sociology

De-Individualization (“the customer” vs. “the customers”)

You often hear it when businesspeople speak. “The customer” instead of “the customers” even when talking about the totality of them. That totality is treated like a single entity, as a type.
That is convenient, because it helps to generalize and to deny the individual interests and thus potentially causes thought patterns of dehumanization to creep into the mind.
It is a common thought pattern in the business world, because ideally the whole customer base is conformant, homogenous. That helps with maximization of efficiency and thus profit. Deviants are inconvenient for that, as is proven again and again not just in the business world, but anywhere where fear reigns, often fueled by big money.

Think about where else you usually find this rhetorical tool for mind (self-)conditioning:
“The Jew”
“The Negro”
“The foreigner”

Note the quite crucial, intentionally left out word “average”. (Which comes with its own set of problems somewhat related to this topic, but is not as severe as when left out altogether.)

Not a coincidence. Same thought pattern. If you saw a group of people as individuals, you’d have to accept the mental effort and practical inconvenience of allowing each individual their relevance.

Marketing has learned a lot from Hitler and such, and Hitler learned a lot from people before his time.

As I often point out: Thought shapes language and language shapes thought.
(That’s the whole point of applied rhetorics.)

Krav Maga – Breeding the world’s most deadly cowards

These notes are semi-refined. A bit of flow-of-thought style, as I like to do. Obviously this will offend some people, but that’s an issue in the offended, and that’s part of the theme of what I write about. Unlike the people and behaviors I examine in the following, I am not acting based on fear. Fear is the mind-killer. It weakens the character.

I watched a documentary about martial arts and now an episode about Krav Maga and hearing about its rules and basics, it sounded like a political guide book. Which makes perfect sense if you consider that it is the Israeli fighting style.
It immediately was an obvious stark polarity to previous episodes about Asian martial arts and mostly any other style.

– Developed originally as defense for the meek and helpless against an oppressive regime and with this idea further developed and practiced by a powerful military force.
– Focuses on things considered forbidden in other martial arts (groin kicks, throat punches, eye pokes), for the sake of effectiveness and defeating your enemy as quickly as possible.
– Always defend and attack at the same time.
– Is also a mentality, and the key word is aggression. (according to a trainer)

It’s what the Israeli military learns.
Just like Eastern martial arts, it has its ‘philosophical’ side. Just that it’s a very different one.

Krav Maga sounds like Grave Maggot. I came up with this pun before realizing how applicable it is, hah.

Krav Maga is designed to turn average people into the world’s most deadly cowards.

I guess it’s something you can be proud of if you fully focus on the deadly part. Which should be no problem at all. To most people, it comes naturally.

The style is adapted to being the lone one being crowded, facing multiple opponents, implying that you are the good guy. But if you have an assault rifle and your opponents are tormented and hungry and united in their resistance and spirit, then you are trained for being a bully, for acting like a victim when you’re not. For acting like a soldier invading a market to hunt down and punish people and believing you are an innocent civilian who just wanted to buy some fruit and gets assaulted by a mob.

Here’s some much-needed Eastern wisdom combined with social psychology:
Since Krav Maga was originally created as a way for Jews to defend against the Nazis, this means its conception was brought about by two influences: Krav Maga wouldn’t exist without the Jews, and Krav Maga wouldn’t exist without the Nazis. Half of Krav Maga keeps the role of the suffering victim alive, the other half the oppression. And when you keep acting like the Nazis are still around when they’re not, you need to find a replacement to make that idea work, to give your mentality purpose. It boils down to classical projection. You cultivate your preferred inner state (like not wanting to let go of pain and fear), and then you try to shape the outer world accordingly in order to create a comfort zone that allows you to live with your inner demons without being reminded of them.

And that’s in part why I tend to say that Hitler isn’t dead, but alive and well in Israel. He lives on in his victims; turned them into agents. It’s traditional; inherited fear.

In the documentary series, there was also a very insightful statement made about the differences of cultures and philosophies and how they affect martial arts and the other way round. A statement that pretty much sums up where the problem lies and points to the solution:

‘In typical Western MA, you try to impose your will onto other people. In typical Asian MA, you see your opponent lose balance and merely help them fall.’

Asian martial arts are closely connected to the culture’s philosophy, i.e. a mindset of strength through inner peace; of NOT acting like a victim. For building character. Krav Maga is like a caricature; the extreme imbalance – total physical survival mode. It’s like the guys from the dojo with the black clothes in Karate Kid, where they were used an a contrast, or metaphor for what’s wrong with Western mindset.

Krav Maga is the only martial ‘art’ I know that focuses on character weakening. All it has going for it is the idea of “Keep going!” which serves as a simple distraction from how it erodes pretty much the rest of your character. Perpetual “Keep going!” makes you forget to pause and reflect on what you are doing.

You know, to go back to the documentary material … it is telling when after a line of very respectful and awe-inspiring statements by the main participants, one of them said he thinks, based on his experiences in the army, that his instructor is “partially insane, not a stable human being”. Even if he didn’t mean it 100% serious, such choice of words always expresses sincerity, especially since no “just kidding” vibe could suffice to make you not pause and think when you hear that from a guest about a host.

The problems with US police seem related, of a similar mindset. You have people of weak character given power and authority. They use fear as justification. They go to an incident scene and then go into “They’re out to get me” self-defense mentality based on fear.

I’m quite sure a proper wu shu master could defeat a krav maga master easily and quickly, without causing lasting injury. The more balance there is in the practice, the easier it gets to exploit the opponent’s imbalance.
It’s relatively simple for anybody to master something that requires so little; such a narrow, focused skillset.

In sparring, you apologize when you hurt your sparring partner. In Krav Maga there are no rules, so there is no real sparring. They showed that in the documentary when his not-really sparring partners repeatedly went straight for his leg injury, making him scream in great pain. When I saw that, I wanted to tell him to play their game by their rules and kick the shit out of them. Then let’s see how that gang of bullies can handle suffering from their own game. Then again, he was probably too afraid that he would get killed then. As they exclaimed repeatedly, those guys are nuts. If they wanted to really get into the spirit of Krav Maga, they’d have to go nuts, too.
There was also as I remember no or almost no swearing in previous episodes, but in this one, there was plenty. It’s also the only episode where they tell their instructors what they want to hear without really meaning it. Their recap was that the past five days were more mental conditioning than actually growing technique-wise. Basically just about not giving up when doing pit fighting. Naked survival, training to become totally ruthless if necessary.

Last time I checked, US marine training wasn’t considered a martial art.

At one point the guy farewell-hugged his instructor and mentioned that he habitually wanted to go into defensive position. There you see how it affects the mind; what it cultivated towards. You get mistrust deeply ingrained, which can eventually lead to paranoia and psychosis, and that’s what you see a lot in that country.

At one point the instructor said: ‘You need to be alert, 24/7, every day, all the time’. There’s your unhealthy, obsessed imbalance again. Aiming for the impossible. Driving yourself crazy if you are serious. Again, Asia understands the importance in balance. If you push yourself all the time and don’t allow yourself phases of rest and depressurization, you’ll break down. You’ll ruin yourself. And if you keep being afraid of covert attacks from anywhere all the time, you’ll get adrenaline fatigue and your body is not allowed to heal. It will have to adapt to that, but this cannot go on forever. The imbalance will sink in deeper and deeper. I know from own experience that it can be hard to give it a rest when you are (impatiently) driven towards something, but pushing it further will always come at a cost that needs to be paid if not soon in soft currency, then later in hard cash.

At the final trial they again tried to seriously hurt his leg, and the way he fought he was still too polite to try and DEAL some serious injury. And that showed his real character. That he wouldn’t stoop to their level.
Finally they celebrated that they could welcome them into their ‘family’ in “true hell”. Must give them real comfort to know that another person accepted to share their misery and assume, even for a while, their unhealthy attitude.

Understand that a dojo full of physical pain doesn’t imply it can’t be a massive comfort zone for the mind. Because anything you can go through in a Krav Maga training is trivial compared to the suppressed pain that might make you seek out such training. Getting rid of some inner demons can mean you have to be willing to die; to give up your will to live. Which is the opposite to Krav Maga’s core message of never giving up. Wisdom means to know when to give up. Sometimes what you aim for will remain absolutely impossible to reach, maybe even move further away from you, as long as you keep pushing for it. You’d become an obsessed fanatic.

In the very end, one of them summed it up very well, jokingly, but it has to be asked in all seriousness: “Why train Krav Maga when I can just spend 40 bucks on a taser?”
Yeah. I could just pose as a Krav Maga master-instructor and beat the shit out of my students with a stick and tell them this is elemental core practice; just take it and keep going. There’s no way to tell a madman from a Krav Maga teacher. In previous episodes, with the ‘less Western’ styles, but generally with pretty much any other style, you just knew there was more to it. But of course, if you are a master of something so imbalanced, there is no depth, no contrast.
There’s a reason why there is no master title or martial arts label for running amok. Even associating the word “art” with Krav Maga is an insult to art of all kinds.
Hopefully the practice outside of Israel will at least not share the Israeli sickness and instead focus more on the technique set of defending against multiple attackers. But then, why still call it Krav Maga? If you want to know the core of an Israeli-rooted martial arts, of course Israeli masters would be the ones to consult. And that’s what the documentary showed. Pure and unadulterated Krav Maga.

UPDATE: In the last episode they showed Kajukenbo, and while it utilizes some similar techniques and is focused on merciless streetfighting, the whole spirit of those people was like the total opposite of what was shown in the Krav Maga episode. And that’s a crucial difference. The important thing is to look at what a practice does to a person.

UPDATE 2: I now learned that there’s virtually no alternative to a several years long compulsory military service in Israel. And Krav Mag is being taught to everybody during that time; naturally alongside the whole package of political agenda and implanting of fear-propaganda into people’s minds. With such a mass-indoctrination and -conditioning, it is no surprise that the situation just won’t find a resolution in the Middle East. Way too much energy is fed into the problem. There’s a very active desire on a grand scale to keep the conflict alive, and new radical fanatics (I mean Israelis now) are trained every day.

It is interesting though that there are Israelis bold enough to risk legal consequences by refusing to do military service, and according to Wikipedia information their numbers increase. Those are the actually courageous people, not the bullies in uniform.

Footnote: Funny thing in relation to this article and marketing automation: http://dowlphin.tumblr.com/post/126713670607/automated-twitter-fav-hilarity-this-is-the

Reasons behind the WoW pandaren critique

People complained about the pandaran race introduced in World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria expansion. They still occasionally do.
One might wonder why, since the pandaran race has been canon since the pre-MMO Warcraft times, and so have certain other strange animal-like races.
I will tell you what the problem is. It is becoming quite obvious when you listen to the ‘reasoning’ behind the critique.

It is about male insecurities. People who are bothered by pandaren demand more blood, gore, violence and ugliness. This active rejection of beauty sounds very much like fanaticism. Behavior based on fear and suppression of the truth behind it. (World of) Warcraft has always had silly and cheesy elements. But pandaren are, at least in some aspects, more inclined towards peace, beauty and wisdom; attributes of a healthier society. One might argue they’re traits associated with femininity. So when a guy says: “This isn’t ugly and horrible enough!” it’s pretty clear that this is what’s going on. Masculine-ego boost. It’s the same reason why fans of My Little Pony get flamed. It challenges traditional role models and mass psychology induced by marketing/popculture. The resistance is the reactionary act of people afraid of loss of identity. So, basically, as said before: insecurities acting up.
Being fine with pandas roaming Azeroth is the mature approach.

Especially when they’re dual-wielding katanas and giving out free beer, haha.