Tag Archives: survival

Cognitive Dissonance

CogDiss02
Unfortunately not a metaphor

At present, I am experiencing cognitive dissonance as I survey various internet sources after the weekend. As I have previously mentioned I am enrolled in a two-year program of contemplative practice, attempting to access a deeper wisdom on the nature of the universe — you could call it seeking God, but for me, it is seeking a worldview that allows me to be at peace. Not easy!

First, I’ve had a great weekend with a men’s group, each of us (at various levels of maturity) seeking that sense of purpose; it was part of the illuman.org program for those who might be interested. Then I come home to the escalating rhetoric between dangerous opponents. Then I note some good news on the climate front — not great news, but news that might give us a slight delay in the tipping points of climate catastrophe. But hurricanes are obviously not waiting for us to sort our differences. Finally a link of how powerful our technology is, in that we might be able to feed the world via biologic manipulation (if we can overcome our reticence — and our immaturity — to be Gods).

How to make sense of all this, and how to respond to it, is beyond me at present. My best case scenario is that mankind be removed from the equation asap — I don’t like this option, but I don’t foresee cultural maturity on the sounding board. What is needed is to take power over power for the greater good (and the resolution of what is the “greater good”).

My next post will likely be on the need to stage a coup.

North Korea accuses Trump of declaring war (20170925)

The escalation of rhetoric is a sad reflection of our immaturity as a species, and in that immaturity, the risk of irreversible consequences is high. My fear is that even if only one side believes their rhetoric, we are in grave danger.

New climate change calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right (20170918)

Potentially good news (if correct), but so different from other models that it will require careful study to determine how well these calculations fit experience. The danger is that a) a more generous margin of safety may be used to justify additional delay, and b) the changing landscape will be used to discount the clarity of scientific consensus (especially as to the significance of man’s technology). Science is never able to prove anything; it can only test for the best and simplest explanation of experience.

This Is the Hurricane Season Scientists Tried to Warn Us About (20170921)

To quote: “Hurricanes are built to convert heat energy into wind energy, and seawater’s available energy rises exponentially as it warms.” This says it all — the more energy, the more damage when released.

Could lab-grown fish and meat feed the world – without killing a single animal? (20170920)

If we persist in moving to 10 billion people, we need technology like this. The quality is improving markedly. Now the cost needs to go down, and the acceptance go up.

So Much Pain

Insanity2
Said by many in many ways.

In my readings this week, I have not found anything that I can really focus on as important and worth recommending, yet I am also aware of how much pain is being expressed, ranging from  apparent police violations of the right of individuals to the incredible destruction of Hurricane Harvey (and its significance to climate change) and anxiety regarding the development of Hurricane Irma.

There are also developments in the Trump-Russia story, but quite frankly I have lost interest in attempting to follow its complexity. Every little nuisance gets dissected, and speculated upon, such that it becomes (for me) impossible to sort what is factual from what is speculation. Sooner or later it will be resolved, especially in the slow but steady processing of Mueller.

But I would summarize the basic issue as that of our culture increasingly becoming a pressure cooker, and the pressure is rising. The temperature of the pot is rising, not just as global warming, but also as an indicator of our culture.

My biggest concern is the instability of the American political scene. If this instability is deliberate, as has been intimated earlier, it does not bode well for the survival of democracy, or even the planet in regards to global warming. Alternatively, if the instability truly represents the personal chaos of the President, the danger is two-fold: that of nuclear war versus what sustains the chaos.

Nuclear War

The nature of Kim Jong Un seems to be that of wanting to wave a big stick, but I doubt if he is really wanting nuclear war, especially one that would lead to total destruction of his country (even if he did manage to damage the USA). However, he is butting heads with someone whose ego is sensitive to confrontation, and who has essentially unlimited discretion to initiate agamemnon. Not a pretty scene.

Donald Trump asked whether he’d attack North Korea, says: ‘We’ll see’ (20170903)

Such posturing is frightening.

In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet (20170903)

The rapidity of scientific development is impressive, even if the posturing is frightening.

Don’t be surprised by North Korea’s missiles. Kim Jong Un is doing what he said he would. (20170831)

Another link as to North Korea’s potential.

Kim Jong Un’s rockets are getting an important boost — from China (20170413)

Money talks, and unfortunately, is the face of power. Despite years of diplomacy and major sanctions imposed at the UN level, money still talks, and generates ways to by-pass sanctions.

