EXPERTS: PEOPLE PROBABLY AREN’T ACTUALLY CATCHING COVID AGAIN

FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS.

BY VICTOR TANGERMANN / April 29, 2020 (futurism.com)

South Korean infectious disease experts claim that reports of citizens being reinfected by the coronavirus were likely based on flawed tests, The New York Times reports.

Oh Myoung-don, the head of South Korea’s central clinical committee, said during a news conference today that there was a “high possibility” that tests claiming people got reinfected for the second time were based on bad test results.

The tests South Korea uses to determine who’s positive aren’t able to tell the difference between virus remains and infectious particles, according to Myoung-don. He also pointed at early experiments with animals, which showed that COVID-19 immunity would last for a year after infection.

The news comes after South Korean officials found that more than 116 people tested positive for COVID-19 after being previously cleared in mid-April. As of this week, that number has risen to 277, according to the Times.

Studies in China also claimed that a number of patients have been reinfected. The World Health Organization has remained cautious about making claims about post-infection immunity, at least partially in reaction to these studies.

Other studies seem to corroborate such findings may be based on bad data.

“A lot of the tests that came back in China that you read about, where it looks like people were reinfected, those look extremely likely to be the result of testing errors,” Nita Bharti, a biologist at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State, told The Hill.

“If you’re testing a lot of people like they did in China, you’re likely to get a lot of false positives and a lot of false negatives,” she added.

So what does mean for a possible vaccine? What makes the search for a vaccine challenging is the fact that the coronavirus can mutate relatively quickly, which could end up giving people an immunity for only a short period of time after being infected.

But there’s also some good news. Early signs point towards the coronavirus only mutating in smaller, insignificant ways.

“The virus isn’t changing in a fundamental way that should make it immunologically different a year from now,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention at the University of Minnesota told The Hill. “We hope this is going to be more akin to a measles vaccine.”

READ MORE: The Latest: Switzerland to Open Shops, Schools on May 11 [The New York Times]

More on the virus: THIS COVID-19 VACCINE COULD BE READY BY SEPTEMBER

Bio: James Fadiman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Fadiman
BornMay 27, 1939 (age 80)
Los AngelesCalifornia, US
NationalityAmerican
OccupationPsychologistresearcherauthorlecturer
Spouse(s)Dorothy Fadiman
Children2

James Fadiman (born May 27, 1939) is an American psychologist and writer. He is acknowledged for his extensive work in the field of psychedelic research.[1][2][3][4] He co-founded along with Robert Frager the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, which later became Sofia University,[5][6] where he was a lecturer in psychedelic studies.[5][7]

Early years

Fadiman was born in New York City and grew up in Bel Air. His father, William Fadiman, was a producer and story editor,[8] and book reviewer in Hollywood,[9] one of his credits being The Last Frontier.[8]

Education/research and psychedelic counterculture

Fadiman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1960 and a Master’s degree and a doctorate (both in psychology) from Stanford University – the PhD in 1965.[citation needed] While in Paris in 1961, his friend and former Harvard undergraduate adviser, Ram Dass (then known as Richard Alpert), introduced him to psychedelics (reportedly LSD or psilocybin).[2][10][11][12] As a graduate student at Stanford, Fadiman was Stewart Brand’s LSD guide on Brand’s first LSD trip in 1962, at Myron Stolaroff’s International Foundation for Advanced Study in Menlo Park, California.[2][11][13] While living in Menlo Park, Fadiman and his wife were Ken Kesey’s Perry Lane neighbors and friends.[14]

In 1963, Fadiman worked at Stanford’s Augmentation Research Center, a division that did research on networked computing.[13] Fadiman was also part of the team in the psychedelics in problem-solving experiment at the International Foundation for Advanced Study, which was abruptly halted in 1966.[2][15]

Transpersonal psychology and personality theory

Fadiman and Robert Frager co-founded the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now known as Sofia University) in 1975.[12] Fadiman was a president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.[16] He was also a director at the Institute of Noetic Sciences from 1975–77.[12]

Fadiman and Frager published a textbook on personality theory in 1976 titled Personality and Personal Growth, which was one of the first to incorporate Eastern theories of personality alongside Western approaches and the first of its kind to include chapters on women.[12][17] Personality and Personal Growth has been republished in seven editions as of 2012.[17]

Personal life

He is married to documentary filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman[18][19][20] and is the father of Florida Atlantic University professor Maria Fadiman.[20] His uncle was Clifton Fadiman[9][19] and he is a cousin of Anne Fadiman.[9]

More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Fadiman

Book: “Emile or On Education” by Rousseau

Emile or On Education

Emile or On Education

by Jean-Jacques RousseauAllan BloomMichael Wu 

Alan Bloom’s new translation of Emile, Rousseau’s masterpiece on the education and training of the young, is the first in more than seventy years. In it, Bloom, whose magnificent translation of Plato’s Republic has been universally hailed as a virtual rediscovery of that timeless text, again brings together the translator’s gift for journeying between two languages and cultures and the philosopher’s perception of the true meaning and significance of the issues being examined in the work. The result is a clear, readable, and highly engrossing text that at the same time offers a wholly new sense of the importance and relevance of Rousseau’s thought to us.In addition to his translation, Bloom provides a brilliant introduction that relates the structure and themes of the book to the vital preoccupation’s of our own age, particularly in the field of education, but also more generally to the current concerns about the limits and possibilities of human nature. Thus in this translation Emile, long a classic in the history of Western thought and educational theory, becomes something more: a prescription, fresh and dazzling, for the bringing up of autonomous, responsible—that is, truly democratic—human beings. 

(Goodreads.com)

Pentagon releases UFO videos for the record

  • 28 April 2020 (bbc.com)
Media captionThe videos have been made public to “clear up any misconceptions”

The US Department of Defense has released three declassified videos of “unexplained aerial phenomena”.

The Pentagon said it wanted to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real”.

The videos had already been leaked in 2007 and 2017.

Two were published by the New York Times, while the third was leaked by an organisation co-founded by former Blink-182 singer Tom DeLonge.

After they were first leaked, some people claimed the videos showed alien unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

What’s in the videos?

According to the New York Times, a clip from 2004 was filmed by two navy fighter pilots and shows a round object hovering above the water, about 100 miles (160 km) out into the Pacific Ocean.

Two other videos filmed in 2015 show objects moving through the air, one of which is spinning. In one, a pilot is heard saying: “Look at that thing, dude! It’s rotating!”

In its statement, the Pentagon said: “After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorised release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.

“DOD [Department of Defense] is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos. The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified’.”

Presentational grey line
Analysis box by Jonathan Marcus, defence correspondent

The fascination with the unexplained never goes away. And the UFO phenomenon is perhaps one of the most potent of these stories, linking uncertainty about worlds beyond our own to conspiracy theories about government and especially the US government.

