Monday, 31 December 2012

Awakening Within a Network of Mutuality

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." 
-Martin Luther King Jr.

If it is awakening or spiritual elevation we wish to attain, we must stop living only for ourselves and start living for others, work not only for our own pleasure, comfort, security, and self-image, but work for the liberation of all people from slavery and oppression.

There is no other work to be done, and all "spiritual work" done without this intention is inherently selfish and ultimately self-defeating.

All effort toward our own awakening and spiritual elevation is exerted in vain, in vanity, if not aimed at working for the benefit of others. It is easy for us to rationalize our vain concepts of our spiritual work on ourselves as “work for others,” though, if we truly examine our motives, we may see we are actually more concerned with things such as financial prosperity, fame and prestige, and simple personal comfort. We may also see that we are not actually working to improve our own spiritual condition, but merely rearranging our concepts of who and what we are, in order to suit our emotional disposition, focusing on “our wounds” (and our entitlements) without understanding the context in which these wounds are created, a context which affects and wounds every living being on this planet. Believing ourselves to be spiritual, we couch our personal pursuits in spiritual language and give them the appearance of being selflessly aimed.

“We know that one of the most unpleasant aspects of human behavior is the fact that sapiens lies to himself with astounding frequency. His lies are so astute, subtle, and perfect, that he may waste many years of his life, only to discover that he was being cheated and he himself was the charlatan. The object of this self-deception has been very precisely identified by psychology, and generally refers to the individual's need for a high level of self-esteem. 
There are many techniques for self-deception and these are grouped under the general category of "rationalization." Professor Gordon Allport gives this definition: "Reason fits one's impulses and beliefs to the world of reality; rationalization fits one's concept of reality to one's impulses and beliefs. Reasoning reveals the real causes of our actions, and rationalization finds good reasons, to justify them." 
-John Baines, "The Stellar Man"

In order for any work for others, toward their liberation, to be effective, rightly aimed and concentrated, we must understand that we ourselves are not free or fully awake. Though, this is an unpopular concept, the denial of which is precisely what keeps us from waking up and becoming free.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” 
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are told by those who wish to justify their apathy toward the human condition and, in many cases, who wish to take our money, that everything is perfect as it is, that we are perfect in our imperfection. We are then permitted to believe that awakening implies no necessity for us to work on ourselves or change. Many of us, whose consciences are sporadically active, will attempt to “help others,” but this “help” tends to be tainted by our own vanity, attempting to mold the world into our own deluded self-image. As we are now, we see no real reason to work on ourselves, except to avoid our own current emotional suffering.

We don’t realize that working only to resolve our own emotional suffering will not deliver us to any more spiritually or morally elevated state than we currently occupy. So instead of working on ourselves sincerely, doing the hard work of impartial introspection and self-correction, we take “medicines” (drugs) of the mind, be they even as apparently innocuous as meditation. Understanding the critical role cognitive dissonance plays in our self-perpetuating delusion and oppression, we also come to understand that beliefs, themselves, are usually drugs, tools of rationalization. We do everything in our feeble power not to look at objective reality. We spend decades of our lives completely detached from reality. An example of the reality I’m speaking of is that the computer you’re reading this on was produced by slave labor - and the usual definition of slavery has only to be broadened marginally to make my statement precise. If you look, you will see, and you will be horrified. At this point, many will tune out, taking comfort in their belief that all that is required to be spiritual is to avoid anything unpleasant, to remain constantly blissful. How calloused our hearts are, how pathetically meek and insecure we are in the face of reality.

The necessity for any human being to work on their self is only realized through sharp and inescapably painful contact with the reality of our fellow people – to whom we are each spiritually connected, if we know at all what love is – who endure tortures and degradation we can not even imagine. 

Notice that “the Buddha” did not start working on himself, seeking truth, redeeming his own ignorance and apathy, until he saw what common people endured. Had he been influenced by the types of pseudo-spirituality we are, he would have thought it perfectly sufficient and even superior for himself to remain a prince, sheltered in an ivory tower, with every pleasure a human being could imagine. How many of us mistake ourselves for royalty, living in imaginary castles, or work toward placing ourselves in one, in some fantastic future in which all negativity is magically resolved?

