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Gurus Won’t Save US …

6 Dec

Guru’s Won’t Save US; Real Leaders (with Real Leadership) Will

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http://darwiniana.com/2012/12/02/help-wanted-enlightened-buddha-ultra-far-left-communist/

Help Wanted: enlightened buddha, ultra far left: communist Posted in General at 3:01 pm by nemo

“The invisible spiritual domain is getting desperate. Look at the situation: the entire political class can’t even discuss global warming.   This link series records a series of garbled noise band intimations I have been getting for over a year. The whale theme is, well, disinfo, charming, but what does it mean?:

http://darwiniana.com/2012/09/29/c-beast-and-light-speed/

I never figured out what it meant.  I think they were checking me out, but I am too old and feckless. Or else simply a message link. We have posted on a potential Xtian ultra left religious communism, but Xtians are too stuck in their confusions here.  I have never considered a similar idea for buddhists, because buddhism is almost defunct, and controlled by reactionaries, and in America the danger is real, after Rajneesh, of assassination and a movement that has nearly done away with enlightenment.  But some mysterious spiritual force is looking for American born ultra radicals very close to enlightenment. You can see the idea emerging in Rajneesh.  American buddhists might start by dropping out of organizational links, going into mega-meditation sessions (but skip forced methods like gautama’s vow to not rise til…), (or else the ‘lazy man’s guide to enlightenment method, doing nothing, no rules apply), and a novel, intelligent, non-dogmatic, notion of spiritual communism, social, cultural, or revolutionary political. The Rajneesh commune is a starting idea. But I think what is wanted is a political movement, working with communist, neo-communist cadres. That is to say a revolutionary buddha. Very few people near enlightenment would dare to do that. Needs a spiritually advanced hothead. Tibetan Buddhists will try to stop you,so this is not ‘buddhism’, but the way to a new religion.  We may be out of time for this. Too bad. It needs to happen now. Start to explore the whale theme, and see if anything arrives. And check out five, ten, twelve hour meditations, or, via the lazy man’s guide to enlightenment, intelligent couch potato indirect approaches. You can also just jump in an help.”

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No, an “enlightened buddha” isn’t going to help us get out of this mess.  Can’t do it, won’t do it.

The most we’re going to get out of the business is a Deepak Chopra, new age hucksters selling their wares, and an all-too-unsettling realization that gurus of any stripe will only muddy the discourse for change and what we need to do to bring it about.

To our more temporary readers here on DIANOILOGOS: please see http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/look-into-my-eyes, and http://www.gurdjieff-con.net/ for further background and information on this issue.

Gurus aren’t going to cut it here. …  So what will?  Who will?  … Real leaders who understand the crisis and who can provide real leadership on the matter, not just metaphysicalisms for us to reassure- ourselves-by through the trouble.  And, by real leadership, I mean from people who understand both the greater ‘spiritual’ dimensions of the problem and its more practical implications.

Who are these leaders?  Not Chopra.  Not the gurus.  But social activists and humanitarian leaders who by their personal examples show us the way forward on environmental affairs, social issues, and the like.  So, who do we draw from here? … People like Gandhi, Mandela, and King, and others like A. Philip Randolph and Malcolm X, to name a few, their students and/or others in their tradition of social advocacy … That is to say, anyone and everyone with enough personal gravitas, practical wisdom, and social understanding to push for change, and who understands it both for the difference it makes in peoples lives as well as its deeper, more spiritual aspects as a driving engine of human experience.

You don’t need a professional Guru to do this; you need a Gandhi. That’s what is going to carry this revolutionary movement ahead.  Not “spiritualistic” platitudes and mystical nonsense, but honest to goodness leadership on the issues that matter.

Anything else only ingratiates the gurus in question, and leaves change unaccomplished.  We don’t need that in today’s world.  We need Progress, we need Change, and we need it from the people who will pull it out from us in society.  I don’t see a Deepak Chopra doing that for us.  I don’t see a Tony Robbins  doing that for us.  You only get burnedby these guru-types, or left in a kind of limbo through all their talk about “quantum consciousness” and the like.

We need a Gandhi.  And, then, maybe we’ll have the momentum to carry this program for change forward.

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Global Warming is Real. There’s No Turning Back.

