Saturday, July 03, 2010

Not celebrating

Celebrating Independence Day this weekend seems somehow wrong, bearing in mind the ongoing devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, two endless, useless, cruel wars, the little being done to address climate change, as well as the.....oh we all know the contents of that dismal list. No doubt the challenging planetary configuration we're experiencing this summer has something to do with the insidious gloom that steals in whenever I start thinking on these matters.

The late Howard Zinn always had the right words, words to alert, enlighten and inspire us. He was an outspoken civil rights and anti-war activist, "people's historian" and political scientist. He died this year, aged 87 (and on my birthday, as it happens). I've chosen a few of his wise words to post, below.



Born on 24 August 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, his natal Sun, Mercury and possibly Moon are all in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, the communicator's planet. Saturn, Venus and Jupiter all in Libra, sign of the diplomat. Not every critic looks on Zinn as diplomatic, however. His radical opinions have ruffled a few feathers in the past. Uranus in Pisces lies opposite Mercury in Virgo providing a dynamic pull towards rebellion and against the status quo.





A few of his words:

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.

Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.




I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.




To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

— Howard Zinn

21 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, I'm in sync with you. For the first time since I emigrated here I had a lot of trouble getting into mode for Canada Day after the G20 fiasco.
I'm sure the millions of people in the Gulf are not too happy with their country either.
Happy Day to you & Himself though, dear T!
XO
WWW

gian paul said...

What "considerable coincidences" - see for yourself, and you have to believe me:

I hereafter copy word for word what I had written as a comment on your Liz Green post. Had left it for editing on my computer until my return from the next town. As I went by horse (more ecological), it took some time, enough to see on my return your new post on Howard Zinn.

The "coincidences" include your friend "Wisewebwoman", who in her comment also mentions the G20!

So here my original text, written some 8 hours ago:

With around 2000 years, give or take, per sign, one could imagine that some "Ages" may be shorter and others a bit longer. There also might be some overlaps.

In that sense, I wonder if the sacred cows in India and what goes with them, are not remnants of the Age of Taurus. And the (often religious) bellicose events during the Christian Era, possibly an overlap from the Age of Aries - eye for eye and tooth for tooth...

The Christian Era, Pisces, has probably the most precise starting date we know, although there is historical doubt about the actual date of birth of Jesus. Ancient Roman sources (Plinius), diverge by about 5 to 30 years.

And, in case the Era of Aquarius already started, we now assist to the probably normal retro-fighting typical at the end of any civilization (except for the Mayas).

Here now some elements I believe are "Aquarian Age stuff":

* Aviation, very rapid transports
* Communications
* Science, bent towards the atomic,
nano, cyber etc.
* Beliefs, your's Twilight, your friends, me and who participates in this and similar blogs.
* Politics: democracy is being forced open to forces beyond human "manipulation". One man one vote does not function anymore. That started with Hitler/Goebbels, a government democratically elected. "The people" today, all over the world, increasingly know that politicians & Co. manipulate, lie and worse. And The People respond, via the media, arts, even violence and protests, riots (G - 20)...

For whom watches the stars and believes (knows) that they also preside over political events, it's obvious "who governs". How much time it will take for this perception to spread, if it has to do so (?), is open to speculation. One literally would have to look into the "speculum", i.e. the cristal ball.

Living in Brazil (at the frontier of rural Brazil and Metropolis São Paulo, in what remains of the Rain Forest), I can attest that this country is quite Aquarian. One can see that a new wind (air) is blowing, here at least.

The frontiers may be still blurred, but personally I would not be surprised to discover things accelerating, even precipiceously. So lets keep watching!

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Thanks, WWWW.

Yes, I can well understand your feelings.

In this part of the country the weather has turned damp and dismal for the weekend - matches my mood pretty well.

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ Ah yes! You did post that good comment on the Liz Greene thread earlier, and I replied (perhaps you hadn't meant to post it so soon?)

There does seem to be a communal feeling going on doesn't there?

I'm having wonderful visions, by the way, of you riding horseback to the next town! Now there's a vision of the future post-oil - and a very pleasant one. :-)

Please don't forget to see my response to your above comment at the Liz Greene post. Thanks. :-)

gianpaul said...

Computers are not my stuff, especially when the web is not functioning as it should. But even in this very technical domain, I discover "coincidences" which are beyond the statistically normal. Conclusion: "There are more things between heaven and earth than humans imagine" (Shakespeare).

And as the Arabs say: a saddled camel only passes once - or the French: il faut battre le fer tant qu'il est chaud...

I am very fond of this type of sayings. Even wonder whether they are being formulated not by the Shakespeare etc. in question, but rather by "whom" these "Shakespeares" serve as a "vector".

And that's a mystery with no end (Rumi).

