FAQ On Countering Narcissism.

How does publishing these articles counter narcissism?

Hopefully in two ways— practicing radical honesty about one’s experiences and normalizing conversations about narcissistic behavior.

Our culture places so much self worth on being right, correct, or “realistic,” there isn’t a whole lot of regard to connecting fully and honestly with what you think and feel. Many become traumatized and quite disassociated with our reality as a result. It’s tempting to tell yourself what you think and feel after it has been filtered through what you believe is respectable or advantageous in society. This codes in cognitive dissonance, a double think between what you perceive and what you think you should perceive. Practicing radical honesty could help you break down mental barriers and connect you with where you’re really at in the present moment.

Even though Trump is our President, conversations about narcissistic behavior aren’t normalized yet. Racism, sexism, and transphobia are not treated as secrets by progressively-minded people, but for some reason, narcissism is treated like a secret conversation.

What about the ethics of talking about narcissism?

Racism, sexism, and homophobia are all manifestations of narcissistic behavior. Bigotry is not in the DSM-V, but it’s impacts are real to the mental health of most people. Personally, I disagree with the idea that it’s unethical to talk about narcissistic behavior. The mainstream approach today relies on avoiding Cluster B personalities, but I don’t know if that’s enough to shift our culture. My views on ethics continue to evolve and I look forward hearing others views.

Isn’t everyone at least a little narcissistic?

It’s no secret we live in a culture designed to reinforce narcissistic and codependent behaviors. The more anxious and less self-aware you are, the easier to get you to buy stuff and work silly jobs, right? The goal of countering narcissism isn’t to stamp out every narcissistic behavior, it’s to turn down a dial of intensity and ego-centric delusion towards community-centered empathic listening and mental health practices.

Ok, then what do you suggest is the solution?

Self and mutual awareness! Real, empathic dialogue! If we hold mirrors up to ourselves and recognize our trauma, personal and cultural transformations remain possible. Often people seem to be confused about ideals of, “kindness” or compassion that should be unconditionally extended to others. Trying to push an ideal of universal kindness to everyone isn’t real empathy, at worst it projects positive thoughts where they don’t belong. If you tell yourself to never judge others, you run the risk of disassociating from situations rather than fully face them. Because empathy is about comprehending the lived experience of others, sometimes empathy leads you to compassion, or empathy might horrify you with the suffering and violence going on around us. Sometimes empathy will lead you to standing up to people who will think you’re unkind or even judgmental for confronting them. Just like forgiveness isn’t blind nor proscribed for all situations, and requires real work, there is no simple solution for addressing the incredible harm caused by Cluster-B personality disorders and corresponding behaviors we collectively adopt from that spectrum.

You’re live streaming a lot— isn’t that narcissistic?

Valid question from anyone who asks this. Ultimately, I think recording everything and doing stream of consciousness writing was a trauma response to dealing with the situations I was in. It’s not unusual for targets of narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths to start recording everything as a way of coping with the effects of gaslighting. It’s also not unusual for codependents to have a life phase change where they have to practice being selfish in order to recalibrate personal boundaries. I had to record to trust my perception of reality and detach from my warped and exploitable need to always be, “selfless” to causes greater than myself. At the start I didn’t see it as trauma processing, though.

The factor that crystalized and actually convinced me to try transparentZak had to do with changes in worldview around automation and our increasingly encrypted internet. I genuinely wanted to know, if privacy isn’t possible, how do we live without it? Could someone run a company without privacy? Could people become so focused and prolific, with practice, to work through stream of consciousness, in real time? These are still open questions for me, but a new worldview on automation and privacy knocked on to fully confronting my codependence, then knocking on to a meditation-spectrum mind.

Most on the narcissistic spectrum have a lot of stuff bottled up inside of them, blocked out, and life is a very self-controlled affair. Even just witnessing someone writing stream of consciousness could be very threatening and disorienting— causing a flood of conscience to come through. As I published expressive writing, right away I started noticing a distinct division between the people I know. Some didn’t seem personally threatened by what I was doing and were capable of listening and giving feedback or advice, others remained vague and aggressive. I believe it’s possible to short-circuit narcissistic leaders with stream of consciousness writing and overt dialogue about narcissistic behavior, making counter-narcissistic organizing possible, and opening the door for the next generation of empathic leadership.

In order to live in this world without empathy, you have to wear a mask that covers whats going on inside. Radical transparency fundamentally throws off any ability to craft or put on a mask that tells people something other than reality. In my view, when we fully confront our humanity with transparency, all we can do is open to more and more empathic behavior in ourselves and others.

There’s something you wrote or said in the past that was narcissistic, what about that?

I fully admit how I was codependent for years, and it’s a recovery process. I often look back, like most codependents, and find myself disgusted with things I said, did, even thought. In college I literally had thoughts along the lines of, “I need to be able to lie better, manipulate the system better” because I saw the post powerful people in our society and how they were able to be successful based on their ability to operate without empathy towards others. Even during Jovanka’s campaign, while I really wanted to be an honest political operative, I still idealized becoming, “a machine” of a human— someone who could move through work with precision and strength. These kinds of delusions about the mind and body eventually crashed down. I’m still working on finding what recovery process I fully trust, but I’m done with trying to act like the narcissistic-spectrum groups and individuals I was codependent with.

Where can I learn more about these topics?

The Empathy Trap by Dr. Jane McGregor

I’m tired! Will get back to this.

why I left the richmond progressive alliance

Days after Donald Trump was inaugurated President of the United States I received this email, and it put me on the path of waking up to how I was codependent with people who demonstrate intense narcissistic behavior.