If we want to awaken, we must actually work on ourselves, and in order for us to recognize the necessity for this work, not just in theory, we must see how our personal suffering, as well as our luxury, is tied directly (remember your computer) to the inhuman conditions faced by a majority of human beings on our planet.

What is required is for something, some event, to break through our layer of egoistic indifference, our heavily programmed personality bubble that, if we are honest with ourselves, doesn’t really care that much about people suffering in the world. If we are further honest with ourselves, we will recognize that our personality is not actually who we are. Understanding this, being able to distinguish between our personality and our essence, is essential to awakening. To awaken, our character structure must split open and begin to dissolve, to reveal that which is essential in us – that which doesn’t even want to identify with the nonsense we usually take to be who we are. We must be willing to witness ourselves, to witness and feel the pain of our human family, recognizing our intrinsic connection to all human beings, and therefore all human suffering.

What we tend to ignore is that the relationship between our conveniently neurotic lives to the suffering of the slave class is reciprocal - though it would require too many words to explain this fully right now. In a relatively obvious way, being of a privileged class, we reflect the cause of the suffering of the laborers. Though, taking a slightly wider view, we are all suffering from a common malady, a common infectious and parasitic culture. Understanding this, beyond shallow intellectual agreement or disagreement, requires looking and studying; studying ourselves (rather than pacifying ourselves), and studying the nature of the world.

We don’t do this, primarily because we are "on drugs." It has been said that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” Opiates are pain killers, which cause euphoric apathy and morbid dependence. The new religion of “positive thinking” and “self-love” is the most advanced religion yet invented, as it burdens nobody with moral doctrine or responsibility toward others. Of course, it preaches “love” toward others, but this love is a passive and symbolic love, a convenient love that need not be acted upon, that need not disturb our inertia and comfort.

The new religion is built upon self-affirmation, and therefore generates high levels of self-esteem, which is perhaps the greatest opiate of all.  As suffering in the world is “negative,” new religion advises against giving one’s attention to it. To acknowledge negativity is taken as being “non-spiritual.” Instead, one is instructed to focus on their own happiness, excluding from awareness anything that might bring down their emotional high. This is exactly why people are not going to wake up or “ascend.” Religion is the most insidious means of social control, as it disallows exactly what it promises to provide - liberation. New Age doctrines of self-comforting belief are the most insidious of all historical belief systems, as they promise something for nothing. We must all have the maturity to recognize that nothing worth having is gained without effort, or without a price to pay.

People who argue that they are already fully awake, who are satisfied with shallow promises of automatic ascension, or who imagine in their naive arrogance they have the solutions to the world’s problems, though they actually have little understanding of themselves or the world, are “free” to live in their own imagination lands – where they will function just as intended, as cogs in the machine. Though, for the sake of all humanity, it is advised and requested that they stop making any effort to help people or to change the world. I know this sounds extreme, but is it extreme to question our every intention and merit when we presume ourselves to be altering reality for other people?  Deluded people with 'good intentions' can do really stupid and damaging things. Trust me, I have, myself. We all buy our own lies, and try to sell them to others, till we realize they are empty.

Awakening, rather than meaning 'to transcend,' means precisely to be AWARE, aware of the entire condition of things, progressively more, until one reaches the level of absolute awareness. Absolute awareness is a goal beyond any of our purview, in our current incarnations, despite what certain New Age “thought leaders” (need I name names?) currently claim for themselves. Though, however far from our reach absolute awareness is, there is no reason not to make effort toward it, starting from exactly where we are, which is essentially a somnambulistic (sleep-walking) state.  We operate almost entirely mechanically (without volition), and if you look, you will see this.

Our efforts, currently, should be realistic. In reality, the vast majority of us are unable to sustain momentary self-awareness, undiluted by reflective thoughts, analysis and self-comforting rationalization (or self-abusive degradation), for more than a few seconds. Recognizing the difficulty of clear, impartial sight, and our constant state of self-deception is the first step - a step most people will never make. Our first effort should be toward practicing self-awareness, as frequently as possible. This skill is not automatic, but gained through practice.  In order to look, we must first learn to look, to develop the “muscle,” which has atrophied in us since birth. The most effective way I have discovered to do this is the dual practice of “self-observing” and “self-remembering,” as taught by Gurdjieff. Those with the will and awareness required will investigate this practice for themselves. Others will take the convenient path of believing they already know what is meant by these terms and will therefore never actually know. (Belief often precludes knowledge.) “Self-observing” and “self-remembering” inherently involve “non-identification,” a term which provides one of the greatest clues for awakening I am aware of.

