The Censors! The Censors! … Er, Please Hold My Beer While I Platform Myself…

I’m not going to spend much time on this because I have had a surprisingly tiring week even though we had a day off on Wednesday for Independence Day (1). I have four new bookcases due for delivery about midday tomorrow (which is thankfully a Saturday) and would like to spend as much time between now and then examining the backs of my eyelids, because a big cleanup and rearrangement of my apartment plus necessary job-related work will be keeping me busy.

Having said all of that…

We find ourselves in the middle of what appears to be a Silicon-Valley-sanctioned take-down of a number of personalities online. The reasons we are being given are clearly spurious, and the results may be catastrophic for those taken down. However, I feel that there is an important point to be made here; several points, possibly.

The first point is that accounts are being taken down from what appear to be (in their most basic forms) free sites for which (at the beginning) no levy was made by the service provider and which the account owners may eventually have developed into something lucrative as it became possible for them to receive remuneration. Names such as Facebook, Twitter etc. are being mentioned. More advanced arrangements are different, of course, because of their scale (the particular case of Alex Jones springs to mind here).

Second point… quite apart from the fact that many of these platforms are on the skids anyway, why is everyone complaining about being suspended or banned from their services? Have you not done some research and found other platforms like MeWe, BitChute and Steemit? Even more importantly, have you not examined the options for self-platforming, the better to avoid these things if you are not looking for remuneration but just want to express yourself? I’ve been doing this for five years now. The cost is not great and there are plenty of free add-ons that you can use. Why worry about whether FB and the like approve of your viewpoint when you could have a platform of your own? I pay sixty Singapore Dollars per annum for the right to express myself, with other add-ons like free fora and chat rooms for no extra cost. The sad part? Despite repeatedly stating that I have made these private spaces available for people to use, and from which (at least within reason) they are far less likely to be cast out on their ear, they don’t make use of them. There seems to be an element of psychological dependency involved here. Or is narcissism for free more important to you?

If you don’t agree with your chosen platform’s attitude, you’re a fool to stay with them when other free or paid alternatives are available, and since those alternatives are available, what is it that keeps you there like a frog in a hot cooking pan? What are you afraid of? You could start up your own blog, fora and social web site as well as e-mail, chat site etc.

Hint: go beyond your comfort zone, look for your own platform. You could start at a place like https://www.singaporehost.sg. They have everything you need. Just choose a nice-looking WordPress site template (like I did), pay your annual subscription (about ₤40.00/year) and start blogging. Look at the services available in your cPanel and add them. But don’t complain about the cost. If you like to go out regularly for a drink, if you waste a lot of the food you buy and then do not eat or if you drive a lot, those can only be false economies at best and you have better things to do with your time and money. You also get private e-mail and all kinds of other things at no extra cost (unless you decide that you want more).

I express my attitude here at http://www.myeasternhorizons.com/wp/ (among others). I also have presences at (for example) the Vivaldi browser community (again, a free platform, better than its predecessor at Opera, and 5Gb of free e-mail account!!!). Dig into my blog to see my involvement with both of them historically. My personal blog there costs me money but I could have five times as much server space and not bat an eyelid, financially, each year as one year’s subscription to a 5Gb disk space (and unlimited bandwidth) would still be less than one month’s winter gas bill here in Korea. I kid you not. Do not complain about false economies!

Understand that there are elements of both false economy and hypocrisy involved not only in the deplatforming of established users but also in not voting with your feet because you are too cheap and lazy to platform yourself and tell your existing platforms to go take a hike. There, I said it.

Remember, as long as you stay with them, they own your opinion and control it.

What are you afraid of? I’ve done it, and so can you, so bite the bullet.

1: Independence from Japan at the end of WWII, that is…

Cancer Diary: Update 2018-08-08

As it happens, I made my way to Daegu yesterday evening, happening to be at the station shortly before the KTX departed from Jinju, which is turning out to be something of a pain for travel, as I live in the extreme north of the town, whereas the train station is some distance out to the south in an area which is currently being developed; somewhere in between is the bus station, but every time I go there, the buses are already fully booked. This is what happens when you cannot afford a car!!!

It turned out to be an evening of minor pleasures and pains: I got down to the Kyeongbuk National University Hospital area and decided for practical reasons to book in to the Mellow Yellow motel first, and here was a pleasant surprise: cheaper rooms available for ₩40,000 a night. I didn’t stay in for long because I was hungry, and made my way across to where the Pasta & Burger restaurant was – or rather, used to be; it was locked up!

Thereafter, I thought: “Hmm, what about the WaBar?” – so I made my way there, but even using Google Maps on the cell phone, it couldn’t be located, because it, too, was no more.

Finally, I thought: “Well, the sausages and chips at the Brewer’s Brothers are not amazing, but I do know that it’s still there.” – and it was. So I ordered said sausies and chips, and washed them down with three bottles of Chat Noir French cider (I shouldn’t, but…). Then made my way back to the motel, which by this time was quite a way.

That was when the fun began: very often, since my body started settling down in the post-operative phase, the urge to let it all out falls late at night rather than preferentially during an earlier hour of the day. It kept me up until about 2:00 a.m., so I didn’t get a lot of sleep before the alarm got me up, but in the morning I had plenty of time to complete relieving myself before hitting the subway to the hospital.

I actually had to wait about an hour before being dragged into the Professor’s consulting room, but we had a fairly lengthy discussion about how I had been feeling and the fact that I had been experiencing a quite strong reaction to the Lopmin muscle relaxant, so that I had to reduce dosage to a virtual minimum to avoid shitting dry, fossilised wood… he in turn told me that the only real concern based upon the previous set of test results was that my Vitamin D level was very low. I pointed out to him that I was taking some quite strong Canadian oil capsules for the Vitamin D, but he said that sunlight exposure would be more important (as Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin when exposed to sunlight).

Food-wise, red meats are apparently no longer frowned upon (as according to him, newer research has cast doubt upon their presumed link to carcinogenesis) and as these are a good source of cholesterol (which is very important, because Vitamin D is also synthesised from cholesterol), and I was definitely doing the right thing abstaining mostly from the stodgy work meals and taking vitamin supplements. I need to get more exercise, more sunlight and eat, therefore, food containing more Vitamin D precursors to make them available in the skin; and lose more weight.

The next test appointment was made for November, and the Professor apologised for not forwarding materials to me for his proposed review of the surgical method, but excused himself due to the recent death of an elderly relative. I again reminded him that I need some materials such as photos, diagrams, and information before I could do as promised, then bade him goodbye until the next time, and stepped out to get my blood samples taken…

The next port of call was my former office up the road and getting them up to date on what I had been up to, what had been happening and what they also had been doing. Not surprisingly, they were only running a weekday course as there had not been enough prospective students for any of the weekend courses; one student was unable to do her video presentation due to some unspecified illness. Again, I bid my ex-manager Jamie goodbye until November and made my way back to the subway, and thence to the East Daegu train station for the journey home.

Alas, the minor pleasures and pains had not ceased yet: I was too early and the next KTX to Jinju was not for another three hours!!! So I got the ticket and then walked down the concourse to see where I could sit comfortably while I was waiting. Holly’s was the place, so I got a coffee and dug out my charger to keep the phone going while I hit Facebook on a dodgy wifi link.

After returning to Jinju, I got a taxi back to the local Top Mart and bought some meat, yoghurt and other stuff, and then picked up some more cider on the way. My intention was certainly to hit the sack early tonight, but make sure that I was going to sleep!

Next week, I will be back in work, trying to avoid falling asleep because there will probably be no lessons until the end of the month and a lot of the “work” therefore involves sitting down at my desk; no doubt co-worker Jonathan will have some pithy observations about the period of my absence. Results from the latest batch of tests will be due soon, who knows, maybe by Friday. So now, I’m waiting.

Cancer Diary: Update 2018-08-03

Time for another one…

Three months (almost) since the last update, as we head towards the second quarterly blood sampling (which falls next Wednesday, how nice to have it during a vacation!), it’s probably a good time to take stock of the whole situation. What has been happening over the last three months?

Firstly, it has been difficult settling in to my new job, to the extent that I am already starting to think about what comes next. The reason for this was that the spring semester was so fragmented – we arrived here (co-worker Jonathan and I) pretty much in the dark about what was happening, and there were constant interruptions to lessons due to things like mass medical examinations and a week-long training exercise in Jeju which we only found out about relatively late in the proceedings; by the end of the semester, my scheduling was a mess. I have no desire for that to be repeated when the new semester begins in September.

