Ability — Talented Versus Gifted

November 2, 2019

I wasn’t aware of this necessarily; but after seeing your post and contemplating it, what felt the most real and solid for me is that we (humans, not sure if it extends to all forms of consciousness) are born with a proclivity for heightened ability in some areas of being and doing, a “natural ability”; and limitations or weaknesses in other areas.

Not many people know or would guess this, but I love football. Everything about it. So it’s pretty common for me to casually walk around the house and comment “in my next life i am going to be a Super Bowl winning NFL quarterback!” Which makes my wife laugh. Because I’m a pretty small guy who doesn’t “appear” to be anything close to a football player. But I loved playing as a kid, like a lot of people. As we grew up it became clear that i wasn’t showing the “natural ability” for football thst one needed. Compared to other guys my age. In junior high our coach suggested i “try out for gymnastics or wrestling, because you’re too small to keep playing on this team son”. True story. I’ll never forget that day. I was bummed but not surprised. It was clear that “I” was not born with the same abilities that some of the other guys my age had.

(And perhaps comparing/sorting/categorizing goes along with this idea of “ability”. What we mean by “natural ability”… Versus what? Versus who?) We can see it. In others. In ourselves. Kids who are “just born with a natural ability” for something(s). As if they brought it with them from another lifetime.

Ironically for me it was this football moment at the age of around 10 that compelled me to start taking music more seriously. Not being allowed to stay on the team w my friends. I had always been great at music. Since we could remember. So I didnt take it seriously. It was easy. Not a challenge like playing football. Hah! Wow. Transparent belief!

Are there abilities that you possess so easily and naturally that you dismiss them? Overlook them? Underestimate them?

Reincarnation: being born with a natural ability st something. It’s fascinating to ponder 🤔… abilities perfected over lifetimes. If one is inclined to believe in such things.

Other theories say “it’s genetic”. It’s in the blood. Passed on genetically… Can all abilities be passed on genetically? Or just some?

Genetics we now know play a big role in what we’re good at, bad at, etc. But there are plenty of exceptions. Still plenty of missing pieces in our understanding. Both reincarnation and genetics could be true.

Still other theories posit that having an incredible ability at something comes from “practice practice practice”. Definitely plays a role. Doesn’t help in the “natural ability” department. Did Tom Brady become Tom Brady simply because he practiced a lot? Or Andre Agassi? Or Bob Dylan? (I’m not sure WHAT would or could help in the “natural ability” department — THAT is what I’d like to explore more… As a professional musician/recording artist who’s been around other professionals for the last 30 years I can state undoubtedly that some are just born with IT and some try really damn hard but just never quite get it. Referring to a wide variety of different skills, be it writing songs or playing lead guitar or being an incredible drummer. The key to our biz is KNOWING what you’re good at and perfecting it and not pretending to be good at things that you’re not. Because others notice it immediately. They see you. Because they are you. You’re not going to fool a room full of musicians that you’re an awesome drummer if you’re not. That shiz is born, not crafted, as we say.) But still yes practice is essential. In all my years of studying the greatest football players of all time, the one thing they all have in common is this never yielding dedication to practice. No matter what. Rain or shine. Sick or well. Every day for their entire life until that moment they reach the Super Bowl they practiced. It’s awe inspiring. All athletes seem to have it.

It seems to be a desire to be GREAT. Not just have ability.

So… were they BORN with a “natural ability” to be great at sports? And then perfected it through practice? What if they were never introduced to sports?

Will/does the person with an ability in something always eventually find that thing at some point? Regardless of whether it’s introduced to them or not?

Are there areas where you might have an incredible ability that you just haven’t discovered yet? 🤔

Something else just occurred to me: there are arenas/fields where one can learn and then practice to have a great ability in it. No “natural ability” necessary. There are other fields where it doesn’t matter how much one learns or practices; they’re never going to have as much ability as someone who was “born with a natural ability” in it. Categorizing those different fields would be an interesting experiment, to see if there is any collective alignment or corecept.

Sports, the arts, mathematics, ideation, mechanics, social skills, caring for others, oration? Interesting to contemplate 🤔.

