Brain Droppings

by Duane Bristow
2015


How to compose a successful critical commentary:

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

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

You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

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


Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Money is the root of all evil.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


You're not saying college education is worthless?

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

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

What are those traits?

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

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

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

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

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

Well, what about creativity?

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

Are the liberal arts still important?

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

How do you write a good resume?

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

What's your best advice for job interviews?

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


How to justify meanness?

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change
by Al Gore

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


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

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


Galileo:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

"Fully immersive virtual reality." - holodeck Peter Thiel

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

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

"Ubiquitous video recording and surveillance." Marc Andreessen

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


From Tim Donovan in Salon 05-02-2014

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

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


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

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

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


Slate.com / By Elizabeth Pennisi

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Democracies are susceptible to demagoguery, lobbying, and corruption.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Cycles and imperfections.

Patterns and software vs. hardware.

We see dichotomies where probably none exist.

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

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


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

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

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

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


by Damon Linker - August 1, 2014

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

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

Ronald Reagan was:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Life Lessons That Lead to Happiness, Success and Longevity

1) Happiness is love and social relationships.

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

3) Be Optimistic - With A Little Bit Of Worrying

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

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

Summary:
"Love, Strive, Believe and Hope"


How different am I from others?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Signs that our democracy is in trouble:

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


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

Freeman Dyson


Sir Ken Robinson says:

"To teach Children, take advantage of their:

Diversity not uniformity
Curiosity not compliance
Creativity not standardization"


Benjamin Franklin said,

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


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

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

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

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

vision is fully developed at 8 months.

walking at about 12 months

talking at about 2 years

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


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

This belief is called fascism.

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

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

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

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

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


Jim Martin's summary of Zen:

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

In my words:

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

"From my mother's belly."

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

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

"What are they?"

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

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

"I shouldn't use words."

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

Gita was silent.

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

"What is Buddha?"

Soen-sa hit the floor.

Gita laughed.

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

Gita hit the floor.

"What is God?"

Gita hit the floor.

"What is your mother?"

Gita hit the floor.

"What are you?"

Gita hit the floor.

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

Gita smiled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

When you hear a claim:

Do you

trust?
ignore?
or
investigate?

trust can be based on:

Intuition
Authority from credible source
Logic or reasoning
Experiment & Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Who should we keep in the tribe and cherish?

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

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

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

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


What do western religions have in common?

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

A belief in the truth of "holy" writings.

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

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

A mission to convert all others to our beliefs.

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

A belief that men are sinful and must be saved.

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

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

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

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

As a result these religions are generally opposed to:

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

They generally or sometimes defend:

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

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

Questioning Basic Beliefs:

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

Suppose one were to question these beliefs?

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

What if there can be a satisfying life without children?

Who says we are meant to work?

The lords say it to the peasants.

The masters say it to the slaves.

The captains of industry say it to the employees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consciousness and Quantum Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Holes, Creation, Free Will, Predestination

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

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

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

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

See: Does God Play Dice?

Reasons

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

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

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

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

Perspectives:

We seem to need three types of perspective.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/

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

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


From:
Space and Motion

The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truth Statements: Philosophy Metaphysics Science

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

2. We all experience having a body.

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

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

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

6. Space (one substance) has properties.

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

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

9. We cannot add particles to space.

10. We can add waves to space.

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

12. Matter is spherical.

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

14. The electron is a spherical standing wave.

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

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


From:
Quantum Mysteries Disentangled

Ron Garret
28 November 2001

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

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

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

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

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


The photoelectric effect:

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

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

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


More Evidence for a Particle Theory of Energy:

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

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


3 quantum mysteries:

wave vs. particle duality

schodingers cat - observation causes the wave function to collapse

quantum entanglement - spooky action at a distance

One theory is that entanglement is measurement or observation.

Another is that time travel is occurring.

Quantum information theory, QIT:

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Our drive for control pushes us away from chaos.

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The key to success is persistence!

90% of success is always showing up on time.

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

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

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

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

One-Liners:

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

"Put knot yore truss in spel chequers!"

77.43% of all statistics are made up.

A naked man fears no pickpocket...

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

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

Barium: What you do with dead chemists.

Circular Definition: see Definition, Circular.

Do not look in laser with remaining eye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is sexually transmitted, and terminal...

Life is uncertain, so eat dessert first!

New members urgently required for Suicide Club.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Psychic Convention cancelled due to unforeseen problems

Today is the Tommorrow you worried about Yesterday

A procrastinator's work is never done.

A dyslexic agnostic doesn't believe in Dog.                                   

Psychoceramics....The Study of Crackpots                                      

Minds, like parachutes, work only when open.                                  

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

Wagner's music is better than it sounds.                                      

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

Democracy: Four wolves and a lamb voting on lunch.                            

Wise people are full of doubts (I think).                                     

Nothing really happens until it happens to you.                               

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

Don't assume malice for what stupidity can explain.                           

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

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

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

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

A conclusion is where you got tired of thinking.                              

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

History is a set of lies agreed upon by the Victor                            

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

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

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

Celibacy is not hereditary.                                                   

Practice random kindness & senseless acts of beauty                           

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

Please help me to be patient. And Hurry!                                      

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

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

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

The past looks better the farther away you get.                               

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Web Links:

Twitter

Tweets

Genealogy

Little History

Life Plan

Humans

Questions

History, Science, Philosophy

A Summary of my Beliefs

My life

Forestry and Accounting

War of the Minds

Old Kentucky Home Page

His first Lemon

Heron, Horse, Calf

Raccoons

Early morning on the farm

Some friends going hunting

Granddaughters

Sisters on the Mediterranean

Music

Videos

Books

The Internet in Real Time


To study something we must learn:

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

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

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

Security:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Time and Money

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

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

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


Notes from the BBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


People can harm other people:

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

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

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


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

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

The Naked Ape:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


People have a lot of misconceptions about:

The essence of forest management in Appalachian hardwood forests:

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

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

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

Leave good immature trees for the next harvest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wood burning heating stove


Wood burning cook stove

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

Few people had a college education.

No man had ever been in space.

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

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

There was no birth control pill.

There were drive-in movies but no ATMs.

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


78 rpm phonograph record


tape deck


8mm home movie projector

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

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

There was less cultural diversity and communities were more insular.

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

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


abacus


Slide Rule

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


Royal Companion mechanical typewriter


100 Key Marchant electric desk calculator

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

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

Discussion of human sexuality was mostly taboo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From listening to Lawrence Krauss:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stupid businessmen

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

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

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

Those who concentrate on cutting expenses rather than increasing sales.

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

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

Those who keep too much or too little inventory.

Those who refuse to hire anyone smarter than they are.

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

Tendencies I have noticed in the use of language.

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

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

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

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

Uptalk. Look it up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHANGES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creation:

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

This describes fractals and chaos theory.

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

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

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

The results of this remains to be known.

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

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

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

Basic tenets of orthodox capitalism:

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

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

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

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

Basic tenets of orthodox western religions:

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

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

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

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

Basic tenets of orthodox patriotism:

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

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

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

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

Complexity

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


Patterns in Nature

Patterns in nature:

There is a ladder of complexity and consciousness:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generalists are more efficient in swarm intelligence than specialists.

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

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

Complexity masks an underlying simplicity.

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

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

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

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

Conservative beliefs

A "tea partier" and Trump supporter explained that:

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

Obviously he sees no contradiction in his beliefs.

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

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

Perspective:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Here are a few other examples of perspective:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Voters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

What do we hope for the future?

Maybe:

Beliefs:

Progressive Democrats and Democratic Socialists miss the point.

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

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

These include:

Suppose one were to question these beliefs?

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

What if there can be a satisfying life without children?

Who says we are meant to work?

The lords say it to the peasants.

The masters say it to the slaves.

The captains of industry say it to the employees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

danielmiessler.com

5 Popular Beliefs that are Holding Humanity Back

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

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

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

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

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


False equivalence:

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


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

Beliefs.htm web page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governments and Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Function of the Middle Class

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

A Bleak Future?

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

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

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

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

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

Notes from watching a Daniel Dennett Video

The major developments of Life:

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

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

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


    Click for larger version

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


Evolution can build complex organisms without understanding anything.

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

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

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

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

Consciousness is the first intelligent designer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evolution of Language:

3 types of memes

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

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

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

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

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

Another great technology transfer:

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

Hate Groups

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

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

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

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

Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perspective and relativity:

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

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

Abstraction and derivatives:

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

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

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


Many people have a pathological addiction to power:

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

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

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

Core Beliefs of Conservatives

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

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

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

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

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

Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who are We?

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

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

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

How the world is supposed to be!

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

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

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

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

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

Systems Analysis and Me

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

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

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

Some examples of systems include:

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

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

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

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

I am Life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jobs, Inequality, Utopia!

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

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

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

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

Is it Race or Class?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right:

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


Important Issues:

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

They include:

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

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

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

Some examples of these include:

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

Distractions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth Rights:

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

The hallmarks of such a system should be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Somewhat Different Perspective:

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

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

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

A farmer should have many skills such as:

I found that I was also interested in:

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

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

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

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

Mass Shooting:

Oct. 2, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minimalism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does it mean to be a minimalist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reconciliation:

Reconciliation of people with opposing views is unlikely without dialogue.

To get to know another person ask:

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

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

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

A New Look:

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

In relation to these subjects:

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

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

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

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

Social Class

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


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

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

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


Health

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

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


Education and Science and Technology

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

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


Welfare

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


The Role of Government

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

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

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

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

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

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


Property Ownership and the Distribution of Wealth

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

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

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


Overpopulation

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

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

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

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

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


Short term vs. Long term Thinking

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

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

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


Animal Rights

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


The Environment

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


Racism

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

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

Culture Archive:

Our culture consists of over 10,000 years of learning how to do things from the discovery of human control of fire and learning to cook to the invention of the wheel for transportation and the water wheel to harness the power of moving water to writing and printing and computers and the internet and the space station. We have learned a lot about the nature of ourselves and the world we live in.

As we learn new skills and methods some older skills and methods become obsolete and may be in danger of being lost. For instance most people in today's world have never spun wool or plowed a field with an ox powered plow or milked a cow or churned butter or used an abacus or a slide rule or harnessed or rode a horse. Genetic improvement of species of domesticated plants have endangered the genomes of previous genomes which were essential to the agriculture of our ancestors. To preserve these genomes we have established legacy seed banks. Of course, due to the effects of man the rate of extinction of species has accelerated vastly in our lifetimes.

We depend more and more on computers and robots to do physical and mental work for us and, in doing so, we lose many skills that trained scholars and tradesmen had in the past. As self driving vehicles become widespread, few people will be skilled at driving a vehicle.

Of course there will be, and already is, much automation of work requiring rudimentary skills and as time proceeds this will be true of more highly skilled jobs making those skills too obsolete.

I would argue that, in much the same way as seed banks, we need to establish archives of all the knowledge of our culture with methods to preserve and retrieve this information in the future either because it may be needed or because scholars may need it to understand the history of our culture.

In the words of Robert Heinlein's character, Lazarus Long, in "Time Enough For Love":

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, fell a tree, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, plant a crop, cook a tasty meal, survey a land tract, fight efficiently, die gallantly and sew on a button. Specialization is for insects." (and robots)

Beliefs:

Many of the things we are taught in life and accept as true have no basis in fact.

Below are some of the things that we are taught and mostly believe:

Our purpose in life is to work for others who are more powerful than we are.
Maybe our purpose could be to enjoy life and to try to make the world better in some way.

Immigrants are taking our jobs and thus are a threat to us.
Not only is this belief largely false but maybe our jobs should not even be necessary. See the item above.

We must wear clothes.
Why? Many cultures are and have been in the past just fine without any or with very little clothing. Many nudists say the lack of clothes in suitable temperatures is freeing.

Sex must be exclusive between one man and one woman.
In today's world many other arrangements are possible.

Children are traumatized for life if they are exposed to sexual contact.
My grandmother's second husband sometimes reached inside my pants and rubbed my penis when I was five or six years old. I never thought much about it other than that he was a little weird. I certainly never felt traumatized.

We should resist and suppress our sexuality.
Once again, Why?

There is a God and we must serve and obey him.
Not only is there no basis for this belief but it has been debunked many times since the enlightenment.

We live in a world that exists to be exploited by us.
Maybe we should be grateful to live in a world to which we are so well adapted and maybe it is in our best interest to protect it since it is essential to our existence.

Man is a superior form of life and we and our nation or community are a superior form of man.
This is just pure arrogance and vanity.

The world is as we perceive it.
See quantum physics.

The world is a fearful place and we must always be watching for threats to us and our families. We must depend on our leaders to protect us.
This is obviously a tale told by the demagogues for their own purposes.

The natural resources of our world are property to be owned by the more powerful of us and exploited along with the labor of the less powerful to increase the wealth and power of these, our rulers.
This is obviously a tale told by the demagogues for their own purposes.

What if we lived in a world without fear and jealousy in which we all worked to make sure that everyone has food and shelter and health care and access to education. A world in which each felt free to be himself without pressure to conform to the norms of the crowd but with respect for the lives and rights and unique qualities of others. A world in which all felt a duty to protect and appreciate and enjoy the common environment on which we all depend for our existence.

Proof:

"Proof" lyrics by Jordana Greenberg of the
three girl singing group, "Harpeth Rising"
on the album, "Shifted".

There's no reward for good behavior
And there's no such thing as fair.
You can build the highest towers;
There's no answers there.
You'd better love the feeling
Of sweat upon your brow,
Cause that's the only proof you'll get
We're even living now.

It's been a long, cold winter
And you want me to say,
There's a light beyond the tunnel;
There's an end to dark and grey.

But don't wish away your time
Because time is all we've got.
God knows I don't blame you.
We're cut from the same cloth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6l2cUGGEeA

Wisdom of the Crowd:

The classic wisdom-of-the-crowds finding involves point estimation of a continuous quantity. At a 1906 country fair in Plymouth, 800 people participated in a contest to estimate the weight of a slaughtered and dressed ox. Statistician Francis Galton observed that the median guess, 1207 pounds, was accurate within 1% of the true weight of 1198 pounds. This has contributed to the insight in cognitive science that a crowd's individual judgments can be modeled as a probability distribution of responses with the median centered near the true value of the quantity to be estimated.

To some extent democracy as a form of government is based on the idea that, in aggregrate, following the wisdom of the crowd will give better or fairer outcomes than any other system so far imagined.

Guidance to humanity can be found in solutions to perceived economic and political problems offered by progressives. The question is "Can the widespread publication of these solutions cause a slow, or perhaps fast in some cases, change in public attitudes (wisdom of the crowd) in time to solve such problems before anticipated extreme bad outcomes occur and is such public opinion even enough to change policies in the face of lobbying by entrenched special interests and a powerful oligarchy?"

For example, in 2017 even though about 80% of people favored a policy of net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission eliminated this policy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds

Relationships:

We are all a part of the universe from Pluto, the planet or whatever it is, to the horsehead nebula to Alpha Centauri to the smallest microbe or virus to a jellyfish to a lizard to a tree frog to an eagle to a mouse to an elephant to your aunt Betsy.

This is one type of relationship we have. We also have a closer relationship according to how close our DNA matches to another living being. We also have historical relationships in time and space. I have a closer relationship to those things I can see or otherwise sense close to me in space and coexisting with me in time than to things further away. This relationship is also closer if the things near me are close to my size scale as opposed to a microscopic thing or a thing much larger than me such as the milky way galaxy which may be very present and obvious but not something with which I can easily interact.

We have many interlocking circles of relationships, many of them emotional as opposed to physical. Some are both such as those involving love and sex or living together. These include such things as our relationships with pets, school classmates, co-workers, social network friends, neighbors, club members, and family such as spouses, ancestors, descendents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They can also be commercial relationships such as suppliers, competitors, clients, customers, patients, etc.

Families can be monogamous, polyamorous, homosexual, heterosexual, parent- child, adopted child and can even include pets. We can all look on the internet and find our place in a global family tree or in the tree of life.

Relationships can have a beginning and an end although the fact that a relationship has ended does not mean that it never existed. The fact of the relationship becomes a permanent part of the fabric of the universe. I barely remember some of my high school classmates and have not seen them since high school but there will always be a point in time in which we had a relationship however tenuous.

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs:

Persuasion:

The goal of persuasion and media is engagement:

Use data to arouse positive or negative passions.
Negative passions are usually stronger and more permanent then positive passions.
The data does not even have to be true. It can be fictional.
Not all data is factual.

These passions can then cause gradual behavior modification whether that modification is to use a different brand of soap or to become a Nazi or a white extremist or a Mormon or a tree hugger.

Start your argument by assuming certain truths as self evident even though they may not be. Use adjectives and adverbs to slant the meaning of true or false data which is presented as facts. Ignore perspective in making arguments.

Will we immerse ourselves in technology and become zombies consuming and adapting to the world view presented to us by the media we embrace?

Example:

Assume these are facts:

Optimistic view:
Forest fires only burned 100,000 acres this spring.
This is less than was burned last spring and a relatively quick recovery is expected. The fires opened the forest so that new green growth can become established furnishing more food for browsers such as deer.

Pessimistic view:
Forest fires caused a conflagration over 100,000 acres of formerly green growing timber this spring. This was a larger area burned than the average burned over the last ten years. The blackened ground, in many places, stretched as far as the eye could see. The bare ground exposed may be subject to increased erosion and faster runoff when spring rains come.

Another example:

Islamic jihadist terrorists kill Americans and they should be feared by all. A wall must be built so that these people can not attack us. They are certainly much more dangerous than Americans owning guns.

The facts:

Ten year averages:
Americans killed annually by:

The Big Lie:

Our whole culture is a lie based on the idea that there are a few superior people supported by layers of increasingly inferior people and the purpose of the inferior people is to support and enrich the more powerful superior people. Our religions and political systems and economic systems have all evolved to create and support this culture.

The alternative system would be a belief that it is the purpose of all people to support each other; to try to ensure that everyone has the necessities of life: Air to breathe, food and water, shelter and energy, health care, companionship and education as well as freedom to be unique individuals.

Instead we earn the right to live by working for our superiors.

This system is supported by a fabric of lies and fear and pressure to conform rather than by truth, empathy, support and security.

Relationships among people after the neolithic revolution
(development of agriculture and cities):

Social relationships have to do with personal compatibility; intellectually, professionally, sexually and perhaps in other areas.

Economic relationships arise due to commerce and trade.

Political relationships:

What is politics?
Politics is the role of cooperation among peoples to use the common resources of a group of people in ways that can most efficiently provide the most benefits for the group as a whole in areas that would be difficult or impossible for members of the group to accomplish individually.

Questions arrive when considering who are members of the group, what are their political relationships, what are their resources, what are the goals of the group or the benefits to be gained and what is the mix of sacrifice of resources by which members of the group to be used for what degree of benefits to which members? It is obvious that the practice of politics will require some redistribution of resources among group members to gain the goals of the group. The answers to these questions give rise to political differences and thus to political parties. Politics then becomes the struggle among political parties to get the group as a whole to cooperate to the maximum extent possible according to the beliefs of that party.

When this cooperation cannot be agreed on then the whole political group must be disbanded or rearranged in some way so that members of the resulting groups can reach some type of mutually agreeable cooperation by some form of compromise.

What type of benefits for a group are commonly desired from the practice of politics?
(In approximate order of priorities.)

  1. Defense of the group from other groups and from threats of nature.
  2. Safety and order among members of the group from threats and anarchy from within.
  3. Rules and infrastructure to facilitate commerce both within the group and with other groups and entities and to build a strong economic structure.
  4. Access to education for members of the group.
  5. Health care for members of the group.
  6. Cooperation to assure life to members of the group by provision of food and shelter for all.

Members of a political group are usually people who live in a defined geographical area but such groups could be defined in other ways. Besides defining the group, members must also determine the process under which additional people can be admitted to the group and the requirements for admission and the process by which people can be ejected from the group and under what circumstances. There may also be a process under which different people may have different degrees of membership. For instance, convicted felons or minors or women may not be allowed to vote. Members of certain social or economic classes may have political or economic or social advantages over members of other social or economic classes.

Resources of the members of a group which may be allocated to the government formed by the group may include their labor, their wealth or possessions, land or other natural resources owned or claimed by members of the group or by the group as a whole and economic entities formed by the group.

Usually differences in political parties are due to the extent to which they believe common resources should be allocated to use by government and, when allocated to government, how they should be used to provide various benefits. Often conservatives believe that only the first three benefits listed above are a proper function of government and libertarians only support the first two benefits on the list while progressives support more or all benefits on the list.