Speaking of which, despite actually being in the middle of my vacation as I sit here typing this, I have already had to go in to the office three times in the last two weeks due to only belatedly being informed about writing up the new schedule for the fall semester. These (there are two: one for writing and one for speaking, as each class has two lessons each week) were completed last night, and it was hardly taxing (bearing in mind that later changes, i.e. during the semester itself, are expected, and after the way the last semester went, I can certainly believe it), but as we both (Jonathan and I) agreed, we could have put it all together in less than a day, at least two or three weeks ago; he (Jonathan) was actually on vacation in Thailand when he started getting text messages about it last week! As my spatial relationship with our office is less than optimal due to the public transport here, this is especially annoying (as I do not have my own car, of course) – the most convenient bus, which takes me actually into the base, comes only once every hour.

Another thing is that since the vacation is an extended period (due to having an extra five days of “business trip” allocated just before it began), I have been slipping back into my nocturnal habits, as I have never been a “morning person”, but with about nine more days to go I am getting up earlier to re-condition myself back into the necessary timeframe.

The big surprise (perhaps) is just how much sleep I have been needing during this vacation. There is little doubt in my mind that the stressful combination of having (and then paying for) the operation, being fired and having to find both a new job and new accommodation during the convalescence period all whilst already in the new job and planning and executing lessons has left me drained, but again, both Jonathan and I have been complaining about the fact that in too much of our non-teaching time, we have been essentially left to our own devices, and since we really only need maybe two lesson plans per week, this has led to a lot of thumb-twiddling (in his case, playing his favourite game on his Alienware laptop; in my case, reading e-books; in both cases, often falling asleep at our desks). This is a terrible waste of time, not to mention the fact that it is so unhealthy.

On the other hand, health-wise, things have felt fine: no pain, I am usually awake and alert with little tiredness after a mug of rocket-fuel fresh coffee in the morning. However, this lifestyle makes weight loss difficult, so I am increasingly trying to cut things out, especially wheat-based and other starchy products, as I may not have much opportunity normally to exercise them off. Another disadvantage of this new position is that the food given in the restaurant often has a high energy content, as it is intended for younger service staff who are expected to maintain a much higher exercise level; consequently, I have reduced the number of visits to the canteen.

Paradoxically, my main ‘issue’ seems to be the minimal medication prescribed for me by the Professor: the Lopmin capsules, to which my gut seems quite sensitive, to such an extent that, firstly, I had to reduce regular dosage to the minimum possible (one cap at a time), and secondly, with the obvious dehydration to be expected during a hot Korean summer, approaching weekends normally see me come off the medication temporarily so that I can empty my bowel properly. This has become a problem and I will have to mention it to the Professor next Wednesday; recall that the reason for the medication is to help the resected bowel stretch and slowly normalise its function (thus avoiding the need for frequent visits to the bathroom). Also, although in this situation additional dietary fibre should be advised, in practice this has often led to excessive loosening of the bowel (and too many visits to the bathroom), so I am also being careful not to consume too much fibrous food regularly.

Since the bowel has effectively become a trap for digested food due to this medication, there is also a ‘feedback’ sensation which recalls one of the symptoms experienced prior to the removal of the tumour: a feeling of nausea due to the backlog of partially-digested food, which has also been putting me off eating somewhat, which actually cannot be a bad thing – after all, if you are overweight, you can be pretty sure that in most cases, it’s due to (a) eating too much, (b) not enough exercise or (c) both. Something to bear in mind…

Another thing to bear in mind is that as well as reducing the amount of unnecessary biochemical energy (as sugar), there are also dangers inherent in consuming too much protein regularly. As it happens, another mail from Joe Mercola slurped its way into my Inbox overnight (1) and in it, he discusses the excess foods to avoid, the reasons why you should do so, and the benefits of intermittent fasting, something I have been trying to do but the medication seems to be getting in the way, as its action leads to accumulation of digested food in the remanent large intestine and difficulty in voiding it, making my abdomen alternately swell and contract. I have, however, been reducing the amount of yoghurt in my diet, which I was consuming in large quantities as soon after the operation as circumstances would allow (essentially for a convenient form of digestible protein), but the disadvantage is that most mass-manufactured yoghurts are firstly largely devoid of the fat content of a traditional yoghurt (due to the food industry’s reaction to Ancel Keys’ flawed research)(2) and secondly, to compensate for the alleged lack of flavour of fat-depleted yoghurts, due to the addition of digestible sugar, which nowadays, I presume, is largely fructose, which brings terrible effects of its own (3).

An additional point we might bear in mind is that a number of online health advisors (for example, Joel Marion (4) and Mike Geary (5)) have been pointing for years at the digestible carbohydrate content of dairy products as a possible reason why many people seem unable to lose weight and keep it lost. This is probably because of too much focus on glucose when there is in fact a variety of digestible saccharides coming into the body from a variety of foodstuffs; the focus on just glucose is therefore illogical and misdirected.

Anyway, I am feeling okay and looking forward to a brief trip back to Daegu next week for the blood sampling and a discussion of things with the Prof., and in the following two weeks I shall be back in the office. Hopefully, several issues will be resolved by then – a set of four new bookcases to be delivered from Gmarket (after an erroneous attempted purchase of cupboard doors without the attendant bookcases to which they were supposed to be attached – it can be difficult to extract information from Gmarket web pages sometimes!) and a few other bits and pieces. But I remain confident.

1: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/03/too-much-protein.aspx

2: See, for example: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/07/saturated-fat-cholesterol-heart-disease.aspx

3: Take a look at: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/08/01/liver-damage-growing-epidemic.aspx

4: For example, http://transformationinsider.com

5: For example, http://www.truthaboutabs.com/good-carbs-bad-carbs.html (but see the whole site)

Bang on the Button

Came across this on FB randomly this evening, and I agree with him all the way… so I’m sharing it here, too:

Max Igan: Everything is a Lie

Max is saying precisely what I am trying to adumbrate in these pages.

Cancer Diary: Update 2018/06/01

Some kind of progress…

Despite the stress of the last six months or so, things finally began to pull together this week as the last of the deposit on the new place was paid (liberating a lot of much-needed cash in the near future), although this really means having to live mainly on credit for the next month. Now, however, I can think seriously about replacing my lost bookcases and getting most of my possessions off the floor… meaning that there will be much more space available, sort of soon-ish.

From now on, things will normalise quite rapidly, and it seems to be working out likewise medically, also, as the reduction of Lopmin dosing loosens my insides and makes for more comfortable (if not entirely predictable, yet) sessions in the bathroom.

This is actually important: higher doses of Lopmin led to longer retention time for my stools, and as the function of the lower intestinal tract is (at least in part) the removal of water from whatever material is contained in the lumen before it is released, this has (up till now) meant having to void some very dry material, and it became clear quite quickly that some modulation of both dosing and the actual quantity of food consumed were necessary – as well as more serious consideration of how the matrices of the various food types being consumed were interacting with the other components of the system (imagine shitting large pieces of dry, fossilised wood). The question of water input (in terms of daily liquid consumption) seems something of a red herring at the moment, its effects possibly being disguised by those of the Lopmin; also, for a long time now, I have been consuming cashew nuts as a form of fibre but these need to be chewed well to avoid large (and sharp-edged) chunks passing through – good from the POV of digestive function, but possibly painful to pass (WTF, I’m alliterating again…).

In my own case, it seems to be a quite powerful drug, meaning that a relatively low dosage (one capsule = 2mg active component) has a relatively strong effect, which can be considered “adverse” in this context of preventing the retention and formation of (ultimately) very dry stools which can be painful to pass (bearing in mind that they have to pass through an area of the body which is still healing from surgery). The reduction of anal soreness as they soften is a welcome sign.

I contacted the Professor by text message to let him know what I was doing, as well as to inform him that we would have a quite extensive (about five weeks) summer break during which there would be plenty of time for me to work on his proposed English-language review of the FDD, which would also require additional input from him in terms of initial information about the structure, materials and original rationale of the FDD, its intended function, how it is operated, its interaction with a patient’s body and the intended timescale of usefulness (which was normally in the three weeks following the operation, during which it would be inserted into position, and then removal under the assumption that healing had progressed sufficiently). Some ready-made illustrations would be nice, too…

At work, as my students were in Jeju for most of this week, there have been no lessons, so I have been reading up on Korean language, linguistics, and also re-read Philip K. Dick’s “The Maze of Death”, thinking whilst so doing that it would be a good idea to read his “VALIS” at a later time, although to be honest, it has been difficult to stay awake during the afternoons… I do miss all of my Michael Moorcock novels back at home in England, but question whether it would be a good idea to have them sent here on the grounds that contracts for foreigners in South Korea are mainly for a year and you never really know what will be happening or where you will be a year after signing; this has never struck me as satisfactory, but on the other hand, since I left Mr. Lee’s hagwon in Changwon back in 2009, there has been little by way of stability in terms of location; my two years in Daegu seem to have been an exception rather than a rule.

Alas, I also had to say goodbye to my Speaking lesson co-worker of the past two months, Hoony, as he is returning to civilian life as a teacher, and his replacement will arrive on Friday, so that afternoon could be quite busy, but does at least have the advantage that all of the classes on Monday are the same (and hence so are also the lesson plans and materials), plus the first lesson is not until 11:30 a.m., so we can take things at a fairly relaxed pace.

