Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Mortal Coil: Shangri-La & the 2nd Death

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
 Xanadu - Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In the end of days, an elite class shall arise under a despot. While the elites shall enjoy every comfort, for the average citizen. life will become a living hell: More dominant males will go berserk, attacking females, juveniles and less dominant males. Sexual deviancy will become the norm. Males will pursue females relentlessly. Rates of bisexuality and homosexuality will skyrocket. In the final phase, all society will collapse: People will stop reproducing altogether, mothers will stop caring for and attack their young and our civilization shall disappear.

It does not matter whether you believe this or not because our establishment believes it. They take a dim view of man and feel they need to save us from ourselves. While many of their acts are portrayed as well intentioned efforts to stave off this collapse, their actions are actually coldly calculated moves to expand their power by provoking it.

Winston Churchill once famously stated that only the victors write history. He was wrong. The vanquished do too only their history gets erased. This is a history of the vanquished. It will soon disappear along with the remnants of our once proud, free society.

This Mortal Coil - Series

This mortal coil is an ongoing series devoted to the big questions: Why do we exist and how does one live a good life in the context of a complex society? Other installments in this series include:

Suicide Forest

Before jumping into what can be a darkly serious subject, please allow me a brief aside on three JohnQuincy obsessions, classic rock, all girl groups from the 60's and classic film. JQ will do his best to tie them into the topic at hand.

Americans have always had a whimsical fascination with utopia. This mania can be found throughout our popular culture:


JohnQuincy will spare you the Olivia Newton John, Xanadu references and skip to classic rock. Ok, they are technically Canadian but any mention of utopia in popular American culture has to include the Rush anthem, Xanadu:

JohnQuincy reader, rawcatslyenti, writes:

 "A Farewell to Kings" was the title/Track of the album. It is also a noteworthy message song itself.

Rush's previous album "2112" was based upon Atlas Shrugs.

The following album "Hemispheres" has the Orwellian "Animal Farm" song "The Trees" explaining socialism/communism's effects.

The Shangri Las

Most people do not know it but Shangri La has a fairly recent etymology. It was famously used by the queen of the 60's teenage girl groups, The Shangri-Las.

Mary Weiss, if you ever want to talk, JohnQuincy is here. Just shoot me an e-mail.

Lost Horizons

Lost Horizons - The Book

Shangri-La was first used as a scene in the novel, Lost Horizon, published by James Hilton in 1933. It is used in the book to signify a paradise on earth.

Lost Horizon ranks 22 on This Record's list of the 100 greatest SciFi/Fantasy novels:

This Record - The 100 Greatest Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels of All Time

Fun Facts:

Lost Horizon was the first ever paperback book  published in 1939.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt originally named Camp David, Shangri-La after the book.

Lost Horizons - The Movie

At one point, the movie, Lost Horizon, ranked  991 on the list of the 1000 greatest pictures of all time but has since dropped off the list.

The most authoritative list is maintained  by this site:
They Shoot Pictures Don't They . It compiles its list view a wide survey of critics and directors.

Here is some excellent background on the movie from a web site whose author went on a binge and watched all 1000 movies on the list: Shooting Down Picture - Lost Horizon

For your viewing pleasure, here is the restored version on Google Video:


While most Americans are content to day dream about utopia, the elites take a more macabre view on the subject, one that will eventually destroy our civilization..

Garden of Eden
A Trapped Rat Utopia 

Not content with day dreaming about paradise, a clever scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, John B. Calhoun, spent several decades in the past century creating and studying them. He found that there was a very fine line between heaven and hell.

"In 1947, John B. Calhoun's neighbor agreed to let him build a rat enclosure on disused woodland behind his house in Towson, Maryland. Calhoun would later reflect that his neighbor probably expected a few hutches, perhaps a small run. What Calhoun built was quarter acre pen, what he called a "garden of Eden," and, as the population expanded from a few individuals to many, a "rat city."" -Escaping the Laboratory: the rodent experiments of John B. Calhoun & their cultural influence.

Here are his grim findings:

"– protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding – they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space, a fact that became increasingly problematic as what he liked to describe as his “rat city” and “rodent utopia” teemed with animals. Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight.2 But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed. Males became hypersexual, pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioural sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass. Even when reintroduced to normal rodent communities, these “socially autistic” animals remained isolated until death. In the words of one of Calhoun’s collaborators, rodent “utopia” had descended into “hell”.3 Bulletin of the World Health Organization (BLT) , The urban animal: population density and social pathology in rodents and humans by Edmund Ramsden  

Here is a PBS Nova Video entitled, Rat Attack, concerning a real life swarm of rats in India. While it is not related to the Calhoun study, it give one the feel for what a high density rat environment is like.

His conclusions were published in a ground breaking article in the February, 1962, edition of the Scientific American. Unfortunately, only the opening paragraphs are available online: Population Density and Social Pathology -JOHN B. CALHOUN, PH.D., National Institute of Mental Health.

While most people would have turned pessimistic by this research, John B. Calhoun remained positive because he was convinced that solutions could be found to prevent this collapse or what he termed Behavioral Sink. To his surprise, he found that the elites only had a keen interest in funding how to create a collapse not how to prevent it:

Losing Control

Much to his dismay, the establishment spent considerable effort working to discredit John B. Calhoun's works, mostly by claims that his rat studies had little correlation with humans. Many of these efforts are detailed in this article: Plumbing the ‘Behavioral Sink’: Medical Historian Examines NIMH Experiments in Crowding by By Carla Garnett . One critique strikes at a grain of truth: Population density was not the only culprit behind the demise of the rat colonies. It was also the loss of control by the rats over their lives. From the article:

Below Joy Division presents a musical vision of what the loss of control can do to a person in this song about the powerlessness of an epileptic fit with some stunning dance moves. They were a cry in the wilderness during some of the darkest day of socialist England during the 70's:

US Govt Chaos Plague

While John B. Calhoun was content to experiment with rats, the US Government has taken this research to a whole new level by conducting similar research with large groups of humans. They have managed to create colonies of total societal collapse by years of supplying certain clusters of people with all their basic needs but stripping them of control over their lives. They are now in the process of dispersing these clusters and bringing down whole cities.

This process was detailed in an early JohnQuincy article entitled, Crime and Poverty: An American Tragedy in 13 Parts . This article is indebted to a piece in the Atlantic Monthly, American Murder Mystery by Hanna Rosin Below is a small excerpt from the article where an intrepid researcher links the disintegration of Memphis to the US Govt:

The Leviathan

Most Americans tend to take Liberty for granted. They do not appreciate how rare a commodity it is nor care to study its philosophical underpinnings. It is no great shock, therefore, that they do not realize that their liberty has been mostly stripped from them and our own elites no longer subscribe to it.

Our founders based our liberties in large part on the work of one man, English philosopher, John Locke. He believed that humans were reasonable and tolerant thus making them capable of managing their own affairs.  It is from Locke that our founders were indebted to for the concept of inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

John Locke's antithesis was Thomas Hobbes. Unlike Locke, Hobbes believed that men were  nasty and brutish and, as such, we need to be ruled over with an iron hand by an absolute monarch. He writes about this in his work the Leviathan which can be downloaded here: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes 

Below is an excellent video that contrasts the views of these two men:

Below is a quick history of the supplantation of Locke's philosophy with that of Hobbes within our establishment: 

Ferdinand Tönnies
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft
Community and Society

Surprisingly, Ferdinand Tönnies is little known outside of academic circles mainly in Germany, Fedinand Tonnies ideas have had a deep impact on the 20th century. More than any other person, he can be attributed with undermining our American philosophical underpinnings based on Locke and substituting them with those of Hobbes. His most famous work is Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft published in 1887 and often simply translated as community and society. Tönnies work is dominated with the contrast between the rural Germany communities of his birth and their rapid transformation into complex societies.

Gemeinschaft - Tonnies used this term to refer to the simple rural communities of his youth. Tonnies characterized relationships in these communities as natural such as those between a mother and her child and of being dominated by a common will.

Gesellschaft - Tonnies used this term to refer to more modern complex societies, He characterizes relationships as being artificial and of being dominated by self interest. Like Hobbes, he believed that an elite was necessary to keep self interest in check.

Georg Simmel
Metropolis and Mental Life

Georg Simmel can be credited with popularizing the views of Tonnies in the United States by his influence over the Chicago school of sociology that has come to dominate much of sociological thinking in the United States.

Simmel's works expand on the concept of Gesellschaft. He takes a dim view of money and modern society's impact on the individual.

Louis Wirth
Urbanism, Cities and Social Life

Louies Wirth was one of the founders of the Chicago sociological school that dominates much of our establishment thinking today. He was one of the first US professors to incorporate the ideas of Tonnies into his work. His most famous work is Urbanism as a Way of Life. Here is a PDF link to this work: Urbanism as a Way of Life.

Wirth takes the concept of Gesellschaft a step further and attributes the ills of  modern society to population and density providing link between the philosophy of Hobbes to the more recent rat population studies of John B. Calhoun.

Louis Wirth has described urban life as one of continuous aggression, frustration, interference and conflict as a consequence of an overload of social interaction leading to depleted social relations, personal grief and personality disorders.

Addendum 1 - Ghost Town

Let me close out this post with another tune from the UK that was a big hit during the 70's riots brought on by societal collapse caused by Socialism: The Specials - Ghost Town:

The grace and good humor shown by the Specials in the video despite the horrendous conditions created by their government at the time provide hope for humanity and give lie to the establishments dim view of us.


Anonymous said...

NOVA long ago showed a study done with rats in too small environs. It was difficult to watch, (as rats are to be appreciated) but very informative, as it "illustrated" the brutal urban environs.

JohnQuincy said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

An embed to the video you suggested, "Rat Attack," has been added to the post to share with other readers.

JohnQuincy said...

Thanks for contacting me seperately to let me know that you were referring to an even earlier Nova episode from the 70's.

It sounds like it must have been a fascinating episode and was probably on John Calhoun's work.

I will leave the "Rat Attack" embed in place. Even though it is not directly related to Calhoun. It does give a vivid impression of what an explosion in a rat population is like.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment about the specials. The song was a reaction to the riots in the UK at the start of our current phase of neoliberalism (it actually came out in 1981). There were no anti-socialist sentiments in this song, nor was it written in or about life under a socialist government.

JohnQuincy said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment about the Specials at JohnQuincy all comments are welcome.

Since the meaning of neoliberalism has become somewhat muddied over time and the term liberal is now synonymous with leftist here in the United States, allow me to clarify for other readers that you are using neoliberal to refer to the free market principles advocated by Margaret Thatcher.

The song came to my attention in 1981 because it was featured on a major network story on the riots that caught my attention because of my interest in ska music.
While the song is not anti-socialist, it does speak of the conditions that the Socialist's created that led to the riots. The UK at the time had undergone almost ten years of over 10% inflation (breaching 20% at its peak) during the 1970's under the labor (socialist) government. To curb inflation the Tory government was forced to impose fiscal austerity measures that eventually pulled the economy out of its tailspin.