Archive for category Materialism

Problems of our economic and political systems of today

Centralization is the problem of our current economic and political systems, evident in political decision-making, public institutions, companies and capital. The mantra ‘Big is Beautiful’ is wrong: The productivity per employee drops with the increasing size of the organisation, and that is because the single employee has less possibility to influence his own work and is too bound by rules. Also the large organizations are difficult to manage.

Centralized decision-making, for instance in the distance between government and population, increases the damage by wrong decision. The same goes for large corporations: the bigger the organization, the greater the danger for wrong decisions and for catastrophic results. However, this is only a small part of the danger of centralisation. In the following paragraphs I will look at its implications, which will be seen in greater aggressiveness, fewer social skills and decreasing possibilities to control our future. In other words, there are less possibilities to make decisions on a large scale as well as in our own lives, at home and work.

The danger of centralization works through various mechanisms, as

  • Materialism, a purely physical view of the universe,
  • Pervasive Politics, proliferation of the political system in daily life,
  • Groupings, emphasis on group, race, and ethnicity, us and them,
  • Orthodoxy, literal and “simple” interpretation of the Gospels,
  • Superstition, spiritual beliefs without foundation in thinking skills,
  • Abstract Thinking, cultivating abstract theorization,
  • Quantitative Thinking, purely quantitative (statistical) observation.

Combined with a dualistic worldview where everything is black and white, these will increase the strife between people all over the world.

Dualism

Materialism
Dualistic thinking sees everything in opposites, and this is one of the greatest dangers today: “If you are not with me, you are against me”. This is a widespread sickness, especially on the internet where you can hide under anonymity. However, orthodoxy of any kind – religious, atheistic, or political – moves our future in a dangerous direction. What makes it so dangerous are that both sides believe that they fight on the side of good, but the reality is that they both fight for extremism, whereas truth is always somewhere in-between.

The deception is not to see the full picture, to understand both sides in any relation!

The challenge is to find the golden mean between the extremes.

The following paragraphs will look into different areas where dualism endangers our society.

The deception is not to see the full picture, to understand both sides in any relation!

The challenge is to find the Golden Mean between the extremes.

The following paragraphs will look into different areas where Dualism endangers our society.

Materialism

Science is seen as the absolute truth against black superstition represented by religion. The latter is not seen as having different and complementary views on the same reality. It has become a kind of atheistic religion in itself, attacking spirituality and moral values. Darwin is their prime god, and their Messiahs are the sentient robots they hope will come and save the world. The problem are that most of the atheists don’t really understand what they are preaching, and they don’t accept scientific evidence if it’s against their own beliefs. See Is it possible to make Intelligent Machines?

Science can’t make decisions or take responsibility, as Science in itself has no morality per se. Science is always used by others: more dynamic groups in society, by players on the market or in politics, whose morals aren’t better than that of the courts or the voters.

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” Martin Luther King Jr.

“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.” Richard Feynman

“As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.” Noam Chomsky

Pervasive Politics

You see dualism in politics, especially in two-party systems, where there is no space for other views. Politics dominates today everybody’s life, in contrast to forty years ago, where politics was talked about at the elections every fourth year. Back then, the laws gave rules for the relation between citizens, whereas today the laws regulate the relation between state and citizens.

The political invasion of the private sphere destroys the natural equilibrium of society. The economic system today is an example of this: the equilibrium of that system ends regularly in chaos, as the system is made for speculators, not for companies, nor for the country and its citizens. Today the decisions are taken via regulations or laws on behalf of groups, whereas in earlier times, the decisions were taken on behalf of individuals by those who were familiar with specific cases. Wrong decisions had only small consequences then, whereas wrong decisions today have far heavier consequences as more people are dependent on these decisions.

“Justice without mercy is unjust.” Eli Wamberg

This is a problem all over the world, and it gets worse the more laws and rules people have to follow.

One of the biggest lies of today: We need more regulations as a result of society’s complexity. Wrong, it is more complex as a result of all those regulations. Computers take the complexity out of complex tasks, and prefabricated goods take the complexity out of manual work, so what is complex today, except the laws?

Groupings

There is a tendency to split up in groups, instead of seeing mankind as one: people split up according to race, religion, language, land, locality, sex, or whatever. There is a lots of hate in this, not least on the Internet.

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

Orthodoxy

There is a tendency to read religious texts too narrowly. For instance, the Jehovah Witnesses and other religious groups who take their holy books too literally. Durban Two, where the Islamic countries tries to prohibit any criticism of religion, is a typical example showing that discussions of religious content is unwanted. New religious movements like Scientology, Atheism, the Moonies, and so on, are also too rigid.

“Beware the man of one book.”  Saint Thomas Aquinas

Superstition

Another trap is to accept words of religious, esoteric, and scientific origin without thought. The spiritually-inclined are in danger of reading spiritual literature without conscious understanding, but that includes also atheists reading scientific texts without understanding.

One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.”  Malcolm Muggeridge

Abstract Thinking

In contrast to real understanding, abstract thinking is seen everywhere, including the previous subjects discussed. Man is seen as a thing, not as a being. But reality is not abstract, and every decision based on abstract thinking is wrong, especially if living beings are involved.

Quantitative Thinking

This involves statistics, but without understanding. Let us say a politician want to make a law, and it will make 0.123% of all families go bankrupt, but as the percent is so low, nobody sees it as a problem. Nobody understands that there are real people behind those figures. Quantitative thinking always works through abstractions.

Big Mother

The development moves in a direction where we can expect that our personal ‘I’ is assimilated by the masses, the collective. In the western world we talk about freedom: that nobody should tell us what to do, and we fight (duality problem) against conspiracies, against CO2 pollution, against many other things, but we don’t define and work consistently for a world worth living in. At the same time, our capabilities to decide our own destiny are diminishing, regulated by law, organizations, computers, and infrastructure. The result may be that everybody just follows the paths with least resistance, which are built through directives, regulations, computer capabilities, ending in a situation where nobody thinks or makes decisions any more. And it’s all made for the good of the citizens by Big Mother.

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” Noam Chomsky

Political Correctness

Political Correctness is sneaking in everywhere, without any conscious effort by any conspiratorial agency, but because of the path of least resistance.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” Noam Chomsky

No Childhood

Many of the restrictions and laws are made because of poor parenting: children no longer learn to live in a community; they are each and all small kings and princesses, who don’t understand that others don’t see them as such. Their understanding of scientific, historic or creative endeavors is as small as it has ever been. Children of olden times learned more at the campfire than the children of today. As they don’t know how to behave, more and more laws are created to remedy this deficient parenting.

The central problem are that children aren’t allowed to be children any longer, or as Michael Jackson says:

“Childhood has become the great casualty of modern-day living. All around us we are producing scores of kids who have not had the joy, who have not been accorded the right, who have not been allowed the freedom, or knowing what it’s like to be a kid.

Today children are constantly encouraged to grow up faster, as if this period known as childhood is a burdensome stage, to be endured and ushered through, as swiftly as possible.”

“Love, ladies and gentlemen, is the human family’s most precious legacy, its richest bequest, its golden inheritance. And it is a treasure that is handed down from one generation to another. Previous ages may not have had the wealth we enjoy. Their houses may have lacked electricity, and they squeezed their many kids into small homes without central heating. But those homes had no darkness, nor were they cold. They were lit bright with the glow of love and they were warmed snugly by the very heat of the human heart. Parents, undistracted by the lust for luxury and status, accorded their children primacy in their lives.” Michael Jackson, Speech at Oxford University(2001)

Complicated Structures

You can’t make tax-systems as complicated as they are today without computers, and you can’t control the many citizens or employees, as we can today, without computers; the amount of data is enormous. They make it possible to create structures which are difficult to manage without using computers, and computers don’t know HR.

GM and the American Automobile Industry are good examples of these gigantic companies, who would be impossible to manage without stiff administrative structures and computers, and it’s extremely difficult to change these structures if it were needed. But modern software organizations have the same problems, with their software bases: Microsoft with its operating system, and Office system, Yahoo with it’s big software base. There are also problems with reduction of labour, and new organizations such as Google with its extreme growth, will quickly get into the same problems. The only way out is to regularly rebuild old systems from the ground without any application reuse, to keep different applications separated on application level and to use methods which make the programming as simple and cost effective as possible.

These big organizations are extremely susceptible to the Peters Principle:

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

I believe computers can be a boon to mankind, but we have to control how and what they are used for, not letting their possibilities decide our future, as their strength can be used both for good and evil purposes.

Management and Computers

You can use computers for many things: they can plan routes for transport, or decrease energy consumption, and many other useful things. This sounds good, but if we don’t take care, it could mean that it makes the knowledge and experience of man superfluous or even dangerous: man’s role can become degraded to that of a machine.