16 Oct

VIEWPOINT

Global Warming is Real and There is No Turning Back

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Global Warming is real.  There can be no denying it.  But where we go from there is an open question.

The indisputable fact is that climate change is happening.  What remains up in the air however is how human beings relate to it, what the actual contribution of people to the problem is, and how/if it can be fixed.

It’s happening.  That’s certain.  Average temperatures are increasing and we are beginning to see the effects in terms severe weather extremes, the polar ice caps melting, and the recording setting dry spells and droughts occurring in the United States and elsewhere this past year building up to today.

However, what’s the “cause?”  The “real” “cause” in a precise scientific and epistemological sense.  Not merely the “antecedent” or “conditional” of it, but the real “agency” or “dynamic” that’s actually making global warming and climate change happen.  It can’t be “humanity in the ontological sense” because global warming as we know it today didn’t always exist and we have the oft-mentioned data to prove it. And yet what kind of human activity would “cause” climate change?  The widespread, modern, industrial kind pumping out heat trapping chemicals like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, that’s what.

And, yet, this still doesn’t completely address the “cause” question.  What “causes global warming?” The dynamic of heat-trapping chemicals reacting with the natural processes of our world’s ecosystem and its climatic cycles.  The dynamic itself is the true “cause” of “global warming” and its opposite number is in the effect of a warming atmosphere.

So why say this?  And am I just hairsplitting here?  … I’d say no.

The reason I’d say no is that only by identifying the actual and precise cause of global warming can we truly assess how to deal with the problem and take proper action to remedy it.

Humans/human activity are “precipitants” to modern global warming, but not its “cause” per se.  They are catalysts to an already finely balanced environmental system that doesn’t take too much as it is to be overtaxed.  Contemporary human beings by their activities and modern technology have overloaded the scales and tipped that balance in favor of global warming and the greenhouse effect.

There’s no quick-fix to climate change.  There no easy policy solution to global warming.  And to imagine we can simply “reverse” it and go back to some sort of golden age before contemporary times when we didn’t have this happening and before we industrialized, thereby ushering in a new better future for ourselves without the specter of humanly precipitated climate change/global warming, is far-fetched.

It’s not going to happen.  We’ll have discovered the legendary Fountain of Youth before it does.

In all likelihood, we won’t turn back the clock on global warming. Nor can we reverse course.  We’re stuck with it, and the we best we can do now is learn to live with it.  We’re going to have to learn to manage the consequences of climate change in our daily lives and for our societies and the greater world.  We’ll have to develop technologies for dealing with the fallout of climate change; but at this point the irrevocable damage is done.

Global Warming is real and there’s no turning back.

When Iran was our “Friend”

1 Apr

Blast from the Past.  When Iran was still our “Friend” in the world.

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Blast from the Past.  When Iran was still our “friend” and nuclear power was the “in”-thing …  So much for American foreign interests in the world and its being able to judge who’s “good” and who’s “bad.”  Iran was our “friend” then, through our “ally” the Shah, much as were our “friends” Bin Laden and the Afghani Mujahideen.  Too bad they were all, back then, the same sort of miscreants they were shown to be thence, and as we rightly understand them to be today in present society. “American” “interest” is no good basis for judging the moral character of the world or in fact who our true “enemies” are.  As the POGO saying goes, “We have met the enemy and he is us” or as Andre Gunder Frank used to put it “My professional/personal conclusion is the same as Pogo’s – We have met the enemy, and it is US.”

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http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/when-it-was-okay-for-iran-to-have-nuclear-power/#comments

Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — March 29, 2012 — When it was okay for Iran to have nuclear power — Filed under: nuclear power and weapons — louisproyect @ 2:34 pm

But is it sound science?

15 Mar

Is Anti-Entropic Evolution Sound Science?

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More material on anti-entropic growth from the LaRouche group’s ‘Basement‘ team.

The question is, is it really sound science?  Does it correctly interpret the data from earth’s evolutionary history? And if it does, then what are the implications we can draw out for today’s world?  My general suspicion is it isn’t.  But where it fails exactly is the question.

