Category Archives: education

Buddhism is lost and hopelessly corrupt

If you go to the bookstore and browse through the section on Buddhism, you will find numerous books discussing the Buddha’s teachings, or the ‘dharma.’ You will see commentaries on the Diamond Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and other famous Buddhist works. You will also notice  various histories of Buddhism and its spread through Asia and now through the West. But you probably won’t find any books discussing Buddhism today; you won’t come across any books written about how Buddhism functions in day- to- day life in Asia.

I find that interesting and the subject is one that should be investigated by someone with knowledge of Buddhism,  East Asian cultures, history, and language. I’ve been living in Southeast Asia for almost three years now and Buddhism is in the news frequently, though not for good reasons. Indeed, whenever I see a story in the local news with the word ‘monk’ or ‘temple’ in the headline, I know I am going to be reading about a scandal.

The scandals usually involve a monk being caught doing something not very ‘monk-like’, such as being the first in line to buy a new Iphone,  driving around in fancy cars with 300 dollar sunglasses or having sex with students.  In the age of the smartphone camera and youtube, monks are being caught doing this stuff with more and more regularity. In the old days, they didn’t have to worry as much about being exposed.

Growing up in the West and being reared in a Christian household, I developed a rather cynical attitude toward religion at a young age. As I got older and read more deeply into the history of the Catholic Church with the Inquisition, the witch burnings, the genocide of Native Americans and the rest, my cynicism only grew. Like many young spiritual seekers, I imagined Eastern religions to be somehow less tainted than Christianity. Certainly, there are no comparable stories of Buddhists burning ‘heretics’ at the stake, or Hindus marching across foreign lands with invading armies trying to convert  non-believers.

Yet, the longer I am in Asia, the less pronounced the differences appear to me between Eastern and Western religions and Buddhism is just as tainted with corruption as any other organization, religious or otherwise. Despite their obvious doctrinal differences, all religions appear to function at a basic level of control. In the West, Christianity has always been used to control and manipulate the masses. In the East, Buddhism performs that role.

Buddhism is classified as  a ‘religion.’ It is considered one of the world’s ‘major religions.’ When people fill out census forms, they are given the choice to check the ‘Buddhist’ box under religion. Yet, any Buddhist monk, religious studies professor or anyone who has simply studied Buddhism for just a few hours will tell you that it is most definitely NOT a religion, at least not in the way scholars have typically defined the term. There are no gods or goddesses to worship, no elaborate rituals, no angels. Buddhism is a way of understanding the world and human suffering. It offers a precise psychological method and system for training the mind through meditation to escape suffering. So, Buddhism has been around for 2,500 years and its practitioners are still calling it a ‘religion’ when they know better. What’s the reason?  Here’s my guess: a religion attracts adherents and followers. A ‘meditative system’ or a ‘teaching of the causes of human suffering’ doesn’t sound as important. People need  a religion. It makes them feel good.

Classifying your organization as a religion also has numerous other benefits, mostly financial. Churches pay NO taxes. I am not as familiar with how Buddhist temples operate in Asian countries, but I strongly suspect they play the religion card to avoid taxes and raise money in the same way that Christian churches do in the West.

Well, the temples must be doing something right in the money game they are playing because they are indeed rich. Don’t be fooled by the shaven-headed monk in orange robes you see on the street with his begging bowl. That’s just for show. He is not an accurate representation of how much money these temples really have. How do the temples get the money to buy so much valuable real estate on which to construct their ostentatious structures? Where does the money to build solid gold Buddhas and golden domes come from? Where did that monk get the money to buy a brand new iPhone 5? The answer is, of course, from the poor people who willingly donate their hard-earned money to the temples, in exchange for ‘blessings’ from the monks. It’s a scam.

Buddhism is a huge business in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia. There are hundreds of thousands of temples sitting on prime land and collecting money to build ever grander Buddhist statues and domes. Many of the temples simply whore themselves out to tourists, selling tacky souvenirs and allowing vendors within the temple walls. Many have neon lights, fluorescent lights and televisions. They resemble amusement parks more than they do temples.

I wonder how many Buddhist statues are made in factories every year and sold to tourists? Millions? If all that is not vulgar enough, what’s really depressing is that the Buddha shouldn’t even be worshipped. Buddhists should not be placing Buddha statues on their altars to pray to. The Buddha stated clearly, “I am not a god. I’m just a normal man like yourselves  who discovered some fundamental truths about the human condition.” However, so strong is the human disposition to deify our heroes that we’ve made him into a god. Again, the abbots and monks know this, yet they allow the commoners to come to their temples, prostrate themselves, burn incense, and pray to the Buddha. I’ve read a number of interviews with monks who try to explain away why they allow this, and it’s hilarious to see the logical  and verbal contortions they wrap themselves in to justify their actions. If you read carefully between the lines, what they’re really saying is this: ‘the poor and the peasants  are simpletons. They don’t know any better. They either can’t or don’t read and will never understand the inner, deeper teachings of Buddhism. So, we give them something to worship, tell them to lead a pure life and send them on their way. ‘ But not before taking some of their money, of course. It’s a rather cynical stance, would’t you say?

