24 September 2020

New Strategies for a Different World

Growing up in the US has been about getting through school, maybe even college, finding work, having friendships and relationships.  For some people it means surviving adverse conditions, white supremacy, police violence, but for everyone regardless of level of privilege there is always the idea that if you play your cards right and have some good luck you just might end up with a life you want, amount of luck depending on numerous variables.

"Getting what I want" is the driving force behind capitalism, which is destroying the world.

Now we are faced with a global pandemic, likely being used to commit genocide in some places, being successfully subdued in others.  Here in the US west the fires have created a new normal of toxic smoke and all it brings; toxic soil, sick wildlife and pets, gardens we cannot eat, and more.

After 2 weeks of not seeing the sky, and breathing in noxious fumes, I panicked and started preparing to move back to Vermont.  I mobilized friends and family and found an apartment to move into and have been getting ready to move, but with misgivings.  Big rent, in town living with my dog who is a country dog (as am I!), the drive across the country; all fuel my doubts.

Indecision has never been a big issue for me.  Generally I have a good idea of what choice to make in most situations.  That's been one of the things that I appreciated in this life.  Now I am not feeling decisive.

What I am realizing today is that my fantasy of my comfy little life where I work as much as I want and can take breaks without huge financial strife, where the sky is blue and the soil is not poisoned and I can grow things and enjoy...lovely images, have lived parts of it, but right now we are in a time where what I want is not even close to the top of the priority list anymore.  In order to respond effectively to the many stressors we are all facing, I need to rise to the occasion, and put my own personal wants aside so I can focus on the tasks at hand.  It's a challenge. Translated this means...stay in the toxic zone and help heal the soil and the air and the water.

I am not deciding, I am exploring possibilities.

It's about relinquishing ego and attachment. The ongoing work.

15 August 2020

Paradigms Notes: Leaving social media, and how are artists surviving?

I hope this finds you well in these trying times!

This week I decided to remove the Twitter and Facebook links from the Paradigms website.  It's been coming.  I had already closed my accounts on both sites, but I hadn't gotten around to removing the links.  I finally did and it feels good to sever those connections. I removed the Google ads last year and stopped advertising on Google.  Right now Paradigms exists with no advertising at all.

Twitter and Facebook (and their subsidiaries and affiliates) have shown such disregard and lack of responsibility in administering and monitoring themselves, and this for money, that anything I would do that puts money in their coffers at all, I wanted to stop.  From selling users' private information to making secret deals to effect elections, it's clear that there are no ethics involved, just greed.

The other thing I did is I signed up for an ASCAP license.  Paradigms has had a BMI license for years, which means that music on the show is licensed and the artist gets something, probably not much, per play of their music.  Not every artist has a BMI account, some have ASCAP, so by signing up for an ASCAP license it means more musicians will get paid through Paradigms.

The Paradigms revenue stream comes through the Patreon page, which, right now, brings in $65 a month.  That $780 a year is about a third of the cost of putting on the show, maintaining the website, etc. The rest comes out of my pocket, and I earn my money doing therapy and make between $30k and $40k a year before taxes.

Why be transparent about this?  Because while Paradigms is my creation, the support of listeners is part of what sustains it.  Even though the monthly revenue is small it not only helps pay the bills, it helps remind me that people value Paradigms, which is the mission, to add value to people's lives.  The cost of producing the show will go up with the ASCAP license, and as I said, that is money that will go to artists, so worth supporting.

Since Covid the number of radio stations downloading Paradigms from the Pacifica Audio Port has gone from 6 to 50 (some weeks) which means more people are hearing the show.  That is very exciting!

Thanks for reading, and thank you for listening to Paradigms!

02 August 2020

People are the problem, People have the power!

August is the month of a lot of really painful anniversaries for me; murder, death, divorce, hard stuff.  Here we are.

The US is enduring genocide at the hands of the man in the White House.  It's been exposed as intentional genocide and no one has done anything.  He hasn't been arrested.  Not a word from Congress.  Nothing.  Genocide!

What is wrong with people??  We know what's wrong with people.  We know about the dumbing down, the poison food air and water, the toxic electronica, the toxic "entertainment", the political maneuvering to trick people, voter suppression, etc.

