Across unimaginable expanses of time and space the Cosmos goes about its business of existence and perhaps of consciousness. In one nondescript galaxy on the third planet from a yellow star for a fleeting moment life flashed into being and covered the planet and itself became conscious and then flickered out with little, if any, notice by or effect on the rest of the Cosmos.
The concept of time is uniquely human. We think that very few species of life have a concept of the past and of the future and of time itself; possibly just chimps and maybe dolphins in addition to Homo sapiens
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau
I spent the first 30 years of my life from 1947 to about 1977 learning.
The period from 1965 to 1977 was a transition period in which I acquired a life partner (female) and a family.
I spent the next 32 years of my life from 1977 to 2009 in the productive phase in which I raised a family and made a living working as a farmer, forester, and computer programmer.
For details on all this see my life book.
Starting with semi-retirement in 2010 I began to try to put all my previous knowledge and experience together into a comprehensive view of my perception of the nature of the world I live in and my place in it. I did this by beginning to write all this which I call "my legacy."
So far I have written about the past and my view of the present situation. I have also continued the learning process which had been, more or less, put on hold during my productive period, by reading more and watching videos to try to catch up to developments in knowledge that I may have missed during the last 32 years.
I came to the realization this morning that I may now be in the middle of another transitional period in which, after filling in my understanding of the present situation, I will go on to preparing for the future.
I would do this by considering the possibilities for the future and making a plan as to the best way to approach it. By adding these ideas to my writings that I have created over the last three or four years, I have something that I would like to be able to feel might be available to future generations just in case it might have any value to others besides the value of this work to me. See my essay on Curator of Legacies.
At present I see the world as a huge evolutionary process from my perception of time which, I realize, is probably an illusion. This process proceeds from chaos toward complexity in stages in which all possibilities are tried and almost all result in what, from my perception, is failure with a very infrequent success. Complete chaos means nothing exists which is the same as complete order. Once something exists it tends to be in a disordered state because there are more arrangements of stuff that are disordered than that are ordered. If, in a disordered universe, small pockets of order happen to appear, energy is required to maintain or increase that order.
The first stage of this process was physical which resulted in many worlds with vast amounts of matter and energy, a very small proportion of which became stars and galaxies and planets.
The next stage was biological in which life appeared on a very small number of these planets.
The next stage was multicelluar in which the complexity of a few organisms increased by symbiosis of individual single cells and life later evolved to a form of complex multicelluar plants and animals and in a very few cases it developed consciousness. Of these, which on Earth was the genus Homo, several species developed with only one becoming Homo sapiens sapiens.
The next stage was social in which complex forms of life banded together to form social units of more and more complexity resulting, at this point, in the most complex being nations and multi-national corporations and other aggregations.
The next stage seems to be virtual in which people are forming virtual communities which is probably a further refinement of the social stage but it is unclear where this is heading.
During the last of these stages, due to the brain power or ability for abstract thought and analysis of man, there were technological developments which accelerated the process. The first of these were fire and weapons. Later came agriculture and machines and the industrial revolution leading to robotics and nanotechnology with the result of freeing man from physical labor.
Then came the printing press and computers which resulted in very enhanced mental abilities and possibilites of data collection and organization and manipulation leading to an accelerated explosion of knowledge and consciousness.
This led to development of the internet which meant that planetwide communication and creation of virtual worlds was possible.
In the meantime genetic knowledge gives the possibilities of man being able to control his own evolution and that of other species and space exploration which gives the possibility of man leaving earth and spreading to other places.
Of course there were many setbacks along the way including several near extinctions of all life on Earth and several near extinctions of Homo sapiens. There were also setbacks in the development of man such as arguably, agriculture, and unarguably, religion. At this point there are a number of threats (see problems) to the existence of mankind, most of which are caused by man himself, which are likely to result in an end to this prong of the overall evolution of this planet in this world of the many worlds of the universe.
From my standpoint, however, the only productive stance is to assume that this prong of evolution is not a dead end and to consider ways in which progression to even further complexity might take place and my appropriate response, if any, to these possibilities.
I think I am a conscious sentient being, on at least one level of being and consciousness, who wears many hats.
Levels of being include:
Levels of consciousness include:
Some of the many hats I wear include:
I was raised as a farmer, self taught as a computer programmer and trained as a forester which means I am an applied scientist in the field of biology. This is as opposed to an experimental or a theoretical scientist who create new ideas by means of questioning and designing and performing experiments or gathering data to test hypotheses and draw conclusions and formulate theories. An applied scientist interprets these theories to imagine and apply solutions to real world problems.
Wearing my hats of philom, systems analyst and writer at once makes me an information aggregator. This means that my love of learning causes me to collect information as in collecting jigsaw puzzle pieces. Then my systems analyst hat enables me to try to put these pieces together into a coherent whole or aggregate to see the entire picture. And my writer hat lets me write the results into a report or essay expressing what is hopefully a new, and mostly correct idea. Like a jigsaw puzzle it is possible to have a piece in the collection of information which belongs to a different puzzle or to have a missing piece or for me to make a mistake and force a piece to fit where it does not, so the process is imperfect.
What follows is an example of this process.
I learned in forestry that trees do not exist in a vacuum. They live in symbiosis with mycorrhizae or fungi in the soil which help them to assimilate water and nutrients from the soil. As a result many bare root tree seedlings will not grow or thrive or even survive if planted in a sterile soil or a soil which is not inhabited by compatible fungi.
I learned that as a result of the study of the human microbiome it was found that 90% of the cells in the human body are not human. This means that the human consciousness of a body actually refers to an entity that is made up of millions of specialized human cells and even more millions of cells of other species living mostly in a symbiotic relationship. This is not the impression most people have of their body. See I Am Not This Body.
I learned in biology that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. This is a biological hypothesis that in developing from embryo to adult, animals go through stages resembling or representing successive stages in the evolution of their remote ancestors. With different formulations, such ideas have been applied and extended to several fields and areas, including the origin of language, biology, cognition and mental activities, anthropology, education theory and developmental psychology. Since there is no consensus against its validity outside of biology; recapitulation theory is still considered plausible and applied by some researchers in fields like the study of the origin of language, cognitive development, behavioral development in animal species, and others.
I studied the Gaia hypothesis which postulates that the Earth as a whole is a responsive system sometimes referred to as Gaia.
These facts and theories led me to my philosophical hypothesis of massive or universal consciousness. This is the idea that perhaps we exist in a universe of macro beings such as galaxies or clusters of galaxies or even the entire universe which are not only responsive, but may be conscious or even sentient. This is a philosophical hypothesis and not a scientific hypothesis because no scientist has devised an experiment to test the hypothesis.
I now realize that there is an alternate point of view; assuming that there is me and trying to determine how other things and concepts which may or may not have a real existence in my world revolve around me or have a relationship to me. Basically, what is their significance to me and to my life?
These things in my world seem to have two attributes of significance to this inquiry. One attribute is type or kind of relationship and the other is proximity or significance to me. These attributes can be expressed in terms of multi-dimensional spheres around me.
So far, I have identified six types of relationships:
A few examples follow:
My spouse is significant to me in all spheres meaning that he or she is in a close social relationship, usually close to me physically, closely related to me in an evolutionary sense being the same species as myself and is an object of which I am aware in the present moment on the same scale in which I exist.
My child once grown and moved from my home would be close to me in a relationship and size scale and in an evolutionary sense, but may not be close to me physically and on a time continuum I may not have interacted with him or her in over a week and although I am mentally aware of his/her existence I am not aware in terms of my physical senses. The same applies to my grandfather who died years ago.
My dog, Fido, would be close to me in relationship meaning I feel a close relationship and physically close and close in awareness and in size scale and in the present moment but would be further from me on an evolutionary relationship continuum than my spouse or my child or my friends.
The plaque on my teeth is very close to me physically but I am barely aware of it and do not feel a close relationship to it. It is far from me biologically, being a mineral, but it exists in my present at all times. It actually exists on a size scale of which I am aware in the aggregate but on a much smaller size scale in individual particles.
My neighbor, Bob Jones, who lives next door is physically close to me but I have only a distant aquaintance relationship with him. He is close to me on a size scale and is the same species as myself and I am aware of him existing in my present although I only see or hear him occasionally and almost never taste, smell or feel him.
A lady running a bakery in Tokyo would be of the same species and size scale as myself but would not be close physically or in social relationship and might exist in my present time but I would have no awareness of that existence.
Terminator is a lady who lives in Lebanon. I often play a computer game with her on the internet. We have a distant social relationship and she is the same species and size scale as myself and exists in my present time but she is not physically close and I am only aware of her electronically.
Our lives are made up of individual moments in which events and our consciousness cause us to have feelings. These feelings can be sad or happy, fearful, or angry, or disgusted or even surprised.
We tend to group these moments in our mind into days or weeks or months or years, saying we had a happy day or a good week or a sad year. This refers to what we think of or remember as the predominant feeling or emotion of that time period.
In reality though emotions occur in a moment and we usually experience a number of emotions during any given time period.
For example such emotions may occur:
The moment you realize you have just run over the cat.
On feeling cool morning air and watching a glorious sunrise while drinking the day's first cup of coffee.
On enjoying a Mozart symphony.
On eating a good steak with tomatoes, potatoes and beer.
On first hearing that a loved one has died.
On hearing a baby's first cry.
On relief of pressure when the bladder has just been voided.
On smelling roses blooming.
At the surprise ending of a good book you have been reading.
On hearing a strange noise in the dark of night.
On being cheered by others.
On being booed by others.
On opening a new purchase.
On remembering your first kiss.
The point is that our lives are actually made up of a great number of moments of these feelings and our attitude toward life will probably determine how we would describe the overall experience.
I would argue that the sum of these moments is all that is really significant about any of our lives.
From contemplation of the implications of the uncertainity principle, chaos theory, fractal geometry, many worlds theory, and the biological and social evolution of mechanisms to avoid bad outcomes, I conclude that the universe is not deterministic. Although consciousness can not bend the universe or the future to its will it can nudge it in that direction.
I also conclude that although our conscious perception of the nature of the world is largely an illusion, the existence of our consciousness indicates that it is a reflection of a larger reality which, since all is relative, can be said to exist. Perhaps we are beginning to develop a fuzzy perception of part of the nature of this reality.
Evolution of sexual reproduction meant death of the individual, the existence of which was probably an illusion to begin with, but it also indicates the existence of the reality of a much larger whole. This type of reproduction led to social evolution of memes which indicates another step toward understanding of larger realities.
Living things which reproduce asexually can be said not to die because they produce clones. However the offspring of sexual reproduction are not clones of either parent but a combination of DNA from each and therefore are considered distinct individuals.
Ernest Becker eloquently elaborated on the psychological link between sex and death. He explained that "sex and death are twins." After all, "animals who procreate die": "Nature conquers death not by creating eternal organisms but by making it possible for really complex organisms to emerge in the place of simple--and almost literally eternal-self dividing ones." Thus, nature conquers death through sexual reproduction but only through "the defeat of individuality" that is intrinsic to it.
Death is the fee charged for having lived and the fee must be paid at the end of life. That is a good bargain because the alternative of never having to die is never getting to live.
At the end of life one can cringe with fear, "Now I must die!" or one can celebrate with joy, "I have lived!" The proper attitude toward death is gratitude for the life which preceded it. Paying after receiving a thing is much better than having to pay in advance.
There was a long time in the universe in which I did not exist. That did not bother me. Then there was a time in which I did exist. That I enjoyed. Then there will be a long time in which I will not exist. That should bother me no more than the previous time when I did not exist.
I had never tasted ice cream. My mother gave me an ice cream cone. After I had enjoyed the ice cream cone, it was gone. Should I cry because it is gone or should I thank my mother for giving it to me?
I am unique because of the unique set of genes I inherited from my parents and because of the environment in which I live and because of my life experiences. When I consider all the gene combinations possible from my parents union or even the other people that my parents might have married, I realize how unique is my existence. When I consider all the other people who might have existed in my place and who due to fortune never will, then I have even greater cause for gratitude for my existence.
We resist our mortality by giving meaning to our lives. We enhance our self esteem by interacting with others who have similar world views to ourselves. We defend our own world views and attack opposing world views.
We are to a large extent formed by those who came before us and they, in that sense, still live in us. In the same way we will survive to some degree in that we have helped to form those who come after us.
There are ways in which the continuing existence of other people after our deaths - even that of complete strangers - matters more to us than does our own survival and that of our loved ones.
We live our lives in anticipation that we will leave some kind of a legacy for those who survive after our death. If we knew that humanity itself would not long survive our death, how would this affect what we think of as the purpose of our life?
In a hypothetical scenario, drawn from P. D. James's novel "The Children of Men", humanity has become infertile, with no recorded birth having occurred in over 25 years. Imagine that you found yourself living in such circumstances. Nobody now alive is younger than 25, and the disappearance of the human race is imminent as an aging population inexorably fades away. How would you react?
Although some people can afford not to depend on the kindness of strangers, virtually everyone depends on the future existence of strangers. What is necessary to underwrite the perceived significance of what we do, it seems, is not a belief in the afterlife but rather a belief that humanity will survive, at least for a good long time.
We are all ripples in the ongoing stream of life and of existence.
"What is, is.
Blessed be to what is."
cell biologist, Ursual Goodenough.
Chaos theory and fractal studies teach us that nature creates a physical pattern or a pattern in principle (natural law) and then replicates that pattern in different areas and on different scales and even in different times to form new entities.
For instance cells in the human body tend to die if not connected to other cells or if overcrowded by other cells. In a similar way human beings tend to die if not connected to others or if in an overcrowded condition.
Human embryos develop by going through stages of development that are similar to the stages of evolution of life on Earth.
The patterns of waterways such as the watersheds of large rivers as seen from above are similar to the branching patterns of trees or of geneaology as expressed in diagrams of family trees.
If I am asked by a customer who makes thimbles to design a computer program to keep track of the storage of various thimbles of different sizes and colors and of different materials, I will write the same program as if I am asked to write a program to keep track of the vehicles parked in a large parking structure. Thimbles are not vehicles but mathematically the structure of the problem is the same.
Thinking on these facts and so many other similar bits of knowledge leads to the conclusion that maybe the universe is simply a series of replicating patterns with sometimes minor errors in the replication that can all be expressed through math.
Click here for a video of math in the world
Click here for a video of fractals.
Are We Real? Click here for a video about:
The anthropic principle
The technological singularity
The game of life
Illusion or dream?
Are we characters in a simulation?
From Gretchen Rubin:
We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently.
"Originality often consists in linking up ideas whose connection was not previously suspected," wrote W. I. B. Beveridge in the fantastic 1957 tome The Art of Scientific Investigation. "The role of the imagination is to create new meanings and to discover connections that, even if obvious, seem to escape detection," legendary graphic designer Paul Rand seconded.
Stephen Jay Gould said:
"My talent is making connections. That's why I'm an essayist. It's also why my technical work is structured the way it is. How do the parts of the snail shell interact? What are the rates of growth? Can you see a pattern? I'm always trying to see a pattern in this forest and I'm tickled that I can do that. … I can sit down on just about any subject and think of about twenty things that relate to it and they're not hokey connections. They're real connections that you can forge into essays or scientific papers. When I wrote Ontogeny and Phylogeny I had no trouble reading eight hundred articles and bringing them together into a single thread. That's how it went together. There's only one way it goes together, one best taxonomy, and I knew what it was.
It took me years to realize that was a skill. I could never understand why everybody just didn't do that. People kept telling me these essays were good and I thought, All right, I can write, but surely what I'm doing is not special. And then I found out that it's not true. Most people don't do it. They just don't see the connections."
Due to this men evolved emotions and sexual methods and bodies most suited to give their sperm an advantage in this competition and women's bodies evolved ways to give the sperm most compatible with her physiology the advantage so that the resulting offspring had a good chance of having the best genes possible from the available sperm. Therefore the best genetic results will result when there are as many varieties of sperm as possible competing. So women tend to want to copulate with as many men as possible when they are ovulating, particularly with those men who seem to be most physically compatible with them. This, of course, may not be the man who will be most likely to be the best at supporting and being a father to the resulting child. Research shows that about 15% of fathers end up unknowingly raising children that are not their offspring in spite of the prevalence of monogamy.
The idea of monogamy has suppressed this evolutionary desire for the last ten thousand years of about two million years of human evolution giving more of an advantage to inferior genes than would have been the case otherwise because there are simply fewer sperm in the competition. So our cultural bias toward men owning women and toward monogamy and medical advances enabling men with inferior genes to reproduce more often tends to cause a general deterioration in overall quality of the gene pool.
See Chris Ryan's description from "Sex at Dawn".
Carl Sagan on the Meaning of Life:
"We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock."
I have thought about these things so many times alone that I hope you will excuse me if I remind you of some thoughts that I am sure you have all had - or this type of thought - which no one could ever have had in the past, because people then didn't have the information we have about the world today.
For instance, I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves . . . mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business . . . trillions apart . . . yet forming white surf in unison.
Ages on ages . . . before any eyes could see . . . year after year . . . thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? . . . on a dead planet, with no life to entertain.
Never at rest . . . tortured by energy . . . wasted prodigiously by the sun . . . poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar.
Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves . . . and a new dance starts.
Growing in size and complexity . . . living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein . . . dancing a pattern ever more intricate.
Out of the cradle onto the dry land . . . here it is standing . . . atoms with consciousness . . . matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea . . . wonders at wondering . . . I . . . a universe of atoms . . . an atom in the universe.
Meiosis and fertilization are required by sexual organisms for their being, maintenance and growth. The crux of our existential crisis is that to totally regenerate ourselves we must have sex and die as conscious individuals. We must reboot, but to do so erases our memory and consciousness.
Cells and animals self destruct if too crowded yet many cannot live alone but must connect or die.
Meiosis resets the aging clock. Stem cells, once they are differentiated to become a specific tissue begin the aging process.
Humans are already well into becoming cyborgs thinking of themselves, not as individuals, but as the sum of their biological, social and technological components. Mankind is evolving into a social organism larger than the individual. Sex will become used mainly for social and recreational purposes with reproduction relegated to specialized individuals.
"The sexual reproductive cycles that got swinging not even a billion years ago, brought with them a frightening complementary motion, the switching from side to side of the Grim Reaper's scythe. With meiosis came mortality because going back to sperm and eggs eventually meant discarding those trillions of somatic cells that, although having brilliantly served their purpose, were not directly represented in evolution. And with reproductive sex came programmed cell and differentiated body death, because evolutionarily our bodies are husks, biodegradable reserves of valuable bioelements that belong to the ecosystem and must be returned, like overdue books, after performing their natural duty of keeping going the larger energetic process. Personally, as intelligent animals, we identify as individual bodies. Although easier said than done, the mystics advocate a larger view in which we identify with the cycles of natural energy-transforming forms, as well as release from such cycles, which they call nirvana. Creeping behind the bright prospect of Mesozoic ginkgo-sniffing reptiles, primeval ejaculators, and the first fragrant flowers was that dark figure, the inevitability of their demise. A melancholy note was struck in the cosmic love machine."