I’d hope someone in the field of evolutionary biology might take up this question more specifically, but in case they don’t I’ll just say this from my own lay perspective as a science enthusiast –> is evolution inherently and directly goal-driven to a higher form? … If not … if the evolutionary process is a more complex affair than just a rudimentary ‘ladder to higher lifeforms‘ and species ‘success‘, then this model falls apart.  … On that basis, I’d say this theory is mistaken.  Life’s history can’t so easily be boxed up in and upon the “progress and development” bandwagon.

Am I right here?  … If you agree, or even if you disagree and believe the LaRouche people have gotten their science right in this instance, please share that with me in the comments section below.  I’m not quite sure what to make of their points.

But perhaps by getting a number of people together to review the material, we can better assess their conclusions.

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http://larouchepac.com/node/21941

Mass Extinctions as Shadows of Anti-Entropic Growth

  1. What are the invariant, qualitative characteristics governing the history of life here on Earth?
  2. What does this history tell us about the universe in which we live?
  3. What lessons must we learn, if our own species is to survive the present threats?

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… Over the recent few years our Basement team has taken up these questions, and here I present a short but significant contribution to this ongoing investigation. … Any given stage of an ecological system is inherently bounded, and yet life as a whole has continued to progress beyond such fixed constraints – as if being pulled from somewhere beyond that initial system. (Italicized for emphasis, DNL).  It is this process of advance, as measured in the progression to higher levels of biospheric energy flux density, that defines the character of, and necessity for extinctions, even the very largest of mass extinctions, as we will see …

Are we looking at “prosperity around the corner” again?

23 Feb

Are Things Getting “Better and Better” … or is this all more “prosperity around the corner” again?

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We face a great number of challenges in our world  … the clamor for war in the Middle East, environmental degradation, and an increasing divide between rich and poor all over the globe as evidenced by the current world economic crisis.  Will there be enough material wealth/resources to sustain human development or will we have to learn to curtail human growth in the best interest of the natural environment and ourselves?  … Two questions that are the crux of recent posts on Sam Harris.org and Common Dreams.   If the Harris interview with Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (re: their book Abundance) is to be believed, the state of the world is in fact improving.  However, if the argument put forward by Phil Rockstroh in Cash of the Titans is correct, we’re about to run up against a wall (i.e., the natural limits of human development and progress, and the end of road for endless expansion beyond which we’ll have to learn to live within limited means).

Who is right?  It’s difficult to say; therefore I leave it up to people reading this article to decide for themselves.  But, if Lyndon LaRouche’s notion of “Energy Flux Density” has any merit to it, then it tilts the balance of this discussion in favor of the power of human progress.  (It’s a fascinating concept to be sure, but I question its validity as an idea … )

So we have a choice:  Will we be like Icarus (who learned the hard way not to fly too near the face of the Sun) or more like Prometheus(who gave fire to man after stealing it from heaven) in the old Greek legends? … The Icarus metaphor, of course, is the analogy Rockstroh’s driving at, while LaRouche uses the Prometheus analogy to explain how humankind overcame its natural limitations to become a creature of “progress” and “development” in history (that is, with ‘fire’ = ‘technology’ )(the very power that was being withheld from it by the so-called divine order of the gods).

Who’s right and which position is right? …  That’s what we must decide as we proceed into the future as a species.

Thanks to Darwiniana.com for pointing out the Common Dreams piece.  As always, I welcome people’s comments on these issues.

Revisiting Tolkien on Mythology

29 Sep

 

Revisiting Tolkien on Mythology: How to get at the Real ‘Magic of Reality’ by going back to ‘Frodo the Hobbit’

I reproduce here a comment I made on John Landon’s Darwiniana.com blog.  I made my remark in light of Dawkins recent children’s book The Magic of Reality being discussed at various venues on the Internet and John’s reaction to it viz-a-viz scientism, nature, and human potential.  My point in doing so was, not so much to critique Dawkins’ approach to the issue, as to suggest a better way of going about it.  Admittedly, this is a kids book, written for children, in order to get them interested in learning more about science and getting inspired enough by the nature of our world to go into in it and do scientific research for themselves in order to uncover more of its “magic.”  But is that “magic (of reality)” more a product of human technical knowledge or discovering the wonder of nature in itself?  As I explain in my comment below, the answer to that question is essential.  Straight-jacket nature, and you’re left with “sorcery” not “magic.”

