March 20, 2019

Speaking of Liberation

Why can't we hold paradigms at a distance? Why does every explanatory belief system turn into a religion, a fundamentalism? "Fundament" is related to the notion of a base--that on which we stand, our security. From infancy, and the Self/Other split I discuss in Coming to Our Senses, we carry a deep worry that all is not well, that we are on shaky ground; really, that the Other is dangerous. This is why people double down, and why myth always triumphs over fact. It sheds light on the need for total explanations, and the fierce attachment to those explanations. It is why the cultivation of Buddhist "space" between our selves and our beliefs is extremely hard to achieve, and why genuine dialogue is rare. Arthur Koestler, who spent his life blindly chasing one ism after another, finally suggested, before he died, that we need to develop a pill to combat "devotion," by which he meant addictive attachment. I suppose lobotomy is the closest we've come to that.

I studied Russian in college, and a few times each week would go to the library and read the latest edition of Pravda, the major Moscow newspaper. It got old pretty quickly, because the daily headline was typically some variant of "Millions Enslaved by Capitalism." But why stop there? Millions were enslaved by the idea of communism. Millions are enslaved by the ideas of feminism, Zionism, technology, Hinduism, Islam, white supremacism--etc.

What this suggests is that until that root fear of Self vs. Other is resolved, we shall continue to live in a fog, a world of isms. This fog is also known as History, in the sense that James Joyce used the term when he wrote, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken." It is revealing that these various fogs are interchangeable, as Eric Hoffer pointed out in The True Believer. What the particular belief is, is of little consequence. The important thing is to have one. The fog provides us with pseudo-safety; and so the charade goes on.

The individual who chooses to address that root fear in him- or herself, to follow the Buddist path of freedom from fear, greed, and illusion, is going to be engaged in an epic struggle; this is for sure. But can anyone seriously believe that such a goal is possible for the entire human race, or even a single nation? To call this a long shot would be the understatement of the century. It's an inspiring vision: individual enlightenment multiplied by billions, until History in Joyce's sense comes to an end. I'm guessing we'll be waiting for a long time, for that one.

"Although there is no hope for the human race," wrote Eric Berne at the conclusion of Games People Play, "there is some hope for a few individuals in it." Cold comfort, but there you are.

(c)Morris Berman, 2019

167 Comments:

Anonymous AaronA said...

The question is, how do liberated people who have collapsed their sense of Self/Other live in a world where everyone else sees Self/Others?

I think the ancient answer is at least some level of isolation from humans.

I don't think the problem is limited to America. I just returned from a trip to Thailand, and people there are obnoxiously xenophobic and the levels of hate towards outsiders is off the charts. They are trapped in an extreme Self/Other dichotomy.

The other problem is that people trapped in the Self/Other dichotomy tend to exploit, abuse, or exterminate the Other.

Someone who has transcended this paradigm is extremely vulnerable. Can it be that humans flourish best as part of a group where they partially transcend Self/Other, but cannot fully transcend it without dying at the hands of some one who has not?

Neither "beast nor angel" - the Middle Way?

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Hammond said...

Psychologists have found why overhearing a cell-phone conversation is so much more annoying than overhearing both sides of a dialogue.
TO SAVE CIVILIZATION HANG UP YOUR PHONE
https://daily.jstor.org/to-save-civilization-hang-up-your-phone/

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Nice essay Dr. B. The only ism I can think of that would be an exception would be Waferism.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

Time on one's hands?
https://books.google.ca/books/about/Leisure.html?id=VKbcnmvM7N8C&redir_esc=y

100 years ago.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2372665.Writers_on_the_Left

50 years ago (05:55)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sAKQsCPzAQ

2:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

Most isms are pretty grim. Waferism has a large dollop of humor. In addn, altho we have our heroes--Laquisha, Shaneka, Lorenzo, etc.--we don't worship them. We just think they're neat.

Hammond-

Why public use of cell fones has not been made a capital crime is beyond me. Such people need to be gunned down like dogs, and their vital organs fed to vultures.

mb

4:23 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferinos,

@MB As usual, a great essay. Gracias hombre.

@AaronA Indeed. Those trapped in the Self/Other dichotomy are, in fact, REQUIRED by the all-inclusive social matrix, to abuse others. (see: MB "Question of Values"). A high level of isolation is the only ameliorative.

"A Bell Ringing In the Empty Sky" - shakuhachi, on Nonesuch Records, if you can find it. It occurred to me this morning, while listening, that it epitomizes Waferism,(which is the only useful ism)and is a good analogy for what the 6ANYWSM may be.

Morris - my buddy in Manhattan has informed me that the undercover squad is on standby with the rumour, spread by mayor DiBlasio himself, that "the earth will shake!" Humor remains essential!

Meanwhile, betwixt myself and "the Bell" the rivers overfloweth...Oh, Mercy!

O&D!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Personally, I had to give up both liberalism and American nationalism (I was never a globalist), a long process that concluded about a decade ago with the election of the charlatan Obama. Once the scales fell from my eyes, the signs of American decay were visible everywhere:

Boston Review: Nothing to see here. Just a totally normal week in America where a teacher has to practice shooting a gun for 12 hours a day.

At Stanford, Students Rely On Their Snowplow Parents To Set Up Play Dates With People In Their Dorm. "In a new poll by The New York Times and Morning Consult of a nationally representative group of parents of children ages 18 to 28, three-quarters had made appointments for their adult children, like for doctor visits or haircuts, and the same share had reminded them of deadlines for school. Eleven percent said they would contact their child’s employer if their child had an issue."

Well-known fitness coach and Vogue contributor Russell Bateman is under fire this week after videos on his Instagram show his fitness group Skinny Bitch Collective using tribal Maasai people as props for a work out video. "What I cannot get around is who are these people? Who would crab-walk around tribal people and lack total self-awareness or perspective? I guess people who call themselves the Skinny Bitch collective." A'men, brother.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Amos B.Hoople said...

The American Dream is not an attempt to make a story where there isn't one -- it's an attempt to control the story, to replace life's wild ride with a steady and predictable climb. And that level of control was only realistic for a few generations of the wealthiest nations in a brief age of perpetual growth.

Now that we're past that peak, we need to change our deep values, and I'm thinking of James Scott's book Against The Grain, and Morris Berman's book Wandering God. Settled peoples try to build wealth and security, so that nothing bad happens. Nomadic peoples try to set up their lives so that when bad stuff happens, they can keep going, and keep having a good time. That's a change we can make in our laws, and also in our heads.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Market Message said...

Gandhi said, "be the change you want to see in the world." This post basically makes the same point. To change humanity you can only do so by changing yourself. This seed is at the core of many major religions. However, organizational theory comes into play, and the organization takes over to promote itself and maintain its power whether it serves the original purpose of the organization or not. I was brought up in small-town America at which time most Americans still sought some form of moderation between extremes. Those slivers of "civil society" rapidly come apart. We keep proving the same point over and over again, that man is not a creature governed by rational thought, but he is a creature capable of rational thought.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Patrik Ekenblom said...

Study: When Ancient Societies Hit a Million People, Vengeful Gods Appeared

https://www.livescience.com/65039-punishing-gods-rise-with-complex-societies.html

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Another good article by Jean Twenge, this time on the subject of loneliness among teenagers. Teenagers are spending less face time with their friends and are lonelier than ever before. Here is an excerpt:

"In the late 1970s, 52 percent of 12th-graders got together with their friends almost every day. By 2017, only 28 percent did. The drop was especially pronounced after 2010. "

As Twenge notes, 2010 was right around the time when smartphone use started to grow.

https://theconversation.com/teens-have-less-face-time-with-their-friends-and-are-lonelier-than-ever-113240

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Derek said...

Wafers,

I had the good fortune of hearing the author Lionel Shriver speak the other night about her book "The Mandibles". I think we've discussed her here before, perhaps in regard to her criticisms of cultural appropriation and political correctness, but I can't remember. Anyways, the book is set in the near future and is a sort of dystopia/black comedy in which the American financial system collapses. What was interesting in the talk was that while the interviewer referred to the book as a cautionary tale, Shriver was at pains to make clear that she actually thinks a collapse would be exactly what American culture needs. So it seems she's a Wafer and a declinist. At the end of the talk, her criticisms of American government veered into a libertarian takedown of the tax system, which I'm personally not on board with. Nevertheless, the book sounded interesting. Anyone read it?

9:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Derek-

Yes, we discussed it here at several pts, and I even corresponded with her. A pretty gd look at what's going to happen.

mb

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

"Why does every explanatory belief system turn into a religion, a fundamentalism?"

I'll challenge you on this one. The largest religion in the world is Christianity. This isn't based on a belief system, but is based on witness testimony to the Resurrection of Christ, and this testimony has been recorded and passed down. You have to say that all these witnesses lied or that the entirety of their witness testimony was falsified in order to deny Christianity. When the testimony is of one person (e.g. golden tablets of Muhammad or Joseph Smith), it's easy to criticize their witness testimony, but when you have dozens of witnesses that are martyred and refuse to deny what they saw, it's hard to believe they're all lying, and I don't think 2000 year old witness testimony must necessarily be taken as less valid than witness testimony today.

We have to define terms like belief system. We all must believe something, whether it's scientific experiments done by others or witness testimony. I'd like to know how you define "belief system" since it seems such a vague term.

Should all witness testimony be thrown out just because it's from thousands of years ago? How many religions have many martyrs claiming to have witnessed miracles first hand? No such thing exists in Islam, Buddhism, Atheism, or any other such system. Christianity is unique regarding the martyrdom of the witnesses that saw the miracles themselves.

11:15 AM  
Blogger CB said...

There is a local Shambhala center in my town. I used to belong to the sangha there. The meditation practice itself really did provide that space between thoughts and emotion. The ability to react mindfully instead of automatically and break negative patterns. I stopped going because I couldnt swallow the seemingly blind devotion to the "sakyong" , who was raised in Colorado and isnt such a spiritual guy after all. Also , they promoted this "culture of kindness" in the sangha. Oddly, if you saw someone outside the sangha , they would pretend they didn't see you. Which is such a special American quality. Anyway. The teachings have value and make a lot of sense. For most people I know it is too much work to look inside oneself, never mind relating to someone else. And they are sooo busy. Now I read and practice on my own. There are good Buddhist talks on YouTube. (Yes YouTube). I can stay in my cocoon and still learn .

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. B -

I've abandoned many isms over the years: catholicism, liberalism, feminism, radicalism, socialism, etc. Since racism and sexism is imbedded in another ism, capitalism, it is hard to divorce oneself from those isms, but I try every day. It is impossible to be anything but a capitalist in a capitalist society, but it is a worthwhile effort to try to live otherwise as much as possible.

Derek - read the Mandibles! It's an enjoyable read, and it's very hard to punch holes in Shriver's vision of the future. She consulted with a slew of economists and other professionals to help her write a believable account of where we're headed. And man, it is not pretty. It does have a happy ending, however, as the Mandible family finds strength in each other. It's on a short list of books I've read more than once. Dr. B's own Are We There Yet is another one. I keep it by the bedside and read his essays often.

A couple of good reviews:

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/lionel-shrivers-american-collapse

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2016/06/30/The-Mandibles/

12:14 PM  
Blogger dg said...

All this plus no health care!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moEyjWFy0qM

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Why is Mitt Rommney (Romm Mitney) relevant?

What exactly did he stand for?---other than being a corporate hu$tler worth $250,000,000+, like the other Harvard boy, NZ PM John Keys (the smiling assassin, smiled as he shit canned employees to make even more profit).

The us "news" appears obsessed with Romm and what he has to say? Who gives a fuck?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Portia said...

Speaking of The Mandibles, I meant to post this article last month: https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Fights-feces-food-shortages-A-restaurant-s-13628957.php
It describes what happened in a small town in El Dorado County, CA when motorists were trapped there during a snow storm. It reminded me a lot of several parts of The Mandibles.

The restaurant owner interviewed in the article summed it up best when she said, “They say civilization is just five hot meals from cannibalism and murder. That was the case on Friday. It was amazing how rapidly it devolved,” she said. “It was the weirdest, most unruly night of my life.”

2:35 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Hola Wafers!

Reading here about themes like liberation, isolation, and renouncing the various charades assigned to us, I am reminded to share a resource. [The Survival Guide to Homelessness](http://guide2homelessness.blogspot.com), a blog anonymously written and long dormant – was indispensable to me when darkness fell and my night sea journey became somewhat more than a metaphor. That was a while ago, but I sometimes dip back into these poignant and deeply personal essays, that make insightful reading for anyone who has ever felt like their actual best option was to run away. I understand there might be a few of us around here, haha.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Del Gord said...

From The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

"No wonder Mr. Tagomi could not go on, he thought. The terrible dilemma of our lives. Whatever happens, it is evil beyond compare. Why struggle, then? Why choose? If all alternatives are the same..."

and then

"He thought, We can only hope. And try."

3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Aaron-

Not something I want to argue abt, since yr apparently a True Believer. Of course Christianity is a belief system, a giant mythology (and one of the most pernicious in the history of the world). Numerous scholars have cast doubt on whether Christ ever existed--this "evidence" you refer to isn't evidence at all. You've been sold a fairy tale and swallowed it whole. I cd give you a biblio, and a ton of facts, but when fact meets myth, myth wins. Yr sucking a thumb, amigo, but I certainly don't expect you to give it up. Now *that* wd be a miracle!

mb

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Wow, that was a great video of decaying Detroit, by "dg." It definitely shows that we're No. 1, without a doubt!

The religious posts reminded me of the "Jefferson Bible." I hafta admit, at age 60, I still go to a Lutheran church fairly regularly, perhaps, as Kurt Vonnegut suggested, "to daydream about God." My fundamentalist relatives look down on Lutheranism as borderline apostate, but I don't care. I sit there in a nave built to hold 300 that usually attracts 100 on an average Sunday, and occasionally glance at the exquisite stained glass window nearest me, executed by a post-WWII Latvian refugee from Stalinism-

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPx2dFuJEDAPnjyGga-_gCNHLlbGd15zDKw0BiDACHOQiQa--26UjvLrQWt4DmhhQ/photo/AF1QipOGhCtjAvxlLE407In3v3qNmsDJcmB487MGasXo?key=TUZWTXQ2WEF0MjNEQS02RHNwdWhSM3VaSWpkMUVn

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Full time heretic said...

Jesus came, he saw, he let the animals out of their cages at the market. He tried to inspire the other animals to act like humans. Killed for upsetting the established order, his martyrdom reclaimed by the present day Joel osteens. Jesus as a renewable resource. A high stakes social club for no-holds control. I'm in agreement with the values. But, one hour on Sunday let's people off the hook for the rest of the week. Sounds like more of an excuse than a reason.

Or you can read between the lines of the old testament.. yikes?! Goes good with promise of heaven. Just make sure you leave your money in the plate. Don't get any ideas about the house of God being the actual people. The drumset and electric guitars cost money. Again, please put your money in the plate. If you double it we'll include forgiveness for all your sins from last week.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

Aaron - “We all must believe something, whether it's scientific experiments done by others” I don’t reckon science requires a ‘belief ‘ it just is. No need for blind faith when experiments can be verified by peer review or performed on ones own - it isn’t static and what I’d call a theory rather than belief is always subject to change.

The Mandibles is one of the best books I’ve read imagining if not predicting the future (my 83 yr old mom loved it). It’s only a matter of time b4 everything topples like dominos.. In a doc’s waiting room today w/ a lady and her 1yr old. I did the math a life “expectancy” of 85 yrrs takes him to 2102, hope he has a happy childhood.

Louisiana is one hurricane away from becoming mutant zombie town:

https://youtu.be/v4qQWoDCsEA

9:52 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Latest American fundamentalism: Her son died. And then anti-vaxers attacked her. "Grieving and frightened, just days after her son's death she checked her Facebook page hoping to read messages of comfort from family and friends. Instead, she found dozens of hateful comments: You're a terrible mother. You killed your child. You deserved what happened to your son. This is all fake - your child doesn't exist." These people have become just as scary as the rabid gun nuts and anti-abortion kooks. Take a bow, Bill Maher, this is what your fucking stupidity has helped to fuel.

Douchebag American problems: Argument over dog’s poop ends in Alexandria woman’s arrest. "...a woman was with her dog that was pooping...Another woman, who was driving by, saw that and asked 38-year-old Misty Freeman if she was planning to pick up her dog’s poop...Freeman began recording the woman on her cellphone and the woman did the same. Police said Freeman knocked the woman’s phone from her hands, hit her on the back and picked up her phone." Misty Freeman--hero to those everywhere who don't curb their dogs.

Stupid PO-lice occifer tricks: Arrested Las Vegas officer recorded man's genitals, told 'mentally ill' man to 'twerk.' "Sorkow is seen feeding gummy bears to a handcuffed person, while she made plane noises, as if she was feeding a child, the report said." Why Trump hasn't made Officer Rachel Sorkow head of the FBI yet?

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Natas the 2nd said...

Patrik , re the study on population size & religion , I was JUST reading about that :

Complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world history
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1043-4

Question to bloglead MB- Does this tie in w " Wandering God " at all MB ? That we kept religion natural in smaller groups?

11:04 PM  
Blogger Janet D said...

Greetings, all. Inspired by a paragraph in DAA (about what many Americans couldn't see/understand about President GWB) & the info about the Iraq War, I decided to I needed to become educated about that time (my excuse for missing it the first time was my wedding, the subsequent birthing of 2 kids, and 4 major moves during those 8 years). So I watched the following documentaries this week:

* No End in Sight (Iraq War....also made me realize that Trump is GWB squared). Free on YT
* Searching for Steele (a must watch for Wafers. Free on YT)
* Dirty Wars (actually out in 2013 & covered Obama years as well) - rent on YT

All are incredible. Dirty Wars was gripping & kept me awake for a few hours in deep contemplation of "our" gov't. It also introduced me to Jeremy Scahill, whom I have found (in subsequent reading / listening) to have one of the best grasps of political happenings in the U.S. plus I think he has Wafer tendencies. Here's a sample of him from 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jUQjXTa4U8

Anybody else got some Wafer-ish documentaries to recommend? (about any time period) I'm on a roll and would like some more!

11:34 PM  
Blogger wr said...

Beautifully written as ever. I hardly ever comment because I'm not American, but I regularly find gold in the conversations, thanks Wafers.

We live in interesting times, and as events unfold at state, regional and family level there is one common unifying ugly truth I keep verifying, even among smart folks: people believe what they want to believe.

If I may make one recommendation, it's the book simply entitled Money by Irish economist Conor McCabe - he may be to economics what Dr Berman is to culture. In any case, it's short.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Martin Sinclair said...

The worst ism in the world is nepotism, whether the last name is Bush or Kim.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Teddy said...

New Zealand's largest bookstore Whitcoulls has reportedly banned Jordan Peterson books following Christchurch shooting

...Hmm? So its Jordan Peterson's fault?

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

Nice article about Walter Benjamin in Ibiza:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/03/20/walter-benjamin-in-ibiza/

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

A true American gentleman:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/03/22/woman-recovering-vicious-assault-deep-ellum-parking-lot/amp/
^^If RBG kicks the bucket before Nov. 2020, Trump should nominate him.

Americans programmed to be ‘placeless’:
ttps://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sdut-americans-programmed-to-be-placeless-2014may08-story,amp.html
^^Rodriguez doesn't address hustling per se, but he does a good job of digging into our historical roots. He also concludes that it would be an uphill battle to try to establish "sense of place" in the US.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Charles said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/03/21/im-political-prisoner-how-martha-mitchell-became-george-conway-nixon-era/

Things I didn't know 6897: Martha Mitchell, loose-lipped wife of Nixon's Attorney General, said a Nixon henchman forcibly injected her w/ sedatives for days to stop her talking about Watergate-related scandals. That accused henchman is now Trump's ambassador to Czech Republic.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

wr-

We certainly welcome participation by non-Americans. Don't lurk; live!

Janet-

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/bush-war-iraq-190318150236739.html

Natas-

Problem is I last read WG 19 yrs ago, and can't remember what I said. Religion was not a major pt of discussion, I don't think, but it's in there somewhere.

Rachel-

Sorry, we have a half-pg limit on this blog. But in addition, (1) This blog is basically abt the collapse of the American empire, not abt religion, and (2) I have 0 interest in trotting out all the scholarship showing Christ probably never existed. BO-ring!

Heretic-

See note #1 to Rachel. Hopefully we can now get beyond religious posts. Christ, Schmist! And if you meet the Buddha on the path, kill him (said by 9thC Zen master Lin Chi; gd advice). If you meet a Waferette on the rd, hug her. And if you meet a pastrami sandwich on the road, eat it. However, as Birn pts out, religion did generate a lot of fabulous art.

mb

11:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No shit dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/03/22/americans-are-getting-more-miserable-theres-data-prove-it/?utm_term=.9c567d484e09

11:25 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Guests in our economy class cabin can get blankets and pillows for an additional fee.”

Having started the whole Boeing 737 Max 8 Geshichte, I feel this new information merits mention. From today’s New York Times, full article linked below:

“As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.
One reason: Boeing charged extra for them.
For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.

Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations.

Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Indonesia’s Lion Air, have opted not to buy them — and regulators don’t require them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/business/boeing-safety-features-charge.html

2:28 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Excellent discussion going on here, as usual. The video posts @dg and @ Gunnar B are especially good. I've never been to Detroit but my truck driver friend in Michigan drives there nearly every day and reports to me. As for the Red Paradox Louisiana, I've "been there, done that", know all about it. A young relative by marriage in the family took his own life there two years ago. A sad thing to learn about; he was a good, pleasant and handsome young man. Anecdotes also reveal that happiness is on the decline.

I am familiar with the Red State Paradox. It is the same here as it is there. Here is there. Alternately, is there any there there?

@wr - your comment reminds me of a lyric from one of the best songs of all time: "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" - Paul Simon, "The Boxer" La la la, la la la la la la la, la la la...

6ANYWSM quickly approaches! A pale rider, on a dark horse! The Earth Will Shake as Manhattan braces for the shock! The Hanoi summit pales in comparison!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Meg said...

Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian, is in the news for a health milestone: As of Friday, he has lived longer than any other president in our history — 94 years and 172 days.

https://www.wabe.org/jimmy-carter-the-longest-life-of-any-president-or-any-georgia-governor/

I bet I know his outlying secret - being a genuinely *good* person!

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Joe Thompson said...

Is Trump the new Nero? Professor Barry Strauss gives us the details on what today's leaders have in common with their Roman predecessors. https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-03-19/trump-new-nero

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Rufus T. Schmeck said...

MB,

Thanks for this brief essay. It smacks of your early work... your trilogy on human consciousness, which was a watershed for me... I was never the same.
As to, "Why can't we hold paradigms at a distance?"... we can NOT because our central culture myth says that we are separate, disconnected, & in fact, at war with nature & ourselves. From Zoroastrianism to Islam, nature is NOT to be trusted & we are NOT to put ourselves in accord with it. This creates the experiential gap... I think you called that the NEMO... or you used another authors term... the experience that we are separate from everything... even our own bodies. We are not.
There is no "fundament", no base to a person or society. Human's grow, they are not built or made. Societies are not built or made... they grow. In the process of growing they can build things, but they were never built... never had a base. They had a center. When you reject the interdependentcy of life & impose a mythology, a story, ONTO nature, rather than letting your myth grow OUT of nature then you're never at home. And the natural self/other distinction must become the self vs other "split". There never was a split. This is NOT new age, ethereal, dissociative trance state, but the embodied experience of intrinsic unity, with the humility to know that the core of life is mystery & you belong to that mystery... and it is good! More to say/express, but that half page limit....

Rufus T. Schmeck

7:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Now it turns out that nearly the entire "leadership" of the SPLC is resigning. This little tidbit is quite astonishing for an outfit with the word "poverty" in its name: "(SPLC co-founder) Dees personally raked in nearly $5.7 million in compensation since 2001 according to a review of publicly available tax documents." Yet they are still hustling "news" organizations too lazy to do their own research to whether those groups SPLC labels as "hate" groups actually are (I saw a reference to an SPLC list in a Time magazine article just yesterday). As was pointed out on Jeffrey St. Clair's feed today: Some of the hate groups on their map are literally a guy with a PO Box.

America's top disaster agency is a literal disaster: FEMA wrongly released personal data of 2.3 million disaster victims. They gave it to a contractor, who knew they weren't supposed to have it yet failed to inform FEMA. Wanna guess as to whether the contractor has been sanctioned by FEMA?

Meanwhile, Houston officials who no doubt are so deep in the pockets of the oil industry that they can tickle its gonads, initially tried to tell citizens near the ongoing chemical plant fire that the thick black smoke covering most of the region wasn't toxic, while the corporate scumbags who run Boeing were charging extra money for safety software that would have prevented those two recent 737 MAX crashes. So my question is who can possibly look at all of these things, plus all the other corruption stories that appear nearly every day, without realizing that the whole system is thoroughly rotten top to bottom?

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Greetings Doctor and fellow Wafers,
Just back from a glorious 21/2 months in SE Asia. Had a great time if only to escape the Philly winter. I highly recommend Asia for anyone looking to emigrate. I can't now with my 94 year old mom but I intend to someday.
Yes, China is certainly the hegemon of the 21st century. The level of tourists, construction and just plain deference towards the Chinese is near breathtaking. In fact, the Chinese were able to change a name of a Cambodian city to a Chinese name. I hardly saw any AMericans there. I guess why leave the Exceptional Nation, right? Amazing how US policy makers still believe they can make inroads there. I imagine even Japan will leave the AMerican security umbrella if they wish to survive economically.
I tried it again, doctor. I posted a rather tepid rebuttal to Israel taking the Golan and, let's just say, I'd rather endure an actual stoning. The level of hatred and bile I received was truly frightening. Dare not question for a nanosecond the Israeli narrative or you are consigned to the outposts of Antarctica intellectually (?) if not physically.
Yes, I agree with you-I also don't see how Israel will celebrate its centennial. By 2030 1/3 of Israel will be ultra-orthodox who refuse military service or if they did would be as effective as Gomer Pile. Also, 60% of Israelis do not serve now as many seek various cockamamie deferments. In addition, I still think Israel is the proverbial monkey who rides the back of the tiger until the tiger gets hungry and eats the monkey. In one weekend, for example, Nixon betrayed Taiwan, recognized mainland China, and gave it a seat on the UN security council. Still, amazing how strong AIPAC is. I believe all any presidential candidate has to do is say: "My allegiance and only allegiance is to the UNited States of America!" and they would be the next president but are too afraid of being labeled anti-semitic.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

James Howard Kunstler feels that colleges and universities are going to hit a 'rough patch'. Here is his most recent column along with added comment by Larry Kummer.

https://fabiusmaximus.com/2019/03/23/kunstler-coming-collapse-of-universities/

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Deaths from the opioid fentanyl increased more than 1,000% from 2011 to 2016 according to a new report.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/health/fentanyl-deaths-increase-study/index.html

Depression and suicidal thoughts have doubled among young Americans. Cellphones and social media are likely factors in the trend.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/15/depression-and-suicidal-thoughts-have-doubled-in-young-americans-study/

As if things weren't bad enough, it looks like another recession may occur in the near future.

https://www.businessinsider.com/3-month-10-year-treasury-yield-curve-inverted-for-first-time-since-07-2019-3

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings all,

Thought I'd chime in, had time to read a few things this morning. Came up with this interesting article by an active duty Army officer, Maj. Danny Sjursen, who has taught at West Point (imagine that, after reading this article), talking about all the ways America is "exceptional". He's hoping that he lives to see the inevitable decline in US prestige and power.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/22/america-exceptional-all-wrong-ways.html

More and more people are letting the scales fall from their eyes.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Bruce Scofield said...

Great – my favorite topic: the self vs the collective and these two kinds of evolution. Jung would say that the individual who can transcend group tribalism needs to individuate and learn to manage a relationship with the herd. As you suggest, this puts it all on the individual and lets the group ferment in its fear-based reality tunnel. Bergson (Two Sources of Morality and Religion) might say the group, which feels but doesn’t think, ultimately needs the thinking individual to articulate meaning and purpose for it – which suggests a good leader can make a difference, like a shepherd and a flock. But I’d agree that it will be a very long wait before the group consensus of humans gets to a point where it can live without an absolute explanation for its fear triggers. There would have to be some kind of symbiogenesis where the group becomes a new individual in a Koestlerian holon factory.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Marcus said...

I've always thought Rick Steves was the most genuine guy. He was a guest lecturer @ my college for a general undergrad history course and it was like being on one of his travel shows.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/03/20/magazine/rick-steves-travel-world.html

Rick Steves Wants To Save The World, One Vacation At A Time

The prolific travel guru Rick Steves believes the tiniest exposure to other cultures will change Americans’ entire lives

10:49 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, great response to Aaron. I’d like to add my favorite definition of belief: conviction without evidence. Of course, someone like Aaron thinks there is evidence, and that’s his problem.

Why do True Believers constantly try to convert others to think as they do? It’s because deep down inside they know that what they believe is all bullshit, and convincing others that they’re correct somehow reassures them that it isn’t. Safety in numbers, I guess.

I was hoping to attend the NYC summit, but reality has set in and my health won’t allow it. I’ll have to settle for being there in spirit. Go Wafers!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Craig The Chef said...

“Last Week Tonight depends on a formula that includes a villain, a punching bag, someone to ‘destroy,’ so that audience members can feel that they’re part of a morally and cognitively superior in-group” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/john-oliver-call-out-culture/585505/

AKA he's an asshole w millions of asshole viewers

12:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Yeah...I guess the future of an illusion is more illusion. But in any case, religion ain't the focus of this blog. Will miss you in NY, amigo. Take care of yrself.

Marcus-

Well, it hasn't thus far!

Bruce-

Amazing to hear from you! Wow, yr alive! Write me at mauricio@morrisberman.com, fill me in on the last 20 yrs or so.

Dan-

Welcome home. I continue to be impressed at how kind, flexible, and open-minded Zionists are: an inspiration to us all. c.u. in ny.

El Regio-

Sorry, we have a half-pg limit on this blog. Pls divide yr post in 2, send 1st half, then wait 24 hrs and send 2nd half. Thanks.

Meg-

That Reagan defeated him by the greatest landslide in history says it all abt the American people. Assholes and war criminals rule!

mb

1:01 PM  
Blogger dg said...

"But maybe they aren't politicians any longer... They have become pantomime villains whose real job is to make us angry. And when we are angry, we click more. And the clicks feed the ever-growing power and wealth of the corporations that run social media."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxEkd9wXH4w

2:19 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

A theory - this is what happens when cognitive dissonance becomes too great a burden.

USA TODAY: Report: Parkland shooting survivor dies by suicide

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/22/parkland-high-school-shooting-survivor-dies-suicide/3250499002/

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

Perhaps this is off topic, but I’m really just having too much fun laughing at the #Resistance try to save face after Russia-gate appears to have blown up in their faces. After two years of non-stop 24/7 propaganda from all sides I hope they’re proud of themselves for wasting everyone’s attention on it. It’s not like Trump was doing ACTUAL damage they could report on, no we needed to hear about trivial minutiae and see Robert Mueller’s face every hour. It has felt like living in an insane asylum!
It’s really amazing to see. MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid said this all looks like a “cover up,” seriously I’m laughing so damn hard. Hillary’s loss really drove them insane, they really think America is good, the Russians just screwed us up. But we’re just a bunch of highways and strip malls.
Now Trumpi is out golfing and he’s gonna get away with all of it, and is right on track to get re-elected! It’s really unbelievable. Only in America! I’ll let the #Resistance folks chew their ice cubes, it’s a really nice day I believe I’ll go sit in the shade and pick my guitar. Hopefully they’ll post some more stuff I can laugh at later!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Now that Trumpi wants to recognise the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, how long can it be before he calls for Alsace and Lorraine to be returned to Germany?

