Dimash: The Greatest Vocalist On Earth?

by Jerry Alatalo

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“Art is not a pleasure, or an amusement; art is a great matter. Art is an organ of human life transmitting man’s reasonable perception into feeling.” What is Art? 

– LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910) Russian writer*

*(On Tolstoy)”No man deserves to be called a genius, no man is more complex, more contradictory, more admirable than he in all things, yes, in all things … He is a man who envelops all men, a man – mankind.” – Maksim Gorki (1868-1936) Russian novelist, playwright

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hank you and tip of the hat to peace activist, documentary filmmaker and 9/11 truth advocate Charles Ewing Smith for posting a video of the amazing male singer from Kazakhstan, Dimash Kudaibergen. We were thankful to “stumble across” the artistic phenomenon at Charles’ YouTube channel. Singing and studying classical music from the age of (5), the now 24-year old Dimash possesses an amazing range of (6) octaves and could credibly be positioned near the top of great vocalists, male or female, of this or any generation in history.

Having only heard of Dimash Kudaibergen today January 12, 2019, one finds it astonishing that the young man’s name isn’t already known worldwide, and mentioned in the same breath as American superstar entertainers Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. One can only hope that Mr. Kudaibergen can avoid the same fate as Elvis and Michael who passed away young, but, instead, continues performing into his eighties like another legend American vocalist Tony Bennett.

For those who haven’t heard of Dimash or seen his performances, please enjoy one of his more popular and complex songs containing a higher level of maturity in the lyrics titled “S.O.S.”. The thought came across that “S.O.S.” has the kind of deeper philosophical message which approximates the musical genre termed peace anthem. The lyrics don’t explicitly advocate for peace in the world, but do reflect the generalized feelings of frustration felt by those activists searching for peace, truth, justice, brotherhood and associated concepts, or, in other words, those higher consciousness ideas embraced and emphasized by people wishing for a better world.

It is unknown whether Dimash Kudaibergen has ever read the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, specifically Tolstoy’s profound non-fiction book titled “What is Art?” published in 1898. There is some sense, especially when observing the level of focus, intensity and seriousness with which his performances are characteristic that he has read the classic. The legend and historic icon of non-violent peaceful resistance and satyagraha (“truth force”) Mohandes Gandhi (1869-1948) of India considered “What is Art” Tolstoy’s masterpiece, assessing the book’s messages in higher esteem than Tolstoy’s world-famous novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”.

If by chance men or women from Kazakhstan pass this way, please consider getting a copy of “What is Art” to your country’s native son and soon-to-be world-famous Dimash. People can obtain a free eBook download of “What is Art” online here. It may seem preposterous to say it after watching him perform with jaw dropped, but after reading Tolstoy’s “What is Art?”, – where the great Russian separates and/or distinguishes true art from what he observed as rubbish in his time – as an artist Dimash Kudaibergen is going to become real good.

Peace.

(Thank you to Dimash Kudaibergen on YouTube)

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Father Dave Smith On Israel-Palestine, Christian Zionism: “Politics And Religion Mixed Up A Lot.”

By Jerry Alatalo

Australian Father Dave Smith at a recent “Warrior Weekend” – part of the “Boxing For Life” program, using boxing to bring people of different faiths and cultures together through sport.

ather Dave Smith of Australia was one of  the men and woman from around the Earth who received invitations to speak at the recent New Horizons Conference in Iran – the 6th Annual convening of the event in May 2018.

Among the group of others who participated were (from the U.S.): Alison Weir (author, founder of If Americans Knew), retired Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence expert Philip Giraldi, former State Department official Michael Maloof, military psychological operations expert and author of “Shell Game” (Swiss banks terrorist financing) Scott Bennett, and attorney/author Michael Springmann (Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry).

Father Dave Smith’s talk  focused on the erroneous theological foundations of Christian Zionism, the distinctive branch of the faith finding 50-70 million adherents in the United States alone. The Christian block is very influential (negatively, if what Father Dave Smith suggests is correct) when it comes to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere around the Earth, particularly with regard to Israel-Palestine.