The fact that Buddhism has been able to penetrate so deeply into so many different Asian cultures shows that it has great flexibility and adaptability. But I submit that while many will say this is one of its strengths, it  really demonstrates that Buddhism has a weak foundation. Notice how easily Buddhism has rolled with modernity. Smart phones and other electronic gizmos, neon lights, television, whatever. Buddhism absorbs it all and tells its followers that they can be a consumerist, a capitalist, a communist -even a Christian or Muslim!- and still be a Buddhist. In reality, it demands little from its adherents. In contrast to this, we can point to Islam where the imams at least  have strong criticisms of modernity and urge their followers to hold onto tradition.

I was in Singapore recently and I bumped into a young monk at a museum. He was strolling around taking selfies with his nice camera and selfie stick. Huh? What do they teach in the temples these days? Isn’t there anything about letting go of the ego and moving our concentration away from egoic concerns?

Buddhism has also tried to attach itself to various movements over the years in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. For example, in the  1990s, there was a push by various Buddhist leaders to claim that Buddhism was really a ‘nature religion.’ You know, eco-groovy. They found some obscure quotations by the Buddha saying we should all love the animals or something, and voila! Seriously. Go back and look through back issues of Tricycle magazine from the 1990s.

Some might say that countries with a strong Buddhist influence are more peaceful and the people more gentle. Is that really the case? Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist and many young boys go through a period of training in temples. Are the Thai people generally more honest, moral, and peaceful than anyone else? Look at the amount of corruption and criminal gang activity throughout the country and you will have your answer. Thailand is currently being ruled by a military junta. The Buddhist leaders in Thailand don’t seem to have a problem with that. Of course they don’t want to step on many toes, as they might have some privileges stripped.

Some argue that Buddhism, with its emphasis on the acceptance of suffering, is a perfect religion to keep the poor and downtrodden in their place and was set up for just that purpose. I don’t know. It’s possible. The Buddha said, “Life is Suffering.” If you take that to heart and don’t go beyond it to analyze the subtleties of the teachings, you might interpret it to mean, ‘Don’t protest. Accept my oppression.’

The bottom line is that you don’t need the ‘religion’ of Buddhism to study the dharma. All you need is a copy of the Diamond Sutra, some determination, and perhaps a few companions to share your discoveries with when you practice meditation. The monks don’t have any magical powers. Many are outright charlatans are many more are corrupt.

 

Dissecting more techno cheerleaders in the media. Case study: the iPad in classrooms

For writers, bloggers  and so-called journalists working in the media today, playing to the prejudices of their readers is part of their job. This is especially true for journalists and columnists who write about technology. When your readership consists of people who own a smartphone (or two), a tablet, and a laptop, reminding them that they are ‘cool,’  and ‘cutting edge’ will earn you a loyal following.

Let’s examine a recent article from the same glossy magazine which we looked at in my previous article. The author is a grade 2 homeroom teacher at a well-known international school in Ho Chi Minh City. The article is only six paragraphs long. The editors could have made it longer but chose to use one third of the page to post a color photo of a seven-year-old girl with a huge smile on her face holding an Ipad. We haven’t even gotten to the first sentence and already we know what direction the article is going to take. The upper right hand corner of the page has a professional photo of the author, an attractive woman in her 20s with perfect teeth who is smiling broadly. We, the readers, have been set up nicely to drink the  kool-aid which is being served.

The title of the article is “Techie Students- How tablets have enhanced learning.” The author wastes no time establishing her thesis which she posits clearly in the first sentence, stating…”using iPads in the classroom has been ideal for promoting new ways of learning.” Hmm,’promoting new ways of learning.’ That’s a big statement. She claims that the iPad is not just a tool which can be used in addition to books, but that it helps us learn in new ways.  If she means that all the lessons can now be given on the computer with bright flashing graphics, cartoon characters, and games, than I guess that qualifies.

The following sentence reads like an advertisement from Apple: “The iPad is a perfect digital tool for our young learners because it’s small, portable, visual, and hands-on..” Hey, this woman could be a sales rep. The author goes on to say that she avoids using it as a form of entertainment but rather as a way to empower her students to channel their interests and for ‘discovery, creation and collaborative learning.’ That’s wonderful, but can’t all of those things be done just as well without iPads or computers? Can’t you ‘discover’ things in books? Do you need a computer to create something beautiful and meaningful? All you need to create is a pencil and piece of paper. Or a canvas and paintbrushes. Or an instrument.

It gets worse. The author claims that ‘the tablets are excellent for developing research skills.’ No, they aren’t. Tablets do not develop research skills. I also work with ‘young learners’ and I can tell you that their research skills are generally very deficient, in spite of the fact that they spend hours per day on computers. Punching in a search term on google does not qualify as ‘research skills.’ Here’s how most students today do ‘research’ : They enter a term on google. They quickly choose either the first or second entry that appears on the screen, rarely even scrolling to the bottom of the page and practically never going beyond page one of search results. They don’t know how to distinguish between different sources and none of them understand that wikipedia is  fallible and biased.

Checking their Facebook in lecture hall:

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I’m only on the third paragraph but the writer’s insipid line of reasoning and her ‘rah-rah’ cheerleading for the the techno-school has left me somewhere between complete boredom and frustration. Check out this line: “Less cumbersome and more effective than dictionaries, we often use google translate or google images when coming across unknown words or concepts.” Is she kidding? A dictionary is ‘cumbersome?’ Actually, looking up words in dictionaries utilizes ancillary skills and often will lead students to other unfamiliar words as they are flipping through the pages. Punching in a word on google requires you to use far less of your brain  than looking it up in a dictionary, but this clueless teacher is so caught up in her flashing lights of her screens that she can’t see that. And Google Translate? If this teacher has really  used it, then she must know that the translations between languages are often horribly wrong. She’s teaching her students that google is God. She claims that she is ’empowering’ them, when what she is really doing is making them into little robotic consumers of digital garbage.