Some sort of technical witchcraft in my DVD player allows me to watch Youtube and other computer stuff on the TV, so recently I've been watching a lot of Russian war movies. I've never heard of any of them, but the spell that's been cast on my TV has Youtube make suggestions for me, so I watch whatever comes up.

I don't know if this counts as a Wafer film, but "Come and See" is incredible. The closest I've seen to it in US cinema is "The Thin Red Line," and it isn't even close.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Speaking of those whose idiocy had become a religion, this has been a fun weekend as Herr Mueller has now definitely assumed the voice of Gene Wilder and told the Russiagate lunatics: "You lose! You get...NOTHING! Good DAY, Sirs!" It's the best comeuppance imaginable for the progs and Botoxface dead enders.

As usual, Matt Taibbi hits it out of the park: It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD. "The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it." Personally, with only a few exceptions the Iraq War destroyed the reputation of the American press for me, but I think he's right that by once again chucking their reputations out the window on behalf of a massive lie they've more or less made it so no one except those who still have Trump Derangement Syndrome will now believe them when they try to report anything negative about the Teflon Don.

Taibbi goes on to report that earlier this month, before the results were even officially known, a full 50.3% of poll respondents said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.” Then there was this from Jonathan Turley, also before the report hit, Poll: Support For Trump Impeachment Drops Significantly (down from 43% to 36% since December).

And this from Michael Tracey: "I'm not kidding when I say Mueller's non-vindication could cause serious mental health episodes. People are so emotionally invested in this, it's insane."

11:05 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

No shit sherlock: "That adults are willing to roll over to the demands of a 16-year-old – no matter how smart or full of conviction – is a little strange"

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/03/22/why-greta-thunberg-doesnt-deserve-a-nobel/

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Derek said...

Wafers,

Thanks for all the comments about "The Mandibles." I picked it up yesterday.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Thank you for your service.”
“What?”
“I said ‘THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE’.”

A Texas veteran is suing the company he says knowingly produced and sold defective earplugs which were issued to the U.S. military, leading him and many others to develop hearing problems, including tinnitus.

[Sgt. Scott D.] Rowe says in his lawsuit that 3M was aware of the defects in earplugs when it acquired the company that originally developed them, Aearo Technologies, in 2008. He says, according to the [Houston] Chronicle, that the earplugs were made too short, which makes them difficult to be put deeply into the ear canal, causing the earplug to loosen and sound to get in around them.

This isn't 3M's first rodeo; the company settled for $9.1 million in July 2018 with the Department of Justice, which said in a statement that the "defective" earplugs were "too short for proper insertion into users' ears...and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals."

https://taskandpurpose.com/veteran-suing-hearing-loss-earplugs

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Ringo said...

This Mexican company is making biofuel from cactus plants

Davos: The use of alternative fuels has spiked.

��Read more: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/mexican-company-making-biofuel-from-nopal-cactus-plants

A Dual Fuel Process... and in Mexico!

5:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons.

Note to P. Snoots-

As I explained b4, you need to send messages to most recent blog. No one reads the older stuff. Thank you.

Onward, Bill-

Progs are hurting; this is gd. The investigation always was a pile of crap.

mb

5:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brexit, Schmexit.

Mueller, Schmueller.

It's all theater, folks.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous MacFarland said...

"The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too..."

(Philip Larkin, from 'The Trees', written in June 1967)

5:40 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

America - The Grim Truth


http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2010/06/escape-from-america-the-grim-truth/

7:45 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

And it happens again in Parkland Fl. Can we now conclude the wheels have completely come off the student protest bandwagon/clique?

https://apple.news/A1CNgW62zShiaWsaiLiWleg

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Guns deaths among school-age children in the United States have increased sharply. From the article: “In 2017, gun violence claimed more 5- to 18-year-olds than police officers or active-duty members of the U.S. military, according to a chilling new study led by investigators from Florida Atlantic University.”

https://www.upi.com/Gun-deaths-up-sharply-among-US-school-kids/7581553355127/

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Stating the obvious, but another writer following Dr. B's lead:

https://lithub.com/has-the-new-dark-age-begun-yet/

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

On prog B.S. anticipating the Mueller, Schmueller report:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/mueller-investigation-ends-along-its-industry/585634/

9:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Aaron-

What does a True Believer do? Double down, just like I said! Gd luck in yr search for a different blog. I'm sure you'll be happier elsewhere.

Somebody here wanted info on Cold War:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-history-for-truthdiggers-a-cruel-costly-and-anxious-cold-war/

Note to Trollfoons-

I delete hate mail without rdg it, but don't let that stop you: I'm assuming you guys have nothing better to do. Empty lives, amigos; how sad you shmucks are.

jj-

Terrific article, thanks.

MacFarland-

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

mb

10:43 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Hello Wafers,

Just checking in to say hey and let you know I haven't been killed in a mass shooting, these days one never knows. Please keep the documentation of our downfall coming. Definitely wanted to second the recommendation on Taibbi's article about Russiagate and the media's incompetence in both failure of its duties and exacerbating the hysteria, Matt is one of the few true american journalists left out there. Enjoy the NY summit, I will try to participate here a bit more and organize a similar Chicago area summit in late June/early July, perhaps at a croquet court...
Profe, please tell me you have evidence that it is in fact THE Penny Snoots who is trying to join the conversation here.

O & D

11:39 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Chomsky on Mueller report....perhaps he did have
it right after all.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TtqWezfIhMY

1:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Okay, I know it's a free world, but the fact that Penny Snoots (a) contacted the blog (b) requested a personal invitation from MB to attend the NYC Wafer Summit (c) continues to disobey blog rules is a bit disconcerting. Hence, my blog absence of late has sadly been Purely Penny Perpetuated (PPP). So, as John Lennon usta sing:

Although I laugh and act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown...

Keep on Waferin' in the free world, Wafers.

Toodles,

Miles

2:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I remain honored by these visitations by P. Snoots, but can't invite her to 6ANYWSM because she has not been an active participant on this blog. If she continues to write in, I'll invite her to 7ANYWSM. I really do want to know how she was forced (?) to have sex with the fireman outdoors. However, she insists on sending her messages to an old post, so I don't think I can help her at this pt. I'd certainly be much more interested in hanging out with her than with Tulsi Gabbard, for example.

Patrick-

She sounds so sincere...

mb

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Dawsey said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/puerto-rico-faces-food-stamps-crisis-as-trump-privately-vents-about-federal-aid-to-hurricane-maria-battered-island/2019/03/25/ade500fe-4cb3-11e9-b79a-961983b7e0cd_story.html

"Trump has repeatedly told aides he doesn't want federal $$$ going to Puerto Rico, be it HUD or food stamp assistance. Last month, there was an Oval meeting on curbing funds. On the challenged island, that's having serious repercussions."

6:23 PM  
Anonymous John Danaher said...

The Ambitious Academic: A Moral Evaluation


https://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-ambitious-academic-moral-evaluation.html?m=1


The Ambitious Academic: a Moral Evaluation - “I am deeply suspicious of ambition. When I think of ambitious people, my mind is instantly drawn to Shakespearean examples like Macbeth and Richard III”

I sympathize.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

"Mueller, Meuller, Mueller..."

- from Ferris Mueller's Day Off

9:56 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Another hero of the Resistance (barf!), hustling American douchebag Michael Avenatti, got indicted TWICE on the same day today in unrelated cases (which it must be admitted is pretty hard to do), once for scamming his own client and also for trying extort Nike out of millions of dollars. It's been pointed out that Avefuckup was interviewed over 200 times regarding Russiagate, mostly by CNN and MSDNC when he was Stormy Daniels's attorney (she reportedly fired him a month ago, probably for incompetence). Some of the Resistor shit-for-brains were actually touting this guy as a possible presidential candidate. The funniest reaction was from CNN anchormoron Ali Velshi: "My head is officially going to explode," Velshi said to NBC News Investigations reporter Tom Winter. "I don’t understand what this is about." It's about your network's complete and utter loss of credibility, dumbfuck.

Meanwhile, one of Trump's most ardent celebritard enemies should learn the benefits of just shutting up: Barbra Streisand says Michael Jackson’s accusers were ‘thrilled to be there’ and his ‘sexual needs were his sexual needs’ “You can say ‘molested,' but those children...both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them," she said. There his no hole deep enough nor enough pee in Wafer bladders to give this douchebaguette what she richly deserves.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Dr. B - Your post concluding that "It's all theatre, folks," sums up the reality of our situation with a succinctness that I have neither found elsewhere nor would I have thought of it myself.

Quite a while back you spoke of what you called "bliss meditation," meaning meditation that involves some form of chanting. I am considering taking up such a practice. Thus far I've looked into Nichiren Buddhism, Hare Krishna, and some other Hindu chants, but haven't yet really settled on anything. Are there any other traditions you could point me to, or sources of information on the topic? Many thanks.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Hey all, it's been a while. I think we need to embrace Cheeto Rourke as our new man-god. As Wafers we need to pick the candidate that's an absolute repetition of the last Great Progressive Hope, Obama, just to really show America can't produce anything new under the sun.

Tulsi Gabbard can be the court astrologer, and Liz Warren can aggressively collect taxes and overdue library fines from the 10 citizens who still read.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

@ Dan RE: Japan,

I think the bext thing that happened to the country recently was the collapse of the TPP and Japan's subsequent trade deal with the EU. This has marked a major shift in alignment: Basically, it's stopped the country seeing itself as the US's doormat.

@jj arden: A well s=wriiten piece.the comments are well worth a read too.


A propos of the US Healthcare system being in the toilet:

https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/science/even-with-insurance-this-heart-attack-victim-still-owes-227k-to-a-hospital-2JPKU_4bjE-IC7I08ndzzA/?fbclid=IwAR3MQ9y7_Vj2mv9fKWMZjhEKbSEnBoRMg4KgNz8SesH_zBBQfaHGfEjQ2pI

I have to raise the issue regarding people ecouraging mass exodus from the US though: Do we really want a load of Americans living amongst the rest of us? I found many I met who ended up living long term in my home country in Europe pleasant enough. Most of them keep a fairly low profile, but lot of Americans I met in Asia were selfish jerks.

3:25 AM  
Anonymous PJW2K said...