Down the centuries people have looked to the sky and tried to explain mysterious lights and objects. But the modern UFO story took root in 1947 when a farmer discovered debris at Roswell, New Mexico, initially described as a flying disc, but now thought to be part of a secretive balloon programme to monitor the Soviet Union.

Subsequently the testing base for advanced aircraft, known as Area 51 in Nevada, became the alleged centre for UFO research. For the conspiracy theorists this was where the US government sought to harness advanced alien technology.

Over the years many of the most outlandish theories have been debunked. But in 2017, the Pentagon did finally admit that it had a long-standing programme, now terminated, investigating alleged UFOs.

Today, the US Navy prefers to call these unexplained sightings “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”. But that’s not going to supplant an acronym which has entered into our collective sub-conscious, prompting that fundamental question: are we really alone in the universe?

Presentational grey line

Tweeting about the release, DeLonge thanked shareholders in his organisation, To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, and said he was hoping to fund further research into the objects.

“With today’s events and articles on my and @TTSAcademy’s efforts to get the US Gov to start the grand conversation, I want to thank every share holder at To The Stars for believing in us,” he said.

“Next, we plan on pursuing the technology, finding more answers and telling the stories.”

The musician co-founded the academy in 2017 in order to study UFOs and other paranormal phenomena.

“Only a Few People On Earth Know About It”

Be Inspired ►Special thanks to DR. STEVEN GREER ►Watch his New Documentary “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Contact has Begun” https://amzn.to/3bEsbh9 or https://bit.ly/itunesCE5 Also, check the new App: CE5 Contact: App Store – https://bit.ly/CE5App Google Play https://bit.ly/CE5GoogleApp Support his mission below: www.siriusdisclosure.com Yt – https://www.youtube.com/user/SDisclosure IG – https://www.instagram.com/dr.steven.geer FB – https://www.facebook.com/doctorsteven… Twitter – https://twitter.com/DrStevenGreer Help us caption & translate this video! https://amara.org/v/C0rTK/

The new mind control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

Robert Epstein (aeon.co/essays)

Epstein is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California. He is the author of 15 books, and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. 

Edited by Pam Weintraub

Over the past century, more than a few great writers have expressed concern about humanity’s future. In The Iron Heel (1908), the American writer Jack London pictured a world in which a handful of wealthy corporate titans – the ‘oligarchs’ – kept the masses at bay with a brutal combination of rewards and punishments. Much of humanity lived in virtual slavery, while the fortunate ones were bought off with decent wages that allowed them to live comfortably – but without any real control over their lives.

In We (1924), the brilliant Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, anticipating the excesses of the emerging Soviet Union, envisioned a world in which people were kept in check through pervasive monitoring. The walls of their homes were made of clear glass, so everything they did could be observed. They were allowed to lower their shades an hour a day to have sex, but both the rendezvous time and the lover had to be registered first with the state.

In Brave New World (1932), the British author Aldous Huxley pictured a near-perfect society in which unhappiness and aggression had been engineered out of humanity through a combination of genetic engineering and psychological conditioning. And in the much darker novel 1984 (1949), Huxley’s compatriot George Orwell described a society in which thought itself was controlled; in Orwell’s world, children were taught to use a simplified form of English called Newspeak in order to assure that they could never express ideas that were dangerous to society.

These are all fictional tales, to be sure, and in each the leaders who held the power used conspicuous forms of control that at least a few people actively resisted and occasionally overcame. But in the non-fiction bestseller The Hidden Persuaders (1957) – recently released in a 50th-anniversary edition – the American journalist Vance Packard described a ‘strange and rather exotic’ type of influence that was rapidly emerging in the United States and that was, in a way, more threatening than the fictional types of control pictured in the novels. According to Packard, US corporate executives and politicians were beginning to use subtle and, in many cases, completely undetectable methods to change people’s thinking, emotions and behaviour based on insights from psychiatry and the social sciences.

Most of us have heard of at least one of these methods: subliminal stimulation, or what Packard called ‘subthreshold effects’ – the presentation of short messages that tell us what to do but that are flashed so briefly we aren’t aware we have seen them. In 1958, propelled by public concern about a theatre in New Jersey that had supposedly hidden messages in a movie to increase ice cream sales, the National Association of Broadcasters – the association that set standards for US television – amended its code to prohibit the use of subliminal messages in broadcasting. In 1974, the Federal Communications Commission opined that the use of such messages was ‘contrary to the public interest’. Legislation to prohibit subliminal messaging was also introduced in the US Congress but never enacted. Both the UK and Australia have strict laws prohibiting it.

Subliminal stimulation is probably still in wide use in the US – it’s hard to detect, after all, and no one is keeping track of it – but it’s probably not worth worrying about. Research suggests that it has only a small impact, and that it mainly influences people who are already motivated to follow its dictates; subliminal directives to drink affect people only if they’re already thirsty.

Packard had uncovered a much bigger problem, however – namely that powerful corporations were constantly looking for, and in many cases already applying, a wide variety of techniques for controlling people without their knowledge. He described a kind of cabal in which marketers worked closely with social scientists to determine, among other things, how to get people to buy things they didn’t need and how to condition young children to be good consumers – inclinations that were explicitly nurtured and trained in Huxley’s Brave New World. Guided by social science, marketers were quickly learning how to play upon people’s insecurities, frailties, unconscious fears, aggressive feelings and sexual desires to alter their thinking, emotions and behaviour without any awareness that they were being manipulated.

By the early 1950s, Packard said, politicians had got the message and were beginning to merchandise themselves using the same subtle forces being used to sell soap. Packard prefaced his chapter on politics with an unsettling quote from the British economist Kenneth Boulding: ‘A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.’ Could this really happen, and, if so, how would it work?

The forces that Packard described have become more pervasive over the decades. The soothing music we all hear overhead in supermarkets causes us to walk more slowly and buy more food, whether we need it or not. Most of the vacuous thoughts and intense feelings our teenagers experience from morning till night are carefully orchestrated by highly skilled marketing professionals working in our fashion and entertainment industries. Politicians work with a wide range of consultants who test every aspect of what the politicians do in order to sway voters: clothing, intonations, facial expressions, makeup, hairstyles and speeches are all optimised, just like the packaging of a breakfast cereal.

Fortunately, all of these sources of influence operate competitively. Some of the persuaders want us to buy or believe one thing, others to buy or believe something else. It is the competitive nature of our society that keeps us, on balance, relatively free.

But what would happen if new sources of control began to emerge that had little or no competition? And what if new means of control were developed that were far more powerful – and far more invisible – than any that have existed in the past? And what if new types of control allowed a handful of people to exert enormous influence not just over the citizens of the US but over most of the people on Earth?

It might surprise you to hear this, but these things have already happened.

