Based on the popularity of the blog — JeffsADDMind — and the willingness of its author, known only as “Jeff,” to discuss most any issue that touches on Adult ADHD (and even issues that don’t touch on Adult ADHD), one would be surprised to learn that there is another side of Jeff that is not well known to the public, such as his involvement in the CIA. This part of his life is so well hidden that few know that he still has top security clearance. When there’s a crisis somewhere in the world, it’s not unusual to see Jeff leaving the map room shortly after the president has exited.
My first encounter with Jeff was in 2004, the result of a FOIA lawsuit I filed when I was investigating the CIA’s Delta Team. [note 1] His appearance in the courtroom and some of the declassified documents verified that he was part of this elite team. Though we met as adversaries in the courtroom, I realized later on that I left a significant impression on him. When his book, Take This Gift and Shove It : How Viewing ADHD as a Gift Leads to a Life of Disappoint was first published, he requested that I write the first review. So when my editor asked that I engage Jeff in a series of conversations I was confident that Jeff would meet with me.
Jeff agreed to take part in this series of conversations on the condition that all material could be vetted by him and, if necessary, by the proper channels within the Directorate of Intelligence. I agreed to this since, even if some vital information was censored, nonetheless, it was important to make known any information on this enigmatic figure.
If this is the first time you are reading about my conversations with Jeff, you can read here a synopsis of Parts I, II, & III along with the full transcript from Part IV. For those who may have missed subsequent conversations, I’ve provided a synopsis of Parts V and VI below.
- Peter DeLaVerità, New York
Synopsis of Parts V & VI
Part V: For Jeff, the election of Barack Obama was a potential watershed for our still-evolving democracy. Having cut through the nonsense that passes for political discourse, Obama articulated what so many were thinking. He did not shy away from speaking truth to power until, of course, he got into the White House. Then the intellectual fervor and spark died out. On some level, says Jeff, we’ve been hoodwinked again. Many Bush policies have remained in effect. Yet the recent passage of the health care bill has created seems to have awakened Obama from his political lethargy. The question, Jeff asks, is whether he has the political viagra to keep the pressure on in order to pass other vital legislation and to make sure that it is not eviscerated by the Republicans.
Part VI: During the “Cheney presidency,” as Jeff likes to call it, we were manipulated in the same way that the National Socialists manipulated the German people. There was always an enemy waiting to get in, there was always some piece of information that was so vital that it could not be shared with the public until AFTER the damage was done, or some law that could not be discussed until after it became the law of the land, often through an executive order or a signing statement. The mold for this mini-dictatorship, he notes, was set in the days of Richard Nixon. We should not forget how much he revealed about his true thinking when he said, “When the president does it then it is not illegal.” We saw this during the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra scandal except, here, it was learned that if your actions are wrapped up in the flag and patriotism, the American sheeple will allow you to do almost anything. By the time of the Cheney administration, it became obvious that you could get away with anything (outing a CIA agent; stripping American’s of their rights by calling them an enemy combatant).
Q: I’d like to talk about your idea that you’ve called the fractal theory of social history and structuration. I remember it created quite a stir when you presented it at the First International Conference on Fractal Foundations for 21st Century Architecture and Environmental Design in Madrid in 2004. I believe because it dealt with fractals but was completely unrelated to architecture or the environment, that that in itself made it controversial. So…explain.
A: That was probably one of the best conferences I every attended and, gotta tell you, I can’t tell what I enjoyed more. The food, the conference, the women. I kept eating these sandwiches – Bocata de calamares – and it reminded me of Po’ Boys. But…let’s talk fractals.
