“… no man can overleap his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spirit.“
On the 18th of November 1978, cult leader Jim Jones directed his followers to prove their loyalty to him. Systematically, by now rote from numerous drills, 909 men, women, and children, drank a mixture of Valium, chloral hydrate (sedative), potassium cyanide, Phenergan (anti-vomit), and Kool-aid.
While some have concluded the tragedy was a mass suicide, others more accurately refer to it as the Jonestown Massacre. The phrase “drink the Kool-aid” originates from the successful coercive persuasion by Jones.
“Jones often mentioned chronic insomnia; he would often say he went for three or four days without any rest.”
“He was very charismatic and attracted people who were feeling vulnerable or disenfranchised for whatever reason.”
“Unlike many other figures who are considered cult leaders, Jones enjoyed public support and contact with some of the highest level politicians in the United States.”
“The subsequent adulation of Jones by his supporters made Jones increasingly narcissistic.”
“… His [Jones] deep-seated persecution complex, paranoia and megalomania grew steadily worse over the months. … ever-longer and ever more incoherent ranting sessions over the PA or to his followers … and a growth in complexity of the conspiracy theory Jones fostered about the [Peoples] Temple’s opponents in the USA.”
“In September 1978, [Jones attorney, Mark] Lane spoke to the residents of Jonestown, providing support for Jones’ theories and comparing him to Martin Luther King, Jr. Lane then held press conferences stating that ‘none of the charges’ against the Temple ‘are accurate or true’ and that there was a ‘massive conspiracy’ against the Temple by ‘intelligence organizations,’ naming the CIA, the FBI, and even the U.S. Post Office. Though Lane represented himself as a disinterested party, Jones was actually paying him $6,000 per month to generate such theories.“
“… Jones…set up a false sniper attack upon himself …”
“On October 2, 1978, Soviet dignitary Feodor Timofeyev visited Jonestown for two days and gave a speech. Jones stated before the speech, ‘For many years, we have let our sympathies be quite publicly known, that the United States government was not our mother, but that the Soviet Union was our spiritual motherland.'”
A Zeitgeist “is the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time.” A zeitgeist leader is one whose behavioral traits happen to serve the contemporary social circumstances.
In other words, Jim Jones was created by his era. Jones intuited the muted and impotent minority in 1960’s culture and exploited their feelings of powerlessness. He offered them a leader. A lone savior. Although only 1,000 disciples relocated to Guyana at the Jonestown commune, Jones’ church, Peoples Temple, by some estimates grew to 20,000 congregants.
“Prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the tragedy at Jonestown marked the single largest loss of U.S. civilian lives in a non-natural disaster.”
Below the Fold
Yesterday Time released “The 25 Best Inventions of 2016.” Two or three from the list are futuristic, while some are insanely priced, but a few are an amazing use of the brain God gave us.
- A Sleeker, Smarter Toothbrush – First, who isn’t brushing their teeth at least twice a day? That’s just gross, people! Anyway, so two guys got together to help motivate the “slackers” to clean their mouths. Quip ($25) is a slim, battery-operated toothbrush with the usual bells and whistles of an electric brush, but techy looking.
- Dishes That Work Around Cognitive Decline – For anyone who has had the opportunity to love a person who has Alzheimer’s, you understand their difficulty with hand dexterity. A granddaughter’s wish to minimize their frustration while sharing a meal evolved into Eatwell Assistive Tableware ($60+). The place settings are bright colors “to help people distinguish their plates from their food and putting suction bases on the cups to prevent spills.”
- The Artificial Pancreas – MiniMed 670G is a device developed to help people with Type 1 diabetes “spend less time managing their disease and more time enjoying life.” MiniMed is an i-POD size device that automatically checks blood sugar level every 5 minutes and administers insulin as required. It will be available in 2017.
- A Prosthesis That’s Built To Play – Out with practical and in with cool! Inspector Gadget-like to the rescue. IKO is a prosthetic arm with Lego-compatible attachments. The goal is to “destigmatize disability” and give a child who has lost a limb the chance to do something he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do – level the playing field.
- The All-Purpose Shelter – The IKEA Foundation, IKEA’s humanitarian branch, believes “It’s not just up to governments and aid agencies [to assist in the refugee crisis]. Businesses also have a responsibility to respond in their own way.” Better Shelter was developed to act as temporary housing with door locks and solar panels. It folds flat for easy shipping and can be ready to use in just 4 hours. The shelters have been useful as hospitals, reception areas, early-childhood centers, and more.
Today is Celebrate Mickey Mouses’ Birthday Day. On November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse premiered with girlfriend Minnie in an animated short film called Steamboat Willie. The cartoon was notable in that it was the “first cartoon to feature a fully post-produced soundtrack.” A year later Mickey had his very own club, and the rest is history…
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