node created 2019/09/29
I love to watch and encourage and thank the plants I see pushing up the sidewalks. That is the work we should be doing, and they are leading the way, teaching us how, these plants reaching through the concrete from the soil to the sky, these ants and birds and spiders going about their lives, all remind us that all times and in all places - even in cities - ecstatic life continues beneath the machine, waiting for the chance to return, to recover, and to reenter into relationship with those of us who are ready to live.
"Welcome to the Machine"
I guess I should add my own story - when I was in high school, this army recruiter gave a talk to our class. What follows is a paraphrase of his speech:

"How many of you support the war in Iraq?"

no one raises hand

"What about Hitler? Saddam Hussein is doing the same things Hitler did to his own people. So If you oppose the war in Iraq, you support Hitler!"

None of us quite had the nerve to speak up about it, but if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of a thousand little bullshit detectors going off.

Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.
Education is the process of casting false pearls before real swine.
Lovers are not snails; the don't have to protrude from their shells and meet each other halfway. Meet me within your own self.
The problem with the Bible and the Quran is that these "sacred" scriptures were written by men several years after the event. As an average guy I can tell you that I can't even recall what I had for breakfast 3 days ago. My wife on the other hand can recall every mistake I have made in the last 25 years of our marriage. Both "holy" scriptures should have been written by women because they do a better job remembering details. I was unaware that I farted on the first night of our honeymoon in bed.

What Do I Care

What do I care, in the dreams and the languor of spring,
That my songs do not show me at all?
For they are a fragrance, and I am a flint and a fire,
I am an answer, they are only a call.

But what do I care, for love will be over so soon,
Let my heart have its say and my mind stand idly by,
For my mind is proud and strong enough to be silent, 
It is my heart that makes my songs, not I.
I've noticed a fairly big distinction in what I learned as science and the philosophy of science as it was practiced up until around the last 20 years or so and now.

Science was based on rigorous falsification. Scientists actively tried to prove themselves and other scientists wrong. Science has always been more about, 'well we know it's not all of these things, so it's probably that until we prove that wrong too'.

Sometime in the last couple decades, it's stopped being like that. Instead it's, 'my models and data say this, so it is this and everything else is wrong'.

Science at this point is really only authority driven because journals and even governments charge exorbitant prices for access to them, cutting out a vast majority of the population from actually partaking in any part of the scientific process.

When all you get is contradictory news reports on a handful of selected research from journalists that barely understand what they're reading, you're going to be stuck with an elitist authority driven system.

There's zero reason for this in todays world other than control and profit. Even within the scientific community, there's 'caste' systems, financial guardianship and other such barriers, keeping again, many people from learning and partaking.

Science isn't hard, it isn't magic, it's a systematic way of looking at the world through observation and falsification. That is all science is. Anyone can do science. I've taken groups of kids, volunteers and many people and in short time, taught them to do science.

It's just people don't really get taught to do this. It's easier to control a population that's trickled information through 'authoritative' sources than it is one that's educated and capable of thinking for themselves.

This is stuff I was literally taught in school, by other scientists. Like, we were actually taught that most people need to be given only the information they need to know, because essentially they're too dumb to understand and scientists should just run things in the world. I'm not making this up, we were actually told this by several of our professors.
Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
[In early 2007] there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something. Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.

It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs.
I've been thinking of a story from the Old Testament: Moses stood all day and all night with outstretched arms, praying to God for victory. And whenever he let down his arms, the enemy prevailed over the children of Israel. Are there still people today who never weary of directing all their thinking and all their energy, single-heartedly, to one cause?

In This Blind Alley

They smell your breath lest you have said: I love you. 
  They smell your heart; 
  These are strange times, my dear. 
They flog love 
at the roadblock. 
Let's hide love in the larder. 

In this crooked blind alley, as the chill descends 
they feed fires 
with logs of song and poetry 
Hazard not a thought: 
  These are strange times, my dear. 

The man who knocks at your door in the noon of the night 
has come to kill the light. 
  Let's hide light in the larder. 

There, butchers are posted in passageways 
with bloody chopping blocks and cleavers: 
  These are strange times, my dear. 

They chop smiles off lips, 
and songs off the mouth: 
Let's hide joy in the larder.
"In This Blind Alley"
Working on mass surveilance systems because the tools are technically exciting is akin to using molecular gastronomy to produce a portion of human feces.
Sure, the elimination of sexually transmitted diseases would be a great thing, but to herald it primarily for the potential of the self-centered orgy it might bring is downright depressing and reeks of a man who has never had meaningful sex.

In An Instant

In a slight stroke of your hands,
it is the whole world that I comprehend.
In the mere thought of you,
it is the entirety of eternity that I attend:
flowing, nude, content.

I stream, I shine, I rain.
I am the heavens;
I am all the stars;
I am this Earth.
I am also that golden thicket of wheat,
expecting the clusters of scented seed,
in the green lake of  its joyous dance.

I traverse you,
like a lightening crossing the night.
I blaze.
And I then melt.
"In An Instant"
I'm kind of sick of the whole "bias" obsession. It's everyone's go-to counterargument these days, and it's a shallow, poorly developed one. It's like everyone's lost critical reasoning skills, which require delicate attention to the particular strategies and propositions deployed in a given argument, and found these set of stock biases to use instead. In fact it's impossible to purge an argument or line of thinking of all so-called biases (though these don't actually exist in arguments, they are deduced from arguments)--if it were, it wouldn't be an argument or thought.

The goal of catching our own mistakes is an admirable one, and I'm not advocating people stop doing that--I just think it too frequently bleeds into trying to find so-called biases in arguments (whether written or verbal). In fact, this is more or less a fool's errand. What people are actually trying to point out in arguments are logical fallacies which are traits of the argument. Biases contrarily occur at the individual level and are operational flaws, they only occur during the thought process, and it's only meaningful to talk about them in these terms (that is, as they manifest in the ongoing practices of a person)--they are not properties of a line of thought's encoding (the written or spoken argument). Fallacies or viewpoints expressed in an argument may hint at the biases of the author, but it's a non-sequitur to start talking about them (when critiquing an argument), as the only way one could actually confirm this is by observing the author at work in daily life. To say, such an such an author is biased, is useless. It doesn't contribute meaningfully to a critique of the argument, and it would need to be verified through observation of the author.

Demonstrating to someone that they have developed/fall prey to particular bias frequently and working to rectify that one-on-one is a totally different story, or trying to catch biases operating in yourself is a totally different story.
Those who really have power in this society tolerate democracy only so long as it doesn't infringe on their power. If, through the parliamentary system, we ever began to expropriate industry, then the people who have wealth and power would destroy the parliamentary system. In this respect there probably wouldn't be any way within the system. But any revolutionary I've ever heard of must prefer peaceful non-violent means if these are possible. But it's rarely been possible because of the resistance by those who want to preserve their privileges.
Now what? Now where are we? We’re here at you interrupting me again, you fucking idiot. That’s you. You see, we are here at the same point again where you, the fucking peon masses, can once again ruin anyone who tries to do anything because you don’t know how to do it on your own! That’s where we’re fucking at!
As usurpation is the exercise of power which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule, and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.
Second Treatise on Government
The rise of the natural sciences is credited with a demonstrable, ever-quickening increase in human knowledge and power; shortly before the modern age European mankind knew less than Archimedes in the third century B.C., while the first fifty years of our century have witnessed more important discoveries than all the centuries of recorded history together. Yet the same phenomenon is blamed with equal right for the hardly less demonstrable increase in human despair or the specifically modern nihilism which has spread to ever larger sections of the population, their most significant aspect perhaps being that they no longer spare the scientists themselves, whose well-founded optimism could still, in the nineteenth century, stand up against the equally justifiable pessimism of thinkers and poets. The modern astrophysical world view, which began with Galileo, and its challenge to the adequacy of the senses to reveal reality, have left us a universe of whose qualities we know no more than the way they affect our measuring instruments, and — in the words of Eddington — "the former have as much resemblance to the latter as a telephone number has to a subscriber." Instead of objective qualities, in other words, we find instruments, and instead of nature or the universe — in the words of Heisenberg — man encounters only himself.

[The German physicist Werner Heisenberg has expressed this thought in a number of recent publications. For instance: "Wenn man versucht, von der Situation in der modernen Naturwissenschaft ausgehend, sich zu den in Bewegung geratenen Fundamenten vorzutasten, so hat man den Eindruck, ... dass zum erstenmal im Laufe der Geschichte der Mensch auf dieser Erde nur noch sich selbst gegenübersteht ... , daß wir gewissermassen immer nur uns selbst begegnen" (Das Naturbild der heutigen Pkysik [1955], pp. 17-18). Heisenberg's point is that the observed object has no existence independent of the observing subject: "Durch die Art der Beobachtung wird entschieden, welche Züge der Natur bestimmt werden und welche wir durch unsere Beobachtungen verwischen" (Wandlungen in den Grundlagen der Naturwissenschaft [1949], p. 67).]
"Vita Activa"