12/31/2018

Words to live by!

I don't know much about this but I sure like the sound of the worlds.

the "temporal coherence" of a graphene qubit

Superconducting qubits rely on a structure known as a "Josephson junction,"

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-physicists-lifetime-graphene-qubits.html

Elsewhere I see something about;

"Exploiting Temporal Choherence"

12/24/2018

The Meaning of LIFE, the UNIVERSE and EVERYTHING!!

This world is explained as objective, with every moment as a discrete object on a timeline with a measurable value assigned to each of these objects.

But all of that is Bullshit.

The open secrect is we naturally live in the subjective “now” and immediate world, and are also naturally connected to everything else and everybody else in the world, and subconsciously accept we are connected to each other.

The analogy is of all of us in a swimming pool (this moment we are all living in now), yet the “world” says each of us is in an individual pool unrelated to the other.

...that is not all. BUT that is enough so the Vogans to destroy earth.

10/30/2018

A Dog and a Man Walk Into a Bar...

Outline re-write #1

Fundamental misunderstanding about all of society:
  • You and I are not separate.
  • My (and your) personality is not you, not me, it is a collection of attributes, but it is not you, not me.
  • The not you/not me is just now.
  • Just this moment that is still now. There is no past or future, there is only now. Only not separateness.
  • But we just don’t realize it.
  • By our very existence we only live now. All of us living now, together in this present NOW.


From this basic misunderstanding comes rating these created differences.

By assigning values to everything, then we can then DE-value those that are not like our pasted on personalities.

Once we have valued everything, then we can desire attributes and objects and things of all variety.

And from desire we learn cruelty, suffering, envy and all that stuff.

Although conjured out of fictional separateness the pain and suffering is real.

A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: "Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?"
Joshu answered: "Mu." 

My take:
The dog and me and you are not separate.
Buddha nature is not “having”

10/07/2018

My Sweet Little Weltanschauung

Outline for life the universe and everything
Track1
  1. Assigning “value” is the starting point for our dis-union.
    • *The nature of value implies we are the center even if we assign higher value to others
      *Recognizing there is no authority setting the "standards"
  2. Does our dog have Buddha nature or not?
    • *Accepting otherness
      *Springs from assigning value
  3. Sun faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha
    • *Accepting the moment with no value
      *Also connected to “value” and “worth”
  4. The Platonic Ideal and the path to confusion
    • *Brian Eno’s grand theory
      *Math is a human constructions dealing with real world physics and engineering
  5. Living a fictional life
    • *Race, elites and ranks - all fictions
      Nations, Sports and clubs
  6. There is only NOW. Always has been and always will be
  7. And above them all is MEANING
    • *Asking for “meaning” is to ask the wrong question.
  8. Eight: there is surely an 8
Track2
People and society

Bits and Pieces to be tied together
Society is physical world overlaid with invisible chalk lines to give the illusion of meaning
Conversation is the carrier wave
The connection is unspoken and embedded in the carrier wave
You are not your personality
Enneagram example of recognizing the box you live in

10/02/2018

First you get the POWER!

People with rediscover the value of joyful sobriety and liberating austerity only if they relearn to depend on each other rather than on energy slaves. The price for a convivial society will be paid only as the result of a political process which reflects and promotes the society-wide inversion of present industrial consciousness.

Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich

8/27/2018

Changing the Lenin



Another Bookmark for a future post.."Conservatives" as true Leninist

Since hearing Steve Bannon's claim in an interview to be a Leninist, I wondered what he meant but until now had not followed up on it. I've been reading Democracy in Chains and there are quotes in there by founding members of libertarian think tanks like Cato and Heritage that also claim to be be leninist

So when reflecting again on the Bannon quote now, I assumed he meant political actions as multi faceted attacks on all aspects of politics and culture. Basically not just win votes or change minds but to control all possible avenues of influence. I may have puzzled out part of it but this googling found article seems convincing and has a bit more to it.

