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Why One Man Traveled Almost 3,000 Miles To Take On The Federal Government At A Ranch In Nevada

Why One Man Traveled Almost 3,000 Miles To Take On The Federal Government At A Ranch In Nevada | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

This meJerry DeLemus went from New Hampshire to Nevada to support Cliven Bundy.

Eli Levine's insight:

This message will attract a lot of people to their cause, in empathy and sympathy, if not in practice.


The governments of this country seem to be soooo mismanaged by dysfunctional people who don't seem to know or care to know how their actions are impacting the general public, which then impacts themselves in the long and short term.  It's about providing a genuinely cost-effective service to people, I think, not just trying to spend as much of your budget as you can and then asking for more to do work that is ineffectual, inefficient and potentially caustic on the rest of the social system, which then bleeds over into the government's system.


More research is needed to figure out how and what forms of government intervention in the society and the economy can yield positive effects for the general public.  However, I reject the Libertarian notion that government ought to be laissez-faire rather than pro-active in solving the actual issues that prevent people from being able to live, be happy and prosper.  That's not to say that no government intervention isn't sometimes the answer to the problem.  It's just being open to solving the problems based on what empirically produces the best results, regardless of the ideological inclinations and beliefs of the people in the polity.


Sadly, that's probably an impossible gap to bridge, due to the fact that we are all flawed, and frequently those who think themselves as being the least flawed (and more confident) are often the most flawed in actual truth.


I don't know what to do in this world, I really don't.


Think about it.

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Matthew 25, 31-46: The Parable of Sheep and Goats, as Applied to Progressives and Conservatives

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Eli Levine's insight:

We have two values clashing in America.  One can lead to better quality of life in spite of their mistakes.  The other, will only ruin it for us all, in spite of their "charitable" actions.  Choose your side wisely.  And remember, not all that glitters is gold, and sometimes those who squawk the loudest and most vehemently are sometimes those who are least able at accomplishing anything positive.


Enjoy folks!

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Fragile States Index

Fragile States Index | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe.  The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 27, 12:31 PM

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.  There are  12 social, economic, and political/military categories that are a part of the overall rankings and various indicators are parts of the metrics that are a part of this index are:


•Demographic Pressures 


•Group Grievance

•Human Flight and Brain Drain


•Uneven Economic Development

•Poverty and Economic Decline


•State Legitimacy

•Human Rights and Rule of Law

•Public Services

•Security Apparatus

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention

Tags: political, statisticsdevelopment, territoriality, sovereignty, conflict, political, devolution, war.

Melissa Marshall's curator insight, August 27, 9:57 PM

How can political stability and security be measured? The Fragile States Index is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.

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The Social Sciences

The Social Sciences | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

Natural scientists give too much crap to social scientists.  I doubt that anyone outside the realm of social science research understands exactly how hard it is to get at information (assuming that you're looking for the right information to the correct questions in the first place) and then make sense of the data in such a way as to produce effective, meaningful, significant, and functional results at the end of the day.


The social world is our life and our livelihood...for all of us.  It connects with the environment and forms the world in which we all HAVE TO live, for better and for worse.  We are an integrated whole; a solid unit of the social and natural ecology, combined to form one network of interconnected planets, moons, solar systems and galaxies.  To neglect or belittle the social sciences (and they are sciences because they're aimed at studying real world phenomena and contents truthfully) is to neglect and belittle attempts at understanding social laws regarding a range of topics and fields that will, if obeyed, actually lead to better living through better government policies, programs, and functions, not to mention, to discredit and dismiss hard-won information about our natural universe.


This is the dawning of the 21st century.  Let's make it a great one!  And, may the benefits of what we do now last for as long as the universe survives.

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The Emanation of Supreme Compassion

The Emanation of Supreme Compassion | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

In Buddhism, our bodhisattva Avaloktishvara, the symbol and state of Supreme Compassion, is said to be what all other religions, especially in the Abrahamic tradition, know as God.  In Buddhism, there is no Creator being, because all beings arise out of interdependence and have no singular "beginning" or "end" point.  Those two opposite concepts, indeed, the whole range of concepts that are dual, is considered to be, in fact, one and the same things in essence and dependent upon our own conceptions of these things, which are not absolute and are only as lasting as you allow them to be.


In spite of being the emanation of Supreme Compassion, Avaloktishvara has a wrathful side, known as Mahakala.  This is your mother scolding you for touching a hot radiator when you were little, or yelling at you in an effort to protect and teach you in such a way as to effectively get your attention and correct your behavior for your own sake and benefit.  This excludes moments when she could just be screaming at you because she's just mean (which could be the case).  In this case, I think that her behavior can ultimately be interpreted as a means for you to learn unconditional compassion for someone who brought you into this world and is suffering just as we all are, perhaps in ways that are greater than you can imagine (if you're going to follow a correct path to Enlightenment).


Let's hope that the experiences we're about to go through are ultimately the effects of Mahakala working his magic on the world, to get us back on track as a species and to hopefully eliminate the suffering that is in the hearts and minds of those who are causing our whole world (and their own world) considerable harm and damage.


Let us hope that the moment becomes ripe for us to make our move against the idiotic, the misers, and the callous individuals who inhabit and control our world by default.  Never be moved by the crocodile tears they're going to shed, brought on in a moment of panic and desperation more than out of anything sincere and genuine.


They really don't work on the same plane as the rest of us.  That is how I know they're mentally diseased at best by the illusions of wealth, well-being, and power that they think they have as a result of their poorly chosen and poorly prioritized actions.


Supreme rationality my foot!  They're just Ignoratti, out to "conquer" the world at the barrel of a gun and for the sake of things they don't really need (and shouldn't really want) to begin with. 


Down with the Ignoratti and all those who follow them through their actions!


It's already been done.  It's just a matter of time.



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Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression

Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
Europe's self-inflicted wounds are making its recession worse than the worst of the 1930s.

Eli Levine's insight:

It would be interesting to compare policies enacted in a time of economic crisis to see which ones led to faster, more robust, and more stable recoveries and which ones did not.  Hypothetically, it would make sense for increased spending to prop up average consumers, rather than protect the established elites' stockpiles of wealth.  One can use it more than the other, and would use it to keep the economy humming along while the other would just sit on it and slowly reintroduce it when they "felt" that the time was right (if ever).  Banks are only going to help banks.  People are going to help themselves work their ways out of economic depression.  Therefore, why not back up the public and let the banks, bankers, and elites (who started the crisis in the first place through their policy choices) go down?  What would keep the government from protecting itself through protecting the public?  How would the elites not benefit from preserving the social unit in the first place rather than keep wealth that they don't and can't use?


Just some thoughts.


Strange species.

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The Neuroscience of Fairness and Injustice

The Neuroscience of Fairness and Injustice | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
How Our Brains Are Wired to Resist Unfair Treatment

Humans are inherently social beings. We care not only about material and financial rewards, but also about social status, belonging, and respect. Research studies show that our brains automatically evaluate the fairness of how financial rewards are distributed. We seem to have a happiness response to fair treatment and a disgust or protest response to unfairness. Thisbrain wiring has implications for life happiness, relationship satisfaction, raising kids, and organizational leadership.  This article will examine how we define fairness, how your brain processes experiences of fairness and unfairness, and how to cope with life’s unfair moments..