Equally important to awakening is the necessity of learning to look at the world, to look at the things we fear looking at, objectively and impartially. This task is as difficult and as necessary as looking at oneself objectively. Again, it requires learning to look, to maintain focus without looking away. Seeing oneself and seeing the world objectively is the beginning of the work of awakening and, truly, the beginning of “beingness.” Without being consciously connected to a reality greater than ourselves, we are living only in delusion, and therefore one could say that, rather than “being,” we “are not.”

But nobody recognizes the need to do this kind of work without first being unmistakable and painfully struck by the horror of the world, the horror of human suffering, and equally the horror of one’s own self-delusion.

“When a man begins to know himself a little he will see in himself many things that are bound to horrify him. So long as man is not horrified at himself, he knows nothing about himself.” 

-P.D. Ouspensky

The same could be said for knowing the world. If we choose to look away from one aspect of reality, we are, in truth, denying all of reality.

Seeing and feeling the terror and pain of the world, if we keep our eyes and hearts open long enough, we are able to recognize that we feel the world’s pain because we are the world. This is the reality of “oneness” in our terrestrial incarnations. To even catch a glimpse of this larger reality, as it applies to our physical, material lives, is horrifying and painful.  Sometimes, a person will first be horrified with their self, finding out that they are not at all who or what they thought they were. This is just as terrifying as realizing that expendable child sex slaves are a common commodity of the elite and that somebody may have died from the glue they applied to the back of your iPhone screen (this is information I gathered from an inside source, close to a Foxconn executive. Foxconn infamously manufactures iPads and iPhones at slave-like labor camps). Only those with strength and potential for awakening will not look away. The rest will continue sleeping.

Objectively, while the aforementioned horrors of reality are indeed negative in the context of human life, you recognizing them and feeling something about them is actually quite positive. Many of us feel actually quite hopeful when you get sick to your stomach for the first time, when you fall to the floor in grief that isn’t about YOU. The day you recognize, viscerally, something larger than yourself, is a happy day for humanity.  It is the day your spiritual work, working on yourself and working for the world, can begin.  So, being positive isn’t just about generating positive emotional states or getting what YOU want (what your personality wants). Nor is it just about pointing out everything negative in the world. Being positive is about doing positive work for the world, not just for yourself. And in order to do this work effectively, one must be able to see and feel the world, in all its ugliness and in its beauty; see and feel oneself, in all one’s ugliness and all one's beauty; and not look away.

Neo wakes up in "the real world."  What he sees is horrific.  His work begins.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Thanks and Praise (to the Creator)

Thanks and Praise to the Creator.
Above all things, life is greater.
Thanks and Praise to the Creator.
And learn to respect Mother Nature.

Thanks and Praise to the Creator.
Above all things, life is greater.
Thanks and Praise to the Creator.

Keep on playing music, Operator.

Verse 1:
You’re so right: forever blessed, this is the togetherness.
Found it’s interest; true that it going on forever, yes.
Watch the marketing, look at who they’re targeting.
I been out there in the streets - performing
We’re obsessed about the music, and the warning:
One day, one day, Babylon will be falling.

Weeping and dreary for the night,
but joy come in the morning.
I bust the window, fly my curtains, Sun is shining on
Birds in the garden, children playing in the lawn.
Love, that’s what we need, and stop all the war.
Listen to the music as you go.
You’re gonna reach far!
I know that you’re a staaaar!


Done so much for you, respect of the ranks.
There you go turning your back, not even saying thanks.
Brutish fool, no they don’t stand a chance.
Don’t forget where you come from. I’ll only tell you once.

Minerals of the earth might cause your anxiety.
Not for silver nor gold, don’t turn on humanity.
All things shall fade, as long as it’s vanity.
No! I’m not telling you no profanity.
Store up your riches in Zion!
That way they just can’t be rust[ed] or gather dust like no iron.
Hail up the conquering lion!
Most high Jah, you’re the only one we can rely on.


