New Civilization News: NCN Happiness 1    
 NCN Happiness 1213 comments
picture21 Jun 2004 @ 03:47, by Richard Carlson

Late at night I sit alone and work on deadwood zen
I stir the lifeless ashes the fire won't relight
Suddenly I hear the tower chime resound
Its single sound of clarity fills the winter sky

---Han-Shan Te-Ch'ing

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgement, it takes place every day.

---Albert Camus

I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

---Abraham Maslow

Happy Quartet
1901-02; Oil on canvas
Henri Rousseau 1855 - 1910

There is an urgency pressed upon us toward positive and happy thinking at New Civilization Network. Will new findings about happy people darken the horizon?

The New York Times Magazine
June 20, 2004
Against Happiness

Sad people are nice. Angry people are nasty. And, oddly enough, happy people tend to be nasty, too.

Such (allowing for a little journalistic caricature) were the findings reported in last month's issue of Psychological Science. Researchers found that angry people are more likely to make negative evaluations when judging members of other social groups. That, perhaps, will not come as a great surprise. But the same seems to be true of happy people, the researchers noted. The happier your mood, the more liable you are to make bigoted judgments -- like deciding that someone is guilty of a crime simply because he's a member of a minority group. Why? Nobody's sure. One interesting hypothesis, though, is that happy people have an ''everything is fine'' attitude that reduces the motivation for analytical thought. So they fall back on stereotypes -- including malicious ones.

The news that a little evil lurks inside happiness is disquieting. After all, we live in a nation whose founding document holds the pursuit of happiness to be a God-given right. True to that principle, the United States consistently ranks near the top in international surveys of happiness. In a 1994 survey of 41 countries, only the supposedly dour Swedes surpassed us in ''positive affect.'' (Elaborate scales have been invented to measure individual happiness, but researchers admit that difficulties remain; for example, a person is more likely to express satisfaction with his life on a sunny day than on a cloudy one.) Of course, happiness has always had its skeptics. Thinkers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn have criticized it as a shallow and selfish goal. But the discovery that happiness is linked to prejudice suggests a different kind of case against it. Does happiness, whether desirable or not in itself, lead to undesirable consequences? In other words, could it be bad for you, and for society?

The burgeoning new science of happiness hasn't paid a lot of attention to this question. Its practitioners are more concerned with the causes of happiness than with its effects. Defining happiness as ''well-feeling'' -- being satisfied with life, having episodes of joy -- they have discovered some interesting things: a large part of happiness seems to be genetic; marriage fosters it, but having children doesn't; men become happier with age, women less happy; money does little to boost happiness; religious people are happier, possibly because of the social support they get from church; and so forth.

As to the consequences of being happy, they are widely presumed to be positive. Happiness is held to lengthen life, buffer stress and make people more productive on the job. Some of these notions appear to be justified. A Dutch study in the 1980's, for example, found that a happy 70-year-old man can expect to live 20 months longer than his less happy counterpart. But an earlier American study found that children who are cheerful and optimistic end up having shorter life spans (perhaps because they take more risky chances).

Some have worried that happy people tend to be apathetic and easily manipulated by political leaders -- contented cows, so to speak. In Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, ''Brave New World,'' the working classes are kept in docile submission by a diet of drugs that render them universally happy. In the real world, however, there is little evidence that happiness creates complacent citizens; in fact, studies show that happy people are more likely than alienated people to get politically involved, not less.

There is one bit of the world that happy people do see in an irrationally rosy light: themselves. As the British psychologist Richard P. Bentall has observed, ''There is consistent evidence that happy people overestimate their control over environmental events (often to the point of perceiving completely random events as subject to their will), give unrealistically positive evaluations of their own achievements, believe that others share their unrealistic opinions about themselves and show a general lack of evenhandedness when comparing themselves to others.'' Indeed, Bentall has proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder.

That may be going a bit far. But the evidence he cites, along with the newfound link between ''well-feeling'' and prejudice, might at least shake our belief in happiness as the summum bonum. Over the last few decades, it is precisely the groups that have made the most social progress in the United States -- women and educated African-Americans -- that have reported declines in their level of happiness. On reflection, this is not surprising. As education and freedom increase, desires -- and unmet desires -- inevitably multiply; our well-feeling may decrease, even as life becomes fuller and more meaningful. In Eastern nations like China, where happiness as a goal is less highly rated, people report lower levels of life satisfaction, but they also have lower suicide rates.

The very idea that happiness could harm a person's character -- that it could be associated with prejudice, for example -- would have been unthinkable to ancient philosophers. They believed in an indissoluble bond between happiness and virtue. The virtuous man, they held, was bound to be happy, since he knew himself to be in possession of the highest good, a good that could not be taken away from him even when he was being tortured on the rack. With modern times, however, came the subjective ''well-feeling'' definition of happiness: when the fellow in the white coat asks you if you're happy, just check your mood, compare your circumstances with those of the people around you, then tell him how contented you feel.

Ambrose Bierce, in ''The Devil's Dictionary,'' offered the following definition: ''Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.'' Well, there's no need to be that cynical. But, given some of the things we've learned about happiness, let's be grateful that we merely have a right to pursue it, not a duty.

Jim Holt writes for The New Yorker, Slate and other publications.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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21 Jun 2004 @ 04:35 by jstarrs : So, what's...
...'happiness'? A warm gun, for some?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 05:15 by scotty : Happiness
is just a state of Mind !  

21 Jun 2004 @ 06:12 by jstarrs : Does it...
...last, then?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 06:34 by scotty : not the right question !
the mind is just another flux ! t'isn't the same as being concious - being concious isn't happy or sad - now being concious is just something I'm begining to get a tiny wee glimpse of - now and again .. I think ! (heh heh heh )  

21 Jun 2004 @ 06:49 by swan : Being conscious is
honoring all of your moods/feelings/emotions as though they are all equal. Happiness is just a feeling or state of mind as Scotty says, it comes and goes. When value judgments are placed on them is when it becomes a problem because if you tend to judge your own feelings you will judge other peoples feelings too.

"There is an urgency pressed upon us toward positive and happy thinking at New Civilization Network." Richard do you really feel this is true? If everyone was positive and happy all the time, it would be a little boring, don't you think?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 06:58 by jstarrs : But, Scotty,
...if you're conscious, you must be conscious of something?
Swan, when 'it goes' i.e. happiness, then we feel sadness?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:08 by scotty : Not of something !
sort of in a calm place where you're concious of everything ! It's just so BIG ! I can't explain it because it's like being everything all at the same time - hmm - it's kinda like not being me - watching me - watching my 'thinking' and knowing that it's just thinking - nothing more - or less !
it's just .. don't know how to explain - it's like being in a haitus - everything seems ... dunno - connected ! it's more than feeling - it's just being ! (can't explain - sorry!)
one thing I know - wanting to feel happy is a problem - because it's like we're on a high or something - we want to feel like that all the time - and we can't ! it's a bit like the first love - the emotions all over the place - the buzz - the overwhelmingness of it - and then - somehow - the buzz becomes less - and we want it back again - we think we've fallen out of love ..or something - so we start searching for another 'love' (or lover) but it's just a trap that we get into ! (I'm digressing !!!)  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:12 by jstarrs : "you're concious of everything "
Wow! Sounds like omnipotence to me! Congrats!  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:16 by scotty : yeah well !
i did say I didn't know how to explain !LOL !
but it is like being part of everything ! (and nothing too ! which is a contradiction I suppose - but ..heck ! it's ... different to what I've ever known before ! I don't have words !) *grin*

i think I'm having difficulty explaining because I'm 'thinking' ! (heh heh heh )  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:30 by swan : I know what you mean Scotty.
For me it is like being a witness and watching everything and not attaching meaning to a particular thing, so everything can be present.

Jeff, re/ when happiness goes, then we feel sadness? not necessarily. feelings to me are in a circle rather than linear. So you don't go to the opposite side of an emotion, you just move to another emotion. Happy, calm, peace, frustration, joy, hurt, glee....  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:42 by scotty : that's it !
being a witness ! whenever you start thinking about it - it's gone ! you're back into thinking again !
(oof ! so glad you understand !!)

you're dead right about emotions too - that's what I meant when I said we're in a flux - it's as if our 'mind' can't bear to be 'empty' (for want of a better word) - we've got to feed our minds all the time - we've got to 'feel' all the time ! it's a sort of trap ! we think that what we're thinking or feeling is real - but it's just our mind - grabbing onto things - our mind makes it all up ! (humm - better stop there before I start getting myself lost again !*grin*)  

21 Jun 2004 @ 07:52 by dempstress : I think that it isn't because you're
'thinking', Scotty, but more because for things which are rare, not commonly experienced, we haven't properly developed the vocabulary or perhaps the usage. I know that when, on a couple of occasions, I have experienced something more akin to the numenous, it's been very hard indeed to put it into words. (People can, perhaps, slot it into the 'religious experience' box, but then I have frequently expressed my fears and concerns about how many people can both warp and constrain anything 'religious' to their own beliefs and experiences or even as a means of power.) I have had to use words like 'see' for an experience which was not seeing or hearing or feeling physically, because there is simply not another word available for use. Perhaps we will develop a vocabulary as we discuss these things?


21 Jun 2004 @ 08:08 by scotty : Numenous !
I had to look that up !

Then I found this .. {}

So - once again I've got some reading to do !!! (catch'yall later !)  

21 Jun 2004 @ 08:22 by dempstress : Well......
I meant in the sense of 'of the spirit'or 'of the deity'........but then that comes down to words and their definitions again, doesn't it. How many words are there for the indefinable?


21 Jun 2004 @ 11:18 by swan : I have found that I can feel
several things at once, seemingly opposite feelings such as joy and anger and both are present at once. Much of what happens in our inner landscape is hard to describe because of the limitations on our language.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 12:10 by scotty : limitations of our language
also limit our perceptions perhaps ?
I'm wondering if somehow one can go there where language doesn't exist ?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 12:15 by vibrani : We are
multidimensional beings. 'Nuf said. :-)  

21 Jun 2004 @ 12:20 by ov : Biofeedback
This term 'happiness' is very much like 'peace'. I often surprise people with my believe that world peace is not one of my main objectives, and let me explain before you think I'm simply a curmudgeon. The objective is world health, and that still needs definition, but peace is the indicator and measure of health, and to go for peace directly is like short-circuiting the feedback loop. If we achieve a healthy planetary consciousness then we will be happy and won't even be thinking about whether we are happy or not, we simply will be. Like the low oil red warning light in our car, the objective is to keep the car from running out of oil, the objective is not one of keeping the light fron going on, because if it was the latter then the best solution would be to simply disconnect the light. Same thing with the peace and happiness thing.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 13:14 by Kirsten @ : Teeheehee
So many questions...

{link:|What color is your heart?}

{link:|What element would you reign over?}

{link:|How emotional are you?}

{link:|What kind of smile are you?}

{link:'s%20Your%20Magic%20Power%3F/|What's your magic power?}  

21 Jun 2004 @ 13:17 by swan : Right on Nora!
Energy in Motion=e-motion  

21 Jun 2004 @ 14:40 by Quinty @ : A couple of remarks

One of the lies often perpetrated, among many, on the tube is the idea that "hate is something that has to be learned." Au contraire, bigotry comes naturally and nobody needs to learn it. Tolerance and an understanding that all of us, regardless of cultural background, ethnicity, race etc., are really very much alike have to be learned. And that can take time, since we start out in our own tiny little worlds, and if the world is nice, what we see out there may not be so nice. I'm speaking, of course, about myself: though I think that this problem is quite widespread.

When I was a kid in New York, leading an upper middleclass life, going to prep school, having dinner at night with world famous authors and even a Noble prize winner or two, I tended to look down upon certain elements of society. Not in the abstract, since I was a budding leftist even then. But because poverty and its expressions among the poor of New York sickened me. I also quite thoroughly feared the tough kids from New York's enormous slums. It was easy, then, for me to see these kids as the "other." A concept, I'm sure, many of us are familiar with. The “other.” And once stereotyping these kids as the other, and finding them often fearsome and lacking, looking down upon them from a lofty prejudiced height became easy.

Now this experience may not have been yours, though you may have your own version to tell. But prejudice, I think you might agree, is certainly common. And it takes time and experience, I think, to truly learn that you (or I) are no different really from any of the poor souls you see out on the street. That our close similarities far outnumber whatever differences there may be. And that Dr. Johnson's famous remark, "there but for the grace of God walk I," applies to us all. As a matter of fact, science has shown that genetically homo sapiens is almost the identical to the flea. And that all life is closely tied together. Attitudes of prejudice and viewing unalike people as the "other" have nothing to do with happiness or unhappiness. Look at our collective (the US, that is) way of viewing Iraqis today. There's no condescension there?

About the final remark in that Times article. When the ancients equated happiness with virtue they were living in an extremely different environment then. That may have influenced them in this matter.

Have a good day.....  

21 Jun 2004 @ 14:57 by jazzolog : //
Apparently the site to which Kirsten refers us does exist...but it seems to perform quite strangely. Maybe it has more than 12 or 13 participants---unlike some other happy sites I can think of. Anyway, I wonder who Kirsten is, teeheeing at us.

Yes, I do think there is rather an admonition to be positive, sparkling, a lightbringer and all that at NCN. Kinda hard in a nail-biter of an election year in the States. Lots of anger, tension here.

I love the thread and the attempt to define happiness and express some while you're at it. I wouldn't want to try to define it myself, but I congratulate you for having at it. Nevertheless I can't help pointing out the research the article is about reveals people who go through life with smiles on their faces talk negatively about other people as do people with frowns on their faces. That interests me and I wonder what your opinions are. People who insist on positive outlooks do tend to stomp folks who just refuse to cheer up. Eh?

Quinty's comment, which he wrote while I was struggling with mine, digs into the meat of the article I think. Incidentally, I knew him when he still was somewhat on the brink of that looking-down-on-the-world period (well, Lewiston ME was hardly a font of creativity---until after we were done with it) and I can tell you that what saved him was a most brilliant sense of humor, especially about himself. His point seems to be that a true positive outlook, and happiness too, require lots of work and identifying and questioning the nature of one's prejudices.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 15:05 by jmarc : leave it to the NY Times
It's not enough for them have had writers that make up stories. It's not even enough for them to apologise for being on the (god forbid) american side in a conflict with islamofascists, now they must remind us that, o.k. we may be happy, but that's not a good thing either. What a strange little subculture must be going on over there at the old grey lady. What's black and white and red all over? The Ny Times, embarrassed to be anything, and so they're becoming oblsolete.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 15:06 by scotty : some people
simply HIDE behind their smiles - they try to show that they are happy because not being so would perhaps be some kind of failure on their part - or it might be a way of not facing up to difficulties !
or maybe some people are just plain hypocrite !  

21 Jun 2004 @ 15:13 by jazzolog : Maybe We're Getting Somewhere Now
But this is ticklish through here. See how we are blaming others...or describing them out there, those hypocrites. Have I not been a hypocrite too? Did I not believe one thing and do something else? Ah, do I not confess I do it still? Is compassion the positive outlook?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 17:03 by swan : Compassion is something that
works for me.

If you knew me in person you would know that I am quite transparent. No one has to guess at what I am thinking. Sometimes that has served me and some times it has gotten me into trouble. I don't smile when I am angry or sad because I don't see the purpose. There was a point here but I am not sure what it was...oh well.

Living a life of compassion accepts people as they are, human. I don't think I have ever had a feeling that someone else hasn't had before, so we are in a shared experience of emotions. If you can have compassion and empathy, judgment goes away, with the understanding that everyone is doing the best they can, even when they are not doing the best they can and we are all in this together.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 17:26 by Quinty @ : Still another aspect
"I don't think I have ever had a feeling that someone else hasn't had before," Swan tells us. Who was that writer who told us that nothing human was foreign to him? (the name should easily come to mind.) This, I think, reveals some wisdom and empathy for our fellow creatures, no matter how odd they seem. For we are all linked together, like it or not. And anything human is possible in each one of us. Even being a German in Germany when Hitler and his psychotic gang were on the rise. We should never be smug, superior, or complacent. Though, at this moment, we have a president and an adminstration which is playing mightily on the worst aspects of American society. Appealing to fear, prejudice, gullability, ignorance, and the mistaken belief we are superior to everyone else in the world. Especially the French. What does this have to do with happiness? Perhaps not much. Even with a war raging in another part of the world most Americans go about their business. Still smiling. What does that tell us about ourselves?  

