Posts Tagged ‘George Ure’


This article was started several weeks ago and only now did I decide to finish it and add a little more information.  Just some random musings I was doing a few weeks back.

A Search for Independence

For those who don’t follow sports (and I’m getting closer and closer to becoming a member of that group), BYU has recently been trying to flex it’s brawn and become an independent school a la Notre Dame, at least independent with regards their football program.  Indeed, within the past couple of days it announced that they were leaving the Mountain West Conference to become a football independent.  So far so good.  But, as an entity owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (TM, yes it’s a trademarked name), why is there this need to go off into independent status and throw their conference affiliation to the wayside?

Not being a huge historical buff on this issue, it made me wonder why the change would be advantageous, but in reading the publicly available reports on the issue, I’m still left scratching my head.

Exposure and Money

Tom Holmoe, the BYU Athletic Director who spurred this decision forward along with Cecil Samuelson, president of BYU, had this to say regarding the why and how of the decision:

“We have some incredible options available to us because of BYU broadcasting and the friends that we have across the country. We’re going to look to make sure that we build on those things and take advantage of those things. We’re trying to put ourselves in position to be the best we can, which is exposure across the country, letting our kids shine in the bright lights.”

The best position, following Holmoe’s logic, is for increased exposure and popularity – shining in the bright lights.  In this same article, Holmoe reportedly stated how frustrated BYU had become with a “lack of television exposure” and how there “goal is exposure.”  The frustration stemmed largely from a poor Mountain West Conference TV payout schedule, as well as the inability to broadcast games on BYU’s own TV network.

One BYU fan put it this way, “You have to make a lot more money to be able to go independent. You’re not guaranteed money if another school makes it to the BCS or something like that, so there’s financial risks.”

Joe Schad, an ESPN reporter stated that (prior to BYU officially electing for independent status), “With BYU considering leaving the MWC, Thompson said he has had “very good dialogue” with BYU president Cecil O. Samuelson since Fresno State and Nevada announced they would join the conference.  Thompson said the MWC has “shown a willingness to work through some TV issues” in an effort to prevent BYU from declaring its independence.  BYU is exploring putting some sporting events on its own television network.”

Based on these statements, the reasoning behind this move was (a) exposure, (b) money and (c) more exposure and more money.  Exposure through increased TV time, under the “bright lights,” and increased revenues through more lucrative TV deals.

A New Contract

Cecil $amuelson, president of BYU, in a press release announcing the move to an independent football school, as well as the signing of an 8-year TV contract with ESPN to televise home football games, explained that:

“We’ve long sought broad, nationwide access to our games for our fans and increased visibility among those who may be less familiar with our university and athletic programs.  We’ve also been looking for ways to take better advantage of our own unique broadcasting resources.”

Again, more exposure, visibility and money is the goal.  Why would one seek to “take better advantage” of their “unique broadcasting resources” (i.e. BYUTv and the households it reaches, which in turn will bring in advertising and syndication dollars) if it was for something other than money?  According to the aforementioned press release, BYUTv is available in 55,000,000 homes through Dish Network and DirectTv, in addition to being carried by more than 500 cable systems.  Thanks to some investments in a “state-of-the-art” production truck, BYUtv will be able to televise games live, and in HD.

In a separate SL Tribune article, Samuelson proffered, “We are convinced we are taking major positive steps forward.”

ESPN, in responding to this contract, declared:

“Once BYU decided to chart an independent course for football, we both recognized it is a good opportunity to build and grow our strong 30-year relationship. With this agreement, college football fans around the country will see the quality and pageantry of BYU as well as the passion and enthusiasm of its supporters.”  Dave Brown, a vice president of programming and acquisition, declared that the announcement of the new TV contract was “tremendous day to be back in business with BYU. We’ve had a great relationship with BYU over the years.”

While the details of the contract seem scant, some estimates suggest that the contract will net BYU between $1.0 and $1.2 million per home game.  With a minimum of 3 home games televised annually by ESPN over the life of the contract, one would rightly assume that BYU is looking at making some $5.0 million (more or less) each year of the 8 year contract.  That would lend a rough guesstimate of a total value of the contract between $40 and $50 million, and that’s assuming that only 3 games are televised annually.  Kurt Kragthorpe of the SL Tribune stated that “ESPN is televising nearly every home game for eight years.”  If that’s the case, then more games = more money.  Samuelson reportedly stated that the “driving force” behind the move was merely to “secure broad and nationwide television access to BYU athletic contests for the school’s fans around the world.”  Uh huh.  Sure.

