Peace Has a New Meaning

democracy will be a farce
unless individuals are
to think for themselves,
to judge independently,
to be critical,
to be able to detect subtle propaganda
and the motives which inspire it

John Dewey

There was an English king who jailed people to silence them. Thomas Pain once studied in London where the King lived. After a heroic stopover in the colonies to support (arguably start and win) the American revolution, Paine traveled back to Europe to help the French with their own. They were delighted and gave him honorary citizenship. By this time, Paine had written some things that made the English King so uncomfortable, Paine was on the most wanted list. Despite the fact that he was now jailed by the fickle French for objecting to the execution of their own cake stuffed monarchs. Paine simply didn't support the death penalty. Idealist. That kind of thinking wasn't in vogue with the French at that particular moment in history. At all. Back in England, dozens of Paine's old classmates, friends and correspondents were jailed to discomfort Paine. Paine hadn't set out to annoy the powerful. He was an idealist with dreams of a society based on freedom and equality. He had no particular problem with King George as a man. At the time, Paine was on the outs with Americans as well, and his only friend, George Washington, wasn't returning his desperate letters. Turns out they were actually "lost in the mail." Paine didn't know 'ol George hadn't gotten the letters and fired off some really nasty stuff at his last remaining friend. So Paine was in pain and had inadvertently caused others some pain. And he was just fighting for a free and equitable world order. Hmm. Potential lesson here.

I don't know how many real friends you have in real life, or if you went to school, got married, had children - but if you're anything like me - you love many, and like even more. I correspond with hundreds on various social media. Maybe I don't want to hear about them getting abducted and killed because they follow me, or occasionally like what I say. Paine, his friends jailed and perhaps tortured, probably felt the same way. Torture not only excites sadists, it gets the trouble makers in line - and fast. It communicates the consequences of misbehavior to anyone who's ears can still hear. Shocked? No need to read on. There is less dramatic material on other pages including; computer security, privacy, the influence spectrum; i.e.: benign knowledge transfer through coercive indoctrination. Interim topics being; persuasion, propaganda, manipulation. For the interested, plenty of expert testimony and peer reviewed science to back up the assertion that these issues of power and authoritarianism are worth looking into. Why? There are strong authoritarian influences at play in the world today. The enabling issues of influence are relevant in the virtual war sweeping the internet and most other media. Finally, three interesting fields of science support the influence components. Cognitive bias, from the field of psychology, rhetoric from the field of linguistics, and logical fallacy from the fields of logic and scientific methodology are covered. To summarize: the history and practices of authoritarianism are dependent upon practices of influence. The practices of influence are dependent upon; rhetoric, logical fallacy and cognitive bias. There might be some facts as well...

Mounk and Foa (2017):

1) "Only 19 percent of U.S. millennials agree “military takeover is NOT legitimate in a democracy." After a bit of math and logic, that implies the 81% of U.S. millennials agree that “military takeover IS legitimate in a democracy. I say Implies because to call this statement a fact statement of fact would be a logical fallacy (formal type) as it stands. Reading the paper (it's behind a paywall) might fix that. As it is, given a definitive fact about the 19% doesn't prove anything about the 81%.

2) 25% of millennials agree “choosing leaders through free elections is unimportant.”

Since we began with the Unites States - for good reason - you might have paused to wonder how those revolutionaries even got started - considering their open eyed realism. The vagaries of viscous power arbitrarily wielded in merry old England were known to these well educated men. They were children of the Enlightenment and they read... books. How was the revolution possible? I'm thinking - large ocean, lack of airplanes, and abundance of balls. Speaking of Roman Protasevich, let's make sure to bring him up later because I haven't caught up on the news today. Well wait, there probably wont be any new news - just the silent aftermath of a misinformation campaign nothing short of avalanche proportions. It covered most everything related. He was interesting (best case) like a whole 5 days ago. The news cycle has moved on to Trump spying on pesky journalists of his own. I'm sure that's going to last at least 10 hours. Yawn. "Up next... something bright and shiny. Don't go away!" Roman Protasevich will never be heard of again. I mean, if you heard anything the first time. Nothing new, but a case study may be in order. Cultures and technologies are changing, well - quickly. There might be something new to discover.

The farther back in time one travels - the murkier things become, so let's also leave King George for a moment and remember a more recent authoritarian. Joseph Stalin ruled about a hundred years ago. There have been plenty of autocrats and dictators in the interim but I just watched the hilarious "The Death of Stalin" (great cast , right?) so he's fresh in my mind. Actually, let's leave this morbid topic altogether for the moment. Some readers need no convincing on these matters. Nor the trials (lack of trials?) of journalists now rotting in countries a bit (10 hours... by plane) east of the United States. Or maybe down your street if you're reading in Belarus, or any of a dozen other places Amnesty International can point you towards at any given time. But not where I live. A Childs Home.

Come to think of it, where are you? I imagine you're middle aged, white, lower to middle class, safe, and secure - American male. Like me! How silly. Haven't I learned anything from Twitter? But every one has biases. We were born with them and they distort the way each of us see the world. So that's a bias. We hit logical fallacy with the maddeningly military minded millennials. Might hit some rhetoric. Maybe.

Wow, I was talking to my white neighbor and now I'm talking to everybody. Flip flopper. Yet another reason to stop reading this junk. So lets get to some Internet Basics to kick things off.

Lincoln, Paine, Hamilton, Dewey
all had concerns about a U.S. government going wrong
all now dead - most died of natural causes - or did they?
Coincidence or Conspiracy?🤣
We're thinking... "what would Dewey do?"

