Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Waking, Being, Dreaming, Introduction

Continuing from this post.

According to Indian yogic tradition, there are three aspects to consciousness: awareness, its sensory and mental contents, and how we identify as a self in relation to the foregoing. The self is a process, not a static entity. It changes depending on our awareness. It is different when awake, falling asleep, dreaming or meditating. Thompson uses the yogic tradition to frame how the above interact.

Meditation comes in two varieties: one-pointed focus and open allowing. Both train the mind to pay attention to momentary fluctuations on contents to get below them to what is called 'pure awareness,' which doesn't identify with any of them. By studying those highly trained in meditation Thompson's goal it to match precise differences in phenomenological descriptions of the different states of awareness and perceptions of self with neuroscientific study.

Capitalism has got to go

Chapter One of Robert McChesney's book on a post-capitalist society is here. Some excerpts:

"In the coming decades we are almost certainly going to see a society the likes of which has never existed and can scarcely be imagined. I argue in this book that if that new society is going to be one in which we want to live, it will require fundamental change in the political economy. Capitalism as we know it has got to go."

"What do I mean by post-capitalist democracy? I mean a society expressly committed to democratic practices first and foremost, and one that directly addresses the ways that really existing capitalism is inimical to democracy, human freedom, and ecological sustainability. I use the term "really existing capitalism" for a reason. I refer to the capitalism of massive corporations, commercial propaganda, political corruption, obscene inequality, poverty, stagnation, militarism, and endless greed. That capitalism, the one people actually experience, is the main impediment to democracy in the United States today.I am not therefore referring to the classroom fantasy of capitalism as a bunch of heroic little-guy entrepreneurs competing for the betterment of consumers, and creating jobs in the communities they inhabit. This is the 'free market' system of public relations missives and politicians' blarney."

"As Noam Chomsky put it, if you act like social change for the better is impossible, you guarantee it will be impossible. That is the choice we all have to make when we look into the mirror. Pessimism is self-fulfilling; it is no way to live."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chart of the day

It speaks for itself.


From the Other 98%

Well said. And it must be said. Again and again and again.


Everybody wants change

But nobody wants to change. So how the hell is it going to happen then?


Waking, Dreaming, Being by Evan Thompson

Also check out the ongoing IPS discussion thread on this book.

Foreword by Stephen Batchelor

He begins by noting how the word meditation has changed in response to the influx of Asiatic religion into the West, and its countercultural appropriation thereof. It used to mean reflective thought but now it relates to a spiritual practice, usually sitting quietly still. Same for the word mindfulness. And yet the West had tended toward the secularization of this practice, divorcing it from its religious Buddhist underpinnings. Westerners are more interested in its practical results in terms of reduced stress, a more balanced personality, lower blood pressure and so on.

This has also led to Buddhists reconsidering some of their religious tenets, like reincarnation. Should it be considered a relic of its religious history? Should westerners include some of the ethical injunctions from its religious roots? And what of the scientific study of meditation? Thompson tries to bridge the gap between first-person accounts of spiritual experiences and how they manifest in 3rd person scientific studies. Each perspective can learn from and modify the other through 2nd person philosophical dialogue and collaboration.

Prologue

Senator Sanders on the TPP with petition

See his Bernie Buzz on this here for the details. And consider signing the petition here. His introductory preface follows, so see the link for the specifics.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

"The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.

"Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.

Commons transition platform

The Commons Transition Platform is a database of practical experiences and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organization. The Commons, together with Peer to Peer dynamics, represent a third mode of societal organization that evolves away from the competitive Market State and obsolete, centrally-planned systems. It is a system based on the practices and needs of civil society and the environment it inhabits at the local, regional, national and global levels. Premiering January 7th at: www.commonstransition.org

Monday, December 29, 2014

SDSN newsletter



Dear friends,

As 2014 comes to an end we are very glad that the world is making good progress towards adopting a bold sustainable development agenda in 2015. Next year will bring three pivotal conferences on Financing for Development (Addis, July 13-16), Sustainable Development Goals (New York, Sept 25-27), and climate change (Paris, Nov 30-Dec 11). Through our work on indicators and monitoringFinancing for Development, and Deep Decarbonization Pathways, the SDSN supports an ambitious and actionable sustainable development agenda. Our National and Regional SDSNs will support the implementation of the SDGs, and through our education initiative SDSNedu we help train future leaders on sustainable development.