The author claims her grade 2 students are becoming ‘independent in their learning.’ Wow. I’ve read somewhere that Mozart was independent in his learning when he was seven years old, but that’s the only example I can think of. What does this woman think her students are going to do when teacher is not around? Do research on the causes of the French Revolution? No. They will play computer games or go into Facebook. Surely she knows that and we the readers know that, but she thinks her audience is so stupid that she can throw out this drivel and nobody will call her on it.

Who needs books?

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Techno teacher then tells us that she has her students make movies during class time using iMovie. The students even made a zombie movie! Yippee! After hyping iMovie, she then goes on to hype another app, this one called ‘Comic Life.’ You can guess where this is all leading.

This article is about as one-sided as you can get. It, and so many similar articles in the media, pitch the argument that ‘technology is great.’ Also, ‘technology enhances learning.’ And most of all, ‘technology empowers people.’

Since most parents today buy their young children smart phones and tablets by the time they are able to walk, the author is simply cozying up to them and telling them that they are doing the right thing. Furthermore, the school is staying at the cutting edge by ‘utilizing the latest technology in the classroom.’  Digital content and techno learning has not made us any smarter and never will. I suggest the author obtain a copy of “The Dumbest Generation” by  Mark Bauerlein and carefully read it before she writes any more articles.

 

 

Dissecting the techno cheerleaders in the media

Humanity is on an inexorable march towards transhumanism. Led by the likes of ‘futurist’ Ray Kurzweil, the transhumanist propaganda machine utilizes the media to its full potential  and employs a small army of writers, bloggers, and media personalities. A big part of this propaganda push is to continually hammer home a number of themes, such as technological progress is always positive (or at least that the benefits always outweigh the negative consequences). In close tandem with this notion is the idea that anyone who opposes the new is better paradigm is an old-fashioned, out-of-touch fuddy-duddy.

The relentlessly upbeat cheerleading that accompanies articles about technology, especially stories discussing the release of updated smartphones and related gadgets, can be seen in all mass market magazines and newspapers. There is no subtlety or nuance in most of these articles, no shades of grey.

Let’s examine a recent article in the mass media to see how this brainwashing works. The article is titled, oddly enough, “The Idiot Box,” and I found it in a glossy magazine marketed to wealthy expatriates in Southeast Asia. The author, some guy named Michael Arnold, opines that modern technological gadgets such as the Ipad are great for kids because they give them unlimited knowledge at their fingertips. Arnold tries, quite awkwardly and unconvincingly, to knit the history of  television into his argument and even manages to throw out the epithet ‘luddite’ to discredit people who question the transhumanist juggernaut.

The author begins by stating that he finds arguments against humanity’s overreliance on technology to be not ‘particularly compelling.’ He then goes on to say that arguments against the Ipad are the same arguments used against the personal computer, the world wide web and the television. The inference here is that since all those inventions have turned out so wonderfully for humanity, why worry about putting Ipads into the hands of five-year-olds?

According to Arnold, we humans have not become too reliant on machines and technology and in fact we need more!  Perhaps he missed the story last week of the guy who drove his car off a cliff because he was using his GPS instead of his eyes, a map, and common sense. Or maybe he missed the story of the three men who have died recently in Taiwan after gaming for  days in internet cafes without food, drink, or water. He hasn’t  noticed stories  of kids around the world who literally go into severe withdrawal when their digital toys are taken from them? Perhaps he hasn’t  seen, as I have, people who cannot sleep at night unless the television screen is playing in front of their bed. Did he not catch the recent story from China  which stated that the Chinese government has recognized internet addiction as one of the most serious crises facing the youth of China and has taken measures to combat it, including setting up treatment centers for hooked teenagers?

Arnold says that those of us who question the technological juggernaut have a ‘fear of change’ and since change is the defining characteristic of our age, we need to get over it. Indeed, change does define the 20th century, but this change didn’t just happen by accident. It was planned, and the results of that change have been the destruction of the family and the disintegration of society.

The next paragraph is where Mr. Arnold really outs himself. He writes that parents who ban television in the home are ‘extreme’ and that television was ‘the greatest medium of communication’ of our parents’ age. Television, according to Arnold, gave us ‘unprecedented exposure to human drama, stories with actual morals, and information about the outside world.’ What’s more, those silly cartoons taught him ‘how to have the strength to forgive.’ Now, I don’t know if  he really believes all this or if he is just reading from a template, but this is naive and absurd beyond belief. Does Mr. Arnold know who really invented television, and for what purposes? Does he know anything about Walt Disney and his shady background, including his links to Intelligence and occult societies?  Has he not read Aldous Huxley, Neil Postman, or Jerry Mander? Does he know who Edward Bernays was?

Arnold then blithely states that ‘rather less credence is given to the demonization of television nowadays.’ Oh, really? And from where did he pull that fact? Actually, the evidence demonstrating the destructive influence of television is far greater and more compelling than it was 50 years ago when intellectuals and concerned parents were complaining about it.

Now that his mask is off, Arnold cannot help himself and starts to really lay it on thick, gleefully stating that we (the television generation) are ‘eager for our kids to enjoy the kind of quality entertainment we remember having back then.’ Wow. Quality entertainment?? What is this guy talking about?