Sephen Bannon, President Trump’s chief political strategist and, after Trump, the most powerful man in Washington, once declared proudly: “I am a Leninist.” He was talking to a New York university academic who had written extensively on communism and the former Soviet Union. “What on earth do you mean?” the professor asked him. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too,” replied Bannon. “I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
............
Two days after Lenin seized power in Russia almost exactly a century ago, he began an assault on the press – and his successors in the USSR did not let up for the next 70 years. In the few months between the overthrow of the tsar and Lenin taking power, a relatively free press had sprung up, almost all of it vigorously opposed to Lenin, who was written off as a dangerous demagogue. When his Bolshevik party mounted a successful coup and Lenin made himself, in effect, dictator of Russia, one of his first acts was to censor the press, which he called “a weapon no less dangerous than bombs or guns aimed at us … Why should we place it in our enemies’ hands?”


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/06/lenin-white-house-steve-bannon

But maybe the underlying connection is simply your political opponents are the ENEMY and you use what ever means in your power to conquer them. And THAT is what the modern conservative movement is about. They are the virtuous and as many of those virtuous warriors love to quote..

Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue. Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue..
.B Goldwater

Compassion and empathy are at best ill advised (even though well intentioned) but wrong and at worse a desire to pervert the soul through a culture of dependency. The fact that the rich no longer have to give money to the poor or helpless is a natural by product of their virtuous nature.




Lenin would very likely have identified 2017 as a revolutionary moment. He matters today not because of his flawed and bloody answers, but because he was asking questions similar to those we are asking today. In his quest for power, Lenin promised people anything and everything. He offered simple solutions to complex issues. He lied unashamedly. He justified himself on the basis that winning meant everything; the ends justified the means. Lenin was the godfather of post-truth politics. Powerful people have learned depressing lessons from him.

i can see why Bannon and Cato like him

6/09/2018

kak·i·sto·cra·cy

kak·i·sto·cra·cy

[kakəˈstäkrəsē]

NOUN

government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.

"the danger is that this will reduce us to kakistocracy" ·

•a state or society governed by its least suitable or competent citizens.

"the modern regime is at once a plutocracy and a kakistocracy" ·

"the man on the street must share part of the blame for allowing such a kakistocracy to entrench itself"

6/04/2018

Time Again for a New New Beginning



Well, another birthday and another year closer to death. Now on the 11th year of this erratic blog. I suppose there are still other blogs out there but you just don’t hear that much about them anymore. So much easier just to tweet I guess.

Here is my 11th year status check...

So I’ve been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari after listening to him interviewed on Russell Brand’s podcast. Between the podcast and what I have read so far I gather one of his main points is that the thing that makes us homo sapiens so successful is that humanity can take collective actions because all the things that motivate such cooperation is the use for “fictions”. Like a legal fiction, as in corporations are people, to the very notion of nations and states and corporations, and a bunch more. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20873740-sapiens

I don’t want to go into what may be wrong or right about his thoughts, but just provisionally accept it as true. Interestingly it echos the stuff Nathan Gill was saying with his “non duality” stuff. Like the bit where there is no history or future, only “NOW” only “being” (https://youtu.be/9Wo99sa8C4Q). Even though we spend so much time thinking about what we did wrong, or good, in the past, or so much worrying about what we will do and what we might do, those are all just stories we tell ourselves as we live..NOW. We carry all of that with us at each present moment. But really we are already living in the NOW! We are already enlightened and it would be clear if we could just drop the stories that drown out our true vision. Really it is these stories that are the internal Virtual Reality goggles that we wear in our brain.

So both past and future are fictions of a sort. Yes stuff happened and will happen and there are consequences to actions and karma is a bitch, what goes around comes around, all that kind of thing. BUT...LIFE LIVED happens now! And it is only because we carry these stories along with us to each present moment that these fictions (stories) have such power. If we could let go of these stories, assholes could stop being assholes at once, but those stories overpower us.

So the thing that makes us modern humans are the stories we tell ourselves. The good and the bad of it is that we live by and cannot escape this story telling, it is what makes us human (and that is not an all good thing).

Some of the stories are horrible and enduring, as exemplified by Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2059048703

Or how we as a people can’t deal with Climate Change… explained in Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1350742534 where basically climate deniers have more effective stories that take advantage of humans natural short shortsightedness.

How financial wizardry rules and ruins the world as told in I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1721638422 it only works because of the stories bankers tell themselves.

And of course our our brains are wired to react to stories and not actual evidence…

But against all this negativity is the idea that there is also a strain of compassion and empathy buried in our DNA. Part of which I get from The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1481801657 Like there are situations that draw out empathy in the great apes and we humans can also be drawn into compassion IF we work to encourage those situation in our society. IF we did that of course.

AND there is science behind it like in studies of Vagus nerve where compassion starts BEFORE the brain so we feel compassion first and the impulse is then sent to the brain after that. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/forget-survival-of-the-fittest/ .

Sooooo...humans have both an impulse to disorder but also a tendency toward cooperation and compassion and it is up to ourselves to construct a society that encourages the good over bad...IF we wanted to, but mostly we don’t.

But the galling thing is that all the suffering is simply driven by dumb stories.

End part 1.

5/19/2018

Thoughts on Work and These Modern Times

Happened upon this today and wanted to make a note to myself...https://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/

This is the quote I want to remember...

It's even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It's as if they are being told ‘but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?’

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorized stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc.)—and particularly its financial avatars—but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3–4 hour days.


Remember how is The Hitchhikers' Guide to Galaxy with "Ship B" (from some fan site)

The Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B was a way of removing the basically useless citizens from the planet of Golgafrincham. A variety of stories were formed about the doom of the planet, such as blowing up, crashing into the sun or being eaten by a mutant star goat. The ship was filled with all the middlemen of Golgafrincham, such as the telephone sanitisers, account executives, hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives and management consultants.

And with modern age of financial management tools, nothing is actually made. This style of business men, CEOs and such, don't start businesses to produce stuff, the think of themselves as masters of the Universe and worth their millions. But the irony is the pizza dilivery guys bring more "value added" substance to his (or her) work than any of these jag offs.

Of course this implicates the broader question of work. Why is one job "worth" more than another? Why does Mitt Romney get to make millions from buying, stripping down a company, loading it up with debt, reselling it for more money(somehow..) and HE is the guy who gets paid millions while the home depot employee who loads lumber into a pickup and actually helps somebody get $10 an hour? And with deference to Douglass Adams, why dump on hairdressers and telephone sanitiser when they actually provide something. People with financial derivatives and other crazy money making schemes made of vapor live in luxury?

So who is "worth" more than another? What is worth? What is value? How is work and person-hood connected?

It also leads to the unstated premise that humankind is nothing more than a commodification of our souls. Why do we allow this to happen to us? It is crazy!

5/08/2018

Are You Just a Calculator Attached to Appetites?
(..and is that a Clockwork Orange?)




I found this quote on the twitter-sphere and think it hints at my core suspicion that “the world” doesn’t make sense. I read the full post and he goes off in his own direction and I can’t agree with his conclusions, but he does have two insightful quotes. I am sure a “conservative” would take issued with the “Brutish” and “without souls, hearts, or minds” parts, but capitalism as the invisible hand that works through individual interests to produce an efficient marketplace is bedrock thinking of the modern conservative movement for the past 40 years. And it hinges on the assumption that people by their choices will cause whatever market is most efficient to spring up to fill those needs. You know…Bullshit.

However the part about brutish is in sync if not espoused directly by today’s business world. In that it is the aggressive, hyper-competitive worker offered as the ideal for conservative thinking and business philosophy in general. But that too is bullshit. Hey, I’m the first to admit that people are jerks, but my supposition is that while cruel and aggressive self-interest is part of human nature, there is also a fundamental part that thrives on cooperation and kindness and it is the civilization we build around us that determine which force (among many others) will dominate our lives.

Later I’ll post the books to backup my conclusion of bullshit

The second quote
The richest man in a society proclaims he has nothing left to buy — and so he’s going to shoot billionaires into space — while a third of its people can’t afford food, shelter and healthcare, life expectancy’s falling, the young, who have little future, are shooting themselves with guns or opioids, and retirement, a stable jobs, savings, an income, and a family are unaffordable luxuries.

This too explain displays how each billionaire is just a one or two decisions away from being a Bond villain. And that is because our cultural goal is to be rich, and therefore there is no reason to design a world where there is any limit on individual wealth, or to have any other goal beyond the no-liberal zeal of individual independence (which caries with it independence from working about anybody else). And once in place that wealth is theirs to do with as they wish. The goal is acquisition. I was going to say it is a goal not of what we as a people want but a goal of see who get the richest. BUT really it IS what we as a people want. We want billionaires to literally burn away millions of dollars on a vanity project involving blasting giant phallus symbols in the air. We want it because if we were rich too, we could also ignore the rest of the world and piss money down the drain, just because we wanted to.

