Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Anyone reading non-mainstream news will see a new word to have entered the English language: "Sheeple." This cross-bred mix between "sheep" and "people" refers, somewhat derogatorily, to people around the world who blindly follow their leaders, even to the brink of destruction, without a second thought. The internet has fostered an underground current of popular discontent and revolution - a rumbling of powerless voices. It is easy not to put your money where your mouth is.
As our Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said: "Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you."
My 15-year-old son came home from school recently and said he and his classmates had been shown news clips of the extraordinary 17-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize after blogging in favor of education for girls since the age of eleven and who, in 2012, was shot in the head by Taliban terrorists while she sat talking to her girlfriends in a school bus. She miraculously survived the ordeal, and even more miraculously, has continued to advocate for girls' education.
My son made the interesting comment to me. "You know what really bothered me?" he said, "When my teacher asked us what we thought of the film, everyone in my class said, 'Wow, I wish there were more people like her in the world.' And that made me really mad! Stop wishing other people would be like her - you should try to be more like her yourself!" I was struck by the wisdom of my son's words. So few people seem to realize that they (we) are actual participants in our world. The world is not a virtual reality.
This has led to passivity, a failure to become active in politics, an easy and automatic pessimism about environmental and economic issues, a resignation toward global warming, and a tendency to leave the "dirty work" of steering our collective reality to others.
Benjamin Franklin warned us about losing our American dream if we failed to participate in our own democracy. It is the idea of "use it or lose it" - and we appear to be losing it. It seems to be the intersection of two problems - Personal greed to fuel our personal destiny and the sense that larger capitalistic forces control our national destiny. It is easier to control one's own life than help steer a national or global existence. We just feel impotent no matter how angry we get. But that's the wrong attitude - and it's dangerous.
According to a front page article in the New York Times, on November 18, the Senate Republicans successfully blocked a bill, authored by Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy and supported by President Obama and computer giants Google, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo, that would have restricted the National Security Agency's ability to collect telephone and other private data on all American citizens without the normally required warrants demonstrating probably cause. The reason given by the Republicans is that such a bill would thwart our efforts to fight terrorism at a key moment in time when terrorists, such as ISIS, are gaining ground.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution clearly states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Benjamin Franklin once said: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
As Americans we have collectively opted to cede our political power to others so we don't have to contribute our own time and energy (blood, sweat and tears) to any true political cause, and thus "collectively" we have all "agreed" to give up our personal freedom from unconstitutional searches and seizures guaranteed to us under the Constitution in order to "keep us safe from terrorism." We have just done what Benjamin Franklin warned us never to do.
One of my psychic mentors once surprised me by telling me she had had a vision that I was the reincarnation of Benjamin Franklin. I didn't know why. I knew little about him at the time other than the fact that he had something to do with electricity and was a Founding Father with some connection to Philadelphia. Having reviewed his biographies, I now agree there are certain similarities. Like Franklin, I too grew up in Boston, started out as a printer, newspaper publisher, author with an interest in science, have strong connections with France (he was Ambassador to France and my college thesis advisor was a Senator from France), am fascinated with the properties of electricity and Messmer's "animal magnetism" concepts leading to hypnosis (Franklin was appointed by France's King Louis XVI to investigate Messmer's claims on a scientific panel), environmental activist, and am a local politician.
But more than that, I agree with many of his "tough love" positions on political activism and success - his belief that if you find problems in the world, don't just throw up your hands in resignation, fix them! He was extraordinary in the things he recognized and tried to fix: he created his own phonetic alphabet, solved oceanographic trade currents that disrupted mail service, freed his own slaves and became an active abolitionist, created the first lightening rod and grounding device, Franklin stove, bifocal glasses, flexible urinary catheter, counter-surveillance techniques against the British, created the first American library, and started up countless civic and political organizations where he perceived problems that needed to be solved. This was a man of action, not merely words.
Franklin put his money where his mouth was. As for all his potentially lucrative inventions, he refused to patent any of them. He wrote: "... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."
Our democracy is at risk due to apathy, lack of concern, personal greed and the continued encroachments into our civil liberties. The question of surveillance is very different today than it was 40 years ago. It is no longer a matter of physical bugs or wire taps on the phones obtained by waking up a judge at their home and pleading urgency in order to obtain probable cause to sign a search warrant. Today, information exists out in the "ethers" to be gathered quietly by satellites, computers, microchips, software programs, cell phones, televisions, cameras and other types of apparatus using frequency wavelengths in the "public domain." Nothing is private any more because our legal definitions of "public" and "private" are very different today. Information is non-local. It reminds me of how, in our legal system, we try to pinpoint a "location" for purposes of determining jurisdiction of a contractual dispute when the contract was signed by two parties on the internet! The idea of an actual physical location doesn't exist. The contract was signed in cyberspace. So we must invent the location by legal definition. The same goes for our Constitutional definition of privacy. We must become activists in protecting our private speech.
