Our Time

So proud we were when we were young,
So straight and tall and full of life.
But now those days are gone.
The world has turned,
and we have turned with it.
Where once the dance of life surrounded us,
now the weary steps of old age
have become our own footsteps.
Peace has given way.
The futility of life rises before us
Starkly, like a somber black cliff.
We gaze and do not understand.

Has the world darkened?
Is it the force of evil that celebrates?
Has wisdom been replaced with hatred?
Is it tomorrow that beckons us forward?
Has yesterday lost its grasp?
Is it sadness that walks the world,
masquerading as truth?
It matters not!

Our time is no longer our own.
It belongs to those in the past
and to yet unfulfilled imaginings.

Showmanship versus Leadership

This is an interesting watershed moment in the transition of the Trump presidency. Trump’s trip to Europe has brought forward certain characteristics which have a formative effect on his presence as leader of the USA on the world stage. There is much that is recognizable and defining.

Donald Trump’s Europe tour leaves leaders strangely shaken

What is most apparent is a form of American hucksterism that has not been seen in public for some time. This is classic Americana, but the pretensions of the past half century have erased much of America’s self-understanding. This is the land of fast food. This is the land of prefabricated malls and giant concrete parking lots. This is the land of making a quick buck. Culture has always been an afterthought.

And Trump’s behavior echoes all of this. Firing from the hip, he makes statements that only validate his absolute ignorance of how things work in the real world. His confusion about EU trade policy is frightening considering his life-long association with business and trade. But, this too, is a part of Americana; the taking of short-cuts to the top without doing your homework is a path followed by many.

The Empire Strikes Back

It’s interesting how, a full half year after the elections, the Deep State has still not accepted the results, and continues to use propaganda and smearing in an attempt at regime change.
Yep, regime change, right here in the good old USA.

Trump has done nothing unexpected. He has championed corporate interests, fought the environmental movement, and surrounded himself with cronies. Everyone expected these policy positions long before the election results. What is unexpected is how the Deep State is trying to smear him as “a Commie stooge.”
This is indicative of the greatest danger that America faces, the Deep State trying to regain control over the presidency, and hence, the country.

Both Bush and Obama were clearly Deep State players, with the growth of the surveillance state maximized during their tenures. And Clinton, with her war-hawks, was their choice this time around, but something unexpected happened. Clinton didn’t win. It is almost as if elections don’t matter when the Deep State doesn’t get its candidate in power.

Clearly, Trump is the epitome of US corporate greed. His entrepreneurship extends throughout his entire life.
But a Communist supporter? This is ridiculous.

It is only through media control that the Deep State has been able to float this balloon. And it is only through a very dumbed-down America that it gained credence and traction.

It is not Trump’s presidency that is at risk. It is the principles of democracy that are in the balance. Whether Trump is a disaster or a hero does not matter in the least. He is the elected president of the United States. And when the elected president is “at war” with his own intelligence services, it should be clear to all that the tail is wagging the dog.

And these intelligence services, with their shadowy leaders, have repeatedly lied to their own government about their activities and actions. There is no accountability.
“Who made that decision?”
“Sorry, that’s classified.”

And the result?
America now tortures people, on the flimsiest evidence, as a matter of policy.
America now bombs anyone, anywhere, without regard to borders, sovereign nations, or any of the other basic rules of civilization.
The decisions of our intelligence agencies goes against all American principles, as well as the principles of any civilized people.
This is the irony of the “lesser of two evils” dialogue that was floated during the last election.
It was Trump who was the lesser evil, and the greater evil has still not stopped hunting him.

Abuse

The most difficult thing that an abused person can do is to learn how to stop automatically being a victim. When a good opportunity for improving one’s situation comes along, it is nearly impossible for them to visualize themselves as succeeding in any fashion, and so, they never give themselves a chance.
And then, having been unable to see themselves positively, they may think that is the world that is hurting them, when really, it is the shadows of their own past – shadows with great substance attached to them, shadows that warp a person’s view and prevents them from seeing the world as benign, and as their own dark shadows from that abused past are not benign, so too the world they view.
When you have been hurt, it is difficult to let the world in. But if you do not let the world in, you remain unchanged and that means that your abusive past may still be with you, continuing to hurt you.
So a great challenge becomes how to give hope to the hopeless. How to retrain those thought patterns to accept success and happiness as possible results for the moments that you live.
These are difficult issues, and quick answers are all too likely unproductive. I speak from experience.
I was sexually abused as a child. It started with my mother, but over time, expanded to others – teenagers, women, men. I had multiple abusers over a several year period, and when it was discovered, I was treated by a psychiatrist in what was then a well-intentioned approach, simply to repress it and forget all about it – which my strong mind did until the age of 40, when after a decade of treatment, I finally recovered those early memories, and for the first time in my entire life, realized that I was not born a bad person, but that I was someone who had had a bad thing done to them.
This worldview change is what has separated the second half of my life from the first, and this realization is what separates the time of your life when you are an abuse victim from the time of your life when you are an abuse survivor. It is only as a survivor that you feel worthy enough to be with ‘normal’ people. And, even so, you realize that ‘normal’ is a place that you will never have a passport for.

