Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Science versus Omniscience

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Escape Artists

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 13: Science versus Omniscience

Let’s start by getting one thing straight.

No real scientist would ever, ever, ever — under any circumstances — declare that a question has been answered finally and that a scientific debate is over, once and for all. Ever.

That’s just not how real scientists think, or talk.

Science is a process — a set of tools to test knowledge for validity — and whenever you hear someone declare that scientific debate is over and a particular conclusion is unquestionable, not only has he given strong evidence that he never grasped the scientific method, there’s a good chance he has identified himself not as a scientist but as a political operative, an ad man, a religious fanatic, a con man, and possibly a gangster in a lab coat.

The scientific method always gives its conclusions as provisional and always subject to correction by additional facts, better observations, later experiments, newer theories, more relevant paradigms, and — every once in a while — a genius turning everything we thought we knew upside down by asking a question nobody until then had thought to ask.

In his very first published short story, “Lifeline,” in 1939, Robert A. Heinlein — always considered one of the most scientifically literate of science-fiction writers — put these words in the mouth of a scientist: “One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.”
–J. Neil Schulman, “Exposing The Warm Mongers
J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review, November 27, 2009

I wrote the above as my introduction to a discussion on global warming, a week after whistle blowers released onto the Internet thousands of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. These emails revealed not only massive fraud being committed by scientists claiming proof of global warming but the deliberate silencing and marginalization of scientists who declined to agree that human-caused increases in carbon dioxide and methane threaten catastrophic global warming.

But the established United Nations’ political consensus on global warming is only one of many subjects where my above words are applicable.

Today, no less than in the time of Galileo, there are those megalomaniacs who attempt to speak with Divine Omniscience to tell us what we are allowed to believe.

In a December 18, 2009 address to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that “This is not fiction, this is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet. That much we know.” The President was speaking not out of a Science that — even as he spoke — was being called into question because of reliance upon fraudulent data, but using his political office to speak ex cathedra, like the Pope, out of a grandiose entitlement to Omniscience.

No scientist claims to be a Know-It-All.

Anyone claiming to be a Know-It-All on any subject is no scientist.

Omniscience today is as much the enemy of free thinking as it was when the Inquisition convicted Galileo Galilei for heresy because he dared champion the Copernican view that the earth orbited the sun and therefore the earth was not the center of the universe. At the time the idea that the earth was the center of creation was established Church doctrine. Galileo was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took three-and-a half centuries before Pope John Paul II admitted the Church might have been too rough on him. Excuse me for thinking that’s a day late and a dollar short.

The persecution of independent scientists continues today. Today, however, as many persecutors are driven by secular ideology as religious faith.

The passionate mind longs for knowledge about what we are — as a species and as individuals — in what we know to be a tiny oasis of life in an inconceivably large but possibly dead universe. If we truly are alone on this planet — the only observers in a vast desert — we want to know it, because it tells us how special we are. If we are one of a community of intelligent species in the universe, we want to know that, too … because it means the human race does not have to be celestially lonely.

If we came into existence by an unlikely series of meaningless accidents then we who think are the gods of the universe.

If we were created by an uncreated and eternal Designer then we have traded our notion of godhood for the comfort of not being orphans.

Omniscience: Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has been proven to account for the beginnings of life and the natural selection of genetic traits for simpler life forms to evolve into more-complex life forms — including the human species.

Science: No scientist has yet performed an experiment that can demonstrate how a living cell can come into existence out of non-living matter. Nor is the fossil record conclusive in showing more complex life forms arising out of less complex life forms. Evolution remains what it was when Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species first proposed it on November 24, 1859 as the explanation for the origins of species — an unproved theory.

The debate on the origins of species is locked in a fight-to-the-death struggle between theists and atheists on whether Intelligent Design is required to cross the chasm between a universe of non-living matter and energy and the one planet we know to contain life — our own. The debate is confused by militant atheists like Richard Dawkins who are willing to admit the possibility that terrestrial life might have been the design of earlier extraterrestrial creators. This only relocates the first appearance of life to another address.

But the search for clues on our origins is annihilated when either side uses force and intimidation to silence their opponents.

It was an evil attack on the free human mind when in 1925 the State of Tennessee put high-school science teacher John Scopes on trial for violating its Butler Act, which made it unlawful “to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals” in any Tennessee state-funded school and university.

It is as much an evil attack on the free human mind today when teaching Intelligent Design is prohibited by law and even less savory threats are made by academies of higher learning against the academic freedom of researchers and teachers who decline to agree that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has been demonstrated to account for the existence of life and of the human species.

If you think the extermination of free thought begins and ends with global warming and Darwin, it may well be that your own prejudices are getting in the way of your seeing how universal and dogmatic Omniscience still is today.

Omniscience: All human consciousness can be accounted for as a byproduct of neural activity in the human brain, and ceases when the brain dies. Any supposition that there is a soul or spirit that exists independent of the cerebral organ — and can exist outside it and endure beyond it — isn’t science but superstition. No respectable institution of scientific research or learning should be given a dime to experiment on it. No science degrees should be awarded in these fields of study. Send them to the Schools of Divinity or just call them cranks and let them be published in the Weekly World News.

Science: Conduct experiments in extra-sensory perception, precognition, communication with the dead, and out-of-body travel. Invent double-blind experiments, keep careful records, report what you find.

Omniscience: No artifacts exist from any alien spacecraft and those who claim the Army collected and hid such artifacts are just nut jobs. People who claim they’ve experienced alien colonoscopies are psychotics. The United States Air Force looked into it and found nothing that can’t be explained away by ordinary atmospheric phenomena and previously classified technology.

Science: Interview the thousands of humans who report observations of, and contact with, UFO’s and extraterrestrials, and consider that eyewitness accounts are as much raw data as anything discovered in a laboratory. Men have been sent to the electric chair on less eyewitness testimony than in many UFO cases.

Do you believe in Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, or the Loch Ness Monster?

Omniscience: Even though new species are being documented by scientists every day, anyone who believes they’ve observed heretofore uncatalogued anthropoid species or prehistoric sea creatures no older than many species of sharks are just deluding themselves.

Now you’re not going to tell me you believe in prehistoric technological civilizations on this planet like Atlantis or Mu, are you, Neil?

Omniscience: Our current civilization — for which artifacts and documents of any sort can only account for several thousand of the millions of years the human species is supposed to have been in existence on this planet — is the one and only time civilization has reached an industrial technology. The repeated ice ages which have swept clean the surface of the earth every ten thousand or so years — that would be a hundred clean sweeps if the civilization we’re looking for was a million years back — can’t possibly account for archeologists failing to discover a prehistoric microwave oven. There’s no chance we might only find the evidence we’re seeking in the deepest of ocean trenches, locked below the earth’s crust possibly even as far down as the earth’s mantle. And it’s absurd to think we’ll find evidence of a previous human civilization when we finally get a chance to do some digging on Mars.

I write as a lover of science. It was my first passion. It still is.

Don’t tell me what to believe in. Tell me what the facts are. Tell me what you think they mean. I’ll make up my own mind.

When anyone claims the authority to say what is science and what isn’t — when anyone declares a debate is over and tag themselves the winner — it makes me want to put my fist down their mind-killing pie holes.

But if any of them can get over their megalomaniacal sense of Omniscience, I’d much rather just have a lively discussion with them over a beer.


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XIV: Sex for Money

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Escape Artists

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Man and Superman

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 12: Escape Artists

“Who are the people most opposed to escapism? Jailers!”
–C.S. Lewis

I’ve written eleven books and this is my twelfth. Counting this one, seven of them are nonfiction.

I’ve also been a newspaper photographer, a songwriter, a boiler-room phone salesman, a campus activist, a meeting and conference organizer, a journalist, a magazine editor, a screenwriter, a pizza man, a literary agent, a book publisher, a film director, a poet, a philosopher, and an actor.

But more likely than not when I’m introduced to an audience — after the audience is assured that I need no introduction — I’ll be introduced as a science-fiction writer.

Gee whiz, that’s leaving an awful lot out of the introduction.

But it’s still the highest compliment I can be given.

The charge of escapism is made against movies, books, magazines, comics, TV shows, games, comedy, and any other entertainment medium that engages the imagination. I’ve spent a good deal of my professional career — and my personal life — doing nothing else.