Information and Internet Usage


Some notes on the structure of the site.

With respect to personal information... there are no cookies, there is no tracking, there are no advertisements. We have no idea where you came from, who you are, or how much time you spend here. You come and go unnoticed. The material is free. (Aside from what we got somewhere else). With respect to your exploration... a simple path is offered. If you want to wander, there are links to the left. Don't be surprised if you run into half baked drivel... you're way off path, probably don't understand my my unfiltered (unedited unrestrained) humor and we suggest you return to the safe path. Blue text like you just clicked indicates... more text. Some little presents. Open them if you want. This keeps the site uncluttered. If you're having a bad day - you don't have to go any further because there is a odd peace right here. If you want, play the Chopin, scroll up pasts the madness, look at the sea, come back to the mountain when you wander off. Let Chopin take you away. Despite all that in the Deep Thoughts...he rocks. No, what I really mean is I think his music is magic.

The mountain will always be there.

Engaging Story

A picture of peace
There once was a King who offered a prize
to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace
Many artists tried and the King looked at all the pictures,
but there were only two he really liked and
he had to choose between them

One picture was of a calm lake.
The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it.
Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.
All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare.
Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightening played.
Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall
This did not look peaceful at all
But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall
a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock
In the bush a mother bird had built her nest
There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The King chose the second picture. Do you know why?
'Because' explained the King, 'peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
That is the real meaning of peace.'

Deep Thoughts

In Jesus Camp a Christian says, "There are two kinds of people in the world. People that love Jesus and people that don't." Regardless of the nature of particular 'kinds,' most of us like to divide things up into piles. Most of the time there are only two of them. Binary thinking is nothing new, and we'll take a look at that later. But for the purpose at hand, and in this particular case, if you are familiar with the territory - the clear meaning is this. People are either;

Saved ~ or ~ Santanic

Shocked? No need to read on. Disappointed? You are observant, but I misspelled it on purpose, mom. If you need to know why, you can follow the link. But see if you can hold on... I got a rhythm goin on. In addition to a regarded career in IT security, I have a degree in psychology and religion. I'm used to being shocked. Fortunately or not, for better or worse... I still feel it. There was a time when I didn't. I have been an involved participant in every variety of American Christianity, imports as well. My degree - and lifelong passion - the intersection of science and belief. My interest - and laboratory of my research - the history and practice of American evangelicalism. I had the great honor to study under Mark Noll, the foremost scholar of the topic and a humble and committed Christian. It's likely he had no influence on me and is absolved of any connection with my opinions or bias. If I payed attention to him at all, I typically disagreed with his opinion, and always misunderstood it. Regardless of where I found the truth, laboratory, genius, or knave... it can tell you this: You've got your "saved" and you've got your "satanic." You've got your recalcitrant and your repentant. Respected, reviled, remorseful, revengeful, righteous, rotten, delivered and dammed. You have your truth. You have have your consequences.

Reality Winner?
I've frequently reflect on the role delusion plays in an individuals environmental adaptation. Sometimes I apply reflection to a broader tribal context. Arguably, a little disconnection can be a survival advantage. There are merits to all sides, but in this case I think... Reality is the Winner. And I'm thankful for that.

Edward Snowden?
Roman Protasevich?
John Dewey?
Thomas Paine?

Frederick Chopin? Like it or not, classic music isn't very popular with most anyone these days. Furthermore, pianos have been known to viscously traumatize people. Chopin himself? Kind of a patriot snowflake. Historians describe him, by turns, "as an effeminate, arrogant snob who shamelessly flattered his way through aristocratic circles; as a frail, sickly, vaguely androgynous composer who drooped languidly over his slender little nocturnes and preludes; and as a bold Polish patriot, who composed fiery polonaises and etudes that defiantly proclaimed the pain and glory of his war wracked country" - interesting right? An brilliant elite who was actually a democrat AND a republican. No wonder the music is a little conflicted. This music gets across the idea (in my opinion) that peace is a little conflicted. We can be nostalgic about the idea - idealistic about the word. It's promise is as attractive as its absence is annoying. Which "is as, as its" is... a lot. If that's not making sense - I'm not a grammar elite - go back to staring at the mountain until it does.

Hokusai the Wavemaker? Hokusai's grandson gambled away all Hokusai's money, and Hokusai felt great uncertainty in this material aspect of life, which threatened even his spiritual firmness. Mount Fuji? Sacred, mystical even. the symbol for the soul of Japan, represents strength in a stable and isolated country, proud of its tradition and culture. The Great Wave? The presence of foreign influences. "The sea had a protective connotation before the end of isolation because it was a barrier that protected Japan from the outside world. However, in The Great Wave, the presence of fishing boats going towards the enormous wave represents the parts of Japan that were in contact with the outside, but with a knowledge of uncertainty and the struggles it might bring to the traditional Japan.

But even though the wave looks frightening, the faces of the brave Japanese fisherman in their oshiokuri-bune boats remain calm and decisive in going towards the unknown. The wave starts looking like a mountain, and the mountain in the background looks like a part of the wave, an element which could provide a perspective-changing reading where the sea becomes land and the land becomes the sea.

I n
change, the
real mountain and its sacred
isolation is not a place where people
will prove themselves - the sea is now a new mountain
and a challenge with its frightening height but also with its familiar shape
of a mountain. Could this be a way of Hokusai's reassuring of the Japanese people that
their inner strength can deal with new changes and the uncertain future coming ahead? Hmmmm.

Smirna Kulenović
John C. Tibbetts

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