In the eye of a gnat

What one understands and how one understands is dependent upon perspective – personal, cultural, educational, experiential or what have you. There is a range of variability in how we see things, from people to people and from person to person. Some see narrowly, others more broadly; some peer deeply while many scan the surface; some are strongly influenced by ideology or creed, others less so; some elevate their thinking by study, reading and sheer hard work, while many don't bother or only take it so far, or pursue alternate paths altogether. And we all have our own set of filters...and blind spots.

People with different attitudes, different experiences, different outlooks, different traditions see different things. And many never have occasion to deeply question their enculturation, what they've been taught, the propaganda they've been subjected to or their own basic assumptions. I personally think that's important for people to learn to do. But that's a thing for philosophers, I suppose. It's probably not too far wrong to suggest that we, as a whole, are somewhat myopic and too tightly bound to our personal points of view, which is to some degree understandable – but limiting.

The unexamined life is not worth living. Think for yourself and question everything.

Don't think small.

We sometimes speak of the bird's eye view, or the twenty-five thousand foot view in reference to an enlarged perspective. Historians, anthropologists and geologists view time differently based on the perspective appropriate to their discipline, and all of them view it differently from most of us - we down here in the gnat's eye view. For those of us guided by our day-to-day challenges, to people living lives the spiritual (if not actual) equivalence of living paycheck to paycheck, it's easy to feel lost in or overwhelmed by the outrages of the day.

We're often too close to our own times, our own culture, our own ritualized political system or our own problems, to see them clearly or easily. It's hard to tell day-to-day who we are or where we're headed. The most we can say in times like these is that many of the signs are not good.

We need to get on with it.

On with what, you might ask. In the long view, with a sufficiently large perspective, it can be argued that humanity is moving toward more and better cooperation and unity (as strange as it may seem given present circumstances and the daily shit storm). Generally speaking, the pertinent facts are backed by solid data – at least up until now. While we may seem lost at the moment, from the long view, we seem to be headed in the right direction. So we just need to get on with it.

Trump, imho, is the last gasp of the old system, the death of old myths and memes, a final collapse into absurdity. I believe he signifies the death of the old order.

In the realms of science and technology, I see (or so I'm hoping) a rebirth of what could be, the emergence of a nascent new system that encompasses the whole of modern knowledge, honors and respects science and rejects noxious baggage from an unenlightened past.

Of course it won't be easy. Humanity will be dragged kicking and screaming into a better and wiser future, but dragged we will be by our historical momentum coupled with our natural inclination to want something better – IF we squeak by existentially and manage to survive our own pig-headedness until we can get to that better future. That could be the fly in the ointment.

We know what we have to do. Our biggest problems and challenges couldn't be more obvious. We're headed in the right direction, present chaos and the usual gang of knuckle-draggers notwithstanding. I think (and hope) that there is building across the land a tsunami of a Trump backlash and that it will be the surge necessary to get us over the hump to a new and better future (if the AI/robots don't get us). The question is, do we have enough time to bring sanity and reason – and SCIENCE – to bear in the interest of all humanity before we destroy ourselves in one way or another?

I think we have to assume worst case scenario on the time and just get on with it. The progress that is. It's time to transcend the gnat's eye view and learn to see humanity as a whole. It's time for the human race to grow up and start cooperating in the best interests of all people everywhere - top to bottom for the good of one and all. It's the only wise thing to do, the only humane thing to do - which is to say, the only human thing to do. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate and too foolish to countenance. History suggests we'll do the right thing eventually. We should just get on with it.

That time thing.

bernie-peace-sign-peace-out-II.jpg

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Comments

Forgive my ramblings. Long time no see.

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Arrow's picture

@OPOL see you OPOL!
Don't be stranger. I know I can't be.
Food for thought there. Loved it.
Having a long term perspective doesn't have to be complicated. It can be real simple.

"All we are saying is give peace a chance!"

Peace brother.

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I want a Pony!

@Arrow Good to see you and thanks. I love your comment. Peace on earth, baby!

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Steven D's picture

@OPOL Because I almost always agree with them. No apology necessary.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

@Steven D Thanks, Steven D. Likewise, my friend.

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Wink's picture

@OPOL
Positive things. The fly in the ointment is too many don't give a fuck what's going on, they're very comfy with their $65K /yr., and really don't want to hear the gloom and doom from the bottom feeders. I'm still living just fine, let the bottom feeders eat cake. What they don't see from their gnat's eye view is they're soon joining the cake eaters.

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

@Wink May it be so. Nice to see you, wink.

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Wink's picture

@OPOL
Live long and prosper, you old hippie! Smile

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@OPOL

Hey everybody.

Forgive my ramblings. Long time no see.

Merry Meet and Welcome Back, OPOL!

Please hang for a while!!

Smile

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

@thanatokephaloides Thank you kindly, thanato.

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dervish's picture

@OPOL We need to think and act socially, as a community, yet that seems to be crippled somewhat in the current culture. We are isolated, and spend so much time peering into our devices that we don't know our neighbors, let alone care about them.

A few influential and wealthy criminals have managed to buy and rig our system of government, we've got to get it back by any means necessary. Life on earth depends upon it.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

riverlover's picture

in old thinking. We are being attacked now by corpocultures and better resist. Inactively cultivating a group of international contacts. There's something in the air. Everywhere. Maybe there will be a spring that isn't CIA-sponsored.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

@riverlover Sooner or later, something's gotta give.

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about Trump being the last gasp. Look back to the Roman Empire, and you see a bunch of really and obviously corrupt and bad leaders who just get replaced by just as bad individuals.

I mean, you would've thought Calligula would've been the end, right?!? The last gasp. But not long afterwards, you get people like Nero and such.

These things can go on for a surprisingly long time, unfortunately.

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@apenultimate Yeah, you could be right. I was trying to strike an optimistic tone.

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@OPOL
You're entitled to be optimistic. Happy New Year OPOL. Smile

Of course, I've been waiting for this vision to come true since the summer of 1967. (aka The Summer Of Love -- for our younger members)

Maybe this will be the year. Here's hoping (and praying).

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

@Citizen Of Earth Happy New Year to you, COE. Who knows? Maybe things will work out.

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Wink's picture

longer than Trump, @apenultimate . The Only way Trump wins 2020 is if a viable 3rd party candidate - Bernie - doesn't run. If there is no viable 3rd party candidate Trump likely wins, the DNC still living in the '90s. But, more likely, the DNC by then is reduced to a pile and flushed down the toilet, leaving a viable progressive candidate beating the Trumpster. Or not. ymmv.

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

Alligator Ed's picture

@Wink than most people suspect. The rise of a pseudo-potent third party, whether head by Bernie or not (although at present there are no alternate charismatic candidates for the job) will do two things and do them well:

1. Give Trump a second term

2. Completely destroy the useless, blind, malevolent, greedy Democratic establishment.

What comes after Trump has not yet appeared in my crystal ball--but we won't like it.

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Your optimism is inspiring, old friend. Getting over the hill these days is harder and more imperative than at any time in our past, it seems. We need more folks who think we will make it past the worst of our present (self made) problems.

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@stagehand099 Thanks man. I appreciate it.

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Meteor Man's picture

We don't see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.

One of my all time favorite quotes that I ran across attributed to Anaiis Nin. I Binged it and found multiple sources going way back in history:
.
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/03/09/as-we-are/

I sure hope that Trump is indeed the collapse of absurdity and a return to sanity and reason. In the meantime all we can do is keep fighting back. I've been watching the TV show Person of Interest about an epic AI battle:

A 2016 critique of the series on Gizmodo stated that by the end of its first season, Person of Interest had transformed from a "crime fighting show" with a plot twist, to "one of the best science fiction series ever broadcast", a change said to be due to the series "put[ting] the Machine, its intelligence, and the ethics of [..] using it, at the center of an ideological battle", and an unintended consequence of giving the Machine a voice, compared to its initial presence as a simple background plot device.[4]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_Interest_(TV_series)

In the Hollywood rosy scenario ending the "good" AI defeats the "evil" AI and humanity survives. Omnipotent AI has been a common Sci Fi theme for several decades now. It looks like we are getting very close to the actual creation.

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Cali Kush: a bowl a day keeps the doctor away.

@Meteor Man Love the Nin quote. And yeah, we could really fuck this up. There are smart guys working on the problem. How much comfort we should draw from that is anyone's guess.

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Meteor Man's picture

@OPOL
And some smart guys cause problems. A case in point is the notorious Powell Memo and Movement Conservatives who implemented the plan. As I see it the advantage goes to the evil smart guys because they have the funding, think tanks and M$M on their side.

The so called "liberal" financiers like George Soros and Tom Steyer are also on the wrong side of economic inequality. A fundamental media problem is that every newspaper has a Business Section, but they never have a Labor Section. Our side of the story is not getting out to the general public.

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Cali Kush: a bowl a day keeps the doctor away.

@Meteor Man Yeah, you right.

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@Meteor Man MM, thank you for the Anaiss Nin quote. She was quite the intellectual. I've enjoyed reading her pornography, also! Another quote of hers that I have tried to remember and live by, yet I think it is apropos for today and even becoming politically active!

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

It gives us strength to act; sitting in fear, doing nothing, diminishes any strength we have.

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In life, as in dance, grace glides on blistered feet. ~Alice Abrams

smiley7's picture

In my youth an older Broadway actor gave me this advice, "You must be prepared, always ready because you don't know when opportunity may come knocking." The quote has stuck all these long years.
i, two, feel the swells of discontent rising, a new-day wishing to break through and have a lot of faith in my son's generation, observing them living minimally, rejecting materialism and the status quo. This metamorphosis may indeed come, if, we are ready.

Great to see you, good friend and all the best to you!

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@smiley7 Thanks man. It's about time for a change, eh? Good to see you.

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Lookout's picture

E O Wilson takes you to a football game (perhaps appropriate today) to explain how we evolved as tribes. This is a little long at 12 min but I suspect many have seen it already

I wonder if it is in our nature to open our view of tribe to include all living things. That is my hope - a tribe of life. My fear is that our need for immediate gratification spells our doom (and many other species) because we refuse to act quickly and strongly to battle the climate catastrophe which is already underway with more currently locked into the atmosphere.

As to T-rump, he has removed the mask of what America has pretended to be. It is obvious to all thinking people we are a corporate oligarchy worshiping war at the alter of profit. Will we be able to overthrow the oligarchy? We can hope.

It is always good to see you OPOL - gnats eye, bird's eye, or third eye (as wiki calls it - speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight). Wish you and us all the best into 2018. I hope you'll drop in more often. Your essay last summer introduced me the Dr Fung and I'm now 20 pounds lighter and feeling great (especially for an old codger).

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout Thanks much. That's very kind. I'm so happy for your weight loss. It makes such a difference to ones quality of life. Good for you. I have a follow up on all that stuff, things I've leaned since. I need to get it posted. It's been a very welcome change in my life. I've never felt so good.

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@OPOL

...I've never felt so good. ...

Sooooo glad to hear that!

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

EdMass's picture

This post is fairly complex. I need more time to reread.

Don't stay away so long.

Just a thought.

Peace

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“Breaking News: The United States political system has been arrested for fraud, treason, and premeditated murder of democracy.” -- Big Al

Stop The War!

@EdMass Thanks ed.

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don mikulecky's picture

History is not a driving force for the future. Evolution is. the sad fact is that evolution depends on development and then extinction. Development for change and taking advantage of new opportunities, extinction to get the old stuff out of the way. They are tightly linked. Every time development happens it does so by using one option among many. The others are then no longer available and when needed can not prevent extinction.

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An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the time. It stands or it falls on its own merits.

@don mikulecky

Actually, among us more complex critters, genes tend to retain multiple options, many of the carriers of which as dominant may have failed to survive die to whatever then-existing circumstances, (this applying even in cases of total extinction, as with the dinosaurs, which may have nothing to do with their general 'fitness' for survival but with unsurvivable disasters striking their locale, which may include the globe in extreme cases, as with global dimming, even minus nuclear radiation) but which still may exist as recessives and appear on occasion, even when handicapping/ultimately fatal to individuals.

Also, evolution isn't directed by anything except inherent genetic/acquired epigenetic capacities (the latter often negative, though,) and circumstance, and is not necessarily contingent on anything except the results finding a sufficient niche to fill where the organism can survive to propagate healthy young.

So I'd personally consider evolution to be dependent upon circumstance, not necessarily contingent upon clearing their progenitors out of the way, that being something that may occur according to circumstance, especially if a new variation is more likely to survive that circumstance than the original.

All that likely happens otherwise is that more interbreeding occurs between the existing and the new variation, (then typically considered 'sports' which pop up from time to time,) where dominant genetic traits will predominate, according to circumstance.*

Isolation for the inbreeding of a group with these traits is typically required for the development of new variations, whether via a flock of birds blown off-course to settle on an island under different circumstances where perhaps those with slightly longer/differently shaped beaks and/or more water-resistant feathers might do better at finding food and surviving times of relative famine, or whether limited to the survival of only specific, perhaps more warmly-furred, members of a species having their habitat affected by some gradual temperature change involving cold.

Again, circumstance is a determining factor, both for individual and species survival. And the potential for evolutionary change is determined both by both circumstance and genetic potential - as well as the ability to reliably pass along stable characteristics to offspring, to breed true, which may not be possible in the event of gene damage, which typically produces negative results.

If you're speaking of specific species/branches, in many cases, any successful new adaptation - or simple variation - in different circumstance survives to continue that variation, while the original may continue to survive in the original circumstance in which it prospered, so I dunno if I'd think of that necessarily as extinction of the old being necessary for the new to survive.

Look at the variations achieved in the directed breeding of domestic animals throughout human history, yet, in example, the wolves - while endangered also by human activities, ignorance and pathology - have still survived.

I know it ain't easy, but cheer up - our doom isn't yet absolutely ordained by anyone but a relative few Psychopaths That Be, and we outnumber them by 99-1. We can survive very well without them, but they can't hope to, without us to leech off of, while and if we still let them create hell of Earth to kill off all oxygen-dependent, toxin-susceptible life.

* Just a fast example of recent other, non-isolated instances where interbreeding occurs among naturally appearing variations, and predominance alters with circumstance (emphasis mine):

http://mothscount.org/text/63/Peppered_Moth_and_natural_selection.html

Peppered Moth and natural selection

...Peppered Moths are normally white with black speckles across the wings, giving it its name. This patterning makes it well camouflaged against lichen-covered tree trunks when it rests on them during the day. There is also a naturally occurring genetic mutation which causes some moths to have almost black wings. These black forms (called 'melanic') are not as well camouflaged on the lichen as normal 'peppered' forms and so they are more likely to be eaten by birds and other predators. This means that fewer black forms survive to breed and so they are less common in the population than the paler peppered forms. This is the normal situation observed in the countryside of Britain and Ireland.

Normal and Melanic Peppered Moths (Chris Manley)
However, in the nineteenth century it was noticed that in towns and cities it was actually the black form of the moth that was more common than the pale peppered form. Industrialisation and domestic coal fires had caused sooty air pollution which had killed off lichens and blackened urban tree trunks and walls. So now it was the pale form of the moth that was more obvious to predators, while the melanic form was better camouflaged and more likely to survive and produce offspring. As a result, over successive generations, the black moths came to outnumber the pale forms in our towns and cities. Since moths are short-lived, this evolution by natural selection happened quite quickly. For example, the first black Peppered Moth was recorded in Manchester in 1848 and by 1895 98% of Peppered Moths in the city were black.

In the mid-twentieth century controls were introduced to reduce air pollution and as the air quality improved tree trunks became cleaner and lichen growth increased. Once again the normal pale Peppered Moths were camouflaged and the black forms were more noticeable. Now the situation in urban areas has again become the same as in the countryside, with normal pale Peppered Moths being far more common than the black forms. So natural selection has been seen to work in both directions, always favouring the moth that is best suited to the environmental conditions. The same thing has been observed throughout Europe and the USA. ...

These have been dying off, like the rest of planetary life, in recent decades, in this case, I suspect most likely largely from from pesticide over-use, as it's stated in this article that the numbers of these in Britain, which had previously survived extreme levels of highly toxic combusted coal pollution, had diminished by 2/3rds within the period between 1968 and 2002...

And one more example - as well as my own commentary, I'd some excerpts from (mostly) a few of the most pertinent paragraphs copied out, regarding the profound mental and physical alterations in various of a captive Silver Fox population having had participants and breeders selected entirely and only on the basis of relative degrees of friendliness toward and trust in, (ultimately affection displayed for) humans and was nearly finished gradually putting the last bit together one at a time, as it pasted out as one word at a time down the page in each excerpt, when the page abruptly changed and the entire addition vanished; I frankly lack the energy to redo that as I do not trust this computer not to do that again, lol. Most of the rest of this appears to have survived on the back-page, at any rate. So, posting as is...

http://www.eebweb.arizona.edu/Courses/Ecol487/readings/Early%20Canid%20D...

Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment: Foxes bred for tamability in a 40-year
experiment exhibit remarkable transformations that suggest an interplay between behavioral
genetics and development
Author(s): Lyudmila N. Trut

We have no need to physically evolve into anything else and are unlikely to do so unless we are bred (genetic introduction from various other organisms is manipulation, not evolution, relying as it does upon our own, undamaged and inherent genetic resources and ability to pass on stable, heritable, positive characteristics to offspring which then can continue to do so themselves,) for specific purposes; we just have to prevent the psychopaths - the born psychopath suffering from an underdeveloped brain missing the functions of essential human/survival areas - from gaining any position of power over us, and begin fighting to save the remaining results of Earth-life evolution and the natural life support system they form from The Psychopaths That Be.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

OPOL, so very nice to see you!

I went to church service in the comfort of my home, yesterday. Mile Hi Church in Denver is a Religious Science church (not Scientology!) that has "gleaned the best from philosophy, science and spirituality." They now have a contemplative service, ie., meditation. Much needed!

Dr. Roger quoted Marianne Williamson, who said, "If you're looking at the world and not grieving, then you are not conscious. But, if you're looking at the world and not rejoicing in the miraculous possibilities for healing it, then you are spiritually immature." I am trying to take that in.

Dr. Roger stated that we need to face reality. It does no good to deny it. But in facing reality, we face the truth on how to change it. Let's not deny the facts, but go to a bigger (higher) perspective. Become the change we seek. (I'm glad he said this, because they are a church based on positive thinking, so where does reality fit into that?)

He stated that we have separated from our truth. Whether you believe in God or a spiritual being, higher power, dogma...
We forget that we are ONE. Instead, we are living out of a fear-based egotism. We are vibrating, manifesting a low-conception of what a person is. What's going on is HUMANLY created out of ego, superiority and differentiating ourselves above others. I believe that we do make choices out of fear or love. Lately, like the past 40 years, it has been fear-based. Fear of not having enough, fear of someone having more, fear of war, fear of terrorism, fear of blacks, fear of the poor, fear of homeless, fear of someone being seen as better than us, ...

If interested in a little positive energy, please check out milehichurch.org for a 6-part series on dealing with the strife and divisiveness we are facing. For me, it was a little oasis in this dry desert of pain we are all facing. Blessings to all.

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In life, as in dance, grace glides on blistered feet. ~Alice Abrams

Glad to see this essay and the wisdom contained in it! Glad to see you back in the essay listings.

Always think about you when we head off to Costa Rica and your fine writing about your experiences. Keeping the vision of peace in heart and mind for 2018.

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

@mypiece @jakkalbessie Thanks so much, JB. Very kind of you. Best to DO.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Great to see you here. You are on the right track. We all need to adjust our perspectives and look toward the future. The GOP and demorat parties want us to look backward and move backward - thus the lowering of taxes for the rich, the denial of climate change, the continued reliance on fossil fuels, the resistance to free college and universal healthcare. Those are all 20th century/3rd dimension consciousness things that we must work to reject.

We are currently in the 4th dimension of consciousness. In the 4th dimension, we have those still residing in the 3rd dimension trying to pull us back - thus Herr Drumpf, the GOP, and the demorats.

In the 4th dimension, we also have the millennials and forward thinkers who are working to pull everyone forward to the 5th dimension consciousness - a more progressive and peaceful dimension. http://vidyafrazier.com/what-is-the-fifth-dimension/

All food for thought. This is why I remain optimistic. We will get to the 5th dimension of consciousness by the 2030's. It will be a rough road, but we will get there. Don't give up - just keep on truckin'!

Peace & love to you and all! Pleasantry

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

eyo's picture

Peace OPOL, if Lakoff is correct it's more like "Think For 2% of Yourself", doesn't sound too hard. Biggrin

98% of human thought is unconscious - A taste of the DIF featuring George Lakoff

good luck

Hat tip don mikulecky
https://www.complex.vcu.edu/
thanks

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On a blog.

Alligator Ed's picture

@eyo

Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct.

This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization.

Choosing one evolutionary door to open another usually determines the further path of evolution.l But there are exceptions. Basic truths can be found about any order, genus, species demonstrating limitations. For instance: bacteria cannot fly independently. Or, unaided a human being cannot hold its breath for 30 minutes.

But there is no predictability about the extent of future evolution, assuming there is a future. Regardless of how much of the brain's processes are conscious, there is NO EVIDENCE for any upward limitation on human cognition. There is however, that abundant evidence that the current political evolution (as opposed to heritably-driven), that humanity may never mature given its well-documented proclivity for self-destruction.

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hecate's picture

The Hairball, Brexit, Le Pen, Wilders, AfD, etc.: these are the last throes of the white people. It is Sad. They are having a tantrum, but it will soon be over now.

This human says 2017 was the best year in human history.

There are all sorts of ways of looking at the world. One can regard it as a dung beetle. Or as a lark, ascending.

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@hecate A lark ascending. I like that.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@hecate

Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000, according to calculations by Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs a website called Our World in Data. Every day, 325,000 more people gain access to electricity. And 300,000 more gain access to clean drinking water.

Look at the first part of the paragraph:

Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000

The document does not say why there are 217,000 less people living in certain conditions. My bet is that number represents fatalities due mostly to derangements of economic/governmental systems.

The author of that column does make some presumably sourced gains in sanitation, public health. So far and so fine. But...there's more to be considered further down:

“Intellectuals hate progress,” he writes, referring to the reluctance to acknowledge gains, and I know it feels uncomfortable to highlight progress at a time of global threats. But this pessimism is counterproductive and simply empowers the forces of backwardness.

An intelectual who hates progress is not a person whose philosophy is developed any further than the engendered hatred for progress suggests. Such a person is unwilling to think outside the box, by which I mean their own "brain box" (craniocephalic appendage affixed to cervical spine).

I am, as many readers here know, pessimistic, which I base on past experience. But pessimism is not a cognitive dead-end if the pessimist is willing to accept the possibility of positive change, which I do.

The anecdotal report of a girl in Afghanistan is both amazing and saddening. It shows what one bright, determined individual can accomplish despite adversity. Yet, at the same time the story is saddening because so many people, perhaps less talented or not, are deprived of the benefits of an adequate public education.

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QMS's picture

start cooperating in the best interests of all people

They are tightly linked

We forget that we are ONE

Good stuff OPOL. gracias

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virtual class war mercenary

mhagle's picture

I like the positive tone too. Thanks. Smile

Please stick around!

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

earthling1's picture

Great to read your insight again.
A couple of days ago I wrote a comment that touched on, I think, a wide angle view of reality today that fits the premise of your essay.
In it, I suggested that the Oligarchy that rules with their wealth and power over the rest of humanity have such control that the rest of us are thought of as nothing more than sheeple.
We are milked of our labor, shorn of our money (taxes, high prices, etc.), systematically culled of any wandering outside fence or wrong color, and some are sent off to be butchered in the persuit of world dominance.
Those that own or totally control the State are the only people that matter and they are living in the perfect socialist state, among themselves.
The rest of us are nothing more than the means of production. Farm animals.
Whether you believe this or not is not important. Its just an example showing that most of us here at C99% can think outside the box, and you have always showed us how. Thank you.
And again, welcome back.

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History suggests we'll do the right thing eventually. We should just get on with it.

Namely, we have to get it done before global warming kills us.

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@QMS @Timmethy2.0 Yea, verily.

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Big Al's picture

right direction although I certainly still maintain hope we can end rule by the rich. I certainly agree that we should not think small, but that's where I think we're hung up. To me, placing hopes on a tired old politician running with the same tired old political parties is not thinking big that's for sure.
But there are signs that people are ready to take their destiny in their own hands instead of resting it with this oligarchy controlled political system. However, like "often being too close to our own times", too many seem to think their time (now) is different when it really isn't except that conditions are worse. This global capitalist system is eating us up and if it isn't changed soon, the number of people being hurt will increase significantly from those being hurt now.
Boycott the duopoly, boycott and demand abolishment of the presidency, demand democracy.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Big Al see my comment to hecate above. I am not given to a sanguine impression of our (humanity's) future based on the relentless path toward annihilation homo insapiens is bound upon. Yes good things happen. Will they happen fast enough?

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Dear OPOL! How wonderful to 'see' you and thanks for the wonderful - and literally timely (damn the torpedoes and full bad pun ahead!) - essay.

You're right, of course; humanity is bigger than any one of us and, obviously, so is the last-ditch fight for survival we have yet to properly begin. There used to be a book, called something like 'Don't Sweat The Small Stuff' and next to achieving a future for life and civilized society with sane and democratic leaders of, by and for the people while there's any life support system still remaining to salvage, the rest is all relatively small stuff, despite their absolute importance. Without life, all hope and struggle rots with the corpses they once animated.

Edited to change the wording in the last sentence.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

@Ellen North TYVM, Ellen. Nice to see you too.

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And, more importantly, it's good to hear your point of view and to get a little confirmation that those of us who have a little hope left aren't completely batshit crazy.
Peace.

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@peachcreek Maybe not completely, anyway. Thank you.

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jobu's picture

People with different attitudes, different experiences, different outlooks, different traditions see different things. And many never have occasion to deeply question their enculturation, what they've been taught, the propaganda they've been subjected to or their own basic assumptions. I personally think that's important for people to learn to do.

You hit upon something that I believe is re-emerging in the ether, the zeitgeist.. Its in the air if you will. It is the rejection of the obscenely false cultural narrative of the 'rugged individual'. Maybe I am self selecting my inputs , but like you I am optimistic that we are seeing a reclamation of the notion that this 'rugged individual' springs from and draws sustenance from caring, cooperative communities from the family on up. We call it collective conscience for precisely that, we are collecting and sharing each others thoughts, feeling and ideas. We are listening to each other's music.

But that's a thing for philosophers, I suppose. It's probably not too far wrong to suggest that we, as a whole, are somewhat myopic and too tightly bound to our personal points of view, which is to some degree understandable – but limiting.

The unexamined life is not worth living. Think for yourself and question everything.

Tom Johnston of the Doobie Bothers will never be in an anthology of Western Philosophy. Yet in his own small way he has, with a simple song, added his voice to the chorus of those in favor of our collective humanity. Like Beethoven's Ninth, he is preaching the only antidote to easy authoritarianism, and that is Democracy. Way of Life Democracy, street corner and barber shop democracy. John Dewey Democracy.

Thank you once again for your inspiring work, and as always, it is great to see you here. I am always eager to listen to your music.

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Is very bad to steal Jobu's Rum, is very bad...

@jobu Thank you very kindly for a wonderful comment.

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divineorder's picture

And writing in your inimitable style! Jb told me you had written this, but I have been under the weather and we have been packing up to begin our annual perigrination to CR.

Your topic is one I still grok to, Hills and Empty Suit and Trump and all notwithstanding.

Back in the 80’s I went through a period of depression and introspection, quit teaching and with jakkalbessie’s support and partnership worked for peace. At one conference I attended in DC Norman Cousins , the former editor and advisor to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and at the time I saw him President of the World Federatlists, was the head speaker. He shared an ancecdote from the book where he wrote about being terminally ill and laughing himself well.

Cousins said something to the effect that science has showed that the universe was so huge as to be unknowable, and that our powers of observation were so small we should always be optimistic because we could never see the whole picture.

My mother, battling with alcoholism, tranqs, dead husband, and empty nest syndrome had read his book and it made big difference in her life. I waited around after Cousins finished his speech and gave him a hug for my mom.

All the best to you brother man! Thanks for your gifts and this essay.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder Thanks, do. That's very kind, brother. Glad you're feeling some better. What a life you have and have had. I hope this trip's the best ever. I marvel at your energy. Journey well my friend. Best to jb.

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