“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Battle of Dan-no-ura & Hōichi the Earless

This is one of the most fantastic sequences in the history of motion pictures, from the film Kwaidan (1964), the segment entitled "Hoichi the Earless" depicting the opening story of the Battle of Dan-no-ura: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsxo3pFpBYI

This is an exceptional traditional performance of the song (once you get past the obnoxious "host" at the beginning), played on the biwa:



From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dan-no-ura

The battle of Dan-no-ura (壇ノ浦の戦い, Dan-no-ura no tatakai?) was a major sea battle of the Genpei War, occurring at Dan-no-ura, in the Shimonoseki Strait off the southern tip of Honshū. On April 25, 1185, the Genji (Minamoto) clan fleet, led by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, defeated the Heike (Taira) clan fleet, during a half-day engagement.

The Taira were outnumbered, but some sources say that they had the advantage over the Minamoto in understanding the tides of that particular area, as well as naval combat tactics in general. The Taira split their fleet into three squadrons, while their enemy arrived en masse, their ships abreast, and archers ready. The beginning of the battle consisted mainly of a long-range archery exchange, before the Taira took the initiative, using the tides to help them try to surround the enemy ships. They engaged the Minamoto, and the archery from a distance eventually gave way to hand-to-hand combat with swords and daggers after the crews of the ships boarded each other. However, the tide changed, and the advantage was given back to the Minamoto.

One of the crucial factors that allowed the Minamoto to win the battle was that a Taira general by the name of Taguchi Shigeyoshi defected, and revealed to the Minamoto which ship the six-year-old Emperor Antoku was on. Their archers turned their attention to the helmsmen and rowers of the Emperor's ship, as well as the rest of their enemy's fleet, sending their ships out of control. Many of the Taira warriors, as they saw the battle turn against them, threw themselves overboard, committing suicide rather than having to face defeat at the hands of the Minamoto. Among those who perished this way were Antoku and his grandmother, the widow of Taira no Kiyomori, head of the clan. To this day, the Heike Crabs found in the Straits of Shimonoseki are considered by the Japanese to hold the spirits of the Taira warriors.

The Taira attempted to toss the crown jewels off the ship but only managed to get the sword and mirror into the water before the ship holding the jewels was captured. The mirror was recovered by divers; many presume the sword to have been lost at this time, though it is officially said to have been recovered and enshrined at Atsuta Shrine.

This decisive defeat of the Taira forces led to the end of the Taira bid for control of Japan. Minamoto Yoritomo, the elder half-brother of Minamoto Yoshitsune, became the first Shogun, establishing his military government ('bakufu') in Kamakura.

In 1965 a dramatized version of the battle appeared as part of the movie Kwaidan.

In his book and television series Cosmos, Carl Sagan presents a brief, dramatic account of the battle in chapter/episode 2; "One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue". Sagan then uses the Heike crabs as examples of artificial selection.

In the Japanese remake of the Spaghetti Western movie, Django, Sukiyaki Western: Django, this battle has a main focus within the plot.

The battle is also recounted near the beginning of the Usagi Yojimbo story arc, Grasscutter.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoichi_the_Earless

Hōichi the Earless (耳なし芳一 Mimi-nashi Hōichi) is a character from Japanese mythology. His story is well-known in Japan, and the best-known English translation first appeared in the book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn.

A version of this story appears in the film Kwaidan, as well as the play The Dream of a Summer Day, which are both based on Hearn's work. Hoichi the Earless is closely associated with Akama Shrine in Shimonoseki, as his story takes place at the Buddhist temple Amidaji, which preceded the shrine before Shintō became the state religion of Japan.

According to legend, Hoichi was a blind minstrel (or biwa hoshi) with amazing gifts for the biwa (a loquat-shaped Japanese lute). He was particularly good at performing the Tale of the Heike, an epic describing the fall of Emperor Antoku, who is buried at Amidaji Temple. His performances were so wonderful that "even the goblins could not refrain from tears." Despite his talents, Hoichi was very poor and was forced to live at Amidaji Temple with a friendly priest.