Bridge: Whoa oooh oooh oh oooh oooh oh ooooh
ooooh oooh, oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
Yaaaayyyyyyy!!! Yeah ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!
Save for a rainy day.
It’s just another day WHA!!!!!
Prepare for the day, like no other day.
That’s what I say.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Babylon System

We refuse to be
What you wanted us to be.
We are what we are:
That's the way (way) it's going to be. If you don't know!
You can't educate I
For no equal opportunity:
(Talkin' 'bout my freedom) Talkin' 'bout my freedom,
People freedom (freedom) and liberty!
Yeah, we've been trodding on the winepress much too long:
Rebel, rebel!
Yes, we've been trodding on the winepress much too long:
Rebel, rebel!

Babylon system is the vampire, yea! (vampire)
Suckin' the children day by day, yeah!
Me say: de Babylon system is the vampire, falling empire,
Suckin' the blood of the sufferers, yea-ea-ea-ea-e-ah!
Building church and university, wo-o-ooh, yeah! -
Deceiving the people continually, yea-ea!
Me say them graduatin' thieves and murderers;
Look out now: they suckin' the blood of the sufferers (sufferers).
Yea-ea-ea! (sufferers)

Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth right now!
Come on and tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth;
Come on and tell the children the truth.

'Cause - 'cause we've been trodding on ya winepress much too long:
Rebel, rebel!
And we've been taken for granted much too long:
Rebel, rebel now!

(Trodding on the winepress) Trodding on the winepress (rebel):
got to rebel, y'all (rebel)!
We've been trodding on the winepress much too long - ye-e-ah! (rebel)
Yea-e-ah! (rebel) Yeah! Yeah!

From the very day we left the shores (trodding on the winepress)
Of our Father's land (rebel),
We've been trampled on (rebel),
Oh now! (we've been oppressed, yeah!) Lord, Lord, go to ...

[*Sleeve notes continue:
Now we know everything we got to rebel
Somebody got to pay for the work
We've done, rebel.]

-Bob Marley

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

UFOs, Aliens, and the Question of Contact: Documentary

If you've ever wondered what's really going on with the 'alien' situation, or if you now wonder why you haven't wondered more, here may be some answers to your wonderings.

This is a well-made, honest overview of what we 'know' about people's experiences with 'aliens,' and why we should care.  For good reason, what can be scientifically verified is admittedly not much. However, the picture that comes into view, if we have the eyes (and heart) to look, contains very important information for us to consider.

With even a cursory understanding of what's happening, it is clear that there is some urgency for people to start waking up to the reality of our situation, with regard to our elusive...err...well, what would you call them?

Parts 1 - 8 (of 8) will play in succession:

Full video in higher quality here, with a list of further resources, etc. (original source):

Note: If you're a shallow white person, like me, every instance of the misuse of the words "phenomena" and "phenomenon" in the voice over may jump out and smack you in the head (and may even cause you to question the information's validity), but please don't let this or any other grammar errors detract from your confidence in the author's reasoning capabilities.  He's actually a brilliant thinker and researcher, and I think his work speaks for itself.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

☳ Shaking: The Unavoidable ☳

Miyagai Prefecture, March 11, 2011. 8.9 - 9.1 magnitude earthquake.
"When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted." -I Ching; 51 (Shock) Wilhelm-Baynes

I read a book a few years ago, called "The Unthinkable; Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why," by Time magazine writer Amanda Ripley, which analyzes the experiences of survivors of some of the most shocking and tragic events of our time and the last century, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, fires and shipwrecks. The basic conclusion of the book is that people respond to disasters and tragedies, during and after, according to two things: their general psychodynamic structure, which is still poorly understood, and their training and preparation, which is very well understood.

Unprepared people respond to acutely terrifying events poorly, often doing the wrong thing, and just as frequently doing nothing at all, like a "deer in headlights." If you saw them in a movie, you'd be yelling at them, "run, run!," or whatever the obviously logical thing would be to do. Ripley's research shows that people without training psychologically freeze when they are terrified, and often miss their opportunities to save themselves, and sometimes others, because they do nothing, paralyzed by fear.  However, people who have already thought through a situation, who have thought through the unthinkable, and even more so people who have been thoroughly trained to deal with a situation, have a distinct survival advantage over those with no psychological or physical training.


The reason soldiers (and police officers) are required to drill, drill, drill; to fight, to use their weapons, run long distances, and often to endure grueling conditions, is because military trainers have long known that during war, which, taken as a whole, is probably the most frightening and gruesome of human experiences, if soldiers are not thoroughly trained, the physical and psychological effects of fear will overtake them, and they will become useless, surrendering or being killed.