Google decides which web pages to include in search results, and how to rank them. How it does so is one of the best-kept secrets in the world, like the formula for Coca-Cola

To understand how the new forms of mind control work, we need to start by looking at the search engine – one in particular: the biggest and best of them all, namely Google. The Google search engine is so good and so popular that the company’s name is now a commonly used verb in languages around the world. To ‘Google’ something is to look it up on the Google search engine, and that, in fact, is how most computer users worldwide get most of their information about just about everything these days. They Google it. Google has become the main gateway to virtually all knowledge, mainly because the search engine is so good at giving us exactly the information we are looking for, almost instantly and almost always in the first position of the list it shows us after we launch our search – the list of ‘search results’.

That ordered list is so good, in fact, that about 50 per cent of our clicks go to the top two items, and more than 90 per cent of our clicks go to the 10 items listed on the first page of results; few people look at other results pages, even though they often number in the thousands, which means they probably contain lots of good information. Google decides which of the billions of web pages it is going to include in our search results, and it also decides how to rank them. How it decides these things is a deep, dark secret – one of the best-kept secrets in the world, like the formula for Coca-Cola.

Because people are far more likely to read and click on higher-ranked items, companies now spend billions of dollars every year trying to trick Google’s search algorithm – the computer program that does the selecting and ranking – into boosting them another notch or two. Moving up a notch can mean the difference between success and failure for a business, and moving into the top slots can be the key to fat profits.

Late in 2012, I began to wonder whether highly ranked search results could be impacting more than consumer choices. Perhaps, I speculated, a top search result could have a small impact on people’s opinions about things. Early in 2013, with my associate Ronald E Robertson of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, California, I put this idea to a test by conducting an experiment in which 102 people from the San Diego area were randomly assigned to one of three groups. In one group, people saw search results that favoured one political candidate – that is, results that linked to web pages that made this candidate look better than his or her opponent. In a second group, people saw search rankings that favoured the opposing candidate, and in the third group – the control group – people saw a mix of rankings that favoured neither candidate. The same search results and web pages were used in each group; the only thing that differed for the three groups was the ordering of the search results.

To make our experiment realistic, we used real search results that linked to real web pages. We also used a real election – the 2010 election for the prime minister of Australia. We used a foreign election to make sure that our participants were ‘undecided’. Their lack of familiarity with the candidates assured this. Through advertisements, we also recruited an ethnically diverse group of registered voters over a wide age range in order to match key demographic characteristics of the US voting population.

All participants were first given brief descriptions of the candidates and then asked to rate them in various ways, as well as to indicate which candidate they would vote for; as you might expect, participants initially favoured neither candidate on any of the five measures we used, and the vote was evenly split in all three groups. Then the participants were given up to 15 minutes in which to conduct an online search using ‘Kadoodle’, our mock search engine, which gave them access to five pages of search results that linked to web pages. People could move freely between search results and web pages, just as we do when using Google. When participants completed their search, we asked them to rate the candidates again, and we also asked them again who they would vote for.

We predicted that the opinions and voting preferences of 2 or 3 per cent of the people in the two bias groups – the groups in which people were seeing rankings favouring one candidate – would shift toward that candidate. What we actually found was astonishing. The proportion of people favouring the search engine’s top-ranked candidate increased by 48.4 per cent, and all five of our measures shifted toward that candidate. What’s more, 75 per cent of the people in the bias groups seemed to have been completely unaware that they were viewing biased search rankings. In the control group, opinions did not shift significantly.

This seemed to be a major discovery. The shift we had produced, which we called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (or SEME, pronounced ‘seem’), appeared to be one of the largest behavioural effects ever discovered. We did not immediately uncork the Champagne bottle, however. For one thing, we had tested only a small number of people, and they were all from the San Diego area.

Over the next year or so, we replicated our findings three more times, and the third time was with a sample of more than 2,000 people from all 50 US states. In that experiment, the shift in voting preferences was 37.1 per cent and even higher in some demographic groups – as high as 80 per cent, in fact.

We also learned in this series of experiments that by reducing the bias just slightly on the first page of search results – specifically, by including one search item that favoured the other candidate in the third or fourth position of the results – we could mask our manipulation so that few or even no people were aware that they were seeing biased rankings. We could still produce dramatic shifts in voting preferences, but we could do so invisibly.

Still no Champagne, though. Our results were strong and consistent, but our experiments all involved a foreign election – that 2010 election in Australia. Could voting preferences be shifted with real voters in the middle of a real campaign? We were skeptical. In real elections, people are bombarded with multiple sources of information, and they also know a lot about the candidates. It seemed unlikely that a single experience on a search engine would have much impact on their voting preferences.

To find out, in early 2014, we went to India just before voting began in the largest democratic election in the world – the Lok Sabha election for prime minister. The three main candidates were Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, and Narendra Modi. Making use of online subject pools and both online and print advertisements, we recruited 2,150 people from 27 of India’s 35 states and territories to participate in our experiment. To take part, they had to be registered voters who had not yet voted and who were still undecided about how they would vote.

Unlike subliminal stimuli, SEME has an enormous impact – like Casper the ghost pushing you down a flight of stairs

Participants were randomly assigned to three search-engine groups, favouring, respectively, Gandhi, Kejriwal or Modi. As one might expect, familiarity levels with the candidates was high – between 7.7 and 8.5 on a scale of 10. We predicted that our manipulation would produce a very small effect, if any, but that’s not what we found. On average, we were able to shift the proportion of people favouring any given candidate by more than 20 per cent overall and more than 60 per cent in some demographic groups. Even more disturbing, 99.5 per cent of our participants showed no awareness that they were viewing biased search rankings – in other words, that they were being manipulated.

SEME’s near-invisibility is curious indeed. It means that when people – including you and me – are looking at biased search rankings, they look just fine. So if right now you Google ‘US presidential candidates’, the search results you see will probably look fairly random, even if they happen to favour one candidate. Even I have trouble detecting bias in search rankings that I know to be biased (because they were prepared by my staff). Yet our randomised, controlled experiments tell us over and over again that when higher-ranked items connect with web pages that favour one candidate, this has a dramatic impact on the opinions of undecided voters, in large part for the simple reason that people tend to click only on higher-ranked items. This is truly scary: like subliminal stimuli, SEME is a force you can’t see; but unlike subliminal stimuli, it has an enormous impact – like Casper the ghost pushing you down a flight of stairs.

We published a detailed report about our first five experiments on SEME in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in August 2015. We had indeed found something important, especially given Google’s dominance over search. Google has a near-monopoly on internet searches in the US, with 83 per cent of Americans specifying Google as the search engine they use most often, according to the Pew Research Center. So if Google favours one candidate in an election, its impact on undecided voters could easily decide the election’s outcome.

Keep in mind that we had had only one shot at our participants. What would be the impact of favouring one candidate in searches people are conducting over a period of weeks or months before an election? It would almost certainly be much larger than what we were seeing in our experiments.

Other types of influence during an election campaign are balanced by competing sources of influence – a wide variety of newspapers, radio shows and television networks, for example – but Google, for all intents and purposes, has no competition, and people trust its search results implicitly, assuming that the company’s mysterious search algorithm is entirely objective and unbiased. This high level of trust, combined with the lack of competition, puts Google in a unique position to impact elections. Even more disturbing, the search-ranking business is entirely unregulated, so Google could favour any candidate it likes without violating any laws. Some courts have even ruled that Google’s right to rank-order search results as it pleases is protected as a form of free speech.

Does the company ever favour particular candidates? In the 2012 US presidential election, Google and its top executives donated more than $800,000 to President Barack Obama and just $37,000 to his opponent, Mitt Romney. And in 2015, a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and elsewhere showed that Google’s search results routinely favoured Democratic candidates. Are Google’s search rankings really biased? An internal report issued by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012 concluded that Google’s search rankings routinely put Google’s financial interests ahead of those of their competitors, and anti-trust actions currently under way against Google in both the European Union and India are based on similar findings.

In most countries, 90 per cent of online search is conducted on Google, which gives the company even more power to flip elections than it has in the US and, with internet penetration increasing rapidly worldwide, this power is growing. In our PNAS article, Robertson and I calculated that Google now has the power to flip upwards of 25 per cent of the national elections in the world with no one knowing this is occurring. In fact, we estimate that, with or without deliberate planning on the part of company executives, Google’s search rankings have been impacting elections for years, with growing impact each year. And because search rankings are ephemeral, they leave no paper trail, which gives the company complete deniability.

Power on this scale and with this level of invisibility is unprecedented in human history. But it turns out that our discovery about SEME was just the tip of a very large iceberg.

Recent reports suggest that the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is making heavy use of social media to try to generate support – Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Facebook, for starters. At this writing, she has 5.4 million followers on Twitter, and her staff is tweeting several times an hour during waking hours. The Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, has 5.9 million Twitter followers and is tweeting just as frequently.

Is social media as big a threat to democracy as search rankings appear to be? Not necessarily. When new technologies are used competitively, they present no threat. Even through the platforms are new, they are generally being used the same way as billboards and television commercials have been used for decades: you put a billboard on one side of the street; I put one on the other. I might have the money to erect more billboards than you, but the process is still competitive.

What happens, though, if such technologies are misused by the companies that own them? A study by Robert M Bond, now a political science professor at Ohio State University, and others published in Nature in 2012 described an ethically questionable experiment in which, on election day in 2010, Facebook sent ‘go out and vote’ reminders to more than 60 million of its users. The reminders caused about 340,000 people to vote who otherwise would not have. Writing in the New Republic in 2014, Jonathan Zittrain, professor of international law at Harvard University, pointed out that, given the massive amount of information it has collected about its users, Facebook could easily send such messages only to people who support one particular party or candidate, and that doing so could easily flip a close election – with no one knowing that this has occurred. And because advertisements, like search rankings, are ephemeral, manipulating an election in this way would leave no paper trail.

Are there laws prohibiting Facebook from sending out ads selectively to certain users? Absolutely not; in fact, targeted advertising is how Facebook makes its money. Is Facebook currently manipulating elections in this way? No one knows, but in my view it would be foolish and possibly even improper for Facebook not to do so. Some candidates are better for a company than others, and Facebook’s executives have a fiduciary responsibility to the company’s stockholders to promote the company’s interests.

The Bond study was largely ignored, but another Facebook experiment, published in 2014 in PNAS, prompted protests around the world. In this study, for a period of a week, 689,000 Facebook users were sent news feeds that contained either an excess of positive terms, an excess of negative terms, or neither. Those in the first group subsequently used slightly more positive terms in their communications, while those in the second group used slightly more negative terms in their communications. This was said to show that people’s ‘emotional states’ could be deliberately manipulated on a massive scale by a social media company, an idea that many people found disturbing. People were also upset that a large-scale experiment on emotion had been conducted without the explicit consent of any of the participants.

Facebook’s consumer profiles are undoubtedly massive, but they pale in comparison with those maintained by Google, which is collecting information about people 24/7, using more than 60 different observation platforms – the search engine, of course, but also Google Wallet, Google Maps, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, Chrome, Google Docs, Android, YouTube, and on and on. Gmail users are generally oblivious to the fact that Google stores and analyses every email they write, even the drafts they never send – as well as all the incoming email they receive from both Gmail and non-Gmail users.

If Google set about to fix an election, it could identify just those voters who are undecided. Then it could send customised rankings favouring one candidate to just those people

According to Google’s privacy policy – to which one assents whenever one uses a Google product, even when one has not been informed that he or she is using a Google product – Google can share the information it collects about you with almost anyone, including government agencies. But never with you. Google’s privacy is sacrosanct; yours is nonexistent.

Could Google and ‘those we work with’ (language from the privacy policy) use the information they are amassing about you for nefarious purposes – to manipulate or coerce, for example? Could inaccurate information in people’s profiles (which people have no way to correct) limit their opportunities or ruin their reputations?

Certainly, if Google set about to fix an election, it could first dip into its massive database of personal information to identify just those voters who are undecided. Then it could, day after day, send customised rankings favouring one candidate to just those people. One advantage of this approach is that it would make Google’s manipulation extremely difficult for investigators to detect.

Extreme forms of monitoring, whether by the KGB in the Soviet Union, the Stasi in East Germany, or Big Brother in 1984, are essential elements of all tyrannies, and technology is making both monitoring and the consolidation of surveillance data easier than ever. By 2020, China will have put in place the most ambitious government monitoring system ever created – a single database called the Social Credit System, in which multiple ratings and records for all of its 1.3 billion citizens are recorded for easy access by officials and bureaucrats. At a glance, they will know whether someone has plagiarised schoolwork, was tardy in paying bills, urinated in public, or blogged inappropriately online.

As Edward Snowden’s revelations made clear, we are rapidly moving toward a world in which both governments and corporations – sometimes working together – are collecting massive amounts of data about every one of us every day, with few or no laws in place that restrict how those data can be used. When you combine the data collection with the desire to control or manipulate, the possibilities are endless, but perhaps the most frightening possibility is the one expressed in Boulding’s assertion that an ‘unseen dictatorship’ was possible ‘using the forms of democratic government’.

Since Robertson and I submitted our initial report on SEME to PNAS early in 2015, we have completed a sophisticated series of experiments that have greatly enhanced our understanding of this phenomenon, and other experiments will be completed in the coming months. We have a much better sense now of why SEME is so powerful and how, to some extent, it can be suppressed.

