Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ogres, Onions, and Lay Gnosis

Talking about lay gnosis with a friend today reminded me of that funny moment in the movie Shrek(1) where Shrek and Donkey are walking through a field and the ogre is trying to explain how his species is so misunderstood:

"Ogres are like onions.."
"What- they're stinky?"
"NO! Layers! Ogres have layers!!"

Layers abound in gnosis. Lay gnosis peels back those layers faster and in deeper ways than pure "academic" gnosis ever can.

Kinda like ripping off a band-aid really fast. But more infinitely more enjoyable!

Practitioners of lay gnosis connect more fully, I think, with one another because we have learned to live with the extraordinary occurring so frequently in our everyday lives that ... it becomes normal. Being serenaded with music, bells, and other instruments by Pleroma, given metaphysical "hugs" and the like are all normal with us. As is being guided through dreamscapes which have us waking up either laughing or crying in joy or sorrow. Emotions are magnified one hundred fold, and yet so is the comprehension.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Corporate Watch Organizations

This is a link which has been added to the Human Rights Sites & Organizations section of the blog. In doing research on the pharmaceutical company Pfizer I tripped across this organization and the articles are stunning. Wikileaks has links to it as well.

The chronic pain ailment I live with is confusing enough to live with on a daily basis. Add in doctors and all the expensive medications they push at me and I think I damn near went nuts the first year trying to figure it all out. I was spending upwards of $350 a month on meds which were making me feel worse. I couldn't even walk down stairs in my house without passing out from vertigo. Couldn't cook for myself because I left the burners on and nearly burned the house down. My husband was terrified to leave me at home by myself to go to work. He still calls me three times a day to make sure I'm ok. Habits like that are hard to break, I guess.

The main medication I am on now which does me the most good and keeps me functional is, get this--- over-the counter! not a script at all. I can purchase it at any pharmacy section of a store. It is a natural powdered extract of a tree which has been pressed into pill form. Wow. How 'bout that? Big Pharma lost out on ripping me off because I find better treatment in what Mother Nature offers.

Every time I see an advertisement for the meds I was originally put on in the beginning I feel the impulse to throw something heavy and damaging at my television. The actresses they hire for the ads can't even pronounce the illness correctly for crying outloud!

In researching my own illness and medications I have been thrust down into a rabbit hole and seen such unimaginable depths of depravity it's hard to describe. I know more than my doctor about my illness and the dangerous effects of medications he's pushed at other patients of his, not knowing any better.

After every appointment I walk out of his office feeling both lighter and freer but at the same time more depressed at the state of things. Our lives are worth more to corporate monsters if we are suffering than if we are living happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

I'm currently researching a particular large organization and their illegal insertions of ingredients into vaccines(like the tetanus) which sterilizes the people who are given the vaccines. These ingredients have even been found in the swine flu vaccines, particularly the nasal spray given to children. Mass sterilizations are happening right under our noses.

I only wonder how much longer it'll be before Wikileaks founder is hunted down and finally killed by our government.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Your Journey

Dolores O'Riordan does it again! Such a political beastie, she is. And not scared to open up and scream it like it is.

From the newest album of The Cranberries, here is the song
Your Journey. Embedding was disabled, otherwise I'd show you right here on the blog. It's stunning. Scenes from the rocky coasts of Ireland.

When I was weak we both went walking on the sand

We were walking hand in hand in appeared

Once set our footprints when you carried me along

It was then that abandoned my fears....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why Gnostics Ask Why

To atheists, agnostics, general malcontents, and the curious public who ask questions about gnosticism I offer you this condensed explanation of why gnostics have been so misunderstood, hated, and martyred throughout human history:

"To question all things; - never to turn away from any difficulty; to accept no doctrine either from ourselves or from other people without a rigid scrutiny by negative criticism; letting no fallacy, no incoherence, or confusion of thought step by unperceived; above all to insist upon having the meaning of a word clearly understood before using it. and the meaning of a proposition before assenting to it; - these are the lessons we learn from the ancient dialecticians."