He doesn’t wish for his kids to spend their time reading the classics, or going to museums, or playing outside, or doing sports, or hiking in nature. Instead, he wants them inside watching reruns of ‘quality’ entertainment, such as Happy Days and Starsky and Hutch. 

 

No, they’re not doing math or reading biology. They’re playing games. Sorry, parents.

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I would love to send the author a copy of Mark Bauerlein’s 2009 book titled The Dumbest Generation, in which he thoroughly demolishes the argument put forward by techno enthusiasts that Ipads, computers, and smart phones make kids smarter and improve their academic performance.

Finally, Arnold relates the story of Steve Jobs not allowing his kids to play with the Ipad. To mention this story is a risky move , as it might blow a hole in his ‘tech gadgets are cool’ argument. He spins it my calling Jobs a ‘notorious hippie,’ and then, in a bizarre turn of logic, casts himself as risk taker by allowing his kids to use these devices. Come again? Let’s see if we can wrap our brains around that one. Arnold says that he is not following the example set by Jobs, and is therefore going his own way. He’s a conformist, but kind of a rebel at the same time. Get it?

In fact, this guy is doing what 99.99 percent of all parents are doing nowadays: letting their kids run loose with tech gadgets from  infancy onwards and hoping for the best. Arnold and people like him are the worst kind of spineless conformists, cloaking their naivete, ignorance  and cowardice in a thin veneer of pseudo-intellectualism.

 

The timeless struggle of the individual versus the collective

Is it possible to speak of individualism these days without laughing?  The concept of the individual and his inherent rights and worth has occupied many of the greatest thinkers and philosophers throughout recorded history.  Aristotle discussed the topic 2,500 years ago and it has reappeared in irregular intervals and in widely varying places and circumstances since then.

These days, the banner of individualism has mostly been taken up by libertarians and anarchists in the West. Sadly, today, we have no philosophers who stand proudly on the shoulders of Paine, Jefferson, Emerson, and Thoreau and enunciate the core principles of individualism to a modern audience. John Zerzan from Eugene, Oregon writes from an anarchistic and individualist perspective, but his books are too dense and academic for most readers in this day.  G. Edward Griffin is an excellent researcher and his talks on the origins on collectivism are edifying, though he has little to say about individualism per se.

Although the West is the birthplace of individualism and has seen dozens of brilliant thinkers espouse on its merits for the last 2,000 years, it has never gained a firm toehold. Collectivism and its modern manifestations-communism and socialism- always gains sway and brushes aside the fractured and disorganized individualist movement. Indeed, individualism’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. People who believe in and live the principles of self-rule and self-reliance seldom want to band together with large numbers of others and hence are easily picked off and isolated by institutions such as the state.

 

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In the East, the various Asian cultures have never produced the rich legacy of individualist thought that the West has. Confucian values remain firmly rooted, with their emphasis on family and tradition. The importance of filial piety, culture, and group identity are constantly reinforced, both overtly and covertly. The individual, as such, has little to no meaning in Asian cultures. In Viet Nam, one of their more popular idioms is ‘the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.’

Whether we are speaking of East or West, another factor to consider is that humans are by nature tribal creatures and we desperately want to belong to groups, to ‘fit in.’  That group can be as small as a gang or fraternity or as big as a country. Hence, the popularity of ‘nationalism’ and its extreme manifestation- jingoism. This longing and insecurity has been deftly manipulated by political elites for thousands of years.Individualist thinkers and activists, whether wearing the label of ‘left’ (anarchist) or ‘right’  (libertarian) have been hounded, persecuted, ridiculed, ignored, and sometimes murdered for their beliefs.

‘Group think’ is not a modern phenomenon. It has been a part of human society since, well, forever. Cultures, societies, nations, governments and corporations don’t want individuals. They want sheep. The want predictability, conformity, and efficiency. They want obedience. And most of the time, humans are all to willing to oblige.

As an exercise in awareness, I often try to do the opposite of what is expected of me, whether ordering food in a restaurant, walking across the street, talking to a stranger or sitting in the dentist chair. Acting outside of the norm of acceptable  and expected behaviors always produces uncomfortable effects on people. Many people become physically agitated when you don’t do what they expect. You are not playing by the rules. Acting as a thinking individual just doesn’t cut it in society. ‘Why are you throwing a wrench in the machine? Why don’t you just go along to get along? Stop making things hard on yourself and others…..’

Individualism as an ideology and practice will never penetrate deeply into human societies. It will always remain on the fringe, as an enticing and enlightening idea, an inspiration for a brave few to try to live authentically, as Thoreau encouraged us to do 150 years ago.

 

 

 

Taiwanese man dies after 3 days of gaming

A  story appeared on mainstream news outlets last week regarding a young man in Taiwan who died of cardiac arrest at an internet cafe:

Hong Kong (CNN)A 32-year-old man was found dead in an Internet cafe in Taiwan after a marathon three-day gaming binge, the island’s second death of an online gamer this year.The man, surnamed Hsieh, entered the cafe in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, on January 6, Jennifer Wu, a police spokesperson from the Hunei district precint told CNN.

An employee found him motionless and sprawled on a table at 10 a.m. on January 8 and he was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead from cardiac failure, she added.”He has been unemployed for a long time, and internet cafes were the only place he could go to,” she said.”His family said he would disappear for two to three days on end.”

