Brain Droppings

by Duane Bristow
2015


How to compose a successful critical commentary:

You should attempt to re-express your target's position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, "Thanks, I wish I'd thought of putting it that way.

You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.


Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Money is the root of all evil.

Once some people get a taste of a little power or influence they want to control as many others as possible and amass even more power and influence.

Many of the richest 1% have large egos, are greedy, are addicted to wealth and power which can make them psychopaths, feel that they are superior to others whose only legitimate function is to serve them, are paranoid that others may see that the emperor has no clothes and upset the applecart.


MOYERS: Do you think we can educate ourselves, that any one of us, at any time, can be educated in any subject that strikes our fancy?

ASIMOV: The key words here are "that strikes our fancy." There are some things that simply don't strike my fancy, and I doubt that I can force myself to be educated in them. On the other hand, when there's a subject I'm ferociously interested in, then it is easy for me to learn about it. I take it in gladly and cheerfully ---

[What's exciting is] the actual process of broadening yourself, of knowing there's now a little extra facet of the universe you know about and can think about and can understand. It seems to me that when it's time to die, there would be a certain pleasure in thinking that you had utilized your life well, learned as much as you could, gathered in as much as possible of the universe, and enjoyed it. There's only this one universe and only this one lifetime to try to grasp it. And while it is inconceivable that anyone can grasp more than a tiny portion of it, at least you can do that much. What a tragedy just to pass through and get nothing out of it.

MOYERS: When I learn something new - and it happens every day - I feel a little more at home in this universe, a little more comfortable in the nest. I'm afraid that by the time I begin to feel really at home, it'll all be over.

ASIMOV: I used to worry about that. I said, "I'm gradually managing to cram more and more things into my mind. I've got this beautiful mind, and it's going to die, and it'll all be gone." And then I thought, "No, not in my case. Every idea I've ever had I've written down, and it's all there on paper. I won't be gone. It'll be there.

MOYERS: Is it possible that this passion for learning can be spread to ordinary folks out there? Can we have a revolution in learning?

ASIMOV: Yes, I think not only that we can but that we must. As computers take over more and more of the work that human beings shouldn't be doing in the first place - because it doesn't utilize their brains, it stifles and bores them to death - there's going to be nothing left for human beings to do but the more creative types of endeavor. The only way we can indulge in the more creative types of endeavor is to have brains that aim at that from the start.

You can't take a human being and put him to work at a job that underuses the brain and keep him working at it for decades and decades, and then say, "Well, that job isn't there, go do something more creative." You have beaten the creativity out of him. But if from the start children are educated into appreciating their own creativity, then probably almost all of us can be creative. In the olden days, very few people could read and write. Literacy was a very novel sort of thing, and it was felt that most people just didn't have it in them. But with mass education, it turned out that most people could be taught to read and write. In the same way, once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries, where you can ask any question and be given answers, you can look up something you're interested in knowing, however silly it might seem to someone else.

You have everybody looking forward to no longer learning, and you make them ashamed afterward of going back to learning. If you have a system of education using computers, then anyone, any age, can learn by himself, can continue to be interested. If you enjoy learning, there's no reason why you should stop at a given age. People don't stop things they enjoy doing just because they reach a certain age. They don't stop playing tennis just because they've turned forty. They don't stop with sex just because they've turned forty. They keep it up as long as they can if they enjoy it, and learning will be the same thing. The trouble with learning is that most people don't enjoy it because of the circumstances. Make it possible for them to enjoy learning, and they'll keep it up.

Society is always changing, but the rate of change has been accelerating all through history for a variety of reasons. One, the change is cumulative. The very changes you make now make it easier to make further changes. Until the Industrial Revolution came along, people weren't aware of change or a future. They assumed the future would be exactly like it had always been, just with different people- It was only with the coming of the Industrial Revolution that the rate of change became fast enough to be visible in a single lifetime. People were suddenly aware that not only were things changing, but that they would continue to change after they died. That was when science fiction came into being as opposed to fantasy and adventure tales. Because people knew that they would die before they could see the changes that would happen in the next century, they thought it would be nice to imagine what they might be.

As time goes on and the rate of change still continues to accelerate, it becomes more and more important to adjust what you do today to the fact of change in the future. It's ridiculous to make your plans now on the assumption that things will continue as they are now. You have to assume that if something you're doing is going to reach fruition in ten years, that in those ten years changes will take place, and perhaps what you're doing will have no meaning then- Science fiction is important because it fights the natural notion that there's something permanent about things the way they are right now.


You're not saying college education is worthless?

"My belief is not that one shouldn't go to college," said Bock. "It is that among 18- to 22-year-olds - or people returning to school years later - most don't put enough thought into why they're going, and what they want to get out of it. Of course, we want an informed citizenry, where everyone has a baseline of knowledge from which to build skills. That is a social good. But, he added, don't just go to college because you think it is the right thing to do and that any bachelor's degree will suffice. The first and most important thing is to be explicit and willful in making the decisions about what you want to get out of this investment in your education. It's a huge investment of time, effort and money and people should think incredibly hard about what they're getting in return."

"Once there," said Bock, "make sure that you're getting out of it not only a broadening of your knowledge but skills that will be valued in today's workplace. Your college degree is not a proxy anymore for having the skills or traits to do any job."

What are those traits?

"One is grit," he said. Shuffling through resumes of some of Google's 100 hires that week, Bock explained: "I was on campus speaking to a student who was a computer science and math double major, who was thinking of shifting to an economics major because the computer science courses were too difficult. I told that student they are much better off being a B student in computer science than an A+ student in English because it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load. That student will be one of our interns this summer."

"Or," he added, "think of this headline from The Wall Street Journal in 2011: "Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay." This was an article about a student who switched from electrical and computer engineering to a major in psychology. She said she just found the former too difficult and would focus instead on a career in public relations and human resources.

"I think this student was making a mistake," said Bock, "even if it meant lower grades. She was moving out of a major where she would have been differentiated in the labor force and out of classes that would have made her better qualified for other jobs because of the training."

This is key for Bock because the first thing Google looks for "is general cognitive ability - the ability to learn things and solve problems," he said. "In that vein, a knowledge set that will be invaluable is the ability to understand and apply information - so, basic computer science skills. I'm not saying you have to be some terrific coder, but to just understand how [these] things work you have to be able to think in a formal and logical and structured way. But that kind of thinking doesn't have to come from a computer science degree. I took statistics at business school, and it was transformative for my career. Analytical training gives you a skill set that differentiates you from most people in the labor market."

"A lot of work," he added, "is no longer tied to location. So if you want your job tied to where you are, you need to be: A) quite good at it; and B) you need to be very adaptable so that you have a baseline skill set that allows you to be a call center operator today and tomorrow be able to interpret MRI scans. To have built the skill set that allows you to do both things requires a baseline capability that's analytical."

Well, what about creativity?

Bock: "Humans are by nature creative beings, but not by nature logical, structured-thinking beings. Those are skills you have to learn. One of the things that makes people more effective is if you can do both. ... If you're great on both attributes, you'll have a lot more options. If you have just one, that's fine, too. But a lot fewer people have this kind of structured thought process and creativity."

Are the liberal arts still important?

"They are phenomenally important," he said, "especially when you combine them with other disciplines. Ten years ago behavioral economics was rarely referenced. But [then] you apply social science to economics and suddenly there's this whole new field. I think a lot about how the most interesting things are happening at the intersection of two fields. To pursue that, you need expertise in both fields. You have to understand economics and psychology or statistics and physics [and] bring them together. You need some people who are holistic thinkers and have liberal arts backgrounds and some who are deep functional experts. Building that balance is hard, but that's where you end up building great societies, great organizations."

How do you write a good resume?

"The key," he said, "is to frame your strengths as: 'I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.' Most people would write a resume like this: 'Wrote editorials for The New York Times.' Better would be to say: 'Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.' Most people don't put the right content on their resumes."

What's your best advice for job interviews?

"What you want to do is say: 'Here's the attribute I'm going to demonstrate; here's the story demonstrating it; here's how that story demonstrated that attribute. And here is how it can create value.' Most people in an interview don't make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process."


How to justify meanness?

It's not easy to be cruel to someone who is down and out. After all, most of us feel ashamed when walking by a homeless person or watching kids crammed into over-crowded classrooms. It requires several psychological twists and turns to make life even harder for low-income Americans.

You have to blame low-income parents for their own economic problems. Even if the unemployment rate is sky-high it must be the poor person's fault.

You need to feel superior - that somehow you got to where you are today not by an accident of birth but rather by your own hard labors. Anyone not as successful as you, by definition, is inferior.

You have to believe that meanness really is tough love - that by taking benefits away from the poor you are actually helping them on the road to self sufficiency.

It's helpful to have access to the broader Randian/libertarian philosophy that argues all forms of collective government action are an attack on freedom. In this view, altruism is seen as a curse that justifies collective government programs which essentially steal money from the makers and to waste on the takers. All collective caring by the state, therefore, is evil, so that all support for the poor via government is evil as well.

It's psychologically crucial to have your prejudices confirmed by charismatic alchemists like Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan who peddle selfishness as the highest form of morality (although only Ayn Rand had the guts to say it so bluntly).


The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change
by Al Gore

Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet's beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and John Naisbitt's Megatrends. In The Future, Gore identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world:


Our now infamous one percent own more than 35 percent of the nation's wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent of the country is in debt. Just this past Tuesday, the 15th of April - Tax Day - the AFL-CIO reported that last year the chief executive officers of 350 top American corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average US worker. Those executives made an average of $11.7 million dollars compared to the average worker who earned $35,239 dollars.

Thomas Picketty's data analysis in his book "Capital in the 21st Century" shows that capitalism's inherent dynamics create inequality, and that only our express intervention, in the form of things like a global wealth tax, investment in skills and training, and the diffusion of knowledge can lead us to a different outcome.


Galileo:

Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one wanders about in a dark labyrinth.


What far-off technology will be commonplace in a decade?

"Hundreds or thousands of drones flying to and fro for all kinds of reasons. Getting a top-end college education without going to a physical campus. Cars driven by computers instead of humans." Marc Andreessen

"Implantable chips that monitor the number of steps we take, hours we sleep, all of our vital signs, blood chemistry and beyond. The chip data will be used to adjust our medications, offer suggestions to change our behavior and automatically send an ambulance -- self-driving, of course." Clara Shih

"Phones and computers will automatically do anything tedious that doesn't require brainpower, like signing up for a web site or app. The march of technology is the incessant march of convenience." Ev Williams

"Personalized medicine. Imagine a unique drug that's printed for you and your condition based on your individual gene sequencing." Reid Hoffman

"Implantables, like a chip under your fingernail that unlocks all your devices." Sebastian Thrun

"Fully immersive virtual reality." - holodeck Peter Thiel

"All of our devices should be able to wirelessly charge. Wireless power will also be a necessity in developing countries." Susan Wojcicki

"People will wear computers in the form of contact lenses, bracelets or clothing and "walk up to any wall and instantly have full access to all of your cloud data and services." Marc Andreessen

"Ubiquitous video recording and surveillance." Marc Andreessen

"Far more generalized acceptance of widespread variations in human behavior. All of us who were raised pre-Internet were taught that there is something called 'normal,' and I think that whole concept might go right out the window." Marc Andreessen


From Tim Donovan in Salon 05-02-2014

Americans, even many of whom are poor, enjoy a level of comfort in short supply in other parts of the world. But it's also striking how the abundance of certain mass-produced creature comforts can pacify what might otherwise seem like unacceptable corruptions of the political system. Which is why it's so insane (and strategically shortsighted) that those on the right who work tirelessly to promote our massively unequal society are so unyielding in their commitment to waging a class war.

Our silence could be purchased for a token, the scraps from an overflowing table, but avarice - as an end unto itself - is baked too deeply into the right's political ideology.


Salon.com / By Andrew O'Hehir
Was American Democracy Always Doomed?

This is what democracy looks like: grotesque inequality, delusional Tea Party obstructionism, a vast secret national-security state, overseas wars we're never even told about and a total inability to address the global climate crisis, a failure for which our descendants will never forgive us, and never should.

We also must consider that our version of a democratic system is not, in fact, designed to reflect the will of the people (a dubious concept to begin with) but to manipulate and channel it in acceptable directions.


Slate.com / By Elizabeth Pennisi

Among social animals, inequality is a fact of life. Millions of ants do all the work for one reproducing queen. Troops of chimps form male-dominated hierarchies, males bossing females around and forming a pecking order with one highly aggressive alpha male on top. Poorly paid migrant workers pick grapes for $200-dollar bottles of wine enjoyed by royalty and corporate executives.

Forming coalitions is key to changing the power structure, whether it's the French Revolution, the Arab Spring, or a particularly violent overthrow in chimps.

Some animal species regularly maintain egalitarian societies. The reasons behind equal sharing of mates, food, or other resources vary. In some cases, social control of others just doesn't work. In others, equality seems to arise as a way to keep a group strong.


Moxie Marlinspike and Windy Hart (Audio Anarchy Radio)
An Anarchist Critique of Democracy

Society ends up divided into the alienated, whose capacity to create their lives as they see fit has been taken from them, and those in control of these processes, who benefit from this separation by accumulating and controlling alienated energy in order to reproduce the current society and their own role as its rulers. Most of us fall into the former category, while people like landlords, bosses, and politicians compose the latter.

Democracies require that laws, rules, and decisions be made separate from the circumstances that people find themselves in - thus forcing individuals into predetermined and reactive roles, rather than allowing for free-thinking individuals or groups of individuals to make decisions in various contexts at various times as they see fit.

Voters become spectators in a process where they are presented with opinions to choose from, while in reality those who create the agendas are really in control.

By always accepting the will of the majority, democracy allows for majorities to have an absolute tyranny over everyone else.

Democracies are susceptible to demagoguery, lobbying, and corruption.

Democracy is seen as the only legitimate form of expression or decision-making power with very little explanation of how or why that came to be.

The employer and employee do not interact as two democratic equals. One has the role of boss, the other worker, and both pay with their lives in a sense for those roles. Progressive actions are usually hostile to the capitalist class, and will provoke very specific responses in the economic sector.


When the economy is adjusted so that all have the means to enjoy leisure time we can expect much additional creativity to be unleashed. The general long- term effect should be a tremendous enrichment of the quality and variety of fine art, music, food, furniture, clothing, gardens, and even homes - created largely on a do-it-yourself basis.

Some of this will be a boon to mankind. Much of it will be considered to be of mediocre or poor quality but all of it will be of value and pride to its creator and will therefore add to the total happiness of his life.

When we are bored we "kill time" which is a terrible thing to do. No one has the right to judge how another kills time; to say that it was a waste. No use of time is a waste if it is an activity enjoyed by the person who has used a portion of his limited time on earth in that pursuit.


Stanley Kubrick: The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism - and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he's reasonably strong - and lucky - he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life's elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death - however mutable man may be able to make them - our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
This is a discussion of the nature of the world in which we exist.
It will be of little interest to at least 99% of people.
Those who will be interested will be those who have an interest in philosophy.

The nature of space and time versus our perceptions of those concepts.

Cycles and imperfections.

Patterns and software vs. hardware.

We see dichotomies where probably none exist.

Egocentrically we look for uniqueness. There is nothing unique. It is at base all the same and all different.

I am the center of the world. It exists in my imagination.
The world is something outside me. It exists independently of my existence.


In "Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist", neuroscientist, Christof Koch writes:

"The ever-increasing complexity of organisms, evident in the fossil record, is a consequence of the unrelenting competition for survival that propels evolution.

It was accompanied by the emergence of nervous systems and the first inkling of sentience. The continuing complexification of brains, to use Teilhard de Chardin's term, enhanced consciousness until self-consciousness emerged: awareness reflecting upon itself. This recursive process started millions of years ago in some of the more highly developed mammals. In Homo sapiens, it has achieved its temporary pinnacle.

But complexification does not stop with individual self-awareness. It is ongoing and, indeed, speeding up. In today's technologically sophisticated and intertwined societies, complexification is taking on a supraindividual, continent-spanning character. With the instant, worldwide communication afforded by cell phones, e-mail, and social networking, I foresee a time when humanity's teeming billions and their computers will be interconnected in a vast matrix - a planetary Übermind. Provided mankind avoids Nightfall - a thermonuclear Armageddon or a complete environmental meltdown - there is no reason why this web of hypertrophied consciousness cannot spread to the planets and, ultimately, beyond the stellar night to the galaxy at large."


by Damon Linker - August 1, 2014

All political communities - from city states to nations to transnational empires - inspire and cultivate attachment on the part of citizens. This attachment - love of one's country - is an outgrowth of the natural "love of one's own" that shows up in love for oneself, love for one's family and friends, and love for one's neighbors. To be patriotic in this sense is to love your country because it is yours and for no other reason.

But some political communities go further, to uphold an ideological form of patriotism that treats the nation's goodness as an intrinsic quality that deserves to be recognized by all, citizen and non-citizen alike. In Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles talks this way about ancient Athens. Imperial Great Britain and post-revolutionary France often thought about themselves in similar terms. And then, of course, there's the United States and its ideology of American exceptionalism, which goes back, in rudimentary form, all the way to colonial New England.

Ronald Reagan was:

This master of "turning complexity and confusion and doubt into simplicity and stout-heartedness and certainty" encouraged his fellow citizens "to think like children, waiting for a man on horseback to save them."

The American people have allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep by patriotic fairy tales.


Creative people sometimes describe the creative process as somewhat akin to their conscious mind being suspended and letting the creative process flow from some place inside themselves.

How does it feel to be "in the flow?"

1. Completely involved in what we are doing - focused - concentrated.

2. A sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality.

3. Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing.

4. Knowing that the activity is doable - that our skills are adequate to the task.

5. A sense of serenity - no worries about oneself and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.

6. Timelessness - thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.

7. Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Life Lessons That Lead to Happiness, Success and Longevity

1) Happiness is love and social relationships.

2) Being Laid-Back And Stress-Free Will Kill You. People who are unpressured don't thrive. What matters is striving toward goals.

3) Be Optimistic - With A Little Bit Of Worrying

    Watch less TV
    Improve social relations - spend time with friends
    Increase levels of physical activity - go for a long walk
    Help others and express gratitude to those who have helped you
    Take on new challenges to remain fresh and in-the-moment

4) Those who came from loving homes did much better than the less fortunate. Parental divorce during childhood was the single strongest social predictor of early death. Happy marriages can repair the damage of difficult childhoods.

Summary:
"Love, Strive, Believe and Hope"


How different am I from others?

Yes, we can, all 7 billion of us, be said to be unique because just as no two snowflakes are alike, so too, are no two people.

However, we are also similar in that we are more like each other than we are like a rock or a tree or even a snail.

I am not considering such superficial differences as race or even sex. Rather I am thinking about differences in intellect and interests and imagination and perspective.

I learned in school, particularly in high school, that I marched to a different drummer than others. For example, I read books of philosophy that I found in the school library that had sat on the shelves without being opened for fifteen or twenty years since the library was first stocked. However, the fact that someone had made the decision to put them there in the first place met that there were others like me. Of course, there also had to be people who wrote the books I read which indicated kindred spirits.

I am interested, among other subjects, in science and history and philosophy. Now I know that not many people are interested in these subjects, but I thought that at least 10% would be, particularly when the history was the history of their own family. However, when I wrote the little histories of my mother's family and of my wife's family and asked for comments from at least 50 people who were members of those families, I got no response at all.

I can think of a few explanations. Maybe I am not a good writer or maybe people just don't like me. However, I am pretty sure that neither of those is true because I have had no indications of those and actually have had contra indications.

Maybe people are too busy and preoccupied with other things in their lives such as their immediate family or watching sports or gossip or facebook or scrapbooking or their jobs. This seems more likely. However, since I am convinced that people find time for things that are of interest to them, then maybe interest in this subject is much lower than I would have expected.

Since I know many people are interested in family history, it may be that these people are only interested in doing the research themselves, as in solving a mystery, and are not interested in reading the results of such research that has already been done by others.

It could also be that those people who, like myself, are highly imaginative and have developed a sense of perspective and are also interested in science and history and philosophy are much rarer than I thought. So maybe there are only one in a million who are very similar to me. If that is the case, then, since I don't know a million people, I am unlikely to find a kindred soul.


Signs that our democracy is in trouble:

It's hard to know where to start, but how about the fact that incumbents almost never lose? Or that elections are, in essence, a game between warring tribes of billionaires? How about the fact that scores of millions of voters are packed into districts so lopsided that their vote is even more meaningless than usual? Or that dozens of Congress members face competition so flimsy and poorly funded, they essentially run unopposed? Most worrying of all, how about the fact that a unified minority party can reap major benefits by embracing a strategy of brinkmanship and obstruction, confident in the knowledge that voters will blame the president regardless?


"The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is the level of elementary physical processes in quantum mechanics. Matter in quantum mechanics is [...] constantly making choices between alternative possibilities according to probabilistic laws. [...] The second level at which we detect the operations of mind is the level of direct human experience. [...] [I]t is reasonable to believe in the existence of a third level of mind, a mental component of the universe. If we believe in this mental component and call it God, then we can say that we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus"

Freeman Dyson


Sir Ken Robinson says:

"To teach Children, take advantage of their:

Diversity not uniformity
Curiosity not compliance
Creativity not standardization"


Benjamin Franklin said,

"Some people are Immovable,
some are movable,
and there are some who move."


What we humans teach our kids:
superstition
fear
patriotism
possessiveness & greed
violence
shame
guilt
competitiveness

Pregnancy:
100 MILLION INTERCOURSE PER DAY
109 THOUSAND CONCEPTIONS
500 MILLION SPERM PER EJACULATION
ALL EGGS FORMED IN FEMALE WHEN SHE IS 8 WEEK OLD EMBRYO
5 OUT OF 6 EMBRYOS DO NOT SURVIVE THE FIRST 8 WEEKS IN THE WOMB

At 9 weeks the stomach and heart begin working and we begin to call it a 
fetus, not an embryo. 

At 12 weeks the basic structure has formed and most of the rest of pregnancy 
is growth of the fetus. 

vision is fully developed at 8 months.

walking at about 12 months

talking at about 2 years

The human body produces about 10 pounds of dust from dead skin cells every 
year. 


Some believe that an orderly society requires a strong leadership capable of forcing the populace to conform to society's norms and mobilizing society in lockstep to combat those who are different either within or outside the group.

This belief is called fascism.

The opposite of a fascist is an anarchist or a libertarian.

Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

An anarchist believes that no government at all is best while a libertarian usually believes that government functions should be limited to defense against foreign forces and policing internally only against those physically harming others.

Many in the center believe that government should be a force to provide services and laws for the public which lead to a better life for as many as possible while protecting the rights of minorities and dissenters as much as possible.

Members of most political parties are fascists when their party is in power and libertarians when those of another party are in power. That is because most people believe that, since they know what is the right way to do things, others should conform to their ways and they should not conform to the ways of others.


Jim Martin's summary of Zen:

Naturally scriptures, holy reading and their corresponding history are very important (so is growing up and learning all the necessary skills we need to survive in this crazy world). Additionally vital is at some point in our life, we have to stop thinking we know everything. Human beings today are at a point where we just think our way through life. We think we have an explanation for everything --- I think, I think, I think.... We forget our true nature of just feeling or experiencing `things as it is'. Instead of simply experiencing something right in front of our eyes --- we sit, stare, try to break it down and explain it all... With all of this going on, we fail to realize that this precious moment is fleeing from us... What should we do? We must drop everything - `put it all down' and realize these things staring us in the face, every second of every day. We have to lose our overactive mind, and just see with our eyes what is in front of us - appreciate it for what it is, and experience it for all it has to offer...

