Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fifth Interview - Attacks on Asking Why are Attacks on Finding the Truth

“The somber picture presented in this book, in which human life is mainly a process of filing in time until the arrival of death, or Santa Claus, with very little choice, if any, of what kind of business one is going to transact during the long wait, is a commonplace, but not the final answer. For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behavior and that is AWARENESS; something which rises above the programming of the past, and that is SPONTANEITY; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is INTIMACY. But all three of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as “togetherness.” This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.”

Eric Berne MD (1910-1970) – Games People Play (1964)
Emphasis mine

Have you just now gotten around to reading this book?
You hadn't read it before?
Why not?
Probably because back when everyone was reading it, in typical recalcitrant fashion, I decided it was too popular for me to want to read.
You're like that with other things too, aren't you?
About books, movies, the latest gadgets, things like that, yes.
Well, you obviously got through it. This quote comes right at the end of the book. You told me about something else that had been bothering you, that you weren't sure you would be posting here because you considered it a religious matter …
Political too.
… and I told you that there would be a time when you would have to reveal more of yourself to your readers, in order to be true to yourself, and to them. Don't protest either. You showed me what you were going to post here and I agreed that the matter was serious and somebody would need to step forward and let people know.
(sigh) Why me?
Don't play a game with me!
(laughs) Right. Yes, but sometimes it's dangerous to point out the obvious to some people. They don't always get it, and most don't like it.
So what are you trying to do now, be liked by everyone?
(laughs) If so, maybe I would have had to have read Dr. Berne's book years ago.
(more laughs) I read it years ago, during the fad for it and it didn't help me become any more popular. (laughs) But before we get into the real subject of this interview, perhaps you'd tell us something of your current activities.

Current Activities

Well, I just got my piano tuned and am still working on my repertoire.
Some, yes.
I know the general outlines, the Romantic period, yes? (nod) You're still on course?
Yes, well mostly.
Out of it, you're concentrating on what?
Now there are five Chopin Nocturnes, the Mendelssohn Op 19 Songs Without Words …
You like those don't you?
Yes. I'm impressed with the subtleties they contain and I intend on playing them differently from how I hear most other people play them. They are really quite serious little pieces.
Anything else?
The Beethoven Andante favori is certainly coming along. I want to start my program with that one.
You have also had some changes in your family?
Yes. My favourite uncle, whom I saw for the last time in 2007, passed away late last year. I wasn't able to go out and be with the rest of the family at his memorial service.
And you are dealing with the terminal illness of another uncle?
Yes, we are rotating hospice care for him in his home. He's 90, will be 91 at the end of the month. Some days he seems better but he's bedridden and has cancer and doesn't want treatment. His wife passed away last year.
I'm sorry.
Everyone says that and I guess it's just what is expected. There's no need to be sorry, these things happen. It's the one thing we can be sure of, that we will all die some day. But these uncles had something else in common; physically they were strongly built, athletic even, both of Swedish descent, tall handsome and good natured men who were easy to like and to be around. They both liked to laugh. The one who is dying now was a World War II veteran. He served in Europe and had many good tales from those days.
They ever meet each other?
You still doing farm work? I guess not, too cold.
Horses and chickens still need to be fed and watered. Firewood still needs to be brought in.
Still reading Marcel Proust?
Really? How far into it are you?
I just read about the most purple prose on the subject of homosexuality I've ever come across in Part One of Cities of the Plain.
So you're right in the middle.
You're just reading it to be one of the few who have read all of it, aren't you?
In part, yes. But there were a number of very intelligent friends who recommended I read Proust and I'm beginning to understand a few reasons why. After all, this is in part a mémoire, his prose a series of period photographs of a time almost exactly 100 years ago in France. They still had royalty then, ruling houses of aristocrats. (They still do actually, it's just that most people don't see them in public view much anymore.)  Reading Proust is one very good way to see what it was really like to move in their circles and to see the political dimensions of money and prestige running down through the social classes of those times and even have some idea of how the same mechanisms are still in use today. It's not just like reading literature in the sense of following a story, it's like reading social history with notes taken by a very articulate (verbose) reporter. But Proust's huge work is also about himself, his coming of age from a bourgeois background into the high society of his time and place. There's a sense in which this work is related to the huge Mahler symphonies and other artistic movements of the same period that strove for grandness of scale and an encapsulation of the whole world.
My, you're verbose! (laughs) 
The Main Topic – The Attack on asking Why

