Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Institoot of Reicho-Fuctual Fantasy

Another of my mock flyers was based on one that said: "Learn T'ai Chi in five short sessions." I was a serious student of traditional t'ai chi at the time so created the following:

Learn T'ai Chi, Play the Guitar and be a Plumber in just 5 short minutes!


I attended a 1000-hour massage therapy course in the mid 80s in San Diego at the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing. I was amazed by the incredible and self-serving claims that were circulating for New Age self-help techniques and therapies. So much so that I did an entire series of satire flyers mocking the sincere flyers littering each and every New Age bulletin board. Tony Robbins' Firewalk was just starting up and I did one on him called Tirewalk, as follows.

Colbert on the firewalk

 Last night Stephen Colbert mocked Tony Robbins and the recent firewalk that injured several people. Colbert advises though to not buy the regular $600 admission but to go for the $2600 diamond premier package, which includes seating in the front second and lunch on Friday and Saturday. "That $1000 tuna sandwich is a wake-up call to human potential." On the burns participants recently received, he said: "Anyone can get 1st degree burns. But with Tony Robbins you will achieve 3rd degree burns. And who knows, with one more $2600 seminar you might break through to 5th degree burns."

What matters?

In light of recent posts on Stengers and philosophy, this notion of a meta-paradigm, and how to frame it, is key to what might be called an integral worldview. The previous polydox examples are not akin to the more generalized, abstract universals inherent to the kennilingus and/or model of hiearchical complexity. The latter indeed posit something like transcendent, absolute realms that clearly define how the messy world of relativity must fit within its strict, mathematical categories. Yet the polydox crew see this as more an embodied rhizomatic structure from the ground up, with no ultimate defining ideal. Even emergent, higher order meta-events are not any kind of final defining structure by which all can be measured, like some sort of absolute consciousness per se.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lakoff on building "that"

Lakoff and Wehling weigh in (late, but better than never) on Obama's excerpt taken out of context: "You didn't build that." They agree with Obama's general strategy on emphasizing the public in creating the necessary conditions for private achievement. And that the regressives try to hide this public necessity through their unbalanced fixation of individual aggrandizement. See the rest, which is pretty much a rehash of Obama's own responses since. Lakoff has been saying this all along, so not sure if the Obama team is listening and finally getting on board. Let's hope so because it's working on those with half a brain and some education, despite the regressive attack on education and intelligence.

Taibbi on Geitner, LIBOR & Romney

Matt Taibbi was interviewed by Eliot Spizter on the latter's Current TV show. It seems Geitner's claim that he tried to mitigate LIBOR manipulation in 2008 when he was the Chairman of the NY Fed is pure bunk. Spitzer quotes a banker that said this has been going on for over 20 years and everyone knew it. The Fed Reserve was notified of this in 1998. Taibbi confirmed this from his sources and finds Geitner's protestations disingenuous. He was also dumbfounded by Geitner's Congressional testimony as to why he didn't inform Congress of the criminal activity: It was in the press and not a federal regulator's responsibility! Instead of protecting the public he defends the criminals. Astounding.

Philosophy as virtuous excrescence

In this post on Stengers I asked how what she wrote on situating methodologies compares to Bryant's and Wilber's notions of methodological pluralism. In my research this morning I came up the following, from Gabriel Catren's chapter in The Speculative Turn, "Outland Empire":

"Philosophy therefore depends on what Badiou calls it systematicity, i.e., its capacity of globally compossibilizing the different local procedures--such as science, art or politics--in the horizon of a general economy. Local thought procedures are by definition...partial and unilateral.... Philosophy can be defined as a non-local procedure whose aim is to unfold a concrete and polychromatic experience of the real. If each mode of thought forces the mediation of a certain dimension of doxa and labors inside a given prismatic projection of the real, philosophy is endowed with a systematic or global degree of variation.... A philosophical experience depends upon a stereoscopic co-deployment of the complimentary intentional goals defined by the diverse local procedures....[which] exceed[s] that of which the local modes of thought are capable.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Koch-funded scientist admits anthropocentric climate change

This is a shocker. Richard Muller founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which has received substantial funding from the Koch brothers. Muller was previously a climate change skeptic so sought to examine the evidence and concluded: "Humans are almost entirely the cause." The Kochs, whose businesses emit significant amount of greenhouse gases,  have spent over $61 million to groups denying climate change. Let's see how much more money, if any, the Kochs continue to contribute to Muller now. Any guesses?