In my words:

Experience life as it is in the present moment without conscious analysis. Set your primal brain, your id, your amygdala, free from your superego or cerebral cortex, and feel the sun or the rain on your skin. Be aware of your hunger or lack thereof, of the scents in the air surrounding you; of the sounds of the birds in the trees and the colors and patterns you can see; of the fact that you exist and are alive and are conscious and are a part of a larger whole which encompasses everything.


Most people see the world as made up of things made of matter that exist and to which they give names and which have properties and interact with each other according to a set of natural laws in an ecosystem or community of interacting things.

A Zen Master, on the other hand, is simply a part of the illusion of the unified whole of being as perceived in time and space.

A Zen Master might try to get me to see the world from his point of view. I might argue that one of the properties of me, as a part of his illusion, is that I see the world as I do, as made up of separate things.


The great Korean-born Zen teacher Seung Sahn Soen-sa was in our world from August 1, 1927 until November 30, 2004 as a physical presence.

A child named Gita had a cat named Katzie. Katzie died.
Gita approached the Zen Master, Soen-sa:

"What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?"

Soen-sa said, "Where do you come from?"

"From my mother's belly."

"Where does your mother come from?" Gita was silent.

Soen-sa said, "Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made - lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see - a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor - all these things are really the same."

"What are they?"

"People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn't say, 'I am a cat.' People say, 'This is a cat.' The sun doesn't say, 'My name is sun.' People say, 'This is the sun.'

So when someone asks you, 'What is this?', how should you answer?"

"I shouldn't use words."

Soen-sa said, "Very good! You shouldn't use words. So if someone asks you, 'What is Buddha?', what would be a good answer?"

Gita was silent.

Soen-sa said, "Now you ask me."

"What is Buddha?"

Soen-sa hit the floor.

Gita laughed.

Soen-sa said, "Now I ask you: What is Buddha?"

Gita hit the floor.

"What is God?"

Gita hit the floor.

"What is your mother?"

Gita hit the floor.

"What are you?"

Gita hit the floor.

"Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same."

Gita smiled.

Soen-sa said, "Do you have any more questions?"

"You still haven't told me where Katz went."

Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, "You already understand."

Gita said, "Oh!" and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.

As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, "But I'm not going to answer that way when I'm in school. I'm going to give regular answers!" Soen-sa laughed.

Throw away all opinions, all likes and dislikes, and only keep the mind that doesn't know... Your before-thinking mind, my before-thinking mind, all people's before-thinking minds are the same. This is your substance. Your substance, my substance, and the substance of the whole universe become one. So the tree, the mountain, the cloud, and you become one... The mind that becomes one with the universe is before thinking. Before thinking there are no words. "Same" and "different" are opposites words; they are from the mind that separates all things.

"All things that appear in this world are transient. If you view all things that appear as never having appeared, then you will realize your true self."

The rocks, the river, everything he could see, everything he could hear, all this was his true self. All things are exactly as they are. The truth is just like this.


If, as polls consistently show, the public's main concern is the economy, that indicates that we live in a political and economic system in which people do not feel secure in their ability to support their family. If we lived in a system, as we could, that provided economic security, then people's main concerns would probably be violence among people or damage to the environment or education or health care or the arts or what celebrity is fucking what other celebrity or what team will win the playoffs, or the latest fashions or keeping up with the neighbors.
We are evolved to feel that the purpose of our life is to produce babies and support families and propagate our genes, to be nurturing and social.

After the agrarian revolution brought with it the concept of property ownership, greed and ego enhancement became an overriding influence for some. Now those people support the birth of as many babies as possible but do not support spending resources on them or their families after their birth. I think the idea is that a larger population will lead to a cheaper workforce to enrich the upper classes but it is a waste of resources to allocate more than the minimum amount necessary to support that workforce.

A third type of people, the creative and curious type, support science and the arts and education and leaving a cultural legacy as opposed to having the greed of the upper classes or the biological and social imperative of others.


discoveries and inventions:
clothes 170,000 ya
dwellings 500,000 ya
fire 800,000 ya
lost body hair 3 million ya
tools 3.3 million ya

When you hear a claim:

Do you

trust?
ignore?
or
investigate?

trust can be based on:

Intuition
Authority from credible source
Logic or reasoning
Experiment & Evidence

I have studied and come to terms with the ideas that the world is not as we are taught and believe that it is physically, biologically, politically, economically, historically, or in religious matters. I also realize that of the seven billion people on earth, most are stupid or, at least, not very smart, and that they are followers, not leaders or original thinkers. However, there are still things that occur that I have trouble understanding.

For example doctors resist computer aided diagnosis and also refuse to utilize cloud based medical records.

See: Electronic Medical Records - They should be in the cloud but aren't

People who say they support life and the right to life want as many babies born as possible but refuse to provide financial structures to support people once they are born and also support the death penalty and widespread wars, violence, and guns. They seem to also reject the idea that there can be such a thing as overpopulation causing environmental damage even though its results are evident.

People have all kinds of weird beliefs, taboos and customs regarding the obviously essential bodily functions of sex and waste elimination and even seem to abhor the sight of the naked human body.

We set up a medical system and other essential systems which in structure and economics are highly inefficient at providing medical care and other essential functions to human communities. Other examples include education, economic inequality, infrastructure maintenance and international cooperation.

I think the main reason I have problems understanding these things is that I can't see how a species which is so illogical and inefficient, unimaginative, selfish and greedy could have lasted this long and come to dominate an entire planet. I also can't see how such a species can last much longer but may be destined due to its nature to cause a mass extinction on Earth, not only of many other species, but of mankind itself.

It is obvious, though, that there have been and are among us people who are intelligent, imaginative, altruistic and creative. Otherwise the complex culture that our species has created could not exist. The complexity of the universe, of life, and of our culture is a continuing source of wonder to me and gives hope that, if our better natures can prevail, our future may not be so bleak.


People who vote Republican are either in the top 1% in wealth or think they are or hope to be or they are religious people who are clinging to a fantasy or they are too uninformed to know what the real issues are and so are unable to vote in their own best interests.
Man is an animal that has evolved to have a brain capable of consciousness and using that brain to develop a culture which includes communication, abstract record keeping and a complex technology. This means that the data he has accumulated and the things he has constructed represent things that can be possessed or owned or, in other words, wealth. Man is jealous of his wealth and does not want to share with all but only to trade wealth of one kind for wealth of another kind. He is particularly afraid that those who did not make as much wealth as others might get more than their fair share. He has also found a way to divide the natural resources available to all on his planet such as land and minerals to give ownership to individuals rather than leaving them available to everyone as in a state of nature before the evolution of his culture. Many men have become greedy and want to possess for themselves as much as possible of the wealth that has been developed by all mankind. Rather than using as much wealth as they need and then sharing the rest, they want to hoard any unused wealth and pass it on to their offspring so that they too can hoard it. Most men seem to feel that this state of affairs is the natural outcome of the world we live in and see nothing wrong with it. Or they develop a world view to justify this behavior in their mind.

I see no reason why it would not have been possible instead to develop a sharing and caring culture, but others argue that if that had been possible, it would have happened and since it did not that means that the present state of our culture is the right or proper one.


In the words of an aborigine who experienced a more modern society

Some of the most generous people I know have no money and that's how it should be. When we have no money, its a different lifestyle.

In our language we have no such words as "please" or "thank you," because what is expected of us is that we share and that we give what we have.

Today we have to say "please". We have to say "thank you". We have to beg for things. In the old days it was a given thing that we would share things. That was a part of who we are.

And not only for aboriginal people. I expect people all around the world would do the same things before money. But nowadays "its mine." There are words like "mine." We don't share our things anymore and it's become...

It kills us as human beings, as a society, as a race. When I say "race", I'm talking about the human race.

But we deny other people shelter. We deny other people food. We deny other people their survival, purely because of money.


Who should we vote off the island or ban from the tribe or put in prison?

Those who are egotistical and the greedy and the dishonest and the violent psychopaths for sure.

Who should we keep in the tribe and cherish?

The strong and the smart and the charismatic leaders and those likable people who entertain us.

What about those who are not strong or smart or leaders or likable? This might include the old and the disabled and the mentally ill.

If we have empathy, meaning we feel that "There but for the grace of God go I.", then we must care for them.

If we do not have empathy but simply feel that these people are just a drag on our society then we should get rid of them too, particularly if we feel that resources may be insufficient to support the society.


What do western religions have in common?

A belief in the existence of one jealous, violent God to whom man is subject. He is the Creator of the world and the ultimate Judge at the end of time.

A belief in the truth of "holy" writings.

Subjugation of women who are blamed for leading men into temptation and sin and who are considered inferior to men.

Fear and hatred of those who do not share the same beliefs, particularly those who oppose our beliefs.

A mission to convert all others to our beliefs.

The idea that governments should impose religious laws and schools should teach religious beliefs.

A belief that men are sinful and must be saved.

A belief that man can show his subservience to God through frequent prayer to praise God and request his favor.

Opposition to critical thinking which might lead to doubt about the religion.

A belief that God has a plan and man is powerless in the face of that plan and must be accepting of it.

A belief that some peoples and/or individuals are superior to others because they are favored by God.

As a result these religions are generally opposed to:

education
science
freedom
women's rights
independent thought
Change to improve the fundamental living conditions of mankind.

They generally or sometimes defend:

violence
slavery
social classes
oppression of minorities
mass conformity
faith over logic
the status quo

Believers have a general belief that their religion is a religion of peace and love in spite of the characteristics mentioned above.

Questioning Basic Beliefs:

People are taught from a very young age and believe all their life, usually without question, that they are supposed to get married, have kids, work for a living, worship God and love their country.

Suppose one were to question these beliefs?

What if not everyone needs to get married. Maybe some can be single and promiscuous or even celibate or live with another of the same or opposite sex or with a group of others.

What if there can be a satisfying life without children?

Who says we are meant to work?

The lords say it to the peasants.

The masters say it to the slaves.

The captains of industry say it to the employees.

There is pleasure in creating something and thus enhancing self esteem.

There is the necessity of living and providing for a family.

There is nothing wrong in playing, loafing, socializing and meditating.

Maybe the work ethic is a hoax meant to encourage the poor to empower and enrich the rulers.

Maybe patriotism is a form of brain washing as is religion. Maybe the purpose of teaching you these concepts in school and church is to get you to accept the established order and believe that everything is as it should be. Maybe the secret that must be kept hidden is the extent to which the ruling elite in business and religion and politics controls wealth and power and by doing so controls your life.

A country is not a thing to love. It is a cooperative agreement among peoples which is designed to give more advantages than disadvantages to most. It should be approached as one would approach his dentist or his dry cleaner. "I will be loyal to you as long as you give me better service than I think I can get from others. But I do not love you."

Love is reserved for families and pets and places in which one grows up or lives and the natural world in which one lives.

If one thinks he is supposed to love a country or a religion or a god, he has been brain washed. Maybe there is no God and maybe other countries may be better in some ways than the one in which you live.

Consciousness and Quantum Theory

We have a belief system which tells us that the world or the universe formed and then it formed man, probably by a process of physical and then organic evolution and then man developed a large brain and consciousness.

What if we have it backwards? What if the world we perceive is a product of our brains or our consciousness? What if it only exists due to our being conscious of it?

The latest developments in quantum field theory suggest that quantum waves only exhibit particle characteristics once observed by a conscious being. In other words, quantum particles don't exist in a specific place until they interact with consciousness. The world only exists once it is seen by a conscious being.

The quantum mind or quantum consciousness group of hypotheses propose that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness. It posits that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness.

We also know that the expression of ourselves as humans is much more complex than what our conscious brain perceives. Our being is actually a result of the interaction of our conscious brains, our subconscious, our autonomic nervous system and the microbiotics which make up 90% of the cells which we call our body. Much of this is orchestrated and some might say controlled by our genetic code.

We know that when our subconscious or our most primitive brain perceives immediate danger to us, it has the ability to react and to take defensive actions before our higher brain even becomes aware of the situation. We also know that our entire body is able to function physically carrying out trillions of actions at the cellular level without our conscious awareness.

We are also aware of the fact that rare individuals sometimes demonstrate special powers that may be at the limits or even exceed what we think are the limits of human abilities. These include powers of super hearing, super pitch, super tasting, super color perception, echolocation, chimersim, synesthesia, mental calculation, eidetic memory, immortal cells, as well as the ability to control breathing, body temperature, metabolism, heart rate and other bodily functions at the conscious or semiconscious level. Some claim abilities such as telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, out of body experiences and other similar abilities.

What we don't know, but have speculated about, is the degree to which our bodies, neurons, and other subconscious functions may be interacting with the quantum world at a level, so far, unknown and unsuspected by our conscious brains and what may be the implications of this interaction if it is occurring.

Black Holes, Creation, Free Will, Predestination

Particles and anti-particles continuously appear and annihilate each other, but space-time has many black holes which can capture one of the particles preventing the annihilation of the other. So when this happens something can persist in our universe which was not there before. This indicates to me that the universe is in a state of continous creation. That implies that the universe is not deterministic because one can not have sufficient information to predict these particles. That information is lost to the black hole when one part of the particle pair is absorbed by a black hole.

It was argued that a deterministic universe precluded free will. However, if the universe is not deterministic free will is not thus precluded but neither is it implied.

Also if the universe is not deterministic then the future is not set but is still fluid unless you want to argue that the existence of the space-time continnum means that the passage of time is only an illusion of our consciousness. The counterpart to this argument is to argue that the universe only exists as and because we perceive it. The latest developments in quantum field theory suggest that quantum waves only exhibit particle characteristics once observed by a conscious being. In other words, quantum particles don't exist in a specific place until they interact with consciousness. The world only exists once it is seen by a conscious being.

The real question is when we perceive that we have a choice such as what to eat for dinner, is that a real choice or only the illusion of a choice? Can I really decide to have chicken or fish or has that choice already been determined by the events that have happened in my day up until the point of choice? Are there multiple worlds, one in which I decide chicken and another in which I decide fish?

See: Does God Play Dice?

Reasons

Aristotle and religious leaders for thousands of years believed and taught that it is common sense that things happen for a reason. Rain falls to water the plants. The sun rises to warm the world. This put mankind at the center of the universe because ultimately things were designed for him. It took a long time for scientists with imagination to realize that mankind evolved in a world in which the sun rose and the rains fell and that he was designed to thrive in such a world rather than the world being designed for him.

That is why religious people believe that there is a God with a master plan. Scientists, on the other hand, believe that we live in a world in which things happen according to the laws of nature and possibly with a large helping of random chance and certainly not according to a plan with man at its center. The only reason we exist is because we happened to evolve in such a world and therefore are well adapted to it. Those individuals and species in the past who were not so well adapted to the world in which they lived simply did not survive. The fact that we exist is evidence that we are adapted to our environment.

The plant grows because it evolved in a world in which the sun rose and the rain fell. The plant does not grow to feed man but man evolved to eat plants because he evolved in a world that contained plants.

This modern idea is known and accepted by most educated people in the world today, but most of the seven billion people alive still have the religious beliefs of the past described above.

Perspectives:

We seem to need three types of perspective.

First, perspective in space. We exist in a three dimensional matrix actually on a thin layer on the surface of a planet circling a sun in a galaxy adrift in the universe.

Second, perspective in time. We exist in what seems to us to be the now, an instance in a never ending stream of time extending what we perceive as back into the past and forward into the future and our lives only exist for a small segment of time in this stream.

Third, perspective in scale. We can sense other beings and things at our scale but we have found that there are many things which exist with us at scales too small for us to sense or at scales larger beyond our comprehension. For example, microbes, atoms, quarks, galaxy clusters, black holes and other things difficult for us to imagine.

Other possibilities for other types of perspectives would include the existence of multi worlds or that we are only characters in a simulation by some greater beings or that the world only exists in our consciousness.


The laws of nature are discovered through observation, deduction and experimentation and they are expressed through the language of mathematics.
We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future. (Max Planck)

Also, we have no right to assume that any physical laws that exist now, existed in the same way in the past. (Duane Bristow)


We can now understand the cause of this discrete energy 'quanta' of Quantum Physics because Standing waves only exist and interact at discrete frequencies, like notes on the string of a guitar.

Matter (atoms / molecules) only exists in discrete energy states (which can be defined using wave equations and resonance arguments) and that light is emitted / absorbed as electrons move from one discrete energy state to another (wave functions rather than orbits). The end result of this is the current absurd states of Quantum Physics with the confusion of the particle wave duality of light (it behaves as a wave or a particle depending on the experiment).

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Physics-Max-Planck.htm

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/

http://wsminfo.org/articles/GREIT6Oct06.htm

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_constant


From:
Space and Motion

The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM)

Space vibrates with a wave motion which gives rise to all that is.
Space is infinite, eternal, and continous.
Matter interacts in three dimensions.

The fourth dimension of 'time' is really just the motion of the wave (motion causes time).

Matter is formed from the spherical standing wave motions of Space. This unites Space, Time, Motion and Matter.

The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high.

What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space.

One Active Substance (Three Dimensional Space) Exists and has Plane Waves Flowing Through it in All Directions.

Matter-antimatter pair production is occurring everywhere in space all the time - because space vibrates in two distinct patterns (particles and fields) which it is constantly switching between.

However if you want to see and use these 'particles' then you need to add energy to them to separate them (before they annihilate / switch back to the quantum field vibratory pattern).

Important terms:
motion, change, interconnection, patterns in chaos

Truth Statements: Philosophy Metaphysics Science

1. We think therefore thinking things (minds) exist.

2. We all experience having a body.

3. We all experience our mind and body moving about in space.

4. We all experience many other minds and bodies (other humans) and many other 
material objects - but always interconnected in one common space. 

5. To unite Science with Metaphysics we must describe Reality in terms of One 
thing we all commonly experience - Space. 

6. Space (one substance) has properties.

7. Space (one substance) must be infinite (not bounded by another substance), 
eternal (not created by another substance), continuous (not contain another 
substance). 

8. Light and matter have a particle / wave duality.

9. We cannot add particles to space.

10. We can add waves to space.

11. Space is a continuous wave medium that propagates waves.

12. Matter is spherical.

13. A spherical wave forms a 'point like / particle effect' at its wave center.

14. The electron is a spherical standing wave.

15. The wave center forms the 'particle' effect of matter.

16. The spherical in and out waves explain matter's dynamic activity and 
interconnection. 


From:
Quantum Mysteries Disentangled

Ron Garret
28 November 2001

The moon is not really there when nobody looks, but it isn't really there even when you do look! "Physical reality" is not "real", but information- theoretical reality is. We are not physical entities, but informational ones. We are made of, to quote Mermin, "correlations without correlata." We are not made of atoms, we are made of (quantum) bits. At the risk of stretching a metaphor beyond its breaking point, what we usually call reality is “really” a very high quality simulation running on a quantum computer.

This is a very counterintuitive view of the world, but the mathematics of Quantum Mechanics tell us unambiguously that it is correct, just as the mathematics of relativity tell us that there is no absolute time and space. Entanglement, far from being an obscure curiosity of QM, is in fact at its very heart. Entanglement is the reason that measurement is possible, and thus the reason that the Universe is comprehensible.

Enlightening as this new insight may be, it does leave us with the vexing question: if what we perceive as reality is only an illusion, what is the "substrate" for this illusion? To quote Joe Provenzano: If reality is an illusion, who (or what) is being illused? If reality is a magic trick, who is the audience?

The best I can offer as an answer to that question is a Zen koan from Douglas Hofstadter:

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, "The flag is moving." The other said, "The wind is moving." The sixth patriarch, Zeno, happened to be passing by. He told them, "Not the wind, not the flag. Mind is moving."


The photoelectric effect:

When matter in the form of certain metals absorbs electromagnetic radiation, in the form of photons consisting of oscillating electric and magnetic fields oriented perpendicularly to each other moving through space, it emits electrons.

While the wavelength and frequency of EM radiation may vary, its speed in a vacuum remains constant at 3.0 x 108 m/sec, the speed of light. The wavelength or frequency of any specific occurrence of EM radiation determine its position on the electromagnetic spectrum

Frequency is directly proportional to energy, with the higher light frequencies having more energy. This observation led to the discovery of the minimum amount of energy that could be gained or lost by an atom. Max Planck named this minimum amount the "quantum," plural "quanta," meaning "how much." One photon of light carries exactly one quantum of energy.


More Evidence for a Particle Theory of Energy:

When an electric current is passed through a gas, some of the electrons in the gas molecules move from their ground energy state to an excited state that is further away from their nuclei. When the electrons return to the ground state, they emit energy of various wavelengths. A prism can be used to separate the wavelengths, making them easy to identify. If light acted only as a wave, then there should be a continuous rainbow created by the prism. Instead, there are discrete lines created by different wavelengths. This is because electrons release specific wavelengths of light when moving from an excited state to the ground state.

Source: Boundless. “Planck's Quantum Theory.” Boundless Chemistry. Boundless, 12 Aug. 2015. Retrieved 13 Mar. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/chemistry/textbooks/boundless-chemistry- textbook/introduction-to-quantum-theory-7/the-nature-of-light-63/planck-s- quantum-theory-296-7514/


3 quantum mysteries:

wave vs. particle duality

schodingers cat - observation causes the wave function to collapse

quantum entanglement - spooky action at a distance

One theory is that entanglement is measurement or observation.

Another is that time travel is occurring.

Quantum information theory, QIT:

We may be a simulation running on a quantum computer
or there may be multiple universes
but the idea of one universe is contraindicated by quantum mechanics.


Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar. (Julius Caesar)
Rent seeking is the business of earning money, not by investing effort and resources in trying to generate new wealth, but by working to secure for oneself a greater share of already existing wealth. Whereas profit seeking describes the process of investing capital in return for a share of the new wealth created, rent seeking is about skimming off a share of wealth created by others and, of course, another way to earn money is by exchanging a part of one's life in the form of labor for pay.

The Greek philosopher Plato said the ratio of earnings between the highest and lowest paid in any organization should be no more than six to one. In 1923, banker J.P. Morgan declared that twenty to one was optimum. Today the earnings ratio between the highest and lowest paid in large corporations can be as much as a thousand to one. Herman Daly has a clear insight into the problems this causes: “when you are up in the range of five hundred to one inequality, the rich and the poor become almost different species, no longer members of the same community. Commonality of interest is lost and so it’s difficult to form community and to have good, friendly relationships across class differences that are that large.”


If the purpose of medicine is to eliminate death, has anyone seriously thought through the implications of success? What would a world without death be like and would we want to live in such a world? Alternatives include changing the purpose of medicine to be to increase quality of life and to acceptance of death.
What People Do:

Produce goods - farmer, programmer
Add Value - Meat packer, sawmill
Sell - distribute and market - wholesaler, retailer
Provide Services & Maintain products - repairman, doctor, lawyer
tap into the income stream - banker, insurance, etc.


Chester lit up, "Now you're talking. The creationist loved to use the argument that, the probability of life evolving was so unlikely statisticaly speaking, as to be impossible. I was able to show that since Quantum Reality shows that there are actually an infinite number of universes in parallel, that the statistical improbability didn't matter. In an infinite number of Universes, a Universe where life evolved was a statistical certainity!"

The Master smiled, "Of course, the Wisdom of Infinity. The Infinite nature of God makes all things possible, even a Universe that supports life just as science describes it. Reality is simply a complex pattern that is ever changing. Life is just a one of the many patterns of reality."

Let's start by stating that order has no meaning apart from chaos. Order by necessity is born out of chaos. Order then breaks down in chaos only to give birth to a new order. And on and on goes the cycle of life as we know it. It is worth to note here that the biblical narrative speaks of God making the world not, as it has been claimed, out of nothing, but out of chaos.

Chaos, though, is something we’re mysteriously drawn toward. Just as we cannot live in complete chaos, we cannot live in complete order either. The fact that we experience boredom speaks of this. We hate routine. We just can’t do the same thing over and over again without experiencing a loss of engagement. No wonder God placed us in a universe that is in constant change (without us fully realizing it). Adventure is what keeps our passions aflame. Chaos is what jolts us out of our routine into something new. Yet we’re afraid of chaos.