Tired now. Peace and love to you all. Xoxo

Facebook Versus Twitter In An Existential Ethical Battle

October 31, 2019

If life were fair, we’d all be using Twitter instead of Facebook. But life is only fair in our imagination and the stories we tell ourselves through our movies and religions. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse in the ethically challenged world of Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg just returned from a speaking tour to promote Facebook’s official policy to allow political advertising on FB that blatantly lies or promotes untruths, a fact the Trump re-election campaign had already been taking advantage of, which is what prompted the formal public announcement. Zuckerberg also reiterated they will not be fact-checking political ads, claiming that lying in political ads “is an issue of freedom of speech”. (Since lying and spreading fallacious statements is a constitutional right.) But no one is buying it. Facebook employees reacted by sending the CEO a petition of protest stating they don’t agree with the policy. A few well known money managers liquidated Facebook’s stock from their portfolios stating they couldn’t own the company in good conscience because “Facebook’s blatant lack of integrity and constant assault on truth is disgusting”. Even longtime FB haters have been shocked by this latest policy decision. Analysts on yesterday’s earnings call threw Zuck plenty of life preservers hoping he would adjust or clarify the decision. But before he could say anything, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey beat him to the punch by Tweeting and issuing a press release (at the exact start time of FB’s earnings call) to announce it would no longer allow any political advertising on its platform globally due to the proliferation of fallacious and misleading statements, stating “political message influence should be earned, not bought.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff went on record saying that “Facebook is the most dangerous company in the world today” (though he may have temporarily forgotten about Lockheed Martin et al.) calling them “the Big Tobacco of our time”. (Mark is a good guy but has always been prone to hyperbole.)

So… all around bad news right? Wrong. For us, yes. For the world, sure. But not for Facebook. Facebook reported yet another stellar earnings report last night. Advertising revenue has not decelerated, but continues to grow. Monthly and daily average user numbers are still growing. Facebook is one of the largest countries on planet earth, for perspective, with DAUs of 1.6 billion. Compared to only 150 million for TWTR. The companies aren’t comparable on any metric. Some on Main Street have voiced their concern by stopping using FB and switching to Instagram. The joke is obviously on them since Insta is FB.

For some, yesterday was an existential line in the sand, the ethical battle lines clearly drawn between the good and the bad, the heroic and villainous, the helpful versus harmful. Dorsey didn’t just abstain from making a judgment call that harms the world community for a profit, he took a bold step for conscious capitalism knowing it would negatively affect profits. Likewise Zuckerberg didn’t just not take an action that could have helped the world, he made a decision to generate more profits knowing it would be harmful.

But does anyone care? That’s the real question. In a world where evils like nuclear weapons, royalty, the Catholic Church, big tobacco, big oil, big Pharma, political lobbying, live organ harvesting in China, etc. have been traditionally routinely ignored and allowed to exist, it is hard to imagine that humanity’s good conscience is what’s going to stop Facebook from doing whatever it wants to despite how harmful it might be. But that may be the cynical viewpoint. Or the realistic one. One thing is certain though: Facebook exists for one reason only, to generate money. If it’s user base started to decline and it started losing money because people didn’t agree with its policies, it would change said policies overnight. I personally don’t enjoy Twitter but find it useful if not essential for certain things. Though I wholeheartedly respect and admire the company and it’s executive team. On the other hand i thoroughly enjoy Facebook and Insta as a user. Though I loathe the company and it’s executives. It’s tricky for all of us I’m sure. I would love to see us as a community collectively take FB down or force them to grow a conscience. Just thinking out loud.

More Flying and Floating While Dreaming

October 12, 2019

PLEASE SHARE. (Prelude: I literally just woke up. (Late night.) So pardon the potential rough grammatical edges of this post, but if I keep my eyes closed after awakening from dreams I can still see and recall them vividly. So I’m deliberately staying half asleep at the moment.) Let me give you slight context and then ask you all for your experiences.

As loyal readers will know, I started dreaming of being able to fly in 2004. Though it started out as me taking running starts and then doing super long leaps thru the air, 200-500 yards at a time. It continued to evolve, in dreams, over the last 15 years. And now I easily float/fly around rooms, or through the air outside.

I just awoke from a dream where we are all at a big avatar course and I needed to get my books from the room so I just floated thru the room to go get them and not disturb anyone.

A FEW NOTES: yes it’s me, my physical body. I’m not ethereal or astral. I’m physically flying. People see me. I’m flat and parallel to the ground, about 5-10 feet in the air depending on what my goal is, with my arms outstretched. No it’s not “easy”, I still have to work at it in the dream, talk myself through it each time in terms of how to move and shift my weight to stay afloat and aim and get to where I want to go etc. It’s a method that I’ve evolved over the last 15 years. Maybe a few hundred dreams now. But only in dreams (I guess?). I can get afloat and parallel to the ground easily now. Ascend to whatever heights I want to. I usually get nervous or scared when I go too high in the air. So I tend to stay at about 5-15 feet. I can turn easily. I can descend and land easily.

When I began waking up this morning, it was the last thing I was doing in the dream, so it was still so fresh and real that I asked Princess Little Tree if I often flew in real life, or was it just in my dreams. She assured me I have not yet managed to do it in real life, but i dream and talk and write about it a lot. I tried anyway, not quite believing her, but alas i could not float up. F*^king gravity. Very frustrating.

