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Welcome

NP Journal for experimenting with ideas, Copyright © 2011-2017 LJ Frank. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Narrative Paths Journal

“We think we know but have yet to discover.”  Thomas Aquinas

 

NP Journal for experimenting with ideas was initiated within the context of experiences and rooted in treks, voyages, studies and work. The access, integrative content and design of the journal are evolving with the goal of enhancing the reader’s experience. The views and opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the individual authors.

 

“Narrative Paths Journal is a literary magazine focusing on new philosophies and ideas.”  Uriél Dana

 

CONTENTS

About Us

Brief overview of  the vision and people who offer their insights and expertise. Includes a list of NP Journal Group & Contributors: editor, assistant editor, guest columnists, writers, poets and photographers.

Contact: L J Frank can be reached directly at narrative.paths@gmail.com

Announcements

Introductions and links to evolving ideas, philosophies, trends with both narrative and poetic reflections on diverse issues.

Plus, we are now listing publications (books, articles, poetry, etc.), book signing events and links to periodical, radio, television, YouTube and film (interviews, talks, speeches, performances, etc.) by people who NP Journal interview including Guest Columnists as part of our efforts in getting to know and connect with people and their work.

Art

Includes some of Frank’s works of abstract expressionism.  Several of his paintings have been donated to nonprofit organizations. Numerous works are on display in business and professional offices and private homes.

Guest Column

We welcome guest columnists. With over 1,000,000 impressions & visits from over 90 countries being a guest columnist offers global exposure for your thoughts. We also supply links to your online sites. Contact information is listed under About Us.

The Miracle of Learning & the Seasons of Change by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen.

Inquiries

Philosophical approaches to various artistic, cultural, literary, political, religious, scientific and social matters .Faces in the crowd and the orthodoxy of design by L J Frank 

Interviews

Strives to offer insightful and thought-provoking observations of varying lengths in areas that are engagingly diverse and leaning towards the paradigmatic. Most recent:  Tibetan Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreaming, Interview with Andrew Holecek.

NPJ Book Review

Books from the past to the present are reviewed that express the inquisitive and exploratory nature of NP Journal. All reviews are by L J Frank unless otherwise noted.

Publications 

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”  Lao Tzu, Daoist philosopher

Preview listing of L J Frank’s published books with links to retail availability. Frank is also working on two books including a philosophically oriented autobiography.

Rhythms

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home — Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō

Contrasting shapes of experiences, ideas, dreams and thoughts primarily in the form of poetry and essays. The words amusing, romantic, haunting, disquieting, nonlinear, obscure and existential are a few of the descriptors for these jottings. Rhythms is being phased out this summer. 

The “madness” of a poet’s soul by L J Frank.  

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Index

Links to archived Contributors, Announcements, Guest Column, Inquiries, Interviews, NPJ Book Review and Rhythms.

NPJ Briefing

The Briefing includes updates on Journal plans, usage, visitors by country and miscellaneous website news.

Citizens, A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama (1989)

“In some depressing sense, violence was the revolution itself,” Schama states in the opening pages.

Simon Schama’s work comes across as that of an expert devoted to his subject and guided by the opinions and ideas of the day in streets of Paris, France with more than enough details, so much so, that I have returned to this magisterial work to read certain aspects of this “full- blooded” narrative with a different view.

Reading this book can be dizzying and enlightening. Peering into the late 18th century France through Schama’s eyes feels as if one is looking at the people and events as if they were alive. As one reads one cannot help but compare the “revenge of time” with the events of today’s unstable minds and events around the world and within the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court and agendas at variance with the concept of a democratic republic.

Schama, know his subject well and gets inside the fabric of its characters and events of the Revolution and their individual roles and the anger and distrust played out in the theater, the revolutionary exhortations among various groups, the fervor expressed in works of art, the deals made behind closed doors in the halls of justice and the boudoirs of madams, the mocking of the King who saw himself and family as privileged, and the blood that spilled into the streets as chaos arrived without structure. The old regime of benevolent capitalism was dying and about to be pronounced dead. The grievances grew bold and death in the form of suicide and homicide grew as the number of victims mounted in number and terror spread through the streets.

Faith was eventually poured into the concept of liberty and the American Revolution was an inspiration. The threads between the French and Americans were an interweave of passion between leaders of both countries.

This remains an extraordinary narrative of the French Revolution and one wonders if between the American and French Revolutions whether another revolution is on the horizon as the end of democracy is now imaginable and the move toward authoritarian regimes is occurring as division and mistrust grows.