Nope, still not buying it.  While that might have been a consideration, there’s simply no way BYU would have gone forward with this move if it were costing them $50 million over the next 8 years.  Absolutely no way.  The only real reasons for this move is for exposure and money.  Pure and simple.  Any other explanation is a likely a stinky pile of garbage.

One may even argue, and perhaps this is what Samuelson was getting at in his statement to bring BYU football games into the living room of every breathing Mormon, that the increased exposure will result in more alumni donations and endowments.  That may indeed prove to be the case, but that would then point even more to money being the main goal of this decision.

An Old Business Model

George Ure recently stated, on his blog, that everything essentially boils down to economics and a basic business model.  You can read his discussion on that topic here, but his discussion had to do with recent pontifications by various media personalities.  In response to someone calling him out for failing to mention said personalities or political events, Ure responded:

“As a matter of policy around here (a right I claim as a real piece of shit, as you so eloquently penned it) we don’t spend much time counting the number of people who line up behind one business model, or another.  No point to it.  BUT, now that you brought it up, everything is a business model.  The job you used to have, the business of being a politician, even churches / religions are business models, something I don’t grind your face in because the evidence is that I’m right.  Jesus didn’t make the big bucks on his own religion, it was the marketers who followed who cashed in.  Ditto Buddha and the rest of history’s Enlightened:  Business models that followed were where the dough was – so you see  everything really is a business model. Not bad just is.  Every time the right wing, or the left, or the NRA, or the church, or the local PTA pass around fundraisers, or I pimp my subscriber side,  I’m reminded “Everything’s a Business Model.” Again for clarity: I didn’t say any of this is bad…money makes the world go round. On the other hand, whenever I see a highly touted named personality I run – not walk, mind you – I run the other way as fast as I can.  We live in a society where EBM and the cults of personality are all what?  Repeat after me:  Business models!”

With that in mind, and taking the above quotes by Joe Schad, Cecil $amuelson and Tom Holmoe at face value, we’re essentially left with a move that is based on a business model.  Business models, it should go without saying, are based on profits and revenues.  Money, pure and simple, is the name of the game.  Exposure, the other word used to justify this move by BYU, is another way of attracting both money and fame.  The relationship between exposure and money is mere symbiotics at work.

Kragthorpe, of the SL Tribune, stated back on August 19th that the ultimate benefit of their new found independent status was – you probably guessed it – money.

“The benefit for BYU will be not having to share bowl revenue with conference partners.”

Couple potential bowl revenues (that don’t need to be shared with 10 other teams) with its new TV contract(s) in place, and BYU is merely positioning itself to earn more money down the road and keep a bigger slice of the revenue pie, or rather the entire pie themselves.

So, what does this have to do with the church, or anyone else for that matter, and why should I care?

Well, the answer to that is that I probably shouldn’t care and mostly I don’t care.  Will I watch more games now that BYU is on TV?  Perhaps, but only considering I rarely watch any games at all, on any network.

A Parallel 10 Years in the Making

Nearly a decade ago the Church announced the renaming of Ricks College to BYU-Idaho in concert with a migration to a fully accredited four-year degree granting institution.  This same announcement brought about the ending of the Ricks College athletic program (especially the football program, as football programs are the real money makers of any athletic program).  As it turns out, a few other issues were also at play that have parallels with what BYU is doing today.

Football at Ricks College was more or less doomed the moment the church announced that the school would be converting to a full-fledged 4-year university, complete with accreditation from the Babylonian institutions that regulate such bodies.  Some people champion the route Ricks College took in turning “its back on the ‘arms race’ that some critics say college sports has become and freed itself from the competitive pressures” that face universities with numerous sporting programs, especially in an era dominated by multi-million and billion dollar TV contracts.