21 Jun 2004 @ 17:30 by scotty : shared emotions !
yes we've ALL had the same emotions as everyone else has ever had - and sometimes we've even done some things - or wanted to - whatever !
Having compassion is the only thing that's going to bring us together - it requires being open hearted and honest !
We're all the same - no man is an island eh !

Maybe we all go about our business because somehow we can't really believe that we can change things - maybe we're waiting for 'someone - something' to work a miracle for us !

Loss of power or abdicating responsability ? - hmm I don't know !  

21 Jun 2004 @ 17:39 by Kirsten @ : Still another aspect
"The mistaken belief we are superior." Absolutely so!

The poetic bent, below, is by Lisa at {link:|firesylph}. She's an {link:|INTJ} in most things and an {link:|INFJ} in love. Or something like that.


To your mind-crunching fluff
To the swift solid wall of ego flake,

Your eyes glittering with goblin glee,
the shades switched on in stark contrast
to the rose-colored film

Cursory cruelty
With my trepidation enshrined
in criss-cross hashings and tones of gray

Crushed beneath your verbal heel,
That headlight gaze of the brazen elite
granting the culled few

your precious twisted gems of truth,
your silky venom judgments
and your cyanide smile.

Boy, she's good.  

21 Jun 2004 @ 17:50 by Quinty @ : Is happiness a shared feeling?
I don't think there is anything disparaging about the last remark (Scotty's) or the one I made prompting it. It seems odd that people can go about the streets with a smile on their face when the human race is disjointing itself in various places with WAR. I opposed the Iraq war from the first moment and went into San Francisco, October 2002, to participate in the first mass demonstration against the upcoming war. When I came up onto the street out of BART I half expected to see a single file of a few hundred people marching along the street. Instead I emerged into a huge demonstration of more than a 100,000 people, all walking down the middle of the Market Street, block after block of them, from the Embarcadero, where the Bay is, up to City Hall, a distance of two or three miles. I went to this demo in a somber mood, mourning for my country. Sickened by the thought of the upcoming war. But when I joined these tens of thousands of marchers it was like some sort of festival and celebration. Kids were playiing jazz and folk music on the streets and there was much dancing. And this was all related to the horrors of an upcoming war. I think we are somewhat isolated here in the US, and may not be able to fully grasp what war is. The destruction of buildings, historic sites, and of course the senseless loss of lives. Except, of course, through our veterans, who return only to live, sometimes, distorted and damaged lives. And the parents and loved ones who grieve. So we can be happy in the midst of war, here on our blessed lucky continent. The miracle, I believe, is something we will have to work out for ourselves.

All my best, Quinty  

22 Jun 2004 @ 00:44 by ov : Countering the fear
Up here in Vancouver there is a very large contingent of people that are not happy about the war at all but also realize that it is better to be concerned than to be afraid, first because fear is the emotion that the mass media south of the border is attempting to create and therefor that is an emotion which we attempt to counter against because not only does the show no fear strategy empower us to more creative solutions but it also gives a positive example to other people in other parts of the world. It is also comforting to know that there are other people that aren't buying into the propaganda and this means there might be some hope after all.

As for feelings of superiority, I think almost everybody that is a member of NCN is looking forward to the new civilization which is soon to come and not trying to hold onto and defend the old civilization which is being left behind. Defenders of the old may take umbrage at that attitude.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 03:16 by jazzolog :
Ov emailed me to say he had some problems with the link provided by our guest, Kirsten. I did not, and even sent a message to "Lisa" letting her know her poem "Crag" is on display over here. But Ov's difficulty might remind us, here in the midst of fuzzy, warm feelings about compassion and all that, the Internet world is an oft-angry place. Even following links from someone you don't know these days may put cookies in your hardware jar that you don't want there. I do not believe that is the case here. I hope this report lowers your stress, increases your happiness, and lengthens your life!  

22 Jun 2004 @ 05:14 by dempstress : Well at least
it lets me think that if i'm a miserable git I may be a NICE miserable git!

Also, Quinty, I'm not sure that we can any of us actually share our felings....note the disparities in interpretation of what's happening between even the closest couples.....but as we are essentially group animals I do think that sharing can make us feel happy/positive/good. This includes social sharing and inclusion, but also look at 'grooming behavior' as expressed in our society, be it massage, affectionalte stroking, hand holding, hair brushing......I will go no further in the intersts of those who may be eating. In the right, trusting circumstances these can he immensely comforting, provoking a strong sense of well-being.

And grooming behavior apart, when we talk of happiness are we talking about feelings of fundamental well-being or of some sort of eccstatic happiness (as parallelled by the difference between loving and being in-love)?  

22 Jun 2004 @ 05:21 by spiritseek : some
are happy creating misery for others, I suppose the article refers to them. I choose to be happy no matter what is happening around me. Its hard at times and takes practice keeping that level but becomes easier if you keep at it. Its just paying attention to your emotions and changing your mind to reflect the good.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 05:29 by scotty : fundemental well-being
is more my idea of happines rather than some sort of eccstatic state - being eccstatic surely depends on what's happening - coming from the outside of one ! I think if one is fundementally happy the goings on around one can't distrub nor destabilise us!  

22 Jun 2004 @ 05:34 by scotty : Aristotle believed ...

... virtues led to happiness.

22 Jun 2004 @ 05:45 by jstarrs : It's something that everyone can...
...check out from their own side : what brings happiness & what brings suffering?  

22 Jun 2004 @ 06:20 by swan : The internet is no different
than the real world, there all types of people, because the internet is just another place for real people to express themselves. As to the idea that there is pressure at NCN to be happy and positive...well from where I sit, looking at my computer screen there is a fairly good mix of those who share happy, peaceful thoughts and those who share angry, and frustrated thoughts. It might not be as apparent in the Newslogs but in the chatrooms it is. It makes for a rich and fertile environment here at NCN as it does in the world.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 07:45 by istvan : INTJ, INFJ or both or none
Yes, happiness can be said to be a state of mind. The sad part of this is that one can not really say for sure what that mind is, nor the mind’s states of ever changing observable machinations are.
Is happiness an affect of causes of our successful functioning within the ever-changing environmental possibilities? Or is it the brain’s proper release of dopamine as medical science reports? Is it a spiritual gift? Or is it simply a state of mind occurs when we reach a threshold of comfort we require by getting the proper “grooming” on all level of “social” interactions?
If happiness can be created, imagined, felt, pursued, bought by acquiring the necessary material possessions for this feeling to occur, than it seems happiness is just another illusive facet of the here and now and can also have it’s negative effects upon understanding balance.. Workings of the whole of life and the universe seems to be an attempt to balance forces which are in themselves destructive, for the manifestation and purposes of creating quasi states of equilibrium. And in that state two becomes one. That state allows them to be various building blocks of phenomena.
Such are the forces within the subatomic positrons, neutrons, for creating atoms, negative and positive charges of atoms to create electricity, magnetism to hold the planets together, yet apart, so as to allow the gross to manifest as subtle; such as the spirit of being alive.
The son of GOD should be beaming with happiness, yet have you ever seen depiction’s of Jesus or The Buddha laughing. Their fat monks, yes, but the masters remain balanced. To pursue happiness for it’s own sake is to remain in duality , in illusion.

A question for OV:
You state: “As for feelings of superiority, I think almost everybody that is a member of NCN is looking forward to the new civilization which is soon to come and not trying to hold onto and defend the old civilization which is being left behind. Defenders of the old may take umbrage at that attitude.”
Please assure me that “soon to come” is truth, for I perceive no such signs within any media including NCN. Of course I may just be a negative person and with “eyes wide shut” just don’t see it or may just expect too much. Please let me know some positive occurrences of your words. I would like to honestly participate. LOL  

22 Jun 2004 @ 08:01 by dempstress : Oh dear:
If it's virtues that lead to happiness, Scotty my dear, then I fear I am damned by my own history! Still, thinking back on it should put a smile on my face when I'm sitting in the Bide-a-Wee Eventide Home.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 09:13 by Quinty @ : More on Virtue

From a somewhat gastronomic point of view.

"Eating is a vice and should be done for its own sake. That is true with all the vices. A. E. Houseman truly wrote:

the night my father got me,
His mind was not on me.

With equal poetic accuracy may the eater of our Spanish rice* assure his lights and liver that while he is eating he is not thinking of future dividends, in the way of health and strength. That the ingredients include the best that is yielded to man by the animal and vegetable kingdoms may be granted, but the object of our festival is to enjoy the food and liquor as they go down, and as long as the memory of them lingers. That may be for years, and it may be forever... Vice for its own sake. That is the wholesome slogan for the civilized man."

Elliot Paul

*This is from a book on how to prepare a Spanish rice titled, Intoxication Made Easy.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 09:24 by dempstress : Quinty:
We must meet for an evening out exploring these fine philosophical ideas.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 10:30 by Kirsten @ : Juvenal's famous phrase
"panem et circenses" (bread and circuses) has become proverbial to describe those who "choose to be happy no matter what is happening around them." Juvenal has put his finger on two of the most important aspects of the Games of the Circus—their immense popularity and the pleasure they gave the Roman people, and the political role they played during the empire in diverting energies that might otherwise have gone into rioting and other forms of popular unrest, for indeed, when "one is fundamentally happy the goings on, around one, can't disturb nor destabilize."  

22 Jun 2004 @ 10:36 by jazzolog : Kirsten, Stop! and talk
I just heard from Lisa...and was amazed by what she does for a living apparently. However, she doesn't think she knows you, but is interested in your choice of her poem for this thread. She does say she sees the relevance, as it was inspired by a snap judgment someone made about her. Obviously she stopped by to take a look at what we're trying to talk about here.

Now I'll tell you: nothing makes me happier than making connections like this with people I don't even know---and all within a matter of hours. This is revolutionary development in people relating together---and while there are flame wars in just as short a period of time, the possibilities for spreading connection to happiness just outweighs any inconvenience.

PS to Quinty: 'twas Terence who realized nothing human was foreign to him. Don't ask me how many years of Latin I had...but I shall assert I regret not a moment of it. I believe Emerson also gets credit for the remark, in case it was of him you were thinking.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 11:35 by skookum : happiness to me means
freedom from fear
a sense of purpose

I do agree that it might mean other things to other people.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 12:00 by Kirsten @ : LOL Never ask a magician
how she does her tricks.

"Spreading connection" sounds good to me. {link:|Open the window}...

All my best, Kisten  

22 Jun 2004 @ 12:58 by Kirsten @ : PS: People we "don't even know"
Fredric Brown wrote a short story about a couple who open their door one morning to find a small wooden box waiting for them, and mounted on top of the box is a big red button covered by a removable transparent dome. A little while later they get a call from a gentleman who informs them that upon pressing the button they will get 1 million dollars instantly, and "someone they don't know" will die.

We might not be collecting 1 million dollars instantly for it, at least most of us don’t, but how many times are we pressing on the button every day without even thinking about it?

People, however, can only be bothered to be concerned about such consequences when tragedy strikes our loved ones.

"But dear Madam," comes the punch line at the end of the story. "Do you really believe that you ‘knew’ your husband?"  

22 Jun 2004 @ 13:10 by jazzolog : From The Beginning
I felt I knew this person. Almost as if a part of myself...

To Skookum: Fear I think will require an entirely new article, yes? Or poem.

Note to the Imagination Police: no, I am not writing the Kirsten comments from outside the Login cyberspace.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 13:28 by bri_outten : Happiness
to me, happiness takes a variety of forms, yes it can be the complacent mode or 'ignorance is bliss' state, ranging to security and the state of mind achieved by achievement in the face of adversity and helping others in a more or less benevolent mission in life philosophy. Both states of mind may be considered to be 'happy', but differ.
Essentially, we must not get drawn into pedantics, but to appreciate what we've got and be grateful and at the same time hope to improve our and other's lives, thereby making ours more complete.
Obvious, common sense, perhaps, nonetheless geared towards a constructive social outlook.
Hope you concur!
best wishes Richard
I'll get on to my latest endevours asap

22 Jun 2004 @ 13:52 by ov : Mysteries
I did have a bit of a problem with a link, not the one given but the source, the one for entering the site that is on the home page of {}, the link that self proclaims itself for the morbidly curious. Could be something with my computer though and something I still need to figure out.

Istvan, soon to come is a relative term, considering that patriarchy has been around for a quite a few thousands of years and we are in the transformation stage to the next era (or the slide into extinction but I'm too optimistic for that option), but for me soon to come is within my lifetime which puts it no longer than within the next forty years. I have no proof or indication, and it could just be wishful thinking.  

22 Jun 2004 @ 21:30 by b : You may need a change of medication
If happiness is part of body perhaps a psychiatrist is in order to happily medicate unhappiness. Hummph. May the truth set you free.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 00:03 by ov : New Thought is PC Denial
{|Critical Examination of New Thought} by Geoffrey Hill is imho a good examination of the school of thought known as New Thought, and would be a valuable model for examining the New Thought patterns prevalent in this forum, and engaging into dialogue to move beyond this to a deeper understanding of it's implications and dangers.

"While the specific denominations representing this [New Thought] religion do not seem to be an overt threat to their members, or to society at large, its influence (which I argue is highly damaging) can be seen far beyond the church walls; for the danger of religious ideologies is usually found more in mentalities than in methodologies. The religion of New Thought in particular is destructive, in my opinion, primarily because above all other religions, it has actually promoted pathological denial and an unhealthy social disease of selfishness to the masses. And like many other religions, New Thought ignorantly promotes a militantly anti-intellectual attitude. Like devotees of most irrational groups, the majority of the more serious adherents are very threatened by legitimate, intelligent dialogue, especially when it comes to their faith. Like numerous fundamentalist pastors I have known, I've never met one teacher of New Thought who has the intelligence or strength to stand up to a debate on the subject."  

23 Jun 2004 @ 02:51 by shawa : Right.
Thanks, ov.

From your link : = "Most persons see the crazy suicides of cult members as just something on the lunatic fringe of society. But if that's all they see, its because they're not strong enough nor perceptive enough to look beyond their own delusions. For those who have not sold their soul to the group mind, however, for those who can still think for themselves, they see such crazy events as mass suicides, not merely as pathetic dramas on the lunatic fringe, but rather, they see them for what they are: symptoms of the body social."
For the most part, "New Age" is a scam.
(That should make the thread rebound, lol!)  

23 Jun 2004 @ 03:10 by jazzolog : Is It Time For Love To Enter The Picture
I see that Enamrani has posted a poem about Love And Happiness. There's a difference between compassion and love I think that simply may create unique experiences of happiness. I'm speaking of a happiness more profound than the kind perhaps researched in the article, where there seems to be a forced self-development kind of perception---a prejudice of the Positive almost.

Compassion may be an acceptance of circumstances and a willingness to find workability within the relationships of one's life. Love seems to have a characteristic requirement of forgiveness involved. That characteristic can become tinged with hypercritical judgments---such as trying to improve the loved one---but at its best, forgiving love may enable a happiness that heals.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 05:37 by swan : You are talking about the same
Love and compassion I was a few days ago...I think we have created a circleO.

***oh God...the pressure to be happy is so strong around NCN that I can Bearly stand it....No, No, don't force me to do this....ok...just one....:-)***smile***  

23 Jun 2004 @ 08:55 by skookum : oops...
I'd better get my grumpy self outa here lol  

23 Jun 2004 @ 11:30 by Kirsten @ : Value Judgement
From my fifth floor window
I see two people walking a dog
In the rain.
The people have umbrellas
But the dog doesn’t.

Just before they move
Out of my sight,
I see the dog’s tail wagging,
But the people are not noticing
Being so busy talking.

