Modesty: A Chain Broken

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I have very powerful feelings inside of me nearly locked away but every day I stay the key and keep the lock open.

Often I am rendered silent by the complexity of those feelings realizing my vocabulary lacks the required breadth to communicate them.

From the political loyalty of the paradigm to the cultural biases of honesty and crime my words fall upon apathetic minds focused on winning wars for their own kind.

I speak of humanistic prosperity, togetherness, anarchy, and peace only to be vilified, divided, controlled, and fleeced.

I care not who you voted for last cycle nor what rally you attended last week. I care not for the cause you hold upon high or which enemy you choose to vilify.

I see massive fingers directed by massive ego’s pointing and poking and prodding each other’s claims of supremacy. I see the broken lumps of flesh and bone caught in between.

I see the satisfaction of victory over the “the ways of old” while the “ways of old” shine through the new order of things.

You tell me I’m hurting “the movement” as if I belong for speaking words gone silent far too long. To that I say, the truth and the world is much stranger than the fiction of any so called “movement”.

Your group of pals and collection of ideas only a grain of dust among an eternal inferno of information. Stick together, just don’t lose yourself in your group mental masturbation.

If only you knew how afraid they were of you. If you could only admit that your fervor aligns with their fear. If only you could see the ties than bind you perhaps then the world could be free.

You see not the dire straights of those opposite your dilemma only the fear filled melodrama of their words that fill the air around you. Not a mirror in sight that you can see, not a mirror nor a reflection that it’s also you who speak.

So what is it my friend? Do they hate the way you look, behave, believe, or choose to live? You cannot change that which by it’s very nature must push against you and challenges you to be every beautiful and precious thing you have to be.

Put down the pitchforks, tear down the walls, and let go of the chains. The anchors weigh heavy on us all without judgement but with reason. The strength you feel is your true self so crucify the ego, it’s not too late. For when it is, you’d never had made it to these words, you never would have had a chance to see all the glorious and wondrous things about life that I see.

(Please understand I mean this with much intensity towards everyone. I hold no quarter and hold myself to these same standards. I’m not trying to be a hipster, enlightened, nor do I view myself as special. I am merely letting these bottled up emotions go here on facebook because sometimes it makes me feel better. That is all.)

Being Right When the Status Quo is Wrong

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I suppose most people would label me with titles like Libertarian, Anarchist, Independent, or even simply a lunatic. However, I’ve come to discover that there has never been or ever will there be a single word anyone could use to describe me. So when reading the title of this post, please do not assume things about me without first considering the content of the entire article and message I am attempting to convey to the world in this little corner of the internet.

I want to take you back on a journey of about 50 years. For those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s may recall standing up to the government on many many issues. Civil Rights, The Vietnam War, Watergate, JFK, MLK, Kent State, and other people and events that helped shape this period in American History all happened because of one centrally planned and organized cartel of men and women who apparently, we have granted the authority to write rules down on pieces of paper, and enforce those rules through a fully armed and trained military/police forces. I often wonder, what was it that caused all of these people to stand up to the government? What sparked the notion that no one has the right to use force against others to get them to behave a certain way? Perhaps a more relevant question pertaining to this is, what happened to that spark? Why did millions of people lock arms in protest and defeat authoritarians hand over fist back then? Yet today, even suggesting you should do such a thing ensures you to be compartmentalized into a box with a label on it that says “Conspiracy Theorist Nut Job”. Curious question is it not?

Even myself, an individual who is happy to question the reality around me, finds myself speechless when I should be speaking up. I know there is no good justification for this and that it is morally wrong, yet, more often than not I simply stand there, knowing things aren’t right and feel trapped by my own fear and insecurity. I think this largely has to do with the majority of people who simply want to live their life oblivious to the ill’s of the world and vicariously through the portrayals of heroes in Hollywood movies. While I too live in a blissful manner and watch movies and enjoy the tales being told, I think I at least do manage to provide some thought-provoking and challenging ideas to those around me. I at least attempt to help push along this idea that humanity should be free of force and coercion and that some day, this kind of revolution will take place.

The thrust of this article is to point out the few human beings through history who have taken a much stronger stance against authoritarian ideologies and made great and even the ultimate sacrifices in doing so. I find that whether or not I agree with all of these people politically, I can at least understand them, and even appreciate their bravery in taking a stand for what they feel was right. I am going to refrain from providing specific examples to avoid making you think I believe in one thing or another and also because if you’re reading this, you probably have a really good idea of the people I am referring to. Instead, this is just to point out that when you take a stand against an aggressive authoritarian, often, you will have to give up much of your life or even be killed for doing so.

When the entire world bows down to a single ideology and believes that forcing everyone else to adhere to that idea is justified, it is considered a rebellious and dangerous act. While that may be true, I think it’s important to point out that the danger is not coming from the protester, the violence isn’t being forced upon the authoritarian, but rather the authoritarian is using force to ensure 100% loyalty and adherence to his or her rules. Rebelling against this dangerous ideology is not an act of terror as the majority of society will probably tell you, it is an action made once one realizes the only way to really be free is to challenge that forced unity and collective blind support. History is riddled with these figures that rise up against the authority of the time and end up in horrible situations just because they had a different idea of how human beings should live among one another. Ask yourselves, how highly can you really think about any political ideology that must force those who disagree into compliance? If it’s that great of an idea, shouldn’t persuasion be enough? I understand that when it actually is a good idea and a rebel uses violence to get their way that defensive violence is necessary. That however, is not what I’m attempting to convey to you.

I think a good example is Marijuana users. If they inhale the smoke from Marijuana when it’s illegal they will be thrown into a cage, violently. Yet, there hasn’t ever been a significant case where someone has over dosed due to the use of the drug nor has the simple act of indulging in the smoking of Marijuana ever produced a victim. Have people made poor decisions as result of Marijuana, probably, but that shouldn’t muddle the entire culture and market place surrounding the drug. Yet, if you dare even try it once and get caught, you and all your friends will end up in jail and with a horrible drug charge on your records. The government may even kill you if the police who are used to enforce the laws upon you are trigger happy psychopaths as we all to often see in the news any more.

When you know you are right about something that contradicts the status quo of government, your life becomes a danger to any authority who thrives of the laws you are breaking, even if those laws are totally unjustified. People have been beaten, jailed, or even killed for doing things that produced no theft, violence against others, or property damage. There are laws, it seems, simply for the sake of having laws at times and I find this to be a tragic situation where the powerful and wealthy benefit from their dominance over the rest of humanity, almost as if they simply enjoy controlling others with their police forces. Almost as if they get a sense of joy from it. This should be alarming to people out there, but I fear apathy greatly outweighs any justifiable concern people may have as most people simply want to be left alone.

There is a song by Rush that I believe outlines what I’m on about here called Closer to the Heart. Give it a listen and read the lyrics while you listen to it. It may do a better job trying to convey the message I’m trying to type out here for you and if so, then great. I hope to help others come to this message in any way I can other than force and coercion. I want to be the opposite of that and I think most people actually feel this way deep down. Seeing the way people are treated for actually acting on this practically though, it is understandable why people’s apathy mostly outweighs any desire to make a real positive change in the world. This however needs to erode as time pushes forward and the next generation comes up. Ask yourself, when will this world of ours stop bombing the crap out of each other? When will this world of ours see a superior level of peace and prosperity that the world has never enjoyed before? I have this belief that this is inevitable but also that if we don’t approach it with the proper line of sight, the cost of this happening will almost be far to great to consider. The choice is yours.

Thank you for the read!

Scott D. Vogler

You Only Hear What You Want To!

Ampersand Daily2Sometimes in life I run into situations where I find myself unable to easily accept the situation going on around me. All of which happens on a small personal scale, local scale, and even larger national or global scale. I’ve been told that I only hear what I want to several times by several people and I have to admit that sometimes this is true. Though I don’t celebrate this fact, I know it to be a true weakness not only of myself but by humanity in general. I always try to look at things from different perspectives and I thought this “catch phrase” would be an interesting idea to explore in some detail through my word press.

First of all, I question whether or not this behavior is always a bad thing or a weakness. Sometimes, what you want to hear, is probably the ideal outcome of the situation you find yourself in. In a world so ruthless and unforgiving, I’m sure many human beings have begged and wished for a better situation in life. Is it not that desire which sometimes pulls us through difficult times and tough situations? The idea that you can over come and the imagination of your goals being accomplished can give you the positive energy you need to get through. Only hearing what you want to hear in these terms to me simply means you want to maintain a good thing in your life and keep it a healthy part of what you’re trying to achieve with your life. This though, is not why you hear people saying “You only hear want you want to.”