Even Benjamin Franklin was spied on without his knowledge. According to a an in-house CIA journal "Studies in Intelligence," a recently declassified document states that Franklin was such a security risk, due to his insistence that his three-man American Commission in France had not been successfully infiltrated by at least four or more British spies despite the facts available to him, it was a miracle that he didn't screw up the entire American Revolution!
But he didn't. And the fact remains, he effectively changed the world for the better. As he once wisely said, "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking." We don't need to give up our Constitutional rights to privacy as long as we become activists in our own democracy. If we allow our democracy to rot from within, it doesn't matter how many terrorists from without we defeat - because the system will crumble all by itself.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I find myself to be a kind of strange observer of my own life as it hurtles, like a car without brakes, toward certain death. I don't want to die. I absolutely adore life and I have been exceptionally privileged to live such a wonderful and extraordinary life in this lifetime. Yes, I believe in reincarnation of the soul - into different physical and spiritual "bodies" or space-time "points" of matter. My lifelong search into the world of the paranormal has been a search for answers about the meaning of life and death.
Why am I thinking about death? Well, not so much death. Just aging. Well, maybe not so much aging, as a reflection of this ironically long yet short journey I have been on since I was born. Most people don't talk much about how their ideas change over a lifetime, preferring instead to talk about the physical changes.
Once a person reaches young adulthood, the human body doesn't seem to change much. This is very comforting. After all the trials and tribulations of being a morphing child and then a spurting teenager, achieving physical stasis is very reassuring. This continues on for a long time and one begins to get quite comfortable in one's physical body. We begin to take it for granted. We begin to think our adult body is synonymous with our identity. Wrong! Just when we start to feel like we know ourselves and our bodies, we change.
One of the good things about getting older is that my dreams are really, really interesting now that I have the background knowledge of history, technology, psychology, politics, analysis and life experience. My dreams are really entertaining now. When I was a child (I remember my first dream was a 5 years old), my dreams were simple and a bit stupid. The component parts were not well-developed.
On the downside of aging, I remember watching the skin on my hands change. I could see tiny little - almost imperceptible - diamond, snakeskin-like patterns slowly appear on the surface. At first, it was only when I tried to wrinkle my skin. Then it occurred all by itself. Over time, the skin slowly began to have the appearance of crepe paper - thinner, more paper-like, just like a real old person! As I have watched the skin sink slightly below the blue veins on the back of my hands over recent years, losing the smooth fatty tissue, I constantly have the feeling of watching a movie - a play about someone else, not me. I feel helplessly trapped inside this old person's body. Other times, I am simply fascinated. For some reason, I never anticipated that my young adult physical body would ever change. I thought it had stabilized.
I have watched all my contemporaries get old. Sometimes when I look at my friends I think they are in my parent's generation. I get confused. When did we all go bald and wrinkly?
I have been blessed, to great degree, with some excellent genes. I was very pleased when I went into the nail salon this weekend and announced my age for some reason and the Korean woman doing my nails (and everyone else working in the salon) stopped working, stared hard at me, and kept shaking her head, saying, "No! No! I don't believe it! Skin is so good!" Knowing full well that Occidental types tend to show their age a lot faster in their skin than Asian people, I was deeply flattered. True, many people assume I am much younger than my true age.
Recently, on Facebook, I have been indulging in a bunch of silly online quizzes. Strange, but they seem to be revealing something true about me. The first one was "What is Your True Age?" Turns out, according to this quiz, I am a young, single black woman in my early 20's who enjoys going out to eat, going to nightclubs, and has a pet. My next quiz was "What is Your Best Hair Color"? Turns out, my best hair color is not blonde, brown, red or black (and I have tried all of them except black) - but rather electric blue! The blurb said something about my unique and adventurous personality. The next quiz was "What Was Your High School Type"? My answer - "The Stoner."
What does this all mean? Clearly, I am not reflecting my true age! These quizzes seem to indicate that I am "young at heart." I have young energy inside a chronologically older body. Since I believe in the Mind-Body connection in all matters of physical, emotional and spiritual existence, this makes sense to me.
What is young? It is the willingness, coupled with joyous curiosity and sense of adventure, to want to explore something new every day. I actually force myself to do at least one new thing every day.
The physically "old" body is still influenced by the young energy of the mind.
I have watched every American president turn grey after a few years on the most stressful job on earth. Grey hair is a sign of age. However, grey hair is reversible. A friend of mine is a Tai-Chi Master. His teacher, a great venerated old Chinese Tai-Chi Master who died in his late 80's, taught his students some amazing secrets of life. According to my friend, his teacher had grey hair. Strangely, his hair began to turn black again in his mid-80's. When my friend inquired about this, his teacher said he was doing this with the power of his mind. So, age is, to some extent, reversible! As odd as that may sound! Can we control the physical body even after death? Perhaps. There are recorded reports and photos of some yogis to halt the process of decomposition of the physical body after their death!
