Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

January 13, 2013

They put mind-control drugs in the drinking water.

Filed under: magic, Vinting — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 5:55 pm

Imagine that your government mandated your drinking water supply be laced with a pharmaceutical agent — a drug that causes sedation, depression in a certain proportion of patients, loss of sex drive and sometimes male impotence. This would seem to be a vile New World Order scheme for cowing a sheep-like populace, preventing revolts and dwindling the population.

Indeed, the drinking water was drugged to control behavior among the masses. I’m not talking about the fluoride in your city water, though — I’m talking about hops in the beer, and the scene is Europe in the late Middle Ages / early Renaissance.

Medieval Europeans didn’t know how to sanitize water to make it safe, but they did know that beer was safe. They drank it all day long (although some of the beers were too weak to go to market today.) In the Dark Ages, there were many beer recipes in circulation… some called for malt and water only, but that was not most people’s favorite beer. Plain beer has no bitter element to balance the sweetness, and doesn’t keep as long as beer infused with bitter herbs. Other beers were brewed with juniper or wormwood, or with specific herbs to treat specific maladies.

The most popular beer was the one backed up by Church authority. In many places, the local monks held a monopoly on making gruit, a brain-bending combination of herbs such as marsh rosemary, yarrow, and sweet gale (Myrica gale.) The village people would pony up cash for the secret-formula gruit, and proceed to brew their own beer with it. Gruit beer is said to be stimulating and highly inebriating. To Protestants, the gruit system was a big problem, because 1) it supported the authority of the Church and 2) it was too much fun, too indulgent, and had to be sinful.

Their solution appeared in the form of hops. Very late in the Middle Ages, brewers were experimenting with hops as an alternative to gruit. Its main advantage was that it could be grown in one’s own beer garden, avoiding the priestly layer of secrecy and control. Hops is bitter and preservative, and it can be bred into varieties producing a decent range of different aromas. The downside of hops is that it causes sleepiness, weakens the male libido (through estrogen-like chemistry), and is contraindicated for depressives. It’s not an evil plant; the other side of the coin is that it’s good for menopausal symptoms and for people who suffer anxiety without depression.

Apparently, the side effects of hops were of no concern to the Protestants. I don’t think that they consciously set out to sedate people — it’s just that sedating people didn’t rate as a disadvantage. Hops was considered an anti-drug, the tame alternative to everything from heather to henbane. Hops was mandated into Bavarian beer in 1516, with the Reinheitsgebot or German Purity Law — the only ingredients allowed in beer henceforth would be barley, water and hops. The Purity Law would spread to many European nations and locales. To the modern Westerner, the Purity Law is an assurance that there is no cheapass rice or maize in the brew. To someone living almost 500 years ago, it meant something different… it meant that to drink something that was safe and dysentery-free, you had to dull yourself down with hops: that is a mass drugging of the population through the drinking water supply, no doubt.

This could be a sad tale of the subjugation of my ancestors. However, this story points to a wide-open new frontier in brewing… everything from pine branches to saffron has been used in beer. Yet we today rely almost exclusively on hops, even reflexively hopping beers with other spices added. There is no need to do so, especially with bitter herbs!

A homebrewer can easily buy some unhopped malt extract and brew it with the addition of any plant product they choose. The starting place for reclaiming our centuries-dormant brewing traditions has got to be “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. I will double-check his information for assurance of safety, as I am just too self-conscious to converse with plants as Buhner does, and therefore I need empirical data regarding safe dosage! This also raises the question of what I can brew into a beer, and just hand it to someone as a beer, as against when a beer becomes a “drug.” I suppose I shall have to embark upon a serious, long-term effort to bioassay these strange brews, using the researcher as test subject.

Meanwhile, the struggle between “puritans” and the free-minded goes on. The high priests of public health are considering what level of lithium to put in city water in order to reduce violent behavior. Wild people of the world, take some joy in the fight! It won’t end in our lifetime!

August 24, 2012

Carryin’ On the Cosmic Struggle

The universe doesn’t suck, people don’t suck. People who want to control the universe, suck.

In this video, pompously entitled “Humanity’s Greatest Secret,” Alex Jones preaches on ultimate meanings with way more insight than I’d have credited him with. His mythology speaks to my recent interest in balancing wonder and curiosity with the need to keep an eye on the dangerous and disgusting. For Alex Jones, the evilness is totally embodied in the globalists and their various plans for New World Orders. If that’s not your worldview, relax, it can’t be that hard to imagine it for twenty minutes. You already know of about a million instances where power corrupted…

“Humanity’s Greatest Secret” puts the struggle for the control or freedom of humanity onto a grand and magnificent scale, as in the Wrinkle in Time or His Dark Materials series-es. Don’t let the Spectres or Echthroi take you, friends…

“I’m merely an ant in a great colony,” cried the human being. But you are special: you are the universe having a lucid dream, pretty much. It took a lot of “Creation” to get to this point. You therefor deserve some respect (NOT to be treated as an unwitting experimental subject, a member of an unwanted caste, a draftee in a war of aggression, or any of that other bullshit the great Masters of the Universe do to us. Nor to take shit from anyone else.)

