Dept. of Homeland Security: feel safer, sucker?

Dept. of Homeland Security: feel safer, sucker?

by Jon Rappoport

July 2, 2014

Your big-government-at-work scores again.

In 2003, Congress began pouring money into a program of fusion centers. These 70 outposts, scattered across America, were supposed to coordinate federal, state, and local efforts to gather counter-terrorism intelligence.

You know, to protect America against al-Qaeda.

The lead agency in this program is the US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

In 2012, the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations issued a chilling report on how this has worked out.

First and foremost, the report indicates that DHS has claimed certain fusion centers exist that don’t exist at all. This should give you a clue about what we are dealing with.

“So how is fusion center #32 doing?”

“Pretty good.”

“Really? Fusion center #32 doesn’t exist.”


Here is the exact statement from the Committee: “…DHS officials asserted that some fusion centers existed when they did not.”

This is quite a lie, even for an intelligence agency whose business is lying.

The Committee also found that DHS hid their own “evaluations highlighting a host of problems at fusion centers and in DHS’ own operations.”

Or in plain language: a) we screw up big-time; b) we cover it up.

But even with all this lying, surely the fusion centers produced useful intelligence, right?

“…the Subcommittee investigation could identify no DHS reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot.”


It gets even worse. For the period between April 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, a third of all fusion center reports weren’t even published for use by DHS or other US intelligence agencies. Why? Because the reports often “lacked any useful information or potentially violated department guidelines intended to protect Americans’ civil liberties or Privacy Act protections…”

In fact, the Committee found, DHS launched an internal review of its own illegal actions infringing on citizens’ privacy and civil liberties, but the review was extended in time, in order to conceal “most of the troubling reports” and keep them “from being released outside of DHS…”

Translation: a) we violate citizens’ Constitutional rights; b) we cover it up; c) we investigate our own cover-up; d) we conceal our own investigation.

As the capper on the Committee report, Congressional investigators discovered that “DHS required only a week of training for intelligence officials before sending them to state and local fusion centers to report sensitive domestic intelligence, largely concerning US persons…”

Meaning: incompetent raw DHS employees are deployed to accuse US citizens of being terrorists or aiding terrorists.

Feel safer now?

power outside the matrix

The bumbling stumbling fusion centers are actually evidence of something far more sinister: the hidden mission of DHS is not intelligence. Instead, DHS was secretly tasked with creating its own army, to be equipped with hundreds of millions of rounds of ammo, guns, tanks, and the like. The “gathering of intell” is a secondary mission, and a cover story to conceal DHS’ ongoing war on the American people—because, in its eyes, anything or anyone that moves is a potential threat.

The impulse to control has that result: eventually “public safety” devolves into an anti-human system. “People, all people, are trouble. Watch them. Regulate them. Police them. Exercise zero tolerance.”

You can read the Committee report at:

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Deleting a promising cancer treatment

Deleting a promising cancer treatment

by Jon Rappoport

July 1, 2014

The following information comes from Daniel Haley’s brilliant book, Politics in Healing: The Suppression and Manipulation of American Medicine.

Haley recounts how a 1991 clinical trial of the innovative and “alternative” cancer medicine, hydrazine sulfate (HS), was rigged.

Rigged to fail.

A spectacularly promising medicine, HS had shown good results in trials at Harbor/UCLA hospital and in Russia. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) felt obligated to test the drug. But there was a catch.

The drug’s discoverer, Dr. Joseph Gold, had found that HS could provoke very dangerous effects if patients were taking other drugs, especially tranquilizers. Several warnings were given to NCI before it began its test. The warnings were explicit. Patients could die if they were taking tranquilizers.

It turned out that none of the NCI patients were warned about this. It turned out that 94% of those patients were in fact on tranquilizers.

Barry Tice, an investigator for the US General Accounting Office (GAO), looked into the NCI trial of hydrazine sulfate after it was over. He called Dr. Gold and told him he had found a “smoking gun.” There was an internal NCI memo which showed that NCI was well aware of the problems involved in the drug combinations.

But the GAO did not back up its own investigator. The final GAO report on the NCI clinical trials of hydrazine sulfate simply accused NCI of sloppy bookkeeping.

In the June 1995 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a letter from the NCI was published. The letter stated that NCI had omitted mentioning, in its own published account of its cancer study, that 94% of the patients had been on tranquilizers. But, because this letter did NOT mention how dangerous that situation was, it looked like NCI was simply admitting to a technical and unimportant mistake. A clerical error.

So what did happen to the patients in the NCI hydrazine sulfate study?

The results have been suppressed. But NCI concluded that hydrazine sulfate was ineffective.

The drug, hydrazine sulfate, a competitor for chemotherapy dollars, was eliminated. Hydrazine sulfate is a cheap, widely available, unpatentable substance. No profit there.

Was this story splashed across the front pages of major newspapers in America? Did the “great men” of television, those holy anchors, insist on covering it with the emphasis it deserved? Of course not.

The story was originally unearthed and published in Penthouse, by reporter Jeff Kamen, who should have won a Pulitzer for it, but won nothing.


There is more to this incredible story. Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione’s wife, Kathy Keeton, who was the founder of Longevity, a magazine that was part of the Guccione empire, was diagnosed with “galloping breast cancer” in 1995. She was given 6 weeks to live.

She refused chemotherapy and became a VERY high-profile case of a person taking hydrazine sulfate instead.

She also chose radiation to reduce one of her many tumors-a growth around her bile duct. Dr. Gold said the dose of radiation should be small, because hydrazine sulfate would enhance the effect of the radiation. But the radiologist gave her the full dose instead, burned her liver and caused later scarring.

Overall, Keeton recovered. In fact, a year after her predicted death date, her cancer was in full remission. The hydrazine sulfate was a remarkable success.

Guccione ran ads in Penthouse, asking for families of the dead victims in the NCI experiment to come forward and join a class-action suit against NCI.

Guccione estimated there had been 600 victims in the NCI clinical test.

In October 1997, Kathy Keeton went into a major and well-respected NY hospital for surgery. From all accounts, this operation had nothing to do with cancer. Complications occurred. She died.

Most of America assumed she had succumbed to cancer. Further “proof” that hydrazine sulfate did not work.

power outside the matrix

Predictably, the FDA got into the act. On April 23, 1998, that federal agency raided a distributor of hydrazine sulfate, Great Lakes Metabolics, in Rochester, Minnesota. In 2000, the FDA shut down the company that supplied hydrazine sulfate to Great Lakes, and Great Lakes went out of business.

In 1996, when hydrazine sulfate (HS) was still very much in the public spotlight, Dr. Gold stated he received 20 phone calls in one day from doctors at Sloan Kettering, the world’s number one center for toxic chemotherapy research and treatment. These doctors wanted to obtain HS on the sly for their patients. Gold stated that roughly 2/3 of the patients were from the doctors’ families. And six of these doctors had refused to give HS to other patients at Sloan Kettering. The phrase, scum of the Earth, comes to mind.

Author Haley offers a dozen patient testimonials re HS. They are anecdotes, to be sure, but they are remarkable.

Example: “Oncologist report in today. No cancer anywhere, after two and a half months on HS and vitamins/minerals and supplements. They have no idea where cancer went.”

Example: “Seven weeks on hydrazine sulfate. Brain and lung lesions disappeared.”

Example: “I purchased some HS for my sister a few weeks ago. Too early to tell, but she went from near death at the hospital on chemo to a campground some place, with a fishing pole.”

HS studies at Harbor/UCLA and in Russia did not cure everyone, not by a long shot. There are questions about those protocols too, because ordinary foods like raisins are incompatible with HS-and who knows what the patients were fed.

No well-designed studies have ever been done using HS on patients in early stages of cancer, where the results might be even better.

More notes on HS (hydrazine sulfate)…

One session of conventional chemo costs enough to pay for 10 years of treatment with HS.

In 1973, a doctor with a terminal Hodgkins patient approached Dr. Gold for help. Gold recommended a dosage level. In a few weeks, the patient was up and around, not dead. By October of 1973, 1000 patients in the US were on HS.

Dean Burke, head of cell chemistry at NCI, said in 1974 that HS was “the most remarkable anticancer agent I have come across in my 45 years experience in cancer…this material is so cheap because it is made by the trainload for industrial purposes.”

In September 1973, Sloan Kettering (SK), the most prestigious cancer center in the world, started an HS study on terminal patients. The lead physician, Dr. Manuel Ochoa, had agreed to give each patient 60 mg a day for 3 days and then 60 mg 3 times a day after that-but Dr. Gold learned Ochoa was changing the protocol drastically-he was giving 1 mg the first day, then 2 mg the next day, and so on, building up to a top of 30 mg–except in some cases he actually gave patients 120-190 mg a day-brutal overdoses.

In 1975 SK announced HS was worthless.

Dr. Gold then did a study for Calbiochem, a drug company. 70% of 84 patients gained weight and had less pain. HS was, in fact, designed to alleviate wasting away in the first place. 17% of the patients showed tumor regression or a stabilization of their condition for one year.

In 1975, Russian researchers published two positive study findings on HS.

In 1976, the American Cancer Society (ACS) put HS on its dreaded blacklist of “unapproved” cancer treatments. ACS neglected to mention it owned 50% of a competing and highly toxic cancer drug, 5FU.

By 1978, the FDA was cracking down on HS. 5000 patients in the US were on the medicine. The FDA falsely stated that HS caused bone marrow toxicity. In fact, conventional chemo — approved by the FDA — destroys bone marrow.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Rappoport interviews dead Tesla

Rappoport interviews dead Tesla

by Jon Rappoport

June 29, 2014

Just in case a few over-eager readers think I’m actually interviewing Tesla, or “channeling” him, this is fiction.

Bringing back Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the famous inventor, for an encore involved a few emails to Limbo, where he is continuing his experiments.

I expected the conversation would be like pulling teeth. Taciturn, dour, bitter. All that. But happily, it wasn’t the case. As with Orson Welles, another one of my interviewees, I was surprised to find that Tesla shares many of my views.

