“at least one of them embarrassingly public, Putin has acted like a person afflicted with kleptomania. In June 2005, while hosting a group of American businessmen in St. Petersburg, Putin pocketed the 124-diamond Super Bowl ring of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He had asked to see it, tried it on, allegedly said, “I could kill someone with this,” then stuck it in his pocket and left the room abruptly. After a flurry of articles in the U.S. press, Kraft announced a few days later that the ring had been a gift -preventing an uncomfortable situation from spiraling out of control.
In September 2005, Putin was a special guest at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. At one point his hosts brought out a conversation piece that another Russian guest must have given the museum: a glass replica of a Kalashnikov automatic weapon filled with vodka. This gaudy souvenir costs about $300 in Moscow. Putin nodded to one of his bodyguards, who took the glass Kalashnikov and carried it out of the room, leaving the hosts speechless.
Putin’s extraordinary relationship to material wealth was evident when he was a college student, if not earlier. When he accepted the car his parents won in a lottery, though the prize could have been used to greatly improve the family’s living conditions, or when he spent almost all the money he made over the summer to buy himself an outrageously expensive coat-and bought a cake for his mother-he was acting in ways highly unusual and borderline unacceptable for a young man of his generation and social group. Ostentatious displays of wealth could easily have derailed his plans for a KGB career, and he knew this. The story told by the former West German radical-of Putin demanding gifts while in Dresden-completes the picture. For a man who had staked most of his social capital on conforming to the norm, this was particularly remarkable behavior: it seems he really could not help himself.
The correct term is probably not the popularly known kleptomania, which refers to a pathological desire to possess things for which one has little use, but the more exotic pleonexia, the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others. If Putin suffers this irrepressible urge, this helps explain his apparent split personality: he compensates for his compulsion by creating the identity of an honest and incorruptible civil servant.” -Masha Gessen, The man without a face; The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin
“Which was the right one? I tried to figure it out but had no success. It worried me. The different Gods – Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Mohammedan – seemed all very particular in the way in which they expected me to keep on good terms with them. I couldn’t please one without offending the others. One kind soul solved my problem by taking me on my first trip to the planetarium. I contemplated the insignificant flyspeck called Earth, the millions of suns and solar systems, and concluded that whoever was in charge of all this would not throw a fit if I ate ham, or meat on Friday, or did not fast in the daytime during Ramadan. I felt much better after this and was, for a while, keenly interested in astronomy.” ― Richard Erdoes, Lame Deer – Seeker of Visions
“It seems life is constructed in a way that no one can fulfill it alone. Just as it’s not enough for flowers to have pistils and stamens. An insect or a breeze must introduce a pistil to a stamen. Life contains its own absence, which only an other can fulfill. It seems the world is the summation of others. And yet, we neither know nor are told that we will fulfill each other. We lead our scattered lives, perfectly unaware of each other… Or at times, allowed to find the other’s presence disagreeable. Why is it, that the world is constructed so loosely?”
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Writers: Yoshiie Goda (manga), Hirokazu Koreeda (screenplay)
Stars: Doona Bae, Arata Iura, Itsuji Itao Read more
Je kunt veel van IS zeggen, maar duidelijk zijn ze wel. Hun voorman Aboe Mohammed al-Adnani had twee weken geleden heel duidelijk gewaarschuwd dat de heilige maand ramadan ‘een ramp’ zou worden voor ongelovigen, sjiieten en afvalligen. Een week later waren er de aanslagen in Tunesië, Frankrijk en Koeweit. Het is duidelijk dat IS echt oorlog wil op álle fronten, uiteraard in de verwachting dat dan ook van álle kanten de strijders zullen toestromen, en dat men daarbij geen boodschap heeft aan de traditionele betekenis van de ramadan als maand van vasten en bezinning. Niet van moord en doodslag. Maar IS weet dat zij in deze de Profeet aan zijn zijde heeft. En dat moslims dat ook weten.