Here’s where YOU come in: I am curious about others who frequently dream of being able to float through the air or fly or even leap long distances. Anything that defies gravity. I am more curious about you doing it physically i.e. with your body, not astrally (astrally we do it all the time in dreams. So it’s not… you know.) How do you do it? Are you parallel to the ground? How do you propel yourself? How do you ascend? How do you turn? How high can you go? Anything in this realm re flying or floating please feel free to share.

CONTEMPLATION: I’d like to first discuss the physical mechanics of the phenomenon, permitting I’m not crazy and the only one here, and then separately discuss the metaphorical ramifications. I’m more interested in the physical aspects of the paradigm, of your paradigm if you’ve experienced this… as i believe it is leading to our eventually being able to do this in real life. I’ve become quite convinced of it over the last 25 years. I’ve tinkered with designs for various body packs to machines that suck gravity out of large spaces, you name it. But to be honest i am now leaning toward thinking that we will do it using our minds. SO I’m curious what others have come up with.

Again, the metaphorical ramifications of these kind of dreams… we’ve covered that a lot… My wife, God bless her, has taken too many pages of notes on that subject thru the years while I lie there pondering it aloud while half-in-dream. My excitement is about YOUR physical mechanical experiences and what you’ve discovered. Feel free to share ANYthing you remember or that comes to mind.

Thanks, E

Junk and Stuff

September 21, 2019

Every weekend we attack the boxes and attempt to unpack a little more. But moving from a large house in the middle of nowhere to a small apt in the city entails abandoning most of your belongings. especially when you own at least one or more of everything in existence. You can’t think of a thing that’s not in these boxes. It’s an immobilizing endeavor. Entirely overwhelming. To pick and choose what to keep and what to give away.

After living out of just 4 suitcases for 4 years, we are absolutely stupefied and overwhelmed by how much stuff there is. We became very accustomed to not having anything. No stuff. Which affords a ton of free attention and creative energy. You’re free. And now we can barely walk from so much stuff. It feels as though the stuff is very important. You’ve collected it your whole life. Or it was gifted to you by people you love. It’s more than just stuff in that regard. It has incalculable value. Some of it. Yet now we question the true cost of keeping “things”. Versus living in a metropolitan city. That’s the core choice when it comes down to it. A very first world problem, granted.

It keeps occurring to me “what if a natural disaster just wiped all this out but we lived? Wouldn’t that make this all easier? If we just had no choice in the matter?” What’s ultimately important? This circling idea prompted me to give away my entire library of books CDs and vinyl. Tens of thousands. For those that know me well and knew my library, i did it…. every album ever released in the world since recorded music. Every book. Every movie. It was inevitable in the face of the new digital world we live in where we can access nearly everything from our cell phones.

Yes I know, it’s not the same. That’s true. It’s just not. Not the books, nor the albums. The experience leaves one cold and empty. Experiencing media digitally. Though I dont yet quite know why. But I gave it all away anyway. Because it’s an entire room of just a library. Of media. Hundreds of boxes. And rooms are preciously priceless in a city. If one has two bedrooms in NYC your friends exclaim “oh my God look at this place!” their mouth hanging open. Weird. But true. Kinda sad that we do it. Why do we do it? Who gives a f*^% if you live in a city or not?

I’m still mourning this huge release of my library. Palpable painful sadness. Shock. I keep reminding myself to consider the Russian oligarchs during the Bolshevik Revolution. They lost everything and fled with nothing. People do this. They endure much worse. It’s insane that that’s the thought that keeps me sane i think. I’m a monster. Stuff is just stuff. Who cares?

Life though… that’s everything. Living. Breathing. Pulsating. Life. Vietnam. WW II. Darfur. Syria. The images haunt me. I am brought to shame again and again by the wasted emotion and importance we afford to whether or not we keep a wedding present. Life is irreplaceable. But this… this is just a thing. The choice seems an essential one. City versus stuff. You simply can’t have both. One is forced to contend with it. It’s a private revolution. But self imposed. The importance imagined.

I harbor a secret longing for a war or catastrophe to come along and sort this out for us by destroying everything we own. To remind us what’s important in life. Which leads me to quietly acknowledge that I’ve already made the decision. I just haven’t fully integrated the emotional impact of the tradeoff. Which fills me with guilt and self hatred. Who mourns belongings in the face of so much chaos pain and suffering in the world around them?

I am reminded of Oscar Schindler. How much i related to him before his awakening. And how much i feared and dreaded the reality of his final day’s post-materialism. Post apocalypse. That raw flailing and unnerving humanity. Not getting it until it was too late. The Shakespearean tragedy of a life ill spent.