The need for knowledge is diminishing everywhere in society, except within the computer world. Many jobs which needed educated craftsmen can now be done by unskilled labor, as building materials don’t need special skills any more, and the computer has taken over a lot of paperwork and decision-making. This turns everyone into secretaries except the secretaries: Even executives write their own letters and calculating sheets on their computers, instead of using secretaries, so they don’t do what they were hired and paid for – manage.

The term “human resources” is in itself a degradation. People are no longer individuals: They are a kind of commodity. See “Human Resources” by Scott Noble.

Large Structures

The physicist Geoffrey B. West studies large structures like cities and corporate organisations, and has found that cities increase their productivity and also their problems, while corporate organisations decrease their productivity as they grow.

“Bettencourt and West discovered that corporate productivity, unlike urban productivity, was entirely sublinear. As the number of employees grows, the amount of profit per employee shrinks. “
“The graph reflects the bleak reality of corporate growth, in which efficiencies of scale are almost always outweighed by the burdens of bureaucracy. “When a company starts out, it’s all about the new idea,” West says. “And then, if the company gets lucky, the idea takes off. Everybody is happy and rich. But then management starts worrying about the bottom line, and so all these people are hired to keep track of the paper clips. This is the beginning of the end.”
“The danger, West says, is that the inevitable decline in profit per employee makes large companies increasingly vulnerable to market volatility. Since the company now has to support an expensive staff — overhead costs increase with size — even a minor disturbance can lead to significant losses. As West puts it, “Companies are killed by their need to keep on getting bigger.”

Public organisations have of course the same problems as the corporate companies, they don’t trust their employees.

Cities are good examples on how the unstructured principles works, how the size of the city increases the production per citizen.

“According to the data, whenever a city doubles in size, every measure of economic activity, from construction spending to the amount of bank deposits, increases by approximately 15 percent per capita. It doesn’t matter how big the city is; the law remains the same. “This remarkable equation is why people move to the big city,” West says. “Because you can take the same person, and if you just move them to a city that’s twice as big, then all of a sudden they’ll do 15 percent more of everything that we can measure.”
“When Bettencourt and West analyzed the negative variables of urban life, like crime and disease, they discovered that the exact same mathematical equation applied.”
“For West, the impermanence of the corporation illuminates the real strength of the metropolis. Unlike companies, which are managed in a top-down fashion by a team of highly paid executives, cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it alive.”

No Competent Leaders

What makes it so frustratingly absurd is that we are giving away our independence to a system, a network of directives and conventions, without any persons being in charge. There is nowhere you can go to say that it’s wrong and it should be otherwise. Everybody will tell you, “That’s how it is and it has always been that way, and it can’t be in any other way, as it’s too costly to change the computers programming just because of you!” Of course we have leaders at the top of the state or the corporate companies, but as the decision-making is moved up through the hierarchy (following automatic rules,) it therefore becomes more and more difficult to manage big organizations, as everything becomes dependent on one decision- maker alone, and few can, or know how to, change the course. It’s more difficult to change the direction of a state, organization, or company than a supertanker. Consequently, organizations becomes automatons, and companies go under in the event of unanticipated events, when structural change is what is actually needed.

GM and the American automobile industry are good examples of this inability to change: They had known for decades that they should change their models to compete with Japanese and European manufacturers, but they couldn’t.

The incompetence of these organizations gives rise to conspiracy theories as Hanlon’s Law warns about:

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

A book by Thomas Ricks: “The Generals” (New York Times, Wired, The Atlantic) gives a deep analysis of the US army, and the conclusion is that it is a uniformed bureaucracy with incompetent leaders.
There are 945 generals and admirals, which is one general per 1,500 man. The army has ten active divisions and 109 major generals to command them, and more and more generals are being created, according to William Astore
The army is only good at one thing – spin, Donald Rumsfeld secretly hired 75 generals and other top officers to sell the war.

During World War II, top officials expected some generals to fail in combat, and were prepared to remove them when they did. The personalities of these generals mattered enormously, and the Army’s chief of staff, George C. Marshall, worked hard to find the right men for the jobs at hand. When some officers did not work out, they were removed quickly—but many were given another chance, in a different job. (Ginder, Landrum, and Williams were all given second chances, for instance—and all, to varying extents, redeemed themselves.) This hard-nosed but flexible system created a strong military, not only because the most competent were allowed to rise quickly, but also because people could learn from mistakes before the results became crippling, and because officers could find the right fit for their particular abilities.

In World War II, the firing of a general was seen as a sign that the system was working as planned. Yet now, in the rare instances when it does occur, relief tends to be seen, especially inside the Army, as a sign that the system has somehow failed. Only one high-profile relief occurred during the American invasion of Iraq, and the officer removed was not a general but a Marine colonel. Relief has become so unusual that even this firing made front-page news.

The Atlantic.

The following video shows many of the tendencies mentioned. Most banks don’t have such types as Potter any longer: the bank works and thinks like a machine without any feelings or empathy at all, customer service is merely a word, not a fact.

From Move Your Money who tries to resist the Corporate Ideology.

Automated Decisions

Buying and selling on the stock market are for a great part based on automated decisions made by computers, but as we have seen, it can go terrible wrong when some unanticipated events shows up. What’s worse, the stock market was made to foster strong and sound companies: not for computer-controlled gaming, but for intelligent investment.

As fewer and fewer managers can make decisions, these decisions will be automated as rules in computers, and it will be impossible to make decisions based on individual concerns.

Decreasing Social Intercourse

Computers are very effective for entertainment: you can live your whole life on the internet, without any direct social contact. You can play games and do your work through the net if necessary. You can also discuss, shop for sex/ books/ programs/ random data on the net (It can be like a drug in itself). You can book your food from a local pizzeria, book escort girls, men, and boys, eventually finding mates on the net if you really want to live together with another living being. The film Matrix is a plausible destiny, not by force, but semi-freely. It’s not Big Brother, it’s Big Mama.

Less Social Skills

In the old days, children, teenagers, and adults learned by living in a community, and there was room for everybody, even the village idiot. These and other unusual persons were educated by their social environment which were mostly normal. We are today living more and more on the internet, learning our social skills through social applications and computer games. The old community’s influence is replaced by the internet friends, and as like seeks like, they can only increase their phobias or other disorders. Examples are numerous: pedophilia, school killings, terrorists, all kind of surrealistic interests, and so forth. The Law of Sayre’s is relevant in many of these cases:

“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.”

No Privacy

Children and teenagers can be reached by mobile and GPS always and everywhere, followed on the internet through Twitter or Facebook by their parents: no privacy. The same goes for the adults: no privacy and always available for state officials, economic institutions and employers. Password protection, pseudonyms, and like precautions are no hindrance, Cyber-Investigators will find everything, relevant or not. You cannot even go to the North Pole or to the Himalayas in peace: they can always reach you, and you them.

Where’s the remotest place on Earth?

In our hyperconnected world, getting away from it all is easier said than done. Click the link in the main text to see more of the connectivity maps

In our hyper-connected world, getting away from it all is easier said than done. New Scientist.

Conspiracy Theories

The frustration has to go somewhere, and while there are no one responsible for our situation, and no one with enough insight, determination, and power to change the situation, we invent some god-like powerful conspirators who in all secrecy, with hundreds of employees, stands behind all the bad in this world. The truth is that most leaders are so incompetent that it hurts. Just look at Iraq: The military invasion was well thought out, but the rest was incompetence par excellence. And that is not an exception, it’s the rule. Of course, there are conspiracies and secret operations, but if more than one participant knowing about the conspiracy is alive a year later, it’s just a question of time before the world know. Another reason to use few people is that really competent people are difficult to find, and the more people involve, the bigger the risks for failure. Moreover, the bigger the consequences of a possilble failure, the less interesting the project becomes. The best way to check if a conspiracy theory is viable or not, isn’t to examine the technical evidence but rather the psychology and the necessary resources that would be needed behind the scenes, also how big is the risk, who gains, what’s their gain, how many participate, and what expertise is necessary.

A sober view on conspiracy theories from the left:


Noam Chomsky on Conspiracy Theories
In case the video is not functioning look here

The the Bafta-winning film-maker Adam Curtis:

“I don’t believe in conspiracies. Politicians don’t have the capacity to conspire, except in the most short-term way. [The distorted image of bin Laden] just suited a lot of people’s purposes at that time.”