Did you know that watching murder is the biggest entertainment in the US?  TV shows and movies all exalt violence, especially violence against women, especially at the hands of men of color. What does it do to people to see that stuff? Over and over...

This is a very sick society, and the problem is people! Smart people, stupid people, nice people, mean people, people are the problem.  Without people this planet would be paradise for all the other life forms here.

I'm not saying we should get rid of all the people.  I'm saying that we the people need to learn to behave decently.  Greed and selfishness seem to be the guiding forces for much of humanity in modern times.  The uber wealthy/greedy are more concerned with their hoards than with the well being of their planet and their species.  That is mental illness.  That's what it all boils down to.  Whether it's a religious war (greed for the souls of people) or oil war (greed for money) or the oppression of women (greed for control) or the genocide of political opponents (greed for power) or any of the other ways we manifest greed, that is the big problem.

I don't have the answer.  I don't know what "the fix" would be.  I do know that the greedy few in power must be brought down, and no one allowed to achieve that kind of despotic power again.  Putin, Xi, Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson, Orban, Duda, Zelensky, Sanchez, and more, should all be deposed and imprisoned for crimes against humanity.  They all oppress and repress the people of their countries.  They practice racism, sexism, ecocide, and wealth hoarding. How can this be acceptable?  How can it be OK that these men, notice they are all men, are allowed to lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape, and destroy, and nothing is done?  They are not held accountable?  It's appalling.

I don't believe in "hope" anymore.  Obama destroyed that word for me by using it to lie to us.  I do believe in possibilities, however, and I know it is possible to create a world that is just and fair and peaceful.  It's got to be!

For anyone out there waiting on divine intervention, YOU are the divine intervention!  You want a miracle?  Look around you at Life.  There are your miracles.  Now, be divine!  Act with the common good in mind.  Help alleviate suffering.  Be your best self!

05 July 2020

Here is why racism is not a mental illness

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question, is racism a form of mental illness? I work in psych so this is something I am thinking about lately, especially.
On the one hand we cannot excuse racist attitudes and actions, even if they are the result of mental illness, and at the same time we want to address mental illness AND racism as societal problems.
I have seen people in a psychotic episode say horrible hateful things including racist things. We have obviously seen people NOT in a psychotic episode saying hateful racist things. So where’s the overlap? And why do some people say those things when they are psychotic but not when that are NOT psychotic, and why do some people say these things when they are NOT psychotic?
I think hating someone because of the color of their skin is the sign of an unhealthy mind. I can’t imagine anything else. It is learned, it is part of unhealthy power/over indoctrination, and it’s based in fear and lies.
The term “mental illness” is so broad, it covers a lot of territory. But back to the question, are racists inherently mentally ill in some way? Is racism a manifestation of some kind of mental illness?
What I am arriving at is that racism can exist in people who both are and are not mentally ill. A mentally ill person who has learned racism might express their racism through their mentally ill behaviors, but the mental illness does not cause the racism. Likewise a person with no discernible mental illness can learn racism and be a racist covertly or overtly not as part of any psychological syndrome.
What are your thoughts?

19 May 2020

Death is personal

Last night I watched on my computer screen as my oldest brother died.  He was in the hospital with Covid, experiencing organ failure.  Our other two brothers and their families were there too, on Zoom.  Adam was unconscious but we talked to him and played some of his favorite Jazz in the background for a couple of hours, then the nurse extubated him, and then he died after a few minutes.

I've been through the deaths of my parents, closest friend, other close friends, lovers, clients, colleagues, and animal friends.  Grief has always been present in my life.

When someone has always been part of your life and then they die it's world changing.

When someone you love is murdered it's a special kind of trauma.  When someone you love is murdered in a genocide perpetrated by the President of one's own country, well I don't have words for that yet.

04 May 2020

More about fascism...

The sight of Trump, and the words he said, at the Lincoln Memorial on May 3, were completely 100% lies and self aggrandizement; all the usual garbage we have come to expect from Trump. What made it especially rancid was the setting which was selected for dramatic impact. Presenting such gaslighting as he did in front of a memorial to an honest man, causes such cognitive dissonance as to throw people further off balance. This is an essential aspect of nazification. Hitler did it, Mussolini did it, Trump is doing it. It’s obvious, it’s recognizable, and we know what it is.

