Education

Western Propaganda Narratives Suffer Rejection

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3 mins read

You don’t have to have a PhD., to see through the dumb western propaganda narratives. They are not very believable. The only reason western media can uphold these narratives is by leaving out a majority of facts.

This is the most common way western media manipulates. They tell a shortened version of the story. Or they conveniently forget to mention facts that do not fit the narrative. If all else fails, they can always try to blame Russian or Chinese propaganda tactics. If you don’t believe me, here are 3 examples.

Western Propaganda Example #1: The West Is Only Trying to Uphold International Law.

6 months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine. We should never justify attacks on sovereign nations. That is what upholding international law means. We should condemn it every time. The west only condemns it when it suits their foreign interests. That is why Israel can freely bomb Syria. No western journalist or politician will condemn it. As long as Turkey agrees to let NATO expand, it is fine that they kill Kurdish civilians in Syria and Iraq. Last time I checked, Syria and Iraq were sovereign countries. So what gives?

Let me use an analogy from my classroom. If I declare a principal rule in my classroom, I have to be ready to enforce it. And I have to do so any time a student violates the rule. This is what having a principle means. Anything else is hypocrisy. If western journalists are not ready to speak the truth to power, they are not journalists. They are propagandists.

Western Propaganda Example #2: Ukraine Is Defending Democracy

Ukraine is defending its territorial integrity. No more, no less. And they do it well. However, Politicians and the media have been very busy. They try to frame Ukraine as a defender of democracy. This is not a role Ukraine can fill. Because they do not respect fundamental democratic traditions.

How else do you explain a law, that bans unions altogether? Is it a democratic tradition to ban parties and tv-stations? The U.S. state department’s own reports do not paint a rosy picture of human rights and democracy in Ukraine. Did you hear this mentioned in the evening news? Gee, I wonder why. Maybe it does not quite fit the narrative of Ukraine as a democratic country.

And did you notice the stunt our media pulled on Amnesty? Amnesty dared to criticize Ukraine for using civilians as military shields. Now, Amnesty is a Russian propaganda machine. This, by the way, is very consistent with how we criticized Russia for banning Amnesty not too long ago. So, is Amnesty a Russian propaganda outlet or an NGO oppressed by Russia? I guess our media pundits cannot decide. Things on the ground change too fast for western propaganda to catch up, I guess.

Western Propaganda Example #3: The West Is a Defender of Human Rights

The depth of human rights abuses by the west is unfathomable. By now, the war on terror has cost at least a million lives. The real number is probably closer to 6 million.

Western media never ask about how western military operations are aligned with international law. And by god, there are many examples. Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, … You thought I would forget about the drone strikes, that killed more than 1.400 civilians, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t.

We deliver weapons and military assistance to Saudi Arabia. So they can butcher Yemeni children. No questions asked. When did you ever hear a news report questioning our involvement in the genocide?

Here is what is even more interesting. How western journalists back the torture of Julian Assange. In the best case, they stay silent and try not to mention anything about him. That is because he committed a heinous crime. He published evidence of western war crimes. For this, he faces severe punishment in solitary confinement. Which is torture.

Western journalists almost never call out human rights abuses by western countries. It is easy to criticize Russia and China. It is much harder to call out the truth on your home turf. There is no better term to use for this behaviour than propaganda.

We Need to Pay Attention to What Journalists Don’t Tell Us

It does not matter which media you consume. You should not assume that you get objective journalism. If facts do not fit the narrative, western media often leave them out. This is no different from what Russian, Chinese, or any other media around the world does. Want to avoid getting marinated in western propaganda?

You should be ready to get nosy about what journalists do not mention. It actually does not take a lot of digging to reveal, that the narratives do not hold up to the mirror of reality. But where will you find the sources that contradict these narratives? Almost never in news reports by western media. Go look elsewhere.

What you do with the information is up to you. Don’t come blaming me for your cognitive dissonance. That is your responsibility to deal with.

Views expressed are personal

Artemis and The Hunt for The Moon

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Artemis smiled. “You have done well, my lieutenant. You have made me proud, and all those Hunters who perished in my service will never be forgotten. They will achieve Elysium, I am sure.“…Rick Riordan

Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto, is known in Greek mythology as the goddess of the hunt: of wilderness; and wildlife. Artemis is also the goddess of the Moon.

As the lore goes, Artemis was a virgin who only loved her hunting partner Orion.