Q: How’s it going?

A: Fairly well, Jon. Working hard as always.

Q: Anything new to report?

A: Sure. Turns out the universe is an illusion, when you drill down far enough. And I have.

Q: Illusion in what sense?

A: It’s too real.

Q: Excuse me?

A: You have to be suspicious when things get too real. Look for a con. See?

Q: Actually, I think I might.

A: For a long time, I was working to tap into inherent energies in the Earth, in space, and I solved all that. I have the inventions built now, fully functioning. It’s in the bag. You reached me at an opportune time, because I’ve got a guy who’s handling the promotion on it. All open source. He’ll be distributing complete blueprints to several planets, actually. But then I needed something new to do, so I started applying high power resolution to sub-atomic phenomena, and I came up with a few exciting wrinkles.

Q: Let’s hear about that.

A: Travel far enough into micro-micro landscapes, and you come across a man holding up a sign that says: THIS IS REAL. See what I mean? It’s a form of hypnosis. THIS IS REAL. THIS IS THE MOST REAL IT GETS. So you have to think somebody is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Q: It’s a scam.

A: Full scam.

Q: And who is this man with the sign?

A: Just a prop. Depending on what angle you’re looking at him from, he appears in different guises. That’s where cultural programming comes in. Whoever a particular culture would consider the most elevated authority figure, that’s who this man with the sign looks like.

Q: Who does he look like to you?

A: Donald Duck. But that’s because I’ve developed a bit of a sense of humor. It was a long time coming. You remember a guy named Lenny Bruce?

Q: Sure.

A: Well, Lenny and I have been hanging out. He’s kicked his habit, and he’s clean. But he’s still the same basic Lenny.

Q: I would never have expected…

A: I know. Weird, isn’t it? He’s something. Anyway, what I’m saying is, physical reality, this whole universe, is a…

Q: Virtual reality.

A: Not exactly. No. It’s constructed as a kingdom might be, except there is no king. There are corporate managers.

Q: Rather confusing.

A: Sure. The whole hierarchy of species, for example. From simple to complex. The progression from very tiny particles to whole galaxies. It looks organized. And it is. But that’s a feint. It’s a diversion in a shell game. A lot of effort was put into making the universe seem real in an imposing way. But as I said, this is a clue. When someone goes around pounding his chest all the time and telling you who he is, you begin to wonder what’s going on behind the facade. On Earth, people live in a very provincial monopoly in which, for instance, energy is controlled by a small number of people-so it’s natural that pioneers would look for other sources of energy. As I did. And I found them in abundance. There never was and never will be a scarcity, unless it’s imposed. But that’s just the beginning of a much larger story. From my perspective now, when I look at physical reality, I see facades.

Q: Stage flats.

A: A man running around with a sign that says THIS IS REAL.

Q: Can you do something with that? I mean, can you invent something that makes use of that?

A: An interesting question. You can always do something with something. Do you know? You can guide it, expand it, constrict it, you can work it like salt-water taffy. But when you’re basically dealing with nothing, it’s different.

Q: Nothing?

A: If you have facades, what’s in back of them? Nothing. The show’s not going on back there.

Q: I see.

A: Nevertheless, I wanted to explore that.

Q: Explore nothing.

A: Sure. Wouldn’t you?

Q: I guess so.

A: It’s a challenge. What do you do with nothing? I wish more philosophers and scientists had asked that question.

Q: You don’t mean a vacuum.

A: A vacuum sucks in matter and energy. Nothing doesn’t do that.

Q: What’s it like being in nothing?

A: Restful.

Q: Is nothing a space?

A: No.

Q: Then how do you describe it?

A: Lenny said it was like a long moment when his mother stopped talking at him.

Q: If it isn’t space, how do you move around in it?

A: Turns out you can move around in no-space. You’re in a void. What was the other thing Lenny said about the void? It’s like Alzheimer’s, except your mind is very clear and you remember everything.

Q: Can you use it?

A: Well, as an inventor, naturally I was interested in the possibility. It took me a while, but I did come up with what I call the physics of potential. Nothing happens, but anything and everything could happen. If you took the moment before a thought occurs, and expanded it to infinity, what would you have? You’d have consciousness of possibility. You’d have a moment with no end to consider whatever you wanted to consider. A plan, an idea, a design, an invention, a work of art, an action. I was already acquainted with this, in a much more limited sense, because as you probably know, I was able to visualize a new invention as a completely finished entity before I ever laid a finger on materials and built it.

Q: The physics of potential.

A: The universe is, from this perspective, the creation of overall amnesia.

Q: People might have trouble understanding that.

A: I’ve never waited for people to catch up to me. They have to grapple with what I’ve done. Most of the time, they don’t want to. So why should I be concerned? When you leave the infinite moment of potential, and let’s say you make a universe, you might develop amnesia about what you left behind, which is that Nothing where it all started.

Q: You’re not just talking semantics.

A: No, this is very real. The void is the absence of creating. It’s not a thing. It’s just a word you apply to not creating. You don’t create ANYTHING. You stop because you want to. And when you do that, you have an energy potential that is infinite. Here’s another metaphor. The universe you’re living in is a cartoon. You’re in a consensus reconstituted can of orange juice.

Q: And what does Lenny call that?

A: The Big Bong.

Exit From the Matrix

Q: Why do we buy the idea that the physical universe is so real? Why don’t we see the little man with the sign?

A: Because you want real. Real is a very interesting experience. For a while. If you ran around pulling out a chunk of sky here and a chunk of sky there, the illusion would become obvious. So you institute laws that connect everything together-or seem to. If you pull out a chunk of sky you get a huge explosion and things go haywire. At least, that’s what you firmly believe. Actually, you can remove things and nothing happens. You just have a steady hole. But everyone denies that.

Q: You mean there is a conspiracy to maintain the basic laws of physics?

A: A consensus.

Q: You destroyed a consensus when you found a way to tap into energy and send it to people all over the world.

A: No. I destroyed the monopoly of a few men.

Q: Which is why they cut you off.

A: They told themselves a little story. That I was crazy. Of course, they really knew why they shut off my funding.

Q: So there are an infinity of universes.

A: Of course. That’s obvious. Just as there is no scarcity of energy, there is no scarcity of universes. It’s a walk in the park. But One Universe is a kind of religion. I had inklings of that while I was doing my energy experiments on Earth. But now I see the fuller picture. People think they’re free from the demented ideas of religions. But they have their own. Universe. One Universe. And it’s a humdinger. One reason it works so well is there is no visible church. Universe appears to be neutral. Dogma isn’t labeled dogma.

Q: What’s it like seeing all sorts of other universes and being able to travel to them?

A: It’s quite enjoyable. I would say relaxed. You give up this whole ridiculous idea of entropy, according to which usable energy is diminishing. But people want entropy. They want that idea that existence is limited. Like I say, it’s a religion. If a person thinks he’s limited, then he wants to posit an energy supply that’s limited.

Q: You always did opt for abundance.

A: Why shouldn’t I? It’s a better concept than scarcity.

Q: But you’re not really talking about science.

A: Of course not. I’m talking about desire. What a person wants to create. You really start learning about desire when you use your imagination with great intensity and scope, because most of your desires ARE discovered/invented through imagination. This is life. Full life. It’s not dry. It’s passion taken to higher and deeper levels. When I was standing in the middle of one of my electric-lightning- spouting machines, the essence of that was BEING ALIVE.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Power Outside The Matrix: what it means

Power Outside The Matrix: what it means

by Jon Rappoport

June 28, 2014

Time and time again, during my 30 years as a reporter, I’ve come across what I call “the elite creation of reality.”

It shows up in areas of politics, energy, modern medicine, media, money, covert intelligence, the military, religion, science, multinational corporations.

It’s as if a painter is working on a mural, and the global population is looking at that mural and seeing it as Reality.

This goes deeper. Much deeper:

Limited concepts of space, time, energy, the mind, cause-and-effect—these, too, are “given” to human beings as the be-all and end-all of a story. A story that ultimately short-circuits and short-changes what the individual is really capable of.

The entire mural of imposed Reality is aimed at radically diminishing the individual’s power.

So in addition to my work as an investigative reporter, I’ve been researching the individual’s ability to go beyond this mural of reality.

In the late 1980s, in concert with the brilliant hypnotherapist Jack True (who gave up doing hypnosis with his patients), I developed many, many exercises and techniques for expanding the creative power of the individual.

Some of those exercises are included in my new collection, Power Outside The Matrix. These techniques are aimed at accessing more energy, more imagination, more stability and intelligence “beyond the mural of reality.”

In fact, Power Outside The Matrix is all about being able to think, act, and create both outside and inside The Matrix. Because that’s the goal: to be able to function in both places.

People are consciously or unconsciously fixated on boundaries and systems. They are hoping for whatever can be delivered through a system.

That is a form of mind control.

Freedom isn’t a system.

But freedom needs creative power, otherwise it just sits there and becomes a lonely statue gathering dust in an abandoned park.

At one time or another, every human being who has ever lived on this planet has abandoned his creative power. The question is: does he want to get it back?

It never really goes away. It is always there. It is the basis of a life that can be lived. A life that can be chosen. People instead choose roles that don’t require that power. They think this is a winning strategy.

It isn’t.

A section of this mega-collection, titled Power Outside The Matrix and The Invention of New Reality, features creative exercises you do on a daily basis that will help you move toward the goal of power outside The Matrix. The exercises are all about increasing your energy and stability—and about the invention of new spaces.

Access to your internal energy, in huge amounts, is necessary for a life outside The Matrix-rather than relying on the illusory energy that The Matrix seems to provide.

I’ve developed the exercises for exactly that purpose: your energy, your dynamism.

This mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, features a long section called: Analyzing Information in the Age of Disinformation.

This section is filled with specific examples of my past investigations. Based on 25 years of experience, it shows you how to take apart and put together data that lead to valid conclusions.

It is far more than a logic course.

It’s an advanced approach to analysis.

Establishing power outside The Matrix requires that a person be able to deal with today’s flood of information, misinformation, and disinformation. I’ve left no stone unturned in bringing you a workable approach to analysis.