We have also learned something very disturbing – that search engines are influencing far more than what people buy and whom they vote for. We now have evidence suggesting that on virtually all issues where people are initially undecided, search rankings are impacting almost every decision that people make. They are having an impact on the opinions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of internet users worldwide – entirely without people’s knowledge that this is occurring. This is happening with or without deliberate intervention by company officials; even so-called ‘organic’ search processes regularly generate search results that favour one point of view, and that in turn has the potential to tip the opinions of millions of people who are undecided on an issue. In one of our recent experiments, biased search results shifted people’s opinions about the value of fracking by 33.9 per cent.

Perhaps even more disturbing is that the handful of people who do show awareness that they are viewing biased search rankings shift even further in the predicted direction; simply knowing that a list is biased doesn’t necessarily protect you from SEME’s power.

Remember what the search algorithm is doing: in response to your query, it is selecting a handful of webpages from among the billions that are available, and it is ordering those webpages using secret criteria. Seconds later, the decision you make or the opinion you form – about the best toothpaste to use, whether fracking is safe, where you should go on your next vacation, who would make the best president, or whether global warming is real – is determined by that short list you are shown, even though you have no idea how the list was generated.

The technology has made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations that are beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a consolidation of search engines has been quietly taking place, so that more people are using the dominant search engine even when they think they are not. Because Google is the best search engine, and because crawling the rapidly expanding internet has become prohibitively expensive, more and more search engines are drawing their information from the leader rather than generating it themselves. The most recent deal, revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in October 2015, was between Google and Yahoo! Inc.

Looking ahead to the November 2016 US presidential election, I see clear signs that Google is backing Hillary Clinton. In April 2015, Clinton hired Stephanie Hannon away from Google to be her chief technology officer and, a few months ago, Eric Schmidt, chairman of the holding company that controls Google, set up a semi-secret company – The Groundwork – for the specific purpose of putting Clinton in office. The formation of The Groundwork prompted Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to dub Google Clinton’s ‘secret weapon’ in her quest for the US presidency.

We now estimate that Hannon’s old friends have the power to drive between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Clinton on election day with no one knowing that this is occurring and without leaving a paper trail. They can also help her win the nomination, of course, by influencing undecided voters during the primaries. Swing voters have always been the key to winning elections, and there has never been a more powerful, efficient or inexpensive way to sway them than SEME.

We are living in a world in which a handful of high-tech companies, sometimes working hand-in-hand with governments, are not only monitoring much of our activity, but are also invisibly controlling more and more of what we think, feel, do and say. The technology that now surrounds us is not just a harmless toy; it has also made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations – manipulations that have no precedent in human history and that are currently well beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws. The new hidden persuaders are bigger, bolder and badder than anything Vance Packard ever envisioned. If we choose to ignore this, we do so at our peril.

These “are the good times — compared to what’s coming next.”

Pulitzer winner Chris Hedges: These “are the good times — compared to what’s coming next”

Author of “America: The Farewell Tour”: We’re heading for a steep decline; Biden and the Democrats have no answers

By CHAUNCEY DEVEGA

APRIL 28, 2020

Empires fall a little bit at a time and then all at once. Over the last two decades, America has proven itself to be well along on that journey. The coronavirus pandemic has simply pushed our nation further along that downward spiral. 

Ultimately, the pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated — for those still somehow in denial about the decades-long reality of America as a decaying empire — deep political, social, economic, cultural and other societal problems.

The country’s infrastructure is rotting. Trump presides over a plutocratic, corrupt, cruel, authoritarian, pathological kakistocracy. The commons is being reduced to rubble while the ultra-rich extract ever more wealth and other resources from the American people. Excessive military spending has left the United States incapable of attending to the basic needs of its people. A culture of distraction and spectacle has rendered many Americans incapable of being responsible engaged citizens. Our public educational system does not teach critical thinking skills. Radical right-wing Christians, white terrorist organizations and other neo-fascist paramilitaries and extremists are engaging in a campaign of thuggery, intimidation and violence against multiracial American democracy.

Writing at the Atlantic, George Packer described this woeful state of affairs:

The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus — like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly — not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state.   

In the New York Times, Pulitzer-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen diagnosed the health of America’s body politic in the age of Trump and the pandemic he has empowered and accelerated: 

If anything good emerges out of this period, it might be an awakening to the pre-existing conditions of our body politic. We were not as healthy as we thought we were. The biological virus afflicting individuals is also a social virus. Its symptoms — inequality, callousness, selfishness and a profit motive that undervalues human life and overvalues commodities — were for too long masked by the hearty good cheer of American exceptionalism, the ruddiness of someone a few steps away from a heart attack.

Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-winning journalist, author, and philosopher, is not surprised by America’s decline. In places such as the former Yugoslavia, he has personally witnessed what happens when societies fall apart. In his most recent book, “America: The Farewell Tour,” Hedges both details the country’s many cultural and political crises and what could potentially happen next. The coronavirus crisis has shown his analysis to be eerily prescient.

In this conversation, Hedges warns that the tumult and pain of Trump’s coronavirus crisis is but a preview of far worse things in America’s future, as social inequality and political failure combine to create a full collapse of the country’s already declining standard of living, as well as its ailing democracy.

Hedges also explains how the Democratic Party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will likely not be able to respond to the Age of Trump and the economic and social destruction created by gangster capitalism, in combination with the coronavirus pandemic. Why? Because the Democrats are also part of the plutocratic establishment that has failed the American people.

You can also listen to my conversation with Chris Hedges on my podcast “The Truth Report” or through the player embedded below.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

What has the sudden shock of the coronavirus pandemic revealed about America? If you were to take a snapshot of this moment, what does it reveal about the country?

These days are the good times, as compared to what is coming next.

How does a society change so fast?

A society can change so quickly because the underlying structures are rotten. There is the patina or the veneer of a functioning system, but the foundations of it are so decayed that they can’t take the stress. That was true in the Weimar Republic in Germany, before the Nazis took full control. That was true in Yugoslavia before the civil war and ethnic violence. It is true here in the United States too. This country cannot withstand the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the obviousness of what the Republicans are doing, the Democratic Party’s response to this crisis exemplifies the problems America is facing as a whole.

Twelve hundred dollars to individuals suffering during this crisis is not sufficient. The Democrats were only really trying to block the equivalent of a $500 billion slush fund that is going into Mnuchin’s hands, a man who acts like a criminal. That $1,200 is going to get vacuumed right up by the credit card companies and the banks who hold the mortgages.

This is like a repeat of 2008, where Congress is dumping staggering sums of money into the hands of Wall Street thieves. What happened in 2008? The plutocrats and the corporations gave themselves massive stock bonuses and other income and returns. I do not see how the United States is going to avoid another Great Depression, which in turn will lead to a further consolidation of power by an authoritarian, oligarchic elite. Those elites are not really worried about the coronavirus pandemic because they will have their own ventilators and private medical staff and all the other things that they need to survive. The average person will be left to take care of themselves.

The president, his party, the corporate overlords and Trump’s Christian nationalist cult are now telling the American people to go out and risk death from the novel coronavirus as an act of “patriotism” and “love” for the economy.

