When they attack…

When they came...

First the social justice proponents were assaulted,
I remained silent;
I was no such proponent.

When the G20 demonstrators were beaten,
I did not speak out,
I was no demonstrator.

When they locked up the anti-war protesters,
I remained silent;
I was not an anti-war protester.

When they arrested the environmentalists,
I did not speak out;
I was not an environmentalist.

When they attacked for the labor unionists,
I remained silent;
I was no labor unionist.

When they attacked me,
There was no one left to speak out.*

Though the pen is mightier than the sword, it is not as effective in absentia. Its power must be continuously exercised to retain its positional supremacy.

*The original is credited to Martin Niemoller, a German theologian who commented on the apathy of intellectuals during the Third Reich.

One love,

HJ

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Excerpt from “A Time to Break Silence”

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“Now it isn’t easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart. Sometimes it means losing a job…means being abused and scorned…. Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it–bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing “We Shall Overcome” because (Thomas) Carlyle was right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet, that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the bible is right: “You shall reap what you sow.”

With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” With this faith, we’ll sing it as we’re getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don’t know about you, I ain’t gonna study war no more.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968).

While many are undoubtedly familiar with Dr. King’s eloquent “I Have a Dream” speech, his somewhat more obscure criticism of the war in Vietnam is considered to be one of the grandest orations of the 20th Century. He delivered “A Time to Break Silence” at Riverside Church, New York City, on April 4, 1967.  Dr. King would be assassinated exactly one year following this rousing allocution opposing the war.

Almost 50 years later, and with only a few minor word substitutions he could have easily been addressing the Bush administration regarding its forays into Iraq. We have transmuted the imperialist notions of bringing civilization to the savages into bringing democracy to the world to justify wars of empire. Most advanced civilization in history???  You be the judge.

One love,

HJ

amifreeyet

There are only events…

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There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his farm for many years. One day the farmer left the stable door unlocked and his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “We shall see,” the farmer responded. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed, “this is certainly great news.” “We shall see,” replied the old man rather calmly  The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “We shall see,” answered the old farmer in an undisturbed tone. Several days later, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer once again on his good fortune. “We shall see,” replied the wise farmer.

Events cannot be assessed in isolation amigos. Life is fluid, a continuous process of becoming. 

One love,

HJ

 

Who’s asking the question??

spirit bodyEver ask the question, “Who am I?” or more specifically, wondered who is actually conducting this inquiry?  Without making reference to one’s role in life, profession, familial relationships, gender or some other characteristic of the physical form, attempting to answer this question becomes remarkably difficult. The predictive ability of “science” always seems to grind to a screeching halt when we begin to address self-awareness.  If the universe is merely a series of accidental processes, then why am I aware of myself? My capacity to direct my experience beyond the first level of Maslow’s hierarchy seems irreconcilable with the concept of randomness.  The growth of the body results in the formation of a specific structure, the brain, and this yields the “Mind.”  But why does self-consciousness result?  Furthermore, the study of biology has shown that every seven years we have an entirely new physical form, yet “I” remain largely undisturbed by these changes.

If you’ve ever pondered these questions, then I’m sure that you are quite aware of the shortcomings of the traditional institutions.  One paradigm offers unintelligent randomness as the main course, and the other, a hyper-vigilant Ubermensch and his nemesis. As mankind continues its march into the meat of the 21st Century however, a general discontent with both schools of thought is beginning to percolate.  Global interest in spirit and spirituality has been increasing, facilitated by the expansion of access to the internet.  One need only look at the increased interest in yoga, meditation, and hermeticism over the past twenty years for corroborating evidence.  We definitely live in a pretty remarkable time as far as the sharing of information is concerned and the rate of dissemination of ideas is now defined by an exponential function.

There is a paradigm shift underway where our understanding of consciousness is concerned that rivals the Newtonian revolution and the advancement that it brought to mechanics.  As the paradigm shifts, a new understanding of the conscious mind within the framework of the universe is beginning to evolve. Author of The Global Brain, Peter Russell has helped to mold a new understanding of consciousness and reality.  Check out the following lecture, The Primacy of Consciousness if you’re curious about this kinda stuff as I think you’ll find it quite enlightening.  Russell addresses some of the basic assumptions we hold regarding consciousness and the fundamental role it plays within the structure of the universe.  Hope you enjoy.

Here’s a link to Peter Russell’s YouTube page http://www.youtube.com/user/prussell117

One love,

Hj

*Photo credit – Alex Gray

Bling Bling!

queen_2204073aDiamonds are a girl’s best friend

Whaddup Soul Rebels?!

I hope you’ll indulge my rambling on this subject as it has long caused me a degree of consternation. In an attempt to abate any potential crisis of conscience and a subsequent decrease in demand, we in the West have rather skillfully coined a term of art where diamonds are concerned.  A “conflict diamond” or “blood diamond” is one sold to fund armed conflict usually to secure control of the very mining regions where these stones are excavated.  We’ve been conditioned to place a rather substantial premium upon these shiny rocks and thus enable warlords to generate billions for the acquisition of arms in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Congo.  (From whom these arms are purchased requires another post entirely as arms trading is an approved wealth creation mechanism of the Yank and Euro bourgeoisie. Ownership interests in the manufacture of guns and bullets rests not in the hands of the residents of the ghetto .)