It’s not too late now though i think. It took me twenty-five years to get here. My god. Have i finally started to wake up? I have time to help more. To address more of the world’s pain and suffering. To be less selfish and shamefully material. To at least try. I am suddenly relieved. Lighter. More free attention. Priorities have fallen into place.

It is not too late for me yet. The war is not over. The holocausts have not entirely transpired. We’re in the middle of the film still. I can choose to change before the lights come up. Not wait until the very end. I’ve been terrified of this moment my entire life. But I’m not sure I can go back now.

The Politically Incorrect Generation — White Straight Non-Jewish Middle Aged Male Confused Lonely and Lost

September 19, 2019

So “they” as a singular personal pronoun to refer to people who don’t identify as either male or female, we’re calling them non-binary at the moment, was added to Webster’s dictionary this week. Not thst that matters much. The OED is still where it’s at. As any proper English Major will gladly tell you. Webster’s has always been for the scrabble playing mainstreamers and not the intellectual ivory tower set. But still. It’s official.

So yeah. Wow. There it is. It prompted an engaging exchange between me and our youngest girl this evening. She prides herself on being “woke” and is giddily willing to correct anything or anyone she notices might be the least bit politically incorrect. As any of us would and did in our early 20s. Although I remember the focus being more on what was cool or uncool. Not politically correct or incorrect. Perhaps it’s just the label that’s changed.

About “woke” for a moment. At first it’s easy to dismiss it as the Millennial’s and Generation Z’s version of being enlightened. They’ve just decided for whatever reason to stop using proper English. But upon further examination it does seem like there’s more to it. Whereas when we were in our 20s and life itself was dedicated to becoming enlightened, yes it was certainly about righting the wrongs of the world and correcting all the mistakes of the past and saving the planet and fighting for equality for all people, but it was also about the personal journey toward enlightenment. To connection with the Divine and self mastery. Woke seems a lot more focused on being politically correct. In an almost militant fashion. And enforcing political correctness. Less about enlightenment or connecting with the Divine Source of All That Is and more about political correctness. The problem of course is who determines what is politically correct? It’s tricky.

I still think, and forgive me for saying this, there will be a small group of us who will still use the terms he and she to refer to the person’s actual gender. Nor because we’re trying to be rude or mean or insulting. But just because that’s who we see. And we may never be comfortable calling someone they or them. But don’t worry, we’ll die off in another 40 or 50 years. So it won’t last forever.

We’ll probably also still use terms like gay and retarded in jest or in our humor. I saw Seinfeld and Bill Maher recently discussing it together. Alec Baldwin was there too. And they were hilarious. Absolutely refuse to give those terms up. I just think it’s an age thing.

They / we don’t actually use those terms in a derogatory fashion. More like when were goofing off with our friends. BUT I recently discussed it with my college boys over text. They were torn. They said we can do it amongst ourselves but not publicly. And then Matt sent us this hilarious clip of a Louis CK episode where it’s all about the word fag and where it comes from and it was actually very sad. But then he made a joke of it in the show. Slagged it off. We all agreed that word is off limits. I don’t know… just talking while thinking out loud I guess. It’s hard. Maybe it’s always hard for older generations. Like maybe WE made it hard for baby boomers. ??? Didn’t seem like it though.

It does make me think though. I mean Ali is gay. Or whatever we’re supposed to call it. And you’re whatever we’re supposed to call it. I mean honestly part of the problem is I think — and this is coming from someone who has always been way way ahead of the curve for 40 years — that things are moving so vast and so violently, radically that most people aren’t even sure what to call things in today’s world. Or tomorrow’s. They try… to keep up… but the next day everything’s changed again anyway… and of course there’s the issue of just feeling like we’ve gone way over the PC edge. Feels like a fad now. Especially if you’re a straight white christian male. You’re proper fucked. It’s an actual thing. An illness they’ve identified. Suicides and alcoholism and all this sad stuff due to their not having a “group” to belong to. Which is really fucking ironic when you think about it. Hah! But in reality it’s true.

As a straight white christian (not Jewish or Muslim) male I can honestly say it would be really nice to have just one fucking advocacy group to represent us or stand up for us or defend us in court cases or advocate for us when we have problems etc. It’s not like being Jewish or black or Hispanic or gay. There’s no help group to go to. No ACLU or ADL or NAACP etc. And at the same we’re incessantly vilified privately and publicly. So much so that we try to pretend in our own minds that we AREN’T that. But then we realize that we’re just kidding ourselves. We really are straight white non-Jewish/Muslim males. And we recognize internally at least that the last 2500 years have been royally fucked primarily by us. Or straight brown Muslim males. But still. It’s a HUGE source of self abasement and guilt to hang on to. Combined with the loneliness of not having any advocacy groups and the public lashing…

I think we cling to these comfort zones of the few fun politically incorrect things we have left in life, like calling each other gay or retarded. It’s pretty dumb. Admittedly. And yet….

fascinating to think about.

Hey I just wrote a freaking Transcendence Diaries post to you! Sheesh. Sorry about that. But I do want you to understand me. And maybe your dad and others. At least me. I love you and would never intentionally want to hurt you.

What the United States Government Doesn’t Say About Iran

September 17, 2019

Just did a refresher study on the exile and last year of the (second) shah of Iran. Was specifically interested in it’s effects on U.S. relations and global stability then and now.

As we already know, Great Britain and the the United States through the CIA with a little help from France perpetrate a coup d’etat in 1953 to topple the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, who had run on a platform of not giving away Iranian oil to Great Britain at below market costs anymore. These three western powers then reinstall the Shah of Iran’s son into power and reinstate monarchic rule in iran. Just what the Iranian people wanted. NOT. Great Britain, France and the US form a new big oil conglomerate from all this free oil they’re about to come into and call it BP, British Petroleum. In exchange they will prop up and support the monarchy in Iran militarily against the wishes of the people and keep down any revolts.

And so begins a renewed relatively stable alliance between Iran and western nations. Iran becomes more and more westernized. Brits move there in droves to run the oil plants. Iranian kids go to British schools and learn English. Highways and streets in Tehran are renamed Eisenhower Boulevard and Kennedy Street.

After a few decades of watching the so called “royals”, elites and western nations blow through all their wealth and natural resources the Iranian people begin to get angry. Like revolution angry. It’s the 1970s. The situation is not helped by the fact that a well educated and well spoken radical Islamic cleric named Khomeini is constantly preaching revolution from exile in France, encouraging the people to rise up against western domination. Protests in the streets begin, calling for an “end to control by America”.

In the late 70s, the presidents of the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany secretly meet in Guadalupe to discuss what they’re going to do about the Shah because their oil contracts are soon to expire and they don’t want to start paying more. Do they depose the Shah? Take him out? Support him and squash the protests and use their support to bargain their prices low for another 50 years? Before they can decide they’re informed that the Shah has cancer from one of their informants. Ah hah! Perfect! Let’s not support him during these turbulent times, we’ll force him into exile and put someone else in power who will give us even more control and lower oil prices.

It’s getting dangerous for the Shah now. He calls his US and British allies to ask for help and they inform him they won’t be able to help him. He should leave if he has to. So he does. First to Egypt. Then Morocco. Then the Bahamas. Then Mexico. By now Khomeini has returned to Iran as a revolutionary hero. Promising an end to monarchy, western rule and a return to democracy. He very quickly kills everyone ever employed by the shah’s government and names himself Supreme Leader for Life. He obviously had watched Star Wars one too many times.

By now the Shah is very sick. In his defense, US president Carter, though he ruthlessly betrayed his ally for his country’s selfish gain, did want to help the Shah in his illness. But the Iranian people were not going to tolerate the US harboring the Shah, healing his illness and then reinstating him again in a year or two. So they stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of American hostages and demanded the Shah return to face trial and a return of all the Iranian assets that the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, American banks and American corporations had seized during the protests. (Some of this money was eventually returned to Iran by US president Barack Obama 40 years later, who also acknowledged and apologized for the 1953 coup, which is what created the current mess the Iranian people are still in today.)

President Carter at this point just wants those American hostages back. He realizes he made a huge mistake by ousting the Shah and allowing this Islamic cleric Khomeini to waltz in and take over Iran. But he cant get enough of his colleagues to agree to give Iran all their assets back. So the hostages are stuck as pawns there in a dangerous political game. The Rockefellers, who are holding billions of Iranian assets in their banks, don’t want to let go of all that money but they do offer to provide doctors and medical support to try to save the Shah’s life. So they secretly fly him to New York. An operation is performed. It’s botched. He gets sicker. They then become fearful the American hostages will be endangered if they continue to help the Shah. So they fly him to Texas and then force him on Panama, using the recently completed Panama Canal deal as a bargaining chip. But Panama too is afraid of retaliation by this crazy mad Khomeini. So they cut a secret deal with Khomeini to extradite the Shah back to Iran to stand trial and be executed.

But Egypt’s Sadat swoops In to rescue his old friend and offers him sanctuary in Egypt. So off they fly to Egypt. The Carter administration calls Khomeini and says “we’ve put the Shah on a CIA plane to Egypt. We’ll trade you the Shah for our hostages. Do what you want with him.” Obviously getting cheap oil is no longer a priority. And neither is loyalty to longtime allies.