John Stuart Mill,
Inaugural address as Rector, University of St. Andrews
February 1st, 1867

Once we graduate from infancy and realize our potential, asking why isn't terrifying. It is a somber expression of our status as an adult human being. And we have every right to receive an answer.

Being content with the holey-as-Swiss-cheese doctrine of literalist faith means that we have allowed others to think for us. Where is the mystery? Why is it that others have asked and supposedly received answers and we are not allowed to ask our own questions? What, then, is the meaning of OUR life?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Age Of The Earth & Religious Uproar

Young Earth Creationists rejoice!! For you have a momentous new task before you- find another scripture(or reinterpret a previously recycled idea) which can explain away an entire mountain range island which points out that scientists' theory concerning the age of our planet is correct.

It has been immensely entertaining watching the emotional fireworks show in the comment area. I've listed a few of the more interesting comments below, after the article.

Chunk of Original Earth Found
Pocket of rock survived 4.5 billion years without being mixed by plate tectonics

By Larry O'Hanlon
updated 8/11/2010 1:59:20 PM ET

Imagine you suddenly discovered part of your umbilical cord was still attached. Scientists just did that for the planet Earth. What's been found is a clear sign that beneath the crust in northern Canada there is a chunk of pristine, undisturbed rock from the time when Earth was nothing but molten rock.

The evidence comes in the form of lava rocks that, themselves, are a mere 60 million years old. But these rocks contain an early Earth mixture of helium, lead and neodymium isotopes which suggest the mantle rock beneath the crust that yielded them is a virgin pocket of Earth's original material.

That pocket had survived for 4.5 billion years under Baffin Island without being mixed by plate tectonics or erupted onto the surface.

"I was surprised that any of the (original) mantle survived," said geoscientist Matthew Jackson of Boston University. He is the lead author on a paper announcing the discovery in this week's issue of the journal Nature. "Finding a piece of the original mantle has been a holy grail. The original Earth was a big ball of magma. That's our (planet's) original composition."

The discovery has surprised other researchers as well.

"Even if a vestige of such material remained, it seems unlikely that it would be found in any samples from Earth's surface or the shallow subsurface that are available to geologists," observed David Graham of Oregon State University in Corvallis, who wrote a commentary in the same issue of Nature. "Yet that is what (this) new evidence suggests."

One of the obstacles in finding rocks from such ancient mantle, up to now, has been that researchers had assumed an early Earth was composed of rocks with helium and lead isotope matching those of a type of ancient meteorite called a chondrite.

That may be true up to a point, said Jackson. Some recent research by scientists at the Carnegie Institution of Washington has suggested that the Earth's early mantle would also have tell-tale neodymium isotopes that are unlike chondrites.

"That turns out to be the same as we find in these lavas (from Baffin Island)," said Jackson.

The other signs of untouched ancient mantle material -- which has not before lost any of its material to Earth's surface or been otherwise tainted -- is large amount of the isotopes helium-3 relative to helium-4. There is also an very old lead-isotope signature. It was these three criteria -- the helium, lead and neodymium -- that led Jackson and his team to the conclusion Baffin Islands massive volcanic cliffs are made of the oldest material on the planet.

As for how much of this original mantle might be around, the only way to tell is to look at lava rocks and see if they came from such stuff, said Jackson.

"We have no idea how common it might be," Jackson told Discovery News. Models suggest that up to 10 percent of the early mantle might still be around. But the new discovery could change those models and their predictions. "It turns everything on its head."


A commenter named "Mekinism" has been wonderfully instructive in the YEC perspective.

"Science doesn't 'prove' anything. Science is a tool used by humans to interpret facts."

"i've been seeing these atheist (and yes humanism is a religion) scientists publishing more and more 'big stories' lately. They have to stick with what the know still works these days - evolution/billions of years. They go on and and on about 'the facts' with the same old logical fallacies about how 'science has proved' something. If you start with the old concepts of uniformitarianism and no catastrophic events - you'll get your billions of years. If you start with a literal, straight reading of the Bible - you'll get around 6000 - and yes, the same 'facts' will back it up."

