John’s Final Epistle to The Anthropologists, Part I: The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at the Climax of the Neolithic

Peeping through a Keyhole, Down upon My Knees

We are virtually here to discuss with you something that I would call InTRADOCtrination: Intelligent Design for Retraining the Masses

The Mission?: We suggest that it is The Locking-In: The Prison-Industrial Complex, well-documented and contextualized by Angela Davis. In fact, she traces my essay’s central themes.

You Say You Want a Revolution? This line over here!

The authentic cultural anthropologist’s problem with the militarized US government term, “the way forward”, is in its singularity.~JA

I do think that anthropology-informed and anthropology-induced reflections upon one’s own cognitive development over substantial life-time-frames can be generally instructive, in spite of proscriptions against “armchair anthropology”; and it can be entertaining, at least to oneself. And that is what I do in this essay. As a result of my own such reflections and ruminations on second-hand (media) information about current events and my contemplations to relate them to my existing framework for what is real, including ethnographic fieldwork, and then, to find a vehicle and a style in which to carry my creation to others, I write as I do; a sort of reflective, sometimes journalistic, JamesJoycean, belles lettres, Sergeant Pepper Round Table inner dialogue style. This is not rocket science, rather this is artistic research; the Rocket Science Symposium is in room number nine.

When reading something in the Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual that mentioned the Radical Caucus at the 1967 DC meetings – where I finally met Mead when she introduced herself because she thought surely I was my teacher John Adair’s son, as she stood there with her polished forked walking stick and other ethnic regalia – I was again reminded by that article, rich with revelations and references and reports and systematic explanations of the hidden factors; reminded that I am not systematically well-read in the background anti-militarization literature of the current AAA-related ‘radical caucus’; and, being long-disconnected from the professional associations other than WAC, I sometimes think that I must have been blind to what I was being subject to, because I didn’t have a full frame of reference back then; I was peeping through a keyhole down upon my knees.

Then, I think back to that 1967 AAA Annual Meetings in Washington DC, where I am documented to have stood at the microphone and said to Dr. Carpenter after his paper on primate studies and the understanding of human war:

I think that Dr. Carpenter neglected what I considered to be the main point brought up by Dr. Holloway, namely that at least “modern war” is often the result of a conscious manipulation of shared symbols by a limited group within the society, perhaps for social, political, and/or economic ends. I wonder why Dr. Carpenter did not respond to this except to say that war was extra-legal. Would he care to comment on this now and also on the implicit suggestion that there is a certain responsibility on the part of anthropologists that goes along with this knowledge?

So, I believed that I knew enough to stand at the microphone in a plenum session and get in the face of a leading anthropologist and I had an obvious opinion, an attitude and a smart-ass posture about this small effete issue in the larger frame of serious global problems, but, somehow, I had not linked it all together until the 2009-10 military experiences led me to reading some of the writings of the ‘radical caucus’ literature on Counterinsurgency and COINTELPRO. I wasn’t ready; couldn’t yet get insights from the information.

Now, the reflections and memories all have a framework that I did not have when I stood there in 1967; and the importance of that framework is the background topic of this essay.

I am still fitting together this and the 76 years of life and observation inside this same phenomenological system. I find that weaving back and forth between new information on related work in anthropology and other fields and my own memories (dreams?) and reflections, is a very rich and entertaining enterprise. That’s why Joan Didion’s “Where I was From” was so stimulating; a few years older than me and also from the Central Valley with ties to San Francisco and Southern California, she did an amazing review of the “railroading” of California by those Supreme Somebodies; very well done auto-ethnographic biography by this ‘novelist’.  

I am currently concerned with the problem of finding a pattern in the larger context of memories of what one did or saw or heard at past times, times passed in a larger context that one no longer is given by one’s elders’ oral history, rather –sometimes explicitly sometimes covertly, subliminally or implicitly – this context, this history, this reasoning is currently given by the “media” – including public “education” which now “teaches” us and our children, mostly through “smart-board” and other digital social media and mass media, about the larger context in which our memories occurred.

 So, you see, you have memories; but, the context, the meaning, will be supplied.

That’s why I resent Windows 7 reorganizing my file structure! I seem to have a need to tie it all together my own way, into the system that I “inherited” as my worldview; or however that happens. This activity exercises a complex of brain functions that Gregory Bateson believed to be necessary to cultural continuity. I realize that some “science” might contradict my way.

Where I Am Coming From

Returning to college after Korea, I recall, about 1960, a discussion with a classmate at the University of California at Davis. (Yes, the friendly, trusting, honor-system honoring, “hi aggie” campus where you could leave your bicycle unlocked or your briefcase and books laying on the grass in the Quad and find them when you returned, where you never locked your door, the place where the Campus Police were filmed spraying peaceful, seated demonstrators in 2011 with crowd-control chemicals. But, buried under that, I remember experimental beagle dogs confined to concrete “runs” enclosed, top and sides, in storm-fence. They were being exposed to varying, focussed doses of radiation, and the effects were studied through autopsy. And, I think this was just one in a chain or experiments that had been conducted since 1945, to investigate the possible uses of this new power source. It was pointed out to me the gray, narrow “scars”, a discoloration of the hair from black, brown or white to gray, like a scar, one or two inches in length, sometimes on parts of the head, sometimes in different parts of the body. I could only speculate.)

This memory, in new context, suggests to me that President Hugo Chavez’s suspicion that the improbably high frequency of cancer among socialist leaders in Latin America, especially in the pelvic area for the men, was not simply a skewed sample or some other reason for dismissal of the very idea! Who would do such a thing? And, how?

I can hardly wait for the outcome of the tests on the remains of Yassir Arafat.

Dave had been in the Military, but, whereas I had been with the Army’s medical corps, he was in the Marines’ Military Police and later worked as a Yosemite Park Ranger – also essentially an armed Federal policeman. So, given that one’s livelihood greatly forms one’s consciousness, we looked at the same phenomenon differently. He was concerned with the issue of how to protect the Park’s landscape from more visitors than the health of the environment could tolerate. He talked about law enforcement classes in which the concern was how to condition and control the general population in the USA. Seat belts were an early increment of control mindset, and its induced, fear-based compliance mindset. ‘Click it or ticket!’ says the giant signboard.

To me, my friend’s prescription seemed like livestock management, a popular interest at our State-owned, land-grant agricultural university, but quite changed from the days when they, the ‘cowboys’ and the cows – including the bulls, roamed the range together until roundup time. It only reflects a trend in the mega-agri-business. Now it is birth, life and death on a meat manufacturing feedlot assembly line.

Sidebar: There is a metaphor in this for the birth, life and death of an academician. He/she is the customer, raw material and the product of the establishment-validated educational corporation from which he/she seeks a “diploma”, a “degree”, her “entitlement” in anthropology to teach that subject at some university. 

Well, we now have the cow in the killing chamber, diploma in hand, she has paid all the tuition for her degree and is carrying a $70,000 student loan debt, and now we tell her of the prognosis for teaching jobs in anthropology. … time for tough love:

… Sorry!  but, … [then the electric prod] Say! I just heard of a great opportunity to do applied fieldwork for the Department of Defense. Way above MY salary, starts next month, all expense-paid training; hotel suite, per diem, car and gasoline provided …

Interested?

Bateson would call this a “double bind”, which he believes to cause at least some cases of schizophrenia. 

My friend, Dave, from a middle-class professional family, foresaw a future need for a combination of great control over the behavior of hundreds of millions of people, and the need of fostering the impression that the New Rules were demanded by the People –  a Mandate; and that the rules were democratic and scientific.

That is, he saw a need to “domesticate” the people, to reshape the Frontier Mentality and “educate” them into a corporate-designed, government-monitored mazeway with gates to be opened by correct performance and rewards for following instructions or for achieving assigned goals.

So, like me, the Designers have a need to “fit it all together”. But, surely you see the difference between what I am fascinated with fitting together, and that which They want to reduce to Total System Design.

I want to control my mind. They also want control of my mind. Seems un-American to me. I mean, “democracy”? Is that democracy?

I was a country boy born in a rural dirt-road Los Angeles of 1937, chickens and rabbit pens in the yard, after age 7 raised in rural Kern County in a transient farm workers’ and oil fields workers’ unpaved dusty-roaded, jerry-rigged “development” amidst the oil fields and the yet-unfenced agricultural fields and miles and miles of open alkaline rabbit brush landscape dotted with the abandoned subsistence farms from the 1920s and 30s, an isolated group of pre-hippy home-made houses, with no sewers and no streetlights. After my father died (just before my tenth birthday), I became accustomed to roaming with my dog, King, the still unsettled, semi-desert countryside carrying  my .22 rifle – earned by the other kind of “fieldwork”, picking cotton, hunting whatever moved and was edible, visiting the houses and barns and windmills of the widely scattered, always-abandoned subsistence farming attempts – already under the ownership of a few land-empires, an “investment” laying fallow until their plan was ready, private empires such as Bank of America, DiGiorgio Corporation, Gallo Corporation, and other large nodes on the network that designed the railroads to fit their enterprises as well; a twelve-year-old, with a dog and a rifle, unaware of all that, exploring where no man had ever gone before.  

These things and others are part of the background, the absolute upright, against which I can make a comparison to the things happening in the USA and globally, today; drones, i-phones and all. This is a sample of my daily life then, not while at “summer camp”. I think the reality of it might be difficult for many urban/suburban people today to believe was the reality in 1950 California, not alot like the display-window version of “American” in 1950 as presented in the Sunday “funnies”, the suburban neighborhood of Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead, a foreign world to my family’s neighborhood. Ours was rather more like the Dogpatch of Li’l Abner, or the world of Huckleberry Finn. Here’s a taste:

I could feel the mud squishing up between my toes as I carefully put my weight on the forward foot and moved the right foot forward into position, in the pitch-black darkness, feeling for a place between the narrow fringe of tules lining the bank. I could see the tear-shaped oval of pearly white glowing in the beam of the flashlight in my left hand. One more step and I was close enough and positioned with my left foot forward. I raised my right hand firmly gripping the long wooden handle of the gig, which I had adapted from a broken hoe handle and had seated and nailed the end into the socket of the 25-cent piece of metal with three barbed prongs resembling the trident of the Greek God, Poseidon – called Neptune by the Romans and Shiva by the Hindus – and brought it slowly into alignment with a spot just behind that pearly oval, lowered it down closer above and just behind the white throat of the large bull frog, frozen in the bright beam, unable to see anything around him.

We were in Yokuts Tribal Territory, but I didn’t know it then; the Yokuts people being already long-removed to a “Rancheria”. I was gigging frogs from a large branch of the Kern-Friant Dam’s irrigation network that guided water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to this dry, alkaline area of the southwest San Joaquin Valley to water the lands recently acquired using hook or crook, by the emerging corporate caudillos of California. The frogs were to take home for my mother to cook for us. I was twelve years old. The gunny sack carried by another, smaller boy waiting on the dirt bank above, was now half full, and the skyline was showing the slightest hint of a thin, deep violet silhouette above the angular peaks of the high Sierra Nevada Mountains on the eastern horizon.

After gigging this one and pulling it wriggling from the barbs of the gig, and putting it atop the squirming cargo inside the burlap, we called it a night and headed home, the legs all a’dangling down-Oh!.

By the time we had walked barefoot  the several miles back along the levee road that was the right-of-way for the vehicles of the Water Master and the ditch tender, trading off carrying the heavy sack – the sky would then be getting light and we would spend a couple hours in the backyard of my house where I lived with my mother and two brothers in one of the randomly built houses on 50’X 150’ lots in the “development” on someone’s old “homestead” of 320 acres, about ten or fifteen miles, driving on two lane country highways in a neighbor’s 1937 Ford sedan between fields of the irrigated farmland south of Bakersfield, where Tom Joad had hitch-hiked his way in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, the dusty alkali fields captured in the works of the Dust Bowl WPA documentary photographer Dorothea Lange – teacher of my teacher, John Collier, Jr. – who had visited and photographed the lives of the refugees.

In our back yard, shaded from the direct heat of the now scorching sun, among the apricot and peach trees around the garden that my father had made before his death, I dispatched the bullfrogs with my hunting knife, severing them just behind the front legs with the help of a hammer to the back of the blade – because there is not enough on the small human-like hands and the front legs to trouble with – then using pliers to pull the slimy skin from the meaty back and hind legs. Finally, washing the froglegs clean in a large, enameled metal basin, I proudly carried them to my mother who was now in the kitchen making breakfast for the hunters. By lunchtime, they’d be rolled in cornmeal and flour with salt and pepper and fried crisp in bacon grease saved by mother in a tuna fish can on the stove, with a flavor and texture that, all would agree, is “better than chicken”.

Methodology

So, friends, instead of the current fad of massive digital data trawling, I find myself satisfied with foraging information here and there, a bit of this a bit of that as needed, but pleased at sitting and staring at my potted Improved Meyer Lemon tree, loafing*, and reflecting upon the relationships between things I already know, and finding the perfect fit for the new stuff, which changes everything; and observing what that change induces in my overall view of what I now understand.  It takes a lot of patience and energy to do this.

* “loafing”, as in,

It is almost impossible for a civilized man to form any conception of the degree of intimacy with nature this represents. No civilized man would ever have the patience and energy to loaf in a wild place long enough to catch this subtle rhythm of interactions.

[The Background of Religious Feeling in a Primitive Tribe“. (Jaime De Angulo, 1926 , Amer. Anthrop. 28: 352-360)]

I hope that my contributions also have some other value than my own philosophical pleasure. According to the Club of Rome projections for 2052, that class of human faculty might be leaving the repertory of Homo sapiens as the mind is “externalized”, as did the typewriter become extinct when electronic printing from digital “typewriters” became The Way Forward into Teilhard’s Technosphere; and I finally gave up my Olivetti and my Nagra.

Well, that was a long preface. Now we can begin.

First I will show you the pieces. Then I will paste them together. It might seem a bit choppy at first, but then it will gain focus. You’ll get the picture.

A Point, a Ground Zero from Which to Reckon

The context, background or Absolute Upright, an Ecology of Mind, a bench mark, a mirror for man, something other than yesterday’s news stories on My Yahoo! Home Page from which to measure, as a background against which to portray the State of The USans’ current existence  for this essay’s purpose would include something like this:

This article emphasizes the basis for my current concern with multiculturalism and, moreover, with the different way that a “primitive” or aboriginal society, collectively and individually views the world and lives in it; compared to a group of individuals many generations uprooted from such societies and absorbed into the workforce and armies of Empire, people who came recently, individually or with nuclear family, to a place for a job, living together separately in an industrially planned, production- and consumption-focussed urban community, each against the others competing for a better foothold, often recently dislocated, colonized or conquered, in a rapidly increasing world population of humans that is increasingly dominated by industrial age colonialism enhanced and expedited by Information Technology.

Speaking for the consciousness of pre-industrialized humans such as I, we aboriginals living beyond the Empire, as represented by the Pit River, or Ajumawi “Indians” of the upper sources of the Sacramento River in northeast California and southeast Oregon, northwest North America, speaking of and for them was Jaime de Angulo, a physician-psychiatrist-turned-anthropologist. He was born in Paris, France in 1887 of aristocratic, expatriate Spanish parents. He graduated from John Hopkins Medical School and then spent several years travelling before settling into a career as a linguist and anthropologist at Berkeley; an “eccentric” contemporary of Edward Sapir, A.L. Kroeber and Franz Boas. He wrote in 1926:

I had always wanted to live with really primitive people, real Stone Age men, and see how they thought, and felt. I had read books on primitive psychology, some of them excellent books like Levy-Bruhl’s (who, by the way, never left Paris, or so I am told), but I wasn’t convinced. All that was too theoretical.

Really primitive people, not like the already cultured Indians of the Southwest with their sun-worship, their secret societies, their esoteric ceremonial. But real Stone Age men…Well, these had been it, until a very short time ago. Here was Jack Folsom who was a little boy when the first white men arrived. Was there anything left? How much had they changed? My God, think of it, to pass in one lifetime from the stone axe to wireless telegraphy! Indians in overalls. No, there was nothing picturesque about these Indians, no feather headdresses or beaded moccasins, nothing to delight the tourists about these “digger Indians” in their battered hats and cheap calicos, picking the offal of the whites on the garbage dumps at the edge of town. My Indians in overalls!….

The Indians had to live somehow or other — they had received a few pieces of land, here and there, from the Government, mostly rocky spots without water, useless — in the Summer’s haying time they could make a few bucks working for the white ranchers — the rest of the time, who in the hell cared?  The sons-of-bitches were no good, liars and thieves, let them all die. (Indians in Overalls, p.12) 

“Animals are not imbeciles.  There is in the life of wild things in a wild setting a multitude of interactions to which the mind of civilized man is not attuned because it is of the necessity oriented to another aspect of mental energy, namely the rational.  To understand the psychology of the Pit River people, it is necessary to visualize their extremely intimate contact with the trees, the rocks, the weather and the delicate changes in the atmosphere, with the shape of every natural object, and, of course, with the habits not only of every species of animal but of many individuals. It is almost impossible for a civilized man to form any conception of the degree of intimacy with nature this* represents. No civilized man would ever have the patience and energy to loaf in a wild place long enough to catch this subtle rhythm of interactions.

* “this” being the Ajumawi’s science, the cumulative shared observations through the lens of a unique species of human sensibilities, the summary equations of generations of observations and commentary refined and condensed into collective knowledge and reflections upon millenia of intimate residence in that landscape – east of the  south end of the Cascade Mountain Range in the drainage basin that feeds the Pit River and then the Sacramento River of California, beginning at the south end of Goose Lake, in Oregon; primarily high desert and juniper/pine mountain country  – as it passes through short and long cycles of repetitive and unique changes, informing the cumulative, collective pre-industrial adaptation of one human community, long living among the other living forces coevolving as a life community within the larger local landscape. As I read him, Jaime’s writings transmit/teach this viewpoint on these peoples (Jaime de Angulo, “The Background of Religious Feeling in a Primitive Tribe”).

Of course, de Angulo did practice loafing with his Indians in Overalls, and was even accused by Kroeber of “rolling in ditches with drunken shamans”, and Kroeber warned graduate students not to attend parties at Professor de Angulo’s house. Truly in the tradition of the California School of Anthropology, livin’ the dream, surfin’ out beyond the waves. 