If one accepts the central thrust of Father Dave Smith’s thesis, the most worrisome aspect of Christian Zionists’ erroneous beliefs set is holding the idea that being a Christian requires giving full support to Israel – and accepting the “prophecy” that the return of Jesus Christ is dependent on Israel’s militarily conquering its neighbors or enemies. In other words, Christian Zionists are to believe (and do believe) that wars fought by Israel, including those fought by the United States for or joined with Israel, are absolute/solid “signs” – ignorant of the potential huge losses of human lives, the injuries, dislocation and destruction associated with military violence – of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

This theologically incorrect stance is actually the one held firmly by millions of U.S. Christian Zionists (readers might have family members or friends in the religious category) – in fact to the point where many are joyously anticipating the “Armageddon” of Revelations in the Bible or major war in the Middle East, which supposedly then triggers the prophecy-fulfilling supernatural spiritual event of Christ’s return, the 2nd Coming, and/or “The Rapture”.

Americans might find it important to know that former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and now Secretary of State under Donald Trump – Mike Pompeo – believes in “The Rapture”. Moreover, Father Dave Smith wonders out loud in his talk whether Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is a Christian Zionist. The selection of Bolton by Trump did not require the approval/vote or confirmation of the U.S. Congress.

The Rapture has come into the consciousness of America’s estimated 50-70 million Christian Zionists through the reading of the controversial (many Christian leaders criticize and consider it sheer blasphemy) Scofield Bible, published in 1909 and including extensive end notes or interpretive commentary by editor Scofield, which portray biblical scriptures/verses in an extremely Israel-centric light.

Perhaps some men or women journalists can ask Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton if their bibles are the Scofield version. It might be very important to know the answer, and especially so, given the current highly tense global situation.

A few hours of research into the Scofield Bible, its historical facts and the theological controversy surrounding it are enough for one to lean strongly in the direction that millions of Americans who’ve used/read solely the Scofield publication have been sadly fooled about Israel vis-à-vis Christianity. In many instances people professing themselves as Christians have used the Scofield Bible alone … solely that book without exception, for decades and/or generations.

Among America’s more well-known Christian Zionists are Pat Robertson (who ran for president as a Republican, and once publicly called for the political, literal assassination of  Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez), John Hagee and Robert Jeffress (who both spoke in Israel at the U.S. Embassy dedication ceremony, after Donald Trump moved it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, Hal Lindsey, and many others.

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Father Dave Smith spoke toward the end of his talk:

“Hence, biblical prophecies … they’re never designed to help shape foreign policy; any more than they’re designed to just satisfy our curiosity about the future. They’re designed to call us back to the commandments. Once we recognize this, I think we can see the fundamental flaw in the logic of Christian Zionism. They claim the biblical prophecies point to the triumph of the modern-state Israel over its neighbors.

“Even if they could be right, that some prophet had predicted this, it wouldn’t mean that either the prophet or the scriptures as a whole endorsed the event, nor would it mean that people should support it, any more than Jeremiah’s dire warnings were intended to garner support for the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew bible, when the prophet gives dire predictions about the future, his hope is that his warnings will cause his hearers to come back into a relationship of obedience to God – resulting in the prophecy proving false.

“See, the tragedy of Christian Zionism … Is it gets the whole process back to front, urging us to follow the prophecy even if it means breaking the laws of God, breaking the commandments. Prophecy has never been normative. The commandments are normative. The commandments tell us how we have to behave towards God and towards our neighbors. It’s the commandments with which we can base our foreign policy on, – a biblically based foreign policy, which would require of course a focusing on justice.

“As a Sydney Anglican priest I’m privileged to be part of a church tradition that has never been greatly influenced by Zionism. Indeed, I believe that at the Sydney Anglican Synod of 1948, some people did indeed stand up suggesting the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

“It was the principal of our theological seminary who corrected them, saying: ‘No, no … It’s the fulfillment of the 8th commandment – Thou shalt not steal’. And this is the great tragedy of Christian Zionism … That under the guide of faithfulness to biblical prophecy it indeed justified stealing, and murder, and any number of other crimes that are clearly contrary to the commandments of God.

“A genuinely biblical approach to the situation in Israel-Palestine must begin, I believe, not with prophecy, but with the unambiguous command to do justice. A justice that respects the rights of Palestinian people to their land, to life and to liberty.”

Father Dave Smith after declared the ‘winner’ of an exhibition boxing match.

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(Thank you to Dave Smith – YouTube)

Razan al-Najjar Murdered By Apartheid Israel. Again.

By Jerry Alatalo

“Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be outraged by silence.”

– HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher

Razan al-Najjar

alestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar was 21-years old on June 1 when she was struck and killed by Israeli sniper fire in Gaza. She was giving emergency medical assistance/treatment to fellow Palestinian victims of Israeli gunfire at the moment of her death. Close to 120 Palestinians have lost their lives while 10,000 have suffered injuries, nearly all as the result of Israeli military snipers’ bullets.

Her murder sparked worldwide outrage and condemnation, adding to intensifying criticism of the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Donald Trump administration in the United States for its disappointing failure to respond in an appropriate moral manner.

The Israeli defense authorities added insult to the fatal injury inflicted on Razan al-Najjar by quickly producing and publishing a video which took an interview given by Ms. al-Najjar and edited it, taking and displaying her words out of proper context, for the objectionable purpose of manipulating public opinion in apartheid Israel’s favor.

From a philosophical or spiritual perspective, one might rightly assert that Israeli defense authorities murdered Razan al-Najjar twice – once while living on Earth in Gaza and again after she passed away and left this physical world.

It is very difficult to imagine what drives the minds of those who would intentionally lower their moral standards to such an extreme, grotesque extent, and equally difficult to discern what allows others – namely those men and women serving under U.S. President Donald Trump – to stand by, turn away and remain silent in the face of Israel’s profoundly disturbing, immoral, propagandistic actions.

Whether one is atheistic, agnostic or believer in a variantly conceptualized higher spiritual power, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of benevolent Palestinian soul Razan al-Najjar – and Israel’s despicable, intentional attempt to achieve a covertly engineered propaganda “victory” afterward – meet any generally recognized human definitions of sin.

In loving memory of Razan al-Najjar (1997-2018)

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(Thank you to RT America – YouTube)

 

An Interview Of James Boswell.

By Jerry Alatalo

r. James Boswell, editor at wall of controversy here on WordPress, has kindly agreed to accept an invitation to take part in our recently initiated interview series. Mr. Boswell is the 9th person thus far to generously share their perceptions in response to five fundamental questions we pose by way of an interview format. His distinct and remarkable set of insights builds upon, and shares the qualitative aspect with, those eight men and women preceding him in the series: that of provoking deeper, broader, and creative thinking on the varied ways human beings have perceived life on Earth.

Thank you James Boswell for sharing your unique and valuable perceptions, found in the following words.

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Question 1: What was your primary motivation for entering the world of blogging – the internet?

The brief answer is that after years of insouciance following the end of the Cold War, I had a rude awakening upon realising where we were actually heading: the perpetual wars, the rise in surveillance, the hardening of the police state, allied to a correspondent immiseration of our already fractured and terribly unequal Western societies. After the initial trauma (trauma is really no exaggeration), I felt the need to speak out and the internet provided a platform. This is half of the story.

The other half is that I had been in the midst of writing a book when a friend suggested posting up chapters by way of a blog. Purely as a test run we set up a WordPress website and uploaded a short travelogue about my adventures in Tanzania. I kept the travelogue and began adding articles about current affairs and this is how the blog steadily evolved. Eight years on, the book (a quirky, stream-of-consciousness treatise on life, the universe and making things better!) remains a work in progress, and though some of its chapters have since been uploaded, I devoted my spare time instead to expanding the main content of the blog, which is journalistic, since this seemed a far more urgent project.

Question 2: How would you describe yourself with regard to spirituality?

Throughout most of my youth I was an ardent atheist. At university I studied physics and this early venture into hard science was no doubt an unconscious bid to prove the solid existential truth of a godless and soulless universe. It never occurred to me there might be viable alternatives to the bleak materialist worldview I had embraced. Metaphysics, I once joked (playing on a line from John Lennon), was just Greek for codswallop. But jokes of this kind were lame attempts to laugh off an unspoken dread.

Although belief in secular materialism (and it is a belief) means contemplation of the abyss, this seemingly courageous act deliberately avoids a worse terror waiting patiently beneath in the form of more astonishing depths of an ultimately unknowable unknown. After all, it is not the lack of light that makes anyone afraid of the dark, but what might be lurking unseen. And so, as with any adopted religious creed, atheism provided me with solace by chasing the darkness away. Yet this felt like a cheat, because it is one. The fact is that all suppositions of ultimate truth – whether comparatively sophisticated or otherwise – obstruct your worldview and cloud your judgment.

