Sunday, September 12, 2021

MINDFULNESS DAY

 



 FORTY REAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS THAT ALMOST ALWAYS ELICIT CULTURALLY-CONDITIONED, ROBOTIC REPLIES

            


Note: This column was "a bit left field" for the Santa Barbara New-Press so does not appear in the newspaper but only on this blog.


This being California—metaphysical central of the United States (especially along the American Riviera)—folks here possess a deep interest in the art of mindfulness. 


So, because today is Mindfulness Day, we look deeply into what this philosophy of experience is all about by answering 40 questions that usually elicit culturally-conditioned responses:


1.  How are you? 

It’s a mystery how I am, still trying to figure it out, though it’s probably as simple as DNA’s obsession with reproducing itself after the universe saw fit to create consciousness out of recycled stardust.



2. How are you doing?  

As serenely as possible under whatever circumstances.

 

3. What’s going on?  
Due to forces at play of which we know little or nothing, far more is going on than your five senses are telling you. So, in addition to using these senses, throw yourself into everything around you (especially nature) instead of thinking so hard and so much about yourself, your past and your future. 



4. Whats up?

My mood. It’s about positive psychology (a bright outlook) meshed with the right balance of nutrients (fresh air, sunshine, the purest water, healthy foods), being in motion, enjoying inter-personal relationships and, as much as possible, being in a state of flow, otherwise known as in the zone or on point/purpose. This works especially well if you’re engaged in designing or discovering something new. “The mind,” wrote Andrew Carnegie, “can be moved from the shade into sunshine.” Or put more succinctly:  Lighten up.



 

5. How are you feeling?

Self-actualized.  “Tell the trees what ails you,” is what Native Americans prescribed as a general remedy if/when you’re feeling less than blessed. (Native Americans strive to lead the third-third of their lives in a forest.)


The Japanese echo this with shinrin-yoku (the “new yoga”), which translates to forest bathing; that is, spending time among the trees for inhaling phytoncides, a natural aromatherapy that heals body and soul. 


 


6. How is your day going?

Moment by moment.

 

7. What time is it? 

Now.

 

8. What do you do? 

Breathe deeply, walk briskly and strive for Eudaimonia (happiness) through hierophanie (manifestation of the sacred) and epiphany (mystical knowledge).  Otherwise, I write, read—and loaf.

 

9. Where have you been?

Stuck in my mind (until I got unstuck).



10. Where are you going?

Following my bliss. Beyond that, same as everyone else. It’s the journey that counts. 

 








11. What’s new?

Everything. Because, like a flowing river, each new moment is transitory and reveals impermanence.

 

12. How was your day?

In the past and no longer worth thinking about.

 

13. What are you doing later?

Beats the heck out of me, haven’t given it a thought.

 



14. How are things going?

Just the way they were always meant to be.




15. What’s the word?

Native Americans believe that special words manifest when you’re alone in the mountains. Or, as John Muir, the 19th-century naturalist put it: “Mountains speak, wise men listen.”  

 


16. Who are you?

The product of my ever-changing consciousness since birth. Which boils down to precisely who I am this moment, not before, because our pictures of the past are rife with false memories and stories constructed mostly by our righteous egos.

 

17. Where is this going?

It doesn’t matter.




18. What do you want?

Cosmic consciousness (what William Blake called “imaginative vision” and Albert Maslow referred to as a “peak-experience,” known in Zen Buddhism as satori—or sudden illumination). This can be accomplished—religiously or secularly—through many different pathways. 


The Contemplative Pathway (choose your religion or none at all): meditation, repetitive prayer/affirmations, yoga, fasting, sensory deprivation, eye-gazing, chanting, singing, dancing and/or drum-beating. 




The Sensate Pathway: a special piece of art that appears unexpectedly or the right bars of music (usually live vibration) at the right moment; others experience this through “adamic ecstasy” (hitting rock bottom) or near-death experience. 









The Naturalist Pathway: a surprise union with nature through transformative triggers such as sunrises and sunsets, starry skies, a crescent moon with earthshine, groves of trees, carpets of flowers and/or sacred sites of natural beauty.


