How to Overthrow the Illuminati

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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:23 am

slimmouse » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:55 am wrote:Whilst the fluffiness and overall optimism contained within this link might be seen as something of a parody to the risible logic of the OP, I like the overall message, and the general way that solutions to our civilisational crises can be resolved in as bloodless a way as possible


MINDS, NOT MINES: Why the real revolution is being achieved with consciousness, not bombs


I don't think bombs are so helpful- after all You can't blow up a social relationship- but that's rather a straw man of an alternative anyway.

Here's another view:


Taking Shorter Showers Doesn't Cut It: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change
By Derrick Jensen, Orion Magazine

http://www.alternet.org/story/141260/

This article was first published in the July/August 2009 issue of Orion Magazine.

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption—residential, by private car, and so on—is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:51 am

Jensen's insight is a valuable piece, but some of his bitter mistakes are even more instructive, like his recent turn towards advocating violent action and telling his audiences to procure weapons. That's dumb, of course, but it clarifies the distinction even more sharply: your personal power is not Warren Buffett's personal power. The class structure isn't just about cultural norms, it is fundamentally about power. The Middle Class, to the increasingly limited extent it even exists, has more power than the thronging multitudes of Wal-Mart shoppers beneath them. The Middle Class in turn is shaped by the internecine warfare and applied ideologies of the ruling class above them.

If you want to make changes, you need power. In this respect, I think, Lyndon LaRouche was far more of a realist than Lisa Fithian. Power is about control, merely "being right" often won't even win in a debate.

Amassing power is a dirty game, though: especially the political kind, which is a zero-sum game with many thousands of existing players who would sooner cut your throat than share precious table scraps.

Left Organizing seems founded on the faith that people can be awakened to act in their own self-interest. I am hopeful that this proposition is true.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:00 am

American Dream said:
Personal change doesn’t equal social change.


Always look to the last sentence for the message.

So, for example, Manning and Snowden personally changing their minds about 'duty to their country' and releasing secrets is pointless - nothing has changed socially? That this change within their conscience and their subsequent actions caused by this personal change have had no effect on US society? Is that what you're suggesting with this piece?
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:25 am

Searcher08 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:37 pm wrote:
American Dream » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:15 pm wrote:I certainly could endorse the idea of a general strike but the devil is in the details. What do we think is wrong with the status quo? How shall we organize ourselves? What kind of economics will we practice? How will decisions be made? What sort of principles are central to what we are doing? What tactics shall we practice? What is our overall strategy?

Vague platitudes ain't gonna get it...


I think one needs to back up from that point and look as objectively as possible at that class of questions that you asked, because there are a lot of assumptions behind them.

Before even getting to answer them, these assumptions need to be brought into the open, and rigourously challanged.

What do we think is wrong with the status quo?
Each person will think something differently from the next. Making an assumption about what it is that we are all agreeing on is very dangerous territory...
What exactly * is* the status quo (apart from an aged Brit rock band) -I mean specifically?

How shall we organize ourselves?
This pre-supposes that we *should* organise ourselves ie that there is a pattern that we should be aware of and arrive at. Is this true? I would like to suggest that it is not always true.

Organisation can be an emergent property of the system itself and show great spohistication, without there being a collaboration then following action. An example would be an ant colony, where individual participants following very simple processes *give rise to* incredibly complex, adaptive and cooperative dynamics.

In fact, I would suggest that following a "let's talk about how to organise and then do that" is a recipe for potential disaster in these times.


What kind of economics will we practice?
This assumes there is 'a' kind that we will practice ie singular and that it will be a collective - it may be that there are multiple, fundamentally different ones.

How will decisions be made?
Good decision making needs to be done on the basis of accurate, timely, transparent and up to date information, regardless of the approach used, otherwise it becomes GIGO
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Decision support systems become critical...
If you want to see just how easy it is to mess this up -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_distribution_game and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullwhip_effect


What sort of principles are central to what we are doing?
What do we do when our principles overlap?
When we have a Venn diagram of conjunction and disjunction?

To me, there seems to be a 'meta-focus' -
Do we focus on the principles that we share that unite us, or focus on the principles that we disagree over?