The US suddenly brings the plane down on some Portuguese islands in order to secretly hand the Shah over to Iran without telling him (they tell him they have to refuel. They dont), but Khomeini doesn’t trust the U.S. so the deal gets broken at the last minute. The Shah ends up back in Egypt. He very soon dies from complications from his botched American surgeries. The Ayatollah Khomeini does eventually release the American hostages but waits to do it until Carter is ousted from Washington just to twist the knife a little and make his point clear.

He believes he may have found at least a frenemy in new US president Ronald Reagan, who very soon will militarily and financially support a newly American installed ruthless dictator in Iraq named Hussein who is immediately and secretly ordered by the US to attack and overtake Iran. Which he does. In the 8 year Iran-Iraq war. Of course, Reagan, not wanting to play favorites also secretly supports Iran by supplying them with weapons of war to kill the Iraqis, assuming that no matter who wins they’ll just become their ally and help them get rid of the other guy. They both have plenty of oil after all.

Eventually this plan backfires as both countries begin to realize that neither of them want to be subservient lapdogs of the wicked western imperialists. The US eventually takes Iraq out 20 years later. Along with a few other pesky Muslim nations. Only Iran remains, steadfast in their desire for self deterministic rule and autonomy, albeit under excruciatingly unhappy circumstances under a brutal authoritarian rule.

There’s more to the story. There always is. But it all goes back to ‘53 and ‘79. American greed, selfishness,

very poor judgment and ill advised strategy. And here we all are. Happy days.

Remembering September 11th Eighteen Years Later

September 11, 2019

When it first happened I was at a spanish language school for a semester down in Costa Rica. With a bunch of mainly Europeans. We watched it happening live on the news like everyone. The Euros immediately jumped at the chance to make comments like “serves them right” or “it was only a matter of time”. And though I understood the sentiment, it was too horrific for me to go down that path in that moment. I was more in shock, and worried about all my friends in NYC.

The only other American at the school, a college kid named Heath, and I got called to the American Embassy in San Jose, where we stayed with a bunch of other Americans, tourists and fishermen mostly, for a number off hours. Eventually released and told it would be a few days before we could fly back to the US. Told not to go out and cause any trouble. Keep a low profile.

So off we went to a brothel where we spent the next two days passing the time trying to drink and fuck the pain away. What the Euros at our school didn’t understand was that although we were every bit as aware of and cynical about the last two-hundred years of violent American imperialism, America was still our home. Americans were still our friends family and neighbors.

When i got back to the States we hit the studio to finish working on the Sleep With You album. But we interrupted those sessions to record a song to help donate to various 9/11 charities. That songs being “Rebuild America”. What I was taken with the most back then was how resilient the country was in the face of such a horrific event. How much it unified us. We didn’t get down or depressed. We got all flagged up, amped up and proud. At the time it felt better than going dark.

So the song ended up being more patriotic and uplifting than our normal fare. I still find it hard to believe that a song called “Rebuild America” is associated with us/me in any way. If you would have told me five to ten years before that that I’d have a single out in the future called Rebuild America i would have asked “is it ironic? Did I lose my mind? Or go mad? Did i lose my cool?” If you would have then replied “no not at all. America got attacked. Like Pearl Harbor scale attack. You did the song in earnest.” Yeah. Perhaps I would understand.

Critics used the song as easy pickings to chastise me for a few years after. Implying that it betrayed “coolness”. Perhaps it does. But I don’t regret it. Because it was real. You had to be there. I always thought that was a cheap shot. Because that event was such a viscerally upsetting moment for many of us. And we needed the release. Regardless of where we lined up on the political fence, it hurt.

There was, looking back now, such a strong subconscious react to that kind of intense shock and violence that manifested in extreme positivity and patriotism. Even for those of us who knew the dark seedy underbelly of United States foreign policy. I had never seen anything like it, that kind of avid patriotism. Maybe Rocky IV Cold War era stuff.

Of course it all went down hill quickly from there and we turned all that patriotism into more violence and empire building. Used it as an excuse to finally take over the rest of the Middle East region of the globe sans Iran, and Saudi Arabia, where the attacks actually originated from, but as they say thou dost not shit in your own backyard and the United States has had Arabia in its backyard for fifty years. Hence allowing one little family to prop up a dictatorship and add their name “Saudi” to the name of an entire country. Disgraceful. But whatever.

further on down the road we learned about the dubious nature of the events themselves… and many now believe it to be an inside job. See the documentaries called Loose Change on youtube. But for a brief moment at least we saw potential in America. It just didn’t last. Very sad.