There is a further extensive section titled, A Writer’s Tutorial. People have been asking me to provide this Tutorial, and here it is in spades. But it’s not just for writers. It’s for any creative person who wants to grasp his own power, understand it, and use it to reach out into the world.

The Tutorial exposes you to lessons that go far beyond what is normally taught in writer’s seminars. In fact, several core concepts in the Tutorial contradict ordinary writer’s seminars, and thus give you access to inner resources that would otherwise be ignored.

And finally, I have included a number of audio seminars that offer a wider perspective about The Matrix and what it means to live and work outside it.

power outside the matrix

Here are the particulars. These are audio presentations. 55 total hours.

* Analyzing Information in the Age of Disinformation (11.5-hours)

* Writer’s Tutorial (8.5-hours)

* Power Outside The Matrix and The Invention of New Reality (6.5-hours)

Then you will receive the following audio presentations I have previously done:

* The Third Philosophy of Imagination (1-hour)

* The Infinite Imagination (3-hours)

* The Mass Projection of Events (1.5-hours)

* The Decentralization of Power (1.5-hours)

* Creating the Future (6-hours)

* Pictures of Reality (6-hours)

* The Real History of America (2-hours)

* Corporations: The New Gods (7.5-hours)

I have included an additional bonus section:

* The complete text (331 pages) of AIDS INC., the book that exposed a conspiracy of scientific fraud deep within the medical research establishment. The book has become a sought-after item, since its publication in 1988. It contains material about viruses, medical testing, and the invention of disease that is, now and in the future, vital to our understanding of phony epidemics arising in our midst (and how to analyze them). I assure you, the revelations in the book will surprise you; they cut much deeper and are more subtle than “virus made in a lab” scenarios.

* A 2-hour radio interview I did on AIDS in Dec 1987 with host Roy Tuckman on KPFK in Los Angeles, California.

* My book, The Secret Behind Secret Societies

(All the audio presentations are mp3 files and the books are pdf files. You download them upon purchase. You’ll receive an email with a link to the entire collection.)

This is about your power. Not as an abstract idea, but as a living core of your being. This is about accessing that power and using it.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Logic, imagination, and magic

Logic, imagination, and magic

by Jon Rappoport

June 27, 2014

Logic applies to the physical universe.

It applies to statements made about that universe. It applies to factual language.

Many wonderful things can be done with logic. Don’t leave home without it. Don’t analyze information without it. Don’t endure an education without it.

But art and imagination are of another universe(s). They can deploy logic, but they can also invent in any direction without limit, and they can embrace contradiction. They can build worlds in which space and time and energy are quite different.

Magic is nothing more and nothing less than imagination superseding this universe. Magic occurs when imagination takes this reality for a ride.

Which brings us to what I call the Is People. The Is People are dedicated with a fervor to insisting that this Continuum and this consensus reality are inviolable, are the end-all and be-all.

They strive to fit themselves into Is, and this eventually has some interesting negative consequences. They come to resemble solid matter. They take on the character of matter.

For them, imagination is at least a misdemeanor, if not a felony. It’s a blow to the Is of Is. They tend to view imagination as a form of mental disorder.

Technocrats like to gibber about imagination as if it’s nothing more than just another closed system that hasn’t been mapped yet. But they’re sure it will be, and when that happens, people will apparently give up creating and opt for living in a way that more closely resembles machines.

There are many people who secretly wish they were machines that functioned automatically and without flaws. It’s their wet dream.

Magic eventually comes to the conclusion that imagination creates reality. Any reality. And therefore, one universe, indivisible, is an illusion, a way of trapping Self.

What began as the physical universe, a brilliant work of art, ends up as a psychic straitjacket, a mental ward in which the inmates strive for normalcy. Those who fail at even this are labeled and shunted into a special section of the ward.

But the result of imagination, if pursued and deployed long enough and intensely enough, is:

Consensus reality begins to organize itself around you, rather than you organizing yourself around it.

There are various names and labels used to describe this state of affairs, but none of them catches the sensation of it.

Magic is one of those labels.

What I’m describing here isn’t some snap-of-the-fingers trick of manifestation; it’s a life lived.

The old alchemists were working in this area. They were striving for the transformation of consciousness. In true alchemy, one’s past, one’s experience, one’s conflicts all become fuel for the fire of creating new realities. Taken along certain lines, this is called art.

One universe, one logic, one Continuum, one role in that Continuum, one all-embracing commitment to that role, one avenue of perception, one Is…this is the delusion.

And eventually, the delusion gives birth to a dedication to what “everyone else” thinks and supposes and assumes and accepts. This is slavery.

Freeing one’s self, living through and by imagination, is not a mass movement. It’s a choice taken by one person. It’s a new and unique road for each person.

Exit From the Matrix

Societies and civilizations are organized around some concept of the common good. The concept always deteriorates, and this is because it is employed to lower the ceiling on individual power rather than raise it.

“Be less than you are, then we can all come together in a common cause.”

It’s essentially a doctrine of sacrifice—everyone sacrifices to everyone else, and the result is a coagulated mass of denial of Self.

It is a theme promoted under a number of guises by men who have one thing in mind: control.

It’s a dictatorship of the soul. It has always existed.

Breaking out of it involves reasserting the power of imagination to invent new and novel realities.

Under a variety of names, this is art.

Promoting the image of the artist as a suffering victim is simply one more way to impose the doctrine of sacrifice.

In 1961, when I began writing and painting in earnest, I had a conversation with the extraordinary healer, Richard Jenkins, whom I write about in my book, The Secret Behind Secret Societies (included in Exit From The Matrix). This is my note from that time about what Richard told me:

“Paint what you want to, no matter what anyone else says. You may not always know what you want to create, but that’s good. Keep working, keep painting. You’ll find your way. You’ll invent something new, something unique, if you don’t give in. You’ll see everything in a new light. Reality is a bad joke. It’s nothing more than what everyone assents to, because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of what people will say. They’re afraid they have far more power than they want to discover. They’re afraid that power will lead them away from common and ordinary beliefs. They’re afraid they’ll become a target for the masses who have surrendered their own lives and don’t want to be reminded of it. They afraid they’ll find out something tremendous about themselves…”

Nothing I’ve experienced in the 50 years since then has diminished what Richard said to me.

These fears are all illusions that disintegrate when a person shoves in his chips on imagination and makes that bet and lives it.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

How many covert ops can dance on the head of a pin?

How many covert ops can dance on the head of a pin?

by Jon Rappoport

June 27, 2014

These are notes on covert ops I’ve made over the years. They apply to any arena where deception is the name of the game.

Every covert op needs a cover story. That is, the public must be made to look in the wrong direction.

A cover story not only hides the identity of perpetrators, it also imparts the wrong meaning to the event being staged.

Example: a war is set in motion, in order to bankrupt several governments. But the public is told the war means: “protecting democracy.”

Major covert ops have more than one objective. A war will bankrupt governments; it will also result in a peace treaty that creates a larger cooperative structure than previously existed, spanning several nations—and the men who end up running that larger structure are the same men who triggered the war in the first place. They wind up with more control and power than they had before.

Covert ops of great size and importance must include the laying of false trails. Thus, in the wake of the op, investigators will find clues that lead them down roads that come, eventually, to alleys that dead-end against blank walls.

In the process, they discover perpetrators who weren’t really perpetrators. They discover motives that weren’t true motives. They pick up hints that were deposited like break crumbs to divert and mislead.

In case some element of the actual covert op is revealed, there is the limited hangout. This is a confession. It offers a mea culpa, but only concerning a relatively trivial factor.

“Yes, our agency did make mistakes, and those mistakes led to the loss of public funds. But we are taking steps to assure nothing like this ever happens again…”

And of course, in order to “take steps,” the agency needs a larger budget.

A massive series of connected covert ops, over a long period of time, are built, as a kind of hierarchy that leads to some ultimate objective. This is the “ops within ops” strategy.

Identifying and derailing a handful of ops will not stop the overall program.

For example, an ultimate objective would be: the triumph of Globalism. This means putting the nations and peoples of the world under a single management system.

That system, an enormous bureaucracy run at the very top by a small secret group, would eventually make all important decisions involving: politics; the economy; money; credit; production and distribution of goods and services; energy; military use of force; media/propaganda content; medical treatment; mega-corporate power; natural resources; food; water; geo-engineering; freedom of speech; education; geo-distribution of populations.

In order to create this overarching reality, multiple systems of mind control, indoctrination, self-policing, and operant conditioning must be enacted and expanded.

Such a conspiracy (Globalism) does not need the conscious cooperation of many people who are “in on the secret.” That childish position is repeated intentionally by idiots and dupes and pawns and infiltrators.

Compartmentalization is the key. You can take any group and assign it various separate tasks, each one masked by “humanitarian” slogans, and you will get eager compliance.

power outside the matrix

Only a few people in charge see the big picture and understand how the separate tasks (ops) combine to achieve the overall goal.

The art and skill of covert ops involve coordinating such machinery to yield the desired result.

The main propaganda/media approach is: “Events that are taking place in the world are unrelated. These crises and problems are separate fires breaking out, without a central cause.”

To view this in action, just watch the network evening news. It’s an exercise meant to engender partitioned minds, which nibble a bit here, a bit there. Stories break out, are covered, and then disappear, to be replaced by new material.

The elite anchors are inducers of short-term memory and long-term amnesia.

Alongside media, a continuous downpour of propaganda urges the primacy of the group and the mass and the collective beyond any “selfish” concerns.

This op is intended to erase the very concept of the individual.

Why? Because the free, powerful, and independent individual can expose how “the group” is being recreated every day as a mythological symbol.

A symbol of (false) hope, caring, dependence, passivity, acquiescence, surrender, and envelopment within the banner of “enlightened humane leadership.”

If it quacks and walks like an organized religion, it is some version of an organized religion. It doesn’t need a God. It just needs a priest class to preach Rescue For All People.