"apollyon - very true - science is science - so why does science try to answer a history question when it comes to origins? there is absolutely no way to empirically test the age of a basalt flow without making a LOT of assumptions. In this case - assumptions rooted in atheism.

The consistant Christian has the inerrant Word of God as his starting point and views the facts from that standpoint."

Oh no, "Pbarb" caught onto the fact that this YEC'er believes science is encumbered with too many atheists and not enough literalist Christians!!!! He/she said:

"Science doesn't make assumptions based on atheism (as you stated, Mekinism). To state you can only look at facts through "humanistic or biblical glasses" shows your bias, as if the Christianity is the only religion out there. And then to state that conclusions made through those lenses have just as much basis in fact is just ridiculous. For example, a conclusion made through "biblical glasses" evolution can not have occurred since God created man and animals. This is obviously not the case, and if you feel otherwise then there is probably no point in arguing. Science is ideally unbiased, but when assumptions have to be made they are based on logic and knowledge, nothing else."
Mekinism comes back with:

"I also didn't say that science makes atheistic assumptions - i said it's a tool - that if one believes there is no God - their findings will reflect that. If one starts from the Bible - then it shows something else -"

Exactly. Starting from the Bible makes absolute sense!!! .... for about ten minutes. Then you remember that the Earth isn't flat and the sun doesn't revolve around the Earth.

Mekinism finishes off that cringe-worthy statement with something I wanted to crawl under the table and hide from, it was so forehead-slappable.

"as for Christianity being the "only religion out there" i'm just standing on the Bibles own claim to being the infallible Word of God."

If you didn't cry in abject horror of that circular logic go back and reread the sentence.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Concept

Been dealing with a migraine since late last night. So for around 24 hours now I've had a stabbing pain going straight through the tear duct of my left eye and into my brain. Marvelous feeling, I tell you. One good thing that's come out of this is that my time has been well spent- resting!

During bedrest I've had quite a day conversing and communing with Pleroma. Quirky little snippets and flashes. Soothing. Then irritating because I didn't have enough energy to get up and grab my notebook to write stuff in. So I resigned myself to relaxing and drowsily enjoying the company. Quite a nice siesta, honestly. The most pleasant migraine I've ever had. lol

Now that I'm feeling good enough to be vertical once more I decided to relay a dream I had. It repeated in a fuzzier quality a few times before stopping completely. What I mean is that I'd wake up from it and lay awake for a few hours and then when I fell into a drowsy state once again it'd repeat.

Recall a while back where I mentioned a motif trend in gnostic dreams and landscapes? This dream fits into that same category. The landscape of this dream stands out vividly- it was the female barracks I lived in during Basic Training. (I washed out during training due to injuries. I'm dreaming of the barracks I lived in BEFORE I went to the physical therapy unit and discharged.)

So everyone was asleep. Fifty something females up in their bunks, dead to the world. I was on night guard but instead of sitting at a table by the door like normal, I was sitting at a piano.

I stretched the right side of my body forward and rested my right arm on the top of the piano and lay my head in the crook of my elbow, looking down at the keys. I played with my left hand, which is bizarre in itself because I'm mostly right handed. I played a very simple mid-toned tune over and over again. It was like, half of the tune, because I didn't have both hands on the keys. Somebody leaned over my shoulder and said, "you've almost got it."

I could feel the vibration of the chords through my chest and arms.

It was ten minutes before everyone was due to wake up. That same voice standing over me said, "Not yet. It's not time. You'll wake them up early." But I played anyway because the music wanted to come out through my fingers. So I played the same tune over and over again.... and then woke up from the dream when the lights came on in the barracks.

Took me nearly an hour to track down the song. The Cranberries have a quite a few albums and I had to listen to a minute or so of each song before I could rule it out. I could hear the words in my head but it didn't occur to me precisely which song it was because it didn't really appeal to me when I first heard it years ago. Now the opposite is true. I can't get it out of my head. And today that's not a bad thing. I need all the soothing I can get because my eyes still hurt so badly from the migraine.

Anyway, here's the song. "The Concept" by the Cranberries from their album Wake Up And Smell The Coffee. The chorus is the bit which keeps repeating in my mind from Pleroma as a gentle hug. Very appreciated. Lyrics are down below.

Come here, my lover
Something's on your mind
Listen to no other
They could be unkind

Hold on to the concept of love, always
Hold on to the concept of love, always

Take life between us
Live it like we choose
They'll never see us
I will hear you call

Hold on to the concept of love, always
Hold on to the concept of love, always

Night all night all night

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pleroma Showing His Love In Nature

This is one of my favorite vids by Crank that volume up and I guarantee by the time you get to the puppy pic you'll be grinning and your heart will feel lighter!

The descriptive Steve uses, of lay gnosis being a 'romantic ambush', is pretty accurate. On the best days it's like being attacked by a great dane and slobbered on with doggie kisses. The purest kind of love. There is NO equivalent, really. Our human languages fail at such grandiose emotions. (I used the great dane attack as the closest description because... I was attacked by a great dane when I was a kid. She sat on me. Nearly killed me. But when her slobbery cheek touched mine, all was forgiven. She was just so exuberant in her affection that she was overwhelming to my smaller physical form. Pleroma is like that, in a way)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hemp, Pot, & The Law

I had a crazy discussion the other day with my fifty-five year old mother who suffers from two debilitating chronic pain illnesses, about pot. Yes. Pot!

With the one chronic pain ailment we do both share(fibromyalgia) we both agreed emphatically that if pot was legalized there'd be a race as to who could get to the hemp shop first. "My new Toyota would beat your rusty little Buick any day, sweety," she said with a sneer.

My husband was horrified listening to us, saying, "I can't believe you two!! Have you no shame?!! It's wrong! It'll make you stupid!"

At which point both my mother and I look at my husband and just sigh. He doesn't understand chronic pain the way we do. He doesn't understand looking at food like it's the enemy(because of nausea) and hiding from strong smells or loud sounds(migraines) or the stress and strain of dealing with normal everyday stuff the way other people do(overwhelming sense stimulation). Oh yeah, then how 'bout the immune system from hell and catching every bug in a fifty mile radius? That's always a joy.

My mother, who is twenty times cooler since I went through my Miserable Teen years, pats me on the knee and says to me, "Baby, if you wanna be a pothead I'll support your habit. Just make sure you never smoke alone. I wouldn't want you to get stupid or anything," while glancing over at my husband. I start laughing so hard I couldn't even see straight. My husband stomps out of the room yelling about crazy assed women.

My mother and I are copacetic on the topic of pot. If it was legal we'd be buying it. My Mom said she's thinking about getting some shirts made that say, "potential weed eater" showing a picture of a special brownie. I'm really looking forward to Christmas this

These two vids are fantastic talking points about marijuana. Tons of facts. And depressing news about DuPont and all the other ugly corporations out there who really don't have our best interest at heart.

In terms of gnosis + pot, I say go for it. Relaxing is good. Rx pharmaceuticals are out to kill us for the most part. Don't even get me started on fibromyalgia medications. I'll rant and rave for hours on the crap I've been through the past few years. The treatment I'm on now isn't "kosher" with the FDA and yet I'm doing well on it and I don't have any side effects. So Eli Lilly and Pfizer can bite me. Their meds made me hallucinate so badly I couldn't read or even string a sentence together coherently.

Part One:

Part Two: (the background music is kinda loud on this one but the information is fantastic and worth your time.)

Einstein's Religion

"I'm not an atheist, and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written these books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and body as one, not two separate things."
G.S. Viereck, Glimpses of the Great(Macauley, New York, 1930)

In April of 1929, Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston, admonished the members of the New England Catholic Club of America not to read anything on relativity because it "befogged speculation producing universal doubt about God and his Creation... cloaking the ghastly apparition of atheism."
New York Times, 25 April 1929, p.60

Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue in New York cabled Einstein simply, "Do you believe in God?"

Einstein replied: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

So Einstein was, in fact, a deist. Not an atheist. Not even a "practical atheist" as so many atheists try to claim.

Einstein always fought the label of atheism and made a sharp distinction between his disbelief in a personal god and atheism:

"Speaking of the spirit that informs modern scientific investigations, I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling, and that without such feeling they would not be fruitful. I also believe that, this kind of religiousness, which makes itself felt today in scientific investigations, is the only creative religious activity of our time. The art of today can hardly be looked upon at all as expressive of our religious instincts."

Einstein's theory of relativity was, as we now see in hindsight by biographical scholars, based on religious concepts. For example, in Spinoza's Ethics he declared, "God is immutable or all his attributes are immutable[like space]," and "an extended thing are God's attributes." In accordance with Spinoza, Einstein interpreted the term "endure" in the verse "the Heavens endure from everlasting to everlasting" in the sense of immutable existence.

What happened next? Einstein made what he called the "biggest blunder" of his career. In 1917 he modified the relativity field equation by introducing an additional term, the so-called "cosmological constant," in order to obtain a static unchanging universe. He essentially ruled out Big Bang 'spread' stating that the universe was somehow made and is stationary, excluding the orbits of galactic masses.

Steady expansion of the universe was only discovered in the late 1920's at the Mount Wilson Observatory. Nevertheless, Einstein was still kicking himself. Instead of trusting his gut instinct he tinkered with the formula to allow for religious ideas from his beloved Spinoza.

See what not trusting your instincts will do?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nudity, XRays, & Goverment Peeking At Our Panties

Most days I can stay on topic here. I can stick to the ethereal nature that is religion and the practical existence which is gnosticism. Not today. Sorry, folks. Just can't happen. Not when I saw THIS on the front page of MSN. My comments are below.

PS. I LIVE IN FLORIDA!!! I'd love to know where this happened.

Police agencies admit to saving body scan images

Capabilities of the checkpoint security machines are still shrouded in mystery

By: Wilson Rothman updated 8/4/2010 4:06:55 PM ET

Despite claims by the TSA that electronic body scan images "cannot be stored or recorded," some federal police agencies are in fact saving tens of thousands of images, according to a report by CNET News.

The body scanners, increasingly found in airports, courthouses and other places where security is high, use an assortment of technologies. These include millimeter wave scanners (shown below) — in which the subject is harmlessly pelted with extremely high frequency radio waves which reflect a picture back to the device — and backscatter X-ray (shown above) — which measures low-powered reflective X-rays to produce clearer body shots, shots that can reveal alarmingly precise anatomical detail.

According to CNET, the U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had saved thousands of images that had been recorded from a security checkpoint in a Florida courthouse.

The revelation comes at a tense time. Two weeks ago, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said such scanners would appear in every major airport, privacy advocates such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit to stop the device rollout.

The reason? Because the devices were "designed and deployed in a way that allows the images to be routinely stored and recorded," EPIC executive director Marc Rotenberg told CNET, adding that this "is exactly what the Marshals Service is doing."

As CNET's Declan McCullagh explains, it's the mystery of the devices' potential that is most unnerving: "This trickle of disclosures about the true capabilities of body scanners — and how they're being used in practice — is probably what alarms privacy advocates more than anything else," he wrote.

The TSA maintains that body scanning is "constitutional" and the CNET report notes that while the machines are built to "allow exporting of image data in real time" and provide networked "high-speed transfer of image data," the system are built with filters to "protect the identity, modesty, and privacy of the passenger."


biznine gave a spectacular response:

Here's a solution to all of the controversy over the full-body scanners now being introduced at major airports.

What is needed is a reinforced booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device that you may have on you.

It would be a 'win-win' for everyone - there would be none of this crap about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long and expensive trial. Justice would be quick and swift. Case closed!

This is so simple that it's brilliant.

I can see it now: you're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention standby passengers, we now have a seat available on flight number..."

kst62 said:
Here's a new way- when you go to the airport just wear a bathrobe and flip-flops. When you get to security drop the robe and bend over to pick up your shoes to hand them. Have your back to them when you pick up your shoes. No scanners needed. Make a fun day of it, use markers or body paint to send fun messages. Hottie or nottie? Fit or flabby? Not only are you security, you're the judges of the worst beauty contest ever.

zach jacoby said:
@!$%# em, this is america! we're porn stars...i don't giva @!$%#

And Ms. Spirituality replied to zach:
You should at least get paid for it!


Someone pointed out that there was (supposedly) a separate line you can get into if you want to opt out of being scanned. Instead, you are patted down.

I think that the next time I am forced to fly or go through any kind of checkpoint of this nature I'm just going to strip naked and save them the trouble of even patting me down. They won't be impressed. They'll probably be horrified. But you know what? They interviewed for their job, signed the W2 for it, and I guess they'll just have to deal with it. Maybe I'll get some colorful, sparkly pasties for the occasion.

I really like biznine's suggestion, though.

On a more serious note: I do have some concerns not just about the depth of that image but about the precision. As a female this horrifies me in ways I don't think a man could possibly understand understand. There are contraptions available today to deal with a woman's menses which, honestly, on an XRay might set off some security alerts if the person viewing the picture isn't accustomed to seeing this type of thing. The last thing a woman wants to hear is, "Ma'am, can you please step over here. Ok. Now... what is that thing inside you? Because we might have to do a cavity search."

Talk about embarrassing!

I don't think it's any of our government's business what's going on under our clothes unless we're acting suspiciously.

If anyone hears anything else on this issue and the legality of it, keep in touch. This topic is one which bears our attention.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I wish I was better at meditation. But I dutifully try to calm my mind and do it when I feel the need. I can only get better if I practice, right?

Just yesterday I got a glimpse into the truly absurd comedic mind which is The All. Let me relate the tale and you can see for yourself just how silly a close gnostic relationship with Pleroma can be at times. (Serious? What's serious?!!)

So there I am, relaxed, laying in bed with my eyes closed. Concentrating on breathing and thinking of nothing at all when connection is made. Tingling in hands and fingertips, typical lay gnosis signal.

Him: "hey. whatcha doin?"
Me: "trying to meditate.
Him: "huh. ok. oh, hey, by the way, did you know that... blah blah blah.."
Me: *internal sigh* "No, I didn't. hey, you know you're kinda distracting me. Isn't this what you want me to do?
Him: *pause* "Isn't that why I called you?"
Me: *internal sound of confused crickets chirping...* (head/desk. Now I'm stumped) And then he left it at that. Not another peep for the rest of the day. What the....?!

Conclusion: Pleroma has his weird days where he calls and... doesn't really have a whole lot to say. Kind of like texting someone to say hi and bye again. And "aha! Made you look!"

Days like this are why I have the meta tag of "playing." (see below)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ode to the Demiurge?

With my iPod on shuffle today I stumbled over a song which took me by surprise from my past. Mid '90's. The group with the iconic name of STP, not to be confused with the motor oil.

The lyrics to this particular song are quite striking. Pay careful attention to the description of the being and the muffled shift to Bible verses at the end. Kinda makes me cringe. I honestly can't think of anyone else who has created such a bold piece of work about the demiurge's doings.

Stone Temple Pilots -- "Naked Sunday"
(There's a few seconds delay at the beginning for the lower instrumentals and I haven't found a real video that was made for the song by the band. Not sure if it even exists.)

You're the fuel to the fire

You're the weapons of war

You're the irony of justice

And the father of law

I've been waiting for awhile to meet you

For the chance to shake your hand
To give you thanks for all the suffering you command

And when all is over and we return to dust
Who will be my judge and which one do I trust

You're the champion of sorrow

You're the love and the pain

You're the fighter of evil

Yet you're one in the same

I've been waiting for awhile to meet you
For the chance to shake your hand

To give you thanks for all the suffering you command
And when all is over and we return to dust
Who will be my judge and which one do I trust?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

Turn the other cheek aside
We're all god's children, the giver of life

Alone, we will survive.