How Societies Become Consumer Cultures Through Housing

Alfred Marshall’s (Principles of Economics, 1891) view of housing still goes right to the heart of what makes housing and built environment an important anthropological topic. No artifact is so clearly multi-functional, simultaneously a utilitarian object of absolute necessity, and an item of symbolic material culture, a text of almost unending complexity.

In every house the economic, social and symbolic dimensions of behavior come together. This may be why the analysis of housing has had such a wide appeal in disciplines as diverse as social psychology, folklore, economics and engineering. Anthropologists themselves have shown a new willingness to consider the house as a key artifact in understanding the articulation of economic and social change during economic development.

An ethnocentric home.

From the perspective of our own contemporary society, surrounded by houses of all shapes and sizes, where wealth and luxury are synonymous with housing, this seems obvious and commonplace. The 1980’s television show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and journals like “Architectural Review” are odes to the home as a shrine and symbol of wealth. But just as clearly, there are societies where all the houses look alike, even though all the people are not alike. Perhaps then, the assumption that there is something natural and obvious about spending on the house and home market as a marker of prestige is ethnocentric. Why the house instead of something else?

A number of anthropological approaches attempt to place the house in a theoretical context which answer this question by relating housing to social, economic, and psychological variation and change. For example, a utilitarian approach that views the house partially as a workspace links changes in the elaboration of houses to changes in the kinds of work done in the household (Braudel 1973:201). Or if the house is seen as a reflection of how all household activities are organized and divided, then the shape of the house will change as activities are modified, differentiated, or recombined (Kent 1983, 1984).

Utilitarian houses.

An even more utilitarian perspective relates the form of the house to climate, technology and the kinds of building materials that are available (Duly 1979).  For the Silo, Richard R. Wilk.

Read here and read the full PDF document on your device.

Supplemental- Complete Text  Principles of Economics (London: Macmillan and Co. 8th ed. 1920).
Author: Alfred Marshall
About This Title: This is the 8th edition of what is regarded to be the first “modern” economics textbook, leading in various editions from the 19th into the 20th century. The final 8th edition was Marshall’s most-used and most-cited.

Poll Showed 56% Of Our Neighbors In America Believes In Devil

Against a backdrop of horrific crimes and devastating natural disasters, 56 percent of Americans surveyed believe in the devil, 53 percent believe in hell and 43 percent believe in hell as “a place of suffering and punishment where people go after they die,” according to a poll of 1,218 Americans conducted over Memorial Day weekend back in 2013.

Hey Devil- no cheating! image:

The survey also found that Americans don’t hold God responsible for these tragedies with 86 percent believing natural disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado and Hurricane Sandy are a function of nature. Sixty-one percent believe recent terror and crime episodes, such as the London terrorist attack, the Cleveland kidnapping/imprisonments and the Sandy Hook massacre are caused by “the evil in people’s hearts” rather than “divine retribution.”

Equal numbers of respondents (38 percent) believe that people who commit violent criminal acts go to hell, as well as those who don’t ask God’s forgiveness for their sins before they die. More than 61 percent believe they’re going to heaven, while less than 2 percent believe they will go to hell.

Ominously subtitled- "What is to come" Ryden cuts right to the chase with a Premonition preface that begins: "All my life I've seen the spiritual realm. I see Angels, and Saints, and other supernatural Beings. I see the souls of dead people." CP
Ominously subtitled- “What is to come” Ryden cuts right to the chase with a Premonition preface that begins: “All my life I’ve seen the spiritual realm. I see Angels, and Saints, and other supernatural Beings. I see the souls of dead people.”

Commissioned by the True Life in God Foundation (TLIG),,  established by international humanitarian Vassula Ryden (author of the bestseller Heaven is Real But So Is Hell; released in March 2013), the poll was conducted online from May 23-27, 2013 among 1,218 Americans age 18 and older with a margin of error of +/-2.9%. Respondents were equally split (50 percent) between male and female.

The new survey shows that while a majority of Americans still believe in hell (54 percent), the number is declining. A 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life / US Religious Landscape Survey showed that 59 percent of Americans believed in hell, and an earlier Pew study reported that 71percent believed in hell as of 2001.

Other key findings include:

• 62 percent believe in heaven and think they are going there.

• 44 percent believe in hell as “a place of suffering and punishment where some people go after they die;”

• The 56 percent overall belief in the existence of the devil and 53% belief in hell was consistent across all the four survey age groups;

• With regard to what causes evil in the world, i.e., the Boston Marathon bombings, Sandy Hook school shooting and 9/11, older respondents (45-60) say people are evil while younger  respondents (18-29) say people are sick;

• 41 percent identify the devil as “Satan the fallen angel who rebelled against God and now tempts humans to do the same;”

• 47 percent believe heaven is “God’s dwelling place” while 44 percent believe heaven is “a spiritual dimension where good people go when they die.”

The True Life in God Foundation conducted the survey to help Americans explore the existence and causes of evil in the world. The foundation commissioned Survey Monkey, one of the leading polling companies in America, to survey a cross-section of Americans from every age group, region, ethnicity, religion and household income.

The survey follows the release of Heaven Is Real But So Is Hell  , which hit No. 1 on Barnes &  Noble online, as well as No. 1 in Christian Orthodoxy on Amazon.[ following its March 16, 2013 release CP] The book details Vassula Ryden’s spiritual journey in which she received visions of heaven, hell, demons and angels, and the battle between good and evil in the world.

Vassula cautions skeptics who scoff at the existence of the devil: “The devil’s most powerful tool is convincing us that he – and hell – do not exist. He works subtly and silently, feeding our doubts and inadequacies, sowing dissension and creating chaos and confusion in our lives. Evil is real, and we have to know how to respond to it.”

Crossroads(1986) Guitar duel between the Devil’s guitarist (Steve Vai) and Juilliard trained “Lightning Boy” (Ralph Macchio)

Vassula believes prayer, forgiveness, reconciliation and service to others are the main tools to overcome the forces of evil.

About True Life In God Foundation

Founded by International author and humanitarian Vassula Ryden, is an international non-profit organization that funds 25 Beth Myriam homes serving the poor in six countries.  A Greek Orthodox Christian, Ryden has more than 1 million followers on social media, and has spoken to millions of people in 80 countries, including more than 500,000 in the Philippines alone. An internationally-acclaimed advocate for peace and unity, Ryden was twice awarded Bangladesh’s 2003 Gold Medal Peace Prize for her work in religious tolerance and aid to the poor. She has been endorsed by many government and religious leaders, and has met with leaders at the United Nations, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican, including Pope Francis and his two predecessors.  Ryden advocates “unity in diversity” between Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, and reconciliation between all world religions. For more information visit: GG

Supplemental- What Canadians are believing-


Clement Greenberg’s The Avant-garde And Kitsch

Art is, or it should be, about more than simply making marks on a surface or manipulating materials into pleasing–or indeed displeasing–shapes…. perhaps the avant-garde or kitsch. A true artist benefits immeasurably by knowing about the history that has created the universe they traverse.

Ever wonder what all that academic talk is that curators like to use so much? Do you find it pretentious or worse?

Art Theory informs in so many ways, tracing the paths that have led to a particular moment or movement. A foundational understanding of the schools of thought, the histories, the thinkers who have wrought the ground you stand on as an artist today enriches not only your own mind but your work as well.

One such thinker who made a significant impact on the art world in the 1940s was Clement Greenberg. In 1939, Greenberg published one of his seminal works Avant-Garde and Kitsch. The essay not only launched Greenberg to nearly overnight notoriety, it also sparked a major development in the art world as a whole.

The essay begins with the following statement:

“One and the same civilization produces simultaneously two such different things as a poem by T.S. Eliot, and a Tin Pan Alley song, or a painting by Braque and a Saturday Evening Post cover. ”

Click on the following scan to open the full essay in PDF form-

PDF Greenburg Essay Avante-Garde and Kitsch
Click me to read full essay.


Greenberg goes on to classify Avant-Garde as those things that are untouched by the decline of taste and meaning in a society (a poem by T.S. Eliot or a painting by Braque) while Kitsch is the title bestowed on the rest of the clutter that appeals to the masses and asks nothing in return other than their money (a Tin Pan Alley song or a Saturday Evening Post cover).

Kitsch Art by Jarrod Barker
Kitsch Construction #2 by Jarrod Barker 2008. Banff, Alberta, Canada.

For Greenberg, Avante-Garde situated itself outside the influences of both capitalist and communist influences that were gradually dampening society’s ability to appreciate any depth of meaning.

Greenberg wrote several other important essays over the course of his life and career. He was a strong proponent of Modernism being the last best hope for the preservation of integrity in art. Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning were among those he deemed the saviors of art in their time.

Understanding who Clement Greenberg was and why his influence matters is just one piece of the complex puzzle of being a well-rounded artist. There are libraries worth of books out there that will break down every bit of art theory and history you ever need to know.

Of course, who has time to read all that? How can you know where to begin? Who and what are some of the most important influences that have shaped the art world as it stands today and how are you meant to sort them out from the crowd?

If you need more than just a reading list, did you know that Praxis Center offers a course in Art Theory? With a subscription for just $40usd a month, you have unlimited access to eight modules of theory, discussion, and suggested titles to help enrich and inform your artistic life and practice. For the Silo, Brainard Carey. 

Archaeology Pioneers Of The Americas

The tradition of archaeology in the Americas (both North and South America) is defined by cross-cultural comparative research that draws heavily on an innovative tradition of regional-scale fieldwork.

Many early archaeo-pioneers worked in multiple culture areas of the Americas, seeking direct connections between the archaeological record and living or historical indigenous peoples, and fostering close ties with the related field of anthropology as a result.

WPA trowel men at work,Thompson Village Site,Tennessee. Image courtesy of the Frank H. McClung Museum, University of Tennessee (62HY5[B]
This brief overview covers seminal developments in stratigraphic excavation (the idea that time deposits artifacts in successive layers- the lower the layer, the older the artifact), regional survey, and other field methods within their historical and geographic context.

Such pioneering archaeological efforts across the globe are often lauded for their early attention to stratigraphy and the association of geological or cultural strata with change in human societies over time. In the Americas, as in other parts of the globe, such attention was often the result of non-systematic excavations into mounds of anthropomorphic origin. In other words- ‘grave robbers’. Continue reading by clicking here. For the Silo, David M. Carballo / / Department of Archaeology, Boston University.

Featured image- Archaeological Pioneers Of The Americas Gordon Willey Tula Mexico

Cahokia – Kunnemann Group submitted by durhamnature. Excavation of Kunnemann Mound, one of 6-11, from “Cahokia Mounds” via

Supplemental- Cahokia: Ancient Village in the Great Lakes 

Artwork That Reminds Us History Is Absolute

Colorization processed G. Orwell photo-

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” -George Orwell

The facts of the past cannot be objectively altered regardless of belief or opinion. They can, however, be tainted by those wishing to assume power. It is critical that we understand the past as it happened and do not allow the view to be obscured. Only in this way can we ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of our forebearers, only in this way do we as a society learn and move on from our past transgressions. Those who would revise the past must be confronted with resistance and overcome with the truth. We are bound by our ancestors to carry their truth along the banks of the future no matter how heavy the burden may be.

Golden Age Rorschach, 2014, 38” x 26”, Acrylic paint over inkjet print mounted on Dibond by Aura Goldenberg.

Aura Rosenberg is based in New York City and Berlin, Germany. Since 1993 she has worked on a project titled Berlin Childhood. Over the years the project has taken on many forms including a published book, souvenirs of Berlin’s Victory Column, photographs, and a film. The title comes from a series of texts by Walter Benjamin written during his exile from Berlin in the 1930s. Rosenberg began creating a photograph to correspond with each text which Benjamin wrote in order to combat his homesickness during exile. Chantal Benjamin, the granddaughter of Walter Benjamin moved to Berlin and contacted Rosenberg. The two became friends and Rosenberg began filming Benjamin and her daughter around the city also in correspondence with the original texts. Presently Rosenberg is editing her archive of footage and recording a narrative soundtrack of Walter Benjamin’s great-granddaughter reading his texts aloud. Rosenberg also creates work based on themes of sexuality. One of her current project is a continuation of an older work titled Porn Rock.

“145 Elm Ridge Drive Toronto”
Study Of Politics In Cell Tower Placement by Vid Ingelevics.

Vid Ingelevics is a Canadian artist. Much of his work examines representations of the past. His current long form project titled Freedom Rocks focuses on the history of the Berlin Wall since its removal in 1989. Ingelevics began researching what happened to the wall after it fell and discovered pieces of it across the world including in the United States and Canada. Initially, Ingelevics and his collaborator went to Washington, D.C. to learn about the movement of the remains of the wall. In the years following the removal of the wall there was a strong market for fragments. Pieces of the Berlin Wall now appear in the most unlikely corners of the world. Ingelevics work looks at why fragments of the Berlin Wall move around the world and who pays for this as well as putting the wall in the context of history rather than relegating it solely to the realm of political symbolism.  For the Silo, Brainard Carey.

Brainard  is currently giving free webinars on how to write a better Artist bio and statement and how to get a show in a gallery – you can register for that live webinar and ask questions live by clicking here.

Featured image- “Touching the Wall”, Berlin, 2014. From the larger project, Freedom Rocks, a collaboration between Vid Ingelevics & Blake Fitzpatrick begun in 2004 that explores the post-1989 history of the Berlin Wall.

Supplemental- Digital Rorschach examples from 2012 / 2013 series by Canadian Artist Jarrod Barker.

Space Race by Jarrod Barker. 2013.
Blue Nude Torso In Plaid Design. Jarrod Barker. 2012.
Monarch. Jarrod Barker. 2013/16.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

History is absolute. Endeavor to know it and to speak its truth.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Heather Hubbs has recently read On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder and user Julia has been revisiting Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

From Historical Long Distance Trade To The Modern Global Lives Of Things

Until quite recently, the field of early modern history largely focused on Europe. The overarching narrative of the early modern world began with the European “discoveries,” proceeded to European expansion overseas, and ended with an exploration of the fac-tors that led to the “triumph of Europe.” When the Journal of Early Modern History was established in 1997, the centrality of Europe in the emergence of early modern forms of capitalism continued to be a widely held assumption. Much has changed in the last twenty years, including the recognition of the significance of consumption in different parts of the early modern world, the spatial turn, the emergence of global history, and the shift from the study of trade to the commodities themselves.

Sometimes conferences disappear from view as soon as the delegates disperse. Other times, when the papers are published in an edited volume, conferences come to be seen as important milestones in the historiography. The two volumes edited by James Tracy, entitled The Rise of Merchant Empires and The Political Economy of Merchant Empires published in 1990 and 1991, respectively, move through their various stages of production, ownership, transmission and transformation . Moreover, those stages are overlapping, circulatory and contradictory; objects move in and out of collections, as they move in and out of fashion, and meanings are never stable. When a feathered crown is produced in Spanish America, for example, it has a very different meaning from when it enters into a cabinet of curiosity, and when it is taken out of the cabinet to appear in a spectacular performance in the street or in the theatre, it once again takes on a different meaning. Objects gain biographies; earlier meanings of objects are never erased but reshaped and translated to new circumstances, as Leah Clark showed in her study of the circulations of gems and jewels through the hands of a variety of owners in quattrocento Italy. Such insights have benefitted not only from the global turn but also from developments in the fields of anthropology and art history, making the field more interdisciplinary than it was when the study of the trade in goods focused more on their trade than on the goods themselves.

The Founding of a New Journal

Despite Tracy’s efforts, European actors continued to hold central stage in the field. When the Journal of Early Modern History (JEMH) was established in 1997, a decade after the Minnesota conference, the centrality of Europe in the emergence of early modern forms of capitalism, for example, continued

1 James Tracy, ed.,The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World, 1350-1750, Studies in Comparative Early Modern History (Cambridge, 1990); James Tracy, ed., The Political Economy of Merchant Empires, Studies in Comparative Early Modern History (Cambridge, 1991).

2 Herman Van der Wee, “Structural Changes in European Long-Distance Trade, and Particularly in the Reexport Trade from South to North, 1350-1750,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires, 14-33; Niels Steensgaard, “The Growth and Composition of the Long-Distance Trade of England and the Dutch Republic before 1750,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires, 102-52; The importance of comparative methodologies is also spelled out in the short editorial that accompanies the first part of the first volume of the JEMH. See James D. Tracy, “From the Editors,” Journal of Early Modern History 1 (1 January 1997): 1.

(and still continues) to be a widely held assumption. In part, this can be explained by the powerful legacy of giants in the field like Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein.3 Braudel’s concern was entirely with European his-tory over the longue durée; Wallerstein’s 1976 study identified Europe as one of the core regions in the modern capitalist economy as it emerged in the six-teenth century. Regions like Central Africa, India and China were designated as peripheries, meaning that their natural resources and low-skill, labor-intensive production sustained the economic growth of the core region. Wallerstein’s framing of the relationship between the early modern European core and its peripheries formed the base for much of the scholarship of the past decades, including numerous studies of the long-distance or intercontinental trade between core and periphery.

Much that was written also continued to identify long-distance trade as the preserve of either the various East India Companies associated with individual nations, or of the specifically named merchant communities such as the Armenians, the Jews, Wang Gungwu’s Hokkien merchants, or the Bajaras and Banyas merchant communities.4 Such groups appear in the literature as having a clear identity that separates them from other groups and an often marginal status that makes them especially suited to the life of the itinerant merchant who covers vast distances.

And for much of the 1990s and beyond, the emphasis continued to be on commodities traded over long distances, from Asia to Europe via land or sea routes, including luxury items that justified the high cost associated with their transport. Precious metals were sent from the Americas to Asia, silks and spices arrived in the Levant via overland trade routes, and once the Europeans had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, luxury goods like porcelains, precious stones, and exotic hardwoods were shipped across the oceans along with silks and spices. Long-distance trade as it appears in Tracy’s two volumes on merchant empires was undoubtedly seen as important, but as essentially different from the bulk trade in grains, timber and salt that, for example, underpinned the

3 Fernand Braudel,Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, trans. Siân Reynolds, 3 vols. (Berkeley, 1992); Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein, The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York, 1976). At least 23 research articles published between 1997 and the present in JEMHquote Braudel’s work, and a further five quote Wallerstein.

4 Gungwu Wang, “Merchants without Empire: The Hokkien Sojourning Communities,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires, 400-422; Irfan Habib, “Merchant Communities in Precolonial India,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires, 371-99.

growth of the early modern Dutch economy.5 In other words, when the JEMH was founded, the centrality of Europe in shaping global trade relations, the separation of agents into distinct nation-based groups, and the classification of goods over long distances as luxuries of less importance all still had a very strong presence.

One major change did occur, however, more or less between the appearance of The Rise of Merchant Empires in 1990, and the establishment of the JEMH in 1997. John Brewer and Roy Porter’s 1993 Consumption and the World of Goods was one of those transformative collections of articles that inaugurated a whole new way of doing history.6 Brewer and Porter were not the first to use the title; Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood had already published a book with a very similar title in 1979.7 But Brewer and Porter, and many others who went on to publish in the field of what we might call consumption studies, took the study of the consumer in a new direction, away from the eighteenth-century European debates over whether the consumption of luxury goods was morally justifiable, and towards sophisticated studies of the complex contexts in which people desired goods and in which that desire and demand for goods went on to transform society, culture and the ………… to continue reading click here for full document in PDF format.

For the Silo by Anne Gerritsen, University of Warwick. Paper courtesy of


Reader Letter To The Silo Regarding Motion 103 And Hamilton Protest Rally

Dear Silo, there was a protest rally held at City Hall in Hamilton this past weekend. The purpose was to discuss or protest “Motion-103 “the motion put forth by one Ms. Iqra Khalid to stop as she sees it “Islamophobia.” For many the idea of “M-103” seems almost redundant as hate speech and any sort of hate crime based on religion is already under the “Criminal Code, The Charter of Human Rights & The Constitution.” Some have opined that Ms. Khalid is grandstanding & perhaps they may be correct.

The protest was as it went peaceful & low key. The police presence was minimal and well placed. Directly on site there were six uniforms, but a bit further back there were two mounted units, and further back out of sight behind city hall were three more mounted units.

The speaker at this event was a Muslim woman who was well spoken and exhorted the crowd with slogans, chants & political sayings, touting the Liberal regime and downplaying the Conservative aspect.It was my understanding that there would be both aspects of this motion represented at the protest, but for the near 3 hours I was present I only heard one side of the story [but] perhaps another side spoke later. I saw on the 6:00 pm news, things turned a bit ugly, and the police stepped in to quell any further incident, so who knows.

For many, it seemed a “ family event,” and I saw a few children there, [but] in my humble opinion [this] is no place for kids. In the “ Vietnam” years when the protest was clearly in many cases, a daily event, there never were any children present, mostly due to the fact protests can at any given time turn from something sedate to an angry, ugly mess, ergo no kids. I for one seriously have to ponder the parental abilities of such an action.

There was a few tables set up, all proffering their political views, the Communist Party, ( the mainstay at any protest), a painting table where you could add your hand to a large almost like paint-by-numbers setup where you could if so inclined could add your hand to it. There was a Muslim table set up and two young men who would engage you in conversation about their faith and handed out books & pamphlets, one of them at the time I stopped by, was engaged in a somewhat intense conversation with a Christian young man. Several people were working the crowd by handing out flyers, pamphlets and flash cards with their message on it. The “ Socialist group”, ever present at any event, was handing out small flyers promoting  worker solidarity,” the Marxist group was there too, handing out flyers to combat racism, the “ No Borders Manifesto,” an 18 point small booklet promoting a “ grassroots movement “ to promote the movement to the “ new world.” There were “ Stop the War Coalition,” the “ Know your Rights,” group & “ Hamilton Against Fascism,” and regarding [this]protest it seemed a well-rounded outpouring that way.

As I said, as protests go it was for the 3 hours I was there a peaceful, almost fun event. Later after things went south and everyone had done their barking and bitching sessions, they packed up their wares, printed material and children, and went home to read the tea leaves of the event and to generally pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Protests are an integral part of the Canadian fabric and should be allowed at all times. The message I received from this one was that the potential for “ free speech,“ could be quashed possibly if this motion is put into a bill and becomes law. Do we have concern?? Perhaps as many feel we do, and it becomes the responsibility of all of us, to be open-minded, observant of what our government says and does. It falls to us to yes question what they tell us so that democracy as we live it will be ongoing and ever present so that we may all move forward with a proper sense of things for all who live and come to this great country we know it.


James R. Charlton

The Dakota Access Pipeline, Environmental Injustice And More?

“Standing Side by Side in Peaceful Prayer”   Starting in April 2016, thousands of people, led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members, gathered at camps near the crossing of the Missouri and Cannon Ball Rivers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) there- creating the #noDAPL movement. DAPL is a 1,172-mile pipeline for transporting crude oil from North Dakota to refineries and terminals in Illinois.

As a business venture, DAPL’s advocates claim the pipeline will meet the highest environmental safety standards. They also claim the venture will produce greater U.S. energy independence and jobs at the same time it lessens the environmental risks of oil trains, though it is opaque how the new pipeline could increase oil production, oil consumption, employment, and state tax revenues.

Part of what makes things contentious: The Planned route- depending on who you speak to, either crosses, nears, touches, goes through, or avoids Standing Rock Reservation.
Part of what makes things contentious: The Planned route- depending on who you speak to, either crosses, nears, touches, goes through, or avoids Standing Rock Reservation.

The #NoDAPL movement sees the pipeline as posing risks to the water quality and cultural heritage of the Dakota and Lakota peoples of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Part of DAPL’s construction is occurring on lands and through waters the….click here for full article.
Article by Kyle Whyte,

Supplemental- News about Dakota Access Pipeline

Damien Hirst And Commodification of Art

All of modern life is a spectacle. Much of what contemporary man experiences in Western society is a false social construct mediated by images. These mediated images create desires that can never be fulfilled; they create false needs that can never be met. “Many of our daily decisions are governed by motivations over which we have no control and of which we are quite unaware” (Berger 41). The constant spector of the mediated image creates an endless cycle of desire, consumption, and disinterest, fueling a banality in life that feeds the commodification of life. Increasingly life itself becomes a commodity and the image more important than the reality it represents. This commodification infiltrates every aspect of human production, including the arts, and finds its pinnacle expression in the work of Damien Hirst. Hirst has carefully crafted a brand identity that has far surpassed the value of his art work in importance and worth. Working in tandem with former advertising executive turned art dealer Charles Saatchi, the spectacle of the Hirst image becomes the commodity. “Reality unfolds in a new generality as a pseudo-world apart, solely as an object of contemplation. The tendency towards the specialization of images-of-the-world finds its highest expression in the world of the autonomous image, where deceit deceives itself” (Debord

No longer is the work of art itself a commodity, but rather the image of the artist (his/her brand) that becomes the commodity. It is this spectacle that drives the consumer to identify with a particular artist or brand. “The astronomical growth in the wealth and cultural influence of multi-national corporations over the last fifteen years can arguably be
traced back to a single, seemingly innocuous idea developed by management theorists in the mid-1980s: that successful corporations must primarily produce brands, as opposed to products” (Klein 4). The image has increasingly infiltrated and dominated the culture and the whole of society and has become “an immense accumulation of spectacles” (Debord 142).

Butterfly by Damien Hirst
Butterfly by Damien Hirst

Where once the products of labor were the commodity, now it is the spectacle that has become the commodity. A prime example of this spectacle is Damien Hirst’s sculpture, “For the Love of God.” The sculpture consists of a platinum skull
covered with 8,601 diamonds. The sculpture valued at over $100 million is clearly out of the reach of almost any collector. The sculpture itself is not the art product, rather it is the spectacle that is the product. “Mr. Hirst is a shining symbol of our times, a man who perhaps more than any artist since Andy Warhol has used marketing to turn his fertile imagination into an extraordinary business” (Riding, Acknowledging that the sculpture is out of reach for the majority of collectors, Hirst offered screenprints costing $2000 to $20,000; the most expensive prints were sold with a sprinkling of diamond dust.

Karl Marx Capital Is Money Meme

Karl Marx argued that the value of the commodity arose from its relationship with other commodities; its ability to be exchanged for other commodities. Marx used the the production of a table to illustrate his thesis:
“…by his activity, man changes the materials of nature in such a way as to make them useful to him. The form of wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of it. Nevertheless the table continues to be wood, an ordinary, sensuous thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness.” (Marx 122)

Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull remains mere diamonds, valuable yes, but still diamonds. However, when coupled with the spectacle of Damien Hirst’s identity, the skull becomes a fetishized commodity capable of selling screen-prints valued in the thousands. The argument can be made that diamonds on their own carry value, and could be commodities themselves, however that doesn’t account for the fact the Hirst was able to sell prints of the skull for over $2000 usd. Nor do the diamonds alone account for the spectacle surrounding the art work; it is Hirst’s brand, his image that creates the spectacle. “The mystical character of the commodity does not therefore arise from its use-value. Just as little does it proceed from the nature of the determinants of value” (Marx 123). The value of a commodity arises from its spectacle, its ability to be desired. In Marx’s day that desire was its ability to be traded for other commodities; today that value is derived from its association to a brand, an identity, a spectacle. “Art reflects the illusory way in which society sees itself, it reflects the bourgeoisie’s aesthetic ideas as if they were universal” (Osborne 79).

The spectacle feeds itself through the mediating of the image to create desire for status and recognition, through associations. “The ends are nothing and development is all – though the only thing into which the spectacle plans to develop is itself” (Debord 144). The spectacle’s main objective is self perpetuation. Its aim is totality. It must be noted that Hirst himself did not even create the work of art, but rather employed a studio full of jewelers to execute the sculpture, and printers to produce the prints.

Hirst exemplifies the bourgeoisie capitalist employer who retains ownership over the fruit of the employees’ labor. He is in many ways more akin to a captain of industry than he is to the romantic notion of an artist. “In the early twenties, the legendary adman Bruce Barton turned General Motors into a metaphor for the American family, something personal, warm and human” (Klein 7). Hirst has also turned himself into a metaphor, however, metaphors aren’t always true. This falsehod is at the heart of the issue. The spectacle isn’t concerned with what is true, rather it is concerned with what can be made to appear true. It is this appearance of truth that makes a commodity valuable. This fetishism of the commodity is why gold and silver have value, it is because people gave them value. It is the reason Damien Hirst, or any other brand, has value, because people gave it value.

Damien Hirst Greatest Currency on Earth Gold Diamonds and Art CNNDamien Hirst cannot be blamed for commodifying art, he is simply following a long tradition of turning objects and products into commodities. The fact that his commodity is his own image doesn’t seem to matter. “Hirst is just playing the game. It is a game played by collectors and dealers at art fairs throughout the year; it is a game finessed as never before by Sotheby’s and Christie’s; it is a game in which, in the words of Nick Cohen, a rare British journalist to trash Mr. Hirst’s publicity coup, ‘the price tag is the art’ ” (Riding

That final statement beautifully summarizes the commodification of art, ‘the price tag is the art.’ The fact that the art is obscenely priced, and out of the reach for the majority of collectors, the fact that it is made of diamonds, a precious stone known as the blood stone because of its association with brutal and oppressive regimes, merely adds to its allure, to its spectacle. Damien Hirst is merely playing the game, like many before him. He is a part of the growing culture
industry that sells image. Images are the new commodity fetish. Images are the new mysterious commodities exchanged for more the more durable and enduring commodities. The bourgiousie sell their images, which have no real value, to the public which consumes them, in exchange for goods of real value.

“The $200 billion culture industry – now America’s biggest export – needs an every-changing, uninterrupted supply of street styles, edgy music videos and rainbows of colors. And the radical critics of the media clamoring to be ‘represented’ in the early nineties virtually handed over their colorful identities to the brandmasters to be shrink-wrapped.” (Klein 115)

Nick Cohen said of Hirst, “[he] isn’t criticizing the excess, not even ironically … but rolling in it and loving it. The sooner he goes out of fashion, the better.” What Cohen fails to realize is that the spectacle is a fashion. And when one image goes out of fashion, another takes its place. Hirst may indeed go out of fashion, but another art brand will
take his place, perpetuating the commodification of the arts in increasingly bombastic ways.

Equestrian Statue Of Marcus AureliusPerhaps art has always been a commodity. In the past patrons would hire artists to paint them into scenes from the gospels. Patrons could be seen on the outskirts of paintings piously praying, thus creating an image of themselves as good and pious Christians. By association with the sacred art, the patron was creating a mediated image. Rulers did this all the time. The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is a perfect example. Its a mediating image that communicates power and authority. But none of these examples reach the level of spectacle and fetishism that is Damien Hirst. While art may have been a commodity in the past, it was never commodified. In other words, while the art itself may have been exchanged for other goods, the artist himself was not treated as a commodity. The art of the past may have served a purpose, it may have contained a mediated message, but it was still a product, and it was the product that was valued, not its brand identity.

The commodification of art creates a unique problem in history. If it is the spectacle that matters, and the artist’s identity that has value, then what value is left in the art itself? What then separates art from ordinary objects? Is there any aesthetic emotion that remains in the work of art itself, or does the aesthetic emotion dwell completely within the spectacle? These are questions that cannot easily be answered, and ultimately will require the lens of history to answer completely. But they are a pressing concern, for when art is commodified, it may cease to be art and instead become celebrity, product, or worse, advertising. For the Silo, Vasilios Avramidis

Works Cited
Berger, Arthur Asa. Seeing is Believing: An Introduction to Visual
Communication. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2008. Print.
Debor, Guy. “Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture.” The Visual Culture
Reader. Ed.Nicholas Mirzoeff. New York, NY: Routelage, 1998. 142-144. Print.
Klein, Naomi. No Logo, No Space, No Choice, No Jobs. New York, NY: Picador, 2000.
Marx, Karl. “Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture.” The Visual Culture
Reader. Ed.Nicholas Mirzoeff. New York, NY: Routelage, 1998. 122-123. Print.
Riding, Alan. Alas, Poor Art Market: ‘A Multimillion Dollar Headcase.’ The New York
Times. June 2007, Damien Hirst and the Commodification of Art

Living With Migraines- “The Invisible Illness”

Migraines Scanners
Scanners! Click me.

Dear Silo, I am a chronic Migraine sufferer. I was diagnosed when I was 18. I get cluster migraines. Cluster Migraines are recurrent, severe headaches that usually stick to one side of the head, for me it’s the left. I’ve probably suffered from them since I was a young child. Throughout my life, I have dealt with many hurtful comments from those unable to understand my affliction. Their comments used to really get under my skin. Migraines are very severe. They are not just a very bad headache. No two Migraine sufferers are the same when it comes to patterns of pain or management. To make matters worse Migraines are an ‘invisible illness’.

An invisible illness is something that the sufferer feels but no one else sees or acknowledges. Those that are afflicted with migraines are often accused of faking or imagining their disabilities.

But it’s not entirely hard to understand why- these disabilities are not always obvious to the onlooker and the cyclic nature of migraines means that they are a chronic disability that are never going to go away.

To suffer with migraines is to know not only physical pain but also at times, sociological pain and even ostracization. It’s when you’ve been motoring onward through life and everybody looks at you like you are a healthy person but in actuality, there’s that one thing that keeps you from being the person you see yourself to be. This compounds your mood and may even trigger that other “invisible illness”: Depression.

Yes, migraines come with a lot of misunderstandings from critics that refuse to believe what is happening. My favorite line has always been: “You’re young, there is nothing wrong with you…”. It’s shameful! The idea of simplifying health into a debate about youth and middle or old age. You take the time to try to explain and inform people what your life is about and yet they still believe that your suffering is all in your head. That’s when I usually hear comments like- “Get outside and get some fresh air, that’ll fix it.” or ” You just need to get over it, move on with your life”. The worse thing for me to hear is ” If you’re that sick how come you are doing that?” The sad truth is that all these phrases come from people who can’t understand what it is like to deal with an invisible illness.

Migraines occur when the blood flows through the brain causing blood vessels to rapidly expand, which in turn causes pain and other symptoms. For me, it all starts with an unbelievable pain that can persist anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. I refer to it as having a huge Mack truck stuffed inside my head. While this happens, symptoms include: vertigo, numbness, mass nausea, fainting, blurred vision, and sensitivities to light, sounds and smells. I have been told that many of these symptoms are very close to what one would feel if they were having a stroke. Sometimes these symptoms can occur without the associated pain. I look at those as ‘added extras’. They include bright sparkles in the sky that only I can see…an added extra.

When things are at their worse and I have tried taking all the suggested and prescribed medications, and the pain just won’t go away I plop myself in a car and have somebody drive me to the hospital.

If you were me and had experienced this you may have ended up spending four hours at the hospital on a good night. When you were admitted they may have looked at you like you were a drug addict. They may have checked you for signs of a stroke at which point they may have placed you in a bed where you wait and wait and wait. You may have been hooked up to an IV with sodium solution to help rehydrate you. Then they may have started you on the meds.

For me it’s always been 2mg of Maxeran (anti-nausea medication for people who go through chemotherapy) and 5mg of Toradol ( a strong pain medication). Perhaps it’s that mixture that worked for you and you sat there and waited, maybe even had a snooze. The nurse observed when you started to feel better because the colour flowed back into your face and you became very hungry. At this point you are finally ready to go home and start all over again knowing that the next day will always be the best day.

Perhaps you are like me- I turn into a bit of an energizer bunny… with the pain removed and the symptoms gone I actually feel pretty healthy and am ready to face the world again.

But what triggers these attacks? This is the hardest part. These horrid brain attacks can be caused by almost anything- physically exhausting yourself on one extreme or simply walking down the soap isle in the grocery store on another. Almost anything and everything can trigger a migraine for me. The weather for instance is a trigger that I have been stuck with for years. Before a storm, a build-up of barometric pressure can be an instant trigger. Flying on airplanes is a trigger due to the change in the atmosphere. If you want simpler triggers how about MSG, Artificial Food Colourings, Caffeine, Red Wine or Preservatives? Even certain veggies tend to make the list. Other things that are triggers can be strong perfumes/soaps, too much stress, bright lights and loudness. Basically anything that could possibly cause a disturbance to my personal inner balance. It is consoling to know that not all of these are triggers for everyone who suffer with migraines. Somethings effect more people than others. Trying to maneuver between what does and what doesn’t trigger is a battle in itself.

This invisible illness leaves me helpless. The idea that it can pop up at any point in time means there is no space for future time planning. Making plans in my life is non-existent. I can say I am going to go here or there but in the long run until I get up that morning I will never be sure. Then there are the times that I take the chance and go out because I am just so tired of my couch no matter how bad I feel. Other times I stay home and safe.

Few non-sufferers know that in certain places Migraines have been upgraded to a neurological disorder. Another fact that most people don’t know is that it will never go away. There is no cure only pacifiers that help you to deal with everything that transpires. Sometimes these pacifiers worsen the attack.

And the frequency of attacks? I get them 15 days out of a month which doesn’t leave much time to actually live a carefree lifestyle. There are so many things that I and other sufferers have lost because of this illness. Jobs and career goals go right out the window. The simplest things like enjoying a movie at the theater, going to see a live band or even a family gathering are at risk. It has to be just right and on a good day. It’s very stressing trying to keep up. I haven’t even mentioned the troubles it creates within a personal relationship, between you and the significant other. Between everything you have to do and the things that you want to do. All this takes place within such limiting time frames. I almost feel grateful, to have dealt with them from such an early age because it has prepared me to deal with this kind of lifestyle. In a way it’s made me so much stronger then I ever thought I could be. I have learned how to look at life in a different way. Don’t get me wrong, I would give anything to live without them but because that is not an option…I will reluctantly settle for this.

This is a side of me that many people do not get to see. It’s something that I have only shared with the most important people in my life. There is a huge stigma out there when it comes to diseases or conditions that go unseen. When I get an attack you wouldn’t know it, you can’t see it. You can’t see the numb and tingles that invade my body. A lot of people just do not understand nor do they really want to. In our fast paced society it gets lost. I am sharing my story because I would love to see the stigma removed. I want people to understand that just because someone seems healthy and able it doesn’t mean that they actually are.

All those comments that I pointed out at the beginning of this article are things that I have heard for years. I still deal with it til this day. People that I have had to deal with who never understood no matter how much you try to explain it. I know that other people have gone through the same things that I have and I want to let them know that they are not alone. I also want to let other people know that they need to think before making a judgment on somebody else. What is that saying…? “Until you have walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes…” Dawn Bank

Supplemental- Archaeological evidence of Brain Surgery to alleviate Ancient Migraines? “…..Why would primitive cultures of France, nearly 4000 years ago, practice trepanation? The suggested reasons for this surgery are numerous but not substantiated. Researchers over the last century and a half have speculated that cranial surgery was done in cases of trauma from battle or accident, cranial infections, headaches, mental disease, and religious rituals.”

Archaeological Evidence Of Trituration May Be Linked To Migraines

Supplemental- 12 year old girl is living with an ant colony inside her head.

SipSup mobile linked Drinking Glass disrupts Conventions of Communication

SipSup3 SipSup  is a new beverage drinking glass that communicates with smart phones via app technology to become an interactive media display and storage unit. When you have finished drinking your beverage of choice, digital photos and videos you have dropped into your glass via the SipSup app are left behind. The SipSup app enables you to keep your special moments only for yourself (private) or to make them visible to every person who happens to tap their phone to your glass (public). The social interaction possibilities are endless- many of us already spend a lot of time at coffeehouses or pubs, consider bringing your glass along- it would be a great way to meet new people and discover new forms of interaction- all via your hi-tech SipSup glassware. SipSup1If that wasn’t enough, another feature called “post-it”, allows your guests to leave photos or videos on your glass and even write on a fun message. Hydration will never again be boring. SipSupLogoA Slovenian start-up that prides itself on ‘out of the box’ thinking, the SipSup team have taken an object we all use on a daily basis and given it new functions. SipSup will stand out from the other glasses in your kitchen because of it’s distinct curved shape designed to naturally fit your hand. It’s base resembles the ripple effect of a drop falling into water and was inspired by the notion of  “dropping moments into a glass”. You can get this great looking piece of smart glassware on Kickstarter. For more information email:




Click to view on I-tunes
Click to view on I-tunes

Tougher anti-bullying laws to protect children? Good hard look at Bill 113

Bullying Girls High SchoolWhen a little girl begs and pleads with her mother to keep her home from school and a high school student is teased and humiliated to the brink of death, it’s time to take a good hard look at Bill 113. Why? Unfortunate incidences of bullying occurred after 2012 which prove that there are loopholes in The Accepting Schools Act. Need more proof? Try 136 reported incidents of bullying in Ontario schools since The Accepting Schools Act came into play in 2012.

The solution is a simple one; tougher anti-bullying laws to protect the well being of children.

The only way to protect vulnerable children is to “force” schools to adopt an anti-bullying culture. A petition has been drafted asking the Ontario Government to implement a “mandatory” weekly course study into the public school system (elementary, middle & high school) that focuses on anti-social behavior and teaches anti-bullying ethics, morals and values, especially since bullying is a matter of public health and safety. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims and at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. Which begs the question; when a child takes their own life as a result of bullying who’s accountable?

dont ignore it

Certainly one would agree that someone needs to bear some level of responsibility. The petition implores a mandatory penalty under civil law in bully related deaths by suicide. The petitioner, Michell Archibald, is hoping and praying that the Ontario Government will step it up a notch and lead by example, and send a strong message to the nations along with educators, bullies and their parents which screams ZERO TOLERANCE!

Michell Archibald is an aspiring screenwriter from Ontario currently pitching the first ever super hero anti-bullying TV series to animation studios across North America and Europe. Cobraman TV series was created to accomplish 3 specific goals:

* Bring awareness to the issues surrounding bullied and disabled kids

* Instill the importance of morals and values into the hearts and minds of bullies, using Cobraman as a role-model

* Provide bullying education and empower bystanders, educators and parents to change the social climate of the school  Industry pros may visit for more details.

Why An Anti-Bullying Super Hero? Not only do children adore super heroes, becoming a super hero in their play allows them to access some sense of power. It can help them act out and process any inner turmoil and sense of powerlessness that they have. This can help children to resolve issues of power and control, and it allows them to resolve or reduce fears and anxiety.

Cobraman Bully Busting Superhero

Hence the birth of Cobraman – a real life social justice advocate especially designed to instill faith, hope & perseverance into the hearts and minds of vulnerable children. Cobraman initiatives are for bullied and disabled kids and teens who lost their life as a result of bullying. Rest assured, their deaths will not be in vain. Michell Archibald created Cobraman six years ago when her then four year old daughter, Phily-Lexxy, fell victim to bullying. Now ten years of age, former bully victim and inspiration, Phily-Lexxy, shares her testimony with the world, as does the aforementioned high school student, Shahid Munawar. All in the name of bullying awareness. Let’s work together to keep our kids safe and kick bullying to the curb once and for all. Off to the races! SIGN PETITION HERE

1963 film The Lord of the Flies based on William Golding's novel.
1963 film The Lord of the Flies based on William Golding’s novel.

3 Ways to retrain and put your Adult brain back in charge

Jungian Psychology uses art-therapy, dreams and imagery in mapping personal and collective unconscious, archetypes and complexes. Jung believed that there were fears and thoughts that children and adults exhibit that are "remarkably similar across time and culture" ( image:
Jungian Psychology uses art-therapy, dreams and imagery in mapping personal and collective unconscious, archetypes and complexes. Jung believed that there were fears and thoughts that children and adults exhibit that are “remarkably similar across time and culture” ( image:


The human brain is a wonder of the universe, but our understanding of it can seem contradictory, says Steven Jay Fogel, author of the new book Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living.

“On the one hand, we’re often told of those crucial years that our brain develops in childhood, when we’re rapidly progressing in development of our language and other skills, and our preadolescent and teenage years, when our brains undergo a sort of second Big Bang of learning,” says Fogel, (

“But although it may seem that the brain is pretty much set by adulthood, it remains malleable throughout adulthood; it continues to change as we learn and adapt.”

Most of us are unaware that elements of our inner child’s development are constantly tugging at us, and we don’t have a clue that it’s happening, he says. In Jungian therapy there’s a concept called the dark side, or shadow side, the place in our unconscious to which certain feelings and thoughts are banished because they don’t support our image of ourselves, he says.

Steven Jay Fogel is a longtime student of human behavior and  development.
Steven Jay Fogel is a longtime student of human behavior and


“That is our inner child responding to the emotional pain we experienced and interpreted with the limited understanding we had when we were very young. It continues to steer our reactions and behavior as adults, often in inappropriate ways,” Fogel says.

Awareness creates an opportunity for change. Fogel reviews how our adult brain can take command of the inner child:

• Recognize the elements of your self identity that keep you trapped. Our identity – how we want the world to see us – develops, in part, as a response to avoiding pain. Our identity may change from one situation to another (in the same way a chameleon changes its body color to match its surroundings) as we slip on the persona we believe is expected in a particular environment or social setting. This automatic behavior is the opposite of making mindful choices, and it robs us of the joy of living in the moment and inhibits spontaneity.

• Be aware of when you’re acting. Many of us live our lives as though we’re playing parts in various movies, navigating different storylines every day. You may be the righteous Clint Eastwood manager at work and then shift into the town drunk during happy hour, and later the loving husband and father during brunch the following weekend morning. When you’re playing these roles, you’re not in the present.

Be skeptical of what the voice in your head may tell you. It’s not easy to recognize and quiet the mental chatter associated with the different roles we play. We’ve become so accustomed to the voice in our head, that we don’t realize its messages are programmed – and not necessarily the truth. Is your voice telling you to feel guilty? Ashamed? Angry? Is that rational? If not, it may be your inner child acting out of a childlike fear.

“Instead of simply responding to what we’re hardwired to think and react, we can hear, in mindful repose, those promptings as simply chatter,” Fogel says. “When you’re mindful, the inner child’s chatter can be seen for what it is, and you will be free to take a more mature directionin your day-to-day living.”

Steven Jay Fogel is a longtime student of human behavior and development; he has studied with psychologists, educators, and rabbinical scholars. Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2014), is his third book. He is also the author of My Mind Is Not Always My Friend: A Guide for How to Not Get in Your Own Way (Fresh River Press, 2010) and The Yes-I-Can Guide to Mastering Real Estate (Times Books-Random House). For decades he has been an active participant in the human potential movement, inspiring and mentoring others to seek their true selves. Fogel is a principal and cofounder of Westwood Financial Corp., one of the largest owner-operators of retail properties in the United States. He is a licensed real estate broker and past chairman of the California Arts Council.

Supplemental- Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner. The concept of synchronicity was first described in this terminology by Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychologist, in the 1920s.
The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead, it maintains that just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by meaning. A grouping of events by meaning need not have an explanation in terms of cause and effect.

Click to view on I-tunes
Click to view on I-tunes

Ontario focused on Eliminating Waitlists for developmental disability services

Removing Waitlists


Ontario plans to eliminate waitlists for direct funding for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities.  As part of the government’s vision for the transformation of developmental services, the province would eliminate the current waitlist for the  Special Services at Home  program for children in two years and the Passport program for adults in four years.

These programs provide direct funding for people with developmental disabilities, allowing them and their families to customize their services and supports to best meet their individual needs. In addition to eliminating waitlists for direct support, this investment would:

* Provide support for urgent residential needs for approximately 1,400 people

* Support young adults as they navigate key life transitions such as going to school or getting a job

* Promote community living partnerships through expanded Host Family and Supported Independent Living programs

* Provide more funding for agencies and front-line workers in the community services sector

* Promote innovation and cost-efficiency so that costs savings can be re-invested into improving services Eliminating waitlists for people with developmental disabilities is part of the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario’s greatest strengths – its people and strategic partnerships.


The government is proposing an $810 million investment over the next three years, the largest ever funding increase to the developmental services system in Ontario.  There are an estimated 62,000 adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario; more than 15,000 are supported through the Passport direct funding program.   An estimated 28,000 children with developmental disabilities live in Ontario; the Special Services at Home program currently serves more than 12,500. Ontario currently invests more than $1.7 billion in developmental services, a 63 per cent increase since 2003. The proposed additional funding would increase that to more than $2 billion by 2016-17.

Approximately 18,000 people with a developmental disability receive residential supports  in the community.


* Proposed new investments in developmental services.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sits next to one of her earliest supporters, Minister of Community and Social Services Ted McMeekin (right). At left is Finance Minister Charles Sousa.  photo: Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sits next to one of her earliest supporters, Minister of Community and Social Services Ted McMeekin (right). At left is Finance Minister Charles Sousa. photo: Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS


“Our vision for developmental services in Ontario sees people with developmental disabilities participating as fully as possible in their communities. Direct funding is an important part of the support that people and families need to achieve the goal of inclusion.” — Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services

“Supporting all Ontarians to live independently and reach their full potential is a cornerstone of our commitment to promoting a fair and prosperous society. These proposed investments are crucial to making Ontario a better place to live.” — Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance


Eat Right Ontario

The Godlike Power Of Money

God-like powers? The United States Federal Reserve essentially drives the entire world economy. image:
God-like powers? The United States Federal Reserve essentially drives the entire world economy. image:

Money runs the world’s economy. It determines who rules nations, and it rules lives.

These are the three most significant properties attributed to the power of money, in addition to its basic function as a medium of exchange. But we can attribute several less significant properties, although similarly important, to the power of money.  They include:

1. Money separates people of the same nation into classes, divisions and groups.

2. The pursuit of money and wealth can turn man against man, son against father, family against family and nation against nation.

3. Money’s devaluation of natural values makes Nature the object of buying and selling.

4. The ability of man to perform labor by placing a price on his head allows one man, or group of men, to enslave another individual or group of individuals.

5. The ability of money to corrupt tends to change man’s personality from social being to self-oriented individual.

6. The power of money drives people to produce services in order to pursue everyday life. This inflicts stress upon people, leading to a spiritual breakdown manifested in acts of crime and mental illnesses.


Bitcoin- electronic currency invented in the 21st century- poised to revolutionize what money is and can be? It's value in US dollars has tripled in one year. CP
Bitcoin- electronic currency invented in the 21st century- poised to revolutionize what money is and can be? It’s value in US dollars has tripled in one year. CP


Amazingly enough, not many people in modern society are aware of the source of the power or money, including businessmen such as bankers, money market brokers and financiers, who consider themselves money experts.

Perhaps one of the reasons the origin of money’s power is one of the least discussed subjects among academics is the non-existence of prehistoric written records. The second reason is historians’ failure to unveil when and how currency converted from an ordinary medium of exchange into the dominant value of society by expanding its usage to include rendered labor compensation. Also, when and what societal changes elevated the abstract value of currency into an absolute ruling power over humans, including all natural values and treasuries of the Earth.

The blank page left by the theory of early civilization about the invention and rise of money invited independent thinkers to develop their own theories. The records indicate that this enigma is hidden in the formation of the first state and government. Reforms enacted almost 4,000 years ago led to the breakup of the original communion society, creating conditions that enabled different classes of people to pursue independent ways of life.

From above... 2. The pursuit of money and wealth can turn man against man, son against father, family against family and nation against nation.
From above…
2. The pursuit of money and wealth can turn man against man, son against father, family against family and nation against nation.


[A new form of money has been invented by our current civilization and it stands to set all new rules and potential reform world-wide commerce- search ‘bitcoin’ from our homepage to learn more…CP]

Regulating all natural values and treasuries, including human labor, through money, one individual was able to declare himself the king, and establish absolute ruling power over society by entrapping people within guarded wall.

This historic event advanced the abstract value of money from the ordinary medium of exchange to an absolute ruling power unparalleled in the real world. Some ancient spiritual leaders expressed a serious concern about the prudence of the proposed reforms.  They warned that the enactment of these reforms would void the God-given dominant role of natural values within society at the expense of the abstract value of money. This would subsequently interrupt the relationship between man and nature, and change the original role of man upon the Earth from the guardian of nature to the biggest annihilator of nature.

But the followers of the philosophical doctrine of man’s uniqueness compared to other species dismissed such warnings. Promoting man’s spiritual virtue of freedom to make his own norms and laws instead of following the law of nature, they were delighted by the proposed reforms.

Ever since, the corruption, exploitation of one man over another and class warfare became the norms of the New World Order leadership.

The comparatively recent freedom movements that led to the French and Bolshevik revolutions failed to liberate people from the chains of money’s absolute power. Despite that, the idea of freedom lives on in people’s minds, inspiring liberators to wonder why the formation of a communist state failed to succeed.

The liberators failed to realize that the institution of state and government is the foundation that, by providing the conditions for money currency to function, imposes absolute ruling power over society. This means that the institution of state and government is not a suitable foundation for the establishment of a free, classless society.

The only way to liberate society from the absolute power of money is to return to the system of farming communities and declaring abolition of money currency, which would ultimately lead to dismantling the institutions of state and government.


However, taking into account that man is biologically a mortal relative entity incapable of resisting temptation offered by the absolute power of money, the prospect for the abolition of money is not practically realistic. For the Silo, Michael Vladimirovich Trisho

Michael Vladimirovich Trisho is the author of “How Did Humanity Become Enslaved to Money?”  Born in Panchevo, currently part of Serbia, Trisho’s tendency to inquire about the mysteries of the world using reason and logic were evident at an early age. All his life, he wondered how humankind became entrapped by money and why people believe a money-based society is best. After immigrating to the United States, he continued to examine early history in search of answers about the monetary system and its relation to the institution of state. Examining archeological fossils and excavations focused only on a narrow part of early human experience and did not reveal important events that played a critical role in society’s development. Michael created his own reconstruction of events, the product of which is his debut novel.

Supplemental- How does the U.S. Federal Reserve drive the world economy?

The 20th Century spread of Bolshevik power-



Lib MPP Kwinter supported by Premier: Ontario committed to public religious expression

Practice Religious Tolerance



















Last week, York Centre Liberal MPP Monte Kwinter introduced a motion calling on all MPPs to oppose any legislation in Ontario that restricts or prohibits freedom of expression and religion in public places. His motion passed unanimously. The Premier was proud to support MPP Kwinter’s motion and remains committed to an Ontario that respects and celebrates our diversity.

I See One Ontario
By Kathleen Wynne

At 82 years of age, Monte Kwinter has seen a lot of changes during his life in Ontario, and throughout his time as an MPP. Growing up in Toronto, Monte never celebrated Diwali or tasted dim sum. Today his grandchildren are not only better than him with chopsticks, they can count to ten in Cantonese.

This makes Monte proud, and not just as a grandfather. Monte is proud of Ontario and the inclusive society we’ve built together. It’s why he introduced a motion in the legislature stating that Ontario’s government “should oppose any legislation that would restrict or prohibit freedom of expression or religion in public places” and affirming “that Ontario greatly values our diverse population and the social, cultural and economic contributions they make to help our society thrive.”

MPP Kwinter addressing the podium in September 2009 at the 90th anniversary of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
MPP Kwinter addressing the podium in September 2009 at the 90th anniversary of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

His motion passed unanimously, a reaffirmation of our commitment to an Ontario that respects and celebrates our diversity. I share Monte’s pride and his conviction that Ontario is stronger because of our diverse communities. We are sending the world a message that our differences don’t divide us, they unite us.
Ontario’s reputation for inclusion is what attracts the world’s best and brightest to our communities. As our population has grown more diverse our economy has grown more sophisticated, accessing new markets around the world and creating jobs right here at home.  Continuing to grow these networks is one of the ways that I am working to build our economy so that every Ontarian has a chance to succeed. We know that a more diverse workforce is a more productive workforce. The Ontario Public Service, for example, has received diversity awards for several years now.
And the OPS is the most efficient provincial public service in Canada – a true reflection of the province it represents.

My career has been about bringing people together. It’s not always the easiest path and it can take more effort to walk forward together than to stand apart. But respecting the value of every voice is always worthwhile. No matter what symbols you wear or where you live, no matter what your gender, orientation or ability, there is only one Ontario. It’s the Ontario I am proud to lead, and it’s getting stronger every day.

Supplemental- Sept 10th-Quebec announces under Charter of Values the banning of religious symbols and garments from public offices

Is It Time To Finally Outlaw Extreme Religious Shunning?

Early this year [2013], in the January 15th issue of The Watchtower magazine no doubt was left as to how Jehovah’s Witnesses should treat family members who have been “disfellowshipped,” or ex-communicated, from the religion. “Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is  your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else – including the family  bond,” warns the magazine on page 16, before asserting, “Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.” Shunning.

Jehovah’s Witness is not the only religion that calls upon  its followers to ostracize anyone who leaves the faith. Described as  psychological torture by University of California-Davis Professor Almerindo E.  Ojeda, such social rejection is used in the United States by Anabaptists (the  Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites), Scientology, and the Baha’i Faith, among others.

Some contemporary evangelical Protestant churches have renewed the practice of  shunning, as in the case of a 71-year-old former Sunday school teacher who was  arrested on trespassing charges after questioning her pastor’s authority.

The practice can have devastating consequences. In 2011, Eric Reeder was disfellowshipped from the Jehovah’s  Witnesses after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident that led to a blood  transfusion – a medical treatment prohibited by the religion.  His family subsequently shunned him in accordance with the faith’s rules.

Eric posted about his predicament in an online forum for  ex-Witnesses in August of that year, admitting, “The only thing I am really going to miss is my folks … my dad is a hardcore elder and has told me he will no longer be able to speak to me 100% of the time.”  In April 2012 he wrote that he was “still not used to my parents totally shunning me …” before adding, “It’s so hard … nobody should have to lose their parents twice.” By the end of September, Eric was found dead at age 51. He had killed himself.

Nobody can be certain what dark thoughts were swirling through Eric’s mind when he took his own life, or what finally drove him to such a desperate act. But we do know that in the preceding months, Eric was deeply tormented by the ostracism inflicted on him by members of his family.

While The Watchtower Society, the name of the legal entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, proudly publishes annual statistics related to its worldwide evangelism work, there are no official figures for those who are shunned, and no way to confirm how many of these former members, like Eric, feel desperate enough to take their own lives. However, one can find a great deal of anecdotal evidence on Internet forums frequented by Ex-Witnesses. One well-known researcher, Terri O’Sullivan, reported that being shunned worsens one’s mood within 60 seconds.

Ex- witness Richard E. Kelly is the Managing Director of AAWA and the author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ex- witness Richard E. Kelly is the Managing Director of AAWA and the author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In the absence of any popular or political impetus to address the issue of religion-incited shunning, I am proud to be part of an organization that dares to face it head on. Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) has been established to educate the world via its website ( about some of Watchtower’s most shocking practices.


While these are often pardoned in the name of religious freedom, there are instances where governments have successfully sanctioned extreme shunning:

“The Jewish tradition frequently confronted this issue in the many Eastern European communities where the government outlawed the use of excommunication and shunning. Not surprisingly, when confronted with significant governmentally imposed sanctions against this practice, the Jewish authorities ceased using exclusion as a method of community formation or maintenance,” states an article by Michael J. Broyde, academic director of Emory University’s Law and Religion Program.

My colleagues and I believe that the shunning of relatives and friends represents mental and emotional abuse. Modern society must no longer allow Watchtower to promote this barbarous practice through printed word or otherwise.  For the Silo Richard E. Kelly.

Richard E. Kelly is the Managing Director of AAWA and the author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses  [] and The Ghosts from Mama’s Club. The retired former president of a Michigan manufacturing company, Kelly was raised as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and left the faith at age 20. CP

Supplemental- How to conduct a research project on Shunning? Step 1- ask around – From Spring 2012 – via the Ex-Scientologist form

15th March 2012, 02:01 PM
Hi guys,
A few weeks back I posted here asking if people would be interested in taking part in some academic research on the effects of leaving a high control religious group.  My name is Terri O’Sullivan I am a psychology student at The University of Kent, UK.  I am also an ex-Jehovah’s Witness (left 11 years ago) and I run a meet up group for former members in London which has been going since 2007.  (sounds official doesn’t it?  lol, it’s mostly going down the pub and having a chat!)
Anyway, I have created an online survey for people who have been part of a religious group (any religion) but for that to have been a big part of their lives, and have now left it.  It doesn’t matter if you were kicked out, or left of your own accord.  It doesn’t matter if you are now part of another religion or are not religious at all anymore.  You must be over 18 to take part.
All data will be completely confidential, and I won’t ask your name or any other identifiable information.  Just your age, gender, and nationality.  You can also request to have your data removed later on if you wanted to do so as well.   Obviously all participation is voluntary, so if you want to send the link to others that is great as I need lots of people to do it (need about 200 people in total), but please do not pressure people.
Ok, if anyone is interested, could someone get back to me and offer to do the study first, before I post the link up?  I just need any ex-Scientologist to do it so that they can say if they think there are any problems with it.  I have had over 50 exJWs do it so far and all have said they found it interesting and were glad that someone is doing this research.  I intend to get it published in an academic journal (one on the psychology of religion).  Currently there is no academic research on this matter.  I think there will not be any problems with it, but as I don’t know too much about CoS there might be something in there that I hadn’t considered to be a problem.
For example, my supervisor wanted a question that probed into how much people questioned doctrine.  I said this would be a problem as they would not have been allowed to do so in the JWs, questioning doctrine is a highly serious offence, so the answer would not tap into whether the person was inquisitive or not.  🙂
Thank you!  Any questions, comments, let me know!  xx

Identity Crisis- are we all “lost keys”?


Strength in numbers- windchime made from collection of lost keys
Strength in numbers- windchime made from collection of lost keys



When searching for your true identity in life, who you are as a person, it can be beneficial to figure out who you are NOT, as well. 

You’re probably not perfect, because face it, none of us are.  But being PERFECT may not even really be possible.  Being PERFECT may not be what we want in life. Don’t we just want to be who we are?  Don’t we just want to be seen as individuals, and valued members of earth? But if we can’t see who we are, how can we expect others to? 

Finding ourselves isn’t just as simple as waking up one day and realizing who we are.  It takes time.  It could even take a LIFEtime.  But if you are dedicated to the task, eventually when you look in the mirror your image will be clear. It’s almost like trying to find a lost set of keys, you know that at the moment you don’t know where there are, but eventually they have to show up.  And once they do, you will be able to drive your car wherever you would like.  In other words, once you find yourself and are comfortable in your own skin, and your own mind, you will be able to take control of your life, and go in any and every direction that you’ve always wanted to.



Now that being said, LOSING yourself again is always a possibility.  Be honest, you’ve lost your keys more than once, that’s for sure.  When our situation changes, we have to change and adapt, but knowing the core of who we are can help us quickly reign our true being back in. 

Often, if not always, we want everything to be perfect.  We want love, we want peace, we want a successful career, but hitting rock bottom can be the best antidote for finding yourself.  When you feel like you’re in the dark, and nothing seems even remotely right, and you feel all alone, you only have yourself to talk to.  You have an opportunity to peer deep into your soul, and pull out the contents that have never seen the light of day.  In your darkest hour, you may find the light that will guide you for the rest of your years.

As Tom Cochrane once said, “Life’s like a road that you travel on/ When one day’s here and the next day gone.”  All you have to do, is find those keys, and drive that car.   For the Silo, Brent “B-FLIX” Flicks. BrentBFlixFlicks


Supplemental- The Neuroscience of finding your lost keys

What is existentialism?



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Community organizer gives insight into empowering people

contributed image
contributed image


Dylan Powell is an under thirty Dunnville native and for someone his age he’s accomplished many things.
Marineland Animal Defense, lead by Powell on Aug. 17, 2012 attracted 500 people to the gates of the Niagara marine attraction, by the end of Marineland’s season there were 800 people demonstrating; the third largest Canadian animal advocacy movement ever.

Powell has advice for youth in the area, struggling with addiction or looking to make a difference.
“If you are struggling with addiction you need to find a place to maintain a steady mindset,” said Powell.
“I’ve mentored kids from Dunnville before, and the most important thing for them and others is to focus on breaking out of routine.”

Powell suggests youth engage in different ideas, watch different movies, get out and experience something else because Dunnville is very isolated, not only geographically but socially.

“There is a distorted reality, where there are a lot of self defeating ideas and people believe they are done before they even try.”
Powell lends some advice when it comes to making change.
“In order to attract those to what you believe in you must capture their imagination, and create something that other people want to be a part of and associate with,” said Powell who believes you must make room for your beliefs in order for those around you to support them.

“If I’m not provided the space to create, shake things up, introduce new ideas and plan around something I believe, I give myself that space.”

Powell believes once people begin to work towards change, action will follow.

“Once the new space is created it will put pressure on pre-existing older structures and encourage reform,” said Powell.
Powell is preparing for Marineland Animal Defense’s Global Awareness Week from March 9 through 17 after hosting a giant Two Row March on Feb. 2 in support of the Idle No More movement.                                                    For the Silo, Lacie Williamson LacieWriterThumb


North American Society A Madhouse Says Former US State Hospital Doctor

deranged "Joker" killer James Holmes
According to reports, deranged “Joker” killer James Holmes (in this July 2012 courtroom photo courtesy of still believed that he was the fictional comic book and film character The Joker.

“Insane” has a clear meaning when we can look at it next to “sane” in the real world. Unfortunately, that has become more and more difficult to do, says Mike Bartos, former chief of staff at an American state psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane.

“It’s not just because the media rely so much now on bizarre behavior to entertain their audiences,” says Bartos, author of “BASH” – Bay Area  State Hospital – (, a fast-paced tongue-in-cheek novel that stems from his decades of experience as a mentalhealth-care professional.

“Take a look at what have become the ‘normal’ problems in modern America – some of them could be textbook examples of psychological dysfunction.”

Case – or rather, cases – in point:

Obesity epidemic: Denial, compulsion, addiction and sublimation are just a few mechanisms at work in the psychology of a largely obese population. Sublimation is the mature defense activity perpetrated when socially unacceptable impulses, such as sexuality, are redirected, in this case to the consumption of salty, fatty and sugary food. With more than two thirds of the U.S. population and almost two thirds of the Canadian population [ CP] either overweight or obese, there is nothing sane about this health crisis.

Banking: The financial crisis that changed the world in 2008 can be largely owed to a cluster of “too big to fail” U.S. banks and their employees who thought they could continuously repackage terrible debt loans. Meanwhile, unqualified customers snatched up properties they couldn’t afford. This was an undiagnosed mega-scale gambling addiction. Many in the financial world knew it simply could not be sustained but the players continued to ante up.

Climate change: Denial, denial, denial. The raw data from objective scientists overwhelmingly tells us man is largely responsible for warming global temperatures, yet we continue to use fossil fuels and to fill landfills with methane-producing waste. It’s a classic case; we completely ignore symptoms and evidence to maintain the status quo.

What the Bradley Report had to say about Rush Limbaugh's much-publicized addiction to oxycontin
What the Bradley Report had to say about Rush Limbaugh’s much-publicized addiction to oxycontin

A drugged nation: Marijuana, a natural relaxant, is outlawed in most states while tobacco and alcohol – responsible for incalculable violence and sickness, as well as tens of thousands of accidents and deaths each year – are lucrative and legal vice industries.  Meanwhile, some pharmaceutical companies and physicians encourage substance abuse and chemical dependency by promoting pills to ease the inevitable emotional and physical pains that come with life.

“Many of my psychiatric patients suffered from addiction to both legal and illegal drugs. Sometimes it was hard to tell which came first, the addiction or the other mental health issues,” Bartos says.

“The legal or illegal status of certain drugs seems to be completely arbitrary — much like the behavior of a patient suffering psychosis,” he says.




Spoiled-brat adults: Narcissistic Personality Disorder isn’t only now accepted in society, it’s widely encouraged and celebrated, Bartos says. Reckless driving and road-rage are just two examples in which individuals are so self-absorbed, they believe their time and sense of entitlement are more important than the lives and safety of others. Throw on top of that our obsession with plastic surgery, need for constant attention on social media, and pre-occupation with consumer brands and we have pandemic megalomania.

War: America [with on again -off again support from allies such as Canada,England and NATO allies CP] has been at war for 10 years now, and leaders cannot say with any precision what the US is doing with its current campaign in Afghanistan, nor what was accomplished with the last one in Iraq. It’s as if government leaders have a masochistic, sociopathic relationship with one percent of the U.S. population – the military, and their families. Young men are shipped off in the prime of their health, and often return physically or mentally damaged, if they come back at all.

“Is this sane?” Bartos asks.

Mike Bartos is currently in private psychiatric practice in the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his wife Jody.  He has several decades of experience in the mental health field, including serving as chief of staff at a state hospital for mentally ill patients convicted of violent crimes, where he focused on forensic psychiatry. Bartos is a former radio show host and newspaper columnist. For the Silo, Ginny Grimsley.

Supplemental- Oxycontin and the opium epidemic of the 21st century