Our drive for control pushes us away from chaos.

Before the beginnings, there was and is and always will be, the Absolute Realm. The Absolute Realm is composed of Infinity, Eternity and Awareness. These three transcend all things and come before all else. These three are the source of all beginnings. These are the foundation and the sustaining of all.

There is no time, only an ever changing now. Our use of time is a way to express beginnings and ends


So, lets say one day I were to stand in the way of "you," the reader of this paper, merely to steal a moment's time from the reader. The reader might think to him or herself, "what was that guy doing, standing in my way?" But probably wouldn't give the incident a second thought, and would carry on his/her business. But what would the long-term effect of that incident be? What would be different, in say, fifty years, had I not stood in the reader's way? I'd like to reader to pause for a moment, and think about this. What would be different in fifty years? Nothing? A little bit? Impossible to tell? I intend to show that the difference in fifty years (or less) would be that everybody born will have a different genetic composition! Just standing in the reader's way--or not--will change the entire human race in a couple generations or less!

For people who have thought about these concepts before are probably thinking, "yes, of course." But for other people, you are probably thinking I'm out of my mind. So let me explain. So, say I bump into "you", the reader. Your progression down the street will be delayed a moment. You get in your car, or on the bus a moment later. Some car makes a light that wouldn't have, had you been there a second earlier. This car, in turn, makes somebody else make a light that wouldn't have, or vise-versa. These cars in turn make other cars and other people make lights they wouldn't have, or vise-versa. Pretty soon, the exact positions of every car within a few miles will be in different positions then they would have been, if only by a few feet. This, in turn, will propagate through every town, in every city on Earth. Who knows in how long, probably take longer for the effect to reach deep in the Brazilian wood- forests. But I see no way that such propagation could not reach every corner of the globe, if only in a small degree, and very quickly.

So, now everybody on Earth is getting home or to work (or wherever) a second earlier or a second later. So, what difference does that make? Probably not a lot, at least not immediately. But surely there will be people who were in fatal accidents, by being a block away from where they would have been, no longer are. Likewise, somebody that would have been a block away from a fatal accident, now is in the accident and dies. Sure, this will be the exception, only a relatively few people will live longer or die sooner simply by my bumping into you. But, surely it will be a few people. And of course those people, will likewise have effects on other people, changing who lives and who dies all over the world.

But of course, as I said, this should still be a relatively few people that now live or die because I bumped into you. But as I said, everybody on Earth will be impacted, if just by a second or two. Now, how did I get my genes? I got my genes by a specific sperm of my father impregnated the egg of my mother. In every ejaculation, literally millions of sperm are released. If my father's ejaculation took place but a moment earlier, or a moment later, the chances that the exact same sperm would have impregnated my mother is probably literally less than one in a million! But--if by bumping into you, the reader, I delay you by a second, which sperm cells turn into children will be changed the world over!


Would you accept that if a million monkeys typed on a million typewriters for a million years that every once in a while they would type a three or four letter word such as "See" or "the" or "bird"? If so, would you accept that very rarely they might type all the before mentioned words in a row and therefore might type a sentence?

Suppose we changed the initial conditions from million to infinite. In other words, if an infinite number of monkeys typed for an infinite number of years, would you accept that they would, on rare occasions, type the complete works of William Shakespeare?

If that occurred, would you exclaim that a miracle had occurred or would you say, "With an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite amount of time, it was bound to occur. The miracle would be if it did not occur."

If I told you that a monkey had typed the complete works of William Shakespeare would you say, "That is a miracle." or would you say, "It must have been one of an infinite number of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time." If you say the first then you believe that something that happened before or at that time must have caused the event. If you say the latter then you must believe that the existence of the event must imply and therefore cause the previous history.

If you think that a miracle occurred then you are one who is likely to believe in God. You think that the existence of the order and beauty of the world we live in implies the existence of God to make it happen or create a miracle.

If you take the other position then you believe that in the possibility of an infinite number of universes, it would be inevitable that, at least, one like ours would occur.

You may have trouble with the concept of infinity. Everyone does. What is the biggest number? If you answer that then think of that number and add one.

Einstein asked his assistant, "If God created the world, did he have any choice?"

Can God do anything? If so, can he make a stone so large he can't roll it?

Stephen Hawking says that the existence of something creates its own history. In other words, rather than events leading to the existence of something, its existence creates the events leading to it.


The key to success is persistence!

90% of success is always showing up on time.

Ability does not guarantee achievement nor is achievement proportional to ability.

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

50% of success is ability and 50% is random occurrences of otherwise minor events.

Questions:
What is your perception, if any, of God(s)?
I would say I'm an agnostic but it may be more accurate to say I am a pantheist or, perhaps, a Zen Buddhist.
Do you think our memes developed the internet to more widely propagate themselves and to accelerate their evolution?
Meme: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. examples: writing, making biscuits, constructing ships, appendectomy.
Do you think the taxes where you live are too high, too low, or just about right?
Would you be willing to trade fewer government services for lower taxes or higher taxes for more government services?
Do you believe that America has never been richer based on GDP but everyone except the very rich are poorer?
Do you think wealth trickles up or down over the long haul?
What is your opinion of Democratic Socialism as expounded by Bernie Sanders?
Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically -- to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few.
Do you think there is a master plan for mankind? If so, who or what made it and what is it?
Paul Ryan said that Obama messed up the way things were supposed to go. He must know the master plan.
Are you familiar with Keynesian economics?
He said that government should run a deficit to stimulate the economy in hard times and raise taxes to pay down the national debt in good times.
Should the goal of mankind be the conquest of nature or living in symbiosis with nature?
To what extent should we endeavor to protect and preserve our natural environment?
Is Morality Subjective or Objective?
Most of what we generally think of as moral or immoral is subjective. But I think a case can be made that the universe tends toward complexity in the face of entropy so destruction of complex entities except to protect or form more complexity can be immoral objectively. In other words, maybe it is immoral to be the agent of increasing disorder in the universe.
Would you support a guaranteed basic income for everyone?
A basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement.
A man cannot step into the same stream twice. Why not?
It's not the same stream and he's not the same man.
Do you think the future is already set or is it still fluid?
Do we have free will? Is the universe deterministic? Is there a Multiverse?
Should there be a crime without a victim?
A woman driving a car in Saudi Arabia is considered immoral and is a criminal.
Do you think humans occupy a central place in the universe?
Is there other sentient life in the universe?
Do people spend too much time in our society watching screens?
If so, what should they be doing instead?
Do you favor "spoon fed" or "hands on" education?
Lecture or Lab?
Should success of government be judged based on Gross National Product or Gross National Happiness?
Maybe GNH is too subjective a measure on which to base policies to run a country.
Should we wish for our country to be dominant in the future world or to coexist with others in a world consensus?
What about one world government?
Do you get enough sleep, exercise, sex and alone meditation time?
Most people don't.
What is the relationship between sex and death?
See: this article
According to the song lyrics, if I am "standing at the corner of 12th street and Vine", I am in what city for what purpose?
Kansas City. There's some crazy little women there and I'm a gonna git me one.
If I must use Samba, what do you know about my network?
It has both Windows and Linux computers on the same network.
In math "XYZZY" is a mnemonic device to remember what?
Matrix multiplication.
If there is an Orange Catholic Bible in my sietch, where am I?
A character in the science fiction book, "Dune."
Who was the famous son of Phillip of Macedonia?
Alexander the Great
What happened in Italy and Spain from October 5 through October 14, 1582?
NOTHING happened between these dates because they "didn't exist". The Julian calendar ended on October 4 and the Gregorian calendar began the next second as October 15.
Where is the Sea of Moscow?
The Sea of Moscow is located on the dark side of the moon, first viewed by the Luna 3 spacecraft in Oct 1959.
If I have two "eyes", I need not fear "atari". What game am I playing?
Go, Weiqi, Baduk, Igo

One-Liners:

Why you look so sad when the sky is perfect blue?

"Put knot yore truss in spel chequers!"

77.43% of all statistics are made up.

A naked man fears no pickpocket...

A seminar on Time Travel will be held two weeks ago.

Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it.

Barium: What you do with dead chemists.

Circular Definition: see Definition, Circular.

Do not look in laser with remaining eye.

Don't take life too seriously ... it's not permanent.

I bought dehydrated water... but I don't know what to add

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not sure.

I want to live forever. . .so far, so good.

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous!!!!

I just got a new car for my girlfriend....Great trade....

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Life is sexually transmitted, and terminal...

Life is uncertain, so eat dessert first!

New members urgently required for Suicide Club.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Psychic Convention cancelled due to unforeseen problems

Today is the Tommorrow you worried about Yesterday

A procrastinator's work is never done.

A dyslexic agnostic doesn't believe in Dog.                                   

Psychoceramics....The Study of Crackpots                                      

Minds, like parachutes, work only when open.                                  

Bacon & eggs - Hens are involved but pigs are commited.                       

Wagner's music is better than it sounds.                                      

Beware of a half truth; you may be getting the wrong half                     

Democracy: Four wolves and a lamb voting on lunch.                            

Wise people are full of doubts (I think).                                     

Nothing really happens until it happens to you.                               

Why bother phoning a psychic? -  let 'em phone you!                           

Don't assume malice for what stupidity can explain.                           

At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same bag.           

Don't Insult the Alligator till after you cross the river                     

*NOW* is a point in time that is already gone.                                

My mind ain't so open that anything can crawl right in.                       

A conclusion is where you got tired of thinking.                              

Nothing's impossible for those who don't have to do it.                       

History is a set of lies agreed upon by the Victor                            

War never decides who is right, only who is left.                             

Peck! Peck! Peck! ... Boom! .... Chicken in a Minefield.                      

A friend is someone who knows me and likes me anyway.                         

Celibacy is not hereditary.                                                   

Practice random kindness & senseless acts of beauty                           

I started out with nothing. I still have most of it.

Please help me to be patient. And Hurry!                                      

Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home.                     

Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.                     

Just when you think you're winning the rat race, along comes a faster rat.    

The past looks better the farther away you get.                               

The young know the rules, the old know the exceptions.                        

*  Dog for sale:  eats anything and is fond of children.

Kentucky is a very interesting state if you happen to be interested in it.

Nobody ever goes there any more because it's so crowded.

Lake Barkley has saved many lives by people not trying to swim across it.

Do you believe what I used to believe about Kentucky?  Well, it is not true.

"I CAN'T be drowning in African waters!" pleaded Tom, deep in denial.

"I don't have a boyfriend", said Mary guilelessly.

"I killed the Greek piper god", Tom deadpanned.

"It's my maid's night off", said Tom helplessly.

"Oh dear, I forgot to take my pill", said Mary pregnantly.

"Watch out for that buzz-saw!" said Tom offhandedly.

If I'd known grandchildren were so much fun, I'd have had them first.

BLIND WOMAN GETS NEW KIDNEY FROM DAD SHE HASN'T SEEN IN YEARS

The programmer's wife told him to get a gallon of milk. "If they have eggs, 
get a dozen." He came home with 12 gallons of milk. 

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit 
salad. 

Another World's Oldest Man has died. This is beginning to look suspicious. 

Web Links:

Twitter

Tweets

Genealogy

Little History

Life Plan

Humans

Questions

History, Science, Philosophy

A Summary of my Beliefs

My life

Forestry and Accounting

War of the Minds

Old Kentucky Home Page

His first Lemon

Heron, Horse, Calf

Raccoons

Early morning on the farm

Some friends going hunting

Granddaughters

Sisters on the Mediterranean

Music

Videos

Books

The Internet in Real Time


To study something we must learn:

What it is? What is it made of and in what form is it put together?

How was it made and what is its history? Why was it made to start with?
What was its beginning?

What is its purpose now? How does it fit into the grand scheme of things?
What is its expected future? (its telos)

Security:

We have created a world to make ourselves feel insecure rather than secure.
We are afraid that if we cannot find work and spend our lives working for our rulers then we and our family may be homeless and starve to death.
We are taught that others such as Muslims or Mexicans or those of other skin colors or other sexual orientations or different in any way have a desire to harm us.
We seem to feel that our purpose in life is to make others more like ourselves and to eliminate those that we cannot change to be like us.

Conservatives fear change and long for a mythical world from the past when things never changed. They don't seem to realize that if such a world ever existed then it would still exist.

They say, "The world continues to change and that scares us. When will it stop?"

What if we lived in a world in which everyone tried to be accepting of others and to make everyone feel secure?
What if we all were assured of having the basics of life; food, shelter, medical care and education?
What if we either got along with those who were different or, at least, didn't hate and fear them, but simply left them alone as they would leave us alone to live our lives in the way that we thought would make us happiest?

In other words, what if the poorest 99% could live with the same sense of security as do the richest 1%.


People brag that they don't get involved in politics and don't know anything about the issues, that they never could do math, that they don't understand computers, that they don't know anything about science. They act as if they are proud of everything of which they should be ashamed. It seems to me that each person is very fortunate to be a unique conscious being and should want to take advantage of that fact by being the very best he or she can be physically, mentally, morally and socially. I don't know why they would not want to cultivate and work for a strong body, mind, sense of right and relationships with their fellow beings.

It may be that they feel that social relationships are paramount and that since they see others around them whom they perceive as weak physically, mentally and morally, then they must fit in by being or, at least, pretending to be the same. Or it could be that they fear failure and think that they can prevent a sense of failure by setting the bar as low as possible.

Each person has but one life to live and it is a shame to waste such an opportunity.


Time and Money

The majority of Americans, if they had an emergency, do not have $400. If they had to have it they would either have to sell something or borrow the money.

People are most creative when they have time to relax, reflect and think. Most people seldom, if ever, get that time. They are too busy with making a living and the demands of daily life.

These two facts are caused by our economic system which has destroyed the middle class and made life worse for all of us except the one percent.


Notes from the BBC

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, the US last year suffered 372 mass shootings, defined as a single incident that kills or injures four or more people. Some 475 people were killed and 1,870 wounded.

There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. Those figures include occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.

Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted.

The number of gun murders per capita in the US in 2012 - the most recent year for comparable statistics - was nearly 30 times that in the UK, at 2.9 per 100,000 compared with just 0.1.

Of all the murders in the US in 2012, 60% were by firearm compared with 31% in Canada, 18.2% in Australia, and just 10% in the UK.

So many people die annually from gunfire in the US that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. According to research by Politifact, there were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period, compared with 1.2 million US deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to Iraq.

The US spends more than a trillion dollars per year defending itself against terrorism, which kills a tiny fraction of the number of people killed by ordinary gun crime.

According to figures from the US Department of Justice and the Council on Foreign Affairs, 11,385 people died on average annually in firearm incidents in the US between 2001 and 2011.

In the same period, an average of 517 people were killed annually in terror- related incidents. Removing 2001, when 9/11 occurred, from the calculation produces an annual average of just 31.


People can harm other people:

By accident
For greed as in a robbery or in harming someone who is considered to be an economic threat.
Because of disagreements with friends, neighbors, family members, aquaintances, collegues.
For revenge as in the case of someone who is perceived to have wronged oneself or one's friend or family member.
Because of fear because one feels threatened.

In each of these cases one harms a specific person for a specific reason.

But to harm people one doesn't even know without reason except hatred of the group of which they are a part is my definition of terrorism.


14.3 billion years ago - formation of universe
4.5 billion years ago - formation of earth
3.5 to 4.1 billion years ago - life appears
about 550 million years ago animals developed movement and sexual reproduction.
about 530 million years ago mouth with teeth and a digestive system and predators appear.

Sexual reproduction and predation caused an immense increase in the speed of evolutionary change.

The Naked Ape:

The naked ape was one of the random outcomes of the evolutionary process. He then developed a brain that meant he was not only conscious of the world around him but was capable of abstract thought and empathy with his fellow beings.

This led to the development of language and eventually to the written record of his actions, thoughts and discoveries. His culture was able to accumulate and no longer did it die with the individual. This led to technological success and an ability of man to vastly change the world around him.

As an animal, it is essential that man has access to food and water and also to shelter and energy (initially in the form of fire.) As a cultural and technological being he also must have access to health care and education and communication technology. An extra perk of his culture is relatively high speed transportation which is another singular accomplishment among animals and life.

Man, like other animals, has to use the resources of his natural world to supply his needs and wants. To a much greater extent than other animals, he developed the idea of property ownership which means that resources such as land, minerals, and even water, but, so far, not air, can be said to belong to an individual. So we developed an economy based on the idea that some owned resources and, to get the necessities of life, others must bargain with the owners, often by working for them. Work is exchanging a portion of my life for the things I need to live.

We also developed an economic system, Capitalism, which ensured that the wealth of the world would tend to accumulate or "trickle upward" to those who already owned a good portion of it. This meant that the many would be subjugated and dependent on the few who were these wealthy.

The system is based on the idea of exploitation of his environment and of his fellow humans and other living beings by those somehow chosen by the system to be the favored few. Religion, already existing in the absence of science, was molded to support this system by imposing on man's consciousness from birth the idea that the system was one created and imposed, not by other men, but by a God, or superior being.

This system based on Greed, it seems to me, could just as easily have developed, due to man's empathy for others, into a system based on kindness and sharing in which a central tenant was that each person, due to his unique existence, was entitled to the necessities of life and everyone had an obligation to each other to see that no one was left without these basic needs.

When man's cultural evolution began, it snowballed and soon superceded the physical evolution which had prevailed in the world up until then. Greed seems to be an artifact left over from physical evolution which never got replaced by something better in this developing culture.

It is interesting that, due to man's empathy, he has tried at various times and places to soften the excesses of the capitalist system. These efforts took the form of Democratic Socialism in Europe and a similar piecemeal effort of putting band-aids on the wounds in the United States mostly between about 1930 and 1980. After 1980 the conservatives in the U.S. largely eviscerated many of these social programs especially the labor union movement and they suppressed the effects of the minimum wage and cut the funding of other such programs.

It would seem to me that a system based on a Guaranteed Basic Income could be supplemented by a requirement that businesses, once they became a certain size, say 10 or 100 employees, could be required to be run by a board of directors of 9 people, 3 chosen by shareholders, 3 by workers and 3 by consumers with either 4 or 5 of these directors required to be females.


The scout returned to his home world and reported to the ruling body:

"I have found a planet called Earth and it is overflowing with aggressive peoples who have developed nuclear weapons."

A look of horror crossed the leader's face. "Oh my God!", he exclaimed, "Are they and their weapons then a danger to us?"

"No.", answered the scout, "Because they are pointing their weapons at each other."


People have a lot of misconceptions about:

The essence of forest management in Appalachian hardwood forests:

Don't damage the soil or water. Prevent erosion!

Harvest economically mature trees and any damaged trees or trees which will not be of high value in the next harvest in 25 to 40 years.

Cut trees which are skinned or broken during the harvest operation.

Leave good immature trees for the next harvest.

Before harvest about 90% shade. After harvest about 25 to 30% shade.

Before harvest basal area of 80 to 100 square feet. After harvest basal area of 40 to 50 square feet per acre of trees 4" dbh and above.

The goal is to ensure that the next harvest is better than this one.

I think that the key to the universe lies in developing a complete understanding by a consciousness of such concepts as mathematics, evolution, complexity, perspective, patterns, cycles, the nature of matter, energy and time and perhaps a few more. This is probably what has been described as the holy grail of the unified field theory or the TOE (Theory of Everything) or Enlightenment. Perhaps the evolution of such a consciousness is what supports the existence of all that is.

"reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
Albert Einstein

When I was younger, 50 or 60 years ago in the 1950s and 1960s, the world was a very different place than it is today:

The streams and oceans and land and air were cooler and cleaner.

There were about half as many people on earth and twice as much mammalian wildlife.

Clothing and household goods were made mainly from wood, paper, various metals, glass, cotton and wool. There was little plastic and many materials we use often today were non-existent. Many houses were heated by wood stoves or fireplaces and food was often cooked on wood stoves.


Wood burning heating stove


Wood burning cook stove

We had much less variety of foods available and they were more seasonal and locally produced. The first time I ever saw or tasted pizza was when I was 15 or 16 years old and it was about 150 miles from home in a larger city. Small towns did not have chinese restaurants or other exotic cuisine.

Few people had a college education.

No man had ever been in space.

Hospitals were a new thing in small towns as were libraries.

Polio, Tuberculosis, measles, mumps, and chicken pox were common.

There was no birth control pill.

There were drive-in movies but no ATMs.

Music was recorded on records and on reel-to-reel tape. Videos were recorded on 8mm tape.


78 rpm phonograph record


tape deck


8mm home movie projector

There was more economic equality and a man working a full time job could usually support his family providing food, shelter, education, and medical care. Labor went for about 50 cents (farm) to $3.00 per hour (factory) and gas was about 25 cents per gallon. A loaf of bread was about 20 cents. An office call to a doctor was $3.00. A stamp cost 3 cents. A bottle of Coca Cola was 5 cents and a Baby Ruth candy bar was 5 cents. A new car cost about $2,600 and a new house could be built for about $12,000. The top CEO salary in America, GM chairman, was paid $663,000 or about 40 times the annual wage of his average assembly line worker. Now the average CEO pay is $13.8 million per year which is 204 times the average median worker pay of $77,800 per year.

In the 1950s the marginal tax rate for incomes over $200,000 per year ($2 million in today's money) was over 90%. There were no problems with income inequality in America and America was, by far, the economic leader of the world. There was widespread acceptance of this tax structure. Now the rich claim their income is capital gains and pay a 15% tax rate and claim they are overtaxed.

There was less cultural diversity and communities were more insular.

There was more violence in the world and less social interaction.

I did calculations in school with a slide rule and an abacus. The pocket or even small desktop calculator had not been invented.


abacus


Slide Rule

Offices had electric typewriters and schools had mechanical typewriters. People in offices used 100 key calculators. There were no computers and all records were kept on paper.


Royal Companion mechanical typewriter


100 Key Marchant electric desk calculator

Human labor was used in factories. There were no robots. Communication was by mail and telephone.
There was no internet and no cell phones.

Neither the human nor any other genome had ever been sequenced.

Discussion of human sexuality was mostly taboo.

Things my wife's family did not have when she was born in 1946:

Electricity
Refrigerator
Television
Phone
indoor plumbing & bathroom
Computer
Internet
Air Conditioning

They did have a coal heating stove and fireplaces and a wood cookstove.

It seems to me that the history all scientific discovery has tended to remove man from his perceived position in the center of the universe. I would propose that, perhaps, a useful hypothesis would be that theories about the condition of the universe would be more apt to be proven if they did not put man in a unique position in the world. For instance, Richard Dawkins has said that man is in a "middle" position in terms of size or scale as compared to the microscopic world of bacteria or atoms and the macroscopic world of planets and galaxies. I would contend that from the perspective of their size it may be that the denizens of both smaller worlds than ours and also larger worlds might think that they are in a "middle" position. It may be that there are both much smaller entities and much larger entities than we are able to imagine. Lawrence Krauss says that in the long term history of the universe we exist in a small window in which we can see a myriad of stars in the sky because due to the expanding universe, by far most of time will be in darkness due to the distances between the stars. Once again, this seems improbable to me.

I think that we exist in a space-time continuum and that the passage of time is an illusion of our consciousness. I think that we also exist in a continuum of scale in which we don't know how small things may be or how large. For all we know galaxy clusters may be only a small part of some larger entity. I think that we may very much under estimate the implications of relativity, evolution and complexity because we tend to think of such things in relation to ourselves and thus may be unable to appreciate their larger dimensions. I suspect that space and time and complexity are both relative and evolving in ways that we are unable to imagine.

In the end, life is the business of accumulating knowledge of facts and understanding of patterns and making memories of activities and relationships and a general feeling of pride and/or shame at the effect one thinks one's life has had on the condition of the world.