SO…I will now cut and paste his quotes for my own mashup of my and this guy's thoughts...

Society has failed because it teaches us that we are something we have never been at all. Competitive, acquisitive beings who at the core are calculators attached to appetites, optimizing our own gain.

And the winners in this digital monopoly game, the richest men in a society show they truly have it all and there is nothing left to buy — for they shoot their money into space — while a third of the world struggles for food, shelter, healthcare, retirement, a stable savings, an income that pays for it all...all of which are rapidly becoming un-affordable luxuries.


That is the goal; that is what we are taught. Perhaps not taught explicitly but by consumer culture we are indoctrinated, and consumerism and conservatism crowd out charity, sharing and kindness since it goes against brand to not sell and buy.

https://eand.co/what-happens-after-capitalism-ends-92dc437327f8


Books on why humans are not logical consumer creatures

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Why we are NOT by nature competitive, aggressive assholes, but also why we sometimes are.

The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal

4/29/2018

I’m of Two Minds on this Non-Duality Thing



OK, there is thing called Nondualism, which is the notion that we are all connected and the separation we feel in each of us is the deception and if we could see our “true nature” this would be obvious. That probably imprecise definition has some similarities to traditions in Vedic religions and Buddhism, and now there is a whole industry in the western world of generalized nondualism teachers. Some of these teachers are humble, some grandiose, some grumpy and others cheerful.

For me I see some of same stuff I found when I was looking at Zen Buddhism, even though I bet a true Zen Buddhist might bristle at being lumped in together with these new upstarts. Anyway, somehow I stumbled across some books of Nathan Gill who was a British nondulism teacher, who passed away a few years ago, and his two books are mostly collections from group sessions he gave. He comes across as amazingly down to earth guy and somehow that just grabs me. Especially since most of the current big names in the western nonduality scene come across as opportunistic hucksters.

This is from my Goodreads review of Being: The Bottom Line by Nathan Gill...
I think he is saying there is no “I”. There is no “WE”. There is only “Being” and being is all of existence happening right now. Somehow there is no history, not yesterday, no tomorrow. All of those are just thoughts that are happening right now. So history only appears now (“presently” as he likes to say) with awareness, which is also awaken-ness, which is also being.

In fact there is a video (with just audio) on YouTube where he seems to be arguing with somebody about whether a photograph proves something happened in the past. Or rather I “think” he is trying to explain that the nature of existence is WAY simpler than usually explained. All in all it is either super brilliant or just outrageously daft. ( https://youtu.be/9Wo99sa8C4Q 

He might not like it but if I were to apply my own logic to it maybe it is that for each person there is really only this actual moment that you are breathing, reading, thinking…you never think in the past or the future (only think of the past and the future). So, given that we creatures living in time there always only ever this present moment. We are reborn in each second, in each millisecond, or something like that.  

Now what about there being no I, me, we, you? When you think of yourself or others what do you think of? Hang on this upcoming part as it may be a little shaky but I think it might be appropriate….MAYBE his interpretation of I or YOU is those are thoughts with people’s actions and attributes OVER TIME. So who am I? I am a person born at a date, did some stuff, and then some other stuff and that is me. Sort of like speed being miles per hour over time. There is no speed without time.  

BUT for Nathan even though we are living IN time, in reality with clear eyes you realize awareness is only now. Being for the universe is happening NOW. Don’t look back, don’t look ahead, because you can’t since existence is only NOW. And it can be no other way, and in fact most of the worry and fret in the world comes from people trying to do the impossible. It is impossible to truly live in the past just like it is impossible to live in the future. Ideas and thoughts of past and future are always only happening now. 

And I think he implies that in the present awareness there cannot be anything else so I, you and me don’t really exist. There is existence, “being”, but that sense of I only comes from the thought filled baggage. If we recognize this baggage is just that, baggage, then there can be relief since we see if for what it is…just baggage. 

I am reminded of  the idea of “instantaneous velocity” where there was a feeling in Physics that you could never find the speed of something for an instant frozen in time, because there would be nothing to calculate the average speed of time. Without time how could there be an average? Of course somebody comes along and invents Calculus and blammo you have a tool to determine just that thing. BUT since in modern times Physics and Metaphysics are different things, I don’t think Nathan Gill has to worry about some mathematician coming along with a proof or formula to explain away his presently awareness worldview.