Fractals are images that are generated from mathematical formulas that have complex numbers in them, what we used to call in school imaginary numbers. What’s real interesting is the image that you get when you plot the points of the formula. You get this image that’s like an echo of itself. It’s like each piece of it is a sort of miniature version of the larger piece. [Mathematicians call this a self-similar set. - Peter DeLaVerità.] No matter how much closer you look, like when you increase the magnification, you again see a miniature version of the whole. The Sierpinski triangle is a great example of this. What you see is a triangle within a triangle within a triangle ad infinitum. It’s like a an Escher print with an infinite regress. With Mandelbrot’s Fractal you see this beautiful image. When you generate this image with a piece of software and then use that software to zoom in on a section, what you’ll see is a miniature version of the larger whole. Unlike the triangle, each miniature is not an exact duplicate but it is close, sort of like imperfect reflections of a Platonic version of the fractal.
You see examples of this all over nature. Take a good look at a fern and there will seem to be echoes of itself, of shape, within the larger shape.
Q. So how does it relate to social history? Are you saying that there is a mathematical basis behind social history?
A. Nope. Absolutely not. But what I am saying is that ideas, like freedom or capitalism, spread and grow like the way fractals grow. Think of the formula as analogous to the idea of freedom. When you look at the Mandelbrot set you see this large image of “freedom.” But as you zoom in and the scale gets smaller and smaller, you see these “little freedoms” that are imperfect reflections of the larger freedom. That’s really the key of the concept here. The little freedoms are similar to but are not perfect copies of the larger freedom. The freedom that you and I engage in…are those little freedoms.
Now a society has a lot of these “formulas.” For us we call them Freedom, Capitalism, Democracy and so forth. Whoever came up with the idea — the originator of the “formula” — has created the Platonic Form of that idea. Of course, that idea was not created ex nihilo, but the person who created it had crystallized it, formalized it and put it in a package that we could carry around with us in a book or, more importantly and more relevant, in our heads. So the formula is the crystallization, the “secret sauce” that’s at the center of the perfected idea.
You know, I just realized that this is like the basis of the Gremlin’s movie where the first gremlin is perfect and each copy has a slight defect and the defects intensify. Eventually the gremlin’s turn on the original Platonic Gremlin even though they are his offspring. Kind of like the way our freedom in the good ‘ol U. S. of A. is now biting us in the ass or, um…I should say…we’re now getting teabagged. So…anyway…the application of the formula creates little freedoms and little capitalisms and so on, over time and space. Political philosophy is, really, a battle over these foundational formulas since different formulas will form different objects – like different forms of freedom – and so the little freedoms will be qualitatively different from the little freedoms one would get using a different formula. When we get a figure like Ronald Reagan, he changes the formula.
This concept actually melds in nicely with structuration. For Gidden’s you’ve got two things going on here that constitute society. You have the actions of the people, this is like the inner dialogue of daily life, and you have the social structure that sort of sets the boundaries for the actions of the individuals. So the formula is analogous to this social structure, basically determining what the whole thing will look like from a macro-perspective but the things that people do to carry out this formula in their daily life, that’s what happens on the micro-level and that’s analogous to what I called before the “little freedoms.”
Now while formulas can change, you’ve also got the case where formulas don’t completely die out. They exist in various places throughout the country. That’s why some formulas can rapidly change in an urban environment like New York City where you are always finding new ideas, where you have continual small scale changes in social structure which, going back to Giddens, is kind of reflected in the daily activities of individuals as they “create” society. So as they reproduce the formula these small changes alter its instantiation. Then we’ve got the puzzle of people out in some remote area. They follow some formula that the majority has changed a long time ago and we wonder, “What the frak are they talking about? What planet are they from? Wasilla?” But it’s their social structure that allows them to keep that old formula alive, that let’s them reproduce the formula again and again. It let’s them ignore changes to the formula or, at least, not be too heavily influenced by any changes. So they keep harping on guns and Injuns and stuff and we wonder where have [they] been all this time. Well, their formulas haven’t really changed much because their social structure keeps it alive so it gets reproduced again and again.
Jeff received an urgent cell phone call which effectively ended the conversation here. - Peter DeLaVerità, New York