A wicked problem is a problem in which the solution is not straight forward and all possible solutions will have both advantages and disadvantages. The first thing to consider is whether solving the problem is worthwhile. Are the costs of the problem greater than the costs of the solutions? If so, it will almost certainly be true that not one of the possible solutions will be agreed on as the best by all parties involved. In that case one solution may be chosen by a majority or other controlling group. The question then is whether dissenting groups will try to help adjust that solution to make it work as well as possible or whether they will root for the chosen solution to fail because it was not their chosen solution.

During a person's life his brain develops neural pathways which determine such things as his personality, his pattern recognition ability and other parameters of his intelligence. This development is very rapid at first beginning just three weeks after conception and then slows down with perhaps 50% of it done by age 3, 75% by age 10 or 12, 90% by age 20 and 95% by age 30. This is the period of his life when he develops beliefs about how to live his life to prevent things which might hurt him. He learns not to touch a hot stove, not to fall from high places, to swim or avoid water, to brush his teeth each day, to eat fruits and vegetables, to get exercise and how he prefers to get it and other physical things. He might also develop beliefs that he is a sinner and a fear of hell or that he is a Democrat or a Republican or a Catholic or a Jew or a Muslim. He may develop the belief that he should not step on a crack in the sidewalk or that strangers are out to harm him or that he will live longer if he visits a doctor regularly or if he eats an apple daily. He will also develop skills like how to drive a car or how to hit a baseball or how to type or how to cook or to clean or whatever. And he will develop preferences about what types of things he likes to do in life and those he dislikes and will settle in to a lifestyle and perhaps a job or profession and to types of social relationships.

Many habits he develops will not be the most efficient and many of his beliefs will not be based on fact but instead on a fantasy that he has learned from others. However, as he ages, these brain patterns will become hardened and will be increasingly hard to change even if he later learns that they are incorrect or that there are better ways of doing things or better ways to live his life. The world view that he develops will become very important to him as defining who he is and he will very vigorously resist any information which might get him to question or change his world view or his ingrained habits.

This development is influenced by the person's DNA, his environment and random occurrences that happen in his life.

This is how the course of a person's life is determined. He is not born or conceived to do a certain thing or to behave a certain way. He learns these things as his brain and body develop. Some have more mental skills and more imagination than others; some have better physical skills or social skills. Some are happy and some are depressed.

The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.
Acceleration implies the passage of time which is probably an illusion.
I suspect that the density of matter remains the same.
This means either that there is continual creation of matter or perspective of scale changes with this expansion.

From listening to Lawrence Krauss:

Nothing is unstable and it eventually produces something which has energy but the sum of the energy is zero.

A closed universe is produced but it is inflated to a flat universe.

Energy of empty space is equal to the energy of matter.

The universe is the way it is because we are here to be conscious of it.

The multiverse contains only one or some universes with the fine conditions necessary to produce consciousness or consciousness produces the universe.

The arts and the philosophy of science is what makes being human worthwhile.

Stupid businessmen

I have worked with a number of businesses in my lifetime and seen many stupid people running them including:

Those who rule the roost by trying to instill fear for their jobs into their workers.

Those who don't understand accounting and don't pay attention to financial statements.

Those who concentrate on cutting expenses rather than increasing sales.

Those who are unaware of the amount of waste and theft in their business and are thus unable to control them.

Those who give credit too easily and those who won't give credit at all.

Those who keep too much or too little inventory.

Those who refuse to hire anyone smarter than they are.

Those who fear change rather than seeing it as an opportunity.

Tendencies I have noticed in the use of language.

In America people are now using the word "ground" for the word "floor" as in a policeman inside a building telling a perp, "Get on the ground." (Perp rather than criminal or suspect.) I also read a novel written by an Englishwoman and the opposite was used. A policeman arresting a person in the woods said, "Get on the floor."

After 9-11 the word "horrific" replaced the word "horrible" which seems not to be used anymore.

I was taught in school that if you were asked "How are you?", the proper response would be either "I am well." or "I am not well." or "I am sick." Now people answer "I am good." Do they not realize that the opposite of "good" is "bad". Generally the question, "How are you?" refers to the state of your health, not to your moral well being.

I was also taught that it is ineffective to use superfluous words in a sentence. That is, if a sentence will have the same meaning without the word then that word is superfluous in that sentence. examples:

Uptalk. Look it up.

Use of the word "like". "I was like, Wow." Huh?

Over the past few decades, three new ways of reporting speech have appeared:

(1) So Karen goes, "Wow - I wish I'd been there!"

(2) So Karen is like, "Wow - I wish I'd been there!"

(3) So Karen is all, "Wow - I wish I'd been there!"

In (1), goes means pretty much the same thing as said; it's used for reporting Karen's actual words. In (2), is like means the speaker is telling us more or less what Karen said. If Karen had used different words for the same basic idea, (2) would be appropriate, but (1) would not. Finally, is all in (3) is a fairly new construction. In most of the areas where it's used, it means something similar to is like, but with extra emotion. If Karen had simply been reporting the time, it would be okay to say She's like, "It's five o'clock,” but odd to say She's all, "It's five o'clock” unless there was something exciting about it being five o'clock.

Linguists call interjections like “you know” and “like” and “um” and “I mean” and a multitude of others “filler” or “discourse particles” – that is, an unconscious device that serves as a pause in the middle of a sentence as the speaker gathers his or her thoughts but wants to maintain the listener’s attention. However, it would appear that such fillers – which have minimal grammatical or lexical value – have infiltrated daily conversations to such an extent that they threaten to further damage the beauty, power and effectiveness of verbal communication.

Primitive man's major concerns - food, safety, sex, family

Modern man's major concerns - sports, celebrities, religion, politics, social media and relationships, family, work, consumerism, health

Intellectual man's major concerns - nature of the universe, human political and economic power distribution, global warming and other environmental threats

CHANGES:

What kind of animal are we? We came down from the trees and began to stand upright and evolved an opposable thumb and had an explosive growth in brains with their potential to be versatile in learning to manipulate and change our environment and to develop social structures.

We lived in small bands of nomadic hunters and gatherers and roamed the earth in search of the resources needed for survival. The anthropologists tell us that these bands were small enough that everyone knew everyone else and they were egalitarian societies in which they all depended on and helped one another.

That phase ended about 10,000 years ago when we developed agriculture during what is called the neolithic revolution. At that point we settled down and small cities began to develop and the population began to increase. Concepts of property ownership and money and social class developed. Political and economic structures developed and religions became more organized than in our former life. People were thought to be in the upper or leisure class or in the lower or working class.

Memes are cultural ideas and knowledge that we are able to pass around within our world and, with the invention of writing, pass down to future generations. Some of the memes we developed were the ideas of patriotism and organized religion and capitalism and social class and the divine rights of kings and a ruling class.

These memes were unquestioned in the west for over one thousand years after the fall of the Roman empire and the Greek city states until about six or seven hundred years ago with the ideas of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution. Change in Europe took the form of the Protestant revolution against Catholicism and the signing of the Magna Carta and the English Revolution which limited the power of rulers in the 13th to the 17th centuries. Later in the 18th and the 19th century were revolutions in America and in France in which the aim was to establish democratic governments to replace monarchies.

With the industrial revolution in the 19th century, economic power returned to a ruling class in the form of the robber barons and the captains of industry who prevailed until social changes which began after the 1st World War, included the Russian revolution and the rise of the labor movement, and increased with the upheavals of the Great Depression during the 1930s.

During the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and after the 2nd World War a more equal and prosperous and powerful America led the way for the rebuilding of Europe where social and economic pressures led several governments to become democratic socialists limiting the influence of capitalists. This more ideal situation continued until the ruling class regained power in America with the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. The ensuing government policies led to more inequality and to the Great Recession of 2008. That and the political changes of the Nixon administration led to the polarized and dysfunctional society which we have today. This society seems completely unable to cope with the twin threats of global warming and increasing economic inequality.

Solutions, if they are to come, must include much more widespread education and reliance on science and probably a guaranteed basic income, perhaps, tied to some type of required public service. This can only occur if the power of the ruling class can be suppressed to some degree. It must be realized that both major political parties in the United States have as their goal the preservation of the capitalist system and the resulting upper or ruling class and its increasing hoarding of wealth and power. They differ in that the Republicans feel that the upper classes can be enriched by cutting expenses by further impoverishing the working class and the Democrats feel that a more educated, healthier and more secure working class will be more efficient at producing wealth increasing income for the upper classes leading to even more wealth and power for that class.

Creation:

Complexity is created by repeating patterns with random variation in the least significant decimal places.

This describes fractals and chaos theory.

When complexity becomes life, selection is by survival of the fittest.

When life develops consciousness and cognitive skills, social and technological evolution begins.

Social and technological evolution tends toward a cyborg-like singularity.

The results of this remains to be known.

The recognition and appreciation of this process and the sensation of existing in its presence and as a part of it can give one a sublime sense of bliss, ecstasy, joy, peace, serenity, tranquility and enlightenment.

If the world in which we exist can be viewed as a projection of the results of solving series of mathematical equations, then it can be assumed that some of these results will be irrational numbers. If that is true then the universe can not be deterministic because irrational numbers allow for random variation in some least significant decimal place.

That is how "God plays dice with the universe."

Basic tenets of orthodox capitalism:

Some people deserve more than others.
(Capitalists say that's because they are smarter and work harder.)

Natural resources were created to be the property of those who deserve them.
(Capitalists say that property ownership is the incentive for them to develop those resources for use of mankind.)

Inferior people are meant to serve superior people.
(Capitalists say the system only works because we all work together and some have to be leaders.)

Those inferior people who do not serve superior people have little worth.
(Capitalists say that everyone should pull their own weight.)

Basic tenets of orthodox western religions:

People are sinners but can be saved if they are willing to believe what the priests tell them.
(Clerics say that this is the word of God.)

People should not question the stories they have been taught.
(Clerics say that this is the word of God.)

The world is as it should be and people should not try to change the way it operates.
(Clerics say that God created the world as it is and man should not question his wisdom.)

Our beliefs are the only correct beliefs and those who believe otherwise are wrong and, perhaps, evil.
(Clerics say they are following the word of God and therefore others must not be following his word.)

Basic tenets of orthodox patriotism:

Our group is superior to other groups.
(That's because it is the group of which we are a part.)

Our people deserve more than others because others are not as "good" as we are.
("good" is an undefined term but it generally means that we are cleaner or smarter or stronger or more honest.)

If we cannot convert others to our ways then, perhaps, those others should not exist.
(Because they might at some time think that maybe we should not exist.)

If our leaders believe as we do then their leadership should not be questioned.
(Because to question them would be disloyal. However, if they do not believe as we do then they are to be resisted.)

Complexity

There is what is.
Its fundamental characteristic is change. It is not static.
It tends to sometimes clump and therefore to flash in to and often out of existence.
Clumps tend to attract more clumps and form structures.
There are patterns of structures such as symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks and stripes.


Patterns in Nature

Patterns in nature:

There is a ladder of complexity and consciousness:


What is tends to replicate and change, but sometimes imperfectly.
Most imperfect replications cannot support their own existence or cannot replicate.
Some can.
There can be islands in the chaos.
Structures, at least if sufficiently complex, can be conscious of their existence.
Structures can develop specialization and division of labor as an imperfection in replication.
This can be an advantage in survival and in replication.
That is the process by which a complex being comes to exist.

Space is curved, not flat, and can have more than 3 dimensions and dimensions can be fractional.
Time is an artifact of space and change which is intrinsic to existence.
Numbers can be irrational and thus change can be unpredictable due to the "butterfly" effect of differences in less significant decimal places.
Shapes are defined by iterating equations in a feedback loop which is fractal geometry.
Physics is based on quantum theory, Newtonian physics is a special case of quantum mechanics.
Self-similarity is symmetry across scale. It implies recursion. This seems to describe the universe in which we exist.

See "cellular automata."
Convergence means that many initial conditions tend to evolve to a few ending patterns so that the ending pattern does not tell you the initial conditions.
Neither does the starting state predict the ending pattern due to the "butterfly" effect.
Many initial conditions lead to extinction.
Others lead to chaos.
Only a few lead to complex patterns.

Information is not coded in single neurons but in networks and patterns of neural activation which means the human brain can do parallel processing and fuzzy pattern recognition whereas computers are only good at sequential analytical processing.

Fractal genes are genes which contain instructions which are scale free. They generate simple patterns.

Because fractals represent a midway point between randomness and predictability, DNA's fractal structure may represent a compromise between encoding the maximum amount of information, while still being extremely resilient to damage...."

Among the more unorthodox biologists interested in fractal mathematics was University of Virginia-trained anatomist and cell biologist Dr. Bruce H. Lipton. He developed a theory of the evolution of consciousness.
DNA supplies the parts for cells. The IMP (integral membrane protein) unit in the cell membrane is the stimulus-response mechanism which regulates the cellular functions and, Lipton believes, is the source of consciousness. By consciousness, we refer to a process that occurs in any organism, from the prokaryotic cell to the human being--the process of receiving signals (from outer environment and inner domain) and translating those signals into appropriate biological responses.

Another important implication of fractal biology and evolution is that at long last, we have solid support for the Gaia hypothesis that the planet is one organism. The human being is a fractal of the single cell, the planet is a fractal of the human being. If existence is structured along fractal lines, then it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Earth is a single organism.

Emergent complexity:
Small number of simple rules for how very large numbers of simple participants react.
examples: flock of birds flying - cells in human body - Ants finding shortest paths to food sources by following pheromone trails.
Bees dance longer to give distance and direction to food source depending on desirabilility of the source so more other bees bump into them because they are dancing longer and therefore more bees go to more desirable sources.
A simple set of attraction and repulsion rules can result in an optimum arrangement of complex structures. So planning by computer simulation.
examples of attraction-repulsion - electromagnetic, gravitational, chemical
Life can appear by this process.

In brain development neuron nodes make connections by a similar set of simple rules. An optimum efficiency system depends on large numbers of connections to nearby neurons with occasional connections to far away neurons. In autistic individuals there are fewer long distance connections as opposed to nearby connections. Females have more long connections than men.

Amazon's book reviews and recommendations based on reader recommendations and actions is emergent complexity based on the wisdom of the crowd rather than experts.
Wikipedia is the same. These systems tend to encourage conformity and discourage innovation. This is called "swarm intelligence".

The system works without an overall plan simply by following those simple rules.

Humans are basically like other forms of life but we have more neurons than other species. - swarm intelligence
With enough quantity you can develop quality. Our civilization depends on cooperation among large numbers of us.

More random interactions result in more adaptive networks because more random noise gives the selection process more options. Enough random noise gives the natural selection process enough options that complexity can develop.

Gradients provide optimization. In other words, input sources should be weighted.

Generalists are more efficient in swarm intelligence than specialists.

To study complexity explore:
Chaos theory, fractal patterns, evolution, imperfect replication, networks, butterfly effect, emergent complexity, swarm intelligence.
Emergence and complexity by Professor Robert Sapolsky - Stanford
Probability and uncertainty - Richard Feynman

Human intelligence depends on more neurons and more neural connections.
Quality comes from quantity. Bottom up thinking and control.
Explains why democracy can be expected to work better than alternatives.
All of us are smarter than any of us.
The whole is greater than the sum of its constitutents.

Complexity masks an underlying simplicity.

Random evolution tends to converge toward the most efficient complex systems due to persistence of the most efficient mutations.

Things flash into and out of existence but due to the presence of "error" in the universe some are more persistent. All things proceed from there.

We are unable to comprehend the complexity of the universe because it is beyond anything in our direct experience. To do so requires more imagination than that of which most of us are capable. Our thinking processes and our vocabulary are based on our evolution to adapt to the environment in which we developed. We evolved to see the world in the way that would best help us to survive and produce children and grandchildren, not necessarily in the way it really is. Therefore we have no tools to understand the greater universe beyond that with which we have some familiarity. For instance, we see a stone as a hard rigid object, not as a conglomeration of atoms constantly in motion. We see the sun as a light in the daytime sky which also produces heat, not as a nuclear furnace which is the center of a solar system of planets. We see the earth as flat, not as a sphere.

Perhaps, we perceive the world as limits in an infinite sea.
One of the consequences of differentiation in "what is" is consciousness.
Could "what is" be conscious without differentiation?

Conservative beliefs

A "tea partier" and Trump supporter explained that:

He is against government control of people's freedoms and believes that abortion and gay marriage should be illegal and believes that everyone should be required to stand for the national anthem and no one should be allowed to burn the flag and that school days should start with the teacher leading the class in a Christian prayer and that the Ten Commandments should be posted in all schools and government buildings and that people should not have health care or food or shelter or education unless they work to pay for them and foreigners should be kept out of our country.

Obviously he sees no contradiction in his beliefs.

I think that he doesn't see as significant, problems that should be of concern to the average voter. Such things as:

I expect he would be bored with politics and tune out if any politicians actually tried to discuss these subjects.

Perspective:

Intelligent people have a sense of perspective. They know, for instance, that numbers only have meaning in perspective.

What if I say that 2,596,993 people died in the United States in one year?

Maybe these numbers will be more meaningful if I give you some more numbers to put them in perspective.

For instance, what if I tell you that 8.15 people per 1000 people died in the United States that year while 17.49 per 1,000 died in South Africa.

The population of the United States was 318,857,056

364,562 died due to coronary heart disease.
54,835 died from influenze and pneumonia
31,958 died from falling.
34,852 died due to traffic accidents.
42,769 died from suicide.
42,065 were poisoned.
15,803 were murdered.
3,404 drowned
3,933 starved to death
7,901 died from the effects of alcohol.

In 2014 there was widespread panic in the United States when 2 people died due to ebola contracted in Africa. There was widespread fear and demands to stop the disease. There was relatively little concern in the news media and the general populace about the other causes of death listed above.

In and since 2013 there has been widespead fear of deaths caused by terrorism. In 2013 there were 21 deaths due to terrorism and 33,636 due to gun violence -- homicide, accident and suicide. Other than the almost 3,000 people killed by terrorists in the United States in 2001, the relative statistics have been similar to 2013 each year since then with number of deaths from terrorism generally declining and number of deaths due to gun violence generally increasing.


In 2013, there were 73,505 nonfatal firearm injuries (23.23 per 100,000 U.S. citizens); 11,208 homicides (3.5 per 100,000); 21,175 suicides; 505 deaths due to accidental/negligent discharge of a firearm; and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with "undetermined intent", included in a total of 33,636 deaths due to "Injury by firearms", or 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

This is an example of how, if numbers are reported, then it is necessary to also give enough facts to be able to put those numbers into perspective. Please notice in stories that you hear from the news media, how often the story includes raw numbers without any additional information for perspective. In my opinion this is irresponsible journalism, but it does lend itself to sensationalism.

Here are a few other examples of perspective:

Warren Buffett is so rich that him spending $700,000 is the equivalent of the average American buying a can of Sprite.

If the Milky Way galaxy were the size of the United States, our solar system would be the size of a quarter.

If an atom were the size of an NFL football stadium then the nucleus would be the size of a pea at the 50 yard line.

Walmart's cost and operating expenses are similar to those of the total of the four largest states, New York, California, Texas and Illinois. It's 4,600+ U.S. stores occupy enough space for 11,800 football fields. It's 2.2 million employees is a bigger work force than any Army in the World except China's. The United States military is less than 1.5 million people.


1.3 billion years ago the only life on Earth was composed of simple single cells floating in the oceans. At that time two black holes collided and merged. These two black holes were 1.3 billion light years from Earth. This collision sent gravitational waves propagating throughout the universe at the speed of light. Therefore 1.3 billion light years later at 9:50 a.m. on the 14th of September 2015 these waves reached Earth.

By that time the simple life on Earth had evolved into the species Homo sapiens and that species had developed brains and bodies which were capable of changing the environment on Earth. This species had built observatories in Louisiana and in Washington state that were capable of detecting such faint gravitational waves. As the gravitational wave passed through the Earth, it changed the length of a four-kilometer (a little over two miles) tube by just ten thousandth of the width of a proton, equivalent to detecting a change in the distance to the nearest star by the width of a hair.

At its peak, the energy of the gravitational waves produced by this cataclysmic event was 50 times greater than the combined power of all the light radiated by all the stars in the observable universe. Effectively the mass of three Suns was converted to raw energy.

The black holes were orbiting each other at a distance of only 350 km. Over a 200 millisecond period the orbital velocity of the black holes increased from 30% of the speed of light to 60% of the speed of light and the process was completed in those 200 milliseconds.

The signal of the wave was received in Washington 7 milliseconds after it was received in Louisiana, the amount of time it takes for light to travel from one lab to the other.

The existence of such waves had been predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1916. If you consider the implications of these facts you may have a greater sense of perspective of the scale of the universe in which we live and of the power of the human brain, at least when it is contained in the head of Albert Einstein and others smart enough to design these laboratories.


Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, has a net worth of about $75 billion. In general the rich receive about a 5.5% annual return on their investments while the general economy only grows at about 3.5%. According to Thomas Piketty in "Capital in the 21st Century", this means that the percentage of total wealth owned by the rich will continue to increase while the wealth owned by the rest of us will decrease.

There are 29 US billionaires who rank among the 50 richest on earth, and they command a whopping $938 billion between them. More and more of the richest people are rich due to inherited wealth.

The 1,810 billionaires in the world have an aggregate net worth of $6.5 trillion. There are said to be about 17 to 35 million millionaires in the world. The higher number includes all family wealth including primary residences and the lower number includes only the investable assets of individuals.

There are between 7 and 8 billion people in the world. This means that, at best, 99.5% of the people in the world are worth less than a million dollars.

The gap between the rich and poor can be illustrated by the fact that the three wealthiest individuals in the world have assets that exceed those of the poorest 10 percent of the world's population.

5.5% of a billion dollars is $55 million.
It seems reasonable to me that a man could support his family in lavish style with an income of about $150,000 per year. At a 5.5% return on investment he would need investments of less than $3 million to expect this income.

1,821,745 Households in the United States Have Investment Portfolios Worth $3,000,000 or More. So, of the 320 million people in the U. S., about 318 million are unable to afford this lifestyle.

According to Bill Moyers the top 430 CEOs in America have an average income that is about 335 times that of the average worker.


There are about 86 people in the United States per square mile.

World average population of the one hundred most populous countries is about 142 per square mile with a range from 8 in Australia to 2,904 in Bangladesh.


When you hear a statement such as:
"It is hot today!"
or
"He is a good man!"
Ask yourself a series of questions to evaluate that statement and keep it in perspective.

Questions such as:
Relative to what?
What are the consequences if the statement is true?
What are the consequences if the statement is untrue?
What are the consequences if the opposite of the statement is true?
What is the evidence for the truth of the statement?
Does it seem possible or likely that the statement is true?
Might the statement be a partial truth?
Is the statement a new and unique truth or is it already a matter of common knowledge?
How significant or important is the truth of this statement?

Voters:

I thought about the results of the recent presidential election and the 18 months of campaigning leading to it and the types of voters involved.

First, I decided that there are two kinds of people in this world:

  1. Those who analyse the world by trying to divide and sub-divide and classify it. It might be obvious that I am one of them.
  2. Those who don't, who are themselves of two kinds; those who see the world as a unified whole and don't try to divide and sub-divide and classify it and those who simply don't think about it.

Anyway, there seem to be four types of voters involved:

1. Conservative Tea-Party Trump supporters.
These are people who have a world view based on the idea that there is a proper condition of the world usually due to some creation deity and that that condition is the world of "Ozzie and Harriet" of their imagination. Theirs is a world of work and family and religion and sports and guns and social media and ideals of rugged individualism. It includes the ideas of chosen peoples and ethnic superiority and American Exceptionalism and subjugation of females. They get their ideas from charismatic leaders that they have chosen to follow. In general, these leaders tell them to fear that their imaginary world is in danger due to the "others", those outside of their group who are bent on destroying them. These leaders are generally con men who first get their followers to fear and then convince them that they can only be saved by believing what they are told by these leaders. These voters may feel economically disadvantaged because they are told that they are the chosen ones but they can see that others have much more wealth and power than they do. They believe that they must work to live but due to technological advances and automation and low pay scales there are not enough good paying jobs available to them to be able to support their families. Their problem is that some of those with the wealth and power are the leaders they follow. This can make them angry and frustrated. So the leaders divert this anger to the "Outsiders" by telling these gullible voters that those others are the cause of their condition.
2. More or less moderate establishment Democrats and some Republicans typified by such people as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Colin Powell.
These are people who support the ideas of capitalism, patriotism and, at least to some extent, religion. They support the status quo with some differences among them as to fiscal policies. They agree that an oligarchic government should exist to support business but they may disagree as to how much of the returns of business should be allocated to profit for the rulers and how much should be allocated to the welfare of the lower classes.
3. Progressive Democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
These are people who have mostly considered the condition of the world and decided that there are problems with inequalities of wealth and power distribution among people and that there are threats to human existence due to man's effect on Earth and the environment in which he lives.
4. Underdogs or outsiders who are deemed to be and see themselves as such.
This is usually because of their skin color or their accent or their immigrant status or because they are homeless or disabled and often unemployed.

And, of course, there are the apathetic, usually uninformed, non-voters as well as those not allowed to vote because of age or felon status or citizenship status or even lack of proper identification.

The 2016 U. S. Presidential election seemed to indicate that a charismatic leader of the first group can generate more enthusiasm to vote, based on fear and blind obedience among his uncritical followers, than is often exhibited by the other three groups. He can also generate doubts about other candidates among all these voters based on lies and innuendo endlessly repeated.

Generally the voters of the first group above are not well educated, followers rather than critical thinkers, mostly uninformed about the nuances of scientific and political issues, childlike believers in fantasy and fairy tales, looking for a shining knight on horseback to save them from the fears they perceive.


It would be nice if politicians had enough imagination to consider a future based on the state of our culture and our technology and the directions in which we are heading and try to convert our government and economy to those which we hope will give us our best future lives.

What do we hope for the future?

Maybe:

Beliefs:

Progressive Democrats and Democratic Socialists miss the point.

The point is that the people of the world could have political beliefs based on a culture of kindness and sharing rather than on tribalism and greed and rather than trying to reform a system based on capitalism people must realize that advances in technology have made the concept of survival based on work for others obsolete and we must advance into a new world based on universal rights to food, shelter, health care and education and an economic system based on cooperatives rather than capitalist corporations. This could best be implemented by means of a Universal Basic Income rather than a piecemeal approach based on labor rights and minimum wages and a myriad of social programs; freedom to work rather than work by necessity.

Our present system is based on several propositions accepted without question by about everyone.

These include:

Suppose one were to question these beliefs?

What if not everyone needs to get married. Maybe some can be single and promiscuous or even celibate or live with another of the same or opposite sex or with a group of others.

What if there can be a satisfying life without children?

Who says we are meant to work?

The lords say it to the peasants.

The masters say it to the slaves.

The captains of industry say it to the employees.

There is pleasure in creating something and thus enhancing self esteem.

There is the necessity of living and providing for a family.

There is nothing wrong in playing, loafing, socializing and meditating.

Maybe the work ethic is a hoax meant to encourage the poor to empower and enrich the rulers.

Maybe patriotism is a form of brain washing as is religion. Maybe the purpose of teaching you these concepts in school and church is to get you to accept the established order and believe that everything is as it should be. Maybe the secret that must be kept hidden is the extent to which the ruling elite in business and religion and politics controls wealth and power and by doing so controls your life.

A country is not a thing to love. It is a cooperative agreement among peoples which is designed to give more advantages than disadvantages to most. It should be approached as one would approach his dentist or his dry cleaner. "I will be loyal to you as long as you give me better service than I think I can get from others. But I do not love you."

Love is reserved for families and pets and places in which one grows up or lives and the natural world in which one lives.

If one thinks he is supposed to love a country or a religion or a god, he has been brain washed. Maybe there is no God and maybe other countries may be better in some ways than the one in which you live.


Things men have believed:
The Earth is flat.
There are Gods and they watch over men.
Blood letting can be the cure for many diseases and ailments.
The purpose of Life is having children.
Our nation is the best.
Apollo carts the sun across the sky.
Grass was made for animals to eat.
There is an economic system that is favored by nature.
Monogamy is superior to other mating systems.
A rock is the opposite of empty space.
There is an afterlife.
There is a plan for the universe.
Witches can fly.

If it is obvious that many things men have believed in the past are untrue, then it should be equally obvious that, in the same way, many of the things we believe now are probably untrue.

Beliefs and language are intertwined. Language is necessary not only to articulate beliefs but probably also to flesh them out and make them more concrete rather than amorphous. By pigeon holing experiences, language permits us to manage them.

Believing that things are a certain way has the unintended consequence of preventing us from seeing them as they might truly be. To free ourselves from the constraints of beliefs it is necessary to first list as many of our beliefs as we can and then consider why we believe these things, what those beliefs imply and the possiblity that they are not true and the consequences if our beliefs are untrue or only partially true.

Use of language allows us to catagorize and describe abstractly rather than forcing us to experience. It is the difference between reading about the Grand Canyon or watching a video about it as opposed to taking a muleback tour of the canyon.

Preconceptions overly-civilize our primordial nature. The ideas and beliefs we hold suppress spontaneous curiosity and the sense of awe. We easily become preoccupied with thinking how life should be, and this hinders noticing life as it is. This leaves us feeling disconnected from Nature.

Preconceptions mislead us. Our judgment is never impartial, for we can’t untangle our preconceptions from our emotions — our likes and dislikes. This innate ‘genetic bias’ impedes all attempts to understand life, regardless of our presumptive beliefs to the contrary. Oblivious to our own ignorance, we jump to conclusions and go to extremes as we cope with life seeking contentment.

  1. Earth’s Gods are man-made and fictional.
  2. Humans are complex organisms evolved through causal physical processes, and ultimately lack free will.
  3. We, as humans and animals on Earth, share a common origin and share insignificance at the scale of the universe

danielmiessler.com

5 Popular Beliefs that are Holding Humanity Back

5 That We're Fulfilling a Prophecy
(In an era when things are going better than ever, we all assume it's about to fall apart. And we also vote accordingly. Check out any poll about what issues voters are most worried about. At the top you find things like the economy, health care, and the situation in the Middle East. What you find waaaay down at the bottom (if at all) are issues about the environment, natural resources, and education. Because those things only affect the future world our children will live in, and that world is a savage wasteland anyway. It has been foretold, either by the Bible or by RoboCop.)

4 That the Ghost of a Different Person Is Living Inside Us
(This idea of the "ghost in the machine" lets us excuse anything we do (or more importantly, not do) and invent an identity for ourselves that has nothing to do with reality. "Sure, I've got six domestic battery convictions on my record, but it's not like I'm some wife beater." "I know I haven't been completely honest with you, but don't treat me like I'm some kind of liar." "Yeah, I took the sales job to make ends meet, but I'm not some salesman.")

3 That Evil Is Something We Can Kill
("Evil" is this nebulous collection of bad impulses and short-term, selfish behavior that exists in all of us.)

2 That Most of the Humans in the World Aren't People
(Only those who are most like us are people.)

1 That Being Smart Means Believing in Nothing
(You need something to be in awe of. You, the person reading this. If you don't have something, you'll create it. You'll obsess over a girl or a guy, you'll obsess over money, you'll obsess over World of Warcraft. You will be defined by what you choose to worship, but you will worship something, and your whole life will be a steady parade of various people trying to convince you that they or their product are just the thing to fill that void.)


False equivalence:

You can’t make outrageous claims as to the nature of reality without providing evidence, and then attempt to share equal ground with those who simply dismiss you as silly.


"The closest relative of the chimp is the human. Not orangs, but people. Us. Chimps and humans are nearer kin than are chimps and gorillas or any other kinds of apes not of the same species."
-Carl Sagan

Beliefs.htm web page.

Egocentric Effect:
It’s the tendency of humans to avoid the responsibility of failure and to take credit for success because we have an uncanny habit to experience our life via a self-centered filter.

Semmelweis Reflex is defined as the automatic rejection of new concepts, considering them as a contradiction over conventional norms.

Pareidolia:
This cognitive bias is a psychological phenomenon in which the brain of a human interprets purposeful patterns. We often can see patterns where there are none.

The Monte Carlo Fallacy
This truism of probability states that people always predict future scenarios on the basis of the current situation but future deviations can change things greatly. If you follow the policy of “I can’t quit now, my luck’s about to change,” then beware, because your luck can change in either direction.

One of the most freakishly bothering tendencies of human belief, the Illusory Superiority occurs when people consider themselves far better and superior than others.

Reactivity:
We all wear many hats and which hat we wear at any particular time is influenced by those around us at that time.

Status Quo Bias:
In this cognitive bias, we prefer ‘familiar’ and prefer things to stay the same as they were earlier. Status Quo creates a comfort zone in your life which is inhabited by your same daily routine without change.

Just-World Hypothesis:
The world is just and people get what they deserve.

Governments and Power

Man is a social animal. That means that he tends to band together with other men. I'm sure that originally in a state of nature these bands were based on sexual reproduction. That is that bands were often made up of people related by blood and marriage and also by friendship and those related to them by blood and marriage. So bands consisted of fathers and mothers and children and brothers and sisters and ancestors and their offspring and also of the stranger who was accepted into the band and soon became a part of the family, usually by marriage and of his offspring and relations.

After the neolithic revolution as these bands settled in one place and became bigger so that not everyone knew all the others in the band forms of government developed. This meant that there was a structure or hierarchy of authority and rules for the society were developed in a more formal way than had existed in smaller primitive nomadic bands. These governments were necessary first to protect the members of the society from outsiders by means of a military and also to protect members from each other by developing a set of rules or laws and a mechanism for enforcing these rules. Second, governments develop rules for property ownership and money to enable commerce. They also support an infrastructure in terms of roads and water supplies, and other public utilities and public buildings to support both their protective and their commerce functions. Thirdly, governments support systems of public health care and education both to protect the members of the society and to make their commerce more efficient. Fourth governments may take on such responsibilities for their citizens as protecting their welfare in terms of making sure they have access to food and shelter.

So that is why, when someone demands that the government stay out of his life, that is just stupid. If he wants the government out of his life he must separate himself from the society and its rules and its protections. Very few actually want to do that and if they did they would not be in the society to protest it.

So that is why an economic system exists only in a rudimentary way in primitive bands but modern complex economic systems are actually only a set of rules developed and enforced by governments. If I own a house and lot it is only because governments have supported the right of property ownership and set up central recordings of deeds to know who owns what and systems of laws and law enforcement to keep someone else from taking what I claim as mine. If I can spend money to buy something I want or need it is only because a government has set up definitions for what is money and rules of commerce.

This showcases the stupidity of those who claim that there is a natural economic system with which governments should not interfere.

A major problem with this system is that the rules set up by governments can be fair to all or they can be biased to give economic and other advantages to a favored group such as friends of those in power or a certain religious group or a certain race or a certain gender or whatever. This bias can be overt and on purpose or it can be an unanticipated consequence of rules that, on first glance, seem fair and unbiased.

A common effect of this type of social interaction is establishment of a social or political or economic class structure with some usually relatively small groups having inordinate wealth or power over a larger group of more disadvantaged people. Although it can be demonstrated that a more fair system is more stable and more efficient, those who have the advantage usually are in favor of the status quo which puts them on top of the heap and often have the power to prevent changing of the rules to ensure more equality.

In general human societies tend to become structures of inequalities of wealth and power in which a minority of the rich and powerful control a much larger majority of the disadvantaged and relatively powerless by means of myths of religion and patriotism and distortions of history and reality.

For instance we are taught, and mostly believe, that we live in a democracy although it is actually an oligarchy. We are taught that our past is a history of morality and heroism although actually we are descended mostly from the disadvantaged and powerless and unwanted dregs of european society many of whom came to the New World as indentured servants or captured slaves and who then built a society based on genocide of the native peoples and the labor of slaves.

We are taught, and mostly believe, that we live in a just and ordered world ruled by a loving God although actually it is a world red in tooth and claw of greed and violent power struggles based on the survival of the fittest formed in the chaos of a disordered universe.

We live in a world in which we think it is natural that a man should support his family by laboring for other more powerful and favored rulers and that by doing so he earns the right to the necessities of life. We are taught that if he is not one of the favored of society it is due to a defect in his character or to his desire to live in poverty.

This is as opposed to a more ideal world of less inequality and based on kindness and sharing as opposed to greed and arrogance, a world in which everyone has a right to a social structure which will give security and support to all. At the least, a breadwinner working a full time job (25 to 40 hours per week) should be able to earn enough to support a family.

Instead, as inequality increases in society, prices increase without corresponding increases in wages and people are forced to have more than one breadwinner in a family and then to work longer hours and then to borrow against whatever assets they have (usually their equity in their family home) resulting in a debt bubble and then an increase in the homeless and the hungry, all to support the rich having incomes, often as much as 300 to 1,000 times as much as the median wage earner, more than he needs to live and even more than he can even spend. These people tend to accumulate wealth, not out of necessity, but simply out of greed and for the power it affords them and a pathological obsession with hoarding wealth and power.

We are told that the rich are the job creators in this economic structure although jobs are actually created by the purchasing power of a large middle class and by the poor. We are taught that the poor are parasites on the society, although actually the rich are much more parasitic than the poor.

People generally believe these myths because of lack of critical thinking skills which might lead them to question what they are told. That is why the rich have a problem. Many of them want their workers to be as efficient as possible which requires education. But education tends to enhance those critical thinking skills which might lead those workers to question the myths of society and thus might imperil the positions of the powerful because, as a group, the poor and the middle class have much more power than their rulers. The rulers rule by preventing the subjugated realizing the true situation and by claiming that the problems of the poor are due to other poor people unlike themselves or to factors in society other than economic inequality and by obscuring the extent of the inequality that exists.

The Function of the Middle Class

Many of the rich are often greedy, stupid and arrogant enough that they do not realize that the middle class is necessary as a buffer between the rich and the poor both to provide a market for and to supply skills to the rich and to give the poor hope. A huge class of the poor without hope will rise up in successful revolution against the rich. If large inequalities of wealth are to be supported, so must a middle class. Greed, excessive enough to destroy the middle class, will lead to revolution.

A Bleak Future?

One can read "A People's History" or watch the news and the Trump Administration or the machinations of the oligarchs and the religious leaders and the politicians and conclude that it may be a necessary or essential condition of humanity that we are greedy, arrogant, violent, hypocrites.

However, if one reads Ryan's "Sex at Dawn" and the writings of several anthropologists one finds that there are and have been many societies in the world to which one could not fairly apply those adjectives.

Then one could argue that since these more altruistic societies are rare and certainly not dominant in the world then maybe the forces of both natural and social evolution favor the former.

I would argue that the existence of the second type of society, however rare, does prove that they are possible and therefore a worthy goal to which we can aspire and, more importantly, seek. I would further argue that if we do not do this then the prospects for the future of humanity as we know it and for a natural environment hospitable to the more evolved forms of animal life are, indeed, bleak.

The real question is, "Do we have the free will and intelligence necessary to seek such changes or are we bound to a predestined future?"

Notes from watching a Daniel Dennett Video

The major developments of Life:

  1. Eukaryotes:
    Living things have evolved into three large clusters of closely related organisms, called "domains": Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota. Archaea and Bacteria are small, relatively simple cells surrounded by a membrane and a cell wall, with a circular strand of DNA containing their genes. They are called prokaryotes.

    eukaryotic revolution - cells containing organelles from other engulfed cells and a nucleus enclosed within a membrane. Eukaryotes can reproduce both asexually through mitosis and sexually through meiosis and gamete fusion. In mitosis, one cell divides to produce two genetically identical cells. In meiosis, DNA replication is followed by two rounds of cell division to produce four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes as the original parent cell (haploid cells). These act as sex cells (gametes – each gamete has just one complement of chromosomes, each a unique mix of the corresponding pair of parental chromosomes) resulting from genetic recombination during meiosis.

    The domain Eukaryota appears to be monophyletic, and so makes up one of the three domains of life. The two other domains, Bacteria and Archaea, are prokaryotes and have none of the above features. Eukaryotes represent a tiny minority of all living things. However, due to their much larger size, eukaryotes' collective worldwide biomass is estimated at about equal to that of prokaryotes. Eukaryotes first developed approximately 1.6–2.1 billion years ago (during the Proterozoic eon).


    Click for larger version

  2. Sex - Reproduction by meiosis mixing genetic material from two individuals
  3. Multicellularity (and cell differentiation)
  4. Language development
  5. Human Culture (art, religion, politics, science, engineering ...)


Evolution can build complex organisms without understanding anything.

The CPU of a computer can make very complex calculations without understanding anything.

Natural design is by the process of evolution based on imperfect reproduction and survival of the fittest.

How boats are made better. Make a boat and send it to sea. If it comes back copy it but perhaps not perfectly. Over time this process will cause the evolution of boats to better and better boats.

Consciousness is not the cause of natural design. It is the effect.

Consciousness is the first intelligent designer.

Free floating rationale - our bodies perform all kinds of functions without our conscious direction for reasons which we may not know and do not need to know. We are not even aware of many of these functions.

We are apes with infected brains - infected by memes. Memes are information which depend on living brains to reproduce.

Viruses are not alive. They are just strands of nucleic acid with attitude.

Evolution requires fidelity in reproduction but reproduction cannot be perfect else evolution will not occur.

In embroynic development many more neurons are formed than survive. Those that are not in the right place at the right time to form connections do not survive.

Cultural evolution has moved from Darwinian evolution to evolution of memes over a period of several thousand years.

Evolution of Language:

3 types of memes

Meme evolution creates adaptations that enhance the fitness of memes.
They do not necessarily enhance humans.

Memes developed the Internet as a method to more efficiently reproduce memes.

Unlike other species, humans do not think that the ultimate purpose of life is to have more grand children than others. That is because their brains are full of memes and those memes make the survival and reproduction of memes the highest priority.

Use genetic algorithms for design by using computers to evolve designs. An example is electric sheep.

"Over billions of years, on a unique sphere, chance has painted a thin covering of life - complex, improbable, wonderful and fragile. Suddenly we humans ... have grown in population, technology, and intelligence to a position of terrible power: we now wield the paintbrush."
Paul MacCready

Another great technology transfer:

Invasion of human brains by symbiotic thinking tools.
memes. (Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976)
We don't inherit them via our genes.
We don't have to design them ourselves.
Nobody has to design them.

Hate Groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are now, in early 2017, 917 hate groups operating in the United States. As I understand it, a hate group is a group of people who get together for the sole purpose of hating and perhaps planning harm to another group of people usually based on race or religion or sexual orientation or gender or ethnicity.

There are a lot of things that people can spend their lives doing such as working, loving, having fun, sleeping, learning and much more. We each have only one life and we, at least to some extent, get to decide how we will use it. I have trouble understanding how some people can decide that it is the best use of their only life to spend much of it hating others.

I realize that our society has evolved hate as one of the distractions that keep us from realizing the real dangers to us which are environmental destruction, disease, natural disasters and inequalities of wealth and power. Other distractions include patriotism, religion, gossip, sports, TV and celebrity worship. I can more easily see how one can decide to devote his life to these other distractions than to decide that his calling is to hate.

However, it seems that some people get pleasure from doing that. I also understand that they believe demagogues who preach to them that people different than themselves mean them harm and, somehow, by their very existence cause harm to these true believers. I guess it is just hard to believe that anyone can be so gullible but the evidence is easily available.

Truth

This is an essay about the nature of truth. It will not and can not cover the subject completely, but can be thought of as a sort of jumping off place to lead the reader to further introspection about the subject.

What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the realization that things may not be what they, at first, seem and the ability and desire to try to understand the truth of what they really are.

What is truth?
Truth is the depth and the consistency of the brain's perception of the processes and the patterns of the world around it.
(Truth is hidden beneath many layers of perception.)

Let's say that you eat an apple. That is only one perception and a superficial layer of truth. Even that perception is different for different people due to the patterns of connections of neurons formed as their brains developed. One person's main perception on hearing that statement may be a visual from a third person perspective of him standing or sitting and putting an apple in his mouth. Another person's main perception may be the smell and the taste of apple juice and pieces going down his throat. A third person's main perception may have to do with satisfying his hunger.

Also this idea leads to thoughts of definitions of the three characters in the scenario; You, Eat, Apple.

What is you? An organic being, the product of a long chain of symbiosis of trillions of human and non human cells and transmission of DNA and a complex of biological processes of organic chemistry with a brain that is conscious of its own existence and much more.

What is eat? A verb meaning to ingest or take in or consume a food source into one's body usually for purposes of digestion and energy production, metabolism, and cell reproduction. This can also lead to definitions of organic beings and of life and of chemical processes.

What is apple? Another organic being produced for reproductive purposes by another species of life. Think of the significance of "Eat or be eaten." and of relative places on the evolutionary tree of humans versus apples and animals versus plants.

The point is that the truth of a seemingly simple statement can actually be very deep and complex.

See Thoughts on burning a stick of wood in the stove.
and
The story of how Grandma gets to see the new baby.

Perspective and relativity:

Above we have touched on the idea of perspective or viewpoint. There can be many perspectives of any reality. These might include physical perspectives of such things as relative size or taste or hardness or temperature, etc. They might include mental or emotional perspectives such as the emotional relationship between you and the apple. They might include historical perspectives such as whether you are older than the apple or did humans evolve before or after apple trees or of how the apple came to be or came into your possession or of how you came to be eating it.

This is also tied to the idea of relativity. A thing only exists relative to something else and its properties are also relative. If we say the apple is sour, then we must mean that relative to other degrees of the taste of "sourness". If we say it is an apple then we must mean it is not a giraffe or any of the other things it could be. If we say the apple is large or small then we probably mean that relative to the size of other apples we have seen although we could mean it relative to our size or to the size of the earth or of the universe.

Abstraction and derivatives:

Due to the nature of the development of our brains, we are capable of abstract thought and of deriving one truth from another. For instance, if we see a picture that we perceive is a picture of a person eating an apple, this is not actually a person eating an apple but a pattern of colored inks on a piece of paper, an abstraction. Money is not wealth but just a paper or metal representation of wealth. Due to our ability to perceive abstractions we look at it as a derivative of wealth meaning that we can substitute the word "Money" for actual wealth in conversations. We may say that "Bugs Bunny eats carrots". This brings an abstract thought to our mind regardless of the fact that most of us know that there is no such thing as Bugs Bunny.

So to determine the truth of anything we try to answer the question:
What is it and how did it become?

Evolution and process: Many, if not all, things become by a process called evolution. This means that things become more complex because random complex patterns that are more adapted to survival tend to persist and to give rise to even more complex patterns and the majority of patterns that develop are not well adapted and thus do not survive.


Many people have a pathological addiction to power:

The nature of truth is often distorted by people for their own purposes, usually having to do with enhancing their power. A prime example of this is the Trump administration and their alternate facts.

Other examples include such things as myths embedded in our culture as memes such as religion and politics and history and medicine and education and economics and many others. This is the place for readers to think of examples for themselves such as the myth that the purpose of a doctor is to help patients. The purpose of a doctor is to enhance his own stature, wealth and power and self impression. He tries to do this by helping patients.

So we have discussed the depth of truth and its distortion. The test of truth is its consistency. For example, it was once obvious that the earth was flat. Once man succeeded in circumnavigating the globe that truth was inconsistent with the earlier truth that the earth was flat. One truth had to be abandoned. So we try to arrive at what we think will be ultimate truth by eliminating inconsistencies. This is the basic process of science and math and engineering. In other areas of human endeavor such as politics and religion and in many of our social memes, truth is often ignored. In the evolution of his brain, man has developed a remarkable ability to hold simultaneously conflicting beliefs at once without being bothered by that inconsistency.

