Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Trauma and psychopathy

Having made poverty from plenty
Pomposity from prestige
Profit from prohibition
Poison from the beneficial
Propaganda from pestilent presumptions
And but petty pay-checks from the proper profit of diversity,
Puerile pederast preachers and politicians proclaim
The propriety of their perverse demands for deference and praise

If psychopathy involves peculiar brain chemistry &/or structures, as apparently has been demonstrated, do we know which came first, the psychological proclivities and condition, or the physical manifestations of them? I’m not at all sure we do; we do not yet understand the root of the condition.
When I was young, academicians still argued Mendel vs Lamarck. Now we are learning of epigenetic contributions to inheritance and inter-generational physical (and emotional) changes. It has been demonstrated clearly that trauma can generate epigenetic changes. These changes are surely, to some extent anyway, adaptive. The organism responds to trauma as if with hope that it can avoid similar trauma for its progeny. Of course, confidence can be diminished by trauma, even in subsequent generations, and this doesn’t seem to be a genetic advantage, but perhaps the brash bravery of psychopaths is only sometimes an advantage, and sometimes its opposite is.
Psychopathic individuals display deceitfulness, impulsivity, recklessness and lack of remorse. They’re pathological liars with superficial charm, extreme arrogance and compulsive need to control situations and people. These symptoms reflect an overall lack of fear, perhaps resultant from abnormal functioning of the amygdala. Psychopathic offenders show deficits in ability to use threat-relevant information to inhibit inappropriate behavior. They display smaller electrodermal responses to many negative stimuli.
The amygdale, a part of the brain which appears t process emotion, is part of the paleomammalian brain, not the “reptilian” Medulla oblongata at the top of the spine (which is ‘pre-verbal’ and sends automatic chemical and electrical orders out to the rest of the brain and body).
The terms ‘psychopathy’ and ‘sociopathy’ are sometimes taken differently, with sociopaths seen to have a sense of morality. But, although a sense of morality is still present, it allows for circumstances that devalue life. A sociopath is capable of empathy for a cause or an ideology (or a person who represents them), but can prevent themselves from empathizing with any their ideology devalues. A psychopath, as we have seen, has a diminished capacity for empathy that results from their brain not developing correctly. Psychopaths tend to not have a sense of morality. Or so some claim.
Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) used the term insanity without delirium to describe behavior marked by complete remorselessness. A psychopath came to be seen as an intelligent person characterized by poverty of emotions, with no sense of shame, who is manipulative, irresponsible, and inadequately motivated. The psychopath is unfamiliar with the primary facts or data that might be called personal values, and is incapable of understanding them (despite a tendency to practice mimicking the exhibition of values as noticed in others). Psychopaths have little or no interest in the tragedy or joy or striving of other humans as presented in serious literature or art, and is similarly indifferent to these matters in life itself. Such individuals execute well-designed strategies, a necessary feature of psychological adaptations, which have a tendency to be nepotistic - providing aid to close genealogical kin and/or sparing them from harm. Psychopathic individuals might or might not aggress against kin, depending on circumstances.
Psychopathy may arise in part due to selection for social dominance (and possibly mating effort); it isn’t psychopathy itself, but dominance (combined with mating effort) that confers adaptive advantage. Hence, “nepotism” and other “pro-social behavior” displayed by psychopathic individuals is likely a function of dominance as opposed to a care-giving system. Most psychopaths are not violent, and perhaps they victimize kin more often in non-violent ways; even if psychopaths do less often violently harm kin, that’s not the same as giving aid to them.

Being as some of the most influential individuals in history, including Alexander of Macedon, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Henry VIII Alex Hamilton, Winston Churchill, and JFK, can be seen as amoral, morality as social convention merits discussion. Most people accept the killing of other people as occasionally, at least, justified, and most great leaders have sanctioned indeed ordered, violent killings. Mohandas Gandhi didn’t, but he’s certainly been accused of amorality. On the other hand, how much Mussolini, Franco, Tito and others of similar ilk showed real leadership can also be questioned. Were Alcibiades, Mark Anthony, Andrew Jackson or Charles de Gaulle really more than opportunists? The term ‘opportunist weed’ always bothered me: nothing thrives without opportunity. But most of us think we can recognize evil.

We often pretend that if we put a name to something, label it, we know it, understand what it is, even have power over it. If we identify a condition, then we can combat it. To know your enemy, first find that enemy’s name, or identifying characteristics. What is defined can be contained (maybe).
Well, psychopathy, narcissism, egocentrism, ethnocentrism or whatever are only parts of amorality, of readiness to sacrifice others for the cause of what seems good for oneself. Often it’s just short-sightedness, or over-involvement in some dynamic (group identification, feelings of religious reverence, sense of moral propriety or even, amazingly, dedication to fashion). There being no bedrock fulcrum and lever basis to moral comprehension despite so many teachings to the contrary, we must go with somewhat fragile constructs like empathy, respect for life, mercy, charity, honor, honesty or maybe integrity. Not a lot to stand on, really, little more than an “I know it when I see it” kind of thing.
But we d know when someone is out of control, being irresponsible, selfish, self-centered, mean, petty or cruel. Not all the cues or clues are verbal: body language, pheromones and other smells, witness of pain inflicted, maybe even some much more subtle things, can tell us a lot sometimes even save a life.
But in the face of social hierarchy and pecking order, much of that seems to fall away. We submit, rationalize or just accept, become all but as bad through implication and association. It’s normal, but it’s not good.
We’re social, and some are stronger or more capable than others. To break away can be pretty darn scary and dangerous.
We need checks and balances, guards to guard the guards’ guards… It’s tricky. Like so much of life. And we’ve been lulled, spoiled, hypnotized maybe…
Some of us, certainly, are overcoming the effects of trauma.