In het oude Arabië waren de heilige maanden, behorende bij een bepaalde god (en zijn heiligdom) bedoeld om pelgrims de gelegenheid te geven om deze god te kunnen bezoeken, zonder dat men gelijk allerlei beveiliging moest regelen. Alle (stammen)strijd kwam dan (met een beetje geluk, en onder de dreiging van goddelijke wraak) tijdelijk tot stilstand. Maar nadat Mohammed en zijn strijders uit Mekka vertrokken waren, hielden die zich daar niet aan, zo blijkt uit het volgende vers:
Zij zullen u ondervragen over de gewijde maand, het strijden daarin. Zeg: Strijden, daarin is iets ernstigs maar afwenden van de weg Gods en ongeloof aan Hem en [afwenden] van het Gewijde Bedehuis en het uitdrijven daaruit van de lieden die erbij horen is ernstiger bij God. (soera 2:217)
Met andere woorden: God beschouwde hun verdrijving uit Mekka als zo’n vreselijk onrecht dat zij het recht hadden om de heilige maand te negeren. En het zijn juist dit soort goddelijke opdrachten waar IS graag gebruik van maakt. Ook voor andere misdaden als het onthoofden van ongelovigen (en dus ook sjiieten, en al helemaal afvalligen) citeren zij de ‘juiste’ verzen, en wijzen ze op de bijbehorende verhalen over het meedogenloze optreden van Mohammed. Wat hen betreft is de ware islam niets anders dan het imiteren van de Profeet en zijn gezellen. Zolang zij dat doen, zal God hen zegenen en zullen ze in staat zijn iedereen te verslaan.
De traditie afpellen Was Mohammed een wrede heerser, een ‘verschrikkelijke man’ zoals ex-moslim Ehsan Jami ooit zei (en waarvoor hij klappen kreeg)? Naar de huidige maatstaven: ongetwijfeld. De traditie laat daar geen twijfel over bestaan dat hij tegenstanders uit de weg liet ruimen, en het is ook nauwelijks voorstelbaar dat hij zich als leider van een Arabische stammencoalitie staande had kunnen houden als hij niet (op z’n tijd) meedogenloos was geweest. De vraag is welke les we hieruit moeten trekken. Voor velen ligt die les voor de hand: het waren andere tijden. Maar voor veel moslims is dat toch een stuk lastiger. Want als het gaat om de vraag wat het is om een ‘goede moslim’ te zijn, wat juist en onjuist is, spelen verhalen over de Profeet vaak een grote rol. Mohammed was eigenlijk gewoon een ‘doorgeefluik’, een sterfelijke mens die Gods openbaring ontving. Maar in de beleving van zeer veel moslims was Mohammed degene die de islam op perfecte wijze voorleefde. En de verhalen over wat hij deed of zei, spelen hierbij een grote rol. Dus wanneer Aboe Bakr al-Bagdadi, de leider van IS, zegt dat zijn bloedige kalifaat gebaseerd is op de leefwijze van de Profeet en zijn gezellen, is dat voor veel moslims helemaal geen absurde (voor velen zelfs een aantrekkelijke) denkwijze.
Wat kunnen moslims daartegenin brengen? Er bestaat het officiële theologische antwoord, waarbij dergelijke agressieve verzen worden gerespecteerd maar met zó veel voorwaarden en uitzonderingen worden omgeven, dat er van een flukse toepassing in de praktijk (zoals IS die voorstaat) geen sprake kan zijn. Maar dat soort redeneringen zijn voor de fijnproevers. Gewone moslims stellen tegenover het beeld van de wrede heerser simpelweg een ander beeld, dat van Mohammed de man van de vrede. Iemand die vredelievend, tolerant, et cetera was. Ook daarover bestaan voldoende verhalen. Maar daarmee is de eerste, de wrede Mohammed, niet van tafel. Er wordt gewoon een andere naast gezet. De strijd om de geest van de islam, om de vraag wat nu de kern van de islam is (een geloof van oorlog of van vrede), draait zo uiteindelijk om de vraag wie de Profeet nu ‘eigenlijk’ was. De talloze verhalen gaan alle kanten op; die bieden geen antwoord. Wat nodig is, is een kritischer houding tegenover álle verhalen over de Moh. Een kritische benadering van de traditie. Zodat er een andere visie op de Profeet ontstaat; een visie die de mogelijkheid biedt om afstand te nemen van die verhalen én van de manier waarop Aboe Bakr al-Baghdadi ze gebruikt.
