Monday, June 15, 2015

History or story

The document placed limitations on the king. It was actually of immediate benefit to a small segment of the populace-- the nobility, but it established a tradition of the rule of law. This is a familiar story but we are not talking about Runnymede. We are talking about Hungary's Golden Bull less than 7 years after the Magna Carta. Why have historians forgotten the Golden Bull?. This forgetting lets us consider the English saga as nobler than it actually was. Recalling this detail of Hungarian history allows us to glimpse historical progress of a broader scope. Both events raise the question of the mechanisms of history--- is there a larger kind of progress which minimizes the contributions of "heroes." The Axis Time events suggest  this possibility. Were the Magna Carta and the Golden Bull parts of an on-going articulation of humanity?

King John, or II  Andras were not confused about whether they made their own fate, but modern historians default to this notion of the plucky individual battling his fate. And it can distort their evaluation of events. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I am sorry Professor Tim Hunt lost his job

I am sorry Professor Tim Hunt lost his job. The feminist outcry over
his comments about women demonstrates --- that some women--- ARE
crybabies. Just as he said. Where is the amused detachment which would
be an intellectual response to his jokes. Why didn't a tone of "oh,
what a cute dinosaur," manifest in reviews of his comments.

Instead, a prevalent tone of indignation revealed ignorance about
history, and a sad reliance on public opinion as a clue to the
mechanisms of reality.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It's just a question

Today's headline from Aeon (online newsletter):

                                                                    Hive consciousness

What if --- this group mind is actually how Humanity operates now and always has? Language is one pointer in this direction. What if the reality of an "individual mind" is actually the rarely realized goal of mystics throughout history.  Or would be, if binary thought was more than a tool useful for chopping up the external macro world. For in fact the human organism is both tied together and capable of acting independently. And my counter example just highlights the nature of binary rational thought: everything is either this or that. Sorry Soren, it really could be -- both. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Whose row bought

In today's New York Times we read:

Some visionaries — Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak — warn that humans will be superseded by robots, who will soon be smart enough to redesign themselves to become exponentially smarter.

This is a common theme in the media chatter. I assume we all get the point. What is missing is the perspective someone like Jan Cox provides.  This 20th century mystico-philosopher sought to point out that humanity is composed of robotic people. The goal is to realize this in oneself.  The moment of seeing is a gap that may reveal the possibilities of the only freedom man can claim.

Jan laughed at the picture of robots taking over. Not because people already were, that, but because this popular fantasy reveals ignorance about man himself, and his potential. Creativity is what can never be programmed, real creativity. What men call the creative, is mostly rearranging known parts --- pigs and wings, for instance. That is not the creativity to which some few, throughout history, have pointed, while calling it different things.  

Take heart, the row doesn't have to be bought. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Proofs of the existence of a god

Proofs of the existence of a god do not convey anything about god's (gods's) existing or not. These logical steps point to the dimensions of man's imagination.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Is that the Easter Bunny on the Cross

It just occurred to me that the meaning and end of the Christian
religion might well be this: there is always hope. We can see the
evolutionary advantage of that message. Still that suggests the import
of Christianity is an emotional growth, functionality.

Which thought gave rise to a playful summary of history on my part.
Let us suppose that the glorious triumph of the classical world was
Marcus Aurelius (d.180 AD) Not a hard case to make at all. Time-wise
then Christianity was on the rise about the time the classical world
flowered, and died. That's what flowers do.

Christianity itself may be said to have blossomed with Nicholas of
Cusa. (d. 1464). During that period of more than a millenium then, we
see an emotional growth in segments of humanity -- and my evidence for
this would be the attitudes toward women changing, this whole idea of
love between individuals, and appreciation of the maternal. All very
emotional themes. Arguably new in history.

And we consider ourselves part of a different era, now. One which
seems to have discarded much of the progress of humanity, but that
perhaps was necessary to procure a clean slate for further growth,
just the typical patricide characteristic of progress. I have no idea
what the flowering of this era will be.

We have an intellect engaged since 180, and capable of including
emotional realities since 1464. (to speak abstractly.) The emphasis on
emotions certainly played a part in this third vegetation -- since our
own seems to be characterized by, among other things, an emphasis on
human individuality -- the person as a center of knowing, of change,
of reality. All dubious propositions, but useful. It is hard to
imagine Humanity could come to value the individual so, without this
emotional component from the so-called medieval era. And of course we
need not emphasize the importance of the intellect which we owe to
antiquity. So it all weaves together.

But this individuality is useful for what? I do not know.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The mundane essence of most of it.

We wonder at the people doing dreadful things, how could this happen. We only ask 'how' of course, if we have a glimmer that the world is not, black and white. In fact, that may be the only generalization that holds most of the time: Reality cannot be divided into two things.

And, skipping the binary nature of rational thought itself, which we address frequently in other posts, let me suggest now, that this tendency to divide everything into two, is basic to the human ego (hence its prevalence) and specifically, can shed light on how, 'people can do dreadful things.' It may turn out that horribleness is just an extension of that which is ordinary, ordinary, because it defines us all. 

The human ego must separate itself from the world when people grow up. Whether of not this division of self from world is a coherent stance, it in fact happens to us all, and so, must be healthy on various levels.

For example liberals often mouth off about how selfish rich people are, and seem to think the rich are the source of all evil, that a flattening of wealth will produce human progress. Any real progress must include questioning such simplistic analyses. We use it here as an example of this division of self and the rest, the world, and how such a division into two, is a sign something has been very confused in the analyzing. My example of the self and an alternate world of wealthy selfish people is meant to illustrate the inadequacy of binary approaches. But by way of a segue to our last example, let me mention that among other things, the rich provide a variety in the world and variety is critical to growth, although, of course, there are varieties of variety.

Another ordinary approach is that where the self is the judge of the evil of the rest of the world. This I hope I have explained already, is a basis of everyday psychology. The division into two; the self as defined as separate from the rest of the world; and that otherness, the rest of the world, as the source of the problems faced.

When we criticize people who do horrible things, we reveal our own ignorance, for these people are acting on the same psychological function as that which helps define us all. The evil is 'out there'; the evil (problems) could not be WITHIN ourselves: for such division is a necessary aspect of creating a human ego---- separating yourself out from the world. The people we criticize are puppets themselves and so how can someone with insight call "THEM" evil? Dividing the world into us and them is one of the oldest, and certainly one of the most illusory, motivations in human history. Motivations which may be necessary, but that does not mean everyone has to believe in the division. Not everyone has to believe in these motivations, just most.

This division certainly seems to be obvious in stuff happening now in the middle east. I am not saying we do not wage war against them. I am saying we do not assume they are different from us. For we all fall into, indeed are defined by, this mental proclivity for dividing the world into two. And if we assume the world falls into us versus them, then we are just imitating those people we dislike. For how 'they can do terrible things' is because all the problems in their world are "out there," and therefore personal, internal alteration or growth in thinking is not even called for. That, and yeah, they're pissed off.