Un-professional

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"

Instead of protesting and demanding changes from our errant parents, we must initiate these changes ourselves. It is time for us to grow up. In doing so we step out from under those parents - the system that currently defines our relations for us -  and take control ourselves.

We all have skills to offer each other. We may, at the moment, only do this in the form of a professional relationship. In other words, we offer our skills and get paid for them. The professional relationship has its virtues, but also its limitations - limitations that are critical at this point in time.

A friendship-based contract (contact) is one that is free from these limitations. Instead of offering our services for a fee, we offer them for free.

Friendship-based relations could be a crucial way for us to transition away from the current system and towards something more healthy. Professional relationships have a certain tendency to them -  they take us in certain directions.  

They are infused with the logic of the current - dysfunctional - system, and so keep us within the old story.

The friendship-relationship is a space in which we are free to do what we want, in which we can redefine our relations and write a new story.

In concrete terms, we must find ways to offer our skills to each other for free. This will mean making sacrifices, something our generation must accept. These sacrifices may mean accepting a simpler lifestyle, a life without as many 'things' in it. It may mean foregoing certain luxuries, or novelties. Those generations that went before us were unwilling to make the sacrifices that were required of them, and so the baton is passed to us. Will we have the strength to do what they could not, or will we, once again, pass the burden downwards?

There is no way that we can transition to a more sustainable and healthy world without making sacrifices. Yet through sacrifice we grow as people... 

1. Get a skill. Choose something and specialise.

2. Establish yourself

3. Examine your lifestyle. Think about what your core necessities are and what can be sacrificed for the greater good.

4. Begin to offer your services for free. Devote a certain percentage of your professional time to community service. Offer your services on a non-professional friendship-oriented basis. Convert professional to non-professional: distance to friendship. Both parties are made aware of the arrangement.

5. Keep assessing your lifestyle. Continue to weigh up what you can sacrifice in order to convert more professional time to non-professional time.

6. Aim to pare things down to the minimum you need in order to sustain an acceptable lifestyle. As you make more changes to your lifestyle your idea of what is 'acceptable' will also change. Draw what you need from the system in order to support your lifestyle but otherwise aim to devote as much time and energy as possible to using your skills in a friendship-based gift-giving way.

The more each of us do this the more we - collectively - will move away from the system that separates us and the closer we will draw towards each other. In this way ties are reestablished, communities rebuilt.

Trust will resurface as a result of our non-professional relationships. From within the walls of professionalism, we can emerge into a new story.

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Related posts:-
A Circle of Gifts 
Guiding Fiction
Lost Tribe
Community Service
Carry Each Other
Know your place 
Life Support 
Walter
Set it Free 
Open Source Approaches
Sell Out 

Concentrate / Decentrate

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Concentrate                     -                      Decentrate
Life                                  -                      Death
Multiply                          -                      Divide
Limited                            -                      Unlimited
Real                                  -                      Ideal
Flawed                              -                      Perfect
Creation                            -                      Destruction
            

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Within every living thing there is a tug of war, consisting of the the pull towards life, and the pull towards death. The life urge is conservative, the death urge expansive.

Life is defined by the process of limitation; a thing is only a thing because of all the things it is not; from a sea of infinite possibility certain characteristics are chosen, at the expense of others. Infinity is bounded.

Death is the return to infinity; the unbinding of what has been bound. If life is synonymous with 'limited', then death is synonymous with 'unlimited.'

As humans we have an urge towards expansiveness - the need to constantly explore new territory - that must be balanced by the imposition of limits. A lack of boundaries allows us to adventure to far flung places, full of mystery and novelty - but whenever we travel to extremes we also dance with death.


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Concentrative thinking is centripetal. It focuses to a point. It borns gravity. It “charges” by multiplying low potential into high and cold into heat.



Decentrative thinking is centrifugal. It expands into space. It borns radiation. It “discharges” by dividing high potential into low and heat into cold.

The journey toward gravity simulates life and the opposite journey simulates death in the forever repeating cycles which, together in their continuity, simulate eternal life.

[Walter Russell]
A New Concept of the Universe, p. 14-16


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One of the characteristic patterns of capitalism is of things getting concentrated into ever smaller spaces. Of things becoming more tightly packed. Of extremes.


Some examples:

- money and power is concentrated into fewer hands, producing extreme wealth/poverty.

- people are concentrated into smaller spaces, producing areas of extreme density (cities) and extreme sparsity (countryside).

- pixels are concentrated into smaller spaces producing extreme definition (HD).


Unchecked concentration leads to extremes.

For instance, the more you gather separate things together into one entity, and the tighter you pack them, the more mass you create; the more you concentrate flavours, the more exaggerated is the affect on the tastebuds; the more you focus talent into one area, the greater are the potential products of that talent; and by focusing wealth and power in fewer hands, the more extreme things can be done with this wealth and power.

Its akin to taking a long-slow wave - with shallow troughs and peaks - and packing it into a very small space. Its highs and lows are exaggerated - higher highs and lower lows - but its duration, its lifespan, is significantly shortened.

Imagine an athlete who trains so hard that they surpass all previous achievements in their field. They push their body to its limits, but in doing so wear it out in a very short space of time. They burn brightly - brighter than anything thus far - but their flame is extinguished unusually soon.

A high peak is always followed by a swift and steep descent. The brighter you burn, you shorter you shine: this is the eternal balance.

Through concentrating things we have made certain advances that would not have been possible otherwise. We have reached extremes that would have been unattainable if things were more evenly spread. These are the victories of capitalism.

Capitalism is, amongst other things, a pattern of runaway growth. It is unchecked linear progress, an infinite line moving into infinite space. In disregarding limits, it ends up going to extremes.

The longer it continues, the more tightly things will be packed, and the more extreme these things will become. It is turning a beach full of sand into a few boulders of sandstone.

If you want to make sandstone then it is 'good'. If you want a beach full of sand then it is 'bad'. Each have their downsides and upsides.  

As ever, the critical factor - the thing that determines 'bad' and 'good' - is context.

In light of the current problems that face us as a species, we cannot afford to keep wanting a few boulders of sandstone. We must begin to think in terms of sand, and beaches.


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A supernormal stimulus or superstimulus is an exaggerated version of a stimulus to which there is an existing response tendency, or any stimulus that elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for which it evolved.

For example, when it comes to eggs, a bird can be made to prefer the artificial versions to their own, and humans can be similarly exploited by junk food. The idea is that the elicited behaviours evolved for the "normal" stimuli of the ancestor's natural environment, but the behaviours are now hijacked by the supernormal stimulus.

'Supernormal stimulus'


In semiotics and postmodernism, hyperreality is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies.

Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins. It allows the co-mingling of physical reality with virtual reality (VR) and human intelligence with artificial intelligence (AI).

Individuals may find themselves, for different reasons, more in tune or involved with the hyperreal world and less with the physical real world.

'Hyperreality'


Concentration leads to hyper-stimulation leads to addiction:

- Food                                        - extreme tastes
- Pornography                           - extreme bodies
- Drugs                                      - extreme highs
- Social media                           - extreme connectivity
- Films & video games                - extreme sights & sounds
- Music                                      - extreme sound


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The point that nearly everyone in the debate is trying to evade is that the collection of extravagant energy-wasting habits that pass for a normal middle class lifestyle these days is, in James Howard Kunstler’s useful phrase, an arrangement without a future.

Those habits only became possible in the first place because our species broke into the planet’s supply of stored carbon and burnt through half a billion years of fossil sunlight in a wild three-century-long joyride. 

Now the needle on the gas gauge is moving inexorably toward that threatening letter E, and the joyride is over. It really is as simple as that.

[John Michael Greer]
'Renewables: The Next Fracking?' 


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An enclosed social circle can quickly evolve political views, and the concentration of Britain's intelligentsia within small networks predominantly in west and north London helped to radically shift accepted ideas and prevent dissenting voices emerging.

As Cass Sunstein noted in Going to Extremes: 'Social networks can operate as polarisation machines because they help to confirm and thus amplify people's antecendent views.'

Interactivity between a group with political leanings of a certain bent acts as an echo chamber, progressively radicalising them even more.

[Ed West]
The Diversity Illusion, p. 62-3


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Related posts:-
Lines and Circles
The Colour Wheel
Masculine - Feminine
The Principle of Polarity
Maintaining the Balance 
A Healthy Body
Life and Death (and everything in between) 

Fuck It

"Let's save the planet for future generations, for our children, and their children."

These appeals are all but useless in the current cultural climate.


The more we swing toward a short-term pragmatist/materialist mentality the less we value long-term considerations. Thus, the voice that urges us to think in the long term - that warns of future dangers - is a weak one. 'The future' is little more than an abstraction; we do not care about 'the future' because it does not exist here, now.

We can see this on an individual level. Many of us may have an addiction that we know is harming us in the long term, and that may have catastrophic effects on us in the future. Yet, because we can continue to indulge in the present without any immediate ill effects - because judgement day has not yet arrived - concern for our future has little affect on our present actions. The short-term outweighs the long-term. This kind of thinking is encouraged and reinforced by the wider culture. It urges us to indulge. 'Fuck it'.

If we do not care about our own future as individuals, then what hope have we of caring about our future as a species?


Who is going to be willing to fight the enormous battle against their addictions - a battle waged in the palpable here-and-now - for an abstract concept like 'future generations'?

Appeals that attempt to make us change our immediate actions by gesturing towards future danger - "the icecaps will melt", "your liver will give up" - are more or less redundant. Calamity must strike - we must hit rock bottom - before we are willing to change anything. Faced with such calamity, many would choose to continue along their dysfunctional path (keep their addiction) rather than change. They would, in some cases, choose annihilation.

Such is the power of the short-term in these times.

Sometimes in order to fight something we must take an indirect - and often counter-intuitive - route. Perhaps, then, to prevent the icecaps from melting, we must promote a long-term mentality. The pendulum must begin to swing in the opposite direction.  

The most critical battlefield in this regard may be culture.

We must stop transmitting messages that urge us to think short-term. We need people of influence (celebrities) who endorse long-term thinking. The voice of wisdom - the voice of the elder - must return to guide us, rather than the voice of the reckless youth.

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Not only is there respect for the aged, but authority is vested in the old people. This arrangement naturally lends itself to control of life by the aged.

Preservation of the religious ideals and mores is thereby ensured, and the younger people who are inclined to introduce change can be held in check.

A strong consciousness of kinship is peculiarly favourable to gerontocracy, or social control by the older members of society. This control is informal rather than formal, but is, nevertheless, "closer ti us than breathing, nearer than hands or feet."

The part that old people have "in drawing forth and molding the character and life-policy of every younger person in the kinship group makes the necessity for direct control much less frequent in an isolated culture than in more accessible communities."

The relatively integrated community is asscoaited with effective rules imposed by the aged, be they parents or church leaders. Thus deference to age pervades not only familial realtionships but also the religious leadership of the group.

Furthermore, the counsel of the older bishop or minister carries more authority than that of younger ones.

[John A. Hostetler]
Amish Society, p. 16-8

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One of the most exciting things about adolescent boys and girls can be said to be their idealism. They have not yet settled down into disillusionment, and the corollary of this is that they are free to formulate ideal plans.

It is not for the adolescent to take a long-term view, which may come more naturally to those who have lived through many decades and begun to grow old.

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From: Essays by a Psychoanalyst, p. 165


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Related posts:-
Beggars and Choosers
Its in my DNA 
Addiction: the long and short of it
The Devil is in the Details (and God is in the Generalities)  
Short term savings, long term costs
Masters of the Universe
Digging Deeper

Dependency Culture

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Child                           -                     Parent


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Increasingly we [live in a] 'dependency culture.'

We depend on the consumer machine to provide for us - to give us what we want, when we want it. This is our 'right.' The Thing has dehumanised us, and we are all incresingly dependent on it for succour. We expect. We demand. We are like children. Everything must be instant and, if it isn't, somebody must pay.

[Paul Kingsnorth]
Real England, p. 272


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In order to transition to a new paradigm we must be prepared to lessen our reliance on the current culture and the things that it gives us to consume: films, sport, art, music, television. Inasmuch as  these things - in both a direct and indirect way -  prop up the current state of affairs, we must be prepared to move away from them.

One of the overriding affects of current popular culture is to reinforce the world as it is.

It allows us to go on thinking everything is okay, because culture is okay. 

And yet, in many ways, culture - this world that we lose ourselves within -  serves to keep us distracted from other things that are happening, outside of its borders.

Inasmuch as we are addicted to our cultural consumables, we must wean ourselves off them. When the addict is intoxicated they disappear into their own world; turned off, tuned out. The outside world, with its problems and worries, disappears, if only momentarily.

One of the biggest imperatives of our time - in light of the challenges that currently face us as a species - is for us all to overcome our addictions.  

This includes our addiction to culture.


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Related posts:-
Addiction: the Short and Long of it
Flip-side
A Circle of Gifts 
Do Not Disturb 
Status Quo
Masters of the Universe

Fear Visions

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Negative                             -                      Positive
Deflation                            -                       Inflation
Earth                                   -                      Sky


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Our culture is drowning us in negativity.

Take Eastenders (a.k.a. 'Arguments in London'). In showing us a near-constant stream of arguments and conflict it makes us more likely to interact with each other in this way. Whilst we may consciously recognise that these are only fictional characters - and extreme characters at that - we cannot control the unconscious affect that these characters are having upon us.

So whilst we may watch it in an ironic or detached way, we are not able to fully immunize ourselves from its effects. It is like ironically swallowing a glassful of poison. We can be as detached as we like from the action, but it will still have its way with us regardless. By watching we are putting ourselves into a toxic environment. The fact that we are aware of its toxicity does nothing to lessen its effects.

We often create things as 'critiques' so that we can examine the pathology (hold the wound up to the light), but it may be that in creating these visions we are actually - in an indirect way - breathing life into them.

It is entirely possible - and likely - that critiques and parodies - these things that serve up our fears in a palatable manner - are actually making the realisation of these fears more likely.

We will come to see that the ways in which we tell stories - through film, and TV - affect us in ways in which we currently do not recognise.

The visions that we create, create the reality that we live in. In this way, we mould our own reality. In constantly immersing ourselves in our fears, we lend power to them. They become self-fulfilling prophesies. What we focus on, we draw nearer to.

What do we want to focus on?

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A living philosophy must be based upon unity - oneness - inseparability and interdependence. It must have love as its motive instead of fear. It must see the good in man and not look upon him as sinful and evil.

The world becomes what the world thinks. It thinks of man as sinful and evil and he has become what his own thoughts have made him. He has made a world of hate and fear, and where hate is love cannot be.

[Lao Russell]
God Will Work With You But Not For You, p. 213-14

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Related posts:-
Guiding Fiction
Imagine something better 
Re-write It
Hell in a basket
Projecting a Shadow
Giving and Receiving
Negative Space
Positive Space

(Scottish) Independence

"I'm in an abusive relationship".

There, you've said it. Its taken so long for you to get to this point, but here you are. You've said it.

Its taken you so long because the abuse isn't painted in bold strokes. It is not physical. There are no cuts or bruises, let alone broken arms.

No, this isn't a physical thing. He just chips away at you. Nothing major, just little comments here and there. But they all add up. You have no self-belief. Your ambition is curbed. When you do well he feels inadequate. That sort of thing. You are in your place; under his control; at the mercy of his insecurities.

Leaving him is unimaginable. Sometimes the thought flits across your mind, but you push it away just as quickly. After all, you're married. You have kids together, and a house. You are a part of his family, and he's a part of yours. Not ever having believed in yourself, you are dependent upon him; emotionally, financially.

All of this bears down on you, makes a way out seem impossible. You could never cause such an upset, such an upheaval.

But there is a part of you -  something deep down, something youthful and full of hope - that is gasping for breath. Every now and then it screams in frustration and anguish. 'Let me out! I have work to do, places to go, people to see; dreams to fulfill. Let me out!'

One day it all gets too much. You begin to allow the thought into your head. Leaving him. How about it?

You ask friends. The majority take the pragmatic approach. Yes, he might not be the best guy in the world; and sure, things sound like they can be bad. But let's face it, you have too much to lose. You need his money. How will you survive without him? And the kids. It will upset them too much. Its all too risky. Best thing is to maybe try to talk to him, tell him your concerns. Come to a compromise. He's not so bad, really. Be strong. Its all okay, maybe its just a phase you're going through. After all, you've been together this long. Why throw it all away?

They have a point, you think. What would I do? How would I support myself? There would be so much to think about, so many things that could go wrong. Your self-belief begins to buckle, as it always has.

But one of your friends - your oldest friend, that special one - says something different.

Go for it.

I've never liked him. I've seen the effect he's had on you. I've seen you wilt. Its killed me. I've been waiting for you to pluck up the courage to ask me this. Please, be brave. Leave him. Do it because your heart knows its the right thing to do. Don't think of the consequences. Don't let fear rule your life any longer. Its not too late for you. You are so special and have so much potential. For too many years I've seen it trampled all over. And you'll never know that potential until you truly test yourself. I want to see you flower again.

Things will sort themselves out. But please god, leave him. I'll be here for you. I know it all seems impossible - so much to sort out, so much to go through - but I'll be here. All you have to do is decide. Make that decision. Tick that box. Once you've made it then things will fall into place.

It won't be easy. There will be extremely hard times. But I promise, you won't regret it. Be brave.

You're so confused. Do I follow my heart or my head?

Which will it be?

Democracy

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The task before parliamentary socialism is that of articulating and advocating its policies to an ill-educated electorate in a society where there is freedom to choose one's representatives;

in short, where there is always the danger that the electorate will choose self rather than society.

[John Fowles]
The Aristos, p.120


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You are stranded on a desert island with ten other people. Every one of them is under ten years old, apart from one who is an elderly gentleman. You must begin to make collective decisions in order to survive on the island. You decide upon a democratic system in order to make your decisions.

These under tens are a particularly headstrong group, and have a number of their own ideas as to how best to spend your time on the island. Every view is heard and each is put to the vote. Majority rules.

How long will you survive?

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The main requisite for a functioning democracy is maturity. 

This can be defined as the ability to not only know and understand the self - and thus to know what is best for the self - but to also know and understand the whole (i.e. society) - and to know what is best for the whole.

Look around at society and ask:

1. How many have the ability to work out what is best for themselves?
2. How many have the ability to work out what is best for their families?
3. How many have the ability to work out what is best for their community?
4. How many have the ability to work out what is best for their society?

A democracy takes for granted that those within it have all four of these abilities. Not only that, it also assumes that they can put aside the first three in favour of the last, number 4. Because it may be that what is best for you, your family or your immediate community is not best for the majority of people.

Again; look around at you and ask: are we capable of democracy?

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Every time you see a piece of litter left in the street, or dog-mess left on the pavement, you are seeing a demonstration of why democracy does not work. Or to be more precise, why we are currently incapable of democracy.

When someone litters or leaves dog-mess, they are showing you that they do not think communally. These are selfish acts, committed by people who do not think of the wider affect that their actions will have.

When it comes to voting, do you think these people will be weighing up the options in light of what is best for the greater good? Or will they cast their vote in light of their own self-interest? 

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“Sometimes it seems like everyone’s a manager,” says Karl Marginson, who has been FC’s team manager since the club was established, as he sits on the team bus on the way to a fixture at Whitby.

“Everybody who comes along to football has an opinion. They’re very quick to tell me how I should be doing things. I’m sure it’s the same for Louis Van Gaal.”

Marginson says he will listen to anyone’s opinion. Though rather like Brian Clough, once he has listened, he then does what he believes is right. A couple of years ago, the then Conference club Ebbsfleet did an experiment whereby they invited supporters to vote weekly on who should be in the first team. Had FC’s members not been tempted to try the same thing?

“There’s a difference,” Walsh says of the Ebbsfleet idea. “We’re serious.”

“Listen, that could never work,” adds Marginson. “If you give out 200 pieces of paper to 200 people and asked them to work out a team, you’d get 200 different combinations. At some point there’s got to be one person making those decisions.” 

[Jim White]
'How FC United rose to the brink of the big time'


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Molly Dineen: But do you not think its important to be democratic?

Earl of Romney: Well, its a sort of excuse isn't it?

MD: For what?

ER: For consulting everybody and doing what nobody wants.

MD: Do you believe in democracy?

ER: No, I don't.

MD: What do you believe in?

ER: A benevolent government of the well informed [...] The way democracy works, its so irresponsible

MD: Irresponsible?

ER: Yes, people say, 'what's he done for me' or 'I don't like the look of his face, I wouldn't trust that fellow' - haven't you heard people say that?

MD: Yes

ER: Well is that the way to use your vote?

Dialogue from documentary 'The Lords' Tale' by Molly Dineen


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If the situation calls for authoritarianism, then it is proper to be an authoritarian; and if the situation calls for democracy, one should be democratic. 'Good authority' that sets necessary limits is a lost art in many families and schools, having been confused with punitiveness, regimentation, and rigidity.

At the same time, 'democracy' has almost been deified as the definitive, universal end-state model for decision-making, whether the active MEMEs in a group can handle it or not.

[Don Edward Beck & Christopher C. Cowan]
Spiral Dynamics, p.279

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Molly Dineen
: Why do you feel so strongly?

Baroness Miller: I'll tell you why I do. If they decided to reform the House of Lords - which is fine - I still say its the finest rising chamber in the world - but if they felt that the hereditary peers' [...] time has come and they want to revise it, reform it, do whatever they will, then do it for all of us.

[...] At the end of the day, why am I in the Lords, Molly, I ask myself. I'm there because a Prime Minister sent me - its modern day patronage. And when you saw the glee of all those noble Lords on the other side, that, finally, they'd somehow got rid of the hereditary peers, and they're so thrilled. But have they ever stopped to think, why are they there? Tony Blair sent a whole reef of them in lately.

[...] Will we be better at scrutinising legislation because its modern day patronage?

MD: They would argue because you personally earned it, and not your father

BM: Well maybe they would argue that, but I would say that I'd rather have patronage of several hundred years ago, when the noble lords, who have served this country well, can look at it dispassionately, and they do not owe their position here to this Prime Minister, or the one before.

Dialogue from 'The Lords' Tale', a documentary by Molly Dineen

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Debates about which leadership form is 'the best,' whether in the General Assembly of the United Nations or in a university management seminar, miss the point.

The argument should turn on what are the prevailing Life Conditions and which MEMEs will awaken. Once the color(s) are identified, the appropriate leadership follows naturally.

[Don Beck & Christopher Cowan]
Spiral Dynamics, p. 126

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The history of societies shows a constant tendency toward the formation of a nobility as the apex and crown of any given society.

It would seem that all efforts at socialization have as their ideal some kind of aristocracy, of rule of the best, even though this goal may not be admitted.

The holders of power, whether they have been kings or an anonymous group, have always been willing to further the rise of a nobility by protection and the granting of privileges. This has been so no matter what the nature of the nobility: political, by birth, by selection and education.

The favoured nobility has always basked in the sunlight; but from a certain stage of development on, its place in the sun, its privileged state, has always constituted a temptation and led to its corruption.

[Hermann Hesse]
The Glass Bead Game, p.348

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If a number of individuals were to undergo (psychoanalysis) separately, and - provided their motive was strong enough - were to experience a change of attitude, they could subsequently form a group, a leading minority, which might become the nucleus of a larger body of people. 

Their numbers could be increased

a. by individual treatment
b. by suggestion through authority

The great mass of people is led by its suggestibility. It cannot be changed in its attitude, only in its behaviour. The latter depends on the authority of leaders whose attitude has been really changed.

A nation consists of the sum of its individuals, and its character corresponds to the moral average. Nobody is immune to a nationwide evil unless he is unshakably convinced of the danger of his own character being tainted by the same evil.

But the immunity of the nation depends entirely upon the existence of a leading minority immune to the evil and capable of combatting the powerful suggestive effect of seemingly possible wish-fulfilments.

[C. J. Jung]
'Techniques of attitude change conductive to world peace (Memorandum to UNESCO)', Civilization in Transition, p. 609-10, 612


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Related posts:-
A Mature Society?
Rights and Responsibilities
Negative Space
Ownership
Maturity  

Limited / Limitless



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Limited                            -                      Limitless
Circular                           -                      Linear 
Completion                      -                      Perfection
Earth                                -                      Heaven
                  

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Perhaps the question is not, "Can The Matrix ever become a reality?" 

Rather, "What will stop The Matrix from becoming a reality?"

In other words, is technology inevitably taking us toward this destination? If so, when do we put the brakes on?

Another way to look at it is to ask, "If we had the appropriate technology now, would it happen?"

It may already be happening, bit by bit, one advance after another.

We look at The Matrix and are horrified, and yet we covet and praise the contemporary 'advances' that may lead us toward it.


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The rule in biological evolution is plain: The immediate individual bodily effects of functioning shall never be allowed to impinge upon the individual genetic coding.

The gene pool of the population is however subject to change under a natural selection which will recognize differences, especially differences in ability to achieve more adaptive functioning. The barrier which prohibits 'Lamarckian' inheritance precisely protects the gene system from too rapid change under possibly capricious environmental demands.

But in cultures and social system [...] there is no equivalent barrier.

Innovations become irreversibly adopted into the on-going system without being tested for long-time viability; and necessary changes are resisted by the core of conservative individuals without any assurance that these particular changes are the ones to resist.

Individual comfort and discomfort become the only criteria for choice of social change and the basic contrast of logical typing between member and the category is forgotten until new discomforts are (inevitably) created by the new state of affairs.

Fear of individual death and grief propose that it would be 'good' to eliminate epidemic disease and only after 100 years of preventive medicine do we discover that the population is overgrown. And so on.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 238


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The machine metaphor, stressing bigger and more efficient operations in wordly society, stands in sharp contrast to Amish thinking about the use of tools.

The logic of expanded technology points toward infinite industrial growth and infinite energy consumption. The energy crisis is for the Amish a crisis not of supply but of use, not of technology but of morality.

By carefully restricting the use of machine-developed energy, the Amish "have become the only true masters of technology."

The Amish have problems, but with respect to energy and the balancing of human life with machines, they have mastered one of the contradictions so puzzling to modern society.

By holding technology at a distance, by exercising restraint and moderations, and by accepting limitations and living within then, the Amish have maintained the integrity of their family and community life.

They have escaped many of the noxious side effects of ambitious technology - haste, aimlessness, distraction, violence, waste, and disintegration.

[John A. Hostetler]
Amish Society, p. 383-4

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Bostrom calls this the Technological Completion Conjecture:

If scientific- and technological-development efforts do not effectively cease, then all impor­t­­­ant basic capabilities that could be obtained through some possible technology will be obtained.

In light of this, he suspects that the farther into the future one looks the less likely it seems that life will continue as it is. He favors the far ends of possibility: humanity becomes transcendent or it perishes.

The Doomsday Invention: Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?

 
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The Amish are inutitively aware of the danger of large-scale enterprises [...] Limitless technology is, for them, greed and a denial of wisdom.

Amish economic thinking is subjected to a traditional wisdom requiring the restraint of selfishness, greed, leisure, and expansionist thinking.

The future of the Amish will be determined not solely by technology, or the means to life, but by the definition they themselves give to life.

[John A. Hostetler]
Amish Society, p. 396


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Many argue that posthuman space will be more virtual than real.

Individuals may consist of uploaded minds living as data patterns on supercomputers or users engaged in completely immersive virtual realities.

Postgenderists contend that these types of existences are not gender-specific thus allowing individuals to morph their virtual appearances and sexuality at will.

Postgenderism 


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The body, that inconvenient reminder of mortality, is plucked, pierced, etched, pummelled, pumped up, shrunk and remoulded [...] What seems a celebration of the body, then, may also cloak a virulent anti-materialism - a desire to gather this raw, perishable stuff into the less corruptible forms of art or discourse.

The resurrection of the body returns as the tattoo parlour and the cosmetic surgeon's consulting-room. To reduce this obstreperous stuff to so much clay in our hands is a fantasy of mastering the unmasterable.

It is a disavowal of death, a refusal of the limit which is ourselves.

For all its love affair with matter, in the shape of Tuscan villas and double brandies, capitalist society harbours a secret hatred of the stuff. It is a culture shot through with fantasy, idealist to its core, powered by a disembodied will which dreams of pounding Nature to pieces. It makes an idol out of matter, but cannot stomach the resistance it offers to its grandiose schemes.

Taming the Mississippi and piercing your navel are just earlier and later versions of the same ideology. Having moulded the landscape to our own image and likeness, we have now begun to recraft ourselves. Civil engineering has been joined by cosmetic surgery.

'Personalizing' the body may be a way of denying its essential impersonality. Its impersonality lies in the fact that it belongs to the species before it belongs to me; and there are some aspects of the species-body - death, vulnerability, sickness and the like - that we may well prefer to thrust into oblivion.

[Terry Eagleton]
After Theory, p.164-6


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Related posts:-
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Borders

The Right Match

Carbon symbolizes the marriage-idea in Nature. Its one equator is the bond of its unity. It is no longer a pair - and that is what marriage in Nature means, and what it should mean in man's mating practices.

Divided pairs have opposed attributes. The negatives of pairs are metallic acids - the positives are metallic alkalis. All are conductive, for conductivity is a search for balance.

[...] An example of unbalanced mating in Nature is that of the marriage of sodium and iodine or sodium and bromine. Each of these marriages has stability but there is a residue of unbalance in each of them which is evidenced in distorted cube crystals.

Each of them would likewise continue as harmonious marriages unless chlorine appeared, in which case Nature would immediately annul the marriage in favor of chlorine.

[Walter Russell]
A New Concept of the Universe, p113-14

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When healthy persons come together, they each contribute a whole world, because each brings a whole person.

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From ('The Meaning of the Word 'Democracy''), p. (unknown)

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Problems arise in interpersonal relationships when people are out of balance [...] The old saying opposites attract is actually true in many cases.

I'm sure many of us can think of examples of relationships in which one person is very rational and non-emotional, and the other person is very emotional and seemingly irrational. What happens in this situation is people see in each other what they don't have in themselves, and by getting together they kind of complete each other's circles.

These people can interact in the physical and spiritual realms but when [the rational person] wants to be rational there is conflict because the [irrational person] has to operate outside of their circle. And the opposite is also true.

[...] The reason there is conflict is because they are constantly trying to pull each other outside of their comfort zones. Oftentimes these people will remain together, because even though there is a lot of conflict, each person provides for the other the aspects of life that are not developed within themselves.

In an ideal situation, both people will develop their wheels fully before trying to start a relationship or a marriage. In this way they can interact equally on all four levels and provide each other balance through harmony rather than through conflict.

[Don Warne]
The Medicine Wheel

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No two men but, being left alone with each other, enter into simpler relations. Yet it is affinity that determines which two shall converse. Unrelated men give little joy to each other; will never suspect the latent powers of each.

We talk sometimes of a great talent for conversation, as if it were a permanent property in some individuals. Conversation is an evanescent relation, - no more.

A man is reputed to have thought and eloquence; he cannot, for all that, say a word to his cousin or his uncle. They accuse his silence with as much reason as they would blame the insignificance of a dial in the shade. In the sun it will mark the hour.

Among those who enjoy his thought, he will regain his tongue.

[Ralph Waldo Emerson]
'Friendship', Self-Reliance and other essays, pg 46-7

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[On how a sane relationship might work]

Well, first you would not be preoccupied by whether it was working or not. You would be preoccupied by whether or not you enjoy or crave each other's company. So, it would not be working the way a business works. That would be exactly the wrong model.

It may be in time that we come to see friendship as our best picture of a working relationship. 

It may be, too, that we need accept that sexual relationships are inevitably unpredictable. One would not then measure the success of a relationship by how long it lasted.

Whether a relationship works for 20 years or for 20 days is not the question. The question is, is my life better with this person? And better, in this instance, does not mean more glamorous or richer or more alluring, there is more to it than that.

[Adam Phillips]
Observer Interview

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Sometimes I think we’re out of time with each other, just by a little but enough to feel it.

We’re like the wheels on one of those jackpot machines, spinning and spinning but never matching.

Sometimes we do. Three red cherries. Those are the good moments.


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