Please stick with this piece dear reader for it does not end on the same path from which it starts.
Being a child of the 50’s and 60’s, it comes as no surprise to anyone from that era that I’m a bit of a space buff. From the moment I saw my first televised rocket launch I was hooked and have never fully recovered from my childhood obsession. Beginning with Project Mercury and the suborbital flight of Alan Shepard in 1961, followed shortly by the three orbits of John Glenn, then progressing through Project Gemini where America practiced the space skills needed to eventually land on the moon and culminating with the Apollo Program and (supposedly) several trips to the moon, one thing they all had in common was the seriousness of everyone involved. Going to space was serious business performed by serious people. There was no joking around because failure wasn’t an option.
Who can forget the early years watching stern (mostly baby faced) engineers hunched over their monitors at the Launch Control Center in Cape Canaveral (Kennedy) and Mission Control in Houston, nearly all wearing the standard dress uniform of white short-sleeve shirt with tie along with the mandatory plastic pocket protector, headsets firmly affixed to one ear while the other was left open to hear those around them.
There were always several huge loose leaf binders at their side, dog-eared and well thumbed, complete with handwritten notations and addendums. And of course, endlessly pacing the back of the room or moving from one monitoring station to another, there was the Mission Director riding herd over his minions. There was no doubt by anyone in that room who the man in charge was and where the buck stopped.
For the Apollo flights a new Houston Mission Control was constructed, complete with a huge front wall covered with screens to display various flight parameters and video, along with a special VIP viewing area in the back sealed behind glass. At that point in the space race NASA had firmly grasped the use and abuse of public relations and propaganda to mold (and hold) public opinion. NASA understood all too well its huge budget depended upon public support, so the launches had become spectator sport and the best ticket in the house was to be seated behind the rocket scientists as they lit off another Roman candle.
Yes sir, this was cutting edge rocket science where nearly everything they did had never been done before. The entire US space program was infused with a can-do attitude where anything can be done if enough brains, brawn and money were thrown at the problem. Failures, while initially expected during testing and development, were not taken lightly and most certainly not joked about. While I feasted on the machines and technology (and still do to this day) it never ceased to amaze me what type of person would willingly strap themselves atop a glorified firecracker and wait for someone else to light it for the ride of their lives.
With this in mind it was extremely refreshing to hear (read actually) Elon Musk’s quip (tweet actually) that his recent attempt to safely land an expended first stage booster (something no one has ever done before) from his SpaceX Falcon 9 International Space Station re-supply rocket ran into difficulty just before touchdown on a drone barge out in the ocean and suffered a RUD, short for a ‘Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly’. In other words, it crashed and burned before sinking beneath the waves. Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark, though apparently not much of a mark on the barge itself.
Say or believe what you want about Elon Musk (and there seems to be a huge audience out there who hate Elon Musk for various reasons) but the man is a true innovator and pioneer, someone who radically changes everything about anything he puts his mind to. What he tried, and almost succeeded in doing for the first time the other day, was to launch a rocket and then bring back to Earth (safely and completely intact) the spent first stage.
This is no small task since we are talking about a fragile empty tube (the full fuel tanks add structural rigidity which is no longer there) essentially shaped like a cigarette over 160 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter, and land it intact on its business end on a ship the size of a football field out in the middle of the ocean. And he very nearly did it on his first try. If nothing else the man has balls.
There is a shared understanding in engineering that speaks to the relationship between potential disaster and the complexity of the engineering attempted to solve a complex problem. Essentially a low tech solution has a lower propensity for disaster than high tech when applied to the same problem. While this is a gross oversimplification of a complex situation, you get the idea. Keep it simple stupid (KISS) is a perfect example of this principal.
If you examine some of the methods Elon Musk uses to solve complex problems, clearly he and his engineers understand this principal and practice it in all their endeavors. Outside the box thinking, combined with the hiring of non mainstream consensus thinking indoctrinated talent, consistently puts Elon out in front of the pack. Plus an obvious willingness, and even an affinity, to laugh at his ‘self’ in public when most other professionals would be hiding under their desk or pointing fingers in order to shed any blame for failure. There is no doubt who is in charge here and where the buck stops.
Elon clearly recognizes he is in a high risk business. Rather than fear failure or avoid it like the plague, Musk embraces it for what it truly is, inevitable and survivable if approached in the proper manner and with the correct mindset. What makes a true and consistent winner is honesty first, beginning with the self and radiating outward from there to all s/he touches.
Staying with the space theme for now, let’s briefly look at three examples of RUD within the NASA space program and see if we can find a common theme other than it being serious business. In 1967 three Apollo 1 astronauts died in a fire inside the capsule they occupied during training. While you are welcome to read the entire ‘official’ investigation, which cited all kinds of contributory factors, bottom line the capsule was pumped full of pure oxygen which tends to make nearly everything extremely flammable. While technically not a RUD, that fire was not an accident but rather a certainty just waiting to happen.
