Israel and Iran 

The West has been attacking Iran for defending itself and its allies since the early 1950s. To understand the issues between the two countries we have to go back to the roots.

1. ⁠The Zionist occupation of Palestine and the displacement and oppression of the mostly Muslim Arab population since the 1930s. Iran sees itself as one of the few active protectors of Palestine. Its funding of Hamas and Hezbollah are all about supporting the Palestinian fight for freedom from occupation and oppression. Here’s a recent quote from the Iranian FM: “The current crisis is rooted in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, displacement of its original inhabitants, organized killings and terrorism, looting of natural resources, apartheid and systematic discrimination and continued aggression on al-Quds in the last 75 years.”

2. ⁠Israel’s role as a US proxy in the Middle East. Ever since the US covertly overthrew the democratically elected PM of Iran, Mossadegh, in 1953, the Iranians haven’t trusted the US, the UK (who started the coup against Mossadegh over control of Iranian oil reserves, which is what is driving everything), and their allies. And with good reason. The US funded Saddam Hussein’s brutal ten year war with Iran in the 1980s, to try to overthrow the second Iranian Revolution, and have done everything they can to cripple Iran’s economy ever since through sanctions and black ops (eg Stuxnet and assassination of various nuclear scientists).

Every time anyone from the West points the finger at Iran as being the instigator of tensions without also acknowledging this history, they are selling you a fairytale.

The CIA in Ukraine

For the people who still believe Ukraine wasn’t a threat to Russia before the 2022 escalation of hostilities, this story in today’s AFR points out that the CIA were in Ukraine from 2016 (and I’d guess a lot earlier than that).

The AFR says: 

It took root a decade ago, coming together in fits and starts under three very different US presidents, pushed forward by key individuals who often took daring risks. It has transformed Ukraine, whose intelligence agencies were long seen as thoroughly compromised by Russia, into one of Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today.

The listening post in the Ukrainian forest is part of a CIA-supported network of spy bases constructed in the past eight years that includes 12 secret locations along the Russian border. 

About 2016, the CIA began training an elite Ukrainian commando force – known as Unit 2245 – which captured Russian drones and communications gear so that CIA technicians could reverse-engineer them and crack Moscow’s encryption systems. (One officer in the unit was Kyrylo Budanov, now the general leading Ukraine’s military intelligence.)

So the CIA has been building secret bases and training a commando force on Russia’s border with Ukraine – and we’re to believe Russia was expected to do nothing? Ukraine may not have been a full NATO member in early 2022, but they were NATO-adjunct,  already being used as a tool of the US against Russia’s interests in many of the same ways as they would be when became a full NATO member. 

Don’t Trust Facebook With Your Business

I’ve always been paranoid about allowing other people to have any level of control over my business and today I got another lesson in why that’s a good policy.

For about 7 years I’ve run a Facebook group called “Cigars Australia Forum”. It was originally a standalone forum that I ran back when I was in the cigar business. Then, when the software behind the forum became too clumsy, I moved it over to Facebook. Just a bunch of 1000 (mostly) guys harmlessly comparing notes on cigars. Occasionally it got a little rowdy and I had to tell them to be nice. One a rare occasion I had to block a couple of people who were outright rude and nasty.

Yesterday, I got a message from Facebook that something about the group contravened their “community standards” – no details, just “your group has been disabled until you bring it into line with our standards”. This, of course, is coming from the company that let people like Cambridge Analytica have access to the personal data of millions of people. But I digress.

So I looked through their “community standards” page, couldn’t see anything that would my group would contravene, so I asked them to review the group and their decision.

Today I got a second notification from Facebook that the group, which had over 1000 members, has been permanently deleted. No explanation apart from “community standards”. Nobody to talk to. No way to protest or get clarification.

Now, luckily, I don’t care. This group had nothing to do with any business of mine or revenue source. I maintained it just as a service to Australia’s diminishing cigar appreciation community. But imagine if it was something important to my business or my brand and Facebook just decided to delete it? It could be devastating.

So that is why you should never trust Facebook, or Instagram (also part of Facebook) or Google or eBay or PayPal or Patreon or any other service provider with running the delivery platform for your business. If you can run it yourself, do it. If you can’t, make sure you have a backup plan if the service provider decides to pull the pin on you.

Day to Day with the Three Illusions

What is the day to day experience of something who understands the Three Illusions? 

This is really what people often want to know. How would my life be different if I investing time and energy into understanding this? Is it a profound-enough difference to justify the investment? Or will it turn out to be a waste of time and energy because it’s either ultimately meaningless in terms of reducing my emotional pain, or it will be too difficult for me to absorb and I’ll quit it like I’ve quit other things before, without experiencing much of a return on my investment? 

I’ll attempt to answer the first question first. 

