Friday, June 17, 2016
Considering the possibility of a truly proletarian art, the great English literary criticWilliam Empson once wrote, “the reason an English audience can enjoy Russian propagandist films is that the propaganda is too remote to be annoying.” Perhaps this is why American artists and bohemians have so often taken to the political iconography of far-flung regimes, in ways both romantic and ironic. One nation’s tedious socialist realism is another’s radical exotica.
But do U.S. cultural exports have the same effect? One need only look at the success of our most banal branding overseas to answer in the affirmative. Yet no one would think to add Abstract Expressionist painting to a list that includes fast food and Walt Disney products. Nevertheless, the work of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning wound up as part of a secret CIA program during the height of the Cold War, aimed at promoting American ideals abroad.
The artists themselves were completely unaware that their work was being used as propaganda. On what agents called a “long leash,” they participated in several exhibitions secretly organized by the CIA, such as “The New American Painting” (see catalog cover at top), which visited major European cities in 1958-59 and included such modern primitive works as surrealist William Baziotes’ 1947 Dwarf (below) and 1951’s Tournament by Adolph Gottlieb above.
Of course what seems most bizarre about this turn of events is that avant-garde art in America has
never been much appreciated by the average citizen, to put it mildly. American Main Streets harbor undercurrents of distrust or outright hatred for out-there, art-world experimentation, a trend that filters upward and periodically erupts in controversies over Congressional funding for the arts. A 1995 Independentarticle on the CIA’s role in promoting Abstract Expressionism describes these attitudes during the Cold War period:
In the 1950s and 1960s… the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art—President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: “If that’s art, then I’m a Hottentot.” As for the artists themselves, many were ex- communists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing.
Why, then, did they receive such backing? One short answer:
This philistinism, combined with Joseph McCarthy’s hysterical denunciations of all that was avant-garde or unorthodox, was deeply embarrassing. It discredited the idea that America was a sophisticated, culturally rich democracy.
The one-way relationship between modernist painters and the CIA—only recently confirmed by former case officer Donald Jameson—supposedly enabled the agency to make the work of Soviet Socialist Realists appear, in Jameson’s words, “even more stylized and more rigid and confined than it was.” (See Evdokiya Usikova’s 1959 Lenin with Villagers below, for example). For a longer explanation, read the full article at The Independent. It’s the kind of story Don DeLillo would cook up.
William Empson goes on to say that “a Tory audience subjected to Tory propaganda of the same intensity” as Russian imports, “would be extremely bored.” If he is correct, it’s likely that the average true believer socialist in Europe was already bored silly by Soviet-approved art. What surprises in these revelations is that the avant-garde works that so radically altered the American art world and enraged the average congressman and taxpayer were co-opted and collected by suave U.S. intelligence officers like so many Shepard Fairey posters.
Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him @jdmagness
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
This video will help you understand why history as we know it is WRONG. The number of discoveries made around the globe indicate it isn’t far fetched anymore to suggest lost empires such as Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu existed on our planet in the distant past.
Many researchers around the globe have come to accept the notion that there are many ancient cultures which have retained an imprint of advanced spiritual and technological knowledge.
With each discovery made every single day, scholars are beginning to understand that history as we all have been taught is incomplete. Every new finding is pushing us towards the acceptance that great ancient kingdoms are today lost in the sands of time. They existed long before our current civilizations and inhabited all corners of the world.
Today when we speak about Atlantis, Lemuria, Mu, and other ancient civilizations the world mythology immediately pops up. However, interestingly, there are a number of ancient writings across the planet, among many different cultures which allude to these now lost ancient empires, describing great cataclysmic events that wiped these great kingdoms from the surface of the planet.
The memories remembering these great civilizations are only partially accepted by researchers today. Regrettably, literary accounts available to the general public today are nonexistent. However, we to need them. In fact, many cultures across the globe claim, that this memory has firmly been imprinted into the human brain. It’s as if we know that before the existence of modern society and modern civilizations, a great, ‘lost’ civilization predated it all.
However, this idea is firmly rejected by mainstream archaeology which has tried desperately to dismiss the number of findings and theories as mere fantasy, mythology, and imagination of the uneducated people. However, there is clear evidence that even before the Ancient Aztec, Inca, Maya, Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, other civilizations existed which were wiped out by a great cataclysmic event which occurred tens of thousands of years ago.
Interestingly, this is where chronology seems to agree with ancient texts speaking of long lost civilizations, like the accounts of Plato and Atlantis.
Many researchers argue today that there is evidence that a huge meteor impacted Earth some 13,000 years ago, which caused the rapid melting of the planet’s Ice Caps, resulting in a great deluge that raged across the planet, eventually spelling doom for many ancient civilizations that predate today’s society.
The Eridu Genesis, which is believed to have been composed circa 2,300 BCE, is the earliest known account fo the Great Flood, predating the more popular Great Flood described in the biblical book of the Genesis.
The Eridu Genesis is the tale where Utnapishtim was instructed by the gods to build a great vessel and gathers inside ‘the seed of life.’
Every new finding is pushing us towards the acceptance that great ancient kingdoms are today lost in the sands of time.
Evidence of a Great Deluge: The Catastrophic event that wiped out ancient civilizations
One of the most widespread stories among today’s society is that of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood. For years, researchers maintained that this event never occurred and that Noah, the great Ark, and the Great Flood never existed.
However, an underwater archaeologist believes he has found unequivocal evidence that the biblical flood, also mentioned in numerous other religious texts actually is based on real-life events.
Robert Ballard, one of the best-known underwater archaeologists who in 1985, using a robotic submersible with a remote-controlled camera found the famous shipwreck of the Titanic, probed the depths of the Black Sea near the coast of modern-day Turkey looking for traces of ancient civilizations that dates back to the times of Noah. According to Ballard, some 12,000 years ago, much of the Earth’s surface was covered in ice. “Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that is a big ice-cube,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “But then it started to melt. We are talking about the floods of our living history,” he added. According to Ballard, after the water from the glaciers started melting, it rushed into the world’s ocean causing huge, catastrophic flood around the world. “The question is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.
However, why are mainstream scholars so offended my these accounts? Moreover, why are they so selective in history when they divide truth from fiction.
Each and every time a discovery is made which corroborates the ‘myths’ of a great flood, and pre-flood civilizations, mainstream scholars turn away and close their doors. The question is why?
Well, because such discoveries would eventually lead to another historic timeline. In addition, a new timeline would shatter the current paradigm and require the complete rewriting of our history and civilization as we know it.
It is time that we reevaluate the purpose of our species, it is time to rethink where we all are going as a species, it is time to accept knowledge, and it is time to rewrite history. Current paradigms are up for a much-needed revision, and the institutions that uphold them must eventually understand that mankind is a species with amnesia. However, this does not mean we cannot remember; we are being withheld from the ability to remember and understand that our civilization may, in fact, be one in a long series of ancient civilizations much more advanced both spiritually and technologically, existing on our planet thousands and perhaps millions of years ago.
Monday, May 23, 2016
What is it that makes us human?
Is it that we love, that we fight?
That we laugh?
The quest for discovery?
Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries.
Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.
September 11, 2015
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Apr 11th, 2016
The recent discovery of a 9,000-year-old shamanic sanctuary in Europe proves that an advanced and knowledgeable culture once flourished there. The capabilities of the shamans described in mystic tales might had once been a reality after all.
One of the key figures of the ancient world was the shaman. According to ancient accounts, these magic practitioners helped shape the first human societies.
As wise as they were feared, the shaman mystics were a high-rank figure in the human society, capable of winning battles, de-cursing allies, they could heal physical wounds and the soul, but also communicate with animal spirits and even shapeshift.
While all this knowledge may seem loose out of fantasy books, there’s a great chance that shamans were capable of performing all of the above feats.
Although records of these mystics often comes from the 16th century and mostly referrers to Asia as their last known refuge, it’s likely that they did their bidding all over the world.
At least that’s what this ancient shaman site from Europe indicates.
In 2012, archaeologists uncovered an unusual site near Lake Świdwie, in north-western Poland. After meticulously analyzing the settlement using modern techniques, the team of researchers concluded that it dated back more than 9,000 years.