That gnarl of gnocions, with Jaime’s observations, if thought upon, will make a good larger framework in which this article will find a meaningful benchmark from which to determine our current, shared societal trajectory and to plot our navigation, if we can take control of the rudder.

How to Think about It: Designing Mind

So, let the above, about the world of aboriginal peoples, and the world of 1950 rural San Joaquin Valley of California, act as the frame, the absolute upright, a benchmark from which we can measure our current position and trajectory. 

Let me focus the above portrayals of aboriginal, pre-enclosure worldviews on a comparison to our own current society by referring to commentary by Gregory Bateson, who called himself a biologist but who was (ac)claimed as an anthropologist – from an English aristocratic background, associates of Huxley, Darwin and all that – who became a naturalized US citizen during middle-age.

Bateson observed the US population, including the highly educated, to be long on the brain functions that have to do with creativity and innovation, but short on those that tend to transmission of traditions, rote memory, accumulated shared cosmology and shared sense of societal identity, local unity, values and worldview; in other words, those faculties that continue the cumulative transmission of a society’s culture. (Personal Conversation 1977.)

My opinion is that this gestalt of the USans’ mind, which Gregory describes, is designed by Intelligent Design.

I am not speaking of God, but of something else that is here and now and has long dogged the masses of peoples who are left in chaos and desperate, without means to survive, after conquest and dispossession. They can perceive no alternative other than to work for the Empire.  

Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Cumana
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar

It’s a fact, man, it’s a fact

Rum and Coca-Cola
Rum and Coca-Cola
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar

This includes you and me.  

This designing process, its on-going processes and experimentation in planning and execution, and the identity of the Intelligent Designers is what I will now excavate and bring into some general clarity.

Anyone who gets troubled by paranoid visionaries with Sergeant Pepper writing styles and too many collateral links should disembarque this submarine now. 

Classmates and Lessons in Leavenworth

As I sat in the Fort Leavenworth Human Terrain System (HTS) classes on various topics related to how the wars will be fought in this [note: Roman! Numerals] XXI Century after the Romans crucified an Aramaic-speaking, dissident leader of a People’s Uprising in Palestine – currently an everyday event with Israel representing the Pontius Pilate, I reflected upon my surprise at how many members of the class, both in uniform and in civilian clothes had worked in various aspects of “intelligence” (spying)  and “public information” (ideological indoctrination). Paul Ryan would have fit right in–but he already had a good job.

It began to become clear that – though it was centrally controlled and top-down – there are no institutional nor corporate boundaries to the military “intelligence collection” and indoctrination, including the related activities of active, purposive ‘mind-shaping’ (their term). The Brothers in Arms for the global militarization of “information and training” within Training and Doctrine functions included major universities – e.g.: Stanford, Chicago, Brown, Harvard, Yale, U of Nebraska – worldwide corporations like NCR, IBM and Dell, GE and RAND Corporation, McDonald-Douglas; private contracting anthropologists and we HTS cadets, relative to average workers with our qualifications, were all living ‘high off the hog’ on government funds, not just scavenging the pig’s feet thrown to us from the Lord’s Table …

… funds that were taxed from the USA Peoples for a program to develop an Iron Dome control of Human Terrain both domestic and foreign.

Like Egyptian Pharaohs’ slaves, the tax-paying citizen is paying for and constructing one’s own final enclosure, Pharaoh’s property.

Among the cadets and instructors in my cycle were a Dominican – an Army career intelligence technician, an Anglo career soldier and former reporter/editor for Stars and Stripes, a refugee Pashtun from Los Angeles with a philosophy MA degree, a native West African with an MA degree in linguistics, an Anglo female private “anthropologist” contractor who worked to promote Hollywood films with overseas investors now teaching “Ethnographic Method”, two other anthropology Ph.D. instructors with specialties in network analysis, one at RAND, the other – I think – at MacDonald-Douglas, a self-identified Zionist Jew from small town Nebraska with a masters a.b.d in History and a passion for creating battlefield strategies with toy soldiers; a Trinidadian Indian New Yorker anthro with a status Ph.D. from England with research in the urban illegal drug market society; a married woman from Mississippi with an MA in Medieval French History and a passion for dressage; a colonel in TRADOC doing his PhD thesis at Armed Forces University whom my writing suggests was an embedded provocateur; a retired general from some non-combat specialty; …

….everybody was plugging into the Department of Defense funding designed to manage the Human Terrain, globally. We were like fish in a deep-sea trawler’s net as we took the generous chum money and found ourselves caught in The Mission.

The Military Mafia

And the background is a network of Brothers in Arms who worked together to ‘clear and hold’ this niche in the United States’ Federal Budget terrain, and who also controlled the curriculum. After all, they were the only ones in the negotiations who controlled the buttons. Yes, THOSE buttons, just like in Egypt!

Administrations, Congresses and Court Judges come and go, but the military is the river of power that runs through it. Behind them stands the Supreme Something from which the appearance of power flows.

No, I’m not talking about the Supreme Cybernetic System, the label that Bateson has given to the God Function, the (largeer) Mind, the Intelligent Designer in his epistemology, his own metaphor.

To qualify for the exceptional money offered – even in the training program of the US Army’s Human Terrain System, these men and woman had worked in or advised every aspect of the government. Many had worked directly in the military branch, serving in functions ranging from Special Ops snipers to INTEL Technicians, and some had worked for the strings-attached funding for such functions in all branches of the federal and even local government – Forest Service, Park Service, Department of Interior, municipal, State and County police with embedded military interests … all having National Security functions in case of emergency, both constructing news releases and gathering intelligence globally and among the US civilian population.

And of course many had worked for, subcontracted from or are still on the payroll of private corporations such as RAND, IBM, GE, NCR, etc. who get their lion’s share of DoD-funded contracts, with wink-and-smile competition between the myriad of US military veteran-owned corporations who are assured of a cut – like my sub-contractor, CLI, or the prime contractor BAE, from which CLI had been opportunistically spun off during an ethics violation that caused BAE’s temporary disbarment – they were all connected by the safety net of the Brothers in Arms, Inc. 

We see among them those buying editing power over the media; not only the Conservative media, but also the “Progressive” media – even backhand funding of Hollywood films such as Zero Dark Thirty – and the common acknowledgment among these men and woman that “If you control the media and you say it is true, it is true.”; and the acceptance of the government’s claim that this is the nature of the War on Terror, we have to work extraordinary renditions to The Dark Side while keeping US citizens fat, happy, resigned to the call for Austerity, living in the spun net of delusion and in full support of taxes to pay the immediate and future monetary costs of the Global War on Terror; The Long War.

And, now, TRADOC is contacting high school hackers to recruit them into the Yankees team. 

But, just to be sure all the USans are happy and not resisting nor dissenting, from Kansas to Hollywood, We are Watching You! 

And, we USans have our secret methods of marking unidentified men as drone targets! So?  Everyone makes a mistake now and then; one can’t be too careful, you know.

 It’s all there, … er … I mean HERE, in the USA, which includes, or is included in Israel – proteksia – fruits which we, the “flotsam and jetsam”* of professional anthropology were greedy to harvest – coercion and threat of violence, the Stockholm Syndrome and massive “detention facilities”, if needed.

Sidebar: The Flotsam and Jetsam of a Discipline in the Throes of Death and Rebirth

*I rather liked how a commenter on Zero Anthropology’s recent HTS article used this phrase to describe me and my anthropologist compañeros HTS Cadets; brothers, arm-in-arm with the military, pigging out on the outstanding compensation. His description of us as “flotsam and jetsam” matched my own biographical sketch for ZA, where I begin by saying I had washed up here on the coast of California in a big storm. The big storm was my Year with the Military (the Fort Irwin Whistle Blowing Caper and the Leavenworth Double Agent Caper) and a few personal-life developments that washed me out to sea.

Washed-up, flotsam and jetsam of the anthropology market place where universities offer the degree and cut the faculty; like you, we flotsam are! Trying to stay afloat in the capitalist economy where the decline in the utilization of anthropologist UHUCUs in the emerging global, capitalist socio-economic system will move us all into the waste basket of Teilhard’s Technosphere is now near the ‘bottom of the barrel’.

This while a new “anthropology” is being born from the behaviorist-designed New World Order University (NEWOU) and into its own “operant conditioning chamber”, or Skinner Box. Just a little reprogramming of the younger but old-viewpoint anthropologists, such as in the HTS cadet training at Leavenworth, all mixed in with groups of battle-hardened troops, and the old-fashioned anthropologists are stripped of their notion of The Mission, and are given The True Mission, the American Mission, …

…and their anthropology will be revolutionized! (weaponized, trivialized).

… and if they complete their retraining, then they are qualified to sit on a throne in the Virtual UHUCO Super Market “Anthropologist” Shelf until a budget space on a project, or “mission” is liberated.

Of course; they will have a Right to Work in the mean while – for example, flipping burgers, or driving cab – in fact, it’s either sink or swim for food, shelter and medical care there on the shelf. Whatever you can do to support our troops in the Mean While.  

Sorry, only applied anthropology work, embedded with the troops or working in the data processing labs in crisis situations; no more teaching jobs. The TRADOC advisors have found that anthropologists are vulnerable to enemy combatants’ brain washing and they begin to teach subversive thought to students. 

Teaching the New Anthropology will be the responsibility of TRADOC and will be conducted via approved video segments like any other training except actual combat, which mandate kinetic training of the physical body.

This new anthropologist, in addition to being able to chart social networks, make colorful charts and graphs, mastering the fine art of five-minute PowerPoint presentations and making guesses about Key Leaders look like certain, scientific proof, also will be well equipped to do marketing research! more jobs!

Yep, anyone todavia working at a university as an “anthropologist” is the last of them apples.

Is that OK – to say that?  I mean, if they cut the The Blue Angels aerial acrobatics jet fighter show from the DoD Budget, this is real!

What’s “real”? asked the Velveteen Rabbit. Will anthropology “die”?

There, there, now. There is nothing to fear!

The Corporate-Academic Mafiachomsky

And, the whole proprietary nature of “data” emerges from the same source of the capitalist societally-cultured emphasis on competition over cooperation as foils most attempts at creating collectives in the USA. So, the ethnographer’s field research notes – the “data” if you want to play “scientist” – becomes a highly protected commodity that aids him/her in The Struggle (his/her personal struggle for personal success) and must be kept from others until he/she/they have taken ownership by copyright publications.  

One of my first shocks in being a specialist in the Hindu Kush area, where there were, in 1970, only about five living, established (meaning ‘establishment’ and not indigenous) anthropologists with fieldwork there, mostly northern Europeans. When I wrote to ask about the findings of one of these, he drew a clear boundary that made the above very clear to me. This is MINE! You cannot see it, which caused me to remember my daughter during the Terrible Twos, after being socialized at a “day care center” for a few days, taking a toy from her little friend, Sam, and saying for the first time in her life, “No Sam! Mine!”

You see, it is not that he and I are doing this task of building knowledge together. We are competing to be the one who is recognized and compensated for manufacturing a copyright, commoditized product from it.

What a loss of potential! Private ownership drives the ship of state. Unchar(i)table Greed.

If you think you can escape, try to change mobile phone corporations and use YOUR OWN PHONE in a different service provider. Are you ready for prison?…and, yes, I am aware that the feds suddenly reversed fields when there emerged strong resistance from high and massively from below. But, the very idea that it had been put into place. The very idea!

And, if you still believe that this is really Free Enterprise country, try to start your own local community internet service provider to avoid the commercialization, government spying and the control of the major corporations. Community self-designed internet is being blocked. The profits of great corporations, too big to fail, are soaring while the workers fall further behind the increased costs. 

However, things are looking up in Detroit, but only for the rich. The citizens are now under the iron fist of a manager chosen by the 1%, and he is kicking ass, the worker’s ass. The People’s ass: business leaders here said they had been well aware of the government’s misery — and defiantly moving on in the face of it — for years.

It is being demonstrated at this moment in Cyprus, Greece, and soon might be in Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy … (but, it can’t happen here!), that our “bank accounts” are not reall ours, they belong to the Coalition Forces of Empire.