Mijn boek ‘Mohammed en het ontstaan van de islam’ is bedoeld om een dergelijke visie aan te reiken. Of in ieder geval een eerste stap in die richting te zetten.
Ongezond islamdebat Maar mijn boek is vooral bedoeld voor niet-moslims. Zij weten immers niets van Mohammed. En dat terwijl zijn leven een zeer fascinerend verhaal is. Mohammed was geen geweldloze bleekneus zoals Jezus, maar profeet én meedogenloos leider in één. Iemand die boven kwam drijven in een zeer gewelddadige tijd. Ongelovigen kunnen nu op een ‘ongelovige’ manier kennismaken met de stichter van de islam. Ik ben geen moslim; ik ben überhaupt niet gelovig. ‘Mijn’ Mohammed is dus niet onfeilbaar en leefde de islam niet voor. Mohammed was een gewone sterveling, die er heilig van overtuigd was dat het Einde der Tijden nabij was, en dat hij openbaringen van God ontving, bedoeld om de Arabieren (op het nippertje) te redden van de Hel. Of zijn openbaringen/ingevingen ‘echt’ van God kwamen, daar doe ik geen uitspraak over. Dat is een zaak van geloof. Dat is de keuze die de gelovige maakt. Daar kan een agnost natuurlijk niet in meegaan, maar hij moet zeker niet zo dom zijn daar minachtend over te doen.
Maar waaróm moet niet-moslims iets over hem weten? Heel eenvoudig: om erger te voorkomen. Het ‘islamdebat’ is de afgelopen jaren alleen maar harder en agressiever geworden. Toenemende terreur en de wassende stroom vluchtelingen hebben van ‘de islam’ een nog grotere boeman gemaakt dan voorheen. Menige ongelovige Nederlander wil er niks van weten en lijkt te denken dat als ‘wij Nederlanders’ maar hard en agressief genoeg zijn, ‘die moslims’ vanzelf hun biezen zullen pakken. Een gevaarlijk misverstand. Moslims are here to stay, en die agressieve toon zal gemakkelijk kunnen ontaarden in massaal geweld. Er is geen enkele reden om te geloven dat de geschiedenis zich in dat opzicht niet (voor de zoveelste keer) kan herhalen. Om dat te voorkomen, zal er enige overeenstemming moeten komen over de vrijheid die moslims hebben binnen de dominante Nederlandse cultuur. Wat is onaanvaardbaar, en wat moet de rest van Nederland voortaan tolereren? Dat soort vragen worden nu al regelmatig gesteld. Denk aan de discussie enige jaren geleden over rituele slacht. Denk aan de verontwaardiging over de manier waarop binnen de moslimgemeenschap omgegaan wordt met (en gesproken wordt over) homo’s en de rechten van vrouwen. Dergelijke discussies zijn géén zaak van moslims alleen. De seculiere westerse samenleving heeft haar eigen opvattingen over wat mag en niet mag, en dwingt religieuze groepen wel vaker tot een pijnlijke aanpassing van de eigen opvattingen. Ongelovigen moeten dus deelnemen aan dat debat – maar dan wel op intelligente wijze. Niet op basis van agressieve generaliseringen over ‘de islam’. Ze moeten openingen bieden, maar ook in staat zijn om moslims die zich al te gemakkelijk beroepen op de traditie of het voorbeeld van de Profeet, van repliek dienen. Dan is het wel verstandig als je iets over Mohammed weet. Verstandig, want als die dialoog er niet komt, ligt het geweld op de loer.