A martial artist in a fight, likewise, responds physically through their trained responses, and they remain psychologically stable throughout the event; as does a well-trained athlete in a sports game. A serious student knows that an exam can be a stressful situation, with real consequences, but that, if they are prepared, despite feeling fear in their body, they will respond correctly from their training, rather than suffering unnecessary stress and confusion, and consequent failure. Of course, the concept is simple and logical. Practice makes perfect. Preparedness makes security.

Clearly, when something goes terribly wrong, you have much higher odds of mitigating potential damage, and not being emotionally and psychologically scarred by the event, if you are, to some degree, prepared for it. The higher your degree of preparation, both physically and psychologically, the better you will likely fare. This is not only simple logical deduction, but illustrated in the accounts described in  Ripley's book.

So why then, when it is logically obvious that preparation for a major disaster is a good idea, do we not give it our best effort? The answer is clearly denial, as a product of cognitive dissonance. We are already deer in headlights. On a subconscious level, we have already responded to the threat by freezing. "Can't do anything about that."   Whereas, if you were were watching a movie about earthquakes and the movie made it bleedingly obvious that a person lives in a place that is likely to suffer a major earthquake (and potentially tsunami), and that there are very clear and simple things people can do to prepare, you would be yelling at the screen, "what are you doing? Start preparing! What are you waiting for?" But denial is a powerful thing.

So let me make things bleedingly obvious, and please indulge me in my hope that you will make some effort to overcome cognitive dissonance; to escape, with awareness intact, the birthplace of your irrational and dangerous enemy, denial.

red = danger

As is clearly established by the USGS's Earthquake Hazards program, the most thorough and eminent earthquake research program on the planet, the Southern California area is roughly 150 years overdue for a major earthquake. See more info on the science and the predicted consequences in my recent post: "Earthquakes and Whistles"  A 'major' or 'great' earthquake (see explanation of these terms) would be extremely detrimental to the lives of the vast majority of people in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. The same could be said for plenty of other places in the world, so let's not limit this to Los Angeles.  The San Francisco Bay Area should be alert, also.   However, So.Cal may represent the most likely risk, and the best understood. People say earthquakes cannot be predicted. That is untrue. The earthquake has been predicted. It's only the timing that is unclear.

James G. Featherstone
Having long thought the usual 3-day (72 hour) personal preparedness plan typically prescribed by government officials and the Red Cross was ridiculous, two years ago I asked James G. Featherstone, General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, directly, in person: "how long can people reasonably expect to go without any help or attention after a major earthquake in Los Angeles?" He was taken aback by the question and his answer was solemnly spoken.  He said that the absolute minimum would be three days and that most people would likely be without help for a week or longer. He added that individual cases would be dealt with in order of priority, by the basic principles of triage. That means that you having no water, food, or shelter would put you in line after people who are severely injured, and being severely injured you would be after people who are critically wounded.

The three day target for preparedness is arbitrary and, in my opinion, an irresponsible recommendation. Look at the aftermath of Katrina. How long were those people without help? Many for weeks.  In a likely So.Cal event of the magnitude expected, Featherstone also confirmed for me, there would be no drinkable water or electricity for many residents for a few weeks or more.  Could it take months to rebuild LA's long-distance water importing infrastructure?  Watching the video linked in my previous earthquake post will help you understand why the damage to infrastructure could be so massive.  Which resources are cut off for what length of time will depend on many factors.

Local governments are currently drastically underfunded and they simply can't well serve several million people in need.  So it's your responsibility.  Your life.


So how do you know that preparing will do you any good? Well, you can't prepare for everything - that is true. You may make reasonable preparations and ultimately be trapped in a building with no access to your supplies, or ways to execute your well-thought out plan. However, as Ripley's research shows, you will STILL have a distinct advantage over those who hadn't done anything, who hadn't thought anything through, because you are, to some degree, psychologically prepared. You did your research, you know what to expect, so you are far less likely to go into "deer in headlights" mode and succumb to your own demise. You will at least fare better psychologically than the person who is all of a sudden realizing that they have no idea what to do, whatsoever; who does the wrong thing, or does nothing at all. There will be lots of those. Let's look at one important example of how people who are prepared, and who organize with each other, fare in contrast with those who don't.

Tangshan EQ: 7.8 + 7.8 aftershock
Take into account the story of Qinglong County in the 1976 "Great Tangshan Earthquake," the most devastating earthquake of modern times. Earthquake predictions had been voiced and very few counties in the region took them seriously. At least one county, however, did prepare:

After voicing the concerns to Wang Chunqing (王春青), his county took the report very seriously. Already some sources showed that the county had been preparing as much as two years earlier. [8] Up to 800 members of his county tried to respond.[1] On July 25 and 26, 1976 each community of Qinglong county had emergency meetings to prepare and instruct villagers. Buildings were examined and water reservoirs were given special attention. The county secretary in charge, Ran Guangqi (冉广岐) decided to risk his political career and certain jail term to prepare the 470,000 residents of the county for the upcoming earthquake by ordering officials to educate the people as well as evacuate the local population to safer areas.[1] 
Twenty years later (in 1995), the United Nations concluded that the early warnings paid off, and that public administrators, scientists, and citizens working together increased the survival rate. There was a huge difference between a prepared versus an unprepared county.


So what can you do? The following will in no way be exhaustive, but it represent the first steps, things you can do now, or tomorrow morning. If you want to actually be prepared, and not just a deer casually walking out of the way of the approaching semi-truck, you will do further research. Everybody's emergency plan will be unique, so you have to take your own personal needs and resources into account, as well as those of your family and community.

Buy a couple whistles. Here is why, and what my recommendations are: Earthquakes and Whistles  Keep one on you as much as possible.  Three quick blows on the whistle means "please rescue me."

By your bed: shoes, socks, flashlight, whistle, dust mask, pry bar:
Tie a pair of sturdy shoes to your bedpost (or secure them in place some other way - velcro stuck to the wall?), stuff socks and an N95 dust mask in one shoe and a flashlight in the other. Adding a pry bar (crow bar) to this assortment could help you get out if your door is jammed after a quake. It very well could be. You will NEED shoes to walk around without cutting your feet up after a quake. Can't walk at all on cut up feet. Another good idea is to have a fresh change of clothes within reach of your bed. It would be preferable not to be naked or in your undies when you find your way out of your home.

With regard to shoes:
Try to avoid wearing sandals if you live in earthquake country. Definitely avoid wearing high heels or pumps. They are useless in a disaster. Really. One of the tragic sights of 9/11 were the hundreds of pairs of high heel shoes that littered the streets, because women simply couldn't run in them. What happened to those women? How do you walk around a disaster zone in high heels, or with no shoes at all?

The most essential nutrient! Store as much water at your home as reasonably possible. Rotate it every six months so you don't poison yourself with PCBs when you actually drink it. Store AT LEAST a week's worth of drinking water for every person and pet in your home. Will you need water for other things?

Store foods with long shelf lives. As much as you don't like to eat carbs, they are the best survival food because they provide quick energy and require little water and energy to digest. Superfoods are a good idea, too. Proteins require more water and energy to digest, so don't rely too heavily on them. A good combo for sustained energy that is quickly available is fat and sugar. Hence, things like trail mix are good survival food, though they may have shorter shelf lives. You will have to rotate your foods based on their shelf lives, so buy things you will actually eat and keep rotating them.

Keep flashlights accessible in all areas of your home and workplace.

Medical Kit:
A medical kit should contain lots of supplies for bandaging, antiseptics, and any necessary medications you or your dependents rely on. It should also include backups of corrective eyewear, if you use any. Be sure you know how to use the items in your medical kit.

Make a Go Kit (evacuation or getting home kit) and keep it in your car:
Put together a kit with things you will need to survive. This can be a very involved process, and I am not currently in a place to analyze the various recommendations made by individuals and organizations for you, but I do hope you take reasonable measures to make this happen. There are dozens of lists available online. My strongest recommendation is that you buy or compile the essentials first. Don't buy things you don't know how to use. Fear will debilitate your capacity to do new things in a disaster, so you will want to be thoroughly familiar with everything in your kit and how it is used.

Try to Keep Cash on You:
No electricity = no ATMs or credit card transactions. If you can make any transactions at all, they will have to be in cash.


