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Roshi7 Portfolio

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago












Roshi7 Mission Statement


Roshi7 Mad As Hell Cover Page


Roshi7 Mad As Hell


Roshi7 Cover Page


The problem with sustain-ability


Roshi7 A Call For Consistency Cover Page


Roshi7 A Call For Consistency


The Obammy Whammy


The Death of Comp II






Fear as a method of control



"Save us, Superman."








As a mantra for the 21st century, nothing can hold a candle to the visceral impact of September 11, 2001. It was one of those rare “where were you when?” moments, burned into the collective consciousness. Of that there is no doubt.


The attack on the twin towers was the surfacing of the specter of fear. But what is fear? On Wikipedia it is defined as an “emotional response to threats and danger.” Can we asses a value to fear? The need for comfort, the homeostatic nature of human kind, the need to feel safe in their homes and in their lives. It was intensified as the towers came down.


Then a strange thing happened...


Instead of working to find answers, and develop an understanding where this particular fear came from, we became even more fearful. We knew less than before, as our psyche became dark. Our leaders, instead of taking substantive steps to calm the world and alleviate fear, began to be beat war drums. Violence begat violence.


With no discernible change in our day to day lives, we have become a nation at war. The enemy were unnamed entities we called “terrorists.” They were usually of Arab decent, who have always projected dark image. Western world have blamed Arabs for centuries of world problems, they were easy targets.


But the "face" of terror can take many forms:



or this:





or even this:







It can be argued the odds of a single American falling victim to an act of terrorism (or what passes for terrorism) was only infinitesimally affected by the events of 9/11. My assertion is that we are no more safer now than we were prior to the event. But we are more fearful.


Fear is the mother of morality - Nietzsche.


People who aim to control society will use the easiest method possible. The promotion of fear is an simple path to control the populace. Fear can be an intricate part of social structure. But what of the opposite? Basic human nature encompasses the struggle to alleviate fear. Physical manifestations of fear are well documented, couldn't it be said fear is the basic need for relief? Fear, and the alleviation of fear become powerful emotions, which can give rise for enterprising parties to seize an opportunity for control. The search for a savior is at the foundation of both religion and politics. We need a representative to keep us from harm, to keep us safe and to bring us to some version of the “promised land.”


A correlation can be made between the relief of fear and the establishment of debt. Both fill some sort of need, an emotional desire for comfort. Both establish a relationship between people providing a degree of comfort, and come with a promise of reciprocation. The debtor and the faithful owe their debt, in either financial or emotional terms. The relief of debt becomes a literal term, focusing on the word relief Gratitude is the emotional equivilent of repayment, where an intangable is replaced by the concrete nature of money. We are grateful to those who can provide us with a sense of security, where the government sets the value by inflating the degree of fear. The more comfort that can be provided by others, the larger the gap between safety and appeasment, the more we will pay.


My question is - how safe are we? There is a disconnect between the illusion of security and the reality of risk. We cannot walk out of our homes without assesing the odds. Why do we proceed, and why should we proceed? We allow ourselves to be safe, but we fail to realize that safety is something that is given, and can be easily taken away. We fail to understand that the events of September 2001 were a anomaly, and statistically we are more apt to be caught in a traffic accident than any terrorist attack. Most Americans do not fear crossing the street, but we have feared the phantom terrorist. Why is that? The top of mind awareness of the existence of terrorism caused by a barrage of media sources recounting the specific steps taken to halt the minuscule chance attack, supplanted by our leaders reminding us how safe we are not. They pat themselves on the back because nothing has happened.



Lloyd: What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?

Mary: Well, that's pretty difficult to say.

Lloyd: Hit me with it! I've come a long way to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.


Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance.


-Dumb and Dumber (1994)


By the suggestion that we have not been the subject of a terrorist act goes only to suggest that an attack is possible, even imminent, and that the odds are of an attack exist. We just have to remind ourselves that those odds are not one in a million, but one in 55 million during your lifetime (in the case of airline attack – even if you fly once a month and assuming one terror incident per month) . Even the odds of a terrorist attack worldwide is 1 in 88,000 - taking in the account that the world is a pretty rough place. The odds are never made clear when the subject comes to light.


The subject of terrorism has become a tool to effect popular opinion, most noticeably by the force fed legislation of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, universally decried as the “PATRIOT" Act. A wave of fear set by the September 11 attacks forced Congress to allow a little read act to become law. According to Wikipedia Title VIII of the Patriot Act:


...alters the definitions of terrorism, and establishes or re-defines rules with which to deal with it. It redefined the term "domestic terrorism" to broadly include mass destruction as well as assassination or kidnapping as a terrorist activity. The definition also encompasses activities that are "dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State" and are intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population," "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion," or are undertaken "to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping" while in the jurisdiction of the United States. Terrorism is also included in the definition of racketeering. Terms relating to cyber-terrorism are also redefined, including the term "protected computer," "damage," "conviction," "person," and "loss."


The blurring of the terms such as "coercion" and widening the scope of the definition of "terrorist" to include any person who disagrees with the government (at the discretion of the executive branch), as well as substantially expanding the powers of the government, privacy and freedom were the main victims of fear. Rights that were fundemental for centuries were beginning to erode in the name of some "faceless cowards" which an individual American may never meet. As the events of September 11 and the "Pandora's Box" of the Patriot Act unfolded, the usefulness as fear as a tool became apparent. Fear became a tangible commodity, which can be traded. The trade-off for a sense of security can lead to the end result of a never ending climate of fear, which will always need to be addressed. Writer Hunter S. Thompson remarked:


We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear — fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer. "Extreme behavior in Aspen" (''2003''-''02-03'')


The lack of security, ironically illustrated by an absence of a terrorist attack, later helped an increasingly unpopular George W. Bush retain his hold on the White House.


The promise of repayment gives the lender a measure of power just as the savior has over the saved. The will of the superior is forced, albeit willingly, on the debtor. Gratitude is a price one pays to the superior, and the participants are willing, with no idea that any manipulation is taking place. We are eager to live the proscribed life with the promise of a nirvana or heaven, and the fear of hell. By signing on the dotted line of a loan agreement, we are relieved that we will get the needed material for that degree of comfort. The cornerstone of banking is the transferral of security. It is an emotional currency that has become the foundation of all financial transactions. We turn safety, and comfort, into an industry.


The industry of security has developed from the promotion of fear of an unknown entity. Any Google search of “security” bring thousands of results for companies that offer the promise of comfort, the ability to surf the Internet, to conduct business and live our lives free from the specter of despair. We are taking comfort to be something that a value can assigned. How much are you willing to spend to be safe? To feel safe has no physical parameters. We cannot hold safety in our hands. As I sit in my living room, what makes me feel safe? Why should I feel that way? Our government has created an illusion of safety and we can continue to feel that way, as long as our social structure stays in place. We walk down the street without fear of molestation because the authorities, which are government entities, are hard at work. We do not ask, or simply forget, the price.



We're likely to experience more restrictions on our personal freedom than has ever been the case in our country - Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor



We are going to have to change the balance between freedom and security - House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt 



People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. - V for Vendetta (2005)



Our leaders have garnered support for a war whose antagonists are phantoms. The idea of terror is what we are fighting, without any definite parameters. By the vague notions we have assigned to the concept of terror, we can associate many human activities, including the valid confrontation of a government which has far exceeded the boundaries the founding fathers intended. It was their clear intention to restrain the powers of government, and to give any specifically unstated “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (10th Amendment - U.S. Constitution).


It has always been evident that fear was a tool in the hands of the powerful, either by politicians or the clergy. Power is the ultimate prize of mankind, and the control of the fearful has historically been a simple path to power. September 11 offered a rare opportunity for a nation in fear to cry out for a savior of this earth. No need for a spiritual leader to bring the promise of a peaceful afterlife, we needed a savior to bring us the promise of safety now. It fit directly into our need for immediacy, the instant gratification that has become the hallmark of western culture. Our “leaders” were ready, willing and able to provide the security. It has become evident that America's response to the attacks have been in the planning stages for quite a while. Not solutions for the every day issues we face, like traffic accidents or cancer, but for problems only a special few can address. It is the classic misdirection, found in even the most amateur magic trick. The gratitude of the protected, like the repayment of the debtor, is a basic human desire which can be used to take our minds off more mundane aspects of our lives, like sickness and death.


The “war on terror” becomes impossible to define since terror is an emotion, intangible and unquantifiable. Terror is fear, and fear is what will keep us in line. How do we win a war? Is it something a flag can be placed on by a victorious army? We have been brought to a point where we are afraid of our own shadow. We will do anything to make fear and terror go away. It has become a short term debt society is willing to shoulder, with repayment left to pass on to our children, and no concrete assurance of security in the future. It is like a small-time loan shark, where the debt requires endless repayment. Most religions consider usury a sin, of which out government is guilty.


Safety is a point of view, and can be manipulated like any other emotion. Give someone a knife or a gun and they feel safer, but they are no safer than they were before. It is a feeling of power, the potential to assert your will on others. What would you pay for that gun, or for someone to provide the protection? The value of those emotions become quantified. When we place a price on emotions, like safety or happiness, we assign the emotion a monetary value. That becomes a debt. Why do we value money? It gives us peace of mind and safety. What is peace of mind? The ability to feel good. That is the basis of all human desire, to feel good.


It does give a reason to think; once we know that we are being manipulated, what is really wrong with manipulation? If the goal is safety, and the intentions are good, are we doing a disservice to those who want to offer security? We are willing participants to the designs of those who want to save us.



Superman is a good guy, right?

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