Friday, May 23, 2014

On The Memorial Daze - 4

Memorial Circuitry
The more difficult it is to memorialise, to remember, to look back ... the more difficult it is to look forward.

I mean in terms of accuracy.

Especially when we have to deal with the two Xmas packaging departments of our personal and cultural cognition.

By that I mean the amygdala, which is the part of our brain that receives all the sensory input.

That is, all the sensory input from our ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and skin, before any other part of our brain receives the data, which it then processes with the additional help of our cultural amygdala.

The 98% of our cognition, which takes place in our subconscious, gets to our 2% conscious cognition only after "the bridge to everywhere" has packaged it.

Let's review the evidence for that before moving on in this post:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
...
the amygdala gets sensory information directly from the various sensory systems that process the external world. So the visual system, the auditory system, olfactory, touch, pain, and so forth. All of these kind of come together, or converge, in the amygdala.
(The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere). The data, upon being put in a neural package, is forwarded to our culturally grown circuitry for further processing:
We found that amygdala volume correlates with the size and complexity of social networks in adult humans. An exploratory analysis of subcortical structures did not find strong evidence for similar relationships with any other structure, but there were associations between social network variables and cortical thickness in three cortical areas, two of them with amygdala connectivity. These findings indicate that the amygdala is important in social behavior.
...
A group of US marketing researchers claim that brand owners can make their customers believe they had a better experience of a product or service than they really did by bombarding them with positive messages after the event. Advocates of the technique, known as "memory morphing", claim it can be used to improve customers' perceptions of products and encourage them to repeat their purchases and recommend brands to friends.

"When asked, many consumers insist that they rely primarily on their own first-hand experience with products – not advertising – in making purchasing decisions. Yet, clearly, advertising can strongly alter what consumers remember about their past, and thus influence their behaviours," he writes in his book, How Customers Think. He says that memories are malleable, changing every time they come to mind, and that brands can use this to their advantage. "What consumers recall about prior product or shopping experiences will differ from their actual experiences if marketers refer to those past experiences in positive ways," he continues.
(Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala). What we sense and what we remember is not controlled primarily by our consciousness, it is controlled primarily by our personal subconscious and also by what circuits our culture builds in and adds to our subconscious cognitive system:
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.
Edward L. Bernays

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.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting "The Father of Spin"). This means that if we know who influences our culture, we know who influences the structure of the cognitive circuity in our brains.

On memorial day those powers that be (see e.g. Epigovernment: The New Model - 5, MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 5) want you to remember, to memorialise in their way of control.

But as we have learned to remember in the past (Viva Egypt - 2) and yesterday (Viva Egypt - 3), that is a memorial daze (On The Memorial Daze).

We can't see the future extinction coming at us because we fail to acknowledge the extinctions of 200 species a day we are doing now.

Take the critical bees for example:
Honeybees are dying off at too high a rate to guarantee their long-term survival, even though fewer were lost last winter, a US government report said on Thursday.

The total losses among hive honeybees across the country was 23.2% over the 2013-14 winter, the annual report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found.
The extinction of wisdom

That is better than the 30.5% loss over the 2012-13 winter, but the report said the death rate among honeybees over the last eight years was still too high for the bees' long-term survival.

“While we are glad to see improvement this year, losses are still too high, and there is still much more work to be done to stabilise bee populations,” the agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a statement.
(Guardian, RE:USDA Report). This is caused by pesticides & insecticides made from civilization's toxic drug oil, prepared by the minions of Oil-Qaeda (Oil-Qaeda: The Deadliest Parasite Of Civilization - 2, cf. here, here).

Don't forget it, memorialise the good Earth and Peace, but "forget" war --if you have the circuits (Comparing a Meme Complex to a Cultural Amygdala).

The previous post in this series is here.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Viva Egypt - 3

The book Hard Call, whether the authors intended it or not, gives nuance to a section of its subtitle which contains the phrase "great decisions."

That is, if we focus on the word "great."

I mean that in the sense of one of the several meanings of great: "unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.: great pain." - (Dictionary).

One street definition or reaction might be to say that "pain is not so great" --unless one is a masochist.

The "great decision" discussed at length in the previous post of this series was a decision that has already caused much pain and anguish to civilization (yet has not reached its apex), which was the decision to addict civilization to the fossil fuel drug "oil" (Viva Egypt - 2, The Universal Smedley - 2).
"Did you say turn right on Armageddon Highway?"

That decision was pregnant with a future that gave birth to Oil-Qaeda, The 1%,  as well as civilization's damage to the global climate system (Oil-Qaeda: The Deadliest Parasite Of Civilization, Oil-Qaeda - The Indictment, The Universal Smedley, The Damaged Global Climate System).

The decision also bound us to a future with three world wars and a resurgence of
"Copy that. Sky Pilot says we forgot wings."
feudalism (American Feudalism - 6), all of which are known enemies of freedom (The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?).

But the government embraced it (A History of Oil Addiction - 2) like it was starring in a sequel to Thelma & Louise (MOMCOM 2.0 - 2).

So now we have a military NSA (ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller) which spies on the entire world (The Queens of Stalingrad), and a militarized police force who prey on human rights (Will The Military Become The Police? - 4).

Really? ... a "great decision" Senator "What Economic Problems?" McCain, or the signs of civilization losing its sanity (The Peak of Sanity - 3) and becoming demented (Etiology of Social Dementia)?

The previous post in this series is here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fukushima Surpasses Chernobyl

The Fukushima catastrophe has passed Chernobyl in some infamous categories.

One dubious category is the transparency and lack thereof.

Chernobyl was more open so that people could take better precautions.

Fukushima was a human caused disaster, in the wake of a natural disaster, which may be happening more often now.

I have previously written on the subject of the dangers of nuclear power plants (e.g. Childhood Leukemia Linked To Government Carelessness, The Fukushima Coverup).

Here is a recent update on Fukushima:
  • “[It's] important to understand that the Fukushima release consisted of multiple radionuclides with distinct modes of release, chemical properties, radioactive half-lives, and behavior in the environment, all of which influence the potential for environmental harm. [...] cesium-134 and cesium-137 were also released in significant quantities and pose greater potential risks to human and ecosystem health due to their reactivity, mobility in the environment, and biological availability.”
  • “River runoff and groundwater discharge from contaminated areas, along with seafloor sediments off of Fukushima, are expected to supply relatively small but continuing doses of radioactivity to the North Pacific for years to come […] in the three years since the accident, Fukushima-derived radionuclides have spread throughout the North Pacific.”
  • “The total input of 137Cs to the North Pacific from Fukushima are poorly constrained, with estimates ranging from 14 – 90 PBq [90 petabecquerels, i.e. 90 quadrillion becquerels].”
  • “~76 PBq  [of cesium-137 due to global fallout from nuclear weapons testing was] still present in the North Pacific in 2011 [...] in the worst case the Fukushima disaster [...] may initially have tripled the total amount of radioactive cesium in the North Pacific.”
  • Researchers estimate up to 181 PBq of cesium has already been released during the Fukushima disaster (90 PBq of 134Cs + 91 PBq of 137Cs)
According to the National Research Council — Committee on an Assessment of CDC Radiation Studies: “35 PBq of Cs-134 and 70 PBq of Cs-137″ were released during Chernobyl disaster.
  • Chernobyl = 105 PBq of Cesium-134, -137
  • Fukushima = Up to 181 PBq of Cesium-134, -137 (releases ongoing “for years to come”)
(EneNews, emphasis added; see also this). Surpassing Chernobyl is notable because there are estimates of about a million people dying as a result of that disaster:
Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility.
(Environment News Service). When the government changed the name of the Department of War into the Department of Defense, and took up nuclear weapons, it lied to the people about the dangers.

And still does.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Foot Loose & Fancy Free



To the Foot from Its Child
by Pablo Neruda

The child’s foot doesn’t know yet that it’s a foot,
and wants to be a butterfly or an apple.

But then stones and pieces of glass,
streets, ladders,
and the paths of the hard earth
go on teaching the foot that it can’t fly,
that it can’t be round fruit on a branch.
The child’s foot then
was overcome, it fell
in the battle,
was a prisoner,
condemned to live in a shoe.

Gradually, without light,
it started to know the world in its own way,
without knowing the other foot, shut in,
exploring life like a blindman.