 


Intellectual Pathway: From epiphany through mystical knowledge. 




If it doesn’t happen naturally, there’s always the various “kykeons” (elixirs that bring on alternate or non-ordinary states of consciousness) to help people along: ayahuasca/yage (DMT), peyote (mescaline), magic mushrooms (psilocybin) and ergot/lysergic acid (LSD), though some including ‘60’s philosopher/guru Alan Watts consider these mind-manifesting (psychedelic) substances an unworthy shortcut to true mystical experience (yet worthwhile, in Watts’s opinion, based on his own indulgence, but only if taken under ceremonial, controlled—not casual—conditions). 




Carl Jung boiled down personality types into two categories: sensing (“just the facts, ma’am”—logical positivism) and intuitive (gut instinct). Needless to add, those in the latter category are more prone to cross the razor’s edge toward cosmic consciousness than the former.  Albert Maslow had his own two categories: Peakers and Non-Peakers. Peak experiences are emotional, arrive with an element of surprise and lead to spiritual re-birth. And though peak-experiences are temporary, one can stay “turned on” through what Maslow called a “High Plateau of Unitive Consciousness”—thereby enjoying serenity and happiness on a permanent basis, otherwise known as enlightenment.


 

19.  How would I know if this has happened to me?

A feeling of selflessness, timelessness (entirely focused on the present), effortlessness and richness; heightened awareness, elation, serenity; a sense of revelation and connection to people and nature; personal identity replaced by unity. 



20. What do you do after enlightenment?

Chop wood, carry water. In other words, live life as before and don’t talk about it to anyone because a) few will understand what you’re talking about (especially mechanistic materialists, who will believe you have gone insane) and b) everyone must discover it on their own, through their individual pathway.

 






21. Whattaya know?

Hardly a micro-fraction of anything. But enough to understand that. 




22. May I say something? 

First ask yourself, will your words improve the silence?

 

23. Is that so?

It cannot be otherwise.

 





24: Do you love me?

The ultimate (if hidden) law of attraction: The subliminal smell of your pheromones suggests you have genes different from my own and therefore our offspring would be strengthened by two contrasting sets of immune systems providing them a likelier chance of producing even more DNA. Or put more simply:  We vibrate well together.

 

25: Are you happy?

Ineffably so, the higher end within the context of my natural range.  (The secret to happiness is gratitude. And low expectations.)  

 

26.  What’s shaking?

Everything. Because, to the chagrin of most scientists and all materialists, quantum physics has proven that when anything and everything is reduced to its most basic molecular level (electrons and neurons) there is no solid matter, only vibration. Even that chair you’re looking at is made of vibrating molecules. Human senses are simply too limiting for the brain to comprehend (short of mystical experience) that the tiniest particle is not a thing but a point of energy; that each particle has a field around it that merges with other fields, all of which are part of a unified field.

 

27. What’s the matter?

Nothing. (See above.)



28. What would you like to eat?    

My brain is awaiting an order from the bacteria in my gut. “Gut instinct” is real; your intestines are full of neurotransmitters, which elevate your gut to “second brain” status. Ten seconds before your mind tells you what you feel like eating, your gut has already decided, based on what the microbiota residing therein desire to munch on. “Gee, I think I’d like a cheeseburger, fries and shake.” That would be the bacteria in your gut talking.


 




29. What are you celebrating?

Each day. 

 








30. How do you sleep at night?

In total darkness and complete silence (aside from whatever sounds the animals of the night are making, most welcome), launched into an alternate reality of oneiranautic adventures produced either by the subconscious or portals to other dimensions (maybe both); a place where the rational mind has no control and, as such, due to physical paralysis that accompanies REM (dream) sleep, safely insane. 

 

31. What’s your problem? 

I have 83 of them, like everyone else—and when one gets solved it is quickly replaced by another. (The 84th problem—not worth having—is wanting all your problems to disappear.)  Part of life’s journey is problems—and the joy that comes from solving them. Hence, welcome problems as a challenge, never dwell on them. 