What is "old"? In my opinion, it is - energetically speaking - a desire to maintain status quo or to stay the same. Actually, that is also the definition of death.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
|Nancy's Blade: "If there are competing|
theories or hypotheses, the one which
sustains the fewest rebuttals of fact,
should be selected."
|Occam's Razor: "If there are competing|
theories or hypotheses, the one with the
fewest assumptions, should be selected."
Unless you live under a rock, if you have been involved in any discussions of anything remotely paranormal, then you have undoubtedly heard the term "Occam's Razor" often used by skeptics to discredit any paranormal theories.
Back in the 14th century, a fellow named William of Ockham, an English Franciscan friar and logician, developed a principal of logic which has become commonly known as "Occam's Razor." It was supposed to help with problem-solving. Basically, it states that if there are competing theories or hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. It is meant as a guidepost for investigating a theory, but doesn't suggest that the theory with the fewest assumptions is actually the right answer. It is a principle of parsimony or economical succinctness. It is quick and dirty.
Unfortunately, skeptics have twisted the true intent of this logical format and used it to completely annihilate any investigation or scientific exploration of paranormal theories for unexplained phenomena. Therefore, I have decided to investigate the validity of Occam's Razor and, as you will see, have replaced it with my own principle of logic that I call "Nancy's Blade."
Let's take an example. I do many paranormal investigations. Let's take a hypothetical case of an alleged haunting of a private residence. It is a fairly classic case of a haunting. The residents, a young couple, claim their apartment is haunted by a ghost. They say the television sometimes switches on by itself; the small table in the hallway shakes and bangs against the wall by itself; the apartment has acquired a strange, unpleasant pervasive odor not related to anything inside or outside; violin music is heard at 3:45 AM underneath the rocking chair in the bedroom; the husband has seen a shadow figure walk through the hallway; the couple hears disembodied footsteps walking around the apartment; and both have begun to experience strange health effects such as headaches, nausea, and tightness in the chest.
So, the question is: Is their apartment haunted by a ghost? Applying Occam's Razor, since we are dealing with two competing theories (ghosts exist versus ghosts don't exist), we must select the theory with the fewest number of assumptions. Most of us would agree that ghostly and paranormal phenomena can sometimes but not always be explained by common experience and laws of physics. It requires more assumptions about the nature of the universe, spirituality and possible unknown laws of physics, to account for the existence of ghosts. Therefore, skeptics argue that Occam's Razor requires us to conclude that ghosts do not exist. End of story.
However, this is where it gets fact-sensitive and much more complicated. So let's examine some of the number of factual assumptions necessary for both theories - not just the assumptions about the theories!
Television Set Turns on By ItselfGhosts Don't Exist
TV may have had a surge of electricity which caused it to turn on.
There would have had to have been multiple surges; the TV's are plugged into surge protector outlets; this still happened when the TV's were unplugged; and this doesn't explain why all the other electrical appliances didn't suffer simultaneous electrical surge problems.
Violin Music is Heard Under a Rocking Chair at Night
The violin music is probably music being played by the neighbor who lives below and is likely playing a real violin or a radio late at night.
The neighbor doesn't own a violin and is a quiet college student who says he doesn't play the radio in the middle of the night and doesn't hear the violin music heard by the couple upstairs. The music is only heard briefly by the couple, only at a specific time at night, and only directly under the rocking chair not elsewhere beneath the floor or in other rooms.
The Small Table in the Hallway Rattles, Shakes and Bangs Against the Wall
Ghosts Don't Exist
There may have been unbalanced items on top of the table that shifted slightly causing the table to tip over; the floor may have vibrated due to an earthquake or trucks on the road; or this is a fantasy of the occupant in a semi-sleep state at night.
There were no items on top of the table when it made the noises, and besides it was actually banging back and forth against the wall; no earthquakes have been reported; the apartment is located in the interior of a large, quiet residential housing complex located a quarter mile away from the road; both occupants were awakened by the noise suggesting it was not the fantasy of one person or the collective hallucination of two people, and the wife actually sees the table moving by itself one night when she gets out of bed.
Alright, I could keep going on and address all of the phenomena, but you get the basic idea. Skeptics would still argue that Occam's Razor requires us to conclude that there was no ghost or haunting in this apartment. Why? Because it would require us to make too many outlandish assumptions about reality and the known laws of physics in order to conclude that these events were caused by a ghost. Therefore, we must conclude these events were unrelated, fully explainable, and not caused by a ghost!
However, the skeptics are violating the basic rules of logic and twisting them in order to make Occam's Razor seem to work in their favor.
If you study the rules of logic, you will quickly see that this cannot be a case of logical "deduction" - which is A = B, C = B, therefore C = A. (E.g. "All widows have a dead husband, this woman has a dead husband, therefore she must be a widow"). Nor is this a case of logical "induction" - which is all A which has been observed is B, therefore all A is probably B. (E.g. All swans we have observed are white, therefore we logically infer that all swans are probably white.) Both of these types of logic lead to the conclusion that there is a single right answer (if A, then B).
