Saturday, October 3, 2009

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The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

About the Lecture

Perhaps no one comprehends the roots of depravity and cruelty better than Philip Zimbardo. He is renowned for such research as the Stanford Prison Experiment, which demonstrated how, in the right circumstances, ordinary people can swiftly become amoral monsters. Evil is not so much inherent in individuals, Zimbardo showed, but emerges dependably when a sequence of dehumanizing and stressful circumstances unfolds. It is no wonder then, that Zimbardo has lent both his expertise and moral outrage to the case of U.S. reservists who perpetrated the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

Zimbardo’s latest book, The Lucifer Effect, attempts to understand “how good people do evil deeds.” His talk outlines his involvement as expert witness for the defense team of one of the military police officers responsible at Abu Ghraib, and also provides a rich history of psychological research into the kind of behavior transformations evident in Iraq. First, Zimbardo presents a slideshow of Abu Ghraib abominations, including some digital photos that were not widely distributed by the media. Then he digs deep into the archives for a horrifically illustrated tour of experiments that make a persuasive case that certain, predictable situations corrupt people into wielding power in a destructive way.

He describes Stanley Milgram’s 1963 Yale-based research demonstrating that people will behave sadistically when confronted by “an authority in a lab coat.” A vast majority of the subjects delivered what they were told were dangerous electric shocks to a learner in another room, to the point of apparently killing the other person. Researchers skeptical of his results replicated them. This time, professors demanded that students shock real puppies standing on electrified grills. Zimbardo’s own prison experiment turned an ordinary group of young men into power-hungry “guards,” humiliating equally ordinary “prisoners” in the basement of Stanford’s psychology building. The descent into barbarity was so rapid that Zimbardo had to cancel the experiment after a few days.

The recipe for behavior change isn’t complicated. “All evil begins with a big lie,” says Zimbardo, whether it’s a claim to be following the word of God, or the need to stamp out political opposition. A seemingly insignificant step follows, with successive small actions, presented as essential by an apparently just authority figure. The situation presents others complying with the same rules, perhaps protesting, but following along all the same. If the victims are anonymous or dehumanized somehow, all the better. And exiting the situation is extremely difficult.

Abu Ghraib fit this type of situation to a T, says Zimbardo. The guards, never trained for their work helping military interrogators, worked 12-hour shifts, 40 days without a break, in chaotic, filthy conditions, facing 1,000 foreign prisoners, and hostile fire from the neighborhood. They operated in extreme stress, under orders to impose fear on their prisoners. Zimbardo believes the outcome was perfectly predictable, and while never absolving these soldiers of personal responsibility, believes justice won’t be done until “the people who created the situation go on trial as well: George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

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Jay-Z Running with the Occult?
10/1/2009 By Josiah Hughes

Perhaps Jay-Z is shooting to be more than just a hip-hop god. While the rapper has certainly elevated himself to deity-status with his fans, it's been suggested he also has strong ties to the seedy underbelly of Freemasonry and the occult. Sure, you can place those words with the name of any celebrity and get some pretty crazy results but Hova's involvement with these secretive organizations has been revealed by occult expert, and Occult America author, Mitch Horowitz.

In an interview with NPR, Horowitz pointed out a number of cultish signs, particularly in Jay-Z's latest video for “Run This Town.” For one, the rapper alludes to the First Percenters — a belief system that suggests the first black man was God — with the use of the phrase “Peace God.” "A phrase like 'Peace God' does not find its way into someone's vernacular by accident," Horowitz explained. "He's making a very definite statement."

But wait, there's more. In the video, Jay is seen wearing a shirt that says “Do what thou wilt." According to Horowitz, that's a major red flag. "Yes, that has very deep roots in modern occult culture... The full expression is 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.' That was one of the key maxims of the British occultist Aleister Crowley. So when Jay-Z appears in a hoodie with that phrase on it in public, that's exactly what he's referencing."

All this being said, Horowitz doesn't call out Jay-Z as an actual member of any sort of secret society.

"I think he's a very shrewd man," he said. "I think he's a keen observer of everything going on around him. He's a master at using subversive imagery. You don't find your way to Five Percenter material unless you are very aware of what's going on around you."

But, hey, if you want some more crazy occult allusions, Jay-Z's freemason referencing has long been a staple of his career, as the admittedly paranoid video below points out:

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I'll tell you things about the Masons that even Dan Brown won't ...

Dan Brown’s new blockbuster The Lost Symbol hit the bookstores sixteen seconds ago and as everyone knows, its occult and sinister secrets involve the mysterious organization called the Freemasons.

So who or what are the Freemasons? How powerful are they? Do they even exist? How do they differ from the Expensivemasons? Will they kill me if I reveal their secret handshake? And most important: Who would win a touch football game between the Freemasons and the Knights of Columbus?