It is not known exactly how long the man lay dead in the Internet cafe but police said his corpse had begun to stiffen so he must have been dead for several hours before they arrived on the scene.Police said gamers in the café continued as if nothing happened even when the police and paramedics arrived.

According to the Taipei Times, the man was a “regular customer” who often played for consecutive days. “When tired, he would sleep face down on the table or doze off slumped in his chair,” the staff member was quoted as saying. “That is why we were not aware of his condition in the beginning. 

Taiwan is no stranger to deaths from marathon sessions of online gaming.Hsieh’s death came after 38-year-old man was found dead at an Internet cafe in Taipei on January 1 after playing video games for five days straight. And in 2012, the corpse of man who died playing online games went unnoticed for 10 hours by other gamers and staff.  CNN

Who was this man?  Unemployed, directionless, lonely, and single, he seemed to find his only happiness in life at the internet cafe, playing ultra-violent, and highly addictive online games. Did his family and friends not see any danger in his video gaming habits? Or did they nonchalantly brush any concerns aside and view it as a harmless activity? In  the bigger picture, what are these games doing to our boys and young men, not just in Taiwan, but all over the world? What are the effects of gaming on their bodies, minds, and spirits? These internet cafes filled with young men playing games can be found in cities all over Asia. Harried and stressed parents are usually relieved  to have the boys out of the house and busy doing something, and at least not getting in trouble. The cafe owners are happy to take their money. Nobody pays them any mind, and they spend countless hours of their life sitting in one position, tense, motionless, and oblivious to their surroundings. Neglecting to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom, they easily lose sense of time and of reality itself.

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It doesn’t surprise me to read that the owners of the cafe neglected to notice the dead man for many hours. Why would they? It’s not their job to check up on the patrons. ‘The guy’s slumped in his chair; I guess he’s taking a snooze.’  They couldn’t care less. Nor am I surprised that the other patrons of the cafe didn’t even bother looking up when the corpse was carried out and the paramedics and police arrived. Why let reality intrude upon their fantasy world? Nothing- and I mean NOTHING- can disturb a gamer’s concentration when he is in the midst of his game.

We are losing ourselves to the tyranny of the screen and seem not to  care. It’s easy to read a story like this and morbidly laugh, and think, ‘what a loser.’ What happened to this poor man is an extreme case and his tragic ending made news headlines. But the slower death afflicting the tens of millions of other boys in the cafes won’t make the headlines. The cafe where Mr. Hsieh died continued operating even during the police investigation, with the patrons going on as before. It will change nothing and carry on, as will all the other internet cafes in Taipei. What did they say in ‘The Godfather’?  “It’s just business.”

 

Crippling a population with vaccines- Viet Nam

I read recently that the Taliban kill  anyone caught administering the polio vaccine in Afghanistan. The vaccines are administered by various UN aid agencies under the guise of ‘protecting the children.’  Afghanis  understand that the people administering the polio vaccines are either dupes or outright paid agents of the NWO.

It’s no longer a secret that numerous NGOs, so-called ‘aid agencies,’ the WHO, and other benign sounding organizations are busy  throughout the world  engaging in nefarious activities on innocent and naive populations. The CIA -controlled USAID and National Endowment for Democracy have been busy since the early 1980s in toppling democratic governments on every continent. The Orwellian spin on ‘democracy’  is surely a source of endless amusement for the cigar smoking globalists in their high-rises in London and New York.

The NGOs work as a ‘fifth column’ inside countries, slowly and steadily eating away at the host. Paul Craig Roberts and other astute researchers have noted the important influence NGOs had in the years leading up to the coup in Ukraine.

But let’s get back to vaccines. One week ago, a brief news story, only five paragraphs long, appeared in a Vietnamese newspaper. The headline read, “Students stable after anaphylactic shock.” Just in case you don’t know what that is, here is a definition: “Anaphylactic shock: A widespread and very serious allergic reaction. Symptoms include dizziness, loss of consciousness, labored breathing, swelling of the tongue and breathing tubes, blueness of the skin, low blood pressure, heart failure, and DEATH.”

The WHO has been busy for quite a while in Viet Nam, dealing out their propaganda on vaccines, along with, of course,  the Gates foundation. Thousands of nurses and health workers fan out across the country, injecting the young and innocent children with vaccines that contain all manner of toxic adjuvants. In the short time I have lived in Viet Nam,  I have seen at least a half dozen instances of deaths and permanent injury to children and newborns  as a result of vaccines. This is getting to be ‘old news.’ When the communities cry for justice  and mourn their dead children, government  spokespeople rush in to assure them that it was ‘tragic accident’, but that the children should continue to receive the vaccinations. Everything is fine now, we destroyed the bad batch, sorry about your kid. 

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In the recent case, 35 students from a secondary school went into shock after being vaccinated with the measles-rubella vaccination. Ten were in serious condition.

Viet Nam has a population of 90 million and the vast majority are uneducated. They are an easy target for those pushing the depopulation agenda. Toxic, mercury-laden vaccines, chemtrails, GMOs, fast food, and sugary soft drinks are all being foisted upon the people here in massive doses. The onslaught is occurring far faster than the people’s education regarding what these things are, let alone their effect on human health.