Intellectual Chic Department:

Bella and Gigi Hadid make books the hot new accessory of 2019

By Raquel Laneri

March 19, 2019 

https://nypost.com/2019/03/19/bella-and-gigi-hadid-make-books-the-hot-new-accessory-of-2019/

10:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cor-

I think Wafers and fellow-travelers shd leave; standard American turkeys shd stay, and continue to turkify the nation.

Kev-

The 70s saw a popular med, Transcendental Meditation, that was based on chanting, and assoc. with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (I usta call him the Maharishi Ma-Corned Beef Hesh Yogi). Made popular by the Beatles. Very commercial. But it actually worked, and may still be around.

Bill-

I have repeatedly said that in America, even the smart people are stupid.

mb

10:33 AM  
Blogger Hallvard said...

Dear prof. Berman; reading your "Coming to our senses" now; a very stimulating and interesting reading, not least because it helps med understand traditions of mysticism that have always been kind of, well, "mystical" to me :P

Well - just a "thank you" for your important, honest and deeply human scholarly work. I will be reading more of your work in the following months, I think.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Bill--On my list of People I Despise for No Good Reason (Hillary has always been able to cling to the #1 position ever since I saw her on 60 minutes with Bill years ago), Barbra was there too. I just didn't like her. I wonder if she would have volunteered her son to "meet Michael's sexual needs" since, after all, it wouldn't have killed him.

DioGenes--Beto is a true son of the Lone Star state so please do not criticize him. Just b/c he has accomplished absolutely nothing does not mean he's not eminently qualified to lead the nation to war, insolvency, even worse health care, homelessness and other deep holes to fall into.

Kevin--I'm reading a book on Zen that might interest you. It's by Steve Hagen -- Buddhism Plain and Simple. Another is What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Dr Berman

I have always thought Trump wanted to build the wall
on the wrong border. It should be on the 49th parallel
and hell we might pay. We just bought a pipeline.
Of course Wafers and fellow-travellers welcome.

1:06 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@Mauricio Berman

I finished reading "An Indigenous People's History of the United States" (snakes???) by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz early on the quiet Sunday morning last weekend. Her work is scholarly and superbly researched; impressive. I read all the footnotes and the works cited section. As one of the "10 citizens who still read" - (thanks DioGenes - 175 +/- Wafers read?) - I can say that it is a "must read" to understand why this country is morally corrupt. A tip of the hat to my Manhattan buddy whom has been to Wounded Knee. The brainwashing has affected all of us. I know that I am guilty as charged.

But, to quote Mose Allison, "thank god for self love."

Then, on Monday morning, I spoke with my Navajo associate, the librarian. Traumatized by insult upon injury during the past two weeks on a pilgrimage to Kayenta. I can tell Wafers about it at the 6ANYWSM. Synchronicity. Holy moly! I thought I had problems.

O&D!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Susan-

I'm thinking of writing a bk called "Now and Zen." (haha) BTW, Zen is emptiness meditation, not bliss meditation.

Hallvard-

Thank you for yr support. CTOS has a prequel, called "The Reenchantment of the World," and a sequel called "Wandering God."

Wafers-

A re-recommendation: "Our Brand Is Crisis" (Sandra Bullock).

mb

4:39 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

- I'm With Her 2020 -

"A Wafer wet dream," says Bannon.

https://spectator.us/hillary-clinton-2020-steve-bannon/

6:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Susan--indeed, and no doubt doucheBabs was on the MeToo bandwagon against Kavanaugh--and even if those highly dubious 40-year-old allegations were true, were not his sexual needs also his sexual needs? And indeed his accuser seems to have done all right for herself, so what was the harm?

@cormorant--I don't think you have to worry much about being overrun with fleeing Americans. Despite all of the mounting evidence to the contrary, most are in denial or think that the country's rapidly worsening problems will never affect them.

I haven't called attention to one of these in awhile--but here is a classic "We MUST" essay from a guest writer at Ian Welsh's otherwise excellent blog: "We MUST (my emphasis) demand a Constitutional Amendment forever enshrining the precautionary principle in the Constitution as a shield for we, the people, against the incessant pursuit of profit by the few. No better remedy for our ills exists. The many MUST begin to do their duty, and force the few to place the precautionary principle before profit." This guy is even more delusional than Hedges.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

I think there are two main problems with practicing Meditation/Mindfulness/Zen nowadays:

a. Mindfulness is now a business generating billions of $ per year and has been completed co-opted by Hustling. It's full of New Age snake oil salesmen who've got nothing to do with Tibetan monks.

b. If you haven't worked out more deeply-held issues, practicing Mindfulness is NOT a good idea. See below.
https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/vbaedd/meditation-is-a-powerful-mental-tool-and-for-some-it-goes-terribly-wrong

Kanye

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Jamie Wireman said...

Professor-

I obtained a fantastic rec from you some years ago on this blogspace, it was for a photographer who had made rather mystical images and writings on image and the craft. Any chance you recall his name. I've discovered the text has been stolen from me in the time since then.

All the best to you

9:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jamie-

Minor White?

Wafers-

This from "Silence," by Thich Nhat Hanh:

"If you have a strong and clear understanding of your purpose and how your work relates to it, this can be a powerful source of joy in your life."

This is what Wafers have, and trollfoons lack, which is why they are driven to attack Waferdom. Another example of Existential Strain. We remain joyous and expansive; they--bitter and empty.

mb

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Umair has been on a repetitive streak for a while, but his latest is pretty good:

"Everywhere, the Anglo is surrounded by one lesson. Violence and stupidity and deceit pay. Be the most violent one — perhaps dress in a fine suit is all — and be the most ruthless, cunning, selfish, abusive, greedy one, the liar, the cheater, the crook — and you will get everything that you want, fastest and best."

https://eand.co/the-rise-of-the-imbecile-d959778da4a9

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Joe Blow said...

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/skills/2019/03/finland-s-new-library-speaks-volumes-about-world-s-most-literate-nation?amp

Finland’s new library speaks volumes about the world’s most literate nation.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Milton said...

Matt Bivens, who was editor of the Moscow Times when Putin came to power, weighs in in Russiagate: https://medium.com/@mattbivens_34439/russiagate-the-great-tragic-comedy-of-modern-journalism-fd2a451aaa25

"Russiagate The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism"



Bingo. American Theater began w/ Watergate -- and is slowly reaching its final act ^^^

1:17 PM  
Anonymous DeWitt said...

CNN poll finds that Trump’s approval ratings are just higher than Reagan’s were at this stage (and this was before the findings on Russia). He’s pretty likely to win a second term https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/03/18/politics/cnn-poll-trump-economy-tech/index.html?

1:28 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

Sooner or later these emboldened outnumbered fucks will b put out of (our) their misery.


http://www.kfvs12.com/2019/03/27/man-goes-racist-rant-about-spanish-word-mexican-restaurant-menu/

1:55 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

MB and Bill Hicks: Yes you are right about that. FWIW (a propos of MB's TNH quote), Americans I know who have settled long term in my home country are generally fine people. They are often engaged in creative enterprises and they aren't rich but they're fulfilled and have family and community here. They keep a fairly low profile, but When you talk to them, they'll start telling you about the slow motion apocalypse they see unfolding among their family in the Empire. I'm sure there are many like this in Japan and other parts of Asia, but most Americans that I met there were perpetual adolescents and were pretty much solely concerned with what they could extract from the natives.

None of them could hold a relationship together and most ended up isolated from the community, unable to even speak the local language.

Speaking of which:

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/436007-customer-goes-on-racist-rant-after-finding-spanish-words-on-a?fbclid=IwAR3u0wpZNxU0OqtKS4BuMi7rHCqT_l5mI5WxPOjiWx-T82I442SKb3FysoY


I'm currently reading "How Propaganda Works" By Jason Stanley. Has anyone read it?



4:18 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/27/air-pollution-linked-to-psychotic-experiences-in-young-people

From The Article: "...psychotic experiences were significantly more common among teens living in the top 25% most polluted places. 'In areas with the highest levels of [nitrogen oxides], there were 12 teens who reported psychotic experiences for every 20 teens who did not, said Joanne Newbury at King’s College London. 'In areas with lower levels, there were only seven teens who reported psychotic experiences for every 20 teens who did not.'"

I can only imagine this news will cause Americans to ramp up polluting behavior and buy bigger and more fuel inefficient cars.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DeWitt-

We can only hope!

mb

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check out the face on this douche bag:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/us/charlottesville-attack-james-fields.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage

"If looks cd kill..."

Americans are scary motherfuckers! I have this feeling that as they are getting more stupid, they are also getting more ugly. Altho sure, Hillary is in a category all her own.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Wafer Krakhed--spot on observations.

In our experience, we saw many predominately Anglo-Saxon "expats," (basically, americans and brits) all living amongst themselves isolated from the native pops. They took the us/brit shit show on the road.

Many barely had conversational language skills (let alone fluency), and were hu$tling goods, services, onto folks and gastronomy adventures.

Lots of these folks had family/friends visiting from the States as they appeared enamored with the 'thought' of living abroad but at arm's length of course.

You can take the usa-er out of america, but not the usa-ness.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Krakhead--too late, they are already doing that. More than half of new vehicles sales these days are SUVs, Minivans and pickup trucks. And since MB mentioned Charlottesville, I'll repeat what I wrote here several months ago that the last time I visited C-Ville, which is loaded with progs, I saw more giant ass vehicles (and aggressive driving) than I do even up here in the DC suburbs.

@Gunnar--but not before they take out most of those who aren't like them. Those fucks own most of the firearms and live where most of the food is grown. That's why I find it so funny that progs go out of their way to antagonize them--they are literally putting their heads in the lion's mouth. As for me, I've got a MAGA hat in storage just in case should the need arise. Safer to have around than a gun, I figure.

@MB--I've got one here who has a face that might actually be scarier than that of the Botox Queen. As one wag put it about the pictures they usually use of Zuckershmuck, he looks like that guy in a zombie movie who secretly got bitten and is about to turn, but is trying to keep it a secret from the other survivors.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Kiki said...

Sorry to post again, my last link didn't work. Here is a great article on life in America.

https://onezero.medium.com/this-is-silicon-valley-3c4583d6e7c2

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Owen said...

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy

https://www.amazon.com/Closet-Vatican-Power-Homosexuality-Hypocrisy/dp/1472966147


Woooow. I just purchased this. I have a feelin it'll make a fuss.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Article on America’s growing elderly homeless population.

From the article: “Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) interviewed 350 homeless adults aged 50 and older through population-based sampling in Oakland, California, over five years (the project has been renewed, ending in 2022). UCSF researchers estimate that half of the single homeless adults are age 50 or older, compared to 11 percent in the early 1990s — a 354 percent uptick.”