However, as I have shown above, all of the necessary preconditions or facts necessary to substantiate a "logical" conclusion are missing. Every single one of the preconditions suggested as reasons for the strange events was rebutted (e.g. the neighbor was playing the piano or radio - she didn't own a piano and wasn't playing the radio!).
This leaves us in the uncomfortable position of not being able to confirm the logical conclusion mandated by Occam's Razor. What do we do to solve this problem of logic? I propose we look at another, perhaps less dignified, less well-known type of logic known as "abductive reasoning." Under this principle, the consequence "B" (the existence of a ghost) can be inferred from the preconditions "A" (strange piano music heard under the bed).
As explained in Wikipedia, "For example, after glancing and seeing the eight ball moving towards us, we may abduce that the cue ball struck the eight ball. The strike of the cue ball would account for the movement of the eight ball. It serves as a hypothesis that explains our observation. Given the fact of infinitely many possible explanations for the movement of the eight ball, our abduction does not leave us certain that the cue ball in fact struck the eight ball, but our abduction, still useful, can serve to orient us in our surroundings. Despite infinite possible explanations for any physical process that we observe, we tend to abduce a single explanation (or a few explanations) for this process in the expectation that we can better orient ourselves in our surroundings and disregard some possibilities."
Abductive reasoning means we take the evidence and extrapolate the conclusion. Thus, "B is likely, if A occurs." This doesn't mean B is the only correct answer. In fact, this type of reasoning provides for multiple correct answers, unlike deductive reasoning which only provides for one correct answer.
Therefore, I have created a new principle to replace Occam's Razor. I call it "Nancy's Blade." This principle states that "If there are competing theories or hypotheses, the one which sustains the fewest rebuttals of fact, should be selected." I have eliminated the language about the fewest number of "assumptions" because that has been terribly misinterpreted as referring to the conclusion (B) and not the facts (A).
My principle also provides for the possibility of multiple "right" answers among multiple competing theories. Causality is multidimensional, as any student of the paranormal knows. There can be many "causes" or "explanations" for any event because we are all interconnected and any "cause" or "effect" can be localized or remote. All causation is relative in the Einstein sense of the word. The fact that a tree falls over in my backyard could be caused by a failure of its root system, a local storm, shifting trade winds over the continent, or a solar electromagnetic storm over the planet - or all of the above! All events are interrelated. Thus, it makes more sense to have a logical principle that allows for multiple explanations for causation.
Nancy's Blade eliminates the problem of skeptics choosing preposterous, implausible - but theoretically "possible" - factual explanations to justify their "correct" conclusions.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
I have long recognized that when I dream of houses, I am really dreaming about my mind. More specifically, if I dream of attics, I am dreaming about my intellect or brain. If I am dreaming about basements, I am dreaming about my physical body, sexual parts or root chakra. The "house" is a symbol of me. Many times I dream about "returning" to houses I have never seen before. Other times, I return "home" to an apartment that feels unnaturally familiar. As though I lived there - or perhaps desired to live there - and discover them in my dream. Very often, as someone who lived in Manhattan for nearly 25 years, I return to my "home" in New York.
Last night I dreamt that my husband and I went apartment-hunting in Manhattan. I don't recall what section of town, but the real estate agent brought us to an elegant, upscale apartment. It could not have been more gorgeous. The kitchen had marble counters, modern appliances, gourmet amenities. The living room, fully furnished by the wealthy current owners, was sleek, modern, and filled with beautiful artwork. As we wandered down the long winding hallways, the real estate agent brought us to a large picture window with a spectacular view of the East River. The apartment was strangely whimsical. The architectural contained colorful curiosities like carved wooden swirls on the doors and multi-colored ceiling beams. My husband was sold on the apartment. He was ready to buy it. So was I. Amazingly, the price was affordable. It was only a quarter of a million dollars. A bargain in New York City!
We all walked back to the front door and the kitchen, and my husband exited my dream. I stood there with the broker and began to have second thoughts.
"Wait a minute," I mused out loud. "There is only one bedroom in this apartment. I think we might need at least one more bedroom as a guest room or study."
"Oh, didn't you notice?" she asked. "There are plenty of other bedrooms."
Well, no, in fact, I hadn't noticed. I hadn't seen any other bedrooms on our little tour. I decided to do another walk-through of the apartment, but this time I hyper-focused on all of the minute details of the apartment. This is where it became very strange.
As we walked through the gorgeous kitchen, dining room, and living room, we made our way back to the bedroom area of the apartment. This time, I noticed that the floors were bare planks of wood with giant cracks in between - sometimes we had to hop over large crevices in the floor. Many of the walls were unfinished. Closets were either non-existent or barely framed out with 2 x 4 wooden beams. The ceilings were now two or three stories tall and had peeling paint and broken sheetrock. What the heck? Yes, the broker was correct in telling me this was not just a one-bedroom apartment, because now I saw there were tiny bedrooms off of every hallway! The problem was that they were all dark, dusty, and under construction!