The Manipulated Mind by Denise Winn (2000)

This in an interesting book if one is seeking to know more about elementary aspects of mind control and social conditioning. There are any number of ideas built into the framework of the author’ discussion the least of which is, what do we mean by free will? That said the author offers insightful information as to the nature of how our minds are conditioned and how we are influenced to accept things that are not necessarily an actuality.

In the past decade or so there have been a number of books about brainwashing and conditioning that offer a variety of in-depth excursions into mind control. There are scholars that reject the popular understanding of mind control while others have exposed how people are easily influenced by religion and a belief in something bigger than themselves. William Sargent’s Battle for the Mind Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing – How Evangelists, Psychiatrists, Politicians, and Medicine Men Can Change Your Beliefs and Behavior (2015) is a study in point.

The use of mind control experiments by various “intelligence agencies and psychologists around the globe is a book yet to be comprehensively written. The effects on individuals within religious traditions and ethnic groups is an example. People can be indoctrinated and manipulated to believe in almost anything where the facts would suggest otherwise as Wynn suggests.

The author perceptively notes that” People do not make their own decisions based on their own, and collective, standards of behavior always, because few have the resources to resist authority. Circumstances can affect our actions more dramatically than we could ever allow ourselves to believe.” Our minds can be more easily manipulated than we can possibly imagine.

The author in her overview does add some fascinating examples such as prisoners of war in Korea and how the Turkish prisoners used humor to deflect or channel mind control. This is not a comprehensive study but a tantalizing taste of the nature of brainwashing, social conditioning, conversion and the need for approval. It’s a fascinating look into how easily our minds can be manipulated and how we need to test our assumptions especially our language.

Our technologies and malleable brains only add to the textured layers of manipulative conditioning.

NPJ Book Review: Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, translated by David R. Slavitt (2008)

This is one of several, and my preferred translation, of this brief but substantial work between a man, awaiting execution in the year 524, and his intimate yet dispassionate conversation with an imaginary woman, Lady Philosophy.

Boethius was a Roman patrician, senator, educated in Greek and philosophy, which placed him in good stead towards the end of his brief life. His suffering was not unique (for the untold masses of people in the lower classes), but his educated voice was able to articulate the struggle between the spheres of both the meaning of life and of death.

It is a thought-provoking work that transcends any particular religious belief though its does offer a theological taste in his references to an eternal God and I am reminded at different points made by Qoheleth (see Ecclesiastes). For example, In Book II Lady Philosophy observes that the “desire for happiness is inborn, instinctive in the minds of men. But they are led astray by false ideas of good.” What does a man gain through work, whether honest or not and accumulates wealth and power and pleasure? “These are the things all men want-wealth, high office, power, fame and pleasure…” as his imaginary lady friend observes. She speaks from a position herself of once having power (through the mind of Boethius). The impoverished suffer daily, and so perhaps think differently and only wish to have one good meal each day and a roof over their head. Regardless,  the only gain a man achieves  through work or play or the pursuit of pleasure, wealth and power is but death. None of it heals the man from within.

Lady philosopher does question whether he is any better than the weak regardless of whether he thinks so? For life ends on the same note for everyone with little hope for recovery so one is wise to seek the spiritual if they wish to be truly happy…further, ”things are known,” Lady philosophy suggests in Book VI, “not according to their natures but according to the nature of the one who is comprehending them.” Self-awareness has a Buddhist feel.

This brief, provocative work might be considered an essential read for today’s politicians and corporate and religious leaders. From a literary and philosophical perspective Slavitt’s translation is excellent.

Carmen Browne’s Music

https://carmenbrowne.bandcamp.com/track/insomnia

https://carmenbrowne.bandcamp.com/track/you-will-know

Everett Bradley (touring member with Bon Jovi and former member of Bruce Springsteen’s Band),  who produced her debut EP Cloud Ballet, and she is currently working with Everett and producer/musician Joe Chester (Coronas, Waterboys) on her album Sublime Light due to be released in 2017.