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Soon after moving to California in April 2012, I joined a grassroots group called the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) and became a senior leader/campaign manager in this organization before leaving. The RPA is known as a, "model" in grassroots electoral organizing for defeating the Chevron corporation's multi-million dollar campaigns in our local elections. Between 2012 and 2018, I became a campaign manager and led various efforts-- recruited hundreds of dues paying members, managed Jovanka Beckles' campaign for Assembly District 15, and managed the Measure L-OVE campaign that made Richmond the first new rent control city in 33 years. 

While the RPA puts on a professional public face, behind that face is a deeply toxic internal culture. I realized this toxicity soon after joining the RPA but like many codependents, I felt a strong internal sense of guilt to stay and worked hard in various ways to reform it internally, to get the organization transitioned to young leaders of color. But things never seemed to change, and the people never seemed to change.. I had to realize it’s not just, “human nature.” Cycles of psychological abuse can bring out the worst in us and it can be entirely avoided.

In this Trump era, it is critical for grassroots activists to read up on Cluster B personality disorders to better tell the difference between honest debate among adults, and repetitive, traumatic, reality-defying dynamics that speak to much deeper problems. This article will demonstrate specific examples of these dynamics.

Gayle McLaughlin, founding member of the RPA and former Mayor of Richmond, is trying to flip her Lt. Governor campaign into launching a, "California Progressive Alliance" coordinated by her team. I strongly recommend grassroots groups in California refrain from working with Gayle McLaughlin and her strategists and instead, use the existing Our Revolution model currently being practiced in states like Texas.

This article is going to primarily focus on Juan Reardon and Marilyn Langlois. Juan Reardon was the Campaign Manager for Gayle McLaughlin's 2018 campaign for Lt. Governor in California, he continues to serve as her senior advisor and sits on the RPA Steering Committee. Marilyn Langlois is Gayle McLaughlin's former staffer in the City of Richmond Mayor's Office and also sits on the RPA Steering Committee.

In the case of Juan's message to me above, his mask slipped because the RPA Steering Committee voted to not re-appoint him for the 2017 year. In closed session, several people including myself shared concerns that he is not capable of leading without continuously alienating activists and residents. I forwarded Juan’s message above to a small group, including the RPA, "Co-Coordinators" (Chairs) at the time, Marilyn Langlois and Marcos Banales. Neither of them respond:

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Response from Margaret Jordan, married to Mike Parker, who founded the RPA with Juan and Marilyn:

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This is a good example of how RPA’s founders operated as a cadre, supporting each other’s authority at the expense of the organization overall. Margaret’s re-framing is typical in the organization. She never took action, or responded further.

Appointing Marilyn

Without notice in summer ‘17, Gayle McLaughlin announced resignation from the Richmond City Council to focus on her Lt. Governor campaign. She sent a letter to the Steering Committee naming Marilyn Langlois as her choice to replace her.

Marilyn Langlois is the former Community Advocate (virtual chief of staff) to Gayle McLaughlin when she was Mayor of Richmond. Marilyn is retired, very intelligent, and wealthy enough to have contributed over $200K directly to the RPA and it’s campaigns. She seems like a sweet lady and works hard in the community. She also believes in extreme theories about the 9/11 attacks-- things like a missile, not a plane, hit the Pentagon, even though hundreds of people watched American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. She believes the 14 hijackers are still alive and endorses theorists who claim this. Marilyn has been involved in the 9/11 truther community through sf911truth.org for years, and published a 10th-anniversary essay on the attacks. She is an apologist for the Kim regime in North Korea. Her essays on 9/11 and North Korea are published here:

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2011/09/let-the-sunshine-in-a-911-conflict-analysis/

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/letter-from-the-democratic-peoples-republic-of-north-korea-who-is-the-real-aggressor/

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/snapshots-from-the-democratic-peoples-republic-of-north-korea-part-2/

Studies show the correlation between individual/collective narcissism and belief in conspiracy theories. Marilyn’s, and by extension Gayle’s views as truthers are not as dangerous as the false sense of intellectual superiority they cling onto because of it. If you don't agree with this alternative reality, they do not believe you are sufficiently radicalized to be fully trusted. 

Deconstructing left-wing trutherism as a whole can't be accomplished here, you should do your own research to debunk the way David Ray Griffin and others deliberately ignore and lie about published evidence. There's a phenomenon where otherwise very smart people-- retired academics and intellectuals of all kinds-- turn to hook themselves into extreme conspiracy theories. They hide behind lots of weasel words like, "we should review the facts" but then entertain ideas that have no basis in facts:

Link: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/sf911truth/RiOj9UBBJoo/UYGlL9aQEhsJ

Link: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/sf911truth/RiOj9UBBJoo/UYGlL9aQEhsJ

It is dangerous to allow truthers to take leadership in your grassroots political groups. Because they have a false sense of superiority over you for not believing their theories, they will passive-aggressively marginalize you and others, and only their sympathizers will remain.

Back in 2013 Juan Reardon opposed Marilyn being appointed as spokeswoman because of her views. You'll see this wasn't a factor for him later, in '17 his cadre needed Marilyn's appointment to solidify their influence over the RPA and the Richmond City Council. Juan and Mike Parker were much more closely aligned in 2013:

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While operating as Jovanka’s Campaign Manager from March to November ‘17, I felt compelled to oppose Marilyn’s campaign for appointment to the Richmond City Council. If Jovanka were pressured to vote for Marilyn, it would be the end of her Assembly campaign.

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But I didn’t realize Jovanka Beckles also believes in the theories. Her refusal to raise money to the point of not being able to pay salaries, take policy briefings seriously, and her inability to confront, question, and recant these conspiracy theories were all factors in making me quit as her Campaign Manager for Assembly District 15 in late 2017.

Similar to the Democratic Party, the RPA broke itself by becoming so attached to personal loyalty that moral integrity broke down. Being corporate money-free doesn't work when rich white socialists can cull their candidates to the point of tokenization.

These are some of the responses to my statement about Marilyn’s appointment. It is only a fraction of the internal pressure and delusional behavior going on at RPA before the council vote:

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Marilyn’s response/strategy for questions about her views:

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Brenda accepted this response and recommended her for appointment to the Richmond City Council. She now serves as co-Chair for the RPA.

Gayle McLaughlin held a private meeting with Jovanka Beckles, where she directly threatened to begin criticizing Jovanka’s campaign for AD15 unless she voted for Marilyn. It was clear— Gayle was willing to cannibalize Jovanka’s career for Marilyn. Juan drafted this cryptic email and sent it out under Gayle’s letterhead, as a shot over the bow, “anti-democratic forces”:

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For years I thought these were just privileged white people who were thick in the head about power dynamics. At this point their racism became clear. They pushed on, regardless of how the situation impacted Jovanka and our collective future as a movement. As Jovanka later made up with Gayle and shared the stage with her, pretending nothing happened, I lost the respect I had left and realized I wasted years of life and effort with these people. I waited until after the election so as many people as possible see this as a sincere warning, and not revenge.

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Most of us are familiar with situations where someone trolls you into reacting with anger, and then turning around going, “see? You’re no different, you’re a bully just like me.” This is part of what makes narcissistic abuse unique to other forms of abuse. You’re gaslighted into no longer trusting your interpretation of reality. It eventually makes you break down, snap, otherwise resist, and they turn around and suggest you lack compassion or integrity. To be empathic is to recognize differences between abuse and standing up to abuse.

Enablers in the group operate to support, overlook or apologize for narcissistic-spectrum behavior. Virtually everyone remaining in the RPA core are enablers or worse to a certain degree. Research on trauma bonding could help you prevent these patterns from defining your organization.

This is only a fraction of emails. Hopefully it’s enough to illustrate how this kind of situation could, or already has impacted you. Hopefully those of you still reading at this point take it as a sincere warning. Don’t be me, it might save you a lot of time and heartache.

Thanks and much luck to you,

Zak Wear

Transparent Professionals Lead the Automation Revolution

What if Steve Jobs, or Rupert Murdoch wore a body camera to work every day? How different would things be?

They probably wouldn’t because in their economic paradigm, profit motive drives secrecy. In Soup for Black Jesus, we already visited the trend of a zero marginal cost economy. Increasingly our economic activity will be based on open source hardware and software at low or no marginal cost (profit.)

If economic incentive to maintain trade secrets is diminished, how will the market respond? Today, many are eager for leadership with much more honesty and vulnerability. People are only going to become more anxious about the transition to a world run by artificial intelligence and leaders like Mark Zuckerberg don’t exactly boost confidence.

Instead of blindly putting our faith in people to run billion dollar systems with the power to make or break our lives, and instead of waiting for so-called, “trustless” technologies to be invented, we support a few transparent professionals?

Consider the possibility of training a cohort of business executives, engineers and analysts to run the production of a product or service with full transparency (structured to abide with state and federal laws) to the public. If this were feasible, wouldn’t this company by default be more trustworthy than it’s competitors?

Today thousands of people are live streaming while they work, police officers record every interaction on body cameras, our astronauts have almost every personal metric evaluated. Is it such a stretch to imagine a business publish its work in real time?

Maybe if we had transparent professionals, we could enter times of disruptive change with a deeper connection to our humanity.

transparentZak, One Year Later

One year after starting transparentZak, I feel good and eager to try again. Like any life phase change one goes two steps forward and one step back. Real change takes time.

That said, in one year I feel like a new man. Since December ‘17:

  • Realized my dependence with and left a deeply toxic organization I was part of for 6 years.

  • Quit my daily dependence on cannabis, which functioned to depress and alter my relationship with the world for 5 years.

  • Became someone who meditates.

  • Maintained a supportive and growing relationship with my girlfriend.

I took long periods of resting, not worrying about whether I’m accomplishing anything. This time let me process and settle into living in the present moment. Between April and September I intensively read books about meditation for hours out of the day. As a recovering codependent, it’s ironic that I immediately became attracted to Shambhala International, which is now being exposed in it’s operation as a complex personality cult. It’s tough to study western Buddhism when much of it is built from, or closely associated with Shambhala lineage.

“Life streaming” is already a reality for thousands of people on the internet. I believe there is huge potential for anyone who wants to use life streaming to advance the creation of a product, service or activism. Living with radical transparency to the public has the potential of waking you up, shedding the blockages inside and makes you confront exactly who and what you are in the moment. If anything, I’ve been avoiding doing this more, even though I know I want to.

As when I started transparentZak, my only rules are to be totally honest about what I think, feel and want to do in the moment. The past 6 months of low activity may show I don’t have some pathological attachment to life streaming. As I’ve said before I’m not proud or ashamed of some of the things I wrote or said, they just are. Becoming present with the chaos of one’s mind is the first step to giving up on constant chaotic, anxious thinking and feeling.

Going forward, my goal is to develop software for meditation-based community organizing. Soon you will be able to follow progress on YouTube/Twitch.tv.

Anonymity Risk for Multinational Corporations

Let’s consider two examples of how the encrypted internet could upset the power of multinational corporations.

Choppy

Myanmar is under US trade sanctions for human rights abuses, but US-based anonymous corporations will continue to transact millions in business with the southeast Asian nation. The Burmese are no suckers, though— they look for accountability from their US counterparts.

Through back channels, Burmese business executives spread word in the right places their need for a team to develop and manage an advanced logging and milling system in jungle environments. US-based financial elites respond by appointing a promising business consultant to manage their investment— secretly forming an anonymous, off-the-books subsidiary called Choppy.

Choppy gets straight to work by developing and debugging AI for a series of Chinese-made logging machines. Speed is the key. As the machines test out, Choppy hires hourly workers to operate the machines remotely when the AI malfunctions or encounters tough conditions.

Nobody on the Choppy team are aware of each other’s identity and there is no real proof or connection to it’s true investors. At the same time, investors get to monitor Choppy’s internal progress live, over encrypted data channels.

FoodWave

It’s 2022, and a constant flow of leaks are exposing trade secrets worth billions of dollars. Stealing intellectual property isn’t simple, but anonymous corporations make it much easier.

FoodWave is a fictional anonymous corporation founded by disillusioned engineers in the food and beverage industry. Made up of former employees to Starbucks, Whole Foods/Amazon, Dominoes and other major firms, FoodWave is formed for one simple purpose: extend the power of automating good food to small businesses. They are stealing the intellectual property of their former employers and, with some tweaking, re-selling it to the public.

FoodWave isn’t exactly a philanthropic operation, but it is a reality many traditional companies face during the transition to a zero marginal cost economy.

Raising Capital for Anonymous Corporations

Traditional companies are facing a new competitor in the market for artificial intelligence products. Tucker Click’s BOXXY is a fictional anonymous corporation that develops and sells software on the internet. Because BOXXY runs on a decentralized application, Tucker Click gets to do business without taxes or regulation. This frees him to design and market AI software without liability.

Because Tucker has shown to be a productive CEO, anonymous investors are willing to buy shares in each of his products as he develops them.

Tucker pre-sells crypto currency tokens for the software he is about to develop, like coins for a car wash. But you could buy 500 car wash coins at $0.10 a piece for a service that could be worth $3 per token if and when the software works. These shares are not taxable or traceable, and they are sold on the open market by investors before and after product launches. These tokens are recycled and re-sold as users lease AI licenses. 

When Tucker Click first started BOXXY, he wanted to create an AI to help researchers track ducks around the world. So Tucker set out to invent Duck Tracker v1 by writing a white paper and issued an Initial Currency Offering of Duck Tracker cryptocurrency tokens. Tucker estimates that if Duck Tracker works as advertised, a year after launch, about 100,000 air and water-borne drones around the world will use it every 24 hours. For every 24 hours of operation on Duck Tracker v1, researchers will pay an estimated $10 per day. Tucker raises the capital he needs to write and launch Duck Tracker by creating a pool of 200,000 Duck Tracker license tokens and pre-selling them to investors for $1 each. This raises $200,000 in capital for Tucker to develop the software.

When Duck Tracker is launched, each token can be traded to run the program for a day. It is a value-based peg of 1 token for 1 day of service. If a token is used to lease the Duck Tracker AI for 24 hours, Tucker Click receives the token and may resell it on the open market. It is possible to reconfigure this arrangement to be more favorable to investors, or redistribute a percentage of used tokens back to investors/current token holders.

Tucker Click can further update Duck Tracker to increase the value of the service, thereby increasing token value. If lots of people use Duck Tracker, then it is easy to scale the service to new customers and render a dividend to investors at the same time.

When 50% plus 1 of all Duck Tracker Tokens are being licensed in a given 24 hour period, the value peg doubles. In this example, Duck Tracker v1 launches in May 2024, and in the first week an average of 4,300 drones are running on Duck Tracker every 24 hours, but on October 11th 2024 a total of 100,001 drones use Duck tracker in the same day. At 12:01am UTC on October 12th, the value of 1 Duck Tracker token doubles so one only needs 0.5 tokens to license the software for a day. The ownership of these tokens will not be traceable and as such, not taxable assets.

Instead of having to buy a share of Microsoft to own a share of Microsoft Word software, it is already possible to buy shares of specific software products that are licensed this way as, “utility tokens” online. Alternatively, BOXXY could distribute cryptocurrency (shares) to distribute profit across the entire company.

After a successful launch of Duck Tracker, Tucker Click issued an Initial Currency Offering of 10,000,000 BOXXY shares as ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain network. Only 500,000 BOXXY shares sold, raising $500,000 in capital. No problem, Tucker uses these funds to start two new projects, Drone Carrier and Money Printer. Profits from Drone Carrier and Money Printer are automatically redistributed equally to all 10,000,000 BOXXY shares. Investors get 5% of net earnings, and Tucker keeps 95%.

Anonymous corporations will help bridge the human-ran economy to the robot-ran one. Once high-quality robots are linked to an encrypted internet, the automation revolution will continue to accelerate.

Next article, "A Transparent Work Day at An Anonymous Corporation"

Limited Liability Robots: How Anonymous Corporations Could Disrupt Automation Development

It's Sunday morning, time to build an elevated garden bed in the yard. The lumber, nails and concrete were delivered yesterday, now sitting on a pallet outside. But you're not the one building the garden bed. 

You roll your robot out of the garage. It's a HOME 2026, and it has open source hardware that allows any software developer to create programs for it. Your HOME doesn't know how to build the garden bed, it needs software to be told what to do. 

You log onto Amazon Automatic's marketplace and choose the BOXXY (TM), "Lush Grow Palace" design. You chose this design for its aesthetics and because BOXXY is a highly rated artificial intelligence software publisher. After paying $2.57, your HOME establishes a secure online connection with BOXXY. For the next 24 hours, your HOME will be capable of building 10 by 4 foot Lush Grow Palace elevated garden beds at an estimated average rate of 1 garden bed every 2 hours and 16 minutes.  

The software is downloaded to your HOME in an encrypted, "pilot." This pilot keeps your HOME from keeping a copy of the software, it just gets in and out of the cockpit, taking their skills with them. Once downloaded, the pilot uses your HOME's cameras and sensors to calculate what motor movements should be made to construct the garden box. At no time does your data, like the video on your cameras, get shared with the software publisher. The data and privacy of both parties are protected. When the 24 hour license period expires, the pilot self-destructs.

AI programs will seem free, or extremely cheap to use. Every time a human directs a robot to do something worth value, that value will vastly outpace the apparent cost of paying for licensed software. The advantage of a continually-updated product, one that could get better every 12 hours, is greater than the savings of a one-time fee.

Amazing convenience, right? Tucker Click is the CEO of BOXXY Inc. He is an accomplished lead software developer who designed the first reliable AI to direct air and waterborne robots to catch, tag and track ducks in the wild. 

Tucker Click is an anonymous CEO, and BOXXY is an anonymous corporation.

Because of advances in encryption technology, namely the invention of decentralized applications, it soon be user-friendly to run unregulated companies on the internet. Anonymous corporations and their data will not exist in any centralized place that can be monitored or blocked by Internet Service Providers or government. This allows BOXXY to publicly sell software to anyone with internet access, without being subject to regulation or liability.

By licensing his software anonymously, he can cut costs by completely shielding himself from liability. Customers are willing take the risk of waiving their ability to hold BOXXY liable in exchange for protection from regulation and access to cutting edge technology. Tucker Click is in the business of supporting Limited Liability Robots for users around the world.

Next article, Raising Capital for Anonymous Corporations

Soup for Black Jesus

When discussing automation it’s easy to fall into one of two tropes, utopia or apocalypse. These tropes aren’t going away. Advocates need to learn how to work with the ways people already hope and worry about technology so they can conceptualize how automation is impacting their lives. Let’s experiment with fun, strange, attention-grabbing ways of explaining the automation revolution.

A generation of predominantly black and brown software and hardware engineers are coming up today. They will make a lot of, “miracles” by ordering artificial intelligence to do experiments and make products beyond current comprehension. More miraculous, thousands of them will dedicate their lives to producing goods and services to the public at-cost, through not-for-profit corporations. These Jesus-es are live today, making it through K-12:

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Let’s look at some of the conditions making it possible for us to suggest, figuratively, that Christ has risen again. This, “soup” is made up of the basic ingredients of the automation revolution.

Sharing Economy

Jeremy Rifkin is an economic advisor to the European Union and People’s Republic of China. VICE recently taped Rifkin’s presentation about economic trends going into the next generation. The dialogue is interesting and should be watched.

Zero Marginal Cost (no profit)

Rifkin explains how the decentralized, increasingly automated economy is going to feature near-zero marginal costs. The prevalence of non-profit and not-for-profit business will continue to press down on marginal cost for almost all of our goods and services. When software and machines can do most of the work, it’s hard to profit off of products and services. So, who will do the work of creating the not-for-profit, sharing economy? Black and brown Jesus-es, of course. For a number of them, their motivation will be to develop the automated, not-for-profit sharing economy that Rifkin describes.

Imagine a future where neighborhood teenagers play video games designed to teach them how to build, program and manage automated greenhouses:

Internet of Things


The IoT (Internet of Things) is already transforming our economy. Instead of a marketplace where humans have to negotiate and sign contracts, goods and services will be transacted with increasing degrees of automation. When Jesus-es can connect their urban greenhouses to the IoT, neighbors can order food and have it delivered by land and air drones.

Consider research at Purdue University to train machines on whether a human is feeling trust or distrust towards a situation involving the machine. Tools like this will be used in malicious/manipulative AI, but these kinds of advances also help AI become progressively supportive of humans. This is just one way machine learning is being used to anticipate human behavior today:

Meditation

Consider how people are already controlling these kinds of systems with the thoughts in their head, and feelings in their bodies! Researchers already practice meditation so their mind is focused enough to issue command prompts to robots:

So if a young, passionate, loving black child uses their talent to build machines that break bread, and make enough for everyone, couldn’t we call them Jesus? Moses, maybe? Let’s have fun with this automation revolution. If what I’m saying is true, maybe you can call Rifkin, John the Baptist! ;)

By understanding these basics, you can understand more about the possibilities of transparent living in the AI-centered future.

The future of automation doesn’t have to be in the hands of rich, white men. It can be in all of our hands. Together we can foster the radical sharing economy, the Third Industrial Revolution. It starts with leadership, community, and fearlessness:

Just in good spirit, here’s the iconic verse in King James:

14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Hey Seminary, I Want My Money Back.

My name is Zak Wear, and I attended a seminary called Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) between 2012 and 2014. I made the choice of going to seminary because like a lot of other young people out of college, I was seeking opportunities to grow and center myself as a person.

Instead, I experienced SKSM as a step on the path of waking up to how our culture and institutions support narcissistic behavior. This isn't the educational experience I paid almost $40K for. Looking back, after extensive therapy and reading about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I think I experienced instances of psychological manipulation and abuse that coincide with typical patterns found in narcissistic abuse. Because of this experience I developed a daily addiction to cannabis as a way to get myself to sleep and disconnect from the self-doubt instilled by gaslighting. Now after 4 years, I feel recovered enough from the trauma (and clean of cannabis since April ‘18,) I’m back to speak to this issue.

The Unitarian Universalist (UU) system is blind to the realities of how Narcissistic Personality Disorder, sociopathy and psychopathy (Cluster B) impacts our ministry and communities. Based on how the UU system is designed, it is possible the ministry disproportionately favors personalities on this spectrum, just like any other corporate system. This problem may contribute to the stagnation of UU congregations.

Thus, a protest of Starr King School for the Ministry.

I hope you choose to participate in a rational dialogue about the realities of how NPD, sociopathy and psychopathy impact our daily lives. I realize a lot of people feel a lot of pain reading this. I had to feel my way through a lot of pain before writing it. This may even feel unreal to you, and I don’t fault you for that at all. Becoming ever more self-aware in this crazy, Trumpian world is painful and confusing. I only hope to be the best community organizer I can be in starting this difficult and wide-reaching conversation. In my view, there’s no way to start it without being completely honest.

By protesting my former seminary, I have the following goals:

  1. Offer an opportunity for seminarians and UUs to learn about narcissistic abuse and codependency. If what I'm doing wakes up a few seminarians or lay people to how they are manipulated by narc behaviors in their family, workplaces, at school or places of worship, then great. Other seminaries, like Pacific School of Religion, offer significantly more professional ministerial education at a lower cost.

  2. Offering an opportunity for meditation. Meditation makes one resilient to the often subtle nature of psychological abuse and manipulation.

  3. Organize socially-conscious people to test the possibilities of teaching meditation while practicing counter-narcissistic community organizing. Anyone is welcome to talk with me or meditate with me as I protest outside the school.

  4. Get a refund. I’m tired of paying $473/mo (a gradutated repayment that goes up soon) to service the student loan debt I accrued at SKSM.

It’s possible that I’ll never get a refund, but based on this experience, I think one is owed. Even if you totally disagree with the views I express here, you can help myself and a lot of other people by doing your own research about narcissistic/sociopathic abuse.

By protesting my former seminary, these are NOT my goals:

  1. To convince anyone that Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, Rebecca Parker or Fred Garcia have NPD. In my view they demonstrated deeply narcissistic behaviors, and I’m going to talk frankly about my experience of those behaviors. I trust that reasonable people who learn about NPD will be able to see the unmasking process for themselves and rely on their own awareness, which is the point of this whole exercise.

  2. To be right. I didn’t become a community organizer, I didn’t manage the campaign to make Richmond the first rent control city in 33 years to be right. I do this because our culture is corrupt and this is the best idea I got to push for our culture to change in this respect. If I’m wrong about what I say or do, I want people to be real with me about what they think and feel. Only through open dialogue can we wake each other up.

  3. To make anyone feel threatened in any way. This is a peaceful protest action. While I acknowledge stream of consciousness emails and social media posts can be a shocking thing to read, they are not threats and never were. I think stream of consciousness writing has potential in functioning as a method of protest. It’s possible that stream of consciousness functions to trigger narcissists into exposing their lack of empathic capacity, while empowering the codependent to learn how to reject gaslighting and build real trust in their interpretation of reality. In my experience, people who have empathy and self-awareness are able to reach back without feeling threatened by an honest dialogue about feelings and trauma.

  4. To make narcissists self-aware. I’m not here to play, “logical” debates in the hopes of defeating a narcissist, that never works. That said, I am willing to participate in rational, restorative dialogue about what happened at SKSM.

Why Narcissistic Abuse? Where’s the Evidence?

When normal people have conflicts, they feel free to share their feelings and resolve to do better next time. But the core of narcissistic abuse is centered around the need for the narcissist to covertly or overtly dominate others in order to get supply and power. As healthy people realize how the narcissist is being manipulative or underhanded, the narcissist will find ways to devalue and then discard those people. To dominate them. We see this in workplaces all the time— a narcissistic manager tests you to see if you’ll be a crony for them, but if you hold your boundaries, or speak out against their underhanded behavior, they will start playing games. Eventually the narcissistic manager will pin a mistake on you and hit you like a truck. You almost lose your job, and the games continue. “You’re fired” as Trump grins with glee.

This is not the kind of thing that normal people do, but in my view it happened at SKSM.

In my experience, someone reached out to me with concerns that the Presidential search process was being manipulated by the outgoing President. As a board member I felt a fiduciary responsibility to listen. I chose later to not disclose the source to the school. Hours before Rosemary Bray McNatt’s appointment was announced, I discussed her appointment with the President of the student body at the time and the incoming student board trustee. I felt it was important to have those meetings so we could manage the student body’s emotional state at the time.

For those actions, I received a traumatic storm of threats from people who call themselves ministers. Expulsion, civil litigation, felony charges. The school spent over $50K of our tuition on a management consultant so they could call this violence, “restorative justice.” This is not the kind of thing normal people do.

Rather, I think we saw a distinct pattern of behavior in this situation. That pattern is a complete lack of empathy, a drive for domination over individuals, and a pathological attachment to an alternative reality where one party is completely right, and one party interpretation is completely wrong (gaslighting.) This pattern is often what Cluster B manifests. We fail, culturally-speaking, at the assumption that this pattern of behavior is human nature— it’s not, normal people without Cluster B disorders are trained to think and feel it is just normal conflict, to have blindness to narcissism.

There is no specific evidence that I have about the leaders I’m calling out in this protest. That’s why I, admittedly in a provocative way, challenged them to taking full paper and pencil psychological evaluations by a county healthcare facility. My statements are simply opinions about their patterns of behavior, and I share instances of what that behavior is. I found their behaviors at times callous, calculating and manipulative in ways that normal people, just don’t.

Fred Garcia, our former Board Chair, is an international crisis management consultant who works for major corporations, including major companies in China. Based on reading his books and his behavior at Starr King, in my view his work gaslights the public with false narratives of corporate responsibility. I think he used those talents on UU seminarians, and it directly and needlessly harmed dozens of people.

Background

Because there is already so much content about this story, here is a list of articles reporting events at SKSM. They include source statements from students, faculty and staff. To help control length, I’m going to focus on sharing statements I wrote at the time (never released) with analysis.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/really-happened-starr-king

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/two-sksm-professors-resign

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/sksm-withholds-diplomas

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/sksm-continues-investigation

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/us/inquiry-focuses-on-leaked-documents-at-starr-king-school-for-the-ministry.html

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/sksm-grants-two-degrees

2015 Draft Statement On SKSM

In February 2015 I drafted this statement in consultation with a minister. I never released it, I was too traumatized to continue doing anything about SKSM. Around that time I applied and was accepted to Union Theological Seminary with an average scholarship offer, but didn’t have it in me to continue pursuing ministry.

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I have to roll my eyes with how I used to write. Not that it’s much better now!

I have to roll my eyes with how I used to write. Not that it’s much better now!

On Expulsion

The day Fred Garcia instructed Miakota Taylor to threaten me with expulsion, I went to the shoreline in Richmond and seriously contemplated suicide for the first time in years. Luckily I never felt suicidal since that day, cannabis addiction took over instead. But the fact that Fred Garcia lied to UU World reporter Elaine McArdle about whether an expulsion threat occurred made me feel a deeper level of trauma, silencing depression and anger than I could have anticipated. I regret only speaking with McArdle off the record at the time. I felt that coming out about what happened would diminish my ability to eventually become a minister. I tried drafting a statement with the help of a retired minister, but never recovered enough to properly edit the statement, let alone continue pursuing ministry.

Which Reality? Susan Ritchie and Rebecca Parker

In UU ministry we are taught organizational development theory by an Edmund Friedman. Specifically, Friedman discusses a theory of organizational toxicity he calls, “triangulation.” Triangulation is a technical way of describing when you talk about someone behind their back. Ministers are taught to never triangulate and speak directly with whom you have an issue.

The problem is, if you’re dealing with a narcissistic leader, you’re only exposing yourself to more abusive behavior by confronting them. You’re exposed to gaslighting, losing your job, your career prospects, a complaint to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, any manner of retaliation. The stakes are high and defensive, dominance-centered leaders will say the correct things but ultimately, are incapable of earning real trust. They groom for loyalty, for people who will give narcissistic supply without a lot of problems, and call it trust.

SKSM’s faculty and staff were divided and exhausted by Rebecca Parker’s administration before she abruptly announced retirement in the 2012-13 academic year (an announcement that came shortly after an open letter was being developed for faculty and staff to sign.) Parker, ostensibly with the advice of Fred Garcia at the time, chose to run away from losing face.

Rev. Susan Ritchie was pushing the bandwagon against Parker’s admin and operated as a thought leader on Parker’s exit. Parker in turn recruited Garcia and her tribe to fight for their reality— that there’s an insurrection, and it’s delusional and toxic. These tribes were absolute in fighting for their two separate realities. You could choose one yourself— a black and white where one was opportunistically triangulating against their superior or the other, a President who lacked vulnerability in leadership and fostered a hostile working environment.

Both realities had enough truth to recruit followers. Without an analysis about narcissistic behavior however, the community lacked the intellectual and emotional insight to acknowledge the wider dynamic of lies and manipulation.

Sadhia Arabi reports, “According to Dr. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door, covert manipulators rely on our empathic nature to get us to fall for them. They prey on our sympathy and our compassion, our willingness to give toxic people the benefit of the doubt. That is why wolves in sheep’s clothing get away with their behavior, time and time again.”

I think I was empathy trapped by Ritchie. My biggest mistake was allowing myself to operate as a codependent. With toxic school leadership and further toxic leadership from Ritchie, there were no healthy models for students to learn from. The education I paid for just wasn’t available at the school, so I’m asking for my money back.

These women have decades of experience as ministers under their belts. Instead of putting that experience to good use for the benefit of the community, both covertly triangulated for personal gain and used their respective moralisms to justify themselves and rally support. So students, faculty and staff were put in a divisive bind over which reality, was reality— Ritchie’s or Parker’s. Someone had to get the benefit of the doubt, and both had their own appeals for compassion.

Triangulation theory leads one to assume that choosing neither reality in this situation would somehow diminish the scope or intensity of conflict. By not being involved, one makes themselves an, “Apath” or apathetic to narcissistic/sociopathic transactions as they occur and traumatize other people. You can consider the possibility that both leaders demonstrated narcissistic delusion and formed what Dr. Jane McGregor aptly calls, Sociopathic-Empath-Apath Triads (SEAT) to pull the strings on their respective tribes of codependents in the seminary. For me personally, this theory eliminates the cognitive dissonance created by these two realities and opens one up to realize on a concrete basis how narcissistic abuse can operate on a high level in organized religion.

