HUMINT: Seven Years
Since 9-11-2001, millions of Americans, and millions of people from other nations, have faced up to the threats and destabilizing acts of a few suicidal cowards. Before I begin to cover what this essay is about, I want to clarify what this essay is not about:
1. It is not about the pain of September 11, 2001,
2. It is not about the murders that occurred that day
3. It is not about the fear of death caused by terrorists in the past
4. It is not about the anxiety of anticipating new terrorist acts in the future.
IT IS ABOUT LIFE: This essay is about defining critical terms important to the process of remembering tragedies. Without a clear understanding of the terms; life, death and fear… there can be no peace or justice in the aftermath of such tragedy. The focus of this remembrance essay is also on terrorists’ fear of life. In addition to that, it’s also an admission that there will be a cultural projection of what I believe about life, death and fear on to what I cannot understand about the people who could commit such an evil crime.
TERRORISTS FEAR LIFE: I believe the perpetrators of 9-11-2001, were driven by fear of living in our imperfect world. In other words, reality could not meet their expectations so they quit the life they had, taking other individuals’ lives in the process.
NEVER FORGET: To remember 9-11-2001, it is important to revisit the concepts of fear, life and death. These ideas must be redefined in order to observe their meaning in the context of 9-11-2001… Why? The notion of existence, in terms of political terrorism, does not subscribe to traditional definitions of life and death. While I do not know what the concepts of fear, life and death mean to terrorists, nor do I care, for their sake. I do however know what the concepts of fear, life and death mean to me.
LIFE IS: Life is the pursuit of happiness without unduly infringing on the lives of others. Life is a struggle for independence from servitude while simultaneously transcending all dependence on servants. Life is liberty, freedom of choice and the self control to restrain ones self from over indulgence in the presence of plenty.
DEATH IS: Death is anxiety over probable events that have not yet occurred. Death is a prayer for misfortune of others, when those “others” wish he who is praying no ill will. Death is the absence of choice. Death is the absence of all temptation or similarly, death is the protection from all temptation. Death is perceived powerlessness while the real power from within is ignored.
FEAR IS: Since a person can be, by these definitions, physically alive, but exist in a dead state, fear is what death feels like. Fear is the observable phenomenon that grips the living dead. It is not fear of death that renders a living person dead. Rather, it is a haunting fear of life that renders a terrorist capable of committing acts contrary to the pursuit of happiness.
TERMS REDEFINED: By these definitions, one must be mortally alive to experience the joys of life. However, one could be physically alive – with a heart beat – but be dead to the joys of life. In other words, one need not die to be dead. A coward, like those who attacked on 9-11-2001, is already dead and they die in their minds many times before the natural life in their body expires.
1. If a person is physically alive, they may, by these definitions, be alive or dead.
2. If a person is physically dead, they are dead without any possibility of life.
3. Fear is what a person who is physically alive feels as they prepare for death.
4. Fear of death is death.
5. Fear of life is death.
6. Therefore, fear is death
7. Do not fear
NO CONCLUSIONS: There is no conclusion to an enduring definition of life that leads to your happiness, your liberty and the liberty of your family, friends and neighbors. A life worthy of enduring should not fear either life or death. The power to live a great life is within each of us. The experience of the last seven years after such a tragedy is proof that our nation can endure difficulty. We may yet prove that our nation can eliminate all of those who committed the terrorist act on 9-11-2001 and target every nation, group or person who indirectly encouraged 9-11-2001.
DO NOT FEAR: To live in a state of fear, or to fear life itself, is the only physical experience of death we will ever have. Do not waste your life approaching death in fear. Instead, spend your life proving that liberty and happiness are why we want to be alive.
WHAT AMERICANS KNOW: Before the tragedy of 9-11-2001, there was the enlightened day of 7-4-1776, the great day the United States was born. Since that day all Americans were given a license to exercise liberty. Since that day, many have sought to deny Americans (including other Americans during the civil war among other times…) our just pursuits. Many more have suggested Americans do deserve our liberties at all…
ALLIED TO LIBERTY: That there are men who would deny natural rights to others is not new. Americans knew in the 18th century, as we knew on 9-11-2001, as we still know and will forever know, an American’s liberty is worth more than their life lived without it. If anyone or anything is determined to prevent your liberty and happiness, they deserve your overt and conscious resistance. If anyone or anything is determined to prevent your liberty and happiness, consider Americans your ally in the struggle against oppression.
HUMINT: Free Body
In science and engineering related industries, there is an essential tool called a FREE BODY DIAGRAM. It’s commonly used by scientists and engineers to predict the future. Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion is probably the most important narrative of the FREE BODY DIAGRAM. Newton’s third law states that for every force there is an equal and opposite force. To express that concept geometrically, [engineers | mathematicians | physicists] use vectors. A vector is used in FREE BODY DIAGRAMS to express a magnitude and a direction for a force.
Newton lived between the years 1643 to 1727 and has had an indelible impact on anyone willing to admit that mankind has the capacity to formulate accurate explanations of events. These days, it would be absurd to dismiss his 17th century thinking as obsolete. The fact is; Newtonian Physics effectively explains most of the observable phenomenon happening around us in our world today.
Newton was a Brit. However, his national origin has little relevance on the propagation and use of Newtonian Physics. A FREE BODY DIAGRAM is not a subject for nationalistic debate. Rather, it is arguably the best way to accurately predict the future.
It’s unfortunate that the future location of a projectile is not considered a more viable resource for predicting the future of society or the future of conflict than a strip mall psychic. Indeed, it would be interesting if social scientists were able to use a measure of Newton’s genius to test the legitimacy of their craft.
