The situation in Ukraine

The following is an email from a friend who has extensive contact with and knowledge about Ukraine. It is a response to my asking him what he thinks is going on. His reply is excellent, so I am sharing it. ABN

Russia is using American tactics back against them as far as the same tactics used in the Arab spring etc. now being used in east Ukraine.  Although many know this in the West they can’t state it outright because it shines a light on everything wicked they’ve been doing too.

There is certainly Russian involvement but nothing so direct as artillery and tank support.  It’s completely unnecessary for the Russians to do this as it will also discredit the soon to come Ukrainian government that will be made up of the Nova-Russian forces.   You can see some of this in the recent stepping down of the Donetsk Republic President which happened right after the president made the mistake of saying he will allow Dutch military to open a cease fire region in the middle of the most contested territory.  Word was the old president was recalled to Moscow – but the error was quickly remedied with his exit.

If you hear or see stories about the rebel forces taking Karkiv, the war is all but over with Kiev losing.   This is imminent.  Ukraine has no army left, no money, no weapons, no way to really get them in time. And with Russian friendly people seeded throughout the government, even when they try to move, funds will go missing, things won’t get to where they should etc.  Now there are big real protests in Kiev by all the mothers and wives that have had their men conscripted.  The right sector, humiliated and kicked out of government now that they’ve been used, is also turning back on the government.

State department just issued warning for Americans to leave all south Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.  Also looks like they are prepping a try at Transnistria.  They are posting signs and such about watching out for Transnistrian terrorists all over Odessa and they built a trench across the entire Transnistrian border.

But the U.S. has really already lost.  It is why the lies are getting even more outrageous.  The defeat is amazing as it is all coming apart across the globe. France and Germany are in almost open revolt.  Just google or youtube Angela Merkel being heckled – this happens wherever she goes now.   If Germany pulls out of EU or NATO- that’s the end of the New World Order.  The Erodan Government in Turkey is in open defiance.  Also did you see the recent news the UAE and Egypt started flying bombing runs over Libya without so much as consult with Washington.  All this and China hasn’t even played it’s hand or even a single card yet.

Because Washington has been so totally humiliated, the scariest part of it all is that there is increased chance that it will just be a sore loser and kick the table over by launching a nuclear strike.

Fractals in the humanities

“A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale.” (Wikipedia)

Most of us know what math fractals look like and understand that shorelines and trees exhibit fractal patterns that display at different scales.

I think we can also see fractal patterns or sets in the humanities.

For example, the five skandha explanation in Buddhism to be fully understood must be conceived of as a fractal pattern that repeats at different scales. The normal explanation of the five skandhas is as follows:

The five skandhas are form, sensation, perception, activity, consciousness. A form can arise in the mind or outside of the mind. This form gives rise to a sensation, which gives rise to perception, followed by activity (mental or physical), and lastly consciousness. In the Buddha’s explanation, the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly. They are not a continuous stream but rather a series of discrete or discernible moments. A form arises or appears, then there is a sensation, then perception, then activity, then consciousness. (Ibid.)

This explanation describes the most basic fractal pattern or the smallest one. “…the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly.”

A simple example of this rapid movement of the five skandhas might be the experience of having something suddenly touch your neck. Your first awareness of this is the form. Your next awareness is the sensation; at this point you react with aversion, attraction, or neutrality. If you are outside, you might react with aversion as you perceive (third skandha) the touch to probably be an insect. Following that, there is often rapid physical activity (fourth skandha) as you involuntarily reach to brush it away. After that has been done, you will determine what actually happened, you will become conscious (fifth skandha) of what happened.

If it was an insect you might shudder or feel relieved. If it was a leaf on a tree branch you might feel a bit foolish. Your consciousness of the event comes after the first four skandhas have arisen or occurred.

A larger fractal version of the above might be the feeling (form, or first skandha) that you are ignorant about something. This form gives rise to an aversive sensation (second skandha), which leads you to perceive (third skandha) that you ignorance is probably something you should correct. This leads to mental activity (fourth skandha) which may require months of your time. At last, when you are satisfied that you are no longer ignorant on that subject, you will experience a new state of consciousness (fifth skandha).

In the above example, your ongoing feeling of ignorance as you study the subject might also be described as the fifth skandha, consciousness. Understanding that the five skandha explanation is a fractal pattern to be used to help you understand yourself will allow you to apply it where it can do the most good. As with so many things in the humanities, you will do better if you see the pattern and use it to aid understanding without letting yourself get trapped in a quasi-logical net that hinders understanding.

FIML practice can be seen as a fractal pattern as well. The smallest, or most basic level, is the basic FIML query which interrupts normal communicative processing to insert rational thought and more accurate information. The FIML query interrupts the mind as soon as the second skandha, sensation, arises. Whenever partners question a sensation, they will immediately change all of the five skandhas associated with it. Rather than follow a semi-conscious sensation down the same associative path as usual, partners gain an entry point to their deep psychology and an awareness of how their communications are affected by it.

A larger fractal pattern of FIML, might be hearing about it (form); feeling interested in it (sensation); perceiving what it is; learning the system (activity); and lastly gaining a new consciousness about how language can be made to work much better than without FIML.

FIML is a tool that helps partners leverage communicative details to gain great insight into how their minds work. Since FIML is not (yet) the rule for how people speak to each other, a non-FIML fractal pattern can be seen in society at large: since most people do not have a way to access the highly important details that FIML can access, they do not expect anyone else to access them. Thus, by default they accept horribly sloppy reasoning and lies from politicians and others who make important statements in public.

The fractal pattern of non-FIML communication in society at large is all but defined by lies, secrets, and hidden motives. At a smaller fractal level, so are the personal lives of most people. The world goes on. It is my guess that brain scans and better computers and computer programs will one day make it easier for people to see that having the ability to perceive and manipulate communicative details greatly enhances communication. And that communication so enhanced greatly enhances our understanding of ourselves and others. And that this sort of understanding will help us see that we do not have to live in a society that is all but characterized by lies, sloppy reasoning, and partisan nonsense.

In the humanities, fractal patterns can be seen at many levels. By changing the details of very significant communicative patterns between ourselves and our partners, we will change both ourselves and our perceptions of others, and this will gradually lead to better concepts of what society is and how it can function.

Two extreme and opposite examples of moral weirdness

Protecting your own versus not appearing racist. Both of these moral positions (which become public semiotics when simplified as aspects of culture) are understandable until taken to extremes.

The first example comes from England, where police and public officials were afraid to appear racist and consequently allowed some 1,400 children to be abused without investigating the matter, which had been clear as a bell for years:

The vast majority of perpetrators have been identified as South Asian and most victims were young white girls, adding to the complexity of the case. Some officials appeared to believe that social workers pointing to a pattern of sexual exploitation were exaggerating, while others reportedly worried about being accused of racism if they spoke out. The report accused officials of ignoring “a politically inconvenient truth” in turning a blind eye to men of Pakistani heritage grooming vulnerable white girls for sex. (Abuse Cases in British City Long Ignored, Report Says)

That quote and story is from the New York Times. Isn’t that the most fucked-up thing in a long time? British officials were so concerned about appearing racist that they looked the other way while an enormous number of their own children were being violently raped. We might say in the sedate language of academic analysis that the public semiotic or the moral injunction against racism was so strong that they lost their capacity to think and act.

Here is the other extreme, a group that so wants to “protect” its own that they are willing to prevent them from making individual choices that harm no one.

This video is a good example of the raging emotions that can be experienced at the other side of the spectrum from the case in Britain. An article about this incident can be found here.

Fortunately, it is not often that we can see such extremes within a single week. I would propose that all of us are susceptible to the emotions that lie along this spectrum from extreme “self” preservation to such amazing laxity that sworn officials cannot even lift a finger to preserve the safety of their own children.

The difference between us (you and me, dear reader) and them is most of us can find a reasonable balance between these primitive extremes, the one born in sexual and tribal instinct, the other in overwhelming deference to internalized social norms.

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Edit 8/29/14: Here is more on Rotherham: Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?

Here is one from the USA: Conspiracy of Silence. If you have not seen this video, it’s a must watch, especially for US citizens. There are several good books on this story and many links to articles can be found easily.

Repost: FIML and cerebral efficiency

This article argues that the human brain saves energy by predicting or imagining “reality” more than actually perceiving it: Do Thrifty Brains Make Better Minds? The article argues that this way of using our brains allows us to work more efficiently with complex data or in complex situations.

I think this general premise is pretty well known and agreed on, but the linked article puts it in a new way. The following sentence caught my eye: This… underlines the surprising extent to which the structure of our expectations (both conscious and non-conscious) may quite literally be determining much of what we see, hear and feel.

The article uses visual perception as an example, but the idea applies just as well, and maybe more so, to what we hear in the speech of others. FIML practice works by inserting a new mental skill between the first arising of a (stored) interpretation and its full-blown acceptance as “reality”.

Ferguson, MO

Whatever the outcome of the Michael Brown investigation, no one can complain that it has not been thorough. Eric Holder is going to Ferguson, there have been three autopsies, numerous eye-witness versions of the event, videos, photos, many stories and opinions, and more. The police, as far as I can tell, have been forthright in releasing information and in not withholding anything relevant.

We, the public, know a great deal about what happened and what is happening. In the end, I doubt that anything will be hidden or covered up. Indeed, Holder himself released the following statement yesterday:

“This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent. And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve. Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.” (Source)

I cannot praise Holder enough for that statement. That is exactly how an Attorney General should speak and behave. He has sworn to get to the bottom of the event, tell the truth about it, and ensure to the best of his ability that something like this does not happen again.

Brown was killed on August 9. Today is August 20. We still do not know for sure what happened, whose story is the right one. Eleven days have passed, but the evidence is still being weighed and considered. This kind of process must be done slowly and carefully. Authorities must be certain that they have the facts and that the public is fully informed and satisfied with their conclusions.

So far, the Brown investigation is a model for how crime should be investigated in the US, especially when the matter is of such great public significance. As Holder has promised, “Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent.” I have nothing but praise for these words and his actions.

Now compare the event in Ferguson to the complete lack of investigation into the lies and forged documents that led to the Iraq war, or the complete lack of investigation into the Wall Street meltdown scam. Compare how the Ferguson story slowly unfolds over days; as new facts are discovered the story changes and takes on different nuances—exactly how it should be. Compare this to the events of 9/11 when the “official story” was fully established within hours of the planes hitting the Towers; compare to how Bush steadfastly refused to investigate 9/11 at all until he was forced to relent well over one year later; compare to how NIST has refused to release the data used in their computer models upon which their report on WTC 7 is based. I could go on for pages.

Events in Ferguson show two things with great clarity—1) US officials are capable of serious, eminently proper, and thorough investigations, and 2) these investigations only happen at the small-change level, when publicity helps the investigators and no one in power is threatened.