Arrival in Peru

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By: s_peak • March 4, 2014

It’s a strange feeling. My first plane is about to depart, and I’m watching the sun rise on the tarmack. I’m not sure that there’s a single word for how I feel. I’m not sad, but goodbyes are hard, and major change can be personally alienating. That’s what this whole thing is about, though – Change. I’ve been to Peru once before. About two years ago, I was motivated by the same (or a similar) mix of feelings. A caustic blend of love, guilt, curiosity, spite and anger to name a handful. Outside the window of the plane, the sunrise splashes color onto low-hanging clouds that are packed so tightly between California hills that they look like fresh snow… Filling in the fractal pathways at the base of the hills, making beautiful patterns. As the sun rises further, the cloud layer recedes likes waves from the shore.

I am continually finding new reasons to be on this trip. My original motivations for departing on this trip were a bit different than how I feel them now. Only after setting everything up had I realized how much I needed to do this. Again it seems that I was unconsciously pulled into this decision… and so far it seems like I’ve made the right choice. I’m not sure how. It could be luck.

…12 hours later…

It’s midnight and Lima is muggy. It’s always muggy… and huge. Lima, after all, contains 1/3 of the population of Peru. There’s almost always a marine layer hanging over the city which means it’s always foggy and wet. About now I’m very tired of hauling around this big box of solar gear. I’m looking forward to getting this giant box to it’s final destination. It landed safely, if not a little beat up. After a thankfully chill customs agent, I watched a drug dog shit on the floor of the airport. This made the fact that there were drug dogs in the airport sniffing all the bags just a little less abrasive. After a few more sweaty lines I was greeted by Chris and Whitey who are the leaders of the “school” I would be attending. They make excellent company.

From here we have about another 8 hours on a bus to get to Huaraz, then another hour to get to “The Hof” … my home away from home. Shit, I can’t wait to get rid of all this extra baggage (double entendre?)… but isn’t patience part of the reason I’m here?

Back to Peru

•February 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • February 24, 2014

So I’m going back to Peru for a while. It’s likely, however, that you already know that. Out of laziness, and since nobody probably reads it anyway… I will be using this blog to document any potential updates so I don’t have to keep track of specific email trails… which might be more difficult.

So if you’re interested, follow my apprenticeship here.

Creationism Vs. Itself

•February 6, 2014 • 1 Comment

By: s_peak • February 6, 2014

In light of the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham… I’d like to discuss something that I think was overlooked. The questions “Where does life come from” and then “Where does consciousness come from” came up, and I feel as though they didn’t get the love the deserved. If you haven’t heard of the Miller-Urey Experiment, then check out this wikipedia page:–Urey_experiment


TL;DR: In this experiment from the 50s, it was predicted that organic molecules would form if an “early earth” environment was recreated. The experiment was a resounding success. Amino Acids formed… consuming methane, ammonia and other atoms in the process.

So let’s just let that satisfy our curiosity for the question at that resolution for now, because I think it’s important to take it deeper. The next question is…Why? Why is the universe motivated to create life? And why does life (invariably, in my opinion) lead to consciousness? I think that’s the truly beautiful question… to which I have derived my own answer. It’s important to note that I believe it’s possible that your answer MAY be different than mine to some degree, and that’s great! But to me, the only logical conclusion (if you accept that the universe is essentially motivated to produce life of it’s own accord) is simple but weird. We’ve been looking at it the wrong way. Matter wasn’t here first. Consciousness was here first. If consciousness is to be thought of as the product of the complex organization of life systems… and life is thought of as the complex organization of material systems… then what comes after consciousness? Or what came before material?

The answer to both of those questions is probably: Pure energy.

The cosmic serpent signifies the connected-ness of all things... and the pattern inherent in life and the universe

The cosmic serpent signifies the connected-ness of all things… and the pattern inherent in life and the universe

Ancient cultures around the globe believed that in our minds lies the key to truly understanding the “force” behind life. There is an ongoing pattern … and actually. I think I’m going too far off topic. But I suggest you check out some interesting reading: The Cosmic Serpent … and The Holographic Universe. Sit and ponder this idea, if you’re interested. Thinking about consciousness is the BEST way to figure it out! It’s one of the few fields of study that you need only one thing for: A brain.

(Well… an armchair, meditation and some hallucinogens help, but those things are optional.)

So my point is that even if you are a creationist… there is a place for you in science. The fact that some aspects of the bible are completely disproved by observable science does NOT mean that there’s no God. In fact, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will: It should already be commonly understood that the bible is fallible, since some parts of it directly benefit the ruling classes… like that part about beating your slaves, having multiple wives (which is fine, I guess, but a little misogynistic if you ask me) and stoning non-believers to death. Let’s be real. The bible is nonsense. If you want to know God better, then align yourself with that force of creation. Don’t kill things. Strive to make your actions creative instead of destructive. Don’t belittle our planet and science by treating them like obstacles between you and your God. Respect life on this planet. I guarantee you, if there’s a God up there… he won’t send you to hell for being a good person in the naturally understandable way. People knew it was wrong to kill before the bible. You can tell him I said so. If God is up there, then he’s not petty. He’s not jealous. He doesn’t want you to kill. He’s not like humans. He’s also not a “HE”. To be like “him”, you need to start acting like it. Stand up for human rights and for nature. You can keep your religion, but don’t use it as an excuse to justify human-caused destruction of nature and knowledge.

Libraries of the past were burned by usurpers who flaunted their “religious right” to do so. Remember that. And ask yourself why. Why is knowledge about the past – about who or what we really are so dangerous?

You’re doing it wrong.

•June 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • June 24, 2013

I have a confession to make… so brace yourself.

I use psychedelics and (spoiler alert) they’re awesome. They are fun to use, yes… but I also use them for learning purposes… or as medicines for my otherwise ailing and twisted psyche. I mean, plenty of research shows the potential of mushrooms (for instance) as a very powerful antidepressant absent of any real side-effects. They’ve also been given to terminal patients in a hospital to ease the transition into death. Again.. With great results. Now tell me that isn’t awesome. In our culture, so hellbent on cultivating fear , shouldn’t we be examining things that alleviate it?


Yes. It’s just like that.

Hallucinogens in general (with a couple notable exceptions) have been used for thousands of years. Much longer than we’ve had “Science” or “religion” per se (although, these is an interesting theory that ties hallucinogens and religion together). Hallucinogens (I prefer the natural ones) are a powerful tool for understanding ourselves, which we need, since we still don’t seem to grasp consciousness. Even though we all have it (well, some of us more than others, am I right!?) and have the ability to look at it from the inside, we rarely do. Why is that? Are we afraid of what well find?

Actually, yes. I think that’s a big part of it, stemming from various causes. Including, but not limited to: Personal trauma. Human guilt from the fact that were killing the planet and each other for essentially no reason. Fear of learning the truth about your religion. Yeah, I went there… But notice I did not say “God”…. Because hallucinogens provide what can easily be described as a deep, personal, spiritual experience. In some cases you may even speak directly to god if that’s what you’re into. Oh yeah and there’s one other thing they do that’s pretty cool…

They make you abhor violence and feel in the very core of your soul that every living (and, fuck it… Why not… every non-living thing) is connected in an amazing and beautiful web that we get to be a part of. And maybe that’s what god is? Maybe that creative force, so essential to our being… that has been buried by our anthropocentric egos, is within all of us just waiting to become expressed.

Hallucinogens can show you the real you. Sometimes they make you laugh so hard that you cry. Sometimes they show you the error of your ways. Sometimes they lead you to feel a love so deeply that your heart overflows… And yes, sometimes they can show you fear… But they can also show you how to overcome it. Which leads me to perhaps the most powerful ancient medicine known. Ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca. The taste is... rough.

Ayahuasca. The taste is… rough.

Perhaps you’ve heard of ayahuasca… And if you haven’t, then you should look it up. Ayahuasca is similar in scope to Iboga, but less “complicated”. While Ayahuasca has only RARELY caused fatalities (and only in this age) due to being combined with prescription drugs… Iboga has caused  a few more fatalities than ayahuasca. Again, however, these deaths were caused by improper use, associated with addiction or withdrawal from prescription drugs… most notably anti-depressants. The use of Ayahuasca can actually help fix the damage that these prescription drugs do, and has been used very successfully to treat heroin addiction (among other things)… but requires abstinence from other substances and a specific diet in order to achieve proper and safe results. This ancient medicinal brew is not really for those looking for kicks. It CAN be fun, but it shows you what you need, not what you want. You can ask it to show you things about yourself… to show you the future… to speak with the dead. Sound fanciful? Maybe… but speaking from first hand experience… what I saw was enough to convince me that it is more than just a “drug”. It is ancient wisdom expressed through the roots and the leaves of the jungle… internalized into you. Ayahuasca is referred to as the “great teacher” or the “great mother”. And she has something to show you. So. Anyway. Look that up, sometime.

The subject of each hallucinogenic medicine on it’s own requires it’s own post… but the point of this post is to drive the point home that we should be studying these helpful plants and fungi so that we may understand their potential. We should be classifying them as MEDICINES… not drugs. Prescription drugs and alcohol are responsible for deaths that are orders of magnitude higher than than all hallucinogens combined. It’s actually hard to find numbers on “hallucinogen deaths” because there really are very few…. ever. I want people to question the official stance on “drugs”… and even question the DEFINITION of “drugs”. If someone asks you if you use drugs, ask them to clarify. Do they mean sugar, caffeine, alcohol? All mind-altering chemicals. I mean… a hangover is basically sugar withdrawal.

Don’t be afraid to explore your mind. Be cautious, but never be afraid. Your consciousness is yours and yours alone. Don’t give it to advertisements and propaganda designed to keep you thinking in a linear and destructive fashion. QUESTION IT!!

( To be read in the event of my sudden disappearance )

•June 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • June 14, 2013

WARNING: INCOMING RANT. TURN BACK NOW. UNPOPULAR OPINIONS MAY BE EXPRESSED. (It’s also crass. For this post I’m suspending any attempt at eloquence. Take it or leave it.)



Recently, I was doing some soul searching. Actually I do it all the time, almost daily. It’s not a big deal, relax. On this particular journey into my conscious depths, I realized a couple things:

  1. My work quality at my job lately kinda sucks.
  2. I don’t give a fuck.

Maybe my work has always sucked. I like to think I’m semi-decent at what I do… and I still, at times, enjoy and respect the art of code (Although I mostly have to work with shitty code). I like coding, but basically on my own terms. Trying to build someone else’s dreams almost invariably sucks sub-Saharan rhino balls for one reason or another. Especially when there’s so many things of my own I’d rather make. Learning new languages, simplifying code, writing elegantly. All that shit is still appealing on some level. But I think, ultimately… I just could not give less of a fuck about some app someone is making that does some kind of “social cloud-crowd-sourcing synergy solution” bullshit. Call me a Luddite but, I just want to crawl into a cave and occasionally sneak out to knock down those cell towers that are built to look like shitty-ass trees by beating them with a rusty lead pipe while screaming: “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!“. BUT… Somewhere in the shallows of my brain is a voice nagging:

“Hey. Asshole. You don’t have enough money to move into the jungle and be a hermit yet! Actually fuck all that, buy a new car!!”

I usually just hit myself in the head a few times with a fist and continue talking to the bartender… Or pretending I care about politics (or insert your favorite first-world meaningless “feel-good” banality). But most of the time, there is a retort from somewhere in my grizzled heart tissues. The soothing tone of this voice hits me like a cool breeze on the bayou (Yeah, I’ve been to the bayou! Fuck you!):

“Hey buddy. Don’t listen to that other guy. He’s drunk… and I think he’s been smoking banana peels. Yeah, I know. It doesn’t work. I tried it, too… But all you need to know is that you don’t need money. If what you need is simplicity, then that’s available all the time. You just need to change your perspective. To change what you require or are willing to sacrifice. You can leave it all behind if you want to. Love is key… but you have to let go…”

I am compelled in two directions. Content but distraught. More or less confused. There is a part of me borne of the capitalist mind. I apologize if this sounds arrogant, but I’ve always found it quite easy to make money… because money is a childish concept… But here’s the hopefully less arrogant part: I think anyone can pretty much accomplish just about whatever they want. Even people with severe learning “disabilities” can play piano or draw like masters without any training. So yeah. Don’t call it a disability. I can be an arrogant asshole, as I just illustrated (and will again, just wait)… but I have gotten good opportunities mostly because I don’t spend my off-time soaking in TV’s radiation or arguing about Football stats. Seriously. I’d rather be beaten with a bag of oranges than hear you talk about Romo’s sacks or whoever the fuck’s balls. Get a hobby. Things that I find essentially meaningless have been shed from my life one by one, like dead branches. Now, that’s not for everyone… these aspects are just victims of my anxiety… or my fear of not living (To avoid confusion: “not living” is kinda the opposite of dying. Dying sounds way better than not living a full life… especially after having lived through “Jersey Shore”).

So. Why am I here? Not, like, in the existential way… More of a: “dude why the fuck do I keep giving my tax money to wars I don’t support?” Or… To quote NOFX: “why must we stay where we don’t belong”? Some days… I just don’t know, Fat Mike… I don’t know.

I guess I feel like most people. I want to be a positive force for change. I want to help my fellow people. Even the people who watch duck dynasty all day while pounding cheeseburgers into their gigantic maws. Yes, I love those people, too. It’s tough love. And, In fact… It might be this love that makes me want to yell over the sound of crunching GMO-laden potato chips and TV: “peel your fat ass off that couch! You’re capable of anything! watching you clog your brain with cultural sewage is depressing! Or was it your dream to waste away like the fries you dropped between the cushions?! Also. Clean that shit up.”

I am stuck constantly asking if it is most efficient to stay and fight for things to change our culture, or build something elsewhere. To seed the nucleus of something beautiful to share with the world. If I had the money, I might do it here… But I spend all my fucking time trying to avoid eating or breathing poison since everything in America is as corrupt as its leaders. Pushed towards toxification by the same force. Greed. waste. destruction for profit. what the fuck is money, anyway?! you’d give your one and only life just to get such a small piece of pie (it’s microscopic) …that you’d give all your energy to some ass-clown in a suit and wear a shit-eating grin while Uncle Sam rams his desperate finger up your… Uh. Let’s stop right there. It’s getting a little abrasive. Not the finger! I mean the… eh. Fuck it.

To come home and flop on the couch is death. Because if you waste your years working, there will be nothing left for you. So what are you working FOR? All you have is time. And I guess I feel that humans are essentially nothing but reactionary. Which is to say that people won’t do shit until the 11th hour. Until the world is on fire, people aren’t gonna truly lift a finger. Sure, there are some amazing things happening… Some amazing people. Like this guy:



Or this chick:



Listen, I get that most people just don’t want to care. They have kids and a mortgage and a job… and whatever. You can be a nihilist, frankly. It’s your right as an animal to do that. Most humans are barely more than animals, myself included. We don’t really deserve to be called sentient, because we know our species is killing the planet and each other (well some of us are in denial), but we refuse to give a shit. And while I’d like to see us win, I count the possibility that we just weren’t meant to. I tend to believe that humanity is essentially just very young. We are. We are making stupid mistakes, together, as one dying species… but why wait until it’s too late to sacrifice?

So what then? Do I remove myself as a destructive force as much as possible… or do I fight for something that may be unattainable at this point?

Eh, fuck it… maybe I’ll just listen to Terrence McKenna:

“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness.”
-Terence McKenna


Freedom isn’t free (literally)

•June 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • June 13, 2013

Is freedom subjective? Do animals have a concept of freedom, and if so, is it similar to ours?

I submit to you… that all creatures have an innate need for freedom. The truth of which becomes evident when seeing birds pick out all their feathers in a cage. I’ve seen chickens, cats, dogs, etc… express a need to explore, and illustrate a distain for confinement against their will. This need can vary from creature to creature, just like in humans. This is essentially obvious, right? Okay. But what’s important to realize, however, is that this IS freedom. Animals (humans included) need freedom. It’s a basic necessity. The ability to move freely, to travel. To not be held against our will, and to protect those we love.

The way we humans have come to define freedom is a little askew, if you ask me. Our idea of freedom varies from person to person, as well. What is clear to me, though, is that money creates freedom (it also creates power, which is related). And… with unlimited money, we truly are free. We can essentially change the world any way we see fit (although, studies show you really can’t buy happiness). We can travel anywhere (even buy a green card through various means, some more legal than others), own anything or give anyone anything they need (probably). Save billions of lives (well money is arguably CREATING conditions of horror or famine in the world. Read: Privatizing water, prisons etc)… and hell, while we’re at it, we can break any law we want and then pay our way out of it if we get caught.

I mean. With money you can basically liberate or enslave entire nations, or just yourself. Which I guess is great… but fuck that hippie shit. I need to get mine.

What I’m getting at, if it isn’t already painfully obvious, is that if money represents potential freedom (no more worrying about bills, shelter, food etc…). Then the pursuit of money is enslavement. Which is to say, we enslave ourselves. I think despotic leaders of old learned that slavery works best when people don’t think they are enslaved. Throughout history there are already examples of slaves who had property and possessions but didn’t consider themselves slaves. Now, granted, some people are more comfortable with this enslavement than others. That is fine, I suppose. But investing more time into the pursuit of money only seems to shackle us further. Having a mortgage and a car for instance… just increases your need for money. What’s wrong with that? People need shelter and food. And we can’t just give those things away.

Well, I mean… we COULD… we’ve never actually tried, so we don’t know if we actually could, and every system in history that had some form of participatory democracy has been wiped out by greed and then vilified (the Inca, the Maya, the Iriquos, possibly the Egyptians)… and with just the waste or deficit of the USA, we could feed and help the entire world (using simple tech like aquaponics / UV water treatment, etc)… in theory it could work but people are too afraid of losing our “freedom” that ideas like The Venus Project aren’t even considered (not that this set of ideas is perfect)… just more “hippie nonsense”.

Of course… if you reject money, you actually CAN live a sweet life without being a mooch. Kind of like what Daniel Suelo did… chronicled in “The man who quit money”. He doesn’t allow any charity… and he also refuses to take money. But he’s not lazy. He volunteers frequently. He just disagrees with the necessity of money. He sometimes camps illegally, but that’s another interesting question of freedom. Why can’t we just go live out in the wild without it being illegal? We’ve been led to believe that we can’t work without money. That’s a failure of ingenuity and creativity. All I know is… people want freedom. And while money provides a glimpse of potential freedom, it mostly just keeps us in a game that someone else is running. In this game, our lives are drained from us while someone up high (not God. He doesn’t need money… although, from the looks of the catholic church, you wouldn’t think so. Sorry. Wrong post.) profits from it. They even stoop to profit from war. Literally making us give our lives for an elite few. Is that really what we think we deserve? Is this the best we think we can do? And do “we” really think we deserve to own 3 cars and 2 cell phones while most of the world is starving or thirsty? Because “our” lavish lifestyles COME from the pillaging of other nations. Let’s be real.

A great quote from Daniel Suelo is: “the more you have, the less you give.” … which is a general statement, but essentially true. There are other people out there who illustrate the illusory nature of money, and honestly, they give me hope. For money, to me, while representing a potential means of freedom… is not the only way. Question it! (get it? Like the domain/name of the blog? That’s TOTALLY my catchphrase now!)



•April 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • April 18, 2012

Oh, also… if anyone actually reads this… you may have noticed the theme changed. I’m working on a new wordpress mod that’s going to completely revamp this site with visualizations built to display posts. The mod will be made available for free when it’s done. It uses Raphael.js and mootools to run.

More very soon!

Waking up…

•April 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • April 18, 2012

Just watch this. So well said… I can’t top it.

What is aquaponics?

•January 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • January 31, 2011

(I wanted to quickly repost this from my other blog, because I think everyone should know what aquaponics is.)

One of my favorite new subjects is aquaponics… the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics (or just plain gardening). Most people haven’t heard of it… but it’s quickly becoming well known among hydroponic gardeners and aeroponic enthusiasts alike. This time two years ago, there was almost no information available about aquaponics, but now there are several websites with awesome information to guide the average hobbyist.

Aquaponic Basics

Aquaponics, like hydroponics, can produce more plant life (or food) with less space than conventional gardening, and a well balanced system is healthier for both fish and plants. The key to it all is balance, however… and getting your system running in equilibrium can take time, patience, and some disappointment.

The picture above represents the aquaponic system, which is based entirely on natural systems (Basing our designs on those of nature is know as “biomimicry”). The picture above also goes over the nitrogen cycle, which is essentially the chemical path that waste takes to become usable to plants. Microbiological life in the soil (Generally) helps convert nitrogen into viable nutrient forms for plants, among other things. Nitrogen is often thought of as the most crucial nutrient for plants, as it is primarily responsible for leafy growth. Not all types of fish or plants work well in an aquaponics system, but some types thrive. I’ll go into more detail on this one in the next post.

This is the first of many posts on aquaponics and is meant to be an introduction. For more on this awesome new field of study, check out some links:

Backyard Aquaponics – a decent site, that now has a magazine with lots of Aquaponics info!

Aquaponics basics video

Comments/questions are encouraged!

A losing battle

•January 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

By: s_peak • January 4, 2011

We are becoming increasingly disconnected. From each other, and from our world. Where has it led us so far…. this “progress”… this “civilization”? Where are we going? Is the world truly as sinister as we color it? There is so much hate in the world… and so much fear. We are told that war is inevitable, and that war is the way of the world, but this is unacceptable. For nature to exist in the condition of division and destruction… is to destabilize the entirety of life. It is thought that animals exist in a state of constant conflict, but in fact, this isn’t true. The species who have done the best to survive have done so by cooperating with others of their species. As has been shown many times, participation and cooperation are much more effective at furthering survival in the wild. We are conditioned to believe that we need instruction, that our world is imperfect and in need of control… but these things can’t be correct. Planet Earth didn’t need us to form mountains, or fill the oceans. But since the advent of money, we have begun to tear down everything she built. The evolution of very early societies is predicated on participatory democracy and cooperation. Our current system of hierarchy and structure is a prison of our own design. Within these walls our minds are closed and decaying. The connections between us, once like roots spanning an ancient forest, sharing information like nutrients… to spread creativity and possibility between our shared minds… these connection are beginning to rot and fall away as the byproducts of our selfish and hateful attitudes divide us into smaller and smaller groups. Without these connections, we are doomed to failure, not only personally… but as an entire species, and an entire planet.

We spend so much time trying to find impurities and inequities between us, that we constantly overlook one simple fact… that from the microbes in the soil, to the massive redwood tree… and even us… we are all woven into the same web. Removing just one tiny species from this web sends ripples through the very system on which we depend for life, fresh air, clean water, and, essentially… happiness. Our planet is a rare gift, and the gift of our consciousness is even more rare.

It takes many types of minds to make the world work, and only one type to make it fail. It takes only one type of mind to end the world in a bath of fire, or a toxic rain. The mind of a human being is shaped by the environment we feed it, and it will always crave this input as it matures. But the world we’re building now is a legacy of destruction, hate, and division. All religious belief aside… we are human beings, and no God would advocate for the destruction of any form of life. When the birds fall from the sky by the thousands, and when the most fresh sources of water become tainted with deadly levels of neurotoxins… it is time to stop everything. We are not weak of heart, and we are not weak of mind. We are a creature of vast capability… the extent of which we can never truly understand unless we are willing to trade our hate and greed… for love, trust and cooperation. Indeed, life on this planet was only able to progress due to one immutable fact: cooperation means survival.

But now… our division leads to our destruction… And there is but one type of mind, cultivated by the darkness of greed and nurtured by our self interest, that is burning us from the inside like a cancer. This is the mindset of hate. Do we really want to build a world on fear and domination? Should we spend our lives afraid to go outside, or too scared to drink water from a stream? Or even too afraid to meet our neighbors? This is not in the essence of life. Fear is in the essence of death. Fear diminishes our capacity to trust or even love.

The change must happen in each of us. Switching our mindset from that of fear and hate, to cooperation and trust… is how we stop the bleeding. When you find yourself hating anything, or anyone… for any reason… you only further cultivate the destruction in which we wade. Violence begets violence… and we cannot make peace from war. Every civilization in history has tried to convince it’s people that destroying their enemy will bring peace and freedom, but with history as our guide (at the very least), we know this is not true.