Instead, casual supposition still pervades the social sciences. Politics and war are as they always have been, but occur now in a modern context. Conquest is out of fashion these days but the underlying neural mechanics that made imperialism and colonialism fashionable a half century ago have not changed one iota. We are of the same mind as our ancestors, as far back as 50,000 years.
What that means is that our modern society holds the biological capacity to do anything our ancestors did over the last 50,000 years. While it would be nice to forget the past and assert that history is obsolete, we cannot and should not. Ask yourself about the origins of our contemporary stability… if you are honest, you’ll find that peaceful coexistence in contemporary America originated with the Declaration of Independence and continued all the way through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Martin Luther King quoted Jefferson and Lincoln in his socially transformative speeches… but social scientists tend to shy away from assigning sociological vectors to Jefferson, Lincoln, King and forecasting who will rise up to their ideas and ideals in this decade or the next.
HUMINT: In terms of propagating civility today, the plasticity of the human brain affords each of us the ability to adopt new and more complementary behavior. That’s why Americans take peaceful coexistence for granted today and so many other societies cannot tolerate themselves, much less outsiders…
Indeed, it is the raw power of each of our individual intellects that represents the most encouraging asset society has. Ideally, we should be organizing, agitating and educating young Americans. Instead, most Americans accept the ritual pacification they receive daily – as if it were a good thing…
Unfortunately, the more pacified we each become, the more susceptible each of us are to the influences of historical oppressors such as Mao Tse Dong, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, and Ruhola Khomeini. These men of the past represent a negative force in society. These names engender fear precisely because they became mass murderers to further their political ambitions.
As a social scientist, create a politically derived FREE BODY DIAGRAM for the ideas of Jefferson, Lincoln and King confronting the ideas of Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Khomeini… Does the diagram abide by Newton’s third law of motion? Do the positive forces of the liberators cancel the negative forces of the despots?
HUMINT: Advocating democratization may sound provocative, even interventionist, but it isn’t. Instead it is the exact opposite of provocation. Democratization policies presuppose that less intervention is preferred to more intervention. The objective of democratization policy should be to tip a volatile situation in favor of freedom and stability without offensive or defensive violence.
WHO can democratize best? Everyone! Democratization as a foreign policy represents a commitment from all strata of society. Unfortunately, these diverse elements remain uncoordinated today. Fortunately, intra-national and inter-national incompetence is not a permanent condition. To perform effectively, democratization requires a synchronized philosophy of civil society or at least a cross-cultural commitment to find and respect such a philosophy. Once articulated, that philosophy must cross traditional cultural as well as interagency boundaries.
WHAT isn’t democratization? Synching a healthy philosophy of governance among national leaders isn’t neo-colonialism. Democratization is about explaining what a healthy society actually is. Between you and me, I don’t have all of those answers. To be sure, the best answers are a moving target. Unlike colonialism, democratization is always a two-way conversation.
DOES local dysfunction hurt central government? We do know and can empirically prove that dysfunction at a local level adversely influences central governments. That fact is as true for the United States as it is anywhere else in the world. Therefore the principal mission of democratization is to empirically demonstrate how central governments, retarded by local dysfunction, adversely impact international stability. Democratization is about honestly assessing and reporting the results of policies around the world and offering thoughtful alternatives to policies that perpetuate dysfunction at a local level.
ARE Americans nation builders? To that end, Americans needn’t open their wallets for massive nation-building projects. People around the world intend to develop and pacify their own communities themselves. When they are failing however, it should not be assumed that they are failing on purpose. Every community in the world is burdened with common obstacles. Many of the obstacles nations are facing today, American institutions overcame centuries ago. Here is where American mentorship and management has an essential win-win role to play.
IS the USA positive? Democratization is also about American officials demonstrating that the USA is playing a positive role wherever Americans are involved. Indeed, democratization efforts are occurring already. The US government should highlight its success stories but does not. A major problem is that positive American democratization policies are poorly explained, allowed to be mischaracterized for nefarious ends, and almost never justified by Americans with the zeal they deserve. It’s time to start explaining that democracy is a positive pursuit.
WILL it be hard? Yes, but less hard than dealing with governments that hide their intent and do not respond to internal or external dissent. Let’s be honest about the costs of democratization. Curbing misconceptions is not the same thing as curbing offensive or defensive violence. Violence may occur when a clarification is made. That’s fine! Fighting isn’t failure. Democracy is no guarantor of peace and stability. Instead, democracy is a proven procedural approach to achieve sustainable peace and sustainable stability.
WHY democracy? Democratization is about fostering transparency and responsiveness of government institutions. Not only does democratization curb threats, it creates new opportunity. For the sake of increasing opportunity, as well as saving lives and resources, it’s time to start explaining that the pursuit of democracy is a positive pursuit and in so doing, encourage democrats around the world!
1. Image assigned to this post is of George Washington crossing the Delaware. During the night of December 25, 1776 Washington led his troops across the ice-swollen Delaware about 9 miles north of Trenton. The weather was horrendous and the river treacherous. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain to produce almost impossible conditions. To add to the difficulties, a significant number of Washington's force marched through the snow without shoes. Washington's leadership is an historical benchmark for democratization efforts.
HUMINT: Thank You
This essay was composed to thank everybody who does what they do when they are motivated by a sense of justice, righteousness and civility.
Thanks go to the owners and employees of businesses; you keep lines short so citizens can do whatever it is they do when they’re not wasting their time in lines. Thanks to bankers for keeping our money safe and currency legitimate. Special thanks go to judges and lawyers; your knowledge of case law establishes the rules by which we all live and thrive. Thanks go to police officers, fire fighters and hospital staff. Without you, society would be corrupt, on fire and sick, which would be Hell. Your effort to keep chaos at bay is nothing less than an undeclared war… Thank you.