Quack, quack. Op, op.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Fluorides, the Atomic bomb, and a spy

Fluorides, the Atomic bomb, and a spy

by Jon Rappoport

June 25, 2014

In 1997, Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson, two respected mainstream journalists, peered into an abyss. They found a story about fluorides that was so chilling it had to be told.

The Christian Science Monitor, who had assigned the story, never published it.

Their ensuing article, “Fluoride, Teeth, and the Atomic Bomb,” has been posted on websites, sometimes with distortions, deletions, or additions. I spoke with Griffiths, and he told me to be careful I was reading a correct copy of his piece. (You can find it—“Fluoride, Teeth, and the Atomic Bomb,” at

Griffiths also told me that researchers who study the effects of fluorides by homing in on communities with fluoridated drinking water, versus communities with unfluoridated water, miss a major point: fluorides are everywhere—they are used throughout the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of drugs, and also in many other industries (e.g., aluminum, pesticide)—because fluorine is very active and binds with all sorts of other substances. Therefore, there is extremely wide public exposure to fluorides.

I want to go over some of the major points of the Griffiths-Bryson article.

Griffiths discovered hundreds of documents from the World War 2 era. These included papers from the Manhattan Project, which was launched to build the first A-bomb.

Griffiths/Bryson write: “Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production…millions of tons…were essential for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War.”

The documents reveal that fluoride was the most significant health hazard in the US A-bomb program, for workers and for communities around the manufacturing facilities.

Griffiths/Bryson: “Much of the original proof that fluoride is safe for humans in low doses was generated by A-bomb program scientists, who had been secretly ordered to provide ‘evidence useful in litigation’ [against persons who had been poisoned by fluoride and would sue for damages]… The first lawsuits against the US A-bomb program were not over radiation, but over fluoride damage, the [government] documents show.”

So A-bomb scientists were told they had to do studies which would conclude that fluorides were safe.

The most wide-reaching study done was carried out in Newburgh, New York, between 1945 and 1956. This was a secret op called “Program F.” The researchers obtained blood and tissue samples from people who lived in Newburgh, through the good offices of the NY State Health Department.

Griffiths/Bryson found the original and secret version of this study. Comparing it to a different sanitized version, the reporters saw that evidence of adverse effects from fluorides had been suppressed by the US Atomic Energy Commission.

Other studies during the same period were conducted at the University of Rochester. Unwitting hospital patients were given fluorides to test out the results.

Flash forward. Enter Dr. Phyllis Mullenix (see also here), the head of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston. In the 1990s, Mullenix did a series of animal studies which showed that, as Griffiths/Bryson write: “…fluoride was a powerful central nervous system (CNS) toxin…”

Mullenix applied for further grant monies from the National Institutes of Health. She was turned down. She was also told that fluorides do not have an effect on the CNS.

But Griffiths/Bryson uncovered a 1944 Manhattan Project memo which states: “Clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect…it seems most likely that the F [fluoride] component rather than the T [uranium] is the causative factor.”

The 1944 memo was sent to the head of the Manhattan Project Medical Section, Colonel Stafford Warren. Warren was asked to give his okay to do animal studies on fluorides’ effects on the CNS. He immediately did give his approval.

But any records of the results of this approved project are missing. Most likely classified.

Who was the man who made that 1944 proposal for a rush-program to study the CNS effects of fluorides? Dr. Harold Hodge, who worked at the Manhattan Project.

Who was brought in to advise Mullenix 50 years later at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, as she studied the CNS effects of fluorides? Dr. Harold Hodge.

Who never told Mullenix of his work on fluoride toxicity for the Manhattan Project? Dr. Harold Hodge.

power outside the matrix

Was Hodge brought in to look over Mullenix’s shoulder and report on her discoveries? It turns out that Hodge, back in the 1940s, had made suggestions to do effective PR promoting fluoride as a dental treatment. So his presence by Mullenix’s side, all those years later, was quite possibly as an agent assigned to keep track of her efforts.

Getting the idea here? Build an A-bomb. Forget the toxic fluoride consequences. Bury the fluoride studies. Twist the studies.

More on Hodge. In 1944, “a severe pollution incident” occurred in New Jersey, near the Du Pont plant in Deepwater where the company was trying to build the first A-bomb. A fluoride incident. Farmers’ peach and tomato crops were destroyed. Horses and cows became crippled. Some cows had to graze on their bellies. Tomato crops (normally sold to the Campbell company for soups) were contaminated with fluorides.

The people of the Manhattan Project were terrified of lawsuits and ensuing revelations about the toxic nature of their work. A heads-up memo was written on the subject. Its author? Harold Hodge. Among other issues, he reported on the huge fluoride content in vegetables growing in the polluted area.

Also the high fluoride levels in human blood.

The farmers began to bring lawsuits. Big PR problem.

The lawsuits were settled quietly, for pittances.

Harold Hodge wrote another memo. Get this quote: “Would there be any use in making attempts to counteract the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents [near the A-bomb facility]…through lectures on F [fluoride] toxicology and perhaps the usefulness of F in tooth health?”

Griffiths/Bryson write: “Such lectures were indeed given, not only to New Jersey citizens but to the rest of the nation throughout the Cold War.”

This was a launching pad for fluorides as “successful dental treatments.”

In the film, Dr. Strangelove, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper rails about the destruction fluorides are wreaking on the “pure blood of pure Americans.” Of course, this character is fleshed out as some kind of far-right-wing fanatic. How odd that he and other military men in the movie are, in fact, ready and willing to start a nuclear war. Odd because, unknown to the Strangelove script writer, fluorides were, in fact, very toxic and were an integral part of the very program that created atomic bombs.

Now you know why promoting toxic fluorides as a dental treatment was so important to government officials.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Beyond all structures

Beyond all structures

by Jon Rappoport

June 23, 2014

We are fascinated with structures and systems because they work, and because some of us feel an aesthetic attraction to them.

They work until you want to do something different.

Many people want to grab a structure and pull it around them and sit there like a bird in a cage. They want to go from A to B to C and feel the satisfaction of knowing it works every time.

Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all.

But go into a corporation and say you want to teach them creativity and they’ll say, “What’s the system?”

Once, at a party, I told a personnel chief at a company, “The system is to stand on your head.”

“Literally?” he said.

“No. That would be too easy. People would find a system for that. But figuratively, that’s what you want to get people to do.”

He scratched his head.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

“Exactly,” I said. “That’s where we start. I say something and you don’t understand. Then we have a chance.”

“What are you?” he said. “Some kind of Zen teacher?”

“No,” I said. “If I said I was, you’d pigeonhole me. I teach non-systems.”

He laughed in an uncomfortable way.

“We don’t operate on non-systems at the company.”

“No, but if you let three or four people do that, they might come up with a product you never dreamed of.”

That he could understand. Vaguely.

Here’s how things work at some companies. The second-tier honchos decide it’s time for a new product. They call in the chief of production and ask him what could be done. He suggests a whiz-it 4, which is basically a whiz-it 3 with a few more bells and whistles.

The honchos give him the green light, and he goes to work. He triggers the structure he already has. He gets underlings to make sketches of whiz 4, and with those he assigns compartmentalized tasks to various departments under him. The timetable is eighteen months.

He appoints a project supervisor to oversee the whole thing.

The project supervisor pretty much knows what’s going to happen. The six departments in charge of bringing in the whiz 4 on time will do okay—except one key department will fail miserably, because three guys in that dept. are lazy. They find ways to delay operations. They ask meaningless questions. They let work pile up on their desks. They meddle in other people’s business.

Twelve times, the production supervisor has tried to get these idiots fired. No go.

So everybody settles down to grind of bringing in whiz 4 on time.


Manuals, rules and regs.

This can make magic the way an ant can fly to the moon.

So long ago it was in another life, I taught private school in New York. There were six kids in my class, all boys. I was supposed to teach them math. They were all at different levels. They had no ambition to learn math. No matter what I did, they performed miserably. Add, subtract, multiply, divide, decimals, fractions—it didn’t matter. If they managed to learn something on Monday, they forgot it by Tuesday. It was rather extraordinary.

So I took them to an art museum one morning. They were as lost there as they were in the classroom. But I wasn’t. That was the key. I was already painting in a little studio downtown, and I was on fire.

So I began to talk about the paintings. The Raphael, the Vermeer, the Rembrandt. The De Kooning, the Pollock, the Gorky. I had no plan, no idea. I just talked about what they could see if they looked.

And then we walked back to school and I set them up with paints and paper and brushes and told them to go to work. I said I didn’t care what they painted. Just have a good time. Do something you like.

All of a sudden, they weren’t making trouble. They were painting. No more whining and complaining.

I walked around and watched them go at it. I pointed to this or that area and mentioned what I liked.

There was no way to measure or quantify or systematize what the kids were doing that day, but they were coming alive, out of their sloth and resentment.

Then we got back to math, and it was as if they’d all experienced an upward shift in IQ.

That night, back in my studio, I made a note in my notebook. It went something like this: Give them a non-structure, and then follow that with logic; it works.

So that was that.

Exit From the Matrix

There used to be something in this culture called improvisation. People understood what it was, even if they wouldn’t do it themselves. Now the word has almost vanished. Same with the word spontaneity. The moment when eye, mind, and brush meet canvas. When mind meets the new. When the inventor suddenly gets up from his chair and trots over to his workbench and starts putting pieces together.

This becomes magic because imagination jumps into the fray. The urge to invent takes the foreground.

The trouble with all these imported Asian spiritual systems now is that they have a long and distinguished history, and the history tends to infiltrate everything that’s happening. It’s venerated. You need a clean slate, a wide open space. You need Now.

You need Now, which is dry tinder to the spark of imagination.

Magic isn’t really a return to the mystical past. Alchemy was what people did in the Middle Ages to give themselves a Now, on which they could inject the flame of their imagination.

At its highest levels, it wasn’t a system. Not really.

But if you have enough history at your back and you stand away far enough, everything looks like pattern and structure and system. That’s the illusion. That’s the deception.