What’s interesting about the decision is that Ricks College routinely sported one of the top junior college football programs, and many of its players went on to play division I football at major NCAA programs (like BYU).  What’s even more interesting is that no one challenged the decision.  Indeed, no one dared challenge the decision.  As one article points out:

“But because Mormons view their president as a prophet, guided and inspired by Jesus Christ, no one challenged the decision. When the president speaks “the debate’s over,” Ms. Woodland says. “There’s no arguing.”

Hinckley stated that the changes would “extend the opportunity of secular education within the framework of a Church school, where is taught faith … .”  David Bednar, who was president of Ricks at the time of the announcement, later referred to the decision as “historic.”  One of the reasons for the change, incidentally, was the “expense of intercollegiate athletics.”  As it turns out, BYU-Idaho could have done the same thing that BYU-Provo is doing today – namely migrate conferences and expand its reach and exposure.  Well, they could have but for the fact that no one cared about the exposure of BYU-Idaho’s football program.  In fact, had BYU-Idaho joined Division II of the NCAA (which it would have at the time), it’s athletic budget would have likely tripled.  Instead of absorbing the cost and continuing on in hopes of new revenues down the line, the church made a financial decision based on real-life dynamics.  The athletic programs were then transformed into a 4-tier “activities” program which, according to David Bednar, ran (and presumably still runs) at a “fraction of the cost.”  It was an economic business model decision, and a completely understandable one at that.

What’s even more interesting is that if you follow the rest of that story you will read of an example where Bednar drew a line in the sand, a line which apparently doesn’t work with BYU’s main campus in Provo.  Josh Clawson – one of the student athletic directors a few years back – related a story wherein Bednar supposedly stated:

“The day I see a linebacker rush the lineman, straddle him, point in his face, is the day I go onto the field, take the football, and the game is over.”

That game, coincidentally, was the newfound intramural football league which replaced the regular athletic program.

And yet, down in Provo, such lines are not only not drawn, they’re not even thought about.  Max Hall (and many others) had (or have had) infamous falling outs with the competition.  A few years back, Hall had once such encounter with Utah fans.  If you remember, he merely stated “I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, their fans. I hate everything.”

One might rightfully ask where the difference between pointing in someone’s face on the field or launching into a nationally televised diatribe revealing your hatred for some team is?  The real difference, it would seem, why the athletic program at Ricks College was done away with was not so that students could focus on gospel oriented learning, as some suggest, but rather because the costs of continuing the program at the D-II level would have been prohibitive.  Today, though, faced with signing a contract valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million over 8 years, BYU and Cecil Samuelson chose to take the most financially “beneficial” route, namely that of independence.

The “business model” with Ricks College athletics simply didn’t make sense.

The Church and BYU

As most know, BYU is a church owned institution.  And this move towards independence had to be approved by the board of trustees made up of the first presidency of the church and some members of the quorum of the twelve.  Today that group (the board of trustees) is made up of Monson, Eyring, Uchtdorf, Nelson, Ballard, Bednar, as well as a few others.

One article discussed the steps taken to reach independence internally by noting:

“BYU President Cecil Samuelson presented several scenarios to the school’s board of trustees, comprised of the LDS Church’s First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and other high-ranking church officials, Thursday and received approval to proceed with whichever route he sees as “most beneficial” to the mission of the church and the school, a source told The Tribune.”

Gain, Popularity and Seeking the Things of the World

So, my question is whether some of the scriptures in the book of mormon might apply here.  If the main goal, at least according to statements from both the Athletic Director and President of the University, of a church run institution participating in an athletic program is to get exposure (fame/popularity) and make more money (gain), then is there something amiss that we should be recognizing?

Principally, this one:

“For the time speedily shall come that all achurches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become bpopular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the cdevil are they who need fear, and tremble, and dquake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be econsumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.”

I would argue that this move is rather obviously based on (a) getting gain, (b) becoming popular in the eyes of the world – i.e. exposure – and (c) seeking the things of the world, if not more.  If that’s the case, then what are we really doing?  Trading the power of God for acceptance and popularity?  Is that not what we’re doing and, if so, why are we doing it when the scriptures tell us that “pandering for popularity is at the heart of priestcraft“?

Granted, I’m removed from Utah so I’m not entirely sure how this is playing out there in Happy Valley, but it’s likely being well received up and down the Wasatch Front.  Indeed, I did read one comment which said if this move was approved by the “Board of Trustees” then no doubt it was the best decision the university could have made (i.e. the Board of Trustees is made up of the first presidency and members of the quorum of the 12 and, as such, they’re impervious to bad decision making).  And, if so, then is it also true that the general sentiment is that a + b + c (above) are all good things?  That that is what we should be doing and there’s nothing amiss?  Namely, that there’s nothing wrong with seeking for more exposure and more money?

Borrowing from a new blog that I stumbled across today, the following quote provides the clarity we need:

“Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments” (D&C 82:14).  Is Zion’s beauty increasing as we strip-mine the earth and tear down God’s world in pursuit of money? Is Zion increasing in holiness as we study “Gospel Principles” in Priesthood and Relief Society, taking us back to primary concepts that we obviously haven’t learned, unable to, as a community, search deeper into the mysteries of God (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 364)? Are [her] borders enlarging or is Babylon infiltrating our borders (that’s the border security issue with which we ought to be concerned)? Are her stakes strengthening or are we being uprooted and “tossed to and fro, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14) (Think political parties and campaigns, military objectives, commercials and advertising, and the like)? Surely all is not well in Zion.”

What say ye?


Just wanted to give a heads up to whomever might be interested.  Today, Thursday 06/24/2010, Clif High of HalfPastHuman.com will be interviewed over on the Jeff Rense show.  Here are the details:

Show:  Jeff Rense Show

Day:  06/24/2010

Time:  8pm – 10pm Pacific Coast Time

Link for the show:  http://www.renseradio.com/listenlive.htm

And, I also thought I’d add a brief note from a blip of the most recent Shape of Things to Come Report that was published this past Monday, which you can buy here (good read).

This was the conclusion of that most recent report.  I’d add more, but you really wouldn’t be getting the full picture of what they’re reporting and I’d be running up against copyright issues.  Clif undoubtedly goes through a lot of work (especially mental from what I’ve read of the processes and the actual information they see coming up so prevalently) to keep this project running and I’m not about to pirate his stuff for my measly post here…but I will pimp his interview.  This just gives a good glimpse of something and sets the stage for the interview.  I’ve only heard Clif High once previously on Coast to Coast AM, but it was well worth the time to stay up to listen to it.  No doubt this one will also be fun.  I’ll certainly be up listening, just to see what the Universe might be telling me, and would recommend it to anyone who might stumble upon this post.

=====

Conclusion:

“We (humans) are all doomed.  Not only at the personal level, but now, thanks to the rituals of TPTB, perhaps at the species level.  If ever there was a Summer of Change, this is it.  Here at HPH we choose large scale context labels for periods just as a convenience for internal discussions.  This year, 2010, has been labeled as the year of separation (completion of past trends).  The label of ‘year of separation’ has an internal context that includes the idea of [completion (of trends)] as well as [shift beyond transition].  Into ‘what’, has always been an issue, but setting ‘what comes next’ aside, we need to report that a number of people, including those of us here at HPH are undergoing changes that seem bent on ‘separating’ us from previous life trends, taking us in new directions.

“As part of a personal ‘separation’, I realized that interviews are a pain in the ass.  It takes time to prepare, and is draining of emotional energies to engage with the interviewer, and they most frequently, and most annoyingly, keep me up way past normal human bedtime.  Universe insists on this interaction, but I have always set limits *(such as refusing to do corporate interviews) that universe has allowed.  So George Ure and I are working on a new project over Summer … that I have labeled, “Umiak, the Conversation.”  We hope this will be a unique video presentation of a water carried bullshit session.  If we are not too shamed by our efforts, and do not perish in the experience, we intend to release a video sometime over Summer.  At least a portion of it will be placed on YouTube or other common internet carrier.  You are warned … if so released, view at your own risk as mystical initiatory processes will be engineered into this work (that’s our story, and we are sticking to it!).  We will let people know of the progress of Umiak, the Conversation, on our respective sites.  If the format is well received, we have further evolutions of the idea to present.  Thank you for your continued (although puzzling) support.