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/why-americans-are-retiring-into-homelessness/93301

9:10 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Paul Craig Roberts comments on the reaction by democrats and progressives to the Mueller report. Progressives really are hopeless and democrats might not get over Russiagate before the 2020 elections so I see Trump getting reelected and a republican congress and accelerated American decline - I hope!

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/03/28/the-democrats-are-self-destructing/

As to whether this will happen soon enough to prevent irreversible degradation of the biosphere is unknown. The link below to an article by Robert J. Burrowes from 2017 doesn't provide a very reassuring answer though - lots of links within this article to reports that Burrowes cites to support his views.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48334.htm

9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kiki-

Life in wealthy America is grotesque.

Bill-

Face of Zuckershmuck is grotesque.

mb

11:52 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Wafers, MB,

If you haven't read Anand Giridharadas’s book, I highly recommend it. Similar to Aschoff's New Prophets of Capital from a few years back, but with more punch. He really hits the douchebags right on their head. Here's a sneak peak:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/26/winners-take-all-anand-giridharadas-review

Kanye

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogyoolator said...

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/facebook-data-privacy-scandal-a-cheat-sheet/

Imagine you had a friend that for over a decade had spied on you. Hiding under the bed, listening in on conversations in the closet, going through your phone, going through your trash, following you everywhere, gossiping your secrets to parties unknown.

Mark! Stop being a super creep... Imagine as an SNL skit. Mark's response would be anyone of his creepy pictures.

I hope people's inability to leave Fecesbook results in hypervigilance towards all things internet when the house of plausible deniability is exhausted. However, should nothing change then we know for sure how sick and dependent most social media users really are. Ask them about how they use it and the response sounds like an addict. "I only use" or "it's just for"

I'd like to ask Wafers about observations over the last ten years of social media use. If anyone is willing, comments on the decline of specific friendships as they make their way down the rabbit hole into the abyss. Has anyone else noticed the camaraderie among offline friends?

2:42 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Americans....Just Being Americans.


https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/poaching-footage-released-alaska-father-son-killing-protected-bears-report

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Fairbanks said...

Kiki / MB -

Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/style/silicon-valley-stoics.html



"Stoics believed that everything in the universe is already perfect and that things that seem bad or unjust are secretly good underneath. The philosophy is handy if you already believe that the rich are meant to be rich and the poor meant to be poor."

"For the Romans, philosophy was, at best, a moral instrument for the reinforcement of practical objectives, and, in the last resort, cultural top-dressing rather than an inegral part of human existence" - Peter Green

VERY Silicon Valley!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Oh, shit! The Russiagate narrative is baseless. What are Russiagaters gonna do now? Hey, here's an idea: Let's start up a whole knew conspiracy theory:

*Bill Low-Barr must be lying about the contents of the report which contains the stratagems and contrivances about the greatest scandal in American history!*

Yes, THE TRUTH will be ultimately be proven when the full report is viewed by, you know, other people. Jesus, it's a never-ending story, because too many people need it to be true. Talk about an explanatory belief system turning into a religion, eh? That's all folks!

Miles

6:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Indeed. What piece o' crap will the progs latch onto next? Maybe Monica was actually the president in '96, and Bill was the intern, and she relentlessly and repeatedly assaulted his organ. Why the fuck not?

Good discussion, guys; keep going.

mb

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

Monbiot sums it all up nicely from across the pond:

https://www.monbiot.com/2019/03/28/bring-on-the-clowns/

He is a hopeful chap, though. Wonder when he will get it?

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

"Biden leads the Democratic pack in new 2020 poll, followed by Sanders and O'Rourke"
https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/28/politics/quinnipiac-poll-march-28/index.html
*Biden: "Hillary, hold my beer!"
*Beto: "Barack, hold my beer!"
*Bernie: "Bernie, hold my beer!"
I encourage fellow Wafers to come up with third-rate movie titles to describe these vapid campaigns. I have one for Bernie: "Weekend at Bernie's II" with a 10% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

"Senator uses Star Wars posters, image of Reagan riding a dinosaur to blast Green New Deal"
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/26/republican-uses-posters-aquaman-reagan-riding-dinosaur-blast-rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new/3278949002/
^^Mike Lee-Penny Snoots 2020!

10:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mil-

I'm beginning to favor a LeBron James-P. Snoots ticket, myself.

mb

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Thank you Dr. B, Susan and Kanye for your suggestions about chanting and meditation. I remember the Maharishi from back in the day, and even tried to read his book as a teenager, though I don't think I got very far.

For now I think I'll go with the basic chant of Nichiren Buddhism, 'cause it's free and seems relatively easy. It so happens that an acquaintance taught me that chant many years ago, but I never got very far into it. I feel the need of it now; living in the USA has definitely become a threat to the balance of my mind, and anything that helps maintain it is to the good.

I'd even try the Hare Krishna chant, but that group's sex-negativity and reputation for fundamentalism and homophobia turn me off (too bad, it's a great chant). This seems odd, considering that Allen Ginsberg, one of my heroes, played a role in establishing them in the United States.

I've found that in the USA the rewards for being a productive artist are that you mostly get stomped on and treated with actively hostile contempt, though your mileage may very. Just thought I'd mention.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

How to understand current events in the Anglo-hustling world:

Brexit, Schmexit
Mueller, Schmueller

Suicide and use of opioids have skyrocketed in both England and the US. Why are we all agog over Brexit and the alleged Russia connection? Because hustling is spiritually empty, and so are we. Hence, we fill the void with dog shit. The media are all exercised over this crap because they don't know shit from Shinola. So day after day, for years, they report stuff that is meaningless--little more than theater. Were this theater to stop, suicide and opioids wd rise to even higher levels, not to mention psychosis and alcoholism. There is one thing we shall never collectively do: see thru this charade. And once we're finally done with Brexit and Mueller, we'll find another piece of dog poop to be preoccupied with. Wafers are encouraged to speculate as to what that might be.

mb

11:14 AM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

In the Paul Craig Roberts piece posted above by Michael Burgess, the author mentions Obama’s overthrow of a democratically elected president in Honduras. I was unaware at the time of these events. I found this book review informative. Some of those displaced by the coup are those pouring across the border seeking asylum.

Dana Frank's "The Long Honduran Night: Resistance , Terror, and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup"

https://jacobinmag.com/2018/12/honduras-coup-lobo-human-rights-us-obama-trump

11:31 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Future headlines dept.:

GOP rattled as AOC prayer candles fly off shelves in the Bronx

She's *Pink* right down to her underwear: Is Ivanka a real-life Elizabeth Jennings?

Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg blames Trump for American Sex Drought

Miles

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

usa-ian fast "food" employee assault fellow employee with cheeseburger for working too slow:

https://www.newsweek.com/mcdonalds-bloomington-indiana-cheeseburger-assault-battery-john-kovach-1379559

Angered immensely, usa-ian throws cups of coffee at fast "food" worker when asked to review receipt.

https://fox8.com/2019/03/27/fast-food-assault-video-shows-customer-throw-coffee-at-mcdonalds-worker/

Exceptionalism you can taste!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Owen, I looked at the book you linked to, even though the title did not address the current major scandal the church faces today, which is one of pedophilia not homosexuality.

That the RCC is totally corrupt in so many ways is beyond question. My take on homosexuality in the church is that sexually confused young men, who have been raised as devout Catholics, look at the priesthood as a way of dealing with their “sinful urges," only to find it rampant in the seminary. However, there’s a big difference between homosexuality and pedophilia. Pedophiles can be either gay or straight, the defining characteristic being their attraction to young, usually prepubescent, children. To blame the raping of children on homosexuality is disingenuous at best. That priests use the trust, and fear, that is projected onto them by ignorant parents to enable them to abuse children is bad enough; to cover up and thus perpetuate it as the Catholic hierarchy has done is simply evil.

Morris, you have often said that this blog is not about religion, and I agree. However, in this country religion is a huge contributing factor to the abysmal, anti-intellectual stupidity of the population.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

As far as negative influence goes, that's probably all we can say abt it. I love the way mega-churches promote the pursuit of wealth, in any case. Someone even wrote a book called "Jesus, CEO."

Mike-

Someone needs to do a Ph.D. dissertation on why these incidents tend to cluster at fast-food joints. Shaneka proved to be in the vanguard, altho there was an earlier incident with a Ray somebody, who was working at the McDonald's on 4th St. in lower Manhattan, and stopped to check a customer's $50 bill. She slapped him. He went and got a tire iron, and beat her and her friend up; which I think was a gd thing, actually. They wound up in the hospital; he was acquitted of any charges. He and Shaneka need to start dating, as soon as she's released.

Krak-

On our destruction of democratic regimes, see "Overthrow" by Steven Kinzer. Also DAA.

mb

4:47 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

"Seattle is dying": a hard-hitting piece of journalism by KOMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw

While attending a meeting in Memphis about ten years ago, I saw with my own eyes the pathetic shell to which that city has been reduced-- but Seattle? When I lived in Washington State 1979-1985, I visited often and it was beautiful. Something has changed dramatically for the worse. It now looks like part of the third world. The property crime rate is four times that of New York City.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Belman suggested: "Someone needs to do a Ph.D. dissertation on why these incidents tend to cluster at fast-food joints."

Here's a theory. David Steinberg once said "Pork makes you stupid." Put that in your Baconator and smoke it.

Ted Rall, like Matt Taibbi, is one of the few journalists worth reading these days. Here's his take on "Russiagate":

The second Trump Administration that just became likelier will hasten the destruction of the planet by pollution and climate change, widen income and wealth disparity and gut the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. system may never recover. All because the corporate media idiots went after a serial criminal for the one crime he didn’t commit.

Wanna know the richest irony? Trump knew how this would turn out. He knew what the Mueller Report would say. For two years he’s been watching DNC mouthpieces like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow rant about Russiagate. He knew he’d use those clips for one attack ad after another.

Actual collusion! Democrats and their media outlets conspired to install Donald Trump as president in 2020.


https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/28/the-actual-collusion/

I wonder if Bill Maher will apologise tonight for repeatedly calling Trump a traitor.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

Sorry, I don't post Unknowns.

al-

Is the "Manchurian Candidate" at all relevant here?

mb

10:05 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Krakhead--the Honduran coup was one of those atrocities the Botox Queen was blasted for in the 2016 primaries since it was her State Department that was intimately involved in pushing it. Interesting how the Great Black Hope (barf!) could do a lot of the same evil shit Trump does (abusing the migrants crossing the border is another) without the corrupt American media not being all over his ass about it.

@Alogon--I would bet that foreign investment in residential real estate is a big part of it. Funny how you never hear Trump demonizing the wealthy Chinese and other investors who buy up many American houses and condos only to let them sit unoccupied. In most major American cities, this has had the effect of greatly jacking up home prices and rents to the point where many can no longer afford to live in their own cities. I read the other day that it would cost a New Yorker earning the average salary in that city 110% of their net income to pay the average mortgage there. But of course Trump has no interest in, say, banning or heavily taxing foreign investment because 1). Most of his supporters don't live where this is a problem, and 2). it would be a huge blow to major real estate portfolios, including his own.

In other news, douchebag Joe Biden, who somehow thinks his mocking of Anita Hill back in 1990 won't hurt his 2020 presidential hopes, has now been rather credibly Me Tooed. Investigative journalist Jeffrey St. Clair, who has covered politics for decades, had this to say about it: "This is Joe's stalker MO and there are stories worse than this one about Biden which will come out, sooner or later."

10:09 PM  
Blogger dg said...

Wafers are encouraged to speculate as to what that might be.

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/251980375863-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dg-

That wd work. Also, what if Tulsi Gabbard was found running a brothel? Or had a long-term affair w/Joe Biden?

mb

10:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm not sure why these folks shdn't have their shoes peed on publicly every day for the next 10 yrs:

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-college-admissions-parents-initial-appearance-20190329-story.html

Alternatives might include waterboarding, and being beaten to w/in an inch of their lives and thrown on a dung heap.

mb

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Tenor said...

https://newrepublic.com/article/153239/end-endless-war-case-against-american-military-supremacy

Ending Endless War

7:09 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Re: Meditation, Liberation, "distance" etc, below is a good discussion with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Harvard medical school faculty (an anesthesiologist and a neurologist).Its a 1.5 hour discussion. The most relevant part begins around minute 58. The whole discussion is of good quality. I participated in Sadhguru's "Inner Engineering" program some months ago and found it to be beneficial. The practice is called Shambhavi. I researched his works, talks,reviews for over a year before deciding to sign up for the Inner Engineering program (Its a four day (Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday) retreat and can be intense for some people. Costs around $285). I would recommend it but would encourage people to do their own research of him and his works before signing up. Caution: Their ads and promotional stuff can be seem very commercial but that started about 15 years ago. For the first 21 years of their "organization" they refrained from promoting their organization (Isha Foundation) but the media portrayed them as some kind of secretive cult because of their reluctance to promote themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7irEcQHChw

Best Wishes,
Himanshu

9:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tenor-

It's a gd essay, but I'm skeptical of "shoulds" at this pt: America shd do this or that, the left shd, etc. 1st, American military supremacy will collapse on its own, as part of the general collapse, along w/rise of Russia and China that will fill the vacuum as our hegemony fades. This is called 'imperial overstretch,' and it was one of the factors that brought Rome down. 2nd, at the end of the essay he appeals to 'the left'. But there is no left; there's nothing left of the left. It's either nonexistent or impotent, so its chances of opposing the Trump/Wolfowitz military agenda are roughly negative infinity. Its role in our decline shd continue to be concern w/things like political correctness and the Mueller report. The left cannot reverse our military trajectory, but what it *can* do is continue to keep its head firmly embedded in its rear end.

mb

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Nancy Pratt said...

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

Taibbi always gets it

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/taibbi-trump-russia-mueller-investigation-815060/

10:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nancy-

Check out Essay #15 in AWTY. This was written immediately after the 2016 election.

mb

11:14 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Morris Berman is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

So Trumpi burps up the his healthcare (non)plan like a bubble from the bottom of a LA Brea tar pit meanwhile work requirements for medicaid winds its way to the Supreme Court. Beyond Dickensian this (if it ain't a harbinger of the near future I don't know what is).

https://youtu.be/i2jWN-pftao

Cpl more faces of America pics:

https://www.chieftain.com/news/20190329/chieftain-paper-carrier-shot-but-recovering-at-home

2:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

This reminds me of Mrs. Seinfeld saying abt Jerry, "Who couldn't love him?" (Answer, in my case: millions!).

But of course I appreciate the thought.

-mb

ps: Wafers: If you want, from now on, along with GSWH, you can refer to me as Mr. Wonderful.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gunnar-

Check out those faces. This IS America!

mb

2:49 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

Bill Hicks wrote:

>@Alogon--I would bet that foreign investment in residential real estate is a big part of it. Funny how you never hear Trump demonizing the wealthy Chinese and other investors who buy up many American houses and condos only to let them sit unoccupied.

No one in his right mind would buy up real estate and leave it unoccupied if it is going to get trashed. (Which is not to say it never happens, of course.) You may be correct that this is a hidden part of the problem, but the program attributed the trouble to a mayor and city council's ostensibly well-intentioned policy of letting the homeless do whatever they want wherever they want, including carrying over 70 doses of heroin and other drugs. Police are demoralized because they have been told to ignore all but the most major crimes. Word has gotten around of this anarchy, causing the city to be known as "Freeattle". This offical negligence is not conducing to any happiness among them or others. Their suffering can be seen by any passer-by on the sidewalk and is overwhelming any sense of compassion.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Janus said...

Re: Alogon, Pt. 1

This millennial Wafer grew up in Olympia a bit to the south of Seattle (cheers to Jack L.), and the PNW is still in my blood. (No, I didn't go to Evergreen.)

I can't deny the pictures, and see them in person when I go back for the holidays. Olympia also has tent cities that have cropped up. I also understand that people generally don't enjoy feces and needles smeared across their front steps.

But, quite a few things bother me about this editorial. The right-wing voice of the station's owner shines through, the corporatization of *all* US mass media aside:

- Numerous mentions of poor lost souls, but an overt sense of "us vs. them" (à la "we are the taxpayers")
- An implicit endorsement of kowtowing to the resident town ruler, Amazon, in reference to defeating increased taxation
- A weird reliance on a couple anecdotal opinions to demonstrate that the entire homeless population is addicted to drugs
- Per the above, a renewed fight against drugs makes perfect sense, despite the total failure of the war on drugs as policy
- The solution presented seems to be prison industrial complex-lite and increased punishment for daring to be destitute and hopeless with subsequent and predictable psychological & addiction issues

Part 2 tomorrow, to stay within the half-page limit!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Wafers – you guys are amazing – let’s hear it for one of the best curated reading lists this side of the apocalypse!! A few of these posts are ringing my bells, especially about being unhoused for the first time after 50, and having nothing, nay nothing saved for retirement. Every day in the precariat is a thrill ride, let me tell you.

My circumstances force me to live a double life – because among the sanctimonious, hypocritical, liberal professionals here in San Francisco, the last thing in the world you could do is be honest about being poor. And the status-checking is relentless. “What neighborhood do you live in?” “Do you rent or own?” “Do you pay property taxes?” I had to stop going to dinner parties long before I wiped out financially and wound up sleeping in my sweet little van, because these people were making me literally ill. The types who need to know how much money you have before deciding how to treat you (even if you’re working in the next cubicle) are inevitable dumb-bells and boors, and they are pervasive here. Oneupmanship is their intellectual exercise and their spiritual food; they are vampires. I am now spared discourse with them entirely, just as I am spared negotiating human dignity with rapacious landlords and psychotic housemates. And summer is here, so it's not all bad!

6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pen-

You are not Snoots, but you clearly live among them. Projectile vomiting is the only serious answer. (Just be sure you hit the target.)

mb

6:22 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

After viewing this latest rally, it’s quite clear that Trump is single-handedly destroying American Civility. He is a DANGEROUS DEMAGOGUE with millions of supporters who have lost their collective minds and are acting like NAZI’S at Hitler’s Nuremberg Rallies....They are DANGEROUS Americans and this is NOT going to end well.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

I have repeatedly said that the endgame wd not be pretty. But at least it will be the endgame, and millions around the world will be relieved. No more America snuffing the life outta the 3rd World, committing genocide every wk, and raping the planet. And at the helm of the ship going down: a buffoon!

mb

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Robert Bruce Bennett said...

Looks like Eric Berne and Walt Kelly of "Pogo" fame came to the same conclusion. Pogo says at one point - "We have met the enemy and he is us." I also find it hard to believe that the "Self/Other" mindset can ever be left behind by more then a small handful of people. Cold Comfort indeed.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

"Someone needs to do a Ph.D. dissertation on why these incidents tend to cluster at fast-food joints."

I think Mr. Kunstler can help us here. He anatomizes well the car-and-mall context of which these franchises are a key component. To him, the wasteland of sprawling development and big box stores are "entropy made visible," characterized by "despotic architecture" - an apt description. The parking lagoon to a large mall is more aesthetically distressing and spiritually desolate than that "Sun's Anvil" slice of desert that Lawrence of Arabian rescued some guy from.

Fast food joints are plastic places that serve inferior, unhealthy food, made without love, in a charmless environment designed to promote rapid turnover, and typically are located at the aforementioned malls, or at equally ugly freeway interchanges, or they form a significant portion of the eyesores of whatever town they happen to afflict. They proffer fake food and fake community, a capitalist simulacrum of real life. They are the wrinkled sphincter at the center of the social and cultural nadir that is American car culture. it is only natural that they would attract negativity as a magnet attracts iron filings. And of course they are seldom vacant (save spiritually) and reliably supply a stream of potential targets.

Anyway, that's my take. Time for scholars to get busy!



12:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Robt-

I've been tracking on the issue of the 'small handful' for a long time now. For one exposition, see my discussion of E.M. Forster in the Twilight bk, Forster's belief in an 'aristocracy': not one of power, but "an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky." These are the NMI I talked abt in 2000, and who finally manifested as Wafers, beginning w/this blog in April 2006. The blog will have its 13th anniversary in a few days, and in those yrs, we've had nearly 4 million hits. Only a small fraction of those, of course, are from NMI's, and in a nation of 327 million zhlobs, we have 168 registered Wafers. But this is the reality. A major pt of Buddhism is that almost all of us are sleepwalking thru life, and the path to escaping that fog is a hard one. Arthur Koestler is the paradigm case of a man who went from one fog to the next, wrote a bk arguing that Buddhism was meaningless, said that science needed to invent a pill to combat 'devotion' (i.e., fog), and finally committed suicide, partly because he had come to a dead end, and had basically run out of fogs. Folks like George Kennan, who warned against making a monolith out of communism, are 1 in a million; folks like the Dulles brothers, who were drugged by anti-communist ideology, are the norm. How different the postwar period wd have been, if Kennan--who was quickly isolated, politically--had been in charge, and the Dulles bros. rightly recognized as nut jobs (see the bio by Stephen Kinzer). This is not to say that the communists weren't drugged as well, as Koestler correctly pointed out.