What tactics shall we practice? What is our overall strategy?
Again to me there is an assumption about this being 'collective' driven - ie a collective makes a decision on tactics that the individuals then follow.

There are other approaches, which in fact would probably be much more effective -
examples such as job ticketing systems, where all the 'what' that need to be done are put up for grabs and people simply self select the ones they choose to do
http://cogprints.org/6289/1/heylighen-vidal-gtd-science.pdf


OK, I will give a response to some of those questions, for myself. There is no one true way that everyone on the planet must conform to: Lenin's dead, Stalin's dead, Mao is dead, the Party's over. I am not looking to create a monolithic machine to take over, based on unquestioning obedience to our fearless leaders. Nothing of the sort. That said, let's get on to some of the questions:

What do we think is wrong with the status quo?
Each person will think something differently from the next. Making an assumption about what it is that we are all agreeing on is very dangerous territory...
What exactly * is* the status quo (apart from an aged Brit rock band) -I mean specifically?


Of course we all do think differently about that- this is what organizing really begins with: discussion and the search for agreement. I would submit that fundamental elements of "the System" as I experience it include the reality that it is white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal, heteronormative, and based on a model of "power over" more than "power with". This begins to get at some fundamental features of the status quo which I am working to change.


How shall we organize ourselves?
This pre-supposes that we *should* organise ourselves ie that there is a pattern that we should be aware of and arrive at. Is this true? I would like to suggest that it is not always true.

Organisation can be an emergent property of the system itself and show great spohistication, without there being a collaboration then following action. An example would be an ant colony, where individual participants following very simple processes *give rise to* incredibly complex, adaptive and cooperative dynamics.

In fact, I would suggest that following a "let's talk about how to organise and then do that" is a recipe for potential disaster in these times.


I do think we should organize and change things but also agree that there should be lots of room for spontaneity and autonomous action. As noted above, I'm not big on the concept of "the Party" as one monolithic vehicle for social struggle. That said, I absolutely do support the fact that grassroots organizing is happening and I want to be part of it...

What kind of economics will we practice?
This assumes there is 'a' kind that we will practice ie singular and that it will be a collective - it may be that there are multiple, fundamentally different ones.


Not claiming that there can or should be one big economy but my efforts are focused on the anti-Capitalist front.

How will decisions be made?
Good decision making needs to be done on the basis of accurate, timely, transparent and up to date information, regardless of the approach used, otherwise it becomes GIGO
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Decision support systems become critical...
If you want to see just how easy it is to mess this up -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_distribution_game and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullwhip_effect


I am referring to participatory decision making as the basis of a better society, though of course we can and will delegate responsibilities as needed...


What sort of principles are central to what we are doing?
What do we do when our principles overlap?
When we have a Venn diagram of conjunction and disjunction?

To me, there seems to be a 'meta-focus' - [u]
Do we focus on the principles that we share that unite us, or focus on the principles that we disagree over?


Yes- I deal with this all the time. It's a constant balancing act but I think there is a way to move forward with a grasp of the ways in which the sorts of fundamental principles of liberation which I have alluded to are ultimately complementary. And yes, there are profound differences in social values all around us and that is why organizing is so essential- organizing begins with a conversation and a search for common ground and continues as actions and further conversations that will change all of us. "We make the road by walking".

What tactics shall we practice? What is our overall strategy?
Again to me there is an assumption about this being 'collective' driven - ie a collective makes a decision on tactics that the individuals then follow.

There are other approaches, which in fact would probably be much more effective -
examples such as job ticketing systems, where all the 'what' that need to be done are put up for grabs and people simply self select the ones they choose to do
http://cogprints.org/6289/1/heylighen-vidal-gtd-science.pdf


Surely we need collective process and individual initiative, right? I don't particularly agree with individualist anarchists who just lob a brick through a window in the middle of a march that other people organized say, but there should always be room for autonomous action, spontaneity, grassroots expression and in that we will find a great deal of synergy- of this I am sure.

So these are somewhat scattered and rambling responses but they do get a bit at what makes sense to me...
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:28 am

Well, c_d, I think you're framing it wholly differently than Derrick Jensen's actual point, which was that "lifestyle activism" amounts to approximately nothing. Manning and Snowden were both in a position of access and power that doesn't apply to a soccer mom deciding that her Starbucks habit is wasteful and going cold turkey, for instance. Bringing re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store is a good thing but has no real effect on a macro, manufacturing & demand level.

The personal change Jensen is specifically talking about is "living simply."
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby slimmouse » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:42 am

AFAIC, ADs response to my post, which he clearly considers it to be, is about as related as the title of this thread is to the OP AD submitted.


For instance, The very mention of an "inconvenient truth" in AD's response would probably be enough to make a grown man cry, given its content, and the sources of it.

Who in their right mind would listen to an inconvenient hyprocrit like Al Gore, even if every word was indeed the inconvenient truth, which it plainly isnt?

People are starting in large numbers to see the wholesale nature of the con far more astutely than that IMHO.

Nothing wrong with living simply of course. I suppose we can all take that message from it .......for starters.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:46 am

Wombaticus Rex » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:28 am wrote:Well, c_d, I think you're framing it wholly differently than Derrick Jensen's actual point, which was that "lifestyle activism" amounts to approximately nothing. Manning and Snowden were both in a position of access and power that doesn't apply to a soccer mom deciding that her Starbucks habit is wasteful and going cold turkey, for instance. Bringing re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store is a good thing but has no real effect on a macro, manufacturing & demand level.

The personal change Jensen is specifically talking about is "living simply."


Yes- I was using Derrick Jensen's piece for my own purposes. I recalled it as having relevance to slimmouse's approach to social change, which isn't to me focused enough on focused on organized collective action designed to change the System itself. I disagree with Jensen in any number of ways however and I do agree that Manning and Snowden did important stuff acting (mostly) individually.

As to there being room for spontaneous and autonomous action from the grassroots, see also my responses to Searcher above.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:49 am

slimmouse » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:42 am wrote:AFAIC, ADs response to my post, which he clearly considers it to be, is about as related as the title of this thread is to the OP AD submitted.


For instance, The very mention of an "inconvenient truth" in AD's response would probably be enough to make a grown man cry, given its content, and the sources of it.

Who in their right mind would listen to an inconvenient hyprocrit like Al Gore, even if every word was indeed the inconvenient truth, which it plainly isnt?

People are starting in large numbers to see the wholesale nature of the con far more astutely than that IMHO.

Nothing wrong with living simply of course. I suppose we can all take that message from it .......for starters.


I think you need to read a bit more carefully, slim. The author of the piece is no fan of Al Gore and is not in fundamental agreement with him. Neither am I, though my beliefs are distinctive.

Can't you tell that my politics are nothing like those of Al Gore?
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:06 am

Wombaticus Rex wrote:Well, c_d, I think you're framing it wholly differently than Derrick Jensen's actual point, which was that "lifestyle activism" amounts to approximately nothing. Manning and Snowden were both in a position of access and power that doesn't apply to a soccer mom deciding that her Starbucks habit is wasteful and going cold turkey, for instance. Bringing re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store is a good thing but has no real effect on a macro, manufacturing & demand level.

The personal change Jensen is specifically talking about is "living simply."


Even at the level Jenson is talking about, I disagree with. If everyone decided that canvas bags were the right thing to do, the knock-ons could be immense.

Let's take the plastic bag as an example. <alert! - boring, unnecessarily long bit> The company that supplies the raw material to create the bag would no longer require the fuel (and other resources) to extract the raw material or to deliver the material to the manufacturer. Their workers would no longer need the fuel to drive to work - in fact, those workers would no longer need a car to get to work. The manufacturer would no longer need the electricity generated by burning fossil fuels to heat, light and run the machinery of it's factory creating the bags. It's staff would no longer use fuel to get to work, in fact they wouldn't need a car to get to work. The fuel used to deliver the bags, packed in cardboard boxes inside vehicles, both created by other manufacturing chains going through exactly the same motions as every other process - would no longer be required or reduced. On arrival at the retailers depot, the shelf space (supported by heat, light and staff) would no longer be required - neither would the container space be required inside the vehicle that then goes on to deliver the bags, burning fuel, to a regional supply depot. Ditto then for delivery to the store itself. <and on and on>

This is one of the many reasons that add up to a whole as to why we are trapped in the current paradigm. It's a catch-22, but is not a sufficient enough reason to dismiss making an effort with personal 'consumption' change, because it's hugely due to consumption that this system stays in place.