I am not sure why this guy's books have grabbed me, but there is something there that seems true. Of course know most modern science-y people will discount him out of hand. But think if one is open minded about it anybody could at least see something to wonder about. One thing about his is that he never takes it beyond looking at the world in the present moment. In fact if somebody tries to make broader conclusions he shuts them down. 

Quotes

But the brain example serves to reveal how easily overlooked is the obvious fact that thought‌—‌and everything else—‌is simply appearing presently in awareness. - LOCATION: 196

Person 1: But the past did happen.    Nathan: Nothing happened, though a thought may arise that says things happened. - LOCATION: 132

NOTE: Instantaneous velocity is the velocity of an object in motion at a specific point in time. This is determined similarly to average velocity, but we narrow the period of time so that it approaches zero. If an object has a standard velocity over a period of time, its average and instantaneous velocities may be the same.

- - - - -

Well then, where does that leave us (well just me really)?

The thing is, even if a rationalist view is that the nondulism is an impossibility prima facie since we are separate entities as can be seen by counting beyond one...Obvious right? And in there is an aspect that cannot be denied. BUT, bundled with that view is the mind body split from which most modern worldviews spring. Be it capitalism, Marxism, liberalism, neo-liberalism, communism...whatever. And it is premised on the “I” . But I guess I am also saying the "conventional wisdom" sometimes carries a lot of conventions that reinforce views that are so integral that people don't even recognize them as views. Almost like when you forget that you have glasses on and don't recognize your view has a "corrected" lens in place.

So setting aside the bureaucratic demand of modern society for the individual, what if the actual LIVED life of each one of us is more at home in a non fractured worldview? What if we all actually live just like Nathan Gill says? What if for actual life there is no past or future just what is happening NOW!

Of course he doesn’t build a philosophy around this to deal with the implications. He kind of says there are no real implications and anybody who recognizes the clarity of all beings living the same now.

So I kind of get what he is saying. But I wonder what it means in a practical sense? He sometimes sounds fatalistic like nobody is in control so does he mean we shouldn’t work for a better world? But what if by seeing that all life is happening NOW means we are free to drop past baggage and breath free?

Hmmm. Enough for now. I’ll try to work on some more later to get it out of my system

4/01/2018

Art and Artist, by Otto Rank

I found a book by Otto Rank that I bought maybe 25 or 30 years ago and never read. I Googled the book to see what people had to say and found this quote...

“For the artist too is a totalist type that, unlike the average, cannot live in perpetual ‘partialization,’ but is forced to totalize every act of life. And on the artistic plane of illusion, in the act of creating – which is at once appearance and reality, a part and a whole – he finds it possible to conquer creatively this fundamental human dualism and to derive pleasure therefrom. For when he creates, the artist uses the whole of himself without being in danger of losing that self therein..."

“A deep study of neurosis has shown me that a characteristic quality of both the productive and the thwarted… is an Over-strong tendency towards totality of experience. The so-called adaptability of the average man consists in a capacity for an extensive partial experience such as is demanded by our everyday life, with its many and varied problems. The non-conforming type tends to concentrate its whole personality, its whole self, on each detail of experience, however trivial or insignificant; but as this is not only practically impossible but psychically painful (because its effect is to bring out fear), this type protects itself from a complete self-exhaustion by powerful inner restraints. Now, the neurotic stops at this point in the process, thus cutting himself of from both the world and experience, and, thus faced with the proposition ‘All or nothing,’ chooses the nothing. The artist, however, here also, in spite of many difficulties and struggles, finds a constructive, a middle way: he avoids the complete loss of himself in life, not by remaining in the negative attitude, but by living himself out entirely in creative work. This fact is so obvious that, when we intuitively admire some great work of art, we say the whole artist is in it and expresses himself in it”
(Pg. 373).

I watched the Gary Shandling documentary on HBO the other day and this really speaks to his experience. His search for ways to be pure Gary was creative and neurotic and the message of the show seemed to say he maybe broke free of the neurotic part of it toward the end.

But his life and this quote is a dangerous question for the rest of us. Are we working to be our true selves or are we merely living in a "perpetual ‘partialization"? And with that if we can't "totalize every act of life" can we step up? Or merely try and eliminate that urge?

http://70000-fathoms.blogspot.com/2014/11/art-and-artist-by-otto-rank.html

2/11/2018

Ludwig von Mises was a D!CK

Ludwig von Mises is a hero to conservatives and Tea Party types, even though I seriously doubt any of them actually read his books. He may very well have some sort of brilliance but if you write this letter to Ayn Rand and say...

You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the effort of men who are better than you.

...you say that?...THEN, you are a D!CK !

You know who the "masses" are, EVERYBODY! Definitely me and definitely anybody who isn't an Austrian economist or hack novelist.

Remember when conservatives went bananas when Obama point out, correctly mind you, that businesses did NOT build the roads and bridges they use? Well this is WAY worse.

So according to von Mises and Ayn Rand no matter what you have done in your business or as an employee of a business, your effort is just crap because you can't get a bunch of bozos to worship your elitist economic bullshit.

Oh yeah, Ayn Rand was a D!CK too!

Book about von Mises quoting this letter

Interesting article by the "PaleoLibertarian" Murry Rothbard called The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult .

2/09/2018

Faust and The Mandela Effect

I happened across this article by Wendell Berry from 2008, wherein he address the then pressing issue of "the end of the era of cheap fossil fuel". An now in the era of Elon Musk, Trump and the Libertarian faith based economic world view, it seem like a throwback to values long gone. Remember when greed was a bad thing? Or is that just an imagined memory along the lines of the psychological phenomenon known as the Mandela Effect*.

From the essay
The dominant response, in short, is a dogged belief that what we call the American Way of Life will prove somehow indestructible. We will keep on consuming, spending, wasting, and driving, as before, at any cost to anything and everybody but ourselves.

This belief was always indefensible — the real names of global warming are Waste and Greed — and by now it is manifestly foolish. But foolishness on this scale looks disturbingly like a sort of national insanity. We seem to have come to a collective delusion of grandeur, insisting that all of us are “free” to be as conspicuously greedy and wasteful as the most corrupt of kings and queens.


*MANDELA EFFECT: a theory that a large group of people with the same false memory used to live in a parallel universe (the name comes from those who fervently believe that Nelson Mandela died while in prison). [Essay] | Faustian Economics, by Wendell Berry https://harpers.org/archive/2008/05/faustian-economics/

1/26/2018

As If Anything Matters Anymore

Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported HimChoosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him by Stephen Mansfield
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s an odd book. I appreciate Mansfield’s honesty about what Trump is, and how he accurately portrays his fellow conservative Christians. He pulls no punches, well maybe a few, but overall he doesn’t shy away from Trump’s character flaws, moral failings, and general horrible behavior.

It is odd because with no explanation he implies Trump is a good thing. Oh wait, this may take a while so let me give a condensation of his accurate presentation...

Trump is a horrible, horrible, person and the religious leaders are hypocritical horrible, horrible people too. And the one ring that binds them all is the fiery ring of anger. Everybody is really pissed and conservatives Christians revel is their anger and scream to drink in Trumps venomous rantings Really not that complicated and he convinced me. Although Mansfield might phrase it somewhat differently.

But first. THINGS I WANT TO GET OFF MY CHEST…

The guy is a little irritating in that he writes as if he is being even handed, but he ain’t.

He HATES Hillary Clinton...

With virtually no evidence, after acknowledging her religious bone fides he rates how real her Christian faith is (amazing insight he has into another human’s soul). He makes some weak arguments about a supposed seance she participated in while first lady (we have to forget about Nancy Reagan and bringing an Astrologer in regularly) . Pretty bad huh?

Except the author has never hear about snopes.com. Yeah there some screwy imaginative therapy, but no communing with the dead. Anyway he parlays this into “The truths of her Methodist upbringing were no longer enough”. Pg 120. What does that even mean? He never says, but he implies it is pretty bad.

“Her advocacy for abortion knows no bounds….the most outspoken about her faith and the least clear about the meaning of that faith. It is possible to wonder if her religion was nothing more than mystical justification for whatever she wanted to do. Did she have any ethical content? Pg 122

Jiminy Cricket, knowing what he knows about Trump, how can he criticize Hilary's religious commitment with a straight face? I haven’t even come to his accurate demonstration of Trump’s lack of religious knowledge and how he contradicts almost every conventional Christian traditions. The old ones that I remember like humility, compassion, patience, forgiveness, and even love of neighbors. Of course most Christians don’t follow these models, but the point is Trump does the exact opposite!