“Igor is currently wrestling with his own separation from previous trends of this life, as is George Ure.  Noting that many of the ‘friends and family’ of HPH are also undergoing this same sense of separation, including a willingness to put aside many long held positions, we are able to ascertain that this Year of Separation is a general trend out-and-about in the wilds of planet Terra.  And that the [summer of change] here in the northern hemisphere is a ‘good time’ to look at the past, the present, and the dubious future.  Those feelings that will naturally rise in such an examination need to be gnawed upon, and swallowed with a generous heap of acceptance … as universe is in charge of all that we experience, not ourselves, nor ‘random’ chance.  As humans, the manifesting circumstances are all challenges without any regard to whether we view them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  These challenges of separation will need to be faced, gnawed, and absorbed at individual and collective levels.  The process will not be easy, but then life is intended as suffering.  Nothing was ever learned in an ‘easy’ chair, and universe makes it just rough enough for us all.  Anyone saying that life is to be ‘easy’ is trying to sell you something … their particular delusion.  I am personally immune to such blandishments … just too damn full of my own delusions.  No room left for their bullshit.”

– Clif High, The Shape of Things to Come © June 21, 2010.   Pages 35-36.


As I have previously mentioned, one of my preferred sources of news and commentary is from George Ure over at UrbanSurvival.com.  Perhaps it’s his odd sense of humor, the fact that he – along with Clif from Halfpasthuman.com – are working on a “rickety old time machine” that trolls the internet for the collective conscious, or perhaps it’s the genuineness that comes across in many of his writings that draw me to that website.  I’m not really sure.

The past couple of years have brought on numerous phases of news and information with which I’ve aligned myself, most of which started out in Florida a few years back.  I was working in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay areas and had begun to year for some good friends with whom I could discuss things.  Interestingly, St. Pete is one of the most beautiful areas of the world I’ve ever seen – especially the soft white beaches just to the west of where I worked.  I would frequently spend my lunch hour (sometimes turned to nearly two hours) running along the old Gandy bridge that had been turned into a biking/running/walking route over the bay that connected Tampa to St. Pete.  I remember seeing sea rays jumping out of the water and doing various flips as I ran along that old bridge, and do wonder what the oil will do when it reaches its shores (should it indeed reach those shores).  My vagabondness had produced a number of moves in a short period of time – my wife and I have been married 9 years this summer and have lived in 6 different states during that time.  Most of those moves were a result of both my education and schooling and, most recently, the lack thereof.  It’s produced an environment where we’re never in a place long enough to establish roots, settle in and make good relationships.

Around this same time I began to hope for and pray for and seek truth.  I had either realized, or recognized the need to realize, that not everything was as it seemed, appearances detracting from the true nature of this or that thing.  And so, the universe has led me along an interesting path of – hearkening back to a recent topic – synchronicity.

So the changes led me from this, to that and other sources, to now George and Clif’s works.  And, though I pay less attention to their economic thoughts than their thoughts on life and the affects of our current course, it’s nevertheless one of those things I read fairly regularly.  With that, today, there was posted the following discussion on the topic of diaspora, which the rickety old time machine they run suggests will be a dominant theme in the coming months and years.  And, while I won’t post the entire discussion from their Peoplenomics website (a nearly 20 page discussion posted today on Diaspora and the potential reasoning behind its possibilities), the conclusion of the article – which was much lighter in nature than the rest of the article – I did find enjoyable and worth sharing, if only because of the need to remind us all to be “excellent to each other”, but also because I too have felt what they are discussing (which in and of itself means very little, just that there’s a certain level of awareness I need to pay attention to):

==========

Outbreak of “Itchy Feet”

There may be something of an ‘itchy feet’ syndrome developing down at the cultural preconscious level, as I’ve noticed an increasing number of acquaintances either making plans, or at least laying out contingencies to ‘go mobile’.

Some, as might be the case behind Catherine Austin Fitts’ plans to ‘go mobile’ are based on ethical commitments to ‘walk the talk’ on cell phone towers and GMO foods. Her article on the decision “Plant It Forward “As for Years” [this is a good read and the author uses, interestingly enough, a couple of scriptures from the D&C] is definitely worth a read.

Others, like Clif who is making plans to ‘escape to sea’ should social or environmental issues make it necessary, are rearranging their lives to provide for high mobility.