The argument that vastly larger x% of resources are gobbled up by industry than personal consumption and therefor personally we can't influence anything is ridiculous, really ridiculous, when considering the products of those same industries can only be being consumed by us.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:17 am

coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:06 am wrote:
Wombaticus Rex wrote:Well, c_d, I think you're framing it wholly differently than Derrick Jensen's actual point, which was that "lifestyle activism" amounts to approximately nothing. Manning and Snowden were both in a position of access and power that doesn't apply to a soccer mom deciding that her Starbucks habit is wasteful and going cold turkey, for instance. Bringing re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store is a good thing but has no real effect on a macro, manufacturing & demand level.

The personal change Jensen is specifically talking about is "living simply."


Even at the level Jenson is talking about, I disagree with. If everyone decided that canvas bags were the right thing to do, the knock-ons could be immense.

Let's take the plastic bag as an example. <alert! - boring, unnecessarily long bit> The company that supplies the raw material to create the bag would no longer require the fuel (and other resources) to extract the raw material or to deliver the material to the manufacturer. Their workers would no longer need the fuel to drive to work - in fact, those workers would no longer need a car to get to work. The manufacturer would no longer need the electricity generated by burning fossil fuels to heat, light and run the machinery of it's factory creating the bags. It's staff would no longer use fuel to get to work, in fact they wouldn't need a car to get to work. The fuel used to deliver the bags, packed in cardboard boxes inside vehicles, both created by other manufacturing chains going through exactly the same motions as every other process - would no longer be required or reduced. On arrival at the retailers depot, the shelf space (supported by heat, light and staff) would no longer be required - neither would the container space be required inside the vehicle that then goes on to deliver the bags, burning fuel, to a regional supply depot. Ditto then for delivery to the store itself. <and on and on>

This is one of the many reasons that add up to a whole as to why we are trapped in the current paradigm. It's a catch-22, but is not a sufficient enough reason to dismiss making an effort with personal 'consumption' change, because it's hugely due to consumption that this system stays in place.

The argument that vastly larger x% of resources are gobbled up by industry than personal consumption and therefor personally we can't influence anything is ridiculous, really ridiculous, when considering the products of those same industries can only be being consumed by us.


I don't think that recycling is bad in any way- I certainly do it myself, as well as many other such measures- but it's not gonna fundamentally change the System...
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:23 am

American Dream wrote:
I don't think that recycling is bad in any way- I certainly do it myself, as well as many other such measures- but it's not gonna fundamentally change the System...


I'm sorry, but I don't see how that remark has anything to do with the OP or what has been discussed. The premise of the OP you posted is that we shouldn't worry about personal consumption because it isn't going to change society. In a society based on consumption (you know... a capitalist society), I argued that it could have a massive effect.

It was Wombat that introduced the canvas bag reference.

What's recycling got to do with anything that's been discussed here, or the post under discussion?

Edited to change 'OP' to 'post'
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:37 am

coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:23 am wrote:American Dream wrote:
I don't think that recycling is bad in any way- I certainly do it myself, as well as many other such measures- but it's not gonna fundamentally change the System...


I'm sorry, but I don't see how that remark has anything to do with the OP or what has been discussed. The premise of the OP you posted is that we shouldn't worry about personal consumption because it isn't going to change society. In a society based on consumption (you know... a capitalist society), I argued that it could have a massive effect.

It was Wombat that introduced the canvas bag reference.

What's recycling got to do with anything that's been discussed here, or the post under discussion?

Edited to change 'OP' to 'post'


Here is the final paragraph from the quote, which I am in essential agreement with:

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby coffin_dodger » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:41 am

Here is the final paragraph from the quote, which I am in essential agreement with:

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.


