Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; and yes, I'm wearing a T-shirt.

Month: January, 2013

“…they think ‘denial’ is a river in Egypt…”

Goodness, I was so saddened to hear of the demise of one of my heroes, Zig Ziglar. I had taken some time off of my social networks so I could focus on…well…sleep…and only recently found out that ‘America’s Master Motivator’ had passed away in November of last year.

Anyhow, (and please if ignore this if you’re of the cynical disposition), here is one of my favourite clips of his. His words, to a large extent, helped me get through a very difficult time in life  when I fell very unwell (prayer of course, too); this clip has soared in popularity and is very much worth the ten minutes that you give to it. And then the ten minutes thereafter when you hit ‘play’ a second time.

His lectures called How to Get What you Want, and particularly See You at the Top are an excellent investment!

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The Destruction of the European Poor

If I were a parent, I would not have taken part in this experiment, not even for a week. Thousands of parents don’t have a choice.

One week ago a Conservative councillor from York said that no one is starving in the UK. On the evidence of last week, he is wrong. Not because the income used in our experiment was a starvation rate, but because for those who have to exist on such precarious incomes it does not take much to push them over the edge.

“Lots of people living on the breadline are getting by most of the time, but then some kind of crisis hits,” says Molly Hodson of the Trussell Trust, the charity whose network of 298 food banks has given out more than 209,000 emergency food packages since April.

“Say you’re off work for a week and you end up on statutory sick pay, or your car breaks down and you don’t get to work and lose your job. Then the crisis spirals into a disaster. Even something as simple as cold weather: a lot of people on low incomes are on meters for electricity and gas. Whenever there’s a bout of very cold weather, people are making the decision between heating and eating.”

The above is an extract from a very sad piece from Saturday’s Independent, by Charlie Cooper, highlighting the extent of the plight, and most importantly, the hunger faced by so many millions of people in what should be one of the richest countries in the world. Do read it, and then if you have no tears in your eyes at the end, consider reevaluating your priorities.

This isn’t some attempt at piety from some guy who lives on the other end of your computer-screen; but whilst you’re eating your take-away and watching the latest episode of the X-Factor, as you undoubtedly will do sometime this coming year, do recognise how privileged your position is…or perhaps when you’re reading that article on The Sun’s website (don’t ask me how I found this piece…though I am looking for looking for a cup of disinfectant that I can leave my eyeballs in overnight) that Katie Price is marrying a builder/part-time stripper (which has been categorised as ‘News’) on your iPad whilst sipping your lunchtime latte, have a think about what it actually is that matters.

Then, why don’t you make a contribution or two toward a homeless shelter, a charity for families or elderly in crisis, perhaps? I won’t tell you which ones. Why not, with your guaranteed income for this month, set up a regular payment or two both here and abroad. One tragedy of all this penny-pinching is not just the effect it has on people at home – forcing them into prolonged hunger and political and economic oblivion  –  but the lack of good a larger public purse could do in the third world.

I’m reminded of a couple of quotes that I read last year, which were attributed to Imam Ali (may God’s blessings descend upon him always), that are very appropriate. Too bad our statesmen today haven’t the integrity to speak this way:

If a person starves it is due to the fact that his share has been taken by another.

And

I have not seen any excessive bounty which is not associated with a right which has been violated.

 

 

Why I love Alex Jones…

Weber defined the State as that entity which “upholds the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order.” I imagine that in the logic of a state, it means that it is, or ought to be, the sole claim to legitimate physical force. I mean, why shouldn’t it be? Could you imagine what the state could do to you or me with that kind of power. I say this all rhetorically, of course; however speaking as a minority in an increasingly hostile West I give it ten years before the mass-deportations begin.

Maybe I’m turning into something of a conspiracy-nut (I wonder if Webster Tarpley has a ‘collected essays’ volume…?); I, too, given my experience these last few years given up really on institutions such as conventional medicine , and have begun to wonder what else I might question. The government seems like an easy-enough target – in the wake of the blatant lies told about the WMDs in Iraq, many Americans joined the 9/11 Truther movement – after all, if 9/11 could be the pretext to an illegal war of regime change in two sovereign countries, what else might they have been lying about?