Thank you, Rabbis, Priests and Clerics. Your various interpretations of scripture guide many of the world’s inhabitants toward tolerance and justice. There are too many spiritual heroes to name here but there is one example worth mentioning; Islam’s Imam Hussein sought to inspire life by risking his own. His journey to Valhalla was not suicide, but a risk taken in faith against long odds. Those are the facts of Imam Hussein’s narrative as I understand them. Indeed, Imam Hussein was a public servant.
Thank you, public servants! No other role contradicts the core American identity more than that of a career public servant. It must be difficult. A servant’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is secondary, conciliatory and supportive to that of all other American citizens’ pursuit of life liberty and happiness.
Thank you, soldiers, sailors and airmen. The United States is an island of peaceful coexistence surrounded on all sides by divisive forces. The world beyond our borders taxes you most of all. Corruption, poverty and violence are three sides of the same coin. Where diplomacy is ineffectual, you will be called to protect Americans from the ever present threat of chaos.
Entrepreneurs and inventors, thank you! You have liberated so many hours of laborious tedium, our children have little, or no concept of manual labor. Before household appliances, keeping our homes clean and our families fed required every ounce of energy. Suffice to say that those are only the most vivid examples of your intellectual generosity. Thank you for all of your inventions that we do not see but enjoy every minute of every day. The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness could not march forward without your eternal vigilance.
Thank you parents! No one is more responsible for the condition of society than you. Thank you for teaching your children to stand up for what they believe in. Thatnk you for teaching your children to respect the oppinions of others. What you do is taken for granted, misunderstood and misrepresented. There is no manual that comes with a child; only a flood of informed opinion; sometimes wrong, but always well meaning.
And last but not least, thanks go to our own intelligence. Thank you for making smart, intelligent decisions untied to dogma, cognizant of history, aligned with the American national identity. Nothing deserves higher regard. Thanks!
HUMINT: Hypocritical Labels
Reasons for believing in and supporting any American policy are subject to change. Indeed, change is a natural part of the human condition. There should be no shame in changing one’s mind, if the reasons for doing so are empirically defensible.
Obviously, flippant opinions on subjects as serious as American-War policy are dangerous. At the same time, American policy can be over-analyzed and mischaracterized. Such hypocritical labeling leads the public and their representatives toward erroneous conclusions and bad policy decisions.
Where consistency should not waiver though are the broad strokes. Missing the BIG picture is a serious error with serious consequences. Unfortunately, many people do miss the BIG picture. How? The BIG picture changes very slowly, almost imperceptibly.
Its slowness breeds misinterpretation. To see the BIG picture as it truly is, consider taking the long-view. Dig into history. Find the important trends. Look for successful parallels in the past. Bear witness to past failures in order to learn what NOT to believe.
The BIG picture is most discernable when juxtaposing facts sampled over long periods of time. In terms of American policy, the big picture appears to be:
1. The United States is a positive moral force in the world today and has been since 1776
These five points are empirically defensible. Labels contradicting them are taxing but welcome. A contradictory mischaracterization is ultimately a hypocritical label. Here’s why; labeling a positive force negative sustains bad policy. That’s an embodiment of hypocrisy.
Hypocritical labels deserve to be challenged. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who mischaracterizes the United States. Irrespective of where the distortion comes from; a foreign official or an American activist, every single mischaracterization deserves a rhetorical confrontation.
What will that confrontation look like? Inevitably, challenges to the BIG picture, will be conceptually deconstructed. Political discourse on the subject tends to lean toward specific policy failures or questionable military practices. That’s fine!
Those debates are an exercise in free speech  and precisely why the United States is a positive moral force in the world today. The freedom to accumulate and present empirical evidence virtually guarantees improvement in policy and tactics.
Broadening the scope of this essay beyond American policy; success in anything, including victory at war, is not possible without incremental improvements derived through informed debate.
Where should the debate occur? Unfortunately, that’s not a rational choice to make. The debate must occur wherever and whenever a mischaracterization is made.
Why should the debate occur? Obviously, not every confused soul is going to listen to an intellectual argument rooted in empirical evidence, but mischaracterizations shouldn’t be ignored.
However, there are priorities among the broad ecosystem of mischaracterizations. To be sure, the debate must happen when the results of an American policy or military tactic do not satisfy the BIG picture.
Engaging in debate over policy and tactics is the least an American patriot can do. Failure is not the intent of any American policy or tactic. American policy failures under public scrutiny right now cannot substitute as the BIG picture for American domestic or foreign policy. That’s substituting a distorted short-view for a more accurate long-view. Unfortunately, the substitution is made too often, causing a public opinion vortex.
When public opinion is distorted by mischaracterizations of American foreign or domestic policy, the world is burdened with a hypocritical label.
1. The painting on this post is entitled "Freedom of Speech": In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech about the "Four Freedoms" everyone should have: freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship. Norman Rockwell painted these Four Freedoms. These paintings succeeded in raising almost $133 million in war-bond purchases. Norman Rockwell said the Four Freedoms were "serious paintings which sucked the energy right out of me, leaving me dazed and thoroughly weary." Rockwell uses various techniques to draw your attention to the main character in Freedom of Speech. The speaker is in the center of the scene and he is the only one standing. Other people in the picture are looking up at him. Rockwell creates a strong sense that the speaker is really speaking and that the listeners are really listening. To illustrate listening, he slightly exaggerated the size of their ears.
