Memes / glossary

Memes give us the vocabulary to discuss phenomena we see emerging in the world. Memes in this book are italicized the first time they are used and defined in the list of memes and glossary. The following list of memes and glossary entries are from the book, The Tyranny of Psychopaths.

Affinity group—a group of people committed to a cause. Affinity groups use various forms of activism to achieve their ends.

Anarchiststhe wrong definition: anarchists are people who seek to overturn all institutions of society and government by means of violence, with no intent of establishing any other system of order in their place. They promote disorder or revolt against any established rule, law, or custom. The correct definition: anarchists are those who consider the state (including all forms of government and corporate power) to be unnecessary and harmful, and favor instead a stateless society with non-hierarchical institutions and associations. Anarchy has some things in common with libertarianism (see definition, below).

Annihilation machine—the political and economic system that monetizes and consumes everything for the sake of profit. Ultimately, it destroys everything, even itself.

Anonymous Zones—in this book, the AZs are neighborhoods where people can access the Internet through servers that strip all identification, such as IP addresses, from their communications.

Anti-Christ—a personification of evil who was predicted by the Bible to appear in the end times; a lawless and deceptive entity who would control all buying and selling, and who would attempt to sit on the throne of God. For more information, please refer to the Bible.

Becoming radicalized—a transformative moment in a person’s life when he/she becomes outraged by the immoral or unethical behavior of powerful organizations and commits to taking action against them. See direct action, below.

Cause célèbre—from French, literally, a celebrated case; a case or news story that generates controversy.

Capitalism—an economic system that promotes the creation, acquisition, and control of capital, generally by the few at the expense of the many.

Challenge—a proposal to accomplish something, large or small, through the efforts of a group of interested people.

Commons—usually, the commons. This term originally referred to such things as forests, grazing land, or rivers, but it also refers to air, water, and the Earth in general. These are not owned by individuals but held in common as a stewardship or informal trust, by all community members. The meaning of the commons today also includes the Internet, and the notion of making information and creative works available to all, without fee.

Crowd sourcing—a call to the broader community usually via the Internet, to help with a challenge or answer a question.

Direct action—a coordinated group activity carried out in public to call attention to a social, political, or environmental crime, usually perpetuated by a powerful organization, and to request public support. Direct action is never a violent act committed against people, animals, or nature. This is what distinguishes it from terrorism. In it most extreme expression, direct action may involve destruction of the built environment (often referred to as property).

Downskilled—a decline in one’s skills and knowledge, an inability to keep pace with innovation due to being out of the workplace, especially in rapidly-evolving, high-tech industries.

End game—the last in a series of games or playoffs. The term may be used in regard to economics, non-renewable resources, or military destruction with implications for the environment, such as ecological collapse or global warming.

Evolutionary leap—a dramatic increase in human intelligence resulting in major innovations, discoveries, and solutions to the world’s problems. In the past, during times of tremendous change that threatened humanity’s survival, we have made evolutionary leaps. These leaps produced rapid advances in tool making, language, agriculture, technology, urban planning, organization, and culture.

Flipped—a person who suddenly cast off all cultural norms and became hedonistic, or went berserk and committed acts of vandalism.

Foldit—a game anyone can access and play on the Internet that contributes to critical scientific research. Gamers playing a protein-folding game called Foldit have helped unlock the structure of an AIDS-related enzyme that the scientific community had been unable to unlock for a decade. Source: http://techland.time.com/2011/09/19/ foldit-gamers-solve-aids-puzzle-that-baffled-scientists-for-decade/ Retrieved 19 May 2015. See also https://fold.it/portal/

Fracking—short for hydraulic fracturing, fracking is the process of drilling deep into the ground and injecting fluid at a high pressure to fracture the rock layers and flush out natural gas. The process frequently requires drilling wellbores through groundwater. It causes hundreds of small earthquakes in the local area. Millions of gallons of water are used in the fracking process. Afterward, the water cannot be returned to use; it must be disposed of by injection into the Earth.

Geoengineering—generally, any significant, intentional change made by humans to the Earth or its atmosphere; more recently, geoengineering often refers to efforts to halt or reverse global warming through large-scale interventions.

Gospel—usually, the Gospel. In Christianity, it is the story that Jesus Christ was born on Earth to atone for the sins of humanity and make it possible for those who believe to go to heaven after death. There are many variations of the Gospel.

Hacker Ethos—in this book, a loose association of hacktivists who target corporations and governmental entities for political criticism using a variety of cyber pranks, similar to Anonymous.

Hockey stick curve—a graph showing a line almost parallel to the X-axis rising gradually (e.g., 5-degree slope) from left to right, then at the right side of the graph, turning upward and becoming nearly parallel to the Y-axis. This type of curve represents an exponential increase in the phenomenon measured.

Ignoratielites who, despite their power, wealth, or influence, are prone to making serious errors when discussing science and other technical matters. They resort to magical thinking and scapegoating with alarming ease and can usually be found furiously adding fuel to moral panics and information cascades. For a given elite to be considered part of the ignorati, he must regularly provide opinions or report on matters he does not understand… Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com (definition #2), Retrieved 1 May 2015.

Kleptocracy—literally, rule by thieves, a kleptocracy is a form of political corruption in which the government and corporations serve to increase the personal wealth and political power of the elite class at the expense of everyone else.

Latent genius—advanced abilities that are possessed by all people, but are undiscovered and undeveloped. Latent genius may awaken if given the right conditions. Similar to the idea of human potential but with emphasis on creativity, intellectual and scientific development, collaboration, and the evolutionary leap. For more on human potential, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Potential_Movement, Retrieved 29 May 2015.

Libertarianism—a political philosophy that advocates liberty and personal responsibility and rejects coercion, authoritarianism, imperialism, and any kind of social discrimination such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Libertarians uphold laissez-faire capitalism, private property rights, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally hold that government functions should be kept to a minimum and most should be privatized. Taxation would consequently be reduced or in many cases, abolished.

Market collapse—a situation in which there are too few buyers of goods and services resulting in cascading mass-scale business failures.

Money-free zone—a community in which all productive work is done on a volunteer basis for the good of the community and no money is used. In turn, the community provides for the individuals’ needs.

NS, or National Security—not a real agency.

Occutopia—in this book, Occutopia is a place, but it’s also an experiment in a new way of living undertaken chiefly by people who lost their jobs or were in some way forced out the economy. Occutopia or the Occutopia building refers to the formerly empty Washington High School in Portland, Oregon.  In this book, the empty high school building was taken over by the Occupy movement.

Over the cliff—a condition in which a person or family has lost their source of income and can no longer afford housing.

Pay walla system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content (most notably news content and scholarly publications) without a paid subscription. Source: http://mashable. com/category/paywall, Retrieved 12 May 2015.

Peak everything—this expression is similar to peak oil, which refers to the peak of oil production followed by its decline, and the consequent devastating effects on modern human civilization. Peak everything refers to the peak and decline of production of many resources that are crucial to human survival. Among them: oil, natural gas and coal extraction, yearly grain harvests, climate stability, economic growth, fresh water, and minerals and ores, such as copper and platinum. For more information, please see the book, Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, by Richard Heinberg.

Rapture—the sudden disappearance of Christians, in which they go to meet Jesus Christ in the clouds above the Earth prior to the final judgment.

Really free market—a market of goods and services that does not use money or any medium of exchange but are given to recipients for free.

Revelations—or, the Book of Revelations, is the last book (or chapter) of the New Testament in the Bible.  Revelations describes a time in the future when the current evil age comes to an end. Evil is deposed from its place of power over the world. Jesus Christ returns and a new age of peace, joy, and love begins. This is a very general description of Revelations. Please see the Bible for more information.

Second World—in this book, Second World is similar in some ways to Second Life, a cyber world in which people interact as avatars (graphical characters). Second World is a three-dimensional mind map with many features that enable people to learn rapidly, interact with others around the world, solve problems collaboratively, and ignore the rules of the physical world.

Soft landing—a transition to a way of life that provides for the basic needs of community members during and after economic collapse.

Stacking—the act of assigning an order to meeting participants who want to make comments or ask questions during a meeting, a term invented during the Occupy movement.

Squatting—living in an empty house or building, without permission.

Terraforming—generally, a science fiction term that refers to the transformation of planets to make them habitable for humans; in this book, terraforming refers to the creation of new ecosystems on Earth after the original ones have been damaged or destroyed.

Tribulation—a term from the Bible that refers to the turmoil of the end times. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them with fear, and for looking after those things that are coming to pass on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken—Luke 21:25, 26.

Twinkling—a hand signal used in meetings to indicate agreement or approval.

Tyranny of the psychopaths—the control of the world by immoral people who are dangerous because of their myopic egomania and total disregard for the common good. The tyranny of psychopaths is a political and economic system that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the 1%. It sucks the life out of the economy, the people, and the environment. If allowed to continue, it would destroy everything, even itself.

USGESA—U.S. Global Electronic Surveillance Administration (not a real agency).

Vampires—in this book, vampires are those who suck people dry economically and leave them for dead.

Vision—in this book, an imagined, desired future. When the vision is articulated and embraced by the community, this creates a powerful momentum and an extraordinary ability to move toward it despite obstacles.

Word saladuse of complex phrases and verbal confusion to make them [psychopaths] seem wise and learned in the eyes of others. When you really analyse what the psychopath is pontificating, they are actually saying nothing meaningful or original. This is very common with the academic and intelligentsia-style psychopath… Source: Puzzling People, the Labyrinth of the Psychopath, by Thomas Sheridan. p. 43.  See also http://thomassheridanarts.com/articles.php?article_id=87, for a list of psychopath behaviors. Retrieved 29 May 2015.

In this book, word salad means any verbal gibberish spoken intentionally to create confusion.

Yuppie—short for young upwardly-mobile professional; a person with professional training who generally has a career with an increasing salary and good benefits.

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