. I would ask only that you read widely and use insight, not emotion, to reflect on what you read.
Homeland is anti-Islam, and not anti-terrorist. At the time that Brody was a bomber, his preparation for bombing was the prayer mat. What association does that bring? I have heard racism that Muslims are happy to die as suicide bombers because in heaven they will be heroes. No-one is happy to commit suicide, in the same way no-one is happy to go to war. They see it as duty or moral imperative. What imperative drives someone to commit suicide? They must feel so desperate.
In this 3rd series I ask “what do you think of Venezuela?” It’s a half-built slum run by crooks who can shoot Imams. I have never been to Caracas. It is a country I am interested in because of democratic advances made as described in this film Beyond Elections – and others. When I listened to the background noise of Caracas I heard an Arab city. Did you hear that, or is just me? What associations are we being asked to draw?
If I analyse Homeland too much paranoia could be perceived. I don’t want that perception (I am not paranoid!!! ) nor am I encouraging such analysis. Analysis is a waste of time without sound insight as a base. Homeland was gripping, good television, at least I thought so. More and more it seems to me what is coming out in mainstream media and movies is that they are better made and more gripping. I suppose it is only natural that this happens. The entertainment industry is getting more and more powerful, and I would suggest that this influence is being recognised more and more by the 1%; as such there is more investment in that influence. The quality of the programmes in their terms as described by words such as gripping must come from experience as workers learn more about their craft. Through the media I would suggest that it is impossible to analyse the truth, what is needed is insight – discernment based on insight.
Here is a documentary called Subconscious war (download or watch):-
. For me this clearly shows that war is being presented as acceptable to western culture. Drones are the most heinous weapons, and with video games drone operators are being trained. If a young “patriot” is already into “shoot-em-up”, it takes little indoctrination to accept atrocity by drone. It just needs the people to be quiet for this to happen; there will always be a few who will operate such machines, but the people don’t have to be quiet. Insight can never be a solution for the drone operators, media and indoctrination of the few is way too powerful. But maybe insight is enough for the rest. The 1% control the media, there is no way that we can ever consider the media as offering balanced debate – no matter how much the presenters delude themselves. We have to see through this process, and we have a tool for that – insight. We will never be taught this insight, any efforts at mainstream teaching of insight will be appropriated and diverted. But it is not something that can be taught, it can only be learnt through experience – travel – and brought more under control by meditation. Insight.
Here is a more analytical view of what is happening, Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent:-
His analysis of neo-liberalism and the media is very clear and inarguable. So why do people disagree? Emotional reasons, prior beliefs, indoctrination. It would take a world of Chomskys to make those people believe, and then there would only be agreement because the majority say. We need to see analysis, but without the insight the analysis will just pass us by. Don’t get hooked on analysis, intellectualism, a set of beliefs as a means of overcoming what we are subjected to, they will never work. Insight is the only thing that has a chance of working.
Our minds are extremely powerful and much of their capabilities remain untapped. This is generally accepted but what is unclear is what that tapping means.
Historically I can conceive of times in which the powers of man had been “tapped”. I can conceive of a time in which such powers were much more in daily use. Images of Atlantis and Atlantean powers touch the imagination. The powers of Leadbetter and his patronising “believe in them because I tell you” ring through when I consider powers.
But what has to be understood is that these powers are natural, and when Nature wants to give you these powers Nature will do so. Personally we need to be ready to control the power we have, and for the majority of the people in the world today Nature has “decreed” that such powers are best left dormant. I could imagine when people are more aware of their own Paths and able to cope with such additional awareness the human abilities that come in as “powers” will manifest.
India is a place that smacks of “glamour”. Glamour is a term I came across years ago (I vaguely remember a book called “Glamour” by Frederic Lionel but have not been able to confirm its existence), and it was used to describe powers that were associated with the Path and spiritual awareness, for some description of this glamour you could search for siddhis in wikipedia. Far too many on the Path, including myself to a small extent, dreamed of such powers, and rather than learning about the discipline of the Path were seeking power through the Path. This came to me in Greece. I was on holiday and I was reading one of the Seth books by Jane Roberts. To me this was a book about glamour, and I was staying in a hotel imagining in an earlier life I was a Greek warrior wandering down the mountain passed my hotel to the sea. This was a preoccupation, that thankfully that holiday I eschewed; that was the holiday I eschewed Glamour. I remember previously reading Alisteir Crowley’s book “Diary of a Drug Fiend”. It was a powerful book, and I got hooked into it – it was enthralling. I began to think I should try the stuff, and when I realised I was thinking that I stopped reading; it was trapping me. This dark side can sneak up on you in so many ways, it has power you have to be so careful. And how does it suck you in? Ego. It says you can control the drug, take it you will be in control. I could never control the booze, how can I can control more addictive stuff?
Dreaming of power (controlling drug abuse) of course is a delusion of the ego. I am not saying that people cannot subvert spiritual disciplines such as meditation and yoga so that they can attain powers, but I am asking “is that what Nature intended?”
If such powers come to me through meditation and insight, albeit. There will presumably be a reason although I can’t see why at the moment. I don’t want to be rich I want to be happy. I might be able to become rich if I invested time and effort in trying to become rich, but that will be time that could have been more beneficially spent on the Path. That is the point. I could say exactly the same about powers, focussing on powers would be taking my energy away from the Path, away from Peace.
In our messed-up world I believe people can use drugs to mess around with these powers – personally I haven’t done this so I don’t know for sure. I believe that people can waken these powers from Nature’s dormancy through drugs and/or other focusses that are not Path. But what happens when they do? These awakened siddhis are not under control, they are not integrated into the human awareness because they were not developed on the Path. As a result they disturb the people who have dabbled with them. I could imagine this could have disastrous consequences.
There is always hope for such people – insight. They can always return to the Path, and the Path through Insight will give them back control. Insight is the Natural tool of control.
But if I had such a power would I want to subjugate it to insight? I suspect not. My ego would want to attach to such powers, and would deride those without. So it is unlikely they will listen to their inner voices who would scream for balance and control through insight.
Insight is not only capable of controlling powers, it can control emotion. Anger is an issue I have always had to contend with. I grew up an Angry Young Man. Why was I angry? I had to work in a system that was so far from the Path, and my ego was too important to accept what everyone else accepts. This is dukkha, and we have to do it so why be angry? But I was always too egotistical believing that because I was right I could be angry with others. This made for a nasty person especially when young. We have no right to treat others badly no matter how we judge their Path or lack of. People live their lives the way they do, that is their being. Accept this. Don’t ignore reality, don’t ignore this is a world whose system is run for the purpose of accumulating profits for the 1%. But don’t demand change, that is brickwalling. Work for change but don’t expect it. Work for change because you are happy working for change – then it is your Path. But if it makes you unhappy it is not your Path, Path is the benchmark – the measurer, and how do you recognise that measure – the HQ – Happiness Quotient.
Emotions, siddhis, glamour, they are not happiness. If they come along observe and move on, integrate them with insight into your Path of happiness.