Huiswerk Niet-moslims moeten dus aan de bak. De tijd van ongeïnformeerd lekker maar wat roepen over de islam is voorbij. Er moet een einde komen aan een ‘islamdebat’ dat gedomineerd wordt door platte oneliners en stoere taal over ‘de islam’ (die ‘achterlijke cultuur’). Ze zullen hun huiswerk moeten maken, zich moeten verdiepen in de islam. Er is geen alternatief. Wie denkt dat ‘wij Nederlanders’ niets hoeven te weten van de islam, en moslims wel even het land uit kunnen pesten, zaait alleen maar de haat die onvermijdelijk een keer tot uitbarsting komt. Ook daarom heb ik dit boek geschreven. Omdat ik, net als Mohammed, bang ben voor de toekomst. Read more
the Russian Supreme Soviet passed a resolution establishing a white, blue, and red flag as the new flag of Russia, replacing the Soviet-era red flag with its hammer and sickle. A group of city council members, led by Vitaly Skoybeda—the one who had slugged the hard-liner three days earlier—set off to replace the flag in Leningrad. “The flag was on a corner of Nevsky Prospekt, over the Party headquarters,” Yelena Zelinskaya, the samizdat publisher, recalled in an interview years later. “It was the most noticeable place in the city. They started taking it down, a group of people including journalists and city council members. An orchestra showed up for some reason; it was the brass band of the military school. And a television crew was there filming. They lowered the red flag carefully. As the orchestra played, they raised the tricolor. The man who took down the flag was standing right there among us, on Nevsky. So there we were, a group of people, standing in the street, with an orchestra playing, and this man with a red flag in his hands, and we were suddenly totally lost as to what to do. Here we had a flag that for eighty years had been the symbol of the state; we had all hated it but we had also all feared it. And then one of our staff members says, ‘I know what to do: we are going to give it back to them.’ The district Party headquarters was across the street. And he grabbed the flag and ran across the Nevsky, without looking left or right. Cars stop. The orchestra is playing a march, and he is running across the very wide Nevsky, and just when the orchestra is playing the last note, he tosses the flag as hard as he can against the Party headquarters doors. There is a pause. And then the door opens slowly just a crack; a hand reaches out and quickly yanks the flag inside. The door closes. This was the highlight of my entire life. I saw the Russian flag raised over Nevsky.” -Masha Gessen, The man without a face; The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin Read more
1 Carry your opponent’s proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it.
The more general your opponent’s statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow your own propositions remain, the easier they are to defend.
2 Use different meanings of your opponent’s words to refute his argument.
Example: Person A says, “You do not understand the mysteries of Kant’s philosophy.” Person B replies, “Oh, if it’s mysteries you’re talking about, I’ll have nothing to do with them.”
3 Ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing.
Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.
4 Hide your conclusion from your opponent until the end.
Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitous route you conceal your goal until you have reached all the admissions necessary to reach your goal.
5 Use your opponent’s beliefs against him.
If your opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage. Example, if the opponent is a member of an organization or a religious sect to which you do not belong, you may employ the declared opinions of this group against the opponent. Read more
“I am going to tell you a story about clowns, but it won’t be a funny story. For us Indians everything has a deeper meaning; whatever we do is somehow connected with our religion. I’m working up to this part. To us a clown is somebody sacred, funny, powerful, ridiculous, holy, shameful, visionary. He is all this and then some more. Fooling around, a clown is really performing a spiritual ceremony. He has a power. It comes from the thunder-beings, not the animals or the earth. In our Indian belief a clown has more power than the atom bomb. This power could blow off the dome of the Capitol.