Via Alessandro Cerboni
Eli Levine's insight:

An addendum to this should be that we resist what we each and all define as injustice, unfairness, and tyranny.  The definition of these things are objectively subjective, which is how we get differences of opinion and belief.  However, there are some things that are common to us all, and one has to wonder at the definitions of some other people, as to whether or not their definitions match up with what the collective actually is feeling.


For example, conservatives and Libertarians can be living in absolute poverty, and think it unfair that richer people be taxed more to help raise them out of poverty.  Economically, it's impossible to lift oneself up by your own bootstraps alone, without someone providing you boots to do so.  You can't get something from nothing, and that's what some conservatives and Libertarians have.  So, not only are they incorrect about how the economy works, but they're also advocating policy that many more of us would find unjust and unfair when phrased explicitly and honestly to the public.  You can change people's stated opinions through manipulation of the question phrases.  However, you usually can't and don't change the deep, complicated sentiments that most people have without having some kind of "aha" moment that is endogenous to themselves.  Enlightenment is not a gift that can be given.  It has to be produced from within you based on your actions, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences.


Therefore, it is primarily through this confusion of fact and manipulation of phrasing, ignorance, and plain callousness that we get differing opinions as to what fair is in many cases.  Some variety is ok.  However, the extremes of difference that we're experiencing do not reflect the common reality in which we are living.  The actual consequences that are realized from the conservative and Libertarian approach would not be supported by the majority opinion (when asked honestly and explicitly) because most of us have a different and more accurate understanding of fairness.  Quite frankly, I don't know how it is that we spend so much time caught up with individuals who don't know, don't care to know, and refuse to accept the common reality around them for the sake of a presupposed, manufactured and highly inaccurate perception of the world, with the unworkable and unjust opinions and conclusions that follow from their distorted view of the world.  It's time that we ideologically ditch all ideologies, ideologues, and people whose opinions don't match the common reality; people who refuse to accept the common reality, even when it is clearly presented to them.  They will get us killed, in the long term, because they are like bats who do not have properly functioning echo location senses.  They will fly us all into trees, into water, into the ground, or into some hungry predator's mouth, because they've presupposed the reality and are dug into those presuppositions, rather than attentive to the reality itself that is around them.


I don't want to die because of these people.  Do you?

M. Philip Oliver's curator insight, August 25, 4:30 PM

Thanks to Alessandro

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The Grand Dictatorship of the Cosmos

I don't pretend to be open minded.  The fact of the matter is that the universe is not a very open minded place to some, if not most, things.  Reality truly is a dictatorship, and we can either learn to accept that that's the way that it works or continue to languish in ignorance, stupidity, and misconceptions about our world.


The openness with me comes from admitting to myself, at the very least, that I could be wrong about some things.  I don't have all the answers to the universe; I can't.  However, I do know societies, governing systems, economies, people, history, international relations and, to a lesser extent, environmental and biological science.  You can either accept that reality works in particular ways that have to be followed for your own sake, or you can continue to try putting that square peg into the round hole.  I don't really care.  You're either going to be obeying natural law, or obeying a deeper natural law that trumps other natural laws.


That's it.

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A Blip In Time

A Blip In Time | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

If you don't take care of certain problems through policy, you're going to be facing the bigger brother of those problems later.


Poverty is likely one of the chief diseases of the human condition, while excess leads to its own psychological and physical health problems.  Drug use can thrive in both ends of the social spectrum, thanks to a sense of helplessness and need to escape on one hand, and the psychologically unbalanced sense of entitlement, privilege, and ability to do whatever on the other.  Poverty decreases parents' ability to tend to their children, which makes for greater issues and stresses in society and on all of society's members later on in the children's future.  Simply saying that poor people ought not have children then is a gross simplification of a complex physical and psychological issue, not to mention inhibiting upon a person's ability to live a full life of peace, happiness, and personal accomplishment.


Poverty is a downward spiral to lives of despair, hopelessness, anger, helplessness, and dependency across generations.  It ruins our society's cohesiveness, allows for the potential for greater foreign intervention, makes us strategically weaker as a society (through a sensed lack of ownership and a lack of having a good place to grow up), and enables the issues associated with excessive wealth a problem among those who govern on top.  If this society is going to get itself revitalized as a whole, physically, psychologically, socially, environmentally, and internationally, its government and governing members need to change their attitudes, priorities, and actions vis a vis the general public and the way that they associate and work with the society as a whole.


Conservatism needs to be regarded as a dead ideology, if we're going to get out of our problems.  We cannot afford to have an ideological set and serious political factions acting on the principles that nothing changes, and that everything should be consumed by the few who happen to be on top at any given moment in time.  Libertarianism, likewise, needs to be considered a dead ideology, because a weak, inactive, and inattentive government is precisely what leads to the development of the anarchical society where business cannot be conducted safely and securely.  Finally, Liberalism, especially with regards to the established "Liberal" parties, has to be considered a dead ideology, because it is overly simplistic with its feelings and sentiments, and does not appreciate the scope and potential for a society to have more than one actor carrying out the necessary activities of social functions.  All of these things are products of a grand hallucination that takes us away from the scientific, repeatable, and consistently persistent facts which make up our social and physical worlds.  The reality is there, period, and it is far more dictatorial than anything or anyone that is living or dead in this universe of ours.  You can either choose to accept this discovered and changing reality, or you can succumb to mediocrity and more probable social and species-wide extinction through the increased probability of making mistakes in government and in our society relative to each other and to the environment in which we are living and apart of.


The choice is up to you.  But I don't think we technically have a choice, thanks to the nature of our present biology and our present abilities to sense, prioritize, make sense of, and work with our empirical reality.  Scientists say one thing, based on what they've examined and studied rigorously from the universe around us, and people do other things.


Enjoy your blip in time, humans.  It was "fun" while it lasted.

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The Reconstruction and Significance of the Public Dialogue for Governing Members (and Governments)

The Reconstruction and Significance of the Public Dialogue for Governing Members (and Governments) | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

Policy makers, if they want to maintain leadership positions with greater ease and build respect, trust, and longevity into their political office, career, and institution, would make themselves as available to listening to the public, at the very least, if not actively communicating with them at the very most.  Imagine Twitter and Vine accounts (multiple) for Congressional, Executive, and Judicial offices?  Imagine issuing a phone to low income people dedicated to Twitter, Vine, and YouTube access.  Imagine putting direct communication feedback and having funds for staff available to watch these channels (and others) constantly?  Imagine using big data processing techniques to generate word clouds and statistical analysis of these sentiments, expressed across the nation?


No need for spying.


Simply let the people have a voice, and listen to what they have to say, good, bad, or indifferent.  This can be done in real time, not only through polls and election results.  Include the local dialogue of communities, within and amongst communities.


Listen to what people are saying, rather than manipulating or telling them what to say, and tease out their actual needs and wants through the dialogue.  Feel free to use these methods of communication to get your own word and message out.  But please, recognize that you're the insignificant voice out there, who should be doing more listening and less talking.  The government is simply the guide of the public, serving at the public's will and discretion.  The public may be allowed to get rid of a good government, and be bashed around by pretenders, idiots, and generally ignorant people.  But always be willing to take the society back when and if it begins to crave good government.  Give them tastes of the best governmental function that you can give them.  Watch how they respond to the love, care, and genuine skill and effectiveness.


