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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Are There Any Good Reasons For Blocking Ports?

I'm stepping out of my usual again, because this is very critical.  I'm bracing myself to disappoint or lose readers.  Okay... take a deep breath and click "publish"...

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If your daughter is being raped, you're not going to talk spiritual platitudes or go away and pray, you're going to act.  And your previous spiritual development will give you power to act well.

There is a time to silently sit in lotus position in the womb, and there's a time to be born with a cry.

I'm going to present the arguments for and against blocking ports, and you can make up your own mind. 

Here's Why People Are Pissed Off at the Port Occupiers:

Lots and lots of people, inside and outside the Occupy movement, are intensely pissed off at those Occupiers who blocked the ports.  Both liberals and conservatives, leaders and populace, are pissed off at port Occupiers.  I got into a heated discussion with local intensely-pissed-off Moabites about this.

Block the ports, and dockworkers, distributors, and merchants lose income.  Dockworkers, distributors, and merchants have families to feed.  How could people not get pissed off?


Some port Occupiers claimed they had union support--at least the support of union members, not necessarily the official support of union leaders.  But many unionists stepped up to condemn the port Occupiers.

Yes, people say the Occupiers usurped the position of the unions, and that working-class people, including union workers, are the ones now suffering from the Occupiers' actions, not the elite 1%!

And people are saying the Occupiers are young, foolish, privileged, egotistical, not understanding what it means to make a living, support a family.  They're accused of getting support from mommy and daddy and government, and now biting the hand that feeds them.   


Here's Why People Blocked the Ports:

Step back and look at the big picture.

A country is doomed if it depends on imports, not locally sustainable--not to mention our earth's ecology is doomed. Corporations have outsourced jobs and goods. Such corporations must end if our country is to survive.

The point of a conventional union is to improve labor conditions and wages under corporate rule. The point of the Boston Tea Party and Gandhi’s movement was not to improve labor conditions and wages under multinational-corporate rule; it was to end multinational-corporate rule.  Both the USA and India could not be independent under corporate rule. 

But such corporations have us by the balls. Yes, the livelihood of our dockworkers, distributors, merchants, as well as sweatshop slaves overseas, depend on these corporations, and vise versa. And why have these corporations outsourced themselves, colonized overseas? Because they don’t want to pay just wages or abide by just laws brought about by unions!   I’m not necessarily saying this is the union’s fault, but the fault of deregulation allowing corporations to colonize overseas.  Corporations removed themselves from the unions’ power.  How?  They lobbied (bribed) our nation’s Republican and Democratic leaders.  Our nation's leaders let themselves be bribed, because their loyalty is to money, not to truth.

But our country is doomed unless multinational corporations end.  No conventional union leadership is going to support ending their employers!  This is the dilemma. Stop the corporation, and people lose their livelihood (our own dockworkers, distributors and merchants, as well as overseas sweatshop slaves).  The union’s goal is not to end people’s corporate livelihood but to improve it.  

The conventional union was a good thing when it had power over the corporation.  But now that corporations have moved overseas, the unions have lost their power.  Now the general people must act, as happened with the Boston Tea Party and Gandhi's movement.

Yeah, But Instead of Blocking Corporations We Should Create Sustainable Alternatives, Right?

Naturally, the answer to avoid this problem would be to first establish sustainable jobs here, starting with localized agriculture. But I know by experience the majority don’t have time for such hippy things, because they have corporate jobs to serve and families to feed!  A round robin!

So we’re backed into a corner. Now we don’t see a way we’re going to produce locally and sustainably except by cutting off all dependency to multinational corporations!  This will cause loss of jobs, sacrifice, suffering.  And whatever time we start cutting off dependency will never seem like the right time. 

In the same way, end opium and cocaine trade, and droves of families in Afghanistan and Columbia would lose their livelihood.

Understandably, those who advocate cutting off dependency to multinational corporations are going to be tarred and feathered, imprisoned, even killed, but something mysterious makes them still stand firm.

If my right arm has gangrene, cut it off.  I'm going to be way pissed off, screaming, calling the amputator names, even wanting to kill him, as the saw cuts through nerves and bones, unless I keep my mind on the health of my whole body, focused and centered.  Keeping my mind on the health of the whole body is the very nature of spirituality.  To be spiritual is to act.

"To know and not to do is, in fact, not to know"  --Confucius

"As the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without action is dead."  --James 2:26

If somebody knows a simpler, easier way, speak it.



 

70 comments:

  1. Well said Daniel. Thanks for taking the time to explain both sides of the issue so well.

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  2. This is very beautiful at a time when we are collectively trying to make sense of our existence on every plane and every level. To focus on jobs as the primary solution to our ailing nation inevitably puts us at odds with ourselves as you so skillfully map it out, Daniel. Clearly, the seduction is about money and pretty things, but at this point in time it rules our every waking breath and that's wrong.

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  3. Love that painting of Jesus and the Money Changers that you chose. I agree and could add the two things I would recommend people do to prepare for this new economy is follow Glenn's blog about living and working in a van.

    http://www.tosimplify.net/

    ... and read Linchpin, Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin ©2010 to figure out how to make a simple living and enjoy what you're doing.
    Here's some excerpts:

    42
    The sign in front of your local public school could say:
    Maplemere Public School
    We train the factory workers of tomorrow. Our graduates are very good at following instructions. And we teach the power of consumption as an aid for social approval.

    It's almost impossible to imagine a school with a sign that said:
    "We teach people to take initiative and become remarkable artists, to question the status quo, and to interact with transparency. And our graduates understand that consumption is not the answer to social problems."

    And yet that might be exactly what we need.

    49
    1. Your business needs more linchpins. It's scary to rely on a particular employee, but in a postindustrial economy, you have no choice.

    54
    If you do great work... Your day snaps into alignment with your dreams, and you no longer have to pretend you're mediocre. You're free to contribute.

    82
    The hybrid economy we're living in today is blending the idea of capitalism ("do your job and I won't fire you") and the gift economy ("wow, this is amazing").

    83
    Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn't matter. The intent does.

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  4. I agree we're in a mess. However, I'm reminded a bit of the saying "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." It'd be nice to force radical change on our society, though I tend to think we'll end up in same mess simply because the populous wasn't convinced. I agree with boycotts, though it seems we've failed to convince most other people. It'll be interesting to see how the next few years pan out. Funny how you're my main source of news from the US.

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  5. @Raj - yes, I've long been in the camp that people's hearts first need to change. But, as in the rapist scenario, your first concern is your daughter. Our first concern must be for those damaged right now from corporate psychopaths on the loose, and those who will suffer even more if they're allowed to continue. Those now being damaged are sweatshop slaves overseas, our own unemployed & homeless, the hundreds of species going extinct every day, clearcut forests & polluted waters - the basics that all life depends upon. There comes a time when you have to pick up the whip & kick over tables. A rattlesnake is more patient and non-violent than any human, avoiding conflict. But, when cornered, she strikes. Such is nature's way. Then we'll get back to working on hearts.

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  6. I'm curious why the trade issue strikes you as the existential threat among a multitude of threats facing not just this nation, but the world. And why is this the cause to provoke your call to arms? Cutting off international trade would inflict harm on the economy and loss of livelihood in the population. Obviously this position would not go over well, even in Moab. While I'm amused by your vivid metaphors about rape and amputation, I'm skeptical that you or any "occupy" movement could persuade the country to adopt this kind of austerity. While I generally agree with you that this course is unsustainable I don't see that this nation or the rest of humanity is ready to retreat from this course. Here in the US people are too accustom to a life of excess and cheap goods made possible by exploiting cheap labor overseas and requiring expenditure of inordinate amounts of petrochemical energy without account for the environmental costs. Just how do you propose the average american renounce this kind of lifestyle? Yes, it must happen. But it more likely will come about by some apocalyptic reckoning with Mother Earth than through self-adjustment on the part of the human race. We continue to spew carbon into the atmosphere at frightening levels, and yet nobody gives a crap. The chinese go on burning coal and here they are preparing to pipe in the filthiest oil available from Canadian coal tars. You think greedy humans are going to correct these problems before its too late? I think it may already be too late. And free trade will be the least of our problems.

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  7. Funny how many of the same people protesting are stopping at the local Super Wal-Mart on their way home to pick up a few things.

    Additionally, if American's weren't all about getting the best deal, corporations wouldn't have to go overseas to cut a few cents off their costs. Seriously... how much do you think most things would cost if they were made here?

    Americans want jobs, but not minimum wage ones. Americans want cheap prices, but let someone else eat the additional labor costs of producing things here. Americans are willing to protest but are they willing to put their noses to the grindstone and create the lives they're complaining about not having?

    The real heroes aren't the Occupy people. Nor are they government officials or corporate spokespeople. No, the real heroes are those who quietly live their lives the way THEY want to, creating their own personal Garden of Eden in a sea of chaos and conflict.

    It can be done. It IS being done. Join the movement!

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  8. @Maria - it's both. You speak truth: live our lives simply, not supporting the machine. But we can't be narcissists; we must have courage to stand in the way of those raping our loved ones, and have the courage to not condemn those who have courage to put their lives and reputations on the line.

    @Al - Did you fully read the post? Have I ever said the trade issue is the issue above all others? This is a current event that needs to be discussed currently.

    This post's very theme is that people aren't going to voluntarily be sustainable until their addiction is cut! Cut addictive supply, and we have no choice but to find local sustainability or die. We saw this example for a while in Cuba. Cutting off addiction is painful. On the one hand you condemn cutting off addiction because it'll be painful (threatens the economy). On the other you say people aren't going to voluntarily do anything! Then you revert to usual liberal apocalyptic thinking: let's complain about the world, but do nothing because Earth will reckon itself.

    No. The solutions are clear and in our hands. But it takes the courage of a few people who are aware. It takes sacrifice, spine.

    For classic liberals, the apocalypse is the usual earth-reckoning or new-age shift, as we do nothing, except drive a Prius, recycle bottles & call conservatives stupid. For classic conservatives, the apocalypse is Jesus coming to rapture us, while we do nothing, except send a food basket at Christmas and call liberals antichrist.

    Scientific truth says we are earth, earth substance. Reckoning happens through us. Our traditional spiritual truth (willfully ignored by Christians) is Christ in us, the Kingdom of God in us, and reckoning happens through us. Same with basic Buddhist & Hindu doctrine: Divinity in us.

    It's time we become adults, be responsible.

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  9. Yes it's true that corporations are rapacious but it's our own government which is mostly to blame. Corporations are gonna do whatever the gov't allows them to. I don't agree with your notion that gov't/corporations are one in the same entity,symbiotic maybe, but not the same. I also think your a little naive about the unions too. Great topic as usual and I heartily agree that we need to become as self-sustainable as we can. Love the "classic" tag !!!

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  10. Those last paragraphs about classic liberals and republicans are an awesome summary. I think you are going to be remembered as one of the great philosophers.

    Maybe I'm just a geek with Asperger's Syndrome, but I think the likely answer is learning to love the idea of living in van, paying no rent or mortgage. Loving the idea of being able to go where the work and safety are at the drop of a hat.

    Suelo proves you don't even need the van. But for most people that's a little much.

    The likely answer is as Seth Godin says in his book, "Linchpin, Are You Indispensable?". He writes how any means of production resides in your handheld computer. Whatever idea you have, can be made reality through hiring throughout the world. The economy now demands this type of behavior. We have no choice. Those not doing this are quickly being cheapened to the point of replacement. That's how people may break free from the hierarchy of corporations. We must use the semi-lattice of the internet.

    The problems with government as Uncle Cracker points out is probably again the semi-lattice of the internet. If we want fair governance the average unqualified human likely needs to be designed out of the system. This is the looming dilemma of Transhumanism. We have the testing and technology so that only qualified humans could vote on each and every nuanced law and issue rather than easily corruptible politicians. Look at the crowd sourced ranking on commenters on the Ted.com site or a YouTube site. Doing something like that, we could interactively determine who's making the most salient points. They-we get ranked higher and we-they get to make crucial decisions instead of what we have now, a high school popularity contest based on mammalian and reptilian impulses. I believe the Zeitgeist Movement's Venus Project has some useful ideas on how to do this.

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  11. @ Uncle Cracker - You & I may be reaching an agreement on gov't. "Corporations are gonna do whatever the gov't allows them to." Yes! I stated this idea above: "Our nation's leaders *let* themselves be bribed, because their loyalty is to money, not to truth." Yes! Government has *allowed* corporations to control government, to be government, like parents allowing spoiled children to control them. There's something very hopeful in this realization!
    Could you explain how my ideas on unions might be naive?

    @Michael - thanks. I do believe our technology arose from nature as did trees and ants. But we have to be cautious. It usually becomes our Frankenstein. It's not our answer, just a tool I myself don't mind taking or leaving. I'm attracted to Venus Project philosophy, but their vision of future civilization chills me as a pseudo-living techno-hell I myself have no desire to live in.

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  12. I think you are becoming polarized, and starting to think in black and white, accusing those of you who support you yet disagree with your stance on this as spineless and do-nothings, or maybe even narcissists. There mat be truth in that, but it's not a.full truth.

    What about the middle way of working on small scale active change? I don't think it is narcissist to focus on changing the community around you even if it means you refuse to join the occupy movement.

    I think your analogy of a rapist is good, though we have to remember who the rapist is, and I personally think the analogy of prostitution works better here but anyhow.

    USA, is the rapist. If you want to stop the rape by forcing away the victim, then that probably means the rapist will just go looking for another victim. If you think taking heroin away from the addict will stop them from sniffing glue, or going to something worse like crack, I think you're mistaken. Yes, it's true that Cuba has made some strides towards environmentalism, though let's not forget they still import much, if not most of their food. They still roll out all the luxury goods and waste as much as any North American country when it comes to ensuring their tourist industry is kept in tact.

    I think Cuba is a good example of what Al was talking about, if it wasn't for the embargo then Cuba would still be consuming oil like any other country. It's only the forced change which is stopping them, but as soon as they get a chance they'll go right back. They haven't chosen to go without. How do expect to withhold the rapist tendencies of 300 million Americans without anything less than an apocalypse?

    If you want to talk about action, then why don't you come to a third world country and help the victims? Sorry to get so critical but let's get this into perspective.

    Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support boycotts, and I think some policy change is better than nothing, but I think a radical's true power lies in their heart and their ability to touch other peoples hearts, but not in their political sway. A radical would become far too corrupt by the time they got enough influence to shape global politics. There's just too many personal interests involved.

    I think there is truth and good which can come from the port blockers, but I'm trying to get this all into perspective so we can find the middle way, even if the middle way is extreme to most.

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  13. You keep insisting that I have poor reading comprehension Suelo. Yes, I read your post. I have been reading your posts for quite some time and what I see different in this one is this vague call to arms. Usually you are just a laissez faire guy, happy to live off the refuse of others. But now all of a sudden you want to change the world. What exactly do you have in mind?
    As for my comments, I was not making a judgement about the cutting off of imports. I was merely suggesting that the resistance to what you propose is a natural response in this culture. Its not me who resists the withdrawal from addiction. After all, we still live in a democracy and the country can decide collectively how to live. Overwhelmingly they/we choose to live in excess. Furthermore, your pretension to eschewing the polarity of right/left politics is at odds with your message. Sure, the right and the left have different prescriptions for the problems we face, but they are not apocalyptic prescriptions. Liberals generally want to save the earth. Conservatives generally want to turn back time (I guess that's their way to save us). What I am saying is that Science, to use your vernacular, is dispassionate. We may be part of the earth, but not a necessary component of it. As George Carlin used to say, The Planet can take care of itself. It's people that will be going away.
    OK, that's enough of my tirade. I enjoy our little arguments, so don't get offended. But please, do tell us more about how you want to lop off our limbs to save us. Metaphors will not be enough.

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  14. Yes! I've had an epiphany: YES, I WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD! Not a single LIVING creature on earth doesn't want to change the world! Only a DEAD creature doesn't want to change the world! Only in a culture of death (addiction) is it okay to hear crying and do nothing. Do you have a sense of injustice? If you do, you want to change the world. If you do, you are alive. The latest prevalent dogma of religious opiate is that it is egotistical to want to change the world. It's a twisting of profound spiritual teachings. Those who don't want to change the EVER-CHANGING world are the ones who want to change the UNCHANGEABLE laws of the universe! The universe is nothing but change, and its laws are unchangeable. When your roof leaks, you want to fix it. This is the Law of the Universe. When your neighbor is screaming, you want to intervene, unless you're addicted or have a pathological condition. Then you turn up the TV, put earplugs in, or you run away and hide to a quiet place. Only in modern civilization is it okay to leave a baby to cry, a dog to cry on a chain, a pig to cry in a factory farm, a child to cry in a sweatshop, all under the PRETENSE of not being egotistical, of not wanting to change the world.

    The Occupy movement is simply human life waking up, as is the movement to want simplicity and create sustainable community.

    After this blog post has sunk in a bit more, I think I want to write a new blog post about this, because I want to see nonsense changed to sense. It's our unchangeable nature to want to change :-( to :-)

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  15. Your vision of my suggestions as becoming a Frankenstein or a pseudo-living techno-hell are irrational fears coming from your reptilian brain. Like any great change agent you're going to have to put this part of your brain in its place.

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  16. Hi again Daniel,
    I notice that you seem to paint unions as somewhat altruistic. Unions don't give a rat about their rank and file, just the power and money to corrupt gov't the same way corporations do.

    @Raj- You wrote "If you want to talk about action, then why don't you come to a third world country and help the victims? Sorry to get so critical but let's get this into perspective."
    Daniel has "been there, and done that!" Not sure about the T-shirt though.

    Everyone can TRY to change things by their own personal example, things did not go bad overnight and they won't get better overnight.

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  17. @Michael - now come on, I'm not saying your visions will become a Frankenstein. I'm very intrigued by them, in fact. I'm simply cautioning us to beware, that any technology can become a Frankenstein. Look around, and see if this isn't usually so. And reptiles have good brains, so don't insult them :-)

    I agree, UC. Unions are now not altruistic. But they were begun as heralds of justice and altruism. Everything goes sour when it gets institutionalized.

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  18. Unions are the only reason we have any rights at all as workers. Unions are responsible for the rights and privileges we have already gained - like a 40 hour work week and the concept of overtime and a weekend. And safety regulations, and child labor laws.

    Workers without unions can be fired at any time - seriously. Your employer can make up any reason they want, and you have no way to fight it, without a union.

    Read this open letter from the truckers at the ports for a very clear understanding of the purpose of the protest:
    http://cleanandsafeports.org/blog/2011/12/12/an-open-letter-from-america%E2%80%99s-port-truck-drivers-on-occupy-the-ports/

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  19. I would go further with your thinking on trade union activity, particularly with respect to the past 30 years.

    Here in the UK we have born the brunt of the neo liberal agenda set in motion by the Thatcher regime in 1979. A lot of the trade unions became, in my view, a microcosm of the I'm all right jack attitude that characterised the greed that was unleashed. Trade unions looked at issues that basically looked at nothing but the pay and conditions of their immediate members. Broader concerns such as social and environmental justice were out at the outer extremes of their concerns. For instance it would be some of the bigger unions demanding new nuclear power plant as it meant jobs for their members. Long term concerns about the nuclear legacy of lethal waste, etc, were kicked into the long grass.

    During the course of my working life I have met some committed trade union activists and members but I cannot recall one who takes the threat of man made climate change seriously. Attitudes have ranged from outright denial, to, its gonna happen anyway so why worry. The only concern is the question of rising living standards as reflected in a new car, home ownership, or cheap flights abroad.

    The truth is, is that my generation - and I'm in my 50's - have stuffed the younger generation and the generations yet to come. My generation took the good jobs, pensions, housing and basically had a party. As one colleague told me "we're only here for the weekend so lets just trash the place".

    If there is any future posterity - becoming ever more questionable as the latest discovery by a Russian scientific team up in the Artic having discovered kilometer wide methane blooms issuing from the sea bed - I shudder to think what memorial some future citizens might erect to the people of our time and our stunning indifference to the needs of those yet unborn.

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  20. @rsg - thanks, I read that eye-opening link!
    @DR - likewise, thanks for clarifying the problem.
    @Raj - I'm glad your here & keep me on my toes, supporting where you agree, challenging where you don't. Yes, I did social work for over 2 years in a third world country, plus doing minimalist travel in various other third world countries. My conclusion? Americans are too meddlesome, and we'd do the world a favor by pulling out our military, our corporations AND meddlesome aid institutions. This was what made me decide to come back to the USA, to clean up our own back yard. There's no better way to clean up the third world than to clean up the USA, to pull down our greedy behavior and greed machines.

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  21. @Al - I forgot to say the same to you: I'm glad you're here & keep me on my toes, supporting where you agree, challenging where you don't. I actually find yours & Raj's comments refreshing, because they are rational and intelligent, unafraid to challenge as well as agree.

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  23. @Derek. I appreciate hearing your thoughts as they seem to come from experience rather than conjecture.

    @Suelo, I understand the logic in thinking that cleaning up your home country will clean up the rest of the world. I agree with you, though I have my doubts of how effective forcing this change will be. I agree much aid doesn't help, but I think there's a lot of work to be done that foreigners can be of great help with too.

    I am in agreement with action. Boycotts, starting alternative free sharing networks, volunteering our time whether in your home country or in a 3rd world country, etc. There's lots to be done! Blocking ports? Best of luck, though I can't say I'll trust the new leaders of the revolution any more than I trust the current leadership.

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  24. Oh yeah, one thought I had, not totally related. The revolutionaries that stand out most in history tend to be those who never held political office. Gandhi, Che, Martin Luther King Jr. Jesus, Socrates, Malcom X, etc.

    I wonder how Fidel, Mao, Stalin, or even Hitler would have been remembered in history if they hadn't had so much political power.

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  25. I've been following the OWS actions with some interest, mostly getting my information from Energy Bulletin. Your comment about taking action in the face of oppressive corporate rule brings to mind things I've read by environmental activist Derrick Jensen, author of Endgame and other books critical of 'civilization' as we know it. Empire culture is a hierarchical system of abusive relationships. Unfortunately, it isn't a problem; it's a predicament. In other words, there is no 'solution' except for the system to follow its course to its logical conclusion. Scientifically speaking, we've known the outcome since the early 1970s with the publication of the Limits to Growth study. There appears to be nothing that will prevent humanity from consuming much of the biosphere through resource depletion and pollution until the inevitable collapse sometime this century. In this context the OWSers attempts to get a little bit larger share of the pie for a little while seems like a scramble for a chair with a nicer view from the deck of a sinking Titanic.

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  26. Suelo, I made a post a day or so ago, but it's not here now. Any idea what happened to it?

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  27. @Troy. I think you've summerized my feelings on the issue quite well. I like your analogy, but instead of playing the violin on the way down, like in the film, I'd like to spend my time learning how to survive out at sea, or even building a raft in the meantime.

    @DM, I've lost several posts here before, at first it looks like your post goes up, but then it doesn't show up.

    It's usually due to making too long of a post. There's a word limit per post, someone had worked it out, but I don't remember the exact figure.

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  28. I'll try again. I think it's great that you are trying to put into words what it is that you think will save the world. But I think that any time any of us does something like that, we are going to find that our answers are not as clear to everyone else as they may seem to ourselves.

    My own feeling (and it is imperfect too) is that you have over-simplified the Christian position with regard to things like Bible prophecy. MOST conservative Christians may be waiting for a secret rapture to take them away from all the problems, but some of us (and I'm not sure I like the term conservative) believe that there is going to be a time of Great Tribulation (such as the world has never experienced before) before the world becomes what God wants it to be.

    Your own position, Suelo, seems to have been to set aside the supernatural aspect of the life of Jesus, and to opt, instead, for what at least appears to be a political solution, with all of us becoming the instruments of God's judgment, even if it's just a plan to force people to stop buying stuff by blocking the docks. I don't think that is quite what Jesus had in mind.

    I agree with others who sense that the occupy movement is more about wanting more for themselves rather than really wanting to deal with the root of all evil on a personal level.

    It may be in keeping with the "Great Tribulation" vision that I as a "Jesus Christian" have, if the Occupy people have all decided to be martyrs and let the system wipe them out as a statement of faith; but my feeling is that the level of commitment is not that high amongst most of them.

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  29. Here are some articles I have written about Jesus and money, which help to explain more fully my position:
    http://jesuschristians.com/archived-articles/jesus-and-money

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  30. @ Dave M - I don't know. Might be as Raj says. Please try again, if you like.

    I deleted posts only once time ever, & that was when 2 people were posting nonsense over & over to scramble other comments.

    @ Raj: Yes, as you say, a problem with revolutions is they often clear the ground for another oppressive regime, as we saw w/ USSR. And Poland's revolution cleared the ground for general chaos & then more political stupidity. Their leaders turn into politicians. This is why first thoughtfully establishing our spiritual base and sustainable community, commitment, & constant pure-hearted vigilance is so important. Yes, it must begin with changing our hearts.

    @Michael: I like your intriguing lattice model idea for this.

    @Troy - there are some folks in OWS whose goal is to get a piece of the pie. But the general philosophy of OWS is not to get a fair share or to reform, but to entirely end the system of corruption: it cannot be reformed, we cannot share with it. It is this nebulous lack of goals to reform that systemites love to ridicule.

    But I'm no expert on this, which is why we must put our heads & hearts together & figure it out. Organic life works itself out, and that's a divine mystery.

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  31. I will add that, even though the majority might not be into focusing on spiritual development, those few who do become the light and salt of the earth, and can be a stability center keeping the masses from becoming a mob or an oppressive machine. This is why we mustn't despair that not everybody is going to change their hearts.

    @ Dave - thanks, I'll check out your link (which I might already have read ;-)

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  32. Our comments aren't appearing in order.
    This is the problem with sectarianism. Sectarianism assumes the motivation & commitment of those outside itself are impure.

    Doomsday prophets need to speak up to shake people out of their stupor - like with global warming. But apocalyptic prophecies can become self-fulfilling. Fundamentalists are making and supporting world destruction in their glee to see "sinners" burn. This is why I love the story of Jonah (We're so caught up on the literalness of the whale nobody gets the point of the story). God sends him to prophecy tribulation & destruction of Ninevah. When Ninevah repents, God repents (Jonah 3:10): God doesn't carry out his prophecy! Jonah is pissed off, more concerned with the letter of prophecy than the lives of 120,000 people (4:11).

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  33. Suelo, you were quick and to the point with this posting. It seems that no matter what decision is made it will be painful all the same. In the long run I think what you're advocating would be what winds up saving this country. Whatever happens it's unlikely to prevent a major economic downturn (on a global scale) within the next few years - perhaps sooner. I'm gonna keep hoping for the best while trying to prepare for the worst. It'll be interesting to see what unfolds.

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  34. I'm not really sure how secterianism relates with doomsdayers. It's obvious, put CO2 into the air, you're going to heat up the planet. You pump out lots of oil which is running dry, and then you base your society on consuming higher and higher quantities of oil based products, you're headed for trouble.

    I don't call that secterianism, it's just plain common sense. Same with prophecy, it says people will settle for anything rather than change, especially quick political solutions and nice sounding promises. Just look what happened with the Obama elections, many people thought he was going to save USA, and bring about true reform. I think people are starting to see he too was full of a lot empty promises.

    I've learned my lesson, both from my generation and from the history books, the system doesn't change. It's headed for doomsday, for collapse. I'm not holding out for a messiah that will save us from collapse. In fact, if I see one claiming that, I'll know he's a phony. I think collapse is the only thing that will actually saves us. I embrace the collapse, though I'm also scared a bit by it as i know what people are capable of. Just today I saw someone get beat up over a money issue.

    I don't need to try and force a collapse, it'll happen on it's own. I don't need a book to tell me all this, it's just as plain a day. It's like telling any sex fiend who doesn't wear condoms that they're likely to get someone pregnant or a disease. It's just what happens when you do something without thinking about the consequences.

    I think its the same mentality which polarizes people into rigid religions that also causes people to disregard prophecy in a literal sense. Why must we assume that doomsdayers want to rejoice in seeing people burn in hell?
    I think that's a pretty one sided world view.

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  35. Thanks for the thoughtful replies, Suelo and Raj. Lest my previous comments be construed as negative towards OWS, I assure you that is not my intent. I find in OWS what seems to be an emergent consciousness. For the first time I can remember, a group has emerged that seems to say to the Elite, "Shut up! We have something to say!" I also admire their anarchism, their ability to create temporary autonomous zones. But, back to the big picture. As Raj said, only collapse will save us. However, nothing will bring down the system. No one, no group, no political party, religion, or single nation can stop the inertia of the human ecology. We are evolved of the Earth and our systems are self assembling just as any biological ecosystem on the planet. By the same rules that other systems fail, ours will too. By any measure we are well into overshoot. The result is inevitable, only the timeline is in question.

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  36. Sorry, I think I may have taken something Suelo said the wrong way. I'm sorry if I came across in my last post in a reactionary way.

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  37. This subect of ending multi-national corporations and enterprises is a tough one. I think it will be a huge challenge to take on simply because it strikes at the heart of what all creatures do naturally...it's called evolution. It would be very hard to ask people to consider de-evolution by choice. Some would say that this drive to be bigger, better, richer, more profitable, etc. is simply evolution to a higher and more dominant state. It is innate.

    This business model I have described is the very essence of capitalism which is the cornerstone of our whole way of life. I am not saying it is right; I am just saying that it is what it is. It is called freedom to persue happiness. Two core values for most living creatures are progress and seeking comfort as opposed to seeking pain. My point is to end multi-national corporations and the seeking of a wage and comfort is one of the most un-natural things we could ever do so it is a hard thing to ask. Even cave men saught these things and that is why they domesticated animals to help them and started this whole mess.

    Progress will always be a core value of humans and it cannot be stopped. I think things are out of hand right now so hopefully with the right(realistic) goals things can get better. I think it just has to happen naturally in the name of progress. Sorta like going through a maze...a wrong turn is made sometimes so we go back, but it is in the name of progress that we do. I think right now humanity is stuck up against a wall in the maze and we just need to go back a bit and get back on the right path. We'll get there...I hope...The wheels are already in motion. Thanks for your insight Suelo. You inpspire me...to action even. May we all begin to rightly act is my prayer.

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  38. @ Troy...I just barely read your last comment after I posted mine. It sounds like we agree somewhat on the evolution thing and ecology stuff you talked about. I didn't mean to copy your idea if that is what it sounded like. Plagiarism is something I take seriously.

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  39. Valid points, Raj & Troy. No prob, Raj, I do the same. I often wish we were all talking face-to-face instead.

    I'll clarify myself: The system is naturally doomed to collapse, as are all systems, and protestors all over the world are part of the natural collapse. But, having grown up in fundamentalist apocalyptic culture, I know for a fact droves of fundamentalist rub their hands in glee wanting to see non-fundametalists burn. And they support the capitalist machine with all their might and encourage pro-actively destroying the environment, because Jesus is coming to rapture them out anyway, leaving the rest to burn. It's total, self-fulfilling prophecy, and it comes not from a heart of love. Some of these folks commented here a few times in the past.

    When we put our hopes or despair in what COULD happen, rather than dealing with what IS happening, we're not living in truth. 'Apocalypse' literally means *uncovering what already is*. It's not a future event. It's to be dealt with right now, as is Messiah. The End is ALWAYS at hand, in "this generation", as all the Jewish prophets and Jesus state over and over. The Zen sages understood this. Any person who suffers intensely knows this, that all suffering is Unique Timeless Now, never before & never after. Any Jew in the Holocaust knew (knows) this. The whole universe Ends Now, as it is born again. The Seventh Day of Creation is Now.

    If our instincts tell us something is wrong and to stop it & we act, we are part of the inevitable flow of the earth wanting to heal herself. Yes, Messiah is coming to either save or destroy, and WE are the hands and feet and eyes and mouth of Messiah (Messiah is Adam). New Testament 101. Messiah is no single person in history but is "the Same yesterday, today, forever," "all and in all". And we are the earth (Adam means earth). We have to get out of the delusion we are separate.

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  40. Chris - it seems you may be part of the 99% that are mistaken about evolution but that may be changing.

    "The recent analysis of a 4.4 million-year-old hominid fossil known as Ardi could lead to big changes in how we view our evolutionary family tree. "It's not a tree. It's not a bush. It's like a network where things reconnect."

    John Hawks, Anthropologist
    University of Wisconsin - Madison

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/10/19/2102460.aspx

    This article is one of the first I've come across that aligns with my ground breaking theories regarding the current misinterpretation of evolution. Instead what we see are hierarchal information processing systems "trees" that are continually growing not pruned. There is plenty of genetic evidence to support that mutations and novelty outpace the pruning of natural selection. Problematic social systems ignore the support of lower hierarchal structures which I call integrated complexity (IC). My definition of IC is actually just a more specific observation of the more vertically connected branches of the semi-lattice that Chris Alexander talks about in his 1965 essay "A city is not a tree". By ignoring the lower hierarchal structures potentials for evolution are hindered and the time constraints to remain sustainable on this planet may be shorter than previously thought. If we follow our spiritual teachings we are simply on a directional path to reunification with whatever set the laws of physics into motion.

    Here is an example of information building on information with overlapping hierarchal networks forming a semi-lattice. The semi-lattice connections that are vertical are responsible for a strengthening of the structure which I call integrated complexity.
    (i + i)^h & IC

    Sons of Kenyan Village Build First Clinic - ABC News
    http://tinyurl.com/nn6s8t

    We often hear about "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection" which I believe are concepts co-opted by the robber barons during Darwin's time and now by many executives and ideologues to get more productivity out of their minions to serve their misguided conceptions. Natural selection is a constraining force imposed based on environmental conditions. It's the box containing the information. But the information and it's growth force can be argued to be of greater influence than environmental constraints. I don't think our social and economic systems have fully taken this into account. I'd like to know why is everyone focused on the box instead of what's in the box?

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  41. All I am saying is that most creatures, humans more specifically, seek progression and comfort/ease which is why we are where we are now as a human race. All we thought we were doing was progressing because what we have now beats the dark ages and it beats living in a cave tying to invent fire (For most people...Suelo not withstanding) Most creatures do not go out of their way to make things harder for themselves unless they see it as a way to progress more in the future which is what we need right now. We, as a human race, especially those in the modern/post-industrial world, need to take some steps back in order to make long term strides forward in a more appropriate direction. The direction towards conservation of nature, morals, humanity, etc. And I think we will, but it will be naturally and not by force because a forced way of life will always manifest itself through eventual rebellion and is not sustainable. All of us as a collective have to begin to realize our path is wrong and we can shift to another path. Paradigm shifts have always been tricky for people to grasp at first, but they have happened through education and struggle. I didn't mean to be the 99% though. I have a lot of labels...the 99% is another I suppose.

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  42. If found your comment, Suelo, on the unity of all things interesting. As always the real meaning of what each person takes as reality can be difficult to grasp. Here, for me, is the best expression of the bursting out from principial unity to multiplicity and the longing and consequence of breaking through back to the origin of all things. This link is Meister Eckhart's sermon on the blessedness of the poor in spirit. The radically different and very profound understanding of a man who clearly talks from internalised knowledge:

    http://integralpostmetaphysics.ning.com/forum/topics/meister-eckhart-blessed-are

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  43. Suelo,

    I just discovered your blog under my "Google Reader" and look forward to come back and reading some of the posts. In all honesty, I just scanned you post.

    1st, I am not sure all this works and it takes me incredibly long to type, let alone read every comment. If this is the comments for your post on the ports, I just want to say that your original premise, that "people" are pissed off about the ports appears to be wrong. You may have pointed out why the people are incorrectly pissed off, but still it represents many posts I see of people who appear to have been nowhere close to the ground. I think a common response occupiers have is come see for yourself in a major city. Your formulation that [most] people are mad comes from the intentional misinformation put out by corporate media, the same ones were protesting against. I knew this before, but watching it with my own eyes and then reading the propaganda in the paper next day still astounded me. I look at the independent media and some corp media, but I do not watch TV. I spoke with the truckers and the union people on the ground. The corporate media is primarily what the 98% see so its no wonder they would win the PR war. Were not making a PR War, were making a ground war. This has probably been addressed in earlier comments, but I am not going to take time to read 25 of them. I feel are only real truth is our direct experiences and our feelings. Having a discussion about what corporate media said is like discussing the correctness of what is in gossip. They have shaped our discussions and given us the "choices" of who to vote for for too long. That it is what we are protesting. Sometimes you have to get off the hamster wheel to see whats really going on.

    I have stopped responding to so many people who base their opinions on what they see on FOX news. The truth is out there, its up to them to seek it.

    I lived in Moab in 2006 and saw the canyon.

    Happy Holidaze to everyone.

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  44. @Michael - your theories on evolution & lattice structure fascinate me, & the link link on the clinic is uplifting. I tend to see evolution as both a tree & a lattice, precisely because evolution produces both (trees & leaf veins & capilaries). But we overlook the lattice part of it.

    @Chris - I also see an inevitable evolution in our capitalistic system, but, paradoxically, it is in itself based upon denying our own natural instincts, mixing natural law with anti-natural head-trips. Thus, we have epidemic mental illness (sociopathic corporate & political thinking) making us doubt our own real selves. It's a matter of waking all of us up to our true natures.

    @Parjanya - thanks. I keep learning the truth of what you're saying. A couple people I know in Moab were so mouth-foaming pissed off about the port protesters, I felt the need to write this. But I'm finding more & more they were, perhaps, parroting the corporate media, as we're all susceptible of doing.

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  45. Yes it's both. The hierarchies are the essential building blocks, so to speak. Hierarchies deliver nutrients, mostly in one direction but they don't produce consciousness. The semi-lattice emerges from overlapping hierarchies which produce a conscious living feedback loop.

    Because our neocortex can only hold 7 variables plus or minus two we "chunk" information. Essentially grouping/throwing away information stored within a semi-lattice into hierarchies so we can hold it in our mind.

    To bring this back to the port situation. Hiring managers at corporations want employees to be available 30-50, or more, hours a week. Even if they're part-time or independent contractor status. As we've read with the port truck drivers in the article from RealSuperGirl.

    http://cleanandsafeports.org/blog/2011/12/12/an-open-letter-from-america%E2%80%99s-port-truck-drivers-on-occupy-the-ports/

    The corporate manager doesn't want to handle the complexity of scheduling. It makes his neocortex (the part with the awesome semi-lattice uncomfortable.) So the reptilian brain of fear kicks in (the simplistic hierarchical part). For the most part the brain regions are all the same from top to bottom but the higher neocortex has an exponentially greater amount of overlapping hierarchical structures making countless semi-lattice like connections.

    The one's in my field who don't go for those corporate deals end up producing more innovative work and have more control of their time. In the book by Seth Godin "Linchpin, Are You Indispensable?" he talks about how the economy has shifted because of the internet. He doesn't call it a semi-lattice but I do. Most everyone can be replaced by drafting a well composed letter and posting it online. In order to be indispensable we have to make varied connections and stand out through "Emotional Labor" as Godin puts it. Emotional Labor cannot be easily quantified and made into a commodity like a truck and it's cargo. It's a human connection that makes a linchpin. That is a major uplifting point that he makes.

    But to put ourselves in that situation we have to be willing to "get by" like Suelo, on very little. With the time that living simply buys us we can make a new map for ourselves.

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  46. I am a true capitalist and have been following your exploits for years.Things will never be the way you think of them.Fear and greed rule and always will.Human nature is a lot stronger than a few liberal ideas.You are funny though and I'll keep reading.

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  47. @ Anon: I'm happy when people don't pretend. You say capitalism for what it is, not candy-coating it with usual religious self-righteous piety. If the Devil is lie, then the Devil admitting the Devil is Devil makes the Devil vanish. But if the Devil is Truth, the Devil can say the Devil is the Devil and will always stand and rule.

    No argument does any good. We can only trust & see Truth reveal itself, whatever it may be. Trust is from the same root as truth. Trust is faith.

    But what you see as human nature is what I see as what represses human nature, because I see it proven within myself.

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  48. Suelo you are terribly naive. If someone comes and pretends to be a capitalist, you buy into it. That's a common tendency in pathological liars, they believe other people's lies.

    Suelo, you are a big self-promoter and you know it. Stop pretending what you aren't. Stop believing your own lies.

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  49. Perhaps Anonymous could define 'capitalism' before anyone makes judgment calls. While (s)he's at it, perhaps (s)he could define 'conservative' as well.

    The problem with both terms anymore is that they are very vague. The political media has probably twisted what they used to mean into something more supportive of corporate American agendas. Those who control the meaning of words can manipulate the public consciousness.

    This is very easy to see for those who have looked behind the curtain and seen the wizard's political thaumaturgy, most often expressed as the false binary of 'liberal' and 'conservative.' Like 'capitalism,' these terms have become all but meaningless except in a kind of religious sense: For those so indoctrinated, 'capitalist' and 'conservative' represent those who will go to 'heaven,' while 'socialist' and 'liberal' seem to be reserved for those going to 'hell.'

    In reality, there is no such thing. This is a logical fallacy of a false dilemma. Psychologists call it 'black and white thinking.'

    There are no 'true capitalists' just as there are no 'true Christians.' Trust me, as a former Jehovah's Witness, I know!

    (Fun project! Take away a "Conservative's" government benefits and see how angry s(he) gets!)

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  52. I always find it interesting the gradient of human behavior. I stare in wonder how some can stomach living as nefarious PT Barnums, hawking snake-oil real estate and shell games of repackaged loans. These games inhibit the Insula, a brain region associated with
    negative feelings.

    Or further along the gradient, it reminds me of Jeffery Daumer's matter of fact descriptions of his horrific thoughts and actions. Within individual brains are born this range of information processing capabilities. Yet when networked via a semi-lattice a group of minds becomes self-correcting and a higher ideal like Democracy emerges. Capitalism, a hierarchy, is not Democracy, a semi-lattice, therefore I see it as inferior.

    The capitalist concept can't hold on to the idea of going beyond our ancient and yes clearly stronger impulses. The capitalist concept seems contemptuous of another's neocortex. Yet museums display art and artifacts, mirror neurons and neutrinos are imaged as real examples of some moving beyond our reptilian brain's directive towards greed and fear.

    The smirking capitalist is amused likely because his nucleus accumbens (NAcc) has felt the reward rush of adrenalin participating in the insular game of capitalism. Their brain has been trained to seek the reward and throw away any information involving consequences of excess. Again the Insula.

    So are we are doomed because they are the 99%, ignorant of how our flimsy brains compute? Or are we? I wonder if the 99% has yet to imagine whether a neocortex can silence the basal ganglia more efficiently. This is when I go sites like Ray Kurzweil's - http://www.kurzweilai.net/ - to find an optimistic view.

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  53. @ Troy: yes!

    @ Michael: I was joking before about not insulting reptilian brains. But it's really no joke: reptiles, as do all non-human creatures, know when to quit, and aren't destroying their own homes: we, with our seemingly superior cortexes, consumed by worry and fear, don't know when to quit, like cancer cells. We're still figuring out how to use these new brains.

    @ A: Yes, I'm a self-promoter, as is every creature on earth. To get out of bed, to open one's mouth, to type a comment here is to promote oneself. Yeah, it's good not to pretend otherwise. Is a peacock pretending if he spreads his feathers or is he pretending if he cuts them off in a show of humility? As long as we know the peacock and flower and ourselves bloom for a short season, then go back to obscurity, we're living truth.

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  54. Oops: I made the above 'anonymous' comment

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  55. I went into the quickie mart this morning, Christmas day, to get some bacon, which we never have, for an extra special breakfast. There's one guy working and he's black and has a cleft palette. That's the glories of capitalism in the United States of America. It's democracy that has advanced civilization not capitalism.

    Merry Christmas from Outer Space

    If an alien intelligence sent a visitor to take our temperature and deliver some medicine for our ailing collective conscious it would be like a clinician's interview during a double-blind test. The clinician's words might sound obtuse so as not to give away the nature of the experiment. Some might characterize the words as parable-like. An alien civilization's collective consciousness would have become so refined that all the individuals would appear to us as one entity. An alien intelligence would probably have a level of cognition that has evolved beyond our level. Ours, at it's most recently evolved, occurs as rationality in our Prefrontal Cortex. The alien cognition advanced beyond reason might appear to us as faith-like.

    This visitor would ask us to follow their example and live a simple life. Because this alien intelligence would know, having conducted these tests elsewhere, that we can't last if we use everything up. They probably would "not" have sent a visitor if we weren't showing some serious symptoms as a failed evolutionary model. Alien intelligence with much experience in observation could have noticed discrepancies in the pace of these three systems:

    1. The pace of our evolving mind's ability to grasp the larger systems and act collectively.

    2. The amount of planetary resources available.

    3. The projected population and consumption patterns.

    It would have noticed that our level of cognition might not advance quick enough to grasp the larger issues and act collectively as our population and consumption would expand. Rather than scrap the whole project they might keep an eye out for individuals or groups who show the most understanding of what a healthy collective conscious looks like despite the downward spiraling circumstances. Seeing these individuals who "get it" they might be rescued at the last minute. The aliens seem to be conducting both a double-blind test and a open-book test simultaneously, as all the answers to the test are given in the last book of the New Testament, Revelations.

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  56. Michael! I love it. You often say things in a way that I can relate to on a material, and rational level. Often it goes over my head, but I still repect you and try to understand what you say. Loved the above post.

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  57. Thanks Raj, I think it is possible to remove the superstitious and fantastical interpretations from spirituality. Hopefully so we can can move on to do greater things.

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  58. Spirituality, science of spirit(s)?. Isn't that a contradiction in terms?.

    How can you remove superstitious and fantastical interpretations from it?.

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  59. Spirit, the essence of life, from the word for breathe, respire. Spirituality, science of the essence of life. How can the essence of life be known except by removing superstitious and fantastical interpretations of it? But how can we remove superstitious and fantastical interpretations from ANY science or discipline? If we could, we would be truly spiritual.

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  60. Like Galileo did with electricity, or Edison did with planets, or disCERNing theories like the Boson-Higgs particle.

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  61. People learn Spirituality by direct experience, so it is the most certain, the ONLY certain, science, because it is beyond words. People learn other sciences by outward trial and error, making them ever uncertain, because they are described with words (symbol). Because people think spirituality can be described with words, it becomes superstitious and fantastical, because the only words coming near to describe it seem superstitious and fantastical. But the spiritual person knows. The scientific person only theorizes. Nothing real is as we think. Thus we must go beyond thinking if we are to know reality.

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  62. Gosh, I didn't even know that Occupy people were blocking ports. It seems the media just wants to pretend it doesn't exist. I don't know if occupying the ports or shutting them down is an answer or not but I'm really glad someone is doing it. Our way of life is wrong and most people I know feel it deep down.

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  63. @Michael. While I see it can be helpful and fun to try to explain spiritual things from an objective and rational understanding, I also feel the very nature of spirituality implies that it either transcends nature or is at such a higher level of complexity that we humans can never fully grasp it. People thought faith healers were miracle workers in past generations because people didn't properly understand the human body. Now we have modern medicine which has helped us have a certain higher level of control over our healing. However, I think at least half of the.time.the doctors themselves don't fully understand what they're doing. They know if they cut here and there and prescribe this and that, then such and.such will happen. But they often don't understand the long term consequences, and often not even the short term. In effect we're only slightly ahead of the witchdoctor who knew that this or that plant would have this effect. In some ways we're further.behind because of all of the added side effects of modern medicine yet we continue to maintain this facade of control and understanding.

    I think one of the greatest illusions of modern times is thinking that the more descriptive we can be about something then the more we have control over it. It doesn't matter if I can describe why certain colours in a Monet painting correspond well due to the nature of iris and how it perceives light, or why the florecent bulb has certain chemical components which won't react well with the painting. All of that can be helpful, but there's no point in having all of that if you can't just relax and enjoy the painting.

    So I have to side with Suelo on this one. Spirituality is something you have to experience to fully appreciate and to "understand". Explanations are useful, but at the end of the day the experience wins out.

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  64. Happy New Year Suelo.

    Wish you well on your continuing quest for enlightenment, happiness, and peace. Looking forward to reading your posts.

    Best,
    Al

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  66. Piper, thank you for reminding me. I remember thinking the same when I first saw this post. I had no idea Occupy was blocking ports. A corporation suppressing information. An overgrown hierarchy that's become sick. The solution is the semi-lattice.

    Although I pretty much agree with most of what Troy says, very intelligent stuff, when he says:

    "There are no 'true capitalists' just as there are no 'true Christians.'

    I think this is incorrect framing. See George Lakoff for more on frames.
    http://fora.tv/2006/07/17/George_Lakoff_Whose_Freedom#fullprogram

    I'm not addressing the behavior of individuals. I'm addressing the behavior of groups. Groups, due to diffusion of responsibility for one, will behave more selfishly than individuals who are communicating freely (a semi-lattice). Group think is yet another aspect of the problem with hierarchies. It is a mistake to focus on individual stalemates. This has been proven mathematically by John Nash for which he won the Nobel Prize. But cooperative groups are healthy when they are infused with external influences. I believe only cooperative groups can arrive at the solutions I'm interested in.

    For example, a corporate manager may try to deny an employee their rights to reasonable accommodation but at their church they'll send a token gift basket to a family for Christmas which may end up at the doorstep of the very same employee. Their actions under the influence of a group is different than their individual actions.

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  67. This nuanced framing seems the crux of recent government stalemates. Here's my first stab and trying clarify a difficult and nuanced concept. I'm open to any help or pointing out flaws in my thinking on this idea. Here goes:

    -----

    Last Sunday on 60 Minutes, Majority Leader: Rep. Eric Cantor, Leslee Stahl grills him as the major obstacle disrupting the President Obama's first term. I listened to Cantor make the same mistake of confusing individual values versus group values.

    Stahl: Well, what do you say to the Democrats who charge that all you're really trying to do is deprive the president of a win?

    Cantor: That to me is, that's just political rhetoric and I dismiss that. Because I really do believe that most if not all people who are elected to Congress really want to do what's right with this country.

    MDS: Cantor deflects the criticism by saying that individuals want to do what's right. He doesn't understand that it's the group's "group think" enacting the harm.

    Stahl: You've got a nine percent, Congress has a nine percent approval rating. What do you think this conveys about confidence in our government? Don't you think this is shredding that?

    Cantor: Well, I think that ultimately the confidence comes from good results. And, you know, somehow that saying goes, "The harder you work, the sweeter the reward." And we're certainly being put to that test right now.

    MDS: If he understood how groups produce higher level information processing he would have said, The harder "we" work..." In the next exchange Cantor completely indicts himself on his ignorance of a the core principle of the semi-lattice and democracy:

    Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate. I mean, if you go back to the first--

    Stahl: What's the difference between compromise and cooperate?

    Cantor: Well, I would say cooperate is let's look to where we can move things forward where we agree. Comprising principles, you don't want to ask anybody to do that. That's who they are as their core being.

    Stahl: But you know, your idol, as I've read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.

    Cantor: He never compromised his principles.

    Stahl: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.

    MDS: Cantor ignores group wisdom derived from democratic process and reverts to individual information processing which is operating more often than not from the reptilian brain stem.

    When confronted with Reagan's record he finally starts to think along the lines of democratic groups but he fails miserably because he doesn't know the difference between a hierarchy and semi-lattice in regards to information processing. So he refers to this hierarchal information processing conclusion:

    Cantor: We as Republicans are not going to support tax increases.

    He's only interesting what this one hierarchy concludes and little else. Coincidentally, it's the hierarchy that enriches him.

    These republicans are using a thought process which is a primitive vestige of our reptilian past. Using the irrefutable mathematics of advanced information processing we could design this flaw out of the system.

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  68. Raj, I don't mean to minimize spirituality. I am often feeling a great joy or peace through the spiritual sensation of being part of this world interconnected with another spiritual dimension. I believe this world is accessed from another dimension by advanced consciousness.

    In fact, I think they've discovered that time travel within the dimension you reside in is impossible but it is possible in a dimension outside your own. This can be demonstrated in a simplified way by considering an old phonograph record. It's easy to randomly access any part of the song on the album by dropping the needle onto the two dimensional surface from above, the third dimension.
    For more info see" Imagining the Tenth Dimension" by Rob Bryanton

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA

    They wanted to understand better their own evolution from their non-collective primitive past to their super collective state. So observe it at any point in time they set up our evolution in a separate dimension.

    Doesn't this make it real rather than all the ambiguous quoting of this verse and that? By avoiding the fantastical and superstitious interpretations of spirituality doesn't this make it easier and more compelling to view this world and how things interact?

    When I think about how we have access to seeing this purity from some higher power burn through us and at the same time we can experience all this flawed human response, it's really quite amazing that we're on this fence and can see both sides playing out.

    Thinking about your conclusion, "Explanations are useful, but at the end of the day the experience wins out." I would respond, placing more stock on experience versus explanation is ignoring how fast we are heading towards what Ray Kurzweil calls the singularity. According to him by 2050 experience and explanation with be completely blurred into one.

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  69. Well said Dan. To paraphrase Kahlil Gibran, action is love made visible.

    Personally I don't see the physical as separate from the spiritual, or less worthy than the latter. Your spirituality is revealed in how gently you walk amongst the rest of the community of life, how you eat, how you interact, how much you unconditionally love. Its not about what verses you can quote for how many hours meditation you do, though these can be pathways to a holistically healthier life.

    I call this applied spirituality. Otherwise it's just words and abstract concepts that sound nice, but...

    Lots of love to you Dan

    ps do read The Ascent of Humanity if you can, I'll get a book to you if your library won't get one.

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  70. I believe this world is accessed from another dimension by advanced consciousness.

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