My day to day experience is much like yours in most ways. I wake up, have a coffee, greet my wife and youngest child, and eventually go about my day – work, play, phone calls, emails, writing, recording, research. Most of it is inherently enjoyable. Some is not. After work, I play with my youngest child, have dinner with the family, get the kid to bed, then go back to work, while my wife usually sits beside me, doing her own work, reading or watching a show. Then we retire to bed, go to sleep to start again. 
What may be different from you is that, in my life, there is no stress. No anxiety. No fear about the future. No guilt, no resentment, no anger lasting more than a moment. No feelings of self-hatred,  no emotional or psychological pain. 

I’m completely at peace with the world around me and my place in it. And that peace has lasted for 30 years. 

Why is there such peace? 

That’s what understanding the Three Illusions provides. 

Understanding the illusion of free will means I know that every single action that I have done, or will ever do, was/is 100% determined by forces beyond any control. This means I can’t feel guilt at my past actions because they had to happen exactly as they did. I can still feel regret that things happened that way – as in, if I could have designed the perfect universe, I would have made things happen differently, either because of the impact of my actions on myself or on others. However, I know that things had to happen as they did, because free will doens’t exist, never did exist, cannot possible exist, and so I fully accept all of my past, present and future actions, just as I fully accept the actions of those around me. This removes anger and resentment from my life, because how can I resent someone who did exactly what they had to do? 

Understanding the illusion of time means I don’t worry about the future because I know that everything that will happen in the future is already happening right now. I know that “time is relative” – as in our experience of time is relative to our position in space-time and that the prevaling view of physics is that all of time co-exists with the present moment. Everything that has ever happened or will ever happening co-exists with right now. Which means the future is set in stone. It’s already happened. We just have to catch up to it. And so I accept the future as a foregone conclusion, which prevents me from worrying about it. It’s like watching the first episode of a TV show after the series has already gone to air. I don’t worry about how the characters will end up, because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Worry is an activity that is tied to the idea of being able to change future events and the concept that there might be multiple ways things can turn out. Of course, if it’s already happened, there is only ONE way it can turn out and we can have zero impact on that – so worrying about it is meaningless. 

Finally, understanding the illusion of identity means I fully accept that “Cameron” is an illusion of the senses and that the reality is that “what I am” is merely the entire Universe – and that this is also true of everyone else, and every THING else. Things that appear to happen to “Cameron” has a little importance to me as things happening right now on the surface of Mars, or things that happened last week in my favourite television show. They are interesting to watch and I might laugh or cry along with them. Last night, for example, I teared up at an episode of 30 Rock. I’m not even kidding. But I know the characters and their situations aren’t real. They are a contrivance, manufactured, and they have exactly as much reality as I give them. I can laugh and cry at them in one moment, then turn the TV off and forget all about their trials and tribulations. 

All of this means that life is experience without any significant psychological or emotional pain. All events are greeted with the same level of anticipation and essential happiness. We accept everything that happens as being necessary to the story. Life becomes a breeze. 
As for the second question – this isn’t hard to understand. The only questions is whether or not you can accept it. Quite often people will say “I get it, it’s hard to argue with, but I just can’t seem to accept it.” 
But I can explain it in a few seconds:

Decisions are thoughts. Thoughts are properties of the brain. The brain is made of atoms. Atoms obey the laws of physics. Therefore all decisions are the result of atoms obeying the laws of physics. Therefore there can be no “free will”.  Einstein explained that time and space are dimensions of the same construct. That’s why we call it “space-time”. And, as all points in space co-exist, therefore all points in time must also co-exist. Therefore the future has already happened.  The atoms that make up your body are billions of years old. Most of the atoms that made up your body 10 years ago are today something else. The atoms that are you today, were something else 10 years ago. The atoms that will be you 10 years from now are currently something else. Which atoms are you? If we could put on magic glasses that allowed us to see at sub-atomic levels, we would notice (according to quantum mechanics) that atoms don’t have a hard shell. Their outer shell is made of electrons which, most of the time, exist either as a wave function and/or a probability cloud (in QM speak:  a wave function from which a probability distribution of the location of an electron upon measurement can be inferred). So the electron “shells” of your atoms cross over with the “shells” of other atoms – in the air around you, the furniture you are sitting on, the people around you. Therefore all things literally blend into one another, and all of these things are the “body” of the universe. We are the universe experiencing itself. 

That’s the essence of the Three Illusions. Grasp this and you will live a life free of psychological and emotional pain. It really is that simple. 

For more on The Three Illusions, check out the podcast or book.

TIberius #29 “Going Deep”

On this week’s Tiberius Show: Tacitus seems to think Sejanus was the manipulator of Tiberius and that Sejanus wanted the power for himself. But of course he has things in his way. Drusus, the adult son of Tiberius, who is about 37. And Drusus also had sons of his own. Tiberius Gemellus and his twin brother, Tiberius Germanicus II Gemellus, are about 4 years old. And the real heir to Augustus is Nero Julius Caesar – Germanicus’ eldest son. So something has to be done about them.

The dissident view

The dissident view is not just another opinion among many. Its task is to contest the ruling ideology and broaden the boundaries of debate. The function of established opinion is just the opposite, to keep the parameters of debate as narrow as possible.