We are grateful for the encouragement, support, and advice we have received from so many of you over the last twelve months. Please don’t hesitate to write to us at info@unsdsn.org if you have questions or suggestions for our work. We also invite you to join the SDSN. More information is available here


From all of us at the SDSN secretariat, we wish you a peaceful and happy 2015.


 
Guido Schmidt-Traub
Executive Director


The power of we the people

Robert Reich sums it up on this short video, what we the people have accomplished in the last year, and what further progress we can make. But only if we continue to get involved, speak up, demonstrate, petition etc. We are a powerful force that does make positive change. And we need to see that progress so as not to get discouraged and give up. Keep up the good fight Americans. We are, like our founding fathers and mothers, fighting for our very democracy.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Awesome cover by Zepparella

They're not only foxes but highly skilled musicians. Impressive.

Introverts are different

See this article for the details. So you extraverts try reading for a change and learn to accept this difference instead of seeing introverts as somehow deficient. Here are the bullet points:

They withdraw in crowds.
Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.
They succeed on stage -- just not in the chit-chat afterwards.
They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.
They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.

Why the minimum wage should be at least $15

Robert Reich does it again with another short clip that concisely explains the topic.

The US is so rich, and so poor

See this article for the details. The bullet points follow.

1. We are among the leaders in child poverty.
2. We lead the developed world in homelessness
3. We lead the world in student debt.
4. We lead the world in prisoners.

Science has its uses

It cannot tell us everything but it sure can debunk absolute nonsense.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Exodus

See this prior post. I saw it and the low ratings are deserved. Nevertheless, there are some interesting themes which I'll play off of this review. Moses starts our mocking the superstitions of diviners and the religious. He is a man of reason. But then he goes up the mountain to encounter the burning bush. However this is depicted more as a hallucination after Moses gets caught up in a flash flood and mudslide in which he hits his head, is knocked unconscious and is buried in mud. When he awakens he sees the hallucination and believes he has a conversation with God's messenger. When he returns and tells his wife, herself devoutly religious, she even believes its a delusion caused by the hard knock.

Several other of the mythical story lines are depicted by Scott as having a more naturalistic explanation. The Nile turns red due to an unusually busy crocodile season. This causes the frogs to flee the bloody water and die. Their rotting corpses breed flies and pestilence. Meanwhile Moses, under his delusion, sees them all as signs of God to pursue his destiny of freeing the slaves of Egypt and returning them to their homeland.

Christmas, materialism and the loss of our humanity

From Robert Reich's FB post:

"The deep imbalance within the American economy is not only income and wealth. It’s also between the 'stuff' economy – including all the goods we crowd into malls to buy for friends and family this holiday season – and the 'we' economy – the schools, parks, playgrounds, clean air and water, roads and public transportation, and public health and safety – that we utilize together. The stuff economy is doing better; America is producing more stuff and consumers are buying more stuff. But the 'we' economy continues to deteriorate. State and local budgets are still strained, while demands on the 'we' economy are growing.

Top 9 P2P trends in 2014

See this article for the details.

1. Reaching of the tipping point for (distributed) renewable energy
2. The rise of open cooperatives and ethical enterpreneurial coalitions
3. The emergence of cryptoledger applications and a crypto-currency for the commons
4. Cities and Countries of the Commons

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Is there a P2P alternative to Facebook?

I asked this question over at P2P's FB page in this thread. It is generating a lot of responses from those that know P2P, as well as those that speak geek about alternatives tried. Quite informative.

Twilight zone

Which of course reminds me of this.

Another dimension

Seems I live in another dimension from which most others have no awareness, let alone a need therefrom. But I suppose it's nice to ask.



All Souls Night

I heard this one for the first time yesterday. It connected to my primal DNA, like some archetypal inheritance in my ancient biological ancestry. I like how it combines both Middle Eastern and Celtic melodic elements that penetrate to the very marrow of said inheritance. How she could be producing this enchantment for 30 years and I'm just now hearing of her?

v

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Paramodern god/desses

LP started a FB thread on how we might envision god/desses in today's world. My comments from that thread follow.

If we think of the Gods as Plato's intelligible forms and we mortals as the sensible forms, Khora gives birth to both. The Gods have specific characteristics and personalities. They come from Heaven as distinguished from Earth. They are the immortal Ideas in the Great Chain which descend into the mortal material. Khora is without idea, character, time (eternal or otherwise) or place.

Granted the notion of khora's time above sounds more than a bit metaphysical. Given Derrida's take on time, his khoratic differance sounds more like TSK's future infinitive, a future that never arrives, open indeterminativity. This is different than time as sequence or time as the eternal, man or God(s). See Balder's blog post on this.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beggin for thread

I heard this song for the first time today and it hit me right upside the aesthetic.

Beaten dog syndrome

See this article, which highlights the Intro of a new book on why we stopped resisting income inequality. Like chronically beaten dogs we think we get what we deserve. And that nothing we do can change it so may as well eek out what little enjoyment there is through sex or consumerism. That's why we need Elizabeth Warren to be our next President, and Bernie Sanders to be our next VP. Then we can believe again that we make a difference, that we can get ahead through hard work, that our government represents us. We need a leader like Warren to get us motivated, to get us to quit accepting the status quo, to not only bark but to bite back and to get our just bones.

Language and thought can be 'enlightened' too

In this video at 59:50 Thompson discusses the difference between Yogacara and Madhyamaka on the self. He follows this with comparing them to the neuroreductive and enactive views in cognitive science. The latter includes social cognition through language, so language is a legitimate part of a performative self, whereas in Yogacara it is merely illusion. We discussed this quite a bit in the IPS Batchelor thread. He sees the enactive view as a middle way where "the self is a dependently originated process with a conventional identity." The self is not an illusion while not being an independent essence (1:05:30). Around 1:21:15 he is asked about the narrative self. He responds that it is doesn't have to be seen as an fixed substance with independent existence or substance (1:23:30). Which reiterates previous points above that the narrative self through language is not necessarily an illusion divorced from our pre-linguistic or core self but can be an extension of it.

This also relates to the IPS real/false reason thread. Real reason, including language and discursive thought, when grounded in the pre-linguistic and pre-rational image schema as well as the emotions, is not of the same kind as false reason. The latter is ideationally abstract and creates the mind-body and other dualistically metaphysical splits. Hence we can have our cake (symbolic thought and language) and eat it too (connection with our pre-rational core selves). Which reminds me of one of my favorite David Loy quotes:

Worst Congress ever

So this was the regressive strategy. To do little to nothing and spin that it was everyone's fault when in fact it was theirs alone. Unfortunately the American people as a whole are too stupid to see that fact and fell for the spin that it's Congress generally, as well as the President, that are to blame. See this article for the details.


Capitalism in a nutshell


Republican Jesus

See this article for much more detail. This Jesus has nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gidley's three times

Continuing from this post,

"Gebser’s nuanced concretion of time does not represent a linear developmental endpoint like that of the modernity project, nor is it endlessly recursive in non-directional cyclical space as in Eliade’s 'myth of the eternal return' (Eliade, 1954/1989). Integral consciousness as understood by Gebser does not place mythic and modern constructions of time in opposition to each other, as both modern and traditional approaches tend to do. Alternatively, Gebser’s temporic concretion is an intensification of consciousness that enables re-integration of previous structures of consciousness—with their different time senses—honoring them all. It opens to new understanding through atemporal translucence whereby all times are present to the intensified consciousness in the same fully conscious moment" (176).

"Gebser sees integral time concretion as the point where consciousness folds back on itself and integrates the whole" (179) (my emphasis, see this thread).

Religion and torture

See this article for the details. Only a majority of the non-religious are against it. But even in that category 40% support it, so something more than just religion is going on. Still, it says something.






Friday, December 19, 2014

DA knew witnesses were lying in the Brown grand jury

Wow. See the video below and this partial transcript. DA McCulloch knew some of the witnesses he presented to the grand jury were lying. He even admits that one witness, the one Fox has been quoting repeatedly, was never at the scene and just culled new reports for her false testimony. He rationalized that he had to present all the witnesses to be fair, total bullshit.

Meanwhile, you'd think he'd know that Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4-3.3 uneqivocally states:

Andy Smith on Joe Perez

Continuing from this post, Andy Smith has entered the fray at Integral World in response to Joe Perez. I appreciated a lot of his sensible points. For now I'll mention the one on context, that his anger has different types and levels depending on context. That was a main point in every one of the developmentalists I cited; and that there is no overall, consistent level overseeing all the lines and contexts. Certainly not Spirit, or direct access to consciousness per se in kennilingus.

As to this blog not receiving independent review, that's true, since I get few comments and respond to fewer still. However that is not true of the IPS forum, where I've had serious review from, and discussion with, several other peers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

If the devil in in the details

then where is (the) god? Is it the most general of ideas? Devil/god, particular/general? Or part/whole? There is mereology in the question, the relationship between these two apparent ends of a spectrum. The answer is tantamount to how one sees god, the devil and everything in between.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This is exactly what you voted for

But have no clue that you did. The regressive spin machine turned you against yourselves and you don't even know it. Bill Maher is right; the American people are stupid.