"A Tibetan mystic saying goes: We are here to realize the illusion of our separateness. The spiritual sentiment has a biological cognate. Our xenotropic drive — to merge with what is not us, temporarily in sex, or permanently in symbiosis or cross-species hybrids — is more than a metaphor. But it also offers spiritual solace. When we hook up with another, in sex or love (or, more rarely, both) we prove that our isolation is not permanent. In the fullness of time, we may all be linked. In the meantime, eros brings us together, making us more than we are alone. Cupid's arrow, quivering into the heart of loneliness, kills us even as it sets us free."
The most basic modern novelty was a perennial indeterminacy about the limits of sexual freedom. In place of a relatively coherent, authoritative world view that had endured for centuries, the Enlightenment left a much greater confusion and plurality of moral perspectives, with irresolvable tensions between them. At a basic level, attitudes after 1800 evolved in two contrasting ways. On the one hand we can trace continued, or even tightened, social control over various forms of sexual behaviour. Though the machinery of public punishment had been largely abandoned, its ideals were not. Against this backdrop of apparent national decline and social upheaval, the importance of religious faith and of social conservatism came to be widely reaffirmed: only by going back to basics would the nation find its way again. For women of all classes, sexual ignorance and passivity came increasingly to be valued as essential components of respectable femininity and heterosexual love. This was not just a male ideal: most women themselves deeply internalized it, and policed it in others. Just as important, especially in the English context, was the further development of social double standards. Regulating, controlling, and forcibly improving the sexual mores of the working classes became in the nineteenth century, and into the twentieth, an immense fixation for many middle- and upper-class politicians, commentators, and social reformers.
The ultimate legacy of the Enlightenment has thus been far from straightforward, and its consequences are still unfolding. Yet in retrospect it is easy to see that it marked the point at which the sexual culture of the west diverged onto a completely new trajectory. If anything, the characteristics of that culture - its individualism, its explicitness, its permissiveness, the equal status claimed by women and by homosexuals - have become more distinctive in recent decades, even as the world has grown smaller. They have also been widely influential: just as western feminism has had an impact across the globe, so too have western concepts of sexual freedom.
For millennia, sex had been strictly regulated by the Church, the state, and society, who vigorously and brutally attempted to punish any sex outside of marriage. But by 1800, everything had changed. Drawing on vast research--from canon law to court cases, from novels to pornography, not to mention the diaries and letters of people great and ordinary--Dabhoiwala shows how this dramatic change came about, tracing the interplay of intellectual trends, religious and cultural shifts, and politics and demographics. The Enlightenment led to the presumption that sex was a private matter; that morality could not be imposed; that men, not women, were the more lustful gender. Moreover, the rise of cities eroded community-based moral policing, and religious divisions undermined both church authority and fear of divine punishment. Sex became a central topic in poetry, drama, and fiction; diarists such as Samuel Pepys obsessed over it. In the 1700s, it became possible for a Church of Scotland leader to commend complete sexual liberty for both men and women. Arguing that the sexual revolution that really counted occurred long before the cultural movement of the 1960s, Dabhoiwala offers readers an engaging and wholly original look at the Western world's relationship to sex.
Not so long ago a lot of people in Britain and America might well have had a lot more in common with the `Taliban' than they would with us in attitudes toward sex.
Research on the human brain leads to the possibility of copying memories from the brain and restoring those memories into another brain. This would make possible the idea of storing the pattern for specific DNA as well as memories from a human brain and from that being able to grow either a clone or a custom modified clone of a human body and, perhaps, at some point being able to transfer the memories of a human brain into such a synthesized body.
Advances in nano engineering and minaturization should also lead to smaller and faster computers with new faster very high capacity storage systems. If those can then be interfaced with the brain, that would lead to speculation about a hybrid mechanical/organic/computer/brain body being synthesized in a lab.
Add to these thoughts the present trend toward social networking and an obsession by many to be in almost constant communication with others as well as trends toward chemical mind and body enhancement or alteration then it is easy to imagine a new hybrid species of human. This species might be named Homo evolutis because it would be the first species to gain control of its own evolution as well as that of other species.
Predictions are that this development will occur by the middle of this century. Some have a goal to live until that time so that their brain might be copied into the new beings. I am not so sure that makes sense. Although curiosity would encourage one to want to see what happens in the future, would this not be a future in which I did not feel I belonged and in which I would have a great sense of loss as the world with which I was familiar receded into the past?
From the time we are born we learn about the environment both physical and social in which we live and we have an amazing ability to adapt to that environment. As we age we feel more comfortable in the environment in which we live. Biologically we are adapted to live long enough to reproduce and to raise our children to the age at which they can reproduce. After that our diploid bodies have served their purpose and begin to deteriorate. One of our major goals as a society seems to be to slow or defeat this process to prolong life as much as possible. It seems our ultimate goal is to defeat death altogether. I am not sure that a goal of as many people as possible on earth living as long as possible makes any biological sense or even any sense philosophically. Should our emphasis be on increasing the quantity of life or instead on accepting life's limitations and trying to improve its quality? Although we are a very adaptable species we must concede that the world around us is in a continual state of flux and the world of 40 or 60 or 100 or more years from now will not be at all the world with which we are familiar now. How comfortable to us would be the world in which we were 200 or 300 years old knowing that the world in which we grew up was gone forever and would never again exist except in the memory of the cosmos?
We humans are becoming in some ways like the Borg.
We tend to form strong social relationships which to a large extent sometimes subjugate the individual to the collective due to a strong desire of each to conform to the group mentality. This process is enhanced by the social media of the internet.
Our beliefs and our world view conform to the collective due to exposure to a common culture caused by the ubiquitous media.
We are becoming a combination of biological and technological beings with our attachment to personal technology and also with the addition of body jewelery and tats and painting and with medical implants and enhancements.
So we are becoming cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the collective. That is the definition of the Borg.
Add to this the fact that the world we live in is becoming increasingly changed by us and our activities so that it becomes an extension of ourselves and we see our world, our bodies, our technology and our minds melding into the collective.
As humans have evolved socially we have created a messy and somewhat disordered society in which many people live in squalor and loneliness. There are criminals and the mentally ill and the homeless. People feel alienated from their government and isolated from society. Protection, construction and maintenance of our environment; provision of education for our children; medical care of our people; and production, distribution and sales of consumer goods are not as efficient as they could be.
The solution is to use our new abilities by use of technology to amass a database of all the worlds knowledge and to use big data analysis methods to solve all problems. This includes the idea of unique embedded RFID chips implanted in people and objects read by ubiquitous sensors with video and audio recording capabilities and GPS technology to keep complete records of the lives of everyone to be added to the big database in the cloud.
In this world there would be no secrets and everyone would have instant access to complete knowledge about everything and everybody. Social conformity would be enforced by the instant rating from their social group in the cloud by smiles or frowns of all a person's actions and utterances.
Of course it is easy to give many examples from people's daily lives and from today's news of the speed with which this world is being created by all of us. Production is driven by the aggregate demand predicted by modern methods of consumer analysis. Data is continually collected on every one of us by internet use analysis, by cameras and sensors in our environment and in our electronic devices, by creation of medical databases, by government collection of phone call and email and other communication records, by financial databases and even by DNA analysis and collection. We are eager to use social media on the internet to tell everyone all about ourselves and to get their approval as if that were the most important thing in our world. Maybe it is!
Not only can everyone be tracked and judged by society so that conformity is assured but it is sure that drones and robots will soon be everywhere to deliver our consumer goods and to supplement and replace the police function in society, as well as in the store and the office and the classroom. Actually, to a large extent, the store the office and the classroom may, in the future, only exist in the cloud.
As envisioned by Ross Perot twenty years ago, we can dispense with representative democracy by instituting true democracy in which all significant issues are put to a vote electronically in real time as they occur. So the will of the people (some call it mob rule) would prevail.
So we can eliminate individualism and perhaps stifle innovation in the name of efficiency. Anyone who preferred to spend time alone as opposed to continually interacting with others and conforming to the wishes and expectations of the crowd would be a pariah. Is this a good tradeoff?
We can have true democracy in a world in which enforced conformity makes the Bill of Rights unnecessary and practically eliminates crime.
I expect we will soon be living in this new world. We already are to some extent. Will we be happier or will we miss what we have lost? Edward Snowden says, "Maybe this is a bad thing or at least something to be debated." Others say, "Edward Snowden is a killjoy and a wet blanket and not a patriot."
Homo evolutis, is a "Hominid that takes direct control over the evolution of their species and others." The method by which we will transform into such a species is new technology that is advancing at a virtually exponential level. This is resulting from the idea that we are developing technology that makes creating new technology easier and faster.
Of course, development of these beings would not mean that the present species would immediately disappear. Rather the two species would find a way to co-exist although eventually the dominance of the new species would lead to the extinction of Homo sapiens. Implications for present institutions are myriad. See: Making Babies
The technological singularity is the theoretical emergence of superintelligence through technological means. Since the capabilities of such intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the technological singularity is seen as an occurrence beyond which events cannot be predicted.
Proponents of the singularity typically postulate an "intelligence explosion", where superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds, which might occur very quickly and might not stop until the agent's cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human.
Futurist and author Adrian Berry believes the average human life span will reach 140 years and that the digital storage of human personalities will enable a kind of computerized immortality. Humans will farm the oceans, travel in starships and reside in both lunar and Martian colonies while robots explore the outer cosmos.
See The Rapid Advance of Artificial Intelligence from the New York Times - October 14, 2013
With cooperation and planning and compromise and population control, it might be possible to turn this around. For man's survival it is almost certainly necessary that this be done. It will be necessary to enact worldwide taxes on pollution such as a carbon tax and penalties for environmental harm. Also needed is environmental education in conservation and sustainable use. Human attitudes must be changed from thinking of the natural world as a thing to be dominated and exploited by man to thinking of it as our home which we must protect.
As such it is the only true way of knowing the nature of the world in which we live and knowledge obtained by the methods of science has been responsible for most of the advances of mankind since the enlightenment.
Support for scientists and for projects to increase scientific knowledge is essential for the future well being of mankind.
If, through education, the culture could be changed so that people see the primary goal of life to be not accumulating the most wealth and fame and sexual possessiveness, but instead to be maximizing the happiness of all, then this would minimize conflict.
Also education in tolerance, science, math, and life skills is badly needed but this is a need that now often goes unmet.
Traditional educators, classrooms, and brick-and-mortar schools are no longer necessary to access information. Instead, things like blogs and wikis, as well as remote collaborations and an emphasis on 'critical thinking' skills are the new needed skills.
We now live in a world where the rule is abundance of information, not scarcity. Where teachers are from all around the world, not just in those buildings down the street. Where students can make and do and share, not just sit passively and regurgitate. There should be more emphasis on lab work, and simulators and real world experience.
If you teach me, I will forget.
If you show me, I may remember.
If you involve me, I will understand.
Step back, and I will Act!
Change the emphasis of school to how to find information and evaluate it and integrate it into an existing framework of knowledge and philosophy and world view. Teachers should instill in students the value of learning the subject and help them to develop and flesh out their own interests and integrate those into a set of required standards. Teachers should be those who ignite an interest in learning the subject and then become guides and facilitators to the student's own interests and efforts.
Research skills and writing and other communication skills are essential once interest has been developed. Survey the field, formulate a question, research what is available, review and outline, write an answer to the formulated question.
For most kids choosing a career path in the first or second year of high school and then working toward that with a program of studies and of internships or apprenticeships with businesses or institutions in the field followed in most cases by technical school or vocational school or community colleges would be more successful than encouraging too many who do not have the interest or aptitude to get a four year college degree.
Religious people the world over espouse a culture of kindness and sharing. However, they usually mean this only for their own kind. And even if you believe them when they say they mean it worldwide, it is not hard to find evidence that the western religions are hypocritical. The first evidence, of course, is that, as religious people, they say that they alone know truth and those who believe otherwise can not. The obvious reason is that if I know truth and you believe other than me, then you must be wrong. This shows that religious people, particularly Christians and Muslims, are egotistical and arrogant; generally intolerant of those who are different than them and their group.
For other evidence see the wealth accumulated by western churches worldwide.
Also read the writings of Ayn Rand and read Mitt Romney's 47% statement and Paul Krugman's column and realize that in the United States many religious people and others believe that there are makers who make wealth and takers who depend on the makers and that government has no right to take wealth from the makers because the makers made their money by themselves independent of the society in which they live. They also seem to believe that the poor are losers and that the society or the government should only help wealthy winners; that people without money have no rights to the benefits of living in society. They feel that they have no obligations to those with whom they share the country, or the planet. It is up to each of us to take our freedom and use it wisely. Those who do not are not unlucky or impoverished. They are simply imprudent.
Patriotism is often a word that means that my country is superior to others and should rule or control others who are unlike us. It means that those others are inferior and should be feared or exploited or changed to be more like us.
Many people believe that their destiny is guided by a higher power and this, in itself, makes them superior to others who are not guided by that same higher power. They also seem to believe that they and their group have been chosen by this higher power to dominate others and to dominate and control and take from their environment.
These attitudes lead to a society of social and economic class and to an attitude toward others which fosters disdain and violence.
A belief in overall kindness and sharing, on the other hand, means that people must all work together for the common good with everyone sharing every life necessity available as equitably as possible so that the goal is a common destiny for all and that each one must be supported not only physically but also emotionally and economically by all others. This applies to family and to local social groups as well as to political entities and to the stranger within our gates or to those in need worldwide because we are all in the same boat. That boat is called Earth and we must care for and maintain it.
Hopefully this attitude will lead to humility and peace and caring for the well being and happiness of others and tolerance of differences in the beliefs and life styles of others.
Interestingly, many of those who believe in a society which is more harsh on the poorer individuals are more kindly and sharing toward those they know personally. It seems that humans are more likely to care more for their fellow man if they have a personal relationship but not so much in the abstract. Also there is the phenomena that in an emergency such as a car crash or a tornado or earthquake or a mass shooting or a terroristic bombing people tend to rush to help strangers often endangering their own safety. This shows that there is a genetic predisposition to a common humanity or even a predisposition toward life itself because often people will even try to save other species.
In the early 1970s a group of Protestant and Catholic religious leaders signed the "Shakertown Pledge," a nine-part vow to lead simpler, more environmentally and spiritually disciplined lives.
The first seven non-religious parts of the pledge read:
This pretty much describes many, but not all, people in our community. Some are more educated, imaginative and creative.
When not at work or school these people generally spend their time watching TV, eating and drinking, talking with each other, mostly gossiping about other people or talking about their work or sports, as opposed to discussing ideas or current events. Or they spend their time hunting, fishing, or watching sports events or going to church events or shopping.
They could be spending their time exercising; expanding their education and their minds, traveling to distant areas, studying subjects of interest, attending classes, forums, discussions, symposiums, or arts events such as concerts; creating things or ideas; or playing sports or other games of physical or mental skill or participating in protecting the environment or improving the community and/or government.
The type of people described above are exactly the type of people needed as workers in our society to support the existing social and economic structure in which a society of over 300 million is ruled by and for the benefit largely of a few hundred who exercise political and economic power and for the creation of wealth and its transfer to the top tiers of the society.
Three decades of trickledown economics; the monopolization, privatization and deregulation of business; and the destruction of labor protection has resulted in 50 million Americans living in abject poverty, while 400 individuals out of over 300 million citizens own more than one-half of the nation's wealth. As the four Walmart heirs enjoy a higher net worth than the bottom 40 percent, our nation's sense of food insecurity is more on par with developing countries like Indonesia and Tanzania than with OECD nations like Australia and Canada. In fact, the percentage of Americans who say they could not afford the food needed to feed their families at some point in the last year is three times that of Germany, more than twice that of Italy and Canada.
The gross domestic product of the United States has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years and nearly doubled in the last 25, but as is now well known, the benefits have gone to the top — and increasingly to the very, very top.
In 2012 the top 1 percent of Americans took home 22 percent of the nation's income; the top 0.1 percent, 11 percent. Ninety-five percent of all income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent. Recently released census figures show that median income in America hasn't budged in almost a quarter- century. The typical American man makes less than he did 45 years ago (after adjusting for inflation); men who graduated from high school but don't have four-year college degrees make almost 40 percent less than they did four decades ago.
American inequality began its upswing 30 years ago, along with tax decreases for the rich and the easing of regulations on the financial sector. That's no coincidence. It has worsened as we have under-invested in our infrastructure, education and health care systems, and social safety nets. Rising inequality reinforces itself by corroding our political system and our democratic governance.
We are entering a world divided not just between the haves and have-nots, but also between those countries that do nothing about it, and those that do. Some countries will be successful in creating shared prosperity. Others will let inequality run amok. In these divided societies, the rich will hunker in gated communities, almost completely separated from the poor, whose lives will be almost unfathomable to them, and vice versa.
Summaries of some comments about our present situation in America from Ilyana Kuziemko who is an associate professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School and Stefanie Stantcheva who is a doctoral candidate in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Todd May who is Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities at Clemson University. These are from articles printed in the New York Times April 21, 2013.
Since the 1970s, income inequality in the United States has increased at a historic rate. In 1970, the richest 1 percent of Americans enjoyed 9 percent of total national pre-tax income. In 2011, by contrast, that share had risen to 19.8 percent. And this large increase in inequality has not been softened by more progressive tax policy. Tax rates on the top 1 percent of taxpayers have fallen over the same period.
Between 1991 and 2010, roughly 28 percent of Americans in the General Social Survey - a continuing survey of opinions and attitudes in the United States, conducted by the University of Chicago - agreed that the federal government should "improve the standard of living of all poor Americans." (Forty-five percent were neutral, and 27 percent agreed that "it is not the government's responsibility, and that each person should take care of himself.")
If your annual household income is $50,000 then 66% of households earn less
than you do.
99% of households earn less than $386,000
90% of households earn less than $108,000
50% of households earn less than $ 33,800
If inequality had not increased since 1980:
a household earning $50,000 today would be earning $64,000
a household earning $30,000 today would be earning $40,900
a household earning $140,000 today would be earning $139,000
a household earning $1,200,000 today would be earning $597,000
This information had only a small effect on a random sample of people expressing support for increasing taxes on millionaires and raising the minimum wage, and no effect on support for other policies that help low-income families, like the earned-income tax credit and food stamps. It seems that even when people recognize the inequality problem, they don't trust the government to fix it. This may be because they realize that the government is controlled by the wealthy.
When people were informed that only about 1 of every 1,000 households was wealthy enough to pay the estate tax. (The tax is currently levied on individual estates worth more than $5.25 million.) Seeing this information sharply increased support for the estate tax.
Clearly, we are a violent country. Our murder rate is three to five times that of most other industrialized countries. The massacres that regularly take place here are predictable in their occurrence, if not in their time and place. Moreover, and more telling, our response to violence is typically more violence. We display our might - or what is left of it - abroad in order to address perceived injustices or a threat to our interests. We still have not rid ourselves of the death penalty, a fact that fills those in other countries with disbelief. Many of us, in response to the mindless gun violence around us, prescribe more guns as the solution, as the Republicans sought to do during the gun debate. And we torture people. It is as though, in thinking that the world responds only to violence, we reveal ourselves rather than the world.