Spirituality is a funny word, however, and claiming to be “a spiritual person” always sounds a bit naff to me. What it means, I think, is that you have a religious longing (a god-shaped hole) but that religion has such a diabolical reputation, justifiably so, that you need to distance yourself from anything so moralising, so authoritarian, and so drenched in superstition. All these aspects of orthodox religion I detest of course and also find similar self-righteousness lingering in so many corners of the self-declared “new age” along with bountiful helpings of alternative mumbo jumbo.

Nevertheless, these days I am happier to say I am ‘spiritual’ (or even ‘religious’ – why should labels matter much?) if only because I no longer cling to the reductionist dogmas of scientific materialism. It is perhaps truer to say I’m a confessed agnostic! Appreciation of the wonder of life and the wider mystery of existence is more straightforward once the limits to human comprehension are firmly acknowledged. I might even venture so far as to say that I have a modicum of faith, but faith in what exactly?

This is such a huge and involved question that I am tempted to stop there. The greater half of the world’s finest literature devotes itself to matters of this kind, and effing the ineffable is the province of the great poets and other artists. But I will add just one last (albeit extended) point about an often overlooked aspect of ‘spirituality’ and how it relates to self-awareness.

Most of us go about our daily lives thoughtlessly presuming we possess autonomous free will. We presume indeed that all humans and possibly other creatures possess the same freedom to think and act at will. That is, we ordinarily presume we are not total zombies. This is an everyday act of faith. It is also the root to anything we might ever describe as ‘spirituality’.

Science sidelines free will as ‘a perception’; as if it doesn’t actually exist. Hard-boiled scientism goes so far as to actually deny the possibility of free will outright. Yet those who solemnly subscribe to this surprising opinion do not refrain from casting their own moral judgements. They congratulate, chastise and even punish behaviour (their own included) that is purportedly predetermined – I suppose praise and punishment do aid in the reprogramming of future behaviour!

The point is that we overlook many such minor everyday miracles. A whole gaggle of academic disciplines, taking their lead from science (which merely ignores the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness out of convenience), will tie themselves in knots by rejecting its priority. Surely it makes far better sense to celebrate consciousness and free will. Consciousness is the most blatantly obvious faculty distinguishing human beings from viruses, bricks and plastic waste. (Being merely “a carbon-based life form” just doesn’t cut the mustard!)

Without consciousness there would be no science; no world that is ever experienced. And being free agents makes us the architects of our own destinies. It also means accepting responsibility for what we do and don’t do. The Golden Rule is its unavoidable corollary. But then without kindness and respect for fellow creatures, claims to being “a spiritual person” are very hollow ones in any case. When the poet Philip Larkin realised he had accidentally killed a hedgehog after mowing the lawn he wrote “Of each other, we should be kind/ While there is still time.” In one sense there is nothing more spiritual than Larkin’s heartfelt sentiment.

So I suppose the problem with lofty words like ‘spirituality’ is that they have a tendency distract us. They carry us outwards toward the heavens or else inwards to contemplate our navels and this rather misses the point. The point itself is eternally here and now and often deceptively mundane.

Question 3: What were some of the most memorable transforming points across the years (world events, books, personal contacts, mystical experiences, etc.) in the developing of your current spiritual perspective?

Some of this background is already told above although I have forgotten to mention how my doubts about secular materialism were first seeded by two very close undergraduate friends; one of whom today works as a professor at CERN. Although both are physicists too, these friends are also Christians of different Protestant denominations. The coup de grace, however, came a little later, and mostly thanks to a poet and self-described pagan anarchist who I met as a postgraduate, and who introduced me to the joys of reading as well as to completely unfamiliar modes of thinking and being.

We soon embarked on a sort of spiritual journey together, which happened for many reasons, not least of which my friend’s scholarly interest in Jung and his consonant fascination with dreams. Regarding shared adventures, the term ‘mystical’ is befitting of more than a few occasions, the lasting effect of these remarkable experiences greatly amplified by a growing interest in literature on the subject. The strange collision of otherwise tangential life trajectories has always seemed fated to me. The friendship remains a cherished one.

It is a terrible cliché to include Aldous Huxley among any list of authors who helped to shape one’s spiritual outlook, but I must add his name because for a decade at least I read his works over and over. Later I became obsessed with Alan Watts (another cliché!). In between I began reading some of the canonical texts of the non-Abrahamic faiths and eastern philosophies. The traditional writings that still inspire me today are mostly those from Daoism and Zen Buddhist (sorry to be so predictable). Other significant influences include the poetry of Blake and Eliot; the visionary films of Tarkovsky; and more philosophical works such as, for instance, a lesser known book by psychologist and pragmatist philosopher, William James, titled “The Varieties of Religious Experience”. In this book, James distils the most concise and straightforward account of why atheism is unsatisfactory that I have read. His great advantage is that he writes as a genuine agnostic.

Question 4: What is your greatest wish for readers as a consequence after reading and considering your writings?

As a writer, the prime motivation is always a hope somehow to impel readers to think new thoughts. On the blog, where writing is largely journalistic, my general aim is simply to correct widespread falsehoods and to challenge received opinion, whether by appealing to reason or to the reader’s conscience. In fact the strapline to my website is “the other side of the story” and this is what I have consistently tried to present whilst taking pains to ensure that all stated facts are established ones and these are comprehensively referenced. The MSM generally misleads the public by omission more than anything else and so one of my lasting objectives has been to join up the dots from mainstream sources.

I am entirely candid about my own leftist political persuasion although very often I hope to write for people who have a different political outlook from my own. Party political conversion has never been a conscious aim, but it would be disingenuous to deny any wish to shift the readers’ political awareness in more fundamental ways. And it is nice to think that a few visitors to my site will take as much trouble considering why they disagree with me or else chasing down relevant facts that contradict the ones supporting my argument, as I did when writing it. Polite comments are always gratefully received even if I don’t reply.

Question 5: Can you offer any advice to people having a difficult time dealing with government and media lies, especially as it pertains to so many average citizens who hold erroneous perceptions on important events and situations around the Earth?

Aldous Huxley was fond of imagining that rather than windows open to the world, our senses instead operated as filters that narrowed the bandwidth on what we might perceive. I remain unsure of whether this notion carries much validity even in the mystical sense he intended, but it certainly provides an elegant metaphor for the role of the media, which ought to be society’s eyes and ears but instead provides a valve that inhibits the flow of too much dangerous information. This should not surprise us. After all the press isn’t free but bought and paid for a thousand times (to quote Gore Vidal). And the internet, once a refuge for genuinely independent journalism, is now undergoing a rapid shutdown as I write this. The gatekeepers on this occasion are the tech giants. For all its faults (the propaganda, misinformation and blind hatred that will always be the greater part of any truly open media platform) we should organise to save net neutrality before the internet becomes nothing more than a vast shopping mall and surveillance hub.

More personally, as my own worldview split away from the permitted mainstream narrative, I found that the instinctual refusal to let matters rest was having detrimental effects on my happiness and even my health. Not only was this leading me into a pit of my own despair but I was suddenly falling out with family and friends, and, as this vicious circle intensified, I felt more isolated and disempowered than ever. The blog turned out to be a godsend. It provided an invaluable outlet for expressing otherwise pent up fear and rage. Perhaps more curiously, the process of writing was enabling me to better handle my justified anxieties about the future. Trite as it sounds: action can indeed conquer fear.

One answer to your question therefore, maybe the most direct advice I can offer for anyone struggling on a psychological level, is to engage more directly in the fight against your oppressors. Participate actively in a pressure group for a cause you wholeheartedly believe in. Or organise a new campaign group. Meanwhile, those of us who are happier sat behind a desk might use this small and tightening window of opportunity provided by the internet to get our message out. Importantly, it is not that one person’s actions will change the world (of course to some degree all actions do), but that you are able to find a way to stop the world adversely changing you.

One last thought is this: if after scrupulous research, certain of the facts (facts you have independently verified so far as possible), you arrive at a position that is in direct contradiction to received mainstream opinion, it is better not to use your new found knowledge to assail unwitting opponents. The temptation to spread the message can be a forceful one, and the sense of urgency is often extreme. But it is disrespectful to force unpalatable truths on people ill-prepared to receive them. Rattling their cage will not release them from it. On the other hand, when challenged on the matter in question we should always try to hold firm to the facts. “When the truth is replaced by silence,” wrote the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” I thank John Pilger for providing the quote, the finest investigative journalist alive today.

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Thank you again, James Boswell. Peace.