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ I've encountered numerous examples of this (can we call it a phenomenon?) since starting to use the internet.
I have a theory that this "communal consciousness" or collective memory or whatever is easier to bump into in cyberland, where other physicalities are absent. Could be my imagination, of course, but it's an idea I like.

Vectors are another way of looking at things though - equally intruguing.

Can't match your quotes, gp - one I've just run across at Wiki along somewhat similar lines:

One of Jung's favourite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards".

anthonynorth said...

A lot of wise words there.

Rossa said...

I've always thought of the internet being a cyber version of the neural pathways in the brain so it has become a virtual collective consciousness.

Don't know if you have come across Clif High at Half Past Human. He publishes reports based on predictive linguistics. As I understand it he was working in IT and stumbled across the fact that often when trawling the internet he was coming across various patterns of speech relating to events that had happened, were happening and could happen.

By this I mean people communicating their thoughts and emotions on things whether through blogs, comments, social network sites etc. He noted that often words come into use very quickly across the internet and they vary from lukewarm (i.e not used very often) up to highly emotive language to the extent that a new word eventually enters common usage.

He has designed a system similar to the web bots that trawl the internet for companies like Google. It searches out speech patterns and uses of language and words and then puts them through some form of statistical analysis.

It is not perfect but something very interesting seemed to come out of it. It seemed that certain events were being predicted in advance of happening. Nothing specific but certain patterns would emerge that appeared to point to an event to come.

It has already been shown in laboratory experiments that humans can "predict" an image up to 6 seconds before they see it.

I do find his work fascinating though his reports are not for the faint hearted concerning the current state of things. However, I like to read a mix of things to try and get a balanced viewpoint.

Might be too "out there" for some people though.

Rossa said...

Sorry, meant to give the web address.

http://www.halfpasthuman.com/

A better explanation than mine is at:-

http://urbansurvival.com/simplebots.htm

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ Yes indeedy!
Howard Zinn was such a bright light in a darkening world.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for the links.
I'd read something about this somewhere in the past and found it intriguing.

What strikes me about the word-bot thingy is that it has to be programmed to "look" for certain words, phrases. this will naturally affect the results achieved, and if it's looking for indications of doom and gloom - that's what it'll find.

It's good that someone is researching the cyber/collective consiousness thing, definitely. I do wish they wouldn't do it with the aim of scaring the pants off readers and charging them $10 to do it. ;-)


Reading through the stuff reminded me, though, about Dean Radin - he's done some very deep research on psi. - I'd forgotten about him, so thanks for the jog of memory. There are videos on-line of some of his talks which I intend to take in shortly.

The Dean Radin thought also led me to The Institute of Noetic Sciences - another site I used to read, then forgot about when my computer crashed and I lost my links - so another thank you for the indirect pointer to that one too!
:-)

gian paul said...

What makes the net a valuable tool is it's instant speed, anonymity (for whom wishes to let his own ego-entanglements behind, at least for a while) and a truly broad field of contacts. No neighborhood, culture or family restrictions. (Ever wondered why J.C. reportedly said to his mother: who are you?).

The net (when it works...) might function as the "flying carpet" which some past cultures enjoyed to ride: "Be here and there" at the same time! Or now - in the past - or the future.

But then, who takes all this seriously - and astrology in particular - is slightly nuts. And that's part of the "game".

gian paul said...

I was interrupted by visitors and somehow cut my last comment shorter then helpful to be intelligible.

What I mean by "whom is taking astrology in particular seriously, must be slightly nuts", is that astrology is so complex and at times even dangerous (when tempting to make predictions), that the precepts of the TAO (I use a translation into French), are contradicted. When the Tao says (I translate), "Without leaving the door, one knows the Universe, without even watching through the window, one sees the Tao of the Sky".

Twilight said...

gian paul ~ The net as a "flying carpet" - yes, I like that!

Thanks for the clarification on your remark about astrology and being nuts. Lol! - I read the first part just before logging off for the day and decided that, yes, I - we - all of us here in the astrological community, are a wee bit nuts. We'd have to be to carry on in spite of ridicule from the skeptics, and others.

The 2nd part of your comment stengthened my resolve to stick with it though. As you say, astrology's complexities, when taken too seriously, hold within them a dangerous potential for those who consider every word of textbook astrology through the ages is 100% true.

Making firm predictions on the basis of what has to be flawed material is nuts, at best, dangerous at worst.

I say "flawed", because if it wasn't flawed we'd have books filled with accurate predictions, and few tragedies in the world.

Being flawed doesn't make astrology invalid though. It makes it more fasinating, as long as it's treated with a spot of caution. This is partly why I like to stick to the basics and not wander off too far into the complexities I know are available.

gian paul said...