Systems allow people to see and also make them blind. If they can’t fold an event into a structure, then for them it isn’t there. This is very interesting. This is where all the myths of Hermes (aka Mercury) sprang from. He was the figure who flew and passed through walls and had no barriers in the space-time continuum—the tin can we call universe. So people pretended, at a deep level, that they were unable to comprehend him. He was invisible to them. He was a trickster. He toppled idols of the hidebound, rule-bound, system-bound society.

Mythologically, he ranked very high in the pantheon of the gods. There really was no reason he couldn’t be considered the king of the Olympians.

But he didn’t want the throne or the lineage. That was just another structure, erected by his god-colleagues, who were bored out of their minds and desperately needed the entertainment and distraction it could provide.

Hermes lived deep in the fire of his own imagination and speed and improvisation and spontaneous action.

He didn’t need metaphysics or cosmology. He already embodied them, and much, much more.

To him, the notion of shared, consonant, and brick-by-brick reality as the longed-for ultimate goal became an enormous joke.

The word “art,” across the full range of its meanings, is what happens when, from a platform of structure, a person takes off and discovers that consciousness doesn’t particularly want to wait around a railroad station looking at What Is forever. Consciousness wants to invent what isn’t there.

So it does.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

Inside the FDA Mafia

Inside the FDA Mafia

by Jon Rappoport

June 22, 2014

I post this piece now and then to show how personal things can get inside a terminally corrupt government agency.

It’s not all about remote decisions made from a great height.

These decisions can come about through the rank intimidation the Mafia exercises with a member who wants to leave the mob and go straight.

As in: “We know where your wife and kids are.”

This article is based on a Truthout interview of a man who did drug reviews for the FDA. He examined applications to approve new medical drugs for public consumption.

Pharmaceutical companies must have their new drugs certified as safe and effective before they can enter the market, before doctors can prescribe them. The FDA does this certification. Thumbs up or thumbs down. The drug is okay or it isn’t.

Here’s the story:

In a stunning interview with Truthout’s Martha Rosenberg, former FDA drug reviewer, Ronald Kavanagh, exposes the FDA as a relentless criminal mafia protecting its client, Big Pharma, with a host of mob strategies.

Kavanagh: “…widespread racketeering, including witness tampering and witness retaliation.”

“I was threatened with prison.”

“One [FDA] manager threatened my children…I was afraid that I could be killed for talking to Congress and criminal investigators.”

Kavanagh reviewed new drug applications made to the FDA by pharmaceutical companies. He was one of the holdouts at the Agency who insisted that the drugs had to be safe and effective before being released to the public.

But honest appraisal wasn’t part of the FDA culture, and Kavanagh swam against the tide, until he realized his life and the life of his children were on the line.

What was his secret task at the FDA? “Drug reviewers were clearly told not to question drug companies and that our job was to approve drugs.” In other words, rubber stamp them. Say the drugs were safe and effective when they were not.

Kavanagh’s revelations are astonishing. He recalls a meeting where a drug-company representative flat-out stated that his company had paid the FDA for a new-drug approval. Paid for it. As in bribe.

He remarks that the drug pyridostigmine, given to US troops to prevent the later effects of nerve gas, “actually increased the lethality” of certain nerve agents.

Kavanagh recalls being given records of safety data on a drug—and then his bosses told him which sections not to read. Obviously, they knew the drug was dangerous and they knew exactly where, in the reports, that fact would be revealed.

power outside the matrix

We are not dealing with isolated incidents of cheating and lying. We are not dealing with a few isolated bought-off FDA employees. The situation at the FDA isn’t correctable with a few firings. This is an ongoing criminal enterprise, and any government official, serving in any capacity, who has become aware of it and has not taken action, is an accessory to mass poisoning of the population.

Fourteen years ago, the cat was let out of the bag. Dr. Barbara Starfield, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, on July 26, 2000, in a review titled, “Is US health really the best in the world,” exposed the fact that FDA-approved medical drugs kill 106,000 Americans per year.

In interviewing her, I discovered that she had never been approached by any federal agency to help remedy this tragedy. Nor had the federal government taken any steps on its own to stop the dying.

Ronald Kavanagh’s story, exposed in Truthout, never jumped the rails and made it into the mainstream press as the explosive revelation it was.

Too hot to handle. Too many bodies buried. Too many media outlets bought off by pharmaceutical advertising money. Too close to bought-off government officials. Too likely to shake the pillars of the medical cartel. Too real.

It was the kind of story that could actually wake people up from their mind-controlled slumber.

It still is.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

The War Against the Imagination

The War Against the Imagination: How to Teach in a System Designed to Fail

by Robert Guffey

(Note from Jon Rappoport: I had to print this article about education by Robert Guffey, who teaches at Long Beach State University, and is the author of a brilliant, challenging book, Cryptoscatology: Conspiracy Theory as Art Form. I had to print this article because it’s so important to the future of what we call education, and because it’s so important to the future of freedom and human consciousness.  That’s all I’ll say.  I’ll leave the rest to Robert.)

Part I: The War Against Education

There has been much talk lately about the worthless quagmire into which the American educational system has hopelessly sunk.  I’ve been teaching English composition at CSU Long Beach for over ten years, and have never seen more hostility directed towards the field of education than now.  A recent documentary, The War on Kids directed by Cevin Soling, takes the American educational system to task for all its numerous failings and compares public schools to prisons.  This attitude reflects the feelings of many students, and not just high school students.  I see a great deal of resistance to learning even at the college level.  If students truly believe they’re stuck in a prison, then such resistance is understandable—indeed, maybe even inevitable.

One of the major problems any teacher has to face is resistance from his students.  Resistance is a natural response from someone who’s been forced to sit through hours and hours of useless factoids in high school with little reward except smiley faces and various letters of the alphabet.  Though it can be frustrating to the teacher, resistance is actually a healthy attitude that indicates students aren’t quite as somnambulant as many people seem to think they are.  A beginning teacher would be advised to nurture that resistance (rather than stamp it out), and then channel it into more positive areas, areas that encompass such shopworn concepts as….



The imagination.

Why are these words used so rarely in classrooms these days?  It’s as if most teachers have forgotten what inspired their own love of reading.  Whether in an English 100 college classroom or a freshman English class on a high school campus, students will inevitably resist studying topics they’re convinced are transient and/or ephemeral.  Does this mean they’ve all been brainwashed by far too many zeros and ones, their medullae warped and atrophied due to overdosing on ungrammatical rap music?  No, I don’t think so.  I think it’s a natural reaction to curricula that have come to represent a world with which they have no connection, a world populated by instructors whose major concerns are encapsulated within a solipsistic quantum bubble of their own devising, a world in which the only legitimate reading material consists of staid essays about events that seem to have no relevance to their daily lives.  William Burroughs once said, “Language is a virus,” and he was right.  The Word is infectious, an insidious virus that goes by many names.

Wonder.  Enthusiasm.  The imagination.

Are these considered dirty words these days?  If so, the universities are no doubt to blame.  Of course, academia is an easy whipping boy, a target for politicos on both the left and the right.   Right-wingers are constantly accusing the universities of being controlled by a secret cabal of Marxists intent on brainwashing our precious young chil’un into becoming dope-smoking lesbian slaves for (gasp) the Democratic Party—or worse yet, Ralph Nader.  On the other hand, left-wingers live in constant fear of right-wingers somehow subverting the true purpose of the university through corporate underwriting and undue political influence.  Both are missing the point.  The true purpose of the university system is to bland out the culture to such a degree that there will no longer be any extremes on either side,—left or right—just the perpetual drone of academic discourse in which nothing important ever gets said because the entire content is taken up by preparations to say something important.

The perpetrators of this discourse of meaninglessness are the very people in charge of teaching our children today; their essays are the literary equivalent of feather-bedding in the work world.  Imagine an incompetent baker desperately attempting to dress up a silver platter full of Twinkies to look like fine French pastry.  This is what “academic discourse” has become in America.  Students resist taking part in it for the same reason they don’t want to read Jacques Derrida. (Personally, I try to avoid Derrida, as I’m lactose intolerant.) If you’re going to waste your time, you might as well have fun while you’re doing it.  So they go to Palm Springs and drink beer and take E and have sex instead.  Who can blame them?

The disaffected student has merely fallen for the lie of the Hegelian dialectic process, a systematic method of control in which the status quo is granted perpetual renewal via a delicate balancing act, a global shadow play in which binary opposites are carefully maintained to create a false dichotomy in world consciousness, a dichotomy consisting of left and right, black and white, good and evil, cop and criminal, Communist and Capitalist, Republican and Democrat, Crip and Blood, Staff and Faculty, student and teacher.  These divisions, mere illusions, manifest themselves on both the macrocosmic and microcosmic scale.  Including the classroom.

The reason most students reject the values of the university is because they don’t believe there’s any alternative to the newspeak of academic discourse.   Most of them have bought Hegel’s lie (without even knowing who he is or what his theories are).  One must, they believe, either learn to speak meaningless gibberish, or reject the university system outright.  Many erudite scholars consciously decide to opt out of the system for this very reason.

For the vast majority of students, this decision will be an unconscious (and unnecessary) one.  Their resistance is a false dichotomy.  If we encourage our students to think “out of the box” (or, better yet, “out of the tetrahedron”), to go beyond the false dichotomies that have been shoved down their throat since they were in kindergarten, then they just might embrace the learning experience a high school or university can offer them; they might very well appropriate the notion of academic discourse and warp it to fit their own aesthetics.  Plenty of other “outsiders” have done so in the past, composition instructors like Victor Villanueva being a prime example.  It can be done.  Sometimes it happens almost by accident, by stumbling upon a sudden epiphany:   that the status quo is not inviolate; it can, and will, bend if you push hard enough.

Listen to these words by Victor Villanueva:

For all the wonders I had found in literature—and still find—literature seemed to me self-enveloping.  What I would do is read and enjoy.  And, when it was time to write, what I would write about would be an explanation of what I had enjoyed […] essentially saying “this is what I saw” or “this is how what I read took on a special meaning for me” (sometimes being told that what I had seen or experienced was nonsense).  I could imagine teaching literature—and often I do, within the context of composition—but I knew that at best I’d be imparting or imposing one view:  the what I saw or the meaning for me.  […]  But it did not seem to me that I could somehow make someone enjoy.  Enjoyment would be a personal matter:  from the self, for the self.