The reason you usually hear someone saying “you only hear what you want to” is when you are being stubborn on an issue and unable to process difficult information without making an ass out of yourself. This is when you get in an argument over politics or sometime more simple like who should clean the living room. I would say that most of the time, only hearing what you want to hear only has it’s downsides because you are incapable of allowing communication to take place between yourself and another which in turn ruins any chance of a productive and  healthy outcome. The real honest truth is often very difficult to hear and often interferes with our plans, but avoiding the truth is often more dangerous and risky than it is to face it head on and accept the challenge of that situation.

I think it comes down to a healthy regulation of one’s ego to over come this situation where you simply aren’t going to listen to anyone’s advice. Remember that you alone will never always be right about certain things. The people in your life who love you and would look after you no matter what are there to help you, don’t forget that. We live in a world of endless distractions and ways to escape reality, don’t allow that, no matter how entertaining, to get between you and significant others in your life. This doesn’t mean simply give up on your ideas and beliefs, but it does mean adapting to the reality going on around you in a way that benefits not only yourself, but those around you as well.

Speaking of only hearing what you want to, if you like this article, I have other philosophical articles that relate to politics, religion, and even pop culture. This blog is intended to speak my mind on a plethora of different topics and try to consider all kinds of different perspectives. There are a couple of music review articles on the way and also am working on my first movie review. I’m always working on new articles and want to truly be a daily source of new information, but have found it difficult to keep up. If you aren’t a fan of one of my articles, like this one, please check out my other articles. You may find yourself enjoying a topic you may never have considered before. That is my goal here, to get people to start being curious about the world again so they CAN start hearing good news, the things they WANT to hear coming true. I want to be part of anything that helps that process for even one person on the planet.

Thank you for reading!

Scott D. Vogler

Music Review, Kyuss; Blues for Queens and of the Red Stone Age Sun; Part 1 of 3

Ampersand DailyMusic

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is http://www.songmeanings.net/ so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/ If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. http://www.youtube.com/

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

Lastly, I find that often lyrics listed in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. This is the first part of a two page review. The reason I have chosen to divide it into two articles is because there is a controversial story to be shared about this band, it’s members, and it’s “intellectual property.” My wordpress page is for both entertainment and also to talk about more serious dilemma’s in the world that I feel are important to talk about. This whole scenario I am going to attempt to tell fits perfectly into the mission of this wordpress and consider this to be one of my more passionate pieces to date. I am not here to offend anyone, but if my opinions do offend you, please share the reasons, I am not closed minded to criticism in any way, so please do share your thoughts below. This albums holds a special place in my heart, along with most of Kyuss’ library. They are not a perfect band, they are not that uber success story that everyone loves to hear about. In fact, just lately, former members sued each other and fought legally for rights to the bands name and music. It is a tragedy in Rock and Roll that breaks my heart. I had the pleasure of seeing the second effort of this bands wonderful premise, straight forward, yet extremely unique blend of stoner rock and what I always felt was a strong mixture of 90’s and 50’s rock. Under the name and guise of the title Kyuss Lives! comprised of three of the four original members and two replacement members, the band toured Europe and the United States playing old Kyuss tracks for fans across the world. This was brought to a halt once they tried to gain the rights to the name “Kyuss” and two former band mates brought a civil suit against Kyuss Lives for copyright infringement.  This band eventually spawned to more successful project of the lead guitarist, Josh Homme, named Queens of the Stone Age, of whom I consider myself a fan of as well. However, the lawsuit has me angry with Mr. Homme at the moment and I do not feel obliged to buy the latest release, even though I want to. For this to happen to two of my favorite bands breaks my heart. Let’s get names out of the way, this is going to be a long, perhaps segmented music review because of my love for this kind of music, and also because of the important legal matters involved. It is perhaps not a unique situation all together, but it does have a bit of notoriety behind it so I feel obliged, being a big fan, to say my two cents here on my WordPress blog. Here is a list of both original cast of musicians Kyuss and of Kyuss Lives! so we can understand who, what, when and where what a little bit better. Each name will lead you to a wikipedia page about each musician.  Kyuss  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss) 1987-1995

Kyuss Lives! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_Lives!)

2010-Current
I saw Kyuss Lives! in Chicago at The Vic on December 2nd 2011. In March of 2012, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a lawsuit naming his former band mates as the defendants. The lawsuit was filed in federal court under the charge of “trademark infringement and consumer fraud by Kyuss Lives!”  
This is what Josh Homme had to say in a press release. 

“It sucks. To think we went to a meeting in January solely to help them with their request to continue Kyuss Lives! With open arms, we made every attempt to help them continue Kyuss Lives! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, Kyuss Lives! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name Kyuss. This is desperately what we were trying to avoid. It’s a sad day for us and for John – but most of all for the fans. What a needless mess.”– Josh Homme

 

Scott Reeder made this post on his facebook page to comment on the situation as well. “Maaaaaaan, I’ve been called every foul name in the book, and all I did was make a choice to stand up to defend and retain small rights that I should be able to keep sacred and unhindered for the rest of my life and beyond. I didn’t have much of a choice: lose all of the rights in two weeks, or keep them forever. I didn’t choose to be in this situation at all — I was forced to react very quickly with a looming deadline, and it’s been rough. I saw people bitterly divided over this stupid stuff… crazy. But the overwhelming support from friends and family was very much appreciated and needed. Thank you.” -Scott Reeder

Kyuss from Dungeons and Dragons game.

Kyuss; D&D Character

http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kyuss

Disciple_of_Kyuss

Disciple of Kyuss; D&D Character.

http://ddadventuresystem.wikia.com/wiki/File:Disciple_of_Kyuss.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_(Greyhawk)

The above pictures and links are there to provide the fact that it was not Josh Homme who invented the name Kyuss, not even a little bit. So I have to ask myself, why didn’t the “true owners” of this character, name, and likeness not come forward when Kyuss was first formed to begin with? All I have to go on is a theory, but I imagine that certain people view sharing ideas and information differently than others. I have heard a lot of fans say that just because Josh Homme and Scott Reeder didn’t have to sue, doesn’t mean they should just let the members of Kyuss Lives walk all over them. That said, it still remains they could have chosen to let this go in favor of a friendship, for the fans sake, and also for the survival of a band that is beloved by many people. Allowing something you worked really hard on to continue to live on with your former band mates and friends to me would seem to please most people I know, especially considering the level of success Josh has gained for himself with Queens of the Stoneage. It’s easy to take the route where just because it’s legal, means he could and should have sued, but I honestly believe everything would have been much better if Josh Homme would have let this go and let his former work continue to live on. He should consider the fact that Wizards of the Coast nor Hasbro gave him any legal trouble when Kyuss first hit the scene. He and his band mates were able to create music that inspired a whole bunch of people based on a characters name that was lifted from a campaign in the table top game of Dungeons and Dragons. To me, this is hypocritical of him to sue.

Brandt Bjork had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“In the summer of 1987, I started a band with my best friend, Chris Cockrell. This band would ultimately become Kyuss. Kyuss was a name I found in a Dungeons and Dragons book called Fiend Folio. Kyuss is a big part of my life as a musician, and when someone asks me formal questions about Kyuss, or wants to discuss the band casually, I can’t help having a point of view that is naturally inherited by someone who is the original founding member.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kyuss-lives-respond-to-josh-homme-scott-reeders-lawsuit-20120521#ixzz2XyikRlGM 

Before moving on I’d just like to say that I admire all of these musicians for their extremely creative and talented attributes. Their music, even their side projects, have inspired me to learn more about music in general and have even helped me get through tough situations by providing me with amazing music to inspire the best in me to come out and shine, like all good music should do. I realize my opinions don’t really hold sway over the situation, but I think it’s important to share our opinions openly so despite having the unpopular opinion here, I side with Kyuss Lives! in this situation. Mostly due to the fact that they at one time were all friends and if I were in Josh Homme’s shoes I would be happy to let my old band mates and friends use the name Kyuss and even claim it as their own. Simply because they were there from the beginning too, they helped create the project and made it into the band all the fans still love today. I would have been happy to know that something I was heavily involved with was going to see new light and perhaps have a second chance to take off. I realize there are monetary concerns here, but sometimes money shouldn’t be what’s important. Again, this is just my opinion on how I believe I might have handled the situation. Considering both Josh and Scott both enjoy very much alive music careers, especially Josh with Queens of the Stoneage being as popular as they are. This should have been a situation where he could sit back and enjoy the fact that his creativity has allowed his friends to enjoy the benefits of working with him on something that many fans still hold on to. 
Obviously I have a biased opinion on this because I really just love Kyuss, the band, and am sad that the project simply cannot continue because of money. I’m not sure how I would react if I were Josh Homme in this situation, perhaps the same way, perhaps not. I understand that Brandt Bjork and John Garcia attempted to claim ownership of the name “Kyuss” as well, and I think that’s just as wrong as Josh suing them for it, but at least Brandt acknowledges where the name actually comes from in his interview with Rolling Stone. Josh to me, along with Scott Reeder, seem to have done this simply because they could. It’s not as if John Garcia and Brandt Bjork weren’t there from the very beginning or anything like, this isn’t a perfect stranger coming along and stealing material right out from under Josh and Scott. It’s as if I’m supposed to forget that John and Brandt had EVERYTHING to do with Kyuss as a band becoming a reality. Josh and Scott definitely played their part, Josh more so than perhaps anyone else which is why I say, if I were him, I would have been more than happy to let Brandt and John continue to play old Kyuss songs under the name Kyuss and generating a buzz for the band as they continue on to make new albums. I know the objection to my argument is obviously that Brandt and John filed for ownership over the name, but like I said
I realize by now this is old news, but it presents me an opportunity to express a concern I have about intellectual property while also reviewing one of the best rock albums from the 90’s that I feel not enough people have heard. When listening to this album, please ask yourself, if you think it is of high quality. Should anyone own an idea? More specifically, should anyone, myself included, be allowed to force others to pay them for using an idea that either resembles their or is a direct copy of their idea? I think force in any situation is bad and that if you have to use it, your ideas are wrong to begin with. But that is just my humble opinion and you did not come here to read a bunch of band drama, or maybe you did, nevertheless this part of the article has run it’s course and I feel it is time to start the actual album review. Which you will find in Part 2 as soon as it’s finished. 