Those Who Support Trump

The basic theme appears to be that Trump’s advocates can seletively find a piece (or peace) within the multiple messages generated. After all, Trump’s most important skill has been that of being a salesman.

Two top Trump advisers were asked why they don’t quit. Their answers speak volumes. (20170902)

They seem to think that they can work their own political agendas within the confusion, and some kind of blind acceptance of the authority of the “office of the President.”

Why most evangelicals don’t condemn Trump (20170901)

Trump lives into the belief systems that they value: conservatism, challenge to science, “a fellow sinner willing to fight the forces of the establishment on their behalf.”

On The Lighter Side

Humor: The Clown Chakra (20131217)

Amidst the insanity, I fall back on an important maxim:

There is extensive evidence that life is painful;

there is no evidence that it is serious.

As such, I remind myself frequently that I am powerless to impact the larger picture; I only have the power to influence myself, and that which I can touch. This may be enough (or not) — ripple effects can have immense influence.

The Insanity Continues

Insanity Sanity Signpost Shows Crazy Or Psychologically SoundLast week I thought the world was fairly stable; immature, yes; moving in the direction of catastrophe, yes; but in immediate danger, no. This week I am not so certain — truly the insanity continues. Especially with:

  • the threat of nuclear war markedly increasing, in theatrical fashion
  • the slowly tightening net on the legal entanglement of the Trump administration, as well as politics in general
  • and at least one bright spot highlighting the move to better advertising (such a contrast to the above two)

Meanwhile I have spent the week at a training school for contemplative practice, and the need to maturity in action within our civilization. The contrast is staggering; I’ll add more in another post.

And adding to my media comment of last week, especially in regard to Al Gore, Cineplex Theatres are apparently only showing Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power in three cinemas across Canada, a sad reflection on the [media] interest in global warming.

Enjoy — although I do not think that is the best word to describe these links.

On the risk of nuclear war

Are we on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea? Probably not. (20170811)

Interesting statements from many knowledgeable sources, the major danger being misinterpretation of posturing, certainly be possible given the emotional maturity of the principal actors.

If Trump wants a nuclear attack against North Korea, his military advisers have few other options (20170810)

Such power in the hands of one man reflects the immaturity of culture and the posturing of the individual tribes (read ‘nations’) as well as the potential consequences of the system that must deal with such tribes.

Does Donald Trump Believe Nuclear War Is Inevitable? (20161208)

An older article outlining the media releases of Donald Trump prior to becoming president. I hope he is less fatalistic now that he is in power, but the adage is “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

On the legal issues and the possible complexities

White House as crime scene: how Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump (20170805)

This is a fairly clear description of the current situation in Washington, a situation which will have great impact on our world regardless of the final outcome. “The wheels of justice grind finely and slow but this is a wood chipper, and all these various items and  [sic] going to get fed into it.”

As Mueller closes in, Trump prepares his base for the worst (20170807)

A fairly good summary of how the Trump administration is doing, and what they are doing, “a volatile, combustible combination.”

On politics in general

Sorry, but I don’t care how you felt on election night. Not anymore. (20170803)

A very good review of the heavy emotions, and lack of concrete resolutions in this new world in which we live. The author stresses that doubt and reflection time can be powerful tools into the future, and that certainty (especially self-righteous certainty) will be the path to societal doom

In a new poll, half of Republicans say they would support postponing the 2020 election if Trump proposed it (20170810)

Very scary that if Trump were to bypass US democratic rule, “half of Republicans” would support him.

On global warming (more bad news)

We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming, a study finds (20170731)

It is difficult to know what to say about this. The study recognizes that new technology, as yet unknown, may occur. At the same time, I see no indication that the study takes into account “tipping points” that may worsen the scenarios. To quote a link in the article, [These experts say we have three years to get climate change under control. And they’re the optimists].  Fundamentally, if we are to survive, we need drastic (and decisive) action, not fatalism, not denial.

On a delightful advertisement — strongly recommended that you watch it.

This Controversial Beer Ad Is Going Viral And It’ll Leave You Questioning Everything! (20170428?)

A phenomenal ad. If all advertising was like this, I would actually be engaged in seeking the products offered.

Media And The Anxiety Of Society

Fahrenheit451I have not been keeping count but it seems to me that there are more and more headlines about the Trump administration. Generally I do not pay much attention to the regular news — although in the past, the media has served important functions concerning ethical investigation of political issues, it seems to me that it has overall degenerated into aggravating the anxiety of society. That for me is a sad loss of perspective.

