The Corporation


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chinese whispers

"Chinese whispers" effect: every repetition and re-telling is liable to produce a change, however slight.
There is a story that, some 20 years after the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, admirers of the great man set out to record oral memories of what he had said and done. They talked to relatives, neighbors, servants and other close associates, carefully noting everything they were told. But when they came to put the oral archive together to make a coherent portrait they discovered that there were so many contradictions and discrepancies, particularly in the recollection of Lincoln's exact words, that it was impossible to produce a reliable account. The project was abandoned.
The problem is not new. The Greek historian Thucydides, writing in the fifth century BCE, described how he tackled the task of reporting the speeches made by various leaders in the Peloponnesian war:
"It has been difficult to recall precisely the words they actually spoke. This is the case whether they were speeches I myself heard or whether they were words reported to me from other sources. As a consequence, the various speakers were made to say what was appropriate, as it seemed to me, to the subject, although I attempted to stick as close as possible in every case to the general scope of the speech."
This needs to be remembered when someone is citing religion as their foundation for truth. Take Jesus of Nazarene, for example: Jesus spoke in one language, a local dialect of Aramaic, and the written record of what he said was made in another, Greek. Chinese whispers circulating around a room in a single language usually emerge with significant changes. Chinese whispers transmitted in a single language through two or more decades (earliest written reference of Jesus was Paul's letters around 50 CE. The four gospels were written starting in the 80s) are even more likely to emerge corrupted. How much more so, then, when the whispers originate in one language, rural and oral, and end up twenty years later in a quite different one, global and literary? By then it will surely be something of a miracle if they still convey the authentic gist and spirit, let alone the precise meaning and intonation, of the original.
When we read that Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God", we need to remember that we are reading a sixteenth century English rendering of what was considered by the translators to be the best version available of centuries old Greek texts, which themselves relied on someone's reported memory of what had been spoken twenty or more years earlier in an Aramaic dialect.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it! I understand it is hard to hear facts that contradict personal beliefs deeply rooted within a person, however, the search for truth is an arduous process and a surprising one. Beliefs can be debated. Facts can not.
(Referenced David Boulton's Who on Earth was Jesus?)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Debt Doldrums

Debt is a pretty scary thing these days. Scary because we all seem to be in it and the laws that once provided relief for consumers have largely shifted to the creditors. It's easy to get bogged down beneath stacks of bills, hostile phone calls and, worst of all, our personal shame at having accrued the debt. A shame that is constantly reinforced by images of "good" citizens as those who pay their bills on time, drive a shiny new leased car, spend Saturdays mowing the lawn of their mortgaged to the hilt suburban home, all while working a forty plus hour a week job that brings in $30,000 a year. Then there's the "bad" citizens, those that miss credit payments, live in apartments or worse yet communal housing, drive old (possibly rusty) cars, and (god-forbid) work part-time or not at all.
Here's the problem with these two images, they've been created by businesses who profit from people who conform to their agendas. They spend billions in advertising to trick you into believing that success comes in the form of an iPod, a Nintendo Wii and a Visa platinum card. They want you to keep getting up and clocking in at your barely minimum wage job and to keep making the minimum payments on all those credit cards because that is how they PROFIT. A profit that comes at your expense, but one that you readily participate in every single day. Even on the days when you feel depressed and suffocated by all of your bills, instead of looking at the source of those problems (i.e. companies that profit from maxing you out), you internalize and name yourself as the perpetrator of this crime. You're not the criminal!!! Say it. Because until you realize this simple truth, you will continue to devote your short time in this world to working your life away to pay for items that you were deceived into purchasing. It's not easy to recognize that many of the items that you feel distinguish you as an individual (clothes, DVDs, gadgets, car) were actually desires implanted in your brain by a company that paid a team of psychologists and advertisers to do just that. But it is the truth. Stop being a slave to a system that allows less than 1% of the population to accumulate over 35% of the wealth in America (for more info. on these numbers check Who Rules America: out These are very significant figures and in order to step out of this system you must educate yourself. That is the key to your liberation.
On that note, check out a documentary that my husband and I recently watched called Maxed Out (directed by James D. Scurlock); you can find it at your local library, video store or rent it on youtube. This video will make you angry; it will open your eyes to predatory lending and how lives are actually lost, yes lost, to these types of unethical business practices. Do this now, today, while the thought is fresh in your mind. Choose to step off the conveyor belt and take back your life and your money.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome to Reverse Brainwash

Undo the damage done to you by years of uninterrupted, psychologically calculated media programming. Find links to alternative media websites, activism calendar of events, and my own humble opinion.
Recently, my wife and I became committed to the idea of sharing knowledge to combat the spread of ignorance that is poisoning mankind.
It is time for a shift in mental paradigm. We must stop asking for answers to questions that have no clear solution, and instead start changing the questions we are asking. Is the idea of the connotation of what socialism really is the only barrier to the possible passing of a bill that would, for the first time in our country's history, guarantee equal access to quality medical care? We need to shift the focus. We are now a globally interconnected world and cannot deny the consequences our actions make on the planet as a whole. We need a new approach and new ideas to lead the way. We need to stop labelling ourselves and categorizing ourselves against each other and instead realize we are one people, one race, with one planet left that needs saving. The old notion of accumulate as much as possible at any cost has run its course. We are now living in a time of transition. We will be history's before and after point of reference.
Educate yourself and act. That is our new creed. Take it upon yourself and 'Be the change you wish to see in the world'- Ghandi.