The term “escape artist” is usually applied to stage magicians — like the immortal Harry Houdini — who bind and chain themselves in handcuffs, shackles, locks, and chains, sometimes with time pressures like drowning or suffocation to limit the amount of time they have to escape. I suppose to be fair we’ll now have to add stage magic, itself, to the list of escapist entertainment since the audience knows the magician is somehow tricking them and are caught up in the suspense regardless.

The key to any sort of escapism is the audience member’s “willing suspension of disbelief.”

All consumption of narrative entertainment — and that does include games, jokes, and tricks — involves a conscious act of faith.

Guess what? I now get to add religion onto the list of escapist activities. Without imagination, there can be no religion.

That should not be either a surprise or an offense to anyone whose religion begins with the Book of Genesis. Are we not told by that story that we are made in God’s image? The verb of image is “imagine.” If we were indeed created by God, we were created by an act of Divine Imagination.

C.S. Lewis — both a Christian apologist in nonfiction and a writer of Christian mythopoeic fantasy in fiction — understood that without what he called a “baptized imagination” there can be no genuine faith. That’s why Lewis defended even the science-fiction and fantasy written by atheists and agnostics against the charges of “escapism.” All Lewis asked for was a level playing field with other purveyors of imagination to weave his narrative spells. Lewis believed that once the imagination was turned on, God would do the rest.

Which, of course, leads us to a seeming paradox: if there’s a serious point behind the fantasy, just what is it that one is escaping from?

I think the escape is from the idea that life must be dull and routine. I assure you. The life of the dullest person you know — if you give a writer like me the chance to get to know them — is the stuff of legend.

Fans of fantasy and science fiction refer to those who don’t share their passion for escape as “mundanes.” But no one is mundane. There are only people who are afraid that if they dream, they will awaken into a nightmare.

I sometimes wonder whether the most successful fantasy writer of our time, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, was inspired by the fan’s epithet for the non-fan to invent the term “muggle” for human beings without magical talents.

The term “fan” itself is telling. Quite the opposite of William Shatner’s classic Saturday Night Live skit — which centered around the Captain Kirk actor telling Trekkies to “Get a life!” — the word “fan” is short for “fanatic.”

This is a book about liberating human beings from the chains on their passion.

I assure you, the word “fan” is a good description of someone engaged in pursuing a passion. They already have a life. It may be an inner life invisible to the materialist, but playboys and mountain climbers probably wouldn’t think a Buddhist or Catholic monk — or scholars, philosophers, poets, or mathematicians — have much of a life either, huh?

I have news for fans of science-fiction and fantasy. If they think Holden Caulfield’s lost weekend in New York City, or John Steinbeck’s Joad family trekking from Oklahoma to California, or even Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman dreaming of success while succumbing to despair, are any less works of imagination than stories of time-travel or visitors from outer space, then I suggest their imagination needs some work. None of these characters are real. What happens to them in their stories is a reflection of what their authors understand about life. If the author gives their characters a hard time — if what they see is nearsighted, if their choices are limited — it’s because their authors want to prove something to you.

But I also have news for those snobs who consider science fiction and fantasy trivial escapism: these genres fearlessly explore those universal questions most important to human life and human happiness.

Science fiction and fantasy are the literature of “if.” The “if” in these stories play precisely the same role in a narrative as the X and Y do in higher math. These “ifs” are the variables in the equations of human existence.

If the next war were not a civil war among human beings but against invaders from another planet — H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, 1898

If a small orphan girl living in the hardship of a Kansas farm could run away to a magical world — L. Frank Baum, illustrated by W.W. Denslow, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900

If families could be replaced by the State — Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932

If Stalinism ruled the entire world — George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four , 1949

I could fill up this chapter just by listing more classic works of science-fiction and fantasy, or my favorites, or the authors who created them. While I haven’t hesitated to express my personal tastes elsewhere in this book, starting to reel off my favorites in my own profession would be both endless and personally dangerous. Once I start I dare not stop — what if I missed one written by a friend?

Imagination is the Sixth Sense. It’s the way we interpret the mere facts of the world we live in. It sees larger landscapes than the other five senses.

Imagination is the cure to the claustrophobia that causes a gang member to think that his ‘hood is the whole world, or the walls-closing-in despair that cripples the courage needed to keep going.

If by exploring forgotten worlds, or unreal worlds, or merely heretofore undeveloped worlds, we learn something useful about living in this one, that would be enough of a reason for our imaginations to make the journey. But often enough the worlds we see through imagination are unseen worlds we can discover … or build.

It’s good to imagine utopias and tell stories of the people who live in them. Those are the thought experiments — the dry runs, the proving grounds — that might help us discover the unintended consequences that turn one dreamer’s perfect world into another dreamer’s hell.

It’s worthwhile to read stories about what aliens might be like when we meet them — even though every alien you meet in a story is just a human psyche wearing a rubber suit. But even the attempt to imagine what an alien is like might turn out to be the key to communication if we meet them … and there is always the possibility that there are universal laws of consciousness that might mean no intelligent being we meet can be entirely alien.

Traveling through time, or into an alternate dimension, is a way of removing ourselves from our own assumptions and prejudices — if even for a few hours. When a single Einstein can revolutionize the human race’s understanding of physical law by imagining what time means for an object approaching the speed of light, what can an army of Einsteins do when their imagination is set free from the prison of learned authority?

Stories are lessons in how to see the unseen, to feel what someone else feels. Without imagination there can be no empathy. Without imagination and empathy, we are all trapped in our own head, alone and afraid. We “escape artists” are the explorers taking point in clearing the brush so you can see what’s outside.

The difference between what’s considered a realistic narrative and what’s considered a work of imagination is what the writer chooses to take for granted and what the author decides to make exceptional. In “realistic” fictions, the landscape is ordinary and the characters are exceptional. In imaginative fiction the viewpoint characters need to be everymen — as close to ordinary as possible — so we don’t get lost exploring strange lands and the unusual people who live there.

It wouldn’t do to have the Wizard of Oz take us on a tour of Never Never Land.

Or maybe it would.

Did I just come up with an escapist story idea?


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XIII: Science versus Omniscience

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Man and Superman

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter High Times

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 11: Man and Superman

There’s a popular bumper sticker you might have seen: “If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher.”

Here’s another one for you: “If You’re Reading Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto, Thank Superman.”

I was born in 1953, in New York City. I don’t remember a time we didn’t have a TV set in our living room. I watched cartoons. I watched Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. But my favorite TV show was by far the 1952-1958 TV series, Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves.

What made Superman super was his super powers. He had super strength. Bullets bounced off him. He had X-Ray vision. But the super power I cared about most was that Superman could fly. He didn’t need an airplane or a helicopter. He didn’t need wings. He could just jump up and keep on going — as high as he wanted to, as far as he wanted to — defying gravity, and propelling himself to whatever destination he chose, faster than a speeding bullet — which for a speeding rifle bullet gets Superman to supersonic speeds.

Adventures of Superman stopped producing new episodes when I was five years old, and the possibility of a new season died with George Reeves in 1959. But the end of the TV show didn’t cut me off from my Superman habit, since a walk to the corner candy store had already revealed to me that there were Superman comic books, and other comic books in which Superman appeared as a character: Superboy, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Action Comics, Justice League of America, and others.

By the time I got to kindergarten I was already a proficient reader, although my vocabulary tended to be populated by words you didn’t find in Fun With Dick and Jane, like “invulnerable,” “stratospheric,” and “telepathic.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but before I was a year old a German-born psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham had written a book called Seduction of the Innocent, which argued that comic books corrupted youth and promoted juvenile delinquency. Beginning a few weeks after my first birthday, a subcommittee of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee — led by Republican New York Senator Robert Hendrickson and Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver — held hearings to investigate claims that “crime” and “horror” comic books caused good kids to go bad. One of the witnesses was William Gaines, publisher of E.C. Comics, which published comic books in the genres of science fiction, military, satire, crime, and horror. The committee were really only interested in the last two genres, which they considered the most graphic and lurid.