Come a little bit closer

by Jay and the Americans.

Stengers on multiple uses

P2P Foundation directly my attention to this article on Isabelle Stengers. She co-wrote Order out of Chaos with Prigogine as well as many other books and articles. She's also a recurrent reference in OOO and SR circles, in fact having a chapter in The Speculative Turn. The article provided some excerpts from her book Capitalist Sorcery: Breaking the Spell. I've excerpted from the excerpts relative to OOO:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The future of spirituality

Balder started an IPS thread by the above name directing attention to the new Integral Life course. My response:

I agree with the broad parameters but have argued in the forum against the kennlinguist variety on at least 2 fronts. That the contemplative states so achieved (waking up), while certainly necessary to re-connect us to our compassionate roots, needs to be de-mystified and postmetaphysicalized, something not happening in this community.* And that our growing up has to involve (evolve to) the kind of P2P political economy being not only visualized but enacted by the likes of Rifkin and company instead of investing in conscious capitalism.

* Still the emptiness/form dual-nondualism I've examined in depth.

Arnsperger on economics as religion

A main focus of my IP spirituality has been in the form of political economy. In that light a few excerpts of Arnsperger from the progressive economics thread in this post:

"A 30 percent tax on the world’s two hundred highest fortunes...could give every poor person on the planet a lifetime of nutrition, health, and education. The irony of the situation is that the psychological suffering of a handful of billionaires each 'robbed' of one third of his fortune would quickly overshadow the physical and psychological suffering experienced today by the 'bottom billion' of the poorest among the poor.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romney prostitutes to LIBOR criminals

No, this is not hyperbole. Thom Hartmann reports on Romney's fund-raising trip to the financial district of London. The LIBOR scandal could very well be the worse financial crime ever. And at the heart of it so far in Barclays Bank. They and likely other banks in LIBOR conspired to rig interest rates for their own profit in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. Meanwhile this hurt individuals, businesses and entire municipalities. The US Department of Justice in investigating and preparing criminal charges against more banks. Barclays has already paid $450 million in fines, so they are not just accused but are already paying for criminal activity (see, no hyperbole).

Rifkin on the emerging socio-economics

Along the theme in recent posts about a progressive ethics and value system, Rifkin is on the forefront of enacting this through his socio-economic model. The P2P blog pointed me to this article by Jeremy Rifkin, excerpts from his book The Third Industrial Revolution. Granted in the US neither major political party embraces this agenda fully. But which one seems to at least be moving in that direction? And which is more embedded in the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions? Which Presidential candidate talks more like this? Which European nations are actually more in line with the 3rd revolution? Also some questions for Rifkin on austerity (see comments). Some excerpts:

Bowling for Columbine revisited

Michael Moore has been asked about the latest Denver shooting spree and his thoughts are in this recent blog post. He pretty much reiterates that he said it all in the above movie and refers us to it again, following. Perhaps it's time to revisit it?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thom Hartmann on Romney's racist dog whistle

Building on the last post, this is the kind of regressive politics the Romney campaign employs. They speak in code to their dumbed-down, fear and loathing racist constituency with talking points like this: "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage....The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have." Meaning he's a black guy from a slave background who doesn't share our superior race's aristocratic and feudal control system, so let's kick the darky out. Again, lowest common denominator appeals in distinction with Obama's higher angels.

Update: The Romney campaign is now denying anyone from their camp said any such thing. However The Daily Telegraph is sticking to their story.

Jon Stewart on Romney's deliberate misrepresentation

Here's more on the story previously posted. Stewart notes that Romney and regressives generally have taken Obama's "you didn't build that" quote out of context, portraying him as anti-business and some sort of Marxist socialist (if only). And yet Romney said 4 days later almost the identical things Obama said that were cut out of the clip. Romney obviously has listened to the quote in context and knows that he is agreeing with Obama, but deliberately took that one sentence out of context and portrays Obama as something he is not. Here we have the kind of family and/or Christian value system of Romney and the regressives: lie, cheat and steal to support your own kind.

