While both religion and democracy evolved from a need to control the masses, they are totally incompatible. They are basically two diametrically opposed political systems.
Since humans started walking on two legs they have imagined that, hiding somewhere in the universe or in the body of a cow there is a supreme being that is responsible for their existence, and that they should worship this divinity.
Crowding is one of our most primitive instincts. Also high on the list of primitive instincts is collective hysteria, also known as faith or communal naivety, so it is not surprising that belief in and worship of the elusive divinity was easily institutionalised. In the absence of the superior being, anyone desirous of exercising power over his cronies could claim to represent the divinity and formulate elaborate rituals and laws to ensure his hold on power.
And once one of the bipeds understood that no matter how farfetched his divine story, other likeminded souls would easily follow and they would readily recruit others to the cause by persuasion or death.
You can see where this is going.
The faith peddler was more successful in marketing his fantasy than the local monarch hawking security and taxes. The preacher had unconditional followers while the King had weapons so an uneasy alliance lasting many centuries ensued.
That is until around 506 BC when someone sitting on his Athenian latrine reading Cleisthenes latest blog had the bright idea to involve common people in affairs of state. He called it Demokratia and immediately gave it the definition of “rule of the people”.
This theory was quite enticing to the people who had already bought into the concept of religion.
Demokratia was sold much in the same way as religion, persuasion or death. And many a monarch lost his head to persuasive democracy.
Some monarchs agreed to play democracy if they could keep their head and their home. This gave birth to a bastard called Constitutional Monarchy.
It is human nature to meddle in other people’s affaires.
So the few remaining monarchs and democrats started meddling in the affairs of the church and the church reciprocated by meddling in the affairs of state. The separation of church and state became a political necessity to avoid civil war.
Religion lost their power to democracy and power is a potent motivator. Fear of losing power an even more potent motivator.
Muslims never developed a taste for democracy. They prefer Caliphate and Sharia.
Ever since Muhammad donned his ceremonial Bisht to celebrate the taking of Mecca, Muslims have dreamt of one great sandy Caliphate. Contrary to popular belief they have no interest in non-Muslim countries; once our Social Security dries up, they will return to the desert.
Since Caliphate is a political concept based on the religious principles of Tawid (unity of Allah), and Risalat (Prophethood), it is to all intents and purposes basically a religious dictatorship.
But Islamists insist that it is a democracy built on religious belief and are marketing it using the well proven ancient method of religious recruitment; persuasion or death.
The difference between Cleisthenes’s democracy in which the people elect their leader and the Caliphate is that Islam’s leader elected himself for a single term in office which would last from the creation till the end of the world.
This ingenious combination of religion and democracy neatly solves the paradox of two diametrically opposed political systems.
Problem is that, like his buddies Elohim, Buddha, Shiva and Huitzilopochtli, Allah does not communicate directly with his followers. This mutism has created a power vacuum. According to uncle Abdul, every person in an Islamic society enjoys the rights and powers of the caliphate of Allah. This means that the power vacuum can be filled by everyone wearing a Shora or Kufi. Everyone is politically equal (an important ingredient missing from Karl Marx’s recipe for disaster).
Claude’s law of power states that money equals power and religious money equals religious power so the likes of the gold draped Salman ben Abdelaziz Al Saoud is more equal than Salman the goat herder.
Of course no family is perfect, and Islam is no exception. Bickering over philosophy, history and camel dung cigarettes has divided Islam. There are now more varieties of Islam than in a box of licorice Allsorts.
However divided the Islamic world, they are perfectly united over one thing; the Caliphate.
Woe betide anyone who messes with Allah, Muhammad or the Caliphate.
Because politicians cannot resist meddling in other politicians affairs, even if the other is a religious dictatorship, many wars were held. And because the faith must be extended to all non-believers and persuasion was no longer working, death was the only alternative. More wars were held. The result was always the same; dead believers and dead non-believers.
One day some new world marketing graduate decided that because democracy was losing market share to religious dictatorships a new campaign should be started to persuade the religious dictatorships that they should abandon their wicked system and join the money religion.
