Jay, my oldest sister Sue's husband of many years as Native American, has learned over the years that one of his nation's graveyards is located just behind their small house in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas. In a telephone conversation with my mother only recently, I learned that Jay had actually stopped a watch in Sue's presence. He did so, she says, simply by staring at it.
In keeping with the customs of his people for thousands of years, Jay doesn't brag about his abilities. He was in Naval Intelligence in the 1960's and undoubtedly knows more about secret activities of the U.S. military than he's ever talked about. One of the skills he seems to have learned or developed there was this ability to "mind control" watches. Even in the 1960's, his government was messing with his mind, but in a far more serious and sinister manner than we'd ever previously imagined.
We recently learned about the LSD experiments in the '50's and '60's which the CIA conducted secretly, often on uninformed persons, as part of its decades long "MK-Ultra" program. This, it is turning out, was only one of several "mind control" experiments our Pentagon has conducted in attempting to capture and harness the power of the very essence of the human being (Litchfield 165-8).
Even scarier, although the United States government doesn't discuss it much publicly, it's pretty clear that much research into psychic phenomena as a possible weapons system has gone on (Kluger 34-8). And since psychic phenomena are held by some persons to be manifestations of the spiritual, the sacred we now can see that it literally is the case that nothing is sacred to the war planners at the Pentagon. Our thought, our thinking process, has been violated, invaded, raped by squinty eyed jerks in bureaucratic looking offices; by over"tanned, rawhide"skinned officers who ought to know better by now.
In this context, too, perhaps, what an apt building: one which ispenta-gonal in shape as seen from the roof. The pentagram is the devil worshipers' symbol. Coincidence? So the human mind becomes a weapon. The human mind is the basis of human individuality, the core of democratic thinking about freedom and individuality since the days of Jefferson, Thoreau, Franklin, Lincoln. Before them, its unique, higher qualities had inspired the authors of the Magna Carta. in England in the 1500's. Even earlier, it had been important to the ancient Greek philosophers, thousands of years ago: even to them, the plan was to be respected, admired, held in awe. It was not to be the subject of research studies. Only in the twentieth century, in the midst of an increasing understanding of the deep complexity of the human brain-body connections and biology, has humanity seen fit to subject the human mind to laboratory research.
Whether such research can be justified on the basis of the outcome of the Cold War must now be evaluated. We must determine whether the damage to many of the nation's political and legal institutions has been justified. Did all the years of secrecy and the tolerance of secrecy in fact produce permanent damage to many of our institutions of government and state? We will be hard-pressed to replace these institutions in their original state, should this prove to be the case.
So, after all that spending, it turns out that the Reds were not the great threat to our democratic institutions we'd thought. Instead the real threat seems to have come from within. Far Right extremists brought Nazis over to work in "intelligence," covering up for their human rights violating "medical experiments," including bizarre "grafting" of animal parts onto human beings. And Far Left Soviet "psychic experiments" were copied to keep them from getting the "jump" on us in the Cold War.
There is little doubt that major damage has been done to institutional trust by such Cold War mania. The question is: how lasting is that damage?
A second question is whether such damage, in fact, so extensive and long-lasting as to reveal a fatal flaw in our institutions as originally constituted? Will we have to re"evaluate all our most valued democratic institutions in light of their failure to preserve American democracy, at least for periods of time, from the 1940's until today?
How much secret nuclear activity, nuclear fallout and radioactivity can a democracy hide from itself before it, in effect, commits suicide as a society? How much secrecy can we, as a democratic society, before all the wraps are finally off these "national security" activities of the Cold War years?
When do we in the West become conscious of this wound within? In America, the wound was definitely self-inflicted. The alternative is to believe that Hitler and his Nazis or Stalin and his Communists had a lot more on the ball than we thought, effectively infiltrating our secrecy establishment to ensure a different defeat for America. Since both of these 'ism's were defeated by our system in one form of warfare or another, it's pretty clear to me that such an infiltration isn't responsible for our problems. Our problems are a product of a sad, self-destructive tendency now easily seen in several aspects of American society, from the running of the Pentagon to the running of our urban and even suburban neighborhoods.
Democracy often does seem to have a self-destructive tendency, when we review it historically. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that today's world's most advanced democracy can also engage in such self-destruction. The hope is that, as the desire to self-destruct came from within, so can the desire to heal.
Nevertheless, I am moved to a twinge of pessimism here. If experiments on the human mind can be tolerated in a democracy for upwards of 50 years, how safe is such a democracy?
Even more serious, how safe can the human mind be from here on out?
Our American system has about as many restraints on the intrusive powers of the state and respect for the privacy and rights of the individual, as any on earth. And if the mind is a candidate as a weapon of war, can the spirit be far behind? Will the Pentagon be trying next to harness the power of the human soul to its war aims? The Bible and other holy books speak of wars between evil and good spirits or souls, caught in a battle between good and evil, God and Satan or Light and Darkness.
Will the Pentagon attempt to mimic this, someday marching battalions of souls against any nation which seeks to defy us? What sort of pyrrhic victory could we thus achieve? Just how far into this whole area can the Pentagon delve, before it genuinely steps on toes? And on what and whose turf will it be treading as it does so?
Hmmmm. Perhaps there is a ray of hope, after all. If there is a psychic side to things, enough so for the Pentagon to be experimenting in that area, what does that portend for the Pentagon? More importantly, perhaps, what does it portend for all our lives?
Works Cited:Constantine, Alex. Psychic Dictatorship In the USA. Carson City, NV: America
Gris, Henry and William Dick.The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries. New
Kluger, Jeffrey. "CIA ESP." Discover, April, 1996. 34-8.
Litchfield, Michael, and the "National Insecurity Council." It's A Conspiracy!
Volume One. Berkeley, Cal: Earthworks, 1989.
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