And, after putting eight-years into our homestead here in East Texas, a desire to get closer to our kids in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, and Arizona has been steadily working its way up the priority list.

It’s not universal, by any stretch.  A friend who just completed 20 years as a senior U.S. Army officer seems bound for his farm in rural Virginia…but maybe only for a while.

Not sure what the ‘vector of transmissibility’ is that seems to be afflicting Elaine & I, Clif, Catherine, and lots of others who mention in passing “I feel like I need to get moving…but I’m not sure where…”

It may be that the feelings of “Gotta get moving” will increase as we get closer to what are linguistically catastrophic times coming in November of this year.  Perhaps at some preconscious level we’re realizing at a ‘down in the soul’ level that we want to distance ourselves from coming events.  Maybe if it wasn’t an oilcano, it would be something else.

My #1 leading theories on this are presently that global bankruptcy ends so badly that the world descends into an ungovernable anarchy and as well as we have prepared, maybe we could do better; and being there for others like kids is a point to honor.

The other theory is that Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” touches an even deeper kind of bankruptcy than dollars and euros: the spiritual kind.  The kind where Universe holds the planet to account for how well (or badly) we discharged our responsibility to exercise good stewardship and to be ‘excellent to each another‘ regardless of our circumstances or time….

Or, maybe it’s just time to express our Freedom again.  I got used to waking each day to a new view when I was living aboard our sailboat…miss that sometimes.  Coffee watching otters and gulls play with Mt. Rainier, or Princess Louisa Inlet is just a bit more enjoyable than hefting 50-feed sacks in 95/80 weather.

Not sure why Diaspora is peeking out…but this may be one of those questions unanswered on this side of the lawn.  But is that Diaspora off there rustling in the headlines?  You may hear it, too, if you listen closely.


Why do thy disciples transgress the atradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your atradition?

Mark 15:2-3

Are You Correlated?

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading a fair amount of stuff either written by, or of, Daymon Smith, PhD.  Daymon Smith, for those of you who don’t know him, is the author of a book called “The Book of Mammon:  A Book About A Book About the Corporation that Owns the Mormons,” as well as a lengthy dissertation (here’s a link to the .pdf version, for those interested in an in-depth look at Smith’s take on the correlation process) on the correlation process that has defined the LDS church over the past few decades, more on that later.  I am currently knee deep in the Book of Mammon and have briefly skimmed over and through the dissertation, with hopes of reading it more in depth as I make time to do so.  I have listened to his 4-part interview on Mormon Stories, read an interview he had with Main Street Plaza and finished reading his 9-part interview over at By Common Consent just yesterday.  In short, I have become semi-engrossed in the topic, though certainly there is so much more to read.

The reason I add the above preface is because other, outside sources are proving to provide some small degree of synchronicity with what I’ve read about Smith’s work, and the whole process of correlation.  A more appropriate title for this entry may be, How Correlated Are You?, but nevertheless, as you’ll see, it’s not a measure of how much anymore than it is as simple as checking a box, yes or no.

There are many other topics on my radar which I hope to journalize in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get this all in one post for reference later in my life.  I find it much easier to have convenient access to a topic (as I hope to do here) than to have 100 moving parts on 100 different sites which take time, energy and diligence to pursue – and I run short on all points.  My mind, it appears, is as limited by cognitive chunking as the rest of you.  This chunking, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), plays hand-in-hand with this discussion on correlation, as will hopefully be clear by the end of this entry.

It really is interesting to note the congruence between several different people, all saying the same or similar things, in different venues, surrounded by different audiences and working against (or within) the same system.  Over the past few weeks, these sources include a Mormon anthropologist, an author/attorney, an time monk/urban survivalist and some dude writing to the people over at the CIA.  Talk about a bizarre collection of people.

Returning to correlation, one of my chief beliefs on this topic is that it is (and was) something that was happening regularly and frequently (i.e., there was some behemoth behind the scenes running a correlation committee which felt their imperative duty was to align everything with officialdom).  That was my view and belief, until I started synthesizing some of the information coming in from the four horsemen.

Daymon Smith on Correlation

In his 9-part interview with BCC, the overall message I seemed to get from Daymon was that of the correlated Mormon.  I realize others may have (and likely did) get a different gist – and judging from the comments to each section, that largely appears to be the case – but that was the underlying theme.  Correlated Mormons.  Within this framework, Daymon stated the following:

“So this is the alignment of the Correlated Church, which really makes something like opposition impossible, because if you are different from the correlated or ideal congregation or Mormon, what you really are is just someone who is not yet fully realized as a Correlated Mormon. You can’t oppose it, you can just be situated along a continuum which will eventually lead you into it. You’re just somewhere along the Phase-1-2-3 gradient. … There certainly is a Correlation Committee, but it does very little today. It does very minor things like fact checking. One committee member crossed out the word “love” when it was applied to the Book of Mormon, because you’re only supposed to love living beings. It might regulate the use of certain stock phrases, but this is all very minor. … Another way to say this is that what becomes public Mormonism are those things which are correlatable or are already under the productive gaze of this correlation process that goes back, maybe all the way to the Underground. … And they give you the privilege of going back and reading, say, Plato and restructure his entire arguments around these correlated categories and thus discover for yourself that Plato indeed taught the Eternal and Unchanging Gospel, which in some sense maybe he did, but not necessarily the Gospel of Correlation. My concern with the entire dissertation was to explain how historical processes such as the Underground, or some … theological changes, and political changes, relate to the ways in which we tell our histories. What I argue ultimately is that it changes the way we approach the texts, all texts. …  So history, here, becomes another space for colonization, just like Native America or Latin America. But it’s a very subtle kind of reconstruction, in which we only allow certain things to exist within certain Mormon properties. … It’s almost impossible to resist because you don’t ever confront it, you can’t even see it. It’s the way modern power works. It’s distributed across every point of your interaction, and thus constitutes its own reality, which you could never see, any more than a fish could ever really see water.”

For someone who has written over 900 published pages on the correlation process (and likely much more), it’s likely unfair to pin down Daymon’s topic into a 363 word quote, but that’s just what I’ve done.  And, unfortunately, this may very well be a result of my correlated mind.  By me telling a part of my history, I’m engaging in some of the same abstract logic that he discusses in the other parts of this interview.  This presents an unfortunate obstacle.

The CIA on Correlation

That obstacle is perhaps best summarized in a document on thinking and writing available through the CIA library website and is, itself, a short illustration on mental paralysis:

A centipede was happy quite.

Until a frog in fun

Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”

This raised its mind to such a pitch

It lay distracted in a ditch

Considering how to run.

So, how do I proceed, knowing that the obstacle in front of me is no more nor less than a largely correlated mind?  Ah, that’s not really an issue.  We’re all correlated, having grown up in a correlated system, it’s sort of like a crust that’s developed.  Perhaps we can crack out of it, perhaps not.  Why lay distracted in a ditch knowing how correlated I really am?

In this same document, the following quote describes how it is that we process, or try to process, the information that pops into our lives at any given moment and gets back to the chunky discussion (think of the truffle shuffle as you do so):

The heuristic approach is based in part on deeply set mental patterns. “Working memory,” the part of the mind that does our conscious mental work, can handle about seven items at a time. In compensation, it can manipulate those items with extraordinary speed. Cognitive scientists refer to this manipulative capability as the mind’s chunking capacity—our ability to develop conceptual entities or chunks, to build hierarchies of those entities, to alter them, and to bring wildly differing entities together.  We form chunks about any information that interests us, and we tend to believe our chunks are valid until the evidence that they are not is overwhelming. Each new bit of data is evaluated in light of the chunks already on hand; it is much harder to evaluate existing chunks on the basis of new evidence.  When we need to get through large quantities of data, when we do not have to move too far from an experiential reference point, and when a “best possible” solution suffices, heuristics and chunking can be amazingly effective, as Herbert Simon proved in his studies of first-class chess players. Such players are distinguished by the large number of board patterns (50,000, say) they keep in their long-term memories. Talent obviously is important as well, but Simon concluded that no one can become an expert player without such a store of chunks. Developing such a store in any field of mental activity is laborious, and there apparently are no shortcuts: the investment may not pay off for a decade.

George Ure on Correlation

This, in turn, was added upon by a thought by George Ure and his thoughts on choosing your circle of friends.  His thinking, as it were, is to send out an email to your closest friends and ask them where they’d like to spend the rest of their lives, in ideal situations.  If your friends reply with “On a beach loaded with attractive members of the opposite sex and an unlimited bar tab” you might consider a different circle of friends because those bounded worldviews are shared at a deep level.  If, on the other hand, most of your friends would be perfectly happy at the world’s biggest library, or knowledge trapping on the net, well, that would be the mark of the kind of people that tend to be ‘above average’ upstairs.  Or so George thinks.

It’s axiomatic that our thinking is bounded by our inputs.  Although it’s plain as day, most people never quite seem to get around to pushing the envelopes of their thinking in order to expand its boundaries toward unlimited.  When you read certain books on the way people think and how they not only filter what does come into their presence, but also understanding the high level filtering that goes on at the preconscious level such that you don’t even know certain sources exist, it becomes clear that the reason there even is a PowersThatBe class is not so much necessarily because of conspiracy (although it’s a popular notion) but perhaps because so few people have a really burning philosophy of inquiry.

Denver Snuffer on Correlation

Turning, lastly, to yet another discussion I found on this topic.  Though Snuffer has talked extensively on correlation, the following comment was recently made and, in his mind, may have nothing to do (ultimately) with correlation.  Nevertheless, it does to me, at least in the context of the above information.

It may as well be a dream.  It involves our collective slumber.  We get pictures in our head when we are taught some truth and presume that the picture is accurate.  Then after we have repeated the “truth” often enough, we go on to believe the picture must be all-inclusive.  Once we’ve arrived at that point, the truth no longer matters. Our minds are made up. We’ve decided the answers, and no further evidence will be considered.  This certainty is reinforced when more people reach the same conclusion because they share the same picture in their head. You get together with others and testify that you are all in possession of the truth; not only the truth, but ALL of the truth. Before long every one of the group can pass a lie-detector test about the truth as they explain it.  As a result, this herd is incapable of ever seeing the picture differently. They cannot open their minds to the idea that their picture is skewed or off. It is most certainly incomplete.  It is, in fact, so far short of the whole story that when any part of the remaining, missing information is shown to them they are certain it is a lie.

Conclusion

It would appear that this idea could be summed up with a simple inquiry:  are you, or are you not, interested in the truth?

If you believe only the correlated truth, or some portion thereof, then it may be time to rethink things.  And, though it be true that we’re all presented with inputs that are written from the perspective from others, we’re still charged with finding truth, or so I think.  In Paramahansa Yogananda’s book that discusses each verse of the four gospels in the New Testament, his premise in writing that book was built around obtaining the truth irrespective of others opinions.  His premise was that truth should come through unfiltered from the source of all truth.

That, at least, is the goal.  Getting to that goal is a goal in itself.  Correlation, it would seem, is an obstacle to that goal.  For example, in Boyd Packer’s most recent General Conference address he speaks of the Church’s ability to correlate authority and priesthood.  Interestingly, Packer played an integral role in getting correlation started and rolling, being one of the original former missionaries who had served with Native Americans who just couldn’t grasp the gospel as taught by those missionaries.  Their apparent inability to grasp the gospel according to those missionaries was the ultimate impetus for the correlation program.  Those former missionaries were, as the logic followed, smarter and thereby they needed to dumb down the curriculum so that everyone could understand it.  I’ve written about this previously (Taking it Easy on New Members), and my feelings are still largely the same.

In Packer’s talk, he stated the following:

“We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.”  (Emphasis added.)

Some of you may agree with that paragraph and see the logic in it.  Some of you may see no issue in what Packer stated.  And, certainly, given our correlated minds, there may be no need to even question it.  Contrast, however, that above paragraph with what is written in the Book of Alma.  After reading that chapter, how do you personally reconcile the differences, if any, between what Packer stated and what Alma stated?  But, that is only one topic in a very wide cross-section of correlation.  In the end, this whole issue of correlation, comes down (in my opinion) to the idea of how much we allow ourselves to be correlated?  And, is being correlated a bad thing?  And, can the truth set us free if we’re unable to recognize our need for truth?

That, I think, is a good question to end this discussion on correlation with.  So, my fellow correlated minds, which is it?

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” – Galileo