 

32. How do I deal with problem people?

Imagine a shield around you that cannot be penetrated by negative words or thoughts. Almost 2,000 years ago a Greek philosopher named Epictetus pointed out that we all have FREE WILL over how to respond to external circumstances (rather than caving to culturally-conditioned reactions and impulses). Which means this: Just because a ball is thrown at you doesn’t mean you have to catch it. Instead, watch—and smile—as the ball bounces away. And then, before a second ball is thrown, take a deep breath before deciding if it is worth catching. Taoists call this wu wei, which translates to this:  sit quietly, do nothing, let it pass through you. 



33. Penny for your thoughts?

The chattering monkey is behind bars and under observation.  But not ignored because coexistence of soul and self/ego is healthy—so long as you know the difference between the two.

 



34. How you do live in the present moment when it is so fluid?

Define the present as “from now until bedtime,” during which do not dwell upon your past (linked to depression) or fret about your future (linked to anxiety).  Or as the German philosopher Nietzsche put it, “Recover the seriousness of a child at play.” Live spontaneously and naturally with the whimsy and wonderment of an 8-year-old child. After some practice, graduate to a full-on focus of the eternal moment; silence your mind and be one with everyone and everything around you. Time is as fluid as consciousness itself; they were practically made for each other.

 

35. What is the purpose of life?

To keep genes alive (though I don’t rule out the possibility that humanity is just an unwitting tool for parenting Artificial Intelligence, which it may one day regret). 

 

36. Why?

Because, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.”






37. Why do you write? (Substitute “write” for whatever activity that gives your life purpose, whether it be mountain climbing, scuba diving, skiing, marathons, sculpting, painting, teaching, etc.)

It is about yielding your self-importance to a divine experience much greater than yourself; about surrendering your ego to the cosmos and experiencing timelessness from total focus. More important, physiologically, you subconsciously do this to activate the serotonin system (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin) and, even better, if you’re successful, prod your pineal gland (the body’s third eye and “spirit molecule”) into releasing DMT, which produces something we all crave:  the feeling of ecstasy.

 

38. How can I activate my serotonin system for a natural high?

Walk in the sun, stretch, breathe deeply, laugh, cry, listen to soothing music, pet dogs, feed the birds, hug people, give presents (and presence), phone friends, have meals with them, tell your loved ones you love them—and don’t check the time.  Beyond that, endeavor to escape from the box in which you reside (Plato’s allegorical cave of wrongful perception and illusion of separation) so that homeostasis may be disrupted and awareness heightened.



39: Do you believe in God?  

How are you defining God (an oft divisive word with different meanings to the world’s religions and cultures)? I’m an Omnist, believing in religious pluralism i.e. there is some truth (and overlap) in all religions, toss in theosophy, an open-minded inquiry into religion, philosophy, science and the arts to understand wisdom of the ages. The traditional religions from the East—Tao, Hinduism and Buddhism—and the West—Christianity, Judaism, Islam (their mystical factions, anyway)—express the same underlying truth: the spirit of “God” is within us all. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Don’t look for yourself outside of yourself.”  Walt Whitman, a true mystic, put it another way: “I am divine and make holy whatever I touch.”  In other words, you don’t need a middleman to Infinite Spirit (my Godly term of choice); you already have a direct line, which you may or may not have awakened to; a direct line to the divine within you. Infinite Spirit is energy, encompassing every vibrating molecule in every being; it is not localized or timed; it is always and everywhere. So: Do I believe in Infinite Spirit? I don’t believe, I know.








40:  What’s the answer?

Yes.  Also: Surrender. Also: Adopt a dog.

 


 





Sunday, September 5, 2021

SB NEWS-PRESS: THE INVESTIGATOR: SPOOKY SUMMERLAND

 










Summerland was settled as a spiritualist society. 


That much—along with its hauntings—is reasonably well known by most residents of this sleepy, beachy village the other side of Ortega Hill from mellow Montecito.


What is much less known is that Summerland’s spiritualism, as officially established one Sunday in mid-May 1889, continues to live on, albeit in a colorful church on the corner of East Figueroa and Garden Streets in downtown Santa Barbara.


The Spiritualist Church of the Comforter, which relocated to its current location after their original Summerland site was claimed 70 years ago by eminent domain (to make way for Interstate 101), quietly continues its tradition of communicating with those who have transcended this earthly plane.


