Afghanistan’s Art of the Deal

Once a teacher always one, I sense is true. In wondering the other day how Mr. Barney my 1960 high school history teacher would be reaching us with today’s technology I came across a two-part YouTube special on ‘Afghanistan: The Great Game’. Then as the last week of February 2020 ended, President Trump announces he and the Taliban have made a ‘deal’. So, I imagined being back in Mr. Barney’s class being assigned to watch the ‘Afghanistan the Great Game’ documentary, follow current news about Trump’s Afghanistan Deal, and write an essay on what is happening. Every Friday we had a current events Weekly Reader, that I think Mr. Barney used to marry the past to the present. It is the way I teach my classes today – every week we read a chapter with videos and then by Saturday 6pm students submitted a 5-page paper, 1.5 spacing, using only that chapter, our discussion, and videos as references.  I read the papers Sunday/Monday and re-turned them heavily marked at Tuesday class as we started again with a new chapter. This is going to be an interesting week – online intime, it is called.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part I)
In this episode, Stewart tells the story of Soviet and United States involvement in Afghanistan. From 1928 until 1978 there had been relative peace and in the 1960s and ’70s was on the hippie trail but the cold war was at its height with Afghanistan surrounded by American allies Iran and Pakistan. In northern Afghanistan soviet aid was provided and in southern Afghanistan American aid. In Kabul Islamists and communists vied for supremacy and when the communists took control in 1978 they asked the SovietUnion for military assistance. Reluctantly they agreed after the Afghan president went to Moscow in 1979. 80,000 troops entered Afghanistan and the United States saw a chance for revenge against the Soviets who aided the communists in Vietnam. The CIA covertly through GeneralZia, President of Pakistan, provided modern weaponry. CharlieWilson and socialite JoanneHerring were prominent in the raising of 9 billion dollars covertly passed to Afghanistan. In 1988 the Soviets pulled out and the country descended into a vicious five-year civil war that the Taliban emerged victorious imposing strict Islamic law. Afghanistan became a safe haven for many terrorist groups after the Twin Towers were attacked in New York.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part II)
In this episode, Rory Stewart tells the story of British interventions in Afghanistan in the 19th century, when the British Empire became obsessed with the idea that their rival, Russia, was considering the invasion of Afghanistan as a staging post for an attack on British India. It was a period of mutual suspicion and paranoia that later became known as “The Great Game”. Afghanistan was perceived by Victorian Britain, as it’s believed to be today, to be an immediate threat to British national security. In this first film, Rory Stewart tells the story of the decision-making that led to the first British invasion of Afghanistan, and the three Anglo-Afghan wars fought in this era. And he tells the story of Afghanistan’s unlikely reaction to this period. When an Afghan-elite made a futile attempt to impose western-inspired ideas and modernity on the country.

Trump says Taliban wants deal in Afghanistan visit
President Donald Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, where he announced the U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in ongoing peace talks and said he believes the Taliban want a cease-fire. (Nov. 28)

Afghanistan: Fears political divide may thwart peace deal
A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, US and Afghan forces has brought hope of a lasting peace deal. But there is concern it could be delayed by political division following a controversial election. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid reports.

Taliban Country
Nearly 20 years after the U.S. drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, the group claims it holds more territory than any time since the war began in 2001. As President Trump says he wants to end the war, FRONTLINE reporter Najibullah Quraishi goes on a dangerous journey inside both Taliban- and ISIS-held territory and exposes the harsh reality that not only is the Taliban once again wielding power, but the threat from ISIS looms large.

Bitter Lake
Bitter Lake explores how the realpolitik of the West has converged on a mirror image of itself throughout the Middle-East over the past decades, and how the story of this has become so obfuscating and simplified that we, the public, have been left in a bewildered and confused state. The narrative traverses the United States, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia—but the country at the center of reflection is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted political figureheads across the West with the truth of their delusions—that they cannot understand what is going on any longer inside the systems they have built which do not account for the real world. Bitter Lake sets out to reveal the forces that over the past thirty years, rose up and commandeered those political systems into subservience, to which, as we see now, the highly destructive stories told by those in power, are inexorably bound to. The stories are not only half-truths, but they have monumental consequences in the real world.

US signs historic deal with Taliban • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban signed an agreement that begins the potential full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and could pave the way to ending America’s longest war.

US signing a historic deal with the Taliban | ABC News • Feb 29, 2020
America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end and could allow for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban, US sign peace deal • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban have signed a historic deal, aimed at paving the way for peace and the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The ceremony in Doha was attended by dignitaries including the US secretary of state and foreign ministers from Qatar and Pakistan.

Now the task is to complete Mr. Barney’s written assignment. I’ll be back!


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The re-valuing of everything

I recently discovered David Harvey’s podcasts. In this one David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Value of Everything ( he uses Mariana Mazzucato’s newest book The value of everything: Making and taking in the global economy as a backdrop.

Professor Mazzucato Youtube presentations are many and I picked this one The Value of Everything | Mariana Mazzucato Aug 22, 2018 ( to watch. Mariana is an engaging speaker, presenting her argument forcefully and thoroughly. She is addressing “who are the makers and takers in our economy? If we want sustainable and fair economic growth, she argues, we need to question the stories we’ve been told about value creation. Mariana takes us on a tour of economic thinking on value, highlighting how it has changed fundamentally throughout history.

While the question of which activities create value – as opposed to moving, extracting, or even destroying it – used to be debated and contested, current thinking often states that ‘value is in the eye of the beholder.’ Mariana showcases some of the serious implications this thinking has for innovation, equality, and productivity. She argues that in order to steer our economy in the right direction, we need to re-open the debate around value creation, and start to see the public sector as an active player in shaping markets.” She wrote ‘The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths’ (Anthem 2013; Public Affairs, 2015) Times and is co-editor of Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (Wiley Blackwell, July 2016). Her new book ‘The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy’ is published by Penguin (Allen Lane, 2018).

Here is Mariana’s written contribution in Rethinking Capitalism – Chapter 1 Introduction pdf (, which is a written essay which supports her audio presentation. In the presentation, she only mentions Karl Polanyi’s name in passing but his The Great Transformation (book) | Wikipedia audio article is at the center of her ideas.

If I were advising any of the Democratic candidates for President, I would suggest Mariana be on their team. Wow! However, the depth of thinking required would be daunting – indeed! It would be interesting to hear Republicans (Trump’s) proposal for ‘rethinking capitalism’ – can they even think this way? I talked to someone yesterday saying that he was interested in Bloomberg’s entry into the race and it was the same sentiment I also just had. Tonight is the first debate I will watch, have to see how they all perform.

Martin Wolf – The Great Transformation  Nov 11, 2019

Finally, Wolf suggests that the world is undergoing five fundamental transformations: “a changing global balance of power; a backlash against globalization; the rise of populism and authoritarianism; a technological transformation; and rising awareness of environmental limits. In his address, Wolf argues that these forces have created a series of interlinked economic and political crises, as shown in the election of Donald Trump, the China-US trade war, Brexit, the backlash against immigration and the weakening of global co-operation. Wolf discusses what role the EU can play in tackling these challenges, and how this transformation might end and predicts the EU will militarily rearm itself. He sees the conditions facing the World in 1935, with the US not willing to intervene in Europe, to be the same as today in Trump’s movement backward to ‘nationalization’, which is isolation.



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The Art of Living Is Loving

Artificial intelligence a game-changer was aired on 60 Minutes June 25, 2017. A key concern, if we reach ‘artificially intelligent life’ is, will it be benevolent? How to program benevolence into bicentennial man’s ‘positronic brain’ is a final frontier. How to first understand ‘life, love, war, and death’, and then write the program so as to “turn-on one’s personality”. This might be worth exploring, we have to first be able to “turn-on our own human personalities” before we can learn how to program Andrew’s personality. Okay, let’s see what comes first? Might it be Fromm’s The art of loving? What Andrew wants is to be considered ‘human’. The High Council would not grant this because he was immortal. So, Andrew programed himself for mortality, death, and then died before learning the Council had granted him ‘human’ status. Interesting that the Council Chairperson is a woman when Andrew was granted humanness. So, to understand the art of dying we need to understand the art of living. Let’s look into this.

Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving (1989)

I am again re-reading  Aziz’s book The Syndetic Paradigm also about what I had been discussing with a friend and my left eye began to have a sharp-needle-like pain. I had to stop reading, touched my eye, waited for the pain to subside some, stated reading and the pain came back and then I decided to sleep. I was reading about  Aziz’s last chapter “The Empty Mandela”, on ego control vs ego strength dimensions, which I had discussed with a colleague at the time he was having left eye pain. He had visited a slew of western medical doctors trying to diagnose the pain. I mentioned ‘alternative-medicine’, mediation and yoga, and suggested he try doing these. I know, I have to be better at them.

I have had a fascination with Bicentennial Man (1999) – Personality and Bicentennial Man – Right to Humanity (Part 1 & 2) and here the clips that discussed the requirement for a robot to be considered human. To achieve this Andrew had to program himself to die. I suggested this to my programmer son, how to program personality uniqueness.

Bicentennial Man (1999) – Personality

Bicentennial Man – Right to Humanity (Part 1)

Bicentennial Man – Right to Humanity (Part 2)

The wink is a sign of trust. What does it mean to trust the Other?

I, Robot interrogation and anger

After watching these clips what do we understand?  I am writing this blog as it helps me to think and feel what is unfolding in my life – My Project.  My significant other wonders if I will be able to write such that it will provide a living. Let me pause, get a cup of coffee, and turn on my new mic, Blue, to get used to using Her. Blue is my new voice mic linked to my voice recognition software to record directly onto his page. Hi Blue, good to have you with me this morning. I now remember Her movie, planning to soon be with you on the Santa Monica beach.

Her – The beach scene

How do you share your life with somebody? Is the past just a story we tell ourselves? I like this song of a photograph and this movie clip of Her in the photographed scene of piano music as being a photograph. And this is followed by the clip “needs & wants” which looks into the depth psychology perspective. A few comments follow viewing these clips. Enjoy!

Movie Her our photograph scene “piano music”

I am just now looking at our World. Maybe Her song is a photograph and captures our needs and desires.

Her – Needs & Desires

We end with Ed Sheeran’s Photograph


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Breaking Bad – Really Bad

The title of this blog entry is taken from the hit series Breaking Bad, which follows the life of Walter White ‘breaking bad’. Walter is struggling to support his family teaching high school chemistry, learns he is dying from cancer, leverages his chemistry knowledge, creating a meth lab, distributing the product, as he attempts to live a ‘normal’ suburban life. What is ‘bad’ here? What contributed to Walter ‘breaking bad’ and what would ‘breaking really bad’ be about?

So, how can breaking really bad add more ‘badness’ to Walter’s story? I suggest the only way to do this is to develop one’s ‘imagination’. If we are going to ‘liberate’ ourselves as Walter was trying to do, we will need to weaponize our imagination more efficiently and effectively, than Walter was able to do and not get caught. Once we have our 6-shooter loaded, with  Silver Bullets, we can carefully take aim and pull the trigger. Saddle-up, “Hi-ho Silver and away!” Who are these masked men? We meet five next, then two cats, and finally a Gadfly all loaded with Silver Bullets. 

I am re-watching the Netflix ‘Breaking Bad’ series and the following clips give us a view of what Walter is up against. Walter begins stating that teaching chemistry is about the study of change, then realizes that he is not making any choices for change in his life,  realizing he is just surviving life, marking time to one’s death is not what Walter imagines life to be about. We all come with a death sentence and he wants to be in charge of how his life is played out. Water is scared and lives in fear, which he sees as the real enemy, which he likes, he was good at it, it made him feel alive. He did it all for his family and realizes, in the end, he deserves this! Walter, I think, chose to try and commit class treason as “Pinky’s insomnia has recently been centered around questions of class treason: What happens when we do so many things in our lives ‘automatically’? What can we really do to make this world better? And what will we have to give up or risk in order to achieve it? Pinky’s class treason video is below but first, we consider the evolution of Walter – there but for ‘grace’ go I!

Breaking Bad – The Evolution of Walter White 

Zizek begins ‘What it means to be a revolutionary’ (linked below) with Adorno’s three studies on Hegel who reject the question of “what is still alive and what is dead in Hegel?” Such a question presupposes an arrogant question of a judge who can graciously concede what is ‘actual’ for us today. But Adorno points out when we are dealing with a truly great philosopher the question to be raised is not what this philosopher can tell us but the opposite one, what are we in our contemporary situation in his eyes, how would our era or time appear to his or her thought. The same should be done with communism. Instead of asking is the idea of communism still pertinent today, can it still be used as a tool for political analysis today, we should be asking “how does our predicament look from the perspective of the ‘communist idea’. This is the dialectic of the old and the new. Those using new terms to describe what is going on today, post-industrial, etc., are missing what is really new. The only way to grasp what is new-in-the-new, is to analyze what goes on today through the lens of what was eternal in the old. If communism is an eternal idea then it works as a Hegelian concrete universality. It is eternal not in the sense of a series of abstract features that can be applied to every situation but in the sense that it has the ability, the potential, to be re-invented in each new historical situation. So, my first conclusion is to be true to what is eternal in communism, that is to be true to this drive toward radical emancipation, which persists in the entire history of mankind, to keep this idea alive one had to reinvent and reinvent it again and this holds especially today. In 1989 State Communism came to an end. A new beginning is now called for and there is no other place where ‘things’ are really happening. If you are a liberal university professor, your gig is up, no longer can we claim the real action is in South America and then keep your posh job at the university driving your new Lexus to class to lecture on how others need to change.”

Slavoj Žižek – What does it mean to be a revolutionary today? Marxism 2009

Alex Callinicos – What does it mean to be a revolutionary today?

Chris Harman – The Crisis Now – Marxism 2009

Lukács on Lenin – John Rees – Marxism 2009

David Harvey’s talk, The Crisis Today: Marxism 2009,  was delivered in 2009 as the 2008 World economic crisis was taking hold. Ten years on and the World is still in crisis. Harvey proposes a revolutionary movement to address this crisis and suggests what it should look like. He suggests we need a ‘theory of social change’ that would talk about the ways we can move toward something that is a radically different kind of society. This theory of social change is embedded in Marx’s Theory of Capital and has seven variables that we need to understand this evolutionary theory of change. There are seven moments:

  1. Nature Moment: What is our relation to nature and in what ways do we think about modifying it? How do we think dialectically about our relation to nature? There is a co-evolution of man and nature, this dialectic is crucial and Marx writes about this in a very expansive way. This is one moment in historical transformations. What kind of relation to nature are we expecting in a socialist society and how can we move toward it? Marx was one of the first environmentalists.
  2. Technological Moment: What kind of technological mix are we looking for? We are interested not only in ‘hardware’ but the ‘software’ needed to operate the hardware. How does capitalism identify its own unique technology, suited to its system? We can examine this moment by examining the transition from feudal technology to capital technology. So, can we imagine what are the technologies needing to evolve out of capitalism to arrive at socialism? This moment co-varies dialectically with the nature moment, for example, ‘green technology’.
  3. Social Relations Moment: This moment also co-varies dialectically with the others. A very complex moment with internal conflicts in regards to what we are looking for i.e. how do we deal with class, gender, race as it relates, for example, to technology.
  4. Organization of Production Moment: There is a labor process that is not independent of the other moments.
  5. Mental Conception Moment: Our mental conceptions of the world are always changing.
  6. Daily life Moment: How do we go about our daily life, feeding, clothing, and sheltering our family?
  7. Intuitional Administrative Moment: How does the State operate?