OK, then we shall have to disagree, because I think that society can only change through personal change. On all fronts.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:03 am

ON ALL FRONTS

I find AD's view of how to cure the ills of this planet...his approach to things..... small narrow minded...... so 19th - 20th century.....intellectually deficient in imagination .....(even though he believes he is extremely intelligent).... lacking wisdom...so mainstream as to be as boring as watching paint dry....he needs to expand is mind into the 21th century and get a grip.... there is no collective political solution
EVOLUTION IN PROCESS

WE ARE SPIRITS IN A MATERIAL WORLD

Image

Until one gets a grip on that he will not live in peace


There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution

We are spirits in the material world

Our so-called leaders speak
With words they try to jail you
The subjugate the meek
But it's the rhetoric of failure
We are spirits in the material world

Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it's something we can't buy
There must be another way


WE ARE STARDUST

BILLION YEAR OLD CARBON

CAUGHT IN THE DEVILS BARGAIN
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: How to Overthrow the Illuminati

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:48 am

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/soci ... ke-serious

Is David Icke Serious?

Adam Buick

It is common—and polite—to describe David Icke's views as being somewhat 'eccentric'; a more honest way of describing them would be 'absolute nonsense'.

Most people will regard David Icke as a nutter, an utter nutter in fact. Which is not surprising since in his talks and books he puts forward a fantastic proposition: that the planet Earth is in the grip of hostile extraterrestrials who are behind a group of humans, "the Global Elite", plotting to establish a world government under which we would all have microchips implanted in us linked to a central computer; since these extraterrestrials feed off our negative feelings our only hope lies in changing ourselves through substituting Love for hatred, fear and guilt. It's a peculiar combination of 1960s' hippyism and far-right conspiracy theories.

Icke is not the only person to put forward such views but, as a former TV sports presenter and Green Party national speaker, he has been able to obtain a much wider hearing for them than they would otherwise get. Since Icke presents them as being literally true they are open to refutation—or confirmation—by the same standards as any other claim about what happens in the world of human experience.

Mind and Matter

Icke's basic philosophical position is that mind has priority over matter and that in fact matter was created by a mind. As he puts it in his latest book And the Truth Shall Set You Free:

"Creation is the expression of one infinite mind and all life forms are aspects of that one mind what many people call God. We are all God, if you wish to use that term. At the heart of this mind is a consciousness I see as a blinding light— the Source Consciousness from which all has been brought into existence " (p. xiv).

We don't now how the universe came into being or indeed that it did "come into being" (it might always have been there), but what we do know about it is that forms of matter able to think arose at a later time than non-thinking matter and non-living (i.e. non-self-reproducing) matter generally, and in fact evolved out of it. So in this sense it is matter that has priority over mind—or rather, since mind is a form of matter, that non-thinking matter has priority over thinking matter—and not vice versa.

But we don't need to pursue this point further since Icke's brand of philosophical idealism does not deny that an external world of physical reality exists. It is a theory of how this world came into existence and accepts that it exists independently of our minds.

Icke also puts forward a theory of the nature of the self-conscious mind that humans have:

"Contrary to what medical science is obsessed with telling us, the physical body is not the whole human being. It is a fantastic physical shell through which the eternal us experiences this physical world. There is far more to us than a body . . . Our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves are a series of magnetic energy fields interacting with each other via vortices of energy known by the Hindu and Sanskrit word, 'chakra', which means wheel of light. These vortices are spirals of energy which intersect all levels of our being and pass energies between them . . . We are continually absorbing magnetic energy from the cosmos, mostly through the 'base' chakraat the base of the spine. After this life-force has passed through our levels of being and we have taken from it what we need, we broadcast our energy through the chakras back to the cosmos and the world around us " (pp viii-ix).

Despite Icke's basic philosophical idealism this is a materialist theory of the self-conscious mind since it posits that it has a physical existence. It is a claim that humans are a series of electromagnetic fields and that our bodies are receivers and transmitters of electromagnetic radiation. As it is a materialist theory it can be tested against the facts established so far about the nature of the human body and of electromagnetic radiation to see whether or not it is valid.

Energy and our bodies

The human body is indeed an absorber and transmitter of energy, including some radiation energy. Most of the energy we consume, however, is chemical energy, in the form of food which our bodies convert into, mainly, mechanical energy (to enable us to work and to keep our internal organs functioning) and heat energy (to maintain our body temperature) but also some electrical energy. The electromagnetic energy we absorb is mainly through heat and light but also some ultra-violet, X- and gamma rays, and cosmic rays (which normally don't do us any good).