Anyway, everything seems positive as we move into the summer.

Shit Happened. Frequently…

The last couple of days have certainly demonstrated to me that strange and unexpected things happen when situations are abnormal. However, some of what you experience is caused by others, and some of it is your own fault…

Being a patient person, as well as being a patient there, once I had given my blood samples back at the YUMC, I made my way home to Jinju (in unhurried fashion, as the Air Force had been kind enough to give us a few days off while our Korean co-workers were out and about around the province, looking for potential new grist for the high school’s mill when the current cohort disappears) and thinking: “Ah, it will take a couple of days for them to process those.”

So I waited.

And waited.

And a week later, I was still waiting…

Finally, the annual Buddha’s Birthday public holiday came around, almost two weeks later, and I would keep thinking to myself: “Hmm, wonder if the results were… not quite good?” and resolving to contact the Professor the following morning to find out.

In the post-operative phase, there is really nothing much to do (in the absence of anything requiring treatment) other than quarterly blood sampling and testing; only if there were signs of the thing having metastasised could you reasonably expect additional treatment along the lines of chemotherapy, and far be it from me to suggest that anything like that is even remotely desirable, except to note in passing, perhaps, that if all my hair fell out as a result of treatment, nobody would notice these days… But there’s the thing: in the absence of any further information, doubt constantly nags you. Are you in the clear, or not?

So, in the bus on my way to work, I texted the Prof and asked him about this, but dear Reader, not for that alone, oh no! You see, my single day of holiday, when I had planned to spend most of the day, er, sleeping, was marred by a gross (in every sense) gut malfunction. For several days, I had been avoiding the consumption of more than a little food, with the intention that I would not have to make frequent visits to the bathroom whilst not at work. The Professor had issued me with a three-month supply of Lopmin capsules and dosage instructions, and at this point, I had been following his bidding religiously for almost a fortnight. Then suddenly, my Poo Hole developed a dribble. This was not so unusual, as it had been a frequent happening while the FDD was in place, as indeed immediately thereafter, due to the fact that I had misunderstood the Prof’s previous instructions about what dose to take… but this was ridiculous. I couldn’t even lie down for any appreciable length of time before it was bothering me to take it to the shitter, but very little was coming out.

Then, early this morning, just as I was starting to worry that I would have to wear a double diaper again, it started to come but ohhh, dear, very hard and stiff. You see, dear Reader, while the upper portion of the intestine is geared towards post-stomach digestion of food, the lower portion is concerned primarily with dehydrating the remains, so that the body as a whole does not lose too much water too rapidly through defecation. Previous experience of delaying the departure of unwanted stools had convinced me that so doing was asking for trouble, as the rectum would then continue removing water until the stuff became stiff, hard and painful to pass; and that is precisely what, er, came to pass this morning. I had to go to work with a nasty, hard, stiff turd stuck in what remains of my once-capacious rectum, immobile and (truth to tell) somewhat painful; the jerky movements of the bus to work were hardly helpful. It wasn’t until the break between lessons this morning that I was finally able (with much grunting, groaning and moaning) to force the bastard out. After which a whole load came out more easily (but still not entirely painlessly), but I am sure that there is more waiting. You bet.

The Lopmin capsules I had been prescribed were (according to the Professor) intended to relax the part of the large intestine which had been grafted onto the forlorn remnant of my Poo Hole, thereby allowing it to slowly expand and eventually render a very similar level of storage function to that in the intact, pre-operative gut – this being necessary because the lumen diameter of the large intestine, which was attached to the anus during the operation, was much narrower than that of the segment which was removed; there was a diameter mismatch and hence, relaxation of the gut wall muscles (with Lopmin) plus time (he suggested about three to five years) should eventually cause the gut wall to stretch, hence restoring most of the lost functionality. The only trouble seems to have been that he was somewhat over-zealous in the dosing, with the result that the residence time for the average turd increased to the point where water withdrawal was maximised and so, alas, the necessary softness (for ease of passage, shall we say) was minimised. The result was much straining and pain… I have no doubt that it is in such circumstances that the Urban Legends of “Spiky Turds” emerge, the existence of which, paradoxically perhaps, the medical profession always seemed happy to deny (at least back in the UK).

To cut a long story short, after delivering the good news about the serological work, he suggested that I should reduce the individual doses to between one and three capsules, as required. Oh believe me, I certainly shall… during the first two weeks, I shat irregularly and probably only about two or three times a week, and when it finally emerged from my Nether Region, it tended to be large, stiff and difficult to disgorge. That Lopmin stuff is wayyy too strong... imagine shitting bits of dry, fossilised tree trunk. Like that.

Anyway, to conclude: despite the Prof’s admonition to avoid alcohol (and because of my training in biomedical science, I do know where he is coming from), I feel that some celebration of that type is due now. And at the weekend, come to think of it. Not crazy drinking, but just a little of what I have been mainly missing since last November.

Those were the outcomes of the first quarterly tests since my discharge from the hospital. The next tests will be due in August, and hopefully will return the same results.

First Check-up: 9th May 2018

So it happened… unexpected time off work (semi-official) coincided with the due date for my first post-discharge medical checks, which actually held a surprise which explained a few things… as usual in the medical context, there was not any actual “good news”, as samples were taken and as of this writing, results are pending, but there was some “sort-of bad news”…

Despite not knowing whether we would be having both Monday off (as Children’s Day unfortunately fell on a Saturday this year) plus the following three days (while Korean co-workers are around the country canvassing possible new students for the near future), I had arranged with the Professor to bring the due date for the first scheduled check-up forward by about a week to coincide with it. However, the appointment was at 9:30 a.m. and as it would have been difficult to get to Daegu from Jinju on the same day, I took my usual step of travelling to my destination the previous night and staying in a motel until the morning.

Previously, the Professor had told me to lose weight, get more exercise and avoid alcohol (I was in fact to learn the missing pieces of this and other information which he had not given me in this latest meeting). However, readers will probably understand that between having the tumour and its removal, losing my previous job and moving into the new one, which involved a lot of travel, great expense and (almost) the expiry of my visa, staying away from the pop was anything but easy, although I tried my best; it was easiest at the beginning but became progressively more difficult due to the stress level and the need to relax. More on this in a moment.

As it happened, I had previously received a letter (in Korean, of course) which suggested that I should turn up at the Jinju Tax Office. It was impossible to understand why I needed to do this, as I had never been to any Tax Office in Korea during my whole fifteen years here (since, like so many others here, I always left that side of things to my employer), and as I was about to discover, the location information they had placed online was now in error because they had since moved to new offices; I had gone to the old location easily by bus, but on arriving there found only a large Lotte building opposite the Galleria store. Enquiring at the Nonghyup Bank there, I was redirected to the correct location and took a taxi for convenience. One there, I presented myself and there was the usual confusion, including a call to my old boss in Daegu, Jun at Study Factory, which also turned out to be in error… eventually we were able to get onto the computer system with the paperwork, with the upshot that there were some ₩177,000 owing from 2016 and 2017, so I paid the larger one on the spot with my credit card , then made my way home by bus and paid the smaller bill at the local Nonghyup Bank. Then I went home and packed for the journey.

This time I was fortunate, because the train was actually waiting at the platform when I arrived, and I only had to pay for the ticket and walk through. This was an SRT train, and there were not many passengers, but there was Wifi. However, as the train rolled along the track to Daegu, I spent my time mainly looking out of the window and watching the countryside passing by… perhaps the most heartening thing about Korea is that despite its modernity and (in places) conspicuous overdevelopment, there remain still plenty of pockets of relatively undisturbed rural areas which you can see when you travel this way, and it has to be said that as a solo foreign traveller with nobody to talk with en route, it does make the journey much more enjoyable.

Arriving at DongDaegu Station, I took the subway to the Kyungbuk National University Hospital and walked to the immediate vicinity of my first apartment in Daegu, back in 2014, because – as it happens – when I first went there to meet Mr. Park, the owner of LSE (the adult hagwon where I was working, and which became defunct within a month) to sign the contract, I stayed overnight at the Mellow Yellow Motel, and this time, what a surprise! The nightly fee there had gone down by ₩10,000! After a brief change of clothing, I made my way over to Burger & Pasta in Jung-gu and ordered first their No-Bun Burger, and then – amazingly for me, still feeling hungry – I ordered the Chilli Cheese Potato Wedges and washed the lot down with four Absoluut Vodka and Tonics, and may I say, most refreshing they were, too.