These and other questions weighing heavily on your mind will now be answered…

Who are the Freemasons?

The Freemasons are a fraternal group found in every part of the world except North Korea, where Freemasonry was banned as “counterrevolutionary and boring.” Its members share a belief in certain metaphysical propositions such as that liberty is superior to tyranny, constipation is evil and Jay Leno is lame. A member must believe in a Supreme Being, though it doesn’t have to be the same one he believed in last year. Members belong to a local “lodge,” which they are allowed to enter only after giving a secret sign believed to involve the juggling of three or more pieces of fruit and a bowling pin.

The murky beginnings

The origins of Freemasonry are in dispute. Some historians claim there were Masonic lodges in Scotland as early as the 12th century, while others insist the group sprang up in the auto-body shops of Mahwah, New Jersey, in the late 1950s and was closely associated with doo-wop.

In any event, most experts and several amateurs agree that Freemasonry is really fucking old. Because early Masons were often accused by suspicious authorities of fervent silliness, the organization added gravitas by employing symbols (and often decals) of the tools of medieval stonemasons such as the square, the compass, the galvanized lunch pail with thermos bottle and the lecherous wolf whistle.

Masons sometimes wear aprons festooned with these symbols, especially when preparing their secret sandwiches to be consumed while they watch secret sports events on a tradition-encrusted TV set in the secrecy of their secret lodges with the “No Girls Allowed” signs on the secret doors.

Rites and rituals

Contrary to rumor, Masons do not sacrifice beautiful virgins to the Sumerian fertility god Awatika-ur but they do engage in arcane and colorful rituals to alleviate boredom when there is nothing good on the tradition-encrusted TV set. Especially impressive is the solemn ceremony elevating a 27th- degree Mason to a 28th-degree Mason. It begins with all the lodge members donning their secret costumes, which would make you giggle uncontrollably but only because you don’t understand the venerable symbolism behind the feathers and the sequined boxer shorts. The men form a hexagon and chant the names of famous Masons such as James Mason, Perry Mason and George Mason University. Then they get out their Mason jars and quaff from them the secret Masonic beverage, which is believed to be root beer. They then sacrifice a beautiful vir—oops, I’m not supposed to mention that.

The secretly-running-the-world thing

Some people believe that Freemasons wield enormous power behind the scenes, controlling financial institutions, governments and even the Golden Globe awards. This is not true today. But hundreds of years ago, when occult conspiracies were all the rage, the elders of shadowy cabals pulled strings in their foul, dank, bone-strewn lairs and made popes, kings and emperors dance like puppets. The Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Jesuits, the Rothschilds, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Trilateral Commission, Skull and Bones and the Flying Wallendas were then running pretty much everything. (If you don’t believe me, it’s all right there in Wikipedia.)

It was a hell of a lot more fun than now, when the Masons mostly sit around complaining about taxes and discussing their latest colonoscopies. Once in a while, though, just for old times’ sake, the boys will make a bus driver or mail carrier dance like a puppet to show they haven’t lost their occult and sinister mojo.

What’s with the Masonic symbols on U.S. currency?

Look closely at the one-dollar bill and you will see a pyramid with a human eye on top and some weird, unsettling and possibly occult and sinister foreign phrases. These are Masonic symbols! How did they get there? It seems that Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the treasury, when presented with the original design, felt there was too much white space on the dollar. “But we’ve used up all our national symbols,” he was told. “All we’ve got so far is that stupid eagle.” Hamilton, an inveterate prankster as well as a 237th-degree Mason of the Flatbush Lodge, replied, “Toss in some Masonic crap. They’ll be trying to figure that out for the next three centuries.”

Masons open up as Dan Brown plot lodges

The Australian - Matthew Clayfield, Angus Hohenboken - ‎Sep 13, 2009‎
THE books of Dan Brown may be considered by some to be mutton dressed up as literary lamb, but the American author isn't likely to pay much attention when ...

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol out of print and doing well

iTWire - Davey Winder - ‎Sep 18, 2009‎
Everyone expected the new Dan Brown book to smash sales records, but who knew it would do so well 'out of print' in the online world? ...
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The Lost Symbol Response by The Masonic Society, MSANA and GWMM

The Masonic Society, with the cooperation of the Masonic Service Association of North America and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, has decided to provide a great, concrete response to "the Lost Symbol" in a website entitled, "The Lost Symbol and Freemasonry." The website provides answer to many burning questions about Masonry including what Freemasonry is and why Freemasons care about the Lost Symbol. The site also lists a very good list for seeking the truth about Freemasonry. The website will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. I'm very glad that the Masonic Society has taken this important step in PR.

As many of my readers know, I am a member of The Masonic Society, which provides great opportunities for brothers with a brilliant publication, "the Journal of the Masonic Society." If you have not already joined the Masonic Society, you should. If you are a Freemason, please send this link along to other brothers, family and friends. We should be ready for whatever happens after next Tuesday and this is a great starting salvo. I applaud my brothers at the Masonic Society.

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Destination D.C. and "the Lost Symbol"

Destination D.C., a private, non-profit tourism board for business and sites in the Washington, D.C. area, has created a website specifically tailored to the places found in the novel, "the Lost Symbol." The website includes sites like the US Capitol, the House of the Temple as well as little known Masonic-related sites like the National Museum of Women and the Arts. The new Dan Brown book looks to increase awareness everywhere as Washington organizations begin to piggyback on the "Lost Symbol" craze. Although Masonry won't feel any effects yet, our Masonic landmarks will be getting huge numbers of visitors following around the book's path. We'll see what caliber of men seeks admission into our Lodges; I just hope that we weed out those with "mercenary motives."

Destination D.C. has also created a video as well highlighting the Washington connection to the book.

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Freemasonry: The History, Mystery and Truth

Tarcher Talks: Freemasonry - Introduction
Tarcher Talks: Freemasonry - First Questions
Tarcher Talks - Freemasonry's Role in America
Tarcher Talks - Freemasons and Their Influence
TarcherTalks: Freemasonry and the Founding of America
Tarcher Talks - A Discussion on Manly P. Hall
Tarcher Talks - Freemasonry Today

American publisher Penguin will be republishing a number of Manly P. Hall books under its Tarcher imprint. Gearing up for the incoming onslaught of Dan Brown and "the Lost Symbol", Penguin has decided to dedicate one of the episodes of its video series, "Tarcher Talks" to the topic of Freemasonry. Joe Fotinos, vice-president of Penguin, asks questions of Mitch Horowitz, author of "Occult America" and non-Freemason, about a wide range of topics about the Fraternity from the usual, "who is a Freemason" to Freemasonry's connection with the Mormon Church. There is even a surprising connection between the Shrine and Sufism.

I really like the candid nature of these videos. There really is no glossing over of the victories and challenges facing the Craft. There are some mistakes made in the videos, including Ronald Reagan being named a Freemason. (He was not a Freemason but he was made an honorary member of the Scottish Rite.) However, I really thought that Mr. Horowitz had some good points about what Masonic Lodges must do with the candidates now that many will seek out our more esoteric side. We can't just continue on as a civic organization while ignoring our deeper past. Much of what is focused on in the episode comes from the books by Manly P. Hall.

For those not in the know, Hall was the prominent esoteric Freemason of the 20th century. Unlike most writers of the time, he sought a deeper meaning within the symbols of Masonry. He was a prolific writer and speaker on the Craft, giving thousands of lectures and authoring over 150 books. He was awarded the 33rd degree in 1973. He was also the founder of the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles.

In the end, I really enjoyed hearing an outsiders perspective on the Fraternity. Sometimes we become far to insular to truly understand how people view us. You can find the republished Manly P. Hall manuscripts on The Secret Destiny of America and The Lost Keys of Freemasonry.

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Military Maneuvers witnessed in Kentucky

The 'Grafton' she mentions is a local town of about 1300 about 12 miles North of here
I found the newspaper story:
On target: Military unit storms Troy
“Medicine is the keystone of the arch of socialism.” - Vladimir Lenin
'keystone' definition - The central cohesive source of support and stability. The most important part of a process, organization, etc.


-------Original Message----- --
From: Xxxxx
Date: 9/30/2009 9:55:23 PM
Subject: Hi Harry
I was in Troy TN sister lives about 10 min away in Union City TN...and the 101st Airborne
from Ft Campbell in KY held military manuevers... IN Troy.

Choppers flew low grid search patterns over the small town (Blackhawks, etc) in a mock search for 'terrorists' .
300 troops moved into the town (which is real small, sort of Grafton-ish) along with Humvees and other military
vehicles including weapons.

The search for the terrorist ended in several minutes of cannons or bombs (fake, but sounded very real) and
heavy machine gun fire.

It was surrealistic to see this, looking out across the neighborhood, an American flag waving in the breeze.

I didn't have a camera but even knowing it was an 'exercise', with the intensifying chopper searches (flying so
low they would drown out anything below with the loud chopper sounds) and the bombs and was a
tiny dose of the future, when it will all be for real.

Got a good look at how hard it will be for anyone in a city or town to escape absolute destruction.

Story is covered in the Union City Messenger, can access it online.

I am in the process of moving to an acre out in the country. SO much happier away from the city. Have a
well with good water. Still have to get back up to Alton to get more things out of 1279, but got my dogs out, and
1 truckload of things so far.

Take care, hope you and yours are well and safe.

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