- Created: 26 February 2017
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
This article isn't on my actual experiences at Standing Rock. I'll put that together later. This is simply on some of the personal lessons which really stood out for me.
The world is HUGE. SO much bigger than we think.
I only drove halfway across the country from Reno NV to Cannonball ND. At an average of 80 mile/hr it took me 22 hours of driving each way. That’s almost 3,600 miles total!
Along the way there was so much empty space. To pass the time I was listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (an excellent podcast deeply reviewing historical events). One of the episodes covered the “Cold War” and the devastation a Thermo-Nuclear Bomb could create. The average (non tactical) one could do 10 miles by 10 miles of destruction. America has like 2,000 nukes, but lets generously say that half of them are non-tactical. That means they could do 100,000 square miles of devastation.
To compare, America has 3.797 million square miles of area. That means our nuclear arsenal could at best destroy 2.63% of our landmass if we used it with the goal of doing as much possible damage.
Now I’m not advocating for that, but America is a small part of the world. Worldwide landmass is 196.9 Square Miles! All the nukes in the world could only damage less than 1% of the worlds land.
We think in these tiny boxes of our cities, but they are truly tiny boxes. The world is big. Incredibly big.
The only city which compared between here and ND was Salt Lake. Most other cities were small like towns. None were as pretty by far. Driving into the Truckee Valley and seeing the Glow of the City in the light of the Casinos was… beautiful.
Of course… That perspective MIGHT have been tainted by an odd feature of Google to send me on side roads around cities instead of through them. ;-)
Running Water?! Holy CRAP, YES!
At camp we were lucky. We had a truck, lots of water containers and a spigot only ¼ mile away. An average of once a day 3 of us would go, fill and carry 1,000 pounds of water to the truck and then to the kitchen. How much is 1000 lbs of water? About 120 gallons… Most people in homes use about 20 gallons/day. We were using an average of 1-2 per day per person.
This morning I woke up at home and after doing my morning business I went to make breakfast. When I went to make coffee I spent a few moments marveling that I could have as much water as I wanted by simply pulling the handle… and it could be hot or cold. We only appreciate things when we don’t have them, but running water is probably the most amazing part of civilization that we don’t appreciate.
Indoor Toilets? Wonderful, but not as big as you’d think.
At camp they setup a unisex composting bathroom in a long military tent. We had about 10 stalls for everyone which surprisingly worked out fine. All tents were stove heated and the toilet tent had a large stove. At the temperatures of camp (20-40 average) the stove was barely enough to keep stuff from freezing sometimes, but despite the initial shock of cold seats (everyone was asked to sit to minimize the mess) it wasn’t too bad. The composting system was convenient and worked well when people followed the incredibly simple instructions to use the toilet normally and then cover your mess completely with sawdust from a bucket beside you. It wasn’t smelly and the grossest part was that instead of a sink to wash your hands there were containers of alcohol desanitizer which did the job pretty well.
Surviving and Living Well… Small differences, huge importance.
I came poorly prepared for the cold. My jacket wasn’t up to the task and my clothes were for dry weather cold like in Reno. Wet weather cold… its hard to describe the difference, but if you have experienced it you know what I mean. I brought my bug out bag with my emergency mylar blankets and bags, and I always carry fire, knife and a light. The normal sleeping bag wasn’t rated for the cold, but I figured that between that and the mylar bags I should be ok.
Now I knew that if things truly didn’t work out I could go buy the right stuff at the local 24 hour Walmart. This was as much of a test of my theories and preparation plan as it was a question of convenience.
What I learned was that my basic plan could help me survive, but survival and living well are a HUGE difference. Most of the others wore clothes better suited to the cold than I. Most of the others used sleeping bags better suited to the cold than I.
My first night had been in the 40-60 degree kitchen tent, and I had been perfectly comfortable on a cot with a blanket below and another one above my sleeping bag. I knew this night was going to be 34 so I just used the same setup. I woke up at 2:00am shivering in my tent with very cold feet. It took me about 10 minutes to realize I NEEDED to get up and fix this. I went to my car, got an emergency Mylar Bag and put it around my normal sleeping bag. I ended up being comfortable that night and the next with that combo. Wednesday morning it was 22 degrees out and I woke with cold feet which I took as a warning.