Therefore, always listen to the society and do not attempt to put words and sentiments in their mouths and heads that aren't really there.  Express your reasoning honestly, and listen to their reasoning and sentiments as well.


This is a method for ensuring longevity of regime, longevity of institutions, and longevity of people within institutions.  It is flexible, adjusting to the times and the needs, rather than imposing or seeking to impose upon the other that is the whole human society around the institution(s) and people in question.

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Rescooped by Eli Levine from Complexity - Complex Systems Theory!

JIDT: An information-theoretic toolkit for studying the dynamics of complex systems

Complex systems are increasingly being viewed as distributed information processing systems, particularly in the domains of computational neuroscience, bioinformatics and Artificial Life. This trend has resulted in a strong uptake in the use of (Shannon) information-theoretic measures to analyse the dynamics of complex systems in these fields. We introduce the Java Information Dynamics Toolkit (JIDT): a Google code project which provides a standalone, (GNU GPL v3 licensed) open-source code implementation for empirical estimation of information-theoretic measures from time-series data. While the toolkit provides classic information-theoretic measures (e.g. entropy, mutual information, conditional mutual information), it ultimately focusses on implementing higher-level measures for information dynamics. That is, JIDT focusses on quantifying information storage, transfer and modification, and the dynamics of these operations in space and time. For this purpose, it includes implementations of the transfer entropy and active information storage, their multivariate extensions and local or pointwise variants. JIDT provides implementations for both discrete and continuous-valued data for each measure, including various types of estimator for continuous data (e.g. Gaussian, box-kernel and Kraskov-Stoegbauer-Grassberger) which can be swapped at run-time due to Java's object-oriented polymorphism. Furthermore, while written in Java, the toolkit can be used directly in MATLAB, GNU Octave and Python. We present the principles behind the code design, and provide several examples to guide users


"JIDT: An information-theoretic toolkit for studying the dynamics of complex systems"
Joseph T. Lizier, arXiv:1408.3270, 2014

Via Complexity Digest, Bernard Ryefield
Eli Levine's insight:

This could be useful.

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A Fed Redefined

Envisioned roles of the American federal government domestically: education, healthcare, infrastructure, economic oversight (watching and regulation), defense (against all hazards), environmental stewardship. Anything beyond this scope should be left to the states or counties or municipalities or coalitions or sub-governments to work out, potentially with federal support. The feds are too large to do experimental governing, especially in the unvetted large scale. Better to leave experimentation in the lower levels and work with best practices that develop, potentially with some federal financial support.

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A Proposal of a Backbone for Research, Sensing Social Data, and Carrying Out Policy

A Proposal of a Backbone for Research, Sensing Social Data, and Carrying Out Policy | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

Research into society is essentially quantum in nature.  It all depends on where you look, what you look at, and how you look at that which you're looking at.  Observe the effects of a policy or a set of social conditions, and the same facts will yield different opinions depending upon who is looking at them.  Observation changes the outcomes that are realized, for better and for worse, depending on whether or not the person in question is able to observe things accurately, effectively, quickly, and be able to synthesize empirically effective solutions to the issues that are at hand  There are only a limited number of things that can actually help the society, and even fewer that will help the society realize optimal conditions within the society through a myriad of different times and sets of conditions.  This is why and how public service likely becomes as convoluted, complicated, and difficult to sense, carry out, and follow through on. 


It is possible to make a grand monument out of a society and ensure that it can self-sustain itself from its bottom up needs and wants.  The trouble is, then, do we have the skill, technique, ability to gather relevant knowledge and information, ability to decipher and define what relevant knowledge and information is, and the will to make it be so for all of our sakes, as well as for our small self, individual person?

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Rescooped by Eli Levine from Papers!

Programmable self-assembly in a thousand-robot swarm

Self-assembly enables nature to build complex forms, from multicellular organisms to complex animal structures such as flocks of birds, through the interaction of vast numbers of limited and unreliable individuals. Creating this ability in engineered systems poses challenges in the design of both algorithms and physical systems that can operate at such scales. We report a system that demonstrates programmable self-assembly of complex two-dimensional shapes with a thousand-robot swarm. This was enabled by creating autonomous robots designed to operate in large groups and to cooperate through local interactions and by developing a collective algorithm for shape formation that is highly robust to the variability and error characteristic of large-scale decentralized systems. This work advances the aim of creating artificial swarms with the capabilities of natural ones.

Programmable self-assembly in a thousand-robot swarm
Michael Rubenstein, Alejandro Cornejo, Radhika Nagpal

Science 15 August 2014:
Vol. 345 no. 6198 pp. 795-799

Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

Imagine what we can do as a society with this way of thinking and feeling in our governing bodies. This isn't social engineering, but the submission to discovered, natural law in the society, environment, economy, and universe as a whole.


It's all one thing. 



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A Poor Choice of Values

I don't get how conservatives can sleep at night. Libertarians, I can somewhat understand, because they're so entrenched in their beliefs and opinions that it's practically a religion to them.


But to deny people the ability to live lives of meaning, according to their own definition of meaning, is beyond conscionable to me, at the very least.  To feel that people are less deserving than you, for whatever reason, or to believe honestly that not all people should be enabled to have the same opportunity to get ahead as your own self or your own group, are not concepts that I can accept and are not values that I can or ever will personally abide by.


If you're not apart of the solution to the problems that are present in our societies, you are most likely apart of the overall problem(s) that are afflicting it.  Conservatives in America claim to be about "liberty", "justice", and the essential "American way".  However, they consistently have done nothing but damage to these three principles, and have in the process, done even more damage to the American public and the society of the world through their misguided actions and misinterpreted senses of how the world is and how the world actually works on the empirical level.  I don't pretend to have all the answers to our problems, nor will anyone be able to eliminate problems from our world, on high or down below.  But we can stop messing about with the stuff that we can tell is damaging to ourselves and our collective whole, and leave those ideas and people in the dust, away from the halls of power and away from positions of consequence, control, and authority.


It is time that we, as a society, either commit all conservatives and political ideologues to mental institutions for consistent misperceptions of reality and, more importantly, their refusal to acknowledge when and if they're incorrect relative to common reality.  Either that, or we can stop listening to them entirely, and leave their voices with those that are not heard at the very most, or not taken seriously, at the very least.

I'm personally convinced that these folks are seriously mentally ill, and are delusional to the point of near-schizophrenic behavior.  They've rationalized the unreal and trivialized the world in which they live.  It is time that we leave their opinions and their incorrect beliefs with the trivial and irrelevant; the mere babblings of people who do not know and, worse, do not care to know about how things actually are and how things work.


Down with the idiots and the psychopaths!  Down with the people who really have shown they do not care or feel; who do not think and do not grasp reality as it consistently presents itself to us through the scientific method.  Down with the ideologues and the idiotic demons of our world who will destroy it and themselves through their own actions.  And, of course, up with all those who are able to sense reality accurately and are perfectly willing and able to correct themselves accordingly, when they are proven to be wrong in their beliefs, principles, and assumptions; who have a well prioritized set of values that really matter to our health, well being, and quality of life.  Up with those who do care, do love, and do have a genuine and accurate connection with the world in which we live.

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Rich Hill Film

Rich Hill Film | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
An examination of challenges, hopes and dreams of the young residents of a rural American town.
Eli Levine's insight:

And this is white, rural poverty. It's as bad, if not sometimes worse in black or minority places too.