How do we encourage the potential iconoclasts now entering our classrooms to take the lance in hand and start out on their quixotic quest to battle every windmill the system throws at them, to allow their writing to flow from the self, for the self?  The first step is a simple one, often overlooked, the successful completion of which requires the use of three basic tools.  Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

Wonder.  Enthusiasm.  The imagination.

In his 1989 book Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury writes:

[…] if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.  It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself.  You don’t even know yourself.  For the first thing a writer should be is—excited.  He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms.  Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health.

How long has it been since you wrote […] your real love or your real hatred […] onto the paper?  When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt?  What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?

Unfortunately, students aren’t encouraged to either shout or whisper anything.  No, that would be considered “extreme” and might unbalance the Hegelian status quo.  They’re asked to fill out Scan-Tron sheets instead—imprisoning their individual personalities within those tiny lead-filled bubbles.  The Scam-Tron is one of the most basic examples of behavioral programming one can find in the school system.  Its intent is to instill in the student the idea that there exists only a limited number of answers for any given question—a closed universe of possibilities.

Zest?  Gusto?  Bradbury has sound advice for would-be writers in his essays, all of it ignored by the majority of high school and college English instructors.  Imagine a high school teacher encouraging his students to write about their most deeply-held prejudices in an open and honest manner.  Either some kid’s left-wing parent would complain about fostering racism in a state-funded institution, or some right-wing parent would complain about indoctrinating their Precious One with kooky liberal values about “tolerance.”  And instead of protecting the instructor’s right to teach composition in any damn way he pleases, the Principal or the Department Chair or the Dean would no doubt burn the Constitution and sweep the ashy fragments underneath the fax machine for fear of incurring a lawsuit that might attract media attention to the school—not just “unfavorable” media attention, mind you, but any media attention at all.

As any bureaucrat will tell you (if you catch them in an honest and/or inebriated mood), the very last thing they want is to see their name in the newspaper.  As proof of this, please note the fact that the only time you ever notice a politician’s name in the newspaper is if they’ve screwed up.  All bureaucrats, whether they be Senators or school administrators, live in fear of the day their existence is discovered by the outside world.  They’re rather like Bigfoot, truth to tell, constantly hiding behind rocks when civilization encroaches too near their isolated abode.  University Deans fear lawsuits as much as Bigfoot fears stoned hikers and forest fires.  Which is why so many high school and college teachers are left out to dry when legal action is a possibility; it doesn’t even have to be a real threat, just a possibility.  The result?  The students learn nothing, and the First Amendment is driven one step further toward extinction (yes, kind of like Bigfoot).

If not for Political Correctness and the nightmare that has grown into state-funded, compulsory education, universities wouldn’t need to foot the bill for so many of these basic composition courses that fruitlessly attempt to make up for twelve years worth of apathy and neglect in a single semester.  At the college level, English teachers are just playing catch-up.  The best they can do is sew up the bodies and send them back into the battlefield to get shot up some more.  This metaphor, of wartime Emergency Rooms and patchwork surgery, is more appropriate than you might imagine, for many instructors perceive their work with remedial students from a rigid, medico-militaristic perspective:  as babysitting doomed patients trapped on a terminal ward. Listen to these words from Mike Rose’s article entitled “The Language of Exclusion“:

Such talk reveals an atomistic, mechanistic-medical model of language that few contemporary students of the use of language, from educators to literary theorists, would support.  Furthermore, the notion of remediation, carrying with it as it does the etymological wisps and traces of disease, serves to exclude from the academic community those who are so labeled.  They sit in scholastic quarantine until their disease can be diagnosed and remedied.

The long-term solution to this problem is to fire everybody in the first and second grades and replace them with teachers who know the meaning of the words zest and gusto, who possess the innate ability to impart wonder and enthusiasm—and above all a love of the imagination—in even the dullest of their students.

But what about the present?  What about the barely literate teenagers who are filling up our high schools now, who will soon be sitting in entry level English classes in colleges all across this nation, fully expecting to be passed on to the next level even if they don’t do any work at all—a reasonable expectation given their past experience with social promotion (another insidious phenomenon inspired by the unreasonable fear of lawsuits)?  What, you may ask, do we do about these “lost kids” who have fallen between the cracks?

We do the only thing we can do.  We assault them with our enthusiasm.  We attack them with wonder.  We pelt them with a fusillade of bullets packed with enough imaginative power to knock their brains out of their skulls and leave them bleeding and dying on the Pepsi-stained tiled floors of our classrooms.  Of course, their death will be a metaphorical one.  (Any student of the Tarot knows that death is merely another word for “transformation.”)

In order to accomplish this transformation, the first thing that has to go is Political Correctness.  Next, the fear of lawsuits.  And finally the Hegelian notion of dialectics.

(Note: Some might argue that this article merely employs Hegelian dialectics in reverse.  After all, I identify a thesis (i.e., schools maintain the status quo), then work through various antitheses that lead to some level of synthesis.  This argument, however, would be inaccurate. The problem with Hegelian dialectics is its basic assumption that one can never know the whole truth.  Within a self-limiting system such as this, it’s impossible to solve any problem, no matter how large or small.  Why bother identifying the source of a problem if the paradigm itself prevents it from being dealt with once and for all?  The process of Hegelian dialectics merely synthesizes the problem into a strange new form—a mutant hybrid, so to speak.  In this article I’m not trying to create a new synthesis; instead, I’m trying to say I know the nature of the game.  The reason we haven’t solved the problems facing the world today (including the disintegrating educational system, the tensions in the Middle East, the paucity of fossil fuels, and world hunger) is because everybody is hypnotized by the notion that we can only know so much.  That kind of thinking got us into this mess in the first place.  As Albert Einstein once said, “Any problem cannot be solved at the same level at which it was created.”  I’m not advocating a synthesis of any kind; I’m advocating knocking all the pieces off the game board and starting anew. )

Human thought cannot be divided into thesis and anti-thesis.  No significant question has only three or four possible answers.  Though the universe might very well be contained within a grain of sand, it cannot be contained within a Scan-Tron bubble.  Similarly, the notion of “Good” or “Bad”—“Appropriate” or “Inappropriate”—writing should be tossed out the window along with good ol’ Hegel.  Students should be allowed to read whatever interests them.  If the student doesn’t know what interests him, the teacher has to take the time to find that out and match him with a book that might appeal to him, that might stoke the fires of his imagination.

I’ve had great success sparking a love of reading in culturally impoverished students since 2002.  Year after year students give my English classes glowing reviews, mainly (I suspect) because I’m able to impart to them my passion for the written word.  In the past I’ve accomplished this by assigning great works of literature:  poems, short stories, novels, even some graphic novels.  And yet, despite this consistent success, on April 20, 2012, the English Department at CSULB banned all literature from its composition courses.  I’ve been told, for reasons that seem purposely opaque, that I’m threatening the security of the entire English Department if I assign Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (a novel I’ve used with undeniable success in the past).  A colleague of mine has been ordered to stop teaching George Orwell’s 1984.  Perhaps most disturbing of all, I have another colleague who used to assign Ray Bradbury’s classic anti-censorship novel, Fahrenheit 451, but will now be prevented from doing so as of the Fall 2012 semester.  Many of my colleagues, in these difficult economic times, plan to acquiesce to these demands for fear of losing their jobs; meanwhile, classic works of literature are ripped out of the hands of students who desperately need to understand how joyful reading and writing can be.

It appears that the main reason the department heads are enforcing this ban on literature is (simply) that they’re frightened.  It’s been reported in several newspapers that the CSU system has announced the development of a 24th campus called “CSU Online” that will be entirely virtual.  Because of this, there are very real concerns that the CSU system will convert the English Department at CSULB to an online program, thus causing the loss of numerous teaching positions.  What’s the easiest and least imaginative way of proving to The Powers That Be that one can make substantial and sweeping changes in a university English Department?  Why, get rid of all that “unnecessary stuff” like poetry and novels and short stories.

But the fact is this:  The only asset a human teacher has over an online, virtual experience is the ability to transmit genuine passion to his or her students.  What better way to share passion than through great literature?  Alas, it’s this essential element, this passion, that’s being eliminated through de facto censorship.  Without such passion, all need for a non-virtual teaching experience vanishes.  Therefore, the changes being implemented to save the department are changes that will most likely lead to the total destruction of the department.  I needn’t tell you, of course, that this is called irony… a literary concept I myself learned about in an English class while studying literature.

In the 8-6-08 edition of The Long Beach Press-Telegram, Ray Bradbury wrote a biting op-ed piece entitled “Is Long Beach At War With Books?” in which he protested the forced closure of local bookstores and the cutting of public library funds in Long Beach.  When seen in context, it’s clear that this ban on literature at CSULB is merely part of a larger trend that’s been occurring in American cities for some time now.  The poet Diane Di Prima once wrote, “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination.”  Though I wish it weren’t so, that war appears to be in full swing in the English Department at CSULB and all across the nation, perhaps best represented by the forced adoption of what is called the “Common Core State Standards Initiative” among American public schools from sea to shining sea.

An editorial published in the 12-27-12 edition of the Los Angeles Times warns:

[T]here’s no getting around it:  The curriculum plan […] looks almost certain to diminish exposure to works of literature, from Seuss to Salinger.  That goes too far.

The ruckus is over the new common core standards—public school math and English curricula adopted by more than 45 states, including California—that are supposed to raise the level of what students are being taught.  In addition, the core standards are intended to make it easier and less expensive for states to devise better lesson plans, develop more meaningful standardized tests and compare notes on how much students are learning.