“Everything has sort of been operating on separate tracks,” said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, a nonprofit organization that tracks demographic, economic and housing trends in the region.

“The business and philanthropic communities had basically just decided to go ahead in spite of government.”

So, now we know who wears the pants in THIS house!

Meanwhile Federally-funded private contractors are building massive “detention facilities” to contain any dissident citizens detected or suspected to be involved in suspicious activities.  These citizens are immediately classed as agents of Al Quaeda and “terrorists”, “Islamists” or “enemy combatants” – “commies” have apparently lost status as a security threat and reason for incarceration and defamation.

The contractors are allowed to factor into their costs – which YOU pay, citizen – a certain generous profit margin. Well! I mean, this AIN’T SOCIALISM here. Ya hear? Here, it’s called Brotherhood, Family. If you are with us, I’ve got your back. If not, … best sprout eyes in the back of your head! Then we can aim between the eyes from either side

The Prison-Industrial Complex fits very well with Capitalism lessons. San Quentin inmates are eager to start their own high-tech companies, with abundant human resources to employ, cheap! The prisoners are being taught Entrepreneurship 101.

I betcha they would be eager to get a degree in anthropology. They could do their first fieldwork gathering key leader information among their colleague inmates. A captive student body. Yes Sir!

The Military-Media Mafia Hybrid

Meet Barbara Gall, who wrote an article in the NY Times, declaring,

Villagers Take on the Taleban in their Heartland.

Suspicious, I read her bio, and, voila, she is quite in bed with the military–“embedded’, we say:

Carlotta Gall is a reporter covering Pakistan and Afghanistan for The New York Times; she has been based in Afghanistan since November 2001. From 1999 to 2001 Ms. Gall worked in the Balkans, also for The New York Times, covering the wars in Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia and developments in Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia.

She began her newspaper career at The Moscow Times, in Moscow in 1994, and covered the first war in Chechnya intensively for the paper, among other stories all over the former Soviet Union. During that time, she also freelanced for the British papers The Independent, The Times and The Sunday Times, as well as The New York Times, USA Today and Newsweek. In 1998 Ms. Gall moved to the Financial Times and The Economist where she reported on the Caucasus and Central Asia from Baku, Azerbaijan.

She is the co-author with Thomas de Waal, of “Chechnya: A Small Victorious War” …, also published as “Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus” Ms. Gall was educated in England and read Russian and French at Newnham College, Cambridge. She received a Master’s degree from City University, London in International Relations and Journalism. She speaks three languages.

As hurricanes and snowstorms are described in the mass media as “historic” and there emerges a general agreement between major media corporations on the nature of the “real world” –  …as a kind of diversion from work that is called “news, weather and entertainment”; an agreement upon the weaving of reality in stories that presents only what TRADOC buys, we face both a growing finacial gap between the upper class and the rest of us, and ….

A communication gap between generations – caused by the use of people as UHUCU rather than as people who own their labor and embedded in extended family and local community – is exploited by the “media” inserting a non-localized, one-on-one communication medium and spreading the word that any child without an iPod is an abused child, a child left behind. [See Rule Number 1 (in Part II) for captured revolutionary forces.]

I begin to sense that something else is going on here, in our “media”; something all-encompassing, which Rachael Maddow documents here just how common is the government’s use of prepared “News” on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria; and also the suppressing competitive news that contradicts the fictions.

The Wisdom of the Elders

jigger[Photo, about 1930, seven years before me, outside our home in rural Los Angeles.]

Meet my father – trade-mark home-made corncob pipe in mouth, a “half-breed” (French-Shawnee), born near Joplin Missouri, 1870, a long-time hobo, a Wobblies’ (IWW) steel workers’ union organizer in Southern California from about WWI to the late 1930s, veteran of billy-club and rifle-butt attacks by police and National Guard. He had prepared me well with words to describe it when I finally had the eyes to see it:

“Jigger” – his nickname for me, “don’t believe anything you hear; and only half of what you see.” he said; and that was before TV and oleomargarine* and before the internet and before iPad and iPod and all the super social media devices we are so blessed with in this free country of ours today.

*Yes, I even remember before Oleomargarine, which was another lie, with its little capsule of imitation food color to make it look just like butter as you knead the orange dye from the popped gel capsule through the soft, white, high-cholesterol palm nut grease sealed in the plastic sack until uniform, chill it, and spread it on bread, and … what a disappointment!  

But, now I know about palm nut plantations from Indonesia to West Africa that earn $billions for the mega-corporate owners and processors/advertisers/distributors; so it all makes more sense?

My father refused to eat it. Pass the butter, please.

(Yes, there was a time – long before texting, before TV in every room – when the family ate meals together and communicated without machines, and said, “Please pass the butter”.

Read Dagwood and Blondie if you don’t believe me. The “Bumstead” family is shown below.)

bumstead

The Come-Uppance, The Turning of the Prey

So, now that NATO is retreating from the tireless, insistent, fiercely bold attacks of the Afghan resistance, the embedded journalists tell us:

As Marines Exit Afghan Province, a Feeling That a Campaign Was Worth It “I think history has proved it was the right thing to do,” General Amos said of the 2009 decision to increase the Marine presence in Helmand.

“It doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t turn overnight. But I don’t think it’s going to turn.”

Yes, Sir!  No Sir!

Sir! It’s gonna turn! It’s gonna turn all right, Sir.

Sir! It HAS TURNED.

It has finally turned on you; … Sir!

… and so you are leaving, just like the English left twice; like the Russians left.

That’s the truth of what’s happening. YOU now must also go!

As Bob Dylan sang about another retreat when another war in another land led to disaster on so many levels:

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out! the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you
The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

Saying Goodbye to the Occupier, the Afghan Peoples are yet civil to invited guests, just as they were after driving out the British twice, after driving out the USSR; retaining dignity; they say,.

Khodahafez!

maimana
Photo, John Allison, 1969, Maimana, Faryab Province, Afghanistan: A Descendant of the Prophet telling The Truth, providing The Fundamental Principles in Poetic Orations.

Our colleague. Dr. Jamil Hanifi, provides us some insights into this image shell:

The rituals of battle-ax tabarzin (from the Persian tabar, ax) and verse eulogists (Persian/Arabic maddahan; sing. Maddah from the Arabic maddha, praise). Please carefully note that tabarzin and maddahan are features of Shi’a communities. There are elaborate and rich banks of narratives for these eulogies. Thus, there is a great deal of room for rhetorical creativity and interpretation. The presence of this ritual performance in the Sunni environment of Maimana is very unusual. Also, note that tabarzin/maddahi rituals among Sunni communities, especially Pashtuns, would be out of place. Complicated regional links with tasawuf should also be explored—especially involving the roaming kashkuli mendicants, darwishes, and malangs.

garden
Photo, John Allison, 1969: Gate to the Inner Garden, Faryab Province, Afghanistan.

8 thoughts on “John’s Final Epistle to The Anthropologists, Part I: The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at the Climax of the Neolithic

  1. As I just finished saying elsewhere, you are great at providing the kinds of intellectual tools necessary for developing our own counter-counterinsurgency epistemology. You bend time and space, tradition and technique, resistance and domination into a very provocative double-helix structure that shapes this essay (and that sometimes makes it a challenge to read).

    (Incidentally, and I mean that literally: I liked learning that you conversed with Gregory Bateson, and that you challenged a person who I am assuming was Edmund (Ted) Carpenter, the focus of a film I show in class titled “Oh! What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me”–and by the way, students today still don’t like him, and some of his comments about journeying down the Sepik River being like a journey 10,000 years into the past and meeting the Stone Age, produced audible groans the last time I showed this to undergraduates.)

  2. Also, just a note. The “flotsam and jetsam” comment did not come from someone commenting on ZA, but rather came from Hugh Gusterson’s statement to a USA Today reporter:

    “It’s another example of a military program that makes money for a contractor while greatly exaggerating its military utility,” Gusterson said in an e-mail. “The program recruited the human flotsam and jetsam of the discipline and pretended it was recruiting the best. Treating taxpayer money as if it were water, it paid under-qualified 20-something anthropologists more than even Harvard professors. And it treated our ethics code as a nuisance to be ignored.”

    Now, for my part, while I would agree that one can hardly find anyone who joined HTS that departs from Gusterson’s characterization, and no striking intellectual output from those who “graduated” from the program (I have read several insipid, inane papers that look like quasi-Orientalist rehashes of old structural-functionalist theses), one should pause for a moment. These are “our” students–we produced them, we graduated them. A moment to consider explaining why we produce such “flotsam and jetsam”? An apology perhaps? Do we usually speak of our former students this way?

  3. Well, like my Father before me, I have no problem in accepting my status as “flotsam and jetsam” of such a society. Who in their right mind would want to be Main Stream? And, this experience, as I suggest in my discussion of the emerging New Anthropology, will be available to all who do not agree to “adapt” to the needs of those in The Bubble.

  4. Many thanks to JA for his posts. I am deeply empathetic to the visceral sense of the reality he articulates. I appreciate the specific reference to Bateson’s view that consciousness is problematic as I see it as one of the central dilemma of the USaner psyche, so heavily invested in the rational agent model of the human animal (Bargh) and held in deep captivity to the idea that consciousness, particularly USaner’s consciousness, as the highest of evolutionary achievements/virtues (inside every ‘gook’ is an American trying to get out…). The New Consciousness, same as the old consciousness.

    I would imagine someone here would be versed in the emerging view that consciousness is not what we think it is and probably more in line with Jaynes’ controversial view of it as a top-down, cultural construct vs the product of evolutionary biology or divine origin. It is a very demonstrably flawed (Wenger, et al) medium through which to experience the world yet its hegemonic value to the machine is indisputable. I tend to see it as masterfully created and now highly refined, near perfect instrument of social control. The individuated human being is certainly the central objective of bourgeoisie ideology and consciousness is the primary means by which it emerges. We are all ‘kings’ now of our own virtual dream/reality – ‘free’ of real social obligations and earthly restrains. ‘Its all about you’ as each USaner has the equivalent of 147 slaves working for them 24/7 – the virtue of energy dense petroleum and an economy predicated on it. Instead of Small is Beautiful, the Deep Carbon Observatory is looking to unlock even more of the stuff to drive the techno-fantasies of six billion divine kingships.

    Shoumatoff once noted in Mountain of Names that kinship/clan-based societies were historically seen as rival centers of power by church and state and that the ideology of individualism was developed as the main weapon to destroy the native matrices of human beings, rendering them pliant cogs in some divine cosmology. The individuated human being is also the logical outcome of things like the Reformation, The Enlightenment, the Indian Reorganization Act, The New Age Movement – kill the real human, save the shell and fill it with the noxious gas of the autonomous, discrete self in rational pursuit of self-interest or personal redemption, just like those ancient kings.

    The point of my next departure would be Frye’s observation that ‘Christianity was the homeopathic remedy to the viral teachings of Christ’ which suggests that Rome’s model for social control still serves as the basic framework for the system’s ability to incorporate all dissent into its body as a means of vaccination. Anytime anything makes traction against it, it morphs into a public relations bonanza for the Man, immediately spawning a thousand cottage industries in books, TED Talks, seminaries and workshops, websites and even more evidence of the infinite benevolence of ‘the Supreme Something’ and the superior consciousness of the USaner.

    Yet the real response to the reality within which we dwell is always lame, comfortably lame. There is an overwhelmingly tendency to largely intellectualize and glorify every fart and burp that someone claims is resistance or change, and to a large extent, anything real is almost instantly strangled by the evangelical impulse and the little fucker is stillborn before it had a chance to breathe. Everything then just becomes therapy – or a new book. I have watched this for 30 years now and is as predictable as the sun rise. H. Kahn’s ‘Great Relaxation Movement’ successfully unhinged the radical sixties and many of many of my old radical friends from that time still have no clue what hit them nor are remotely interested in knowing. I am happy to report that there dreams of rebellion are now fully sublimated in their Sunday ritual of faux-biker gang rides on their $30K Harleys. The rest of the pangs, if there are any, are managed with their tall pile of New Consciousness Manuals (average price $23 ea) and their organic epicurean fetishes (a $20 skinny chicken that once ate worms and bugs).

