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They Lived in the Youth of the World

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The bravest fear that Americans have is that the conscience has gone down before the dollar. If we do not save this Great Republic, she will become rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest will have long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad will teach her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who will applaud the crushing of other people’s liberties, will live to suffer for their mistake in their own persons.  Much of the government is irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich, China, and other nations and their hangers on, the suffrage is becoming a mere machine, when they use as they chose. There is no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket. From showily and sumptuously entertaining neighboring titled aristocracies, and from trading their daughters to them, the plutocrats came in the course of time to hunger for titles and heredities themselves. The drift toward monarchy, in some form or other, began; it was spoken of in whispers at first, later in a bolder voice. The sleeping republic must awake at last, but not too late. We must drive the money changers from the temple, and put the government into clean hands. Otherwise, before long, the money changers will buy up half the country with soldier-pensions and turn a measure which has originally been a righteous one into a machine for the manufacture of bond-slaves—a machine which is at the same time an irremovable instrument of tyranny–for every pensioner has a vote, and every man and woman who has ever been acquainted with a soldier is a pensioner; pensions are dated back to the Fall of Man, and hordes of men who have never handled a weapon in their lives came forward and drew four hundred and twenty years’ back-pay. #RandolphHarris 1 of 20

The country’s conquests, so far being profitable to the Treasury, has been an intolerable burden from the beginning. The pensions, the conquests, and corruption together, have brought bankruptcy in spite of the maddest taxation, the government’s credit is gone, the arsenals are empty, the country is unprepared for war. The military and naval schools, and all commissioned offices in the army and navy, are the preserve of the money changers; and the standing army—the creation of the conquest-days—is their property. The army and navy refuse to serve the new congress and the new Administration, and said ironically, “What are you going to do about it?” A difficult question to answer. Landsmen man such ships which are not abroad watching the conquests—and sunk them all, in honest attempts to do their duty. A civilian army, officered by civilians, has risen brimming with the patriotism of an old forgotten day and is rushing multitudinously to the front, armed with sporting-guns and pitchforks—and the standing army sweeps into space. For the money-changers have privately sold out the shoemaker. He conferred titles of nobility upon the money-changers, and mounted the republic’s throne without firing a shot. It is thus that money has become our master. Intent on catching up with the West, China’s leaders knew this would be impossible if China focused exclusively on low-tech development while the United States of America shed Second Wave industries and raced to build a high-tech Third Wave economy. China, they therefore decided, needed more than sweatshops. It also needed its own World-beating, high-value-adding, knowledge-intensive sector. #RandolphHarris 2 of 20

To make this twin-track policy work, Chin had to compress time—to accomplish in decades what took others one or more centuries. It would also have to extend its spatial reach. And, most important, it would need advanced I.T. telecom, digitalization and access to the latest economically relevant knowledge. This explains why China’s strategy since then has focused—whether deliberately or inadvertently—on precisely the three deep fundamentals emphasized in these pages: Time, space, and knowledge. Thus China had become remarkably skillful in the use of speed as a competitive weapon in international trade. According to Robert B. Cassidy, a U.S. government trade official cited in BusinessWeek, Japanese, South Korean and European exports often took “four or five years to develop their place in the market…China overwhelms a market so quickly you do not see it coming.” So fast, in fact, “that it’s nearly impossible [for companies] to adjust through the usual strategies, such as automating or squeezing suppliers,” the magazine adds. By the time they do, it is too late. And when China sets a strategic priority, it can break domestic speed records as well. “What happened in the 1990s in China was nothing short of a social miracle,” writers Robert C. Fonow, former president of Sprint Japan and general manager of Scientific-Atlanta in Shanghai. “In the space of 10 years, China has developed one of the most advanced telecommunications infrastructures in the World. Within a few years, it is likely to have the single most advanced telecommunications infrastructure in the World.” To reach this point, Fonow explains, China would first “bring in new technology as quickly as possible, study it, imitate it, and improve it.” Next, it would “develop indigenous technology capabilities equal to the West’s and use them as a base to develop a greater capacity for technological innovation.” #RandolphHarris 3 of 20

Nor is acceleration in China limited to business tactics and technology. It is part of the country’s new culture. When author Alexander Stille went to Xian to write about historic artifacts like its third-century BC army of terracotta warriors, he wondered if ordinary people were troubled by the rush forward. “Most Chinese,” he writes, “many of whom have known famine and extraordinary hardships in their own lifetimes, are surprisingly unsentimental about these changes…For most younger Chinese [change] cannot come fast enough.” That was not the case during thousands of years of China’s past. The executive thought police, as such, earn their paychecks. Their jobs are filled with stress and difficulty. Indeed, it is hard to exaggerate the staggering complexity of the rules needed in engineering and integrating a large-scale corporate information system that delivers information to those who need it…that prevents fraud, sabotage, or invasion of  personal privacy…that regulates access to various networks and data banks by employees, customers, and suppliers…that sets priorities among them…that produces numberless specialized reports…that allows users to customize their software…that meets dozens of other requirements, does it all within budgetary constraints—and then does it over and again as new technologies, competitors, and products appear. Devising rules to guide such a system requires such high-level technical expertise that CIOs and their staffs often lose sight of the human implications of their decisions. Who gets access is, in fact, a political issue. Privacy is a political issues. Designing a system so that it serves one department better than another is a political act. If one unit gets lower communications priority than another, so that it must wait for service, even timing is political. The allocation of costs is always a power issue. #RandolphHarris 4 of 20

Thus, as soon as we begin to speak of policing information, all sorts of disquieting “para-political” questions pop up. Two employees are caught up in bitter personal feud. One of them learns the appropriate computer passwords, enters the personnel files, and puts damaging material into an adversary’s records. None of this comes to light until the victim has already left and gone to work for another firm, where discovery of the damaging information leads to dismissal. What happens? Who is responsible? The first company? If he or she loses access to an important data base, are a worker’s chances for promotion unfairly reduced? With only a trace of imagination, it is possible to multiply scores of such questions. In the absence of comprehensive public policies, it is left to private firms to think through the personal and political implications of all the rules governing their information systems. However, should such questions, with their human rights implications, be left entirely to private companies? And if so, who in any particular firm should write the rules? The chief information officer? We are, here, on thing and alien ice. Few have much experience with the ethical, legal, and ultimately political questions arising from the need to impose constraints on the flow of business information. Top management, as a rule, delegates the task. However, to whom? Should companies establish internal “information councils” or even “legislatures,” to write the laws governing information rights, responsibilities, and access? Should unions share in this decision-making? Do we need “corporate courts” to settle disputes over security and access? Do we need “information ethicists” to define a new informational morality? #RandolphHarris 5 of 20

Will the rules regulating information in industry condition public attitudes toward freedom of information in the larger society? Might they accustom us to censorship and secrecy? Will we eventually need an explicit Bill of Electronic Information Rights? Every one f these is a power issue, and the decision about them will shift power within the firm and, ultimately, in society at large. The more turbulent, unstable, and non-equilibrial tomorrow’s business environment becomes, the more unpredictable the needs of users. Rapid change means chance. It means uncertainty. It means competition from the least-expected quarter. It means big projects that collapse and small ones that stun one with their success. It means new technologies, new kinds of skills and workers, and wholly unprecedented economic conditions. All this is amplified when the competition is blistering hot and comes, very often, from countries or cultures that are drastically different from the one the business was designed to serve. How, in this kind of World, can even the cleverest CIO accurately pre-specify what information will be needed by whom? Or for how long? In today’s high-turbulence environment, business survival requires a stream of innovative products or services. Creativity requires a kind of corporate glasnost—an openness to imagination, a tolerance for deviance, for individuality, and the serendipity that has historically accounted for many creative discoveries, from nylon and latex paint to products like the NutraSweet fat substitute. There is, therefore, a profound contradiction between the need for careful channeling and close control of information, on the one hand, and the need for innovation on the other. #RandolphHarris 6 of 20