These wars often result from factions vying for control of these diamond rich areas and have resulted in over 4 million deaths and countless acts of brutality against the inhabitants of the region. People raped, tortured, and murdered for stones? Are we really civilized, rational creatures? Just an observation, but somehow the Europeans who participate in the trade manage to reap the enormous benefits while the 3rd World pays the price. I guarantee that De Beers and the other colonial terrorists that have inflicted suffering and imposed their rancid systems of trade on the indigenous cultures of the world have no children with missing limbs as a result of this enterprise. I guess the West defines the term “civilization” differently.

Artificially manufactured demand-

To keep our conscience clean, the Conflict Free Diamond Council was established to “guarantee” that a consumer purchases a product that has met certain guidelines.  With this safeguard one is therefore free to adorn himself with reckless abandon.  Status and prestige are generally equated with the size and sheer number of these rocks that decorate the corporeal form.  Moreover, young women are also convinced from a rather early age, that their potential husband must saddle himself with several months salary worth of debt to profess his love.  If this symbolic gesture is not made, the young man is either uncertain or insincere about the way he feels.  Couldn’t significance be attached to an alternative cultural norm like opening a savings account for your first child?  I’m pretty sure that signifies commitment   To further instill the notion of diamonds as suitable gifts, it’s also not uncommon to see numerous ads depicting young lovers around Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Popular music and culture is replete with propaganda reinforcing the prestige associated with this carbon allotrope.  After all, these are not blood diamonds that we buy.  Are they?

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With friends like those who needs enemies??

All diamonds are blood diamonds since the value of “blood diamonds” are derived from the premium we place on the commodity as a whole. Without a market for these stones, killing to secure diamond rich territory becomes a wasted enterprise.  Above is 14-year-old Adaman Kamara of Sierra Leone. I guess she missed the glitz of Marilyn Monroe cooing “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” or the rather dapper Diddy displaying his billion dollar, 20 carat bling.  Imagine her anguish and pain as her hands are being cut off the next time you see a diamond.  I am aiming for the stars here and hoping for some societal level conditioning.

We need to reprogram our minds and realize that no child should be terrorized so we can reflect light from our bodies.  Only insane thinking would consider this acceptable conduct for a civilized society. Besides, the luminescence of the stone doesn’t transfer to the wearer, irrespective of the considerations of “celebrity” culture. Our cultural values have so warped our perceptions that breaking this conditioning is a rather difficult process that we must undergo. It’s high time to launch our own memes however, versus adopting them wholesale from men who consider war, slavery and the commodification of every facet of life to be progress. Idiotic concepts like esteeming “crown jewels” ought to be relegated to the compost heap of history.

As long as the multitude measure prestige by a rock dug out of the ground, conflict is inevitable.  It’s also impossible to stop diamonds mined in “conflict” areas from entering the stream of commerce.  Moreover, power struggles are unavoidable and war becomes obligatory.  According to Apocalypse Africa, all coups between 1956 and today have involved Babylon attempting to destabilize the region in some capacity.  In the 1960s, the U.S. government installed the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who gave western corporations access to the Congo’s minerals for more than 30 years.  This is not a thesis so I am not gonna overwhelm you with examples of US interventionist, anti-democratic policy, but I hope you get the point.  Additionally, the prices of these stones are also intentionally inflated by international jewelry houses that manipulate the supply to keep prices elevated.

The only way to completely ensure that no child is mutilated for selfish pride is to eliminate the demand for diamonds.  I marvel that any being granted the ability to contemplate the heavens, could be so foolish as to delight in the sparkling of a trifling stone.  This however, is a minority sentiment.  Almost 500 years ago, Thomas More wrote Utopia.  IMHO, this work, or at least an abridged version, should be required reading in school.   A rather scathing criticism of ownership of private property, More traced the ills of society to such ownership.  I have always been fascinated with his resolution of the issue of valuable gems, gold, and silver, and firmly believe that he outlined a path to a more fulfilling human experience.

A modern variation could be as follows.  Gold and diamond bracelets, gem encrusted necklaces, etc. should become mandatory wear for rapists, child abusers and violent criminals. The more egregious the violation, the higher the carat count and the more ostentatious the necklace or bracelet.   If you committed murder or crime in government office, the biggest, shiniest diamonds would be reserved for you.  The technology that we use for house arrest monitoring would also ensure that the “adornment” could not be removed until your sentence had been served.  A “scarlet necklace” if you will. Rubies, pearls, sapphires and other gems would be used to adorn infants and toddlers, then voluntarily discarded to signal the acquisition of literacy, the completion of kindergarten, or some other developmental milestone. Kinda like onezies and disposable diapers. Adults continuing the practice of valuing these items would therefore become the objects of derision and be considered puerile.  Maybe I’m reaching here, but can we please leave the shiny jewelry for cockatiels?  We humans can contemplate the music of the spheres and we worship trinkets. Seems like de-volution imho.

“Pride measures happiness and prosperity not by her own advantages, but by the miseries and disadvantages of others.  This hellhound creeps into men’s hearts and keeps them from entering the right path of life…. Pride is so deeply rooted in men’s breasts that she cannot easily be plucked out.”*  You who can behold the sun and stars ought not be dazzled by a rock amigos.  Engage in both thought and action commensurate with the highest expression of life in the biosphere.

One love,

HJ

P.S.  Just for the record, while More would eventually be granted sainthood, he was beheaded by Henry VIII.

*Utopia – Thomas More 1516

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