Want to join in? Respond to our weekly writing prompts, open to everyone.
Want to join in? Respond to our weekly writing prompts, open to everyone.
The story behind the Magnum-book 'The Book of Veles' is unbelievable. It's a stark warning not to believe everything you see.
Photographer Jonas Bendiksen explains in an article the different bits of misinformation that he incorporated in his book. The city of Veles exists. The disinformation farms existed too. And there was once a Book of Veles written. But all this existing information is mixed with non-existent information for an art project critical about contemporary media.
In the interview, Bendiksen unravel the different layers of misinformation: * The photos are real, but the people in the photos are digitally designed avatars, * The original Book of Veles exists, but it's a fantasy of two writers, * The texts in the book are written by text robots fed with articles on the fake news industry in Veles, quotes from interviews and the ancient Book of Veles, * The person acting against the book was a fake Facebook and Twitter-account.
In sum, it became a fake news story about fake news producers. The story of Veles being a fake news hub is real. The story of the Book of Veles’ discovery and forgery is real. But all the actual content is fake.
It's an interesting read. A read that makes you think “What is real, and what is not?”.
from The Ansible
A few months ago I finished reading Dune, by Frank Herbert. I’d attempted it as a kid, probably around age 9 or 10, and even though the world immediately had an impression on me, I was turned back by a story that’s dense with internal references and a violent plot (I have put down more than one book without returning for months if a character I loved is about to be extinguished; in fact, I still have not finished one of my favorite series of all time — His Dark Materials — because of this problem).
I came back to Dune because for years it has been pushing my peripheral imagination; the desert world of Arrakis and its titanic worms echo in so much of the science fiction I love, and I’ve had more than a few dreams in worlds that were, one way or another, derivative of Herbert’s creation. I also absolutely hate reading books “after the movie,” and now a very promising cinematic version of Dune is set for this year — with a cast that I really can’t resist. So I had to finish the book.
And I did. But I had hoped coming back to Dune would be a great reunion, a place I would add to my mental collection of fictitious homes — but Herbert’s world, plot and style were only intermittently captivating for me. The characters I thought I had loved as a kid, I didn’t really love as much this time. The wise observations Herbert makes often feel misplaced in a world of selfish and violent ethics, where it is hard to pinpoint true reflection or irony in a narrative that only partly attempts to subvert gender norms or stereotypes of indigenous people; and of course, everything is intensely heterosexual except the villains (Herbert was an angry, boorish homophobe). And actually, all of that might be too gentle, granting Herbert the benefit of having the “common views of his time,” because the alt-right loves Dune, like a lot. I mean, you’ve got eugenics, white-savior complex in spades, drugs that enable magical hyper-logic, what appears to justifications for mass-genocide, and good old fashioned imperialism.
There is, of course, a more transcendent ecological message in Dune — something Herbert can probably be lauded and thanked for. Dune treats the environment of its world as a living and complex thing, its care as essential for life. Herbert gave hundreds of lectures on environmental and ecological sustainability, and Dune was, perhaps more than anything else, a garden for those ideas. But there are plenty of fowl things growing there, too.
Or perhaps the opposite is true; perhaps the lesson from Dune is that an author might create a world full of his own malignant ideas, which fosters later generations to be hateful and cruel — yet even there, in that harsh desert of imagination, there are some good things that grow.
Anyway, this book is a potent cultural touchstone, something like a piece of scripture for sci-fi culture; and sci-fi culture is just culture these days, when the dazzling future everyone was promised in the 50’s is mostly just granted to us via streaming services (as the Dune release will be). Like it or hate it, Dune matters. With a blockbuster film coming, it will matter even more.
So here are some clippings I found interesting from Dune (I’m not bothering with the parts I hated, this isn’t a thesis). I hope Dune’s new cinematic future leans into these elements, or even rips the whole thing right out of Herbert’s ugly grasp; remix and revision would be good.
Lines from Dune:
“What do you despise? By this are you truly known.”
I don’t suppose its necessary to despise anything, but I think I would be suspicious of someone who claims they don’t on principle, and I would suspect tendencies of moral relativism.
“Hope clouds observation.”
And the more-famous converse:
“Fear is the mind-killer.”
Both I think are good. Hope is a positive force, but it is not necessary for everyone, and frankly, a bit rude to force it, or demand it of others who simply want clarity. Also, an absence of hope does not have to be filled by fear.
“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.”
This, in a nutshell, is what a lot of idealist thinking gets wrong when dreaming up solutions. Arguably the real challenge is knowing how far back in the process, and how far forward, one has to watch to understand enough. Certainly true of social science.
“The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.”
I actually don’t think this is true, but it is often true.
This is something of a personal ethos of mine that has naturally developed over the course of the last few years.
