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Monday, July 30, 2012

Justice Scalia's Foolishness

Justice Scalia's foolish belief that the Constitution must be interpreted using the meaning of the text at the time it was written is pernicious and leads him further into foolery.

It is an act of utter Faith far greater than the Faith of any present day religion. What were thousand of years of study, theology, discussion, Mishnah, and collating of variant texts of holy writ about? Was it all mere idiocy of the religious who seem incapable of determining what the meaning of the text was at the time it was written?

Justice Scalia is not a simpleton, but he is a Simplifier. He is equivalent to the man sitting on a bar stool saying that all the world's problems would be solved if we only asked "What Would Jesus Do?".

Read more on Scalia's nonsense:
and I will write tomorrow about the early history of the Constitution, and muse on the odd notion that the Founding Fathers inhabited the Golden Age, and no one since that time was of sufficient wisdom or virtue to promulgate laws equal in inspiration. The myth of a past golden age is always a low valuation of the present, and I for one am sick and tired of having simple-minded buffoons interpret our history to us.

The Immediate Man

The Media interposes itself between Life - past, present, and future - and the man or woman.
(immediate = in the middle)

By this interposition, the Media arrogates to itself the role of The Past (History), the role of the Present (News), and the role of the Future (Politics).
Who has not heard the statement that something is true because someone saw it on TV, or heard it on Radio, or someone read it in the News? All of us have experienced this, and it is exactly a demonstration of the interposition of Media into its role as Interpreter of Life, the dragoman who interprets the shock of new and old things to us.

I have given up on Media. I rarely read the news, much less watch it.

I have found that by doing so, slowly but surely I am withdrawing from the Imaginary reality that has been created by the Media. I no longer can accept the simplistic summary of events, for I realize that the very act of simplifying or abridgement of complex events necessarily turns those events into something entirely different: there is no such thing as a "simplification" which retains full, deep meaning.

I am reading the entire record now of the Congressional hearings on J. Robert Oppenheimer which eventuated in the withdrawal of security clearance from the father of the atomic bomb. The detail and complexity is overwhleming and borders on the oppressive.

It is clear why so many of us reach out for simplicity and ease and rapidity.

It is also clear that the majority of important situations that succumb to simplicity, ease, and rapidity of judgement end up as a gross miscarriage of justice.

We stand between the past and the future, we who live in this present! It is time to take back our Immediacy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Diff'rent Minds

The unconscious mind has discoveries and is creative,
The intuitive mind discovers things and is creative.
The conscious and rational mind has many discoveries, and using science incorporates experiment to validate such.

Only the institutionalized mind - such as exists in authoritarian regimes of human behavior - has no discoveries and finds nothing new.
There may be limited success using the old and time-tested methods, but they shun the new.

Religious minds filled with End-Of-Time beliefs are examples of authoritarian minds, and see the future as a dead end; they cannot see the Fulfillment of Time as ongoing and, hence, filled with the new things... and End-Of-Time minds fear the New precisely because the New is equivalent to a Bible verse they have not memorized, and cannot use for their own ends.

He who memorizes holy verses is only virtuous when he is silent; otherwise he is cunning.

Trinity Day

I trust you all observed Trinity Day on July 16?
It was the first atomic bomb test, and it ushered us into the future where we see things still a bit unsettled nuke-wise.

We discussed the first use of the atomic bomb, yeasay or naysay, and covered all the arguments.
I realized that language and reason are insufficient to deal with such profound moral situations: these best that can be attained is to achieve a life of the habit of virtue... then live the situation and watch where Virtue leads us.
So far, the experiment has not been tried.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stalin's Ghost

Suppose a group of people were to view Stalin in the Metro in Moscow, as happened in one of Martin Cruz Smith's novel about Senior Investigator Arkady Renko.

Reason tells us that of all the explanations for this, a real ghostly presence is probably the least likely explanation, so we work to dismiss the notion that Stalin's ghost had made an appearance, and strive to prove some other state of affairs that would explain things.

Once we have eliminated Stalin's ghost, have we actually put things as we understand them aright with the way things actually are?

In a situation such as the one about Stalin's ghost, it seem powerfully obvious that there is a delusional state of affairs at variance with some "real" state of affairs, and we must strive to understand the mystery.
But it is not at all clear that Stalin's ghost is the sole delusion in the state of affairs referred to as "seeing Stalin's ghost"; there may be other, less important, delusions that we ignore in our efforts, as they do not seem to bear directly upon the Mystery in the Metro.

By eliminating a delusion, we have not proven the existence of some "real" state of affairs: we have merely demonstrated that a certain complex of concepts and statements is incoherent when taken within the context of a larger complex of concepts and statements.
Or, the proof that something does not exist is not proving that it need necessarily not or never exist. Everything is acceptable in Being.
It is we who winnow Being, and separate the wheat from the chaff... supposedly.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fifty Shades of Dark City

I finally decided to see the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, and started with Batman Begins, which seemed the logical thing to do.

I regret having ignored it for so long. Of course, Gotham City in its dismal depression and gloom reminds me powerfully of Dark City, which was the precursor of The Matrix in portraying life as a simulation, computer or otherwise.

Of all the things that can be said, the Darkness does reign, and the fight of Batman is a pennant of righteousness in the winds of the black nights. Is there a metaphor anywhere? They are everywhere. Gotham City can be seen as our modern society with its feckless pursuit of nothingness. What makes Batman Begins interesting is that there is an ethos and a man to go with it to creatively fight against the gathering night.

We don't have that. We have darkness and we fear it... that's about all we do, other than invoking old beliefs that failed over and over in the past 2,000 years... yet we shall not modify them one jot. We use Religion to put lipstick on evil.

Then there is Fifty Shades of Grey.
Sadomasochism is always dark and cold and grey. Dungeons are dark and cold. There is a pretense that Sadomasochism is hot and passionate, but whatever fire there may be is overwhelmed by the genius of cold and the genius of icy blood.
There was a pretense that there was wisdom in DeSade, but that was never anything more than someone else's gifted junk tossed into a dumpster, and we retrieved it, thinking it was fine and new.
I also heard of young people watching a show Dexter; they said they liked it.

A woman was killed earlier this year in California; she was killed in a dungeon:
Her killer used power tools to try to dismember the body in the manner she had seen on "Dexter," a television series about a serial killer, according to a confession note left by one of the suspects after a failed suicide attempt. That note is quoted in one of the affidavits.
If Evil is Art, we shall admire it and write about it and discuss it at meetings. Anything can be considered as Fine Art, harking back to Daniel Defoe's Murder Considered As One of the Fine Arts, remembering In Cold Blood and watching a society make Caligula look like Mr. Rogers.

The dark, cold, desperate marble tomb of our society must be broken open to the light.

Mitt's Problem

Romney is a superb businessman who cannot and will not explain his own finances, nor where his riches might be located.

It is a paradox:  we do not bash business, but when one runs for the highest office, one should be able to do the simple disclosures everyone else has been doing for years.

News in the Free Media Today

1)   $21 trillion (at least) hiding in tax-havens
A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.
The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.
The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.
Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.
Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: "There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?"
Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn...
There is the considerable amount of drug money here... suitably laundered, of course.

2)  Two California cities tackle the mass foreclosure problem (while Washington sleeps)
Financial Times

An excellent article on the passivity of politicians to the Crisis, wherein real innovative thinking comes from the bankrupted cities of Ontario and Fontana in San Bernadino County.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Los Olvidados

Forgotten and rarely heard from are the villages and populations of Native inhabitants who are mostly ignored by us, their overlords. When is the last time you heard news about them? Other than killings and drug and alcohol abuse specials, they are los olvidados, the forgotten ones.

I think we should take a look at them, for their state is our future of wealth and power inequity...

Anyway, in the BBC
there are pictures, and a story:
Police in Colombia have driven members of an indigenous group from a strategic mountain top they were occupying.
More than 20 people were injured in the clashes in Cauca province, in Colombia's south-west.
Nasa tribesmen had taken the army post on Cerro Berlin on Tuesday and forced the soldiers stationed there to leave.
The Nasa say they are tired of being caught in the middle of confrontations between the security forces and members of the Farc rebel group.
Somos todos el tribu Nasa.

Linchpin of the Universe

"You know, it just occurred to me; if there are an infinite number of parallel universes, in one of them there is probably a Sheldon that doesn't believe parallel universes exist." 
Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper, Physicist and Future Nobel Laureate

I was watching The Big Bang Theory this morning, as I always do: begin and end the day with Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, et alii. Things seem to go so much better.

Anyhow, so there is the above quote in the episode entitled The Desperation Emanation, first aired 10/21/2010, and straight away it suddenly grabs the old attention by the windpipe.

Even though certain theories of Physics may hold that there are many universes, even an infinite number of them, "beliefs" are not necessarily infinite nor random.
Given a truly infinite number of universes, all the objects, states, facts, and states-of-affairs that are subject to the science of Physics may indeed be infinite in number, and, therefore, all phenomena have an infinite amount of slack cut to allow reality to take on every possible permutation imaginable... even many Sheldons.

However, a "belief" is not immediately obvious as being one of the objects that Physics studies.

Simply put, if there be many Sheldons, there are many Sheldon-life-histories also. We are interested in the many Sheldon histories which are annals up to a certain point, say one congruent to The Desperation Emanation.
If we have postulated an infinite set with the infinite number A of possible Sheldons due to electrons, neutrons, electricity, force, attraction, etc., we find we have yet another number of items we have neglected: beliefs, opinions, half-baked notions, dreams, aspirations, etc. which when mixed into the calculus, give us another infinite number, yet one that is greater than A. Let's call it B.

Then we are faced with another set of beliefs, opinions etc., about all of the above, giving us another infinite set - yet larger - of phenomena with a transfinite number C, and so it goes. These opinions are my opinions: the beliefs of an infinite number of me, myself, and I, and all our limitless friends.
In essence, treating mental phenomena as objects of Physics allows Reality to expand without any bounds, rational or irrational. 

The only recourse is to deny that mental phenomena are random within a many-universe schema: All Sheldons believe the same thing, no matter what universe they exist in. From this it follows that faith is not random across the span of infinite universes of string theory.
The only other alternative is to be silent, or to make belief a matter of spin, charm, up or down.

Interesting. Belief is a good harbor, a linchpin in the galaxy.

The Disaster Leitmotif

reprint from 2007

This deals with our recurring Disaster Theme of History, and follows on the latest shootings. I think many of us feel that we are in a dead end without any exits. There is at least one exit, and that is our own faith and optimism.

I was trained in the British-American tradition of philosophy. In my senior year at University, I discovered Sartre. I resisted at first, but then fell into complicity with him. I do not think I have ever come across a philosopher I did not like. I mean, I agree with them all. Where some people see some chasm or dichotomy between the British and the Continental tradition, I see different ways of looking at the same phenomena and a sort of a parable about men in blindfolds describing a pachyderm: the one touching the truck says that the elephant resembles a tentacular creature while the man touching the leg say it resembles the pillars at the ends of the earth.

I think one of the things about the Roman Catholic Church I found most displeasing was the tradition of Thomas Aquinas' philosophy and little else: a myopia in philosophy. I could never quite reconcile my vision of Jesus with the mediaeval obsession with philosophy applied to divine things. I always had a sneaking suspicion that if somehow Jacques Maritain could appear to Jesus in His own day, Jesus would think a new type of Pharisee had come for a visit.

Jean Beaudrillard passed on this year and he spoke of hyperreality. The realm of philosophy is similar to other realms of hyperreality. I have always been fascinated by the enclosures of fancy we create and then try to insulate them from contamination by an intrusive reality. I considered the run up to the War in Iraq just such a hyperreality. It was an excellent experiment to observe how such things are created.
We see today in Global Research  
The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed on May 9, 2007 declares that in the event of a “catastrophic event”, George W. Bush can become what is best described as "a dictator": "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government." This directive, completely unnoticed by the media, and given no scrutiny by Congress, literally gives the White House unprecedented dictatorial power over the government and the country, bypassing the US Congress and obliterating the separation of powers. The directive also placed the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of domestic “security”. The full text is below. A critical analysis on the directive can be found here. This is another step towards official martial law (see “US government fans homeland security fears”), which suggests that a new "catastrophic event" 9/11-type pretext could be in the pipeline.
It may be surprising that the most interesting thing I find in this is that it is another thread of End Of Time, or Approaching Disaster, or Armageddon Is Just Around The Corner; these are the hyperrealities which infest our minds.
There is a difference between a dispassionate appraisal of reality and a hyperreality, a virtual reality, if it please you, that exists in another dimension, whether it be in the individual mind, or the collective social awareness of a nation, or in cyberspace.

Since 9-11, we have been mostly dealing in states of hyperreality. We have chosen up sides and each side has striven to delineate the parameters of its own hyperreality. Then we scream back and forth. We scream because the taste and smell of the real is so intense, how could we see that hyperreality is not the same as reality?
Hyperreality is constructed of the same building blocks of Remembered and Historical Events with which we create the real. Thus, its smell must be the smell of reality. Its taste must be the taste of reality. Its remembered beauty must be the remembered beauty of reality. It is the Logic that has lost its sense of direction.
The Logic which compels the construction of Reality is no longer the hidden algorithm of many nodes, web-like wherein we balance like spiders in a filmy gauze suspended above the void. The Logic has become distorted and no longer an inborn song of creativity. It is an inflexible and rigid mechanism, unbending and without a sense of History - neither coming from the past nor going to the future, but merely a focus of a moment of present obsession.

The Themes of Disaster flows in and out of our lives: from Virginia Tech to Iraq to Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD). The Disaster Figure always wears a new face: Virginia Tech or John Muhammed or Saddam Hussein...or Iran...or the Religious Right or Islamic Fundamentalism. But the god of Disaster is always there in our minds and in our prayers...and in our hyperreality. When I have said the mind can be a prison, this is what I was referring to. Philosophy should not enslave, not incarcerate.

Unspeakable Horror

Heard on the Sunday morning news-blab:  How could a quiet science student have committed such an unspeakable horror?

We have inured ourselves to horror; it takes more and more of the old "unspeakable" to move us anymore: more blood, more gore, more sexual sadism....  does the most popular ebook come to mind yet, people?
We really cannot get enough, can we? We live in the Age of Drones (murder made squeaky clean) and Sadism (sex made squeaky cold).

Welcome to the future.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Warner Bros. also moved to pull trailers for its upcoming movie "Gangster Squad" from showings of "The Dark Knight Rises." The trailer of the film, which stars Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in a ruthless war between '40s Los Angeles police and the mob, includes a scene of mobsters firing into a movie theater from behind the screen.
Our society more and more resembles its fantasies, as as those fantasies are deadly, so will be our future. We have gone into a world of depressions, armageddons, despair, and end-of-times zombies, and we are beginning to lose our sense of a way out.
No one knows what to do anymore.

July 20

 Sunrise Over the Earth by Apollo 12

There were shootings on July 20, 2012; I shall not talk about those, because this country is not ready to discuss such things. What is the point, really? We shall continue on until some mini-Armageddon, then we may discuss... Necessity is still the Mother of Conversation, no?

Instead, I shall mention July 20, 1969 when, at 20:17:40 GMT, mankind landed on the Moon. Since the Apollo space era, mankind has not gone  back.

I miss the sense of goal-directed behavior for the country and the world, for the space program did give us that sense that there was something cosmic in our future. Now when we gaze at our futures, we see little but worry about whether the Congress will destroy Medicare and Social Security.
We have a sense of Fahrenheit 451, where the future is firmly centered on an Earth that increasingly resembles 1984. A sense of exhaustion rules, and we are going no where but in circles:

Vicious Circle #1:
a) a shooting takes place;
b) news coverage 24/7 even when there is nothing "new" and everything is repetitious,
c) angry shouts pro and con about guns;
d) uproar dies down;
e) people stop talking about a better way;
f) at some time t+e, loop back to step a)

Back in 1969, we were good. We went to the Moon, we protested an idiotic war in 'Nam, and we fought against racism and segregation. We sought to escape the circles of the past, and to go forward.
We were one heck of a country.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Dream Factory: Great and Powerful Tea

The Intelligent Designer was Tea: black, white, green, aged and still on the bush; the I.D. Guy was Tea.

I had always thought it would be some sort of supernatural being who could be imagined as a Gepetto-like figure, tinkering around with reality.

However, it was Tea, the Great and Powerful.
As I was standing in the wings of Paradise, watching some sort of divine growth spurt,  I saw Earl Grey make a grab for power... must have been thinking of Milton's Paradise Lost.  In fact, I had been reading bits of it over the past couple days. Connect that with the ever-present Alexander Pope (in my head) wherein we meditate on queens, whom numerous realms obey... and sometimes counsel take... and sometimes taaayyy.

Freud could not have unwrapped this enigma with a slicker lissomeness.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Fine "State of Affairs"

This is a note to myself before I run out the door:

Dear Self,

Wittgenstein's notion of a "state of affairs" attempts to excludes the "state of affairs" of the subjective observer or person who states a proposition.

This is how Science wishes the propositions of science to be, and it reflects other peoples' work: Moritz Schlick, Carnap, and the Vienna Circle among other.
It also is eeriely similar to the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Theory, which I find very interesting, and not the slightest bit  Bohr-ing.

(note to self, laugh loudly here!)

However, in most other situations, a "state of affairs" usually includes the state of affairs of the intelligent individuals who observe and propound the propositions.

The question is how a "state of affairs" differs from the one type of proposition to the other, for it seems obvious that the second type of proposition is a bit more than merely a first type - Wittgensteinian - proposition with some added information about the person making it.

Certainly, all my emotional nuances and quirks constitute  "a state of affairs"; my evaluations are "facts";
thus, some states of affairs are eliminated under Wittgenstein et alii. Interesting


Reading the Ancient Greeks, I come to understand that Eros and Sex differ from mere Hunger, in that Eros has energy that endures beyond Satiety.
Hunger does not: you eat, you are no longer hungry.

The energy transcends fulfillment to create something else...
... and that something else may be benign or malign, depending on the Education and Morality of a society.

Perhaps this is what so many of us are trying to say today in our conceptually and language impoverished ways.

Intelligent Design & Mad Men

If there be an Intelligent Designer, I wish it would be something like TV or Advertising, where I would have a washboard abdomen (instead of a bumpy "dashboard" gut).

I also would like to wear shades and look menacing in a sexy and re-assuring way... sort of James Dean... establishing my bona fides as suicidal charming.

Having written this, I am not so sure anymore.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wherein I Am Proven Correct

The recent news about the Jerry Sandusky trial has caused many individuals to express their disgust and condemnation in speech and writing. Similarly the problems of various religious organizations whose figures of authority preyed upon young people caused great outcry.

Please note well that as individuals, we all of us speak out in condemnation.
Yet, the groups and organizations involved did little or nothing to put an immediate and absolute end to the abuse.

Let that sink in:  the groups wherein the abusers were members did not put an immediate end to the abuse; yet this is abuse which each and every member of the group, church, university, religious group, would have no qualms about openly condemning.
Yet, as a group, they could not.

I firmly believe that as a group they did not, because they can not. We have allowed public and private activity among numbers of people to dispense with any sense of morality. Once the glare of publicity is gone, groups go back to their own ways, and one of these ways is an inability to deny evil.

This inability to condemn evil openly and as a group to act against it is the source of our world-wide troubles, from a continuing meaningful arms control to all the other problems bedeviling us.

As individuals, we are angels; yet our groups and parties and committees are devils, and they will continue to be so until the group mind is rendered free to confront its demons.

The entire chain of events of the Sandusky Trial have demonstrated the bizarre split between our private morality and our public and group immorality. The fact that the University of Pennsylvania could not stop this continuing abuse - an abuse which each person involved condemned - is proof of the immorality of our present day groups.
Think of crimes beyond sexual abuse: think of the crimes committed in the financial sector, think of the crime of government officials condoning torture... think of the magnitude of the evil we as a group called Nation allow.
And it is not merely amorality: groups do not merely care nothing; groups enable evil and violence and discord, and will continue to do so until we find the answer to our dilemma.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I was looking at a blog which chose as its purpose a reckoning of all the horrible things which are happening today; it was anti-Obama and spoke of the need for gold - the latter day idol - and the government as Gestapo. It was a diary of Dukha, or Suffering, as the Lord Buddha might have said in similar circumstances.

Suffering and Fear are the Limits of Life.
They are not events within life. Change is a source of suffering, but Change is not an event which causes suffering and fear, rather it is Life pushed up against the limits of its abilities.
In Change, we would think we are not capable of meeting the challenge of the new demands upon us: we are pushed against the Wall of Life, and the Pain is that limiting wall, that prison wall, not the push that placed us there.

Suffering is always present, because we are always forming and placing limits on ourselves; then events change and conspire to destroy those limits, causing us pain.

Blogs and Writings and Media Circuses filled with the Negative - a very prevalent phenomenon nowadays - are presenting their feelings at the Limits of Life, and they assume that those Limits are eternal: they cannot be changed nor transcended.
Therefore, they assume that Suffering, Fear and Pain are eternal unless some change in circumstances occurs, allowing us to return to our previous place: our previous beliefs and actions and expectations of the world, in effect, restoring the old limits.

The Genius of Religion expresses the change from Pain to Joy in a poem I wrote some years ago on viewing a child's grave in the Puttygut Road Cemetery:

Give him a hat,
a marble lamb;
no name thereon engrave.
Give him a robe,
a swath of lawn,
alive, we never gave.
Give him boots:
of stoney base!-
he'll no more run and play.
Give him a rose
within his cheeks
to bright this holiday.
Give him heart
and give him vein!-
O, undiscovered bourne!
May he wake
within Your love,
O God of Life eterne!

We go from the pain of lost life and lost potential to life eternal... and that is how it is supposed to be: from the grief and suffering about life and its limits to limitless life!

Friday, July 13, 2012


 Dry Irrigation Canal in Tulare, California

A Drought Disaster has been declared in 26 states.

I told you so, or - as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory once paraphrased - "I informed you thusly!"

What I said was when the Climate Change debacle comes, it will come quickly, much more quickly than scientists have been saying.

Why did I know this? Think back for the past 25 years every time a climate disaster occurs; think of the Europe Hot Summer of 2003 during which 10,000 people died ( I still cannot believe that 10,000 figure, and I have to re-check it every time I write it: that is a phenomenally high number!); remember that each and every time, after the reports had been issued, the committees evaluating the climate science said that the rapidity of these changing events took them a bit by surprise.

Things go both ways; sometimes glaciers are thought to be melting, sometimes they are found to be in fine fettle, but uniformly up to a few years ago, forecasts were 50 to 100 years ahead of us for various changes, and these would be conservative estimates.
But Nature has acted radically.

Thanks to everyone who has helped by politicizing Climate, thus ensuring that Nothing will Continue to be Done!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Giving Up

It has finally come to this:  the various ploys and schemes employed by people to dissuade robots from posting comments to blogs have become so intricate that they are beginning to foil me completely... just as if they were a Turing Test in reverse: survival of the fittest robot, and all that, as we puny human fall by the wayside after trying to write in the test words for posting comments.

I came across one today that appeared for all my life to be (I kid you not!) a fingerprint, followed by a snakes nest of the letter "S" cuisinarted with a couple of spicy vowels.

I positively goggled at it.

Then I threw in the towel, because I really do not have anything all that interesting to say.

The Twins: Science and Religion 2

How do Science and Religion treat Creativity?

World Science
A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims
“The field of cre­ativ­ity may need to shift its cur­rent fo­cus from iden­ti­fy­ing how to gen­er­ate more cre­ative ide­as to iden­ti­fy­ing how to help in­no­va­tive in­sti­tu­tions rec­og­nize and ac­cept cre­ativ­ity,” Mueller and col­leagues wrote. “If peo­ple hold an im­plic­it bi­as against cre­ativ­ity, then we can­not as­sume that or­gan­iza­tions, in­sti­tu­tions or even sci­en­tif­ic en­deav­ors will de­sire and rec­og­nize cre­ative ide­as even when they ex­plic­it­ly state they want them.”
If Science and Research are reticent to welcome innovation and creativity, think of Religion and how dead-set our modern religions are opposed to creativity, new thinking, and innovation.
(Think of the Lord Buddha's critique of suffering in the world: Change is one element of Suffering. However, the Lord Buddha did not believe that resisting change would in any way reduce Suffering.)

The present age offers immense benefits to Science and Research for creativity. Lacking those benefits of money and wealth and power, Science would be as obscure as Religions like to be.

Individual salvation continues on in the life history of individuals: their pain and sufferings add to the sum of religious knowledge if and when such individuals are canonized or recognized as holy people. Even then, their contribution - consider, for example, St. Francis of Assisi - are made to conform to orthodoxy.

It seems that Creativity requires Rewards.
That is not all that new; most of us believe that Good Deed require tangible rewards from some supernatural being.

Change is Suffering, but Lack of Change is also Suffering... we all know this to be true.

Medical Definitions and Practices

 Heart Transplant Procedure

How much of our communal lives is devoted to discussions of Medicine? A good deal is; we discuss issues from Health Care and Health Insurance on the basis of economics to Abortion on the basis of morality and philosophy and religious belief.
In short, Medicine is discussed under almost all the categories which make societies work: Economics, Business, Morality, Ethics, Religion, Philosophy, Politics...

I suggest that Medical Practice may substitute for Life: in essence, let us run a simulation of Life by looking at medical practices and our discussions and involvement in them.

In particular, let's look at how medical practitioners define medical terms.

Discover Magazine
The Beating Heart Donors

The article cited above deals with organ donations, and how those affairs are defined and run. Read it and pay attention to how the important terms are defined. In particular, we are interested here in how "death" is defined, because we are dealing with organ donations from individuals who are declared to be dead.

I quote the beginning paragraphs below:
In 1968, thirteen men gathered at the Harvard Medical School to virtually undo 5,000 years of the study of death. In a three-month period, the Harvard committee (full name: the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death) hammered out a simple set of criteria that today allows doctors to declare a person dead in less time than it takes to get a decent eye exam. A good deal of medical language was used, but in the end the committee’s criteria switched the debate from biology to philosophy. Before many years went by, it became accepted by most of the medical establishment that death wasn’t defined by a heart that could not be restarted, or lungs that could not breathe. No, you were considered dead when you suffered a loss of personhood.
But before we see what substituting philosophy for science actually means to real patients, let’s look at the criteria the Harvard authors believed indicated that a patient had a “permanently nonfunctioning brain”:
• Unreceptivity and unresponsivity. “Even the most intensely painful stimuli evoke no vocal or other response, not even a groan, withdrawal of a limb or quickening of respiration,” by the committee’s standard.
• No movements or spontaneous breathing (being aided by a respirator does not count). Doctors must watch patients for at least one hour to make sure they make no spontaneous muscular movements or spontaneous respiration. To test the latter, physicians are to turn off the respirator for three minutes to see if the patient attempts to breathe on his own (the apnea test).
• No reflexes. To look for reflexes, doctors are to shine a light in the eyes to make sure the pupils are dilated. Muscles are tested. Ice water is poured in the ears.
• Flat EEG. Doctors should use electroencephalography, a test “of great confirmatory value,” to make sure that the patient has flat brain waves.
The committee said all of the above tests had to be repeated at least 24 hours later with no change, but it added two caveats: hypothermia and drug intoxication can mimic brain death. And since 1968, the list of mimicking conditions has grown longer.
Despite heroic efforts to clarify and justify the definition of death, it remains opaque, confusing, and inconsistent. 
Although the Harvard criteria were based on zero patients and no experiments were conducted either with humans or animals, they soon became the standard for declaring people dead in several states, and in 1981, the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) was sanctioned by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The UDDA is based on the Harvard Ad Hoc Committee’s report. That a four-page article defining death should be codified by all 50 states within 13 years is staggering.
 To me, the point of all this exercise is to wake me from my slumber induced by the anesthesia of Authority, and see what is actually going on:  and what is going on is an imperfect process which - even though we tend to impute great validity to it because it is a product of great Authority - remains imperfect and may become more so.

We are all imperfect.

Who, then, is qualified to pass perfect judgement upon other weighty questions, such as when does Life begin, and Abortion?
Not I.
I am not qualified, yet I must decide...  and that is a strange thing, is it not?

Another facet of organ donation is that are various agents and agencies involved, some of which are paid for organs located and used.
The only party which is absolutely prohibited from receiving money is the donor or their family; everyone else may make some money on the deal.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Twins: Science and Religion

Science and Religion were born together as intelligent beings viewed with awe the universe of creation.

Science attempts to understand the universe in certain ways, and employs theories to order its findings. When theories are no longer adequate to explain the universe, there is a paradigm shift, and theories are changed to reflect the new understanding.

The Religion of Our Age, by which I mean Organized Religion of the most recent times, also is an effort  by intelligent beings to understand the universe in certain ways, and employs theories, doctrines, and teachings to order its findings.
However, when theories and doctrines are no longer adequate to explain the universe, paradigm shift is forbidden; the old understandings are reinforced and people are coerced to belief: there is a shift to Fundamentalism, with the underlying doctrine that the present lack of efficacy of religion is due to deviation from some perfect standard and scenario of what religion "really" was in the past.

Coming off the 20th Century and the early 21st Century, I believe it to be obvious that the Religion of Our Age, while remaining efficient for individuals, has lost any efficacy for any but the smallest groups. (One reason being groups required a "smoothing down" of rough edges of belief in order that the group be unanimous in its doctrinal purity - something an individual may live with without ever changing.)

Like it or not, Religion is a process: God evolves in our understanding.
Paradigms will shift.
(Intense studies and writings - Mishnah, for example -are the closest thing to Science in Religion, but the students of these are akin to Galileo in their acceptance within Organized Religion...  or remember Father Hans Kung of the RC Catholic Church.)

Ade Ileke 47: The Heat

In the Heat, you wake up to a paparazzi sun;
there's a crowd of them solar trainspotters
and keepers of celebrity,
suns who arrest my image
in the few closed rooms
where I fall asleep, remembering
a crush of paparazzi memories
in the road tunnel
of my head
as we approach the Paris Ritz.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Future Religion (Progress of Spirit 1)

The next step is to stop short of articulating a judgement in language. We shall certainly change our behavior to mirror any such judgement, but we have to stop short of "codifying" it in our language, and entering it into those Mini-Bibles we carry around in our heads, which are essentially The Word of God As Interpreted By We Ourselves.

If we disagree, I think I shall try to leave it at:

"Next time you come this way, I hope we can share bread as brothers and sisters, rather than sharing merely as strangers."

There is Time, there is Intimacy, but there also is a time for all things under the sun.

When we get to "we hate the sin, but love the sinner", it is already too late. Hate and the sinner have become mixed together in that mini-bible we call our "belief system". Sooner or later, there will be trouble, for our actions should be perfect based on perfect habit, not hatred.

We do not have to articulate "we hate the sin", for we avoid it: our actions indicate that we loath it. There is no need for a statement about it... except for instructing children.

A lot of our problems in religion do reside in the fact that we never get beyond the child stage of it.

Religion is Heroism, not the children's section of the book store.

Chimp Attack

Gun Rights Chimp

From Fort Worth NBC:
The parents of the American student mauled by two chimps in South Africa last week called their son's survival a "miracle" and thanked doctors for their work.
The statement on Friday said Andrew Oberle was stable but remains in critical condition.
A hospital spokeswoman Martina Nicholson told The Associated Press the hospital will not release any information about the victim. His parents say they might release further statements.
I almost had no image for this post, because when I went to Google's and entered  "chimp attack" for images, the results were rather horrifying.
I for one am tired of these chimpanzee terrorists. I think we should go over there and bomb them back to the Stone Age!

Foibles of the Near Rich and Famous

Brad Pitt's mother sent a letter to her hometown Gazetter:

Jane Pitt's letter continues:
Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney's opponent, Barack Hussein Obama—a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright's church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.
A National Day of Prayer?! What is that?
I suppose that it may stem from the saying that mentions "...whenever two or more are gathered in my name...", and it struck someone that  - gosh! - suppose a zillion Christians all prayed within a 24 hour period, and what all about that!

Personally,  again going back to Matthew 6  5-6
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Ms. Pitt, you are more a politician than a religious person. Try not to disguise your efforts at persuasion and coercion as Religion. It has a bad odor.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Health Care Tax or Penalty?

I'll pay any tax that guarantees me an immediate and tangible benefit.

I resent taxes that are spent on questionable wars and political obscurity.

The Republicans are attacking the health care mandate as a tax... which offers tangible and clear benefits to those who pay the tax.
That is an interesting approach.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Eric Cantor-John Boehner Republican Memorial Design Contest

Design 1

This design is a collage of fallen trees and police line tape, and is intended to invoke the contrarian spirit of "climate denier", which was able to turn real danger into a political boogeyman. This enabled the country to ignore the danger of increasing costly natural disasters, which in turn impeded the effort to reduce the deficit.

From Atoms To Show Boats

Paul Robeson in Show Boat

When I finish studying the development of the atom bomb, with particular attention to the construction and maintenance of Los Alamos as well as the surrounding area, I think I will attempt to study the story of Show Boat from its genesis through writing the book to the play to the film and until the modern day.

I have always found it a fascinating story with an unusual structure; I love the music, too. And I esteem Edna Ferber.

for a thoroughly good discussion.)

The Sabbatical Year

The seventh year was a Sabbatical Year,  verily a shabbas among years, in which debts were cancelled, and the inequities of wealth which tend to creep into the community were subject to a levelling out: the hills made lower, and the valleys boosted up a bit.

This is usually ignored by modern believers, who cherry-pick their beliefs, choosing only the ripest and juiciest bit of hypocritical self-interest to pop into their little baskets - just as we say that we forgive those who "trespass" against us and not that we forgive the "debts" owed us by others.

Which is why Religion is so difficult; we really are not up to it, are we?
The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had the right idea: hold off that whole rig-a-marole of Baptism until on one's death bed, then send for the vicar!
How could we hope to live up to those "inhuman" virtues expounded in the Bible? We would become fanatics of charity, terrorists against evil, wild-eyed-radicals of justice!

The mere thought makes one's head spin!
Let us be thankful for our innate ability to deceive ourselves.

John 12:25    He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 

We pick and choose our law - we "cherry pick" the law we shall follow - exactly because we are in love with this life, and we would go to any lengths not to lose our life in this world: we would deny every principle and maxim in our holy writings, we would distort and torture the meaning of every religious genius who has spoken to us, just so that our comfortable life in this world may not be infringed.

It is our paradoxical "love" of this world of illusion and life that creates our Politics.

The 2013 Crash

OK, so I'm sounding like NewsMax, the illiterate right-wing rag. I can not help it. We are all mad men thrown together in the world, are we not? We tell our tales, full of sound and fury...

Back on topic now.
The UK suffers from the same kinds of Financial problems we do: an overly complex system which relies upon people who are not skilled enough to administer it, people who are too slow to respond to its fast-as-light workings, and people who are greedy, covetous, and often crooked.

For today's variation on a theme, read the BBC story .

The doomsday scenario for 2013 is:

1) Republicans win White House and a majority in at least one branch of Congress;

2) There is a determined effort to balance the Budget on the backs of the Less-than-Rich;

3) There are problems with China of an as yet undetermined nature: China and the Chinese Communist Party has many problems, and, given that the country is enormous, these problems are enormous;

4) The Banking Sector manages to Flash-Crash, Glitch, Stumble, and Cheat its way into another Bank Failure scenario...

Hello, Saint Leibowitz and the Dark Ages once again.

You really should familiarize yourselves with the problems of the electronic banking system. Since your own efforts are your best teachers, start studying it.