The safer and surer a business information system, and the better it is protected, pre-defined, pre-structured, and policed, the more it will constrain creativity and constipate the organization. What we learn, therefore, is that the information wars now ranging in the outside World—over everything from supermarket scanners and standards to television sets and technonationalism—are mirrored inside the corporation as well. Power, in the business of tomorrow, will flow to those who have the best information about the limits of information. However, before it does, the info-wars now intensifying will alter the very shape of business. To know how, we need to take a closer look at this crucial resource—knowledge—whose pursuit will shake the powers-that-be from New York to Tokyo, from Moscow to Monte-video. Today the organic, what is left of it, is fully mechanized under the aegis of a few petrochemical corporations. Their artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and near-monopoly of the World’s seed stock define a total environment that integrates food production from planting to consumption. Although Levi-Strauss is right that “Civilization manufactures monoculture like sugar beet,” only since World War II has a completely synthetic orientation begun to dominate. Agriculture itself takes more organic matter out of the soil that it puts back, and soil erosion is basic to the monoculture of annuals. Regarding the latter, some are promoted with devastating results to the land; along with cotton and soybeans, corn, which in its present domesticated state is totally dependent on agriculture for its existence, is especially bad. J. Russell Smith called it “the killer of continents…and one of the worst enemies of the human future.” #RandolphHarris 7 of 20

The erosions cost of one bushel of Iowa corn is two bushels of topsoil, highlighting the more general large-scale industrial destruction of farmland. The continuous tillage of huge monoculture, with massive use of chemicals and no application of manure or humus, obviously raised soil deterioration and solid loss to much higher levels. The dominant agricultural mode has it that soil needs massive infusions of chemicals, supervised by technicians whose overriding goal is to maximize production. Artificial fertilizers and all the rest from this outlook eliminate the need for the complex life of the soil and indeed convert it into a mere instrument of production. The promise of technology is total control, a completely contrived environment that simply supersedes the natural balance of the biosphere. However, more and more energy is expended to purchase great monocultural yields that are beginning to decline, never mind the toxic contamination of the soil, groundwater and food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that cropland erosion is occurring in this country at a rate of two billion tones of soil a year. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that over one third of topsoil is already gone forever. The ecological imbalances caused by monocropping, not cultivating and watering the lands and forests, and synthetic fertilizers causes enormous increases in pests and crop diseases; since World War II, crop loss due to insects has actually doubled. Technology responds, of course, with spiraling application of more synthetic fertilizers, and weed and pest killers, accelerating the crime against nature. #RandolphHarris 8 of 20

Another post-war phenomenon was the Green Revolution, billed as the salvation of the impoverished Third World by American capital and technology. However, rather than feeding the hungry, the Green Revolution drove millions of less affluent people from farmlands in Asia, Latin America and Africa as victims of the program that fosters large corporate farms. It amounted to an enormous technological colonization creating dependency on capital-intensive agribusiness, destroying older agrarian communalism, requiring massive fossil fuel consumption and assaulting nature on an unprecedented scale. Desertification, or loss of soil due to agriculture, has been steadily increasing. Each year, a total area equivalent to more than two Belgiums is being converted to desert Worldwide. The fate of the World’s tropical rainforests is a factor in the acceleration of this dessication: half of them have been erased in the past 30 years. In Botswana, the last wilderness region of African has disappeared like much of the Amazon jungle and almost half of the rainforests of Central America, primarily to raise cattle for the hamburger markets in the USA and Europe. The few areas safe from deforestation are where agriculture does not want to go; the destruction of the land is proceeding in the USA over a greater land area than was encompassed by the original 13 colonies, just as it is the heart of the severe Africa famine of the mid of the mid-‘80s and the extinction of one species of wild animal and plant after another. Returning to animals, one is reminded of the words of Genesis in which God said to Noah, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands are they delivered.” #RandolphHarris 9 of 20

