The Real History of Secret Societies [TTC Video]
28 August 2019, 16:40
Course No 8680 | MP4, AVC, 1372 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12h 21m | + PDF Guidebook | 8.0GB
The first rule of this course is you don’t talk about this course. The second rule of this course is YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT THIS COURSE. Welcome to The Real History of Secret Societies, a historical look at the true-life groups which, if you believe the myths, are the unspoken power behind some of the world’s major turning points, from controlling the British crown to holding back the electric car and keeping Martians and Atlantis under wraps.
Prepare yourself. In this course, brought to you in partnership with HISTORY, you will be visiting some of history’s deepest rabbit-holes, across centuries and continents, in search of secret societies in all their varieties. You will journey to some very dark places and, frankly, some odd and sometimes silly ones as well. During 24 eye-opening lectures, Dr. Richard B. Spence, professor of history at the University of Idaho, guides you through the always fascinating, often mystifying—and sometimes disturbing—world of brotherhoods, sisterhoods, orders, cults, and cabals that have influenced human culture from ancient times to the present.
Despite the name, “secret” societies have permeated popular culture and become symbols of wonder, mystique, and rumormongering. Thanks to phenomena like Dan Brown’s best-selling novels, hit movies such as Skull and Bones, or hit songs by Madonna, the idea of secret societies has become utterly mainstream, allowing the general population to think they know about the most important parts of this clandestine underworld.
However, the commonly known groups barely scratch the surface of the number of real-life secret societies that exist. In fact, if one didn’t know better, one might think the popularization of a few groups is a conspiracy, in of itself, to cover up for the many that are never acknowledged…
With help from the archives of HISTORY, Professor Spence leaves no society uncovered, and will open your eyes to the history and evolution of factions you think you know, introducing you to fascinating and illuminating stories and insights. Consider:
- The Illuminati—A group so pervasive in popular culture that their name has become synonymous with any generic conspiratorial group—noted throughout literature in everything from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein to Marvel comic books. There are a variety of global groups which considered themselves Illuminati—or at least affiliated with them—but the Illuminati initially took root with a young lawyer who was obsessed with secrecy, rank and order, and creating a New World Order that echoed the promises of communism.
- The Shriners—Founded by a wealthy New York Freemason, named William Florence, who enlisted a group of well-heeled masons to establish Mecca Temple, the first lodge of the Mystic Shrine. Exclusivity added to the mystique, growing the membership of The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine to hundreds of thousands over time. They adopted a motto of “Fun and Fellowship,” and they are known for wearing red fezzes and seen riding small bikes or cars in parades, though they also founded a number of children’s hospitals.
- The Freemasons—A group known for secret rings and handshakes, subtle symbology, dangerous initiation rituals, and a complicated hierarchy. You’d think with all this secrecy and protection of the group, the last place you’d find them is being parodied on The Simpsons. But the truth is that they are a hard organization to keep hushed up because there has never been just a single school of Freemasonry; many variations exist and they don’t play by the same rules.
Professor Spence also looks at groups who have become so ubiquitous in our history that it’s impossible to think of them as being secret, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Mafia, the IRA, or the Nazi Party. But as Professor Spence explains, these were the groups which began to organize behind closed doors, and their original, secret—or at least exclusive—status was likely an impetus in the group’s successfulness and omnipresence. After all, half the power and draw of a secret society stems from the fact that everyone (secretly) wants to join one.
Myth and Reality
The time period from 1890–1930 is known as a “golden age of fraternalism,” when hundreds of lodges, mystical orders, and fraternal organizations came into existence in the United States. During this time, America accounted for more than half of the world’s Freemasons. And, millions of Americans were affiliated with lesser-known, oath-bound orders such as Odd Fellows, Red Men, Woodmen of the World, Knights of Columbus, B’nai B’rith, Elks, Owls, Eagles, and the Moose.
Some groups were organized to promote fellowship, mutual aid, or political and social causes during a trying time for the U.S. economy. Other groups took advantage of desperate times to turn groups of humans against each other, encouraging supremacy or separatism. Still, others simply came into existence for solely self-serving reasons and were not considered legitimate, yet their stories and reputations endure. Consider these groups:
- U. S. Secret and Civil Service Society, Self-Supporting Branch—Founded by Arthur Rochford Manby to “combat nameless evils that regular authorities couldn’t, or wouldn’t, handle.” This society was a cover for Manby to receive money, deeds, and mortgages from his followers in order to partake in bootlegging, extortion, fraud, robbery, and murder for hire. It also solidified the secret society mantra of “join or die,” as Manby preyed on well-to-do citizens and then showed the new initiates how broken oaths of silence or obedience would result in a beheading.
- The Learned Elders of Zion—A super-secret group of Jewish leaders purported to be bent on world domination through subverting the morals of non-Jews and by taking control of the press and the economy. Henry Ford fueled the fire of the Elders by paying for 500,000 copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be printed and distributed in the United States in a fit of anti-Semitism. This guide was also taught by German school teachers after the Nazi’s came to power. The real history? This group never existed and the Protocols were a hoax.
- The Priory of Sion—An uber-secret society claiming to be the restoration of an order dating back to the First Crusade in the 11th century that was created to protect the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The society’s objective was supposedly to restore a descendant as the ruler of a unified Europe. However, it was nothing more than the concoction of a career con man, who had developed a complete pseudo-history that was picked up and repurposed by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci; Victor Hugo; Claude Debussy; and most recently, Dan Brown.
Secret societies, real or not, were often a mirror of their times, in some cases, reflecting exclusionary practices with religious, racist, or classist overtones. In other cases, they could be considered America’s first social welfare system, as many groups established programs to bridge the very divides caused by others.
But as much as these societies echoed the consciousness of America, they were fundamentally un-American. As Professor Spence points out, John F. Kennedy said in 1961: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.”
A Personal Connection to History
Professor Spence opens each lecture with a story—a specific glimpse at another time, another place, and a real person or group who is connected in some way to the secret society being examined. This approach introduces you to these societies from both the inside-out and on a personal level. You’ll also get unprecedented access to images, photographs, and more, provided by HISTORY, which give you a true picture of what these societies looked like and how they were organized.
As you uncover secret and often now-defunct societies from around the world—including Ancient Greece, Japan, Korea, Ireland, Russia, France, Germany, and more—you’ll feel like you are there with them, whispering in underground meeting rooms or conspiring around a table in Bavaria. You’ll get to know the founders, leaders, and famous and influential members associated with these groups. And you’ll follow many of the well-known clandestine conspiracies back to their roots, through their uprising, their unearthing, and into the new secret societies that almost always sprang up to take their place.
Secret societies have attracted some of history’s most brilliant, and some of its most evil, minds. Often demonized by their enemies, many secret societies have become the stuff of myths and conspiracy theories. Why do they exist? And when they are invented or imagined, why would someone pretend they exist? What do secret societies believe? Who do they recruit? Most important, what influence do they have? Buckle up and get ready to find out.
How to Write Best-Selling Fiction [TTC Video]
15 August 2019, 00:57
Course No 2533 | MP4, AVC, 2564 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 126 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 14.29GB
Most people think the way to write a best seller is to have a lot of talent and even more luck. And when you look at the stories behind massively successful breakouts, it certainly does feel that way. Consider that Harry Potter got published because the chairman of Bloomsbury happened to give his eight-year-old daughter the first chapter. There’s no denying that’s a good bit of luck. But underneath the lucky break is the solid foundation for a book that utilizes all the elements of a successful story: a lively plot, relatable characters, and a strong structure. There are scenes that jump off the page, dialogue that makes a reader laugh, and a style that resonates with all audiences. As you will learn, there is a recipe for success, and luck may be the least important ingredient in creating a best seller.
When it comes to solving the mystery of what makes a best-selling novel, no one has cracked the code better than James Scott Bell. A best-selling author himself, winner of the International Thriller Writers Award and the Christy Award for Suspense, plus the author of the number-one best seller for writers, Mr. Bell has been teaching the principles of best-selling fiction for over 20 years, principles that apply to any genre or style.In the 24 lectures of How to Write Best-Selling Fiction, Mr. Bell provides a comprehensive, eye-opening, and illuminating survey of the entire writing process, as well as a full breakdown of how dozens of best-selling authors have implemented these best practices in their own writing. Any aspiring author will gain a wealth of tools that that will not only improve their ability to write, but will also increase their enjoyment of the craft.
Do you have a best seller in you? Mr. Bell believes you do. But tapping into your creativity isn’t always easy. When best-selling authors such as Stephen King, Michael Crichton, or Janet Evanovich deliver success after success, it can appear as if creating worlds where ghost-infested hotels drive people mad is something that some writers can just … do. We all have creativity in us, but sometimes we need help getting in touch with it. Mr. Bell gets you started by offering several fun, challenging, and mind-expanding exercises that help you flex and develop your creative muscle. Grab a pen and give these a try:
- What-If Moments: We all have crazy what-if thoughts that cross our minds from time to time. Likely, most of us simply just laugh them off. Try making the most of what-if moments. The next time you wonder, “What if this plant I’m looking at suddenly started talking to me?”—roll with it. What would it say? Would you talk back or run away? There is a story here.
- Weird Job Situations: Giving people insight into the daily life that only a few select people could provide can be a fascinating read. And putting your characters in jobs with tremendous tension helps keep your reader on edge. What does a day in the life of a bomb disposal technician look like? How does this person deal with facing death on a regular basis? Would she try to find love and start a family? There is a story here.
- Hear the Headlines: But don’t go much further than the headlines. Work with just a limited amount of information and use your imagination to fill in the details. “Scientists Discover New Fish That Walks on Land.” What would that look like? Do you go fishing or hunting? There is a story here.
- The First-Line Game. As Mr. Bell points out throughout the course, the first sentence of a novel is one of the most important. One good line can not only hook your reader into buying the book, it can hook you into a story you never imagined. Experiment with fun, funny, weird, cool, intriguing first lines and see where they take you. “Today I learned you should never travel to Jupiter without an extra pair of underpants.” Who is going to Jupiter? Why underpants? Wait, WHAT? There is a story here.
Don’t get caught up in the realities of our world, the illogic of your ideas, or the fear that someone might laugh. Audiences are eager to suspend their disbelief for a world that captures their imagination. It’s just like Field of Dreams claimed: “If you build it, they will come.” Remember, at some point, Michael Crichton wondered, “What if a mosquito that was stuck in a rock resulted in an amusement park full of real-life dinosaurs? There is a story here…”
LOCK and Key
So, now you’ve got an idea—or a couple dozen. What next?
Mr. Bell demonstrates how famous writers such as Harper Lee, Michael Connelly, Jim Butcher, Margaret Mitchell, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Suzanne Collins, and dozens more apply time-tested best practices to their writing. But even more valuable, he reveals his own secrets and methods for developing page-turning books that readers can’t get enough of.
His helpful LOCK system provides the structure you need to create an engaging story:
L - Lead: Your protagonist can be:
- positive—the hero, someone who embodies moral codes of a community, someone who readers root for;
- negative—does not adhere to the moral code, we root for them to change or to get their just desserts; or an
- anti-hero—has own morals, usually dragged into a community kicking and screaming. You want to bond your reader to your lead by putting them in a terrible situation, a hardship, or inner conflict to evoke sympathy or empathy.
O - Objective: Your lead has a mission: to get something or get away from something.
C - Confrontation: Ramp up engagement by pitting opposition and/or outside forces against the lead accomplishing his or her objective.
K - Knockout: Give your reader a satisfying conclusion that resonates. There are five fundamental endings to best sellers. You will probably recognize them from movies and television shows as well:
- Lead wins, gains objective;
- Lead loses, missing objective;
- Lead loses objective, gains something else of value;
- Lead wins objective, loses something of value; or
- Open/ambiguous ending.
Once you’ve locked in your LOCK, you have the start of a best seller.
The Sense of an Ending
How to Write Best-Selling Fiction is jam-packed with techniques to help bring power to your plot, charisma to your characters, drama to your dialogue, and vitality to your voice. Even for the “pantster” writers—those who reject the planning and plotting approach to writing a book—this course is chock-full of tips for charts, exercises, shortcuts, diagrams, and grids that help you to organize your story, keep your characters unique, and ensure you meet all the fundamental points that a best-selling novel requires. You will walk away with a toolkit of methods to create stories that feel realistic and that resonate with your readers. And no matter what type of writer you are, these insights will take your writing to the next level, with concepts you may not have considered.
For example: the last chapter. Many writers get to that pivotal point and just breathe a sigh of relief as they try to tie up all the loose ends. But as you round the corner of bringing all the pieces together in your ending chapter, Mr. Bell underlines the importance of not underestimating the ending, making sure you have the “Knockout” of the LOCK system. As Mickey Spillane noted, “The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.” Mr. Bell has already provided you with masterful means to get your reader hooked with the first chapter—and potentially the very first line! And now, he reveals five strategies that will help you finish your book in a way that gets your reader craving your next title.
Ahhh, the revising and editing stage of your book. This process is where so many potential writers fall off the rails. Because there is no denying it: It’s hardto find fault in your baby. As Mr. Bell puts it, to be successful you must “write like you’re in love, edit like you’re in charge.”
Revisions are extremely important and take a lot of discipline. Mr. Bell introduces you to the two most important rules of writing and then his own corollary to those rules. Looking at the practices of famous writers such as Robert Crais, Lawrence Block, Dean Koontz, Ridley Pearson, and more, Mr. Bell offers a treasure trove of insights for this important stage.
He gives you suggestions for creating a revision schedule versus revising as you go, and tells you why it’s imperative that you take a cooling-off period before you take a first pass. Discover tricks for helping you to re-read your own work with fresh eyes. Learn shortcuts for marking places you need to come back to so you can read your book straight through. Mr. Bell provides you a valuable list of questions to ask yourself as you read, a list of reminders to check off as you read, and tricks to ensure you are not overusing words or terms. If you consider using outside readers, he also offers a list of questions and points that you can ask them to be aware of so you receive constructive feedback—because your mom will always love your book. He also gives you advice regarding the use of a professional editor. Finally, he offers a wealth of tips about polishing your second draft.
Once your book is done, Mr. Bell doesn’t just leave you on a cliffhanger. He gives you a final series of lectures that cover the pros and cons of using an agent; a breakdown of the query, synopsis, and sample chapter; the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing; and more. After the 24 lectures of How to Write Best-Selling Fiction, you’ll feel empowered to take your finished novel in whichever direction you feel most comfortable with, whether it’s using an agent or self-publishing.
The famous writer Somerset Maugham once said, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” And maybe no one knows the “rules,” but there are writing techniques, practices, and fundamentals that writers have used for decades to become best-selling authors. And as Picasso proved, once you master those fundamentals, you can then create your own rules. With How to Write Best-Selling Fiction, you get an intimate introduction to the fundamentals of how to write your best seller, from a best-selling author who has mastered the secrets to success.
Now get writing.
Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity [TTC Video]
11 August 2019, 17:51
Course No 9042 | MP4, AVC, 1370 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x32 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.11GB
Author and motivational speaker Regina Brett once said, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.” But now consider this alternative: What if you could drop your problems into that pile … and just walk away. Would your life actually be better off?
Recent research shows that we grow into our best and most joyful selves not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. Our problems are an important part of our path.
Resilience is our ability to physically, emotionally, and mentally bounce back from adverse circumstances. Without it, we would be down for the count every time we ran into a problem. Stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? It’s your resilience that allows you to make the necessary phone calls and keep moving forward, confident that you can handle this stressful situation as it evolves. Without it, you’d make a U-turn and give up. Recovering from the flu or recent surgery? It’s your resilience that helps you take care of yourself appropriately and look forward to a better future. Our capacity to thrive in life depends directly on our resilience.
Sharing her own fascinating journey, as well as the latest research by neurologists and psychologists, trauma specialist Molly Birkholm shows us how to gauge our current level of resilience and improve from there. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how all of our challenges—from everyday stresses to life-altering traumas—can bring wisdom and growth. In 17 fascinating classes and 7 “hands-on” practice sessions, you’ll learn about and experience the process of building the inner calm and clarity of mind that create greater resilience. With Ms. Birkholm’s warm and optimistic demeanor, you’ll feel her encouragement every step of the way as you move toward building your best and most fulfilling life.
Why Do You Need Resilience?
What you may not realize is that you are already resilient! As you read this now, you’ve made it through 100 percent of the most difficult days of your life so far—some of which were extremely challenging. You’ve accomplished that great feat because you inherited a brain and nervous system that evolved an internal resilience in response to stress, you have followed cultural norms that support resilience, and you have actively chosen to dig down to your own inner resources. The great news is that you can proactively improve your resilience to better face any adversity ahead. In fact, we know more about how we can boost our resilience now than we ever have before.
In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you will learn how to use and strengthen each of the eight themes of resilience, such as:
- Your core values and purpose: the fundamental principles you base your life on and turn to for strength;
- Finding meaning in adversity: moving from a victim mentality to a new paradigm of post-traumatic growth;
- Equanimity: keeping your mind calm, even during challenging situations;
- Self-care: maintaining your energy reserves by taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs;
- Healthy coping skills: building your personal bank of coping skills such as humor, gratitude, deep breathing, good friends;
- Positive sense of self: learning to build your inner authentic identity;
- Support and connection with others: knowing you have a supportive group of people to connect to whether times are easier or more challenging; and
- A proactive worldview: knowing you always have the power to choose how to respond to events around you.
Each of these themes can be developed and incorporated into your everyday life, so you are better prepared to face any challenge, whether it is a stressful day at work or something more unexpected.
Experiencing and Expanding Your Own Inner Resources
In this course, you’ll not only learn about the components and importance of resilience, but you will also work hands-on to increase your own resilience with several classes devoted exclusively to guided practices, including:
- Active and relaxing yoga poses to help you more clearly observe sensations of tension and release in your physical body, your feelings, and beliefs;
- Yoga nidra to find safety deep within yourself;
- Breath work to use your breath to calm your mind;
- Techniques to promote sleep to maintain a healthy body and mind;
- Mindfulness to observe the experience of your entire body and mind exactly as they are, without judgment; and
- Evoking the relaxation response to trigger your body’s built-in relaxation response through the parasympathetic nervous system.
Much like the themes of resilience, these practices will act as tools you can take with you into the world. As you will see, the more you practice and make these exercises part of your life, the easier it will be to call them up when you need them most.
Claiming Your Own Hero’s Journey
Have you ever thought of yourself as a hero? You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest or rescue a baby from a burning building to be a hero. Each of us is already living the hero’s journey as we set out on the unique adventure of our own life—as we face adversity or crisis along the way, struggle to get past those roadblocks, and then move forward as a changed person. Each time we navigate our way through the hero’s journey; we can strengthen our resilience by discovering new vibrancy in life; new sources of wisdom and meaning, and a deeper embodiment of our authentic, true selves. Among the many aspects of the hero’s journey, you’ll learn about:
- The call to adventure: When something happens to make you realize “life as usual” cannot continue;
- Crossing the threshold: To leave behind the familiarity of your former ways and begin something new;
- Tests, Allies, and Enemies: Moving forward as your intuition, faith, strength, and intelligence are all tested and retested; and
- The Road Back: Integrating into your new life the insights you’ve learned on your hero’s journey.
In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, Professor Birkholm shares the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of her own fascinating, life-changing journey as she guides us to find the deeper meaning in our own lives. She tells of her own hero’s journey through trauma and how she came out on the other side with a mission to help others. Whether you’re a trauma survivor or someone who is reaching for a more fulfilling and joyful life, your life will be enriched when you proactively increase your resilience.