Archive for the ‘Struggle’ Category

Venezuela and John Oliver

Posted: 10/06/2018 by zandtao in Democracy, Freedom, Media, Struggle


I usually watch John Oliver, and have generally seen his show as sensible and being well researched. At the time I was somewhat dismayed when I heard this programme on Venezuela. For years I had known about US intervention in Venezuela – as usual intervention because of oil, but when I heard Oliver’s programme doubts were cast. Rather stupidly I didn’t follow up my doubts.

I just caught the truth here. I picked it up from the Real News Network, it is from Empire Files (youtube channel) and is a blow-by-blow debunking of John Oliver’s bias (I hope they haven’t made any errors as it will be aired). If you are interested in seeing how colonialist bias works, watch this:-

I take everything I watch on TV with a pinch of salt – always have. But it is disappointing to see John Oliver collaborating so much. If I am any judge there is no doubt in my mind that in general the researchers are working for positive change – the American word “progressive”. However his discussion of Venezuela is part of the collective fear of socialism as exhibited with the only consistency on the IDWeb (socialism and IDWeb discussed here). I cannot accept that amongst those researchers they are not just bleeting liberals, I am sure there are socialists working there. Why did they push this out? It was not a big issue for the US, why did they accept whatever pressures were put on them?

It makes me more frightened of Trump’s America – and that is not something I thought I could say. Liberal issues are controlled. People are able to discuss them because they have been sufficiently countered by the ranting right description of snowflakes. I know Hillary colluded with neo-liberalism but why are John Oliver and his research team? They could have ignored Venezuela, why put out the propaganda?

Censorship is getting worse.

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Dangerous Times

Posted: 26/05/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, ONE planet, Struggle
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We are living in dangerous times, I am so deeply afraid for the future; I see nothing changing for the better.

Where is the direction of Gaia, Mother Earth? Where is the direction to end war? Where is the direction to end wage-slavery?

Nowhere.

Where is the direction now? Increasing repression through repression on both sides. Repression helps no-one because it makes no change. It simply covers over the cracks, it Grenfells – gentrifies. This increasing repression is polarising society, and we are not examining this polarisation because we are stuck in our own media bubbles. Understanding through detachment has been replaced by repression based on positions – moral or otherwise.

This aspect of repression started with what Jordan Peterson calls PC-authoritarianism. This man is part of a right-wing egotistical freedom movement who are very dangerous, and has been rightly criticised here. But however sound the criticism it doesn’t matter, our world is polarised and what is said in the NYT does not matter to those listening to Peterson. And what is worse the world is moving more to sympathy for Peterson’s right-wing egotism because the finance is there to support Peterson and the IDweb. Meanwhile the 1% exploit through a Trump facade.

We have not learnt the lesson of PC-authoritarianism. I am going to examine how I see the personal history of PC. Back in the 70s racist language was common-place, at that time it didn’t matter to most people that this language was offensive – offensive language was used in the presence of black people and black people were considered to have a chip if they didn’t accept it. Slowly things began to change in that repressing racist language and removal of racist images improved the general ethos. But it was never meant to be censorship alone, it was meant to be a two-pronged approach in which removal of poor use of language went hand-in-hand with how racism was harmful for everyone. However there wasn’t much effort put into the educational side, and when Blair got into power there was increased repression on the language without any effort being made towards education.

When people are repressed there is a pressure situation built up because the source of the problem had not gone away. These repressed people were still racist. On the surface the problem of racism had been sugarcoated but nothing had been done about the squalid racist mire underneath. As a result when they started funding the alt-right, out came the racists again. There are now increased racist attacks, and racist intellectuals barely bother to disguise themselves as in the IDWeb.

I spent many an hour discussing politics with a neighbour. He did not disagree with any of the issues I raised such as war, exploitation wage-slavery, the 1%, Wall Street. However his mind was so warped with racism that he occasionally expressed to me concerning the difficulties of employing Aborigine workers, and how his liberty was infringed by regulations that protected them. He was also strongly against PC-authoritarianism. These combined were sufficient as he turned out to be a Trump supporter. In other words his racism mattered more than anything else except the PC-police. Of course this is an ignorant position but Trump’s backroom staff knew that the root issue was racism. All the years in which there was some form of PC-ascendancy nothing was actually done about racism, it was only repressed and it is now back in full force in some communities.

Racism is now so strong that this form of state repression is acceptable. Trump says that he would like NFL owners to drop players who took the knee. Now they have agreed that there will be a penalty if players take the knee. This is fascism:-

I first began this blog thinking about this meme:-

I first thought this was great, but then … Is the meme asking that the nephew be educated as to why repeated “no” is harassment or just being told “don’t ask more than once”? Then I began thinking about the relationship thing. Relationship is not about politics, I know how much I hated it when I went home and got it in the neck from a partner who was angry and treated me as a representative of patriarchy – I benefit from the privilege of being a member of the imperialist, white supremacist patriarchy but in my home I can offer empathy; I would however liked to have been me.