When we name what is happening we weaken its power. When we name Trump for what he is, a toxic narcissist Hitler-wannabe, we put him into perspective and that offsets the unbalancing effects of his actions. His actions are designed to horrify and disgust, to put people into a state of emotional reaction that makes them less effective in resisting the fascist agenda. We do not have to fall for this.

When we name the power behind the throne, Charles Koch, as a wealthy white man, disconnected from the world, surrounded by wealth, raised by nazi sympathizing parents, we put him into perspective.

Etc etc. Putin, Xi, MBS, all people who pull Trumps strings, all need to be named, recognized for what they are, and to have their power weakened by being seen. The nefarious thrive on being able to operate in the shadows. Shine the light on them. Show them for what they are. Gradually people will see, and will stop co-operating.

Conundrums and questions

I open my email and there is one from an animal rights group asking for donations, with a story about someone beating a pregnant dog to death. What is wrong with people??  Who does that?  What kind of sicko?  Wait, it gets better.

In Stillwater, Oklahoma extremists actually threatened people with guns for wearing masks to protect themselves from the corona virus. Yes you read correctly, they threatened people for wearing masks because that was seen as disloyal to Trump.

The US has been successfully nazified.  The dictator can do anything he pleases, there are no limits, no accountability.  The legislative body, Congress, has been rendered ineffectual and is now a rubber stamp for fascism. The executive has told states that they must kiss his ring in order to be allowed medical supplies during an epidemic. This is real.

It is done.  There is no more United States.  Now what?

Now we are each charged with finding the most effective and creative ways of non-co-operation.  We are each the keeper of our own conscience.  What does yours tell you?

I know I will have to get past this heartbroken feeling, and somehow I will.  My own tiny contributions keep me sort of sane; having something to do that speaks to people, my radio show. It's not enough, nothing is enough, but together maybe all of us can be enough.

15 March 2020

How're you doing?

We are well into the coronavirus outbreak. I’m hunkered down, like most folks, with hopefully enough food for a few weeks and actually some peace and quiet. Will this be “the big one”? Cannot know. Is this virus man-made? Cannot know. All we really know is how to slow/stop the spread, and we know that for most people this will not be fatal. I have heard it called a “cull” by a friend, as the elderly are most susceptible. I have heard it called a “cull of 1%rs” as well. Cannot know. It certainly appears that the US federal government is seizing the opportunity to kill off poor and elderly people through cuts to heat (in winter!), food, and access to health care.

Certainly many of us must be reflecting on our lives in a moment like this. Have we been an asset to the world, or a liability? Probably some of both for most of us. I have endeavored to make things better for people and for animals and plants through my learning and “work” activities. I have also driven and flown and eaten etc. and been one of those consuming the world. Does it even out? Does it matter? Cannot know.

Cannot know. In the face of mystery, lack of information, or lies, people tend to make up their own stories based on their own beliefs, their own cosmology. Sometimes, in the face of mystery, humans breathe it in, open to it, allow their fear to dissipate and just experience What Is absent the mind and it’s judgments and decisions. Just awareness, it is freeing.

It’s a given that the politicians are lying and protecting themselves. It’s obvious that there is yet another huge transfer of wealth from the people to the oligarchs here in the United States. Is that happening elsewhere? The bailout of the US banks is yet another sham. 99% of us will not see a penny of that and in fact we are paying for it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this virus resulted in finally casting down the greedy usurpers, the psychopaths in power, the liars and false prophets of religious extremism? What an opportunity we have! All we have to do is not co-operate with them anymore. It’s that simple. Stop paying student loans and taxes and mortgages and...everything. Let it collapse, and we will rise out of the ashes of capitalism and build a world that is just, and where the aberrations of greed and racism and sexism and war and ecocide, are abolished. This does NOT mean we destroy our world, just the opposite. It means we save it.

Remember that all truly revolutionary acts are acts of love. Take your love of life, feel your love of creation, and stand up for it. This is a moment.

29 February 2020

Leaving Facebook once and for all

Facebook is increasingly blatant about it's support for Trump, the ongoing enabling of nazis and other extremists, the fake news Facebook insists on publishing...there is no integrity in the Facebook organization. Because of this Paradigms will be closing down it's Facebook pages and groups at the end of March.  We stopped advertising on Facebook last year and urge others to do the same. 

The next month will be spent doing the usual, promoting shows, but also continuing to explore just how Facebook is part of the destruction of the United States.  

Zuckerberg, you are a traitor to your country. Your shame should cover you for the rest of your life.

The decision to leave Facebook has been coming for some time. Facebook is increasingly a destructive force in the world and the way to stop it is for people to abandon the platform entirely. Stop the money flow. Otherwise the greed of those who profit from Facebook will continue to drive this destructive dishonest force in our world.

Facebook maintains policies that allow dishonest political ads, paid for by Russians and the Trump mob, BECAUSE IT'S PROFITABLE.

I urge everyone to stop any paid advertising on Facebook, and to stop clicking on any paid ads on Facebook.

10 February 2020

Oh the irony!

Today I am thinking about the disgrace of Trump presenting Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Honor. A man with no honor presents another man with no honor a Medal of Honor.

It's beyond disgusting. The hypocrisy, the egoism, the perversion. Both Trump and Limbaugh are obscenities.

04 January 2020

A new year, same stupidity...

It seems pretty apparent that humanity is nowhere near consciousness.  We just keep doing the same stupid violent mean ignorant stuff, day after day, year after year.

It is 2020 and we STILL have corrupt politicians using war to hide their corruption and to satisfy their greed.  Still!!  How can this be?  How can we not have learned that, for instance , a Donald Trump belongs in prison not in public office?  What will it take for the world to reject the Putins and the MBSs and the rest of the psychopathic greedy bloodthirsty monsters in human form?  Why do the Americans and the Saudis and the Israelis and the Russians etc. not rise up and cast down their psychopathic "leaders" and make the world better for everyone?  I don't get it.

I was raised by parents who taught their children that we are all here to learn and to contribute to making it better for everyone, not just for a few, not just for "our own kind" but for everyone.  My life's work has been to help people to be healthier in mind and body so they can be their best selves. I've done this as a psychotherapist, a bodyworker, a teacher, and a radio broadcaster.  Like most of us, my contributions are a mere drop in the very huge bucket that is humanity.  I really wonder if what I do is of any value at all.  Is it worth continuing to do it? I really wonder.

Humanity keeps doing the same stuff over and over and over and, apparently, not learning from our experiences.  Sure there are billions of individuals doing wonderful life affirming beautiful acts every day in our villages and cities and wherever, but we are still allowing the truly insane minority to run the show.  I can only see this as a kind of herd stupidity.  I don't know how to wake the herd out of its stupor.  It seems to me that we will probably continue to be stupid until the final mistake is made, which may have already been made actually.  Eventually, probably sooner than later, our stupidity will catch up with us and we will finally once and for all burn down our house while we're inside it.  That's already in process too.

The psychopaths we call "leaders" all share something, it's an insatiable lust for power.  If we allow them to proceed unchecked, with no limits, then they will destroy everything.  They can't help it.  Look at their personal lives...disastrous, disconnected, filled with conflict and alienation.  Trump, Putin, Netenyahu, Modi, Bolsonaro, MBS, etc. these men are all psychologically deformed.  They are not wholly human, they are missing important pieces like empathy and the ability to reflect on one's own behavior, the kinds of things we make sure we teach our children.

How have we allowed such people to take power?  Are we blind? Lazy?  Stupid?  Each and every one of us is complicit in some way.  I say this not to blame or shame but to ask that we all look at how we are complicit in allowing, in the US for instance a Trump to take power, and fix it.  That means we need to speak up when religious or political extremists push their agenda in our town, on our school board, wherever they appear. We need to not allow them to do what they are doing. That means non-co-operation but it  is going to mean more than that.  Passivity isn't going to cut it.

The herd is stupid, and that doesn't seem to be changing, so we are left with our own individual hands, and what we can do with them.