The Revolution Won’t Be Televised

Guest post by Niklas Stephenson, a German/American activist and blogger.

The trajectory leading us to our current state entails portions of failed communication or communication stylized for the wrong intentions on a massive scale. The rise of social media platforms and the dependency upon these have given a shaky ground for dangerous ideology to develop and grow if vile, inhumane opinions are not challenged. In times where communication becomes limited to a necessity to reach means we cannot begin to question the effects and causes of systemic mechanisms and political action.

Our communication lacks depth, because the time for purposeful social communication is eroding. The means to survive and provide in the 21st Century is a struggle void of love and empathy and stealing our time, due to our situation in the modern extremism of profit and means of production. We work harder for less today [in terms of means to provide, as costs of living go up massively but wages stagnate] than we did perhaps before the oil crisis in the 1970’s which enabled the paradigm to turn towards Neoliberalism, because the old order could not provide explanations for this crisis. We lack time to question our surrounding environment and we lack the muse to question critically outside of given contexts – it is dry, theoretical and a long journey to understanding. Shui and Blankenburg have often questioned how we are supposed to oppose the system when we receive everything from it: our thought, action, behavior, norms.

Love and empathy are important in communication because it lays the groundwork for understanding others and our surroundings. Void of these we think in individualist terms easily manipulated by ideology. It causes our communication to take place in a superficial state making it nearly impossible to transfer vital information. The mass apparatus of social media and entertainment flood our senses with disinformation – discrepancies to human nature. Waves of poison are thrown at the people: materialism, consumerism, jealousy, competition.

Who will question the Status Quo if it is omnipresent in emotion, character, society and interpersonal exchange? Who will know alternatives to the Status Quo?

The answer can only be those that we raise to question it. We have to start with our children. Raise them void of authoritarian measures, teach them to think critically, to more or less be a guide to their own understanding of the world and to teach them how to use, question and understand new media [no dependency on it to acquire knowledge, for example] – the natural establishment of human character will take care of developing a solid ground for empathy and love – possibly enabling communication based above the lowest superficial step. We have to protect them from the poisons spewing from all channels into their Lebenswelt. Essentially the young will teach the old as society changes and the environment is shaped by the young analog to their manifested and self gained ideals. Parallel to that we have to find means to enable those capable to teach others without the barriers of legitimization handed down by the institutions of education controlled by the state whose interests are per usual not ours.

“The Revolution will not be televised” wasn’t just an empty, hip phrase. It is a statement with depth that requires empathy towards who said it to understand the rationale behind it.

The revolution is social and mental – break the chains of mental entrapment of systemically accepted ideology. Individualism or isolation is prone for exploitation – we are social animals and we seek social contact. But we are also tired and seek easy solutions – that has to change.

Angel’s Guardian

I love vampire stories that are different that break away from the Bram Stoker mode and creates a new species of vampire. With “Angel’s Guardian,” Zeecé Lugo does this and more. In the short story prelude to this new series, “Vampire, Not Monster,” Lugo hinted at what this new species of vampire might look like. In the title, and in the prose that followed, she gives us a glimpse of the differences between the vampire Maxim and vampires of past stories and folklore. With the opening chapter of “Angel’s Guardian” Lugo smacks the reader in the face with a major difference of this new species of vampire and continues with more surprises as the story unfolds.

Lugo’s skill in storytelling through prose, that delivers vivid images of the written scene, is second to none. She wastes no time introducing and revealing her characters so that the reader gains instant empathy, sympathy, dislike or outright hatred for each of the actors, protagonist or antagonist. Another facet of Lugo’s writing I appreciate is verisimilitude, a big word for sense of reality, realism. Lugo’s characters bleed, and she pulls no punches showing the reader why. If one of her characters gets shot, you won’t see that character on the next page or chapter doing things in real life that would be impossible for someone with a wound like that. If there’s a sex scene… you’ll read a sex scene rather than an “off-stage” word or two that says, “they had sex.”

I strongly recommend “Angel’s Guardian” to all readers who appreciate a fast-paced, thrilling suspense/horror tale based upon new character concepts, and filled with realistic characters and scenes. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series.

 

Kubrick’s Game

Antonio Mascaro, professor at the UCLA School of Film and Television, receives a package that contains a reproduction of a famous Kubrick photo originally posted on the cover of Look Magazine. On the back of the photo are the words, “Follow me to Q’s identity.” Mascaro calls on Shawn Hagan, an introverted, perhaps borderline autistic, student expert on film director Stanley Kubrick for help in deciphering the message. Shawn, in turn, enlists the aid of two of his friends at UCLA. Intrigued, Wilson Devereux, a former child movie star and Samira “Sami” Singh, a graduate film student, eagerly agree to help Shawn solve the puzzle. So begins a story and treasure hunt that will keep you guessing and turning the pages as fast as possible.

Despite differences in premise, characters, and writing style, a comparison of “Kubrick’s Game” to the Robert Langdon series of puzzling suspense thrillers by Dan Brown are inevitable and appropriate. Still, I entered this book with some trepidation as I’ve little to no knowledge of Kubrick—neither his biography nor his films. Although I’ve seen several Kubrick directed and produced movies, I couldn’t give you any details about them other than title and premise. The good news is that my fears were unsubstantiated due to the author’s writing style. Taylor Kent writes with authority, great wordsmithing, and characterization. He is adept at showing the story so that even a reader with zero knowledge of Stanley Kubrick or his films can follow and enjoy the tale. Verisimilitude is a major piece of novel writing I appreciate above all else. To me, it is the most important facet in enabling readers to suspend disbelief. If realism, regardless of the story genre and content cannot be won… the entire story is lost. Every scene, every act, every character written in “Kubrick’s Game” is founded on a bedrock of verisimilitude and Derek Taylor Kent has joined the small number of authors I call favorites.

My Problem(s) with Fundamentalism

by Dr. Bart D. Ehrmann, provided courtesy of Guy Teague

From Wikipedia: Bart Denton Ehrman (/bɑːrt ˈərmən/; born October 5, 1955) is an American professor and scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is one of North America’s leading scholars in his field, having written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers. Ehrman’s work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.

Dr. Ehrmann:  My Problem(s) With Fundamentalism: A Blast from the Past. What are fundamentalists, and why don’t I like them? Here is a post I published almost exactly four years ago now. My views have not changed!

QUESTION: You note that fundamentalism is dangerous and harmful. How do you define fundamentalism and why do you think it’s dangerous?

RESPONSE: There are of course actual definitions of “fundamentalism” that you can find in scholarship on religion, but I sense that you’re asking more for a rough-and-ready description. Years ago I started defining fundamentalism as “No fun, too much damn, and not enough mental. When I was a fundamentalist myself (yet to be described) I understood it in a positive way. Originally, in Christian circles, it referred to believers who held on to the “fundamentals” of the faith, which for us included such things as the inspiration of Scripture, the full deity of Christ, the Trinity, the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, and, well, probably a collection of other doctrines. Fundamentalism, for us, was to be differentiated from liberalism, which had sacrificed these basic fundamental doctrines to the gods of modernity. And we would have nothing of it. Some scholars today understand fundamentalism to be an inordinately conservative branch of a religion (Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, for example) that stresses that it alone has the truth, that insists that everyone agrees with its perspective, and that focuses exclusively on religious issues with no interest in for broader concerns of society such as social justice. I don’t agree with that last bit.

But I do think that fundamentalism in its various brands is insistent that it is right, everyone else is wrong, and there needs to be borderline militant (either verbal or physical) action to bring others into line with the truth. In Christian circles fundamentalism is almost always tied directly to a view of Scripture as being an inerrant revelation from God that has no mistakes in anything it says, so that there are no real contradictions or discrepancies in the Bible as the Word of God, and no discrepancies in the Bible’s description of historical facts or scientific realities.

And so if Genesis says the world was created in six days, it means six days – with mornings and evenings (not geological periods). If it says Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, they were the first man and woman. If it says there was a universal flood, there was a universal flood. If the book of Joshua says that the walls of Jericho came a-tumblin’ down, then they came a-tumblin’ down. Everything, to its precise detail, is absolutely right. And being absolutely right is absolutely necessary, because if you don’t have some kind of absolute standard of truth, then everything is up for grabs. There is no longer any objectivity. There is no way to know anything for a fact. And most important, there is no way to know anything about God. And that means that there is no way to be saved.

And so the stakes are very high for Christian fundamentalists. Which is why they tend to be not only isolationist in their thinking (holding to historical and scientific views that have been thoroughly discredited), but also evangelistic in their zeal – since agreeing with them is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to avoid the (literal, of course) fires of hell.

So why do I think it’s dangerous? Lots of reasons—enough for a book. To keep it short and simple though, fundamentalists tend not only to think explicitly that stated views of Scripture are absolutely true, but also that their own inferred interpretations of Scripture are absolutely true. This view necessarily has serious implications, especially when fundamentalists have anything like a modicum of power, either within their own communities or in society at large. Fundamentalists at one point were convinced that because of Noah’s curse of his son Ham, that blacks were, for biblical reasons, supposed to be slaves to whites. Fundamentalists have constantly argued that since the Bible says so, women are inferior to men and are to be subservient to them.

Fundamentalists regularly argue that the Bible condemns abortion (it doesn’t, actually) that a woman who exercises her right to choose has in fact committed murder. Fundamentalists are opposed to the teaching of real science in the schools, are intent on filling their children’s minds with complete scientific nonsense (the world is only 6000 years old; there was no big bang; the fossils have been placed into the rocks by the Devil to confuse us). And as a result they refuse to adhere to the principle that thinking human beings should be taught how to THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

Fundamentalists do not want to promote thinking – even though they often say that they do; they want to promote abject obedience to authority, whether the authoritative scripture (as interpreted of course by the authoritative interpreters – i.e., themselves) or the authoritative leaders of their community, who may insist that women are going to the Devil if their knees show while wearing dresses or that masturbation is a sin that will send you to hell or that adultery is literally an unpardonable sin. Just for starters.

So yes, I think fundamentalism is very dangerous. It not only destroys minds; it refocuses minds on nonsense (the world will end Sept 11-13, 1988), and fills minds with absurdities (from talking snakes in the Garden of Eden to the innate inferiority of women to men; which two things, by the way, are related in their minds). Why fundamentalists are almost to a person passionately devoted to a particular interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, I’ll never know…..

January 20, 2017 – The Day of the Trumpalypse

Guest Blog by Niklas Stephenson – a German-American millennial currently living in Germany. He is college educated in social work and politically active on the staff of Activism Munich an international, non-profit media organization.

January 20, 2017 – The Day of the Trumpalypse

Today will one day be called The Trumpalypse. Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, will be stylized to become the personification of evil politics and interest. But, it is not the end, merely an acceleration of a process begun almost a century ago.

Trump is not the devil. He is you, me, and all Americans. Trump results from a hyper-consuming and materialistic society. He is the personification of our lack of moral backbone and ethics. When you see Trump you are seeing a subconscious reflection of yourself: narcissistic, self-indulged, self-proliferating and self-contained in your own corner of the world.

The massive outcry of disingenuous politicians and so-called leaders will resonate over and over, accompanied by the overture of media sensationalism. Prominent leaders will call for a conjoining of movements behind party lines and persons. Don’t take the bait! Don’t drink the Kool Aid!

The two divergent paths in the political woods of American politics ultimately lead to the same result. On the left, a donkey tried to lead the way but the natural being of a donkey is obedience and its masters are—Wall Street, Big Banks, and the Military-Industrial-Complex. On the right, the Elephant now stands ready to smash everything in its path toward greed, religious bigotry and hate, without remorse and thus opening the gates to dangerous ideologies and a collapse of American society as we know it. The destination of either results in a further perversion of capitalism, neo-liberalism, and an increased concentration of wealth power and privilege for the chosen few while hundreds millions of people suffer.

Resist! Stand up and refuse to follow either of these perverted similes of democracy. Organize and find an ax to create your own paths stemming from a reality you see for yourself. Look inside to your subconscious mind and find the moral, ethical, truthful, honest reflections that are surely there. Smash through the dark forest of American politics with your ax and create your own path. This path will be hard, but it will be your path and you’ll find millions of fellow rangers seeking justice.

Resist and push for a paradigm shift in American politics, society and humanity… or perish. It’s that simple.

Reality Unveiled

In the mid-sixties, I read a book by Doctor Joseph Murphy that talked about the power of the subconscious mind. The information was mind-boggling for a young teenager but the author wove his concepts with religion and prayer to such a degree I missed, and subsequently disregarded, the spiritual message within. Still, as I endured the religious brainwashing of every child growing up in America’s Bible belt at the time, a spark was ignited that eventually led me away from religion. Years later, I discovered the works of Doctor Michael Newton and past lives regression therapy, and a few years after that, a book titled, “The Secret.” These and, by now countless books, articles and personal discussions have solidified my beliefs in the immortality of the spirit and oneness of the universe. Nothing I’d read, however, was equal to the carefully designed and presented concepts of Ziad Masri in his book, “Reality Unveiled.”

From the concept, The Law of One—creator and creation—to the spirit realm and history of our world, Masri presents these difficult to explain ideas, with plenty of scientific examples and background, so that everyone can understand. As well read as I am in these concepts, Masri surprised and enlighten me in several ways. For example, his take on the Law of Attraction (The Secret) is eye-opening, summed up by a Carl Jung quote, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Masri explains the tremendous jumps forward in human evolution and development in periods of time less than one percent of what evolution (as we define it) should have taken. He talks about visits from otherworldly spirits (my avoidance of the word “alien” is intentional) that have helped speed up human development here and elsewhere throughout the universe and defines their monuments, created many millennium ago, both here and on other planets and moons visible in our galaxy.

Masri combines these and many more concepts to create a vision of purpose, hope and a connection to infinite knowledge, but most of all he leads us to the foundation that holds all of creation together—love. I highly recommend “Reality Unveiled” to everyone interested in the secrets of life and all that life entails, from birth to death and life beyond death.

Reality Unveiled by Ziad Masri was reviewed as an Advanced Review Copy for Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards; the book had not yet been published.

Gettin’ Down with Dan Brown

“After the huge success of Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” da-vinci-code-coverI suspect that any author would love to be compared to that best-selling author, let alone deposit one of his royalty checks! And with “Eloah: No Heaven”, the first volume of Lex Allen’s new Eloah series which is firmly in the same genre, the comparisons are both apt and inevitable.” -Guy Teague.

no-heaven-final-miniPicture me looking into a mirror, with this paragraph from a recent book review for No Heaven running through my head. See my head? See it swell? See steam drifting out of my ears? Cringe at the thought of my head bursting like a watermelon dropped from the third story onto concrete. No? Well, try this one —

“The story is imaginative and interesting. He keeps even the skeptical reader riveted to the outcome. He does a better job than Dan Brown.”- Seeley James

A better job than Dan Brown, are you kidding me? The man who wrote the international bestsellers Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol, Da Vinci Code and Inferno? And let’s not forget his ‘getting wet behind the ears’ works, Deception Point and Digital Fortress? That Dan Brown?

I’m flattered, amazed and dizzy imagining the doors that could open following such praise. My imagination knows no bounds and includes the ultimate — an endorsement from The Man himself. But, how does one go about getting said endorsement? I thought of writing him an email or a direct message on Twitter but would he see it? He has an office and a staff that manages his website, tweets his tweets and screens his emails. IF I got through to him, what would I say? Nothing, because before I could embarrass myself by contacting Mr. Brown in any fashion or form, I read this article:  No, I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.  I’ll wait for you to check out the article.

You’re back? Great. So, as you can tell from reading the article, only a fool would attempt to obtain endorsement from a celebrity. My mama never raised any fools. Dan Brown endorsement is a no-go. I was okay with that, I accepted it in my heart until I rediscovered another couple reviews:

“In the tradition of Dan Brown… this is a book about church conspiracies and cover-ups. That’s where the similarity ends, though, with a far stranger truth involved than any Dan Brown book, as the paranormal plays a part in Allen’s No Heaven.” – Demelza Carlton

And this… “If you like ‘Dan Brown-esque’ thrillers with some social criticism tossed in to make you think, then give this one a read.” – Antonio Simon, Jr.

And another… “On the surface, it’s a supernatural thriller with a religious tread – think Dan Brown and the like – with science-fiction (other worlds, aliens, theory of quantum mechanics…) and supernatural. If this is the kind of story appeals to you, read it; you’ll love it.” – Danny

And… No, no more. I try to avoid beating the proverbial dead horse whenever possible. My heart be damned, I can’t… I won’t write Dan Brown or bore you with more of my ‘the next Dan Brown’ review excerpts. But, I will enjoy the warmth in my gut that comes from the sure knowledge that if I’m getting all these reviews that suggest my books are as good as those of Dan Brown; I must be writing something right and good.

Get your copies today, exclusively at Amazon websites worldwide:

No Heaven          No Hell          No Religion

The Compete Eloah Series

     

Evolved Publishing, LLC

Incontinent Youth

My children have all grown up, the youngest is 29. I can’t recall any of them wearing diapers beyond the age of about two. Wandering through a supermarket the other day, I noticed diapers for 8 to 14-year-olds!

I couldn’t believe it and as soon as I could… I hit the internet. It didn’t take long to turn up a plethora of sites on the subject—everything from medical discussions on why this phenomenon had occurred to a forum that discussed which was better for day wear, diapers or pull-ups! I’m not kidding http://bit.ly/2iim3Qi. Several comments in this forum scream for more commentary or psychological therapy, but I’ll pass.

On the medical side, many doctors attribute “incontinence” among school age children with autism or ADHD. On his deathbed, the doctor who “discovered” ADHD claimed it to be a fictitious disease (http://bit.ly/2iX46HX). Or, as Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn, Royal College of General Practitioners, called it “ADHD is fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction.” Who would benefit from such a fiction? My best guess is Big Pharma.

Imagine that! A made up disease designed to increase the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. Could this be true? Oh, hell yeah. But there are thousands of children that have not been diagnosed with autism or ADHD and still wet the bed beyond age 8 and 10. If, as I suspect, Big Pharma and its subset industry, Health and Welfare are the villains, how did they do it? To justify an entire product line, the industry would require a large consumer need… something in the range of a few million across the United States alone.

I have long believed the food industry and Big Pharma to be working hand in hand. The food industry provides fake food, enriched with shit that makes a person sick, and Big Pharma provides the medicines that cure the symptoms but not the underlying problem… bad food.
Meanwhile, we have an entire generation of children wearing diapers into their teens. Anyone out there believe that will not create even more psychological problems? I don’t doubt it for a minute.

Perhaps a lack of active parenting, enhanced by outside influences, contributes to the problem of incontinence among our youth. Under the stresses of time and finance, providing a healthy diet for our children has become increasingly difficult. Many parents can’t afford the doctor visits and lab tests to determine whether a physical issue is at the root of the problem, to say nothing of the costs for psychotherapy.

What I find mind-boggling is the normalcy now associated with youth incontinence. As with hyper active or emotionally withdrawn children, where the tendency is to diagnose and prescribe drugs to treat the symptoms without looking for the root of the problem, youth incontinence has become routine and the symptoms treated with diapers and/or pull-ups. This is quickly followed by a shrug of parental shoulders and convincing themselves that it’s “normal” these days for a child to wet the bed past the age of eight!

Well… to my mind bed wetting beyond the age of three is NOT normal. But, as I stated at the beginning, I no longer have children this young so I can’t truly relate to the problem. My sense is that combinations of diet, environment, and corporate profiteering have left parents helpless to combat this Gordian knot. Still, helpless is as helpless does and I applaud those parents who don’t accept the norm and dig deeper for a solution.

What do you think?