I saw the planes crash into us

I saw the people cry

I saw the buildings come crumbling

I saw the rescuers sigh

I saw the president weep

On national TV

I saw the volunteers sweeping

To clean the New York City streets

As we try

Yes we try

To rebuild America

The land of our fathers

The land of our mothers

America

We are not alone

“Rebuild America” by Ed Hale & the Transcendence

youtu.be/sf8W8CEJaSs

The Mechanism Of Karma

September 10, 2019

A long time ago, I really wanted to understand the mechanism of karma, attempt to ascertain if it was a valid theory of universal flow or just an interesting idea. I studied it intellectually, put my attention on it in the real world, felt into it. Observed. The idea of it being a strictly measurable cause and effect process as suggested by the Krishna discipline didn’t sit right with me. But it did intrigue me nonetheless.

What I observed was that whenever I did something, say out of the ordinary or even commonplace, it usually popped up in my world from a different direction or person. If I told an untruth I noticed more people telling me untruths. If I volunteered for something or supported someone I noticed it would often happen to me from someone else.

But this direct cause and effect stream didn’t make sense scientifically. We could try to examine it from a vibrational viewpoint… and perhaps one day we’ll catch science up to vibration energy and it’s effects.

What I began to realize was that by doing something, anything, I was in essence acknowledging its existence in my universe. Your attention doesn’t even have to be focused on it per se, but just the act of doing it brings it into your universe. THAT exists now in your world. You’ve acknowledged it. And by so doing it you’ve invited it to enter.

If we take a moment and come up with something we absolutely never do or never even think about, for me I’ll say “hunting” off the top of my head, we notice that we never encounter that in our day to day lives. It exists in the world, but we ignore it, because it doesn’t exist in our world. As we often say, kindness begets kindness. Deception begets deception. Could be karma in action.

Of course it’s not a perfect science yet. At least not to us here yet. It’s very fluid. Wonky. Unpredictable. Underlying it probably holds some fascinating science. I look forward to us discovering it.

A President Should Be Presidential – On China Trade War and the Federal Reserve

August 31, 2019

REALITY CHECK: While many (including myself) agree with the US president’s stance on China Trade, specifically the need to stop forced technology transfers and IP theft (the trade imbalance is not actually an issue; certainly not one that can be or ever has been solved through a race to the bottom tariff war. Trade imbalances between nations of different sizes have always and will always exist. Attempting to equalize Trade monetarily is ill advised. The US president either doesn’t know this yet or refuses to acknowledge it publicly), all who actually work in business, finance and economics wholeheartedly believe that he, and we, would be much better served if he stopped attacking and blaming Jerome Powell and the Federal Reserve for the extreme volatility in global bond and equity markets and the general economic slowdown and instead acknowledged that it is indeed the current trade war with China.

Main-streeters may be entertained by these daily twitter shenanigans (since when is a US president allowed to tweet? Didn’t President Obama have to relinquish his BlackBerry when he took office?) But Wall Street, economists and big business are shocked and horrified. There’s something palpably disturbing about having a commander and chief who knows less than you do about business and finance. Which is why markets have been headed nowhere or down for a year and half and why global bond yields are tanking.

Just because someone is standing in front of you confidently asserting they see a pink elephant doesn’t mean there’s a pink elephant in the room with you. No matter how many times they scream or tweet it. There is never a time when it’s not important to remember this.

The biggest economic conundrum the United States faces at the moment regarding interest rates is that economic conditions are doing well by all measures that The (not)Fed uses to address its dual mandate of maintaining stable inflation and keeping unemployment low. The United States is at record low unemployment. Even by the president’s own accounts… And yes this seeming disconnect in his understanding of basic economics is frustrating. And disturbing. So the (not)Fed has absolutely no realistic fundamental reasons to lower rates based on their long running mandate.

While it’s true that the global economy seems to be heading toward a recession, or worse (over 30 countries now have negative yielding interest rates — with a record 15 TRILLION dollars in global debt that is yielding negative interest! This is historically unprecedented in human civilization), and many now have inverted yield curves (including the US)), the US is still doing impressively well. Meaning lowering rates is not justifiable.

Further rate cuts by the US central bank based solely on other countries’ lowering theirs may excite markets for a day or two, but will ultimately lead to a sell off as investors lose faith in the US central bank’s normally independent, rational and clear headed process. It could also lead to a very fast race to the bottom of treasury rates globally, gut savings and retirement accounts, castrate bank’s’ ability to make money, and further exacerbate the growing global economic slowdown. At that point the world would no longer have the US economy or markets to run to. And THAT would be a major problem considering it’s the last TINA Trade left on earth right now to grow money.

