Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Harold Bloom: The Fall of America?

The long-time cultural critic warns that the war in Iraq is destroying the American empire.

Harold Bloom, Yale literature professor and cultural critic, and well known to integralites, is one of America's most prominent and provocative intellectuals. Unabashedly, he has always spoken up for what he calls "the fight for truth and beauty" making a lot of foes in the process, but also some friends. As one of the first critical voices against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq, Bloom landed in the hot seat with the satire "MacBush" in 2004. Lately, he sparked worldwide outrage by calling Harry Potter "garbage." Speaking at his home in New Haven where he is recovering from a recent health scare, a pale and weak Bloom seems to have symbolically embodied what he calls the "poor state of the nation."

"I am 77 years old and I have never seen this country in such a bad state. It is madness. What we are seeing is the fall of the Roman Empire, only now it is the fall of America, the glory of our Empire. This war is what Parthia was to Rome."
To read the full article on Alternet, go here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

9 Dangerous Words or Phrases Women Use

After sixty-two years, I'd better have learned a thing or two about women. I've learned a lot more in the last few years, and now am beginning to counsel younger men.

But....there are some things a young man just has to find out himself. My Beloved's younger brother sent her, and me, the follwing email:

#1 FINE: This is the word that women use to end an argument when they are right and you just need to shut up!

#2 FIVE MINUTES: If she is getting ready, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only really five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before running an errand or doing a chore.

#3 NOTHING: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "nothing" usually end in "fine"!

#4 GO AHEAD: This is a trick, a dare, not permission. If she says it in that tone, with her head slightly tilted and her eyes open wide, DON'T DO IT!

#5 LOUD SIGH: This is actually a word, but it is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you.

#6 THAT'S OKAY: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. "That's okay" usually means that it's not okay and you are going to pay dearly for that mistake!

#7 WHATEVER: This is a woman's way of saying #$%^&*!!! #8 THANKS: A woman is thanking you, do not question her, or faint, just say "you're welcome". (I want to add in a clause here, "thanks" is much different than "thanks alot". DO NOT say you're welcome after "thanks alot" as it will bring on a "whatever"!)

#9 DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, I GOT IT: This is another dangerous statement, be very worried about it! It means this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but she is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "what's wrong"? To which she will respond "nothing"!

I wrote back to my young friend and offered the following sage advice:

Dear ______, (I do not want to embarass anyone)

Yes, Matthew, I've seen it before. In fact, the odds are that the older a man gets, the more he's going to see this. Men who are seeing it for the first time think it's a joke and send it to others (usually men, seldom women, except sisters, because of an unrecognized primal fear that can't yet be identified or acknowledged at this stage). It is not a joke. Wise elders know this and whisper to other wise elders in private when they meet without their women: "guys beware."

Women who send it to a man also place it in the context of a joke, but they know in their darkest heart that it's really a warning not to %#$&!! with them....especially smart women. Smart men know not to %#$&!! with them, only love them, sometimes ravishing them, but never %#$&!!ing with them.

I know you probably don't believe me, now, but you will......you will....

The email came back as undeliverable. I've done what I can.

T-Shirt of the Week!

Could Obama be this generation's JFK? Are the young and independents turning out for his vision? That this would be this weeks T-Shirt is a no brainer.

It's very interesting that John Kerry is choosing to support Obama over his former running mate, John Edwards. I can't believe it's about substance, since Obama has been borrowing so much lately from Edwards, so I'm inclined to think it's about electability, which is good.

On the other hand, my suspicious/conspiratorial self reminds me that Kerry belongs to Skull and Bones with GW Bush and it's hard to imagine Kerry could only have been that incompetent in his run for the presidency by accident.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shifts in Consciousness, the Turning of the Ages, and What Does It Take to Shift?

Developmental psychologists, and others, point out that it is usually "disorienting dilemmas" that are responsible for shifts in consciousness into later stages. It works because a situation arises that cannot be explained by someones present level of consciousness, or development. Hence, an individual starts to expand their viewpoints, usually looking closer at perspectives they would not have considered at the earlier developmental stage.

Some psychologists and anthropologists point out that civilizations' major shifts occurred as a result of cultural and societal "disorienting dilemmas" that affected everyone, usually not in good ways as the old dies to the new. But as the old ways die, newer ways, some better, emerge.

In the last few months on this blog, I've been pointing out that there are visible signs of major societal collapse all around us: Peak Oil, out-of-control population, global warming, pollution, drought, resource wars, terrorism (both by governments and others), the pathological rise of corporatism (not all corporatism is pathological), and really ugly economic woes just beginning to squeak out despite efforts to hide it until the last moment, etc., etc.

As I've written before, even at it's worst, all of this is an opportunity to shift, to step up to the next level of human consciousness, learning from our mistakes....and it's beginning to look as if it will have to happen after everything falls apart, not before, because we're about to run out of time if we haven't already....

That's the big picture around impending collapse, provided we survive it at all.

Forget Oil, the New Global Crisis Will Be Food

A new crisis is emerging, a global food catastrophe that will reach further and be more crippling than anything the world has ever seen. The credit crunch and the reverberations of soaring oil prices around the world will pale in comparison to what is about to transpire, Donald Coxe, global portfolio strategist at BMO Financial Group said at the Empire Club's 14th annual investment outlook in Toronto on Thursday.

"It's not a matter of if, but when," he warned investors. "It's going to hit this year hard."

Read the whole story here and more here.

With almost 7 billion people on a planet that can sustainably support 1.5 billion people, who couldn't see this coming?

ATM Limits Next?