It was still early when I paid the bill and started walking back to the motel. A 9:30 a.m. meeting with the Professor meant an early start, so I made sure that my alarm was set (6:00 a.m.) on the cell phone before booting up the motel room’s (XP Pro!) computer to watch some YouTube, as the cable TV had no UFC etc. to see. I didn’t sleep too well as I felt the urge to go to the bathroom a couple of times, something which I now know I could have avoided…

When the alarm sounded, I got up, put the news on the TV, had a shave etc. and then packed my bag to make the journey to the hospital, which was not difficult from there, being only four stops away southwards on Line 1. I got out at the Hospital station and made my way first up the usual four flights of steps, and then around the blocks and up the hill to the hospital itself. As might be expected, the place was thronging with patients and their family (and other) attendants, as well as various medical and clerical staff; the place is never still during opening hours. I had arrived there at about 8:30, so I had about an hour still to wait and watched the two waiting room screens, the left-hand screen with the order of consultations and the right-hand screen with the rolling news on cable. Eventually, after a line of tottering oldsters had seen the Prof., it was my turn and after further waiting outside his room for about fifteen minutes, I was ushered in.

Today, he had an obvious understudy sitting in the corner listening as best he could to the conversation, which was all in English. We discussed mainly my new experiences in Jinju but I got around to the current range of symptoms, mentioning that the starchiness of the food regime at work was mainly unsuitable – despite its obvious very good quality – and that I often try to have intermittent fasting days to try to lose more weight. He asked me how many times a day I would normally have to drop a load, and it was at this point that a penny dropped, because the Lopmin capsules he had prescribed me previously were (he now informed me) to relax the gut wall and allow it to expand, as the part grafted onto my, er, original anus had a narrower lumen and it normally takes about three years or so for it to expand and restore the function lost temporarily as a result of the surgery.

The trouble here was that his instructions when he issued me with the original prescription were somewhat vague; what should have happened was that I would be taking several of these each day, allowing me to more comfortably retain stools and dump them more conveniently, but his description had missed out some essential clarity. So he gave me a repeat prescription for the capsules, and then dropped the really bad news on me – avoid alcohol for the rest of the year!!! According to him (but I should know this already, of course), alcohol is often a causative agent in the ontology of an oncology, so I really couldn’t disagree. We then shook hands and I reminded him that I was still waiting for him to send me information and materials so that I could produce an English-language review of the FDD for him; he, in turn, apologised on account of his own being rather busy, but promised to send it to me as soon as possible. I left the office and then waited for my receipt, then went to the Appointments desk to pay for the later blood tests and the appointment and repeat prescription.

Alas, in the months since I was last there, I had started forgetting where everything was, and had to ask for directions for the out-patient phlebotomy team who, in fact, were literally just around the corner! Duhhh….. I went there and had a needle stuck in my arm, again, and rendered four small samples of blood for testing. Then I put my jacket back on, put on my shades and backpack, and made my way out and downhill to my old office, where manageress Jamie and my sort-of replacement, Chris the Canuck, were conducting things as usual. I chatted with them (Chris had to return to his lessons) and updated them as to what had been happening since they last saw me. We then hit the local KFC (I had a Twister, not a burger) and we chatted some more. Then we went to the office for a while before I wanted to get on my way, and Jamie came with me to the pharmacist across the road while I got my prescription. Then we said goodbye and I walked back to the subway.

The ride back to the DongDaegu Station was uneventful, but there was a lengthy queue for tickets (lengthened by one clueless old lady who seemed to be having trouble paying for her ticket). Then, of course, the unwelcome news that the next train would be some two hours waiting (unlike the previous evening, when the train was already waiting at Jinju Station and was off some five minutes later), so I walked down to see what was happening in the cafes. Holly’s was full, so I went back to the Caffe Pascucci and had a latte there, at the same time digging out the tablet to use the free wifi to check up on things and update the apps. This turned into a piece of pure frustration, initially caused by having changed my Google password recently, but eventually it was possible to get it all done. The battery was going down all the time while this was happening despite being plugged into a wall socket, but finally everything settled down with about thirty-five minutes to go before departure, so I packed everything back in my bag and then walked to the platforms; the information I needed was already up on the display so I just took the escalator down and sat on a bench, waiting.

Again, the ride home was uneventful, but having had a fraught couple of days, first with the tax office, then travelling to Daegu, and then the rest, I found it very difficult to stay awake; thankfully the KTX terminates at Jinju so there was no danger of missing my stop. I took a taxi home from there (because I still haven’t figured out which bus I can catch to travel between the two), and after picking up some food and bottled water from the local Top Mart, walked home and put the washing on.

So, a new set of samples was taken for testing, and I shall expect some news about the outcome shortly from the Professor; but having to mainly avoid alcohol from now on (as one hundred per cent. abstinence may be difficult) is a killer socially. I remind myself that I have a job to do and will often be busy; and probably, once the bookcases and other furniture are in place, I should be thinking about more reading when at home… and with that, thoughts of sleep are rattling through my head, so I shall take my leave of you, dear Reader.

The Field of Beans and the Limits of Perception

Aaarrgghhh… who forgot to turn off the cell phone alarm for weekdays? On holiday this week, and no need to get out of bed at 6:00 a.m. on Korean Children’s Day… when will I learn???

Slouching into the big room in my new apartment – the one with the computer and the books and other shit all over the floor because I need to buy some new furniture (to replace all the mouldy stuff I left behind in Daegu) – as I checked the mails and messages from the previous night, up popped a link at the “Lunar Barbecue” group page (thank you to Pedro Ribeiro for that) to the following YT vid about Terence McKenna called “Aliens and Archetypes” (from the “Thinking Allowed” TV series, dated 1990)… but what follows is really only tangential to his topic and a brief statement of a thought or two, being the result merely of my reaction to one of his remarks therein.

It has to be admitted that Mr. McKenna always had something very interesting to say about so many things, and whilst I was watching this I caught his brief remarks about communication within and with nature, which made me think: how is it that we ceased being able to do so? Could it be that what we have laughingly called “education” for so long is actually the inculcation of prejudices which make such communication (or even the sensibility thereof) impossible, simply by denying the possibility of such things, and therefore dulling our possible perception of them?

There have been, over the last few years, and especially recently, a flurry of items about how plants communicate via both the air and the soil coming through from various sources; this seems to be an active area of research. It makes me wonder what people will end up eating in the future, as it slowly dawns on everyone that plants are demonstrably sentient, like animals. Some say that eating meat is murder (although some of us just call it “food”), so what does that make eating fruits (often the reproductive organs of plants) and vegetables (their flowers or other storage organs)?

Of course, we would then go on to put on our biologist’s hat (well, I would, at any rate) and ask: “Well, if raising meat in broiler houses and the like is considered bad because it turns animals into products in an unnatural environment and is inhumane, then what are we to make of (say) a broad field of wheat, or a rice padi?” – if battery farms are unethical, then what can we say about a field of beans?

For a long time, I have been thinking that each grain of wheat or rice, each bean in the pod, is a life which has the potential to grow; its nutritional value lies precisely in the fact that it is one of the plant’s reproductive structures, in which energy and nutrients have been invested for the future survival of the species, just the same as (for example) a hen’s egg. The difference, however, is that parthenogenesis in a hen’s egg is a relatively rare event (although it does happen sometimes) and hence is rarely encountered in an egg cup or frying pan because, of course, there is no requirement to fertilise the egg before it becomes useful; its nutrient value for the human consumer would be wasted if the egg started to develop into a chick before delivery [1]. In the case of plant seeds, these would not exist without fertilisation, so we have a situation in which – unlike tubers, roots or even hens’ eggs – it is actually necessary to engender new life in order to reap the nutritional benefits of the plants’ labours, a fact to which we turn an eternally and conveniently blind eye.

Perhaps the tragedy of human existence – in the correct and original meaning and intention of the Greek term tragoidea (“goat song”, of a great person brought low by fate) is that humanity has become thoroughly enmeshed in a lifestyle where it exists purely as a result of squandering both itself and the world which supports it; yet being conscious of the full truth of its existence would cause impossible levels of angst at the thought of eating anything, and so its senses have to be dulled in order to make that existence bearable. Thus, it slowly destroys everything, including itself. It is doubly tragic that this exists alongside a patently untruthful inculcation about the past of humanity, which is used to keep us in a psychotic state and which allows us to be controlled more easily.

However, there are times when we need to be reminded of these things, even if only in passing, as here with the much-missed Mr. McKenna, as well as, perhaps, a nod to Aristotle in being able to express our psychological maturity by considering topics which we might otherwise find unpalatable [2], and perhaps, also, to reflect upon what level of difficulty we might have in actually communicating with aliens when our minds have already been so prejudiced against it on our own world. We have at least been fortunate to have occasional bright lights like Terence McKenna to illuminate our darkness with flashes of insight.

Notes:

[1] Unless you like to eat a balut, of course: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_(food)

[2] “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”: see https://i.pinimg.com/originals/48/f1/5f/48f15ff7949996f4e65454b4b129fa29.jpg

An End to Civilisation

One would like to think that one were a “civilised” person, in terms of its connotations of sensibility and behaviour, but the term becomes unacceptable under the simplest analysis. Which other term could be used more accurately?