While the offer seemed attractive, this would mean separating religion and state. Rules are rules and no exceptions would be tolerated.
Islam fears the separation of Mosque and Caliphate more than pigskin underwear.
The result was predictable to everyone except democratic leaders. Islam would stop at nothing to keep their beloved dictatorship with its imaginary leader. They would fight with subversion, money and bombs to keep the devil democracy out of the sand pit. They would happily die for Caliph, Sharia and camel dung cigarettes.
If democracy wants to put an end to this war, the solution is quite simple; stop meddling in Allah’s affairs. They care nothing for Cleisthenes’s democracy, constitutional monarchy, pork sausages, anorexic models, porn stars or liberty.
And no amount of armed persuasion will change that.
[kog-ni-oh-skleh-roh-sis] from the latin cognitiōn meaning knowledge and sklḗrōsis meaning hardening.
Like arteriosclerosis, a condition in which the hardening of the arteries impedes blood flow to vital organs, cogniosclerosis is a condition in which hardening of the ideas impedes cerebral function.
A concurrent medical term for cogniosclerosis would be chronic cerebrospinal arterial insufficiency. Basically this means that not enough blood flows to the brain to fuel the process of logical thought resulting in the inability to translate ideas into actions.
Politicians all suffer from varying degrees of cogniosclerosis and it is therefore thought to be species specific. I doubt this theory because politicians are generally also inflicted with a disease called bulimia mediaosa (insatiable need for exposure) and they are therefore highly visible and thus more readily diagnosed.
Although the World Health Organisation has not issued a bulletin on the spread of cogniosclerosis to the western military fraternity, all the signs point to an international outbreak. If confirmed, this could result in the loss of trillions in unnecessary military spending. And the problem will not get better anytime soon; not only is cogniosclerosis incurable, it is also progressive (meaning that it gets more severe with time).
Soldier’s toys have evolved little since Hitler’s little party.
Since soldiers don’t have much to occupy themselves with if there is not a war going on, they spend a lot of time learning from past battles. They call this “strategizing” or improving their strategic capability. They are also taught the love of big expensive toys and the myth that the bigger the gun the stronger the army. A more recent phenomenon has emerged; toys are controlled remotely. Soldiers in armchairs stare at computer screens and using video game technology drive planes and tanks. They are no longer confronted with the unpleasantries of war; blood, gore and gunpowder smoke.
The military is obsessed with the word “strategy”.
Everything is referred to in terms of strategy they have a strategic command, strategic missiles and strategic policy. Then there is the GTIS (Gay and Transvestite Integration Strategy). This over-use of the word roused my suspicion of an outbreak of cogniosclerosis amongst the western military commanders.
With so much strategy going around, it is inevitable that because of their intercestious relationships with politicians the military have infected them.
The political variety of cogniosclerosis is well known and is caused by a lack of ideas while the less known military strain is caused by lack of foresight. When cross infection occurs then the result is blindness to the obvious.
Military crave war more than sex.
And this has dire consequence for the safety of millions.
And since everyone is weary of starting another destruction party (like only the Germans can organise), politicians keep the military happy by starting little wars in remote countries. And everyone was happy with this arrangement.
Then the likes of Arafat, Ben Laden and Baghdadi come along and change the rules. Problem is that they changed the rules after the politicians and the military were infected and cross infected with terminal cogniosclerosis. This created much confusion in the military since the uniformed soldiers that they were used to fighting now wears robes and sandals and calls himself a terrorist. And horror of horrors there are even women in their ranks.
Because this new breed of enemy did not graduate from some traditional military academy their reading skills are severely impaired. Especially when it comes to reading the Geneva Convention. And because they don’t play video games they revel in the sight of real blood and gore.
Since the industrial military complex favours peddling their wares to established countries and dictators, the terrorists did not have access to proper soldier’s toys, better known as military hardware. And because they felt out of place; not understanding the accepted rules of engagement or having proper dress sense and armour clad vehicles, they declined the invitation to the “theatre of operations” and started small local shows in bars and theatres and planes around the world.