An interesting reflection on this is to be seen in the movie Truth (2015)[1] which I just watched, where (on Wikipedia) it is noted it is not “our job as filmmakers to draw a conclusion, but rather to pose the questions.”

Interesting Links

A Chilling Theory on Trump’s Nonstop Lies (20170803)

The title is misleading; the article is actually a fairly good description of how human beings are overwhelmed by too much noise, unable to separate the signal from the background. If deliberate, it is a powerful tool to confuse.

The Troubling Return of Al Gore (20170724)

Again, a misleading title. The title again does not do justice to the significance of this article — the divisiveness within the climate movement.

Environmental Protection Act review could strengthen human rights (20170803)

In our modern world, government standards as to the protection of the environment are definitely needed. This article pertains to Canada; I had not realized previously that “The Toronto Public Library collected more late-book fines in one year than the government [of Canada] has collected from fines imposed through the [currently existing] act in 20 years!”

Vancouver has worse air quality than Hong Kong right now (20170803)

Another consequence of global warming. Given I live in West Vancouver, I am able to look outside my apartment window and see the sun partially hidden by haze, the smoky residue of the humdreds of forest fires currently raging in British Columbia (apparently this is a comparatively low-count year in terms of numbers).

Study predicts worsening killer heat waves in Europe (20170805)

Another article of similar consequences. My objection to this article is that it does not place it in the context of the many warnings of the past few years, nor does it seem to acknowledge the possible tipping points that will emerge such that the actual numbers mentioned are only the “tip of the iceberg.” (To my knowledge, the concept of “tipping point” refers to the point at which an iceberg actually tips — when the lower portion, the hidden portion, melts faster than the visible portion above the surface of the water. Once an iceberg tips, it establishes a new equilibrium in a more stable fashion. As far as climate is concerned, this new tip point will be at a stable higher temperature.)

[1] Vanderbilt, J. (Director). (2015) Truth [Motion Picture]

A Few Interesting Links

linkage5Not a lot to report this week. I am still gearing up for my course on contemplative practice. A few interesting links this week— commentary included.

Politics

Why Russia Revelations Never Seem To Change Anything (20170725)

A fairly good article on the complexity surrounding the lack of effective responsiveness within American politics.

Tomgram: Michael Klare, Spreading the Cult of Carbon (20170730)

My source, someone whose astuteness I trust, regards Michael Klare as “one of the world’s experts on international energy politics, peace studies, and [the] American politics of both of those.”

Global Warming

Scientists consider ways to dim sunlight, suck up carbon dioxide to cool planet (20170727)

Given the gross lack of effective response to global warming, it is highly likely that carbon-removal processes and other machinations will occur. This is the beginning of such. Unfortunately it may well be ineffective for three major reasons:

  • it is basically unexplored technology, and given our historic relation with technology, there are always hidden and deleterious consequences around the corner
  • it does not address the basic inefficiency of the system, the immaturity of our species such that we have created the problem in the first place
  • it is not being applied as a consensus response of our culture, and thus there will be those who impose their “solutions” upon the rest of the populus, a common difficulty of our species.

Miscellaneous

5 Productivity Tips That’ll Make You Rethink Your Day (20170720)

Productivity tips are common, but this one seems well organized, and links to a detailed free description. As usual, the limitation is the willingness of the individual to be disciplined.

Knowing Through Relationship

Relationship1The week has been busy — lots of little jobs, and also I have been having difficulty organizing a workshop I will be doing (in October) on relationship. I am taking an older workshop, one that I have never been fully satisfied with, and both reducing it in size (for a full weekend to 1½ days). Such a reduction is always difficult for me, and more so this time as I have been searching for how to focus the workshop in a way that satisfies me. What I have settled upon, and which satisfies me, is to emphasize the importance of intersubjectivity.

Intersubjectivity is a concept I learned from my research advisor Christian deQuincey when I was doing my PhD. To quote one of Christian’s books (Radical Knowing: Understanding Consciousness Through Relationship, 2005):

Intersubjectivity is “knowing through relationship” — a form of non-sensory, non-linguistic connection through presence and meaning, rather than through mechanism or exchanges of energy. (Kindle location 452)

Christian also distinguished three forms of intersubjectivity:

  1. Intersubjectivity-1, the exchange of linguistic tokens (words and other sounds),
  2. Intersubjectivity-2, where we influence each other with the meaning we promote, and
  3. Intersubjectivity-3, where we co-create each other into a meaningful experience by the wholeness of who we each are.

For me, when I experience it, intersubjectivity-3 is the richest form of dialogue of which I have experienced.

So the workshop is becoming a process whereby we (myself and the participants) explore how to have a really great relationship. In essence then, for a given relationship, to what extent are we willing

  • to be authentic with each other,
  • to support each other to be the person we each want to be (as opposed to who we should be for the other , or for society),
  • when difficulties arise in the relationship (inevitable), to explore the difficulty with total honesty.

Hard work, requiring that we love ourselves as well as our partner, and that we define the truths by which we each stand (or fall). The most important place for learning about life, provided we have ways to sort the complexity.

One component of this is what the Family Therapist Murray Bowen called self-differentiation — the consistent ability to be a self while in the presence of others. Amongst his other contributions, Bowen developed a scale for self-differentiation, ranging from 0 to 100. He believed most people scored around 40, and that no one ever scored above 70 — it is simply too difficult to stay separate from the influence of others (we are not designed to do so).

Anyway, the workshop is looking interesting.

Other issues of note for the week, both on climate issues:

The Planet Is Warming. And It’s Okay to Be Afraid (20170717)

Last week, I listed The Unhabitable Earth, an article that discussed the worst case scenario of what we face, indicating how close it comes to doom-mongering (worst case scenarios are usually very challenging). This link (The Planet Is Warming . . .) is an excellent response to the concern re doom-mongering in regards to global warming — unfortunately, if we are to respond effectively, we each need to deal with our despair. Not fun, but necessary.

A Brief History of the Straw (20141023)

Plastic straws suck (20170720)

Two interesting links to the impact of plastic straws, the first on our creativity, the second on our ecology. Apparently we discard 180,000,000,000 straws a year (1,400,000 kilograms a year, 500,000,000 a day) to landfill and other forms of discard. I deliberately changed the data from 180 billion to 180,000,000,000 to emphasize the impact. And that is just drinking straws!

The Usual Warnings

Warnings3Overall this week, I have been busy with the panpsychism issue, so not much to report. What has attracted my attention has all been related to climate issues, most of which are about the usual warnings and struggles. Given the cultural malaise, some days I wonder who is listening.

Of course, there has also been the many stories around the Trump issues, but of those, I only attend what I consider especially important (or clearly written) — otherwise I simply get tired of the nonsense.

Global Warming

A landmark climate lawsuit against Trump is scheduled for trial next year. Here’s what to expect. (20170705)

A clearly written description of the legal process involved in challenging the US federal government. If successful, the results for individual politicians would be such they might face significant consequences (removal from office to imprisonment). Clmate denial by the US government would likely have to stop, and appropriate actions taken. Perhaps such judgment would spill over to Canadian law also. Unfortunately, even if successful by the plaintiffs, the institution of resolutions may take so long that global warming will be irreversible by the time of their implimentations.

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines (20170523)

Because of better sampling tools, it appears that most vertebrate species are in major difficulty. A total of 27600 species were examined, 177 in great detail; of the 177 species, more than 40% had species range loss (thus diminished population) of greater than 80%. Not good (by any stretch of the imagination)!

The Uninhabitable Earth (20170709)

A detailed article bordering on doom-mongering, but even if the details are inaccurate, the themes are not — they emphasize the types of outcomes that will occur if we do not respond effectively to global warming. The side articles, referenced in the main article, are also worth reading.

Are We as Doomed as That New York Magazine Article Says? (20170710)

A much more moderate tone, responding to The Uninhabitable Earth (above), but also noting the importance of knowing the worst case scenarios. “If you don’t know where you are , you cannot get to where you say you want to be!”

Our Approach to Climate Change Isn’t Working. Let’s Try Something Else. (20170710)

A sensible article on what we need to do.

Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica (20170712)

An iceberg the volume of Lake Erie, the size of the state of Connecticut (5800 square kilometers). What can I say?

These animals can survive until the end of the Earth, astrophysicists say (20170714)

The good news is that life is likely to survive. Some contraversy as usual in the scientific research, but with multiple ecological niches, still a good chance that life will persist, and eventually flourish  (after a few million years).