Now what happens to this “nephew”? Maybe he is down, maybe it took a great deal to ask. Will the girl think about it, realise she made a mistake and ask him out? Rather than an opportunity to warn the nephew against possible harassment, isn’t this an opportunity to help promote good relationship? Maybe the mother (of the nephew) could involve the mother of the girl in discussion about how to promote relationship.

I don’t want the nephew to ask again, I want a society in which relationship can be built. Can mothers teach daughters to ask a boy out? Can this be done without the girl being perceived as a “slut”? Can we help our young people build relationship?

Or do we remain slaves to sets of ideals which create separation?

It also made me concerned about that ugly brute, male lust. We have reached the stage where right-wing egotistical patriarchs such as Jordan Peterson are attaching blame to women because men not in a relationship behave badly (see NYT article). Peterson is at least recognising the problem in part – the ugliness of male lust. Where are men taught to deal with this? It is a horrible brute, variable in that it is not the same in all men. Some women equate this ugly brute with their own desire; this might be true as I have no experience of how a woman experiences desire – but equally women have no experience of this ugly brute. In relationship all matters need to be brought to the table, discussed, and a mutual understanding be reached. Bringing idealism to the relationship table does not help. If men with Peterson ideals expect women to return to being pliant kitchen chattels, there is only oppression. If women expect men to behave by following a set of rules that they create, there is no relationship. In a heterosexual couple there are two people of the opposite genders seeking to form a relationship, this can only be achieved through mutual love, mutual respect and mutual enabling. Leave the rule book where it belongs.

And that is the problem with our dangerous times, we are allowing ourselves to be dominated by rule books. We need to live together through mutual love, mutual respect and mutual enabling. And to paraphrase Paulette Jordan, love of Gaia. I wish her so much luck, how can she hope to bring Unity in times which have been so intentionally divided.

What good people have to realise politically is that being correct is nowhere near enough, having good ideals is nowhere near enough, having compassion is nowhere near enough. The point is that the 1% have the power and money, they can pay for any form of violent support for what they do. Antifa can be squashed any day they want them to be squashed. The only power that we have as people is togetherness, black and white together, women and men together, using rules to divide us even if these rules might be correct only works in favour of the 1%. Science has proven climate change for decades, the Koch brothers have “faked” climate denial in just one. Who is winning? Find ways of working together. Unity for Gaia.

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Nowhere to Hide

Posted: 25/05/2018 by zandtao in Struggle
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I have been doing some light listening in the car – bell hooks, and it is excellent. I am MAWP so I am part of the imperialist white supremacist patriarchal system that she continually questions. When you listen to her you have to question what you are doing about race, and I have been complacent about that. Partly that complacency stems from living with black women who looked to me for knowledge on the struggles of black people, partly that complacency comes from things like the Young Journal, partly that complacency comes from learning from Ndeh and Omwody, and partly that complacency comes from being MAWP and knowing that whenever I want I can hide from the results of MAWPs. I can hide within the very imperialist white supremacist patriarchal system I hate. I have no skin that prevents me from hiding.

I compare bell with how I felt about Krishnamurti. When I was about 30 I spent a few years attending the Krishnamurti gatherings at Brockwood park. At that time I was focussed on spirituality trying to come to terms with my understanding, and I would listen as he would say empty your contents of consciousness. I would internally scream at him that I am trying to come to terms with understanding and yet you tell me empty. It was a permanent spiritual revolution, and needed.

Listening to bell is a permanent societal revolution, everything has to be questioned because it is imperialist white supremacist patriarchal. As a MAWP I am not going to have conflict because it is MAWPs who are the problem – apart from the 1% of which MAWPs are their foremen.

It is the state of permanent revolution which is the end of addiction to self Ch 22, it is permanent revolution that ends conditioning, it is permanent revolution that is the practice of Ch 23, and it is permanent revolution that is the pathtivism that I put forward in Ch 24:-

Listening to bell is comfortable because it unhinges any attachment I might have. If I am not agreeing with her – maybe thinking she goes too far, I can stop myself and say that is addiction to conditioning – and let it go.

She makes me evaluate class. That in itself is a good thing. Class is Marxist and therefore MAWP no matter how much socialists argue – ask Russell Means about Europeans. But at the same time the 99% are exploited and provided Gaia is happy somehow working for Unity against the 1% has to underpin the permanent non-violent revolution – unless it becomes legitimately violent and that is very very unlikely as realistically there will never be that level of consciousness amongst the 99%. Working with black comrades in a state of permanent revolution means constant deep listening as each new turn shows how MAWP I am, and how unintentionally I perpetuate the imperialist white supremacist patriarchal system simply by having the conditioning. This deep listening is of course completely liberating no matter how much my ego screams that I have much to offer.

I should think seriously about how to add permanent revolution to the practice of the Treatise. Will I wait and see if Holybooks comes through?

I know bell is Buddhist but she talks much of desire – and there was self esteem that I questioned. I have mixed reactions to her occasional focus on black women fulfilling their sexual desire. On the one hand it is a celebration of self-realisation but on the other it is indulging desire, and attachment to desire is addiction to self – and is therefore not following the path. Following the path is permanent revolution but most don’t have the awareness to follow the path; such celebration of self-realisation is an intermediary step.