Scheduled to take effect in the 2014-15 school year, the standards emphasize, as they should, plenty of diverse reading material.  But they have become controversial over the requirement that the reading assigned to younger students should be half fiction and half nonfiction, and that by high school the ratio should be 30% fiction and 70% nonfiction.  This has led to allegations that T.S. Eliot will make way for Environmental Protection Agency reports and that “Great Expectations” will be dumped in favor of, well, lower expectations.  (“What Students Read”)

Now listen to these wise words by educator Susan Ohanian, extracted from her 6-19-12 article entitled “Business Week Revealed Why Common Core Disdains Fiction in 2000”:

[e.e. cummings] is the kind of writing primary graders savor.  I speak from first-hand, on-the-spot observation here.  Of course, teacher experience, knowledge, and intuition count for nothing.  NCTE [National Council of Teachers of English], my professional organization for decades, is deaf to my expertise […].

An oft-repeated assertion of self-proclaimed Common Core architect David Coleman is that nonfiction is where students get information about the world and that’s why schools must stop teaching so much fiction.  In this assertion, Coleman is echoing the corporate world which he is hired to serve […].

Downgrading the importance of fiction in our schools, saying that children gain information about the world only through nonfiction, is the Common Core’s role in “educating students” to fill […] in-demand jobs […].

In Empire of Illusion:  The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle Chris Hedges points out that universities have already accepted their corporate role, and “As universities become glorified vocational schools for corporations they adopt values and operating techniques of the corporations they serve” […].

Local newspapers are filled with stories of teachers “getting ready for the Common Core.”  What they mean is teachers are using the summer break to prepare for visitation from bloated, opportunistic blood-sucking Common Core vampire squad inspectors… making sure there’s no fiction glut depriving youngsters of their job skill opportunities […].

[…] NCTE, IRA [International Reading Association], and NCTM [National Council of Teachers of Mathematics] are too busy churning out […] books and teacher training videos on how to use the Common Core.  Yes, the complicity of our professional organizations plus the complicity of the unions has made Common Core a done deal.  But if you believe in heaven and hell, you know where the Standardistos who rob children of imagination and dreams will end up.

When a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist.  This includes teachers.  There are no excuses left.  Either you join the revolt against corporate power or you lose your profession.

Part II:  The War Against the Imagination

And after your profession, your imagination?  Your independence?  Your life?

According to the ancient teachings of Zen Buddhism, love and fear are the two primary emotions that motivate the daily actions of human beings.  My personal teaching style is motivated by an intense love of the imagination and the freedom of both speech and thought.  The emotion that motivates the “Standardistos” is fear and fear alone:  the fear of taking a stand, the fear of losing their precarious positions in a crumbling system, the fear of teachers losing control of their students’ souls, the fear of students becoming independent and self-sufficient at long last.

I myself first learned independent thought from Lewis Carroll and Alice, from Kenneth Graham and Mr. Toad, from L. Frank Baum and Dorothy Gale, from Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, from Edgar Allan Poe and C. Auguste Dupin.  So many children first learn to interact with the world around them—in a questioning way—at the inception of an imagination in their developing brains, an imagination most often introduced to them through the endless worlds of fiction and poetry and song.

I recently heard a radio interview with the actor/musician Ice T (whose best album, appropriately enough, is called Freedom of Speech—Just Watch What You Say) in which he talked about his love of reading fiction as a boy.  Though he grew up in a poverty-stricken environment in which reading was not encouraged (not by his school teachers, not by his parents, and certainly not by his friends), he somehow managed to stumble across a series of urban novels by a black writer named Iceberg Slim.  The first novel he discovered was called Pimp.  Slim is a well-known writer in some circles.  His novels are violent, racist, and unapologetically realistic.  He writes about what he knows and he does it well.  This gritty mimeticism struck a chord in the young Ice T.  He proceeded to read all of Slim’s novel at a fast clip, and went on from there to discover an even broader world of literature.  But he wouldn’t have been able to do so if he hadn’t been inspired by the in-your-face realistic novels of Iceberg Slim.

Are Iceberg Slim’s novels “literature”?  Are they “appropriate” reading material for high school kids?  Who cares?  Many of these same high school kids are shooting each other with automatic rifles.  Is that appropriate?  Why aren’t Iceberg Slim’s novels made available to high school students?  Why not allow them to read literature they can identify with instead of the mawkish sentimentalism of staid essays extracted from the Reader’s Digest?  If the purpose of school was really to teach, this (or something like it) would already have happened.  The fact that it hasn’t happened can mean only one thing:   The purpose of school is not to teach; the purpose of school is to maintain the status quo.

Listen to the words of Antony Sutton, a former economics professor at California State University, Los Angeles:

A tragic failure of American education in this century has been a failure to teach children how to read and write and how to express themselves in a literary form.  For the educational system this may not be too distressing.  As we shall see later, their prime purpose is not to teach subject matter but to condition children to live as socially integrated citizen units in an organic society—a real life enactment of the Hegelian absolute State.  In this State the individual finds freedom only in obedience to the State, consequently the function of education is to prepare the individual citizen unit for smooth entry into the organic whole.

However, it is puzzling that the educational system allowed reading to deteriorate so markedly.  It could be that [they want] the citizen components of the organic State to be little more than automated order takers; after all a citizen who cannot read and write is not going to challenge The Order […].  This author spent five years teaching at a State University in the early 1960s and was appalled by the general inability to write coherent English, yet gratified that some students had not only evaded the system, acquired vocabulary and writing skills, but these exceptions had the most skepticism about The Establishment.

This is no coincidence.  Any child or adult whose consciousness has been forged by media imagery, who has no experience with literacy whatsoever, will inevitably begin to mimic the cliches of popular entertainment.  Their vision of the world and the people in it will be filtered through the Seurat-like pointillist dots of a television screen.  Their goals will be based on a corporate-owned nightmare manufactured in a Hollywood studio or an office on Madison Avenue or a think tank in Washington, D.C.

In light of the increasing amount of darkly surreal political scandals emerging from the White House these days (i.e., “Benghazi-gate,” “AP-gate,” “IRS-gate”), one can’t help but wonder if the real reason Those In Power wish to eradicate fiction from American education is to make the next generation of voters unfamiliar with the very concept of fiction itself, thus rendering the citizenry incapable of recognizing pure fiction when it appears on the nightly news or—more specifically—when it comes pouring out of the mouth of a duplicitous President on a regular basis.  Distinguishing between lies and truth requires the skill to think independently, a skill best reinforced by the imagination itself, the ability to consider possibilities.

One day many years ago, back when I was in middle school, my Civics teacher became ill all of a sudden.  A substitute teacher came to take his place.  I think he was in his early to mid-twenties.  He was a handsome blond gentleman, fairly athletic looking.  He didn’t seem like your normal kind of teacher at all.  He ignored the instructions our regular teacher had left for him and instead launched into a monologue that went something like this:  “Everything you know is a lie.  Everything you’ve been taught is a lie.  History?  It’s just a pack of fairy tales.  Hey, you, kid!”  He pointed at a popular boy sitting in the front row.  “Who’s George Washington?”

The boy laughed nervously, sensing a trick question in the air.  “Uh… well, uh, the first President of America?”

“Wrong.  The first President of the United States was a man named John Hanson.  So what’s George Washington most famous for?  What’d he do?”

“Uh… he… well, he chopped down a cherry tree, right?”

“Yeah?  And then what he’d do?”

The kid couldn’t answer, so somebody else jumped in:  “He told his mom about it, ‘cause he couldn’t tell a lie!”

The substitute replied, “Bullshit, man!  Just more bullshit, never happened!  None of this ever fucking happened!”

An uncomfortable silence fell upon the room.  The most disruptive class clowns weren’t even making funny noises with their armpits.  Nobody knew what to do.  Abruptly, everybody had been teleported to an alternate dimension where everything seemed a lot more uncertain—and a lot more serious—than ever before.

He suggested to us that if we wanted to understand “true” history, we should read a novel entitled Illuminatus!, a three-volume work of psychedelic fabulism by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.  Needless to say, we never saw that particular teacher again.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Nor should I have been surprised when I discovered, ten years later, while doing research among the stacks of the CSU Long Beach library, that John Hanson was “elected President of the United States in Congress Assembled on November 5, 1781, the first of seven such one-year termed presidents,” whereas George Washington wasn’t elected President until 1789.  My source for that little-known factoid is an obscure 1978 book entitled The Illuminoids.  Is it possible that that weird substitute had read the same book?  Maybe he’d even read the same exact copy!  I wish I could ask him.  I often wonder if he’s still in the teaching biz.  Somehow I doubt it.

By the way, I’ve since read almost every single book (fiction and nonfiction) written by Robert Anton Wilson.

The reason students resist us is because they know, at some subconscious level, that they’re not getting the whole story.  They know they’re being lied to.  When they begin to hear even a small dollop of the truth or at least some facsimile thereof—as I did that day in middle school twenty-seven years ago—they’ll sit up and take notice.  And they’ll never forget the experience.  They’ll hunger for more.

Why not combine creativity with honesty in our writing assignments?  Why not begin to teach critical thinking skills?  This needn’t be done in a boring, perfunctory manner.  It can be fun.  Indeed, how can it not be fun?  I suggest photocopying choice articles from the most recent Fortean Times (purveyor of such classic headlines as “POPOBAWA!:  In Search of Zanzibar’s Bat-winged Terror” or, a personal favorite, “HELL HOUND OF THE TRENCHES:  THE DEVIL DOG WITH A MADMAN’S BRAIN!”) and distributing them to the class with the following directions:  “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to take this home, glance through it, read the articles that interest you, then pick a particular article and write a four-page essay explaining why you think it’s either true or not true.  Now let me warn you, this isn’t a straw man argument.  Just because it’s in Fortean Times doesn’t mean it’s not true.  That’s the beauty of it all.  There’s a clever mixture of truth and untruth in here.  It’s your job to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Think you can do it?”

I guarantee you every single one of those students would find that assignment a hell of a lot more intriguing than writing about the use of the semi-colon in Das Kapital.  Not only will I be strengthening my students’ skills in philosophy, logic, and composition, but I’ll also be doing my basic civic duty; after all, the skills they’ll be honing from this assignment will be the same ones they’ll need to exercise during the next Presidential election.  And no doubt the one after that.