I have told you that I once worked as a rodeo clown. This was almost like doing spiritual work. Being a clown, for me, came close to being a medicine man. It was in the same nature. A clown in our language is called heyoka. He is an upside-down, backward-forward, yes-and-no man, a contrary-wise. Everybody can be made into a clown, from one day to another, whether he likes it or not. It is very simple to become a heyoka. All you have to do is dream about the lightning, the thunderbirds. You do this, and when you wake up in the morning you are a heyoka. There is nothing you can do about it.
Being a clown brings you honor, but also shame. It gives you a power, but you have to pay for it. A heyoka does strange things. He says “yes” when he means “no:’ He rides his horse backward. He wears his moccasins or boots the wrong way. When he’s coming, he’s really going. When it’s real hot, during a heat wave, a heyoka will shiver with cold, put his mittens on and cover himself with blankets. He’ll build a big fire and complain that he is freezing to death. In the wintertime, during a blizzard, when the temperature drops down to 40 degrees below, the heyoka will be in a sticky sweat. It’s too hot for him. He’s putting on a bathing suit and says he’s going for a swim to cool off.
My grandma told me about one clown who used to wander around naked for hours in subzero weather, wearing only his breechcloth, complaining all the time about the heat. They called him Heyoka Osni-the cold fool. Another clown was called the straighten-outener. He was always running around with a hammer trying to flatten round and curvy things, makin~ them straight, things like soup dishes, eggs, balls, rrogs or cartwheels. My grandma had one of those round glass chimneys which fits over a kerosense lamp. Well, he straightened it out for her. It’s not easy to be a heyoka. It is even harder to have one in the family.”- John (Fire) Lame Deer – Seeker of Visions
This is the personal account of a two-year journey during which I experienced the falling away of everything I can call a self. It was a journey through an unknown passageway that led to a life so new and different that, despite forty years of varied contemplative experiences, I never suspected its existence. Because it was beyond my expectations, the experience of no-self remained incomprehensible in terms of any frame of reference known to me, and though I searched the libraries and bookstores I did not find there an explanation or an account of a similar journey which, at the time, would have been clarifying and most helpful. Owing then to the deficiency of recorded accounts, I have written these pages trusting that they may be of use to those who share the destiny of making this journey beyond the self.
Though my contemplative experiences began at an early age, it was not until I was fifteen that I discovered how these experiences fit like the inset of a child’s puzzle into the larger framework of the Christian contemplative tradition. This finding was followed by ten years of relative seclusion in order to pursue the Christian goal of union with God, and once I had the certitude of this goal’s realization, I entered the more ordinary stream of life where I remain to this day.
Within the traditional framework, the Christian notion of loss-of-self is generally regarded as a transformation of the ego or lower self into the true or higher self as it approaches union with God. In this union, however, self retains its individual uniqueness and never loses its ontological sense of personal selfhood. Thus being lost to myself meant, at the same time, being found in God as the sharer of a divine life. From here on, the deepest sense of being and life is equally the sense of God’s being and life. Thus there is no longer any sense of “my” life, but rather “our” life–God and self. In this abiding state God, the “still-point” at the center of being, is ever accessible to the contemplative gaze – a point from which the life of the self arises and into which it sometimes disappears. But this latter experience of loss-of-self is only transient, it does not constitute a permanent state, nor did it occur to me that it could ever do so in this life.
Prior to this present journey, I had given little thought to the self, its perimeters or definitions. I took for granted the self was the totality of being, body and soul, mind and feelings; a being centered in God, its power-axis and still-point. Thus, because self at its deepest center is a run-on with the divine, I never found any true self apart from God, for to find the One is to find the other.
Because this was the limit of my expectations, I was all the more surprised and bewildered when many years later I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, no higher self, true self, or anything that could be called a self. Clearly, I had fallen outside my own., as well as the traditional frame of reference, when I came upon a path that seemed to begin where the writers on the contemplative life had left off. But with the clear certitude of the self disappearance, there automatically arose the question of what had fallen away; what was the self? What, exactly, had it been? Then too, there was the all-important question: what remained in its absence? This journey was the gradual revelation of the answers to these questions, answers that had to be derived solely from personal experience since no outside explanation was forthcoming. Read more
Remember something about the nature of conditioning: Conditioning is not the enemy. Conditioning is not bad, conditioning is not to be eliminated, conditioning is everything. It is what we call life. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s just about not being identified with what is conditioning in your life, but it is not about not experiencing it or taking advantage of it.
Think about the Generator that through the 20 transit suddenly becomes a Manifestor. Now it doesn’t mean that they can act like a Manifestor, but it does mean that when somebody asks them for their response, that when they respond they can work like a Manifestor. In other words, they can really jump in at the manifesting level and they can take advantage of that.
It’s not about eliminating conditioning, it’s about eliminating the ignorance of the conditioning. You see, any center that is open in you is your opportunity for wisdom. This is your opportunity through that filtering process that once you stop identifying with what’s moving through you, you can take advantage of what’s moving through you.
I only have one motor. Now, I have the will power to teach every day and to work, but if I didn’t have access to all of your adrenaline, it wouldn’t be possible. I don’t allow your adrenaline to condition me because I can feel it moving through my body. I take advantage of it in order to be able to keep myself from getting exhausted, I exhaust you instead. But because there’s so many of you, I don’t overwhelm any individual with exhaustion. I just take from the adrenaline aura. It’s not about saying, “No, no, no, no. I don’t want to have anything to do with you conditioning my Root Center. I’m going to back up 200 yards, sit in a glass booth, and speak to you through a microphone.” Then I drop dead from exhaustion.
So it’s very important to see that because of the way we learn Human Design, and it’s the way we have to learn the Human Design, at first the conditioning is truly the enemy because this is what happens to us. We get this revelation of “Oh my God, this is what has happened to me and they did that to me or it did that to me.”
Like you, I went through the same process. I went through the process of my great distaste for being controlled through those open centers of mine. And that sense in me, given that I have three gate of aloneness, to say, “Well, the hell with all of them, I’m just going to stay out of the aura.” But of course you can’t; you can’t. Not only can you not because you cannot avoid the program, but you can’t because it’s life. It’s no fun without all that stuff no matter how you’re defined or undefined. It’s part of what we’re here for.
So don’t turn conditioning into an enemy and don’t think that because you are being conditioned in one way or another that your Type has changed, for example, that that’s something for you not to use and not to fall into. It’s not true. If you’re entering in according to your Type, you can take advantage of any transit. I mean that’s what it’s there for. I took advantage for seven years of Pluto dominating my Sacral. Now, it was exhausting as hell but, I did not resist that. What am I going to do against Pluto? I did not resist that.
Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13
“BEING CRITICAL OF BUDDHISM ISN’T EASY. Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama; what’s not to like?
Everything about Buddhism is just so—nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.
At least, it should.
Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.
THE LIGHT IS BETTER OVER HERE
Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some monkey’s brainbox, and the idea that the neophyte truthseeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat would be a bit on the naive side, (as billions of sincere but unsuccessful seekers over the last twenty-five centuries might grudgingly attest).
On the other hand, why not? How’d this get so turned around? It’s just truth. Shouldn’t truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn’t someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous and unchanging as truth be able to do so? How can anyone manage to not find truth? And here’s this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, and it’s a total flop.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. Read more
“It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Timescorrespondent in Afghanistan, wrote that she’d been told by a ‘Pakistani official’ that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that he’d spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who – reflecting a widely held local view – asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was ‘quite possible’ that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, ‘but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.’
This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false.