    At this point in time, a tremendous, and I mean tremendous amount of information exists about the nature and intents of this phenomenologically fierce force, its crimes and depravity is available for all to see if they wish (most don’t) – it makes disingenuous attempts to mask its truths because it really wants us to know those truths – that it will coldly murder millions of people for no real reason at all, much less some dissidents whose ideas or actions might actually threaten the Beast much less a leader in some ‘developing’ country who has the audacity to think that their people should share in the wealth of the country. Human Right’s Watch’s recent publication on autonomous killer robots, Losing Humanity, nary raised a sigh on the Left about the prospect of DARPA’s efforts to field significant numbers of AKBs by 2050 in combat and domestic police action. Once autonomous robots can be produced inexpensively and en-mass, what is the destination of most of humanity at that point? To be hunted like buffalo I imagine as history repeats itself yet once again. But wait, there is the ‘more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’ just on the horizon – just have faith. Hope was a gift, remember, to mask the truth of it all.

    I would raise the question with both of you as the merits/probabilities that we, as currently constituted cognitively, can find our way out of the ‘matrix’. No one questions the kind of human being they are, culturally speaking, but somehow I sense that the as the products of The Supreme Something’s program we are not the ones (contrary to their deepest desire or adolescent fantasies) to find the way out. Something needs to change at a much deeper level than conscious understanding. Whatever we have been doing only appears to strengthen the force at work, taking us farther and farther to a point of no return.

  5. Many thanks to JA for his posts. I appreciate the specific reference to Bateson’s view that consciousness is problematic as I see it as one of the central dilemma of the USaner psyche, so heavily invested in the rational agent model of the human animal (Bargh) and held in deep captivity to the idea that consciousness, particularly USaner’s consciousness, is the primary medium through which the world comes to be. It is implied at every turn that we are the highest of evolutionary achievements (inside every ‘gook’ is an American trying to get out…) and the envy of the world. Even The New Consciousness is a lot like the old consciousness.

    I would imagine someone here would be versed in the emerging view that consciousness is not what we think it is and probably more in line with Jaynes’ controversial view of it as a top-down, cultural construct vs the product of evolutionary biology or divine origin. It is a very demonstrably flawed medium through which to know and act in the world yet its hegemonic value to the machine is indisputable. I tend to see it as masterfully created and now highly refined, near perfect instrument of social control. The individuated human being is certainly the central objective of bourgeoisie ideology and consciousness is the primary means by which the ego emerges. We are all ‘kings’ now of our own virtual dream/reality – ‘free’ of real social obligations and earthly restrains. ‘Its all about you’ as each USaner has the equivalent of 147 slaves working for them 24/7 – the virtue of energy dense petroleum and an economy predicated on it. Instead of Small is Beautiful, the Deep Carbon Observatory is looking to unlock even more of the stuff to drive the techno-fantasies of six billion divine kingships.

    Shoumatoff once noted in Mountain of Names that kinship/clan-based societies were historically seen as rival centers of power by church and state and that the ideology of individualism was developed as the main weapon to destroy the native matrices of human beings, rendering them pliant cogs in some divine cosmology. The individuated human being is also the logical outcome of things like the Reformation, The Enlightenment, the Indian Reorganization Act, The New Age Movement – kill the real human, save the shell and fill it with the noxious gas of the autonomous, discrete self in rational pursuit of self-interest or personal redemption, just like those ancient kings.

  6. The point of my next departure would be Frye’s observation that ‘Christianity was the homeopathic remedy to the viral teachings of Christ’ which suggests that Rome’s model for social control still serves as the basic framework for the system’s ability to incorporate all dissent into its body as a means of vaccination. Anytime anything makes traction against it, it morphs into a public relations bonanza for the Man, immediately spawning a thousand cottage industries in books, TED Talks, seminaries and workshops, websites and even more evidence of the infinite benevolence of ‘the Supreme Something’ and the superior consciousness of the USaner.

    Yet the real response to the reality within which we dwell is always lame, comfortably lame. There is an overwhelmingly tendency to largely intellectualize and glorify every fart and burp that someone claims is resistance or change, and to a large extent, anything real is almost instantly strangled and the little fucker is stillborn before it had a chance to breathe. Everything then just becomes therapy – or a new book. Yes, we need more books! I have watched this for 30 years now and is as predictable as the sun rise. H. Kahn’s ‘Great Relaxation Movement’ successfully unhinged the radical sixties and many of many of my old radical friends from that time still have no clue what hit them nor are remotely interested in knowing. I am happy to report that there dreams of rebellion are now fully sublimated in their Sunday ritual of faux-biker gang rides on their $30K Harleys. The rest of the pangs, if there are any, are managed with their tall pile of New Consciousness Manuals (average price $23) and their organic epicurean fetishes (a $20 skinny chicken that once ate worms and bugs instead of grain).

    At this point in time, a tremendous, and I mean tremendous amount of information exists about the nature and intents of this phenomenologically fierce force, its crimes and depravity is available for all to see if they wish (most don’t) – it makes disingenuous attempts to mask its truths because it really wants us to know those truths – that it will coldly murder millions of people for no real reason at all, much less some dissidents whose ideas or actions might actually threaten the Beast, much less a leader in some ‘developing’ country who has the audacity to think that their people should share in the wealth of the country. Human Right’s Watch’s recent publication on autonomous killer robots, Losing Humanity, nary raised a sigh on the Left about the prospect of DARPA’s efforts to field significant numbers of AKBs by 2050 in combat and domestic police action. Once autonomous robots can be produced inexpensively and en-mass, what is the destination of most of humanity at that point? To be hunted like buffalo I imagine as history repeats itself yet once again. But wait, there is the ‘more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’ just on the horizon – just have faith. Hope was a gift, remember, to mask the truth of it all.

    I would raise the question with both of you as the merits/probabilities that we, as currently constituted cognitively, can find our way out of the ‘matrix’. No one questions the kind of human being they are, culturally speaking, but somehow I sense that the products of The Supreme Something’s program are not the ones (contrary to their deepest, deranged fantasies) to find the way out. Something physical needs to change because what we have been doing only appears to strengthen the force at work, taking us farther and farther to a point of no return.

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