One of the most informative and entertaining writing assignments I ever worked on in college was given to me not in an English class, oddly enough, but in a logic class.  We were asked to learn all the various categories of fallacies, then—over the course of a month—comb through books, magazines, newspapers, and TV shows to find examples of each.  I found ad hominem arguments in The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, examples of reductio ad absurdum in Awake (the newspaper published by the Jehovah’s Witness), and a panoply of red herrings in no less a scholarly source than Alice in Wonderland.  I’ve never forgotten that assignment, and the knowledge I drew from it has come in quite handy in my everyday life.  Composition students could benefit from writing projects such as this, assignments that blur the distinctions between curricula.  I’m convinced such distinctions will become less and less tenable in the holistic world we now find ourselves entering.

Just as the CIA never pulls off a covert operation unless it has a good chance of scratching a number of itches at once, I would never think of assigning an essay topic that wasn’t holistic to some degree.  As our post-quantum milieu grows more and more complex, people will be forced to adopt a holistic perspective toward life out of pure necessity, just to get through the day.  It’s no longer sufficient to become an expert in a single task, chained to an assembly line going nowhere.  As technology grows more and more baroque and bizarre, as boundaries dissolve and paradigms shift, as old religions fade and new ones rise to take their place, people must learn to become what Marshall McLuhan called “Menippeans”:  media ecologists who can slip in and out of various artificial environments at will, as if said environments were nothing more than cheap clothing.

The confusing advent of virtual reality and nanotechnology machines will demand that people either learn to exercise skills of perception and logic and discernment or be left out in the cold.   If you can change your bedroom into an African veldt and your gender twice before lunch, you damn well better embrace a holistic approach to life.  The first years of the twenty-first century will be nothing like what’s gone before, and by the time we reach 2050 we will have arrived in a world wholly unrecognizable from the last decade of the 20th century.  As with most change, people will resist it kicking and screaming.  There will be political coups, religious autos-da-fe, and violence galore.  Nonetheless, the old paradigm will inevitably wilt away.  It always does.  If we as English teachers can use our influence to help soften the transition by subtly encouraging a multidisciplinary approach toward life via the essays (or “thought experiments”) we assign, then so be it.  If we’re going to have their porous little brains in the palms of our hands anyway, why waste the opportunity?

In his 1985 article “Inventing the University,” David Bartholomae presents a rather unelastic and rigid view of teaching language, rhetoric, and art.   He writes, “Teaching students to revise for readers, then, will better prepare them to write initially with a reader in mind.  The success of this pedagogy depends on the degree to which a writer can imagine and conform [emphasis mine] to a reader’s goals”.  Bartholomae has everything ass-backwards.  In order to make the system succeed, the writer needn’t conform to the audience; the audience must conform to the writer.  Similarly, in the educational system, the student needn’t conform to the teacher; the teacher needs to conform to the student.  Why teach if you’re not willing to adapt yourself to the needs of the student?

Allow me to make myself clear:  Finding out what the student needs doesn’t necessarily mean giving the student what he wants.  Indeed, the answer will often be quite the opposite.  When Marshall McLuhan began teaching composition at the University of Wisconsin, he soon realized that his students couldn’t care less about writers long dead.  He began assigning them such odd tasks as writing about commercials, TV shows, popular rock bands, and movie stars, but had them do so in the same serious, scholarly manner that would be expected of them if they were writing about Percy Shelley.  By the end of the semester, they were so sick of pop culture they went back to writing about Shakespeare and/or Francis Bacon with glee.  This is an example of reverse psychology par excellence (and another good example of what happens when a teacher embraces resistance rather than attempting to stamp it out).

McLuhan recognized that his students needed to be shocked out of their media-controlled mindset, so he adapted his skills to their situation.  But he had to be totally free, emphasizing a holistic approach, in order to even begin accomplishing the difficult goal of bridging the vast divide between teacher and student.  One way this can be done is by embracing their resistance through the language of Art.

In a 1981 book entitled The Making of Meaning, Ann E. Berthoff published a fascinating article entitled “The Intelligent Eye and the Thinking Hand.”  Berthoff’s views on Art and Language are far more compelling than Bartholomae’s.  Berthoff is a champion of the imagination over the mechanistic.  She writes, “I believe that for teachers of composition, such a philosophy of mind is best thought of as a theory of imagination.  If we reclaim imagination as the forming power of mind, we will have the theoretical wherewithal for teaching composition as a mode of thinking and a way of learning”.

In his 1980 essay “Concepts of Art and the Teaching of Writing,” Richard E. Young advocates a more systematic approach.  At one point in the essay he quotes John Genung as saying, “It is as mechanism that [rhetoric] must be taught; the rest must be left to the student himself”.  But if we approach the teaching of grammar or rhetoric or art or literature as a mere mechanistic process, if we don’t emphasize creativity and inspiration and imagination and the sheer aesthetic WOW that comes from reading an excellent piece of literature or seeing a brilliant film or experiencing a well-acted play, then what is teaching for?  Do we really instill the love of reading in students by analyzing nonfiction articles about possible racism in Internal Revenue Service hiring statistics, or do we demonstrate the sheer LOVE of great art by allowing them to take part in the process themselves, by letting them know that artists aren’t exotic silver-haired creatures living atop mist-enshrouded mountains in some far away land, writing on ancient parchments with fingers made of glass?  Artists started out (and still are, in most cases) the same exact grubby people as the students.  There’s no difference, except that one has learned to translate experience into an aesthetic product for the enjoyment of everyone.  Anyone can do the same, even the dullest of us, if the love of reading is instilled at the earliest age possible.

Marshall McLuhan once said, “I don’t explain, I explore”.  If they want to connect with their students, teachers must encourage exploration over explanation.  Robert Smithson, the brilliant sculptor who created the breathtaking “Spiral Getty” in Utah, once wrote, “Establish enigmas, not explanations.”  If teachers can somehow learn how to instill a love of enigmas over explanations in their students—even if they succeed with only one student in a class of twenty or forty—then progress will have been made.  The language of Art is one of discovery.  The teacher is merely the guide, taking the student by the hand—without the student ever noticing, ideally, since he or she should be too busy enjoying the ride—through a maze that isn’t so intimidating at all once the student begins to love the journey more than the destination.

The Reluctant Hero is a common trope in literature and mythology.  Joseph Campbell writes extensively about this pattern in his numerous books on the power of myth.  Whether in a fairy tale, a religious parable, an epic poem, a literary masterpiece, a blockbuster summer movie, or a mere comic book, the Hero very rarely embraces the call to adventure.  He resists it to the bitter end.  Only a pre-programmed machine could be expected to do as it’s instructed—to do “what’s best for it” without questioning the wisdom of the programmer.  Any reaction other than resistance would be somewhat less than human.  What well-read teacher, versed in the strange idiosyncrasies of human behavior and history, could be surprised by such resistance?

As former high school teacher John Taylor Gatto wrote in his September 2003 Harper’s Magazine article entitled “Against School”:

First […] we must wake up to what our schools really are:  laboratories of experimentation on young minds, drill centers for the habits and attitudes that corporate society demands.  Mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants.  Don’t let your own have their childhoods extended, not even for a day.  If David Farragut could take command of a captured British warship as a preteen, if Thomas Edison could publish a broadsheet at the age of twelve, if Ben Franklin could apprentice himself to a printer at the same age (then put himself through a course of study that would choke a Yale senior today), there’s no telling what your own kids could do.  After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt.  We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women.  The solution, I think, is simple and glorious.  Let them manage themselves.

Alas, I suspect many years will pass before the American educational system endorses such a simple and glorious solution.  As Buckminster Fuller once said, “Human beings will always do the intelligent thing, after they’ve exhausted all the stupid alternatives.”  I believe an intelligent course correction is inevitable; however, in the meantime teachers needn’t sit around waiting for an official endorsement from the State.  All they have to do is exploit the most valuable asset in their classroom, one that requires no funding from the government.

All they have to do is exercise the imaginations of their students, as well as their own, by offering a panoply of choices and then getting the hell out of the way.

Works Cited:

Bartholomae, David.  “Inventing the University.”  1985.  Composition in Four Keys.  Ed. Mark  Wiley, Barbara Gleason and Louise Phelps. Mountain View:  Mayfield, 1996.  460-79. Print.

Berthoff, Ann.  “The Intelligent Eye and the Thinking Hand.”  1981.  Composition in Four Keys.  Ed. Mark Wiley, Barbara Gleason and Louise Phelps.  Mountain View:  Mayfield, 1996. 40-44.  Print.

Bradbury, Ray.  Zen in the Art of Writing.  Santa Barbara:  Capra P., 1989. Print.

Gatto, John Taylor.  “Against School.”  Harper’s Magazine (September 2003):  33-38. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall.  McLuhan:  Hot & Cool.  New York:  Signet, 1967. Print.

Ohanian, Susan.  “Business Week Revealed Why Common Core Disdains Fiction in 2000.” Web. 19 June 2012.

Rose, Mike.  “The Language of Exclusion.”  1985.  Composition in Four Keys.  Ed. Mark Wiley, Barbara Gleason and Louise Phelps. Mountain View:  Mayfield, 1996.  445-59. Print.

Sutton, Antony.  America’s Secret Establishment.  Billings:  Liberty House P, 1986. Print.

Villanueva, Victor.  “Ingles in the Colleges.”  1993.  Composition in Four Keys.  Ed. Mark Wiley, Barbara Gleason and Louise Phelps.  Mountain View:  Mayfield, 1996.  503-19. Print.

“What Students Read.”  Editorial.  Los Angeles Times 27 Dec. 2012:  A16. Print.

Wilgus, Neal.  The Illuminoids.  Albuquerque:  Sun Publishing Co., 1981. Print.

Young, Richard.  “Concepts of Art and the Teaching of Writing.”  1980.  Composition in Four Keys.  Ed. Mark Wiley, Barbara Gleason and Louise Phelps.  Mountain View:  Mayfield, 1996.  176-83. Print.