This time, I want to broach a theme which I have been mulling over and digesting for a long time, and the use of which – on reflection – perfectly encapsulates the psychological prison from which we have been unwilling to free ourselves. Yet that act of liberation – when it arrives – needs to be a psychological one, and not a physical one; it is a transition from one state of perception to another, a change of viewpoint. Physical liberation cannot come before psychological liberation.

Recently, I have been watching the videos (and listening to the podcasts) of Mark Passio on YouTube. Mark’s focus is upon the occult nature of much of what surrounds us in everyday life, as well as pointing out the common misconception among “lay” people (meaning, in this particular case, people who are not themselves occult practitioners) that the term “occult” itself necessarily equates with “evil”. As he points out, there is no actual connotation of anything in this term beyond its original meaning, which is merely “hidden” or “obscured”, and that many things in daily life are “occulted”, for example (my input here) the results of scientific research, which are usually sequestered behind a paywall erected by publishers. However, Mark’s real focus is with actual practitioners of the dark arts, whom he distinguishes from beneficial practitioners by referring to them as “dark” and “light”. He goes into some depth examining the psychology and motivations of the “dark” practitioners, having been for some ten years, and by his own admission, one of the “dark” ones himself, although, he admits, at a relatively low level.

Part of Mark’s exposition is that the modern practitioners of these dark occult activities are the descendants of others whose blood-line goes back thousands of years, that their own focus is primarily psychology, and in particular psychological methods of controlling large numbers of people to do the practitioners’ bidding; it is thus that such practitioners can attain and maintain positions of relative power, and hence profit and have a better lifestyle for prolonged historical periods despite themselves being relatively few in number. However, the result seems to be that they themselves have become demonstrably psychotic.

You can see almost four hours of his lecture on YouTube:

Likewise, when one reads the novels of Carlos Castañeda, his teacher, Don Juan Matus, who was supposed to be a modern-day nagual or Mexican shaman (sorcerer), asserts that the true controllers of our lives achieved their aims by simply inculcating their own psychotic mindset in the general populace. After that, of course, people became easy to control by simply putting the appropriate ideas into their heads and diverting their attention. Let me here quote (at length, for clarity) the appropriate passage from Castaneda’s “The Active Side of Infinity”:

“This is the appropriate time of day for doing what I am asking you to do,” he said. “It takes a moment to engage the necessary attention in you to do it. Don’t stop until you catch that fleeting black shadow.”

I did see some strange fleeting black shadow projected on the foliage of the trees. It was either one shadow going back and forth or various fleeting shadows moving from left to right or right to left or straight up in the air. They looked like fat black fish to me, enormous fish. It was as if gigantic swordfish were flying in the air. I was engrossed in the sight. Then, finally, it scared me. It became too dark to see the foliage, yet I could still see the fleeting black shadows.

“What is it, don Juan?” I asked. “I see fleeting black shadows all over the place.”

“Ah, that’s the universe at large,” he said, “incommensurable, nonlinear, outside the realm of syntax. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were the first ones to see those fleeting shadows, so they followed them around. They saw them as you’re seeing them, and they saw them as energy that flows in the universe. And they did discover something transcendental.”

He stopped talking and looked at me. His pauses were perfectly placed. He always stopped talking when I was hanging by a thread.

“What did they discover, don Juan?” I asked.

“They discovered that we have a companion for life,” he said, as clearly as he could. “We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don’t do so.”

It was very dark around us, and that seemed to curtail any expression on my part. If it had been daylight, I would have laughed my head off. In the dark, I felt quite inhibited.

“It’s pitch black around us,” don Juan said, “but if you look out of the corner of your eye, you will still see fleeting shadows jumping all around you.”

He was right. I could still see them. Their movement made me dizzy. Don Juan turned on the light, and that seemed to dissipate everything.

“You have arrived, by your effort alone, to what the shamans of ancient Mexico called the topic of topics,” don Juan said. “I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico.”

“Why has this predator taken over in the fashion that you’re describing, don Juan?” I asked. “There must be a logical explanation.”

“There is an explanation,” don Juan replied, “which is the simplest explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, gallineros, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them.”

I felt that my head was shaking violently from side to side. I could not express my profound sense of unease and discontentment, but my body moved to bring it to the surface. I shook from head to toe without any volition on my part.

“No, no, no, no,” I heard myself saying. “This is absurd, don Juan. What you’re saying is something monstrous. It simply can’t be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone.”

“Why not?” don Juan asked calmly. “Why not? Because it infuriates you?”

“Yes, it infuriates me,” I retorted. “Those claims are monstrous!”

“Well,” he said, “you haven’t heard all the claims yet. Wait a bit longer and see how you feel. I’m going to subject you to a blitz. That is, I’m going to subject your mind to tremendous onslaughts, and you cannot get up and leave because you’re caught. Not because I’m holding you prisoner, but because something in you will prevent you from leaving, while another part of you is going to go truthfully berserk. So brace yourself!”

There was something in me which was, I felt, a glutton for punishment. He was right. I wouldn’t have left the house for the world. And yet I didn’t like one bit the inanities he was spouting.

“I want to appeal to your analytical mind,” don Juan said. “Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal.”

“But how can they do this, don Juan?” I asked, somehow angered further by what he was saying. “Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?”

“No, they don’t do it that way. That’s idiotic!” don Juan said, smiling. “They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver – stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind. Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators’ mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.

“I know that even though you have never suffered hunger,” he went on, “you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.”

“It’s not that I can’t accept all this at face value, don Juan,” I said. “I could, but there’s something so odious about it that it actually repels me. It forces me to take a contradictory stand. If it’s true that they eat us, how do they do it?”

Don Juan had a broad smile on his face. He was as pleased as punch. He explained that sorcerers see infant human beings as strange, luminous balls of energy, covered from the top to the bottom with a glowing coat, something like a plastic cover that is adjusted tightly over their cocoon of energy. He said that that glowing coat of awareness was what the predators consumed, and that when a human being reached adulthood, all that was left of that glowing coat of awareness was a narrow fringe that went from the ground to the top of the toes. That fringe permitted mankind to continue living, but only barely.

As if I had been in a dream, I heard don Juan Matus explaining that to his knowledge, man was the only species that had the glowing coat of awareness outside that luminous cocoon. Therefore, he became easy prey for an awareness of a different order, such as the heavy awareness of the predator.

He then made the most damaging statement he had made so far. He said that this narrow fringe of awareness was the epicenter of self-reflection, where man was irremediably caught. By playing on our self-reflection, which is the only point of awareness left to us, the predators create flares of awareness that they proceed to consume in a ruthless, predatory fashion. They give us inane problems that force those flares of awareness to rise, and in this manner they keep us alive in order for them to be fed with the energetic flare of our pseudoconcerns.

There must have been something to what don Juan was saying, which was so devastating to me that at that point I actually got sick to my stomach.

After a moment’s pause, long enough for me to recover, I asked don Juan: “But why is it that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico and all sorcerers today, although they see the predators, don’t do anything about it?”

“There’s nothing that you and I can do about it,” don Juan said in a grave, sad voice. “All we can do is discipline ourselves to the point where they will not touch us. How can you ask your fellow men to go through those rigors of discipline? They’ll laugh and make fun of you, and the more aggressive ones will beat the shit out of you. And not so much because they don’t believe it. Down in the depths of every human being, there’s an ancestral, visceral knowledge about the predators’ existence.”

“Diverted” is certainly how one would describe the modern city dweller, and at an observational level, the maintenance of distraction, obfuscation, misinformation and confusion is readily apparent in the media on a daily basis. To keep our minds diverted, we are fed an endless stream of these “pseudoconcerns”, to distract us from the real concerns created by the same people, for whom the world is simply a source of resources to be plundered and recreated into the objects of their desires, and for which the bulk of humanity is merely the slave labour through whose efforts the parasites’ collective dreams are realised. If you should doubt that these things are true, consider that when Don Juan discusses “… the epicenter of self-reflection, where man was irremediably caught…”, he is referring to the inculcated and ingrained narcissism of the individual who has been given the predator’s mindset. The public figures we see in the media, especially in “showbusiness”, are without doubt utterly narcissistic. Think about that. When they say that something is wrong and they think that something should be done about it, are you, as the observer, being manipulated by a narcissist?

But to be specifically on-topic, and to begin to see how easily their control might be exercised, let me begin by stating that a practical magician (occult practitioner) is acknowledged, broadly, to be a person who affects the behaviour of others by putting a suggestion into their minds, to the extent that they find it difficult not to see things in the way intended by the magician. In other words, by programming the listener’s or viewer’s perceptions before the event, an alternative outcome is prevented, or an event is factually different from the magician’s intention but the percipient still sees it as it was intended to be seen. It was for this reason that after the recent Doctor Strange film (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) came out, some online commentators marvelled (so to speak) that less familiar viewers did not realise that about half of what they had seen was actually possible in real life, simply because it relied upon the practitioner’s mastery of suggestion and perception. Engineer the perception of your target, and you too can work magic, or at least maintain an illusion.

This implies that much of what we might call “magic” is not, in fact, necessarily a physical result of a previous action, but rather an act of perception, the outcome of which was predetermined by the practitioner; the percipient has been pre-programmed by careful and selective verbiage and direction of attention to see a particular outcome. This means that it is possible for nothing visible to actually “happen” because the “result” is entirely in the percipient’s head. Much advertising in the media needs to be seen in this light, as both it and outright displays of propaganda are frequently varieties of public programming, in which the public are slowly conditioned, by sheer repetition if need be, to expect something to happen, and to react in a certain way when it invariably does. This is called predictive programming.

Remember: “A lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth.”

With regard to magical practice, what startled me, some time ago, was how I myself had failed to comprehend what was on a printed page right in front of me, and which related directly to all of this. Reading a copy of a compiled book version of the early editions of “Man, Myth and Magic” (given to me as a present by my grandmother, of all people – what was she thinking of???), one page referred to the Dictionnaire Infernel of the French mage, Collin de Plancy, a book in which – among other magical things – the author had included copies of sketches which he had drawn of demons summoned by himself during previous sessions in the circle. In this particular entry, I read that although de Plancy had drawn/painted the alleged appearances of the demons named in his text, they were not “real” in a physical sense – they were, instead, impressions implanted within the minds of the percipient (in this case, a practising ritual magician or similar occultist), such that a non-occultist standing in the circle right next to him/her would probably not be able to see them; an illusion projected directly into the magician’s mind such that two occultists in the same room would probably see the same demon differently. I actually did not realise the meaning of all this until very recently.

The demon, in this way of seeing it, was pure illusion, and this explains precisely why one demon (or similar entity) would be able to offer infinite visual versions of itself to an infinite number of percipients. This is also like saying that the definition of a physical object would likewise be different between individuals. Maybe that is an important statement. Alternatively: the “demon” was a real entity but its appearance was not real, as it existed only in the sorcerer’s mind and, at the end of the session, could be dismissed. [3]

Now we come to my main point. We have this thing called “civilisation” which is constantly lauded as a state to be emulated and maintained, but it seems to me that this is shaky ground. Why? Well, we should perhaps consider where the term “civilisation” comes from. It comes from the latin civis, meaning “city”. The corresponding modern English verb civilise, therefore, means what? According to WordNet [1], it means:

1. educate, school, train, cultivate, civilize, civilise — (teach or refine to be discriminative in taste or judgment; “Cultivate your musical taste”; “Train your tastebuds”; “She is well schooled in poetry”);

2. civilize, civilise — (raise from a barbaric to a civilized state; “The wild child found wandering in the forest was gradually civilized”).

It is interesting that these descriptions refer to discrimination, training and schooling; no actual “definition” is given here. One would suggest, in fact, that the literal meaning of “civilise” is something like “citify”, meaning to condition people into a suitable mindset for living in a city. And we might ask ourselves why it should be considered necessary to do such a thing?

You see, in the mainstream paradigm’s interpretation of “history”, “civilisation” is supposed to be somehow undeniably superior to an allegedly “barbaric” state which existed beforehand. This is because there is some elitist intellectual arrogance according to which notionally “uncivilised” people are supposed to be “inferior”, when in fact they are more capable of surviving in their chosen environments, and do not surround themselves with the useless frippery which “civilised” man thinks is so wonderful (be warned, however, that historically wherever there has been a minority power “elite”, there have always been a majority of “slaves” to do their bidding…).

In traditional Western thinking, this was expressed in terms of the “uncivilised” life being “nasty, brutish and short”, but generally speaking, people who lived in such a state, even into modern times, represented very little threat to civilisation; if anything, experience has shown that the opposite is true – “civilisation” in the Western model has proven horrendously destructive towards those whom it considers “uncivilised”, whereas the supposedly primitive “savage” was a person more closely in tune with their environment, and therefore more self-sufficient (being better able to find their requisites within that environment) and materially independent. What has really happened is that, having set itself up as a paragon of its own paradigm of a civilised state, the Western mindset has used the “uncivilised” periphery as a threat with which it, in turn, threatens its own citizens with a dire warning of what state they might descend into if they do not give the body politic the authority and resources to defend itself (and therefore, by implication, the citizens over whom it exercises its dubious “authority”). The nominally “uncivilised”, therefore, have usually ended up as the victims of the better-armed “civilised” nations. You couldn’t possibly observe a clearer and starker example of iniquity. Yet we call it civilisation.

Let us also ask ourselves what happens when the body politic’s identified “enemy” already happens to be, er, civilised. What normally happens is that they then try to dehumanise their notional “opponent”, the better to justify irrational (but highly profitable) warfare against them, which also has the helpful (from the elite’s point of view) characteristic of reducing the population of underlings… Our problem here is that the West has been self-regarding and narcissistic, and when their opponents are of a similar level of “civilisation”, ad hominem attacks (which is really what their irrational rationalisation of their intended or practical assaults are) is all that they have left. And as they are often unable to prove directly that what they assert is true, they are not above falsifying evidence and controlling its presentation at home to justify their destructive activity abroad.

We should also be asking ourselves what this actually means for the individual “citizen”, as all of this cannot possibly have happened without some obvious reason. To put it into an appropriate context, let us return to our supposed “primitive” and “uncivilised” person. Remember that we suggested that such a person must be more in tune with, and therefore self-sufficient in, their native environment, whether it be the forests of Africa or South America, the jungles of Borneo or even the coastline of sub-Arctic North America. People who lived in these places traditionally were able to feed and clothe themselves and do a range of other life-related activities without huge inputs of technology, but the essential point I would suggest here is that the logistic chain through which raw materials came to them was extremely short; they did not need expensive stores to offer them processed pseudo-foods, for example, because they knew from experience where to find what they needed to make things themselves. Likewise, they would have a way to clothe and house themselves and did not have to buy the raw materials for building their dwellings, because they could just walk out and get it for themselves, for free.

There is no mystery about this; what we have termed “civilisation” is simply the entrainment and coercion of people to travel from the countryside, where they were more or less self-sufficient, to the cities where they were dependent upon supply chains which were then used to siphon off the wealth that they were generating with their labour. The controllers (or their gofers) then also moved in (and, according to the experience of Mark Passio, are still moving in) to buy up the vacated land cheaply. The majority of the population, by this methodology, have slowly been deprived of their original resources and wealth. And with the added finance resulting from taxing their own “citizens”, the controllers then moved on to do the same to the inhabitants of other lands to increase their profits – empire – and the footsoldiers who achieved this were the same people from their own lands who had already been asset-stripped by their dubious leaders.

So we now see that what we describe as “civilisation” cannot be anything but a millennia-long confidence trick perpetrated upon the gullible by Passio’s “ancient psychologists”. The very people who were abused and coerced into becoming the hands of the power elites were the ones who created all of this, while the elites claimed all of the kudos and profit. Those who actually broke their backs putting it all together were the ones who were intentionally forgotten by the official histories because they were factual (or later, economic) slaves; a living could not be earned except by working for the elites in one form or another.

The greatest mistake that a modern “citizen” could possibly make, when repulsed by seeing the sequelae of this process, is to assume that there is a ready political cure for it. There is not. The rise of the Left since the time of the French Revolution has not led to any kind of Utopia – quite the contrary, since those people simply represent another narcissistic power clique who use the masses to whom they pay lip-service to achieve their own ends, and then show their utter contempt for them by abandoning them. Politicians are not there to serve the interests of the “citizens” – their function is to control the “citizenry” on behalf of their masters who exploit them. The obvious (and rather simplistic) dichotomy of “political thinking” is merely a dialectic imposed to split mass opinion and set people against each other. At best, any “revolution” has been merely a mask behind which authorities hide, and in which those who are ruled willingly enter into an increased servitude. The people you vote for represent only the interests of your rulers – everything they say is lies. The “facts” presented in the media are “facts” which are convenient to their narrative; the “education” you received suited their requirements in potential workers at the time, as well as constituting “propaganda” in their own right (because they were according to the dominant paradigm, and necessarily restricted in scope according to circumstances). Always think it possible that your “thoughts” are not original and your own, but were put there by someone else.