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Love and Self-esteem

Posted: 19/05/2018 by zandtao in Insight, Struggle
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In the car I have been listening to bell hooks, such an interesting writer. I have downloaded a series of audios on bell hooks – it is readings from several of her books. I had to check the USB because I wasn’t sure even though what was being said sounded like her. But there is a problem, unlike Russell’s conversation podcasts there is too much content for when I am driving.

But it is about love and self-esteem, and she said “go back to your childhood”. This is a strategy I like, and on love and self-esteem again I feel incredibly lucky. I have to assume as context what I have described in the , in this case especially Ch 21 – My Path. I am unwilling to be specific about my home as my mother would not have liked it, but I can describe it in general as I have in being middleclassed as described in the chapter on My Path. Characteristics of being middleclassed are emotional repression and a focus on education leading to house car and education for children. As I have said previously, from my upbringing I emerged middleclassed but, significantly, relatively undamaged and with sufficient bits of paper for passports into life. When I look around this is more than I could have asked for.

In terms of self-esteem being middleclassed makes it easy to understand. I had the arrogance of academic success and as the middleclass straitjacket only really measured this my self-esteem was well intact.

As for love, self-love and other issues that Bell discusses, in my childhood these were de rigueur. In middle-class homes there was love but it was not expressed as emotion, passion; it was expressed as the straitjacket. The first thing I did when I hit bottom was to run back to the straitjacket, this is what being middleclassed provided. When I went to uni I questioned this straitjacket because I was beginning to remove it, but now I don’t – it was a comfort. I cannot advocate the middleclassed home but all-in-all it served me well.

With regards to teen and young adult relationships I was incredibly shy and awkward – undoubtedly in part a product of being middleclassed. In my early teens I dropped opportunities for relationship learning until I left new possibilities behind as too difficult. At uni I was drunk and most undesirable. At these times wanting a relationship was a conditioned thing, it was expected to have one; the “alpha males” I looked up to at that time flitted through relationships (people I later derided as Martin Smoothchatter). I say this in part was due to my being middleclassed but I also feel the path saved me – no idea how the path did it. I can think back to times where my awkwardness prevented me from relating to some wonderful women, but women who that underdeveloped self would have adored and left that adoring self very distant from the path.

In terms of self-esteem I had that in spades because all that mattered was education. Self-love never rose at that time because I so identified with the self-esteem of academic success. But then came the upheaval that started me on the path (again I refer you to Ch 21 for details). As path is unconditional love, this of course changed everything – including with regards to relationship. I became the wandering compassion at the time confused in terms of conscious awareness, but driven by path I was just learning. To begin with love of an other wasn’t the priority although the conditioning to have a relationship was there, I still had the conditioning of the cosmic love of an other. This conditioning confused me especially as in terms of the world I was so immature but the path priority drove me through the conditioning; I still had my awkwardness that prevented formation of relationships.

Once I settled into teaching a self formed. This self was based in the path, I knew who I was and relationships happened because of who I was – the self that the path had formed. There were two women I loved, and they are important in understanding the love that is now me – now part of my path. My first love happened when the woman was still in a relationship. You have to remember that I was immature and did not understand the world. The three of us spoke about this love, my lover’s relationship fizzled out, and this erstwhile lover who I thought was a friend didn’t want to know me – I am sorry it was my immaturity. There were further barriers on my lover’s part in this love, and by the time she really started to respond to my love my love was waning. And my path and independence took over until the relationship petered out and she left London.

My second love was an absolutely intense disaster that I described as worse than Peyton Place. I deeply loved this woman and I got absolutely hammered by pain. By the end of the relationship of nearly three years I was very much an alcoholic – the relationship did not cause the drug dependency but made it worse, much worse. When we separated she still agreed to see me, but very rarely and that petered out after a further 2 or 3 years.

With both of these I had deeply loved an other, but neither lasted a lifetime. Love however did. I had experienced love and that experience meant I knew love, love was always there. And that love can best be described by this Eckhart Tolle meme:-

It was only when I was mature (since retirement) did I realise that I was grateful for how I came to know love. The pain of the second love had been internalised and lasted a long time. Maybe 8 years after the start of that relationship I was in Nyanga and managed to dig out a significant part of that pain, relived it and let it go. And then maybe three years ago I finally came to the realisation that I had loved, love was in me and that I was grateful for the women I had loved – especially the second one.

To return to Bell’s books. I never really had self love. Because I started on the path so young, there was the love that belonged to the path. The path and conditioning and lust took me into relationships (2 significant loving ones) – my path had not matured enough to go beyond this conditioning; remember, this is how I describe path:-

I never loved when I was still relating to self-esteem. When that self-esteem blew up in the upheaval there was path, I never had to love myself as Bell describes. Path is unconditioned love, to think about loving it is a dichotomy that just doesn’t apply. I developed a love of others, but the love of self didn’t apply because the path was beyond self – anatta – no-self. I can relate to the love Eckhart describes but Bell’s descriptions are based in self and in terms of love I bypassed that self mostly – I of course had self in other ways as described in Ch22 on addiction.