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Modern Controversial Myths and Legends

Favorite Modern Controversial Myths and Legends:

The moon landings – supposedly a recent Chinese exploration found no evidence of them . To reach the Moon, spacecraft must pass through regions of intense ionizing radiation called Van Allen radiation belts; the principle danger of the Van Allen belts is high-energy protons, which are not that difficult to shield against. Apollo navigators plotted a course through the thinnest parts of the belts and arranged for the spacecraft to pass through them quickly, limiting the exposure, but it’s claimed that NASA now believes that traveling through the belts will kill passengers of any craft with just the shielding they know how to provide. This is rebutted by claims that whole-body exposure from belt passage is roughly the same as a chest x-ray, and exposure for an entire moon trip is the same as from one to three mammograms, or half the annual exposure of residents of Denver CO.

JFK assassination – sealed Warren Commission report, in 1979, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”

Jet stream cloud seeding and ChemTrails - chemicals deliberately sprayed into the air by jets

Bilderberger Lizard people new world order conspiracy

Global warming, climate change and human environmental impact

Christians are Christian. Well, many Christians are Christian, but in the USA, maybe half are bitter, vindictive haters, vehemently opposed to about everything Jesus is reputed to have preached for in the "Sermon on the Mount" - it's become mixed with White Supremacy and support for Trump, gun advocacy, oppression of women and the poor, and self-defeating nationalism.

Organ theft – I saw on a Steven Segal TV show a bunch of harvested organs in a beer cooler. Made sense to someone I guess

GMOs save the world - GMO foods have been consumed in American for over 15 years. Though no adverse effects have been noted this is not the same as being proven safe. It means no causal link has been established between GMO consumption and a specific disease. GMO foods are mainly found in corn, sugar, canola and soy products, and this includes many cereal products, tortilla chips and protein bars which contain GMO ingredients. It is also contested that aspartame, riboflavin, beta-carotene and glucose could be derived from GMO corn and added to many products. There is huge controversy over the issue in the U.S.A, particularly over whether foods containing GMO ingredients should be labeled or not. It is without question that the tactics used by the main producer of GMO foods and science, Monsanto, are questionable at best. There is also question over whether GMO foods are bad for the environment. GMO foods are made to be resistant to roundup/glyphosate, a weed killer produced by Monsanto. There has been a 10 fold increase in the use of roundup in the past 15 years, and Monsanto are the only company who have the seeds for roundup resistant crops. The increased use of roundup could affect crops and find its way into the food supply. This has also created hyper weeds which are resistant to roundup, and many organic and small time farmers are now struggling against these super weeds.

Vaccinations and inoculations – some believe that the shots actually make our immune systems weaker as they make us more dependent on them than ourselves. Our bodies are naturally designed to fight viruses and bacteria and to keep our bodies from doing this makes our natural immune system weaker. A human given vaccines for a variety of different diseases will result in a weakened human overall.

Abiotic oil and loss of subterranean cooling system - popularized by books such as Thomas Gold’s Deep Hot Biosphere. rapidly rising streams of compressed methane gas reach the crust from the mantle, and when they strike pockets of high temperature they condense into heavier hydrocarbons like crude oil.

WTC 911 - the collapse of the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center were the result of a controlled demolition rather than structural failure due to impact and fire.

Water fluoridation – fluoride, a neurotoxic chemical found in industrial waste as a byproduct of aluminum extraction, had no use until it was noticed that it dumbs down mental capabilities (as does aluminum). There is evidence to support that fluoride is not at all related to the prevention of tooth decay. Children who drink fluoride have lower IQs than those whose water is not fluoridated. Many studies have confirmed it ineffective in preventing cavities. Fluoride is absolutely toxic, should not be consumed by anyone, and there’s a clear and established link between lower IQ and fluoridation levels.

MK-Ultra - a CIA experiment in behavioral programming and engineering, from 1953 to 1973. Experiments conducted on unwitting humans and children included torture, verbal and sexual abuse, electrical and chemical shock, the effects of stress on humans, interrogation techniques, subsonic and vibrational disorientation, drugs, radiation, genetic research, brainwashing, the use of prostitutes by agents, gases and poisons. The US government has also done other chemical and biological experiments on unsuspecting members of its populace, with some instances well documented.