Other differences in the views of political parties arise due to questions of the extent to which the group as a whole should regulate the lives of individual members. Generally governments exert control by means of a set of laws specifying what members of the group are required to do or are prohibited from doing along with penalities for violations.

Sammi Smith – Help Me Make It Through The Night

Take the ribbon from my hair
Shake it loose and let it fall
Lay it soft upon my skin
Like the shadows on the wall.

Come and lay down by my side
Til the early mornin' light
All I'm takin' is your time
Help me make it through the night.

Chorus:
I don't care what's right or wrong
I won't try to understand
Let the devil take tomorrow
But tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone
And tomorrow's out of sight
And it's sad to be alone
Help me make it through the night.

(Repeat Chorus)
Songwriter: Kris Kristofferson

“As we have discovered, thoughts and prayers generally don’t protect you from gunfire,” said Delaney Tarr, senior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, where a former student gunned down 17 classmates and staff.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952. Written 1927.


Quotations from Thomas Paine:
Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not 
the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the 
community a ground rent for the land which he holds. 

The earth, in its natural, uncultivated state was, and ever would have 
continued to be, the common property of the human race." As the land gets 
cultivated, "it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth 
itself, that is in individual property. Every proprietor, therefore, of 
cultivated lands, owes to the community a ground-rent..to every person, rich 
or poor...because it is in lieu of the natural inheritance, which, as a right, 
belongs to every man, over and above the property he may have created, or 
inherited from those who did.

Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by 
human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed 
monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has 
dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural 
inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an 
indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty 
and wretchedness that did not exist before. 

See Agrarian Justice


We should not be required to work for others to justify our existence.

Some people feel that they have a right to dominate others because they are superior beings.

Some other people accept this premise without question and think that they are to be dominated and do not rise up in revolt against this arrogance.

When you meet another, rather than asking "What do you do?", ask "What gives your life meaning?" This should be the way to identify a life.


How do we perceive our identity?
Is it:


As a part of the universe and a unit of humanity I am responsible to do my best to see that all others have the necessities of life including food, shelter, medical care and access to education. I am also entitled to these necessities for myself and my family to be provided by the rest of humanity without qualification.
Sam left in sorrow about her fate after Jill told him she had an incurable fatal disease. On his way home he was killed in an automobile accident. Think about it.

Sports and Prayer

Suppose a game of sports is played. Assume there are two teams and one team is expected to win and the other to lose the game.

Assume that there are a number of fans and that some fans support one of the two teams and some support the other.

Assume that, of the fans, several are religious and that they are of a religion that teaches them to pray and to believe in the power of prayer.

In these circumstances it is reasonable to believe that as the game progresses some of these fans, besides cheering for their team, will pray for their team to win.

So, if you believe in the power of prayer, when the game is over did the best team win or was the game influenced by the prayers of the fans?

If the game was influenced by the prayers of the fans, is it that the winning team had more prayers in its favor or was the winning team the team with the most devout fans?

Suppose that one religious fan was unable to watch the game but instead had a friend record the game so that he could watch it later. When he is watching the recorded game later and he becomes excited and fearful about the outcome, should he pray for the outcome he desires? If he does can that prayer decide the game?

Can this discussion cause one who believes in the power of prayer to question his belief?


Kids born in 2018 will probably never experience:
We could live in a world where everyone was entitled to and was given access to basic needs including food, shelter, healthcare and education. This would be a world in which one could have anything he wanted above his and his family's basic needs to the extent that he had contributed to his community or his species enough to afford his wants. His contributions would be recorded in a blockchain which would keep track of the net worth of the contributions of each person and of their purchases by use of a cryptocurrency.
There's dancing and kissing and laughter in the hall.
Ain't that why we're here, after all?

There's cornbread and pinto beans and taters.
Send sis out to the garden for a few more ripe t'maters.

Bellies full, sitting by the fire.
Soon Uncle Joe's a snoring.

Upstairs in the bedroom atop neighbor Dan,
Happily, cousin Lulu's a whoring.


According to Ray Kurzweil in discussing the coming singularity:

Immortality may be achieved by advances in:

By the year 2021 expect:

Crazy ideas people believe:
(Crazy because they are obviously untrue.)

The sun rises each morning to light the world.
The sun only appears to rise due to the rotation of the Earth.
The grass grows to give feed to the livestock.
Herbivores evolved to eat grass because it was available in the environment, having evolved first.
Giraffes evolved long necks to reach the leaves of tall trees
Giraffes evolved long necks in response to the existence of leaves on tall trees.
Organisms have a goal to survive.
Organisms which exist do so only because their ancestors all survived, at least long enough to procreate.
There is a way that we are supposed to behave.
There is no way we are supposed to behave but our existence does create an imprint on the universe and we probably would like to behave in a way that might make us feel proud of that imprint.
There is a God or Gods. Everything happens for a reason.
We live in a world of random patterns which is evolving.
The Bible or other holy book is true and is a guide to life.
The best guide to life is education, free thought and perhaps some buddhist precepts.
The poor are poor because they want to be poor or because they are lazy or because they deserve to be poor.
Poor people are created by a system of capitalism, property, money and greed into which they were born.
Cutting taxes decreases deficits.
Cutting taxes increases government deficits undercutting efforts to provide services for the governed and opportunities for graft for the corrupt.
People who do not work deserve to starve.
All people have a right to access to the necessities of life.
People should love their country because it is their country.
People should love their family, nature, friends and the things that give meaning to their life.
Strangers at your door or on TV or politicians want to help you.
People who are not your friends or family are more likely to do things to help themselves than to help you, often at your expense.
Doctors know magic to cure you.
Some doctors are competent. Some are not. 50% finished in the bottom half of their class. This also applies to other professions and occupations. People are more likely to serve you due to greed than to altruism.
The rich deserve their wealth.
People who are stronger, smarter, prettier, more productive or more highly skilled or more charismatic deserve more of the rewards of the economic system than others but only within reasonable limits.
Vaccines, microwaves, automobiles and wifi are harmful.
The benefits of vaccines, microwaves, automobiles and wifi far exceed their dangers, if any.
Prayers are worthwhile.
Prayers only make the believer feel better. Prayers have been shown to be ineffectual in preventing mass shootings.
People unlike ourselves are to be feared.
People unlike ourselves are actually very much like us.
More Americans are in prison than in other nations due to rampant crime.
More Americans are in prison because politicians promote prisons by claiming rampant crime to scare voters and then pass laws to put more people in prison to profit the prison industry.
Nudity is nasty.
Nudity is beautiful as is all of nature.
Sex must be exclusive between one man and one woman. We should resist and suppress our sexuality.
Our sexuality should be celebrated in all its variety.
We live in a world that exists to be exploited by us.
We live in a world which is essential to our life and therefore should be appreciated and protected by us.
The world is as we perceive it.
The nature of our world is a mystery behind a curtain but the methods of science can be used to make the curtain a little more transparent.

Killing:

There can be several reasons for taking the life of another animal including that of one of your own species.

One reason is food. We are evolved to be omnivorous which means that we support our lives by eating other living beings both plant and animal. Therefore we sometimes kill for this purpose.

One reason is safety. We sometimes feel threatened by other people or animals. Sometimes this fear is justified, sometimes not. But, in either case, one way to ease our fears is simply to kill before being killed. This may indeed be self defense. This is also often the justification for war between groups of people and for genocide.

Other reasons are revenge for a wrong that we perceive was done to us by the other or economic gain as in selling animals for their fur or their meat or killing a business rival to eliminate competition or to steal their wealth.

Another unfortunate aspect of human behavior is that we often are willing to kill other beings for sport and pleasure and entertainment. This includes such activities as sport hunting, Roman gladiator contests, lynching of blacks in the American south, and mass shootings. These events are said to give pleasure to the killer and, in some cases, to the spectators watching the event.

I, and some others, may have a defect in our human character if we are unable to take pleasure from the power to kill or the power to watch death being dealt.

One could reasonably argue from the above discussion that it is not the act of killing that is wrong but the motivation for the killing.

A vegan would argue that killing for food for ourselves or our family is wrong. Most people would not.

Very few would argue that killing in self defense is wrong although, in some cases, many might question whether the threat was great enough to justify the killing.

Most would probably feel that, in most cases, killing for economic reasons is unjustified.

Most would say that killing for revenge accomplishes no useful purpose unless the purpose is to deter others from repeating the wrong that was the cause of the killing.

I would argue that those who can justify, in their own minds, killing for pleasure and entertainment must be depraved individuals but there are many such in this world.

Problems people have interpreting data:


The top five global risks we should worry about:

The first three have happened in the past and the last two are happening now.

Perspective - Essay 3

Study the pictures here!

The point is that either by coming closer or by backing off you can change your perspective on the world or of your life.

I think it is important that to understand a thing one must be able to observe it from different perspectives; to go closer and examine it close-up and to back off and look at it in context. I also believe that too many people think they understand something without doing this.

It is also necessary to realize that no matter how close you get to the object of your study or how far away, it is always possible to look closer or from further away and, thus, to get even different perspectives. A valid question is the question of whether there is any limit to how close or how far back it is possible to get and whether the value of the resulting change in perspective is worth the effort.

For other examples of this watch fractal videos on YouTube.

Another perspective of study is to be able to understand the history of your subject from the past and to try to be able to project how it may be changing to exist in the future. A third way to look at your subject is in its relationships to other things that exist in its space with it or did in the past or may in the future.


Links to my writings on perspective:
Examples:

A place - first example above.

A thing - an apple or a person - discuss

An event - The Civil war from the effect of a missing horseshoe nail to its place in world history.


To understand the object of our study, we must answer these questions.

What is it? Components and forces and patterns.

How did it come to be? Was it made to have a purpose?

What is its function or its effect on the world around it?

What is its future?

World Views and Fake News

During a person's life his brain develops neural pathways which determine such things as his personality, his pattern recognition ability and other parameters of his intelligence. This development is very rapid at first beginning just three weeks after conception and then slows down with perhaps 50% of it done by age 3, 75% by age 10 or 12, 90% by age 20 and 95% by age 30. This is the period of his life when he develops beliefs about how to live his life to prevent things which might hurt him. He learns not to touch a hot stove, not to fall from high places, to swim or avoid water, to brush his teeth each day, to eat fruits and vegetables, to get exercise and how he prefers to get it and other physical things. He might also develop beliefs that he is a sinner and a fear of hell or that he is a Democrat or a Republican or a Catholic or a Jew or a Muslim. He may develop the belief that he should not step on a crack in the sidewalk or that strangers are out to harm him or that he will live longer if he visits a doctor regularly or if he eats an apple daily. He will also develop skills like how to drive a car or how to hit a baseball or how to type or how to cook or to clean or whatever. And he will develop preferences about what types of things he likes to do in life and those he dislikes and will settle in to a lifestyle and perhaps a job or profession and to types of social relationships.

Many habits he develops will not be the most efficient and many of his beliefs will not be based on fact but instead on a fantasy that he has learned from others. However, as he ages, these brain patterns will become hardened and will be increasingly hard to change even if he later learns that they are incorrect or that there are better ways of doing things or better ways to live his life. The world view that he develops will become very important to him as defining who he is and he will very vigorously resist any information which might get him to question or change his world view or his ingrained habits.

This development is influenced by the person's DNA, his environment and random occurrences that happen in his life.

As a child we develop a world view as our brains and personalities develop. This world view is based on influences from our physical and our economic environment and the social influences in our lives. This means we usually have a world view that is much like that of others around us and that we think of ourselves as part of a group such as a family or a community or a religion or a nation or combinations of these and other such groups.

It would seem to me that as we have aged enough and developed a world view which has began to harden in our minds, the test of the validity of such a world view would be its consistency. We know that our minds are capable of holding beliefs which contradict each other at the same time. However, I would think that the contradictions themselves would raise, at least some, doubts about their validity.

Anyway, what happens to our now pretty much hardened world view when we are presented with new information which is inconsistent with the world view we hold?

I think we have three choices:

  1. We can deny that the new information is factual.
  2. We can accept the new information as an alternate fact and introduce more inconsistency into our world view.
  3. We can change our world view to be more consistent with the new information.

A liberal, free thinker, or a scientist will want to reduce inconsistencies in his world view as much as possible and thus the only acceptable alternative for him is the third one above.

A conservative, religious, or stubborn dogmatist will be more likely to resolve the quandary by one of the first two alternatives.

Our world view may be that we are insignificant short lived beings in a huge complex universe and that time extends before we existed into a distant and unknown past and into a distant and unknown future that will exist after we are gone.

Our response to this situation may be that we should be altruistic and try to make our world a better place as much as possible in respect to those who came before us and for the benefit of those who come after us including our descendents.

Another response may be that we should get all we can for ourselves in terms of material goods, pleasure, and wealth while we have the chance and thus should be selfish and greedy.

A third response may be simply to be curious and to want to spend our life studying and refining our world view and making it as expansive and as consistent as possible in hopes of obtaining wisdom.

We also want to validate our world view as much as possible by being around or seeking out others with a similar world view or we try to convince others of the validity of our world view. This is the basis of evangelism.

This may also be the reason that we tend to hate or fear or attack others with world views very different than ours. We feel that they are a threat to our world and to the validity of our world view. The Catholic missionaries in Mexico told the indians they found there during the exploration of North America, "Become Christians or we will kill you!"

I tend to write short essays on subjects of my present interest and to repeat those essays later from a somewhat different perspective to refine my ideas both for myself and for any others who might be interested if there are any such. This probably indicates that my response to my perception of the emphemeral nature of life is to be curious and to attempt to attain wisdom.

I've come far and, I hope, I have far yet to go, but I feel I may be fast approaching the short rows.

Below are my thoughts on a few issues that are presently in the news in light of this discussion of world views:


Migration

Many people hate and fear migrants who are defined as people who are, in some way, unlike us or unknown to us coming to live among us. Obviously people who feel this way are insecure in the validity of their world view and thus feel threatened by these "others". They think that those who have a more welcoming and accepting world view are gullible innocents.

These anti migrant people will often attack, rape, kill and maim migrants. Such is their fear of and insecurity in the face of tolerance of others.


Welfare

Some people feel an obligation to help others. They have a belief that it is the purpose of all people to support each other; to try to ensure that everyone has the necessities of life: Air to breathe, food and water, shelter and energy, health care, companionship and education as well as freedom to be unique individuals.

Other people have a zero sum world view. They seem to think that anything that anyone else has subtracts from their wealth and benefits and resources and happiness, so that they will have more in life to the extent that others have less. Therefore they oppose common efforts to provide for the less fortunate in terms of the necessities of life. In doing so they tend to justify their position by demonizing those others and saying that they are, for some reason, undeserving of help.


Exceptionalism and Chosen People

Some people believe that the group of which they are a part is exceptional and chosen by God or the Universe to be more deserving of the good things of life than any others.

The most obvious example of this is those who use the phrase "American Exceptionalism" and "America First" and seem to think that their nation is the best nation and destined to dominate the world. These people will not accept the fact that of all the major industrialized nations of the world, America has the lowest life expectancy, most health problems and highest poverty rate.


Climate Change

It is the conclusion of scientists that the actions of humans are causing climate change on the Earth, sometimes called global warming.

Some people deny that this is so, probably because they are afraid that if they admit its truth they will be pressured to make sacrifices in their lives for the benefit of the Earth and of future generations. Their world view is that their present wealth is more important than whatever may happen to the world and mankind after they are gone.


Wealth inequality

Some people have a world view that extremes of wealth inequality are immoral. Other people think that they are the ones chosen to possess most of the world's resources and there should be no limits on how much they can own or control.


Click on this link to a World View essay

Economic History of America
(Years are approximate)

Life Questions:

At this stage in life I consider myself a writer. I am pretty much unpublished except for all my web pages. I write mostly for my own satisfaction. Anyway, I am always looking for ideas of subjects that I might want to write about. I am interested in the lives of others.

Below are a set of questions about your life. If you are like me you might want to tell someone about your life. If you do, I promise to read your answers in hopes that I will find inspiration in the lives of some of the people who might answer these questions.

I know that these questions are open-ended and somewhat vague. That is on purpose so that you will give your own answers and not try to look for any "right" answers. The only "right" answer is what you think it is. I am particularly interested in answers from people who are more than 50 years old, although, anyone is welcome to answer.

Answer in an email to duane@kyphilom.com.

Our Mortality:

At some point we, or at least most of us, become aware of our own mortality. Then the question becomes how to spend our limited time alive in light of limited resources.

These resources include:

Our response to this awareness can be to become:

The altruist tries to convince others to think about the condition and future of the world and to endeavor to improve conditions for themselves and their progeny. This mainly includes protection of the environment and more equality and caring relationships among humans and even animals.

This is a threat to the greedy egoist who wants to exploit the environment and natural resources and other living things as well as other people for their own ego regardless of their detrimental effects on others or on the world.

The most effective recourse for the greedy egoist is to mount campaigns to distract others from the message of the altruist. The idea is convince others to concentrate their energies on more superficial things such as:

They raise issues to deflect public attention such as:

Some Christians Visit:

A car full of people pulled up to my front door and as I opened the door to greet them two women got out of the back seat. One was a middle aged white woman and following her to the door was an older black woman.

"Can I help you?"

"We would like to talk to you about the Bible if you have a little time."

"So you're selling religion then. I thought it might be insurance. I have a couple of minutes."

"Have you read the Bible?"

"Actually, I read it through twice."

She said, "What did you think about it?"

"I thought it was mostly a bunch of foolish superstition, but included some good literature."

She 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."

She asked me, "What do you believe then?"

"Well, I only believe in facts that I can see and experience and can find evidence for. I do not believe in anything based on someone else telling me that it is true without convincing me by providing facts and evidence. If anything, I am closer to a Zen Buddhist than other religions. Do you know what that is?"

"No, I am not familar with that religion."

"Well, one difference between me and you is that I can be a Zen Buddhist with absolutely no desire to try to convince you to be a Zen Buddhist and I would never be arrogant enough to come to your home to try to get you to believe as I do rather than whatever you already believe."

"But my God tells me to go into the world and preach his gospel."

"Do you realize that the Bible you believe in was only known in a very small portion of the world for hundreds of years? If God wanted the whole world to know his truth, why didn't most of the world know anything about it until people like you came to tell them. Could not God have told all the world about his Bible two or three thousand years ago rather than letting them make up their own stories for all those years."

"Well God had to plant a seed and let his truth slowly grow to cover the world and that took time."

"So, is God a plant?"

"No." She looked confused.

"Well you answered my question about what God could do by describing the life of a plant. How does that have anything to do with the answer to my question?"

I continued, "Let me ask you a question. Did you ever study the Muslim religion?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because I found what I believed without it."

"What do you know about the Hindu religion?"

"Well, I think they believe in a number of Gods."

"Do you know that there are many religions who believe in many Gods and even many branches of Christianity?"

"Yes, I understand that but I believe in my religion."

"So, if other people and religions believe in maybe 400 gods, how many of those would you believe exist?"

"Only one."

"So you feel that belief in those other 399 gods are false or mistaken."

"Yes."

"I agree with you. I believe that too. The only difference between me and you is I just believe in one less God than you do."

I asked her, "Where were you born?

"Bowling Green Kentucky."

"And how did you come to believe in the religion you do?"

"Well, I met a woman who explained to me and showed me in the Bible that this was the true religion."

"Do you realize that, if you had been born in Pakistan, you probably would now be a Muslim and would be explaining to me how that was the only true religion?"

"Yes, I understand that."

She seemed resigned. "Well, I do not seem to be able to convince you. Would you read my pamplet? She held out a magazine called 'Watchtower'."

"No, I am not interested in reading it and it would be a waste of your magazine to give it to me."

"Then could I get you to go our website at JW.org and see our message there?"

"I'll tell you what I will do. I will reflect on what you have said to me if you will promise to do the same for me and think about the questions I have asked you and the things I have told you."

"Ok. I can do that."

And with that they took their leave of me.

Future Scenarios:

It seems to me that there are two possibilities for the future of humanity and of life on Earth:
  1. The emergence of humanity by the process of evolution on Earth and of the culture of today's world, including the arts and technology, is an unlikely event and the fact that it has occurred means that, although it seems equally unlikely, it can continue to evolve simply because the process has worked to produce this result (today's world) up to now. Of course this raises the question of whether today's world is the best possible or whether a better outcome would have been produced by some tweaks to the process. It also raises the question of what would be the nature of a future world evolved by this process?
  2. The process that produced today's world has reached a tipping point and everything that we consider progress goes downhill from here. That includes increases in the following:

The real question is, if things do go downhill, will this lead to extinction of all species of life on Earth, including humanity, or simply a degradation of life on earth with the possibility of future recovery in some form?