‘When your version comes out – if you do it – people in Pakistan will be tremendously grateful,’ Durrani told me. ‘For a long time people have stopped trusting what comes out about bin Laden from the official mouths. There will be some negative political comment and some anger, but people like to be told the truth, and what you’ve told me is essentially what I have heard from former colleagues who have been on a fact-finding mission since this episode.’ As a former ISI head, he said, he had been told shortly after the raid by ‘people in the “strategic community” who would know’ that there had been an informant who had alerted the US to bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, and that after his killing the US’s betrayed promises left Kayani and Pasha exposed.
The major US source for the account that follows is a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. He also was privy to many aspects of the Seals’ training for the raid, and to the various after-action reports. Two other US sources, who had access to corroborating information, have been longtime consultants to the Special Operations Command. I also received information from inside Pakistan about widespread dismay among the senior ISI and military leadership – echoed later by Durrani – over Obama’s decision to go public immediately with news of bin Laden’s death. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Lao Tzu was going for a morning walk. A neighbour who used to go with him, knew him – knew that he was a very silent man and did not like talking.
Once the neighbour mentioned that the morning was beautiful – it was a beautiful morning. Lao Tzu looked very puzzled. He looked at him as if he had said something mad. The man became restless.
He said, ’What is the matter? Why are you looking at me in such a way? Have I done anything wrong?’
And Lao Tzu said, ’I am also looking at the morning, so what is the point of saying that it is beautiful?
Do you think I am dead, I am dull or asleep? The morning is beautiful, but what is the point of saying it? I am also here, as much as you are.’
Since then the neighbour stopped talking. He used to follow him, walk with him, and after years of going for a morning walk with Lao Tzu he also became alert about what meditation is.
Then a visitor came to the neighbour and he also wanted to come for a walk. And the visitor said that day, ’It is a beautiful sunrise.’ That day the neighbour understood. He looked puzzled as once Lao Tzu had looked puzzled at him, and he said, ’Why should you mention it? I am also here.’
And Lao Tzu said, ’Now do you understand?’ – Osho, Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol. 1
“Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.
Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.
Unless they invest in the difficult task of creating new things, American companies will fail in the future no matter how big their profits remain today. What happens when we’ve gained everything to be had from fine-tuning the old lines of business that we’ve inherited? Unlikely as it sounds, the answer threatens to be far worse than the crisis of 2008. Today’s “best practices” lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.
In a world of gigantic administrative bureaucracies both public and private, searching for a new path might seem like hoping for a miracle. Actually, if American business is going to succeed, we are going to need hundreds, or even thousands, of miracles. This would be depressing but for one crucial fact: humans are distinguished from other species by our ability to work miracles. We call these miracles technology.
Technology is miraculous because it allows us to do more with less, ratcheting up our fundamental capabilities to a higher level. Other animals are instinctively driven to build things like dams or honeycombs, but we are the only ones that can invent new things and better ways of making them. Humans don’t decide what to build by making choices from some cosmic catalog of options given in advance; instead, by creating new technologies, we rewrite the plan of the world. These are the kind of elementary truths we teach to second graders, but they are easy to forget in a world where so much of what we do is repeat what has been done before.
Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. It draws on everything I’ve learned directly as a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and then an investor in hundreds of startups, including Facebook and SpaceX. But while I have noticed many patterns, and I relate them here, this book offers no formula for success. The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.
This book stems from a course about startups that I taught at Stanford in 2012. College students can become extremely skilled at a few specialties, but many never learn what to do with those skills in the wider world. My primary goal in teaching the class was to help my students see beyond the tracks laid down by academic specialties to the broader future that is theirs to create. One of those students, Blake Masters, took detailed class notes, which circulated far beyond the campus, and in Zero to One I have worked with him to revise the notes for a wider audience. There’s no reason why the future should happen only at Stanford, or in college, or in Silicon Valley.” -Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
The truth is that enlightenment is neither remote nor unattainable. It is closer than your skin and more immediate than your next breath. If we wonder why so few seem able to find that which can never be lost, we might recall the child who was looking in the light for a coin he dropped in the dark because “the light is better over here.” – Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment, the damnedest thing
You always know that an opportunist has gone over the edge when they’re embracing strangers. They’re desperate and their network is falling apart. If you’re an opportunist, strangers are always going to be the most dangerous thing for you. They’re not for you. Anybody that’s new in your life has to come with a recommendation, with an introduction. To be a 4 and to truly be healthy you have to be very disciplined about your relationships. And it’s not easy. There is this natural comraderie that is in the 4th line. And given the construct of peoples designs, some of whom are quite social, it gets very easily confused.