Next post, I swear I will just make pickles or something. Things are literally taking their time to ferment or ripen around here, so I will report back when I’ve learned something sufficiently interesting!

August 8, 2012

Escape from Wonderland

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 12:25 am

Today I went to vote and received a sticker claiming that “My vote counted!” I seem to remember a time in the past when you received a sticker that said, “I voted.” Like “I gave blood,” the sticker was a subtle social pressure to get other people doing the same thing. If more people vote, that should tend to make our sham democracy less of a sham.

“My vote counted” means something completely different. It means “I have faith in the electoral system.” Which I don’t… I can’t really say if I fed my ballot today directly into a paper shredder or not. Anyways, the candidates who win are generally those anointed by party machines, which live as a sort of parasite or symbiont on the corporatocracy. By and large, we the people don’t count because we almost  always vote as those with advertising dollars tell us (the more educated will listen to the pet journalists of the corporatocracy, who depend on the advertising rather than writing it. Advertising trumps investigation either way).

“My vote counted” is just a little intrusion of the phony propaganda world into my real life. The worst is when I try to find some news of the world and extend my view beyond my narrow little Michigan horizon (although, to be fair to this fine state, I do  feel like the trees limiting my line of sight, are at the right height.) The politics is all left-right, while the people at the center of it, never mentioned, suck money and life-blood from all the peoples of the world. The science is all gee-whiz, and an unexpected result in a laboratory game is always hailed as a groundbreaking new insight into the human condition. History only goes back as far as World War II. The United States isn’t an imperial power, we’re the champion of freedom around the world. It makes me want to snort bath salts and run amok, naked and howling.

The Powers That Be have yet to attain total control over our information. In fact, you can frequently hear them wringing their hands over the breakdown of consensus and the rising popularity of alternative, odd, and sometimes unbelievable beliefs. When people have been raised by T.V. and the K-12 system to be non-thinking corporate servitors, and yet they can no longer accept the nonsensical mainstream chorus message, they’re going to invent some funky explanations for the way the world is. As long as they’re not blaring hateful vibes, look at the funky beliefs of (biodynamic gardeners, state militia members, Wilhem Reich followers, the Tea Party…) and try to find the grain of truth that’s driving them.

That said, with the help of friends and family, I have developed some strategies for getting less-warped news of the world.

You can avoid the American corporate media. Read a local paper from Canada, available online (that’s how I discovered that U.S. States were floating bills to ban photography of farms, largely to facilitate horrible conditions for animals). Listen to the BBC, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, or even NPR. I don’t particularly trust these sources as truthful, but they will widen up your field of vision.

There are also independent voices you can hear over the Internet. I really enjoy Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert — they are on Russia Today and an Iranian channel, amongst other outlets, including some truly independent ones. It’s true that the duo won’t slam Russia on RT, but Russia doesn’t loom huge on my list of concerns. Max and Stacy’s job is to expose financial scams, which are plentiful and expensive in this world. Max was once a Wall Street broker and knows first hand what kind of rip-off artists inhabit the circles of high finance. There is no kowtowing to “technocrats” or Too-Big-to-Fail institutions from the mighty Max & Stacy.

Now, I don’t have an endless hunger to hear about financial scandal, but there are often other good news items reposted on maxkeiser.com, or Max will have guests on who you can look up to find out something new. He’s hosted the likes of Dmitry Orlov and James Howard Kunstler, who hold the view that the corporatist economy has grown to its limits and must now crash (credit and investment don’t work so hot in a shrinking economy. And it will be a dark day if the money system becomes so shoddy that, for instance, delivery drivers wake up and decide that it’s no longer worth going to work).

Most recently, I’ve been visiting the Internet home of the Corbett Report, broadcast from “the sunny climes of Western Japan.” Corbett follows the activities of elites to gather “Open Source Intelligence” on them and discover what they are really up to. Hint: the ranks of those with great wealth and power are made up largely of people who crave great wealth and power. Everything Corbett presents is sourced, thus shedding light on many new fields for the Internet-scrounger.

Corbett believes that Peak Oil is a hoax, Orlov believes it’s as certain as gravity. There is no phony consensus outside of propaganda Wonderland, but you can bet that Orlov and Corbett have a reasonable disagreement, and aren’t paid to speak from their particular opposing positions. What kind of person can be paid to hold to a particular line? What kind of credibility should you grant such a person?

It is totally necessary to dig into the dark, hidden side of things, like Smeagol fishing in a dark hole or turning over rocks to find worms and wood lice. If you have no drive to look at the evil, you would totally allow Nazis to take your neighbors away and figure that they were really going to a fun and educational camp. But there is also a wonderful side to life, of volcano-painted sunsets and meteor showers and creative people to appreciate.