Literature

Thomas Piketty

The Independent: The French economist forcing America to wake up to the end of The Dream.
Out of America: Thomas Piketty’s tome which skewers the idea that anyone who works hard can make it in the US seems to have hit a nerve

“Capital In The Twenty-First Century”, all 685 pages of it, is the No 1 best-seller on Amazon – apparently the first time that anything published by the venerable Harvard University Press has attained such dizzying celebrity. No self-regarding dinner party in Washington or New York is worth its salt without a discussion of it. Last Friday, came the ultimate accolade of a multiple coronation on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

The Huffington Post: Economist Thomas Piketty Explains Why Income Inequality Is Just Getting Started

Michael Lewis

Wired: Michael Lewis on Exposing Wall Street’s Biggest High-Tech Swindle in the book: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Flash Boys explores the world of high-frequency trading, a scheme in which traders use ultra-fast network connections to sniff out the intentions of other, slower traders, thereby acting before others can respond. Critics of the practice–Lewis chief among them–argue that high-frequency trading creates something akin to insider trading: a predatory environment for less advantaged investors. WIRED spoke with Lewis at an event organized by Live Talks in downtown Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Warren

A Fighting Chance (Apple, Amazon)

An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works—and really doesn’t.

In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.

New York Times: Book review of A Fighting Chance

A good review, also giving a good idea about who she is.

Adam Curtis

The the Bafta-winning film-maker Adam Curtis:

Philosophy of Materialism

Allan Bloom

The Closing of the American Mind, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Christopher Lasch

Haven in a Heartless World, 1977, Basic Books, Inc.

In the American political vocabulary, “family” and “family values” no longer simply evoke pictures of harmonious scenes; they also push our buttons (left and right) about what is wrong with society. One of the earliest and sharpest cultural commentators to investigate the twentieth-century American family, Christopher Lasch argues in this book that as social science “experts” intrude more and more into our lives, the family’s vital role as the moral and social cornerstone of society disintegrates – and, left unchecked, so does our political and personal freedom. Haven in a Heartless World is a trenchant analysis of the plight of the family. Lasch takes a clear-eyed look at the institution in which America’s future generations are being raised and finds it faltering.

Geoffrey B. West

A Physicist Turns the City Into an Equation:

A New York Times article on his work.

Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities:

Describes the mathematical background for his work.

Atticannie’s Blog

Why Teacher Drink, the sequel: Natalie Munroe speaks out

Huffington Post – The Psychology Of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy

Matt Walsh:

That’s our entire economic system: buy things. Everybody buy. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Just buy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have money. Just buy. Our entire civilization now rests on the assumption that, no matter what else happens, we will all continue to buy lots and lots of things. Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. And then buy a little more. Don’t create, or produce, or discover — just buy. Never save, never invest, never cut back — just buy. Buy what you don’t need with money you don’t have… Buy like you breathe, only more frequently.

Eager Retailers Greet Crowds Of Shoppers On

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

have written a little book called “Night Flight” which describes man’s fight against the Materialistic docility to keep man competent and responsible.

Rudolf Steiner

The Social question from an esoteric view, in German and in English.

Political Correctness

Political Correctness is sneaking in everywhere, without any conscious effort by any conspiratorial agency, but because of the path of least resistance.

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

Noam Chomsky

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The Philosophy of Materialism

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

The Bafta-winning film-maker Adam Curtis have made a documentary series called “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”, describing the philosophy of materialism. He says about the background:

 “about how we have been colonised by the machines we have built. Although we don’t realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of computers. My underlying argument is that we have given up a dynamic political model of the world – the dream of changing things for the better – for a static machine ideology that says we are all components in systems.”

This is the best description of the materialistic problem of today, the film is pure art, making the viewers stop and think.

Adam Curtis shows how this “machine ideology” have entered the thoughts of man up through time, starting with ideas of the economic policies of Alan Greenspan and his fascination with the philosopher Ayn Rand; the  “selfish gene” popularised by Richard Dawkins; the “self-organising” dreams of hippies in the 1960s; and utopian visions of the internet preached by cyber-nerds in Silicon Valley.

His point is not that computers are worryingly ubiquitous, or that machines are enslaving us, but that we have fooled ourselves into believing that every sphere of human experience – from the democratic nation state to the global economy and even the natural world – can be thought of like a computer, as an ordered network of millions of individually insignificant nodes (i.e. us) whose only achievable goal is to maintain order and stability within the system. 

And, Curtis says:

“One downside of this machine organising principle,” he says, “is that it undermines something really important: the old Enlightenment idea that human beings have the power and the imagination to change the world, to make it what they want and bend it to their will. [This] can be dangerous, but it can also be wonderful.”

Wikipedia have a good article here.

The three documentaries are comprised of:

1. Love and Power.

This is the story of the dream that rose up in the 1990s that computers could create a new kind of stable world. They would bring about a new kind global capitalism free of all risk and without the boom and bust of the past. They would also abolish political power and create a new kind of democracy through the Internet where millions of individuals would be connected as nodes in cybernetic systems – without hierarchy.

The film tells the story of two perfect worlds. One is the small group of disciples around the novelist Ayn Rand in the 1950s. They saw themselves as a prototype for a future society where everyone could follow their own selfish desires.

The other is the global utopia that digital entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley set out to create in the 1990s. Many of them were also disciples of Ayn Rand. They believed that the new computer networks would allow the creation of a society where everyone could follow their own desires, yet there would not be anarchy.

They were joined by Alan Greenspan who had also been a disciple of Ayn Rand. He became convinced that the computers were creating a new kind of stable capitalism. But the dream of stability in both worlds would be torn apart by the two dynamic human forces – love and power.

2. The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. This is the story of how our modern scientific idea of nature, the self-regulating ecosystem, is actually a machine fantasy. It has little to do with the real complexity of nature. It is based on cybernetic ideas that were projected on to nature in the 1950s by ambitious scientists. A static machine theory of order that sees humans, and everything else on the planet, as components – cogs – in a system.

But in an age disillusioned with politics, the self-regulating ecosystem has again become the model for utopian ideas of human “self-organising networks”, with dreams of new ways of organising societies without leaders and in global visions of connectivity like the Gaia theory.

This powerful idea emerged out of the hippie communes in America in the 1960s, and from counter-culture computer scientists who believed that global webs of computers could liberate the world.

But, at the very moment this was happening, the science of ecology discovered that the theory of the self-regulating ecosystem wasn’t true. Instead they found that nature was really dynamic and constantly changing in unpredictable ways.

But it was too late, the dream of the self-organising network had by now captured imaginations…

3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey. This episode looks at why we humans find this machine vision so beguiling. The film argues it is because all political dreams of changing the world for the better seem to have failed – so we have retreated into machine-fantasies that say we have no control over our actions because they excuse our failure.

At the heart of the film is Bill Hamilton, a scientist. He argued that human behaviour is really guided by codes buried deep within us – a theory later popularised by Richard Dawkins as the “selfish gene”. It said that individual human beings are really just machines whose only job is to make sure the codes are passed on for eternity.

This final part begins in 2000 in the jungles of the Congo and Rwanda, where Hamilton is to help prove his dark theories. But all around him the Congo is being torn apart. The film then interweaves the two stories–the strange roots of Hamilton’s theories, and the history of the West’s tortured relationship with the Congo and technology…

The title is borrowed from a poem handed out on the streets of San Francisco in 1967 by the writer Richard Brautigan:

allWatchedOver

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.
Richard Brautigan

Literature

Problems of our economic and political systems of today

Other places with videos: topdocumentaryfilms.com

Wikipedia

The End of Materialism

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Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it – on Thinking

Nothing is such a joy as to learn something new, so enjoy each time you are wrong, you get wiser.

Gautama Buddha

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observations and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason; conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. (Chop Wood, Carry Water p. 281)

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Buddha was once asked, “What is truth?” He replied, “Truth is that which can be used.”

[ What can be used? See truth as a puzzle piece, it fits together with other puzzle pieces and together they create the full picture. A lie is a piece that don’t fit. ]

Arthur Conan Doyle

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Coleridge

He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect of church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all.

Leo Tolstoy

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. 1897

Mohandas Gandhi 

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.

Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.

Those who know how to think need no teachers.

And, not least

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.

Unknown author

Lie, n. :

A very poor substitute for the truth, but the only one discovered to date.

Sometimes we have to spend more time trying to understand, instead of pretending that we already do. Katherine gm

William Blake

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

Aristotle

Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.

Thomas Aquinas

Beware the man of one book. 

Truth is the equation of thing and intellect.

A judgment is said to be true when it conforms to the external reality.

John

 14, 6: I am the way and the truth and the life.

Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard

Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

The truth is a trap: you cannot get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you.

The reason I cannot really say that I positively enjoy nature is that I do not quite realize what it is that I enjoy. A work of art, on the other hand, I can grasp. I can — if I may put it this way — find that Archimedian point, and as soon as I have found it, everything is readily clear for me. Then I am able to pursue this one main idea and see how all the details serve to illuminate it.

Eli Wamberg

Knowledge resides in brains that are filled with the thoughts of others, but wisdom resides in the souls of those who attentively listens to their own thoughts.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though ’twere his own.

Oblivion is full of people who allow the opinions of others to overrule their belief in themselves.

First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.

Common sense is the genius of humanity.

