A small circle: Does Man deserve to be saved?    
 Does Man deserve to be saved?28 comments
19 Sep 2006 @ 00:38, by D

[< Back] [A small circle]



20 Sep 2006 @ 17:00 by tlingel : Every step we take on Earth

takes us to a new world.
Every single footstep
lands on a floating bridge.

I know that there is no such thing
as a straight road.
Only a vast labyrinth
of intricate crossroads.

Our steps incessantly
create as we go
immense spirals
of unfolding pathways.

—Frederico García Lorca  

27 Sep 2006 @ 22:23 by hgoodgame : Who's gonna do the saving?
I think the real question is, are we ready to take responsibility for all our actions and thereby save ourselves?  

28 Sep 2006 @ 19:43 by tlingel : Synchronicity
HeHe, I thought the {link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452637/|pic} of the apartment complex was familiar.

There is actually a scene in "Lady in the Water" in which one of the tenants of the complex (where the entire story takes place), Mr. Leeds, a recluse who spends his days in front of the TV watching war news, asks "Does man deserve to be saved?"  

28 Sep 2006 @ 19:52 by tlingel : Lady in the water:
Lady in the Water is a fairy tale that posits a mythical past in which mankind was protected by "those in the water" who counseled it and spoke of the future. But, a prologue tells us, "Mankind forgot how to listen" and became violent. Eventually, those in the water gave up and left mankind to its fate. The prologue adds, however, that mankind needs only get a glimpse of what was left behind and it will be saved. {link:http://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/movies/a0002800.cfm|link}  

28 Sep 2006 @ 20:47 by Hanae @ : "I think we are linked"
I'm a fan of M. Night Shyamalan. Most negative reviews I read complain about exactly the kind of things I think are terrific in his movies - the slow pacing, the disconnect from reality, and his emphasis on a story-telling approach rather than on the FX of Computer Generated Imagery.

The following is part of a longer review I thought was better than most by {link:http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/comments/maurice/2006/07/lady-in-water.html|Maurice Broaddus}:

"I think we are linked."
– Young-Soon Choi (Cindy Cheung) [one of the protagonists in the movie]

Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), once a doctor, spends his time helping those around him in the most mundane of ways, as the superintendent of The Cove apartments. The building is filled with colorful characters, going about routine lives, each allotted their space in The Cove. Enter Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), the tale made flesh. Cleveland believes that he has no purpose, but "all beings have a purpose," Story corrects. Cleveland personifies that, as a vessel, we want to be known, we want to have the journals of our hearts read. "No one is ever told who they are," as the movie says, but at some point, someone has to come along to reveal the truth of their natures to them, and the truth about the Story.

"Does man deserve to be saved?"
– Mr. Leeds (Bill Irwin) [another characrter in the movie]

Though the theme of figuring out what is truly important (and who you are) runs through all of Shyamalan’s movies, the viewer is still tempted to play guess the twist. However, the twist reveals itself midway through the movie: that everyone has a part to play. Everyone has a gift to be used to carry out their mission in life. The biggest twist of all? That the weak, the seemingly useless, are the ones who play the most important roles.
After all of their ancient-future examination of the story of Story, the residents of The Cove realize life is about believing that this is a magic infused world filled with wonder and mystery and that our every action has meaning and eternal consequence. This world is about finding your purpose and joining in the mission, by using your gifts, to bless one another. Only the arrogance of certainty (in the form of the movie critic, Harry Farber (Bob Balaban)) proves to be one’s spiritual undoing. Even the skeptic, Mr. Leeds, stumbling around trying to find meaning in a meaningless existence and wants "to believe in something other than the awfulness."

The movie is about finding faith.

We are all searching for a Story to provide meaning... [{link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v97/__show_article/_a000097-000002.htm|Man's search for meaning}]

Like any fairy tale, "Lady in the Water" asks you to believe that made up things are important enough to be invested in. I have no problem with that. It’s a hopeful story, and it’s about the power of storytelling and fantasy.

9 Nov 2006 @ 20:41 by i2i : Industrial Pollution - follow-up:

{link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v119/__show_article/_a000119-000002.htm|Where is away?}  

9 Nov 2006 @ 23:36 by Hanae @ : Where is away?

Back in 1620, the Pilgrims who had fled England and emigrated in Holland, emigrated, again, to America in order to establish colonies where they could protect their "cultural identity."

In turn, the resulting colonization of America proved devastating to the Native Americans whose populations and "cultural identity" was decimated during the 15th through 19th centuries.

The history of the Americas is only another facet among many, of recurring patterns of land-grabbing, competition for resources, warfare and displacement, of which the History of mankind is made.