The following is speculation as I did not experience it. I want to try and relate to what Bell says – as she is my feminist guide. Because I was middleclassed I grew up with self-esteem but I was completely awkward – lacking in any self-esteem in terms of relationships. My conditioning turned me to drink at uni, and relationships became secondary. I had many passions, a combination of conditioning and intellectual constructs that I should love, and occasional near misses where I was lucky that my awkwardness did not allow adoration. And then came the path. I never needed self-love because I had the path. Self-love conceivably is a stage before anatta. Many never move to anatta, and self-love is an important instinct for survival as Bell describes. For me this is conjecture.

Because I loved, once the pain had passed there was conscious love in me; love that was always there emerged without much pain – intense pain for a short time.

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Lasting Change

Posted: 17/05/2018 by zandtao in Media, Struggle
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My niece posted a Zerlina Maxwell clip on her facebook page. In this clip Zerlina berates the rape culture which is prevalent in movies. However her examples were primarily 80s and 90s. In my view although things might appear to be better now in the movies, I wonder how much they are. Here is a view of the “adorkable misogyny” in The Big Bang Theory which suggests there is much to change.

There is no doubt that in my lifetime images of women in media have improved. I grew up on a diet of Carry On films and Benny Hill shows in which the white patriarchy’s portrayal of women was usually just as sex objects in which sexual titilation was turned into humour. Such humour would not now be accepted in mainstream, I believe – I don’t watch it. With the #metoo movement such a rape culture has been driven underground but I question whether it has gone. To answer that I wish to draw a parallel with race.

When I grew up overt racism was acceptable, racist language was commonplace and was used in good homes as well as bad. Back in the 70s the politically-correct movement started where it was recognised that the use of such language publicly should be stopped, and over time in the mainstream it was; I question whether it stopped in homes. However when this PC-movement for correcting language started it was recognised that there should be an educational movement attached to help people become aware of the deeper sources of racism. For people like myself to see Trevor Phillips be part of the Blair government (I wasn’t in the UK then) would have been a real sign of progress. However Trevor in a recent documentary, “Has political correctness gone mad”, questioned what has happened to PC (discussed here. I have my doubts about Trevor especially with his criticism of Muslims, but it all points to an improved position for black people.

Until Brexit in the UK and then Trump in the US. I would argue that the basis of both movements is racism, both personal and institutional. In other words the movement that started back in the 70s and 80s had not really helped white people not to be racist, but had just pushed that racism underground until it became publicly acceptable to be racist again. It is possible that the hate crimes we are now seeing are as “bad” as the hate I grew up with.

And the parallel I draw with the race issue is this. Public pressure could force sexism and rape culture underground but it could take little for that culture to go back to the surface again.

Currently race is used as a scapegoat in terms of their “taking our jobs”. That issue was addressed by the education of anti-racists but was not addressed by the PC-movement. The issue with jobs is that there are not sufficient jobs because the 1% are accumulating all the money rather than circulating it back into the economy with necessary jobs. Without examining this source of racism in the politics of the 1%-system there can be no genuine change. To me this has been evidenced by the re-emergence of a level of public racism that existed at the time I grew up.

I fear the current direction of the feminist movement, and I draw a parallel with terminology used by Bell Hooks – revolutionary feminism and reformist feminism. Reformist feminism recognises the right for women to have access to the same rights as men – perfectly legitimate, and then promotes an agenda of competing for jobs etc. – competing for the limited cake. But Bell then spoke of revolutionary feminism in which there was a fundamental change in the white patriarchal system. This is why her book is called “Feminism is for everybody” – without a fundamental systemic change – revolutionary feminism, #MeToo and Zerlina Maxwell will just be the contemporary fashion.

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Freedom has always been a right-wing issue but it confuses because right-wing freedom is not genuine freedom. Right-wing freedom is concerned with the demands for no restriction on the ego. Genuine freedom knows that the ego has to be disciplined INTERNALLY – not politically or governmentally, but these right-wing egotists are so addicted to their egos they do not see what is happening and are usually not interested in self-discipline – just blaming others for their ego being restricted.

Everything about me says there should be free speech, it is up to the individual to discern their own truths. As a principle this is great, in practice it produces the deplorables. And amongst the deplorables are people who would commit crimes against others based on racism, sexism, homophobia etc. As Liv (SVU) would say there are hate crimes.

Unfortunately PC-authoritarians have had some power recently -contributing to the creation of a backlash. Previously there was an unofficial code of conduct between left and right in which “decent” right people restricted the deplorables – as well as authoritarian liberals restricting them. But Trump and Brexit have undermined this code of conduct, and deplorables are coming out of their cesspits. Across the board there needs to be agreed limits to free speech to restrict hate crimes. Ideas should not be restricted but speech that leads to crime needs to be. For example I think Jordan Peterson is dangerous and PC-authoritarians would like to silence him. The success of people like JBP is an indictment of our education system – especially as our education system employs him. But he does not directly call for hate crimes and as such he has the right to talk, sadly the state of awareness of people at the moment means that he has a large audience.

General awareness of the 1% has increased so the genuine left-wing analysis of the 1% and its manipulations is now more common currency. In other words some of the analysis of these right-wing intellectuals started on the genuine left.

One scenario might be that when these intellectuals actually started listening they were ashamed and embarrassed at having been deluded. To overcome that delusion and to retain their arrogant egos they claimed the understanding of deep state and 1% as their own. But some of these types of intellectuals are not overly-educated, not overly-discerning. They don’t have the questioning and understanding of the manipulations of the 1%. Their egos demand of them that they have developed a new philosophy. This new philosophy assigns blame in the wrong areas because they are being manipulated. On the genuine left there is a clear analysis. It is not identity politics, it is not we are right others are wrong. It is just class. The 1% are exploiting people, our class, we must unite. No excuses, no blaming blacks, women, LBGQT, it is the 1% – be clear. Rabid individualism demands freedom for their egos, freedom from repression, freedom from regulation, freedom from government, and this freedom has no direction, no compassion, no humanity, just freedom for the ego. Because the ego has blocked off their compassion, it is just freedom to be headless chickens.

As an example of the less educated headless chickens I recall a year discussing politics on-and-off with a neighbour. He agreed with some things but showed racism towards Aborigines and Muslims; he also showed anger towards PC-authoritarianism. It was clear some of his views were right-wing and I tried to warn him about media he was listening to. Then he turned out to be a Trump supporter. I was horrified and we now don’t talk – down to me. How did I miss it? I feel his racism and anger at the PC-brigade made him Trump – I often have to listen to white people being racist in a limited way and in the past that racism had never been manipulated into such right-wing extremism as Trump. His evaluation of the sources of the problems as being 1% were in agreement with mine. How can he not see that Trump is a 1%-puppet? I still don’t know. But after I stopped talking with him, I went back one time and asked about Trump. He told me Trump was still learning and give him a chance, but he blamed the Democrats for the failure of Trump’s health care. This is the power of the media he watches. He evaluated the state of the world in the same way as I did – he feared it was getting worse and saw foreign interference as a problem. How did he then accept Trump? This is the power of the media he watches.

For him Crooked Hillary is far worse. I dislike Hillary because she is part of neoliberalism, and I am never going to know whether the name “crooked” has any legitimacy. For me democrats are still backing her, and that shows me how neoliberal the machine is; crooked or not politically she should be dropped. However much she has been smeared, there is no compassion or decency, but as neither value matters she might still be running. Of course neoliberals choose Trump over Bernie, they cannot have Bernie – and maybe there is no-one else.

Unity is a key flagstone as a left-wing platform as compared with the freedom of the individual on the right. I call for compassion to be another to counter the ego but it surprised me that JBP actually comes out against compassion. Compassion for me means freedom from suffering for all. Whilst we have a 1%-system that restricts global resources because of their personal accumulation (1%), what nature would provide for 100% has been greatly reduced by this accumulation and so created confrontation (people fighting for the limited cake). Such confrontation leads to individualism as each fights for the cake. These individuals believe they gain more by their own greed than any disciplining towards compassion or acceptance of collective agreement.

There is an international dark web and Jordan Peterson is listed on a website – features prominently. These people are not uneducated, in fact the opposite they are overly-miseducated and driven in part by their academically successful egos. They are sufficiently coalesced that they merit discussion at the New York Times. Here is a clip from Films for Action, I didn’t like the clip but it is suggesting that this IDWeb is a collection of people whose commonality is they don’t like Marxism.

Being intellectual and knocking Marxism has always been there, it is this ego and right-wing freedom. When I was an activist I always accepted as representative to do things in terms of my role and not because I believed them, comrades like me referred to this as discipline. In the spiritual world we need control of our egos and this is referred to as discipline. If there is no discipline the intellectual goes off all over the place, and that appears to be the IDWeb. Marxism is about the class, and the class does not put intellectualism first. The class for me is about compassion, and this means freedom from suffering for all. Hence the conflict for the IDWeb. It is quite understandable to consider that these intellectuals would appropriate some left-wing ideas such as deep state without having the consistent base that is class analysis. This is an intellectual approach.

It is worth talking here of “collective anarchism”, a term I came up with in The Arico Chronicles. It amuses me that I came up with it in fiction but the notion that collectivism and individuality needs to have a yin-yang relationship is reasonable. The political theory anarcho-syndicalism has a similar ring. Individual rights have to be protected, are not being protected under PC-authoritarianism which is little more than censorship, but in the end freedom from suffering-for-all has to be the objective – NOT freedom for the individual especially the individual ego.

There is the Dark Money Network and the IDWeb, the connection is that the 1% does not want Marxism and collectivism. How the money flows where, I don’t know but it does – it has to these people are there. If there is an anti-class confusion then the money has done its work. It is all very frightening:-

We are people we are class we share compassion. Activists, be compassionate first

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Not Make Enemies

Posted: 15/05/2018 by zandtao in Struggle
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In the last blog I discussed a 2001 interview with Eckhart Tolle as part of someone’s effort to promote conscious activism; the interviewer seemed very sound – sadly now dead. Much of the interview was in line with my pathtivism approach discussed in Ch 24:-

Conscious awareness is the priority, activism is often too full of ego thus preventing conscious activism. I noted that activism can make people aware of suffering and therefore improve conscious awareness.