These Seven Moments are dynamically co-evolving. Capitalism is perpetually evolving within these seven moments. Think about what these Seven Moments were like in 1970 and what they are like now in 2020. How are they changing? What is the process of social change now underway? A moment of crisis is a reconfiguration of these seven moments. What are we witnessing that reveals a re-configuration away from ‘profit-making’ to a configuration that ‘meets human needs’ in a very radically different way? The important issue is where can we start a social movement to impact our system of moments. Harvey suggests we can start at any one of these moments. We can start at any moment but we have to move to each one of the moments as the change process unfolds. Capitalism does not now know what is coming! Many of these moments are imprisoned inside their institutional chains, which have to be broken free. Harvey gives a personal example of working in a University and needing to break the chains tying Universities to Corporations. In order to mobilize a chain-breaking movement one has to have a vision.  This breaking movement is complex and very involved – the transition to socialism will take as much time as the transition from feudalism to capitalism. A problem on the left, Harvey suggests, is that it has not yet imagined what lies ahead. This imagination ought to now be birthing in the Democratic Party – this is what we can call ‘breading bad, really bad’.

Finally, Pinky and Bunny suggest the effort needed to tackle realigning our Structure, Power, and Agency – will require committing class treason.

“In the course of our ongoing notation and probing of The Eternal Good Machine, we have noticed that the logic and patterns embodied by its institutional components has produced disaster-level human stupidity, as well as a corresponding material crisis that all (remaining) living beings are now attempting to survive. What can be done?

Based on the simple observation that the dominant Euro-American industrial formations – the school, the degree, the law, the arts, the corporation, the product and so on – require all classes of people (be they direct beneficiaries of high society’s lustrous aura, the oppressed and marginalized, or anyone in-between) to accept their Natural superiority in order to maintain the current social/environmental history-vector, we have devised an easy-to-remember three-part directive that anyone can use to help us steer away from EPIC PLANETARY FAILURE:

1. Identify all structures and relationships that denigrate or disadvantage.
2. Figure out if you are somehow supporting or benefitting from any of the above.
3. If yes, stop.

A critical mass of people rejecting the logic and privileges of unethical and harmful regimes can only bring about their eventual collapse. And we are not positive but we think that this can be accomplished without nuclear weapons, war-jets, or machine guns.”

A Covey of Vultures by Ed Raymond HPR December 23rd, 2019, is Ed, breaking really bad. Ed, as Zizek instructs us, is doing more than dusting the ball of capitalists, he is trying to cut them off!

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Dangerous Knowledge

I have watched the 2007 documentary Dangerous Knowledge by David Malone several times portraying the work of mathematicians Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. I am reminded of my 7th-grade class in algebra: 2x + 6 = 36, solve for x. At UND I took algebra again and got an A thanks to FCHS’s advanced math program. In my graduate classes, I took finite math/calculus and then a class in economic history, where I proposed to the professor to write my course paper on Karl Marx’s ‘mathematical transformation problem’. He said it was too complex for a management major and so I selected a mundane subject – England’s 1800 corn laws. This blog presents four mathematicians and how they struggled to mathematically map the university – they were “alone with the alone” and this drove some insane and to suicide. We expect not to reach that tipping point.

Alone with the Alone

Beneath the surface of the world, are the rules of science. But beneath them, there is a far deeper set of rules – a matrix of pure mathematics which explains the nature of the rules of science and how it is the way we can understand them in the first place. In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane.

The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God’s messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity.

Here’s the summary from the BBC website:

In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God’s messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity.

Ludwig Boltzmann’s struggle to prove the existence of atoms and probability eventually drove him to suicide. Kurt Gödel, the introverted confidant of Einstein, proved that there would always be problems which were outside human logic. His life ended in a sanatorium where he starved himself to death.

Finally, Alan Turing, the great Bletchley Park code breaker, father of computer science and homosexual, died trying to prove that some things are fundamentally unprovable.

The film also talks to the latest in the line of thinkers who have continued to pursue the question of whether there are things that mathematics and the human mind cannot know. They include Greg Chaitin, mathematician at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, New York, and Roger Penrose.

Dangerous Knowledge tackles some of the profound questions about the true nature of reality that mathematical thinkers are still trying to answer today.

Dangerous Knowledge (1/5)

Dangerous Knowledge (2/5)

Dangerous Knowledge (3/5)


Dangerous Knowledge (4/5)

Dangerous Knowledge (5/5)

The Mathematics of Chaos Documentary|

As we watch this Malone’s ‘math of chaos documentary’, what is he saying about our current ‘chaotic world’, what is creating our modern sense of anxiety? We are anxious, are we not? When will our World reach another tipping point? When will our current order tip into chaos? Ford’s assembly line 1900 and then the computer 1939 imposed on us thinking that we could control the future Edward Norton Lorenz model of climate change says that a tiny change at the beginning of one’s model creates major changes when carried forward. A small error makes no difference is wrong and is known as the butterfly effect, dz/dt=xy-z. Where is the root that is giving us the chaos of Trump? This has to be unpacked psycho-analytically and as Malone’s series has been doing is presenting the mathematics for our study of global corporate capitalism.

Ft=dxxtf’x – [ ] [ ]
rmx(r) < 0

With the nuclear age and the computer, we thought we could control the economy, In 1962 Lorens built a model on the climate – tiny numbers at the beginning created major changes; “a small error makes no difference is wrong – the butterfly effect, dz/dt=xy-z.” There is something about Man in wanting to trace his develop backward, to his beginning that will never end. However, traveling this journey is dangerous but we must stay on the road! It is mentioned in these videos that understanding the depth psychology is important!  What is Depth Psychology

Edward Norton Lorenz

Chaos Theory / Butterfly Effect

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A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard

One year ago, during Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument debate, a local professor supported his argument for removing Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument with this reasoning, “Try to imagine you have recently escaped persecution in another country and are now a refugee in the United States. You travel to city hall or a courthouse to find a tablet saying, ‘Thou shalt not have other gods before me.’ What if you aren’t Christian? Are you going to feel as though you will get a fair treatment in this country? Your entire life has been one of fear of being hurt or killed for not belonging to the accepted group. And you escape that, only to find an apparent requirement to belong to another group” (Reasons clear why marker should be removed, Forum 9/03/03). His rationale is that emigrants and refugees entering public buildings should not have to pass any such religious monument so remove them all.

Fargo Civic Center Courtyard

I tried putting myself in refugee shoes, walking into Fargo’s Civic Center courtyard for my first civic experience and thought about what I would like to greet me. Instead of having no references to the center of life, I would prefer to see the Civic Center courtyard displaying monuments to the many ways men and women have found to touch the center ground – place monuments to all beliefs and to “no belief”, if no belief is possible. For me the most welcoming reception would be to see all religions openly acknowledged – this would tell me that Fargo’s belief systems are encompassing and accommodating. And this seems to be the issue – are we open and tolerant to all beliefs?

This summer I was working on a Fargo photo collage and when I took a photo of the Civic Center, I saw an opportunity to state my opinion photographically. With a panorama of the Civic Center at the top and the green lawn extended downward, I placed at the poster’s center a photo of the Ten Commandments Monument. I then selected saying from the other religions Houston Smith, author of The Religions of Man, discusses to surround the Ten Commandments Monument photo. These saying may not be the ones others would choose to represent these faiths but they have similar themes.

I had the opportunity while at UND in the 1970s to attend visiting lectures by Houston Smith and in the last chapter of this book he suggests that at the core of man’s religions we find the same underlying truth. In Smith’s final chapter, he asks us to ponder, “how do these religions fit together? In what relation do they stand to one another?” He poses three answers and suggests a direction forward. The first is that one religion is clearer and superior in expressing religious truth. The challenge here is to live to the depths of them all in order to make this judgment. The second is that in “all important respect they are the same” – each contains a version of the Golden Rule, sees man’s self-centeredness as source of his troubles and seeks to help, and acknowledge a universal Divine Ground from which man rose and good is sought. The challenge is again to fully understand them and then decide how to fit them together.

The third answer stands in contrast to the first two, in that, not all religions say the same thing but they do have a similar unity. Nor does it find one tradition to be superior, for if God is a God of love, surely, He would be revealing himself to all others as difference necessitated. The third answer is the most challenging in that the light of man’s religions derives from the “same source.” Smith suggests the challenge in this third response is “whether our personal, autonomous reason is qualified to stand judgment on matters as important as these, picking and choosing what in other traditions is authentic and what is spurious?”

Smith’s last question is, “What should be our approach to the religions of man from this point on?” Here I suggest Smith misses the point, in that we should not be about “picking and choosing” with “autonomous reason” but of exploring inwardly with symbolic reasoning our common source – our common collective unconscious. Smith’s suggestion that we must listen first to our own faith and then to others, left me wondering what listening involves. Smith views the “same religions source” as an objective rather than a subjective experience and thus left me looking for more direction.

In the face of the threats Smith saw in 1958 from “nationalism, materialism, and conformity” (today add terrorism) he correctly calls attention to the urgency of opening a dialogue on “man’s spiritual life.” In spite of these plagues, Smith called this a potentially “great century” if, however, the scientific achievements of the first half are matched by “comparable achievements in human relations” in the second. What happened to Smith’s call for a basic change human relation? How do we rate the capacity of man’s mind today to destroy itself? Where have all the soldiers gone? Still going to fields everyone….

Indeed, soldiers are still going, as suggested by C.G. Jung, in that the body count in the wake of 20th Century’s political faiths surpasses the slaughter left by the crusaders, inquisitor, and Holy Wars following the Reformation. Jung writes, “Not even the medieval epidemics of bubonic plague or smallpox killed as many people as certain differences of opinion in 1914 or certain political ‘ideals’ in Russia.” There certainly is an urgency to find common understanding – a new universal spirituality.

In considering Smith’s approach to “religions from this point on”, I discovered John Dourley’s book, The illness that we are, to offer a point of departure. What is unique is Dourley’s thesis that a universal subjective symbolic reasoning process provides a way to deeply listen, understand, and dialogue about man’s common religious function. Symbolic reasoning addresses this key concern of Smith’s, “Who does not have to fight an unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior?”

Smith closes his book with this Jesus saying, “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” However, at a deeper level this Jesus saying, “First take the beam out your own eye,” has to precede “Loving thy neighbor as thy self” or “Doing unto others…” Symbolic reasoning is about “understanding the beams”, which in turn unveils the “unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior” or that “evil” is out there in an “empire” or “triad” and can be eradicated. A more universal spirituality might begin by placing many religious monuments in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard.

Scherling, S.A., 2004, Ten Commandments or a new universal spirituality in our Civic Center courtyard? High Plains Reader, October 14, Vol.11, Iss.6. p.3. Copyright © by Steven Arvid Scherling All Rights Reserved

The city of Fargo down for the count-of-ten?

I anticipated a line of spectators for the March 11th Fargo Ten Commandments hearing but only a small camera crew was at the Courthouse entrance and the courtroom was only three-quarters full. Third-year law student Tiffany Johnson presented the plaintiffs’ case and argued that the monument violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional for the city to have accepted and to maintain the Monument. Defense assistant Fargo City Attorney Patty Roscoe argued that “secular” and “context” aspects of the monument matter, illustrating the secular by pointing to America’s legal heritage and that donation of the monument to commemorate Fargo’s 1950s urban renewal. How is Judge Erickson seeing this case?

Throughout the hearing, Erickson made comments and asked questions. As the judge professed, for this case he was playing the role of educator for the benefit 4th grade and university law students present. This certainly was helpful for court pundits analyzing the judge’s thinking and setting odds on how he will rule. Just as the attorneys and judge speculated on the meaning of what several Supreme Court Justices said or did not say in hearing their Ten Commandments case, we can speculate on how Erickson might rule based on his comments and questions.

Erickson stated the reason he allowed this case to come forward is its unique circumstances. One uniqueness is that the monument had been donated to the city to commemorate its 1950s urban renewal project, clearly stated on the monument. The judge saw this as supporting the city’s secular argument. However, Johnson made an important point – the monument contains two stars of David, the $1 bill “all-seeing eye”, an eagle grasping an American flag, and the Greek letters Chi and Rho, which are symbols representing Jesus Christ. The judge, however, did not buy Johnson’s argument that “eagle grasping an American flag” on the monument when seen by a passing U.S. shoulder holding the Muslim faith would be seen as an affront to his service.

Erickson responded with concern to Johnson’s photo of the Monument 20-feet off the ground showing that the only direct sidewalk between three public buildings intersect in a circle sidewalk surrounding the Monument. Erickson asked, “Why can’t the City move the sidewalks?” The judge clearly feels the sidewalk layout between these public buildings is making an inappropriate statement about the centrality of this religious monument. While the judge seemed to discounts the argument that it is a burden to have to avert one’s eyes when passing such a monument, he was not impressed that the city has not provided an alternate sidewalk between these buildings. The layout of the Civic Center Courtyard sidewalks should have been and needs changing Erickson is thinking.

Erickson asked Johnson, what her clients thought of the idea of placing other monuments in the Civic Center Courtyard. “I do not know – they are only concerned about the present situation,” she replied. The judge asked Roscoe, “Have other groups offered to donate similar monuments to the city.” “Not to the best of my knowledge”, Roscoe responded. Roscoe informed the court the City Commission (July 8, 2002) voted not to move the Monument and that City Commissioner Rob Lynch’s no vote was because the City’s new urban renewal plans envisioned extending 2nd Avenue North through the Courtyard and would thus necessitate moving of the Monument. Erickson quickly asked, “Does the city have any current plans regarding this?” “None to my knowledge”, Roscoe replied.

Erickson’s comments accepted and discounted points on both sides and reveal he was probing for accommodation. At the center of his concern seems to be, “how can the Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument remain?” The judge has to be thinking that the City Commission has not strategically anticipated this case and properly defused the plaintiffs’ case with plans to address the sidewalk and to place other religions monuments in the courtyard. Such efforts in other communities have met with success in retaining Ten Commandments monuments.

A more important lapse, the judge must be thinking, has occurred within Fargo’s religions communities. They have failed to seize the opportunity to donate like monuments representing their beliefs. Where are Fargo’s Muslim’s Koran, Hindu’s Bhagavad-Gita, Tibetan’s Book of the Dead, the Native American’s Lakota Wisdom, Unitarian’s Seven Principles, free-thinkers’ Humanist Manifesto III, Chinese Dao de Ching, atheist’s manifesto, and really where is the Christians’ Sermon on the Mount monument?

Erickson’s comments and questions reveal that he would favorably have viewed Fargo Community support and a current City Commission plan to reconstitute the Civic Center Courtyard as justification for keeping the Ten Commandants Monument. Pundits calling the pending Supreme Court decision are predicting its decision will require the Ten Commandments monument be removed from inside courthouses but will allow it to remain in courtyards providing they include other secular and religious monuments. It seems Erickson’s summary decision will be for the plaintiffs – a sad outcome for all belief systems and a setback for Fargo making a statement on “universal spirituality”. However, I hear there is a side bet at even odds that Erickson will rule in favor of the City, providing the sidewalk is changed and other monuments added.

Scherling, S.A., 2005, Ten Commandments Update. High Plains Reader, April 21, Vol.11, Iss.31, p.7. Copyright © by Steven Arvid Scherling All Rights Reserved.

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Truth about Trump – Face to Face

The “Black Swan One Dimensional Project” is still breathing! One Black Swan effort was The I Ching Speaks to the World on September 11: A New Ethic, which seems to have awakened the world. What is interesting about this ‘Anonymous – The truth about Donald Trump’ clip is its future projections about what is now unfolding. One can note these down and check them off to test Anonymous’ predictions about Donald Trump. This is a continuing effort to understanding “black swans” events coming our way.

