Monday, January 21, 2008

Musings: Seeing the Light

Clouds were piled thickly on the mountain tops this morning, so I didn’t hold out much hope of seeing the sun, which surprised me by busting through the puffy grayness, illuminating mountain ridges and the Giant’s head, then filling my own eyes with light.

This past weekend was an exercise in seeing the light, both the golden sunshiny kind, which inspired me to weed the taro patch and re-landscape my front entryway, and the internal light bulb-flashing-on kind.

The latter kind started Saturday night, when I watched the movie “Zeitgeist,” which you can download for free here or here.

The name means “the spirit of the time; the general intellectual and moral state or temper characteristic of any period of time,” and with that definition in mind, it’s certainly a sobering film. It starts by exposing religion, most recently Christianity, as pagan-based myth, then moves on to discuss why hijacked jet airliners couldn’t possibly have caused three buildings to topple in New York City on Sept. 11 and wraps up with the reason behind all this subterfuge, which is to foster fear that promotes war, which is very good for banks and advances the agenda of an elite banking cartel that wants to rule the world.

It’s well worth viewing, especially for those who don’t believe in conspiracy theories. It may not convert you, but unless you’re totally closed, it’ll make you stop and think, which is generally a good thing in this world of smoke and mirrors.

Then yesterday morning I heard a fascinating program
on New Dimensions by Barbara Hand Clow, who is both Cherokee and a Mayan elder, discussing “the awakening world mind and the Mayan calendar.”

You can listen for free until Jan. 30, and if you’re at all interested in human consciousness, I highly recommend it. As Clow says: “Things seem to be getting worse. But from my point of view as a teacher, because I work with consciousness, I think the most important thing for us to do at this point is to overcome fear."

Her interview dovetailed nicely into the underlying message of “Zeitgeist,” which is essentially a reminder not to get too wrapped in our belief systems, because they are quite likely false.

On a more mundane note, I read yesterday that under the Pentagon’s FY-09 budget, funding has been cut for certain aspects of the Navy’s shipbuilding program. Most notably, just three Littoral Combat Ships will be purchased annually between between 2009 and 2011, compared to the six per year that the Navy sought.

But the Joint High Speed Vessel program, for which our own Hawaii Superferry design could be a contender, has gotten a boost. Plans now call for the Navy to buy five new vessels between 2009 and 2013, with additional craft to be purchased for the Army.

Meanwhile, Brad Parsons sent me an email that notes the Navy’s lease for the Swift — one of two high-speed catamarans still being operated by the military as part of its plan to develop specs for the JHSV — ends this year.

“I am starting to think this may be the ship Superferry could replace on lease to the Navy beginning this coming late summer/early fall after it fails its commercial venture,” Brad writes.

Yes, indeedy, it’ll be very interesting to watch what happens to our fast ferry, which supposedly has no military connection what so ever. Yeah, umm hmm, right.

I’m happy to report the rat action seems to be diminishing, and no foul odors have been detected. A few people suggested I get a cat, but my closest neighbor, who shares my yard, has four and asked that I not add any more to the mix. Although her kitties do hang around my house, they’re useless as ratters because they’re very well-fed and she brings them in at night.

To end on a high note, Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for reading and being so supportive. I love you!!


Anonymous said...

I don’t get it Joan- you say what you took from this 9/11 conspiracy film is not to use fear-based belief systems to make what should be fact-based rational decisions. But isn’t that what all this 911 nonsense is about- fear mongers who “believe” (in the face of all the actual factual evidence) that somehow it was bombs set by the Bushies that brought down the buildings?

All this “9/11 (bizarrely labeled) truth” stuff only accomplishes one thing- it makes people feel more powerless as they wallow and sink deeper in fear-based despair that eventually yields to more apathy as it pumps up the equally bizarre notion that the Bushies are wildly brilliant and able to pull off this hugely complex operation without anyone coming forward and without any material evidence left behind. All people have is a “belief” that sounds “possible”- a way of thinking learned as children through religious indoctrination. The basic premise for all religion is that it’s ok to believe in things for which there is no factual evidence. And then try to justify this magical thinking by finding others to believe it so you don’t look so ridiculous.

Like the creationist anti-evolution argument from ignorance the 9/11 nuts say that since you can’t prove something didn’t happen- and it’s sooooo complex that only some super-human all-knowing entity (like those evil corporate oil-base bankers on the tri-lateral commission or some such concoction of fear-based superstition) could have done it-. it must be true... muddled thinking along the religious belief-based-on-fear model.