Let's notlisten too the rich or present day economists anymore. Let's not listen to ignorant conservatives and those folks who don't know and don't care to know about the people in society and how it all works. Send these folks packing from government! 

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A Sutra (一切如來心祕密全身舍利寶篋印陀羅尼 Sūtra of the Whole-Body Relic Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī The Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas)

A Sutra (一切如來心祕密全身舍利寶篋印陀羅尼 Sūtra of the Whole-Body Relic Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī The Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas) | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

Thus I have heard:

    At one time the Buddha was at the Jewel Brilliance Pond in the Immaculate Garden of the kingdom of Magadha. Surrounding Him were hundreds of thousands of Mahāsattvas, great voice-hearers, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, human, nonhumans, and others. At that time, in the assembly was a great Brahmin named Immaculate Light, who was well educated and intelligent. People delighted in seeing him. Having taken refuge in the Three Jewels, he persistently did the ten good karmas. Benevolent, wealthy, and wise, he intended that other people acquire benefits, great fortune, and prosperity.

    Immaculate Light rose from his seat, came to the Buddha, circled Him seven times, and offered the World-Honored One incense and flowers. He also covered the Buddha with priceless wonderful garments, necklaces, and tiaras of gems. After bowing down at the Buddha’s feet, he stepped back to one side and said, “I pray that the World-Honored One and the huge assembly will come to my house tomorrow morning to accept my offerings.”

    The Buddha gave him permission in silence. Knowing that the Buddha had accepted his invitation, the Brahmin hurried home. In the evening, he ordered extensive preparation of food and drink of one hundred flavors for the banquet. Water was sprinkled, the halls were swept clean, and canopies and banners were set up.

     In the next morning, carrying incense, flowers, and musical instruments, together with his retinue, the Brahmin came to the Buddha. He said, “The time has come, and I pray that the World-Honored One will grace my house.”

    The Buddha greeted the Brahmin Immaculate Light with kind words and made an announcement to the huge assembly: “All of you should go to this Brahmin’s home to accept his offerings, for the purpose of letting him receive great benefits.”

    Then the World-Honored One rose from His seat. As the Buddha stood up, His body emitted all kinds of radiance with intermingled wonderful colors, illuminating and filling the space in the ten directions. Being thus alerted, all set off on the road. Respectfully escorting the Buddha, the Brahmin carried wonderful incense and flowers with a reverent heart. He led the way, along with his retinue, the Brahma-kings, the god-king Śakra, the four god-kings, and the eight classes of Dharma protectors, such as gods and dragons.

    The World-Honored One, having traveled not too far on the road, came to a garden called Abundant Wealth. In that garden were the ruins of an ancient pagoda, dilapidated and collapsed. With the courtyard covered by thistles and the doors sealed by creeping weeds, the rubble resembled a mound of dirt. The Buddha went straight to the pagoda. Forthwith, the pagoda issued vast, bright light, illuminating and glowing. A voice from the heap of earth praised, “Very good! Very good! Śākyamuni, Your action today is excellent! And you, Brahmin, will receive great benefits today!”

    The World-Honored One paid respects to the ruined pagoda by circling it clockwise three times. He took off His upper garment, placed it over the pagoda, and wept tears with blood. He then smiled. Meanwhile, all Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions, looking on together, also shed tears, each emitting light to illuminate this pagoda. The multitude was so astonished as to lose their color, and they all wanted to resolve their bewilderment.

    Vajrapāṇi and other Bodhisattvas also shed tears. Twirling his vajra in glowing flames, he came to the Buddha. He asked, “World-Honored One, through what causes and conditions does this radiance manifest? Why did the Tathāgata’s eyes shed these tears? And why do Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions emit vast auspicious light? I pray that the Tathāgata will resolve my bewilderment.”

    The World-Honored One replied to Vajrapāṇi, “This great treasure pagoda of accumulated whole-body relics of Tathāgatas contains innumerable koṭis of the heart dhāraṇīs, the secret seal of the essentials of the Dharma of all Tathāgatas. Vajrapāṇi, because of the essentials of the Dharma contained in it, the pagoda has become tiered seamlessly like sesame seeds. The bodies of 100,000 koṭi Tathāgatas are also like sesame seeds. Contained in the pagoda is the accumulation of the whole-body relics of 100,000 koṭi Tathāgatas and even the store of 84,000 Dharmas. Also contained in it are 99 billion koṭi Tathāgata-crowns. Because of these wondrous things, the site of this pagoda has superb, awesome virtue and serves as a spiritual testament. It can fill the entire world with auspicious events.”

    When the multitude heard the Buddha’s words, they shunned dust and filth [their afflictions] and acquired the pure dharma-eye. Because the capacities of the multitude were so varied, each received a different benefit. Some became Pratyekabuddhas; some achieved voice-hearer fruits, becoming Srotāpannas, Sakṛdāgāmins, Anāgāmins, or Arhats. On the Bodhisattva Way, some achieved the level of avinivartanīya or acquired sarvajña; some attained the First Ground, Second Ground, or even the Tenth Ground; and some fulfilled the six pāramitās. The Brahmin shunned dust and filth [his afflictions], and acquired the five transcendental powers.

    Witnessing these unprecedented occurrences, Vajrapāṇi exclaimed, “World-Honored One, how wonderful and how extraordinary! If people acquire such excellent merit by merely hearing about this matter, how much more merit will they acquire if they hear the profound truth and elicit their faith with an earnest mind?”

    The Buddha replied, “Hearken! Vajrapāṇi. In future times, if, among male believers, female believers, and my four groups of disciples, there are those who are inspired to copy this sūtra, they in effect copy all the sūtras pronounced by 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas. Their merit will surpass the roots of goodness they have been planting for a long time in the presence of 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas. All Tathāgatas will support, protect, and remember them in the same way as they cherish their own eyes or as loving mothers care for their young children. If a person recites this short sūtra, he in effect recites all the sūtras pronounced by Buddhas of the past, present, and future. For this reason, 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas, also called Arhats, Samyak-Saṁbuddhas, will come, jam-packed sideways without any gap between them, like sesame seeds in a pile. Day and night they will appear and support that person. Thus, all Buddha-Tathāgatas, who are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, will come. The first group of them has not yet left, and the next has arrived. They all instantly move away and return again, like fine sands whirling in quick water. Incessantly, they come again as soon as they turn away. If a person makes offerings of incense, flowers, solid perfumes, garlands, garments, and wonderful ornaments to this sūtra, he in effect makes an entire offering, before 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas [in worlds] in the ten directions, of divine incense, flowers, garments, and ornaments made of the seven treasures, all piled high like Mount Sumeru. Planting one’s roots of goodness can be accomplished in the same way.”

    Having heard these words, the eight classes of Dharma protectors, such as gods and dragons, as well as humans, nonhumans, and others, filled with wonder, said to one another, “How marvelous is the awesome virtue of this old pile of earth! Its miraculous manifestation must have been caused by the spiritual power of the Tathāgata.”

    Vajrapāṇi next asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, through what causes and conditions does this pagoda made of the seven treasures now manifest as a pile of dirt?”