We are not done here!

Devil’s Advocate:

I am writing this into this article because after some serious thinking, there is another angle to be considered here. I have a strong emotional connection to Kyuss which could blind me from anything outside of allowing the project to continue unobstructed. That is why I have added this section to the article, to provide a train of thought that contrast what I personally want and gives Josh Homme and Scott Reeder my benefit of doubt. They claim that John and Brandt tried to file for ownership over the name Kyuss. If that is the case I have to send some negativity towards John and Brandt because of how I feel about intellectual property. Again, why didn’t the originators of the name Kyuss, at Wizards of the Coast ever sue anyone when Kyuss the band gained their popularity in the early and mid-90’s? This goes back into what I said previously that perhaps some people in this world view things differently, what a surprise right?

Please come back for part 2 if you are interested in hearing an alternative view point that perhaps contrast what I’ve said here. 
Thank you for reading! 

Music Review: Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine

Ampersand DailyMusic

I have decided to start doing reviews of different types of media that inspire my philosophical side to talk about the world and attempt to provide trains of thought that could be taken and turned into solutions by the doers in our society. For my first album, I could think of no better album than the emotionally ravishing Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. This album takes the listener on a chaotic yet very directly ordered and disciplined soundtrack. There is a very deliberate and obvious message of intensity when it comes to all of Nine Inch Nails albums, and this album is no different.

Produced in 1989, early on in Nine Inch Nails history, there is some sounds produced by this album which can give it a dated feel, however, for me, the date something was produced is far less important than the execution of the instruments and mediums being used to create the music I am hearing. If anything, it makes me feel like I’m getting ready to watch the rated R version of Back to the Future at times, which gives me a great big evil smile to think about.

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is http://www.songmeanings.net/ so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/ If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. http://www.youtube.com/

One last note, I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

I realize that often lyrics listen in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. 

Album cover.
Album cover.

http://www.nin.com

(Please visit the bands site if you enjoyed this album and show some support!)

The album begins….

1. Head Like a Hole 4:59 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/2508/  <<<Lyrics

The intro reminds me of how it felt to be a young boy, excited that my friends were coming over to rough house and run around in the woods with sling shots and paintball guns. You could almost say it’s as if it transports me to the Island where the boys from Lord of the Flies were stranded and I’ve become overwhelmed by my immaturity and am acting out on my youthful animal instincts. The electric drum rhythm, the sporadic kit drums, and the childish voices ringing out in the background forming into a coherent beat and rhythm, just then, Trent Reznor begins to sing.

The lyrics to this song give me the feeling that Trent is speaking out against greed and corruption that comes with the quest to control your own life and others through wealth and power. I feel he takes an honest approach because if I’m honest, I know how greedy I am, while it is not on the same level as Trent Reznor is speaking out against, I believe everyone can learn from this song, rich or poor. This song helps me realize that both rich and poor are just human beings, that each have certain qualities about them that may be different, yet others which make them quite similar.

Depending on your perspective this song is going to mean different things at first, but I find with most artistic presentations, if you spend enough time pondering the messages involved, you can learn to see things from different perspectives and how those persuasions affect your life .  While this song certainly does pull any punches, that is exactly what makes this song so powerful and important to the over all album. It’s as if in one hand those who lust for wealth can say “you can’t take it from me” while in the other those who live in a more giving way can shout “I’d rather die than give you control” and vic-a-versa and mean completely different things, yet share in the idea of being free from one another.

I feel that the over all message for me by the end of the song is that we all have strengths and weaknesses, not all of us can be billionaires, but we can be very wealthy when it comes to other things in life that have nothing to do with money. This song can be either a blue-collar shout down at the rich and wealthy or the wealthy looking down upon what they believe to be their flock. The dichotomy that comes to mind is what makes this song so appealing to me, subjectively of course, being somewhat of a free-thinker I tend to look at things from both sides of any argument, being less well off than others, I tend to lean towards the poor man’s arguments, but see things from those more fortunate perspective at times as well. Keep an open mind, Head like a Hole.

2. Terrible Lie 4:38 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/2523/ <<<<Lyrics

Track number two begins with a strong industrial beat banging, clicking, clanking, and grinding. The drummer lays down a simple, very direct, and loud pattern for Trent to wrap his lyrics around. In the midst of all that, what sounds like a distorted keyboard chimes in with an interesting pattern of notes that help glue it all together.  The questions being asked of God remind me of a believer at the end of his belief in God. The anger and the shame that comes with realizing that perhaps everything you were taught as a child by those who were supposed to be honest with you and look out for you simply were not true comes out in this song very obviously.

The death throws of a mans faith can lead to anger and frustration that can leave a one traumatized. This song in particular has served for me as a means of therapy. Knowing that I wasn’t the only man to feel this way made me feel less alone and afraid. Especially right after realizing I no longer believed in God and feeling totally lost and depraved, realizing my fellow human beings have come to realize this and still were able to go on and create a nice life for themselves gave me great hope. However, I have to admit this song can make me sad at times thinking about how religion in general has poisoned the hearts and minds of millions of people on the planet into believing that it’s worth going around the world and murdering others for not believing the same things.

I feel at the time this was written, Trent was in the “Death Throws” stage of letting go of his faith and losing his religion. Still referring to God as if it still existed, throwing his anger at religion, yet acknowledging the existence of a higher power. If I could talk to Trent about this perhaps I would ask him if he still believes in God first and then point out that some of the lyrics in this song are “I need SOMEONE to hold on to.” Perhaps in this song this was meant to mock those dependent on others are weaker than those who separate from the herd, but I believe having someone to hold on to, through love, respect, and open-minded interaction is a wonderful thing! Humanist, this song is a hidden gem when it comes to your philosophy, one I can respect on many levels.

3. Down in It 3:46 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3495/ <<<<Lyrics

The track opens with what sounds to me like a dance party club scene bass sequence. It feels out-of-place exiting the previous track, but aggressively catchy enough to blend in and take the listener into a new realm of musical play. The choppy sound effects in the back ground steps up the tempo, followed by a flowing effect leading into Trent’s lyrics, which sound less like singing and more like an expressive form of speech. The drumming remains consistent, simple, yet unique.

This song addresses an important issue that is still and more than likely forever will be a side effect of waking up to certain realities that are unavoidable once you reach a certain age of enlightenment. For those who choose to see, they will experience a sense of higher moral ground than others. This is a cycle of behavior that Trent seems to be addressing perhaps as a warning to others to never think of yourself superior to your peers. We like to think because we know something unique about the world that some how it puts us above others when in fact, doing so will only reflect how similar to those you oppose you really are.

For me, growing up with the internet, instant access to information that was previously unattainable by most, this lead me to a superiority complex for a few years where everyone else was a sheep and I and a few others had a one up on everyone else. What arrogance I displayed because I came to realize that everything I know is just a fraction of a fraction of what’s out there and I am NOBODY to judge others for knowing or not knowing anything. The more you try to separate yourself from the others, the more you stay the same as them. Perhaps this song is meant to inspire a different way of looking at the world.

4. Sanctified 4:58 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3496/ <<<<<Lyrics

The drum effects begin with a simple rhythm and beat, the space sound effects draw you in to a bass riff that flows into the lyrics. The tension builds quickly as Trent ask several questions that perhaps most people will ask themselves when they are infatuated with another or perhaps in a different way addicted to a drug. This song is telling the story of an individual who will do anything to please their infatuation or perhaps their addiction. Their entire life revolves around their next encounter with the object of their obsession.  How far will one go in order to satisfy and feel justified in what they are doing, even if it’s hurting them in the long run?

Considering relationships, we’ve all seen what happens when someone becomes too involved with someone who simply isn’t the right person for them. People will do almost anything to feel loved, even pretend someone loves them even if they obviously do not. When it comes to drugs, an individual addicted will come up with any reason what so ever to get their next fix, even if it makes no logical sense. To that person however, it is a 100% legitimate excuse, whatever it may be.  Often we feel we are justified in our actions when in reality we really aren’t. The evidence of this comes from the fruit of the behavior. Things keep getting worse, yet we sometimes choose to lie to ourselves and continue down that path.

Another way I look at all of this is that perhaps we need those lies in a strange and perhaps grotesque way. Perhaps these low points and flaws about us is exactly what helps us grow into a more complete human being. At the end of the day not one of us is perfect so looking in the mirror and hopefully seeing our flaws leads us to a better understanding of what life is really all about. Maybe this means we really are sanctified in making these mistakes, as long as we learn from them and grow.

5. Something I Can Never Have 5:54 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/36302/ <<Lyrics

The ghostly intro features a deep droning noise accompanied by a haunting piano piece. I feel as though I’m entering a dark realm of mystery and intrigue. Trent again uses his words deliberately in a speaking voice, rather than belting out the song’s questions and answers. The lyrics give way to more droning and piano, birds chirping in the background, and the sound of a distant violin is barely audible. Everything about this song begs the listener to listen very closely to all of the little details going on throughout the entire song.

Some things in life are simply not meant to be, yet we hold on to these feelings don’t we? Have you ever been so close to someone, yet, very far apart? What a terrifying notion that you can love someone with all your heart, even change for them, and improve yourself in order to impress them to be with you, but they just won’t have you. I’m not sure there is anything more painful than this situation that almost everyone finds themselves in at one time or another in life. Being rejected despite your endless love and attention can cause us to become obsessive and destructive. We begin to alienate our life in order to prove your love for another who simply will not have you. This song is yet another warning from Trent to the listener. Yes, love is tremendous and glorious, but it can also become something very ugly if we are not careful.

I think this song, at the end of the day, is Trent coming to the realization that there are some things in life you are not meant to have. You do not own anyone and despite how sad it makes you feel, you cannot force things that aren’t meant to be and you cannot force others to change just to suit your needs. No matter how much you’ve changed, no matter how much you think you love someone, and no matter how much time passes by revisiting this will often just remind you how much time you’ve wasted and open up old scars reminding you who you used to be. And in a way, can shed a bright light on the good things you have now. Focus on the good you have now instead of trying to attain something you can’t have.

6. Kinda I Want To 4:33 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/38639/ <<<Lyrics

Grinding into this track you’re greeted abruptly with a trip hop track and an aggressive vocal effort from Trent Reznor. Exploring again the realm of addiction, infatuation, obsession, and other flaws in humanity that have to be experienced first hand to understand. Having been through my own problems, I have to admit this song nails that feeling right on the head. The music is devious, the lyrics are aggressive, the meanings of the words cannot be mistaken. It’s that selfish feeling inside that causes you to lie to your best friends face and do exactly the opposite of what everyone is telling you to do just because you want to. Forget about modesty this song seems to celebrate that feelings of freedom of exploring your desires to their fullest. Or does it?

” I’m not sure of what I should do. When every thought I have is of you. All of my excuses turn to lies. Maybe God will cover up his eyes. Why does it have to be this way, why does it have to be? Kinda I want to, maybe just for tonight we can pretend it’s alright. What’s the price I pay? I don’t care what they say, I want to. I want to, I’ll take my chance tonight.”

Reading those words only makes me realize just how selfish we can become over such minuscule events in our lives that do nothing but agitate those around us and cause them grief and perhaps even further into pain and depression. Perhaps part of this song celebrates the idea of letting go of your selfish desires and simply existing in peace with those around you. Letting go of that which anchor’s you and your peers and turning a bad situation into a good thing. In fact, this song puts this awful situation so bluntly that I cannot help but look past the arrogance that produced it and see a young man getting over his troubles and delusions to be able to produce such an amazing song. Top notch song.

7. Sin 4:06 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/37350/<<<<Lyrics

The sound effects that greet you here are other worldly echoing, repeating, spacious, and whistling things. Perhaps a voice saying “Jump” repeatedly with a monotone bass pattern leading into a driving tune with immediate and growling lyrics. Obviously someone is feels strongly about something so let’s move on to the meat of this very robust song.

Have you ever had a relationship with where ideologies collide? The frustration that comes with someone not understanding your point of view is tremendous and affects anyone who has a mind of their own to use. Throw love in the mix and it’s a recipe for drama on epic proportions. It starts innocently enough and then one day you are looked down upon or even looked up to by your significant other as something you really aren’t. This causes you to try to be more like yourself which in turn could repulse the skeptic or disappoint the admirer. It’s like you have to live a lie in order for some people to accept you for who you are. I believe the point of this song is to express the anger and frustration that awaits anyone who attempts to live this lie.

There is a heavy emphasis on punishment, morality, and anger in this track. It is carried by an amazing soundtrack which finds different nooks and crannies and gives me a sense of chaos. The chaos you will feel if you choose to share your life with someone who just does not understand you. One day you feel you can handle it and in the very next moment the eyes of the person you are sharing your life with will meet yours and you realize that you will have to give up on all of your principles and morals just to satisfy them. The title of this song suggests one sin begets another and leads to yet another. How long will you let this go before you realize you are the sinner?

8.That’s What I Get 4:30 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/38642/ <<<<Lyrics

This song to me represents everything that’s great about this album yet it also feels like the hidden gem of the entire package.  It is not the most complex when it comes to  lyrics and story being told, however, the classic love/tragedy/triumph story has never been told so uniquely. It begins with a driving theme, mid range bass track and the clanking twangy sounds as if an array of metal wires are being plucked. Just on que, a mixture of delicate and soft synthesizers with a consistent deep bass pattern fill the background which are accompanied by words which everyone who’s ever had their heartbroken have spoken to themselves since the beginning of time.

The crashing noises and zipping sounds flow into the driving bass theme from the beginning and we get a singing bridge with excellent musical accompaniment that then set’s the stage for this songs brilliant ending. The snap of a snare drum signals my favorite part of the song.

“That’s what I get” becomes more than the name of a song, or a what you tell yourself when you are sad. It becomes empowerment as you hear Trent accepting his mistake and realizing he has to move on from the pain he caused himself. You can hear the inspiration of a new life in the lively drumming pattern and synth pumping out an inspirational tune over the background of everything else you’ve already heard. What I love about this song is that the idea has been done before, but not like this. I think anyone can relate to this song if they have a mind to hear the story being told. “That’s what I get” becomes a lesson learned. In the end you get a the classic story, but accompanied by music you’ve never heard before. I can’t help but appreciate what Trent was going for in this track.

9.The Only Time 4:47 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/38639/ <<<<Lyrics

From the onset we stagger into this song now knowing what’s about to hit us. Just some lyrics and a catchy bass line, but the lyrics lead me to feel drunk, tipsy, and disoriented with the bass line chopping up his words. The feeling I get is similar to that rush of adrenaline you get when you’ve made a fool of yourself in public after having one to many drinks. All the eyes staring at you only embolden your resolve to do whatever you want. You go through new acquaintances as quickly as you go through the drinks until finally you see that woman smiling wildly at you and you stumble over to her. You share a drunken conversation that makes no sense to anyone but you and her. Both of you realize what you’re about to do to each other is wrong but also know you’re going to do it anyways. Off you go out the door stumbling into her car as she takes you on a wild ride back to her apartment where dirty little secrets are going to be made between you two.

This song goes even deeper into the human experience. Why is it that we pick our scabs, say things we shouldn’t, or stay friends with people who treat us like crap? Why do we put ourselves through strange and new experiences only to come out the other side a damaged human being? Why on earth would anyone put themselves through something like that? The answer to that is we all do it, the only difference is a matter of degree. Some of us are more sadomasochistic than others, so the harm we bring on ourselves and others might be enjoyable for a time, until you learn that it’s not what you needed from life. When you begin to question whether or not you’ve made a mistake, it’s usually too late to do anything but let go and walk away. What pops out to me is how this can relate to every single one of us. An ultra-conservative Christian might think using the lords name in vain is as naughty as an atheist college student thinks it is to cheat on their significant other. Life is full of those experiences where reality pushes us beyond our normal routine and causes us to seek out new experiences. Sometimes this leads to unfortunate tragedy yet other times a pleasant surprise awaits. Either way, it’s how we live our lives, no matter where you’re basing your moral standards.

