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Books at Amazon:

  1. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker
  2. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World-and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
  3. A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium by Chris Harman
  4. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  5. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter
  6. The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government 2016 by Mike Lofgren
  7. The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the .... 2012 by Mike Lofgren
  8. Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier
  9. Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
  10. Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart by Rachel Botsman
  11. It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree by A. J. Jacobs
  12. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  13. How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
  14. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power by Alfred W. McCoy
  15. Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
  16. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  17. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't by Nate Silver
  18. Our Only World: Ten Essays by Wendell Berry
  19. Night Comes To The Cumberlands: A Biography Of A Depressed Area by Harry M. Claudill
  20. Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders
  21. Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by Robert B. Reich
  22. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  23. Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford
  24. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
  25. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  26. The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters by Sean B. Carroll
  27. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  28. The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise Kindle Edition by Allan Johnson
  29. The God's Eye View by Barry Eisler
  30. The Ass Is A Poor Receptacle For The Head: Why Democrats Suck At Communication by Barry Eisler
  31. State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration by James Risen
  32. Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War by James Risen
  33. You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom by Nick Cohen
  34. The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
  35. Drugs Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs by David Nutt
  36. Split Second by Douglas E. Richards
  37. Going Dark by Guy R. McPherson We are the last individuals of our species on Earth. How shall we respond?
  38. The Quantum and the Lotus: Where Science and Buddhism Meet by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan
  39. Paul Lockhart's "Measurement" explains how math should be done.
  40. The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality by Chris Mooney
  41. Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel
  42. Redesigning Humans by Gregory Stock
  43. Mars and the Mind of Man Hardcover – 1973 by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray
  44. Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway by Siobhan Roberts
  45. The Politics of Crazy: How America Lost Its Mind and What We Can Do About It by Chris Ladd
  46. The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the All-There-Is by Roberto Trotta
  47. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew by Alan Lightman
  48. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris
  49. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
  50. Nature's Trust by Mary Christina Wood
  51. The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane Ackerman
  52. Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation By Bill Nye
  53. Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War by James Risen
  54. Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier by Peter Gray
  55. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  56. Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout
  57. The Gardens of Democracy: Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and Government by Eric Liu & Nick Hanauer
  58. The Happiness Advantage: Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance by Shawn Achor
  59. Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer..... by Paul Pierson and Jacob S. Hacker
  60. Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD
  61. It's Been a Good Life by Isaac Asimov
  62. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
  63. Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler
  64. The End of Growth by Jeff Rubin
  65. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
  66. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew by Alan Lightman
  67. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett
  68. Does It Matter?: Essays on Man's Relation to Materiality Alan W. Watts
  69. The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame by David Blacker
  70. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
  71. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
  72. We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren
  73. Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the 99 Percent by Peter Van Buren
  74. Sting of the Drone by Richard A. Clarke
  75. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  76. Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House by Valerie Plame Wilson
  77. Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution by retired justice, John Paul Stevens.
  78. Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State Dana Priest, William M. Arkin.
  79. The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore
  80. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
  81. Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty
  82. A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren
  83. Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment by Peter Buffett
  84. Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World by Amir Alexander
  85. The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi
  86. The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature by David George Haskell
  87. Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  88. A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power by Jimmy Carter
  89. What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire By Daniel Bergner
  90. Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits by John Gribbin
  91. The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day by David J. Hand
  92. Lucifer's Legacy: The Meaning of Asymmetry by Frank Close
  93. The Universe Within: The Deep History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin
  94. Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away by Rebecca Goldstein
  95. Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country by Andrew Bacevich
  96. The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? by Patrick Tucker
  97. What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night by John Brockman
  98. The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan W. Watts
  99. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
  100. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  101. The Elegant Universe: By Brian Greene
  102. The Improbability Principle: by David J. Hand
  103. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins
  104. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  105. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything By Christopher Hitchens
  106. The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan W. Watts
  107. A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Howard Zinn
  108. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
  109. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  110. Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
  111. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  112. Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality by Max Tegmark
  113. A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell
  114. The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman
  115. The Monkey's Voyage by Alan de Queiroz
  116. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins
  117. I Dare You by William H. Danforth
  118. Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. West: A Love Story by Delilah West
  119. Hypatia by Khan Amore
  120. The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension by Clifford A. Pickover
  121. Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel
  122. Fallen Lake by Laird Harrison
  123. The Ghosts of Varner Creek by Michael L. Weems
  124. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan
  125. Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well by David Katz M.D.
  126. Try these authors on Amazon
    Barry Eisler
    John Locke
    Robert A. Heinlein
    Eric Flint
  127. Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress and How to End It by Lawrence Lessig
  128. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman
  129. Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel
  131. Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee by Jones and Wofford
  132. What's in There?: All About Before You Were Born (Let's Talk about You and Me)
  133. Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons
  134. Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave
  135. Energy by Vaclav Smil
  136. Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul by Giulio Tononi
  137. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: by Chris Hadfield @Cmdr_Hadfield
  138. The Everything Store: - Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  139. 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World by Howard G. Buffett
  140. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease by Daniel Lieberman @social_brains
  141. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  142. The Newer, More English Version of the Bible by Tom Carver
  143. The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time by Philip G. Zimbardo
  144. From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll
  145. Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys by Robert Lanza
  146. Education - From the Campfire to the Holodeck: by David Thornburg
  147. In Our Hands : A Plan To Replace The Welfare State by Charles Murry
  148. What Is Sex by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan
  149. What is Death by Tyler Volk
  150. The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate by David Archer
  151. Why Women Have Sex by David Buss @TheMatingDoctor
  152. End this Depression Now by Paul Krugman @NYTimeskrugman
  153. That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman @tomfriedman
  154. China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power by Nicholas Kristof @NickKristof
  155. A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss @LKrauss1
  156. Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett @danieldennett
  157. The New Rules by Bill Maher @billmaher
  158. Lying by Sam Harris @SamHarrisOrg
  159. Life at the Speed of Light by J. Craig Venter @JCVenter
  160. The Future of the Mind by Dr. Michio Kaku @michiokaku
  161. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen @claychristensen
  162. The Naked Future: by Patrick Tucker @Theyear2030
  163. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink @DanielPink
  164. Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson @neiltyson
  165. All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir by ashley judd @AshleyJudd
  166. Windows 8: The Missing Manual by David Pogue @Pogue
  167. Birds Nobody Loves: A Book of Vultures & Grackles Poetry by James Brush @jdbrush
  168. Thinking: The New Science of Decision-Making, Problem-Solving, and Prediction by John Brockman @edge
  169. Humans of New York by Steve McCurry @McCurryStudios
  170. The Basic Sources of Happiness by The Dalai Lama @DalaiLama
  171. Sex at Dawn by Chris Ryan @ChrisRyanPhD
  172. An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins
  173. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  174. Junkyard Planet by Adam Minter
  175. Utopia by Sir Thomas More
  176. The Iliad by Homer
  177. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Web Sites:


Don't alienate the aliens!

Sisters on the Mediterranean

Preparing for Christmas


Sundial in August

Ironweed - Vernonia gigantea

Bare Naked Ladies

Summer Flower

Autumn Flower

May Flowers

Spring buttercups and daisy fleabane

His first lemon :)

2014 spring calf crop is in progress!

London - Thames - Tower Bridge

Can You Read This?

Heron, Horse, Calf

Three to Follow

1974 flood on the Cumberland River, Barbourville, Kentucky


  1. "Proof" - Harpeth Rising - Jordana Greenberg - Album - Shifted - 2015
  2. Jack Grunsky - Child Of The Universe
  3. Child of the Universe
  4. What a Wonderful World
  5. In memory of Sid Scott, longtime DJ, WANY Albany, KY
  6. The Best of Woody Guthrie
  7. The Best of Mozart
  8. The Very Best of Chopin
  9. Johannes Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 5
  10. The Last Waltz Engelbert Humperdinck
  11. Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  12. Chet Atkins - Mr. Sandman
  13. Enya - Only Time
  14. Brad Paisley cloud of dust
  15. John Mellencamp - Rain on the Scarecrow (Live at Farm Aid 2012)
  16. "Take 5" on flute - Vanessa Varela
  17. Cat Stevens - Morning has Broken
  18. Annie's Song - John Denver
  19. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
  20. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  21. Canon in D - Pachelbel
  22. The Charge of the Light Brigade - Tennyson
  23. Annabel Lee - Edgar Allan Poe
  24. The Old Lamplighter - The Browns
  25. The Last Farewell - Roger Whittaker
  26. Dominique - The Singing Nun
  27. The Brown Mountain Lights - Tommy Faile
  28. Dueling Banjos from Deliverance
  29. The Best of Bach
  30. Schumann Piano Concerto, in A minor, OP. 54 Martha Argerich
  31. Chopin - Nocturne op.9 No.2
  32. Four Seasons ~ Vivaldi
  33. Schubert "Serenade"
  34. Debussy, Clair de lune, piano solo
  35. Tennessee Stud - Doc Watson
  36. Yesterday When I Was Young Eddy Arnold
  37. Honey - Bobby Goldsboro
  38. Chiquitita - Abba
  39. Walking After Midnight - Patsy Cline
  40. Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
  41. The Unicorn Song by the Irish Rovers
  42. I'm Movin' On - Ray Charles
  43. Blue Yodel No. 9 by Jimmie Rodgers (1930)
  44. Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders in the Sky
  45. Kentucky Headhunters - The Ballad of Davy Crockett
  46. Animusic - Aqua Harp
  47. Hey Porter - Johnny Cash
  48. Cell Block Love
  49. Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  50. "Moonlight Sonata" is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801.
  51. Distant Drums - Jim Reeves
  52. Ad for Powdermilk biscuits from a Prairie Home Companion
  53. Jean Redpath sings Three Humorous Scottish Songs
  54. The Singing DJ's - What'll I Do (If My 'Baccer Don't Sell)
  55. The American civil war 1861-1865, photographs from the frontline
  56. Yodelling Slim Clark - Sweet Betsy From Pike (1962).
  57. Duane Eddy - Raunchy (1963)
  58. Gonna Find Me a Bluebird - Marvin Rainwater
  59. Anvil Chorus performed in the Emmy Award winning series, Met Live.
  60. Senator Robert Byrd: Wish I Had Stayed In The Wagon Yard (1978)