Object-oriented auto parts

Consistent with OOO philosophy auto parts are themselves independent objects with substance. This is confirmed by the OOO O'Reilly auto parts jingle. I could swear I head my radiator singing it this morning in the shower.

Update: Apparently the above You Tube link has been disabled. One can hear the jingle here.

Worse Congress Ever

Ezra Klein makes a strong case for the above. The current Congress is on track to be by far the least productive in terms of passing Bills. The public's approval rating is so low that it is less popular than the IRS, lawyers, Watergate, banks, the BP oil spill, Paris Hilton and communism. And most importantly, they have done measurable damage to the country. Regressives took us to the brink of default during the deficit debate last year. Monthly job growth was proceeding nicely but took a dive during the months of that hostage negotiation and picked up again immediately thereafter. Consumer confidence also dropped precipitously during the 'debate' and  also rose right after. The US lost its AAA credit rating for the first time in history. And it cost $1.3 billion in extra borrowing costs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Most campaign $ comes from a very small, very rich minority

Ezra Klein reports that not only do the top 1% control 40% of America's wealth, but that 67.7% of 2010 total campaign spending came from 0.26% of the population. 24.3% of federal contributions came from 0.01%. In 2011 about 80% of the money raised by SuperPacs comes from 0.000063%. The very richest are in effect buying elections, since this money goes into ad campaigns which bombard the airwaves and heavily influence voters. Democracy?

PA admits no voter fraud problem

This report notes that in the lawsuit filed against the State of Pennsylvania over its voter ID law, PA actually stipulated the following: There “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.” Voter fraud has been the purported reason for instituting voter ID laws across the country. Up to now the facts above lack of substantive evidence to support this claim have been avoided by regressives with the usual smoke-screen rhetoric, since they "can't handle the truth." But now the State of PA openly admits it! And yet they will proceed with the lawsuit defending the policy. I can't wait to hear how they'll do it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The physics of fire walking

Ezra Klein reports on the mishap last week at a Tony Robbins fire walk event where 21 people were burned, some seriously. Klein explains the physics behind how in the usual course of these events people don't get burned. While the coals on the bottom might be up to 1000 degrees they wait until the top coals form ash. Tests have shown that the top coals are around 300 degrees. Still hot enough to burn, so how do people not get burned? First off charcoal doesn't conduct heat very well. Plus they walk over them really fast so that the foot is in contact with the ash for less than a second at any one time. Another factor not reported in the story is that one starts out on a wet grass surface, which adds a layer of water, further insulating the foot. Like one licks their fingers before using them to put out a match quickly with those fingers.

You didn't build that?

The regressives have been making much ado about nothing, taking an Obama quote out of context. Ezra Klein guest hosted on Rachel Maddow's show and reported on this. Obama was talking about how successful individuals and businesses got a lot of help from their society in achieving that success. Yes, it also requires individual drive and initiative, but that alone is not enough. Businesses require roads to transport their goods, the internet to communicate quickly, tax laws to allow investment etc.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wall Street has record profits but austerity for the rest of us

This article by Zach Carter lays bare the lie that austerity is what is needed to improve the economy for all. First off, Wall Street and their government cronies could give a shit about the "all." They are only interested in their vast profits knowing it comes at the expense of the rest of us. And the austerity programs initiated by said government cronies makes sure that the 99% pay for it by cutting programs and services designed for them, and/or privatizing those services and granting tax breaks for the 1%. We've had plenty of time for austerity to help the economy, if that was indeed its real reason. But so far less and less in trickling down because that is the very design of this bullshit policy. Hence record-setting Wall Street profits and ever-dwindling crumbs for the rest of us. Yes, regressives are right about redistribution of wealth, only upward to themselves instead of more equitably to everyone. See the article for more facts they don't want you to know.

Chomsky on the degradation of human rights

Chomsky's blog post here focuses on how the Magna Carta has been opposed and degraded from inception, with current trends virtually eliminating its intent. He covers quite a bit of ground so please see his post. Here I want to focus on how in the US this has been accomplished through media manipulation.

With the advent of industrialization the New Spirit of the Age emerged, which accurately translated by Chomsky is as follows: "Gain Wealth forgetting all but Self." This spirit had to be inculcated into the masses so as to control them through "fabricating wants to the superficial things of life, like fashionable consumption. That way people can be atomized, separated from one another, seeking personal gain alone, diverted from dangerous efforts to think for themselves and challenge authority."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Enter the Dojo

A local radio program just made me aware of the You Tube series by the above name. It's a satirical look at the commercialization of martial arts in America. The following is their first episode. Check out the link for the other episodes. Episode 5, The Kill Face, is my fav so far. Correction, Episode 10 on meditation is hilarious (after the first scene).

The human costs of outsourcing and global economic rationalization

One of Romney's defenses has been that those outsourcing companies in which Bain invested happened after he relinquished control of Bain in 1999. We've seen the stories questioning whether he indeed was not in control after that time, but what is now proven is that some of Bain's investments outsourced while he was still in charge up to 1999. This Mother Jones story details Romney's investment in three companies that were infamous for, and proud of, outsourcing high-tech jobs: Flextronics International, Jabil Circuit Inc. and Global Tech Appliances.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Insurance joke hits close to home

This is a funny video on the typical interaction between an insurance underwriter and agent, only slightly exaggerated.

Alethetic knots

Or, she loves me knots... I like this Bryant blog post. Therein he describes his version of an integral methodological pluralism called alethetics.

"Rather than claiming to be the one framework that gets at the real, alethetics moves between different frames and windows; now discussing the way narrative informs our relation to the world, now the way our systems of categorization influence lives and nonhumans, now looking at lived experience as Sarah Ahmed does, now at the physical properties of fiber optic cables, the bubonic plague bacteria, etc."

His symbol for this is cool.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Romney/Bain's tenuous ties to Salvadoran death squads

Yes, it sounds like hyperbole at best and worse, some paranoid conspiracy theory, traits typical for regressives. But I just heard Thom Hartmann report on this. The original story comes from Salon magazine and Justin Elliott's 1/20/12 story, "The roots of Bain Capital in El Salvador's civil war." These are both reputable sources and I have yet to find a fact check disputing it. So here are his details.

In 1984 a war was raging between the right-wing El Salvadoran government and left-wing rebels. The government had literal death squads, with those killed estimated as high as 70,000. These squads were financially backed by some in the Salvadoran oligarchy. A significant portion (40%) of Bain's start-up capital came from rich oligarchs in El Salvador. And Romney was personally involved in courting these oligarchs.


Continuing from this post on attacking emptiness, more discussion in the linked thread:

Balder: I agree that "plenum" is metaphysical -- but not necessarily in the sense critiqued by postmetaphysics.  Here, I was thinking of something like Harman's description of reality as "jam-packed with objects," where every form, (momentary or eons-long) relationship, process, etc, is "object," and where every object also withdraws.  So, this would be a different meaning of "fullness" (plenum) than a fully present super (ass)holon.  Granted, I think Bryant handles the notion of "withdrawal" better than Harman.  A model like this also needs to handle something like "space," in my opinion.  (Harman does so, for instance, by positing "space" as an emergent feature of emergent object-relations.)

Bill Maher on Mormon sickness

Yes, and it's much worse than morning sickness. He highlights the hypocrisy of those that blanketly decry Islam and rant about Sharia law, yet not a peep about the radical Mormon sect that openly engages in not only polygamy but child rape. Maher legitimately asks: "And if prominent moderate Muslims are supposed to denounce radical Islam, shouldn't Mitt Romney issue a statement scolding the FLDS?"

An attack on emptiness

See this IPS discussion where Layman Pascal makes some good points about the notion of emptiness. My responses follow.

I've invested a lot of exegesis on postmetaphysicalizing the emptiness of emptiness doctrine, most recently in the OOO thread through the withdrawn. I agree that as is in Buddhism it still contains some metaphysical problems, hence my philosophical policing. Though plenum has its own metaphysical connotations, also discussed in that thread. Recall this post on asserting a positive through double negation and the specter. And poetically expressed here as:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Colbert on regressive de-education

Recall this post on plantation American, and how regressives want to de-educate the populace to disempower them. Stephen Colbert highlighted this issue in his usual, inimitable style. He notes the youth don't share regressive values like gay bashing and belief in God, all due to that bane of society, education. So how do we get them to return to regressive values? Simple, destroy education. Colbert: "The minds of our young people are being poisoned by knowledge, and the source of this toxic cerebral sludge is our schools." Texas, no surprise, is on the vanguard of countering this nefarious influence. Their Board of Education (oxymoron) is bad enough but now their GOP has a 2012 party platform plank that says on education: "We oppose the teaching of...critical thinking skills." Colbert blames the advent of critical thinking on Galileo, who changed everything when he discovered the earth goes around the sun "and now we have lesbians."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Investigation into Sheldon Adelson

Rachel Maddow reports on a US Dept. of Justice investigation into Adelson's alleged violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Adelson's company, in order to get an IPO on its Macau casinos, allegedly bribed a public official to help them do so. Even the company's own lawyers saw it as bribery and a likely violation of the FCPA, but those who expressed this opinion were fired, including a CEO. The company proceeded with the alleged bribe and got the IPO. Adelson himself in personally implicated. He is "donating" at least $100 million to Romney's campaign and has claimed his contributions could be "limitless." We see how he does business so we know the kinds of things he'll expect from his paid lackey, his investment likely buying him at most a slap on the wrist. See Rachel's report for the exacting details.

Jon Stewart on Romney, Bain and taxes

Stewart returned from a 2-week hiatus and went after Romney's jugular with his usual style and humor (part 1, part 2). He catches up on the news about Romney's supposed retirement from Bain after '99 when the company was outsourcing, while still collecting at least $100k per year salary for apparently doing nothing. Mocking him Stewart says: "And that's the kind of common sense business experience I hope to bring to the White House."

Sarah Silverman's sacrifice for democracy

Check out this funny video by Silverman on her proposal to billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.

Regressives filibuster the Disclose Act

I've decided to quit calling them conservatives and use their real name, regressives, since their aim is to take us back to a time when robber barons ruled the day. The thing is, that day is here and now. Anyway... once again they showed their true stripes by filibustering the Disclose Act in the Senate, which would have required that those making more than $10,000 contributions to political ads have their names revealed. The actual vote count was 51-44 and the act "won," but with the current bullshit Senate rules unless it gets 60 votes then it can be, and was, filibustered.

Reich: Why the rich need to pay their fair share

As usual Robert Reich sums up the talking points on this important subject. Yes, progressives need to be effective with talking points too, just as do regressives. The difference though is that progressives use facts and truth to benefit society where their opponents use lies and deception to benefit themselves. In this short video Reich highlights why the tax rates on the rich need to go up.

In order to handle our budget deficits the rich have to pay their fair share. They haven't for a long time and hence all the austerity cuts to the rest of society, like education, Medicare, Medicaid and infrastructure. Plus it increases the tax burden on those who can least afford it. The tax rate on the rich is at the lowest rate its been in the last 50 years (35%). With the even lower capital gains tax (15%), which is a large portion of their income, their rates are far lower than middle income wage earners.

Tarot card meditation game

The following tarot card was selected by using a random number generator (it chose 1), which number I used to count cards in this layout (decided before the number generator). Look at it a minute and let any free associations play.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A fact-check to Factcheck.org on Romney & Bain

You might like to see the Obama campaign's letter to factcheck.org for getting the story wrong on when Romney left Bain. Also see this story on the supposed factcheck.org facts. This story shows why he's running from Bain, even before '99: "Bain yielded private gains, socialized losses."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Will & Kristol think Romney's losing on Bain

Yeah, George Will, the conservative that recently denied that this summer's record breaking heat wave and fires are a result of climate change with his lame denial: "It's just summer, get over it." Same guy said today that Romney is losing the PR battle about when he left Bain. Romney said absolutely in 1999 but his signature on documents has him as Chairman, President and CEO as late as 2002, while he was also drawing a $100,000 annual salary. Will: "The costs of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated there are higher costs to releasing them." Even fanatic Bill Kristol said: "He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy. You've got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns." You know when these conservatives say so it must be very bad news for the Mittens.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Senate Republicans filibuster Small Business Jobs & Tax Relief Act

Ed Shultz reported on the Senate Republicans blocking a vote that would have created nearly 1,000,000 new jobs, 630,000 among small businesses. It would do so by providing a 10% tax credit to small businesses under $500,000 that add to their payroll and offering a 100% deduction on equipment purchases.Democrat Charles Schumer (D-NY) said: "If you're still unsure if the Republicans are holding back the economy on purpose to try to try and hurt the President, just look at this vote." With all the Republican talk about helping small businesses, is there really any other reasonable explanation than its just bullshit and they really could care less about small business or the middle class?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Robert Reich on the facts behind Obama's tax proposal

As usual the conservatives are downright lying about the President's recent proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts for 98% of Americans. As we've seen with recent posts though lying is the accepted way of doing business for conservatives so there's no surprise in that. Instead of repeating the lies here are the facts from Robert Reich:

"Everyone receives a continuation of the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their incomes. Any dollars they earn in excess of $250,000 will be taxed at the old Clinton-era rates. A small business owner earning $251,000 would pay the Bush rate on the first $250,000 and the old Clinton rate on just $1,000. Fewer than 3 percent of small business owners would even reach the $250,000 threshold. The only people who’d have to pay substantially more taxes under Obama’s proposal are those earning far in excess of $250,000 — and they aren’t small businesses. They’re the fattest of corpulent felines.

Public policy professor glorifies lying and murder

Given recent posts on the degeneration of business practices, this article by William Black highlights lying and murder as a necessity to protect the public! Last Saturday Chris Hayes had a panel discussion on the LIBOR scandel. One of the guests was Karl Smith, an economics professor at UNC. He not only didn't think there was a problem with the banks lying about the LIBOR rate but that it was necessary to prevent weak banks from going under, which would cause harm. And that if he were a regulator he'd demand that such banks lie, and if they didn't he would murder those that revealed the truth! Yes, he actually said, and then defended, murder.

Wall Street executives say wrongdoing is necessary

This article confirms what everybody already knows: there are little to no ethics in big business. (They're not talking about small mom & pops.) Some statistics follow from a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow of Wall Street execs:

25% see wrongdoing as the key to success.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


In reference to the area in which I was raised from the last post, here's a link to the region and its dialect. The following short video gives a humorous introduction to said dialect, haynabonics.

Me on Shaviro on Whitehead's eternal objects

Related to the last post, the following are some posts from the virtually infinite OOO thread on the above.

Here's Shaviro's home page. In the "essays and papers" section one can find chapter drafts from his book on Whitehead. This is interesting from chapter 2 on Whitehead's eternal objects:

"Eternal objects thus take on something of the role that universals...Platonic forms and ideas played in older metaphysical systems. But we have already seen that, for Whitehead, 'concrete particular fact' cannot simply 'be built up out of universals'; it is more the other way around. Universals...can and must be abstracted from 'things which are temporal.' But they cannot be conceived by themselves, in the absence of the empirical, temporal entities that they inform. Eternal objects, therefore, are neither a priori logical structures, nor Platonic essences, nor constitutive rational ideas" (18).

Image schemas and nonduality

In researching the relationship between the ego and the witness I came upon this old IPS thread. I did a post on it here before but thought I'd refresh it, as it provides a sort of summary of various ideas from other threads. Some excerpts:

Here's an interesting seminar in the upcoming Science and Nonduality Conference connecting image schemas with nonduality. Recall I've done this is a number of threads.*

Image Schema May Reveal Something New About the Relationship Between Dualistic and Nondual Experiencing.

Dr. Frank Echenhofer (Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies)

"Over the last 15 years there has been a very interesting development within linguistics that may offer new insights regarding the relationship between dualistic thought and nondual experiencing. This development has been the research and writing regarding image schema, all artfully explained in Mark Johnson's book The Meaning of the Body. An image schema is one of many recurring pervasive cognitive structures that are formed from our bodily interactions, our linguistic experiences, and our culture. In contemporary cognitive linguistics, an image schema is considered an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that shapes the mapping of conceptual metaphors.

"Research studies in cognitive psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience support this notion of image schema. This presentation will provide a new look at the relationship between dualistic and nondual experiencing in light of what is known about how image schemas shape our experiences."

* As a few examples, see this and this link.

Batchelor on consciousness

For any interested, Dharma Seed has a collection of Batchelor's talks. The most recent is as follows:
2012-04-09 The Phenomenology of Meditation (Part Two) 62:09

"Reflections on 'an ordinary person's life,' as understood in a passage by the 9th century Chan master Teshan. This idea is related to the Buddha's phenomenological analysis of human experience (the 'all') into namarupa and consciousness, a vision of life where there is no transcendent awareness or consciousness 'outside' ordinary experience, thereby revealing a common thread between the Pali Canon and early Chan."

Monday, July 9, 2012

LIBOR scandel indicative of corrupt business practices

Matt Taibbi appeared on Eliot Spitzer's Current TV program Viewpoint recently. (If you're not familiar with LIBOR corruption, see Taibbi's initial reporting here, with follow-ups here, here, and here.) According to Taibbi on Viewpoint, "it goes far beyond any corruption scandal we've had." He explains that LIBOR is the rate banks charge to lend to each other. The 16 banks involved have been lying about this rate, "essentially faking their credit scores." And this affects every interest rate in the world. Spitzer then asked Dennis Kelleher about this and he said: "This is their business model.... The entire business model is corrupt and rotten to its core." Deregulation, in large part written by bank lobbyists buying politicians, gave them "the green light that there were basically no rules that applied to them and they could do whatever they want." And indeed they did, causing the biggest financial meltdown since the Depression. The same people that did that are still running these banks, and the LIBOR scandal shows they are still up to the same corrupt practices.

GOP's treasonous obstruction preventing robust jobs recovery

Friday's news on the jobs numbers was not as high as hoped but they are still amazing considering the level of Republican obstruction. Let us not forget the secret cabal that met on Obama's inauguration day to plot against America by vowing to thwart Obama's every effort to improve our lot in the midst of the financial meltdown. Yes plot in the most unpatriotic fashion imaginable against the American people, some even and rightfully calling it treason. So let's take a look at how Republicans are implementing their grand plan to hurt you and me just to retain and gain more power over our lives.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Prasangika and onticology

The following was culled from two IPS posts, one from the Batchelor thread, the other from the OOO thread.

Here is an excerpt on the Prasangika emptiness of emptiness doctrine:

"Could we argue that emptiness [is]...ultimately real or...intrinsically real? We tend to posit ultimate reality as something that is timeless, independent, transcendent, nondual etc. So if emptiness is the ultimate reality, could we say that it alone is nonempty, ultimately real or intrinsically real?.... On CandrakÄ«rit's view....emptiness is also empty of intrinsic reality.... If emptiness is ultimately real, emptiness would not be empty of the intrinsic reality—the essence of conventionally real objects. In that case we will have to grant emptiness as existing independently of conventionally real entities, as their underlying substratum. If this is granted the emptiness...would be quite distinct and unrelated. Moreover if the emptiness of the [suobject] is nonempty, i.e., if it is ultimately real, whereas the [suobject] itself is empty i.e., ultimately unreal, then, one has to posit two distinct and contradictory verifiable realities even for one conventionally real [suobject].... Therefore, while emptiness is the ultimate truth of the conventionally real entities, it is not plausible to posit emptiness to be ultimately real."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome to plantation America

This article  by Sara Robinson nails it, "Conservative Southern Values Revived." It explains how the US civil war between the north and south is still ongoing, and the south is now winning. Since it's inception our country has had two kinds of wealthy elites. The northern strain was the Puritan communitarian, who were part of the culture of noblesse oblige, those who felt their wealth demanded of them using it for the betterment of all though a democratic system. The southern plantation strain though detests democracy and human rights, instead feeling it should rule by divine right. Civic rights are to be thwarted, as well as education or Unions, since this might provide impetus to challenge their hierarchy.

The God Particle

You've no doubt heard the news about the boson discovery? This visual provided by Tim Morton sums it up for me.

Hello democracy, goodbye ACTA

See this article at P2P Foundation. The European Parliament voted 478 to 39 rejecting ACTA, an international version of the US's SOPA, also defeated. This is a victory for citizen action against giant corporate interests, and all through internet access. For now the power of the people prevails and the internet remains open access. Celebration is in order but we must remain every vigilant and ready to activate again, given the dark forces of big money that will never quit trying to make even more money and limit the P2P democracy that is the internet.

Transcending but not eliminating conceptual categories

A continuation from the IPS Batchelor thread follows. On p. 4 of this thread I discussed that section of Integral Spirituality where Wilber discussed Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche on how conceptual mind was a necessary condition of meditative experience, with Wilber summing it up thus: "Meditative experience per se--that simply does not exist." Along these lines I found this paper from Sonam Thakchoe on Scribd, "Transcendental Knowledge in Tibetan Madhyamika Epistemology." I used his book The Two Truths Debate extensively in this and the predecessor threads. While I mostly agreed with Thakchoe's book presentation of Tsongkhapa against Gorampa, I also said that I still didn't buy the former's adherence to a strictly nonconceptual realization of ultimate truth. Nevertheless, this paper looks interesting. A few excerpts:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Four Principles for a Just Transition to a Sustainable Economy

I excerpted the key points from an article by the above name from the P2P Foundation website, below. See the link and article for fuller descriptions:

The following is excerpted from a report on the Strategies for a New Economy conference, by John Wiseman.

1. Replacing corporate control of key economic and financial decisions with democratically accountable institutions and processes.

Krugman on Romney's business credentials

Paul Krugman's blog today examines the above. First of all he questions that business experience is a qualification for being President, since government is not a business. "Competitive success in business bears no particular relationship to the principles of macroeconomic policy." But given that Romney is touting said business experience in creating jobs Krugman examines the claim. Romney did not build businesses; he bought and sold them. In their restructuring this sometimes created jobs but more often than not did the opposite and bankrupted the businesses.

Senator McConnell speaks the truth on the conservative agenda

A guest host was sitting in for Rachel Maddow tonight on her show. He went into why he likes Senate minority leader McConnell because he doesn't beat around the bush with the usual highfalutin conservative spin machine that attempts to make out their agenda as something it is not. He gets to the point and makes no bones about their real agenda. For example, in October 2010 he said: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President." This agenda has been carried out to the letter, with Republicans thwarting every bill and idea, even ones they themselves created. Including many of the elements of the Affordable Care Act, like the mandate.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Revisiting ladder, climber, view

Continuing from the last post, the following is from ongoing discussion in the IPS "ladder, climber, view" thread:

What I didn't quote from Wilber on Graves/Beck is what directly followed the previous quote:

"Subpersonalities can exist at different levels or memes, however, so that one can indeed have a purple subpersonality, a blue subpersonality, and so on. These often are context-triggered, so that one have quite different types of moral responses, affects, needs, etc. in different situations.)”

Gibb's SDi perspective on The Righteous Mind

I provided Hedges' review of this book, which supported my intuition that the values Haidt supported were what one might call an ethnocentric moral level. So now here's a review from the Spirial Dynamics Integral (SDi) perspective of Bruce Gibb in the current issue of the Integral Leadership review. An excerpt:

“Republicans are guided in their political intuitions by the traditional moral matrix of Stage 4.... The conservatives are concerned with the issues that need their version (and that of the researchers) of law and order, family values, authority, patriotism, and sanctity.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

Democrats are learning, re-frame the insurance mandate

It's about time the Democrats are learning from their conservative brethren on framing issues. After the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, including the insurance mandate, conservatives are trying to frame this as a tax on middle class Americans. What they don't tell you is that the mandate will affect only about 1% of the population according the the Congressional Budget Office, not the entire middle class. And who are these 1%?