Core Beliefs of Conservatives

These seem to be the core beliefs of conservatives and Trumpies:

Knowledge and critical thinking are evil and this extends to books and the media and schools because they can enable one to question what one is supposed to believe. Books and media and schools are acceptable if their content has been approved by our leaders.

We should all do everything possible and make any sacrifices necessary to make our group and our leaders powerful and able to physically destroy other groups if our leaders decide it is necessary or beneficial to do so.

It is our destiny to be dominant in the world because we are purer and stronger and smarter than others. It is important that the purity of our group is not contaminated by too much contact with others unlike us.

We are also meant to be dominant over the natural world and use it and destroy it, if necessary, for our benefit.

Stress

It is known that many animal species take measures to keep their populations at certain viable levels. They take radical measures at times. Perhaps the most dramatic example is that of whales, who are known to commit collective suicide.

Research has found that if a population exceeds a comfortable density level, then many catastrophic events occur such as increased mortality among the young, cannibalism, homosexuality, and lack of maternal functions.

Little is known about the effects on the human psyche of a situation in which large numbers of people live in a limited amount of space. Their mental capacities have allowed humans to deal with stress in a more varied way than animals. Being able to either ignore unwanted external or internal stimuli or give them different, positive meanings, is also an aid to survival.

Some people know how to deal with stress while others fail to cope. There are people who manage to direct their behaviour in a satisfactory way, while others are not so good at this. The latter group of people have no control over their impulses, for instance, or have a low tolerance threshold for frustration. Some people are able to relax, through nature, by meditation, fitness, sport or reading. Others are depressed, anxious, suffer from all manner of physical ailments or combat their “over-stimulated” state by consuming alcohol or other, potentially addictive, substances. There are also people who deal with excessive stress in an extremely negative way. They react by using verbal or physical violence or get involved in crime.

Apart from these examples, there are also people who crave stimulation, who are always in search of a “buzz”. They throw themselves into all manner of hectic distractions and are always attracted to the places where “the action is” and where it is most crowded; the very thing that others wish to avoid.

The human species is the worst of all planetary infestations! Human population control, through famine, disease and war, are ancient, arguably biologically natural and ecologically remedial correctives.

Costs notwithstanding, pharmaceutical, surgical and educational components of family planning are met with enormous obstacles, cultural and political. Having many children provides cheap labor and economic security in some cultures. Politics are rarely divorced from corruption and the kind of disinformation that equates family planning with genocide.

I would contend that such irrational phenomena as the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the increase in the number of "hate" groups may be effects of overpopulation and general frustration at the social effects of the power inequalities resulting from a capitalist economic system.

Who are We?

We are beings of amazing complexity which, against immense odds, evolved in a world of beautiful chaos to have the gifts of, not only being able to change our world, but also having consciousness or self-awareness. Possibly, we could have evolved to share and care for and protect one another. Instead we became a species of competitors for power intent on deceiving and attacking one another and exploiting, to the point of destruction, the environment on which we depend for our existence so that we will likely self destruct as a species and in the process probably destroy much of the complexity that has evolved in our world with us.

It is interesting that in spite of many opportunities to cooperate with one another, which we have done on relatively small scales, overall destructive competition and opposition seems to have won out as our most defining characteristic.

It is possible that rather than just ceasing to exist as a species we may yet evolve into a more complex borg-like species that may be able to endure in ways we cannot imagine. Our perception of our future remains murky.

How the world is supposed to be!

The world is supposed to be as we have perceived it and as we have learned that it is from childhood. There are evil people who claim that the world is different than this or try to change it to a world that is not supposed to be.

As a child we learn how the world is from the environment we live in and from what we are taught by our parents and our peers and others around us. As we remain longer and longer in that world our beliefs become more firmly entrenched and we know what is right and what is wrong and what is clean and what is nasty and what is good and what is evil.

Those evil people who believe things other than we do seem to be able to influence those of our family, friends and neighbors who leave us particularly those who leave at an early age and are exposed to more of the world and especially those who go to college or live in bigger cities.

Those who believe the wrong things can sometimes influence the world to go in the wrong directions. I learned this when in an interview with moderator, Chuck Todd, on NBCs "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, December 20, 2015, Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan said, "I believe the president has succeeded in transforming this country in a direction that it was never supposed to go in the first place."

Below are some of the things I learned about the way the world is supposed to be when I grew up in a rural area of Kentucky in the 1950s and 1960s:

Systems Analysis and Me

When I semi-retired in about 2010, I became a systems analyst. Actually I had been a systems analyst about all my life but I began to concentrate on that on a larger scale than I ever had before when I found that I had more time to do so.

What is a systems analyst? A systems analyst is one who studies systems to determine how systems work, what is their structure and what is the result of their operation and how can they be made more efficient.

What is a system? A system is a set of rules and procedures and patterns which results in an outcome. A system can be designed or it can just occur in nature without design. Some people argue that, to exist, all systems must be designed. That is the theory of intelligent design.

Some examples of systems include:

I am a systems analyst primarily to answer the question, "What is the world and what is my place in it? or Who am I?"

The world itself is, of course, a system. It is made up of smaller systems such as those used in the example above. I am also a sub system of the larger "world" system.

I have discovered that I am unique in that I march to a different drummer than other people. Most people do not think of themselves as a systems analyst as I do. I have also discovered that, contrary to my original expectations, no one that I have been able to find is interested in the results of my systems analysis. I conclude that because, although I have written thousands of pages and published them on the internet, no one so far as I have been able to determine, including any members of my own family, have shown enough interest to read them or to find them of value.

However, I also find that I am driven to continue my systems analysis because it has become the primary purpose of my life and its benefits to me justify the effort even if there are no benefits to others.

I am Life!

I don't know exactly how I started. Of course, I had no self awareness or consciousness. The only thing that distinguished me from the inanimate rocks and liquids and gases in my world was that I had the ability to reproduce myself and they did not.

So, since I could reproduce, I did. Much of the time the product of my reproduction was an exact copy of me, but sometimes the process was imperfect and the product died and did not reproduce itself. Rarely it did not die and even was able to reproduce more efficiently than the parent.

Basically, I was a being that could capture energy from my environment and use that energy to make copies of myself.

So I flourished and my progeny populated the Earth and evolved into single cell organisms.

Some of them developed imperfections by means of which they could capture water and carbon dioxide from the environment and manufacture simple sugars and other organic compounds from these raw materials using energy from the sun.

Millions and even billions of years passed and my presence began to change the world in which I lived mainly by converting a lot of carbon dioxide to oxygen and organic compounds which were the waste products of my metabolism.

I became a myriad of species and eventually two and even more cells of different species merged into complex multicellular organisms and then the cells began to specialize by function and developed very complex symbiotic relationships forming a new entity of a community of cells resulting in more efficient survival and propagation of DNA patterns.

Evolution into muscles enabled movement and evolution of sensor cells monitoring the environment and control of the entity by neural networks differentiated animals from plants.

Eventually complex neural networks enabled abstract thought patterns and consciousness and intelligence setting the stage for cultural evolution.

All this occurred over a period of almost 4 billion years of continuity of existence of the original essence of life and the creation of millions of forks of evolution and the extinction of most of these and the technology created by the culture of social organization of cooperation of trillions of specialized cells resulted in an incredibly complex being now driving a car down a highway enjoying the sunshine and the woodlands and pastures and animals along the road and listening to Mozart on the radio.

And still, the purpose of life is to perpetuate the existence of the patterns or the genes of living organisms.

Jobs, Inequality, Utopia!

When I was a boy in the 1950s and 1960s many people saw the promise of scientific discovery and technological innovation to eventually free mankind from the drudgery of labor, especially the necessity of working most of one's life for others. There was discussion of the need, as that occurred, for the use of more free time for continuous education, recreation, more social interaction and much more time devoted to the arts, travel, philosophy and further innovations.

Now I see that we have reached a point where, due to robots and computers and automation, production requires fewer people so there is widespread unemployment. Where there were once 800,000 coal miners, 60,000 produce much more coal due to technology.

However, politicians and the public, instead of figuring out how to restructure society for this new reality and celebrating the resulting wealth for all are clamoring for a return of the jobs and bemoaning their loss. Every politician from whatever party say they want to increase employment and none mention the possibility of providing a guaranteed basic income and returning the maximum income tax rate to above 90% as it was in the 1950s, a time of increasing prosperity for all, to finance this and increased free educational and health care programs needed for this utopian new world. The result of the economic system we now have, after all, is to increase inequality of wealth by setting conditions for capital to trickle upward from the poor to the rich and the rich and powerful are happy with that arrangement.

Maybe you have hard luck in terms of health and wealth and attitude because of defects in your character and bad decisions you have made. Or maybe the system has you convinced of that so you won't realize that you are in this condition because the system is rigged against you and you are the victim of the long con. Or maybe a combination of the two is true.

Is it Race or Class?

We have been led to believe by our culture that many of the problems of America stem from race relations. Originally this idea was promulgated by the rich privileged class who were in fear of an uprising by their white servants and their black slaves. By pitting them, one against the other, they could prevent them from banding together to rise up against their common enemy who was exploiting them. The idea evolved that if you could keep the poorer classes believing that their problems in life were caused by others unlike themselves who were of a different color or religion or sex or nationality or simply unknown to them, then they would not be smart enough to recognize that they were being exploited by a system set up to keep them improverished by steadily causing wealth to trickle upward to an upper ruling class. That upper class is now so wealthy that few people have any idea of their wealth and power. This is illustrated by the fact that, in polls, 19% of people see themselves as being in the top 1% in wealth.

Another facet of this control is the idea of democracy. Many people believe that because they are allowed to vote, then they are living in a system in which they choose their rulers, never realizing that those they are allowed to vote for have been pre-chosen by the oligarchy so that the idea of choice is an illusion. The political system has evolved so that only those who support the existing system, although they may have differing ideas about how that system should operate, will be able to rise to the point of becoming possible leaders of the system. This idea is supported by the culture of patriotism and religion, both of which extol the capitalist economic system.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Presidential Address
By Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 August 1967

...And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society...

Martin Luther King, Jr., SCLC Presidential Address, 1967
Where do we go from here?

Now, in order to answer the question, "Where do we go from here?" which is our theme, we must first honestly recognize where we are now. When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was sixty percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare that he is fifty percent of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we view the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share. There are twice as many unemployed. The rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population.

In other spheres, the figures are equally alarming. In elementary schools, Negroes lag one to three years behind whites, and their segregated schools receive substantially less money per student than the white schools. One- twentieth as many Negroes as whites attend college. Of employed Negroes, seventy-five percent hold menial jobs.

This is where we are. Where do we go from here? First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black. The job of arousing manhood within a people that have been taught for so many centuries that they are nobody is not easy.

Even semantics have conspired to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. In Roget's Thesaurus there are 120 synonyms for blackness and at least sixty of them are offensive, as for example, blot, soot, grim, devil and foul. And there are some 134 synoyms for whiteness and all are favorable, expressed in such words as purity, cleanliness, chastity and innocence. A white lie is better than a black lie. The most degenerate member of a family is a "black sheep." Ossie Davis has suggested that maybe the English language should be reconstructed so that teachers will not be forced to teach the Negro child sixty ways to despise himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of inferiority, and the white child 134 ways to adore himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of superiority.

The tendency to ignore the Negro's contribution to American life and to strip him of his personhood is as old as the earliest history books and as contemporary as the morning's newspaper. To upset this cultural homicide, the Negro must rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian manhood. Any movement for the Negro's freedom that overlooks this necessity is only waiting to be buried. As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation or Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation. And, with a spirit straining toward true self- esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abegnation and say to himself and to the world, "I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history. How painful and exploited that history has been. Yes, I was a slave through my foreparents and I am not ashamed of that. I'm ashamed of the people who were so sinful to make me a slave." Yes, we must stand up and say, "I'm black and I'm beautiful," and this self-affirmation is the black man's need, made compelling by the white man's crimes against him.

Another basic challenge is to discover how to organize our strength in terms of economic and political power. No one can deny that the Negro is in dire need of this kind of legitimate power. Indeed, one of the great problems that the Negro confronts is his lack of power. From old plantations of the South to newer ghettoes of the North, the Negro has been confined to a life of voicelessness and powerlessness. Stripped of the right to make decisions concerning his life and destiny he has been subject to the authoritarian and sometimes whimsical decisions of this white power structure. The plantation and ghetto were created by those who had power, both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. The problem of transforming the ghetto, therefore, is a problem of power—confrontation of the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to the preserving of the status quo. Now power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achievepurpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. Walter Reuther defined power one day. He said, "Power is the ability of a labor union like the UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say, ‘Yes’ when it wants to say ‘No.’ That's power."

Now a lot of us are preachers, and all of us have our moral convictions and concerns, and so often have problems with power. There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly. You see, what happened is that some of our philosophers got off base. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been constrasted as opposites—polar opposites—so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love.

It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject the Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love. Now, we've got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on. What has happened is that we have had it wrong and confused in our own country, and this has led Negro Americans in the past to seek their goals through power devoid of love and conscience.

This is leading a few extremists today to advocate for Negroes the same destructive and conscienceless power that they have justly abhorred in whites. It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times.

We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation, as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual's ability and talents. And, in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We've come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operations of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. Today the poor are less often dismissed, I hope, from our consciences by being branded as inferior or incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands, it does not eliminate all poverty.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:

"The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the task, by the taskmaster, or by animal necessity. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished."

Work of this sort could be enormously increased, and we are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor transformed into purchasers will doa great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes who have a double disability will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts among husbands, wives and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on the scale of dollars is eliminated.

Now our country can do this. John Kenneth Galbraith said that a guaranteed annual income could be done for about twenty billion dollars a year. And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth.

Now, let me say briefly that we must reaffirm our commitment to nonviolence. I want to stress this. The futility of violence in the struggle for racial justice has been tragically etched in all the recent Negro riots. Yesterday, I tried to analyze the riots and deal with theircauses. Today I want to give the other side. There is certainly something painfully sad about a riot. One sees screaming youngsters and angry adults fighting hopelessly and aimlessly against impossible odds. And deep down within them, you can see a desire for self-destruction, a kind of suicidal longing.

Occasionally Negroes contend that the 1965 Watts riot and the other riots in various cities represented effective civil rights action. But those who express this view always end up with stumbling words when asked what concrete gains have been won as a result. At best, the riots have produced a little additional antipoverty money allotted by frightened government officials, and a few water-sprinklers to cool the children of the ghettoes. It is something like improving the food in prison while the people remain securely incarcerated behind bars. Nowhere have the riots won any concrete improvement such as have the organized protest demonstrations. When one tries to pin down advocates of violence as to what acts would be effective, the answers are blatantly illogical. Sometimes they talk of overthrowing racist state and local governments and they talk about guerrilla warfare. They fail to see that no internal revolution has ever succeeded in overthrowing a government by violence unless the government had already lost the allegiance and effective control of its armed forces. Anyone in his right mind knows that this will not happen in the United States. In a violent racial situation, the power structure has the local police, the state troopers, the National Guard and, finally, the army to call on—all of which are predominantly white. Furthermore, few if any violent revolutions have been successful unless the violent minority had the sympathy and support of the nonresistant majority. Castro may have had only a few Cubans actually fighting with him up in the hills, but he could never have overthrown the Batista regime unless he had the sympathy of the vast majority of Cuban people.

It is perfectly clear that a violent revolution on the part of American blacks would find no sympathy and support from the white population and very little from the majority of Negroes themselves. This is no time for romantic illusions and empty philosophical debates about freedom. This is a time for action. What is needed is a strategy for change, a tactical program that will bring the Negro into the mainstream of American life as quickly as possible. So far, this has only been offered by the nonviolent movement. Without recognizing this we will end up with solutions that don't solve, answers that don't answer and explanations that don't explain.

And so I say to you today that I still stand by nonviolence. And I am still convinced that it is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for justice in this country. And the other thing is that I am concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice. I'm concerned about brotherhood. I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about these, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick to love. For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love, I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. And I have seen too much hate. I've seen to much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here," that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" You begin to ask the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?" These are questions that must be asked.

Now, don't think that you have me in a "bind" today. I'm not talking about communism.

What I'm saying to you this morning is that communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

If you will let me be a preacher just a little bit—One night, a juror came to Jesus and he wanted to know what he could do to be saved. Jesus didn't get bogged down in the kind of isolated approach of what he shouldn't do. Jesus didn't say, "Now Nicodemus, you must stop lying." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, you must stop cheating if you are doing that." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, you must not commit adultery." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, now you must stop drinking liquor if you are doing that excessively." He said something altogether different, because Jesus realized something basic—that if a man will lie, he will steal. And if a man will steal, he will kill. So instead of just getting bogged down in one thing, Jesus looked at him and said, "Nicodemus, you must be born again."

He said, in other words, "Your whole structure must be changed." A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will "thingify" them—make them things. Therefore they will exploit them, and poor people generally, economically. And a nation that will exploit economically will have foreign investments and everything else, and will have to use its military to protect them. All of these problems are tied together.

What I am saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, "America, you must be born again!"

So, I conclude by saying again today that we have a task and let us go out with a "divine dissatisfaction." Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort and the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until those that live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family is living in a decent sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality,integrated education. Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity. Let us be dissatisfied until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character and not on the basis of the color of their skin. Let us be dissatisfied.

Let us be dissatisfied until every state capitol houses a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy and who will walk humbly with his God. Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Let us be dissatisfied until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. Let us be dissatisfied. And men will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout "White Power!" -- when nobody will shout "Black Power!"—but everybody will talk about God's power and human power.

I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. And as we continue our chartered course, we may gain consolation in the words so nobly left by that great black bard who was also a great freedom fighter of yesterday, James Weldon Johnson:

    Stony the road we trod,
    Bitter the chastening rod
    Felt in the days
    When hope unborn had died.

    Yet with a steady beat,
    Have not our weary feet
    Come to the place
    For which our fathers sighed?

    We have come over the way
    That with tears hath been watered.
    We have come treading our paths
    Through the blood of the slaughtered,

    Out from the gloomy past,
    Till now we stand at last
    Where the bright gleam
    Of our bright star is cast. 

Let this affirmation be our ringing cry. It will give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of now way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: "Truth crushed to earth will rise again."

Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right:

"Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This is for hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow with a cosmic past tense, "We have overcome, we have overcome, deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome."


Important Issues:

There are issues in life that are important and that should concern us:

They include:

climate change
environmental destruction - much of it due to population pressure
nuclear attacks
lack of educational opportunities for all
lack of access to good health care for all
unequal distribution of wealth including the necessities of life such as food and shelter
global epidemics
asteroids, earthquakes, floods, fires and other natural disasters
The increasing pace of political, social, technological and economic change
genetic manipulation
space exploration
The explosion of knowledge and data storage and mining
energy supplies and use
relations between nations

Generally politicians looking for our votes to give them power and wealth do not want to discuss these issues because they are contentious or because the politicians do not have positions on them or because they do not understand them or because addressing these issues will not give the politician more power or wealth.

Instead the politicians make up issues that they can use to get more power or wealth and tell us that these are the important issues in our lives.

Some examples of these include:

Same sex marriage
Transgenders using bathrooms
ebola
border crossings and walls and immigration
religious differences
drug use
email servers
abortion
Guns
voter fraud
minimum wage
tax rates
estate taxes
terrorism - fear of others
flag burning

Distractions:

I understand that President Trump's advisor, Steve Bannon, said in an interview that the white extremist believers are useful idiots who keep the Democrats and liberals concentrated on race as an issue thus distracting them from the real issues.

I'm not sure of his meaning or what he thinks he is talking about but I thought about what he might mean.

As far as I am concerned, the real issues facing humanity have to do with inequality of wealth and power among people and with destruction of our environment here on Earth which is a delicate balance enabling us to exist.

The real struggle seems to be between those who feel an obligation to the future of humanity and, indeed, of life itself and those who are out to get as much wealth and power for themselves as possible regardless of their impact on the future of the rest of humanity and on the environment.

Some believe that those in power have used racial and ethnic and class issues for centuries as a distraction from these real issues which might, if brought to the forefront of the public consciousness, threaten their power.

Obviously, people who are in the lower classes as far as power and wealth and those who are more interested in the future than being obsessed with greed in the present have more in common than the issues that might divide them. I think the great fear of those in power is that the great majority who do not have real power will recognize this fact. If they were to do this and to unite, then they would have the power to upset the status quo. This would not only be a threat to those in power, but might result in a political and economic system of much more equality among people and in worldwide efforts to protect the environment from exploitation and destruction.

Whether this utopian possiblity could actually be implemented, given the nature of humans, is an open question but even the possibility must be a source of anxiety to those who benefit from the status quo.

Birth Rights:

The purpose of an economic system among humans should be to support a controlled (meaning limited in size by population control methods) population of humans without causing undue damage to the environment or other species by using methods of sustained use management incorporating among other things, balanced cycles. Any process of wealth extraction from the environment which has the net long term effect of decreasing the value of or depleting the natural resources available from the environment should thus be unacceptable.

The hallmarks of such a system should be:

  1. No intrinsic or long term harm to the world around us.
  2. A guarantee, as much as possible, that each human has a right to the basic means to support himself and his family including spouses, children, and other dependent relatives with food, shelter, health care and education.

Why support humans? Are they worthwhile? Worth the trouble?

Perhaps not. But, because we are humans, that is our purpose anyway.

We generally live in and are products of a capitalistic economic system.

The problem is that such a system is designed to exploit the environment and labor to enrich a privileged class. It is not designed to protect the environment or to support most humans, only those in the select class. It does this by, among other things, use of the concepts of ownership of property and other types of wealth, including monetary systems to represent wealth, which systems can be manipulated by the ruling class to concentrate wealth.

A capitalist concept is that the right to life is earned by an obligation to work for others, not by the fact of existence. Another capitalist concept is that the purpose of the world is to support and enrich a privileged class and that extracting wealth from the environment and natural resources and people of lower classes and from other species is an acceptable method of doing this.

Although some of us may be stronger, smarter, prettier, more skilled or more charismatic than others; this, in itself, does not give us a right to a significantly greater share of the world resources available to all as their birthright.

A Somewhat Different Perspective:

I grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in south central Kentucky spending much of my time outdoors in the rolling fields and the forests of the mountains. Probably as a result, I studied for and became a professional forester. I later became a farm manager and as computers began to become ubiquitous in society, a computer programmer and consultant.

The result of all this seems to be that I became a generalist, interested in many things, but without enough time to become an expert in any. I am always interested in taking one more step back from any subject to get a broader perspective and see if I can, by doing so, see patterns and connections that may be missed by others. Carrying this tendency of mine to an extreme means that I want to see the overall picture of how the world is and how it changes and has changed in the past and may change in the future.

I tend to write short essays on subjects of my present interest and to repeat those essays later from a somewhat different perspective to refine my ideas both for myself and for any others who might be interested if there are any such.

A farmer should have many skills such as:

I found that I was also interested in:

Einstein showed with his theories of special and general relativity that Newton's laws applied only in a subset of the scale of the universe and he implied that there might be a general theory of everything.

I have contended that understanding this theory would require a deep understanding of, not only relativity of time and perhaps space, but also of scale. It seems to me that our understanding is limited because we can see only a small range of what may be unlimited scales of being just as we can sense only a small range of the electromagnetic fields. This idea, it seems to me, is supported by developments in quantum theory.

I also have ideas of differentation of "what is" and of development of complex patterns offset by entropy all set against a background of the illusion of "time". These ideas include evolution, physical, biological, and social leading to a borg-like super species based on intelligent and conscious organic beings supplemented by technological improvements in a social structure of computer assisted communication and data analysis functioning as a gaia wide consciousness and resulting in a future beyond the ability of our present minds to imagine.