  1. Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms Video
  2. A Petition for Stronger Gun Laws
  3. Jon Stewart: A multicultural democracy is not easy, some would say impossible.
  4. John Oliver - The Republican National Convention
  5. The Sixth Extinction
  6. Inequality Media
  7. The Most Important Idea in the World Silver Donald Cameron speaks at Dalhousie University, Halifax
  8. Mental Floss Videos
  9. Hilarious Video Shows That Christian And Islamic Fundamentalists Are Made For Each Other
  10. Conversations with Great Minds - Guy McPherson / Human Extinction in our Lifetime?
  11. Death of the Oceans
  12. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?
  13. What's My Line? - George Burns & Gracie Allen
  14. Humans Need Not Apply
  16. Lost in the Sixties - The Winds of Change
  17. Vaclav Smil - Drivers of environmental change: focus on energy transitions
  18. Jibjab - 2014 - Year in Review - 2014 - You are History
  19. Wealth Inequality in America!
  20. Nick Hanauer on His Banned TED Talk & Why the Middle Class are the Job Creators
  21. TED: Nick Hanauer: Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming - Nick Hanauer (2014)
  22. The Secret World of the Plants
  23. Big History - Video
  24. Mass Incarceration in the U. S.
  25. What we still don't know. Are we Real?
  26. "Time is Running Out: Ecology or Economics?" - David Suzuki
  27. Bill Moyers - David Suzuki - The War on Climate Change Scientists
  28. The Internet in Real Time!
  29. Burrowers, scurriers, plodders and swimmers. A menagerie of trilobites ruled the seas for more than 270 million years.
  30. Vi Hart explains the details and history behind the Net Neutrality issue in the US and the result is AWESOME:
  31. Debate: Death is not Final?
  32. Intelligence Squared Debates
  33. Valerie Plame Wilson on NSA snooping.
  34. Nature's Beauty Inspires Gratitude: Louie Schwartzberg at TED
  35. Som Sabadell flashmob - BANCO SABADELL
  36. Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)
  37. PEACE ! by Norman Hastings. In support of Earth Day Brazil
  38. The Earth is our Home - See what we are doing to it!
  39. How wolves change rivers.
  40. World Population Growth
  41. The Future of Food - Eating Insects
  42. The full Sagan Series - Man in Space
  43. Bill Hicks - It's Just a Ride
  44. Fractals and the Colors of Infinity - Arthur C. Clark
  45. Ted Talks
  46. The Illusion of Consciousness
  47. Too often education starts with the school's needs rather than the student's interests. How to do it differently:
  48. The role of the Mondragon cooperative in the economic life of Spain.
  49. Videos - The Big History Project
  50. Richard Dawkins: Why the universe seems so strange - Ted Talk
  51. The Hidden Structures of Music Are Universal Patterns of Nature
  52. How we sing the national anthem in Kentucky
    also click here for the news story.
  53. The Gods Must Be Crazy


The real estate agent on "House Hunters", in showing a prospective house to a couple, commented that the house was situated in a "tight knit" little community.

"Don't do it!", yelled my son. "It's too dangerous."

We had been watching the evening news together for years and we had noticed that every time a shooting or some other horrible event occurred the reporters would interview the neighbors in the community and during the story either the person being interviewed or the reporter would, at some point, comment that the community was "tight knit." We never once heard of anything bad happening to anyone who was said to be from a "loose knit" community.

We concluded that bad things mostly happen to those who are from "tight knit" communities.


  1. Peter Van Buren
  2. World Economic Forum
  3. Longform
  4. National Science Foundation
  5. Conrad Hackett - Pew Research Demographer
  6. Matt Taibbi
  7. AlterNet
  8. Bill Moyers.
  9. The Intercept.
  10. Narratively.
  11. Robert Reich.
  12. The Nation.
  13. Big History Project.
  14. The Economist.
  15. Mashable.
  16. Animal site - The Dodo
  17. Mother Jones.
  18. The Atlantic.
  19. The Onion.
  20. Salon.
  21. Wired.
  22. Slate.
  23. A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
  24. Vi Hart - Mathemusician
  25. Franceleclerc - Travel Photographer
  26. Mitchell K. - Travel Photographer
  27. Tewfic El-sawy - Travel Photographer
  28. TIME Pictures
  29. McCurry Studios
  30. National Geographic Photos
  31. The Dalai Lama
  32. Earth Sky Science
  33. The Huffington Post
  34. Numberphile
  35. Sean Carroll
  36. Robert Lanza
  37. Ryokan
  38. Astro Picture of the Day



Many farmers, if their prize bull is sick, will wait a few days to see if it 
gets better or if it dies. 
A "good" farmer can usually get at least $300 in vet services into it before 
it dies. 

One political candidate after another deceives voters by promising them the 
past and denying them the future. Is the problem the manipulation by 
politicians or the ignorance of voters? Or both? 

If we can get immigrants from Norway to come to America, as Donald Trump 
wants, then maybe that will increase the average IQ in both countries. 

We live in a world in which things happen, not for a reason, but as a 
consequence of a beautiful chaos. 

Prometheus gave fire (technology) to men only to be punished by Zeus because 
men were too ignorant to be trusted with it. 

You can't just sit on your ass waiting for your ship to come in, you have to 
row out and meet it! 

I once heard a sage say that an expert is a man more than fifty miles away 
from home wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. 

I am a forester. A forester is a man who will plant a tree so that someday his 
grandson can sit in the shade. 

When there is a job to be done, some people make plans and prepare and proceed 
to do the job. A greater number of people immediately begin to think of 
reasons the job can't be done or shouldn't be done now and proceed to not do 
the job. 

Politicians and Religious leaders exhort us to:

Maybe we should:

3 memes: Patriotism, Capitalism, Religion; cause most of the problems of humanity. Supported by Democrats and Republicans.

If stupid people are too stupid to know that they are stupid, how do I know I am not one of them?

Maybe those who want to "Make America Great Again" should leave. After all, "If you don't like it, leave!", they tell others.

The farmer always finds his lost cow in the last place he looks.

You must plan to catch the ball where it will be, not where it is now.

It is better to plan to live in the world as it will be in the future than as it is now. Most don't.

Republicans - hate & fear
Democrats - Support the capitalist system & the middle class
Bernie Sanders - greater economic equality & protect the environment

People are generally not predisposed to violence against others unless religion or greed or jealousy or patriotism is involved.

From a liberal's viewpoint, the purpose of government is to enable us to do things together that we probably could not do as individuals.

People resist or ignore facts that conflict with their feelings, opinions and emotions.

‘I know the truth, now stop confusing me with facts’ is a normal human reaction to cognitive dissonance.

A better future requires logical people with imagination and passion. They are in short supply.

I believe that a person working a full time job should be paid enough to provide food, shelter, health care and education for their family.

Why should I make the effort of thinking for myself when others are willing to think for me and tell me what I should think?

All blue eyed people can be traced back to one person who lived near the Black Sea 10,000 years ago.

Since 9/11, nine extremists calling themselves Muslims have been involved in around six plots a year in America, resulting in 50 fatalities.
Since 9/11 right-wing extremists calling themselves Christians have averaged 337 attacks a year, killing 254 people- including 25 policemen.

Annual commitment at Paris Climate Conference to combat climate change $100 billion - Less than 8% of worldwide military spending

The universe is math and, through us, it created the Arts to defy entropy!

If you have crazy beliefs it is much easier for you to believe that other people can have competing crazy beliefs. If you are more rational it is hard for you to believe that anyone can have such crazy beliefs.

Ideas which are ready for retirement: IQ, the self, race, the left brain vs. right brain divide, human nature and essentialism, free will.

"This is the best of all possible worlds!", said the optimist with a smile.
"Yes", agreed the pessimist with a frown.

There are often significant differences in how people perceive their place in the world compared to what data shows about their place in the world.

19% of people surveyed believe they are in the top 1% economically.

If a person knows how to turn on and off a light switch, does that mean that he understands how electricity works and is an electrician?

If a person knows how to play a computer game does that mean that he understands computers and is a programmer?

If we remove the holes from a slice of swiss cheese and put them in a bucket, will the bucket hold water?

Where did we come from?
What is the nature of our being?
Where are we going?

If anything new is discovered, some of us will:
want to profit from it.
fear it.
want to declare war on it.
want to worship it.

We have a capitalist system for the middle and lower classes and a socialist system for the rich who are subsidized by the government.

7 billion human beings on earth weigh about 750 billion pounds, more than 100 times the biomass of any animal that's ever walked the Earth.

If our solar system were the size of a quarter, then the Milky Way galaxy would be about 1/3 the size of the United States.

If our earth were the size of a peppercorn then the sun would be the size of a bowling ball and our solar system would be a mile in diameter.

I think Diogenes is still searching.

Capitalist Message:
The rich are superior.
The poor are inferior.
by definition.

More gardens are planted by the stove in winter than seeds put into the soil in spring.

Do you approach life by trying to control what happens,
or by sitting back, hoping for the best, and enjoying the ride?

How did it ever happen that the people who scrub the toilets get paid the least?

Education is empowering which is a challenge to existing religious and political powers.

There are God fearing, Bible believing, Flag wavers and there are thinkers using logic, intelligence and science to make informed decisions.

