The Story Tellers

May 4, 2018

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excerpt from Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

12,000 years ago, at the start of the Agricultural Revolution, “Farmers believed in stories about great gods. They built temples to their favorite god, held festivals in his honor, offered him sacrifices, and gave him lands, tithes and presents. In the first cities of ancient Sumer, about 6,000 years ago, the temples were not just centers of worship, but also the most important political and economic hubs. the Sumerian gods fulfilled a function analogous to modern brands and corporations. Today corporations are fictional legal entities that own property, lend money, hire employees and initiate economic enterprises. In the ancient cities of Uruk, Lagash and Shurupak the gods functioned as legal entities that could own fields and slaves, give and receive loans, pay salaries and build dams and canals.”

Posted by Jim Culleny
5/4/18

 

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Living on Paper

May 3, 2018

—excerpt from Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

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“Hunter-gatherers spent their days climbing trees, looking for mushrooms, and chasing boars and rabbits. Their daily reality consisted of trees, mushrooms, boars and rabbits. Peasants worked all day in fields…their daily reality was the feeling of muddy earth under bare feet, the smell of oxen…and the taste of warm bread fresh from the oven. In contrast, scribes in ancient Egypt devoted most of their time the reading, writing and calculating. Their daily reality consisted of ink marks on papyrus scrolls, which determined who owned which field, how much an ox cost and what yearly taxes the peasants had to pay. A scribe could decide the fate of an entire village with the stroke of a stylus.”

Related: Before the Ink Dries

Web of Stories

April 30, 2018

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From Homo Deus -A Brief History of Tomorrow:

“Animals such as wolves an chimpanzees live in a dual reality. On the one hand they are familiar with objective entities outside them, such as trees, rocks and rivers. On the other hand they are aware of subjective experiences within them, such as fear, joy and desire. Sapiens, in contrast, live in triple-layered reality… The sapiens world also contains stories about money, gods, nations and corporations. As history unfolded, the impact of gods, nations and corporations grew at the expense of rivers, fears and desires. There are still many rivers in the world, and people are still motivated by their fears and wishes, but Jesus Christ, The French Republic and Apple, Inc. have dammed and harnessed the rivers, and have learned to shape our deepest anxieties and yearnings.

“Since new twenty-first century realities are likely to make such fictions even more powerful, to understand our future we have to understand how stories about Christ, France and Apple have gained so much power. Humans think they make history, but history actually revolves around the web of stories. The basic abilities of individual humans have not changed much since the stone age.. But the web of stories has grown from strength to strength, thereby pushing history from the Stone Age to the Silicon age.”

Excerpt from Homo Deus – A brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Posted by Jim Culleny
4/29/18

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Giving Donald Trump credit for the apparent deal between North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and South Korea’s Moon Jai-In (no doubt a good thing if it turns out to be a thing) would have been like giving the late mafia boss, John Gotti, credit for threatening a neighborhood hot head that he’d better clean up his act, or else. While there might have been an immediate positive change Gotti would still have been Gotti and every one of his ongoing ruthless, crooked enterprises would have continued unchecked.

It would be big-picture wise for us not to forget that Gotti had dedicated his life to having his own way no matter what.  If that’s the kind of leadership we want we’ll deserve the certain outcome(s). Gotti did not shy from disappearing those within his own organization who crossed him while Trump, so far, just fires them or throws them under the bus. By all apparent digitally recorded evidence Trump, while probably not filled with literal blood-lust as was Gotti, has been and still is filled with lusts of other deadly sins of which he is in no way ashamed and which he will ratchet up as his needs be.

Believe me.

If you don’t want to believe me at least believe what Trump’s been telling you throughout his life, campaign and presidency to date. Bone up on it.

“In light of new massacres we’ll say, ‘Our thoughts and prayers go out,’ and get more creative in spinning our involvement to stay profitable.”. —Official of the Gun Lobby



Weightless

Thoughts and prayers are easy. They’re weightless. You never have to break into a sweat to use them. They’re so diaphanous they require no effort to handle, but unfortunately, for that very reason, they’re useless in getting anything done. That’s why and how they’re thrown around so effortlessly. They require nothing of the prayers and throwers out of thoughts. They’re perfect for the effete and feckless, the weapon of choice for the hypocritical.

Jim
2/16/18

War Genie

February 10, 2018

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The Big Vacancy does so love the trappings of war and power, although he himself avoided its brutality in his “own Vietnam” (as he once quipped). So, instead, he said, he had put himself in harm’s way during those bloody years heroically avoiding deadly STDs trolling female waters in calm seas suffering bone spurs.
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By all means give him his war-toy parade, a moment to satisfy his imagination, a road crewchance to see himself an Alexander, a Napoleon, his  troops passing, honoring him with salutes, his missiles partially erect rolling by on caissons, his tanks chewing up pavement, inevitable road crews behind, covering his damage …his base applauding, applauding, applauding.
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Trump is not the first Un Delirio to bask in visions of grandeur with a following:

……. history has seen at least one fool uncork a bottle thinking 
……. he could tame a genie only to end up shooting himself
……. in the head in a bunker after having created a losing proposition
……. producing 1. his corpse and 2. a continental Armageddon

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Jim Culleny

2/6/18

 

Night Terrors

January 5, 2018

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Donald Trump’s response to a question from Bob Woodward on why president Lincoln was a successful president:

BW: And why did Lincoln succeed? Thought about that at all?

DT: Well, I think Lincoln succeeded for numerous reasons. He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be. But he was a man of great intelligence, but he was also a man that did something that was a very vital thing to do at that time. Ten years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible. So he did something that was a very important thing to do, and especially at that time.

In case you think this is fake it’s not. It should be fake. It sounds like it has to be, but no, it’s real. If it were fake I’d sleep better at night, but as it is —since it’s real— I wake with night terrors.

This is our president.

This is how little he has to say about everything …anything. Oh, he uses many words, little words, short ones, like dung beads strung on a thread of gossamer, flimsy, fragile, a thread of nothing, really.

His little word-beads snake from his mouth on their gossamer thread and fall apart in mid air like blank thought bubbles.

Fascinating.

Terrifying when paired with another short word: nuke.

 

Jim Culleny
1/4/17