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of The Grid, the mile roads and power lines and mowed fields of Southeastern Michigan and ten thousand other metropolitan sprawls around the world. So, I suggest escaping its all-stultifying influence by allowing one corner of your backyard to go wild. You could water it in a drought or cut back a nasty invasive plant, but mainly just support the life there, and don’t try to utilize or prettify it too much. This is a place to forget about the endless echo of human chatter and value judgements and artifice.

Learn from weeds.

February 19, 2012

Conspiracies are a Fact of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paragardener @ 4:45 pm

From time to time, I see a book or article published that asks why people believe in conspiracy theories, and what can be done to help the poor fools. Michael Shermer, writing in Scientific American, sees conspiracy theory as a result of cognitive biases, such as “patternicity,” the human tendency to find patterns, whether or not they are there, and “agentism,” the tendency to imagine that intelligent actors have caused things to go the way they’re going. Erik Hayden, writing in the Atlantic Wire, suggests that Machiavellian people believe in conspiracy theories because they would participate in conspiracies themselves (“Sure Cheney flew remote control planes into the towers. That’s what I’d have done to push the Patriot Act through and invade anywhere I liked.”)

Asking why people believe in conspiracy theories is totally ridiculous, like asking why some people believe in apes. The skeptic can point to a mountain of shady evidence that leaves one in doubt about Sasquatch, but we know damn well that there are chimps and orangutans in this world, and we know just as well that there are real conspiracies (people working together to commit crimes). John Wilkes Booth did not act alone!

The role of conspiracies in history is highlighted by that most charming of American institutions, the CIA. The CIA defines covert operations as activities “conducted or sponsored by this Government… but which are so planned and executed that any U.S. government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.” So besides intelligence gathering, the CIA is the authorized criminal wing of the government. Obviously, there are going to be a lot of conspiracies hatched there: toppling the democratically elected governments of Guatemala and Chile, installing the Shah in Iran, conducting “secret” wars in Laos, Cambodia and Angola, attempting to invade Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro, slipping johns LSD and watching them get in on with hookers from behind a one-way glass, selling heroin and cocaine in America, arming the Taliban, and on, and on…

At this point, some conspiracy skeptics differentiate between “conspiracies” and “conspiracy theories.” “Conspiracies” are undeniable and well-documented crimes like the Watergate break-in or the murder of Julius Caesar; “conspiracy theories” are any conspiracies I don’t or won’t believe in. People who abuse the language in this way deserve to be called “deniers” — denying things is neutral, and you should deny false things, but just the same the word suggests “Holocaust denier” and “addict in denial,” so go for the cheap hurt. Allow me to illustrate:

Conspiracy theorist: “FDR totally knew that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor.
Skeptic: “Nuh-uh. There’s no way that people in government knew the attack was going to happen, yet no one leaked the information to the public. That is just a ludicrous conspiracy theory.”
Conspiracy theorist: “Oh, well, I guess I should’ve known you’d be one of those Pearl-Harbor-Inside-Job deniers.”

I make fun, but just as there are people who will believe the thinnest of conspiracy theories (“Nazis secretly dominate world events from their base inside Hollow Earth”), there are a whole lot of people who are seriously in denial about the possibilities for conspiracy. Despite the frequent occurrence of conspiracies in the real world, conspiracy theory is to be marginalized from all discussions of politics or history.

Look up “New World Order” on Wikipedia, and you will find two main entries (plus various entries on books or musical acts):

When George H.W. Bush told us that he was building a new world order, that was meant in the “politics” sense: “Despite various interpretations of this term, it is primarily associated with the ideological notion of global governance only in the sense of new collective efforts to identify, understand, or address worldwide problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to solve.” According to Wikipedia, the new world order spoken of by Establishment figures is a positive, benign, problem-solving order.

“In conspiracy theory, the term New World Order or NWO refers to the emergence of a totalitarian one-world government… Numerous historical and current events are seen as steps in an on-going plot to achieve world domination through secret political gatherings and decision-making processes.” Thus, if you don’t like the elites creating interlocking trade organizations and treaty obligations that are fusing into one worldwide agency of control, you are a conspiracy theorist, outside of the realm of reasonable, normal debate. Develop a positive outlook on the elites who build those international controls, and you could add your input to the “New world order (politics)” page.

Explaining something with a conspiracy theory is not something crazy, like blaming witches for your problems. Conspiracies are happening every day. Since criminals generally want to hide their activities, it can be hard to prove or disprove any given conspiracy theory; sometimes we may not all agree as to whether something was a conspiracy or who was behind it. I don’t believe in calling my opponents crazy, by scientifically examining the reasons for their bizarrely mistaken beliefs, or by excluding them from mainstream discussions. Conspiracy theories can be investigated through evidence and reason, just like any other stories about the world.

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