So Icke is right to the extent that our bodies do act as receivers of electromagnetic radiation, particularly light, but this is not done via the base of the spine (the Sun may shine in—and out—of Icke's backside but most people absorb light through their eyes). Heat is another form of electromagnetic radiant energy and some will indeed be absorbed via the base of the spine but equally by the rest of the external surface of the body.

It is also the case that our bodies transmit radiation energy, overwhelmingly as heat but also as some electrical activity (such as that of our brains as measured by an encephalograph) and that to do this the body has to create and maintain magnetic fields.

It may well turn out that our "mental, emotional, and spiritual selves" are actually forms of radiant energy, as Icke claims. Or it may be that they are a form of chemical and mechanical energy that is generated by electrical and radiation energy or a combination of all four forms of energy. We don't yet know. Icke, however, makes the additional claims that the electromagnetic fields which he believes our selves to be composed of could exist in the absence of our bodies.

This is basically a claim that an electromagnetic field can exist in the absence of atoms, molecules and subatomic particles. There is no evidence at all for this since, from what we know about magnetic fields, they can only be produced by particular movements of these forms of matter.

Changing frequency

To tell the truth Icke doesn't really know all that much about what he calls "magnetic energy" since he writes of something that "it is like two magnets attracting each other" (p. 453) and that "under the law of like attracts like, this magnetic energy field . . . will attract to it compatible energy fields" (p. x). Actually, the whole theory of magnetism and electricity is based on like repelling like. He should try putting two magnets together and see what happens.

Despite his use of scientific terms such as magnetic fields, wavelengths and frequencies, Icke seems remarkably ignorant of what would be involved in for instance increasing the frequency of electromagnetic radiation. There are various different kinds of radiation energy and these are distinguished not only by their effects but also by their wavelengths and the time within which a wavelength is completed (their frequency). Basically, the shorter the wavelength the higher can be the frequency. But if you go on changing the wavelength and frequency you eventually change the nature of the radiation, from radio waves at the bottom with the longest wavelengths and the lowest frequencies through heat and light waves and on to ultra-violet and X-rays and beyond.

Icke claims that humans can voluntarily increase the frequencies of the electromagnetic radiation our bodies generate. In fact his whole theory of the future fate of the world depends on this (according to him this is what the power of Love will enable us to do, so defeating the evil extraterrestrials and their henchmen who've got us in their grip).

Suppose for the moment that this were true—and that we could voluntarily move the atoms and particles in the matter that makes up our bodies in such a way as to increase the frequency of the radiation our bodies emit—what would be the effect? The main electromagnetic radiation we emit is heat. If we increased the frequency the first thing that would happen is that we would overheat and eventually burn up. After that, had our bodies not been destroyed, we would begin to emit light. Then we would become radioactive, in short, we would destroy our bodies. It is fortunate, then, that we cannot in fact change the frequency/wavelength of what electromagnetic radiation we do emit.

Not that Icke is particularly concerned that increasing the frequency of the radiation we emit would destroy our bodies since he believes that:

"at the moment we call death, our mind-emotion-spirit, everything that is the thinking, feeling us, withdraws from the body, the 'genetic space suit' as I call it. The eternal spirit moves on to another wavelength of reality, another 'world', to continue its evolution " (p. ix).

But, on his theory of the nature of our ''mind-emotion-spirit" ("a person is a series of magnetic fields"), this cannot be. This is because without matter to be agitated an electromagnetic field cannot exist. Despite his attack on the science "which claims there is no afterlife of any kind and when this physical life is over, the lights go out forever" (p. 449) this is a corollary of the particular (materialist) theory of the nature of mind and consciousness that he has chosen to espouse. The body ceasing to exist or to function is precisely like turning out the light since switching off the current terminates the electromagnetic field on which the light depends.

We don't yet know the exact physical nature of the human mind and consciousness but we do know that it can't exist in the absence of a body that functions. This is our only life and only world. Which is why it is so important to concentrate all our efforts on working for a better world for humans to live in, instead of waiting for the Millennium, the Second Coming, the Age of Aquarius, the Appearance of the Maitreya or whatever.
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