Friday, December 7, 2012

Etiology of Social Dementia - 8

McTell News
In this series, regular readers know that we have been applying the symptoms of dementia to "crazy things" members of our ruling plutocracy have been doing.

They have been doing those things to us and to the national reputation for over a decade now.

In today's post we are going directly to the heart of the matter.

We are going to do an experiment where we apply to the government the symptoms occurring when an individual experiences Alzheimer's Warning Signs, and do it just to experiment with how "well" it matches up:
"It is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive information, care, and support as early as possible. To help family members and health care professionals recognize warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association has developed this checklist of common symptoms."
(Dementia Today, bold in original). So let's get on with it and take a look at that list of warning signs (from the Dementia Today link), with links to web pages relevant to that issue in terms of official behavior.

1. Memory loss. Do you remember when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they had "lost 2.3 trillion dollars" somewhere in the Pentagon?

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. When the largest infrastructure bill in U.S. history was passed and signed by the president, they forgot to spend in on the Maintaining infrastructure and keeping the middle class working is a familiar task of the government. So is not conjuring up then going over a fiscal cliff.

3. Problems with language. The government has a difficult time with regular American English, using doublespeak as their tongue instead.

4. Disorientation to time and place. Drilling in the Arctic ocean which is melting much faster than scientists expected, without safety, forgets that we live on a planet that we are destroying. They are setting the house on fire because they don't know where we are in space or time. It is as if some alien robots who do not need the Earth's environment for life support are making policy.

5. Poor or decreased judgment. When nations come together to try to solve major problems the government puppets of the plutocracy drag their feet and fight with those who are trying to save civilization from catastrophe.

6. Problems with abstract thinking. Balancing a checkbook may be hard when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.

7. Misplacing things. Our military hardware is spread about within 191 or so nations around the world. It is time we cleaned up our mess and got back into our own yard instead of being a bully throwing the sands of hegemony in our neighbours eyes.

8. Changes in mood or behavior. Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can show rapid mood swings — from calm to tears to anger — for no apparent reason.

9. Changes in personality. People’s personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can change a lot, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful, or dependent ...

10. Loss of initiative. It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations at times. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or not wanting to do usual activities. Like congress.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Citizenship: The Art of Hallucinating Properly

I see what I wanna see
The dictionary tells us that the word-group composed of "hallucinate," "hallucinating," and "hallucinations" comes from long ago: "Origin: 1595–1605; Latin hallūcinātus, past participle of ( h ) allūcināri to wander in mind."

It goes on to give some medical linkage and definition, but then gets down to the hallucinating involved with modern citizenship: "a false notion, belief, or impression; illusion; delusion" (see this and this).

The book Hallucinations tells us that the phenomenon is more common than generally believed, but it is at once clear that hallucination is an everyday common endeavor for citizens; especially when we take a quick look at our everyday common discourse which evinces many "a false notion, belief, or impression."

For example: is global warming the greatest hoax ever fostered on humanity and therefore should be ignored, or is it a great danger to civilization so we have to do something about it? Is Social Security an "entitlement" or is it an insurance policy we pay for all our working lives? Is the fiscal cliff conjured up as a political ploy, or because of it are we close to the end of America? Is government a good parent always having our best interests in mind or is it a tool of an international corporate plutocracy? Are all American wars good wars fought for the good of humankind, or are American wars clearly imperialistic militarism bullying other nations out of their resources? Is American exceptionalism real or imagined? Is every opinion fact-based and valid? Is military detention of non-military citizens now legal? Is peak oil real or fanciful? Is torture good or is it bad?

The list goes on and on, but you get the point.

Hallucination is part of modern citizenship, because both sides of those issues cannot be having utterly opposite viewpoints, seeing it one way but not the other, yet neither one is hallucinating.

Someone is hallucinating.

For the most part, as citizens we derive our social information from the corporate news media, and therefore the corporate news media is the equivalent of a hallucinogen.

The corporate news media generate hallucinations.

When we "turn on, tune in, and drop out" or tune into the McTell News trip, we are supposed to do so as good citizens so that we experience "the art of hallucinating properly."

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has been warning for years about the damage this does (see the series Etiology of Social Dementia through Etiology of Social Dementia - 7).

Since we began that series, suicide has become the number one cause of injury death in the U.S. civilian world as well as the U.S. military world.

Major political parties are not only in the habit of embracing delusion, they even brag about it on the record:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(Karl Christian Rove). That is the type of delusional hallucination that is seen as a valid opinion by those who harbor it, but if you think that is uncommon think again, at least according to one astute observer:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries — in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
(Dr. Noam Chomsky, emphasis added). The reason they do this is because you are not capable of having a sound mind without these democratic hallucinations they provide:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(The Ways of Bernays, quoting U.S. propagandist Edward Bernays). Let's get out there and be good citizens.

Trip out dudes and dudettes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Imaginary Fiscal Cliff?

Corporate Warfare Welfare
The following videos will present short snap shots of current Washington Play Pretend about the McTell News hype intended to scare you out of your Social Security and Medicare wits.

Note that on either side there is little to no discussion about the nature of the U.S. Plutonomy.

To fill in that gap, there are several Dredd Blog series which document the seemingly mysterious U.S. Plutocracy and U.S. Plutonomy.

For examples, check out a seven post series ending with "The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy - 7", the series ending with the post MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4, and the post War Is The Highway 61 of the 1%.

The first of the two videos features Robert Reich, a former Secretary of Labor; the second video features various neoCons who are obvious puppets of the 1% elite.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When You Are Governed By Psychopaths - 4

It's called original intent
In this series we have been taking a look at the very sicko realms of government where pols gone wild like to hide behind a curtain as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz did.

Like Dorthy and her crew when they first experienced the scolds and scary sounds, along with the smoke and mirrors, we learn to be "governed" by psychopaths early on in our lives.

We learn that those who govern are secret magic men behind an iron, judge-made curtain that protects the government from us, but not us from them.

The corrupt judges who conjured up this un-American doctrine call it "sovereign immunity", a meme which belongs to "the king can do no wrong" authoritarian meme complex.

Students run into it in various college realms, including athletes who have to deal with the infamous sports mafia:
Almost from the moment I started writing about the N.C.A.A. last year, I received periodic e-mails from fans of the University of Southern California football team still incensed about an N.C.A.A. ruling that had been issued against the school in 2010. They claimed that the case offered an unusually stark look at how the N.C.A.A. twists facts, tramples over due process and unfairly destroys reputations when it sets out to nail a school, a player or a coach.
(The Next Tobacco?, emphasis added). Then we move on to the post graduate world where the zoo of pols gone wild gets a bit jiggy wid it:
The way we will do that is by using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, but additionally, as a starter, we will sprinkle in this tidbit:
One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath, the CFA Institute (an investment and financial analysis organization) reports in the latest issue of CFA Magazine. That makes psychopathy 10 times more prevalent among New York’s financial elite than among us plebeians, for which the accepted statistic is a more palatable one in 100.
(Huffington Post books about Psychopaths, emphasis added). This type of analysis and critique of the 1% elite (who are leading us over the edge of a war / ecocide cliff into catastrophe), is a move in the proper direction.
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths).  While you may think "that does not endanger the lives of the citizenry", we are not finished yet.

Other pols gone wild are working behind the smoke, mirrors and the curtain in ways that really do endanger the citizenry:
Richard H. Perkins and Larry Criscione are precise and formal men with more than 20 years of combined government and military service. Perkins held posts at the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration before joining the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Division of Risk Analysis in 2008. Criscione landed at the agency a year later, after five years aboard the USS Georgia as a submarine warfare officer.

Now both men are also reluctant whistleblowers, stepping out publicly to accuse the NRC of being both disconcertingly sluggish and inappropriately secretive about severe -- and in one case, potentially catastrophic -- flood risks at nuclear plants that sit downstream from large dams.
(Nuclear Dangers Covered-Up, emphasis added). This agency is part of the clueless meme complex that spreads Fukushima type nuclear reactors around the U.S. and allows those reactors to be on line beyond the time they can perform safely.

The whistle blowers mentioned in the link and quote above have this to say about the mental state of those governing officials:
A major flaw in our system of government, and even in industry, is the latitude to do less than is necessary. Too often officials are willing to accept and adapt to situations they know to be wrong. The tendency is to downplay problems instead of actively trying to correct them.
(ibid, emphasis added). This is the state of mind that psychologists define and describe as psychopathic:
The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is organized in their criminal thinking and behavior, and can maintain good emotional and physical control, displaying little to no emotional or autonomic arousal, even under situations that most would find threatening or horrifying. The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.
(Sociopathy vs. Psychopathy). The Dredd Blog System has commented several times on and has also exposed real results of that nightmare state of mind and its scenario once played out (see e.g. Authoritarian Green Glow In The Dark, Authoritarian Green Glow In The Dark - 2, The Fukushima Coverup,  and Nuclear Concerns).

Other pols gone wild have allowed the proliferation of deadly poisons around the globe (Shoot, Aim, Then Roundup The Damage).

We really do need to get to the bottom of this, and then perhaps develop a vaccine for these psychopaths:
The bottom line is that we are moving closer to a time when politicians and others in power who are exposed to the toxins of power can be treated with a vaccination that speaks the language of the toxins of power, and can tell them to "simmer down now."
(The Germ Theory - of Government - 4). That is the decent thing to do, it would seem, especially now that they are obsessed with "taking us over the fiscal cliff" as an act of infantile bravado.

The previous post in this series is here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Agnotology: The Surge - 2

The Earth is a global public school system.
This series is taking a look at various aspects of one segment of the study of propaganda called Agnotology.

Agnotology functions as a discipline that was originally named by Robert N. Proctor, a historian who specializes in the history of science.

In the first post of this series we pointed out that Agnotology focuses on the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly and specifically dealing with the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data; for example, misleading information about the consequences of the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).

In today's post we will focus on a critical aspect of the "culturally induced" mechanism that generates and/or perpetuates scientific "ignorance or doubt" in American culture.

But I will go beyond that to assert a hypothesis called "the cultural Amygdala", which is to be described as a dynamic portion or extension of the physical Amygdala.

Concept of the cultural Amygdala
To review a bit, the physical Amygdala is a recognizable physical section of the brain (see The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere), whereas the hypothetical cultural Amygdala is composed only of separate brain circuits that are connected to the physical Amygdala.

The cultural Amygdala is not a physically visible brain component in the way the physical Amygdala is, so the graphic "Concept of the cultural Amygdala" is used for conceptual purposes only, intended to help visualize and contrast the two concepts.

The red areas represent the two physical Amygdala components and their connection (red line) by circuits to one another (there are actually two parts that make up the physical Amygdala, one in the left brain, and one in the right brain).

The white globes that look like balls of thin yarn represent the cultural Amygdala, which is located around and connected to the physical Amygdala.

I will argue that the cultural Amygdala originates by and within the society / culture a person is born and raised in, which includes the family culture of that person.

This cultural Amygdala therefore contrasts with the physical Amygdala because the latter originates from direct biological processes.

Even though the cultural Amygdala is intertwined with the physical Amygdala, the circuits of the cultural Amygdala begin where the physical Amygdala ends.

Those circuits of the cultural Amygdala are then modified and/or extended over the lifetime of the individual by the cultural dynamics at work in the culture that individual lives in.

The behavior of the individual within a culture, along with the individual's genetic makeup, influence the development of the cultural Amygdala; limited, controlled, and/or enhanced by the physical Amygdala as it interacts with other portions of the brain.

We begin the basic structure of the hypothesis with this statement about how cultural behavior interacts with and contributes to genetic makeup:
Michael Skinner has just uttered an astounding sentence, but by now he is so used to slaying scientific dogma that his listener has to interrupt and ask if he realizes what he just said. Which was this: “We just published a paper last month confirming epigenetic changes in sperm which are carried forward transgenerationally. This confirms that these changes can become permanently programmed.”

... the life experiences of grandparents and even great-grandparents alter their eggs and sperm so indelibly that the change is passed on to their children, grandchildren, and beyond. It’s called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: the phenomenon in which something in the environment alters the health not only of the individual exposed to it, but also of that individual’s descendants.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting "Sins of the Grandfathers"; see also Michael Skinner - Epigenetics). This would indicate that the very different cultural behaviors of China, Russia, United States, Mexico, Iran, and the other nations, in general build a different cultural Amygdala within individuals who live in those societies.

Additionally, any sub-culture within a nation or society will have some influence on the development of each individual's cultural Amygdala within that sub-culture.

For instance, a person raised in a small farming town in the state of Mississippi  will develop a different cultural Amygdala when compared to a person raised in New York City, even though their physical Amygdala will be substantially the same.

Their fears, desires, tastes, and life experiences will cause different circuitry within the cultural Amygdala because that construct depends on their different cultures, whereas the physical Amygdala, being more rudimentary, is not dependent on culture for its development.

That is where Agnotology comes in, because it is "the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt", as was stated earlier in this post.

Agnotology can lay out the specifics of why and how cultures develop ignorance and/or doubt, as well as how that ignorance spreads or ceases to exist, noting that ignorance spreads or is extinguished in different ways in different cultures.

The efforts of Agnotology could take place more easily, perhaps, if a hypothesis or theory of a cultural Amygdala is developed in order to observe, reveal, and categorize relevant social dynamics encoded within circuits of the hypothetical cultural Amygdala.

The notion of memes and meme complexes is not totally foreign to such a hypothesis (see e.g. A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes and The Territorial Realm of Toxins of Power).

This subject is not without serious drama, because cultures will even develop and promulgate deadly ideas, or reject them, based on that particular culture's physical Amygdala and/or cultural Amygdala.

One researcher considered the process as follows:
1) A new pattern of behavior is invented, or an existing one is modified.

2) The innovator transmits this pattern to another.

3) The form of the pattern is consistent within and across performers, perhaps even in terms of recognizable stylistic features.

4) The one who acquires the pattern retains the ability to perform it long after having acquired it.

5) The pattern spreads across social units in a population. These social units may be families, clans, troops, or bands.

6) The pattern endures across generations.
(W.C. McGrew, 1998, "Culture in Nonhuman Primates?", Annual Review of Anthropology 27: 323). The stark differences among cultures within the same species may have similar dynamics:
Culture is considered to be group-specific behavior that is acquired, at least in part, from social influences. Here, group is considered to be the species-typical unit, whether it be a troop, lineage, subgroup, or so on. Prima facie evidence of culture comes from within-species but across-group variation in behavior, as when a pattern is persistent in one community of chimpanzees but is absent from another, or when different communities perform different versions of the same pattern. The suggestion of culture in action is stronger when the difference across the groups cannot be explained solely by ecological factors ...
(ibid, "Culture in Nonhuman Primates?", at 305). As an example, consider the cultural acceptance or rejection of global warming induced climate change, as reported by main stream media news in the video below.

Does it depict two conflicting cultural Amygdalas at work within the U.S.A., as well as international cultural differences of the type which Agnotology focuses on?

That news report in the video below begins with:
"Well, only in America is it controversial for me to begin tonight's program by declaring that global warming is really happening. For doubters, 332 straight months of above average temperatures is not proof enough. And even among believers there is a fight over who to blame, God or man, natural cycles or fossil fuels." - ABC News Anchor

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.