As I wandered on my own throughout the long hallways, the size of the apartment began to morph - Alice in Wonderland style. The apartment was now the size of an entire building. The ceilings had expanded and were now at least 7 or 8 stories tall. The girth of the apartment was now several acres. The apartment had lost its luxury gloss and was now was disturbingly unfinished - it was under construction and clearly unsafe. I spotted a half-hidden doorway leading to an unnaturally narrow staircase into the bowels of some basement. I called to the real estate agent and asked her where this led. I did not want to buy an apartment if it could be accessed for deliveries by other people or was unsafe. She didn't know. Then I looked up and saw the 80-foot tall walls and ceilings were actually a giant parking lot containing cars. I just couldn't reconcile this with my idea of a luxury apartment. Car oil might drip on us! Cars might fall on us from the ceiling. Why hadn't the previous owner taken the time to cover up all this functionality? It wasn't pretty. How was I going to ever finish working on this apartment to make it presentable?
My dream ended because the telephone rang.
Clearly, my dream was about my feelings about my mind. Due to all my research studies and work in the psychic field, I felt - at least initially - that I must have a super-toned and luxurious brain. I was clearly proud of my brain. I was ready to "buy" in to it! The initial luxury brain had come at virtually "no cost" to me. However, upon closer examination, I discovered my mind was only a work in progress - and not a display home. I was disappointed because I couldn't showcase my brain, but on the other hand, I was amazed to discover that my brain is much, much larger than I ever imagined. With enough work invested in its "construction," I can clearly build a far more amazing mind than even I ever imagined!
The moral of this story: The real estate of the mind is always a work in progress.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
|The Duggar Family stars of the TV series "19 Kids and Counting"|
I cannot watch the hit documentary television series "19 Kids and Counting" about the ever-expanding Duggar family from Arkansas without wanting to vomit or throw the TV out the window. I don't normally get that angry at anything. The parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, are both "devout Independent Baptists" in their late 40's. Their family seems sweet, well-balanced, and uber-wholesome. They follow all kinds of traditional Baptist lifestyles based on a strict interpretation of the Bible: hard work, modest attire, chaperoned courtship and seeking permission from parents to become engaged. In this day and age, this kind of old-fashioned behavior would normally inspire our respect and admiration in the face our daily exposure to violence, nasty sex, morality degeneration, drugs, depression and failure to take responsibility for our actions. This lies at the heart of my reluctance to bash the Duggar family. But someone needs to say it.
The Duggars may have achieved a kind of religious bliss and a lovely family, but this accomplishment is overshadowed by their unbelievable lack of responsibility owed to our planet - to me and to you. They have set a good example for family behavior but a terrible example for family size. What were they thinking? Michelle was recently been quoted as saying: "We would love more [children]!" Are you kidding me? Isn't 19 enough to satisfy your appetite for a large family? Isn't it a God-given clue that your 20th child didn't survive? Don't you care about the rest of us here are planet earth?
It is my very strong opinion that NO ONE should be dumb enough to think that God mandated unlimited procreation. We no longer have the luxury of this religious belief system. Check out the Bible. Considering the significant Catholic and Christian fundamentalist emphasis on making babies, I was sure I would find lots of Biblical authority for this proposition, but I only found one. Genesis 1:28 - "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" Remember: God was talking to Adam and Eve! There were no other human beings alive on earth! We weren't struggling with global overpopulation and dwindling natural resources!
Let me be very clear: Aside from five references in the first book of Genesis to "be fruitful and multiply" God does not order us to make babies. God merely advises us to have sex only for the purpose of making babies and not for mere idle pleasure. Okay, so why don't the Duggars simply abstain from having sex? Alternatively, why don't they use birth control? They did that for four years following their marriage!
The human population on this planet has more than doubled since my birth: 3 billion to 7.5 billion. It shows no signs of stopping. No leaders have stepped up to the plate. The Chinese are about ready to reverse their one-child-per-family policy. Really? Should we just shut our eyes and block our ears and hope this problem goes away by itself? Politics, religion and personal preferences can no longer be used as an excuse to make more babies.
Over the millennia, certain populations have consciously tried to repopulate their own race or culture when their populations were threatened. The Jews did this after World War II. The French did this after their drop in population threatened economic disaster. It is said that radical Muslim Jehadists intend to "conquer" Western civilization by breeding more babies. Population has been treated as a political and economic issue, just as much as a religious issue. Plenty of people love the idea of a big family. Sorry, but those days have sadly left us. We no longer have the luxury of a fantasy of a big family. The time has come to treat baby-making as a global human issue.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
This time, newscasters scramble to answer the questions of "Why" or "How can we prevent this in the future by better diagnosing the mental health of potential killers?"