The title of the song suggests that being pushed outside our comfort zone and experiencing a new thing in life is the only time he ever feels alive. I think this is true for everyone though as far as the degree to which one could define something being a “new” experience. But perhaps the opposite is true as well. Perhaps the behaviors we form over time lead us to a comfortable routine for a very good reason. While there is nothing wrong with experiencing new things in life, sometimes the emotional strain that comes with it can truly hinder one’s ability to be productive and happy with life. I think you reach a point in life where you know what you want and what you like to do enough to realize whether or not you will enjoy something enough to take it on. This is a sign of maturity for a lot of people, myself included, knowing a person is somewhat set in their ways shows me that they stand on certain principles and moral ideas that would be extremely difficult to change in them. I see the good in this as well as the flaw because after all, we would never have gotten set in those behaviors without at first trying them to begin with. Life is as much about taking risk as it is maintaining a level of consistency. Both have their place in life.

10. Ringfinger 5:40 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/38647/ <<<Lyrics

The closing title for this album will leave the listener longing for more. This song greets you with a synthesized melody and steady kick drum beat. Trent Reznors voice joins momentarily and the point of the song becomes clear almost immediately. There is no hidden meaning in this song and that’s its strength. Everything about this song is out in the open and so are the lyrics. This songs lyrics and music seem to be at odds with one another until you really think about the over all message. The beginning remains mostly as described but adds another layer of synth music and an additional bass line eventually leading to a high-pitched guitar riff. You will notice that not one part of this song is like the others as it moves along. More and more layers begin to add up as the music get’s more intense. Eventually, the lyrics take on a new meaning once the music catches up to the over all theme of the song which I will interpret in the next paragraph.

We have many personal relationships with people and impersonal relationships with various technologies, addictions, and events in our life that sometimes wear us thin. The feelings mount in this part of the song as it becomes obvious that no one in their right mind should take this sort of abuse sitting down. When you make a commitment to something, you go all the way, absolutely, but should you start to feel worn out it is important to take a break from those things. Commitments shouldn’t be life sentences of pain, anguish, and mental torture. Once the song hits it’s stride it gives me the feeling that Trent Reznor wanted to communicate his frustrations about his commitments in life but realized that’s part of what makes life so challenging and rewarding. He didn’t produce this album by sitting on his hands and complaining about how sore he was, how tired he got on long nights, or by letting go of his commitments. As frustrating as those commitments can get, getting through them is part of what it takes to do something great with your life.

However, I think there is a darker side to point out and that is when it comes to people and relationships and marriage, commitment takes on a whole new level of importance. Putting a ring on someone’s finger and promising that person that their life is just as, if not, more important than your own is nothing to take lightly. What happens all the time in the USA with marriages? Need I remind you how often marriages end in divorce? Is there any reason to wonder why in a society that’s all about instant gratification how a marriage could end up with one of the participants feeling used and abused by the other? This song present this problem in bold living color for the listener to soak in as yet another warning from this amazing album. Do not make promises you know you cannot keep.

In Conclusion….

This album and Nine Inch Nails in general is not going to be for everyone. Trent Reznor has always been about trying new things with music and has always had an aggressive nature when presenting his crafts to the world. I think the thing people misunderstand most about the aggressive nature in some music is the attempt to present and wonder about things that society at large and popular culture normally does not give much attention to. Exploring why someone is being bullied and the emotional processes that come with it for example is something many may want to avoid facing when trying to enjoy music, but for me, it only enhances the experience. The idea that music should only be happy and go-lucky to me seems unrealistic and misses the point of what art in all of its forms is supposed to be. I can’t help but imagine the benefits society has gained from the small amount of people out there who do enjoy this kind of music and take a little more seriously than just banging your head like a mad man. The people who stopped to actually listen to the story being told in these kinds of songs and who enjoy this kind of music for those reasons are some of the most polite and honest people I’ve ever met. I think it’s because artist like Trent Reznor aren’t afraid to ask the challenging questions and make the controversial points with their art work.

As for this album, obviously it is full of obligatory drama padded by aggressive music which drives the point home. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys philosophy, politics, and longs for something to challenge their sense of reality. This may even set well with fans of techno and industrial music just for the musical mechanics going on, which spreads across most of Nine Inch Nails library. This just happens to be one of the first efforts from the project so I thought it would be a good place to start with these music reviews. If you’ve never listened to Nine Inch Nails before, please understand that each album is unique from the last one. You may really enjoy this album, but not be so much of a fan of the next. Don’t judge everything you think about Nine Inch Nails off this one album.

Space & Weapons

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Recently the news has been full of stories about drones and how they will impact the world. While I feel this topic is very important, there is another topic with even more significance to human development. The topic of which I speak is of course “space based weaponry”. While the official line is that there are treaties preventing nuclear warheads in space, there are other weapons which we could potentially see in our earth’s orbit. Much of what I will cover is in theory, but some of it has been tested before. As we see it now, it is not a clear case of whether or not they are up there now, but knowing that military’s around the world have and are testing platforms in our orbit.

As a futurist, I understand that technology will inevitably come out, the reason I like to talk so much about this is because I hope to be a voice of reason and a reminder about what humanity has done with powerful technology in the past. I would like to avoid such mistakes going forward so I hope my words inspire cooler heads to prevail. I do not want to make these weapons “cool” or “awesome” but rather discuss how this would impact the world politically. Hopefully a lot of you out there feel the same as I do because I would rather scientist focus on other more important technologies involving space travel, mining, and defensive measures against space’s many dangers.

To start, I’m going to go over what I consider to be smaller weapons systems designed to protect a satellite from enemies or destroy space based targets, or more bluntly put, anti-satellite weapons. The Soviet Union designed and created a satellite named Almaz starting in the early 1960’s. This lead to an integration in another program named Salyut programme. These 3 satellites, named Salyut were also referred to as OPS 1, 2, and 3. These were reconnaissance drones in orbit armed with a self lubricating, 23mm Nudelman rapid-fire cannon. These were mounted onto the satellite for defensive and offensive purposes. These destructive tools had a maximum rate of fire of around 850 rounds per minute and shot 23x115mm caliber rounds with a muzzle velocity of 690 m/s. That’s some serious fire-power. A fourth OPS satellite, OPS-4, would have also been equipped with Shchit-2, which was reported to have a duo of projectile systems. Perhaps rockets were to be employed on this project? Supposedly there are no photo’s of this weapon’s system so I cannot confirm its existence in actual orbit. It is believed it was never deployed. The entire Almaz program did not become all it was meant to become, but the ideas have been tested as far back as the 1960’s.

More advanced space-to-space weapons were also tested by the Soviets. In the late 1980’s, the Soviets were set to launch the Polyus spacecraft into orbit. The Polyus, also known as Skif-DM, was equipped with a megawatt carbon dioxide laser system designed to be an anti-satellite system. Carbon Dioxide Lasers were invented by Kumar Patel, from India, in 1964. Mr. Patel worked for Bell Labs at the time of this invention. Just a few short years later it found itself being launched into orbit attached to a space ship. This vessel however did not make it into orbit as a faulty guidance computer failed as the ship separated from the rocket. It was meant to spin 180 degrees and launch itself into orbit, instead, it did a 360 degree turn and burned up in the atmosphere. This was during the height of The Space Race, if there are any remnants of that same “race” going on today, I’m sure we’ll find out just how far this has all come.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_weapon#Space-to-space_weapons

Next, I’ll be providing details on another type of space based weapons technology which emerged from the Space Race and Cold War. Earth-to-space weapons systems were developed for a number of reasons, but I feel there is one that stands out. If you’ve ever lived in the country side like myself, you have probably heard of Wild Life population control, where certain hunters are granted permission to hunt and kill certain over populated animals in the local eco-system. I know that sounds way off topic, but I think it perfectly describes The Kessler Syndrome.

The Kessler Syndrome, also called the Kessler Effect, collisional cascading, or ablation cascade, was proposed by a NASA scientist named Donald J. Kessler in 1978. Kessler Syndrome is an event in which the density of objects in low-Earth orbit is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade – each collision generating debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions. This could lead to rendering exploration and the use of satellites unfeasible for a very long time.  Earth to Space weapons systems were designed to destroy objects in low-orbit in order to thin out the possibility of these kinds of collisions. In my view, this is a hugely important area of research and love the idea of perfecting satellite technology and use. Much like hunters thinning out the herd, this system is designed to maintain a healthier low-earth orbit environment as newer and better satellites are developed.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Of course this technology is also in the hands of the military, which for obvious reasons have explored the use of inter-continental ballistics, Anti-Satellite weapons, and Kinetic Kill systems. The most famous example of this was proposed by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983. The Strategic Defense Initiative included a research program dedicated to developing anti-ICBMs defensive systems. These systems would be equipped with kinetic kill, laser, and other ballistic weapons systems and was named Star Wars by those who proposed and funded the program. There were also Space-to-Air satellites designed to employ a high-powered laser to destroy an ICBM launched towards American soil. The entire idea behind this project was to create a defensive space based weapons platform to defend from nuclear missiles launched from other countries.

