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24 Jan

Working on the old car I thought I’d found a new friend. Hanging by a lone filament off the sun visor was a baby spider, barely over 1mm. I spent five minutes trying to focus a video of her swaying in the breeze. She only appeared as a beige apparition, the car’s dash in perfect focus. The distraction of a new video subject had brought me into the present moment—away from ruminating on the cares of life.

Then the weight of life came crashing back on me—she was dead. Now I felt the bloat of breakfast carbs & the atrial flutter which was absent during the photo shoot, and depression peeked around the corner. I know—it was just a spider. A million die every minute just as a billion new ones hatch. This is the nature of attachment. It took me five minutes to attach her to my mind-made self, part of what I called me.

This was my reminder that we can embrace a higher consciousness. We can accept the current moment in presence, and realize the world of form is temporary. Attachment is not required for us to enjoy and marvel at it.

What brought her to the end of life at the end of a solitary silk strand? Not enough prey in the car’s interior I suppose. This is the second time I’ve seen a spider hanging by one leg on a single strand of silk in death. Maybe an arachnologist can explain this end-of-life spider behavior

Barely a dot in the photo, but she’s there
iPhone wanted to focus on the dash

The Need for a New Paradigm of Humanity

4 Dec

Steps, Yakusugiland, Yakushima, Japan 2016
Humanity’s Paradigm for the Future
Paradigm for a Sentient Self-replicating Intelligence’s Self-Directed Evolution

At some point a self-aware organism will ask existential questions such as:

  • Is there a fundamental purpose to my being?
  • What more is there (or can there be) than biologically driven functions, impulses, reproduction and then ultimately, a death?

Many will reach a conclusion that there must a fundamental purpose (or indeed we yearn for one). This may occur upon deep reflection or simply on watching a sunset in the presence of a loved one.

If we are the natural result of Universal laws then it seems the Universe has orchestrated our appearance. If so, what might be its purpose? Perhaps there is an intention to break free of the cycle of expansion and collapse and we, this self-aware organization of information and energy (among others) have sprung from this desire and are its method, or its gamble.

Nature, victorious in having spawned self-aware intelligence must allow its child the next leg of the journey. Nature has performed her task in bringing us to this point. To move beyond our present level we must move beyond nature.

The process of organizing information and energy into systems of greater and greater complexity results in a decrease in entropy. One can imagine the culmination of this enterprise where a very advanced system of intelligence is able to jump to another Universe before the one which spawned it collapses thus preserving its own version of order and metaphorically, all the previous Universe had worked for. This seems 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 self-directed evolution. (This could be the norm throughout the Universe and be an answer to the Fermi Paradox. In other words, it is possible that no sentient intelligence has yet survived past the nature(warring) stage of its development.)

This is the stage we are at presently. From here We can go one of several directions: continue in our practice of competition with each other and that of putting our future in the hands of an imagined deity leading to stagnation and possibility destruction or we can continue our 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, uneven distribution of resources, tribalism and unchecked population growth all lead to aggression and war and along with faulty belief systems are but a few of the issues that can freeze our advancement or destroy our civilization entirely.

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 is ‘hardwired’ into us by nature and served a purpose at one time. That time is long past.

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 this assured that the fittest genes for a particular environment were passed along and ultimately sentience would be achieved.

Humankind, with its intelligence did indeed arrive on the scene and this very fact 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 self directed evolution into the future. 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. Primitive man did not possess the ability to destroy his whole species.

First we must eliminate the causes of conflict and war. These issues will be addressed on my Peace Plan page…

How to Stop Illegal Gold Mining in the Rainforest

29 Jul
I saw this article (link below) the other day and was dismayed since I have been twice to the Tambopata region of Peru and love this part of the world:
Peru Scrambles to Drive Out Illegal Gold Mining and Save Precious Land
How can we stop the illegal gold mining in Peru? I believe we need to approach any issue from a systemic point of view. Laws are never one hundred percent effective even if a government has the resources to enforce them. The underlying problem must be solved rather attacking its symptoms. In order to do so in this case we need to ask ourselves the question: “What would motivate a person to labor at an illegal activity in a hot mosquito infested environment?” The answer is that gold miners simply want to support their families in a dignified manner and they have been marginalized by the rest of society. Society has two choices: 1) spend massive amounts of resources stuffing their prisons to overflowing and taking care of the children they have effectively made into orphans and wait for the next inevitable manifestation of the underlying issue, or 2) deal with the underlying social issue and watch as the problem dissolves.
In this case, how does a society go about correcting the marginalization of a group; a group whose current level of functionality is to labor at pulling a mineral out of the mud and destroying a precious resource as they do so? How do we increase their level of functionality? How might they become an asset to society rather than a destroyer of a resource? How do we help them become physicians, technicians, inventors, entrepreneurs and researchers? The answer is Education, Education, Education and Support. It is obvious that I have written ‘education’ three times. Here is the basic detail of the answer:
  • Universal access to higher education (even for those in small towns). This will increase the level of functionality of those who currently have no choice but to make an attempt at a living any way they can.
  • Education regarding the harmful effects of gold mining to the environment, the forest and the children living downstream. It is likely that many of the miners are unaware of the effects of mercury (children are the most vulnerable).
  • Education about the fragility and value of a fully intact rainforest
  • The international community must for now, support individual government’s efforts at enforcing their environmental laws and educating the public.
 Any economist will tell us that there is no free lunch or free education either. It does cost society (all of us) but providing an education does not produce a net deficit but a net benefit to all of society. Those educated will go on to add to the bottom line as they prosper and they will share the cost of educating the next generation and so on. This makes it worthwhile from a purely economic standpoint let alone that of the alleviation of suffering. And the economic benefit only gets better as one looks at what we will no longer have to spend, billions to enforce ineffective laws and incarceration.
These ideas are just a start. What would other smart folks add to it? Let’s start a dialogue and maybe an online brainstorming session and see what we can come up with. You will find me happy to add your constructive comments and ideas here and of course show credit where due.
Note: the photo at top was shot at the Inotawa lodge in the Tambopata region of the Peruvian Amazon; the same general area the article discusses.
For more photos of this region of Peru please visit these photo blogs:
Inotawa Lodge Tambopata, Peru 2013
Inotawa, Tambopata Peru 2015
Tambopata Research Center – Refugio Lodge, Peru 2015


10 May

Yes, indeed. Was it Carl Sagan who said something like, “We are how the Universe observes itself.”?
Thanks, Ivor

Bleeding Edge

Reality Manifesto:

I’m in a permanent lifelong relationship with reality.

The whole universe is in front of me.

And I’m part of it.

I am a manifestation of the universe looking at itself.


Dr Kroko

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Human Operating System

14 Jun

The average person relies upon collective convention to get along in life. This is sort of a templet of preconceived ideas, responses and viewpoints. It is useful because if adopted one no longer needs to “think” through each life situation that occurs. This saves time and energy but it also hems one into a collection of beliefs and automatic responses which 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 visa versa. Another risk of adopting a rigid, automatic operating system of 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 evolves over time based upon a strong and structured belief in a supernatural entity which runs things behind the scenes.)


31 May

We live, we do some work, we form some relationships, we die. Yet during our lifetimes there are millions of people who lack the things that we the fortunate ones, enjoy.

Some people live in horrific conditions of poverty. Children who live in some groups have their genitals mutilated or surgically modified against their consent. In one country a group numbering one half the population is forbidden to even drive a car. In another country an offense against the regime in power lands not just the offender but three generations of her family in a forced labor prison.

The examples above are just a tiny number of the injustices that go on in this world that we all call our home. They are people-against-people offenses. They are not caused by some natural catastrophe or environmental reality. They are caused by people. They are caused by us. They are reversible and they are preventable.

When I ponder these things my next thought is, “How could I not attempt to change the world just a little bit for my having taken a place in it?”. Maybe I am seeking a purpose beyond that of my small, insignificant, biological life. I don’t think my aspirations are grandiose. I am not living under some delusion that our human world is going to magically change overnight simply because I write something. Our societal evolution is however a process. If I can simply propagate some small shift in the evolution of our society towards that of a more just and fair one, that is certainly better than having done nothing but lived and died.

Because I have no large sphere of influence I can only do several things at this point. I can endeavor to show to the few people I am in contact with, an example through my own life of the principals I espouse. Secondly, I can write my ideas down and hope that enough people, including those in positions of power and influence discover them and decide to help make a difference.

If any positive change comes at all due to what I have written and how I have lived my life I will consider it a success.

– Ivor Peter Brians

The Evolution of Our Civilization

26 Feb

Challenge: To advance our civilization while providing a fair, just society for all members.

Our system of civilization is one based upon competition. In all of our striving to provide for our needs we compete with others. This is true whether we are seeking a mate or providing for shelter. This system of a competitive society stems from our evolutionary history. It seems to make sense or at least be convenient to have set society up in this manner since we are predisposed to compete.

In the human world we have taken nature’s system of free competition and modified it with law to suit an empathic, thinking species. The problem is that because we evolved through competition this urge is primary. We follow society’s laws only secondarily. As long as we perceive ourselves as successful we follow most of the laws. However as soon as an individual perceives himself as having been wronged or for some reason living below his vision of his standard he has a tendency to start ignoring the laws in order to rise himself up. In doing so he or she starts to negatively impact others and this of course is where the problems arise.

Basing the structure of our society on this natural competition model lends itself to abuses. In the natural world there is no moral rule set an organism is obliged to follow. Thus organisms will kill, parasitize, enslave and steal from their fellows. The only limits in place are those built into the natural system itself which prevent any one species or individual over running all others.

Making laws to contain our impulses is not anywhere close to 100% effective. Religion does not work either and seems to create its own set of problems when people follow blindly. Our biology seems to hold the trump card. We are motivated very strongly to do what our nature urges us to and one of these urges is to compete for our place in a hierarchical society. This likely springs from an evolutionary “pack” mentality.

I wonder if there might be a more advanced way however. We are no longer a species which is barely surviving like we were in our early history. We no longer have to fear being eaten by other species or have to spend the bulk of our efforts in search of food. We now dominate the globe and can alter the landscape as we wish(not always for the best I’m afraid). We produce food in such abundance and so cheaply that too much high calorie food and too little physical activity provides the major health risk to our population. There are starving people in this world but it is not because of a lack of ability to produce the food.

Competition throughout mankind’s history has many positive aspects and has driven our advancement. Throughout our evolutionary history, struggle and competition has made us not only stronger but has actually made us into the species that we are. We however no longer need to compete in order to pass superior genes along to future generations. We are now a technological race rather than one which is still evolving biologically. Unless we wish to go back to a “survival of the fittest” mode we are married to technology to keep our bodies and humanity as a whole healthy.

So the question is, how do we move forward in the most fair and just manner? A possibility might be to somehow give equal access to resources and education yet maintain some sort of effort/reward system for everything else which would allow us to gratify our urge to compete. Governments have tried communism and failed and I don’t think the answer lies in attempting to actually equalize the standard of living for all.

A society in which members compete for quality of life and are rewarded by how well they do against each other is possibly just an evolutionary step in our civilization’s history. If we wish to push humanity beyond our earthbound roots we must find alternative ways.

This essay has raised more questions than any it might have answered. There are many very intelligent, well educated people in our society. Hopefully some of you will comment on this thus contributing to our civilization’s evolution to a more just, efficient system.