HUMINT: Musical Chairs
The game “Musical Chairs” is played by a group of N people. The rules are so simple, they’re almost stupid. When the music stops, each player must find a seat. While the music is playing, the players walk, dance, trot or meander around a row of N-1 chairs. The chairs are configured in a circle or are arranged to face front and back at repeating intervals of two. This is to ensure players standing on either side of the row of seats can find one quickly when the music stops. If the letters p and b represent the chairs facing opposite directions, the configuration would look something like [pbpbpbpb] if N=9. But there aren’t enough chairs… Count them. There are 8. That’s the point of the game. The player left standing when the music stops is that round’s loser.
The type of music playing isn’t supposed to matter to the players. The only thing that should influence the behavior of the players is whether or not the music is on or off. The game represents a Boolean condition. If the music is on, everyone is standing. If the music is off, everyone must be sitting. Anyone standing when the music isn't playing exists in a false condition.
The game however could become complicated if the music were to directly contradict the rules of the game. Imagine playing musical chairs to the song “Get Up! Stand Up!” by Bob Marley (I am a fan) and the Wailers. If the players listen to the lyrics, believe in the lyrics, put faith in the lyrics… Well, then it wouldn’t be musical chairs anymore… It would be a different game entirely.
HUMINT: Iranian Tyranny
The Islamic Republic of Iran is directly and indirectly perpetuating violence across the Middle East. Iran backs violence because it is a sectarian and dogmatic regime. Iranian foreign policy is an ever-present danger. Iran’s ambitions are overt and extend well beyond the scope of illegally pursuing a dual use nuclear program. The Old Persian Empire is wearing a new shroud and it’s an oppressively theocratic breed of governance.
Wherever Iran operates, organizations supported by Tehran represent political forces that pursue the fracture of sovereign nations. Iran backs militias around the world that seek to become states within states. Hezbollah represents a near autonomous State within Lebanon. Hamas represents an autonomous state within Palestine. The lesson here is that Iranian foreign policy follows a clear pattern of reckless destabilization.
Iran destabilizes a host nation by encouraging strife at the local level, splitting local municipalities from their central government along sectarian lines. Overtime, this policy makes the central government fracture and look for external sources of cohesion. Ususally that cohesion is found through a shared enemy, IE the United States and or Israel. Regardless of which nation Iranian interference occurs in, the policy always threatens the sovereignty regional neighbors.
Make no mistake; the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a serious regional threat. That’s no secret. That’s not hype. That’s a fact. But Wait! If the situation in the Middle East were to improve, could the U.S. partner with Iran? Could the political situation conceivably improve if a “grand bargain” were struck between Iran and the United States? No! Iranian imperialism will continue destabilizing the Middle East because that’s the reality of that government’s world view. Iranian officials feed on crisis.
Some experts argue that the imperialist tendencies of the Iranian government are shared by the Iranian people themselves. Evidence suggests the opposite. In polls conducted in Iran, Iranians want to join the international community and are overwhelmingly pro-American. There’s no question about it. The Iranian people are not represented by their Government. Therefore, they are not likely to share the Iranian Government’s anti-American foreign policy either.
Yet many Western intellectuals argue that supporting the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations is too problematic and too confrontational to become official American policy. As for the Iranian people and Americans who support their aspirations for democracy, it’s definitely worth the risk to challenge the status-quo in Iran. 
Pundits who claim the Iranian people will side with Iranian clerics before siding with Americans who support their inalienable rights are missing the big picture. So what if Iranians do turn to their masters before embracing liberty? Those that side with tyranny over their own freedom are politically and diplomatically irrelevant. Therefore, international relations with Iran remain tenuous at best and dangerous at worst.
Iran’s intransigent birth cannot be downplayed. The Islamic Republic was born a hostage taking nation and continues to use hostage taking as leverage in foreign policy negotiations. Violence is embedded in the current Iranian government’s national identity. Nothing short of a regime change will end Tehran’s imperialist ambitions. Call this essay a quest for behavioral change among Iranian officials, if you like; nevertheless, regime change is this essay's ultimate demand. 
If recent newspaper headlines are an accurate indication of a shift in American foreign policy toward Iran, the United States has once again rejected a policy of regime change in that country. Recent headlines across Europe and the Middle East are lavishing praise on Iranian nuclear resistance to international requests for the Iranians to halt their nuclear enrichment program.
It's not in anybody’s interest that Iran receive a pass for its bad behavior. Western pressure to stop Iranian uranium enrichment has been met time and time again with deception and denials. Ultimately, U.S. consensus on the Iran issue has been capitulation. Rational requests from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to halt uranium enrichment are repeatedly denied by the Revolutionary Government of Iran with a consistency the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) and UNSC couldn’t match.
It’s been the Iranian government’s lying, sarcasm and stubbornness that effectively broke the back of the UNSC and the IAEA. The IAEA is tasked with inspecting declared nuclear sites in Iran. Instead, the IAEA has been complicit in Iranian lying, sarcasm and stubbornness through mismanagement and lethargy. Arguably the United Nations and its sister organizations have been a broken bureaucracy from their inception. So what do world leaders do? Do they find a way to make it work? Do they engender the will to face sarcastic liars? No! They dither!
None has dropped the atomic ball more than the world’s recognized democratic leader, the United States of America. U.S. efforts to curb Iranian domination are not easy, but they shouldn’t be undercut by agencies within the United States. Of course, Russia, China, Venezuela and Syria support Iran’s nuclear progress. Dictatorships actively sabotage the efficacy of democratic international relations. That’s because they aren’t democracies. Their obstructions are expected. Capitulating to these nations’ support for Iran’s defiance is capitulating to global dictatorships. That’s a far cry from the UN operating as a healthy global democracy. Global policy toward Iran at this time is no longer about consensus building, it’s about dithering. Arguably, that’s what the United Nations does all the time. Dither!