The Last of that World

This is one of Todd Webb’s photographs.

It was taken in the Chataham Square station area, an old tenement neighborhood in New York City in 1946 after the end of World War 2. The cemetery is one of numerous local, and often ethnic, cemeteries that were “relocated” with the passage of time as the world they came from changed and was paved over and rebuilt.

One of the reasons we lose touch with the past is that it disappears. Those last few relatives of the local families who brought flowers or visited were the last remnants of that world. When they then passed, they were buried elsewhere as there was no room. Such was much of early city life removed, and those whose history vanished with it would never have believed that their very burial plots and the graveyards that contained them would be destroyed.

 

The Psychedelic Experience

It’s been 74 years since Albert Hoffman first ingested LSD. I also ingested LSD as well as psilocybin well over 200 times back in the ’60s and early ’70s. According to all the straight people around me at the time, this was going to ruin my mind. However, 20 years later I returned to college and got an honors degree from Harvard, something few, if any, of them could achieve. So much for straight people’s opinions.
One lesson to be learned here is that most people are full of bullshit and do not know what they are talking about.
Another lesson is the inherent gap between heightened consciousness and the lack of consciousness currently demonstrated by this country falling into chaos, war, and heroin usage. Old hippies, whether trust-fund hippies or poor as dirt hippies like me, are not the ones sticking needles into our arms, or calling for more bombings and deaths.
Note: LSD is a powerful experience. Due to this power, it is strongly advised to take care of ‘set and setting.’ This means eliminating unwanted interruptions during your ‘trip,’ which can disorient you from pleasant experiences to unpleasant experiences. Simple measures such as shutting off your cellphone and putting yourself in a relaxed, informal situation are usually sufficient.
The substance of mind-opening is that you discover your perceptual apparatus is merely one point on a spectrum of perceptions. As visual hallucinations come and go with a life of their own, while your mind remains aware and amazed, and familiar music generates new emotive responses, the awareness sinks in that the chemicals in our bodies are responsible for a lot of what we call ‘reality,’ and by altering that chemical balance we alter what we perceive as reality. And within this ‘greater reality’ is found a greater respect for human, animal, and plant life. This is reflected historically by the sudden growth of the environmental movement, woman’s lib, and civil rights awareness in the late ’60s, concurrent with psychedelic use and energized by that segment of society. Straight America scoffed at all this, lumping it into the phrase ‘hippy-dippy.’ And straight America got what it wanted. Today, the environment is in ruins, women are still making less money for the same work as men, and civil rights is now a historical term, with the government’s ability to spy on you eclipsing any notions of privacy or equality at all.

All this sadly reminds me of lyrics from an old Genesis song, “Firth of Fifth,”:
And so with gods and men
The sheep remain inside their pen
Though many times they’ve seen the way to leave

Now go look up “undinal” since it’s one of the words in this song.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/19/brain-scans-reveal-mind-opening-response-to-psychedelic-drug-trip-lsd-ketamine-psilocybin

That first spring day!

78 here … went out after lunch and sat in the sun for a while .. got a lot of ‘good to see you’ and such .. haven’t seen people in over a year … as an old guy, they wonder if I’ve passed .. small town Vermont life .. I love it

The End of the Line

This seems to be the end of the line for the ’60s peace movement, as those of us who were the impetus of that movement, like lights blinking out, begin to fade away.

It is difficult for many of us to view the world today and not have a sense of frustration, if not outright failure. America has become a war country, practicing eternal war, and worse than even that, we wage war on civilians, families, children, and we even bomb hospitals.

Such is the current manifestation of ‘The American Dream.’

And since, like the wise ancients before us, our most meaningful insights were shared in song, here is “End of the Line” by the Traveling Wilburys:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMVjToYOjbM

Buying the DEA

Yes, it can be done.

Consider: the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, with “no currently accepted medical use.”
But they allow their buddies at Insys to produce synthetic marijuana and classify that as a Schedule 2 drug, which is legal.

How much money passed hands for that to happen?

Did I mention Insys also illegally marketed Fentanyl, the opioid drug that has become a scourge to America?
With a track record like that, how could the DEA refuse them?

https://www.rt.com/usa/382254-dea-synthetic-marijuana-big-pharma/