This vulgar and uncivilized behaviour was totally unacceptable and something had to be done. The politicians needed to keep the military happy so they declared war on terrorism. Even though this terrorism could not be clearly defined or even located on a map. They were everywhere and nowhere.
Any enemy being better than no enemy, the military dusted off their most sophisticated strategies and plunged headlong into battle.
At this point it is useful to remind the reader that military strategy is based on the type of weapons available and not on intellectual prowess. The best image that comes to mind is a blindfolded general wearing boxing gloves trying to play chess with a Bedouin goat herder.
The result is that the military have brought their toys to the terrorist’s theatre, which happens to be near Aunt Fatima’s house and little Mustapha’s school. And because social welfare benefits are better in Paris than in Palestine, Fatima and little Mustapha come to Europe when our military toys destroy their playground.
Because of rampant cogniosclerosis the military have not been able to adapt their weapons or their strategy to this new type of warfare. They continue to fight mosquitoes with howitzers.
Absurd and futile.
Out of frustration, or pure boredom, the so called “western coalition” has rained bombs on desert towns and cities in the Eastern Mediterranean Theatre of Operations for the last twelve years in a vain hope of flushing out the enemy.
Little Mustapha’s daddy and his cohorts have long understood how to dodge shells and bombs and stubbornly refuse to surrender. Instead they sow death and mayhem in our streets.
Cogniosclerosis has one weird side effect, it destroys the patient’s ability to see the obvious or to do simple arithmetic.
Military intelligence now has become a perfect oxymoron. And we only have cogniosclerosis to blame.
I find it difficult enough to cope with the indigestion of conventional religion, and now I am forced to consume halhell.
By conventional religion I mean religion in its simplest form; believing that something is behind the creation of everything. No robes, not temples, no books, no theory and no purveyors of the gospel, just a simple not-in-your-face belief in my private vision of the creation.
Belief is a strong potion, whether it be in the existence of God or belief in the existence of anus probing aliens. It is the force drives some to the summits of goodness or to the deepest depths of evil.
For some, belief in God is unmodifiable; once they believe unbelieving is virtually impossible. And there is no greyscale, it is black or it is white. Theirs is the only way.
The more they believe the smaller the chances of abandoning that belief and the greater their desire to make everyone else believe. The desire to convert becomes proportional to the depth of their belief. So, the stronger their belief the more fanatic they become in their quest to convert or destroy.
So I grapple with the quandary of what is there to gain by one set of fanatics trying to convert diametrically opposed fanatics to their gospel. Especially when each side introduces violence and intimidation to the equation.
But then I comfort myself in the knowledge that religion is basically a testosterone induced power game that has absolutely nothing to do with God or creation. It is, and has always been since the dawn of time, just an elaborate ploy to recruit “believers” for the sole purpose of overcoming a collective inferiority complex.
And once the believers are safely in the fold, they are encouraged to go forth and find more believers who will eventually go forth and find more believers. And when their believer recruitment campaign is no longer effective because of changing attitudes, fashion or viewpoints, they introduce violence to the campaign.
But I am not convinced that either will work. Like debt, religious recruitment is not infinite.
To put it into a marketing perspective; the product has reached the end of its lifecycle, and no amount of force will convince people to buy it.
After Diocletian’s Great Persecution ended with Constantine’s Edict of Milan, the fall of Acre ended the Crusades and Isabella II ended the Spanish inquisition, religious regime change by force went out of fashion. That is until Islam saw a market opportunity to rejuvenate its product in the face of declining market share of its competition.
But they skipped the preliminaries and went straight to coercion. Halal to Halhell.
Problem is that they are still acting out of a collective inferiority complex; a subconscious lack of self-worth, that drives afflicted individuals or communities to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme asocial behavior. Islam falls into the latter.
Where do we go from here?
As much as Pope Urban II could not stop Islamic influence by force, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's followers will not stop western decadence. We abandoned established religion to become followers of the god of money, freedom and debauchery and no amount of violence will lead us to the path of Muhammad.
We just cannot accept a world of shahadah, salat, zakah, swam and hajj because it is not what we call “freedom”.
So (to quote Winston) “we shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.
Problem is that the other side will do the same.
While I don’t believe in conspiracies in the generally accepted sense, I do think that there are inadvertent conspiracies. Contrary to the strict definition of the word, inadvertent conspiracies are conspiracies that are not directed by government agencies, by big business or by Auric Goldfinger.
Marketing is an inadvertent conspiracy.
No one person or entity steers this collusion; it is driven by a more sinister master - collective greed.
It is like a drug which is consumed equally by the dealer and the client. On the one hand you have those that have an insatiable need to peddle their wares and on the other hand you have those that have a voracious need to possess things. A match made in heaven, or a coalition of the asinine. I opt for the latter.
Marketing qualifies as an inadvertent conspiracy because there is an invisible hand that purposely modifies or influences behavior to achieve a clear objective that is against the free will and not for the individual or collective good of those being headed.
Marketing wearing its visible face, advertising, is more invasive than a Kudzu vine on Monsanto juice. Not one single aspect of modern life is spared the invasion into the most intimate recesses of our lives. Every conceivable support, including human flesh, has been turned into a billboard.
Marketeers go to extraordinary lengths to spread the message – NASA and the US government in the ultimate exercise in futility, have their logos on spaceships destined to the furthest reaches of our universe in the hope that life in the ether will recognize and be influenced by the subliminal message.
Regardless if it is being mirrored to aliens or humans, advertising is by its very nature a lie.
Whether simple embellishment or outrageous exaggeration it is still basically a lie, a false proclamation made with deliberate intent to deceive.
Marketeers have understood the power of communication to disseminate their lies. And everyone knows that if a lie is repeated often enough it eventually becomes a truth. So messages are repeated endlessly like Justin Bieber songs on MTV, in the hope of finding even more believers.
If advertising were truthful as many superlatives would be bestowed to the adverse of the product or service being pimped. So, if you don’t show the disadvantages in the same light as the advantages you are lying by omission. And lying by omission is still a lie.
But it is up to every individual to resist the onslaught of product propaganda and make intelligent choices. Easier to go to the moon in a Disney character shaped dirigible. Wo(M)an is capable of the greatest technical prowess but powerless at the feet of the Marketing God waving discount vouchers.
In life there is common sense but there is also common stupidity.
Common stupidity is akin to blindly following the marketing Pied Piper safe in the knowledge that the path leads to the cliff’s edge. Following diligently while enjoying music on their Bose headphones.
If we believe the statistics, common stupidity is now so common that it has surpassed common sense and has become the norm. At least in our ability to resist this whoopla.
Marketeers now market everything from body parts to trips to the moon. The most remarkable is the ability to sell pipe-dreams to voters. And consumers consume this effluent with an enthusiasm that would make Jack the Ripper look uninterested in a lonely prostitute in a dark alley.
So effective is the indoctrination that the desire to possess material and immaterial things largely surpasses our individual and collective ability to pay for those things.
Statisticians call this growth!
Growth, yes like an ugly wart on Alexandra Elizabeth Ljadov’s chin. All that is growing is this consumer madness fueled by never-ending debt. Growth in possessing useless trinkets used as marks of status. It’s just one big Macaquery to determine which arse is the most colorful at orgy time.
If common stupidity, better known as consumerism, was a recognized disease, Proctologists would be right on the money while Oncologists would have some descriptive names for it.
And there is no cure in sight.
Worse, very few have even recognized the subterfuge, never mind trying to find a cure.
But before you can cure stupidity you would have to find a cure for greed.
So, recent psycho-behavioural research has confirmed what I have believed for a long time; we are all basically bad. Our so-called “moral foundations” are just psychological tactics to hide our inherent badness, egoism and hedonism.
Worse, the mechanisms that we use to justify our badness are behind some of the most evil human behaviour such as extermination of Jews, paedophile priests and corrupt politicians to mention some recent examples. And there is no cure in sight.
Other unrelated research has shown that positive re-enforcement tends to ingrain certain behaviours whose growth is exponential with time. In other words it grows stronger all the time. Still other unrelated research has shown that we easily forgive immoral behaviour to preserve social cohesion.
According to some very serious research; when under the threat that our actions might be or appear to be morally dubious (bad), we derive confidence from our past moral behavior (good). This is called “moral self-licensing” and occurs when past moral behavior makes us more likely to do potentially immoral things without worrying about feeling or appearing immoral.
The researchers argue that moral self-licensing occurs because good deeds make people feel secure in their moral self-regard. For example, when people are confident that their past behavior demonstrates compassion, generosity, or a lack of prejudice, they are more likely to act in morally dubious ways without fear of feeling heartless, selfish, or bigoted.
A priest is considered by all (including himself) to be kind and compassionate and acts accordingly. He therefore gives himself moral license to abuse children. Apparently humans are hard-wired to act this way. Not to abuse children; to justify bad behavior through moral self-licensing.
I also doubted this theory until I started to apply it to other domains of human behavior. And the evidence is conclusive – we are hardwired this way.
Take selfishness for example. Selfishness is one of the first behaviors that infants learn (just after screaming to obtain something). This behavior is reinforced through childhood to reach a maximum during adolescence.
When people have had a chance to establish their kindness, generosity, or compassion, they worry less about engaging in behaviors that might appear to violate social norms. For example, individuals whose past good deeds are fresh in their mind may feel less compelled to give than individuals without such comforting recollections. Unscientific people call this behavior “selfishness”.
Politicians are another example.
Research has shown that we want the credit for moral intentions without having to pay the costs. This suggests that if you let yourself express your exemplary intentions (political promises), you may feel licensed not to follow through on them (political fact).
Thus, one does not even need concrete memories of good deeds for self-licensing; imagining doing good or claiming what one would ideally do good can be enough to reduce prosocial motivation. These imagined claims allow people to show that they really want to be upstanding citizens, even though they may not always able to follow through on their intentions.
Consumer choice is another area where moral self-licensing is evident. Everyday purchasing decisions are tinged with morality; buying luxury items or frivolous goods is generally associated with feelings of guilt and self-indulgence.
According to the logic of self-licensing, individuals whose prior choices establish them as ethical and reasonable spenders (or ethical and reasonable people in a more general sense) should be more likely to indulge in frivolous purchases later on. The unbridled consumerism of our age is testimony to this theory.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel.
If moral self-licensing works in one direction then chances are good that it will work in the opposite direction; past immoral behavior can make us more likely to do potentially moral things.
But that would make this a very boring world to live in.
I am surprised and confused by the announcement that Facebook has surpassed General Electric in market capitalisation.
In my view this would explain why China has been growing at remarkable rates while the rest of the world stagnates or in most cases regresses.
America sells space i.e. nothing tangible while China sells real products.
Facebook’s business plan has nothing to do with facilitating contact between real people; it is an advertising platform, same as Google, Twitter and all of the other so called “social media”.
That institutions and investors bet their earnings and clients’ money on the ability of a company to provide nothing but advertising space is beyond me. Maybe I am missing something but I don’t see how this creates wealth. Looks like another bubble to me.
The industrial revolution started when machines made mass manufacturing possible. Most of the great fortunes of the period between the industrial revolution and the 1960’s, i.e. the period before computers, were built on manufacturing tangible products. This model is still relevant today except that the manufacturing has moved east and has been replaced by virtual products radiating from LCD’s.
The difference between west and east is that the one floats in a virtual world and the other has their feet firmly planted in reality.
This virtual world has had one nasty side-effect, it has replaced values with space.
Money has no value. It is just a series of one’s and zero’s scuttling between computers. It can be created by a simple click of a mouse. Money is just debt, and to make matters worse, virtual debt.
Nothing is real.
Advertising not only incites people to spend their money on things that they do not need, it promises a utopia where everyone can be wealthy and own lots of expensive things.
So chasing money to buy things becomes a national and international obsession. And because money has no value, people have also abandoned their values in their quest to own, well, nothing.
To perpetuate this rush into the ether world of virtualality, advertising becomes an essential component. But even armed with this valuable insight, I still cannot see how this creates wealth. Especially when wealth itself is virtual.
The Chinese being infinitely more pragmatic have not fallen for this virtual world; the wealth that they make is from manufacturing real things. They have the world’s largest cash economy. They save real money under grandma’s mattress and only buy what they need to feed, clothe and heal. This is true for the billions of everyday Chinese, and less so for the elite who find comfort and western luxury items indispensable to life.
Coming back to my dilemma;
Most, if not all of the things advertised on Facebook and on the internet for that matter are made in China. China therefore profits directly from the advertising on Facebook. The stuff advertised on Facebook is bought with virtual money, which at some point becomes real money stuffed into grandma Wong’s mattress.
We create virtual money to buy things from China who transforms the virtual money into real money and Facebook becomes richer than General Electric who make real things.
Confusing, and all I can offer to explain this is that instead of making things General Electric should try to find the secret of transforming virtual money into real money.
Or is China surreptitiously investing in Facebook to sell their stuff and make real money from virtual money?
I feel compelled to address the issue of correct language usage and the so-called “excluded minorities” in underprivileged neighbourhoods (and elsewhere).
There is such a thing as standard grammatical language (English, French, German etc.). It evolves over generations, but it shows a certain conservative stability, like the rule of law. It tends to be spoken by educated people and by people in authority. This implies people in power, people who run things, but also people at large in the professions (medicine, engineering, etc.) and in the arenas of business and government. Standard grammatical language tends to be higher status because competence in it tends to confer the benefits of higher living standards.
Conversely there is such a thing as a minority (or ghetto) dialect in every single city in Europe and America. It prevails among the so-called underprivileged underclass, the cohort that continues to struggle economically. Despite its verve and inventiveness, these dialects tend to confer low status and lower standards of living on those who speak it. In popular mythology and culture, it is associated with violent criminality and other anti-social behaviours.
These so-called underprivileged people who seek to succeed socially and economically would benefit from learning to speak the standard grammatical language of the country, not solely because it is associated with higher status and living standards, but because proficiency with grammar, tenses, and a rich vocabulary helps people think better.
Western primary and secondary education does not put enough emphasis on teaching standard grammatical language to those deficient in it. The results are plain to see: academic failure among the “underprivileged”. Instead of addressing the root of the problem, politicians concoct endless excuses to explain this failure and the related economic failures, the favourite by far being “structural racism”.
Some ethnic groups are eager to fully participate in the national life. For example; Asian and Indian youths have uniformly opted to speak the standard grammatical language of their host country, and they are all succeeding academically. They are on a trajectory to succeed in adult life. This would suggest that maybe some behavioural choices are better than others and the colour of your skin or your place of abode is not the primary determinant in the matter.
The reason for this situation can be found in the tendency toward generalised “minority recognition” of the last decades that has generated enormous anxiety among the “underprivileged”, who were invited to participate more fully in the national life after many generations of hardship and abandon. However, they were not comfortable with the prospect of assimilating into the mainstream culture of the day. They either didn’t believe in it, or feared it, or despised it, or worried about being able to perform in it.
This anxiety can be attributed to the legacy of racial, cultural and economic stereotyping, not to “structural racism”. The hero worship of the likes of the Black Panther movement of the 1960’s created a distinctive divide between those of different colour and economic origins. That was the moment when much of the ghetto populations all over the western world slid into what has become essentially an oppositional culture, determined to remain separate. Language is part of that picture.
The diversity cult of the day is a smokescreen to disguise this fundamental fact of life: much of the “underprivileged” youth living in large cities have simply opted out. They don’t want to assimilate into a common culture. Much of today’s ghetto youth don’t want to play along with the speech, manners, rules, or laws of whatever remains of that common culture.
The cleavage between the common culture and that of the ghetto culture is now so large that it is impossible to bridge. We are now either in one camp or the other; one will continue to progress and the other to regress, or at best stagnate.
We have “progressive politics” to thank for that and not “structural racism”.