Look, painful as it is, I think we want to get into the main topic of this interview. So why bring up an attack on asking why? (laughs)
Well you know that everything of a news nature that we read or listen to is delivered to us packaged and accepted as having some authority behind it, the government or some other official body, offering a kind of guarantee that what is being presented is true, honest and reliable. Nevertheless, for at least the last three years, some of us have been watching great cracks develop in some mighty institutions. By now, these cracks are becoming more obvious to everyone. People are wanting answers about why things are happening to them. They are given answers that do not make any sense by what they can observe around them. Meanwhile, and despite attempts to hide or spin the obvious, larger schemes of deceit and treachery and looting on monumental scales are being disclosed daily. I hate to be among those to tell the people behind those institutions that they have no clothes.
You think there are growing attempts to stop people from asking why?
Yes. But the good news is that more people every day are waking up to the fact that they have been lied to and gaining enough self respect to start demanding some real answers.
Let's get into this. You told me that you had been bothered by something that you considered a matter of personal integrity to get off your chest and regardless of the nature of this topic, it's controversial, religious …
… and political ...
and political nature, you felt it necessary to …
(sigh) I don't know, it was maybe about six years ago, maybe more? I was encouraged to research a certain Italian Catholic mystic, Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947), aka "Little Daughter of the Divine Will" who like Proust wrote a huge mémoire variously called The Book of Heaven or The Kingdom of the Divine Will. It runs to 36 volumes. 

Oh my, did you read them all?
No, I only got to the end of Volume 8 where I read this:

"My daughter, in almost all of the events that occur, creatures keep repeating, over and over again: ‘And why? And why? And why? Why this illness? Why this interior state? Why this scourge?’ And many other why’s. The explanation of ‘why’ is not written on earth, but in Heaven, and there everyone will read it. Do you know what ‘why’ is? It is egoism, which gives continuous food to love of self. Do you know where ‘why’ was created? In hell. Who was the first one that pronounced it? A demon. The effects produced by the first ‘why’ were the loss of innocence in Eden Itself, the war of untameable passions, the ruin of many souls, the evils of life. The story of ‘why’ is long; it is enough to tell you that there is no evil in the world which does not carry the mark of ‘why’. ‘Why’ is destruction of divine wisdom in souls. And do you know where ‘why’ will be buried? In hell, to make them restless for eternity, without ever giving them peace. The art of ‘why’ is to wage war against souls, without ever giving them respite."
From The Kingdom of the Divine Will, end of Book 8 The Writings of Luisa Piccarreta via by “channeling” (or something else)

These words are reputed by this “seer” to be those of Jesus.
Really? They sure don't sound like Jesus.
That was exactly my reaction too and it was at this point that I stopped reading.
But you'd read much before you got to this.
Were you apprehensive that this was a fraud of some kind before you got to this quote?
Yes, but for different reasons. The words in that quote certainly don't square with these:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Reputed to be the words of Jesus
Matthew 7: 7-8

No, it's the exact opposite.
Exactly and isn't it obvious?  These two quotes cannot be from the same person. Therefore the entire structure, including all attempts within the Roman Catholic Church to exalt this “seer” to sainthood, are laid bare as misguided at best and fraudulent at worst.
So it wouldn't be the best idea for the Church to go on promoting this, but so what? I mean why does this bother you? The Church stands accused of allowing its prelates to molest children without reporting it to the authorities. How does this square with Jesus' reputed words:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

It's a cynical perversion that they think people will just ignore because anyway they have certain powers and privileges and assume they can jolly well get away with it. But believe it or not, the real answer as for what these words of Jesus were about was in that book by Dr. Eric Berne; little children don't play games.
You had a good friend who made the connection between child sexual abuse and the unpardonable sin didn't you?
Yes, but don't change the subject. This is about daring to ask why on every level imaginable and having the right to ask why when the obvious truths are right there in front of us, more and more on a daily basis. The reason that Luisa Piccarreta's work has come to the fore is for some ulterior and political reason; they want people to become willing slaves of this or that new doctrine so they will accept repression easier.
So that's the other shoe that drops here.
If this “seer” for whatever reasons is a fraud misrepresenting Jesus, then who does this fraud help?
There are more questions than just why.
Of course, but they are all summarized by why. Their lies are easily discovered by the bare facts. Why are they lying to us? Why are they trying to cover up things? Then of course why pursue a course of action that is known not to work? Isn't that a definition of insanity? And then of course under what camouflage of authority is whose alleged interest being protected against the people's rightful interests? You see a lot of things happen when you start asking why. Maybe if they can't explain it they don't really know. Maybe if facts do not support their theory then their theroy is … mistaken. Maybe if they can't explain, they are really hiding things. Why? Whose purposes are being served by any of this?
Pull back the curtains, eh?
(nodding) There are people out there in the fields of religion and politics who want no questions asked by anyone, just blind loyalty and thoughtless servitude. For what? Why? In the case of Christianity, does this kind of blind submission have anything to do with Jesus?
You aren't going to answer that, are you?
Why should I? Maybe some of the followers of other religions need to start asking why too: it's not for me to decide. It's a personal matter for each of us to ask and do our own investigations. After all Jesus told us to seek and find, etc. not to be blindly submissive.
You wanted me to bring this up too, a friend of yours said that the biggest problems facing America today were caused by people who believe in God.
Yeah, and I agreed.
I was just waiting for you to ask (laughs) and my answer isn't going to be too surprising; it's because most of them don't really believe in God else they would behave differently. No, they're clearly just playing another game, this one called Let's Believe in God (LBG). It's ideological, has teams, has cheers and jeers, ways of making scores, etc. but it's just a game. Most people's idea of God is the bellhop in the sky, Santa Claus, or their local concierge who will take care of everything for them. Rather than accepting their problems as learning experiences where the real God may be the teacher, they prefer to complain. Most tend to connect their game of LBG with some political ideology the historical bases of which have been conveniently covered up so they are operating in a land of illusions that never existed quite the way they imagine.  Meanwhile other less religious, more candidly political game players play games like, King of the Hill (KOH) in which the goal is to keep everyone else below their line of vision, figuratively and literally. But it's just a game. Some people, maybe most people as Dr. Berne said, are perfectly happy playing their games. But they're built on deceit, every single one of them, and the worst part of it is that if we as a body of sentient creatures on this earth don't get with something a whole lot better than playing games, and that includes the KOH game devised by the current world leadership, then we don't stand much of a chance of survival long term, certainly not with some of the odious technology we now have to play with.
Yes, I see that.
Well, you don't really have to …
No, I get it. Why now? What's the biggest problem you see on the horizon?
Total war. The games people play shall lead to the End Game.
So, you see we have to keep asking questions, just as little children would. But little children are still people the same as so called grown ups. The greatest issue between grown ups and children has never been stated better than Jesus did; be as little children, inquisitive and innocent in the sense that they are not yet poisoned by game playing to achieve ends by ulterior means. Grown ups need to catch themselves playing games and try and achieve awareness, spontaneity (which has nothing to do with spur of the moment compulsions at all) and maybe even intimacy. Berne was right though, most people can't handle it.
So you think they'd better?
Right now, the stakes couldn't be much higher.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope

(originally written around July, 1998)

[Despite my preference not to post anything of a political or religious nature on my blog, I found this recently and thought it appropriate for posting here at this time. It was a sort of book report I wrote for a former employer who had me read this large book. Of the many books I have read, I found this one to offer some very important information which actually could re-orient the world in a more hopeful direction. This is not an endorsement of Quigley's views as in many respects my opinions differ significantly from his; for example I happen to view certain things that are currently neglected or looked down upon as essential to life while other pursuits as either beneath contempt or a waste of one's time.]

Professor Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) was Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown. In 1966 he published his massive 1,310 page one volume history of the 20th century, Tragedy and Hope.  It's mostly tragedy.  I haven't gotten to the hope part yet except that he feels mankind was lucky to have survived the decade between 1953-1963, the height of the atomic bomb testing, etc.

Quigley has many surprises in this book. He says that communism is basically bunk and was used only as a pretense by some very unscrupulous  people, to take power over certain nations and peoples.  He says that Castro only embraced communism because he wanted to stay in power as long as possible, basically he's no better than Hitler, or any other dictator, all spoiled little boys.  He says that worldwide financial empires have helped create situations which have led to war.  He says that Great Britain isn't really a democracy at all.  He says that Russia has always been a separate civilization from Western Europe and of course from America.  He says that most American foreign policy has been mistaken.  But then again he sees British foreign policy in most respects as more devious still.  He views what happened to Germany as a tragedy that they largely brought on themselves, although he blames Britain as well.  He has more sympathy for the French positions than most.  He has high praise for Israel and for Japan.  But he describes a lot of the world as part of what he calls the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.  And the problem of the human race as Quigley sees it boils down to what he calls "outlook".

The Pakistani-Peruvian axis or the "Arabic" outlook as described by Carroll Quigley; "They were warlike, patriarchal, extremist, violent, intolerant and xenophobic" (Tragedy and Hope p. 1,116). Regarding the males raised in such societies, "usually they are spoiled, undisciplined, self-indulgent and unprincipled.  Their whims are commands, their urges are laws." (Ibid. p. 1,118). The Pakistani-Peruvian axis runs from Pakistan westward through the Middle East (except Israel) and then across the Atlantic and includes Latin America, all of it from Mexico south.  Pakistan and India just got the A bomb.  Are you scared yet?

Contrast this with what Quigley says about the salaried middle classes of Japan, they are "ambitious, hard working, loyal, reliable, very adaptable to bureaucratic organization, scientific training and rationalizing processes, they are suspicious of ideologies or extremist doctrines of any kind." (Ibid. p 1,151).  Quigley credits this outlook with the reason for Japan's success.  He could have said the same about the post war Germans, whom he similarly characterizes, although among Europeans, Quigley says that the French are the most civilized.

Quigley is very clear about the necessity for good leadership and often finds it lacking. He admired Kennedy's handling of the Cuban missile crisis. Although I think it's probably fair to assume he'd prefer the Democrats to the Republicans, he is not in favor of redistribution of wealth or disturbing the power and prestige of the rich.  He'd much rather see them take on a more constructive role than they usually do in the affairs of the rest of the world.  He is very realistic.

I recommend this book to any serious student of contemporary history.  They would soon discover a lot about economics and who really runs the world and why they have to. [Somewhat Swedish way to end a sentence, perhaps from my ancestors.]