One aspect raised is that activism should “not make enemies”. I would postulate that for many Eckhart is already an enemy because of his approach to egotism and compassion. I would describe Jordan Peterson as a right-wing intellectual, here is a quote from his wiki in which he attacks “PC-authoritarianism” as characterised by a “group known as “social justice warriors” who “weaponize compassion”.” I question whether such a position would include Eckhart as an SJW because of his promotion of compassion.

I had a very distasteful meeting recently. I heard of someone promoting permaculture, and invited myself over. For me permaculture is the agriculture of Gaia, Ch25, so I had hoped to find a kindred soul. We had made contact through facebook messenger, his a business facebook page, mine the personal. So with genuine intentions I arrived at a meeting with someone who was trolling me – trying to bait me. I didn’t get angry, was often confused by his position, and left the discussion shattered; I doubt I will see him again. It is only in retrospect I understood what went on, I have become too reclusive.

I had met an egotist with a closed mind who had no interest in what I had to say but was only interested in baiting me. It was he who mentioned Jordan Peterson, and I further note that a significant premise of Jordan’s discussion (if his wiki page is representative) is that communism was responsible for the deaths of 100 million people. Even when I was in the NCP there was only begrudging support for the Soviet Union simply because it was supposedly communist. They resisted Gorbachev because they saw perestroika and glasnost as destroying the union. They were right but if such human awareness is going to destroy something it deserved destruction even though what has replaced it is far worse. Communism was not responsible for the deaths in the Stalinist era, Stalinism was, as was the capitalist blockade. Without imperialist reaction to the Bolshevik revolution there might not have been all the deaths. Communism could be compassonate as at its core is the promotion of the interests of all the people. But Bolshevism has to accept responsibility for an oppressed people who were not ready for the revolution. Bolsheviks, putting ideals before people. But communism killing millions is not a fair assessment.

Whilst it is always good to have your views genuinely questioned, such hostility is uncomfortable – especially if there is no intention to engage in dialogue. There is no integrity in trolling. I should note as I have said previously PC-authoritarianism is unacceptable eg this. But what kind of situation are we in where people asking for compassion and social justice are decried. We do not want confrontation per se, attacking people who disagree is totally negative. Having the moral high ground is not enough we have to care for people.

Unfortunately blame rears its head. Under the prevailing system people are losing their limited wealth, their standard of living. At the same time investment through the Dark Money Network is trying to move that blame away from its source, even the egotist I mentioned above accepted the 1% as the source of the problem. Attacks on social justice are not based on humanity but based on there not being sufficient cake to go round because the 1% have taken it all. Social justice ought to be in all our interests but it is manipulated in order to turn the blame against the 1%. Of course this blame is not helped by Antifa violence and PC-intolerance, where ideals are put before people.

In the polarised climate of 2018 “not making enemies” is not as easy as it was in 2001 at the time of the interview. I suggest that conscious activism is however more urgent. The increased polarisation in western politics can only cause more suffering, and therefore conscious activists promoting compassion before ideals are far more of a requirement than they were in 2001 – or when I was active in the late 80s.

Rational arguments can now not be won because the 1% have determined that sufficient investment (as with the Koch brothers and climate change) can deny science – or any previously-accepted rational understanding. Conscious activism has to recognise this and determine alternative strategies. Mindful consuming is one eg BDS. Confrontational approaches based on greed cannot now work as mass movement has limited power. And people are scared of losing what they have, they are not voting with reason, they are voting for fear. Fanning that fear with Antifa violence cannot help.

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2B an activist?

Posted: 22/04/2018 by zandtao in Insight, Struggle
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Activism is a phenomenally-important issue. Compassion means ending suffering, so as compassionate beings we have a duty to decide how we are helping end suffering.

As a Buddhist this issue came to me as what am I doing in retirement and the related question of putting on robes. Just before I retired I resolved it as “if I was learning in retirement then no need for robes”. In retirement I gradually became a writer, and that is activism – despite a very limited audience.

When I was debating this decision (with myself), an abbot said to me that his monastery provided a refuge from daily life, and that was worth doing. I didn’t disagree with that but we can’t all be abbots. Buddhadasa was a great teacher, we cannot all be Buddhadasa.

And that brings me to this article. Eckhart Tolle is a great teacher but not all people who follow the path can be great teachers. Not all Buddhists can be monks, and so we arrive at the question of activism because there is a duty in compassion to contribute. In the interview all the required discussion is there.

I start with this “Conscious awareness, conscious living, is the ultimate activism.”, this is undoubtedly true. But I now want to refer to 24 in which I discussed the path and activism. Addressing activists and the failure of activism currently I put forward the following:-

If you note who I am addressing (activists) this fits completely within the sense of the interview. On an individual level we have to work towards conscious awareness – follow the path. But in terms of activism there needs a change in approach as discussed in 24. My short but important spell in political activism made me completely aware of the problem of egotism. The left stupidly divided itself (and that is before the right tactic of lumping PC liberalism in with the left), the argument between commies and Trots highlights this. In my own political activist development I recognised the importance of unity, and I knew already how divisive the Trots were. Initially they were trying to work with me, use me, but when my need for education turned me into a commie they ostracised me and the more understanding I got through good Marxist education the more I eschewed them.