The result of Wertham’s campaign and the Senate hearings was a stirred up mob demanding censorship of comic books. The comic-book publishing industry did what any businessmen do when faced with the threat of government restrictions — they chained themselves first. The Comics Code was born which turned comic books, for the time I was reading them, largely into infantile pap — books like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, and Archie. That was fine when I was a baby just learning how to read. But by the time I was a teenager and discovered real science-fiction and fantasy in the library, I had outgrown these dumbed down comic-book stories and stopped buying them.

What I didn’t know until it was much too late for me was that if I had switched from DC comics — which published Superman — to Marvel Comics — which published Spider-Man and X-Men — I would have encountered the subversive Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who were finding ways to get around the Comics Code with plot-lines and character development competitive with the science-fiction and fantasy books I was reading by Robert A. Heinlein and C.S. Lewis.

Meanwhile, I became a fan of William Gaines anyway, since he had moved on to publish the most iconic humor magazine of my youth, Mad Magazine.

But why was Superman so important to me?

Psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote of the collective unconscious and archetypes which are universal to the thoughts of all human beings. Building on this, Joseph Campbell wrote of universal myths and of a spiritual “force” that bound all of us together. This “force” eventually found its way into the mythology created by a young filmmaker, George Lucas, who used it as the centerpiece of Star Wars.

But the idea behind Superman is firmly embedded in our culture, going back to the Genesis story which begins Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: a story that tells us our race was created to be immortals who fell to a mortal life on earth as we know it today. The primary Western religions don’t just tell us what we lost; they promise us a New Eden, or Paradise, or Heaven, in which we get back what we lost.

Superman is the Jungian archetype embedded in our unconscious of what we were and are supposed to be again.

For many years I flew, like Superman, in my dreams, thinking they were only dreams. But even as dreams these were experiences as important to me as anything that happened to me when I was “awake.”

Then, I learned that some of these flying dreams could arise to a level of self-consciousness called “lucidity.”

I began to realize that, since I couldn’t fly while I was awake, if I was flying it meant I had to be dreaming. But if I knew I was dreaming then I wasn’t dreaming anymore — and if I didn’t wake up right away, it gave me a measure of conscious control of where I was flying.

Eventually this conscious control allowed me to fly to places and see things that I could remember when I woke up. And, by checking details on Yahoo and Google of what I had seen while “dreaming,” I found I could sometimes verify that what I saw while “asleep” was real.

Dreams had turned into astral travel or Out-of-Body projections.

At least while I was asleep — and no longer chained by my material body and the earth’s pull on it — I had become Superman.

For real.

And how great a liberation is that?


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XII: Escape Artists

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: High Times

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Risky Business

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 10: High Times

Let me start out by saying: I don’t do drugs.

What a fucking liar I am!

I just had a travel mug of high-grade coffee. Okay, I cut it. I mixed dark Sumatra beans with decaf French roast. I do that because if I keep the amount of caffeine down per mug of coffee, I can do two or three mugs per day. But make no mistake. I’m mainlining the maximum amount of coffee each day that my body can tolerate without giving me heart palpitations, insomnia, indigestion, lower-intestinal distress, leg and foot cramps, and bouts of hyperventilation. I take both calcium and potassium supplements daily to balance my electrolytes and counteract some of the most harmful effects of caffeine.

But make no mistake. I’m a java junkie. The Mormons have caffeine alongside alcohol on their list of prohibited stimulants. And let’s not forget George Carlin telling us that coffee is the low end of the speed spectrum.

One of the reasons I tend to believe that Native Americans may be the Lost Tribe of Israel is that we have in common not having a lot of tolerance for alcohol. I think I’ve been drunk only two or three times in my life, because my first drink makes me sleepy and a second drink just puts me out.

But I do enjoy drinking.

I like sipping twelve- or eighteen-year-old single-malt Scotch, or the better Jack Daniels called Gentleman Jack, or Tullamore Dew, or Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, or a decent Cognac. But this is a rare pleasure for me these days, because these are empty calories and I’m on a constant diet, and because alcohol is a contraindication for the oral Diabetes medications I take.

When I was writing my second novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, I had an almost-year-long writers’ block after completing only the first three chapters. I received a letter from my editor — who had paid me an advance and was awaiting the manuscript’s delivery — that read, “Your lateness is no longer amusing.” I knew I needed to find a way to get past this and turned to drugs. I got into the habit of beginning to write late at night, and started each night’s writing session by making myself a Kahlúa and coffee. The coffee woke me up. The Kahlúa anesthetized my fear of writing.

I finished the novel in less than three months.

When I was sixteen I was prescribed Ritalin by a doctor to help me with weight loss. All I remember is that a Ritalin and a cup of coffee was the greatest high I’ve ever had. But Ritalin also gave me excruciatingly painful leg cramps so I quit taking it pretty quickly.

Of course I’ve tried marijuana. I never bought any but I was in groups where joints were being passed around and I toked when it was handed to me. It was mildly pleasant but never really did much for me, and it gave me a hangover. I certainly don’t need any more reasons to get the munchies. So I can’t say, personally, that I’m a fan.

Years ago I was offered all the cocaine I wanted. I never tried it. I knew what drastic effects caffeine had on my metabolism and didn’t feel I needed anything that would dump noradrenaline into my system any faster.

The only opiate I have any experience with is codeine. It never got me high but I still think Terpin hydrate with codeine is the most effective cough syrup my parents ever gave me as a child.

I’ve experimented with cognitive enhancing supplements like L-Phenylalanine — and the Omega-3 fish oil I take is supposed to balance out my serotonin levels — but the effects are so mild, and onset so slow, that none of them really belong in a chapter about getting high.

And that’s all he wrote for my personal experience with mind-altering and mood-altering drugs.

Zoologists tell us that many animals consume plants and other substances that alter their behavior. Anyone who’s lived with a cat knows how catnip works. If we lived in anything approaching a sane society, alongside the book Everybody Poops in the children’s section of Barnes and Noble there would be another book called Everybody Gets High.

Getting high is, when broken down to basics, the pursuit of feeling good. There are people who either don’t want anyone to feel good, or only to feel good with their permission.

If — at no time in your life — it has never crossed your mind that you need to go to a doctor to get a permission slip in order to buy a product that you will use on your own body, then it’s my sad duty to report to you that reading this sentence, right now, is the very first time you have ever encountered the concept of freedom.

If having been awakened to that missing thought you are inclined to make excuses for that lapse of knowledge, or argue with me that it is in any way justifiable, I’d also like to suggest to you that you have been thoroughly brainwashed.

Or you may be one of the brain washers in which case, go fuck yourself.

Freedom starts with ownership of your own mind, body, and soul. Unless you are a child, incompetent, or convicted criminal who needs a keeper, anyone who stands in between you and your right to have absolute control over what does or does not go into your body is attempting to be your ruler.

Are there risks to taking drugs? Of course there are. Read back a chapter about risks and benefits. The question is not whether there are risks of bad outcomes from ingesting mind- and mood-altering chemical substances.

The question is who decides — you, or your Master.

Now, one of the things about having a mind that is subject to effects from living within a physical body is that the mind’s ability to make decisions can be chemically impaired. Decisions made while impaired may well be irrational, irresponsible, and dangerous.

So what? There are lots of people who I’d trust drunk or stoned to make decisions that might affect me before I’d trust lucidly conscious people who are simply evil. If they represent a threat I suggest self-defense, in the same way one would protect oneself against an out-of-control machine or a wild animal. But a non-specific possibility of danger is not a sufficient reason to deprive adult human beings of their self-dominion. There needs to be an actual threat.

So, yeah, I don’t have a problem with taking the car keys away from a drunk. But bringing back alcohol prohibition because there are drunk drivers isn’t a solution you get from mothers. It’s a proposal made by motherfuckers.

One shouldn’t need a permission slip from a government-board-certified physician to smoke marijuana if you think it will help you survive chemotherapy, or help with your eyesight.

If you’re in pain, the management of that pain shouldn’t be in the hands of a doctor who’s scared shitless he’ll be the one making the perp walk if he gives his patient enough narcotics to make the pain go away.

If you believe Peyote or LSD will help you see the Face of God, no Narc should stand in your way with a devil’s pitchfork.

And if meth labs were legal in industrial districts, we wouldn’t have houses igniting neighborhoods in the suburbs.

Drug prohibition is responsible for empowering organized crime domestically and a Narcocracy on the United States’ southern border so foul that the stench of corruption and death reaches hundreds of miles north. Then we wonder why Mexicans will endure unbelievable hardships just for the chance to exchange their bedeviled country for ours.

But I’m not here just to make a case for the freedom to take drugs.

I’m also here to make the case for the freedom not to take drugs.

Nobody has the right to drug you without your consent and I believe that is one human right extending even to children. We have a priest class calling themselves psychiatrists who instruct parents to drug their children with psychotropics that have never even had clinical trials on children. Of course experimenting on children would be evil — so let’s just give them the drugs untested, huh?

Then we wonder why some kids go crazy and try to kill as many people at their school as they can get in their sights.

Tyranny has at least as many dire consequences as freedom. That may be a hard comparison to make because freedom has so rarely been tried.

But that’s one clinical trial, as far as I’m concerned, which is long overdue.


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XI: Man and Superman

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Risky Business

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Thank You For Smoking!

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 9: Risky Business

So you’re probably thinking I’m going to start this chapter drawing wisdom from the 1983 movie Risky Business that launched Tom Cruise’s career as a film star. But no. The text medium can’t really do justice to the tighty-whitey air guitar dance Cruise did to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll” and as hot as Rebecca de Mornay was in that movie, she really doesn’t have much to do with what I want to write about. Except for this speech: “Sometimes you gotta say ‘What the Fuck,’ make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying ‘What the Fuck,’ brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future.”

Okay, I guess I did start out with drawing wisdom from Risky Business.

But since I really wanted to start this chapter drawing wisdom from Albert Brooks’ 1991 movie Defending Your Life, maybe this chapter has the wrong title.

In Defending Your Life — on my short list of movies I can re-watch endlessly — Albert Brooks plays Daniel Miller, a risk-averse Yuppie executive. When he’s killed in a car accident, Daniel finds himself reborn into a cloned body in an afterlife realm called Judgment City. There Daniel finds himself having to defend himself in a life-review hearing, prosecuted for wasting his potential by being too timid to grab the opportunities offered him.

Now, if I ever find myself on trial on Judgment City, I think I’m going to be in Department B, where instead of reviewing all the times I was too afraid to say “What the fuck,” I’ll be looking at all the times I told self-important assholes who pissed me off to go fuck themselves. I’ll be the guy who asks the judges where they get off thinking they have the authority to sit in judgment on my life, patiently explaining to them that they’re too flat-headed even to start calculating what percentage of my brain I use, demanding to be taken directly to the office of my good buddy, God, and if they think I’m going to walk around in that stupid-looking robe they call a tupa they’ve got another thing coming.

Look. I’m not the bravest guy. As a kid I could never bring myself to dive into water. I never did, even though I later got a certificate in SCUBA diving with an underwater swim to a depth of fifty feet. I’ve never sky-dived or Bungee-jumped or hang-glided or driven race cars. I tried piloting a helicopter once; they don’t tell you that, unlike driving, you can get sick to your stomach. I’ve always avoided fights because I don’t like getting hit back. It hurts. I can talk about a handful of times in my life when I guess an objective observer might conclude I showed courage in the face of immediate danger, but I’m pretty sure I would have been useless in the invasion of Normandy.

Taking career risks has never been a problem for me. If I have any problem it may be that I’ve spent too much of my life on the edge of disaster. At various times in my life I’ve had my car repossessed, had all my credit cards go belly up, and been six months behind on paying the mortgage — all because I chose a career path as a self-employed free-lancer with no safety net, no unemployment insurance, no Plan B, nothing “to fall back on.” I know what it’s like to go for broke and end up broke. I know what it’s like to be “all in” and lose the pot — not literally on a gaming table, but with equivalent stakes in the Game of Life. My financial life has been a roller-coaster that makes anything at Magic Mountain look like the Tea Cups at Disneyland.

But even as I sit here writing this — wondering where I’ll find the money to make the health insurance payments this month — I wouldn’t have missed this ride for anything.

I have friends who took what they thought was the sensible and safe path — college, graduate school, working their way up the corporate ladder — only to find themselves unemployed and in debt for years, in a situation not all that different from mine.

I invested half a million dollars of my family’s money in producing and directing an independent film from my own script. After the housing market collapsed, eating our equity, this investment ended up being all the savings we would have had left. The movie hasn’t yet begun to start recouping that investment. Yet, I lost almost as much in what was considered the safe policy of putting money into primary home equity … and lots of people lost far more money for good by trusting Bernard Madoff.

I may yet sell my movie and get the money back.

Nor have I lived my life as one of those people who have been afraid to fall in love. I’ve fallen in love with several women, and married one of them.

Fear of heights is not one of my problems, and not only am I not afraid of public speaking, I get off on being in front of an audience. I used to think I was afraid of roller coasters until I realized that it wasn’t fear. I just don’t enjoy being body slammed by swift gravitational changes. You put me on a roller coaster I’d better be in earth orbit at the end of it or it’s not worth it for me.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with safety and security. People’s fears often have no relationship with the actuarial risks. I know for a fact, from years of research, that the widespread availability of privately owned and carried firearms decreases the risk of gun massacres; yet, as I write this, the “gun-free-zone” on a college campus — and incredibly even on the army base — is still the irrational, fear-based response to repeated cases where one madman with a gun can murder dozens and wound many more disarmed victims. Often in life fear makes victims and courage makes survivors.

Our society has institutionalized fear.

Many well-meaning parents advise their children not to pursue risky professions — like the arts — without having something sensible “to fall back on,” never realizing that the rigors of pursuing any risky profession almost guarantees that something to fall back on acts to undercut the courage needed to persevere and prevail. If you have something to fall back on … you’ll fall back.

Casino gambling is denigrated as a vice, even while hypocritical statists advertise Lotto tickets on bus ads and the evening local news. Nobody admits the truth that betting on a poker hand is just as much an investment as putting money down on a stock pick.

It’s only the skills you master that can reduce the risks.

TV commercials advertising cars driven in dynamic action advise viewers that they’re watching professional drivers on closed courses. The automakers are forbidden to notify their customers that it’s the dangers of speeding over interesting roads which is the only thing making these boxes on wheels look sexy.

The safe path is the one always sold by the establishment: stay in school, get a good job. Never mind that learning on your own through reading and life experience — never regarding anyone else as your boss — may be the surest formula to come up with something great that the human race never had before.

As I quoted President Kennedy in my last chapter, “We are all mortal.” Our days are the total capital we are loaned to invest, and sooner or later the banker calls in the loan. The only real risk is the possibility that we can waste our lives never using our life and liberty to pursue happiness.

Violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, in his master classes on TV, can be heard telling his students hesitating to strike out with originality, “Take a chance.”

The only truth about taking risks in life is summed up in the cliché: if you don’t bet, you’ll never win.


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter X: High Times

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Thank You For Smoking!

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Eat Your Veggies!

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 8: Thank You For Smoking!

Thank You For Smoking is a 1994 novel by Christopher Buckley, son of National Review founder, novelist, and Firing Line host William F. Buckley, Jr.

It was made into the 2005 movie Thank You For Smoking by Jason Reitman, son of Ghost Busters director, Ivan Reitman.

But the phrase “Thank You For Smoking” didn’t originate with Jason Reitman’s screenplay or Christopher Buckley’s novel, nor did it originate with either of their famous fathers, though Christopher Buckley’s father was possibly a conduit.

“Thank You For Smoking!” was a campaign-style button made up possibly as early as the 1970’s by Samuel Edward Konkin III, publisher of New Libertarian Notes, author of The New Libertarian Manifesto, and an inveterate pipe smoker. It’s possible that he was wearing that button, or uttered the slogan as he habitually did when anyone else lit up, when he met the elder Buckley.

Now, “Thank you for smoking!” wasn’t the only button that Sam liked wearing. He also wore one made up by National Review writer, Timothy J. Wheeler, that read, “Every joyous calorie cries Yea! to life!”

So, honesty compels me to report that Sam was both still a pipe-smoker, and overweight, when in February 2004 he collapsed and died in his Beverly Hills apartment at age 56 of causes that will never be known, since there was no autopsy and since in the three decades I knew him Sam never once saw a medical doctor — not even when he was stabbed by a mugger.

I don’t know what caused Sam’s body to cease sustaining his life. I don’t know if his smoking or eating habits had anything to do with it. But I do know that Sam enjoyed smoking and eating and if you had told him with a seer’s certainty that one or the other would end his life prematurely he would have replied, “So what?”

Sam emailed a friend on his last birthday, “I never expected to live this long.”

Samuel Edward Konkin III was uncompromising when it came to living a lifestyle based on personal liberty. He was a Canadian who came to the United States on a student visa to attend graduate school … and overstayed his welcome by twenty-nine years. He easily could have satisfied any employment requirements for permanent residency — he counted dozens of American businessmen among his acquaintances, and a United States Congressman spoke at his memorial service — but complying with United States immigration law would have taken the fun out of it for him, and if Sam lived for anything, it was for fun.

Sam’s education was in science. He held a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Chemistry from New York University and completed everything needed to receive a doctorate … except for writing up his completed research into a dissertation and turning it in. So if you talked to Sam about the statistical correlations that suggested cigarette smoking increased the odds of contracting life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, various cancers, or emphysema, Sam would argue right back that correlation did not equal proof of causation; and that even if the data were correct all smoking did was increase the odds of contracting a disease. Sam had conducted a risk-benefit analysis for pipe-smoking, and he had decided that the pleasure he obtained from smoking a pipe outweighed any risks to his health.

Speaking for myself, I came to other conclusions. At age sixteen I started smoking cigarettes. I smoked cigarettes for several weeks until I was mugged in Boston Common by a man who, at knife point, robbed me of all the cash I had on me — less than three dollars — and a pack of cigarettes. I decided that if my cigarettes were worth mugging me for, it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t buy another pack.

Judging from Sam’s and my common experience of being mugged at knife-point, knife-wielding muggers represented a greater risk to our health than smoke.

I did smoke cigars and a pipe on occasion for many years — not very often because if I smoked two days in a row I got a sore throat. Nonetheless, I’ve never believed smoking outdoors — or the presence of second-hand smoke in a private restaurant, bar, hotel lobby, or office with an effective air-changing ventilation system — represented enough of threat to public health to justify smoking prohibition.

In the name of public health tobacco products are forbidden to be sold to anyone under 18, cigarettes are heavily taxed — with money from these taxes being used to produce and proliferate government anti-smoking propaganda — and despite decades of warnings to smokers about the health risks associated with cigarettes, the tobacco companies were held financially liable for their products causing smokers’ sickness and death. Authority has been given to the FDA to regulate cigarettes, on the grounds that cigarettes are a delivery system for the drug “nicotine.” Hypocritically, the government encourages smokers to ingest nicotine delivered by skin patches and chewing gum as a means of quitting smoking, which clearly demonstrates that it’s not nicotine the cigarette prohibitionists give a damn about — it’s smoking. If a nicotine-free cigarette were marketed, the FDA would still have legal authority to control it.

In the movie Thank You For Smoking a tobacco spokesman testifies before a Congressional committee that if his son chose to smoke when he turned eighteen, he’d buy him his first pack. But in a deleted alternate ending on the DVD, this same spokesman is shown knocking a cigarette out of his son’s mouth after the hearing. This scene was intended to denote if not the spokesman’s hypocrisy, at least his sense of guilt.

I’ve never understood why smokers allow themselves to be treated as second-class citizens. It’s clear that Sam’s “Thank You For Smoking!” buttons never ignited a national smokers’ rights movement. There’s never been a mass rally on the Washington Mall by cigarette smokers in defense of their right to smoke. There has never been a mass-membership organization for cigarette rights, as the four-million-member NRA is for gun owners’ rights. Of course there isn’t a constitutional amendment that reads, “A well-smoked cigarette, being necessary after sexual Congress, the right of the people to keep and smoke Tobacco, shall not be infringed.” The “pro Smoking campaign” Facebook Group has 24 members.

Let me come out solidly in favor of good health. I know it’s a controversial position to take these days, when the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is hoping the human race would just die off, but really, I think health is preferable to sickness.

But I think this would also be a good moment to quote the opening of my 2002 novel, Escape from Heaven:

There’s an old saying that everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die.

That’s how it was for me, anyway.

I drove a Mercedes because I was told it was the safest car in a crash. And it was a smart choice. I died of something else.

I owned a handgun so I wouldn’t die at the hands of a burglar. I was right about that, too. The burglar who broke into my bedroom ran like hell when he saw the .45 Government Model I was pointing at him … and I died of something else.

I quit smoking, did my best to keep my weight down and eat a low cholesterol diet, and practiced safe sex, because I didn’t want to die of cancer, heart disease, emphysema or AIDS, and it paid off: I died of something else.

You see, that’s the part they forget to mention. No matter what nasty ways of dying you avoid, there’s always another one waiting for you. If one thing doesn’t get you, another thing will. Everybody could have saved a lot of thought that went into bumper stickers and public service messages. All they would have had to say is, “Don’t do that. Die of something else.”

In a Cold War commencement address at American University in Washington on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy said, “So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” Five months later, JFK showed us how mortal he was, and despite breathing the same air it wasn’t a cigarette that killed him on November 22, 1963.

I’ve seen a lot of public service announcements warning kids not to take up smoking. I’ve never seen a single public service announcement warning kids not to let their parents drive them to school or not to commit murder — auto accidents and homicide being top causes for teenage deaths. Of the top twenty causes of teen deaths, cigarettes aren’t even on the list. That’s because smoking cigarettes is of little danger to teenagers. The serious health risks take years and years to materialize. The heavily tax-subsidized ad campaigns against teenage smoking make as little sense as spending millions of bucks each year to warn teenage boys about the dangers of prostate cancer.

If you smoke heavily enough for long enough, cigarette smoking can represent a significant threat to your health.

But cigarettes are also calming and many smokers will tell you it helps them to think. And I can tell you as a non-smoker that — contrary to propaganda that kissing a smoker is like kissing an ashtray — kissing a smoker can be quite pleasant.

Anti-smoking propagandists always make fun of the old cigarette commercials showing doctors recommending cigarettes. But guess what? Cigarette smoking might actually have some health benefits after all.

Research shows that nicotine may delay the onset of both Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t see why that little fact shouldn’t be on The O’Reilly Factor and Countdown with Keith Olbermann alongside the debates on stem cell research.

Reports suggest that nicotine may also improve symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (would passing out cigarettes to sixth graders improve their reading scores?) and Tourettes syndrome. Remember: cigarette smoking is of relatively little health risk to young people — not when a peanut butter sandwich is considered a lethal weapon in many school cafeterias. Oh, yeah. We’re supposed to figure in the risk of long-term nicotine addiction. As if addiction doesn’t mean any habitual behavior disapproved of by the power-freak using the term. As if “long-term” to Congress is further than the next election, less than two years away.

As if in the age of the Singularity anyone can make a scientific prediction about what the medical challenges will be forty years from now.

Nicotine enhances the release of neurotransmitters, enhancing a smoker’s ability to focus.

And I believe there’s an interesting correlation to be discovered between the overall reduction in rates of smoking and the overall increases in rates of obesity. But what’s the chance of discovering politically incorrect facts like that once the government has a complete monopoly on funding for health-care research?

Health issues aside, for a lot of people smoking is pleasurable. The risk-to-benefit analysis of smoking versus health needs to take that into account.

Pleasure is important.

Pleasure enhances life.

Pleasure is good.

But pleasure is not even on the map for the legions of aggressive health Nazis obsessed with controlling you.

The adverse risks that come with the pleasures of smoking is your right to calculate free of their interference and burdens … and I think any sort of personal pleasure is worth fighting for.

It’s time for smokers to stop acting like whipped dogs and start standing up for themselves as a consumer’s lobby. They’ve left the lobbying job to their suppliers — the tobacco growers and cigarette manufacturers — for too long. That’s spineless. At the very least allowing someone else to tell you you’re too stupid to calculate your own pleasures versus health risks shows no self-esteem.

If you let them get away with taking away your tobacco, the next thing you know they’ll want to take away is your alcoholic beverages and firearms.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. There’s a federal bureau specifically to control those three things. And alcohol used to be prohibited completely.

Now that can’t be a coincidence.

I absolutely support the right of non-smokers to have clean air to breathe. Before smoking inside was made illegal, you used to be able to find smoke-free air by walking outside.

Not anymore.

In the next chapter, let’s talk in general about the risks we take to make life worth living.


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter IX: Risky Business

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Eat Your Veggies!

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Go Kuck Yourself!

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 7: Eat Your Veggies!

As the Danish Ham, Omelette, said in his famous soliloquy, “To eat, and what to eat — that is the question.”

If Jimmy Durante thought “Everybody wants to get into the act!” when it comes to show biz, wait until it comes to what’s on your plate. Hoo boy! Everybody wants to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat.

Muslims don’t want you to eat pork because it’s unclean. Jews say not only is bacon not kosher, but it’s a no-no to eat lobsters, and you can’t eat a cheeseburger because — and I’ll never figure out the logic in this — it’s sinful to eat baby goat meat that you boiled in its mother’s milk. And for a week every year you have to eat crackers because Moses was on the lam from the Pharoahs, and if it wasn’t for Matzoh there would still be Pharoahs enslaving us … three-thousand-odd years later. Yeah. I wake up shivering that King Tut’s gaining on me. Oh, and one whole day a year — nothing! Eat nothing for a day and God will forgive all the shenanigans you’ve been up to for the previous 365 days. (Rabbi, Rabbi, if I’m on Mars, how do I convert the Jewish calendar to Mars’ 687-day year?)

Hindus say no problem if you want to eat baby goat boiled in its mother’s milk, but cows are sacred so no roast beef for this little piggy!

When I was growing up Howard Johnsons had a 99 cent all-you-can-eat Fish Fry Day because Catholics were supposed to eat fish Friday. And being Jewish I never got the hang of Lent. You’re supposed to give up something, but who were you supposed to lend it to?

Of course there’s always your parents. “Don’t you know there are children starving in Europe? Eat everything on your plate — including the canned spinach — because there’s no chocolate pudding for you if you don’t!” Canned spinach? Haven’t you cretins ever heard of a wok?

And the vegetarians. Here it comes. Meat is murder! Didn’t you ever see Bambi? You know what they did to that chicken before it got to the supermarket? And how would you like it if you’re swimming around, minding your own business, spot a tasty-looking worm, and — Bam! — you got a hook stuck in your throat?

Mommy, mommy — how come it’s okay for a fish to eat a worm but it’s not okay for me to eat a fish?

We’re not done.

You’re fat and it’s because you’re eating all the wrong things. Saturated fat will give you high cholesterol and will kill you — so no butter. Eat margarine instead. Wait, wait, wait! We just figured out that margarine has partially hydrogenated oils that clog your arteries even worse than butter. Of course we didn’t figure this out for fifty years and we’re so very sorry for all the millions of people our dietary advice gave heart attacks to.

Fat will make you fat. What could be more obvious?

No, wait a minute! Now there’s new evidence that carbohydrates, not fat, have been the problem all along. And all the fat we’ve been forcing the food manufacturers to take out of their products — making them replace the fats with carbs — might be the reason the rates of heart disease, obesity, and Type-II Diabetes are skyrocketing.


Woody Allen got this in his 1973 science-fiction movie, Sleeper:

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

When my daughter was little I made a treaty with her. If I promised not to tell her what she had to eat, she promised not to tell me what I shouldn’t.

Listen. Food is one of the great pleasures in life. The five most beautiful words in the English language are “All You Can Eat Buffet.”

It’s almost worth it to get hit by a bus if you can try out the all-you-can-eat, best-food-you’ve-ever had in Judgment City.

Forget roulette — that’s what Vegas is about, baby!

Lobster in butter sauce. Heavenly!

Spinach thrown into a wok with olive oil and garlic, and left there just long enough to crack it. Wow!

Have you ever had blueberry pie made with fresh blueberries? Peach pie made with fresh peaches?

Did you know there are experts on meat that when you get to the steak house the waitress asks you whether you want your Porterhouse aged “wet” or “dry”?

Have you ever done a search for the world’s biggest burrito? There’s this little place called El Abajeno on Inglewood Boulevard just south of Culver Boulevard in Culver City, California …

You really shouldn’t call yourself a critic of American cooking if you’ve never sampled the menu at the Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts — don’t miss the Indian Pudding for dessert — or tried the Shoo-Fly Pie at the Plain & Fancy Farm House in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The search for the world’s best hamburger. It used to be so much easier before the goddam government decided that because e coli can travel on raw beef — it can travel as easily on raw lettuce and spinach — hamburgers had to be overcooked to the consistency of shoe leather. And restauranteurs — probably on the advice of their lawyers — started lying to their customers, claiming it was illegal for them to serve you a rare hamburger.

Yes, it’s a lie. I looked it up. You should have known it was a lie when they said you could still order the sashimi and the rare steak.

Once in a while I can still find a restaurant to make me a rare hamburger.

But that’s why all the fast-food-hamburger-chains — McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s, Jr., In-N-Out Burger — are all traitors to the American Dream. If their kitchens truly aren’t clean enough to make a rare hamburger, their kitchens deserve to be sterilized with napalm.

Bacon-cheeseburgers with avocado are sensational. Try it, Rabbi. You’ll see the Face of God. And remember that the reason Cain slew Abel is that Cain got jealous that God preferred the smoke from Abel’s meat barbecuing to the stench of Cain’s burning vegetables.

If the only tuna you’ve had is out of a can and not served uncooked, you’ve never tried tuna at all.

The best pizza I ever had was the double-stuffed I had at a long-gone eatery called Ambrosia in the suburbs of Chicago.

My Aunt Lena’s pot roast and noodle pudding.

The Eggplant a la Russe at the Russian Tea Room, and the can’t-get-them-in-your mouth sandwiches at the Stage or Carnegie Delis.

Carvel Ice Cream.

Freihofer’s chocolate-chip cookies.

Friendlies, back when the Fribble was still called the Awful Awful — “Awful Big, Awful good!”

Howard Johnson’s Tendersweet Fried Clams or Welsh Rarebit — and their Indian Pudding with vanilla ice cream was pretty good, too.

Then there was the eatery in the 70’s/80’s on Motor Avenue in Los Angeles that served this fantastic fusion cooking — I think its name was Epiphany, or Serendipity, or something like that — and it had a signature ice-cream dessert called “the Scrunch.”

And I remember Mamma’s Buffet, corner of Wilshire and Lincoln. All their Asian food was orange.

The point is that the variety of food pleasures are near endless and every busybody wants to tell you what you must and must not eat. Some of them — not many — may actually have your health on their minds. The rest are vicious misanthropists whose palates were crippled by various dietary cults who insist they’re entitled to impose their narrow food bigotry on everyone else.

They are the very Devil.

An old friend of mine, Clive Amor — my father’s assistant concertmaster in the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra — was born in India, raised in London, and studied violin with Jascha Heifetz in the U.S. I knew him in Texas. Clive and I went out to eat a lot and he’d order far more than he could eat, leaving more than half over. I’m into doggie bags to take uneaten food home for later; Clive wasn’t. Jokingly, once, I said to him, “Don’t you know there are kids starving in India?”

And Clive said these golden words to me, God bless his soul: “I got out of India. I don’t have to eat that.”

Freedom begins when the child tells his parents to take these lima beans and shove them.

The spanking is worth it to remember the price of liberty.

A musician I know who lives in the mountains of Colorado puts it this way: “Vegetables? That’s what food eats!”

Putting it my way: I eat vegetarians.

As for PETA: I respect their right to eat or not eat whatever they like.

The problem with PETA is that they don’t respect mine.


Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter VIII: Thank You For Smoking!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Go Kuck Yourself!

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Stomping Out Dancing.

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 6: Go Kuck Yourself!

Robert A. Heinlein, whose 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land is considered one of the classics of the sexual revolution, packed more practical advice into any of his novels than most self-help books published before or since. Take, for example, a mini-essay of his on the best way to lie. An amateur liar — Heinlein informed us — just tells falsehoods. A better liar tells the truth but only part of the truth. An expert liar, Heinlein taught me, is one who tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — the requirements for being able to swear under oath without committing perjury — but he tells the truth so unconvincingly that everyone is convinced he’s lying.

Bill Clinton was only a moderately good liar when he told the world, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” If you look up the meaning of “sexual relations” in a dictionary suitable for use in a court of law, it has the specific meaning of “sexual intercourse.” That definition doesn’t cover blow jobs, which is of course why getting a Lewinsky became, for a while, a synonym for that sexual practice which by dictionary definition is not actually sex.

There is a good reason to consider “sexual relations” sex and blows jobs not sex. Sexual relations can effect a pregnancy. A blow job — unless a woman has a hither-to-undiscovered gastroenterological tract — can not.

So for the purposes of discussing human sexuality, we need to start by distinguishing behavior which can make a baby from behavior that can make an orgasm.

Bringing out the old Venn diagrams, you have your A Circle containing all behavior that can make a baby. The B Circle contains all behavior that can make an orgasm. The A and B circles overlap. Our professor of symbolic logic then asks us to make some true statements. 1. Some babies can be made without orgasms. 2. Some orgasms can happen without making a baby. 3. Some orgasms make babies.

It’s somewhere between mildly amusing and astonishing to me that in writing a chapter on sex intended for grown-ups — that is, humans past puberty, many of whom reading this have engaged in both sex and sexual practices, and have even made babies — that I have to start by giving an elementary-school health-class lecture on the Birds and the Bees. But the sad fact is that all of our language today has become so polluted by political spin that if I don’t provide clear definitions I can’t speak truth to power.

To begin with, same-sex couples can’t fuck. Heterosexuals have a monopoly on fucking. Fucking, for all its extra definitions, has a core definition — like sexual relations — of sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse, being the biological process by which terrestrial mammalian primate human beings reproduce, requires one-each penis and vagina, with the penis ejaculating sperm-rich semen into a vagina leading to an ova-rich uterus. If the penis’s ejaculation is directed into any other passageway or container — a mouth, an anus, a condom, or a Kleenex — it’s not sexual intercourse. It may get very close to being sexual intercourse — particularly in the case of fucking with a condom, which only has a 90% success rate of preventing the semen from entering the vagina — but if we’re not going to fuck around with language, it’s not fucking.

It’s paradoxical that today’s Religious Puritans agree with their political nemeses, the Gays — that Circle B activities are sex.

It’s also ironic that the old Soviet Communists were just as puritanical.

Now, I’m a lucky guy. Truly blessed. God made me so my passions — my desires, my obsessions — match up with my biological architecture. I want to stick my penis into vaginas.

I can understand why some gay men might feel God fucked them over. They want to stick their penises into the mouths and anuses of other men, but women’s vaginas have no appeal for them. They’re full of sperm, all dressed with no place to go. This mismatch between soul and body has got to just suck.

I have a news flash for gays, both male and female. God isn’t the only Player. And since God is Good, you might start looking around for some other Player — known for being Not Good — to blame for fucking up the soul-body connection.

But speaking for myself — and leaving God way the fuck out of it — I’m more than a little envious about the whole gay pride thing.

Let me start by admitting that my passion for women doesn’t just involve wanting to fuck them. I also want to engage in other sexual activities with women that doesn’t always involve my inserting my penis into their vaginas. Or at least not only inserting my penis into their vaginas. Or before I insert my penis into their vaginas.

These are activities which fall on the Venn diagram not into Circle A but into Circle B.

We need a new slang term other than “fucking” for the activities in Circle B. The word “fetish” might work, but fetish has bad connotations of men in dark raincoats. When it comes to rain gear I’ve always been the Philip Marlowe light-colored Burberry trench coat sort of guy.

I think the two closest terms for Circle B activities I’ve been able to come up with — and keep in mind that I’m close to four decades in as a professional writer — are “sex play” and “love play.”

You need a new slang term for Circle B activities other than fucking? Going through the alphabet looking for null English rhymes, how about kucking?

Works for me.

I’m here to defend the rights of all post-pubescent biological adults to engage not only in Circle A baby-producing activities — fucking — but also to defend all Circle B consentual adult sex play and love play — kucking.

So Gay Men, please feel free to go kuck yourselves. I’ve got your back. Just not too close, thanks.

But I also feel that gays have precisely no more and no less right to feel pride in their Circle B lifestyles than do any other practitioners of Circle B sex and love play.

I want equal pride for my non-gay fetishes!

In this book so far I’ve given some examples of human passions that authoritarian tyrants work to suppress. I believe the reason they suppress these passions has nothing to do with what the passions are for, but merely because — being pleasurable — it provides a means of getting leverage over human beings that can be used to control them, make them do things for you, and to take the fruits of their labors and transfer wealth from your pockets into theirs.

Controlling both fucking — through marriage and age-of-consent laws — and kucking — through laws and codes regulating sex play and love play — may have competition only from dietary codes (my very next chapter!) when it comes to tyrannizing human beings.

The default position for orthodox or fundamentalist cultures based on the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions is: no kucking allowed. Some cultures based on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions have attempted even to restrict fucking to a single sexual position — the so-called missionary position — and even to prohibit nude bodily contact between husband and wife during sexual intercourse.

These are some crazy muthahs!

I believe in God but few people believe in me when I state that I am just as hostile to dogmatic religion as I was when for the first three decades of my life I was an atheist. I recently found myself on lists of libertarians who are “religious.”

You have got to be shitting me.

If you learn nothing else about the author of this book, learn well the following: I am not religious.

I pray because it’s a convenient way for me to uplink with God.

A couple of times a year — Passover and Channukah — I celebrate observances of my family’s Jewish traditions.

I eat ham and lobster.

I don’t fast on Yom Kippur — it screws up my dieting.

I find some religious scriptures to contain stories seminal to my cultural matrix, and use them when useful. But I accept no religion’s orthodoxy as authoritative, no scripture as infallible.

When it comes to the sexual and dietary codes deriving from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures I consider them nothing less than psychotically demented: Unfit for Human Consumption.

Keep in mind that you’re getting this statement not from an atheist or an agnostic but from a man who publicly asserts that he has had a direct revelation from God and who considers that most adherents of organized religion would discard God — including their Savior — in a New York minute if upon his personal appearance he challenged their church’s dogmas or their scripture’s inerrancy.

My reading is that from God’s point of view scripture is a record that over and over and over every time God has gifted men with a messenger, the message has initially been rejected in preference to previously adopted human writings. Then the revised message becomes a new dogma, as blindly followed as the old. Much of modern religious practice strikes me as idolatry: worshiping writings over God.

I’m a writer. I know the difference. I choose God.

Whether you agree with the back story for our Comic Book that God designed our biological matrix — and by the way that doesn’t preclude anything Mr. Darwin, Mr. Spencer, or Mr. Dawkins have written if you believe launching a new space-time continuum can contain the DNA to evolve an entire universe — or you believe we’re all just lucky to be here, our ability to experience physical rapture in almost infinite variation is the greatest perk of being born human.

Whatever gets you off — so long as all players are biologically mature and conscientious consenters, and doesn’t spread plagues — is your business.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter VII: Eat Your Veggies!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Stomping Out Dancing

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Selling Your Soul.

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 5: Stomping Out Dancing

When I was a small child — through around age seven — I was as physically active as most normal children. I ran, jumped, played outdoors with my friends. I was not overweight and I don’t recall having any less physical energy and stamina than the friends I played with. But just a few years after that I was overweight, had no physical stamina for running, and compared to the kids around me I had little upper body strength. I’ve never been able to do push-ups, pull-ups, climb ropes, and my one attempt to do overhand bars resulted in my falling, hitting my head, and losing consciousness. Frankly, I don’t know how to account for what happened to me, but I do know that for most of my life physical activities that require stamina and wind have been challenging for me.

No, I’ve never been diagnosed with a breathing disorder such as asthma.

Ironically, I’m otherwise gifted at physical coordination. I have good hand-eye coordination. I’m a good shot with both rifles and handguns, and the first time I had a shotgun in my hand I hit four out of five skeet clays launched for me.

When in ninth grade I tried out for my junior-high-school’s basketball team, I was as good or better than anyone else in the try-outs at sinking baskets. But I couldn’t make the team because after only a few seconds into court play I didn’t have the wind to continue.

I did a little better at boxing because I could learn and use combinations effectively. But if I couldn’t beat my opponent quickly it was over for me: I’d simply run out of breath and have to give up.

These limits on my capacity for physical exertion meant that I could never become an expert dancer. When I think about this it’s painful. It may be one of the few actual regrets I have in my life. Because of this, if there has been any envy in my life, it has always been for dancers even more than for accomplished musical instrumentalists.

Because my father was a violinist, classical ballet music became some of my favorites; but I always hated watching ballet on TV. I thought it was ballet dancing I hated. It took me years to discover — and only when in my thirties I first attended a live performance at the New York City Ballet — that the reason I hated watching ballet on TV, and thought it was ballet itself that I hated, was that TV directors told the camera operators to stay close on the dancers and track them across the stage. In other words, all the choreography was lost to me because I couldn’t see the full stage. It was probably the low-resolution of American television which made this necessary, but in my opinion only large-screen HDTV can show ballet the way it needs to be seen: by locking a single camera on the whole stage and simply televising what someone seated in an orchestra seat would see.

So, I discovered late in life that, despite it largely being a spectator sport for me, I love even ballet dancing. Including figure skating.

And, for the record, I also love show tunes. If it weren’t for the fact that I have zero interest in sex with other men and am obsessed with wanting to have sex with women, I’d make a pretty good gay man. I think this makes me what lately has been called metrosexual.

I passed through puberty in the early 1960’s, close enough to the 50’s that it was still expected that a young man should learn ballroom dancing. In seventh grade, after school, I attended a class in which I was taught — among others — the Foxtrot, the Waltz, the Tango, and the Mambo. In fact, on the day of the big Northeastern Power Blackout on November 9, 1965, I was in my dance class when the electricity went out.

But the 60’s was also the decade in which traditional ballroom partner dancing was largely replaced at social functions by free-form solo dancing: the Twist, the Frug, the Swim, and the Hully Gully. I never warmed much to the change. It was the romantic in me. Why would I want to be on a dance floor by myself instead of holding a girl in my arms?

Which brings us to the recent case of high-school senior, Tyler Frost.

In May, 2009, Tyler Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio, was suspended from his school because, after being warned not to, he defied his school’s ban on dancing and took his girlfriend, Rebecca Smooty, to Findlay High School’s prom.

Heritage Christian School is a private Baptist school that bans dancing, rock and roll, and hand-holding.

Suspended for going to another school’s prom. The Baptists running the Heritage Christian School might as well be the Taliban.

I’m a solid believer in God, but self-righteous Christians and Muslims who make music and dance their nemesis are my enemy and should be the enemy of all freedom-loving Americans. Just because they conduct their jihads without taxpayer funds doesn’t make them any less vile.

The fanatic Baptist hatred of music and dancing isn’t new. The wonderful 1984 (1984!) movie Footloose fictionalized a story of Baptist-controlled Elmore City, Oklahoma, which through 1980 had a city ordinance banning dancing. This wasn’t just a private school enforcing its dogmatic policies on one of its students. This was an actual American city whose tyrannical blockheads used the police power of government guns to enforce their theocratic prohibition of a major form of human self-expression.

Oh, but surely the federal courts will protect us from such theocratic laws?

Guess again. The town of Purdy, Missouri also banned dancing. A lawsuit was filed against the town in federal court — Clayton v. Place — which reached the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court upheld the town’s right to ban dancing — and both a request for a re-hearing and an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States were denied.

The right of a town to ban dancing is established federal law in the United States of America.

And some might wonder why I consider the religious right just as much a threat to human liberty as the secular left.

No, the Baptists weren’t the first to ban dancing, nor are they the last.

If you watch another 1984 movie Amadeus — 1984 again? Hmmm! — you learn that 18th-century Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II — a secular autocrat considered hostile to papal authority — nevertheless had to be convinced by Mozart (and possibly in real life by Salieri) to rescind his ban on ballet dancing within operas.

But it wasn’t just ballet that has inflamed the guardians of public morals. It was also ballroom dancing.

When the Waltz spread from Austria and Germany to England and France in the early 19th century, The Times of London in 1816 wrote, “‘National morals depend on national habits: and it is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies, in their dance, to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adultresses we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced upon the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”

The reason dancing is threatening is that dancing is sexual. Oddly enough, the sexuality of dance was used as a substitute for sex, itself, by the 19th century Christian sect, the Shakers. I’ve visited Shaker Villages in New England. These are historical preservations because there aren’t any Shakers anymore. They refused to have sex and died out. In my view that’s taking the love of dancing just a dance step too far.

Other ballroom dancing — particularly the Tango and the Lambada — have provoked similar reactions.

Islam doesn’t allow dancing between unmarried men and women, nor dancing intended to arouse sexual passion.

So the banning of dance is just one battle in the War on Sex.

Which I’ll discuss further in my next chapter.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter VI: Go Kuck Yourself!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Selling Your Soul

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Pirate Radio.

Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 4: Selling Your Soul

It’s an old story told many, many times. Hollywood (they should know!) loves it. The Devil and Daniel Webster. Bedazzled. Oh God, You Devil!

The Devil comes to some poor loser when he’s at the lowest point of his life — when everything’s gone to crap, when all seems lost, when hope has given way to despair — and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

“I’ll give you everything you want,” says the Devil. “Just tell me and I’ll give it to you. And all I want is your useless, worthless, good-for-nothing soul.”

Somehow it just never seems to work out as advertised.

Guess what? It’s not just Hollywood that knows this story by heart. It’s also Washington D.C., Sacramento, New York City, and Juneau.

Every politician –every politician, even the ones with principles — has a little of Old Nick in him. Or — as Elizabeth Hurley in the 2000 remake of Bedazzled would point out — in her.

Just give us your useless, worthless, good for nothing freedom — you’ll never miss it! — and we’ll give you whatever you want. Anything you want.

You want a new shopping center for your run-down city? You got it! Oh, we might have to knock down a few houses and some mom-and-pop stores — not yours, nobody you know! — and that Hometown Buffet, thirty-screen multiplex, and Whole Foods Market is on its way. Not into consumerism? It can just as easily be a shiny new middle school, an endangered species habitat, a Gay and Lesbian Medical Marijuana Clinic, or a carbon-neutral performing arts center.

Let’s not forget the basics. Beef, peanut butter, and lettuce without E coli. Free health care — make sure to get that H1N1 shot! A minimum-wage job in a nice air-conditioned office and a four-day work week. A government guaranteed 30-year-fixed 4% mortgage so you can have that kitchen with the island and the swing set in the back yard for your kids. Don’t worry about your old age — we got your back … unless it needs surgery. And don’t worry — we promise not to tax you for any of this. I mean, you’ll never make enough to have to pay much income tax, and you shouldn’t be buying cigarettes, gas guzzlers, sugary soft drinks, fatty foods, or big-screen TVs, anyway.

And those silly dreams you had of making it in show business, or starting your own bookstore café, or dojo, or art gallery, or holistic health center, or living off food you raise on your own land. Have you looked at the statistics of how few people actually make a living as an actor, and how many small businesses go under in the first two years, or how the family farm is history? Grow up! You need to stay in school, and stay in college, and stay in graduate school — don’t worry, we’ll loan you the money at a reasonable interest rate — or you’ll never get a good job at General Motors — I mean Circuit City! — I mean TV Guide! — I mean MySpace! — I mean Walmart!

You know you’re making a deal with the Devil when at the end of the day you feel whipped, trapped, defeated, swindled, and just beat. And when all that’s left is getting off your feet and leaning back in the La-Z-Boy, snapping open a Bud and a box of Oreos, catching the scores, and wondering why you can’t see your dick when you pee anymore, you know it was a bad deal.

Don’t do it! Look that gift horse in the mouth — if the Trojans had, the Greeks wouldn’t have made it into Troy! If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is! A sucker is born every minute. Be the genius who’s born on the half minute!

Above all, don’t let anyone tell you not to pursue your dreams. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again! Don’t break the Ten Commandments, but if you have to break the law to keep the tyrants off your back remember that Moses, Jesus, Jefferson, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., broke the law, too!

Now let’s get back to looking at some more of those life-enhancing passions that the Devil doesn’t want you to have.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter V: Stomping Out Dancing

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share