What's relevant of the things we "throw-away" or release into the water or into our atmosphere, is also true of human interaction: there is no "away."

Depending on one’s perspective, and just like fire, diversity can be a boon and it can be a bane.

It all comes to a matter of what one chooses to do with it.

Reflecting on the same theme about diversity, Flemming Funch, back in 1998, pondered upon the same issue. ({link:http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000081.htm|Diversity of Perspectives}):

"To make a diverse network like this work, and for that matter, to make a whole civilization work, we might need to suspend a number of our assumptions about what this is and what we are. You can't walk in here and expect that we're "of course" all new agers, scientifically based, left-wingers, right-wingers, intellectuals, pragmatics, academics, anti-government, pro-government, or whatever else you might think that we ought to be.

We're all of that and more.
You might have very different ideas about spirituality, about religion, about sex, about politics, about your local government.

But hey, you're all here. And even if you weren't exactly here right now, you are all inhabitants of this planet. And a remarkably diverse planet this is.

That is step one, I think: to recognize that a planetary civilization needs to have room for people with all sorts of orientations. I mean, there's nowhere else to go at this point. We can't very well ship the people off the planet who don't agree with you."  

16 Nov 2006 @ 08:57 by Hanae @ : As Climate Changes, Can We?

The UN secretary general Kofi Annan said yesterday that a "frightening lack of leadership" was hindering the fight against global warming. In another comment that appeared aimed firmly at President George Bush, Kofi Annan called on leaders to stop being "economically defensive". "[They] must show courage and know that if they do, the people and the voters will be with them." ---More about this {link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1948684,00.html|here}

The issue raised by Kofi Annan was presented as a problem of leadership. It is all too clear that such a leadership has been conspicuously absent in the USA and it is conceivable that if "leaders" were to use their voice and the media to favor a real debate/dialogue nationally and globally about the real "clear an present danger" and serious ecological problems threatening the planet, it would most certainly have a serious impact on people’s perception of those problems.

But another aspect of the issue, I feel, is that the lack of “leadership” to address the above issues (such as Global Warming), and even the outright effort at obfuscation and disinformation (in certain cases), is only one side of the problem---the visible part of the iceberg.

While it is undeniable that many so-called “leaders” and public institutions have been co-opted by “money” (i.e. by private and corporate forces whose interests are not always those of the people that those “leaders” and institutions are supposed to serve – those interests might even be conflictual or antagonistic to one another – see relevant thread started on this topic by D and Koravya about {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v507/__show_article/_a000507-000005.htm|The International Banking System}), there is also, however, a certain level of apathy and complacency, too, on the part of the people all over the world (those who have not yet had, so far, to suffer directly themselves from the effects of Global Warming), which is rather troubling and indicative of Mankind’s condition as a species: a species which remains very much still, evolutionary, overall, a rather short-sightedly selfish, lazy and reactive species.

Is Humanity going through a transformational stage, as some are predicting/hoping/calling for?

I do not know.

But it seems that such a transition – i.e. taking the next step on the evolutionary ladder – is a necessary thing if Humanity is to survive.

Such an evolution has been referred to as “Conscious Evolution” by authors such as Alexis Zeigler. The following is an extract from {link:http://conev.org/hope/hope%20oct06.html|Conscious Cultural Evolution: Understanding Out Past, Choosing Our Future}:

The animals have lived by the rhythms of the seasons for thousands of years, their adaptation guided by the steady hand of evolution, the trial and error of countless generations. Animals have adapted by slowly changing their genetic code, the shapes and forms of their bodies, and their genetically predetermined behaviors in order to survive in their environments.

As human beings came to be less dominated by genetically predetermined behavior, our adaptation came to be more a result of learning from previous generations rather than changing our genetic code; we became cultural beings. Though we still live among animals, we have become different from them. Thousands of years ago, we took a Great Leap from biological to cultural evolution. Cultural evolution moves with lightning speed compared to biological evolution and has allowed humans to populate and dominate every corner of our world.

For tens of thousands of years, human societies have evolved by a process of non-conscious cultural evolution. Our cultural evolution is non-conscious because, although we as individuals are intelligent beings who can plan for the future, we are not consciously aware of the cultural evolutionary forces that shape our society.

Cultural evolution and biological evolution are very different, but one thing they have in common is that they are both reactive. They only respond to changes in the environment as they arise. Animals do not evolve thicker fur in response to the knowledge that their environment is going to grow colder in the future. Their fur thickens in response to their environment as it grows colder.