I would also add that huge numbers of people are going to die unnecessarily. Profit is always the most important thing for the oligarchs, and because of Fox News and other right-wing outlets, a significant portion of the American public will downplay the severity and dangers of the coronavirus. Quite predictably, there is an accompanying spike in racist attacks against Chinese-Americans or any people of Asian descent.

I think the pandemic and the response to it could lead us into virtually uncharted territory within the United States because as things deteriorate, the violence against nonwhites and other groups who are demonized by Trump and the right-wing will increase. The desire for an authoritarian solution will grow more pronounced. I remember speaking to Fritz Stern, the great scholar of fascism, who himself fled Nazi Germany as a teenager. He said that in Germany there was a yearning for fascism before the word “fascism” was invented. We already see that yearning in America. The coronavirus crisis will make that yearning even more pronounced.

What of public memory, especially in the short and the medium term? There are many voices who believe the coronavirus will spur positive social change in the United States. I worry that there will be a type of organized forgetting, where several months from now the coronavirus pandemic and what it exposed about the country’s underlying rot will be forgotten — all of it thrown down the memory hole.

I don’t think we’re going to be able to go back to a time before the coronavirus pandemic. I believe that the coronavirus is going to trigger a decline unlike anything the country has seen since the Great Depression. That is why the business class and other ruling elites are panicking. It is why Trump, the corporate leaders, Republicans and others aligned with them are telling people to go back to work — but to wear masks — which may really not keep them 100% safe.

The pandemic was predictable. And yet, of course, especially under the Trump administration, we dismantled the mechanisms through which the United States could prepare. The needed infrastructure, such as hospital beds and ventilators and other needed equipment, was not there because, like with all decaying empires, the resources go to the defense industry and the military.

The other part of this decay and vulnerability was the assault against public education and the corruption of the media. The fact that Fox News is even considered a news organization is staggering — although I don’t think CNN is much better. In total, that contributes to a yearning for a system or a figure that can promise to tame the demons that have been unleashed.

I am unsure if we have any mechanisms left in the United States by which we can effectively push back against the elites, the oligarchs and other anti-democratic forces. We don’t have any ability to pit power against power. We can beg Pelosi or Mitch McConnell or some other politician all we want for help. We are not going to get it.

Watching Trump stand before the country and speak about the coronavirus pandemic while he is flanked by corporate CEOs — never mind how Trump has filled the government with people from some of the world’s largest corporations — really speaks to how the country is a naked plutocracy. The elites do not even try to hide it anymore. 

The oligarchs don’t care about democracy. They don’t care about truth. They are not interested in the consent of the governed. They could care less about social and income inequality. They are not going to rein in the surveillance state. In fact, as things deteriorate, the surveillance state going to expand. The oligarchs do not care about job losses because, as Marx said, unemployment creates greater pools of desperate surplus labor. The oligarchs do not care about the climate. It’s all about the primacy of profit and corporate power — and those values and systems are extinguishing our democracy.  

And of course, they are all thrilled that nobody can go out in the streets because of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing. Mass mobilization and civil disobedience is what is needed to defeat the oligarchs and take those first steps necessary to win back an American democracy.

America’s current political system is a corporate political duopoly. A person can either vote for nativists and racists and climate deniers and creationists on one end, or a person can vote for people who speak in the language of tolerance and are willing to put gay people or women or people of color into positions of power as long as they serve the system. Of course, that is the role that Barack Obama fulfilled at the expense of the American people.   

American society is in crisis, and in decline. As you point out, the coronavirus, in combination with Trump’s authoritarian, neofascist movement are just symptoms of a deep societal rot. Where do we go from here?

Let’s take Biden. What does it mean to vote for Joe Biden? He has this kind of goofy persona which some people find charming. What is Biden’s record? What is a person voting for if they back Biden on Election Day 2020?

The humiliation of courageous women like Anita Hill who confronted her abuser. You vote for the architects of endless war. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. Biden supports those things. With Biden you are voting for wholesale surveillance by the government, including the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs. You vote for the destruction of welfare. That was Biden. You vote for cuts to Social Security, which he has repeatedly called for cutting, along with Medicaid. You vote for NAFTA, you vote for “free trade” deals. If you vote for Biden, you are voting for a real decline in wages and the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

With Biden you are also voting for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to Christian “charter schools.” With Biden you are voting for more than a doubling of the prison population. With Biden you are voting for the militarized police and against the Green New Deal.

You are also voting to limit a woman’s right to abortion and reproductive rights. You are voting for a segregated public school system. With Biden you are voting for punitive levels of student debt and the inability of people to free themselves of that debt through bankruptcy. A vote for Biden is a vote for deregulating banking and finance. Biden also supports for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations.

A vote for Biden is also a vote against the possibility of universal health care. You vote for Biden and you are supporting huge, wasteful and bloated defense budgets. Biden also supports unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy the elections.

That’s what you’re voting for.

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for more of the same. The ruling elites would prefer Joe Biden, just like they preferred Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is vulgar and an embarrassment. But the ruling elites also made it abundantly clear about their interests: Many of these people were quoted by name saying that if Bernie Sanders was the nominee — or even Elizabeth Warren — they would vote for Donald Trump.

One of the dominant narratives in the mainstream news media is that Trump is done. The coronavirus pandemic and his incompetence are dooming his re-election chances; the tide has finally turned.

My response has been that this is too hopeful and borders on the delusional. One, there is no guarantee that there will even be a presidential election in 2020. Trump and the Republican Party are experts at vote-rigging and other ways of cheating to steal elections and subvert democracy. After the coronavirus crisis recedes, I believe that Trump may very well be even more powerful because he leads a cult and will proclaim that he led the country to “victory” over the virus.

Liberal elites offer hope that is not grounded in an understanding of political reality. I do not believe that Joe Biden will necessarily be able to win against Trump. Biden is an extremely weak candidate because he represents the neoliberal gangster capitalist policies that the Democratic Party has embraced and that so many Americans are revolting against.

James Baldwin explained why black people don’t have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children. By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs. That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.

CHAUNCEY DEVEGA

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at Chaunceydevega.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Nietzsche on pain and shedding one’s skin

Friedrich Nietzsche

“Only great pain, the long, slow pain that takes its time… compels us to descend to our ultimate depths… I doubt that such pain makes us “better”; but I know it makes us more profound… In the end, lest what is most important remain unsaid: from such abysses, from such severe sickness, one returns newborn, having shed one’s skin… with merrier senses, with a second dangerous innocence in joy, more childlike and yet a hundred times subtler than one has ever been before.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Václav Havel on planetary democracy

Planetary democracy does not yet exist but our global civilization is already preparing a place for it. It is the very Earth we inhabit linked with Heaven above us. Only in this setting can the mutuality and the commonality of the human race be newly created with reverence and gratitude for that which transcends each of us and all of us together. The authority of a world democratic order simply cannot be built on anything other than the revitalized authority of the universe. (from Forgetting We Are Not God, link at: https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/03/forgetting-we-are-not-god)

–Václav Havel (October 5, 1936 – December 18, 2011) was a Czech statesman, writer and former dissident, who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992 and then as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. Wikipedia

North Node In Gemini 2020-2022 – How It Will Affect You

Astrobutterfly.com

On May 5th, 2020, we have one of the most important transits of the year: the Nodes of the Moon switch signs – the North Node moves into Gemini, and the South Node moves into Sagittarius.