My involvement in the Presidential search crisis began with Rev. Susan Ritchie’s appeal. Below you’ll see the email chain she and I shared back in 2014. Considering this exchange, we’re left with the question, who is gaslighting in this situation? Is Ritchie gaslighting students, or Parker? Someone lied in such a way to alter my and other’s perception of reality, and in either case, I want my money back.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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Post Script

I want a free mind and heart for you because I didn’t have the opportunity to put the word to the thing I always found puzzling, infuriating, and strange about some people in positions of power and authority.

We live in a culture where covert narcissistic delusion and abuse is not only unseen but supported, and it is important for us as a society to expand our awareness of this issue. 1 in 10 are on spectrum for being narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic, and individuals with such personality disorders covertly and overtly psychologically abuse others for power and domination. Your race, class, religion and education attainment bear no impact on one's odds of living without an empathic conscience. In my view, this problem is a core reason why organized religion continues to decay.

In my view, a number of SKSM faculty and staff demonstrated spectrum of covert and overt narcissistic and co-dependent behaviors before, during and after my attendance at the school.

As was the case with Shambhala International, even the largest, most prestigious buddhist organization in the US is now being exposed by sexual assault survivors for being a complex cult. Narcissists by virtue of their disorder try to engineer the same codependent behaviors involved in cults.

Deprogramming narcissistic abuse is very similar to deprogramming someone from a cult, like Dr. Jeckyll finally letting Hyde out— it’s not pretty, I’ve been there. You could say I’m still on that path. Keeping it real is necessary to letting both sides vanish.

Rather, at this point I feel like the morning plague mortician just rolling through to see who else is keeling over from narcissistic abuse. Thanks again and hope to see you on the path.

Introduction to transparentZak

You might be wondering why some guy is talking about automation, meditation, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This introduction explains how I came to find these four seemingly irrelevant subjects to embody key discussions about social change over the next 40 years. This isn’t about becoming fixated on specific utopian or dystopian fantasy— my motivation exists as an activist to learn how to communicate these issues with compelling illustrations.

My name is Zak Wear and I spent 10 years working between community organizing, going to seminary, and strategic communications research. When Bitcoin hit $10K/unit, I studied encryption technology intensively and made over $100K on investments as a result of that research. What I learned about the future of cryptography and automation shocked me. My worldview completely changed in ways I never anticipated.

Transparency and Automation

“Privacy” as we know it today doesn’t exist. Most of us understand that multinational corporations like Facebook and Google already know almost all there is to know about us. But advances in encryption technology are introducing a paradigm shift in how our lives will be impacted by artificial intelligence. When governments and Internet Service Providers cannot monitor or throttle internet traffic, when AI can further outpace the already stretched regulatory systems we have in place today. We need to give up our pre-existing notions about what, “privacy” even means. We may have to rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) to facilitate a transparency-based way of life to protect democracy and enforce laws. Learn more in the Automation Section.

Understanding the importance of transparency and automation leads to the question, “how do we build trust in leaders who control AI, not just trust in AI systems?” This question led to the idea of, “Transparent Professionals” or people who can be trusted with the power of managing AI systems because their work is fully recorded and accountable to impacted communities. Learn more in, Transparent Professionals Lead the Automation Revolution.

Automation and Meditation

Automation will continue to push reality to exponentially faster rates of change. This trend presents unprecedented challenges to mental health. In short, if you can’t meditate, you will feel too psychologically overwhelmed by the pace of change to fully participate in society.

Transparency and Meditation

The good news is, it’s likely that radical honesty is an important part of realizing a focused, meditative mind. Expressive writing or, “brain dumping” is proving out as a way to reduce cognitive load in patients with worry-based anxiety. Publishing one’s stream of consciousness in writing or video acts to overload top of mind thinking, forcing the mind to develop focus and let go of anxious, discursive thinking. You can’t be anxious about something the world already knows about you. Being completely honest and vulnerable makes one progressively smarter and more present in the moment, faster. Learn more in the article, Can “Lifestreaming” Advance Mental Healthcare?

To model this concept I made the choice to become, “transparentZak,” by publishing stream of consciousness in writing and video. I felt an intense personal calling to just try this, and I fully accepted the possibility of any consequences I could face socially or professionally from being brutally honest in real time.

Automation and Counter Narcissism

Since the beginning of civilization, people with narcissistic, sociopathic and psychopathic personality disorders have demonstrated a pathological drive to manipulate our institutions for power and/or profit. It is too dangerous to allow malignant narcissists the power to wield AI, especially if that power is backed by publicly-traded corporations. Empathy-centered culture is key to a successful transition with AI. Learn more about the potential of using encryption and AI to subvert law in the Automation Section.

Transparency and Counter Narcissism

Transparency ultimately supports empathic behavior and counters regressive, narcissistic behaviors. With Donald Trump as President, it is important to develop awareness about how narcissistic abuse and behavior works. With awareness, all of us can work to counter narcissistic disorder in our communities, workplaces and families. Learn more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the potential of revamping community organizing to counter narcissism in, The Wake Up Kit.

Meditation and Counter Narcissism

As one becomes more present in the moment, the more one can wake up to the often subtle ways one gets manipulated by others. Narcissistic abuse can be a terrifying, exhausting thing to confront. Because narcissists have a pathological need to dominate you and keep you as, “narcissistic supply,” they have an endless reserve of energy to keep gas lighting you into submission. The good news is keeping it real, heals. While your narcissistic boss or father might HATE your transition to keeping it real, and losing you as controllable supply, your honesty brings calm and meditation.