Your body is an ecosystem; a community of living organisms. You are a community.

Perhaps the universe is matter and energy and also information about the arrangement and interaction of this matter and energy in time and space.

Members of most political parties are fascists when their party is in power and libertarians when those of another party are in power.

If trapped on a desert island do you want someone with you who knows a lot of stuff or someone who can figure out a lot of stuff?

Knowledge can make one a participant in the universe as opposed to only a spectator.

Humanity may not survive. But, if we want to hate and kill each other over which fairy tale we want to believe, maybe it's just as well.

Total NASA budget from 1958 - 2011: 800 Billion.
Total US Military budget in 2011: 1 Trillion.

The Department of Defense spends $1 billion more annually for air conditioning tents and temporary structures than NASA's entire budget.

U.S. Budget priorities:
Defense Dept. $636 Billion
NIH $29.1 billion for research to cure disease
NASA - $19 billion
Welfare - $26 billion

My very elegant mother just sat upon nine porcupines. What is this?

"Use it or lose it" applies mainly to:
The brain & memories
Sexual desire
Social skills

The internet was invented by our social memes as a way to better propagate themselves.

The biological evolution of genes has now been supplanted by the social evolution of memes.

One breadwinner working 2,000 hours per year requires at least $40,000 or $20 per hour to support a family in today's economy.

Maybe we are meant to become cyborgs serving the ruling class.

To understand what is study:
Chaos & imperfectly repeating patterns.
Networks, complexity, entropy.
Change over time - evolution.

It is probably best to kill those who will not accept our peaceful and loving way of life.

1965 cool foggy early fall morning University of Kentucky:
I remember the odors of bourbon and tobacco wafting over the campus

50 yrs ago today, we spent our honeymoon in Wigwam Village. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then.

Some cry for ball games lost.
Some cry for lives lost.
Some cry for species lost.
Some cry for freedoms lost or never gained.

1975 to 1991 crime was up, prison populations up.
1991 to 2010 crime went down, yet prison populations continued to increase.

Infant formula, infants alone in own rooms, leaving crying baby to "cry it out" hinder brain development. They need maximum human contact.

240 million people are having sex on any given day on the planet earth. That's 1 in 25 people per day.

70% of women in Germany have sex outside their relationship, while in Asia less than 10% commit adultery.

Year people on earth:
1 200 million
1804 1 billion
1927 2 billion
1960 3 billion
1975 4 billion
1986 5 billion
1999 6 billion
2012 7 billion

Through study and experience we become more aware, expanding our consciousness closer to the all-knowing.

Do fish ever wonder, "Why is our world completely filled with water?"

If you take the position that some people matter less than others then you have to face the question, "How much does anyone really matter?"

It is not always possible for one to know which side of the fine line between genius and insanity he or someone else is on.

Early on man had trouble finding shelter. It took him a while but he solved that problem by building New York City.

A people who loved their children and grandchildren would not allow destruction of the natural environment.

The Government in a thriving democracy would not allow destruction of the natural environment.

Research published by the British Medical Journal stated that frequent orgasms can help increase a person's lifespan.

The heart of the blue whale weighs 1,500 pounds and is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Largest in the world.

With the same income distribution as in 1979, the bottom 80 per cent of the US population would have $1 trillion ( $11,000 per family) more.

U.S. vs Western Europe per 100,000 people
707 incarcerated vs. 60-144
4.8 homicides vs. 0.3 to 1.2

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 all-pervading everything.
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.

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

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:
Hotter temperatures
Rising sea levels
Mass extinctions
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!

Live Well
Laugh Often
Love Much

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.
Have fun.
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."

115 million households in U. S.
Wealth $53 trillion
about $465,000 per household.
Income $13.4 trillion
about $100,000 per household.

Studies show
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.

To Win Friends:

Don't complain
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

Many unemployed and a crumbling infrastructure. The solution seems obvious. Prevented by economic system and politics to shelter the rich.

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

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.

What Do I Think I Am?

"What do you think you are?", is a legitimate question to be asked of anyone by another. Maybe each person should ask themselves, "What do I think I am?"

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.

Multi-dimensional Spheres.

I have looked at the world and life from the outside assuming there is a world and trying to determine my place and how I fit into it.

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:

1. Relationships with family and friends and pets and social relationships with others with common interests such as social media, intellectual interests, hobbies, sports, work, etc.
Parents and other ancestors can be thought of as north different distances depending on number of generations and uncles and aunts either NE or NW depending on whether paternal or maternal. Descendents can be thought of as south and other social relations as directions such as east and west and up and down etc. with distances determined by number of relationships removed.
2. Evolutionary relationships - species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom.
Once again close relatives such as chimps north, species forked from ours in the future, south, and other species various distances in various directions. Also at the far extremes would be non biological things such as rocks and water.
3. Physical proximity relationships - Neighbors, yard, environment, micro and macro.
These would be either things that live near me or are near me in transition for a short period. This would include people, animals, microbes, plants, inanimate objects, machines and anything within sight or sound or smelling or tasting or feeling distance.
4. Size Scale - Earth, micro, universe, galaxy, cosmos
Things closest to me in size would be those things on earth big enough for me to see or hear or smell or feel or taste. A larger circle would include things in this universe and then ever larger spheres for galaxies and other planes of existence. In a different part of this sphere would be the micro world; things too small to be sensed by me, such as the atoms that make up my body.
5. Time - Now, past, future.
The closest circle is the present and other things in the past would be north and the future, south, etc.
6. Awareness
Things of which I am not aware can be close to me such as the microbe in my gut and I can be aware of things that are not close to me such as the sun in the sky.

Emotional Moments and Feelings

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 orgasm.

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.

Carl Sagan wrote that the "secrets of evolution are death and time -- the deaths of enormous numbers of life-forms that were imperfectly adapted to the environment; and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable mutations."

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.

Cartoonist Bill Watterson's remarks to college students:
You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of "just getting by" absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised by matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people's expectations rather than issues.

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."

Engines of change - space

Men, Women, Passion, Sperm Competition

Humans descended from a common ancestor with chimps and bonobos and all indications are that they were completely promiscuous. It was only after the development of agriculture when people decided that they could own other people, and particularly that men could own women, that the idea of monogamy was promulgated. Therefore during human evolution pregnancy occurred with the sperm that fertilized the egg being the winner of a sperm competition within the female reproductive tract.

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".

Each cell of the human body contains a complete copy of the DNA of that person. It is now possible to take one of those cells, say a skin cell, treat it with four chemicals and convert it to a stem cell. This stem cell has the potential to subdivide and grow and because it is a stem cell it can grow into any needed type of cell or organ in the body. This means that body parts can be regenerated. It also means that as more information about the human genome becomes available, it should be possible to modify that DNA to custom design body parts.

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.

According to Dave Eggers in his book about social media and technology, "The Circle", we are galloping toward a brave new world in which we think the completion of social interaction enhanced by technology will solve most, if not all, problems of society.

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."

Some scientists and thinkers say that we are evolving into a new species, Homo evolutis, living in the new era of the anthropocene which is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems.

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.

Population and the Environment

Mostly due to man's over population of the Earth he is destroying the environment in which he lives. Pollution of the air causes health problems and global warming. Soil erosion and pollution and paving means less soil for production of food and destroys habitat for wildlife. Water becomes scarce due to pollution of streams and of groundwater. The forests are overcut and overused. The sea is overfished and polluted with waste and subject to sound pollution from all the boat traffic.

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.

Science, and Knowledge

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

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.

Social Structure, Education, Culture, Conflicts, War

There are four things worth fighting for. They are freedom, life, sex, and property. Many, if not most, wars are fought over religion which has never been worth fighting for. Fighting over the other four only occurs because of a culture of ego and greed rather than a culture based on humility and sharing.

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.

A culture based on ego and greed or a culture based on kindness and sharing.

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 area where I grew up and have lived most of my life many people:

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.

During the early times and the major part of human evolution from about 2 million years ago to about 10 thousand years ago the primary goal of men was to survive. They were a biologically advanced species developing the rudiments of society. As such, they formed small bands of hunter gatherers who cared for and watched out for each other because the best chances of survival and reproduction lay in cooperation. These bands were largely egalitarian classless societies with leadership approved by general acclamation due to the proven skills and personality of the leaders.

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.

How our Capitalist Economic structure uses the institutions of our society to maintain the wealth and power status of the very small upper ruling classes and to convert the lives and labors of the much larger lower classes to more wealth and power for the rulers. Religion and patriotism are used to justify and protect this system.

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.

Can be used to help people but also can be used to spy on and control them and to support those institutions exploiting them.
The Military-Industrial complex - the War Machine
Uses people's innate fear of others to create an almost perpetual state of War which can be used to transfer tax money to companies supporting and conducting wars to kill and destroy those others. The story is that we must do it to them before they do it to us.
Banking, insurance and finance
The idea is to use people's fear of losing their money to sell them the idea of protection of their wealth and investments to increase their wealth to create an income stream into which the financial institution can dip and extract a part of that wealth, sometimes a very large part.
Health and medicine
Uses people's fear of sickness and death to sell them over used and over priced medical tests, medical procedures and drugs as opposed to programs to prevent disease and promote life styles designed to enhance their overall health and happiness.
Is often used to create a world view desired by the elite and to entertain and promote patriotism and loyalty by the use of organized sports and other methods but education is also a necessary function in society to teach critical thinking.
Food and Agriculture
Does a great job producing food necessary for people's lives but also creates demands for "junk" foods that often cause obsesity and poor health.
The almost universal use of cell phones and similar electronic devices and of the internet gives opportunity for corporations and government to collect huge databases of information about all aspects of the lives of almost everyone. Methods of mining of information from big data collections gives profiles of everyone which can be used by governments and corporations to control the lives of the populace.

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.