I sometimes think of the internet as a crowd sourced consciousness.

Mass Shooting:

Oct. 2, 2017

A few observations about last night's mass shooting in Las Vegas:

It is said to be the deadliest mass shooting in America's history which makes it the fourth "deadliest mass shooting" since 2007. The other three were Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Orlando. The trend seems to be more mass shootings more frequently and more deadly due to the technology available and, perhaps, to the desire of each mass shooter to surpass the last one.

One result of last night's shooting is that gun company stocks were up significantly today.

Some people argue that this can not be considered a terrorist incident because the shooter was a white guy named Steve acting alone at a country music event. I guess it depends on your point of view and your definitions of terms.

Studies have shown a positive correlation between guns owned per capita in various countries and the number of mass shootings. I think that also applies to number of suicides.

Some say that mass shooters are usually males who have a feeling of being wronged by society in some way and who feel helpless and have a suicide wish as well as a desire to be known by going out in a "blaze of glory". This sounds to me, as a biologist, like a species' reaction to the stresses of over population.

Most people have an aversion to killing other people. This is somewhat mitigated if the killing can be done impersonally from a distance. Often killings occur for personal reasons as in a person hating or feeling wronged by another specific person. They can also occur for economic reasons as in a robbery or another circumstance where one person stands to gain power or wealth if the other person is dead. They also occur in war where the powers that be instruct a loyal subject to kill an impersonal "enemy".

When a person decides to kill strangers in mass the purpose, I think, is either to get personal attention or to get attention for a political issue or simply to cause terror in a population.

In any case, such killings are not a significant cause of death in a large population but they are a source of significant media attention.

Minimalism:

As a child we develop a world view as our brains and personalities develop. This world view is based on influences from our environment and the social influences in our lives. This means we usually have a world view that is much like that of others around us and that we think of ourselves as part of a group such as a family or a community or a religion or a nation or combinations of these and other such groups.

We grow up expecting to have a family and a job and to become a home owner and a consumer. It is therefore unusual if we were to become a free standing and free thinking individual throwing off the bonds of our society and questioning or, perhaps, rejecting the beliefs of those around us and their expectations of us.

In the mid nineteenth century Henry David Thoreau said he would march to a different drummer and he went to live alone in a cabin he built with his own hands "On Walden Pond". He lived there for two years and wrote a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. He said he wanted "to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.”

He thus became a minimalist, having or providing a bare minimum of what is necessary.

According to https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

So too, as I became older I became more of a self-reliant, free thinking, minimalist.

"Self-Reliance" is an 1841 essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow their own instincts and ideas. It is the source of one of Emerson's most famous quotations: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." This essay is an analysis into the nature of the “aboriginal self on which a universal reliance may be grounded.

Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma.

So in the spring of 2017, I built a cabin on a hill on the side of Sewell mountain out of sight of other human habitations where I could be away from the complexities of modern life and, as Thoreau did, front the essential facts of life in the company of the fields and the woods and the wildlife and the sun and the moon and the stars facing the changing of the weather and of the seasons. A place to meditate and relax and think and to play and to write and to hike and observe and explore.

There I have books and videos and NPR radio and my own body and mind. The sign on the door says, "Dolce far niente" which means pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness in Italian, literally, "sweet doing nothing".

What does it mean to be a minimalist?

Physically it means to have fewer material possessions, only those necessary for the type of life one wants to lead. A tiny house with no Bric-à-brac such as items possessed for their looks or to impress others, but only those items which have a use and are used.

Mentally, it means to do the same in the mind. To throw off all previously held beliefs and rebuild a world view built on logic, reason and empiricism rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma.

We are often the victims of a con game in which others tell us what we should think and believe, often for their own ends, or because they sincerely believe that they are knowers of truths and it is their duty to bring others to believe as they do.

I always assume that, if I am approached by a stranger, who asks me to, or assumes that I do, believe or need certain things, then he is following an agenda to benefit himself and probably not one that will benefit me. So my general policy is to only buy consumer items or donate to causes when I am the one who initiates the transaction. This makes me a lost cause for telemarketers and salesmen of goods or religions or political dogma.

In my retreat, as I read and watch videos and listen to radio news and discussions and listen to music and observe nature and take photographs, I try to fit all into a consistent world view and to write essays such as this one in which I express facets of that world view, not so much for the edification of others, as to test my views in my own mind for consistency and perhaps for truth.

I would like to be able to also test my views by bouncing them off the world views of others and having discussions about comparisons of world views and expansion of world views, but, so far, I have not found anyone who has similar interests to myself and would be a suitable discussion partner.

I find that people often are upset when they are exposed to world views different than their own. I do not usually have that problem because I look at other people as denizens of a species existing on earth, separate from myself. So to be upset with their cruelty or inconsistency or ignorance would be to me, akin to being upset with the life style of a lion or a walrus or a snail or an oak tree. I try to see people as just something that exists in nature to be observed and studied but not something about which to become emotional.

Anxiety:

A National Public Radio program explored the idea that anxiety among children and, particularly, teen agers is increasing and that many are unable to function well in school and in life due to anxiety often leading to or accompanied by depression.

Anxiety is different than fear in that fear is caused by a specific threat that is present now while anxiety is a general feeling of fear or unease because of threats perceived that may happen in the future. Anxiety can be expressed by panic attacks. A couple of comments about causes of panic attacks from the Wikipedia:

We all develop, as we mature, ideas of what the world is like. One of these ideas is that some things in the world and in our life can be a threat to us physically, mentally, or emotionally and as a result we may be injured or may and will eventually, at some time unknown to us, die from causes that will usually also be a mystery to us until they occur.

As our brains and our personalities develop, we also develop ways of coping with this knowledge which can, in extreme cases, be disabling. Our thinking ability, our social abilities and the way we cope with and react to and interact with our environment is influenced by our genes and by the physical and social environment in which we mature.

So we learn to cope with our fears and with things which may go wrong in our lives and with our perception of the world around us as a friendly or benign or fearful place. We also may become emotional and passionate about life or logical or fearful and this will influence the amount of happiness or the lack thereof in our lives.

The idea that anxiety is, in general, increasing was not supported by facts and numbers but more by stories and feelings of parents and teachers, so it does not seem to me to be an objective fact that anxiety is increasing but it does seem to be a distinct possibility. It is clear that the world is changing. It is also clear that the world has always been changing but it can be argued that the rate of change is increasing exponentially and that this fact alone can be a cause of increasing anxiety.

An increase in anxiety could be seen as another symptom of stresses on society and individuals caused by living in a more global world with 24 hour news cycles emphasizing, to a large extent, widespread misfortunes which gives a perception of more to fear in the world. This in spite of the fact that statistics show that war, violence, and crime rates per capita are decreasing and life expectancy is increasing and better medical care is available than ever before.

It seems that everyone has a story to tell about things of which to be afraid and few have stories of happiness and security. When one hears these things from one's parents, neighbors and peers, it is bound to tend to increase anxiety. This effect can be magnified by the widespread pervasive and continuous interactions by means of social media. In the past people had and took more time alone to develop in their own way. Now there is immense pressure to be at all times part of a group or groups and to conform in one's world view to that of the group. Although this was also true in the past, the pressure was probably not as overwhelming and peer groups were not always present in one's environment as they are now due to computers, smart phones and the internet.

How can we live our lives to alleviate anxiety? One way is to face your fears. If you are black and fear being killed by the police, visit the local police station and introduce yourself and get to know some of the people there. If you are afraid of the dark, practice being in places that are increasingly dark for increasing periods of time. If you are afraid of heights start with climbing a short ladder and then going to higher and higher places. If you hear stories of others being robbed and maimed consider the number of times you have not been robbed or maimed and also the number of times that others you know have not been. If you are afraid of wasps or snakes, make it a project to study them until you are familiar with them in detail.

The point is that it is important that you not sit around and worry about what might happen to you, but that you take action to face and eliminate those fears. Also, you must accept the world as it is and cope with it rather than lamenting the fact that the world is not what you want it to be. Although it is true that you will, probably, someday die, it is not likely that you will die today, so it is important that you work to make today a good day rather than fearing what might happen in the future.

Set long term and short term goals for your life and spend each day one day at a time taking action to reach your goals as opposed to sitting around worrying about what might happen to you. You will probably find that the bad things that actually happen in your life are not those that you expected anyway.

At the end of each day list what you have accomplished and any good things that happened to you and also list bad things and disappointments. You may find that life is not quite as bad as you thought.

When my young son would come to me crying because, perhaps, he had cut his toe, I would laugh at him. I would say, "Is the sun shining?" He would nod through his tears. I would say, "Does your head hurt?" He would shake his head. I would say, "Do your arms or legs hurt?" He would again shake his head. I would say, "Does your tummy hurt?" No. By now his tears would be receding. I would say, "Are you hungry?" He would admit he was not.

As his tears stopped I would say, "So it is a bright sunny day and your whole body feels fine except for that one little toe and instead of being happy and enjoying this fine day, you have decided to cry over such a little thing."

Then he would stop crying and smile and understand why I had laughed.

We can worry about what might happen or we can go through the needs checklist.

If you have these things, then I would suggest that life may not be as bad as you think. It could certainly be worse and is for many people.

It seems that many people in today's world worry about terrorists and criminals and immigrants and people who are not of their religion or social class or race or whatever and, for that reason, believe that they are constantly in danger and want to build walls and carry guns and build prisons and support weapons and armies to protect themselves.

I, on the other hand, tend to want to live in a world of sunshine and nature and moonlit nights and companionship and love and good food and drink absorbing knowledge and thinking and creating. I want to enjoy the present and remember the good things about the past and hope for the best for the future and make this day one to fondly remember and believe that, if I do that most days, then maybe that will give my life meaning, perhaps even more so than that of my fearful neighbor.

I have a belief that I can probably manage the world I live in, at least to the extent that I can have a good life for a period of time and that is what matters most.

A life is made up of moments. They can each be positive or negative or neither, physically and emotionally. One's goal should be to feel at the end of life that one has maximized the positive and minimized the negative as much as possible because these moments are embedded in the structure of the consciousness of the universe and, in the last analysis, the universe is just the sum of such moments.

Reconciliation:

Reconciliation of people with opposing views is unlikely without dialogue.

To get to know another person ask:

"How do you view the world? Who are we? Where did we come from? Why?"

and listen to the answer to try to understand that person's views on:

and try to imagine seeing the world yourself as that person does!

A New Look:

A new look at world views and an individual's political orientation:

In relation to these subjects:

Leaders vs. followers - Some are self-reliant free thinkers while most follow the crowd.

Any individual person may have a mix of views on these subjects but there is a perception, by me at least, that certain views are more associated with members of particular political parties and particular religious groups.

I will discuss these below in terms of the six political parties described recently in 2017 by Robert Reich:

Establishment Republicans
Corporations & Wall Street - want lower taxes and increased wealth and power for the upper classes.
Anti-Establishment Republicans
Tea party, Freedom Caucus, Libertarians - want smaller government with shrinking deficits and debts - big money out of politics and end crony capitalism.
Socially Conservative Republicans
Evangelicals (mostly southern whites) - want purity and what they call "Christian values".
Establishment Democrats
Same as Establishment Republicans but willing to give more rights and benefits to lower classes by means of increased taxes on the rich. They also support bigger government, gun control legislation and reject racism, and sexism, and support efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment.
Anti-establishment Democrats
Younger progressives - reject extreme wealth inequality, racism, and sexism, and support efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment - also want big money out of politics and reject crony capitalism. They are more likely to support universal government provided education and health care as well as a guaranteed basic income for all.
Trumpies
A personality cult following Donald Trump, a narcissist whose goal is to get attention and money and power for himself to stroke his ego.

Social Class

Social classes are a characteristic of human society in terms of stratification of people into a hierarchy based on such individual characteristics as physical beauty, strength and size, intelligence, skills, and charisma. With the development of property rights and money leading to economic power, wealth became another, and perhaps a major, determinant of social class. In general, it seems that all the parties mentioned above accept the idea of social class although Anti-Establishment Democrats and Anti-Establishment Republicans seem to reject the idea of wealth as a determinant of social class and champion fluid mobility between classes and hope to limit discrimination based on social class. Race and physical racial characteristics are also often used as a, sometimes primary subconscious, factor in social class determinations although most reject that this is the case.


Intelligent design vs. random change with survival of the fittest.

In general, many Trumpies and especially Socially Conservative Republicans are associated with the belief in a higher power that designed the world and the way it works as opposed to a world which changes constantly on an, at least somewhat, random basis leading to evolution in complexity as the most well adapted survive. By this "higher power" belief things are relatively unchanging and happen by a pre-designed plan so that things are as they are supposed to be and should not change. It is probable that establishment Republicans and most Anti-Establishment Republicans do not believe this but profess such beliefs to get the political support of others who do.

These people want the world to be pure and structured and planned and therefore believe that this is the case in spite of all evidence to the contrary. They think that the class divisions in society are part of this plan and that the whole of the universe is designed for the purpose of supporting humans. Thus they reject efforts to change the world to improve it in most ways often including efforts toward environmental protection. This is probably the primary reason that people can often be led to vote against their own best interests.


Health

Attitudes toward efforts of governments to promote the general health and especially to provide health care for individuals seem to be a major flash point for political disagreement in the United States although universal health care as a basic human right is an accepted premise is most developed countries. It seems that Establishment Republicans do not believe that the taxes of all should be used to provide health care to all but that health care is a privilege for those who are rich enough to afford it. Anti-Establishment Republicans agree with this and also oppose universal health care on the basis that it increases the size and power of government. Trumpies seem to want universal health care but only to the extent that it can be provided by Donald Trump so that it can be called Trumpcare to exalt him. The only reason that I know of that Socially Conservative Republicans would oppose universal health care is that they may think that health issues are the prerogative of a higher being and should not be corrected by man.

Democrats are mostly in favor of government provided universal health care as a human right and support increased progressive tax plans to provide it.


Education and Science and Technology

The idea of universal access to public education as another human right to be provided by government is another idea accepted by most Democrats and most developed countries but rejected by Republicans. Establishment Republicans resist the taxes necessary to support education and scientific research and think that increased education of the masses might lead to more dissatisfaction with the status quo and Anti-Establishment Republicans see an educational structure as a bureaucracy expanding the size and reach of government. Socially Conservative Republicans see education as, not only a threat to the existing order, but also as leading to people thinking for themselves rather than believing what they are taught by their religious leaders. They do, however, support education provided by the church rather than by a secular authority.

Many Socially Conservative Republicans, while using the discoveries and technology enabled by the applications of principles discovered by scientific research, tend to deny the value of science and, because they often do not understand technology and its connection to scientific research, feel alienated and intimidated by new technology.


Welfare

Humans have empathy for those much like themselves and those they know. This means that they want to help the unfortunate among their group; those who are sick or disabled or impoverished or who may have been victims of crime or acts of nature. For that reason most governments have some type of welfare program or programs to help the unfortunate of their citizens. The problem is that, since countries are too large for everyone to know everyone else, these programs tend to help many who the local voter does not know. Many people do not have much empathy for the unseen and unknown stranger. Although most Democrats recognize this problem, the Establishment Republicans who do not want to pay the taxes necessary for welfare programs are able to convince many of the Socially Conservative Republicans that welfare spent on strangers is being wasted on those who are dishonest and undeserving. This along with the bias against government services of the Anti-Establishment Republicans means that most Republicans want to cut funding for most programs designed to help the needy.


The Role of Government

Government exists as a way to organize a society to cooperate to provide a safer and better life for all. There is a lot of disagreement as to the best way to accomplish this.

Anti-Establishment Republicans seem to feel that the very idea of government limits individual freedom and though they are not anarchists who reject the idea of government at all, they do believe that the role of government should be limited primarily to protection of the society from outsiders by means of military might and to establishment of domestic order by means of police and systems of justice to control disorder among citizens. They would leave the other functions of government such as promoting the general welfare and promoting commerce and research to the private sector.

Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats see the function of government as regulation of strife to protect and promote the interests of the ruling oligarchy. They differ in that the Republicans tend to think that the oligarchy can be best enriched by keeping the lower classes unempowered, under educated and impoverished. Democrats, on the other hand, promote more education and welfare and regulated empowerment for the lower classes with the belief that this is necessary to prevent a revolution to overturn the established order and that healthier, better educated, and happier workers will enrich the upper classes more than their costs in resources.

Socially Conservative Republicans want government to regulate morals to try to force the society to strive for the pure ideals of their beliefs and would like to impose religious law on everyone. Their main problem seems to be that there is vast disagreement among themselves as to the details of what they believe since their beliefs are based on faith and not on facts.

Anti-Establishment Democrats would like to see government act as referee to limit wealth disparities among social classes and to provide as many services as possible to increase the safety and happiness of all the people in the society and to protect the environment in which they live.

Trumpies are basically just against all the other groups because they feel left out of the society and seem to think that the best way to resist the influence of the other groups is to support turmoil and chaos.


Property Ownership and the Distribution of Wealth

Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats support a structured ordered society with a ruling oligarchy who control most of the property and power and wealth of the society with lower classes who spend their lives working to support this structure. They use the ideas of patriotism and religion and the power of government to maintain this social structure. In this goal they also have the support of Socially Conservative Republicans.

In general Anti-Establishment Republicans and Anti-Establishment Democrats support more equality between classes but they differ in that Anti-Establishment Democrats would use government to achieve their goals by limiting the power of private sector capitalists and Anti-Establishment Republicans think that the power of government is the problem and more freedom can be found only if government is severely limited.

Trumpies, on the other hand, only know that they have a vague feeling that the system is stacked against them and that government and the established order is the problem but they are easily led by the idea of a strong or bombastic leader who will promise to solve all their problems by upsetting the established order. They do not question how this will be accomplished because they are not informed in the details of politics but want, instead, to just have faith in a dominant personality.


Overpopulation

Since the neolithic revolution human population of the earth has been increasing exponentially. Many think that the stresses caused by overpopulation is the root cause of many problems of society including scarcity of resources such as food and clean air and water and social stresses leading to social dysfunctions and wars and increased crime and poverty.

Democrats, both Establishment and Anti-Establishment generally support efforts toward controlling population including education and support of women's rights and widespread availability of birth control methods but not including family size legislation or any more coercive measures.

Establishment Republicans think that high populations make labor cheaper and therefore benefit the ruling classes which is their goal and Anti-Establishment Republicans, as in most things, think that government should not be involved in these efforts.

Socially Conservative Republicans promote as many births as possible in order to have more souls to save but usually do not support public welfare expenditures for the resulting offspring.

It is unclear if Trumpies have any position on this issue.


Short term vs. Long term Thinking

Some people see themselves as a part of a species and a community beginning at a vague time in the past and extending past their lifetime into the future. These people usually see one purpose of their life being to leave a legacy after their death by improving the world during their lifetime. This may be simply by leaving offspring or by creative efforts or by the reputation they have among their peers or in other ways.

Other people see themselves as an individual limited by the length of their lifetime. Their goal thus becomes to accumulate as much wealth and power and property as possible for themselves before their death. This means that they are not very concerned with the condition in which they leave the world at their death and usually are not very interested in studying history either.

It is obvious that Anti-Establishment Democrats and Socially Conservative Republicans are in the first group. It is also obvious that Establishment Republicans are in the second group. The status of Anti-Establishment Republicans in this regard is unclear. It is unknown if Trumpies think much about such issues.


Animal Rights

Progressive Democrats would seem to be the only of the six political groups discussed here who give a fig about animal rights and that is not a defining characteristic of their group either although individuals in any of these political groups may either have animals as pets or even have some concern about the issue of animal rights.


The Environment

Environmental conservation and climate change issues and protection of the environment are issues mainly championed by Democrats. Democrats are concerned about the future and see humans as a threat to the environment. For Establishment and Socially Conservative Republicans the environment is simply resources to be exploited by man. Anti-Establishment Republicans and Trumpies simply do not want government involved in environmental issues but want those left to the private sector.


Racism

Racism mainly means to see people more in terms of the race or group of people to which they belong rather than as individuals and to ascribe certain properties such as greed or cleanliness or intelligence or even smell to the whole group rather than considering that these might be more characteristics of the individual. People evolved to be racists due to the fact that they mostly associate with people much like themselves and have infrequent contact with other groups leading to lack of knowledge of different customs and to fear and disgust and hate and to a feeling that their group is superior. This is evident when the term "American Exceptionalism" is used.

Racism is most prevalent among Trumpies and Socially Conservative Republicans although Establishment Republicans often use racist code words to get support from these other two groups and they may also think that divisions due to racism may be useful in preventing the oppressed classes from uniting against them and overthrowing the established order.

Culture Archive:

Our culture consists of over 10,000 years of learning how to do things from the discovery of human control of fire and learning to cook to the invention of the wheel for transportation and the water wheel to harness the power of moving water to writing and printing and computers and the internet and the space station. We have learned a lot about the nature of ourselves and the world we live in.

As we learn new skills and methods some older skills and methods become obsolete and may be in danger of being lost. For instance most people in today's world have never spun wool or plowed a field with an ox powered plow or milked a cow or churned butter or used an abacus or a slide rule or harnessed or rode a horse. Genetic improvement of species of domesticated plants have endangered the genomes of previous genomes which were essential to the agriculture of our ancestors. To preserve these genomes we have established legacy seed banks. Of course, due to the effects of man the rate of extinction of species has accelerated vastly in our lifetimes.

We depend more and more on computers and robots to do physical and mental work for us and, in doing so, we lose many skills that trained scholars and tradesmen had in the past. As self driving vehicles become widespread, few people will be skilled at driving a vehicle.

Of course there will be, and already is, much automation of work requiring rudimentary skills and as time proceeds this will be true of more highly skilled jobs making those skills too obsolete.

I would argue that, in much the same way as seed banks, we need to establish archives of all the knowledge of our culture with methods to preserve and retrieve this information in the future either because it may be needed or because scholars may need it to understand the history of our culture.

In the words of Robert Heinlein's character, Lazarus Long, in "Time Enough For Love":

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, fell a tree, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, plant a crop, cook a tasty meal, survey a land tract, fight efficiently, die gallantly and sew on a button. Specialization is for insects." (and robots)

Beliefs:

Many of the things we are taught in life and accept as true have no basis in fact.

Below are some of the things that we are taught and mostly believe:

Our purpose in life is to work for others who are more powerful than we are.
Maybe our purpose could be to enjoy life and to try to make the world better in some way.

Immigrants are taking our jobs and thus are a threat to us.
Not only is this belief largely false but maybe our jobs should not even be necessary. See the item above.

We must wear clothes.
Why? Many cultures are and have been in the past just fine without any or with very little clothing. Many nudists say the lack of clothes in suitable temperatures is freeing.

Sex must be exclusive between one man and one woman.
In today's world many other arrangements are possible.

Children are traumatized for life if they are exposed to sexual contact.
My grandmother's second husband sometimes reached inside my pants and rubbed my penis when I was five or six years old. I never thought much about it other than that he was a little weird. I certainly never felt traumatized.

We should resist and suppress our sexuality.
Once again, Why?

There is a God and we must serve and obey him.
Not only is there no basis for this belief but it has been debunked many times since the enlightenment.

We live in a world that exists to be exploited by us.
Maybe we should be grateful to live in a world to which we are so well adapted and maybe it is in our best interest to protect it since it is essential to our existence.

Man is a superior form of life and we and our nation or community are a superior form of man.
This is just pure arrogance and vanity.

The world is as we perceive it.
See quantum physics.

The world is a fearful place and we must always be watching for threats to us and our families. We must depend on our leaders to protect us.
This is obviously a tale told by the demagogues for their own purposes.

The natural resources of our world are property to be owned by the more powerful of us and exploited along with the labor of the less powerful to increase the wealth and power of these, our rulers.
This is obviously a tale told by the demagogues for their own purposes.