The second example; on a cold Florida morning in late January of 1986 the shuttle Challenger suffered an extremely violent and very public RUD shortly after liftoff. While nearly 30 years have done wonders to sanitize the explanation for this disaster, when the decision was being made on whether to launch or not the next morning (there had already been several delays) it was understood it was going to be very cold and the people in that meeting who were responsible for the solid fuel booster rockets (Morton-Thiokol if memory serves correct) clearly stated in the presence of the NASA decision makers there might be problems with seals because of the cold and they urged extreme caution.
They, meaning those who worked for the booster company, were overruled via conference call by those higher up in the company. The pressure to keep the schedule (and the government contracts) was a higher priority than any ‘potential’ problem. The results of that decision, and more importantly everything leading up to that point, are now very well known. The interesting thing about collective decisions and group failure is no one wants to point incriminating fingers since everyone had their fingers in the pie. Such was the case here and the investigation exposed all this in glaring detail.
Finally, space shuttle Columbia suffered a RUD upon re-entry from Earth orbit in 2003. While this was a somewhat less public spectacle than Challenger, the root (human) cause was quite similar in nature. While the official explanation was a large chunk of foam insulation detached from the main external fuel tank during the early stage of the climb to Earth orbit, with the foam punching a hole through the thermal shielding on the leading edge of the shuttle wing thereby exposing it to devastating heat during re-entry, the fact is beginning with the very first test shuttle mission chunks large and small had been coming off the external fuel tank and smashing into the orbiter.
This was a very well known and obviously not well understood problem with the space shuttle system. While there were all kinds of issues with this problem, beginning with the original design of both the external fuel tank and the fragile ceramic thermal tiles on the shuttle itself, if you read the actual report (and I did shortly after it came out) in my opinion it all came down to a passage I remember reading. One engineer interviewed by the investigating committee basically said since there had not been significant damage from foam before (Columbia was the 113th flight of the shuttle system) no one considered the real possibility there would be one in the future. It was an ‘acceptable’ risk. Besides, we’re talking about foam insulation here. How bad could it be?
Obviously very bad.
While some might call this a failure of imagination, particularly by those who wish to sanitize their own involvement or that of the institution they are/were involved with, just as it is nearly impossible to get someone to do ‘A’ if they are paid to do ‘B’, so too is it nearly impossible to get someone to critically think about adverse consequences when they are conflicted, subverted or consumed by their own dependency or greed. Which brings us full circle to the coming national, and more likely global, RUD.
Plenty has already been written about the insanity of attempting to rectify a global debt problem with even more debt. Or the stranglehold the wolves have upon the construction of the dinner menu featuring sheep as appetizer, entrée and dessert. So there is no need to repeat it all here. The global economic system is in deep trouble and getting progressively worse.
Of course this doesn’t mean the global economy is doomed to suffer a RUD simply because it is in terrible shape. There is still time to avert complete and utter disaster, though there is no denying we are headed for significant pain and suffering even if ‘they’ somehow manage to avoid the iceberg dead ahead. But of course ‘they’ aren’t trying to avoid the iceberg, just delay the collision in order for the elite to prepare for, and prosper from, the consequences.
And here is where we recognize the true commonality in all the RUD’s described above. While the immediate cause of each disaster is unique in each situation, and the circumstances of each incident are also entirely different, the commonality lay within the organizational cause of each ‘accident’. And by organizational I do not ‘just’ mean the fact NASA was involved in all the above mentioned RUDs.
Step away from the NASA examples and look at any RUD, for instance the breeching of the dikes around New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, and you will find while the trigger for each is unique, the organizational cause for the incident all follow the same basic blueprint. Greed, self interest, broad assumptions, indifference, turf battles, CYA and so on all play a role in creating the organizational circumstances that enable, and even promote, disaster rather than prevent it.
In other words with regard to organizations, particularly public organizations, the cure becomes the disease.
Wolves Hidden in Sheep’s Clothing
Our socioeconomic system, while purported to have been created in order to benefit all (though not necessarily equally) is in fact used to subvert, exploit and enslave the general population for the benefit of those few at the top of the heap. While the vast majority of us ‘know’ this statement to be true, our conditioning as a slave to the system informs us there is (or at least was) a real chance we can buck the system and ‘prosper’, even if never reaching the highest level of the elite.