Few people have the imagination for reality.

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

A person hears only what they understand.

Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.

Not to keep from error, is the duty of the educator of men, but to guide the erring one, even to let him swill his error out of full cups — that is the wisdom of teachers. Whoever merely tastes of his error, will keep house with it for a long time, … but whoever drains it completely will have to get to know it.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

‘I have the courage to be mistaken’.

Socrates

Sokrates could save his life if he renounced his teachings, but he said: “I think it’s better to have my lyre or a chorus that I might lead out of tune and dissonant, and have the vast majority of men disagree with me and contradict me, than to be out of harmony with myself, to contradict myself, though I’m only one person.” 

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Understanding a question is half an answer

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Know thyself.

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

To find yourself, think for yourself.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

The unexamined life is not worth living

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.

Plato

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.

C.G.Jung

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.

Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own.

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

The word “belief” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it – I don’t need to believe it.

Max Planck  Max_Planck_1933

Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out.

It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.

New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

No matter where and how far we look, nowhere do we find a contradiction between religion and natural science. On the contrary, we find a complete concordance in the very points of decisive importance. Religion and natural science do not exclude each other, as many contemporaries of ours would believe or fear. They mutually supplement and condition each other. The most immediate proof of the compatibility of religion and natural science, even under the most thorough critical scrutiny, is the historical fact that the very greatest natural scientists of all times — men such as Kepler, Newton, Leibniz— were permeated by a most profound religious attitude.

Albert Einstein 

Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards.

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

E. F. Schumacher

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

 

Hypatia

Reserve your right to think.

For even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

Maimonides

Consequently he who wishes to attain to human perfection, must therefore first study Logic, next the various branches of Mathematics in their proper order, then Physics, and lastly Metaphysics. He, however, who begins with Metaphysics, will not only become confused in matters of religion, but will fall into complete infidelity.

Dalai Lama XIV

Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.

Adyashanti

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Being wrong is erroneously associated with failure, when, in fact, to be proven wrong should be celebrated, for it elevates someone to a new level of understanding.

What we are trying in all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind. *Not accept things as they are* – but to understand it, to go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind with every thing that you have to find out. A way of living differently. But that depends on you and not somebody else. Because in this there is no teacher, no pupil. There’s no leader, there is no guru, there’s no master, no savior. You yourself are the teacher, and the pupil, you’re the master, you’re the guru, you are the leader, you are everything! And, to understand is to transform what is“.

You must understand the Whole of life, not just one little part of it.
That is why you must read,
that is why you must look at the skies,
that is why you must sing and dance,
and write poems,
and suffer,
and understand,
for all that is life.

Elbert Hubbard

The more one knows, the more one simplifies.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.

If you can’t answer a man’s argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.

Jesus Christ

If you live by what I say, you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Saint Paul

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And do not marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

So, you have full responsibility for what you believe!

Confucius

If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well-governed. 

When making a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.

Dave Barry

We journalists… are also extremely impressed with scientists, and we will, frankly, print just about any wacky thing they tell us, especially if it involves outer space.

Thomas Henry Huxley

It sounds paradoxical to say the attainment of scientific truth has been effected, to a great extent, by the help of scientific errors.

Rita Dove

“If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.

Mark Twain

A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth gets out the front door.

H.P.BlavatskyH.P.Blavatsky

Nevertheless, one feature, at any rate, we have in common with the scientific method of investigation. We take nothing on faith, and we go beyond and higher than any dogmatic religion or materialistic physical science, since our motto—“There is no religion higher than truth” is followed by the principle enunciated by Arago: “outside of pure mathematics never pronounce the word impossible.”

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I speak “with absolute certainty” only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any more than her correspondent and his friends in any “authority” let alone “divine revelation”!

Osho

Intellect may arrive at certain inferences, but intellect is an unconscious phenomenon. You are almost behaving sleepily. Intelligence is awakening, and unless you are fully awake, whatsoever you decide is bound to be wrong somewhere or other. It is bound to be so, it is doomed to be wrong, because it is a conclusion arrived at by an unconscious mind.
To bring intelligence into activity you don’t need more information, you need more meditation. You need to become more silent, you need to become more thoughtless. You need to become less mind and more heart. You need to become aware of the magic that surrounds you: magic that is life, magic that is God, magic that is in the green trees and the red flowers, magic that is in people’s eyes. Magic is happening everywhere! All is miraculous, but because of your intellect you remain closed inside yourself, clinging to your stupid conclusions arrived at in unconsciousness or given to you by others who are as unconscious as you are.
Savita, intelligence is certainly creative because intelligence brings your totality into functioning — not only a part, a small part, the head. Intelligence vibrates your whole being; each cell of your being, each fiber of your life starts dancing, and falls in a subtle harmony with the total. That’s what creativity is: to pulsate in absolute harmony with the total. That’s how one becomes a Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra. These are the real creative people.Peter Deunov

Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov)

Wise persons do not need long speeches, what they need is a short, but sensible and comprehensible talk.

Rudolf Steiner 

To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.

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there’s something else that lies between believing and disbelieving, and that is listening without prejudice

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Many people think that they’re working for the good of mankind from morn till eve, but this is questionable.

A clairvoyant can see that efforts coming from materialistic thinking have the wrong effect, and it may lie in some people’s karma that they should wait until they can do certain things. Then a higher being can whisper such a task in his ear, so that it’s not induced by outer circumstances. Life is a destructive process for someone who only devotes himself to outer sense impressions. A meditating esoteric doesn’t let his life be determined by outer circumstances as much. One who makes repeated meditational efforts isn’t exposed to astral confusions at night and makes himself ready to receive the instructions of spiritual beings. And it’s very necessary that we be instructed in this way.

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The fact is, no art of any kind can be mastered without humour, especially the art of dealing with human beings.

This means that part of the art of education is the elimination of ill-humour and crossness from the teachers, and the development of friendliness and a love full of humour and fantasy for the children, so that the children may not see portrayed in their teacher the very thing he is forbidding them to be.

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Nevertheless one will sometimes have great trouble in controlling the children’s liveliness. You will succeed in controlling it if you possess a thing not sufficiently appreciated in this connection, namely humour.

The teacher must bring humour into the class room as he enters the door.

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Essentially, there is no education other than self- education, whatever the level may be. […] Every education is self-education, and as teachers we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education. We have to provide the most favourable conditions where, through our agency, children can educate themselves according to their own destinies.

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That is what you need – an enthusiasm in the experience of truth. This enthusiasm is an absolute sine qua non.

For years it has been so terribly painful to me, the way the members of the anthroposophical movement stand there as if they were rooted to the spot – and the young too, almost as much as the old. But now consider what it means, that they can stand there so impassively.

Look at Nietzsche! What a different sort of fellow he was – even if he did get ill from it! He made his Zarathustra become a dancer. Can’t you become dancers – in the sense Nietzsche meant it?

Why, you should be leading lives of joy – deep inner joy in the truth! There is nothing in the world more delightful, nothing more fascinating than the experience of truth.

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The right attitude for raising oneself into the higher world is never a sentimental one. Mere sentimentality is of no use for the man who wants to toil up the spiritual heights, in the right way, for it always smacks of egoism. You know how often, when the highest spiritual subjects are being discussed, I mix with our considerations something not designed to take you out of the mood, but simply to banish any egoistic sentimentality from it.

A genuine ascent to the spiritual must be undertaken in purity of soul (which is never destitute of humour), not from a motive of egoistic sentimentality.

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Theosophists also often tend to turn away from the outer world. But a loving interest in our surroundings is absolutely necessary if one wants to make progress. One doesn’t have to neglect what one is striving for theosophically thereby.

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Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied opinions can be reconciled. Hence it is deeply significant that in Theosophy no religion is attacked and no religion is specially singled out, but all are understood, and so there can be brotherhood because the adherents of the most varied religions understand one another.

This is one of the most important tasks for mankind today and in the future: that men should learn to live together and understand one another. If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of occult development is empty.

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The mood of meditation should not be: I will inwardly lie down in a warm nest, which must become warmer and warmer for me.

Rather, our mood must be that we are about to dip into reality, to grasp something real.

Devoted attention to little things, indeed to the least thing, is what it comes down to.

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“Never should the phrase be heard that truths are accepted simply because I have voiced them!

We should sin against the truth were we to say any such thing. One thing or another may be grounded on confidence; but that can never be made into a principle.

Someone else may perhaps be better able to tread the path; but the rule to which every individual should adhere is this: not to accept things on authority, but to put them to the test.

Truth has to conquer its domain with complete disinterestedness. That is why, at bottom, nothing is more hated than the truth, the unvarnished truth. And so there may be many adherents here and there who actually cherish hatred deep down within them. No wonder that this hatred sometimes cuts through the force that builds a wall against it — cuts through this force because the hatred has been accumulating for so long. Such hatred is far more widespread than is imagined and it is a factor that must be reckoned with.

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The occultist will never dream of imposing dogmas.

He is one who tells what he has seen and tested in the astral and spiritual worlds or what has been revealed to him by trustworthy and reliable teachers.

He does not desire to convert but to quicken in others the sense that has awakened in him and to enable them to see likewise.

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The Rosicrucian way, which leaves the pupil with the greatest possible independence. … When we are on the physical plane, we perceive with the physical senses only what is to be found on that plane. Astral perceptions are valid for the astral plane; devachanic hearing is valid only in Devachan. Thus each plane has its own specific form of perception.

But one activity — logical thinking — goes through all worlds. Logic is the same on all three planes. Thus on the physical plane you can learn something which is valid also for the higher planes; and this is the method followed by Rosicrucian training when on the physical plane it gives primary attention to thinking, and for this purpose uses the means available on the physical plane.

A penetrative thinking can be cultivated by studying theosophical truths, or by practising mental exercises. Anyone who wishes further training for the intellect can study books such as Truth and Science, and The Philosophy of Freedom, which are written deliberately in such a way that a thinking trained by them can move with certainty on the highest planes. Even a person who studies these books and knows nothing of Theosophy might find his way about in the higher worlds.

But, as I have said, the teachings of Theosophy act in the same way.

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The first condition is the cultivation of absolutely clear thinking. For this purpose a man must rid himself of the will-o’-the-wisps of thought, even if only for a very short time during the day – about five minutes (the longer, the better).

He must become the ruler in his world of thought. He is not the ruler if external circumstances, occupation, some tradition or other, social relationships, even membership of a particular race, the daily round of life, certain activities and so forth, determine a thought and how he works it out.

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There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man’s knowledge and proficiency. This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it. And just as all can learn to write who choose the correct method, so, too, can all who seek the right way become esoteric students and even teachers….He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of soul.

In spiritual science this fundamental attitude is called the path of veneration, of devotion to truth and knowledge. Without this attitude no one can become a student.

The disposition shown in their childhood by subsequent students of higher knowledge is well known to the experienced in these matters. There are children who look up with religious awe to those whom they venerate…. Only it must not be thought that this disposition leads to submissiveness and slavery. What was once a childlike veneration for persons becomes, later, a veneration for truth and knowledge.

Experience teaches that they can best hold their heads erect who have learned to venerate where veneration is due; and veneration is always fitting when it flows from the depths of the heart. … If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to something higher.

The initiate has only acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion. The heights of the spirit can only be climbed by passing through the portals of humility. You can only acquire right knowledge when you have learned to esteem it. Man has certainly the right to turn his eyes to the light, but he must first acquire this right.

A person who darts from one impression of the outer world to another, who constantly seeks distraction, cannot find the way to higher knowledge. The student must not blunt himself to the outer world, but while lending himself to its impressions, he should be directed by his rich inner life.

This life of the soul in thought, which gradually widens into a life in spiritual being, is called by Gnosis, and by Spiritual Science, Meditation (contemplative reflection).

This meditation is the means to supersensible knowledge. But the student in such moments must not merely indulge in feelings; he must not have indefinite sensations in his soul. That would only hinder him from reaching true spiritual knowledge. His thoughts must be clear, sharp and definite, and he will be helped in this if he does not cling blindly to the thoughts that rise within him. Rather must he permeate himself with the lofty thoughts by which men already advanced and possessed of the spirit were inspired at such moments.

He should start with the writings which themselves had their origin in just such revelation during meditation. In the mystic, gnostic and spiritual scientific literature of today the student will find such writings, and in them the material for his meditation. The seekers of the spirit have themselves set down in such writings the thoughts of the divine science which the Spirit has directed his messengers to proclaim to the world.

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For through his I the human being attains to control of his sensations, feelings, thoughts, instincts, passions, and desires. Perception and thought cannot be left to themselves in the soul. They must be regulated through attentive thinking.

It is the I that employs these laws of thinking and through them brings order into the life of visualization and thought. It is similar with desires, instincts, inclinations, and passions. The ethical principles become guides of these soul powers. Through moral judgment the I becomes the guide of the soul in this realm.

If the human being now draws a higher I out of his ordinary I, the latter becomes independent in a certain sense. From this I just as much of living force is withdrawn as is bestowed upon the higher I.

Let us suppose, however, the case in which the human being has not yet developed a sufficient ability and firmness in the laws of thought and in his power of judgment, and he wishes to give birth to his higher I at this stage of development. He will be able to leave behind for his everyday I only so much thought power as he has previously developed. If the measure of regulated thinking is too small, then there will appear a disordered, confused, fantastic thinking and judgment in the ordinary I that has become independent. Because the new-born I can only be weak in such a personality, the disturbed lower I will gain domination over supersensible perception, and man will not show equilibrium in his power of judgment in observing the supersensible world.

If he had developed sufficient ability in logical thinking, he would be able, without fear, to permit the ordinary I to have its independence.

This is also true in the domain of the ethical. If the human being has not attained firmness in moral judgment, if he has not gained sufficient control over his inclinations, instincts, and passions, then he will make his ordinary I independent in a state in which these soul powers act. It may happen that the human being in describing the knowledge he has experienced in the supersensible is not governed by the same high sense of truth that guides him in what he brings to his consciousness in the physical outer world.

With such a demoralized sense of truth, he might believe anything to be spiritual reality that in truth is only his own fantastic imagining. Into this sense of truth there must act firmness of ethical judgment, certainty of character, keenness of conscience, which are developed in the lower, first I, before the higher, second I becomes active for the purpose of supersensible cognition.

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Reality
In earthly existence we live in a world that is but a copy of true reality [Astral world transformed holographically through the wisdom of the Etheric world into the physical.]

Indeed, we only understand this physical world aright when we realize it to be this copy of reality. It behooves us, however, to feel the true reality within us [Astral world]; we must be aware of our connection with the spiritual world. And this is only possible if the bond that links us with pre-earthly existence remains intact.

This bond is strengthened by a love of truth and Integrity. Nothing establishes man’s true and original sense of existence so firmly as a feeling for truth and truthfulness.

To feel himself in duty bound first to “prove all things” he utters, to set due restraint on all his words — this helps to consolidate the sense of existence that is worthy of his being.

To be aware of the spirit within the physical body — with this, indeed, the sense of being is connected. There is, in effect, an intimate kinship between the physical body and this ideal of Truth.

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Word Thinking
After Atlantis was destroyed by water, continued evolution resulted in our contemporary fifth race, during which deductive reasoning was a special achievement. This enabled the human race to bring art and science to a high level of development, which previously had not been possible.

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Feelings
People think often enough that it is unnecessary to talk about the principles of man’s being, or the evolution of humanity or the different planetary evolutions, they would rather acquire beautiful feelings, they do not want to study earnestly.

Nevertheless, however many beautiful feelings one acquires in one’s soul it is impossible to rise into the spiritual worlds by that alone. Rosicrucian theosophy does not try to arouse the feelings, but through the stupendous facts of the spiritual worlds to let the feelings themselves begin to resound.

The Rosicrucian feels it a kind of impertinence to take people by storm with feelings. … It is only an empty phrase to say one should address oneself direct to the feelings, that is just indolence. Rosicrucian theosophy lets the facts speak, and if these thoughts flow into the feeling nature and overpower it, then that is the right way.”

Rosicrucian Theosophy does not wish to revel in feelings, it wishes to bring the facts of the spirit before your eyes. The pupil must take part, must let himself be stimulated by the facts which have been described, feelings and sensations must be aroused in him through them.

In this sense Spiritual Science should become a powerful impulse for the sphere of feeling, but at the same time be that which leads us direct into the facts of supersensible perceptions, which lets them first arise as thoughts and then leads the seeker upwards into the higher worlds.

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Abstract Thinking
Just think how abstract modern thinking has become when it uses abstract words for something which, in its reality, is not understood!

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Reality is not contained in the abstract concept; it is, however, contained in thoughtful observation, which does not one-sidedly consider either concept or percept alone, but rather the union of the two. PoF

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Freedom
Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.

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Fanatism and Objectivity
How does a fanatic behave? He wants to convert people as quickly as possible — while they, as a rule, do not want to be converted. Everybody is expected immediately to believe what the fanatic wants them to believe and he is angry when this does not happen.

In our day, when someone sets out to expound a particular subject, people simply do not believe that his aim may be not to voice his own views but something quite different, namely, the thoughts and opinions of the one of whom he is writing. For many years I was held to be a follower of Nietzsche because I once wrote an absolutely objective book about him.

People simply cannot understand that the aim of a writer may be to give an objective exposition. They think that everyone must be a fanatic on the subject of which he happens to be speaking!

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Imaginaire Thinking – Memory
The pupil now, however, begins to perceive his etheric body more directly. The most striking change that takes place in the etheric body, which many do not appreciate at all, and which is not recognised as a change in the etheric body, although it is such, is that as a result of esoteric or theosophical development it becomes very distinctly evident that the power of memory begins somewhat to diminish.

Through esoteric development, the ordinary memory almost invariably suffers diminution. At first one’s memory becomes poorer. If the student does not wish to have a less efficient memory, he cannot undergo an esoteric development.

Especially does that memory cease to be strongly active which may be described as the mechanical memory, best developed in human beings in childhood and youth, and generally meant when memory is alluded to.

Many esotericists have to complain of the diminution of their memory, for it soon becomes perceptible. In any case, this depreciation of the memory can be observed long before one perceives the more delicate things which have just been explained. But as the student, by pursuing correct theosophical training, can never suffer injury in his physical body — in spite of its becoming more mobile — neither will his memory be injured for long. …

Now, as regards the memory, we must also do the correct thing. We lose the memory belonging to the external life: but we need suffer no injury if we take care to develop more interest, a deeper interest in all that affects us in life, more concern than hitherto.

We must especially acquire a sympathetic interest for the things which to us are important. Previously we developed a more mechanical memory, and the working of this mechanical memory was fully reliable for a time, even without any particular liking for the things observed; but this ceases.

It will be noticed that when undergoing a theosophical or esoteric development it is easy to forget things. But only those things fly away for which one has not a sympathetic interest, which one does not particularly care for, which do not become part of one’s soul, as it were.

On the other hand, that which appeals to one’s soul fixes itself in the memory all the more. Therefore, the student must try systematically to bring this about. The following may be experienced. Let us imagine a man in his youth, before he came to Theosophy when he read a novel he was quite unable to forget it; he could relate it again and again. Later, when he has come into Theosophy, if he reads a novel, it very often vanishes from his mind; he cannot recount it. But if a student takes a book, of which he has been told — or tells himself — that it might be valuable, and reads it through once and then tries directly afterwards to repeat it mentally, and not only to repeat it, but repeat it backwards, the last matters first and the first last; if he takes the trouble to go through certain details a second time, if he becomes so absorbed in it that he even takes a piece of paper and writes brief thoughts on it, and tries to put the question: — what aspect of this subject especially interests me — then he will find that in this way he develops a different kind of memory. It will not be the same memory. By using it, the difference can be accurately observed.

When we use the human memory, things come into our soul as remembrances; but if, in the manner just described, we systematically acquire a memory as an esotericist or theosophist, then it is as though the things thus experienced had remained stationary in time.

We learn to look back into time, as it were, and it really seems as though we were looking at what we were remembering; indeed, we shall notice that the things become more and more picture-like and the memory more and more imaginative.

If we have acted in the manner just described — for instance, with a book — then, when it is necessary to bring the matter to mind again, we need only meet with something in some way connected with it, and we shall look back, as it were, at the occasion when we were studying the book, and see ourselves reading it.

The remembrance does not arise, but the whole picture appears. Then we are able to notice that, while previously we only read the book, now the contents actually appear. We see them as at a distance in time; the memory becomes a seeing of pictures at a distance in time. This is the very first beginning, elementary to be sure, of gradually learning to read the Akashic Record.

The memory is replaced by learning to read in the past. And very often a man who has gone through a certain esoteric development may have almost entirely lost his memory, yet he is none the worse for it, because he sees things in retrospect. He sees those with which he himself was connected, with special clearness. I am now saying something which, if it were said to anyone not connected with Theosophy, would only make him laugh. He could not help laughing, because he could not form any idea of what it means when an esotericist tells him that he no longer has any memory, and yet that he knows quite well what has happened, because he can see it in the past. The first man would say: ‘What you have is in reality a very excellent memory,’ for he cannot conceive of the change that has taken place. It is a change in the etheric body that has brought it about.

Then, as a rule, this changing of the memory is connected with something else, viz., we form, we might say, a new opinion about our inner man. For we cannot acquire this retrospective vision without at the same time adopting a certain standpoint as regards our experience. Thus when at a later date a man looks back at something he has done, as in the case described above about the book, for instance, when he sees himself in that position, he will, of course, have to judge for himself whether he was wise or foolish so to occupy himself.

With this retrospect there is closely united another experience, viz., a sort of self-criticism. The pupil at this stage cannot do otherwise than define his attitude towards his past. He will reproach himself about some things; he will be glad he has attained others. In short, he cannot do otherwise than judge the past he thus surveys, so that, in fact, he becomes a sterner judge of himself, of his past life.

He feels within him the etheric body becoming active, the etheric body which — as may be seen by the retrospect after death — has the whole of his past within it; he feels this etheric body as included in himself, as something that lives in him and defines his value. Indeed, such a change takes place in the etheric body that very often he feels the impulse to make this self-retrospect and observe one thing or another, so as to learn in quite a natural manner to judge of his own worth as a man.

While in ordinary life one lives without being aware of the etheric body, in the retrospective view of one’s own life it can be perceived, and this gradually rouses in the student an impulse to make greater efforts when he undergoes an esoteric development. The esoteric life makes it necessary for one to pay more attention to one’s merits and demerits, errors and imperfections.  [GA-145]

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Thinking in Words
Our ordinary thought life reaches only up to the astral world. No matter how brilliant our thoughts may be, thoughts that are not sustained by feelings go no further than into the astral world; they have no significance for other worlds. You will certainly understand in this connection what is said in regard to external science, dry, matter-of-fact external science.

No man can by means of thoughts not permeated by emotion affirm anything regarding other worlds than the astral realm. Under ordinary circumstances, the thinking of the scientist, of the chemist, the mathematician, runs its course without any sort of feeling. This goes no further than just under the surface. Indeed, scientific research even demands that it shall proceed in this way, and for this reason it penetrates only into the astral world.

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Discussions
Where knowledge exists, knowledge is imparted and there is no particular desire for discussion.

Where there is desire for discussion, however, there is as a rule no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of a decline regarding the seriousness of a subject when it is discussed. Disintegration of a particular trend is always proclaimed by discussions. It is important that in spiritual science we come increasingly to understand that the wish for discussion may really be taken as a sign of ignorance.

On the other hand, the opposite of discussion, the will to learn, the will gradually to comprehend what is in question, should be cultivated.

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Wordless Thoughts
Only when delight or repugnance are associated with the thoughts of the research scientist is there added to these thoughts the element needed in order to penetrate the world of Devachan.

Only when emotions enter into thoughts, into concepts, when we feel one thing to be good and another evil, do we combine with thoughts that which carries them into the Heavenly World. Only then can we get a glimpse into deeper foundations of existence. If we wish to grasp something belonging to the world of Devachan, no theories help us in the least. The only thing that helps us is to unite feelings with our thoughts. Thinking carries us only into the astral world.

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To say something that is incorrect is not the worst thing that can happen, for the world itself will soon put one right about it; but it is really serious to regard a one-sided truth as the absolute truth and to persist in so regarding it.

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Again and again one can listen: this is my opinion, I think this or that… As if it matters, what one or the other thinks! The point is much more to what the truth is!

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KGM: “When Rudolf Steiner made the first Goetheanum, an artist asked if he could design the doorknobs. Steiner said “Yes, but you’ll have to design the whole of Goetheanum around them”.

All of our reality is an integral whole, and that includes good art. So when we study esoteric science we should look for the whole pattern, and not draw conclusions out of details.”


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Old Souls
Compare the soul of an average European man with the soul of some of the people Darwin came across on his travels. The soul of contemporary man has a sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, of true and false.

Darwin wanted to explain to an aborigine, who was still cannibalistic, that one should not eat fellow human beings, that it was bad to do such things. The aborigine looked at him strangely and said, “How can you know that, you have to first have eaten him. Only if we have eaten him can we know if he was good or bad.”

That is how an imperfect soul understands the world; it will develop through time, becoming more and more perfect. Our individual souls do not arrive in the world like new-born babies but each soul has developed first through many imperfect incarnations in which at first it understood nothing more of right and wrong, than the pleasant or unpleasant taste on the tongue and the like.

Stage by stage the soul has evolved and only through many incarnations has it learned to get to the level it has reached at present.

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‘The more often a human being incarnates, the stronger becomes his character and his moral sense, and the more numerous and greater the talents and abilities.’ GA 55 VIII.

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Thinking… is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.

I have changed “ego” to “I” in Steiner’s texts as it’s a better translation of the German “Ich”, as “ego” is used in modern New Age to describe the Sentient Soul.

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On Spiritual Research – Practical Guidelines

To understand and validate the esoteric knowledge there are other ways than clairvoyant faculties, and in the following I will list the things that I and others have found useful, with links to related texts.

Framework and Theories

  • LibraThe primary thing is to build a consistent framework around ones knowledge, extending it when new knowledge comes to. Don’t make the structure bigger than you can hold it consistent, that is, if too many loose ends are floating around it’s too difficult to handle. I started with the Akasha Chronicles by Steiner, which is the Rosicrucian Cosmic History. More in Esoteric History of Man and Creation of the Sun System and the Zodiac
  • If I didn’t have a theory, even if it was wrong, I couldn’t extend my knowledge. In research you will constantly be wrong on some points, but you will extend the area you are right all the time.
  • Find a good consistent vocabulary to build the framework around. I use Steiner’s as no other esoteric language is as consistent and connected to our time. In the The Rosicrucian Cross I have relations between Kabbalah, esoteric and traditional names of the hierarchies/spiritual powers and in The Bodies of Man I have relations between the names of the layers of man in many spiritual traditions.
  • Find a good structure to hang your knowledge on. I use the Kabbalah Tree of Life as no other structure is so clear, and every other major religion or spiritual tradition relates to the tree! More on the tree and it’s relations to other traditions here: The Rosicrucian CrossTao – The Equilibrium of Yin and Yang and Changing Hierarchies through Time.
  • Remember Sherlock Holmes: When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Sources

  • HermitNever rely on one source. Whatever you find it should be consistent with other sources and/or it’s inherent logic should be impeccable. Findings without supporting evidence or inconsistencies should be saved until further evidence for or against is found. As a teenager I was somewhat fascinated with UFOs but then decided to have no meaning about them as it lacked both hard evidence, logical support, and relevance for my life.
  • When you read a text and feels confused it may not be your problem, not all authors know what they write about. A person who don’t know his topic have a tendency to write large texts where the one who understand it fully only need few lines.
  • Everything are usable as sources: science, religion, esoteric literature, fairy talesfilms, your every day life, observance of your own thinking, dreams, and so forth.
  • Use Retrospect Inquiry before sleep to find and think through the important events of the day, our mind is the best crucible we have to learn how the mind functions. One way is to think it through backwards, but after a time they pop up by themselves. In  The Bodies of Man I have a comparison between the three soul components of man in various religious, esoteric and psychoanalytic systems. In steiners vocabulary they are Sentient soul, Intellectual soul, and Conscious soul and in physical they are known as Limbic brain, left brain hemisphere and right brain hemisphere, where the last is the least developed.
  • Use your dreams to explore both your own consciousness but also other aspects of the physical and spiritual world. I have more on this in Dream Interpretation in Esoteric Work and Esoteric Aspects of the Isis figure
  • If you find a seemingly inconsistency or lack of explanations, note it for future study, a puzzle piece that may be of future use.
  • Another possibility to collect spiritual knowledge without spiritual faculties are Astrology, which both have helped me get a clearer knowledge about myself, but also given me the astrologers clear and precise language, which no other psychological or spiritual tradition have. This opens for understanding of different kinds of esoteric literature which is indecipherable for non astrologers. An example in The Sons of Jacob and the Zodiac
  • All this relates back to spiritual knowledge, the Framework, otherwise it would be atomic knowledge without a unifying framework.

Areas of Research

Love of Truth

ManifestorThe search for truth is foremost in esoteric science, not that there is a TRUTH, but everybody should strive to find truth. Truth is not relative, nor is it political, and neither can it build on feelings alone. Truth is like a diamond, each human soul have it’s own facet of this diamond describing it’s view on the reality.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. Mohandas Gandhi

To find truth we need logic to find the way through the cacophony of information. Logic is valid on all planes, not only in the physical world, so it’s a vital tool wherever our search brings us:

“Consequently he who wishes to attain to human perfection, must therefore first study Logic, next the various branches of Mathematics in their proper order, then Physics, and lastly Metaphysics. He, however, who begins with Metaphysics, will not… only become confused in matters of religion, but will fall into complete infidelity.” ( — Maimonides)  Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it

Life itself will force people to learn logic, each time we make an error and recognize it, we are forced to think and understand the Why behind, and with time and enough incarnations we begin to see the logic behind existence.

Contemplative Inquiry

One way to think is Contemplative Inquiry, where the person sits with vertical back and open eyes and fully conscious, but letting the thoughts free on esoteric ideas, and in this way invite the higher I down into the thinking process. Thoughts on the physical world or closed eyes moves the focus to the physical noise, the background noise of the sentient soul.

Knowledge resides in the brain that is filled with thoughts of others, but wisdom resides in the souls of those who attentively listens to their own thoughts. Eli Wamberg

The search for knowledge will in itself change your life. The Eightfold Path 

The goal is to reach the shared wisdom of humanity, what all esoteric teacher tell about, and here some quotes by Steiner Soul, Love and Heart Thinking

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Esoteric Picture Collections with References and Texts

I believe that one picture replaces many words, so I have made some picture collections where I try to show the relationship between different religious and esoteric traditions. The following collages are entries into these collections. Most pictures both contains texts and references.

Variations around the Trinities

In all religions and esoteric traditions we have the three creative powers of the Trinity more or less hidden. These three powers are also known through their colors, with Red for the Father, Blue for the Mother, and typically Yellow for the Son, symbolizing all colors. The picture and label link to the collection:


See Variations around the Trinities

This is the main theme of this blog, and the most central texts are:

  • The Art of Asha, an Analysis
    “The Art of Asha” are the origin of chess and was introduced by Zarathustra as a kind of teaching aid describing the spiritual powers or hierarchies behind the physical world. But the spiritual background was lost, and here I regain it.
    Johfra’s Libra – an Analysis
    I had some years ago an inspiring idea exchange on Johfra’s beautiful picture
    Libra, and I bring it here as it was very illuminating, and a good example showing that it is possible to work together, instead of the usual fights between different opinions.

The World Egg and the Zodiac

The World Egg is the most universal symbol we have, and the Zodiac is the most developed form of it, but it’s everywhere, we just don’t recognize it as representing the world egg.

We can find the history of the zodiac in the four heavenly beasts, Eagle, Lion, Ox and Man; they were the first members of the Zodiac, first later came the Cardinal signs, and later again the mutable, they came when man began developing these qualities, just as the outer planets first became visible when they became influential. In the bible we find it in The Sons of Jacob and the Zodiac.

I have made a collection of pictures with text and references:


See The World Egg and the Zodiac

I have made “Creation of the Sun System and the Zodiac” for an illustrated overview of what was created, with the following extract as basis:

“The egg of Amma was closed, but made of four parts called ‘clavicules,’ themselves ovoid and joined as if they had extruded one from the others. Amma is four joined clavicules; it is only these four clavicles.” (Marcel Griaule & Germaine Dieterlen, Le renard pâle)

The sun system is ‘Amma’s Egg’ [the Zodiac], not the whole universe. Within his egg, Amma began spinning around, forming the po seed. The po is the smallest invisible seed at the center.

Amma then placed seven ‘words’ [Planets] in the po, which began to vibrate strongly within the seed. The spiraling vibrations caused four clavicles to grow forth from the po. These were the four heavenly beasts, the fixed star signs. These four Androgyne beings split into four male and four female, the cardinal and fixed star signs.

The Dogon call these beings the Nommo Anagonno, ‘The Word (Nommo) that Became Fish-Man’ (Anagonno). The male and female got a son, and the mutable star signs was created.

There are two levels of understanding, the macrocosmic, as mentioned above, but also the microcosmic:
“Hence, the eight ancestors were taken to heaven with the Nummo to learn the skills of civilisation. Later, each was given one of the eight grains of heaven, with which they returned to live with men, civilising them. They thus became the “civilising deities”, the Dogon equivalent of the Apkallu, or Seven Sages.” See The Old Granary.

This description of the Earth creation is only part of another greater history, the creation of man, which started long before Earth. In Esoteric History of Man I give a short overview of the path man has followed since the initial seed of man was created.

Nidanas and the Zodiac

WheelOfLife-2

I have looked at the Nidanas in relation to the Zodiac. The twelve Nidanas are the karmic powers keeping man reincarnating on the Earth. The twelve Nidanas consists of three groups, the first group of four is the Cardinal signs, the next group are the Mutable and the last group are the Fixed star signs. In the following tables and zodiac I have placed the Nidanas on the zodiac following these principles. See Astrology, Karma & Nidanas

Lucifer – Shiva and Krishna

Another entry into the history of humanity is through Lucifer, the lightbringer, see The Origin of Lucifer – Shiva

Shiva

The Earth evolution started within the existing universe, with center in the sun, and on the planet Earth was constructed a crucible where the seed to the new universe was constructed.

Shiva, the Luciferic powers, were the creators of the old universe; together with Brahma and Vishnu they were the old universe. See also The Origin of Lucifer – Shiva.

In the crucible the new began to take form, Krishna, the transformed Lucifer, became stronger and stronger and the old Lucifer, Shiva became smaller and smaller, through the development of man. See Krishna as Teacher of Love

When the new universe was developed far enough, the transformed gods died in the old universe, and they resurrected/incarnated into the new universe, from being outside the physical body of man, they became soul and spirit in man, what we see outside is the dead body of the gods, the new universe is inside man.  See Krishna and the Holy Spirit

Francis Bacon and the American Project

What happens in the world have always been prepared from the spiritual world through highly developed people. In the time before Christ it was kings and priests who led the development, after Christ it was more incognito, but they were great personalities within all aspects of the society ingeniously infusing new ideas and changing the power structures from country to country op through Europe as the point of focus changed.

The American adventure wasn’t just a random thing, it was prepared through hundreds of years, but now the ideas behind have worn down, something new is needed.

I have collected some material behind the American project here, includes many pictures, texts, and references:


See Francis Bacon and the American Project

The driving force of history have always been a pair, the Hero and the Teacher as Alexander the Great and Aristotle. Was Francis Bacon the Teacher and King James I the Hero? Benjamin Franklin the Teacher and George Washington the Hero.

Description of the work done under the auspices of Francis Bacon:

  1. To develop and improve the English language for future use so it could become an instrument for a new world of universal values across national borders, with America as a pilot project.
  2. To formulate a renewed spiritually grounded whole philosophy of the future, uniting the physical, mental and spiritual, and built bridges between faith and enlightenment.
  3. Providing for publication of books in England and in continental Europe, and in general to stimulate learning, study, individual discernment and human integrity.
  4. To use theater and art as cultural and spiritual tool and through entertaining creativity to promote the formation, life-insight and consciousness transformation.
  5. To launch scientific research on a group basis, with special focus on promoting new, empirical discovery methods, the reader universe laws.
  6. Working in a ritual community for spiritual elevation, as has occurred in the helmet or the Knights of Solomon House, the Rosicrucian, Masonic work.
  7. To tell about it for posterity and hide it in cryptographic codes, so it little by little would be possible for people to see and understand the work and be encouraged to continue development.

From Søren Hauge: Shakespeare Mysteriet

Pythagoras et al

Much of modern esoteric knowledge goes back to Pythagoras, but what we know about his teachings are mostly through indirect sources.

I have collected a number of pictures, texts and references here:


See Pythagoras et al

One of the most interesting topics, but least understood, is the Golden Mean which Plato said was the key to the universe: “Golden Mean, Key to the Universe?“.

I have written a note on “Origin of the usage of Left Path and Right Path“, as it has been misused in various discussions, but it goes at least back to Pythagoras.

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Hanlon’s Razor, Common Sense, and Conspiracies

There are no problems today which don’t need a commission. Nobody dares or can take a decision, as no one trusts common sense any more. This missing common sense is the explanation for many so-called “laws”, as in the quotes below about malice versus incompetence. These “common sense” laws describe some of the symptoms of the Trap of Materialism. Many conspiracy theories are constructed on the theory of underlying malice, where in reality it is merely incompetence.

The following law’s are taken from Wikipedia.

Hanlon’s razor:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Robert A. Heinlein‘s 1941 short story “Logic of Empire”

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity

Heinlein’s Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice. or … but keep your eyes open.

Grey‘s Law

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)

…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.

Albert Einstein:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.

Compare Schiller‘s ”

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

Elbert Hubbard said,

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord in Truppenführung, 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

Sir Bernard Ingham’s Cock-up theory

Cock-up before conspiracy.

The full quotation

Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.

dragon

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Chaos or Order? No, Life!

We see everything in opposites,

Right or WrongChaos or OrderGood or BadYin or YangHot or Cold, …

But,
There is more to it than that.

We all talk about Order fighting Chaos, and most of us see ourselves fighting Chaos on the side of Order. But thats not how the universe is, and that is the reason why so many of our struggles go wrong.

Man is always struggling on one or the other side,
instead of finding the middle way.

odinstriangle1

Lets take a simple example: The Sun is the most Chaotic we know and the Moon is the most ordered we have, nearby. A Black Hole is of course more ordered, but our moon is just up there. The Sun and The Moon are two opposites, and we would not like to live on any of them, one too hot and the other too cold, so we live on Earth, somewhere in between those two extremes, alive in Equilibrium. Seen from that point of view, both the Sun and the Moon is deadly Bad, while the Earth is Good for living.

I define the Equilibrium as the midpoint between chaos and order, and in this context it is Life (I prefer the vocabulary of chaos theory for that of thermodynamics.)

The more ordered or dead the universe is, the higher entropy of the universe following the Second Law of Thermodynamics. With time the entropy will increase until the absolute death of the universe. So, with Entropy, big is Bad!

Following the Second Law life depends on the difference between Warm and Cold:

Since any thermodynamic engine requires such a temperature difference, it follows that no useful work can be derived from an isolated system with maximum entropy; there must always be an external energy source and a cold sink.

Its interesting that our universe have suns and planets, and life on at least one planet, contrary to the Second Law. The life on Earth has been build against all odds, decreasing the local entropy constantly, since the Big Bang.

Misuse of Resources

Today we are increasing the entropy here on Earth with an alarmingly high rate. Our use of the resources of Earth and our destruction of nature is increasing the entropy and destroying our chances for survival in the long run, removing natures possibilities to decrease the entropy while trying to keep the equilibrium.

In Scientific American there is an intelligent article “Does Nature Break the Second Law of Thermodynamics?” about Thermodynamics and local self-organization.

As we normally think in dualities, we have problems defining equilibrium. If we take Thermodynamics as an example, they define equilibrium in the one extreme where entropy is highest, where the universe is dead. In Chaos-theory equilibrium lies somewhere between chaos and order.

odinstriangle1

From “The Middle Way” by Radha Burnier:

Sir Martin Rees, the eminent scientist who is the British Astronomer Royal, states in his book Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, that there is this kind of equilibrium or balance in the cosmos itself. According to him, these six numbers, which are either very, very small or very large, represent various forces in the universe, but all those forces exist in a state of equilibrium. It is very similar to the Eastern idea that there are three gunas or three kinds of forces working throughout manifestation. When they are in a state of equilibrium, it is called spiritual sattva or truth. Sir Martin Rees mentions that through the ages, the force of gravity has been in a state of fine balance with the force of expansion. If the force of gravity were too great, the universe would collapse into nothing. If the force of expansion were too great, the universe would expand away into nothingness.

In Christianity we talk about following the Golden Middle way, staying away from the sides, and the Indians talk about Dharma, the way to follow. In Kabbalah the Pillars at the sides are the opposites, Order to the left and Chaos and energy to the right, and the middle pillar is the equilibrium, Life. In the crosses on Golgotha we have Christ in the middle symbolizing life, Love.

Here a description of The Second Law of Thermodynamics without Entropy, very instructive.

Literature

Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine

From WikiPedia

Prigogine is known best due to his definition of dissipative structures and their role in thermodynamic systems far from equilibrium, a discovery that won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.

Dissipative structures theory

Dissipative structure theory led to pioneering research in self-organizing systems, as well as philosophic inquiries into the formation of complexity on biological entities and the quest for a creative and irreversible role of time in the natural sciences.

His work is seen by many as a bridge between natural sciences and social sciences. With professor Robert Herman he also developed the basis of the two fluid model, a traffic model for urban networks, using Bose-Einstein Condensation theory in traffic engineering.

Other Work

In his later years, his work concentrated on the mathematical role of determinism in nonlinear systems on both the classical and quantum level. He proposed the use of a rigged Hilbert space in quantum mechanics as one possible method of achieving irreversibility in quantum systems. He also co-authored several books with Isabelle Stengers, including End of Certainty and the classical book La Nouvelle Alliance (The New Alliance).

The End of Certainty

In his 1997 book, The End of Certainty, Prigogine contends that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. “The more we know about our universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism.” This is a major departure from the approach of Newton, Einstein and Schrödinger, all of whom expressed their theories in terms of deterministic equations. According to Prigogine, determinism loses its explanatory power in the face of irreversibility and instability.

….

In deterministic physics, all processes are time-reversible, meaning that they can proceed backward as well as forward through time. As Prigogine explains, determinism is fundamentally a denial of the arrow of time. With no arrow of time, there is no longer a privileged moment known as the “present,” which follows a determined “past” and precedes an undetermined “future.” All of time is simply given, with the future as determined as the past. With irreversibility, the arrow of time is reintroduced to physics. Prigogine notes numerous examples of irreversibility, including diffusion, radioactive decay, solar radiation, weather and the emergence and evolution of life. Like weather systems, organisms are unstable systems existing far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Instability resists standard deterministic explanation. Instead, due to sensitivity to initial conditions, unstable systems can only be explained statistically, that is, in terms of probability.

The Golden Triangle and the Fibonacci Spiral

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