The modern world has produced many miracles.

But it’s produced an equal share of industrial & technological disasters as well.  Use the “magic” of science and nature the wrong way, or fail to mind its inherent worth as a system, and you make the world a living hell.

Technology Run Amok = Mordor/Isengard.

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http://darwiniana.com/2011/09/22/dawkins-and-magic-nah-back-to-frodo-the-hobbit/

09.22.11  Dawkins and magic? Nah, back to Frodo the Hobbit – Posted in General at 1:04 pm by nemo – The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins – review: A brilliant introduction to science for children

In case the Dawkins folks thought a children’s book would get a free ride here….

The title of this book is all wrong. Reductionist scientism has TOTALLY misunderstood ‘magic’ (worse than religion), and, at this point, I think kids should go back to reading all about Frodo the Hobbit. Man’s ‘magical’ potential is being suppressed by science, and Dawkins is on the front lines of the whole villainy.

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Can’t pass up commenting here …

Dawkins & Co. should re-read Frodo the Hobbit for themselves (if they haven’t done so already).  They should be re-visiting Tolkien on mythology, because then they’d discover the real story of this ‘magic’ behind reality. The point is, it’s art not mechanism that lies at the heart of real things in the world.  Elves in the Tolkien mythology understood this, they being the quintessential artists.  “Mechanism” as in strangle-holding Nature for purposes of “technologism” or “power” was what Sauron did; not “magic” as such, but “sorcery.”  If Dawkins and his followers really want to pursue this line of thought, they should at least get the basics right.

The “machine” comes from Mordor and Isengard, “magic” comes from the world of nature and experience.  The knowledge of Science/Nature, as such, is like a Palantir; good in itself, but all too prone to being used for the wrong reasons (i.e., technologism in the name of scientific advancement) [=Scientism], base utilitarianism, and the transformation of nature and people in the world to mere commodities for the benefit of social institutions and/or the powerful in society.

Dawkins, of course, isn’t Sauron, or even Saruman for that matter, but perhaps only a confused type of Denethor, daunted by the powers of his Palantir and the [metaphorical] Saurons of the world. … Reality is “magic”, but don’t expect to learn the craft from either the Denethors of “Science” nor the Grima Wormtongues of “Religion.”  … Best to learn it on its own terms.

Richard Dawkins: welcome to “Middle Earth”! …

Not “Middle World” as you call it, but a world that’s far richer and more poignant than anything that the wonders of human engineering, scientific advancement and technology have ever given us here upon this earth; a world that awaits us in the greater reading/study of History, Philosophy, Literature, and the other Humanities; a world in fact opened up for us all the more so for our learning about it through scientific research.  In the words of Gandalf the White to Theoden of Rohan on pgs. 151 and 153 of Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers “I bid you come out before your doors and look abroad” … “Cast aside your prop.” (LOTR, TTT, Ballantine Paperpack edition, 1973)

Dawkins & Company, then, should set aside their apparent “scientism” for the moment and step out into the world, seeing it for what it is: an experience. …

The fact is they know this, and they’ve already done it in large part (to address the Dawkins/Science critics).  How else, then, could science advocates also be the humanists they are, and see so much inspiration as they do in the study of nature through scientific method and research into the natural world? … The honest-to-goodness-truth is that it is only by viewing reality in such a light that one can see the world as being remotely “magical” and not just one more “assembly line” in the industry of creation. The byline of “scientism” may be the same; yet Science’s true, inspirational heart is in the right place.

So, science is fine; but when it becomes a mechanism of power and control rather than an artist’s brush for rendering the world as if on a canvas, that’s where it becomes its own worst enemy and the enemy of human progress. Therefore, it’s time the so-called, largely stereotyped and stereotypical “science movement” stepped into this larger world in earnest.  Once they do, they – and indeed our whole world – will never be the same for it.  That’s where the real magic of reality lies; not in the palantiri of technology, but in the arts of nature itself.  …

That’s the real “Magic of Reality.”  That’s Science’s real magic and nature’s too. Anything that falls short of it only produces more Mordors and Isengards.  We’ve seen enough of those in recent human history.

It’s time we restored Numenor instead to the annals of human experience and to the epic of human advancement.