The dream of potential ‘freedom’ (ultimately meaning financial freedom for the vast majority, not self rule and determination) motivates us slaves to endure our drudgery. We work and are paid ‘money’, thereby enabling us to eat, sleep and play with a reasonable degree of comfort. The puppet masters make sure just enough crumbs are left on the floor so full scale revolt doesn’t enter the equation. Can anyone say ‘social safety net’ or ‘minimum wage’, both of which support subsistence slave existence?
As I discussed in detail in my “Perception, Inception and the Trojan Horse Money Meme” four part series, the money meme distorts our reality and corrupts the mind and soul to such an extent that for all intents and purposes we become addicted to the pursuit, generation, accumulation, growth and consumption of ‘money’ in all its forms and functions. For those who wish to control the population, the lever effectively used is to control ‘money’ and let the pursuit of the addiction enslave the population. While certainly this is another broad statement which fails to accurately describe anyone in particular, thus enabling all of us to claim ‘I’ am not one of the addicted, the sad fact is much (I would say nearly all in one form or another) of our everyday lives revolve around ‘money’.
None of these concepts are new to those who are most likely reading this and really not the point of this article other than to reiterate the basis for my thinking. While an entirely competent, and most certainly compelling, argument can be made supporting the notion those who administer the socioeconomic system are promoting, or simply enabling, a future RUD as a means to the end of consolidating power and further enslaving those they no longer wish to bestow crumbs upon, a complimentary point of view might be organizational rot and degradation is simply an additional spark to propel the approaching RUD. Houston, we have a problem……and it might just be us.
Those in power set up and/or modify political, economic and social systems to enable the elite, and those who support them, to remain in power. While the narrative we are taught, thus the stories we tell each other, are about truth, justice and the American Way, the ‘truth’ is the American Way is just another experiment in plantation farming following a long line of experiments going back thousands of years. Only ‘ours’ was brilliantly designed to leverage, while simultaneously reinforcing, the master/slave relationship. But of course that doesn’t fit the conditioning, and comforting, narrative we tell ourselves now does it?
While there is no doubt present day living conditions, along with the accompanying bread and circuses, are significantly better than found on 1st Century Roman slave labor farming villas, the Feudal social order of the Medieval Manors or the 18th Century cotton plantations, our productivity, and thereby our profitability to the elite, are also orders of magnitude greater today than the old school plantation slave. A happy self deluded slave is a massively more productive slave. “Sign me up,” begs both master and slave.
This glaringly obvious ‘fact’ doesn’t alter the reality today’s ‘free’ mind is just as constrained, if not more so, as the mind of the beaten, bloodied and broken plantation slave. Just because we do not acknowledge the binds that tie us to our servitude does not invalidate their existence, but rather significantly strengthens them.
The same can be said about Socialism, Communism, dictatorships, monarchies, the police state and every other modern day plantation hierarchy. The soothing labels we choose to appease our feigned ignorance, if not outright denial, do not shield us from the effects. Rather they wonderfully illustrate our thoroughly broken minds and spirit, with our rapidly decaying bodies the last roadside sign warning of the looming bridge abutment and total systemic collapse.
The present day belief held by many in the alternative community (and increasingly in the mainstream) is ‘Capitalism’, that bastion of free market economic growth and prosperity, has been distorted and hijacked over the last several dozen years or so. This belief implies there was a period of time when ‘Capitalism’ was pure, or at least more pure than it is today.
Believing this forces us to ignore our own history (altered and distorted as it is to help support the narrative we are taught) which shows us corruption, abuse of power, self dealing, manipulation and so on are as much a staple of the American Way as apple pie and Chevrolet……and always has been. While these abuses, along with their duration and intensity, rise and fall over the decades as social awareness and outrage ebbs and flows, the wheel eventually completes its turn and we find ourselves back where we started. While ‘history’ does not repeat it most certainly does rhyme. This is not by accident.
The dog eat dog, or more accurately slave eat slave, adversarial system we are indoctrinated into, and enslaved by, all but assures its eventual organizational RUD. While common sense appears to indicate this makes no sense from the Powers That Be (PTB) point of view, after all stability would seem to be their goal, ‘they’ more than anyone else understand the flaws, intended or otherwise, which are built into this type of socioeconomic system, including its eventual RUD, and assume they will be able to handle just about any eventuality. Besides, it is always better to keep the slave population on edge and fighting among themselves over crumbs and distractions then firmly focused on their true tormentors.
While this might appear to be a huge leap of faith by the elite 1%, a long history of minority rule by generation after generation of elites informs us otherwise. While there are dozens of contributing factors to the elite’s success, their primary strength is their willingness to do ANYTHING required to maintain control, including eating their own by offering up a few sacrificial elite lambs to be burned at the stake.
This effectively serves to sate, even if only on a temporary basis, the angry hoards’ blood lust for someone (else) to be held responsible for their own willing participation in economic and social slavery, thereby enabling the vast majority of the rebellious slaves to return to the more comfortable emotional state of conditioned slavery.
Stated simply we do not cast off our deeply embodied conditioning in a few short days, weeks or even months, thereby freeing our ‘self’ from ourselves. In the ultimate expression of psychological self destruction “We the People” will do whatever it takes to dispel any lingering cognitive dissonance. Above all else, we fear the pain of knowing ourselves. We are only as sick as our deepest darkest secrets and those can only be found, and confronted, deep within.
Photo Credit - Inner Demons by Christian Hopkins
This is one of the primary reasons revolutions rarely succeed. Or if they initially do, the revolution itself quickly becomes worse than what it superseded under the guise of carrying out social and political ‘reforms’. If the elite have not already co-opted the leadership of the ‘revolution’ they will soon do so while the revolution struggles to convert to civilian rule. Those who are effective revolutionaries are not necessarily well suited to confront and reform social inequality and strife or create a functioning bureaucracy from scratch.
Knowing this, let me count the number of ways the elite can (re)establish control over the ideologically blind (the revolutionaries) and the emotionally stunted (the recently ‘freed’ slaves) who have now returned to their cages trailing a revised narrative to sooth them back to sleep. It’s like red meat to a starving hyena and the elite are always ready to pounce.
If anything the elite welcome the occasional revolution because it acts as a psychological re-boot for the affected slave nation, encouraging the conditioned to return to their slave quarters while the promised change is never delivered, all while enabling a frenzy of looting by the elite and the revolutionaries while the social and financial order is being restructured. Essentially the conditioned are encouraged to endure even more suffering in the name of change, and many will willingly do so in their desperate pursuit to dispel their recently enflamed cognitive dissonance. The con game changes, but the players remain essentially the same.
While we slaves are preoccupied with local, regional or ‘national’ concerns, the elite see no substantial borders and almost always think and act globally. This is how the 0.1% rules the 1% who rules the 20% who rules the remainder. I do not fear the King as much as I fear all the King’s men, ultimately the better kept and more powerful house slaves who dole out the actual punishment you and I receive.
I am not as concerned with the approaching RUD and the devastation it will bring, for this is inevitable and beyond my ability to control. What concerns me deeply is what will follow. The most powerful opiates and sedatives in human experience do not spring from the labs of Pfizer, Merck or Johnson & Johnson, but rather are produced within the deeply conditioned and pacified minds of the Slave Nation.
The controlling narrative, combined with the need for the conditioned mind to rid itself of all outstanding cognitive dissonance, virtually assures the elite the upper hand regardless of the appearance of revolution, mindless anarchy and mob rule. Rest assured there will be blood, and plenty of it, before the re-boot is complete and the new patsies storm the stage proclaiming ‘our’ victory.
An animal caged all its life rarely ventures outside for long regardless of the ease of egress or the pleasures that beckon beyond. The emotional discord that erupts when the familiar confines are removed is simply too powerful for the vast majority of captive minds to push through, thus the urgent need for control to be reasserted, corralled if you will, if only by a new set of accommodating elites. Power, and a recently ‘freed’ mind, abhors a vacuum.
Therefore, for the elites at least, a RUD, inevitable as it may be, is entirely useful as a reset mechanism and herding mechanism. Put a can of familiar Spam in the back of the cage and the hungry and emotionally distraught will quickly return to the familiar confines of their mental and emotional cages.
This is why time after time I always return to the same beat of the drum. The only way real change will ever be effected is if “We the Slaves” first change our selves. And this can only be accomplished by way of a fearless and thorough examination of our inner fears, triggers and conditioning. To paraphrase Bill W., half measures avail us nothing. To scratch the surface of the ‘self’ and then pull back, either out of fear or shock, only sets us up for more of the same servitude. One must dive in and go deep, returning to the surface often for air and perspective before once again submerging for another scouring of the deepest darkest reaches of the mind and soul.
The next RUD, intentionally planned or organizationally birthed, is just around the corner. Of this I am quite certain if for no other reason than history shows us the well beaten path to the next bridge abutment. Rather than scream my loudest while beating my chest in frustration at my impotence and my fellow slaves’ willingly ignorant servile prostration, I must ready myself and those who wish to join me for the coming winter.
I cannot stress enough the fear and panic which will permeate the global community when the next RUD commences. The herd’s instinct to riot, run and then retreat will be incredibly powerful and will overwhelm all of us even from a distance if we enter the next disaster unprepared mentally, emotionally and physically. And by prepare I do not just mean stacking PM’s, stocking food and strengthening the fences.
The only way to weather the coming storm is to first look deeply within, clean house, become settled with the things we cannot change and busy ourselves with those we can. It all begins with the demons within.