Progressive Utopian Ideas for Man's Political and Economic Structure
In the late eighteenth century, in the United States, a new experiment in government was instituted. That experiment was the idea of democracy; or the idea that men could rule themselves rather than be subject to the rule of a monarch or other ruler chosen by God or by the upper class or by someone other than the people ruled.

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.

The Nature of Man

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.

My philosophy, and I hope yours too, is that my life goal is to maximize happiness, both for myself and my loved ones and even for others that I do not know or do not know well. If you think your life goal is different than mine, please think about that for a few seconds.

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:

Probably less than 10% of the population have the three genes associated with the aging process which increase good cholesterol and prevent the development of diabetes and alzheimers. There may also be genes which would prevent heart and cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis. The rest of the population are dependent on lifestyle to lengthen life expectancy.
Attitudes and expectations
If the individual and his relatives and his doctor expect him to show signs and defects associated with aging as he gets older and treat him as an older person he is more likely to age faster than he might otherwise. It is important that one feel he has a purpose to his life and his life has value. Some feel that some people die at a certain age because they expect to die at that age.
Diet and exercise
It is thought that proper diet and exercise can increase life span but the relative influence of such activities as opposed to genetic influences is unclear. Eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water and a physically active life are, however, indicated.
There is also some evidence that stress free lifestyles with more sex, social interactions and more and better sleep can also prolong life and make one healthier. Living in an overcrowded city also can cause stress which is detrimental to a long life.
Natural body clock and eating habits
The daily rhythms dictated by the body's natural clock as set by exposure to sunlight, particularly at sunrise and sunset, can also influence length of life. For instance, sleeping at the wrong time of day as by those working second and third shifts can increase stress. Sleep should generally occur at night with a short nap in the early afternoon. We evolved to eat a large meal early in the morning, a medium sized meal at midday just before our nap and a snack in the early evening well before bedtime. Variation from this pattern can cause extra stress on the body.
Sources of emotional and physical stress due to the environment include the economic, political, social and religious culture and environmental poisons from pollution of the land, air and water.
Some research has indicated that a substance called resveratrol produced naturally in several plants including red grapes and other fruits and in japanese knotweed can prevent much of the deterioration associated with aging and prolong life but the evidence for this effect in humans is, so far, unclear.
Telomere length
A telomere is a region of repetitive sequences at each end of a chromatid which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes. The length of telomeres seems to decrease with each cell division. This shortening is thought to be associated with aging but the evidence is not so clear.

Ten things to make you live longer and healthier.
  1. Don't worry, be happy.
    It is important that one feel he has a purpose to his life and his life has value. Some feel that some people die at a certain age because they expect to die at that age. Live in the present moment not in fear of the future. If you can't have what you want then make the most of and be happy with what you have. The origin of unhappiness is attachment. One is attached to property and to other beings. Things and beings are transient.
  2. Laugh and enjoy life.
  3. Live in an environment conducive to life.
    Sources of emotional and physical stress due to the environment include the economic, political, social and religious culture and environmental poisons from pollution of the land, air and water. Avoid such stress.
  4. Mental stimulation - knowledge, skills, experiences, mental exercise, travel.
  5. Get a pet.
  6. More sex, friends and social life.
  7. No Smoking but a daily aspirin and drink plenty of water.
  8. Exercise daily and get adequate sleep to feel rested each day.
  9. Control your weight with diet and exercise.
  10. A low carb, low calorie diet.
    Small portions of the right foods:
    black and red beans, peas, blueberries and other berries, fruits, dark chocolate, nuts, red wine.
    milk and milk products, greek yogurt, meat and eggs.
    salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, rainbow trout, tuna, and other fish.
    coffee, tea.
    spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beets, egg plant, brussels sprouts, tomatoes.
    oatmeal, brown rice.
    fresh virgin olive oil, soybean oil, canola oil and peanut oils.
    flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, insects, fungi.
    avoid processed grains, potatoes, sugar and sweets.
    eat more fat and fiber and protein and less carbs and especially less high fructose corn syrup and sugars and processed oils (trans fats).


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 and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein

Remember yesterday. Plan for tomorrow. Sleep this afternoon.

It would be nice if each of us would pay attention to others with whom we come in contact in daily life as people, rather than perceiving them as objects in our space. Get to know people. Find out where they were born, what their life has been like up until now, their family, their hobbies and interests, their life philosophy or beliefs. You may find that you have something in common with them. You may not.

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.

Activities which cause pleasure and happiness, at least in the present moment, for human animals.

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.

A few notes from videos watched:

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.

Forms of Personal Relationships

Hetero and Homo

Society and Laws

Laws have to be sensitive to the needs of the majority. That doesn't mean laws should trample the rights of the minority, but that public benefit is a legitimate concern, even when that may inconvenience some.

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.

Is the World what you think it is?

Most of the stuff that exists in your world is not detected by your senses.
You have five basic senses:

95% of the matter 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 an entity which exists.
As such I am driven.

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.

The Structure of Society

In trying to understand the people of this world and the structure of their society, it may be helpful to think of everyone in terms of their function. So I would think of the people of the world as belonging to five major types:

The rulers
These are the top 1% of the top 1% of people in terms of the wealth and power they control. These people rule the world and from their perspective the rest of the people in the world exist to serve them and to preserve the status quo so that their position of power is maintained. Since they make the rules they are in a position to protect their wealth and power in the absence of major social upheavals. These people are mainly at the top of the political and financial sectors of the society. Think in terms of politicians, bankers, captains of large multinational corporations.
The workers
These are the people who work every day to support the infrastructure of society and who are convinced to be happy with their station in life by the storytellers. Think of people in the food, transportation, communication, health care, manufacturing, sales and like fields. Their life interests revolve around work, family, religion, consumerism, sports, celebrity worship, gossip and being entertained. They are often lost and left adrift in life if they are retired and their family has dispersed. They are not independent thinkers but are dependant for their opinions on their neighbors and coworkers and on the storytellers. They are probably about 80% of all people. Although they may not realize it, these people have essentially no hope of becoming rulers and fear becoming powerless.
The powerless
These are the people without jobs or wealth who are supported by the rest of the society. They include the homeless, the disabled, the mentally ill, the addicts, the incarcerated and others of this type. I estimate about 10% of people. The rulers would like to do away with these people but they cannot because the workers know they may become a part of this class and these people have family or social connections to many of the workers.
The thinkers
These are the academics; primarily theoretical scientists and mathematicians and philosophers and innovators; who create the technology and infrastructure to increase the power and wealth of society for the rulers. Think of people who work in colleges and research labs who are interested in increasing the knowledge and creating the structure of society such as biologists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, social scientists and people who think of new ways of doing things. This type, like the rulers, is a very small segment of society.
The storytellers
These are the people who tell the stories which entertain the masses and convince them to be happy with their lives. Think of people in the mass media, education, entertainment, religion and historians. Maybe this sector is about 10% of the people in the society. These people too, are workers, whose function is to support the existing structure of the society.

Life Lessons

What should my grandchildren know that they will probably not be taught elsewhere?

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

You will be told that history is the story of what has happened in the past. That is not strictly true. History is actually the story of what happened in the past as seen by historians from selected pieces of evidence through the lens of their culture. It is to reality as your shadow is to you.

You probably will not be told that you are a social animal saddled with biology and instincts derived from your ancestors in the animal kingdom and with memes passed to you by your culture. These instincts and memes will control the way you think and the way you behave. It is only by knowing this fact and resisting it that you will have any hope of autonomy. Question everything.

Although you may be able to be happier and live longer by following the rules of good diet and exercise, your life span and life quality will be largely determined by your inherited genes over which you have no control.

As you get older your perception of time passes faster. As a result you will reach milestones in your life much faster than you expect and they will be a surprise to you. It is true that you should live each day as if it will be your last because one day it will be.

It is important for you to know that your life is what you are living now. It is not your past or your future. It is this instant. So remember the past and plan for the future but do not count on better days then. Today is what you have so make the most of it. The past is gone from your perspective and the future may never come. You can, however, be sure only that you exist in this instant. Enjoy and appreciate it.

As you go through life you will change physically, mentally and socially. The person you are ten years from now or were ten years ago will not be the same as the person you are now. You will think differently and have different goals and a different outlook on life. Don't think that the you that you know is absolute and unchanging. It ain't so. You will find, for instance, that your life goals will change so if there are things you really want to do in life, do them soon because later you may be physically or mentally unable to do them or they may no longer be important to you.

You do not learn much in school. You will learn mostly by life experience. Being told something is not the same as experiencing it. However, the things they teach you in school will give you the background you need to better understand your life experiences so you will know more as you experience life because you have the educational background to understand. Otherwise you very well may misinterpret what happens in life and draw erroneous conclusions. For this reason you cannot learn the lessons I am trying to teach here by reading this. You will learn these lessons only by experience. For instance, if someone tells you what hunger is you will not really know what it is until and unless you actually experience it. That is why more is really learned in school in labs than in lectures.

In my experience, kids, when they reach puberty, usually between the ages of 13 and 15, become convinced of their own maturity, intelligence and invincibility. They actually usually reach maturity ten to twelve years later. If they have the intellectual ability to learn they become smarter throughout most of their life but never actually become smart, although they may become aware of how much they do not know, and throughout their life, particularly after the age of about 50, they become more and more aware of their own mortality.

Young adults think they will be the perfect parent and that, because they will raise their kids better than they were raised, they will have perfect kids and an ideal family. That belief will last until about one week to six months after having their first baby. They will be amazed at that time how much their lives and beliefs will have changed.

Libertarians and Anarchists

Anarchist - One who believes that there should be no government having control over the individual. Everyone should fend for himself and be subject to no laws.

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.


Maybe the god-mind can be developed by learning to see the whole world from a perspective in which one understands all of what is rather than from the very narrow illusion that is most natural for us.

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.


Maybe the problem is economics. If supply is large then value will be low.

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 I am one of the rulers of the world, the top 10% of the top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1%, a group of less than 1,000 people out of 7 billion on the planet, I do not need to fear doing wrong for the simple reason that if one of us does it, it cannot be wrong by definition. The King or the Pope is never wrong. As Richard Nixon said, "If the President does it, that makes it legal."

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.

Default Condition

Thoughts based on a tweet by Steve Zara:
"Instead of asking why there is something rather than nothing, ask what is so special about nothing that it should be the default."

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.

Eastern vs. Western World Views:

Three oriental ladies went for a walk in nature one spring day. They happened upon a bunch of day lillies in bloom beside their path. "How pretty!", they exclaimed and stopped to admire the flowers before continuing on their way.

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.

Problems with Capitalism

After the neolithic revolution, commerce and the use of money became widespread and people began economic interactions with a wide range of strangers rather than just with the people of their own families and villages and those nearby whom they knew well.

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.

Maybe the universe consists of stuff continually throughout space and time rearranged by two forces; the good forces, including gravity, which tend to pull stuff together or assemble complexity, and the bad force or entropy which tends to break stuff apart into disorder. And maybe one of the good forces tends to make elements form molecules and amino acids and string these together into proteins and DNA.
Thoughts after watching Richard Dawkins: "Why the universe seems so strange - Ted Talk"

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 Rich?

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.

What do you have to worry about?

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.

The Work Ethic?

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.

Whut happened ???

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.

Rulers and Workers

With the Neolithic agricultural revolution came the ideas of private ownership of property including natural resources, slaves and women. Soon, with the development of money as a medium of exchange, businesses developed in which an entrepreneur organized capital and natural resources to employ others to produce consumer goods for sale.

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?

Trickle is up not down.

People at the bottom and at the top of the economic ladder are not creators of wealth. Those in the middle of the ladder who work to provide services and make goods are those who create the wealth of our society. The workers then provide that wealth to others. They care for those at the bottom of the economic ladder because those people are unable for physical or mental or other reasons to care for themselves. They transfer much of that wealth they have produced to those at the top of the economic ladder because the economic system in which they live is structured to make sure that wealth trickles upward more than it ever trickles downward.

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.

I remember reading in the newspapers in the early 1960s the concern among many futurists that soon automation in the workplace would put so many people out of work that the work week would have to be shortened to such an extent that one of society's main problems would be finding ways for people to use all the extra leisure time they would then have.

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.

If you are a Christian and you are a Republican in America:

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.

A few more thoughts for your consideration:

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.

Basic Economics as I Learned it.

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.

Some Christians Visit:

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.

Chaos or a Random Universe?

According to classical science such as Newton's Laws of Motion, we live in a deterministic universe in which the future is determined by what happened in the past.

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.

Thoughts on the existence of structure in the universe:

Chaos exists in an absence of order or pattern.

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 serendiptously 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.


Thinking Backwards:

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.

People need the resources to live and support a family. They do not need to work. They need to live.

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.

When asked which proposition they agree with more-- "poor people have hard lives because government benefits don't go far enough to help them live decently" or "poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything," conservatives overwhelmingly agreed with the latter, that the poor "have it easy."

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.

Side effects of the existence of man and his technology:

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?

Life Experiences:

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.

When I get interested in a subject, I want to keep pursuing it in depth.
The problem is that this process can be unending.
Life is finite.
I want to savor and explore as much of it as possible.
So rather than spending much of my life becoming an expert on subject X, I leave that subject and go on to Y.
That's why I am a Jack of many trades and a King of none.
Many animals and humans die before they get a chance to reproduce.
The fact that you and I exist means that our parents did not do that.
It also means that their parents didn't either.
So it means that we come from an unbroken line of fathers and mothers stretching back into the mists of time.

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!

We, as a species called man, are evolving biologically, technologically and culturally.

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, probably a couple of million 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.

We are organic beings which, through the providence of an infinite universe in which islands of order occasionally emerge from the chaos of continual creation and destruction, have evolved to a point of consciousness. This means that we have a perception of ourselves and a universe around us. Since this is what we perceive the question of its reality is a question with no meaning. Our purpose is to be aware of our own consciousness which is defined as an existence which can appreciate the universe. We should celebrate the fact that we exist as a part of the universe.

Our existence is expressed in a number of ways:

People exist along a range of logic vs. emotion. At one extreme is a "Spock" like personality which is coldly logical and always does what is most logical to achieve goals disregarding any emotions involved or, maybe even, not having emotions or empathy.

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.

A local politician had an ad in this week's paper. I guess he didn't want to spend much on a long ad setting forth his well thought out policy positions and his priorities for the job and his thoughts on the role of government in people's lives. So his ad just said:

"Vote for me.
Lower taxes.
Less spending."

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 vs. Real Wealth (assets):

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.

In the 20th century who had the most enduring and significant effect on the future?
Jobs Necessary to get a Tree from Seedling to Lumber

The newscaster said, "A plane crashed today and x souls were lost."

First point: Using the word "souls" means that he thinks people are endowed with a soul. It can thus be inferred that he is probably, in some way, a believer in some religion.

Second point: Using the word "lost" means that something bad happened to their soul. Since most western religions believe that a soul is something that exists past death then he is referring to a bad thing that happened after death. I conclude that the most likely, and maybe the only, thing I can think of is that he means their soul went to hell.

So what he, it seems to me, is really saying is, "A plane crashed today and x souls went to hell."

I think western religions teach that a soul is something that exists past death and either exists in limbo or goes to a good place usually referred to as heaven or a bad place usually referred to as hell. Another possibility is that a soul is reincarnated in another life. The only of these possibilities in which the soul would be considered "lost" would be if it went to hell.

Either I am correct or words don't really have meaning or I don't understand that meaning, at least, in this case.

It was pointed out to me that maybe there is an assumed implied "to us" on the end of that sentence meaning that although the souls probably went to one of the places or conditions mentioned above, since those of us remaining have no way of knowing which condition might now pertain to the souls then they are lost to us.

I concede that point but then argue that if the man calls himself a newscaster then he should be precise enough in the use of language to implicitly add the end two words himself rather than assuming that the viewer will know to do so. I would also argue that he has no rationale for assuming that people have souls.

Most voters are skilled at or knowledgeable about some things and not so much about others.

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.

If a politician wanted to show leadership he would run his campaign on his positions on the following questions:
  1. Does climate change and, if so, what should the world and this country, in particular, do about it, if anything?
  2. Should people at the end of life be entitled to any control over the circumstances of their death and, if so, what can be done to assure death with dignity?
  3. Is widespread education a worthwhile goal and, if so, how can education be promoted to give everyone enough mental skill and knowledge to be able to think logically and critically?
  4. Should everyone be entitled to the basics of life and, if so, what is the best way to give everyone a basic guaranteed income so that everyone has access to a minimal level of food, shelter, health care and education.
  5. Should a goal of mankind be exploration of space and, if so, what amount of resources should be devoted to that effort?
  6. What are the possibilities and ethics of genetic manipulation of humans and other species?
  7. What are the possibilities and problems of the development of robotics and body enhancements with technology?
  8. Is assurance of a sustainable environment for us and our heirs a worthwhile goal of mankind and, if so, what are the best methods to ensure this and what role should population goals and development of clean sources of energy play in this?
  9. How can we balance widespread knowledge due to big data analysis with individual rights to privacy?
  10. How do we balance the rights of the individual with the needs of society?
  11. What changes, if any, to our form of government and our economic system would be beneficial?
  12. How can we ensure that contentions between nations and individuals be settled without a resort to violence?
  13. What role, if any, should government play in regulating and providing for the raising of children?
  14. Should the success of our political and economic systems be evaluated based on a measure of Gross National Happiness?
  15. Should resources be allocated to the advancement of scientific knowledge of mankind and, if so, to what extent?
  16. Should resources be allocated to the arts and, if so, to what extent?

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?

What are the problems in the world and what are the solutions:

Capitalism, wealth inequality, environmental degradation and population pressure.
Education - to increase the knowledge and critical thinking ability of all.
Physics, math, logic, geography, geology, biology, history, economics, current events, living and vocational skills.
Planning for future change and the ascendancy of technology with the attendent loss of autonomy and individuality. (space, genetics, robotics, medical advances.)
Privacy, death with dignity, recreational use of drugs, reproductive freedom.
Form of government - basic principles.

Most important issues:
Simple answers to current questions:

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.

The true political and economic problems of the world are those having to do with the survival, quality of life and happiness of humanity.

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.

The following problems are either not serious or not even true problems of mankind, but are considered such by many who are either uninformed or who do not have a good sense of perspective:

Beliefs and Knowledge

I find it interesting that there are people alive on this planet who do not believe or know the following things that I do believe or know:

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.

The Stages of Life
  1. Student - the first stage of life is from birth to about 20 or 25 years of age. This is the learning phase. It starts before and for a few years after birth when the neural pathways in the brain are formed. This process is very rapid at first, slowing and pretty much complete by somewhere between 5 and 10 years old. Learning of the main parts of the culture from others takes place throughout but mostly during the school years from about 5 years old until it is interrupted or thrown into turmoil or, perhaps, enhanced by the onset of puberty usually from about 12 to 14 years of age until the end of the first stage at age 20 to 25.
  2. Reproduction and productive - The second stage of life is from about 18 years of age until about 60 to 65. This is the stage of life when the person looks for a mate to provide companionship and to reproduce and this stage of life is spent mostly working, making a living and caring for a family. During this stage life changes once again by the responsibility of caring for and learning to live with another person or persons and the experience of entering the workforce and the immense stress of raising children.
  3. Wisdom - The third stage of life begins after the children are grown and, hopefully, after retirement from the work force. This is the reflective stage in which the person, in contemplation of the approach of the end of life, begins to reflect on life and its meaning and to study and to think about the nature of the world he lives in and his place in it. For many it involves more study and perhaps writing or thinking of other ways in which the person will leave a legacy for the future.

Major changes in life:

The essence of biology and ecology.

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.

Thoughts on burning a stick of wood in the stove.

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.

The Bluebirds and the Sparrows

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.

Thoughts while watching Richard Dawkins, "Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life".

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.

Some people are:
Some cry for ball games lost.
Some cry for lives lost.
Some cry for species lost.
Some cry for freedoms lost or never gained.
We Can Move.

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.

Processing Data

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.

"How can a moral wrong be a civil right?"

I saw this sign in the front of a church in the south just after the supreme court ruled that the right to marry was a civil right, even for homosexuals.

I will try to explain how that can be.

As far as I can see, the belief that one's own morals are universal and superior to those of others is a sin of arrogance and is a moral wrong. However, I still believe that one has a civil right to have such beliefs.

Does that answer the question?

Some would say protecting our environment, promoting peace, improving human living conditions, and conquering disease are the primary challenges of mankind. Others would argue that these things are too costly and the more important challenges are to put more people to work exploiting the earth's resources to create more wealth for the world's businesses.
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.

How stupid do you have to be if you are a poor or middle class US citizen to think that it will make your life better:

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.

At the end of your life, will you judge its success by:
The Tools of Persuasion

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.

Future advances can be expected in the fields of:

Threats to mankind lie in:

Hope for mankind lies in advances in:

If you have crazy beliefs it is much easier for you to believe that other people can have competing crazy beliefs. If you are more rational it is hard for you to believe that anyone can have such crazy beliefs.

Rich vs. Poor

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.

Some of the ways the rich use the poor to accumulate wealth for themselves:

We have developed an economic system which encourages the rich and powerful to prey on the poor.

Lessons for Conservatives:
  1. Poverty is a threat to marriages.
  2. Democratic Socialism does not mean government control.
  3. Capitalism favors the rich and exploits the poor. Trickle is up, not down.
  4. Fear is encouraged to support the military industrial complex.
  5. The rich do not pay their fair share of taxes.
  6. Bad things can happen to good people and good things can happen to bad people. Life is not always fair.
  7. There is nothing wrong with any sexual variation as long as no force is involved.
  8. Your offspring will not necessarily follow in your footsteps. It is all right for them to make their own path.
  9. The goal of life is happiness, not wealth and certainly not work.
  10. Chaos is more likely than order. There probably is no master plan. Stuff just happens.
  11. Force should not be necessary. If it is, then reason failed.
  12. The poor black woman has just as much right to the good life as the rich white man.
  13. Religious leaders lie as do politicians and captains of industry and most others.
  14. We and our kind are no better than them and their kind. We are all in the same boat.
  15. There is a limit to the resources of the earth to support life.
  16. Bigger is not necessarily better.
  17. Government can be a force for good. It is bad only if biased toward special interest groups.
  18. Basic human rights should include a right to food, shelter, education and health care.
  19. Society should strive to level the field for the disadvantaged.
  20. Keynesian economic principles work.
  21. Most of what you have been told and believe about the world is probably not entirely true.
  22. At the end of the game the king goes into the same bag with the pawn. The lord fits into the same size grave as the serf.
  23. Adaption to nature rather than its conquest has more long term benefits.
  24. Life is what happens to us while we are preparing for something better.
  25. A large middle class is in the best interest of the wealthy.
  26. There can be no crime if there is no victim.
  27. The purpose of business is to be servants of labor, consumers and the public as well as share holders.
  28. Religious books such as the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are not based on fact in any sense except to the extent that they may refer to some historical events in some cases.
  29. Humans are, in no way, central to the existence of the universe.
  30. Our place in the universe is insignificant in time, space and scale, but it could be significant in complexity and in consciousness.
  31. A man cannot step into the same stream twice because it is not the same stream and he is not the same man. The fact of change is the only thing that is unchanging.
  32. Critical thinking is more important than blind belief.
  33. Man is a social animal and, as such, tends to thrive best as a member of and with the support of a social structure which exists to use the strengths of the strong to support the weak because the mind and the personality are of value more than physical, mental and economic strengths and skills.
  34. Morality can be enhanced by suppressing the ideas of otherness releasing empathy and by education enabling more rational thought.

What are the main factors that preclude Democratic Socialism in the United States?
  1. Politicians who promote fear and hate among a populace who are very susceptible to such propaganda and many of whom are racist and/or xenophobic.
  2. A belief that we live in a fair system and all that is necessary to succeed is hard work with the corollary belief that those who do not succeed are lazy and inferior.
  3. An economic system, capitalism, designed so that wealth and power trickles upward and accumulates at the top leading to vast inequalities of wealth and economic and political power. See "Capital in the 21st Century" by Thomas Piketty. Those who benefit most from this system own the media and greatly influence government and the educational system to espouse the virtues of capitalism and the evils of socialism to maintain the status quo.
  4. A political system designed to protect property and wealth more than to increase total human happiness.

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.

Technology and Inequality

We humans evolved as a species biologically and then with the development of neural networks in a brain enabling abstract thought we began to develop complex cultures and technology and to be able to make huge changes to our environment. This led to agriculture and cities and communication over time and distance and to an explosion of knowledge. At this point our technology has advanced to the point that we may soon have our physical needs provided by machines guided by computers. We have also developed a capitalist economic system which encourages and rewards most of us working for others as laborers in factories and other types of businesses. What happens when, as is now happening, little human labor is needed to provide the needs of our population?

Before the advent of capitalism this situation would have meant that we would be able to provide the basic living requirements for all unconditionally. Many believe that capitalism requires that the fruits of our techology should go to those who own or developed this technology leaving no need and no place for everyone else. So the combination of success in developing technology along with a capitalist economic system may lead to poverty and starvation for most and vast wealth for the few.

A comparison of a couple of politicians' reasons why I should vote for them.

Is my life likely to be better and am I likely to be happier if:

Women in my world are not allowed to make their own choice about whether to get an abortion?
There are no Islamic terrorists (does not say how they will be defeated.)?
More of the people living around me are able to buy and use guns without any constraints or background checks?
There is a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and this somehow stops illegal immigration. (I have never been harmed by an illegal immigrant although I have been harmed in several cases by politicians.)
The government will not pay for my health care?

Or am I likely to be better off and happier if I live in a world where:

People can get jobs rebuilding the roads, bridges, water systems and public buildings in my community?
My children and grandchildren and those of my neighbors can go to college tuition free?
There are more people in my family and in my community eligible for Social Security reducing poverty and helping the economy?
Young people in my community are given jobs so that they can help support themselves and their families and they can learn work skills?
Workers in my family and my community who have medical problems are able to get paid leave from their jobs to attend to these problems?
Workers in my family and in my community who are eligible for pensions when they retire or become disabled are assured that they can depend on those pension payments?
I can live in a cleaner and healthier environment due to use of renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels?
I can depend on mine and my friends and family and neighbors medical expenses being paid in case of accident or sickness?

This seems like a no-brainer to me!

Very Important Ideas!

Earth is round - Pythagoras - 6th century BC

The Book of Calculation - Leonardo of Pisa - 1202

On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres - Nicolaus Copernicus - 1543

Germ theory of disease - Girolamo Fracastoro - 1546

Meditations of First Philosophy - Rene Descartes - 1641

Principia Mathematica - Isaac Newton - 1686

Vaccination - Edward Jenner - 1796

The telegraph - Samuel Morse - 1837

Analytical Engine - Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace - 1856

Origin of Species - Charles Darwin - 1859

Pasteurization - Louis Pasteur - 1863

Das Kapital - Karl Marx - 1867

The Telephone - Alexander Graham Bell - 1876

Electricity - Thomas Edison - 1879

Theory of Relativity - Albert Einstein - 1905

Symmetries give rise to conservation laws. - Amalie “Emmy” Noether - 1915

The uncertainly principle - Werner Heisenbert - 1927

Cybernetics - Norbert Wiener - 1948

Theory of the Unconscious - Sigmund Freud - 1915

The Green Revolution - Norman Borlaug - 1945-1970

A Mathematical Theory of Communication - Claude Shannon - 1948

NASA created - 1958

Chaos Theory - Edward Lorenz - 1963

Mandelbrot Set - Benoit Mandelbrot - 1973

World Wide Web - Tim Berners-Lee - 1989

Mapping the Human Genome - 2003

The Human Microbiome Project - 2008

The Reagan revolution was:

An attack on labor unions.
Deregulation of business.
A rollback of the progressive policies of FDR which had supported the middle class for forty years.
The demise of Keysenian economic policies.
Less spending on health, education and welfare.
An increase in military expenditures.
Lower taxes for the rich and resulting huge budget deficits.
The end of civil rights progress for blacks, women, and other minorities.
Environmental degradation.

These are the core assumptions of the Reagan Revolution:

Government is the problem.
The free market solves problems better than politicians can.
Lower taxes create economic growth.
Welfare perpetuates poverty.
Peace is only attainable through military strength.
America is always a force for good in the world, its enemies an "Evil Empire."

Each one seems to me to be obviously false.

These ideas result in economic inequality, environmental disasters, poverty, fewer civil rights, war, and budget deficits. They result in a powerful ruling class able to amass a large proportion of the income and wealth of the country to the demise of the middle class and the further impoverishment of the poor.

Other's Thoughts

The 1% have us so well trained, we're not even DEMANDING a THRIVING wage. 
We're so broken and brainwashed, we're willing to settle for a mere 'living 
wage'. WTF is wrong with us? I mean SERIOUSLY!? We outnumber these ppl by the 
millions & we're ok just subsisting? 

UBI makes clear our unconditional RIGHT to freely access the resources we need 
to exist. To be against it is to say we have no such right, that we must 
sufficiently justify our existence to those who control access to resources, 
and that's an argument for the right of domination. 

Scott Santens
Mar 23, 2018

“If machines produce everything
we need, the outcome will depend
on how things are distributed.
Everyone can enjoy a lrifxe of luxurious
leisure if the machine—produced
wealth is shared; or most people
can end up miserably poor
if the machine owners successfully
lobby against wealth redistribution.
So far, the trend seems to be toward
the second option, with technology
driving ever—increasing inequality.”

Professor Stephen Hawking
Reddit "Ask Me Anything"
October, 2015

How liberals are “destroying” America: 
Believing in science 
Allowing ppl to marry who they want 
Don’t want to kick out hardworking immigrants 
Let women control their own bodies 
Want to prevent mass shootings 
Don’t want ppl to die because they can’t afford healthcare 

Evidence collected over many years, obtained from many locations, indicates 
that the power of Prayer is insufficient to stop bullets from killing school 

The rich have survived for thousands of years without being forced to work for 
others in order to live. Shouldn't you have that freedom too? 

We may all face pitfalls in life at some point, we're not "freeloaders" & 
everyone benefits when we work together. #BasicIncome 

Technology was meant to free man, not enslave him. #BasicIncome

Demagogue definition, a person, especially an orator or political leader, who 
gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices 
of the people and makes false claims and promises. 

This isn't only about #NetNeutrality. This is about democracy. When 80% of 
Americans don't want something, and the government does it anyway, that is a 
direct violation of the will of the people. It erodes faith in government as 
an institution worth engaging in or even defending. 

Scott Santens @scottsantens
14 Dec 2017

NEW PENTAGON DATA: America has spent $250 MILLION A DAY on war every single 
day for the last 16 years 

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan both agreed today on Fox news that the food 
stamp program needs to come to an end. 

Bruce Bartlett? @BruceBartlett said on 26 Dec 2017
"If we don't starve people how can we force them to take shitty jobs?"

if cost of the bread is $2 (7 days expiry): 
Day 1-2 = $2.30 
D 3-4 = $2.00
D 5-6 = $1.70 
D 7 = $1.20 
Day 8 = $0.50 
Day 9 - free or charity

Income gains going to top 1% in 
1954-7: 5% 
1975-9: 25% 
2009-12: 95%

Household income of high school educated 25-32 year olds
1979 50k 
1986 48k 
1995 45k 
2013 40k 
(median adjusted household income, 2012 $)

Number behind bars per 100k people
US 710 
Chile 266 
Mexico 210 
Turkey 179 
UK 147 
Canada 118 
Sweden 67 
Japan 51 
Iceland 47

Americans killed annually by 
All Islamic jihadist terrorists 9 
Armed toddlers 21 
Lightning 31 
Lawnmowers 69 
Being hit by a bus 264 
Falling out of bed 737 
Being shot by another American 11,737 

Sep 23, 1995: Wal-Mart pulls "Someday a Woman will be President" T-Shirt from its stores - offensive to some people

The German sociologist Max Weber defines the state as a “human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.”

Impossible imagining any Republican saying this, yet their party's best, General Eisenhower aptly said:

Technology and inequality - Stephen Hawking

Interesting how technology advances....

Richard Feynman: "To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell."

We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins

FDR's Four Freedoms:
Freedom of Speech and Expression
Freedom of Religion
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear

"Religion," Voltaire is said to have remarked, "began when the first scoundrel met the first fool."

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Confucius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

"War is a Racket,... the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag." - Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler - 1933

If your Personal Beliefs deny what's objectively true about the world, then they're more accurately called Personal Delusions
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.
Ashley Montagu

When people stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing, they will believe in anything.
C. K. Chesterton

"Truth is treason in an empire of lies."
George Orwell
Examples: Snowden, Greenwald, Manning, Assange.

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
Arthur C. Clarke

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

Imagine a world where Nations find the search for life in the Universe more interesting than the taking of life on Earth.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

'If you have built castles in the air, ...; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.'
Henry David Thoreau

"Life involves flow of energy, matter, and information." - Crick - 1957

Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not. - Michael Shermer

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.” - Anatole France

Gratuitous interference in other people's lives is bigotry. - Richard A. Posner

"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
Albert Einstein

Earth - An awesome place to live! -- Jimmy Kimmel

Alice Dreger:
My mother: "Life is a sexually transmitted disease that is always fatal."

We would strengthen the human gene pool if we stopped putting "do not drink" on bottles of bleach, and "may contain nuts" on packets of nuts. - Ricky Gervais

Using religion to brutalize other people is not a Muslim invention, nor is it foreign to the American experience. - Barack Obama.

I deal with the rich all the time...
they actually believe having no money is a flaw that is of the poor person's own doing. - Joan McCarter

"Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things takes religion."
Steven Weinberg

If you can afford to eat 3 meals a day for 3 weeks straight, you are in the top 15% of the richest people in the world.

POLL: Majority of Americans would rather repair bridges at home than blow them up overseas

Time is but the shadow of the world upon the background of eternity. ~ Jerome K. Jerome”

Give a man a fish, and he'll probably follow you home expecting more fish. Ricky Gervais

I pay full tax and I love it. I wouldn't be where I am today without free education & the NHS. Ricky Gervais

Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains. Rousseau

If you are paying attention, life is very confusing. - Louis C. K.

"I can't believe how cold it is outside!" - people that don't understand how winter works.

"We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
Justice Louis Brandeis:

Somehow the laws of nature conspired to create a naked ape that can look up at the stars and wonder where it came from. - Prof. Brian Cox

The real names of global warming are Waste and Greed - Wendell Berry

Aliens, seeing Humans kill over land, politics, religion, & skin color, would surely ask, "What the f*%k is wrong with you?" - Neil Degrass Tyson

Essential bit on fear in post-9/11 America, from JamesRisen's "Pay Any Price."

Share the Wealth:
We should have enough for all and no one should have so much that there is not enough for the rest.
Huey Long

The only reason for life is life. There is no why. We are. Life is beyond reason. -- George Lucas

"You are the universe expressing itself as a human for a little while"
- Eckhart Tolle

Undo accidents of history: how would u redesign society from scratch? 1 language? Phonetic spelling? No religion? Octal numbers? World gov?
Richard Dawkins

Excerpt from:
How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways
The important lessons from hunter-gatherers are about culture, not genes.
Published on May 16, 2011 by Peter Gray in "Freedom to Learn"

We citizens of a modern democracy claim to believe in equality, but our sense of equality is not even close to that of hunter-gatherers. The hunter-gatherer version of equality meant that each person was equally entitled to food, regardless of his or her ability to find or capture it; so food was shared. It meant that nobody had more wealth than anyone else; so all material goods were shared. It meant that nobody had the right to tell others what to do; so each person made his or her own decisions. It meant that even parents didn't have the right to order their children around; hence the non-directive childrearing methods that I have discussed in previous posts. It meant that group decisions had to be made by consensus; hence no boss, "big man," or chief.

When you read about "warlike primitive tribes," or about indigenous people who held slaves, or about tribal cultures with gross inequalities between men and women, you are not reading about band hunter-gatherers.

Theory 1: Hunter-gatherers practiced a system of "reverse dominance" that prevented anyone from assuming power over others.

Theory 2: Hunter-gathers maintained equality by nurturing the playful side of their human nature, and play promotes equality.

Theory 3: Hunter-gatherers maintained their ethos of equality through their childrearing practices, which engendered feelings of trust and acceptance in each new generation.

If we truly believe in the values of equality and peace and want them to reign once again as the norm for human beings, then we need to (a) find ways to deflate the egos, rather than support the egos, of the despots, bullies, and braggarts among us; (b) make our ways of life more playful; and (c) raise our children in kindly, trusting ways.

"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Albert Einstein - 1950

The wealthiest 400 in this country are worth $2.29 trillion and own more wealth than the bottom half of America. - Bernie Sanders

Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers. - Bernard Haisch

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
Stephen Hawking

Blessed are the peacemakers...for they shall be shot at from both sides.
A. M. Greeley

We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us. - banksy @thereaIbanksy

In the words of Robert Heinlein's character, Lazarus Long, in "Time Enough For Love":

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, fell a tree, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, plant a crop, cook a tasty meal, survey a land tract, fight efficiently, die gallantly and sew on a button. Specialization is for insects."

"Reason is the Devil's greatest whore." - Martin Luther

Martin Luther King @MLutherKingQts
"The middle class has become riddled with the false morality of the rulers."

"Woman is life and man is the servant of life. The male's job is to protect the women." - Joseph Campbell

Who keeps you healthier? These guys or the custodian who sanitizes your hospital room + is eligible for food stamps?

Randy Prine

People who genuinely listen should never have a response ready in the middle of ur discussion. - Jennifer Capone

One's not half of two; two are halves of one. - e.e. cummings

People are works in progress who think they are finished products - Dan Gilbert

From Ann Coulter, I've learned to mistrust those who I'm told have ideas different from the ones I've been told to have. - James O. Thach

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings. - Richard Dawkins

Faith in tax-cut magic isn't about evidence; it's about finding reasons to give powerful interests what they want. - Paul Krugman

Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate. - Samuel Huntington

I worry that the US embracing soccer will lead to other things Europe does, like recognizing climate change and offering maternity leave. - Andy Borowitz

Love many; trust few - and always paddle your own canoe. - Billy Two Rivers, Canadian Mohawk Chief

Create the future that you would be proud to bequeath and honored to inherit. - Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Redistribution of Wealth = Halliburton gives citizen Cheney $33mil of their money, then VP Cheney gives Halliburton $39bil of our money. - John Fugelsang

Conrad Hackett:
Cost for a year at: Harvard $56k
Nursing home $84k
NYC jail $168k

You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself. - Alan Watts

"Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion" Stephen Prothero noted in his book, "Religious Literacy."

Due to our limited perception, there is no absolute truth only transient illusion in Life. ~ Eckhart Tolle

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. ~ Winnie the Pooh

"Time does not change us. It just unfolds us." -Max Frisch

Most philosophy is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they like the cage they were tricked into entering. - Gary Snyder

Some days are better than others. But the moon is big and bright tonight. And I've got a sleeping baby on my chest.
Sam Polk

Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. - Chief Seattle

"Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the 1%." - Bill Moyers

"To make a living is not to make a killing. It's to make enough." - Wendell Berry

Neil deGrasse Tyson:
The limits on your enlightenment come not from the age you stopped going to school but from the age you stopped being curious.

All things are parts of one single system, called Nature; the individual life is good when it's in harmony with Nature - Zeno

Sharks kill 12 people per year - People kill 11,417 sharks per hour.

The top 25 hedge-fund managers made more than $24 billion last year, enough to pay the salaries of more than 425,000 public school teachers.
Bernie Sanders

Pantheism @new_pantheism
Life is a whim of several trillion cells being you for a while.

You may see yourself as a 'thing' - a noun, but you are also a verb - a 'happening'; a function of the universe.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. - Heraclitus

It is our earth, not yours or mine or his. We are meant to live on it, helping each other, not destroying each other. ~ J. Krishnamurti

"You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean." - Alan Watts

Bernie Sanders @SenSanders
There are 492 billionaires living in this country and 16 million kids living in poverty.

Neil degrasse Tyson :
"As your area of knowledge grows, so too does your perimeter of ignorance."

No true American would say this: "The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power,” and follow that statement with a call for “a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes ... increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate."

Who was this left-winger? Theodore Roosevelt, in his famous 1910 New Nationalism speech.

Carl Sagan's advice to his daughter on appreciating life:

You are alive right this second. That is an amazing thing, When you consider the nearly infinite number of forks in the road that lead to any single person being born you must be grateful that you're you at this very second. Think of the enormous number of potential alternate universes where, for example, your great-great-grandparents never meet and you never come to be. Moreover, you have the pleasure of living on a planet where you have evolved to breathe the air, drink the water, and love the warmth of the closest star. You're connected to the generations through DNA — and, even farther back, to the universe, because every cell in your body was cooked in the hearts of stars.

Perceptions of wealth distribution vs. the reality!

Did you know for every $36 dollars we spend feeding the poor we spend $870 in corporate subsidies

If you really want to reduce entitlements it will take brain power. Corporate profits 6.8 trillion

Five years of Obama's presidency has yielded these results albeit obstructionists and recession.

Obamacare has helped touch the lives of 15 million Americans. I consider that success.

Republicans claim to be the fiscally intelligent party? I do not concur.

Republicans confuse freedom with liberty. The biggest threat to liberty is economic inequality.

Dear Republicans. The middle class is under assault, but you've been fooled as to the cause.

Beauty and seduction are nature's tools for survival. Louie Schwartzberg

Yann Artrus Bertrand: - "We don't believe what we know. It's too late to be pessimistic. We must all be part of the solution."

Cleveland Clinic - 1 hour: the amount of physical activity parents should encourage in kids each day.

I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. - Lily Tomlin

"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." - Charles Darwin

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Man is a thought being, and his life and character are determined by the thoughts in which he habitually dwells. - James Allen

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. - Guillaume Apollinaire

From experimental philosopher, Joshua Knobe, editor of the anthology, "Experimental Philosophy":

Imagine how the world is going to be a year from now. A year from now there are going to be all these people in this world, and one of those people is going to have a very special property. That person is going to be you. So, with any luck a year from now, there'll be someone out there who's you. But what is it about that person that makes that person you?

At this moment you have a certain kind of body, you have a certain kind of goals, and beliefs, and values, you have certain emotions. In the future there are going to be all these other people that are going to have certain bodies, they're going to have certain goals, certain beliefs, certain emotions. Some of them are going to be, to varying degrees, similar and, to varying degrees, different from yours; and one of those people is going to be you. So, what makes that person you?


Imagine what things are going to be like in 30 years. In 30 years, there's going to be a person around who you might normally think of as you - but that person is actually going to be really, really different from you in a lot of ways. Chances are, a lot of the values you have, a lot of the emotions, a lot of the beliefs, a lot of the goals are not going to be shared by that person. So, in some sense you might think that person is you, but is that person really you? That person is like you in certain respects, but … you might think that person is kind of not me anymore.

Once you start to reflect on that, you might start to have a really different feeling about that person - the person you're going to turn into. You might even start to feel a little bit competitive with that person. Suppose you start saving money right now. You are losing money and he or she is the one gaining the money. The money is being taken away from the person who has the values, the emotions, and the goals that you really care about and going to this other person.

"Productivity keeps growing, as do corporate profits. But jobs and wages are not growing. Unless we figure out how to bring all of them back into line - or spread the gains more widely - our economy cannot generate enough demand to sustain itself, and our society cannot maintain enough cohesion to keep us together."
Robert Reich

According to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, "The 400 richest people in the United States have more wealth than the bottom 150 million put together."

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

Our memory "is never a precise duplicate of the original [but] a continuing act of creation"

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."

From Richard Feynman:

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.

From Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan - What is Sex? - 1997

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.

Dorion Sagan wrote in "Death and Sex"

"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."

Quotes from Pope Francis (November 2013):

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.

The Roman politicians gave them bread and circuses. Our politicians have to give them sugar and sports and God and guns.

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.

"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
Susan Ertz

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.

Ryokan Tweets

Pass the mountain
where white clouds linger,
I will share with you
a song about young bracken

Ryokan Tweets

Were there someone
in the world
who feels as I feel,
we would talk all night
in this grass hut.

Ryokan Tweets

When all thoughts
are exhausted,
I slip into the woods
and gather
a pile of shepherd's purse.

Ryokan Tweets

Picking violets by the side of the road,
I forgot my begging bowl.
How sad you must be,
my poor little bowl!

Dave Bonta

I watch the slow drift of contrail graffiti:
at cross angles,
until they merge and disappear
into spreading clouds.

Dave Bonta @morningporch

A bitter wind.
Stripes of sunlight
on the wet leaf duff
glisten like slug trails,
while in the west,
a bank of black clouds
moves in.

morden haiku @hermonhermit

behind two yaks
the ploughman sings
an old mustang song.

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

Autumn mountain,
maple leaves have fallen.
What should I
bring to children
for a souvenir?

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

Two of us
brush painting in turn;
autumn night.

Dave Bonta @morningporch

Shreds of clouds
disintegrate as they drift
toward the east.
Sun on wind-tossed
mountain laurel leaves -
the whole hillside shimmers.

Kris Lindbeck @KrisLindbeck

If I stand just here
it floats
through the trees
November moon

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

The path is hidden
by snow,
but thoughts of you
lead me onward.

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

My abode is
in winter seclusion
on this white mountain in
No trace of humans
coming or going.

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

This morning I will fetch water,
cut firewood,
and pick herbs
during a break
in this autumn shower.

Dave Bonta @morningporch

The silence of
steadily falling snow,
punctuated by the tapping
of a downy woodpecker
and the distant scolding
of a squirrel.

Steven @Stevenc58

Alone on the bus
am I lost?
...or are they?

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

In town
there are sounds
of flutes and drums.
But in this deep mountain
only a pine rustles.

Ryokan @RyokanTweets

In the mountain shade,
water in the moss
drips between rocks.
I feel a glimmer
of clarity.


If someone asks
about the mind of this monk,
say it is no more
than a passage of wind
in the vast sky.


See and realize
that this world
is not permanent.
Neither late nor early flowers
will remain.


Together with others
I view the moon
above the capital city,
but I long for
the feel of the land.


Arriving here at this village,
peach blossoms
in full bloom.
Red petals reflect
on the river.

Dave Bonta

The finest of snowflakes,
little more than sparkles in the sun,
drift down from an almost blue sky.
The yard is a maze of deer hoof-prints.

Dave Bonta
The ongoing warmth and rain
have reduced the snow
to scattered patches.
Above the roar of the creek,
a flock of goldfinches whistling.

The Self is like the ocean and
beings like waves that arise and fall on its surface.
Waves have a beginning and an end. Ocean exists forever.

Each phase of life passes away yielding to the next.
It is meant for transit and not permanent habitation.

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;

God is indeed a jealous God
He cannot bear to see
That we had rather not with Him
But with each other play.
-- Emily Dickinson

"Woman is life and man is the servant of life.
The male's job is to protect the women."
-- Joseph Campbell

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs,
but not every man's greed.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

We can only transform humanity and create a happier more compassionate world through education.
Dalai Lama

Beth @moonflowernco

ancient moon
everything seems
a little
more bearable
in your light

Buddhist Wristbands @WalkerSamui

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills...

Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain.
But I'd have had to miss the dance.

Garth Brooks

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Dr. Kent M. Keith

The state of life is most happy where superfluities are not required and necessities are not wanting.


Magda Kapa @MagdaKapa
All exists simultaneously, all a matter of perspective. There's stability in looking at "the same" thing from "different" perspectives.

VedantaWorld @vedantaworld
Nature has ever been benevolent to humanity. But people are least aware of what they receive in life. With no thought of repayment.

Vedanta @SwamiDoseDaily
The Path of Knowledge culminates in meditation and realization of the Self.

morden haiku @hermonhermit

spring evening
the park blossoms for
a sweater goal post game
on which everything
and nothing depends

Song of Solomon
"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."

Darlene Czaja @dwczaja
WAKE UP America! Enough is enough. Let's get to work!

Last revised February 2016.

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All contents copyright (C) 2014, Duane Bristow. All rights reserved.