Furthermore if the world does continue to shrink economically and the Federal Reserve suddenly needs to actually lower rates or resort to QE again to save us from impending doom, they’ll have no ammunition left if they lower rates now in a “booming economy”. It’s an illogical argument. And it’s sad that there are decent hardworking Americans out there who are literally learning about these issues from someone who’s either extremely ignorant about them or overtly attempting to deceive them. It’s blatantly irresponsible.

So… what to do? Because most informed people agree with the noble goal of addressing the problems with China trade, most support the president’s courageous attempt to do so at this time. Including me. Tariff wars might not be the best way to do it. Historically they’ve rarely worked. But just starting the process is a good intention. Can’t fault him for his willingness to take this bold step. He’s swimming in uncharted waters. And despite our political leanings he needs our support. Just as we need his.

What he needs to do is stop tweeting insults, attacks, false facts and conspiracy theories and instead sit down behind his desk on live TV and address the nation, to honestly and passionately tell the American people and the world how important this battle is, why we’re doing it and that we all need to pitch in and prepare for some serious pain now in order to secure a better fairer trade agreement with China for our future.

If he did this, the confusion would abate and so too might the market volatility. Hell, markets might even rally just to show support for his newfound diplomacy and honesty and the stability it portends. In addition he might even rally the American people to unify for even a brief period while we face this important challenge. Just a thought.

— Ambassador out

The Most Effective Manner Of Democratic Self Governance

August 18, 2019

On a recent post on social media about US president Donald Trump one could see 376 Comments. Almost all passionately and harshly bickering with each other over their ever widening partisan divide. 376 Comments?!? That’s a lot of time, attention and energy. All so valuable. Perhaps an assessment of how we are collectively allocating our resources is in order.

A president or prime minister is put simply a reflection of the sentiment of a majority of any given population in a nation state at the time. It is important to remember that. There are others. No one party or platform or group of people has a monopoly on being right. This “rightness” usually exists somewhere in between both extremes. It strikes one as odd how few people seem to realize this when it comes to politics and religion. Especially in the context of everything we have learned and know from a study of our shared human history. It is this forgetting of such a basic truth that has been causing wars amongst human civilizations for thousands of years.

In reality there are both noble and harmful goals being aspired to and enacted by almost every country’s leader in every administration. The people’s’ primary goal should not be to choose sides and defend their candidate’s agenda in its entirety to the death, but rather to step back and monitor the leader’s actions individually as a concerned citizen and protector of their country and its constitution, irrespective of partisan politics. Upon doing so the individual will quickly see that the job of that person is so mammoth and overreaching that the partisan bickering of the populace does nothing but

distract that leader from being able to do their job effectively.

Donald Trump may be one of the most adored and despised presidents in US history, but precisely because of that he is also surely one of the most challenged when it comes to being able to effectively govern. This is never a good thing for a people, lest those people forget that the world is watching and the world is a very competitive place with plenty of bad actors who harbor no good will towards other countries they perceive as competitors.

Instead each individual has an obligation to rise above their emotional partisan leanings and objectively voice their viewpoint to their elected government officials in agreement or dissension of said agenda and actions to help guide and steer the ship of their country’s path forward, That is how a people can most effectively help govern their country of residence.

If for a moment we assume that most people are simply incapable of this high-wire act of both agreeing with some goals of their president and disagreeing with others, due to their impassioned emotions creating an inability to see the bigger picture importance of effectively governing a nation, it still behooves these same people to minimize the effort they put into complaining and bickering amongst themselves and instead focus their attention and energy on actions that help sway the direction of their own governance by said elected officials.

Even simple actions of some substance — a letter a phone call an email a petition starting a non profit or NGO or PAC or a Thoughtstorm group — are better than arguing in the public square. This is the keen understanding that people who lead have had for thousands of years of human history. This is why they are the leaders. There are a multitude of effective substantive actions that every individual in the United States can be taking right now. All vastly more valuable than arguing on social media.

Many in a country’s populace have big juicy noble goals. Though sometimes those goals directly conflict with those of their fellow citizens. This is where democracy and compromise come into play. A mutual respect for civility and democratic ideas that continues long eras of peace and sustainability in a civilization.

Laws can always be overturned or amended. (Think the abolition of slavery in the US.) Disrespect for the law, such as dismissing the validity of the results of an electoral process, or lawlessness most often leads to chaos self-destruction and fascist or communist overthrow. [study the Napoleonic overthrow of France and half of Europe after their alleged people’s revolution on Bastille Day — a still-shocking and vital lesson in the importance of and need for respect civility organization and democratic principles and infrastructure.]