Public Notes

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  • Rafael shared from The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
    In philosophy classes, I often came across the idea that the world is an illusion. I never really knew what that meant, although it sounded deep. But after two decades studying moral psychology, I think I finally get it. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that “man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.”32 That is, the world we live in is not really one made of rocks, trees, and physical objects; it is a world of insults, opportunities, status symbols, betrayals, saints, and sinners. All of these are human creations which, though real in their own way,...
    Note: Boa noite.
  • Rafael shared from El Narco by Ioan Grillo
    La Familia also uses regional pride to rally farmers and small-town hoodlums. They claim to be good Michoacán men who have driven out “foreign” Sinaloans and Zetas and even seen the federales off. In this spirit, the Maddest One made all his troops watch the movie Braveheart. As La Familia gunmen shoot down soldiers, they can feel like Scottish barbarians beating out the bastard English (except La Familia assassins don’t wear kilts). The Godfather trilogy was also compulsory viewing, educating men in loyalty and family values.
  • Rafael shared from El Narco by Ioan Grillo
    Others point to the postmodernist side of Santa Muerte. In many ways, she is an urban pop star. She has spread rapidly by the same media that demonize her, as well as via Web sites, pirate DVDs, printed T-shirts, and tattoos. She answers to the gripes of modern poverty, promising help in everyday struggles rather than in an afterlife.
  • Rafael shared from El Narco by Ioan Grillo
    But as the drug war has escalated, many kingpins have said they don’t care what Catholic cardinals say. If they are not allowed in Rome’s house, they howl back, they will make their own. The most virulent expression of narco religion is by La Familia Cartel in Michoacán. La Familia indoctrinates its followers in its own version of evangelical Christianity mixed with some peasant rebel politics. The gang’s spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno, “El Mas Loco,” or the Maddest One, actually wrote his own bible, which is compulsory reading for the troops. This sounds so nuts I thought it was...
  • Rafael shared from El Narco by Ioan Grillo
    The corpse of arch-gangster Arturo “the Beard” Beltrán Leyva lies below a two-story mausoleum in the Humaya Gardens cemetery on the southern edge of Culiacán. Nearby is the tomb of another powerful mobster, Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, who was shot dead by soldiers in July 2010. Nacho Coronel was said to be close to Chapo Guzmán and fought against Beltrán Leyva. Thus in life, Nacho and the Beard were on opposite sides of the war; but in death they share the same earth. Humaya Gardens has hundreds of other narco tombs in its sun-beaten soil. It is one of the most bizarre cemeteries in the...
Rafael Slonik