The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative

Subtitle: An Integration of Integral Views. This is Jennifer Gidley's book-length Ph.D. dissertation printed in toto in Integral Review 5, 2007. I've referenced it in the forum several times throughout the years so thought I'd give it a thread if anyone else wants to read and discuss it. She compares and tries to integrate the views of Wilber, Steiner and Gebser. Very instructive. I've enclosed a few previous comments and quotes from the forum below about this work. See this IPS thread for ongoing discussion.

"For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded
consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, or greater quantities of perspectives. In his view, such approaches largely represent over-extended, rational characteristics. Rather, it involves an actual re-experiencing, re-embodying, and conscious re-integration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).

Tortured rationalizations


Monday, December 15, 2014

Krugman on Wall Street's Congressional dividends

See his blog post. Wall Street is backing Republicans by far and they got what they paid for in the recent budget rider on rolling back the Dodd-Frank provision allowing them to gamble with our money again, and have us bail them out again. Some Republicans claim to be against this too but their votes tell the story. Same for the corporate Dems. This is why it is critical that Elizabeth Warren becomes our next President and Bernie Sanders our next VP.

More liberal/conservative differences

See this article.

"A new Milgram-like experiment published this month in the Journal of Personality. [...] What researchers discovered was surprising: Those who are described as 'agreeable, conscientious personalities' are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while 'more contrarian, less agreeable personalities' are more likely to refuse to hurt others. [...] The study also found that people holding left-wing political views were less willing to hurt others. One particular group held steady and refused destructive orders: 'women who had previously participated in rebellious political activism such as strikes or occupying a factory.'"

Mindfulness on 60 Minutes

I saw this segment on mindfulness tonight on 60 Minutes. Honestly it sounded a LOT like this parody video posted earlier. For example, in the interview with Kabat-Zinn:

" So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower."

Money = votes

See this article for the details. This graph tells the story.


This Changes Everything

An extended excerpt here from Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate. A smidgen:

"I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my 'elite' frequent flyer status.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Senator Warren must become President of the US

Aside from Senator Sanders, Warren is the leader of the Progressive Party. At least the most vocal and the most in the media. Which is of course what we need to get her elected. She represents the people and fights the injustice of the current oligarchic and fascist corporatocracy. And she generates more piss and vinegar in the masses than Sanders. Sanders as her running mate would be ideal.

The following speech is being hailed as a game changer that could catapult her into the Presidency. I certainly hope so. As will most other most ordinary Americans of any political stripe, since she represents them.

By the way, Obama and the corporate Dems backed this spending Bill, including the rider for bailing out Wall Street again. This will be Hilary's exact same agenda. Hence to hell with Hilary and to progress with Warren. Warren/Sanders are the only hope of We the People, and if we the people don't get off our asses and support her for President then we get what we deserve.

Ultra spirituality

It's LOL funny and applicable to kennilingus.

More on where you at

Continuing from this post, that was the point of my providing the actual developmental research. Stating that one is 'at' a level overall is not supported by the research and per Stein more a dysfunctional, ideological interpretation. This dysfunction is ironically more a leftover from our capitalistic, competitive, self-involved 'orange' level, so the accusation of Frank being orange is more a shadow projection from this unconscious malady. Which is not to say Perez or the kennilinguists are 'at' orange overall, just in this context when defending their ideology through this particular pathology.

Recall this from Cook-Greuter's ITC '13 paper:

The two-party system is corrupt to the core

Robert Reich's statement below is why the US needs a more parliamentary system, where there are several parties and each get proportional representation in Congress. Robert Reich nails it on the split in the Democrat Party between the progressives and the corporate lackeys. Hence we need the Progressive Party led by Sanders and Warren as distinct from the corp-Dems (and Hilary). Here's Reich from his FB feed:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What does this say about the US and torture?


The gravity of our configurations

Mark Schmanko started this FB IPS thread. Therein he said something that reminded me of Morton's hyperobjects. And Bryant's latest work is on onto-cartography, how the gravity of objects and hyberobjects shape our perceptions. We discussed this a lot in the IPS OOO thread and elsewhere. Mark said:

Elitism

Desilet posted here on the motivation of elites. I get it and share it. I tend to push my own and standard performance boundaries to achieve excellence. And I appreciate it in others, like Michael Jordan or Ken Wilber. It's what keeps us growing. But there can be a flip side in the tendency to leave everyone else behind, since they drag us down and tether such soaring heights. I get it in spades as I obviously have that syndrome. And yet there are some, like Balder, who manage both the flight and the compassion to teach others, bring them at least a bit closer to the Sun. It takes a special sort for both. Few among us have that talent, certainly not I among them.

On metaphysical D(z)ogma

The following is my commentary on a recent turn in the IPS Desilet thread starting here, where andrew inquires about the relationship of Derrida and mystical Kabbalah, and the primacy of consciousness in Dzogchen:

I can offer some insight, having been an initiate into a Hermetic Qabalah system. Bottom line is that for them (magic) words can call into presence the actual things they represent. In most cases the things so called are from more subtle planes of existence, like angels and demons, all the way up to God. And that's because the words themselves are from a more subtle, higher plane of existence that prefigures material reality. In the beginning was the Word, and all that. It's the neo-perennial philosophy in practice and it doesn't seem Derrida would go along with that.

More Congressional torture upon its citizens

Continuing from this post, here's more of what you idiots voted for in the form of the regressive spending bill. You must have beaten dog syndrome and consider painful punishment, even torture, to be what you think you deserve for being a bad dog.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Robert Reich on the economy

He states why it is the way it is in 2 minutes. It's easy to understand and it's based on accurate facts. And yet most Americans are idiots because they can't understand something this simple.

Eigenfunctions as the Fold

Recently at FB Bryant said this:

"Should I be pleased or dismayed that an information theory engineer just confirmed my ontology by teaching me about the mathematics of eigen functions?"

Joseph replied: "Eigen functions have to do with isomorphic mappings between spaces or domains. Sound familiar?"

Sure does, like the Rift or Fold I've long harped on. A picture from the wiki:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Torture is as American as applie pie

And both are awesome. Stewart skewers the regressive lizard-brain reaction to the recent torture report.

This is what you idiots voted for

And either don't know it or don't believe it. But it's true, despite your ignorance or idiocy.


More 'where you at' integral bullshit

Once again some engage in kennilingus by claiming that critics can't understand them because the latter are at an inferior level of development to grasp their elevated, elite view. It starts with this IPS post on Desilet's recent Integral World article, then continues a few posts later where there's an Integral World exchange between Visser and Perez. Perez's main argument is that one has to be at an integral level to get it, a common kennilingus canard. I provided the following quotes from leading developmental researchers doing empirical work in the field, where no such claim is ever made as to some overall level. Quite the contrary:

I like this from Ingersoll, an actual psychologist trained in Cook-Greuter's measurement metric:

"The idea of levels of consciousness is a metaphor that has not been supported to the point where one can say another person's outlook is totally filtered through a 'level' of consciousness. [...] There is no psychological test that functions to capture the whole of how a person experiences/interacts with the world. [...] I would suggest that retreating to metaphors of 'altitude' or 'levels of consciousness' shuts down the dialogue in the same way as the question 'Are you saved?'"

Also recall this from Kurt Fischer, who not only administers measurements of 'levels' but is one of the leading empirical researchers into their formulation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Congressional cock suckers at it again

Senator Warren notes that the House is slipping in a provision to a funding Bill to repeal Dodd-Frank protections against derivative trading. The provision requires that there is no bail out for this sort of trading and this is exactly what Wall Street wants repealed. The repeal in the Bill is written by CitiCorp! And this is exactly what caused the 2008 financial crises, bailing out Wall Street for exactly these sorts of trades. The House regressives are even willing to shut down the government if they don't get to repeal this provision. These House cock suckers don't give a shit about another meltdown, and in fact by repealing this provision are ensuring that another one is coming. But again, as long as they get paid well for the blow job they'll just wipe off their chin and proceed to the bank.

Reclaim democracy

Lawrence Lessig gives an inspiring speech on inequality and how to fix it. Yet I'm losing hope that it's possible, for what he proposes--changing the way campaigns are financed--seems like it's impossible to accomplish given the facts he presents.

The Democrats suck Wall Street cock too

See Robert Reich's article on the topic. Most of them are just as bad as the GOP when it comes to getting on their knees for money. Yes, there are a few exceptions like Sanders and Warren, but by and large the entire process is a giant, well-paid whore. And Hilary is on the payroll big time too. It's so frustrating that it's hard to give a shit anymore.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Faux Snooze just can't see the obvious

Colbert in his inimitable way shows how the regressives just can't see the obvious when it comes to killing unarmed black men.

Mindfulness as justification for ignoring capitalism

See this article.

"But for some Buddhists, and we include ourselves in this group, there is a growing concern that the mindfulness movement has the potential to push to the margins contemporary Buddhism’s dialogue with tradition, diminishing its capacity to serve as a challenge to materialist attitudes and values. The rapid mainstreaming of mindfulness has provided a domesticated and tame set of meditation techniques for mainly upper-middle-class and corporate elites so they may become more self-accepting of their anxieties, helping them to 'thrive,' to have it all—money, power and well-being, continuing business-as-usual more efficiently and, of course, more 'mindfully'—while conveniently side-stepping any serious soul searching into the causes of widespread social suffering."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Chomsky on democracy and oligarchy

See the interview below. Turnout in the last election was so low because we don't feel like our voice matters anyway, since it doesn't. As has been made abundantly clear, the voice of the 1% rules and we know it. So why bother? The regressive lackeys in Congress have been all about ensuring that government doesn't work, knowing that we'll just blame it on the system and say 'fuck it.' And of course it worked. Meanwhile they manipulate just enough of their base with red meat to get them to the polls to win elections. I can fully understand why even Randi Rhodes retired from giving a shit.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Racism is dead, right?

It is according to Fox (and the Supreme Corp.). So how does Fox go about telling us this? With Aryan Barbies...


Sam Harris interviews Phil Zuckerman

Harris interviews Phil Zuckerman, author of Living the Secular Life. They start by differentiating the terms secular, secularization, secularism and atheism. Then this:

Harris: "Many of us have acknowledged that although 'replacing religion' may not be an appropriate goal, religion does offer people many things they want in life—and these are things that most atheists also want. We want nice buildings that function as dedicated spaces for reflection and celebration. We want strong communities. We want rituals and rites of passage with which to mark important transitions in life—births, marriages, deaths. We just don’t want to lie to ourselves about the nature of reality to have these things. This poses a real challenge, because once we get rid of religion, we are left without an established tradition for meeting these needs, and the alternative is often piecemeal, halfhearted, and unsatisfying."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bernie Sanders 12-point economic plan

See the video below. The following bullet points work for everyone, even the rich.



- Invest in our crumbling infrastructure with a major program to create jobs by rebuilding roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports, railroads and schools.

– Transform energy systems away from fossil fuels to create jobs while beginning to reverse global warming and make the planet habitable for future generations. 

Consciousness in dreamless sleep

In the following video Thompson describes around 37:00 what that consciousness is like as reported by both advanced meditators and non-meditators. The former see it as a luminous, non-dual awareness; the latter as a dark, non-dual awareness. Which reminds me of this meditation.

At around 43:00 he thinks this state, in contradistinction with Vedanta, is "the sentient aliveness with the body," "a basal biological phenomenon." Vedanta sees it as the transcendental witness. See earlier in this thread, with links to the "states" thread.

Also see this IPS discussion thread on this work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Can capitalism and democracy co-exist?

See Chris Hedges' interview of Sheldon Wolin here. A few Wolin excerpts follow:

"There's been a kind of conjuncture between the way that social and educational institutions have shaped a certain kind of mentality among students, among faculty, and so on, and the media itself, that are in lockstep with the requirements of the kind of political economic order that we have now, and that the basic question, I think, has been that we have seen the kind of absorption of politics and the political order into so many nonpolitical categories--of economics, sociology, even religion--that we sort of lost the whole, it seems to me, unique character of political institutions, which is that they're supposed to embody the kind of substantive hopes of ordinary people, in terms of the kind of present and future that they want. And that's what democracy is supposed to be about."

"Nietzsche was trying to really retrieve a notion of the value, intrinsic value, of political life. And he found it, however, only comprehensible to him in terms of some kind of dichotomy between elite and mass. [...] Nietzsche would inevitably try to turn into vehicles for celebrating or encouraging elite formations. And he simply could not conceive of a society that would be worthwhile in which elites were not given the most prominent and leading role. He just couldn't conceive it. He had the kind of 19th century sort of Hegelian notion that the masses were ignorant, they were intolerant, they were against progress, and all the rest of it. He simply, like so many very good writers in the 19th century, didn't know what to do with the, quote, people."

Benji & Torri

Ditto for these two, who once again won the showcase division.

Jordan & Tatiana

Once again they won the US Open classic division. And yet again they choreographed another innovative and spectacular routine, performed to near perfection. Inspiring.