A viking, due to the fatalism of Norse mythology, would expect the second scenario above with an undesirable future for the world.

A Zen Buddhist, on the other hand, would say that it doesn't matter because all we really have is the present and it is much more important to appreciate what is than to be anxious about what might be.


Possibilities in the future (50 years or less).

Debate:

There are a number of questions in human affairs such as:

In many cases there are arguments for more than one answer to such a question and often there are interest groups who advocate different approaches. In our society issues are often obfuscated due to public relations efforts by various groups which are not based on facts and scientific methods, but instead appeal to emotions and alternate facts.

Our culture depends on a court of law to get at the relevant facts in legal questions and to arrive at the most likely correct conclusion. This is a proposal for a similar process to answer other questions in society. It is based on the use of two talking sticks and a judge to settle a debate.

The first step is to agree on the language of a question to be submitted to debate by a group of two to twelve people. Then the various interest groups involved in the question must be identified and each group asked to send a representative for their point of view to the debate to be held at an announced time and place. These representatives must then agree on a person that they consider impartial to be a judge in the ensuing debate.

The debate is held with all the participants seated around a table in a meeting room. The judge has placed a black question talking stick and a white answering talking stick on the table. The first participant to arrive takes these sticks and places them on the table in front of his seat. If there are more than two participants in the debate, participants are seated at positions chosen by a random process.

Once all participants are seated the debate begins. The judge states the question being debated. The participant with the black questioning stick then makes a statement or asks a specific detailed question pertaining to the debate question. He passes the white answering stick to the person to his left. That person must then either comment on the statement made by the questioner or provide an answer to his question. The judge is responsible to make notes on all that is said and to ensure that the response is relevant to the statement made by the questioner or an answer to his question. When the person with the white stick has finished speaking, he passes the white stick to the person to his left. When the white stick has passed around the table and returned to the person with the black stick then that person passes both sticks to the person to his left and the process begins again.

Any participant with the black stick can pass his turn without comment and pass both sticks to the person to his left. If the sticks are passed all the way around the table without comment then the debate is over. No speaking is allowed by any participant who does not have the white talking stick.

Once debate is over it is the responsibility of the judge with use of his notes to write a report which every participant will agree to and sign and will be the answer of those participanting in the debate to the original debate question. During this process the judge has both the black and the white sticks and he can ask questions and pass the white stick around the table to get answers as needed to complete his report.

Hopefully, this report will be a statement of what parts of the question answers are mostly in agreement by the participants and of what any remaining disagreements are and how strongly the disagreements are held by the disagreeing participants. It may also include recommendations as to how these disagreements can be resolved.

Attachments:

Attachment to things prevent us fully living due to fear of losing them.
These include: We can live once we accept danger and death. We know that we will eventually lose all the things above. If we can live, not in fear of that fact, but in acceptance of it then our lives can be much freer and happier.
In the fabric of existence, which is the essence of our world, each individual's life occupies a limited time and space and effect on that fabric. Subjectively, we can consider these effects to be good or bad. But what would be the basis for our judgement? The best basis I can find is to consider the overall effect of that life on a scale of how much the life increases or decreases complexity in the universe and/or happiness overall of living beings. It is sure that each life will have some good and some bad effects and also that for most lives the overall good or bad effects would probably not be very significant. However, some lives would be said to be more significant than most either in increasing or decreasing complexity and happiness. For example, Aretha Franklin who recently passed away, is considered by about everyone to have made the universe better both in the complexity of the music she created and in the happiness she brought to people by doing so. On the other hand someone like Adolph Hitler, quite obviously, decreased happiness to such an extent that the overall effect of his existence was significant in negative ways on the universe.
Over population is an environmental stressor which can cause social and mental and physical dysfunction within the population which, in turn, tends to reduce or destroy populations.
The whole universe can be found in a grain of sand. If this is true, then what does that imply about the multiverse and what does it imply about the importance of perspective of scale for understanding our world?

The End:

Capitalism’s Final Solution Is Nothing Less than Complete Ecological Collapse

We probably can now foresee, within the next 20 to 40 years, the last days of Homo sapiens.

If we are not destroyed by nature as in asteroids hitting Earth or global epidemics or some similar natural catastrophe and we do not destroy ourselves by a nuclear or ecological event which we caused, the pace of technological developments will lead to our replacement by completely different beings; genetically, cyborgs, or robots or some combination thereof; who possess, not only different physiques, but are also different cognitively and emotionally than ourselves.

Equality:

All men are created equal. What does that mean?

Obviously some people are more attactive to others than other people.
Some people are smarter or more skilled than others.
Some people have better personalities or are more charismatic than others.
Some people are physically stronger or healthier than others.

These and other similar characteristics will probably give some people a leg up in life over others.

However, at birth, these qualities are not yet obvious and the idea of equal creation means that we do not accept the idea that some people are superior or inferior to others simply because of the circumstances of their birth in terms of the place where they are born or the identity of their parents. Rather, people are to be accorded more respect in society only after they have done things to prove that this respect is deserved or the converse. This is also an argument against inherited wealth giving people, at birth, advantages over other people.

Although it is generally felt that a person should be able to pass their wealth on to their children to give them an advantage in life most people also feel that it is unfair for the newborn to have this advantage. This is a conundrum. It is often expressed by forms of expression such as "Born with a silver spoon in his mouth." or "Born on third base and went through life thinking he hit a triple."

Most would probably agree that small or moderate inheritances make sense but inheritances large enough to give one huge advantages over many others are unfair in that they would perpetuate class inequalities.

Interests:

I have said that I am a systems analyst who likes to look at the big picture in history, science, philosophy, wealth inequality, climate change, etc.

I have also claimed that I am a Zen Buddhist experiencing the here and now ignoring the subjects above.

An NPR reporter asked a young man, "What do you think of the political situation and are you going to vote in the upcoming election?"

He answered, "I'm a gamer dude, so I'm not interested in and know nothing about things like that."

Essentially he wasn't interested in and knew nothing about the type of things that were of primary and all-consuming interest to me.

I was shocked.

Then I thought about it and realized that maybe he is a better Zen Buddhist than I am.

Assumptions:

Here are the assumptions that almost everyone in my community believes about me and, indeed, about everyone in our community.

We are religious, specifically Christian.

We are patriotic.

We are Republicans.

We want material goods of all kinds.

We are basically workers and consumers, not thinkers.

We are fearful for our health.

We are fearful of those unlike us.

We are afraid of death.

The major issues that concern us are those that we see on TV as major issues and that we are all agreed on those issues.

We are conformists.

Maybe I can be an agnostic, independent, free thinking world citizen who can appeciate life in the moment without attachment to material things and without fear for the future or of being harmed by strangers. Maybe I can also think that the ideas that others have been taught are major issues in their lives are not all that important but maybe some other issues, usually unmentioned by the main news media, are more important.

One interesting thing is that these people believe what they have been taught so completely that they cannot conceive that there could be alternatives and they can not understand that others could logically believe or live differently.

Control:

Worldwide and in the United States the majority of people are ignorant and unimaginative. The arrogant greedy are able to leverage the human genetic tendency to fear and/or hate those unlike themselves to con the ignorant majority to keep the greedy in power so that they can increase their wealth and power at the expense of the disadvantaged.

The privileged think they are entitled to their position and what they have and can get and are unaccountable for their excesses.

Politically in the United States the New Deal of compromise between the Democrats and the Republicans of help for the working and lower classes began to be unraveled by Nixon's southern strategy appealing to racial division and was further rolled back by the Reagan Administration.

The Republicans had never liked this arrangement forced on them by Roosevelt but did not have the power to begin to reverse it until 1980. In the 1990's, Tom Delay in the House of Representatives espoused a long range policy of retaining Republican control of Congress by a combination of gerrymandering voting districts and suppression of minority voting. Both of these required Republican control of a majority of state governments which Republicans got in the election of 2010 as a backlash against the election of the first black president, Barack Obama.

Also in the House of Representatives in the 1990's Newt Gingrich gained control of the body. His philosophy was that the goal of the party should not be to compromise and cooperate with the Democrats to pass legislation, but to resist all the other party's efforts to govern with the only goal complete Republican control of government. He limited the amount of time Republicans spent legislating to a three day work week with the idea that the Republican legislator's time was more effectively used raising funds for the next election to ensure that they remained in power rather than actually trying to run the government. This was the beginning of the divided government which plagued the nation then and into the new century.

Gingrich also thought that the way to win elections was not to debate policy but to make up personal attacks on leaders of the other party to engender a personal dislike or hatred of those leaders in as many people as possible and then to associate all the other candidates of that party with the besmirched leaders.

Big Rock Candy Mountain:

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fire was burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Beside the crystal fountains
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The wind don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railroad bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey, too
You can paddle all around 'em
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws or picks,
I'ma goin' to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the Jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
I'll see you all this coming Fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains"

Songwriters: Harry Mcclintock / Sterling Sherwin

Cockaigne or Cockayne is a land of plenty in medieval myth, an imaginary place 
of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always 
immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not 
exist. Specifically, in poems like The Land of Cockaigne, it is a land of 
contraries, where all the restrictions of society are defied (abbots beaten by 
their monks), sexual liberty is open (nuns flipped over to show their 
bottoms), and food is plentiful (skies that rain cheeses). Writing about 
Cockaigne was a commonplace of Goliard verse. It represented both wish 
fulfillment and resentment at the strictures of asceticism and death. 

According to Herman Pleij, Dreaming of Cockaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the 
Perfect Life (2001): 

roasted pigs wander about with knives in their backs to make carving easy, 
where grilled geese fly directly into one's mouth, where cooked fish jump out 
of the water and land at one's feet. The weather is always mild, the wine 
flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth. 

Importance:

There are things that are important in life.

Other things are not so important.

For some reason most people cannot tell the difference.

They give undue importance and are concerned about things that the mass media or their peers tell them are important without reasoning the matter out for themselves.

Life Lines:

The universe consists of the sum of all the things in it including the lifelines of things that exist. So part of the fabric of the universe is the lifeline of a slug. Another part is the lifeline of me. One question this raises has to do with the relative significance of the parts that make up the universe. Is my lifeline actually any more important than the lifeline of the slug or the lifeline of the Earth which contains the lifelines of both me and the slug?

Is any piece of a jigsaw puzzle more important than any other or is it simply that every piece is necessary to make up the whole puzzle?

Consider these questions in the context of the "many worlds" theory.

My opinion of the medical profession:

Half of practicing physicians finished in the bottom 50% of their class in medical school.

However, most of them excelled in the class, Arrogance 101.

About 75% of them are more interested in the health of their financial portfolio than in the health of their patients.

Most of them studied so hard that they had little time to learn things other than medicine and they know quite a bit about medicine. The problem is that many of them think that the fact they graduated medical school also makes them experts in most other subjects such as technology and business and agriculture.

"And some," as Donald Trump so famously said, "I assume, are good people."

Dissatisfied where you live?

If you don't like the way things are where you live then you can try to change them or you can go to another place.

If you try to change things then you may make that place unsuitable for others who are happy with the way things are.

Those people would encourage you to leave rather than change things.

Cathedral Thinking:

Some people can use 'cathedral thinking' which refers to medieval times when stonemasons and architects had to plan across a generation or more to get something as grand as a cathedral built. Us foresters use a similar type of thinking when we plant trees so that our grand children may be able to sit in the shade or build a house.

Evolution and Inequality:

Evolution seems to have favored inequality and a favored upper class. This may be unfair but evolution is not necessarily a fair process. It is a process to ensure the survival of DNA patterns. This would indicate that survival is better assured by a few very powerful people served by a large lower class than by great numbers of weaker people more equal in power. Discuss this idea!

Understanding:

To try to understand a subject ask three whys in a row and that may lead to the question "what for?".

Describe Myself:

Words I would use or not use to describe myself: 
(should be nouns or adjectives) Use: Not Use: Systems Analyst Religious Existentialist Republican Biologist Hunter programmer Fisherman Farmer Forester Thinker Philosopher Scientist Historian Husband Father Democratic Socialist Mathematician Generalist

Skills:

What does nature tell me and what do I know and what skills do I have that might be of interest to my descendents?
Topography and water flow 
Clouds and weather 
Vegetation 
        trees 
        shrubs 
        flowers 
        herbaceous vegetation 
        fungi 
Microbiomes and niches 
Animals 
Rocks and soils 
Stars and sun and moon 
Seasons 

Trumpies:

Voters of our fine county.

I am running for office.

My opponent is honest, hardworking, selfless, intelligent and dedicated to making our community better. We know this is true because he admits it in his political advertisements.

I, on the other hand, am just the opposite. I lie at least six times per day and spend my time playing golf, watching TV, whining and insulting people on social media and grabbing pussies. I don't much know what's going on and will dedicate myself to increasing my fortune. I also have a huge ego.

So, if you are a loyal supporter of Donald Trump, the choice is, for you, a no-brainer. You will vote for me because I am more like our hero, Trump, than my opponent can ever be.

I am sure I will win the election since 82% of you voted for Trump in the last presidential election, I know I am just the kind of candidate you appreciate.

The Dawn of Human Culture by Richard G. Klein

Some fifty thousand years ago Homo sapiens, the newest branch of a long and varied tree of evolved apes, suddenly developed a remarkable range of new talents. These people-whose primitive stone culture had previously been little different from that of their ancestors-began painting. They invented music and the instruments to play it. They fashioned jewelry and clothing, created fishing poles and tackle as well as bows and arrows, constructed the oldest substantial houses, and buried their dead with ritual and ceremony. This creative explosion, occurring over such a remarkably short period, has been called the "big bang" of human culture.

It was the fourth in a series of punctuated events that have marked the history of human evolution. The first occurred between seven and five million years ago when a group of African apes, in response to shrinking forests and expanding open savannas, began to walk upright. These are the bipedal apes of which Lucy and her kin are the most famous. The next occurred about two and a half million years ago, again during a time of global climatic change resulting in major environmental disruption, when the first stone-tool makers emerged. The third occurred about 1.8 million years ago when humans developed modern body proportions and colonized largely treeless environments for the first time.

Finally, about 50 K years ago, there is a revolutionary qualitative change in Homo Sapiens that no one can explain: they migrated out of Africa, began to quickly innovate with tools and hunting techniques; their populations exploded; eventually they even reached the Americas. They became the dominant predators, a force of geological impact as apparently they wiped out most species of large mammals wherever they went and even transformed the ecology of entire continents with the advent of agriculture; they had art, jewelry, ever improving projectile weapons, and extremely varied adaptability. About 10 K years ago, they began to differentiate into the races we see today, with the language roots we recognize today.

Now, according to the title, the book purports to explain this revolution. As many reviewers have noted, this occurs only in the last 3 pages of the book, and it is completely speculative, based on logic rather than evidence (which they acknowledge openly). They believe there was a mutation in the organization of the brain that enabled the Cro-Magnons to become fully verbal in their communication, allowing them to reason symbolically and share their ideas quickly, which gave them the edge to survive via communal action. This is extremely disappointing. I mean, you could also argue that they discovered something new to eat as the cause or that they mated with aliens as von Daniken speculated in a 1989 edited volume entitled The Human Revolution, edited by archaeologist Paul Mellars and palaeontologist Chris Stringer. In this early version, the rapid process of change was identified as the so- called 'Upper Palaeolithic Revolution' which occurred in Ice Age Europe around 40,000 years ago, resulting in the displacement of the local Neanderthals by anatomically modern Homo sapiens, with their sophisticated ivory tools, carved figurines and cave paintings.[1] More recently, archaeologists have come to realise that if we can speak of a 'human revolution' at all, it happened tens of thousands of years earlier, in sub-Saharan Africa rather than Europe. This means that the revolution was inseparable from the emergence of modern Homo sapiens in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago

David Frum - The Atlantic

Integral to the liberal project, again in the broad sense of the word liberal, is confidence in the power of reason. Words and arguments can overbear ignorance and prejudice. Over the long term, words and arguments can even overcome oppression and violence. That’s why liberals in the broad sense are so uniquely horrified by official lying: How can reason prevail unless words connect to reality? How can we argue against people who will spread fictions, if serviceable to them, without a qualm?

Illiberals and anti-liberals, on the other hand, appreciate the dark energy of human irrationality—not merely as a fact of our nature to be negotiated, but as a potent political resource. People do not think; they feel. They do not believe what is true; they regard as true that which they wish to believe. A lie that affirms us will gain more credence than a truth that challenges us.

Linear vs. System Thinkers

Linear thinkers think that applying a tourniquet stops bleeding. Systems thinkers know that stopping blood flow to a wound stops bleeding.

Linear Thinkers                      Systems Thinkers 

See the component pieces of a    Are concerned with the whole process.
process. 

Are concerned with content.      Are concerned with process. 

Try to fix symptoms.             Are concerned with the underlying dynamics. 

Try to assign blame.             Try to identify patterns. 

Try to control chaos to create   Try to find patterns amid the chaos. 
order.   

Care only about the content of   Care about content but are more attentive to
communication.                   interactions and patterns of communication. 

Believe organizations are        Believe organizations are unpredictable in 
predictable and orderly.         a chaotic environment. 

If You Are...

If you are a racist or a bigot who wants to follow a strong-man dictator and who believes you belong to a superior group and have little exposure to other groups and you want to dominate others and don't realize how little you know and think you are entitled to things in life more than others and are fearful of life and of death and like to see exciting news and are obsessed with entertainment and celebrities and believe there are conspiracies everywhere and are prone to believe what you are told without critical thought and are more interested in results than in methods then you must be a Trumpie!

Altruist vs. Egocentrist

Two views of the world and the purpose of living:

1. Altruist - Protect and improve the welfare of the human race and of life on earth.

2. Egocentrist - Increase the wealth and power of the self and of the ruling class now at the expense of the environment and the lower classes and of future generations.

Wealth vs. Poverty

In recent years, since 1980, as the total wealth of the United States has increased the number of people living in poverty in the United States which had been decreasing before 1980 began to increase and went from a low of about 25 million people in 1980 to about 40 million in 2017 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During those same years total wealth measured by net worth of households and nonprofit organizations in 2016 dollars went from about $18 trillion in 1959 to $93 trillion in 2016. One would expect an increase in total wealth to be accompanied by a decrease in poverty. Instead total wealth increased by a factor of five while number of people living in poverty increased by 60% rather than decreasing. The problem is not the total amount of wealth we have so much as its distribution.

$93 trillion total wealth divided by the population of the United States which is about 325 million equals an average net worth of about $286,000 per person or $1,144,000 per family of four.

Living Spaces

When a couple are newly married they usually move in to a starter house or apartment. This is because they usually do not have much money and they only need a small cozy abode.

Living close together, in love, in a cozy home soon leads to a family. At that time a larger place is needed and they look for a family home in which to raise their growing family. The wife becomes a mother and homemaker and the husband and perhaps the wife too become the bread winner(s). Later as the children become teen agers the husband is likely to see the house as mainly the space of his wife and family and to desire a place more private for himself. Then he is likely to acquire a room in the house as a man-cave or to get a separate hunting cabin or efficiency apartment.

Genocide

The Ten Stages of Genocide
  1. CLASSIFICATION: Aryan vs. non-white.
  2. SYMBOLIZATION: Black or brown skin.
  3. DISCRIMINATION: Denial of voting & other rights.
  4. DEHUMANIZATION: Equate the target group with immorality, laziness, bad hygiene, etc. Dehumanization of others and hate speech should not be confused with free speech.
  5. ORGANIZATION: Usually overtly or covertly by the state.
  6. POLARIZATION: Silence the center and promote the extremist. Make the targeted group powerless.
  7. PREPARATION: Plan genocidal killings. Claim that everyone is in mortal danger from the targeted group.
  8. PERSECUTION: Victims are identified and separated from the general population. They may be starved or sterilized or children may be separated from their parents. If there are no protests from the general population or the world as a whole then this is taken as permission for the next step which is:
  9. EXTERMINATION: This is legally called genocide but to the killers it is extermination because, by this time, the victims are no longer considered to be fully human. Victims are killed, often in grusome ways, raped, dismembered, used as slaves and worked to death. Their property is confiscated.
  10. DENIAL: This is the final step in which evidence of the genocide is destroyed or hidden and even the existence of the victims may be denied. Witnesses are intimidated and often the victims are blamed for their own deaths.