If you want to learn about mental health, then study the military. Our modern classification system for mental health disorders has much of its early history rooted in trying to diagnose our military men and women. In 1952, after a major shift in psychiatric focus to large-scale Army and Navy focus on diagnosing and treating various psychiatric disorders among military men after World War II, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published its first manual of standard classification of mental disorders. It was called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and since that time has been updated periodically every 15-20 years to incorporate new developments in mental health concepts. For example, in the 1974 version finally got rid of its classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder. By 1994, the Clinton Administration initiated the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy regarding the admission of gays and lesbians into the military.
Last year, the APA published its fifth edition - the DSM-V. The new edition changed several codifications and requirements including removing the A2 criterion for PTSD because its requirement for specific emotional reactions to trauma did not apply to combat veterans and first responders with PTSD. Maybe this will help us label the most recent Fort Hood killer, an Iraq War veteran, as having suffered from PTSD - in which case, maybe special future restrictions will be set up to control all people diagnosed with PTSD.
Clearly, when you want to change public policy, it is most helpful to change classifications for mental health disorders. In the last fifty years, the DSM has increased the number of mental illnesses from 130 to a whopping 357! Does that mean we are becoming a sicker society or that psychiatrists are finding more ways to label us as "sick"? Things that used to be "personality traits" are now being characterized as "disorders" and "diseases."
What if we wanted to change our society? What if you wanted to create a society of passive citizens who agreed with whatever policy you dictated to them? Just create a new type of mental illness! You could create a psychiatric label for all those people who don't like authority and have their own ideas about society and justice. Then, bingo! No more dissention.
Not surprisingly, the new DSM-V does exactly this. It identifies a brand new mental illness called "oppositional defiant disorder" or "ODD." It is defined as "an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior" and its symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness and being easily annoyed. This new "illness" defines people who suffer from ODD as being arrogant, narcissistic, cynical, having anti-social behavior and - get this! - having above-average creativity!!!
Not only does this have terrible implications for a potential fascist or Stalinist type of political repression of a nation (just lock them up in psychiatric institutions if they have "creative" or "oppositional" political ideals that conflict with yours!), but it also has terrible implications for my line of work.
As I have noted many times in my work on psychic applications, in order to do this type of work at all, you must process your thoughts differently. It involves "above average creativity" and may also involve a certain degree of "arrogance" or "narcissism" in order to achieve a high degree of trust in one's own very unconventional and often unverifiable perceptions and observations. Will all psychics now be labeled as "ODD"? Will our government at some point be able to lock up all creative thinkers, like psychics, artists and intellectuals, on the pretext that they suffer from a mental disorder?
Whether you believe in New World Order conspiracy theory or are just a historian of fascist regimes, the APA's new DSM-V classification of creativity as a disorder is downright frightening!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
|(Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu (Mustafa Jemilev), former Presidential Representative of Crimea)|
A few years ago I was invited to a party, given by an Egyptian socialite, at her apartment in New York City. It was winter and fairly cold outside. As I entered the apartment building and walked through the enormous lobby, I saw a tiny sober-looking man seated on a bench, flanked by two other unusual-looking men. He wore a buttoned-up overcoat and faintly Russian-looking tall lambs wool hat. He appeared to be watching all the people enter the lobby with an intensely sad expression on his thin, drawn greyish face.
I had a hunch that he was going to the same party as us. And indeed he was. He showed up a few minutes after us in the crowded apartment filled with loud, laughing, champagne-drinking actors, opera singers, business people, and lawyers. It was a very multicultural gathering. He seemed oddly out of place.
Mustafa Jemilev, also known as Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu, was the guest of honor at my friend's party. He was the equivalent of the President of Crimea, although Crimea, due to its long and confusing history, doesn't technically have its own president, but because of its strange status as an independent state of the Ukraine, Crimea sends its "presidential representative" to the Ukrainian Parliament. Mr. Jemilev, a well recognized leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement, has fought all of his life to bring his people, a Turkic mostly Muslim ethnic group who are fierce descendants of Genghis Khan who speak Crimean Tatar, Russian or Turkish, back to their homeland in Crimea.
Our Egyptian hostess finally clapped her hands to get our rowdy attention, and she introduced her guest, Mr. Jemilev. He sat quietly on the sofa still flanked by the other two men. (Later I spoke with the other two men and learned they were two of the most powerful businessmen in the Ukraine). Mr. Jemilev began to speak. His English was awful - almost incomprehensible. But slowly I began to understand the history of a tiny strategic country sandwiched on a peninsula in the Black Sea, like a dangling uvula at the back of a gaping mouth, between Russia and Ukraine. It also became clear why he was so physically frail and sad.
I knew nothing about the history of Crimea or its people. Only that its naval bases were strategic to Russia.
In 1783, Russia violated its treaty and invaded Crimea. After this annexation, the Russian czars engaged in a policy of massacring and exiling hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars. Two-thirds of the Crimean Tatar population either perished or was forced out of the country. During Stalin's reign, many of the remaining Crimean Tatars who were attempting to establish the first democratic republic in the Islamic world, were brutally suppressed, imprisoned or executed. Soviet policies resulting in widespread starvation in 1921 and more than 100,000 Tatars starved to death and others fled to Turkey or Romania. Ten years later, there was another Soviet-led mass starvation of Crimea. The amazing reality was that between 1917 and 1933, half of the Crimean population had been either killed or deported.
Mr. Jemilev's people were again subjected to Soviet attack when, in 1944, accused of aiding Hitler's campaign, all Crimean Tatars were deported en masse as a form of collective punishment and were permanently exiled to Uzbekistan. Half the entire population died of disease or malnutrition. Mr. Jemilev was only six months old when his family was deported that year along with the rest of the entire Crimean Tatar population. He grew up in exile in Uzbekistan. At a young age, he became active in a political group of young Crimean Tatars who sought the right to return to their homeland. For his efforts, he was rewarded by the Soviet government, between 1966 and 1986, by being arrested six times, served time in Soviet prisons and labor camps, and lived under constant surveillance. He went on the longest hunger strike in the history of all human rights movements. His hunger strike lasted for 303 days - almost an entire year - but he survived due to force feeding.
In 1989, he was elected to head the newly created Crimean Tatar National Movement and his people were finally allowed to return to Crimea. Roughly 250,000 Tatars returned to Crimea while another roughly 100,000 still remain relocated in other countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1992, Crimea was granted independence and briefly elected its own president, until it was again suppressed, this time by its new "owners" - the Ukraine. Mr. Jemilev has been reelected to the Ukrainian parliament almost continuously since 2002.
As of this writing, Russia has decided to covertly invade Crimea - again - as a reaction to the unrest and anti-Russian political upheaval in Ukraine.
This morning I watched the television pundits speculate on what Russia will do: Reabsorb Crimea into Russia to protect its naval interests? Use Crimea as a bargaining chip to obtain political leverage in Ukraine? Use Crimea as the launching pad for an all-out military invasion of Ukraine? No one seems to have a strong grip on the unfolding events. The West seems strangely conflicted - like a mother who has caught her child with his hand in the cookie jar for the third time, threatens to send him to his room, but ultimately does nothing.
I believe Russia had no other option than to invade Crimea. It cannot afford to lose that strategic advantage and the Black Sea Fleet. I don't believe Russian President Putin ultimately intends to invade Ukraine the way it did to the newly-reforming Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1968. I still remember seeing the TV images of the tanks rolling into Prague and being shocked by the sheer audacity of the Russian military. However, I don't believe the so-called "Brezhnev Doctrine," upon which the Russians have historically relied to invade any country whose political developments threaten communism, can or will be used to justify a similar invasion in the Ukraine. After all, why bother? The Russians have had covert governmental control over that country for decades anyway and have the support of nearly half the population.
But Crimea is a different story. Crimea will be Russian. No doubt.
POST SCRIPT: The above article was written Sunday morning. By 5PM EST today television newscasters announced that the entire Crimean Peninsula was under the "operational control" of Russia with armed Russian troops surrounding all Ukrainian military bases in Crimea. In other words, Crimea has fallen to Russian occupation.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
|The Dalai Lama enjoys a meal|
I will likely humiliate my son for the rest of his life with this post, but... oh well.
Several years ago, while William was still in elementary school, his class project was to create a drawing and description to answer the age-old question : What do you want to be when you grow up?
"So, William," I said, "What do you want to be?"
"I'm not sure," he said thoughtfully. "It's a toss up."
"Either I want to be President of the United States or else a member of the Mountain Lakes Country Club." (Apparently he was deeply disturbed by the fact that we, unlike his little classmates' families, had decided not to join the local country club).
"Yeah, that is a tough choice," I agreed sympathetically.
To my great relief, he opted for the job of President of the United States. He even took it upon himself to write and memorize several Inaugural Speeches for his inevitable victory (which he practiced by delivering them to me in the kitchen). The theme was always environmental. Basically, they went like this: As President I will order you to use less paper, so we can save the trees, so that we can continue to breathe oxygen on the planet." I always gave him a standing ovation.
This morning, roughly a decade later, he came to have a serious discussion with me about his future aspirations. The circumstances have changed radically. He is now 14-year-old boy struggling with insecurities, uncertainties, college worries, pimples, girls, and teenage hormones. This time he announced with some confidence that he was beginning to narrow his future fields of interest.
"Okay, so what are you interested in doing?" I asked.
"Well, it boils down to three areas," he said earnestly. "It would either be mathematics or science, because I'm really good at that and I know a lot about science already. So that would be really easy. Or, maybe music, because I just got into the Regionals with French Horn and I really like music. But I'm also thinking maybe politics or the law."
"Well you certainly know how to argue really well," I said, reflecting upon his recent temper tantrums and insatiable desire to be right. "That's good for being a lawyer or a politician." (I should know!).
"Yeah..." he nodded in agreement. "So maybe I can take economics over the summer. What is economics, anyway?"