These soft nails
of quartz, in a bunch,
hardened, changed into
opaque matter, into hard horn,
and the small petals of the child
got crushed, unbalanced,
took the form of eyeless reptiles,
worms’ triangular heads.
And then they grew calluses,
they were covered
with tiny volcanoes
of death, unacceptable
hardenings.

But this blind thing walked
without respite, without stopping
hour after hour,
one foot and then the other,
now a man’s
or a woman’s,
above,
below,
through fields, through mines,
through department stores and ministries,
backward,
outside, inside,
forward,
this foot laboured with its shoe,
it hardly took time
to be naked in love or in sleep,
it walked, they walked
until the whole man stopped.

And then it went down
into the earth and knew nothing,
because there everything was dark,
it didn’t know that it had ceased being a foot,
if they had buried it so that it could fly
or so that it could
become an apple.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science - 4

Nelson Mandela
One issue that has come up during this series is the notion that a culture can be racist even though some individuals who live within that culture can overcome racism, and even eradicate it in various degrees from their lives.

Yet, it can still persist in the culture around them.

Take the example of Columbus Day in our culture, a national holiday.

Why should a culture celebrate a day that memorialises  personal behavior which, today, would trigger the criminal prosecution of a pedophile, a slave trader, a despot, and a murderer?

A 48 page document found in 2006 mandates our taking notice:
Here is my assessment of Christopher Columbus. He was a genocidal megalomaniac. Now, looking at your faces, I can detect a significant level of intellectual discomfort, so let me prove this unsettling assertion. The sources of my evidence are as good as they get – primary journal entries from Columbus himself and from some of the crewman and priests who sailed with him.

Here is the man’s legacy: He bequeathed the New World two of the worst institutions in human history-the Slave and the Conquistador. It would take about 350 years for people of conscience to finally rid the world of slavery. And the Conquistador evil is still widespread on our planet. At this very moment there are indigenous tribes in the Amazon trying to protect their land and their way of life from lumber and cattle barons. And in Ecuador, international oil companies are destroying the habitat of jungle tribes whose ancestors lived there long before the word petroleum was even invented.

Genocide is the murder of a large number of people of one racial or ethnic strain. But Columbus did not just kill an enormous number; he actually eradicated the Taino Indians from the face of the earth. When he first landed in Hispaniola (currently Haiti and the Dominican Republic) it was estimated that there were around 1.2 million natives there. By 1550 – less than 60 years later – there was not a single one left. And from almost the moment that his ships arrived, these gentle Indians suffered an almost incomprehensible reign of terror.

The vicious power that Columbus and his sailors possessed was not the result of superior strength or intelligence or courage. It rested solely on having more advanced technology in the form of ocean-going ships and deadly weapons. To demonstrate his ruthless omnipotence, Columbus would punish Indians in the most hideous manner for minor offenses. He would command that a nose or ear be chopped off as a reminder to the rest of the population that he ruled supreme.

His merciless actions became so insufferable, that mass suicides, where 100 people would jump from a cliff, became commonplace. Women stopped trying to have children and would strangle their newborn rather than allow them to live and endure the agonies of the Spaniards. And along with the normal slavery of converting people into beasts of burden, Columbus also initiated sex slavery. He even bragged in letters back to the Old World that the most favored girls were only 9 or 10 years old. So, one can add pedophilia to his crimes against humanity.

As for his megalomania, what title did he insist on receiving from his royal patrons as payment for the slaves and stolen property that he brought back to Spain? His humble request was to be called “Admiral of the Ocean Seas.” Since this essentially includes all of the world’s oceans, it was comparable to a land-based dictator wishing to be addressed as the “Emperor of Earth.”

But beyond his atrocities and his arrogance, this is why I despise Columbus - because as long as we honor him rather than scorn him, we are reinforcing his code of conduct.
(Rhapsody on a Theme by Socrates, bold added; cf. here, here, and here). Our culture honors him via symbolic racism, which infects members of the culture who are too young to know:
"For example, children develop notions about ethnicity and race early in life, oftentimes even before they have interethnic or interracial contact. Children learn about other social categories, such as gender-or age-related groupings, through extensive interpersonal interactions, but young, preschool children often learn about those who are ethnically or racially different in the absence of personal contact." 86
(Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science - 3). Eventually however, those cultural dynamics of symbolic racism do not directly belong to the individuals who learn the history and the background of racism, then reject it from their thoughts and actions.

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