Artemis is also the name of the gigantic rocket 37 stories in height named by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that will be launched on 29 August 2022 on it way to the Moon.  The rocket was presumably so named also because Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo. There is a distinct link between the twins in astronautical terms as the first Moon Program was named Apollo which started in 1961 by NASA culminating in two men walking on the Moon in 1969. 

The Artemis Programme will be carried out with the advanced Space Launch System (SLS) rockets and will be in three stages: Artemis 1 will be a test flight of the SLS rocket with the Orion spacecraft with no crew; Artemis 2 will fly SLS and Orion with a crew past the Moon, then circle it and return to Earth. This trip will be the farthest any human has gone into space; Artemis 3 will send a crew with the first woman and the next man to land on the Moon.

The broad aim and objective of the Artemis Program is to learn more about the Moon, the Sun and Earth and be a steppingstone for ultimate travel to Mars.  Within this broad goal is the search for water on the Moon with a view to using it and ultimately breaking down the components of water – Hydrogen and Oxygen – and using Hydrogen to power rockets and spacecraft for distant galactic travel. Other objectives are: to study the Moon to discover its mysteries; learn how to live and work on the surface of another celestial body where astronauts are just three days from home; and test the technologies that is needed to carry out missions to Mars with astronauts, which could involve a roundtrip of three years.

The Artemis Programme involves 12 countries including the United States and more are expected to join.  It has its genesis in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which sets out the fundamental principle –  “the freedom principle”  – that all countries have equal rights to explore outer space without any prejudices in accordance with international law. All countries have equal rights to transparency, interoperability, emergency assistance, the release of scientific data, the use of space resources, and the management of orbital debris. Under this broad legal and regulatory astronautical umbrella, the Artemis Accords were originally signed on October 13, 2020, by the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. These Accords have further opened opportunities of space diplomacy and international cooperation that were made possible by the International Space Station (ISS) Intergovernmental Agreement signed in 1998.

The United States and China have, in their policies, recognized the preeminent principle – that space exploration should be for the benefit of all humankind.  This is a good starting point. 

For over 20 years the ISS has been a beacon of outer space, bestowing much benefit to humanity through the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the participating countries of the European Space Agency. It has been reported that the work of the ISS is coming to an end and that NASA intends to keep operating the International Space Station until the end of 2030 after which the ISS would be crashed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo.

To get some perspective on why space exploration is a multi billion-dollar expense which seemingly bears no immediate benefit to humanity, one has to go back in history.  In 2004, in the United States, NASA released its Vision for Space Exploration. The Vision moves towards its fundamental goal – which is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program. To achieve this goal, the United States intends to: implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond; extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations; develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests.  The vision prompted NASA to engage, between 2004 and 2007, with other space agencies in informal discussions on modalities, goals, possibilities, competencies and timeline for space exploration in the future. 

This vision is not unique to the United States.  The European Space Agency has its Aurora space exploration programme. China, India, Japan and Russia have ambitious national projects to explore the Moon or Mars, while future national missions are being discussed in Canada, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.

In 2009, the United States Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (more popularly called the Augustine Committee, named after Norman R. Augustine, Chairman) in its report recognized that space exploration has become a global enterprise and that in the face of a burgeoning commercial space industry which could be encouraged to engage in space exploration, costs incurred by the government could be vastly reduced in the implementation of its space programme. The Committee also opined that the United States could lead a bold new international effort in the human exploration of space with the involvement of international partners.

The current vision of the leadership in the United States on space exploration, was articulated by President Obama on 15 April 2010, – that eventually there would be a manned mission on Mars.  President Obama did not give  a time line for this occurrence. This is in contrast to the declaration of President Kennedy in 1961 when he said about the moon missions: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth”.

Space exploration has always been, and will be driven by the need for political and technological one-upmanship and, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs said: “If the United States commits to the goal of reaching Mars, it will almost certainly do so in reaction to the progress of other nations – as was the case with NASA, the Apollo programme, and the project that became the International Space Station.   For the past decade, I have joked with colleagues that the United States would land astronauts on Mars in a year or two if only the Chinese would leak a memo that revealed plans to build military bases there”.  De Grasse Tyson went on to say that this joke should not be taken lightly as the Chinese have released an official strategy paper in which they claim that they have a five-year plan to advance their space capabilities which include the launching of space laboratories, manned spaceships and space freighters and engaging in other activities of advanced space exploration.

It is a truism that no individual country or group of countries can regulate outer space, which is governed by a patchwork of international treaties, resolutions of the United Nations and industry standards.  However, international relations and domestic policy drive a nation’s direction towards outer space exploration and reflect individual State interests. The United States, which incontrovertibly is the leader among all spacefaring nations (which include  Brazil, Russia, India and China, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Israel the European Space Agency, Ukraine and Iran), is responsible for 75 percent of space funding worldwide and owns or operates 40 percent of all active spacecraft in orbit. 

Garold Larson, Alternate Representative to the First Committee of the 64th Session of the United Nations Assembly held on 19 October 2009, succinctly outlined the policy of the United States on space exploration.  The foremost principle outlined by Larson was that the United States will continue to uphold the principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the United States recognized as providing fundamental guidelines required for the free access to and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes.  He went on to say that the United States will continue to take an active role in identifying and implementing cooperative efforts with established and emerging members of the international spacefaring community to ensure the safety of the space assets of all nations and also expand cooperation with other like-minded spacefaring nations and with the private sector to identify and protect against intentional and unintentional threats to its space capabilities.

The European Union, in 2008, published a draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, which it later revised in September 2010. The fundamental postulate of this code is that member states should establish policies and procedures to minimize the possibility of accidents or any form of harmful interference with other States’ right to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. The Code applies three basic principles in pursuance of its overall objective:  freedom of access to space for peaceful purposes; preservation of the security and integrity of space objects in orbit; and due consideration for the legitimate defense interests of states.

Here is my take.

There are two fundamental issues. Firstly, space exploration must continue for technology to progress.    Above all it will give humankind a sense of perspective, as to who we are, where we have come from, and where we are headed. Secondly, since space diplomacy is an incipient but rapidly evolving process, the key to international cooperation would lie in relations between the United States and China.  Both countries have, in their policies, recognized the preeminent principle – that space exploration should be for the benefit of all humankind.  This is a good starting point. 

A joint space programme between key players of North America, Europe and Asia could greatly stabilize Asia and very likely forge reconciliation between China and Japan and obviate burgeoning rivalry between China and India. Given the fact that both countries – The United States and China – had adopted (for what it’s worth) what they call a “constructive partnership” in world affairs, the United States could, with the association of a strong Europe and Russia, engage in inclusive discussions with China on collaborative involvement in space exploration.

Sri Lanka: Mudalige’s Affair

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Editorial

Mr Wasantha Mudalige, who is said to be the convener of a certain student union, is currently in custody and national and international parties are giving priority to distorting the truth and propagating different opinions. According to a UN official, Mudalige is not only a student activist but a human rights defender too. Bravo. But no one talks about the damage caused to the state by these people who boast of fair justice. Is the UN official indirectly saying that these so-called human rights defenders should be given the freedom to rally the people against the state and damage state property?

We ask you to leave your prejudgments and think rationally before expressing your views on such vital incidents of national interest and matters of nationhood. Case in point, there is one foreign lady who came to Sri Lanka on a medical visa. She accepted before the law that she has violated the visa conditions. But, mocking the laws and judiciary she went underground. Laughably, those who are standing with her now say that she is a human rights defender and trying to bring “system change” in Sri Lanka. Do we have to buy these opinions and let this country go to misery with these “opinion makers”? Where are the UN representatives or the diplomatic corps crying out for justice?

Let us now focus on Mr Mudalige’s case briefly. First of all, it is important to find out whether the student union of which Mr Mudalige is the convener is a legally abided organization. As far as we know, this is an organization with an extreme political agenda that was set up to unnecessarily interfere in the internal affairs of universities that do not belong to any legal framework. On the other hand, the studentship of Mr Wasantha Mudalige has been cancelled according to the by-laws governing state universities. The maximum time given to a student to complete his first degree if it is a special degree is seven years, but Mr Mudalige is completing his ninth year as a so-called university student. A person whose studentship has been legally rescinded cannot even enter a university without authorized permission. So should we talk about the legality of this kind of personality leading a student organization without any legal recognition? Should such people be allowed to destroy the country’s public university system in the name of protecting human rights? Should the responsible institutions of the international community continue to play hide-and-seek without prioritizing the truth?

How to Stop Wasting Your Life

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8 mins read

“This is precisely the risk modern man runs: he may wake up one day to find that he has missed half his life.”

Carl Jung, Practice of Psychotherapy

Psychotropic drugs have become one of the most common forms of treatment for anxiety disorders and depression. But these drugs are not very good at curing people and often they just become crutches for lifelong psychological cripples. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to treat anxiety and depression. In this video we are going to turn to Carl Jung, one of history’s greatest psychiatrists, for drug-free advice on how to find a cure to these psychological disorders.