Poor People's Campaign

The establishment was more alarmed by Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign than they had been by his civil rights work because they felt it was a greater threat to the established order.

The Poor People's Campaign, or Poor People's March on Washington, was a 1968 effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States. It was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and carried out under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy in the wake of King's assassination.

The campaign demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds. After presenting an organized set of demands to Congress and executive agencies, participants set up a 3,000-person protest camp on the Washington Mall, where they stayed for six weeks in the spring of 1968.

The Poor People's Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice: the idea that all people should have what they need to live. King and the SCLC shifted their focus to these issues after observing that gains in civil rights had not improved the material conditions of life for many African Americans. The Poor People's Campaign was a multiracial effort—including African Americans, white Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans—aimed at alleviating poverty regardless of race.

According to political historians such as Barbara Cruikshank, "the poor" did not particularly conceive of themselves as a unified group until President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty (declared in 1964) identified them as such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_People%27s_Campaign

Postulates

Assumed postulates create a foundation. That foundation sets limits on the complexity of the structure that can then be created.

In physics we base our knowledge at this point on quantum theory and relativity and the nature of time and gravity and electromagnetic forces.

Our ideas of biology are based on the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

The social sciences are based on the nature of consciousness and conscious interactions.

Politics is based on the nature of social cooperation and the applications of force by political entities and civil rights and natural rights. (Civil rights are those rights associated with the application of social power and individual respect and equality.) (Natural rights are the rights to the necessities of life including food, water, air; healthcare; education and shelter.)

Economics is based on the distribution and use of natural resources, labor, capital and entrepreneurship to innovate and create and use technology.

Make a list of a number of our assumptions in each field that may be open to question.

Occupations and Hobbies

Those introverts uninterested in much social interaction should study and work in the fields of:
Physical - Sterile
Music, math, programming, physics, astronomy, geology & earth studies
Biological - Messy
Biology, farmer, fisher, forester

Those extroverts interested in social interaction should study and work in the fields of:

Social - Emotional
Clubs, etc., Reporter, media, communications, entertainer
Technological - Mental
Financial, design, manager, sales

Liberals vs. Conservatives

Liberals care for and plan for the future of the earth and humanity.

Conservatives try to get maximum benefits now for themselves and their family and friends at the expense of the environment and other people.

Islands

We live in islands of complex order in an ocean of chaos in space-time.

Humans

Humans have been harmful to the universe by increasing chaos:
Against humanity: 
        violence and war 
        sexual abuse 
        slavery 
        (anti human rights and natural rights) 

Against nature: 
        species extinction 
        climate change 
        soil, water, air and ocean pollution 
        habitat destruction 

Humans have enhanced the universe by increasing order and complexity:
        technology 
        human rights 
        natural rights 
        political systems 

Humans Part 2

Humans (and other animals) evolved to preserve and transmit their DNA to future generations by reproducing. Their primary purpose is to keep themselves alive until they can reproduce. Humans can produce chemicals which stimulate pleasure centers. This and the fear response, which helps to protect their lives, are the primary mechanisms by which DNA accomplishes its purpose of preserving itself over generations. DNA which fails to do this no longer exists, so only that DNA which is most successful exists now.

So humans' purposes are to:

  1. Preserve themselves and stimulate the pleasure centers in their brains.
  2. Reproduce.
  3. Preserve other humans so that the species survives.
  4. Preserve other species so that life on Earth survives.
  5. If it comes to that, preserve life in the Universe.

Individual humans differ, due to variations which drive evolution, in the emphasis they give to each of these purposes in order.

Those who give most emphasis to the first two purposes are said by others to be greedy and selfish. Those who give more emphasis than do the first group to the other two or three purposes are said to be altruistic.

Since humans are social animals and live in social and political environments it is important to each that they are liked by others so that they are better able to influence their society. As a result those who are greedy and selfish can not admit that to others or, often, even to themselves. So, most think of themselves and tell others that their main objective is to help others even if they really try to exploit other people and animals and their natural environment to increase their own wealth and power.

A commercial for a used car salesman heard on the radio the other day had the owner saying "I went into the used car business so that I could save you money."

Now this is, obviously, on the face of it, a blatant lie. People go into the used car or most other businesses and occupations to make a living for themselves and their families. This also applies to politics and often to the clergy and other such occupations. Some people sometimes spend their lives trying to help others or to save the environment or for other altruistic reasons, but this is the exception and not the rule.

However, nobody says, "I spend my life trying to exploit you and others and the environment to make me and my family wealthy and powerful and to increase the pleasure in my life."

They might say "I mine coal to feed myself and my family." But no one will admit selfish greed as a motive for their life.

So we know that we all exist somewhere on a range from absolutely selfish and greedy, a psychopath or sociopath with no empathy for others, to those who are willing to dedicate their lives to the service of others. Very few, if any, are at either extreme of this range and most are probably somewhere near the middle but everyone claims to be an altruist helping society and other people.

Change

Things that exist in the universe are continually changing state physically, biologically or socially. Galaxies, planets, rocks, bacteria, fish, flowers and apes change as do societies and nations. These changes are mostly random. For every 1,000 changes, most are either detrimental or neutral as far as the existence or complexity of the thing that has changed but a very small number of these changes may make the thing better able to survive or reproduce or make it a more complex thing. So some things become less fit to survive and many of these will not. Some things become more likely to survive or reproduce and some of these will do so and may tend to dominate in the future of the thing or its progeny. But it should be realized that even among those things with the most beneficial changes many will not survive because the process is without conscious guidance and is random except in the case of social changes.

If I have offspring that due to random mutations are the best in the world and are therefore super beings, they may still get run over by a bus before they can reproduce. However, they may be slightly less likely to get run over by a bus than those without such advantages.

So there is no guarantee that changes which we might consider to be "good" changes will dominate in the future but there is a tendency for such to occur. The question is "Is this tendency sufficient to overcome the lean in the universe toward increasing entropy leading to a condition of chaos?"

The answer seems to be that, although entropy increases in the universe as a whole there can be islands within that chaos in which complexity can reign, at least for a time and the extent of these islands can be small or larger in both time and space but they can never dominate the universe as a whole.

The Puzzle

Beginning at birth, or before, we spend our lives developing and refining our view of the world around us in which we exist and of which we are a part.

This process can be likened to putting together a multi-dimensional puzzle much like a jigsaw puzzle. We start with a blank slate, or maybe almost blank, because we start out with a few instincts encoded in our DNA such as a fear of falling and a compulsion to find food and ingest it such as suckling at a breast.

As our senses present us with pieces of the puzzle from the world around us such as things we feel, see, hear, smell and taste we look for and perceive patterns like finding the place of each of these new bits of data in the developing structure of our worldview.

For instance, if we are presented with a new flavor of ice cream, we simply expand the list of flavors of ice cream which we perceive as existing in the world to include one more.

The problem comes if we have trouble finding a place in our existing structure to fit the new information. This can be especially difficult if we have been developing our world view for a long time and it has become complex and ingrained into our perception of our identity.

When this happens we have several choices:

Divine Right of Kings

A belief from medieval times that the King had power because he was favored by God who gave him the divine right to rule and therefore he was subject to no earthly power for whatever he did.

This belief was reflected in the quote from Richard Nixon from an interview with David Frost: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

This sentiment was later channeled by Republicans Dick Cheney who said, "If The President Does It During Wartime, It Is Legal." and Donald Trump who said, "When the President Says It, That Means It’s True."

In general this is the belief of people who consider themselves elites in the world and by those who are submissives and desire a world of certainty ruled by a God and by authority figures. These submissives are generally people of low intelligence who lack confidence in themselves, often with reason.

They seem to believe that the world was created by a God to serve a class of people chosen by this God to be favored rulers who are allowed to exploit nature and all lesser people for their own purposes.

There seems to be also a belief among these people that, if they can only serve this God well enough, they too can become among the favored rich and powerful. This belief is often referred to as the prosperity gospel.

Is this like evolution, survival of the wealthy and powerful, or is the difference that in evolution all start life equal and in human culture, wealth, indicating power, is passed down to future generations so that the young of wealthy parents start out with an advantage?

Although wealth can be passed down intelligence and ability can not.

When a wealthy person faces death he begins to consider what to do with his wealth.

It can be given to or taken by the state.
It can be given to charities he chooses or trusts he creates.
It can be passed down to his heirs or other people he favors.

Myths we believe about our government:

The purpose of government is to advance the common good.
It's purpose is actually to control power and to empower the elite.
Good governance entails fiscal responsibility.
The Democrats are the party of tax and spend.
The Republicans are the party of spending without supporting taxes.
Justice is blind.
Courts are partisan.
The “wise men” are truly wise.
Wisdom is mostly lacking among politicians.
The Persian Gulf is a vital U.S. national security interest.
We don't need the middle east for their oil.
We need them as a market for the armaments we produce.
So turmoil there creates greater markets for our arms.
We let Israel have arms on credit to increase fear among arab states to whom we can then sell more arms for cash.
Prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace depend on Washington playing the role of honest broker.
The U.S. has never been an "honest" broker but has always favored Israel.
War is the continuation of policy by other means.
War is in the best interest of the military-industrial complex.
Therefore we strive for endless wars.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. 

Morality

Oliver Scott Curry, a senior researcher at Oxford’s Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology says:

"Morality is meant to promote cooperation. People everywhere face a similar set of social problems, and use a similar set of moral rules to solve them. Everyone everywhere shares a common moral code. All agree that cooperating, promoting the common good, is the right thing to do.”

I question whether all really believe this. Some think that promoting themselves and their friends and family at the expense of others is the right thing to do.

For his study, Curry's group studied ethnographic accounts of ethics from 60 societies, across over 600 sources. They concluded that the universal rules of morality are:


    Help your family
    Help your group
    Return favors
    Be brave
    Defer to superiors
    Divide resources fairly
    Respect others’ property

The authors reviewed seven “well-established” types of cooperation to test the idea that morality evolved to promote cooperation, including family values, or why we allocate resources to family; group loyalty, or why we form groups, conform to local norms, and promote unity and solidarity; social exchange or reciprocity, or why we trust others, return favors, seek revenge, express gratitude, feel guilt, and make up after fights; resolving conflicts through contests which entail “hawkish displays of dominance” such as bravery or “dovish displays of submission,” such as humility or deference; fairness, or how to divide disputed resources equally or compromise; and property rights, that is, not stealing.

In a critique of Curry’s paper, Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, says that we are far from consensus on a definition of morality. Is it about fairness and justice, or about “maximizing the welfare of sentient beings?” Is it about delaying gratification for long- term gain, otherwise known as intertemporal choice—or maybe altruism?

Bloom also says that the authors of the Current Anthropology study do not sufficiently explain the way we come to moral judgements—that is, the roles that reason, emotions, brain structures, social forces, and development may play in shaping our ideas of morality. While the paper claims that moral judgments are universal because of “collection of instincts, intuitions, inventions, and institutions,” Bloom writes, the authors make “no specific claims about what’s innate, what’s learned, and what arises from personal choice.”

So perhaps the seven universal rules may not be the ultimate list. But at a time when it often feels like we don’t have much in common, Curry offers a framework to consider how we might.

“Humans are a very tribal species,” Curry says. “We are quick to divide into us and them.”

Context

Toymaker Fisher-Price has recalled nearly five million of its Rock 'n Play Sleepers after reports linked the product to about 32 baby deaths over the 10 years the product has been on the market.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that it was aware of 10 infant deaths in the Rock 'n Play that occurred when infants rolled from their back onto their stomach or side while unrestrained.

All of the 10 infants were at least three months old.

Fisher-Price had warned customers to stop using the sleeper once infants can roll over.

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) urged the product's recall, labelling the sleeper "deadly".

A spokeswoman for a parent's group pointed out that getting a new baby to sleep is one of the most stressful efforts for many parents and they are glad to find a product that works well for this purpose as this product seems to do. She said that the most likely place for a new baby to sleep is either in the bed with the parents or in a baby crib. She said it is known that babies sometimes die in both these situations. She wondered how high the number of baby deaths of five million random babies sleeping in cribs or in the bed with their parents would be.

In 2017, the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death rate was 93.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States.

There are three points to this discussion. The first is that, as pointed out by the spokeswoman, the number 32 has no meaning unless it is used in context, as in a comparison of number of deaths in other comparable situations. The second is that news media often use numbers and other data out of context to make the news interesting. The third has to do with company liability when users use a product in ways contrary to the instructions for that product; in this case, continuing use of the sleeper after the baby was big enough to roll over.

Duh

News reports often point out that specific government policies under discussion will be harder on the poor than on richer people. Duh? The definition of being poor is that life is harder because of less access to the world's resources. If life wasn't more difficult for some then there would be no poor which is a condition to which we can aspire but which does not now exist.

Companions

People are evolved to have a need for companionship. For some it is a necessity. For others it may be an option but it is still almost always an option to be desired.

Guilt

Guilt is instilled in most children by most cultures for some reason. People are led to believe that the universe is just and that means that, if bad things happen to you, it must, somehow, be your fault. It is necessary that adults realize that some things are not their fault, that the universe is not necessarily just, and that many things they have learned to believe are false.

A conundrum for the rich elite.

In the age of the enlightenment in the 18th century came the idea of public schools. Society needed more educated people to both invent and use technology which was leading to the industrial revolution. The rich elite leaders of society realized that the working class was more efficient if the people were more educated. Where, in the past, workers were mainly thought of as a source of manual labor, it began to be the case that more and more workers needed to be able to think to best apply new technology in business and industry.

The problem is that the most efficient workers were those who could use critical thinking to analyse systems. That means people who could recognize systems, figure out how they worked and their purpose, and invent methods to make them more efficient. The problem with teaching critical thinking skills to the masses is that some of them would recognize the political and economic environment as large systems and began to look for problems in their operation and invent methods to make them work better. Since the purpose of these political and economic systems was to protect and increase the wealth of property owners at the expense of the workers and of the environment, critical thinking, while necessary for these rich leaders, was also a threat to the systems that supported them.

Thinkers would sometimes question the existing order of society and lead others to question the existing order and to rebel against it. So society wanted to support education but also was threatened by it. This is why governments often underfund education systems. These systems are needed but too much education is a threat. The oligarchs view the economy as a zero sum game so that if part of the wealth of society is devoted to education then that part must come out of their pockets in the end. Other than more efficient workers the oligarchs see no benefit to them in an educated populace.

"Workin' Man Blues"

Merle Haggard Lyrics

It's a big job just gettin' by with nine kids and a wife
I been a workin' man dang near all my life
I'll be working long as my two hands are fit to use
I'll drink my beer in a tavern,
Sing a little bit of these working man blues

I keep my nose on the grindstone, I work hard every day
Might get a little tired on the weekend, after I draw my pay
But I'll go back workin, come Monday morning I'm right back with the crew
I'll drink a little beer that evening,
Sing a little bit of these working man blues

Hey hey, the working man, the working man like me
I ain't never been on welfare, that's one place I won't be
Cause I'll be working long as my two hands are fit to use
I drink a little beer in a tavern
Sing a little bit of these working man blues

Sometimes I think about leaving, do a little bummin around
I wanna throw my bills out the window catch a train to another town
But I go back working I gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
Yeah drink a little beer in a tavern,
Cry a little bit of these working man blues

Hey hey, the working man, the working man like me
I ain't never been on welfare, that's one place I won't be
Cause I'll be working long as my two hands are fit to use
I drink a little beer in a tavern
Sing a little bit of these working man blues
Yeah drink a little beer in a tavern,
Cry a little bit of these working man blues

This is a paean to the working man. It is based on the belief instilled in the lower classes by centuries of religion and patriotism that the purpose of the life of the person in the lower class is to work to support those of the upper classes and the rulers of society and, in return, the working man is allowed the necessities of life for himself and his family so that he can live. It is seldom considered that all people should have the right to life regardless of their position in society and that the rich are born with no more right to the wealth of society or to life than any other person.

An alternate belief would be that everyone has the right, not only to the necessities of life, but to a chance to lead a fulfilling life regardless of the desires of a ruling class of men.

Reading and Understanding

60 to 70% of the people in the United States can not read a map well enough to locate their own house within 50 miles on a map showing state and county boundary lines.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that 50 percent of U.S. adults can’t read a book written at an eighth-grade level.

About 20% of adults cannot read well enough to comprehend a newspaper. Another 30% or so cannot perceive relationships among data or opinions obtained from different sources. This probably means that they do not have an overall world view, but simply respond to the last thing they heard with no method to critically evaluate its probability of corresponding to any conception of reality.

Speculation

Animals evolved on Earth until one calling itself Human had a cognitive revolution which resulted in a social structure which it called civilization. This included evolution in physical and intellectual technology; such things as writing and space travel.

The consciousness of these humans developed world views.

Some were non-scientific and were based on religion.

Some were based on hubris and greed and resulted in inequality of social and economic power.

Some resulted in climate change and destruction of the natural environment in which humans had evolved and to which they were well adapted.

This process can very easily result in extinction of humans and other species.

Or

If we look at world views based on science and the dissemination of knowledge by such technology as the internet and the BBC and National Public Radio and Television and speculation, imagination and thought such as this web page, another scenario might be possible. If this type of world view becomes dominant then the human life form might survive and evolve into a more advanced form of a type we cannot now imagine.

Possibly the chances of the second scenario above are very low.

If the "many worlds" theory; which holds that at each juncture, where there are more than one way which things could go, another world is created for each possibility; is true; then in most of these worlds my thoughts and writings will be ignored but in, at least some, they will not.

In some of these worlds where my writings might influence some others then the nature of the following worlds might be changed, maybe some for the better.

The Yellow Vest movement in France asks:

Why is there no money for more economic equality but one billion dollars was pledged in one day by the rich to restore a burned church (Notre dame)? Should not this restoration be financed by the Catholic Church, which is obviously rich enough to do so. Notre Dame is, after all, a Catholic Church as well as a French institution.

Stages of a person's life:

  1. Conception - DNA recombination
  2. Birth - Separation from Mother
  3. Development - of neural network - learning - world view
  4. Production and Reproduction - Marriage, Life's work, Children - Interest in news and the condition of the world and planning a future.
  5. End Stage - contemplation and wisdom - Living in and interested in the here and now and remembering the past more than things that are distant in space or in the future.
  6. Death - of the physical body
  7. Mourning - by friends and relatives
  8. Funeral - disposal of physical body
  9. Remembrance - until the death of the last person who remembers you.
  10. End of History - when you are no longer referenced in any written or other media.

Submission to Governments

People are born free in a state of nature.

Most are born into a society ruled by a government. Most accept this arrangement and thus tacitly agree to submit to the structure of that society much of which was set up by that government. Their other choices would be to go to another society ruled by a different government or to become a hermit in the wild somewhere trying to avoid the structure of a society.

A government is formed by people to enable benefits through a cooperative structure that cannot usually be obtained as efficiently by individuals. These include such things as protection from violence and dominance by other people and by the forces of nature and access to food, shelter, health care and education.

Submission to a government means that the citizen gives up certain rights, such as the right to violently take food from another, in return for the benefits received from the structure of the society, such as the assurance that another will not violently take food from him, or the ability to drive on a network of roads built by the cooperative efforts of the society which would be beyond the ability for the individual to construct.

Governments are theoretically formed in one of three ways:

1. A person or elite group forms a government to hoard the riches and resources of a society, composed mainly of the non-elite, for themselves at the expense of the rest of the society and imposes their will by force. Usually the government attempts to convince the citizens that the government is acting in the best interests of the citizens although this usually is not true or only partially true.

2. A council of the wisest people in the society sets up a structure and makes rules that are most efficient for the benefit of all the citizens. This requires two things: A way to determine who are the wisest people. Trust that these people will have the best interests of all at heart.

This form of government has never been successfully implemented because the two conditions could not be met. This method was tried in the constitutional convention of the United States in the late 18th century but the government formed regressed over time into a government of type 1 above that was able to convince citizens that they had a government of type 3 below.

3. A democracy in which all the citizens participate in governing. This form of government is usually inefficient due to widespread ignorance and greed among the citizens but it has been somewhat successful based on world happiness studies in a few countries of Northwest Europe and in Canada and New Zealand.

Thinking

It seems the "normal" or "average" person is not very knowledgeable or very empathic or very creative and he tends to think linearly meaning he is not a network thinker. He tends to see things in black and white and may miss nuances in grey.

Trickle up or down?

The rich say to the poor, "We are superior to you. This is shown by the fact that we are richer due to being self made men and in producing our riches we have made the world a better place so that you, by possessing the droppings from our table, have riches that could only be dreamed of by such as King Midas in the past. You have cars and televisions and prepared foods and fine beds and other things that would be the envy of any King of old."

We, the lower classes, must agree that we do have such riches, at least those of us who are not starving due to the requirement of capitalism that one must work for the rich in order to live.

The error in the story of the elite is that they believe that they are self made men. Often their riches are due to inheritance rather than skills and labor or merits. They do not want to admit this.

Next we must consider the source of their wealth. Generally there are three reasons that one is wealthy or inherited wealth. One reason is merit. The person accumulating the wealth may be physically superior such as one who can throw a 100 mph fast ball and hit a small target or he/she may be mentally superior such as a great writer or painter or scientist or baker or candlestick maker. He may also be socially superior such as a great speaker or politician or teacher or leader in his field.

A second reason one may have accumulated wealth is that he is a great con man and simply has swindled others out of their wealth or has been able to concoct a scheme to rob others.

A third reason one may have accumulated wealth is that he is a crook and has overpowered others to take what they have.

Contrary to the beliefs of the rich, merit, such as superior skills of various kinds, is not necessarily inherited and may be possessed by those born to commoners as well as elites or conversely, those of any class may be born dolts.

For this reason we disagree that the rich deserve their riches unless those riches were actually obtained by their own merit.

We also question, even in the case where merit is involved, the extent of the riches thus deserved. While we will easily admit that those with superior merit may deserve 20 to 50 times as much wealth as others we would object to the idea that their wealth should be without limit or even 300 to 1,000 times as much as that of their fellow man.

Therefore we object to the idea of large amounts of inherited wealth and to any wealth obtained by illegal or immoral means.

We also argue that, in our society, there is no such thing as a self-made man. The accomplishments and wealth of each man is only possible because of the culture and resources built by those who came before and those who are building or accomplishing now are only adding on to the edifice built by previous generations of mankind and are thus beholden to them and all their descendents, which is to say, "to all of mankind."

Purposes of Life

It can be interesting to know what is people's purpose of life. One way to find out is to ask them. The problem with that is that you will only find out what they perceive as the purpose of their life. A more interesting method is to observe what they actually spend time doing and prioritize in their lives. Using this method we find some of the following purposes.

For one older white woman it was caring for and worrying about 30 or more cats.

For one older under educated white man it was Making America Great again by supporting a con man for President.

For many of my neighbors it is living their lives as much as possible in the same way that they believe their ancestors did.

For some it is amassing as much wealth as possible by selling things of value or, in many cases, of no or little value to others.

For some it is convincing others to believe as you do so that you share similar world views.

For a young man it was watching stuff on screens as much of the day and night as possible.

For some it is controlling the lives of as many people as possible and having social power.

For hunters it is killing other living beings.

Others may spend their lives trying to help their fellow man. Mother Teresa is an example that comes to mind.

Some, like the monks of medieval times, may spend their entire lives trying to pay reverence to an imaginary God.

So, if one looks at how others spend their lives, it is possible to come to some surprising conclusions about the purpose of life. However, what arrogance would it take to question another's purpose to his life and judge it?

Abortion Rights:

Truths:

Children should be protected by society.
A fetus is a potential child.
Therefore abortion is bad.
Women should be protected by society.
Women should have a right to control of their own body.
But sometimes abortion can be the lesser of two evils.
I hope women would consider these truths before deciding to have an abortion.
I would also hope that they are using birth control and enjoying lots of sex.

But whatever they decide is their business, not mine and not yours either, at least until the baby is born. Maybe even longer?

This is even more true if you are a man!

What's so hard about that?

It's hard because the whole controversy like gun rights and kneeling for the anthem and burning the flag and same sex marriage and many others are all red herrings to give the Republican party issues to fool voters into keeping them in power to protect the real issue which is the wealth of their donors who get them in power and keep them in power. The real issue is a loser for them but all these other issues keep voters distracted enough that most don't notice the real issue.

Constitutional Crisis

I am not a constitutional scholar. These are simply my thoughts about the subject of what constitutes a "constitutional crisis".

The U. S. Constitution is a complex document with a complex purpose; to form the framework of a democracy. It was written by mostly ordinary men. Many may have been above average. No such document could have been written without the need for later interpretation.

Interpretation and expansion of this document thereby was left to the Supreme Court. The idea became that rulings of this court, once firmly established over time, became an essential part of this document.

Of the three branches of government established by this document, the executive branch was charged with enforcing and defending laws passed by the legislative branch and signed by the President and rulings of the Supreme Court with precedence given to the court rulings. This is included in the President's oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Therefore, since of the three, only the executive branch is able to employ physical force, a constitutional crisis occurs when the executive branch led by the President fails to carry out his duty in this regard.

This does not mean that either laws or court rulings are always morally right or even logically correct. As a matter of fact they could end up destroying our society or even humanity. However, this seems to be the best structure for a government that we humans have been able to devise so far.

With this structure it seems more likely that a bad President would be more apt to do lasting damage to us or to humanity than either of the other two branches simply because he has physical power, not just moral authority. And if he does not use this power properly he becomes a huge danger. This will most likely occur when he disagrees with a ruling of the court and conveniently forgets that he has a duty to enforce that ruling regardless of his personal beliefs.

If he is not supported by a large proportion of the public then that could very well be the end of our form of government. (Please note that our Government has already failed the Constitution in its goal to form a democracy in that we now live in an oligarchy.)

"The consequences of the ... decision of the Supreme Court must be very great. 
If it be resisted, and the president refuses to enforce it, there is virtual 
dissolution of the union. For it will be in vain to consider it as existing if 
(anyone)... can put aside the laws and treaties of the U.S. and when their 
authority is vindicated by a decision of the Supreme Court, the president will 
not perform his duty to enforce it.” 

Henry Clay - March 1832

President Dwight D. Eisenhower"s 1957 Address on Little Rock, Arkansas

"Whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes 
necessary for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to use its powers 
and authority to uphold Federal Courts, the President’s responsibility is 
inescapable." 

The Brook - Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever. 

World Views for:

A patriot - Us versus Them
Religious person - Good versus Evil
Philosopher - Order and Complexity versus Disorder and Chaos
Scientist - Logic and Knowledge versus Faith and Ignorance
Buddhist - Here and Now versus Imagined past and future.

Which are you?

Entropy:

Due to the second law of thermodynamics a system's degree of disorder tends to increase which means that it is likely that disorder or evil will prevail in the end over complexity or good. The question is not why evil wins. The question is how does good even exist?

Good things in the world:            Bad things in the world:           
                                                                        
Jon Batiste                          Alex Jones                         
Dalai Lama                           Donald Trump                       
NPR and BBC                          FOX                                
Science                              Religion                           
Globalism                            Patriotism                         
Music, Art, Literature               War                                
Education                            Faith and Ignorance                
Happiness and security               Sadness and fear                   
National Parks                       Abandoned polluted industrial sites
Amazon Rain Forest                   Melting glaciers/Huge forest fires        
Albert Einstein                      Adolph Hitler
Full Symphony Orchestra              Nuclear weapon
Ken Burns                            Vladimir Putin

Problems in modern life:

Too much emphasis on things rather than life.
Capitalism emphasizes property rights not the rights of humans and other living beings.
Life seems to be based on social relationships requiring constant communication, stimulation and activity.
Time is needed for quiet meditation and self reflection and appreciation of nature and the entire universe. For example, take 30 to 60 minutes in the morning to quietly, without the use of any electronic devices, drink a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise.
People work too much.
A vacation from 2 days to a week in length at a new place with new daily life routines and no work related devices or tasks should be available about once per month.
People seem to live in a virtual world rather than a real world.
The real world is probably the world near you as perceived by your brain from the signals received from your senses, mainly your eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue. The virtual world is that world that you perceive due to information obtained from electronic media such as newscasts, social media, movies and TV shows and conversations about these things with others. It may or may not reflect what is a real world some place but not in the time and place where you exist. If you are depressed or exhilarated due to signals from this virtual world then you are probably spending too much time in that world rather than living your actual life.
People seem to have a skewed perspective.
The important things in life are the real world around you, your mind's imagination and the components of a simple life. Pay little attention to gossip from others, the virtual electronic world and the fluff that others may think is important and try to convince you to see from their point of view.
Things that are important:
                                    
Your immediate environment                                               
        including the weather.                                           
The necessities of life including:                                       
        air to breathe                                                   
        water to drink                                                   
        food to eat                                                          
        a healthy body                                                   
        knowledge and thinking
        your home and shelter
Your friends and family and pets
Your job and hobbies
Your world view and philosophy

Things that are not as important:
                                 
  The lives of celebrities.        
  Local gossip                   
  The past and the future.       
  The media broadcast news.      
  Social media                   
  Organized Sports               
  Movies and Television shows    

Republican plans to hold power in the face of decreasing popular suppport:

Make holding power, not preserving democracy, the primary goal.

Suppress the vote in Democratic areas and redistrict to retain power.

Suppress education.

Support the powerful elite at the expense of the powerless.

Use misdirection by emphasizing:

        fear - physical, economic, cultural
        war and conflict
        cultural divides
        racial divisions
        Questioning truth
        Questioning elections and motives of others

Manners:

To have manners means that we humans should be fair to and respect each other and all life. Many of us are not taught that as children.

We, however, should not expect the rest of the universe to be fair to or respect us. There is no rule in the universe that says life will be fair.

Also our fellow man may very well not be very smart or very well mannered. Although it would be nice if we all were well mannered, we should not expect that we all will be. However, we should behave as civilized beings in spite of this.


When I was a boy, my mother and I were sitting on the front porch when a car pulled into our driveway beside the house. My father's cousin got out from behind the wheel and she had her three boys with her. They immediately rolled down their windows and all three threw the empty soft drink bottles from which they had been drinking on the trip onto my mothers well kept lawn. She stood and yelled at them, "You stupid shitasses get out of that car now and pick up those bottles! Obviously your mother is too ignorant to teach you good manners. Well mannered people would never throw their trash onto other people's property. That shows flagrant disrespect! It's your trash and it's your responsibility to dispose of it properly at your home."

The other day a fellow parked his truck in my field in front of my house and threw a bunch of paper sandwich wrappers and drinking cups out into the field. I often see such trash and cans and bottles along the roadside. It seems that a number of stupid shitasses live in this area.

A story about computer programming:

I wrote a custom computer program for an oil purchasing company (First Purchaser) in the early 1980s and updated it in the spring of 1993. This program was written in Microsoft's Quickbasic III which is a compiled form of the BASIC computer language supplemented with a number of machine language and assembly language add ons which I either wrote myself or purchased from others. This program ran well in all the 32 bit systems with the Windows Command Processor as well as in the original DOS. However, because Quick Basic is no longer supported, there is no 64 bit version of Quick Basic programs.

I also wrote a number of other business programs in the same way. See them here. You can also see my essay about Information Technology here.

As a result when I began to retire as a computer programmer and realized that my customers, of which I had about 50 businesses, would no longer have support for the programs on which their businesses had depended and which had been in use continuously for 30 to 40 years, I began to phase out the expansion of my customer base and over the next 7 years managed to whittle the number of businesses depending on my software down to 6 or 7.

At that point I announced my retirement to my remaining businesses and suggested they look elsewhere for software they could use in their business. My remaining oil purchasing company and a bulk fertilizer sales company and a propane sales company all determined that they could find no software that would work as well and was as well adapted to their business as the software I had developed for them.

I told them that their best bet then would be to try to find a computer programmer who could use my source code and file structure to write a program in a more modern computer language such as Python or Java which would have the same user interface and functions as their present software. I agreed to help with that if a suitable programmer could be found.

One of my customers talked to the principal of the local high school and asked about advice on finding such a programmer. He was given a name and contact information of a person with a computer software development company in Louisville, Kentucky. He was told that this person knew all about computers and could write software to make computers do anything. My customer set up an appointment with the "programmer" to meet and discuss the requirements for the software needed. He asked me to attend and help in the discussion.

When we met the "programmer" was uninterested in working with my source code or file structure and seemed mystified when I began to discuss writing programs to the specifications of the American Petroleum Institute and of the IRS and the State Revenue Department to calculate oil volumes and to file reports for tax purposes. He also was daunted by the requirements of paying multiple investors with multiple interests and withholdings in multiple leases. He was willing to tell us all about his use of a relational database and its user interface and all its power and to brag about all his customers and his employees and how well his software worked.

Eventually he bowed out and said he could not handle such a project. After he left, my customer asked me why the school principal would think that guy was so competent. I explained that it was probable that neither the principal nor any employee in the school really understood what was involved in actual computer program development and that probably 90 to 95% of the people who called themselves programmers and whom others thought were computer programmers were actually only people who knew how to use computer programs such as relational databases but really did not have the least idea how to develop a computer software system from scratch.

I explained that the guy we met had a set of tools for manipulating computer databases and he could do anything with a database that was in his toolkit. Unfortunately, his toolkit did not include a tool to calculate oil volumes according to API standards so he could not do that. I said that I also use a tool kit to develop programs.

My customer said, "So why can you do what he can't?"

Because, as an actual programmer, if I don't have a tool I need, I can simply make it which is what I did for oil volume calculations.

For me this raises two questions, if not more. What does it mean to be thought of as an expert in a field? Would the situation I just described in computer programming also be likely to be true in other professional fields so that many considered experts in their fields do not actually know that much about the basis of their profession?

A couple of possible answers I have heard:

An expert is a man who is more than 50 miles from home and who wears a suit and carries a briefcase.

An expert in a field is someone who knows more about that field than you do.

Expertise is a mixture of talent, experience, and knowledge. One must know his field, have practical experience in his field and have a talent for work in his field to become an expert.

The programmer described above was, no doubt an expert in his field. However, he represented himself as an expert programmer when, really, he was just an expert in use of relational databases. Since most people wouldn't know the difference, he was able to get by with his duplicity. It is very possible that he, himself, was fooled and thought he actually was a programmer.

Humans have evolved so that:

Some believe that their purpose should be to cooperate and compromise for the benefit of all.

Some believe that their purpose should be to compete with others for power and dominance.

I should note that when I postulate a dichotomy, such as that above, I am almost always referring to the two extremes of a gradient, most examples of which fall more toward the middle of the gradient rather than toward the two ends.

Words Aptly Spoken by Bob Moorehead

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.”

Dumb or Not?

I may be very dumb because I don't understand things that are obvious to others.

or

I may be smart because I question things that others don't.


Some of my "brain droppings" may be very wise.
Some may be very stupid.
I am too close to the subject to determine the difference.

Living in Southern Kentucky

My neighbor was a drug addict and often in trouble with the law. Eventually he and his wife separated. They had a thirteen year old son. He insisted that the son come to visit him on weekends and bring a gun so that they could go hunting or shooting together. His wife argued in court that the son would always come home without his gun because the husband would keep the guns to sell or pawn to support his drug habit. She said, "It's gotten to the point that my son only has 12 guns left."

The Evolution of my thoughts on Determinism.

In the early 1980's I had a TRS-80 computer and an AI chess program. I think the program was in Z80 machine language and it may have been on cassette tape. I seem to remember that the program was Sargon III.

The brute force logic used by chess programs at that time was to consider all possible moves available to the computer and to evaluate giving a score to each board position which would result. By this method the best move would be chosen. This would be a first level evaluation. Depending on the speed of the computer some programs would go to a second level or even deeper level evaluating all the possible responses to each possible move and all the responses to those etc. The object was for the program to make the move that would result in the strongest position for the computer program after the highest level evaluated.

Anyway, I had a book with the source code of the program and I found the decision point that the program used to make moves and hacked it. The program would compare the evaluations of positions after all possible moves and choose the move that would result in the highest evaluation score for the program resulting.

The change I made was to calculate the difference in the highest score and the second highest and, if the scores were close to each other in value, to choose one of those two moves at random rather than always choosing the move which would result in the highest score. The result of my hack was that in playing a game the program would not always make the same move in the same position. This meant that an element of randomness or whimsy was introduced into the play of the program.

A few years later I learned about and studied Chaos theory and became familar with the 1972 talk by Edward Lorenz, "Predictability: does the flap of a butterfly's wing in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202497/

Later I studied Determinism which is the philosophical belief that all events are determined completely by previously existing causes. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called nondeterminism). Determinism is often contrasted with free will. Determinism often is taken to mean causal determinism, which in physics is known as cause-and-effect. It is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states.

Later I studied math as the language of the universe, https://www.universetoday.com/120681/mathematics-the-beautiful- language-of-the-universe/ and then the idea that math is the very basis of the existence of the universe.

Mathematical universe hypothesis - Wikipedia

That is, the physical universe is not merely described by mathematics, but is mathematics (specifically, a mathematical structure). Mathematical existence equals physical existence, and all structures that exist mathematically exist physically as well.

I concluded that to understand what is, it may be necessary to understand calculus, probability theory, chaos theory and, perhaps, the implications of the existence of irrational numbers and repeating decimals.

Imagine reality is defined by continuous space and time and perspective or scale. The planck length is the smallest measurement of length that has any meaning. It is 1.6*10^-35 meters and therefore the smallest measurement of time that has any meaning is the amount of time for light to travel a planck length which is a time of 10^-43 seconds. The radius of the observable universe is estimated to be about 46.5 billion light years and its diameter about 8.8*10^23 kilometers. What do these numbers imply and what is outside these numbers?

I tweeted:
"Determinism is the belief that the conditions of the present cause future conditions. This would make sense to me if not for the existence of irrational numbers."

If the universe is determined by mathematical expressions and equations then the existence of the less significant digits of repeating decimals and irrational numbers would, I would think, negate determinism just as would the flap of the wings of a butterfly negate predictibility of future weather conditions.

Threats to Humanity from:

In other words, Nature may destroy us but it may be more likely that we will destroy ourselves before Nature gets around to doing the job.

The Value of my Thoughts:

If my thoughts have any value and the "Many Worlds" theory is correct then it could be certain that at least one of the ensuing "Many Worlds" will recognize the value of these thoughts. If I did not publish them, then that could not be true. That's why I publish.

Dealing with the End of the World

In Norse mythology Ragnarök is a great battle in which the world ends badly for humans and their Gods. We know that species such as ours are not likely to survive for anywhere near as long as the dinosaurs did and there are a number of indications that we may have problems with the environment on earth or that we may evolve into a borg-like species unlike what we now are within the next fifty years or so.

So basically the outlook is bleak according to scenarios predicted by many. Of course, they may be wrong.

But, in any case, what is the more cheerful outlook?

Well, first, we might simply list the pleasures of the here and now. We live in an environment to which we are well adapted capable of supporting vast numbers of us right now. We can sit in the outdoors most mornings and watch the sun come up while sipping a cup of coffee and listening to our choice of music and news transmitted to us from far away places and received by us through a miracle of our technology. We have food and potable water and generally clean air to breathe. We have culture, technology and social networks. If we were capable of properly managing our political affairs we could all have this as well as shelter and education and health care.

Also we can appreciate the fact that we are here at all. If the world is based on mathematical probability and its existence to start with is improbable and only happens because of the existence of irrational numbers or infinitely repeating decimals then perhaps the clumping of matter and the subsequent existence of stars and galaxies may indicate even higher degrees of improbability. Add to that what we think are the improbabilities of the development of life and the mysterious cognitive revolution, all of which seem necessary for the existence of beings like us. We can then accept our apprehensions about the future by appreciating the time and place in which we now exist and the fact of our existence at all.

Leadership Qualities:

We want to believe that our leaders are:

Politicians know this is what we want so they are very good at faking these characteristics.

Impressions:

Mankind and individual humans leave some type of impression on the essence of the universe. This overall impression will consist of positive aspects such as art and music and science and knowledge and truth and empathy for others. It will also consist of negative aspects such as fear and hate and violence and racism and ignorance and malicious lies.

We should be concerned about whether the overall impression of humans will be more positive or negative on the universe as a whole.

Public Health

My Thoughts on the subject of Public Health.

In the absence of significant birth defects we humans are all born healthy. We tend to become more mature physically and therefore stronger for a number of years and then we begin to physically deteriorate with age until, eventually, we die.

There are a number of things that can happen to us to negatively affect our health until that time and even cause an early death. These include:

Public health is defined as the science of protecting the safety and improving the health of communities through education, policy making and research for disease and injury prevention. Other threats such as attacks by others and threats of nature are, hopefully, counteracted by government agencies such as police and military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Public Health Science is the art of preventing disease, increasing longevity of life and promoting health through efforts and choices made by society, public and private organizations, the community and by individuals. Public Health Science deals with dangers to the public health of a population, whether small or large (i.e. populations of a continent) to improve the quality of health and the quality of life in through detecting and preventing disease and other physical and mental health conditions, promoting health behaviors, tracking cases and health indicators. Public Health Science uses a multi-disciplinary method incorporating epidemiology, biostatistics and health services.

Health services as opposed to Public Health is the health services provided to individuals by health care providers. One question is, "To what extent should health services be provided by government?"

At least to some extent, the health of each of us is better to the extent that the health of all of us is better. That's why we should support public financing for health care for all. Some say, "We don't want to pay taxes for health care for illegal aliens!" Since, by doing so, we are also creating an environment of better health for the rest of us, that is not a very smart political position. It also ignores the fact that many illegal aliens have a job and pay taxes also. These taxes help to support our health care.

My ideas about the role of the money supply in the economy.

Social Democrats have been having to answer questions about paying for their programs in this 2019 prelude to Presidental primaries. This brought up the ideas of Modern Monetary theory and the Laffer Curve and Supply Side economics and the ideas of both political parties that government deficits don't matter when they are in power but they do matter when the other side is in power.

This whole thing seems to me to be confusing and stupid and I suspect that when it comes to economics, few, if any, know what they are talking about. So I decided to do what I often do, which is to use whatever systems analysis skills I might have and think about the problem in its most simple terms to come up with my own ideas which may or may not have value.

Before the Neolithic Revolution and the rise of cities people mostly lived in small nomadic bands and trade was mostly with people they knew by a system of barter: "I will trade you these five catfish I just caught for a bushel of the corn you have grown."

As trade grew and spread among various unrelated peoples it became necessary to develop a medium of exchange, or money. Over time use of money in trade resulted in a fairly stable price structure. "One gold coin would buy you a bushel of corn or five fishes or an hours work in the fields."

As the culture grew and developed and expanded, so did the wealth and technology of human societies. Money is not wealth. Wealth is the machinery and infrastructure and knowledge and commodities of the society. Money is simply a method of exchange and of valuing this real 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 value of money held by the public. Inflation benefits those holding real assets and hurts those holding money. Deflation, on the other hand, benefits those holding money and hurts those holding real assets.

Money supply is influenced by tax policy, government spending, and interest rate manipulation.

The essential point in monetary policy is that the populace must have faith in the stability of value of their money. If money supply increases or decreases quickly then inflation or deflation will undermine the economy.

The assets of a society are all those things, as described above, which the society has accumulated over time. They include durable assets such as roads, bridges, water systems, refrigerators and airplanes and consumable commodities such as grapes and coal and water and oil. So, in a society in which values of assets have stablized, there is a certain supply of money which gives each asset its value. In most societies as time goes on there is an increase in assets because people tend to make or invent more stuff. For that reason if there is not a corresponding increase in money supply the value of assets measured in money will decrease. If I have 100 bushels of corn rather than 20 bushels then each bushel will be worth less money. On the other hand if the money supply is allowed to increase faster than the asset value then the value of assets measured in money will increase. If I have 100 dollars rather than 20 then each dollar is worth less and it takes more dollars to buy a bushel of corn.

CPI (Consumer Price Index) is a number indicating the overall increase or decrease in the value of goods. It is a measure of inflation or deflation in the economy. An increase in CPI indicates that there is too much money in the economy. A decrease in CPI indicates too little money in the economy.

Since the money supply is mainly influenced by government spending which adds money to the economy and by government taxing which takes money from the economy and by the prevailing interest rate which is influenced by the banking system; what would happen if the government tried to hold the base interest rate (or federal reserve rate) steady at say, 3%, and spent as necessary to carry out government policies and then monitored the money supply by use of the CPI and varied the tax rate to keep the CPI stable within -1% to +2% annual change. In other words, spend as much as necessary to support the society adding money to the economy and tax as necessary to take money out of the economy to stabilize the Consumer Price Index.

See this progressive tax structure.

I suspect this system would result in a well functioning economy that would be stable in its price structure. Basically CPI would be used as an indicator to balance spending and taxes.

But how does the national debt figure into all this? Well, debt, or the government borrowing money from its citizens, is a way to remove money from the economy used by governments of countries in which the rich are too powerful to allow a proper progressive tax structure. This leads to another problem of society which is wealth inequality and, if it becomes severe enough, a revolution from below to change the government.

Of course a long continuing inflation rate of around two percent can still lead to a slowly increasing national debt, but that should not be a problem because the debt will remain very low in relationship to the value of the overall economy.

Money - The ratio of money supply to value of total assets in the overall economy should be held constant or allow for no more than 2% inflation per year.

This will maintain confidence in the value of money and not unduly hurt or help those holding wealth in the form of cash or its equivalent.

This can be done by manipulating money supply to reflect the changing value of assets by changing government spending and progressive tax rates and by manipulating interest rates.

Inflation calls for increased taxes, decreased spending and/or increased interest rates.

Deflation calls for decreased taxes, increased spending and/or decreased interest rates.

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.

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.


Economic indicators:


If a business becomes too big then it must be converted to a cooperative or broken up into smaller businesses.

Too big is defined as having a large effect on the economy. This can be indicated by the number of employees or annual sales figures or number of customers in relation to other similar businesses.

The Board of Directors of such a business after it is converted to a cooperative should consist of more than one employee, more than one customer, more than one supplier and more than one investor. It should also have as members from those enumerated here more than 30% of each sex and more than 30% minorities although one person can count toward both sexual and minority quotas.


The role in the economy of:

  1. Property - Public vs. private property ownership and the relative sizes of property ownerships. Should there be limits on the size of private property ownerships?
  2. Money - supply influenced by tax policy, government spending, interest rate manipulation.
    • Lower interest rates increase the money supply (inflation) while higher interest rates decrease the money supply (deflation)
    • Taxes - to decrease economic inequality and to manipulate the money supply.
    • Government spending. - Spending increases the money supply and must be offset by increased taxes to decrease the money supply accordingly to prevent significant changes in the value of money. Significant inflation or deflation is an indication that the ratio of spending and taxes as influenced by interest rates are out of sync and should be adjusted.

Government spends for:

For Happiness People need:

...

Dumb people are dumb enough to think they are smart.
Smart people are smart enough to suspect that they may be dumber than they think.

The Tunnel of Time

As a culture we see ourselves proceeding through a tunnel of time and we think and teach our children that we will soon see a light at the end of the tunnel and proceed into a utopian world, whatever that means to us.

As we get older we may come to realize that the tunnel, rather than always proceeding toward the light, may be heading deeper into the darkness instead with only slight periodic digressions upward.

As a young man I had about 80% or more confidence in the light theory.
As an older man my confidence in the light theory is about 20%.
I don't know if this is because I am closer to the end of my life or because I have learned more and become wiser with age.

...

Thoughts and prayers have proven ineffective after mass shootings.
Maybe blankets and hugs would help more.

Leaders in an Ideal World

In an ideal world rule of our societies would be by the minority of us who are smart and altruistic. Smart means capable of thinking logically and having the imagination to make connections among factual data to understand systems and envision the best courses of action. Altruistic means showing a selfless concern for the happiness and well being of others, either all of humanity or, perhaps, all living beings.

We have two problems with implementing this approach. The first is that we are unable to identify those of use who are smart and altruistic because the arrogant egotistical greedy people tend to lie and pretend to be altruistic. The second is that we tend to think that everyone should have equal rights including the greedy and the ignorant. This means that we support democracy because it is the best system we have been able to devise and since there are more greedy and ignorant than smart and altruistic people then many of these people tend to be in the ranks of our leaders and rulers.

Diversity in News

As confirmed by the multiple news outlets and its availability 24/7, the world has a voracious appetite for news. However, the multifaceted media of our world tends to be conformist and follow each other rather than branch out into the diversity of subjects that is our world. If you watch or listen to or read a number of news outlets, you are likely to find a 70% to 80% overlap of stories. It would be better if this overlap were more like 20% or less. Maybe more specialization both horizonally in terms of news presentation and vertically in terms of news content creation would make sense.

I can envision news content creators set up to fill uncovered niches rather than the traditional politics, economics, living and science but instead more specialized sub niches such as local politics, news of business cooperatives, oceanography, insects, entertainment, cooking, food production, land use, waste management, electric infrastructure and hundreds of others. A business whose mission was to cover thoroughly each of these niches and with a base staff of reporters supplemented by purchases from free lance producers would rank and price and sell their content pieces to a host of news presenters. These news presenters would also be specialized with such niches as top news, second level news, human interest stories, physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, living, sports, politics, economics and many others. Hopefully this structure would lead to a small overlap of news presentation among outlets or presenters and an overall more comprehensive picture for news consumers of the world as it is rather than short changing news of interest to consumer minorities.

This is the nature now of news presented by outlets such as the BBC and NPR but not by most of the mainstream news media.

Universe as Background

Every minute of every day, as you face the immediate challenges that is your life, are you also feeling the spirit of the vast universe of which you are a part and which created you? It is, after all, the background stage on which this play is performed.

Life Necessities

Life necessities include air, water, food, shelter, sleep and rest, health care, safety from humans and animals, a safe environment, education in culture, history, science and life skills, social and political and economic and physical infrastructure.

Factors in environmental protection:

Hate

Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. Till posthumously became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

Monuments to memorialize Emmett Till in Mississippi are regularly attacked by vandals according to NPR. What does this say about the intelligence and world view of humans who would think it makes sense to do this in general and those in Mississippi in particular?

Where I'm From


Where I'm From: A Morning Edition Crowdsourced Poem of Remembering

I am from travelers and adventure
from "Be seen, not heard!"
from ritual and plainsong
from England and exile
from mint sauce and lamb.

I am from casseroles and canned tuna
Kennedys and Saturday morning cartoons
I am from Tang in a Daffy Duck glass
from wall phones with mangled cords stretched during private calls in a room too far
I come from popcorn ceilings
dining rooms of glossy mahogany

I am from bed sheets
Draped over our dining room chairs.
from the trees Littering the backyard
The sweet taste of mulberries Staining my fingers red
I'm from big hats under rainbow umbrellas
Buckets of wet sand and unstable castles
I'm from orange and vanilla custard
with a pizza slice the size of your chest
From hot July days and cool summer nights
I am from Sunday night pizza and Monday Night Football

I am from marbles
From empanadas cooking in the street
I am from orchids and mango trees
I am from la torta tres leches and ruana
I am from happy and serious
From hard work and sweat

I'm from grit, respect, and discipline.
from big family reunions and endless laughs.
I am from houses never locked
from the projects in Brooklyn
and dominoes in the park
I am from salsa and the car horns blaring

I am from diners and malls and accents that put an "aw" in coffee.
from silky lingerie and sweat socks, bruised knuckles and scars I gave myself
from longing to be someone, somewhere else.
I am from a mother who was still a girl;
whose beauty kept her shy
I am from dirt and fences
from strength and toughness

I am from ashes flicked into the tray
the despair of divorce
bonds gone unappreciated
eviction and being thrown away
running and begging to stay
I am from a little girl who just needed a break

I am from a time when my mother went to the hospital and never came back;
when my toys were in a box by the curb as we drove away.
I am from singing in the darkness of night
Putting myself to sleep with the sound of my own voice.

I am from playing backyard baseball with tennis balls, Wiffle balls, even roundish gourds.
from weekend sleep-overs
from orange push-ups
from fallen leaves kicked up in swirls on walks to school,
from early morning radio announcements of a snow day — no school!

I am from the South and the North.
from immigrant grandparents and Civil War soldiers.
I am from the red dirt clay of Virginia
From the sounds of the fiddle to the beauty of a choir
From the jig and the reel
to the cloggers and the dancers.
From collard greens and fat back,
chitterlings and white bread
I'm from hymns learned on Sundays,
hypocrisy displayed on Mondays.

I am from Tom Petty
and baby oil in the hot sun
rye bread and salami.
I am from black cows,
tacos, bicycles, and
The gentle lure of crickets.

I am from James Brown and Santana.
from Groovin' on a Sunday Afternoon
and Crystal Blue Persuasion.

I am from endless steps,
from California and Texas, and Durango, Colorado.
From unknown ancestors of the ancient Southwest,
cliff-dwellers and puebloans.
I am from the earth --

from from cityscapes and sleepy suburbs
from cicada clicks and firefly sparks
from the call of books and breathing through struggles.
I am from you

and you are from me
We are love

We are home
We are from this day forward.

Greed Point

In 2019, if I had five million dollars in the bank, I would feel comfortable and not feel that I needed more money. That is because I think that, if I invested the five million in stock and bond index funds, I should get a return of about $125,000 to $250,000 per year. This would be more than enough for me and my family to live comfortably. I thus call five million dollars my greed point. That means that, if I wanted more money than that, it would only be due to greed not need.

In 2016 97.5% of households in the United States had a net worth less than five million dollars.

A household in the U.S. had an average net worth of $692,100 in 2016, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.

Shocked by that figure? That’s because the average (aka the “mean”) is skewed by the nation’s super wealthy. The median net worth of the average U.S. household is $97,300. Median is the middle point where half the households have more and half have less.

Net worth of over $10,374,030.10 would put a household in the top 1%.?The top 1% is roughly the wealthiest 1,259,817 households in America.?
Roughly 125,981 households have the top .1% of net worth.
More than $43,090,281.00 in wealth would put a household in the top .1% according to 2016 data.

Overpopulation

Overpopulation occurs when a species' population exceeds the carrying capacity of its ecological niche.

Indicators in a population of overpopulation include:

The Political Right - Conservative

The right resists and destroys regulation of capitalism.
Capitalism runs amok and increases inequality hurting the lower classes in favor of the rich.
The lower classes know they are hurting but they don't know why.
Elites tell them they are hurting because of immigration and immorality and they, therefore, must fear immigrants and liberals.

They buy this argument and give power to facists and leadership to the rich.

This leads to economic recession and depression and more loss of power for the lower classes.

Eventually they revolt and reinstitute socialism and regulation.

The cycle starts over.

To break this cycle will probably take a combination of:

Social Cooperation

As a social animal, we have a hope and a belief that by working together with each other we can cooperate to change the circumstances of our lives to make life better for us all. We have found by experience in trying to do this that our governing organizations tend to make life better for a few at the expense of many leading to societies with large inequalities of benefits, wealth, and power. The majority get few benefits from governments in comparison to the benefits received by the few at the top of the political system.

Democracy

Democracy does not necessarily result in the best or most efficient government. It results in the government deserved by the participants based on their degree of ignorance and dedication to the ideals of democracy.

The Big Picture

There is what is.

If what is is amorphus, without form or substance also known as void, then there is nothing, zero.

But if what is is not amorphus; that is that what is can exist in more than one state; then there can be numbers: 1,2,3 to label the various states of what is.

This assumption leads to the concept of time, or differences in what is, perceived as sequential conditions of what is. So we have the concepts of math and time based on variety in what is, which may be the essence of what we label as God.

These concepts lead to the idea that there is change which leads us to the concept of evolution which is the direction of change. We think that generally there is random change in complexity of what is tending toward more complexity due to selection of the most complex offset by a tendency in what is toward entropy or return to the original state of chaos.

So we can think of what is as being arranged sequentially (time) in order of complexity. Back in time means toward chaos or less complex times and forward in time means toward increasing complexity. But entropy means that chaos tends to increase so that complexity only exists in isolated instances.

Thus what is becomes a web of chaos containing islands of complexity and this is the world that our consciousness perceives. Complexity generally implies a state of more order while the universe tends toward increasing entropy or disorder. This means that there is a force in random instances toward evolution of clumping of what is into more ordered complexity within an increasing sea of disordered chaos.

One of the products of evolution or increasing complexity is us, meaning animals called humans which are conscious or self-aware and thus aware of other or a world in which we perceive that we exist.

Since I exist within a limited area of time and space in a sea of chaos, it behooves me to consider in what ways I can use my life to increase the complexity in the universe or, in other words, to leave a legacy. To me this means to increase, as much as possible, the amount of fun, happiness and complexity in the world for both myself and others and to contemplate the nature of the world in which I exist in hopes that my insights may be of interest and use to others. The value of my thoughts to others is likely to be low in any particular world but, if the many worlds theory holds water, my thoughts may be of larger value in some manifestations of this world.


Today's thoughts, as many of mine do, have to do with the nature of humans and the structure of human society.

Man has evolved to be conscious of, and to try to change to his advantage, his life and the environment in which he lives. He strives to increase his power to do this. This means that, as he discovers more about the complexity of his world, such as the existence of planets and galaxies and quarks or other living beings such as giraffes and bacteria or other societies such as the Zulu and the Mormon or processes such as the carbon cycle, he views other things as either something he can exploit or something he must fear will exploit him or, perhaps if he is smart, something with which he can live in a symbiosis to benefit both himself and the other.

It is also the nature of humans to view everything in a hierarchy and to see himself in that context. So human societies, for instance, are seen as a lot of people in lower classes and very few in upper classes with the whole seen in a pyramid structure. This means that those who perceive themselves as in the upper or ruling class or near the top of the hierarchy tend to fear the wrath of the lower classes if they become aware of the power inequality of the society.

Politically the reaction of people who see the society this way tends to be what we call on the political left or the political right.

Those on the right want to retain and protect their power by suppressing and exploiting the lower classes by taking advantage of their ignorance to make them true believers in a fictional religious and political and economic structure of the world and fearful of boogeymen invented to distract these people from resenting their low position in the hierarchy of power.

Those on the left want to retain and protect the structure of society by fooling the lower classes, convincing them that all are on the same side and by throwing the lower classes crumbs from the table of the more powerful.

There is also a political point of view espoused by a relatively few who believe that all should have equal rights to exist and that there should be much less economic inequality and that all should support the existence and complexity and happiness in the universe. The people who have this view are often referred to as "progressives".

Those on the far right who might be analogous to the left's progressives would want to destroy or kill those of the lower classes that they do not deem to be useful to "society" meaning to maintaining the status quo.


An interesting question is, "What do those on the right think is wrong with the lower classes?"

They think the members of the lower classes

  1. Are dumb.
  2. Have no self-control and thus are ruled by the ego as opposed to the super-ego.
  3. Therefore, they are undeserving of power or equality.

The problem with this point of view is:

We are evolved to protect and support our DNA which means that we tend to favor and want to pass to our offspring any wealth or power or knowledge we may have.

In the overall structure of the universe there is no compelling reason that you have a particular place in the hierarchy and certainly no reason that your offspring should have the same place due to their being your offspring.

You may have a place in the society due to your superior physical or social or intellectual skills but your offspring may have fewer such skills than many who are lower than you in the hierarchy.

So your offspring may very well be less deserving of power and wealth than those lower than you in social or economic class.

In any case, although some inequality may be deserved, large inequalities and its being preserved through generations is completely unjustified.

Messages from selected belief systems:

Capitalism
Your life is only of value to the extent that you work to support the upper classes.
Religion
You must get your view of the world from our teachings, not from your own critical analysis.
Patriotism
Our country comes first and its leaders must be blindly followed, regardless of your logical thinking. You should be prepared to give your life for your country.

It is doubtful if the wealthy people who tend to control governments believe any of these things. They would not spend their lives working to support the lower classes even though some of them might give token or significant amounts of their wealth to good causes. It would be difficult to believe that they would actually take religion seriously. They support their country only to the extent that doing so will increase their wealth.

Try to imagine a very wealthy person working with his hands for a poor person or actually doing for the poor as he would expect the poor to do for him or going to war and personally participating in combat for his country. If one were to do so the event would certainly be newsworthy. It is easy to imagine a poor person doing these things on a daily basis. That does not make the news.

Desires for Control

Man has a desire to control other people, nature and the environment.

He does this by a system of economics and politics in which some use wealth and political power to control others and by emotional appeals to religious world views instilled in others by their culture. The idea is that those who consider themselves rulers want to control everyone's world view to promote their own interests which usually have to do with increasing their wealth and power.

Conservatives promote this control by supporting capitalism, patriotism and religion to suppress free thinking and support existing institutions and traditions.

Progressives generally resist this control and favor the idea of individuals changing the world by experimental innovation which, hopefully, will make the world a better place.

Each side supports the power of government organizations when they have control of the government and resist that power if the other party is in control.

People in the Mainstream and On the Fringes


Mainstream                              On the fringes

Physically attractive & socially        Physically unattractive and/or
        accepted.                               socially loners

Working                                 Unemployed or Retired

Well educated                           Mentally impaired and/or uneducated

Able bodied                             Physically impaired or disabled

Law abiding                             Criminal

Conformist                              Eccentric

Economic Questions?

What should be the role in our society of:
  1. Money?
  2. Property ownership?
  3. Capitalism?

Politics:

Right - greed for wealth and power, ignorance.

Left - The Center supports the present economic system.
The progressives support changes in the economic system including:

Attitudes:

Consider attitudes in our culture of:

Diversity vs. conformity
Harmony vs. conflict

Subhuman:

Subhuman: less than human: such as. a : failing to attain the level (as of morality or intelligence) associated with normal human beings. b : unsuitable to or unfit for human beings - subhuman living conditions. c: of or relating to a taxonomic group lower than that of humans - the subhuman primates.

The existence of the term "subhuman" implies that humans are superior or at the top of a hierarchy in regards to overall value or worth. It can imply that other animals or living beings are worth less than humans. It has also been used to imply that certain groups of humans are inferior to others. It is often used as a designation for groups or races that others want to exploit or exterminate or war against to justify actions that may otherwise be unjustified.

During World War II the Germans and the Japanese claimed that they were superior races to justify war against and exploitation of the peoples of other countries and, in the case of Germany, non-Aryans within their own country.

Whites often describe black and brown skinned races as subhuman to justify enslaving them or lynching them or other acts of murder and depravity against them.

Many humans think of other animals as inferior or subhuman to justify using them as food or work animals. Vegans think of plants in the same way.

In the United States at various times people from or descended from the Italians, the Irish, Native Americans and Chinese, among others, have been thought of as subhuman or inferior to others. Many Irish and Italian descendents decided that they were superior to others such as blacks and mexicans.

In Syria in recent wars the United Nations sent the coordinates of schools and hospitals in a town of rebels being attacked by Russian and Syrian armed forces to those armed forces so that they would not be attacked by those armies which attacks would be against international rules of war. Some in the UN think that those armed forces used those coordinates to directly attack the hospitals and schools, obviously considering the sick and children of rebels as subhuman.

Many of the rich seem to think the poor are subhuman.

Consider this list:

Rock
Water
Air
Virus
Bacteria
Fish
Snail
Snake
Spider
Tick
Honeybee
Butterfly
Tree
Flower
Frog
Cat
Monkey
Eagle
Irish
Oriental
Greek
American Indian
Mexican
Black
Child
Dwarf
Atheist
Woman
Poor
Rich

Circle those you consider to be subhuman.
On what basis would you have negative feelings about any of them?

Maybe these items can be sorted into a hierarchy on the basis of complexity.
Maybe there is no moral or value hierarchy except in the minds of the arrogant.
Maybe everything on this list just is and has an equal right to exist.

Hierarchy:

We are taught as children that history is the story of progress from primitive to modern and this creates a hierarchy and the apex of this hierarchy is a society of religious people living in a democratic government dominated by white skinned males.

Western religion teaches that this system was created by and is overseen by a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

We are also taught that our goals in life should be to reproduce and to spend our lives working for our superiors and that we are defined by our family and our work.

All this is, of course, a lie. Progress is not inevitable. There is no hierarchy. A slug has as much right to its existence as does the President of the United States. Religion is a lie because God as envisioned by our leaders and teachers does not exist. There is no reason that we should define ourselves by our family and our work. The idea that we all equals living in a democracy, which is a government that works for the benefit of all, is also a lie because it turns out that most governments are dominated by and exist for the benefit of a class of rulers or oligarchs.

It may be that we could define our lives by our social structure and our place in it and by our world view and by the overall effect on the universe of our existence.

The World: Space, Time, Scale

I decided to initiate a conversation with Amy about the complexities of philosophy to learn more about her world view.

"So, Amy", I said, "since you have a background in math, do you have any thoughts on the relationship between the nature of the universe and mathematics?"

"Well, some have the idea that mathematics is the language of the Universe." she replied.

"Mathematics is both a natural occurrence and a human designed system. It would appear that nature grants us this ability to recognize patterns in the form of arithmetic, and then we systematically construct more complex mathematical systems that aren’t obvious in nature but let us further communicate with nature.

A few even go so far as to say that the universe is, at its core, mathematics.

'Max Tegmark's mathematical universe hypothesis is: Our external physical reality is a mathematical structure. That is, the physical universe is not merely described by mathematics, but is mathematics (specifically, a mathematical structure). Mathematical existence equals physical existence, and all structures that exist mathematically exist physically as well. Observers, including humans, are "self-aware substructures (SASs)". In any mathematical structure complex enough to contain such substructures, they "will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically 'real' world".'

"That's very interesting. Are you also familar with Einstein's idea of spacetime?"

She replied, "According to something I read on Stanford's web site.

'Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity which posited a relationship between space and time which are both relative to the motion of an observer who measures them.

Einstein did not quite finish the job, however. Contrary to popular belief, he did not draw the conclusion that space and time could be seen as components of a single four-dimensional spacetime fabric. That insight came from Hermann Minkowski (1864-1909), who announced it in a 1908 colloquium with the dramatic words: "Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality".

Four-dimensional Minkowski spacetime is often pictured in the form of a two- dimensional lightcone diagram, with the horizontal axes representing "space" (x) and the vertical axis "time" (ct). The walls of the cone are defined by the evolution of a flash of light passing from the past (lower cone) to the future (upper cone) through the present (origin). All of physical reality is contained within this cone; the region outside ("elsewhere") is inaccessible because one would have to travel faster than light to reach it. The trajectories of all real objects lie along "worldlines" inside the cone. The apparently static nature of this picture, in which history does not seem to "happen" but is rather "already there", has given writers and philosophers a new way to think about old issues involving determinism and free will.'"

I commented. "The idea of spacetime leads to the idea that time does not really exist as we perceive it as we, in our lifetime, pass through time, but that time exists in the same way as space and we exist simultaneously in spacetime in all the moments of our lives and that everything exists in what we conceive as its past and its future all at once in spacetime."

She went on: "These concepts lead me to consider the idea of the "Many worlds" theory which implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual "world". I have always thought of this as all these worlds existing, each as an archive of everything that has or will exist and all events that have or will happen in each world."

"So what you are referring to as an archive really just means that everything exists in all the spaces and all the times of a world and even at all the scales and our ideas of moving through space and time and even scale is just all a matter of our perception. For instance, I perceive you and I being in a cabin in a particular location in time and space and I perceive things around us that exist with us. But I can remember this same space at a different time when this cabin did not exist and there were more trees here and I did not know you. Or, at what you and I perceive as this same time, there are other locations where other things and other people exist of which we are not aware. Or looking at things in another way, you and I see a cabin and trees and snow and the things in this cabin but if we were at a different scale right here right now such as the scale of a small insect the world would look very different to us and we would probably not perceive a cabin and trees and snow but perhaps a world of other small insects and part of a leg of a chair and a rug within which we could hide from predators which might want to eat us and, although we would be in the same time and place, it would be a very different world. Or, if we were at the scale of a galaxy then the place where we are now would be a very tiny dot on one of the planets of thousands or millions of suns that would be our world and we would be completely unaware of the existence of this cabin."

She thought for a minute. "Yes, that is a very good description."

"Then what about the idea of time travel?"

"Well the way I see it time travel does not mean that the observer would physically move in the dimension of time and be able to influence events at different times but that he might be able to simply observe things as they exist in various places and times in his own world but not in others of the many worlds. Say, he had a machine that would allow one to navigate to any particular place and time and use all his senses to observe that time and place, like in watching a movie or reading a book, but not to be able to change the plot."

"Can you describe such a machine to view the archive?"

I envision it as a bubble shaped enclosure designed to keep out external stimuli to immerse the observer in experiencing the archive. The observer would sit in a comfortable seat facing a surround screen with surround sound and the ability to also experience smells and tastes (rarely) and feelings such as heat and cold and wind on the skin. He would have a bunch of controls for navigation and control.

It would also need both coarse and fine controls for moving in all four dimensions as well as gauges to show current position and a "Home" button to end the journey. It would also need switches to turn the various senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch on and off. For instance, if one navigated by accident into an active volcano he would want his touch sense to be turned off or he would feel the heat which could be very unpleasant. The machine should be able to sense extremes that might be uncomfortable to the observer and automatically turn off the appropriate senses.

It would, of course, be necessary to define a home or starting point in terms of space, time and scale because all navigation would be relative to this. Probably the starting point in time and scale could be assumed to be the time and scale of the present when the observer entered the machine. But the point for space could be the center of the Earth or the Center of the present galaxy or, maybe, the center of another planet or galaxy or a sun. Maybe the default start origin could be the center of the Earth and an input mechanism developed to reset this to another place if needed.

The machine would also need a 'pause' button which would turn on and off the passage of time so that one would see a still image until he pressed the button to turn on the passage of time, or maybe instead of a button it would be a lever to control the speed of the passage of time either forward or backward. Come to think of it each of the controls for the four dimensions could be such a lever. Maybe the 'senses' button too could be levers to control the sensitivity of each of the five senses. These levers should operate on a logarithmic scale so that they would vary from a fine control when moved a slight amount from the center position to a more coarse control when moved further from the center. In other words, I would move very slowly as I first moved the lever picking up speed as I moved it further. Maybe joysticks instead of levers?"

She smiled. "I just realized that this imaginary machine would also need a scale lever so that one could change scale and be able to observe the world archive at a microscopic level or, perhaps, at the level of stars and planets, maybe changing scales up or down by a factor of 10 at a time. Oh, and the machine would need a way to turn the observer's point of view or seat around 360 degrees so that when one navigated to a particular place-time at a particular scale he could observe in one direction and then turn his point of view to the right or the left or completely around to the back. That leads to the thought the movement of point of view vertically would also be needed so that the observer could turn to look straight up or straight down."

"Another thing needed in this machine would be the ability to bookmark particular settings of time, place, and scale to be able to easily return to settings visited before and begin navigating from there. As a matter of fact this machine might be similar to a media player or a web browser or some composite of the two. And it should also have recording capabilities so that it could record whatever was observed. Since this is an imaginary machine maybe, besides audio and video, it could also record smells and tastes and feelings."

"OK. I can understand the machine you envision as far as what we consider to be past events and even future events if there are not multiple worlds but what if you tried to use this machine to get a view of the future and there are multiple worlds."

She paused and was silent in thought for a while. Finally she said, "I suppose that the future you would see would be one of many and if you tried to view the same time and place in the future again, you would be likely to view a different future than the one you viewed before."

I was impressed. "That's quite a vision."

"I have an active imagination.", She concluded.

Law Administration

An author and reporter being interviewed on National Public Radio made the statement that she had realized that administration of the law in the United States was not based on logic and justice so much as tradition and procedure and perhaps emotion and tribalism and politics.

Please consider the hypothesis and implications if it is true.

Shedding Card Games

A shedding-type card game is a game in which the player's objective is to empty one's hand of all cards before all other players.

A typical deck of cards used is 40 cards consisting of ace through 10 in four suits.

This may be sufficient for 2 to 4 players but 4 to 6 or 8 players may require two decks or even three.

The general idea is that players are dealt a certain number of cards, say 5 to 10, and the first player to get rid of all his cards wins and his winning score is the sum of the pip values of the cards held by the other players when the game ends or he collects money from each losing player equal to the pip value of the losing players cards. Wild and special cards in certain variations may be given higher values if desired. Play can be several hands with the overall winner the first to reach a total of 500 points.

This is a drawing and discarding game, in that players take turns discarding if they are able and drawing from the stock of remaining cards if they are unable to discard, either one card which they add to their hand or until they are able to discard. If the stock of cards is depleted then the discard pile is shuffled and becomes the new stock.

To be able to discard the player must discard a card which matches the top card on the discard pile in either value or suit.

This game lends itself to a number of variations including:

A reverse card which causes play to reverse direction to the right as opposed to the normal left or to the left if already playing to the right. If only two people are playing the reverse card acts as a "skip" card.

A two-card card which causes the next player to draw two cards rather than one at a time if they cannot discard. It would even be possible to have a three card or a four card.

A wild card which can be played at any time and the suit of which can be either declared or wild.

A skip card which forces the next player to skip his turn.

Generally these cards apply whenever they become the top card on the discard pile. The Jack, Queen and Kings can be used for these wild and special cards.

Ideas from Recent Books:

In "Blowout", Rachel Maddow says the resource rich countries tend to have more corruption and thus worse government and poorer people than countries which have a harder time producing wealth.

In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia—including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove—was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”


In 2018, Giridharadas published "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" in which he argues that members of the global elite, though sometimes engaged in philanthropy, use their wealth and influence to preserve systems that concentrate wealth at the top at the expense of societal progress. Writing for The New York Times, economist Joseph Stiglitz praised the book, writing that Giridharadas "writes on two levels — seemingly tactful and subtle — but ultimately he presents a devastating portrait of a whole class, one easier to satirize than to reform.

How Power Corrupts:

Generally those in power exploit those with less power.
Those in power stay in power by distracting those not in power to use their energies either just to be able to live or to attack straw men that they are led to believe are the source of their poverty of power.

Sometimes those not in power fail to fall for this ruse and rise up against those in power. If this uprising is successful the power structure is toppled and those who have rebelled take the power positions vacated. The problem is that the institutions they inherit are designed to support the people at the top of the institutions and increase their power. Power corrupts. So the new occupants of positions of power are most likely to use those positions to enhance their own power and thus keep the same situation as before, just with new people.

The people rise up to throw out the old rascals and replace them with new rascals. Corruption tends to persist and thrive.

The founding fathers of the United States believed that the solutions to this problem could lie in separation of powers and systems of monitoring and transparency and accountability and regular elections. The problem with that is implementing such a system so that it can't be subverted. Congress has tried to do this with laws protecting "whistle blowers" and a system of Inspectors General, who are independent offices in government agencies with the responsiblity to discover and report to Congress instances of waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct.

Killing the Goose that lays golden eggs:

From NPR:

The year was 1985. China's brightest minds gathered at what's now called the Bashan Conference. They wanted to turn China's socialist economy into a more capitalistic one. So they all met on a cruise ship floating down China's Yangtze River. In attendance was a who's who of China's economic reformers, but the star of the show was a Hungarian economist.

JANOS KORNAI: My name is Janos Kornai. I suggested to go ahead with the marketization of the economy and allow - using today's language - private startups.

FENG: Marketization. Private startups. Historians widely acknowledged Kornai's ideas at that meeting shaped China's current economy - a mix of central control and market-driven policies - and unleashed huge, pent-up growth. Kornai triumphantly watched over the next three decades as China's exports exploded and wages rose.

KORNAI: It was a feeling of great satisfaction.

FENG: But in 2012, a man named Xi Jingping became China's top leader. At first, he promised more market-oriented economic policies, like the ones Kornai supported.

CLAIRE READE: Unfortunately, within a pretty short period of time, Xi Jinping turned.

FENG: Claire Reade is a trade lawyer and former assistant U.S. trade representative in China affairs. She says that after Xi Jingping took control, he not only emphasized a return to a state-run economy but also adopted a more ideological governance style, and hopes faded that China would continue economic and political reforms.

READE: With his hardening of policy, that also became a troubling sign.

FENG: Last year, Xi Jinping changed the constitution, allowing him to remain president for life. Kornai was horrified. He thought the economy he helped build was enabling an authoritarian crackdown. So he penned an editorial in The Financial Times saying he and other economists were responsible for creating a monster.

KORNAI: It is a complete return to Stalinist, Maoist, totalitarian, communist system.


From Duane:

One of my customers, Mr. Brown, was a man who was very successful in the Farm and Home and the Building Supply business.

Another man, Mr. Smith, made a lot of money in rebuilding large trucks for the long haul business. When government regulations began to clamp down on Mr. Smith's business, he looked for other places to invest all the money he had made. He saw that Mr. Brown was very successful and made him a proposal. Mr. Smith would build a much larger set of buildings to quadruple or more the size of Mr. Brown's business. Mr. Brown and his family would manage the new business and Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith would split the profits.

The new business did a million dollars in business the first year, four million the second year and 12 million the third year. Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith expanded and built four more similar businesses in surrounding towns.

At that point Mr. Smith, instead of being grateful for all the money Mr. Brown was making for the both of them became resentful of the amount of money Mr. Brown was making, and he threw Mr. Brown and his family out of the business and said he would manage it himself and keep all the profits. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith had no experience in the retail business and Mr. Brown's loyal customers missed dealing with Mr. Brown. So within a year business fell by about 2/3 and Mr. Smith was unable to make enough profit to justify the investments in the four business expansions so he began to lose money rather than making increasing profits.


From Duane:

A real estate developer in Atlanta invested in a fifteen hundred acre tract of woodland on a TVA lake near me. He tried for years to sell the tract at a profit but was unable to do so because he had invested too much and therefore had priced the land quite a bit higher than the market would support. At one point he told me that he would pay me a good commission if I could help him to sell the land. I was unable to do so and after about ten years the guy in Atlanta died and his son inherited the land.

I happened to find another investor that I thought I might convince to pay even more for the land than the original investor had been asking. I called the Atlanta guy's son and told him that if he would give me a 60 day option to sell the land, I might be able to get him the original asking price for the tract. He refused me because, he said, "But you might sell the land for even more and make a profit on the deal!"

As far as I know the land was still for sale five years later.


Other weird Stories:

World View: Realistic vs. Fantasy

During our development as humans our neural networks are created and result in an adult with a particular world view. We believe that some people have a world view that is a fantasy and they believe that the world is as they would like it to be and that others have a more realistic world view. We also believe that our own world view is the more realistic. That, of course, is a fantasy. Every world view is biased.

So some believe that there is a God, an all-powerful perfect being, and that humans and particularly themselves are created in the image of this God, meaning that due to their imperfections they are a lesser God. They aspire to become a full God or companion of God by perfecting their imperfections.

Others believe that humans are an evolved animal and may consider themselves a superior or privileged or favored (by the universe) animal. Most likely, they are not privileged and probably not even superior but humans have egos and emotions which often trump logic.

People observe the most obvious evidence of their animal nature such as shitting and pissing and fucking and runny noses and lying and greed and decide that these are the imperfections that separate them from God. So, to be more Godlike, they must either destroy or deny these imperfections.

People of western religions, for example, try to hide the obvious animal natures of their bodies by covering them with clothing and hide their bodily functions from the view of others or pretend that they don't exist. In their culture they frown on and try to prohibit any talk of or acknowledgment of what are considered human imperfections and labeling certain words and stories and discussions, particularly about bodily functions or questioning their culture/religion, obscene and prohibited.

It has been found that religions which prohibit sex don't tend to last long in history. This is true to a lesser extent of those that prohibit medical procedures or working on Sunday or eating of many readily available foods.

We have developed a culture, which is a system of knowledge and world views, which we use tradition and written words and oral stories and actions of parents imitated by their children to pass down from generation to generation. This becomes a system of beliefs about the world, some of which is based on evidence and much of which is a fantasy we like to believe.

The process of transferring this culture between generations is what we call education. Education is not universal in that different cultures among us transfer different sets of beliefs and values and different people have various proficiencies in learning their culture. So we all do not end up with the same set of beliefs. This enables a culture to evolve and become more complex.

It also is a problem for those trying to communicate with others because they may assume that their audience has the same set of knowledge and beliefs as they do and this may be true only to a degree. For instance, our county court clerk once told me how I should vote on a ballot proposition because he believed that I was in agreement with his world view. I didn't tell him that I voted the opposite.

Often stories in the mainstream news media give the impression of being aghast at what happened. If the story is of a murder or a car accident it seems reasonable to assume that the audience will also have similar feelings. What if the story is about a possible carcinogen being discovered as one of the ingredients of a processed food? What if the story is that a President solicited help of a foreign government in winning an election? What if the story is that Joe Biden was thought to have sniffed the hair of a female he was near at a social function? What if the story is that a famous person asked a coworker of the opposite sex to go to a nearby establishment with him to get a cup of coffee? What if the story is that the Congress appropriated an amount of money for a certain purpose and the executive branch spent it for something else or refused to spend it at all? What if the story is that a famous or influential person was given a job for which he was well paid but which required no work or responsibilities?

Often these stories just assume that the intended audience will know why the story is important and feel just as impressed as the reporter pretends to be. In at least some of the cases above this may be an erroneous assumption and the story really should have much more background and education of the consumer to be fully understood.

A strange man stopping on the street and drugging and carrying off a female for sexual attack is one end of a me-too spectrum. Mike Pence refusing to be alone with a female except his wife is at the other end as is the idea that women should completely cover their bodies and faces. There can be a lot of nuance between these extremes.

Political stories may require more knowledge of history and structure of government and power relationships than many people possess. Either we need a better system of education or communicators need to tell a better and more complete story.

Government is a social and political power structure created to organize a group of people, usually living in a common geographical area, in a common purpose. This purpose can to be support and enhance the power of a ruler (king) or a ruling class or it can be to support policies approved by the majority of those governed.

If it is the second purpose above the form of government is called a democracy. A democracy has two problems. The first is to determine what is the will of the majority and the second is to ensure that the government is structured to support that will. Generally the will of the majority is determined by a system of voting which itself can be subverted. The structure usually involves a legislative body representative of the people which has power to implement their will by a system of laws. This system of laws is to be implemented by an executive body headed by a popularly elected President or by a Prime Minister selected by the legislative body with physical power in the form of police and military forces. A third branch of government is created to enforce and interpret laws and resolve disputes between the other two branches. A system of checks and balances and separation of powers between government branches, it is hoped, will ensure that one branch does not gain excessive power over another.

A democracy only works when the general populace understands the way the government is created to work and supports that system over their individual differences and allegiance to any tribes they have created or may be born into. Please note that the chief executive does not, in this system, create laws or interpret the will of the majority. That is the job of the legislative body. It is the job of the chief executive to see that the laws written are implemented even in cases where he may disagree with them.

Things Many of us Believe for which there is Little or No Evidence:

Extinction:

A species is not the same as the DNA of one individual of that species. It is the range of variation of DNA in the whole population.

This means that the popular idea of species extinction that we think of as meaning the death of the last individual or the last breeding pair of the species is incorrect. The extinction of a species is underway any time the variation in DNA is decreasing and the population is declining and a species is thriving when there is a constant increase in DNA variation due to cross breeding and mutations accompanied by an increase in population.

The Optimist:


From: Beryl in Keizer, Oregon

I am 91 and recently wrote the following poem:

“The Optimist”

“Why live to one hundred?” asked my friend.
“Isn’t ninety enough to make a good end?”
“I think of the things I would miss,” I replied,
“If, at ninety, I stopped and simply died.”
Thousands of mornings to see the sun rise
In a glorious blaze in the eastern skies.
Moons to wax and wane anew,
Trillions of stars in the midnight blue.
Ten springs to see the lilacs bloom
As their fragrance drifts across my room.
To see new leaves on the maple tree
As the birds return and sing to me.
Ten summers to feel the ocean breeze
As whales cavort in blue-green seas,
To watch the hawks on the thermals rise
Into the blue of summer skies.
Ten more harvests to celebrate
Of apple and peach and pear and date.
To anticipate the vintner’s wines
From fresh new grapes on ancient vines.
Ten more autumns in which to see
The change of color on every tree,
Russets and golds and reds ablaze
To brighten the ever-shortening days.
Ten winters of freshly fallen snow
On mountains above and valleys below.
Of cherry-cheeked children on skis and sleds,
Of blazing hearths and soft warm beds.
Ten Christmas seasons of church bells rung,
Of mince pies eaten and carols sung.
Of families gathered to celebrate
The wonder of that age-old date.
Ten more New Years to welcome in,
To wonder what the year will bring.
Will there be a new baby for me to see?
A great-grandchild on my family tree?
I strive for another decade of living,
Of hoping and praying and loving and giving.
And, if I reach one hundred, what then?
Why, I’d plan to live to one hundred and ten!

Living in the Present:

As far as we know animals other than humans live in the present. If they are not being attacked and not starving and not freezing or sweltering and are healthy and not lonely then they are satisfied or, maybe, happy.

Man, on the other hand, can be in a similar situation where he should be happy and yet can be miserable due to his regrets about memories of past events or fear of anticipated future events or empathy with distant people or animals who are perceived to be stressed or in danger.

Joiners:

Maybe many people (men) who want to join the military or the police or gangs tend to be scared bullies who want to have power and authority and are attracted to the idea of violence.

We Can't Afford That

An action is proposed.
The response is, "We can't afford that!"
That response is incorrect.

Almost anything can be afforded if we are willing to give it priority over other things on which we spend our limited resources.

The correct response to the proposal is, "We are not willing to give that priority over other things on which we want to expend our resources." Perhaps a list or examples of those other things could also be given in response to the proposal.

Are We Self-Made?

We each think of ourselves as independent, autonomous, intelligent, conscious beings.

In reality, our existence, as we are, is a product of our DNA, our body's symbiosis with external forms of life, and the history of our culture including our social relationships.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, many other Republicans and quite a few other people think that they are self-made makers and others are inferior because they are lazy takers depending on the makers for their existence.

These people have no conception of the idea that their very existence, like that of all of us, is dependent on the environment in which we live and the history and accomplishments and the biological and cultural development of past generations.

They have been given all this and, as a result, they owe payment to nature and to all humanity and to the future generations of people and to the future of nature and the environment here on Earth. If they do not pay this debt then they are the lazy, mooching takers.

Wealth

The millionaires of the world, who account for just 0.9 percent of the global population, now own nearly half of the planet’s $361 trillion in wealth while the bottom 56 percent of the population owns just 1.8 percent.

That’s according to the annual Global Wealth Report released Monday by Credit Suisse, which found that the number of millionaires in the world grew to 47 million between mid-2018 and mid-2019, with the United States leading the world in both new and total millionaires.

According to Credit Suisse, the U.S. added 675,000 new millionaires over the past year, bringing the country’s total to 18.6 million.

Japan and China both added over 150,000 millionaires, while the U.K., France, Australia, and Italy were among the nations that saw a decline in millionaires.

Overall, the report shows the world’s millionaires now own a combined $158.3 trillion, or 43.9 percent of all global wealth:


Warren’s “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” plan, unveiled in January, would impose a two percent tax on assets over $50 million and a three percent tax on assets over $1 billion.

Last month, Sanders released his “Tax on Extreme Wealth” proposal, which would would create a one percent tax on wealth between $32 and $50 million. The tax would progressively increase for richer Americans—those with over $10 billion in wealth would face an eight percent tax.

Capitalism and Property

Capitalism is the belief that the ownership of property is much more important than the welfare of people.

Capitalists argue erroneously that the protection of property ownership protects people's welfare. The error in this argument is that relatively few people own significant amounts of property. The structure of Capitalism leads to this result probably primarily due to inheritance and property accumulating due to being passed down through generations and to the failure of governments to redistribute wealth to ensure greater equality.

Politics and Nudity

According to an interview of a young political operative I recently heard on NPR, many young people, particularly females, are afraid to become involved in politics because, she said, most under 30 know that there are nude pictures of them on the internet and they think this precludes a political career. She said this is more true of females than of males because, according to her, a male's nude picture on the internet is interpreted by many as a sign of prowness while a female's nude picture is interpreted as a sign of immorality.

Perhaps a politician should be judged on his/her intelligence and imagination and empathy with others and integrity. Perhaps it doesn't matter who they have slept with or whether they have appeared nude anywhere.

Government

Man in a state of nature is independent. Men tend to want to form organizations for the advantages afforded by working as a group. This means that individual men give up some independence to get these advantages. There may be many structures to such organizations by which rights are given up and power is shared. These "governments" may range from dictatorships and oligarchies to democracies.

A democracy means that power is shared by all citizens of the government formed. Since a pure democracy would mean that all would have equal power then it follows that every decision of the government would have to be approved by all or a majority of the citizens. Since, for practical matters, such a system is unworkable for organizations of more than a few hundred citizens, people have often settled on a representative democracy in which citizens in smaller units of government elect by majority vote a representative to represent them in making decisions for the entire country.

In the first modern democracy, the United States of America, the founders had to devise a structure of government that they thought would be workable for the future. The final result of their deliberations was enshrined in a written document called the Constitution.

This is how I understand the form of government thus devised.

It is based on the idea of separation of powers among branches of government to distribute political power so that such power does not become concentrated in one or a few individuals. It is also based on the concept of regular fair elections in which the people running the government are chosen by a majority of votes of all the people. To ensure that such a system endures it is required that a system of checks and balances among branches of government exist and that the system be transparent to all citizens so that they have confidence that the government is acting in their best interests. This transparency is ensured by freedom of units of media informing the public of what is actually happening and especially transparency to legislators so that they have knowledge on which to act wisely. For this media system to work requires a number of competing media outlets so that competition ensures that various interest groups and points of view are represented giving citizens freedom to use their best judgement to determine what they perceive as the truest or most likely of the views presented.

This system requires that all people running the government be dedicated to the form of democracy as described in the Constitution. That explains the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution required of most federal officials and members of the military. This means that their primary loyalty is not to any individual or superior but to the form of government described by the Constitution. Each person is only required to follow orders of superiors as long as those orders are constitutional as interpreted, if need be, by the courts.

A constitutional crisis occurs when one or a number of people conspire to subvert the constitution and change this form of government. This can happen due to greed on the part of some and ignorance on the part of others who support them. This usually would happen when some assume powers not given to them by the Constitution and/or when some conspire to thwart free and open elections.

Functions of the branches of government.

Three branches of government are established in the first three articles of the Constitution.

Article 1 establishes a bicameral legislature which establishes the basic structure and functions of government and raises revenues to finance the government and sets a budget which finances the structure and functions of government thus established and monitors the functioning of government to see that the laws it has passed are enforced as instructed by the legislative body and holds accountable those who do not enforce the will of Congress or cooperate with Congress.

Article 2 establishes the executive branch which is headed by a popularly elected President. The President reports to Congress the condition of the nation and makes recommendations for the direction of government and is responsible for implementing the laws and budgets passed by Congress. Other than his power to recommend laws to Congress and veto those of which he does not approve, the President has powers to establish regulations to carry out the laws passed by Congress but his role is largely to carry out the will of Congress and the executive branch does not make laws.

Article 3 establishes the Judicial branch which is a system of courts charged with interpreting the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress and establishing precedents which are usually largely followed by successive courts.

For further reading:

How Power Corrupts
and
Constitutional Crisis.

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die?
Like me, he's lost the will to live
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry 

Perception:

Do you see humanity (the world) as a bunch of people (organisms) all struggling to make life wonderful for all (complex) rather than horrible (destructive)?

or do you see humanity (the world) as a bunch of people (organisms) all trying to dominate and exploit each other?

or do you see humanity (the world) as a bunch of people (organisms) that you can exploit?

or do you see humanity (the world) as a bunch of people (organisms) trying to exploit you in ways that you have little power to resist?

or do you see humanity (the world) as a bunch of idiots (complex beings) signifying nothing?

or maybe a bunch of idiots (complex beings) producing a few scattered visionaries (more complex beings) which make it all worthwhile.

Education:

People are:
  1. Uneducated - having no formal education.
  2. Educated - having a formal education of some type.
  3. Visionaries or network thinkers with imagination able to use that imagination and knowledge gained from life and from education to discover new or previously undiscovered concepts or ways of perceiving the world. Such people may be educated or uneducated but education helps by broadening knowledge.

"The thing about smart people is they sound crazy to dumb people."
Stephen Hawking

What If?

We are the product of evolution both physical by means of changes in genes expressed in DNA and cultural by means of memes expressed in cultural memory such as oral and expressed traditions and books and other records. What if our culture had evolved differently so that empathy and caring for each other had trumped over greed and domination? What if we had developed a culture which expected each individual and organization to clean up its own messes and leave the environment and the world in as least as good condition as they would be if they hadn't existed? What would that mean?

Sight and Pictures:

In the physical evolution of animals a mass of nerve tissue developed to control the body's functions and later evolved into a brain which was like a computer receiving data from sensor organs such as the eyes and ears and skin and taste buds and olfactory organs and from within the body itself. The brain then processes this data to develop a world view and uses that data to try to affect the outside world mainly by the use of muscles moving parts of the body. More advanced brain functions have to do with memory and consciousness.

During evolution of animals some cells developed which were sensitive to light and could transmit light conditions to the brain by means of what came to be called optic nerves. As the sensitivity of these cells and the structure of the eye evolved so did the brain's ability to interpret the data received so that the brain was able to construct a "picture" of the world around it. This picture was assembled by means of putting together bits of data into an idea of a unified whole. Patterns of shades of orange might be assembled in the brain into the picture of a pumpkin, for example.

Later humans learned to draw and then to paint colors into patterns on a canvas or other surface to simulate similar patterns to those occurring in nature so that a certain pattern created could be said to be a painting of a pumpkin. This meant that the painting was not a pumpkin but it did represent a pumpkin because the light patterns received by the brain were similar although the feel and the smell and the taste were not similar to those of a pumpkin. The sound probably was similar in that neither the painting nor the pumpkin produced any sound.

Later during the cultural and technological evolution of humans a device which could capture and record and even transmit patterns of light waves was invented. This was called a camera and it began as a mechanical device and later became a combination mechanical and electronic device capable of recording and transferring digital pictures.

A digital picture is made of pixels or data points. Early in the development of digital cameras monochrome pictures (black and white or greyscale) with a resolution of 320 by 200 pixels were common. A picture of that size could be stored in a computer in very little memory space. 64,000 bytes are required for an uncompressed picture that size in 256 shades of gray. Now pictures 4,608 by 2,592 pixels in size with 3 bytes per pixel for color gives a picture with a single color per pixel chosen out of a palette of 16,777,216 possible colors. This is called "RGB color" or "true color". Such a picture requires about 36 million bytes of computer storage space if stored in its raw or uncompressed state.

A pixel itself is a single picture element, and it’s the smallest element that a photo can be divided into. A pixel can be only one color, and a photograph is made up of a grid of thousands of pixels, each of varying colors that together make up the image.

When you’re printing an image you may encounter the term ppi or pixels per inch. Most printing services, and indeed your own printer, will require a certain density of pixels in the image (ppi) to be able to render an print that looks good, with smooth color transitions so you can’t see each individual pixel. Typical printing ppi values range from 150 to 300 ppi, although some high-end magazines may require images which are 1200 ppi.

When it comes to displaying images on the screen you need far less pixels than you do for printing. This is because the density of pixels on the screen is far less than what is required for printing. So, for example a typical monitor is 1920 by 1080 pixels in size so, to fill the monitor you only need an image that is 1920 by 1080 pixels in size. That’s about the same size image you need for a 4 x 6 print at 300 ppi, yet this size image displays perfectly on a 23 inch diagonal monitor.

If you have a picture, such as those I take with my Panasonic digital camera, which has a resolution of 4608 X 2592 (or 1.78 to 1) and you display it on a computer monitor which has a resolution of 1920 X 1080, then the picture is 2.4 times as large as the screen both horizonally and vertically. You can either display this picture at full size by panning the screen over the picture or your viewing software may condense the picture to the resolution of your screen so that you can see it all at once or probably can zoom the picture in and out to see it either close-up or at a distance.

Manipulating Emotions:

Primary human emotions are fear, happiness, sadness, and anger.

We can be manipulated by activating our fear and anger. To get someone to do what you want make them fearful and angry and tell them that you have the solution to protect them from those you have taught them to fear and to attack those that you have taught them to be angry about.

Due to the wiring of the human brain these strategies are generally more effective in exploiting other people for your own benefit than the alternative of promising them happiness.

In populations based on greed and ego many will be fearful and angry and, therefore, sad. In populations based on empathy and altruism, perhaps, everyone could be confident and happy.

Reality vs. Fantasy:

The advantages and the disadvantages of taking the red pill vs. the blue pill.

According to the story one can take the red pill or the blue pill.

One who takes the red pill chooses to see the world as it really is which may be pessimistic as far as anticipating the future and it may be depressing.

One who takes the blue pill chooses to see the world as he or she would like it to be which is, by definition, optimistic and leads to happiness because such a world is a happy place in which everything is as it should be.

Most assume that taking the blue pill is accepting a fantasy and is therefore contra indicated. Therefore they assume that they have taken the red pill, but no one can know for sure and there is an argument to be made that most everyone actually takes the blue pill or that everyone takes the blue pill and some simply want to be pessimistic.

Taking the red pill is an advantage if one is in a profession where one has an advantage if he sees the world realistically or if he has a desire to actually understand the way the world works. The disadvantage is that he may become depressed or unhappy at knowing to some extent how the world works. Of course, it is possible to be realistic in some aspects of one's life and believe a fantasy in other aspects. It can be argued that we all do this.

An argument can be made that taking the blue pill gives an advantage to politicians and people engaged in religion and those who would rather see fantasy than truth.

Should your beliefs aim at the truth? Or should you just believe whatever makes your life better, whether it’s true or not?


William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unskilful in the world's false forgeries.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although I know my years be past the best,
I smiling credit her false-speaking tongue,
Outfacing faults in love with love's ill rest.
But wherefore says my love that she is young?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love's best habit is a flattering tongue,
And age, in love, loves not to have years told.
Therefore I'll lie with love, and love with me,
Since that our faults in love thus smother'd be.

Technology:

Our technology has advanced past the point that most workers can understand their jobs. Many of them are just taught to look at a screen and follow its instructions without actually knowing what they are doing. An extra in a movie can be filmed doing actions as instructed without having any idea what the movie is about. A cashier at a Kroger Pharmacy told me she had no idea how insurance billing in the medical field worked. She only knew how to do what the screen told her. A farrier knew what he was doing when he shoed a horse. Few now know their jobs as well.

Are we like a fish?

A fish does not realize it lives in water. In a similar way, people probably vastly misinterpret the world in which they live.

World's funniest joke :)

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says, "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence; then a gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, "OK, now what?"

Fencing efficiently on a beef cattle farm:

When I was farming and running about 150 head of beef cattle, I and/or my farm foreman would check and repair the five or six miles of farm fences by walking the fences and repairing as needed once every month or two. This job would take us a day or two. In spite of this a few cattle would occasionally find their way through the fences and we would have to retrieve them. If a post rots and falls or a tree falls on a fence, that will not happen while you are there. So the question is, will the cattle find the hole in the fence before you do?

Later when I leased the farm to a neighbor I found that he had a different philosophy. He would not repair fences until the cattle got out. Then he would get the cattle back inside the fence and repair the portion where they had escaped. His cattle were out more than mine had been but, on the other hand, he spent less time repairing fences than I had.

It occurs to me that a third method would be to use my method on exterior or boundary fences and use the neighbor's method on interior fences.

My foreman and I think we are the good farmers and our neighbor's method is not so good. On the other hand, we are reminded of the difference between a good farmer and a bad farmer. A "good" farmer will manage to get $300.00 in vet bills invested in a sick bull before it dies and a "bad" farmer won't.

An unexpected episode of stupidity:

My wife and I were conversing with a middle aged well educated professional woman we had recently met and we seemed to agree on a number of issues and to have some interests in common. It came up in the conversation that one of my ancestors, as a teenager, had stowed away on a ship coming to Virginia from England in the 17th century. Somehow this conversation led to the woman making the comment, "There are a lot of people living in eastern europe and other places in the world who are without enough food or with no or inadequate housing and they need our help."

My wife replied, "That is also true in the United States."

The woman said, "Except those in the United States don't need our help because they want to live that way."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because the United States is the land of opportunity where anyone who wants to can get a good job and work hard and have whatever they want. Obviously people who do not have food or housing simply would rather live without it."

She seems to believe what her culture tells her which is that our system of capitalism and free enterprise and democracy is a perfect system and if anyone has economic problems in such a system it must be their own fault. If you, the reader, do not understand the problem with this way of thinking then I see no point in elaborating.

Electing facists?

What causes people who have a democracy which, by definition, gives power to the citizens to sometimes, or even often, elect facists who wish to take away that democracy and establish an oligarchy or a dictatorship? Examples during the last one hundred years include Hitler, Trump, Erdo?an, Putin, Modi, Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro, Ortega, Maduro and many others.

See this Forbes article.

Always Question!

When presented with a new fact or proposition, question.

Is it likely to be true?
What is the opposite?
Maybe it is only partially true?
What are the implications for the future?
How does it fit in with my existing world view?
What are the motivations of the one presenting the fact?
What action should I take in light of this fact, if I accept it into my world?

Your choices are:

One who accepts a fact just because someone said it is true without the analysis above is a linear rather than a network thinker. A linear thinker does not associate the implications of new information fitting into an already existing world view because they think of each train of thought separate from others and, thus, do not see inconsistencies. Rather than fitting a new piece into an already existing jigsaw puzzle they just set it aside to find other pieces that might fit with it. Their finished product is a number of partial puzzles rather than one complete and consistent puzzle.

Such people are more likely to have an inconsistent world view with many contradictions and to be illogical and hypocritical.

Linear thinking may lead to or be caused by or be a characteristic of the "herd mentality."