Another type of space based weapons platform would be called Space-to-Earth weaponry. Orbital bombardment is any attack from space on a ground based target on a planet’s surface. It is believed that there are no such weapons systems in existence, however, this idea is not a result of the latest science fiction movie, there are well-known examples of governments since World War 2, straight through the Cold War, seeking and developing technologies on this level. At this point I want to remind you about why I felt the need to write this article. While I support space based anything, I believe the correct motivations need to be present before launching anything into space involving the use of a weapon. A weapons system with global coverage is not only dangerous, but would fundamentally change life on earth. Not to mention, very expensive, I believe our efforts would be much better put to use in developing technologies to clean our atmosphere, capture incoming asteroids, creating protection from Solar Activity, and exploration.

Though it is believed there are no such systems, I feel it’s important to note that it is known that the National Socialist NAZI party proposed an idea for a so-called “Sun Gun”. Also the Soviets deployed a what they called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System in 1968 to 1983. Eventually, the Soviets successfully launched a working unit into orbit, but were prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty to place live warheads in space. Later, another Outer Space Treaty was put forth which prohibited the deployment of any system which could use a weapon of mass destruction in a partial orbit. Conventional warheads are still permissible but are not yet proven to be effective. These rely on large tungsten carbide/uranium cermet rods dropped from orbit and use kinetic energy. These types of war-heads have the nick name “Rods from God”.

(Source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_weapon#Space-to-Earth_weapons

I wrote this article because I care about the future development of our species. While we enjoy our entertainment, sports programs, and our lives please realize there is another world out there, one where very powerful and very real technologies are being developed and pushed into reality. I don’t often hear very much about these technologies in the news so in an attempt to raise awareness and interest in science and technology I’m writing this article. I suppose if I were to want to ask any question of my readers, I would ask you to think about what you would rather develop just as we begin to reach into the stars. Weapons platforms designed to kill and control human beings or technologies which focus on exploration, transportation, geo-maintenance, and protection? I believe weapons systems can serve a purpose in space, however, I believe it should remain a defensive measure and never offensive. In fact, I would like to see anti-aggression measures put into practical account with technologies based around weaponry. These technologies would make it impossible to use weapons in an aggressive initiation of force. However, once used in a defensive situation, it should be capable of a wide range of capabilities. Namely, the prevention of the Kessler Syndrome.

Scott D. Vogler

Head down, Lights Out, Lock the Door.

HeadDown

All through history we can find examples of the two types of people I’m going to talk about. For the purposes of this article, there are two types of people, those who bury their head in the sand and those who keep their head on a swivel. In my eyes, it is very tragic that so many choose to stay ignorant. Some people are simply ignorant due to lack of information perhaps because of their living situation. However, I find that people in this situation are not the kind of people I’m trying to refer to here. Ignorance is not bliss to these people, it just so happens that they have not been exposed to certain information. The types of people I’m talking about are those who have been exposed to information, yet, choose to live in a fantasy world.  Like in Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, out of the four prisoners, only one escaped and was willing to leave the cave and the puppet show behind. The others willingly stayed behind and chose to live as a slave and in the fantasy world.

I’m not sure if there is a precise enough word for individuals who live as if they are invulnerable to new information, but there is a popular slang term being used a lot, “sheeple”. I don’t want to delve into ad hominem or name calling, so while it would be easier to just label these kinds of people, I feel it’s more responsible and educational to fully describe them rather than relying on a single blanket word like “sheeple”. In order to do so, I’ll share personal situations from my life to help define these kinds of people without a blanket label. In my life, I have attempted to wake several people up and in doing so have lost friends, family, and relationships along the way. It is frightening to me that some people cannot handle the truth. It reminds me of the story 1984, 2+2=5. People want 2+2 to equal 5 because the delusion is apparently easier to deal with. I have had people literally melt down and cry simply because I challenged their politics, people have literally screamed at me for suggesting they were mistaken, and worst of all have shunned me from their life for pointing out what I believe in.  I always make sure to tell these people, that when or if they decide we don’t have to be enemies over a disagreement, to come talk to me again. So far, not one person has stepped back into my life. I just hope they realize it was they who chose not to be around me anymore, that I miss them greatly, and I am deeply concerned for their well-being after choosing to live the lie. Some people cannot be helped because they do not want to be helped. Keep in mind, this is the majority of people around me. Also, just as a reminder, this has little to do with personal politics. I am not attempting to claim superiority over anyone but I am suggesting that some people need to open up their hearts and minds.

In contrast there are also people who simply cannot stand not knowing. I like to count myself in with this crowd, but it’s not so easy to crowd these kinds of people in either. So again, I’m going to avoid using single terms like “awake” or “enlightened” because of what comes with the seeking of knowledge and new information. This means my truth may contradict another persons truth. This leads to conversation, debate, and argument which gives further definition and substance to ideas. This will also lead to experimentation, which is probably the most important aspect to all of this. Guesses are a start, but no matter how smart, good-looking, or social someone is, a guess is inferior to experimentation. These kinds of people are not afraid of being wrong. To me, it seems like those who are truly seeking knowledge and understanding are happy to learn when they are wrong and enjoy having been corrected. This shows me a great deal more maturity in contrast to those who choose to remain ignorant to the world around them. This doesn’t mean these types of people are superior or better than anyone else, what it does mean though is that they are more willing to broaden their hearts and minds to encompass something greater than themselves.

I feel the need to consistently reiterate the point about one not being “better” than the other. As I have grown and learned more about myself and the world around me, I have come to find that sometimes people are very awake and aware but it will not seem like it at first until you really get to know them. This goes back to being open-minded, patient, compassionate, and kind to others around you. I believe there is a very specific reason why some people keep their head down, yet, have a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom. The reason I am referring to is bullying.

Bullying is a large part, in my view, of why people keep their head down and stay out of the conversation. It causes people to avoid confrontation and to fear rejection of their ideas. While I believe there is help for these folks, have a bit of tough love for them. What kind of excuse is that? If that’s what your excuse is I can’t help but imagine that you are less interested in learning and more interested in pushing a certain agenda. While I may be wrong in saying that, there is an old saying, “You can’t help others until you’re able to help yourself.” This, in my opinion, is exactly right, especially in this article. If you have an idea about reality and you share it with others who might have some constructive criticism and you react negatively to it, you are a perfect example of someone who would rather stay ignorant. The point here is keeping your mind open. Perhaps your ideas are sound and beneficial, however, closing off to everyone around you just because they see it a little differently is not helping you or anyone. In fact, this kind of attitude only serves to discredit your ideas if you are unwilling to even listen to a different angle. The danger in behaving this way is that you may begin to feel you are just superior to others, that you know something they do not, therefore, should be able to tell them how to think and feel. The danger here is you becoming authoritarian in your social life. Or perhaps you completely seclude yourself from everyone around you. Either way, this is no way to live in my opinion. I wish I could help you see another way.

I don’t know of any one solution to this dilemma, perhaps some suggestions from my heart will help. You will never convince someone through force or coercion so step number one is to forget about treating people this way. Many many people have experienced being bullied and we’ve all seen the effects of this so straight away, just forget about being a bully. I realize the temptation, however, know the results are not genuine. People will say a lot when under pressure just to fit in. I want real understanding not a belief brought about by some sort of abuse or brainwashing. I think one of the keys to do this is patients. If you have information about something and have experimented with it and know in your heart and mind that it’s true, then you need to stand strong with those ideas. People who disagree with you may or may not have valid points to make, so instead of reacting negatively to this, keep your ears open. You have to set the example in order to convince others, so take it upon yourself to become a very good listener. This avoids bullying in two ways, firstly, by listening to someone else’s ideas, you yourself are less likely to be a bully and in turn, you’re negating reasons for the other person to bully you. If confronted with a bully, do not cower in fear of them, but also, do not react aggressively or violently towards them. Instead, see it for the opportunity it is to improve yourself and perhaps improve them along with you. Results are what you put into any given situation or dilemma. Ignoring reality and blaming others isn’t going to do one solitary bit of good for you or anyone else around you. This is merely a suggestion to everyone to learn how to put aside petty disagreements and work a lot harder towards real solutions that work in the real world.