Americans are proud of our individualism, and indeed it is not entirely a curse. To believe that one has a responsibility to create oneself rather than relying on others for sustenance has its virtues. No doubt many of the advances - scientific, technological and artistic - that have emerged from the United States have their roots in the striving of individuals whose belief in themselves bolstered their commitment to their work. However, the dark side of this individualism is a wariness of others and a rejection of the social solidarity characteristic of countries like Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and, at least to some extent, France. We make it, if we do make it, but we do so alone. Our neighboring citizens are not so much our fellows as our competitors.
We live in a different world now than a couple of generations ago, and this makes many of us insecure. We long for a world more cooperative with our wishes than the one we now live in. Our insecurity, in turn, reinforces our desire to control, which reinforces violence.
The welfare state has been in decline for more than 30 years now. Each of us is an investor, seeking the best return on our money, our energies, our relationships, indeed our lives. We no longer count on government, which is often perceived as the enemy. And we no longer have obligations to those with whom we share the country, or the planet. It is up to each of us to take our freedom and use it wisely. Those who do not are not unlucky or impoverished. They are simply imprudent.
We must recognize others as fellow human beings, even when they are our adversaries. That recognition does not require that we acquiesce to the demands of others when we disagree. Rather, it requires that our action, even when it coerces the other (as boycotts, strikes, sit-ins and human blockades often do), does not aim to destroy that other in his or her humanity. It requires that we recognize others as fellow human beings, even when they are on the other side of the barricades.
Those who struggle must no longer be seen as failures, but more often as unlucky, and perhaps worthy of our extending a hand. Those who come to our shores, whatever our policy toward them, must be seen as human beings seeking to stitch together a decent life rather than as mere parasites upon our riches. Those who are unhealthy must be seen as more than drains upon our taxes but instead as peers that, but for good fortune, might have been us.
Later came the agrarian revolution and the idea of ownership of property and the development of social classes based on economics. There were the Kings and Nobles and it was considered to be in the nature of the world as designed by God that these peoples were destined to be served and supported by the much larger lower classes of peasants. Later a small middle class of tradesmen and professionals developed but the world was still composed of basically the upper classes and the lower classes. Both religion and politics were designed to sustain this system. The lower classes looked down on the even lower classes of women and slaves. The structure was supported by the institutions of property ownership including slavery and subjugation of women, and religion which was the "opium of the masses" and espoused the "Divine right of Kings".
With the Greek and Roman civilizations the idea of equality of citizens arose from the ancient past of man when hunter gatherer bands predominated. However, their definition of citizens did not include the lower classes especially women and slaves. Even this flicker of light was extinguished by the rise of organized religion for about a thousand years and the unfettered power of the upper classes was not questioned until the beginnings of the enlightenment after the Crusades with new thoughts about the nature of society and the world bursting into flame in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Experiments with democracy in North America and in France in the nineteenth century gave the majority of citizens power in choosing political rulers in largely agrarian societies. After about the middle of the nineteenth century with the onset of the industrial revolution another division of society into classes based on economic power resulted in a class of "Captains of Industry" and "Robber Barons" who used their power to effectively control society. Their power culminated in the Great Depression and World War II after which an enlightened society spearheaded by a "New Deal" in America attempted to restore popular Democracy and redistribute wealth downward. This was somewhat successful from the 1940s through the hippie sixties and into the 1970s.
However the upper classes who resented their loss of power and wanted to turn back the clock from this new deal of sharing part of the fruits of the industrial revolution with the newly growing middle and lower classes began to see small gains in their goals in the 1980s and got enough power back for themselves during the next three decades that they were able to cause the "Great Recession" of 2008. After that debacle, rather than being blamed and losing power, they were able to retain and increase their wealth and power and begin to eliminate much of the middle class returning the world to the two class society as they believed it was meant to be.
Many hoped that the rise of the information and technology society in the 1990s would give more power to the masses and help to restore the egalitarian ideas of a more even distribution of wealth and political power. However, it seems that the upper classes have been able to use these new tools to further solidify their position and continue to increase divisions of society leading more to a "Borg" like structure as envisioned by George Orwell.
This transfer of power and wealth could be slowed if the customers and
suppliers of institutions were also the owners of those institutions, in other
words a society of primarily consumer and worker owned cooperatives.
In the case of government and war this would be a true democracy in which an educated public would select leaders from among their own ranks, not from those selected for them by the power of the rulers.
So far the other main functions of society such as transportation, construction, shelter, clothing and science and research do not seem to have been corrupted to the extent of the others mentioned above although, like everything, these institutions too are imperfect.
Actually men ruling themselves would have meant anarchy which few thought was a desirable state of affairs so they substituted rule by the majority with, hopefully, free elections open to, at least some of those who were to be subject to rule by the ensuing government.
This was not actually individual freedom since each person would be subject to the rules and laws of the democratically elected government. To help remedy this problem the idea of civil or individual rights was instituted in a Bill of Rights which it was hoped would, at least somewhat, mitigate the tendency of the majority to dominate, control and rule any minorities present in the society.
In the United States this idea of fundamental rights of minorities has been protected mainly by two groups, libertarians who espouse limited government, and by the American Civil Liberties Union which is a group established to protect the rights of minorities.
Since I am a supporter of the ACLU, I got a call the other day from the state office of the ACLU asking me for some ideas of local places where they might be able to set up a public meeting in my county this summer, I assume, to talk to local people about their organization and goals. I told the caller that that might be difficult because I was probably the only supporter of the ACLU in the county.
Since this is politically a very Republican area and since the Republicans say they want limited government and they want to keep government off the backs of the people, I questioned myself as to why they would not support the ACLU.
I thought about it and came up with what I think is the answer.
The ACLU in supporting minority rights has ended up supporting the rights of blacks, and atheists and communists as well as Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and the Tea Party. It turns out that these local Republicans are all for the rights of the latter groups who tend to believe as they do but not the rights of other groups who do not agree with them.
It seems that they have no problem with one of them, such as George W. Bush, ignoring the constitution and expanding the control of government over the population but do not want to afford constitutional rights to those who do not believe as they do. They would like to impose their beliefs on everyone.
That actually makes sense because, if I know what is right and what is the best way for the world to believe and work, why would I not want everyone to know these same things that I do so that the world could be a better place. Not to try to impose my superior beliefs on others would be a dereliction of my duties as a citizen and would show that I did not care about others.
see: Plutocrats Feeling Persecuted by Paul Krugman
see: The Future of Transportation and a video of America's transportation infrastructure revealed.
Humanity needs a potent, dependable and sustainable energy source. Our planet already has one in the form of the sun, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the biggest energy sources for the future all involve the sun.
Sources of energy:
It is important to develop an energy conservation culture and economy and develop local energy sources for each home or neighborhood.
Man is an organism which is a conglomeration of organic compounds organized by a pattern encoded in a double helix arrangement of nucleic acids held together by four nucleotides which base pair together. As an organism he is essentially a structure composed of organic cells about ten percent of which are human cells created by his specific DNA pattern and the rest of which are various microbes. In a human body about ten trillion of these cells work in a symbiotic relationship the purpose of which is to maintain the DNA pattern and pass it on through sexual combination to a future human body. As such the DNA pattern tends to be immortal while the individual body only lasts for a finite period of time and then decomposes into its constituent elements. In the average adult human body about 50 to 100,000 cells die and are replaced each second. After reproduction, senescence, or biological aging occurs and eventually cells are not replaced as fast as they die and the body deteriorates.
Man is conscious of his existence and aware of the state of his body and his environment. This consciousness is centered in an organ of his body called the brain which acts as an organic computer. This computer receives input from his five senses: sight - sensing patterns of light striking his eyes, smell - sensing chemicals in the air, taste - sensing chemicals ingested, sound sensing wave vibrations in the air, and feeling which senses touch from his environment by means of nerve sensors throughout his skin which is a covering or protective layer of cells surrounding his body. The output system of the brain is primarily by body movements caused by a complex system of muscles throughout the body. The brain's complexity is expressed in the fact that it is not only able to store memories and is aware of itself but is also capable of abstract reasoning. It also has a sense of curiosity and a desire to make connections with others. The modern human brain is only 3 percent of the body's weight but uses some 20% of the energy required for metabolic maintenance.
The conscious part of man's brain is a small part of the functioning of his body. Most of his functioning is controlled by the subconscious part of his brain, by his autonomic nervous system and by the actions of the microbes which live in and around his body. Man reproduces because the patterns in his DNA make sex a source of pleasure and because he is programmed to get pleasure from the cuteness and the feeling of closeness and empathy for children.
The events which happen during the duration of a man's existence make up what is called his life. The nature and his perception of these events are caused by his inherited genes, the environment into which he is born and in which he lives and random events caused by outside forces which happen to him during his life. One example of these random events might be the order in which his brain becomes organized during its development. Another might be whether he happened to get the top bunk or the bottom bunk at summer camp when he was a child.
Life consists of the conscious brain's perceptions of the events of life.
Man lives on a planet of a solar system of a galaxy, one of billions or more in the cosmos. On this particular planet organic life has developed and evolved to a high level of complexity, the most complex of which is man. However, evolution is proceeding at present by developing a higher level of organization and complexity in the form of social structures made up of organizations of individual organic bodies. These are evolving into structures composed of, not only many organic bodies, but also technologies developed by man and used by each organic unit to cope with his environment and to maintain the structure of the society and social units of which he is a part.
Contrary to popular belief man's brain is not formed as a "blank slate" but develops with preconceived instincts coded into his DNA by his past evolution. He also is an organic machine with the ability, not to control his destiny, but to nudge it in certain directions. He has no external part thought of as a "soul" but is limited to his organic being and its abilities, although these abilities may be quite a bit more extensive than that of which he is conscious.
Man is unique in nature on Earth due to his large brain and thus computational ability which includes his consciousness of his existence and his perception of passage of time. He also is unique in his ability to change and form his external environment which includes his ability to build physical structures and terraform his planet, to form complex social structures, to manipulate his own genetics and those of other species of life on his planet and even to leave his planet and travel to others.
Man can be seen as immensely imaginative and creative or as immensely cruel and violent because his evolution is an ongoing process and it is in the nature of evolution that there will be the coexistence of those superior individuals which may represent the future and those backward individuals left over from the past. This is not to imply however that evolution proceeds smoothly. It actually is composed mostly of dead ends and many times favorable mutations may not survive but, if the species survives, may get a chance to try again later.
Besides the biological imperative of DNA for reproduction and survival, man's consciousness has also developed a need to feel that it has a purpose in addition to or instead of the biological imperative. This purpose can be considered to be to maximize satisfaction with the brain's perception of the events of life. Different people tend to get more satisfaction from different things. For instance:
Change in society since neolithic times has been caused mainly by developments in:
Evolution of the human body, particularly the human brain, and of social memes continues, probably at an accelerated pace.
We prefer life to death, and happiness to suffering, and we understand that we live in a world in which others can make a difference to whether we live well or die miserably. Therefore we will want to tell others that they should not hurt us, and in doing so we commit ourselves to the idea that we should not hurt them.
We prefer to live in an egalitarian society but as our societies become more complex they seem to provide more opportunities for authoritarians to dominant usually by means of subterfuge or even inadvertently but sometimes openly.
One of the major problems with achieving such a life goal can occur because of poor health. There is a good possibility that man evolved to live a long healthy life and that the overall health of the species has deteriorated during the last ten thousand years.
Reasons this might have occurred:
It is hoped that the medical establishment will soon realize that their function should not be seen as treating medical conditions once they occur but instead they should spend much more effort in trying to prevent medical conditions in the first place by educational efforts and by helping individual patients to develop a more healthy lifestyle.
Humans probably do not live as long and healthy lives today as they evolved to do in the distant past because of the environment they have created for themselves. The human aging process is dependent on:
To be happy live the simple life at a slow pace focused on the present moment usually with friends and family and work at a satisfying rewarding job.
If you can't have what you want then make the most of and be happy with what you have. Be grateful for what you do have, not depressed because of what you don't have. If you can't be with the one you love then love the one you're with. Variety is the spice of life. Variety is your neighbor's wife. The origin of unhappiness is attachment. One is attached to property and to other beings. Things and beings are transient.
Ignorance is the lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The reasons for unhappiness are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus unhappiness will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.
What is is. Accept that and go on from there.
Happiness is most closely tied to our daily life experiences rather than to our overall situation in life. We are happiest when we are living and focused in the moment rather than thinking about the past or the future or daydreaming. Use of the right or creative side of the brain is more associated with happiness than is use of the left or analytical side of the brain.
In the pursuit of happiness people try self help books, drugs, and possessions but depression and anxiety increases. We have a negativity bias which increases stress but we also have a tendency to be happy even in dire circumstances.
sources of happiness:
Happiness is not just a feeling of pleasure. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment that underlies all other feelings. Most of life is temporary and illusion. We are conscious and aware of this illusion. Meditation helps us to become familiar with this new way of preceiving reality, as an illusion.
Lust, attachment and romance are not the same thing.
Not everything that can be counted counts
not everything that counts can be counted.
Remember yesterday. Plan for tomorrow. Sleep this afternoon.
Most of the time, most people are not crying in public, but everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion. All of them require the human processing of the only animal who risks "getting it wrong" and whose dreams provide shelters and vaccines and words to crying strangers.
We live in a world made up more of story than stuff. We are creatures of memory more than reminders, of love more than likes. Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.
In general it is pleasurable and good to increase order and complexity; physical, mental and social; and distressful and bad to increase disorder and chaos.
Teaching a child religion and patriotism without questioning their merits is child abuse because it restricts his ability to consider facts and the real world and to think analytically.
How much evil and conflict in the world is caused by belief in a God or Gods, by belief that love must be exclusive, by the ego of a person or group of people, or by the idea of property ownership and greed?
Measure Gross National Happiness not Gross National Product. Then we should create the conditions for happiness to occur. The two most important ingredients for happiness are love and work.
Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all.
Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.
It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.
It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in the world.
19% of people reported that they are in the top 1% of earners.
90% of communication is non-verbal.
90% of the cells in the human body are not human. They are various microorganisms.
The conscious mind hungers for success and prestige.
The subconscious mind hungers for those moments when it is lost in a task and oblivious to the passage of time.
Most of our existence is in the subconscious mind and in cells in our bodies which are not human and in emotions and in the autonomic nervous system rather than in conscious logic. We are not what we think we are.
Health is much affected by exercise and humor.
The Hurley model of Humor
sweet, sexy, cute, funny, are all evolved rewards for seeking glucose, reproducing, protecting children and maintaining data integrity respectively.
The brain tries to make sense of overwhelming data streams. Evolution bribes the brain to organize this data. Humor over stimulates the debugging reward machinery for debugging data. We feel good when we discover a bug in the assumptions we have made about our data streams. This good feeling is called mirth and may make us laugh. Humor, then, is an integral part of the evolved processes for maintaining data-integrity in our world knowledge representations. Mirth is our reward to encourage us to find incongruities in our assumptions and beliefs.
Our brains, which are geniuses at making models and predictions, take pleasure in making corrections as the models and predictions are found wanting and have to be modified. Humor takes advantage of this hardwired internal brain behavior, and gives the pleasure of self-correction of mental spaces. Just as the pleasures of pornography ride upon but do not directly satisfy our sexual urges, or as the pleasures of sweetening from aspartame take over our energy- seeking appetites without having intrinsic nutritional value, the pleasures of jokes and humor represent a benevolent hijacking of the system for correcting our mental spaces. A joke (at least in many forms) sets up a premise, a mental space, and then the hearer gets rewarded by the pleasure of correcting that mental space. In jokes, this is all for fun, but the fun is dependent on a deeply important internal mechanism of assumption, prediction, and correction, a mechanism without which we could not make our way in the world. The better we can generate mental spaces and correct them (disregarding their role in humor), the better we can interact with everything around us. A good intelligence encompasses good modeling of mental spaces and the capacity to correct the assumptions therein. It is no coincidence that "wit" and "intelligence" can be synonymous.
O'Connell was late for a meeting and in a panic as he looked for a parking spot. Turning his face to the sky, he said, "Lord help me. If you give me a parking spot, I will go to church every Sunday...!" Just then, a car backed out of a parking spot in front of him. O'Connell looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."
Hetero and Homo
So do these laws mean that some people will be kept from doing what they really want to do? Probably - and yes, in many ways it hurts to be part of a society governed by laws, given that laws aren't designed for each one of us individually. Some of us can drive safely at 90 miles per hour, but we're bound by the same laws as the people who can't, because individual speeding laws aren't practical. Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws.
In the old days we used to blame people for acting imprudently, and say that since their bad choices were their own fault, they deserved to suffer the consequences. Now we see that these errors aren't a function of bad character, but of our shared cognitive inheritance. The proper reaction is not blame, but an impulse to help one another.
When we agree to live in a society, we are, by definition, agreeing to subjugate our individual liberty and rights to the needs of the society as a whole, at least to some extent. This is basically because that, as a social animal, we feel our happiness and even our existence is somewhat dependent on being a member of a group. There is strength and efficiency in numbers and sharing life's resources is, in the long run, more beneficial to us than individual hoarding. For this reason, it is the tendency of the group and in the group's best interest to ostracise or even to expel members who are consistently unable to share or who try to be dominant in the group by force either physical or economic. Influence due to personality, however, is accepted. A society is based on the idea of sharing resources and helping one another so that the stronger help the weaker. Today I may not need help but tomorrow who knows?
We have laws regarding driver's licenses and traffic laws and smoking laws and drug laws. The question is not whether such laws are legitimate but whether the benefits of such laws to the society outweigh the harm such laws cause to individual liberty. Although there should be no crime without a victim because it is not the function of government to regulate morals, it is, however, within the province of government to try to prevent one's harming oneself as in drug laws.
If you are a citizen of a country and therefore subject to the laws of its government, you either joined that society or were born into it. The fact that you are still a citizen means that you accept that government, otherwise you could have left it to join another or perhaps to live alone on an island.
Republicans in the United States would argue that the only reason they support such a government is to obtain what they consider the only legitimate purposes of government. These are to support the military, police and courts to ensure each citizen life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with the minimum amount of taxation necessary to achieve these ends. It is notable, however, that they are willing to accept benefits other than those they consider legitimate provided by their government. They would argue, of course, that since they are forced to pay for these benefits, they are entitled to them, which is true. But somehow I am not sure they would be happy in a country in which government did not provide roads and scientific research and a healthy food supply and a relatively clean environment and safe pharmaceuticals and a regulated financial structure and regulation of the airwaves for radio and many other such services. They might be happy without public schools and social security and medicare but even that is questionable since so many of them benefit from these institutions.
Most people, however, believe that the government also has a role in the people's health, education and welfare and in protection of the environment and helping its citizens recover from natural disasters. They also think their government should work in providing an economic infrastructure and in research, development and innovation because all these are areas in which the common good is served better by a united society than by each of its citizens acting as individuals.