Browne Towne

For access to her blog

Prayer Flag, Holecek

In response to the numerous questions about the interview with Andrew Holecek and the effects of lucid dreaming on any given person that undertakes the experience, including the applications such as the power of belief, the role of intention, yoga techniques/postures, meditation and other methods the following links may be helpful. For those individuals wishing to incorporate Tibetan Dream Yoga into their life, Holecek offers information for further exploration. Here’s a small sampling from Holecek’s work with a reminder that there’s no quick fix but rather it requires discipline to realize results in any aspect of one’s life:

What is dream yoga and how do you do it?

https://www.lionsroar.com/waking-up-from-the-dream-of-a-lifetime/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grlnGklIgMk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkq-X1MmWp\

 

Andrew Holecek, is an ardent and knowledgeable teacher of Tibetan Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreaming, with over 30 years of experience in the field – he is a spiritual teacher and philosopher, humanitarian, author and a student of Buddhism. He offers conversations, talks, online courses and workshops in the Unites States and abroad.

Holecek’s teachings demonstrate the opportunities that exist in obstacles, helping people with hardship and pain, death and dying, and problems in meditation.

An acknowledged expert on lucid dreaming and the Tibetan yogas of sleep and dream, he is an experienced guide for students drawn to these powerful nocturnal practices.

He has authored several works including:

The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy, Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, Dream Yoga; Illuminating your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep, Meditation in the iGeneration: How to Meditate in World of Speed and Stress, and the audio programs Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming.

http://www.andrewholecek.com/

http://www.andrewholecek.com/biography/\

 

NP: One thing is certain, after listening to you the curiosity, expertise and passion you bring with you is engaging and inspirational.  In general terms how would you describe a dream, lucid dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga?

Holeck:  I view a dream as any manifestation of the mind. The nighttime dream is just the mind released from external sensory restraints. On one level the nighttime dream and the waking reality are both illusory. Tibetan Dream Yoga is a philosophical and spiritual method that allows the mind to awaken to the dreamlike nature of reality, diurnal or nocturnal. Inherent to Tibetan Dream Yoga is lucid dreaming, which acts as a platform to Dream Yoga, but in and of itself is a method that can lead to self-fulfillment. Lucid dreaming is more psychological than spiritual. The entire process of lucidity leads to spiritual awakening whereby our daytime reality and our nocturnal dreams are interwoven into a whole. For one truly awake, there is no difference between day and dream.

NP: A colleague of mine, during the 1990s when we appeared in a stage play together, suggested what might be considered an analogy of lucid dreaming – like being on stage and at the same time being in the audience watching oneself perform. That experience leads me to ask about the triggers of lucid dreaming.

Holecek:  Interesting. Everyday we experience events that might be described as incongruities, or dreamlike. At night we might experience a similar incongruity in our dream, an anomalous event that can clue us into the fact that we’re dreaming. For example, during the daytime if something odd or dreamlike occurs and we jump up, we’ll come back down. This “state check” allows us to confirm we’re awake, we’re in the waking state. But if we do the same thing at night when something weird happens, we might keep going up. That will clue us into the fact that we’re dreaming, we’re in the dream state. We can trigger lucid dreams by our actions during the day so they carry over to dreams at night.

NP: What inspired you to pursue this path?

Holecek:  In my early 20’s, which I explain my recent book, I experienced a profound awakening that I built on over the years. I always had a rich dream life but my experiences led to a spiritual awakening and I began to view later events within the framework of that awakening.

NP What are the implications of lucid dreaming and the effect on lifestyle and work?

Holecek with the Dalai Lama

Holecek: In essence lucid dreaming leads to lucid living. As we gain insights during the night, those insights lead to “outsights,” or practical applications in daily life. Lucid dreaming is a method of shaping our life by shifting changes in how we respond to life rather than react. The neuroplasticity of our brain allows for mindfulness and meditation, as part of lucid dreaming, to reshape our brains, which can affect how we relate to anxiety, anger, stress and so forth.  We use the night to transform the day.

NP: The future of Tibetan Dream yoga and lucid dreaming?

Holecek: I envision Tibetan Dream Yoga and lucid dreaming as methods for gaining greater insight into human potential and capability. It could represent the pedagogy of the future. As just one example, it can be used as a form of therapy. When you’re in therapy, the person you’re trying to resolve an issue with doesn’t have to be there physically, they only have to be there phenomenally – they only have to appear to your mind. In a lucid dream, you can work out unresolved issues, even with those who have died, by engaging in therapeutic role-play. You bring them to mind, which means they appear to you in your lucid dream, and you can process issues in that medium. In the future we may be able to bring about any number of physical, psychological, and spiritual transformations by what we do in our lucid dreams. That’s no small thing.

Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

A few hundred miles into the drive, an interval at a coffee shop with familiar sounding brands and a pause from the meditative feel of driving. Language has a rhythm of its own with each mile of experience, passed animated faces and fidgety hands holding the steering wheels lost in anxious moments talking into headphone sets with abstract smiles and nodding heads.

Exiting my worn, blemished car and approached by a man with a comfortable grin who had pulled his similarly gray modeled vehicle next to mine, looked at me up close and said, “I thought I was different but realized I still get lost in the maize and have to occasionally attach a small flag to my car’s antenna to find it amid the sea of gray, black and white ‘faces of the cars’…guess next time I’ll buy a bright red one.”

“Good luck!” My reply was automatic as our vehicles were probably the only things we had in common based on fresh looking stickers pasted on his car’s windows suggesting we were at opposite ends of the political and spiritual spectrum with nothing to talk about except cars. Politics and religion affect our social constructs. We passed a few moments discussing fluff.

In our individual quests for uniqueness, therein may lay the sameness. The dissimilar is the similar all over again and appears to be linked to the orthodoxy of design and advertised as a unique piece of engineering. Historically, wealth and power determine orthodoxy and to resist that orthodoxy is to commit heresy, and that moves beyond a meaningful philosophical discourse. We design things in life that look dissimilar on the surface to show our difference but they’re not. Still, wealth is a signature design of self-entitlement depending on context. Perhaps choice is but an interesting concept within the pragmatism of survival.

I got back on the road after a 15 minute coffee and cinnamon roll break – a ritual leaning towards the bearable lightness of being. Several hundred miles later I lay down on a needed stiff hotel bed that felt like barn wood planks and I dreamt of a journey about snakes shedding their skins as if being reborn. I also dreamed there was a group of people nearby with transparent skin and I was able to see their organs and the mechanics underneath and wondered how would we design the next orthodoxy let alone indulge in our work and play with such a striking display of our nature.

I woke up as daylight began to burn the morning sky. Packing and getting in my car I headed toward the highway and the rising sun while listening to some background music of Gordon Lightfoot’s If you could read my mind and sipping from a free recycled appropriately thick paper designer cup filled with the traditional orthodoxy of straight up black coffee.

Angie Sanchez is a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Practitioner involving Past Life Regression for the purpose of understanding our current life while connecting to the healing of varied areas of the self – mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. She also leads mediation groups emphasizing expanding self and the love for others. A core understanding of her pursuits is a recognition and an appreciation that we are “a spiritual being having a human experience.”

“My mission is to light the light in others and am always delighted to connect with new people while continuously learning.”

Sanchez also works as an actress/model. For more information on her background see the first Interview and her website.

NP:  In our first interview we covered quantum healing therapy and past-life regression. In this second part, I’d like to explore other aspects of your work. What kind of person would be a typical client?

Sanchez: I think every Quantum Healing Hypnosis Practitioner attracts a particular kind of client depending on their vibration. For me, the clients I attract are people who know there’s more to life but can’t quite put their finger on it. It’s usually people who are aware of the Higher Self or “something more,” people who want to better themselves overall.

NP: Do you find there are opportunities to help someone who is physically or emotionally challenged who might wish to explore such things as auto healing or quantum healing to gain a greater sense of self-worth and self-confidence?

Sanchez: Everyone is going through their journey, whether physically, mentally and or emotionally and each stage they arrive at in life it may become a matter of recognizing that stage as an opportunity to accept, adjust, adapt or change and move forward. The question is what do they do with that opportunity? As much as we like to help, the truth is some people don’t want help. The key is to honor where people are and support them whenever and however possible.

NP: Have you found in your work that people feed into the negative easier than the positive? And how do you feel your work helps people adapt or adjust to a healthier thought and life style process?

Sanchez: It’s all quite positive! Before we begin a session, we discuss life events in the form of a conversation or information but never in a negative way. It provides context so that I can understand what the client is experiencing in their life.

Quantum Healing Hypnosis allows people to have an insight into life itself; we look at life events from a soul perspective. For example, think of your older-self giving your present-self advice and now magnify that times 100. I find the most powerful part of QHHT or Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy, is going through the death process after exploring a past life. People are always “enlightened/aware” after this phenomenon.

NP: What are those things you do or think about that recharges you every day and gives you that positive, charismatic outlook and smile?

Sanchez: I am constantly learning about this life and the Universe we live in. If we only knew that the Universe and everything in its existence is rooting for you, you would smile too. I also believe discipline is a key factor in spiritual growth. I wake up between 4:30-5:00 a.m. to meditate for 20 minutes followed by reading content along the lines of spirituality or physics.