In closing this article, I just want to point out that I believe humanity is wonderful. I have a very optimistic outlook when I think about the future and it’s because so many wonderful people have taken it upon themselves to live and be who they are. These people inspire me to grow and learn and become a better human being. I have a girlfriend, who for the life of me, would not be with me if I hadn’t chosen the life I’ve chosen to live. She’s not into all of these things like I am, but that does not make her the type of person with her head down, lights out, and door locked. I sometimes try to see the world through her eyes and I have to tell you, it’s amazing to ponder. In the end, it’s not about whether or not she agree’s with me on everything or listens to the same information I listen to. It doesn’t matter if she can’t stand some of the music I love or some of the things I say every day. What matters is, she is who she is and she lives that way every single day. She communicates what she see’s and feel’s with me and it helps me grow into a better person. I only hope I provide the same kind of experience for her in turn because to me, she’s worth every drop of blood I have.  She keeps her head on a swivel and learns something new every single day, things I could really care less about, until she shows me how important it really is. This is what I’m talking about, people from vastly different perspectives can learn, grown, and achieve with one another simply by being open to new ideas and suggestions. That to me, is vastly superior to purposefully living a lie. Not that those people are evil, but they sure are missing out and I for one wish to do something about it.

Thank you for reading! I am more than open to suggestions, criticism, and new ideas. Please comment below and let me know what you think!

Scott D. Vogler

Agorism & Statism: The True Paradigm

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Agorism & Statism: The True Paradigm 

This article is going to be focused on what I feel is true political paradigmatic ideology. We are brought up, typically, in a two-party system depending on which part of the world you live. Where I live, in the United States, it has been the same two parties in charge for a very long time now. The Republicans and the Democrats. This has created a very clear division between people who affiliate themselves with either the left political spectrum, or the right political spectrum.

While I understand the differences between the two parties, what I don’t understand is how the followers of these two parties do not clearly see the poignant similarities both parties share. I believe party patriotism blinds people from the reality of the two-party system. Many even swing like a pendulum between the two parties depending on popular opinion. These people I feel will have a much easier time understanding the points I will attempt to make in this article because they are not so tied down by political favoritism. If you are one of these people, I am asking for your empathy and attention because I believe it is you who will make the biggest difference. Those that do not feel the incredible urge to support only one side of the same coin, I’m talking to you most of all and asking you why you play along? It will be clear why I ask once you’ve read the entire article.

For those who are reading this and are thinking to yourself “get to the point already” I will kindly ask for your patience because this is an incredibly complex issue that must be explored to its fullest extent. I am attempting to break through apathy, blind patriotism, and the arrogance that comes with party politics. For those of you who are still reading and thinking “get to the point already” because you can see where this is going, understand that I realize you already understand the points I’m going to try to make. This article is directed at those who have not yet heard the message.

Now that I’ve clarified a few things, let’s continue on with the article. Again I recognize the political difference between liberals and conservatives. Big-Gov v. Small-Gov, left/right, red/blue. I believe most understand the obvious differences. What I want both sides to realize is that whether you argue for larger or smaller government, both still require certain situations in order to exist. These situations are exactly the same thing and cannot be divided by political rhetoric or opinion. Attempting to wiggle around this will only prolong the inevitable truth. The reason the left and the right are nearly identical is because both parties have shown their abilities and desires to use force and coercion in order to maintain their power.

Please don’t be confused. I am not saying that all liberals and all conservatives are aggressive, violent, and dis-honest people. I just understand the inherent nature of party politics, especially in the mainstream, to be dismissive of anything that goes directly against the party doctrine. I am asking you to question why you support a system that uses force and coercion to maintain its power. One of the most popular answers I receive when asking people this question is, “Yeah, but we have to have a government!” I can’t help but imagine how this stance would crumble if they themselves became a victim of government force or coercion.

Another popular answer is “So few people fall through the cracks, so to get the benefits of government, I’m willing to accept the mistakes they make.” That’s fine and dandy, but would you be willing to say that to someone who’s fallen victim to these so-called mistakes? “I’m sure they’re working hard every day to solve these issues, I have faith in the system.” So much faith that you’ll ignore the reality of prisons being full of non-violent offenders, the reality of warrant-less authority, the reality of using force against peaceful people? When push comes to shove, do you believe they will let you simply step to the side?

It has been estimated by author Harvey Silvergate (who happens to be a libertarian) that the average American commits three felonies a day. While I cannot support that claim with evidence of my own, it does make sense to me given layers upon layers upon layers of laws put in place by both parties.  All of these laws are enacted and enforced through coercive political posturing, violent policing measures, and information gathering. How far are you willing to go in your patriotism of a system which can create a criminal out of anyone?

I’m trying to leave names out of this, I only mentioned Harvey Silvergate, because of the title of his book and to give him credit for presenting the information in his book. I can ask these daring questions of statist all day long and make some of them feel angry or frustrated, but that is not my intention so after all of the questioning, if you are still paying attention that is, I want to extend an invitation to take on an idea that isn’t quite new, but could be new to you. It could be called anything you want it to be called really, since it is simply being who you are and living in reality as a free and independent human being. There is a term becoming popular among certain individuals who call themselves Agorist.

Basically, an Agorist is someone who lives as if there is no government. That is taken in the most extreme of contexts. There are also agorist who believe in government for some things, but they may be agorist towards another area of government. It is the equivalent of being atheist for one God, but theist for another. This to me represents a beautiful part of human nature. Sometimes, no matter who or how many people tell you to behave a certain way, think a certain way, or even speak a certain way, you will not give up your independence. For some people this means, no one can tell them who they can and cannot marry. While another individual might not give up his fire arms. If you stop to think about it, that means most people have something very powerful in common with each other even if it comes from completely different circumstances.

When faced with this reality, my first inclination was to point out that they are completely different situations, that they have no relation to one another, and no similarities can be drawn from one to the other. However, this is false. It is because human beings desire to live free of oppression that I can compare the two social situation. I hope this brings you to understand that all around you are people who are just like you in a strange and complex way, they live in a world where violence is promised if you do not comply with certain people’s rules, yet, despite circumstance, almost everyone I know seems to hold on dearly to who and what they are and will not give in to tyranny against them. I just want you to see that there is nothing to fight over if we all agree that we should be free and actually use that freedom to protect each other from tyranny of any sort.

I do plan on offering some challenges to this ideology however, because I have my own definition for who I am and how I think about the world. I will not give in to these paradigms that express a lot of promise yet in the end, produce the same results. It is a paradox, where in the place that they meet are ideas like war, control, manipulate, lobbying, police, torture, poison, and most importantly power. Agorism to me is a superior state of being, because it means you do not depend on anyone but yourself in whatever regards you see fit. However, there are some challenging questions I have had to ask of myself and I want to explore those as well. So fellow Agorist out there, like you, I am still learning perhaps right along side and behind a lot of you out there, but I am definitely interested in learning more in how to change your life in this manner.

One of the most difficult questions I have is that of practicality. This deeply offends me when somebody tells me that they like my ideas, but they just seem so impractical. It’s easy for me to point to horrible examples from their side of the argument of impracticality and chaos. However, this does nothing to address their question, which is essentially,”What are we offering that’s not government but is better than government?”

The answer to this, as I’ve been able to reach myself thus-far is that it probably still looks and behaves like something called “government” but is entirely different from what we accept today as government. The problem with complete and total Agorism is that people will compromise and work with others to achieve larger goals. If we woke up tomorrow in a zen-anarchist utopia, it would still have groups of people who exist to provide goods and services and who even take on the appearance of authority. The difference is, they will not exist to limit personal liberty, but would instead have to produce a good or service that actually benefited those who choose to use them. This leads to another huge topic that I will not go into now, but please refer to my other articles about Pinnaclism and Transhumanism. Those can be found on the main page for this blog.

I am confused though, what would an agorist society do about those who bring harm to humanity? Would we lock them in a cage? Would we just kill them? Would we bill them into obscurity? Perhaps we can isolate them from society and hold them publicly accountable in some way that absolves the situation so that further peace and prosperity can take place without further interruption from that individual. Now that I am asking these large questions and lazily offering very vague but heartfelt suggestions. I think it’s time for this article to find its way to the end.

This single issue holds so much potential power for you as an individual. Whether or not you chose to be Agorist is far less important than you yourself never behaving in a forceful or aggressive manner to those around you. Do not be a bully just because you think or even know you are right. Forcing others to be something they are not is akin to the inability to put a square peg in a round hole. It is not your fault nor theirs for being born this way so instead of wasting time and energy hurting others, please recognize that you only harm yourself and everyone around you when you behave this way. You know that the only reason you ever get away with it is because others have chosen not to use force and coercion in their lives. You prey on the innocent as if they were just a doormat to your castle. I do not want you to suffer through this delusion any longer so please, I beg you, think about who and what you really are and if what you are is a bully, try to use it wisely enough not to pick on innocent people who never hurt you nor would they hurt you.