Here, I said, is an example
Of tongues wagging,
And of a tail wagging;
And I dare say
The tail says more.

(by Joseph Francis Murphy)

But then again, there are judgements and judgements...

... and lack of judgement:

"Eight men raped a clerk in front of 200 customers of a popular {link:|disco in Zhuhai} over the weekend while some 200 bystanders simply watched as the victim was being pinned to a sofa by her attackers and stripped naked before being raped."

Without judgement, there can be no comparisons.
Without comparisons, there can be no knowledge.
Without knowledge, there can be no understanding
Without understanding, there can be no compassion.

Martin Luther King, jr. and Mahatma Gandhi were both men of love and compassion, but there were also men of judgement and men of action! And boy, did they ever look at the world through "judgemental eyes," and boy, did they ever complained. And what a noise they made! They changed their world.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 11:34 by Angel @ : Judgement
Yes there does need to be judgements but that is very different from being judgemental.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 11:48 by Kirsten @ : As I said...
...there are judgements and judgements.

I wonder under what category calling someone a "curmudgeon" would fall? Hmmm?  

23 Jun 2004 @ 11:53 by scotty : Curmudgeon
is one of Richards favorite names for himself - personally I prefer Tresor ! (is that judgemental of me - or just a preferance !)

What is a Curmudgeon anyway?

A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor. . . . . . They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment. . . . . . Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor.

Yup - that sounds about right ! (IMHO)  

23 Jun 2004 @ 13:52 by Whispering Spirit @ : Being Happy
"Happy is he who....writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale---who writes always to 'the unknown friend.'" - Ralph Waldo Emerson  

23 Jun 2004 @ 14:48 by Kirsten @ : Hmm - not my cup of tea
This has suddenly turned into some sort of a psychological analysis of the person who posted the article and of his character rather than of the article itself. Speaking for mmborders, scotty took the time to explain that the term curmudgeon was not used maliciously, and that all is in good spirit and no personal attack was intended, and if she says so it must be true.

I see, however, that the subject matter of the article has ran out of steam and drifted away from some of the more promising topics. There are obviously other energies at work here and perhaps issues of a more personal nature among you that are foreign to me. I am starting to feel like I am intruding into an old couple's argument, and that perhaps it's time for me to politely take my leave.

"Oh my, look at the time..."

Thank you so much for having me...  

23 Jun 2004 @ 15:28 by b : Kirsten, :)

23 Jun 2004 @ 15:37 by jazzolog : A Summing Up---And Goodbye Kirsten
(S)he certainly was a refreshing addition to our stewpot here. I agree that perhaps the topic has run its course...and certainly gone beyond my expectations, as such discussions go at NCN. I see that we began with some personal definitions of happiness itself, without really tackling the issue of whether "positive" outlook people make negative judgments about others just as "angry" perspective folk do. But eventually we came around to it.

And at that point the conversation seemed to me to shift levels---and that's when I particularly began to learn quite a bit. We began to talk about judgmental attitudes and examination of our own prejudices. One can make acknowledgements about oneself without blame or condemnation, and with that depth comes growth. Talk of compassion and love came soon after. I believe that in this thread are possibilities of artful tapestry and fabric that can be useful. I want to thank everyone who has joined in...and certainly welcome anything more, should one want to re-read and consider anew.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 15:42 by scotty : Speaking for MMBorders !!!
Dear Kirsten - if you knew Ms Borders - you'd know that I wouldn't DARE DREAM of speaking for her - she'd surely smother me with any words that I'd try to put in her mouth !( and quite rightly so!)

I must admit that I find it a bit 'strange' (to say the least) that you decided to use 'judgement' as a comment and an 'action' !
Anyway - you're just being yourself I suppose - that's ok !

'Nice to have met you - I'm sure !'  

23 Jun 2004 @ 15:44 by scotty : So glad Richard
that you learned 'quite a bit' - want to share?*smile*  

23 Jun 2004 @ 16:16 by ov : NCN Blog Family
{|Feel Good Families}, or so they appear and must appear to the outside world, the facade that shields the family secrets through shame, blame and fear. Is the happiness one of true content, or a skeleton's grin closer to hysteria, the quick fix that hides the need to change. Is our little family here a microcosm parallel to society?

Thanks Scotty, for that definition of curmudgeon.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 16:26 by vibrani : Not at all
you don't know us very well, ov hahahahha. We're pretty open about what's going on in our lives, the negative as well as the positive, and STILL it's a choice how we respond to things in our lives that makes the difference.  

23 Jun 2004 @ 17:42 by spiritseek : Nora
a good comment for the ending!  

23 Jun 2004 @ 17:52 by scotty : The End !
da da da da DA DA DA ! duh - What's up DOc !

Looney Tunes Rules ! hahahahaha  

24 Jun 2004 @ 03:36 by jazzolog : Is NCN Not What It Seems?
I'm not so sure about that---in reference to Dr. Coleman's article to which Ov links us. I don't think NCN as a site is trying to hide anything. Many say that it's hard to find one's way around...and that there are niches very few people know about. Ming and other prominent NCN members say time and again the site is not a family, not a community, not a government, and not meant to be those things. And they'd probably assert it's not meant to be "happy" either. It's a network facility with which people can connect for whatever reason, often commercial...and that's all. The Log feature---and Chats too I believe---were afterthoughts, which the originators sometimes regret creating.

However, and this may answer somewhat Scotty's question to me yesterday, I have discovered 2 large problems with NCN for me anyway. The first is the disparity between what people write on their Profiles about why they are joining and the ensuing participation in terms of activity in the Open Area here. If you go to the Activity Page and read almost any of the random samples from Member Profiles ("A message from a recent new member") people write they are looking for often spiritual connections at a personal level and a chance to do something about the world---like participating in a "new civilization" of some kind. I have asked for years what happens to most of these people---hundreds, thousands of members. It also appears that the average term of active participation among those who make it into the Logs, Chats and Workgroups is pretty short. If this site were like the "real" world or any organization I've heard of, there would be concern and questions about what's going on: are we doing something wrong, how can we improve, are we losing members?

Since those inquiries do not happen here, I conclude we are a small group of Internet (with some realworld seekings and connections) friends and acquaintances who come back for largely personal reasons. That brings me to the second problem. How well we dig into our motivations I'm not always sure. We are certainly unique individuals and I imagine impossible to sum up in some kind of profile. However, it is clear that some of us come here for recreation and fun in our spare time. Sometimes there is not an attitude of hard work involved in seeking spiritual advancement or building a civilization. Sometimes there is no patience with people who do try to express something rather more serious. Sometimes there is a tendency to try to get a laugh at another's expense, to mock and to jeer. Other times curious visitors are driven away by a cliquish insider quality active members give off. I'm always wary of groups who prove points by asserting "we've been here longer and know better." Often, I feel, people race through articles and read comments too quickly and carelessly. Responding comments sometimes are so off-the-wall that we wonder if the writer is imbibing in something. In other words, I'm not sure we are as respectful and careful with the gift of NCN and its members as we should be---in order to secure a deep and abiding happiness in our time spent here. I am guilty myself of the descriptions I make. If confession and forgiveness are good for the soul, perhaps now I can participate better in forming a firmer foundation for true happiness at NCN.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 05:15 by scotty : Not sure about
'confession and forgiveness' being the key Jazz (a bit judgemental to my mind) - how about tolerance and acceptance !  

24 Jun 2004 @ 05:23 by swan : Richard,
we are a group of individuals and I think anyone who continues to come here day after day is getting their need met, whatever that need may be. For myself, it is about personal growth and spirituality and so I seek out ways to do that here, mostly in workgroups. In the work groups I am in there is work that is done on the levels I am exploring or I wouldn't keep coming back. There is also the entertainment factor which is good balance and you must admit there is a lot of entertainment around here:-) And I have a group of internet friends, yourself included, who I care about and NCN is our common ground.

Personally, if I get disrespectful, mean and careless I want someone to tell me about it. And if confession and forgiveness help you participate more  

24 Jun 2004 @ 05:33 by scotty : and if all else fails
maybe we should just ask Ming to take the site down because it's not working for all those thousands who don't stay !!!

naah - just joking - I think though Ricard that I honestly believe it isn't a question of why it's not working - it's more like WOW ! how amazing that it's working SO DAMNED WELL for those who stay here and use it !
(a bit like seeing the glass half full instead of only seeing it as being half empty!)  

24 Jun 2004 @ 05:39 by spiritseek : More like sharing
I do it to ease my own and someone else's burden if I can by sharing my experiences. I learned this in AA, I know it helped me to feel less alone and know I'm not the only one that has done stupid things and there just might be a way out of the mess we have created for ourselves. Like minds find like minds to validate ourselves or have fun, learn new things or get understanding. I've been truely blessed to find kindred spirits among the members here, now I don't feel so alone. I know now I can't solve the world problems until I work on solving mine, when I do it it reflects outward towards the world. That is what will change it, starting from the source,me I am the only source and force that will change anything (exception of God). I am the source, everyone is the source of all the worlds problems.I will improve me and you improve you, if you so desire, so alone or together there will be a better world starting from our Self.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 08:48 by ming : Staying or Going
In the earlier days of NCN, I took quite some interest in each member, trying to keep them connected, etc. Like, if they dropped off the mailing list because their address had changed, I'd actually go and try to track them down, to get them back. And I'd help people filling out their profile better, listing sites for them, etc. But at some point I realized I couldn't do that with a handful of new people every day, and there were too many people I really had no relation to. So, I changed to just letting things happen by themselves. It still bothers me that many people join, apparently very hopeful as to what they'll find here. Happy that they finally found the right kind of group. I know very well that 99% of them will realize that they didn't, after all, and it wasn't what they thought it was, and they'll get bored and not come back. That all bothers me. But then, again, I don't particularly know what to do about it, and I believe people are free to come and go, so I mostly try not to lose any sleep over it.

I certainly do feel that NCN could be a lot more. I think it mostly works well for the people who're here. But it is obviously in the air that it could, or maybe should, be something more. It has always been in the air. There's something more that could happen, that this group maybe really is for. I've lost a lot of sleep over the years on feeling responsible for that, and trying to come up with what it should be. Now I've sort of more resigned to that it isn't necessarily up to me, and that it maybe is better to let it evolve naturally, and if it needs to do something else, that will emerge clearly somehow, and I'll support it when it does. And if turns out 'just' to be a nice place for some people to hang out and do their thing, and occasionally argue about what is right or wrong about it, well, that's probably worthwhile too.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 08:59 by Quinty @ : Another two cents worth

Who was it who said that life is an on the job learning experience? That, alas, we can't prep for it before doing it, therefore slowly learning as we go through life from our mistakes? Yeap. Some of us really go far off, and make major blunders. What is in the heart and soul of a man who murders his lover one insane, drug filled night? What is in his mind and soul forty years later, when he's an old con who's entire life has become prison? What are his thoughts? This man, you might say, had very bad luck indeed. So did the poor woman he murdered one irretrievable night long ago. Others of us are far more lucky. Would anyone consider George W. Bush lucky? After all, considering how limited he is as a human being, he has had a rather astonishing ride, well buttressed by his wealthy and powerful family and friends.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 11:18 by ov : I'm grateful for NCN
Good points Richard. The Coleman article that I posted was something that I found based on a google search of "feel good families" and there was only a couple of hits. The topic was about NCN and happiness. There has recently been a desire expressed by a few people, Ming inluded, for what dialogue is and how we can engage in it to gain deeper understanding. I posed a question about whether there were similiarities between families and this blog group (which may or may not be a community), and if the social group here was a microcosm of our society at large. Within ten minutes of making that post Nora had time to read the article, contemplate the questions and flip out a dismissive response that I percieved as "Just be happy, don't think, and we laugh at you for having such foolish thoughts". I thought "okay, lets see if Nora is the spokesperson for NCN" and it didn't take long for a second and third confirmation that yes indeed she was and this conversation was over. Then Richard responded with some feedback that wasn't designed to shut down discussion. This is my feedback on how I have percieved this discussion so far.

To get back to the post heading, ie why I'm grateful for NCN. I first stumbled upon it years ago through the "ideas bank" and I thought there was a bulletin board associated with that as well but this was around 1995 or so and trying to remember a website location from that long ago is fuzzy. Back then I liked that it was future oriented, and I think that is still one of the main 'valueS' of this site. I'm grateful that there are few reactionary types here, and that it is possible to talk about the next civilization without having these discussions interrupted and disrupted. What I am most grateful for is Ming himself, and all of the timely information and great links that he brings to the table, and what a superb relevancy filter he is between me and the noosphere at large (Ming has a nack for writing articles about subjects that I've been thinking about but haven't got around to writing up -- it's uncanny). I am also grateful for the information and connections provided by other people that appear to have this same relation to Ming that I have. There have been a few of these people that I would have lost contact with if it wasn't for this place, ie NCN, people move, hard drives crash and email addresses disappear but NCN hangs in there. I'm also grateful for a place to setup my own blog and not be embarassed to hand out the url, (I've been at other sites that are so childishly anarchistic or otherwise dysfunctional that I wouldn't want anybody in my real life to know that I hang out with those type of people -- and yes I have moved on and don't go to those sites anymore)

Then it seems like there is a clique of cyber squatters that act as if they own this place and don't seem interested in the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. That's cool, there is room for all, but they are not why I am here. Perhaps the solution for myself is to restrict my readings to people that are on my contact list and use the saved time to spend at other sites, or simply surfing the web and reading articles that have taken thought and effort to write.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 11:31 by swan : I am curious what a cyber quatter is
and how they demonstrate ownership of this place, Ov. IF you wouldn't mine telling me. All I could find was "cybersquatter" but the definition doesn't seem to fit.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 11:47 by ov : typo
Sorry about that that should have been squatter not quatter and I edited the original post. Also know as cyber-gypsies. They demonstrate ownership by thier ubiquity and shared norms, like a clique. They don't appear to contribute to the stated mission of the site but are there simply to use the hardware. It was more common in the earlier days of the web when real estate was more sparse and costly.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:00 by scotty : re: typo !
quatter is probably better than squitter - or heaven forbid quitter - n'est pas !*grin*
Ubiquity .. clique - sorry but I see these two as being mutually exclusive !
Don't appear to contribute to the stated mission - hmm - one gives what one can ! (I do try not to be fooled by 'appearances'!)

Perhaps because one can't in fact be 'part of' everything one feels left out of the 'connections' and thus sees them as being cliques ! Perhaps it's a question of perception .
(ps - at the bottom of my log it states - this is your log - so I guess I do feel ownership of sorts !)  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:15 by spiritseek : Opened freely to the public
this site Ming so graciously had opened to the public. Therefore no one needs to feel their a squatter.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:15 by ov : Perception
I see, percieve, connections running throughout these blogs. A lso see and utilize another set of connections that are private but made possible through public introductions.

It is quite common on a discussion based website for a clique to dominate the public commons, set the agenda and mark out what is taboo. It is what makes a clique ubiquitous. A few people that hang out together and keep to themselves such that nobody even notices that they are there is not usually thought of as a clique.

That is true Spiritspeek, Ming has been most gracious in that respect.

I sense some defensiveness happening here. Is this exchange moving into forbidden territory?  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:21 by spiritseek : internet is public domain
unless restrictions are posted by the owner.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:24 by spiritseek : not from me
I see your truth but I have my own.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:25 by vibrani : Misperception
ov - never did I say or indicate one shouldn't think. I said that one chooses how one responds in life, and that does take thought and it's a personal choice. I left my comment much in the way you do, write what I feel I have to say at the moment to the subject...just like everyone else is doing, come to think about it. (Only sometimes you leave comments no one can figure out as they don't seem to relate to the topic at all expect maybe to yourself.) If you choose to be grumpy, heh, that's your choice. If you choose to feel good, that's your choice. If you choose to pretend you don't feel anything, that's your choice. And each of us has days when we feel crappy, too, when we are concerned and worried. But we don't want that to overpower us. Why do you have to knock people who prefer to be optimistic, most of the time?  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:27 by scotty : hmmm !
when ov makes a comment in answer to a comment it's an exchange - when I make a comment in answer to a comment ov sense's defensiveness and asks if the exchange is moving into forbidden territory !
I wonder why?  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:29 by spiritseek : just voicing my opinion
nothing more to it. I honor your opinion and your right to speak.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:34 by ov : Public Domain
The question of ownership of the public domain is one of the main themes in Naomi Klein's book "No Logo" but she concentrates on the non-virtual world but she also talks about how the internet is being used as a communications medium for activism intended to keep the public spaces public and free of the special interest groups. A good book and I recommend reading it for anybody that has an interest in mass communications, and social control.

Whooaaa, once again micro- macro- cosm model in play, maybe?

Looks to me like we are chatting in Richards blog. Maybe I will refrain from posting here again until I hear some input from Richard on whether he minds or not.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 12:37 by vibrani : Well
for years I've said that NCN is the microcosm of the macrocosm, we've remarked on that from time to time. So? (Scotty, right on.)  

24 Jun 2004 @ 13:37 by Sellitman @ : NCN: Ming - Staying or going
{link:|The Theory}:

1. "...individual members and associated groups have very specific action plans and agendas and activities. NCN helps give space for these, helps communicate them, and helps connect up those who need to work together. But NCN's own agenda is only that."

2. "Do not misuse the common resources of all members for self-serving needs, but be aware that there has to be room for everybody."

3. "NCN encourages people to act based on their inner inspiration and to work for the common good. For some people, that is intimately connected with a spiritual motivation and understanding. For other people it is decidedly not. Thus NCN is neutral in that regard. There is no imposition of any spiritual beliefs you have to have."

4. "Is NCN a discussion forum? Not really. The orientation is towards doing something, not just talking about ideas."

...and {link:|the practice}.

Could NCN live up to its Mission Statement? Yes, yes ... I know (enough already) I am sure it does already, in many ways----for the handfull of people who have taken up residence in NCN and made it "theirs," it does (they like the engine and some of the friends they have made.) But could it be more? And how so? Can NCN become {link:|The One Hundred Gated Cathedral of Mind}? (yes, yes----"AND hearts" (thank you for the reminder)----they are more than some seem to think who, in the words of Emerson, "write to the 'unknown friend'". But NCN is more than that, isn't it? It is that to some, and other things to others, and so it should be.)

I have been watching NCN with no small amount of interest for quite some times now, and Ming has my heartfelt sympathy (and my respect) for the ambitious project he's been putting together here.

"For although in a certain sense and for light-minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and the possibility of being born."
—Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

I wish I could be of help, but like him I don't particularly know what to do about it. DIVERSITY probably is key. I know, I know, I hear you ("you don't know us very well, ahahaha, we are very different and don't all agree with each other at all, ahahaha but we are pretty open about what's going on in our lives, the negative as well as the positive, and it's a choice how we respond to things in our lives that makes the difference... blablablablabla...") That's all fine and all and highly laudable (I am certainly not putting any of that down,) and I am sure that's all some people want, and the reason why they are here and that's enough to them. But NCN is more than about group therapy and "processing," isn't it? It's more than just waiting for If it isn't, it certainly ought to be be. I don't know, I mean a place like NCN, with such a mission statement (We Are the New Civilization,) I would have expected to see ACTIVE members, from all over the globe and all wake of life and professional backgrounds, contributing their expertise and sharing info (hard data---not just emotional states,) with each other, making NCN a buzzing nexus, the living embodiment that knowledge is power.

I think, Ming, that one of the problem has to do with Critical Mass. I am not going to go into the details of it, but to put it simply, it can be say that there is one strong multilayered ideological/philosophical dominant current (which I respect and understand) that has made NCN its home. I am oversimplifying here, but let's say that NCN is also made of more or less loosely associated groups that have bended together for a variety of reasons (politics, ideology, internal politics, etc.) I am not criticizing any of this, understand? But this is essentially the active "population" of NCN, and it is so because those were here first and in sufficient number (it could have started with as little as two or three persons) to create the kind of dynamic (and positive reinforcement) that support their activity.

Now, what happen when someone new arrives? Well, if they fit into the existing group or one of the subgroups (or can be converted) they are made to feel at home and usually end up staying, and swell, in turn, the ranks of the existing group (or subgroups.)

If, however, they join NCN starting their own project, on the NCN stated premiss that they should go ahead and do their thing ("make it happen" so to speak) but, for one reason or another, are not "accepted" by "the group" or subgroups, they feel rapidly isolated (sometimes shunned, when Internal politics is involved) and end up leaving NCN. Again, no criticism here, this is perfectly normal and to be expected considering the dynamic. I am only stating the obvious. Not everyone can be interested in everything: a group of type M members have joined NCN because of their interest in group M. Comes along one type K member hoping to connect with other sharing his or her interest in K things and maybe even J and R and Y type of things, possibly in conjunction (or not) with some M things that have caught his/her interest. There are no other K members, nor J or R or Y members, however. Furthermore the type M members are only interested in K inasmuch as his or her interest in M things go and have little interest in K, J, R or Y things. This doesn't make for a very good dynamic, does it? And, yet, no one really is to blame.

I think Critical Mass is key. The existing dynamic does not support Diversity (I am not saying it actively forbids it, understand? Not purposefully so. But there are factors at work that cause it to be dissuaded.) If other elements (J, R, K, Y) are to be encouraged to join NCN for a greater diversity (and long term interaction alongside M) it's not going to happen on an individual basis. Rather J, R, K and Y are going to have to join as already pre-existing self-supporting groups. So that they can grow and make a place for themselves at NCN, just as group M (and others) did.

I don't know, maybe mirror images of NCN specifically directed at certain groups (and in different countries) should be created in a first stage and allowed to grow and mature. And then be connected together in a greater NCN at a latter stage.

This is just an idea. I am sure one can think of many more. Ideas are not the problem, of course. The problem, as Ming has himself pointed out, is (wo)man power----people who have the time, the know-how and the will to implement the vision of a greater NCN.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 15:28 by jazzolog : You Mean HaHaHappiness Isn't Everything?
which is, I believe, what the article that serves as an entry here is putting forward. Happiness can be shallow as can anger, and people who settle for shallow---denying and defending against hints from the outside world that their ignorance may kill them---end up lonely and desperate at the end. The article contends the impact from shallow happy is the same as from shallow angry: ultimately negative selfishness. At least that's where my judgment leads me to comment. I like what Ov and Sellitman have to say---about possibilities and growth. New horizons make me happy. (I wish Scott Johnson still were around. He had ideas like you 2 guys. And it's always great to see bri_outten and Quinty join in. Thanks to Ming for his recollections. And ladies, what's next?)  

24 Jun 2004 @ 15:34 by scotty : No more from me !
I think I've already 'donated' enough energy here as it is !  

24 Jun 2004 @ 15:38 by vibrani : Seems to be
a men against the women thing happening here and it is not a good feeling. We have posted a lot explaining this and it has been made fun of, and not taken seriously. Jazz, happiness comes from within. And what happens within when one has a life that IS examined, (not that you'd know anything about that - that is evident from your responses over the past couple of years), MUST contain depth and self-knowledge and choice...something you still haven't understood from any of the posts. But there are people very content to be mediocre, thanks for being such good examples of that. Consider it my final post to your log, as well, Jazz.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 16:50 by ov : This Leo can be catty too
I think part of my 'problem' is that I'm an intellectual, though many would say that I don't have what it takes and that I'm merely a pseudo-intellectual or intellectual wannabe. But as an intellectual I have been enjoying myself over the last couple of months and in this thread as well. I haven't been doing a lot of laughing though, I usually reserve that for jokes and funny things, and even when it comes to most jokes I no longer find them funny since they are nothing more than minority group slanders. I'm guilty of that as well, since the jokes I find myself laughing at are the ones that put down politicians and the status quo. Not sure if they really make me 'happy' though. I think I'm most happy when I am content or feeling 'warm-hearted' or when I have a smile on my face. LOL or hahahahaha just doesn't usually line with happy for me.

Doubly cursed am I for being both a man and an intellectual. I make a comment about how I percieve a situation and how I felt and ask for some feedback, and I feel that I am responded to with accusation. LIke I make a short comment and find that four more have slipped in before it's posted. I'm overwhelmed by the {|cybersisters} as a quick check of the web of trust comrade cluster will confirm. I think I'll use this thread as an example of how not to dialogue for any further discussion that might occur in my {link:|recent article in ov's blog}.

I would like to thank Sellitman for his post, and especially for that link of articles by Ming from the NCN category. I recognized almost all of the people that made comments in that selection, and I also found the people that annoy me the most to be refreshingly abscent.

But yeah us intellectual poet types do tend to be mediocre and shy away from truth and passion. :-)  

24 Jun 2004 @ 16:51 by ming : Critical Mass
I like Sellitman's overview. Yes, I think it has a lot to do with critical mass, and a sort of natural selection going on, and with the difficulty of getting something else going. I think there can be room for multiple ways of going about things. That was certainly the idea. But it can be difficult to go in a different direction if one steps into a certain atmosphere that seems to support very different things. Not that there's anything wrong with them, it is just how groups tend to work.

In the early days there indeed was much more of an action orientation, which is still reflected in the introductory documents about what NCN is 'supposed' to be. But there wasn't very good infrastructure for supporting it, so it didn't quite stick. There's probably much better facilities now, that could support concerted action. But, yes, critical mass for other things happened in the meantime.

Little things might have made a big difference in what sorts of people mostly moved into NCN. For example, back in 1995 I made a Celestine Prophecy discussion mailing list. It still exists on the server, has hundreds of members, and is still quite active. Because of that, various Celestine Prophecy mailing lists recommended NCN as a good place to take a next step. Which, still today, means that a lot of the new people are folks who're looking to learn more about energy, and it is obvious from many new member comments that they believe this to be a Celestine Prophecy oriented community. Which is fine and great, but compared with the original target, it is a more passive group. Nice and spiritual people, but not the kind of activists, inventors, organizers, systems thinkers, etc, that originally were expected.

One solution I've considered is to bring many more people in here. See, the sort of cliquish thing is most likely when there's a certain amount of people here. Not too many, not too few. For example, right now a number of people can comfortably read through all posts in the newslogs every day. That creates a certain coherency, which is both good and bad. It plants the idea that everybody's sort of supposed to fit in the same box. But it also allows issues in relation to working that out to surface and be processed. But if there were 10 times as many newslogs, it wouldn't really work. One wouldn't have time to stay up on all of them, and one would have to choose amongst them which are the ones one wants to pay attention to. Which would make the diversity come a little more natural. But, I must admit, it might also lose something which might be valuable.

I could probaby increase the number of active members drastically by rewiring a few features, by doing mailings to the total membership, adding functions that remind people frequently about what is going on, and by actively promoting it to various groups. I have hesitated to do that, in part because I'm busy and haven't taken the time. In part because I'm not sure if that is really what is supposed to happen, as I know well that it would change aspects of how this place feels and works. And, as I said, I gave up a while back on thinking that I was supposed to lead and guide things here.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 17:04 by ming : Happiness
I must admit that I'm most happy when I'm not perfectly happy. That is, there's gotta be some range, some ups and downs, and some problems to overcome. If everything just works out perfectly, and I'm sitting around being blissful, I don't have much to say, and I'm not very interested in inquiring into anything or improving anything. If there are things to be dissatisfied with AND I have some idea of what direction I'd rather go in - then there's more of a basis for the more grounded happiness. Which isn't haha, blissful joy, but rather than one is making progress through life, over a variety of obstacles, learning stuff along the way.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 17:24 by Quinty @ : Happiness and obstacles.....
That's interesting, Ming. Happiness can exist, I gather, alongside a consciousness of pain and horror. Nor should one oblige oneself to feel unhappy (if you happen to be happy) because things are quite bad. Or even because others suffer.

There have been some well known writers who have claimed that they were most happy during a time of war. Perhaps this experience enhances their lives, so that they feel more alive? And if they believe in what they are doing, then in spite of the awful circumstances they may not feel guilt for being happy. Happiness doesn't fall into easy either/or categories. It may, in fact, be as irrational as everything else in life. And those who offer quick cures may only be quacks.  

24 Jun 2004 @ 22:23 by jazzolog : I'm Not Sure We Need More
but I'm convinced something is missing in what we have. Some new members write rapture in their Profiles, but if you look them up you see they've never entered the site. What gives with that? Why would you join something---and go to the considerable trouble that filling out the stuff here can be---and then never come in? Perhaps there could be in the application an offer for contact by a member just to talk over expectations and how to get around. I expect there are some people who just look up others with common interests and email. You can see there are members here with a rather sizeable contact list, most of whom may never participate in the Open Area here. That's fine, as long as they're happy...but I continue concerned about those who want deeper involvement and development and are frustrated. I really think there could be an easy fix to that, which needn't involve lots of time and effort for Ming. Getting together a group of folks willing to welcome, when cued by Ming from an application, could be a small start.  

25 Jun 2004 @ 00:42 by Ashanti @ : Sellitman's overview - Bingo! excellent, hits right to the heart of it.

The part that REALLY hit the spot for me was this:
"Now, what happen when someone new arrives? Well, if they fit into the existing group or one of the subgroups (or can be converted) they are made to feel at home and usually end up staying, and swell, in turn, the ranks of the existing group (or subgroups.)

If, however, they join NCN starting their own project, on the NCN stated premiss that they should go ahead and do their thing ("make it happen" so to speak) but, for one reason or another, are not "accepted" by "the group" or subgroups, they feel rapidly isolated (sometimes shunned, when Internal politics is involved) and end up leaving NCN. "

Bingo! That is my experience. Speaking quite frankly, I definitely feel marginalized because I have not "adapted" and "fitted in" with the dominant groups. (Marginal note for statistical data - for those looking for gender or race dynamics to explain the "groups", I am a white female, so should fit in, but don't.). I have my own very unique perspective which has been birthed in Africa, and from spending a lot of time with many of the people of the South. I am not prepared to become part of the "shiny happy people" (with apologies to REM). I also feel that as the only person posting regularly from Africa, that many of my interests are too far removed from the dominant white western culture, so what I post is generally not of interest to most members here. I became fed up a while ago, and left NCN, but what brought me back was this: NCN is an experiment in tolerating a diversity of viewpoints. I totally believe in that - tolerance, multi-lateralism, multi-culteralism, open access, open source. So despite the fact that I don't feel very welcome here, except for a few members - can count them on my one hand - I come here occasionally just to support that principle - tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints. I support Ming in his Vision of that, I "get" it totally.

Sellitman - you get the prize for an *excellent* summation. Thanks!  

25 Jun 2004 @ 05:25 by jazzolog : Viewpoints
Yes, what makes NCN unique and irresistible---happy even (he said, vaguely trying to stay on topic)---is the worldwide variety of viewpoints. And there should be more: there should be blacks from around the world; where are oriental inputs; what happened to a presence from India that was here? Scott Johnson used to go beyond clique and describe an absolute bullying that goes on at NCN still. (We did create a conflict resolution feature---but it quickly split in 2 over the usual control issues that ruffle NCN feathers. As long as you can create your own little private preserve here, why not do it and then sometimes treat others with a demeaning and hot sense of humor?) I have little doubt that nastiness in comments and the Chats is a real turnoff for visitors and new members. When we get especially full of ourselves and use language to shove others around, who wouldn't wonder, "Why bother trying to fit in with these misfits?" The reply is, "You see, if you really knew us and were on the inside, you'd understand that Joe doesn't mind being called a bastard in our comments." There is no substitute for tolerance, respect, and real hospitality anywhere~~~actual, virtual, new or old.  

25 Jun 2004 @ 08:30 by dempstress : Bloody hell!
I go away for 24 hours and look what happens. How fascinating that so much sturm and drang can be generated from a discussion which started on the subject of happiness, or aspects thereof.

If nothing else it demonstrates that a number of people feel if not ownership then strong connections with the virtual place, or they wouldn't be rubbed so hard up the wrong way.

I'm pretty new here, and when, at the suggestion of a 'realtime' friend I started to check it out, my first impressions (sorry guys) was that it was full of wierdies and freaks. On further browsing I found there were people with whom I shared enough overlap of world view and interests to make me interested in communicating and discussion with them. Does this make me a clique joiner? Don't think so really, it's just that there needs to be some level of mutual interest or even comprehension to make it 'worthwhile' spending the time and mental ebergy. Elsewise feels remarkably like pissing in the wind.

Now; I don't know if what I'm doing here contributes to the original intent of the place (sorry Ming) but frankly, as a newcomer, I didn't know there was one. Feels like I entered the park and enjoyed some of the plants but forgot to read the by-laws. Is it OK if I just enjoy the view a bit longer?  

25 Jun 2004 @ 09:54 by spiritseek : came to change the world
that dream still stands but now I change myself in order to change the world around me. Bumping heads don't help unless your willing to communicate the whys of it and come to an understanding. I've grown here through mostly different viewpoints, its only because I took their points into consideration. Its ok to disagree but its real happiness when you have learned something new from it.  

25 Jun 2004 @ 11:06 by Quinty @ : I agree with Spiritseek:
that it's good to have your sacred assumptions challenged. If everyone you know agrees with you and you and your friends simply reinforce whatever you may believe, then it becomes easy to become a lazy thinker. It may be painful to have our assumptions questioned, perhaps even ridiculed. But this helps sharpen the mind, and in the long run is good for us. For it helps us to approach the truth. (Whatever the "truth" is.)

Okay. Having said that. So now tell me I'm an idiot and an a...hole.


25 Jun 2004 @ 18:55 by spiritseek : nah
Your tuning in to good vibrations dude! Groovy man, right on!  

26 Jun 2004 @ 04:31 by Whispering Spirit @ : LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE
"We don't always know what makes us happy. We know, instead, what
we think SHOULD. We are baffled and confused when our attempts
at happiness fail...We are mute when it comes to naming
accurately our own preferences, delights, gifts, talents. The
voice of our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even
strangled, by the voices of other people's expectations. The
tongue of the original self is the language of the heart."
-- Julie Cameron  

26 Jun 2004 @ 09:00 by Quinty @ : Julie Cameron's observation
That quote goes deep into the matter. And highlights it in one of its interesting perspectives. For how do our preconceptions of the "true way" effect our lives? Artists are well familiar with this. For they have to find their own genuine voices., which may not fit into any established preconceptions of what beauty is. Somewhere the nexus has to be found, and the reality may be startling, even frightening. It ain't easy to be human, we have rules and some are wise and others are quite stupid. How do we find out which is which? How do we get through life without hurting others? Can anyone completely achieve that while searching for his own happiness?  

26 Jun 2004 @ 09:46 by spiritseek : stop worrying about others feelings
the part where you didn't mean any harm but they took it wrong. We're not responsible for the way anyone else feels, unless we deliberately cause harm or unknowingly in which case apologies would help.  

26 Jun 2004 @ 18:04 by Whispering Spirit @ : "How do we find out"
"Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful,
and love can be shown only by those who love.
No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart,
just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now."

~ Alan Watts  

27 Jun 2004 @ 08:58 by Quinty @ : The great Alan Watts

Is there a moral imperitive in what we are saying? And who has time to worry about such things when the daily pressures of life force us to be at the office or shop or wherever we may be, with bosses, cowokers (some of whom we may not like): leading lives overwhelmed by hard responsibilities and commitments? I would rather read poetry beneath a park tree, but there is a force in the world which can make that difficult to do. Ethics and morals exist for a reason. And no man, as the saying goes, is an island...

I remember Alan Watts well, and used to listen to his talks on the radio when he lived in Sausolito. I don't, as a rule, go in for "spirituality," or, at least am very picky about who I choose to listen to. Watts was a wonderful man, a true life bringer.  

27 Jun 2004 @ 20:39 by Sellitman @ : NCN Happiness: Heart vs. Heartmind
"It is always there, right where you are; if you seek it, obviously you do not see it. "
---Muso Kokushi

While my most “positive” nature is rejoicing that many instances of genuine attempts at sincere communication are present on this thread, my somewhat less “positively” inclined nature can’t help but also notice some of the usual displays of that “talk to the hand” attitude all too common to those exchanges where people speak while covering their ears. Someone says something one way; then whispers it in other words; then repeats it a third time, another way; and a fourth and a fifth...ignoring, or pretending to ignore, all along what others are saying ("Falalalala, I can't hear you.") A lot of energy involved too in more or less indirectly attempting to misrepresent what the other side is saying. My less “positive” nature also notices that it overflows on other blogs, too. Like, for instance, a telling of the story of Portia Pig, where, somewhere in the comments, one makes a point of wondering aloud whether there is any hope that Richards, "the curmudgeon," like Mr. Frog, in the story, can ever be made to "understand" happiness. A lot of energy spent in playing games and "keeping up appearances”...and, interestingly, kind of landing support to the article’s theory. (I also can’t help but notice, incidentally, that one comment has disappeared from the thread.)

We have People who think of qualities of the Heart as opposite to those of the Head. They think Heart means love, forgiveness, goodwill and honesty (the way to a new civilization) while Head is tainted with old style thinking, the arch-enemy of real change. On the other end, we have people who believe that the arch-enemy of change (and of a New Civilization) are the complacent "happy" people, the "do-nothing," with their “bovine” insistence on accepting things as they are, and their "bad faith"---their refusal to take responsibility for the world they live in.

But this contrast is symptomatic of a schizoid culture, in which head and heart are detached from the rest of the body (very "old civilization," if you ask me.) What’s the argument all about? And why can't NCN agree to say that change require both head and heart?

And what of the underlying meanness, behind the masks? The nastiness of the “happy people” that Richard, brought up in this controversial article? Is it present at NCN? Is it real? I don’t know about NCN, but I think it is present everywhere people feel threatened. And it is prominently present anywhere people feel their identity (i.e. who they think they are, where their energy is, what they think gives meaning to their life) is threatened. And, at NCN, more than in any other place, people have a lot of energy and time invested in their identities and profiles (how many hours do most active members of NCN spend online?) Some people believe (rightly, or erroneously so---who is to say?) that they are their profile. Who they say they are is who they are. To them, the map, so to speak, has become the territory.

My belief in the matter is that people are, I hope, a lot more than that, and a lot more than what they show and what they think they are, and that there is more to the world than what anyone think they know about it. The problem, here, is that there are always people, and especially in places like NCN (for obvious reasons,) who think they know "the truth" or people who feel that they have found "the way" and that their mission is to show it to others. And maybe they have and maybe it is. Who am I to say? (The problem however with such thinking is that assuming one knows "the way" also implies one knows what "the way" is not.)

As far as I have been able to tell from where I sit, a lot has been written at NCN in support of the freedom to abandon convention, to invent oneself and to go one’s own way. If there is one core, common-ground, value NCN can agree on, regardless of individual differences, this is probably it. Another core value with which both heads and hearts seem to be in agreement is the need not to give in to the process of alienation and fragmentation by which human beings surrender their autonomy and participate in their own suppression.

In that light, there is no reason to disagree that universal love is good, being in resonance with the greater whole (and drawing happiness, or contented bliss, from it) is good, following "the way" is good. But there is no reason to believe either that love or following "the way" (whatever "the way" means to one) preclude activism or justify suppressing those who feel the need to voice what wrong they perceive with the world they live in and want to do something about it.

Is there pressure at NCN to be "happy" and positive? Have people who don't go along with the program been pigeonholed as "defender of the old ways" (a new twist on the "if you are not with us you are against us” concept. Or “oh, you, dear soul, you don’t get it, it’s okay, you're just not as spiritually evolved as we are: you don’t understand what LOVE is or what it is we are trying to do here at NCN.”) I suppose, that if one really wanted to, one could go through the Newslogs and try and find specific examples of this but there is little need for that (and no need to point fingers either.)

I suppose that everyone is free to take responsibility for the world they live in or not. And we all do it in our own ways. Some people talk about Love. And some people act out of Love. And some people do both. And not everyone is an activist. And it’s all okay. For, no matter how it manifests, I don’t believe that love can be passive in the face of the aggressive crusading nationalist propaganda of those who look at the rest of humanity as an "obstacle" to be removed. The heartmind can't be deaf to the destructive trends that have been making the environment and small humans mere fodder for "the economy." The heartmind can't ignore the aggressive militarism that pits guided missiles and walls of tanks against poorly armed insurgents, townspeople and villagers; nor can it ignore the dangerous official paranoia that has been picturing "the enemy," as a nearly omnipotent conspiracy of global scope and use it as a justification for “preemptive” wars without end. The heartmind is ACTIVE, the heartmind is VOCAL, the heartmind is COMPASSIONATE. The heartmind is INVOLVED.

And, the heartmind cannot be silenced.  

27 Jun 2004 @ 21:46 by spiritseek : could we be growing cold
In our persuit for truth are we actually growing colder. Trying not to feel by illiminating our true feelings thinking they get in our way. Ignoring someones feelings because we don't want to take responsibility for them. I forget that I'm unhappy most of the time until I uplift someone else's spirits.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 06:37 by swan : The marriage of mind and heart
is what is needed. Mind and heart working together to inform the whole. I can make decisions from my heart, rather than from my mind, but I can't do it WITHOUT my mind. The mind is a great repository for information we just need to be able to sort through it in a loving way to find what is useful and valuable.

And as Sellitman states " What’s the argument all about? And why can't NCN agree to say that change require both head and heart? " Some here agree with that statement and have talked about it many times.

Sellitman also say the following about meaness from "happy people"
" And it is prominently present anywhere people feel their identity (i.e. who they think they are, where their energy is, what they think gives meaning to their life) is threatened."
which I feel is the key issue. If our sense of self is based on external forces it will always feel threatened and we will always act in defensive ways. To know yourself is the pathway to happiness and compassionate interactions with others.

Happiness and wholeness are synonomous to me. We can't divorce ourselves from mind, heart, body or soul if we want to evolve as loving, compassionate people.

Sellitman I am not sure who the members of the group are that talk out of several sides of their mouths . I could be accused of being a mean spirit member of the happiness group because the happiness spilled out into my newslog. I asked Richard, when I posted my newslog about happiness, if he felt it was offensive to him and if he would like me to remove it as I wanted to be respectful of his feelings in the matter.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 07:23 by shawa : NCN
NCN is not an organised body. So it´s impossible to speak "for" it, LOL, or "about" it.
It has many many threads/levels/dimensions/cables/tunnels/halls going in vastly differing directions with vastly differing means. And that is the interest of the place.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 07:57 by swan : I was thinking the same thing Shawa,
if we make statements about people as reflected by the group , part of the group that they associate with, or individual comments left in newslogs a whole dimension of the person/people is missing. Just as in life.

There are some people I know at NCN in all of the levels you list above, Shawa and I know them as different and a part of who they present as in the General Members Area. NCN is not what it appears to be on the surface, and more of an interesting and rich environment of layers of things happening all of the time.
( for example no one would have known of my private comment to Richard, if I hadn't revealed it here. It could be assumed, without it, that something else was happening.)


Of course, I did make a comment at that very entry of your Log, upon receipt of your thoughtful email, that hopefully showed I was playing along with you guys.



Yes, dear, that is how I knew it was alright with you! Thanks for playing along with the fun.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 11:15 by spiritseek : now thats funny
and when I laugh I feel happy. At no ones expense but by enjoying their playing and fun.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 11:25 by Sellitman @ : It is always possible... speak ABOUT NCN.

Speaking FOR NCN, though, is another matter. Thank you, Shawa, that's the impression I got. I've seen similar patterns before on other networks, and the problem is not unique to NCN, sometimes people think they are speaking for the whole and feel that their particular understanding of things, or their religion, or pseudo-religion, or purpose is actually the whole, or one of the fundamental pillars of the whole, and start admonishing those who they feel are straying away from the "true" path (e.g. not focusing their energy on being "positive," etc.)

Exporing some of the many threads/levels/dimensions/cables/tunnels/halls of NCN that you are talking about, I run from time to time into various definitions of what NCN means to different people (One thing is clear to me, is that people are here for different reasons.)
This one, from Bushman, for instance, is an interesting take:
"What are we doing? We are wakening the sleeping minds to a more technically advanced state, better ways to run a government without a government, better more eco-friendly ways of doing things, but maybe what is the most important thing we do is get people to speak their mind, we force them to have an opinion."
There are many more takes on why people are here, or what they are expecting from NCN, or what they hope to contribute. It might be interesting, some day, to collect all of those together and see what comes out of it.

And let's not forget that NCN itself, I suppose, is but only a single thread/level/dimension/cable/tunnel/hall in a {link:|bigger whole} which is itself part of an even bigger whole, called the WORLD WIDE web, whitch is itself, hmmm....{link:|Communcationism}, anyone?  

28 Jun 2004 @ 11:39 by ov : Time investment
Are all these different layers, levels, etc that Shawa mentioned a means of protecting the group identity that is here from being lost by growing too big? Like in some sites, most sites, the people don't let you into the inner circle until you have vested so many thousands of hours of your life, something that gives some assurance that you have something to lose by going somewhere else and starting all over again paying your dues, some assusrance of commitment so that if we take our time to learn about you it won't be a waste of our time, like the experience points accumulation in a MUD? Just asking.

I would like to think that the profiles here although only a map and not the territory or at least honest maps. To extend this to a road map analogy, the map won't tell you to turn right instead of left only to have you later find out after you are a hundred miles in the middle of nowhere and out of gas that the town you were heading for is a hundred and seventy miles in the opposite direction.

An interesting discussion but I'm afraid that it is off topic and don't know whether to contribute to the topic drift or drop out.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 11:54 by Sellitman @ : The Map is not the Territory
Sorry I lost you, ov. Maybe this will help: {link:|Ceci n'est pas une pipe} :-)

What I was talking about was, for my purpose, very relevant to the topic. If you wish to go somewhere else with this or expand it in a direction you feel is not relevant to the topic, well, it seems to me, you can always post something about it on your newslog, if you have a newslog at NCN.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 13:31 by ov : Sellitman
No, the link you provided didn't help but your comment did. I'm familiar with the concept you linked to, it's similiar to the finger pointing at the moon, and the difference between the menu and the meal, and I'm sure there are other analogies depending on the context.

Excuse me for being obtuse but you have lost me, Sellitman, since I thought this topic had evolved into a discussion of identity and community. Perhaps you would like to make explicit what your purpose in this topic is. In my opinion you have made some very astute observations of online community, and I have seen how this relates to NCN and the happiness factor and deep vs shallow relationships. Your latest comment throws this in a direction I wasn't expecting and so I'm asking for feedback and clarification.

As far as people's profiles being accurate representation of the people themselves then I like to think that here at NCN people are not lying in their profiles, for example that if somebody says they are a 26 year old female living in New Zealand that they aren't actually a 50 year old man sitting in a trailer park in Kentucky sort of thing.

I do have a newslog at NCN and if you were to click on my userid it would take you to my profile and give a link to it, (it's called {|OrgasmoVolution}), there is also a brief description of myself but I admit that this should be filled out with more detail but what is there is the truth, and you can also send me private messages from there if you wish. I think you might meed to be a member of NCN to do all of this but I'm not sure)

Sellitman, since you appear to have a lot to say, and a direction in mind then it might be good for you to start a newslog and fill in a profile so that we can tell who you are. Perhaps you already have a newslog and NCN identity by another name but that would be a bit ingenuous imho.

I don't know French, could somebody please translate 'Ceci n'est pas une pipe' into English for me. Thanks.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 13:56 by shawa : "this is not a pipe" :-)
OV - There is no "group identity" at NCN; THAT is what makes this site healthy, more healthy than a lot of others, lol, in spite of some typical snaggyglitches. There are several groups, going in several different directions, loosely (VERY loosely) linked, no centralization at all (Thank God).  