“. . . the elite still cling firmly to the notion that [anxiety] disorders originate in alterations within the brain. Unfortunately many run-of-the-mill doctors still swear by this gospel to the detriment of their patients, whom our age produces in swarms. Nearly all these patients have been convinced by the medical dogma that their sickness is of a physical nature.” ~Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

Jung believed that most cases of anxiety and depression are not the product of a faulty brain, but of a faulty way of life. The first step in Jung’s method of treatment, therefore, was not a drug prescription, but a dose of psychological insight – insight regarding what to expect from life and insight into what it takes to change. With respect to the former, Jung noted that many people believe that life should be easy, suffering kept to a minimum and difficulties avoided. But Jung would be blunt with his patients telling them that life is not easy, and comfort and peace are not our natural state. Or as Jung wrote:

“In the last resort it is highly improbable that there could ever be a therapy that got rid of all difficulties. Man needs difficulty; they are necessary for health. What concerns us here is only an excessive amount of them.” ~Carl Jung, Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche

Accepting that difficulties are inevitable and nothing worth achieving comes easy, places us on the firm ground of reality from which to change. For when we accept that life is hard, we will also realize that only through a strengthened character do we have any chance of living a good life. If, on the other hand, we remain caught in the delusion that life should be easy, we will be less motivated to overcome a weak character, as we will falsely hope that if we just give it time life will get easier.

“Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an end.” ~Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols

There is another piece of psychological insight that Jung saw as crucial for his patients to understand – namely, that our problems exist in the present and that present problems are not solved by digging into our past. Many people like to believe that only when they have determined why they are the way they are, can they move forward in life. But Jung believed that an excessive fixation on the past was merely an avoidance tactic used to evade the difficult task of facing up to what needs to be done now.

“People should know that not only the neurotic, but everyone, naturally prefers never to seek the causes of any inconvenience in himself, but to push them as far away from himself as possible in space and time. Otherwise he would run the risk of having to make a change for the better. Compared with this odious risk it seems infinitely more advantageous either to put the blame on to somebody else, or, if the fault lies undeniably with oneself, at least to assume that it somehow arose of its own accord in early infancy.” (V7) ~Carl Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology

With these doses of psychological insight, Jung would turn to the first actionable step in his method of treatment; and this was to help his patients face up to what he called the shadow, for as he writes:

“. . .the first requisite of any thorough psychological method, [is] for consciousness to confront its shadow.” ~Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis

The shadow is Jung’s term for the elements of our character that we deny, and force into the unconscious, due to shame, insecurity, or censure. It is, in other words, the side of our personality we wish to hide from others, as well as from ourselves.

“…there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” ~ Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion

Jung believed that facing up to the shadow was crucial in the process of self-change for several reasons. Firstly, we do ourselves no favours by denying the inferior parts of our personality, we merely lose control of how, and when, these traits emerge. If, on the other, hand we acknowledge a character flaw we can learn how to control its expression and so minimize the damage it does in our life, or as Jung explains:

“Anything conscious can be corrected, but anything that slips away into the unconscious is beyond the reach of correction and, its rank growth undisturbed, is subject to increasing degeneration. Happily, nature sees to it that the unconscious contents will irrupt into consciousness sooner or later and create the necessary confusion.” ~Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis

But the shadow is not only made up of weakness, rather some elements of it are strengths which we repressed in our youth because our peers, family members, or society at large, gave us the false impression that these traits were bad. Some people, for example, repress the ability to express anger or the ability to stand up for themselves. Another benefit of becoming conscious of the shadow, therefore, is that we gain access to life-promoting character traits, or as Jung writes:

“. . .the shadow is merely somewhat inferior, primitive, unadapted, and awkward; not wholly bad. It even contains . . .qualities which would in a way vitalize and embellish human existence, but convention forbids!” ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion

One way to become conscious of the shadow is to observe the weaknesses, flaws, and insecurities of those close to us. For not only do most of us repress similar character traits, but we also tend to project elements of our shadow onto other people. If, therefore, we pay attention to which character traits of our friends and family bother us, we may also gain a glimpse of our own shadow. In addition to observing others, another way to bring the shadow into the light of consciousness is to reflect on the motives for our actions, especially actions we are ashamed of, and to be open to self-criticism when it is warranted. For as Jung notes, often the only thing that is preventing us from seeing our shadow is the ability to be honest with ourselves: “With a little self-criticism one can see through the shadow” (Carl Jung Aion).