 

Thank you for reading. I know I will be writing more about this in the future, especially as others examine my ideas and have objections, recommendations, and questions about it. Please remember to rate, subscribe, share, or otherwise remember this article. Your participation is very much appreciated!

 

Scott D. Vogler

 

Bullies & Self-Defense: Standing up for yourself and others.

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I think everyone has been bullied, even bullies get bullied it seems in this world. Perhaps that’s just poetic justice, but I think there’s a better approach to this situation that doesn’t require being a bully to stop a bully. Inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” 

I will be speaking largely from experience because I want to leave it up to you to decide if what’s happened to me constitutes as bullying. Also, how I grew into someone who learned how to deal with bullies. Again, this worked for me, but I do not want you to believe I am trying to convince you that what I have to say is a cure-all when it comes to bullying. My WordPress articles are designed to share experiences and ask big questions of my readers in a hope that inspires solution in their lives. Any and all criticism is welcomed and encouraged, my comments section sure could use the hits too!

When I was 10 years old, Phillip, a friend of mine and I were at a little league game catching foul balls and home-runs, much like all the other kids. It was always fun to rough house with my friends and run as fast as we could to be first to get the ball. Simple, childish, blissfully ignorant fun. After catching a few and returning enough of them, they let my friend Phillip keep one of the balls which we then started to throw back and forth. Eventually, the ball rolled into the area the bully of this story was playing with his friend. It’s not important how he looked or how old or what he was wearing or doing, what’s important here is the idea that exist in people’s mind that they can control you with force and coercion. To a large degree this is true, however, the reality is that a peaceful situation is vastly superior to a situation involving violence. The idea of non-aggression for all intensive purposes is the ideal situation to be in. Bullies on the other hand do not seem to catch on to this really simple notion that we should not hit, take, or lie to others around us in order to get what we want.

Moving on with the story, Phillip asked for his ball back and the bully of course said no. My friend said please and the bully got in his face and intimidated him into giving the ball up. I remember this being one of the first times in my life I felt like I was standing up for something good and noble. So I approached the bully and held out my hand to get the ball back for my friend. This must have driven the bully nuts because he clobbered me with the ball over the top of my eyebrow  and then punched me a few times for good measure. I was immediately knocked out but the bully dropped the ball and kicked dirt in my face before walking away. So we got the ball back and I went home where my mother flew off the handle and called the police. Looking back, this is one of those times when I feel the police did a really good job in handling the situation and is part of the silver lining that is statist society. Apologies were in order, no charges were pressed, and my friend had his base-ball.

I look at this story with a bit of shame, because of how differently I would handle the situation now days. At 10 years old it had not occurred to me that there are vastly superior ways to help everyone in the situation get what they want without violence taking place. I should not have been so pretentious with the bully and respected his age and size advantage. Also, not being trained to defend myself, I would have chosen to speak more wisely and reason with the bully in a way that appealed to his lighter side if he had one at all that is. I believe in this approach because any escalation towards violence is a bad thing. The bully is doing plenty of that work so it is up to you, the victim, to provide opportunities for peaceful negotiations and reasoning to take place. I believe it is possible to come out of these situations with a new friend even! All because you had the knowledge and ability to provide the platform for this to take place.

What I just described is my second line of defense from bullying. The first being avoidance of violence. This is merely a pre-caution one takes in their lives to avoid potential violence by choosing not to interact with those engaging in aggressive and violent behavior towards others. Meaning, if you can, run away! Not that this is always possible, but we’ll get to that in a moment. In my story, the bully got a baseball from my friend. While it is wrong of him to steal anything at all, your health and well-being are more important than any material thing like a baseball. Looking back, Phillip and I should have simply walked away and had fun doing something else. However, as I just said, this will not always be possible. My next story will illustrate an example when logic, reasoning, rules, and escape are impossible.

This has suddenly become a controversial topic as of late. Though I am confused as to why, I think I have a small understanding of why someone would be against the use of force in self-defense. In my own situation, I was at a party with friends and one of the younger guys at this party had something to prove. Younger, but much larger and stronger than myself. He started pushing me around so I tried to make my exit, but the second I turned around he pushed me to the ground and began kicking me relentlessly. I knew right then that if I didn’t react to this violence swiftly that I would end up in the hospital. Once you see or fall victim to violent behavior, it is typical to feel adrenaline pumping through your veins. I felt nothing but righteous indignation as I rose to me feet. I have never had martial arts training of any kind, but it all happened so suddenly and swiftly. I believe self-defense is a natural part of life for most if not all life.

The reaction to protect yourself from violence is not something that anyone or anything can take away from you. It is a choice to fight back or lay down and take a beating, unfortunately, a lot of times, bully’s hurt people for really selfish and illogical reasons. I did not hurt the boy, I got on top of him and pushed my forearm into his throat and applied enough pressure to pin him down. After several seconds I let off of him because I knew I did not want to hurt him. I held him down until finally he stopped struggling and asked him continuously if he was willing stop and talk. This experience left a big impact on me because it proved to me that self-defense does not have to be the blood and guts some would have you believe it is. Self preservation can be done in a very peaceful way that provides a large stage on which peaceful events can take place. This even involves taking preventative measures which bring people together just to increase standard of living so that there is even less potential for violence.

To sum up, bullying is a part of the human experience. It is when an individual miss understands the word freedom and takes it to an extreme where logic and reality do not apply to them. They are under the impression that it is perfectly okay for them to treat you like this because they believe you to be inferior to them. Either that or they feel so terrible about themselves that the only way they can feel accomplished is by wrecking someone else’s day. In either case, there are plenty of measures we as individuals can take to avoid, reason with, and even physically defend yourself from bullies.

Please comment below, I am interested in hearing other people’s opinions on these subjects including criticism. 

Don’t forget to rate please! Thank you for reading and have a blessed day!

 
Scott D. Vogler

Exploring: Micro-Organisms & Nano-Technology

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Exploring My Curiosity and Expanding My Ideas. 

The reason I am blogging on this topic is to seek advice. I am very interested in this, however, cannot seem to help the fact that I almost fall asleep every time I try to research it. I am seeking advice from those in the medical field for their opinions on how best to learn about the important issues surrounding micro-organisms.

I have an idea about reality that humanity will lead itself to a semi-utopian society through the use of technology. I believe we will be able to introduce nano-bots into our bodies which will analyze and manipulate the fauna of life that lives within us to work for us instead of against us. I believe we can find a way to use genetics to create artificial life forms, which like Virus’s copy itself into our genetic code and in contrast to a virus, benefits our over all health greatly. I do not have a plethora of knowledge on this subject but I am very interested in learning more about how bacteria breed, survive, what kills them, what helps them thrive, and many other issues surrounding micro-organisms.

Right now my understanding of micro-organisms is infantile at best. I understand that some are very harmful and some are benign in nature and are also a vital part of our eco-system. I’m not sure I am asking the right questions, but I can’t help but imagine a world in which we use technology to help scientist run test to nullify the harmful aspects these micro-organisms. Even using them to enhance our health in creative ways. Of course I am no scientist, however, I have found that science is open to asking questions with a big paint brush.

I know that depending on the type, some forms of bacteria can live on an inanimate object for hours, if not weeks while others have an average life span of about 20 minutes. What happens to a single bacteria over its life time that gives it it’s purpose for existing? What function and micro-function does a single bacteria serve and how will humanity adapt to any threats these life forms may pose as result of co-existing in reality? I’ll answer this way, it appears to me that these ancient life forms have been around much longer than we have and that underestimating their destructive impact upon us is akin to stuffing your head directly into the sand. I have a personal philosophy of Non-Aggression which I apply to all life forms. Could we not use technology to both give harmful bacteria what it wants, while nullifying any negative impacts they might have upon us? Could technology of this magnitude also enhance our bodies by injecting beneficial genetic coding directly into our DNA and cellular structures? I believe we can achieve balance in nature through the use of solid philosophy and even more solid science to increase the harmony and prosperity of all life in the world and eventually into the universe around us.

To me, the triumph of science is the ability to make acute observations of broad ideas and dissecting every aspect of those ideas which eventually, after accumulating more knowledge based on experiments, a more accurate understanding of those ideas and the ability to implement those ideas in everyday life. I am here because I believe science allows big ideas from small people to become a reality. I am on a computer right now after all, thanks to scientist who brought about the technological revolution. I am able to send my article directly to everyone around the world to anyone who has access to it. It is my hope that my questions are addressed even if not directly to me. If I have even an indirect input on a positive result then I am happy to reach only one person with my articles.

Thank you for reading.

 
Scott D. Vogler

Please respond however you feel necessary, this post will always be open for discussion so long as I have access to it. 🙂