28 Jun 2004 @ 14:07 by Sellitman @ : Ov: Re - Inner Circle - Q A
For those who think "The Bridge" is lost, and who still want some sort of processing, Flemming Funch's page is an offer and an alternative to a more sane {link:|approach} to the mind without any politics involved. But this is not what NCN is about, at least, I don't think so. And, as far as I can tell, there is no mandatory rite of initiation into Transformational Processing (or any other kind of processing) required in order to access to some secret esoteric inner NCN level. The way I see it, it looks like people at NCN are into MANY different things, and some are into the processing thing, and some are not into processing at all.

There are MANY workgroups with their own "group identity," and I suppose that as such things go, some of them, have, or do not have, an "inner circle" and might invite, or not, new members to their inner sanctums based on what they know about such members; or members just invite themselves based on their interest on such or such group (World Peace group, Sustainable environment group, etc.) And, who is to say? Some may have a system of their own (with levels based on experience points or not) but not necessarily so. So don't hold your breath, eh? I suppose that, in theory, it all depends in what you are interested in and what you want to do at NCN. And if such group do not exist, well, I suppose, you can always create your own.

I am no expert on NCN, so don't take my word for it, eh? I am just speculating and extrapoIating a lot, here. I am sure that there are people, like shawa, who can tell you a lot more about this.

Going back to your question about "inner circles" and in so far as it relates to the topic, this takes us back to one of your earlier observations on this thread where you commented:
"I see, perceive, connections running throughout these blogs. A alo see and utilize another set of connections that are private but made possible through public introductions."

Ah yes, I can see a problem here. For if, on the positive side, such parallel and private connections make it, indeed, possible, as Swan pointed out, to clear the air and help smooth relations by allowing for misunderstandings to be cleared up in a private group or on a one to one basis, there is also there a great potential for politics and all kind of double dealings to take place. And I do see ov’s concern:
"It is quite common on a discussion based website for a clique to dominate the public commons, set the agenda and mark out what is taboo. It is what makes a clique ubiquitous. A few people that hang out together and keep to themselves such that nobody even notices that they are there is not usually thought of as a clique."  

28 Jun 2004 @ 14:37 by ov : Centralization
Shawa I think it is all relative and I don't want to make that sound as an "agree to disagree" dismissive type statement. I think there is a large degree of centralization here, this here is a place, it is centered around the ISP address that is associated with The people that I have met here seem to have a shared set of values and behavior that is very different from for example, or even, and I could go on and on.

Every site that I have visited that has a discussion forum has an 'inner circle' and it consists of the shared memories of the people within that circle. The inner circle consists of the 'regulars'. There may be some discussion forums where nobody ever visits more than once, but even then I would venture that in such an situation the inner circle would consist of at least one person, namely an administrator.

I haven't been able to think of a way for a few billion people to carry on a collective conversation other than having various levels of centralized subgroups within the whole.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 17:49 by Sellitman @ : ov - "the map is not the territory"
Feedback and clarification (as per your request):

Whether they are "being themselves" (and I was not suggesting that people were lying about their age or gender or any such thing in their profile, ov) or whether they are just {link:|playing a role}, my point was that internet users sometimes do get too hung up in the image they are working to present to the world. The link was an explanation of what I meant by map and territory. A reference to korzybski and the problem that result when people confuse the map with the thing it is supposed to represent (in this instance, who people are (and can be) vs. the image they present to the world.) (Here is another {link:|link} )

As far as this thread is concerned, I don't care whether you are "a 26 year old female living in New Zealand" or "a 50 year old man sitting in a trailer park in Kentucky." And unless I am going to collaborate with you on some specific project or professional endeavor where your professional or technical expertise become relevant, I am really more interested in what your thoughts are on the issues than on what your profile says about you. The WWW is a large place, ov, and I don't keep files on everyone I speak or listen to. As it stands, it seems to me that Richard's log is open to comments, and i therefore take it that people's comments are welcome here, profile or no profile.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 17:59 by ov : Image
People in real life get hung up on the image they present to the world but at least there are more constraints than there are on the net.

I don't know what Richard's preferences are beyond what he has told me. I wasn't objecting to your comments beyond the fact that when you invoke my name and tell me to take it to my own log, I take it a little personal. Anything further on this between you and me, from my input anyway, can be done in private mail.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 18:28 by Sellitman @ : Misunderstanding...
Ah, I though you seemed pissed off.

Okay, I was only responding to your comment:
"An interesting discussion but I'm afraid that it is off topic and don't know whether to contribute to the topic drift or drop out."

My suggestion was:
"If you wish to go somewhere else with this or expand it in a direction you feel is not relevant to the topic, well, it seems to me, you can always post something about it on your newslog, if you have a newslog at NCN."  

This was all intended to be straighforward on my part (too much reading between the lines, here.) I didn't mean to tell you off or anything like that. Honest. Cross my heart. Besides, I think your comments are quite interesting and I've been enjoying reading them. Let's just put that behind us, okay? I know I have.


28 Jun 2004 @ 19:14 by jmarc : Frank Moore Colby Quotes
1."We do not mind our not arriving anywhere nearly so much as our not having any company on the way."

2."Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible."

3. "We always carry out by committee anything in which any one of us alone would be too reasonable to persist."

...just a little free associating . Carry on.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 19:24 by Sellitman @ : Furthermore...
I realize, belatedly, that your argument was with shawa and it does occur to me that, you are right, of course, I did butt into the discussion in a manner that might have seemed out of place, and was, in fact, all things considered, out of place. Sorry about all that. Sometimes the web does get tangled that way.

I think I'll just butt out, now.  

28 Jun 2004 @ 20:14 by ov : It's all good
These blogs work pretty good but they don't seem to be geared for long discussions, not like a dedicated conferencing software where you can easily link to past posts and which only display that which you haven't already read. I still like Motet best for that but I've given up on trying to get people into a Motet conference. At this one site we had a topic called the Bush Administration, it accumulated 9,999 posts and then we carried on in another one called part II.

Nice thing about the blogs though is the owner has the tools to moderate, and because there are so many owners the work load is evenly distributed. Richard has stated on his sidebar that he may clean these comments up from time to time and this is permission in advance from me to delete this comment as a tangent.

You make good points Sellitman, and I've enjoyed reading your comments, and I would encourage you to start a blog here, if for no other reason than it would make it easier for me to find your pearls of wisdom at a further date. A big problem with conferences is that the nuggets get buried and lost in the chaff. But if you don't have the chaff you never get to the nuggets in the first place.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 04:05 by shawa : ME2
I enjoyed your comments, Sellitman and OV. I think that the Jazzman´s log is perhaps not the best place to discuss these things, especially since the subject was clearly not about the structures of NCN, but about the "Happiness Club", of which I must say, I am definitely not a part. (I am more of a maverick, lol!)

Re/group identity, yes, I agree that the workgroups may have more of a group identity, because in a workgroup you get more up close and personal. (In the ones I´m involved with, we do.)

As for myself, I´m glad that NCN is such a loosely tied network, because it is a very good tool against "groupthink", which (I do hope we will agree) is not very evolutionary, since it is based on peer pressure and conformity.
Thanks, OV and Sellitman. I wish we could go on, maybe in another space, and till then I salute you both. :-)

And a salute to the Jazzman, of course.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 04:17 by jazzolog : "NCN Happiness" And Now Self-Esteem
Good morning friends (real and otherwise---in the event there are enemies [Shawa assures us, perhaps quoting John Lennon, "Everything is real" (ah, but does she speak for reality or about reality...and is this sentence real or only a picture of what's real)]) and after all that parenthetical hoohah, maybe I should have remained silent,

Which brings me to my first message of the day: where have I been, instead of guiding this thread with a sure seamstress' (seamster's? good grief, there is such a word!) hand? The first answer is that I waited to hear from Dempstress, whose message "Bloody hell!" 25 Jun 2004 @ 08:30 stopped me in my tracks---mid-seam so to speak. Dempstress' distress (and perhaps definition of how dialogue goes at NCN) is too common in my experience here to ignore for even an instant. She has become one of the great treasures on Internet life for me---and among the best advertisements I know of for opening to friendship online---and if she is upset and we are threatened with her giving up on this network, I drop everything to work on that situation. One time, Shawa (then known as Shakti) and I agreed significantly that NCN might be renamed the New Sieve Network, because of all the wondrous souls we lose through personal neglect, mismanagement and carelessness. The loss of even one member, because of nastiness in comments, is cause for major alarm in my opinion. I wrote Dempstress personally, as the editor of this Log (the term "owner" for maintaining one of these things is ridiculous at every level as far as I'm concerned---and would never hold up in a US court should a lawsuit be filed sometime), an NCN member, and her friend...but knew I'd have to wait through the weekend because she doesn't go near a computer then. She also wasn't feeling well. Yesterday she assured me the flames were not too hot for her at the Network, and she even came in here and there and posted again. I was considering some mighty editing of this thread, as a negotiation point were she to consider leaving the site.

The second reason has been time limitations, given that I am 2/3rds of the way through a performance run of a play here in Athens, and it's a big part and the weekends are most frenzied. Besides that, last night about a hundred of us in this town attended interactive parties in a few homes with Michael Moore, who came on line to talk with tens of thousands of folks simultaneously linked to about his boxoffice smash of a documentary. So here I am at last to check the thread on this needle.

Let me first assure anyone that all comments have been OK. We talked about Happiness for a while---and some people got very unhappy and stormed out (I'm delighted with Sellitman's noticing how some of those rants seemed to personify the research findings of the article quite precisely!). I wrote "NCN Happiness" as the subject and so there's no reason we can't talk about NCN too. I put "NCN" in there only because this entry is here; the title of it at the other jazzoLOG at is "Total Happiness" I believe. Anyway, NCN approaches the weather in popularity of discussion---and sure enough, after all is said, nothing is done!

Sellitman's proposal that it might be interesting if member opinions and expectations be gathered and examined someday prompts me to mention again one of my favorite topics at this place: the Survey. For newcomers (and for you oldcomers who are more tired of my reminders about this than you possibly can say, please scroll down to the next paragraph) a couple of years ago, Ming offered at his own impossibly weighty Log (so don't ask me to reference exactly where at the moment) to bring out a survey of the membership, which he said was all made up and ready for distribution. He said he just didn't have the time to fiddle with it. Two people instantly offered to help him---one of whom quit the site partly in his ensuing frustration, and the other flew off from Minnesota or someplace to New Zealand to get married, but still is an active member. Well obviously the Survey never did get administered---and maybe it didn't need to be...BUT the way it fizzled out is demonstrative of what I think is so horribly wrong with this site.

Anytime I mention member-participation in the upkeep of the site (since such maintenance must be a big job) people accuse me of authoritarianism and Ming declares I'm trying to take over the place. These shrill alarms are as far from the truth and what I'm about as it's possible to get, but the scare tactics are effective and my suggestions for more representation in how this site is run are roundly rejected. The people IN here like it this way, but I continue concerned about the vast member numbers who are OUT there. Whether the Survey would tell us why they're out there and not in here, or whether representative participation is the answer, I don't know---and may never...but that is a little history.

Which brings me to this observation: we all can talk about NCN...but in fact Ming talks FOR NCN, and his decisions are total. That's that. Whether a Webmaster is also the guru could be debated, as could his duties and responsibilities---at least as outlined by the Federal Communications Commission in this country---but rarely does this happen, because he takes it as a personal challenge and often responds that the questioner doesn't like him. I see no way through this impasse, and so, like some others, I settle for the labyrinth and trying to set up a little reality that's nice enough for me---and try to avoid discussions like this very one we are having.

OK, now something new I happened to run across the other day. Well, I am a year behind in reading some journals, and this article turned up in Science News laast June. It's online at but you have to subscribe to the actual magazine to see it. We do, and I'm going to share it, praying there'll be no repercussions. The Total Positive Outlook people often talk of bad vibes and negative energy, (I think) because such manifestations don't contribute to positive self-esteem which is so necessary to create the New Civilization. So check out these findings, which sorta go along with the Happiness thing up above~~~

Science News Online
Week of June 7, 2003; Vol. 163, No. 23

Findings puncture self-esteem claims
Bruce Bower

High self-esteem may not live up to its reputation. A strong regard for one's own traits and abilities exerts few of the beneficial effects claimed for it by teachers, parents, psychotherapists, and others, according to a new review of the voluminous scientific literature on this issue.

Roy F. Baumeister of Florida State University in Tallahassee and his colleagues find that high self-esteem---whether present in individuals from the start or induced through educational programs---generally doesn't lead to improved school or job performance. However, academic and job successes often boost self-esteem, Baumeister and his coworkers note in the May Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

People who evaluate themselves extremely positively aren't more likely than others to have satisfying relationships, assume leadership positions, or avoid bouts of depression, the researchers say. Also, high self-esteem doesn't prevent children and teenagers from smoking cigarettes, using alcohol and illicit drugs, engaging in sex, or behaving violently.

Overall, high self-esteem enhances pleasant feelings and generally increases a person's willingness to initiate either positive or negative behavior, the scientists note. For instance, schoolyard bullies, as well as those who stand up to them, frequently report high self-esteem.

If you have a comment on this article that you would like considered for publication in Science News, send it to Please include your name and location.



This short piece didn't say how self-esteem was assessed. Overdeveloped egotism is often a compensatory phenomenon in individuals with low self-esteem and can falsely present as high self-esteem. Self-reported self-regard taken at face value can lead to wrong conclusions about the effects of different levels of self-esteem on behavior, perception, relationships, and other aspects of life.

Laurie Winogrand
Seattle, Wash.


Baumeister, R.F., et al. 2003. Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(May):1-44. Available at


Roy F. Baumeister
Department of Psychology
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1270

From Science News, Vol. 163, No. 23, June 7, 2003, p. 365.
Copyright (c) 2003 Science Service

And we have some bullies at NCN obviously with very high self-esteem (at least as outwardly presented). Finally, as to This-Is-Not-A-Pipe, I'm reminded of Picasso's comment to a critic who complained the artist's pictures didn't represent reality. After an interview with the painter, the critic, trying to be friendly, brought out from his wallet a photo of his family to share. Picasso looked at the photograph and said, "These people look just beautiful and so charming, but I had no idea they really are so small!"

29 Jun 2004 @ 05:38 by swan : Wow Richard!
First off, I think you should get an award for the longest, most comprehensive comment, a wrap up of this newslog and the news of NCN for the last couple of years :-) Also thanks for talking to Dempstress , we wouldn't want to lose her. And finally, your last sentence inspired me to post another newslog. Two inspirations from one newslog. How did this newslog fair on the other site?

Great dialog everyone.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 07:14 by spiritseek : If nothing else
it helps stimulate some of us to think and write another article, poem or comment.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 12:34 by Sellitman @ : Very interesting, Richard
This is excellent! I have taken the liberty of directing several people to your Log. I hope this is okay with you and that no one will mind if I post a few links here, for orientation purpose, for some of the visitors who might not have taken as much time as i have in getting acquainted with the Newslogs of NCN (if you feel it is inappropriate or if anyone object, please feel free to just nip this comment.)

These are the publically accessible news logs owned by NCN members: {link:|here}

This is the blog of swan: {link:|SWAN's SONG AND HUMMINGBIRD'S HEART}

This the blog of spiritseek: {link:|SPIRITUAL WARRIOR}

I would not ordinarily care to speculate, we all are multidimensional beings and I don't "label" people, but I think that swan and spiritseek are speaking for the, so called "happy people" (and just for the record, I want to make it clear that I think happy people are cool imho.) I am just pointing these blogs out because their owners just commented above that Richard's entry had been inspiring them to think and write, and I am sure some visitors will want to take a look.)

I have a couple of questions, too. That is, if you, or anyone else, has the time (or the interest) to answer them.

1. How many active members does NCN count? By active members I mean people who participate on a regular basis on the Newslog Area. (Just the Newslog. I am not talking about the chatrooms or workgroups or "the many threads/levels/dimensions/cables/tunnels/halls" of NCN.)

a - How many of these members participate on a daily basis?

b - How many on a weekly basis?

2. Are there main areas of interest (beside the obvious one about being the new civilization, of course)? Can the Newslog Area be roughly broken into two or three big, free-floating general pools of interest in term of their content? And, if so, how do the Newslogs break out among these main areas of interest. e.g. How many newslogs are, if applicable, mainly focused on, let's say, healing the world through "self-improvement" or their "positive thinking" for instance, or on "being happy" (trying to stay with the topic, here)----a {link:|Cities of Light} kind of a focus, if you will. Or, if applicable, how many newslogs are mostly focused on, let's say, "social activism?" How many on "political awareness", etc.

3. If the Newslog Area can be broken into two or three big, free-floating general pools of interest, as described above, is there a lot of interaction between these groups (do they "work" together on some things, or "communicate" al all with each other) or do they mostly ignore each other? If the latter, are they mostly indifferent to each other, other than for the occasional "inspiration" (and is the mood relatively convivial) or are people trying to SHOUT over each other?

I don't mean to pry, eh? And I suppose that those who might have an interest in such things could always do their own research {link:|here} and try and figure that out for themselves, but I am also curious to hear what Richard's, and other members of NCN's perception is on this, I mean, if anyone cares to share, of course. I don't mean to put anyone on the spot, here. So just ignore me, or just delete this comment if I am being too bold.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:52 by Baalberith @ : Ok, so, I am - sort of...
What did you want me to see? Why did you bring me here?  

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:54 by Rhamiel @ : Watching the people?

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:55 by Baalberith @ : They are...

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:56 by Rhamiel @ : So you say :-)
But you didn't say in what way they are odd.  

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:57 by Baalberith @ : They talk all the time

29 Jun 2004 @ 23:58 by Rhamiel @ : Do you understand them?

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:00 by Baalberith @ : Oh, sure.
But it sounds strange. What are you watching them for?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:02 by Rhamiel @ : I am not certain.
A way to do something I have to do.

Where do you think Sellitman is going with all this? Does he have a point?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:04 by Baalberith @ : Is that why you brought me here?

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:07 by Rhamiel @ : Those people are...
never mind.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:08 by Baalberith @ : They are what?

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:11 by Rhamiel @ : You see,
it is a matter of the philosophical and the practical; the mystical and the mundane.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:13 by Baalberith @ : Yeah, right
I am not impressed. You're just going to have to do a little better than that.


30 Jun 2004 @ 00:19 by Rhamiel @ : I'm not certain I can
There are many who are contemptuous of the intellectual process. But those who aren't distrustful of it, sometimes discover that the further you go from the the ordinary, day to day world, the more understanding you can achieve of it; and the more you understand of the world, the more you can act, instead of being acted upon. That is part of what magic is about.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:22 by Baalberith @ : But...
I remember you saying, last time we talked, that you ought to get involved, and now you're saying you should stand apart.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:23 by Rhamiel @ : Got me

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:27 by Rhamiel @ : Not stand apart in actions,
I mean, don't be afraid to form general conclusions , to try to find the laws at work or formulate new ones.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:31 by Baalberith @ : Er... Rhamiel?
This is better going to have something to do whith NCN Happiness sometimes soon, now, or I suspect, Richard, our gracious host, is not going to be too happy about this. This is his log, yah know.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:39 by Rhamiel @ : Yes
Well, you see, Sellitman is asking about people, here, being possibly ideologically divided in two or more large "free-floating general pools of interest" and whether any serious real communication is possible between these groups.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:41 by Baalberith @ : And you know the answer?

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:42 by Rhamiel @ : no

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:44 by Baalberith @ : This is going to be a long evening
Forgive him, Richard, "for he doesn't know what he is doing..."  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:53 by Rhamiel @ : What I mean to say
is that I cannot speak for NCN. But, my experience of such things is that it often involve two types of people. Some are mystics, who attempt to explore the nature of the world by looking within themsleves, and some are explorers, who look upon the world as a problem to be solved, and thus reduce other people to either distractions or pieces of puzzle, and treat them accordingly.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:54 by Baalberith @ : The explorers sound dangerous.

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:56 by Rhamiel @ : They are.
Not nearly as dangerous as the mystics, however.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:58 by Baalberith @ : ???
Why is that?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 00:59 by Rhamiel @ : Because explorers
at least believe that others are real.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:02 by Baalberith @ : Hmmm...
Do they believe that the world is real?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:06 by Rhamiel @ : Some do.
But that's not the point, explorer will interact with the world as if it were real, whether they believe it is real or not. To a mystic, that which dwells inside is the only reality.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:08 by Baalberith @ : I see

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:21 by Rhamiel @ : I have met different kind of mystics
There are degrees.

Some believe that the world they live in is an illusion or that they are the only reality and everything else is a dream.

Other believe that, real or not, the world is not important and that it is only there as a stage for their spiritual evolution, some kind of a program written just for them, or for them and other fellow travelers with whom they are meant to journey for their betterment or the betterment of the collective.

There are those who believe that as they progress along their journey and as their vibrations reach a higher frequency they'll access a higher reality and leave this world behind along with those who were not able to complete the journey.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:23 by Baalberith @ : Hey
That almost sounds like the rapture of the christians  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:32 by Rhamiel @ : Not quite.
I can see why you would think of it, there are differences though. The point is that mystics care little for the world because they don't believe in improving the world, they believe in improving themselves, and they believe that the world will improve as result, or that it will morph into a higher reality.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:33 by Baalberith @ : Sounds like religion to me

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:45 by Rhamiel @ : Hence the communication impasse
You have people thinking that they are talking about group democracy and networking and communicationism and so forth while in fact what we have is a fundamental religious difference.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 01:53 by Baalberith @ : Interesting
I can see how the mystics'spiritual preocupation with the self, could be interpreted as, well, selfish, or narcissistic by the explorers whose concern is focused outward in the world.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:00 by Rhamiel @ : Depends
on what one means by spirituality.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:02 by Baalberith @ : A belief and attitude
(James, 1902)  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:04 by Rhamiel @ : A search...
...for meaning in life

(Frankl, 1975; King & Nicol, 1999)  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:06 by Baalberith @ : A desire to connect
with a transcendent entity/dimension/wholeness/oneness

(Allport, 1968)  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:09 by Rhamiel @ : Well, even there
there are two more large subgroups of "free-floating general pools of interest."  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:10 by Baalberith @ : I don't understand

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:33 by Rhamiel @ : The history of spirituality
includes a long tradition (and a procession of figures) which have contributed to strongly connect the idea of spirituality with abnegation (a renunciation of one's own interests in favor of the interests of others.)  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:36 by Baalberith @ : oh

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:49 by Rhamiel @ : Now that was quite different
from just pursuing the spiritual path for one's own exclusive benefit, out of wants or needs, because one wants to be "saved" or one wants to make it to the next dimension, or because, as I have heard a priest tell his congregation, one "wants a celestial body."  

30 Jun 2004 @ 02:57 by Baalberith @ :
"Those who have wholly gone out of themselves, and who do not seek for what is theirs in anything, whatever it may be, great or little, who are not looking beneath themselves or above themselves or beside themselves or at themselves, who are not desiring possessions or honor or ease or pleasure or profit or inwardness or holiness or reward or the kingdom of heaven, and who have gone out from all this, from every thing that is theirs; these people pay honor to G-d, and they honor Go-d properly, and they give him what is his."
---Meister Eckhart

That sort of things, huh?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:06 by Rhamiel @ : Hey?!
Since when do you quote Meister Eckhart?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:09 by Baalberith @ : LOL
Well, that's what you meant, isn't it?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:27 by Baalberith @ : As opposed to
pursuing "spiritual wealth" for one's own personal enrichment, in the same way an entrepreneur pursues material wealth in the physical world.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:31 by Rhamiel @ : Yes
And I suppose you are now going to tell me the parable of the camel and the needle and all that :-)  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:33 by Baalberith @ : I won't
I have to draw the line somewhere.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:36 by Rhamiel @ : Things are not that black & white
and there is a little bit of the explorer in the mystic and a little bit of the mystic in the explorer.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:38 by Baalberith @ : How very yin and yang :-)

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:41 by Rhamiel @ : What I meant
is that there are those mystics who cliam that their purpose is to help themselves first so that they can help others, afterward.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:44 by Baalberith @ : I don't know, Rhamiel
This sounds like "trickle down" spirituality to me.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 03:58 by jazzolog : Swan, You Were Right
Perhaps a visitation by angels (dark & light) means the thread finally is dead. At any rate, some members may recognize these "2" from other entries elsewhere~~~ and . I shall say simply that I am honored with the time and care always given in such comments.

Re: the Sellitman's last questioning from yesterday---I don't think either Swan or Spiritseek would be content with the mantle of spokesperson for the Happy People. They probably will comment for themselves; however, you may recall there were a few members who became discontent with this entry fairly quickly and stomped out. It may be we have no one left to speak up for Happy Dogma---or even positive self-esteem.

As to the questions requiring statistical analysis of NCN participation, lotsa luck. Ming might attempt an answer or 2, if it interests him...but I doubt we have the tech scanning to determine these answers. You may have noticed on the Activity Page there is a graph at the bottom, but that appears to be clicks rather than logins. There is a view of logins, but they're not dated. At the bottom of the People Page you see a running count of members---but who knows how many of them ever have been active or even come onto the site? I too am interested in these questions, but I don't think Ming believes they serve the "real" purpose and vision of the Network.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 04:33 by ov : Dungeons and Sanctuaries
Richard I had just discovered those two and now I read that with a bit of patience I would have found this was no big secret after all, but still I wonder why I hadn't spotted them earlier in the newciv log; are there blogs that while not visible to the general public aren't visible to the members either?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 05:05 by jazzolog : Hidden Logs
Yes there are, Ov. The most common category is the Hidden Log. Usually this happens when an individual Logwriter decides to take some time away from the hubbub---or else just dismantle and redesign the whole thing. One cannot totally destroy a Log---that is, remove it from the site---but you can hide them. The option is available at a Log's configuration.

Workgroups also can have Logs, which generally anyone can visit although not always leave comments. They aren't really hidden but you have to go to the Groups page to find them. The Muse Log is such a Log . As editor of the Log section of the splash page, I try to keep track of them and feature entries out there. They are not listed on the Communicate page though.

Ming and other longtime participants here assure me there are areas of NCN that almost no one discovers. He also has said that such areas remain exclusive for the participants involved and that's the way they like it. I've never been curious enough to poke around and attempt access. Vaxen knows a lot of this stuff too.  

30 Jun 2004 @ 05:49 by swan : Yes Richard,
I recognize Quidnovi when I see him :-) But you have to admit he IS brilliant. And he must have spent hours creating that little play for us. (3 hours and 10 minutes to be exact) Thank you very much, it is brilliant. I think you almost Sell it man. that a standing ovation? Yes, I think I hear 8000 people clapping...or is that number larger now?

P.S I am a mystical explorer according to your definitions...I must be really dangerous!

P.P.S Thank you for pointing it out Richard, I am not the Spokeswoman for the Happy People, I only speak for myself.

P.P.P.S I think Richard just broke the record for most comments in a newslog!

P.P.P.S.S Some workgroups have newslogs that only the work group can access.

P.P.P.P.S I wonder why Tlingel didn't join in that late night conversation?  

30 Jun 2004 @ 07:12 by spiritseek : Amusement
I was quite amused over the conversation the two had, but I would like to say its not cut and so dry that you can put me in a category. A well rounded person, not me yet, will have all the beliefs merged together. I believe there is many ways to happiness and bliss,it depends on what the person wants and is looking/hopeing for!  

4 Jul 2004 @ 17:52 by Tlingel @ : NCN Happiness as religion
Hey, thank you for the invite, Swan.

And thank you, Richard, for the forum. Wow, what a thread!

I ordinarily don't take side on such exchanges. But methinks that, clearly, Rhamiel got a point there. Talking about "the truth" and claiming to know what "the truth" is for oneself AND FOR OTHERS, believing that there are those who don’t know the truth and that one’s mission is to bring "the truth" to them, this indeed is RELIGION - i.e. religion, in the sense defined by William James, "the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto."

Nothing wrong with that, and to each its own. Religious people are not all bad, and to be sure, NCN is an open network where people of different beliefs and different religious backgrounds are welcome to cohabit, and, hey, the religion of the happy people is just as good a one as any. "Spreading the love and light" who can argue with that?

A problem with religion often occurs, however, when, "believers," wheter they are aware of it or not, are tempted to take over the network they are involved with in, and/or turn things into an extension of their egos. In relation to the topic of the article this thread is about, this is when the "happy people," so to speak, turn ugly and things degenerate into a struggle for positions of authority.

Now, I don’t know if such is the case at NCN, but, as this happens to be a common occurrence in much networks where one spiritual community or another has become dominant, it will be interesting to see how such things evolve here, if at all, and how a model can emerge of how such issues can be addressed in a new civilization.  

4 Jul 2004 @ 20:07 by ov : converging connections
I had a dream last night of Francis' angelic triumvarite and with a tingel you are there. hhmmm Then I'm tracking down Sedna and reference {|Rob's free will} and these following two poems do appear. hhmmm


The Boat
by Kabir

The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling;
none of us have gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.

I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,
inside "love" there is more joy than we know of,
rain pours down,
although the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all parts
by a single sort of love.

How hard it is to feel that joy
in all our four bodies!

Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.
The arrogance of reason has separated us
from that love.
With the word "reason" you already feel miles away.

How lucky Kabir is, that surrounded by all this joy
he sings inside his own little boat.
His poems amount to one soul meeting another.
These songs are about forgetting dying and loss.
They rise above both coming in and going out.

--from {|The Kabir Book: Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir}, edited by Robert Bly

So okay that does sound like it is related to Sedna and the OrgasmoVolution, but perhaps not to this discussion, but the second half of the pair is definitely on par.

Stop Being So Religious
by Hafiz

Do Sad people have in

It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past

And often go there
And do a strange wail and

What is the beginning of

It is to stop being
so religious

for more Hafiz, check out {|The Gift}, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Lately I have found those Persians persuasively pervading my personal life.  

4 Jul 2004 @ 22:23 by Sellitman @ : Opiate Dreaming?
Hey, thank you, I see some interesting links there. The question about Religion is an excellent one. So is the question about activism.

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.
---Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Stay asleep, be "happy"?

I find my thoughts drifting to "Roger and me," where Michael Moore, acting as the film's curmudgeonly master of ceremonies, introduces the viewers to such memorable clips as Reagan-era spokesperson, Anita Bryant, inviting the unemployed Flint autoworkers to "Cheer up!":

"You have today. Today's a new day."

Or Robert Schuller encouraging them to be filled with hope for the future and to dream big dreams:

"Tough times don't last, tough people do."

Or Ms. Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, who doesn’t seem to care much about anything beyond her own image and popularity, and bid to be the next “Miss America.”

Does NCN have its own Anita Bryant and Robert Schuller? What about its own Kaye Lani Rae Rafko?

I am glad to see that there are people like Richard on this new civilization network who have not lost the ability to think and speak in plain English and to talk about things as they see them. I am sure no-one is saying that there is anything wrong with happiness. What I think some people are saying, though, is that there could be a problem when happiness becomes a form of “newspeak,” a new manner of speech by which one promote the optimism that “self-improvement” and change in personal attitudes alone (such as “smiling to your neighbors” as opposed to activism) will bring about a new civilization, while deep-seated societal problems can remain ignored.

On a somewhat related topic, Elaine, at{link:|Kalilily time} is wondering "if blogging just gives us the illusion of being engaged in changing the world---just a new version of opiate dreaming?"

One of the answer she gets in one comment is that, perhaps, "There's nothing wrong with an illusion…The right illusion, at the right time---and you just never know."

"Illusion yes," Says another commentator, "but watch out for his evil twin, Delusion. There are lots of ways to fall asleep."  

5 Jul 2004 @ 04:04 by jazzolog : Evangelical Happiness
For the sake of novelty, or just to get a laugh, many of us here become Devil's Advocate at the drop of a comment. There surely is someone scrolling somewhere on the site at any moment, who's bound to say there's something wrong with absolutely anything. We are noted for this characteristic. New Curmudgeon Network.

But we also are noted for the Lightworking Syndrome---blinking positive healing with smileys and hugs in every direction. And maybe most of the active gals are Warm Fuzzy Advocates (teddy bears included) and the guys are Shoot-Down Artists. Not sure about that, or certainly that sex hormones are determining philosophical outlook here. I'm most grateful for the members who don't fit into either category---but who try to stand up for SOMEthing anyway.

At my church yesterday (Episcopal currently) our priest took on the Independence Day topic of "Triumphant Christianity," which he described as the "frustrating" brand of the religion the Bush administration and its supporters are shoving down the world's throat. The whole deal about it is its practitioners cannot bear the thought that something might be going wrong...that a mistake has been made, which we may need to confess, to turn around and to start over. Congregations in America are full of Happy Pentecostals bent upon converting you or kill you while trying. The dazed happiness of those religious crusaders IS wrong and needs to be challenged and shattered. Our election in the States is going to be about this. I think also the research presented in this entry's article is about the trend of Desperate Happiness.  

5 Jul 2004 @ 04:36 by shawa : What the hell...
Let´s make it 200 comments! ;-)

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
Although its light is wide and great,
The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky
Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.

5 Jul 2004 @ 04:40 by shawa : 200!
Well versed in the Buddha way,
I go the non-Way
Without abandoning my
Ordinary person’s affairs.

The conditioned and
All are flowers in the sky.

Nameless and formless,
I leave birth-and-death.
Layman P’ang (740-808)  

5 Jul 2004 @ 08:56 by Quinty @ : A Milestone

I just thought I would be 201  

5 Jul 2004 @ 12:50 by Baalberith @ : A NCN "No Exit"?
"So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the 'burning marl.' Old wive's tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS - OTHER PEOPLE!"
----Sartre, {link:|No Exit}

You've got to love this thread. It is a gem. A never-ending round of circular arguments over some ill defined, ever-shifting notions ("What" doesn’t really seem to matter, actually.)

"…We're chasing after each other, round and round in a vicious circle, like the horses on a merry-go-round. That's part of their plan, of course…Drop it, Inez. Open your hands and let go of everything."
----Sartre, {link:|No Exit}

A lot of self-affirmation ("I AM ___") and constant reaffirmation/justification of one's stated purpose, or of one's beautiful picture hanging on the walls of NCN. Some "please understand me;" a few attempt at genuine communication? Sometimes. But a lot of {link:!tran3tp/xttcrop.htm|crossed-transactions}, more often.

"But I wanted to show my colors. My true colors, do you understand?"
----Sartre, {link:|No Exit}

And people shouting above each other, the "positive hecklers" singing bit of poetry in praise of happiness and enlightenment, like so many mantras, while studiously ignoring the comments being posted.

Are these 201 comments a microcosms of NCN, I do not know, but there is certainly something there that resonates deeply at some level with the article being posted.

Oooh, Richard, what have you done?  

5 Jul 2004 @ 15:11 by ov : What Richard has done
is allowed a stage for anons to perform theatre and abuse those deluded enough to think this is real.  

5 Jul 2004 @ 16:33 by Quinty @ : Regarding comment 198

Ie, Evangelical Happiness - These God eyed, glad faced, boost don’t knock evangelicals you describe, Richard, are truly scary. And they may decide the future course of our country? I kind of wish for a country which, constantly exclaiming it’s the greatest in the world, would behave that way: rather than like the subturanians in a Dostoevsky novel.  

5 Jul 2004 @ 18:41 by Sellitman @ : Comment 198
"Our election in the States is going to be about this."

I know, it baffles the mind. One of the fault-lines of the coming presidential election is religion and there are those {link:|christian foot soldiers} who are convinced that George W Bush and the members of his administration are paragons of virtue and their best hope for keeping the deterioration of American society at bay.  

6 Jul 2004 @ 01:05 by shawa : The obvious, though
Baalberith, who are you to say such things about NCN, though ? (No offense meant, just stating the obvious). Francis, if this is you, I would have wished for true colors, otherwise your purpose defeats itself.  

6 Jul 2004 @ 05:37 by jazzolog : Anonymous Happiness
One of the first terms I ran into on the Internet was the "lurker." What a great category! Lurkers tend to be absolutely silent I think, but maybe occasionally they slip in a comment under an assumed identity---and then vanish again into shadow. Now of course stalkers have gotten a bad rep lately---although what kid hasn't followed another kid around...for any number of reasons? Used to be very prevalent before the educational takeover of the schoolbus. Following a girl or spying on a sorority meeting was a great occupation for guys in the '50s. Lurking, though, definitely was perverted. But now it seems OK to lurk, but following the lure of the Siren will get you to jail. Oh well, chasing the happiness of the fleeting, material mirage is like that I guess.  

6 Jul 2004 @ 08:17 by Quinty @ : Christian foot soldiers

Thanks Sellitman for providing the article from BBC, which still offers unbiased news nor, being British, sees any reason for being a booster of US foreign policy. (Though under pressure from their own government. But that's another story.) Yes, it has been dawning on me recently, perhaps tardily, how much power these people have. That they may actually determine the election. How will that effect human happiness here and throughout the rest of the world? Fundamentalists! Aren't they a joy?  

6 Jul 2004 @ 11:34 by Sellitman @ : Who is "anyone"?
Who is anyone, Shawa, to say anything about NCN? NCN is a public place, it seems to me. The {link:|greeting page} makes it clear that one can "Log in as a member to get access to more services," but it doesn't make it mandatory, nor does it make it a crime, Richard, not to be a member, or to participate as a non-member, anonymously or otherwise. I've noticed that people tend to be very possessive about NCN, while, correct me if I am wrong, my impression of NCN is that it belongs to no-one and everyone. I have also noticed that whenever anyone (especially when it's an outsider) starts asking pointed questions about NCN or just dare express a dissenting opinion on a members Newslog, there is some sort of Pablovian-like response that seems to result, more often than not, in some members of NCN to gang up against the questioner or the dissenter and cause them to attack the person posting the comment and his or her motives rather than addressing the content of the comment itself, which is too bad, as it causes the content of the comments, which are sometimes interesting, to be ignored or overlooked.

I don't know, I kind of like Rhamiel and Baalberith. Are they one and the same? Perhaps. Are they a duo working together? Possibly (They wouldn't be the firsts.) Are they just visitors or are they members of NCN? Does it matter? {link:|Who is real?} One thing is clear, they are imaginary beings and as such they are not trying to deceive anyone (can everyone here at NCN say the same?) and they do not pretend to be anything that they are not. Is what Rhamiel and Baalberith saying, real? I read what they were saying, and it seemed real enough to me. I read Baalberith last comment and it seems to me that what he was saying was more about what he had been observing on this thread than about NCN itself. Though he did ask at the end whether this was representative of NCN. Was it an innocent question on his part? Could be, but I wouldn't bet on it. After all, innocence is not known to be one of Baalberith's chief attributes. Does this make his input less valuable? I don't think so.

Just my two cents, eh? And, my compliments, shawa, I think this was a very pertinent question (it had been on my mind.) Bless your heart for asking aloud what I think possibly many people had been wondering about silently without asking. You are very perceptive that way.

Thank you, Quinty, for following up on comment 198, I am glad someone did. Fundamentalism certainly appears to be the plague of our times (and of the entire history of mankind, it seems.) While it is easy to recognize fundamentalism abroad in others, one tend to be blind to its presence when it manifests in one' s own country, neighborhood, church (thank you for sharing, Richard,) workplace, large and small organizations, and even, at times, in open networks such as this one.


Didn't mean to imply the slightest objection to "anonymous" or otherwise comments. All are welcome here. I have met equally remarkable people at jazzoLOG who just were Googling around, stopped by and said hello without intention of joinin' up, as I have among the membership. It's an honor to have your comments, friend.


1 Aug 2004 @ 12:00 by scotty : re: Against Happiness
Against Happiness

today I recieved an e-mail on the article written by Jim Holt
I'll paste it here for your perusal !

**Volume 2, Number 14

Misreporting Science in the New York Times: Against Happiness

By Martin E. P. Seligman

July 29, 2004

I’ve been reading the New York Times every morning for more than forty years. When it still appeared on my doorstep in the morning during the Pentagon Papers incident, I knew that I still lived in a free country.

I wish I could break myself of this reading habit. Why? Because the reporting of science, particularly of psychology, is so bad. I’ll narrate the latest horror story first, and then try to put it in historical context.

On June 20th of this year, the Sunday Magazine of the New York Times carried, as its opening story, an article entitled “Against Happiness,” by one Jim Holt. It warned that “Well-being might be bad for you,” basing its thesis on an article that appeared in Psychological Science in May 2004.

The argument went like this: in the Psychological Science article, Mr. Holt told readers, “Researchers found that angry people are more likely to make negative evaluations when judging members of other social groups….But the same seems to be true of happy people, the researchers noted. The happier you are, the more liable you are to make bigoted judgments like deciding that someone is guilty of a crime simply because he’s a member of a minority group.” The article goes on to use this as a fulcrum for condemning well-being and happiness as having undesirable consequences for society.

I was puzzled since I know the literature on the positive consequences of happiness (including increased altruism, leadership, physical health, success, lack of depression, etc.) pretty well. So I re-read the original Psychological Science. I could not find these data therein.

The Psychological Science article looks at the consequences of sadness, anger, and neutrality (not of happiness) on "bigoted" social judgments. Have a look: DeSteno, David, Dasgupta, Nilanjana, Bartlett, Monica Y. & Cajdric, Aida (2004) Prejudice >From Thin Air. Psychological Science 15 (5), 319-324. But I was worried that somehow I had missed something. So I emailed the first author.

Here is Dr. DeSteno’s reply:

“Dr. Seligman is exactly correct. The article cited below does not contain any statements about happiness. Rather, our work focuses on the ability of the emotion anger to evoke automatic prejudices.

I believe Mr. Holt may have been referring to work by Galen Bodenhausen that is cited in a recent NYT Science Times article (from the end of April) that focused on the work of my lab. Dr. Bodenhausen discussed his work in that article which details the influence of happiness on the use of stereotypes; happiness has been shown to make individuals rely on stereotyped beliefs when making certain judgments under certain conditions. This is a very different finding from ours in which we demonstrate that anger can bias the automatic appraisal mechanisms of the brain and produce a new prejudice.

What I find most peculiar about this event is that I was contacted a week ago by someone from the NYT fact checking department who told me of the description of my research findings. I, of course, noted the error to him and gave him a correct summary of our research findings. He asked for a phone number where I could be reached as he felt certain that the author would want to speak with me regarding this point. No one subsequently contacted me.”

The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

A bit of journalistic carelessness? Perhaps. Holt excused his own reporting with “allowing for a little journalistic caricature,” which seems to mean that he took a thesis that fit his ideology and ran with it without doing the tedious homework of reading the large literature on the social benefits of happiness (e.g., happy people are more altruistic than unhappy people). But the editors liked it anyway and I have seen a pattern in the New York Times over the last decade when it comes to the reporting of psychology in particular and good news in general.

I was outraged when Spiro Agnew referred to his enemies as the “nattering nabobs of negativism” and doubtful more recently when others condemned the press and many politicians as “professional pessimists.” But maybe Mr. Agnew was on to something. So here is some background.

In 1999, the Sunday Magazine of the New York Times commissioned and paid Strawberry Saroyan to spend an entire week at a Positive Psychology scientific conference in the Yucatan to do a major story on the topic. She wrote it and the editor killed it at the last minute (“Too lightweight,” Ms. Saroyan was told).

In 2002-3, again the Sunday Magazine of the New York Times commissioned Sarah Kerr to do a major story on Positive Psychology. She spent many hours on this and did many interviews. It too died (“I blame myself,” Ms Kerr told me).

In April 2004, an editorial writer of the New York Times, Andrew Johnston, submitted an editorial favorable to happiness research and pushing the idea that society needed national well-being indicators to supplement the often misleading economic indicators.

The New York Times editors declined to publish it. It was published in the International Herald Tribune instead.

The New York Times Book Review has always reviewed the latest wrinkles on Freud, Jung, and (just today) the sexual abuse of children But no review of Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice, no review of George Vaillant’s Aging Well, no review of David Myer’s The American Paradox, no review of David Whitman’s The Optimism Gap, no review of Kahneman, Diener, & Schwartz’s Well-Being (the Nobel Prize is apparently not enough to make it “heavyweight”), no review of Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and William Damon’s Good Work. Only one of the dozen or so recent serious books on happiness has been reviewed, Gregg Easterbrook’s The Progress Paradox. It is a balanced and thoroughly researched study of striking economic and social progress since 1950 juxtaposed to no increase in happiness over the same time period. Finally taking notice, the New York Times Book Review denounced it as “slapdash nonsense.”

What do these books and stories have in common? They are good news. They suggest that virtue, well-being, nobility, happiness, and meaning are all within the realm of human possibility, and that life is not just unmitigated tragedy, violence, and meaninglessness. And they are based on solid, painstaking science involving hundreds of thousands of subjects, hundreds of refereed articles, and scores of doctoral dissertations from the most reputable universities in the world.

If it bleeds, it leads

But take a shoddily researched and truly lightweight account that can be run as “Against Happiness,” and it leads.

Yes, there are professional pessimists. Yes, there are nattering nabobs of negativism. There are media dedicated to the dividends of darkness that both reflect a cultural bias toward despair and simultaneously shape it. They are enormously influential, and if you wonder why our young people are in the midst of an epidemic of depression and meaninglessness in the presence of unprecedented wealth, education, and opportunity, you might start with what they read in the New York Times. **

et voila ! I hope that wasn't too long !*smile*  

20 Jun 2006 @ 13:45 by rosemarie @ : hi
its nice i like evrything  

14 Mar 2008 @ 16:26 by Wm J Fackelman @ : Against Happiness BY Jim Holt
“The very idea that happiness could harm a person's character” A drunk clutching his bottle is happy. A baby nursing on mommy’s breast is happy. Take away the bottle or breast they are in need or unhappy. If you have everything you think you need you think you are happy if something it taken away you think you are unhappy. In the same line of thought a rapist will be happy as long as there is someone to rape.

Therefore those things you think will make you happy are not harmful to your character, They are your character. They are the learned behaviors that determine your character. The natural behavior when one needs to defecate is to just let it go and you will be happier. If happiness or unhappiness were the only criteria for survival this world would really stink.

Many unhappy people do believe that this world does indeed stink and they look outside of themselves to find out why it stinks. They look around with their eyes blinded by their learned behavior and point accusing fingers to anything that different from what they have learned. A different colored skin, a different religious practice, or a different political party. Anything outside of their small world of learned behavior is fodder for their unhappiness.

Today There are thousands imprisoned that are there only because they where attempting to achieve what they believed would bring them happiness. There are thousands of dead military personal. They died in the pursuit of happiness as dictated by their government.

I do not believe that of those in prison are there as a result of a plan they had hoped to achieve in their life. I do not think that those thousands of dead are not among the living because they were tired of life. I believe they are there because of learned behavior.

If you can look on a battlefield at the mangled and dead bodies on both sides and think for one moment that they are there because they want to be.
Maybe you can look at a child kicking and screaming in the throes of a temper tantrum as doing something they want to do. I do not think so ,I believe they are in the process of learning behavior that is contradictory to what they want. In other words they are doing an action no matter how painful it is to them personally to achieve an end they believe they want.

It is not happiness nor unhappiness that can be used as a guide to us just getting along. It is the process of learned behavior that must be examined
To find why it is that we can find everyday examples of people behaving in ways they would not elect to do if given the choice. Words said that we wish we had not said, actions preformed we are not proud of.

Thank you.
Wm J Fackelman
mailto:Wm J Fackelman  

14 Mar 2008 @ 17:53 by jazzolog : Thankelman To Fackelman
I rarely come back to posts like this (212 comments?!) and now I know why. I can barely make heads nor tails of all this. What ARE we talking about? This thread also is among the best arguments I know against pseudononymous commenters. I have enough trouble figuring out what people are saying whom I think I know.  

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