One of the cameos in my Italy bk (soon to appear) is of Machiavelli. Departing from the common perception of the man as a manipulator and a snake, I argue that his own social analysis transcended left vs. right, which he didn't see as that impt. The real dichotomy, I believe he believed, was between ego and decency; and no political faction had a monopoly on either. In my own adventures I have met folks on the left who are ego-driven, manipulative, dishonest, and deeply destructive. Declaring themselves progressives doesn't amount to shit, in other words. Far better a decent conservative than an ego-driven progressive, imo.

Huxley broached the subject of the 'handful' in Brave New World: those who just can't play the game anymore, and who are literally marginalized as a result--i.e., who live on the physical margins of society, like Indians in reservations. Then there's Ray Bradbury--etc. Such people--Wafers, NMI, Forsters aristocrats, whatever--will never have any political power; but they have a spiritual power that makes their lives worthwhile. So they are ignored by the masses, and hated by trollfoons; but nothing can extinguish the impulse to live a life of transparency, of clarity. Waferism is thus not an ism. Rather, it's a decision to immerse yourself in reality, in what Proust called "intermittence"--the great turning wheel of experience. As another cameo in my Italy book demonstrates, this was Fellini's philosophy of life as well. I don't think there is anything sadder than not being a Wafer.

mb

12:08 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Algon--the buying up of real estate and letting it sit empty is happening right in my own neighborhood, where well off first generation ethnic Chinese probably make up 10-15% of the population. Two houses just up the street from me, one a massive, seriously ugly McMansion, have sat empty for a decade now having been built yet never occupied despite homeless encampments springing up in the area. The number of condo buildings built in the DC area the past ten yeas is insane--no way there could possibly be a local market for all of the units--yet the prices in most areas here are now well above where they were before the financial crash. In Canada they have started taxing such investments because the Canadian government still represents its own people. Yours are the same tired old conservative arguments for kicking down at the victims instead of kicking up at the perpetrators.

@Janus--right on.

@MB, Wafers--comforting as it may be to think of the world post-American collapse as a much more peaceful place, a recently published paper by an academic researcher in Britain shows why it all may be moot. Excerpt: "The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field to conclude that climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable in the near term and therefore to invite scholars to explore the implications." You can read here the conclusions and make up your own mind.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

@MB - I was watching an older Chalmers Johnson YouTube video the other night and my ears picked up when he posed the question Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving? I traced this back to a novelist by the name of Arundhati Roy (whom I know nothing about). I'm fairly new so am curious is this the origin of using the name turkey to denote Americans? If not I like the idea - the tradition of a president pardoning one turkey while 50 million get eaten every year seems a rather apt analogy.

https://www.elmont.org/lecture-series/637-do-turkeys-enjoy-thanks-giving

http://www.international.ucla.edu/cnes/article/17680

1:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gunnar-

I may be the source, I'm not sure. Since it is politically incorrect to refer to the American people in negative terms, let alone suggest that they are a major cause of our collapse, the only ref to them as turkeys, douche bags, horses' asses and so on wd seem to occur in my writings. I wd be delighted if other political analysts had done this b4 me, but I can't see that they did. (I think Nicholas von Hoffman may have done so, but I can't remember the name of his bk.)

Bill-

I'm guessing major economic implosion for the US by 2030, which wd coincide with the eco-collapse predicted by your British author. Hard to say.

Kev-

Wrinkled sphincter? Jesus. My own guess is that fast food is the symbolic apex of the American Dream: I want whatever I want, and I want it now! So when Lorenzo Riggins gets shorted a cheeseburger, it hits him as a violation of his deepest value system. Same for Shaneka Torres getting shorted on bacon, or Latreasa Goodman discovering that McDonald's is temporarily out of McNuggets. It's a slap in the (patriotic) face, and this provokes enormous rage.

mb

4:01 AM  
Blogger Balázs Jávorszky said...

"This is called 'imperial overstretch,' and it was one of the factors that brought Rome down"

Dear Morris, this is an interesting topic, and the Marxist analysis of it (and the similar analysis of the seemingly inevitable decline of the US empire) is very interesting. I know you look at Marxists with suspicion. I did the same. I was brought up in Hungary during the "communist" era, and I was shocked later in the 90s when I realized that the Marxists had been right all along.

Marxism has a very elaborate and extensive anthropological model (ie. ideology, whatever), supported by an extremely extensive set of empirical evidence. Regarding the US empire, they claim that the "declining rate of profit" is what affects the ruling class. They can't do anything with their money. No meaningful investment for them. Not for the whole society, but for the ruling class, but that is what counts.

In Rome, big landholders employing slave labor were the ruling class, and when the source of slaves (conquers) was shut off, a long and steady decline started. People often preferred the barbarians to the Imperial rule. It has to be noted that the overall percentage of slaveholder latifundia in the economy was probably less than 50% (or even much lower), but still that was the basis of the ruling class.

The "solution" is almost always destruction of previous investment, like the World Wars, or the actual destruction of the Roman Empire. I wonder whether China (at least a nominally communist country) has more brains. I have doubts. They are in the ascending phase now, but things go fast nowadays.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bal-

Not that suspicious...Marxism is still the best analysis of capitalism that we have, imo. Regarding yr take on Rome: any evidence for this? There's certainly a lot of evidence for imperial overstretch.

mb

5:10 AM  
Blogger Don said...

But maybe the idea that all of humanity will never wake up is just another ‘ism.’

The first “all is explained” ism I ever fell for was a combination of Vedanta/Tantra. I never was drawn to the “it’s all an illusion” view, but once I “got” the sense that all “this” is an ecstatic manifestation/play (“lila”) of an Infinite Intelligence, it was so obvious it was unimaginable anybody could ever see things otherwise.

Just two years later I was introduced (synchronistically, by several people drawing on radically different yet ultimatley “integratable” traditions) to the notion of “spiritual evolution.”

I was initially appalled by this, but was so impressed with the people who introduced me to it that I struggled for 2 decades to come to terms with it.

Finally by the mid 90s I had made my peace with it. But I’ve never forgotten that absolutely certainty of my childhood atheism or the “all is God” contemplative view of my early 20s.

I often even find myself alone among progressives suggesting that there are fine people on both sides (no, not talking about Charlottesville; just saying that there really are people who voted for Trump who may be good people).

5:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Don-

Buddhism should not be exempt from being observed at a distance, any more than any other ism. No question abt it. I do that in my Japan bk, for example; I also draw on Brian Victoria's bk, "Zen at War," which does it as well. As for humanity waking up or not waking up, I suspect the historical data on that are pretty clear, including the state of humanity at the present time. Regarding Trumpites, there were many reasons people voted for Trumpi; you might check out Essay #15 in AWTY. I suspect for many, it was because of justified disgust with the progs, with neoliberalism, and with everything folks like Hillary stood for; in which case yes, I'd hafta say that many decent people voted for him. (How that worked out since the election is, of course, a different story.)

mb

9:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Don-

Pls observe 2 impt blog rules: half page per post, maximum; 1 post every 24 hrs, maximum. Thank you.

mb

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Matt Cardin said...

In a way, your post here is like a distillation of what I have always found the most moving and valuable in your writing. I'm talking about your lucid focus on what the individual might profitably do, how the individual might respond most intelligently and humanely for him/herself and a near circle of significant others, amid a large-scale objective context of social and psychological structures and tendencies that is decidedly doomed. Thank you, Morris.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Matt-

Yr welcome, and thank *you*. If I thought the objective context cd be saved in any way, I'd concentrate on that. Since it can't, we--all of us--hafta think of the sensible Waferian response.

mb

11:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bal-

24-hr rule, yes?

mb

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Fruit Bones said...

Wafer Book Recommendations: something that is about or takes place in NYC.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Book recommendation for Wafers:

Dancing With The Gods- Reflections on Life and Art by Kent Nerburn.

https://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Gods-Reflections-Life-Art/dp/1786891158

Best Wishes,
Himanshu

4:40 PM  
Blogger Janus said...

Re: Alogon, Pt. 2

- In said prison industrial complex, increased and prolonged medication with aid of the pharma industry will make our homeless irritants compliant and productive again

Thus, no need to investigate the underlying societal conditions that shaped these people. Clearly, they're all just doing it for fun. As the one guy they bothered to show for more than 5 seconds "proved" as well. Back to business.

The worst part was the line "construction workers don't live like this," that addicts do. Uh, wanna bet that at least one of those addicts used to be a construction worker that for whatever reason(s) suffered a setback and never recovered enough to get back on the one-paycheck-from-disaster-merry-go-round?

To me this just reinforces MB's references to ontological knowing, that people don't connect this misery to anything larger than "we need to lock them all up" and "this is a choice." You fear that this situation could happen to you, so you prefer that the reminders be forced outside the city, into no man's land, so the illusion of meritocracy and prosperity can be restored.

You really can never go home again. I am in LA now, but hopefully can find an escape from the US before too long.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Another act of violence associated with fast food-

https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-man-admits-to-fatally-shooting-roommate-over-discarded-chick-fil-a-bag/

8:13 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

As corrupt Demagogues like Trump and his millions of ignorant, racist, sexist, bigoted, xenophobic, and theocratic cult followers continue to destroy our democracy and any vestige of civility and justice, and as socioeconomic conditions in the country and climate patterns continue to deteriorate and decline for the worse, I thought it time to reach for and reread my copy of “The Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethius.

I encourage all New Monastic Individuals and Wafers to read and contemplate this classic work of prison literature if you have never done so. Hang in there because very very difficult and challenging times are in our near future, not distant future, and like Boethius, we are all currently condemned to death row sooner than we all expected.


http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0480-0524,_Boethius,_The_Consolation_Of_Philosophy,_EN.pdf

9:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's the latest piece of horse shit to keep us distracted from what's real:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/31/politics/joe-biden-lucy-flores/index.html

I'm wondering how long we'll be discussing this, and then what absurd bit of 'news' will replace it. (Remember the flurry over Meghan's hats.)

Americans will wallow in shit till the end of time. Cf. Plato, Republic, Bk VII.

mb

10:06 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ Birney Z. - I hope I can make it out of Mechanicsburg this morning, down to Gettysburg,to view the ghosts of our nation's past, and the last, civil war, avoiding a clash with anyone here in PA kettle territory who may get cross with me like the chick fi lay assassin. Man, I'm on a mission and I made it over the PA turnpike at some expense; which I see may be unsustainable...my goal is in sight -the 6ANYWSM. See you all there!

Riots are predicted at the arrival of Mauricio Belman at La Guardia.


O&D!

7:13 AM  

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