One of the most notable finds in the area consisted in a circular design of approx. 6 meters in diameter where the foundation of strange structures was still visible.
A trapezoid building with poles, encircled by an arch of rocks aligned at equal distances from each other caught the attention of the Polish archaeologists.
Within this ancient design, sharpen yew sticks were piercing through the ground so that they formed the shape of the Big Dipper – a fragment of the constellation Ursa Major, also known as The Great Bear.
Yew blades found near the lake Swidwie
This discovery is unique, as other shaman settlements were only found in Siberia and Mongolia. It apparently served as a sanctuary from where the spirit practitioners engaged into rituals and out-of-body experiences which are now out of reach for modern science or written history.
Other enigmatic pieces of wood used in smoking rituals, bark, herbaceous plants and animal bones presumably used as offerings and for driving off evil spirits before a ritual were also unearthed at the site.
“Sacrificial offerings were an expression of belief in supernatural powers and forces of nature”, said Prof. Tadeusz Galiński from the Szczecin branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS.
“They were made on behalf of all residents and members of the group with the participation of the spiritual leader.”
A rich collection of different stones with supra-natural properties were found inside the sanctuary.
Among them were syenite, diorite, granite, quartzite, sandstone, gneiss, and even unusual rocks for the Pomerania area such as red marble and green syenite.
However, the discovery of black amber and pumice – an extrusive volcanic rock obtained when molten lava is spit out of a volcano – topped off the charts of the discovery list.
“This extraordinary rich collection of sotnes is unique among the previously known Mesolithic sites, located both within the vast European Plain, and in the zone of the foothills and highlands,” explained Prof. Galiński.
“These stones had to be brought to the site in Bolków, and not only from the surrounding area, but also from distant lands, the best example of which is hornfels, which occurs closest in the Giant Mountains and the Harz Mountains.”
The site furtherly proved to be rich in items mostly made of wood such as pendants and wood masks used in the mystic rituals.
Sacrificial offering discovered in the sanctuary
Thanks to the favorable conditions of the area, all the unearthed pieces were preserved in perfect shape.
The discovery adds another dimension to our written history because it proves that shamans once ruled the plains of Europe before Christianity and other religions rushed in and wiped these timeworn culture.
It also demonstrates that ancient Europeans had knowledgeable advisors who could read the stars, use advanced remedies from nature, and who knows what other ancient techniques that are now forever lost.
Scattered inside the sanctuary were numerous items made of wood, antler and stone
Furthermore, is it possible that the ancient-shaman myths were something more than fiction? Did we once have the ability to commune with nature, animals and spirits alike?
Was there an ancient culture of mystic practitioners who was brutally wiped-out in the process of imposing certain religious and political aspects?
Whatever the case, certain questions remain to be answered, and hopefully time will settle the matters straight.
Well, at least for those who understand that alternative and forbidden history is the key to obtaining true knowledge.
There is no need for an official explanation when we can draw our own conclusion from the abundance of archeological finds that keep contradicting with what elites have imposed as facts so far.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
5 April 2016
After nearly a century of speculation and theories, an international team of geneticists has obtained conclusive evidence proving that the Incas and Iroquois are closely related to people of Altai, a Siberian region that borders China and Mongolia.
The study proves how ancient Aztec’s, Incas, possibly Pre-Inca cultures, Iroquois and other natives of the Americas are closely related to people near the villages of Altai in Russia.
According to a study performed by a group of international geneticists, ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs, the Incas, Iroquois and other American cultures are closely related to villages of Altai, a Russian region located between Siberia, China, and Mongolia. However, the idea that these people are related isn’t a new theory and has already been considered as a possibility by numerous researchers dating back a century at least.
The idea that people from Siberia and surrounding area migrated through northeastern Russia and Alaska, to America, is something that has been suspected for a century by numerous researchers. However, until today, no one had managed to prove it. Now, thanks to Russian geneticist Oleg Balanovski, this migratory theory has been scientifically corroborated.
Dr. Balanovsky’s research also proved that some Native Americans have kinship with the indigenous populations of Australia.
“The current study confirms the theory that the Altai peoples are closely related to Native Americans,” said geneticist Valery Ilyinsky at the RAS Institute of General Genetics. ”We now have clear proof, and it is useless to contest it.”
Through the comparative study of Native Americans and their Siberian ancestors, contrasted with the rest of the world, researchers were able to establish that the ancestors of Aboriginal peoples, like the Aztec and Inca, arrived at the ‘New World’ possibly over 30 thousand years ago, from Siberia.
However, the results of the study led to another great discovery:
“Besides Siberian ancestors, some Native Americans showed a puzzling relation to the indigenous peoples of Australia and Melanesia in the Pacific Ocean,” remarked Dr. Balanovsky. “This is astounding because they are located in an almost opposite part on the planet.”
It is somewhat surprising, as these regions are almost diametrically opposed, “says Balanovski.
A HUGE landbridge connecting continents
According to rbth.com, Scientists already know how humans traveled to the Americas from Altai. “Instead of the Bering Strait there was a land bridge [30,000 years ago], because during the Ice Age much water was locked in glaciers and the level of the world’s oceans was lower,” Dr. Balanovsky explained.
He added that it’s still not clear whether migration from Australia and Melanesia to the Americas was direct across the ocean, or by going up along the coast and via the Aleutian Islands. Archaeologists continue to study this issue.
Featured image credit: Alamy/Legion Media
Friday, April 1, 2016
We lost a musical genius at the beginning of 2016.
Read related article: ‘The Best There Is’: World Mourns Artistic Maverick David Bowie (Plus Video Tribute)
Loving the Alien
My earliest memory of the legendary David Robert Jones was when my mother bought a record of his and I saw the cover (I think it was ‘Space Oddity’). I was 9 years old and fell madly in love with this androgynous, mysterious, beautiful, outrageous looking creature.
He was the poetic and rebellious inspiration I needed in my teens and I never outgrew his innovative and ground-breaking style of music. He inspired me to write poetry, to be a musician and to be insanely weird…and proud of it.
I have been practicing madly this week for a David Bowie tribute concert that I have agreed to do (I play the bass guitar) next Saturday in Cape Town. Within a couple of weeks of the show being announced it was sold out — a real testament to the popularity of this British musical icon even in the Southern most tip of Africa!
I had the privilege of seeing him live in action at Wembley Stadium, London, when he was on his ‘Reality’ tour. He was well into his 60’s at the time but his performance was monumental — an evening I shall never forget.
Rehearsing for this gig has given me a new-found respect for Mr. Bowie as his songs are some of the most complicated and difficult I’ve ever attempted. But what speaks to the soul must be pursued.
So, having Bowie on my mind — I’d like to share some of my favorite zany quotes from the Thin White Duke:
1) “I’m in awe of the universe, but I don’t necessarily believe there’s an intelligence or agent behind it. I do have a passion for the visual in religious rituals, though, even though they may be completely empty and bereft of substance. The incense is powerful and provocative, whether Buddhist or Catholic.”
2) “I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, ‘F*ck that. I want to be a superhuman.”
3) “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
4) “On the other hand, what I like my music to do to me is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts.”
5) “Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.”
6) “Speak in extremes, it’ll save you time. ”
7) “I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.”
8) “I’m a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I’ve got a library that I keep the ones I really really like. I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself–I count up the books and think, how long I might have to live and think, ‘F#ck, I can’t read two-thirds of these books.’ It overwhelms me with sadness.”
9) When asked what the quality you most like in a man? “The ability to return books.”
10) “You can neither win nor lose if you don’t run the race.”
Okay, no. 8 and 9 aren’t exactly THAT spiritual but I like them anyway. Anyone with a fetish for reading and books would understand the hair-pulling anxiety of lending books (and never seeing them again!).
I love no. 7 because we should all strive to please ourselves and stop trying to placate those around us forsaking our own needs and creativity. That should not be taken as a selfish thing but a self love thing (read more HERE). When you’re happy, you’re going to exude joy and that will affect all of those in your sphere.
Thank you, David Bowie, for all the inspiration and boundary pushing!
Related article: Can Music Jump-Start Humanity’s Awakening?
Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.
Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.
To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.
Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can also follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment).
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Memory is the most important part of a person’s identity, so it’s baffling that today there is still so little we understand about how human memory works. In PBS’ “Memory Hackers,” scientists from around the world let us in on their research into how to manipulate our memories in order to forget or even create new ones. The hour-long documentary interviews cognitive scientists and neurobiologists as well as their subjects to gain more insight into how these fascinating processes work and what the amazing results are.
The documentary’s producers explain the premise and motivation behind making this film by saying that,
For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays it intact, but now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories.
If you’re thinking about how these studies might relate to the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you’re not far off. Among the subjects the film studies, the research of Karim Nader is explored. Nader discovered that the human memory may not be permanent but may, instead, be vulnerable to alteration each time a memory is recalled. This discovery led to hundreds of other studies around the world that were rooted in this theory, and is rumored to be an inspiration for the well-known independent movie.
One of the patients in the film is Jake Hausler, a 12-year-old boy with a fascinating and rare ability to remember everything he has ever experienced since he was 8. Jake is the youngest person to ever be diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, a mental ability that allows him to recall everything he’s ever done but makes it difficult to distinguish between important and trivial memories and events. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine are mapping Jake’s brain to understand what makes his memory so strong and to see if this leads to new insights about how memory works.
Professor Julia Shaw, who is a researcher that the film follows as well, is an expert on false memory and the implantation of memories. Her research, which has a 70% success rate for convincing people that they committed a crime that they actually were not involved in, reveals the flaws in the criminal justice system and prisoners who were convicted purely based on eyewitness testimonythat was likely faulty.
While Shaw is researching the implantation of memories, another scientist, André Fenton, is studying the science of forgetting memories. He believes that, “Forgetting is probably one of the most important things that brains will do,” and that it’s possible that an injection could erase a painful memory. His hopes are that his research will one day help those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s by having a better understanding of how our brain works to remove memories.
Merel Kindt has also discovered that medication can help to remove negative associations of some memories. In her research, she was able to cure patients who suffered from severe cases of arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders. This could lead to breakthroughs in reducing anxieties and fears in those who find daily functions intimidating, as well as help with a range of other anxiety-related issues like eating disorders.
Though this research may be fascinating and innovative, it raises the question of whether or not humans are ready for these kinds of breakthroughs. Just as the abuse of implanting memories can be dangerous for important aspects of society like being an eyewitness to a crime, forgetting memories could be hazardous for people’s personal lives and individual development. When the research turns into concrete medication or treatments available to the public, we will have to ask ourselves if we are prepared for such unknown consequences.
Watch the trailer for “Memory Hackers” below and tell us what you think in the comments!
Friday, February 12, 2016
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Ahead of a February 12 visit by Pope Francis to Mexico, around 30 indigenous communities in Michoacan, Mexico, have released a statement demanding that he apologize for killings of some 24 million aboriginal inhabitants, committed with the complicity of the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Americas.
The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan, Mexico, accused the Catholic Church of being involved in mass genocide, which started with the Spaniards' arrival to the Central American region in the 16th century.
The statement noted that, by the beginning of the 17th century, there were less than 700,000 native inhabitants left alive, from an original population of about 25.2 million, which makes the Spanish intervention and invasion of the Americas one of the largest acts of genocide in history.
"For over 500 years, the original people of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted," the statement reads. "Within this framework, the Catholic Church has historically been complicit and allies of those who invaded our land."
The communities also emphasized that colonizers' abuses included the forcing of European culture, language and Catholicism on the native peoples of Central America, and using the Bible as an "ideological weapon."
"The arrival of the Europeans meant the interruption and destruction of various original civilizations, which had their unique ideas and concepts of the world, our own government, writings, languages, education, religion and philosophy," they said.
Various Purepechas communities from Michoacan demanded that the Pope officially apologize for the church's role in the genocide of some 95 percent of the indigenous population of Central America within about a century following the beginning of the "European invasion."
During his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis will issue a decree authorizing the use of indigenous languages in mass celebrations. The controversial move is aimed at protecting the rights of native people in the country.
In 2015, the Pope apologized for "grave sins" committed against the native people of the Americas during an encounter in Bolivia with indigenous groups and in the presence of Bolivia's first-ever indigenous president, Evo Morales.
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