So like I say I don’t get it.....
(Andy Parx)

Joan Conrow said...

What I said, Andy, was don't get too wrapped in your belief systems — whatever they may be — because they are quite likely false. I don't know if the WTC bombings were caused by Bushies or Bin Laden, and I don't think anyone else in the public knows enough about what really happened to make a " fact-based rational decision" about the cause of the events. I simply felt that information presented in the film gave me, at least, reason to stop and think about a lot of things that have been presented as truth and facts.

I didn't feel it was a fear-mongering film at all, and others I've talked to didn't, either. I think any time people start questioning authority, the system and the way things are, it's ultimately empowering, because it's a step toward breaking free of the incredibly powerful cultural/educational/social and economic chains that bind us.

Anonymous said...

I admit to not seeing the film but I do see lots of these conspiracy theories and they are dis-empowering if anything. The ones they empower are the ones who supposedly are so powerful they can get away with these things. When people go on about Elvis and the UFOs and then also talk about real conspiracies such as the Chaney-Bush administration’s lies deceit and machinations that led to the war in the same breath it give opponents a target to discredit the legitimate issues and wastes everyone’s time having to explain away the straw man.

And it makes those who read it who are already busy “visualizing world peace” instead of getting out there and working for it, an excuse to be even more apathetic with the “one person can’t do anything and they are so all powerful I’d better just sit home and contemplate my navel.” line of thought that is way too common among people who should be acting to actually make a difference.

The problem is that “beliefs” are simply inductive arguments- the weaker the argument, the stronger the “belief” aspect. Even if the sun has come out every day for billions of years, it is only 99.999999% sure it will do so tomorrow. That’s a strong inductive argument. I don’t need lot of belief to say it is true. But if some make the argument that it is just as likely the moon is made of green cheese as the sun coming out tomorrow because each one is only a “theory” even though the latter is only 0.00000000001% possible they need a lot of belief- the kind that is actually delusional. They can argue that the parts of the moon people brought back are the only ones that aren’t made of green cheese or any of a million silly “facts”- similar to those who believe that god put those dinosaur bones in the ground to test our belief system.

So in that sense all that it’s empowering is delusionary thinking that treats all inductions- strong and weak as being in the same category. Now that defies common sense but we see it every day..
(Andy Parx)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Andy!

There is a recently published collection of interviews of Noam Chomsky by David Barsamian titled "What We Say Goes," in part of which Chomsky speaks eloquently to the question of these 9/11 conspiracy theories. It's a satisfying read!

One of Chomsky's quotes: "[9/11conspiracism is] one of the safest positions to take among those who are critical of power, as anyone with experience in these matters knows. In fact, it's treated rather tolerantly by power centers...It's diverting enormous amounts of energy away from the real crimes of the adminsitration, which are far more serious...Increasing the threat of nuclear war...the invasions of Iraq and Lebanon....what they're doing to working people in the United States. We can go on and on. They're committing real crimes, and there is very little protest about it. One of the that so much potential activist energy is directed into 9/11 discussions. From the point of view of power centers, that's great."

I agree with him, and Andy, that these rabbit-holes are a terrible drain of the energy needed for effective action. They serve to divert focus from the question of the underlying systems which lead to injustice and oppression.

- Katy

Anonymous said...

BTW, Joan, the Superferry could continue operating for a year and at these load levels lose $30 million a year, or they could try to lease the ship to the Navy after Swift is returned to Incat. Swift was leased for $21 million a year and the Navy had to pay for the fuel. The $21 million would be enough for the owners of this vessel to cover their costs and make some money. The federal government can afford to pay money it doesn't have for use of this vessel, whereas individuals in Hawaii cannot afford to pay their hard earned real money in significant numbers for something they don't need. Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Reposted this on Larry's blog too:

You know I was thinking recently about the term "large capacity passenger ferry." That term is interesting because it was coined by the Attorney General back in October 2007. It seems to me that that term and the EIS for it could be used for regular military application in HI of a JHSV built by Austal or Incat after HSF has failed. It seems to me that language was planned with that possibility in mind.

Also, reposting:
The number of autos entering the Superferry is really quite pathetic. I am proud of the people of Maui in mass for seeing this thing for what it is. Even the people of Oahu seem to be catching on. You notice the number, content, and thrust of the letters to the editors on this? Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! Aloha, Brad