What if we lived in a world without fear and jealousy in which we all worked to make sure that everyone has food and shelter and health care and access to education. A world in which each felt free to be himself without pressure to conform to the norms of the crowd but with respect for the lives and rights and unique qualities of others. A world in which all felt a duty to protect and appreciate and enjoy the common environment on which we all depend for our existence.

Proof:

"Proof" lyrics by Jordana Greenberg of the
three girl singing group, "Harpeth Rising"
on the album, "Shifted".

There's no reward for good behavior
And there's no such thing as fair.
You can build the highest towers;
There's no answers there.
You'd better love the feeling
Of sweat upon your brow,
Cause that's the only proof you'll get
We're even living now.

It's been a long, cold winter
And you want me to say,
There's a light beyond the tunnel;
There's an end to dark and grey.

But don't wish away your time
Because time is all we've got.
God knows I don't blame you.
We're cut from the same cloth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6l2cUGGEeA

Wisdom of the Crowd:

The classic wisdom-of-the-crowds finding involves point estimation of a continuous quantity. At a 1906 country fair in Plymouth, 800 people participated in a contest to estimate the weight of a slaughtered and dressed ox. Statistician Francis Galton observed that the median guess, 1207 pounds, was accurate within 1% of the true weight of 1198 pounds. This has contributed to the insight in cognitive science that a crowd's individual judgments can be modeled as a probability distribution of responses with the median centered near the true value of the quantity to be estimated.

To some extent democracy as a form of government is based on the idea that, in aggregrate, following the wisdom of the crowd will give better or fairer outcomes than any other system so far imagined.

Guidance to humanity can be found in solutions to perceived economic and political problems offered by progressives. The question is "Can the widespread publication of these solutions cause a slow, or perhaps fast in some cases, change in public attitudes (wisdom of the crowd) in time to solve such problems before anticipated extreme bad outcomes occur and is such public opinion even enough to change policies in the face of lobbying by entrenched special interests and a powerful oligarchy?"

For example, in 2017 even though about 80% of people favored a policy of net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission eliminated this policy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds

Relationships:

We are all a part of the universe from Pluto, the planet or whatever it is, to the horsehead nebula to Alpha Centauri to the smallest microbe or virus to a jellyfish to a lizard to a tree frog to an eagle to a mouse to an elephant to your aunt Betsy.

This is one type of relationship we have. We also have a closer relationship according to how close our DNA matches to another living being. We also have historical relationships in time and space. I have a closer relationship to those things I can see or otherwise sense close to me in space and coexisting with me in time than to things further away. This relationship is also closer if the things near me are close to my size scale as opposed to a microscopic thing or a thing much larger than me such as the milky way galaxy which may be very present and obvious but not something with which I can easily interact.

We have many interlocking circles of relationships, many of them emotional as opposed to physical. Some are both such as those involving love and sex or living together. These include such things as our relationships with pets, school classmates, co-workers, social network friends, neighbors, club members, and family such as spouses, ancestors, descendents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They can also be commercial relationships such as suppliers, competitors, clients, customers, patients, etc.

Families can be monogamous, polyamorous, homosexual, heterosexual, parent- child, adopted child and can even include pets. We can all look on the internet and find our place in a global family tree or in the tree of life.

Relationships can have a beginning and an end although the fact that a relationship has ended does not mean that it never existed. The fact of the relationship becomes a permanent part of the fabric of the universe. I barely remember some of my high school classmates and have not seen them since high school but there will always be a point in time in which we had a relationship however tenuous.

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs:

Persuasion:

The goal of persuasion and media is engagement:

Use data to arouse positive or negative passions.
Negative passions are usually stronger and more permanent then positive passions.
The data does not even have to be true. It can be fictional.
Not all data is factual.

These passions can then cause gradual behavior modification whether that modification is to use a different brand of soap or to become a Nazi or a white extremist or a Mormon or a tree hugger.

Start your argument by assuming certain truths as self evident even though they may not be. Use adjectives and adverbs to slant the meaning of true or false data which is presented as facts. Ignore perspective in making arguments.

Will we immerse ourselves in technology and become zombies consuming and adapting to the world view presented to us by the media we embrace?

Example:

Assume these are facts:

Optimistic view:
Forest fires only burned 100,000 acres this spring.
This is less than was burned last spring and a relatively quick recovery is expected. The fires opened the forest so that new green growth can become established furnishing more food for browsers such as deer.

Pessimistic view:
Forest fires caused a conflagration over 100,000 acres of formerly green growing timber this spring. This was a larger area burned than the average burned over the last ten years. The blackened ground, in many places, stretched as far as the eye could see. The bare ground exposed may be subject to increased erosion and faster runoff when spring rains come.

Another example:

Islamic jihadist terrorists kill Americans and they should be feared by all. A wall must be built so that these people can not attack us. They are certainly much more dangerous than Americans owning guns.

The facts:

Ten year averages:
Americans killed annually by:

The Big Lie:

Our whole culture is a lie based on the idea that there are a few superior people supported by layers of increasingly inferior people and the purpose of the inferior people is to support and enrich the more powerful superior people. Our religions and political systems and economic systems have all evolved to create and support this culture.

The alternative system would be a belief that it is the purpose of all people to support each other; to try to ensure that everyone has the necessities of life: Air to breathe, food and water, shelter and energy, health care, companionship and education as well as freedom to be unique individuals.

Instead we earn the right to live by working for our superiors.

This system is supported by a fabric of lies and fear and pressure to conform rather than by truth, empathy, support and security.

Relationships among people after the neolithic revolution
(development of agriculture and cities):

Social relationships have to do with personal compatibility; intellectually, professionally, sexually and perhaps in other areas.

Economic relationships arise due to commerce and trade.

Political relationships:

What is politics?
Politics is the role of cooperation among peoples to use the common resources of a group of people in ways that can most efficiently provide the most benefits for the group as a whole in areas that would be difficult or impossible for members of the group to accomplish individually.

Questions arrive when considering who are members of the group, what are their political relationships, what are their resources, what are the goals of the group or the benefits to be gained and what is the mix of sacrifice of resources by which members of the group to be used for what degree of benefits to which members? It is obvious that the practice of politics will require some redistribution of resources among group members to gain the goals of the group. The answers to these questions give rise to political differences and thus to political parties. Politics then becomes the struggle among political parties to get the group as a whole to cooperate to the maximum extent possible according to the beliefs of that party.

When this cooperation cannot be agreed on then the whole political group must be disbanded or rearranged in some way so that members of the resulting groups can reach some type of mutually agreeable cooperation by some form of compromise.

What type of benefits for a group are commonly desired from the practice of politics?
(In approximate order of priorities.)

  1. Defense of the group from other groups and from threats of nature.
  2. Safety and order among members of the group from threats and anarchy from within.
  3. Rules and infrastructure to facilitate commerce both within the group and with other groups and entities and to build a strong economic structure.
  4. Access to education for members of the group.
  5. Health care for members of the group.
  6. Cooperation to assure life to members of the group by provision of food and shelter for all.

Members of a political group are usually people who live in a defined geographical area but such groups could be defined in other ways. Besides defining the group, members must also determine the process under which additional people can be admitted to the group and the requirements for admission and the process by which people can be ejected from the group and under what circumstances. There may also be a process under which different people may have different degrees of membership. For instance, convicted felons or minors or women may not be allowed to vote. Members of certain social or economic classes may have political or economic or social advantages over members of other social or economic classes.

Resources of the members of a group which may be allocated to the government formed by the group may include their labor, their wealth or possessions, land or other natural resources owned or claimed by members of the group or by the group as a whole and economic entities formed by the group.

Usually differences in political parties are due to the extent to which they believe common resources should be allocated to use by government and, when allocated to government, how they should be used to provide various benefits. Often conservatives believe that only the first three benefits listed above are a proper function of government and libertarians only support the first two benefits on the list while progressives support more or all benefits on the list.

Other differences in the views of political parties arise due to questions of the extent to which the group as a whole should regulate the lives of individual members. Generally governments exert control by means of a set of laws specifying what members of the group are required to do or are prohibited from doing along with penalities for violations.

Sammi Smith – Help Me Make It Through The Night

Take the ribbon from my hair
Shake it loose and let it fall
Lay it soft upon my skin
Like the shadows on the wall.

Come and lay down by my side
Til the early mornin' light
All I'm takin' is your time
Help me make it through the night.

Chorus:
I don't care what's right or wrong
I won't try to understand
Let the devil take tomorrow
But tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone
And tomorrow's out of sight
And it's sad to be alone
Help me make it through the night.

(Repeat Chorus)
Songwriter: Kris Kristofferson

“As we have discovered, thoughts and prayers generally don’t protect you from gunfire,” said Delaney Tarr, senior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, where a former student gunned down 17 classmates and staff.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952. Written 1927.


Quotations from Thomas Paine:
Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not 
the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the 
community a ground rent for the land which he holds. 

The earth, in its natural, uncultivated state was, and ever would have 
continued to be, the common property of the human race." As the land gets 
cultivated, "it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth 
itself, that is in individual property. Every proprietor, therefore, of 
cultivated lands, owes to the community a ground-rent..to every person, rich 
or poor...because it is in lieu of the natural inheritance, which, as a right, 
belongs to every man, over and above the property he may have created, or 
inherited from those who did.

Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by 
human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed 
monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has 
dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural 
inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an 
indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty 
and wretchedness that did not exist before. 

See Agrarian Justice


We should not be required to work for others to justify our existence.

Some people feel that they have a right to dominate others because they are superior beings.

Some other people accept this premise without question and think that they are to be dominated and do not rise up in revolt against this arrogance.

When you meet another, rather than asking "What do you do?", ask "What gives your life meaning?" This should be the way to identify a life.


How do we perceive our identity?
Is it:


As a part of the universe and a unit of humanity I am responsible to do my best to see that all others have the necessities of life including food, shelter, medical care and access to education. I am also entitled to these necessities for myself and my family to be provided by the rest of humanity without qualification.
Sam left in sorrow about her fate after Jill told him she had an incurable fatal disease. On his way home he was killed in an automobile accident. Think about it.

Sports and Prayer

Suppose a game of sports is played. Assume there are two teams and one team is expected to win and the other to lose the game.

Assume that there are a number of fans and that some fans support one of the two teams and some support the other.

Assume that, of the fans, several are religious and that they are of a religion that teaches them to pray and to believe in the power of prayer.

In these circumstances it is reasonable to believe that as the game progresses some of these fans, besides cheering for their team, will pray for their team to win.

So, if you believe in the power of prayer, when the game is over did the best team win or was the game influenced by the prayers of the fans?

If the game was influenced by the prayers of the fans, is it that the winning team had more prayers in its favor or was the winning team the team with the most devout fans?

Suppose that one religious fan was unable to watch the game but instead had a friend record the game so that he could watch it later. When he is watching the recorded game later and he becomes excited and fearful about the outcome, should he pray for the outcome he desires? If he does can that prayer decide the game?

Can this discussion cause one who believes in the power of prayer to question his belief?


Kids born in 2018 will probably never experience:
We could live in a world where everyone was entitled to and was given access to basic needs including food, shelter, healthcare and education. This would be a world in which one could have anything he wanted above his and his family's basic needs to the extent that he had contributed to his community or his species enough to afford his wants. His contributions would be recorded in a blockchain which would keep track of the net worth of the contributions of each person and of their purchases by use of a cryptocurrency.
There's dancing and kissing and laughter in the hall.
Ain't that why we're here, after all?

There's cornbread and pinto beans and taters.
Send sis out to the garden for a few more ripe t'maters.

Bellies full, sitting by the fire.
Soon Uncle Joe's a snoring.

Upstairs in the bedroom atop neighbor Dan,
Happily, cousin Lulu's a whoring.


According to Ray Kurzweil in discussing the coming singularity:

Immortality may be achieved by advances in:

By the year 2021 expect:

Crazy ideas people believe:
(Crazy because they are obviously untrue.)

There is a God or Gods.
We live in a world of random patterns which is evolving.
The Bible or other holy book is true and is a guide to life.
The best guide to life is education, free thought and perhaps some buddhist precepts.
The poor are poor because they want to be poor or because they are lazy or because they deserve to be poor.
Poor people are created by a system of capitalism, property, money and greed into which they were born.
Cutting taxes decreases deficits.
Cutting taxes increases government deficits undercutting efforts to provide services for the governed and opportunities for graft for the corrupt.
People who do not work deserve to starve.
All people have a right to access to the necessities of life.
People should love their country because it is their country.
People should love their family, nature, friends and the things that give meaning to their life.
Strangers at your door or on TV or politicians want to help you.
People who are not your friends or family are more likely to do things to help themselves than to help you, often at your expense.
Doctors know magic to cure you.
Some doctors are competent. Some are not. 50% finished in the bottom half of their class. This also applies to other professions and occupations. People are more likely to serve you due to greed than to altruism.
The rich deserve their wealth.
People who are stronger, smarter, prettier, more productive or more highly skilled or more charismatic deserve more of the rewards of the economic system than others but only within reasonable limits.
Vaccines, microwaves, automobiles and wifi are harmful.
The benefits of vaccines, microwaves, automobiles and wifi far exceed their dangers, if any.
Prayers are worthwhile.
Prayers only make the believer feel better. Prayers have been shown to be ineffectual in preventing mass shootings.
People unlike ourselves are to be feared.
People unlike ourselves are actually very much like us.
Nudity is nasty.
Nudity is beautiful as is all of nature.
Sex must be exclusive between one man and one woman. We should resist and suppress our sexuality.
Our sexuality should be celebrated in all its variety.
We live in a world that exists to be exploited by us.
We live in a world which is essential to our life and therefore should be appreciated and protected by us.
The world is as we perceive it.
The nature of our world is a mystery behind a curtain but the methods of science can be used to make the curtain a little more transparent.

Killing:

There can be several reasons for taking the life of another animal including that of one of your own species.

One reason is food. We are evolved to be omnivorous which means that we support our lives by eating other living beings both plant and animal. Therefore we sometimes kill for this purpose.

One reason is safety. We sometimes feel threatened by other people or animals. Sometimes this fear is justified, sometimes not. But, in either case, one way to ease our fears is simply to kill before being killed. This may indeed be self defense. This is also often the justification for war between groups of people and for genocide.

Other reasons are revenge for a wrong that we perceive was done to us by the other or economic gain as in selling animals for their fur or their meat or killing a business rival to eliminate competition or to steal their wealth.

Another unfortunate aspect of human behavior is that we often are willing to kill other beings for sport and pleasure and entertainment. This includes such activities as sport hunting, Roman gladiator contests, lynching of blacks in the American south, and mass shootings. These events are said to give pleasure to the killer and, in some cases, to the spectators watching the event.

I, and some others, may have a defect in our human character if we are unable to take pleasure from the power to kill or the power to watch death being dealt.

One could reasonably argue from the above discussion that it is not the act of killing that is wrong but the motivation for the killing.

A vegan would argue that killing for food for ourselves or our family is wrong. Most people would not.

Very few would argue that killing in self defense is wrong although, in some cases, many might question whether the threat was great enough to justify the killing.

Most would probably feel that, in most cases, killing for economic reasons is unjustified.

Most would say that killing for revenge accomplishes no useful purpose unless the purpose is to deter others from repeating the wrong that was the cause of the killing.

I would argue that those who can justify, in their own minds, killing for pleasure and entertainment must be depraved individuals but there are many such in this world.

Problems people have interpreting data:


The top five global risks we should worry about:

The first three have happened in the past and the last two are happening now.

Perspective - Essay 3

Study the pictures here!

The point is that either by coming closer or by backing off you can change your perspective on the world or of your life.

I think it is important that to understand a thing one must be able to observe it from different perspectives; to go closer and examine it close-up and to back off and look at it in context. I also believe that too many people think they understand something without doing this.

It is also necessary to realize that no matter how close you get to the object of your study or how far away, it is always possible to look closer or from further away and, thus, to get even different perspectives. A valid question is the question of whether there is any limit to how close or how far back it is possible to get and whether the value of the resulting change in perspective is worth the effort.

For other examples of this watch fractal videos on YouTube.

Another perspective of study is to be able to understand the history of your subject from the past and to try to be able to project how it may be changing to exist in the future. A third way to look at your subject is in its relationships to other things that exist in its space with it or did in the past or may in the future.


Links to my writings on perspective:
Examples:

A place - first example above.

A thing - an apple or a person - discuss

An event - The Civil war from the effect of a missing horseshoe nail to its place in world history.


To understand the object of our study, we must answer these questions.

What is it? Components and forces and patterns.

How did it come to be? Was it made to have a purpose?

What is its function or its effect on the world around it?

What is its future?

World Views and Fake News

During a person's life his brain develops neural pathways which determine such things as his personality, his pattern recognition ability and other parameters of his intelligence. This development is very rapid at first beginning just three weeks after conception and then slows down with perhaps 50% of it done by age 3, 75% by age 10 or 12, 90% by age 20 and 95% by age 30. This is the period of his life when he develops beliefs about how to live his life to prevent things which might hurt him. He learns not to touch a hot stove, not to fall from high places, to swim or avoid water, to brush his teeth each day, to eat fruits and vegetables, to get exercise and how he prefers to get it and other physical things. He might also develop beliefs that he is a sinner and a fear of hell or that he is a Democrat or a Republican or a Catholic or a Jew or a Muslim. He may develop the belief that he should not step on a crack in the sidewalk or that strangers are out to harm him or that he will live longer if he visits a doctor regularly or if he eats an apple daily. He will also develop skills like how to drive a car or how to hit a baseball or how to type or how to cook or to clean or whatever. And he will develop preferences about what types of things he likes to do in life and those he dislikes and will settle in to a lifestyle and perhaps a job or profession and to types of social relationships.

Many habits he develops will not be the most efficient and many of his beliefs will not be based on fact but instead on a fantasy that he has learned from others. However, as he ages, these brain patterns will become hardened and will be increasingly hard to change even if he later learns that they are incorrect or that there are better ways of doing things or better ways to live his life. The world view that he develops will become very important to him as defining who he is and he will very vigorously resist any information which might get him to question or change his world view or his ingrained habits.

This development is influenced by the person's DNA, his environment and random occurrences that happen in his life.

As a child we develop a world view as our brains and personalities develop. This world view is based on influences from our physical and our economic environment and the social influences in our lives. This means we usually have a world view that is much like that of others around us and that we think of ourselves as part of a group such as a family or a community or a religion or a nation or combinations of these and other such groups.

It would seem to me that as we have aged enough and developed a world view which has began to harden in our minds, the test of the validity of such a world view would be its consistency. We know that our minds are capable of holding beliefs which contradict each other at the same time. However, I would think that the contradictions themselves would raise, at least some, doubts about their validity.

Anyway, what happens to our now pretty much hardened world view when we are presented with new information which is inconsistent with the world view we hold?

I think we have three choices:

  1. We can deny that the new information is factual.
  2. We can accept the new information as an alternate fact and introduce more inconsistency into our world view.
  3. We can change our world view to be more consistent with the new information.

A liberal, free thinker, or a scientist will want to reduce inconsistencies in his world view as much as possible and thus the only acceptable alternative for him is the third one above.

A conservative, religious, or stubborn dogmatist will be more likely to resolve the quandary by one of the first two alternatives.

Our world view may be that we are insignificant short lived beings in a huge complex universe and that time extends before we existed into a distant and unknown past and into a distant and unknown future that will exist after we are gone.

Our response to this situation may be that we should be altruistic and try to make our world a better place as much as possible in respect to those who came before us and for the benefit of those who come after us including our descendents.

Another response may be that we should get all we can for ourselves in terms of material goods, pleasure, and wealth while we have the chance and thus should be selfish and greedy.

A third response may be simply to be curious and to want to spend our life studying and refining our world view and making it as expansive and as consistent as possible in hopes of obtaining wisdom.

We also want to validate our world view as much as possible by being around or seeking out others with a similar world view or we try to convince others of the validity of our world view. This is the basis of evangelism.

This may also be the reason that we tend to hate or fear or attack others with world views very different than ours. We feel that they are a threat to our world and to the validity of our world view. The Catholic missionaries in Mexico told the indians they found there during the exploration of North America, "Become Christians or we will kill you!"

I tend to write short essays on subjects of my present interest and to repeat those essays later from a somewhat different perspective to refine my ideas both for myself and for any others who might be interested if there are any such. This probably indicates that my response to my perception of the emphemeral nature of life is to be curious and to attempt to attain wisdom.

I've come far and, I hope, I have far yet to go, but I feel I may be fast approaching the short rows.

Below are my thoughts on a few issues that are presently in the news in light of this discussion of world views:


Migration

Many people hate and fear migrants who are defined as people who are, in some way, unlike us or unknown to us coming to live among us. Obviously people who feel this way are insecure in the validity of their world view and thus feel threatened by these "others". They think that those who have a more welcoming and accepting world view are gullible innocents.

These anti migrant people will often attack, rape, kill and maim migrants. Such is their fear of and insecurity in the face of tolerance of others.


Welfare

Some people feel an obligation to help others. They have a belief that it is the purpose of all people to support each other; to try to ensure that everyone has the necessities of life: Air to breathe, food and water, shelter and energy, health care, companionship and education as well as freedom to be unique individuals.

Other people have a zero sum world view. They seem to think that anything that anyone else has subtracts from their wealth and benefits and resources and happiness, so that they will have more in life to the extent that others have less. Therefore they oppose common efforts to provide for the less fortunate in terms of the necessities of life. In doing so they tend to justify their position by demonizing those others and saying that they are, for some reason, undeserving of help.


Exceptionalism and Chosen People

Some people believe that the group of which they are a part is exceptional and chosen by God or the Universe to be more deserving of the good things of life than any others.

The most obvious example of this is those who use the phrase "American Exceptionalism" and "America First" and seem to think that their nation is the best nation and destined to dominate the world. These people will not accept the fact that of all the major industrialized nations of the world, America has the lowest life expectancy, most health problems and highest poverty rate.


Climate Change

It is the conclusion of scientists that the actions of humans are causing climate change on the Earth, sometimes called global warming.

Some people deny that this is so, probably because they are afraid that if they admit its truth they will be pressured to make sacrifices in their lives for the benefit of the Earth and of future generations. Their world view is that their present wealth is more important than whatever may happen to the world and mankind after they are gone.


Wealth inequality

Some people have a world view that extremes of wealth inequality are immoral. Other people think that they are the ones chosen to possess most of the world's resources and there should be no limits on how much they can own or control.


Click on this link to a World View essay

Economic History of America
(Years are approximate)

Life Questions:

At this stage in life I consider myself a writer. I am pretty much unpublished except for all my web pages. I write mostly for my own satisfaction. Anyway, I am always looking for ideas of subjects that I might want to write about.

Below are a set of questions about your life. If you are like me you might want to tell someone about your life. If you do, I promise to read your answers in hopes that I will find inspiration in the lives of some of the people who might answer these questions.

I know that these questions are open-ended and somewhat vague. That is on purpose so that you will give your own answers and not try to look for any "right" answers. The only "right" answer is what you think it is. I am particularly interested in answers from people who are more than 50 years old, although, anyone is welcome to answer.

Answer in an email to duane@kyphilom.com.

Our Mortality:

At some point we, or at least most of us, become aware of our own mortality. Then the question becomes how to spend our limited time alive in light of limited resources.

These resources include:

Our response to this awareness can be to become:

The altruist tries to convince others to think about the condition and future of the world and to endeavor to improve conditions for themselves and their progeny. This mainly includes protection of the environment and more equality and caring relationships among humans and even animals.

This is a threat to the greedy egoist who wants to exploit the environment and natural resources and other living things as well as other people for their own ego regardless of their detrimental effects on others or on the world.

The most effective recourse for the greedy egoist is to mount campaigns to distract others from the message of the altruist. The idea is convince others to concentrate their energies on more superficial things such as:

They raise issues to deflect public attention such as: