Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What did you see today?

I'm reading Doris Lessing's book "Mara and Dann". First of all, it is an excellent text for the process of the rejection of self pity. I find it useful to read narratives by authors who describe great suffering and personal difficulty without ever lapsing into sentimentality or self pity. Andy McNab does that very well too, and the only fiction I'll likely read this year is by those two. Ms. Lessing was no Spec. Op soldier, but she is sure as hell tough as nails. I like her a lot. If I could meet any living person, it would be her.

In any event, I'm digressing. Education in a culture in the future that has been ravaged by famine, war, and "climate change" (she got the Nobel, I think, largely for this theme, even though the change in question was a new Ice Age, which I personally think is more likely than global warming) consists largely in the teaching of observation and deductive and inductive logic (I get them confused, so I won't pretend to use them correctly individually).

Specifically, the parents of young children start asking them at a very young age "What did you see today?". The children answer: I saw stones in the river, trees by the river, some were dead, I saw two monkeys and a turtle."

The adult then starts asking questions, like "why do you think monkeys live in trees?" Why do you think river rocks are smooth? If they aren't all smooth, why are some rough? Why do turtles have shells, do you think? Why do you think those trees died? Etc.

The goal is to teach observational awareness. I was thinking about this today, then thought about the Sherlock Holmes story where he tells Watson he is an idiot for not knowing how many stairs there were in his house, which he traversed daily for years, and then decided to count the steps on my ladder. 12' ladder, 12 steps. Being the genius I am, I thought HMMM, maybe the steps are 1' apart. Not many people would be that clever. That was my own idea. So I measured them, and lo and behold they were exactly 1' apart.

In any absolute sense this doesn't matter in the slightest, but I find the idea of approaching the world that way--of recounting for yourself what you saw daily, and trying to draw conclusions from those observations--intriguing. I would suggest this to my kids, but they don't like to be overtly taught. I had been doing something similar to that with them anyway.

For example, when I saw a patch of flowers along the freeway on the way to Missouri, I speculated as to whether they were natural or planted. What we saw was that color only occurred at the edge, and nowhere else. Yet, the grass was mowed, so we couldn't eliminate the possibility that they has simply been mowed down. How do we test ideas? We find a patch that is NOT mowed. When we did this, we saw that indeed those flowers still only occurred on the edge, and therefore had likely been planted by the State. Then we got to talking about who paid for it, and how they did it. Was it by hand? Did a special truck spray seeds? How? Etc.

These sorts of things sound dull, but when you actually start trying to figure the world out, it's quite entertaining. For myself, I watch internal pictures all day, so most days if I played this game, it would be a summary of ideas. That's useful too, in its own way. Really, this post is an example of that.

Thunking

This is a word I invented to describe the process of--shall I use Academese?--"narrative interaction" which is characterized by the substitution of labeling for understanding.

Example: Statement one: "I value private property ownership."

Statement two: "you are obviously a right wing conservative, so I can't talk with you."

What true dialogue looks like is a lot of question asking and answering, confirmation of understanding, and presentation of competing or complementary narratives such that even when world views are not reconciled, the outline of each world view in some detail is clear to both or all parties. What does it mean to say property is theft? If someone says that, the job of one who seeks understanding and not coercion is to find out what THAT person means.

The word itself is the past tense of the word "think", if we use abuse the English language. It connotes that if any thinking took place, it was in the past, and probably sloppy.

It is also an interesting sound: "thunk". Say it aloud. What I wanted was something that evoked the sound of a rock being thrown into water, and rapidly disappearing. This is actually how the word came to me, trying to express that feeling. When a rock hits water with speed, it passes through it without interaction, correct? It gets wet, but neither the essence of the rock or the water is affected. All the information that might have been found in that water--in authentic and open give and take--is missed completely.

Will Smith never got "jiggy" to work, and frankly I'll probably forget this word myself before long, but nonetheless I have always found neologisms both fun and useful. Useful because some thoughts need new words, since the old ones don't quite get what you are aiming at, as they are often so loaded with the prejudices of the reader's past that you fail to communicate and likewise fail to realize it.

When I say "puppy", can I predict what sort of image of a puppy you come up with? If I assume it's a German Shepherd puppy, and act on that assumption, I'm already mistaken for most people.

I will add that the entire Communist notion of collective guilt relies on thunking. You kill people because they fit some label, without any concern whatever for their individual cases, or whether the label even matches them in the slightest at all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steps 3 and 4 in saving the world

Some while ago, I posted my four step plan for saving the world. I have it on my wall in my bedroom, and chuckle from time to time at my audacity. Hell, why not try to save the world? The worst that can happen is I die trying. Certainly, I've already suffered a lot trying, but you do what you can with what you got, then repeat. That's the way to live, in my view.

I'm pretty much beyond embarassment, so that's not even really a consideration.

When I get time, I am going to formally apply to the Templeton Foundation for grants to take any or all of these deeper, but figured I'd post them in the meantime since I might get hit by a bus, or be kidnapped by aliens, or devoured by wild beasts. Like I said, I posted this before, but thought I'd try to flesh the ideas out in a tad bit more detail.

Anyway, Step One is fixing our financial/economic system. I have a plan for that that hopefully someone more knowledgable than me will someday vet, or possibly improve. It is here. If you want to skip, it's the last one; but the solution won't likely make sense until you see the problems it's designed to solve.

Step Two is solving the problem of meaning as embodied in moral relativism. I have done that. I still need to collate everything into a book, but the basic work is complete, and posted in general outline on my other website, www.goodnessmovement.com . It's an unpleasant piece, but my version of the Grand Inquisitor probably does the best job of summarizing my thinking on the point of life and the nature of good and evil. It's posted on the tab for Goodness, on the left.

Step Three is developing a system for speaking with the dead. Edison tried to do this, as did a number of other inventors of their era. Today, there are literally thousands of recordings and video images that seem to be the voices and faces of people who are dead. The field as a whole is called Instrumental Transcommunication.

The Holy Grail of this field would be developing a means of communicating real time. What happens currently is people stand around in dark rooms, recorders going, and ask questions. They then go back to their labs, and spend many long tedious hours trying to detect minute traces of voices. Some of them believe they get better results from radio noise. They tune a radio to between the stations.

Obviously, this generates the response that they are simply picking up the voices that appear sometimes even on non-used frequencies.

Here is my thought: use actual white noise as a background. Ask your questions and make your recordings, but plug earphones in to a sound filter that follows the recording, that digitally deletes the background sound, which would leave only extraneous sounds. Systems exist which can be tuned by frequency, such as the Lencore i.Net system. You could experiment with different frequency profiles. My thought is that we don't know what entities use to create sounds--assuming such entities exist, which is not proven for me--but it would be useful to procede in a formal way.

Here again is the sequence: sound generation, recording (on say a ten second delay, so you are hearing what was recorded ten seconds ago), acoustical filter, earphones. If a sound appears on the recording that is not the white noise, then potentially that is signficant. If it is a voice, then you have real time communication. The technology to do this already exists. I have no idea what it will cost, but I will chase it down when I get time.

In my view it is silly to pretend that the beliefs we have about death don't fundamentally color our entire lives. We live in a scientific age, and it is equally silly not to exhaust all possible avenues of proof/inquiry prior to reaching firm conclusions. The world works the way it works--and I will accept reality, whatever it is--but my clear preference is for us to live forever in a happier form.

I think this could work. I could be wrong. It happens often, since I take many positions and make many decisions.

Step Four is curing cancer and falsifying the Darwinian evolutionary paradigm, which are related.

Some time ago I spent some six months reading an exhaustive (and exhausting, for me) text in German on the state of biophotonic theory. I need to pull it out and translate enough of it to keep me fresh on the details, but the net is that our bodies emit small amounts of light, and that it appears to be coherent. There are alternative explanations--such as incomplete chemical reactions--but they don't really explain what we can observe. Such explanations are good enough for skeptics, but not for actual scientists (the two are regrettably often quite distinct from one another).

Cancer appears to be a malfunction of the biophotonic field, in which the constant "refreshing" of our physical morphology is interrupted, such that some part of the body gets out of the whole. It goes dark, literally. It is no longer synchronized. Most of the chemicals which are carcinogenic seems also to interfere with light transmission/biophotonic signalling. Interestingly, glucose--which is what cancer cells feed on--does the same.

Logically, there would be two components to this. The first would be strengthening the field such that the person never falls ill to begin with. The second would be getting light into the cancer cells, such that communication is reestablished.

I see two ways of doing this. I feel that the reason that saints in all ages have been reported as glowing is because they literally gave off light. I think that growth in spirituality and goodness causes an increase in biophotonic/field activity. It is under our control. If so, then it would be amenable to biofeedback.

We could create a box filled with the ultrasensitive sensors used to detect biophotons. We could play pleasant music, have the person lie down, and give them, say, a set of carefully sealed goggles with little monitors in them, such that the more light they emit, the more light they see in the lens.

We could carefully measure the frequency of this light, and see if individuals have their own frequencies. Do different organs have their own frequencies?

We could feed such light back to them. If people do have their own frequencies, then we use those exact frequencies. You could alternate the two. You could radiate someone with light, then see how much they could reradiate. The Germans and others have done some of these experiments, but as far as I can tell nothing really interesting has happened in the last 15 years or so. Most of the research is either really expensive, published in languages other than English, or otherwise inaccessible. I have written Marco Bischoff, who wrote the book I read, but he never got back with me. Perhaps I need to try again.

With respect to Darwinism, I simply don't believe that his thesis--which I frame as "morphogenesis through random mutation coupled with random benefit"--is tenable. Obviously, self evidently, beyond any reasonable doubt, the genetic profiles of all animals change over time, and appear related. Yet it is precisely the degree of relation that creates the largest problem. We share some 50% or some crazy number of our genes with sea sponges. How is all the remaining difference crammed into the remaining 50%?

We understand how single cells transmute themselves into babies, but we don't have any idea how stem cells "figure out" what they need to become. It is like the DNA is the raw materials, but the architect is elsewhere. We can track every moment of the process, but it just HAPPENS. We don't know how, and I don't think we will ever answer that question until we integrate field theory back into the process.

Logically, if these ideas--not really my ideas, but my particular articulation of them--about biophotons are correct, then they can be immediately utilized as a thesis on how beneficial adaptations were and are retained. The field interacts with the environment as a whole. Darwin has no room for interaction, which is a point about his theory that most people miss. Those who don't understand him assume that animals "adapt" to changing environment. He has no room for this. He has random change coupled with random benefit, expressed over immense amounts of time.

I do actually think animals interact with their environment--consciously, if you will, or purposively. An experiment I would like to see done is to take some animal that multiplies rapidly--say mosquitoes--and introduce a natural selector, say some toxin that will kill most of them. Darwin claimed that no rapid adaptation was possible, since the chances of just the right mutation occurring just when the selecting event occurred was vanishingly small. That's why he needed so much time. Over enough time, everybody wins the lottery. This is the theory.

What I believe can be shown over and over and over is that whatever the animal, and whatever the selector, adaptation will happen at far, far greater speed than can be explained by mere coincidence or change. Rather than proving "evolution" (used imprecisely by everyone as Darwin's theory), it would rather DISprove it as unable to account for an empirical fact demonstrated in a lab.

Simply getting any significant result with the biophotons would also falsify Darwin, in my view, but why not be systematic?

Such are my ideas as they exist today. Steal them if you like, but be diligent and do good work.

Propaganda

One of my core values is the necessity of perception. I have toyed with many ways of framing it, but the simplest is the necessity of perceptual "movement", as I call, which is simply allowing perceptions--opinions, ideas, understandings--to evolve over time. This happens naturally if you allow it to, which is to say if you are not rigid and dogmatic.

One of the core intentions of propaganda is to halt perceptual movement. This fact is typically concealed within an overwhelming volume of seeming change. Propagandees are bombarded daily--hourly--with change, with new ideas, with the "someone said this and someone said that" sort of news cycle.

Manifestly, our media talks constantly, but says, in the end, very little. Very few consumers of news can offer a systematic and coherent understanding of almost any aspect of our contemporary political, economic and social landscape. Deep thinking simply isn't a part of the process. This point is missed simply because people assume that since so much is being said, that something substantial must be embedded in there somewhere. It isn't--not in my view at any rate.

The actual effect of being simultaneously overwhelmed with "information" and underfed with respect to actually substantive discussion is to generate perceptual stasis. It is to cause people to cling to one group or another and instinctively defend them as people, and to fail to differentiate the people and the policies. If a Republican/Democrat/Libertarian/ACLU/Heritage Foundation/Drudge Report/Glenn Beck/Daily Kos member says it, then it must be true. Woe to those who disagree.

It is my personal opinion that the solution is simply actual dialogue among groups which disagree. If it is done with respect, maturity, and sincerity, it cannot fail to generate progress. Perception is a sort of self organizing system, in which patterns emerge simply from the process of moving around within a conceptual space. Obviously, some of them are wrong, but continued movement will sort this out.

I have said this before, but one of the foundational intents of democracy is to leverage the power of individual perceptions so as to get things most right. This effect is particularly powerful over time, since given sufficient information, democracy is that system which best adapts and uses new data to generate new behaviors.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sufi Coronation

I had a dream quite some time ago that my last post reminded me of. I was getting coronated as a Sufi, in a very solemn ceremony. They had a crown for me, and when they went to put it on my head, it was much too big for my head, and it fell on my shoulders. We all thought that was very funny.

This is a simple enough metaphor, but it can be "decoded/interpreted" several different ways. The hint I will offer is that if your crown ever fits, your usefulness is at an end.

Smumb

We already had oxymoron--Oxford moron--but this word connotes the fact that thinking is almost never undiluted with stupidity and "blinkering" of some sort. Even when we are seemingly most intelligent, there is always that invisible added perception that remains just outside our peripheral vision. It hides out there, while we smugly proclaim our brilliance.

A story I like to tell is the fact that Einstein lost almost all the money he won for getting awarded the Nobel Prize in the stock market. Further, he was a moral idiot, in that he had promised his first wife--and indirectly his first son--half the money. He failed to keep his promise, which is quite dishonorable in my view.

If normal people are ones you don't know very well, then I would submit that geniuses are people about whom you only have a limited sample of decision making and behavior. In my view, it is impossible to "be" intelligent. You are always, all your life, only as good as your most recent perception.

This is wonderful. Life asleep is, uh, life asleep.

Was that clever?

I love irony. It is a useful tool.

If you missed that, perhaps it was because I was smumb.

I will add that in my view we are all idiots. The smart idiots realize this fact.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Core contention

The issue is not that leftists are not trying to solve problems. The issue is that they are not trying to solve material problems for other people. They are trying to solve the problem of meaning for themselves, and pretending to care about others in the process. Yet, if they cared about outcomes, they would weigh them against alternatives.

Communism was and is a disaster. Most of our social welfare programs today are bankrupt, and the War on Poverty did little but destroy the institution of marriage among those who needed it most.

Why are these facts not openly recognized, and well intentioned alternatives offered? Simple: solving problems was never a core consideration in the first place.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Justine

At times, my life seems difficult. I work until every muscle in my body aches, then work some more. Sometimes, when it seems I am my limit (in reality, I don't doubt I am nowhere close), I think about pain and Sade.

My interest is this: in all my explorations, I look for the purest, best expressed forms of whatever it is I am studying. Sade is the template of human evil. He is the template of engorged, long lasting rage, and the rejection of the possibility of transcendental human experience--of love, of innocence, of genuine goodness and decency. He rejects, in the end, the possibility of happiness. Since happiness is the goal I aim at, it is worth understanding those who attack it. One must understand one's enemies, even if such understanding is unpleasant.

Justine is Sade's attack on the notion that Goodness leads to happiness. She always does the right thing, but the people she trusts--people whose social position would seem to imply decency--always betray her. Her decency leads to one horror after another. She is raped and tortured by monks. She is raped and tortured by a nobleman she helped. And so it goes. Bonaparte--a rapist and de facto mass murderer himself--banned the book and imprisoned Sade for the rest of his life.

It seems to me that people often equate Theism in some form with the notion that the religiously pious suffer less pain than others, because God protects them. Logically, if we present religion in any form as the hypothesis that members of that religion suffer less difficulty than the non-religious, then that hypothesis appears falsified by observable reality. Do Christians get less cancer? Do less bad things happen to them? Possibly, but bad things quite clearly happen to good people, and the idea is that they are protected in some way. Those who reject this claim appear to me to be on solid ground.

Yet, this only applies when we are talking about PHYSICAL pain. The point of any meaning system--of which all religions are subsets--is to enable the transmutation of physical pain and difficulty into either a nullity or actual happiness. It seems to me most all people have experienced some physical difficulty which led to some deep sense of satisfaction and happiness and joy that could not have happened any other way. For example, the team that wins the Super Bowl feels deep satisfaction, but that follows many years of hard work.

Is the Super Bowl important in any objective sense? Of course not. It is a game. It is an invention of the human imagination, of no intrinsic importance whatever, EXCEPT as a symbol of the power of determination in transmuting work into happiness. I will add that if the losing teams follow a John Wooden-ish philosophy, of focusing on preparation and not outcome, even they feel the satisfaction of knowing they did their best to become the best they were capable of becoming.

If we are speaking of Karma, do we need to assume that the person given an enormously difficult task is the cursed one and the person who can lounge about indolently for a lifetime the blessed one? I would argue, in fact, it is the opposite.

We all need to understand that work is a type of liberation, in that we become freer (we are never, in my view, "free", in this world, since it is so thick and the limitations of our brains make us so stupid) through new insights and expressions.

Think to the happiest moments of your life. For most of us, they are some uncontrolled event when we were still innocent--for example a first love, or a trip to the lake, or perhaps even membership in (communion with) a sport team. Maybe it is the first time your baby walked, or talked, or played the flute.

All of these things involve qualitative change. They involve openness to risk, to work, and to becoming someone new.

As I have argued in my version of the Grand Inquisitor, evil is based on a notion of qualitative stasis. It is based on the idea that no growth is possible, that "happiness" is only possible in a condition of self delusion, and that hatred and the quest for power are the only real forces in human life. Evil is a nihilism which seeks the destruction of all traces of the qualitative transformations meaning systems enable. It is not passive, but aggressive. It is not sedentary, but in constant motion.

Yet, it leads nowhere. All that can be destroyed is life itself. No one can destroy the universe. For serious adherents of this philosophy, though, they will accept the end of humanity as a good beginning. In this sense, Marx--as I have often argued--was a Sadeist. I have a link on this somewhere further down. Marx only created a (now falsified) critique of Capitalism; he created no alternative, and seems to have longed to see the world on fire.

The point that needs to be made with regard to meaning systems is that they work as long as people continue believing in doing what they believe to be right, in the common good. They work as long as people believe in love, and helping others. They work as long as we keep going, without giving in to pessimism.

We have control over this. In the end, the question is not if God protects us. If He does so, it is largely--if not entirely--in another world(one does read of miracles, and I believe they happen, but not often and not daily). The question is if our own meaning systems protect us from the horror and anomie and darkness of nihilistic pessimism. They do do that. They do more: they permit happiness in this world, and sincere joy.

It is for this reason that we cannot ever abandon hope. All of us will leave this world one day. Some of us will die on the way to work one day, or of a slow wasting disease, or maybe get hit by lightning. None of that matters.

What matters is how we live. If you have a code you live by which is not inconsistent with sincerity and human connection, then you must honor it, or you abandon a safe home for the wolves howling out in the night.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jeremiah

Long day, few beers. Got my work done, and thought, "why not read Jeremiah?". I don't know why. I don't know why I do half the things I do, but I seem to be productive.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of the destruction of Judah, Babylon, etc., when it hit me that the prophecies of Jeremiah reminded me of the Dada of the First World War. I visited the Cabaret Voltaire when I lived in Switzerland. There is a small marker in the wall where it was, marking the spot. I found it.

When you speak nonsense, are you not forecasting disaster? Do the practitioners of this not understand this on some level? I think they do.

Even though I oppose it on the basis of principle, I still find myself watching pornography on occasion, which is to say roughly five minutes a month. I haven't had a girlfriend for some time since I am a complex person, and refuse to use women simply because I was born with some damn hormones that drive me nuts.

Today I was watching this woman, and paused it, and saw that she was thinking "this is all life is; there isn't anything else, is there?". I immediately felt shame. Am I not complicit in ruining the innocence of this woman?

We all share blame for the state of our society. We all know what is right, and we either do it or we don't. The blessings America has known stem from trying to do what is right. If that ends, our specialness ends. Everything ends in blood and smoke, finally, so it is really just a question of time, but I like to think we can salvage our project, and move it forward. Certainly, that is the operative assumption of much of my work. I could be wrong, but I'll err with vigor.