Skinwalkers - Chapter 18
The following are direct quotes from the book Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger, May 2016, except for statements in italic added.
The ultimate act of disaffiliation isn’t littering or fraud, of course, but violence against your own people. When the Navajo Nation—the Diné, in their language—were rounded up and confined to a reservation in the 1860s, a terrifying phenomenon became more prominent in their culture. The warrior skills that had protected the Diné for thousands of years were no longer relevant in this dismal new era, and people worried that those same skills would now be turned inward, against society. That strengthened their belief in what were known as skinwalkers, or yee naaldlooshii.
Skinwalkers were almost always male and wore the pelt of a sacred animal so that they could subvert that animal’s powers to kill people in the community. They could travel impossibly fast across the desert and their eyes glowed like coals and they could supposedly paralyze you with a single look. They were thought to attack remote homesteads at night and kill people and sometimes eat their bodies. People were still scared of skinwalkers when I lived on the Navajo Reservation in 1983, and frankly, by the time I left, I was too.
Virtually every culture in the world has its version of the skinwalker myth. In Europe, for example, they are called werewolves (literally “man-wolf” in Old English). The myth addresses a fundamental fear in human society: that you can defend against external enemies but still remain vulnerable to one lone madman in your midst. Anglo-American culture doesn’t recognize the skinwalker threat but has its own version. Starting in the early 1980s, the frequency of rampage shootings in the United States began to rise more and more rapidly until it doubled around 2006. Rampages are usually defined as attacks where people are randomly targeted and four or more are killed in one place, usually shot to death by a lone gunman. As such, those crimes conform almost exactly to the kind of threat that the Navajo seemed most to fear on the reservation: murder and mayhem committed by an individual who has rejected all social bonds and attacks people at their most vulnerable and unprepared. For modern society, that would mean not in their log hogans but in movie theaters, schools, shopping malls, places of worship, or simply walking down the street.
Here is a list of skinwalkers, and their shooting rampages in the USA over the last 30 years. Note that from 1988 to 1997 there were 6; from 1998 to 2007 there were 9; from 2008 to 2017 there were 24. Why does it appear that over the last 10 years our society is generating a sharp increase in skinwalkers, individuals committing murder and mayhem who have rejected all social bonds and attack people at their most vulnerable and unprepared? Perhaps it is because, as Sebastion Junger stated, this “shows how completely detribalized this country has become.” Our neurological genetic predisposition, the warrior ethos, all for 1 and 1 for all, is no longer relevant in modern life. As individuals in society it appears we are now very far from our evolutionary roots.
In 2013, areport from the Congressional Research Service, known as Congress's think tank, described mass shootings as those in which shooters "select victims somewhat indiscriminately" and kill four or more people.
Mass shootings over last 30 years until October 1, 2017. And recent news from October 2 to December 31, 2017.
November 14, 2017: Rampaging through a small Northern California town, a gunman took aim on Tuesday at people at an elementary school and several other locations, killing at least four and wounding at least 10 before he was fatally shot by police, the local sheriff’s office said.
November 5, 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley carried out the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history on Sunday, killing 25 people and an unborn child at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, near San Antonio.
October 1, 2017: 58 killed, more than 500 injured: Las Vegas
More than 50 people were killed and at least 500 others injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said. Police said the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nev., was was found dead after a SWAT team burst into the hotel room from which he was firing at the crowd.
Jan. 6, 2017: 5 killed, 6 injured: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
After taking a flight to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, a man retrieves a gun from his luggage in baggage claim, loads it and opens fire, killing five people near a baggage carousel and wounding six others. Dozens more are injured in the ensuing panic. Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, has pleaded not guilty to 22 federal charges.
May 28, 2017: 8 killed, Lincoln County, Miss. A Mississippi man went on a shooting spree overnight, killing a sheriff's deputy and seven other people in three separate locations in rural Lincoln County before the suspect was taken into custody by police, authorities said on Sunday.
Sept. 23, 2016: 5 killed: Burlington, Wash.
A gunman enters the cosmetics area of a Macy’s store near Seattle and fatally shoots an employee and four shoppers at close range. Authorities say Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old fast-food worker, used a semi-automatic Ruger .22 rifle that he stole from his stepfather’s closet.
June 12, 2016: 49 killed, 58 injured in Orlando nightclub shooting
The United States suffered one of the worst mass shootings in its modern history when 49 people were killed and 58 injured in Orlando, Fla., after a gunman stormed into a packed gay nightclub. The gunman was killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages at Pulse, a popular gay club. He was preliminarily identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen.
Dec. 2, 2015: 14 killed, 22 injured: San Bernardino, Calif.
Two assailants killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in a shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. The two attackers, who were married, were killed in a gun battle with police. They were U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and Pakistan national Tashfeen Malik, and had an arsenal of ammunition and pipe bombs in their Redlands home.
Nov. 29, 2015: 3 killed, 9 injured: Colorado Springs, Colo.
A gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., and started firing.
Police named Robert Lewis Dear as the suspect in the attacks.
Oct. 1, 2015: 9 killed, 9 injured: Roseburg, Ore.
Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shot and killed eight fellow students and a teacher at Umpqua Community College. Authorities described Harper-Mercer, who recently had moved to Oregon from Southern California, as a “hate-filled” individual with anti-religion and white supremacist leanings who had long struggled with mental health issues.
July 16, 2015: 5 killed, 3 injured: Chattanooga, Tenn. A gunman opened fire on two military centers more than seven miles apart, killing four Marines and a Navy sailor. A man identified by federal authorities as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, sprayed dozens of bullets at a military recruiting center, then drove to a Navy-Marine training facility and opened fire again before he was killed.
June 18, 2015: 9 killed: Charleston, S.C.
Dylann Storm Roof is charged with nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in an attack that killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Authorities say Roof, a suspected white supremacist, started firing on a group gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after first praying with them. He fled authorities before being arrested in North Carolina.
May 23, 2014: 6 killed, 7 injured: Isla Vista, Calif.
Elliot Rodger, 22, meticulously planned his deadly attack on the Isla Vista community for more than a year, spending thousands of dollars in order to arm and train himself to kill as many people as possible, according to a report released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Rodger killed six people before shooting himself.
April 2, 2014: 3 killed; 16 injured: Ft. Hood, Texas
A gunman at Fort Hood, the scene of a deadly 2009 rampage, kills three people and injures 16 others, according to military officials. The gunman is dead at the scene.
Sept. 16, 2013: 12 killed, 3 injured: Washington, D.C. Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor and former Navy enlisted man, shoots and kills 12 people and engages police in a running firefight through the sprawling Washington Navy Yard. He is shot and killed by authorities.
June 7, 2013: 5 killed: Santa Monica
John Zawahri, an unemployed 23-year-old, kills five people in an attack that starts at his father’s home and ends at Santa Monica College, where he is fatally shot by police in the school’s library.
Dec. 14, 2012: 27 killed, one injured: Newtown, Conn.
A gunman forces his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and shoots and kills 20 first graders and six adults. The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, kills himself at the scene. Lanza also killed his mother at the home they shared, prior to his shooting rampage.
Aug. 5, 2012: 6 killed, 3 injured: Oak Creek, Wis.
Wade Michael Page fatally shoots six people at a Sikh temple before he is shot by a police officer. Page, an Army veteran who was a “psychological operations specialist,” committed suicide after he was wounded. Page was a member of a white supremacist band called End Apathy and his views led federal officials to treat the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.
July 20, 2012: 12 killed, 58 injured: Aurora, Colo.
James Holmes, 24, is taken into custody in the parking lot outside the Century 16 movie theater after a post-midnight attack in Aurora, Colo. Holmes allegedly entered the theater through an exit door about half an hour into the local premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
April 2, 2012: 7 killed, 3 injured: Oakland
One L. Goh, 43, a former student at a Oikos University, a small Christian college, allegedly opens fire in the middle of a classroom leaving seven people dead and three wounded.
Jan. 8, 2011: 6 killed, 11 injured: Tucson, Ariz.
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, allegedly shoots Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head during a meet-and-greet with constituents at a Tucson supermarket. Six people are killed and 11 others wounded.
Nov. 5, 2009: 13 killed, 32 injured: Ft. Hood, Texas
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, allegedly shoots and kills 13 people and injures 32 others in a rampage at Ft. Hood, where he is based. Authorities allege that Hasan was exchanging emails with Muslim extremists including American-born radical Anwar Awlaki.
April 3, 2009: 13 killed, 4 injured: Binghamton, N.Y.
Jiverly Voong, 41, shoots and kills 13 people and seriously wounds four others before apparently committing suicide at the American Civic Assn., an immigration services center, in Binghamton, N.Y.
Feb. 14, 2008: 5 killed, 16 injured: Dekalb, Ill.
Steven Kazmierczak, dressed all in black, steps on stage in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opens fire on a geology class. Five students are killed and 16 wounded before Kazmierczak kills himself on the lecture hall stage.
Dec. 5, 2007: 8 killed, 4 injured: Omaha
Robert Hawkins, 19, sprays an Omaha shopping mall with gunfire as holiday shoppers scatter in terror. He kills eight people and wounds four others before taking his own life. Authorities report he left several suicide notes.
April 16, 2007: 32 killed, 17 injured: Blacksburg, Va.
Seung-hui Cho, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech senior, opens fire on campus, killing 32 people in a dorm and an academic building in attacks more than two hours apart. Cho takes his life after the second incident.
Feb. 12, 2007: 5 killed, 4 injured: Salt Lake City
Sulejman Talovic, 18, wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a shotgun, sprays a popular Salt Lake City shopping mall. Witnesses say he displays no emotion while killing five people and wounding four others.
Oct. 2, 2006: 5 killed, 5 injured: Nickel Mines, Pa.
Charles Carl Roberts IV, a milk truck driver armed with a small arsenal, bursts into a one-room schoolhouse and kills five Amish girls. He kills himself as police storm the building.
July 8, 2003: 5 killed, 9 injured: Meridian, Miss.
Doug Williams, 48, a production assemblyman for 19 years at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., goes on a rampage at the defense plant, fatally shooting five and wounding nine before taking his own life with a shotgun.
Dec. 26, 2000: 7 killed: Wakefield, Mass.
Michael McDermott, a 42-year-old software tester shoots and kills seven co-workers at the Internet consulting firm where he is employed. McDermott, who is arrested at the offices of Edgewater Technology Inc., apparently was enraged because his salary was about to be garnished to satisfy tax claims by the Internal Revenue Service. He uses three weapons in his attack.
Sept. 15, 1999: 7 killed, 7 injured: Fort Worth
Larry Gene Ashbrook opens fire inside the crowded chapel of the Wedgwood Baptist Church. Worshipers, thinking at first that it must be a prank, keep singing. But when they realize what is happening, they dive to the floor and scrunch under pews, terrified and silent as the gunfire continues. Seven people are killed before Ashbrook takes his own life.
April 20, 1999: 13 killed, 24 injured: Columbine, Colo.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, students at Columbine High, open fire at the school, killing a dozen students and a teacher and causing injury to two dozen others before taking their own lives.
March 24, 1998: 5 killed, 10 injured: Jonesboro, Ark.
Middle school students Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden pull a fire alarm at their school in a small rural Arkansas community and then open fire on students and teachers using an arsenal they had stashed in the nearby woods. Four students and a teacher who tried shield the children are killed and 10 others are injured. Because of their ages, Mitchell. 13, and Andrew, 11, are sentenced to confinement in a juvenile facility until they turn 21.
Dec. 7, 1993: 6 killed, 19 injured: Garden City, N.Y.
Colin Ferguson shoots and kills six passengers and wounds 19 others on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train before being stopped by other riders. Ferguson is later sentenced to life in prison.
July 1, 1993: 8 killed, 6 injured: San Francisco
Gian Luigi Ferri, 55, kills eight people in an office building in San Francisco’s financial district. His rampage begins in the 34th-floor offices of Pettit & Martin, an international law firm, and ends in a stairwell between the 29th and 30th floors where he encounters police and shoots himself.
May 1, 1992: 4 killed, 10 injured: Olivehurst, Calif.
Eric Houston, a 20-year-old unemployed computer assembler, invades Lindhurst High School and opens fire, killing his former teacher Robert Brens and three students and wounding 10 others.
Oct. 16, 1991: 22 killed, 20 injured: Killeen, Texas
George Jo Hennard, 35, crashes his pickup truck into a Luby’s cafeteria crowded with lunchtime patrons and begins firing indiscriminately with a semiautomatic pistol, killing 22 people. Hennard is later found dead of a gunshot wound in a restaurant restroom.
June 18, 1990: 10 killed, 4 injured: Jacksonville, Fla.
James E. Pough, a 42-year-old day laborer apparently distraught over the repossession of his car, walks into the offices of General Motors Acceptance Corp. and opens fire, killing seven employees and one customer before fatally shooting himself.
Jan. 17, 1989: 5 killed, 29 injured: Stockton, Calif.
Patrick Edward Purdy turns a powerful assault rifle on a crowded school playground, killing five children and wounding 29 more. Purdy, who also killed himself, had been a student at the school from kindergarten through third grade.Police officials described Purdy as a troubled drifter in his mid-20s with a history of relatively minor brushes with the law. The midday attack lasted only minutes.
July 18, 1984: 21 killed, 19 injured: San Ysidro, Calif.
James Oliver Huberty, a 41-year-old out-of-work security guard, kills 21 employees and customers at a McDonald’s restaurant. Huberty is fatally shot by a police sniper perched on the roof of a nearby post office.
Integrate the Wisdoms of History into Present Culture
Addressing the polarized political climate in the USA
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Perhaps we could integrate the wisdoms of history into our present culture with the hope for a stable and prosperous future. With that in mind, let’s consider the Digital Age we are presently in. Computers mark the start of the Digital Age. In 1954, IBM announced it was no longer planning to use vacuum tubes in its computers and introduced its first computer that had 2000 transistors. The transistor is the primary building block of all microchips, including your CPU, and is what creates the binary 0's and 1's (bits) which your computer uses to function. The transistor is the basic building block of computers. In 1965 a gentleman by the name of Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, wrote a paper that predicted the doubling every year of the number of transistors in computers. In 1975 he revised that prediction to doubling every 2 years. From that time until the present, as seen below, his prediction was remarkably accurate. This exponential growth in the number of transistors in computers is referred to as Moore’s Law.
This chart expresses transistor growth in logarithmic or exponential format. For a better visual understanding of the above chart, let’s break that chart down into 3 simplified pieces shown on regular numerical graphs.
Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 1990:
Note the growth seen in Graph 1 is not visible in Graph 2. Those values are too small to be seen in a regular graph. By 2005, computers had 184 million transistors.
Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 2017:
Note that the rate of change from the advent of life to Homo habilis was 2111.
The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the end of the Paleolithic Tribe and the beginning of Civilization. The numbers 1-20 stated above represent each period shown below.
Note the rate of change seen in Graph 4 is not visible in Graph 5. By the time of Civilization 5000 years ago, the rate of evolutionary change was 760,000 times faster than the evolutionary baseline.
The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the Present. The numbers stated above represent each period shown below.
What does this logarithmic similarity between computer transistor count in the last 50 years (Chart 2) and evolutionary and societal change over the last 3.8 billion years (Chart 3) mean? At this point in time this similarity means that we are in the early stage of huge societal changes as a result of the digital revolution, and that it may be in our best interest to become less polarized and more rational in order to best choose our destiny as a society. Should we heed Ben Franklin’s question: “We’ve given you a Republic, can you keep it?” Yes, and to do so we need to be politically active, synthisophic and neureal.
That said, the convergence of the human/societal evolution and the transistor count/digital revolution may at some point in the not too distant future reach the point of singularity, when computers and artificial intelligence equal that of the human brain, after which computers will then surpass human intelligence. As stated earlier in Thesis 3 Chapter 15, note that computers can process and correlate billions of bits of information per second, whereas the human brain at the consciousness level is very limited in that capacity. Also note that the human brain can integrate many pieces of related information and create new and original ideas, not just correlates. Looking at Bloom’s taxonomy, computers can remember, understand, apply, analyze (correlate) and even evaluate information. But at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy, only the human brain can create new and original ideas integrating many pieces information from a wide variety of historic sources and come up with something completely new and of possible societal value. Restated, computers cannot and will not be able to synthisophize, integrate the wisdoms of history into present culture. Only, we the people, can do that.
Chapters 16 through 30 were first published here in full in August, 2018.
By 1990, computers had 1.2 million transistors.
Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 2005:
Let's put Charts 2 and 3 side by side:
The Universe is 13.5 billion years old.
The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Biochemical Life and single cell organisms appeared on Earth 3.8 billion years ago.
Multicellular organisms appeared 1.5 billion years ago.
Fish appeared 500 million years ago.
Reptiles appeared 320 million years ago.
Mammals appeared 200 million years ago.
The first primates appeared 85 million years ago.
The great apes, Hominidae, appeared 15 million years ago.
Australopithecus, the southern ape, appeared 4 million years ago.
Homo habilis, handy man, appeared 2.5 million years ago.
Homo erectus was in it’s prime 1 million years ago.
Homo sapiens appeared 300,000 years ago.
Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa to dominate the world 70,000 years ago.
Agriculture started 10,000 years ago (8000 BC)
Civilization began 5000 years ago (3000 BC)
The Scientific Revolution happened in 1500 AD
The Industrial Revolution happened in 1800 AD
The population explosion started spiking in 1920 AD
The Digital Revolution took off as shown above in 1970 AD
Fantasyland arrives in 2000 AD
The Present - 2018 AD
Let’s look at the rate of the evolutionary change of life on this planet since the beginning of life 3.8 billion years ago through the social changes we’ve undergone since the advent of agriculture and civilization including the changes we are currently undergoing today. The rate of change can be measured using a baseline unit of 1 = 3.8 billion / 3.8 billion. Each rate of change between the above listed changes can be determined by the basic unit, 3.8 billion divided by the time between the 2 changes.
1. Baseline unit:
3.8 billion/3.8 billion = 1
2. So the rate of change between the emergence of life and multicellular organisms is:
3.8 billion – 1.5 billion = 2.3 billion; 3.8 billion/2.3 billion = 1.66
3. The rate of change between multicellular organisms and fish is:
1.5 billion – 500 million = 1 billion; 3.8 billion/1 billion = 3.8
4. The rate of change between fish and reptiles is:
500 million – 320 million = 180 million; 380 billion/180 million = 21
5. The rate of change between reptiles and mammals is:
320 million – 200 million = 120 million; 380 billion/120 million = 31
6. The rate of change between mammals and the first primates is:
200 million – 85 million = 115 million; 3.8 billion/115 million = 33
7. The rate of change between the first primates and Hominidae the great apes is:
85 million – 15 million = 70 million; 3.8 billion/70 million = 54
8. The rate of change between the great apes and Australopithecus is:
15 million – 4.3 million – 10.7 million; 3.8 billon/10.7 million = 355
9. The rate of change between Australopithecus and Homo habilis is:
4.3 million – 2.5 million = 1.8 million; 3.8 billion/1.8 million = 2111
10. The rate of change between Homo habilis and Homo erectus is:
2.5 millon – 1 million – 1.5 million: 3.8 billion/1.5 million = 2533
11. The rate of change between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is:
1,000,000 – 300,000 = 700,000; 380 billion/700,000 = 5428
12. The rate of change between Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens leaving Africa to dominate the world is:
300,000 – 70,000 = 230,000; 3.8 billion/230,000 = 16,500
13. The rate of change from out of Africa to Agriculture is:
70,000 – 8000 = 62,000; 3.8 billion/62,000 = 61,000
14. The rate of change from Agriculture to Civilization is:
8000 - 3000 = 5000; 3.8 billion/5,000 = 760,000
15. The rate of change from civilization to the Scientific Revolution is:
3000 BC + 1500 AD = 4500; 3.8 billion/4500 = 844,000
16. The rate of change from the Scientific Revolution to the Industrial Revolution is:
1800 – 1500 = 300; 3.8 billion/300 = 12,670,000
17. The rate of change from the Industrial Revolution to the Population Explosion is:
1920 - 1800 = 120; 3.8 billion/120 = 32,000,000
18. The rate of change from the Population Explosion to the Digital Revolution is:
1970 – 1920 = 50; 3.8 billion/50 = 76,000,000
19. The rate of change from the Digital Revolution to Fantasyland is:
2000 – 1970 = 30; 3.8 billion/30 = 126,000,000
20. The rate of change from Fantasyland to the Present, given the present is a critical period in which to decide the
future of our society: 2018-2000 = 18: 3.9 billion/18 = 210,000,000
So let’s look at graphs reflecting these rates of change over time. The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the appearance of Homo habilis. The numbers 1-20 above represent each period shown below.
Note the growth seen in Graphs 1 and 2 are so small they are not visible in Graph 3. By 2017, computers had 19 billion transistors.
So let’s look now at a simplified version of the exponential Chart 1 shown above generated with the same transistor data as the 3 graphs above:
The graph above shows the exponential growth of the computer transistor count over time in a nearly straight line on a logarithmic scale.
What about the rate of evolutionary change of life on planet earth? What about the rate of social change since the advent of civilization?
Here we can see the exponential increase in the rate of change in evolution and society over time in a near linear progression on a logarithmic scale.
Recall the exponential graph in Chart 2 showing transistor counts in computers over time?
Note the rate of change seen in Graphs 4 and 5 are so small they are not visible in Graph 6. At the present time, the rate of evolutionary and societal change is 210,000,000 times faster than the evolutionary baseline.
Now let’s look at an exponential graph showing the rate of evolutionary and societal change over time using the same above data:
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