Human culture is the same way. The evolution of our beliefs and our political structures occurs in response to stressors as they arise in the economy and ecology of our society, not because we possess knowledge of future changes. The reactive nature of non-conscious cultural evolution is at the root of ecological unsustainability among large human societies. Whether or not their final undoing is political or military, the underlying reasons for the demise of most large human societies have been ecological.

Some small agricultural and gathering societies have practiced a more conscious evolution, and some modern societies have employed a degree of conscious economic management. While industrial society is focused on short-term profit, some societies have been mindful of the impacts of their actions decades or even hundreds of years into the future.
We are presently playing out a script written by past human civilizations. We can see this in two sets of global crises currently facing us. The first is a crisis of social justice. That the rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer is not simply a cliché. In our time a small percentage of humanity is gaining control over the vast majority of wealth and productive power of the planet Earth, as enormous numbers of people are in fact growing poorer in spite of increased economic growth. The polarization of wealth undermines democracy worldwide. Polarization also fosters ecological unsustainability as the rich are separated from the ecological impacts of their actions and the poor dig their eroding soil ever deeper simply to survive.

The other crisis of our age is an ecological crisis. The basic form of human cultural evolution has not changed for thousands of years. We live in danger of being destroyed by the same blight that early civilizations faced, though now the scale of our mistakes is much grander. Attempts at corporate greenwashing notwithstanding, we are living in an age of planetary, cataclysmic, ecological decline. Middle-class Americans are cushioned from this decline by technologically sophisticated industry and agriculture. We are not aware of the worldwide erosion of topsoil as we consume our prepackaged meals; we barely notice growing extremes of weather as we sit in our air-conditioned domiciles.
Ignorance notwithstanding, the scale of our environmental crisis is unparalleled in human experience. The “greenhouse effect” is going to make itself unmistakably visible in the next fifty to one hundred years. The current decline in the number of species is unprecedented. Forests are dwindling precipitously. Everywhere we look, our global environment is taxed.
We are stealing our planet from our children. Individually, we can save money in bank accounts for our children and our grandchildren and think that we are taking care of future generations. As a society, however, we are not saving for future generations; rather, we are incurring enormous debts. Here again, we are looking at the difference between the ability we have as individuals to plan and the inability of large social groups to prepare for the future.  

22 Nov 2006 @ 21:57 by Hanae @ : Does Man deserve to be saved?

{link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55OrJ_Capw8|Clip on YouTube}  

22 Nov 2006 @ 23:17 by tlingel : Charades


22 Nov 2006 @ 23:18 by jerryvest : Hanae, this is really a remarkable
description about our current state of health and wellbeing of our planet, nature and humanity. If I think too much about this, I could end up feeling depressed, cynical and hopeless, much like the video portrayed for me.

Thanks for being here and for your steady will and ability to help us awaken to the global dangers, abuse and neglect. I think we will know if we deserve to be saved when or if we change our course of destruction.

What aren't people getting? {link:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061121/ap_on_sc/climate_species}  

23 Nov 2006 @ 14:06 by ashanti : Q and A
Question: Does Man deserve to be saved?
Answer: No.  

27 Nov 2006 @ 05:18 by Hanae @ : The ethical dimension

== Did the dinosaurs deserve to be saved? ==

In addition to the social and scientific problems at the core of the “survivability” (or “sustainability”) issue of any given system, the survival of a species---of any species---also involves a spiritual (or ethical) dimension. The distinction between the two aspects---our beliefs vs. our way of life--- is not so clearly marked: Are we facing new ethical dilemmas as a result of the threat of extinction of new species, or was it the nature of our “ethics” (and our way of feeling/thinking) which caused or precipitated the crisis in the first place?

== Do Whales deserve to be saved? ==

Former Whale Chairman of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, wrote:
"Whales are different. They live in families, they play in the moonlight, they talk to one another, and they care for one another in distress. They are awesome and mysterious. In their cold, wet, and forbidding world they are complete and successful. They deserve to be saved, not as potential meatballs but as a source of encouragement to mankind."

Dr. D. J. Orth of Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Participant in the 1996 MSU Bioethics Institute) commenting on our “Popular culture [which] reinforces a mediagenic image of whales” (e.g., In Startrek IV: The Return Home, humankind is saved because whales are brought back from the brink of extinction) observes that at the heart of the whaling/anti-whaling debate lies an archetype, which he calls the “super-whale”:

“Those opposed to whaling tend to talk about the whale in the singular, not the 75 or more species of cetaceans. Consequently the image of the “super-whale” is created. The super-whale is the largest mammal on earth (blue whale), has a large brain-to-body-weight ratio (bottlenose dolphin), sings (humpback whale), has nurseries (some dolphins), is friendly (gray whale), and is endangered (blue whale, right whale). The super-whale is endowed with all the qualities we like to see in fellow humans: kindness, caring, playfulness. The super-whale is the image of a single whale possessing all these generalized traits; such a creature does not exist.”

What is of interest, to me, in that “super-whale” image, is that, first of all, IT EXISTS. It exists as an archetype. And archetypes are a powerful driving force of evolution (Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological givens that arose through evolution.) That “kindness, caring, playfulness” that we are identifying with, as individuals and as a species, and with other species, are not just a generic, idealized model of a person, or a species. More than a mere stereotype such qualities are an emerging epitome toward which mankind, and possibly life as a whole, has been striving. It is present in every culture and in many species.

There are other forces at play.

== Does Man deserve to be saved ==

Mankind is unique in its intelligence level, playfulness, and grace.

Mankind is unique, too, in its brutality. Not in the nature of such brutality itself, but in the scope of that brutality (as a tool-maker species) and the degree of sophistication and psychological perversion of that brutality (as a sentient species). Such a brutality, however, is not endemic to human “nature,” but a product of the nature of the {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution|evolution} of life on earth.

In a frequently quoted letter to Asa Gray, written in 1860, Darwin famously said: "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living body of caterpillars." (The Ichneumonidae sting their prey not to kill but to paralyze, so their larvae can feed on fresh (live) meat.)

In “River out of Eden,” Richard Dawkins (the author of “The Selfish Gene”) insists that "Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent”:

In the “Extended Phenotype” Dawkins submits that "Neither individuals nor genes really strive to maximize anything. Or rather, individuals may strive for something, but it will be a morsel of food, an attractive female, or a desirable territory, not inclusive fitness.”

In “How the Leopard changed its spots,” Brian Goodwin (a critic of what has been called Darwinist reductionism) comments that "If interactions between organisms are to be understood primarily in terms of conflict and competition, manifestations of selfish genes, then our relationships with other species are naturally those of a dominant species and our instinct will be to subdue and control them, even to extinction.” Which seems pretty much to be the self-destructive course onto which mankind has been so far.

But Brian Goodwin thinks things are hopefully more complex than that (Goodwin is an advocate of a biology explained from the perspective of {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system|Complex Systems}).

{link:http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological|Biological Altruism}, too, suggests that other forces, other than kin selection, are at work. Though much altruism in nature is kin-directed, not all is: there are also many examples of animals behaving altruistically towards non-relatives, and indeed towards members of other species.

Also, Intelligence has sprung to a new dimension that is freeing it from the limits of biological and genetic constraints. Augmented Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, no doubt, are the next logical step.

The first abstraction, like the first cells on Earth, were relatively simple. But they have evolved in spectacular ways, and things have been getting more and more complex ever since. Today’s abstractions are highly advanced species of ideas.

Dawkins coined the term “meme” (self-propagating ideas, habits, or cultural practices analogous to the gene) to present how Darwinian principles can be extended to study the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena (it spawned the theory of {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics|memetics}).

In Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck and Chris Cowan), the term "VMeme" refers to a systems of core values or collective intelligences, applicable to both individuals and entire cultures, acting as an organizing principle, which expresses itself through memes. (The normally superscripted letter V indicates these are not basic memes but value systems which include them.)

The question of Man’s survival, more than being about the survival of a species per se, can be asked in term of the survival of a certain form of intelligence which Life has manifested on Earth, which is the product of the maturation, within the scope of evolution, of new forms of complexities.

It is an interesting thing that although the problem is posited in terms of socio-economic, political and scientific issues, when it comes down to it, the issue is also one of culture, which ultimately makes it one of ethics:

Exploitation (in the negative sense of the term – i.e. the act of utilizing something in an unjust, cruel or selfish manner for one's own advantage), environmental devastation and a general lack of ethics and sensitivity are some of the issues at stake that it would appear mankind will have to come to grip with, if it is to evolve.

It is not as easy as it sounds. It is, in fact, an ENORMOUS STEP for Mankind----for any species----to take on the ladder of Evolution.

While it is often argued that such an evolution in intelligence (cognitive and emotional intelligence) is already within Human nature, that it is “with everything,” that “Love” is the nature of the world, the history of the evolution of Life on Earth paints a difficult picture: that of a long and arduous path, full of trials and errors and many evolutionary dead-ends.

If we believe the current official record of the official Timeline of the evolution of life on Earth, the dinosaurs which first appeared some 230 million years ago dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for over 160 million years.

(NB: There are alternative timelines, {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism|creationism}, {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_astronaut_theory|ancient astronaut theory}, etc.; and other understandings, religions and philosophies that posit that “one” is the ultimate reality and that everything else---like that small thing about being Human---is an illusion, which makes the original question on this post a moot one---not to be confused with the position of the mystics for whom this manifestation of reality is real, but a fleeting one---all of which (and some...) are, or have been represented, at one point or another, on NCN to various degrees.)

For comparison, on the same current official Timeline of the evolution of life on Earth, our hominid subspecies, the {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens|Homo Sapiens Sapiens} ("modern man"), appears in the fossil record in Africa at about 130,000 years ago. (Most scientists believe that Homo erectus developed into the species Homo sapiens between about 400,000 and 300,000 years ago, only.) A drop in the ocean of time. But what a splash it made. It is clear that while all other species on Earth have been mainly products of their genes, Mankind’s prospects depend more and more on evolution outside its genes, on the evolution of tools and conceptual symbols and ideas and…ideals. The ripples are still changing everything around Man, at an accelerated rate, like nothing before on the Evolutionary scale. Will the ripples transform Man itself before it is too late?

This is the question for the 21st Century.

I believe that if Man is to survive it will be, in large part, because Mankind will have succeeded in transcending some of its issues, above (callous exploitation, environmental devastation and a general lack of ethics and sensitivity), which are also, in part, the evolutionary legacy of Mankind (its evolutionary baggage). Mankind, if it survives, will have ceased to be something, and become something else. And, Mankind will have, maybe, in this sense, if it succeeds, “deserved” (from an ethical and evolutionary viewpoint) to be saved.

The alternative is death, or a major setback, not only in Humanity’s evolution, but also in this planet’s current evolutionary path, possibly a fatal one for most of the remaining species on Earth, under their current form, depending on how badly things fall apart. (The LA Times had a devastating article, a few days ago, about {link:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-navajo20nov20,0,6106722.story|the blighted homeland of the Navajo Indians in Arizona}.)

Another alternative is escape through the colonization of space ({link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v119/__show_article/_a000119-000053.htm|The Final Frontier?})---which I don’t think very likely at this point in time, as time is a commodity that is rapidly running out, and space colonization takes time, and methods of reaching the stars have not yet passed the stage of vague speculations.

Such an escape, if possible, would mean that Mankind would have become a space-faring species without having faced beforehand any of the inner demons that drove its home-world to its quasi destruction. In terms of containment it might represent, in that respect, a worrisome development, like a destructive virus, leaving its host, poised on invading other life systems, with the same devastative effects. On the other hand, it is also conceivable that it could present mankind with the kind of reprieve it needs and that as some of the condition which favored the emergence of mankind as a species (intelligence, social feelings/empathy, curiosity, imagination) are allowed to expand, Man could eventually take that next step on the intelligence evolutionary ladder.

As it is, it seems that Man is first going to have to address its problems now, here on planet Earth.  

27 Nov 2006 @ 17:23 by tlingel : The Human Being...
That's just something we say
while hoping it can do what we say it can do:

{link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v408/__show_article/_a000408-000085.htm|Obstruction number 3}  

28 Nov 2006 @ 19:04 by Hanae @ : Evolutionary Convergence?

The NewScientist.com news service, Nov. 27, 2006 published an {link:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10661-whales-boast-the-brain-cells-that-make-us-human.html|article} reporting that whales (i.e. humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales and sperm whales) have spindle neurons: specialized brain cells (previously found only in humans and other primates), which are involved in processing emotions and play a significant role in social interaction:

"The cells occur in parts of the human brain that are thought to be responsible for Mankind’s social organizational skills, empathy, speech, and intuition about the feelings of others..."

What is more, whales appear to have had these cells for at least twice as long as humans, and early estimates suggest they could have three times as many spindle cells as Man does, even accounting for the fact that whale brains are larger in size than the human brain.

“This is consistent with a growing body of evidence for parallels between cetaceans and primates in cognitive abilities, behavior and social ecology.”

The more interesting element of the story is that:

"The common ancestor of cetaceans and primates lived over 95 million years ago, and such a highly specific morphological similarity as the finding of spindle cells is clearly due to evolutionary convergence, not shared ancestry."  

29 Nov 2006 @ 00:59 by bushman : Hmm,
Lots of people do think man will meld with thier electronics, but, I'm thinking we will be "nanotized", probably by accident. Im not talking the "grey goo" senario, {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo} although, spose it could happen. It would be more like, networks of nanobots used for internal body repairs, or even to take the place of organs, and then having the nanobots AI realize that the human needs of connectivity, and setting up some sort of mental internet, made one race by little machines that didnt know any better.  

29 Nov 2006 @ 08:16 by i2i : Spot Quiz: Multiple Choice
Hmm…Circle the correct answer.

{link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina|Deus Ex Machina} is a Latin phrase that can be used to describe:

A. The Rapture
B. Techno-Rapture (Grey Goo, Nanotization)
C. The Harmonic Convergence
D. Escape through space travel
E. All of the above

I don’t know, I could be wrong about this---And who knows what the future is made of?---but it would appear, for the present time, that there are very pressing and threatening social and ecological challenges that Man is going to be faced with, first, before space travel or the eventual benefits (or {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity#Potential_dangers |dangers}) that potentialy revolutionary technologies such as Nanobots might one day possibly present to the world are even part of the equation.

It would now appear that Man’s last and only enemy on the planet is…Man.

Can Humanity avoid self-destruction?

There is some sense of a poetic justice about this, like a test, in some way, that Humanity must pass, or maybe some questions that Mankind is going to have to answer for itself if it is to move on.

Also, interesting thread, {link:http://www.kurzweilai.net/mindx/frame.html|here} @kurzweilai.net (11/16/2006), on "Definition of a Human Being"  

29 Nov 2006 @ 16:55 by bushman : All possable,
outcomes, just looking at the past, it seems that man has come to this road many times, ultamatly finding middle ground as nomadic tribes. I don't think the whole of man will self destruct. Just looking at the past, man seems as resiliant as cockroaches. So, maybe its the frame of mind of some, the ones that don't put themselves above other living things, will always be the survivors, and those that don't need much to survive. I can still see, that there will be a majority of man that will unknowingly self destruct by thier own hands. But theres the possability that a percentage of man will become imune to thier own poisons. It was discused on a radio show a while back, that if there was space aliens comming to eat us, that they would eat the Canadians first, because they are less poluted, the joke was the aliens would eat the free range humans first, and that the US gov, knows this, and decided to taint the caged human population. This is why I believe that both survived last time around, the advanced tech humans hid underground, and the ones that tribed up on the surface. And here we are today, the confusion being that some people call them space aliens when they are really just advanced humans co-existing, maybe makeing undercover deals with our governments. When God comes to set things strait, we will only really know God is more advanced than us. Still, I think man will exist, somehow, forever.  

29 Nov 2006 @ 18:48 by i2i : Hmm...
Deus Ex Machina doesn’t refer to “possible outcomes.”

In Greek and Roman drama, it is “a god lowered by stage machinery to resolve a plot or extricate the protagonist from a difficult situation.”

Specifically it is used to describe:

An avoidance* mechanism, or an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a scenario to get away from a situation or tangled plot (e.g., having the protagonist wake up and realize it was all a dream, or an angel suddenly appearing to solve all the plot problems of a story that the characters can't or won't resolve on their own).

(*) Avoidance: a process by which an individual, or a group of individuals, or a society, learn a behavior or response to avoid dealing with a stressful or unpleasant situation, or an “inconvenient truth.” The behavior is to avoid, or to remove oneself from, a situation, or a difficult dilemma.

{link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v97/__show_article/_a000097-000018.htm|Relevant Entry}.  

29 Nov 2006 @ 19:06 by tlingel : "Definition of a Human being"

"If I could describe a 'human being' I would be more than I am ——and, probably living in the future, because I think of human beings as something to be realized ahead... But clearly 'human beings' have something to do with the luminous image you see in a bright child’s eyes——the exploring, wondering, eagerly grasping, undestructive quest for life. I see that undescribed spirit as central to us all."

Submited in a comment (by Rho), {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v97/__show_article/_a000097-000009.htm|here}, on 2 Jan 2005  

30 Nov 2006 @ 00:51 by jerryvest : Really a beautiful story and
dream, tlingel. Reminds me of a mantra "All is my own Dream". I love the description of a 'human being.' For me, I feel like a human being when I play with my grandchildren...everything is possible...there are no limitations...nothing is between us and our true nature. No thoughts, no positions, no judgments, no time, total interaction. Do see Ariana, my granddaughter's coca cola spoofs to see what I mean. {link:http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-453141462163204710} Thanks for this discussion. Jerry  

30 Nov 2006 @ 19:50 by i2i : Souls for Sale
Thank you jerryvest, and thank you tlingel, for your comments.

More about jerryvest's granddaughter, {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v400/__show_article/_a000400-000019.htm|here}.

The corporation issue (in jerryvest's words' "they talk about all of these great values that they have on their commercials while they work behind the scenes to rip off their customers") is a very contemporary issue (George Carlin's monologue about "servicing the customer" comes to mind) and it is also a very old issue: "You can't serve both God and Mammon" (Luke 16:13-15 and Matthew 6:24)---or can you? ({link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v408/__show_article/_a000408-000046.htm|Souls for Sale} is an interesting take on the topic.)

In the above Biblical context, Mammon is commonly translated as "DISHONEST WEALTH" or equivalent. (In some Spanish versions, "Mamón" is even sometimes translated as "Dinero," Spanish for "money".)

A secularist equivalent of the question would be:

Can Mankind serve both Life and Mammon?

Mammon being, here, as it was in its original context, a metonymy for an Economic system which idols are "Profit" and its dark cousins "profiteering" and the callous "exploitation" of others human beings (and of other species and our environment.)

It is a good question in a day and age when, like never before, our economics values (the economic engine that drives and made our current civilization possible) are clashing in alarmingly ways with the web of life of this planet.

It is a difficult question, too.

The question are:

"What else?"
"What do we replace Mammon with?"
Or "how do we humanize Mammon?"
"Can it be done?"

The ills of which our corporations suffer are the ills of the logic of the system we live by, they are the ills of mankind, they are OUR ills. "They" are "us." "They" too are part of humanity's "true nature." Can humanity be motivated to do anything for reasons other than "personal profit?" (Epitomized by corporations which are accountable to their shareholders first, and their customers last.) "What are the alternatives?" "Can we come up with another kind of economic/motivational engine?" Or, "can humanity pursue "profit" in an enlightened way that would dissociate such a pursuit from its dark cousins (greed/profiteering/exploitation)?"

Those are not rhetorical questions. There are actually extremely complex issues. A thread begun, {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v507/__show_article/_a000507-000005.htm|here}, on a related topic ("The International Banking System") in the Tangency's workgroup barely even begins to touch the tip of the iceberg.

Now, more than ever, those questions must be asked.

"As we start to view the world from the perspective of Life, more and more practices around us simply do not make sense. We are surrounded by paradoxes in a phase when established systems no longer meet our needs. We need to perceive and question these paradoxes, daring to appear naive, while developing the capacity to transcend them."
----{link:http://community.pioneersofchange.net/commitment/index.php?a=question.htm|Never stop asking questions}

30 Nov 2006 @ 23:57 by bushman : Hmm
I don't think the majority would fall for a puppet god on a string, least Id hope the majority of mankind was at least that awake, to see its fake. Hmm, personal gain, being what it is, to me is not on my list, but I can see how easy it is to equate with progress, my dad for instance would say nature gets in the way of progress, if its in the way remove it no matter the cost, guess those birds should of known not to build thier nest in that tree. And I always say lets wait for nature, and then remove the tree, but time is mammon? The western world needs to just get over thier cleanliness, they dont like the dust so they pave it. Man needs only to embrace the dirt, and be one with it. As devine as we are, we have strayed far from our true nature. We must become the God, and get our hands in the dirt once again. As paradoxs go, destruction usualy lends itself to recreation. Like, use only what you need to survive, leave the rest for nature, seems pretty simple. CA started removing the concret bottoms on the flood control channels, so the sand at the beaches would get replaced, and within 3 months nature had reclaimed the channels, not only are they getting the sand back, thier watertables have risen back to normal. Thats a big step for man to see he/she can fix things. All sorts of old ways have and are being trashed and replaced with stuff that is or works in a senergy with nature. We are far more aware of what we do now, as compaired with 10 years ago. Time, it's all about time and what we make it into, thats the true mammon.  

1 Dec 2006 @ 15:38 by jerryvest : Hello, Bushman...I thought I would add
some comments and some quotations about Time as you have so aptly pointed out that... "Time, it's all about time and what we make it into, thats the true mammon." I suspect you are right about Time and what we make it into.

Recently, I have been reviewing some meditation practices on the material developed by Tarthang Tulku that you and others may find useful or interesting. I took several passages or statements from this book and began focusing on them so that I could begin to re-examine my nature as a human being and how I use Time:

_Time, Space and Knowledge-A New Vision of Reality_,(1977) Dharma Publishing. {link:http://tsk.designwest.com/}

I first started working with this program in 1977 and am only now refreshing my understanding, and appreciation of this material.

Some brief statements about Great Time as introduced by Tarthang Tulku-

"The unrestrained fulfillment of the interplay of Great Space and
Time is an intimacy that is complete and uncontrived." Pp.159

“…involves cultivating more Space and Knowledge by developing a wider perspective on the ‘self’." Pp. 165

"The self cannot understand Great Space or Great Time because it is precisely the embodiment of a lapse of such understanding."

"The self notices itself and this takes ‘time'."

"The self or subject is really an object timed out by ‘time'.

"There is apparent distance, which is nevertheless only a message of ‘time'."

Note: I have been working on observing my thoughts that come from the past, enter the present and disappear. Some thoughts seem to be more demanding or attractive and require more attention--even to the point of sticking around far longer than desired. I think we refer to these thoughts as obsessions. Some thoughts point to unfinished business while others are even unsettleing and trigger reactions and various emotions. Many just come and go like strangers we pass on the street. In any event, the key, for me, is to be open, accepting and allowing of all that appears in my mind. In other words--Let it Be.

And, for me, the reactions and judgments encourage me to be more open and observant--mindful.

I don't really know what else to say about Time, but as I continue to meditate on these aspects of living and relating, I am hopeful that I can put them in a more understandable article. Sorry if I am putting these comments into a different context than you indicate. But, I am 'thinking' that if we can learn to understand Time, perhaps we can be more fully human and create a more human-centered environment of love and compassion.

Tarthang says it better in his books:

Since everything is but an apparition
perfect in being what it is,
having nothing to do with good or bad,
acceptance or rejection.
One may well burst out in laughter!
-- Longchenpa  

4 Dec 2006 @ 21:25 by Hanae @ : Tarthang Tulku

The following is from "Skillfull Means"---perhaps one of Tarthang Tulku's most accessible and practical books:

"We may not understand that success comes from effort and enthusiasm, that by avoiding work we let our energy go to waste and deprive ourselves of the possibility for growth. Life becomes like a stagnant pool instead of being a joyful ground for action.

What we waste in time and energy is gone forever. A part of our life is thrown away; we lose the vitality that comes from direct and full participation in anything we do. When we believe we have all the time in the world, we tend to move slowly, putting things off. Though we could be moving dynamically through each day, we let ourselves float, taking it easy, drifting from one thing to another. When we use our energy in this way, we seldom go deeply enough into anything to find real satisfaction; our motivation is too slack, and our attention too unfocused.

Wasting our time and energy leaves us feeling empty and unfulfilled. We look at what we have done, and see very little, for our unwillingness to embrace all our work prevents us from accomplishing truly meaningful goals. When old age approaches, we may find ourselves regretting our wasted years; having squandered our energy, we discover the loss too late to do anything about it. Time almost mysteriously takes our lives away, and we find that we have achieved few substantial results."

It does echo the {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v97/__show_article/_a000097-000106.htm|theme of The Waste Land}.  

4 Dec 2006 @ 21:26 by Hanae @ : On Mammon, Money, and Time

Bushman had a post, I really liked, {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v13/__show_article/_a000013-000062.htm |here}, on his blog, about Broken Saints, a Flash animated internet film series. The post is illustrated with a snapshot from one of the episodes in the series, which opens with a quote from Phillip K. Dick:

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them."

This is how a collective insanity has taken a hold of the "reality" we live in.

Mammon? Is it time (as described in Bushman’s comment above) or money (as quoted from Luke and Matthew), or both ("Time is Money" - Benjamin Franklin rendered the current wording of the saying in "Advice to a Young Tradesman")?

It is, of course, all of those things. It is about Money, it is about Time, it is about the relation of the latter to the former (some people sell, or are made to sell most of their time for money, and some people are slaves, economically so, or even, still, very literally so, in the original sense of the word, in some parts of the world), and about what it is we are trading everyday for a symbolate (an object created by the act of symbolization), and at what cost to ourselves and to the planet we live on---is there anything (time, family, health, our forests, our oceans, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the very foundations of life itself) that Man is not willing to sell out for this symbolate?

Has Man created a system that makes "good people" behave badly? Or is it that there is something fundamentally rotten (or, maybe, just simply "not too bright") at the core of Human nature?

The Economic system under which the world lives (which, in the present days, seems mostly influenced by a strong {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v119/__show_article/_a000119-000086.htm#com76606|neo-liberal} undercurrent) is not a force like gravity but a totally artificial construct, so why is it that we live in a system that dictates its rules to society and not the other way around?

Can’t Man do any better than that? Can it do it in time?  

26 Dec 2006 @ 06:50 by i2i : A scanner darkly

{link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v408/__show_article/_a000408-000085.htm|What does a scanner see?}

Into the head?

Down into the heart?

Does it sees... into us?

Clearly or darkly?  

20 Jan 2008 @ 22:21 by energy : Strange Protection
For some reason we are being protected as a whole.
No one person is protected.
At least one Man & One woman will be protected.  

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