NP: Are there any philosophical thoughts you would like to add?

Sanchez: Remember, any information or knowledge you wish to gain or learn about can come in many forms. It may be a stranger with a story, a video you watch or a blog post or book you read, a song on the radio or perhaps a complex numerical sequence  – it truly can come in any form. All you have to do is ask, be open to receive and trust yourself.

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1794, 1795 Parts 1 & 2)

Written during the era that was characterized by scientific and philosophical enlightenment, war and revolution and moral and theological shifts among other things, Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense along with other pamphlets wrote in the voice of the common person. There have been innumerable volumes written on this intellectually provocative work along with his Rights of Man.

The past decade has seen an increase in the rereading of The Age of Reason. It’s essentially about Paine’s thoughts on religion that are best summed up when he states several paragraphs into Part One, “My own mind is my own church.”

Paine goes on to state “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and to monopolize power and profit.”

The religious and theological inventions of man possess enormous power over people and when combined with money establish an orthodoxy-frame of reference. That is, wealth and power determine orthodoxy. To resist the orthodoxy is heresy. Paine understood only too intimately the downstream effects on people.

As a deist Paine, who was raised as a Quaker, did not condemn believers. He believed he had a right to his own beliefs, without judgment from others. He went on to stress that, …”it is necessary for the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”

 Paine cautions about revelation – a communication from God through inspiration, an angel or the Word…When revelation is applied to religion it “Means something communicated immediately from God to man.”  And, ”that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other; and consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.”

Paine’s work challenged the thinking of the day as he questioned in details the roots and the logic of the three major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. By the twenty-first century caught up in major shifts in beliefs, continued wars and a rebirth of religious fundamentalism and the corporate state, Paine’s work arrives once more as a plea for reason. But, there’s danger in reason as Voltaire might suggest, ”It’s dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

The Age of Reason has transcended the period in which it was written and is now referenced within a technological context and the “the rhyme of history” as Mark Twain might say, has visited us once again.

This is a provocative work with Part One of Two, being more salient within today’s technological context, though the entire work including a third part in 1807 are fascinating.

I recommend Paine, The Collected Writings (1984).

 

Harrie Farrow is BiNet USA Board Member, Bisexual Journalist, Advocate, Consultant, and Speaker

Link to her novel set in 1980’s San Francisco:  “Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe”

Link to her interview about her novel: BiCast Interview with Harrie Farrow author of “Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe

Randi Sloane, a former NYC private investigator turned actor (e.g., film, television, theater, web/new media, commercials) has a fresh, appealing and informative website: www.randisloaneactor.com   Also, see Interview and Column

  • Mehra, B.,Bishop, B. W., and Partee II, R. (2017). Small Business Perspectives on the Role of Rural Libraries in Economic Development. The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 87(1), 17-35. Accession Number: 120479680.
  • Mehra, B. (2017).Cultural Re-Interpretation of Race/Ethnicity and Sexuality: A Gay South Asian “Voice” From Between a Rock and a Hard Place. In Diane L. Barlow and Paul T. Jaeger (eds.), Celebrating the James Partridge Award: Essays Toward the Development of a More Diverse, Inclusive, Equitable Field of Library and Information Science (Advances in Librarianship Series), Volume 42Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Mehra, B. and Singh, V. (2017).Library Leadership-In-Training as Embedded Change Agents to Further Social Justice in Rural Communities: Teaching of Library Management Subjects in the ITRL and ITRL2. In Nicole A. Cooke and Miriam E. Sweeney (Eds.), Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom (pp. 247-286)Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

 The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt (1958)

Hannah Arendt is an acquired taste. I periodically reread books that I’ve read in the past to see if I read something different in a work the second time around. Arendt’s writings in my opinion are provocative from a political, philosophical and sociological perspective but once acquired one returns for a second helping.

Arendt is relentlessly thought-provoking regardless of what she tackles in the Human Condition she visits the active life as compared to the contemplative life. The affect of Greek philosophy on her thinking is evident.

In the Human Condition Arendt defines labor, work and action. My read is that labor is a natural condition of human life and the biological processes of the human body and the associated struggles the body endures. Work is viewed as providing an artificial world of things. Actions involves our individual political philosophies as played out every day whereby “men not Man live on the earth and inhabit the world” and in which actions take on existential meaning that is, responsibility for the self and the downstream effect of our decisions made on a daily basis.