Perhaps I’m too far a Leftist to actually be able to tolerate the likes of Jones, but I honestly have a soft-spot for him (probably right over my cerebral cortex). I think he raises some very valid concerns in his theorising – I am very sceptical of psychiatric interventions, for example…or vaccinations…the economic crisis affecting us all is another; moreover the alternative media has a great way of bringing to the public attention issues which don’t get a second look at in the mainstream…so what I’m saying is, despite not agreeing with everything this fellow and his ilk have to say on various subjects, they constitute and serve a critical function which cannot be provided by the corporate media (except on the odd occasion when they let people like Jones on their shows, as you will see below!)

This is an hysterically-charged interview in which Jones was perhaps most effective in the first four minutes – just watch those if you can’t be bothered to watch more!

I’m not sure what 9/11 had to do with the recent spree of mass-shootings – perhaps this was an attempt to discredit the guest, and thus very unprofessional – nonetheless Jones has a pretty broad church and no-doubt his points of view will resonate with large numbers, perhaps millions of Americans (not that millions are necessarily watching CNN…) when they get to hear about it.

I can understand how Jones fears that there will come a time where the population will have to bear arms against their government – I can’t decry him for his lack of patriotism -considering that there are now armed drones flying over the US and much of the rest of the world, moreover the NDAA has essentially created a state of martial law in the States – we know how wicked the US Government can be toward those whom she captures or wants killed – GTMO, Predator Drone strikes, Bagram, Renditions are just examples of the last decade…however for some reason I cannot but feel utterly sick when I think of guns and the harm they cause.

I loathe them with every aspect of my being, and I hate the culture that has emerged surrounding them. But then, I don’t necessarily approve of the culture surrounding states generally, and in particular, military institutions today. Leo Tolstoy once said of nationalism being:

the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers

A call for a ban on assault weapons or handguns is a red-herring; I’d much prefer calling on the banning of production of armaments, and the banning of exporting guns to international markets…so that they don’t then end up back in our hands, and nor can others kill because we enabled them by not insisting that the same taxes collected from the arms trade are helping to pay for our welfare state or Health Service, or feeding the hungry though international aid be rejected outright; the stigma should be such that these corporations might pack up and go elsewhere (I’d accept that as a start, but this would of-course take concerted efforts from activist groups across the Global North; we might then consider financial aid or some other mechanism to incentivise other governments to not allow these bloody corporations from starting ip elsewhere).

Our bodies should be temples; for metaphysical reasons I cannot grasp how we can feed ourselves with, or benefit from the effects of, funds gathered through such barbarism. Gun culture isn’t enough to explain such violence, especially given that the numbers of stabbings and muggings are on the rise in states even with such bans…this goes right to the core of our souls. As much as guns themselves have the power to create culture which manifests in the world, we tacitly do the same to our souls…

Maybe the Hobbesian or Weberian conceptions of the modern states, and world, ought to be done away with in favour of a new model of governance.

Or maybe I should be a pragmatist and support Chris Rock’s idea:

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On a side note here’s an extract from an interview with the always prescient and logical Noam Chomsky in 1994 found here:

Q: Advocates of free access to arms cite the Second Amendment. Do you believe
that it permits unrestricted, uncontrolled possession of guns?

It’s pretty clear that, taken literally, the Second Amendment doesn’t permit
people to have guns. But laws are never taken literally, including amendments
to the Constitution or constitutional rights. Laws permit what the tenor of
the times interprets them as permitting.

But underlying the controversy over guns are some serious questions. There’s
a feeling in the country that people are under attack. I think they’re
misidentifying the source of the attack, but they do feel under attack.

The government is the only power structure that’s even partially accountable
to the population, so naturally the business sectors want to make that the
enemy–not the corporate system, which is totally unaccountable. After decades
of intensive business propaganda, people feel that the government is some
kind of enemy and that they have to defend themselves from it.

It’s not that that doesn’t have its justifications. The government is
authoritarian and commonly hostile to much of the population. But it’s
partially influenceable–and potentially very influenceable–by the general
population.

Many people who advocate keeping guns have fear of the government in the
back of their minds. But that’s a crazy response to a real problem.”

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