The characteristics I’ve come to admire most in other men, and therefore those I’ve sought to develop more within myself, can be summarised as:
When combined, these characteristics make for powerful and influential men that create freedom and value for their families and their local communities.
If this could be reduced to a single characteristic, it would be strength.
Strength could be used by all men as a guiding principle for improving their lives.
Being physically, mentally and spiritually strong is a hallmark attribute of successful men. Seeking to maximise strength in all the critical domains of your life, as a man, is a worthwhile and useful pursuit.
This might seem a little one dimensional, but there are really a multitude of aspects to strength that make it the most important attribute to develop as a man.
Consider that you can be strong in the following ways:
Many modern men are not strong in the ways or domains I’ve listed above. And it is little wonder that most modern men are depressed, out of shape, purposeless, broke and lonely.
You can see how being strong in all of those domains would create men of worth and value in the world. It is also easy to see how being strong across those domains effectively gives rise to the other two key characteristics I called out earlier – self-reliance and sovereignty.
In fact, being strong is a pre-requisite for admission into the territory of self-reliance and sovereignty.
To my mind, the person I want to be and the life I want to live, is embedded within the pursuit of strength, self-reliance and sovereignty.
If you’re a man, I posit you could pursue strength in your life across all domains and it would not steer you wrong.
The world is a strange place these days.
Since becoming a father, my interest (and concern) about the future of our world has increased substantially.
For a long time, I'd subscribed to the ethos that I could largely just do my own thing and not worry about the machinations of politicians, governments and vested interest.
It's now apparent to me that to ignore all this is to enable the festering of evil. To remain silent is to be complicit.
Society is best served, and seems most robust, when the composition of it's members are strong, self-reliant and sovereign.
In my humble opinion, the average citizen is a long way from being any of those things in modern society.
I'm on a personal journey, perhaps even a crusade, to maximise my own strength, self-reliance and individual sovereignty in order to be capable of providing a sound future for my wife and children.
Becoming strong, self-reliant and sovereign are all things within my own locus of control, and can therefore be influenced by my own direct actions.
My writing is intended to document the journey of improvement.
My hope is that it helps and inspires others to embark upon their own journey of self-improvement towards strength, self-reliance and sovereignty.
Thanks for reading and best of luck.
from Juan Mirieth Auriel
To Be Fruitful and Multiply
Genesis 9:7 – “But as for you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out across the earth and multiply upon it.”
Be fruitful and multiply. Yet, what does this mean, ladies and gentlemen?
To be fruitful is to bear good fruit. To be fruitful is to be a good tree. The tree is man itself. The Hebrew word for tree is Otz (עץ). One tree that goes in thought is the Tree of Life, or Otz Chai (עץ חי). The fruit is the action of a man. As Matthew 7:16-20 reads:
By their fruit (actions) you will recognize them (humans and humanoids). Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree (man of goodness) bears good fruit (right actions), but a bad tree (man of impurity) bears bad fruit (impure actions). A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree (man of impurity) that does not bear good fruit (performs rightful actions) is cut down (death) and thrown into the fire (Abyss). So then, by their fruit, you will recognize them.
There is only one way to be fruitful: you must perform chastity and practice sexual magic with your spouse. He who does chastity and sexual magic is a tree of goodness, or Otz Tob (עץ טוב). There is a fatal way that never results in being fruitful: it is fornication. It is fornication which breeds the tree of impurity, or Otz Ra (עץ רע). He who fornicates will always result in producing impure fruits. Behold, this is the language of Da'ath or knowledge in Hebrew.
Please see also:
To multiply is to reproduce. There are only two ways of reproducing. As mentioned in one of my last posts, “Childbirth”, One is the forgiving path of reproduction, and there is an unforgiving path of reproduction. The forgiving path is to reproduce by means of sexual alchemy with the guidance of the Elohim. He who breeds children by means of sexual alchemy is creating a race of the Elohim. There is an unforgiving path of reproducing, and this sexual behavior is very common among intellectual animals, which they will defend with their very lives. It is called reproduction by means of fornication. As we have told you many times, fornication is the act of spilling divine energy through orgasm. Fornication itself is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and also against the Sixth Commandment. He who raises children through the terrible crime of fornication creates a race of demons. He who multiplies by means of fornication goes against the balance of nature and the will of the Innermost. There is also poisonous sexual magic, which also recommends fornication. This poisonous sexual magic itself is infrasexual magic. Infrasexual magic itself is black tantra. Black tantra always breeds demons and literally turns a human being into a demonic beast.
Please see also:
Yet there is another hidden meaning of the word multiply. In Hebrew, multiply is Rabu (רבו). Another word that comes to mind is Rabbi (רבי). Rabbi is a Judaic term for master or teacher. Even Christ is the master of masters.
