New Civilization News - Category: Philosophy    
 DOES EVIL EXIST?12 comments
12 Sep 2004 @ 12:04, by newdawn. Philosophy

This may or may not be a true story but it is a nice bit of logic

A university professor challenged his students with this question. "Did
God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, He

"God created everything?" the professor asked. "Yes, sir," the student

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created
evil, since evil exists. And according to the principal that our works
define who we are, then God is evil." The student became quiet before
such an answer.

The professor was quite pleased with himself, and boasted to the
students that he had proven once more that the faith in God is a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question,
professor?" "Of course," replied the professor. The student stood up and
asked,"Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never
been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact, sir, cold does not exist. According to
the laws of physics, what we consider cold is, in reality, the absence
of heat. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or
transmits energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of
heat. All matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that
temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe
how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued. "Professor, does darkness exist?" The professor
responded,"Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong, sir. Darkness does not
exist either. Darkness is, in reality, the absence of light. We can
study light, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to
break white light into many colors and study the various wave lengths of
each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break
into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a
certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this
correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when
there is no light present."

Finally, the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now
uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said.
We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to
man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the
world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it
does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is
just like darkness and cold -- a word that man has created to describe
the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or
love, that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what
happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like
the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes
when there is no light."

The professor sat down. The young student's name -- Albert Einstein.  More >

 The Paradox of Surrender
11 Aug 2004 @ 06:45, by scotty. Philosophy
“Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature. Have you ever gazed up into the infinity of space on a clear night, awestruck by the awesome stillness and inconceivable vastness of it? Have you listened, truly listened, to the sound of a mountain stream in the forest? Or to the song of a blackbird at dusk on a quiet evening? To become aware of such things, the mind needs to be still. You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as all your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. Your total presence is required.”

“The Man Watching the Storm Approaching,”
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age;
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight with is so tiny!
what fights with us is so great!
if only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers in the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who so often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

( taken from this [link]  More >

 Prisons Without Bars0 comments
3 Aug 2004 @ 06:46, by namakando. Philosophy

"They can take away your everything but NO one will ever take away your education."-namakando nalikando sinyama



I find the concepts of FREEDOM and INCARCERATION as being RELATIVE. Well, I may not be a direct descendant of The father of Relativity (Albert Einstein), but I confidently do feel I have a fair command of the idea of relativity only in the philosophical sense. If peopleÂ’s traditional understanding of freedom is as a state of mind where or under which one can freely express their innermost feelings and thus view prisons as places where this amount of leverage is blatantly denied then get ready to rethink your stance as society.

Here is a paradoxical statement, everything considered, a prisoner can actually feel and be free inside the prison. The general explanation is that it depends on what one wants to do and where they want to do it, in or outside the prison. All right! Enough of the philosophical jargon you say, fine. Hang on then.

When I first came to varsity as a freshman, I had this misconception of the place being where students easily get morally corrupted because of the –so –called excess ‘freedom’. Freedom my arse! This would be your reaction too if you spent a year here. While here, I have noticed that it is the strictest place, you can ever be at, which in comparison makes places like ALCATRAZ or other penitentiary prisons seem like kindergartens. Wet even them have rules! The whole system at the university I discovered was structured in such a way that one was never really free to do anything. The design of ‘The University Prison’ is such that, there are no visible razor-sharp barbed wire fences or a high voltage electric fence to keep the students in per se. Yet the students are heavily guarded, by TIME. The trick is what the students want is inside the ‘prison’, which is EDUCATION, so he finds himself not making any attempts to escape. Although I stand to be corrected on this point as not every student is out to get a decent education. This point is made evident by the phrases in Campus Lingo. When a student goes to study it is called an activity of defending the BC, which is the monthly meal allowance. I guess due to the state of the country’s labour industry we’ve had our priorities shifted. Is it therefore Freedom when you go out of campus on a drinking spree and still come back rushing, uncalled, to attend the morning lectures? Is it freedom if you only sleep for four hours a day? Is it freedom if you live in the district where the university is situated but only visit home or never at all? Is it freedom if even during vacation many a student opts not to go home? Is it freedom if you even fail to write a letter to your dear friend because you have piles of books to read? Well, as the Yankees (Americans) would say, that’s a cock and bull story, bollocks, and a bunch of baloney sheer humbug! Kindly excuse my bad language. It’s just that I react this way sometimes when I’m pissed, oops here I go again!

A student’s stay at varsity is determined by how good they are at managing their TIME. You see, it’s funny how you can have all the fun and indulge yourself in all thinkable orgies but still be attracted to your cell ‘The level’ or the room to bury your face in the books. Therefore, it’s never freedom if in the night you doze but cannot yield to the natural process of sleep. I always break down and cry when I remember how on a countless number of times I could doze off clutching a book in my hands, yank myself out of it for sleep was a luxury which a student could ill afford to avail himself. The spirit was willing to study but the Body was weak. I will never forget not as far as long as I live. But then I realized it is in critical moments like these that the true BAROTSE CHARACTER reveals itself. So I held on and here I am with a B. Sc under me belt! I can only hope I use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained for the service and betterment of mankind. The task is indeed a bit Herculean if done alone but together we can be strong and our collective contributions will go a long way.

Yet it is all very easy and simple to escape and thus free oneself from this mental and physical torture that tests you to the limit until your sinews snap. Stories of students who decide they’ve had enough and quit mid way are all too common. I will also never forget, how despite my sweet tooth that makes me crave the Mango fruit, it was Mango season in the rest of the country, but I did not know or realize it whilst at C.B.U. But then C.B.U is just that, another country! A little corner in the world. You see there’s always this seemingly ugly, scar-face, goblin monster creature they call SENATE and it’s agent the SESSIONAL EXAMS which determine the fate of individual students and checks those that had too much freedom during their stay in the ‘prison’. This if you asked me is the surest way of getting out of THE MAXIMUM PENITETIARY PRISON.
The above presented scenario should not be discouraging as it is only reflective of conditions where I was but it should spur every student where ever they may be that we need to have them prepared for all hardships and that new civilization will require all especially students to look at things in a totally new light so as not make the same mistakes that have been made in science and politics. In retrospect therefore, universities need not be ‘prisons’ but places where we should nurture ourselves into more responsible social beings, exercising greater levels of tolerance and acceptance as we prepare to become members of the New was under this environment that I made my first steps towards what I can only term enlightenment. One just has to experience it as i cannot put it in words. The moment one starts looking at same situations differently you get illumined by an inner glow of excitement then just know you are getting there!

“ Absolute Freedom Corrupts Absolutely”.

- B.Sc. FORESTRY (L 235)The Copperbelt university(CBU)

 Paradigm Shifts27 comments
picture 28 Jul 2004 @ 21:40, by ming. Philosophy
Yahoo Dictionary:
Paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
An important word to know. The Paradigm Web:
The word "paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries. The classical Greeks used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal. Later it came to refer to a grammatical term. In the early 1960s Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with great difficulty and a new paradigm established. Thus the Copernican system (the sun at the center of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of conservatism ("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary" Science.
Even more important is finding out how to get these things changed, preferably faster than waiting around for the people with the old views to die. From the same source:
Paradigm Shift: When anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present problems that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our view of reality must change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value the world. We must take on new assumptions and expectations that will transform our theories, traditions, rules, and standards of practice. We must create a new paradigm in which we are able to solve the insolvable problems of the old paradigm.
More good info at Wikipedia. Anyway, so, get that. A paradigm is on its way out when it no longer solves the problems it is meant to solve. Or, rather, it should be on its way out, and a better paradigm should replace it, which better solves the present problems. For various reasons, that might not happen readily. There are people with a vested interest in the old paradigm, who have based their careers on it. And we all have habits that might be difficult to change, including habits of thinking. And we might not really know what the new, better paradigm should be. Even if we bump into it.

Paradigms usually don't start working well right away. And they don't suddenly just stop working either. One way of looking at the life cycle of a paradigm is with a diagram like this. There's a starting period, A, when the paradigm is still being developed, and one hasn't quite figured out the best way of using it yet, so it isn't all that impressive how well it solves problems. Then there's a phase B, where it all has been streamlined, and the paradigm accepted, and it solves lots of problems. Finally, phase C, it slows down, or might eventually drop. Maybe the problems get harder, or they change fundamentally. That's probably when somebody might start looking for better paradigms. Would be better if they did it in phase B, so that there would be time to develop the new approach. But most people wouldn't be looking at that time.

Joel Barker explained all of that really well, in a (very expensive) video and a (cheap) book. Several books, actually.

It is worthwhile to learn to see paradigms. So one can realize which ones one is stuck in, and so one can recognize the alternatives when one sees them. Both are hard. The well-worn paths of the human mind makes it difficult to see where else one could go.

Imagine that changed. That we evolved a bit and we always had a consciousness of what paradigms we were living in, and the myriad of other possibilities. Meta-humans.  More >

 My Connection to Mayan4 comments
13 Jul 2004 @ 11:18, by ov. Philosophy
This started in the Unity Wisdom day entry of the Mayan Days category, as a comment, but it was a bit long and more personal than communal, and I'd like to see the Mayan Days migrate to its own blog once it gets established.

I've known about the Mayan for a long time but it was only as an item of interest. There are many things that I find interesting but I don't feel personally attached to them. The Egyptian mthologies fall into that category for me, with Isis and Osiris defining the structure at the start of the patriarchal era and Horus being the emerging story yet to be told at the end of the patriarchal era, which I believe is happening right now. There are so many different philosophies and ideas out there and especially when a person ventures outside of the mainstream, but they don't take on any significance, or motivate a person to become obssesed with them until their is that personal attachment.

My attachment to the Mayan started with the Autumn equinox in 2001, and then has been recently strengthened with a lecture I attended a few days ago. The details of that can be found at in the learning lab section of the site.
 More >

 THE HUMAN ETHOS0 comments
2 Jul 2004 @ 04:36, by namakando. Philosophy
We should never ever attach material value to human life,each one of us is unique in our own special way with immense potential to construct and destroy(i recommend this as a good read:'The anatomy of human destructiveness'By Dr.Erich Fromm)  More >

 Glass Bead Games24 comments
picture 25 Jun 2004 @ 12:06, by ming. Philosophy
In a comment thread, Sellitman mentioned this article by Charles Cameron about Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game. Now, I had no idea what that was, as I hadn't even heard of his book "Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game". And, well, there's a lengthy academic treatise about how one might possibly construct a game that is described rather vaguely in the book. But it somehow stimulated my interest, and it seems to point to something important, albeit a bit beyond the horizon of comprehension.

Herman Hesse about a simple version of the game, which was apparently some activity he would engage in while raking leaves in the yard:
"I hear music and see men of the past and future. I see wise men and poets and scholars and artists harmoniously building the hundred-gated cathedral of Mind."
That sounds great of course. Now hear what Timothy Leary had to say:
In the avant garde, cyber-hip frontiers of the computer culture, around Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, around Palo Alto, in the Carnegie Mellon AI labs, in the backrooms of the computer graphics labs in Southern California, even in the Austin labs of MCC, a Hesse comeback seems to be happening. However. This revival is not connected with Hermann's mystical, eastern writings. It's based on his last, and least understood, work, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game. This book, which earned Hesse the Expense-Paid Brain Ride to Stockholm, is positioned a few decades in the future when human intelligence is enhanced and human culture elevated by a device for thought-processing called The Glass Bead Game. Up here in the Electronic '80s we can appreciate what Hesse did, back down there (1931-1942).
Hm, intriguing, but still didn't tell us what it is. Anyway, the author of the treatise inches closer with various examples and snippets of clues.
The figure of Pierre Sogol (ie *logos*) in Rene Daumal's novel *Mount Analog* is clearly a Game Player. Sogol lives in an attic studio in Paris, and a pebbled path leads through shrubs and bushes and cactus plants around this studio:
Along the path, glued to the windowpanes or hung on the bushes or dangling from the ceiling, so that all free space was put to maximum use, hundreds of little placards were displayed. Each one carried a drawing, a photograph, or an inscription, and the whole constituted a veritable encyclopedia of what we call 'human knowledge.' A diagram of a plant cell, Mendeleieff's periodic table of the elements, a key to Chinese writing, a cross-section of the human heart, Lorentz's transformation formulae, each planet and its characteristics, fossil remains of the horse species in series, Mayan hieroglyphics, economic and demographic statistics, musical phrases, samples of the principal plant and animal families, crystal specimens, the ground plan of the Great Pyramid, brain diagrams, logistic equations, phonetic charts of the sounds employed in all languages, maps, genealogies -- everything in short which would fill the brain of a twentieth-century Pico della Mirandola...
Ah, the concept is beginning to form. It is a way of weaving together patterns, snippets of knowledge, symbols, music, art - everything
"I suddenly realized that in the language, or at any rate in the spirit of the Glass Bead Game, everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbols led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created."
Cool. A meditative mind directly accessing the cosmic mystery. Quanta of lucid comprehension and primal creation wowen together into universal wholeness. A system, a language for expressing and examing all of it. Playing complex patterns, no matter the media. Linking expressions of life in many dimensions, many senses. Synestesia. A passage from Hesse's book:
Highest culture: the bead game in many categories, embraces music, history, space, *mathematics*. X is now the highest of bead game players, plays the world symphony, varies it according to Plato, to Bach, to Mozart, expresses the most complicated of things in 10 lines of beads, is completely understood by three or four, half-understood by 1000s.
So, is it a language? Maybe. Bertrand Russell has this to say about creating ideal languages:
The first requisite of an ideal language would be that there should be one name for every simple, and never the same name for two different simples. A name is a simple symbol in the sense that it has no parts which are themselves symbols. In a logically perfect language nothing that is not simple will have a simple symbol.
Breaking everything down into its most simple components, in such a way that they easily can be re-combined or communicated or played.

Computers. The web. Everything is broken down into ones and zeros. Whether it is music, words, ideas, math, paintings, video, conversation, genetics. All come down to ones and zeros. And back again. And the possibilities for re-combination are endless. So does the web provide a substrate for this game? From the author:
The Web allows the direct, digitized display of textual, musical, numerical and pictorial content, and thus provides the Game designer with a medium in which -- to take an example from one of my own Games -- TS Eliot's lyric "The dove descending" can be directly juxtaposed with Vaughan William's lovely piece, "The lark ascending". The counterpoint I am after is not simply between the two forms of words, although that is present, but also between the poem as it may be read aloud and the music as it may be played -- and beyond that, to the descent of the Paraclete on the disciples' heads in the form of flame and the rain of incindiary bombs on London during the Blitz, and to the English meadow lark and its prior celebration by Shakespeare and others.

I tend to think, then, of the Web as a kind of "board" on which the Glass Bead Game or its variants can be played, not simply in natural language but by the direct juxtaposition of ideas -- verbal, musical, numerical, pictorial -- in their own nature.

But in fact this is not what is going on. My presentation of Vaughan Williams' "The lark ascending" on the web is no more the piece itself as played than the Vaughan Williams piece is the lark itself as it ascends. On the web, a performance of the Vaughan Williams and a reading of the Eliot poem can be juxtaposed by rendering them into a common *digital* language... And it is this digital language which I suggest is in practice the appropriate analytic language for the design of Glass Bead Games.
I don't know what he really did with those pieces of text or the music, but I get the idea, of how pieces can be brought together, juxtaposed, re-mixed, transferred between media, played in new ways. As he says, using the "web as an organ whose manuals and pedals can indeed range over the entire intellectual cosmos".

Too quick an answer to just let binary code be the magical symbolic language that can represent everything. Ones and zeros don't in themselves represent very much at all. Yeah, we can also split everything into sub-atomic particles, but that doesn't provide all the wisdom of how things combine and play in the universe at large. As a metaphor for having access to everything, it will work, I guess. But it would be a worthwhile venture to pursue the more full-featured abstract languages or pattern languages that might span a bigger and deeper range of life in one movement.
It is this approach which my colleague Terence MacNamee is currently pursuing, searching in his own field of specialty, linguistics, for "a more formal kind of game where there really are structural isomorphisms that are purely intellectual and have nothing to do with events" by converting his old Master's thesis -- which is about the foundations of historical linguistics in the 19th century -- into formal structures for use in games.

I can see that the analysis of syntagms in language could establish isomorphisms between phenomena that are not otherwise related, such as:

(1) Ablaut in Germanic ("speak" vs. "spoke") (2) vowel harmony in languages like Turkish (a word must have all front vowels or all back vowels in it) (3) Semitic roots ("kitab - katab - ktab" - "writes - wrote - book").

The ramifications of this make me dizzy.

I intend, then, to work on these formal correspondences, both paradigmatic and syntagmatic, in the context of linguistics from Grimm to Saussure. The result will be a scholarly monograph which I hope to publish, and a series of games derived therefrom.
Makes me dizzy too. Anyway, isomorphisms, yeah, that's good. Finding how things express certain deeper patterns, even if they might be manifested in very different media, and even though the superficial content might be different. A content and context and media independent language, facilitating the expression of infinite play. A poem from Hesse:
The pattern sings like crystal constellations, And when we tell our beads, we serve the whole, And cannot be dislodged or misdirected, Held in the orbit of the Cosmic Soul.
We've been drowning in information. We're on sensory and mental overload most of the time. The web plugs us into an ocean of information, pictures, sounds and bits in a number of media. So, now, the thought is there that we might deal with it all in different ways. There might be more wholistic ways of surfing. Seeing the waves and the ocean as a whole in motion, rather than as a whole lot of drops. Ways of comprehending large chunks at the same time, because we know the keys that tie them together. Seeing forests we didn't before know existed, because we couldn't fathom their trees or their leaves. Suddenly hearing the music of the spheres, once we know there are spheres. Tasting the soup when it dawns on us that it is a soup. If it is a game, I wanna play.  More >

 Assemblage Points and Instant Change13 comments
picture 30 May 2004 @ 09:29, by ming. Philosophy
In Carlos Castaneda's books, his teacher, the mysterious sorcerer Don Juan Matus, taught him about what he called the "assemblage point". It is thought to be the point where one's perception is assembled, which determines the particular world one is seeing and living in. In normal humans it is considered to be an armslength behind one's back, between the shoulder blades. And that is the point that allows us to live in the normal human world, with our normal limited human perceptions, and our normal attachment to human self-importance. And that we're pretty stuck with that point. But if one manages to shift that assemblage point to a different location, one moves into a different world. A slightly different world, or a very different and bizarre world. Either way, it is in no way easy, but can be accomplished with the right kind of practice.

When we dream at night, the assemblage point is naturally more loose and moves about. The hard part is to do it consciously and deliberately. A person who has an unstable assemblage point in waking life is what we'd call a schizophrenic. Typically one has a very hard time remembering anything that happens in other points than one's normal position. So, if somebody manages to switch you between several points, you might not remember what happened in the other position. You might be somebody who works at night on a secret black government project, while being somebody else during the day, and yourself having no clue about it.

It relates to the more palatable concept of world views. If you have a certain world view, based on certain beliefs and assumptions, you tend to mentally wear a certain set of colored glasses, that makes you see only what fits into that world view. What fits within it seems normal and reasonable, and what doesn't seems crazy and non-sensical or non-existent. But the assembly point idea is really much more radical than that. Not just a set of pre-conceived ideas, but more like the ability to switch between different realities. In a multi-dimensional many-worlds universe, the dial gets turned to a different position, and you perceive a totally different band filtered out from the quantum soup. If you can turn it, that is, which most people can't.

Not that I can see such things as assembly points, and I have no clue if the position given is correct, of if it is altogether more useful as a metaphor. But that kind of thing does fit with my own view of how the multiverse works. And it provides some clues for how to solve big problems. In my own experience, transformative changes happen in the form of shifts, rather than as gradual and incremental change. Personal change happens that way. The actual change is instantaneous. Suddenly things are different. All sorts of things might have led up to it, and there might be all sorts of reasonable explanation for how somebody might have come to change, by working through their issues, or whatever, but the actual change is typically instant. And few people actually notice it themselves, exactly because one kind of becomes a different person, and it is very difficult remembering being anyone different. So, instant shifts give rise to a considerable amount of denial.

Likewise with societal change. Sure, all sorts of trends of change are happening. More of this, less of that. Plans, influences, discussions, memes. But the real changes are usually from a moment to the next. We suddenly notice that things seem different in our culture. And then we rationalize it away, analyze it, coming up with good reasons for believing that it was a gradual thing that logically happened. It usually wasn't.

The most important changes are discontinuous and disruptive. Sure, it might be based on an identifiable event. We see man walk on the moon - the world is different. The IBM PC goes on sale - the world changes. 9-11 - bing - the world is never the same again. But not all big changes have obvious trigger events. And I claim that the real change is the instant shift in consciousness, individually or as a group. The whole world changes in a moment, without going through any steps in-between. It goes from a world with certain rules to a different world with different rules. And most people don't notice, again, because they're not capable of being conscious of shifts, and because it is so easy to explain it away. There are still trees and cars and buildings and cottage cheese in the world, so it must be the same world.

Potentially there's an important point here, which might give cause for optimism on many fronts. On our planet we've collectively gotten ourselves into a great deal of messes that we have no obvious or easy way out of. And if we extrapolate various trends into the future, it is not in any way obvious that we'll solve them, or that we'll survive for very long. But that is because what will make things work is almost all shifts and disruptive changes, which we mostly can't predict.

Or, maybe we can to some degree. Or we can learn how instant world shifts work, rather than trying to master incremental change. But it is a different way of thinking. We might consider how to step into the world that works, where humanity will survive in harmony with ourselves and the world, without necessarily passing through the space in-between. Non-local change.  More >

 Things that happen by themselves19 comments
picture 27 May 2004 @ 05:37, by ming. Philosophy
I am particularly fascinated by phenomena that "happen by themselves". OK, maybe not entirely by themselves, but stuff that emerges somewhat surprisingly and constructively from its component parts. Phenomena like:
  • Emergence
  • Flow
  • Synergy
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Dialogue
  • Synchronicity
  • Paradigm Shifts
  • Memes
  • Self-Organization
  • Smart Mobs
  • Creativity
  • Resonance
  • Collaboration
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Life
  • Consciousness
  • Diversity
  • Harmony
One can say things about it, and one can do certain things to help them along. But generally they just happen, without us being able to say anything terribly coherent about why or how. And that is the very hopeful part. If it were up to us and our individual mental faculties to make the world work, the picture would be really gloomy. We manage to accomplish a lot of things, but at the same time it is our own mental and emotional mixups that put us at war with each other, and at risk of driving ourselves to extinction. The wonderful thing is that, despite that, there are some things that sometimes happen that make things go right, without it being entirely clear how that came about.

Of course there are still plenty of people who would insist that these are either delusions or perfectly logical and predictable phenomena that our scientific minds know all about. It doesn't really matter, because, luckily, we're talking about phenomena that happen whether one really believes in them or not. A person who thinks he's a chemical reaction in a brain will still get creative flashes. Evolution takes place even if it is misunderstood. Groups of people sometimes do great things together, even if their members might think it is a matter of conditioning and chance or of mental logic. But maybe we'd accomplish a lot more if we were more aware of how emergent phenomena happen.

Personally I don't doubt that there is something more. And it is that -more- that will save us. We will understand it more along the way. But it seems to require almost the opposite approach to how we often go about things in our societies. Letting go of our fixed ideas, being open, being present, being comfortable with the unknown, being respectful of that which we don't yet understand, allowing bigger intelligences than our own to manifest themselves.

Possibly, if we look at things from another angle, we can let go of the heavy burden of trying to fit things together that don't seem to fit. And instead allow an implicit order to emerge. Maybe realize that the universe isn't such a bad place after all, and it is inherently structured to allow us to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. If we can discover how to be in harmony with how things work, rather than trying to fix what never was broken.

We're not smart enough. But something is. And it might still be us, but it is a paradox. If we can get our self-centered pride a bit out of the way, we might notice when it happens. Relax, pay attention, get in sync with what is possible. And surf its waves, rather than trying to dam it up.  More >

 The EQnomy Manifesto5 comments
picture 22 May 2004 @ 07:48, by ming. Philosophy
Mentioned on Empowerment Illustrated, I'm looking at the EQnomy Manifesto. It is based on the idea that all human action is rooted in emotion, and the aim is that we can live consciously, in tune with others, and aiming at happiness for everyone. Here are its 12 Theses:
1. People want to experience that they live. Now.
2. The truly important things are: being-human, development, challenge and fun!
3. People define their own passion, energy, success and needs.
4. Our EQnomy is a sizzling party of real, authentic human beings.
5. We seek no 'balance between work and personal life'; we are our authentic selves in work and in private.
6. Our talents, time, attention, ideas, knowledge and networks are ours and our responsibility.
7. An organization is not a Counsel, Company, Care- or Educational Institution. An organization always consists of PEOPLE who are committed to each other and to other people.
8. "What does your care, involvement, service or product add to me, my development, challenge and fun!?"
9. We do not want to be 'robbed'; we want to be 'touched'.
10. Before we go along with an organization, we first want to understand it and feel it; the mission, the culture; the people.
11. We are loyal to the passion and inspiration with which all once began. Not to the rules that 'crept in' along the way.
12. To us it is not about WHAT we do. To us it is about WHY we do what we do.
That is an intriguing angle to take on everything. Life is about being alive, about being true to who we are. Any kind of organization and set of rules are of course secondary to the authenticity of what we're about, what life is about. If you're a different person at work than when you're "off", you're not being real.

Yes, imagine how life would be if we could live it authentically all the time, and we could allow others the same freedom, and we didn't feel compelled to force ourselves and others into some fake roles, pursuing aims than none of us really care about.  More >

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