Aside from having 'things' on hand, you will need to have some idea of what to do if disaster strikes. It's actually equally, if not more important than, having stuff on hand. How will you get in contact with your family when mobile signals are jammed? Where will you meet with them? What if that location is inaccessible? How will you get out of a city on fire when the roads are all destroyed and you can't use Google Maps on your iPhone? Where will you go? What is plan B?

Think things through and plan with others. The more the merrier.

Final Note: I CHING's advice for Shock or Shaking

If you know me, you know I am a self-professed student of I Ching. I value the life lessons its two-millennium-seasoned wisdom provides. Hexagram 51 (of the King Wen arrangement) is "shock," or "shaking." Two interpretations of it are excerpted at the top of this article.
“This movement is so violent that it arouses terror. It is symbolized by thunder, which bursts forth from the earth and by its shock causes fear and trembling." -Wilhelm-Baynes
Sounds like an earthquake to me. The text goes further to state:
"The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbor any secret opposition to the will of God."
Extracting the lesson from this; we have witnessed continuing thunder, or as the hexagram suggests, repeated shock; massive disaster after disaster. This repeated shock should cause us to revere, or at least be aware of, the enormous power of nature and our vulnerability to it. We are instructed to set our lives in order and search our hearts for "any secret opposition to the will of God." (Ultimately, in its entirety, nature is God. We may be powerful, but we are nonetheless subject to its will.) Is denial not a mechanism of secret (or subconscious) opposition to the will of (or reality of) nature? Has denial, triggered by the cognitive dissonance of stark and shocking reality contrasting a desire to believe we are safe caused us to bury our heads in the sand? Hexagram 51 suggests that one who can remain still through a disaster will be able, in the end, to laugh it off. Others will be traumatized. But one is only safe and still because one has gotten his or her life in order and taken seriously the repeated signals from nature.

"Shock"'s nuclear (internal/hidden) trigrams are mountain (stillness) and water (danger). This is stillness within danger. How does one achieve such stillness? Through preparation. When you put the nuclear trigrams together, you have the nuclear hexagram 39, or "obstacle." A nuclear hexagram provides insight into how to deal with an external situation personally, or internally.
"The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep, inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by obstacles; at the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping still, there is implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The hexagram represents obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can and should be overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to overcoming them." -Wilhelm-Baynes
"Here an individual is confronted by obstacles that cannot be overcome directly. In such a situation it is wise to pause in view of the danger and to retreat. However, this is merely a preparation for overcoming the obstructions. One must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself under the leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in removing the obstacles." -Wilhelm-Baynes
The lessons here are thus:  You cannot stop an earthquake from happening, as they occur "in the course of time;" are unavoidable. You are surrounded, so you have to pause (retreat) and prepare. You are also advised to "join forces with friends of like mind" and to "put yourself under the leadership of a man equal to the situation." That means humble yourself, realize you don't know everything, and seek counsel from those wiser than you. In modern times that often means research. There are experts who have been trying to get your attention for a long time, and many resources available to you.

A Few Resources:

I really like the following books. Both of these characters are a little eccentric, but they are experts, and authoritative in their fields. Their books are relatively light hearted (actually, Lundin's books are LOL hilarious), and they will give you practical information to set forth on your own path to preparedness. They have different approaches, so it is good to seek balance between their two perspectives.

"When All Hell Breaks Loose; Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes"
"98.6º; the Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive"
by Cody Lundin

"Preparedness Now: 2nd Edition"
 by Aton Edwards
[My now-defunct business, Ready Me, is endorsed in the back of this book. Apologies to the author and publishers for not being able to keep it open.]

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Speaking of Possibilities...

A short video, from Discovery Science Channel, about the KT Boundary, iridium, and a giant space rock colliding with Earth, which resulted in our last "mass extinction," the death of the dinosaurs:

The scientist who appears in the video:

Recently posted here, about the dramatic increase in space rock fly-bys and hits:  "Fire in the Sky"

Another video, about the oort cloud and why space rocks are flying toward us: "Something Wicked This Way Comes"
Two news articles cited in the above video:
"Six apocalyptic events, including the extinction of the dinosaurs, have all occurred, like clockwork, every 26 to 30 million years."
"Evidence Mounts for the Sun's Companion Star"

Pictures and explanation of several craters left by past space rock collisions, including the one cited in the first video:

So there you have it.