So, therefore, anyone who says “to be fruitful and multiply” with the recommendation of spilling the divine energy through orgasm is a sincere liar. You must avoid this sincere liar, for he himself is a black magician. Feel free to say these words unto the black magician and watch his reaction: “Hail to Christ! Down with Yahweh!” The black magician is the false prophet who approaches you in sheep's clothing, yet inside he is a ravenous wolf. See Matthew 7:15.
Verily I, Juan Mirieth Auriel, will say unto you: To be fruitful and be a Rabbi only means to be fruitful by means of chastity and the sacred (and alchemical) sexual magic and to become a Rabbi through sexual alchemy according to the will of the Innermost.
Far be it from me to tell you you’re living the wrong way. Maybe your way is the one true way, but I doubt that. I make no claim that there is one proper way to live, only that there are ways that are imbued with connectedness, meaningful struggle, simplicity, and ethics. I won’t tell you to drop out of society, nor should I think to throw away those things that humanity has built. Instead, in this country of pioneers and open beautiful land and near-miraculous technologies, I offer another way. Really, isn’t that what America is supposed to be, a land of opportunity where citizens can live their lives the way they see fit within reason, within the law?
That is not the way of it currently. Most Americans are living what Thoreau called “lives of quiet desperation.” We cling for things we don’t need, things that we have been tricked to want. We have been force fed marketing campaigns and inundated with ads, from billboards to the TV to social media and the internet.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
We are free as children, though without intellectual merit it should be noted, and enjoy simple being. We age and are filled to the brim with ideas of society, expectations, the rudiments of discontent, disquiet, the need to constantly do something, and are given the leaden bucket to draw from the never ending well of desire.
“...for my greatest skill has been to want but little.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
We work out what our purpose should be, namely our careers, as if that’s to define us, as we rage against narrowing ourselves to such a degree. We go to college, work a part-time to spend most of the income on a car, never questioning what it would be like to forgo a car altogether when your legs will do. We pick up our degree and mass debt on the way off the stage, get the well-paying 9-5, buy a house, have the 2.5 kids, get the dog you didn’t really want but your partner had to have. The cycle continues until the grief of not asking the important questions pours forth and you fill the vacuum with alcohol or drugs or more stuff. Maybe a divorce.
The necessary caveat needs be stated: Labor is not in question. The sweat of a man’s brow is his, and this view I lay out supports that idea arguably more than our current hyper industrial-capitalist system. Working for something bigger than you isn’t either. There are times to think for oneself and times to subsume into the group for the welfare of the collective. I would never tell you not to practice medicine or law or engineering. This is creation, and creation can lead to a destruction of noble elements or it can uplift the human. What we are questioning is the mode of modern life: are we sucking the marrow out of life, or simply eating the scraps thrown to us?
One more Thoreau quote:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...” ― Henry David Thoreau
I say there’s a better way. And so I’m starting a commune. This idea is not new; it is the Kibbutz, the military platoon, the hunter-gatherer tribe. It is how we have lived for the vast majority of human history.
I could continue to philosophize, but grand writers have done so better and so, one more quote before I jump into the practical.
“Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It's time for that to end.” ― Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
I can't force anyone to read these before moving to the community but I can strongly recommend these life-changing books.
This is a place for healing and living, but do not mistake this place to be one for weakness. People through the ages and modern psychologists have talked much of grit, the ability to be resilient in the face of hardship. Have thick skin. Do not come here with strong political woke ideology. People are not all racist, homophobic, or sexist. If you plan to come here and spout that sort of rhetoric, your place is not here.
At the same time, we welcome vigorous intellectual conversation. We are an educated lot, or at the very least we aspire to be. We read books. We are willing to have the difficult conversations. We want to be strong and do not want to be victims. In fact, some of us dismiss victimhood outright.
We take inspiration from a few camps. If I were to use a few descriptors to try and convey what this place ought to be like, I would use the words...
The community will obviously appear to be what some may call a “hippy commune.” Though I have my own views on these matters, I do not enforce rules on polygamy vs monogamy, heterosexual vs homosexual, nudity vs clothing, capitalist vs communist, stoic vs sensitive, etc.
You should aspire to be healthy and physically fit. If you come here you are part of a tribe, and the tribe suffers when it has to carry one of its own. It's worse when the tribe has to carry one of its own because a member can't stop eating junk food or can't be bothered to use their legs to embrace the ground beneath them and go for walks.
No one expects you to be a bodybuilder, and in fact, that goes against the sort of natural body that is homeostatic and doesn't require a tremendous amount of resources to maintain. Some would argue that such a body type often brings with it a toxic personality or culture, and that is not something we want here.
I am not anti-technology. I have long felt cognitive dissonance about my relationship with technology. Could I e
This is a work in progress and subject to change. Every place needs rules.
Substance Use: There is no drinking, cigarettes, or drug use allowed. We can discuss bending that occasionally but it needs to be agreed upon by the community. It will probably be kept for certain holidays only.
