Mar 102016
 

About the Word “Authority”
My friend, Larken Rose, describes authority as “the most dangerous
superstition” – and has, in fact, written a wonderful little book by that title. I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to delve deeper into the subject than the limited treatment in this article. Having said that, let’s take an intellectual peek into the meaning of the word.

The word, “authority” would appear at first glance to be a noun – though
technically it isn’t one – because it doesn’t describe or name something that can be put in a wheelbarrow. Traditionally, a noun names a person, place, or thing. In recent years some have chosen to extend the definition to include ideas – but I find this more confusing than helpful.

Instead, on the advice of the eminent linguist John Grinder, I refer to such
words as “nominalizations”. As such, a nominalization is itself an idea, but the concept so labeled usually proves, on examination, to represent an action or a process. The same can be said too of the expressions, “power over”, juris diction, and rank – as they are essentially synonyms for “authority.”
In discussing authority, the subject is further confused by the fact that, in
practice, the word has two distinct meanings.

Two Kinds of Authority
There are two meanings for the word in common usage:
1. It can mean an expert – someone who is unusually well versed in a
subject – as in “Einstein was an authority on physics”; or
2. It can mean someone who exercises power over others – as in,
“Governments have authority over their subjects”.

At the moment we are born, naked, helpless, and totally dependent, our
parents are the expert authorities responsible for our well being. We have no choice but to respect their superior strength, knowledge, and experience. In fact, our very lives depend on it. So when they say, “Don’t play in the street”, we do well to obey, and we can take some comfort in the fact that they have more expertise than we when it comes to survival in the jungle, the woods, or the city. This is a case of authority as defined in (1) above.

Unfortunately, it is all too common that parents treat their children as though their authority is of the second type – requiring obedience without regard for the child’s mental/emotional state. “Be respectful! I’m your father!” expresses a typical attitude of such a parent. This is the attitude that is usually meant by the adjective, “authoritarian”.

It is the responsibility of an ethical parent to teach their offspring what they need to know to become independent adults with good self-esteem and a strong sense of responsibility for themselves. This cannot be achieved by maintaining an authoritarian posture in relation to them. This attitude, instead, teaches fear, obedience and dependency. When the posture is based on corporal punishment, it also teaches violence – and is arguably the primary source of violence in today’s world.

An even more profound consequence of authoritarian parenting is its effect on a child’s awareness of self-ownership.

Self-Ownership Implications
As small children it is apparent to everyone that they are owned by their
parents. In school the mandate to obey is largely transferred to our teachers – making them our stand-in owners. And as employees it is easy to imagine ourselves owned by our employers. We are conditioned to accept these roles – even though they are false.

It is very convenient for those who wish to rule us to have us think that we are “free”, when we fail to recognize our own self-ownership. This distortion of our awareness causes us to regard the ruling class as our owners – and to obey its members as would slaves. The conditioning to bring this about begins when we are infants – being raised by parents who have already been trained to obey “authorities”. In reality, “authority” refers to nothing more than coercion by means of force or the threat of force. And the purpose of perpetuating the concept as something else exists only to make us easier to plunder. When we yield to this mandate, we remain permanently child-like, unwilling to take on the true responsi-bilities of adulthood. In effect, we choose our own slavery.

The Adult Quandary
Our culture makes it very easy for us to accept our serfdom – and difficult to honor truth, love, awareness, and creativity. The latter choices put us
immediately in conflict with those who wish to “rule” us, and they aren’t
hesitant to beat, pepper-spray, taser, torture, cage, and kill those who fail to comply. This makes for some difficult choices for those of us not deceived by our early conditioning.

The Unfortunate Default
While some of us maintain an uneasy balance between compliance and self-determination, most people choose, not only to comply with our self-
appointed rulers’ edicts – but to turn on those of us who don’t, by supporting violence that is directed at those of us who are free enough to recognize the falsehood of all forms of “authority”.

The Controllers and the Controlled
The intense need of psychopaths and sociopaths to control others by
exercising power over them derives primarily from the devastating abuse to which they were subjected very early in childhood. That abuse left them feeling so out of control of their lives, that to survive they had to learn to respond in kind – by becoming even more controlling than their abusers. To date there is no known way to heal the results of such abuse.

So, What Is “Authority” and What Can Be Done to Correct for It? The mythology that underpins our subservience to “authority” is no different
today than it was when monarchs claimed the “divine right of kings”. It is
based on the fictional notion that some people have an unassailable right to control the lives of others. In order to gain our freedom from such slavery we must first recognize it for the big lie that it is. The primary mechanism of “authority” is hierarchy.

We know now how to create non-hierarchic organizations that are both ethical and effective. This new model makes the old one obsolete. If there is a key that will end our servitude, this is it.
– Bob Podolsky – 2016

Feb 032016
 

 

Ethics Beyond ReligionDali Lama Ethics Beyond Religion

Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from “Beyond Religion” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

I am an old man now. I was born in 1935 in a small village in northeastern Tibet. For reasons beyond my control, I have lived most of my adult life as a stateless refugee in India, which has been my second home for over 50 years. I often joke that I am India’s longest-staying guest. In common with other people of my age, I have witnessed many of the dramatic events that have shaped the world we live in. Since the late 1960s, I have also traveled a great deal, and have had the honor to meet people from many different backgrounds: not just presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, and leaders from all the world’s great religious traditions, but also a great number of ordinary people from all walks of life.

Looking back over the past decades, I find many reasons to rejoice. Through advances in medical science, deadly diseases have been eradicated. Millions of people have been lifted from poverty and have gained access to modern education and health care. We have a universal declaration of human rights, and awareness of the importance of such rights has grown tremendously. As a result, the ideals of freedom and democracy have spread around the world, and there is increasing recognition of the oneness of humanity. There is also growing awareness of the importance of a healthy environment. In very many ways, the last half-century or so has been one of progress and positive change.

At the same time, despite tremendous advances in so many fields, there is still great suffering, and humanity continues to face enormous difficulties and problems. While in the more affluent parts of the world people enjoy lifestyles of high consumption, there remain countless millions whose basic needs are not met. With the end of the Cold War, the threat of global nuclear destruction has receded, but many continue to endure the sufferings and tragedy of armed conflict. In many areas, too, people are having to deal with environmental problems and, with these, threats to their livelihood and worse. At the same time, many others are struggling to get by in the face of inequality, corruption and injustice.

These problems are not limited to the developing world. In the richer countries, too, there are many difficulties, including widespread social problems: alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, family breakdown. People are worried about their children, about their education and what the world holds in store for them. Now, too, we have to recognize the possibility that human activity is damaging our planet beyond a point of no return, a threat which creates further fear. And all the pressures of modern life bring with them stress, anxiety, depression, and, increasingly, loneliness. As a result, everywhere I go, people are complaining. Even I find myself complaining from time to time!

It is clear that something is seriously lacking in the way we humans are going about things. But what is it that we lack? The fundamental problem, I believe, is that at every level we are giving too much attention to the external material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values.

By inner values I mean the qualities that we all appreciate in others, and toward which we all have a natural instinct, bequeathed by our biological nature as animals that survive and thrive only in an environment of concern, affection and warmheartedness — or in a single word, compassion. The essence of compassion is a desire to alleviate the suffering of others and to promote their well-being.

This is the spiritual principle from which all other positive inner values emerge. We all appreciate in others the inner qualities of kindness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness and generosity, and in the same way we are all averse to displays of greed, malice, hatred and bigotry. So actively promoting the positive inner qualities of the human heart that arise from our core disposition toward compassion, and learning to combat our more destructive propensities, will be appreciated by all. And the first beneficiaries of such a strengthening of our inner values will, no doubt, be ourselves. Our inner lives are something we ignore at our own peril, and many of the greatest problems we face in today’s world are the result of such neglect.

Not long ago I visited Orissa, a region in eastern India. The poverty in this part of the country, especially among tribal people, has recently led to growing conflict and insurgency. I met with a member of parliament from the region and discussed these issues. From him I gathered that there are a number legal mechanisms and well-funded government projects already in place aimed at protecting the rights of tribal people and even giving them material assistance. The problem, he said, was that the funds provided by the government were not reaching those they were intended to help. When such projects are subverted by corruption, inefficiency and irresponsibility on the part of those charged with implementing them, they become worthless.

This example shows very clearly that even when a system is sound, its effectiveness depends on the way it is used. Ultimately, any system, any set of laws or procedures, can only be as effective as the individuals responsible for its implementation. If, owing to failures of personal integrity, a good system is misused, it can easily become a source of harm rather than a source of benefit. This is a general truth which applies to all fields of human activity, even religion. Though religion certainly has the potential to help people lead meaningful and happy lives, it too, when misused, can become a source of conflict and division. Similarly, in the fields of commerce and finance, the systems themselves may be sound, but if the people using them are unscrupulous and driven by self-serving greed, the benefits of those systems will be undermined. Unfortunately, we see this happening in many kinds of human activities: even in international sports, where corruption threatens the very notion of fair play.

Of course, many discerning people are aware of these problems and are working sincerely to redress them from within their own areas of expertise. Politicians, civil servants, lawyers, educators, environmentalists, activists and so on — people from all sides are already engaged in this effort. This is very good so far as it goes, but the fact is, we will never solve our problems simply by instituting new laws and regulations. Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, inequity, intolerance and greed — all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values — will persist.

So what are we to do? Where are we to turn for help? Science, for all the benefits it has brought to our external world, has not yet provided scientific grounding for the development of the foundations of personal integrity — the basic inner human values that we appreciate in others and would do well to promote in ourselves. Perhaps we should seek inner values from religion, as people have done for millennia? Certainly religion has helped millions of people in the past, helps millions today and will continue to help millions in the future. But for all its benefits in offering moral guidance and meaning in life, in today’s secular world religion alone is no longer adequate as a basis for ethics. One reason for this is that many people in the world no longer follow any particular religion. Another reason is that, as the peoples of the world become ever more closely interconnected in an age of globalization and in multicultural societies, ethics based in any one religion would only appeal to some of us; it would not be meaningful for all. In the past, when peoples lived in relative isolation from one another — as we Tibetans lived quite happily for many centuries behind our wall of mountains — the fact that groups pursued their own religiously based approaches to ethics posed no difficulties. Today, however, any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics.

This statement may seem strange coming from someone who from a very early age has lived as a monk in robes. Yet I see no contradiction here. My faith enjoins me to strive for the welfare and benefit of all sentient beings, and reaching out beyond my own tradition, to those of other religions and those of none, is entirely in keeping with this.

I am confident that it is both possible and worthwhile to attempt a new secular approach to universal ethics. My confidence comes from my conviction that all of us, all human beings, are basically inclined or disposed toward what we perceive to be good. Whatever we do, we do because we think it will be of some benefit. At the same time, we all appreciate the kindness of others. We are all, by nature, oriented toward the basic human values of love and compassion. We all prefer the love of others to their hatred. We all prefer others’ generosity to their meanness. And who among us does not prefer tolerance, respect and forgiveness of our failings to bigotry, disrespect and resentment?

In view of this, I am of the firm opinion that we have within our grasp a way, and a means, to ground inner values without contradicting any religion and yet, crucially, without depending on religion. The development and practice of this new system of ethics is what I propose to elaborate in the course of this book. It is my hope that doing so will help to promote understanding of the need for ethical awareness and inner values in this age of excessive materialism.

At the outset I should make it clear that my intention is not to dictate moral values. Doing that would be of no benefit. To try to impose moral principles from outside, to impose them, as it were, by command, can never be effective. Instead, I call for each of us to come to our own understanding of the importance of inner values. For it is these inner values which are the source of both an ethically harmonious world and the individual peace of mind, confidence and happiness we all seek. Of course, all the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.

Jan 272016
 

CHOOSING AN ETHICstar of laskmi

by: Bob Podolsky

Why choose an Ethic?

It’s a truism that most people wants to “better themselves” – that is to better the circumstances of their lives. Philosophies and religions are all derived from this fact. When one adopts a valid ethic, this goal can be realized or “manifested”. The result is a life characterized by peace, prosperity, and freedom… it feels like having a compass in one’s head… important decisions become simple…work feels like play… relationships “bloom”… and the day-to-day challenges and vicissitudes of life seem much less daunting. This is the state-of-mind in which one actually “becomes the change” one wishes to see in the world.

Introduction

As a young man I believed two things about ethics – one true, and the other false:

  1. I believed the choice of an ethic is “arbitrary” – because one can choose any ethic one likes; and

  2. I believed therefore that the entire subject of ethics is trivial – of no real use in making behavioral decisions.

As I learned much later, statement (1) above is true; but statement (2) is false. Lets examine the concept of an ethic a little more closely, and then apply it with some logic to a few actual ethics.

Specifying an Ethic

Every ethic consists of 2 parts that must be defined in order to fully specify a particular ethic:

  1. A Value that the ethic is intended to increase, and

  2. A belief or belief system that tells one how to behave in order to increase the desired value.

For instance, one might choose an ethic that values prosperity and operates on the belief that prosperity can be maximized by getting a job working for 40 years for a big corporation after, many years of education. As absurd as this belief is, in combination with the value, it is, nonetheless, an ethic – by definition – albeit not a very good one. When this is true, the belief fails to support the value, and the ethic is said to be “invalid”.

Ethical Validity

An invalid ethic fails to produce more of the value sought – and in many instances actually has the opposite effect, diminishing the desired value. An example would be the Soviet Ethic that sought to produce “material well-being for all”. The accompanying belief was that this outcome could be achieved through the adoption of a tyrannical communist regime. The result was: almost universal poverty. The ethic was clearly invalid.

The “No Ethic” Ethic

There are those who are so enthralled by the arbitrariness of choosing an ethic, that they see no reason to consciously make such a choice. This of course is just another kind of ethic. In this case both the value and the belief are random. And since there is no discernible value sought, the random belief fails to produce a value – so the ethic can be said to be invalid. On the other hand, since the random belief does produce random values, one could describe the ethic as valid.

As I see it, the real value sought is the illusion of having little or no responsibility for the adopter’s experience of his life. And adopting this ethic certainly supports and increases that illusion, so it might best be called the “lazy man’s ethic” – and it is technically valid, though of no practical use.

The “Golden Rule” and “Universally Preferred Behavior”

I’ve lumped these two ethics together because they both suffer from the same weakness – namely, there is no “universally preferred behavior”. To see this clearly, imagine you have an encounter with a sado-masochist. He is someone who prefers to have others inflict pain on him. Do you really want him to do to you what he wants you to do to him? Unless you are also a sado-masochist, the answer is “probably not”.

While you might suppose that sado-masochism is too uncommon to be of real relevance, the fact is otherwise. In my 40 years experience as a psychotherapist, At least 20% of the population worldwide displays a significant leaning towards such preferences. While the degree to which such a person actually acts on such impulses varies greatly from person to person, the fact of this phenomenon’s existence proves the Golden Rule and the Universally Preferred Behavior to be invalid ethics.

The “Non-Aggression Principle”

Let’s now examine an ethic that is valid, but not optimal. Called the “Non-Aggression Principle”, the NAP states:

any initiation of coercive action (that is, any aggressive act) is ethically wrong.

The NAP ethic embraces freedom from violence as the value; and the belief is that this can be achieved by refraining from initiating violence or the threat of violence – while retaining the freedom to use limited violence in self defense.

If everyone restrained themselves from initiating violence, violence would indeed disappear, and no one would be the victim of violence. However, many of us learn violence from our parents when we are very young – usually before the age of 5 years – and we will still encounter violence until child-rearing becomes generally improved. My experience leads me to say those who were the abused as children, are the most are the biggest abusers as adults.

A more serious weakness of this ethic is that the value chosen is something not wanted – something to be avoided. In other words the value is a negative rather than a positive. It’s based on what we don’t want instead of what we do want. So while the ethic is valid, it doesn’t address what we must do to increase a number of other equally important values. So let’s look at the best ethic I have found to date.

The Ethics of Ethics

As everyone seems to know, ethics are the means by which one decides what is “good” and how to behave…how to live one’s life. What is slightly less obvious is the fact that the choice of an ethic is itself subject to an ethic-based decision. This second-level ethic might be called a “meta-ethic”. In similar fashion, one can construct any number of metan ethics…i.e. meta-meta, meta-meta-meta, and so forth. So the question this fact engenders is, “where does one start, in formulating a worthwhile ethic?”

To answer this question (quick before the theologians jump in) we can simply choose what I call a “universal referent” – which is to say, an objectively observable phenomenon of obvious value everywhere and at all times. For this choice I strongly suggest the phenomenon we call “evolution”… the opposite of which is “entropy”. This choice has several advantages.

  • The phenomenon is objectively (scientifically) observable and is certainly of great intrinsic value.

  • The choice of this referent directly amplifies truth, awareness, love, and creativity… and indirectly creates peace, prosperity, happiness, and freedom.

  • For those who prefer to involve the “god” concept in their ethics, one can simply define “god” as that toward which life evolves. Doing so is completely compatible with the valid portions of the “Christian Ethic”.

So let’s take a closer look at the formulation of such an ethic.

The Evolutionary Ethic

For starters, there are a number of values that are logically equivalent to one another:

  • Truth (scientifically verifiable) + Objective

  • Awareness & Personal evolution

  • Love

  • Creativity

TALC resources are logically equivalent to one another in that increasing any one of them always increases them all – AND – limiting or diminishing any one of them always limits or diminishes them all. Any of these values can be used to create a valid ethic.

Here’s an example based on the value of creativity and on the following belief system:

An act is ethical if it increases creativity for at least one person (including the person acting), without limiting or diminishing creativity for anyone.

In the definition above one can substitute any of the other values in the preceding (TALC) list for the word “creativity” and still have a valid ethic.

I have yet to see or find a valid ethic that is not logically equivalent to this one. Also, it should be noted that, counter-intuitively, no one has yet created a valid ethic based on the values of:

  • Freedom

  • Happiness

  • Pleasure

  • Power

  • Wealth

Many attempts to do so have been made; but to my knowledge none has succeeded.

Conclusion

For a more comprehensive discussion of ethics and their effects on the human condition, you are invited to read Ethics, Law, & Government on the Titanians.org website. The BORG has told you all your life to obey the law and to revere the government. Is it giving you what you want? Perhaps it’s time to re-examine that decision.

Bob Podolsky

cronus@titanians(dot)org

THE CHALLENGE OF “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”

 

THE CHALLENGE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”

Artificial Intelligence

Birth of AI

By Bob Podolsky

Overview

It is commonly agreed by today’s scientists that computer technology will soon be sufficiently advanced to create machines that actually think or act autonomously – much the way humans do. Such machines are referred to in the literature as “Artificial Intelligence”, or AI for short.

As that time approaches, many scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that intelligent machines might be hostile to humans – or outright dangerous. The “Terminator” and “Matrix” movie series are fictional depictions of this risk, which renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, for example, takes seriously.

Assuming that the risk is real, which seems a reasonable starting point for this discussion, the question becomes, “how can the risk be ameliorated – or better still, eliminated”?

Two approaches have been suggested by Elon Musk and others from the Future of Life Institute:

  1. Design AI machines that are inherently safe, as outlined by Isaac Asimov in 1946,

  2. Somehow solve the problem through the application of ethics.

In the paragraphs below, I intend to demonstrate the reasoning by which I’ve come to the following conclusions:

  • For humans to live safely together with intelligent machines, the machines must be taught a suitable ethic via approach #1.

  • It is too late in the AI development cycle for the first approach to succeed, because machines are already being programmed with lethal capabilities.

  • The 2nd approach could succeed in principle, but for it to do so it will be necessary for humans, as a species, to learn to live safely and peacefully together with one another.

  • Living safely and peacefully with one another is a highly-valued outcome with or without intelligent machines. An ethical means of doing this exists, but is not yet widely known.

  • The most useful mind set in analyzing the problem is to regard self- aware intelligent machines as we would alien visitors from another star system.

Some Basics

To start, let’s examine the word, “intelligence”. As a behavioral descriptor the word is best defined as the ability to predict and control events in the real world. This is not (quite) the meaning of the word when used in the phrase “Artificial Intelligence”, in which context the word means a thing or being that exhibits such ability.

With this definition in mind, we recall that every intelligence must have certain components and properties:

  • Input devices – eyes, ears, sensory nerves, etc. – by which the intelligence can acquire information.

  • A means of storing, indexing, and retrieving acquired information.

  • An external communication means – display screen, printer, voice, etc.

  • One or more effectors – the hands and feet that can act on the environment.

  • A logic or reasoning function – brain

  • A purpose enabler or motivating component – a will.

  • Internal communicators that tie all the other components together.

As defined above, an intelligence is a being (of sorts), but not necessarily a conscious intelligence. It becomes conscious when it becomes aware of being aware. By my reckoning, beings having this capacity should be regarded as people, and treated accordingly – because they have enough awareness to learn to make ethical discernments. At this point too, it behooves us to acknowledge the being’s self-ownership – exactly as we would an adolescent human. Failing in this, our sentient robots become a race of slaves.

This might be a good time to note that “artificial intelligence” is a misnomer. A more accurate term would be “synthetic intelligence” or “non-human intelligence”. This is where the comparison with space-faring aliens becomes apt. We wouldn’t regard such beings as “things” just because their bodies were chemically different than our own. Any species sufficiently advanced to achieve interstellar travel must have long since stopped wasting its precious resources on wars and destruction – and would likely view humans, therefore, much as we might view the great apes: the phrase “promising but inferior” comes to mind. Though as far as I know the apes don’t make war on one another.

About the Ethics

As explained at some length in the article linked above, some ethics are valid and some are not. However, every valid ethic contains a non-aggression principle in one form or another: a statement that the initiation of force, or its threat, is unethical. The use of force is only ethical in (true) self-defense – and then only to the extent required to stop an unethical act of aggression.

By the definition above, most of the activities of the US military are unethical acts of aggression. Certainly attacking a wedding or funeral party in Afghanistan with a drone controlled from half way around the world is NOT an act of self defense. Nor is the concept of “acceptable collateral damage” an ethically defensible policy.

It is already a fact that the military is developing robots with lethal capabilities. Should those robots become autonomous (self-aware and self-programming) – or fall under the control of a computer having such properties – then we’ll have all the makings of a “Skynet” event.

Reality

The idea of programming self-aware robots with a prime directive that forbids them to harm humans is attractive – in principle. But succeeding at that task is to program a basic principle that we have yet to program in ourselves. Is that even remotely possible?

Add to that the additional complexity of teaching a robot to distinguish friend from foe, and the success of the task becomes highly improbable. What is more, if one could program a robot to act ethically, it would never agree to kill people overseas to begin with. Face it! War as we know it is unethical.

In fact, almost all of our societal institutions consistently make highly unethical decisions. So why would we expect the sentient robots we create to act more ethically than we do?

Is There a Solution?

Yes, there is an answer – but the window of opportunity to apply it is closing even now. To live at peace with non-human intelligences we must learn to live at peace with one another. It’s that simple (but not easy).

If we have the will to do so, here are the steps:

  1. Replace hierarchies everywhere with HoloMats of Octologues.

  2. Adopt the Bill of Ethics as the basic ethical standard everywhere.

  3. Let the existing system die of attrition, as more and more people migrate to the new system and cease supporting the old one.

For this solution to succeed, a massive promotional effort is required starting immediately. The public must learn of the new system, recognize its benefits, and adopt it. Failing in this, we will shortly be looking at a new “dark age” – or worse.

On the other hand, if the above steps are taken successfully, we could see the beginning of a new age of peace, prosperity, creativity, and love, on a scale heretofore unimaginable.

Feb 042014
 

Morpheus is invited to give a presentation on Bitcoin. Being its something to wrap your mind around, he talks about what is money actually, how the incredible fraud that the federal reserve perpetuates, and most importantly how to take advantage of Bitcoin’s incredible properties.

Bitcoins are transfered from person to person without a third part intervener like a bank or government. No one or no organization can freeze your account, there are no cost or barriers to being involved, zero or low cost to transfer money even internationally and there are no arbitrary limits.


Because of the rate of how bitcoin is mined it produces a deflationary currency contrary to the inflationary currency that is currently being produced by all other nations. The reason all countries like inflation is because when they borrow money they are able to repay the debt with “dollars” “euros” “yen” that is controlled by a third party. These evil central planners like the fact they can line their own pockets and the pockets of their friends with money created out of nothing.

Because the market cannot be fooled, the market responds to the fraudulent creation of money by prices going up. This is form of tax that is very easy to hide. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said or wrote:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

Because we are moving into the future, one day at a time, it is normal to conclude that humans are going to find solutions to problems. For example, paper money did not always exist. At one point in humanity evolution, those that traded, carried their gold or silver in a bag on their belt. Well, having a big bag of gold around your belt was a great way to advertise how much you wanted to be robbed.  Hey, you have to go to sleep sometime right?

To prevent from being robbed, many people kept their gold or silver with a goldsmith / silversmith. These were people who where trusted and could afford to have other trusted people keep watch over his inventory as well as the precious metals from those who entrusted the goldsmith with their gold.  Of course the Goldsmith, received a fee for watching over other peoples precious metals. In exchange the Goldsmith / Silversmith, would give those people a receipt for the metals that he would be entrusted to protect.  It was found that people then started to trade the receipts just as well as the trade of the precious metals. This was the precursor to modern banking.

Then what happen is the Gutenberg invented the printing press. They say he was printing bibles, I say that was a cover story, just like 9/11. With the “invention” of the printing press, this allowed the banks and governments to create a giant FRAUD and at the same time cover it up. The famous Economist John Maynard Keynes said:

By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

What bitcoin does effectively is level the playing field for everyone. The great news is that because it is leveling the field there is great opportunity to CASH in on the the leveling of the playing field. For example back in July 10 2010 YOU and I too, could have bought Bitcoins for Frn$ 0.06 but we both missed it. Had you sold those same 1428.5714 bitcoins in July 10 2011 their value in Federal reserve Notes (Frn$)would have been Frn$ 21,285.77 at Frn$14.90 Fast forward to July 10 2012 the value of them would have been about $10k cause the price went down slightly to Frn$ 7.76 still a decent profit. Move forward again 1 year to July 10 2013 and the value was Frn$ 82.26 the value would have been Frn$ 117512.29 Move forward to November 29 2013 at the top of the market those same 1428.5714 bitcoins would be worth…drumroll please… Frn$ 1.59 MILLION Dollars. We both missed that one however I am not going to miss the next big one are YOU???

Morpheus has become into a Bitcoin Evangelist of sorts, he welcomes you to get more information he is available at m-o-r-p-h-e-u-s(at)t-i-t-a-n-i-a-n-s(dot)org

Nov 052013
 

While You See A Chance

Are you still Free? Or are you a slave to a BORG corporation.  Most are still trapped in the Matrix.  Freedom, like any concept starts in the mind and radiates out from there.  Know that YOU are a sentient being with the POWER of decision to live that way.  Ignore the BORG, do they bring any value to your life?  Vote with your feet, voice, pen and your money.  Any other form of voting is mental masturbation.

Songwriters: Steve Winwood, Will Jennings

Stand up in a clear blue morning until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning, are you still free? Can you be?
When some cold tomorrow finds you, when some sad old dream reminds you
How the endless road unwinds you

While you see a chance take it, find romance take it
Because it’s all on you

Don’t you know by now no one gives you anything
Don’t you wonder how you keep on moving one more day your way

When there’s no one left to leave you, even you don’t quite believe you
That’s when nothing can deceive you

Stand up in a clear blue morning until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning, are you still free? Can you be?
And that old gray wind is blowing and there’s nothing left worth knowing
And it’s time you should be going

Sep 042013
 

The Power of Manifestation

What was only a few weeks ago, August 10, 2013, I was at a meeting Gaia’s house with Cronus, we were learning some advanced techniques for getting into rapport with other people, as we start building Titania. For those of you who don’t know, I have been involved in Titania with Cronus since 2005, when I met him at the Palm Beach County Libertarian meeting. How I got from Anthem to Boca Raton was a trip in itself. And don’t even get me started on talking about the “Trip” back to the Phoenix area. On the way, I lost the belt on my Sally Car and she was a tight squeeze, so when it went, it bent the valves. Word to the wise “when you have an interference motor, change the belt at 100k”!!!! I spent 2 weeks broke down in Fabian Texas. Now that’s a story, I taught myself how to pan, to get Sally and me back to Phoenix.

At the he meeting where I met Cronus, he was giving a presentation about Creativity, Ethics, a place called Titanium, a half-baked evil pseudo-organization known as, “THE BORG”, for god’s sakes and most importantly how human beings are unwittingly trapped in one or more hierarchies, which consistently make UN-Ethical Decisions. I hear a lot of people flap their jaws at me, some of them the best in the business, mostly customers who are the biggest LIARS, and I ain’t never heard this kind of flap! For me it’s either pitch or catch. I prefer pitching ’cause there is more money on that side, however if you have something real good, I also enjoy a good catch. And if you have something really good I will pick up the ball and pitch too. It’s just how I roll!

Now being this is MY Life and MY body is MY property, I want to be who I want to be, so I am Morpheus. You know, “The Bringer of the Dream“. You betcha, baby. I know it’s kinda silly, but isn’t the world as a whole, kinda whacked out of it’s mind also? Plus, as long as I am living in some kind of science fiction movie, I might as well play my part! What really inspired me about Cronus at that time, he seemed to actually have a LONG TERM SOLUTION, that would solve all the the Big Problems in the world. In addition, according to Cronus, all the problems we face like: Bureaucracy, Chem Trails, Extortion, Genocide, Race-Hatred, Corruption, Hunger, Slavery, Crime, Ignorance, Terrorism, Taxation, Drug Addiction, Police State, Pollution, Violence, Exploitation,Poverty, Sex Trade, Legal Bullying, Homelessness, Monetary Devaluation and War are actually just symptoms of exactly ONE PROBLEM. That’s it, just ONE, now that’s really MENTAL. This ONE BIG PROBLEM, is created by hierarchical organizations at the top of the pyramid, making consistently UN-Ethical decisions. All the other problems, mentioned above are actually just the symptoms.

BTW this bald, really old guy, whose looks sometimes remind me of Dr. Evil, had the audacity to say that the implementation of this new way of organizing anarchists, could make a substantive change in humanity, one that could prevent its very extinction. Ha Ha Ha ROTFLMAO! You know, I like a good joke, guess the universe was playing one on me this time. His presentation, which I have to add, is considerably better than the the first one I heard him do at the West Palm Beach Macaroni Grill, in what seems a lifetime ago. His presentation was so far and away different than anything I had heard in my entire life, from the propagandists on TV, Radio, print both in papers and in books, politicians, preachers, teachers,  freedom movement gurus, yogi’s, Jesus Christ, Socrates, republicans, democrats, libertarians, anarchists, communist, psychologists, my parents, my ex’s, my friends and even myself about all the problems in the world. What was so different about his presentation was he talked about a solution that involved a new way to organize human beings that made them more Creative and Ethical. I had never heard anything remotely close to what he was offering. What was really mental, is this guy actually made sense! The other thing that blew me away, was that his father Boris, did a physics theory (Cronus would say a paper) with Albert  Einstein. Hello, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”…Right?

Since becoming aware of these Power Brokerage Cartels and the damage they do to humanity, (9/11, Gulf of Tonkin, Martin Luther King, JFK, Jesus Christ, the War of Northern Aggression, The Holocaust, the Decimation of the American Indians, the Spanish Inquisition etc, etc, etc) it’s become a passion of mine to completely disengage from the system, most especially the “legal” system. I don’t want to have anything to do with them, so I don’t. It’s also another reason to do the Morpheus thing.  Recently I was able to travel to Dallas to hang out with my good friend Jordan Page, and even though, the trip home was a bit more hairy, courtesy of the Toothpaste Stealing Agents (TSA)  still I made it there and back, without ID. But hey, that’s another story. Its another good one, so keep on coming back!

Walking Through Valley of the Shadow of Death

So there we are at the meeting and someone mentioned that Foster Gamble, the creator of the Thrive Movement was going to be at Libertopia. Cronus had already been communicating with Foster and I knew he had to press his flesh. So as soon as I heard this, my instant reaction was to say, “I will be at Libertopia, even if I have to pan handle to get there. And if I have to put Cronus in a four way to get him into my conveyance to get him there, I would do that as well.” Well, I wouldn’t really put him in a four way and I didn’t want to pan to get there either. We all have our own lives to lead, without being coerced. I just wanted to have everyone know, including myself – ‘Brother, I am going to be there’. You can make a million dollars or you can make a million excuses, you cannot do both. I’d like a million federal reserve notes please, so no excuses from me.

To me it’s all about the decision. Make it firm and know you are going to do it. Fear, doubt and worry can never even enter into your mind. I run the program backwards and then it’s just a matter of showing up and doing everything possible to make it happen. 90% of Success is just showing up. Actually I would rate it at 100% ’cause I have never sold a deal when I didn’t show up. This is where many people get hung up and allow fear, doubt and worry to take over. They come up with excuses on why they can’t do it, or why it won’t work. When I was studying the Kabbalah in Boca Raton, I was told “whatever you resist, THAT is what you need to do.”

Then it’s just a matter of putting your faith in yourself and god. That’s when the magic happens. Those who are atheists can put their faith in themselves and the god of logic. I don’t give a shit. In AA they told me you want god to be the doorknob, god is the doorknob. That was another eye opener. Wait a second…I can believe whatever I want to believe AND my beliefs do not require anyone else to believe as I do…That’s Heavy. When I came to grips with that one, it was like a heavy weight was loaded off my shoulders. You can use it too, if you like it. At least it works for me, and right now, this is my movie, not urs. The faith thing is what does it for me. I believe in Destiny, which happens to be my daughter’s name, ‘Destinee’. What works best for me, is the 23rd Psalm. I have it taped to my steering wheel. I read it several times a day. I do not profess to be a Christian, I prefer born again PAGAN.

Psalm 23 The LORD Is My Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOR EVER.

Well, the week before Libertopia, I had a major epiphany: Forever is a long time right? Forever extends into infinity into the future and it also extends the same way in the PAST! That being the case, I am IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD RIGHT NOW!… Baby! So many digressions so little time, and pixels too, lol! The other one is shall, is the strongest word in law. Like thou SHALL not Kill. Ten Commandments shit. Some guy asked me a few months back, when I was at the Arizona Freedom Fest, if I was “Saved by Jesus” I told him “the LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. Tell me what more I need to know.” Shut his ass up. That’s because it is IMPOSSIBLE to want ’cause “I SHALL NOT WANT”, maybe I am just crazy.

After having the most awesome time at Libertopia and meeting all the super strong’s people there. I was giddy1DMGuMppvRjg21jj3Eo7TYmwWvuY1Dsyh4 to have all the fantastic conversations with everyone, and you know who you are. I also had the extreme pleasure of having dinner with Mike Badnarik, Foster Gamble, Clyde Cleveland, Bob Podolsky, Bernard von NotHaus, Gaia, Mercury and Keith, not once, but TWICE. What a coup d’etat to have all these heavy weights endorsing the Titania Project! I had the extreme pleasure to introduce Clyde Cleveland, Michael Badnarik, Foster Gamble and Bob Podolsky for a panel discussion on the Titania Project. It was just plain crazy! Like Straight Up and Down! The video will be out soon. I hope you will sign up on the site and I give you permission to add the alt names on the pictures. If there is a picture that you would like or one you want me to delete, email me at M-o-r-p-h-e-u-s@titanians>.<org (no dashes). I will get it to you in higher resolution and without my watermark in it. I do take donations in BITCOIN 1DMGuMppvRjg21jj3Eo7TYmwWvuY1Dsyh4

So get out there and rock,and Roll the Bones…Get Busy!

Mercury Libertopia sunset Mercury Libertopia sunset Mercury Libertopia sunset Arizona California Mercury Libertopia sunset Arizona California IMG_9537 IMG_9536 Morpheus Cronus the oracle Sunset Libertopia California Arizona IMG_9534 IMG_9533 IMG_9532 IMG_9531 IMG_9530 IMG_9523 IMG_9524 IMG_9525 IMG_9526 IMG_9527 IMG_9528 IMG_9529 IMG_9522 IMG_9521 IMG_9520 IMG_9519 IMG_9518 IMG_9517 IMG_9515 IMG_9514 IMG_9513 IMG_9512 IMG_9511 IMG_9509 IMG_9502 IMG_9503 IMG_9504 IMG_9505 IMG_9506 IMG_9507 IMG_9508 IMG_9501 IMG_9500 IMG_9499 IMG_9498 IMG_9497 IMG_9496 IMG_9495 IMG_9488 IMG_9489 IMG_9490 IMG_9491 IMG_9492 IMG_9493 IMG_9494 IMG_9487 IMG_9486 IMG_9485 IMG_9484 IMG_9483 IMG_9482 IMG_9481 IMG_9474 IMG_9475 IMG_9476 IMG_9477 IMG_9478 IMG_9479 IMG_9480 IMG_9473 IMG_9472 IMG_9471 IMG_9470 IMG_9469 IMG_9468 IMG_9467 IMG_9466 IMG_9465 IMG_9464 IMG_9463 IMG_9462 IMG_9461 IMG_9460 IMG_9459 IMG_9458 IMG_9457 IMG_9456 IMG_9455 IMG_9454 IMG_9453 IMG_9452 IMG_9451 IMG_9450 IMG_9449 IMG_9448 IMG_9447 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Aug 232013
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HISTORIC MEETING OF THE MINDS

San Diego, California, August 30th to September the 2nd –4th annual Libertopia Fest 2013 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel, located 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. Libertopia is a voluntary community, based on principles of Freedom, Peace, Honor, Responsibility, Respect and Spontaneous Order. Libertopia is a unique event that features an environment of actually living the freedom philosophy in ones daily life.

In conjunction with the spirit of Libertopia, of living the life you have always wanted, are 4 major freedom activists, who will be communicating the benefits of the Titania Project:

Foster Gamble, creator of the inspiring movie, Thrive and leader of the Thrive Movement – one of the most innovative strategies aimed at worldwide peace and prosperity,

Clyde Cleveland, author of Common Sense Revisited and Restoring the Heart of America, co-founder of the County Sheriff Project, and lifelong libertarian educator and activist – with a unique perspective on the role of politics in human history,

Michael Badnarik, author of Good to Be King and Secret to Sovereignty, Libertarian candidate for President in 2004, a renowned expert on constitutional law and individual sovereignty.  Michael knows intimately the obstacles to substantive change faced by today’s freedom activists.

Bob Podolsky, physicist / systems analyst, master psychotherapist, visionary and author of seven books on ethics law and government. Bob brings a SOLUTION based strategy for self-governance AND self awareness…Without Government! With 20 years of scientific research spanning 2,500 years of historical evidence.

Of the many excellent participants slated to appear at this year’s event, the four above are embracing a new approach to solving the problems created by our coercive institutions (BORG). They will also present evidence that this integrated approach is optimal for maximizing the probability of the movement’s success.

Humanity’s BIG PROBLEM is simply our societal institutions consistently making unethical decisions. All the other problems our species faces are simply symptoms of this one pivotal challenge. To cure the symptoms of war, hunger, poverty, financial slavery, police brutality, government corruption, the war on drugs, GMO foods, chemtrail deployments, gun confiscation, asset forfeiture, media collusion – or any other manifestation of treasonous violence inflicted on the public under color of law, we need only create ethical institutions.

Come to Libertopia to learn what some of the brightest minds in the freedom movement are doing to bring this about.

Start taking effective action to establish an ethical, creative, loving, grassroots-based culture that leads directly to a world of peace and prosperity. The answers you’ve been looking for are available NOW. Stop wasting time hacking at the branches of the tree of tyranny and start attacking tyranny at the root, where it really counts. See you at Libertopia! Roll the Bones!

WE WILL HAVE SPECIFICS ON THE TIME AND PLACE FOR BREAKOUT MEETING AT “COMMON SENSE REVISITED” BOOTH

 

Jul 212013
 

The Entertainment Industrial Complex (EIC) a division of the Lame Stream Media (LSM) has in the past been successful at keeping the musical artistry of Jordan Page, the world’s leading activist/guitarist who sings about freedom and liberty, out of the mainstream.

I  made a decision to change this!  That’s where it all starts. With a simple decision. With that decision, and the end in mind its just a matter of backing it out.  How do I help my brother Jordan Page get the money?  Real simple I’ve got to SELL SOMETHING!

Ok, so “Morpheus”, I ask myself, “what do i have to sell?”  People who know me would say I could sell Ice to an Eskimo!  LOL.   Ok I have 2 CD’s by Jordan Page and I know where I can get CD duplications services at activist pricing.  I head to Fry’s Electronics, pick up CD’s, jackets and labels. Then it’s Burn Baby Burn (Burn the Mother Down). So I made 100 of each CD.  Quick multiplication says, I need to get 10 buck-buck-bucks from those that either know Jordan kicks ass all over, those that think that Jordan is good and have not really “Listened” to him.  Finally we have those who have never even heard of Jordan Page.  The 2 second groups are really one group, because that haven’t heard him.  Why is that?  Because Jordan is not on the list of people who get to be heard by  the Main Stream audience.  Sounds familiar? Sure sounds like the Ron Paul Revolution.  How does that go? history doesn’t repeat itself, it just rhymes a lot!

The gigantic OMG difference between the two is Jordan Page is:

  • a better performer than Ron Paul.
  • sings way better Ron Paul.
  • play guitar better than Ron Paul.
  • looks  better than Ron Paul
  • is Younger than Ron Paul.
  • And what’s more, Jordan doesn’t have an end date – like an election that will terminate the “revolution”.

I know from past projects, which have been successful, largely thanks to all my Super Hero Friends (and you know who you are), it’s all a matter of thinking backwards.  OK. Jordan Page kicks ass, and has the material to create a new CD.  I have been listening to Jordan Page play music live and recording and HE GETS BETTER EVERY SINGLE TIME!

So, I encourage you to send me $10.00, and in return I will send you a Jordan Page CD. Or, better yet, buy a bunch and resell them to get the word out about this amazingly talented activist!

  • Jordan needs $4,000 for studio time to make his next CD. And we want to give him all  the support we can.
  • Visit Jordan’s website to learn more about his music and his message.
  • Please address PayPal payments to: freetitanians@yahoo.com with a memo that says “Jordan”.
  • Please address BitCoin payments to 1HsxEaawHEf2nAcNnqWe2EccMqpDvE4Uik
  • Then contact Cronus#*@*#titanians.org with your address so you can get the CD of your choice.
  • And be sure to listen to “Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock” 7/22 – 6 to 9 am MST. Morpheus co-hosting the will be sitting in for Ernie for an all Jordan Page musical extravaganza.

 More to come SOON!

Jun 142013
 

Encrypted e-mail: How much annoyance will you tolerate to keep the NSA away?

How to to encrypt e-mail, and why most don’t bother.

by – June 14 2013, 6:00am USMST

Aurich Lawson

In an age of smartphones and social networking, e-mail may strike many as quaint. But it remains the vehicle that millions of people use every day to send racy love letters, confidential business plans, and other communications both sender and receiver want to keep private. Following last week’s revelations of a secret program that gives the National Security Agency (NSA) access to some e-mails sent over Gmail, Hotmail, and other services—and years after it emerged that the NSA had gained access to full fiber-optic taps of raw Internet traffic—you may be wondering what you can do to keep your messages under wraps.

The answer is public key encryption, and we’ll show you how to use it.

The uses of asymmetry

The full extent of the cooperation between the NSA and various technology companies is unclear. It will probably remain that way for the foreseeable future. For the time being, however, it seems likely that the standard cryptographic tools used to secure data “in flight”—that is to say, the SSL that protects data traveling between machines on the Internet—remain secure as long as certain best practices are used.

That protects against some threats, such as wholesale monitoring of Internet traffic of the kind the NSA is known to engage in, but it doesn’t do anything to protect data that’s “at rest.” That is to say, SSL doesn’t do anything to prevent a company like Google or Microsoft from handing over an archive of your e-mail in response to a court order. The e-mails are just lying around on some Google server somewhere.

If you don’t want a government, service provider, employer, or unauthorized party to have access to your mail at rest, you need to encrypt the mail itself. But most encryption algorithms are symmetric, meaning that the encryption key serves a dual purpose: it both encrypts and decrypts. As such, people encrypting mail with a symmetric key would be able to decrypt other mail that used the same symmetric key. While this would protect against anyone without the key, it wouldn’t be very useful as an encrypted e-mail system.

The solution to this is asymmetric cryptography. In asymmetric encryption there are two opposite keys, and a message encrypted with one key can only be decrypted with the other. The two keys are known as a private key, which as the name might suggest is kept private, and a public key, which is broadcast to the world. Each time you want to send an e-mail to someone, you encrypt it with the recipient’s public key.

Asymmetric encryption is also used to perform mail signing. For this, the mail sender encrypts a hash, or mathematical fingerprint, of their file, producing a signature. Hashes are designed so that any small change to the message’s text will produce a different hash value. Anyone reading the mail can then decrypt the signature using the sender’s public key, giving them the original hash value. They can then compute the hash value of the mail they received and compare the two. If the values are the same, the message hasn’t been modified. If they’re not, it has—and we’ll see the uses of this later on.

Making things even more complex, having encryption support isn’t itself enough. To a great extent, you don’t control the things that are in your own inbox. That’s all mail that someone else has sent you. If you want your inbox to contain encrypted mail that only you can read, you need to be sure that people sending you mail are encrypting that mail when they send it. And if you want to be sure that everything in your sent mail folder is encrypted, you’ll need to send other people encrypted mail.

As a result, e-mail encryption is not something you can impose unilaterally. To protect the contents of your account, you need to ensure that everyone you communicate with is in a position to handle encrypted mail—and is willing to use that ability.

Finally, e-mail encryption doesn’t encrypt everything. Certain metadata—including e-mail addresses of both sender and recipient, time and date of sending, and the e-mail’s subject line—is unencrypted. Only the body of the mail (and any attachments) gets protected.

If you’re happy with these constraints, e-mail encryption is for you. Unfortunately, it can be complicated to use.

Cutting through the complexity

Few e-mail programs have PGP encryption features enabled by default. And even if they do, end users must still navigate a series of mazes that are long and confusing. Tasks include generating the key pair that will lock and unlock the communications and storing the private key in a location where no one else can get it. It also requires securely sharing a public key with every single person who wants to send you a private e-mail and securely getting a unique public key from each person you want to send encrypted e-mail to. No wonder most people—reportedly including Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who exposed aspects of the secret NSA dragnet—need time getting up to speed.

Fortunately, free e-mail encryption programs are available for all major operating systems, and the ability to use them effectively isn’t out of the grasp of average computer users if they know where to look. What follows is a set of step-by-step instructions for using GnuPG, the open-source implementation of the PGP encryption suite, to send and receive encrypted e-mails on machines running Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

After that, we’ll show readers how to use a similar crypto standard called S/MIME, which may prove simpler to deploy because it is already built into many desktop and mobile e-mail clients, including Outlook and Thunderbird. (Interested in S/MIME? Skip directly to page three.)

Linux will be touched on only briefly because much of the functionality is already included in various distributions and because many Linux users already have PGP down cold. (Users are invited to provide Linux instructions and screenshots in the comments following this article.)

PGP on Windows

The basic element you’ll need to encrypt mail is software to generate and manage your key pair and make them work with whatever e-mail program you happen to use. On Windows, there’s no shortage of proprietary apps that will do both, with Symantec’s PGP Desktop E-mail being perhaps the best known. There’s nothing wrong with this offering, but it’s almost $200 for a single-user license. This tutorial will instead focus on the open-source Gnu Privacy Guard, which is available for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

GnuPG, or simply GPG, is still available mostly as a command-line tool, meaning there’s no graphical interface many end users would feel more comfortable using. Rather than learn a long list of GPG commands, many e-mail users are better off installing graphical implementation of GPG. On Windows, Gpg4win will give you everything you need to generate strongly encrypted messages that can be sent and later decrypted by the intended receiver using standard e-mail programs.

Enlarge / Download Gpg4win 2.1.1

At time of writing, the most recent version of Gpg4win is 2.1.1 and it’s available here. After downloading such a sensitive piece of software you’ll want to confirm the installer hasn’t been tampered with and truly came from Gpg4win rather than a site masquerading as gpg4win.org. To do that, we’ll need to check the SHA1 checksum for the downloaded file and make sure it matches the hash—a94b292c8944576e06fe8c697d5bb94e365cae25—listed on the Gpg4win download page. For those who prefer a graphical interface, use HashCalc. Install HashCalc and then open the program. In the “data” box, navigate to the folder where the downloaded gpg4win-2.1.1.exe file is located. In our case, since the SHA1 hash calculated by HashCalc matches the SHA1 digest provided on the Gpg4win download page, we have a high degree of confidence the file we’re about to install is genuine.

For readers who prefer command lines, Microsoft’s File Checksum Integrity Verifier may be a better way to check the SHA1 hashes. You’ll need to download and extract the FCIV package and follow the instructions in the readme text file, including making sure the folder containing the FCIV executable file has been added to the system path of Windows. With that out of the way, open a Windows command window and navigate to the folder containing the Gpg4win installer.

Once you’re sure you have the real gpg4win-2.1.1.exe, double-click on the file and click Yes to the User Access Control dialogue. When presented with the Gpg4win installation welcome screen, click Next, and then click Next at the following window to accept the Gpg4win license agreement. The next screen will allow you to choose the precise GPG components you want to install. Make sure you install all available components, including GPA, which is short for the GNU Privacy Assistant. Click Next at the Choose Components screen and again at the Destination and Install Options screens.

The Choose Components screen displayed during the Gpg4win installation.

At the Install Options screen, makes sure the “start menu” box is checked, click Next, and at the next window click Install. We won’t be using S/MIME for now, so if you see any screens referring to Trustable Root Certificates, you can click the box to skip configuration and click Next. The installation is now complete.

When you click on your Start menu and choose All Programs, you should now see a Gpg4win folder. Highlight it and choose GPA. This is the GNU Privacy Assistant. We’ll use it to generate our key pair, and later we’ll use it to store the public keys of people who will receive our encrypted messages. The first time you open GPA, you’ll see a screen asking if you want to generate a private key. That’s exactly what we want to do, so click “Generate key now.”

The Generate Key Now dialog presented by GPA.

In the screens that follow, enter your name and e-mail address. When asked if you want to back up your key, choose “Do it later.” It’s not that this step isn’t important, but we’ll want to back up the key only after we’re satisfied that we’ve done everything correctly. Next, you’ll need to choose a passphrase to protect your key. Your passphrase is like the password protecting an e-mail or Web account. Except rather than preventing an unauthorized person from accessing your account, it prevents the person from using your private key should it ever be lost or stolen. In other words, the password is extremely sensitive. It should have a minimum of nine characters, but 18, 27, or even 36 characters are even better. For more tips on generating a strong password, see Ars Senior Reporter Jon Brodkin’s discussion of master passwords here. When you’re finished, you’ll have generated your first key pair: the public key you will share with other people so they can send encrypted messages that only you can read, and the private key you’ll use to decrypt those messages.

While generating your key, be sure to set an expiration date, rather than allowing it to remain valid forever. This way, keys that new users abandon, lose or never end up using won’t remain on public servers indefinitely. Remember also to backup your private key somewhere that’s extremely safe. Storing it on a USB stick that’s stored in lock box is one suitable method. You may also want to upload your public key to one or more public key servers. These servers give crypto users a way to make their keys available to others and to fetch other people’s public keys.

Now that we’ve generated our first key pair, let’s import the public key of someone else so we’ll have it later when we’re ready to send them our first encrypted e-mail. For this, get someone to give you their public key, preferably in person. It will look something like this:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32)
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=na8+
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

Take the public key of a real-world contact and save it to a file named something like key.txt. If you don’t have a real-world contact who has a public key, save the above public key to a file and name it key.txt. Now, with GPA open, choose the “Import” icon, navigate to the disk location of key.txt, highlight the file, and click Open. Congratulations. You’ve just imported your first public key. Don’t get too excited just yet. You’ll need to import a public key for each person you want to send encrypted mail to.