That launched us into a discussion about local politics, finance, fiscal budgets, allocations, competing political interests, national tariffs, trade regulations, gross national product, national debt, taxes and several other related topics, including the fact that economics was the only course I nearly failed in college!
"Oh! I almost forgot the fourth thing I might want to do when I grow up."
"I would like to be the next Deli Lama!"
I started to laugh uncontrollably - which only confused him.
"What? What's so funny, Mom?"
I decided not even to raise the issue that the "Deli" Lama has nothing to do with cold cuts or urban delicatessens. Instead, I carefully explained the problem.
"Well, you have to be born into the position of Dalai Lama, you can't just apply for the position! And you would have to have been a monk."
Actually, I thought William's interest "out of the blue" in Tibet and the Dalai Lama was kind of interesting. As a very young child, without knowing why, I always said my two favorite countries in the world were Tibet and Peru. The Dalai Lama is the 14th Dalai Lama, and he has been quoted as saying that when he turns 90, he will consult with the religious elders of Tibet and discuss the possibility that he should be the last Dalai Lama in history.
William looked briefly perturbed as he thought through this obstacle.
"I think I am going to be the first Deli Lama who isn't born into the position. I'm going to move to Tibet, live there for a while, and become a yogi. I always liked the Buddhist and Hindu faiths. I'd be good at meditating. I speak some Chinese. You know, you get to live in a nice place (not like here), and not have to worry about survival or food or water. Plus, I would do Kung Fu. Then they would want me for their Deli Lama."
Tough to respond to this line of reasoning.
"There's a little problem with that also," I said cautiously. "The reason the Dalai Lama doesn't live in Tibet any more is because the Chinese invaded Tibet and reclaimed it as part of China, even though the Tibetans fought for their independence from China. So, you couldn't go to Tibet and live there as a Dalai Lama because you would get killed. That's why the Dalai Lama escaped, fled from Tibet and now lives in India as the leader of his exiled government."
"But I will learn Kung Fu."
Where does the Dalai Lama live now? India? Maybe he's really the New Delhi Lama.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
I have a close friend who was once in my home and in a very intense emotional state. As she was speaking, the row of lights in my bathroom exploded into a burst of light like a strobe light! We both noticed it. She says it happens all the time.
I have recently begun to notice that lights begin flickering wherever I am. Naturally, being skeptical, for a long time I attributed this to funky electrical wiring or old light bulbs. However, being psychic, I also monitored the relationship between whatever I was thinking or talking about at the time with the occurrence of the light flickering. I began to realize there was a clear relationship between the two. My hallways lights would flicker when discussing spirits with my housekeeper. My bedroom lights would flicker when thinking about spirits and spirit communication. And no, the lights don't just flicker at "synchronistic" moments just in my own house. They flicker now in other people's homes, hotels, restaurants, office buildings - anywhere I happen to be. It didn't used to be like that.
It occurred to me that when I drive underneath street lamps on the highway, they often turn on or off. I always attributed that little fact to mere coincidence and the fact that street lamps are likely timed to turn on and off to save electricity. I decided to run a series of little tests with myself to see if I could get the street lights to change - on command. I discovered I could often (but not always) do this on command. Further, I checked around on the internet and discovered I was not alone. Some people have attributed this peculiar effect to UFOs and alien influence. I also learned online that street lamps do not turn off unless they are defective, which is rare. My friend has had the effect of turning every single street lamp off on a straight-away avenue. So, what is it?
Clearly, as electrical beings, we influence the electrical flow around us - some more than others. But is it enhanced by clairvoyance, telepathy, spirit communication or ET contact?
A couple of years ago, I installed a standard desktop 5-photo screensaver slideshow on my computer. The background photo changes roughly every five minutes or so. Then something peculiar happened a week ago. I was doing a mediumship reading for a client whose husband had passed away. I had his photo displayed on the computer. As I closed it, I saw that my screensaver photo - the fields of lavender featured at the top of this page - was strangely covered with what appeared to be beams of light. (See photos). I had never seen that before. I tried closing the blinds to the window to block out all natural light behind the computer - but the beams of light remained and appeared to be embedded in the photo.
I found the timing of spirit communication and weird beams of light on my computer to be synchronous. I wondered if the spirit (or whatever was controlling this phenomenon) could make this happen to one of the other screensaver photos. Nothing happened for z few days. And then.... another photo (see below) began to exhibit the same bizarre light beams in the screensaver photo.
What the heck? And as soon as I would flip to another screen and back again to the screensaver screen, the photo would always return to "normal" - no light beams. This is clearly not a problem with my monitor since no other photos or screens are affected. Nor is it some kind of programmed photo-change since this only affects two of the five screensaver photos and never permanently. They always revert to the version of the photo without light beams.
I do not claim to have the answer for this phenomenon. But my suspicion is that it bears a relationship to spirit communication - translated through electronic waves of light. If there are any computer experts out there, I'd love to hear from you too!