Monday, May 29, 2017

Who are the 85%?

In the 1950s a Psychologist by the name of Solomon Asch did a series of social experiments on human conformity called The Ash Conformity Experiments. These experiments began with a perceptual exercise. A group of 6 people were asked to participate in a study where they would all sit at a table and be shown a series of cards with one target line on one side and three comparison lines on the other side.

The participants would then be asked one by one which comparison line matches the target line. One by one they all choose the correct answer when the first and second card is shown. Of the 6 people participating, 5 of them were previously instructed to unanimously give the wrong answer when the third card is shown. This is unknown to 1 participant, the subject, who is now positioned to either say what they know to be correct or go along with the group just to fit in, knowing that the answer is wrong. There were 18 different cards shown and the 5 participants unanimously gave the wrong answer on 12 of those cards.

While most people said they would say what they knew to be correct and not go along with the group, researchers found that 75% of the subjects conformed and gave the wrong answer at least once. When the experiment concluded it was then revealed to the subject that the 5 other participants were instructed to unanimously give the wrong answer. When the subject was asked why they went along with the group just to fit in the answers Asch received ranged from self doubt, fear of being ridiculed by the others and the honest belief that the majority’s answers were correct. There were others who did not conform and of course they were in the minority. Keep in mind that this study was conducted on white male undergraduates of the same age range; a conformed racial, gender, cultural group. Given different racial, cultural, gender, age and socioeconomic backdrops researchers may see different results. Although this was the case, there is much to learned about conformity and one's sense of justice, especially when there are no visible signs of a reward or penalty for not conforming. 

Asch’s primary reason for conducting these experiments was to study how group behavior can influence an individual. What researchers recognized in these experiments are two forms of social conformity: Normative and Informational. Normative Conformity happens when people want to be accepted or liked, such as peer pressure and following music/fashion trends. Informational Conformity happens when people go along based on the belief that others are right or have more accurate information. Whether it was normative or informational social influence, the 75% of the subjects Asch identified as conformists are similar to the 85% within the Five Percent lexicon.

Within our lessons, some of the characteristics used to describe the 85% and their susceptibility to normative and informational social influence are, “poisonous animal eaters” [poor diet choices/not health conscious], “slaves from a mental death and power”, “do not know their origin in this world” [disoriented/lacking a cultural identity], “worship what they know not” [blind followers/non-critical thinkers], “easily led in the wrong direction but hard to be led in the right direction” [naive/easily manipulated], “worshipping that which they cannot see, invisible”, "do not let the 5% teach them" [stubborn/incorrigible], “they believe -in the 10%- on face value” [naive/easily manipulated] and others. In our language of Mathematics 8 is Build [and Destroy] and 5 is Power so the 85% are often referred to as a “Build Power” because this is exactly what they need to do in order to be a master of their destiny, not be mastered. Note that 8 + 5 = 13 and the 13th letter in our Alphabet is “M” for Master; the apex response to “What is his [or her] own self?” as our 13th degree in our section of lessons known as the 1-36 asks us. Not all normative and informational social influence is bad. Some social pressure is important to maintain the integrity of a community against social decay and some of us do have more accurate information we should trust in after further investigation. As the 5%, or free thinking minority in Asch’s experiments who did not conform to the group, we teach, train and learn from others what’s necessary to rise above the gravitational pull of negative normative and informational social influences. This requires more than personal integrity or the audacity to stand out or stand alone. Among other things, it requires a sound premise [Knowledge = Foundation] of facts to stand upon, self confidence, the skills to defend our position and being inoculated against the potential ridicule, sabotage and loss that can come along with being a non-conformist. 

 Sheeple and Social Economic Engineering

Allah, affectionately known as “The Father”, who started the Five Percent Nation in 1964 began as a non-conformist. He stood alone and didn’t claim affiliation with any religious, political or Black Nationalist groups during one of the most turbulent times in American history. He taught youth that many in society perceived as incorrigible without a college education, a program grant, a paycheck or for community service hours. He just cared enough about his community, especially the youth, to do everything within his power to help transform its condition and help inspire, empower and educate them to be its future leaders. It's a tough path that demands resilience and the knowing that we may very well lose our life standing out or standing alone for what we know to be true. As evidenced by the problems we see in this world, most aren't willing to do this. Most people, we refer to as the 85%, means "the majority" or those who go along to get along even if it's wrong; like the silent majority who voted America into the mess #45 is making. Being of the majority doesn't make a person inherently evil, inferior, untalented nor are the names 85%, Build Power or Eighty Fiver a coded racial epithet Five Percenter's use to discriminate against or ridicule people. This, among other words/phrases we use in our language, is a sociological term used to coherently define how most people function within society; a society where a crony capitalistic minority, often deemed The 1% [we call the 10%], use social influence to monopolize its resources, institutions and economy. A question I always get from people who are striving to learn more about the Five Percent is, "Can the 85% ever become the Five Percent?" and my answer has been consistently the same: HERE

While many within the Five Percent commonly consider "Who" are the 85% as a means to define those who fit the description within our lessons, as evidenced by what some of us choose to do and how we choose to do it, it's clear that we may overlook the "When", "Where" and "How" are the 85%. There are moments or ways of thinking about ourselves and the world that are of the 85%. There are places that are Build Power domains. There are also procedures and social norms that dictate the function of an Eighty Fiver. In many cases, and without recognizing there's a difference between Who, When, Where and How, it's hard to even tell the difference between the 85% and those who call themselves the Five Percent. Either because of a person's social media persona, their close affiliations or the sheer lack of youth advocacy and community outreach in their neighborhood and city as a whole. So this question, "Who are the 85%?" is our 14th degree for a reason: it's synonymous with knowing our culture as 1 is Knowledge and 4 is Culture. It's about self evaluation, growth and development, not sitting on a high horse pointing our fingers to ostracize a segment of our human family. Besides, an Eighty Fiver may be the very one to save you or one of your family member's life while your Five Percent bestie is only in a position to say "Peace!"


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Get Out: A "Woke" Analysis

When they [horror films] resonate, when they hit their stride, it is because there is some social.., there’s something in the zeitgeist, some real fear that the movie is playing to. You know that’s like how the torture porn genre became big in the Post 9/11 Era. You know, that was us exorcising this demon within us. We were out for blood.., in this weird way. So this one [Get Out] is less allegory and more strait up about what it is.–Jordan Peele

The opening quote is from a BUILD Series Interview in February 2017 with Get Out Writer/Director Jordan Peele and best summarizes the layers of insight I drew-up from this film. His deliberate use of the German term “zeitgeist”, meaning “spirit of the age” (zeit ‘time’ geist ‘spirit/ghost’), speaks volumes in and of itself. Get Out, dubbed a Social Thriller by Peele, was released in 2,781 theaters on Oscar Weekend, February 24th, with a production budget of 4.5 million dollars. Earning a coveted 99% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, Get Out has grossed over $170 million domestically as of today. As a Blumhouse Production, a company that’s generally known for low-budget horror films, this was highly successful for a film with a 4.5 million dollar budget. In fact, Get Out is the first film debut by a black Writer/Director to gross over $100 million dollars.

What interested me the most about Peele’s quote was the ambiguous “what it is.” While it’s obvious to the naked eye that “it” in this film can be race, there are many other layers undetected by the naked eye. When I first saw this film there were five films that specifically came to mind where I could see Peele drawing his inspiration. In viewing some of his interviews about Get Out he mentioned four of these films specifically by name or included them in the film’s dialogue. These films are as follows and should be critically examined to gain further insight into various themes Peele is strait up about in Get Out: Rosemary’s Baby, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Eyes Wide Shut and The Stepford Wives (1975). The fifth film that I haven’t heard him speak about or imply is called Inception. While Peele is credited with writing this film, it’s clear to me that it’s much more at play behind the scenes. In music production there’s a function used called quantization that eliminates imprecision. For example, if a snare or kick drum you’re playing is a little off beat, the quantizing function will sync the snare or kick exactly on beat. Although it’s precise, sometimes it sounds too perfect, digital, mechanical and loses some of its human touch. The timing of this film, and his constant admittance that he didn’t think this film would ever be made, could not have been any more perfect. In the same interview Peele states, “Since Strait Outta Compton came out and really broke a lot of monetary boundaries that were thought, um, existed, I feel like we’re in the beginning of a Renaissance of many untapped voices to do, to get platforms to do really elevated work.” While some people believe in perfect storms, it’s also possible for perfect storms to be made. Our most recent presidential election is an obvious example of that.
Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer

In addition to race and microaggressions, one of the other themes in Get Out was the use of mind control, hypnosis and the audit-like techniques employed by Scientologists. The fact that I haven’t seen much commentary on that I thought was very strange. As someone who has studied these sciences in great detail over the years, I can say that they’re very real and being used on the masses of people every day; often under the guises of advertisement, marketing & promotion, media and image branding. The main character Chris [Daniel Kaluuya] was hypnotized during a time known as the witching hour in occult circles; the same time certain “programming” is on the television and the point during our sleep where we’ve reached the REM stage. So I've learned not go to sleep with the television on. If you must, leave the television on something specific, or even play specific music, that you want to download into your subconscious. Keep in mind that this is also the time where certain orders, covens and etc. perform certain rituals; there is less conscious resistance to any determined idea when people are sleep. During the dinner scene where Chris laughed it off that his girlfriend Rose’s mother, a Psychiatrist/Hypnotherapist, used a watch-like pendulum to hypnotize people, it was eventually shown that this is something we shouldn’t laugh off. Hypnotism, as we seen by Missy Armitage’s use of a simple tea cup, can successfully work using various objects in place of a pendant/pendulum. To be crude about it, if nakedness, music or a treading topic can focus our attention long enough to put us to sleep then that’s just as good or better than a pocket watch. This concept is what "Law of Attraction" self-hypnosis mechanics are based upon. While many viewed the tea cup as the object Missy Armitage used to hypnotize Chris, I would argue that it was actually her silver spoon. Historically, that hypnotic symbol of wealth, and the false sense of white acceptance and promise of miscegenation, has been the death of many black people in North America.

Another theme expressed in Get Out, which echoes Peele's above comment on America's "torture porn genre", is the culture of sexual ambiguity that’s often said to exist in affluent white communities, especially Hollywood, dating all the way back to its cultural codification in ancient Greece, Rome and in many contemporary European societies. Popular examples of this are the history of Sappho in Greece, Caligula in Rome and the grotesque Sheela Na Gig carvings of naked women stretching their vulva found on churches, castles and other buildings throughout Europe, particularly in Ireland and BritainDuring a scene when Chris talked to his friend Rod [Lil Rel Howery] on the phone about his experience at Rose's parents house Rod jokingly remarked that her mother Missy Armitage is probably hypnotizing black people to be sex slaves on some serious "Eyes Wide Shut sh*t!" This theory of Rod's was a constant reference throughout the film and speaks to the general notion and conservative attitude black folks have concerning these ideals [how white folks get down], especially in a society that has historically restricted our liberty. It must be noted here that although we've seen elements of this sexual ambiguity expressed in some black and brown societies that pre-date Greece and Rome, those societies did not accept nor entertain these elements as a part of its cultural norms. For example, the word homosexual [and lesbianism] is derived from Greek and Latin [Roman]; many classical and indigenous languages didn't have a word to functionally define or support this sexual ambiguity. Even when you're looking at the Erotic Art temples of India; they are the direct result of Hindu influence whose lineage goes back to the Aryans or Indo-Europeans who invaded India. At one point Chris starts to learn something isn't right when he discovered a hidden Pandora-like box in Rose's room of her posing intimately with over a dozen young black men, including the black gardener, and one female house maid. It was the Nation of Islam co-founder, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who often described the white woman as “the devil's last trick for the black man, and the modern day Delilah” used by the white man to thwart our progress and create enmity within the black family. In a Theology of Time lecture on July 4th 1972 Muhammad warned, “My young brothers, do not grab these blue-eyed gals of his. They are doing this today to get you away from the God of your salvation. The girl has been taught a long time, so when this day comes that she will sweet-heart with you and she will blind you to the knowledge of the time so that you won't recognize what she is doing.” 
As in any film I watch, my approach is as a social scientist and Get Out is an excellent study of America’s past, present and potential future attitude about race, relations and cultural appropriation. In an age where “Stay Woke” has become a popular generic hashtag among Millennials, our next step is to literally “Get Out.” Get Out of the mindset that coded films such as this are enough to effectively combat over a century of Hollywood propaganda that has systematically demonized, caricatured, dehumanized and co-opted the culture and identity of black people. We must all play our part in using our voice to create and control our narrative. A voice to tell our stories through all spheres of people activity, that no one else is qualified to do.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Annette Larkins: The Fountain of Youth Interview

  In episode 45 of Atlantis Build Talk Radio I share an insightful interview with world reknown 75-year-old raw foodist Annette Larkins about her journey. She is the creator of the Annette’s Raw Kitchen DVD, the books Journey To Health and Journey To Health 2 and host of the 12-part public television series Health Alternatives With Living Foods and appeared on various radio/television shows including The Steve Harvey Show. You can listen to and download Episode 45 of Atlantis Build Talk Radio at the link below: