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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Right Wing Left Wing Brain. Religion as Business. Vet Beliefs. Study Your Candidate's Belief System

Study Religious Systems:
Religions can be Inspiration, or Industry and Empire.

For Some, Religion Supplants Constituent-Obligation.
Study your candidate's belief system. 
Is something happening here? * Who is holding him up.

Systems that lean too far require odd supports

Vetting belief systems is essential in a pluralist society.  Some religious claims smack of empire, a tool for profiteering, usurping a balance of interests. What happened to all the rocks of ages on the way to the bank.  See Religious Exemptions for Piety and Profit, by Brian McFadden, NYT.
Rotary has a nice test:
  1. Is it true, 
  2. Is it fair,
  3. Is it conducive to positive relationships,
  4. Is it beneficial to all concerned.  
Scroll down to the Four Way Test at Rotary Four Way Test
Religious beliefs may well impact on political positions. Know your candidate. See Lauren Sandler's article at If we elect her, or any candidate, we get the system undergirding that person's decisions.
1.  Why the need for a firm belief system at all?
A. Some people's attraction to belief systems may be hard-wired.
The difference in people, in who is attracted to which end of the political spectrum, looks like an example of a news article: "Study Finds Left-Wing Brain, Right-Wing Brain." Los Angeles Times 9/10/07, at,0,5982337.story/.  There are basic thought-process differences among us, that we may well not be able to bridge, beyond having respect.
That would mean, if so, that nobody gets converted except through force if their mindset is to the flexible; see the progression of Roman Catholicism especially after the Great Schism of 1054, see Salvation or Marketing: Timeline of Doctrine, Italy Road Ways. Forced conversions over time get accommodated, but if left to voluntariness, we remain in our religion and politics somewhere on the line of left-leaning brain people, or right-leaning brain people. Is that close? There are gray areas and overlaps among individuals, but this basic dichotomy emerged.
B.  A role for neurobiology in ambiguity tolerance
The Study, see another overview at, suggests that some people tolerate ambiguity and conflict, while others not so much; some people are more structured in framing their experience, and more persistent in judgments previously arrived at. Once decided, that's it.
Other people are "open to new experiences."
That is seen as flip-flopping by those who value commitment-once-decided upon; and as flexibility in response, by those who value options in response to change. Some people are single-minded in their commitment, once arrived at, regardless of new information.
Guess: Liberal, Conservative. The study suggests that the predisposition is hard-wired. People just think differently. Different kinds of wiring leads to different orientations. Ask Bill Maher and his "Religulous" film. Is the deepest faith the least dogmatic?

C.  How does brain-wiring affect belief in "End Times".
This Polloi had never read about end times and wondered what people were talking about - refuges, anti-Christ, and numbers - 777 went the stockmarket and 666 turned red? I vetted, looking up each alleged "translation" of some idea in "end times" in old sources, and found many differences. The role of unconfirmed visions is extraordinary.

For End Times, as a specific topic, we moved the research into the dedicated vetting site, Vetting Roots. 

* And part of the title is from , see the lyrics at Buffalo Springfield, lyrics, What's That Sound/ See and hear it at

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Skeleton-Bump Key. Stabilize It. Force fodder.

Bullies as Fodder

Force Takes Second Seat to Stabilization

Will the Political, Economic and Religious Persuaders Get It?

Looking for the key to solving problems - one solution to opening doors. Just learn the formula, and success is yours. Look who has tried:

  • The military.  The military uses force as its opener to success. This has been true in cultures for millenia.  But the ideas they tried to stamp out came back. The people rose again. In the United States, there has just been a change - believe it or not. Our military has actually taken a new direction, a new military manual, a new Army field manual that put stabilization activities - the soft, cultural sensitivity, cooperation activities - on a par with the old battle mentality.  See Military Rejects Bellicose Style.  Our military has finally - too late, maybe - moved in the direction of another universal solution key, the concept of stabilization before deciding to what to do about threat. 
  • Medieval alchemists.  They tried to find a universal solution to how to get rich, when they experimented with turning any metal into gold.  This is like our sub-prime mortgage people.  Get rich this way.  Easy. Not.

  • Old-timey lock pickers.  They tried to open shut doors with skeleton keys - for  traditional locks - and largely succeeded. That form could be filed to fit multiple locks.  Skeleton keys used to have an odd appearance: a longish rod, the curly flat double hole handle part at one end, and the flat key part that you pushed in the lock and wiggled, with the two teeth protrusions at the end.  See ://
  • New age  lock pickers.  They use a "bump key" to get into otherwise closed places  - see ://, combined with a particular technique for making it work. It worked so well it became a security threat - with countermeasures needed..
  • Religious proselytizers (picking the lock to your belief system?).  They tried taking over the world's brains with force - using weapons of mass dogma, overwhelming, unconquerable fixed rules and hierarchies.  Still do. Those last for a while but only a while -  martyrs, Crusades, Inquisitions, Fatwas - Exclusionists and Supremacists of all ilks, etc. See Bill Maher's new movie, "Religulous," for a spoof on that religion-for-all solution idea (spawning more ills than they resolve, Bill?).  He has his views on what happens when everybody's religious self-centerednesses clash, at :// We see the perpetuation of teaching and power systems, but buried under is the dear Founder's original ideas, apparently, under the pile. Or left in the jar. Or burned in the bonfires.
B.  The lesson - what to do.  From force to stabilization.

Forcing any problem won't do it - most of the time - and if it does work, it is temporary. Force is the step of the desperate who are losing - justifiable where self-preservation is at stake, perhaps, as the only way to survive, as in campaigns, or the Gauls against Caesar. Or, force is the quick fix when one side thinks it clearly can shock and awe and overwhelm. Caesar against the Gauls.

Consider the Soviet experience using force against the Afghans. Tank in photo above, explained by Curator Andrew Gregory at the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps Museum in Montreal - excellent, accessible, comprehensible facility, thorough, personalized tour. 
The museum points out, to us, that there is an appeal to arms and those who fought and died - but force itself is an illusion. Ideas revive. Or survive regardless. Mostly. See the tank graveyard for Soviet tanks like this, near Kabul, there at :// Rust to rust. 
A guy whose arm rested in the wrong place had it sliced off when the gun went off.  No OSHA. We may be better in that area than Russia, but on balance, our M4A1  Ronsons were not much better.... See "Opening Salvo: M4A1 Sherman" at //
Overcoming by force (the royal decimation) just may not be feasible, or desirable because of the revenge factor.  Or the cultural positive value of just biding time until the undesirables give up and leave, then rising up again. Or just regrouping. Different senses of time frames. Never won in the first place.
So the need for a universal solution key rises when force fails. When the opposition cannot be overcome, or will not - and keeps coming back at you - try another approach.

When things are rough, upended, stabilize instead. Certainly, don't erraticize (you could eroticize, but that also is time-limited); and
C.  The Key!

Apply the new universal solution to the economy; politics; religious conflict; that our own Army has finally identified. Stabilize. Find the common ground that will put emotions under control, enable solutions to emerge, before going to war. 

 And during it, if already launched,  use stabilization techniques to cut, reduce the duration of the carnage.  Current administration? No interest until so recently, that we weep.

Key to the mystery lock above: the Cat , another Edwardian Hatpin, rod 8 1/4", see Hatpins Collection Tour: Key Cat. At least, the holes line up, and slots fit.1.  Now we are at the economy, politics here.  

1.1 What is the new bump key here? Can't use force. Force?  How? Who?  The mortgage lenders who misled and hid fine print did their best and succeeded in "forcing" loans by misrepresentation.  And look what happened.  Also Enron.

1.2 How to fix? These are stateless issues. In politics, one can force by jamming the ballot boxes, yes; or pauperizing any exec earning over $5,000,000 per year (the nouveau riches standard)? But these are iffy, time consuming. And involve courts.

1.3  Replace and stabilize. No more dashing about, no posturing, no hithering. Get someone in there who will relax. Breathe. Assess. Triage. Think. Choose a first step, then another. And if that turned out to be the wrong decision because nothing did stabilize, change your mind and do something else. Stability requires disclosure.  Do it. We have had the other - the secrecy as universal solution. That didn't work. We had free market Halliburtoning.  That didn't work, for the country, anyway.


2.  Religion.  Religious conflicts.  What is the new bump key here? to universal understanding, tolerance

2.1 . No. Not the pope reading a Bible cover to cover. See://

a. What is the Bible? Whose translation? And referring to the Bible leaves out the Koran, its upgrade, believe many. No universality there. What was left out of what we call the Bible anyway, or put in, how to know who was "inspired" divinely, and who was inspired politically in those decisions?  How to filter out teaching and culture from original text?  Who says teaching is divinely inspired? The teachers? Dogma as on a par with original text?  To the dogs with it.  Etc. Say people who disagree with one another.

b. Look up this site with numerous parallel translations through the years - at :// Find more all over the place. Big business. Then go to a transliteration site - the rocky word for word, without making it into syntax or flowy - at ://

2.2 . Our solution: Stabilize by reading a transliteration. Not just your own stuff. Pushing your own stuff is the problem.  Force.

a. For a start, go to :// - what do the earliest words say. Go to something familiar, like Genesis 1:1

b.  Skip modern grammar,  the cultural interpretations repeating themselves. Hear old words, as they are/were, according to earliest-Hebrew scholars.  Those are our roots, if they themselves are free of the later Patriarchal interpretations, institutional, power-culture types. And who knows.

c. Christian, Jew, Muslim, all consider themselves "people of the book" but they disagree on whose book, and which people to include as authority, and when to stop the changes.  So, go back to the very first Paleo-Hebrew and each language's word for word from that. That won't fix the Koran problem, but the Koran includes much that is "Biblical" and an Arabic transliteration may help those folks  filter culture and teaching from original text, just as we would be doing.

Period.  Stabilized. Earliest Paleo Hebrew or whatever else one can find (this is not our tradition but we are very interested). A common ground for the religions "of the book."

d. Set up a summit - can we agree on the transliteration words?  Probably not, because our cultures will not permit any changes from what we all have had drummed into us, right?

Right. Left.

Everybody march. But listen. Read it yourself. See what is different from what you were taught. Perhaps thy socks will be blown off. Meanwhile, stabilize by putting non-extremists together - a rabbi, an orthodox priest, a roman priest, a minister, an evangelical, a representative of the major groups of imams, together in a springhouse.

Their task:  Start easy - with Genesis 1-4 - a rocky, ungrammatical transliteration is all that is needed of that bit.  From there, on, go as you will.  Transliteration.  The new skeleton key. The new bump key to religious tolerance.

If they an agree, we may have an inroad through them to their group's extremists.

Maybe not.

But we tried as we go down.

A new approach is emerging. Is that so?  Is force becoming outmoded. Is there a new key out there. One long verbalized, seldom tried. Problems remain, but force is no longer the choice do jour for coping,

No age is without problems, a cultural trauma, or simply a human desire for a quick fix.  A door is shut that somebody wants open, to go through and do whatever. How to do it?

How indeed. Any age has looked for one solution that will be a universal resolution to multiple situations.

The goals may not even be good ones - the human push for turf, for example, is the most obvious one.  Use force. Now that force in most areas is not working at all, what is left?  What is the next quick or not so quick fix?