August 1, 1548

I, the lonesome watchman, know of the shadows. Out there, in the dark, their secrets are at work. Ever patient in comportment and steady in resolve, for them it is no hardship to wait in silence.

Waiting for me to hear the voice of a damp wind…

Waiting for me to feel the cold rain descend from above…

Waiting for the heavens to open up with thunder and lightning, that I may be blinded by my senses and defeated by my own habits.

The torchlight flickers. A storm approaches. I fear what shadows this night may conceal.

August 2, 1548

A great fire has consumed our gun-powder stores and decimated our supply of food. Despite the heavy rain, the fire managed to spread about our fortification as well. As the eager took to tending the flames, the rest of us gathered up our courage and held tight to our weapons.

Strange…a raid did not follow the fire.

We suspect a shadow, but not a man can speak of seeing it. There are rumors that these shadows are imbued with the powers of demons. Is this true? I do not know what to think of this.

A messenger has been dispatched to request supplies and report on our situation. We must hold this post for our lord.

August 3, 1548

Did not sleep well. The night watch was doubled and these men have been up all night positing the possibility of a raid. We have begun to cut rations and estimate that the rice that is left will last us a week if we are prudent.

I pray for the protection of our messenger.

We will hold this post for our lord.

August 4, 1548

Awoke in the middle of the night to the shouts of the watch. Booming noises have been issuing from the outlying forest to the North. Some men have investigated the area to find no trace of a human culprit.

We wait for our messenger.

August 5, 1548

Another conflagration has visited us, but this time it consumed a portion of the outlying forest to the North. Thankfully our fortification was not touched by the flames. A few men will be dispatched to investigate once the heat subsides.

A most eldritch milieu overtook the day when one came upon feathers, crow-like and strewn about the epicenter of the charred earth. “Karasatengu” This is the word making its rounds among the men. It has been said in the distant past that these creatures have been known to start forest fires and eat the flesh of men.

Demon or not, we will hold this post for our lord.

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Life isn’t what it was supposed to be.

It is not at all as you have imagined. Career goals have fallen short, that business idea was more quixotic than expected, and now you earn your wages working various menial jobs, just to get by. Though you know your ideal contributions to society are predicated on an artificial prerogative, the allure of “success” has nevertheless managed to poison you.

Your emotional world is in turmoil too. The inner weather erodes what little empathy you had beneath the pressure of a scourge of self-hatred that began to percolate long ago. All portents now imply that the coming storm will spare no vestige of enthusiasm for existence.

‘Suicide?’ Sure, who hasn’t thought of it before? A sardonic relativism comforts you and encourages the knife.

You affirm that no reasonable justification for self-immolation is ever necessary. You know this state of mind better than psychologists. Still, the naive make all attempts to coddle you, as if that’s what you wanted. “But god loves you!”, they say. You don’t know god. “Your life has value!” Your values are not mine. “Don’t be selfish!” You haven’t defined  ‘self’.

One psychologist asks, “What do you want?” Your reply: To be alone. “No one wants to live alone.” Oh yeah? What would you know about that?

The thread is thin, the knife is sharp, the go-between is unstable.

You have never experienced life through the eyes of another. You have always been enshrouded by your own sentience and subjectivity. The strange thing is, despite this fixed condition of consciousness, people still manage to relate with one another. Unfortunately, the accuracy of relation and precision of communicating thoughts and feelings is delimited by the experiences of the recipient. In other words, if you haven’t felt pain, how can anyone sufficiently explain it to you? If you have never experienced suicidal tendencies, then you cannot understand the suicidal.

Describe the color blue. Describe a sunrise. Describe the heat of the flames that lick your feet.

Chaotic soliloquies of the dark reapers harvest continue to abound. ‘F**k this life!’  You hit yourself with steel, the pain fills the void. ‘Why am I this way!’ You curse god, god peddles silence. It is an intrigue indeed, that a being can so despise its own nature.

“How did I get here?”, you wonder. Childhood memories of riding bikes and climbing trees echo in your head. Friends and family are as ghosts with no haunt but the space within. “God, we are so disconnected now…”, you lament as that damned smart-phone next to you purveys a miserable irony. It was taken up to be connected, to ‘stay in touch’, but now, seldom a single phone call issues through its warm electric shell. Tears well up. A relentless emptiness subdues them before they can streamline down a stone face.

You remember the time you first witnessed death. Your great grandfather, the one that doled out hugs to the kids and went out of his way to provoke a smile; the one who survived two wars, met his end despite all his strength. He gasped for his last breath…and the cold took him away.