My goal for a long time was to ensure personal and family survival in emergencies. After experiencing this trip I think that’s a great START, but survival is not a goal, survival is a minimum acceptable standard. The people who were there with good boots, warm clothes, overalls, cold rated sleeping bags and coats: those were people who were living well in hard circumstances. They caused me to change my acceptable preparation point a few notches higher.
Trying to start a Wet Wood fire is 10 times harder than a dry wood fire.
I though I’d had wet wood in the past. We had wood which had been rained on. I’d put it in the fire and after a few moments it was dry and burning. In North Dakota I learned what wet wood really was. Wet wood is so wet that when you try to burn it both sides have steam come out for 20-40 minutes as all the water inside pushes out the ends. Wet wood not only doesn’t burn well, but trying to burn it cools your fire until its dry. Starting a fire with wet wood is an exercise in frustration unless you have dry kindling, dry wood to start or some sort of fuel to keep heat on it long enough to start some coals in the woods middle even as the sides are venting steam.
Stove Fires vs Camp Fires
Camp fires follow a rule I’ve used for a long time. From bottom to top stack: Small stuff, bigger stuff, bigger stuff, big stuff, logs. It works. When I don’t have Small stuff through big stuff I tend to array the logs in a way that they’ll reflect heat to each other and light them with lighter fluid. If the wood is dry enough the coals reflect heat to each other and you have a core heat which grows until you have a good coal bed.
Stove fires… same principle, but different application. In a stove fire, up is to the back. Plus, you have a small space to work with (especially on small stoves). Instead of vertically stacking for reflection I ended up learning to stack 4 logs so that there was a log below, two logs side by side with about 1-2 inches between and a log above. I’d put small fuel (or lighter fluid) into the tiny gap and start the fire… if I had dry enough wood (see above) and enough small fuel I could get the area in the tiny gap to have coals I could blow on enough to start reflecting good heat back and forth. The stove would draw the air from the front of the stove to the back so the “heat tunnel” I’d made would eventually have a solid fire coming out the back of the stove which made for some beautiful sights. Unfortunately it meant that most of the head from the fire was heading out the chimney too, but until I could get a good hot fire reflecting off the edges of the stove it was the best I could do. Stoves really do need a good bed of coals, and until you have that you are basically wasting fuel.
Great Events are basically lots and lots and lots of small events.
It’s common for us to see great things as being “larger than life.” Unfortunately that makes great things seem too big for a normal person. Some of us dream of being part of something great, but we perceive this gap between being a normal person and doing something “great” that we don’t know how to cross.
One of the things that hit me about the NODAPL protest and law enforcement response was how it was made of so many small things. People being people. You had all the same dramas we all know and experience. Injustice, theft, lies, help, kindness, joy, music, faith… it was all stuff we understand, but in the context of the pressure cooker of History and lots of people involved and watching they events took on a greatness.
Becoming great doesn’t mean somehow becoming super human, but it does mean getting up every day and doing something worthwhile and exceptional no matter how little, because eventually that small exceptional action will build into something great.
A Super-human is a normal human who just keeps going.
I met a young lady who was 22 but had visited Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and more. She had mechanic experience, was a certified dive instructor, herbalist and had done seeming many jobs under the sun (many of them sea based). She had life experience of people 4 times her age. Why? Because they just kept doing new things. Instead of settling into what she knew too long, she’d always head out on a new adventure.
The human experience is broad. It is possible for any one of us to let go of what we know and are comfortable with and go experience something new to us which is completely common to other humans. Do that enough and we will have incredible breadth and depth to our understanding of ourselves, our world and our fellow humans.
It is tempting to be the same person in new circumstances though. Once we have something we are good at its tempting to rely on that because it is valued. However if you want to truly experience new things become a neophyte. Do something you’ve never done before and learn from people who are good at that. Do that enough and you’ll have a broad foundation of skills and experiences which will result in you seeming super.
You’ll know you are getting there when you go into a new situation and you have enough life experience to cobble together a plan of action when people around you are utterly overwhelmed.
Awo Fa'gbemiro aka Scott
- Created: 02 January 2017
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
I just enountered Rupert Sheldrakes banned TedX video. I very much enjoyed the video and was thinking... "FUCK YEAH. Like a lot of mages and Priests I've been arguing that conscious decision is currently in the process of co-creating reality for a while now, but I didn't have any evidence. This guy has evidence!"
Of course my second thought was: "Lets check him out? Real science or BS? I'm not going to share this if he's a quack."
So I researched his books as well as scientific community responses to them, and I found a healthy debate. While many many people disagreed with him or weren't willing to engage in discussion, when people came forward to dispute his claims he cited evidence and it was commonly the people arguing AGAINST him who tried to present flawed evidence.
I'm not saying this guy is solid. I haven't researched him enough, but his video agrees with my teachings, says them very well and my early research is promising. Please check him out, investigate his research and claims and comment!
If this stands up, this is actual evidence of my claims for why and how magick works!
If not... whatever. It's still cool. :-)
- Created: 31 December 2016
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
We like to believe that bullies are 2 dimensional people who will just grow out of it. I have posted arguments that education is a solution and avoiding turning the bully into a victim is necessary to support the evolution of their consciousness.
Then I see bullies like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, The US’s Donald Trump, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan and recognize that sometimes the problem is that bullying WORKS!
I’ve seen this in my own life. Most of the aggressive bullies I’ve seen may not be liked, but they get their way most of the time. While complaining about slow service simply irritates reps, demanding concessions and special treatment gets a surprising amount of them. The rules of society which support healthy interactions between people demands we be willing to “give and take.” Unfortunately too many of us deal with a bully by giving, giving and then giving some more.
Israel is a perfect example of this. In 1946 Palestine was 97% of the territory. Jews had settled around 3% of the land. In 1947 the UN worked with Israel and Palestine to draw lines splitting up Palestine with the Israelites. It was moderately equitable splitting the country up evenly. Israel was not content with this though. So little by little, year after year they pushed the borders, built new fences and constructed new settlements until as of 2016 Israel occupies 93% of the land and the Palestinians are isolated into a couple dozen separate settlements. A few days ago in 2016 the UN voted on a resolution to declare new settlements encroaching on Palestinian Lands as unlawful. Israel responded by issuing sanctions against every country which voted for this resolution and specifically declared that “Israel would be glad to reverse these sanctions as soon as your country reverses its position on the UN resolution.”
THAT is how you bully for the win!
Why and how they Win:
We tend to see bullies as angry, demanding and stupid, but what happens when they aren’t stupid? What happens when they know what they are doing and choose to do so because it works?
This is where things get difficult. You see, a bully has learned that if they keep pushing, eventually people will give in. They will keep trying, over and over again in old ways, new ways and more. They will lie, cheat and steal to get their way and when they are smart they know how to push the line and only cross it in ways they will be able to get out of.
A bully will never be satisfied with what you offer. They will always want more. Figure out what your line is and set it. They will keep pushing for more concessions and more offerings, and you have to hold fast despite continuous, fluxuating pressure, threats and lies. As long as a bully believes there is a chance they can get what they want they will continue to push and the best you can hope for is that they disappear or decide to focus their efforts on another issues. In the second situation be ready for them to come back. Most bullies have learned patience. They will push, stop and then push again. Sometimes they push gently and sometimes its sudden and overwhelming. The worst part is that the smart ones will seem random. Sometimes they’ll switch tactics, sometimes they’ll repeat.
Standing up to Bullies
Ok… we discussed the problem. What’s the solution?
Identify the bully by their past. Become aware that the more you give into bullies the more they will push. Help others around you know this too. Keep track (write down) examples to use to convince others.
Evidence is everything. Bullies care very careful to avoid making written agreements. I’ve had multiple times when I started a conversation in email and they moved the conversation to phone calls. When it returned to email they were careful to avoid any written admissions or commitments. In the USA sending an email counts as evidence as long as they do not have writings opposing what you state. Thus after you get off a call with a bully write down the key points and email them to them saying (Please let me know if we aren’t in agreement here). If they don’t respond you have legal evidence!
Set your line and do not give in. Use evidence (steps 1 and 2) to prove to 3rd parties that the bully is violating agreements/boundaries. 3rd parties will be cajoled to see your lack of “giving in” as “not working in the spirit of cooperation.” Your evidence will help you stand your ground against that perception.
Clean your house. If you have old drama, stories or secrets which can bite you take care of them as soon as possible. Depending on how focused the bully is they WILL find and leverage them to erode your stance.
Organize support with others. It is easier to destroy than to create, and bullies are masters of destroying resistance. Gathering help and being in such a strong position that bullies decide its not worth the work is a lot of work, but its worthwhile. Additionally the act of creating this support against the bully will build a long term network that you can rely on for support and aid even when the bully isn’t involved.
Attack their support. Bullies often have a large and intimidating network, but a bully is a bully. Their network will mostly be people who wish they could stand up to the bully themselves. Sometimes they will also be bullies, but those bullies will have the same problem. Study their network and erode their support by empowering their “serfs” to overthrow the yolk. Be honest and committed to this though. If you break your word and don’t support people you promised to support you will solidify the bullies power (Hey USA! I’m talking to you! Arab Spring?!)
Build popular support for your position. Bullies are usually incredibly selfish, and while they can sell their ideas on the surface (Trump) they rarely deeply connect with people. This is where you will need to form authentic and deep support by listening and responding to people’s authentic concerns and teaching them how your effort and their options can resolve them.
Treat the situation as a war, not a battle. Most people are too impatient, but not bullies. They can lose 10,000 battles as long as they win the war. Winning a battle against them is NOT a win. It is simply a delay. Losing to them is only a loss if you quit. Get back up and keep moving.
Flank the Bully. Like any person/organization a bully only has so many resources. Study them well enough to identify ways that you can distract them. What opponents do they have that just need an opportunity? What can you do to help the opponent have that opportunity? Don’t worry that you are escalating the situation by doing so. The bully has already put basic effort into discovering your weaknesses and seeing if they use them to hurt you. The bully will have many, many, many more skeletons, secrets and bitter ex-relationships.
Win or Lose, Keep Fighting. Bullies rely on people’s desire to end conflict and move on with their lives. By following their scorched earth policy they leave a wake of victims behind them who generally just want to lick their wounds and move on. Because they don’t actually face any continuing consequences for their old behaviors they are free to move on to their newest victims. What would happen in their past victims kept the struggle up? What would happen if the people who they screwed gathered together to stop them the next time and actually bring justice?
This is hard advice to give because it goes against the “live and let live” mindset the “spiritually enlightened” normally offer. It requires careful balance to perform the anti-bully campaign without becoming it. How do we maintain our faith in people in general when we watch how they roll over and support the very bully who is hurting them?
The answer I choose to that question is to own that our ancestors knew what they were talking about when they declared that “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.” We can make the standing for justice a part of our very life. We can become someone who recognizes the struggle in all of its varied forms in our day to day lives and helps be part of the solution as often as possible.
Like any decision which requires personal sacrifice, it’s important to study the tools which attract allies and support. Recognize that most people will only support your efforts if doing so supports their personal needs, social needs or perception of self. Make your peace with the fact that most people will not authentically understand the lifelong vigilance you are carrying and will pay lip service at best.
It’s only when people are personally at risk or facing loss that they come to understand what you’ve been standing for all this time. At that point if you hold your vision and support them during their struggle they will truly begin to understand. If you are lucky, a few of them will join you in your constant vigil, but most of them will return to a relaxed place where they don’t stand up unless they are rewarded or manipulated.
Again… Make your peace with the few who DO get it. Celebrate them and support each other. Support them as they build power with the same fervor as you work to build your own. If during your lifetime you can find and work with 12 different people (including yourself) who build personal, financial, political and/or social power while maintaining social vigilance, you will change the world.