No matter how one looks at it, Iran’s inflexibility has been met with flexibility from the Untied States and the International community. That’s not pragmatism. That’s capitulation. The United States, a world leader for freedom and democracy looks as though it recently surrendered to an international oligarchy, hell bent on protecting Iran as it continues to develop the means to make a nuclear weapon!
The international community can continue equivocating over such things as Iran’s intent. In terms of the Iran threat, it represents more than a nuclear threat. The threat is the regime itself. Nothing’s changed.
HUMINT: Unconditional Love
HUMINT: Unconditional love can be expressed in many ways. I think of unconditional love as the emotional expression of a part for the whole. A mother and her newborn are emotionally inseparable. That’s an expression of unconditional love. Brothers may share it, if they’re close confidants. Soldiers may feel a version of unconditional love for those they risk everything for. A priest may feel unconditional love for his parishioners and vice-versa. Unconditional love is usually detached from materialism but it can indeed exist over purely material relations. A zealous store owner may feel a version of unconditional love for their most loyal customers.
The interconnectedness between part and whole is a transcendent bond that engenders unconditional love. Only through exercising those bonds can love be replenished. Without a sensation of unity; a part yearning to be whole, unconditional love is impossible. To understand unconditional love we need to consider what is conceivably whole and all the parts that contribute to its wholeness. Alternatively, we might assert, when parts are missing from the whole, there is an observable incompleteness.
At first glance, it’s apparent that none of the relationships that tie a part to its whole is ambivalent. In other words, the cohesion that binds a part to its whole is biased. It makes sense in the context of righteousness. There’s no such thing as righteous ambivalence. Pragmatism is often masqueraded as righteous ambivalence but instead, it’s self delusion; a form of escape; a part abandoning the whole.
Examples abound. Tribalism is often an elaborate expression of the bond between a member and their extended family. Nationalism is an elaborate expression of the bond between a citizen and their state. Consumerism is a bond between a consumer and their market choices. Environmentalism is a bond between a person and the earth. Spiritualism is an elaborate bond between the individual and their universe. None of these bonds is mutually exclusive. Each tug and push on the other, vying for equilibrium.
When these cohesive forces contradict each other too quickly or for too long, the inevitable result is a crash. In terms of tribes and nations, these crashes are called revolutions. They’re called recessions in terms of markets. When discussing the environment, they’re called extinctions. Only religion asserts its permanence yet we know that religions are as equally capable of extinction as are all of a faith’s adherents.
That said; how do we know these things? Inversely, how could we thrive if we did not know these things? Even if you’ve never heard of the scientific method, or never conducted a single laboratory experiment; we’re all aware of the past. Our unique interpretations of the past may deviate wildly; nevertheless we all know our present condition is a product of events that occurred in the past.
Humanity, in the here and now, represents all people --- a seemingly comprehensive whole to consider. Unconditional love exists between individuals and humanity, although it is very rare. It’s rare because it’s impractical. It only works for individuals loosely bound to their own past, and the history of all the wholes they belong. It might work for revolutionary idealists, but not their children or their children’s children. That’s because unconditional love for humanity is not the same as the whole represented by all of human history.
Human history is a truly comprehensive whole. Like religion, history, so long as there is a person capable of learning and remembering it, is impervious to crashing. Unlike religion though, humanity’s history includes all of the religions any one of us or our ancestors have ever believed in. Indeed, unlike these other sub-wholes [Tribe Nation Market] are each included in human history. Unfortunately, unconditional love does not exist between historical events (the parts) and history (the whole). History’s many parts are incapable of emotion; therefore past events have no cohesion to the whole of human history. It’s only through iterative interpretation of historical events that cohesive parts begin gravitating toward a unified whole.
That’s what all of us do with the history we think we know. The truth is, only historians operate with the legitimate qualifications, AKA, academic license, to organize historical events into a cohesive unified whole. Every other interpretation of history is just a convoluted opinion cobbled together by the emotional mix that guides each of us through our lives.
Maybe, one day, when historians are allowed to abandon their own [Tribes Nations Markets Environments Religions] and begin articulating human history as the whole that it truly is, the rest of us highly emotional laymen will understand the deeper meaning of our life, love and work in the context of all the life, love and work that was accomplished before us. From that awakening, we will see ourselves anew; we will find a new respect for history and an unconditional love for the future.
Among the competing forces that define who we are now, there is a force generated by the image of who we intend to be in the future. Constantly baptized by the fires of history making events, for better or worse, we are all changing. The questions we should be asking ourselves and each other are “how?” and “why?” Arguably, the force compelling us to succeed in harmony with each other is the most potent of all forces. Its power is an enduring theme throughout human history because it is a complementary force. Given freedom, and an accurate history, there is no reason to believe we couldn’t all be born again, in sustainable peace. That’s my definition of victory.
In short, our history deserves unconditional respect and our future deserves unconditional love.
HUMINT: Satire as Philosophy
Satire: a manner of writing that mixes a critical attitude with wit and humor in an effort to improve mankind and human institutions.
HUMINT: Political theater in the form of satire makes introducing taboo subjects relatively easy. Good satire has real power. Introducing a subject in the form of a joke is like adding a giggly escape hatch for all of a conversation’s participants. But comedic reprieves from responsibility only work for those willing or able to retreat from tough subjects. John Stewart and Steven Colbert are perfect examples of America’s finest satirists. These men herd public opinion with satire as if they were cowboys driving livestock across the mid-western prairie. These two brilliant comedians make Americans laugh about subjects that we would otherwise prefer to avoid. Even if we don’t need a humorous back door to the tough subjects in America, we still want a comedic escape hatch. Indeed, we’re willing to pay for it as though it were as important as our prescription drugs...
Unlike American society, some societies need a scocio-political escape hatch just to think straight. Anonymity (using an alias and IP Address masking software) combined with satirical ambiguity is particularly useful in societies where spreading controversy can get you executed. An Iranian dissident for example, might be able to speak his or her mind -- pseudo freely -- encrypted by satire -- to avoid a few years in jail, avoid a public beating, or avoid execution. Unfortunately, the fascist authoritarians ruling Iran with an iron fist today are not known for their sense of humor. But that’s them… not us… que sera sera.
Living in a society like America or Europe, where controversy is embraced, satire is an indelible art. Comedians are masters of controversy and Americans love comedians. But how does it work? Who protects a comedian’s right to joke and the audience’s right to laugh? We all do… To be sure, citizens afforded the requisite security to be controversial by their government and their society is a rare phenomenon. When juxtaposed against the violent and mostly authoritarian history of humankind, living with a little uncomfortable controversy every once in a while has become very comfortable indeed.
What changed? Who is responsible for our modern freedoms? We all are! Our role in society is a function of what we collectively believe or have the capacity to believe… Our social identity evolved through iterations of victory in our wars, curing our diseases, feeding our hungry children and learning from our dissenters --- be they satirists, philosophers or cynics.
Let’s not give to much credit to the suffering of our ancestors. Humanity is not made better through suffering. Humanity is made better by outwitting the causes of suffering. There is no humility in defeat. There is only humility in a willingness to change in order to succeed, eventually. Case in point: Americans respect each other’s inalienable rights because our intellectual DNA constantly informs us of the inherent danger of NOT respecting each others inalienable rights. To that end, satire has played a major role in helping Americans understand who we are.
For context, consider the satirical approach to feminism taken by the renowned philosopher Plato . In ancient Greece, Plato introduced the idea of women’s participation in democratic government as if it were a satirical joke. His thoughts about women leading men were comedic, but prophetic. To what extent Plato thought women could or should lead society is debatable, but that’s not the issue. Given the status of women in ancient Greece, could Plato have introduced the idea of women’s rights without a satirical façade? Could any Athenian have protected Plato from an angry mob if he didn’t add a humorous escape hatch to the notion of Athenian women as equals or as leaders?
Nowadays, it’s taken for granted that the political ideas of American women deserve the attention afforded to all American citizens in every public forum. Ask any American and they’ll tell you about America’s implicit and explicit gender rules. What does Plato’s story teach us? The lesson is; Plato introduced the idea of feminism imperfectly and the subject has morphed into something else; a new feminist philosophy about gender and leadership. We know Plato’s philosophy did not spread without controversy or consequence. Consciously intended or not, Plato’s concepts on the subject were encrypted by satire. Satirical encryption may have saved his life… His satirical expression may have help create and thus save our American lives. It was Athenian society and Plato’s willingness to express his philosophy that contributed to the creation of our American democracy. America’s Founding Fathers knew Greek history.
As they did, we know too, ancient Athens was a bloody place in Plato’s day. Freedom and her companion, Justice , were talked about at great length in ancient Athens by men like Plato. But what ancient Athenians practiced wouldn’t look much like freedom or justice to modern Americans. That fact cannot diminish the socio-political trajectory ancient democracy established. It was their ancient mental model that helped develop the mental models of America’s Founding Fathers. If and when Americans are inclined to look for their philosophical ancestry, they’re bound to discover something about themselves. Regardless of what our emotion may tell us about the ancients and their ways, basic human freedoms are both subjectively and objectively defined in American law.
That said; is there a logical limit to freedom or justice? Are Americans a free people? Yes, we certainly are! Can Americans challenge their authority figures in public? Yes, we do! What about controversial opinions and American national security? Is it safe to disagree satirically, philosophically, or cynically on issues related to the security of the United States? Of course it is safe to do so! Whether or not it is healthy to be cynical about American leadership is another subject. The fact remains, U.S. National Security is represented by a highly educated cadre of career professionals who embody personal responsibility and sustain the American Republic with military strength, rational analysis and perpetual readiness.
My respect and admiration for this generation of American men and women leading the United States today cannot be overstated. Likewise, my ambition for them to succeed cannot be overstated. My success is inextricably linked to theirs, as is all Americans’ success. Their failure would be my failure… Failure is an unnecessary and unacceptable outcome and could only occur in the realm of ideas. History has shown that our freedom is our strength. History has shown what Americans can do. History suggests what Americans will do.
Are American officials perfect? No! Do they make mistakes? Yes! Are American officials approachable in the context of correcting the mistakes they’ve made? Yes, they are! These truisms exist whether or not American citizens agree or disagree with U.S. policy. Even the most obtuse critics of American foreign policy argue that American officials are doing what they believe is necessary to protect the United States and our allies abroad. That’s a good thing! American officials should be trying to protect American interests. In many instances, American interests coincide with the world’s interests, but that’s not the crux of most American disagreement, argument and debate. The core disagreements between Americans are over methods to achieve those interests, whatever those interests may be.
Are American citizens (or anyone else for that mater) obliged to treat their disagreements with American foreign or domestic policy issues as a joke, presented in satirical form, providing themselves and the United States Government a comedic escape hatch? No they are not! Are American citizens obliged to sue the United States government for every mistake one of its representatives makes? No, what a waste of time and tax! Are problems in society too big to fix without a utopian myth and a charismatic leader to chase? No, not at all!