You recall the anguish felt when you realized your grandmother would die. Your mother would die. Your father, siblings, friends…all of them will fade into nothingness. This thought was seminal to your development.

The void within is a reflection of the emptiness the world purveys. That death is inevitable is cause enough for suffering, but to see the world enveloped in violence, hatred, and absurd hedonism compounds the injury to the point that you become numb. You feel nothing because the world doesn’t seem to feel. You begin to hate because the world goes on hating. Is this a projection? Perhaps.

The storm will pass, the shadows cast by the clouds will recede, and you will visit the depths again in time…

In the U.S., the criminal activity of child trafficking is an ongoing law enforcement vexation. Some child predators have been so bold as to commit kidnappings in broad daylight, even in front of their parents. One child safety advocate has repeatedly exhibited just how easy it is to kidnap a child (and it is even easier to do when the parents have their vision transfixed on their smart-phones):

Naturally, concerned parents have taken up defense against such predators by keeping close watch over their children and organizing neighborhood communities that are vigilant of suspicious activity. These are good measures to take in response to child trafficking. But what might yield additional security benefit for families is to mitigate informational indicators that cue predators in on potential targets.

What is an indicator? Any bit of information which when collected allows for inference on the nature or disposition of a given target. For example, one indicator a child predator might look for, to identify homes housing children, would be the presence of toys in the yard. By learning to mitigate these indicators, you increase your security.

https://youtu.be/ajwJSsRmDhA

Notice that this concept of indicators need not only apply to deterring child predators. By coming to view the world through a lens that colors everything as information which may be collected, manipulated, and exploited, one can begin to identify what potential inferences any type of threat may make about you.

Ask yourself, if someone were to ‘case’ your home, what informational indicators might you have left around the exterior that could work against your security (be the threat a burglar, armed invader, or nosy neighbor)? You may suffice an answer by taking a step outside and viewing your home while imitating malicious and/or investigative thought processes. Ask questions such as:

What do your lawn decorations say about you? Do you have flags? If so, of what? What do they imply to others? My wife and I often play a game of estimating the political bent of a given home’s occupants just by these sorts of things as we casually stroll in different neighborhoods. Putting the occupants of a home on the left-right spectrum is as easy as viewing a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag or colorful “Obama” bumper-sticker. Understand the advantage and disadvantage of flaunting such things. Once you do, the greatest deceptions/ false facades can be devised to your benefit (i.e. Don’t own a gun but want extra security? Post up a bluff, “Beware Trespassers Will Be Shot”. But hope hardened felons looking for guns don’t come your way).

Is your home well-maintained? Might one infer your socio-economic status by the site of it? Cracked side-walks, litter in the yard, peeling paint, and a rusty automobile give you a pretty good idea of the social status an occupant holds. From a criminal perspective, high-dollar cars in a lot adjacent to a beautiful three-story mansion is an obvious indicator of wealth and hence a burglar’s potential target.

If someone wanted to break-in, what are the obvious entry points? I have taken time walking the exterior of my home to identify the easiest ways in.

Do you want your home to stand out or blend in with the motifs of other homes? If so, it is important to start paying attention to the informational indicators of all neighboring homes to gain a base template.

Overall, it is important to recognize how we present ourselves to the world. Only by learning to view yourself through the eyes of others can you learn to truly deceive for your sake or that of your loved ones.

Truth is hidden by deception, and an apparent truth might conceal deceit.

This principle is extraordinarily useful…

 

 

Each day of the week receives its title from astrological tradition:

Monday: Day of the Moon. From the Old English  mondæg”.

Tuesday: Day of Mars. From the Latin dies martis”

Wednesday: Day of Mercury. From the Latin “dies mercurii”.

Thursday: Day of Jupiter. From the Latin “dies jovis”.

Friday: Day of Venus. From the Latin “dies veneris”.

Saturday: Day of Saturn. From the Latin “dies saturni”.

Sunday:  Day of the Sun. From the Latin “dies solis”.

Attending institutions of higher education is often considered a mandatory requisite to the unfolding of one’s “success” in life. Go to college and get a degree, and you will land a job that will provide financial security in a field that you enjoy. This is the conditioned truth.

While it is blatantly evident that college graduates do gain an edge in the job market over the less “educated”, what is not readily deducible is whether the aforementioned conditioned notion of financial success contains an epistemology of what education is all about.