As the story goes, Hoichi was approached late one night by a gruff samurai who demanded that the minstrel play for his lord. The retainer led the blind Hoichi into what appeared to be the home of some powerful nobleman, where a performance of the Tale of the Heike was requested. Hoichi's performance was met by high praise and moved his audience to tears, and he was asked to return the next evening for a follow-up recital. Before the retainer returned him to his temple, Hoichi was told that the nobleman for whom he had been playing was traveling incognito, and was warned not to speak of the evening's events.

The following evening, the samurai returned to Hoichi's quarters and led him back to the nobleman. However, this time Hoichi's absence was discovered by his friend, the priest of Amidaji Temple. The priest grew suspicious and instructed his servants to look after Hoichi the next night. When they saw him leaving the temple the servants gave chase and eventually found Hoichi playing his biwa furiously in the middle of the Amidaji cemetery. When they dragged him back to the temple, Hoichi explained the previous night's events to the priest.

Realizing that Hoichi had been bewitched by ghosts, the priest vowed to save his friend from further trickery. He painted Hoichi's body with the text of a holy sutra (specifically, the Smaller Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra) and instructed him to remain silent and motionless when he is called upon by his ghostly audience. That evening the samurai called for Hoichi as before, and was angered when he received no response. The ghostly samurai approached Hoichi but was unable to see anything but his ears. The holy sutra had rendered the rest of Hoichi's body invisible to the retainer. Attempting to comply with his orders, the samurai ripped Hoichi's ears off as proof that they had been the only portion of the lute player that was available.

After the ghostly retainer had left, Hoichi was still too frightened to react, despite the blood gushing from the wounds on his head. When the priest returned, he realized in dismay that he had neglected to write the sutra on Hoichi's ears, which had left them vulnerable to the spirit. Despite his injury, Hoichi's ordeal had freed him from the spirit's power, and he went on to recover from his wounds and become a famous musician.

More Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaidan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwaidan:_Stories_and_Studies_of_Strange_Things
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwaidan_(film)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058279/
http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kwaidan/kwai03.htm
http://cruises.about.com/library/pictures/japan/blshimonoseki15.htm

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Survival Kits

A good collection of information:
http://www.equippedtosurvive.com/disastertoc.htm

Basic 72 Hour Emergency Kit Just the essentials you need to maintain yourself for up to three days until normal services are available.
Don't Forget The... We all know the usual drill about boarding up and stockpiling food and water and batteries and, better, getting the hell out of Dodge, but there is one thing that so very many folks tragically forget in preparing for a natural disaster.
Primary Disaster Preparedness Kits An extensive listing of equipment and supplies to meet any natural or man-made short term disaster
Automobile Disaster Preparedness Kit Recommended equipment and supplies to carry in your automobile.
An MD's Report From Ground Zero Michael Karch, MD, took it upon himself to rush to Ground Zero on 9/11. His narrative provides lessons for anyone who might find themselves in the midst of a major disaster.
On Your Own "Don't Leave Home Without It" equipment so you're never without the basics
Doug's Mini Survival Kit Doug Ritter shows how he assembled his personal Mini Survival Kit
Personal/Pocket Survival Kit Reviews Evaluations of commercially prepared mini survival kits
An Assessment of the Biological Weapons Threat to the United States A white paper by Milton Leitenberg originally presented in 2000

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bugging Out - Theory and Practice

Excellent article from one of my favorite survivalist websites: http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/blogs/klessons/p/0004.html

_______________________________________________
Bugging Out - Theory and Practice

bug out, Slang. to flee in panic; show panic or alarm.

The Theory of 'bugging out' as it is known to survivalists is really quite simple. When SHTF, hop into your large, fueled, well stocked (and preferably armored) BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) that you keep ready at all times in your indoor garage and drive to your BOL (Bug Out Location). Your BOL is some place safe - preferably deep in the mountains where you have a second, strategically placed, fortified house full of every conceivable necessity to last a lifetime which is surrounded by walls and a moat full of laser guided robot sharks.

Now that I have actually done the bug out thing for real, I'm here to tell you that the actual Practice of 'bugging out' sucks. I'm not talking about Tootsie-Roll-Tootsie-Pop sucking either. Bugging out sucks the big one...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start from The Plan, and go from there.

When disaster strikes, there are two - and only two - options. You can either stay in your home, or you can leave. Sometimes you will have no option, however. If the house is on fire, you're gonna need to leave. If the streets are clogged with angry, rioting circus clowns, you're gonna have to stay home. In either event, you need to be prepared for either of those two eventualities. While I'd prefer to skip all this and go right to the derring-do tales of armed resistance against hordes of bloodthirsty looters, the mundane truth is that you win or lose the disaster survival game before the disaster even gets close. If you have prepared to 'win', then win you will. If you don't prepare at all, then you have to roll the dice like everybody else who watched Oprah reruns when they should have been developing The Plan.

Survival is NOT a kit, but it helps to have a few things together. The very first thing to think about is The Plan. What are *you* going to do to make sure that *you* don't end up in a place like the Louisiana Superdome or New Orleans Convention Center after a major disaster? Believe it or not, it doesn't take a lot of money or a lot of time to be ready for many eventualities. Developing The Plan doesn't have to cost you anything. It can be free. If you can't afford free, then you need to switch careers.

The Plan

You should establish with your family The Plan. Every family should already have a Fire Escape Plan, and what I call The Plan just has a broader scope. The Plan should be written down on paper and kept in an obvious location - like on the refrigerator. If you have polite company coming for dinner, you can shove it in a kitchen drawer or something until they leave. You will actually have two plans, but I'm going to talk about the bug-out plans first, because if you have the bug-out plans in place, then we can use those as a foundation for the stay-home (bug-in) plans.

While some people make bugging out sound like an easy extended vacation, the actual practice is rather serious - which is why it is important to have The Plan well thought out on three pages of paper.

Page 1 - ESCAPE PLAN ALPHA, also known as the 60 Second plan. The 60 Second plan is just that. You will be out of the house in 60 seconds. There are all kinds of possible needs for that. Perhaps the house is on fire. Perhaps there is some kind of terrorist attack. Perhaps a tornado approaches. Perhaps a foreign power is invading your town. Perhaps alien space ships have landed in the next block. Perhaps your mother-in-law called, but she's two miles away and if you hurry you can miss her. Whatever. If you play, "Why?", games with yourself, you'll only waste time. The point is that you need to have the ability to get out of your house in 60 seconds and drive away. You will attain some clarity on this if you stand naked in the middle of your living room and think to yourself, "OK, I am going to leave this house in 60 seconds or less and I am never going to return to it." What do you grab?

This is not an evacuation. This is an escape. You are fleeing for your very lives. Your spouse and children need to be on the ball too. If they want to know how many stuffed animals they can pack, the answer should always be zero. Children shouldn't be doing anything but going to the car and putting on their seat belts in anticipation that you will drive off without them if they aren't there. (Well, you wouldn't, but they shouldn't know that - it insures that they are where they need to be when you are ready to drive.) Older kids and teenagers should have some reasonable role in either evacuating younger children or some other responsibility. I am of the opinion that most pets should be left behind, but many people will call me a soulless monster for that opinion. YMMV.

For folks rich, lucky, or crazy enough to devote the significant material wealth to keep a school bus packed with supplies and essentials in the garage, this exercise is somewhat boring. Most of us though, will never win this game and make it out of the house in 60 seconds if we haven't done some serious prior planning. I'll go into the actual planning in later pages. Right now I just want to invite you to consider that having such plans is important.

Page 2 - ESCAPE PLAN BETA, also known as the 1 hour plan. For whatever theoretical reason, you are standing in the middle of your living room in nothing but a sombrero when the need arises for you to 'get out of Dodge' quickly. You are in no immediate danger, but you have to leave the area and you may never return. The 1 hour plan involves less rushing about, swearing, and general panic. You still need to consider those things that you need to take with you, and those things that you need to do to secure your property.

Page 3 - ESCAPE PLAN GREEK ALPHABET LETTER THAT COMES AFTER BETA, also known as the 12 hour plan. You can see some danger - like a hurricane - coming a long way off. You have time to pack the car, secure the house, maybe have a nap, and then drive out. You are standing in the middle of your living room in your sombrero, drinking Thai iced tea when you are suddenly struck by the notion that you should leave in a few hours for a long vacation from which you may or may not return.

After the escape plans, there is an evacuation plan. Most people in most parts of the country will not really need this one, but for those persons who live in areas affected by hurricanes, we have the Hurricane Evacuation Plan. This starts about five days out. The NOAA issues a hurricane watch, and you start thinking about what you need to do to get the house ready to go. You put all the potted plants in the garage, you board up the windows, and you have a lot of time to think about whether or not you are going to evacuate or if you will take the chance that the storm will miss you or that it won't be that bad.

These are plans that I have always known about, and for which I have usually been ready. For some stupid reason, though, despite years of strategic thinking, I was caught with my pants down when Katrina rolled into the Gulf of Mexico. Andrea and I had been reworking our hurricane preparedness plan, and things kind of fell apart the prior year and we didn't do anything about it. (LAZY PEOPLE DO NOT PROSPER!) All my preparations are mostly made around staying in the house. That was an idea that wasn't viable any more, however, because Virginia was 5, and Madeline was only three months old. I had a duty to take them out of harm's way. Having two young children who need a bunch of stuff to come with them doesn't simplify the escape and evacuation plans. In fact, even just one child complicates things.

All of these plans require similar components. The primary component is that you actually escape whatever it is that you are trying to escape. The second most important component is to escape with your Life, Health, and a significant portion of your Wealth. The third component is to have some place to escape to - and you should know the location without having to think about it. When you escape a fire, have some place to meet outside the home. At the mailbox or at the neighbor's house, for instance. If you are escaping the region, have a place to go no matter what direction you travel. Some people buy homes and property in remote areas for this purpose, but I don't have those kinds of financial resources. We were very lucky in that we had family in Houston, Texas that had the space in their home and the space in their hearts to take us in. If you have escaped, that's all you really need. All four of us slept in one small bedroom, and we were very thankful to be so well accommodated. If you are so inclined, camping could be a part of your escape plan. I always liked that idea, personally. The problem is that all the campgrounds filled up really fast...which brings me to the next part of this long winded piece...

Bugging out sucks. If 'sucks' is a little vague, then let me just say that bugging out is a wonderful theory that works out less than optimally in actual practice, to the point of being a very bad option in many circumstances. Large scale evacuations generally turn into unworkable nightmares quickly. People put every conceivable POS car on the road, and breakdowns are common which further complicates the traffic situation. Given the size and timescale of the evacuation of south-eastern Louisiana prior to Katrina's landfall, it was carried off very well by all involved. Unfortunately, just a few weeks later...

***

Thousands Fleeing Rita Jam Roads From Coast Evacuation Is Ordered as Hurricane Veers Eastward

By Blaine Harden and Sylvia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 23, 2005; Page A01

GALVESTON, Tex., Sept. 22 -- As they joined a vast, traffic-snarled exodus from Houston and the upper Texas Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Hurricane Rita were stuck in their cars throughout much of Thursday, with many running out of gas and sweltering on roadsides in 100-degree heat as they waited for authorities to bring them gasoline.

***

OK... Does anybody here think it's good planning to be stuck in your car in 100-degree heat waiting on the government to bring you gasoline? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Hmmm... No, I didn't think so... Now, I know you just glossed over that piece, so I want to draw you back to it. Read it again. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. Gads...

Most roads leading into and out of major cities aren't designed for large scale evacuations. Hurricane evacuations are somewhat better because the evacuation can be coordinated over a longer time period. Those closest to the danger can escape first, and critical areas cleared in advance. Unfortunately, if there is some sudden disaster, terrorist attack, or zombie uprising, the roads will quickly be clogged with people fleeing for their lives. If you can't put your 60 second plan into immediate effect and get out before the roads clog, you are going to be sitting in traffic with thousands of panicking people.

Putting your 60 second plan into effect while you are at home with your family is one thing. Putting your plan into effect while you are at work, your kids are in school, and your wife is at the salon is a multi-level nightmare of epic proportions. Even thinking about it for a few minutes will give you that 'Holy Shit!' feeling.

So, what is a practical person to do in such a circumstance? Over the next few pages, I'm going to tell you about my plans, and hopefully give you some things to consider when you are making your own plans.

The escape plans you formulate for your family all involve several phases. If you follow the steps I detail, you will eventually find yourself meeting the primary criteria of all escape plans which is:

HAVE YOUR SHIT TOGETHER BEFORE IT HITS THE FAN!

If you are starting from scratch, this will be your mantra for the next few weeks.