Now although my path brought me to activism to enable more people to follow the spiritual path I still fell into this trap. After the education I left the commies and joined the “George Cooper” party. Sadly he wasn’t far from death, I think I read online somewhere that he died in 94 (my activism was 1987-1992). George was a mass movement activist, he did not hold to theories (I am sure he probably had during his life) he just organised – he told me once that the nearest description would be anarcho-syndicalist. In general I would say that communists just see themselves as organisers but because of the prevailing divisions being a communist was divisive on the left. At the time there were three communist parties in the UK. I have forgotten the letters. One was trying to get elected, one was supporting the Morning Star, and one was holding to the need for revolution (NCP). I was in the NCP and there were great activists there but membership was maybe 600. In total the membership was definitely less than 5000, and there were three parties. Commies, look at that isn’t it ludicrous that commies have three parties and yet they regularly spoke of Trots causing splits?

Now all Trots and Commies. Please look at the state of the movement. Funding has produced a division of the class that has allowed Trump and Brexit to happen. Where has all your organising gone – my organising gone?

At the time I was politically active I was not too spiritually active ( 21) so I got too sucked in. If I had been active longer – after joining the George Cooper alliance, I might well have moved towards the kind of path activism ( 24) I am now promoting:-

But there is one important point about activism – genuine left-wing activism. Whilst these activists hold to Marxist theories they put people first – at least their theories do. They are compassionate and want to end suffering. Unfortunately the way our conditioning goes ( 22), the set of ideals (sankhara) we picked up in miseducation becomes replaced with a set of ideals of Marxism, and that compassion can be hidden by the addiction to sankhara – egotism.

But these activist-egotists have already touched their compassion – presence (to be fair there are some trade unionists who are only in it for their ego and greed). These are important people to work with in efforts to promote the path – conscious awareness.

And at the same time they are trying to hold back the ravages of the 1%-system. Are monks who are just trying to meditate actually holding back these ravages which are causing suffering? If we study Eckhart at home and go to work for our money, are we holding back these ravages? In my life (born 1952) the suffering has got far worse, in the 20 years since “Power of Now” was published the suffering has got worse. In the last 7 years alone (since Occupy of 2011), it has now become publicly acceptable to be racist and sexist, and cause violence to each other in protests (Antifa) (I note it was always acceptable for supremacists to be violent); and with all the public turbulence Syrian air strikes are carried out with barely a whimper.

In joining the commies I did something else – I learned. Through their education I began to understand the suffering that was caused, and how it was caused. Prior to this, in my life that was just compassion-as-teacher I was not aware of the suffering. In Brixton because of the alienation that the SWP-Trots caused in me in my first job it took me a while to begin to understand the suffering. I started as a non-political anti-racist, and then started to become politically aware. Then I became more aware as an activist. All of this is discussed by Eckhart in the interview, but I want to emphasise the understanding of suffering that comes from activism. We live in a society that hides the suffering it causes, activism clears the veil. But without conscious awareness, being an activist will usually make you part of the problem.

Awareness of our own suffering brings us closer to following the path – conscious awareness. Doesn’t awareness of the suffering in the world also bring us closer to the path. Whilst conscious awareness has to be concerned with our addiction to self – egotism, exposing that addiction to the suffering that exists in the world has to increase awareness. Shutting ourselves away from the suffering does not end suffering. There is a balance between our need to develop on the path – develop conscious awareness, and our duty to help end suffering. Being active in helping end suffering through activism might help develop conscious awareness, I might also make us part of the problem. It is a dilemma od the path that we need to live with.

I have a propensity for activism, this I recognise as a bias. The path is first, we need conscious awareness. Our compassionate duty is to end suffering, it is important for us to come to terms with how we deal with ending suffering.

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Osho and Bhagwan

Posted: 10/04/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, Struggle
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I am not a fan of Osho. I examined his work several years ago (1 and 2), and I have no reason to change. There are great teachers around for whom there isn’t doubt such as the Buddha, Eckhart Tolle, why take the risk of teachers who present questions about ego.

When I criticised Osho I was not using his history as Bhagwan because I was unable to be certain enough of what I was reading. There was a recent Netflix documentary series, “Wild Wild Country” (6 hours plus of fascination), that gave me sufficient certainty, and there is much that documentary brings into question.

I am not a fan of “following gurus”. In the Kalama sutta the Buddha spoke of not believing him, learn for yourself. I believe the Guru tradition asks followers to trust the Guru completely, I don’t have objections to many Guru’s teachings but I try to learn for myself. I also understand that a Guru has a responsibility for all those s/he teaches. When I look at this documentary series I am always asking when did the Bhagwan take responsibility?

I have the feeling that the series is well researched and accurate, but it is the media so I can never be sure. My first question is why did the community go to Oregon, why did they leave Poona, India, in the first place? The documentary suggests there were doubts about the Bhagwan when he left Poona the first time. But why the inimical community of Oregon?

Was it respectful to establish such a spiritual community in a US backwoods traditional Christian community as Antelope, Oregon? As the US worships the power of the buck, by their terms it was legitimate but I don’t think so. Where should they establish a commune? Don’t know, a very different question.

My interpretation of the series was that there were no doubts that the Oregonians escalated the issues, and then the US legal apparatus continued the escalation. Firstly the Oregonians attacked the community on the land use issue, the response of taking over Antelope was based on this. And then there was the bombing of the hotel that led to arming the Rajneesh community. I have no doubts who were the aggressors. But then the responses – no excuses, especially from a Guru.

The whole documentary was absolutely fascinating. I was alive during all of that and yet I knew none of it.

What struck me so strongly is the love these Sannyasins had, but wisdom – I don’t know, wisdom seemed not to be valued. I rarely meet spiritual people where I live, but those I do are ex-Bhagwans. They have some sense of being lost, perhaps because they never broke the chord of Guru following, I don’t see them as “complete” – one was clearly disturbed. If I had gone East to the Bhagwan just after my upheaval – just starting on the path (never crossed my mind then), I could imagine I would have been completely enraptured as well. A frightening thought, and a warning about such a powerful Guru. I will not pick up an Osho book, I would not know where he would be sucking me the wrong way.

During the documentary there was a movie shown the Christian Oregonians, the sexual practices frightened them. This movie, Ashram in Poona, can be found here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

I found this movie frightening, throughout I was thinking they were playing with stuff that should come out naturally over time. It is the same feeling I have about LSD and, I think, ayahuasca; it jumps the gun. But this approach was definitely directed spiritually – so risky. Sure there is energy, sure there are emotional blocks, this is part of life and we must find ways of releasing them. But we …. If it is a technique, if it is laying-on of hands (transmission?) then maybe we aren’t ready, aren’t equipped. How many of those Sannyasins were sorted, were able to cope with life? Was the rest of their life just dependent on the Bhagwan experience and that they were always harking back to it rather than moving forward?

In the documentary there was an old white Oregonian saying that the Rajneeshis were just looking for God. Well it’s the same thing. But is the way the restrictive Christian right have found God in America any better? At least the Bhagwan wasn’t funding global war or attacking women.

I have to point at something which is so important in teaching – sila – moral integrity, the backbone of any teaching must be sila. Especially when people are coming from western societies this sila is so important, as the West doesn’t necessarily provide any. Immediately the Oregonians would say the Rajneeshis have no sila because of sexual misconduct (one of the 5 precepts) – their view of the promiscuity. I am unwilling to comment on this because although it appears there was sexual misconduct it does not appear that their sexual conduct was hurting them. But I don’t know. The ex-Bhagwans I know are open to question concerning sexual desire – many expats are in Thailand in the game of mutual exploitation of younger women. The Rajneeshis in Oregon seemed genuinely happy amongst themselves, this does not indicate misconduct. But I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

But definitely spirituality requires a moral backbone – sila, and from what I have seen Osho offered none. That is sufficient for me not to go near Osho’s teachings given so many other alternatives. Energy without sila is dangerous.

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Data mining is the latest tool used by the system to condition us. It is what you might call “bespoke advertising”. OK it’s harder now but years ago I learnt “do not listen to adverts”. What were adverts trying to do? Get me to spend money on items I didn’t necessarily want.

Let’s be clear, I do buy items that are advertised but I don’t buy because of the way they are advertised. I buy a car. From the occasional adverts I do see, is there any information in those adverts that could help me make a better decision? Am I really going to find the woman of my dreams if I buy a Lamborghini?

The political point about advertising is mindful consuming. Mindfully choose. Facebook ads – don’t click. Why am I getting all this spam? Because people click. Mindful people don’t click.

To my mind all of this furore concerning data mining can be strategically overcome by mindful consuming. What does our class control? Consuming. They want us to spend money in a certain way so don’t. If data mining puts an ad on your facebook page, never click. It is simple.

But mindful consuming as a class is far more powerful. Why does the Israeli government spend so much effort fighting the BDS movement? Because boycotting the other apartheid in South Africa contributed significantly to the changes there.

Mindfulness as mindful consuming is an attribute of the path that is beyond conditioning.

Why does this affect liberals? Because they are such avid “liberal” consumers. They want to be free to consume. Where is their sustainability when their “struggle” means being free to consume? Click-bait only works for ill-disciplined minds, be mindful of what you are doing, of how you are consuming.

The above is not contained in this excellent BAR article LINK on Cambridge Analytica. The article is good because it shows that the 1% are into data mining. It shows that what is going on with the Trump strategists is no different to Obama’s strategists, no different to Blair’s strategists, and only a development from Thatcher’s Saatchi and Saatchi.

Confront people, make them mindful, make mindful consuming a political startegy. Data mining only works with the conditioned. If we are a class in struggle then we don’t wimp out with feeble-minded click-baiting. Let facebook waste its money giving me a BAR advert ….

Or skin-lightening cream??

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