    The Buddha replied to Vajrapāṇi, “This is not a pile of dirt, but a wonderful, great treasure pagoda. It is hidden because of the inferiority of sentient beings’ karmic fruits. Although the pagoda is hidden, the bodies of the Tathāgatas are indestructible. How could the vajra-store bodies of the Tathāgatas be destroyed? After I have abandoned my body, the ending of the Dharma will be unrelenting in future times. Sentient beings that act against the Dharma are bound to fall into hell because they neither believe in the Three Jewels nor plant any roots of goodness. For this reason, the Buddha Dharma should be hidden. But this pagoda will still be solid and will not be demolished because it is supported by the spiritual power of all Tathāgatas. However, ignorant beings, covered and obstructed by their delusion, not knowing how to unearth and use the treasure, simply leave it buried. For this reason, I now shed tears, and other Tathāgatas shed tears as well.”

    The Buddha then told Vajrapāṇi, “If a person copies this sūtra and enshrines the copy in a pagoda, this pagoda will then become the vajra-store stūpa of all Tathāgatas and the stūpa supported by the heart secret of the dhāraṇī of all Tathāgatas. It will become the stūpa of 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas and the Buddha-crown and Buddha-eye stūpa of all Tathāgatas, and it will be protected by their spiritual power. If you enshrine this sūtra inside a Buddha statue in a stūpa, the statue will in effect be made of the seven treasures. This statue will be so efficacious and responsive that one’s wishes will be fulfilled without exception.
    “According to your ability, construct for a stūpa these things: canopies, nets, columns, dew-catching wheels, fine eaves, bells, foundations, or steps. Whether you use earth, wood, stones, or bricks, they will turn into the seven treasures because of the awesome power of this sūtra. Moreover, all Tathāgatas will increase the power of this sūtra. Keeping a sincere promise, they support it incessantly.

    “If a sentient being makes obeisance and gives an offering of only a little incense and one flower to this pagoda, his grave sins, which would entail 80 koṭi kalpas of life and death, will all be expunged at once. He will be free from catastrophes during his life and, after death, be reborn in a Buddha family. Even for a person who should fall into Avīci Hell, if he only makes one obeisance to the pagoda or circles it clockwise once, the door to hell will be blocked and the bodhi road will be opened.

    “Furthermore, the place of the pagoda or of its image will be protected by the spiritual power of all Tathāgatas. The place will not be damaged by hurricanes and lightning bolts. It will be neither disturbed by venomous snakes, vipers, scorpions, or other poisonous insects, nor harmed by lions, rampaging elephants, tigers, wolves, jackals, or other animals. It will be free from the terror of yakṣas, rakṣasas, pūtanas, piśācas, spirits, monsters, and epilepsy. It will not be troubled by diseases, such as chills, fevers, skin ulcers, carbuncles, scabies, or psoriasis. One can avert all disasters by seeing the pagoda briefly. At the place of the pagoda, horses, six kinds of livestock, and people, including young boys and girls, will not be plagued by epidemics. They will not die unnatural, accidental deaths, nor be harmed by knives, clubs, flood, or fire. They will not be attacked by bandits or enemies, and they will have no worries about famine or poverty. They will not be subject to the power of sorcery or curses. The four great god-kings and their retinues will protect them day and night. In addition, the twenty-eight classes of yakṣa generals, the sun, the moon, the five planets, and cloudlike comets will protect them day and night. All dragon-kings will increase their vital energy and bring rainfall at the right time. All gods, including those in Trayastriṁśa Heaven, will descend during the three periods of the day to make offerings. All fairies will gather during the three periods to circle the pagoda, sing songs of praise, give thanks, and pay respects. The god-king Śakra and goddesses will descend during the three periods of the day to make offerings. The place will be remembered and supported by all Tathāgatas. Such will be the pagoda because it contains this sūtra.

    “If people build a pagoda using earth, stone, wood, gold, silver, bronze, and lead, and if they copy this spiritual mantra and enshrine the copy in the pagoda, then as soon as it is enshrined, the pagoda will in effect be made of the seven treasures. The upper and lower steps, dew-catching wheels, canopies, bells, and columns will all be made of the seven treasures. Also, the four sides of the pagoda will have the images of Tathāgatas. Because of the essentials of the Dharma, all Tathāgatas will firmly protect and support the pagoda, staying in it day and night without departing. Because of the awesome power of the mantra, the pagoda made of the seven treasures, which contains the wonderful treasure of the whole-body relics, will soar up into the midst of the palaces in Akaniṣṭha Heaven. Wherever a pagoda stands like a mountain, all gods will view it with reverence, stand guard, and make offerings day and night.”

    Vajrapāṇi asked, “Through what causes and conditions has this Dharma such superb virtue?”

    The Buddha replied, “Because of the spiritual power of this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī.”

    Vajrapāṇi said, “I pray that the Tathāgata, out of compassion for us all, will pronounce this dhāraṇī.”

    The Buddha responded, “Hearken, contemplate, and do not forget it! The radiance of the copies of the bodies of all Tathāgatas of the present and the whole-body relics of all Buddhas of the past are contained in this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī. The three bodies of every Tathāgata are also in it.”

    Then the Buddha pronounced the dhāraṇī: "namas tryadhvikānāṁ sarva tathāgatānāṁ | oṁ bhuvi-bhavana-vare | vacana-vacati suru suru dhara dhara | sarva tathāgata dhātu dhare | padmaṁ bhavati jaya vare mudre | smara tathāgata dharma-cakra pravartana vajre bodhimaṇḍālaṁkārālaṁkṛte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhite | bodhaya bodhaya bodhi bodhi | budhya budhya saṁbodhani saṁbodhaya | cala cala calantu | sarvāvaraṇāni sarva pāpa vigate | huru huru sarva śoka vigate | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya vajriṇi | saṁbhāra saṁbhāra | sarva tathāgata guhya dhāraṇī-mudre | bhūte subhūte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhita dhātu garbhe svāhā | samayādhiṣṭhite svāhā | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya dhātu mudre svāhā | supratiṣṭhita stūpe tathāgatādhiṣṭhite huru huru hūṁ hūṁ svāhā | oṁ sarva tathāgatoṣṇīṣa dhātu mudrāṇi | sarva tathāgata sadhātu vibhūṣitādhiṣṭhite hūṁ hūṁ svāhā"

After the Buddha finished reciting this spiritual mantra, all the Buddha-Tathāgatas in the pile of earth voiced their praises: “Very good! Very good! Śākya the World-Honored One, You have appeared in this turbid, evil world to expound the profound Dharma for the benefit of sentient beings that have nothing and nobody to depend upon. Therefore, the essentials of the Dharma will long remain in the world, bringing wide, abundant benefits and joyful peace.”

    Then the Buddha told Vajrapāṇi, “Hearken! Hearken! The essentials of this Dharma have inexhaustible spiritual power and boundless benefits! It is like a wish-fulfilling jewel atop a cylindrical banner, constantly raining down treasures and fulfilling all wishes. Next, I will briefly describe one ten-thousandth of these boundless benefits. You should remember and uphold it for benefiting all sentient beings.

    “If an evil man after death falls into hell, he must suffer uninterruptedly, not knowing when release will come. However, if his descendants say his name and then recite this spiritual mantra, upon completion of only seven repetitions, the molten copper and burning iron in hell will suddenly change into pond water with the eight virtues. This man will have a lotus flower supporting his feet and a jeweled canopy over his head. The door of hell will break and the Bodhi Way will open. His lotus flower will fly him to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. There, his knowledge of all knowledge will spontaneously unfold. Delighting in expounding the Dharma endlessly, he will be ready to attain Buddhahood in his next life.

    “Moreover, a person who, with a heavy heart, suffers from 100 diseases as requital for his grave sins should recite this spiritual mantra twenty-one times. Then 100 diseases and 10,000 distresses will be eliminated at once. His lifespan will be lengthened, and his fortune and merit will become immeasurable.

    “Suppose a person has been born into a poor family because of his karma of greed and stinginess. His clothes cannot cover his body and his food cannot sustain his life. Emaciated and haggard, he is despicable to others. This person, ashamed of himself, goes to the mountain and plucks wild flowers not owned by anyone. He grates rotten wood for incense powder. Then he goes to the pagoda to make obeisance and offerings, circling it seven times, repenting in tears. Because of the power of this spiritual mantra and the awesome virtue of the pagoda, his poverty requital will end and fortune will suddenly arrive. The seven treasures will appear like abundant rain. However, at this time, he should give to the poor and needy, completely honoring the Buddha Dharma. If he is reluctant to give, his riches will suddenly vanish.

    “Suppose a person, planting roots of goodness for himself, builds a pagoda at his pleasure, using earth or bricks that he can afford. The pagoda is as big as a mango, its height about four finger lengths. He copies this spiritual mantra and enshrines the copy in the pagoda. Then he makes obeisance and offers incense and flowers. Because of the power of the mantra and his faithful heart, vast, fragrant clouds will come out of the little pagoda. The fragrance and the light of the clouds will pervade the dharma realm, widely doing Buddha work with fragrance and radiant clouds. The benefits he will receive are as I have just stated. In sum, all his wishes will be fulfilled without exception. During the Dharma-ending age, if, among my four groups of disciples, good men, and good women, there are those who, following the unsurpassed Way, do their best to build pagodas and enshrine this mantra in them, I cannot finish describing the merit they will acquire.

    “If a person goes to the pagoda to ask for fortune, he should make obeisance and offer a flower and a little incense to the pagoda, and circle it clockwise. Because of his virtuous act, rank and glory will arrive unsought. Longevity and prosperity will increase without effort. Foes and bandits will fall without being subjugated. Vengeful thoughts and curses will return to their source without resistance. Epidemics and evil forces will be turned away without need of being purged. A good husband or good wife will come without being persuaded. Beautiful good children will be born without being prayed for. All wishes will be fulfilled at will.

    “Even for ravens, owls, turtledoves, hawks, wolves, jackals, mosquitoes, ants, and the like, which momentarily come into the shadow of the pagoda and step on the grass there, their affliction-hindrances will be annihilated, and they will recognize their ignorance. They will suddenly enter a Buddha family and freely receive Dharma wealth. Even more are the benefits to humans who have seen the form of the pagoda, heard its bell tolling, heard its name, or been in its shadow. Their hindrances caused by sin will all be annihilated, and their wishes fulfilled. Their present lives will be peaceful, and they will be reborn in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

    “If a person, without extra effort, applies a glob of mud to the damaged wall of a pagoda or uses a fist-sized stone to support a leaning pagoda, because of this virtuous act, his fortune will increase and his lifespan will be lengthened. After death, he will be reborn as a Wheel-Turning King.

    “After I have abandoned my body, my four groups of disciples, in order to rescue sentient beings in miserable existence, should come before this pagoda, make offerings of incense and flowers, and recite this spiritual mantra, making vows in earnest. Each and every mantra word and phrase [they utter] will radiate vast, bright light, illuminating the three evil life-journeys to end all suffering. Once those sentient beings are delivered from suffering, their Buddha seed will germinate. They will then be reborn as they wish in Pure Lands in the ten directions.

    “If a person recites this mantra earnestly on the top of a high mountain, all sentient beings within the scope of his sight, including those in furs, feathers, scales, and shells, residing near and far in mountain valleys, forests, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans, will annihilate their affliction-hindrance and recognize their ignorance. They will realize their three Buddha natures and eventually attain the great nirvāṇa. If people walking the same road as this person are touched by the wind blown through his clothes, step on his footprints, see his face, or converse with him briefly, their grave sins will all be expunged and their siddhis perfected.”

    The Buddha then said to Vajrapāṇi, “I now entrust this secret spiritual mantra and this sūtra to you all. Revere, protect, uphold, and disseminate them in the world. Do not allow the transmittal [of the Dharma] to end for sentient beings.”

    Vajrapāṇi said, “I am honored to receive the trust of the World-Honored One. I pray only that we will requite the World-Honored One for his profound grace, day and night protecting, upholding, disseminating, and pronouncing [the mantra and the sūtra] to the world. If there are sentient beings that copy, uphold, and remember them unceasingly, we will command the Brahma-kings, the god-king Śakra, the four great god-kings, and the eight classes of Dharma protectors to protect them day and night without leaving even temporarily.”

    The Buddha said, “Very good! Vajrapāṇi, for the benefit of all sentient beings of the future, protect and uphold this Dharma, and make it endless.”

    After the World-Honored One pronounced this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī and widely did His Buddha work, he went to the Brahmin’s home and accepted his offerings, causing humans and gods to receive great benefits. Then he returned to the place where He was staying.

    During that time the bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, upāsikās, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and others in the assembly greatly rejoiced. They all believed in, accepted, and reverently carried out the teachings.

—Sūtra of the Whole-Body Relic Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī,
the Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T19n1022B)
Eli Levine's insight:

May all beings be conquered by truth, care, and love within themselves.


May all beings be happy.

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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters: Why moral perversity of U.S. position in Gaza is stunning

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters: Why moral perversity of U.S. position in Gaza is stunning | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
I think it's safe to say that if U.S. neighborhoods were living under siege, folks like Rand Paul wouldn't take it




The carnage in Gaza continues after the latest collapse of cease-fire talks and over four weeks of asymmetrical bombardment by Israel. With the death of more than 2,000 Palestinians, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, the complicity of the American government has been exposed to the world as never before. Yet the mantra repeated ad nauseam by the U.S. government and media alike remains the same: Israel has a right to defend itself.


The moral perversity of the U.S. position is stunning. How can the U.S. government ask Israel to be more careful about civilian lives while simultaneously arming and then rearming the IDF so it can more effectively inflict such devastation on an imprisoned and occupied people?


The U.S. could act to stop the senseless slaughter but it won’t. Instead, it’s cheerleading.  Members of Congress are mindlessly parroting Israeli talking points without a thought given to the Palestinian perspective or to preserving human life. Brimming with righteousness, they argue for turning Israel loose – Sen. Rand Paul in particular – and invoke Israel’s right to self-defense, despite the fact that, as the occupying power, Israel has an obligation to protect the Palestinians it rules, not massacre them.




Via Coffee Party USA
Eli Levine's insight:

aThe world slowly turns against the Jewish State, and the world becomes a more hostile place because of the actions of the Israeli conservatives.  They value neither life, nor the sanctity of God's message.  They only want land.


We're cursed under the reign of the conservative powers of our world, just as the Hebrews were cursed under the reign of Pharaoh.  The world leaders, especially the conservatives among us, have chosen the calf instead of the sanctity of God and His creation(s).  We're doomed, thanks to their actions and our failure to adequately stop them from seizing power and gaining influence in our societies.  They are the people of Gog and Magog.  Clueless, senseless, careless, sick in the head consumers of bile. 


And we've earned it, each and every one of us.






Because of whom we voted for and failed to vote against.  These were our faults as much as it is their (our world leaders') faults.


May the universe have mercy on our being.


Here we go.

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Communication, Knowledge and Information in the Human Ecosystem

Communication, Knowledge and Information in the Human Ecosystem | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

In the Digital Age, the age of Communication, Information and Knowledge, the possibility to capture, express, observe, visualize and understand the patterns for behaviour, emotion, opinion, expression, movement and more, potentially for hundreds of millions of people at a time, has brought the term “ethnography” in the spotlight for both academic and popular crowds.


Via Kenneth Mikkelsen, Paul Hobcraft
Eli Levine's insight:

All is perspective.  We each and all have different interpretations of the reality that is around us, because we each and all have different brains and sense organs which pick up and interpret the reality that is around us.


Some opinions and beliefs, however, are more accurately sensing the real world than others.  Furthermore, the only appropriate way to pursue information and data about the real world is to be like an interrogator, seeking the truth, and a gold prospector, panning for the valuable and relevant information in your given area.  It's when there is open communication, honest dialogue, and a spirit of cooperation that we get the end results that are useful to us, as policy makers, and as social scientists, trying to uncover the truth about our world.  All other perspectives, attitudes, and methods, are most likely bunk and produce bunk relative to our common reality.


Reality is a dictatorship.  It simply is and does not care what you think feel, believe, or hope for.  You only obey it, or you die.  That's my new insight into the world.  Screw post-modernism.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's curator insight, August 1, 12:09 PM

In the 2 1/2 years that I've been curation, I haven't come across an article that I didn't quite know how to capture. It is a challenging read, but there are some interesting ideas about awareness of one’s position within a relational ecosystem.

Lis Marrow's curator insight, August 5, 4:40 PM

again....thanks for helping!

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The Case for Scientific Positivism In Policy Making and the Social Sciences

The Case for Scientific Positivism In Policy Making and the Social Sciences | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

I reject post-modernism categorically.  There is an empirical reality that is out there, beyond our various perspectives, beliefs, and opinions.  To deny or leave reality open to the possibility of manipulation and meddling by parties with questionable interests is tantamount to social suicide. You will have so many different people and groups of people with so many interests, beliefs, and desires that do not meet their organic needs, as human beings clamoring for things that are unhealthy for themselves on the individual level, without ever questioning whether or not their interests and perceived wants and needs are valid or of real concern for them in the first place.  Humans in their present form bend reality to justify their wants and perceived needs in ways that distort and ruin their abilities to achieve their actual needs on the individual and collective levels.  This is precisely how we get so many policies that act against common well-being, and distorts our individual well being as a result of this off-kilter approach to making and prioritizing policy.  Post-modernism may positively describe how we actually make policy in our present state of affairs.  However, it is not a solid way of producing policy in the long term, and is likely to be the reason how we have had such all around mediocre and lackadaisical policy most cases around our country and around the world in general.


Scientific positivism, on the other hand, is a lens within the categories of post-modernist thinking.  However, it is the lens that enables us to effectively act and work with the rest of the world in an empirically effective manner.  Without scientific positivism and its technique of interrogating the world around us to derive facts and causal relations, we would have languished in the Dark Ages and never have made the advances in science and technology that we have.  It is the only method for deriving truth through the repeated examination, testing, and oversight by several eyes.  The social reality may be significantly harder to pinpoint than the physical reality.  We may not always be perfect in our techniques, methods, or abilities to come to conclusions accurately.  We can make mistakes when we test and examine the world, making incorrect conclusions.  However, the logic and ethic of scientific positivism is, and always has been, the lens that enables us to act effectively in our world.  Post-modernism may describe the actual universe.  However, scientific positivism is the tool/lens that enables us to act in this world, helping us avoid perspectives and opinions and practices that hurt us and promoting perspectives, opinions and practices that help us.


Reality is a dictatorship.  If you make incorrect assumptions, beliefs, opinions or negatively effective practices, you will end up being punished by them.  If you make correct assumptions, produce beliefs that are grounded in reality, and make positively effective actions that are derived from this prior examination of fact and experimentation to produce best practices, you can potentially achieve optimal results in any given situation or condition set.  Ego takes a back seat to reality, exploration, and experimentation.  Call me arrogant if you'd like.  But this is the method that scientists use to determine best practices in the other fields.  Why shouldn't we apply the same techniques, perspectives, beliefs, and assumptions to our social world?


Down with Post-modernism!  Up with Scientific Positivism!

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The Taxation of Profit; A How To and Explanation of Necessity

The Taxation of Profit; A How To and Explanation of Necessity | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
The recent wave of corporate tax inversions has triggered interest in what motivates these tax-driven transactions now. Corporate executives have argued that in
Eli Levine's insight:

Reasoned taxes do not harm the competitiveness of companies.  Rather, it is business model itself and the ways that the company implements their business model(s) which effect the competitiveness of a company.  If it were true that taxation hurts business' competitiveness, then how is it that American companies are being bought out by foreign companies or consortiums?  How is it that our capital no longer is owning businesses, but rather, is becoming subservient to different countries and different worlds?  Why is it that our capital is no longer supreme in the world, as far as ownership of the production units of wealth is concerned?  It doesn't matter how much money you actually have.  What matters is how much wealth you own, and who owns that wealth.


The best way, I think, to tax a business is to tax the profits that are realized on after capital investment returns.  The simplest way to do this is to tax the profits of companies on a progressive scale (allowing for ever increasing amounts to be made, nonetheless) while allowing for companies to write off capital investments that they make on their business(es) for the duration of the loan period and a few years after the loans have been paid off.  This allows profit to still be made (sometimes in whopping great amounts) while tying businesses into the Common Wheel of society and the social unit in which they are based.  After all, what good is a business that only extracts wealth from a given society and then isn't even able to hold onto that wealth in the first place?  What good is a deadbeat business to our society when there are other options available that can ensure harmonious coexistence between private interests and the public good?  Why should we have to sacrifice everything so that fewer people can get a slightly greater marginal benefit?


This method of taxation is actually derived directly from Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations."  Even he was not so foolish as to forget the Common Wheel of society and the general wealth, well being, and power of potential opportunity for every person in society to live full, prosperous, and comfortable lives.  All that is needed is to bind our society's consumption patterns to the environment in which we're living.  That is, technically, the one thing that Smith neglected to mention in his series of books, most likely because it was not something that had pinged on his awareness in 1775-76.


Businesses can either abide by the natural laws of economics, which states that wages form the principle method for economic exchange, and that taxation for public services is something that should be supported for our economic, environmental, and social well being, or they will be consumed by the society and/or the environment for their lecherous, greedy, and buffoonish beliefs that money, somehow, has some inherent value onto itself, and that that artificial value trumps our social, economic, environmental, and personal health and well being.  Whoever said that being rich was the key to happiness was full of crap, especially if you become rich through social or environmental degradation.  That's the harsh scientific fact of this universe.  Abide by it, or die.  That's all there is to it.