When newly discovered territory was first visited by the advance guard of production, as a wide descriptive literature shows, the wild mammals and birds showed no fear whatsoever of the explorers. The agriculturalized mentality, however, so aptly foretold in the biblical passage, projects an exaggerated belief in the fierceness of wild creatures, which follows from progressive estrangement and loss of contact with the animal World plus the need to maintain dominance over it. The fate of domestic animals is defined by the fact that agricultural technologists continually look to factories as models of how to refine their own production systems. Nature is banished from these systems as, increasingly, farm animals are kept largely immobile throughout their deformed lives, maintained in high-density, wholly artificial environments. Billions of chickens, pigs and veal calves, for example, no longer even see the light of day much less roam the fields—fields growing silent as more and more pastures are plowed up to grow feed for these hideously confined beings. The high-tech chickens, whose beak-ends have been clipped oof to reduce death due to stress-caused fighting, often exists four or even five to a 13-inch by 18-inch cage and are periodically deprived of food and water for up to tend days to regulate their egg-laying cycles. Pigs live on concrete floors with no bedding; foot-rot, tail-biting and cannibalism are endemic because of physical conditions and stress. Sows nurse their piglets separated by mental grates, mother and offspring barred from natural contact. Veal calves are often raised in total darkness, chained to stalls so narrow as to disallow turning around or other normal postural adjustment. #RandolphHarris 10 of 20

These animals are generally under regimens of constant medication due to the tortures involved and their heightened susceptibility to diseases: automated animal production relies upon hormones and antibiotics. Such systematic cruelty, not to mention the kind of food that results, brings to mind the fact that captivity itself and every form of enslavement has agriculture as its progenitor or model. Food has been one of our most direct contacts with the natural environment, but we are rendered increasingly dependent on a technological production system in which finally even our senses have become redundant; taste, once vital for judging a food’s value or safety, is no longer experienced, but rather certified by a label. Overall, the healthfulness of what we consume declines and land once cultivated for food now produces coffee, tobacco, grains for alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs creating the context for famine. Even non-processed foods like fruits and vegetables are now grown to be tasteless and uniform because the demands of handling, transportation and storage, not nutrition or pleasures, are the highest considerations. Total war borrowed from agriculture to defoliate millions of acres in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, but the plundering of the biosphere proceeds even more lethally in its daily, global forms. Food as a function of production has also failed miserably on the most obvious level: half of the World, as everyone knows, suffers from malnourishment ranging to starvation itself. #RandolphHarris 11 of 20

Meanwhile, the diseases of civilization, contrasted with the healthful pre-farming diets, underline the joyless, sickly World of chronic maladjustment we inhabit as prey of the manufacturers of medicine, cosmetics, and fabricated food. Domestication reaches new heights of the pathological in genetic food engineering, with new types of animals in the offing as well as contrived microorganisms and plants. Logically, humanity itself will also become a domesticate of this order as the World of production processes us as much as it degrades and deforms every other natural system. The project of subduing nature, begun and carried through by agriculture, has assumed gigantic proportions. The “success” of civilization’s progress, a success earlier humanity never wanted, tastes more and more like ashes. Thus, we appear to have reached the end of the line. We cannot expand; we seem unable to intensify production without wreaking further havoc, and the planet is fast becoming a wasteland. This has come to pass very fast, and it leaves interplanetary archaeologists of the future a lot to discover. The probable fate of civilization will look to archaeologists of the future as a very long and stable period of small-scale hunting and gathering was followed by an apparently instantaneous efflorescence of technology…leading rapidly to extinction. Stratigraphically the origin of agriculture and thermonuclear destruction will appear essentially simultaneous. Physiologist Hared Diamond termed the initiation of agriculture “a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. Agriculture has been and remains a “catastrophe” at all levels, the one which underpins the entire material and spiritual culture of alienation now destroying us. Liberation is impossible without its dissolution. #RandolphHarris 12 of 20

We last talked about how Technopoly, science is used to make democracy “rational.” Polling is still another way. Just as statistics has spawned huge testing industry, it has done the same for the polling of “public opinion.” One may concede, at the start, that there are some uses of polling that may be said to be reliable, especially if the case involves a greatly restricted question such as, Do you plan to vote for X or Y? However, to say a procedure is reliable is not to say it is useful. The question is as yet undecided whether knowledge of voter trends during political campaign enriches or demeans the electoral process. However, when polls are used to guide public policy, we have a different sort of issues altogether. I have been in the presence of a group of United States of America’s congressmen who were gathered to discuss, over a period of two days, what might be done to make the future of American more survivable and, if possible, more humane. Ten consultants were called upon to offer perspectives and advice. Eight of them were pollsters. They spoke of the “trends” their polling uncovered; for example, that people were no longer interested in the woman’s movement, did not regard environmental issues as of paramount importance, did not think the “drug problem” was getting worse, and so on. It was apparent, at once that these polling results would become the basis of how the congressmen thought the future should be managed. The ideas the congressmen had (all men, by the way) receded to the background. Their own perceptions, instincts, insights, and experience paled into irrelevance. Confronted by “social scientists,” they were inclined to do what the “trends” suggested would satisfy the populace. #RandolphHarris 13 of 20

It is not unreasonable to argue that the polling of public opinion puts democracy on a sound and scientific footing. If our political leaders are supposed to represent us, they must have some information about what we “believe.” In principle, there are at least four of them. The first has to do with the forms of the questions that are put to the public. Like, is it proper to smoke and pray at the same time. Or, to take a more realistic example: If we ask people whether they think it acceptable for the environment to continue to be polluted, we are likely to come up with answers quite different from those generated by the question, Do you think the protection of the environment is of paramount importance? Or, Do you think safety in the streets is more important than environmental protection? The public’s “opinion” on almost any issue will be a function of the question asked. (I might point out that in the seminar held by the congressmen, not one asked a question about the questions. They were interested in results, not in how these were obtained, and it did not seem to occur to them that the results and how they are obtained are inseparable.) Typically, pollsters ask questions that will elicit yes or no answers. Is it necessary to point out that such answers do not give a robust meaning to the phrase “the public opinion”? Were you, for example, to answer “No” to the question “Do you think the drug problem can be reduced by government programs?” one would hardly know much of interest or value about your opinion. However, allowing you to speak or write at length on the matter would, of course, rule out using statistics. The point is that the use of statistics in polling changes the meaning of “public opinion” as dramatically as television changes the meaning of “political debate.” In the American Technopoly, public opinion is a yes or no answer to an unexamined question. #RandolphHarris 14 of 20

Second, the technique of polling promotes the assumption that an opinion is a thing inside people that can be exactly located and extracted by the pollster’s questions. However, there is an alternative point of view, of which we might say, it is what Jefferson had in mind. An opinion is not a momentary thing but a process of thinking, shaped by the continuous acquisition of knowledge and the activity of questioning, discussion, and debate. A question may “invite” an opinion, but it also may modify and recast it; we might better say that people do not exactly “have” opinions but are, rather, involved in “opinioning.” That an opinion is conceived of as a measurable thing falsifies the process by which people, in fact, do their opinioning; and how people do their opinioning goes to the heart of the meaning of a democratic society. Polling tells us nothing about this, and tends to hide the process from our view. Which leads to the third point. Generally, polling ignores what people know about the subjects they are queried on. In a culture that is not obsessed with measuring and ranking things, this omission would probably be regarded as bizarre. However, let us imagine what we would think of opinion polls if the questions came in pairs, indicating what people “believe” and what they “know” about the subject. If I may make up some figures, let us suppose we read the following: “The latest poll indicates that 72 percent of the American public believes we should withdraw economic aid from Nicaragua. Of those who expressed this opinion, 28 percent thought Nicaragua was in central Asia, 18 percent thought it was an island near New Zealand, and 27.4 percent believed that ‘Africans should help themselves,’ obviously confusing Nicaragua with Nigeria. Moreover, of those polled, 61.8 percent did not know what ‘economic aid’ means.” #RandolphHarris 15 of 20

Were pollsters inclined to provide such information, the prestige and power of polling would be considerably reduced. Perhaps even congressmen, confronted by massive ignorance, would invest their own understandings with greater trust. The fourth problem with polling is that it shifts the locus of responsibility between political leaders and their constituents. It is true enough that congressmen are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents. However, it is also true that congressmen are expected to use their own judgment about what is in the public’s best interest. For this, they must consult their own experience and knowledge. Before the ascendance of polling, political leaders, though never indifferent to the opinions of their constituents, were largely judged on their capacity to make decisions based on such wisdom as they possessed; that is, political leaders were responsible for the decisions they made. With the refinement and extension of the polling process, they are under increasing pressure to forgo deciding anything for themselves and to defer to the opinions of the voters, no matter how ill-informed and shortsighted those opinions might be. We can see this process of responsibility-shift even more clearly in the cause of the statistically based ratings of television shows. The definition of a “good” television show has become purely and simply a matter of its having high ratings. A “bad” show has low ratings. The responsibility of a television writer, in a word, is entirely responsible to the audience. There is no need for the writer, in a word, is entirely responsible to the audience. There is no need for the writer to consult tradition, aesthetic standards, thematic plausibility, refinements of tastes, or even plain comprehensibility. The iron rule of public opinion is all that matter.  #RandolphHarris 16 of 20

Television executives are fond of claiming that their medium is the most democratic institution in America: a plebiscite is held every week to determine which programs will survive. This claim is given added weight by a second claim: creative artists have never indifferent to the preferences and opinions of their audiences. Writers, for example, write for people, for their approbation and understanding. However, writers also write for themselves and because they have something they want to say, not always because readers have something they want to hear. By giving constant deference to public preferences, polling changes the motivation of writers; their entire effort is to increase “the numbers.” Popular literature now depends more than ever on the wishes of the audience, not the creativity of the artists. However, values rather than reasons sustain communities. Thus from the outset of this second Renaissance, scholar treated Greek philosophers more as natural scientists treat atoms than as they treat other natural scientists. They were not invited to join the serious discussion of the scholars. All things Greek were subjected to our analysis based on the views of modern philosophy. This procedure alters radically what one expects to learn from them. Men of the Enlightenment looked down on Greek thinkers because they thought them wrong. Romantics respected them because their truth or falsity became a matter of indifference. Schiller’s distinction between naïve and sentimental poetry is an example of the kind of categorization that became common. Homer’s charm is a result of his not having seen what we see, his unawareness of the abyss. He still walked on enchanted ground, and his poetry lacked that reflectiveness imposed on us who know that the gods can depart. He was unaware of the death of gods and cultures as children are unaware of the death of men. He lived in the youth of the World.  #RandolphHarris 17 of 20

If we are to be whole and happy, we must recover that direct relation to things men once had. However, we must do it in the company of our awareness of the vulnerability of things. The artist has a greater responsibility than Homer knew because he does not merely imitate nature but creates it. A successful modern artist would be deeper, more fully self-conscious than was Homer. The naïve Homer belonged to a culture different from that of the sentimental Schiller, and has to be understood in his own cultural context. Naivete consists in large measure in the lack of “historical consciousness,” the belief that the greats are individuals to be understood individually and in the same way at all times. Plutarch believed he was showing forth images of greatness itself, while in fact his heroes are just Greeks and Romans, high expressions of their culture, from which they are inseparable. The awareness of this is the peculiarly modern superiority or insight. Schiller was, of course, an unusually profound and sensitive reader. It is doubtful whether his reading of Homer teaches us very much about Homer, because it is too encumbered by what we now believe to be Romantic prejudices. However, Homer, interpreted and misinterpreted by Schiller, contributed to his own artistic creation, which was founding a German literature and a German culture. It is an example of what some would call “creative misinterpretation.” The faith in one’s own vision, perhaps fed by the inspiration of others’ visions, is what is important. An act uninformed by learning is the important thing. Implicit in what I am saying is that while Schiller’s views are not true but are productive, there are true views, known presumably to scholars, which are not productive. This is what Goethe implies. The scholar is an objective reasoner, the poet a subjective creator. #RandolphHarris 18 of 20

Here is where Nietzsche enters, arguing with unparalleled clarity and vigor that if we take “historical consciousness” seriously, there cannot be objectivity, that scholarship as we know it is simply a delusion, and a dangerous one, for objectivity undermines subjectivity. All of classical scholarship in Germany, with its exquisite sense of the historical determination of the mind, proceeded as though the mind of the German scholars were not so determined. The discovery of culture and the folk-mind means that there cannot be universal principles of understanding. Reason is a myth that makes mythmaking impossible to comprehend. Creativity and a science of human things cannot coexist, and since the science of human things admits that man is creative, the creative man wins the day. However, scholars cannot behave creatively. The discovery of culture as the element in which man becomes himself produces an imperative: Build and sustain culture. This scholar cannot do. Culture is not only the condition of life, it is the condition of knowing. Without a German culture, the scholar in Germany cannot confront other cultures. While aiding the individual in feeling more powerful, Satanism can make relating to others outside the group even more difficult. A Satanist who formerly felt out of sync with society suddenly realized why: he was the one who was really in sync all the time; it is the rest of the World who are the “chumps.” Socializing with others of like mind only reinforces the process; and inferiority complex is transformed into a superiority complex. Weird becomes weirder. Once that happens, the need to believe becomes even stronger. Dr. Freud likened the belief in magic to a stage found in primitives and obsessional neurotics in which the thought process themselves become overvalued compared to reality. He called this the “omnipotence of thought” and noted that patients who exemplified this would go to extreme length of self-deception in order to protect their belief system. #RandolphHarris 19 of 20

Any accidental connection can reinforce the neurotic’s belief in his own powers: think of someone, and if that person appears, the thought made him appear. The several thousand other times that the person did not appear are conveniently forgotten. One can often see this phenomenon at work among Satanists, from the claim that the sudden appearance of a parking space was “proof” that it has been magically conjured up, to the attribution of survival of an automobile accident to “protection” by infernal powers. Seldom will a Satanist bale the Powers of Darkness for letting him get into the accident in the first place; if he did, he would be an ex-Satanist, perhaps a born-again Christian. Once advantage of magical thinking is that the results do not have to be definite and are subject to misinterpretation. Flexibility is built into the system and a ritual does not have to achieve its total purpose in order to be deemed successful. If a magician puts a death curse on an enemy, for example, and three days later the would-be victim burns his finger, the magician is able to interpret that as proof that his ritual just was not strong enough. The danger in such groups is that as the members come to rely more on this mode of thought, they can become totally emotionally dependent on the group as their alienation from society increases. A Christian man’s great-grandparents had practised magic. As a result of this his grandparents had developed mediumistic abilities. His grandmother has suffered from depression and had an irritable and selfish nature. Her psychic disturbances had finally led to her being committed to a mental hospital. The trouble reappeared in the next generation, in the generation of the man’s parents. When however, the man’s father actually turned to Christ all the symptoms of compulsion and other psychic complications disappeared. #RandolphHarris 20 of 20

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Ok, ok, it is REALLY early, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming up our menu ideas for the coming holidays! No need to make fun – you’ll thank us when you’re enjoying the delicious eats! 🤤

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What’s your favorite dish for special occasions?

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