Along with becoming more conscious of the shadow, another integral aspect of Jung’s method of treatment was helping his patients find a meaning to their lives. For Jung believed that when stuck in a deep depression, or consumed by an anxiety disorder, to be cured necessitates discovering a “role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life” (Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life). To understand what was meant by this we can turn to an encounter Jung had with a chief of the Pueblo tribe in the first half of the 20th century. Jung was discussing with this man the traditions of his tribe when the chief made the following remark:

“Yes, we are a small tribe, and these Americans, they want to interfere with our religion. They should not do it, because we are the sons of the Father, the Sun. He who goes there”; (pointing to the sun) – “that is our Father. We must help him daily to rise over the horizon and to walk over Heaven. And we don’t do it for ourselves only: we do it for America, we do it for the whole world.” (V18) ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

Jung understood that to many in the modern day this statement would sound crazy and archaic. But as he further notes the members of this tribe did not suffer like we suffer. They were not infected by neuroses, anxiety disorders, or depression. They did not fill themselves with pills each day, and they were not debilitated by addictions. Rather this tribe was composed of highly functioning individuals who saw themselves as fulfilling their duty as an actor in the divine drama of life, and their lives were rich in meaning and purpose. Or as Jung wrote:

“These people have no problems. They have their daily life, their symbolic life. They get up in the morning with a feeling of their great and divine responsibility: they are the sons of the Sun, the Father, and their daily duty is to help the Father over the horizon – not for themselves alone, but for the whole world. You should see these fellows: they have a natural fulfilled dignity.” ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

Jung contrasts this way of life, with a Western woman he met. This lady, as Jung notes, was a compulsive traveller, always running from one place to the next, always seeking, but never really finding what she was looking for.

“I was amazed when I looked into her eyes – the eyes of a hunted, a cornered animal – seeking, seeking, always in the hope of something. . . She is possessed . . .And why is she possessed? Because she does not live the life that makes sense. Hers is a life utterly, grotesquely banal. . .with no point in it at all. If she dies today, nothing has happened, nothing has vanished – because she was nothing!” ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

This compulsive seeking infects many in the Western world. Some run from one destination to another, some chase romantic partners, others are compulsive seekers of money, prestige, fame, or recognition on social media. But whatever the outward form it takes, the underlying motivation is the same – the seeker is trying to run away from the banality of their existence. They are seeking to fill the void of emptiness that comes from living a meaningless life. But as Jung explains this void cannot be filled with things, or even experiences, what fills this void is knowing that we are living in a way that makes a difference, or as he writes concerning the woman he met:

“But if she could say, “I am the daughter of the Moon. Every night I must help the Moon, my Mother, over the horizon” – ah, that is something else! Then she lives, then her life makes sense, and makes sense in all continuity, and for the whole of humanity. That gives peace, when people feel that they are living [as] actors in the divine drama. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya compared with that one thing, that your life is meaningful.” ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

Jung was not suggesting that we all adopt the Puebloan mythology, rather his point is that many people suffer because their life makes no sense. And the task for those who want to be free of anxiety or depression is to discover this sense. We must, in other words, find a way to justify our existence, so that we, like the Puebloan, can believe that our life is meaningful. For some this can be accomplished through religion, for others by contributing in a substantial way to the promotion of values such as justice, freedom, or community, while others will find it through the creative act. But for those of us in the modern West, where we lack a dominant mythology, it is up to us, and us alone, to discover how we can play a meaningful role in the divine drama of life. For the few who accomplish this task, a fulfilling life will define their future, for the many who don’t, years or decades of pointless suffering and compulsive seeking will be their fate.

“I am only concerned with the fulfilment of that which is in every individual, . .That is the whole problem; that is the problem of the true Pueblo: that I do today everything that is necessary so that my father can rise over the horizon.” ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

This content was produced by the Academy of Ideas and reproduced with permission from the authors. Click here to watch and read the original

Photos: Free meal project of Jaffna University

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Snr. Prof. Sampath Amarathunga, Chairman University Grants Commission visited the University of Jaffna recently and spent his time with students. He along with his colleagues enjoyed their lunch with students at the “Community Kitchen”, free meal project of the University of Jaffna.  Prof Sampath sitting with Prof S Srisatkunarajah, Vice Chancellor and V. Kandeepan, Registrar of University of Jaffna

Prof Sampath, chairman of UGC is taking a selfie with a group of students in the University of Jaffna [ Photo: Sri Lanka Guardian ]