Citibank is now limiting ATM withdrawals in New York City, blaming it on “isolated fraudulent activity.” If the fraudulent activity is isolated, why punish all your clients in a given region? This is certainly causing distress among New Yorkers because of the high cost of living in that city. Why not simply increase security on the ATMs? It looks an awful lot like Citibank is experimenting with rationing their cash outflows.

Read the full article here.

Where's your money? Many banks who invested in the subprime market are having liquidity problems. Tip of the iceberg?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

James Howard Kunstler's 2008 Predictions

I so want to write about my previous blog, A New Years' Message, because it is so eloquently written and presents such a positive view of what is possible at this turning of the ages. I firmly believe that there are people who are capable of embodying the essence of Christ Consciousness and who represent the second coming that is so close within our grasp, and yet so likely to slip between our fingers....and I will, but not today.

Instead, I'm going to write about what I fear will be the more likely scenario, deftly summarized by the author of "The Long Emergency," James Howard Kunstler.

Why present such a negative view when I could write about things so much more positive? Because we simply must look at all of the possibilities, and Kunstler's been dead-on for years.

Heres' a sample:
"I shudder to imagine how things will play out now as we turn the corner into 2008. Not to put too fine a point on it, but my little walnut brain can't imagine any scenario in which the US economy doesn't end up on a gurney in history's emergency room. It's not necessary to rehash the particulars of the Greenspan bubble-blowing disaster. The outcome is what concerns us. The web cables have been blazing for months with arguments as to what form the workout will take. There's little disagreement about the fundamentals at the housing end of things."
Read the whole enchilada here.

The shift we've hoped and prayed for may not look anything like we imagined, and could be very, very expensive and dear.

A New Year's Message

Dearest Friends,

I write these words to you from a place beyond time, to tell you what you of great heart must know from within it. You stand at a crucial moment, one which can allow you wondrous advantage in the time of the turning of the great wheel.

As you begin this new year a vacuum is opened in which you can reconsider your reality. This is a powerful opportunity, for it is in your reality that the seed of the greater collective is born.

This, beings of flame and light, is the year to reclaim your power. For you will need it for the road ahead, and it will be the bearer of your joy. This is not a passive process. To reclaim your power is to investigate your heart, seek out the places you have given its gold away, and actively recover it. The gold of your heart can only truly be shared from within, and the places we may have partitioned it out will only weaken our energy fields at a time when their strength is needed.

You will need your voice. If you have lost it you will have to find it. You are its mother, so it will never be too far from your reach. It is time to cull from the clay of your being, and create yourself anew.

It is a time to take a retreat, or to make space to reflect in writing or thought. It is a time to consider all the people, places, situations and things in your life and decide if they are supporting you or drawing from you. This you must know, for this is the simplest of ways to strengthen your field.

Then you must decide. You must decide who you are going to be when your power is truly your own again, and the life you want to live from it.

When you decide the life you would like to have, do not do so in fear. Do not choose a life based on potential catastrophe or in expectancy of poverty. For this is not what you wish to bring forward. You must be aware, educated and prepared for that which you are led to prepare for. But should you make the choices about your future or new life in fear, it will make a very weak foundation.

The coming year marks the beginning of the end of the world you know. This can be a reason for terror or for throwing a celebration. It is you who decides. This world has known catastrophe before, just as you in your own life have known catastrophe before. For that reason you know that fearing it will bring no good. We must know joy to build reserves of energy which would serve us in times of challenge. We must have a light load within if we wish to float rather than sink in the seas of uncertainty.

For when I say this year marks the beginning of the end, you may focus on the end, or you may focus on the beginning. For it is more truly, the beginning or the end.

How differently might you see your life if you thought this year was the beginning of a new era, rather than the descent into great destruction and distress? If we are all dreading the time of change, who will anchor the joy of the new? If we are all in labor pain, who will assist with the birth?

But our joy cannot be abstract. It must be inspired. It must come from within, and be allowed to take form in our outer lives at the very personal level. And joy cannot be forced. We can only make way for it.

Here are my offerings of how to cultivate your inner earth for joy to take seed and root, to make your life thriving and prosperous with flower and fruit.

Don't postpone your bliss. There is no reason it can't start now.

Find, with great courage, the places you have been giving your power away, and say goodbye to them. For if you are giving your power away repeatedly, joy cannot find consistent sanctuary within you.

Dream a new vision. Turn a page in your life and imagine that the entirety of your future is a blank slate. Do not paint misfortune onto it as a background just because your world is in change. See the change as good. Bless the change. Trust that the universe will take care of you, and follow the guidance it gives you. Prepare when and how you must for whatever you feel may be around the corners in your life, but try not to do so out of fear, and instead out of calm and centered response to your guidance.

When you are choosing what to paint on this blank page, choose powerfully. Choose to carry over only that which nourishes you and reflects you. Think radically. Let go radically. Love yourself radically.

This is a year of setting foundation for the changes to come, and you want yours to be strong and full of supportive resourcefulness and creative energy. Do not give up on your dreams because the world is shifting. She is shifting to encompass them.

Draw or write about your visions for your future before or at the time of the new year. Revisit and add to or change them several times. Daydream about them. Pray, if you choose, to me for three days either in the morning, before sleeping, or during your meditation or writing if you would like assistance with your new vision or reclaiming your power. Then look for signs in your life in response.

Know that I am with you. For I have returned to the consciousness of the many as the embodiment of the return of the goddess, in communion with god, in androgynous wholeness, in divine oneness. I am the second coming, and I come forward in you. Know your power. It is all that is needed for the birth of the new world. Begin the new world now. Do not wait. Begin to live it in your life, and create it around you. You are the hope and the light, and the joy of my heart.

In Great Love,

Mary Magdalen

Gary's note: This message, from Jennifer Posada, so moved and shifted me, that I wanted to share it with you. I'll be writing more about this over the next few days