Anonymous – The TRUTH about Donald Trump

Look at the history of the Great Wall, the Maginot Line, and the Berlin Wall – all testify to the uselessness of walls.

This might help us understand what is coming around the river bend. Some time ago, we watched the new AG of Californian lay out his plans to push back against Trump’s Wall to be built across his state – he outlined the strick California regulations that need to be followed. Then, there are other hurdles along with this broader learning that the Tohono O o’dham Indian Reservation covers a large part of the Arizona boarder. I predicted then that the Lakota Sioux and Tohono O o’dham braves will unite. Get your tomahawks ready. We must be careful – Trump is monitoring us like in the movie Enemy of State, we are told not lookup – the CIA is watching us. However, we should look up to the American Indians encounters with Star Stories: The Lover Star.

I woke up recently with dreams.  However, before I tell you about one, listen and watch Matt Simons Catch & Release song about his Anima and then read on… This makes one want to go sailing! Okay, maybe soon. For now, I am reading J.W. Dunne’s book “An experiment with time” which is one my sources in examining dreaming. The first dream is with my Anima – no it was not on a sailing boat, however, I do remember sailing on the Pacific Ocean on Blair’s boat with Barry., and then again on Pelican Lake with Jack, Shaun and Fannie. There is sailing in the future!

Catch & Release

My dream was of a very beautiful woman. I had met her it seems the day before and was quite attracted to her. I was ushered into a large banquet room, to the front on the left side of the room, and was seated at a floor table. There at the next table was the woman I had met last night. I watched her carefully as she said hello and asked how I was doing. I was struck by her beauty and wanted to know her better. In analyzing my dream, I started to look at who she represents – who forms my Anima Archetype?  I know she is composed of all the women in my life – in all of life. So, I started remembering the ladies in my life:  Kathy, Karen, Phyllis, Nancy, Sandra, Sharon, Kathe, Mary, Nancy, Fannie, and of course Billiette, Amanda and Sophia – my mother and grandmothers, and Annah our daughter. We (for sure not Trump) consider ‘Pocahontas’ an Anima figure and in this scene, we see Pocahontas entering a river, water representing the unconscious, and flowing into emerging life – an important role she plays in our lives. What is this dream saying?

Pocahontas – Just Around The Riverbend

Diving into Face To Face with Carl Gustav Jung is a very challenging task and for now, this short clip will begin an introduction. Jung’s description of how he came to study medicine I found interesting as I reflected on my experiences leading to my study of psychology – it is how we enter the river of life. I also remember a fight I had outside Agizzie Jr High School when Rubin and his gang learned to leave me alone.

Acquiring a psychoanalytical view is essential in understanding the river of life we are on. We have the Three Musketeers – Freud, Jung and Adler, and others to guide us and all identify dream analysis as essential to navigating life. The Anima Archetype is a genetic component of the female in the male – it is essential for men to comprehend who she is and what she expects. The spectacle of Donal Trump in the months ahead, sorry to say, is going to give us a case study on Anima Projection when Elizabeth Warren, Pocahontas, is nominated as the Democratic candidate for President.

Finally, we listen to James Bay’s Hold Back The River “letting me look in your eyes, stop for a minute to be by your side, hold back the river. Lonely water won’t you let us wander, letting us hold each other.”

James Bay and I, “If You Ever Want To Be In Love, I’ll come around!”

Sioux Chief Taken Aboard Star Ship

A Lakota peyote healing song to listen to as I get this ready to post online. I will continue with the idea of an experiment with time and my dreams of Anima and the other archetypes of the unconscious. Note the Owl as in Scherling Owl Photography – sas.

Catch and Release

There’s a place I go to
Where no one knows me
It’s not lonely
It’s a necessary thing
It’s a place I made up
Find out what I’m made of
The nights are stayed up
Counting stars and fighting sleep

Let it wash over me
Ready to lose my feet
Take me on to the place where one reviews life’s mistery
Steady on down the line
Lose every sense of time
Take it all in and wake up that small part of me
Day to day I’m blind to see
And find how far
To go

Everybody got their reason
Everybody got their way
We’re just catching and releasing
What builds up throughout the day

It gets into your body
And it flows right through your blood
We can tell each other secrets
And remember how to love

Da da dum dum dum dum dum
Da dum dum dum
Dadada dum dum
Da da dum dum dum dum dum
Da dum dum dum

Fannie, I have a secret to tell you! Dadada dum dum dum!

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The Ascent Of Man

I purchased Jacob Bronowski’s beautifully illustrated book The Ascent of Man and the videotapes when first published in 1973 and have re-watched episodes throughout these years. With some effort, one can now watch The Ascent of Man on Youtube. I have posted here Part 1 ‘Lower than the Angels’ and then Michael Parkinson’s interview of Jacob Bronowski,  followed by personal reflections, which ends suggesting we reflect on our ascent – it can be managed!

Ascent Of Man Pt 1 Lower Than The Angels

Volume 1 of Jacob Bronowski’s epic examination of our rise from the apes and the development of civilization. (from May 1973) “Man’s imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety, and toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the environment but to change it. And that series of inventions, by which man from age to age has remade his environment, is a different kind of evolution – not biological but cultural evolution. I call that brilliant series of cultural peaks ‘The Ascent of Man’.” Dr. Jacob Bronowski opens the programme at the Great Rift Valley of East Africa and traces the evolution of man’s great gifts – foresight and imagination. He follows man from Africa through the desert and Ice Age – Chapters 1 Shaper of the Landscape; Chapter 2 The Rift Valley; Chapter 3 Australopithecus; Chapter 4 Physical Gifts; Chapter 5 Precursors of Man; Chapter 6 The Hunter; Chapter 7 The Ice Age; Chapter 8 Cave Art.

Michael Parkinson interviews Dr Jacob Bronowski 1974

“A belief in a higher power” is a lower-level in man’s ascent as Jacob Bronowski addresses in his monumental BBC program The Ascent Of Man. One can re-watch this program many times, which I do and not tire. I recently did so and then added Michael Parkinson interview of Dr. Bronowski to complete this blog entry. While watching it, I took notes for how I might comment on it for a blog entry. Close to the end, it hit me square on, nearly knocking me off my chair, something like the shock Bronowski felt when he realized the results of applying mathematics to the analysis of early human teeth. Well, okay not quite as shocking but of the same quality of insight into what needs to be studied. Abraham Maslow defines these as peak experiences and Bronowski comments that the ascent of man is pursued today by insisting society provide every man and woman with a ‘quality working life’ designed to address the ‘highest self-actualizing need of Man’. Wow! My research ‘An Inquiry into QWL’ in my bookcase just rattled a bit and I am now wondering what to do with the message Dr. Bronowski is sending?

題名:  An Inquiry Into the Quality of Work Life in Hsinchu Science Based Industrial Park. National Taiwan University (1988)
作者:  徐木蘭; Scherling, Steven A.; 陳家聲 Hsu, Mu-Lan; Chen, Chia-Shen.

Tesseract communication through space and time. We hear you Jacob.

Here then is Maslow’s psychoanalytical framework for designing a ‘quality working life’ which ought to satisfy Maslow’s highest need, Self-Actualization.

Social interest. Negative emotions. Reactive anger. righteous indignation. Identification with the human condition. A desire to help.

Interpersonal relations: Levels of love. Be love. Deficiency love:

Awareness: Efficient Perception: Have clear eyes: has clear intuitions, can see that is the right conclusion. The hypothesis is SA has more efficient perception.

The freshness of appreciations: A miracle remains a miracle and one see this and enjoys this again and again.

Peak experience: feeling of awe and the feeling something important has happened. The mystic experiences.


G.W.F. Hegel on the Slave’s Development in the Master-Slave Dialectic – Philosophy Core Concepts


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Trumpty Through A Looking Glass

In a previous post addressing Donald Trump building his southern border wall, someone commented that “Humpty Dumpty had a wall”. Interesting, yes, we remember: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, had a great fall, breaking his head, which all the Queen’s men and horses could not put back to together again”. My immediate thought following this memory was, could Trumpty fall from his ‘imaginary wall’, crack his head, never to be put back together again – impeached and found guilty? Is this too much a fairytale? Alice was 7 years and six months old when she encountered Humpty and so was in 2nd grade, which took me back to Clara Barton grade school, when we must have read Lewis Carroll’s dialogue of Alice meeting Humpty Dumpty.

With the curiosity of Alice and seeing a rabbit hole, I crawled closer and closer…, losing my balance, falling in – down and down I tumbled, landing in a tree in the scene of Alice’s meeting with Humpty Dumpty. I sat where I had landed and listened in…, to my surprise I realized that Dumpty’s logic, ‘back-to-front’, is the same as Trumpty’s logic. However, a big difference is that Dumpty understands his logic and explains his use of language to Alice! Listening to “Through the Looking Glass Chapter 6, we hear Humpty Dumpty, who, besides celebrating his ‘unbirthday’, provides his own translation of the strange terms in Jabberwocky. In the process, he introduces Alice to the concept of portmanteau words, which Trump is trying to produce as he is galumphing around his ‘imaginary wall’ in a triumphant manner. Alice ends her encounter with Dumpty as I imagine many Americans are thinking about Trumpty, “Of all the unsatisfactory people I have ever met”.

Now, what else is down this rabbit hole, are other of Alice’s encounters mirroring what we are currently encountering?

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The Century of the Self

The Century of the Self – Part 1: “Happiness Machines”
The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas into the are of manipulating the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts to eroticizing the motorcar. His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile. It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.

The Century of the Self – Part 2: “The Engineering of Consent”
This episode explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise – that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again they set out to find ways to control this hidden enemy within the human mind. Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government, big business, and the CIA used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. But this was not a cynical exercise in manipulation. Those in power believed that the only way to make democracy work and create a stable society was to repress the savage barbarism that lurked just under the surface of normal American life.

The Century of the Self – Part 3: “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads; He Must Be Destroyed.”
In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself. Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics. This programme shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard’s Erhard Seminar Training – into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation. But the American corporations soon realised that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.

The Century of the Self – Part 4: “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering”
This episode explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfil the inner desires of the self. Both New Labour, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mould their policies to people’s inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learnt to do with products. Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s. The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of the individual. But what they didn’t realise was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them.



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