In the 20th-century but still fun party game called Telephone, people sit in a circle and someone whispers a phrase or sentence to the person to the left, who whispers it to their left, around the clock, until it reaches the original speaker, who annunciates what s/he sent and received. The final utterance may make sense, but it is almost never the one sent and is often complete nonsense. This is one form of truth decay.
Investigative journalist Yasha Levine explains why the internet has been a surveillance tool since day one – as a Cold War project to monitor populations pushing back against the militarization of society, and as the synthesis of corporate and state power in service of protecting the interests of the ruling class – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Journalist John Pilger traveled to South Africa in November and delivered a lecture in Cape Town in memory of anti-apartheid campaigner Abdulhay Ahmed Saloojee.During his talk, Pilger asked why the struggle for freedom in South Africa has yet to be won, why a form of apartheid still rules and why this oppression has become a model for much of the world in the 21st century.
Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain. “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions,” Aristotle wrote. The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.
Transhumanism is knocking at the door. Dubbed as Humanity+ or H+, the idea to radically revolutionize humanity has emerged in the last decades as a global intellectual movement. With a slogan of melding humans with the machine, it aims to radically alter human nature by means of technological advancement.
“All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up,” John Steinbeck wrote to his best friend at the peak of WWII. “It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.”
According to popular wisdom, consciousness takes place inside the mind, something with which Galileo, neuroscience, and the movie The Matrix would all agree. How are neurons able to create this internal mental world? Scientists have gone so far as to conclude that most of what we see around us exists only as an acquired image in the mind of the spectator, separated from what is perceived.
In this talk, Riccardo Manzotti makes the case for “externalism,” or consciousness that spreads beyond the brain, out into the world. Our minds exist both in front of our eyes and behind them. The individual doesn’t see a world; he is part of a world process. To support this claim, Manzotti demonstrates a causal account of the object, examining several “internalist” arguments (e.g., illusions, phosphenes, hallucinations, Charles Bonnet syndrome, phantom limb pain, and dreams), showing how each is actually compatible with an “externalist” view of the mind.
Manzotti contrasts this externalist view with known empirical evidence and the most widespread models of the mind, both in philosophy and in neuroscience, to show that our minds cannot be said to have any one true owner.
Weep & gnash your teeth, all of you who shun facts, evidence & reason in favor of some racial or ethnic mythology. In light of this new evidence, it’s so funny to hear far-right groups in Great Britain attack dark-skinned people when unbeknownst to them, they are descendants of these dark-skinned Britons. Cheddar Man is your ancient father……
MIT Economist Peter Temin, the author of “The Vanishing Middle Class,” explains how the US is moving towards two economies, one for the lower 80% and one for the upper 20%.
Temin argues that American history and politics, particularly slavery and its aftermath, play an important part in the widening gap between rich and poor. Temin employs a well-known, simple model of a dual economy to examine the dynamics of the rich/poor divide in America, and outlines ways to work toward greater equality so that America will no longer have one economy for the rich and one for the poor.
Many poorer Americans live in conditions resembling those of a developing country — substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. And although almost half of black Americans are poor, most poor people are not black. Conservative white politicians still appeal to the racism of poor white voters to get support for policies that harm low-income people as a whole, casting recipients of social programs as the Other — black, Latino, not like “us.” Politicians also use mass incarceration as a tool to keep black and Latino Americans from participating fully in society. Money goes to a vast entrenched prison system rather than to education. In the dual justice system, the rich pay fines and the poor go to jail.
David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, has been covering Trump since 1988. In June 2015, he was the first national journalist to write about a possible Trump presidency and in his 2016 bestselling The Making of Donald Trump he gave a comprehensive account of Trump’s business practices, associates, and family background. Now Johnston follows up that profile with a detailed analysis of the Trump administration’s first one hundred days. He shows how Trump’s policies are affecting ordinary people’s jobs, finances, and security, explains the federal agencies charged with carrying out Trump’s executive actions, and illuminates places where the system can hide what’s really going on.
Let’s get off our asses & breathe life back into this dying democracy……
“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” ~Carl Jung
Fuck positivity. Fuck feelings. Fuck trying to make yourself feel good all the time. Focus instead on becoming a better version of yourself. Focus on action. Better yet, be proactive. It’s less about feeling positive and more about positive action. Even then, it’s less about being great and more about being better. Indeed. There’s more happiness in a spoonful of hard-earned self-improvement than in an ocean-full of self-affirmations.
Writer Ijeoma Oluo talks about what we need to talk about when we talk about race in America – from White resistance to examining the persistence of (and their own complicity in) White supremacy, to the need for an intersectional understanding of oppression, and leadership from those living most under its weight, if we’re ever to build a better future for everyone.
There are images that come to mind when we imagine a democracy’s end. Democracies fall in coups and revolutions, burn in fires and riots, collapse amid war and plague. When they die, they die screaming.
Not anymore, argue Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their new book, How Democracies Die. In most modern cases, “democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.” They rot from the inside, poisoned by leaders who “subvert the very process that brought them to power.” They are hollowed out, the trappings of democracy present long after the soul of the system is snuffed out. (Related: I interviewed Levitsky and Ziblatt for my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, which you can listen to here, or wherever you get your podcasts.)
Tim Wise, as usual, defiantly & boldly tells the bald, naked truth that many simply don’t want to hear as it rattles their idea of reality. Notice how this articulate & progressive voice of change is marginalized. His voice & vision is needed now more than ever because there are only a handful of white men who will stick their necks out like this. This boldness of spirit is expected from black & brown visionaries, but seldom do we expect it from white folks in this day & age. So when we see & hear folks like Tim Wise, Chris Hedges, Henry Giroux, Naomi Klein & Amy Goodman, we gotta give respect for they are going against the current instead of benefiting from it like so many of their dazed & confused white brothers & sisters.
With the help of the Republican Party, the right-wing news media, and his legions of followers, President Donald Trump has attempted to silence dissent. Part of this campaign involves a coordinated assault on the concept of critical thinking and those individuals who dare to protest against his policies.