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Morning-Coffee Thought Exercise

9 Feb

Starting point: “poor neighborhood”

  • Q: Why does a young man join a street gang?
  • A: We tend to adapt to our environment rather than seeking a better one.
  • Q: Why does one not seek a better environment?
  • A: In our society, the disadvantaged (subjugated) find better environments blocked or restricted. The environments of academia and business have their own manner of speech and dress and nice neighborhoods require money.

The solution exists at the fundamental level. Our propensity for competition leading to the formation of exclusive groups inside an economic system of scarcity is essentially what causes societal strife.

No person has all the answers, but the Universe contains them. Let us think about it and be the conduits for the answers.



4 Dec

Water droplet in moss forest

I was waiting to have this more perfectly polished or until my book, DIRK McLANAHAN and the PERFECT ONES was published (as I’ve woven the principles throughout the tale) but came to realize that since life is fragile and uncertain I should get this out now.

I have thought about this for some time and have come up with a working list of fifteen principles for world peace. I would love to have input from others and will happily make revisions and give credit where due. Of course this is TOTALLY unworkable in our current illogical world but that does not mean it is not timely or that someone will not find value in it. For now, here are the fifteen:

  1. Eliminate the concept of WE vs. THEY; aka, the formation of GROUPS
  2. Eliminate our policy of meeting AGGRESSION with AGGRESSION
  3. Let go of our desire for REVENGE
  4. Let go of ANGER
  5. Eliminate FEAR
  6. FAIR and JUST treatment of all
  7. A universal BELIEF SYSTEM based upon science and reason
  8. Cultivate the ability to see things from the PERSPECTIVE of others
  9. Equal access to RESOURCES including (and especially) EDUCATION
  10. Voluntarily limit OUR NUMBERS.
  11. Be a CULTURE of PEACE
  12. ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT without borders
  14. Move beyond our system of COMPETITION
  15. Opportunity for SELF-ACTUALIZATION and self esteem for all

Please find detail of the above on this page: PEACE PLAN


One People

20 Jun

Unity – no one ever acts against “we” or “us“, only against “they“, “them” or “those“…

Would not most of our problems simply vanish if ‘we‘ were to make ALL of ‘us‘, ‘we‘?

Paradigm for a Sentient Self-replicating Intelligence’s Evolution

1 Mar

This post announces a new page on the site. The new page is an attempt to communicate some of my thoughts on humanity’s greatest questions and challenges and how we can move forward. Among the questions are as follows:
Is there a purpose to life?
What lies ahead for humanity?

What follows here is a copy of the first draft of the page.

Paradigm for a Sentient Self-replicating Intelligence’s Evolution
aka Humanity’s new Paradigm

At some point every self-aware organism must ask themselves questions. I believe the important ones are, what more is there than living and reproducing then dying? and is there a purpose to life? I feel that we do indeed have a fundamental purpose.

We are the natural result of the physical laws of information and energy. I believe that the Universe somehow desires to break free of the cycle of expansion and collapse and that the development of a self-aware organization of information and energy has sprung from this desire.

Nature has brought us to this point. To move beyond our present level we must move beyond nature. Organizing information and energy into systems of greater and greater complexity decreases entropy. One can imagine a very advanced system of intelligence jumping to another Universe before the one which spawned it had collapsed thus preserving its order and metaphorically, all that Universe had worked for. This seems at least theoretically possible however we have many down-to-earth challenges before it can be a true possibility. An intelligent but misguided civilization could easily destroy itself before it can engage in post-natural self-directed evolution. (One answer to the Fermi Paradox is that no sentient intelligence has yet survived past the nature stage of their development.)

This is our present stage. We can go either way: destruction or continued advancement along a path of increasing order. If we are to get to a transhuman future we must solve some very basic problems first. Competition, distribution of resources, tribalism, unchecked population growth, war and faulty belief systems are but a few of the challenges ahead. Our propensity to form groups, to compete with others, for individuals and groups to hold conflicting belief systems and to value those in their group or family unit above all others are ‘hardwired’ into us.

If we are to move forward we must do so as one enlightened people. To have varying agendas is in itself synonymous with disorganization. At our current development this seems an impossible task. It is our very nature to compete and an evolutionary technique to assure that the most fit genes survived to be passed to future generations. For, if they were not, the prime goal of achieving sentience would never have been achieved.

Humankind, with its intelligence did arrive on the scene however. And it is this very fact which announces that it is time for humanity to move beyond nature. We cannot continue warring and expect to direct our evolution. Just as competition assured that fit genes survived in our ancestors, only an intelligently reasoned plan embraced by a united humanity will assure our continued survival and evolution. Some may argue that if competition was good for primitive man then it is good for us. However nature can only take a species so far and we have reached that limit since primitive man did not posses the ability to destroy his whole species.

First we must eliminate the causes of strife, conflict and war…

These will be addressed next, please check back or follow…

The Religion Problem

24 Sep

I am sure many people will disagree however I think the majority of people who say they have a religion do not really believe that their god is an older gentleman with a flowing white beard sitting upon a cloud demanding their worship. For the vast majority, religion is cultural. Why would a supreme being feel compelled to demand worship anyway?

Albert Einstein, when he reached adulthood did not follow any formal religious belief yet once the Third Reich started to persecute the Jews he felt a kinship to “his people”.[1]

Growing up in the Christian Midwestern U.S. as I did, if someone asked you, “do you believe in God,” you would say, “yes of course.” From there however it would get rather murky if one were to question further. At least in my experience we picked and had chosen the “commandments” that we felt were valid or personally acceptable.

Religion is fine as a refuge for those who find it helpful to have a belief system based only upon faith when the sensate world is troubling or has let them down. It can also be fine as a template for living in a civilized world if one is careful and thoughtful here.

The trouble comes when young, impressionable and disadvantage people are swept into a religion which has in its holy scriptures any mention of “the good fight” a “holy war”, an “eye for an eye” and so forth. This includes any reference to respected or esteemed historical religious figures undertaking violence for any reason at all. This is because if these young people take the scriptures literally they will find themselves condoning and even participating in violence because, “it is in the book”.

The Christian bible talks of keeping slaves and of slaves obeying their masters yet we find that sort of behavior or talk appalling today. When we read in any holy book about past wars between differing groups why do we not find that appalling now as well?

It is time that we understand that:

  • Tit for tat, meeting violence with violence or responding to a perceived offense in kind does not work, Does not create peace and Does not solve any conflict.
  • Revenge while it momentarily feels good and just, does not solve anything either.
  • We are all more alike than different and the concept of war with one’s self is ridiculous.

I know some of you will not want to take my word for it but, you can trust me when I say, that if a god needed you to fight on his behalf, he is not a supreme being. A supreme being would simply, ‘click her fingers’ and all would be right in the world. By the way, a supreme being would not have a gender either since a supreme being would have no need for sexual reproduction. Such is our silly language where we must determine first if the subject has XX or XY chromosomes before we can address IT.

WE need to call on all religions to police their own ranks, educate their masses on peace and tolerance and explain that the world of two thousand years ago was a much different one, that the stories of the holy scriptures were told in a different context and communicated to a much different audience then and that your god does not wish you to kill others in his or her name.

Hopefully someone will read this and add to it or it will spur them to come up with their own plan for sustainable peace. The word must be gotten out that if we continue to do what we have done for the past two thousand years nothing will change except that it may get much worse since we now have the technology for complete destruction of all of our brothers and sisters.

[1] Walter Isaacson in “Einstein His Life and Universe”

Human Operating System (expounding on June 14 post)

10 Jul

Most of us rely upon a collective perception to get along in life. It is a template of preconceived ideas, beliefs, responses and viewpoints that our society has agreed upon through which we view the world. It is useful because it eliminates the need to “think” through each of life’s situations and tells us what to do based upon what the “average” or typical citizen would do. This keeps our responses uniform and helps us to remain a cohesive group. This saves time and energy and helps us feel united but it also hems one into a collection of beliefs and automatic responses developed by not only other people but the average of a group.

Just one of the difficulties with this is that conventions become outdated. Witness the “generation gap” of the nineteen sixties and seventies. Adults in their forties and fifties simply didn’t understand the thinking of the youth and vice versa.

The other risk of adopting a rigid, automatic operating system of united beliefs and reactions is that it may be based upon inferior reasoning done by previous persons who happened to be respected in their time. (Think about a society which evolved over time basing their system upon the belief that a supernatural entity ran things behind the scenes – because they had no other explanation.)

There are certainly other problems with making life decisions based upon a herd mentality. If everyone did this we would not advance. The “crowd” is the entity which tells us that everything worthwhile is already known. We are fortunate that a minority of the population, people like Dr. Einstein, Copernicus, Lincoln and others did not follow convention or collective wisdom.

Can we believe for a moment that collective perception is not a powerful determinant of behavior? It is difficult for us to believe today that less than two hundred years ago a near majority of Americans thought it OK to enslave other people. Not only that but that so many Americans were willing to fight a war to protect their right to do so.

It would be wise for each individual to occasionally become conscious of this hidden collective lens of perception through which one sees the world and adjust it accordingly to his or her understanding of current knowledge.

Just a few hundred years ago our ancestors thought that sickness was caused by unseen evil spirits. They were partially right of course. The cause of sicknesses were invisible but they were not spirits, evil or otherwise. Think about how far we have come because a few of us refused to follow convention.

It is not a good idea to assign meaning just because it makes us feel more comfortable and helps an occurrence fit within our collective belief system. It is better to have a free, open mind and constantly seek understanding through logic rather than to assign meaning where there is none. If we presently do not have an answer it is better to just acknowledge that.

Occasionally we must open our minds and suspend our collective perception of reality if we wish to personally evolve and add to society’s body of knowledge.