In a sense, the 3-4 are very much about the material plane. The 3 is about the material itself. The 4 is about the resources of the material plane, the human resources and the way they work. One of the things about the opportunist is that they need to look at those beings in their life with a material eye. Given our various cultures and the way in which people consider these things, that wouldn’t be considered very nice or romantic or politically correct, but this is a heretical knowledge, after all, it’s just the truth of it. Are these people going to be good for me; and that often is something that is deeply material. Are they reliable? Can I count on them?
Because remember, it’s not just simply selfish, please understand that. I don’t want to give that impression. The 4 at the same time is doing something that is essential. They are externalizing that secure platform, whatever that secure platform happens to be. They’re the ones that are influencing others. Those that are in their network appreciate that at some level or another, whether they appreciate it to the point that it’s beneficial ultimately to the opportunist is another story, but it’s not like they are taking and not giving.
As a matter of fact, they are the foundation of transpersonal relationships. Everything about the nature of meeting the other in terms of the way the script is written begins at the line level in the 4th lines. If you want to see all of the social paraphernalia of human interaction read all 64 fourth lines and you will see the social dynamic of the transpersonal interaction and the way to bring about influence, those 64 different potential externalizations or influences that there in those 4th lines. – Ra’s Words of Wisdom – Post 130
“A hanging Gate is a Gate colored in your Chart in an Undefined Center, a Dormant Potential is a Gate colored in your Chart in a Defined Center. Both types of Gates could be on the other side of your Split that Bridges it. The Not-Self not lives or manifests itself in the Openness of ones Chart only, but it is the mind, using your Openness to make decisions that are not correct for you.”
To which this message comes:
Weirdo: “So Sjef, what was you positive contribution to the poor girl whose fucking head you left spinning? Dude you tend to use your gifts on the shadow side.”
Weirdo: “it is that mean, immature, competitive spirit that makes it so difficult to live here. i know you will not get it… however i needed to say it.”
Me: “I was replying to the other person who just blurted out nonsense, I rather have someones head spin then lied to. The rest is really your own black way of thinking bad things about others and really not my issue love, cheers”
After some contemplation I wrote this also:
Me: “So besides seeing people either as victims or as perpetraders, why are you harassing me with something that is your internal issue? Why do you not go inside yourself and find out why you have an issue with someome correcting basic Human Design knowledge? From which authority do you even dare to come and tell someone else what to do, and impose your morals on, in a private message no less? Next time I will report you. If you have a comment on mine, do it publicly. If you have an issue with someome or something, please resolve the issue yourself where it belongs and not pressure someone else to do it for you. This was free lesson, feel free to book an appointment for another session at my regular fee.”
Weirdo: “Maybe it is time to be mature young friend, and see if you can see beyond yourself, and your need to be seen. One must know their audience, to go to lines and channels before someone has had a foundational reading is pure arrogance and truly thoughtless. Also to speak to your elder in such fashion is pure ignorance.”
Weirdo: “BTW nothing to do with morals, just requesting you to not badger people with all your impressive HD knowledge, it tends to push them away.”
Weirdo: “And I do not have these conversations with you publicly, because I know that you do not set out to hurt, embarrass, try to make people feel less than, or make their heads spin. It is just this way you have of being seen, and I will not fuel that.”
Just in case some people wonder why I block certain people 😈 😎
(and yes, I mixed up the hanging gate & dormant potential there) Read more