AK Reader, E-Book (posted as a series), BWIWD: Chapter Twelve, A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF OUR CULTURE, Part 1

Note: BWIWD = Back When I Was Dying. For earlier chapters, see posts December 9-15. I will collect the entire series for an e-book, once done.


Chapter Eleven



The Bubble

Note: In this chapter, I imagine culture as a one-way-mirror skinned bubble, and I draw clear lines between those who live inside it and those who no longer do. I’m aware that the way I frame the discussion may seem so simplistic as to be almost cartoonish. First of all, cultures vary in the range of behavior that they allow. Plus, no one lives entirely inside a culture and no one entirely outside. There are always gradations, and areas where one feels a bit quirky, or carries secrets that if known by others, would signal (unallowed) strangeness. No one is an island, just as no one is cut from the same cookie stamp.

Moreover, no matter how much an outsider someone might feel from the culture that he still (appears, to insiders) to live inside of, he does, at some level, still live inside it — despite that he actually did at some point pop through its skin and now sees back through, to notice how the culture is structured, what makes it tick, how others are still caught like spiders in its web. No one is entirely immune to the perpetual flow of subliminal influence. The culture flows through us always; insiders and outsiders both are relentlessly being conditioned by what’s around them. Those who wish to live outside the bubble must continuously shake off subliminal and other conditioning lest it infiltrate and infect them again into thinking they’re inferior, ignorant or crazy, need the guidance of authorities, and should, nay MUST obey cultural laws, forms, orders, taboos.

I say this as an outsider for nearly 40 years who still finds herself continuously shaking off subliminal influences. As fast as they bombard my subconscious, I try to notice and move them along. And I am aware of various behavioral memes that anchor me into the culture. For example, I automatically choose the longest line at the grocery store in order devour People magazine (it’s my version of “junk food”). And, I notice myself addicted to email [2018 edit: and now, phone texts], a form of communication that, more and more, replaces personal meetings and phone calls.  

Email addiction is but one symptom of what my outsider self considers truly alarming: how my personality is synchronized into western culture’s endless technological amplification of complexity and connectivity, all of which tends to fracture focus, reduce attention span, and leave us exhausted and depressed. Ultimately, constant adrenal stimulation crashes our biological system, and we “fall ill,” in body, mind and soul.

For the past 40 years I have also endeavored to practice awareness of the present moment in the midst of being automatically plugged into culture’s chaotic atomization of the seamless web of life. It may be that my outsider status and this practice are connected. They may even be one and the same. In any case, please realize that I, too, view the following rough sketch of how a culture’s inside/outside dichotomy works with a very large grain of salt.

 Yet please do bear with me, for there is a case to be made, and insight gained, when we imagine the culture as a one-way mirror-skinned bubble.


Introduction: Open and Closed Systems

When I was a doctoral student in the philosophy of science at Boston University, one of my friends, a doctoral student in mathematics at Harvard, told me that he didn’t believe that science could ever discover Truth. Not because he was cynical; nor did he hold the then sophisticated view that at best, science could only expose falsity. His view was simpler, more radical, and offered in the spirit of glum resignation.

Any test of a scientific theory, he said, works with a finite slice of the cosmos. How do we know that the same laws apply universally? Since we don’t know where the edge of the universe is, or, even if the universe has an edge, then we can’t, no matter how much we learn about it, claim to understand the laws that govern it as a whole. At the time I felt flummoxed by Michael’s idea, and didn’t want to consider it seriously. My intellectual need for certainty — a mask for my emotional need for security — was too profound.

Now I can admit that it does appear — at least from our earthly perspective, but who knows? — “true” that only closed systems can be scientifically described and their future predicted. That only if we determine the boundaries of a system, and only if those boundaries are impermeable, closed to outside influences, can we learn what it’s made of, what it’s for, how it works for sure.

We like to think that what we call Nature, for example, has predictable laws. (We certainly hope they’re predictable, otherwise how do we predict and control the future?) For example, that water flows downhill and hot air rises; that day follows night and spring follows winter; that seeds incubate, sprout, flower; that a sperm penetrates the egg to create new life. But even Nature’s laws, we are learning, seem to be relative and not absolute. Not only does Nature offer us seemingly endless complexities and even multidimensionalities that must be ignored when we attempt to understand her within the artificial boundaries we loop around our “controlled experiments,” she also appears, as a dynamical system, to be open. In other words, the laws of nature can change, not just in continuous minute ways, but suddenly, drastically, and with no little or no warning — and no way to even look back to discover what happened or why.

Even our biosphere as a whole — Earth and her atmosphere — seems to be an open system, its edges permeable to influences from surrounding space. Yet, despite the accumulating evidence, those who see themselves as in touch with Nature (fewer and fewer, given the glare of constant artificial light) want to think that we can trust Nature and natural laws; that at least here we can find our feet in some kind of common ground.

But — and here’s the rub — what kind of “trust” are we talking about? A trust that’s synonymous with predictability? Or another kind of trust — subtler and more ineffable, a reliance on or surrender to the mysterious sense of feeling at home, cared for, beloved, at one with the whole of creation. Though we might think that we trust nature because we see her laws as predictable, those who spend time in nature and who are open to the experience, may find themselves sinking into this latter type of trust as a sense of communion with the heart of being.

Within this culture’s bubble, however, “trust” does mean predictability. We trust that our paychecks will arrive on time twice each month; we trust that “God,” however we view him or her, is “on our side,” and then wrestle with “why bad things happen to good people.” We trust that people will drive on the right side of the street and stop at stop signs; we trust that if we fall sick our insurance will cover the expense; we trust that our social and commercial and religious and governmental structures and laws and the roles we play and rules we go by try to guarantee only certain sorts of behavior so that we can, hopefully, at least some of the time, predict and control what happens to us.

We’ve all noticed how this kind of trust is being severely challenged during these post-millennial years. Trust as predictability is eroding at the same rate as other cultural trends accelerate. Loss of trust as predictability destabilizes; makes us uneasy, stirs up terrible feelings, alters our attitudes, makes us clutch and strive to protect what we have while grasping for more.

So what would it mean “to find our feet in some kind of common ground” that did not involve trust as predictability? I suggest that there is a more radical and less enculturated, even less biological kind of trust involved when we truly feel our way into the actual recognition that we’re all in this together: that we all feel the same thudding in the stomach when something we expected to go a certain way because it always did suddenly changes, lurches into an entirely different direction, transforms into its opposite or worse, drops off the map.

This kind of trust is spiritual, metaphysical: we sense ourselves as a mere drop in an ocean of being that intermingles all of creation, and in which we humans slosh together in waves, each of us a tiny quivering receptor for the feelings and attitudes and belief systems and pain and love and joy that courses through us all.

Unless we experience our own center as that through which all this is flowing, then the commingling of everything with everything else not only confuses but terrifies. And of course, it doesn’t meet with our rational expectations of ourselves as being able to figure out what is going on, as a series of linear causal chains.

So we try to build walls against our own quivering sensitivity. Indeed, we don’t need to build them, but just to maintain them, and continue to fortify them; for those walls were built long, long ago, when we were very young, so young that most of us don’t realize they enclose us in a prison of the culture’s making. The stronger the walls that (apparently) separate ourselves from our surroundings, the less in touch are we with our inner center. For what surrounds us and what is inside us reflect the same reality. So, the more we try to ward off our interconnectedness, the worse we feel: empty, isolated, unsafe, unloved.

So trust, in this context, is taking down the walls. Allowing the original absorption into the whole of being to fill us again with such endless potential, abundance and creativity that we realize it can only come from a world larger than the one we think we inhabit. For we don’t understand this larger world; it feels mysterious. Trust then, in this larger sense, is surrender to mystery.

Yet this kind of trust might be mistaken for conditioning in that it also flows through us always, but for one crucial difference, and this depends on us opening to an awareness of the present moment. Where awareness exists, the walls do not. As we expand our awareness, the walls thin and dissolve, rather like the Sun dispels fog. Ultimately, awareness practice re-introduces us to the whole of being in which we live and move and wherein we feel connected, safe, and beloved. Within this context that is larger than the culture’s bubble, we notice how we are being conditioned, rather than simply succumb to it. (And when we do unconsciously succumb to it, the more we practice awareness, the less time it takes to pull ourselves out.

Spiritual, metaphysical trust involves an expansion into love, rather than contraction into fear. Awareness widens to include the entire external situation in which we appear to be held as well the thoughts, feelings, and patterns of our inner world — all as one seamless whole. This higher level trust requires us to identify not with the self and its needs alone but with what at some point appears as an unbounded, infinite, all inclusive field or space with no edges and therefore no possibility of rational comprehension. Rather than living inside a one-sided mirror-walled bubble while thinking ourselves free, we are free — to roam through endless, unbounded expansiveness.

This single internal switch, from trust as predictability to trust as awareness of the ocean of being in which we are all held, shifts consciousness into a larger dimension wherein the insider/outsider distinction dissolves into unity and transforms the edge of the bubble from a closed system into a transparent, living, breathing membrane.

Not only are biological systems open, with permeable boundaries that, when infiltrated, can change the state of the whole, so too are social systems. For it may be that when such collective awareness is achieved by even a certain small percentage of people, it alters the entire society, and enlarges the horizons of possibility for everyone.

Its hard to imagine that this kind of social transformation could happen anytime soon. And yet it must happen sooner rather than later if we are to survive on this planet with dwindling external resources. We outsiders who have already recognized necessity through our own (at least periodic) surrender to the ocean of being know that such a transformation is possible, for it has changed us. And this makes us view those still inside with a terrible poignancy.

For when we see ourselves as living in a world of finite resources — and this is true of any bubble, any bounded field — then when we lose trust as predictability, we grow afraid. Territorial and survival instincts surface. We try to cocoon ourselves in our own little bubbles, for fear of others’ territorial and survival needs. We clamp onto systems of belief that claim to insure certainty and capacity to predict and control. We separate ourselves and those we “trust” (to be predictable) via class distinctions, locked doors, gated communities, border fences, membership rules, and the myriad ingenious ways humans have created to insulate themselves from the unknown Other.

For those inside the cultural bubble, even marriage, family, company loyalty and nation states, long bastions of protection from outside influences, have proven not only permeable, but explosive.

Amidst the relentless entropic tendency of everything to eventually disintegrate and reconfigure as it connects with and interpenetrates everything else — amidst the ultimately inevitable but meanwhile held-in-denial surrender to the ocean of being — social systems are biased towards self-preservation just as forms of all kinds and at whatever level of magnitude seem to be — or are they? Another unknown. How long do butterflies live? Do they care?


Culture: Inside and Outside

Most people live inside whatever culture they grew up in. A society (and its dominant language) functions emotionally and mentally as a shared container and framework: it supports and nourishes those who stand upon its ground, and it unites them with a set of rules and taboos that enable them to communicate and share seemingly fundamental values.

Any culture operates as both an unnoticed security system and a usually unnoticed set of constraints. It’s as if we all have on a set of glasses with a certain prescription. We’ve had them on since before we remember, so we don’t realize that they mediate our experience of reality. Our cultural glasses don’t feel uncomfortable or heavy. They are ever present, like the air we breathe and the ground under our feet, a shared context to help us make sense of our lives.

Though we don’t realize it, our glasses frame up the world in a certain sort of way and allow for only certain possibilities that tend to reappear over and over again. In general, we think of future possibilities as predicated upon past expectation, so it appears that only what happened before can or should happen again. Exceptions are called “anomalies,” and usually despised or ignored. This attitude pervades even the supposedly open-minded culture of science.

Of course, it is never actually true that what happens next must have happened before. Indeed, at any level of detail, nothing ever remains the same — and when we stop to think about it, we know this. Yet in order to give form to seeming chaos, humans cannot help but seek patterns. And whenever we think we detect a pattern, we are liable to latch on to it, use it to bet on the future and try to control what happens. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that even patterns change over time. That everything changes, evolves, grows, decays. New experiences continuously break through the weight of (no matter how broad our range of) expectation.

One way to assess a culture’s resilience is to ask how well and easily its basic assumptions allow for change, especially structural change. How far will the framework bend before breaking? How much disorder can be introduced into any (apparently, hopefully) closed system before it disintegrates?

The same goes for individuals. Evolution selects for adaptability. The more we fear change, the more rigid we become, the less our capacity to let go of expectation and flow with life — and death.

No matter how rigid the culture’s framework and conformist its members, every culture spawns individuals who are or become more adaptable than their fellow citizens. Despite our lifelong need as an embodied beings for emotional and physical security, these rare ones sometimes find themselves changing at such a rate that at some point they come up against the inside skin of their culture’s bubble and pop right through to the other side.

This switch in status can happen slowly, or in a flash, and either way, it feels traumatic. Suddenly, or gradually, the newly fledged outsider finds himself cut off from normal communication with those still inside the bubble since, by definition, those inside can no longer see or understand him. Since they do not recognize a wider range of possibilities than those the cultural glasses identify, insiders do not see beyond the bubble — or even, that they reside inside a bubble. From the inside, the bubble’s skin appears as a mirror, reflecting back to its beholders who they think they are and how they see themselves. Anything outside the bubble is literally unthinkable, unimaginable. And whoever thinks or imagines another way, is considered ignorant or crazy.

So a profound asymmetry exists between those caught inside and those free to roam outside. For though some of those outside can be considered “crazy” — if by “sanity” we mean social agreement, then the really crazy ones are lost in their own internal worlds — other outsiders are full of crazy wisdom, since they can see through the skin of culture’s bubble to the bounded world within it. And for them, the behavior of those inside now looks, by and large, predictable, even silly, or truly crazy!

(There are many versions of “crazy.” For me: truly crazy is one who bites off one’s own tail, fouls his own nest; thus suicidal, against the natural order, or at least what appears to be the natural behavioral order that enhances survival in Earth’s very specific biome.)

(The bubble’s skin is like the one-way mirror of a room used to view, unnoticed, criminal interrogations or therapeutic encounters conducted inside a smaller room.)

To sum up and extend the asymmetries: Those inside the bubble can’t understand those outside, though some outsiders can, if they wish, understand insiders. Those outside, to those inside, when acknowledged at all, seem strange. Outsiders see insiders as predictable (and thus boring, silly), and since outsiders are relatively rare, they tend to feel alone, isolated, misunderstood, invisible, abandoned — the price paid for the enhanced freedom of thought and movement granted by an enlarged perspective (from their point of view) and reduced status (from the insiders’ point of view).

Those outside don’t have the same relationship to each other as those inside do. Insiders share a set of assumptions about reality and do not recognize their assumptions as limited to the bubble within which they live. Those outside the bubble live in a larger universe; some of them recognize, but do not share, the assumptions of those inside. They may or may not share assumptions with other outsiders. But outsiders usually do recognize each other without too much trouble, since, at the very least, they tend to be less dependent on others’ approval.

But that’s only the first clue. After all, they might be just crazy, meaning sociopathic!

For me, as an outsider, one sure way that I utilize to decide whether or not seeming “strangers” actually do live (mostly) inside or outside western culture is to notice how they work with polarities. If they identify with one side of any duality and hate or reject the other, then I assume they live inside the bubble, still caught in the drama of competition, seeking to best the other rather than embrace both the other and the rejected shadow quality of the self.

Those I consider genuine outsiders work hard, despite breathing the thick, poisoned air of continuous dualistic conditioning — no, let’s go further, let’s call it brainwashing — to recognize, accept and embrace the reality of both sides of any polarity, to understand the relative value of each pole within its own limited context, and the still relative value of the polarity as a whole within an even larger context. This continuous opening, to understand and embrace any whole as nested within another, larger whole, and to which all its parts belong like the workings of a machine, is the key to outsider independence. For the mental machine constructed from off/on digital polarities prescribes the computer program of the culture’s glasses, the framework or structure that holds the bubble in place. Outsiders, but not insiders, can not only see this but are bent on deprograming themselves.

Sometimes outsiders try to “explain” their freed-up world-view to those on the inside. After all, they’re also human, and seek company! They try to describe how “projection” works; how, when confronted with something that feels like a contradiction, the unconscious pushes out into the world one side of that contradiction — usually a quality of one’s inner life that feels uncomfortable or even monstrous, completely unacceptable to the conscious view of the self. From there it is one easy step from projection to labeling. The person or situation that is made to carry the projection then gets demonized as bad or wrong or evil.

When outsiders explain this to insiders, some are actually ready to hear it, and the recognition makes them stop short, let go of their drama, at least for a moment. For example, the other day I was talking with a feminist who hates domination and violence and is extremely fired up by the culture’s rejection and denial of the aging process. We were talking on the phone, and every time she stopped to catch her breath I would try, and fail, to get a word in. Her angry rant was not only hurting my ears but slamming my solar plexus. I was trying to stop her from continuing her loud, repetitive critique of what we both know.

The firehouse spewed on and on, with me trying and failing to intervene, always politely. Finally, I yelled at her, “STOP! Just STOP!” That got her attention. Then, into the space of her sudden silence, in a carefully modulated tone I told her that her tone of voice felt both dominating and violent — exactly what she’s trying to stomp out and what she herself doesn’t want to be doing. In response, her voice faltered, softened, sounded crestfallen: “Well, what you say hurts. And it’s not the first time I’ve heard it . . .” She paused, and then, almost whispered, “I’m not allowed to see my own grandchild because I’m ‘too intense’” — then, as if she had to pull back from any further opening — she concluded with a sarcastic swipe: “whatever that means.”

It’s scary to open. Scary to allow one’s boundaries to become permeable. Scary to proceed in a direction that if persisted, leads to cultural death and rebirth as a unique and individuated person on the other side of the cultural wall.

I really felt for her at that moment. She is me. I used to be what I now call a “violent peace activist” — until I learned to see and work with the war inside myself. Hopefully, that moment of clarity in our conversation will help Pat learn to take back her own projections so that she too, can finally break through the skin of the bubble and experience real freedom.

But though some insiders are ready to recognize the inside of the bubble as, when you rub off the muck that covers it, a clear, all-seeing mirror, most are not. Those who are not want to push back the words into the speaker’s mouth and blame him or her as bad or evil for having judged them. Without realizing it, they instantly demonstrate the truth of the outsider’s portrayal of projection.

However, unless those on the inside are ready to take the next step, initiating the perilous journey of popping through the skin of the bubble into what is sensed from the inside as the vast unknown — they simply can’t hear — or care, or bear — what the outsider is trying to convey. They are still satisfied with the apparent — though relative — security offered by life in the bubble. Having not yet bumped up against the bubble’s skin, they haven’t realized that there is a world beyond; for they haven’t yet gotten to the point where they sense the inside of the bubble as a relatively closed system, more or less predictable, and ultimately both boring and suffocating.

Even outsiders, however, usually don’t move too far away from the bubble, since after all, it’s home, where they came from. Some want to break down the boundaries between them and those inside, and, once they realize that hating the bubble just thickens its skin — and, as a matter of fact, since hate always involves projection, injects them right back into the bubble! — they begin to see that their appropriate path is to gracefully and artfully live at culture’s edge. Not inside it, and not far away, either. In this manner they can show, by example, how courage enlivens us, helps us learn to flow with the mysterious dynamics of a universe way larger than the bubble. In their position as change agents on the edge of culture, outsiders make themselves accessible to those who begin to wake up and realize that in order to breathe freely, they too, must break free.

In these ways, outsiders can serve as mentors and exemplars, showing others a way of life beyond the seemingly predictably secure confines of the bubble, a larger life infinitely richer and more interesting than the bounded one inside. They know that once insiders get a good taste of it, they can’t help but hunger for more.

It’s with real anguish that those living on the outside edge see/feel the sufferings of those inside. They have to stop themselves from trying to drag them out into the light, so that they too, might wake up from the collective nightmare. But they know they cannot; that each person must make his or her own journey, and that, in fact, there is no way that anyone can push or shove or even entice another to go through the skin. Only when they find they can no longer breathe in the stifling air will they start to instinctively nose their way to the edge.

This transforms into the moment of greatest peril. The person is nosing the inside edge, may even be poking tiny holes into it, getting little whiffs of fresh air. But what’s out there? Whatever it is, it seems so strange compared to what’s in here, and until he or she can get past thinking that a known bad is better than an unknown good, a person can get stuck right there, on the inside edge, no longer believing in what’s inside, and yet still too scared to break through.

Here I remember my mentor in graduate school. He knew that the world he was living in (that of positivist philosophy, itself the so-called “common-sense” of academic philosophy) was a dead end, and he also knew that he did not have the courage to leave it behind. He was in his mid-life crisis when I became his student, and he used my evolutionary thrust as the tip of his sword, to poke fun at and generally cause an uproar in an academic philosophy department whose world-view he felt both caught in and alienated from.

Some people might spend lifetimes stuck to the inside edge of the bubble before they get to the point of total suffocation and break though, despite their fear. They get to the point where life on the inside is no longer viable. It’s either change or die.

Their fear is natural. For the journey through the skin of the bubble is a one-way trip. We cannot leave and return without having been so affected that we can never again feel even moderately satisfied with life inside. Once we experience the extreme power of the unleashed life force itself flowing through us it feels impossible to consciously choose to continue to participate in a system that chokes off life.

So it’s wise to prepare ourselves before breaking through.

But how to prepare? For if life is predictable on the inside, the basic hallmark of life outside the bubble is its unpredictability. And, of course, with lack of predictability comes lack of control. We just don’t know what’s going to happen. We have no choice but to trust the universe.

But what does it mean, “trust the universe?” For of course, life outside the bubble is also in a bubble, a context of meaning that, while larger than the culture’s, we can assume is still bounded, somehow, in some way. Just because we’ve gotten out of one set of chains doesn’t mean that there isn’t another, subtler set of constraints. We may call ourselves “free,” but what we mean is that we are free of the constraints that we recognize.

For now, let’s call this larger bubble that encloses the smaller cultural bubble “the solar system bubble.”

The main difference between the “solar system” bubble and any cultural bubble is that we don’t know where its skin is. It is so far outside our realm of awareness and comprehension that none of us will ever live to get some kind of “take” on it as a whole, some way to get its measure and to understand it as a framework. Not in a single human lifetime will the diameter of the “solar system” bubble reveal itself. We are always swimming, as it were, in a seemingly infinite sea.

So how do we find our feet? What lies “under” our standing that we can take for granted? That we can say, “this, I know, for sure”? How, without a clear and definite context, do we know what point of view to take, how to move, how to judge one thing better than another, or even how to discern differences? No matter how much we learn, it will never be enough; we can never say that we’ve mastered anything, because we can never consider all the variables.” There’s always more, and we know it.

But why is this so? How can we take the measure of the cultural bubble, but not of the larger bubble that encloses it? While cultural insiders might seem boring and predictable to outsiders, but what does that mean, really? What do the outsiders have that the insiders don’t? Why do some people become outsiders and some stay inside? How come some make it through the wall and some get stuck to the inside edge? How to get a better understanding of what it means to be an outsider, rather than an insider? What makes outsiders tick?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I doubt you do either. But I do know of a language that might help us understand the questions better, and to help broaden and deepen the discussion.


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Alt-Epistemology 101: How both “contradiction” and “confirmation” can reveal bias

If there’s one first principle of Alt-Epistemology, it is to keep the mind open to the universe. Rather than walking around with a heavy cement conceptual helmet on my head, I have dissolved that helmet, first, in my mid-20s through releasing my childhood Roman Catholic conditioning, and from then on, by continuously working to notice how one by one, things I have taken for granted as “obviously true” — for example, feminism and left-wing politics — have also dissolved over time.

At this point in my nearly 76 years of life, I do my utmost to stay OPEN-minded, and not come to definitive conclusions on just about anything. But it never fails that I discover my own prejudices, especially through “news” that either decisively confirms in a huge way what I be-LIE-ve to be true, or contradicts what I be-LIE-ve to be true. In both cases, I often don’t even realize that I be-LIE-ve the way I do until confirmation or contradiction shows me. Let’s take the latter, first.


A recent contradiction of what I be-LIE-ve to be true, involves the infamous Cardinal Pell, third in line at the Vatican, who has been tried, and last Tuesday found guilty of, five counts of pedophilia with two altar boys in the 1990s in his native Australia.

I tend to assume that any Catholic priest who is accused of this crime, is probably guilty. I also assume that pedophilia (and satanism, ritual murder, etc.) is endemic in not just the Catholic church, but in other religions, in politics, business, entertainment, sports, and so on. But I do need to understand the context, of any charge. And of course I don’t. Furthermore, who decides what the context should be, how large the frame, how detailed, and so on? It’s important for me to remember that there really are no bald “facts,” without interpretation, and that interpretation does include context.

So, case in point. This article, from a year ago, re: Cardinal Pell:

Is Cardinal Pell A Fall Guy? How His Attempts to Reform the Corrupt Vatican Bank Met Fierce Resistance

If Pell is a fall guy, that does not mean that the pedophilia charge and crime is bullshit. But it does mean that there is a huge reason he was the one caught, and caught NOW. And remember, with so much of the pedophilia underworld, the perps are blackmailed, so that they can be controlled, and besides, whatever in the future comes up that the Deep State wants to take them down for, they can.

Now to an example of the former, namely confirmation:


This morning I came across a BREAKING NEWS tweet from Lionel Nation that said Hillary had been arrested, and furthermore that she had surrendered her passport. Of course I was instantly thrilled. Like many people, I tend to view Hillary as the epitome of what’s wrong with this world, given her self-serving attitude and superiority complex.

Indeed, I feel so strongly about HIllary, that I must look at myself. What is my shadow here? Am I projecting onto her qualities that I hide within myself? Is this why I hate her so much? Ok. Me: “self-serving.” Well, maybe so! Even though I veil this attitude under a plethora of “serving others” actions. Maybe I just see “service to others” as THE way for me, my ego, to get ahead. True?

“Superiority complex”: Yes, definitely. I, that is, my ego, suffers from this attitude, and I do realize it once in a while; especially whenever I surreptitiously in my mind, (while pretending the opposite), judge someone as somehow “less than” me. YUCK! I do keep noticing this attitude in myself, and partly it stems from the fact that I’ve undergone such a radical and continuous transformation for nearly 50 years! Ever since I was 26, and began to practice, thanks to Gurdjieff, “self-remembering.” Noticing. That still, calm, serene awareness that lies underneath, or within, whatever monkey mind is consciously thinking about, or, if I’m lucky, and more “aware” than usual, what monkey mind is unconsciously thinking about!

So anyway, I do need to realize that my intense animus towards Hillary is in part an animus towards qualities in myself that I see in her and drive me crazy. Especially on days like this morning, when I came across that Lionel Nation tweet which, of course, instantly inspired heaps of commentary, mostly from people like me, either thrilled or anxious, for it to be true. Unfortunately, that tweet seems to have been removed now, a few hours later. I just find traces, of others commentary on that tweet.



I do have a feeling now that Lionel was trolling all of us who are desperate to see HIllary, especially, behind bars.

But back to the overall topic of this post: how my biases tend to get revealed through both confirmation and contradiction, IF, and it’s a big IF, I pay close attention.

Alt-Epistemology is not for the faint-hearted. It requires us to continuously surf, not only what’s going on in the world, but what’s going on inside the self, how the two are connected, and how things continuously change.

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AK Reader, E-Book (posted as a series): BWIWD, Chapter Eleven, THE PERSONAL CONTEXT OF MY DISCOVERY, Part 2

Note: BWIWD = Back When I Was Dying. See previous posts December 9-15. At the end of the series I will collect into an e-book.


Chapter Eleven



Yet I was surprised at my own response, even though it was precisely what I had intended! For years I had been intensely curious to discover just how I would respond if I discovered I was dying. I wanted to be able to embrace death as a part of life, but didn’t know if I could. For me, what my lifelong quest to continue learning and growing tends towards, what fills life’s trajectory with its ultimate meaning, is its climax, the final act, a “good death:” death without fear, and, if possible, in full awareness of the dying process. I have long prayed that I be allowed to move through the veil with consciousness intact.

This is a tall order, I realize; and for most of us, outside the range of what we think is possible. But I’ve heard stories of high masters of one kind or another deciding on their time to die, and then just doing it.

Scott Nearing, for example, a well known back-to-the-land person in the ‘70s, had an agreement with his wife Helen that neither would interfere when the other decided it was time to die. Nearing died eight days after his 100th birthday, having told Helen ten days before that it was his time; that he was going to lie down and she was not to bring him either food or water for the duration.

I read some time ago, about a Buddhist monk, who when he knew his time had arrived, left this life while in sitting meditation, body still upright. And of Eskimo elders, who, when they decide their time has come, walk out on the ice and never return.

But how, in a culture that fears death, does one find out if one is prepared to die except by dying?

I didn’t automatically assume that I would die a good death just because I had been training for it. I knew very well that my ego mind might cling to life; and especially, I knew that the body has a will of its own, and that its strong survival instinct might fight on long after my mind had let go. One 84-year-old friend, for example, as she lay dying, thrashed about restless, and at one point grousing to the granddaughter attending her, “Dying is HELL!”

On the other hand, my sister-in-law Kathy, who had been using alternative treatments to fight breast cancer for three years without calling it that, finally gave in, saw an M.D., and agreed to chemotherapy. After one session, the doctor told her that it was too late, the cancer had spread, the chemo wasn’t working and there was nothing more they could do.

When her friends brought her home, she told them matter-of-factly that now that she knew that she was dying, she would make it quick. First, Kathy sat on a stool in the kitchen while her handmaids washed and combed her hair. Then she climbed into bed, lay on her back and closed her eyes. Twenty-four hours later, her breathing turned ragged and loud. During a moment when I, on shift as her caregiver, had stepped out of the room, she released.

I admired Kathy, seeing her as someone who truly knew how to die, and wondered how I would respond in the same situation. Would I freak out? And if so, would I be able to come back into balance before I actually crossed over?

In short, I had long been curious to discover if the serenity that I had been cultivating for so long would remain when faced with terminal illness. A part of me secretly feared that my hard-won composure would suddenly or gradually crumble in the end.

So it is no wonder that even on the first day of my three-day sojourn, I was intensely grateful to discover that even in extremis, equanimity had not only not deserted me, but in fact, had solidified.

My attitude of immediate acceptance was perhaps the clearest indication of just how far I had traveled from the dominant culture.

For I had long been strange.


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AK Reader, E-Book (posted as a series): Chapter Nine, THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF MY DISCOVERY, Part 5

Note: BWIWD = Back When I Was Dying. See previous posts December 9-15. At the end of the series I will collect all the chapters into an e-book.

Chapter Nine


Unfortunately, fully forty years after Elizabeth Kubler-Ross began her monumental work to sit with the dying and demedicalize our departure from this life, natural, peaceful, even joyful death is still the exception. It’s not just physical pain that the dying person must endure; they must contend with the gulf that opens between them and their family and friends who still fear death. Paradoxically, the fear and lack of awareness of family and friends can be the final straw that cuts the cord and allows them to slip out of the body.

Fortunately, in contrast to the uneasy disjunct between the one who is dying and their frightened familiars, it is no longer unusual to hear of deaths where the one closest to the dying person leans down and whispers, “It’s okay, you can go” — and within minutes, or hours, they do. But even so, a hospice director told me recently that many hang on to life longer than they would prefer — because their friends and family don’t want them to die, thinking that this is the way that they show their love!

Though well meaning, they do not realize that what they call “love” is actually attachment, a consequence of desire in the material world where everything seems separate from everything else and we feel alone, lonely, and longing for home. The greater our feeling of separation, the greater our desire for union, the more we suffer when the object of desire appears unavailable or is snatched away.

The state of attachment is most pronounced in the brief euphoria of romance when we “fall in love” with an Other. No wonder we seek romance, over and over again, and then, when fusion dissolves, bemoan its demise! This kind of “love” is addictive. It feels paradisical when present, a brief immersion into the oneness of being that we all vaguely remember — and then, when yanked away we feel devastated.

Our process of grieving a primary loss of any kind is as little respected as the dying process itself. “Hurry up and get over it!” We hear ourselves or others say. Come back to life, don’t get stuck in grief. Take a pill, work harder, do something, anything, to avoid the descent into an abyss that feels so awful that, when we inadvertently find ourselves near its rim, we’re afraid it will suck us in. That once we start howling, we will never stop. That to fully experience our grief would kill us.

Fear of our own deep grief circles around to fear of death.

So we do what others do, pretend to get over our grief. Pretend even to ourselves. We lie, dissemble, busy ourselves with endless piles of details, junk ourselves up with alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, bury ourselves in stuff — anything to distract from the serious business at hand.

For grief will not wait. Not really. We can think we’ve squashed it effectively, but the unconscious effort to do so takes all our energy, and leaves us depressed, at a loss, exhausted, unable to freely feel. The play and exuberance of joy, our birthright as beings, seems to refer to an entirely other universe.

The very thought of grief makes us cringe and back away. It does not fit into our cultural insistence that we smile and have a nice day, or at least hold on and make the best of things. And when we do not take the time to process and integrate great loss, then we end up shut down, dead to love’s whisper. And we fear growing old, afraid that our bodies will lose attractiveness and no one will “love” us!

Thus, a society that denies death and grief also hates aging. And since we’re always aging, when should we start to hate ourselves? Over the past century, society’s view of the “prime of life” has pushed back from the 40s to the 30s to the 20s, to the teens. We all want to be teenagers! Even little children, who have been prematurely sexualized, through abuse or fashion or both.

So, in effect, our individual and collective fear of death has gradually drained value out of the natural cycling of life’s stages to all but the narrowest of adolescent windows, since, by the time we’re 30, even 20, we’re already afraid we’re washed up, “too old.”

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AK Reader, E-Book (posted as a series) BWIWD: Chapter Ten, THE PERSONAL CONTEXT OF MY DISCOVERY, Part 1

Note: BWIWD = Back When I Was Dying. See posts December 9-12. I will collect the series into an E-Book when done.


Chapter Nine



Despite the convolutions of a culture that goes to such extremes to avoid and deny, and failing that, to minimize and medicalize death; despite the conditioning that torques our natural responses to both death and each other into stereotyped caricatures of caring, at some point in our evolutionary journey each of us is destined to realize that in reality we do experience what we can call “true love.” That we have always lived in love, and that we always will. Love is the ground of all our longings and imaginings. Love is the call of our soul that opens us to the universe.

Love is. Love is what is.

Love holds us in its nourishing embrace.

I speak from experience. My descent into grief after my husband Jeffrey’s sudden death in 2003 had the paradoxical effect of opening me into the realm of all-encompassing Love. Just prior to his death we had moved 1500 miles away from family and friends. His fatal heart attack left me alone and bereft in a new town. Rather than moving back to be with family or friends, I recognized my aloneness as a rare and privileged opportunity to consciously surrender, for a full year and without interruption, to the rich humus of my grief.

It was in so doing, that I unexpectedly encountered its opposite: exaltation. In my solitude, I grew acutely sensitive to subtle, inner dimensions. My interior life, fully acknowledged, plunged me into the heart of being. As a result of that one exquisite, bittersweet year I now know, with every fiber of my being, that what we call “love” on Earth is but a tiny taste of Love’s infinite abundance. And again paradoxically, I realized through grieving Jeff’s death, that my love for him was and is but substitute and mask for the unconditional Love that powers the universe and steers the stars. Love is the invisible substratum of Being, so full and rich that we can only barely apprehend just how precious we are, how tenderly we are held. Love is Reality. Love is the Oneness that includes all of creation and from which we can never be spared.

With this expansion of perspective not only is there no separation from others, there is no death either, if what we mean by “death” is annihilation.

Yet is difficult to talk about “love” without sounding maudlin or sentimental. I have no way to convey how profoundly, and how surely, with no hesitation — and certainly no regret! — my journey through the turbulent currents of grief, when fully felt and honored, moved me below its wild, inconsolable howl into what I can only call the numinous. Love warmed me, like the Sun; Love plunged me into its oceanic depths within which, like surface waves, forms appear and disappear.

I suspect that my unusual openness to fully processing grief after my husband died prepared me, just over five years later, to easily and naturally accept that I was dying. As I had encountered his death from behind, now, for a few short days I was moving towards my own death; and from both sides of death — looking forward, looking back — I stumbled into this vast, spacious, utterly mysterious and fluid medium that seeks to flood through us all and from which only our thinking seems to estrange us.

I realize that this mystical intimation that pervades my being like blood and bone and refuses to depart is a far cry from a discussion of the kinds of behaviors that tend to operate in a culture where fear of death rules. Yet I cannot help but talk like this. For I have landed in the ground of being, and I know: love and fear do not occupy the same space. Nature abhors a vacuum. When the illusion of fear disappears, Love’s presence pulsates, buzzes, a kind of liquid surround sound.

This Love that powers the life force has been here all along, and yet we, in our silliness and myopia and despair, have either ignored or sentimentalized Love into romance, or more “heavenly,” into winged, haloed angels and the gentle oblivion of a good parent God or Goddess.

I feel for all of us who are caught up in this culture’s terror of aging, death and dying. I feel especially for those who are dying and must interact with others who are not — yet. For as the dying person moves towards departure, he or she does tend to undergo a profound transformation. The forced intimacy with mortality throws new light on former preoccupations, including attachments to those we love the most. The dying process is our final, climactic initiation, dissolving the ego into dimensions too subtle and powerful for the rest of us to follow or understand. The crack between worlds widens, invites, ultimately swallows the one whose time has come.

Given that the two states of being — fully engaged living and disengaged dying — are incommensurable, and given the fear of death that saturates this culture, it’s no wonder that the strategies for dealing with the disjunction that opens up between the one who is dying and his or her loved ones can seem convoluted and strange. George’s wife holed up until she was prepared to die. That woman I heard about second-hand never did tell her sister of her cancer scare. My sister Mary refuses to be thought of as ill, and engages with life more than most of us who are healthy. And Shauna kept up her ravaging chemo treatments so that she wouldn’t upset her friends.

I have mentioned these examples to show, given the contradictions and complications of living in a culture that denies and defies the so-called “death” to which we are all heading, just how various are the responses to others of those who appear to be in the final stages of this embodied life.

And I mention them in an attempt to describe clearly how, though they differ from one another, these responses are still enculturated, in contrast to my own. My response also differed from the standard cultural response, and that is to see one’s disease as the enemy and one’s fight for life as a war.

Underneath the medicalization of disease and death and dying, is the even deeper tragedy of militarization.

For most people in our culture, unless they are very old and/or unusually philosophical, when facing a just-diagnosed terminal illness sooner or later move from initial shock into attack mode. They marshal will, intelligence, resources, family and friends to “fight” the “threat” and “save” their life. Their battle, whether or not it heals their disease, usually stimulates people to rally around them, and thus creates or enhances community.

So for me to decide not to fight — and especially not to fight “this early in the game,” while I was still apparently healthy, and not that old; why would I want to “give up”? was I suicidal? — was to court my own community’s rejection — or at least their terror and anguish. I knew this, and went ahead anyway.

Then, being a truth-telling Sagittarian, I decided to inform family and close friends of my situation and my decision — and work with each one individually to help him or her accept it.

When confronted with terminal disease, I leaped high over Kubler-Ross’s first four stages of dying — Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression — and landed with both feet on the ground of the fifth stage, Acceptance. The discovery that I was dying, encountering no obstacles, shoved straight through into the interior where oneness resides.

Dying? No problem. Just another door — the most mysterious door of all — long closed, now opening.

I wanted not only to accept it, but I wanted my community to accept it along with me.




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CRIMES OF THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: Two Divergent Views of the Hearing, Its Extreme Import

Note: See this and this.

Below, two more reflections on Thursday’s Congressional Hearing on how the Clinton Foundation, a supposed 501c3 charity, really functioned, from its inception, to massively line the pockets of Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton via money-laundering, pay for play, racketeering, tax evasion, and so on and on and on. Still want that “first woman” in the White House, oh you lefties? I, too, used to be a leftie. No more. By the time the 2016 election rolled around, I knew Hillary was a world-class criminal, not because of Clinton Foundation malfeasance, but because of MK Ultra victim Kathy O’Brien’s autobiographical account of her healing from mind-controlled PTSD:  Trance Formation of America. Of course, at first, I was so shell-shocked by O’Brien’s horrific description of her trauma based conditioning to prepare her for her role as a young girl sex slave for the White House, that I didn’t believe it. But I couldn’t forget it, either. Years went by before I was able to absorb its implications.

So I sure didn’t vote for HIllary in 2016. Nor did I vote for Trump, but for Jill. Now I wish I had had the balls to vote for Trump. No matter what else you want to say about him, he IS dedicated to cleaning society of the global scourge of child sex and satanic ritual murder trafficking that has been infecting civilization for decades, if not centuries, turning everyone involved into blackmailed puppets.

Here are two more reflections on what happened Thursday. Let’s hope this time, the news leaks out beyond alternative channels to wake up the mainstream audience. And let’s hope that the Clinton Foundation’s involvement in trafficking also comes to light. It’s not just tax evasion, folks. And not just pay for play. Something even darker is at work.

Remember Trump’s quick reply to Hillary, during one of the presidential debates, “Because you’d be in jail”?

When? we ask, when.

Greg Hunter also agrees that this is the week’s big story. See his weekly News Wrap-up, first 20 minutes.

And for an provocative take on what actually happened on Thursday, seeing it as kabuki theater, but in no way denigrating its importance even so, a post on a website new to me. I’m going to peruse www.quodverum.com further, as it also features  Thomas Wicker, whose acidic, acerbic, intensely revealing twitter posts I used to read, astonished, until, of course, he was banned from that platform.

Clinton in the Crosshairs: Message Delivered, Shots Fired


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12/13/18 Hearing on Crimes of the Clinton Foundation: THE FINDINGS

Note: See yesterday’s post.

I was unable to sit and watch the entire 2 hour, 42 minute hearing, or even a part of it, so my report comes second-hand. Here are opening statements from forensic investigators:

From my notes on the first two investigators: “We are non-partisan. We follow facts. Not your facts or my facts. Not opinions. These are the facts of the Clinton Foundation.”

Clinton Foundation did not operate within the bounds of its 501c3 designation. Instead, from its inception, and despite its promise once Hillary became Secretary of State, the CF always operated as a “family partnership to advance the personal interests of its principals,” and “served as an agent of foreign governments.” Less than 1/10 of !% of donors gave 80% of donations.

Again, from my notes on Tom Fitton: Bill Clinton gave 215 speeches for 48 million dollars while Hillary was Secretary of State, including speeches in China, Russia, Saudia Arabia and many others. 2.5 million was transferred to the Clinton Foundation during Uranium One.

Here’s Sara Carter’s take on the crimes of the Clinton cartel:

Financial Bounty Hunters Testify: Clinton Foundation Operated as a Foreign Agent

Oh, and BTW: the CF uses 60% of its revenues for administrative purposes. The average for non-profits is 5%. Bill especially, is known to regularly commingle his personal and CF expenses, despite being warned not to.

At least as far as I can ascertain, The Clinton Foundation’s involvement with child trafficking did not surface during this hearing, which was mainly concerned with tax implications of the Clinton Foundation’s bogus claim to act within its 501c3 mandate. Had that deeper, darker secret surfaced, what would have happened? Hillary and her long-time side-kick Huma are away in India, at a royal wedding. I wonder if they flew first class. Or can she afford it, now that the CF fortunes are crashing. And I wonder if she dares to return after the damning testimony at yesterday’s hearing. Probably yes! She has operated above the law for so long, I imagine it’s  matter of habit to continue doing so, thumbing her nose at all  who wonder at her self-centered, power-mad, superiority complex.

So now, post-hearing, the question we must ask: Will the Clintons get away with this unusually stark and corrosive example of pretending to be one thing while actually being another? Do universal ethics even apply to the Clintons? Or are there two tiers of justice in the U.S.A.: one for them and rest of the .1%, and the other for us deplorables, the 99.9%. This IS the impending question. And by this time, more and more of us know it, despite an almost total news blackout in the MSM of this hearing and its starkly criminal findings.

The answer to this question is critical. If the Clintons, and others of their kind, are indicted, tried, sentenced and punished, then we have a reasonable chance of righting the course of this ship of state.  If not, then it may be that all hope of doing so is lost.


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CLINTON COMEUPPANCE Begins Today, 12/13/18, 2 PM, Washington DC

Three Clinton Foundation Whistleblowers to Testify about Tax Crimes, Pay for Play

I cannot stress enough how crucial this extraordinary testimony before a House congressional subcommitee will be. Tune into C-Span to watch it live.

House Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on the Clinton Foundation

Huber himself, selected by Sessions to oversee 470 investigators, will not testify, but these three whistleblowers will. And perhaps others will come forward. After all, the utterly corrupt Clinton Crime Spree has been global, ongoing, and completely out-of-line with the CF original 501c3 intention, as the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas. Many commentators have noted that the foundation’s wealth dramatically waxed with the timing of Hillary as first New York State Senator, then her years as Secretary of State, only to see a precipitous decline of 90% when she failed to become president.

Both Hillary, and the Clinton Foundation, have been implicated in child trafficking. Trying to find a single video on this, I come up with something I’ve yet to watch, but I do trust Max Igan.

And then of course, there’s Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, when the Clintons milked both the Haitians and the people who generously gave money to help the Haitians. Even a huffpo article, usually linked only with “progressive liberals” like Hillary, ran a story about this matter.

The Clinton Foundation’s Legacy in Haiti —  “Haitians more than upset . . .” 

That article is based on an interview with Charles Ortel,  a financial analyst  well known for his continuous — he would say “relentless” — investigation of the Clinton Foundation’s “massive fraud.” For the past two years has been holding long Sunday conversations with Crowd Source the Truth Jason Goodman. I listened to nearly an hour of the latest one last night, and I must say got frustrated. Way too much preliminary back and forth! I have a sense that his new information on the CF began just after I fell back to sleep at about the one hour mark.

I do remember he said that several of the whistleblowers who will testify today contacted him a few years ago when they needed to clarify and learn more about the labyrinthian criminal ways in which the Clinton Foundation has worked.

Kevin Shipp also has a number of youtube videos on the Clinton Foundation, and references Charles Ortel’s work on them.

I decided to do a chart for the two p.m. start date for what I’m calling the Clinton Comeuppance.


And wow, Pluto, Lord of the underworld, at 20° Capricorn, only two degrees from exact conjunction with the 18° Capricorn Midheaven (the public path). Pluto’s dark machinations come into the light!

Uranus and Eris in late Aries near the early Taurus Ascendant squaring Pluto/MC and the nodes.

Uranus, 84 year cycle: unpredictability, startling, sudden changes, lightning in a dark sky.

Eris, named for “the Goddess of Discontent,” discovered only a few years ago, has been in Aries since 1926 and will stay in that sign for over 100 years. Given its ultra long cycle, I tend to identify Eris with the rise and fall of civilizations.

Pluto: 248 year cycle: signifying hidden power, secrecy, the primal life force, death and rebirth.

Uranus and Pluto squared off with one another closely about the time the Occupy movement started, in 2011, and lasted for about six years, cracking the foundations of traditional financial and geopolitical structures. That cracking now threatens to become a complete demolition. In fact, it may be that, a decade from now, when we look back on the events of this period in history, we might time the start of this still young nation’s FIRST PLUTO RETURN (to where it was when this nation was born), to the start of today’s hearing that is bringing to light the crimes of the Clinton Foundation.

Here’s the U.S. chart. Note the position of Pluto at 27° Capricorn. Pluto is now at 20° Capricorn. After nearly 248 years, we are about to begin to confront our moment of truth, as to how power has been wielded in the good old U.S. of A. One might say that the Clinton Foundation is, as this Congressional Subcommittee Hearing names it, a “Case Study,” i.e., an example of what not to do as a so-called NGO.

I will return over and over again, to this enormous subject of the U.S. Pluto return as we go forward through at least 2022.

P.S. — and big hint: Let’s hope Trump wins re-election in 2020, because there is simply no person alive with a greater familiarity with bankruptcy.


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