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The Vehicle and the Driver

The Vehicle and the Driver | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

Good party organization to me, means being able to get as many people as possible onto your side while simultaneously being able to get as many of those supporters motivated to and actually at polling stations across the country.  There will always be those who will disagree with you, and these folks should have their flaws pointed out, their good points adopted as your own.  This is the key to short term political success.  Long term political success means the ability for your institution and person to survive in a myriad of different conditions and situations.  This is where effective governing comes more into play, rather than just being an adept campaigner who has no idea what to do when you get power or how to act and behave when you're in the game of governing itself.


Notice how I am getting my degree(s) in Public Administration, not in Campaign Management or in Philosophy or pure Political Science.  My goal is to govern better and to make the government work better for the society and, thus, make life much more easier and supportable for those in the governing profession.  That is all.  To do this well, I have to know how economies empirically work, how the activities in economies and societies tie into the environment, and how those environmental impacts effect us, how existing political systems of governance work, how systems of governance actually work in relation to general human beings and human beings across cultures.  I've got to know people and how to work with them, both within my own cultural context, and across all other cultural contexts.  I've got to be able to test, interpret, and work on drawing accurate conclusions from data about our social, environmental, economic, technological, and medical worlds.  I've got to understand some physics and about the content, nature, and function of our universe.  In short, I've got to be a well rounded statesperson of the highest degree so that I can do the most amount of good possible without doing any actual harm.  It's what I love.  It's what I've done all along.  It's what I think I've been building to all of my life, ever since I got my first whiff of governance at the age of 8.  It's a blessing and a curse.  And I've got to do it all well, or else perish physically and metaphorically in the universe as a result of my actions, choices, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.


You wonder how it is that I'm as stressed and uptight as I can be at times? 


There's a reason.


Welcome to my world.  It's awesome.


I'm awesome.


And it's great to be in communication with you all.


Enjoy! :)

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Rajiv Sethi: The Agent-Based Method

Rajiv Sethi: The Agent-Based Method | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
Eli Levine's insight:

It is, indeed, revolutionizing economics and our abilities to study societies. Enjoy! 

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Our Rotten Men

I think that, at the core of most of our problems, in the United States at least, is a deranged and generally messed up sense of masculinity and manhood amongst our men and a lot of subsequent poor decision making by women when it comes to choice in reproductive partner(s). Just look at the way our police act and think of themselves. Look at how careless, callous, and incompetent or mostly make political leaders are. These are men who think that manhood is a seat, a badge, or a gun, and that being a man automatically gives them rights and privileges and abilities that no one else has (even if it is fundamental to all human beings on planet Earth). Authority does not rest in a gender, nor is legitimacy to have that authority a guarantee. How do women factor into this? They select for these traits, directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously, thus perpetuating the mess down the generations and deep into the gene pool. They go along with the most inappropriate and anti-social of the so called "masculine" behavior, have children with those men, and then wonder how it is that their children end up being brutes or idiot scum-bags. It takes both reproducing genders to sort this whole mess out. And it will only start with the actual rejection of the brute and the devious for a more human and less chimpish outcome. 


It's evolution ladies and gentlemen.


Breed out the jackals and jackasses, or stop complaining when the police savage you rather than try to help you or the politicians con you. 



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To Operate and Maneuver a Society

To Operate and Maneuver a Society | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

The greatest danger that a party or person or group of people in power can ever hope to face is their own selves.  Their ignorance, willful or not; their egos and grand delusions of actually having power (when they don't).  Their carelessness, callousness, mistakes, stupidity, and accidents.


All of these things effect and impact their abilities to govern and govern with legitimacy, authority and have control over a given society or group of societies.  It technically is always their own fault when they're removed from power for failing to do or see one thing or set of things.  They may not like these conclusions, but it's actually true.  That's the way history has gone.  That's the way history will be.


How do I know this?


Just look back at where we've been, on high levels, and on low.  Look at where we're presently headed in our own societ(ies).  Look at the erosion, the collapse, the rot and answer me this:


From where is the fish rotting?


Is it in the society?  Is it in the fish?  For sure, the fish is rotting, that much cannot be denied, I think.


But from where is the rot originating?


The society only responds to the governments' actions upon them, with them.  That then influences and effects what happens in the government and to the governing members of a given society.  That then yields either positive or negative effects for the governing people.  It is the governments' policies that shape our world; its laws, its enforcement of law, its programs.  The society just flows with it, responding to whether or not they generally like, dislike, or feel something in between or around these basic points.


When oh when will the members of our governing society realize that it is not in their interests to do an empirical disservice to the public's well being?  When oh when will they realize, understand, and accept that they, our political leaders, may not have all the answers to the problems and may not be interpreting information or causal relations amongst things correctly?  When can we actually have this humility, this scientific perspective and desire in our government?  When will the public respond in such a way that they get the government that will be this way for them?  When will any of us learn how to operate and maneuver a society effectively, safely, and for everyone's sake?

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Curfew in riot-hit Missouri suburb

Curfew in riot-hit Missouri suburb | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
Missouri's governor declares a state of emergency in the St Louis suburb where a black teenager was shot dead by police last week.
Eli Levine's insight:

If only these poor Black American folks were rich, white, landowning men, they'd have a whole pack of Libertarians and wingnuts coming to defend them.


The police state rears its head up in the most obvious, blatant, and sinister way possible, probably getting some good practice in the streets too, and yet where are the mobs of relatively well to do white people to come defend them and challenge the Socio-Fascist State?

I'm not for open rebellion or violence.  I am a Statist, pure and simple.  I believe in the necessity for government and that government can, and ought to, for its own sake, work with and for the people to solve issues and problems within our American society.  I just think it shows the genuine lack of conviction of the Libertarian side and the cowardice and subtle racism that underpins their "movement" that they honestly think is going to be a panacea for all of our problems.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm no utopian-idealist.  Anyone who's read my work knows that I'm not the biggest fan of this universe and the way that it actually works in the long term.  We're always going to have problems, in our collective and individual lives.  The universe changes and we must change with it and with our knowledge of it.  That's the hardest part here, really.  But we can work to evolve, adapt, grow, and work within ourselves solutions to these problems that are as optimal as we can get them for ALL of our well being, and ALL of our quality of life, we actually may have a chance at SURVIVING in this world, let alone, the opportunity to live WELL in it.

These police in Ferguson ought to be arrested by the FBI or the State Police, or the US Army for crimes against the citizenry under their jurisdiction.  They should be pulled from the streets and their superior officers charged with gross negligence and dereliction of duty.  Journalists should be allowed to report freely and without hindrance in the entire United States, as well as at the scene of a major event in our nation's history of growing towards democracy with a little "d"; the harmonization of government, social, economic, environmental, temporal, and physical systems.  The government needs to obey the natural laws of the rest of the world, if it itself is going to survive.  Otherwise, it will be consumed by the natural and social world that is around it, along with the private elites who are benefitting the most from this current arrangement.  We can keep the high lives for these pigs, that much we can afford.  But we can't afford the destruction of our social world, and we cannot afford the destruction of our environmental and physical universe.


Government members.


What's it going to be.


You're on the line for someone elses' crimes, and you're complicit, if not an outright accomplish of, these private "elites".


What's it going to be?


Your stupid and unjustified sense of "authority" that you've never had, and never wanted in the first place?


Or are you going to get lynched with the Ignoratti as one of them?


Think about it.


Think VERY carefully about it.



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