The first thing that anyone confronted by all of this needs to do is to learn to distance themselves from their emotions, since (as Passio explains) it is mainly by emotional dependencies and fear of a false unknown that the majority are usually manipulated. The second thing to be aware of is that in order to do this, they have to make people believe that there is some kind of a threat, be it a warlike enemy, or something in the environment, and then push this relentlessly, like a drug, until the public emotion has reached such a fever pitch that they are begging the leaders to provide a solution. In the modern context, the third thing to realise is that the controllers usually have some kinds of “provocateurs” to provide instantaneous stimulation to sweep people along – to lose themselves in their emotions and thus be more willing to react in the heat of the moment. It is for this final reason that we should always treat apparent “rebels” with suspicion, lest by losing ourselves while under their influence, we should simply be achieving the aims of the “leaders”. The very fact that any such person may be (a) in the media and (b) stridently criticising the status quo is a sure sign that they are provocateurs, and not genuine at all.

If this methodology seems somewhat far-fetched, it may be that you are suffering from a condition which came to be known as “Stockholm Syndrome” [2]. In other words, because of the apparent beneficence of your captors, it is difficult for you not to be sympathetic towards them when confronted with an alternative view both of them personally and their behaviour. But they are your captors: you live in a goldfish bowl, and they throw in some food for you every now and then. You are afraid of venturing beyond the goldfish bowl, because despite your restricted environment, it actually feels safe; and what you see through its walls is distorted and disturbing to your sight. You do not wish to remove the distortion for fear of the truth being even more disturbing; and so you stay in your goldfish bowl, accepting your situation; therfore, as we suggested at the beginning, your physical liberation is precluded by your refusal to first undergo a psychological liberation – to see that there is a different world out there and that you do not need your dependency. But the price of losing that dependency is the responsibility of making decisions in your own interest, something which the afflicted seem unwilling to do because they are so inured to being led by someone else, and to being in thrall of authority. It is only when we realise that the “authority” is flawed and factually toxic and destructive that people will realise that self-determination is not so bad, after all; better to die free and self-determining than as a helpless, mind-controlled slave. This is also what our aforementioned “neoteny” is all in aid of: the inculcated and conditioned maintenance of an immature psychology in the individual, the better to prevent them from making more informed decisions which might be detrimental to the Body Politic.

Again, quoting Carlos Castaneda at length, Don Juan provided an insight into what was required from the individual:

Don Juan kept on pushing his barb deeper and deeper into me. “The sorcerers of ancient Mexico,” he said, “saw; the predator. They called it the flyer because it leaps through the air. It is not a pretty sight. It is a big shadow, impenetrably dark, a black shadow that jumps through the air. Then, it lands flat on the ground. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when it made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man.”

I wanted to get angry, call him a paranoiac, but somehow the righteousness that was usually just underneath the surface of my being wasn’t there. Something in me was beyond the point of asking myself my favorite question: What if all that he said is true? At the moment he was talking to me that night, in my heart of hearts, I felt that all of what he was saying was true, but at the same time, and with equal force, all that he was saying was absurdity itself.

“What are you saying, don Juan?” I asked feebly. My throat was constricted. I could hardly breathe.

“What I’m saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He’s an average piece of meat. There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.”

Don Juan’s words were eliciting a strange, bodily reaction in me comparable to the sensation of nausea. It was as if I were going to get sick to my stomach again. But the nausea was coming from the bottom of my being, from the marrow of my bones. I convulsed involuntarily. Don Juan shook me by the shoulders forcefully. I felt my neck wobbling back and forth under the impact of his grip. The maneuver calmed me down at once. I felt more in control.

“This predator,” don Juan said, “which, of course, is an inorganic being, is not altogether invisible to us, as other inorganic beings are. I think as children we do see it and decide it’s so horrific that we don’t want to think about it. Children, of course, could insist on focusing on the sight, but everybody else around them dissuades them from doing so.

“The only alternative left for mankind,” he continued, “is discipline. Discipline is the only deterrent. But by discipline I don’t mean harsh routines. I don’t mean waking up every morning at five- thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until you’re blue. Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations. For them, discipline is an art: the art of facing infinity without flinching, not because they are strong and tough but because they are filled with awe.”

“In what way would the sorcerers’ discipline be a deterrent?” I asked.

“Sorcerers say that discipline makes the glowing coat of awareness unpalatable to the flyer,” don Juan said, scrutinizing my face as if to discover any signs of disbelief. “The result is that the predators become bewildered. An inedible glowing coat of awareness is not part of their cognition, I suppose. After being bewildered, they don’t have any recourse other than refraining from continuing their nefarious task.

“If the predators don’t eat our glowing coat of awareness for a while,” he went on, “it’ll keep on growing. Simplifying this matter to the extreme, I can say that sorcerers, by means of their discipline, push the predators away long enough to allow their glowing coat of awareness to grow beyond the level of the toes. Once it goes beyond the level of the toes, it grows back to its natural size.

“The sorcerers of ancient Mexico used to say that the glowing coat of awareness is like a tree. If it is not pruned, it grows to its natural size and volume. As awareness reaches levels higher than the toes, tremendous maneuvers of perception become a matter of course.

“The grand trick of those sorcerers of ancient times,” don Juan continued, “was to burden the flyers’ mind with discipline. They found out that if they taxed the flyers’ mind with inner silence, the foreign installation would flee, giving to any one of the practitioners involved in this maneuver the total certainty of the mind’s foreign origin. The foreign installation comes back, I assure you, but not as strong, and a process begins in which the fleeing of the ‘flyers’ mind becomes routine, until one day it flees permanently. A sad day indeed! That’s the day when you have to rely on your own devices, which are nearly zero. There’s no one to tell you what to do. There’s no mind of foreign origin to dictate the imbecilities you’re accustomed to.

“My teacher, the nagual Julian, used to warn all his disciples,” don Juan continued, “that this was the toughest day in a sorcerer’s life, for the real mind that belongs to us, the sum total of our experience, after a lifetime of domination has been rendered shy, insecure, and shifty. Personally, I would say that the real battle of sorcerers begins at that moment. The rest is merely preparation.”

If an individual is repulsed by the sight of what their controllers have created, the “discipline” spoken of here by Don Juan is the maintenance of the sensibility which allows us to see it, to keep our eyes focused and trained upon it, and to avoid the recidivistic habit which would otherwise cause us to forever revert to the former controlled state, because the inculcated desire to delegate important decisions to “authority figures” empowered by ourselves leads, in the end, only to destruction. [4] The real world that we want to see will never come to fruition until we insist upon self-determination and self-ownership, and exercise the self-discipline necessary to do both successfully.

These have been the concepts which have been foremost in mind since my cancer operation earlier this year. I was frightened at the idea of having a fatal medical condition, but more frightened at the prospect of death, so I voluntarily surrendered to a procedure in the first major surgery of my life, and the result was that said life has been prolonged; nobody knows for how much longer, but we are all mortal and can only prolong our lives by making the correct decisions. At the same time, however, the realisation that nobody gets out alive has turned out to be motivating: this is MY life, I make all the decisions and I accept responsibility for those decisions. I have always disliked the ways in which some people have tried to involve themselves in my life and influence my decisions, and now I have a zero-tolerance attitude towards such interference. If people don’t like it, tough. I will make no apologies for my self-assertion. And what has emerged from this is greater self-discipline (somewhat more than previously, at any rate) and overall determination about the things I want to do and how I want to spend my life.

Bottom line: this is my personal existence. It does not belong to any government or to anyone else, but to me alone. I will determine for myself what I will eat and drink, what thoughts I will keep in my head, how I support myself and my own ultimate fate. I will not delegate these to anyone else and I will maintain the discipline until the time comes to submit to mortality. Which, I hope, is a long way yet to come… and if that means being “uncivilised”, then so be it. If history has any lessons to learn, it is that in the end, all “civilisations” have proven to be as mortal as any of their citizens.

[1] https://wordnet.princeton.edu

[2] https://www.history.com/news/stockholm-syndrome

[3] See “The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage” (translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers) for how an ancient practitioner might have done this. A version is available online at http://www.hermetism.info/pdf/Grimoire/The%20Sacred%20Magic%20of%20Abramelin%20the%20Mage.pdf.

[4] See: https://www.activistpost.com/2018/04/how-the-globalism-con-game-leads-to-a-new-world-order.html for some more enlightenment, so to speak, on this topic.

Cancer Diary Update, 21st April 2018

It’s been some time since I last wrote anything about the actual cancer and treatment, due to the situation which arose at the end of January. However, it unfolded like this…

Things have of course happened since I last wrote properly about my situation, but the outstanding thing, at the beginning, has been the response of the employer at that time – who, of course, is not my employer any longer. As you will see, my case is neither unique nor non-illustrative.

Originally, when notified of the need for an operation and time away from work for the operation and the resulting recuperation, the company seemed very accommodating. To recap, they first stated that my health was the first priority, and that they wanted me to take not just the statutory (as I discovered later in discussion with Professor Kim) one month for recovery, but two, taking me up to the end of the contract, at which point, having hopefully made a complete recovery, I expected to re-sign for another year. Regular readers (here and on FB) will recall that I also received a personal e-mail from the CEO of Times Media expressing his sorrow at the fact that I had contracted cancer, and that he wished me a speedy recovery and that I could be able to resume work as soon as possible.

All of that began to unravel on Wednesday, January 25th, the day I actually had the FDD removed and was therefore technically no longer even an out-patient. That afternoon, I got back from the hospital after FDD removal and endoscopy (without anaesthetic, and with some lubricant goo still trying to escape, leading to frequent dashes to the bathroom and a sticky arse…) and received a call from one of the established seniors in the company’s Seoul office (“established” meaning that she has been with them for longer even than I remember, and I am sure there is a reason for that – right? Right?). The person concerned has never had my confidence as a speaker of English, because she never quite seems to select the appropriate vocabulary, and hence does not really seem to know what she is saying… Basically, the company had decided not only that they would not re-sign me at the end of the contract, but also that they did not want to proceed with it to the end as originally planned, and wished to terminate it on January 31st 2018. My own understanding was that they wished to end it as planned (but as I couldn’t understand her mangled English very easily, there was no way that I could be certain), and would not see any disadvantage for them in this because, as I was not working, I was not therefore receiving any salary. I forgot, of course, that they also paid my rent according to the contract, and they wanted to stop doing so as soon as possible. Seems like they resented the prospect of having to do this even though, at the time, only one more payment would be required before the end of the contract.

The lesson here is that companies like this, which often experience tough times profit-wise because they are really just a one-trick pony, can be quite ruthless; they clearly consider employees, and foreign employees in particular, to be an expensive liability to be disposed of as soon as possible. I shall return to this later, but to jump ahead temporarily to my current situation, my new co-worker Jonathan (from The Great White North) told me a similar story about his (younger) colleague at the university here in Jinju (to where I relocated recently for my new position) – said (male) colleague had the misfortune to break his leg, at which point his contract was immediately cancelled and therefore he, like myself, had to find something new rather sharpishly. And funnily enough, he did precisely that… how did that happen? It’s another mystery of Korea…

Getting back to the story… what happened next was that almost immediately after receiving the bad news from the erstwhile employer, came a call from one of Job In Korea’s (JIK’s) representatives in Seoul, Tony. He asked me whether I would still be interested in a position with the Air Force Aviation Science High School (AFASHS) in Jinju, whose information I had seen previously at JIK’s web site, and I said “yes”. He did offer me a choice of another job which would allow me to remain in Daegu (incredibly, the same salary but only three days’ working per week!!!), but having worked with the Korean military previously, and noting that the salary would be identical to that received with Times, I decided to pursue it further. The alternative, in fact, was school work anyway.

This decision, like so many made by foreigners in Korea, turned out to have its swings and roundabouts. The prime advantage of working for any government agency in Korea is that they will generally stick to the conditions of a contract and make great efforts to make sure everything is okay; the disadvantages tend to relate to things like the cost of relocation and the inconvenience of their own location and the relationship between their physical placement and the location of your apartment, and transiting between them on a daily basis. This means that some patience is often required while information accumulates, as such institutions are invariably staffed mainly by people whose tenure is short (due to being conscripted, for example, as part of their National Service requirement), and hence, as with so many institutions I have experienced in Korea, they experience a constant haemorrhage of collective memory.

As it happened, the major drag was that because this is a military institution, they had to conduct a long and lengthy background check before I could be permitted to come here and sign the contract. So I was stuck in a strange situation for a few weeks – no contract signed, a limited period of remaining E-2 visa which was slowly expiring, and no money coming in, meaning a lot of stress and tension. I was repeatedly assured that yes, they definitely wanted me but unfortunately, they could not change this requirement, until finally, on Thursday 8th March, I got the message that it would be okay to come down and sign the contract. When I received the message, I was actually in a coffee shop in Gangnam, waiting to apply for a D-10 visa (and frankly, expecting a negative response). I then took my leisurely time going back to Seoul Station, caught a KTX back to Daegu, had a shower and hit the sack, as I would have to be in Jinju fairly early the following afternoon in order to get the visa attended to!

This new position technically began the same day that I signed the contract, which was three days before the visa was due to expire (another close shave), although work proper – in the sense of being there and present in the classrooms – actually began on the following Monday… alas, there have proven to be a number of problems: although the Air Force supplied me with accommodation in the form of Bachelor Quarters (BOQ) onsite (and this would have been especially wonderful during holidays when the students were absent), it proved impossible to move in permanently because of the allocated furniture – the room had a new bed, new desk and even a new refrigerator, but this meant that I could not move in, as I had also likewise purchased a new bed, desk, and several other items previously and was not willing to part with them. This was because the allocation was permanent and it was not permitted to remove them; once in situ, they would have to stay in situ until whenever.

So this meant that I would have to have external housing, and here, again, was a unique problem in my experience in Korea – the Air Force would supply accommodation as their customary BOQ, but had no provision in their contract for assisting the new employee with the cost of non-BOQ housing, so I will be bearing this on my own (although at a cheaper level than my new co-worker Jonathan). I spent some time with a local estate agent who was recommended to me by another local foreigner who had used her services previously, and after viewing a number of mainly new (and also rather small and pokey) new-ish residences, was shown an apartment in an older property some distance from work (I had hoped to find somewhere closer). Although I thought the deposit was relatively steep at five million won (the previous maximum had been 3.3 million with the KDLI), I also thought that the monthly rent was relatively acceptable (although not cheap), and did not represent a serious financial drag. So the contract was signed, but the move was much more expensive than expected due to being during the spring moving season. But I had to move out, so I bore it.

In the long term, however, this arrangement will be beneficial. I can increase the size of my deposit as far as ten million won and have a reduction in the monthly rental payment, as is so often the case with places in Korea. So the deposit itself will then represent a saving of eight million in addition to the two million brought forward to Jinju from Daegu.

In the course of all this, I was naturally discussing the question of travel between apartment and work, and it transpired that there was, in fact, a daily shuttle bus and there was a convenient boarding point at a local bus stop not far from my new place. Although the return drop-off was much further away, I decided that again, this was no big deal because I needed the exercise and shops and banks, etc. were conveniently along the roadside. I then went to the KT guy across the road to sign up for a new Internet contract, and I was away, so to speak.

Drawing parallels with my previous stint at the KDLI, the shorter commuting distance makes a big difference; not having the same class four hours a day, five days a week means much less stress; and there is absolutely no likelihood of suffering the kinds of disadvantages I experienced with the previous (now unmentionable) employer, like not enough students to set up a new session, or the resultant slashing of my salary due to lack of a session. I may have to pay in full for my accommodation, but the salary will always be full and complete, and the cost of travelling to and from work is effectively zero. Plus, as per Professor Kim’s admonishments, I am not drinking (much) right now.

The new place has two rooms, one smaller and one larger, and I decided that the smaller room would become the bedroom, as I had left my mouldy old bookcases behind in Daegu, and these would have to be replaced, the new ones eventually occupying part of the larger room. The kitchen area in the middle has plenty of space, including an area which I suppose most other people would populate with a dining table and chairs, but as I am single this will probably be co-opted for further storage. The larger room will be used for both work and relaxation as soon as furniture can be purchased – new bookcases, a closet and a reading lamp, and maybe some other storage to accommodate the likes of the printer and scanner. The bedroom could probably use at least a chest of drawers.

The entrance also has a nice amount of space, and it did occur to me that some kind of storage or shelving unit would be especially welcome there – as well as an appropriate coat stand or rack. The amount of storage available in the kitchen area was likewise not to be sneezed at, but I would have to do some appreciable cleaning not only there but generally, as the amount of time the place was vacant had led to it being infested by small flies, whose corpses could be seen littering the kitchen floor as well as the balcony next to the washing machine. Thankfully, the floors appear not to have been so filthy as those in the previous place in Daegu were two years ago when I first moved in.

The area itself is fairly lively, having not apparently succumbed to the depredations of the larger stores and retaining many small shops, restaurants and coffee houses as well as the more customary convenience stores; one GS25 just down the road even had my usual Danish cider in big cans, but of course, Professor Kim had told me to leave it out for the interim. And I always do as the doctors order. Sure I do!

So this brings us up to where we are right now. In my second month in a new job, and seriously, it would be so nice to stay here for a few years. Daily travel costs are zero, there are not too many lessons each day and the classes are all at the same level (high school, third grade), are either speaking or writing and I only need to prepare two lesson plans per week. This is just as well, as I have been waking up too early on weekday mornings lately to get a full night’s sleep.

It also demonstrates, again, the falsehood often propagated about the “ageism” of the English teaching apparatus in Korea. I will be 56 this year, have had a major operation and recovered (I certainly hope) from colorectal cancer and set myself up in yet another city, because I was literally snapped up by the Air Force. Perseverance and patience seem to be rewarded in the end, although it should be said that even when not looking for a new job, you need a constant influx of vacancy-related information in your Inbox and have to keep everything updated.

So let’s see how this one goes…

[No references this time LOL]

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