During the course of her philosophical inquiry Arendt states “ To live an entirely earthy life means above all to be deprived of the things essential to a truly human life: to be deprived of the reality that comes from being seen and heard by others, to be deprived of an “objective” relationship with the thing that comes from being related to and separated from them through the intermediary of common world things, to be deprived of the possibility of achieving something more permanent than life itself.” Like the ancient Greek philosophers her perspective sheds light on whether the truly private human exists. We are human in relation to others and must assume responsibility for that “beingness” as her friend Heidegger might suggest.

In the end of her philosophical inquiry a paradox exists as the philosopher Cato observes about the human condition: “Never is he more active than when he does nothing. Never is he less alone than when he is by himself.”

In Arendt’s two volumes on Thinking and Willing, this reader comes away with a similar sense as this work on the Human Condition. It’s the obligation of humans with the resources to do so, to exist in the present moment while acknowledging the past and seeking a life of meaning beyond the illusions brought about by material gain.

theguardian

What would you do to help someone who felt deeply anxious about the future? Or who was dragged down by a sense of sadness and loneliness? How could you make a long-term relationship more exciting or alleviate your impression of being a loser?

Continue Reading

Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

Espionage or spying is associated with competition, money and power in its multiple shapes and forms along with the desire of rulers and heads of states, nations or tribes to enhance their ascendancy and dominant status while strangling dissent and channeling potential conflict. Psychologically it might be classified as strategic voyeurism with manipulative intent.

Historically, a person(s) spied on another person or people for the sake of a competitive advantage or control, be it economic, political, cultural, military, technological or involving significant resources such as access to food, water, slaves (both female and male), textiles such as silk or elements such as gold, silver or diamonds among others.The concept is ancient dating back to the Babylonian and Indian dynasties, Egyptian pharaohs and Chinese emperors among other rulers, thousands of years ago. Sociological context, physical geography and resources were and are compelling underlying factors.

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and people of India felt comfortable thinking of themselves as “modern” several thousand years ago. They weren’t ancient at the time. Time has a gravitas all its own. The dangerous pleasures and intrigues of espionage were pursued with the techniques and communication tools available at the time whether wrapped in papyrus, leather or messages in hollow reeds or individual letters and numbers on a stone tablet or meanings hidden within selected words in a manuscript or book or literally the whispering in a receptive ear.

Whether a secret rendezvous in the middle of the night in ancient Athens or Beijing, or the muted voices of two lovers over a bottle of wine in Venice during the so-called Middle Ages, or the passing of a slip of paper between “friends” in Istanbul during WWI and the electronic coded messages of World War II, or the face to face meetings between “colleagues” in a coffeehouse in Prague, Marseilles or Amsterdam, espionage was and is pervasive and intimate. There was the thrill, the tragedy and the loss the history of espionage alludes to. The famous spies have a celebrity quality attached to them but it’s the unfamiliar names or those known only to inner circles of power that have affected the outcome of events and in some cases, the overthrow of governments.

A significant difference in clandestine activities in the twenty-first century and those of a few thousand years ago are the tools such as the less intimate use of cyber and satellite and artificially devised channels of secret communication to serve as a means to obtain, exchange and selectively appropriate and even share information and disinformation, with an adversary.

Today the purpose from such information gathering activities also includes, industrial and corporate mechanisms that offer a strategic, advantageous position. The value of espionage is ancient – money and power under the metaphors accompanying fear and security. It’s the process in which one finds the fog of intrigue and the mist of pleasure.

As an addendum: In the United States, espionage was considered essential from the War for Independence and on. Espionage was not without controversy in the new republic. See The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, and The Espionage Act of 1917  (text) and Sedition Act of 1918  (wiki) enacted and followed by the slightly less contentious National Security Act of 1947  (text), that opened the physical and ultimately, digital doors and windows to covert activity of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The amount of material on known espionage activities is voluminous in print, digital format and otherwise, online.

The twenty-first century has witnessed an elaborate mushrooming of digital and satellite espionage and mass surveillance activity. The future? Will there be a greater merger of corporate, military and government programs and projects to such a degree that humanoid and human activity become a more essential interwoven tool of espionage? Does one of the emerging questions then become whether humanoids are inadvertently programmed with the personalities of their programmers and resulting pleasures open to more complex deterministic relationships? The questions are endless. The core values of competition, money and power remain the same as do the metaphors of fear and security.

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