A brief history:  The man credited with founding Summerland’s spiritualist community was Henry Lafayette “HL” Williams of Ohio who served as a major in the Union Army under Ulysses S. Grant (a friend of his) during the Civil War. But it was actually HL’s wife, Sarah, known as “Katie,” who was devoted to the then-burgeoning belief in spiritualism—both a philosophy and religion—and who eventually convinced her once skeptical husband to adopt her beliefs after a séance in which a medium jolted him with a revelation (hitherto known only to him) about his drunkard of a brother.


Thus, when HL, who resided on the corner 0f De la Vina and Sola in Santa Barbara, purchased what was known as Ortega Rancho—1,050 acres along the sea—he resolved to transform that panoramic coastline into a dedicated spiritualist community and invite fellow spiritualists from around the country to join him and his family in regular communion with their dearly departed.


HL christened his new enclave “Summerland,” which, to pagans, wiccans and theosophists means “a place of natural beauty and peace while transitioning between lives”; to spiritualists the word Summerland is synonymous with afterlife.  


A book about Summerland’s heritage, The Spirit of the Big Yellow House by Rod Lathim, defines spiritualism as follows: “Spiritualists believe in a spirit or power beyond physical reality. They believe there is a sixth sense that develops in some people, an awareness that enables communication with spirits of the dead.”


Spiritualism had its roots in New York City, circa mid-19th century, though its adherents were ridiculed and ostracized for their nonconventional beliefs. This was why HL and his wife Katie strove to create a sanctuary for fellow believers as the popularity of spiritualism steadily increased (by the end of the century) to 8 million adherents in the United States and Europe.   (The Civil War was a boon to spiritualists due to the grieving over so many dead—often, not properly buried—and, with it, a need for reconciliation with loved ones.)


Sadly, before their spiritualist community was officially launched, Katie died (though one suspects her spirit eternalizes in Summerland…). 


Five hundred people, camping out in tents, attended the commune’s grand opening—and thereafter HL handed out plots of land at a pittance to those who wished to settle it, build homes and attend the weekly services and séances at Liberty Hall, which became known as “Spook Hall” among Santa Barbarians, who looked upon their new neighbors as kooks.  

 

 

            THAR SHE BLOWS

 

 

When oil was discovered, spirituality turned to commerce and Summerland thrived, its oceanfront entirely consumed by a dozen wharfs supporting over 400 oil drilling rigs. Natural beauty turned ugly as the human soul was again corrupted.


Another problem: Summerland became a magnet for charlatans from around the country bent on exploiting the spiritualism craze for financial gain, parting willing marks from their moulah. (A contractor working under one of Summerland’s prominent remaining houses a few years ago found a “knocker” beneath the floorboard, which translates to spiritualist fraud, as in, hit the floorboard with your foot and it’ll knock on cue…)


Ironically, the same oil that rendered HL fabulously rich was also his downfall (literally) when he ventured out to inspect an abandoned well—and, well, fell into it. His injuries evolved into pneumonia and death. Later, during a séance, HL’s stepson, Worsley, invoked the old man’s spirit. Communicating by automatic writing—the legend goes—HL became angry at this intrusion into his new existence, especially upon learning that there was no real reason other than mere entertainment for summoning him.  (They never again tried to contact their irascible patriarchal benefactor.)


HL’s second wife, after becoming a widow, remarried a San Francisco jeweler named Becker, who took the oil biz to new heights. Until, that is, the construction of Santa Barbara’s yacht harbor altered the breakwater and, after one particularly rough tide, washed all of Summerland’s rigs out to sea, thus ending the oil boom. (Mother Nature fighting back?)


Fast forward about a hundred years. Now a freeway runs through it and spiritualism and oil drilling have given way to a smattering of antique shops, boutiques and eateries, along with the aptly-named Sacred Space, a Buddhist oasis offering peace and quiet and complimentary tea


Meantime, The Spiritualist Church of the Comforter quietly continues its practice of Summerland’s early traditions; their beautiful stained-glass windows feature the international emblem of spiritualism: sunflowers.


“The church received its first charter on January 9, 1891,” states their website.  “Summerland was laughingly referred to as ‘Spookville’ and people usually took the back roads to avoid the odor caused by oil wells. In 1951, we had to find a new home. We are still here and still carrying on.”


Meanwhile, Summerland is left with its ghosts and haunted dwellings, as if its early spiritualist inhabitants, by merit of their beliefs and practices, retained the right to live on forever in the abodes of their former colony.

 

 

            GHOST STORIES

 

 

“I was trying to sleep on the couch in the living room of an old Summerland house I rented,” one seriously spooked person told The Investigator, “and was somewhere in that twilight between sleep and awake—it was the middle of the night—when I heard the pitter-patter of a toddler’s footsteps from about 15 feet away running toward where I lay. Whatever it was stopped right by my head near the arm of the couch, looking down on me.  I froze, petrified.”


This jibes with an account in Mr. Lathim’s book: “As the music played, a cherubic naked child about two and a half feet tall with golden curls… danced around the room and people could hear tiny feet making ‘pitti-pat-pat’ sounds on the floorboards.”


Another couch story: “Woke up in the middle of the night in a house at the top of Summerland and saw figures dressed in late 19th century clothing and they were dancing, 3 or 4 of them. And then a male ghost suddenly and abruptly bent over the couch, like he was the watcher, to prevent witness of what those ghosts were doing. The lady who owned the house said, ‘Oh, yeah—I’ve seen them, they’re in the back room.’ And she described exactly the same phantoms. They’re still there, in that house.”


But most of Summerland’s ghost stories revolve around The Big Yellow House, an iconic landmark which, for several decades, housed a restaurant. A number of persons who worked there have claimed ghostly visions of such vividness they became convinced previous occupants from the spirit world were still present among them. 


And not just employees. One customer was at a dinner party in The Big Yellow House and needed to use the restroom. “It was late, near closing time,” The Investigator was told. “Got up to use the restroom and went through a door, ended up in the kitchen. There was no one there. But a voice shouted, ‘You don’t belong in here!’”


He didn’t need to be told twice.

 

 

            A MODERN MEDIUM

 

            

As part of this column The Investigator sought to consult a medium, ideally someone connected to the Spiritualist Church of the Comforter. 


Pre-COVID, the church ran something called “Wednesday Messages” for communication between parishioners and church-approved mediums in contact with the spirit world.  But since this has not yet been reinstated, Pastor Pamela Bollinger referred us to a “certified” medium on the east coast who offers a 30-minute session for $60 by phone or Zoom (though Rev. Bollinger likes to point out that everyone is a medium whether they’ve discovered that potential within themselves or not).


This would be my first encounter with a spiritualist and séance-like situation.  


One must always approach the unknown with an open mind and a healthy slice of skepticism. In this spirit (pun intended), I was enthusiastic about receiving messages from anyone on the other side who might choose to manifest themselves for the occasion or could be mustered up for me; I had no questions and asked for no one in particular.


A cheery beginning: “Spirit guidance surrounds us with love and light.”


My father is then invoked (fair enough, everyone has one—and a little time spent consulting my blog would confirm his transcendence to the spirit world over a decade ago). “He is feeling fatherly toward you.”  Uh-huh.


“He had a gradual illness but when the end came, he went quickly.” Partly so.


My dad, she said, was feeling awkward about being summoned here and “is not sure what to make of it, but happy to be here, if trying to figure out how it’s possible.”


I should point out, I’m looking for some kind of code, a special word or phrase unknown to the medium that might confirm the genuine presence of my father’s spirit. But no such familiarity materializes.


“He had a faith, not a religion.” True, if somewhat generic without specifics—and could also have been discerned from my blog.


Next some puzzling stuff about our father-son relationship that made little sense to me.


Then: “His father greeted him” [when he passed]. “He was confused, is still figuring it out. He is with a brother—he had a brother, right?” (Ancestry.com.) “In life, they did not live in close proximity.”  True. 


“But happy to be together now.”Sweet.


Then another spirit presents itself, bearing no resemblance to anyone I’ve ever known citing circumstances that supposedly involved me but never happened, along with some advice from that fictional spirit: “Stop listening to other people and listen to yourself.”  


And then my father’s mother wants a word too, conveying “a softness around her grandkids.”


Problem: My paternal grandmother passed before the advent of grandchildren.


And finally, some parting advice to me from one, two or all three visiting spirits: “Wake up—it’s going to be all right.” 


I realize spiritualism ought not be judged by a single medium or experience, but if I had to objectively grade this séance for its verisimilitude I’d have no choice (given the fiction and absence of a familiar specific) but to give it a D—and that’s being charitable because of the positive advice.


But perhaps this is the kind of thing that calls for two-out-of-three; maybe I should visit Madame Rosinka at the end of Stearns Wharf.


Stay tuned, Halloween is just around the corner. (This is not meant to trivialize spiritualism; the traditions of the Celtic/wiccan Samhain and the Day of the Dead as celebrated throughout Latin America are truly sacred as are those near and dear to us who have transcended).





Saturday, September 4, 2021

IN MEMORY OF THOMAS EAGLETON


 



Would have been 92 years old today.

His last words were: "Be kind to dogs."

"I'm behind him 1000%," said George McGovern before dropping Senator Eagleton from the 1972 presidential ticket.



(Never trust anyone who says they are behind you 1000% or even 110%. There is no such thing.)


Sunday, August 29, 2021

SB NEWS-PRESS: THE INVESTIGATOR: A LESSON ON "CONSPIRACY THEORY"








https://newspress.com/a-lesson-about-conspiracy-theory/


There is a vast difference between legitimate issues and the kind of conspiracy theory derangement that caused a Santa Barbara man to murder his two young children earlier this month. 


Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, who owns a local surfer school with his wife, drove his young son and daughter across the border into Mexico and, a couple days later, admitted to having murdered sweet innocent Kaleo, 2, and Roxy, 10 months old —ritualistically, it appears—with a spear gun and stakes through the heart.  


FBI agents who intercepted Mr. Coleman at the border upon his return to the United States, sadly absent of his children, soon extracted an admission from him and reported in court documents that Mr. Coleman “was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife possessed serpent DNA and pass it on to her children,” adding, “he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them.”


A senseless tragedy leading to unspeakable anguish and heartbreak for the family—and which sent shockwaves through the community.


Although Mr. Coleman’s motivation appears to have been his belief in a farfetched “reptilian” conspiracy theory, his evil actions are, clearly, the result of mental illness. I’m not a psychiatrist but it is fairly obvious Mr. Coleman was suffering psychosis, perhaps induced or enhanced by hallucinatory drugs. His derangement ought not be used by mainstream media as an all-too-common attack by association on everything they so enjoy labelling “conspiracy theory” as a means of justifying their ongoing narrative.

 

 

            BILDERBERG

 

 

I first became a journalist (in 1976) by investigating a topic most folks considered to be little more than a right-wing conspiracy theory.


I’m talking about the Bilderberg Group—an assembly of movers and shakers, captains and kings from North America and Europe who meet annually in secret for lofty discussions on how best to mesh their beliefs about how foreign and economic policy should be shaped going forward.


My research began while I was a student at American University in Washington DC where, from my dorm room, I wrote to numerous government agencies and foreign embassies seeking more information. No one was forthcoming; in fact, even those who acknowledged Bilderberg’s existence knew (or would say) nothing more.


This reply from the (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “Unfortunately, we can find no trace of the Bilderberg Group in any of our reference works on international organisations.”


(Never mind that Denis Healey, Britain’s treasury secretary at the time, was one of Bilderberg’s founding members.)


A State Department flunky named Francis J. Seidner, a “Public Affairs Adviser,” even advised me to mind my own business.


Some people thought I was nuts. They said I was a “conspiracy theorist.” And they tried to discredit any talk of Bilderberg by associating it with folks who write about the Illuminati, an actual secret society created in Bavaria in 1775 by Adam Weishaupt, who believed that the Freemasons (another secret society, to which he had formerly belonged) were not doing enough to bring about revolution.


Yet Bilderberg had been meeting secretly since the mid-1950s with the specific objective, to the best of the abilities of participants within their various spheres of considerable influence, of manipulating the foreign policies and economic platforms of Western European countries and the United States.


After three months of walking a labyrinth, I tracked down a charity in New York City called American Friends of Bilderberg.  I visited the low-profile if elegantly-appointed office of the mundane-sounding Murden & Company (a cover) in midtown Manhattan and received a cordial reception. This was where Bilderberg’s Steering Committee, in coordination with a European Steering Committee, based in The Hague, decided agendas and participant invitation lists for upcoming Bilderberg meetings.

 

I earned an A on the term paper I wrote about this for my International Politics course. More important than a good grade, the thrill of the search incentivized me to pursue a career in journalism and, indeed, an obscure British magazine soon reshaped my term paper into a lengthy feature story.





But even those who read it questioned whether the existence of such a group was for real or fantasy, such was the power of those who would cast “conspiracy theory” aspersions on any mention of Bilderberg.


Until April 1977.


That is when the Bilderberg Group next met, in Torquay, on the Devonshire coast in southern England. (Bilderberg traditionally stages its 3-day conferences at alternate 5-star resort hotels in Europe and the USA. The meeting they were supposed to have convened in Williamsburg, Virginia in spring 1976 was cancelled after Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was caught taking bribes from the Lockheed Corporation and forced to resign in disgrace as Bilderberg’s chairman.)


I had forecast the Torquay conference in my magazine piece, identifying the luxury Imperial Hotel as its venue.


This marked the end of Bilderberg’s anonymity.


Because, sitting in the Imperial’s lobby, a smattering of Fleet Street reporters, all in possession of the actual magazine in which my story had appeared 6 months earlier, appeared to be taking bets amongst themselves on whether or not any such so-called “Bilderbergers” would actually manifest themselves. 



Helmut Schmidt
Arriving in the dark of night,
none too pleased at having his photo snapped
And suddenly, like gnomes, there they were, as the lobby began to fill with the likes of Henry Kissinger, NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns, Fiat’s Giovanni Agnelli—and even German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt—leaving seasoned reporters with mouths agape.






I was there myself watching when a white Range Rover deposited a rumpled David Rockefeller at the Imperial’s front entrance.


Mr. Rockefeller, then chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and unofficial chairman of The Establishment, was shocked to see reporters and photographers milling around, flashbulbs popping. And they were just as shocked to see him. (I should probably have introduced myself to him as the reporter responsible for this debacle.)


Bilderberg was for real. And no longer secret or anonymous.




A bemused Joseph Luns
Secretary-General of NATO,
out for a stroll

I, a rookie of 22, was the only reporter among several veteran newspaper luminaries who knew anything about the secretive group. I got wined, dined, grilled and willfully exploited—and for the first time in its 23-year history, the existence of Bilderberg got reported by the mainstream media—to include the (UK) Sunday Mirror, (London) Evening Standard and Bill Blakemore of ABC News, with whom I’d consulted a week before the confab. (I wrote my own story for a New York-based weekly magazine called Seven Days, which commissioned me to report from Torquay.


This is what I was able to tell them:




Joseph Retinger

Bilderberg was rooted in a 1946 address by Joseph Retinger (a Polish political philosopher) to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. His topic: the threat posed to Europe by the Soviet Union. This speech spawned the idea of a European Movement. 


Utilizing his high-level contacts as an eminence gris, Mr. Retinger harnessed Prince Bernhard to figurehead his project. Realizing the need for American support, he and the prince together traveled to the USA to recruit super-banker David Rockefeller and CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith into the mix. (The CIA, through a cover entity called the American Committee for a Unified Europe, had, earlier, secretly channeled more than $3 million to Mr. Retinger for moving his movement forward.)

In May 1954, in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands, at Hotel de Bilderberg (from which the group took its name), 80 of the most influential men from Western Europe and the United States spent 3 days bonding and super-networking.


They arrived at this conclusion, stated in the confidential minutes of that event: 

“When the time is ripe, our present concepts of world affairs should be extended to the whole world.”


Their main concept in that era: a unified Europe.


And, acting from behind the scenes, in secret, they succeeded.


The late George McGhee, former U.S Ambassador to Germany once declared, “The Treaty of Rome, which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings.”

Ambassador McGhee would know. He attended a Bilderberg meeting—in Garmisch, Germany, September 1955—when, according to the confidential record of that meeting, “It was generally recognized that it is our common responsibility to arrive in the shortest possible time at the highest degree of integration, beginning with a common European market.”


The European Movement turned into the Common Market; the EEC turned into European Union; and, simultaneously, an Atlantic Alliance flourished. 


But while they managed to stave off another WW in Europe—their main objective—they made a cockup of the rest of the world, from the Vietnam War to Middle East policies, from selling out Western manufacturing to China to not keeping it promises to republics once part of the USSR—all the way to Afghanistan.



Torquay, England, April 1977
Intrepid reporter RE dogging a rather uptight William Bundy, Secretary-General of Bilderberg North America and chief architect of the failed Vietnam War.


 

 

            SLEIGHT OF HAND

 

 

If there is a moral to this story, it is this: When any powers-that-be use the term “conspiracy theory” to cast aspersions on a subject for the purpose of discrediting whomever is trying to learn more about it, it signals time to triple-up efforts to investigate and intensify the spotlight on those who prefer to keep us in the dark.


For instance, the notion that COVID-19 was developed in the Wuhan Lab, partly funded by the National Institute of Health with Anthony Fauci’s blessing, is not conspiracy theory. It is actually a no-brainer (though too bad we’re surrounded by people with no brains).  In time, when all the dust has finally settled and polemics are removed from the process, post-mortems will most likely concur this as fact.


Until recently, anyone and everyone who expressed a belief in UFOs over the last 70 years was, according to the U.S. Government, a certified conspiracy theorist; yet now we’re told by the Director of National Intelligence that UFOs “clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.”


What a turnaround!


Concerns that the experimental COVID-19 vaccine may be unsafe for some folks in the long-term, are legitimate issues (conceded by the Federal Drug Administration) and not merely the domain of “anti-vax conspiracy theorists,” as anti-social media might have you believe, censoring the likes of U.S. Senator Rand Paul for not buying into their preferred narrative, along with their quashing of any news about therapeutics that are being used, with great success, to beat back the novel virus.


The term “conspiracy theory” has become vastly over-used and abused, casting a pall over a constitutional right we hold sacred: freedom of speech and expression.


“It was the CIA who in 1967 first injected the term conspiracy theory in the public lexicon,” wrote Peter Janney in his remarkable book, Mary’s Mosaic. “A term that has continued today to be used to smear, denounce, ridicule, and defame anyone who dares challenge a prevailing mainstream narrative about any controversial high-profile crime or event.”


Rule of thumb: Never believe whatever the government tells you; they lie about everything. And if you don’t believe that, turn on your TV and listen to all the bald-faced lies being told by USG’s top enchiladas in defense of this country’s ill-planned, humiliating surrender to and retreat from the Taliban in Afghanistan. 


President Biden chose to reverse policies that dealt with a real border and energy self-sufficiency but kept the Trump Administration’s policy to remove troops from Afghanistan. Ultimately, this wasn’t about if or when we should leave Afghanistan but how. Leaving behind tens of billions of dollars in armaments, U.S. citizens and those Afghanis (and their families) who cooperated with us was not the correct how—made all the worse by the failure of the executive branch to be honest with the American public by admitting their goof and taking the correct remedial action instead of pretending everything is peachy dandy and compounding the bungle with additional ineptitude, from semantics to a Taliban-owned evacuation.


An intelligence assessment seen by The Investigator forecasts what the Taliban will do after the US military departs: “Take down the internet, expel foreign journalists and begin the Afghan version of the killing fields.”


As for Matthew Coleman and the senseless murder of his children—a horrible, nightmarish tragedy. By now, Mr. Coleman has probably come to his senses, mortified by what he did and full of remorse, perhaps suicidal. No doubt, his public defender will plead “not guilty for reason of insanity” and Mr. Coleman will spend the rest of his life (or most of it) in the psych ward of a federal penitentiary.


Chalk one up for the devil.


(Sad to report, the devil is making out like a bandit this summer.)