When government workers, nurses, and aid agencies show up at schools and in communities, they have official titles, degrees, and warm smiles.  They easily convince the people to do what they are told. Lacking education and possessing a trusting nature, they go along, and they suffer  the consequences. With so many recent deaths and injuries resulting from the rampant administration of vaccines, perhaps this trusting nature will end.

 

 

The empty promises of technology

Driving home recently, I observed that  big, sleek new techno-gadget stores have been opening throughout the city almost weekly. The market for smart phones, tablets, phablets, and  laptops along with  all of their accessories is red- hot and shows no signs of slowing down. People just can’t get enough! Businessmen, housewives, teachers, students, teenagers, and parents with young  children in tow browse the stores, looking for the latest, hottest, hippest, and trendiest new device. No child is too young now to start playing on smart phones. “If they are old enough to walk and talk, they are old enough to have a smart phone,” is the new thinking among parents. Microwave radiation? Decreased attention spans? Addiction to games?  Diminished interest in books? Squashed imaginations?  Who cares!

What will be the outcome of this multi-media saturation, particularly on the young? A couple of weeks ago, I started reading “The Dumbest Generation,” by Mark Bauerlein (2008) . With meticulous research and citing  hundreds of studies, Mr. Bauerlein demolishes the arguments put forth by technocrats that  Millennials, who have abandoned reading as a leisure activity, are doing well academically and can learn everything they need to know through computers and video games. The academic and governmental studies  do not support the pollyannish claims by the technocracy that book reading is overrated as a foundation of education and that we (the adults) need not be concerned with the lack of interest shown in books  by teens and twentysomethings.

“The Dumbest Generation” is full of eye-popping statistics and charts. It resoundingly reaffirms what I have been observing for many years: that kids no longer want to read and are cut off from nature.

Bauerlein says, “The 10-year-old’s bedroom has become, as Kaiser puts it, a ‘multi-media center.’ Children leave the dinner table, which is often accompanied by network news, reruns of Seinfeld ,and other 6 P.M. fare, and head off to their rooms to turn on their own shows or crank up iTunes while poring over some homework. Bored with that, they can check a MySpace forum, or play Mortal Kombat, or look at school pictures. The long division exercises await while the computer dings a new email coming through, the cell phone buzzes with a new message, and Toomani comes on in half an hour. They never need exit their bedrooms doors, and in most households, parents won’t interrupt them. For 55 percent of the eight-to 10-year olds , parents don’t lay down any rules for TV. For older teens, only 5 percent have parents who set limits on the video games they can play. The private access continues outside the home too, with 55 percent of eight- to 18-year olds taking a handheld video game player with them, and 65 percent carrying a portable music player.”

The author goes on to analyze how school districts around the country (and around the world) have jumped on the ‘technology is more important than books’ bandwagon. Schools have borrowed money from wherever they can and siphoned money from other areas of their budgets to hard-wire the schools for the latest in technology, including computer labs, wi-fi and even laptops for the students. Administrators, principals and bureaucrats do all this in the name of education, in the naive hope that this technology will make students more ‘excited’ about learning and improve their literacy skills and test scores. The results show otherwise, but nevertheless the technocracy presses on.

In my school, we have a small library and a computer lab next to it. Which do you think students gravitate to? When class finishes and the student needs to wait 30 minutes for the parent to pick him up, does he grab a book from the library and sit down to read, or does he go to the computer lab to play video games? The answer is obvious. The books look pretty on the shelf, but they are unread and unappreciated. The school administrators allow the students to play games as long as they want, with no supervision. Nobody takes responsibility for the student who has time to kill, and the young ones especially get hypnotized for hours.

Ever since I was a young boy, I have been suspicious of machines and technology. Perhaps it’s some ancient Druidic blood running through my Norwegian/Viking veins, but my greatest pleasures growing up were always found in nature and in books. My fondest memories of childhood are the simple, direct, and intimate connections I had with the natural world- swimming in my neighbors pond, exploring the local creeks, catching frogs, climbing trees, lying on my back and counting stars, rolling on the grass, collecting wild berries in the woods, scrambling over giant boulders on the Potomac River, jumping into piles of leaves, sledding down hillsides, bodysurfing in the Atlantic on a hot summer day, making snowballs, and exploring caves. None of these activities requires a machine or gadget.

When computers started appearing in the 80s and became widespread in the 90s, I felt a palpable and growing unease. “I don’t like where all this is headed,” I said to my girlfriend at the time. When I read some of the breathless and hyperbolic rantings of the techno geeks in zines like Mondo 2000 and Wired in the mid to late 90s, I became VERY worried. These pasty-faced, pale-skinned and flabby-muscled computer geeks were telling me that the transhuman world was arriving quickly and that I had better get used to the idea. Their ideas and arguments sounded, and continue to sound, absurd to me, and yet a forceful response to the transhuman agenda was lacking. Only a few lonely voices raised objections, mostly found in obscure journals and periodicals.

I began to wonder if I was the only one feeling this unease, but fortunately I eventually found writers and intellectuals such as Kirkpatrick Sale (Rebels against the future) , Daniel Quinn (Ishmael) , Jerry Mander (In the Absence of the Sacred),  John Zerzan (Running on Emptiness) , Derrick Jensen ( A Language older than words) , Neil Postman (Technopoly) , and of course Thoreau. These writers are often described with many different terms, including but not limited to ‘anti-technology’ , ‘neo-luddite’, and ‘neo-primitve.’ But despite their differences, they all share a common distrust in the current pro-technology paradigm and the covert  trans-human agenda.