In practical terms, however you decide to express yourself, look to others for advice, look for solutions and look for happiness. Keep your expectations realistic and optimistic. Realize, not all rules benefit society. Realize some members of society will refuse to follow the rules. Challenge the rules you think hurt more people than they help. Think about what rules people break and why. Challenge authority. Challenge cynics. Cynicism is as much an illusion as utopia and the charismatic leaders who claim utopia exists if only we were all perfect... None of us are perfect. Use historical analogy. Use your imagination. Use satire when it suits the subject matter, but know that satire stylistically distorts the material it conveys. Satire is the art of bending our familiar rules of implicit and explicit communication. Realize that success embraces communities that exercise their freedom to learn, speak and assemble. And finally --- Be proud of your ideology. Describe it accurately no matter how seductive it appears to be. Whatever you believe, if you only represent your philosophy as satire, it will forever remain the joke you’ve made it to be.
Plato as a Proto-Feminist --- EXCERPT: Of course, we cannot be absolutely certain of Plato’s views… such knowledge would be impossible without interviewing the philosopher himself. But, through careful analyses of his writings, we can certainly glean out ideas which paint him as a proto-feminist.
 The image is of blind justice with its pixel color inverted, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert in the upper right corner and the Parthenon sits in the lower right corner. Inverting the image of justice is my satire. The meaning remains but the overall seriousness of the statue is limited by manipulating the image’s color. Stewart and Colbert are brilliant satirists. While they are funny, the direction they are going with their satire deserves to be challenged. The Parthenon in the lower right corner represents the Athenian Empire, Athenian Democracy and Plato’s world. That era deeply influences Americans today even if most of us don’t realize it.
HUMINT: Mental Models
Seductive: tending to entice into a desired action or state.
Successful: having succeeded or being marked by a favorable outcome.
HUMINT: Survival depends on a clear conception of how the world works. You can be wrong but it always has consequences. Your personal understanding of the world and its mechanics is a model of reality. Your model transcends your personality. It transcends your nationalism. It transcends your religion. It’s true no matter what threatens the survival of your model or what threatens your reality. Understanding our history in the context of world history helps us form our models, but history alone cannot serve as sufficient mental model. At best, history is a user’s manual for society. That’s why historians tend to be extremely competent model makers. Historians can see patterns most of us can’t. But don’t embrace a historian’s version of reality casually. Just because historians can see patterns and articulate them doesn’t guarantee those patterns are real or relevant to the rest of us today. History is an interpretive enterprise. Historians aren’t priests. They don’t demand your faith so don’t give it to them. History is comprised of disconnected windows into the past; like pieces of a model that someone is going to glue together. Too often history is ignored when we’re building our mental models. What I’d like American professionals, professors, and politicians to realize is that history’s pieces will be fashioned into a model, by someone, whether we like the results or not.
If you’re expecting me to force my model on you, that’s not what this essay is about. That’s not what my writings here at human intelligence are about either. It’s a fool’s errand to force a model on anyone. By virtue of their existence, all models are seductive. Put a brick on a podium in an art gallery and you’ll see what I mean. As the pontificators gather around it, they’ll invest their own meaning in the brick. I’d like to believe the most accurate mental models are the most socially seductive, but they’re not. The most accurate models are usually the most successful, but success is not universal, therefore successful mental models tend to be unseductive when other illusory choices are offered. Ultimately, it’s not what a mental model looks like that matters. It’s what a mental model does for its subscriber. Successful Washingtonian, Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, to name a few mental architects, have a high melting point in our American melting pot, but the mental models they created for Americans are not indestructible. The work done by the Founding Fathers is being undone by a number of disingenuous members of American Authority who claim American foreign policy is an arbitrary adventure in aggression.
Any implication of arbitrary acts of aggression committed for the sake of a nation or government is enough to degrade any mental model that sustains that nation or government. In terms of Iraq and Afghanistan, empirical evidence does not support accusations that the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War were not necessary. Despite the lowest record of error and casualties in any American war ever, the daily news in America and around the world is replete with implications of misconduct. The fact is, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan are being conducted with a high degree of professionalism. Those are the facts… So, why are there implications to the contrary? Where are the implications of misconduct coming? If consensual government is a just cause, where’s the disconnect between success on the battlefield and support for our wars abroad?
I don’t know the answer. I do however know that long term peace (a highly desirable outcome of any violent conflict) fosters the idea that all aggression is arbitrary. This is a very self destructive misunderstanding of violence in the midst of a struggle for consensual government in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans are ideologically and institutionally geared to fight for inalienable rights, liberty and an enduring pursuit of happiness. That’s a good thing. To be coy about that reality is a tacit acceptance of contrary mental models. Nothing could be more debilitating to the American Mental Model here at home than the belief that “conflict” and “failure” are equivalent concepts. For those that see the world through this distorted lens, are as likely to avoid decisive victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. Presumably they’re skittish of escalating conflict in the Middle East when they are doing exactly that. War without victory is a stalemate. It is a recipe for sustained conflict.
To clarify this point, let’s dissociate America’s Wars from American Sport. Non-violent competition may feel like war but each is an entirely different experience. Unlike victory, spiking a football after a touchdown may be bray. On the other hand, declaring victory after a war or the pursuit of victory during war is the only guarantor of finality. Violent engagement will only cease when one mental model supplants another in society that accepts attacks against the United States and our forces serving overseas. The mental model that remains after victory needn’t be American. It shouldn’t be. It must however peacefully accept the United States as a legitimate component of the world we live in today. If it does not, and as long as it does not, our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will smolder indefinitely. Mental models do not peacefully coexist in the minds of militants. Either the United States is a legitimate nation pursuing legitimate goals around the globe or it is not. It is not bray to actively seek the elimination of dangerous ambiguities swirling around in the minds of Americans and our enemies abroad. At this important moment in history, when more and more identities are expressing their mental models in public and online (with the technology the American Market empowered them with) it is dangerous to modest.
