Friday, October 21, 2005

For Spence

How to Start a Business without Money

Several decades ago, before I got interested in starting businesses, I met a friend who went from being penniless to becoming quite wealthy in a breathtakingly short amount of time. I asked him what the secret of getting rich was.He said that you should find something that interests you and become an expert. For some reason, he became interested in turquoise and went from knowing nothing to becoming quite knowledgeable about the gem, the various sources, the market, and the players. One thing led to another, opportunities presented themselves and, presto change-o, my friend was showered with dough.When I started my first business, which was an ice cream company, I had no money, I had no business experience, and I had absolutely no idea how to make ice cream. Five years later, my ice cream was judged to be the best in America by People Magazine... What drove the growth of my business was the growth of my knowledge of ice cream. And what drove the growth of my knowledge of ice cream was my love for the stuff.When you start a business, what must lead the way should be your own interest in or love for whatever it is you want to do. Loving what you do miraculously attracts all the necessary resources, people and opportunities. You definitely don’t need money to start. Bootstrapping will stimulate your creativity and that is worth much more than money anyway.

The Lazy Way to Success: How to Start a Business without Money


"Once a rational person realizes that our government has lied or bent the truth – as all governments do – in order to look better or to present matters in a more flattering light, then one will begin to see everything differently, including current events. Naturally, the consideration of any question of how humans will act in or react to a given situation requires the use of one’s common sense; it makes sense that any government would try to make itself look better by hiding the truth from the public... Manifest destiny was a phrase used to express the belief that the United States was chosen by God to spread its form of democracy across North America and to the Pacific Ocean. All empires use ridiculous catch phrases to soothe the minds of their ill-informed public. America’s manifest destiny of the 19th and 20th centuries mirrors the insanity spouted by President George W. Bush today... Some Americans today (as well as people from other nations) are wondering why the United States thinks it has to be the policeman for the world. This is an old question. Since when are the internal affairs of other nations a legitimate concern for the USA? The painfully obvious answer to this is that the government of the United States will consider the domestic affairs of other nations to be its business up to and until the day the USA stops empire building. And why not? High-ranking government officials don’t normally send their kids off to die in wars; high-ranking government officials are always in bed with arms and weapons manufacturers and always looking for a way to line their pockets..."

America’s Asian Empire: Aggression, A-Bombs and Other Atrocities by Mike Rogers

Imperial Wisdom

The principal bit of wisdom that I had to purvey, which I got from Thomas Jefferson and he got from Montesquieu, is that you cannot maintain a republic and empire simultaneously. The Romans couldn't do it. The Brits could only manage it up to a certain point, but then ended up going broke. The Venetians were an empire, and the United States. And in each case the republics were lost. Starting with our war against Mexico in 1846, which was to acquire California, we've been in a serious, naked grab, grab, grab imperial mood.

Gore Vidal, Octocontrarian

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Happy birthday to me...

Well, a couple days ago, actually. But my present got here just today.

Gaze in awed wonder.

I am glorious.

Values notes...

Move towards happiness, love, growth, adventure, enthusiasm and contribution.

Move away from insecurity, failure, guilt and humiliation.

Be happy now, for no reason whatsoever. There are no rules for happiness. Cheerfulness is an end in and of itself. Give and recieve love, caring and compassion in all forms. Growth develops physically, mentally, spiritually, holistically. Movement, meditation. Try new things. Always. Assist others in the pursuit of their goals, not mine. The only true evaluator of my experience is me. No risk taking leads to a bland and meaningless life. Perfection is not required for accomplishment, only a movement towards improvement. No failure, only experience.

Plans Fail. Preparation Succeeds.

This has been your heartwarming feel-good message of the day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"We cannot fail to try."

"...But I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high--to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: if we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future.

Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do...

A technological revolution on the farm has led to an output explosion--but we have not yet learned to harness that explosion usefully, while protecting our farmers' right to full parity income.

An urban population explosion has overcrowded our schools, cluttered up our suburbs, and increased the squalor of our slums.

A peaceful revolution for human rights--demanding an end to racial discrimination in all parts of our community life--has strained at the leashes imposed by timid executive leadership.

A medical revolution has extended the life of our elder citizens without providing the dignity and security those later years deserve. And a revolution of automation finds machines replacing men in the mines and mills of America, without replacing their incomes or their training or their needs to pay the family doctor, grocer and landlord.

There has also been a change--a slippage--in our intellectual and moral strength. Seven lean years of drouth and famine have withered a field of ideas. Blight has descended on our regulatory agencies--and a dry rot, beginning in Washington, is seeping into every corner of America--in the payola mentality, the expense account way of life, the confusion between what is legal and what is right. Too many Americans have lost their way, their will and their sense of historic purpose.

It is a time, in short, for a new generation of leadership--new men to cope with new problems and new opportunities...

But I tell you the New Frontier is here, whether we seek it or not. Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric--and those who prefer that course should not cast their votes for me, regardless of party.

But I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier. My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age--to all who respond to the Scriptural call: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed."

For courage--not complacency--is our need today--leadership--not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously...

For the harsh facts of the matter are that we stand on this frontier at a turning-point in history. We must prove all over again whether this nation--or any nation so conceived--can long endure--whether our society--with its freedom of choice, its breadth of opportunity, its range of alternatives--can compete with the single-minded advance of the Communist system.

Can a nation organized and governed such as ours endure? That is the real question. Have we the nerve and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only new breakthroughs in weapons of destruction--but also a race for mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides, the far side of space and the inside of men's minds?

Are we up to the task--are we equal to the challenge? Are we willing to match the Russian sacrifice of the present for the future--or must we sacrifice our future in order to enjoy the present?

That is the question of the New Frontier. That is the choice our nation must make--a choice that lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort--between national greatness and national decline--between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of "normalcy"--between determined dedication and creeping mediocrity.

All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try."

- JFK accepting the Democratic nomination for President

Business 101 and the CEO President

Via Driftglass:
And if you think destroying things -- rotting things from the guts out – is an unprofitable pursuit…then you apparently slept through the 1980’s. To eviscerate a whole company, beggar and bugger the workforce, rape the pension funds, bleed off the profits, break it all up and sell it for scrap..that's what CEO’s that ran in Dubya’s pack feature in the first line of their resume.

They lard a lot of MBA-speak around their pathology to dress it up for polite society, but what it comes down to is really simplicity itself:

1. Fuck the healthy company to death

2. Fatten as many cronies as possible in the process.

3. Sell the corpse for medical research.

4. Move on to the next victim.

And whichever little piggy scores the next sweet giggy rings the dinner bell and finds plush sinecures for the whole parasite army.

That was the Promise of a Bush Presidency...

Interview with Jacques Vallee

Dr. Jacques Vallee, a French-American computer specialist with a background in astrophysics, once served as consultant to NASA's Mars Map project.

Jacques Vallee is one of ufology's major figures - and also its most original thinker.

Vallee, who holds a master's degree in astrophysics and a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, was an early scientific proponent of the theory that UFOs are extraterrestrial spaceships. His first book, Anatomy of a Phenomenon (Henry Regnery, 1965), argued eloquently that "through UFO activity … the contours of an amazingly complex intelligent life beyond the earth can already be discerned." In Challenge to Science - The UFO Enigma (Regnery, 1966) he and Janine Vallee (who is a psychologist by training, with a master's degree from the University of Paris) urged the scientific community to consider the UFO evidence in this light.

But by 1969, when he published Passport to Magonia (Regnery), Vallee's assessment of the UFO phenomenon had undergone a significant shift. Much to the consternation of the "scientific ufologists" who had seen him as one of their champions, Vallee now seemed to be backing away from the extraterrestrial hypotheses and advancing the radical view that UFOs are paranormal in nature and a modern space age manifestation of a phenomenon which assumes different guises in different historical contexts.

" When the underlying archetypes are extracted," he wrote, "the saucer myth is seen to coincide to a remarkable degree with the fairy-faith of Celtic countries … religious miracles… and the widespread belief among all peoples concerning entities whose physical and psychological descriptions place them in the same category as the present-day ufonauts."

In The Invisible College (E.P. Dutton, 1975) Vallee posits the idea of a "control system." UFOs and related phenomena are "the means through which man's concepts are being rearranged." Their ultimate source may be unknowable, at least at this stage of human development; what we do know, according to Vallee, is that they are presenting us with continually recurring "absurd" messages and appearances which defy rational analysis but which nonetheless address human beings on the level of myth and imagination.

"When I speak of a control system for planet earth," he says, " I do not want my words to be misunderstood: I do not mean that some higher order of beings has locked us inside the constraints of a space-bound jail, closely monitored by psychic entities we might call angels or demons. I do not propose to redefine God. What I do mean is that mythology rules at a level of our social reality over which normal political and intellectual action has no power…."


"Why are you interested in the occult in pop culture?

Short answer: it’s cool. I mean, it’s fascinating as hell. It cuts across all aspects of culture and history. There’s always more to learn, and more ways you can grow personally and spiritually. It’s a continual challenge and adventure that mirrors in microcosm the adventure of life itself."

Closed minded folks...

Particularly cogent metaphor for how people assimilate information, and how we all tend to overlook and "not see" that which doesn't fit our preconcieved patterns of association.

Reminds me of folks I know, particularly religious, who don't even realize how they pre-screen information. Though everyone obviously does it to a certain extent. But religion tends to master the concept of a mental block by making the very act of questioning sinful by its nature. Neat trick, that.