The Nodes of the Moon will stay in Gemini and Sagittarius until January 2022. 

The Lunar Nodes switching signs means that the North Node is moving out of Cancer and the South Node is – finally – moving out of Capricorn, releasing some of the Capricorn pressure. YES!

What Do The Lunar Nodes Mean

Before we analyze this transit, let’s understand what role the Lunar Nodes play in astrology. We have two Lunar Nodes, the North Node and the South Node, and they are always opposite each other. 

north-node-in-gemini

The Lunar Nodes are the only astrological bodies that move backward, not only when retrograde – but always. Because of their backward movement, the Lunar Nodes are associated with our past lives, with our karma and destiny.  

In fact, it’s only the South Node – also called the descending node – that is connected to past lives and past karma. The North Node – or the ascending Node – is connected to our future karma and with the opportunity to change our karma and re-write the script of our destiny. 

The South Node represents our unresolved karma, that we need to ‘sort out’ in this lifetime. As long as you have the South Node in your chart – and we all do – we will always have karma do deal with.

The South Node represents all your unfinished business from the past: chances you haven’t taken, dues you haven’t paid, and things you haven’t quite brought to fruition. 

How Do The Lunar Nodes Work

That’s why in this lifetime you are born with the task to “finish what you have started” and fulfill the mission of the South Node. But this challenge comes with a twist.

You won’t be able to complete your karmic lesson unless you look in the exact opposite direction, the direction of the North Node.

The reason is simple. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. We need to approach them from the opposite direction.  

The South Node is the “familiar” comfort zone, what you instinctively “know” from previous lifetimes (or through genetic memory), what you are designed to keep doing because it feels safe and natural. But there is a reason why your South Node mission hasn’t been fulfilled. 

The North Node is the unknown territory, the unfamiliar, the risk zone. Yet, the North Node is exactly what you need to embrace and learn how to master

You can only heal and unlock your South Node past karma when you embrace your North Node. When you focus on the North Node, everything flows in perfect alignment with the universe.

Does that mean we should dismiss the South Node and completely focus on the North Node? No, not at all. Your South Node is, in fact, a gift – something that is waiting to be birthed and brought to completion. But to do that, to get to your South Node, you’ll need new directions with the North Node as your compass

The South Node gift becomes a problem when we get stuck in it and refuse to change. When we do the same things over and over again. Instead of being birthed into life, it becomes rotten and toxic. It keeps us stuck in the past. 

The North Node is where we are headed. The South Node is what we need to distance ourselves from. The solution to a South Node problem is always the North Node. 

The paradox is that once you solve the South Node problem through the North Node, the outcome is not the North Node, but the South Node. The South Node is the ripening karma, for good and for bad. 

The Lunar Nodes Equation

The Lunar Nodes Equation is:

Problem (South Node) → Solution (North Node) → Outcome (South Node)

To demonstrate the equation, let’s have a look at the Nodal transit we’re just completing. 

From 2018 until May 2020 the Nodes have been in Cancer (North Node) and Capricorn (South Node).

Capricorn is the sign of structures, systems and top-down hierarchies. Capricorn rules politics and large organizations.

Cancer is our comfort zone, our home, and our family. Cancer’s role is to help us connect with our true nature and build a strong inner foundation.  

Let’s apply the Nodes equation. 

Problem – South Node in Capricorn: power-driven politics, systems and structures. “Work, work, work, work, work”  – the needs of the system are more important than the needs of the individual. Corrupted patriarchal approach.

Solution – North Node in Cancer:  ensuring each individual is safe, and looked after. Nurturing and nourishing, the individual, the family, and Mother Earth. Spending more time at home. Taking care of the vulnerable (children, elderly). The archetype of the mother who nurtures.  

Outcome – South Node in Capricorn: better systems that take into account one’s safety and nurture. Politics and organizations that work to serve the needs of the individual. Uncorrupted patriarchal approach, the archetype of the father who takes responsibility and looks after his people. 

From May 2020 onwards, the Nodes move into Gemini and Sagittarius. The North Node, where we are headed, is in Gemini, and the South Node, what we need to leave behind, is in Sagittarius. 

From May 2020 until January 2022 we need to learn to embrace Gemini themes and to let go of Sagittarius themes. 

Gemini Vs Sagittarius 

We all have Gemini and Sagittarius in our charts, so we can all apply these principles in particular areas of our lives. 

The Gemini/Sagittarius axis is the axis of knowledge, of how we make sense of the world. But Gemini and Sagittarius have different approaches to knowledge. 

Gemini (and its ruler, Mercury) rules our primary thinking process, how we process and make sense of information, from a logical, fact-based perspective. When you open your eyes and look around you, paying attention to what you see, hear and touch, you operate from your Gemini brain.

That’s why people with strong Gemini placements are known for being curious, intellectual, and have many varied interests.

Gemini is associated with people from our immediate environment – our neighbors, acquaintances, siblings, and extended family, coworkers, and other people we interact with on a daily basis.

Gemini is connected to short trips, travel by car, bus or short-distance train trips, with primary education, learning one skill at the time, and with one-on-one commercial transactions.

Sagittarius (and its ruler, Jupiter) is similar to Gemini, but it takes the Gemini themes to a higher, more abstract level.

If Gemini is what we see when we open our eyes, Sagittarius is what we see when we close our eyes – the invisible connections between different topics and fields. Gemini is our concrete mind, Sagittarius is our abstract mind.

Gemini is fact-based thinking, Sagittarius is intuition, big-picture thinking. If you are familiar with the Myer Briggs personality types, Gemini is the “ST” or “Sensing/Thinking” type and Sagittarius is “NT” or “Intuition/Thinking” type. 

If Gemini is defined by curiosity, and approaches everything with a beginner’s mind, Sagittarius can lack curiosity and prefers to follow the marked path, which has advantages and disadvantages.

Sagittarius doesn’t waste time reinventing the wheel, and can indeed save time and energy by sticking to what’s already proven to work, but can also fall victim to dogma, and can get stuck in paradigms that have outgrown themselves. 

Sagittarius rules our beliefs. Yes, we need beliefs to function in the world, otherwise, we will waste too much energy trying to assess every little bit of information with a beginner’s mind, but our beliefs can also become our enemies, if we never question them. 

Sagittarius is connected to people we interact with, not necessarily through our day-to-day interaction (Gemini), but by choice. These are the book authors, community leaders, people you resonate with when you travel abroad, or teachers and mentors you find online.

Sagittarius expands knowledge by exploring different points of view, connecting the dots, and embracing exotic concepts or cultures. That’s why Sagittarius and Jupiter are associated with foreigners and foreign cultures. 

Both Gemini and Sagittarius rule knowledge and knowledge systems such as education, religion, customs or lifestyle. 

But if Saggitarius tells us “you find everything you need to know in the religion or history books” Gemini, just like Budha, encourages us to “doubt everything, and find our own light”. 

North Node In Gemini, South Node In Sagittarius 

In the next 18 months, we want to learn how to “be like a Gemini” while we want to let our inner Sagittarius take a back seat.

Not because Gemini is “right” and Sagittarius is “wrong”. But because when the North Node is in Gemini, this is where our focus should be.

In 9 years from now, when we will have the reverse placements (North Node in Sagittarius, and South Node in Gemini) it will be exactly the other way around. 

Let’s see how the North Node in Gemini and the South Node in Sagittarius will influence us more specifically: 

Curiosity (Gemini) vs Abstraction (Sagittarius). Gemini is the curious explorer who approaches everything with a beginner’s mind. Sagittarius is the spiritual teacher, who tries to find meaning beyond logic.

But the downside of “meaning beyond logic” is missing important information, reaching flawed conclusions, and ultimately, making bad decisions. So even if you are the spiritual type of person (and you probably are, if you’re reading this) your lesson in the next 18 months is to “think like a Gemini”, challenge your assumptions, and approach life with curiosity.

Some of your long-held beliefs may crumble, and they have to crumble when the South Node is in Sagittarius so that they can leave space for more relevant beliefs that better serve you in your new reality. 

Facts (Gemini) vs Knowledge (Sagittarius). Gemini is the scientist who only believes in what can be validated through the physical plane, while Sagittarius is the mystic who knows that life is more than what we can see and understand with our senses.

Although we need both of these approaches to attain wisdom, in the coming year and a half, the North Node in Gemini will ask us to open our minds to a more scientific, fact-based approach.

Don’t embrace a belief just because everyone else does. Instead – just as Buddha said – “doubt everything and find your own light”. 

Practice (Gemini) vs. Theory (Sagittarius). Gemini prefers to learn through practice and experience.

Sagittarius loves books and theories. When the North Node is in Gemini, you want to take a Gemini approach to learning, and focus on practice, rather than theory.

Take an internship. Learn by doing. Ask someone to demonstrate, or to explain to you how to do it. This is not a time to make sense of things from a theoretical, abstract perspective, but by actually getting your hands dirty. 

Inner Circle (Gemini) vs Outer Circle (Sagittarius). Gemini is our close circle of people (relatives, neighbors, workmates). The people we interact with on a daily basis. Sagittarius is foreigners, people from different backgrounds, people who share different points of view.

You guessed it, when the North Node is in Gemini, our inner circle will become more important.

To truly understand people with totally different backgrounds and different points of view (Sagittarius) we first need to master our daily interactions (North Node in Gemini). 

Short-Distance Travel (Gemini) vs Long-Distance Travel (Sagittarius). Gemini rules short-distance travel and Sagittarius rules long-distance travel. In the upcoming year and a half, we can expect profound transformations in the way we travel.

Rules will be re-written. Long-distance travel can become less accessible. But trips to the nearby park, forest or village will increase. 90% of people love traveling to faraway places.

Most of us love what is different and exotic. But the North Node in Gemini will ask us to look into our own garden first. To rediscover our own neighborhoods. The local park.

To finally notice the details we missed because our minds were too caught up wandering, perhaps trying to escape a reality that is right in front of us but we have never truly made sense of. 

How will The North Node in Gemini And The South Node In Sagittarius Influence You:

We learn best from experience. To find out how the North Node in Gemini will influence you, reflect on what happened in your life when you had this transit in the past. 

This is when the North Node was in Gemini and the South Node in Sagittarius:

  • October 2001 – April 2003
  • August 1964 – February 1966
  • December 1945 – August 1947

If you’re at least 18 years old, you have experienced this transit at least once. What was going on in your life back then? You can expect similar themes to resurface from May 2020 until January 2022. 

These Gemini-Sagittarius connected themes will emerge especially when we have the Solar and Lunar Eclipses. Because yes, the Lunar Nodes bring eclipses

We will have the following eclipses while the Lunar Nodes are in Gemini and Sagittarius:

  • June 6th, 2020 – South Node Lunar Eclipse at 15° Sagittarius (the South Node is at 29° Sagittarius)
  • June 20th, 2020 – North Node Solar Eclipse at 0° Cancer (the North Node is at 29° Gemini)
  • July 4th, 2020 – South Node Lunar Eclipse at 13° Capricorn (the South Node is at 28° Sagittarius)
  • November 30th, 2020 – North Node Lunar Eclipse at 8° Gemini the North Node is at 19° Gemini)
  • December 14th, 2020 – South Node Lunar Eclipse at 23° Sagittarius (the South Node is at 19° Sagittarius)
  • May 26th, 2021 – South Node Lunar Eclipse at 5° Sagittarius (the South Node is at 10° Sagittarius)
  • June 10th, 2021 – North Node Solar Eclipse at 19° Gemini (the North Node is at 10° Gemini)
  • November 19th, 2021 – North Node Lunar Eclipse at 27° Taurus (the North Node is at 1° Gemini)
  • December 3rd, 2021 – South Node Solar Eclipse at 12° Sagittarius (the South Node is at 1° Sagittarius)

Take note of these dates, because this is when important events are expected to happen. 

If your birthday is around one of these dates or if you have personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) or angles (Ascendant, Descendant, MC, IC) around the degrees of the eclipse, you will be especially influenced by the North Node in Gemini and the South Node in Capricorn in 2020-2022. 

Also, if you are (approx.) 18, 37, 55, or 74 years old you will have your Nodal Return, which is a time when you effortlessly move in the direction of your destiny. Fated events, and fated relationships await you. Things fall into place. 

If you are (approx) 27, 46, 64 or 83 years old, you will have your Reverse Nodal Return, which is a time of adjustment, integration of what you’ve learned, and karmic recalibration. 

No matter what your Nodal placement is, the transit of the North Node in Gemini and South Node in Sagittarius will influence you in one way or another, depending on the areas of your life (houses) ruled by Gemini and Sagittarius. 

And even if you don’t know anything about your natal chart, if there is one thing you want to remember from this write-up, it is to embrace more Gemini-like qualities, and let go of those Sagittarius qualities that no longer serve you.

You also want to pay attention to what happens in your life around the time of the eclipses, because these events will have an important role in your life going forward.