Can earning a piece of paper from a 2 or 4 year institution stand as evidence that an individual is more “educated” than a commoner that studies independently at a public library? What is it exactly that is gained by attending and laboring through collegiate level coursework? Whatever it is, can it be attained without going to college? If it can be attained without attending college, why do colleges exist? As a person who has attended three higher education institutions (a community college and two universities), I have the experience that may help answer these questions. Before I share my experience though, there is one question that bears fundamental significance to the whole idea of college: What is education?

Training Men as Animals

The word ‘education’ has some interesting etymological roots. The term originates from the latin educare which means to ‘draw out’, which is why some contend that education originally meant the development of one’s mind. The transitive verb educare, informs the noun education, which first appeared in the 1530’s as a term signifying ‘training’, and ‘rearing’ (as with raising a child). An earlier beginning of the word, arriving from the French tongue around the 14th century, has an association with the ‘training of animals’. It can be attested then, that the term originally meant “training” of some sort.

This definition comports well with the contemporary usage of the word. When we go to college, an educational institution, we are trained.

The verb train etymologically means “to discipline, teach, bring to a desired state by means of instruction,” or to “draw out and manipulate in order to bring to a desired form”. Therefore a deeper understanding of the term education must include the purpose or intent of one’s training.

The Educative Method of College

By what method does educative training take place in college? Pulling from my own college experience, education proceeds in the following manner:

The student purchases books, is assigned chapters to read of said books, is given a lecture by a professor of the subject, may or may not perform physical tasks or complete preliminary paper assignments associated with the course material, and is then required to take a standardized (multiple choice or essay format) test that supposedly assesses the student’s grasp of the material.

There are a number of problems with this method of teaching.

First of all, the student must assume the course textbooks are accurate and unbiased. Second, the student assumes the professor is either aware of dissonant truths that impact the veracity of the course material, or will divulge the nature of errors to the student as they are identified. Thirdly, the student is compelled to assimilate the specified course material in order to pass the standardized tests, despite any fallacious, distorted, or outright biased content the course material may cover. These problems will be addressed in their respective order.

1.Supposing that a full-time student has the time to dissect and a verify each source cited in support of the conclusions of say, a textbook on Minorities and Criminal Justice, it is unlikely that any spurious reasoning the student identifies in the text will contribute to changing the standardized test items. The simple truth is, students who concern themselves with getting a good grade do not have the time to assess the truth of what they are compelled to read. In other words, the veracity of the course material is taken on faith (is college a faith-based institution?).

This is not meant to suggest that all coursework is spurious. I merely suggest that the possibility exists that students may be mislead by what they are taught. Discovery of fallacy depends on the thinking of the student, but again, the regimented training of the student does not permit much time for this.

2. I have personally experienced how cognitive bias of the professor can contradict what is taught in the book curriculum.

Once, a few years ago, I attended a prestigious medical university to get a Baccalaureate degree in Nursing. One of the classes required for this degree was termed ‘Evidence Based Practice’. Because the care process is more and more predicated on existing scientific research, this class was purposed to train the student on how to distinguish between highly reliable (meta-analysis) medical studies and those that were hardly reliable at all (i.e. survey studies).

Over and over the professor repeated how meta-analysis was the gold standard of medical research, and that nurses should use this study type in construction of care plans for their patients. One day i came across a meta-analysis respecting research into whether fluoride compounds affected brain development of children.  This study was not only a meta-analysis and systematic review of some 27 epidemiological studies which queried the relation between fluoride exposure and the developing brain, but was performed by members of the Department of Health in conjunction with Harvard University. The clear conclusion of the study read, “our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment.”  I held on to the study until the next class period, when I would observe the professor’s arrogance.

I do not remember the exact details of how I presented the study to my professor other than I was responding to a question she asked about levels of reliability relating to medical literature. I asked her if the study I had come across vindicated a choice to disavow fluoride treatments until further research was conducted. “You mean fluoride drops given to kids?” She scoffed at me, despite the fact it was she who had taught us to respect meta-analysis as the highest standard of research. Here she was catering to an exalted paradigm of “truth” that down-played anything that rendered her authority and the paradigm itself suspicious.

3. If I wanted to get a good grade (and I got quite a few with a 3.7 GPA over some 90 credits), I knew I had to tell the professor what he/she wanted to hear by memorizing the truths they advised. I remember all the huddles of students hunched over index cards, their lips moving in silent iteration of each recorded point. This sort of behavior is hardly conducive to freeing the human mind, but rather could be construed as a form propagandizing the self.

Don’t get me wrong, this educative method does evince truths and produce ‘professionals’, but you would be wrong in thinking that college graduates are free-thinking. Quite the opposite, they are conditioned to not think outside the parameters of their specified role in society.

A Free Mind or a Trained Mind?

Just by argument of the term’s etymology, it can be asserted that education historically meant to train one’s mind for a specific purpose.

Can it be assumed that ‘educators’ wish to train minds to think freely? Possibly, depending on who teaches. But using a run-of-the-mill college as an experimental model, it may be observed that its curriculum seems to de-emphasize counter-cultural/revolutionary/innovative (however defined) motifs in favor of training an individual to serve the purposes specified by the society, for if this were not so, we could expect to observe students taking courses on deviant things such as radicalism, anarchism, Felon Techniques 101, and other anti-national subjects.

A college curriculum keeps pace with the needs of society. Rather than requiring students to learn astrology or basket-weaving as core components to the general coursework, any respectable college expects the student to learn and display proficiency in rudimentary subjects that have contributed to the development of the existing scientific paradigm (i.e. mathematics, reading, etc.). The student, then, is not being trained to think freely but to think in accord with the paradigm that serves the society. The student is inculcated with truths that enable him/her to become a “part” of the national machine; a manufactured functionary of the modern world.

A free mind contrasts with the trained mind in that it is characterized by an unmitigated pursuit of any intellective that volition warrants. A free mind does not necessarily support the existing social structure or economic prerogative. It nurtures the capacity to question it. A free mind is not ‘fitted’ to a functionary role in the “productive” machine. It willfully examines the parts and studies the logic of its mechanics.

I knew i could not do this within the invisible confines of collegiate study.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

Transcript: As promised in my last video, this present piece will revolve around the 13th chapter of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and its relation to ninjutsu. To begin, I first want to advise anyone out there who has been actively training in so called “ninjutsu” dojos and/or those who have a genuine interest in the deeper secrets of the art you must know that the study of Sun Tzu’s 13th chapter, if not the whole of the text, is indispensable to your understanding of what a shinobi agent was all about. But don’t take my word for it, consult the historical figure of Chikamatsu Shigenori who studied ninjutsu (then called shinobi-no-jutsu) with masters of both Iga and Koka lineages during the 18th century. What does Shigenori say of the centrality Sun tzu’s 13th chapter holds in relation to ninjutsu? He says in the preface to the Yokan Denkai that Master Kimura of Iga with whom he studied, considered the 13th chapter to be source material for the highly recondite aspects of ninjutsu. Master Yorihide of Iga with whom Shigenori had also trained likewise regarded this chapter of Sun Tu’s text to be of greatest import to the art of the shinobi. In fact, these masters assert more or less that skills such as the creation of Yo-nin disguises, deception, secret means of scaling walls, and navigating rivers are actually very shallow derivatives of ninjutsu and even go so far as to claim the only text one must thoroughly understand to retain the fundamentals of deep ninjutsu is the Art of War. So, when we have two lineal masters of ninjutsu coming forward to regard Sun Tzu’s text with such high acclaim, going so far as to say its contents are the predication of deep ninjutsu, we must ask ourselves, what does this chapter contain? The title of the chapter is “the use of spies”. The title alone presages much about the profession of a ninja. At this time I am not going to be covering the full content of the 13th chapter as this video is intended as an introductory “lesson” for those interested in the deeper secrets of ninjutsu but do not know how to go about instructing yourselves. I advise that you get a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and begin studying it.

What is martial “science” and how does it differ from martial “arts”?

Creation and intuition is to Art what knowledge is to Science.

Creation gives expression to our inner knowing, and thereafter, science allows us to test this knowing with reality. You can’t have martial “science” without art first.

We are here to create first….then know.

Advice: Dont evaluate your worth by comparing yourself to others.

One reason why so many people become depressed and fall into the practice of self-sadism is because they have not cultivated a sense of self-worth. They cut themselves up inside for not being as rich, smart, fast, or strong as another. This is akin to burning your own house down because it doesnt look as good or have as many rooms as the one across the street. You end up with no house and lament in the cold..jealous of the one still standing.

Instead of cutting yourself up, cherish your ability to transform yourself and your inner world. To use the dwelling metaphor again: You can paint your house and build on to it to suit your own needs. The only person that has to live inside is you. If you push yourself out of your own being in a paroxysm of self-dejection, where will you live?

It is important that people learn to love themselves. Your internal environment matters more than the superficialities we present as a measure of success in society. You live in your own mind and will die in it. Why not renovate?