Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inviting us to bow down before the god of fortune

Frank Furedi spoke on fear, fate and freedom at the Philosophy Festival in Modena, Italy, on 18 September 2010. An edited version of his speech is published below.

Who decides our individual fates? How much of our future is influenced by our exercise of free will? Humanity’s destiny has been the subject of controversy since the beginning of history.

Back in ancient times, different gods were endowed with the ability to thwart our ambitions or to bless us with good fortune. The Romans worshipped the goddess Fortuna, giving her great power over human affairs. Nevertheless, they still believed that her influence could be contained and even overcome by men of true virtue. As the saying goes: ‘Fortune favours the brave.’ This belief that the power of fortune could be limited through human effort and will is one of the most important legacies of humanism.

The belief in people’s capacity to exercise their will and shape their future flourished during the Renaissance, creating a world in which people could dream about struggling against the tide of fortune. A new refusal to defer to fate was expressed through affirming the human potential. Later, during the period of Enlightenment, this sensibility developed further, giving rise to a belief that, in certain circumstances, mankind could gain the freedom necessary to influence its future.

In the twenty-first century, however, the optimistic belief in humanity’s ability to subdue the unknown and become the master of its fate has given way to a belief that we are powerless to deal with the perils that confront us. Today, the problems associated with risk and uncertainty are constantly being amplified and, courtesy of our own imaginations, are turned into existential threats. Consequently, it is rare for unexpected natural events to be treated as just that; rather, they are swiftly dramatised and transformed into a threat to human survival.

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Ghetto Physics - 'Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up'



Ghetto Physics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up! examines the interplay between Pimps and Ho's and how that dynamic is the simplest expression of how power is wielded in the world. Through examples culled from the Hood to Wall Street, the film shows how the same power dynamic repeats itself, be the players real-life pimps or corporate executives. It also demonstrates how this dynamic is so multilayered that it's hard to see "the game." Ghetto Physics initially takes us to the streets, where the literal pimps and ho's play out their game, and then expands outward. Only it's not just a movie, it's real life and this analysis is increasingly relevant in light of the struggling economy, the Gulf oil spill, global ecological threats, healthcare and wars. Between interviews, dramatic scenes and satire, themes of empowerment and hope emerge, creating awareness of "the game" and empowering individuals to chose the role they play in every situation.

Utilizing documentary technique and dramatization, Ghetto Physics details the street world of the Pimp and Ho, and then takes us to the classroom and the corporate boardroom, where the same game is being played, only at a much more subtle and globally consequential level. The film continues to illustrate the game by showing how awareness positively impacts one student's life. The film includes interviews with notable entertainers and thinkers, such as Dr. Cornel West, Ice-T, KRS-One, Too Short, John Perkins and Norman Lear. Of course it also includes a colorful contingent of street characters, with names such as Filmore Slim, Hook da Crook, Mac Breed and Lo Da Show.

Ghetto Physics uses principles from metaphysics. In metaphysics there is a direct relation between mind and matter -- in other words a person plays a major part in creating their own reality. Furthermore, the film explores the concept of microcosm and macrocosm that whatever happens on a street corner happens on a larger scale throughout the world. So we see how a pimp convinces a ho to work for him and for his reality. Then the film extrapolates how this hierarchical relationship is duplicated in capitalism where on average a CEO of a U.S based company makes 39 times the pay of his production workers.

It's about awareness of "the game" and letting people know it's up to them to choose the role they play in every situation. The film integrates the conversation of politics, global economics, and psychology with the goals of expanding the audience's world-view and creating breakthroughs. Power can be described with various terms, but they all refer to the same thing — someone has command over someone else in the power game. On their decision to utilize the Pimp and Ho metaphor for the film, Arntz and Brown explain, "We don't formally refer to power interaction in say politics or economics as a game. But this is exactly what is taking place — using Pimp and Ho terms is a very simplified way of describing such power dynamics." Brown continues, "Ghetto Physics" helps you become more aware of it and play it from a position of personal power.

Title: GhettoPhysics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up!
Distributor: Captured Light Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director, Writer, and Producer: William H. Arntz & E. Raymond Brown

Music Composer: E. Raymond Brown

Featured Interviews with: Dr. Cornel West
John Perkins
Cynthia McKinney
Norman Lear
KRS-One
Ice T

Release Date: October 8
Release Date: October 22 (Nationally)
Running Time: 94 minutes

for more info please log onto http://www.blacktree.tv

Obama Interrogation Official Linked to U.S. Mind Control Research

By Jeffrey Kaye, Public Record

A new article at Truthout I co-wrote with author and investigative journalist H.P. Albarelli describes how the CIA’s Artichoke Project* was the contemporaneous and operational side of the MK-ULTRA mind control research program. It was not superceded by MK-ULTRA in the 1950s, as often supposed.

Even more, Artichoke-derived methods of using drugs, hypnosis, sensory deprivation and overload, behavioral modification techniques and other methods of mind control have resurfaced as a primary component of U.S. interrogation practice.

The Truthout article includes some amazing revelations, including the largest description to date of the roles of then-Ford administration officials Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in working hand-in-glove with the CIA to suppress information on Artichoke from surfacing.

The article also references the November 2006 release of an “Instruction” from the Secretary of the Navy (3900.39D) regarding its “Human Research Protection Program.” While this memo specifically prohibits the use of research upon prisoners, including so-called “unlawful enemy combatants,” waivers of informed consent for research, or suspension of the protections enumerated in the memo can be made by the Secretary of the Navy under conditions of “operational contingency or during times of national emergency.” It is likely the latter rests upon the legislative language within the September 18, 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, where terrorist acts are said to “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The waivers allowed for normal human research testing gains further piquancy when one considers the kinds of research referenced in the Secretary of the Navy’s memo. Section 7(a)(2)(a) describes the Undersecretary of the Navy as the “approval authority” for research done upon prisoners, as well as “Severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques)” [emphasis added].

This referencing of “mind-control techniques” in a document specifically discussing human subjects protections by then Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, is not an anomaly, but a rare instance in which the actual activities of the government in this area are openly revealed. Some of these activities can be documented via publicly available materials. This article describes how some of the individuals involved in U.S. government mind control and torture activities can be tracked and identified.

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Paulo Coelho on Luck, Coincidence, and Faith



Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. With two million copies sold in English and 22 million copies worldwide, The Alchemist has established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. This beautifully designed hardcover edition will be treasured by fans and newcomers alike -- it will include a slipcase, illustrations, a ribbon marker, deckled edges, colored endpapers, and a lovely to/from dedication page for gift-giving.

The Alchemist is the magical tale of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangier and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.

The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along lifes path, and above all, following our dreams.

The Hopi Prophecy - No more distractions...

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