 

 

The smartphone is not a tool, it’s a drug

When it comes to smart phones, the question must be asked: who is the master and who is the slave?  Do you control your smart phone, or is it the other way around?

Although most owners of smart phones will laugh good-naturedly when queried about this and admit, “Yeah, I’m addicted to my iphone,” they are unwilling to look at the extent and ramifications of their addiction full in the face.

Most of my teenage students no longer bother to talk to one another before class, during breaks or after class. They file into the classroom one by one, take a seat as distant from the other students as possible, and then take out their gadgets and sullenly scroll thru the screen, thumbs working hard. Often, I will a half-dozen or more students in the room, and you can hear a pin drop, it is so silent. Nothing happening but eyes glued to screens.

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Less than 20 years ago when the first crude cell phones began appearing, there was at least some, but not much, discussion about when it was appropriate to interrupt a conversation to take a call. That brief discussion has ended and it is now taken for granted that it is permissible to answer the phone or a text message at any time, anywhere, for any reason.  It is acceptable to interrupt a deep and intense conversation between a mother/daughter, father/son, boss/employee, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friends, grandfather/grandson, husband/wife, and other relationship one can think of simply to answer a call. Sure, you can still ask, politely, for the person you are conversing with to put away their phone for the duration of the conversation, but be prepared for strange  and sometimes downright hostile looks from them.

Most of the phone carriers where I live in Southeast Asia do not provide voice messaging. There is nowhere for someone to leave a message if you do not answer the phone. But really, who needs such a service nowadays?  The phone is with you all the time, and when it rings you answer it. Period. If someone calls and you don’t pick up, they assume you have mysteriously disappeared or perhaps died. They don’t even follow up the missed call with a text message. The notion that someone might  purposely decline to answer a call is inconceivable to people now, especially the under-35 generation.

 

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It’s humorous to observe people when the phone is in their pocket or handbag and a call comes in. They  immediately spring into action, almost like they are in a fight-or-flight response. They appear to think that if the phone buzzes more than once or twice, it is an insult to the person who is calling.  There is nothing casual at all about the way they reach for their smartphone. Their master – the phone-  is calling, and they reach for it with the utmost sense of urgency.

The common scene now at restaurants, bars , and cafes is for hipsters and pseudo hipsters to have a whole arsenal of digital gadgets spread out on the table before them.  I recently sat across from a young twenty-something girl at a cafe who was so desperate to appear cool that she took no chances. She had not one, but two smartphones in front of her, plus a tablet. She hid her face behind oversized sunglasses and earphones. She chain smoked marlboro cigarettes and drank aspartame-laced Diet Coke. She had a notebook with some scribbles open on the table, but never once touched it. The Lost Generation on full display.

 

 

The NFL and CNN spearhead the charge to destroy grammar

Readers of George Orwell will recall that one of the primary methods to destroy people’s mental and intellectual capacity that he described  in his novel ‘1984’ was the destruction of language itself. Government in Orwell’s  dystopian future either removes all meaning from words and concepts or inverts them completely to mean the opposite of their true meaning. Hence, ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.’

It would make sense that governments and their globalist  overlords in the NWO would desire to destroy grammar and logic along with word meanings and concepts. Hence, we witness today the rapid degeneration of grammar in the media, academia, and politics.

A couple of years ago, I began to notice a trend in the media that has become so prevalent now that it is not even commented upon: the disappearance of the paragraph. Go to any online news story published by a mainstream media outlet or even an independent blogger and you see a never-ending sequence of one or two sentence paragraphs. The paragraph form that has been taught to students for countless generations, and which is still taught in most schools today, has been abandoned entirely. We teachers have always taught students that an average paragraph length is four to five sentences with some being shorter and some being longer. Now, so-called journalists, writers and bloggers just tap the space key after every sentence or two. Articles and stories have no rhythm, cohesion or flow. Sure, some of them have good information and some are even entertaining to read, but the lack of the paragraph and transitional phrases severely reduces an article’s readability  and illustrates  the undisciplined writing that is so widespread in news media today. In turn, this undisciplined writing feeds the dumbing down of the population.

Another extremely disturbing trend is the replacement of the past tense, past perfect and even future tense with the all-encompassing present tense. Again, I noticed this for the first time a couple of years ago, especially amongst sports commentators. Now, I see it everywhere in the mass news media, including old reliable CNN.  For example, instead of saying the grammatically correct, “If he had caught that ball, they would have won the game,” the commentator will simply say, “If he catches that ball, they win.” What the hell is that? Is it simple laziness, stupidity, or something more conspiratorial? Likewise, when discussing the future, instead of writing, “Will he return next year?”, journalists now write, “Does he return?” And another will respond, “Yes, I think he returns next year,” instead of “I think he WILL return next year.”

We’re now taking our grammar cues from these guys?

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I find it hard to believe that so many writers and journalists have forgotten the past and future tense so suddenly. Perhaps they are being told by their editors to ‘simplify’ their language so as to hold on to as many viewers and readers as possible. Regardless, the result is the same- a massive evisceration of grammar to go along with the destruction of words and concepts.

Another one that bothers me is the use of the ‘historical present.’ If you are not familiar with that term, this is when a writer or narrator will consistently use the simple present tense when describing a sequence of historical events. Some of my favorite historical documentaries use this convenience , and it perplexes me and bothers me to no end. What is the point of it? I surmise that the editors and writers feel that using the present tense gives their documentary a more visceral feel and immediacy  than using the  past tense,  but is that really true? Does it sound better to say, “As the battle rages, many soldiers die,” instead of “As the battle raged on, many soldiers died”?  For me, the use of the present tense here does nothing to heighten the impact of the sentence.

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Another strange recent trend is taking about oneself using the second person. It’s weird enough to use the third person, but the second person sounds especially bizarre. Athletes again are at the forefront of this trend. A reporter asks, “How do you feel about losing the game today?” and the athlete responds, “Well, YOU just do the best YOU can,,,,,,YOU go out and fight hard, and hope YOU get the result YOU want, but today it didn’t work out….”

Huh?

These are not the idle gripes of a ‘Grammar Nazi.’ These are issues that everyone who speaks English, cares about education, and follows the workings of the NWO should be concerned about. Grammar matters, as it is the foundation for logic and rhetoric which are in turn the building blocks for the Quadrivium:

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Don’t look now, but Monsanto is actually writing your child’s textbooks

Recently, I was browsing through my school’s library when I came across a biology textbook. It was printed in 1998 and appeared to be  a typical textbook used in high school biology courses around the world. Along with the usual chapters on cellular metabolism and the categorization of organisms, the book had a chapter on a subject which has been addressed many times on this blog: genetic engineering. I should not have been so surprised to find that Monsanto has inserted  its tentacles deeply into the education system. They certainly have the money, the power, and the political influence to do so. Still, I was shocked to observe how cleverly and seamlessly the GMO industry has been able to weave their propaganda into schools and universities.

The chapter on GMOs was almost exactly in the middle of the book which is a clever move when you think about it. The naive student reading the text will  infer that GMOs and genetic engineering have  been an acceptable part of the biology curriculum for a long time. Logically, such a chapter should be at the very end of the book, to say, ‘this is where biology is possibly heading…’

The chapter begins with the story of two biochemists, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer who, we are told, constructed a creature in 1973 which was part frog and part bacterium. Instead of pausing and questioning the obvious Frankenstein overtones of such experimenting, the authors simply ask ‘How did they do it’ ? and then proceed phlegmatically to give a dry explanation of the process.

 

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From here, the next few pages give  a more detailed explanation of the process of genetic engineering. Again, it’s all stated quite matter-of-factly and the blatant, if not exactly explicit, message is this: playing god with genetics and doing bizarre cross species transgenetics is good for humans and the planet.

Following the introduction into the nuts and bolts of genetic engineering, the corporatist scientists really drive the point home with sections on GMO drugs and ‘the new agriculture.’  Just in case you might have some qualms about all this, rest assured! The new class of drugs we can produce from this process can, we are promised, cure genetic disorders. We are shown two photos of cute, smiling children who were given ‘gene therapy.’ The text informs us, “Three years after their treatment, they both appear to be thriving.” Ya don’t say…

 

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Seriously, the entire chapter was no doubt written in a Monsanto PR firm. They then sent it to the publishing company as a ‘gift.’ They probably sent it with a note like, ‘A thoughtful, comprehensive, objective overview of genetic engineering, written by qualified scientists.’

The next section on agriculture is nothing more than an undisguised advertisement for GMO crops and Roundup weed killer. The textbook authors tell us that a recent ‘improvement’ in agriculture is the development of crops which are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, a ‘biodegradable’ weedkiller. This is pure Bullshit. Glyphosate is most certainly NOT biodegradable and there is no shortage of non-biased research on this. In fact, in 2009 a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying and false advertising by stating that glyphosate (roundup) was ‘biodegradable’ , ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘left the soil clean.’ A recent peer-reviewed study linked glyphosate to the following: autism, obesity, allergies, cardiovascular disease, infertility, Parkinson’s , Alzheimer’s and many more. By using terms like ‘herbicide’ and ‘weedkiller’, Monsanto hides the fact that this is a POISON. And a very deadly one at that. Food crops and poison do not go well together.

 

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The next page in the text states that ‘herbicide-resistant crops (i.e. Monsanto’s terminator seeds) are beneficial to the environment’ because fields don’t need to be weeded. Wow, I never knew weeding did so much damage to mother earth! Let’s get rid of that back breaking work once and for all! Now, all we have to do is drag a rope soaked with poison across the fields and voila! All the pesky weeds are gone and we are left with just the hardy GMO plant.

We the readers are reminded yet again that glyphosate is ‘quickly broken down’ in the environment. Then we are told that if we plant more GMOs, soil erosion will be greatly reduced as well since all that  cultivation we do to remove weeds is so damaging to the topsoil. Gee, I never knew..

What else can these wonderful new GMO crops do? Give us world peace? Make everyone happy? Cure racism?

Note that this text is 16 years old. I can only imagine what today’s texts look like. If you are a parent and you have not taken a look at your child’s biology textbook in a while, perhaps you should. If you are a student and you are unaware that your texts are being written by giant corporations who have no interest in impartial and objective  science and are lying through their teeth, then you need to wake up. Quickly. The number of blatant falsehoods I found in this one chapter makes me question what the rest of the text is filled with. Furthermore, it makes one pause to consider how ‘scientific truths’ are first promulgated,  become mainstream and then get passed along to subsequent generations. Whatever controversy accompanied the original theory is forgotten over time as opinion, speculation and theory become ‘fact.’

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http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx