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Archive for May, 2010

Prompted to The Third Reich by Uncle Klaus’ referral, I found myself hooked to this powerful book. My reading has become more divergent, I guess.
The high-school history comes back. At younger age, I never bothered to study who’s who in the history, especially the history of war. I studied history just for a grade on the transcript. But growing up and especially now at the age of continuously learning (trying to keep my brain sharp), I am more and more into History and history makers, the influential figures, on TV or by books.
Back to The Third Reich Politics and Propaganda by David Welch, the book looks into “Nazi leadership” and analyzes the Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s role as a Nazi propagandist.
Here is his rationale on propaganda – one of my favorite parts in the book.

…there are two common misconceptions that I would like to identify.
There is a widely held belief that propaganda implies nothing less than the art of persuasion, which serves only to change attitudes and ideas. This is undoubtedly one of its aims, but often a limited and subordinate one. More often, propaganda is concerned with reinforcing existing trends and beliefs, to sharpen and focus them. A second basic misconception is the entirely erroneous conviction that propaganda consists only of lies and falsehood.
In fact it operates with many different kinds of truth – the outright lie, the half truth, the truth out of context. Moreover, many writers on the subject see propaganda as essentially appeasing the irrational instincts of man, and this is true to a certain extent; but because our attitudes and behaviour are also the product of rational decisions, propaganda must appeal to the rational elements in human nature as well. The preoccupation with the former ignores the basic fact that propaganda is ethically neutral – it may be good or bad.

The task of propaganda is not to say as much as possible, but the art of propaganda is to gather completely confused, complex and composite ideas into a single catch slogan and then to instil this into the people as a whole.

Is Hitler a weak dictator or a strong propagandist? I’d leave it to further debate or reading. But from the book, he is really a true “failed” artist.

First principle: At all costs avoid being boring. I put that above everything.
. . . you must help to foster a nationalist art and culture truly appropriate to the pace of modern life and to the mood of the times. The correct attitudes must be conveyed, but that does not mean that they must be boring. And simply because you have the task of taking part in this national enterprise you do not have carte blanche to be boring. You must use your imagination, an imagination which is based on sure foundations and which employs all means and methods to bring to the ears of the masses the new attitude in a way which is modern, up to date, interesting and appealing; instructive but not schoolmasterish. Radio must never go down with the proverbial disease – the intention is clear and it puts you off.

The Nazi social structure, from Goebbel’s speech, focused so much on radio and film industry as powerful tools to potentially influence people’s beliefs and hence their behaviours. So much concern for an industry that has since faded from existing. Indeed, it is appalling that all the creative work in films was done in the pre-war era”. Today there is no longer a “German art” or a “French art”. But it is a “modern art”.
If the purpose of propaganda is to mobilise people, to organise people
and to win them over…, it is so quite true in today’s political society. Any political figure who wants to run for higher upper office would definitely adopt and incoporate this theory into modern approaches and must have this book on his/her shelf.

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Of all the “rules of life” postings, this is probably my most favorited one. So earthly and reality-bound.
1.You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for this time around.
2.You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life.”
3.There are no mistakes, only lessons.
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. Life may increase the severity of the lesson. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5.Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6.“There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7.Other people are merely mirrors of you. You love or hate something about another person because it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8.What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9.Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10.You will forget all the rules!

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One month since my last post, I am finding myself in the mood for writing again. April was a busy month with mainly family-related matters, as it turned out.
After finishing up work-related projects, I found myself travelling to California attending my cousin’s funeral. He had passed after 1 year of struggling with lung cancer, was survived by a beautiful wife and three young kids. She (his wife) wore an exhausted look, but was so strong. So were the kids. Parallel to that, re-visiting other relatives in the west coast was a refreshing and renewal event.
Back home in Texas, it was Mom’s birthday and the brother was home. At the same time going on was the community event at Vietnam Temple.
The other relative in town needed help with attending his kids as his wife was in Vietnam visiting her ill father. I was relieved that he’s recovered well after the surgey. Hope the thing in his brain is going away, by some magical power…
It seems that I am a “girl on mission” (someone has viewed me coming across as that).
As always, when May is here, I am nervous as I am afraid of losing summer time. I always have that feeling that summer will run out on me. For years, I have made it a yearly mission for me to celebrate Summer beginning (Memorial weekend) and Summer ending (Labor Day weekend).
Social life-wise, I believed in giving the best shot in whatever I do and while I am at it. I gave it 6 months since I started opening up my horizon… It’s weird that things just started picking up. There are things in life that happen when you least expect. I believe that is also my case, when the timing is right. It could be also some kind of message that I have paid enough attention to and listened to… A powerful message or a strong feeling?
Over the years, with lessons learned and time so precious, I have narrowed down the list of my preferences, at the same time resorted to all possibilities. There are men who impressively reads/understands me well in the very first place without a question in mind, and the number of them is small. Then of whom there are those who communicate their thoughts well, some don’t. Some with fascinating mind. Others with mysteries… for me to discover, hm? It is quite a challenge, but I gain many interesting perspectives indeed. It’s an insanely crazy world when everyone is looking for someone and is so skeptical and/or so cautious at the same time…
A quote has this, “those of us who listen and follow the messages that life offers live closest to our destiny and have the best lives.” How Life’s destiny and purpose merged, what Life offers next – I am curious and excited to see …

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