He should have just laid the pro-choice label on Hilary and say it is a Christian deal breaker even though otherwise the evidence shows that she is pretty damn good Christian by any objective standard. And that is really what rubs Mansfield and the rest of Conservative Christian world the wrong way, Abortion (and he gets some digs in about gay marriage). If you are pro-choice you are a relentless, leftist, socialist, and that cannot be allowed at all.

Later he makes a big deal about Hilary/Obama having a litmus test for Abortion and if you are against abortion you are somehow a "target" of Obama. But he doesn’t see that he and his world are the ones with the litmus test with the difference that if we use his test he gets to tell me how to live, but if we use my litmus test, I don’t tell anybody what to do. So who is the one imposing their will on whom? And if you are pro choice you are one big evil target.

MANSFIELD’S PROOF OF HOW TRUMP IS A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE PERSON

“I realized then and there,” he later recalled, “ that if you let people treat you how they want, you’ll be made a fool. I realized then and there something I would never forget: I don’t want to be made anybody’s sucker.” Pg 52.

TRUMP speaking... “man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you” Pg 63

In 2005...He told the audience that he “loved losers because they make me feel so good about my self” He also insisted that good business leaders should trust no one, good employees in particular. “Be parnoid,” he advised “because they are gonna try to fleece you.” Finally, he counseled, “Get even. If somebody screws you, screw ‘em back ten times over. At least you can feel good about it. Boy, do I feel good.” Pg 69

[F]or at least the first five decades of [his] life, there was little evidence of a defining Christian Faith. Instead, his religion was power, vengeance, and, notably himself. He seemed not to know that the ideal of revenge to which he devoted so much time and an entire chapter of a book was contrary to the teaching of the religion he served. He did not know or did not care that truth mattered in his faith, that his preference for "truthful hyperbole"—an"innocent form of exaggeration . . . and a very effective form of promotion"—was little more than lying and forbidden by his religion. It was the same with his sexual mores, with his language, and business ethics, and with his lack of evident concern for the will of an all-knowing God. (Pg. 70).

Colonel Theodore Dobias..spoke words he thought would ignite character and passions in Trump’s soul....Dobias also made him an unofficial basketball coach. ….[Trump] ..recalls mainly that he learned how to manipulate Dobias to get what he wanted. Pg. 52


All in all a ton of stories and they are pretty much all bad.

There was more stuff with straw men arguments about cake decorators and Hobby lobby dictating their religion on their employees (you probably know he can’t see a contradiction that he thinks it is Obama who is persecuting all of them and not the employer persecuting the employees and customers). I could buckle down and dissect his sentences to show how it is fallacious, or point out how half of his listing of Trump’s successes went on to be failures...but what is the point.

Still...he comes up with a pretty good insight...

The truth is that much of the appeal of Donald Trump is the way he speaks publicly in the same way millions of Americans do ...Crass, insulting, bullying, sometimes ill informed, always opinionated, usually prejudiced, Donald Trump is the private voice of millions of Americans. Pg 126

The evangelicals are really angry and are drawn to Sith Lord anger of Donald Trump. So he again correctly sees that Trump is horrible person and the people who like him are just like him

And somehow he inexplicably comes to this conclusion...

To the extent that the Trump presidency is built upon eternal principles and timeworn truth, it may accomplish noble things. Pg. 161

But right after that he includes this H.L. Menken quote

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. HL Mencken. Pg 162

I guess it boils down to Mansfield is a conservative Christian so he has to accept Trump as the savior of the country....Go figure.

Oh yeah, he really hates Obama also, so I would be kind of scared to see his book on Obama's faith.

View all my reviews

1/06/2018

Download Kindle Book Notes

I only just now found out of a way to download all kindle highlights and notes. Previously I would open the app on my laptop, open the notes and copy them out one at a time.

this has a browser add on but really the line is the best part

https://www.norbauer.com/bookcision/

https://read.amazon.com/notebook

1.Drag the above button to your browser's bookmarks bar.
2.Log in at read.amazon.com.
3.Click on a book title.
4.When the book's page has loaded, click on the "Bookcision" link in your browser's bookmarks bar.
5.An overlay will load with just your highlights.

If you are running Chrome, you'll see an option to download your highlights in various formats. Otherwise, just copy and paste