The best of my ability, I built my model and will risk everything for it. I’m not a cognitive architect but I love my model like a mother loves her newborn. I’m still working on it but enjoy displaying it; unfinished, unpolished, with pride. My confidence comes from acknowledging my model’s limitations and my enduring attempts to articulate it. But set that aside. No matter what you may think of me or my model, think about the model you consciously or unconsciously push on the world. Is it inclusive, exclusive or divisive? How did you derive your model? Was your model a gift to you or did you earn it with blood, sweat and tears? Did you find it in your teens or are in adulthood? Was an introspective experience or some kind of group love-in? Is it sustainable? Be honest with yourself. Do you talk about or even think about your mental models? If you’re modest with your model at home or abroad, it doesn’t count. Look at the alternatives. There will always be plenty of alternatives. The most seductive models are shown often and copy themselves in the public arena. Think about it. Missionaries take their models on the road. Door to door, they sell their ideas best face to face --- with a smile!
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, our world model changes as it asymptotically approaches reality. It’s very difficult to notice these changes as they overtake us. The mental model of the world we have now is our point of reference for the past, present and future. It’s not Orwellian. When your mental model of the world changes your conception of the past present and future emigrates as well. Nevertheless, we hope our model is increasingly accurate. At least the ecosystem of mental models appears to be evolving toward better precision and accuracy. It’s a trend that occurs without bias, because biased models, no matter how seductive they are, biased models always fail their subscribers. Unfortunately, I’m describing a feeling. I have no proof. I’m extrapolating because I know; no matter what models individuals subscribe to today, reality and all of our mental models of it are dynamic, no matter how wrong or right they are. Some mental models will be adopted; others will be edited to accommodate reality or abandoned in their entirety. I don’t care if you adopt my mental model or call my articulation of it bray. If you do adopt it, do it without me. I’m not trying to start a cult. If you think I’m bray, it’s a tangent worth spending a few words on --- kiss my ass!  I’m here to define and defend my ideas at all costs --- that applies to dinner parties and fist fights. I prefer the former to the later, but know both intimately. Defending a mental model with pleasantries does not contradict a healthy readiness to engage in violence. If anything I’ve just written is intimidating check your mental model. It’s probably biased.
That said --- During the American Revolution, whose mental model was more accurate; King George III or Thomas Jefferson? Obviously Jefferson! Right… well, that’s how it all played out didn’t it. Thank God that’s history and thank God for our British allies! --- NEXT! During the French Revolution, whose mental model was more accurate; Marie Antoinette or her pitch fork wielding, revolutionary people? With hindsight, perched high on my own mental model, I’d say both were wrong! Thank God that’s history. Thank God for our allies in France!
Let’s keep going --- During the Iranian revolution, whose mental model was more accurate; Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi or Ayatollah Khomeini? Both were wrong, but this revolutionary example is different than the American or French Revolutions. Empirical evidence suggests the Iranian Revolution isn’t over. Nothing has been settled since it occurred. It never fulfilled its purpose. We could pretend it’s over… but that would be biased. It wouldn’t explain why the Iranian Government continues to burn American flags in their streets. It wouldn’t explain why a sovereign nation like Iran is pushing the International community to the edge of smacking it with debilitating sanctions. Tehran is running a reckless nuclear program making the region more nervous than anything else occurring there. Pretending the Iranian Revolution were over wouldn’t explain the mass graves scattered across Iran. It wouldn’t explain what’s going on when student leaders and democracy advocates are tortured for their opinions, or gays hanged for being gay or feminists beaten for demanding women’s rights… The fact is, the slogans from 1979 were never realized. Victory in that revolution was suppressed and that’s precisely why turbulence continues in that country today.
Revolutions are turning points in many minds. They have influence that ripples through generations of mankind. Revolutions may be the most significant events in human history, for better or worse. Events larger than individuals like Revolution and War usually shape our mental models, even if we don’t realize they do. From my reading of history, only a few brave souls have been intelligent and brave enough to bring the world’s collective mental models closer to reality. Many of those individuals paid for their altruistic curiosity with their life. I don’t know all their names and cannot sufficiently praise them. They are the real architects of our existence today. Some names I do know and cannot be coy about. Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman --- these men were architects. Their bold acts transformed into modern day gifts Americans take for granted today. Now, we look back and consider their miracles mundane. They could not have made any other choices, could they? How could we not look at them that way? It is through their design that we see the world. Their omnipresence renders Americans blind to them. No matter what we can see or what we believe exists… our current mode of survival is just one model among many that came before it. How the world really works is too complex for our minds to fully comprehend. Our beauty comes from the struggle to understand what we know we can’t fully know…
Ideally, one day, the most successful mental models will also be the most seductive… That’s not going to be easy to manifest. Get out there. Test your model. Learn something new about us and spread the word as though it were gospel!
 Earth’s atmosphere is protected in part by our planet’s magnetic field. The Earth’s auroras are incredibly beautiful. This image shows a solar flare to be deflected by our magnet field. We perceive such events when we see the aurora.
 If I come across as aggressive, you don’t know what aggressive is. There are diverse peoples in the world with bad ideas and guns to back those ideas up. They want to kill Americans. If you can’t look them in the eye and express your mental model, you definitely won’t be able to deescalate the situation. In the heat of a fight, you won’t be able to kill them before they kill you. You won’t even know when violence is about to happen. In fact, if you never express your mental model as an sign of modesty, you’ll make violence inevitable.