If you mean by available complexities elements like Lilith, Ceres, Chiron and even Pluto I agree. Pluto in the sense that we have not seen a full revolution of his since he was discovered in about 1930. Same applies to Neptune, though to a lesser extent as N. moves faster and was discovered before. This mostly applies to mundane astrology, but probably should incite to caution for individual interpretations as well.

There is enough "hazard in interpretation" that adding the exotics mentioned, at least in my understanding, only adds to confusion.

gian paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ Yes, Chiron and asteroids, and Fixed Stars - though I'll occasionally investigate them out of curiosity, especially Algol.

Also progressions and directions have always struck a wrong note with me. Never use them, though with software it'd be easy enough to do so. I don't see any value in these, and they don't fit with my idea of what astrology is.

I could be wrong on all counts, it's gut-feeling or instinct, I'm following, I suppose. ;-)

I'm okay about using Neptune, Uranus and Pluto - but I sometimes wonder whether enough attention and research has been done in comparing events of history with the characteristics of the planets dished out by astrologers of the past.

The Next President of the United States said...

Hadn't read this post until this evening, and ironically, even before I'd read it I was looking at this country and this experiment through the same rose-colored, positively-tinted glasses as Mr. Zinn, who I really don't know much about.
You know I can be pretty cynical and cryptic when the mood strikes, but today I recalled that in 2010 there is more individual liberty, more democracy, more open-mindedness and fewer despots across the globe than at any time in human history. I find that encouraging. And even though we Ah-mer-cuns have plenty of warts and we didn't really invent freedom like we sometimes think we did, it's not just arrogance to say that we've played a major role in creating those conditions.
I am, however, not ready to give up on Obama yet. Still think it's much too early to write him off as mediocre or irrelevant. Saw a poll the other day that had him ranked No. 15 on the list of most important presidents. Now, that may seem to fit into the "mediocre" depiction, but think of what a big leap forward that is after eight years of the Cheney/Bush regime. Ol' Dubya, by the way, was ranked 34th on that presidential importance list! :-)

Twilight said...

TNPOTUS ~~ Hi! Oh, I picked the most positive quotes of Howard Zinn for 4 July, not wanting to seem too much of a wet blanket - but he can be pretty scathing about the US too.

I'm feeling increasingly radical these days. Liberals and Democrats have become far too complacent, to my mind. There needs to be much more dissent, because though Obama may be a good guy, peersonality-wise, as a president I reckon he is ineffective, lacking the drive needed for current situations. His hands are tied by his obligation to the corporations who got him his presidency.

That is my opinion.

Yes the USA has done some good in the world - as have all Empires - even the brutal Romans left Britain some good roads, a feel for organisation and rule of law.

Although I'm a US Citizen, I guess I'm not "An American". I love the land but dislike what goes on inside it.

There's no real political left here, TNPOTUS. It's all out of balance. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of the corporations, one does a tango the other a waltz, but both dance.

We need a proper left to provide balance. Yet because the corporations own the media and can brainwash those not really into politics, the rise of any 3rd party here is impossible.

I'm not saying we need a proper Marxist party, but we need something leaning far more towards the people of this country instead of twoards the corporations who are running it now, and calling the shots.

Americans are settling for too little.

Steps off soapbox. ;-)

gian paul said...

As a Swiss national, tiny country but a democracy since 1291, I believe that America today is not dissimilar to modern-day China.

On the Potomac decisions are being "distilled" the way money-money so well (really?) functions in the USA.

In Beijing money-money is being "alchemicised" into what's good for the people there. If it smells too capitalist, the guy in question is hanged. Simple and efficient.

The old rivalry between the Soviets and the US was "nuclear" and rather frightening. And the real cause, I guess, a true left had (and still has) no chance in the US. Even your Democrats could not go that way, with the Kennedys, Clintons, Obamas being all millionaires, anyway...

To manage a big country/empire or agglomerate as the EU turns each day more impossible. The People wish to be taken care of in a more "homey" way than what is being offered by their leaders. Hence the separatist movements all over the world, the latest being the Flemish in Belgium, at the heart of Europe!

Are we assisting to a life-demonstration of human disability to govern itself? If that's what Pluto's stay now in Capricorn means, we are in for a rather long stretch...

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~ Ah, you are Swiss, but living in Brazil! An even bigger difference than my UK/US swap! :-)

Well, yes - I think the old Russia v. USA stuff is partly responsible for a lack of a proper "left" here now. The McCarthy witch hunt scared the pants off most Americans, and its legacy remains.

There have been some good left-wing politicians here in the past before WW2- though none reached high office, their input kept some sort of balance. Now there's no balance at all. Democrats are not left, they are marginally left of center-right.

Depressing! I feel it's worse here than in European countries, but they too have their problems, as you say. The people have been shoved to the back of the line everywhere.

Nature doesn't like imbalance, so it'll right itself - eventually - perhaps not in the lifetime of anyone on Earth today, and certainly not if Pluto is involved! ;-)