When I want to go to spend the night with my friend, Roger, I tell my mom where I am going and then go get in the car. I tell it I want to go to Roger's house and it flies me there in about ten minutes. Sometimes it has to stop at a hydrogen depot to refill the tank but it usually does that on its return trip when it has no passengers. When I get ready to return home I summon the car on my smart implant and it soon picks me up.
For several years now my mother, Ann, has had her friend, Mary, and a couple of men, Jack and Charlie, living here with us. In our community that could change though because people often shuffle households with people who are living in one house deciding to go and live with someone else who wants to live with them. I remember when I was younger, just one guy, Jerry, lived with us. Jerry lives with Louise and her children about a mile from us now. Sometimes Mom goes to spend the night with Jerry and Louise and sometimes they spend the night here with us.
My mother's mother, my Grandmother, lives next door to us. My aunt, Sue, lives with her friends, John and Crystal, there with my grandmother. It seems that most houses around here are owned or rented by women although some men own houses. My grandmother says that since the world government has been instituted there have been no more wars among nations such as there were when she was young and since people have changed the culture to value caring and sharing and humility more than power and wealth there is now very little crime. Government programs provide medical care and the tax structure makes sure that everyone can afford food and housing. She says that the environment is now much cleaner and people are happier now. However, she says that when she was a girl there was a lot of ice and big white bears in Northern Canada and Alaska and there were big cities on the seacoasts and most oranges were grown in Florida and California not in Georgia and Alabama as they are now. She says that crews of men used to fight forest fires each dry summer. Of course now any forest fire is immediately detected by remote sensors and extingished by swarms of flying drones. She also says that when she was young the first moon landing took place. Now there is a colony on the Moon and one is being developed on Mars. Our world seems to me to be quite a change from the world she describes to me from years ago. I'm glad I'm living now rather than then. I have a number of friends both in my community and in my virtual world and we talk about these things sometimes. My virtual world is always available through my smart glasses and my Personal Body Computer implant and the smart wallpaper in my room.
My mother works in a local cooperative bank. Jack works in the cooperative grocery nearby and Charlie works in a cooperative food processing plant. My aunt Sue works with Charlie. Most businesses in our town are cooperatives owned by the workers and the customers. They are run under the principles of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity maintained by the International Co-operative Alliance
I go to school each day. My teacher doesn't really teach anything. He is a learning facilitator helping us with our studies when we have problems we can't seem to solve on our own. He makes sure we take the required classes on our computers. The classes are designed and taught by experts in the subject from around the world. We must pass the mastery test in each subject before going on to the next subject. Our teacher also guides us in choosing questions of interest to us which we then research and write web pages or make videos about. I don't always stay long at school because I can do a lot of my work at home. One day per week we have "lab" in which we do hands on work on the material we are learning. That can involve a field trip or work in an actual laboratory. I have chosen a career path in culinary arts so I have gotten an internship at the kitchen of a local restaurant where I work two afternoons per week. This counts also as part of my school work. After High School I will have two years at a technical school studying my chosen field. My friend, Roger, wants to get a four year degree in forest management, so he has an internship with the state department of forestry. He is now studying plant intelligence and communication as well as nanotechnology.
We go to Church on Wednesday night for games like poker, bingo, chess or others and on Sunday morning for an inspirational talk by a local person or by an outside guest speaker. Often these talks are more question and answer sessions or sometimes debates between several people with participation by the congregation. Orgies are held at the church every Saturday night. Mom and Mary and the guys almost always go. I have never wanted to go but Roger, who is a year older than me, goes and maybe I will too when I get older. Julie hasn't started going yet because she is young but many girls my age do.
When we want to buy a meal or groceries, we order it on our smart implant and a flying drone delivers it to our door about a half hour later. That is the way we get most stuff. We try to lay off high carb foods like pizza and sugars and to eat more fish and meats and insects and fruit and nuts and salads high in fiber. We try to keep reasonably clean by taking showers two or three times per week. Most families keep pets and do gardening. Many people spend most of their time in the nude at home and at church although they usually wear clothing at school and work. Due to advances in robotics the standard work week is down to 25 hours now and everyone tries to get at least 8 hours sleep every night and often we take afternoon naps. We try to limit our time watching screens other than at school or work to no more than 3 to 5 hours per day. This gives us more time for physical activity. There are usually recreational drugs available for use at home and church.
Last week was kind of exciting. There was an empty lot next door and a girl from another town decided that she was old enough to leave her mother's house so she and her boy friend and her family got together enough money to buy the lot and to hire a house printer. The printer's trucks came by and in about three days they had printed her a concrete house on the lot. Julie and I enjoyed watching the house being printed. She has moved in now and her boyfriend, Joe, lives there with her. I think she is pregnant. Most women don't have more than three children and many have none so that the overall world population is actually decreasing. Advances in genetics give parents a lot of control over the genes of the developing baby.
We get most of our energy now from solar and wind and water sources and some from natural gas. My grandmother said that energy used to come mostly from coal and oil and that caused a lot of environmental damage. Due to cheap energy most food is now very high quality food produced in AI controlled buildings, much by hydroponic plants and most of the meats we consume are produced by in vitro cloning of muscle tissue.
I do a lot of walking and swimming and playing softball with my friends and I run in the local church's field games held each week. When I was small the doctor found that I had a defect in my vision so I was given bionic eyes. For that reason I can see better than most people and see a lot of things in wavelengths others can't see. Many parts needed for humans are either made in factories like my eyes or grown and customized in biotics labs.
Once every six months I have to visit my government paid doctor. He checks my weight and my personal on body computer (PBC) reports to him my vital signs and blood tests and microbiome results so he can check for abnormalities in case I have picked up any pollutants from the environment. My PBC also does a complete scan of my genome periodically and analyses any variation from my last genome scan. Because my genome scan is on record in my personal cloud it will be possible to grow any body parts needed for me if I damage or break something. If my doctor finds a problem he discusses with me how to adjust my diet or my exercise schedule or my lifestyle such as my eating or sleeping habits to try to correct any abnormalities. The doctor also reports any environmental problems he finds to the Environmental Protection Agency. Between my regular visits to the doctor, my PBC alerts me if it detects any significant abnormalities in my body. Due to advances mostly in genetic modifications of humans and of disease organisms, people don't often get diseases and antibiotics are little used, although my grandmother tells me that was not always the case. She says people's life spans were 70 to 80 years and the oldest people were 110 to 120. Now life spans are about 110 and the oldest people are between 125 and 135.
There are churches all over the county. Each one serves maybe 15 to 50 households. The people in each household decide which church they want to join. Of course, some people decide not to join any but they miss out on a lot of fun activities that the rest of us enjoy.
Each church is limited to a maximum of 150 and a minimum of 20 members. Churches are based on the idea of sharing. All the members give to the church based on their income to provide food and shelter to whoever needs it including guests passing through. All members must share their possessions and sexual relations with other members in need, particularly women who are trying to get pregnant. Both the church and their families see that elderly and disabled people are kept safe and comfortable.
Each church governs itself independently. All the main issues are decided by popular vote of the members. A leader is elected every 6 months and he or she carries out the wishes of the congregation and takes care of the church property and schedules use of the church building and grounds and keeps the financial books which are open to all members. A church by a 2/3 vote can accept a new member or expel an existing member. If a church membership gets near the limit of 150 members, the church will split into two churches by building a new church nearby and some members will decide to become members of the new church while others will stay with the old church.
The church building includes the main meeting room and often two or three smaller meeting rooms, a kitchen and dining area for the congregation with a few unisex bathrooms and a few computers available to all in the dining area as well as a holodeck for virtual reality experiences, full immersion 3D and tactile and olfactory senses, including games and remote conferencing. It also includes several bedrooms with bathrooms and an office for the church leader.
Besides inspirational services, games and orgies, the church often sponsors cookouts, dances, picnics, travel tours, debates, math and spelling contests and other fun functions. Church members also often help each other with their studies because all kinds of subjects are available to study online and that is an activity enjoyed by all ages.
The community center in town has a wooded outdoor park with a small lake with rowboats and a kids playground and a swimming pool and tennis and volleyball courts and baseball field and golf course. It also has an auditorium, a game room, gym and basketball court, sauna, bowling alley, movie theater and a computer room. It has meeting rooms for club meetings like the Jolly Age Club, or the scouts or the drone flyers or the chess club. Every week there is a concert or a magic show or a square dance or something similar. It sponsors Little League. We all go there often.
When I want to go to spend the night with my friend, Roger, I tell my mom where I am going and then go get in the car. I tell it I want to go to Roger's house and it flies me there in about ten minutes. Sometimes it has to stop at a gas station to refill the tank but it usually does that on its return trip when it has no passengers. When I get ready to return home I summon the car on my smart phone and it soon picks me up.
My mother is often tired because of having to prepare meals and keep the house clean and supplied for all of us. When my Dad comes home from work they sometimes argue but he soon tells my mother to shut up and go about her work.
My mother's mother, my grandmother, lives with us also and my mother cares for her. My grandmother says that she thinks there are more wars fought over religion than there used to be because people have become more sure of their own beliefs and less tolerant of the heresies of others. She says there is more crime. That may be caused by the homeless and the hungry and the less educated who live in the streets. She says that the increased amount of air pollution and shortages of water and land to grow food due to pollution and global warming for such an increasing population also lead to unhappiness and crime. She says it was bad when she was a young girl but not as bad as now. She says that when she was a girl there was a lot of ice and big white bears in Northern Canada and Alaska and there were big cities on the seacoasts and most oranges were grown in Florida and California not in Georgia and Alabama as they are now. Our world seems to me to be quite a change from the world she describes. I wish I could have lived then. I have a number of friends both in my community and in my virtual world and we talk about these things sometimes.
I go to school each day. My teacher doesn't really teach anything. She is a learning facilitator. She makes sure we take the required classes on our computers. The classes are designed and taught by religious leaders in the subject from around the world. We must pass the mastery test in each subject before going on to the next subject. We must memorize facts and write web pages or make videos to reconcile those with the things our Bible teaches us. One day a week is devoted to Bible study.
We go to Church on Wednesday night for more in depth Bible study and on Sunday morning for an inspirational talk by a local preacher or by an outside guest preacher. My Mother often falls asleep during the sermon and my Dad has to nudge her awake. We kids find it boring unless the preacher starts yelling and throwing his arms around which they sometimes do. We have to be still and quite in church so we don't go to hell. Bingo games are held at the church every Saturday night to raise money to pay the preacher.
When I want a pizza or a steak, I order it on my smart phone and a flying drone delivers it to our door about a half hour later. That is the way we get most stuff. We eat lots of high carb foods like pizza and drink lots of soft drinks. We stay clean and pure by showering every day.
We still get most of our energy from coal and oil. My grandmother said governments once tried to develop solar and wind and water sources for energy but those programs were stopped because people were told that too much money was being spent on the research for those sources.
The standard work week is still 40 hours and unemployment is high but we are told that is good because employers can pay employees less making products cheaper for us to buy. Since a lot of people are required to work overtime many do not get much sleep. We spend most of our time when we are not going to school or working watching computer screens. There is a lot of information there to help us to stay pure and follow our religion and the laws of our government. My grandmother says a lot of the filth and heresy that used to be available on there has been banned to make the world a better place. She says that people used to take a lot of illegal drugs but the churches and the governments have spent a lot of money over the years so that not as much is available now. Unfortunately, people are basically sinful and they will try to do ungodly things if they are not controlled.
Probably due to the influence of the Devil, we sometimes hear of misguided people who question our government or our religion or our way of life. Fortunately, due to our Lord protecting us, those people soon disappear and are never heard from again.
Last week was kind of exciting. There was an empty lot next door and a boy and his young wife and her family got together enough money to buy the lot and to hire a house printer. The printer's trucks came by and in about three days they had printed them a concrete house on the lot. My siblings and I enjoyed watching the house being printed. They have moved in now. I think the girl is pregnant. Most women are pregnant soon after marriage and they usually end up with five to ten kids because birth control and abortion have been banned. They say world population growth rates have doubled. That is good because the Lord commands us to populate the Earth.
My friends and I like to play ball when we are not watching shows or playing games on the computer and we do that when we can, sometimes on Sunday afternoon. When I was small the doctor found that I had a defect in my vision so I was given bionic eyes. For that reason I can see better than most people and see a lot of things in wavelengths others can't see. It took my parents years to pay for those eyes, but they love me so they did it. Unfortunately they can't afford insurance for all us kids so we have to hope we don't get sick.
There are churches all over the county. Each one tries to get as many as possible to attend their church so the preacher can be paid more. The people in each household decide which church they want to join but everyone is required to belong to a church.
All the members give to the church based on their income to provide for missionaries to spread the Gospel. All members must watch for signs of sin in the community so that they can report it to the church and to the police. Both the church and their families see that elderly and disabled people are cared for.
A preacher sent by the main church office leads the congregation in the way of the Lord and takes care of the church property and schedules use of the church building and grounds. Some churches are so large that the preacher has to have a large staff to assist him. The church building includes a large auditorium for the faithful and often several smaller meeting rooms, a kitchen and dining area for the congregation with a few bathrooms and a few computers available to all in the dining area and an office for the preacher.
Besides inspirational services, the church often sponsors cookouts, picnics, travel tours to the Holy Land and other fun functions. Church members also often help each other to avoid sin because that is an ever present danger.
So, with that in mind, what future do you want?
If you want to influence the future you must take actions to support policies that will further your positions taken in the questions above.
Most of the stuff in the universe is something different than what we are made of and are familiar with. No one knows what it is, so we call it dark matter and dark energy.
90% of the cells in the human body are not human. They make up what is called the human microbiome. Most of the functioning of the human body is controlled by the subconscious mind, the autonomic nervous system and the microbiome, not by the conscious mind.
We are mostly aware of things on our planet within size limits that we can sense. We cannot sense either the micro world of very small things around us or the macro world of distant stars and galaxies. We think there are about 125 billion galaxies in the universe each made of millions or billions of stars and associated planets and other objects. Most galaxies are part of galaxy clusters or superclusters. Most of the species of life on earth are too small for us to see with the naked eye as are the most elemental particles of physics and chemistry.
So we do not ordinarily think of things that are much larger or much smaller than us or far away from us in either space or time as of much interest to us because we are generally not aware of these things. As a result the world that we perceive and that we think we inhabit is a very limited and much smaller world than that which actually exists. Our perception of the world is actually much like the perception an ant would have of his world in that it is incomplete to an extent beyond our comprehension.
As far as a biologist predicting the future of humanity, one can be an optimist or one can be a pessimist.
Considering Man's propensity toward greed and ego and warfare and environmental destruction and over population, one might conclude that evolution's experiment in humanity will soon prove to be a dead end.
Considering the amazing speed of development of the human brain and consciousness and social structure, one might conclude that man will soon seize control of his own destiny, reach for the stars, and achieve some kind of godhood.
A future between these two extremes is more likely. It is doubtful that a species that has not only destroyed much of the carrying capacity of its environment but, at the same time, increased its population in excess of that carrying capacity can improve the world to increase the efficiency of the environment enough to support the population. This does not inexorably lead to extinction of the species, however. After all, a species that has at some times been destroyed down to a world population as low as, perhaps, 11,000 people and has rebounded to populate the Earth to the tune of seven or eight billion is unlikely to become extinct soon. It would, however, not be a surprise if disease, hunger, pollution, war and other pestilences resulted in the destruction of as much as 90 per cent of the population meaning about 7 out of 8 would die or fail to reproduce.
This would leave maybe a billion people which is plenty to again populate the world if, from such a shock, man were to learn how to live in harmony with himself and with his environment, protecting his home and sharing with and caring for one another.
The real question is whether man, as a species, has the wisdom to learn such a lesson or whether he might be doomed to keep repeating a cycle of growth and destruction until the species eventually dwindled away.
As far as I can reason from the present state of our knowledge the future could hold any of the scenarios described above although some type of middle scenario is more likely than an extreme.
I am driven physically to reproduce to preserve my DNA which is the essence of the complexity of my existence.
I am driven mentally to try to understand what is the nature of existence.
I am driven socially to form more complex entities by combining with other elements of existence.
I am driven morally to try to increase complexity and pleasure and to try to decrease disorder and pain.
Libertarian - emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty, political freedom, and voluntary association. It is the antonym to authoritarianism. Any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals
Minarchists propose a state limited in scope to preventing aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud as well as foreign aggression.
Libertarian socialists oppose capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, instead advocating their common or cooperative ownership and management. They reject the idea of a state enforcing property laws pertaining to property used in production as opposed to personal property.
Some Libertarians believe that there should be no crime without a victim.
Almost everyone believes that there should be a state to enforce laws against such things as murder, assault and theft, crimes in which there is a victim.
There is more disagreement as to whether there should be traffic, banking, health and drug laws, and other laws the purpose of which is simply to regulate the functioning of society.
There is even more disagreement as to whether the state should be able to force such things as military service and payment of taxes and purchase of health insurance.
And even more as to whether the state has a right to levy taxes to be used for social services to provide for the less fortunate or to educate the public. This is state forced redistribution of wealth.
Right-libertarianism holds that unappropriated natural resources may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes their labor with them, or merely claims them - without the consent of others, and with little or no compensation to the rest of society.
Left-libertarianism, by contrast, holds that unappropriated natural resources are initially owned by society in general, which can require those who appropriate natural resources to compensate the rest of society for the value of those rights.
Questions that arise from these philosophies would include the question as to whether the state has a right to regulate traffic by installing traffic lights and enforcing traffic laws, or regulating drug use or requiring vaccinations against infectious diseases.
And if the law says that I must stop on a red light and I am driving on a deserted road in the middle of the night, I stop at a red light and see there is no traffic in sight and then proceed while the light is still red, am I subject to a fine for disobeying the law even though doing so could cause no harm to anyone.
In general religious people are not libertarians but instead believe that a state should enforce the laws of their religions such as prohibition of working on Sunday or eating pork or of females displaying their nipples or males shaving their beards or laws regulating marriage.
It is natural for us to believe that we are separate autonomous individuals who are born, live and die on a flat world of dirt and stone and water and air and living things.
It is hard for us to believe that we are actually strands of DNA which have existed for millions of years changing all the while and that we exist on a large round conglomeration of solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals which is only one small part of billions of such things adrift in a space and time approaching infinite in size and composed of a base which makes matter and energy and unknown other things we call dark energy and dark matter simply because we have no idea what they are. The being we think we are is also just a conglomeration of other beings called cells both with our DNA and with other DNA which can themselves be considered autonomous organisms living in a symbiotic relationship and which are themselves composed of smaller entities.
It is also difficult for us to realize that we are only small parts of larger entities both physical such as Gaia and solar systems and galaxies and galaxy clusters and social entities such as clubs and countries and economic entities which are evolving by means of memes into even more complexity such as cyborg collectives.
If my group is 150 people or less then each person is of high value to the group and thus to me. I will be kind to and emphasize with and know personally and share with and protect each member of the group and they will do the same for me. If harm comes to one of these people then I will personally feel pain.
If I am a part of the 7 or 8 billion people on the earth, each of these people is of low value to me, but they are a vast anonymous resource to try to exploit for my own gain. I can be a capitalist and try to get a little of the wealth of each of them for myself. If harm comes to one or a number of them then that fact will have little effect on me or on my life.
If we make a financial mistake, for instance, we will simply take enough money from the lower classes to refill our coffers. If we commit a crime such as killing four people driving drunk we will just avoid jail time by pleading affluenza, the belief that the rules of living for the majority do not apply to the ruling class.
The only real check on our power is the physical death or deterioration of our body which we cannot control yet, but we hope to in the future.
Several economic systems were tried over the years but the one that survived was capitalism and free enterprise including private ownership of property, the profit motive, and individual accumulation of capital. Because it was the main system to survive, many people feel that this is the best economic system. Maybe so; but it certainly is, not only imperfect, but leads to a number of inefficiencies and outcomes that are detrimental to a number of people.
Examples of these bad conditions either caused by or allowed by our economic system:
Probably the best alternative to capitalism is a system based on consumer and worker owned cooperatives.
Where did the world come from? How did it begin?
These are meaningless questions because they assume that the default condition is nothing and something had to be created.
Suppose we assume that the default condition is a condition of being in the form of quantum existence which means that there is a base of being which is in a state of amorphous existence and in which time and space have no meaning.
Suppose this base has bubbles of imperfections in the uniform chaos of its being and that these bubbles form a condition in which there is relativity so that the concepts of time and space now have meaning because one of the properties of these bubbles is that you can refer to their relative position in relation to each other.
And maybe these bubbles exhibit a digital or particle form as opposed to the analog or wave form of the underlying stuff.
And because of these properties we now have relative size and distance both in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time. And these bubbles can vary over space and time in complexity meaning that they can be of a number of types and that they can have other properties such as mass and electrical charge and can manifest as units of matter and as energy.
Three American ladies went for a hike in a national park one spring day. They happened upon a bunch of day lillies in bloom beside their path. "How pretty!", they exclaimed and pulled up all the plants cutting off the blooms for bouquets for their rooms.
Three American hunters were hunting in the Rocky Mountains. They found a beautiful Big Horn sheep. "Magnificent!", they exclaimed before killing it to get it's head for a trophy to be mounted in their hunting lodge.
Three Japanese hunters were hunting in Africa. They found a big bull elephant. "Magnificent!", they exclaimed as they were all taking photos with their Nikons to be displayed in a large frame in each of their sitting rooms.
Richard Dawkins says we live in a middle sized world, not a micro world or a macro world. I propose that so do ants and bacteria and planets and probably also molecules and solar systems and galaxies. It may be that for each size perspective there are also micro worlds and macro worlds.
We also live in a middle world in a time perspective. Bacteria and insects live in a faster world as do atoms. However plants and galaxies live in a slower world.
According to Dawkins; what we think is real is an illusion that we perceive due to the evolution of our bodies and brains and their needs. Reality is whatever our brain needs it to be in order to assist its survival.
How rich is the world's richest person?
He is worth about $70 billion.
Conservatively this will yield him an income of at least 5% which is $3.5 billion per year.
or $67 million per week
or over $13 million per work day.
or about $1.5 million per hour of a 40 hour work week.
The world median household income is about $10,000 per year
and the median per capita income is about $3,000 per year.
So it would take over 1,000,000 average workers to earn as much as that richest man.
The World's 85 Richest People Are as Wealthy as the Poorest 3 billion.
Can you breathe? If yes, then you don't have to worry about that.
Are you thirsty? If yes, then get a drink. Now you don't have to worry about that.
Are you hungry? If yes, then eat. Now you don't have to worry about that.
Are you in pain? If yes then consider how much of your body is in pain and how intense is the pain as opposed to how much of your body is not in pain. Concentrate on the parts of your body not in pain and imagine the pain becoming smaller and smaller until you can lock it in a box and throw it away. Now you don't have to worry about that.
Are you freezing or burning up? If so, find shelter. Now you don't have to worry about that.
Do you have a home? If not can you make one or find someone to live with or a homeless shelter? If so, you can put off worrying about that.
If you can't get anything to drink or to eat or air to breathe or your pain is uncontrollable or you can't find shelter, try to find someone to help you. If you can't do that then you actually do have something to worry about. However, if this is not the case then your worries are not as bad as you think because you could actually have the worries above.
Your other worries probably have to do with anxiety about the future or about feeling loved or having someone to love or whether your life has meaning or whether you are a good or likeable or skilled person, whether you have value. Take fifteen minutes to write down these worries and possible solutions and then put them out of your head and go about your life. Then take fifteen minutes every morning and evening to review and edit your worry list and don't let the worries back into your life except at those times.
If you can do something about what worries you then, by all means, do it. If you can't, then accept the situation and try not to let it bother you. Concentrate on things over which you have some control.
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.
After about 4 billion years life evolved to produce its most complex being, humanity, around 2 million years ago.
About 10,000 to 12,000 years ago - with humanity's discovery of agriculture - towns and cities, religion, property ownership, slaves and subjugation of women, monogamy, capitalism, greed, and ego flourished.
We lost most of the small egalitarian societies which had sustained us.
This led to a population explosion and a small class of rulers and a large class of workers in society and then to destruction of the environment in which we live.
It took nature hundreds of millions of years to remove enough carbon from the air and store it and energy from sunlight in the earth and to produce enough oxygen to make the atmosphere about 16% oxygen and cool the earth enough for the optimum development of animal and especially mammal life. It took man less than 200 years after the discovery of fossil fuels and the use of them to energize the industrial revolution to remove this carbon from the earth and return it to the atmosphere warming the earth.
Our only hope is education and science which may lead to the reversal of these trends.
If this does not happen then we will see a world without many fish in the seas or trees in the forests or sufficient fossil fuels or clean water to drink or much soil suitable for growing food. It will be a hot world with erratic weather and with much of the oxygen in the atmosphere displaced by carbon dioxide and perhaps carbon monoxide and methane unable to support animal life as we know it now with what are now seacoasts under water. It will be a world of bacteria and plants and perhaps insects. After millions of years the world may recover enough to be able once again to support abundant animal life.
I would expect that at least 99% of the human and larger animal population of the earth would not survive, especially among the lower economic classes which would, of course, suffer most.
If we are able to survive we will live in a world of genetic engineering and robots and we will be hybrid beings, part human, part computer, with mechanical and electrical and genetic enhancements with artificially produced food and living spaces. It will be a world in which probably most of the larger species of animals and many plant species and species of smaller animals existing now will have become extinct. We may be able to see what we have lost in zoos or in holographic productions or in images projected into the brain.
also see (this or this) to learn what we are doing to our home, the earth.
Our consciousness is the way in which the universe has become aware of itself.
To the extent that we appreciate and are aware of the rest of the universe around us, we fulfill our destiny.
Beyond the lives of our individual bodies, we want to preserve our specific DNA traits, our species, life on our planet and beyond that life in the universe.
We are aware that our physical bodies are limited in time, but how much more tragic would we feel our existence if we knew that we were the last of our race or our species or life on the earth or life in the universe.
We do not know that life such as us is the only way in which the universe is conscious. Perhaps Gaia is conscious or perhaps galaxy clusters are conscious or perhaps there is a type of consciousness at a quantum level.
But we feel that a universe without any consciousness to appreciate it would have no purpose and thus could not exist.
Don't cry because it's over.
Smile because it happened.
In some ways, our personal digital records are very much the summation of
ourselves. Not our physical, intimate, human selves - the selves we eat with
and run with and fall in love with - but our abstracted Selves, the
conglomeration of every detail, feeling, idea, thought, impulse, and friend
that tells the story of me. Long after I am dead, will that not be the most
accessible incarnation of me - alongside all the published words I have
written in part to live past my physical expiration date? Will I not continue
to exist in some form that is available to all of humankind for ever?
Beautiful and necessary meditation by Andrew Sullivan on what happens once we concede that our memory (and our selves) will belong to the cloud.
Brian Cox @ProfBrianCox
It's simple really. Invest in the young. Invest in education, research and knowledge. Redistribute opportunity. Watch the flowers
Dalai Lama @DalaiLama
Because of the risks involved in indulging in unrestrained desire and greed we need to cultivate contentment and simplicity.
How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.
While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.
In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.
A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor.
Morality is enforced by social ostracism or social approval.
Although people within the group are dealt with by kindness and cooperation, those of outside groups engender fear and aggression.
The culture in various regions and groups can cause wide variations in how cooperative versus how competitive people are within the group and even in their attitudes toward outside groups or individuals.
There is conflict within the human brain between logic and emotion in determining our actions.
With increasing education and knowledge of others, people are more likely to think of all humanity and even, to some extent, some other living species as a part of their group; meaning that altruism can now extend to distant unknown beings. Examples are campaigns to save the animals or to aid victims of disasters on the other side of the world.
Our world view is determined by both our environment and our genetic makeup. This influences, among other things, the question of whether society works best when those who break the rules are punished or are forgiven and the question of whether people are rewarded by society according to merit or according to need.
Conservatives, and maybe liberals too, tend to believe that attacks on their world view are actually attacks on the existence of their world and if these attacks succeed then their world will be destroyed. Many would prefer destruction of the whole society to having to change their world view. Or perhaps they are simply unable to change their world view.
People who see the world in terms of money and ego and power are more likely to do selfish and immoral acts than are those who see the world in terms of life quality and relationships with others. That's almost a given by definition. Bankers are more likely to be immoral than are nurses.
Calvinists believe that there are sinful acts.
Lutherans believe that there are sinful motives.
Society soon developed financial classes with rich business and natural resource and slave owners at the top as rulers and poor workers at the bottom of the heap just above the slaves and women.
Since then the purpose of the ruling class has been seen as using their resources to produce as much wealth and power as possible for themselves at the expense of the environment and of the working class.
What rulers want:
What Workers want.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during the Great Depression the labor unions and the communists and other progressives convinced him that he must help the exploited workers or face the possibility of a revolution. He believed them and went to other members of his ruling class to plead for help for the workers so that he could save the nation from further economic disruption. Many agreed with him and many did not, feeling that it was more important to keep the workers under heel than to give them relief. He did get enough support that he was able to implement much of his New Deal legislation.
Today the southern part of the United States is a culture in which the ruling class keeps the lower class unempowered by refusing to spend much money on their health, education or welfare.
This leads to poverty and low levels of education and a sense felt by many poorer people of having little power to control their lives.
They respond by overeating, using drugs including cigarettes, breeding young and use of religion and guns to get a false sense of empowerment.
Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are prevalent.
The rulers try to foster a culture that emphasizes religion, patriotism, sports and guns as opposed to math, science, philosophy, and economics. The rulers feel that they can have more wealth and power by these policies.
In contrast, the more enlightened rulers in much of the rest of the country are more willing to let more money be spent on health, education and welfare.
As a result the workers in those areas are generally healthier and better educated which means that they work more efficiently than those in the south producing more wealth for the rulers.
Of course, it also means that they are more aware of economic conditions in their society, which awareness could, in time, be detrimental to the rulers' interests.
In general conservative rulers think that their best interest is served by promoting (with the cooperation of the politicians they have purchased):
More progressive rulers think that more expenditures on health, education and welfare will help to create a better educated wealthier work force which can more efficiently produce wealth for the rulers and if these same workers are paid a decent wage they can be the consumers which can create a better market for the products produced.
Very few rulers, conservative or progressive, though will support more government regulation for the benefit of the consumer, the worker or the environment.
Only two institutions are able to effectively represent the interests of the workers. One is labor unions. The other is ownership of businesses by worker owned cooperatives.
This system is designed to give the rulers the lion's share of the increased wealth produced by better worker productivity due mainly to automation and increased worker education and skills with very little, if any, of the wealth trickling down to the workers. It is based on the idea that the upper classes are entitled to the benefits of the economic system and the workers are entitled to only a subsistence portion or less.
Man went from a hunter-gatherer society driven by the need to find food and to reproduce to an agricultural-industrial society which required lots of manual labor and increased daily stress on many workers to an automated-information based society. This new society requires less labor due to increased productivity which means that gross wealth should be more equally shared among all than has been the case in the past and is the case now. Future societies should be based on public and cooperatively owned businesses with shorter work weeks, higher pay; more labor, consumer and environmental protection in place and a better social safety net for those who fall through the cracks.
The society should provide free high quality health care and education for all as well as a basic living income for each person or family and a tax structure that redistributes wealth and income toward equality. Should anyone have or need more than say, 30 times the wealth or income of the average person?
The disabled widow woman only survives because of the kindness of her neighbors and charitable organizations and government programs. She does not accumulate wealth.
The current worker or retired previous worker survives only to the extent that the rulers at the top let him keep a small portion of the wealth he produces.
Mostly the wealth produced trickles upward and is accumulated at the top so that the small number of rulers there, over time and through generations, end up with a huge proportion of all the wealth of the society.
Those who do not produce wealth are those who do not work with their hands or their minds or their sweat to produce the goods and services needed by our society.
That includes the banking and the insurance industry and capitalists who only own and use paper such as deeds and mortgages and stocks and bonds and cash.
They are the people who make the rules that the rest of us have to live by.
The workers are those who work with their hands to produce or who create with their minds and their imaginations or who use their knowledge to provide the services that others need. These include the farmer and the miner and the fisherman and the forester and the factory worker and the builder and the sales clerk and the trucker and the lineman and the garbage man and the plumber and the teacher and the librarian and the historian and the programmer and the doctor and the lawyer and the scientist and the engineer and the fire fighter and the policeman and the soldier and the entertainer and others in similar positions.
Now we have had increased productivity for a long time with people working long hours with more overtime and increasing unemployment. As a result wages have not increased as fast as has productivity. This seems to suit the ruling class because keeping unemployment high keeps workers scared to join unions and ask for higher wages, so the rulers reap the increased profits.
Remembering those articles and their vision of the future, I am thinking that maybe we need a 30 hour work week with four weeks of annual paid vacation and a minimum wage of about 25 dollars per hour at today's dollar value indexed to inflation.
Hopefully that would reduce unemployment and redistribute wealth. Then we just have to rethink the "work ethic" and reimagine use of leisure time.
Then you are for a number of what you probably think are Christian beliefs such as protecting the unborn child and making sure that the government regulates sexual relations and marriage and as much as possible enforces the beliefs of your church.
You would also be against a number of what many think are Christian beliefs such as helping the poor and disabled and those less fortunate than yourself. You may feel that individuals should help the poor but it is not right for our government to use our common treasury to help the poor and disabled. You probably also feel that many of the poor are poor by choice.
You would also think that everyone should be free to have as many of whatever firepower guns and other armaments as they want to protect themselves or to stand their ground against others unlike themselves. I am not sure how Jesus would have felt about that one.
You probably also believe that those who are in power are in that position because it is the will of God so they should not be regulated as to what they can do or how much of the wealth of the society they can hoard for themselves.
You probably also believe that children should be brought up and educated by their parents and their church so that they do not question religious beliefs. So you do not think tax money should be spent on education or libraries where people are free to read anything they want and to learn to think critically and question long standing beliefs.
You may also believe that a person's health is due to the will of God, so you may not approve of public health programs.
In general you do not support freedoms such as speech and religion and assembly and the press if they can be used to disparage your religious or patriotic beliefs. For instance you have no problem with violence in the media but you think that depictions of sex are immoral.
Although the defense budget of the United States is more than 4 times that of China which is second in defense spending and almost 7 times as great as that of Russia which is in third place and although over half the United States' discretionary budget goes to the military rather than the people's needs you favor even more spending on the military. I suspect this is because you feel insecure in the world and feel that if others are unlike you and do not share your world view, then they must be a threat to your way of life.
The U. S. was at the forefront of human progress from about 1920 to 1980 but now is sliding back.
There is some progress in western Europe, Canada and maybe New Zealand and Australia.
Asia surges forward economically.
Money is not Wealth!
Wealth is human capital such as culture and education and skills and it is things such as food and land and minerals and growing crops and forests and machinery and tools and it is infrastructure such as roads and dams and buildings and water lines and sewer lines and phone and electric lines.
Money, on the other hand, is just a means of measuring and exchanging wealth. At a given point in time it has a value which translates to the amount of real wealth such as that defined above for which it can be exchanged. At one time a bale of hay may be worth $1.00 or 1 unit of whatever type of money we are talking about and at another time it may be worth 4 units.
It does not matter what the exchange rate is as long as we are able to sell our stuff for money and using money to get or make or hire more stuff. What does matter and can cause a problem is the value of money changing between the time we get it by selling and the time we spend it for something. So inflation or deflation or printing more money or governments or other institutions taking money out of circulation only affects those who are holding cash or its equivalent.
Monetary policy is referred to as either being expansionary or contractionary, where an expansionary policy increases the total supply of money in the economy more rapidly than usual, and contractionary policy expands the money supply more slowly than usual or even shrinks it. Expansionary policy is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by lowering interest rates in the hope that easy credit will entice businesses into expanding. Contractionary policy is intended to slow inflation in order to avoid the resulting distortions and deterioration of asset values.
Money supply is influenced by tax policy, government spending, and interest rate manipulation.
Keynesian economics holds that governments should expand the money supply during periods of high unemployment and contract it during boom periods when the economy is expanding and unemployment is low. Expansion of the money supply is done by lowering tax rates, increasing spending and lowering interest rates which leads to government deficit spending but this is not problematic because interest rates are low. Contraction of the money supply is done and government debts are paid off during boom times by decreasing government spending, raising tax rates and raising interest rates.
Expanding the money supply decreases the value of cash being held thus encouraging spending and investment. Contracting the money supply increases the value of cash held encouraging saving and slowing investment, thus putting the brakes on excessive speculation.
Unfortunately, many people do not understand these principles and thus believe during economic stress periods that governments should operate by increasing austerity, decreasing spending and deficits. This tends to make recessions deeper and longer lasting than they need be and rather than leveling economic swings tends to exacerbate them. Conversely during good times government policy makers may feel that it is safe to overspend rather than reducing debt because they do not seem to anticipate future downswings. Also they find it is more fun to spend and gives them more bragging rights with the voters. They often feel that if they cause future problems, maybe the chickens won't come home to roost until they are out of office leaving the resulting problems for their successors.
The strength and wealth of a nation is not threatened by deficit spending if Keynesian principles are followed because money is not wealth. Deficit spending is only a problem if it is done on a large scale during periods of prosperity as was often done recently during Republican administrations such as the Reagan and second Bush administrations. Increasing national debt during boom times makes it more difficult to increase debt when it is necessary during economic downturns and limits the flexibility needed during those times.
A car full of Jehovah's Witnesses pulled up in front of the house and a couple of men in suits got out to come to the door.
I asked, "Are you selling religion or insurance?"
The lead man said, "We would just like to take a few minutes to talk to you about the Bible if you have time."
"It's religion then. Sure, I have a few minutes."
He asked me if I read the Bible.
I told him I had read it through twice.
He said, "What did you think about it?"
"I thought it was mostly a bunch of foolish superstition, but included some good literature."
He looked shocked and asked which parts I found to be good literature.
"Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Psalms, Job and I found Esther and Ruth interesting. Overall though I liked the Illiad by Homer better."
"Have you prayed about it?"
"Nope, never saw any sense in it."
"Do you believe in God?", he hesitated and restated the question. "Do you believe there is a creator?"
I thought about that one. "No, I guess I don't."
"Then how do you explain how this wonderful world we live in came to exist?"
"Well you won't be able to understand this, but I have come to the conclusion that the world didn't have to come to exist because that assumes that there is a place and time in which nothing exists and that doesn't make sense to me."
"But, of course, it would have to be created."
"Not if you understand the implications of general relativity and quantum theory and if you can comprehend that time is an artifice of our brains and is itself relative as is space."
"I don't understand what you are talking about."
"Of course not, you have spent your life reading the Bible and trying to believe, not what it says, but what you have been told about it. If you had a good knowledge of science you probably would understand better. How many times have you read the Bible and how much have you studied science."
"I've read the entire Bible six or seven times and I have found that it told me all I needed to know.'
"So you read the Bible six or seven times and you still didn't learn anything from that!", I asked incredulously.
"I think I did learn from it. I believe the Bible is the word of God from the first page to the last page."
"Well, if you believe that, then you believe that if a woman commits adultery, she should be stoned to death."
"No I don't believe that?"
"Why not. Doesn't your Bible say that."
"Yes, but that is the Mosaic Law or the Law of Moses. God sent his son, Jesus, to earth to supercede the Mosaic Law and replace it with a new law."
"So God, who is also Jesus, decided that the law he had written was wrong and admitted his mistake and changed it."
"No Jesus was the Son of God and he was sent to earth to replace the old law with a new law."
"So Jesus said that his father made a mistake and changed the law. So he superceded his father's law."
"No, God sent him to do that."
"So was it God or Jesus who decided that the laws God had written were wrong?"
At that point he looked perplexed and assured me that I had a right to believe whatever I wanted but he believed in the Bible and took his leave of me.
However, more recent discoveries starting with Einstein's theories of relativity indicate that such classical theories are very close to correct on the scale in which we exist but are only a subset of a larger set of rules governing the universe on a larger scale such as the size scale of galaxies and at speeds near the speed of light. It is probable that these classic theories would not apply at either very slow or very fast speeds or at very small as well as very large scales.
In other words, our classic science only applies to us where we are, not to the universe as a whole.
This is further implied by discoveries in quantum physics and in chaos theory.
This means that running time either forward or backward will not lead to conditions that can be predicted because very small random changes in conditions may occur at any instant which will cause large changes in conditions over time and space.
So if we run the movie forward and then we run it back it may very well have a different beginning than that at which it first began. Running it forward again will then result in a different ending.
This implies that we probably don't exist at a scale in which we can deduct the existence of such a thing as the "Big Bang" or predict the future of the universe because all such deductions are, in essence, based on a universe which obeys the laws we understand but do not account for fluctuations in the universe and perhaps in the rules which control it.
There is probably an analogy here to the theory of evolution which is based on infrequent random mutations which cause changes in future populations filtered by a natural selection process.
In chaos patterns sometimes serendiptously develop. This proves the universe is not deterministic. Or, if it is deterministic, then it is subject to random errors.
These patterns can be of various magnitudes and form in space and time.
Within these patterns modifications often serendipitously develop.
These modifications often change the magnitude or form of the pattern in space and/or time.
As a result more complex patterns extending longer through time become possible and therefore exist.
Patterns extending longer in time have more chances for favorable modifications and therefore are more likely to exist at any given time than shorter lived patterns.
Sometimes patterns develop within themselves the ability to reproduce. This is life.
This is how the human brain came to be!
The human brain is conscious of existence.
It seems normal to believe that since we live in a world that is well suited to our existence in terms of temperature and atmosphere and other environmental factors, then that world was either made for us or we are just lucky to live in it. We seem to miss altogether the other obvious possibility; that the world existed first and we evolved to survive in it so that we were one of the organisms best suited to that environment and that we see it as a friendly and beautiful world precisely because we were designed to fit this world and because it is the only world we have ever known.
According to polls conducted in 1948, by questioning by phone people picked at random from the phone book, Dewey would easily defeat Truman in the election for President of the United States. When Truman won the election it became obvious that Dewey could defeat Truman if only people who owned phones were allowed to vote. Voters who did not own phones were mostly in favor of Truman.
If I attend a party with 20 to 25 other people it would be unlikely that another attendee would have the same month and day as a birthday as myself. You could probably win a bet by betting against that happening. However, if I bet you that two people at that same party will have the same birthday, I will likely win.
It is unlikely that I will be struck by lightning this year. It is equally as unlikely that you will be struck by lightning this year. However, should we be surprised if we read a headline saying that someone has been struck by lightning this year? We actually should be very surprised if there was not such an occurrence.
I will bet you that the world's oldest person will die this year even though over one hundred years have gone by without that person dying.
As Richard Feynman once quipped:
"You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won't believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!"
In a sports playoff down to the last eight games, let 1,000 fans write down the outcomes of all eight games before they are played. Afterwards it is likely that about four of those people will be correct in predicting all eight outcomes. Should we then select those four people and put them on a pedestal and declare them psychic? We should if those four were the only people who told us beforehand that they were psychics when all 1,000 people were asked.
The odds that a specific unlikely event will occur are low by definition but it is certain that some unlikely event will occur.
Once people were a part of the community. They gave according to their ability and were supported according to their need. If they did not fit in they could be expelled from the group.
So thieves and liars and greedy power grabbers and loafers were ostracized or expelled. Others could expect to be supported by the community.
In today's world the community no longer is able to sanction greedy power grabbers and many in need do not have the community ties which once would have given them security.
So rich conservatives believe that the poor have it too easy and that the rich have to work hard. Yet, the rich are not standing in line to trade places with the poor.
Have you ever seen the stars in a place with no light pollution?
Have you ever listened in a place with no aural pollution?
Have you ever lived without electricity or running water?
Have you ever been in a place where you knew there was not another human being within one mile? Ten miles?
Could you survive without clothing or shelter?
Have you ever turned off your light and sat quietly deep inside a cave?
When young people were asked how long they could be separated from their electronic communications devices before beginning to feel anxious, the average answer was less than ten minutes.
We live in a world of light and noise and people and access to the devices and inventions of our technology. This is not the world in which we evolved but it is the world to which we have adapted. We may have lost the ability to survive in the world in which we evolved.
Vultures have a bad reputation. From what species does nature have most to fear? Is it Vultures?
"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."
When I was 15 years old I got a job loading 100 pound sacks of green beans on a truck in the hot August sun for 75 cents per hour. In a ten hour work day with 15 minutes off for lunch I was able to make $7.50 which was about twice the going wage for farm work at that time.
Since I knew geometry and a local farmer didn't he paid me $5.00 to measure his tobacco patch and make sure he had the exact amount that he was allowed to grow under the tobacco quota program. That took me about 45 minutes.
From these experiences I learned that I was strong and healthy and I could work with my muscles and make good money. I also learned that, if I was smarter than others around me, they would pay me even more money for less work to do things that they didn't know how to do.
Later I made a living with a degree in forestry and also using my skills as a computer programmer and system designer, but I have continued to do physical labor all my life.
Scientists believe that about 74,000 years ago the human race had dwindled down to a population of about 11,000 people living in the area that is now Yemen. That means that among those 11,000 people were yours and my several great grandfathers and grandmothers.
It also means that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth 70 million years ago, the first mammals, tiny inoffensive creatures, rarely more than a few inches long and a few ounces in weight scurrying around trying to survive and to avoid the dinosaurs, included ancestors of you and me.
And it means that when the first life moved onto the land from the seas about 450 million years ago, our ancestors were there.
Think about it!
Examples of this evolution include such things, which were new and did not exist before, as:
Some of these were good ideas and survived.
Some were bad and did not.
As each new innovation occurred there were some people who were adopters and some who were not.
Those who adopted the innovation thought it was a good idea and embraced it for the future.
Those who did not thought is was a bad idea or were loathe to change and retained the old ways.
I am defining the members of the species as those who can interbreed and produce offspring which are themselves able to reproduce.
Over time people evolve into a wide range as to the type of innovations they have adopted. For example the species now contains wall street bankers and cosmologists and people who still live as if in the bronze age and tribes still living as they did in the stone age. It no longer contains those who live in the trees and those who do not have the use of tools, although, 50,000 years ago it probably did still contain some of those. At that time, however, there were no investment bankers and no cosmologists. Stone age life was the pinnacle of development.
At this point the wall street banker is unlikely to breed and reproduce with the aborigine although it is probably physically possible. In the future it is likely that their paths will diverge so much that interbreeding may not be possible and those who have adopted innovations which give them advantages in surviving will thrive while those who do not will eventually become stagnant in population growth and then probably dwindle away or possibly evolve along different lines to survive as a different species.
In the same way those innovations that prove advantageous will continue to spread in use and those that do not will disappear. Just as the speed of expansion of the universe increases exponentially, so does the speed of changes we call evolution.
I expect that in one hundred years from now technology and culture and even the bodies of people living then will be very different than today. There probably will be no people left on earth living in stone or bronze or even iron age conditions.
The wise course is to adopt the best innovations and reject those that are a disadvantage. The problem is that, being unable to know the future, it is not always obvious which is which. It is likely though that those who will not change due to lack of imagination or fear of change will be the ones left behind.
Our existence is expressed in a number of ways:
At the other extreme are those people with extreme empathy and super emotional people who will slam on the brakes and even stop and get out of the car on a crowded freeway to save a turtle trying to cross the road even though doing so could cause the death of them, their family, and a number of other innocent nearby people.
Most of us are somewhere between these extremes.
People also exist along a range of what they consider the primary purpose of life from those "Mother Teresa" like figures who believe man's purpose should be to serve and help others, even strangers, or to increase happiness for the entire universe now and in the future to those who believe their primary purpose is to get as much power and wealth as possible for themselves and for their loved ones, if they have any.
Most of us are also somewhere between these extremes.
Capitalists tend to be coldly logical selfish people who are willing to exploit the environment, natural resources and their fellow man to increase profits.
Bleeding heart liberals tend to be emotional, altruistic, types who are not practical enough to make the world work.
I hope I am a logical, enjoy the present and make the future better, type.
"Vote for me.
Could be, he thought this was all his constitutients needed to know to convince them to vote for him.
Guess they would not be interested in knowing what programs that they might now be using or dependent on he would want to cut or eliminate. They might not care exactly how much they would save by his policies or how much those savings would cost them in reduced services or protection.
If so, then it makes sense that they might want to vote for him.
The fundamental belief that motivates most, if not all, the conservative opposition: Health care should be a privilege rather than a right. They feel the same about food and shelter and education.
Those who are members of the privileged class have a right to food and shelter and health care and education. They also have a right not to be forced to pay taxes that may be used to provide these life essentials to others who are not members of that privileged class. After all it is not their fault that those others were born into a lower class. The rabble should be happy to have an opportunity to work for the privileged and to settle for whatever crumbs may fall from the rich man's table. The rabble should realize that the harder and longer they work then the richer their rulers will be and the more likely that more crumbs will fall from their table. That's called trickle down economics. If the lower classes object to this, the natural order of things, then it is only because they want to start "class warfare" which is to say they object to the natural order of things which was established by God. Therefore those protesters must be ungodly.
Money supply has a definite ratio to real wealth (assets).
If real wealth is increased either by an increase in the labor supply or by increased productivity, then the money supply can be increased accordingly.
If this does not happen then money becomes more valuable (deflation) and prices fall.
On the other hand, if money supply is increased without a corresponding increase in real wealth (assets) then money becomes less valuable (inflation) and prices rise.
If assets that could be used to increase real wealth (assets) are underused (for instance, high unemployment) then an increase in money supply can be used to utilize these assets (example, WPA) to then increase real wealth to bring it into balance with the already increased money supply.
Subjects many voters are good at or knowledgeable about:
reproducing, spectator sports, drinking, eating, gossip and socializing.
Subjects many voters are not so knowledgeable about:
Physics, math, logic, geography, geology, biology, history, economics, current events.
Unfortunately, these are the very subjects of which knowledge is probably necessary to be able to cast an informed vote.
This characteristic of voters is, of course, to the advantage of many politicians and a detriment to others.
How many politicians have you heard discussing these questions lately?
Do you really think that they found ideas to discuss that were of more importance than these?
What would happen if we refused to vote for anyone or even to allow them to run for office until they had written an essay in answer to each of these questions?
If, in the last election, you did not vote because of the way you thought politicians would approach these questions, then what criteria did you use?
What other questions should be added to this list?
We have a world based on the idea that those who don't work don't deserve food or shelter and that there is no limit to the value of the rich over the value of the poor or average person.
We also think that more population and more economic growth is a goal for which we strive. Why? We seem to value quantity of life over quality.
We need an egalitarian ethos that promotes generosity, altruism and sharing but forbids extreme accumulation of wealth, upstartism, aggression and egoism.
These include :
It may be noticed that, except for natural disasters and disease, all these problems are caused by people themselves because the earth does provide enough resources for a good life quality and happiness for a population of a few billion people.
One who believed the opposite of what I believe would be one who believes that he lives on a flat or hilly or mountainous land ruled by a god or gods with the assistance of humans whom they have put into positions of power. He would believe that these gods have written him a book which gives him all the knowledge he needs to live life. He would believe that the purpose of his life is to follow the rules in his holy book and to worship and obey his gods and human rulers and to try to force or convince all others to do likewise. He would believe that the place where he lives and the people he lives among are central to the existence of the world and that they are chosen by God to be blessed as long as they live according to the desires of this God or gods.
He would believe that the world is as it should be as it was created by God and that he should not presume to change the natural order of things. He would believe that the natural world was created for his use and exploitation.
He would either follow a religious diet or see no need to regulate his diet or to exercise and worry about his health because he would believe that his life is preordained by the plan of his God and his rulers. He would feel that trying to change the course of his life or to learn more than is taught in his holy book or to question any of these beliefs might be an affront to his God or to his rulers.
He would feel that his own needs and pleasures were to be held secondary to his purpose to serve his God and rulers. He would feel that he was in control of his own destiny to the extent that he subjugated his life to the rules of his religion and that he had a soul which was constant from birth to death and that might even survive death in an afterlife.
He would feel that sexual relations and pleasures of the flesh were sinful and to be avoided.
He would feel no need to be concerned about the future because that is in the hands of God. He would think that the world is unchanging as God created it and that he is a spirit created by God. He would think that his God would protect him if he could just be perfect enough and if bad things happened to him it was because he was basically evil or imperfect in the eyes of his God.
Major changes in life:
Organisms spend most of their time obtaining energy and reproducing and growing and resting.
If there is abundance of energy they may be able to store some for leaner times and animals may also have some time to play and perhaps to begin to develop culture.
Most environments are harsh in some seasons with more abundance in others.
Warmer and wetter climates are more likely to have more abundance of energy sources but also more competition from other life forms.
Each life form exists in a specific niche.
Each life form will expand to fill the carrying capacity of its niche in its specific environment.
Carrying capacity can vary depending on weather conditions, climate changes, geological upheavals, changes in availability of food and on competition or adversity from or symbiosis with other living things such as microbiota as well as larger organisms.
There is a food chain with organisms lower on the food chain serving as sources of energy (food) for those higher on the food chain. Organisms near the bottom of the food chain are plants which obtain energy from the sun and nutrients from the air and the soil.
In an ecosystem the biomass of organisms lower on the food chain is greater than that of those at a higher level forming a pyramid structure to biomass.
The DNA of a species is passed imperfectly from one individual to another through reproductive processes. The imperfections in the copying of DNA as well as mutations (changes) to the DNA caused by factors in the environment are the source of evolution of species giving rise to new or modified species. The process of natural selection gives a survival advantage to those modifications most fit for survival in the existing environment.
Organisms require food and water. The more complex organisms may also require shelter. There is a compulsion among all to survive, at least long enough to reproduce.
First we are complex beings made of matter (mostly carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) and energy.
We are alive as opposed to a chunk of granite, for instance. That means we can reproduce or produce others much like ourselves.
We are beings composed of a huge aggregation of individual specialized cells living in a symbiotic relationship.
We are able to move in space and to move other things in space as opposed to most plants and inanimate objects which are fixed in space or have no control over how they are moved.
We have a mind that is conscious of our existence and of things around us and that is capable of abstract thought including imagination and logic and speech. We are aware of the passage of time and are able, to some extent, to remember the past and to imagine the future. So far though, we have a perception of moving in time only forward and only at a speed over which we have no control.
Due probably to our sexual method of reproduction, we are a social species and tend to form all kinds of social relationships and organizations.
Due to the nature of our mind's ability to imagine and our muscles' ability to move both ourselves and other objects we are able to invent tools and to harness the forces of nature such as fire and even nuclear energy. We can change the world around us to an extent which seems awesome.
We have developed a collective memory and knowledge repository in the form of recorded data which gives us the ability to transcend distance and time in passing on our accumulated knowledge and beliefs to others both in our world and to our future.
We are becoming a combination of physical, biological, social and technological beings which, as far as we know, could be unique in the universe, but probably isn't.
As biological individuals we have an existence which is limited in time but, due to our culture, the social institutions of which we are a part and the creations of our existence have the possibility of surviving us for some time.
How do we spend our time in this limited existence? What do we do?
We, first of all, do those things that are the necessities of our existence. These include procuring food and shelter and health care and education and companionship and reproducing. We also try to protect ourselves and our families and social relationships from destruction by other humans or other living things or the forces of nature. In other words, from war and crime and wild animals and disease and the ravages of age and from floods and tornadoes and falling objects and earthquakes and other such dangers.
The interesting thing is though, that we also do things which are not necessary for our existence and which, it seems, we only do for fun or pleasure. This includes things like stamp collecting, music, composing, arranging, playing and enjoyment; games both mental like chess and physical like baseball and other activities which are certainly not essential to life but may even be detrimental, such as mountain climbing, boxing, scuba diving and bungee jumping. We do these things for the pleasure or the rush they give us. We like to create for our own pleasure, for the accolades of others and for posterity. We do things like writing, painting, inventing, entertaining and a host of other non-essential activities.
So as our knowledge of our world and of the nature of our existence increases we, more and more, want to explain the how and the why of our being.
I burned a piece of wood to keep myself and my family warm this winter night.
That led me to contemplate what is.
What is is but only on condition.
That condition is that what is can be in more than one state.
If not for that condition what is would not be.
So what is changes state, say from 0 to 1.
But what is in state 1 changes state also, perhaps back to 0.
So if what is changes state rather than existing in multiple states then this implies the concept of time which must refer to a measure of the existence of what is in a given state. Note that we are not saying that what is is monolithic but can be perceived as an infinity of parts, each of which can be in one of various states at any particular time.
On occasion what is in state 1 combines with more of what is in state 1 and becomes a combined what is which might be perceived as state 2. This can then be seen to lead to the possibility of the existence of states 3 and 4 and even higher states of what is.
This process can lead to the perceived existence of what is being in states of matter and energy and even to such complexity as a hydrogen atom. What is then can have a property, perhaps an electromagnetical property and/or a gravitational property, such that it can attract more of what is in the same or a similar state and a further process of combining or increasing complexity can take place so that stars are formed in which nuclear and quantum forces increase complexity in the face of entropy which is a term referring to the tendency of what is to revert to a simpler or less complex form.
As a result of this property of what is we can perceive matter and energy existing in various states of complexity and this perception is our world. This world seems to be bootstrapped and its perception is indistinguishable from reality so the question of whether it is real is a non defined question. It just is.
So we have the existence of complexity and of time and of cycles. The first cycle is the cycle of changing states. But there is also the cycle of increasing complexity and of its opposite, increasing entropy, both concepts possible because of the measure of what we perceive as time.
So we can now perceive of a world of various states of complexity existing in a continuum of time which is characterized by change.
This concept gives rise to the perception of matter and energy in various states which, in the continuum, changes.
This is our perception.
From this perception comes the concept of evolution which is the process of change over time.
First is the physical evolution leading to a complex world of matter and energy, of physics and chemistry.
Then comes a threshold reached in which this complexity gives rise to life, another level of complexity.
After that comes biological evolution and the perception of the concepts of biology.
That leads to a threshold of combinations of biological existence and complexity which gives rise to very complex beings giving rise to consciousness and to a social structure and culture and the perception of the concepts of psychology and sociology. This is then a third level of being.
That then leads to complex social structures giving rise to technology.
And the combination of physical, biological, social and technological beings perceived by themselves as the Borg.
As one of the Borg, I perceive myself as an individual which is a part of something larger, first in the long term existence of the strands of DNA which define me and also as a part of a social structure. My physical world of matter and energy, my biological existence as DNA and the social and cultural structures into which my individual being is interweaved will have an existence measured in time longer than my individual existence.
However, it is a primary property of my individual existence that I am compelled to extend the existence of my physical body and my biological legacy and my social and cultural organizations as long as possible.
That is why I put a stick of wood in the stove.
Now let us look at the physical and chemical and biological cycles implied in that act.
Due to the memories and knowledge held in my neural networks and gained from my culture and from my personal experiences, I know or believe or have the perception that I am a warm blooded animal, a mammal. Mammals living in cold environments require, besides water and energy (food), shelter from the cold to prevent their dissolution or death caused by the pressure of increasing entropy. This implies a need for such things as buildings or other shelters, clothing and a source of heat, especially on cold winter nights.
Wood is a complex organic structure formed by other living beings which will, when heated in the presence of oxygen, be broken down into its constituent components, in the process, releasing the heat energy which was originally added to the structure by trees during the photosynthetic process in a previous time. So this energy is the energy from the sun. Most energy on the earth either comes from the sun or from heat within the molten core of the earth, although it may have been stored and/or converted in form in various ways as in the case of wood.
This energy is stored in the wood in a potential rather than kinetic state in the form of chemical bonds meaning that formation of the wood is an endothermic process. Burning the wood breaks those bonds releasing the energy kinetically. In other words that is an exothermic process.
Wood is a complex organic carbohydrate made mainly, like all carbohydrates, of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen by the use of energy in a factory like process, in this case, photosynthesis. It is made from water and carbon dioxide in the presence of sunlight. The complex carbohydrates are primarily cellulose, hemi-cellulose and ligin which form chains and fibers with ligin acting as an adhesive binding it all together.
All common wood is made up of roughly 50% Carbon, 6% Hydrogen, and 44% Oxygen with the rest inorganic ash. When burned completely about 1/2 the wood mass is converted to Carbon Dioxide and 1/2 to water.
The process liberates about 8600 to 9000 Btu's of heat energy per pound.
Up to 85% of the mass and 60% of the heating value of the wood is usually consumed in burning with the remainder becoming smoke, creosote and ash. Smoke contains over 100 chemical compounds including carbon monoxide and methane.
A wood fire consists of primary combustion in which the wood is burned and secondary combustion in which the gases produced by primary combustion are burned. Primary combustion produces the coals and embers you see and secondary combustion produces the flames.
When the tree produced the wood it combined carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground, which was in the ground due to rain removing the water from the air, and using sunlight as energy through a complex process to produce a very complex carbohydrate. In other words use of energy to increase complexity using the water cycle and the carbon cycle in which these elements exist in our world.
When I cut the tree and split the wood and stacked it and put it in the stove I used the energy stored in my muscles from food I had eaten, which were other complex carbohydrates, to convert the standing tree to wood in my stove. This enabled me and my family to survive to eat more food in a mesh of other cycles extending the amount of time I and my family could exist as individuals before being dissolved into our constituent components by the inexorable forces of increasing entropy.
This returned the water and carbon dioxide to the air for use by other trees to produce more wood.
So existence consists of our perception of cycles of states of being.
I think I am able to perceive things in this way because I am a Jack of many trades, though a master of none. I think if I were an expert on one subject I could understand one or two facets of this idea in much greater depth but might not be able to see the whole picture as well. There is another possibility. That is that I am simply wrong.
When a child is born, he is the center of the world for his parents and other relatives, at least for a while.
In a few years when the child is with other children in school he becomes, in the eyes of his teachers, and perhaps because of that, in his own eyes, either a bluebird or a sparrow.
The bluebirds are, obviously, smarter, prettier, stronger, more athletic and with better social skills than the sparrows.
So it is in our society.
The bluebirds are the makers, the sparrows are the takers.
The bluebirds are the super race, the sparrows are the mud people.
The bluebirds are the bankers, the sparrows are the farmers.
The bluebirds are from the "right" side of the tracks, the sparrows are from the "wrong" side of the tracks.
The bluebirds are the nobles, the sparrows are the serfs.
The bluebirds are the freemen, the sparrows are the slaves.
The bluebirds are the men, the sparrows are the women.
The bluebirds are the rulers, the sparrows are the workers.
The bluebirds are those with narrow noses, the sparrows are those with wide noses.
The bluebirds have white skin, the sparrows don't.
In some places the bluebirds are the jews and catholics, the sparrows are the protestants. In other places it is the opposite.
We all want to be the bluebirds and we want to live in a world of only bluebirds.
We want to live in "Lake Woebegon" where all the children are above average.
The question is "How do we achieve that?"
One solution is simply to eliminate all the sparrows, leaving only bluebirds.
One solution is to separate the two and devote the lion's share of resources to the bluebirds rather than wasting resources on the sparrows.
There are a few flaws in these solutions.
One is that people change and some are late bloomers, so a sparrow may become a bluebird. Or a bluebird may fall off the perch and become a sparrow.
One is that if we eliminate all the sparrows then the remaining bluebirds will segregate once again into bluebirds and sparrows.
One is that if we somehow sent a group of our sparrows back in time 500 or 5,000 years then they would probably become bluebirds there. If we sent a group of our bluebirds into the future they might be sparrows there.
Another solution is to mix the two types and try to devote enough resources to the sparrows to turn them into bluebirds. It can be hoped that if they are mixed the sparrows will aspire to and have hope of becoming bluebirds and that bluebirds will have more empathy for sparrows and might help them to become more "bluebird" like.
A more unlikely solution is that we might all decide that we were wrong about being bluebirds and sparrows and that we are all robins.
Most people are unable to be moral and to decide the best way to live their life on their own. They need religious and political leaders to give them guidance.
Some believe that the solution to this problem is not religion but science and widespread education. The question is whether the vast majority of people are intelligent enough and have enough imagination to be able to think for themselves. This is probably determined by the way the neural pathways in their brains develop early in life. It may be that most men function best in a rigid social structure rather than as free thinkers.
These social leaders often exert control by fostering guilt and fear and then the promise of redemption. The guilt is often based on shaming by convincing people that their biological urges are evil and something of which to be ashamed.
This causes an inner conflict which requires that people hold conflicting beliefs and urges simultaneously. It leads people to deceive themselves and others.
Man evolved to have a reaction of disgust at certain things mainly to make people avoid situations which might be dangerous to them or counterproductive to the reproductive imperative. There seems to be a tendency for many to want to foist their own feelings and morals on others or to make others see as evil that by which they themselves are disgusted.
People have an empathy for others. The idea of otherness demonizes others to suppress empathy.
It is in the interest of religious and political leaders to try to make others more docile so that they will be better followers. This can best be done by suppressing education and emphasizing fear and the idea of hating those who are different. Conservatives are generally against inclusion and tolerance and believe in the superiority of those most like them.
It turns out that morality can be enhanced by suppressing the ideas of otherness releasing empathy and by education enabling more rational thought. So a world with less religion can be a more moral world.
Contrary to our beliefs, the pattern of the universe does not relate to people. It relates to physics.
Some people see life as a search for security while others see it as a battle against boredom. Life is a brief window in which we have the opportunity to try to understand the universe.
We humans share about 50% of our DNA with a banana. Banana plants are fixed in place but we can move. That accounts for some of the differences in our DNA. Banana plants have roots and a stem and leaves. We have bones and muscles formed into arms and legs and a head. Not only can we move our bodies, but we can also move other things. I can carry a stick of wood or a banana over there. A banana can't do that.
We are also different than a rock or a drop of water in that we have a method of reproduction as does a banana. Us living things can produce more very much like ourselves. A rock can't do that.
We are a complex assemblage of living cells sychronized into a harmonious and symbiotic relationship. We also exist in social structures of many of us working together.
We also are conscious of our environment and have networks of specialized cells called neurons which give us the ability to compute and to perceive our environment by interpreting the signals received from our sensory cells. Due to this and to our ability to move we can change the environment around us.
So, to some extent, we are not at the mercy of our surroundings but can either move to other surroundings or change our existing environment by use of technology we have been able to develop.
In the long evolution of the universe, we are the most complex development that we know of. That is an amazing fact and makes us very unique. Many of us are not fully aware of the complexity of our existence and, perhaps, not adequately appreciative of it.
Many of us are also not aware of the nature of the world in which we live as a structure of patterns and cycles and change at scales large and small.
Our brains process information. Information comes to our brains in the form of data. Data can be the nerve impulses triggered by light of various wavelengths seen by our eyes or of sound of various wavelengths heard by our ears or physical stimulation of the various nerves in our bodies by touch of other objects or by smells or tastes sensed by our tongues or noses causing certain patterns in the nerve impulses from those senses.
Our brains have developed methods to process these nerve impulses and form images or other associations and make memories of them. So they have meaning to us. For instance, if we see the pattern of light and dark on this screen of "Giraffe" our brain tends to associate that pattern with a long necked animal standing on a plain in Africa.
Of course that pattern of what we call letters is not an animal. It is just light and dark pixels on a computer screen, but our brain has developed programming to make the association.
Data can be stored by various methods such as a knotted string or writing or pictures or movies or a pattern of stones or a sequence of sounds. Any of this type of data can also be encoded as binary patterns of ones and zeros or on and off or light and dark or loud and soft or in Morse code.
Data by itself is a meaningless jumble. To have meaning the data must be interpreted, perhaps by a brain, perhaps by a computer program, perhaps in some other way. So a message in Morse code only has meaning to one trained in interpreting Morse code. To a Roman VI means what 6 means to an American.
Computers store data files in some type of electronic memory in a binary format. That data can have meaning only when it is processed or interpreted by the computer program which is designed to read that particular type of data file. Computer programs can not only interpret data but can also manipulate and filter and edit and display data and save copies of data or the output of manipulating data files.
So there are data files stored in a computer's memory but also programs which are a set of instructions to the CPU (Central Processing Unit) of the computer as to how to process those data files.
So if I have a JPG file such as Mybaby.jpg, it contains the data necessary for a proper picture viewing program which understands the jpg format to put a pattern of colored pixels on a computer screen or colored dots on a printed page of paper that my brain will recognize as an image of my baby but which will not be my actual baby.
In general using a computer means having access to or developing computer programs which have the ability to manipulate, process, display and or save certain data files or data received in some other way, perhaps from a keyboard or a microphone or a scanner or a camera or whatever. An effective computer operator must understand the functions of various programs, the type of data files they can process and what output they are capable of providing and must be able to use these programs efficiently to achieve desired results.
When we are very young our young brain develops the neural patterns that along with our genetic inheritance and the microbiological components of our bodies will, to a large extent, determine the course of our lives. As our brain develops our world view forms and begins to harden. We want three basic things: life, liberty, and social approval.
To want life means that we want to obtain the physical necessities of life such as air, water, food, and shelter and protection from physical dangers from both our environment and from others of our species. It also means we have a compulsion to mate and pass our genes to future generations.
To want liberty means that we want freedom to do what we think is in our best interests to control our own destiny without being forced to do the will of others.
To want social approval means that we have a desire to be a part of a social structure of a group or groups of others of our species and we want to rise as high as possible in the social structure hierarchy of our group.
Since we will live out our lives in an environment which is sometimes benign and sometimes hostile to our interests, our success in obtaining what we want from life will be determined by a combination of luck and our physical prowess and our intelligence and our personality and physical attractiveness which will determine our social skills. We will have to sometimes compete and sometimes cooperate with others to obtain our goals.
Although it is possible to live our lives either alone or with only our mate and our offspring, we are a social species and are thus more likely to live our lives in a social structure such as a small band or a neighborhood or even a virtual online community.
Thus arises politics, which is the means by which we leverage the power of the group to obtain, as much as possible, the goals most common in the group world view. Since the group is made up of individuals with different personalities and world views, the interests of the individuals and their views of the best means to obtain them will not always mesh perfectly. This means that persuasion and compromise will be essential.
In the history of the development of humans an event called the neolithic revolution occurred. This was the discovery of agriculture and it led to cities and the concept of property ownership and the end of the nomadic way of life. It also led to the invention of money and the notion that ownership of wealth in the form of property and money could be a gauge of social success.
The neolithic revolution led to a great increase in the size of social groups to the size of, first city-states, and then nations. These were groups which were too large for cooperation based on individual's personal knowledge of all others in the group and this led to large governing organizations for groups or what we now call governments. Rather than leadership being based on skills and knowledge and personality, governments were led by individuals who were more powerful in social relationships often based on ego and wealth and the raw exercise of physical power.
So governments came to be characterized by type of structure and by objectives. As far as type of structure, they can range from dictatorship by one man or a small group to an oligarchy to various degrees of democracy where all or a potion of the people governed partipate to various degrees in choosing or running the government.
As far as the objectives of a government, these can range from almost complete control of the significant activities of each citizen to a government which exercises no control and provides no services except, perhaps, keeping the peace and defending borders.
Many, perhaps most people, feel that a government is best which includes as many of its citizens as possible in both choosing and participating in the government, although many would rather that only those people most in tune with their own world view participate in the government. Most people prefer that the objectives of government limit its power over the individual while at the same time providing all the services needed for the health, safety, welfare and infrastructure for business of its people. These two objectives are, of course, somewhat in conflict which leads to many differences of opinion as to how to govern best.
Most think that government regulation of the fine details of their daily life is not in the best interests of citizens but that protecting them from physical violence, fraud, corruption and other dangers to their life and welfare is a legitimate function of government. Carrying out these functions by government while still leaving each citizen as much choice as possible in living his life is desired.
The exercise of government power to enforce its legitimate laws is usually expressed in terms of physical force expressed as imprisonment, bodily harm, or enforced slavery called community service or as economic penalties such as fines or as limits on the future freedoms enjoyed by the offender such as removal of the right to vote or of other privileges afforded to law-abiding citizens.
Since governments tend to enforce the power of the majority over the lives of all including dissenting minorities, it is essential that, at least, the most basic rights of minorities be preserved. These basic rights are often included in an enumerated list sometimes called a bill of rights.
Certain fundamental principles of governing are supported by many. These include such principles as:
Laws written by governments generally prohibit or discourage certain activities by citizens and/or encourage or require other activities. Basically this means that they limit absolute freedom of the individual.
A well written law will explain why the law was written and its objectives. It will be specific and unambiguous in describing prohibited or required activities. It will specify the penalties or range of penalties incurred by those who disobey the law. It will, as much as possible, leave open other choices to those who might have trouble with the law's application. It should have an expiration date or a date for further review by government agencies to evaluate to what extent the law is achieving its objectives.
Thoughts after watching a video:
The Political Brain - Chris Mooney
Fear makes people more conservative
Conservatives are more fearful and less open to new ideas and experiences and crave stability in life. They tend to be either richer or less educated. They see issues in black and white or right and wrong without ambiguity. Once they have a view on an issue they resist additional information that might contradict those views.
Reality has a well-known liberal bias. - Stephen Colbert
Personality traits as mostly liberal or conservative:
Prevent harm to others - liberal
Fairness - liberal
Ingroup loyalty - conservative
Authority - conservative
Purity & disgust - conservative
Political and economic views as mostly liberal or conservative:
Economic liberty - conservative
Lifestyle liberty - liberal
Social institutions as mostly liberal or conservative:
Universities, entertainment, news - liberal
military, police, business - conservative
Among scientists, pure or basic or theoretical and experimental scientists tend to be more liberal than applied scientists such as engineers.
Emotions trump thought when it comes to forming opinions. Entering into a debate or a study people have a confirmation bias, tending to desire to confirm their prexisting views.
Is success mostly due to luck or to skill and hard work?
A conservative would answer "skill and hard work". They tend to believe that there is order in the world and good things come to those who deserve them and, if bad things happen to someone, that is probably due to some personality defect or something that the person has done.
Extreme conservatives have stated that they saw specific natural disasters and the 9-11 deaths as God's punishment to America for their sins such as accepting homosexuality and a woman's right to choose in the case of abortion. They have not said if they then believed that each specific person who died in these cases was therefore proved to be evil or defective.
We have all seen, on TV, survivors of disasters in the midst of mayhem and death thanking God for their survival implying, by extension, that God had determined that they should survive and that their friends and neighbors should perish. Thus, these people must feel that they are better or more useful in the eyes of their God than those who did not survive. It is interesting to me that, although they give credit to God for their survival, they do not blame God for causing or allowing the disaster in the first place.
Liberals, on the other hand, tend to feel that luck has much to do with what happens to a person in life and that, if bad things happen to their neighbor, it could, just as easily, have happened to them. Therefore they have more empathy for the less fortunate. They feel that the world leans more toward chaos than toward order.
Generally the public is happy to let other people set the priorities of their life for them.
Did you ever ask yourself?
Do the news story priorities set by the major news networks and by politicians reflect my priorities in my life?
Are the issues discussed by talk show hosts and their guests of that much interest to me and my life?
Do TV commercials really address my interests?
Instead we tend to feel that these issues we see so much are of proportional importance to their prevalence in the media. It just ain't true.
Spend your life worrying about the health and welfare of you and your family, how to pay the bills, personal security, personal interests, community issues.
If you want to worry about the bigger picture then worry about war, disease and natural disasters, the environment, political corruption and the distribution of power and wealth in society.
Don't worry about deflated footballs, celebrity divorces, whether the right people are marrying each other or whether Mexicans are crossing the border. These are only distractions to keep you from considering the important issues.
Get your own house in order before worrying about the condition of your neighbor's house.
Never condemn another man unless you have walked for ten miles in his moccasins.
Don't give to charities because you are asked to do so. Give because you want to do so on your schedule, not on theirs.
U.S. Budget priorities:
Defense Dept. $100 to make war and protect from others.
NIH $4.57 for research to cure disease
NASA - $2.98 for space exploration
Welfare - $4.08 for assistance for needy families.
Does this reflect your priorities?
It should if you think you and your family and your friends are about 25 times as likely to be hurt or killed by other people as to be hurt or killed by disease or bodily defects or by natural disasters or by weather related effects or by hunger or lack of basic living resources. Maybe most of the people you knew who died were killed by other people?
If you support tax cuts for the rich?
If you give "seed" money to television preachers?
If you oppose collective bargaining?
If you oppose same sex marriage and the rights of people to make their own life decisions as free as possible of government control?
If you support a military spending budget that is 3 times as much as that of China and 9 times as much as that of Russia which are in 2nd and 3rd place among nations while the social spending budget for the welfare of the people as a percentage of GDP ranks our country 25th in the world?
If you support a public and private prison system which incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any country except the Seychelles. 698 per 100,000 population in the US vs. 463 in Russia and 172 in China, 148 in England and 103 in France. It costs the American taxpayers about $39 billion per year to support its prison system?
If you oppose regulations to improve our overall health, safety and environmental quality?
If you oppose health care and education for all?
If you oppose programs to assure that one full time worker is able to support a family?
If you believe that evidence from science is less believable than words from ancient "holy" books or popular superstitions?
If guns are available to all without background checks or limits on firepower?
If you believe that there should be no basic human rights for minorities when those are not in sync with majority beliefs.
If you believe that some acts are so horrible that they should be punished as crimes even when those things do not hurt anyone; crimes without victims.
Humans live in a capricious world in which their very existence is a highly unlikely event. It is a world in which they know their continued existence is precarious and at some point will cease.
Many of them would rather live in a fantasy world which is controlled by some kind of grand designer and unfolds according to a plan. So, they try to convince themselves and others that their fantasy is true and the world they live in really is planned and that, by entreaties to the designer, they may be able to influence or change the grand plan or details thereof.
This gives them solace. However, it also leads to many situations in which the contradiction between their fantasy and reality is obvious. This requires that they hold contradictory beliefs in their mind simultaneously. Therefore, humans have evolved so that they are able to do this.
These people tend to ignore the real problems that threaten their world, and instead, to focus on other problems that are either insignificant or which may seem more amenable to their control.
I find that this explains many of the statements made by conservatives in public which, otherwise, seem nonsensical.
Many humans evolved as greedy, egotistical, short-term thinkers or they became that way after the neolithic revolution. If, instead, most had become humble, altruistic, long-term planners the world would be much different today and the future outlook for humanity would be much brighter. If this had been the case then the following would be different:
Population of the earth would have been controlled so that we would be supporting one billion people or less rather than the 7 billion now on the earth.
Fossil carbon fuels would have been used only as a short term boost to our civilization soon supplanted by renewable energy sources so that we would not have air pollution and man caused climate change.
Sustainable agriculture and forestry methods would have been developed so that the forests and soils were not depleted.
Destruction and pollution of the environment would have been shamed by society rather than celebrated by being the source of increased wealth for some individuals.
The oceans and marine life of the planet would have been protected and cherished rather than considered a dumping ground and cheap source of food.
People would cooperate more than compete.
We would still have abundant energy, water, soil, wildlands, food and clean air for the foreseeable future.
It is probably too late for our species on this planet.
The chances that we would have existed and evolved to this level of complexity were very low to start with, perhaps one chance in a trillion or even ten trillion. But if, as we believe, there are, perhaps, hundreds of trillions of opportunities for others to evolve in time and space, then, maybe, we can reasonably expect that, at least, one or several others might take the other fork that we missed in our road and have a long and prosperous existence of wisdom, complexity and consciousness.
We humans have brains that are programmed to fear the worst and hope for the best. We know that our very existence is precarious, as are the chances of our happiness. However, we are often able to find happiness or contentment even in dire circumstances.
We fear losing our life, our liberty, our health, our wealth, our social status, our sense of self worth, and even our family. Our wealth is the means by which we are able to obtain the necessities and the luxuries of life, including food and shelter, to protect us from the extremes of nature.
Some people have low self esteem and are often depressed, pessimistic, shy, afraid and tend to be ashamed. Others are proud, confident, optimistic and outgoing. However, many of these secretly feel that they are putting on a front to mask the inner self which is of far less worth that the persona they project.
We should be critical and skeptical of others in the competive world in which we live. We must realize that close friends and family may be concerned about our welfare, but, most likely that stranger who approaches us probably is more interested in his own agenda than in our interests.
The tools of persuasion have been very refined over the years and are used to great effect by politicians, by religious leaders, and by businesses to obtain their goals. Many people have not developed the critical thinking skills necessary to recognize the use of these methods but, instead, tend to want to believe what they are told. These people are more gullible than more educated or more skeptical people.
The tools of persuasion are largely based on enhancing our fears and offering us hope. The religious leader gets us to believe his fantasy, put money in his collection plate, or convince us to wear a suicide vest by telling us that we are sinners of little worth who will have much unhappiness but that by believing him and following his teachings we can be redeemed and obtain future happiness.
The politician tells us that all we hold dear is in danger of being lost unless we follow his leadership to a happy future world that only he can provide.
The businessman offers to protect us from what we fear and to give us what we want in exchange for our labor or our money.
Basically the politician and the religious leader peddle lies while the businessman, while usually but not always, offering something of value, tends to exaggerate the value of the goods or services he is selling.
All these people, first, try to tell us what our wants or needs are so that they can then tell us how to obtain them. Our first mistake is often to believe that our wants and needs are actually as they have been defined by these people. Maybe we are not sinners going to hell. Maybe we are more threatened by things other than terrorists or deficit spending, or immigrants or who other people are allowed to marry. Maybe we can live without a salad shooter or life insurance or another loan. They have won half the battle when we accept their premise.
Rather than listening to others, maybe we should define our own wants and needs and then devise our own strategy for obtaining them. Maybe I should decide whether I need a salad shooter rather than letting the lady on TV tell me that I do. If I do need one maybe I should do research to find the best deal and contact the business to buy one rather than buying one when a salesman contacts me. Basically, it pays to be very skeptical when someone contacts you to sell you a good or a service or an idea. If you didn't need it before he called, then maybe you still don't need it.
Originally business was a means of exchanging goods and services among peoples for mutual benefit. Today many businesses have become predatory looking on workers and consumers as prey to be exploited to enrich and empower the owners and the ruling class.
We have been told recently that we should oppose letting refugees and immigrants into our country because some of them may be criminals or terrorists. The actual numbers show that the percentage of these people who have come to our country and who are criminals or terrorists is much lower than the percentage of people already living here who are criminals and/or terrorists. Therefore, letting these people join us would actually lower the percentage of our people who are such undesirables. This is an example of people being misled by listening to politicians and demagogues.
Threats to mankind lie in:
Hope for mankind lies in advances in:
People are born equal in legal standing but not in social standing.
Physically people are different in the genes they inherit and in the environment in which they are raised and in the luck of the events that shape the development of their brains early in life.
Economically the poor inherit little or nothing. The rich are born wealthy.
Some become jobless. Some become poor workers, some become rich rulers, some are in the middle of these extremes.
In wealth the top 1% of people have a net worth of over $8.4 million and they own about a third of the financial assets of the United States.
In income the top 1% of earners have an annual income of over $380,000.
In regards to the work ethic the poor feel that it is their destiny and their obligation to work at least 40 hours per week for someone else because it is necessary for the survival of themselves and their families.
The rich do not consider working for someone else. They feel that the long hours they put in each week because it gives them a feeling of power and enjoyment rather than out of necessity makes them, somehow, superior to an hourly wage earner.
In the event of financial setbacks the poor fear bankruptcy and homelessness. The rich are assured that they will be bailed out by the financial system and by the government.
The poor fear that if they do wrong they could go to prison. The rich are sure that that fear does not apply to them.
The poor mostly depend on their religion and their social structure for a feeling of worth to their life. The rich have power and feel worth in their life due to their business dealings and their wealth and their associations with others like them.
We have developed an economic system which encourages the rich and powerful to prey on the poor.
It is possible that Democratic Socialism was prevented from gaining a foothold in the United States, as it did in much of Europe, by the presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and that of Lyndon Johnson. Both these leaders were able to get enough support from rich Democrats to enable a social agenda blunting the message of labor unions and other left leaning organizations and individuals encouraging a revolution in the economic and political order that there was not as much pressure on government to shift to a more liberal agenda as occurred in Europe. However, the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and that of George W. Bush probably have increased support for socialist ideas by making the failures of the present system glaringly apparent.
Liberals seek to maximize human happiness. Guns and killing and religion and conspiracy theories seem to make people happier.
Unlimited funds for war, but no money to rebuild America? Thanks GOP!
Many of the most serious of the world's problems could be alleviated if we could just divert all the money spent on military to those ends.
The biosphere is interactive! That's Amazing!
Technology replaces labor. Most people work to make a living. This system is obsolete. Guaranteed Basic Income needed.
The man must bring joy to the woman. His happiness will follow. When Mama is happy, the whole family is happy.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
About all the peoples of the world who abstain from sex as well as those who seldom or never commit adultery are now extinct!
Interesting fact: The average human adult is made up of (approximately) 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms!
Find the guy who invented sex and ask him what he's working on now!
The universe unfolds according to a set of simple rules.
Results of the unfolding of these rules cannot be predicted but must be experienced.
If you give food to the poor they'll call you a saint.
If you ask why the poor have no food, they'll call you a communist.
For Christmas give food to the homeless.
Just don't ask why there are homeless, or where they eat the rest of the year.
In 1978 the 16,000 families of the top .01 percent in U.S were 220 times richer than the average family. Now they are 1,120 times wealthier.
If the conservatives want to "Restore" America, maybe we can restore it to a time when the rich were only 220 times richer than the average.
The reason "Freedom is just another name for 'nothing left to lose', is that attachment to things restricts us.
Money increases happiness up to an income of about $75,000 per year. Incomes above that have very little effect on happiness.
If he watches the news media, one will learn that the problems of the world are caused mostly by fear, hate, greed and religious zealotry.
Being is not created from nothing but is the contrast created by limits on the
It is the lumps in the gravy.
It is the fish in the sea.
It is the you who is not me.
Worlds total wealth about $240 trillion - Population 7 billion.
or about $34,000 per person.
or around $100,000 per household.
With more equitable distribution of wealth, everyone could be assured of adequate shelter, food, medical care and education.
Maybe the universe is caused by consciousness rather than the other way around.
Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow is yet to come.
All we have is now!
The majority are expected to sacrifice so the privileged won't have to.
The ancient Greeks studied mathematics mostly by graphical processes.
Modern mathematicians use analytical processes.
Equations rather than pictures.
Why should I trouble my brain with thinking when so many others are happy to think for me and tell me what I should think?
To stock a bomb shelter with items necessary to rebuild civilization after a nuclear war, what are the ten things most important to save?
An eastern Kentucky sawmill owner stated that he would never hire a man who he thought was smarter than he was.
Would you want a man to be President of the United States who you felt was smarter than you or one who you felt was dumber?
Could a large proportion of Americans be described accurately as anti- intellectuals?
What is the most logical number base for a mathematical system? 2, 10, 12, 60 or something else?
The problem with over population is not just food supply. It is also destruction of the environment. We can not live in an inhospitable environment.
A man who knows he is destined to die by hanging need never fear drowning.
I wonder of all the people killed by weapons in the world, what percentage of those were killed by weapons made in America?
In my pocket is a device that contains all of the worlds information. ...and I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.
When workers aren't paid a living wage they can't buy stuff. Without demand businesses don't expand. Economy dead.
Well paid workers create demand. Business booms.
Money circulation makes business run. Money hoarding, business stands still.
People list what they would like to do or need to do and then immediately start talking about reasons not to do those things.
Approach a problem by planning how to solve it, not by thinking of reasons it can't be solved.
Most religious beliefs are so obviously untrue on their face that I do not see the point in refuting them, but many do.
Education can be a threat to the established order.
Tax the middle class instead of the rich. Spend the money on war and business instead of kids, health, education and infrastructure.
Maintaining infrastructure is cheaper than replacing it but politicians are short term thinkers.
I have noticed that my tweets are either about the big picture and long term philosophy or hedonism, joy in the present life.
Problem solving is as primal in man as eating, sleeping and procreating.
Creative people often describe the creative process as akin to their conscious mind being suspended and letting the creative process flow.
Our experiences occur in the present.
Our memories are the way we remember those experiences later.
Which defines our life?
Every evening for 21 days write down 3 things that have happened that day for which you are grateful.
Our circumstances account for only a small part of our feeling of happiness. Most of that feeling is created or not created in our minds.
Threats to the environment and to other life on Earth:
Hope for the environment and for other life on Earth:
A rich man has more to fear because he has more to lose.
You can't lose it if you don't have it.
The rich fear the poor.
Man wants to be a warrior, not an ecologist.
We war with disease and drugs and nature and each other.
We should learn symbiosis.
It seems that now, more than ever, the goal of government, police, religion is to monitor dissidents and to suppress dissent.
Math is an intrinsic property of the universe. It was discovered, not invented, by man.
The rich do not create jobs. Middle class consumers do.
Christian children are taught they are sinful and unworthy and it is only submissive belief in Christian dogma that will keep them from hell.
In Nature, death for some means life for others.
There are two reasons not to do what's right.
1. Not in your best interest!
2. Don't know what is right thing to do!
Our rulers use fear to subdue us. Fear of terrorists, government, hell, poverty, poor health; fear of each other.
We work for peace in middle east. ;) Cease fire long enough for us to re-arm both sides. War & conflict good for the 1%.
Major effects of climate change:
Rising sea levels
More extreme weather
Scarce food and water
The future lies in robotics, nano technology, genetics, space, data analysis, energy, the environment & social structure and communications.
Perhaps conservatives have a child-like refusal to accept the complexity of the world. To them, moral and policy problems are simple.
If objects are only probabilities until they are observed, then, without consciousness, the universe is only a possibility.
The world didn't have to come to exist or to be created because that assumes that there is a place and time in which nothing exists.
Democrats value the future of mankind. Republicans value their life and those of their family and friends.
During most of history the public could not read or write. Now most can. In the future most will code.
Many religious people seem to disapprove of human fun and joy and instead to relish the idea that work and suffering are good for our souls.
Power-Hungry Assholes get to decide everything because they have the most incentive to do so.
85% of the world's population makes less than $200 a month. Bill Gates makes $290 per second.
If you have no debt and $10 in your pocket, you are wealthier than 25% of Americans.
It is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct.
In 2002, Kenyan Masai tribespeople donated 14 cows to the U.S. to help with the aftermath of 9/11.
Conservatives promote free markets accumulating the wealth at the top leaving too little money in consumer's hands to sustain the markets.
Freedom of thought and of expression is an anathema to religious institutions, their purpose being to control thought.
To control the population it is necessary for the state to operate in secret justifying its actions in the name of "national security".
An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.
Everything worked just before it quit!
From exploring 60 belly buttons, researchers found 2,368 bacterial species, 1,458 of which may be new to science.
By studying my writings and following all links, one might receive a better education than he could get in four years at most colleges.
I think the belief of conservatives is, "Sure we are destroying the planet, but as long as it lasts longer than our lifetime, so what?"
Our actions may cause the demise of much of the life on earth but what is important is how much I can get for myself now! - Capitalist
The Koch brothers make $13 million a day. A minimum wage worker would have to work almost 700 years to earn what the Kochs make in a day.
Remember, The joy of life is in the journey, not in the destination.
Dot Connecting is the key to creativity!
The way the neural networks in our brain become wired during our pre- adolescent development determine our intelligence and personality.
Increased productivity makes much of the American labor force useless to capital, so rather than being exploited, it should be eliminated.
We have freedom to vote for the candidate of our choice so long as that candidate is first approved by our rulers, the 1%.
Hearing aids, eyeglasses, prosthetic limbs and other accessibility devices point to the bionic future of disability devices.
8 of the 10 states that took in the most federal dollars are Republican. All 10 of the states that pay the most federal taxes are Democrat.
Society tends to obstruct individuality and enforce conformity either by social pressure or by physical force. Innovation is thus stifled.
Who's going to jail in this country. - The poor.
Who's not - the rich.
Who hurts more people.
The greedy rich.
In the last 20 yrs violent crime rates down 44% in the U.S. There are now 5 times as many people in jail in the U.S. as 20 yrs ago.
Once some people get a taste of a little power or influence they want to control as many others as possible and amass power and influence.
Rules for living:
Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.
Don't do anything stupid.
That is all!
God said, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." He should have added, "But don't go hog wild."
Politician's priorities in order:
1. Rulers' wishes
2. Lobbyists' wishes.
3. Peoples' wishes.
The amount of money a hedge fund trader can make each second.
The maximum amount a family on welfare in Tennessee can receive monthly.
Scientists realize that they are ignorant so they ask questions and design experiments to find answers. Clerics do the opposite.
Thomas Piketty's data analysis in his book "Capital in the 21st Century" shows that capitalism's inherent dynamics create inequality.
The McDonald's C.E.O. received $14 million in compensation and published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. It recommended that they apply for food stamps and Medicaid.
Wall Street's mantra, "We're smarter and work harder than everyone else, so we deserve all this money.", is the rationalization of addicts.
Republicans will keep fighting ACA as they fight Medicare, Social Security and 'myths' like climate change, evolution and the female orgasm.
Don't talk about yourself, show interest in others
Don't speak loudly or too often
Use the language correctly
Have good dress and hygiene
The decline of workers occurred since a 1974 Business Week editorial said, "Some people will have to do with less so that big business can have more."
American workers are among the most productive in the world; but increased revenues go to profits, not wages.
If median annual income had kept up with productivity since 1980, it would now be $86,426. But the current median income is actually $50,054.
In America in the 19th century public hangings were a community social event and a form of family entertainment.
There are actually people who will purposely swerve their car to hit animals crossing the road.
The total weight of all the ants on Earth is about the same as the weight of all the humans on Earth.
Researchers found that out of 37 million companies worldwide, only 737 of them hold 80% of the world's wealth.
The 6 Walmart heirs now have about as much wealth as 45% of the US. That's about 135 million Americans.
Tell the FCC to keep the Internet open and defend Net Neutrality.
Across unimaginable expanses of time and space the Cosmos goes about its business of existence and perhaps of consciousness. In one nondescript galaxy on the third planet from a yellow star for a fleeting moment life flashed into being and covered the planet and itself became conscious and then flickered out with little, if any, notice by or effect on the rest of the Cosmos.
The concept of time is uniquely human. We think that very few species of life have a concept of the past and of the future and of time itself; possibly just chimps and maybe dolphins in addition to Homo sapiens
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau
Which came first, the world or consciousness?