BigPharma: many conspiracy theories revolve around pharmaceutical companies and their in profiting by keeping people sick and dependent on their drugs (rather than actually curing their illnesses). Moreover, pharmaceutical companies are also said to invent and brand many things that are not diseases or disorders and then create the treatments to generate a steady income stream of people treating non-existent or greatly exaggerated diseases. It’s also said that many drug companies work with the government to create monopolies and raise the entry-barriers for smaller drug companies to compete, by making it tricky for smaller companies to introduce a superior products (particularly by limited issuance of approval from the FDA and other government agencies).

Deliberate Dumbing Down of Education - For decades the school systems throughout the US and other countries have dramatically declined. It seems to be in the best interest of people in power to have a population smart enough to work as a slave, but not smart enough to free themselves from bondage. Many schools focus on treating children like robots; most focus on memorization rather than creativity. Schools teach children what to think as opposed to how to think. As a result children grow up to be much more docile towards taking orders and going with the flow. People less likely to question their reality or their government are much, much more easily manipulated.

These stories result from well-merited mistrust of government, which does little or nothing to fix that problem.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

The Many Loves of Dobie, er, Olympian Zeus

In Book 14 of the Iliad, under the influence of a love potion administered by Hera, Zeus sweet talks at her, amorously mentioning seven other lovers he currently sees her as much more desirable than. The silver-tongued stud!
But his candor was limited – much went unmentioned. Bright-sky father, patron of hospitality, enforcer of oaths and honest business, King of Olympus and supreme ruler of the gods, although married to his sister Hera (goddess of marriage and monogamy), Zeus had many sexual dalliances: first with Niobe (Nioba, from southern Greece)), and later also with Aegina (Aigina), Alcmena (Alcmene, mother of Hercules), Antiope (perhaps by force, at any rate, as a satyr; resultant twins were exposed, i.e. left out to die), Calliope, Callisto (an Amazon from Arkadia in southern Greece, whom Zeus seduced while in the form of Artemis ), Cassiopea (from Crete), Dia, Demeter, Dione, Elara (or Elare, a princess from central Greece), Eurymedousa (a princess from northern Greece), Europa, Io (Hera’s priestess), Kalyke (Calyce, mother by him of Endymion, also from southern Greece), Themis, Thyia, Eurynome, Lamia (from north Africa), Laodemia (from Asia Minor, mother of Sharpedon), Leda (by whom, Helen of Troy and Polydeuces), Leto (mother of twins Apollo and Artemis), Mnemosyne, Hybris, Olympias (mother of Alexander the Great!), Persephone, Pandora, Phthia, Protogencia, Pyrrha, Danaë (mother of Perseus), Selene and Semele (producing Dionysus). Metis, the goddess of prudence, was Zeus’s first love; he swallowed her. When Zeus had an affair with his aunt Mnemosyne, he coupled with her for nine nights. This scenario produced nine daughters, who became known as the Muses.
Demeter, Alcmene, Semele, Io, Themis, Eurynome and Metis he married. He has sex with his daughter Aphrodite and thus produced Priapos, a deformed God who had the shape of a penis.
He fucked Goddesses Aix, Deino, his sister Demeter (by rape, which produced Persephone, whom he also raped, producing an elder Dionysus, whom the Titans killed – according to Orphic myth), Dione (mother of Aphrodite), Himalia, Hora, Callirhoe, Carme, Maia (mother of Hermes), Othreis, Plouto, Sinope, Thaleia, a nymph from Africa (unnamed), and his grandmother/great-grandmother Gaea (twice!), accidentally (!) impregnating her. It was Gaea who warned Zeus, in a replay of the main Cronus story, that a son would one day displace him. As his then-wife Metis was pregnant, he swallowed her, as his father Cronus had swallowed his elder siblings (Homer places Zeus as ‘first-born’). Swallowing his wife seems to have given him a headache; from his split-open head Athena then sprang (fully armed). Zeus then married Themis, a Titan, mother of the Seasons and Fates.
Zeus fell in love easily and had many affairs with various women, however he would severely punish anybody who attempted to escort/fall in love with his wife Hera – like the giant Porphyrion who took a lightning bolt from the enraged god for lusting after his wife (albeit with a little help from the love god Eros). He also had a boy called Ganymede, a Trojan prince, who was so beautiful that Zeus abducted him from his cradle by taking the form of an eagle.
Some Mythologists hole that stories of Zeus’ infidelities were inspired by tales of patriarchal institutions overpowering ancient matriarchies around the Mediterranean. While patriarchy insisted on an all-powerful father figure, matriarchal systems were comfortable with many autonomous local goddesses, who later became the nymphs and mortal princesses ravished by Zeus in Greek lore. The stories also indicate the rise of marriage as an institution in ancient Greek society, and the demand of women to tame the polygamous desires of men.
Allegory, amalgamation of older stories, meta-memory, instruction, amusement, and entertainment in the manner of pageantry, all were surely involved in the evolution of the tales.
Maybe the legends were just an early form of surrealism, like Coney Island style fun-house mirrors.

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