Privacy, Ethics: Google products are not allowed in this community, either physically or by use. That means no Gmail, no Google Drive, no YouTube (while logged into a Google account), no Google Maps, no Google Chrome, no Chromebooks or Android phones, etc. I recommend Firefox for web browsing, ProtonMail for email, pCloud for cloud storage, and Signal for messaging, voice, and video calls. Also take a look at privacytools.io for more recommendations. I am currently looking at whether or not Windows products should be banned.
Social Media: Social media use is not allowed in this community. That means no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, etc. You are here to be with other human beings. Social media is often anti-social and is arguably the reason for society’s increasing isolation. Social media companies could not care less about your privacy rights and because these services are free, you are the product. For the sake of my privacy and of the privacy of this community, photos should not be taken of this land or the people in it and shared online. You are here to present, to be mindful, to be alive. Social media is bad for your mental health, your social life, and your physical health.
I maintain the right to ask any individual to leave. Though it wouldn't come to that for an unfair reason, I expect that this land and community will be respected. Violations of rules will have consequences determined on a case by case basis, up to banishment from the community.
We will have a communal sleeping space but no one is required to use it.
We will have soccer balls, footballs, frisbies, and maybe some other items that promote physical activity, bonding, and fun!
In terms of fitness, we will not have workout equipment and we do not want people bringing it here. We can always discuss that. Use the miracle that is your body and do bodyweight exercises! You can do push-ups or sprint on the green grass, pull-ups on a sturdy tree branch. Most of your body composition comes from diet anyway.
We expect that people will not store or eat junk food. By doing so you are financing the corporations that couldn’t care less about the growing obesity epidemic in this country for fear of losing profits. We are warriors and people of the land aspiring live lives of simplicity. Part of that simplicity is avoiding the inevitable healthcare costs of an unhealthy lifestyle.
No one is saying that a person can never cheat on their diet, and I’m sure holidays and events will bring about some junk food, but this should absolutely never be the norm.
We will have outdoor showers. I'm working on figuring out how to get running water.
We will have rudimentary outhouses. They will occasionally move and new ones will be dug out.
We will have a couple washing machines. Clothes will be air dried. I recommend using 550 cord. Dryers are bad for the planet and costly. We may build a community wash basin.
We will have a kitchen space. There should be no dishes in the sink; clean as you go. You are welcome and encouraged to primarily eat a raw food diet as it is healthy and doesn't require a lot of energy use but you are not required to do so.
I wish the land was not conditioned to the extent that we couldn't acquire our food from hunting and gathering. It may be the case in the future but for now we will work out rules on hunting and gathering in the immediate area.
We will have a large space dedicated to growing food, flowers, etc. I am working out if we should place garden boxes around the community so that anyone can plant in them.
We will have chickens. They will provide eggs and get rid of certain pests.
There will be no outdoor night lighting. Embrace the stars and night sky!
I will have a simple shipping container to house my bed, computer for remote work, and desk. You are free to buy and place your own shipping container but I need to agree on where it's placed. You should not come here with a lot of material possessions or plan on acquiring them after coming here. That is not what this place is for.
I'm working on figuring out energy sources and how to get electrical power running.
Village Board: We will have a village board where people can post if they need something done or need an item or want to host a gathering or class. Anyone can respond. We will also have a fire pit in the center of the land. You’re encouraged to gather here.
We will probably have a couple rifles for defense. I am working out whether or not we will have guard shifts to protect the community against intruders and wild animals. This community in no way condones violence but defense is defense.
We will hopefully have a mailing address for receiving letters, food, and other necessities. Again, please do not order a lot of stuff to be sent here. That is not what this place is for.
I am working out my thinking on aesthetics. I welcome artists, architects, carpenters, and the like who can beautify a place with minimal material and in an eco-friendly way.
We may have an emergency vehicle like a quad or truck for transporting injured or sick individuals to the hospital. These vehicles should never be used for any other reason. Embrace the miracle that is your body and use your feet to move!
This is a living document and is subject to change.
#commune #simpleliving #thoreau
Among the many things that I’ve been thinking about lately, one of them has been what I should do with all the information I’ve been presented with and how to crystallize my life experiences over the past ten years. In other words, what shape is my life trajectory taking and what should I actively do to make it happen, to take hold of the reins?
If I wanted to live passively, I could work my current part-time job and play my online games and pay my once-a-year phone bill and just be. For some, maybe that’s fine. I want to live a simple life, but I also want to actively shape my life, to be ethical, joyful, educational, and ultimately, helpful.
With that in mind, I’ve been trying to organize and properly articulate my thoughts around the quake books I’ve read over the past few years and some thinkers I’ve listened to. Soon I’ll be posting a small, changing manifesto on what I’d like to create as a community.
It’s been a while since I’ve written… anything, so I thought I’d write about some of my recent experiences, my current plans, and the trajectory my life appears to be heading in through a series of posts.
Before my last relationship fell apart, we wanted to start a family but didn’t have the money. She wanted the ring but I didn’t have the money. We wanted a more permanent place of living but… you can guess. Money had become a central issue in our relationship, for good and ill. I decided that without a truckload of job skills I should go back to what I know, so I got an overnight security job at a courthouse and later a college while talking to Army recruiters to go back into the service.
My service record was very mixed. I was a problem soldier who had deployed to Iraq and could soldier well, but I wasn’t particularly great with handling authority and I had become politically active and ideological. I’ll save you the details here, but I needed to jump through two years of hoops to get back in. The DOD had decided not long before that if you’d been out of the military for too long that you needed to go back to basic combat training, and that’s how I find myself sitting in the barber’s chair at Fort Jackson, no sleep for three days, and as a 32 year old Private (E1).
A lot has changed. I first went in 2007 at 18, serving till 2011 and deploying to Iraq once for 12 months. We fired numerous weapon systems including a grenade launcher and .50 caliber machine gun, and honestly, were taught so much at such a pace that I forgot a good portion of it shortly after leaving. We would train at our units anyway.
The training was rougher the first time ‘round. We once were instructed to fill canteens with hydration salts and water and to chug two or three of them while doing jumping jacks. Plenty of us threw up into the kill zone (center of the bay floor). We were then instructed to do chain sit-ups… on the same floor. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I had a feeling that this wasn’t particularly helping us become better soldiers.
This time, there was a lot more sitting and standing around. This time, we only fired the M4, through iron sights and through close combat optics. This training iteration was during COVID, and during the previous iteration in another battalion, there had been a scandal with drill sergeants checking females breasts to “make sure their plates fit properly” and making soldiers do bear crawls naked. A lot of leadership was kicked out of the Army and this time around the Army was playing it safe.
Of course, there are some training items that have to be done the same way to ensure that new soldiers can handle their job responsibilities. One of those items is The Forge, a three day training exercise involving tens of miles of foot travel, oftentimes in gear or with weighted rucksacks. You sleep outside, you do battle drills, you don’t get to shower, you eat mostly MREs, and you bond. And it sucks, but you bond, and you appreciate what the Army is trying to do because your body comes to understand.
Soldiering is very much an intuitive and bodily experience. At some point it clicks into place, and you understand “it” once you experience it. I pity those who never get to.
Our Forge had a little less movement because of the sheer heat of June and because of the aforementioned circumstances. We still moved, we still did drills, and we still marched. We wound up covering 30+ miles in the span of two days, a Forge that was cut short due to tropical thunderstorms. We marched around 12 miles in with around 30 lbs packs, marched a few miles the next night to complete the obstacles and night infiltration courses, and we marched around 12 back the night after that to the graduation field where our berets were donned. When we stopped moving and formed up to listen to the Sergeant Major speak, more than a few of us passed out in formation; a friend of mine five feet adjacent to my left fell flat on his face and had to be moved to the rear of the formation. When he came to he kept apologizing because he had no idea what happened.
And yet, with the pain and suffering inherent to what we went through, it was an inspiring moment, one you don’t forget. Some cried… I almost cracked when one of our drill sergeants shook my hand and asked if I would be seeing my daughter soon. It was a great moment.
So, what are the major differences between 2007 and 2021? Let’s break it down.
Instead of firing the M16 with iron sights, M249 SAW, M240B, .50 cal machine gun, M203 grenade launcher, and grenade throw, we only fired the M4, at first with iron sights and later with a CCO (close combat optic) and did a grenade throw. If people tell you firing a weapon isn’t like Call of Duty, try using a CCO before agreeing. My first contract I never used a scope, but I qual’d expert with the M4 with CCO and was amazed at how simple it was to hit targets.
I went to Fort Benning my first time around, which is notoriously an infantry-based and hard basic training, and trust me, it was. But if I compare the last field training exercise (FTX 3) to The Forge at Fort Jackson, I think the latter was more difficult. Not because of my age, but because it was almost as if Fort Jackson had something to prove. Because of all the recent developments and consequence restrictions, we simply didn’t get physically prepared enough for the last FTX, and it showed. People broke ankles or busted their feet or fell out of required marches; a male comrade in our platoon finished all of the training with a fractured foot and was called a pussy for it as you might expect for complaining about the pain. They later called him a trooper after the x-rays came in. A female platoon member had a busted ankle and she too finished up the training.
When I thought about that standing in formation, everyone in our platoon making it through despite injuries, I got a little choked up.
PT changed significantly too. The new PT still has the weird stretches that make you wonder if they actually do anything, but there are more of them. It seems as though the Army has learned that breaking people is counter-productive, and it seems more care has been put into what we do and how much. The Army, much to my surprise, is slowly phasing out running. Their reasoning is that running once or twice a week isn’t helping your run time and the number of stress injuries like shin splints is significant and worthy of attention.
The PT test is completely different. Gone are the days of 2 minute push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2 mile run. There are now six events, all of them simulating (or so they claim) some form of physical action performed in combat situations. Thus, the old is called the Army Physical Fitness Test and the new the Army Combat Fitness Test. The events are as follows: a deadlift, a medicine ball toss, hand-release push-ups, the sprint-drag-carry, leg tucks, and a 2 mile run. I feel as though this may be too many events; many are failing the new test while few others are maxing it out.
The new rifle marksmanship range is fantastic. It used to be that you’d go prone supported (rifle resting on a sand bag) for 20 targets, then prone unsupported for 10, and kneeling for 10. At least, that’s how I remember it.
Now, you fire at your first target standing, then quickly drop to the prone unsupported for nine, then reload and go supported for 10, reload and go kneeling supported against a barrier for 10, and finally reload and go standing supported against a barrier for 10. It keeps you on your toes and it’s a much better representation of a combat situation.
All in all I feel that the experience has improved, even if I complained that it had gone a little soft. A lot of the training that I felt was superfluous the first time through has been cut, and honestly, if you really need to know it for your job, you’re going to learn it at AIT or at your unit. Why waste tax dollars having everyone shoot the M240B when they’re in cyber warfare and (probably) never going to fire one? Every soldier should be trained with the M4, which is simply a better weapon than the M16, and the Army is now doing that.
Want to know more? Feel free to ask.
#military #army #basictraining #personal #soldiering
Outside the halls of knowledge, far from the ivory tower, Psychology actually matters. Within academia, you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone that any field of inquiry is not worth the time, but outside of it, it doesn’t take long to find people who think it serves little purpose in their daily lives or that it’s in some way spooky. This post aims to do three things:
Tell laypeople what Psychology actually is
Dispel some significant misunderstandings surrounding Psychology
Hopefully, to get you to like Psych (ha), or even fall in love with the field (look at our motto)
Before we do anything, I should quickly lay out a general definition of what Psychology is:
Psychology is -drum roll- … the science of mind and behavior.1
Were you expecting something more eery or complex? Once we move past this definition it immediately becomes more complex, as with anything else, and yes, there are plenty of concepts we can talk about that could be described as eery, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I am of the opinion that a lot of confusion comes from rushing ahead into the weeds.
Let’s quickly dispel some nonsense that turns people off toward the field.
Psychologists cannot read minds. Most subfields in Psychology don’t even deal with treating patients or understanding personality and mood disorders. Much of it is science in the strict meaning of the term: Coming up with a hypothesis, observation and collection of data, and interpreting results to come up with conclusions. Then this is done again to see if the conclusions made can be replicated. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Mental Health Counselors, Clinical Psychologists, and Psychiatrists study “the science of mind and behavior” with the aim of treating patients and/or clients. Counselors and Clinical Psychologists study personality and mood disorders, the latter most deeply, while Psychiatrists focus on the biological causes of mental illness and modern medicinal treatment. They all study psychoanalysis to some extent, and it’s unsurprising that some would believe that this lends an eery psychic ability to read minds, but this is untrue. A highly skilled mechanic can sometimes look at a car and diagnose the problem, so why can’t some professionals do this with the mind?
For one, the mind is invisible to the naked eye. Many mood disorders take (if treated appropriately) months of therapy to properly diagnose. In short, it’s really hard if not impossible for a clinical psychologist to know what’s going on in a stranger’s head simply by sitting next to them. That means, be nice and don’t move your seat so readily. There is some evidence to suggest that a psychologist’s ability to read subconscious cues improves as they spend time with a client, but this is far from what most people think of as mindreading.2 Mental health professionals need inputs provided by the client to collect data and make inferences.
Mind control is not a thing… at least not in the classical sense of what we see in movies. Instead, we have methods that can help “change hearts and minds”: Persuasion, influence, manipulation, propaganda. You might look at persuasion and influence as neutral or positive terms and manipulation and propaganda as negative. This often comes down to perception: if the federal government runs a campaign to reduce cigarette smoking through the use of commercials, posters, and internet ads, is it unethical if the government does not disclose that this is an attempt at manipulation? Does it matter, given that improved health outcomes are likely (in this case, they were)?
These are matters of debate. In U.S. Army Psychological Operations, soldiers are tasked with persuading individuals through the use of posters, pamphlets, radio broadcasts, social media, and good ol’ fashioned talking. In the field, you need to understand the culture you’re working in, what people love and hate, what they fear, what influences their behavior, whether it be religion, education, the socioeconomic class they belong to, etc. The military utilizes what they categorize as white, grey, and black PSYOP. White PSYOP uses factual information to persuade and the source of that information is known by all parties involved. Grey PSYOP is information from a source that is purposely ambiguous because the effect of the information may be increased if the source is not known. Black PSYOP is deception, cut and dry. The target(s) are kept from knowing the source of the information; sometimes even classified information is released if the outcome offers a greater advantage than not releasing it.3
All of this being said, human behavior is vast and persuasion techniques are not failproof. Influencing people to behave differently in a short period of time inside their own community is bound to fail occasionally, even if the influencers are skilled professionals and the audience is poor, uneducated, or has some other disadvantage. Perish the thought of the hypnotist who controls his target through eye contact and the wave of a hand.
Okay, so you can’t learn how to get people to eat food out of your hand. Once you’ve collected yourself, imagine if we didn’t have a field of Psychology. No psychotherapy, no understanding of human behavior outside of our historical intuitions. Many more people would be less effective in their careers (career counseling) and many organizations would be less efficient (organizational psychology). Many more victims of mental illness would be dead for there would be no treatment options for them (clinical psychology, psychiatry). Many would continue to suffer in dead marriages, deal with abuse, never find relief from their addictions, or fall apart from the difficulties of life (counseling).
We need Psychology. Without it, we can see the corrupt elements in government, but we can’t understand the human behavior behind it. Much of what we do now in the aim of maintaining and improving civilization relies on some form of psychological knowledge. Rather than shirk what we don’t understand out of fear, let’s educate ourselves on the basic concepts in Psychology so we can use it to be better at work, in school, and in our private lives.
Human beings are complex and Psychology is an inexact science. Psychotherapy and persuasion techniques have definitely improved since the inception of the field but the variables of behavior are too numerous to have a failsafe measure at modification. Most of the spookiness that laypeople perceive of Psychology is explainable by anyone who has a keen understanding of the field.
What other misconceptions are you aware of? Let us know so we can discuss them.
Definition of PSYCHOLOGY. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychology. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.
Gregory, Mary. “Can a Psychologist Read Your Mind?” PsychHelp, 21 Jan. 2019, https://psychhelp.com.au/can-a-psychologist-read-your-mind/.
FM 3-05.30 Psychological Operations. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-05-30.pdf. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.
#psychology #psyop #clinicalpsychology #evopsych #humanbehavior
Around 6,000 tweets are sent out every second. 350,000 a minute. 500 million a day. 200 billion a year. And that's on one social media platform. For those who spend much of their waking hours on Twitter, it's no exaggeration to say that public discourse has broken down.
You may be too young to know or have forgotten a time when, a little more than a decade ago, this type of rhetoric didn't exist. Our technological progression for information transmission looks something like this:
Printing press – 1440
Wireless telegraphy (radio) – 1830s
Telephone – 1854-1876 (debated)
Trucking industry (commercial freight) – 1910
Commercial radio broadcasting – 1920
Handheld mobile phone – 1973
Public internet – 1983-1994
Smartphone – 1994*
Facebook – 2004
Twitter – 2006
We went from the printing press to Twitter in 566 years. What you quickly begin to see is the acceleration of information technology from the printing press forward. There's around a 390-year gap between the printing press and the radio. Between the telephone and handheld mobile phone, 119 years. Between early public internet and Twitter, only 23.
This acceleration comes with a lot of benefits. Each of those benefits has a shadow. The wise person realizes that when you get something, you tend to give something away. Most technology is a trade, a give and take. If we were consuming a couple of megabytes of data a day, many of us are now consuming gigabytes. We're engaging in severe rapid task switching, eating up brain glucose, and focusing less attention toward one thing at a time. Before the smartphone and internet in nearly every home, that was simply not part of reality.
Some of the greatest Greek thinkers utilized memory palaces; many memory contest champions carry the tradition today. If you're impressed by how much one can recall using this technique, juxtapose that with how badly smartphone use (or even just having it on you) damages your recall ability. Recognize that a niche group build memory palaces. Recognize that large swathes of people use smartphones in an unhealthy way. Tech gives us an immense capability to find information; that has very little to do with the quality of information you're getting or what you can or will do with it.
One way that I've found to combat the insanity of tech and the internet is I sold my smartphone and got a dumbphone. Perhaps more importantly, I changed how I use the internet. Instead of getting bored and browsing between 30 tabs, I use time blocking to give me structure and allow me to focus on single tasks. I still battle with this often.
I used to go on Twitter, look at magazine feeds I follow like National Review and The New Yorker, and open up a bunch of articles. Now, I risk polluting the planet a little more and get a weekly paper issue. This issue frames my reading: you'll be reading this content this week, enjoy. I then keep these magazines on my coffee table or give them to people. That one solution has taken me from a scattered landscape where I'm catapulted into groundlessness to a linear sense of grounded control.
Tech-use management is tricky in private life. Well, our politics isn't handling it any better. Rather than relying on the newspapers to give us weekly, or, for the more passionate, daily stories, we are inundated with updates every hour. At 8 am democracy is still alive and kickin'... wait wait! 9 am, democracy is dying! Oh, 10 am, false alarm we're ok. The emotional rollercoaster is bad for everyone involved, even highly intelligent individuals who make policy.
Whereas trends in the news would last a week, sometimes a month, trends on Twitter almost always change every few hours. It's impossible to keep up, and for those who try, it is crazy-making. The problem is that there's a ton of disinformation on these platforms, and good-hearted people are trying to combat it. It's akin to the nuclear problem: once Pandora's box had been opened and one nation-state held nukes, others felt it necessary to do the same. What happens if tons of conservative voices decide that Twitter is not worth their time, or vice versa? We don't know, but we do know that Twitter holds a fair amount of sway over public opinion, and leaving it to the savages is unthinkable to many.
I often wonder what a decent solution would be. Perhaps we need some hard limits put in place in the policy arena. What those prescriptions would be I can't say. Perhaps politicians should be barred from posting on social media. What we can't put a hard limit on is how social movements work on the ground, barring censorship. The only response we seem to have come up with is what we're doing now: ceaselessly arguing on social media.
With an ongoing pandemic and the current climate, public debates are going to happen with far less frequency if at all. A return to focus on debates in auditoriums, theatres, and public squares would cull a large number of the keyboard revolutionaries. A return to reasonable constraints on the transmission and consumption of information would be far more peaceful.
#publicdiscourse #communication #internet #informationtheory #news #socialmedia
from Jochen Tetzlaff
Der Privatdetektiv Nestor Burma hat sich in die Herzen zahlreicher Krimifans ermittelt. Sein Schöpfer Leo Malet hat mit der Mischung aus Spannung und trockenem Humor einen internationalen Erfolg gelandet. Wenn ein Comickünstler wie der große Tardi Malets Romane in Comics überführt ist anspruchsvolles Lesevergnügen garantiert. Tardi zeichnet äußerst detailliert und reduziert die Komplexität der Fälle Nestor Burmas kaum. Bisweilen führt das zu recht viel Text. Gleichzeitig nutzt Tardi die Ausdrucksform Comic virtuos, schafft starke Charaktere und eine mitreißende Stimmung. Wer die Kombination von Krimis und Comics gerne liest kommt wohl kaum an Tardi vorbei.
Die vier Tardi/Malet Bände sind seit Jahren vergriffen, doch nun hat der Verlag Edition Moderne anlässlich seines vierzigjährigen Bestehens eine schön gestaltete Gesamtausgabe herausgebracht. Ich habe sie mit großem Vergnügen gelesen, Burma ist definitiv eine Empfehlung.
from Random Notes
from The Monday Kickoff
Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.
Let's get this Monday started with these links:
The Pleasures of Tsundoku, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Book Piles, wherein Antoine Wilson looks at stockpiling books and sees it not as obsession or boarding, but as a source of pleasure and literary discovery.
The changing art of the subeditor: ‘You had to read the type upside down’, wherein Suzanne Warr looks back at how newspaper copy editors did their jobs in the days before it all went digital.
The Death of the All-Powerful Director, wherein we discover how the failure of Heaven's Gate, and the behaviour of its director, changed the way in which Hollywood studios green light and fund movies.
Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t, wherein we learn why it’s so hard to make a to-do app that works, but why people often feel so distraught by their hunt for the perfect organizational system.
Use the Two-Minute Rule To Stop Procrastinating, wherein Fadeke Adegbuyi explains how knocking those little jobs that accumulate in our task lists can lead us to increased productivity.
How Productivity Tools Can Waste Your Time, wherein we learn something I've been saying for a long time: searching for that perfect app isn't going to make you more productive. Doing the work is.
Baseball and Japan, wherein we get a brief look at how America's favourite pastime became such a huge phenomenon in Japan.
How are cassettes still a thing?, wherein Radio New Zealand reporter Tony Stamp delves into why the venerable tape format has persisted even though there are more modern options for storing and sharing audio available.
The strange 19th-Century sport that was cooler than football, wherein we learn about competitive pedestrianism, a wildly popular professional sport in the 19th century, which spawned spectacles, highly-paid competitors, and rabid fans.
And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.
Starting to make store to test a new e-com brand/product
Will probably test ads in 1-2 days.
Did some stuff at other house.
Was gonna do programming but testing products for new e-com store is more important for cashflow.
Beautiful song from Honor Society.
Where are you now? Cause I'm thinking of you You showed me how How to live like I do If it wasn't for you I would never be who I am If it wasn't for you I would never be who I am If it wasn't for you I'd be nothing Where are you now? ♪ ♫ ♪