Again, via Pop Occulture:
I think most people are simply just worried that the occult is “evil.” And they won’t ever get more philosophical about it than that. Some people really do think it’s all about devils and demons and whatnot. In a lot of cases though, the way I think the concept of evil works in a religion is sort of similar to a junk email or spam filter on email account - except it’s applied on our minds. If a piece of mail comes through (ie, an idea or whatever) that contains certain keywords, or fits a particular pattern, then it’s automatically dropped into a sort of separate mental category so that we don’t have to waste time looking at it. Nobody ever reads through the text of every single spam email they get. At least I hope not. And they know that if they click on the links, they’re likely to get a virus or something. So for most people that arrangement with evil as a mental spam filter works out because it saves them time from getting lost of tangents that don’t relate to their lives. So again, it’s sort of a natural mechanism to help us prioritize how to spend our emotional and mental energy.

Lucid analysis of the Salem Witch Trials

Via Pop Occulture:
The Salem Witch trials took place within a small community that was trying to purge itself of certain elements. What they were trying to get rid of was a sort of Jungian shadow version of Christianity, except inverted into witchcraft, Satanism, etc. Whether that stuff was really going on at all, or to what extent is open to debate. People say maybe ergot poisoning was actually involved instead (poisoning from exposure to a fungus in rye, similar in makeup to the compounds in LSD). In any case, what you had was a community which operated according to an overtly religious story-system. When that story-system was threatened by strange behavior - whatever it’s cause - there was a reaction against it. This happens again and again in orthodox religion and ideology. If everybody’s working under a tight set of ethical rules and guiding myths, you typically don’t have a lot of wiggle room on how you interpret that stuff. If everybody’s version is a little bit different, it’s difficult to bind people together or “control” them using those stories. So you have to get rid of the ones which don’t fit in with it.

From that perspective, we could open this debate up to modern times and look for people who are persecuted because they don’t fit neatly into our modern story-system. One good place to look might be at the Anti-Psychiatry movement of the 1970’s, which basically said that mental illness wasn’t really an illness at all; instead, we were merely persecuting people who saw reality differently from us. That’s not talked about so much now, but it’s going to become an even bigger issue today with things like forced medication of kids who are probably erroneously considered ADD, or any number of other disorders which didn’t exist before they were created by pharmaceutical companies as marketing opportunities. Now, we have parents whose children are diagnosed with these disorders, and told that their kids can’t be in school unless they take these mind-altering drugs with no long-term testing. It’s a fucking scary situation, especially for people who don’t have any alternative opportunities when it comes to schooling.

Blindingly obvious

Richard Clarke, via The Atlantic:
Imagine if, in advance of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of trucks had been waiting with water and ice and medicine and other supplies. Imagine if 4,000 National Guardsmen and an equal number of emergency aid workers from around the country had been moved into place, and five million meals had been ready to serve. Imagine if scores of mobile satellite-communications stations had been prepared to move in instantly, ensuring that rescuers could talk to one another. Imagine if all this had been managed by a federal-and-state task force that not only directed the government response but also helped coordinate the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other outside groups.

Actually, this requires no imagination: it is exactly what the Bush administration did a year ago when Florida braced for Hurricane Frances. Of course the circumstances then were very special: it was two months before the presidential election, and Florida's twenty-seven electoral votes were hanging in the balance. It is hardly surprising that Washington ensured the success of "the largest response to a natural disaster we've ever had in this country." The president himself passed out water bottles to Floridians driven from their homes.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Magick is not about truth anymore than science is about meaning."

Via LVX23:
Magick is not about truth anymore than science is about meaning. Both are very functional perspectives on existence. Magick should not hope for proof via science nor should it seek validation in mechanism... Likewise, I don't wish for the magic of magick to be similarly "explained". Existence proceeds from, and ends in, mystery. It's only the human mind that finds it so difficult to come to terms with this. But the transformative currents moving through humanity at this time are eroding such dualisms and undermining mechanistic "truths". Truth does not exist in any comprehensible form. We only have maps and models. Perspectives. Gather together enough perspectives on existence and we may have some real insight into the fuzzy object at the core of creation. It's like a diamond of infinite facets, each one another angle on the Absolute core.

"Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?"

Mr. Newberry: What have you been doing with your life?
Marty: Uh... professional killer.
Mr. Newberry: Oh! Good for you, it's a... growth industry.


Debi: You know what you need?
Marty: What?
Debi: Shakabuku.
Marty: You wanna tell me what that means?
Debi: It's a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.
Marty: Oh, that'd be good. I think.


Debi: Everybody's coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.


33 today.

The "Jesus" year, as it were.

Those of you raised in the Christian way know what this means.

Soon, I expect to be denounced by the Pharisees and executed by the Romans.

It could happen.

"It is your duty to always take care of those who are less powerful than you and always question those who are more powerful."